Archive for July, 2009

Government Cash Giveaway, Anarchists Conference. Aquino Dead, Nigerian Taliban Murdered

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Free money, always a big seller, the government has finally hit on a stimulus program that is popular with the average American. That is the Cash for Clunkers program. In one week it has gone through the original $1 Billion allocated for it and Congress is planning on voting for an additional $2 Billion. This is interesting in that it provides a stimulus for the auto industry, helping car dealers get rid of excess inventory and clear the lots for new manufacturing of cars. It helps people who own gas guzzling older cars to trade them in for cars that get better gas mileage. It would be nice if the standards were stricter, in terms of the environmental standards. but then it would only help the foreign auto industry as the domestic manufacturers have not reached a very high standard in terms of fuel efficiency yet.

This from the New York Times

“House Votes for $2 Billion Fund to Extend ‘Clunker’ Plan
By MATTHEW L. WALD
Published: July 31, 2009
WASHINGTON — As problems go in the nation’s capital these days, the White House could live with this one.
Officials at the Transportation Department figured Thursday morning that they had applications in hand for about a tenth of the $1 billion that Congress set aside for the “cash for clunkers” program, meant to give rebates to people who turn in old vehicles for new, more fuel-efficient ones.
By late Thursday afternoon, they ran to the White House with news that they might have committed the whole $1 billion, or even more. This stimulus program had, in fact, stimulated very heavy demand, which required a quick decision about what to do next.
Over the course of 24 hours, the White House changed its mind three times. At first, it said it would shut off the incentives by day’s end. Then it let them continue through Friday, and then through Sunday.
On Friday, the House voted to add $2 billion, soothing the fears of car dealers, who would have been responsible for paying any money they promised to customers as a rebate. But the Senate might not follow suit. Some senators said Friday that the speed at which the money flew out the door was a sign that the government’s deal was too good, and perhaps should be modified.
But still, a question remains: What was behind the apparent last-minute run on the clunker fund?
The answer appears to be a bad mix of paperwork and balky computers.
Around the country, dealers had put off the laborious task of applying for the rebates of $3,500 or $4,500, which requires entering the 17-character identification numbers of each vehicle to be scrapped, scanning images of proof of insurance and filling out other paperwork.
The computer system was overloaded, according to the dealers.
The National Automobile Dealers Association told Transportation Department officials on Thursday that its members had submitted about 22,000 applications, but were sitting on tens of thousands more, said Bailey Wood, a spokesman.
“Dealers are interested in one thing, moving metal off their lots, not sitting at the computer and doing data entry,” he said.
A Transportation Department official said the agency had already run two instruction classes over the Internet on filling out applications, and was planning a third. A computer contractor, Oracle, has enhanced the capacity of the government Web site.
Cash for clunkers is an unusual government program, because dealers sell the cars, then wait for repayment from Washington. Government officials do not want to commit to more than Congress has appropriated because, under the Anti-Deficiency Act, they can be fired, fined and even jailed for doing that.
Dealers say failure to be reimbursed would be a nightmare for them.
Despite the malfunctions, the House voted 316 to 109 to shift $2 billion from the Energy Department’s loan fund into the clunker program. Democrats were joined by all the Republicans in the Michigan Congressional delegation, and half of those in Ohio.
The Senate will take up the matter next week. A spirited debate is likely, as some senators have said they will use the opportunity to push for tougher fuel-efficiency requirements. If the Senate does not go along with the House’s version, the House might have to return to work on a compromise.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, noted that the government had raised the minimum fuel economy for sport utility vehicles and pickups, so that simply junking an older one and buying the 2009 model year could qualify as trading in a clunker.
Mrs. Feinstein and Senator Susan M. Collins of Maine, a Republican, said in a statement, “We will insist that any extension of the program requires that the minimum fuel economy improvement for newly purchased vehicles be at least two miles per gallon higher than it is under the enacted clunkers program.”
Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York also said that the Senate should be open to making the mileage rule stricter. Many environmentalists said the government was getting too little improvement from taxpayer dollars.
President Obama, though, seemed to favor a straightforward extension. “We’re already seeing a dramatic increase in showroom traffic,” he said after the House vote, adding that the program helps to reduce air pollution while helping car buyers.
Robert Gibbs, the chief White House spokesman, offered assurances that the administration was looking for ways to continue the popular new program.
“If you were planning on going to buy a car this weekend using this program, the program continues to run,” he said. “If you meet the requirements of the program, the certificates will be honored.”
But Representative Steve Israel, Democrat of New York, an early advocate of cash for clunkers, said, whatever happened, more would have to be done in September. “We estimated a billion a year,” he said. “It’s about a billion a month.”

It seems that President Obama is in the car business. With the Federal government owning a big chunk of Chrysler and GM, the government has an incentive to get people to buy new cars.
With so much criticism lately of the Obama administration with the Health Care Plan stalled and the Stimulus package not showing any change in the employment situation. this is good news for the administration. Shades of the old political slogan “a chicken in every pot” and now “a new car in every garage”. Happy days are here again.

On another matter we have a second Anarchist Book Fair and Conference in Los Angeles tomorrow August 1st. at the Southern California People’s Library. 6120 South Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA. This will be going on all day Saturday and if it is anything like last year, there will be a thousand people or more attending.
As a former Anarchist myself I had been overly critical of the event due to my own critique of Anarchism as being irrelevant to most peoples lives in America and the situation being one that is based more on the failure of Marxist States rather than any successful example of Anarchist societies. All the examples of Anarchism that I know of on the state level, are of noble efforts that failed within a couple of years. Marxist states at least have had a track record of existing for decades and in Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea and China still are run by Marxist led regimes.
I am not saying that these regimes are ideal, but compared to the Anarchist attempts in Russia and Spain, they have durability. Anarchists note the bloodthirstiness of some of these communist regimes, particularly in the Soviet Union and China. Ultra Left Communists and Anarchists both criticize the way in which the bureaucratic state and the Communist Parties merged and both stifled opposition and destroyed the independent workers movements in the name of the Communist State.
Members of these Communist regimes have justified their actions as being the result of being under pressure from Capitalist States who forced them to divert much of their resources into defence and military matters. Also because these were less well developed states they claim that they had to institute many of the capitalist type reforms and essentially bypass the capitalist stage of development to achieve Communism.
Most Communists now recognise that they failed. Either people were not ready, or they made mistakes that alienated the very classes they were supposed to represent. China seems to be attempting to create the material conditions for communism by allowing capitalism to bloom full blown in China. This has led to a dictatorship that is directing a capitalist economy with the eventual goal of reaching communism. Is this merely a rationalization for one party rule or is it a path to communism? I could not say. Whether you consider it to be a legitimate path depends upon whether you are a confirmed democrat or if you are a believer in vanguard rule.
No matter where you sit on the theoretical fence, it is important to me that there is this forum for discourse. I would like to see more conversation between marxists and anarchist and ultra leftists. Anarchists have a fear and loathing of vanguardism that is irrational and vanguardists have a disrespect for anarchists and ultra leftists that is unconscionable, especialy based on their own self acknowledged failures. Both groups can and should learn from one another and lean to work together, not just in loose coalitions in anti War demonstrations etc, but also in hammering out a new path to revolutionary change in America and the world.

Cory Aquino the leader of the Philippine overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship has died. This from the National Enquirer in the Philippines
Former Philippine President Corazon ‘Cory‘ Aquino died after losing the fight to colon cancer. The leader of the first People Power in Asia was 76.
Corazon Aquino suffered from a cardiac arrest before dying at 3:18 am Saturday Philippine local time. Aquino has been confined to the Makati Medical Hospital for over a month.
The former president will be forever remembered as an icon for democracy has she led and won a military-backed revolt against martial law dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Her son Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III read this statement at about 5 am. to the Filipino people:
“Our mother peacefully passed away at 3:18 a.m., August 1, 2009, of cardiorespiratory arrest.
“She would have wanted to thank each and every one of you for all the prayers and your continued love and support. It was her wish for all of us to pray for one another and for our country.”

From Nigeria another leader of a movement opposing the corrupt government has been executed by the regime.
This is from the AP.

“Islamist sect leader in Nigeria killed in custody
By NJADVARA MUSA, Associated Press Writer Njadvara Musa, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jul 30, 7:16 pm ET
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – The leader of the Islamist sect blamed for days of violence in northern Nigeria has been shot and killed while in police custody, officials said Thursday.
The police commander of Borno state announced on state radio that Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the sect some call the Nigerian Taliban, has “died in police custody.
He gave no further explanation, but the state governor’s spokesman Usman Ciroma told The Associated Press: “I saw his body at police headquarters. I believe he was shot while he was trying to escape.”
Yusuf’s death could provoke more violence, though his followers in the Boko Haram sect may be in disarray after troops shelled his compound in the northern city of Maiduguri on Wednesday. Yusuf, 39, managed to escape with about 300 followers, some of them armed. His deputy, Bukar Shekau, was killed in the attack, according to Army commander Maj. Gen. Saleh Maina.
Troops killed about 100 militants by an AP reporter’s count, half of them inside the sect’s mosque. Soldiers then launched a manhunt, and Yusuf was reportedly found in a goat’s pen at the home of his in-laws.
Human Rights Watch called reports of Yusuf’s killing “extremely worrying.”
An AP reporter saw soldiers shoot their way into the mosque under fire and then raked those inside with gunshots.
The bodies of barefoot young men littered the streets of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, on Thursday morning as the army pursued the manhunt on the outskirts of the city. Police said most of the dead were fighters with Boko Haram. Army Col. Ben Anahotu said three police officers were killed.
Officials said at least 4,000 people have been forced from their homes by Wednesday afternoon, but it was not known how many have been killed, wounded and arrested.
President Umaru Yar’Adua said that security agents had been ordered to attack when the movement started gathering fighters from nearby states at its sprawling Maiduguri compound in preparation for “the holy war.”
The militants are also known as Al-Sunna wal Jamma, or “Followers of Mohammed’s Teachings,” and some Nigerian officials have referred to them as Taliban. Analyst Nnamdi K. Obasi of the International Crisis Group said a few have fought with that radical movement in Afghanistan.
League for Human Rights director Shamaki Gad Peter said that after the siege rights workers saw the bodies of up to 20 people who were unarmed and appeared to have been shot from behind, possibly trying to escape the mayhem, he said.”

On NPR today it was reported that civilian officials of the country were feeling embarrassed by the actions of their Military. Reporters were first told that they would be meeting the leader of the Muslim group and then they were told he was dead without any reasonable explanation. The reason being that they had decided to kill him instead.

Health Insurance Bait & Switch, Beer Summit, Zelaya Speaks, Iran Protests

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Today Representative Anthony Weiner of New York called on Congress members to state their position on government health care. This is the 44th anniversary of Medicare and he has submitted a bill for for Congress persons to decide if they believe in Government Health Plans. He is asking them if they support Medicare.
Medicare the health plan of Americas elderly and disabled, the plan that has a 98% efficiency, vs. the private plans that have about an 80% efficiency. If you had a choice would you rather have a plan that spend 98% on real health care or 80%? If you can believe the Republicans and the insurance companies, Americans would rather spend money on the less efficient system. Americans would rather have the most expensive and least efficient system in the world and would rather be giving insurance company executives big bonuses and help support the investors in the Insurance industry because, well because that is the American way, right?
Wrong I hope. We will find out over the next month or so how gullible and willing to be scared into believing that a public heath care plan is wrong. Perhaps we should simply get rid of medicare and privatise it like the Republicans have suggested. Remember Bush and his plan to privatise Social Security? He wanted us to play the stock market for our retirement plans. Why don’t we go all the way and do the same with Medicare? It certainly will downsize government. It makes about as much sense.
Just like climate change, we were the last major country in the world to see that it was real. I guess we will be the last major country in the world to get universal health care.

Now I am engaging in satire. Warning the next paragraph is satire!!!
Tonight on Larry King they are raking some poor Boston cop through the coals for calling Professor Gates a Banana eating monkey. This is the modern day equivalent of hippies spitting on Vietnam Vets and calling them baby killers just because that was part of their job. Can you blame them? I mean in war people do horrible things. In Vietnam American soldiers raped, and murdered women, killed babies and tortured prisoners. But that is part of war. People who don’t go to fight wars should be more understanding that if these soldiers didn’t do their job, well there wouldn’t be wars, and then where would we be? Cops have to put up with disrespectful punks and just because a black man is old, and a professor, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a hatred for police and a latent desire to break in and enter peoples homes. Just look at the facts. Professor Gates was breaking into a house. He was holding resentment towards an officer of the law. What more do I need to say?

Ok, that is about as absurd as I can get, satire in the extreme is over. Back to my normal sarcasm mixed with earnest sincerity. I can’t believe that a President has to apologise for calling a cop stupid. It shows how in America a black man, even if he is president, has to be careful of what he says to white people.
As a believer in equality, I think it is good that the president was willing to meet and have a beer with a working man. The meeting of working cop and professor and president is good for the country. It is genuinely a beneficial thing for the country, just like having a recall-able presidency would be and having town hall meetings around the country to get the pulse of the nation. In a real democracy we would think it was the most normal thing in the world.

Seriously we need a single payer plan. The best suggestion I have heard today was on KPFK this morning where Kip Sullivan of Physician for a National Health Care Program called what is happening in Congress a bait and switch. The single payer option was taken off the table to keep from upsetting the insurance people. The public option plan devised by Jacob Hacker in 2001 when he was a graduate student, and supported by Health America Now, was supposed to take the Medicare model and expand it for anyone who wanted it. It was supposed to be able to cover up to 130 million people. Congress is saying that it is not feasible and they are now talking about a health plan that will only cover perhaps 10 million people. This will not cover all the people who do need insurance and it won’t bring down health care costs.
Sullivan is basicly saying that if we get this anemic plan that will barely cover any people at all, it is doomed to failure. This will only play into the hands of those who are opposed to any public plan. He is saying we need a large plan that will have clout with the manufacturers and providers to be able to negotiate better rates and to get efficiencies of scale. A small plan will not be able to enroll enough people or get enough doctors to sign up. This is a proscription for failure.
Sullivan also thinks that the new insurance plan is really not about a public plan but is about a bailout for the health insurance industry. If we don’t get reform then what we will get is simply a trillion dollars for the insurance industry. He says that a minimal public plan will be basicly a 97% bailout for the private insurance industry instead of a 100% bailout for the insurance industry if we get no public option at all. What we need is a real strong single payer plan, or at least a public option that has clout. We don’t need a symbolic plan that is a fig-leaf for an insurance company bailout.
What we need to do Sullivan says is tell our congress persons to change the wording of HR3200 the current public option plan with the wording of HR 676 which is the Conyers/Kucinich single payer plan and is a good insurance plan. Congress persons can do that and it would give us a plan that would work. Substitute language of HR 3200 with the language of HR 676. That would be the simplest and most forthright thing to do, he claims.
HR 676 has been taken off the table by the Democratic leadership. It is the bill with 83 cosponsors, the bill with the most co-sponsors, and is supported by 65% of the American people. What it does is expand the medicare plan to the entire country with a few improvements. It is simple and is easy and that would mean there is one payer. It is the plan that will give us real national health care and will effect efficiencies that will save money.
He says that it would be better to have no public option than a bad one that merely disillusions people.

Kip Sullivan sits on the steering committee of the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition. He is the author of The Health Care Mess.

This from Democracy Now

“Conservative Dems Win Limits on Public Health Option
House Democratic leaders have reached a deal with a group of conservative Democrats that critics say would weaken a public insurance option in health care reform. The agreement with the Blue Dog Coalition preserves the public option, but without requirements linking payment rates to Medicare. Without rules capping payments to hospitals and doctors, the government-run public option would have higher costs. Speaking in North Carolina, President Obama said his health care reform plan would stop insurance companies from denying coverage to patients with preexisting health problems or who become gravely ill.
President Obama: “What we need and what we will have when we pass these reforms are health insurance consumer protections to make sure that those who have insurance are treated fairly and insurance companies are held accountable.”
Congressional leaders hope to hold a vote on health care legislation in September.”

Iran, the Iranians had another protest today on the anniversary of the death of the woman Neda Soltan who has become the poster body for the Iranian protest movement.
This from FSRN (Free Speech Radio News)
Iranian government breaks up mourners at fallen protester’s grave
In Iran today, people mourned the citizens killed in post election protests, but not without interference from state security forces. Hundreds gathered at the grave of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young protester who became the international face of the turmoil.
This was the scene at Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, from an unconfirmed video posted today on YouTube. It shows hundreds of protesters chanting the name of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, in addition to chants of “death to dictator” and “don’t be afraid, we are all together.” Reuters reports that Iranian security forces broke up the cemetery protest, detaining at least three. Witnesses say Mousavi attempted to attend the memorial gathering, but was forced to leave by police.
Protesters also gathered in other parts of Tehran, continuing their call for justice. Reports coming through on Twitter document further clashes between security forces and protesters. The government denied requests for mourners to gather in the Grand Mosalla prayer center – a square in central Tehran that can accommodate 10-thousand people.”

Honduras, President Zeyla was on Democracy Now and spoke about the repression going on in his country because of the coup and that there are now death squads formed from the worst of the abusers from the miltary rule in the 1980’s. He calls upon the people of Honduras to stand up for their rights and not let the Coup leaders repress them.

This is part of the transcript of the program.
AMY GOODMAN: Some people have commented on your conversion, on changing from allying with the oligarchy to where you are today, with the popular movements. Can you talk about that change?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] I practiced liberalism as an ideological method that respects private property, private investment, and respects public freedoms. I turned—I went to a social liberalism, a pro-socialist liberalism, so that the economy benefits the people and not just the economic elites. And this irritated the economic elites. They thought it was dangerous for me to organize the social sectors, and they planned the coup d’état.
AMY GOODMAN: John Negroponte, who was the ambassador to Nicaragua—to Honduras in the early ’80s, also worked with Battalion 3-16. Do you see his hand today, or others, like Otto Reich of the United States?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] Otto Reich has already made statements about it. Also Ramon Carmona, who’s a Venezuelan exile in the United States. They have already unmasked themselves. I can’t talk about other people, but I know that there are many hawks from the old guard in the United States and the CIA supporting violence and arms as a method to solve problems. I’m someone who professes peaceful means and nonviolence, and I don’t support force to resolve things, but rather dialogue.”

This is more from the story on Democracy Now about the government spying on political activists in Seattle.

Democracy Now! Broadcast Exclusive: Declassified Docs Reveal Military Operative Spied on WA Peace Groups, Activist Friends Stunned
Newly declassified documents reveal that an active member of Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance in Washington state was actually an informant for the US military. The man everyone knew as “John Jacob” was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis. The military’s role in the spying raises questions about possibly illegal activity. The Posse Comitatus law bars the use of the armed forces for law enforcement inside the United States. The Fort Lewis military base denied our request for an interview. But in a statement to Democracy Now!, the base’s Public Affairs office publicly acknowledged for the first time that Towery is a military operative. “This could be one of the key revelations of this era,” said Eileen Clancy, who has closely tracked government spying on activist organizations.
Brendan Maslauskas Dunn, Olympia-based activist with Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance. He submitted the Freedom of Information Act request that revealed his friend and fellow activist “John Jacob” was actually military spy John Towery.
Drew Hendricks, Olympia-based activist with Port Militarization Resistance. Also worked with John Towery, aka “John Jacob,” on activist causes before Towery’s exposure as a military spy.
Mike German, National Security Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. He was an FBI agent specializing in domestic counter terrorism from 1988 to 2004.
Larry Hildes, Bellingham-based attorney and National Lawyers Guild member who has represented Washington state-based activists with Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance in criminal and civil cases.
Eileen Clancy, Founding member of I-Witness Video who has documented government surveillance of activist groups for years. Her group was targeted by police raids last summer during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.”

You can find the podcast and the transcripts on the Democracy Now website.

Waking Up In America, Domestic Surveillance and Disinformation

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

This morning there was a report on Democracy Now that the Military has been spying on anti war protesters and aparently this has been going on at least since the build up to the War in Iraq. There had been a military surveillance program back in the 1960’s when at least 1500 agents were sent to spy upon dissidents and protesters. The military had a plan to round up radicals if things in the country heated up beyond a certain point. This was revealed by a Captain Pyle of Army Intelligence who became a whistle blower and helped with Congress form the first investigations of the intelligence community in the 1970’s. The Army ended up destroying all of its records of domestic surveillance.
This is from their blog site
“Christopher Pyle, Whistle-blower Who Sparked Church Hearings of 1970s, on Military Spying of Olympia Peace Activists
The news of peace activists in Olympia, Washington exposing Army spying, infiltration and intelligence gathering on their groups may strengthen congressional demands for a full-scale investigation of US intelligence activities like those of the 1970s. We speak with law professor and former Army whistle-blower Christopher Pyle, whose 1970 disclosure of the military’s widespread surveillance of civilian groups triggered scores of congressional probes, including the Church Committee hearings, where he served as an investigator.”
This is after yesterdays reports on how a group of activists in Seattle from SDS found out that they had been infiltrated and spied upon.

Today as I drove home from work I tuned into KPFK on my radio. It had a taped program on instead of Roseanne Barr’s show. It was the second part of a presentation on the CIA and Mind Control that was held in LA last May. As usual I didn’t find out about it until long after it happened. But I was fortunate enough to listen to Mark Phillips and Cathy O’Brien speak about the ‘Trance Formation of America”.
They make the incredible argument that the USA has been undergoing an extensive series of mind control experiments. Nothing especially wild there, but they claim Cheney personally tortures people.

This is an excerpt from Mark’s web site and the Trance Formation of America.

“My name is Marquart (Mark) Ewing Phillips, born May 17, 1943 in Nashville, Tennessee. I have no criminal record and I have never been adjudged insane. I am not a scholar, professional writer, or mental health physician. While I lack the official published academic credentials, I am recognized internationally by mental health and law enforcement professionals as an authority on the secret science concerning external control of the mind.
This brief and highly condensed contribution is intended to provide an understanding of why, when, and where I embarked on a study of the most secret technology known to man: Trauma-based mind control. Through the publication of declassified United States Government documents, our U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) admits that this ancient wizard’s mechanism for control is so dangerous that most information pertaining to it must remain classified as TOP SECRET. As the employee of a DOD subcontractor with exposure to mind-control research, I was required to sign an oath of secrecy. To this day I am restricted by law from revealing certain specific information that directly pertained to my employment as, among other “sensitive” exposures, a U.S. DOD subcontractor in mind-control research.
This super secret technology is an evolved system of remote human physical and psychological manipulation that has only recently been officially recognized by accredited mental health physicians for what it is, absolute mind control.
My first encounter with mind control research began in the late 1960s in Atlanta, Georgia on the Emory University campus at the Yerkes Primate Center. It was there that I learned about primate behavior modification–the basis for human mind control. Part I of this book is my attempt to impart an understanding of how this and other exposures would prepare me for the challenge of a lifetime.
What I witnessed, in terms of technology, at the Yerkes Primate Center and other government sponsored research facilities, combined with years of personal research into this science of mind manipulation, did not adequately prepare me for what I would be exposed to in 1988 through an unexpected chain of events. This exposure came in the form of personal acquaintance with the human result officially entitled by DOD as, among other cryptic file titles, MK-Ultra.
I have outlined this noxious introduction in hopes that the material provided by one MK-Ultra survivor, Cathy O’Brien, will incite a legitimate federal investigation of her claims.
I was able to liberate MK-Ultra victims, Cathy O’Brien and her daughter Kelly, from the invisible grip of this U.S. Government secret weapon of control. In the process, I also helped Cathy recover her mental and physical health. However, I have not been successful in enlisting the cooperation of my government to pursue the justice issue. There is a reason for this failure to obtain justice that you, the reader, NEED TO KNOW. I have been told repeatedly, “Justice is not obtainable, For Reasons Of National Security.”

This reads like something out of an Action Adventure Thriller and when I heard Cathy speak, I was blown away.

Cathy said specifically that she was a victim of mind control and sexual abuse. She was used by the government to perform tasks that she would not specify but implied they were horrific. She said the government has taken techniques from the Inquisition, Nazi scientists and the CIA’s own research after World War Two and used them to take over the nation as part of a shadow government. This is the MK-Ultra Program that has been written about in books like “Acid Dreams” a book about the CIA’s use of LSD in experiments in mind control.
Others have reported about the government using prostitutes for their secret activities. Cathy is one of these former government hookers.
She alleges that Cheney is a torturer for real, and that he has a game that he plays called hunting the human. She says that George Bush Sr., Rumsfeld and Robert Byrd are part of this secret government. She called Byrd her ‘master’. She claims that these people use mind control, sexual abuse and torture as part of their standard procedure.
As she spoke and named names I was both shocked and felt a sense of awakening, like I had been in a trance myself. It was like waking up from a dream. This woman might be crazy and the man who believes in her and who rescued her may be deluded, but I felt a sense of relief that I had not felt in a long time. It was as if a weight was coming off my shoulders.

What does this mean? To me it means that Americans are waking up from a form of enchantment. We are awaking from our own version of the matrix. The liars are trying hard to put us back to sleep. They are spreading rumors that are so wild that it is hard to believe.
Look at things like this, the birther argument that Obama is not an American. The rumor that there is a plan to kill old people as part of the new health care plan. There is the claim that the President is racist, that Sotomayor is racist. These are patently absurd arguments. But they are used by smart people who want to spread fear and hatred.
The nation is being rocked by change. The economic crisis is calling into question the right of a few smart people and the people who they hire to do the dirty work for them. if these people have the right to impoverish the rest of us.
The world is rich, there is enough wealth to provide a decent life for all people around the world. There is no excuse for there to be such extremes of wealth and poverty in this country or on this planet. As people become more and more connected, and information is made available, we have to decide what kind of world we want. We have the power if we will take it. We just have to get over our fear. Once we do that then we will be able to face the real raw face of ignorance, fear and power. When we do, we will find out what kind of a world we want to have. As it stands a lot is done in the shadows.

Betsy McCaughey of the Hudson Institute is spreading the rumors that the government is planning to kill old people by claiming that the health plan is telling people that they have to report to the government every five years on if they want to chose an option to end their lives. This is being spread by this woman who has done this before. Back in 1993 she wrote an article about the Clinton health care reform that was full of lies and disinformation. This according to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
This is from her article on Wall Street Journal Opinion Page “GovernmentCare’s Assault on Seniors”
“By Betsy McCaughey
Since Medicare was established in 1965, access to care has enabled older Americans to avoid becoming disabled and to travel and live independently instead of languishing in nursing homes. But legislation now being rushed through Congress—H.R. 3200 and the Senate Health Committee Bill—will reduce access to care, pressure the elderly to end their lives prematurely, and doom baby boomers to painful later years.”

Today the talk is that Obama is a racist. It is a comment made on Fox TV by one of their talk show commentators like Mr Glen Beck. Obama, who’s mother is white and was raised by a white grandmother, and who has at least 70% of the people in his administration are white, is doing a pretty good job of covering it up if he is.
Tonight on Hardball we are getting it straight. America has a corporate elite that plays on racism to slow down progress in the country has been stated by the guests on the show. Former Congressman Mfume and Joan Walsh of Salon came out with it. Chris Matthews baited Walsh with the Race issue and she came out with an economic analysis that it is a class war we are fighting. Mathews then knocked her down calling her a Marxist and she backed off. Mfume covered for her but it came out. Race is used by the ruling class to separate people and make the poor whites and blacks fight one another instead of going after the class enemy. She said this had been going on since the founding of the country. Mathews nixed it and she apologised saying that it wasn’t entirely true. But it is getting harder and harder for these pundits to lie and beat around the issue.
The talk show hosts steer away from it, the politicians deny it, and the right wingers distort it, but we have to face the facts. There is a class war in America and the ruling class, the rich are having a harder and harder time keeping people on message. The economy is constantly forcing people to face the facts.
It is the classic problem, smart people with answers get sabotaged by the people who are afraid that the people in the Black Helicopters are coming to take their guns away. I am paraphrasing Chris Mathews. The discourse in America is so far to the right that unfortunately whenever someone comes up with a moderately social plan, it gets shot down by those who are happy with things as they are, with welfare and socialism for the rich and a few trickles down on the heads of the rest of us. We are taught to emulate our betters, forget about solidarity among the workers and to fear one another not reach out. It is so typical that it is pathological.

Polls are saying that people want the economy to get straightened out. They want to focus on that and not on the health plan. Obama is having a hard time getting through to people with his health care bill. If they screw it up then the Republicans will run with a new message, and that will be that nothing will work but we will keep things the way they are. This is time for the Democrats to find a way to make a difference if they can’t and fall into the muddle that they fell into under Clinton. then they will be voted out.
The problem is that Americans need to fight for real change and ultimately until we get people in office who are willing to change the system, we will get half measures.

What else is going on in the world. Afghanistan. There are 60,000 Americans are there and after 8 years we are still there. Rachel Maddow is talking to Sarah Chayes former NPR reporter and now an aid to the US military there. She says President Hamid Karzai is trying to fix the elections. Police officials have broken up opposition rallies and intimidate people not to run against the Karzai faction. She was running an independent business for years in Afghanistan. Now she has decided to work for the US military because she says the US military is incredibly public spirited. It seems to be doing its best to do the right thing according to her. She is now on the side of the enemy as far as the Taliban is concerned. I don’t know if she understands that by crossing that line she has made herself a target. One would assume that after 8 years there she should be very aware of this. I guess her locally grown perfume business was a bust. I guess being the daughter of a law professor and former member of the Kennedy Administration has its benefits.

This from the Rad-Green Mailing list

“Second day of general strike in Honduras
Global Research
July 27, 2009
Prensa Latina
TEGUCIGALPA (PL).—The three principal labor unions in Honduras are maintaining a general strike in the state sector for the second day this Friday, supported by road blocks put in place by the popular forces repudiating the coup d’état.
Second day of general strike in Honduras The country remained paralyzed yesterday for several hours due to the closing of several strategic routes by demonstrators, workers leader Juan Barahona informed Prensa Latina.
Barahona, president of the United Workers Federation, described the first day of the strike as a success, taking into account the road blocks and occupation of various state institutions by workers.
The popular actions cut off the country’s principal ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as highways connecting the capital with the northern part of the country.
Meanwhile, thousands of people began to move toward the Nicaraguan border. Constitutional President Manuel Zelaya affirmed yesterday that he is to return to his homeland overland from Nicaragua.
Many people called Radio Globo, a radio station that is keeping its microphones open for the people, to report that they had been victims of repression by the army forces who attempted to halt their movement.
In addition, a new problem has presented itself to the de facto government headed by the entrepreneur Roberto Micheletti: police discontent over delays in paying their wages, which has provoked a strike by some agents from a station in the capital.
The leaders of the National Front against the Coup stated last night that the popular struggle will continue until the coup leaders are defeated and constitutional order and Zelaya are restored. ”

Funny, I haven’t seen anything on the news in the USA about a general strike in Honduras. Imagine if we had one here. We could get national health care in a week.

Health Care Reform, Sotomayor Nominated, Palin Poetry, Iran Frees Protesters, Culling Elderly?

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Tonight on MSNBC Governor Howard Dean of Vermont is sitting in for Keith Olbermann. He asked his guest why Medicare is more efficient than private insurance programs. Wendell Potter said the private insurance industry has much higher administrative costs than medicare. Money goes for advertising, salaries and income for shareholders. Wendell Potter says that we need a single payer system like what the Canadians have. He is a former advertising rep for CIGNA Health Care and now is working for the Center for Media and Democracy.
Governor Dean is asking Phillip Longman author of ‘The Best Healthcare Anywhere” a book about the Veterans Administration why government health care is so good. He discovered that the Veterans Administration has implemented many of the health care efficiencies that Private health care is talking about. They have the best run health care program in the country. It is more efficient that private health care according to a Rand study.
We are in an interesting situation where seniors and the military already have government health care. The systems are in place. The only component missing is the one that covers civilians under 65. Friends of mine on SSI, tell me that the dental care they get is much better than any private dental plans that are around.
So why don’t we have national health care in the USA? Simple the private insurance industry buys off enough congress persons to keep it from happening.
According to Dean tonight the Senate Committee run by Senator Baucus of Montana is stripping out the Public option from the Senate version of the Health Care bill. The version passed by the House Committee has a public option. Dean noted that a plan without at least a public option is no health care reform at all. We need to let our Senators know that we need at least a public option and preferably a fully funded public health plan.
On the Daily Show on comedy Central William Crystal, conservative pundit, is quoted as saying that the Government runs the best health care system on the world for the Military. Crystal says the military gets the best health care in the world and it is better than what the rest of us get because they deserve it. The rest of us don’t deserve a system as good as that according to Crystal.

Enough on that. We are getting screwed out of health reform unless we stand up and fight for it. Write and call and email your Congress persons and let them know you want real health care reform.

Fringe Republicans had to vote up or down if Obama was born in the USA and is therefore a citizen. They all voted that Obama was born in the USA.

Today Sotomayor was nominated to the Supreme Court by the judiciary committee with all democrats and one republican voting for her and six voted against her. She now has to go before a vote of the full Senate.

William Shatner gave Sarah Palin’s goodbye speech his “Allen Ginsberg” best beatnik rendition according to Dean as he played a clip of the Conan O’Brien show where he did the performance with a bongo and bass backdrop. I was right calling it some kind of strange poetry.

Today the BBC reports
“Iran ‘releases 140 demonstrators’

About 140 Iranians detained during protests against last month’s disputed election result have been released from Evin prison, officials say.
About 200 others, accused of more serious crimes, remain in the prison.
The release comes after Iran’s supreme leader ordered the closure of another detention centre because it failed to “preserve the rights of detainees”.
The unusual moves show how much pressure Iran’s leaders are under over detainees, correspondents say.
But the BBC’s Jon Leyne says the opposition will be sceptical of the change of heart - though there are many relatives of prisoners desperately anxious to be reunited with their loved ones.
Officials also announced on Tuesday that 30 people were killed in clashes between opposition supporters and police - up from a previously stated figure of about 20.
Speaking of the prison releases, National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member Kazem Jalali said those released had committed “lighter offences”. ”

There is another wacky idea floating around in the right wing. They are trying to tell elderly people that when we get national health care we will get a plan to kill elderly people. Today President Obama had to answer a question where a lady was asking him if there is a plan to ask elderly people how they want to die.

Rachel Maddow is pointing out tonight that there has been on the right wing talk show circuit talk about a government plan to kill old people as part of health care reform. Bernie Sanders is saying that 18,000 people in the country die every day because they don’t have Health Insurance. This talk of a health plan to kill old people is simply scare talk on the right to get people to fear change. It is a ploy to confuse the elderly into thinking that a national health plan will mean less care for them.
But as President Obama pointed out, Medicare is a national federal government run health plan. That is what the elderly already have!!! Or you can believe national health care is a plot to cull the elderly. Sort of Obama as leader of the Spartans at a modern day Thermopylae. Howrah!! Die as part of the new American plan to cull out the weak and elderly with a secret socialist euthanasia plot. Or he is the leader of a new native American tribal custom of making the old people walk off into the winter snow drifts and die alone from exposure. You can believe what you want but the reality is that the insurance companies are paying these right wing talk show hosts big bucks to scare you into believing that what you really want is to trust them and leave things the way they are. We now have the most expensive health insurance in the world and one of the least efficient and have 50 million people with no coverage at all while the military and elderly already have a government plan that works.

Real Revolutionaries Peltier & Jamal, Gates Makes Nice in Israel, Cuban Billboard Down, Dean On Healthcare.

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Today I heard on the radio that Leonard Peltier is going to be up for a parole hearing tomorrow.

This From the American Indian Movement on Indy Media today.

“Leonard Peltier, in prison for over 33 years, will have his first full parole hearing since 1993, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, July 28, 2009. AIM-West is hosting prayer vigil and rally at the old Federal Building 450 Golden Gate San Francisco, CA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PAROLE HEARING FOR LEONARD PELTIER
http://www.aimwest.info
http://www.aimovement.org
http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info

“Leonard Peltier is a member of the Anishinabe Dakota and Lakota Nations. A member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), he went to assist the Oglala Lakota peoples on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in the mid-1970s with community development. On June 26, 1975, a shoot- out occurred between FBI agents and members of the American Indian community at Pine Ridge resulting in the death of FBI special agents Ronald Williams and Jack R. Coler, and one American Indian, Joe Killsright Stuntz. (Read the book, “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” by Peter Matthiessen for details of the case and the trial).
Additionally, a decision filed by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on December 18, 2002 explicitly states that Mr. Peltier’s sentences “were imposed in violation of [Peltier’s] due process rights because they were based on information that was false due to government misconduct,” and, according to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in 2003: “Much of the government’s behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and its prosecution of Leonard Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are undisputed.”
Despite these admissions, Leonard Peltier has served over 33 years in prison. Although Leonard Peltier maintains that he did not kill the agents, he has openly expressed remorse and sadness over their deaths. Despite his imprisonment, which poses numerous barriers, Mr. Peltier has made remarkable contributions to humanitarian and charitable causes. Leonard Peltier has been widely recognized for his humanitarian works and has won several human rights awards, including the North Star Frederick Douglas Award; Federation of Labour (Ontario, Canada) Humanist of the Year Award; Human Rights Commission of Spain International Human Rights Prize; and the 2004 Silver Arrow Award for Lifetime Achievement.
In 2009, Leonard Peltier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the sixth consecutive year.”

II just watched a movie about Mumia Abu Jamal called “In Prison My Whole Life”.
Move was destroyed. The mayor of the city of Philadelphia blew up the Move house. They burned 11 people to death including 6 children. They sent a helicopter that dropped a 55 Gallon drum of chemical explosives. The fire department allowed 62 homes surrounding the Move house to burn down. This is incredible on the face of it.
The film maker interviewed Snoop Dogg and he said something that made an impact upon me. He said the Crips were formed because people saw what the FBI did to the Black Panthers. I am assuming everyone reading this has heard of Cointelpro, the FBI program to disrupt the Black Panthers by killing them. The Panthers tried to change things by following the rules. The gang bangers said fuck that noise, the Panthers were destroyed by following the rules. The Crips according to Snoop Dogg said we will get crushed if we try to follow the rules and we got the gang culture as a result. It is another form of resistance.
That makes sense to me. It is not the resistance that we might have wanted. It is not pure and it is not politically correct, but it is resistance and it is effective on its own terms.
People wonder what happened to the Revolution, the resistance of the poor in America. There it is staring us in the face. It went underground and developed its own alternative economy. Is it still revolutionary? That is a good question. It is the authentic reaction of the oppressed when they are denied a legitimate means to power. Drug dealing has become the traditional means of razing money for modern guerrilla fighters. Opium in Afghanistan, Cocaine in Columbia and crack in the inner city USA. That is what happened in the last part of the 20th century. In the process some of these revolutionaries lost any pretense at anything beyond protecting their hood and their homies. Others have maintained their ideology, but it is pretty hard to maintain selfless ideology when you are not creating an alternative society but a mirror of the one they are fighting.
Drug dealing, bank robbing and other crimes undertaken in the name of the revolution can be a means to an end, or may end up becoming the end that drives the means. I know from personal experience that it is a very thin line and maintaining ones integrity and vision while moving into ones own dark side is tougher than it may seem. I won’t say it is never justified, but I will say that it rarely works out the way one plans. Our actions create the reality intended or not.

Today the USA made a historic move. This is according to the BBC.

“US turns off Havana news ticker

The ticker broadcast from the fifth floor of the US diplomatic offices
The US has turned off a giant electronic billboard at its diplomatic mission in the Cuban capital, Havana.
The screen, put up during the Bush administration, scrolled news and messages in 1.5m (five-foot) high letters, angering the Cuban government.
Cuban authorities had tried to block it from view with placards and flags.
The decision to turn off the ticker comes as the US seeks to improve relations with Cuba.”

One more matter. Secretary of Defense Gates was meeting with government officials in Israel. The American media at least on NPR today had its usual pro Israel position taken by a panel of experts on Warren Olney’s show To the Point, this is from KCRW’s website.

“Settlements Strain Relations between the US and Israel (12:07P)
During the Bush Administration, the US and Israel worked hand in glove, but President Obama has outraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama demands a “freeze” on settlements in the West Bank and that a Jewish housing development in East Jerusalem not be permitted. Former diplomats say Obama’s reneging on promises made by President Bush. Most American Jews still support the President, but even left-wing Israelis want reassurances that the US is still a friend. As the US tries to restart the peace process, we try to sort this all out.

Guests:
Elliott Abrams: former Deputy Advisor for Middle East Affairs, National Security Council
Ori Nir: Spokesman, Americans for Peace Now
Jonathan Tobin: Executive Editor, Commentary magazine
Gerald Steinberg: Professor of Political Studies, Bar Ilan University
Ron Kampeas: Washington Bureau Chief, JTA

It was pretty much an Israel love fest with everyone agreeing that Obama is as much Israel’s freind as ever and that the US will be getting tough on Iran.

This from the BBC. For a more balanced view.

“US urges Iran reply by September

Mr Gates reaffirmed ‘the strong commitment of the US to the security of Israel’
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has urged Iran to respond to US diplomatic overtures by September.
His Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak indicated that military action remained an option on Iran, following talks with Mr Gates in Jerusalem.
Senior US officials are engaged in a drive to breathe new life into faltering regional peace moves.
US envoy George Mitchell met Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, as well as Israel’s president and the Palestinian leader.
He has already been in Syria, drumming up regional support for the new US initiative.
Both Mr Mitchell and Mr Gates - as well as two other senior US envoys - are meeting Israeli leaders as part of the bid to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has been stalled for six months.
US-Israeli relations have become strained since US President Barack Obama demanded a halt to all Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
Shortly after coming to office in January, Mr Obama made an overture to Iran, saying that if it and countries like it were “willing to unclench their fists, they will find an extended hand from us”.
Tim Franks, BBC News, Jerusalem
The public rhetoric is all about “discussions among friends”. But the background noise has a different tone. When it comes to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates was keen to stress the American offer to bring Iran into talks - albeit an offer that was not open-ended.
In contrast, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak emphasised an implied military threat to Iran. There has been unease in Israel over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments about a regional “defence umbrella”, should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon. The Israeli formula is to say that such a prospect is “unthinkable”.
The Israelis have also been feeling American heat over the continued building of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. Reports are circulating of a possible deal - which might allow as many as 2,000 apartments in the West Bank to be completed.
The Palestinians have said they would accept no such compromise. And they say they have a question for the visiting American officials: if the Israelis don’t budge, what exactly are you going to do about it?
But Israel says Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions remain its number-one concern and in recent weeks the US has expressed dismay about Iran’s suppression of protests over disputed presidential elections.
Iran denies claims it wants to build nuclear weapons, saying it is enriching uranium for a civilian energy programme.”

Tonight on Rachel Maddow Howard Dean, the former Democratic Party Leader and Governor of Vermont, says that Health Care Reform is getting Jacked around in the Senate. A good plan has come out of the House Committee but it is getting watered down and what is coming out of the Senate is not reform. I am not sure what exactly he thinks a good plan is. When I heard him on the radio the other day he was advocating that lame public plan. What we need is real universal care, a national plan, a single payer plan where real efficiencies can be made by getting rid of the private insurance profiteers. Dean is going to be a host on MSNBC the next couple of nights. Maybe he will explain himself.

Defense Spending & Budget. Afghanistan Why? Palin Quits, French Finance Minister Speaks

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

I am trying to get a handle on why the USA is in Afghanistan, what exactly we spend on the military and how that impacts the Economy.

“US service member killed in battle in Afghanistan
(AP) – 7 hours ago

KABUL — An American service member was fatally wounded by insurgent fire in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Sunday, bringing to at least 39 the number of U.S. troops killed this month in the country.
Officials released no other details about the Saturday battle, which was reported by the NATO command. A U.S. military spokesman, Navy reservist Lt. j.g. Tommy Groves, would only confirm that the service member was American.
July has been the deadliest month for U.S. and NATO forces in the Afghan war. Some 60,000 U.S. forces now operate in Afghanistan — a record number. President Barack Obama has increased the U.S. focus on Afghanistan as American troops pull out of Iraq.
Overall, at least 68 international troops have died in July.
Also Sunday, one of President Hamid Karzai’s vice presidential running mates in next month’s election escaped injury when his convoy came under fire in northern Afghanistan, officials said.
Mohammad Qasim Fahim, the former commander of the Northern Alliance that helped oust the Taliban in 2001, was traveling from Kunduz to Takhar province when militants opened fire on his 30-vehicle convoy, according to Kunduz Gov. Mohammad Omar.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press.”

From the Guardian UK I found this

Obama team outlines ‘new realism’ for Afghanistan US strategy will focus on ‘winning hearts, minds and stomachs’

Ian Traynor in Munich guardian.co.uk, Sunday 8 February 2009 17.27 GMT

The Obama administration today today outlined a new campaign strategy for the war in Afghanistan, scaling back the ambitions of George Bush in a shift which senior officials and diplomats described as a “new realism”.
Richard Holbrooke, Barack Obama’s new envoy for Afghanistan, General James Jones, the new White House national security adviser, and General David Petraeus, the new commander of the Afghan campaign, all stressed that the US president’s policy on the Taliban and al-Qaeda would be governed by “attainable goals” matched by “adequate resources”.
In the first major foreign policy speech from the new administration, the vice-president, Joe Biden, told a security conference in Munich that the strategic review on Afghanistan under way in Washington would “make sure that our goals are clear and achievable”.
Notable by its absence in any of the speeches from the American team was any mention of building democracy in Afghanistan. Instead, the emphasis was on creating sustainable security to try to prevent the Taliban from extending their grip on the country.
“Obama’s objectives will be much more moderate,” said a senior European policy-maker involved in discussions with the Obama team. A senior NATO official said Washington’s emphasis on Afghanistan was shifting to “being much more realistic”, adding: “It doesn’t need to be a democracy, just secure.”
“The new policy will be not just winning hearts and minds, but winning hearts, minds, and stomachs,” said another senior diplomat working in Kabul. “It’s realistic. Realism is good.”
“Barack Obama is a pragmatist. He knows we must deal with the world as it is,” said Jones. He added that there had been a “failure to harmonise” the various strands of the campaign in Afghanistan. The new policy would place greater emphasis on “going beyond military capacity” to dealing with good governance, judicial reform, a focus on the police, and the “war on drugs”.
General John Craddock, the NATO commander, said alliance forces in Afghanistan would launch attacks on opium and heroin cartels “within a few days”, a decision that has triggered some dispute among some European NATO allies.
Holbrooke signalled a sharp change of tack on Afghanistan, saying: “We’ve inherited a situation of grand rhetoric and inadequate resources, both military and civilian. We need to understand what our goal is in Afghanistan.”

There it is, more or less, no more build up of democracy as a goal. Security, some kind of economic prosperity and an end to the heroin trade are the goals. What does that hold in store for President Karzai’s brother is steeped in the drug trade, he is running for reelection and the Taliban seems to be able to attack with impunity just about anywhere.

Personally I think we should declare a Nixon victory. Say we won and withdraw. Let the Pakistanis work out a solution with the locals.

Today on CNN. The world has gone French according to the French Financial minister Christine Lagarde. The French have always advocated a strong regulation of capitalism. She says France and the USA are like an old couple. American opinions of France are up over the old days of Freedom Fries under Bush. The financial crisis is still very much a work in progress, with a stimulus that is “temporary, targeted and timely”. She says regulation is essential. Sarkosy has been accused of being too much like America in the past. He is trying to open up the economy to instill some more competitiveness in the French economy.

Also today on CNN, Palin is reciting some kind of Alaska poem, no, this is just how she speaks in half sentences. She is speaking to the media. “Could and should be in honor of the American Soldier, quit making things up”. She got a big cheer for that. I kid you not, that is what she said. It doesn’t make any sense, but I think she was talking about the jokes being made by certain late night talk show hosts. It was hard to tell.
She wants Alaska to drill more oil. She leads a charge to “foward fund education”. “Alaskans stiffen your spine, because there will be people using starlets and Alaska to try to take away our second amendment right to bear arms. Tell Hollywood we eat, therefore we hunt”. That got a cheer also.
“Commercializing abundant natural gas, and building a natural gas pipe line is a private sector endeavor. She must have written this her self. Resist enslavement to big government and be wary of government largesse. It will suck incentive out of us. Resistance to stimulus package to break cycle of dependency on stifling federal agenda. We must be free to drill and build she says. It can’t make you healthy, wealthy or wise. We need to be able to develop our god given resources”.
“The pressing issue of the time is energy. Alaska is both pro growth and pro environment. Some don’t understand why I decided to chart a new course to advance the state. It is my duty to avoid the typical lame duck session of a last year in office. I will fight harder for you. She wants to advocate development, smaller government and we can’t loose our way with the north star to guide us”.
That was her farewell speech. She didn’t say what she is doing next. There is a new governor being sworn in now in Alaska.
I quoted her verbatim. It was pretty confusing.

How much of the budget is spent on the military? According to the War Resisters League it is 54% of he budget. They don’t include Social Security in the Budget because it is a separate program, not paid for with federal taxes but with a separate allotment. They note that the USA never included Social Security in the budget until the Vietnam war when the idea was to make the percentage of the budget taken by the military look smaller by including social security.
The Center For Defense Information claims there is a 51% of the budget taken by the defense industry. Their pie chart eliminates mandatory spending and only includes discretionary spending in their chart.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation has 43% of the budget for defense. The Congressional Budget Office says 20% of the budget goes for defense but they do not include the money that the Department of Energy spends on Nukes, that NASA spends on military applications, the Veterans Administration or the percentage of the budget spent on debt that is related to military expenditures. The also don’t include the Coast Guard and other defense measures that are considered part of the Department of Homeland Security. I found charts for the Friends, War Resistors and Congressional Budget Office. I could not find one for the Center for Defense Information.
But no matter how you slice the pie, defense takes up a big chunk. Medical care and Social Security take up a big chunk also but as was pointed out the Social Security Portion is paid for separately. We have an SSI payment taken out of every pay check and that is supposed to be going into a separate fund that is not part of the Federal Budget. Just like your State Taxes and your State Disability withholding. When the Social Security is lumped with the Federal Budget it is kind of like if the State Budget was lumped in with the Federal Budget. It is a separate revenue source and goes to a different entity. It should not be confused.

This is how the War Resisters League defines their budget breakdown.
Current Military
$965 billion:
• Military Personnel $129 billion
• Operation & Maint. $241 billion
• Procurement $143 billion
• Research & Dev. $79 billion
• Construction $15 billion
• Family Housing $3 billion
• DoD misc. $4 billion
• Retired Pay $70 billion
• DoE nuclear weapons $17 billion
• NASA (50%) $9 billion
• International Security $9 billion
• Homeland Secur. (military) $35 billion
• State Dept. (partial) $6 billion
• other military (non-DoD) $5 billion
• “Global War on Terror” $200 billion [We added $162 billion to the last item to supplement the Budget’s grossly underestimated $38 billion in “allowances” to be spent in 2009 for the “War on Terror,” which includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan]

Past Military,
$484 billion:
• Veterans’ Benefits $94 billion
• Interest on national debt (80%) created by military spending, $390 billion

Human Resources
$789 billion:
• Health/Human Services
• Soc. Sec. Administration
• Education Dept.
• Food/Nutrition programs
• Housing & Urban Dev.
• Labor Dept.
• other human resources.

General Government
$304 billion:
• Interest on debt (20%)
• Treasury
• Government personnel
• Justice Dept.
• State Dept.
• Homeland Security (15%)
• International Affairs
• NASA (50%)
• Judicial
• Legislative
• other general govt.

Physical Resources
$117 billion:
• Agriculture
• Interior
• Transportation
• Homeland Security (15%)
• HUD
• Commerce
• Energy (non-military)
• Environmental Protection
• Nat. Science Fdtn.
• Army Corps Engineers
� Fed. Comm. Commission
• other physical resources

Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,650 billion
MILITARY: 54% and $1,449 billion
NON-MILITARY: 46% and $1,210 billion

30% - Human Resources, 11% General Government, 5% Physical Resources, 36% Current Military, and 18% past Military. That is how they break it down.

The Friends Committee Breakdown is like this.
43% for defense (29% current, 14% past), 20% Healthcare, 12% Response to Poverty, 11% Interest on Non-Military Debt, 7% Government Operations. 3% Education & Jobs, 3% Science, Energy & Environment, 1% Diplomacy & Foreign Aid.

The Congressional Budget Office Breaks down this way.
33% Medicare, Medicaid and Other Mandatory Expenses, 21% Social Security, 20% Defense, 18% Non-Defense Discretionary, 8% Interest on Debt.

This is how the War Resisters League defines the differences between versions of the pie breakdown.

“Why Do the Percentages Vary from Group to Group?

The U.S. Government says that military spending amounts to 20% of the budget, the Center for Defense Information (CDI) reports 51%, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) reports 43%, and the War Resisters League claims 54%. Why the variation?

Different groups have different purposes in how they present the budget figures. WRL’s goal has been to show the percentage of money that goes to the military (current and past) so that people paying — or not paying — their federal taxes would know what portion of their payments are military-oriented. Also, some of the numbers are for different fiscal years.

There are at least five different factors to consider when analyzing the U.S. budget:

discretionary spending vs. total spending
budget authority vs. outlays
function vs. agency/department
federal funds vs. unified budget
time period
Discretionary Spending. The Center for Defense Information (CDI) has used “discretionary” spending — budget items that Congress is allowed to tinker with — which excludes so-called “mandatory” spending items (such as interest on the national debt and retirement pay). WRL does not make such distinctions and lumps them together.

Past Military Spending. If the government does not have enough money to finance a war (or spending for its hefty military budgets), they borrow through loans, savings bonds, and so forth. This borrowing (done heavily during World War II and the Vietnam War) comes back in later years as “hidden” military spending through interest payments on the national debt.
How much of the debt is considered “military” varies from group. As mentioned above, WRL uses 80% whereas FCNL uses 48%. Consequently, FCNL reports that 43% of the FY2007 budget is military (29% current military and 14% past military). WRL’s figures are 54% of the FY2009 budget (36% current — which includes 7% for Iraq & Afghanistan wars — and 18% past).

Outlays vs. Budget Authority. WRL uses “outlays” rather than “budget authority,” which is often preferred by the government, news media, and groups such as CDI. Outlays refer to spending done in a particular fiscal year, whereas budget authority refers to new spending authorized over a period of several future years. Consequently, CDI reported $421 billion in FY2005 budget authority for the military and $2,200 billion “over the next five years.” While WRL reports outlays of $803 billion, plus an anticipated $162 billion in supplemental spending requests for Iraq and Afghanistan wars, plus $484 billion in past military spending — totaling $1,449 billion — just for FY2009.

Function vs. Agency/Department. Not all military spending is done by the Department of Defense. For example, the Department of Energy is responsible for nuclear weapons. Consequently, calculations of military spending should consider the function of the budget item regardless of the department or agency in charge of it. However, not everyone agrees what constitutes a military function. For example, WRL includes the 70% of Homeland Security (which includes the Coast Guard), and half of NASA in military spending, while other groups do not.

Federal Funds vs. Unified Budget. WRL uses “federal funds” rather than the “unified budget” figures that the government prefers. Federal funds exclude trust fund money (e.g., social security), which is raised separately (e.g., the FICA and Medicare deductions in paychecks) and is specifically ear-marked for particular programs. By combining trust funds with federal funds, the percentage of spending on the military appears smaller, a deceptive practice first used by the government in the late 1960s as the Vietnam War became more and more unpopular.

What period are we talking about? Finally, there is some variation in figures because different fiscal years are used. WRL’s figures (above) are for FY2009 (Oct. 1, 2008 to Sep. 30, 2009) as are the most recent U.S. government figures. FCNL sometimes does their analysis for the most recent completed year or FY2007 (Oct. 1, 2006 to Sep. 30, 2007).”

This makes some sense and when you think about a program like the F-22, a plane that cost $350 Million each plane, you can see what a huge chunk of change goes into defense. What about the rest of the world? I went to a site called Global Security.Org and they had a list of how much every country in the world spends. These numbers are about 4-5 years old but they should give you an idea. World totals and break down.
World = $1,100 Billion dollars every year. All World besides USA $500 Billion, USA $623 Billion(Note 6). That is a lot.
2) China - $65 Billion, 3) Russia - $50 Billion, 4) France - $45 Billion, 5) United Kingdom - $42.8 Billion, 6) Japan - $41.75 Billion, 7) Germany -$35.1 Billion, 8) Italy-$28.2 Billion, 9) South Korea $21.1 Billion, 10) India - 19 Billion, 11) Saudi Arabia - $18 Billion, 12) Australia - 16.9 Billion, 13) Turkey - $12.2 Billion, 14) Brazil - $9.9 Billion, 15) Spain - $9.9 Billion, 16) Canada - $9.8 Billion, 17) Israel - $9.4 Billion (7.2 Israel & $2.2 USAID), 18) Netherlands - 9.4 Billion, 19) Taiwan - $7.9 Billion, 20) Mexico - $6.1 Billion, 21) Greece-$5.9 Billion, 22) Singapore-$5.6 Billion, 23) Sweden-$5.5 Billion, 24) North Korea $5 Billion, 25) Iran $4.3 Billion, 26) Pakistan-$4.3 Billion, 27) Belgium-$4 Billion, 28) Norway-$4Billion, 29) Chile-$3.9 Billion, 30) Columbia-$3.5 Billion.
The Axis of evil are near the bottom of the list 24 and 25. Our arch nemesis Cuba is 63rd on the list spending $694 Million. Venezuela that almost enemy is number 49 and spends $1.6 Billion. Egypt the second largest recipient of US military Aid after Israel is 39th at $2.5 Billion.

This is their note on the USA
“Note 6 - The FY2008 budget requests $481.4 billion in discretionary authority for the Department of Defense base budget, an 11.3 percent increase over the projected enacted level for fiscal 2007, for real growth of 8.6 percent; and $141.7 billion to continue the fight in the Global War on Terror (GWOT)
The fiscal year (FY) 2004 Department of Defense (DoD) budget request was $379.9 billion in discretionary budget authority — $15.3 billion above FY 2003. The fiscal 2004 National Defense Authorization Act, passed by Congress 07 November 2003, authorizes DoD to spend $401.3 billion. The fiscal 2004 Defense Appropriations Act, which actually provides the money, became law 30 September 2003.
On April 16, 2003 President Bush signed the FY2003 $79 billion wartime supplemental to cover the needs directly arising from Operation Iraqi Freedom and the reconstruction of Iraq. The Defense Department received $62.6 billion as a result of the emergency supplemental bill.
On Nov. 6, 2003 President Bush signed the FY2004 $87.5 billion supplemental appropriations bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill provides $64.7 billion for military operations in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, including about $51 billion is for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and $10 billion for Operation Enduring Freedom. The remaining $22.8 billion in non-DOD monies will cover costs with Operation Noble Eagle and support for allies in the war on terror.”

Why do we spend more than the rest of the world combined, or just about the same as the rest of the world? Good question. Is there a reason why we have a crappy health care system, collapsing infrastructure, schools that are educating cannon fodder, and an industrial base that is more and more an adjunct to the defense industry, your answer is as good as mine. But I think we need to look at where the money goes. When you follow the money the answers become more or less obvious.

Greek Squatters Fight Nazi’s, Pakistan ISI & Dead Polish Engineer

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Today a friend sent an email with postings about Greece. Over there a battle is brewing between squatters and neo-Nazis supporting the local police. My Anarchist buddy Dean is trying to get me back on the Anarchist path. I am sympathetic and I am always impressed with the computer skills of my anarchist friends.
I picked this up from a Greek website Neoskosmos.com, from Australia.

“Right wing thugs attack migrant squatters’ camp

11 May 2009
Clashes broke out Saturday in central Athens between far-right extremists and a group of squatters, and elsewhere in the Greek capital, between left-wing anarchists and police.
Violence erupted after some 300 members of the neo-Nazi group, Chryssi Avghi, or Golden Dawn, gathered in Omonia square saying they wanted to liberate Athens and Greece from what they described as “hordes of illegal immigrants”.
The right wing thugs unrolled a huge Greek flag and banners calling for the “departure of foreigners from Greece” and claiming “foreigners equal crime”.
They then headed on to Athens’ old Court of Appeal where 500 immigrants have been illegally squatting, risking expulsion by the government.
Police allowed the protesters to rally past the building which they proceeded to bombard with various projectiles and non-lethal stun grenades. “Out of Greece” and “Leave Greece for the Greeks,” they shouted, as they made Nazi salutes.
Immigrants retaliated by throwing stones from the upper floors of the building and riot police were called to break up the clashes.
Further fighting then broke out between the neo-Nazis and a group of anarchists while the police struggled to separate the two sides.
Earlier Saturday some 150 young anarchists, protesting against the Omonia demonstration which they termed a “racist gathering”, threw Molotov cocktails at security forces in another area of the Greek capital.
Tear gas fired by the police forced the youths to retreat to the sanctuary of their polytechnic school but not before three of them were arrested.”

This from an Immigrant site in Greece Clandestina.org, a part of the site called
“clandestinenglish ιs the English web page of the Group of Immigrants and Refugees, which is based in Thessaloniki, Greece. It features parts of www.clandestina.org as well as other, migration and struggle related content.

Posted by stapsa on 25 July 2009 from Athens Indymedia.

Today Saturday morning at 5.05, some thugs positioned an arson mechanism on the iron main gate of the Fabrika Yfanet occupation. They left a bag with 6 gas cans, 1 4-liter petrol canister and a box of fire-starters.
The explosion came to the attention of the people who are inside the occupation and on standby after the latest threats to repress squatted sites. Immediately we came out and with the help of neighbors we put down the fire, while no damage was done.
Worth noting is the ‘quick mobilization’ of the police, as after 6 minutes from the explosion 3 patrol cars, 1 conventional police car with normal plates and one jeep came and started moving in close range. The jeep as some point stopped and cops started to provoke..
After 20 minutes two squads of riot police came up the corner of Katsimidi st. and Egnatia st. and continued to provoke. Other people was informed with telephones and came quickly.
It is the second attack against an occupied space in Thessaloniki within 4 days (the first was the occupied railroad car of Radio Revolt within the universities).
Nothing can decrease the determination by which we will defend the places where we live and breathe.”

This is interresting as it is part of a network that publishes in Albanian, Russian, Turkish and Greek among others. They are part of the No Borders movement and this site has some pretty good links and graphics. Something I could use if I had the time or a collaborator who would do the graphics.

This is from the BBC, A story about a Polish Engineer executed by the Taliban for attempting to work on a development project they opposed.

“Arrest after Polish Afghan death
Syed Shoaib Hasan
BBC News, Islamabad
Mr Stanczak was abducted about 70km from Islamabad and beheaded
Police in Pakistan have arrested a former right-wing parliamentarian who is accused of ordering the murder of a Polish engineer by the Taliban.
Shah Abdul Aziz, who was arrested on Friday, is known for his close links to the Taliban and Islamic militants.
He had gone missing in May after allegedly being detained by security agencies.
The engineer, Peter Stanczak, was kidnapped by the Taliban in September 2008.
Mr Stanczak had been working on a project in the volatile north west area of Pakistan. He was beheaded by the militants in February after talks with the government for the release of captured Taliban members broke down.
Ataullah Khan, a Taliban militant, said in a confessional statement before a magistrate on Saturday:
“I kidnapped the Polish engineer with the help of Commander Tariq, Mufti Ilyas and others.”
He was speaking in an anti-terrorism court in the northern garrison city of Rawalpindi.
“Later, we killed him on the orders of Shah Abdul Aziz after negotiations broke down.”
Baitullah Mehsud is the leader of the Pakistani Taliban
Ataullah Khan was arrested on 16 July by the Islamabad police at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the city.
During interrogation, officials say, he has confessed to being part of a the TTP - Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Darra Adam Khel wing led by Taliban Commander Tariq Afridi.
He also admitted to having being involved in fifty murders, including that of Mr Stanczak, officials say.
Mr. Afridi’s group is held to be responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Mr. Stanczak.
It operates under the larger aegis of Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud’s TTP organization.
Mr. Aziz is known to have close links to Mr Mehsud and his organisation.
He had recently been trying to negotiate a peace deal between them and the Pakistan army.
The army is currently engaged in an operation in Baitullah Mehsud’s South Waziristan stronghold.
In this regard, it is interesting to note that Mr. Aziz was said to have been carrying a letter to Pakistan’s army chief with a proposed outline of a peace deal.
Pakistan’s top army spokesman, Gen Athar Abbas, had earlier denied the existence of such a letter, calling it “utter speculation”.
Mr. Khawaja had nominated police and security officials in his complaint, saying Mr. Aziz was in government custody.
But the Islamabad police expressed their ignorance over Mr Aziz’s whereabouts.
In fact, on 21 July, Islamabad police officials had submitted a sworn affidavit saying they had looked everywhere for Mr Aziz and could not find him.
“The government is implicating an innocent man”, Mr. Khawaja told the BBC.
“How can he have been arrested yesterday, when he was taken away two months ago.
“The Punjab government is guilty of gross human rights violation and illegal detention.
The anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi has given custody of Shah Abdul Aziz to the police for three days.
Mr Aziz is a former member of Pakistan’s national parliament.
He was elected from the district of Karak in the North West Frontier Province in the 2002 and subsequently lost his re-election bid in 2008.
Mr. Aziz is a member of the right wing MMA political alliance.”

Interesting bit of Pakistani political wrangling. The Taliban was a creation of the Pakistani Security Services at the instigation of the CIA as is documented in the book “Ghost Wars” by Steve Coll among other sources.

This from the DAWN.Com media service a Pakistani News source.

11:33 PM PST | Sat, 25 Jul, 2009 | Sha’aban 03, 1430
world US created Taliban and abandoned Pakistan: Clinton By Anwar Iqbal
Saturday, 25 Apr, 2009 | 03:09 AM PST | US Secretary of State acknowledged that the US too had a share in creating the problem that plagues Pakistan today.
WASHINGTON: Two days of continuous congressional hearings on the Obama administration’s foreign policy brought a rare concession from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who acknowledged that the United States too had a share in creating the problem that plagues Pakistan today.
In an appearance before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, Mrs Clinton explained how the militancy in Pakistan was linked to the US-backed proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
‘We can point fingers at the Pakistanis. I did some yesterday frankly. And it’s merited because we are wondering why they just don’t go out there and deal with these people,’ said Mrs Clinton while referring to an earlier hearing in which she said that Pakistan posed a ‘mortal threat’ to the world.
‘But the problems we face now to some extent we have to take responsibility for, having contributed to it. We also have a history of kind of moving in and out of Pakistan,’ she said.
‘Let’s remember here… the people we are fighting today we funded them twenty years ago… and we did it because we were locked in a struggle with the Soviet Union.’
‘They invaded Afghanistan… and we did not want to see them control Central Asia and we went to work… and it was President Reagan in partnership with Congress led by Democrats who said you know what it sounds like a pretty good idea… let’s deal with the ISI and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these mujahideen.’
‘And great, let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union.’
‘And guess what … they (Soviets) retreated … they lost billions of dollars and it led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.’
‘So there is a very strong argument which is… it wasn’t a bad investment in terms of Soviet Union but let’s be careful with what we sow… because we will harvest.’
‘So we then left Pakistan … We said okay fine you deal with the Stingers that we left all over your country… you deal with the mines that are along the border and… by the way we don’t want to have anything to do with you… in fact we’re sanctioning you… So we stopped dealing with the Pakistani military and with ISI and we now are making up for a lot of lost time.’
It was question from Congressman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat that spurred Secretary Clinton to delve into history and come out with an answer that other US politicians have avoided in the past.
The congressman noted that while the US had provided ‘a phenomenal amount of military support for Pakistan,’ they had not changed the paradigm.
‘And more pernicious, there are elements within the Pakistani intelligence services, the ISI that may be working at cross-purposes with us.’
‘How we can possibly be funding the Pakistani military if elements of the military or intelligence services are actually working against us and having the effect of killing our troops next door?’ he asked.”

This is from the Council on Foreign Relations web site. These are excerpts from an article dealing with the ISI the Pakistani Intelligence organization and its relationship to terrorist organizations.

“Supporting Terrorism?
Control over the ISI
Resistance in FATA
Mixed Record on Counter-terrorism
The Taliban as a Strategic Asset
Allegations of Terrorist Attacks
Updated: May 28, 2009

Supporting Terrorism?
“I do not accept the thesis that the ISI is a rogue organization.”- William Milam, former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan.
On Pakistan’s western border with Afghanistan, the ISI supported the Taliban up to September 11, 2001, though Pakistani officials deny any current support for the group. [Pakistan’s government was also one of three countries, along with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, that recognized the Taliban government in Afghanistan]. The ISI’s first major involvement in Afghanistan came after the Soviet invasion in 1979, when it partnered with the CIA to provide weapons, money, intelligence, and training to the mujahadeen fighting the Red Army. At the time, some voices within the United States questioned the degree to which Pakistani intelligence favored extremist and anti-American fighters. Following the Soviet withdrawal, the ISI continued its involvement in Afghanistan, first supporting resistance fighters opposed to Moscow’s puppet government, and later the Taliban.
Pakistan stands accused of allowing that support to continue. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly said Pakistan trains militants and sends them across the border. In May 2006, the British chief of staff for southern Afghanistan told the Guardian, “The thinking piece of the Taliban is out of Quetta in Pakistan. It’s the major headquarters.” Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in September 2006, then President Pervez Musharraf responded to such accusations, saying, “It is the most ridiculous thought that the Taliban headquarters can be in Quetta.” Nevertheless, experts generally suspect Pakistan still provides some support to the Taliban, though probably not to the extent it did in the past. “If they’re giving them support, it’s access back and forth [to Afghanistan] and the ability to find safe haven,” says Kathy Gannon who covered the region for decades for the Associated Press. Gannon adds that the Afghan Taliban need Pakistan even less as a safe haven now “because they have gained control of more territory inside Afghanistan.”
Many in the Pakistani government, including slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, have called the intelligence agency “a state within a state,” working beyond the government’s control and pursuing its own foreign policy. But Nawaz says the intelligence agency does not function independently. “It aligns itself to the power center,” and does what the government or the army asks it to do, says Nawaz.
Control over the ISI
Constitutionally, the agency is accountable to the prime minister, says Hassan Abbas, research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. But most officers in the ISI are from the army, so that is where their loyalties and interests lie, he says.
“I do not accept the thesis that the ISI is a rogue organization,” Milam says. “It’s a disciplined army unit that does what it’s told, though it may push the envelope sometimes.” With a reported staff of ten thousand, ISI is hardly monolithic: “Like in any secret service, there are rogue elements,” says Frederic Grare, a South Asia expert and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He points out that many of the ISI’s agents have ethnic and cultural ties to Afghan insurgents, and naturally sympathize with them. Marvin G. Weinbaum, an expert on Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Middle East Institute, says Pakistan has sent “retired” ISI agents on missions the government could not officially endorse.
Bruce Riedel, an expert on South Asia at the Brookings Institution, says the civilian leadership has “virtually no control” over the army and the ISI.
Pasha, former head of military operations in charge of offensives against militants in the tribal areas, was appointed as the ISI chief in September 2008 amid growing U.S. and international pressure on Pakistan to combat terrorism. It was not immediately clear whether his appointment would lead to policy changes in the spy agency.
Mixed Record on Counterterrorism
Pakistan has arrested scores of al-Qaeda affiliates, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. The ISI and the Pakistani military have worked effectively with the United States to pursue the remnants of al-Qaeda. Following 9/11, Pakistan also stationed eighty thousand troops in the troubled province of Waziristan near the Afghan border. Hundreds of Pakistani soldiers died there in resulting clashes with militants, which, as Musharraf told a CFR meeting in September 2006, “broke the al-Qaeda network’s back in Pakistan.”
But Musharraf did crack down on terrorist groups selectively, as this Backgrounder points out. Weinbaum in 2006 said the Pakistani military has largely ignored Taliban fighters on its soil. “There are extremist groups that are beyond the pale with which the ISI has no influence at all,” he says. “Those are the ones they go after.” In 2008, Ashley J. Tellis, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote (PDF) in The Washington Quarterly that Musharraf tightened pressure on groups whose objectives were out of sync with the military’s perception of Pakistan’s national interest.
The Taliban as a Strategic Asset
Pakistan does not enjoy good relations with the current leadership of Afghanistan, partly because of rhetorical clashes with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and partly because Karzai has forged strong ties with India. But there have been increased efforts by the United States to close this gap. The Obama administration’s regional strategy unveiled in March 2009 focused on creating new diplomatic mechanisms; a trilateral summit of the leaders of the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan has been one such step toward helping reduce the level of distrust that runs among all three countries. But lingering suspicions about ISI’s support for the Taliban continue to pose problems. In an October 2006 interview, Musharraf said some retired ISI operatives could be abetting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, but he denied any active links. Zardari too, denies any ISI links with the Taliban or al-Qaeda. In a May 2009 interview with CNN, he remarked all intelligence agencies have their sources in militant organizations but that does not translate to support. “Does that mean CIA has direct links with al-Qaeda? No, they have their sources. We have our sources. Everybody has sources.”
Some experts say Pakistan wants to see a stable, friendlier government emerge in Afghanistan. Though the insurgency certainly doesn’t serve this goal, increased Taliban influence, especially in the government, might. Supporting the Taliban also allows Pakistan to hedge its bets should the NATO coalition pull out of Afghanistan. In a February 2008 interview with CFR.org, Tellis said the Pakistani intelligence services continue to support the Taliban because they see the Taliban leadership “as a strategic asset,” a reliable back-up force in case things go sour in Afghanistan.
Not everyone agrees with this analysis. According to Weinbaum, Pakistan has two policies. One is an official policy of promoting stability in Afghanistan; the other is an unofficial policy of supporting jihadis in order to appease political forces within Pakistan. “The second [policy] undermines the first one,” he says. Nawaz says there is ambivalence within the army regarding support for the Taliban. “They’d rather not deal with the Afghan Taliban as an adversary,” he says.
Weigh in on this issue by emailing CFR.org.”

There you go folks. We have a force in a country we support that is working both sides of the fence. Can you blame them? We have been inconsistent in our own policies and so they protect their interests by heding their bets. The Taliban is an insurance for Packistan. If the USA fails in Afghanistan they still have the Taliban as their asset and a finger in whatever state emerges.

Hash And Rehash Policy-Healthcare & World Dominance

Friday, July 24th, 2009

I used to like Hashish when I was a kid. It was strong, made you cough and got you wicked high. As I grew older I lost my taste for that kind of thing.
Today the news is about Pot Clinics in the California, repeats of programs about the Black Elvis, St. Michael, and more talk about the Health plan.
The media seems to be trying to spread the idea that the President’s health plan is failing. It seems that the fix is in, and the smart money is saying that the President is going to have to give something big to get that Health Plan through. Bush gave the pharmaceutical companies a free pass to rip off the American people with a clause in the legislation to include prescriptions under Medicare. Congress could not negotiate a better rate than the market rate. The whole reason for consolidation, to use the bargaining power of the medicare program to negotiate volume discounts. That is how private industry works. Why would the government refuse to do so itself? Obviously it was because the administration felt the only way to get the prescription coverage was to give in to the pharmaceutical manufacturers.
So what makes Obama think he will succeed where the Republicans failed? There may be a matter of motivation. Perhaps the Republicans didn’t even try to get a better deal for the public. Perhaps because the legislation was written by representatives of the industry.
There are other reasons as well. The Bush administration wanted to make its reputation on becoming a business friendly government. Cheney brought the energy industry heavies into meetings to let them know that he was going to help them streamline access to natural resources for energy development.They wanted to get limit environmental legislation and eliminate by defunding regulatory agencies such as EPA, OSHA, the FDA and the Justice department. If people remember President Bush initially wanted to do immigration reform by creating a modern day bracero program of temporary workers, medical reform in the form of tort reform to make it harder to sue doctors, hospitals and to limit product liability. The Social Security system was to be privatized with people being able to invest their share of Social Security on the stock market.
The war got in the way of some of these plans and changed the orientation of the administration. Bush went from being a cheerleader for big business to becoming a war time president. He lost interest in the other issues. Immigration reform went away, the privatization of Social Security was thankfully blocked by Democrats in Congress. Some of the tort reform passed in the form of the changes in Bankruptcy Laws that made it harder to file for bankruptcy on the part of the average person, at the same time that regulation of the Financial industry was lowered. Credit was easier to get at the same time it was harder to get out of debt liability.
But the President put his focus on the War on Terror. Cheney especially used the metaphor if going to the dark side, as a modern day Darth Vader to get the terrorists. Torture was to become government policy. Privacy was to become a privilege not a right. Bush made getting revenge on Saddam Hussein the top priority, using the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to invade Iraq. This invasion was justified by fabricated evidence, and playing upon peoples fear of an attack after watching the Twin Towers destroyed. This did more to destroy belief in the governments credibility than anything until the economic collapse. When Wall Street took a tail spin as Lehman Brothers was allowed to go under, the Republicans lost credibility.
Obama, who was actually fading in the poles after McCain added Palin to his ticket, was able to project a strong and calm image while McCain presented one of going off half cocked and Palin was obviously incompetent and incoherent.
Obama has staked his presidency on reform. Health Care for all, re-regulating the Financial industry, creating a robust alternative energy policy, ending the war in Iraq and ending the illegal use of torture and the restoration of the USA as the standard bearer of a higher standard of justice for all. He also insisted upon pursuing the war in Afghanistan for reasons that are still murky.
Because Health care reform is a key to his plan to restore faith in the government, President Obama must come up with legislation that is significant and is a clear break with business as usual. This is not because of any idealistic do-gooder motives. It is because the analysis done by the administration policy makers realize that the country needs to remove the burden of health care costs from other sectors of the economy for there to be growth. When the President says doing nothing is not an option, he means it. His presidency will flounder without health care reform. Previous plans at reform did not have the economic imperative that the plan has for this administration. Failure means drift. Drift means lost elections, a return of the right to power and a stalling of the other aspects of the presidents policies.
It is not that the country will collapse if we do not have health care reform, but if we don’t it will continue to eat up a larger and larger share of the budget until the government simply has no money for anything but debt payment, medicare, social security and defence. As it is defense will have to be cut back to pay for some of the changes. We see that in the cutting of the F-22 fighter. That is also because it has been gambled in the defense establishment that the Russians and Chinese will not be able to catch up with the American military in the foreseeable future and there is no other military threat in the world other than 9/11 type actions.
The US military is now dedicated to controlling resources in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South America. We are pulling back in East Asia as the US acknowledges the Chinese dominance in that part of the world. Countries like Australia and Japan will have to learn to come to terms with that or become cut off. As Japan fades in importance in American interests India increases in importance. Afghanistan is a conduit for central Asian oil and must be secured along with Pakistan, and Iran. Russia will be a player, but will be increasingly become sidelined unless it can form a strong alliance with Europe, India or China. Europe if it can consolidate will become the third wheel between the US and China. Brazil and Latin America may be able to pull away from American influence if China or Europe manage to gain influence.
These macro issues though are not crucial to Obama, what is is the fulfillment of the bargain he has made with the American people and that is universal health care, and a more activist government intervention in public policy that encourages a reorientation of in Finance into a rebuilding of certain domestic industries buy changing orientation from extractive industries to the renewables in energy. A retrenchment in the American Auto industry, and a restructuring of health care to enlist the younger healthier population into a mandatory health plan to help finance heath care for an increasing population of the elderly. Universal health care is for one purpose to defray the costs over a wider percentage of the population. The deal with the devil is simple, we all get coverage, we all get to pay. Period. It will be mandatory for all but the most indigent. It means twenty somethings are paying for seventy somethings. It will be sold as being fair, but it will really be all about defraying costs over a wider base and if there is some savings to be had, the government will make the deal, we give you a captive market, you give us a discounted rate. If you don’t then we will eliminate the private insurer. To have that leverage the government has to have a public plan. With out it the President has no clout. he may be only playing the public card to force through a better deal with the insurance companies, but without it his clout will disappear as soon as the signature goes on the legislation.
This is the reason for the public plan. It is for leverage. It is to force the hand of the insurance lobbyists. If the Congress doesn’t do it then there will be plenty of talk and that is all. The President is gambling that by making Congress come up with the plan he is forcing them to take responsibility and that means the Congress has to answer to their constituents and not just to the lobbyists. That is the heat the President needs to have, he needs to have the public on his side to keep the fire under the feet of Congress. If Congress thinks the public has turned against it then the President’s gamble will not pay off. But if he fails then the Democrats loose control of Congress and for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid that means loosing power. They need the passage almost as much as Obama if they are to keep control of Congress.
Ultimately it is all a game of politics. But there are certain economic imperatives that must be met for the USA to stay in a dominant world position. One of those things is to have a strong economy. We lost a lot of our credibility by invading Iraq. We lost a lot of our power by the economic collapse. Right now raw military might is what sustains our power in the world. But if the economic engine fails the military will collapse and the Chinese and Europeans will fill the vacuum. That could lead to international instability and world war if there is not a rational process of power exchange. When Germany challenged Britain for dominance in the World we had Two World Wars and both of them became bit players. The USA and the Soviet Union had a prolonged cold war. Now that China, united Europe and India are on the rise, there will be a new realignment. Will the USA remain a top player or become just an alliance partner? We shall see.
Healthcare reform coupled with a strong domestic energy policy and reformed financial markets are the means to domestic house cleaning and maintenance of world dominance by the USA. Without it we increase dependence on irrational and debilitating cost factors and become more and more dependant on other players in the world market. If a third of the budget goes to maintenance of the elderly and sick then we have no money for education and the young. We cannot allow health costs to rise much more without threatening our ability to support the military machine. Many of us think it is a good idea to end the US military dominance. The question is are we ready to face the consequences? When energy costs go through the roof because we no longer have the ability to demand first choice in the world energy market, then we will be paying $10 a gallon for gas. That may not mean the end of the world but it will mean a huge chunk of the American economy is going into someone else’s pocket and it makes everything else more expensive.
Obama is reading the tea leaves and is attempting to give us a soft landing in a brave new world. A world of cooperation and not constant war. Will we have that or the dark side of an empire fighting a loosing battle against a justly angry world? Now is time to decide. A lot more is riding on this than your health insurance premium. We are talking about a way of life.

Cheney And Bush Tiff, Jersey Corruption, Paranoid America

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Scooter Libby fell on his sword for Vice President Cheney, Author of the book ‘Angler’ Barton Gellman said on MSNBC tonight. Cheney said today that President Bush should have pardoned Libby, former aide of the Vice President. Gellman told Rachel Maddow that Cheney was the source of the leak in the Valarie Plane affair and Cheney believed he should back the man who protected him. President Bush refused to pardon Libby and that has been a bone of contention between Cheney and Bush. This was virtually a declaration of war according to Maddow.

Here is a Bloomberg story on the issue back in 2007.

“Bush Faces `No-Win’ Pressures to Pardon Convicted Cheney Aide
By Edwin Chen

June 29 (Bloomberg) — President George W. Bush is likely to pay a political price if he decides to pardon convicted vice presidential aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby — or if he decides not to pardon him.
With the start of Libby’s 2 1/2-year prison term looming, Republican stalwarts who are the president’s last source of political support may revolt unless he quickly pardons the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. If Bush does act, he would violate Justice Department guidelines, alienate much of the public and run the risk of cover-up charges.
“This is a no-win situation for Bush,” said David Gergen, who advised Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
Libby, 56, was convicted in March of obstructing justice, perjury and making false statements to investigators probing the 2003 leak of Central Intelligence Agency agent Valerie Plame’s identity. Unless a federal appeals court delays his sentence, he will be required to report to jail by late July or mid-August.
Libby was “railroaded,” said Paul Weyrich, head of the Washington-based Free Congress Foundation, a small-government educational group. David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, based in Alexandria, Virginia, said Libby got a “raw deal” and has been left to “twist in the wind.”
Keene calls on Bush to display the same loyalty to Libby that he’s shown to his friend Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose handling of the dismissal of eight U.S. prosecutors has prompted lawmakers to call for his resignation.
“It tells you what a deep, dark, dank un-spinnable hole Bush is in when he has to pardon a guy to appease 30 percent of the country,” said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, a former aide to Vice President Al Gore.
A pardon might also raise fresh questions about whether Libby had been acting at the request of his superiors. “I think he sort of took one for the team,” said Weyrich.
Meanwhile, actor Fred Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and an undeclared candidate, said Libby “absolutely” should be pardoned. Thompson has lent his name to a lobbying campaign that’s raising money on Libby’s behalf. Arizona Senator John McCain and several others say it is premature to weigh in.
Bush and Cheney have so far said little about their intentions toward Libby. White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino said Bush “felt terrible” for Libby and his family.
Bush has granted fewer pardons — 113 — than any president in the past 100 years, while denying more than 1,000 requests, said Margaret Colgate Love, the Justice Department’s pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997.
In addition, Bush has denied more than 4,000 commutation requests, and hundreds of requests for pardons and commutations are still pending, Love said.
A quick pardon for Libby would go against Justice Department guidelines, which recommend that a supplicant wait five years after conviction or release from confinement before seeking a pardon. On the other hand, there’s no requirement that a president wait; President Gerald Ford pardoned his disgraced predecessor, Richard Nixon, shortly after taking office in 1974, and before Nixon was convicted of anything.

On Hardball they are saying Scooter Libby took a bullet for Cheney. Cheney the guy who has a weak heart and can barely handle the stress of any job certainly seems to be healthy enough to stick around Washington to play the devils advocate. Cheney seems to be his own devil.

Today there was a major raid on politicians and Rabbis in New Jersey and New York.
This from ‘Vos iz Neias’ a Jewish community blog site.

“New York - Part of the FBI raid this morning are 11 men from Brooklyn NY.
About 30 other officials from New Jersey were arrested in a wide-sweeping corruption probe by the FBI.
The criminal complaints allege that the suspects were involved in corruption and money laundering. some of the suspects are Rabbis, and operators of Check cashing business in NYC.
Due to many rumors, VIN News has decide to publish the names to avoid false information circulating in the community.
Arrested were, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, Schmulik Cohen, Levi Deutsch, Binyomin Spira, Yeshayahu Ehrental, Mordchai Fish, Rabbi Of Brooklyn Congregation Sheves Achim, Lavel Schwartz, Yoely Gertner, Abraham Pollack, Naftoly Weber, Rabbi Saul Kassin Chief Rabbi of Sharee Zion, a synagogue located on Ocean Parkway.”

Here are excerpts from the Wall Street Journal Article today.

By AMIR EFRATI, SUZANNE SATALINE and DIONNE SEARCEY
New Jersey has never been short of corruption scandals, but the one that unfolded yesterday was surprising even by the standards of the state that inspired “The Sopranos.”

Federal agents swept across New Jersey and New York on Thursday, charging 44 people — including mayors, rabbis and even one alleged trafficker in human kidneys — in a decade long investigation into public corruption and international money laundering.

The key to the investigation: a real-estate developer who became an informant after being arrested on bank-fraud charges in 2006, according to a person familiar with the case. The developer, Solomon Dwek, wore a wire for the Federal Bureau of Investigation while offering to bribe New Jersey mayors and other public officials, that person said.
A lawyer for Mr. Dwek didn’t respond to requests for comment.
While the state has a long history of dirty politics — in Newark alone, three ex-mayors have been convicted of crimes unrelated to the latest sweep — the scale of the allegations shocked veterans of New Jersey’s political crises.
“This is not only a black eye, but this fans more cynicism,” said Gene Grabowski, a crisis manager who has represented New Jersey clients in graft probes. “It validates this idea that New Jersey is a setting for ‘The Sopranos.’”
The arrests in the public-corruption portion of the probe included the Democratic mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus, Peter Cammarano III and Dennis Elwell; Republican state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt; and Democrat Leona Beldini, the deputy mayor of Jersey City.
A woman who picked up the phone at Mr. Van Pelt’s office said, “Mr. Van Pelt was arrested today and is out of the office.” His lawyer declined to comment.
Mr. Cammarano’s lawyer said he “intends to plead innocent because he is innocent.”
After her court appearance, Ms. Beldini said she didn’t violate taxpayers’ trust and declined to comment further while leaving the courthouse. Mr. Elwell and his lawyer declined to comment.
Arrests on the investigation’s money-laundering side include several rabbis in New York and New Jersey, said Ralph Marra Jr., acting U.S. attorney for New Jersey. The arrestees appeared in federal court in New Jersey Thursday afternoon.
Corruption among the politicians was “a way of life,” Mr. Marra said. “They existed in an ethics-free zone.”
The probe includes a bizarre sideshow: the alleged trafficking of human kidneys, a lucrative, illegal industry and not one that’s typically showcased alongside political shenanigans.
In the course of the investigation last year, Mr. Dwek came into contact with an alleged organ trafficker, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, and told him Mr. Dwek’s uncle needed a new kidney, according to court papers. The two men discussed how Mr. Dwek would pay a $160,000 fee to buy a kidney from a donor in Israel, documents show. According to the complaint, Mr. Rosenbaum described himself as a “matchmaker.”
Mr. Rosenbaum couldn’t be reached for comment. A person who answered the phone at his residence declined to comment.
This federal investigation grew out of two previous cases and dates back to 1999, according to the FBI. It culminated at 6 a.m. Thursday with more than 200 FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents making arrests and executing search warrants throughout the state, said Weysan Dun, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office.
In all, 29 people were caught up in the public-corruption part of the probe. Fifteen were implicated in the investigation into money laundering, including Mr. Rosenbaum, who was charged with conspiring to broker the sale of a kidney.
Court documents quote a number of incriminating wiretap recordings involving New Jersey politicians — some prominent names, others known only in their small communities. For example, according to court documents, on April 27, FBI agents caught an incoming call from former Jersey City council candidate Guy Catrillo to a consultant’s cellphone. The consultant asked Mr. Catrillo: “Did you get the money from [Mr. Dwek] when we saw him the other day?”
Mr. Catrillo replied: “Yeah, I took care of that. Yeah.”
Mr. Catrillo’s office didn’t answer the phone Thursday.
Mr. Dwek, a 36-year-old religious-school head and philanthropist from Monmouth County, N.J., was at the heart of the investigation. He began his career as a small-time real-estate developer whose investors included friends and relatives in the Syrian Jewish community. Three years ago he was charged with defrauding PNC Bank of $25 million and remained free on a $10 million bond.”

There is more. It is pretty damning. But then this is New Jersey, and well we all know about Jersey. The problem is that it is not just New Jersey, look at what is going on in Washington DC right now.

This from the NPR website.

Dollar Politics
Drug Firms Pour $40 Million Into Health Care Debate
by Andrea Seabrook and Peter Overby

“The pharmaceutical industry for years has been one of the most effective and powerful lobbying outfits in Washington”
Jerry Avorn, Harvard Medical School
Millions of dollars are pouring into Capitol Hill this summer, as lobbyists jockey to have their clients’ interests represented in three major pieces of legislation just beginning to take shape. The objects of the lobbyists’ attention: massive bills on health care, banking regulation and energy.
We have the most expensive health care system in the world, yet millions are uninsured. President Obama is asking Congress to find a way to extend coverage to every American. Can it be done?
All Things Considered, July 23, 2009 · One of the most powerful players in health care is a group called the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA. It represents just 32 brand-name drug companies, but it has so much influence that when Congress passes a bill, PhRMA almost always gets its way. One big reason why: PhRMA and its members have spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress as lawmakers work to overhaul health care.
Any firm that spends significant money lobbying Congress has to file a quarterly report. Monday was the deadline for the second quarter, providing a chance to peer into three critical months in the health care debate: April, May and June. That’s when Congress really got down to business with health care.
In those three months, PhRMA spent just over $6 million, which breaks down to about $2 million a month.
But the reports filed by the companies that belong to PhRMA reveal that during this same period, all but a few of them were running their own lobby shops as well. The drug maker Pfizer alone spent $5.5 million. Amgen, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline spent about $3 million each.
Add it all up and you get this: In those three critical months, PhRMA and its member companies spent $40 million lobbying Congress. That’s more than $3 million each week.
PhRMA declined to speak to NPR for this story. Four of its biggest members turned down or did not respond to interview requests.
More Lobbyists Than Congress Members
There’s something else drug companies bought with that $40 million: people.
PhRMA alone has 29 people lobbying for it. In the graphic on this page, you can dig into the reports, and you’ll find that PhRMA also hired 45 different Washington, D.C., lobbying firms to represent it in those three months of the second quarter.
Most of the drug companies that belong to PhRMA are running their own lobby shops as well, plus the biggest ones have also hired dozens of D.C. lobbying firms.
So think about it this way: There are far more people in Washington representing one party of the debate — the big drug companies — than there are members of Congress working on the health care bill.”

What can I say. Money talks and that is a lot of money.

One more time on the issue of the stupid Cambridge cops. Today at work one of the people brought up the President’s “stupid” comment in a production meeting at work. This guy was a rabid supporter of the cop’s position. I noted that I could understand the Presidents statement based on my own experience with cops. He went on about how he read the police report and said that I was “talking Black Helicopters”. That led to a twisted conversation about how on 9/11 a missile was launched at the Pentagon, and the moon landings were faked. This to me indicated mixed up mental processes in the public mind. People simply have no way of being able to identify what is reasonable and what is irrational. I don’t know if it is a result of poor educations, paying attention to media that lies and misleads or simply sloppy and wishful thinking on the part of people who have had their dreams dashed so many times that they are willing to simply absorb whatever they choose to accept as being valid and letting the truth take a pass.
I blame the media, the education system and a culture that accepts mythology as good enough as a substitute for factual information.
I know when I joke around, I assume I am joking about stuff that is common knowledge. But now I realize more and more that people simply don’t know. What did they learn in school? No wonder we have such a dysfunctional government. If people knew what was going on or at least cared enough to find out what the facts ore, we wouldn’t have embarrassments like the Birther movement, people who believe that Obama was born in another country. How mistrustful of the government have people become that they will believe that the government would fake a Presidents place of birth?
That is the really scary thing. It is not about a birth certificate. It is about a basic sense that in our country the government lies to the people. Many people simply think that the country has been hijacked by an elite that doesn’t care about anybody but their own clique.
I am guilty of the same thing, when I say there is a capitalist elite running the country, I am sayint that the nation has been taken over by a class that has a certain interest that may or may not be in the interest of the Republic. Is my argument based on delusion or fact? Is my argument simply an opinion or is it an analysis based on reality. That is what you have to ask me and that is what I have to prove if I am not to be simply a left wing equivalent of the Birthers.
In fact Birthers could be seen as the right wing version of the left wing belief that Bush stole the elections of 2000 and 2004. But the fact is that the president was selected by the Supreme Court in a procedure that was not specifically constitutional. Gore could have contested it but he chose not to. Just as the former Senator of Minnesota contested the election of the current Senator Franken. There is the right to legal challenge when the vote is close or contested. In the election of 2000, ultimately it was proven that Gore won the popular vote but we do not elect the President of the United States by popular vote but by the electoral college. The strange thing is that the Supreme Court is not part of that process.
It is interesting that there are people who are saying that this president is illegitimate because he is not a citizen.
Tonight G. Gordon Liddy says on Hardball that Barak Obama was born in a hospital in Mombasa, Kenya. When Chris Mathews showed a copy of Proof of Live Birth from the State of Hawaii, Liddy said it was not a birth certificate. The State of Hawaii says they do not give out copies of birth certificates, they give out Proof’s of Live Birth. The Governor of the State of Hawaii says he has seen the original of the Birth Certificate.

What we have is a breakdown in trust in the government of this country. We have become a Nation of interest groups. This is not class war, this is Mafia rule, the godfather that people trust is the one they back. It is a matter of blood, instinct, greed and fear. What happened to truth, justice and the American Way?

President Calls For Healthcare Reform, Calls Cambridge Cop Stupid

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

President Obama seems to want his Healthcare reform bill and he is not willing to say that the middle class has to pay. He wants the rich to pay a little more and for the medical professionals to consider what is needed not what will bring the most remuneration. Chris Mathews on Hardball is wondering if the President is calling for rationing and is not explaining how the changes will be paid for.
The President took the side of his professor friend, Henry Louis Gates Jr. tonight after he was arrested in his own home. Chris Mathews is having fun giving him a hard time for not coming to the defense of the cops. The president said the cops in Cambridge were stupid.
There are things happening in this country that makes it seem that there is a stiffening of the race line. There are people who are ready to take the side of the cops and will think that the President should have taken the side of the cops. But there you get into a bigger situation where there is a whole segment of Americans who simply cannot accept a black man as president. They use the idiotic issue of the Presidents birth certificate as an excuse when what they are really saying is they can’t believe a black man with a Muslim sounding name is president. These people simply don’t want to believe the truth. They watch Fox News, they listen to Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs.
I decided to watch Fox to see what they are saying.
Hannity is saying the president has lost the American People over this health issue. Nicole Wallace is saying that the President is a far left president in a center right nation. The Heritage Foundation according to Hannity says that 85% of the people will have to end up on a government health plan if we have a public option in the health care reform bill. Hannity and his crew are saying that America are waking up and realising that Obama is selling the country a massive increase in the government.
The Republicans are using the argument that the government can’t run anything. That same old argument that the government does a lousy job and the example is always made of the Post Office and the DMV, playing on most every body’s experience of having waited in a line at one of these institutions and generalizing that into a critique of government in general. From their perspective government programs are the equivalent of the old Soviet Union gulags. But they never talk about things like NASA, the Army, FDA regulators, programs they like. What they really want is for the government to be there on the issues they favor like the military, tax breaks for the rich, education subsidies, but for no government for things they don’t like, i.e. when the government gets in the way of their making money. It is an argument that is self-centered and if you follow the money you will find the cause when it is rational. Sometimes it doesn’t even meet that level of intelligence and in that case we can say it is simply a close minded reaction.
The nation is in a nervous condition, people are uncertain and anxious as the president says. He said the people are skeptical because there has been little coming out of Washington that benefits them.
The big financiers just screwed us big time. They got greedy and took the money and ran. They left the American taxpayer to pick up the check. The President has stated the obvious we need to take care of the medical care problem in the country. We have a population that is aging and a medical system that is increasing in cost exponentially. We are faced with the options of going to a state run system like most of the industrialized world has or simply giving up and letting private industry take care of it. In countries like India people have to bring their own blood when they go to the hospital, there is nothing provided, but it is cheap by our standards. The President is trying for some path between a state run system and the chaos we have now.
On the Ed Schultz show he says the President is wimping out on the Public Option. He is saying that he has been to town hall meetings and the people want a real solution to the issue, a solution that brings real reform.
Robert Reich is on his show and is saying that the President needs to push harder and he is afraid that the President is giving in to the lobbyists. Reich thinks the President needed to say that without the public option there will be no incentive for the insurance companies to cut costs. He thinks the President really wants to compromise with the Republicans and he is afraid that he will compromise away the bill. He thinks the President is trying to keep the insurance companies on board and to keep them from bolting.
Insurance companies are getting record profits as Obama pointed out in his press conference. United Healthcare got 155% increased profits over last year Schultz noted.
Senator Ron Wyden Democrat of Oregon says we need an option to play hardball with the insurance companies to give people an option.
Healthcare reform is needed to keep the country competative in the world economy. The USA has spent so much on the Military and let everything else slide for so long. The fact that the F-22 fighter program was cut yesterday is a sign that the Government is beginning to make the right choices. But can the President keep the Democrats in line and from bolting to join the Republicans in scuttling health care reform?
Katrina Vanden Heuvel editor of the Nation is saying that this is a key moment in the history of the nation and that the President should keep the Congress in Washington until the legislation passes. Lobbyists are spending $1.4 Million a day to stop this health plan.
Americans want to know if the Government will do something right for the people. We have elected a reform government to get change. One of the changes we want is health care reform. People have good reason to mistrust the government. They have mislead us and frittered away opportunities. They have got us into wars that benefit nobody but a few wealthy contractors and perpetuated a military industrial complex that has done nothing for the people of the country or the world except drive the country to near bankruptcy.
We pay taxes and get almost nothing for it. If we can give trillions to bail out the rich bankers and then turn around and tell the public that we have nothing for you because there is no money left, if that happens then there will be hell to pay. If this government has any legitimacy left it will give the people what we need, real heath care for all. If we get a reform that is only a sop to the insurance industry and the medical insurance complex, then the only real option will be to change the government.
Reform now or revolution tomorrow.
We really need a social revolution. But Americans are patient people. So reform it is, but I say to these politicians, if they screw us again, no more compromise. A public option is a weak compromise already. What we really need is universal health care for all. What will we get? Some kind of compromise. Cut the military budget in half and pay for the health care. It is simple, we can make it as efficient as we want and need to, but once we make that moral and ethical and political choice, then the rest is relativly easy. The money is there. It is simply a matter of priorities.
So what will we get? We will get what we let them give us, or if we take matters in hand we will get what the people want.


  • famvir
  • hardi sprayer booms
  • moen danika 82833
  • death defying hoodoo gurus wiki
  • meds peds
  • astelin
  • i'm bringing the party to you gif tumblr
  • bontril
  • argo 6x6 top speed
  • superdrive macbook pro not working
  • epipen
  • wow privat pvp server instant 80 deutsch
  • macrobid
  • new screamo heavy metal bands
  • carbohydrate deficient transferrin normal range
  • hyzaar
  • kennedy group home kinston
  • important facts elizabeth van lew
  • haak austin video
  • d100 wifi router manual
  • why can you only take prevacid for 14 days
  • oreck sweeper parts
  • cod world war nocd
  • freecycle baltimore yahoo group
  • timolol
  • famciclovir
  • antivert
  • sure romance online apotheke
  • medroxyprogesterone
  • sony dsc-t99 charger
  • lamotrigine
  • tadalis
  • coller .001
  • poornam boorelu moong dal
  • rosuvastatin
  • tiffen dfx mac free
  • paddock publications inc company
  • azathioprine
  • happy wanderer vine lilac care
  • can i take ambien and benadryl
  • suncoast rv koa campground in lake park ga
  • educomp smart class
  • direccion comision estatal de derechos humanos xalapa
  • jokiel grzegorz marcin
  • lorna wikipedia singer
  • paranoid black sabbath video
  • slowdown football 2010
  • polycell mould killer
  • dail dinwiddie wikipedia
  • vial crimper tool
  • plaque stability atherosclerosis
  • you've attempted to upload a document but the feature
  • completion contract method tax
  • code of chivalry of european knights
  • leave the pieces lyrics youtube
  • minion mod yogbox
  • cabinet belletoile maisons-alfort
  • yoga pier malibu kiis fm
  • oracea
  • kaczmarek electric mtb
  • nebivolol
  • system abend 80a
  • prodigy omen song download
  • skin care products chemo patients
  • aldactone
  • anatomy ribs male female
  • nokia 5800 software download for pc
  • amlodipine effects
  • luana rodriguez suarez
  • what kind of choke for 00 buckshot
  • mapa aeropuerto cancun zona hotelera
  • castelli italiani famosi
  • b-cell chronic lymphocytic lymphoma
  • ntsb safety recalls
  • blunauta roma villa paganini
  • sarge's heroes n64 rom
  • mertz 9716
  • uroxatral
  • coverall buildings
  • animales sin hogar foro
  • pages blanches canada sherbrooke
  • damn regret lyrics meaning
  • disable hotkeys autohotkey
  • incisional biopsy vs excisional biopsy
  • used auto parts rockford il
  • provincia di enna
  • momo wang violin
  • escentric molecule perfume
  • ponder gondho
  • cheatham palermo & garrett
  • paroxetine hcl oral suspension
  • lorelei hammond ukiah ca
  • acadian lines antigonish
  • diablo iii characters wiki
  • amoxil
  • gnomish army knife mop
  • max prilosec dose
  • homogeneous vs differentiated oligopoly
  • husqvarna sewing embroidery designs
  • 2000 diesel pajero for sale
  • neoral
  • air canada aircraft a319 seating
  • route demonstration saturday 26th march
  • celadon pokemon fire red
  • sony dsc-s40 white screen
  • 10 worst serial killers usa
  • bahama momma drink recipes
  • evernote plugin safari lion
  • paroxetine qt prolongation
  • dhc-6-300 wiki
  • universidades particulares ciudad xalapa
  • best buy honeywell air purifier
  • knotted plow line
  • dragonball z tenchi budokai 3
  • libreria arquitectura santiago chile
  • .avi codec for kmplayer download
  • when do babies lose their gag reflex
  • posturepedic foam mattress reviews
  • 2-56 countersink
  • darmowe gry dla dzieci dora poznaje swiat
  • shift-jis art generator
  • antabuse
  • crofton skating rinks maryland
  • st anthony padua cyo basketball
  • ssbb subspace emissary 100 walkthrough
  • fcr breakpoints diablo 2 sorc
  • movies does amanda bynes play
  • ingmar relling siesta
  • abacavir
  • que es hydroxyzine pam
  • what is this thing in the jewish doorway
  • generic paxil price
  • tribble testing rewards
  • flora llanos orientales venezuela
  • birte quitt xing