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Fri, 30 Sep 2022
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Military provides inadequate care for injuries suffered during sexual assaults

© Flickr/isafmedia
Some women in the military are still receiving inadequate care for sexual assault, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published Tuesday found. The report found that "not all first responders had completed the required training," even after a 2005 Department of Defense directive mandated "a comprehensive policy for the prevention of and response to sexual assault." One servicewoman even reported an inability to gain access to yeast infection treatment.

Though GAO found that the military "has not established guidance for the treatment of injuries stemming from sexual assault - a crime that requires a specialized level of care." Often, officers assigned to be "victim advocates" for those who had suffered sexual assault "are not always aware of the specific health care services available to sexual assault victims."

GAO investigated three military installations in the United States and seven Afganistan installations, as well as looking at eight Navy ships. The investigators talked to 92 servicewomen, 60 of whom said they believed they were receiving "generally" adequate care, but 8 reported deficiencies in female-specific health care.

"At one location we visited in Afghanistan," the report said, "a female airman told us that she believed the military was trying to meet the health needs of women, but still had work to do - noting, for example, that a medication she was prescribed had given her yeast infections."

Gold Seal

Obama's non-closing of GITMO, kind NYT headlines, and US government irony

© Photograph: Brennan Linsley/AP
An image of President Barack Obama is put up in the lobby of the headquarters of the US naval station at Guantánamo Bay.
The excuse used to justify Obama's failure to close GITMO is incomplete and misleading. Plus: multiple other items

A few (relatively) brief items worthy of note today:

(1) The New York Times' Charlie Savage reported yesterday that the State Department "reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him". That move obviously confirms what has long been assumed: that the camp will remain open indefinitely and Obama's flamboyant first-day-in-office vow will go unfulfilled. Dozens of the current camp detainees have long been cleared by Pentagon reviews for release - including Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 36-year-old Yemeni who died at the camp in September after almost 11 years in a cage despite never having been charged with a crime. Like so many of his fellow detainees, his efforts to secure his release were vigorously (and successfully) thwarted by the Obama administration.

Perfectly symbolizing the trajectory of the Obama presidency, this close-Guantánamo envoy will now "become the department's coordinator for sanctions policy". Marcy Wheeler summarizes the shift this way: "Rather than Close Gitmo, We'll Just Intercept More Medical Goods for Iran". She notes that this reflects "how we've changed our human rights priorities". Several days ago, Savage described how the Obama DOJ is ignoring its own military prosecutors' views in order to charge GITMO detainees in its military commissions with crimes that were not even recognized as violations of the laws of war.


Why do rape laws still protect spouses?

© Credit: Shutterstock/Salon
Washington state mulls a long-awaited change to how it defines sexual assault

Planning on raping your spouse in Washington state? The consequences are about to get a lot tougher. Maybe. On Tuesday, lawmakers in the Evergreen State began considering House Bill 1108, which would remove the spousal exemption for third-degree rape and for "indecent liberties."

Washington already has partner rape provisions for first- and second-degree sexual assault - rape that includes violence, overt threat of violence, or is perpetrated on someone physically or mentally incapacitated. Yet the state's current legal system means that prosecutors have to pursue "lesser misdemeanor assault charges" in cases that would otherwise qualify as third-degree if the victim and assailant weren't married. Washington law defines third-degree rape as occurring when "that person engages in sexual intercourse, not married to the perpetrator ... where the victim did not consent ... to sexual intercourse and such lack of consent was clearly expressed by the victim's words or conduct." There you go. You can say no, clearly and explicitly, but if you're married and your assailant didn't slap you around, it's not rape.

Eye 1

Priest, teacher convicted in Pennsylvania church abuse case

© AP Photo/Matt Rourke
The Rev. Charles Engelhardt
A jury on Wednesday convicted a priest and a teacher in a pivotal church-abuse case that rocked the Philadelphia archdiocese and sent a church official to prison for child endangerment.

The verdict supports accounts by a 24-year-old policeman's son that he was sexually abused by the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and sixth-grade teacher Bernard Shero in about 1999.

The accuser's 2009 complaint describing abuse by two priests and the teacher led to Monsignor William Lynn's landmark conviction last year for endangerment. Lynn is serving three to six years in prison for his role in transferring an admitted pedophile priest to the accuser's parish in northeast Philadelphia.


Tennessee "Don't Say Gay" bill would require teachers to out their students

© Credit: Tennessee state legislature
Language in the bill also appears to endorse counseling for students who are "at risk" of being LGBT

If you thought that you'd heard the last of Tennessee's "Don't Say Gay" bill after state lawmakers abandoned the legislation last year, think again.

It's back. And it's awful.


Five Broken Cameras: The documentary that should make every decent Israeli ashamed

A documentary on a Palestinian farmer's chronicle of his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army.

When his fourth son, Gibreel, is born, Emad, a Palestinian villager, gets his first camera. In his village, Bil'in, a separation barrier is being built and the villagers start to resist this decision. For more than five years, Emad films the struggle, which is lead by two of his best friends, alongside filming how Gibreel grows. Very soon it affects his family and his own life. Daily arrests and night raids scare his family; his friends, brothers and him as well are either shot or arrested. One Camera after another is shot at or smashed, each camera tells a part of his story.


The world doesn't need killer mothers: Now lady GIs can kill the poor overseas

Big step forward for society's ruling rich adding half of the population to its reservoir of cannon fodder as they heavily invest in WMD and their deployment surrounding Iran, China and Russia. But potential recruits should consider how difficult it will be to avoid self-incriminating themselves in obvious crimes against humanity and peace. An Nuremberg style trial is inevitable.

The Secretary of Defense (read War) has, by memorandum, ended the official but unheeded ban on women in combat.

It is a great step forward for society's ruling rich to have added half of the population to its reservoir of cannon fodder as they heavily invest in weapons of mass destruction, deploying them around the world, and surrounding Iran, China and Russia.

Ladies, who will supposedly be rushing to join up, will have known about, or heard a lot about, the death of millions of men, women and children for the American invasions of Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Somalia, Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq, the bombing of Lebanon, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Pakistan, Libya and military backed covert operations in virtually every country in Latin America, Asia and now Syria, Mali and other African nations, all to, as Martin Luther King Jr. cried out, "maintain unjust predatory overseas investments." [see King Condemned US Wars)

Arrow Down

The politics of debt in America: From debtor's prison to debtor nation

© Credit: CommonDreams.org
Shakespeare's Polonius offered this classic advice to his son: "neither a borrower nor a lender be." Many of our nation's Founding Fathers emphatically saw it otherwise. They often lived by the maxim: always a borrower, never a lender be. As tobacco and rice planters, slave traders, and merchants, as well as land and currency speculators, they depended upon long lines of credit to finance their livelihoods and splendid ways of life. So, too, in those days, did shopkeepers, tradesmen, artisans, and farmers, as well as casual laborers and sailors. Without debt, the seedlings of a commercial economy could never have grown to maturity.

Ben Franklin, however, was wary on the subject. "Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt" was his warning, and even now his cautionary words carry great moral weight. We worry about debt, yet we can't live without it.

Debt remains, as it long has been, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of capitalism. For a small minority, it's a blessing; for others a curse. For some the moral burden of carrying debt is a heavy one, and no one lets them forget it. For privileged others, debt bears no moral baggage at all, presents itself as an opportunity to prosper, and if things go wrong can be dumped without a qualm.

Those who view debt with a smiley face as the royal road to wealth accumulation and tend to be forgiven if their default is large enough almost invariably come from the top rungs of the economic hierarchy. Then there are the rest of us, who get scolded for our impecunious ways, foreclosed upon and dispossessed, leaving behind scars that never fade away and wounds that disable our futures.


Sandy Hook: School shooting or government false flag operation?

Last week I sent out an e-mail concerning the fact that the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) shows that Adam Lanza, the alleged Sandy Hook shooter, actually died on December 13, 2012, the day before Sandy Hook occurred. I outlined, step by step, how I obtained this information, so doubters could check the facts for themselves. The SSDI record shows Adam Lanza's birth date of April 22, 1992 which has been confirmed; his birth place of Exeter, New Hampshire, has also been confirmed. The same record shows Adam Lanza's date of death as December 13, 2012.

I even sent what I had found to a local news station, along with a note stating,
Maybe you can unravel the mystery of how it is possible that Adam Lanza was the Sandy Hook shooter when SSDI records show his death date as December 13, 2012, the day before Sandy Hook occurred.
As a mainstream media source, one would think they would be curious about how Adam Lanza could possibly be the shooter when he died the day before Sandy Hook occurred. However, the local news station, a CBS affiliate, wasn't interested. One has to question, as an alleged investigative agency, why they weren't. After all, isn't truth and accuracy in journalism important? Or is the agenda more important?

Stock Down

Trying to reform government is largely a waste of time

Whenever I speak or write about California's pension and public debt problems, I always hear from well-intentioned, conservative- and libertarian-minded people who want me to consider their solutions. Most of their ideas - caps on this kind of spending or that, changed pension formulas, public votes, etc. - are sensible enough, but they always miss the main point.

That is, they misunderstand the nature of government. They think that government is an institution that does all these necessary things and can therefore be reformed. But government is a vast force-based enterprise designed to take as much money from the public and give as much of it as possible to the clients of government. It's a wealth transfer and any genuine services government provides can be done better, cheaper and more humanely in the private sector.

When it comes to pensions, there's no technical problem. In about three seconds, I can craft a non-radical, extremely modest plan that ends unfunded pension liabilities. Starting tomorrow, public employees no longer receive defined-benefit plans and instead get a 401/k-style plan like typical private-sector serfs. What are they going to do, quit en masse and get private-sector jobs? I hear readers laughing now.