Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Black Jails of Afghanistan

“The black jail was the most dangerous and fearful place,” said Hamidullah, a spare-parts dealer in Kandahar who said he was detained there in June. “They don’t let the I.C.R.C. officials or any other civilians see or communicate with the people they keep there. Because I did not know what time it was, I did not know when to pray.”

The New York Times reports, KABUL, Afghanistan — An American military detention camp in Afghanistan is still holding inmates, sometimes for weeks at a time, without access to the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to human rights researchers and former detainees held at the site on the Bagram Air Base.

The site, known to detainees as the black jail, consists of individual windowless concrete cells, each illuminated by a single light bulb glowing 24 hours a day. In interviews, former detainees said that their only human contact was at twice-daily interrogation sessions."

The articles goes on to say, "The jail’s operation highlights a tension between President Obama’s goal to improve detention conditions that had drawn condemnation under the Bush administration and his stated desire to give military commanders leeway to operate. While Mr. Obama signed an order to eliminate so-called black sites run by the Central Intelligence Agency in January, it did not also close this jail, which is run by military Special Operations forces."

This action taken by President Obama, strange as it was, was much reported on. It was a centerist way of saying that he wants to keep his military commanders happy. It couldn't have been written any better by Aaron Sorkin. Let's face it all is not well in an Obama administration but it is miles, ok, thousands of miles better than what a Bush administration was. But all these acts of torture will come back to haunt us and it probably already has.

Chris Mansel

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Free From Hostile Invaders

The New York Times publishes this ominoius photo today. The story speaks of the re-surgence on the Taliban in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, President Obama is considering a troop surge of 40,000 troops. In the american mindset it seems an obscene act. But for a moment consider the opinion of many Iraqi's who wish we had never toppled Saddam. They agree he was a ruthless dictator but they clearly state they were better off then than they are now in their country. They get no argument there.

Thge stories coming out of Afghanistan say that the Taliban will force their way into homes, towns etc and take what they want. They will kill and plunder and their is nothing anyone can do about it. Doesn't this sound familiar? Perhaps it would have been better if the English, Columbus, Vikings would have never laned on these shores we call home? Acts of genocide up for discussion? A comparison?

What state was Afghanistan in before we came in looking for Osama Bin Laden? Would it have been in the state its in now if we had just gone into Afghanistan and not into Iraq? We'll never know.

Chris Mansel

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Dobbs Campaign

The New York Times is reporting that Lou Dobbs, you remember him right? CNN's former answer to Fascism, is mulling a run for governor of New Jersey as an "intermediary" step for a presidential run.

As my good friend Bob Kincaid says, "Get out the bucket of lye..."

Let's imagine a campaign rally for Mr. Dobbs.

Spokesman: (dressed in a Tucker Carlson hoodie) Okay, Tea Baggers you guys need to group up over here and did you remember your signs that say, NO Medicine for the Indigent?" Ok, good. Now, minutemen...No, locked and loaded is not a good cheer at the beginning but after the speech feel free to chant it outside.

Tea bagger: Is Mr. Dobbs going to mention the money we could save on Healthcare by using organs taken from the illegals shot by the minuetmen?

You can just imagine.

Chris Mansel

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Conflcied and Taking His Time

The Washington Post is reporting that America, lo, a certian section of Minnesota is conflicted over the war in Afghanistan. Well, welcome to the game. With the question of 40,000 more troops looming over the political head of President Obama, which the New York Times says he is taking his time in deciding, the troops avoiding roadside bombs meanwhile don't have the luxury of being conflicted. Nor do they have the convience of "taking their time".

Private John Doe, report for you're 4th tour of Afghanistan on January 11, 2010.

Gee, I don't know Lt. I'm kinda conflicted and I would like to take my time.

Private Doe, you will serve X amount of time in Levenworth.

Meanwhile, the events of Washington go merrily on as Private Doe is no longer conflicted. He is, rather decidely focused upon each waking moment of his new sentence he is now serving.

Chris Mansel

The State of the Union: Molly Ivins

The Diocese Vs The Rule of Law

If it wasn't enough to simply move them around the country or the world from one place of oppurtunity to another, pay anything to prevent a trial, the Catholic Church's subjects are going through the court system to at least offer support for some of their own who have sexually abused children. Perhaps they should produce some Public Service Announcements with famous Catholics. No? Rats leave the sinking ship in times of crisis? - Chris Mansel

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington is obligated to pay retirement benefits to six priests who are confirmed pedophiles, church officials argued in a bankruptcy court filing seeking permission to keep making the payments.

After filing for Chapter 11 protection last month, the diocese agreed not to make payments to priests accused of sexual abuse without court approval. That agreement was made after objections were raised by attorneys for alleged abuse victims who now sit on a creditors committee.

In a filing submitted late Thursday, attorneys for the diocese now seek authorization to provide pensions, housing costs and medical coverage to six confirmed child abusers. They cited an obligation to care for retired clergy, including priests dismissed from public ministry and facing laicization, or defrocking.

"Only the Vatican has the power to laicize clergy," the diocese said. "Thus, while several priests have been dismissed from the public ministry and have laicization proceedings pending against them, for the time being they remain clergy whom the debtor supports, and must continue to support."

(laicize -to remove the clerical character or nature of; secularize: to laicize a school; to laicize the office of headmaster. -

Beck to the Future

It was just after dawn when Glenn Beck strolled back into his New Canaan, Conn. home. He had just spent almost an entire night listening to a tape of his television show at top volume with a gun across his lap and threatening anyone within shouting range to ask him to turn it down. Occassionly firing into the air and cursing the name of Obama as only a devout christian who has many followers can do, Beck, now inside his home reaches for his copy of the current Rush Limbaugh newsletter and performs an unspeakable act.

Chris Mansel