Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Lyndon Baines Johnson was a very successful politician from Texas, well-known for his ability to be able to get things done. Among the things he wanted done were a war on poverty, a nationwide effort to finally lift up the poor people of this country and give them a chance to have a decent life.
But his presidency, his legacy, his name and his reputation were destroyed by his decision to continue and to escalate the disastrous U.S. War Against Vietnam.
Is Obama listening?
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 249 121 472 286 225 -46 163 3 122 -11 231 138
2001 -16 61 -30 -281 -44 -128 -125 -160 -244 -325 -292 -178
2002 -132 -147 -24 -85 -7 45 -97 -16 -55 126 8 -156
2003 83 -158 -212 -49 -6 -2 25 -42 103 203 88 124
2004 150 43 338 250 310 81 47 121 160 351 64 132
2005 136 240 142 360 169 246 369 195 63 84 334 158
2006 262 326 304 174 31 69 232 141 100 43 201 177
2007 194 104 239 92 149 55 -20 -71 52 86 128 70
2008 -10 -50 -33 -149 -231 -193 -210 -334 -458 -554 -728 -673
2009 -779 -726 -753 -528 -387 -515 -346 -212 -225 -224 64 -109
2010 -26(P) -36(P)
P : preliminary
What this chart shows is job creation or loss in the thousands, by month and by year, from 2000 to the present. During 2000, things were okay, but fell apart in early 2001 when Greenspan's tech/Nasdaq bubble burst. During 2001, there were job losses in 11 out of the 12 months. In 2002, there were job losses in 9 out of the 12 months. In 2003, there were job losses in 6 out of the 12 months. What does this tell us? Outsourcing, jobs going overseas, illegal immigrants being trucked in by coyotes and taking over industries such as the building trades. Somebody may have been making money in 2001 through 2003, but working people were suffering the beginning of a period of regular unemployment. What is the effect of that? People lose everything during periods of unemployment. Then they start all over again in the next job.
2004-2007 were fine, with some job creation most months. Every year students come out of high school and college looking for jobs, so we need regular job creation to incorporate them into the workforce.
Beginning in January of 2008 through the present, 26 months, we lost jobs in 25 months, and gained jobs in one month only, November of 2009 when we supposedly created 64,000 jobs. Then lost 109,000, 26,000 and 36,000 jobs in the following 3 months.
We have heard some preliminary numbers about March, but the more preliminary ones will come out Friday or Monday. For some reason, we keep getting numbers reported which are then revised months later.
How many jobs do we need to create every month to turn our country around, to keep unemployment from going even higher? Below is a link to one author who says we need 86,000 new jobs every month to bring the unemployed back to full employment, and to create jobs for young people coming into the workforce. Other economists estimate we need from 140,000 to 400,000 new jobs per month just to hold things the way they are, which is in a pretty bad place. So the failure to create jobs for 25 months, with no improvement in sight, is a crisis for working people in this country, for our economy and for our democracy.
The teabaggers are nothing more than fascists. But fascists often gain support because they voice the fear and frustration of working people whose lives are being stripped away by the rich and powerful forces inside our country. When we hear how our politicians live -- each of them collecting millions of dollars in bribes every year, having a net worth well in excess of a million dollars just to get into the Senate -- the Millionaires Club, as some call it -- then they come out and give speeches to us telling us how wonderful they are because they worked for 6 months out of the year, it just does not work anymore.
The Democrats and Obama had better devote themselves now to job creation. Obama promised green jobs, yet today he announced he will give over his administration to the same forces that owned bush-cheney: drill baby drill, the oil companies, who will be allowed to drill off of the coast of the U.S., further polluting the waters, destroying the oceans and the life inside the oceans, and further consolidating their power over our government. Didn't we all read the primer about how oil is destroying the world? Global warming and all that? How many constituents can the Democrats betray and expect to get re-elected?
(Other views about the number of new jobs needed):
400,000/month: (Note: Calculating how many jobs ... in box inside article). http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/jobs_picture_20100108/
Monday, March 29, 2010
(Julius and Ethel Rosenberg)
J. Edgar Hoover was the head of the FBI from the time it was created until his death in the early 1970s. He was a disgusting, vile, despicable little man, allegedly a closet homosexual and cross-dresser who used the power of his office to gather dossiers on all major leaders inside this country, with specific focus on their sex lives. (The rumors about him being gay and a cross-dresser are only interesting insofar as they suggest a motive for his attacks on others -- he wanted to keep everyone from discovering his secret life which, at that time, would have led to him being fired and exiled).
During World War II, Hoover had already prepared a list of over 10,000 Americans that he thought should be rounded up and imprisoned at the first outbreak of instability within our country. When Truman took over, Hoover made a pitch to expand his already overbroad tyrannical authority, but Truman shut him down.
Supposedly it was not until 1956 that Hoover began the program later known as Cointelpro. I suspect it was begun long before that, and its first victims were likely Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed by the government in June of 1953.
The U.S. had a program during World War II to try to develop an atomic bomb. Germany also had such a program, as did Japan and the Soviet Union. Everyone working in the programs to develop those weapons were subject to strict controls to maintain complete secrecy, but later evidence shows those efforts were not entirely successful. Whether the Soviet Union developed the bomb on its own, or whether it was helped by information obtained from other countries, in August of 1949 the Soviet Union had its own atomic bomb, and Hoover saw the opportunity to increase his power once again.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were arrested and blamed for the Soviet Union getting the bomb. The trial lasted 3 weeks, presided over by a fanatical judge Kaufman who proclaimed that the Rosenbergs were responsible for all the deaths in the Korean war, and future wars to come. He never explained exactly what he was thinking, but he was a fanatic much like the teabaggers today and not inclined to rational thought or speech.
The available evidence showed the following: (1) many different countries had programs in place during World War II to try to develop an atomic bomb; (2) it was entirely possible the Soviet Union developed the bomb through its own scientists' work, or through information obtained from other countries, or from information obtained from people who worked on the development of the bomb inside the U.S.; (3) neither Julius nor Ethel Rosenberg worked on development of the bomb; (4) Ethel's brother, a mechanic, had some involvement in the project while he was in the military, and claims he took some information and gave it to his sister, and the Rosenbergs passed this on to the Soviet Union; (5) the brother only got a sentence of 15 years; (6) a lot of other people were implicated as possibly spying for the Soviet Union, but were not executed; (7) the case against Ethel Rosenberg was completely fabricated, as the best claim they had was that she typed something; (8) the claim against Julius was very thin.
We also know that after the Rosenberg affair, J. Edger Hoover used Cointelpro to frame people, to send them to prison, and/or to have them murdered. This is undisputed. The only real question is whether Cointelpro or its predecessor was already in effect and was used to frame and murder the Rosenbergs.
The Rosenbergs were murdered, executed in an electric chair in Sing Sing in June of 1953. Julius died immediately after being electrocuted. When the executioners went to take Ethel from the chair, they found she was not dead, so they strapped her back in and electrocuted her again. Twice. By the time they were done, one observer reported that smoke was coming out of the top of her head.
The murder of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg was considered a shocking crime of barbarity by much of the world, and some suggested that anti-semitism played a large role. We know that Hoover was an extreme bigot, and particularly targeted black Americans for decades. The U.S. government has tried for decades to clear its name by suddenly pronouncing new evidence had been uncovered. They "located" important documents from the Soviet Union that prove their charges. Some defector claims that yes, he knew the Rosenbergs. One of their friends, in his 90s by then and of questionable mental abilities, "confessed" that yes it was all true. But some people continue to believe the charges were trumped up by that fanatical little murdering weasel J. Edgar Hoover. Taffeta, silk stockings and all.
Just look at our recent history. The bush-cheney regime wanted to invade Iraq and steal its oil. So they paid some fat corrupt Iraqi-in-exile millions of dollars to publicly announce that yes, Saddam Hussein had WMD and a substantial chemical and nuclear weapons program. Then they paid some other clown to claim that Iraqis met with the 9/11 hijackers and al Queda to plot the attack on the World Trade Center. Then they paid some other clown to forge documents claiming that Iraq was in Niger getting nuclear material for missiles they would use to destroy the U.S. All lies. All purchased by millions of dollars paid by those who wanted the U.S. to invade Iraq and steal its oil. And establish permanent U.S. bases in the region.
It's impossible to believe the government when it is embroiled in these fanatic types of claims. In the case of the Rosenbergs, the legitimate question raised by the world was this: even assuming the government believes the thin and questionable evidence presented at trial, why murder this young couple, still in their 30s, parents of two small children? Did the world, post World War II, really need to see yet another nation burning Jewish people? It was a legitimate question then, but the fanatics had taken control of our government, and they wanted to murder these two people as a warning to the citizens: McCarthyism was here, and everybody better be afraid.
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were the only two civilians ever executed, in the history of the U.S., for "conspiracy to commit espionage."
Pablo Picasso called the death sentence a crime against humanity. The Pope asked President Eisenhower to pardon the Rosenbergs, but he refused.
Below are excerpts from a piece by Jean-Paul Sartre. He claims that the McCarthyism and fanaticism that had taken hold of America would destroy it. He comments about the fanatics marching in American streets demanding the Rosenbergs be murdered, especially noting a little girl carrying a sign that said "Fry them and send their bodies to the USSR." Doesn't this sound exactly like the Teabaggers and the fanatics (Sartre called them fascists) in our streets today?
Sartre raised a question that is still legitimate today. Did the adoption of McCarthyism create a fascist rationale for our government which is still in effect today? Did McCarthyism, the post-World War II anti-communist ideology started by Joseph McCarthy in the Senate, and adopted by the U.S. government, provide the justification for a denial of human rights to our own citizens, eradication of our constitution and democracy, and the rationale for almost 60 years of unending wars since that time.
When the war ended, the U.S. could have chosen to commit itself to providing a good life for its people, and helping other nations in the world. Instead, we immediately jumped into a war in Korea (where we still have troops) followed by many invasions and intrusions through the 1950s, Vietnam, assaults on much of South and Central America, and now the war against the Middle East and Africa. I keep coming back to the line at the end of Easy Rider: "We blew it."
"Mad Beasts," from Selected Prose: The Writings of Jean-Paul Sartre.
THE ROSENBERGS ARE DEAD and life goes on. That's the way you wanted it, wasn't it? ... You are counting on the passing time to make us day by day a little more forgetful, a little guiltier toward them and you just a little less cruel....
It's a legal lynching which covers a whole people with blood and definitively and unmistakably exposes the bankruptcy of the Atlantic Pact and your inability to assume the leadership of the West. [Y]ou thought that when you assassinated the Rosenbergs you were settling a private account. A hundred thousand voices kept saying, "They are innocent." ....
(The Rosenberg's children, Robert and Michael)
Innocents who are put to death are the whole world's business. ... From every side people cried out: "Be careful! In judging them you judge yourselves; you are deciding if you're men or beasts." Do you understand now why we begged you to hold a new trial? ...
You who claim to be the masters of the world, you had the chance to prove that you were masters of yourselves. But if you gave way to your criminal insanity, that same insanity was capable tomorrow of throwing us pell-mell into a war of extermination. No one in Europe had any illusions about it: depending on whether you gave the Rosenbergs life or death, you were getting ready for world peace or world war.
... [Y]esterday the whole of Europe, with its masses, priests, foreign ministers, and heads of state, demanded in a single voice that your president make the most human, the most simple, of gestures.
We weren't asking for your dollars, or your weapons, or your soldiers. No; we were just asking for two lives, two innocent lives.
Have you at least understood what this extraordinary truce meant? Class conflicts, old animosities, everything was set aside; the Rosenbergs had brought about European unity. Just one word from you and you too would have reaped the benefit of this unity: the whole of Europe would have thanked you. And you answered, "Who gives a fuck for Europe." ....
Do you think we're going to die for McCarthy? Bleed ourselves white so that he can have a European army? Do you think we want to defend McCarthy's culture? McCarthy's freedom? McCarthy's justice? That we'll make Europe a battleground to let this bloodstained idiot burn all the books? Have all the innocents executed and imprison the judges who protest? ...
You say that McCarthy won't last forever and that people are working secretly to get rid of him. So what? Your McCarthy has a million heads. Cut one off and a hundred new ones will grow.
Listen, I have on my desk a picture taken last Thursday in Washington: well-fed, well-dressed men and elegant women are marching to demand the Rosenbergs' necks; and in the front row a pretty young girl is carrying a sign which reads:
Fry them and send their bodies to the USSR!
You've seen these people parading through your streets while a man and a woman were living out their final hours in a prison, while two desperate children were asking in vain that their parents be given back to them. You've seen them laugh, cry out, and wave their signs and banners, and there was not a single one among you who came up and smashed their faces. There really is something rotten in America.
And don't protest that it is just a question of a few aroused people, irresponsible elements: they're the ones who run your country, since the government gave in to please them. Do you remember Nuremberg and your theory of collective responsibility? Well, today you are the ones it ought to be applied to. You are collectively responsible for the Rosenbergs' death—some of you because you provoked this murder, others for allowing it to be carried out. You have tolerated the United States' being the cradle of a new fascism, and it won't do any good for you to answer that just one murder cannot be compared to Hitler's hecatombs: fascism is not defined by the number of its victims but by its way of killing them.
Other famous people supported the demand for a new trial or freedom for the Rosenbergs including Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, Dashiell Hammett, Jean Cocteau, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Fritz Lang, Bertolt Brecht, and the Pope.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Sarah Palin and the gang of white middle-aged ignorant and uneducated morons who follow her are all out in the Arizona desert this week-end. They've gathered together for the purpose of celebrating their whiteness, their ignorance, and their fascist platform.
What do you think will happen?
I know what I think. I think they will all look up, raise their hands sky-ward believing that the cloud covering over them is a sign from heaven, then a big flying saucer will shoot flames out of its bottom and destroy them all.
Well, it's one theory.
Today is Palm Sunday. It is a day commemorated in many different religions to mark the Sunday before Easter, the day when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem to be with the people of that city, to teach them, and pray. During that brief one-week period between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, Jesus' enemies conspired against him, framed him, make false allegations against him, set him up as a scapegoat, organized mobs against him, then killed him. That week of bloodshed and betrayal is called Holy Week, apparently without any trace of irony.
Jesus came to Jerusalem. He met with the people. His disciples were with him. Jesus taught, committed a few miracles (such as raising Lazarus from the dead), and introduced himself as the son of God. He called God "Dad." These actions were considered heresy because some groups did not believe he was the son of God, and thought he was just a troublemaker who had come to stir up trouble and get the people to rise up against Roman rule. Jesus was arrested, "tried" in a kangaroo court, and condemned to death by crucifixion -- hands and feet nailed to a cross and left to hang until dead. Which happened on the Friday after Jesus first entered Jerusalem on the donkey.
The story has it that when Jesus rode into town, the local people laid palm fronds on the path to welcome him. Palm Sunday commemorates that event. In many religious, pieces of a palm are handed out to the church goers. Many churches have processions with their churchgoers and the church leaders walking along a certain path to commemorate the path that Jesus rode when entering Jerusalem.
In many services, the alter on Palm Sunday is covered with palms which are blessed, then kept, and burned the following year, the ashes used on Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) to mark the forheads of the faithful.
Good Friday is the Friday of Holy Week, this coming Friday, and it is the day when Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. Actually his body was put inside a cave-like opening, the front of the cave being covered with a heavy rock. Later when his disciples returned for his body, they found the rock had been moved and the body was gone. From that, they concluded he had ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God.
The Christian religions believe that Jesus was killed as part of a prophecy, that God sent his only son Jesus specifically for the purpose of being crucified and tortured, spat upon, humiliated, cursed, to take away the sins of the world, take away all the sins of man.
This concept of the sacrifice of the life of an innocent as being a magic elixer that could wash away all the bad that men have done existed in the world long before Jesus came along.
For example, Agamemnon, the leader of the warriors involved in the sacking of Troy, took one of his young daughters along with his war party for their long trip. When things went bad on the trip, disease and weather delayed them and many died, Agamemnon built a pile of sticks and wood, tied his daughter Iphigenia to a post on top, then burned her to death. This was a sacrifice -- the sacrifice of the young virgin female being the most favored -- and was intended to make the Gods smile upon the warriors.
What is the rationale for the seemingly childish belief that it is possible to murder one living creature, to cast upon that creature all the evil and bad of the world and then, by killing the creature, wipe away the consequences of all that bad. This is the origin of the term "scape-goat": the sins were put upon the goat by the humans, the goat was slaughtered in a ritual, and the humans who had committed the sins were thereby "cleansed."
Is this simply the product of guilty minds that cannot bear to believe that the evil they do will never be erased from the world, that it will stain and taint them long after they are dead? It's easier to kill a child than to accept the fact that the bad people do is never erased, there is no such thing as devine forgiveness. What if we did not have this concept? Would people be more likely to behave properly if they understood their misdeeds will haunt them forever, can never be erased? This belief that Jesus died for the sins of man, to take away the sins of the world, is the central premise of Christianity.
It's interesting that in Catholicism, nobody gets off the hook that easy. You could say Jesus died to take away our sins, so we're all good. But in Catholicism, what they did was take the murder of Jesus, (which took away all the sins of the world) and turned that into a new Big Sin. So everyone who is born is burdened, marked at birth, with responsibility for the murder of Jesus. It's called Original Sin. It can only be removed by a Catholic baptism.
The basic story of the crucifixion, death, and ascension into Heaven of Jesus is summarized in a prayer commonly called the Apostles Creed. This prayer originally appeared hundreds of years after the death of Jesus, and exists among many Christian religions in slightly different form. It is really a summary of Christian belief.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
One piece of music traditionally associated with Palm Sunday or Holy Week is Gregorio Allegri's "Miserere." This excerpt is from a 1981 recording made in Merton College Chapel, Oxford. When this piece of music was first performed for a 17th-century Pope, he issued a decree that it could only be performed during Holy Week, and further could only be performed in the Sistine Chapel. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88346837
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Robert Culp, a well-known TV and movie star, died today at the age of 79. He was probably best known as a co-star with Bill Cosby on the TV show "I Spy." The show was considered ground-breaking in the 1960s for portraying a black and white lead actor, co-stars, as co-workers and personal friends, at a time when segregation was still the norm in this country. Culp and Cosby remained lifelong friends. Culp also starred in "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice" with Dyan Cannon, Elliot Gould and Natalie Wood, and "Sundays in New York" with Jane Fonda, Cliff Robertson and Rod Taylor.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Sarah Palin, the gun-lover and barrel-sucker, loves to be photographed with guns, preferably with dead animals and guns. That's one of the reasons she is so popular with the fascists, the Klan, the American Nazis, the Patriots, and the Arsenic-and-Old-Faces-Teabagger crowd. They love guns and violence. It arouses them.
Last week-end, the lunatic fringe of the Republican/Klan followers started breaking windows of Democrats, angry at a health reform bill that is so minor few people will notice any difference, in a move reminiscent of Kristallnacht in Germany. Now Sarah Palin seems to be suggesting yet another new political party (Commonsense Conservatives), with her as Der Leader, and a hit-list of Democratic politicians with gun target symbols (cross-hairs) painted on the district they currently represent. Subtle enough for you?
What does Sarah want? She wants money. Her love of guns, her belligerant and bellicose language, the way she tries to stir up the lunatics makes it seems like she wants violence, her followers to take their guns and kill Democrats. But most of all, first of all, she wants money.
This screed from Palin's Facebook page:
With the president signing this unwanted and “transformative” government takeover of our health care system today with promises impossible to keep, let’s not get discouraged. Don’t get demoralized. Get organized!
We’re going to reclaim the power of the people from those who disregarded the will of the people. We’re going to fire them and send them back to the private sector, which has been shrinking thanks to their destructive government-growing policies. Maybe when they join the millions of unemployed, they’ll understand why Americans wanted them to focus on job creation and an invigorated private sector. Come November, we’re going to print pink slips for members of Congress as fast as they’ve been printing money.
We’re paying particular attention to those House members who voted in favor of Obamacare and represent districts that Senator John McCain and I carried during the 2008 election. Three of these House members are retiring – from Arkansas’s 2nd district, Indiana’s 8th district, and Tennessee’s 6th district – but we’ll be working to make sure that those who replace them are Commonsense Conservatives. ....
We’ll aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington. Please go to sarahpac.com and join me in the fight.
The U.S. originally passed an Alien Enemy law in 1798, primarily aimed at France. It provided that the government could round up any citizen of France within the U.S., due to some hostilities with that country, and deport them. The law has been revised in certain respects, but remains on the books, current and enforceable.
50 U.S.C. sections 21-23 provide for the government to round up, imprison and/or deport citizens of any other country over the age of 14, if there has been a threatened invasion or incursion into the U.S. by that country and the President makes a public proclamation of the threat. Section 23 does allow the alien (non-U.S. citizen) to have a hearing before a court before being removed.
It's just interesting that there has been so much hand-wringing about the internment of the Japanese-Americans during World War II. It appears that the difference is that these laws only apply to people who are not citizens of the U.S. But still, it is surprising to find laws on the books that allow the imprisonment or deportation of any non-citizen in the event of hostilities, without requiring that the non-citizen have done something wrong.
50 United States Code section 21. Restraint, regulation, and removal
Whenever there is a declared war between the United States and any foreign nation or government, or any invasion or predatory incursion is perpetrated, attempted or threatened against the territory of the United States by any foreign nation or government, and the President makes public proclamation of the event, all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of the hostile nation or government, being of the age of fourteen years and upward, who shall be within the United States and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured, and removed as alien enemies. The President is authorized in any such event, by his proclamation thereof, or other public act, to direct the conduct to be observed on the part of the United States, toward the aliens who become so liable; the manner and degree of the restraint to which they shall be subject and in what cases, and upon what security their residence shall be permitted, and to provide for the removal of those who, not being permitted to reside within the United States, refuse or neglect to depart therefrom; and to establish any other regulations which are found necessary in the premises and for the public safety.
50 USC section 22. Time allowed to settle affairs and depart
When an alien who becomes liable as an enemy, in the manner prescribed in section 21 of this title, is not chargeable with actual hostility, or other crime against the public safety, he shall be allowed, for the recovery, disposal, and removal of his goods and effects, and for his departure, the full time which is or shall be stipulated by any treaty then in force between the United States and the hostile nation or government of which he is a native citizen, denizen, or subject; and where no such treaty exists, or is in force, the President may ascertain and declare such reasonable time as may be consistent with the public safety, and according to the dictates of humanity and national hospitality.
50 USC section 23. Jurisdiction of United States courts and judges
After any such proclamation has been made, the several courts of the United States, having criminal jurisdiction, and the several justices and judges of the courts of the United States, are authorized and it shall be their duty, upon complaint against any alien enemy resident and at large within such jurisdiction or district, to the danger of the public peace or safety, and contrary to the tenor or intent of such proclamation, or other regulations which the President may have established, to cause such alien to be duly apprehended and conveyed before such court, judge, or justice; and after a full examination and hearing on such complaint, and sufficient cause appearing, to order such alien to be removed out of the territory of the United States, or to give sureties for his good behavior, or to be otherwise restrained, conformably to the proclamation or regulations established as aforesaid, and to imprison, or otherwise secure such alien, until the order which may be so made shall be performed.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Turn your music up for a treat.
The bill, in its essence, is mostly just another corporate give-away to the Medical Industry. Which is evidenced by the fact that their stock shot up this morning, shareholders and insiders thrilled that they will be receiving $100-$200 Billion per year in additional revenue thanks to the Democrats. Doesn't anyone understand that the main reason our economy is in such a disastrous state is because our government keeps giving the corporations more and more of what they want? When does it stop?
This bill does absolutely nothing for people who buy their own insurance. The Democrats failed to do anything to help people who buy their own insurance, despite the very public announcement by Blue Cross that they are raising rates by 40%, and increasing the deductibles for this group of people. This bill does nothing to help those people.
It was more than a bit disgusting to learn that President Obama started out the whole healthcare debate with secret backroom deals with the Medical Industry. During those secret meetings, we now have learned, Obama promised the drug sellers that he would continue in effect the laws that (1) make it illegal for the government to negotiate bulk-rate discounts for seniors, as it was set up in the Bush drug-industry giveaway called the Prescription Drug bill, which has cost the American taxpayer millions of dollars; (2) he would keep in place the Bush laws that make it illegal for Americans to just buy their drugs in Canada, at a cost savings of as much as 50%, because the drug sellers grossly overcharge Americans - Obama decided he would claim that buying drugs from Canada was "dangerous" -- but that's just an excuse for another give-away to the corporate drug sellers; and (3) he would not allow any type of Medicare buy-in or public option to be part of the final bill.
In other words, Obama gave away three of the most important issues without any regard for what was in the best interest of the public. How much money will the Democrats receive as kick-backs from the Medical Industry because Obama, in essence, guaranteed the profits of the Medical Industry insiders would not be disturbed. And guaranteed American citizens would continue to be raped by the Medical Industry.
There may be something good in the bill. Some pundits seem to think so. Not much, but something, for some people. And there may be some things in the bill that don't work. But overall, it's a tiny little piece of legislation. People woke up today with the right, as Bill Maher noted, to buy health insurance. Whoopee! Just like you could yesterday. If you can afford it.
Despite the minor changes to healthcare covered by this bill, we've seen 24-hour news coverage for weeks of what can only be called hysteria among the supporters of this bill, as well as the opponents. Let's start with the opponents.
There is a group of people in this country, theoretically led by the Republicans, who are fascists. They call themselves tea-baggers, or Christians, or Aryan Brotherhood, or American Nazis. They have lots of names for themselves. Patriots. Essentially they are for the most part middle aged or older white uneducated ignorant people who are so angry that a black man is president that they can no longer sleep nights. They are angry that any woman has a decent job. They are angry that we have so many people in our country who are not white. They are angry that anybody objects to the U.S. Wars Against Everyone, because they think our country is only great when we are murdering non-white people in other countries. These people are sick. They are also fascists, so we know exactly what we're dealing with.
They are in a rage because nothing in their lives is what they had hoped it would be, because the American Dream has been destroyed by Reagan and Clinton and both the Bushes. But they don't understand what's happened, why all the jobs have been sent out of this country, why they no longer have pensions or benefits or affordable housing, why everything is spiraling out of control so quickly, so they go for the easy mark: hate the black guy.
But what about the people on the other side? I cannot believe the orgasmic reaction I've seen among liberals over this week-end's vote. They act like it's VE-Day, or they just won the lottery. What is wrong with these people that they allow themselves to be so misled and so manipulated by politicians? Just because the fascists are swarming doesn't mean this is an exciting bill, or that it will do much of anything to help most people.
Just because Obama stands up and proclaims this the greatest law since the civil rights law doesn't make it so. Obama, who has continued most of Bush's policies about torturing and murdering people. Obama, who has continued Bush's wars. Obama, who has continued the Bush policy of giving billions to Wall Street and prosecuting none of them for their crimes. Obama who has done nothing to stop foreclosures or create jobs because he's been so busy starting new wars, against Pakistan, and possibly against Iran. People believe anything that comes out of his mouth.
Where is the rational judgment here? Why do these liberals think it is bad to demand that our politicians help us? Instead of gratefully swallowing the lies from the PR firms, the crumbs thrown at us. Democrats and their supporters act like the circus is in town, free cotton candy and popcorn for all! We've never seen such giddy elation for a bill that does almost nothing at all while the entire country is sinking into a pithole of debt and permanent unemployment.
I even heard quite a few people promoting the fall-back position: this bill really isn't much of anything, but once it's passed, then the Democrats will add in all the things we want. (He didn't mean to hit me; he swore he won't do it again; I know he really loves me, even if he doesn't show it). Democrats suffer from the abused-spouse syndrome, ignoring the mistreatment or neglect, excusing the betrayal, denying what is in front of their faces.
We should cheer for the bad bill, they say, because the Democrats in Congress plan to secretly change it and make it good next week, or next month. No, folks, you're wrong. Once this bill is passed the Democrats will say (for the next 10 years) we already passed healthcare reform. It doesn't even go into effect until 2014, so we need to give it a chance. The Democrats will campaign on having provided all Americans with healthcare, but that's a Big Lie.
You know the 45,000 Americans who die every year from a lack of healthcare? They will die again this year, and next, and next, and next. It's smoke and mirrors. But it's the only healthcare bill we'll see for at least 10 years. Do you think that if it was the politicians' family members dying, they would do something now, save lives now?
What happens if an entire nation, or at least everyone who follows politics, is so delusional that they work themselves into a state of semi-hysteria over nothing? It certainly means nobody is having honest discussions about what the problem is, and how it can be solved. The right wants to see Obama gone, period, and they will say and do anything to accomplish that. The Democrats cheer everything he does, as if he were a 9-month-old child taking his first steps as opposed to being our employee, who has a job to do and needs to be open and accountable with us. I see Democrats kind of pinching his check verbally -- he's so cute -- but no rational discussion about how on earth could he promise the Medical Industry that there would be no public option, when the majority of people wanted that. How could he betray us like that? And why?
Then I saw pictures of the parade yesterday, with Nancy Pelosi leading the crowd in 76 Trombones, her carrying the gavel from some historic legislation. And again, I thought: did everyone else drink kool-aid for breakfast?
What has happened in this country when we have no rational discussion of public policy, no fair means of holding politicians accountable for their actions, fascist groups publicly brandishing weapons and terrorizing other citizens, neo-nazis swarming outside the statehouses calling people Nigger and Faggot. The right-wing is getting ready to set a fire in the Reichstag, and the liberals live in a delusional make-believe world.
The Democrats and liberals are popping the champagne corks pretending life is a circus when we've still got massive unemployment, foreclosures, manufacturing gone from this country, no real jobs bills, schools being closed and teachers fired, and at least two wars costing us billions of dollar as we speak. And let's just give a shout-out to the 45,000 Americans who will die this year for a lack of healthcare or health insurance because our Democratic politicians prefer to spend our tax dollars on wars.
Am I the only one who thinks we're headed down the toilet?
Sunday, March 21, 2010
How did somebody named Bart Stupak get elected to Congress? Oh that's right -- he's a Democrat. A typical moronic inconsequential little man who thinks he can make a name for himself by murdering women. Or at least ensuring their deaths. The entire state he represents (Michigan) has the highest unemployment in our country. People are losing their homes, sleeping in their cars. They have no jobs. They have no healthcare. They have no money. The only food they get comes from a food bank or some other charity.
And Bart Stupak is worrying about their sex lives. "Oh, no abortions for the bad old women," says Bart Stupak. Finally finding a cause, something stupid he can stand behind. Because he's useless in all respects. So he will drape himself with the crucifix-blooded anti-abortion crusades of all the other fascist women-haters in this country.
The abortion compromise: There are some people who are opposed to abortion. To accommodate their views, Congress passed a law (the Hyde amendment) making it illegal for federal funds to be used for abortions. There's been so much molly-coddling of Bart Stupak over the past few weeks, because this little man with the big puffy hairdo is so worried that some poor woman in this country might be able to get some assistance to pay the bill if she gets an abortion. Not while Bart Stupak is in charge. No-Sir-Ee.
Now viagra is another story. Bart Stupak has nothing against taking taxpayer money and buying viagra so all the men in the country can have four-hour erections. "Isn't there something in the constitution," wonders Bart Stupak, "about men being entitled to hard erections?" "Or was that just the Bible," Bart Stupak mutters to himself.
Okay Bart Stupak. Here's a brain-tickler for you. What about my constitutional rights? Or don't I have any, because I'm just a woman. And I certainly don't have a big puffy hairdo like Bart Stupak does.
I am opposed to war. Lots of other Americans are. Why can't we get an amendment passed saying that none of our money can be used for war. Let the gun-loving barrel-sucking NRA and all the fascist Republicans pay for the wars, since they love them so much. How about somebody in congress standing up for the rights of people who prefer not to have the blood of the Blackwater assassins on their hands?
What do you say Bart? Now that your 15 minutes of fame are gone, and you will return to your otherwise useless parasitic life sitting in Congress doing absolutely nothing to help the people of Michigan, why don't you take up this cause? We don't want the war. We don't want to pay for it. What do you say, Bart? Could you get your mind around trying to stop the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people? Or is that of no interest to you? Do you only enjoy political topics that center on women's vaginas, over which you dream of ruling?
And by the way: every time a woman dies because of a back-alley abortion, somebody needs to tell Bart Stupak that he's killed another woman.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
"In A Dream" is a documentary about Philadelphia mosaic artist Isiah Zagar and his life. It starts out just another interesting view of an artist and his work and family, but soon follows the twists and turns of most lives -- breakdowns, infidelity, betrayal, separations, addiction, rehab, and through it all creativity and talent. It is a really good movie.
Isiah Zagar and his wife began buying up old buildings in rundown areas of Philadelphia decades ago. Zagar would then put mosaics on the entire building -- inside and out -- then rent them out.
Other artists also began taking over the abandoned buildings in certain areas of Philadelphia and using them to create street art, or people's art. As the economy changed, Philadelphia had its own surge of people with money moving back into the city, which is probably what saved some of these buildings from demolition.
In Flanders Fields (by John McCrae)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Cindy Sheehan's son Casey died in the U.S. War Against Iraq. That war was based upon lies. The Bush-Cheney regime told the American public that Iraq had attacked the U.S. on 9/11, and Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction which it was preparing to unleash against our country, either directly or through some deal with al Queda.
To support this completely fabricated story, the Bush-Cheney regime simply made up "evidence" whole cloth. They invented secret meetings in Germany between alleged al Queda terrorists and Iraq government representatives. They invented some secret "tubes" which supposedly had nuclear weapon components inside. They invented the traveling railway system, an absurd claim they sold to the U.N., showing boxcars supposedly being moved from one spot to the next to hide the WMD.
Cindy Sheehan's son died in the U.S. War Against Iraq. He did not know of the fraud, or the greed, or the insanity, or the lies of the Bush-Cheney regime. He thought he was protecting his country.
But now his mother knows. And she keeps fighting to end this war. So that other mothers don't have to suffer like she has. And maybe to get a little justice for her son, Casey.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Fess Parker, an actor who became famous in the 1950s playing Davy Crockett on a television series and later in some Disney-produced movies, has died at his home in California at the age of 85. He was beloved by young people across the country who believed he was "the" original cowboy/frontiersman, and that he was noble, strong, heroic, honest and decent. And that all Americans were. He wore a coonskin hat in the Davy Crockett show, and reproductions soon appeared on the heads of boy children around the nation. He was like a John Wayne type of character for the boomer kids. He also played Daniel Boone in another TV series. He spent his later years owning and operating a winery in the Central Coast of California.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
There once was a guy named Barack
Who found Bush and Cheney hiding under a rock
He chased them around
Til they finally left town
Then he shut the door tight with a lock.
There once was a gal named Michelle
The smartest and prettiest belle
She saw the handsome Barack
She let him chase her until caught
And with her, in love, he fell.