Sunday, February 20, 2011

Headlines - Sunday February 20

Wow!  Just... wow!  If you need any more proof of the religious right's war on women, I've got it right here.

Military chaplain: Soldier's rape 'must have been God's will'

A lawsuit targeting the Pentagon contains an astonishing anecdote about a retired Sergeant's experience after being sexually assaulted by a colleague during a deployment to Afghanistan.

The lawsuit, available here (PDF), was filed by 17 military women against Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld in Virginia. It assails "the military's repeated failures to take action in rape cases created a culture where violence against women was tolerated, violating the plaintiffs' Constitutional rights."

Sergeant Rebekah Havrilla alleges in the complaint that in 2006, after her military supervisor repeatedly sexually harassed her, she was raped by a colleague she was working with at the time.

"He pulled her into his bed, held her down, and raped her. He also photographed the rape," it reads. Havrilla reported the incident within a month.

In February 2009, she reported for active duty training and, upon seeing her rapist, went into shock.

"She immediately sought the assistance of the military chaplain," the lawsuit reads. "When SGT Havrilla met with the military chaplain, he told her that 'it must have been God's will for her to be raped' and recommended that she attend church more frequently."

Oh no, no, no, fucking no!  That is NOT the way it works, Padre.  If it was, His not so fracking excellence, Pope Rapedict, would have been using it as a cop out for his pedophile rapist corps a long time ago.  

The complains adds that "SGT Havrilla suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression."

Havrilla's harrowing story, and the broader lawsuit, sheds light on the ongoing and widely reported problem of sexual assault in the military.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said it was "a command priority" to "ensure all of our service members are safe from abuse" and pledged to commit more resources to the goal.

"Sexual assault is a wider societal problem and Secretary Gates has been working with the service chiefs to make sure the U.S. military is doing all it can to prevent and respond to it," Morrell told NBC News. (LINK)

Right, that old bromide, "doing all it can".  Ranks right up there with "We take this very seriously." and "The check's in the mail." on the list of most overused blow offs.

Maybe one of the things they could add to their little laundry list is weeding out those of it's chaplains who hate women to the point that they would dare to characterize forcible rape as an act of God.


Some of the Iraqi orphans that we created join Mideast uprisings and demand rights.
I've seen estimates of 5 million orphans in Iraq.
Come on, everybody, sing it with me, ".....and I'm proud to be an American...."
National Geographic's piece on Vietnam's mammoth cavern is Saturday's slide show. It has it's own jungle ecosystem, and a skyscraper could fit into it.
Conservatives use divide and conquer rhetoric in Wisconsin union protests

How Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker divvies up the world:

"We can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots," Mr. Walker, a Republican, said in a speech. "The bottom line is that we are going to look at every legal means we have to try to put that balance more on the side of taxpayers."

News flash: Public employees are taxpayers.

How the headline writers at the Wall Street Journal divvy up the world:

What's at Stake in Wisconsin's Budget Battle
Who's in charge of our political system—voters or unions?

News flash: Union members are voters.

Notice how it's never "Who's in charge of our political system? Tea Party Express OR citizens?"

This divisive framing about the Wisconsin protest is deliberate, not just a reflection of how conservatives don't understand the difference between sets and subsets. Setting up phony factions in the working and middle classes is the main strategy they use whenever there's a possibility of unification and concerted action not condoned by elites.

Fight it. Document it. Call it out. Every single time.



Joshua Holland at Alternet has compiled all the information necessary for liberals to make the arguments about Wisconsin. (Please click the link for all the background and linkage)


Overturning All Local LGBT Rights

Tea Party-backed Montana GOP Rep. Kristen Hansen has introduced a bill that would overturn all local LGBT rights laws in the state. The bill "limits all local rights ordinances to state-protected classes" of people. Montana House Bill 516. Via Montana Capitol Report, we learn that GOP lawmakers refused to allow opponents of the bill to be heard, even though anti-gay activists were heard from, including one pastor that called for the death penalty for homosexuality.
Opponents of the measure came from across the state to testify. Unfortunately, the Republican majority on the committee attempted to limit testimony on both sides of the issue to ten minutes. Democrats on the committee objected and even presented rules that require the public be able to at least verbally state their opposition to the bill. The Republicans on the committee ignored the rules, and refused to let opponents of the bill testify. In response to the GOP actions, Rep. Diane Sands (D-Missoula) took to reading the names of every opponent (all 50+) of the measure and asked them to stand and be acknowledged. After the hearing, opponents of the measure held their own hearing, next to the statue of Rep. Jeannette Rankin, where they allowed all of the opponents of the measure speak and be heard. During this informal hearing, Sen. Carol Williams and other Democratic lawmakers showed up to show their frustrations with the treatment of these Montanans that simply wanted to be heard.
The above-linked story notes that other recent Montana bills allow cities to form local militias, call for the withdrawal from the United Nations, and allow for the carrying of handguns into banks and churches.
Video: Pastor Harris Himes explains that homosexuality is an abomination worthy of being put to death and therefore gay people should not be rented homes in Montana.
Video: After the hearing, Democrats gathered in a hallway to denounce having been shut out of the debate.
$60 billion cut from social programs and not a single tax increase on the wealthiest one percent. Not like that would make any difference. The budget cuts are kneejerk and over-the-top. On the heels of the biggest recession of our time, they're gutting the SEC and other Wall Street related agencies? That's smart.

And when the government shuts down where will all of the screaming tea party people get their Medicare, their Disability or their veteran's benefits? Oh that's right. They're against socialism. Right.


America's Village Idiot

When are the guys in the white uniforms coming to take Mr. Beck off to his padded cell?

*Update 2/18/11* Beck believes that Muslims are trying to bring about the Anti-Christ.  He's getting nuttier by the day!



The New Republic:

The Congressional Budget Office has delivered an official estimate of what repealing the Affordable Care Act would do to the federal budget. According to CBO's estimates, the deficit would rise by $210 billion in the first decade:

H.R. 2 would, on net, increase federal deficits over the next decade because the net savings from eliminating the coverage provisions would be more than offset by the combination of other spending increases and revenue reductions.

In total, CBO and JCT estimate that H.R. 2 would reduce outlays by about $604 billion and reduce revenues by about $813 billion over the 2012-2021


Like the post says, "Jiffy Pop or Orville Redenbacher's?"


But serious people know this doesn't count

The New York Times report about Dennis Montgomery, who allegedly defrauded the Pentagon and CIA out of $20 million over almost a decade, and whose software caused multiple false alarms while doing nothing to fight terrorism, contains this interesting fact:

Hints of fraud by Mr. Montgomery, previously raised by Bloomberg Markets and Playboy, provide a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of government contracting. A Pentagon study in January found that it had paid $285 billion in three years to more than 120 contractors accused of fraud or wrongdoing.

That's $285 billion of real fraud, versus $1 billion of imaginary fraud. Perhaps some serious DC player will explain why the "math demands" we cut entitlements, yet we're not even discussing shaving a few hundred billion dollars of waste from the Pentagon budget. And maybe when they're done telling us why those dollars don't count, they can also explain why we can't just let the Bush tax cuts expire, which would cut the deficit to 3% of GDP in one fell swoop.


Charles Lane has written one of the most deeply repulsive things I have ever seen in a major newspaper:

Perhaps most disappointing of all is that the president himself, rather than living up to the words he spoke so eloquently in Tuscon, has chosen to fuel the fury on the Great Lakes. He labeled Walker's legislation "an assault on unions," while the White House political operation bused in more demonstrators to join those waving Walker = Hitler placards. These are the words and deeds of a partisan politician, not a national leader.

If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about these events? I hope she would agree with me: This is a sad moment for liberalism, for the Democratic Party, and, really, for the whole country.

That's right, Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and almost killed, for reasons that may have been related to a right-wing movement that Lane often celebrates. And now he seeks to put words in her mouth; he seeks to make a speechless victim of political violence a spokesperson for his own political philosophy.

This is disgusting and demands an apology.


Alex Knapp illustrates the distribution of wealth in this country with a handy piechart:

Alex notes that, "As you can see, this is why the wealthy in this country pay most of the taxes — they have most of the money, by a staggering amount." More charts and numbers here.

Good thing the Tea Partiers have gotten themselves over to Wisconsin to help Breitbart counter protest against those greedy unions. Read the rest of this post »


The Unexpurgated Bible #48: "And then Isaac said unto Abraham his father, 'Explain to me one more time how this is supposed to be a shared sacrifice'.  I didn't get it the first time."


Yes indeedy, the GOP hates you

The Consumer Products Safety Commission was preparing to make public its database of consumer complaints. The idea was that you, Josephine Consumer, could use the database to see if there were, say, ten thousand complaints about something. And maybe you could make a better-informed decision.

It will come as no surprise that the Teabaggers in Congress hated that idea. "What, The proles would have information that a corporation may have sold defective products? Horrors, we cannot have that!" And so
their first budget attempt will defund the database.

Because if it is in the interests of corporations, the Teabagging drones will line up behind it.
Morality is not obedience.
December 7 was bad, but February 19 is the real day that will live in infamy for civil libertarians everywhere. Today is the anniversary of FDR affixing his signature to Executive Order 9066, and with that penstroke he condemned over 120,000 men, women and children, American citizens and immigrants of Japanese descent, to internment camps following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Never forget what happened to our Japanese neighbors in 1942. Now are you ready to stand up beside your Muslim neighbor and demand he and his family be allowed to worship in peace in any location they can afford to buy the land and build a mosque? Or are you cool with history repeating itself at the expense of yet another group of people who just came here seeking the things that only America offers, those things that we like to claim make us exceptional?
Thanks, Hopey ....
Palestinians despair as Obama administration vetoes resolution critical of Israeli settlements.

Last month,

Koch Industries slashed jobs jobs in Wisconsin, helped elect Walker - now organizing pro-Walker protest.

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