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July 31st, 2008
…this one is ominous!
Yahoo News reported: White House unveils intelligence powers overhaul.
“Unveils?” Is this some sort of proposal? Nope. It’s a done deal, no oversight or even prior notice required…
The action by Bush provoked bipartisan anger among House of Representatives lawmakers who said they were not properly consulted or briefed on the planned changes.
“We were only shown the document after it was complete and on its way to the president for his signature,” said Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Texas Democrat who heads the House Intelligence Committee.
“Given the impact that this order will have on America’s intelligence community, and this committee’s responsibility to oversee intelligence activities, this cannot be seen as anything other than an attempt to undercut congressional oversight,” said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the top Republican on the panel.
So. What exactly does this done deal include? Over at AFP the story is entitled: Bush orders overhaul of US intelligence. But don’t bother, it’s mostly a pro-fluff piece. Better is the offering by Raw Story: Watchdog: Bush turning intelligence agencies on Americans…
“This kind of concentrated power, exercised in secret, is a lit fuse with our Constitution likely in danger of being burned,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.
Another interesting analysis appears in cskendrick’s DKos diary, Who Needs Congress? Bush Reorgs Intel Services by Decree. The logical next question for any citizen concerned about civil liberties, the US Constitution, and things like the orderly transfer of power to the next duly elected President is,
Are they doing this for Barack Obama’s benefit?
P.S. Check out Pulitzer winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s report in the New Yorker (analyzed at Think Progress) about how VP Dick Cheney proposed a “false flag” operation to provoke war with Iran To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal to Dress Up Navy Seals as Iranians and Shoot at Them. Is it likely these guys are tired of All The Power In The World yet?Filed under Appointees, Bush, Intelligence, Outrage, War | Comment (0)
July 29th, 2008
Stephanie Woolhandler, M.D. of Harvard Medical School testified before the President’s Council on Bioethics this past week about her experiences with [non]health care in Amerika. The council was created in 2001 to ‘advise’ the president on bioethical issues arising from advances in biomedical science and technology.
Single-payer, “Medicare for All” type reform is drastically needed as the US falls farther and farther away from the so-called ‘Modern World’ in terms of the general health, life expectancy, infant and maternal mortality rates, and the sheer number of hard-working citizens who will die without any medical care at all because they simply have no access and cannot afford it.
“I’ve seen people die because of co-payments and deductibles.”
There are an estimated 47 million Americans with no insurance. And as more and more of them are losing their jobs and their homes as the economy descends into depression, that number will rise dramatically. An estimated 18,000 Americans Die every year because they have no health insurance or money to pay thousands of dollars’ worth of deductibles and co-pays for the junk insurance they do have. Fully one half of personal bankruptcies in this country are the result of getting sick or injured. 76% of those filers HAD insurance when they got sick or injured, but the deductibles and co-pays bankrupted them anyway.Activism, Class War, Eugenics, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Universal Care | Comment (0)
July 24th, 2008
Jerusalem and Berlin
Now, THAT’s how you woo the world! Our erstwhile allies are all pretty darned tired of being bullied. Maybe it’s not too farfetched to hope that Americans might finally get tired of being bullied too.
The Bushies (including John McCain) reacted to Obamapalooza just as everyone paying attention would expect. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice issued orders the night before Obama left to State Department employees in all the scheduled tour stops that they must not attend any speeches or events or aid Obama (or the other two US Senators on the tour) in any way when they’re in-country. But since assisting US leaders – or even arranging their events, as has been done for McCain’s travels – when they’re in-country is part of the diplomatic corps’ job description, most pointedly ignored the orders.
This is going to be a fun election.Filed under Barack Obama, Campaigns, Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, Marketing, Presidential Candidates, Religion | Comment (0)
July 22nd, 2008
As the economy continues to slip deeper into recession and the Presidential race becomes ever more one-sided in favor of real change, America’s Health Insurance Plans [AHIP] are hitting the road to defend their practice of “Murder By Spreadsheet.” Or, as one energetic activist calls the offensive, the Deceive America Tour.
AHIP is the trade and political lobbying association of DC insiders and overpaid executives for the health insurance industry. The industry that has wrecked health care delivery by bankrupting public hospitals, been targeted for racketeering suits under RICO, routinely refuses to pay claims while throwing families into bankruptcy, and continues to cripple American business competition in foreign trade with nations whose businesses do not hold primary responsibility for citizens’ health care costs.
2007 estimates of the number of uninsured Americans reached more than 75 million adults – 42% of all adults age 19 to 64 were uninsured or ‘underinsured’ – and the US has fallen to 47th in the world on life expectancy at birth. This week AHIP launched its Campaign for an American Solution tour in Columbus, Ohio, purporting to have A Plan to cure America’s health care woes without having to pay for any sick people’s actual health care or forego their profit margins, golden parachutes, luxury limousines and multi-million dollar salaries.
AHIP calls it a “listening tour” outreach, which means they’re quite likely to encounter some loud protests wherever they go in this effort to protect their bottom lines from reality. The speculative futures market in human suffering is just far too lucrative to lose, and the insurance hacks illegally practicing medicine these days have no intention of backing down.
Please check out the tour schedule for when these folks will be coming to your area, then you may wish to contact one of the single-payer activist groups listed below to lend your presence to the protests. It’s well past time for America to join the modern world.
Everybody In & Nobody Out supports state organizations working at the grassroots level for universal care, and offers links to those state organizations. You can also find lists of state groups in your state at the other national organization sites.Filed under Activism, Class War, Coalitions, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Marketing | Comment (0)
July 21st, 2008
…advocates Bush as “President-for-Life”
No, it’s not a joke from the late-nighters, or even one of the stand-ups at Comedy Central. A Cheney-linked neocon “think tank” called Family Security Matters issued an article last August by Philip Atkinson, opining that G.W. Bush would fail the country if he didn’t declare himself “President-for-Life” and refuse to step down next January to let his duly elected replacement take the reins of the executive branch.
The article, entitled Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy, was removed from the Family Security Matters website – and its author disappeared from an author list that includes such brainy luminaries as Newt Gingrich, Ed Koch, Michelle Malkin and Dick Morris, no doubt due to coverage at the time at Rogue Government, and lately in the progressive blogosphere in such places as Daily Kos, and at-Largely. Luckily (or not, depending on how strong your stomach is), MadCityRag caught the whole thing before it disappeared.
Some of the juciest tidbits are true keepers, if for no other reason than to remind ourselves why we should care about the U.S. Constitution and the democratic republic gifted to us by our wise founding fathers more than 230 years ago when the citizens of this new nation threw off the shackles of crazy King George. For instance…
President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.
No, thanks. Atkinson goes on to suggest that Bush should also copy Julius Caesar and order the army to simply kill everyone in Iraq so it could be repopulated with Americans as a 21st century colony. We’ve known for a long time that neocons are anti-Americans with seriously traitorous leanings, but it’s good to remind ourselves occasionally just how insane they really are. Yet another juicy tidbit to leave readers with…
Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government. President Bush must overcome not just the situation in Iraq, but democratic government.
Mister <27% WILL step down on January 20, 2009 as his elected successor is sworn in to the office of Presidency. Now, he can throw a hissy fit and chain himself to one of the White House pillars, but it won’t work. I’d suggest his smartest move would be to go ahead and fly down to his private ‘preserve’ in Paraguay about a week early and just skip the ceremony. Otherwise he just might find himself (along with his puppeteer Dick) being shuffled unceremoniously off to The Hague to stand trial for crimes against humanity.Filed under Bush, Constitution, Outrage, Treason, War | Comment (0)
July 15th, 2008
George Bush lifted bans on offshore drilling, explaining that this will not only increase our domestic supplies, but will also remedy recent drastic increases in the price of imported oil. Now, oil companies already have more than 2,000 leases on offshore oil that they haven’t even begun to drill, and then there’s all the producing oil wells in Texas and Oklahoma that Ronald Reagan’s administration ordered capped (and labeled ‘reserve’) after taking office in 1981 (and which caused a rather drastic immediate recession in those states as well as contributing to the infamous S&L collapse. The very first bank to collapse – Penn Square Bank in 1982, was heavily invested in those producing wells when they were ordered shut down. That cost We the People $150 million. The current and ongoing bank failures will cost us a lot more.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports a Possible Industry Role in Energy Shortage, as Big Oil companies sought as long as five years ago to cut refinery output to increase profits. And cut back on new refineries is just what they’ve done.
But fear not! Bloomberg reports that Kuwait may build a refinery in Louisiana to help the US boost its capacity for refined petroleum products. As we fall further and further into deep recession/depression due to $5 a gallon diesel, $4 a gallon gasoline, and the fast-rising price of food, shelter and clothing based on that.
I probably don’t need to say it, but this is really bullshit. Bush/Cheney aren’t done robbing us blind yet? We’ve something MORE for them to steal before escaping to Paraguay? We’ve been set up for a fall, and now that we’re actually falling (with no sign of bottom yet), they expect us to clean up their mess with wealth we simply don’t have anymore? They looted our retirement funds. They screwed us on our mortgages. They blew everybody big time on WMDs in Iraq. And now… NOW we’re told…
…that the US oil industry is exporting a record 1.6 billion barrels a day of refined petroleum products, up a full 1/3 over last year.
Now, I realize that I’m not that smart about this sort of capitalistic crap-shoot, but it occurs to me that if the US had those 1.6 billion barrels a day of gasoline and diesel fuel we might not be falling off the economic cliff at an accelerating pace. And it occurs to me that we’re being told that the BushCo oil wars (now threatening to ignite the entire ME) are all about ‘securing our supply’ – even though the truth is that our biggest foreign supplier is Canada, NOT Iraq, Iran, or even Saudi Arabia.
And with all this bruhaha about domestic supply – selling offshore and protected wilderness areas for drilling, capping producing wells, exporting a third of our domestic production – I’m wondering if the price of the oil they’re importing and charging us an arm and a leg for is LESS than what they receive on the world market for what they’re exporting.
I get the very strong feeling that they’ve screwed We the People yet again (that feeling just never goes away), seriously planning to turn us into just another Third World “Resource Region” for their total expoitation.
It’s their End Game. We have no choice but to play it.Filed under Analysis, Corruption, Depression, Economics, Energy, History, Market Crash, Recession | Comments (2)
July 8th, 2008
Before my beloved Father-in-Law died, my ‘challenging’ Mother-in-Law was one of my more inspiring (and intimidating) role models. She’d occasionally vote Republican (which Dad ALWAYS did), but more often went Democratic for reasons of weighed value to more inclusive values and concerns for all citizens, even if the system’s not perfect. She became an ombudsman fighting for the rights of nursing home patients, she sat on the local zoning board, and she was never afraid to give elected officials – any denomination – a piece of her ample mind whenever they deserved it.
But then the love of her life died, and she’s been lonely ever since. In clinging to something of him and his views of life, she became addicted to Fox News, which – it has been noted many times – is the most successful mass propaganda/mind-control experiment ever deployed by partisan human beings against members of their own species. It has turned her into a regular O’Reilly puppet, victim of subliminal programming, a hater of all who are different or disagree. She was someone who never had a hateful bone in her body in all her years before reaching her late 70s and falling to this addiction.
She’ll be 86 this year. We’ve got to go visit and do what we can to get her some help around the house or live-in care, since she’s too stubborn to do it herself, too independent to go to “The Home,” and still in possession of most of her mental faculties Fox hasn’t yet stolen from her. It’s very sad to see this wonderfully smart, able, strong and loving person become a grim, insulated hater. She hates gays, immigrants, blacks, Muslims, Democrats, the French… anybody Bill O’Reilly tells her to hate. Which – even more sadly – now includes her own children. My husband and I (confirmed liberals) as well as his younger brother, who is a conservative Baptist preacher with his own SBC church! Very strange.
She’s alienated her family, her friends… people she’s known for decades or for their entire lives. I believe it’s a crime to prey on people like Fox does. It does real harm to real people, and they’re doing it purely for the profit. They should be stopped, a treatment for the mind-disease they’ve caused should be high on the list of urgent NIH projects.Corruption, Hate Speech, Media, Politics of Hate, Propaganda, Republicans, Slime Machine, Talking Heads | Comment (0)
July 3rd, 2008
An Independence Day Comment
As an early Edwards supporter strong on health care, I considered the erstwhile “frontrunner” [Hillary Clinton] to be well to the right-center of me. As Obama’s star rose, I investigated and found him well to the right-center of me too. I was going for the populist, not The Machine or The Inspiration. Because after all the harm the Bushies have done over nearly eight years, Democrats have proven themselves cowards over and over and over again. Even after 2006. We needed, thought I, someone who understands reality in America, not just for the top 2%.
Sometimes I think we need a third party, to represent those of us who self-identify as ‘progressive’. But I’ve seen too many split-party tactics in my time, and I’m not sure at all that the US can handle more than two parties sans a representative form of parliamentary government. We’re just not equipped for it. Yet the Constitution is the only thing still standing between me and Big Brother. I’m not willing to give up on it now.
Which brings me around to the current presumptive front-runner, Barack Obama. And his odd vote on the FISA bill, complete with expansion of powers and retroactive immunity for breaking the law for the telecoms who were blackmailed into cooperating with illegal wiretaps.
The country’s just not in THAT much danger. I’m not plotting terrorist attacks when I talk to my relatives or friends on the phone. But I damn sure don’t want the NSA listening to everything I say! Or logging all my text messages. Or reading all my emails. I believe it’s a complete waste of resources electronic and human. I am not a threat. The time, money, energy and storage space they waste on me talking to my 85-year old Mother-in-Law or giving hubby a grocery list on his way home from work is wasted EVERYTHING.Analysis, Barack Obama, FISA, Immunity, Intelligence | Comments (6)