Friday, October 21, 2016
I really like this one. It reveals the true depths of the GOP's native intelligence and the span of their imagination. From Sherlock Google's Daily Kos diary:
...If you were a totally crooked neo-con former CIA financier Republican who hangs out with the corrupt Delay-Abramoff crowd, what would be the most unethical, diabolical way to funnel SO much money to the Republican Party and neo-con schemes that you could take back the government from the Democrats?
With your corrupt Republican buddies, form a slew of your own brand-new Defense Companies, submit bids on things the Pentagon never even asked for to the Delay-Cunningham network and Bingo! -- those contributions to the GOP and K Street will flow in like never before...
You can give your new false front companies snazzy names like Perfect Wave Technologies and Pure Aqua Technologies and Acoustical Communication Systems. Of course, just because you have all this taxpayer money at your disposal, you're not obliged to advertise these companies with flashy websites -- in fact, lame-looking main pages (as you'll see by clicking on those links) are better suited for front companies, so as not to attract too much attention.
However, you might want to spend a little more on office space. After all, there's always the chance that someone who isn't a corrupt Republican will notice that Perfect Wave, Pure Aqua, and ACS can all be reached by fax at 858-848-0400. Pure Aqua's location is unlisted, but I'm guessing it's the same as Perfect Wave's and ACS's: 13970 Stowe Drive, Poway CA 92064.
How creative. How brilliant.
Apparently, the only lesson the GOP has learned since Watergate is to not get caught. You'd think they would have studied a little harder on how to not get caught. And you would be mistaken...
Now this is horseshit -- Eric Schmitt of the New York Times writes, "New Army Rules May Snarl Talks With McCain on Detainee Issue":
The Army has approved a new, classified set of interrogation methods that may complicate negotioations over legislation proposed by Senator John McCain to bar cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees in American custody, military officials said Tuesday.
The addendum provides dozens of examples and goes into exacting detail on what procedures may or may not be used, and it what circumstances. Army interrogators have never had a set of such specific guidelines that would help teach them how to walk right up to the line between legal and illegal interrogations.
Some military officials said the new guidelines could give the impression that the Army was pushing the limits on legal interrogation at the very moment when Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, is involved in intense three-way negotiations with the White House and the Bush administration to prohibit the cruel treatment of prisoners.
In a high-level meeting at the Pentagon on Tuesday, some Army and other Pentagon officials raised concerns that Mr. McCain would be furious at what could appear to be a back-door effort to circumvent his intentions.
"This is a stick in McCain's eye," one official said. "It goes right up to the edge. He's not going to be comfortable with this"... (#)
As I recall, McCain's bill passed in the Senate by a 90-9 margin. This bill requires that military interrogations be conducted in accordance with the Army field manual. The manual goes by the Geneva Conventions, which strongly oppose brutalizing prisoners of war. Bush & Co. have long insisted that detainees in the war against terrorism are not prisoners of war. That bit of illogic doesn't seem to be working anymore, so now people in the Defense Department are trying to amend the rules. This is a stick in the eye of everyone who sides with McCain when it comes to the question of torture. It is half willful tunnel vision, half juvenile mischief.
Let's just put aside the fact that torture doesn't work for a minute. What's up with this executive branch need to have sanctioned torture techniques in place, anyway? If we do not torture, then why are these negotiations occurring? Why did McCain's bill even have to be introduced?
What this also says is that our powers that be can't measure up to our own Army filed manual -- so they're pulling it down to their level. They're dumbing down their own standards in the hope that it'll make this problem go away. It worked (for a while) when they said captives in the war against terrorism weren't prisoners of war -- maybe it'll work a second time.
Or maybe not. Bush doesn't have the 70-plus-percent popular support he boasted of four years ago. Very few Americans had ever heard of Abu Ghraib back then. There was no talk of going to war with Iraq, never mind of fighting a losing battle against an insurgency there.
But like they say, "As above, so below": Bush made up his mind to "stay the course" in Iraq, and if he has his way, we're staying in Iraq. His stubbornness has spread to his subordinates and to other parts of the government. It's been decided that the "torture option" must remain available, so now like-stubborn-minded members of the government are working to legitimize it and assure its availability.
Gahddamn, aren't you glad the grown-ups are in charge?
From Josh White and Charles Babington of the Washpost, "House Supports Ban on Torture":
The House gave strong support yesterday to a measure that would ban torture and limit interrogation tactics in U.S. detention facilities, agreeing with Senators that Congress needs to set uniform guidelines for the treatment of prisoners in the war on terrorism.
On a 308 to 122 vote, members of the House supported specific language proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" of anyone in the custody of the U.S. government. Though lopsided, the vote was largely symbolic and does not put the language into law.
The vote specifically instructed House negotiators to include McCain's language, word for word, in the fiscal 2006 defense appropriations bill, a decision that is not binding but carries significant political weight.
The House also supported a McCain provision that would require officials in any Defense Department detention facility to follow the interrogation standards in the Army's field manual on interrogations. That manual is currently being revised... (#)
I wrote yesterday that the field manual was being amended out of a combination of wounded vanity, stubbornness, and plain old immaturity. But I think Atrios hit it much closer to the mark: It's about normalizing S&M. Since the whips-and-chains crowd isn't any better at confronting inner demons than it is at practicing self-restraint, my guess is all 122 Housecreatures who voted for "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment" are Republicans. I'll have to check to be sure, though...
"OFF BY ONE" UPDATE: The final vote had 107 Republicans for banning cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners of war, and 121 for limited use of it. So a slight majority of House Republicans would like to see S&M go a little more mainstream. On the Democratic side, they all opposed torture except one: Jim Marshall of Georgia (3rd district). There's one in every family, I guess...
Friday, July 22, 2016
I've been surfing the Web and reading about the crimes against humanity perpetrated in Fallujah, Darfur, and Bagram (among other places), but has anyone heard about this? From Human Rights Watch, "D. R. Congo: Tens of Thousands Raped, Few Prosecuted" (3/7):
In eastern Congo's conflict, government troops and rebel fighters have raped tens of thousands of women and girls, but fewer than a dozen perpetrators have been prosecuted by a judicial system in dire need of reform, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on the eve of International Women's Day.
The 52-page report, "Seeking Justice: The Prosecution of Sexual Violence in the Congo War," documents how the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has taken insufficient steps to prosecute those responsible for wartime rape. Human Rights Watch called on the Congolese government and international donors, including the European Union, to take urgent steps to reform Congo's justice system
Despite the peace agreement and broad-based transition process in the D.R. Congo, which began in 2003, soldiers of the national army and armed groups continue to perpetrate sexual violence in the eastern provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Orientale. In 1998, armed conflict broke out among the Congolese government, several neighboring countries and various rebel factions. Since then, combatants on all sides have subjected tens of thousands of women and girls -- as well as a far smaller number of men and boys -- to sexual violence...
An increasing number of victims of sexual violence are demanding justice. "My husband does not want to live with me any more because I was raped by the Mai-Mai," said one woman who, along with 11 others in Shabunda, South Kivu, was gang-raped by combatants belonging to the Mai-Mai, a local Congolese armed group opposed to foreign occupation. "The perpetrators must be punished," she said... (#)
I wonder how many right-wingers who, reflexively turning away from similar crimes Americans are committing, would read something like this and be appalled at the savagery? Assuming, of course, they bother to give it a thought in the first place -- I don't read or hear much about what's been going on in Sudan, for instance, in the mainstream media.
Skin color probably plays a good-sized part of it (and our collective hypocrisy is obvious), but I think it goes deeper than that. There's an underlying indifference to human suffering that gives rise to personal acts like rape and general ones like war. And it spreads like a virus: The evil we do almost always lives on after us, starting with the immediate victims of our evil, who act in kind toward still others. Sometimes it all boils over in one place, and then the rest of us wonder how so much evil could be concentrated in one spot.
Until we're distracted again... togel singapura
Friday, July 15, 2016
One of the items in Bush's recent State of the Union address that went almost totally unnoticed is his creation of yet another federal bureaucracy: The Department of Corruption, Bribery, and Incompetence. The Onion has the details:
...The Scandal Secretary wil log all wiretaps and complaints of prisoner abuse, coordinate paid-propaganda efforts, eliminate redundant payoffs and bribes, oversee the appointment of unqualified political donors to head watchdog agencies, control all leaks and other high-level security breaches, and oversee the disappearance of Iraq reconstruction funds. He will also be responsible for issuing all official denials that laws have been broken."Many of the current scandals in Washington are crucial to the success of my priorities for the nation," Bush said. "The Department of Corruption will safeguard these important misdeeds.White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card characterized the president's announcement as part of a larger effort to usher in a "new era of scandal management.""The entire DCBI budget will come from private donors and investors, through an illegal slush fund," he said. "The money we'll save by eliminating redundancies and reducing scandal-related overhead will come back to citizens tenfold in the form of offshore corporate tax savings"...
Well, the current system just isn't working the way it used to. But Bush & Co's solution to everything -- keep adding red tape until the system doesn't work at all -- may have finally found the problem it was destined for. This could be Bush's true legacy: The Dems couldn't shut his presidency down, so he did it himself...
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