Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pam Tebow Abortion Story: Balloon Boy, Chapter 2

The whole Superbowl "Tim Tebow Was Almost Aborted By His Mother" story that's been warming the hearts (and opening the checkbooks?) of the crazy right-wing anti-abortion crowd in this country should more properly be entitled "Balloon Boy, Chapter 2."

Serious questions are being raised by various pro-choice groups about Pam Tebow's sudden money-making decision to present herself nationally as an example of the reason why nobody should ever have abortion. Her son Tim, who she claims she almost aborted, is big news: Heisman Trophy football player getting lots of press. His parents, Bob and Pam Tebow are evangelistic "christians" who are all over the Phillipines trying to convert people to their religion, housing orphaned children in a place they have unfortunately named "Uncle Dick's House."

If you read the insipid biographies of the entire family, the dad Bob has been part of the crazy-right Christians (an organizer of Campus Crusade for Christ decades ago) his entire adult life. He and the Mrs., the almost-baby-killer Pam, married when she was right out of college, have been married about 40 years.

Here's the Balloon Boy story. According to the almost-baby-killer Pam, in 1987, when she and her husband had been married for over 20 years, strongly "christian," they spent time in the Phillipines. She got pregnant with Heisman Tim, but was sick at the same time with dyssentery, and her doctor told her she might want to have an abortion because the drugs she took to stop the dyssentery might affect the pregnancy.

Now Heisman Tim is going to the SuperBowl. And after he became famous and nationally known, the almost-baby-killer Pam suddenly remembered that she had almost had an abortion, in which case who knows who would be playing in his spot at the Superbowl. I wonder why she never mentioned this before Heisman Tim got famous? I wonder how much money she and her "christian" husband are getting off of her new-found fame as a spokesperson/confessor.

I know Focus on the Family is making a ton of money off of almost-baby-killer Pam. They paid over Two Million to buy airtime during the Superbowl for an advertisement during which Heisman Tim and almost-baby-killer-Pam will confess to the world that Pam almost killed Tim when he was still a fetus. I'm wondering if Tim fumbles a lot, will they pull the ad, worried that the drunken fans at home will be yelling at the screens: She Should Have Aborted The Lousy Bum!

Focus on the Family is planning to make lots of money off of this ad, and the pre-game hoopla. How much money is almost-baby-killer Pam getting out of this whole sordid public "confession?"

Here are some of the obvious problems with Pam's sudden claims about her near-miss at becoming a baby-killer. First, by 1987, when she says this almost happened, she and her husband had been making their entire living off of the whole Reagan-inspired christian-right insanity in this country. If she believes their religious views, then she wouldn't have even considered an abortion. Second, abortion has been illegal in the Phillipines since 1870, subject to prison time, so why would a Philippine doctor tell the conquering white lady to do something that would land him in prison? Third, even if she had dyssentery, there is no evidence whatsoever that the treatment for that would likely harm a fetus. So the whole story is very suspicious.

And the fact that almost-baby-killer Pam and Focus on the Family are both apparently making tons of money off this story is making a lot of people think that Pam's "recollection" is inaccurate. Maybe she's been sucking down too much wine with the wafers during the services.

Money and religion, what a nasty combination.


"Klute" is the title of a movie from 1971 starring Jane Fonda (who won the Best Actress Academy award for that role) and Donald Sutherland, directed by Alan J. Pakula. "Klute" was the first of three Pakula films that some called his "paranoia trilogy": 1) Klute; 2) The Parallax View; and 3) All The President's Men. All three movies reflected the common perception during the 1970s that there were things going on at higher levels, people being murdered, and we the citizens were just unknowing pawns in the game.

In "Klute," Jane Fonda plays a New York City prostitute/call girl named Bree Daniels. Donald Sutherland plays the title character, John Klute, a private investigator from a small town in Pennsylvania. Klute is called by the CEO of a successful Pennsylvania corporation, to help locate one of their executives who has gone missing: Tom Grueneman.

Klute tracks Grueneman to Bree Daniels, but she refuses to cooperate. Bree Daniels is living in extreme agitation and fear because she senses that she is always being watched and followed -- by someone. Much of the filming is done as if from the eyes of the man who is, in fact, stalking Bree Daniels. So the camera is outside her apartment looking in, or across the street watching her as she walks to the corner. Every time the film shows us that she is being stalked (though we don't know by whom) the soundtrack plays a piece called "The Tape," which sets the eerie, creepy tone of the film. As the story progresses, Bree Daniels and John Klute fall in love, and the soundtrack also has a wonderful piece called "Love Theme."

To avoid ruining the story for anyone who has not seen this amazing film, let's just say that anybody who thinks corporations and the men who run them are behind everything evil in this world will not be disappointed.

I loved the movie, but in particular love the soundtrack which was written by a man named Michael Small. The soundtrack was unfortunately never available for purchase, nor sold as a record or CD, until 2006, 35 years after the movie was made.

In the clip below, you can hear parts of "The Tape," the creepy background music that sets the ominous tone for the whole film.

Michael Small also wrote the soundtracks for many other films including the Parallax View (with Warren Beatty), Stepford Wives (original, not the remake), Night Moves (Arthur Penn/Gene Hackman - another great film), Marathon Man (John Schlesinger/Dustin Hoffman -- who also worked together on Midnight Cowboy), The China Syndrome (Jane Fonda again, with Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas), The Postman Always Rings Twice (remake), and Black Widow (a terrific movie with Debra Winger and Theresa Russell).

Some people consider the soundtrack for "Klute" to be one of the best soundtracks of the 1970s. I would agree. I don't know what instruments were used to create the creepy effect of "The Tape," other than the voice part, but I do know I can still hear it in my head many years after I first saw that movie.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Scott Roeder, Right-Wing Religious Fanatic, Found Guilty Of Murder

In May of 2009, Scott Roeder, a 51-year-old airport shuttle driver who had a "religious conversion" in the 1990s, and who had been stalking Dr. George Tiller for ten years, finally succeeded in murdering Dr. Tiller. He waited until Dr. Tiller and the other members of the Lutheran Church in Kansas were inside the church during a service, then snuck in the back door of the church with a concealed weapon, quietly crept up behind Dr. Tiller (who was sitting next to his wife), then put the gun to Dr. Tiller's head and pulled the trigger.

Dr. Tiller performed abortions. Scott Roeder testified that in his own personal opinion, life begins at the moment of conception. Under that theory, even an abortion performed one day after the pregnancy began would be considered "murder." Scott Roeder's views are those of a small but fanatical minority, usually men who also believe women should not be allowed to use birth control, or have any rights in our society.

This "born-again" fanatic who claimed he was acting out of religious belief shot Dr. Tiller in the head then fled the church, brandishing his gun at a few of the men inside the church who stood up and tried to stop him. Apparently his religious conversion included the belief that he was entitled to murder not only doctors but also anybody who tried to catch him when he was fleeing the scene of the crime.

His attorneys wanted to argue to the jury that this loser had acted in "defense of others," and his conduct was lawful. Under that theory, the loser Scott Roeder would be not just judge jury and executioner, but also God, and only he could decide whether a woman could terminate a pregnancy. The claim was that he had to murder Dr. Tiller in order to stop future abortions. The judge did not allow this to be presented to the jury. The judge was right. Scott Roeder is not God, and has no right to interfere in other people's medical decisions. He certainly is not entitled to kill people because he disagrees with their decisions.

Let's say a woman who is on the verge of kidney failure because of a problem pregancy, and the only way to save her life is to abort the fetus: ask Scott, see what he says. Or the 12 year old rape victim. Or the woman who has just been advised that her fetus has some genetic abnormality and will be dead within a few days of a "natural" birth. Ask Scott, see what he says.

Under this theory, promoted by the right-wing, women should have no control over their own bodies, and should not even have the right to save their own lives. Further, just like Tim McVeigh, another hero to the right wing, this guy Scott Roeder claimed that he, as a white male, had the absolute right to decide who should live and who should die.

Roeder claimed that if he thought it was appropriate, he could have killed all the nurses who worked on any abortion, and walked away without any legal consequences. He could have killed the intake-clerk who signed the woman in, or the janitor who just cleaned the halls. He could have killed the husband who agreed with his wife's decision to terminate the pregnancy, or killed the neighbor who gave the woman a ride to the clinic. He could have killed the 12-year-old girl who was gang-raped and desperately needed to terminate the pregnancy to save her own sanity. He could have killed the 45 year old woman with 6 kids and a bum drunk for a husband who had raped her when she slept so she couldn't use her diaphragm. The life and death of countless people should all have been left to Scott Roeder, loser and fanatic. That's his theory.

Scott Roeder claimed he was entitled to murder all these people. The right-wing supports him in that belief because they hate women and they also agree that white men should be able to kill anyone they want, to rule the world.

Here's my problem with this story: if Scott Roeder claimed that God told him to do it, and he was absolutely right in his murder of Dr. Tiller, then why did he flee the church, why did he threaten to shoot the other men in the church who tried to stop him from running away? Did god tell him to hide? Why didn't he stay there in the church and say "Yeah, I did it, and God told me to. So there." Why? Because he's a murderer and a coward, and he knew that what he did was wrong, and he thought maybe if he ran, he could get away with it.

Scott Roeder has been sentenced to life in prison. I guess he'd better hope that he doesn't run into some other prisoner who thinks he's entitled to kill anyone he wants. What comes around goes around.

The Night Of The Wolf Moon

January 29, 2010, tonight, we will have a full moon, called the Wolf Moon.

The Native Americans named the full moons. This one, in January, is called the Full Wolf Moon after the wolf packs which howled outside Indian villages in the middle of winter when the nights were cold and the snow was deep.

"Full moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. Those tribes of a few hundred years ago kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred."

"There were some variations in the moon names, but in general the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England on west to Lake Superior. European settlers followed their own customs and created some of their own names."

Wolfs of many types around the world are in danger of extinction. Partly because morons like Sarah Palin like to go "helicopter murdering," chasing wolfs with helicopters then shooting them through the open door. Can you imagine what she'd do to our country if she was in charge? Probably kill us all.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wouldn't You Know It?

Here's a photo of James O'Keefe (punk republican goon who just snuck into a Senator's office to vandalize her phone lines) with who else but Karl Rove. Maybe they should change outfits. The guy on the very left is a teabagger moron right-winger named Breitbart and the little kid is -- misguided.

There Is No Such Thing As Clean Coal.

One of the most shocking statements made by President Obama last night was that he favors the use of "clean" coal.

There is no such thing as "clean" coal. The use of coal to produce energy emits toxins and poisons into the air. The strip-mining, mountaintop removal practices that are now common in coal mining companies cause widespread ecological devastation wherever these practices are used. The use of coal in this country is destroying communities, polluting the air and water, and killing Americans.

Here is Robert Kennedy, Jr., noted environmental lawyer, explaining why there is no such thing as "clean" coal. If we want to get off of oil, and stop global warming, then we need to get serious about green technologies, solar and wind, and stop giving in to the oil, gas, and coal corporations who are killing us all.

President Obama's First State Of The Union Address: "Can't We All Just Get Along?"

President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union speech last night. Instead of preaching to the choir, it was more like he was preaching to the mob. In response to the Republicans beating the crap out of him for a whole year, he pathetically asked them if they would like to play nice.

I'd never noticed before, but the right-wing ideologues on the Supreme Court look like executioners, all dressed up in black robes so when the blood splatters all over them, it won't show so much. It has been reported that one of these neocon judges made a nasty crack in the middle of Obama's speech. When President Obama criticized the Supreme Court for opening the floodgates of our elections to corporate and possibly foreign control, one of the justices supposedly mouthed the words "Not True." Well, it is true, and they knew exactly what they were doing. These people on our Supreme Court want to destroy democracy. They are fascists. They do believe that a small group of superior human beings (white male Republicans) should rule everyone, own everything, control the world, and everybody else should have no rights at all. They believe in injustice and corruption, and they are using their position to enrich their allies.

And the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military dudes. And Robert Gates. Noticed how they all sat looking stern when Obama said he was "really really" interested in possibly doing something about the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy in the military. These dudes had a look on their face like: Over my dead body. Who is running this show, anyway?

I didn't hear much in the speech that excited me. President Obama very clearly asked the Republicans to begin doing their job, to work together with the Democrats to help the people. The Republicans sneered at him. As an aside, the Republican "side" of the chambers was all white male. Not that the Democrats are all that inclusive, but they certainly do a little better than that.

How did George W. Bush manage to push through all the damaging policies of his administration when the Republicans had a smaller majority in Congress than the Democrats do today? By getting out and rallying people to support it. They lied, yes, but they convinced the public that these policies were right.

One of the problems with the Democrats is that they have no bold policies, programs or ideas. Instead, they are simply promoting the same tired old pro-corporate programs that Bush supported, but with slight modifications.

How about that line when President Obama said that "we" all hated bailing out Wall Street and the banks. And every politician in view of the cameras stood up and cheered. Bull. If they hated doing it, if they're really really mad at the financial community, then why do they all take bribes from the same folks? Why did they take a percentage kick-back, which is what it appears to be, from the same people that they gave hundreds of billions of dollars of our money.

For example, Obama says he will end the tax incentives and benefits given to corporations to take jobs out of this country. That's right: Congress voted to give extra money to corporations as a reward for them throwing more Americans out of work. Obama says we should end that. But then he goes on to say we need to give tax breaks to businesses in this country for hiring people. Nonsense: the last thing we need are more tax cuts for businesses.

Obama also claims we need to cut the deficit, but proposes more tax breaks for homeowners who invest in their homes to make them more energy-efficient. Here's the problem: only the upper middle class will benefit from this program. The real middle class and working class don't have any extra money right now to put in new windows, or insulation, or put on a new roof. The upper middle class does not need any more money from the government. These are the same people who were just given $4,000 to go out and buy a new car. Most people can't afford to buy a new car right now. Obama's policies continue to favor the wealthy.

What about healthcare? If Obama and the Democrats had a real healthcare reform program, they could go out in public and sell it to the people. Go out right now and tell people that they can save $1800/year, $150/month, from this proposal. If that was true, people would be sitting in the Republicans' offices to demand that they support the healthcare program. But the Senate proposal does nothing to help most people in this country. It is just a corporate giveaway, which will bring an additional $100 Billion or more per year ito the Medical Industry.

I just got a notice from Blue Cross that they are raising my premiums by 38%, and making other changes in my policy which will make my healthcare less affordable. But the Senate bill does nothing to help me. It's ironic that I got an e-mail from President Obama this morning telling me that he wants to help the middle class. Then he asked if I would be willing to start sending him $15/month from now on. Funny, I was just thinking about asking him to help me out.

The Democrats aren't stupid. If they had a program that would really help people, they would get out there and sell it. The Senate health care bill was written by the health insurance and medical industry. Just like the credit card "reform" bill was written by the credit card industry. Just like the new proposed financial regulations "reform" was written by Wall Street then handed to Congress.

Did you hear President Obama describe his big proposed financial "reforms"? He says he's going to get really tough on Wall Street. Because Americans have the right to understand the terms and conditions of their investments. This will end up like the credit card "reform": Wall Street will have to put some new "Notice" in the mice-type forms they use. That's not reform. It's just an effort by the Democrats to pretend that they are getting tough on Wall Street, but the fact is they all take bribes from Wall Street and won't do anything to interfere with that flow of money.

What about the Lieberman issue? The Democrats should have booted him out of all positions he holds because of his claim to have been a Democrat. And they should keep him out of caucuses and meetings, because it's obvious he's working both sides, getting information from the Democrats and givig it to the Republicans. Why don't the Democrats at least take a stand on Lieberman, boot him out.

This is why people don't respect the Democrats: they have no backbone, no principles, nothing that matters enough to them that they wouldn't just sell it out, or walk away because it would be too much effort to fight for it. The Democrats don't fight for the people. The Republicans fight for the corporations and for the fascist right-wing racist war-mongers that support them.

Everybody knows Lieberman belongs to the insurance industry (not that the rest of them don't as well, just that Connecticut has a lot of insurance companies). Everytime Lieberman opens his mouth, every Democrat in Congress should be screaming about him being in the bag for the insurance industry and refusing to do anything to help Americans. Instead, the Democrats act like he's their friend.

And Rahm Emanuel is the same thing: pro-war, pro-corporation. Everybody knows it. So why is he the top guy?

How about when President Obama gave Tim Geithner a big hug, whispered in his ear. Geithner, a Wall Street messenger, a man with an enormous cloud of conflict of interest hanging over his head. He should be fired, not hugged and kissed.

I didn't hear anything exciting in the speech. President Obama is a good-looking, sincere, good speaker, very bright, nice. But I did not hear one thing that he plans to do that will make my life better.

Such as? Well, to start, go after the Republicans with a tank. Get up in their faces. Come up with real healthcare reform, then go out and sell it to the public. Come up with a real jobs program, not just more tax breaks for businesses. And this stupid little tax on banks: let's pass real tax reform and tax all compensation, including capital gains, in excess of $250,000, at the tax rate of 90%. Let's do that for awhile, and see if we can pay down some of the deficit and redistribute the wealth. A few people have gotten rich during the past decade by stealing money and jobs from the rest of us. It's only fair that those who benefitted from the crime should be required to disgorge their profits.

But all I heard last night were small ideas, small proposals. In the end, President Obama's speech was as weak as was Rodney King's plea, after the cops beat the cr*p out of him on camera then were acquitted by a jury of white folks: "Can't we all just get along?"

Here's a link to the full text of the speech:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Howard Zinn (1922 - 2010)

Howard Zinn died today. It's a terrible loss for our country. What a great man. He contributed to the education of, and continued to push our country to get better and get right until his last days, at the age of 87.

Howard Zinn is best known for his book The People's History of the United States in which he presented history honestly, with a focus on the lives of ordinary people. Readings around the country based on that book were filmed and recently shown on the History Channel.

Howard Zinn served in the military in World War II and was active in the civil rights, and in progressive politics for his entire life.

Here's a video of Howard Zinn's appearance on the Bill Moyers Journal just a few weeks ago:

Here's a link to the Wikipedia entry on Howard Zinn, with a much more lengthy description of his life and work.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Obama's State Of The Union Speech

Obama's State of the Union Speech: Is this Going To Be One Of Those Drinking Games? Everytime Obama says a certain word, everybody has to take a drink? Or everybody has to stand up, turn around, clap their hands together twice and cheer?

What will be the buzz words? "Terrorism" is so Last Administration. I think he'll stay away from Healthcare and Jobs, pretty sore subjects. Ditto for Wall Street.

What will he say to try to rouse the citizens? I know what I'd say: Hang every banker, stockbroker, hedge or private equity fund manager, and CEO! (Stand up, turn around, clap twice then cheer!).

Church Bulletins

(A friend sent these to me. They're pretty funny. Thanks to Kathy for sending me a laugh).


1. The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes snacks and meals.

2. The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.'
The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'

3. Ladies , don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

4. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.

5. Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

6. Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

7. For those of you who have children and don't know it , we have a nursery downstairs.

8. Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

9. Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

10. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall.
Music will follow.

11. At the evening service tonight , the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.

12. Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

13. Scouts are saving aluminum cans , bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

14. Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you will want remembered.

15. The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility

16. Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

17. The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

18. This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

19. Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.

20. The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

21. Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

22. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

23. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

24. The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge so up yours.'

Obama To Citizens: "Let Them Eat Cake."

There is a famous story about pre-revolutionary France. Most of the people were very poor, but the rich, and the royalty lived in unimaginable luxury, and stole most of the resources of their countries for themselves. The people, on the other hand, had no way to earn a decent living, and many of them were starving because they were so poor.

One day Marie Antoinette (soon to be fondly remembered as "Headless Mary") heard the impoverished citizens crying out: "We're hungry, we have no bread." And Marie turned to one of her rich useless friends and said "Let them eat cake." In other words, as the story goes, Marie thought there was a bread shortage for some reason, and people should simply eat cake until more loaves of bread were available. But of course the truth was that people had no money, and they could not afford to buy bread. Remember Jean Valjean stole a loaf of bread in Victor Hugo's famous Les Miserables. And was pursued by the police for all eternity for that "sin."

The people, the working people, the average people in this country have no bread and no cake. They cannot afford to live. They sink further into debt every day. Housing is too expensive, healthcare, transportation. Everything has gone up in cost, but the citizens' wages have been frozen at 1970s levels.

The people who run Wall Street, the banks, the financiers, have manipulated our economy and stolen much of the nation's wealth, which they have paid out to themselves in billions of dollars of "bonuses."

Each time a business announces that it is shutting down a U.S. manufacturing facility and opening up a substitute in a third world country, the criminals on Wall Street would bid up that company's stock so the corporate insiders would get big bonuses for themselves.

They were rewarded for throwing Americans out of work. Those manufacturing workers who had jobs earning $60,000/year with full healthcare and pensions found themselves unable to find comparable replacement work. Many of them ended up working at 1/3 the salary with no healthcare or pensions. Of course peoples' lives have been ruined.

These financial policies were put into place by Bill Clinton, who pretended to be a Democrat but actually followed neocon Republican policies. After he left office, Bill Clinton was given hundreds of millions of dollars by corporations and by foreign governments, as "gifts." Some might argue he, like Judas, was well-compensated for selling out the America people.

George W. Bush continued these policies, continued the destruction of our country by cutting taxes for rich people and businesses, passing laws to encourage businesses to take more jobs out of the country, firing border patrol agents and making deals with Vincent Fox, Mexico's then-president, to bring tens of millions of illegal immigrants from Mexico to the U.S. to throw even more Americans out of work and force down wages and working conditions, eliminate job security, bust the unions.

We're on the ropes. But along comes Barack Obama, who acts as outraged as we feel, who promises he is one of us, he stands by our side against the Wall Street interests, he will right the ship, he will save us.

One year later, Barack Obama is looking more and more like Bill Clinton: claims to be a Democrat but rules like a Republican.

So far, Obama has given hundreds of billions of taxpayer money to the same Wall Street criminals who have plunged our country into a depression. Despite "real" unemployment and underemployment of over 20%, Obama has no jobs programs for the people. Despite foreclosures at unprecedented levels, Obama has a tiny program which helps a small percentage of the people who cannot afford shelter.

Despite committing to enact real healthcare reform, to make healthcare affordable, Obama's big legislative proposal consists mostly of ordering all Americans to buy health insurance, which will provide an additional $100 Billion or more in revenue to the health insurance industry. For the people, this bill does nothing. It does nothing to hold down premiums or charges by doctors and hospitals and drug companies. It's just another corporate give-away.

Now, as of yesterday, White House insiders have been engaged in advanced leaking of a section from Obama's planned state of the union speech. Reportedly Obama is going to order a freeze on spending on all programs that help the people. No limit on the wars or military spending. No limit on "Homeland Security" spending. But for all the rest of us, cutbacks. Less for the people. Let them eat cake.

What should he do? All the economic analysis available about the U.S. economy shows that during the past 30 years, working people (the bottom 70% of the population) have gotten a smaller share of the pie, while the richest people have accumulated more and more wealth for themselves. In fact, the rich have so much money now that they can buy politicians, dictate what laws will be passed, and destroy our democracy.

How can we save our democracy and help our country? Raise taxes on the rich. If we tax their excess earnings at a high level, they can't accumulate such massive amounts of wealth.

For example, any compensation of any type, including pensions, healthcare, and stock options, with a value in excess of $250,000 in a year, should be taxed at 90%, and the business should not be allowed to write that excess compensation off of their tax returns. Corporation pays CEO $10 million? Corporation will be taxed on $9.75 million, which will be deemed profits, at a tax rate of 90%. CEO should also be taxed on $9.75 million at a tax rate of 90%. The effect of this would be to stop corporations from paying out these obscene salaries since, by law, it would be considered wasteful if they can't write it off. CEO would be taxed so much that the incentive to arrange for these obscene payouts and bonuses would be less compelling.

Of course the taxes would increase revenues, would properly punish the people who have caused our economic calamity, and could be used to provide fully-funded healthcare for all Americans as well as pay for other programs, and pay down the debt.

There may well be many options available to Obama. 1) Raise taxes on the rich. Good idea. 2) Cut services for the public. Bad idea. This is the one Obama has chosen. He will cut medical services for poor children. Heck of a job. 3) End the wars! Hey, there's an idea. Cut wasteful military spending. Shut down the bases we have all over the world. 4) Create good paying jobs for Americans so they can work, make a decent living, and pay taxes. There's an idea. That's what FDR did, the beloved Franklin D. Roosevelt. A real Democrat. The guy that Obama supposedly made such a fuss about in the election, how he was so inspired by him, was reading all these books about him.

I will go out on a limb here and say I think Obama is a closet Reagan fan: death squads around the world, secret prisons, secret wars, protect the rich and cut their taxes, eliminate all social programs and screw the public.

What happened to Barack Obama that within one year of taking office he could become such a complete corporate sell-out? Is he just so enticed by the wealth given to Bill Clinton that he figures he wants it too? What difference does it make if the people abandon him, as long as he ends up rich beyond our ability to imagine. Just think: a few years from now he could be at Davos, rubbing elbows with the rich, looking down his nose at the rest of us, drinking fine wine and buying palaces around the world.

Is Obama just another sell-out? Or is he well-intended but mistakenly following exceedingly bad advice? Paul Krugman thinks Obama's "spending freeze" is a lousy idea. I do too.

Paul Krugman titles his New York Times column today: "Obama Liquidates Himself." Oh dear. Excerpt below:

"A spending freeze? That’s the brilliant response of the Obama team to their first serious political setback?"

"It’s appalling on every level."

"It’s bad economics, depressing demand when the economy is still suffering from mass unemployment. Jonathan Zasloff writes that Obama seems to have decided to fire Tim Geithner and replace him with 'the rotting corpse of Andrew Mellon' (Mellon was Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary, who according to Hoover told him to 'liquidate the workers, liquidate the farmers, purge the rottenness'.)"

"And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, 'I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.'”

A Gathering Of Crows

I don't know if it's universal, but a lot of people think that when you see a gathering of crows, it means someone has died, or is about to die. I see crows gathering all around.

There are two suicides in the news this week.

The first involves the death of a man named David Kelly. Dr. David Kelly was a British weapons inspector. He publicly disclosed the invalidity of the Bush/Blair claims that Iraq had WMD, which claims were the basis for the U.S. starting a war of aggression of Iraq.

As we all know, there were no WMD inside Iraq. The Iraq "leader" Saddam Hussein was found and executed years ago, and the military was quickly overcome by the invading forces. But the U.S. continues to wage war against that country, now against "insurgents," who apparently are Iraqis who do not want to be occupied by a foreign country. The U.S. built a massive embassy, permanent bases all over the country, and has arranged for the puppet government to sign contracts giving away all Iraq's oil to foreign oil corporations.

None of that would have been possible if there were no WMD, and that fact had been disclosed to the world before the war was started.

Which is where Dr. David Kelly came in.

The war against Iraq was commenced in 2003.

Dr. David Kelly's dead body was found in the woods near his home also in 2003.

An official but confidential British inquiry about the death was conducted because of the obvious fact that something smelled bad. No, the British official in charge of the inquiry did not conclude that it was a "lone gunman." He concluded it was suicide. You know what they used to say in the Soviet Union? The prisoner committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Twice.

The public understandably would like to see the information from the inquiry. After all, the inquiry was conducted in 2003. Since then we have learned an awful lot about the international death squads and private mercenaries the U.S. has been using in its War Against Everyone.

But the official who conducted the inquiry has decided that all information about the inquiry should be sealed, and kept secret. For 70 years. Below are excerpts from an article on that cover-up.

"Evidence on Kelly death sealed for 70 years"
"Mon, 25 Jan 2010 16:55:43 GMT"

"Dr. David Kelly was found dead in the woods near his Oxfordshire home."

"The official heading an inquiry into the suspicious death of a British weapons inspector who cast doubts on the main argument for invading Iraq has secretly ordered all evidence locked up for 70 years."

"Lord Hutton, who chaired the 2003 inquiry, which controversially concluded that Doctor David Kelly's death has been a suicide, secured a 70-year seal on all major evidence, including medical records — none of which had ever been made public."

"The unprecedented move was revealed last week, sparking fresh uproar and allegations of a government cover-up, since by 2073 anyone with the least interest, or stake, in the case will probably be long dead."

"Kelly was mysteriously found dead in the woods near his Oxfordshire home in July 2003, just days after his name was leaked as the source of a pre-war BBC documentary that undermined the now-notorious 45-minute dossier as highly exaggerated."

"Blair penned a clinching introduction to the dossier, claiming spies had proved “beyond doubt” that the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that he could launch within 45-minutes."§ionid=351020601

Here's our second suicide of interest. Two Thousand Five Hundred (2,500) of the richest people in the world get together in Switzerland every year, at Davos, at what they call the World Economic Forum, to discuss how they plan to continue increasing their obscene wealth, stealing all the resources of the world, and enslaving the entire population. I'm sure that's not how they describe their function. That Forum is scheduled to begin tomorrow. Understandably, the security for such a gathering of criminals would be extremely important.

Marcus Reinhardt is the head of security for the World Economic Forum's meeting in Switzerland. He was just found dead in his hotel room. Authorities are calling it a suicide. Want to bet they've got the whole place on lockdown?

Below is an excerpt from an article at the Huffington Post:

"Marcus Reinhardt, the head of security at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos Switzterland, has died in apparent suicide, according to a multiple news reports. Reinhardt was 61 and was found dead in his hotel room early Tuesday morning."

"The Associated Press reports the following from Davos:"

"A regional official said that the police commander in charge of security for the World Economic Forum has died in an apparent suicide. The regional governor said Markus Reinhardt was found dead Tuesday in his Davos hotel room."

"The five-day forum starts Wednesday and will attract 2,500 of the world's business and political elite to the Swiss Alpine resort."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Did U.S. Cause Haiti Earthquake By Weapons Testing?

Here is an interesting story. The day before the Haiti earthquake, Washington officials from D.C. were in Florida for a U.S. government "test" of our ability to respond in the event of a disaster in Haiti. Among other things, we know that when the Haiti earthquake occurred the U.S. military went into the country and took control of the airport and restricted who could come in and what aid could come in, and also set up a boat blockade to prevent Haitians from fleeing their country to the U.S. Was it just lucky timing that the "practice for Haitian disaster" took place exactly the day before the earthquake? Or did those officials know that there would be a disaster in Haiti the next day, because the U.S. was going to do something to cause it.

Some people are saying that the Haitian earthquake was the result of weapons testing by the U.S. of a system named HAARP.

The U.S. has a facility in Alaska and a weapons program named HAARP which reportedly can alter the weather, cause earthquakes and tsunamis, and shoot a hole through the atmosphere by a concentration of energy in a new, futuristic system of weapons of mass destruction.

Sounds pretty bizarre, right? I have no opinion about it, other than to say that our government spends way too much money researching and developing weapons of mass destruction. So the idea that our government is trying to develop weapons that could control the weather, cause hurricanes or earthquakes, or shoot a hole in the atmosphere over some country, does unfortunately not sound all that far-fetched to me.

Here are a few links to some articles discussing these claims.

Here's an excerpt from a report from Iranian TV:

"Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez Wednesday accused the United States of causing the destruction in Haiti by testing a 'tectonic weapon' to induce the catastrophic earthquake that hit the country last week. "

"President Chavez said the US was 'playing God' by testing devices capable of creating eco-type catastrophes, the Spanish newspaper ABC quoted him as saying."
"A 7.0-magnitude quake rattled the desperately poor country on January 12, killing an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people." ...

"Chavez said the killer earthquake followed a test of 'weapon of earthquakes' just offshore from Haiti. He did not elaborate on the source of his claim." ...

"Venezuelan media have reported that the earthquake 'may be associated with the project called HAARP, a system that can generate violent and unexpected changes in climate.'"

"HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, is a study run in Alaska directed at the occasional reconfiguration of the properties of the Earth's ionosphere to improve satellite communications."

"Former US Secretary of Defense William Cohen in 1997 expressed concerned over countries engaging 'in eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.'"
Here's from another source:

"Paper – H.A.A.R.P.: Washington’s New World Order Weapons Have the Ability to Trigger Climate Change – Michel Chossudovsky, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa."
"The world’s climate can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated 'non-lethal weapons' programs. Through a project called HAARP, the military now has the ability to trigger storms, droughts, and even earthquakes! This six-page paper introduces yet another amazing aspect of the secret government projects designed to manipulate our lives. This article and its follow-up are very well written with lots of notes and references should you choose to go deeper on your own.

Available at

Here's a two-part CBC (Canadian Broadcasting) story on Haarp:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Click The Link, Sign The Petition.

Here is a petition to amend the constitution to provide that corporations are not people, and are not entitled to the same constitutional rights as people. This would have the effect of erasing the Supreme Court's decision today that gives corporations the right to spend unlimited money to buy politicians and elections.

From their website:

"We the corporations"

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.

We Move to Amend.

We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.

Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.

Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.

Corporations Now Own And Control Our Country.

The U.S. Supreme Court has come down with an absurd, and pro-corporate ruling holding that corporations may spend however much they want supporting or opposing candidates or propositions in U.S. elections. If our democracy was weak before this ruling, it is now over.

Corporations are not citizens, and they do not get to vote. Only people get to vote. We have many laws that say that for purposes of some law, a corporation will be considered a person. For example, a law that prohibits any "person" from dumping toxic waste into a lake would apply equally to a human being and to a corporation. But none of those laws ever suggested that corporations were human beings, or that they were entitled to vote, or have any say whatsoever in any election.

We have a Bill of Rights which guarantees and protects certain freedoms. But each of those freedoms is nonetheless subject to necessary restrictions to protect the public. For example, Congress is prohibited from passing any law which restricts the freedom of speech, but that is not absolute. Congress or the states or the cities can pass laws prohibiting a person from yelling fire in a crowded theater because that "speech" would endanger the public. A publisher may be entitled to publish and sell magazines which have sexually-explicit photos on the cover, but cities can restrict the location of the sale of such magazines by, for example, prohibiting sale within 10 blocks of any public school. We have freedom of religion, but if a religion uses heroin as part of a religious ceremony the government can prohibit the religious practice. So all of our rights are subject to reasonable restrictions when necessary for the protection of important public interests.

On the issue of campaign financing, it has become nothing less than a meat-market or whorehouse in which politicians peddle their asses in exchange for money from corporations. In an effort to stop the selling of votes, which is exactly what's going on, campaign finance restrictions have been passed into law to restrict corporations from being able to buy the elections. These laws are flawed in that they do not completely eliminate the corrupting influence of money, but they constitute a good beginning towards the eventual goal of forcing candidates to use public financing, and capping the amount spent in each election. Do these laws "restrict" free speech? Somewhat. Are important public interests being protected by these laws? Yes. The interest is that the politicians should act on behalf of the people, and not be corrupt, not sell their votes to the highest bidder.

Assuming corporations have some entitlement to freedom of speech, which they exercise by advertising, then campaign finance controls restrict their speech. But in other ways these laws are closer to the example of restricting the sale of nude photos: corporations are free to advertise, but not to dominate and corrupt the pre-election advertising by their overwhelming wealth. They are prohibited from using their wealth to drown out the voices of the people.

There is an important public interest that is served by these laws, in that they are intended to prevent corporations from buying elections and corrupting and undermining our democracy. All of these reasons are sufficient to uphold the campaign financing restrictions.

Reasonable and fair judges would have upheld the law. But the U.S. Supreme Court is packed with right-wingers who are neither reasonable nor fair.

The Supreme Court has been packed with right-wing pro-corporate ideologues who have no respect for democracy or for the citizens of this country. It is those Justices who voted today to give corporations the right to spend however much money they want to influence the elections in our country. That ruling ends democracy as we know it. It also imperils our national existence.

For example, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are two of the richest men in America. Let's say these two wealthy men decide to use their billions of dollars to buy up all the TV and radio time, all the newspaper space before an election in a certain market, and only run ads supporting one candidate. The other candidate cannot even buy a place to advertise. Those two men, who already have too much money and too much control, could personally select most of the people who will be in the Senate, the governors, and the president.

How about some oil corporations set up in the U.S. and owned by the Saudis. Let's say they decide to have their corporations buy up all the Tv time in the country to support certain candidates. Now they can do it, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. The rich people from Saudi Arabia can pick who will be our president, who will be our Senators.

Most of our politicians are already on the take and corrupt. But now all pretense, all efforts to appeal to the voters, will be abandoned. The only thing the politicians need to do to be guaranteed tens of millions of dollars will be spent for their reelection is to please the corporations. The corporations have all the money because they don't pay taxes, they use slave labor, and charge obscene prices for selling generally shoddy goods. Now they get to pick every politician who will sit in the U.S. Government, dictate what laws will be passed.

Want to bet that the corporations will only fund candidates who agree to eliminate minimum wage and overtime compensation, eliminate unemployment compensation and social security, eliminate all business taxes, allow them to import as many workers as they want from other countries. The interests of corporations are directly contrary to the interests of working people.

Beyond that, they will be able to choose who will be appointed judges, who will be appointed ambassadors, who will be appointed to cabinet posts.

We need to make it illegal for any money to be spent by or for any candidate other than public financing. This decision by the Supreme Court is dictated by politics and special interests, not by any observance of the law. If Obama gets the opportunity to appoint new Justices, will he pick someone good next time, or just pick whoever is dictated by the corporations?

We should demand an elimination of the corporate form. Make it completely illegal for any business to operate as a fictitious entity. Pass a law providing that any money used by a corporation for election purposes is not a legitimate business expenditure and cannot be written off for tax purposes. Something needs to happen. And quickly.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Insurance Companies Bludgeon Consumers In Advance Of Health Care "Reform" Bill

Well, they warned us. The insurance companies are apparently thrilled to learn that the Democrats not only will not put into place any price controls for health insurance, but they will also legally compel people to buy health insurance no matter what the cost.

I just got a call from my health insurance carrier telling me that my premiums are being raised from $364/month to $501/month. Why? Because they can. The agent told me that the insurance company refuses to provide any explanation for the increase, but they are raising rates up to 47% for some people.

Thanks a whole heck of a lot, Democrats, for screwing all of us. Now I really hope that nudie dude wins in Massachusetts and the Democrats are forced to go back and pass real healthcare reform. This is so unbelievable to me that not only am I getting screwed on my premiums, but the government has a gun to my head to force me to pay. And in the meantime, the CEOs of the insurance companies will be kicking back enormous bribes to the Democrats.

What I will probably end up doing (I've requested quotes to see what the alternatives are) is increasing my deductible. And, like the Florida representative said, just hope that if I get sick, I die fast.

Hats Off To The Courageous And Dedicated Search And Rescue Teams, Doctors And Nurses In Haiti

Is the United States government capable of doing anything other than waging war and murdering people? This situation in Haiti is a disgrace. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush preening in front of the cameras in their thousand dollar suits saying they're going to divert money from humanitarian relief and funnel it into some development fortune to be used to re-make Haiti for the benefit of the wealthy and the multinational corporations. Don't send them a penny. If Bill Clinton or George W. Bush want to help, they could raise money (and how about if they donate some of their own millions) and turn it immediately over to the well-established international relief agencies who might actually help the people of Haiti.

For example, turn it over to Habitat for Humanity and let them go into Haiti and train the citizens in construction plus help build housing for the people. Give the money to Doctors Without Borders (Medicines Sans Frontieres) and let them use it to build hospitals and clinics, and staff them, and buy the equipment and medical supplies needed to keep them going for decades. But no, the money raised by Clinton and Bush will undoubtedly go to pay Blackwater to send in private mercenary squads, and to pay Halliburton to go in and build prisons.

Everyone being interviewed on the news tells the same story. As Anderson Cooper said, he got a commercial flight into the Dominican Republican and drove to Port au Prince. So if he could do it, why hasn't the U.S. sent in teams of doctors with medical supplies by the same route? Why did the U.S. government take control of the only major airport, then refuse to allow Doctors Without Borders to land there with their portable hospitals and supplies, and doctors, who are immediately available to save lives? Why are life-saving flights being turned away in favor of U.S. military flights? Once again, our government is disgracing us while our people are pitching in generously trying to help the poor people in Haiti. It's an embarrassment. And thousands more are going to die because of it.

But hats off to the search and rescue teams who have gone straight into Port au Price to try to save lives. These are teams from all over the world. I think Iceland was the first country to get search and rescue teams into Port au Prince. Not the U.S., mind you, the closest and richest nation near Haiti. But Iceland. And China. Some team from Virginia is there, along with teams from Los Angeles and New York City. When I heard that the U.N. building in Haiti had been demolished I figured the Israelis must be there, because they always bomb the U.N. headquarters when they invade and attack their neighbors. But admittedly, the Israelis have sent a team to help out, so give them credit where due. I'm sure the people of Israel aren't as horrible as their government is, just like the people of the U.S. aren't as heartless as our government is in failing to do much of anything to help save people's lives.

I was thinking that some of these people who were buried in rubble but somehow ended up in a pocket, and were eventually rescued, must have thought they were dead. Inside the dark with little but dust and sand, drifting in and out of consciousness, waiting to die. Then suddenly there is light, there is a bottle of water, and there are hands and people in orange or blue jumpsuits speaking some strange language, lots of hands lifting these people out of the void and darkness and into the light. To look up and see Chinese people, or white people, or really really pale white people, speaking some unknown language. I wonder if these rescued people think that this is heaven, and the angels are all Chinese or Americans with funny accents.

Hats off to these search and rescue people. I would not step on that unstable rubble, which could collapse at any moment and kill them all. I would not step on it never mind lower myself on a rope into an opening inside the rubble, which is what some of them do. Amazing people. Unimaginable courage. And how do they deal with the endless failure and death they must face in a disaster such as this?

Once again, Anderson Cooper is on the scene reporting under the most miserable conditions. Why is it that he can get into the middle of Port au Prince but the U.S. government is incapable of going there to deliver food or water? Same thing as happened in New Orleans: Anderson Cooper was there, but the U.S. government was not. Some people diminish Anderson Cooper's reporting because he grew up in a very privileged family. And he's really cute. But let's acknowledge that his very privilege would be a great excuse for him to refuse an assignment that involved any discomfort. But that's not what he does. The U.S. aid agencies are afraid to go into Port au Prince to help the people. But there goes Anderson, right into the thick of things. My hat is off to him as well. Also, he made the comment that his favorite charity is Doctors Without Borders, and they are always the first into the thick of things in any disaster. So I like him for that too.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Republican Candidate for Senate, Family-Values Reactionary Moron Scott Brown, Nude Photos

In 1982, Scott Brown, the current Republican candidate for Senate from Massachusetts, posed nude in that noted foreign-policy periodical girly-mag "Cosmopolitan."

This neocon right-wing fascist family-values dude peddled photos of his tiny little self for a few bucks. If he wins the election, just think, he'll be able to peddle his whole ass to the lobbyists in D.C. That's what I'd call a real good career move.

Cuba Has Been Helping Haiti All Along, But The U.S. Media Refuses To Mention Them

As a few progressive blogs and radio people [Mike Malloy] have noted, the Cubans have been helping Haiti all along, but the U.S. media refuses to even mention the Cubans. For example, not only does Cuba regularly send doctors to Haiti to help the people, but Cuba also brings Haitians to Cuba to educate them and train them to become doctors.

Here's a link to a Cuban periodical, Granma. It includes a pull-down menu that allows the reader to select the preferred language. If you want to read about what the Cubans are really doing to try to help the Haitians, you might want to read Granma.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Opposition To The War In Vietnam

After the U.S. Civil War, when the slaves were freed, the southern whites continued to deny that black people, slave or free, were citizens of the U.S. They reasoned that just because a person was not a "slave" did not necessarily mean they were a "citizen."

In response to the continued oppression of black Americans, Congress passed a series of laws and amendments to the Constitution to explicitly state that the slaves were citizens, and entitled to equal rights and the equal protection of all the laws of our nation.

Despite these Constitutional rights and guarantees, the black citizens of this country, particularly those in the south, continued to be denied all basic human rights of citizens. One of the tactics developed in the south was segregation "de jure" (which means as a matter of law). Segregation "de facto" (in fact, without legal compulsion) was the norm in the northern parts of our country.

So, for example, in the south the black children were legally compelled to attend a black-only school, and legally forbidden from attending the white-only schools in the same towns. In the north, there was no law that prevented black students from attending a majority white school, but in an effort to maintain segregation, people recorded declarations in deeds against property making it illegal to sell a home in certain neighborhoods to a black person, then passed laws saying that only the residents of certain neighborhoods could attend a certain school.

In the south, segregation existed at all public levels. When the civil rights movement of the 1950s began, its preliminary goal was to end segregation de jure, to eliminate the laws which forbade black people from sitting in the front of the public bus, from attending certain schools, from eating in certain parts of a restaurant. They also attacked the laws which had been developed in the south to prevent black people from being able to vote.

The Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations immediately resorted to violence and terrorism in an effort to prevent the black people from joining the civil rights organizers. Black churches were bombed. Black people were drug from their homes in the middle of the night and beaten, sometimes murdered. Crosses were burned in the yards of black people. There are famous photos of southern police and sheriffs siding with the racists and against the civil rights workers, turning police dogs loose to attack the black people, using fire hoses to knock down old ladies walking peacefully on the sidewalks. And the nightly news across the nation showed white southerners lining sidewalks and spitting on little black children who were trying to make their way to school.

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a heavy burden when he assumed a leadership role in the black civil rights movement in this country. But he was helped by the fact that his position was right and just, and much of the nation soon came to see that these things must change.

Towards the end of his too-short life, Martin Luther King, Jr. expanded his areas of concern to include the relationship of the U.S. with other countries in the world. An international consciousness had begun to develop among some black civil rights leaders who saw that their circumstances shared much in common with other oppressed people in the world.

See Chris Hedges' 1/17/10 article at Truthdig, "Turning King's Dream Into A Nightmare," excerpt below:

“King began to see that Malcolm [X] was right in what he was saying about white people,” [quoting Professor James Cone, of the Union Theological Seminary in New York, author of the book Martin & Malcolm & America]. “Malcolm saw that white people did not have a conscience that could be appealed to to bring justice for African-Americans. King realized that near the end of his life. He began to call most whites ‘unconscious racists.’ ”

"The crude racist rhetoric of the past is now considered impolite. We pretend there is equality and equal opportunity while ignoring the institutional and economic racism that infects our inner cities and fills our prisons, where a staggering one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34 are incarcerated. There are more African-American men behind bars than in college. 'The cell block has replaced the auction block,' the poet Yusef Komunyakaa writes."

"The fact that prison and urban ghettos are populated primarily with people of color is not an accident. It is a calculated decision by those who wield economic and political control. For the bottom third of African-Americans, many of whom live in these segregated enclaves of misery and deprivation, little has changed over the past few decades; indeed, life has often gotten worse."

"In the last months of his life, King began to appropriate Malcolm’s [Malcolm X's] language, reminding listeners that the ghetto was a 'system of internal colonialism.' 'The purpose of the slum,' King said in a speech at the Chicago Freedom Festival, 'is to confine those who have no power and perpetuate their powerlessness. … The slum is little more than a domestic colony which leaves its inhabitants dominated politically, exploited economically, segregated and humiliated at every turn.' The chief problem is economic, King concluded, and the solution is to restructure the whole society."

"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were, as King and Malcolm knew, meaningless slogans if there was no possibility of a decent education, a safe neighborhood, a job or a living wage. King and Malcolm were also acutely aware that the permanent war economy was directly linked to the perpetuation of racism and poverty at home and often abroad."

"In a speech titled 'Beyond Vietnam' [video below] he gave at Riverside Church a year before his assassination, King called America the 'greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,' a quote that won’t make it into many Martin Luther King Day celebrations. King’s strident denunciation of the Vietnam War and economic injustice at the end of his life saw many white liberals, members of his own staff, as well as allies within the political power structure, turn against him. King and Malcolm, in the final days of their lives, were lonely men."

Many of the young men from this country who were drafted and sent to war, and killed, were black. By denying black people opportunity, the country created a ready-made class of unemployed youth who had little choice but to join the military and be sent off to fight wars on foreign soils. Many of the black veterans who returned from Vietnam began talking to their neighbors, and telling them that they had no fight with the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese had never lynched their grandfathers, never called them the N Word, never spit on their children just for trying to go to school.

Martin Luther King, Jr. began to speak out against the war in Vietnam very shortly before he was murdered. His consciousness of the injustice towards black people in this country inevitably led him to oppose injustice towards people in other nations. In particular, to oppose the slaughter of the people of Vietnam, a very poor country which had never threatened or attacked the U.S., but a country in which the U.S. would eventually murder two million of their residents. He began to see that true justice, equality and peace could only come about if all the oppressed people of the world stood together to fight against the oppressors, the rich and the war-mongers of the world.

Assassinations of Progressive Leaders in the U.S., 1963 - 1984

This is not a comprehensive list, just some of the most well-known. Some people who came of political age in the 1960s came to believe that whenever a leader would step forward to organize people to defend themselves and to demand their equal rights as citizens, that leader would simply be assassinated.

After the assassination, the U.S. government would take control of the scene of the crime and the corpse, turn the corpse over to U.S. goverment-controlled doctors, interview any witnesses then classify their statements as "top secret" to prevent public access, and issue an "official" version of the crime which always concluded a lone-nut gunman did the killing, acting on his own.

But for most of these people, the organizations that hounded them, spied on them, maintained enormous dossiers of their every word, their every act, planted spies inside their inner circles, and had squads of trained mercenaries and assassins on their payroll, was the FBI under the leadership of the cross-dressing J. Edgar Hoover.

Did the FBI kill these people? Did it hire or direct those who actually did the deed, pulled the trigger? Are these people actually a list of prominent Americans murdered by the U.S. government? Those are questions that continue to be asked, at least partly because the U.S. goverment has shown its willingness to direct assassinations around the world, and partly because of the secrecy and lies that surround the investigations of these murders.

This is not an exhaustive list. And I'm not sure every name is of a person who can properly be called "progressive." But they were seen as progressive by the right-wing in this country, and that perception undoubtedly contributed to the environment in which the right-wing publicly called for their deaths.

Much like the environment we have today in which the drug addict on the radio and all the rent-boys who work at Rupert Murdoch's Whorehouse create a frenzy of hatred among their brain-damaged listeners, encouraging them to believe that people on "the other side" should be murdered.

And the same evironment spread from the pulpits through TV and radio by such people as that fat slob (now dead) Jerry Falwell who crowed on 9/11 that the U.S. deserved to be attacked and have thousands of our citizens murdered because the country allowed people like "feminists" to walk freely on the land. And the same enviroment spread from the pulpit by that ignorant cracker Pat Robertson who just gleefully celebrated that earthquake in Haiti and death of over 100,000 of those poor people by saying they deserved it because they were not part of his church. They are papists, mackerel-snappers, Pope-lovers, Catholics, which Robertson claims are devil-worshippers so he dances on their mass graves.

The right-wing always historically promotes their lunatic followers to murder progressives. We have no similar list of right-wingers assassinated under a progressive government. Assassination is a tool of the right-wing. And unfortunately is a tool of the U.S. government which openly kidnaps, tortures, and murders people around the world, and apologizes to no one for those murders.

When John F. Kennedy was murdered, Malcolm X said that it was a case of the chickens come home to roost, and he was roundly condemned across the country by those who interpreted his comments to mean that he supported the assassination. But what he really said was that the U.S. had a policy of using violence against so many other countries in the rest of the world that it was inevitable the violence would return to haunt us one day. Of course he himself was assassinated a little over a year later.

Each of these people were insightful, energetic, creative, intelligent, and likely could have provided critical leadership for our people in trying to move towards a more just and perfect union. Each of these people was murdered for one purpose: to silence them. That is why it is so important for all of us to use our voices, speak up publicly in favor of justice and against privilege and oppression, in favor of peace and against war, in favor of fairness inside our country and a new co-operative approach to our neighbors and countries around the world. Peace.

June 12, 1963
Medgar Evers, U.S. civil rights activist

November 22, 1963
John F. Kennedy, President of the United States

February 21, 1965
Malcolm X, black leader with an international perspective, Muslim

April 4, 1968
Martin Luther King, Jr., black civil rights activist

June 5, 1968
Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator, Candidate for Democratic nomination for President 1968, brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy

Fred Hampton, Deputy Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party

Orlando Letelier, Chilean ambassador to the United States under the administration of Salvador Allende

George Moscone, Mayor of San Francisco

Harvey Milk, gay rights activist, San Francisco City Supervisor

John Lennon, British musician, founder of the Beatles.

Alan Berg, radio talk-show host, killed by Neo-nazis

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti Update - Sunday

I watched some of the Sunday morning news shows. Every American spokesperson said that the earthquake and aftermath in Haiti is "a disaster of epic proportions." I mean they used those exact words. Precisely. Like somebody handed out orders: Say this and nothing else.

One of the international aid group representatives who apparently did not get the memo was interviewed at the airport in Port au Prince. He said that all aid being flown into the country had been stopped, and everything was being turned over to the U.S. military which was monopolizing the airport landing for the purpose of only bringing in more U.S. military and equipment. Almost like they're planning to take over the country or at least the city.

Doctors Without Borders tried to bring in a mobile hospital unit this morning, which folds up to the size of a desk, can be easily carried anywhere then is inflated and creates a hospital. The U.S. military would not allow them to land, and diverted their flight, even knowing that it included critical equipment necessary to save the lives of Haitians. Instead of medical help and doctors, the U.S. Military is using the airport to bring in weapons to be used against the people of Haiti.

Then some American military guy was interviewed at the airport, and after saying that this was "a disaster of epic proportions," the reporter asked him how many marines are being brought in, and how long do they plan to stay. He said 10,000 Marines immediately, maybe more to come, and they will stay until their "mission" is completed. And then he said: The Haitian government has requested that the marines occupy their nation.

The American spokespeople keep saying that everything is being directed by the GOVERNMENT OF HAITI. But when the reporters ask: what government? Everybody was killed. The Americans reply: the president. Mr. Puppet.

If aid is delayed long enough, here are the benefits to the neo-liberal and neo-conservative coalition represented by Bill Clinton and his stupid friend George W. Bush: lots of Haitians die, and lots more leave the city on foot in one of those death-marches that history will report. Probably on PBS, in some "special" long after we're all dead.

Get rid of the people, level the city, build luxury condos for non-Haitians, pass new laws (they'll just copy the set of laws that Bremer enacted when he pretended to be the leader of Iraq), privatize everything (all the beachfront land, probably all of Port au Prince will be sold at auction and purchased by private equity and hedge fund scum), the water rights will be turned over to private developers, the country will be contractually bound to only buy and use Monsanto Frankenseed genetically modified food and to pay Monsanto a royalty for every morsel eaten. And I'll bet some kind of private educational "Christian" school system will be set up and run by Pat Robertson.