Monday, April 30, 2012

Last Call

Please recall that the last time we had a Republican in the White House, it was stuffed to the gills with psychopathic nutjobs like CIA black ops man Jose "Big Boy Pants" Rodriguez here, who spent years justifying outright torture of suspects after the fact.

Jose Rodriguez: For the first time in our history, we had an enemy come into our homeland and kill 3,000 people. I mean, that was a huge deal. People jumping from the towers to their death. The people running away from the cloud of dust, terrified out of their mind. This was a threat. And we had to throw everything at it.

Which is why Jose Rodriguez says that when he ran the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, he came up with the idea of employing harsh interrogation techniques. And 10 years later, he feels he still has to justify their use.

Lesley Stahl: You had no qualms? We used to consider some of them war crimes.

Jose Rodriguez: We made some al Qaeda terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days. But we did the right thing for the right reason. And the right reason was to protect the homeland and to protect American lives. So yes, I had no qualms.

Rodriguez spent 31 years in the CIA's Clandestine Service where spies are revered as "fighter jocks". He rose thru the ranks, eventually running covert operations as head of the Latin America division. When al Qaeda struck on 9/11, he'd had no experience in counterterrorism or the Middle East. But he wanted "in" on the war on terror, and went to the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, where the main objective was to stop another attack on the U.S. homeland.

And he went all in, folks.  Do  Watch the whole thing. These guys? Crazier than a warthog on fire.  Imagine what will happen when they take us to war with Iran for another decade, and what we'll justify after the fact when we round up whomever for even more indefinite detention?  And yeah, I'm aware of the fact we're still holding plenty of folks now under the Obama administration, but for the most part those programs have been dismantled.  Do you think that will be the case if Romney's elected?

As for the Big Boy Pants crack, well, that's from Rodriguez himself:

Jose Rodriguez: We needed to get everybody in government to put their big boy pants on and provide the authorities that we needed.

Lesley Stahl: Their big boy pants on--

Jose Rodriguez: Big boy pants. Let me tell you, I had had a lot of experience in the agency where we had been left to hold the bag. And I was not about to let that happen for the people that work for me.

All about the pants, man.  All about the pants.

Really, I'm Not Sniffling. It's Allergies.

Blair is a 1-year-old black Labrador mix brought to the Woodland West Animal Hospital in Tulsa, Okla., after she was shot while living on the streets.  After he recovered from his wounds, Blair remained at the clinic, a timid and nervous pup whose difficult history made her hard to place with an adopted family, the hospital's director, Dr. Mike Jones, told
Then there was Tanner, a two-year-old Golden Retriever puppy who was born blind and with a seizure disorder so severe he was sent to Woodland Hospital as a last resort after his first owner died and the Oklahoma City-based Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue organization that had assumed his care, was unable to find a family to give him the around-the-clock care he needed.
"One day they were exercising in a play yard together and they got together, Jones said.  "Blair all of a sudden seemed to realize that Tanner was blind and just started to help him around."
Recognizing the dogs' immediate connection, hospital staff began to board Tanner and Blair together, and the results spoke for themselves.
Tanner had been seizing almost nightly, Jones said.  "After two or three weeks, we realized Tanner wasn't seizing anymore.  He's not completely seizure free but it's not constant anymore." 
Blair is more comfortable now, and less prone to behavior issues.  He has a purpose, and he enjoys helping.  Two heartbreaking stories led to something great.

You can read the full article here, which tells more about their condition and how they got to where they are now.  It will take a special person with a lot of resources to care for them, but they will be adopted as a pair.

The world is full of people who should aspire to such nobility, but are instead inferior to a dog from the streets.

This Monster Was Created, Not Born

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – A man who was a poster child for victimized children has been sentenced to at least 25 years in prison for raping and choking a 10-year-old girl.  
 Adam Croote — whose own childhood was so wrenching that he was invited to the White House at age 7 as a symbol of the plight of missing children — was sentenced Friday, The Times Union reported. Croote, 23, pleaded guilty in March to attacking a child he was babysitting.
The girl's family knew Croote was a registered sex offender before the assault last June at a home in Berne, near Albany, the newspaper said, citing court documents. But the relatives nonetheless asked Croote to watch the child after school one afternoon, authorities said.

There is so much wrong here.  First, the tragedy that brought Croote to our attention in the first place.  As a boy, Croote learned the world was full of evil and experienced a lot of it firsthand.  Then there is the tragedy of the cycle running on, as he sexually assaults and chokes a girl who managed to get away from him.  The avoidable tragedy?  That her parents knew he was a registered sex offender and still left her in his company.  What.  The.  Hell.

For all the stupidity above, it was two kids who bore the price.  We would do well to remember that.  Every article we read about child abuse, child molestation, neglect, it's all contributing to these people as adults.  Some grow up damaged, some grow up fine, some grow up to choke little girls and rape them.

We can't ever give up the fight to stop this.  Ever.

Blind Doctor Beaten By Cop

Det. David Van Buskirk, who attacked Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan on April 22, 2010, pleaded guilty Thursday to assault causing bodily harm.
Video cameras at the Jackson Park Health Centre captured the beating, although much of the physical altercation is slightly out of frame. Afterwards, Van Buskirk wrote in his report that the doctor ""immediately reached out and grabbed my throat and pushed me backward."
Of course he did, you jackhole.  You walked up to him and attacked him, with maybe five seconds of "discussion" beforehand.

In pleading guilty, Van Buskirk admitted that Abouhassan "did not strike him at all." He also confirmed that all of the doctor's reaction "was in lawful resistance to being assaulted by the accused."
And yet at first, the doctor was facing charges.  After they watched this video.  After the cop lied, saying he pushed him by the throat, and now says he didn't strike him at all.  I guess when an officer lies it's no big deal.  I wonder if his comments were revised when he learned about the video, and that it wasn't just a word of one man against another.

The man suffered a broken nose, torn eyelid, detached retina, and a bruised rib.  You know why his face took such a beating?  Because he's blind, dammit, and he couldn't see to defend his face, the most basic human reflex.

Both Bridgeman and Keane were charged with discreditable conduct for trying to prevent Abouhassan from filing criminal charges against Van Buskirk. Both were later exonerated.

Of course they were.

So help me God, if "he wasn't using that retina anyway" becomes part of the defense I will freaking lose it.  Considering how this case has gone so far, I wouldn't say anything is impossible here.

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Catholicism

Please know going in to this that I bear no ill will against practicing Catholics.  Like anyone else, they are following the path their heart calls them to, and I understand the kind old lady in the corner has no actual bearing on the stupidity of church officials.  If I can give the Catholic church credit for anything, it's for ignoring their followers and the conversations remain mostly one-way. 

Having said that, let's dig in, shall we?

Maureen Dowd wrote an awesome piece for the New York Times in which she questions the church and its priorities.  One line in particular jumps out at me, because it's something I have wondered about as well.  How can the church bark at women for being too busy helping and spreading the generosity of Christ, while proactively defending the child molesting priests that hide within?  In what screwed up world does that even approach common sense?  

It has become a habit for the church to go after women. A Worcester, Mass., bishop successfully fought to get a commencement speech invitation taken away from Vicki Kennedy, widow of Teddy Kennedy, because of her positions on some social issues. And an Indiana woman named Emily Herx has filed a lawsuit saying she was fired from her job teaching in a Catholic school and denounced as a “grave, immoral sinner” by the parish pastor after she used fertility treatments to try to get pregnant with her husband.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York recently told The Wall Street Journal that only “a tiny minority” of priests were tainted by the sex abuse scandal. But it’s a global shame spiral. The church leadership never recoiled in horror from pedophilia, yet it recoils in horror from outspoken nuns.  
Pope Benedict, who became known as “God’s Rottweiler” when he was the cardinal conducting the office’s loyalty tests, assigned Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle to crack down on the climate of “corporate dissent” among the poor nuns.
When the nuns push for social justice, they’re put into stocks. Yet Archbishop Sartain has led a campaign in Washington to reverse the state’s newly enacted law allowing same-sex marriage, and he’s a church hero.
Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic lobbying group slapped in the Vatican report, said it scares the church hierarchy to have “educated women form thoughtful opinions and engage in dialogue.”

Yeah, you read that right.  God's Rottweiler has assigned a task manager to keep those nuns in line, and make sure they only speak the words the church approves.  So the next time the church tries to say they have done all they can to stop the molesting of innocent children, or that they simply can't control the behavior of the priests, I think it's a fair question to ask for examples of them publicly denouncing the behavior and getting enforcers involved to stop them.  Then sit back and listen to the silence.

Auto-Mitt-ic For The People

And now Team Etch-A-Sketch is taking credit for the auto bailout, believe it or not.

At a Saturday forum hosted by the Washington Post, Fehrnstrom said that Obama’s auto industry rescue was successful because it was exactly what Romney himself proposed.

“[Romney’s] position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed,” Fehrnstrom said. “He said, ‘If you want to save the auto industry, just don’t write them a check. That will seal their doom. What they need to do is go through a managed bankruptcy process.’”

“Consider that the crown jewel,” Fehrnstrom said. “The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.”

Back here in reality, we recall that Mitt Romney's advice was "Let Detroit go bankrupt."

IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed. 

Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

They got that check.  Now they are thriving after being bailed out AND going through a managed process.   Here's what Mitt said back then too:

I believe the federal government should invest substantially more in basic research — on new energy sources, fuel-economy technology, materials science and the like — that will ultimately benefit the automotive industry, along with many others. I believe Washington should raise energy research spending to $20 billion a year, from the $4 billion that is spent today. The research could be done at universities, at research labs and even through public-private collaboration.

That of course got nowhere because the GOP has brutally decimated funding for energy research programs too.  And now Mitt is taking credit because it was all his idea.  It's laughable stuff, and yet Mitt resets history whenever he can, because he's an inveterate liar.


Rotten Apple, Part 2

Gonna say that I wasn't aware as to the extent that Apple plays the bad corporate citizen game, but the NY Times continuing "iEconomy" series has been very illuminating. Apple's profits in 2011 doubled from 2010, their tax payments basically remained the same through a number of accounting gimmicks and offshore shell games.  This weekend's installment discusses those tax games, dubbed "The Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich".

Apple, the world’s most profitable technology company, doesn’t design iPhones here. It doesn’t run AppleCare customer service from this city. And it doesn’t manufacture MacBooks or iPads anywhere nearby.

Yet, with a handful of employees in a small office here in Reno, Apple has done something central to its corporate strategy: it has avoided millions of dollars in taxes in California and 20 other states. 

Apple’s headquarters are in Cupertino, Calif. By putting an office in Reno, just 200 miles away, to collect and invest the company’s profits, Apple sidesteps state income taxes on some of those gains. 

California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84 percent. Nevada’s? Zero

Setting up an office in Reno is just one of many legal methods Apple uses to reduce its worldwide tax bill by billions of dollars each year. As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-tax places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands — some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office — that help cut the taxes it pays around the world.

And Republicans and conservatives will tell you that the problem isn't the tax code that allows states to play their zero sum games with jobs, nor is it Apple setting up their jobs in California to take advantage of Silicon Valley and paying zero taxes in Nevada as a contribution back.

No, the problem is California has a corporate tax rate above zero percent, and that's inherently evil.  Meanwhile, the reason why Apple stays in California includes some $400 million in R&D tax credits and grants.  Have your cake and eat it too, and other US multi-national corporations are following suit.

In the GOP world, it's Red States vs Blue ones.  We're not united at all, we're fighting each other for resources through war by any other means, most of it economic.  No wonder our national economy is weak.

They don't want anyone else to be a part of their "America".


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