Saturday, December 22, 2007

Huckabee Deluded About Guantanamo Reality

I see a lot of folks starting to think positively about Huckabee based on his bible thumping performance in Iowa. Someone on my street even has his yard sign up already! But if he seriously thinks prisoners at Guantamo have it better than those in his own state prison, he is hardly capable of being president of this country!

During a campaign stop in Iowa today, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee commented on the conditions at the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying that “the inmates there were getting a whole lot better treatment” than “prisoners in Arkansas.” “I hope our guys don’t see this,” added Huckabee. “They’ll all want to be transferred to Guanatanmo.”

“If anything, it’s too nice,” said Huckabee:

“The inmates there were getting a whole lot better treatment than my prisoners in Arkansas.

Huckabee may have seen “nice” conditions when he visited Guantanamo. But FBI agents who worked at the facility have reported that detainees were subjected to harsh conditions, including “the use of growling dogs” to “intimidate detainees,” at least as recently as 2004:

Detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were shackled to the floor in fetal positions for more than 24 hours at a time, left without food and water, and allowed to defecate on themselves, an FBI agent who said he witnessed such abuse reported in a memo to supervisors.

A recently released operations manual for the prison, dated March 28, 2003, “indicates that some prisoners were hidden from Red Cross representatives.” Presumably, such “no-access” detainees would have been hidden from visitors like Huckabee as well.

And aside from how they are physically treated, the larger fact remains that the U.S. is so unsure whether any of the prisoners have done anything wrong that it is afraid to bring charges against them in a U.S. court and has instead created the phoney baloney concept of "detainee" so they can be warehoused indefinitely without trial.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Anyone Still Need Examples of Why Our Health System Sucks?

Notice in this tragic story that the girl's doctors thought the transplant was necessary. Shouldn't that have been the end of the story???

Teen dies after insurance nixes transplant funds

A 17-year old died just hours after her health insurance company reversed its decision not to pay for a liver transplant that doctors said the girl needed.

Nataline Sarkisyan died Thursday night at about 6 p.m. at University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. She had been in a vegetative state for weeks, said her mother, Hilda.

"She passed away, and the insurance (company) is responsible for this," she said.

Nataline had been battling leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from her brother. She developed a complication, however, that caused her liver to fail.

Doctors at UCLA determined she needed a transplant and sent a letter to CIGNA Healthcare on Dec. 11. The Philadelphia-based health insurance company denied payment for the transplant.

On Thursday, about 150 teenagers and nurses protested outside CIGNA's office in Glendale. As the protesters rallied, the company reversed its decision and said it would approve the transplant.

Despite the reversal, CIGNA said in an e-mail statement before she died that there was a lack of medical evidence showing the procedure would work in Nataline's case.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Slave labour that shames America

Three Florida fruit-pickers, held captive and brutalised by their employer for more than a year, finally broke free of their bonds by punching their way through the ventilator hatch of the van in which they were imprisoned. Once outside, they dashed for freedom.
When they found sanctuary one recent Sunday morning, all bore the marks of heavy beatings to the head and body. One of the pickers had a nasty, untreated knife wound on his arm. Police would learn later that another man had his hands chained behind his back every night to prevent him escaping, leaving his wrists swollen.
The migrants were not only forced to work in sub-human conditions but mistreated and forced into debt. They were locked up at night and had to pay for sub-standard food. If they took a shower with a garden hose or bucket, it cost them $5.
Their story of slavery and abuse in the fruit fields of sub-tropical Florida threatens to lift the lid on some appalling human rights abuses in America today.
Between December and May, Florida produces virtually the entire US crop of field-grown fresh tomatoes. Fruit picked here in the winter months ends up on the shelves of supermarkets and is also served in the country's top restaurants and in tens of thousands of fast-food outlets.
But conditions in the state's fruit-picking industry range from straightforward exploitation to forced labour. Tens of thousands of men, women and children – excluded from the protection of America's employment laws and banned from unionising – work their fingers to the bone for rates of pay which have hardly budged in 30 years.

Click on the title above to read the rest of the story.

Did You Miss Me???????

My wife and I took a much-needed trip to beautiful Puerto Vallarta. Sorry to have been AWOL from my blogging!
I took this picture to show one of the many small cars that you see all over in Puerto Vallarta, but are sadly lacking here in the U.S.