July 1, 2009The Confessor -- This idiot Governor Sanford -- auch! Why doesn't he just get up at a press conference and take his pants off? What is left to tell? He just looks more and more foolish as he continues to moon in public about his lost "soul mate", whom he cannot be with because of his duty to "fall in love again" with his wife. How much more can he humiliate his wife and have a prayer of actually going back to her? This idiot managed to snatch the spotlight back from the ghoulish media fascination with the death of Michael Jackson. What is this fool doing? Because he just cannot let go of the power, wealth, fame and privilege of his political career he thinks he has to go forward this way, flogging himself and his wife in public over and over, telling more and more of what hardly anyone wants or needs to hear. What a fool! No one forced this guy to be a sanctimonious moralizer who used other people's indiscretions against them as a political weapon, as he did with Bill Clinton. Now that he's been caught, he daily commits acts that are even stupider than his original indiscretions. Every day now he is letting out a few more facts of indiscretions previously private, presumably to exercise pre-damage control in case those facts come out. We've seen this scene, essentially, many times, such as the painfully sordid Larry Craig story, the "wide stance" senator of Idaho, who got caught soliciting sex in a men's bathroom at the Minnestoa airport and is still a senator. The new thing with these hypocritical moralistic Christian Right politicians is to weather the storm, just say any insane thing that enters their heads to eat up the time until it's over and they can get back to the trough. It is a window onto the sweet life of our supposed public servants. The privilege, power, glory, fame, graft of the successful polician is so heady, so sweetly intoxicating, so addictive, that they will go through the most demeaning imaginable public embarrassment just for the chance to hold on. (See Republican demands for his resignation, multiple affairs, and the best thing I have read on the whole sordid affair: by Maureen Dowd.
July 3, 2009Mind Reading is Here -- The technology exists for reading the thoughts in the mind, and it is improving. See 60 Minutes to see it in action. Imagine the implications. You know the Cheneyite authoritarian types have their finger on this stuff. They quite likely have things in the intelligence agencies that surpasses what is shown in this segment. Sleep well! Your National Security State can read your thoughts.
Iran: What's Happening? Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman at Free Press give a nice encapsulated summary of the history of US-Iran relations since the U.S. overthrew Iran's democratically elected president in the early 1950s. Southern Socialism -- While Democrats are refusing to consider a single payer healthcare system saying it is "unrealistic", 9.2 Million active duty and retired uniformed service member and their families already receive their healthcare free from the federal government using a single payer model. The politicians are using the word "unrealistic" in a political sense, and not saying the implementation of system is unrealistic. It's already a fact on a smaller scale. But the power and determination of the major corporations who make billions from healthcare to thwart any attempted reform is formidable. Few politicians want to risk opposing those deadly lobbies. southernstudies.org. Closing In -- The Washington Post reports that "Nearly two dozen GOP lawmakers called on Sanford to step down, saying he has lost credibility, in part by making such personal comments to the Associated Press, some of which contradicted earlier statements." Here's what Republican state Senator Larry A. Martin had to say: "What we saw in that interview was just him being irrational. The very idea that he would be that candid, that frank, that brutally honest about his feelings for the woman in Argentina versus his wife versus the other girlfriends, I just find that incredible. Rational people don't do that. He doesn't need to be talking to reporters. He needs to go find him some professional help. That's just the facts." um mm. This boy is adrift.
July 4, 2009American Dream, a Fading Memory -- As we celebrate the day it all started, the sad fact is that Obama's policies on civil liberties are only a shade different from his predecessor, which means worse than any previous president. In fact former Bush DOJ lawyer Jack Goldsmith told Glenn Greenwald "that Obama is actually strengthening (rather than 'changing') the Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism even more effectively than Bush did by entrenching those policies in law and causing unprincipled Democrats to switch from pretending to oppose them to supporting them, thus transforming them into bipartisan dogma." Through the hype and hysteria and fireworks, I vaguely remember these words: "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government." One of that string of abuses listed in the Declaration of Independence itself is this: "For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury." (Obama is continuing Bush's stated right to hold people without charge, calling it "indefinite detention") And this one: "For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences." Today we call it "rendition". And this: "For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments." Remember Habeus Corpus? And what has been the result of our protests for eight years? "In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people." A remember human rights? Remember when it was something we used to at least pretend we cared about? Bush took away the due process that was in issue in the founding of our country. He took away Habeus Corpus, which goes back to the Magna Carta in England in 1215, the right to either be charged with a crime or released. But Bush took it away and Obama has not restored it. Bush and his grinning henchmen also wiped away and denigrated the Geneva Conventions and violated them with torture, with invading a defenseless country, etc. And Obama has let Bush's abuses stand for the most part, making them his own, part of his own administration. So what exactly is July Fourth supposed to be about? If our government is doing the things that the first Americans started a revolution over, why are we shooting off fireworks? Is that supposed to be just a celebration of armed might, bombs, explosives? Or was there a principle underlying it? Since we have shoved the principles under the rug and are now in the process of solidifying Bush's violations of the Constitution into permanent law, then we should put away the fireworks. If we care about those principles we should fight for them anew, have a new revolution if that's what it takes, or just shut up about it.
Big Money Shenanigans -- Meanwhile check out "How Goldman Sachs Has Engineered Every Major Market Manipulation Since the Great Depression" Mandatory Vaccinations -- With a vaccination many say is not sufficiently tested. See brasschecktv. Agitate for Change -- Jim Hightower: "Agitators created America, and it's their feisty spirit and outright rebelliousness that we celebrate on our national holiday. I don't merely refer to the Founders, either. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin and the rest certainly were derring-do agitators when they wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, creating the framework for a democratic republic. But they didn't actually create much democracy. In the first presidential election, only 4 percent of the people were even eligible to vote. No women allowed, no African Americans, no American Indians and no one who was landless. So, on the Fourth, it's neither the documents of democracy that we celebrate nor the authors of the documents. Rather, it's the intervening two-plus centuries of ordinary American agitators who have struggled mightily against formidable odds to democratize those documents." alternet.org. Corporate Anti-Science Propaganda -- Your friendly oil giant, Exxon Mobil, is still funding climate change skeptic groups. culturechange.org Ongoing Coal Catastrophe -- Major coal companies are still blasting the tops of Appalachian mountains, destroying ancestral forests, leaving piles of rubble leading to floods, erosion, black water and cancer victims. See Robert F. Kennedy Jr.. "Mining syndicates are detonating 2,500 tons of explosives each day -- the equivalent of a Hiroshima bomb weekly -- to blow up Appalachia's mountains and extract sub-surface coal seams. They have demolished 500 mountains -- encompassing about a million acres -- buried hundreds of valley streams under tons of rubble, poisoned and uprooted countless communities, and caused widespread contamination to the region's air and water. On this continent, only Appalachia's rich woodlands survived the Pleistocene ice ages that turned the rest of North America into a treeless tundra. King Coal is now accomplishing what the glaciers could not -- obliterating the hemisphere's oldest, most biologically dense and diverse forests. Highly mechanized processes allow giant machines to flatten in months mountains older than the Himalayas -- while employing fewer workers for far less time than other types of mining."
July 20, 2009
Nixon's Moon Landing: The Burden of Proof -- See A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon.
July 21, 2009Carter: Bush Tortured Children -- "Iraqi lawyer Sahar Yasiri, representing the Federation of Prisoners and Political Prisoners, said in a published interview there are more than 400,000 detainees in Iraq being held in 36 prisons and camps and that 95 percent of the 10,000 women among them have been raped. Children, he said, 'suffer from torture, rape, (and) starvation' and do not know why they have been arrested. He added the children have been victims of 'random' arrests 'not based on any legal text.'" And "CIA whistleblower Ray McGovern writes this week: 'The buck stops - actually, in this case, it began - with President Bush. Senate Armed Services Committee leaders Carl Levin and John McCain on Dec. 11, 2008, released the executive summary of a report, approved by the full committee without dissent, concluding that Bush's Feb. 7, 2002, memorandum "opened the door to considering aggressive techniques.'" Time to think about "moving forward"? What is the United States to be in the future? opednews.com. e-mail the Justice Department
July 31, 2009Most Americans Oppose Both Wars -- Why after six years are we still involved in two wars that a majority of Americans oppose, that drain the country of resources, destroy the lives of thousands of young Americans and people in the countries we occupy, wreck American credibility and prestige and lower the morale of the American people? I hear people arguing over health care, saying things like it's not right that people with more money should have to pay for people with less money. But if the money that goes down the drain in two useless wars was freed up to help the American people such a debate would be unnecessary. Trillions of dollars would be free to use for something besides killing and destruction. Associated Presss
August 3, 2009Sitting in Kansas City International Airport being subjected to endless broadcasts of CNN, watching corporate America hammer Obama to prevent healthcare reform in America, any reform that would make it affordable for average Americans and no longer just a gold rush for insurance companies. Once again the giant corporations who rule America are hell bent on destroying attempts to reform health care in America. News coverage is as crazy as ever, spraying bullshit to distract from the earnest attempts to reform health care or any other aspect of corporate America's stranglehold on the United States.
Later in the wee hours hearing the MSNBC Chris Matthews show talking about the campaign to raise hell over the allegation that Obama was born in Kenya, and only pretending to have been born in the U.S. The corporate brainwashing machines use this little pocket of extremist hysteria to discredit every allegation that is unsanctioned by the corporate power structure. Every idea that threatens the power of the establishment is classified as conspiracy theory, and implicitly deemed whacky and crazy. The Obama birth conspiracy advocates are used as examples of a whacky conspiracy theory that can then be lumped in with anything anyone wants to discredit on the basis of being conspiracy theory.
Keith Olbermann on Blue Dog Democrats and Republicans opposing healthcare reform. Keith is on fire here, at his very best. Yes, he is an employee of a major corporation owned by a major war contractor. All the moreso, hats off to Keith Olbermann. It's a strong piece. In it he calls out the Blue Dog Democrats, quotes the numbers of dollars they have received from Big Health corporations. This is the kind of stuff that earned Olbermann the endorsement of George Carlin, who said it was the best news thing going. I don't have a link on it, but watch for Keith Olbermann's commentary on Countdown April 3, 2009.
Good Reporting by Rachel Maddow about corporate lobbying groups organizing thug disruption of civic discussions about healthcare reform.
August 13, 2009Go-boy's Regrets -- Bush stooge Alberto Gonzales now says he regrets a few things about his tenure under Bush. He regrets calling the Geneva Conventions "quaint" because now people have used the famous torture memo to paint him as "not suportive of the document's principles," according to a story at AOL News. Imagine that. It's amazing that the liberal media and other conniving left wingers would twist a statement that the Geneva Conventions were quaint and the Bush administration would not be held to them to mean he didn't believe in the principles. Poor little Alby. So misunderstood.
Hand in Hand -- E-mails show how the Washington Post worked with the White House on how to spin the attorney firing story. See Raw Story. Just to keep things in perspective, while Americans debate whether the country could "afford" a healthcare system that really provides healthcare to the American people, consider that we've been dropping billions every week in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2003. How much healthcare could you buy with that? Anybody ever figure out what those wars were for?
August 20, 2009What Is It Good For? A majority of Americans believe the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting. Washington Post.
August 22, 2009Terror Alerts Were BS -- In case it wasn't obvious at the time, Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania governor who was Bush's Secretary of Homeland Security for a while, now reveals that he was "pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over," according to the Huffington Post, referring to Ridge's new book. Of course Bush administration folks vehemently deny it and now add Ridge to their lengthening list of rogues and liars and former allies.
Covering Bush Crimes -- Robert Parry writes that the handling of Saddam Hussein served the purpose of helping to cover up some of the crimes of George Bush Senior, which Saddam Hussein was a good witness for. "Instead of being turned over to the international criminal court at The Hague, where he could have been thoroughly interrogated," Parry writes, "Hussein was kept under tight U.S. control until he was handed over to his Iraqi enemies on Dec. 30, 2006, for a chaotic hanging." Meanwhile, "While President George W. Bush and many of his supporters were thrilled with the execution -- what the New York Times called Bush's 'triumphal bookend' to the Iraq invasion -- the hanging was not just rough justice meted out to a harsh dictator. It also snuffed out a dangerous witness who could have implicated senior Republicans, including Bush's father. Important chapters of history died with Hussein on the gallows. Hussein was a unique witness with the broadest knowledge about who arranged and sold the precursor components for his unconventional weapons that were used to kill Iranian troops and Iraqi civilians. In death, Hussein couldn't disclose what George W. Bush's first Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said during that famous hand-shake meeting in 1983, nor whether he got an alleged message from Vice President George H.W. Bush in the mid-1980s about how best to deploy Iraq's air force against Iran, nor if then-deputy CIA director Robert Gates was running interference for Iraq's military supply line in the 1980s." See Consortium News. The Torture Decider -- Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern writes, "Seldom does a crime scene have so clear a smoking gun. A two-page presidential memorandum of Feb. 7, 2002, leaves no room for uncertainty regarding the 'decider' on torture. His broad-stroke signature made torture official policy." Consortium News
August 23, 2009
The Corporate Bleeding of America
The News Just Gives Me the Blues -- Almost everything you hear about public affairs, whether it's the TV news, or Time magazine or the New York Times, is the voice of corporate America. And that means it is part of the militarism addiction of this country, because the Corporate State makes such gigantic profits from the Warfare State. So any possibility that might threaten the profits of the status quo are off the table. They never even enter the debate. A boundary line is drawn around the military exploits and they are excluded from other discussions as if they are a necessity that cannot be questioned. That is the function of the so-called War on Terror. It's posed as the reason that defense expenditures cannot be questioned.
It's perfectly reasonable to say the defense of the country is an immutable necessity and and a priority that cannot be superceded. But that premise is twisted to mean that our overseas adventures, such as our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, are necessary to our survival, which is practically diametrically opposite from the truth. It has been clearly shown that those wars have made the world more dangerous for Americans, not the other way around.
The premises for those wars were always false and continue to be false. But the military-industrial complex has now got us conditioned to accept them as necessity. Or better yet, to become completely oblivious to the fact that our government is spending billions every week for death and destruction, domination and intimidation of people in other countries, people who may pose a threat to the geopolitical goals of the Corporate State of America. They had some trouble getting us roused up to go to war against Afghanistan, and even moreso for Iraq. But now seven years later they have succeeded in making it an accepted part of American life, barely even visible. Like air, ubiquitous and invisible.
If the wars make Americans less safe, all the better. It justifies more war expenditures. It makes those expenditures a necessity, because they are already deemed to be an economic necessity. If the wars engender hostility from other nations and set up positions of unending opposition, that too feeds the warfare state, the hungry corporations who suck up those hundreds of billions of dollars a year from the proverbial backs of Americans. It is a good quote because that tiny minority that really runs the show regards the other 90 percent or so as cattle from which they farm their profits.
So Anderson Cooper talks with his roundtable of experts about healthcare reform with ever diminishing expectations. They talk witheringly of how much it is going to cost, how little good it will do. But let's put the military budget on the table right next to these other possiblities we are discussing. We could pay the healthcare reform bill three times over if we took the money for unnecessary military expenditures and gave it back to the people it was stolen from.
Obama, sadly, does not rock this boat either. He speaks lamely about how Afghanistan remains a threat to the United States because of Al Quaida, but it's utterly unconvincing and he seems to know it because he delivers it with a lackluster effort to engender belief that even he does not project. When he talks about healthcare reform he stays carefully within the limits and does not rock corporate America with any threats to the military status quo, the military economic addiction. This is where reform needs to begin. This country is in need of some methadone to get off of the military economic imperative. Money from the so-called defense budget needs to be channeled into other kinds of investment besides useless weapons systems. It's an addiction. It needs to be recognized as such and a cure must be instituted. It can't be cold turkey. That money needs to continue to circulate in a Keynesian way in the economy. And healthcare expenditures are a perfect way to ease the economic system off its warfare addiction.
Let's look at the whole picture. Let's get outside this conditioning by the corporate state that controls the information system and thereby the culture that places barriers in front of any real democratic discussion of these issues. It's time to wake up from our corporate hypnosis. The money for healthcare reform is in the defense budget, along with the money to rebuild America's infrastructure. Let's get at it.
August 26, 2009Forgotten Honduras -- Obama said critics of U.S. involvement in Latin America who are now asking Washington to do more to restore the ousted president of Honduras "can't have it both ways." Hugo Chavez retorted: "We are not asking you to intervene in Honduras, Obama. On the contrary, we are asking that the empire get its hands off Honduras and get its claws out of Latin America. President Obama is lost in the Andromeda Nebula, he has lost his bearings, he doesn't get it." Yahoo
Tell Me Why -- Al Qaida isn't IN Afghanistan. Will someone please explain why we are fighting a war there? It's not because we're chasing Al Qaida. That is just too plainly false. When they were there Bush let them get away. After all, what is a War on Terror without Al Qaida? So really, Barack, what is it? Why are we in Afghanistan? In this little clip (Yahoo) he explains that it's a "war worth fighting", "not a war of choice [as Iraq] but a war of necessity" and he urges patience. I can think of many other presidents that have said the same thing and it never made sense. It didn't make sense when Lyndon Johnson said it, when Nixon said it, when George W. Bush and Boss Cheney said it. And it doesn't fly now. It just ain't real.
August 26, 2009The Corporate Takeover -- Larry Flynt writing on the Huffington Post: "The American government -- which we once called our government -- has been taken over by Wall Street, the mega-corporations and the super-rich. They are the ones who decide our fate. It is this group of powerful elites, the people President Franklin D. Roosevelt called "economic royalists," who choose our elected officials -- indeed, our very form of government. Both Democrats and Republicans dance to the tune of their corporate masters. In America, corporations do not control the government. In America, corporations are the government. This was never more obvious than with the Wall Street bailout, whereby the very corporations that caused the collapse of our economy were rewarded with taxpayer dollars. So arrogant, so smug were they that, without a moment's hesitation, they took our money -- yours and mine -- to pay their executives multimillion-dollar bonuses, something they continue doing to this very day. They have no shame. They don't care what you and I think about them. Henry Kissinger refers to us as 'useless eaters.'"
August 28, 2009No Good Deed Unpunished -- The guy who warned that the New Orleans levies were inadequate has quietly been let go. See Greg Palast at crooksandliars.com.
August 29, 2009Cindy Sheehan Returns -- Protesting where Obama is vacationing in Martha's Vineyard, she says, "Even though the facade has changed in Washington DC, the policies are still the same... We have to realize, it is not the president who is power, it is not the party that is in power it is the system that stays the same, no matter who is in charge." AFP
August 31, 2009The Thing that Wouldn't Go Away -- Dick Cheney, the malevolent creature, is still hanging around making noise on a constant basis. When did any vice president ever linger on like this, constantly bitching as if he were still running the country? But Cheney was an unprecedented catastrophe in every way when he wielded the power of the undercover chief executive, so it's not surprising that his actions now would also be unprecedented. He's very nervous about the probes into torture. He wants America to celebrate it the way he does. It was such a great moment for America. aol.
-- David Cogswell