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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Baby I Can Drive My Car

I just drove my car for the first time in 10 weeks. It felt great. Even though I mostly hate cars, it still felt great.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Free Documentaries On-Line

If you like documentaries, here is a link to a website that has lots of them available for viewing, for free, online. http://www.freedocumentaries.org/film.php?id=110

I haven't seen all of them, but have seen some of them and they include some terrific documentaries such as Hearts and Minds, Sicko, The Fog of War, The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Global Dimming, Bowling for Columbine, Darwin's Nightmare and The Origin of Aids.

I've heard good reviews of many of these movies including The Trials of Henry Kissinger, Body of War, Born into Brothels, Iraq for Sale, Loose Change, Manufacturing Consent, No End in Sight, You Can't Stay Neutral .... , The Power of Nightmares, and Zeitgeist.

Here's a partial list of some of the documentaries they have available for viewing, for free, on-line, at the website linked above:

Big Brother, Big Business

Big Bucks, Big Pharma

Big Easy to Big Empty

Body of war

Born Into Brothels

Bowling for Columbine

Darwin's Nightmare

Enron

Ghosts of Rwanda

Global Dimming

Hacking Democracy

Hearts and Minds

Iraq for Sale

Loose Change

Manufacturing Consent

No End in Sight

Orwell Rolls In His Grave

Outfoxed

Outsourcing Greenville

Plan Colombia

Prescription for Disaster

Prisoners of Katrina

Private Warriors

Rwanda

Shut Up & Sing

Sicko

Super Size Me

Sweet Misery - A Poisoned World

TerrorStorm

The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr

The Bush Family Fortunes

The Corporation

The Diamond Empire

The F.B.I's War on Black America

The Fog of War

The Globalization Tapes

The Ground Truth

The Invisible War

The Lies That Led To War

The Men Who Killed Kennedy : Episode 1

The Men Who Killed Kennedy : Episode 2

The Men Who Killed Kennedy : Episode 3

The Men Who Killed Kennedy : Episode 4

The Men Who Killed Kennedy : Episode 5

The Men Who Killed Kennedy : Episode 6

The Men Who Killed Kennedy : Episode 7

The Men Who Killed Kennedy : Episode 8

The Men Who Killed Kennedy : Episode 9

The Oil Factor

The Origins of AIDS

The Panama Deception

The Power of Nightmares: Episode 1

The Power of Nightmares: Episode 2

The Power of Nightmares: Episode 3

The Return of the Taliban

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The Road To Guantanamo

The Secret History of the Credit Car

The Slow Poisoning of India

The Trials of Henry Kissinger

The U.S. vs. John Lennon

The War on Democracy

The World According to Monsanto

Unconstitutional

Wal-Mart

War By Other Means

War Made Easy

White Light/Black Rain

Why We Fight

You Cant Stay Neutral On a Moving Train

Zeitgeist Addendum

Zeitgeist: Episode 1

Zeitgeist: Episode 2

Zeitgeist: Episode 3

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Only "Discretionary Income" Should Be Taxed Under A System Of Progressive Taxation.

There is an economic concept known as "discretionary" income. This refers to money that people earn which is above and beyond what they need to pay for their basic living expenses.

For example, let's say someone earns $3000/month, $36,000/year. Let's say further that the minimum it would cost this person for housing where they live is $1200/month; health insurance $200/month; food $400/month; car insurance, gas, amortized portion of purchase and repairs $250/month; other utilities such as gas, electric, trash, phone, $150/month, dental $50/month, clothing $50/month, personal products and cleaning supplies $100/month (shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels), and $100/month for an emergency fund. That means $2500/month is the minimum amount this person needs to pay their basic living expenses, without any extras. That means this person has $500/month, $6000/year in "discretionary" income.

Let's take another person earning $120,000/year, $10,000/month. Using the same figures, this person would have $7500/month in "discretionary" income. They could live reasonably on $2500/month, and therefore can do what they want with the $7500/month additional income. It is within their "discretion" to decide whether to save it or spend it and, if they spend it, whether to buy something of long-term value or buy expensive clothes that will have no value within two years. It is entirely within their discretion.

One approach to a progressive system of taxation is to set up a basic amount which is required for somebody to live reasonably every month. In this scenario, I have assumed $2500 is the minimum cost to live reasonably in a month. In a progressive tax system, the first $2500 of somebody's monthly income should not be taxed because, by definition, $2500 is the minimum each person needs to spend in order to have a reasonable life, to pay for the reasonable necessities of shelter, food, medical and dental, modest clothing, and transportation.

Assuming each person needs $2500/month for basic living expenses, that amount should be deducted from their gross income before any taxes are owed. The "standard" deduction from gross income, for purposes of calculating taxes, should therefore be $30,000 per year for a single person. Obviously for married couples, and people with children, each additional person in the family would "cost" less than the $30,000 for the first person. The second person's "costs," in other words, might only be $20,000, since they share the cost of the housing, utilities, and certain other expenses.

If the standard deduction was $30,000 for a single person, then anyone earning $30,000 or less would pay no taxes. Which is how it should be if it requires $30,000 for somebody to live with minimal standards. It's not the fault of the citizens that the cost of living has gone up so dramatically. The standard deduction, unfortunately, is frozen at some unreasonable figure which doesn't even come close to representing what it really costs for somebody to have a minimal lifestyle in this country.

Taxes should only be applied to discretionary income. The percentage of taxes should be progressive, or progressive upwards to reflect the higher income. For example, the first $10,000 of discretionary income might have a 10% tax rate. Everything between $10,001 and $30,000 of discretionary income might have a 20% tax rate. Everything between $30,001 and $70,000 would have a 30% tax rate, and so on. All income (regular and capital gains combined) above the amount of $250,000 should be taxed at 90%. Somebody earning $550,000 for example, would be taxed a progressive rate for everything above the minimum living standards, but would also be taxed at 90% of the $300,000 above $250,000.

So somebody earning $60,000 would pay $1,000 (10% of the first $10,000 of discretionary income, the amount between $30,000 and $40,000) plus $4,000 (20% of the amount between $40,001 and $60,000), for a total tax of $5,000.

Sounds low? Only because we're used to having so much of the tax burden transferred from the rich and the businesses to working Americans because of the tax changes under Reagan and Bush. They changed the tax structure so that the rich pay less, businesses pay almost nothing, and working people have to pay more and more taxes because of tricks like not raising the standard deduction to reflect the actual cost of living.

A progressive tax system, which we theoretically have, "progresses," starting at a low tax rate for low incomes, and going up to a high tax rate for higher incomes. What we have in our country is a system in which rich people and businesses have paid so much money in bribes to the politicians that our tax laws have been re-written so that everything is now regressive, not progressive. Sales taxes, for example, are regressive.

Let's take a state sales tax of 10%, for example. The person earning $24,000/year could easily spend 1/3 of that income buying items which are subject to the sales tax, so they end up paying 10% of $8,000, or an additional $800/year on sales taxes, let's say an additional 3% of their gross income is paid out in taxes. But for the person earning $120,000/year, most of what they do with their money is not subject to sales taxes, since much of the money is "invested" in real estate, or other investments to which sales taxes do not apply. So that person could end up spending under 1% of their income on sales taxes. Sales taxes are regressive, since they force lower-income people to pay a bigger percentage of their income in taxes, while the rich pay less.

The reason that more Americans are broke is not because we are stupid, or even uneducated. There is a big push on now by the politicians and the business community to claim that the reason we have high unemployment is because we need to have more education for "our" workers so "we" can compete. This is such garbage. A pack of lies. Microsoft, for example, goes to India and Pakistan and recruits computer engineers to come to the U.S. and work on H1b visas, because they can pay them $11,000/year less than they would pay an American. In the meantime, well-educated American engineers in the computer as well as other fields have all been thrown out of work by U.S. corporations simply because the CEO wants cheaper labor.

The same is true in the building trades, with many highly qualified and well-trained Americans thrown out of work and replaced by truckloads of illegal immigrant workers brought into the country by coyotes, with the cooperation of the Bush administration and the Fox government in Mexico.

There is a systematic program in place in this country to throw more people out of work, eliminate taxes and all regulations which otherwise apply to businesses, cut the taxes for rich people, and steal everything that working people have, from the medical care, pensions, savings, homes. All of it has been looted and taken by the wealthiest and most powerful people in our country.

And the tax system has been changed to allow the rich to pay less, and force most Americans to pay more. Then the tax money is taken and given to companies like Halliburton and Blackwater, to pay for wars, while our schools and bridges and freeways are allowed to deteriorate.

Changing the tax system would be a good place to start in trying to save our economy. The last administration as well as the current one have given billions of dollars of taxpayer money to the criminals on Wall Street, as well as running up debt which it will require generations to repay. If we started taxing the rich and businesses, we could begin the process of paying down the debt and investing in our own country again. And by increasing the standard deduction to what it really costs for people to live, we could reduce the tax burden on working people so they could afford to pay their bills without running up their credit cards.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We Need To Redistribute Wealth Through A Progressive Taxation System.

Interesting article in the London Review of Books entitled "What Matters." Link below. The author argues that efforts to eliminate or minimize racism and sexism and homophobia have had no positive effect in changing society for the better, except for the benefits received by the small, elite group of women and minorities and gays who are now members of higher-paid professions. The lack of focus on inequality in income and asset ownership, or class differences, and the focus instead of racism and sexism, has allowed the situation for most people to deteriorate over recent decades.

I think his position can be summarized as follows: assuming that the top 20% of our society owns 80% of the country's assets, and takes home 80% of the country's income every year, then the bottom 80% of society is economically unequal -- they are denied their fair share of wealth. If we succeed in eliminating sexism and racism so that the top 20% has a representative number of whites and minorities, but the distribution does not change, then society as a whole has not benefitted. Society is just as unequal, and unfair, for 80% of its members, as it was during the height of racism and sexism.

It's an interesting analysis. It may be that it's easier for people to demand "equality" based on natural-born characteristics, and harder for people to demand economic equality based on a government-sponsored redistribution of wealth. In other words, most people might agree that it is wrong to refuse to allow any woman to go to law school. But they might not be able to articulate an argument about it being wrong to allow some of our citizens to have no home, no food, no money, no safety net. It's almost as if the powers that be might be willing to give up racism and sexism, but would never consider income redistribution.

Income redistribution is the legitimate purpose of a progressive tax system. When people earn ten million dollars, for example, a progressive tax system should take most of that money for public purposes. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that we should try to prevent any group of people from accumulating so much wealth that they can, essentially, put every single politician on their payroll, and control the country without ever having run for office. Which is what's happened in our country today.

For example, we used to have laws that prohibited one person or company from owning multiple TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, believing that democracy is best served when many voices can be heard. But some scum-bucket like Rupert Murdoch comes into this country and starts bribing politicians, and suddenly the laws are changed to allow him to buy up much of the media in the country and use it to promote fascist propaganda. Rich people destroy democracy, and that is why they should not be allowed to get too rich.

For another example, if Bill Gates had been taxed at 90% on his "earnings," maybe he wouldn't have charged the public so much for his crappy operating system, maybe he wouldn't have been so eager to keep competitors from entering the marketplace, maybe he wouldn't have devoted so much time to getting H1b visas to bring in 6-year immigrant labor and pay them less than Americans, all being the types of predatory conduct of people who know they're not going to pay much in taxes, so they are motivated to get as much as they can.

Of course a percentage of our taxes, and those from every country with any wealth, should be turned over to an NGO supervised fund for development, and used to end poverty in the third world. Why should a few ultra-rich people in this country have gold-plated toilets and multiple homes, while millions throughout the world starve? Why is it considered radical to say that this type of inequality must be ended?

We have gone through a period in which we theoretically have a national commitment to being more "fair" to our own people, but the end result is more unfair. Fewer people run everything, the politicians are openly selling their votes, a few rich people own and control all the media, we have more people out of work, more people homeless, fewer people can afford to own a home, states and cities are bankrupt, schools are underfunded, the rich pay less in taxes, more people have been forced into poverty. This isn't progress towards a more fair society. It's just a bit more mixed in terms of gender and race.


"What Matters"
Walter Benn Michaels
"Who Cares about the White Working Class"
edited by Kjartan Páll Sveinsson

"... [I]t would be a mistake to think that because the US is a less racist, sexist and homophobic society, it is a more equal society. In fact, in certain crucial ways it is more unequal than it was 40 years ago. No group dedicated to ending economic inequality would be thinking today about declaring victory and going home."

"In 1969, the top quintile of American wage-earners made 43 per cent of all the money earned in the US; the bottom quintile made 4.1 per cent. In 2007, the top quintile made 49.7 per cent; the bottom quintile 3.4. And while this inequality is both raced and gendered, it’s less so than you might think. White people, for example, make up about 70 per cent of the US population, and 62 per cent of those are in the bottom quintile. Progress in fighting racism hasn’t done them any good; it hasn’t even been designed to do them any good. More generally, even if we succeeded completely in eliminating the effects of racism and sexism, we would not thereby have made any progress towards economic equality. A society in which white people were proportionately represented in the bottom quintile (and black people proportionately represented in the top quintile) would not be more equal; it would be exactly as unequal. It would not be more just; it would be proportionately unjust. "... ...

"Thus the primacy of anti-discrimination ... performed the intellectual function of focusing social analysis on what she calls ‘questions of racial or sexual identity’ and on ‘cultural differences’ instead of on ‘the way in which capitalist economies create large numbers of low-wage, low-skill jobs with poor job security’. The message of Who Cares about the White Working Class?, however, is that class has re-emerged: ‘What we learn here’, according to the collection’s editor, Kjartan Páll Sveinsson, is that ‘life chances for today’s children are overwhelmingly linked to parental income, occupations and educational qualifications – in other words, class.’ "

Walter Benn Michaels teaches English at the University of Illinois, Chicago. His most recent book is The Trouble with Diversity; his next will be The Death of a Beautiful Woman: Form Now.
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n16/mich02_.html


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Learned Helplessness

There have been many reports in recent years that the U.S. government used psychiatrists and/or psychologists to assist in designing torture techniques to be used against Muslims in the middle east in connection with the U.S. War Against Afghanistan and Iraq. And maybe additional wars to come.

The reports are that the U.S. military trains its own people to survive torture and, in connection with that training, devised certain methods of torture that they believed no human being could withstand. Or at least at the conclusion of the use of these types of torture, the human psyche would be destroyed even if the body continued to function.

The desired outcome from the torture was to create in the prisoners a state of "Learned Helplessness." This is a term that comes from experiments done on dogs by an American psychiatrist who was invited by the CIA to lecture the U.S. military on his experiments, and his conclusions. Those lectures were, in turn, used by the CIA and the U.S. military in developing these torture techniques designed to destroy the human psyche.

The experiments done on animals, specifically dogs, showed the following: one group of dogs were put into a cage and given certain options for their behavior. They could, for example, try to escape, they could push a lever. But no matter what they did, no matter how hard they tried, they continued to be subjected to electrical shocks. They learned that they had no ability to stop the abuse. No matter what they did, the torture continued. When those dogs were allowed out of the cages, they simply laid down and submitted, no longer tried to avoid further abuse and torture. They had learned that they were helpless to have any control over their own lives.

This is the desired goal of the U.S. widespread torture programs in the middle east, as well as those which have been conducted in Central and South America by people trained by the U.S. at the School of Americas.

The original experiments were used as part of an investigation into depression and other forms of mental disease in which people feel helpless to do anything to improve their lives. No matter how bad the conditions, they are psychologically trained to believe that they must submit, they are helpless to change or to stop the abuse. This is probably a good explanation of the battered spouse, but also of large numbers of people in our society who are in unhappy relationships, or who are abused and mistreated in their work, but feel unable to try to make any changes. Often, changing jobs isn't a real solution if a country allows workers to be mistreated and underpaid, denied benefits or rights. So a state of learned helplessness exists in the American workforce. For good reason. They've been mistreated and abused, fired if they stand up for themselves, and have learned that they are helpless to stop the abuse.

Is it possible our entire society has been conditioned into a state of learned helplessness. No matter what people do, the government continues to simply take bribes from the corporations, lie to the people, conduct foreign wars of choice, steal our money, send our jobs overseas, give tax breaks to the rich and deny healthcare to the rest of us. This despite the historic number of people who got out and campaigned last year. All the people who believed in change are right now being taught the underpinnings of the state of learned helplessness.

Think about it: the Democrats control the House, have a 60-seat control of the Senate, and control the white house, and despite that they refuse to end the wars, they refuse to provide a real healthcare program for people, they refuse to create job programs, they refuse to hold the Bush administration responsible for its numerous violations of our constitution and other laws, they refuse to hold Wall Street responsible for its criminal theft from the public. They have, quite simply, done nothing for progressive or even for liberals since taking office, except to routinely bash us by calling us names. "The left won't like it," but they need to live with it. And we, as it turns out, are just now learning that we are completely helpless to do anything to affect what our government is doing.

Below is link to an article on the psychiatrist who developed the theory, and how it is the CIA and U.S. military used his theory to develop a program of torture designed not to get information, but instead to destroy human beings, to drive them crazy, to take away their will to live.

Naomi Klein argues in her book The Shock Doctrine that torture is often used after a coup to create a state of submission in the civilian population. Torture a few thousand, make it public, make it particularly brutal, get the information out to the rest of the public, and most people are likely to stop resisting, just do what they are told and try to survive.

We've heard a lot about the "ticking time bomb," by which people argue that we need to torture to find out whether someone has a nuclear weapon ready to go off in our country. But no one has ever provided any factual support to show that's why we began a program of systematic torture throughout Afghanistan and Iraq. Isn't it more likely that the torture program was designed from the outset to destroy human beings and create a state of submission among the other civilians, so the U.S. could keep its permanent military bases in the region, steal all the oil, bomb and attack the neighbors conveniently, with the majority of the population too terrified to do anything to stand up against them.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20354.htm

The Real Subway Stories

There is an e-mail going around which tells a story about Joshua Bell, a famed violinist, playing his violin inside the DC Metro/subway, and most of the commuters paid him no attention. It brought to my mind a movie I'd seen, excerpt below.

This was an HBO project. They asked New Yorkers to send in stories about things of interest that they had seen happen in the NYC subway system. Then some of the stories were made into pieces, tied together into a movie.

The excerpt below was a segment in the movie titled "Sax, Cantor, Riff." It was written and directed by Julie Dash. The singer is Taral Hicks, sax player is Kenny Garrett, and the Cantor is Dan Rous. It's my response to the violin e-mail.


People are paying attention more than you may know. Even if they're busy and rush past, I think most people enjoy the street musicians and others who show up in urban places, including the subways, to perform. They may not give money or stop to applaud, or even stop to watch, because they're busy. The reason they are in the subway is because they have to get somewhere. But I still think people notice, and their lives are enriched, their days improved in some way by the brief exposure to public art and entertainment.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Any Day Now, I Shall Be Released

I like to walk in cities, feel the electricity coming up through my feet, look at the people, at the buildings. If I lived in San Francisco, and wasn't on these stupid crutches, I probably would have gone over to City Lights Bookstore today. Or maybe not, but I could have. The last time I was in SF I walked over there with J, or maybe R, and there is just not enough time to spend browsing in that store. Or walking in that city. Or any city, for that matter. I just love walking in cities.

I got a card yesterday from a friend of mine who I haven't seen or heard from in a very long time. What a delight that was. He's living in San Francisco again, which made me wish I was there and could have spent the day walking around with him, talking politics and baseball, getting a burrito at La Cumbre, browsing through bookstores, maybe drinking some coffee, catching up.

As soon as I get off of crutches I'm going to prepare for a new chapter in my life. To begin, my next chapter will not include crutches. I may need a cane for awhile -- can't decide if that's really old-lady, like do I need to buy a flowered rayon house dress and orthopedic shoes and supp-hose, dye my hair blue if I get a cane, learn to bake pies -- or maybe it will be really cool, now that I've exhausted the "my chute didn't open" line I could come up with a new one: my horse refused to take the last jump, and threw me instead. Something like that.

If I was artistic, I could paint little martini glasses with plastic stirers with cupie dolls on top all over the cane, and pretend that I'm carrying the cane because it's sophisticated, or maybe I tripped on my way out of some fabulous party. The cane would be temporary, and a real improvement over the crutches. But the fact is I want to be done with all of it. I want my life back!

They say every woman needs protection
They say every woman must fall
Still I swear I see my reflection
Somewhere so far above the Wall

I see my light come shining
From the West unto the East
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

One more week of PT, then to the doctor on 9/28. I hope the doctor says I'm completely cured. Short of that, at least let me get off of these crutches. Let me drive. Release me from my confinement. I promise I'll be good. Any day now, any day now, I shall be released.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Save The Mountain Lions. Stop Breeding People.

Since 1990, the mountain lion in California has been legally protected against being killed by "hunters," or against being captured and taken out of state for other purposes. The mountain lion is designated a "specially protected mammal," and there is a $10,000 fine, and possible one-year jail term, for anyone who violates these protective laws. If someone is endangered by a mountain lion (such as a rancher, or the rancher's animals), they can report any attacks to the appropriate authorities, who are responsible for capturing or killing the mountain lion if necessary. The California Fish and Game Code section 4800 et seq. was passed to protect some of the wild animals in the state of California who were being murdered as "sport."

The main danger to the wild animals of the world comes from the unrestricted growth in the population of human beings. We should start a program to "encourage" people to have 1/2 of a child only, to cut the world's population in half. After that, maybe we should cut it in half again.

But the public worshipping of people having multiple births, large families, as if that represented something positive, as opposed to being simply self-absorbed ignorant people too lazy to use birth control, or religious cultists who believe their preachers who tell them to have more and more kids, is ridiculous. The overpopulation of the world is leading to the exhaustion of all its resources, destroying habitats, exterminating the animals with whom we share the world by destroying their environment.

In California, for example, the unrestricted immigration into the state ("immigration" in this case meaning from other states as well as from outside of the country) has created a bubble based on debt followed by an economic state of collapse, overbuilding of grossly overpriced houses to cram more and more people into the state, misuse and exhaustion of water by throwing it onto more and more lawns, polluting the air with cars and polluting the ocean with chemicals used by people, and with waste products which result in beaches being closed to human use because of excessively high fecal matter floating in the water. Nothing good comes from the unrestricted growth and increase in population such as that which has occurred in California, as well as in many other parts of the world.

For example, what if we set up a fund to provide free sterilization to people in third world countries, and give them money if they get sterilized after having only one child. Many women would be thrilled to be able to control their reproduction. The churches would oppose this, but who cares. The churches are mostly responsible for the gross overpopulation which is destroying the world.

It is legally possible to protect certain wild animals. But if local authorities continue to allow the mass building of housing, destruction of the environment and replacement of everything natural with tract homes, then ultimately all the animals will die out with or without legal protection.

Some people want to change the laws, to allow "trophy" hunting of mountain lions. That's what they call it. Ignorant rich white men want to kill mountain lions, then have their picture taken with the corpse. I would propose that if anything, we might consider a law authorizing the "trophy" hunting of rich white men. And maybe of religious fanatics who won't stop breeding. If they want a big family, they can have one kid then adopt some of the orphans from Afghanistan whose parents we've blown to bits.


California Fish & Game Code section 4800. (a) The mountain lion (genus Felis) is a specially protected mammal under the laws of this state. (b) It is unlawful to take, injure, possess, transport, import, or sell any mountain lion or any part or product thereof, ... (c) Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. ....


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Congress Refuses To Fund Acorn. Maybe We Should Cut Off Funding For Congress Until They Stop Appeasing the Republicans.

ACORN is a community-organizing group that basically tries to help poor people. The Republicans have repeatedly attacked ACORN because, as mentioned, they try to help poor people get organized. But for heaven's sake -- you'd think the Democrats would support a community-based organization like this. But you would be wrong.

Congress has once again bowed down to the Republican lunatics that have been attacking ACORN since last year's election, and have voted to cut off all federal funds for the group. Shame on the Democrats for supporting this punitive measure.

Congress claims there have been irregularities in ACORN. I've got news for Congress. The most corrupt organization in this entire country is Congress. Every single person in that organization takes bribes and sells their votes, then lies to the public about it. If Congress wants to clean things up, why don't they start with themselves. For example, why not pass real campaign finance reform. Why not pass laws making it illegal for anyone in Congress or their staff or representatives to communicate with anyone on any subject other than in public hearings? Why not make it illegal for Congresspeople to vote on any issue if they accepted money from the industry affected by the issue within the past two years, and make it illegal for them to accept money two years after the vote?

The idea of Congress calling any other group "corrupt" makes me want to throw up.

I see that the esteemed body of Congress has decided that instead of ending the wars, prosecuting the criminals, creating jobs or a health care program, they instead are going to begin holding hearings on soda pop. Really. Congressional hearings, testimony, about soda pop. Talk about a complete waste of time and money. They're probably going to shakedown the soda pop industry: either you pay us a hundred million in bribes, or we'll make it illegal for you to sell soda to kids! And no, I'm not a schill for soda pop. But I do think this is not an issue for Congress. Parents, keep it out of the home. Educators, keep it out of the schools. That's the best we can do. See, now you don't need the hearings -- I've already come up with the reasonable solution to the problem of kids drinking too much soda pop.

What's the reason for attacking ACORN? They registered lots of poor people and black people to vote last year. That's really what's going on here. And the Republicans have been attacking them ever since. ACORN not only advocates programs to help poor people, but also counsel and gives jobs to poor people. Obviously they will have their occasional employee problems, as does everyone. But what happened is that some right-wing organization started secret investigations, including taping (and allegedly falsifying claims) ACORN employees, maybe setting them up, then publicizing the tapes to claim that ACORN is violating the law.

The Republicans keep attacking. Storm clouds are gathering. They've got the fascists, the Nazis, the Klan, the Aryan Brotherhood, the lunatics, the secessionists, the segregationists and separatists and racists, all out in mass, angry mobs, armed and dangerous, terrorizing their neighbors. And what do the Democrats do in response, again and again: fold. Appeasement.

AP – "The House voted Thursday to deny all federal funds for ACORN in a GOP-led strike against the scandal-tainted community organizing group that comes just three days after the Senate took similar action. "ACORN has violated serious federal laws, and today the House voted to ensure that taxpayer dollars would no longer be used to fund this corrupt organization," said second-ranked House Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia. "
...
"On Monday the Senate voted 83-7 to deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
Republicans accelerated their attacks on the liberal-leaning group a year ago when ACORN, in conducting a massive voter registration drive, was accused of submitting some false registration forms."

"The Census Bureau, meanwhile, also has severed its ties with the group for the 2010 national census."

"Republicans have urged federal officials to go further by launching a comprehensive investigation of how ACORN spends and manages federal money. "

"'As long as taxpayers are subsidizing ACORN and its affiliates, we need to use every measure possible to ensure that those dollars are being spent and managed appropriately,' said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sponsor of the measure that passed the House. " [NOTE: SEE WHO IS SUPPORTING THIS MEASURE? THE BIGGEST MORONS IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY]

"'President Obama needs to indicate whether he'll sign this bill and join us in ending all taxpayer funds for this corrupt organization,' House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said after the vote."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090917/ap_on_go_co/us_congress_acorn

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The American Nazi Party, the Fascists, and the Ku Klux Klan Had A Party Last Week-end.

(Who are these people? Anti-war? Stop the war? Is that what the sign says? Old white people who are against something. Or are they just racists, opposed to Obama because he is black? You cannot figure out what their "issue" is by reading any of their signs, their T-shirts, their tattoos, their buttons. It is a hodge-podge. Their only unifying point seems to be that they hate Obama. Because they are racists.)

The American neocons, right-wingers, the Nazis, the Fascists, the white Aryan Nation clowns, the separatists, the secessionists, the Texans (or a big chunk of them), the white southerners (or a big chunk of them), the morons, the born-agains, the Aramagedenists, the We-Love-Sarah-Palinists, the Friends Of The Drug Addict On The Radio, that drunken lunatic Glenn Beck, all the rent-boys from Rupert Murdoch's Whorehouse, every Methbrain with a Microphone, all had a big party this week-end in Washington D.C. They didn't lynch anyone, but they're getting close.



The party of Neville Chamberlain did nothing, as always. I mean the Democrats. They were too busy out collecting bribes and shaking down the insurance industry, selling their votes, betraying the public, starting new wars, and firing people like Van Jones. The party of Neville Chamberlain is too corrupt to actually do anything at all in response to this gathering storm. Of course it's us, the citizens, who will suffer the effects of the tidal wave of armed lunacy beginning to overtake our nation.

For some bizarre reasons, we now hear the right-wing screaming that there is something evil about the word "czar," and if Obama appoints any "czar," then he too must be bad. I'm reminded of the Tsar Nicholas. The Romanovs. Remember that in the final days, Alexandra was enthralled with Rasputin, the privileged associates of the court mostly spent their time drinking, drugging and having orgies while the peasants gathered with pitchforks in the streets, hungry, angry, with no hope or direction. The Romanovs and the 5% of the richest people in the country owned most of the wealth, while 95% went hungry. But the rich people ignored the poor.

Our politicians in D.C. are like the Romanovs -- they've got most of the wealth, along with their friends, they live incredibly privileged lives, they apparently spend much of their time out having sex with non-spouses, drinking, drugging, finding new places to hide their money, then show up occasionally in public to "run" for the offices which are purchased for them by their wealthy corporate sponsors. That means the rest of us are the peasants. And this angry mob that has begun to assault the public represents the fascist portion of the peasants. What will the Democrats do to protect us, or represent us? They do nothing. They do nothing to help us, the people who got them elected. How can they be so blind, so silent? Or do the Democrats secretly want the lunatics out marching in the street because it gives them an excuse to do nothing?

(Try to figure out what these people have in common, what is their issue? "Madam Speaker, Kiss Our Astroturf." What does that mean? They hate Pelosi because she's female and in a position of power? "Congress Enslaves America." What is that supposed to mean? "Audit the government." Where were these people when Bush was running up the debt, starting wars, cutting taxes for rich people? If they are really fiscal conservatives, opposed to debt, why weren't they out marching against the Wall Street Bailouts? Why are they opposed to their neighbors getting affordable healthcare? What are they talking about? What unifies them except their hatred of Obama?)

Meanwhile, there is a gathering storm in this country of fascists, murderers, mercenaries, assassins, racists. They have guns. They are threatening violence against any citizen who opposes them. It's not surprising they would believe that it's okay to just kill people if you don't like them, since that's exactly the motto of our federal government.

(Anyone want to guess what the hell this sign is supposed to mean? I'm sure it's supposed to be clever, but what does it mean? You notice they put the two dark-skinned guys right up front so they could pretend this isn't a Klan rally, even though it is. And think how stupid these people are that they aren't out demanding jobs, healthcare, education for their kids, opportunity, retirement funds. What morons, low-lifes and losers.)

What do these people share in common? What is their unifying bond? Look at some of the photos below. Old white people, mostly. Their signs are a confused muddle. Some say Obama is a Communist. Some talk about a health care program meaning that we need more coffins ready. Some talk about redistributing wealth. They're a mess. There is no unifying theme. Some may be anti-abortion. So what is it that really unifies these people?

(Nice outfit. Nice sign too, talking about poopies. Very Fox-News of her. She looks like a contestant for a game show. I also like the lady behind her with the sign: "Wake Up America." They can't wake up, lady, all your neighbors are working 3 jobs and are exhausted. Wake up to what, anyway?)

Ask Jimmy Carter what's going on. It's racism. These people who proudly wear T-shirts describing themselves as an angry mob are against Obama because he's black. They don't even know what any of his proposals are. If they understood his health care proposal, they would understand that it's the same thing the Republican Baucus supports: doing nothing at all to help the citizens. Typical Republican policies. But the people in the photos below are stupid. They have no idea what's going on. Ask any one of them to explain anything that Obama has done or proposes, and they will be unable to answer. Because they are stupid and ignorant. But mostly, they are motivated by racism. They "want their country back," means that they are horrified to see a black man as president. And that's it.

You know what they remind me of? Cult members. They would strap a grenade on their love-handles and throw their bodies on an Obama yard-sign if Bill O'Really told them to. These people are mentally unstable. Cultists. Look out for them, they're not rational and they're armed.

("Compassion is voluntary not compulsory." What does that mean? "Patriots are on the March." Marching for what? What does it mean? What do they want? What are they against? Notice how white everyone is. Notice all the cheap bottle blondes?)

As far as the party of Neville Chamberlain, they think that they can always count on the liberals, progressives, left, to jump in to defend Obama against these attacks, which are so clearly racist. Don't count on it. I'm not jumping. When Obama starts working for me, then maybe I'll show up to defend him. As things stand right now, I could care less.

(Let me guess. She's 16, her daddy is a real estate developer with 3 ex-wives who's made millions building crappy houses, she spends 80% of her waking hours at the mall, and now that real estate's in the dump somebody's cut off her credit card. "Capitalism Died" the day she could no longer charge new outfits at the Gap. Poor thing, my heart bleeds. Ask her what "capitalism" means. I know: let her go join the Army, earn a paycheck, see Baghdad, be a real capitalist: go die for Empire.)

At least 30% of the country is fundamentally fascist. Obama refuses to support programs on the grounds that he wants everyone to support him. By definition, at least 30% don't, and never will. If Obama is too stupid to realize that, he deserves no support.

But I think he knows exactly what he's doing. He's playing with fire. He's encouraging the angry mobs, the fascists, the racists, the klan, with his polite language and deferential style, calming demeanor. His job is to keep us distracted while the leadership in the Democratic party is in the background hauling in the loot, the bribes from the insurance and war industry. It doesn't look like the Democrats have any policies or programs to help the people of this country. They are just using their dominant position to get lots of money for themselves. Who is going to protect the rest of us from the angry mobs?

("God Bless America," "I am the mob," "don't tread on me," "term limits"? What does all of this mean? What are these idiots talking about? One thing: they hate Obama because he is black. They are cultists and will do and say as instructed.)

There is a gathering storm. The Democrats are either encouraging the lunatics or, at a minimum, will appease them and do nothing to stop them. What shall we do? With no national party, no national leadership, what shall we do?

Mary Travers (1936 - 2009)

Mary Travers, famed folk-singer, "Mary" of "Peter Paul and Mary," long-time social justice advocate, has died of leukemia.

Demand A Medicare For All Public Option. Defeat The Baucus And Obama No-Reform Proposals.



Wendell Potter, citizen, whistle-blower, public advocate, a former executive with CIGNA, a major health insurance corporation, has been speaking publicly about the horrendous practices of the health insurance industry, the deceit, the theft, the practices of selling people insurance then dropping them as soon as they get sick. Mr. Potter has said that the "reform" proposal from Sen. Baucus which was released today will do nothing to help the citizens but, instead, will generate millions more in profits for the insurance industry. The same industry which has paid so much money in bribes to Congress will, not surprisingly, win.

Here is the essence of his position. We need to set up a not-for-profit healthcare program and allow citizens to join if they choose. People would pay a monthly premium based on age and ability to pay, but the entire program would be not-for-profit, so should be significantly cheaper than the private insurance market. It would be, essentially, Medicare for All. He says that if we do not offer that alternative, then things will only get worse. The Baucus plan, and Obama plan, will require every person to buy health insurance. But the insurance industry is free to charge however much they want, and offer as little coverage as they want. They can charge $500/month, but end up not covering anything other than a few doctor's visits per year.


Mr. Potter testifying to Congress yesterday:

"Thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity to address the House Steering and Policy Committee. Madam Speaker and Members of the Committee, my name is Wendell Potter, and I am humbled to be here today to testify about the need for meaningful and comprehensive reform and about the efforts of an industry I worked in for many years to shape reform in ways that will benefit it at the expense of taxpayers and policyholders.

In the weeks since my June 24 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, I have expressed hope at every opportunity that this indeed might be the year Congress will enact legislation to reform our health care system in ways that will truly benefit Americans for generations to come.

But I have also expressed concern that if Congress goes along with the so-called "solutions" the insurance industry says it is bringing to the table and acquiesces to the demands it is making of lawmakers, and if it fails to create a public insurance option to compete with private insurers, the bill it sends to the president might as well be called the Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.

H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, encompasses a comprehensive set of reforms that address the critical need for expanded coverage, lower health care costs, and greater choice and quality. Other legislative proposals, including the "Baucus Framework" being considered by the Senate Finance Committee's "Bipartisan Six," would benefit health insurance companies far more than average Americans. [NOTE: THE BAUCUS PLAN, SUPPORTED BY THE DEMOCRATS AND OBAMA, WILL BENEFIT THE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES, NOT THE CITIZENS]

The practices of the insurance industry over the past several years have contributed directly to the growing number of Americans who are uninsured and the even more rapidly growing number of people who are underinsured.

H.R. 3200 would go a long way toward making many of the standard practices of the industry illegal while providing much-needed assistance to low and moderate income Americans who cannot afford the overpriced premiums being charged by the cartel of large for-profit insurance companies that now dominate the industry.

H.R. 3200 would provide premium and cost-sharing assistance through the Health Insurance Exchange it would create. It would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a defined package of "essential health services" that all plans, public or private, would have to cover.

It also would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage or basing premiums on pre-existing conditions, gender or occupation. It would eliminate deductibles or co-pays for preventive care as well as the lifetime limits currently common in health insurance policies. The bill also would set an annual cap on out-of-pocket expenses that is more reasonable than in other proposals.

As important if not more important than those market reforms, H.R. 3200 would also create a public insurance option to compete with private insurers. Contrary to the misinformation being disseminated by the health insurance industry and its allies, the public insurance option would not have a competitive advantage over private plans. It would have to meet the same benefit requirements and comply with the same insurance market reforms as private plans.

As I told Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, insurance companies routinely dump policyholders who are less profitable or who get sick as part of their never-ending quest to meet Wall Street's relentless profit expectations.
While the reforms proposed in various bills before Congress would seemingly restrict insurance companies' ability to put investors' needs over those of consumers, Members must realize that provisions of some proposals, including the Baucus Framework, would actually drive millions more Americans, including many who currently have access to comprehensive coverage, into the ranks of the underinsured.

An estimated 25 million Americans are now underinsured for two principle reasons. First, the high-deductible plans many of them have been forced into by their employers require them to pay more out of their own pockets for medical care, whether they can afford it or not. Second, more and more Americans have fallen victim to deceptive marketing practices and bought what essentially is fake insurance.

The insurance industry is insistent on being able to retain what it calls "benefit design flexibility." Those three words seem innocuous and reasonable, but if legislation that reaches the president grants insurers the flexibility they claim they must have, and requires all of us to buy coverage from them, millions more of us will have little alternative but to buy policies that appear to be affordable but which will be prove to be anything but affordable if we become seriously ill or injured.

The big insurers have spent millions of dollars acquiring companies that specialize in what they call "limited-benefit" plans. Not only are the benefits extremely limited, the underwriting criteria established by the insurers essentially guarantee big profits.

H.R. 3200 would ban the worst of these policies. Other proposals, by providing financial incentives for employers to offer barebones plans with lousy benefits and high deductibles, would actually encourage them.

Unlike H.R. 3200, those proposals would not require employers to provide good benefits or even to meet minimum benefit standards. They also would permit employers to saddle their workers with the entire amount of the premiums in addition to the high out-of-pocket expenses, escalating the already rapid shift of the financial burden of health care from insurers and employers to working men and women.

The Baucus plan also would allow insurers to charge older people and families up to 7.5 times as much and younger people, impose big fines on families that don't buy their lousy insurance, and would weaken state regulation of insurers.

As a consequence, these proposals would do little to increase affordable coverage for those currently insured, or stop the rise in medical bankruptcy. They would, however, ensure that a huge new stream of revenue--much of it from taxpayers who would finance the needed subsidies for people too poor to buy coverage on their own--would flow--"gush" might be a more appropriate word--to insurance companies. And much of that new revenue would ultimately go right into the pockets of the Wall Street investors who own them.

Over the past several weeks, I have repeatedly told audiences around the country that the public option should not just be an "option" to be bargained away at the behest of insurance companies who are pouring money into Congress to defeat substantial and essential reforms. A public option must be created to provide true choice to consumers or reform will fail to truly fix the root of the severe problems that have been caused in large part by the greedy demands of Wall Street.

By creating a strong public option and restricting the insurance industry's ability to enrich executives and investors at the expense of taxpayers and consumers, H.R. 3200 will truly benefit average Americans.

The Baucus plan, on the other hand, would create a government-subsidized monopoly for the purchase of bare-bones, high-deductible policies that would truly benefit Big Insurance. In other words, insurers would win; your constituents would lose.

It's hard to imagine how insurance companies could write legislation that would benefit them more.

Over the coming weeks, I implore each Member of Congress to put the interests of ordinary, extraordinary Americans--the people who hired you with their votes--above those of private health insurers and others who view reform as a way to make more money.

Thank you for considering my views."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

U.S. Government Intelligence Agencies Fear International Economic Collapse, Chaos, Devastation. But what about the Green Shoots?

This story from NPR (link at bottom) is worth reading.

"When the Lehman Brothers banking firm collapsed a year ago this week, it prompted a financial panic that spread around the world. In February, with unemployment soaring and international trade in free fall, Adm. Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, advised Congress that the global economic crisis had replaced terrorism as the country's 'primary near-term security concern.'"

"U.S. intelligence analysts had concluded that a sharp drop in international money flows raised the prospect of destabilizing social unrest in countries with scarce resources and fragile governments. The collapse in financial markets had brought a sharp reduction in the transfer of investment capital to developing nations, while the global recession meant immigrant workers in the United States and elsewhere found it harder to send money back to family members in their native lands. Economic distress was laying a foundation for terrorism and insurgencies. "

... "Since February, the CIA and other intelligence agencies have been producing a three- to four-page daily "economic intelligence brief" for distribution to a half-dozen senior U.S. government officials." ... One recent EIB ... included secret data on supply and demand issues in the global oil market."

The U.S. intelligence agencies brief the top-level white house (and maybe Congressional representatives) every single day on economic issues. Everything they say is a secret. They won't tell us the truth, and our government refuses to do anything to go after the criminals who stole all the money and created this economic crisis. Instead, we get nonsensical fairy-tales from the government: the recession is over, there are green shoots everywhere, go out and spend spend spend.

It appears from this article that we are on the edge of complete collapse, not just here but throughout the world. So why won't the government go arrest the hedge fund and private equity and wall street and banker and all the others who have stolen our money, take back the money, and try to avoid the complete devastation of the world's economy? Notice how in the article they refer to monitoring China. If China tries to dump evidence of indebtedness from the U.S. -- our IOUs -- will everything collapse? Or we will just make up some story and start a war against China?

The government is afraid of us. They should be. If the citizens ever found out the truth, there would be hell to pay. Everything the Wall Street criminals did was known to our government, and all the politicians took bribes to stand by and watch it happen. That's why we never have hearings, committees, prosecutors, investigations unless it involves some white dude's penis being in the wrong place. What's that saying? Never get caught in bed with a live boy or a dead prostitute? Oh yeah -- and the speech police. Mr. Wilson's in big trouble for saying the word "liar." He should have said thieves and traitors, sell-outs, back-stabbers. Other than that, the rulers of this country can do whatever they want, and nobody will lift a finger to stop them.

The result is the collapse, maybe the destruction of our economy. What exactly has our government done in response to this criminal assault on the public? Did they go out to get these bad guys, arrest them, get our money back? Nope.

Wall Street didn't collapse, by the way. Lots of press today about how Lehman Brothers collapsed. It didn't. It's just that the con was over. They'd taken enough people that the word was out, so the top guys took all the money and ran out the back door, to the private jets, and fled the country right before the angry mobs with ladders and ropes broke down their front doors.

They stole our money. It's just that simple. They knew or should have known what they were doing. That's all that needs to be shown to get a judgment compelling them to turn over every penny they have to a public fund, to be used to reimburse the victims. So why isn't anyone in our government doing anything to arrest these men, start the prosecutions? Pay-offs? Bribes? Corruption?

Go read this article. It turns out the government is terrified that the entire population of the world could turn to mass rioting and uprisings as the effects of this economic corrupt enterprise is gradually revealed. Don't believe the stories in the press about the recession being over. For heaven's sake -- a few people stole all the money, tens of millions are now unemployed, millions have no healthcare, millions are losing their homes because they can't pay the mortgage, schools are being closed, entire states are bankrupt, and that's just in this country. In other countries, people quite simply have no money and no food. Yeah -- sure -- the worst is over, so they say. They're just worried that if people realized how bad things really are, they'd be out in the streets. Demanding that our government do something. Can't have that now.

So the government is afraid of us, afraid of all the people in the world. Good. Why don't they go arrest the rich people, the wall street criminals, get our money back, reinstate a 90% tax rate for earnings over $250,000, create a world tax as well as a domestic one, end these stupid wars, create a real jobs program, and do something to help us? They wouldn't have to be afraid of us if they would do their jobs, instead of just sitting back and collecting bribes.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112829960

Extreme Ice Survey. Global Warming Is Real. Why Do The Democrats Refuse To Do Anything To Save The World?


For the eight years of the Bush regime, we were forced to listen to all the Republican morons and their Christian fundamentalist supporters who insisted that there was no such thing as global warming or, if there was, it was a good thing, and besides, the world will end soon in any event. The End-Timers thought global warming and the destruction of the environment, and all living things, was a good thing because it would speed up the whole Armageddon timetable.

And we could laugh at those people, look down our noses, because we are Democrats, we are intelligent, we understood the truth and we are not stupid.

But now that the Democrats are in control of the U.S. government, why haven't they done anything to stop global warming? The only news we've heard is about some corporate-written cap-and-trade bill that would allow the corporations to continue to do everything they do now, continue the oil-based society, the individual cars, the agribusiness, continue everything exactly the same, but throw out a few alms for the poor. That plus new laws to subsidize the coal industry in spewing invisible pollution into the air, and to subsidize the construction of new nuclear facilities to kill off our people faster. Where is the investment in solar and wind? Not from these Democrats.

So why won't the Democrats do anything? Is it because they've collected so much money in bribes from the corporations that they've agreed to do nothing? Sure looks that way.

I'm tired of the pictures of the polar bears floating on a piece of ice, seemingly in the middle of an ocean facing certain death. I would like to instead see a picture of every politician from our national government clinging to a chunk of ice floating in the ocean. Let's see if they can keep warm, find food, and learn to swim. They don't seem to be able to govern.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze Dead At 57.

Patrick Swayze, or "Johnny" the dance instructor from the movie "Dirty Dancing," heartthrob to generations of young girls, has reportedly died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 57. The theme song from "Dirty Dancing" was "I had the time of my life." I hope he had a good time while he was here. It's hard to imagine he would not be here, because he was such a vibrant and physical presence on the screen.



Swayze studied dance and gymnastics in his youth, then moved to New York City from Texas to pursue dancing. He appeared on Broadway in Grease, had roles in several television series, and danced in some Disney productions.

His breakthrough movie role, for which he will forever be remembered, was as the dance instructor Johnny in the movie "Dirty Dancing," which also starred Jennifer Grey as the delightful young girl on the verge of becoming a woman, and the always-amazing Jerry Orbach. "Dirty Dancing" became a national and international success, continues to be shown around the world, has sold over a million copies and earned over Three Hundred Million Dollars.

Swayze also had a lead role in the movie "Ghost," with Demi Moore, another very successful movie. He acted in many additional movies, on TV, on Broadway and in London theatre, and was named by People magazine in 1991 as the Sexiest Man Alive. Gone too soon.




Friday, September 11, 2009

Somebody Hijacked Four Airplanes On September 11, 2001

On September 11, 2001, a group of men hijacked four commercial airplanes in the United States. Two of the planes were then flown into office buildings in New York City. One of the planes crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. One of the planes crashed into some part of the Pentagon.

I don't have any inside information about what really happened that day. Any adult American who witnessed the events of that day will likely carry the trauma of the horror of watching our neighbors die in such a barbaric fashion to the grave. Can't get that picture out of your mind, because it could have been any one of us up on Floor 100 of a high-rise frantically waving a curtain or jacket or anything out the window, screaming for help, then realizing none was possible and hurling yourself out the window 100 floors down to a horrendous death on the pavement to escape death by incineration. It could have been anyone of us, our friends or family. The images are still too painful to bear.

But it's an exaggeration to say "The U.S. Was Attacked on 9/11." Not really. Four airplanes were hijacked. It was a criminal act, concerted, a conspiracy. But no boats landed on our beaches, no tanks crossed our borders, no air forces began systematically bombing our cities, no marching armies burned down the homes in their path, shooting civilians, raping, looting, pillaging at random, installing some phony leader and claiming he was now in charge of our country. The exaggeration of the 9/11 hijackings serves only to allow the government to mislead the public into believing that we are at war, that all our money must go to the defense corporations and to Halliburton and Blackwater to fight our war. Four airplanes were hijacked. It was a crime. The wars were of our choosing. Now that those terrible choices were made in a time of chaos and despair, now that 8 years have passed, it is time for the U.S. to end those wars that we started, bring our troops home, and repair the damage done to our own country by our own government.

I don't know who was responsible for setting up the 9/11 hijackings. It could have been Cheney and Bush and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Pearle and all the neocons, all the fascists, all the Republicans, the CIA, the mercenaries, their trained assassins from the School of the Americas. The official story is that there is an international cult named Al Queda which conducted the hijackings. Supposedly their leader, Osama bin Laden, is angry because the U.S. has its military in the middle east. That cult wants to murder or convert every Westerner and install an essentially fascist government in the world, to force everyone to become Muslims and live according to some bizarre set of oppressive laws.

That's the official story. Maybe it's true. I don't know. But if Osama bin Laden really did this, then why didn't we go get him and kill him? Is it because the Bush family has made so much money representing the Saudi upper classes, W didn't want to offend his sugar-daddy? Or is it because Osama bin Laden is now, and has been since the 1980s, when he was hired by Reagan, a CIA agent, or at least a double-agent? If he is, then who in the CIA told him to set up these hijackings?

The U.S. government has covered up much information, refused to cooperate with the committee set up to investigate what happened, they lied, they told stories that make no sense, they wanted war, they wanted to invade the middle east to steal the oil, the wanted to steal the treasury of this country for their corporate friends, they wanted to destroy democracy, and have largely succeeded in doing so all because of the 9/11 attacks.

Amiri Baraka wrote a poem shortly after the 9/11 attacks, excerpted below. I'm not even sure who he thinks did it. The rich people, I guess generally. Mostly white men, and rich people. Sounds right to me. They're usually the ones who murder, kill, steal, enslave, start wars, lie. His poem was titled "Somebody Blew Up America." Again, it was written close in time to the attacks and reflect the perception at the time. I think we need to start thinking of this tragedy as four hijackings, in order to get some measure of sanity in our history accounts.

3000 Americans were killed in the 9/11 hijackings. Over 4000 American military people have died in the wars that Bush and Cheney started immediately after the 9/11 hijackings. Some sources (Lancet at 600,000, plus projections forward from that point) estimated over One Million Iraqi people have died because of the war the U.S. has waged against their country, and Four to Five Million Iraqi people have either become refugees, and left their own country, or are now "internally displaced," meaning their homes are gone but they are hiding in other parts of Iraq, fleeing death squads run by the police and financed by the U.S.

The evidence is overwhelming and undisputed that Iraq had no involvement in, no responsibility for, the four hijackings in the U.S. on 9/11. As for Afghanistan, of course, a nation of dire poverty and rubble, no one in our government can articulate one sane reason why our troops continue to occupy that country and murder those people. Except for the fact that the U.S. oil corporations want to run a pipeline across their land.



Somebody Blew Up America
by AMIRI BARAKA
(excerpts only)


Somebody Blew Up America
They say its some terrorist,some barbaric
A Rab,in Afghanistan
It wasn't our American terrorists
It wasn't the Klan or the Skin heads

Or the them that blows up nigger
Churches, or reincarnates us on Death Row
It wasn't Trent Lott
Or David Duke or Giuliani

They say (who say?)

Who got the bux out the Bucks
Who got fat from plantations

Who genocided Indians
Tried to waste the Black nation
Who live on Wall Street

The first plantation

Who cut your nuts off
Who rape your ma
Who lynched your pa
Who got the tar, who got the feathers


Who the smartest
Who the greatest
Who the richest
Who say you ugly and they the goodlookingest
Who define art


Who stole Puerto Rico
Who stole the Indies, the Philipines, Manhattan
Australia & The Hebrides
Who forced opium on the Chinese
Who own them buildings


Who got the money

Who run the army
Who the fake president

Who the ruler
Who the banker
Who? Who? Who?

Who you think need war
Who own the oil

Who do no toil
Who own the soil
Who is not a nigger

Who is so great ain't nobody bigger
Who own this city
Who own the air

Who own the water
Who own your crib

Who rob and steal and cheat and murder
and make lies the truth
Who call you uncouth
Who live in the biggest house

Who do the biggest crime
Who go on vacation anytime
Who killed the most niggers

Who killed the most Jews

Who killed the most Italians
Who killed the most Irish
Who killed the most Africans

Who killed the most Japanese
Who killed the most Latinos
Who? Who? Who?
Who own the ocean
Who own the airplanes


Who make the laws
Who made Bush president


Who want more oil

Who killed Malcolm, Kennedy & his Brother
Who killed Dr King,
Who would want such a thing?

Who overthrow Chile and Nicaragua later
Who killed David Sibeko, Chris Hani,

the same ones who killed Biko,
Cabral, Neruda, Allende, Che Guevara, Sandino,

Who tried to keep the Vietnamese Oppressed
Who put a price on Lenin's head
Who put the Jews in ovens,and who helped them do it


Who said "America First"and ok'd the yellow stars
Who killed Rosa Luxembourg, Liebneckt
Who murdered the Rosenbergs
And all the good people iced,
tortured, assassinated, vanished
Who got rich from Algeria, Libya, Haiti,Iran, Iraq, Saudi, Kuwait, Lebanon,

Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine,
Who cut off peoples hands in the Congo


Who make dough from fear and lies
Who want the world like it is
Who want the world to be ruled by imperialism and national
oppression and terror violence, and hunger and poverty.
Who is the ruler of Hell?

They're Changing The Guard At Buckingham Palace.

The names and faces of the military and the mercenaries, the people who do the killing and the dying and the waging of wars, those who come home in pieces or in coffins or are buried in obscure mass graves, those whose entire lives are "honored" by working people putting a flag out once a year, those who die way too young, who are lied to and deceived, who never get anything at all, who slaughter women and children and babies when instructed, who are told that they matter, they are important, that their mission is critical, that they are "defending their nation" when they are only acting to steal more wealth for the mass-murderers who declare war and steal the riches and hide in palaces and mansions surrounded by paid mercenaries and young military men, their names and faces change, but the essential structure remains the same.

Buckingham Palace by A. A. Milne

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
"A soldier's life is terrible hard," Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We saw a guard in a sentry-box.
"One of the sergeants looks after their socks," Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We looked for the King, but he never came.
"Well, God take care of him, all the same," Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
They've great big parties inside the grounds.
"I wouldn't be King for a hundred pounds," Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
A face looked out, but it wasn't the King's.
"He's much too busy a-signing things," Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
"Do you think the King knows all about me?"
"Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea," Says Alice.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Guess What I Did Today?

Okay, it was pitiful, as much a wave as a step, barely making contact between the sole and the ground, not so much "partial" weight-bearing as "minimal" weight bearing, but I don't care. I walked today. With crutches, hesitantly, with fear and trepidation, under the direction and observation of the physical therapists, I put my left foot on the ground, followed by the right, then the left again, and -- well, you get it.







Obama and the Democrats Refuse To Pass Healthcare Reform.

Obama and the Democrats refuse to pass healthcare reform. That's the only honest headline. What Obama and the Democrats instead announced last night is that they will do nothing at all to help the public. They are compelling 40 million Americans to buy health insurance, sending hundreds of millions of dollars of more business to the same criminals who are robbing us blind, but for the rest of us: nothing. No Reform. No Change.

The whole thing was just entertainment for the masses to deceive and defraud the public. What a show it was. Did you notice that all the Democratic women wore red, so they could try to pretend, try to fool the public into thinking this was just as important as the State of the Union? Like a revival carnival tent, I kept waiting for someone to bring out the bearded lady or the two-headed snake.

Everytime Obama opened his mouth the Democrats cheered like it was VE Day all over again. I kept expecting them to have the cameras cut to Times Square where male Democratic employees would be grabbing women, bending them over backwards, and giving them a big kiss, with excited journalists and flashbulbs recording the moment for all time.

"Good Evening" (wild cheers). "How are you?" (standing ovation). I almost think maybe Biden was standing behind Obama with signs, holding them up to the audience when the cameras weren't looking, like they do in the daytime game shows. Which is pretty much what this was. The Democrats took hundreds of millions of dollars from the health care industry -- insurance, doctors, drug companies -- in exchange for doing absolutely nothing to provide healthcare to the public. Instead of the TV Listings describing this as "Presidential Address to Congress," they should have just called it "The Price Is Right."

Obama got all puffed up when he announced that he will put some price controls on "co-pays and out of pocket expenses," but notice that he's not going to restrict the amount charged for premiums. The big money is the monthly premium. The co-pay is like forty bucks. Most people can afford forty bucks, but they can't afford the monthly premiums. So thanks for nothing.


Obama claims that he will not allow the insurance companies to "charge extra" for mammograms or check-ups or colonoscopies, but he pretends that he's unaware of the fact that most people have a deductible. All of those items would not exceed the deductible, meaning the individual has to pay for it one way or the other, well over a thousand dollars. If Obama believes mammograms and colonoscopies are such life-saving tests (which they are), then why doesn't the government pay for all of us to have them? Because he's spending all the public's money on the wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, his new (undeclared) war against Pakistan, the eight new bases in Columbia, the coups in Honduras by the assassins from the School of Americas. Everything for War, nothing for the people.

Oh yeah. That whole "public option?" Keith Olbermann (on short notice, in fairness to him) kept referring to the fact that there would be a public option. Not really folks. Read the speech. Four years from now there will be a non-profit program set up to pay for healthcare for the uninsured who are too poor to be compelled to buy it for themselves. But only a maximum of 5% of the population can participate. I'm guessing skid row, jail, prison -- that type of medical care, to people who have not one penny and no ability to pay. For all the rest of us: nothing. No help, no public option, no Medicare for All, Nothing. And just as an aside: why wait four years to provide health care assistance to the poorest people in our country? My guess is that in four years there will be a quiet announcement that this will not be funded after all.


There was also a plan for a government-funded marketplace in which insurance companies can go to sell insurance to the public. Will we be paying for the insurance agent's travel expenses, hotels, meals, as well? Hookers? Phone sex? Why would the taxpayers pay to create a sales office for insurance companies? Notice that Obama and the Democrats do not plan to restrict the amount that the insurance companies can charge us in premiums. He says they will "compete" with each other for our business? Theoretically they do that right now, and the effect has been that they all grossly overcharge the public because there are no controls on what they can charge. They're competing to see who can steal the most money, provide the least service, and kill the most people.

The big pronouncement that Obama will forbid the exclusion of pre-existing conditions? Big deal. The insurance companies will charge such high premiums that insurance will be unaffordable to anyone with a preexisting condition. Just like it is today.

The pronouncement by Obama that nobody better try to stop him: that was aimed at the Democrats in the House, not the Republicans.

This is a complete sell-out of the public. The only true words spoken came from the Republican who called Obama a liar, because any claim that this represents health care "reform" is a lie.