Heavy-handed footed

I [justice] may be blind, but this is ridiculous…

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Steve Sack
, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Running While Black

by Bob Herbert (NYT)
Common Dreams

Gee, I wonder why, if you have a black man running for high public office – say, Barack Obama or Harold Ford – the opposition feels compelled to run low-life political ads featuring tacky, sexually provocative white women who have no connection whatsoever to the black male candidates.

Spare me any more drivel about the high-mindedness of John McCain. You knew something was up back in March when, in his first ad of the general campaign, Mr. McCain had himself touted as “the American president Americans have been waiting for.”

There was nothing subtle about that attempt to position Senator Obama as the Other, a candidate who might technically be American but who remained in some sense foreign, not sufficiently patriotic and certainly not one of us – the “us” being the genuine red-white-and-blue Americans who the ad was aimed at.

Since then, Senator McCain has only upped the ante, smearing Mr. Obama every which way from sundown. On Wednesday, The Washington Post ran an extraordinary front-page article that began:

“For four days, Senator John McCain and his allies have accused Senator Barack Obama of snubbing wounded soldiers by canceling a visit to a military hospital because he could not take reporters with him, despite no evidence that the charge is true.”

Evidence? John McCain needs no evidence. His campaign is about trashing the opposition, Karl Rove-style. Not satisfied with calling his opponent’s patriotism into question, Mr. McCain added what amounted to a charge of treason, insisting that Senator Obama would actually prefer that the United States lose a war if that would mean that he – Senator Obama – would not have to lose an election.

Read on…

Sexual Assault in the Military: A DoD Cover-Up?


by: Col. Ann Wright

There was quite a struggle in Congress this week. The Department of Defense refused to allow the senior civilian in charge of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) to testify in Thursday’s hearing on sexual assault in the military. Rep. John Tierney, chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, angrily dismissed Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Michael Dominguez from the hearing when Dominguez said that he, the DoD chief of legislative affairs and the chief of public affairs, had ordered Dr. Kaye Whitley, chief of SAPRO, to refuse to honor the subpoena issued by the subcommittee for her appearance.

Full committee Chairman Henry Waxman called the DoD’s decision to prevent Whitley from testifying “ridiculous and indicating DoD is covering something up.” It could also place Whitley in contempt of Congress. Rep. Christopher Shays said the DoD’s decision was “foolish.”

One of the questions that would have been put to Whitley was why DoD had taken three years to name a 15-person civilian task force to look into allegations of sexual assault of military personnel. The panel was finally named early in 2008 but has yet to meet. She would have also been queried on the SAPRO program’s failure to require key information from the military in order to evaluate the effectiveness of sexual assault prevention and response programs.

Read this entire article..

This article is really disturbing. The numbers are astounding:

Rep. Jane Harman cited Veterans Administration statistics that one in three women in the military has been sexually assaulted. She said the prosecution rate of those accused of raping fellow military service members is abysmally low. Of the 2,212 reported rapes in the military in 2007, only 8 percent of the cases ended in court-martial of the perpetrator, while the rate of prosecution in civilian courts is 40 percent.

And then this:

[Brenda] Farrell said the GAO believes rates of sexual assault currently used by DoD are low because many military personnel do not want to report what happened and suffer the gossip, harassment and stigma prevalent in units when confidential reporting is compromised. In a survey of 3,757 persons on 14 military installations, 103 said they had been sexually assaulted in the past year and had reported it, while 52 others said they did not report the sexual assault.

It sure appears that the military isn’t doing anything to stop this, and are actually taking steps to frustrate any investigating. It also appears that the DoD doesn’t want to cooperate with Congress. Why?

Our government and military want our young men and women to sign up for duty, but once they get a hold of them, they don’t take care of them.There is no honor in this.

What does “Support The Troops” mean anyway? They are just hollow words unless they are followed up with action.

BMJ: Fritz Hollings on Making Government Work

Bill Moyers Journal (PBS) from July 25, 2008:

Former Senator Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings talks about what’s right and wrong with Washington, and his book MAKING GOVERNMENT WORK.

This was really an excellent interview with a lot of insight into just how badly our Congress is broken, and why, and suggestions on what can be done about it. I tried to put up the video, but couldn’t. So, click on the graphic and it will take you to the source video.

While you are there, you might want to also watch Moyers interview with Jane Mayer on Torture, and his segment on The Torture Hearings. All exceptionally good.