Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Feelin Good" - My Brightest Diamond

Happy New Year, Welcome 2010. - Glitter Graphics

"Birds flying high, You know how I feel
Sun in the sky, You know how I feel
Breeze drifting on by, You know how I feel
It's a new a dawn And a new day
And a new life for me And I'm feeling good."

Happy New Year. Peace in 2010.

What Should We Call The Decade Just Completed? How About "The Twilight Zone."

How Do You Say "Liar Liar Pants On Fire" In Nigerian?

Some nut-bag Nigerian decided to give himself a Brazilian bikini hot-wax without the wax on an international flight. First he packed the crotch of his panties with what turned out to be dummy exploding powder. Then he tried to light his pubic hairs on fire. I'm guessing he didn't have a date for New Year's Eve.

You think that's crazy? As soon as it happened, some of our crazed politicians and much of the major corporate media were promoting the idea that the U.S. should start a war against Yemen. Turns out the Nigerian spent some time in Yemen. So let's start a war. Because they've got some nut-bag lunatic who spent time there. Let's nuke them.

Who's crazier? The guy with the flaming pubic hairs? Or the American national politicians and media that speak openly about incinerating millions of innocent children as "revenge" for the attempts by the crazy man to start a fire?

I've had about enough of wars, bombs, guns, and crazy men on airplanes. Maybe that's what we should call this past decade. The decade of wars, bombs, guns, and crazy men on airplanes. And crazier men in the United States government.

When can we stop talking about the acts of a lunatic as justifying an equally insane response from our country? Or are we too far gone? Is everyone in leadership insane? Or is it just that they get such enormous kick-backs and bribes from the War Industry that they will promote war till their dying breath?

I've heard call-in shows discussing what would you do if a guy next to you on an airplane tried to light his crotch on fire? People calling in anxious to weigh in on this most pressing national issue.

But I think this would be a better question: what would you do if you were one of the 45,000 Americans who die every year because they don't have affordable healthcare? What will you do if your doctor diagnoses cancer of the colon or breast or throat, and your insurance company raises your premiums to $50,000/month, so you cannot continue to have any insurance? How brave will you be then? Will you jump up (like you would on the airplane, with the burning-crotch lunatic sitting next to you), grab a knife, and slice open your own gut, rip out the cancerous part of your colon? Will you take an ax and cut off your own breast like you would take an ax to the head of the smoldering frequent-flying lunatic?

I don't want any crazy people blowing up anyone -- airborne or otherwise. But the big numbers of American deaths are not caused by these bizarre cases that capture the attention of the media. What will you do when your neighbor or spouse or sibling or child gets cancer and cannot afford treatment? How tough will you be then? Because that's a much more likely scenario in everyone's life than is the guy with the sparkly pubic hairs.

Why can't we ever have an honest discussion in this country about what's really killing us and destroying our lives? You can start with unemployment, then go on to the unbearable cost of these insane wars we are waging against everyone. Test the local water, then ask why we can't deliver clean water to our own citizens. Look at the public schools being shut down and replaced with private or charter schools, the entire concept of a free public education being eliminated in front of our eyes. The unemployment compensation system in 25 states is broke, with 15 more states right on the edge.

FDIC is broke -- it has no money -- because they have bailed out so many banks around the country that have failed because of the phoney "investments" sold by the criminals on Wall Street, the same criminals who have been allowed to keep all the money they stole from us.

We are in serious danger in this country, but it's not from some nutjob from Nigeria. There will always be crazy people in the world. But our biggest danger comes from our own politicians who take money, sell us out, and pretend that the only thing we have to fear is exploding African crotches. If only.

What Happens When You Mix Viagra And Oxycontin, Other Than Deafness and Insanity?

The deaf, deranged drug-addict from the radio was allegedly "rushed" (get it -- "rushed") to the hospital in Hawaii yesterday, while on vacation. The official story is that he was suffering from chest pains. I remember one time he got nailed while coming back from "vacation" with a whole bunch of viagra in his suitcase. This is the oxycontin addict who used his housecleaner as a mule, and consumed such large quantities of the drug that it made him go deaf. Of course he has millions of right-wing fascist fans who think he's just swell.

What if it wasn't chest pains? That's one of those cover stories for men. 50s, white male, chest pain, everybody says nice things like gee what a shame. But what if it wasn't chest pains? What if it was a drug overdose? Would they announce that or cover it up? What if he got one of those four-hour erections from Viagra, and had to be taken to the hospital to restore the little prick to its original condition. Or what if he got his dick stuck in a long-neck beer bottle. Do you think the hospital would announce that? I've known doctors who work in emergency rooms, and you wouldn't believe the stories they tell. A dick stuck in a long-neck beer bottle would be just a typical Saturday night for them.

I've been waiting all day to hear that he died. This has been such a crappy year for me personally, what with one thing after the other (not only did I break some bones this summer, but I'm also now having computer problems), I'd like to see something good come out of the year. It wouldn't matter anyway. He's a useless, despicable, ugly, hateful, cowardly, paranoid insane drug addict whose sole purpose in life is to spread racism, sexism, war, hatred and insanity across the land. Good riddance to bad rubbish is all I could say. But beyond that, if old Rush croaked, there's hundreds of young pretty-boys lined up behind him ready to step up to support the Nazi propaganda network in this country. Bottom line: who gives a shit about this miserable useless piece of waste byproduct?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Miles Davis - Someday My Prince Will Come.

Even if it isn't Jesus' real birthday, even if Jesus was just a guy, not the son of God, even if nobody is coming to "save" us, it's still a great story, repeated in different cultures through the ages. It gives us hope. Here's one version. Miles Davis, "Someday My Prince Will Come." Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Handel's "Messiah" - The Hallelujah Chorus

“Messiah” was composed in 24 days by George Frideric Handel in 1741. The term “Messiah” means the anointed one, and refers to the life of Jesus according to Christian belief. The work covers three areas of the life and death of Jesus consisting generally of the birth and early life, the crucifixion, and the resurrection and promise of eternal life. “Messiah” was first performed in 1742 in Dublin near the Temple Bar district.

The Hallelujah chorus is the most famous movement. It supposedly is based upon three sections from the New Testament, Book of Revelation, as follows:

- And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:6)

- And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

- And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16)

Handel reportedly broke down in tears when he completed the Hallulah chorus, saying that he thought he’d seen the face of God.

Most audiences stand when the Hallujah chorus is performed. The story has it that when King George II of England went to a performance of “Messiah,” he stood up when the Hallelujah chorus began. And the rule at that time was that if the King stands, everybody stands.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Otis Redding - I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas

Don't Blame Me. I'm From Rhode Island.

Happy Feast of the Son of Isis (Pagan origins of Christmas)

Don't you hate the way that every single thing you learned when you were a kid turned out to have been -- a lie. Even the simple stuff.

It turns out that even December 25, the celebration we call "Christmas," which is supposed to be the day on which Jesus was born, is just a bunch of hooey. (Sorry Christians). Jesus was not born on December 25. Apparently he was born in September. That's not my opinion, that's from religious scholars based upon descriptions in the Bible.

All over this country we've got people proclaiming that December 25 was the day Jesus was born. In a manger. And the 3 wisemen and the camel and gifts -- all a lie. Instead, in 350 a.d. the Pope selected December 25 as an arbitrary date on which to celebrate the birth of Jesus. He chose that day because he was trying to wean people away from their pagan holidays. So he hoped to substitute the "Jesus Birthday" new holiday he was creating for the various pagan holidays which were celebrated in December around the world.

For example, December 25 is the date on which the Feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated in ancient Babylon. On that day, people would have parties, feasts, drink, and exchange gifts.

In Rome, in December and January there were holidays and celebrations long before Jesus was born. These were celebrations of the winter solstice. Among other traditions of the Roman holiday were the singing groups who went from home to home, singing songs for their neighbors. These groups were called Mummers. Just like our caroling groups.

In northern Europe, long before Jesus was born, this period in the end of December was also celebrated for the winter solstice. They called that period "Yule." According to the people in northern Europe, the pagan sun God Mithras was born on the shortest day of the year (December 21), and that birth was celebrated by them. Among other traditions of the northern Europeans, they would kiss under the mistletoe during this time, because mistletoe was thought to be a fertility plant. In northern Europe, the people during this period would also often bring evergreen trees into their homes, as a reminder to them to wish for the crops to grow in the spring.

Now if we can re-examine this whole "Jesus' Birthday" story, maybe it's time to take a second look at the whole "virgin birth" issue. Anyway, if you hear some Bill O'Really fan whining about somebody saying "Happy Holidays," you can use this information to educate them as to the actual multi-cultural and pagan holidays all of which are celebrated at the end of December. Including Jesus' September birthday!

The official first celebration of Christmas (Christ Mass) was in Germany in the 1500s. Of course nowadays the celebration has been moved to the malls where people buy electronic gadgets and expensive clothes with credit cards, hoping that the one day of Christmas can solve all their problems. It usually doesn't, but may be fun anyway.

Walker Evans - Subway Photos.

Walker Evans had a whole book full of pictures he took of people riding the subway. I don't know why I like these pictures so much. Maybe because they're so real. This is my favorite one, below.

Carol of the Bells

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rumors of Eating Disorders.

("Don't be ridiculous. I'm just naturally thin.")

States Exhaust Unemployment Compensation Funds

25 states have exhausted their unemployment compensation funds. An additional 15 states are expected to do so soon. When the fund is exhausted, the states begin to borrow money from the federal government to keep their state-based unemployment compensation system afloat. But the money borrowed from the federal government will have to be repaid. How will it be repaid? Some states are talking about radical increases in the costs to employers of unemployment insurance. And if the employment does not return to a state, eventually the federal government will cut the state off from further loans, and then the people in that state will not have any unemployment compensation program. Which actually is part of the Republican platform: get rid of unemployment compensation. Looks like they are succeeding in that.

This tracks with Naomi Klein's book "Shock Doctrine." First the Republicans allow Wall Street to loot the country; they start wars for Empire and further drain the treasury, have some (as yet undefined) relationship to 9/11, either by not bothering to protect the public from the attack or by knowing it was coming and using it to justify attacking Iraq, but in any event they use the 9/11 attacks to suspend the constitution, terrify the public, and tell people to expect very little in their lives in the future other than the national goal of keeping them "safe." But safe from whom? Not safe from the corporations who are taking our jobs overseas, bribing our politicians, setting up offshore shell facades so they won't have to pay any taxes.

And now here we are with ongoing long-term large unemployment. Our government is loaning our money to the credit card industry at 0% interest per year, and the credit card companies turn around and the loan the money to us at 30%/year. The banks have taken everyone's money by the grossly inflated real estate market created by Alan Greenspan, and now they are foreclosing and kicking people out on the street.

When the financial crisis hit hard, our government did not do anything to help us, the people -- why not give us money? Why not pass emergency legislation limiting interest charges on credit cards to 10%? Why not help the people? Instead, the Democrats gave hundreds of billions of dollars to the same criminals on Wall Street who created these problems in the first place. Why are they rewarded? Why is the Obama administration packed with the same people who supported the looting of our country by Wall Street?

What will happen eventually? Some states (like California, if Arnold has his way) will begin selling off all the assets that belong to the state, cutting back on public education to the point that it is so bad that anyone who can will have their kids in private schools (probably "Christian" private schools), laying off cops, firefighters, teachers, shutting down libraries, cutting salaries for the clerical employees and eliminating healthcare and pensions for everyone. Then we will have a public that is "crushed" by the forces of Wall Street. Nobody can stand up to the Empire. People will simply go along, standing on streetcorners begging for a day's work while the politicians carry off bags of bribes to hide away in off-shore hedge funds.

Our entire country has been looted. Everything has been taken away. People's savings are disappearing from grossly inflated housing costs, unemployment, and the fact that the banks pay 0% interest. People who have money in the stock market already saw 30-40% disappear, and if we have a "double dip" early next year, as many predict, it could be a rinse and repeat scenario. There is no job security for the employed. And now the government is giving another $200 billion per year of our money to the medical industry, the same people who have been gouging us for decades now, making our medical care the most expensive, but among the worst of western nations.

We were waiting for the Democrats to save us. They are on the other side, though, Republicans in disguise. Now what?

The National Nurses' Union Opposes The Democrats' Corporate Giveaway, The Healthcare Un-Reform Bill.

It is fitting that the national nurses unions have been among the first, the most vocal, the most active proponents of this country adopting a national healthcare program that would provide healthcare to all Americans. After all, while the doctors profit from the current for-profit system which allows doctors to charge obscene amounts for their services, most nurses make a yearly salary which is sometimes decent, but certainly not excessive.

In addition, it is the nurses who have the most direct contact with the patients, and who see how patients suffer under our current system. If a patient can't afford the drugs that the doctor has prescribed, for example, the doctor often does not know or care because they receive so many bribes from the drug companies for pushing their drugs that the doctors have a financial incentive to continue the current system.

The National nurses union ("National Nurses United")is opposed to (and appalled by) the Democrats' pending Healthcare Un-Reform Bill. I agree with them. Here is their most recent statement:

National Nurses United Statement 12/21/09

"The 150,000 member National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in the U.S., today criticized the healthcare bill now advancing in the U.S. Senate saying it is deeply flawed and grants too much power to the giant insurers."

“'It is tragic to see the promise from Washington this year for genuine, comprehensive reform ground down to a seriously flawed bill that could actually exacerbate the healthcare crisis and financial insecurity for American families, and that cedes far too much additional power to the tyranny of a callous insurance industry,' said NNU co-president Karen Higgins, RN."

"NNU Co-president Deborah Burger, RN challenged arguments of legislation proponents that the bill should still be passed because of expanded coverage, new regulations on insurers, and the hope that it will be improved in the House-Senate conference committee or future years."

“'Those wishful statements ignore the reality that much of the expanded coverage is based on forced purchase of private insurance without effective controls on industry pricing practices or real competition and gaping loopholes in the insurance reforms,' said Burger."

"Further, said NNU Co-president Jean Ross, RN, 'the bill seems more likely to be eroded, not improved, in future years due to the unchecked influence of the healthcare industry lobbyists and the lessons of this year in which all the compromises have been made to the right.'”

“'Sadly, we have ended up with legislation that fails to meet the test of true healthcare reform, guaranteeing high quality, cost effective care for all Americans, and instead are further locking into place a system that entrenches the chokehold of the profit-making insurance giants on our health. If this bill passes, the industry will become more powerful and could be beyond the reach of reform for generations,' Higgins said."

"NNU cited ten significant problems in the legislation, noting many of the same flaws also exist in the House version and are likely to remain in the bill that emerges from the House-Senate reconciliation process:"

"1. The individual mandate forcing all those without coverage to buy private insurance, with insufficient cost controls on skyrocketing premiums and other insurance costs."

"2. No challenge to insurance company monopolies, especially in the top 94 metropolitan areas where one or two companies dominate, severely limiting choice and competition."

"3. An affordability mirage. Congressional Budget Office estimates say a family of four with a household income of $54,000 would be expected to pay 17 percent of their income, $9,000, on healthcare exposing too many families to grave financial risk."

"4. The excise tax on comprehensive insurance plans which will encourage employers to reduce benefits, shift more costs to employees, promote proliferation of high-deductible plans, and lead to more self-rationing of care and medical bankruptcies, especially as more plans are subject to the tax every year due to the lack of adequate price controls. A Towers-Perrin survey in September found 30 percent of employers said they would reduce employment if their health costs go up, 86 percent said they’d pass the higher costs to their employees."

"5. Major loopholes in the insurance reforms that promise bans on exclusion for pre-existing conditions, and no cancellations for sickness. The loopholes include:

--"Provisions permitting insurers and companies to more than double charges to employees who fail 'wellness' programs because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol readings, or other medical conditions."

--"Insurers are permitted to sell policies 'across state lines', exempting patient protections passed in other states. Insurers will thus set up in the least regulated states in a race to the bottom threatening public protections won by consumers in various states."

--"Insurers can charge four times more based on age plus more for certain conditions, and continue to use marketing techniques to cherry-pick healthier, less costly enrollees."

--"Insurers may continue to rescind policies for “fraud or intentional misrepresentation” – the main pretext insurance companies now use to cancel coverage."

"6. Minimal oversight on insurance denials of care; a report by the California Nurses Association/NNOC in September found that six of California’s largest insurers have rejected more than one-fifth of all claims since 2002."

"7. Inadequate limits on drug prices, especially after Senate rejection of an amendment, to protect a White House deal with pharmaceutical giants, allowing pharmacies and wholesalers to import lower-cost drugs."

"8. New burdens for our public safety net. With a shortage of primary care physicians and a continuing fiscal crisis at the state and local level, public hospitals and clinics will be a dumping ground for those the private system doesn’t want."

"9. Reduced reproductive rights for women."

"10. No single standard of care. Our multi-tiered system remains with access to care still determined by ability to pay. Nothing changes in basic structure of the system; healthcare remains a privilege, not a right."

“'Desperation to pass a bill, regardless of its flaws, has made the White House and Congress subject to the worst political extortion and new, crippling concessions every day,'” Burger said.

“'NNU and nurses will continue to work with the thousands of grassroots activists across the nation to campaign for the best reform, which would be to expand Medicare to cover everyone, the same type of system working more effectively in every other industrial country. The day of that reform will come,' said Ross."

(Underline added for emphasis by NABNYC).

Among the most horrifying aspects of this bill is that Congress is giving legal permission to insurance companies to immediately begin raising the rates for many Americans. They can increase "older" Americans' insurance by four times. And remember, citizens are legally compelled to buy the insurance, spending approximately 20% or more of their household income on health insurance.

The provision that will allow insurance companies to sell out of state eviscerates the ability of citizens to get their state government to provide them with protections. The insurance companies will presumably gather in the most corrupt states of the country, the states willing to make sure there are no restrictions on insurance company practices, and those states' rules will govern. If Mississippi, for example, is the chosen state, then residents of California will be subject to the lowest standards that the state of Mississippi is willing to enact for their citizens. The reason for this provision? To let the health insurance companies do what they want, and take away from citizens the power to legally restrict them. What a disgrace this is. This is not democracy. This is just corruption.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Janis Ian, Phoebe Snow, Odetta: "Hymn." (Dreams die young).

The last line in this beautiful and amazing song is "Dreams die young." It seems so appropriate. A year ago many of us were so elated at the election of Barack Obama. Today, I can only ask: What Change?

The Democrats continue to give away the treasury to the criminals on Wall Street who have bankrupt our nation. The wars are being escalated and new ones started. Unemployment has ravished the meager savings of working Americans, and many states have exhausted their unemployment compensation fund.

Now the promise of healthcare reform turns out to be just another corporate give-away. Everytime a Democrat says this bill will "expand" or "provide" healthcare to millions more Americans, remember this: it does no such thing. It orders people to buy health insurance even if they cannot afford it. There are very few benefits to the people in this bill. It mostly is just another corporate give-away.

Last week, somebody proposed in the Senate that at least they include a provision that would allow Americans to buy their drugs from Canada, import them from licensed pharmacists in Canada, because the exact same drugs that we buy here are sold in Canada for a fraction of what we pay. President Obama, through one of his agencies, sent a stern note to Congress telling them this would not be acceptable. That must be part of the deal he negotiated in his secret meetings with the drug companies, to make sure they continue to earn obscene profits off of Americans. In exchange, of course, for their very generous "contributions" to the Democrats. Back-room deals, secret meetings, absurd laws, and Democrats sounding more like Republicans every day. Dreams die young, indeed.

Vivaldi - The Four Seasons - "Winter"

Today is the first day of winter.

It seems like winter is the "end" -- end of the year. Cold, dark, everything dies. But winter mostly takes place in January through March, at the beginning of the year.

We think of winter as meaning weather. Rain, snow, sleet, slush. And dark. Candles, flashlights. We have all these inventions to keep the dark away. Front porch lights, motion sensors, night lights. We do not like the dark. If nothing else, we can trip and fall in the dark because we can't see. But it's really more than that.

Bad things hide in the dark. Bogeymen, muggers, burglars, robbers. People who would harm us. People who go away in the summer, hide somewhere rather than expose themselves to the bright light. People like Dick Cheney, the pale bloodless cellar-dweller who apparently has never exposed himself to sunlight, preferring to live on the "dark side" of things, as he puts it. People like that creep and crawl all over the streets in winter, just waiting for the chance to do us harm. But if we have a light -- even a match -- they can't touch us. We're safe.

There is nothing quite as good as having a tough trip home after a long day, driving or walking or riding through dark, cold, mostly vacant streets, feeling like nobody else is fool enough to still be outside, then finally arriving at whatever we call "home," where there is light, there is warmth, there may be a hot shower and a good meal. Winter sends us into our caves to regroup, to be grateful if we have a cave to go to. And hopeful that spring will come again, as it has in the past.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Frank Sinatra - Let It Snow

Do you like snow? I have a friend who lives up by Rochester, and she hates snow. Of course she has to chisel it off her windshield to get to work and back home, slog through the sludge, stay slightly chilled for too many months out of each year. They get a lot of snow in upstate New York.

I like snow.

I particularly like snow when everything is white, enveloped within the snow clouds, and everyone goes inside, all but the crazy stay off the roads, and a hush falls over everything. It's a quiet unlike any other. Shhhhh.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hey ObamaForAmerica: GiveMeABreak.

I'm getting lots of "million-message" e-mails. A couple from ObamaForAmerica telling me to make a million phone calls to the senate telling them to pass the corporate give-away un-reform healthcare bill. My response to ObamaForAmerica was GiveMeABreak.

Instead of going along silently, I suggest people send a letter, fax, e-mail or make a phone call to both your senators, your representative, and to President Obama, send a letter to your local newspaper telling them that you want the right to be able to buy into Medicare -- regardless of your age. Tell them the proposed Joe the Ho Lieberman Senate bill is a corporate giveaway, and if the Democrats pass it, they deserve to be thrown out of every office they hold in this country.

Last week the Senate briefly discussed the idea of allowing people 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare. Joe the Ho Lieberman, who used to support that idea, came out this week and said he refused to go along with it. Joe the Ho Lieberman apparently got his marching orders from the insurance companies who pay him so much money, and they don't want to let the 55 to 64 crowd out of their grips, because they can charge so much money to people in that group based on the appearance of various age-related health problems. It's a goldmine to the insurance companies. Senior Rape.

Why should Joe the Ho Lieberman get to decide what we, the people, can choose as our form of healthcare? The Senate could vote right now, with 51 votes only, to allow any American to buy into Medicare. Or, as I have previously suggested, start by allowing people over 50, and from the ages of zero to 21, to buy into Medicare. Young people generally are very healthy and inexpensive, so this could be a really good option for parents and allow them to save some money. People over 50, as I mentioned, are the ones who are the most extremely gouged by the insurance companies. Then once those groups are administratively processed, up and running, we could gradually allow other age groups to opt in if they choose.

Anybody who wants to keep their private insurance would be free to do so. You know, -- this is America, we have freedoms, the right to choose. Don't let Joe the Ho Lieberman take that away from us.

I sent a fax to both my Senators, my representative, President Obama, and a letter to the local papers, which read as follows:

I want to be allowed to buy into Medicare. I am willing to pay the fair cost to do so. I understand the insurance companies take 1/3 off the top of my premiums, and that if I am allowed to join Medicare I will save a minimum of 1/3 off my monthly health insurance expenses.

In addition, I understand that by joining the "group" of people in Medicare, I will receive the benefits of group rate discounts, which would be a further savings for me.

I do not care if other people want to keep their private health insurance. That's okay with me. I just wish that the politicians would stop taking bribes from the medical industry and betraying the public.

As I understand, the current Un-Reform bill in the Senate would order 40 million Americans to buy health insurance. At $300/month for each, that would be approximately $140 BILLION per year in new income to the health insurance industry which they, in turn, would pay out partly to doctors, hospitals, and drug companies.

$140 BILLION will pay for a lot of kick-backs and bribes to the politicians who are supposed to represent us. I've got an idea: how about if the politicians stop taking bribes from the medical industry while they are supposed to be representing us, the individuals, the people, the citizens? We need help.

The reform we need is to reduce the cost of healthcare. The current bill does nothing to reduce the cost. It is yet another give-away to the corporations. What Change?

I just got an e-mail from The Progress Report telling me that progressives should support passage of the Senate health-care corporate give-away bill. They claim that it will help. I disagree. Their position is mostly hype and hysteria. They assume that the medical industry will voluntarily lower their prices. It won't happen. The main beneficiaries of this bill are the same members of the Medical Industry who are already making a fortune from the death industry. The bill will pay for all the very poor people who are treated in emergency rooms or hospitals. For most Americans, there are no benefits, and there is a tremendous cost: the cost of paying the health industry industry and the medical industry. We the taxpayers will be paying the uncollectible bills of the medical industry.

Here's my response to The Progress Report. Actually it was in all red, bold and caps when I sent it back:

You're so wrong about this. The Democrats sold us out before the discussion even began. President Obama had secret meetings with the health industry CEOS and promised them that the Democrats would not pass single_payer, would not do anything to cut into the obscene profits of doctors, hospitals, health insurance companies and drug dealers, but would only make silly little meaningless reforms while ordering 40 million Americans to buy health insurance. At $300/person/month, that's $140 billion per year more in income to the corporate medical industry.

For us, for the citizens, we get nothing. No cost controls. No right to import drugs from Canada. No Medicare buy-in for Americans over 50, who are the most likely to have their premiums raised to unaffordable levels, the most likely to suffer illnesses that could be successfully treated but will kill them without healthcare. 45,000 Americans die every year because healthcare is unaffordable. Ordering them to buy insurance is absurd.

It's like saying we can solve hunger in America by ordering people to buy food, solve homelessness by ordering people to go rent an apartment. It misses the central issue: people can't afford to buy it because the providers charge us obscene amounts.

If the bill is passed, the only thing that will happen is that the Democrats will get a ton of kick_backs from the medical industry, their share of the $140 billion per year of taxpayer money given to the corporations, and the Democrats will go around the country campaigning and telling the public that help is on the way, that the Democrats have "reformed" healthcare. They will also refuse to discuss healthcare for the next 10 years, saying we have to wait to see how this bill will play out.

It's a gross insult to the American people to call this healthcare reform. It reforms nothing. It's just another giveaway to the corporations, for which the politicians will receive enormous bribes.

Tell the Democrats to go back and pass a bill allowing Americans to buy into Medicare in stages. Let's say 50 and over are first. 1-21 are next. Then other groups can opt in over time. Pass the bill by reconciliation which only requires 51 votes. If the Democrats refuse to do this, they not only should be thrown out of office, the entire party should be disbanded. We don’t need 2 political parties doing the bidding of corporations. I would say destroy the Democratic party, throw every single one of them out of office, if they fail to provide the American public with real healthcare reform.

Look at it this way. Because of Greenspan and the bankers and wall street and Clinton and Rubin, housing prices were jacked up by 300% because interest rates were held down to artificially-low levels. People now pay 50% of their income in housing, whereas they used to pay 20-25%. Now Americans are expected to pay 20% on top of that for healthcare. That's 70%. 20% for taxes. That leaves 10% of their gross earnings for everything else.

Why not just kill people instead of hacking them to death slowly?

You know when Thomas Friedman said the world is flat? I think he was referring to the corporate bulldozers which are crushing everything in our country and leaving the average person with nothing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stop Israel's Genocide. Support The Palestinian Gaza Freedom March.

Below is a great visual from an article at Counterpunch. The article can be found at this link: In general, the green is the Palestinian land, and white is Jewish or Israel land. The entire colored chunk was Palestine, belonging to the Palestinians, but with Jewish neighborhoods and Jewish people living alongside the Palestinians. The Palestinians themselves are members of various religions, some Muslim and some Christian.

The zionists are a fanatical group that decided they would change Judaism from a religion, and turn it into a militaristic, nationalistic, armed and deadly ideology, much like that of the Nazis. The zionists decided they would try to convince Jewish people from around the world to move to Palestine. Then when there were enough of them, they would smuggle in guns, attack the Palestinians and steal their land, and declare that they were now a Jewish Nation, from which all non-Jewish people would be expelled. Actually the zionists were also big supporters of ethnic cleansing, which is now one of the weapons used by Israel in its efforts to commit genocide against the Palestinian people. Zionists are just a militaristic, nationalistic, racist, murderous bunch of thieves, criminals, and thugs who, much like the German nazis, like to wear uniforms, carry weapons, bully others, and proclaim that they are superior to all other people on the earth.

The first block in the visual below, on the left, shows Palestine, the land of the Palestinians, as it existed in 1946. The green parts are the land owned by Palestinians. There are small areas in white which were the parts of land primarily owned by Jewish people. Jewish neighborhoods, as it were, inside Palestine. Jewish and Palestinian people living alongside each other in Palestine.

The next square over shows the partition of Palestine, pursuant to the U.N., in 1947. As you can see, the European influx of survivors of the Holocaust were given more than half of the land of Palestine, while the Palestinians were left with less than half of what they had only a year before.

The third square shows the land stolen by Israel from 1949 through 1967. Israel, the Europeans, had by then stolen over 70% of the land of Palestine. And they have strategically occupied lands with the intent to cut one Palestinian community off from another, to isolate the people from each other and from critical resources such as water.

The last block shows the balance of the land stolen by Israel from the Palestinians. Most of the land of Palestine has now been stolen by the European settlors, and the original inhabitants, the Palestinians, have been driven out, or herded into smaller and smaller areas.

This is the effect of the "settlements," as Israel calls them. What Israel does is solicit people from other countries to move to Israel in exchange for being paid substantial benefits such as being given an apartment or home, and a job. And a gun, of course. Much of the cost of the "settlements" is paid for by American tax dollars. Our government refuses to provide us with healthcare, but sends billions of dollars to Israel to use to build apartments for Jewish people from Europe. We actually give them apartments built on land owned by the Palestinians. Aren't we generous. To a fault. Of course Israel turns around and kicks-back a big chunk of the money they receive from Congress, using it to bribe our politicians so they will continue to send our money to Israel. The Israelis have a national healthcare program for their Jewish citizens, but not for the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Total approximate number of Jewish residents in the land formerly known as Palestine (mostly European, either descendents of the post-war immigrants or more recent arrivals enticed to move to Israel in exchange for valuable consideration): 5 million. Total approximate number of Palestinians living in the area: 5 million. Equal numbers, approximately. Yet there is no equality in land, or rights.

If the Palestinians who were run off of their land by the Europeans were allowed to return, given the legal right to return to their land, they would represent the majority of the people in the former Palestine and presumably would vote not to have a Jewish-run and Jewish-law based government. That is why Israel ran out the Palestinians and stole their land. If the Palestinians' demand for a right to return ever succeeds, the former Palestine will become a majority Palestinian state, and the Jewish residents would have to learn how to get along with their non-Jewish neighbors under a civil government. In order to prevent this from happening, Israel continues stealing more Palestinian land and killing more of their people.

The Palestinians are treated worse than dogs. They are murdered by Israel with no consequences. In fact, a few years ago an American working with a peace group, a young woman named Rachel Corrie, went to stand in front of the homes of some Palestinians, homes that Israel had threatened to knock down so they could force the Palestinians off the land. The Israeli bulldozer ran right over Rachel Corrie and killed her. Murdered her. Even for murdering an American, there were no consequences.

What is the special tie between Israel and the U.S.? Money. A corrupt criminal enterprise. Congress votes to send money to Israel, Israel takes a chunk off the top, launders it back into the U.S., and pays kick-backs and bribes to "our" politicians. It's been going on for a long time. Even when Israel plants spies inside the U.S. government and steals classified and top secret information, the U.S. governments gives them a walk. That is what money can buy: the right to commit treason.

The goal of the Europeans is to steal all of the land and drive all the Palestinians away. The Israelis say the Palestinians should go somewhere else -- move to Jordan or Lebanon, for example. The Palestinians want their land back. Despite the on-going organized effort of Israel to collect money as "reparations" for Jewish people killed during World War II, nothing has ever been paid to the Palestinians for the land and resources Israel has stolen from them or the thousands of Palestinians who have been murdered by Israel. Not one penny.

Israel has no right to any of the land of Palestine. It doesn't really seem to matter. They didn't buy it, it belonged to someone else, they have stolen it by use of force, violence and murder. Their "claim" is that thousands of years ago, God wanted the Jewish people to own this land. Not my God.

The Final Solution being implemented by Israel is to put all Palestinians essentially in a prison by building a concrete block wall around all areas occupied by Palestinians, putting in only a few points of access, and generally refusing to allow the Palestinians to leave the "prison" for any purpose, even to get healthcare. This is exactly like the Nazis did in Poland, squeezing the surviving Jewish residents of Warsaw into the infamous Warsaw ghetto, starving them, denying them healthcare, and just waiting for them all to die. The Jewish survivors learned well from their German tormentors, and now use the same brutal and inhumane tactics in their efforts to kill every single remaining Palestinian.

For over a year now, Israel has imposed collective punishment on the Palestinians living in the Gaza strip. Their conditions are inhumane, the conduct by Israel is illegal, and of course it is funded by the U.S. Although our country continues to support the murder of Palestinians, the individual citizens have the ability to take a stand against Israel.

On December 31, 2009, there will be a Gaza Freedom March in which people from all over the world will stand and speak and march in support of the people of Gaza, and demand that Israel end its war crimes. You can go to this link below and sign a petition to support this organization, and find out what else you can do to help. Among other things, demand that the U.S. completely cut off all money given to Israel. U.S. Out of Israel. The U.S. should take that money and give it to the Palestinians, since the U.S. is ultimately responsible for the murder and devastation done to their land by Israel, which we fund and support.

What Will The Medical Un-Reform Bill Cost The Taxpayers?

The Democrats have been telling us citizens for years that if only we supported them, elected them, got them in control, they would enact major legislation to radically alter the bloated and incompetent medical industry in this country known as Healthcare.

Doctors and hospitals charge grossly obscene hourly rates which most people cannot afford to pay. There are certain doctors, known to other doctors and to the professional licensing boards, who are drunks and drug addicts, and those few doctors account for the majority of medical malpractice. But instead of protecting the unknowing public from these quacks, the insurance and doctors' lobbies bribe our politicians to pass laws making it impossible for any injured victim to sue a doctor for malpractice.

American drug companies charge Americans way more than they charge people in any other country in the world. And the drug companies bribe our politicians to get them to pass a law to make it illegal for people to buy their drugs in Canada. For awhile there, senior citizens with chronic conditions that require certain drugs were arranging bus trips to Canada at which they could buy the exact same drugs, same company, same manufacturer, for a fraction of what they have to pay in the U.S. The drug companies were outraged at the thought that old people could live a little longer, with a few more dollars in their pockets, a wee bit of dignity, so the drug companies bribed our politicians to pass a law making it illegal to import drugs.

This entire industry has failed at its essential responsibility, which is to provide good, decent, affordable healthcare to the people in this country. They rob people blind, steal their homes, force them into bankruptcy with their outrageous charges. But our politicians refuse to do anything to help us.

I just calculated what this Medical Un-Reform bill is going to cost us. The bill will order 40 million uninsured Americans to start buying health insurance. I figure $300/month per person to start. That will be One Hundred Forty-Four BILLION Dollars per year ($144,000,000,000) in additional income that will be paid to the insurance companies which, in turn, will pay 2/3 of it out to the doctors, hospitals, and drug companies. Not a bad paycheck. For all the uninsureds who are simply too poor to pay, taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for their insurance premiums.

You know what they say. One Hundred Forty-Four Billion Dollars will buy a lot of Democratic politicians, who undoubtedly will receive enormous kick-backs if they succeed in passing this Medical Un-Reform Bill.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Joe the Ho Lieberman Wants Americans To Die.


Joe the Ho Lieberman wants Americans to die.

Actually, he doesn't care much one way or the other as long as he keeps getting the big bribes and kick-backs from corporate America for selling his vote and betraying the people of this country.

In case you hadn't heard, Joe the Ho Lieberman just put the final nail in the coffin for any hope of even the tiniest shred of help for Americans, coming out strongly against allowing Americans over the age of 55 to buy into Medicare. No, Joe the Ho says, those Americans must die. If they can't afford to pay the insurance companies they should sell their houses and cars, sleep in the gutter, or otherwise they can just die.

Rahm Emanuel, the apparent President, Israel's plant inside the White House, reportedly instructed Harry Reid that the Democrats in Congress should do everything Joe the Ho Lieberman wants on health care, and on any other issue.

Remember, after Joe the Ho Lieberman campaigned with McCain and Palin, many of us gleefully awaited his being thrown out of all his Democratic chairman positions, thrown out of the Democratic cacuses, sent to live among the dog Republicans with whom he chose to sleep. But one of the first acts of Obama upon taking office was to directly instruct every Democrat in Congress that they must be nice to Joe the Ho Lieberman, must leave him in all his positions, must allow him to attend confidential Democratic strategy meetings even knowing he would immediately run across the aisle and tell his Republican co-conspirators everything he learned. But why?

Who is the big money, the sugar daddy backing Joe the Ho Lieberman that every Democrat in Congress must bow down and kiss his corrupt little ass? I think it's Israel. When Rahm Emanuel first got elected to Congress, he reportedly waltzed in and announced to the other Representatives that he controlled all the "Jewish" money, and nobody would get a penny unless they did what he told them to. I think Rahm has bequeathed that position to Joe the Ho Lieberman.

So ask yourself this: is this it? Isn't this really the end? Obama is escalating the wars, he's given away the public purse to Wall Street and appointed the criminals to run the treasury, he's betrayed the public in all respects, refuses to do anything to create jobs or help people. And now Congress fails to do anything to reform healthcare. And they all bow down to Joe the Ho Lieberman.

Even Sherrod Brown, who is otherwise a nice guy, is out backpeddling tonight, saying that even without Medicare for over-55, even without any public option at all, this piece of sh*t bill is still IMPORTANT. He says it contains IMPORTANT consumer protections. Don't believe it for a minute. The so-called IMPORTANT consumer protections are things Congress should have passed in 10 minutes, then gone on to other important issues.

What Brown claims are the IMPORTANT consumer protections are that the insurance companies can't charge more just because you're female (that law should have passed in 2 minutes) and they can't exclude people based on pre-existing conditions, or drop them once they get sick. No Sherrod, but the insurance companies can do exactly what they do right now, which is raise people's premiums so high that they can no longer afford to pay for it.

This is it. The end. The Democrats will do nothing for the people. What can we do?

First, if you are a registered Democrat, as soon as they vote in this piece of sh*t bill, change your registration to Independent, then send an e-mail to both your Senators and to Reid and to Obama telling them what you have done. And tell them you're not voting for any Democrat at least in the next 2 elections, under any circumstances.

Second, we need an issues-based progressive movement. Forget about the elections, don't donate to campaigns. Just get out and organize around the demand to end the wars, create jobs, and create a national healthcare program by which all Americans have free health and dental. Of course the cost of that will be paid from taxes, and we can all pay something based upon our ability to do so. This whole silly line that we can't do something if it would raise taxes must be shown up for the b.s. it is. I say let's raise taxes now, on the rich people.

But forget about the Democrats. Let's make them pay for this sell-out. And whoever runs against Joe the Ho Lieberman in Connecticut, support them.

Hey Carly Feel-Her-Weenie: Don't Call Me Ma'am Either

Carly Fiorini, whose primary accomplishment in her entire life is that she almost drove Hewlett Packard into the dirt, has now decided that she wants to be a Senator. So she's going to try to get the Republican nomination to run against Senator Barbara Boxer in California. She won't get my vote.

As part of her fund-raising program, she is inundating right-wingers with a video clip of a hearing before the Senate during which Senator Barbara Boxer was questioning General Walsh. In one of his responses, General Walsh called Senator Barbara Boxer "ma'am." Senator Barbara Boxer interrupted the General, and asked him to please call her "Senator," because she worked so hard for the title. He then said Yes, Senator.

I don't know if the General was trying to be offensive or insulting to Senator Boxer. I suspect he knew exactly what he was doing. People in the military are like European Royalty, highly conscious of titles and envious of those with higher titles. Does anyone doubt that if Senator Boxer had called Walsh "Mr. Walsh" he wouldn't have done the same thing -- asked her to call him by his title, General Walsh?

If this is Carly Fiorini's best shot (and I suspect it is), she's lost already. No need to wait for the election. Carly Fiorini at one time was the CEO of Hewlett Packard ("HP'). When she became CEO in 1999, the HP stock was valued at $52/share. By 2005, when Fiorini was fired (actually the Board of Directors forced her to resign) the HP stock was valued at only $21/share, for a 60% loss in stock value during her reign. Tough luck for the shareholders. Luckily for Fiorini, she had one of those corporate insider golden parachutes, so despite her resounding failure, she ended up being paid $20 million to leave the company. Since getting fired in such a spectacular manner, Fiorini has done such useless and despicable things as work for the Fox Business Network, work for George W. Bush, and work on the John McCain election campaign (where she notably and quite publicly said that Sarah Palin was not qualified to even run a business like HP).

Now Fiorini has apparently decided that since she's been such a failure at other things, maybe she should become a politician herself. And she plans to do that by attacking and demeaning Senator Barbara Boxer in the most personal and sexist way possible.

I'm very tired of seeing men treat women in a demeaning way just to try to one-up them in some exchange. I think lots of women feel the same way. Carly Fiorini is adopting a tactic that we might expect from the most right-wing males in the country. Since she's trying so hard to act like some pathetic insecure male, I think from now on I'm going to call her Carly Feel-Her-Weenie.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Obama Has Ratified Bush and Cheney's International War Crimes. Now Obama Is Equally Liable.

The U.S.-installed and propped-up puppet government in Iraq is now selling off Iraq's oil to various western oil companies. All according to plan. And President Obama has just announced that he is escalating the war in Afghanistan by sending in an additional 30,000 troops, then slipped into his speech the fact that he has secretly started a war against Pakistan even though the President has no lawful authority to start wars. Only Congress can declare war. Congress has never declared war against Pakistan, nor could they without themselves sanctioning yet another war of aggression and international war crimes. So Obama decided to ignore the constitution, and declare war on his own. Like an Emperor or King. Or like Bush and Cheney would have done.

I hear lots of people arguing that Obama is a sincere person, kind, compassionate, he does not want or seek war, he wants peace. That's why he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize -- because he secretly, in his heart, wants peace, but is forced to escalate the U.S. wars in the middle east against his will. No other choice, so his defenders say. I'm not buying it.

We cannot argue that anyone who pursues war in modern times is doing so out of a moral conviction that war is the best way to serve humanity, or that the world will be better from the prosecution of war against some group of people. There is simply too much evidence available for any of us to believe that there is any legitimate reason to start a war against another country.

To defend ones own country against war started by another country is a different question altogether. We all believe in the right to defend ourselves when a war is started against us.
It does not help our analysis of wars conducted by our country to confuse (1) the need to defend against war with (2) the intentional decision to unilaterally start a war against another country. The middle east wars are wars of aggression started by the U.S.

We have gangs of drug-runners from Mexico who are killing people inside the U.S., but our government does not use those incidents as an excuse to bomb the villages in Mexico, to blow up their children, to send in tanks and overthrow their government, occupy their lands, steal their resources. But that is exactly what the U.S. is doing in the middle east.

Let’s not forget that Cheney met the major oil corporation leaders in secret in March of 2001, and they went over the maps of Iraq’s oil fields in that meeting. The purpose of the meeting (Cheney fought to keep the notes secret) may reasonably be inferred from the attendees and the materials reviewed. They were agreeing in advance how they would divvy up the oil among themselves after Bush and Cheney started a war against Iraq based upon manufactured claims. The U.S. is militarily occupying Iraq for the sole purpose of supporting the western oil corporations in stealing Iraq’s oil.

Should we believe there is some different, higher, purer, God-directed motive for the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan? There was no war declared against the U.S. on 9/11, no troops marched in, no tanks crossed our borders. There were 4 hijackings by men mostly from Saudi Arabia, a terrible crime, but more like the Mexican gang violence and criminal enterprise than like Pearl Harbor. The U.S. had no legitimate reason to invade Afghanistan. But assuming we did, and the purpose was to drive out al Queda, that has now been accomplished.

The only reasonable conclusion is that the U.S. is planning to stay in Afghanistan to support the oil corporations in building and operating the piplines they have wanted to run across that nation for decades.

Obama’s secret thoughts or historical viewpoint are irrelevant. He is following the same course set by Bush and Cheney, escalating their wars. We should oppose him in doing so. The fact that he seems like a nice guy is irrelevant to the continued murder and war crimes being committed in Afghanistan by this country. I see no reason to assume Obama’s motives are pure. He’s not so stupid that he does not understand this is all about oil. It always has been.

I also don’t even believe Obama is really in charge. The leadership of the Democratic party are the people who control the bribes paid to the Democratic politicians, the people with the connections to the big donors. Both political parties are essentially criminal enterprises in which Ken and Barbie politicians are elected, then sell their votes to the highest bidder, betraying the public and destroying democracy. Who controls the big money that flows into the Democratic Party? Bill and Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Rahm Emanuel, I'm sure a few others. Joe Lieberman, who isn't even a Democratic, has more of a voice in the Democratic Party than I do, as all the Democrats bow down and kiss his corrupt ass because he is protected by the criminal money-laundering from the U.S. to Israel back to Congress. The people who control the money run the party. I don’t think Obama does anything without getting their approval.

Maybe we should just refer to President Rahm, and be done with it. Every single act done by Obama is consistent with Emanuel’s love of Wall Street, love of middle east wars, and desire to become president in 7 years. Why do you think they called him Wall Street’s favorite politician? He represents Wall Street, the big money boys, and was well compensated for his services.

Emanuel was a Clinton insider and did not even support Obama, so how did he get his job? How about Hillary? Somebody else selected these people. Obama is just another pretty face. And these wars are international war crimes.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh Chanukah

Hanukkah begins today at sundown.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The People Speak - Howard Zinn - History Channel, this Sunday, 12/13/09.

Dr. Howard Zinn is a history professor, social justice activist and author. He is best-known for his book "A People's History of the United States" ["People's History"]. He does not teach history from the traditional perspective of presidents, litany of wars and list of businesses or inventions. Instead, he teaches history from the point of view of the individuals who struggled throughout history to make our country live up to its ideals. He teaches about the labor organizers, the dissidents, the war protestors, the anti-slavery organizations, those who were jailed for demanding the right to vote for women, then for blacks.

In 2004, Zinn, now 87, published a collection of original documents from American history along with Dr. Anthony Arnove. That collection is titled "Voices of a People's History of the United States ['Voices']. Before publishing Voices, in 2003, Zinn held public readings in cities around the country, reading from some of those source documents. Now Zinn along with executive producers Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Josh Brolin, and Anthony Arnove have created a production for TV of "The People Speak," a television production of some of the Voices performances, along with interviews of many of the performers including Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Kerry Washington, Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover, Marisa Tomei, Bruce Springsteen, and John Legend. That will be aired on the History Channel this Sunday, December 13, 2009, at 8:00 p.m. (but check local listings for time).

"Change doesn't come from the top, but rather from the bottom," Damon observes. "Without everyday citizens pushing to make a difference, there would be no America."

Here is Woody Harrelson, reading from Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, about his objections to the U.S. War against Mexico, which was fought to defend American slave-holders who were stealing land in Mexico, and disobeying Mexico's laws which made slavery illegal.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

There Is No Rational Debate About Global Warming. It's Real And It's Deadly.

Scientists have become aware of what is commonly called "global warming" -- that our world is getting warmer. They have concluded that this global warming is caused by human activity, mostly from the use of fossil fuels such as oil by the millions of people who inhabit the earth. The eventual inevitable effects of global warming are that large areas will become desert, large areas will be flooded, many more species of animals will die, millions of people will die of starvation, and the sea level will rise from the melting ice caps erasing entire nations of people. The situation is dire. It is an emergency, and we should have started long ago to work together with all the nations of the world to try to save ourselves.

We need to stop burning fossil fuels, stop consuming so much, change the way we live. And we need radical population reduction throughout the world. While a bunch of rich ignorant men in our Senate spend their time trying to push through laws to prevent American women from having abortions, pretending like that is the "real" issue confronting the world, the fact is that we need fewer babies, more birth control of all forms, including abortion, and we need to stop this religious pandering which prevents us from acting rationally to save the world. The projected flooding of many parts of the world will lead to international disasters, death and starvation, disease, conflict, war, and general instability.

There are a few men in the U.S. who are so short-sighted and selfish that they take bribes from the oil corporations to spread lies about global warming. They tell their ignorant followers that there is no such thing, that the scientists who study it are stupid, that TV newsreaders who work for Rupert Murdoch's Whorehouse know better, that everyone should buy bigger cars and burn more gas and ignore the destruction of the earth.

Some of the crazy Christians tell their followers that it is good to destroy the earth, because that only means that judgment day will come sooner, and they believe they'll all go to heaven.

So whenever you see the term "global warming" in the U.S. press, you generally will also see "debate." But there is no real debate. Just a bunch of whores and liars paid to fool the public into thinking that this isn't a real problem.

The U.N. is holding its 15th climate change conference in Copenhagen. You'd think that after 15 meetings, they would have agreed to something. But the U.S. has been the biggest impediment because of the idiots in the Bush Regime, owned by oil corporations, who make money by pushing people to use more oil. Build bigger houses, less energy efficient, further out from everything. Destroy and eliminate public transportation. Encourage people to buy, use, exhaust, dispose, waste. Turn food production over to the control of corporations who, in turn, transport chemically-altered food from one place to the next, wasting more energy. It's an entire society built on the concept of waste. Remember when Bush told Americans that they could fight terrorism by going shopping? Now Obama is telling people the same thing: we need to spend our way out of the depression. But Mr. President: the people don't have any money. That's the problem. The only way they can spend is by taking on more crushing debt, exactly the same way the U.S. is continuing to fund these wars: with borrowed money.

Speaking of which: what are the environmental effects of war? What is the effect of littering countries with busted weapons covered with depleted uranium? We know cancer rates in children are very high in Iraq after the first war against them. They should skyrocket now. Entire areas of the country should be declared off-limits. And of course we refuse to sign a treaty to stop using landmines, stop blowing the legs off of little children.

We have leadership, just not good leadership. The people running our country spend most of their time soliciting bribes, and spend no time trying to help the people of this country, never mind trying to help the people of the world. Nobody expects anything to come out of Copenhagen. The U.S. should be devoting its energies to stopping global warming. Instead, it is continuing the Bush-Cheney wars for oil. What change?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Victor Jara Lives In The Memories And Hearts Of People Throughout The World

(These marchers in the funeral are holding signs up that say "Truth and Justice" -- "Verdad y Justicia." Let's have some of that in this country, starting with an official inquiry into the Bush administration's wars of aggression, then moving onto the thieves on Wall Street who have bankrupt the world, finally focusing on the politicians in Congress who are in this up to their elbows).

Victor Jara was a Chilean singer, songwriter, activist, theatrical performer, one of the founders of Nueva Cancion, who was murdered in the Chilean coup of September 11, 1973, in which the democratically-elected President Salvador Allende was overthrown and the fascist dictator Pinochet, chosen by the United States to rule, took control of the country and murdered thousands, including Victor Jara.

This summer, the body of Victor Jara was exumed to determine an official cause of death. The determination is final: he was murdered, tortured and then shot over 40 times by the fascist military and police.

Victor Jara's official funeral took place yesterday, following a two-day wake, thirty-six years after he was murdered. He and his life and works are once again being celebrated by thousands of people in Chile who are again marching in the streets, inspired by Victor Jara, people still standing up for freedom.

The odd thing is that this gets so little coverage in the U.S., the country that created and directed the coup, but is widely covered in the rest of the world where Victor Jara's is considered a brilliant man, his death a terrible loss to the world.

(From the CBC News - Canadian):

"Chileans mourn singer Victor Jara, Pinochet victim"

"Thousands of mourners turned out in Santiago [yesterday] for the funeral of Chilean folksinger Victor Jara, who was given a formal burial 36 years after he was tortured and killed during the regime of Augusto Pinochet."

"Jara was a popular singer and theatre director when he was shot dead by the military, barely a week after Pinochet led a coup against the government of Salvador Allende in 1973. At the time, the singer's widow, Joan, had to arrange a quick, secret burial before escaping the country into exile. Jara soon became a symbol of the opposition to Pinochet's brutal rule."

"'Finally, after 36 years, Víctor can rest in peace,' said Chile's president, Michelle Bachelet, who herself was a victim of the Pinochet regime and also spent many years in exile. Thousands of Chileans filed past Jara's coffin during a two-day wake for the singer prior to his official burial on Saturday."

"The singer is having a second burial because his body was exhumed in June so investigators could find out more about how he was murdered and who might be held accountable. [The singer was tortured and shot]. Soldiers pumped some 40 bullets into [Victor Jara's] body. "....

If they want somebody to hold accountable for the death, I'd suggest they start with an inquiry into the role of Henry Kissinger.

Friday, December 4, 2009

December 4, 1969: The Murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark by the F.B.I.

(Fred Hampton)

Forty years ago today, December 4, 1969, Black Panther Party members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were murdered by the United States Government through the F.B.I., using their local agents in the Chicago Police Department, in a pre-dawn raid.

The F.B.I. gave drugs to an informant they had planted inside the BPP, and the informant put the drugs inside Hampton's food that evening. After he was unconscious, the Chicago Police raided his apartment, shot Clark and killed him, then went into the bedroom and shot Hampton. When the police realized Hampton was still alive, they shot him several more times until they were satisfied he was dead. The autopsy showed he had been shot in the head twice at point-blank range. Although the police originally claimed that the Black Panthers had the police under heavy fire, the evidence showed that the police fired 80 bullets, but the Panthers fired just one.

(Fred Hampton: "You can kill the revolutionary, but you can't kill the revolution.")

Does this sound like a story from some corrupt nation without laws? Well, it happened here. And although the Chicago police were immediately exonerated by the Chicago police, eventually the families of Hampton and Clark prevailed in a civil suit and were awarded almost $2.0 million for the wrongful deaths of Hampton and Clark.

Throughout the history of this country, there have been periods of heightened violence and murder by whites against blacks. Generally those murders went unpunished because the underlying belief in civil society has been that white people are entitled to kill black people. Just like today we see the underlying assumption that a Christian nation (as they like to call us) is free to murder the people of a Muslim nation. It's like it's God's will.

Blacks were generally without recourse no matter how many of their people were murdered. They simply had no rights. Any efforts to protect themselves only brought more killings, more lynchings.

In the 1950s, several civil rights leaders and organizations adopted the tactics of Ghandhi, using non-violent protests and sit-ins to demand equal rights for black Americans. The theory was that if people simply gathered somewhere peacefully, and never raised a hand towards the whites, then the non-violent black people would eventually prevail. They were often associated with churches, and their ministers would march and sit alongside them to demonstrate the non-violent good-faith nature of the demands. Of course many of the civil rights leaders were then murdered by white people who had no interest in non-violence, had no good faith, and
had no intention of ever allowing black citizens to have equal rights. So much for Ghandi.

Many groups were inspired by the courage and theory of the black civil rights movement in the U.S. Soon, for example, native Americans were also organizing to demand better treatment. Mexican-Americans (La Raza, hispanics, latinos) began organizing themselves to demand their rights. Women began organizing to demand equal rights and opportunity. Gays followed, demanding the right to live in peace. All of this flowed from the original courage of the black civil rights movements of the 1950s. And of course the Anti-War and Environmental movements came from the same source.

When people saw the resistance by those in power, the refusal to change, then more militant groups formed, and/or people engaged in more militant conduct. When the civil rights marchers were met with police dogs, beaten with batons, thrown into jail, battered with firehoses, and murdered, the next group became more militant. This is the history of the black Panther Party. They saw what happened to the "reasonable" leaders of the black civil rights movement, many of whom were shot down like dogs, and they decided that they would arm themselves for self-defense.

They also invested in organizing at the community level, creating programs to help the people such as pre-school for the children, food banks for the poor. They were trying to create a movement for the long-run, one based on principles of independence, equality, self-determination, and dignity for black people. They were a serious threat because they refused to lay down under the policeman's baton, refused to sit by quietly while their young people were brutalized, murdered, and imprisoned by the state. At the time of his murder, the FBI had a 12-volume, 4000 page dossier or secret file they had accumulated on Fred Hampton, and they wanted to bring him down.

J. Edgar Hoover , head of the F.B.I., targeted the Black Panther Party for extermination through a program called Cointelpro. Most of the leaders of the party were falsely accused of crimes and imprisoned or fled the country to avoid imprisonment; or were enticed into criminal action by entrapment; or were hounded and arrested repeatedly their lives destroyed, until they themselves turned to drugs or alcohol and finished the job. The Black Panther Party was destroyed by a series of illegal, concerted actions by various law enforcement agencies, including murder.

Fred Hampton was 21 years old when he was murdered. He was a high school graduate and had attended a local two-year college. He started doing organizing and political work with the NAACP, but later joined the Black Panther Party, working with its Illinois chapter.

In 1968, the FBI made a deal with a criminal they had arrested named O'Neal. The deal was that the FBI would pay him money every month and would drop several pending felony charges against him, in exchange for him infiltrating the Chicago chapter of the Black Panthers and becoming an FBI instigator and informant. He did.

In an effort to isolate the Black Panthers, the FBI began a disinformation program by which they would spread rumors, attribute certain conduct or statements to Black Panther members, leading many other groups to disassociate from the Panthers. In May of 1969, Hampton was criminally charged with having stolen $71 worth of ice cream. The judge sentenced him to 2-5 years for that "crime." Hampton denied he took the ice cream. But the more interesting question is why would a judge send somebody to prison for 5 years for stealing some ice cream bars.

The FBI began telling local police departments that the Panthers were responsible for various crimes, even though none of them had been charged for those crimes. The FBI also told the local police that the Panthers could be expected to engage in a gun battle if the police went to arrest them. This set up an environment in which the police raided Hampton's apartment and murdered him and Clark. The informant had allegedly told the FBI that there were many weapons being stockpiled in Hampton's apartment, illegal weapons. The FBI gave O'Neal a barbituate and told him to put it in Hampton's food on the evening of December 3.

According to Hampton's girlfriend, who was there at the time, the police came in at 5 a.m., 14 Chicago PD officers heavily armed, and shot Mark Clark dead, then wounded the drugged Hampton while he was still in his bed. One of the officers asked if Hampton was dead and another said no, then two more shots were fired and an officer was overheard saying "he's dead now." The autopsy showed Hampton had been shot twice in the head, point-blank, which was consistent with the girlfriend's testimony.

5000 people attended Hampton's funeral. Among the speakers at the funeral were Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy. Later a Commission of Inquiry was held by civil rights leader Roy Wilkins and Ramsey Clark, in which they alleged that the Chicago police had murdered Hampton without justification. Despite the fact that both Hampton and Clark were murdered, and several other Panthers were wounded during the assault by the 14 members of the Chicago PD, only one shot was fired by any Panther, and that appeared to have been a shot fired by Clark as the police broke in the door and killed him. The shooting was done by the police. The bleeding and dying was done by the Panthers.

The families of Hampton and Clark filed a civil lawsuit against the city, state and federal governments for the wrongful raids and deaths of Hampton and Clark. There was 18 months of testimony in that lawsuit. The case eventually settled for almost $2.0 million.

Over time, the truth of the Cointelpro program and the F.B.I.'s illegal targeting of groups, and planting instigators to create situations of violence, slowly emerged due to freedom of information demands and the investigative work of many people, as well as records seized by Anti-war groups.

In 1990, the Chicago City Council passed a resolution declaring "Fred Hampton Day" in honor of the slain leader.

See "The Legacy of Fred Hampton," at The Nation, November 24, 2009 on-line by Jeffrey Haas, civil rights attorney who was involved in the original investigation of the murder: Mr. Haas at the time was a young lawyer, representing Black Panther Party members in Chicago on various issues. He is the author of a book titled The Assassination of Fred Hampton. From "The Nation" article:

"I was the first person to interview the survivors in the police lockup, where Hampton's crying and pregnant fiancée told me that after she was pulled from the room, police came in and fired two shots into Hampton and said, 'He's good and dead now.' The autopsy showed he had been shot twice in the head at point-blank range." ....

(Bobby Seale, 1968)

"Noam Chomsky has called the murder of Fred Hampton 'the gravest domestic crime of the Nixon Administration.' It is hard to imagine a more serious abuse by a government than the deliberate assassination of a citizen for his political beliefs and activity."

(See the rest of the article for tie-ins to today. After Watergate, a Senate commission was established to reign in government abuses both at home and abroad. Among the strongest opponents to any limitations on government intrusion into people's lives were Five-Deferment Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Antonin Scalia). Our current problems flow from our history, and our failure to confront and stop the government in the past when other people's rights were invaded, when other wars of aggression were pursued.

(Bobby Hutton's funeral. Bobby Hutton was another young member of the Black Panther Party who was murdered by the police. That's Marlon Brando on the right.)

It's no wonder young black people often grow up with such a sense of helplessness and despair. If they learn about their history, they will see that every time strong young black leaders emerge, the citizens or the government, using the police, murder the black leaders. Instead of leadership, the black community is given unemployment, gangs, and drugs.

J. Edgar Hoover was probably a sociopath, gathering files of personal constitutionally-protected information about citizens and politicians, prying and probing into people's sex lives to get dirt that he could use for his twisted purposes, launching attacks against various groups in this country based on his own paranoia without government approval, authority, oversight or supervision. He was a sick and dangerous man, hiding his own sexual and personal interests (he liked to dress up in women's clothing and he was gay) from a conservative government world in which such things would land him in jail, and certainly out of work. So he obsessed over other people's secrets, used the power of the government to destroy lives, spread rumors and lies, even murdered those he targeted.

But just because Hoover is dead does not mean that his policies and practices were ended. To the contrary, the U.S. government now spies on all citizens and non-citizens all the time through the super-agency NSA, with satellites collecting phone calls, faxes, e-mails, all forms of communications. Luckily they do not yet have the equipment to use this information, but eventually they will. Then everything any person says will be recorded, everywhere a citizen goes will be photographed, the details of everyone's lives from what they eat, what they buy, what they spend, when they go to the bathroom, when they have sex and with whom, all will be recorded electronically and available for ready use against any errant citizen that the state wants to bring down -- imprison or murder. Sound like science fiction? I just wish it was.

The only defense against this type of Big Brother, 1984 police-state intrusion into everyone's life is a solid legal system and lawyers, judges and politicians devoted to upholding it. We're not doing well in any of those categories. Too many lawyers are more devoted to using their degrees to refine their ability to lie cheat and steal than they are devoted to principles of law. Too many judges are right-wing conservatives, exactly the type who want a police state to spy on everyone else. All of our politicians are corrupt, on the payroll of corporations, and many of them have secret vices such as promiscuity, drugs, alcohol dependence, and they can easily be cowed into accepting the police state intrusion on citizen's lives. If they object, their own secrets will be exposed.

There was a documentary being made of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party right at the time that Hampton and Clark were murdered. It is titled "The Murder Of Fred Hampton." You can watch it below, and can buy the DVD on-line. The first part of the documentary is simply a record of speeches and other activities of the Party. The second part of the documentary is a reaction to the police pre-dawn raid and the murders, and the controversy that followed.

(Part 1)

(Part 2)

(Part 3)

(Part 4)