Link Between IRS “Scandal” and Obamacare… Really Guys?


photo from netrightdaily.com
Until now, I haven’t said anything about the Internal Revenue Service issue going on right now because I haven’t really had an opinion. What they were doing was clearly wrong and someone should be punished. Obviously, the key leadership who really ordered or influenced the headache that was served to Tea Party political groups will not be tried or punished. We have scapegoats for all that. Unless the people being questioned have real political ambitions, I seriously doubt they would take it upon themselves to play in the political game of thrones.
Now we have conservatives like the Minnesotan representative, Michelle Bachman, trying to tie the IRS issue with Obamacare. Suddenly, I have an opinion on the matter.
First, I want to apologize to the Associated Press about my comment on their Twitter post “GOP hoping scandal over IRS will grow to include Obama’s health care law”, where I claimed that it was the most ridiculous thing that they said yesterday. I thought at the time that it was just a liberal political stunt, aimed at making the members of the GOP look silly. Thank you, Ms. Bachman for stepping up and taking that responsibility head on.
If any of you didn’t know, my political views sway to the left.  

I don’t like Obamacare. That said, the supposed tie between the IRS “scandal” and Obamacare is Sarah Ingram, who used to be the commissioner of the tax-exemption department of the IRS. In December 2010, she was laterally transferred to head the Affordable Care Act office, but has openly indicated that she worked both positions until 2012.

photo from riehlworldview.com
I did some research on the topic because I didn’t understand what the IRS had to do with Obamacare. I found out that the IRS is responsible for collecting income information from their tax activities and forwards that information to the people who enforce Obamacare.
I really don’t see that much of a link, other than she now collects income information and forwards it. I think this tie is a stretch, at best. So far as I can see, the position she holds doesn’t have much influence on Obamacare legislation. She was simply in charge of formulating and executing a plan to deal with the legislation.
This example comes to mind: I am in charge of an organization’s computer helpdesk. Corporate releases a new information security policy that states all systems will be scanned weekly for personal photographs and my supervisor asks me to find a feasible way to make the requirement happen.
Later on down the road, it is suspected that someone on the helpdesk has been stealing company-owned computer keyboards and an investigation ensues. Someone who doesn’t like the corporate security manager or their new security policy sees that I was in charge of the helpdesk and also worked to make sure that the corporate security policy was executed as ordered. They try to formulate a link between the stolen equipment and the security manager in order to attack them.
photo from georgiapoliticalreview.com
Am I getting this all wrong? Even though I find value in following politics, sometimes it just makes me sick. 
Now the Tea Party is suing the IRS for maltreatment. I’m not surprised about this and I don’t think it is really a story. The only reason I am mentioning it is because the media thinks it adds more drama to the situation. If anyone else was put through the ringer in this way, they would probably sue as well.  I would if I could afford the legal fees.
Let me know what you guys think. I always welcome feedback, even if it contradicts my opinion.
– BCS

Force Feeding and Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Bay (GITMO)



One of the biggest stories right now has to do with the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to an article in the Miami Herald, the prisoners are striking due to mistreatment by the guards.

Some examples of this mistreatment provided are the confiscation of personal items (such as Religious CDs, personal letters, blankets, and hygiene items), and disruption or disrespect during prayer times. Their books and Qur’ans have been searched for paraphernalia and their exercise times have been reduced significantly.

At the time of this writing, there are currently over 100 prisoners participating in the hunger strike and 30 who are being force-fed.

An attorney for some of the prisoners has described the situation as being “barbaric” and says the prisoners are being treated unfairly and that these innocent men are being denied the right to die (instead of continue to endure the conditions).

Dr. Gerald Thomson, former president of the American College of Physicians goes on to describe the force-feeding as a form of torture.

I am just trying to sum this up for any of you that aren’t already following the story. Let’s take a minute to talk about the history of force-feeding:

– In the United States, people being treated for psychiatric or eating disorders are often force-fed. When this happens, everyone just calls it sustaining life.

– Hunger strikes throughout history (all over the world) have resulted in force-feeding.

– On December 6th, 2006, the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal approved the force-feeding of Vojislav Šešelj, a Serbian politician who was being held and refusing to eat. In their statement, they said it is not “torture, inhuman or degrading treatment if there is a medical necessity to do so…and if the manner in which the detainee is force-fed is not inhuman or degrading.”

– The Connecticut Supreme Court authorized force-feeding for a prisoner who refused to eat voluntarily in the 2009 case, Lantz vs. Coleman.

– The “shoe bomber” terrorist, Richard Reid attempted to perform a hunger strike in 2009 and was force-fed.

My first reaction to this story was simple – offer them food three times a day and if they don’t eat it, that’s their problem. Then I saw the political issues behind that idea. As soon as someone died or word got out that prisoners were going hungry, there would be a public uprising.

Here is how I see it now: if someone is refusing to eat, they are probably suffering from some sort of mental issue (psychosis, an eating disorder, dementia, retardation, etc.). In that case, the only responsible thing to do would be force-feeding them. That is how the medical world treats these issues, and I stand behind their judgment.

When it comes to the confiscation of their personal items or limitation of exercise times, I have one thing to say. They are prisoners. They are there because they are either being detained or punished for their participation in terrorist activities. These aren’t purse snatchers or money launderers here – they are terrorists. Stop trying to give them rights that they don’t deserve.

Let me know what you guys think. If you are influential enough, you might change my mind (but I doubt it).

– BCS

References:
One Hundred Days of Hunger Striking at Guantanamo http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/05/17/one-hundred-days-of-hunger-striking-at-guantanamo/
Force-Feeding Facts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force-feeding

Case of the Missing Mayan Pyramid


It sounds like a Nancy Drew title, but in case you haven’t heard, this really happened in Belize this week. According to reports, a road building company demolished the pyramid named “Nohmul”  to use the material for filling roads. Historic and tourism communities are “outraged” by the episode, but apparently it isn’t the first time this has happened.
Imagine that you are on vacation in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. You are taking in the sites and doing your very best job pretending to be fluent in the native tongue. Suddenly while posing next to a historic landmark, bulldozers and backhoes drive up and start tearing it apart. That would be quite an experience.
The fact that they are using the remnants of the pyramid for road construction seems like something out of a bad novel or political cartoon. Could you see something like this happening in the United States? The Statue of Liberty is made of about 62,000 pounds of copper. In today’s market, that would go for a little over $225,000US and the steel would add about $30,000US to that(Valia Blogs). Wouldn’t it be crazy if some random construction contracting company scrapped the statue for its building materials without any warning or coordination?
I just thought this was an interesting story and I don’t know how it could have happened. You would think that someone who lived in an area with so many Mayan sites would have either the intelligence to know the difference between a random hill in the middle of flat landscape and a pyramid. Either that, or they would have some sort of pride in their history..
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments section down below.
Photo from cbsnews.com