MS. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON
What does life look like when standing on a pedestal looking down at the masses and thinking that "There won't be enough left if we share?" And, having the power to forget the masses and just take their share.
When we Americans think we've seen it all . . . people willing to support this nation into an illegal invasion/occupation, crimes without any fear of stopping, and they continue, we can see through the actions of our own government that the brutal ideas that started with the annihilation of our indigenous people are not dead, but very much alive, even after a Civil War among the people of this nation, the hatred, the stupidity, the bigotry, the criminal hearts keep beating generation after generation. Does anyone understand why?
There's never any accountability for the actions of the elite and leadership of U.S. government. Their influence was what we saw during the media TV shots of the tea parties and the neocon mugging of the town hall meetings. So, we have a flag that people can go to jail for if they burn that flag, but no one ever thinks that debt, death, and destruction and complete disrespect for the common worker of this country, for U.S. military, for our friends and neighbors around the world, and for our immigrants, who come here, so they don't starve . . . that these insults to our flag and to those who died for this country, they amount to much more than the burning of any U.S. flag in protest. Much, much more. And, out own government puts up with it.
The Inspector General has released a report (available here, pdf) on its investigation into sexual misconduct of inmates by guards and prison staff at federal prisons over the past 8 years.
The report finds that inmate accusations have more than doubled. Allegations were made at 92 of the nation's 93 federal prison sites. More details:
Of the 90 staff members prosecuted for sexual abuse of inmates, nearly 40 percent were also convicted of other crimes, authorities said.
Investigators underscored the damaging effect such episodes can have on the overall security within a prison. One operations officer abandoned his post several times to have sex with a female inmate. Another manager scrubbed the prison database to remove unflattering information about a prisoner and entered a phony request that allowed the inmate to transfer from a high-security facility to a less secure one.
The guards' actions are clearly illegal:
It is a crime for a prison staff member to engage in any sexual activity with an inmate, and consent by the inmate does not matter under the law because of the imbalance of power in the relationship.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 mandates that prison officials make prevention of sexual abuse in prisons, jails and cellblocks a top priority. The Federal Bureau of Prisons manages 115 facilities and houses 171,000 inmates.
What other sexual assault cases would result in these minimal penalties?
Since a change in the law in 2006, the percentage of cases that assistant U.S. attorneys accepted for prosecution has risen by more than 12 percent. In the cases in which criminal charges were filed, 83 out of 90 resulted in convictions. The vast majority of the penalties, however, resulted in sentences of less than one year of prison time under both the older and newer laws. (my emphasis).
And claims against women guards are rising at at a rate higher than their representative numbers in the prison work force.
What does the BOP have to say about it?
Harley G. Lappin, director of the Bureau of Prisons, pointed out in a letter that prison officials attribute the rise in allegations "to our efforts to educate and encourage reporting of these incidents" by inmates and other prison staff members.
In other words, sexually abusing inmates has always been business as usual, the BOP is now just encouraging it to be reported?
What does the Inspector General recommend?
Fine urged the Justice Department, the Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service to step up their outreach to prosecutors and to reconsider policies in some prison facilities that isolate inmates or transfer them after they raise allegations of sexual misconduct by corrections officers and other members of the prison staff.
I am a mother. I raised three children who are all adults and decent, productive members of society. Every last one of them knows how to act. Not one of them would ever shout at the President as he addressed a joint session of congress, nor would they make animal noises from the floor of the state House of Representatives. Not just because the hard work of parenting that their father and I applied while raising them, but because they would have to face me after acting in such a manner.
The behavior exhibited by these common-as-the-town-pump jackasses is a lousy reflection on their mothers, who must have been turning tricks for two dollars a pop so they could stay drunk on Boone's Farm or T.J. Swann rather than raising their sons who grew up to be nasty, feral little beasts who are unfit for polite society.
Prove me wrong. Prove their mothers were not all hateful, spiteful, horrible, classless sluts who hated their lives and families and failed miserably at parenting.
That is certainly how it looks.
How we behave as adults is a direct reflection on the way we were raised. I have spent some time in the south and the culture down there is one that places women at the center of civilization. In the south, women are the keepers of civility and manners, and if it breaks down, it stands to reason, that the fetid wombs that spawned these ill-mannered cretins get the blame.
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We're not sure what's happening here. But a Coast Guard vessel has apparently just opened fire (though perhaps just as warning shots) on a vessel in a restricted zone on the Potomac River. [...]
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When the GOP trotted out the hapless Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) to deliver the response to President Obama, the former cardiologist became just the latest Republican physician deployed to halt health care reform. As it turns out, the repentant Birther was an unfortunate choice to carry the GOP banner of tort reform, given his own history of malpractice suits. Of course, as his colleagues Tom Price, Tom Coburn and Bill Frist all show, when it comes to the politics of health care, Boustany isn't the only Republican doctor offering Americans the wrong diagnosis and bad prescriptions.
Georgia's Tom Price, a one-time orthopedic surgeon and current chairman of the Republican Study Committee, is a case in point. While the GOP tried to block the passage of Medicare in the 1960's and tried to slash its budget by 15% in the 1990's, today's Republicans pretend to be the defenders of the system Newt Gingrich famously said they hoped to see "wither on the vine." But in a July op-ed, Dr. Price reminded America's seniors why it is Republicans and not President Obama they should fear when it comes to Medicare:
Going down the path of more government will only compound the problem. While the stated goal remains noble, as a physician, I can attest that nothing has had a greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the federal government's intrusion into medicine through Medicare.
Then there's Oklahoma Senator and unexpected Obama confidante Tom Coburn. As a Senate candidate in 2004, Dr. Coburn famously warned that "lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom." Upon his arrival in the Senate, the former obstetrician was elevated to the Judiciary Committee despite having advocated the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions. More recently, Coburn the C Street marriage counselor to John Ensign and Mark Sanford turned Deather:
In an interview with KOTV, Coburn said that he disagreed with Obama's dismissal of fears that reform will "pull the plug on grandma."
Coburn said that he'd offered three amendments seeking an "absolute prohibition" on rationing care based on effectiveness research.
"Why would you not want an absolute prohibition? Because you ultimately plan to ration care," Coburn said. "Their plan is to control costs by limiting options."
Last but certainly not least is former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
As you'll recall, the young Frist was a frequent visitor to animal shelters where the future Doctor adopted stray cats only to dissect them later as part of his learn-at-home medical studies. In December 2004, the Tennessee Senator tried to defend a federally-funded abstinence program which claimed that HIV/AIDS could be contracted through tears and sweat. Pressed by ABC News host George Stephanopoulos, Frist was forced to recant. "It would be very hard," he said.
But it was during the 2005 Terri Schiavo affair in which Majority Leader Frist used a national platform to abuse his medical background for partisan political leverage. Rejecting a medical consensus (later confirmed during the autopsy) that Ms. Schiavo was blind and in a "persistent vegetative state," Dr. Frist offered a videotape diagnosis to the contrary on the floor of the Senate:
"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office," he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. "She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."
Despite those embarrassments and his close call in 2007 with an insider trading probe investigating his sale of stock from the HCA business started by his father and brother, Bill Frist is back on your television screen cheerleading Republican opposition to Democratic health insurance reform initiatives.
Even after President Obama's powerful speech last night, the outcome of the fierce health care debate is still far from certain. But one thing Americans can count in the political war over health reform is that the doctors of the Republican Party will do everything they can to kill it.
(This piece also appears at Perrspectives.)
Alaska GOP primary shaping up to be a battle of corporate corruptionists
Last night the Anchorage Daily News reported that blogger and former Alaska state Rep. Andrew Halcro will be challenging ethically-challenged Don Young in the Republican Party primary for that state's sole House seat.
"I'm running for Congress because I agree with Don Young, and he said seniority matters," Halcro said later. "And right now, after the last election, he was stripped of his committee chairmanships. He's basically become an 18-term freshman."
"The Republicans look like they're going to pick up significant seats in 2010 and 2012. And here's the question: Does Alaska want a seat on the bus, or do we want to get left on the curb?"... Young issued a statement Thursday emphasizing he remains in the race, saying that "my work is not done for the state of Alaska just yet."
The former Ohio rep, just out of a seven year stint in the slammer, compares himself to Nelson Mandela and says he may run for Congress again. See the Video. [...]
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Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB) said fiscal fourth-quarter net income fell to $69 million, or 20 cents a share, from $89 million, or 25 cents a share, as sales dropped to $1.53 billion from $1.71 billion. Excluding…
Recently, the Guardian interviewed former New York governor George Pataki to discuss the eighth anniversary of 9/11. Pataki, who was in Manhattan when the World Trade Center was hit, used the opportunity to criticize the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate CIA interrogators who went beyond their legal guidance, saying it “jeopardizes” national security:
“Placing CIA officials who were acting in the aftermath of the worst attacks against our country and civilians in our history in possible criminal jeopardy years after the fact is in my mind a horrible decision.
“It jeopardizes our ability to continue to effectively protect our country against those who hate us and want to attack us again.”
Oddly, Pataki claimed that his disapproval of the investigation sprung from a concern for the rule of law. “We must make sure we obey the rule of law and act in ways that are not just legal but moral,” said Pataki. “But now, years after the fact, to consider charges is wrong for our country, wrong for our security and wrong for the entire world that believes in the rule of law.”
It's well known that local media, at the very least, listen to police scanners. This explanation does not suffice. The police scanners said that there were terrorists on the Potomac near the Pentagon while the president was speaking on 9/11. That kind of chatter would obviously cause a panic. The media makes a lot of mistakes, this is not one of them.