Archive for the Category » abuse of power «

September 09th, 2010 | Author:

So the Telegraph says some of the 2,000 photos of Abu Ghraib abuse – that Obama said in April he was going to release but now has decided to suppress – include rape and sexual abuse of male and female prisoners.

Earlier this month, he said: “The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.”

And we’re just supposed to trust Obama that the individuals involved had been “identified, and appropriate actions” taken – behind closed doors, of course.

This “shoot-the-messenger-and-hide-the-message-and-protect-the-troops” is the same strategy the government is using against Wikileaks and Bradley Manning.  As Justin Raimondo put it:

What is clear to me is this: there is a coordinated campaign to defame both Assange and Manning, and I have no doubt the US government is directly involved in this effort. Just as they tried to destroy Dan Ellsberg, so they are unleashing their agents (paid and volunteer) on these two very brave people. They want to divert attention away from the content of what is being exposed, and direct it back on the whistleblowers: they don’t want people debating the wisdom of the Afghan occupation, they would much rather talk about Assange’s journalistic credentials and Manning’s sex life. [and now Assange's sex life]

Smoke and mirrors, ladies and gentlemen.  Do not look behind that curtain.

And sadly?  It appears that most Americans are content to plug their ears and cover their eyes and pretend that they are not responsible for what their government does.  Even worse, many who call themselves Christians eagerly grasp this straw because it allows them to continue in their delusion that “God and country” are one and the same.

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July 28th, 2010 | Author:

The Word for Wednesday is a meme for Christian bloggers to share what’s on their heart. If you’d like to participate, see the WFW tab above.

No matter what problem may befall an American, there’s a government insurance program for that.  Here’s a sampling, although I’m sure I’ve missed dozens of others.

Has your bank failed? Never fear. If your bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, your deposit up to $250,000 will be covered by the government.  “No depositor has ever lost a penny of insured deposits since the FDIC was created in 1933.”

Lost your job? The Senate has just passed a bill to extend unemployment benefits through November 30, retroactive to June 2.

Can’t afford groceries? “The SNAP food benefits (used to be called food stamps) helps people with low incomes and resources buy the food they need for good health.”

Can’t get credit for your small business? HR 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010, is now working its way through Congress.  It “Establishes in the Treasury the Small Business Lending Fund, administered by the Secretary of the Treasury to cover purchases of preferred stock and other financial instruments from eligible institutions (Small Business Lending Fund Program). Limits the aggregate amount of purchases at $30 billion.”

Is your house subject to flooding? The National Flood Insurance Program will solve your problems.

Is your house subject to flooding and wind? HR 1264, The Multiple Peril Insurance Act of 2009, is also going through various committees. It “Amends the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to require the national flood insurance program to enable the purchase of multiperil coverage and optional separate windstorm coverage to protect against loss resulting from physical damage or loss of real or related personal property located in the United States. Defines windstorm as any hurricane, tornado, cyclone, typhoon, or other wind event.”

And, of course, there’s Obamacare, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act comprised of 2,000+ pages.  I’d tell you what it does, but even it’s champion Nancy Pelosi doesn’t know:

Many Christians feel compassion for those who are suffering, and Jesus feels it most of all.  Prior to the Nanny States of America, Christians would feel compelled to heed the words of our Lord:

Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:42)

In this day and age, though, we rely on the government to do our giving for us.  I know of church ministries designed specifically to help the down and out find just the right government program to solve their problems. Is that a valid ministry of the Lord, or is it a cop-out that allows us to keep our own possessions and still feel good about ourselves?  Is it how the early church operated?  I think not.

For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. (Acts 4:34-35)

Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints (2 Corinthians 8:1-4)

I firmly believe that forcing Christians and others, through taxation, to supply for the needs of all cannot be considered a Christian practice – nor does it spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, our one true task on this earth.  In fact, I think forced redistribution of wealth teaches people to trust in government instead of God – which may be one of the reasons we are now considered a post-Christian culture.

Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. (Psalms 37:3)

It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in princes. (Psalms 118:8-9)

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.  (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

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July 17th, 2010 | Author:

Obamacare

After all the grandiose promises that we could keep our current health care, and the even more ridiculous promises that costs would not go up but we’d save tons of money, the true costs of Obamacare are beginning to be felt.

WASHINGTON — The White House on Wednesday issued new rules requiring health insurance companies to provide free coverage for dozens of screenings, laboratory tests and other types of preventive care.

The Times goes on to tout the benefits of many “free” services, but in an afterthought, the truth slips out:

The administration said the requirements could increase premiums by 1.5 percent, on average.

So much for free.

And in this comprehensive piece at Newsbusters, they lay out the the rigmarole in Obamacare that will virtually force people into the more expensive government-run health care system.

ObamaCare, as predicted by so many during the previous year by experts most of the establishment press willfully ignored, will cause many employers to drop their insurance entirely.

I don’t see much hope here, but change is surely coming.

Wikileaks and the Feds

I posted recently about the military charges that have been leveled against Bradley Manning for his alleged part in the release of the now infamous Wikileaks video of American pilots slaughtering Iraqi civilians and a Reuters journalist.

Well, the hunt for whistle-blowers continues.  Cnet reports that five Homeland Security thugs showed up at a hackers convention looking for scheduled speaker Julian Assange, the public face of Wikileaks.

Corley announced on April 19 that Assange would be a keynote speaker. But by June 14, after news of the arrest of Army intelligence specialist Bradley Manning leaked, the conference was warning that Assange may remain outside of the United States for fear of being arrested on related charges.

One source close to Wikileaks indicated late Friday that it was still unclear whether Assange would show up in person or appear through a video conference (a third option would be for another Wikileaks representative to fill in). A conference security staffer said that after being told they needed search warrants to enter the event, at least two agents paid the $100 admission fee to get in.

“If they didn’t have a search warrant, they’d have to pay to get in,” said Corley, who also goes by the pen name Emmanuel Goldstein. “They did.”

What part of freedom of the press do these feds not get?

Rescuers Arrested

And in Denver, rafting guides who worked to rescue a 13-year-old girl who had tumbled from her raft were arrested for their efforts.

Duke Bradford, owner of Arkansas Valley Adventures, said Snodgrass did the right thing by contacting the 13-year-old Texas girl immediately and not waiting for the county’s search and rescue team to assemble ropes, rafts and rescuers.

“When you have someone in sight who has taken a long swim, you need to make contact immediately,” said Bradford, a 15-year rafting guide and ski patroller from Summit County. “This is just silly. Ryan Snodgrass acted entirely appropriately. These guys came to the scene late and there was a rescue in progress. They came in and took over an existing rescue. To leave a patient on the side of a river while you get your gear out of the car and set up a rescue system you read about in a book is simply not good policy.”

The real sin of Snodgrass and a second guide, Lariscy, of course, is that they did not bow down to official authorities.  As the Denver Post opined,

It shouldn’t have happened like this. Rafting guides are trained to deal with exactly these kinds of rescues. And the guides were right to work to save the girl, as she and her family already had entrusted their lives to the guides.

Certainly, swift-water rescue teams also are trained, and have every reason to wish to save accident victims. Yet ultimately, when a raft tips and people are in danger, both sets of rescuers need to be fully engaged and working together — not battling over turf.

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July 06th, 2010 | Author:

The Army has formally charged Bradley Manning for allegedly releasing the Wikileaks video depicting US Apache pilots gleefully slaughtering Iraqi civilians and a Reuters journalist in 2007.  Among the cornucopia of charges leveled against Manning, most relate to the release of classified information.   The following wording stands out in the official press release, emphasis added:

One specification of violating United States Code Title 18, Section 793, for communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source;

I am hard-pressed to understand how this nation is made safer when documentation of unrepentant, unholy murder is suppressed, but I suppose from the Army’s perspective the video truly is a “national defense” issue.  Look at all the national resources being expended defending the three-year-old, cavalier slaughter of innocents.

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July 02nd, 2010 | Author:

The jury in the trial of Johannes Mehserle is expected to begin deliberations today.   Their options are:

  • second-degree murder in the shooting of Oscar Grant, for “intentionally committing an inherently dangerous act, while knowing it was dangerous and acting with conscious disregard for human life.” Sentence:  25 years to life.
  • voluntary manslaughter,  if they believe “he acted in ‘imperfect self-defense,’ based on an actual but unreasonable belief that he needed to use lethal force.”  Sentence: 6 – 21 years.
  • involuntary manslaughter, if they think “he committed a crime – using excessive force on Grant by deciding to shock him with a Taser – that was not in itself potentially lethal, but became so because of the manner in which it was committed” – i.e., with a gun instead of his Taser. Sentence: 5 to 14 years.
  • acquittal, if they believe he committed no crime.
  • If they choose either form of manslaughter, the judge would have the option of sentencing him to probation instead of prison.

I’m not on this jury.  I’ve only seen the evidence that has been documented publicly, but based on what I have seen, and knowing that plain stupidity was not one of the available charges, I would convict him of  involuntary manslaughter.

I don’t believe he intended to kill Grant.  This video clearly shows his surprise when he heard the report of his gun.  Nonetheless, he was a trained police officer who should have known the difference between a gun and a Taser.  A man is dead because of his stupidity.

Unfortunately, the truly guilty in this case are not on trial.  To my knowledge, there is no case pending against the BART police department.  Mehserle was trained just once, in December of 2008, on how and when to use his Taser.  Mehserle testified that the police department  “left it up to us” to figure out how to carry their Tasers, and did not stress the possibility of confusing the two weapons.  In April of this year, BART temporarily suspended Taser use, subsequently updating their training and policies to conform with federal court rulings.

Neither is there a case pending against the Taser manufacturer, who has erroneously sold these weapons as a “safe” alternative to guns, despite the fact that multiple people have died from their use.  The latest statistics I could find said that 351 people died as a result of being Tased between 2001 and 2008.

More importantly, police in general no longer view themselves as officers charged with keeping the peace in their own communities, but as paramilitary us-against-them organizations.   If they encounter a barking dog, they shoot it.  If one unreliable informant tells them someone has a drug stash they could confiscate to fund their department, they get a no-knock warrant and charge in with their weapons drawn, often shooting the wrong people – including a 7-year-old girl, whose grandmother watched her die. While I’m sure there are still “good cops” out there, their unconditional support of department policies and most any officer who steps over the line makes them just as guilty.

But these issues are not being debated by the jury in the Mehserle case.   Stupid.
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