Saturday, April 30, 2016

Double Secret Probation for 16 who slaughtered 42 in Afghan hospital

Last October 2, US forces rained down 211 missiles on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 and injuring over a hundred. Within days the US military changed its story 4 times before promising to conduct a thorough investigation to find out what really happened. Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International, calling the US assault a war crime, demanded an independent, international investigation. But when you're the world's only super power, rampaging around the Middle East and Africa with impunity, it's easy to tell the world community to 'stuff it.' And, sure enough, after a six month cooling off period, the US has announced it was all a big fat mistake; but that 16 military personnel would be disciplined for their incompetence. The most severely punished officer was suspended from command and ordered out of Afghanistan. Six were sent to counseling, seven were issued letters of reprimand, and two were ordered to retraining courses. The US response to such senseless atrocities that happen over and over again, amounts to nothing more than being sentenced by Dean Vernon Wormer to 'Double Secret Probation'.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Just last week my Congressman Peter Roskam, issued a press release that said this about his No. 1 Bete Noir, the IRS:

   “The IRS needs to focus on advanced fraud-detection methods to keep up with         increasingly sophisticated identity thieves."

How ironic that Roskam introduced, then pushed through the House Ways and Means Committee his bill specifically designed to thwart the IRS from knowing the identity of foreign governments, corporations and individuals who give money to 'special welfare' 501(c)4 non-profits. Why should the IRS know these foreign contributors? Simple. Foreign money cannot be legally given or spent in federal elections. Such money is discouraged from going to these non-profits, which spend heavily on federal elections, only because current disclosure law shines a spotlight on the foreign donors.  Roskam has plenty of help from his best buddies, the Koch Brothers, who sent a letter to Committee members through their Koch Brothers Public Sector LLC, urging passage based on these foreign donations being 'free speech'. 

If Roskam were serious bout having the IRS focus on 'advanced fraud-detection methods', he should withdraw this pernicious legislative assault on oversight of foreign governments, companies and fat cats who want to illegally interfere in what should be purely American federal elections. Roskam may not qualify as an identity thief in the traditional sense. But he's sure trying to steal the identity from the IRS of the foreigners who absolutely must remain known. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

New US terror war rule little solace to Iraqi, Syrian civilians

US war commander, Lt. Gen. Sean McFarland can now order air strikes in Iraq and Syria that are expected to kill up to 10 civilians without prior approval from US Central Command. What's magic about 11 or more civilians likely to die by US bombs that requires prior approval is yet to be explained. Maybe it's simply that 11 or more innocents blown to bits gets a bit more attention from an outraged world, like when we whacked 42 innocents in an Afghan Doctors Without Borders hospital last October. Iraqi and Syrian civilians take note: If you want to survive Uncle Sam's efforts to dictate who will control your government, simply never, ever go anywhere without at least 10 compatriots. Then pray that US Central Command doesn't tell good Gen. McFarland "Bomb them anyway."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trib's perfect pitch for perpetual war

Trib's perfect pitch for perpetual war

The Trib's Monday op ed 'US disengagement would be costly' is a masterful pitch for perpetual war by two of America's leading neocons, Robert Kagan and Ivo Daalder. It's masterful because it never specifically comes out in favor of perpetual war. Instead, it laments that "Americans no longer seem to value the liberal international order that the United States created after World War II and sustained throughout the Cold War and beyond." It agonizes that the outsider candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have criticized perpetual war stating "politicians in both parties dangle before the public the vision of an America freed from the burdens of leadership." It ponders whether Americans, in turning away from perpetual war "have lost sight of the essential role the United States plays in supporting the international environment from which they benefit greatly. The unprecedented prosperity made possible by free and open markets and thriving international trade; the spread of democracy; and the avoidance of major conflict among great powers: All these remarkable accomplishments have depended on sustained U.S. engagement around the world."
Who are these brilliant perpetual war propagandists the Trib used to promote their never ending obsession with regime change and rampaging American exceptionalism abroad? If there were a Mount Rushmore for neocon warmongers, Robert Kagan would be up there. Co-founder of the Project for a New American Century in 1997, Kagan has been a top promoter of regime change for three decades now, being among the most ferocious proponents of the criminal Iraq war. Ivo Daalder, though much less known, is an equally dedicated regime changer. As US Permanent Representative to NATO in 2011, Daalder was instrumental in getting NATO to lead the utterly failed regime change in Libya that has turned it into a failed state and a new playground for terrorist organizations. As thousands died and millions continue to suffer under the Daalder's ruinous leadership, his 2012 words in Foreign Affairs, "NATO's operation in Libya has rightly been hailed as a model intervention" will haunt him to eternity.
Thirteen years ago the Trib was so enamored with President George W. Bush's criminal Iraq war, they boosted his 2004 re-election bid by touting his foreign policy chops. If the Trib Editorial Board was really interested in peace and stability around the world, they would shun endless war promoters of perpetual war like Kagan and Daalder. Alas they still don't get the admonition of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal that "To initiate a war of aggression is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” But the Trib knows there are no consequences in 21st century America in for being a staunch member of the war party. As oft said: 'Membership has its privileges.'

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bars should not bar right to vote

If one of the purposes of prison is rehabilitation, then it's important to let every soul behind bars vote.

Just two states, albeit among the smallest, Maine and Vermont, follow that humane principle. No one has yet to point out one iota of harm from such inclusion. The remaining 48 practice some form of disenfranchising backwardness, from a tad less progressive to abominable:

Only those in prison can't vote

Folks in jail or on parole can't vote

Those in prison, on parole or on probation can't vote

Some people with felony convictions are permanently disenfranchised

All people with felony convictions are permanently disenfranchised

I'm reminded about this sad state of our states regarding felon disenfranchisement with the bit of great news from Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe that 206,000 former Virginian felons can now vote.  As great as that is, about 5,000,000 former felons are still barred from the ballot box. The other millions in prison, on parole or probation must also be given the franchise if we want to truly begin the rehabilitation process and reduce recidivism. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

It's public, not Hastert that requires no prison time for his white collar crime

The Trib Sunday editorial 'Hastert deserves prison, not probation' for his white collar crime of illegally structuring bank withdrawals to avoid bank reporting requirements, utterly fails to justify its lust to slam Hastert in the the slammer for five years. All the hundreds of words detailing the sad, sordid story of Hastert's sexual molestation of wrestling students decades ago have nothing to do with wasting around $150,000 in taxpayer money to get 'revenge' for Hastert's ancient conduct which, though egregious, is not the crime for which he's being sentenced. None of the factors requiring prison apply to Hastert. He's no threat to the public and incapable of repeat criminality. Prison does nothing to punish him beyond the punishment of disgrace and banishment from society already incurred. Prison will serve as no deterrent to sick individuals willingly risking self destruction to further their criminal sexual obsessions. His greatly impaired medical condition makes his imprisonment an utter travesty of 'piling on' in righteous indignation. Granting probation to a failing septuagenarian has nothing to do with mercy or recognizing his decades of contributions to his community, his state, his nation. Hastert wouldn't deserve prison for the crime for which he's being sentenced if he had been a scoundrel his entire life. The only question to be answered is simply this: Is any societal purpose being served by spending $30,000 a year to imprison an end of life person for a white collar crime when he poses no threat to public. Any decent, fair minded person would unquestionably say 'Absolutely not.' If the Trib Editorial Board is so anxious to see Hastert stagger into a prison van for the trip to the hoosegow, they should take up a collection amongst themselves and like minded revenge seekers to pay for their exercise in societal folly.