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March 30th, 2010, 03:40 PM
As Democrats, after a Sunday rally on the Capitol grounds, marched to the House hand-in-hand to vote for health-care reform, tea partiers reportedly shouted the "N-word" at John Lewis and another black congressman. A third was allegedly spat upon. And Barney Frank was called a nasty name.

Tea partiers deny it all. And neither audio nor video of this alleged incident has been produced, though TV cameras and voice recorders were everywhere on the Hill.

Other Democrats say their offices were vandalized and they've been threatened. A few received, and eagerly played for cable TV, obscene phone calls they got.

If true, this is crude and inexcusable behavior. And any threat should be investigated. But Democrats are also exploiting these real, imaginary or hoked-up slurs to portray themselves as political martyrs and to smear opponents as racists and bigots.

This is the politics of desperation.

Majority Whip James Clyburn accuses Republicans of "aiding and abetting ... terrorism." New York Times columnist Frank Rich compared the tea-party treatment of Democrats to Nazi treatment of the Jews during Kristallnacht:

"How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn't recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht."

Kristallnacht, "Crystal Night," the "Night of Broken Glass," was the worst pogrom in Germany since the Middle Ages. Synagogues were torched and hundreds of businesses smashed. Shattered glass covered the streets. Women were assaulted and men beaten and murdered. After that terrible night, half the Jews remaining in Germany fled.

To compare a brick tossed through the window of a congressional office and two shouted slurs to Kristallnacht suggests a growing paranoia on the left about the populist right.

Not since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made "some Americans run off the rails," said Rich, have we seen anything like this.

Was Rich awake in 1964? Because it wasn't the right that went off the rails. The really big riot in 1964 was in Harlem, lasting five days, with 500 injured and as many arrested. The Watts riot in 1965, Detroit and Newark in 1967, Washington, D.C., and 100 other cities in 1968, all bringing troops into American cities, were not the work of George Wallace populists or Barry Goldwater conservatives. They were the work of folks who went "all the way with LBJ."

Nor was it Young Americans for Freedom that burned ROTC buildings, vandalized professors' offices, toted the guns at Cornell or took over Columbia in 1968. And it was not the Birchers who set off that 1970 explosion in the Greenwich Village townhouse that killed three radicals and aborted the terrorist bombing of the NCO club at Fort Dix.

No, this was not the New Right. This was the New Left, and it was Obama not John Boehner who used to "pal around" with one of the boys who did the Pentagon and Capitol Hill bombings.

As for calling Barney Frank a naughty name, that is not nice. But one wonders what Rich thought of the students marching under Viet Cong flags chanting, about the man who signed that Civil Rights Act, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" and, "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is going to win," when American boys were dying in the hundreds every week fighting the communist NLF?

The 1967 attack on the Pentagon, where thousands tried to break through military police to get into the building, was the work of left-wing radicals. Did the tea-party folks who chanted, "Kill the bill," outside the House behave worse than that?

Some of us recall the anarchy of May Day 1971, when 15,000 leftists tried to shut down Washington on a Monday morning by rolling logs onto Canal Road, smashing car windows, blocking traffic circles and wilding in Georgetown. Most wound up behind a chain-link fence at the Armory.

How many were arrested on Capitol Hill Sunday a week ago?

Not one tea partier, man or woman.

The "mass hysteria" of the tea-party right, writes Rich, is at root about race. "By 2012 ... non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The tea party is virtually all white. ... Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded."

Rich is implying that when America's white majority disappears, in 2042 according to 2008 Census Bureau projections, the day of the white conservative is over.

Given the rise in ethnic consciousness among all Americans, Rich may be right. But it is not just white folks who want illegal aliens deported and legal immigration curtailed, while 25 million of our own are out of work or underemployed.

A Zogby poll for the Center for Immigration Studies found that 56 percent of Hispanics, 57 percent of Asian-Americans and 68 percent of African-Americans think legal immigration is too high.

If the tea-party folks think it is leftist elites who detest and wish to be rid of the America they grew up in and love, they are right.

Link (http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=133893)

Saundra Hummer
March 30th, 2010, 04:16 PM
the raw story

Watchdog files complaint against ‘deceptive and illegal’ Hannity concerts

David Edwards
Monday, March 29th
2010 -- 1:28 pm

Allegations about a charity connected to a key Fox News personality have floated across the web for years, but less than two weeks after a conservative blogger took aim, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tends to focus on liberal issues has filed a complaint.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Votevets.org have filed a complaint charging Sean Hannity's Freedom Concerts with deceptive and illegal marketing practices.

The concerts, hosted by Freedom Alliance, raise funds to provide scholarships and services to disabled veterans and their families. According to an email distributed by CREW, the complaints "allege Lt. Col. North's Freedom Alliance has violated its charitable tax status by engaging in prohibited political activities. In addition, CREW's complaints charge Mr. Hannity's Freedom Concerts has engaged in deceptive and illegal marketing practices by suggesting that all concert ticket sale revenue goes directly to scholarships for children of killed and wounded service members."

Hannity has promoted the concerts on his show, making statements such as, "Every penny, 100 percent of the donations are applied to the Freedom Alliance scholarship fund." Similarly, promoting the concert on Hannity's program, Lt. Col. North has said, "There's no overhead. There's no expenses taken out. Every penny that's donated or that's raised through things like the Freedom Concerts goes to the scholarship fund." In addition, Hannity has pledged that all the proceeds of his new book, "Conservative Victory," will go to Freedom Alliance.

CREW's IRS complaint against Freedom Alliance asks the IRS to consider revoking its charitable tax status because the organization has engaged in prohibited political activities. When Freedom Alliance first formed in 1999, the IRS conditioned its charitable tax status on the organization removing politically partisan materials from its website and warned it not to intervene in political campaigns. Despite those warnings, Freedom Alliance's website includes links to Lt. Col. North's columns, which are largely political, rents its mailing list to a communications firm that works for organizations that "seek to reach Republicans and conservatives across the United States," and hosts an annual "Freedom Cruise" with Republican politicians such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. In addition, Freedom Alliance appears to have a relationship with Team America, a PAC formed by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), dedicated to anti-immigration efforts and supporting conservative candidates.

Earlier this month, columnist and blogger Debbie Schlussel claimed that Hannity is profiting from a charity that raises money for severely injured US soldiers and the children of troops killed in action, and she described the Freedom Alliance as "a huge scam."

"Less than 20% -- and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively -- of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferret [sic] the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style," Schlussel writes.

"And, despite Hannity's statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show," she continues, "few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000, while Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes."

Schlussel cites an anonymous source who she says told her that the promoter of Hannity's fundraising "Freedom Concerts" figured the cost of a Gulfstream jet, a "fleet" of luxury SUVs, and high-end hotel suites for Hannity's entourage as amounting to over $200,000 per event.

"To make matters worse," Schlussel continues, "Hannity deliberately lied to his radio audience about how much money was going to the kids of the fallen American soldiers. On May 28th of last year, Hannity told his listeners, 'Our new sponsor, Boca Java, just pledged $30,000 to the Freedom Concerts. That will provide a full one-year college scholarship for a kid of a fallen soldier.' In fact, Freedom Alliance's tax forms indicate it has never given any student more than $6,000 in a school year, and usually it's been far less."

In a statement, the president of Freedom Alliance responded to Schlussel's allegations.

"Freedom Alliance has never provided planes, hotels, cars, limos, or anything else to Sean," the statement reads. "Sean gets nothing from Freedom Alliance except our gratitude for his personal generosity and for all he has done to help the troops and our organization. We have never had to ask Sean for anything, he always generously offers his help before we have a chance to ask him. But to be clear Sean pays for all his own transportation, hotels, and all related expenses for himself and his family and friends and staff, which over the years has added up to tens of thousands of dollars. He does not use any Freedom Alliance Funds or Concert funds in any way, period."

It then goes on to cite financial figures, taken from the same tax filings analyzed by Schlussel, as evidence that roughly 80% of its expenditures are devoted to program activities.

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, "There is little more despicable than preying upon the generosity of Americans by deceiving them into believing they are aiding the children of killed and wounded service members when the truth is most of the money is going to a for-profit venture." Sloan continued, "Americans deserve to know whether this high-profile charity allegedly dedicated to helping veterans and their families is really doing what it says it is."

Jon Soltz, the Chair of VoteVets.org said, "If not every dime is going to those who wore the uniform, then people have the right to know that. It really is that simple. There are many wonderful charities to help troops and veterans that are completely transparent and truthful about where their donations go. If Sean Hannity and Freedom Alliance are being untruthful, that hurts all those other charities, because it only causes people to hold back donations to worthy causes in the future. We need to get to the bottom of this, quickly, and the FTC and IRS must take any corrective action that’s deemed necessary."

Click here to read CREW s complaint to the IRS and the complaint’s citations, and click here to read CREW s complaint to the FTC and the complaint's citations. (Go on-site at end of post)

Allegations about waste committed by the charity first surfaced as early as 2007. A Daily Kos diarist named "davefromqueens" wrote, "After weaving through voluminous amounts of carefully crafted, parsed language and following up on the reporting of news hounds and a daily kos diarist it appears that Sean Hannity and Oliver North are using the name of dead American soldiers to garner profits for a right wing organization masquerading as a charity."


This audio is from CREW, recorded March 29, 2010.

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Saundra Hummer
March 30th, 2010, 08:27 PM

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100 Excellent Online Documentaries for Presidential History Buffs

Posted by Site Administrator in Features, Research on 03 29th, 2010

If you’re into presidential history then you’re in luck: there are a great variety of online documentaries about the lives of presidents and beyond. Check out these documentaries to learn more about the events and lives of our commanders-in-chief.

These documentaries take a look at multiple presidents.
US Presidents: US Presidents offers a 17-DVD collection of speeches, inaugurations, historical newsreels, and more.
Mr. President: Mr. President takes a look at the fictionalized lives of real presidents and imaginary ones.
The American President: The American President takes a look at all of the Presidents through George W. Bush.
All the Presidents Wives: Watch this documentary about America’s First Ladies.
The White House: Behind Closed Doors: See what it’s like to live in the White House with this documentary.
Thank You, Mr. President: This documentary covers the political reporting of Helen Thomas.
America’s First Families: America’s First Families shares an inside view of 200 years of private White House life.
The Presidents: The Presidents offers an eight-part survey from George Washington to George W. Bush.
History of US Presidents: Learn about America’s greatest leaders from this Presidential documentary.
Dear Mr. President: Dear Mr. President follows the road trip of Israeli and Palestinian teenage girls on a road trip across America in search of hope and democracy.
The President Calling: Listen to White House tapings from Kennedy, LBJ, and Nixon through The President Calling.
Monuments to Freedom: Monuments to Freedom examines the Presidential memorials.
Letter to the President: Letter to the President takes a look at the close-knit ties between the hip hop community and the President.

Campaign & Election

Study campaigns and elections in these documentaries.
Votergate: Take a look at the problems in voting through Votergate.
Road to the Presidency: Road to the Presidency examines the 1992 Presidential election.
The Presidential Contenders: The Presidential Contenders discusses then-Senators John McCain and Barack Obama in their race for the White House.

Air Force One

Watch these documentaries to go inside Air Force One.
Secret Access: Air Force One: Check out this documentary for secret access to Air Force One.
On Board Air Force One: This documentary offers an ultimate tour of Air Force One.

You can learn about George Washington from this documentary.Washington the Warrior: See George Washington as a soldier before he became President through this documentary.

AdamsStudy President Adams and his wife with these documentaries.
John Adams: John Adams depicts the life of America’s second President.
American Experience: John and Abigail Adams: See correspondence between John and Abigail Adams in this documentary.
The Adams Chronicles: The Adams Chronicles will take you on a tour of America’s formative years.
Biography: John & Abigail Adams: This documentary takes a joint portrait of John and Abigail Adams’ role in the American Revolution.

JeffersonWatch this documentary to study Thomas Jefferson.
Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal: Watch this documentary about Thomas Jefferson’s scandal with Sally Hemmings.

Andrew JacksonThrough this documentary, you’ll get a look into the presidency of Andrew Jackson.
Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil, and the Presidency: Study the life and Presidency of Andrew Jackson in this documentary.

LincolnWith these documentaries, you’ll learn about Abraham Lincoln.
Young Mr. Lincoln: You will learn about a young Abraham Lincoln in this documentary.
Gore Vidal’s Lincoln: You’ll get a look into the life of Lincoln through this documentary.
Abraham Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln shares vignettes about Lincoln’s life from birth to assassination.
DW Griffith Presents Abraham Lincoln: Check out this documentary about Lincoln’s early life and presidency.
Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided: This miniseries weaves together the lives of Abraham and Mary Lincoln.
Abe Lincoln in Illinois: Watch this documentary about Abe Lincoln’s life in Illinois.
Abraham Lincoln: His Life and Legacy: This set of documentaries discusses the Lincoln legacy.
The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth: This documentary tells the story of the hunt for John Wilkes Booth.
Stealing Lincoln’s Body: Stealing Lincoln’s Body takes a look at a plot to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln.
The Hunt for Lincoln’s Assassin: You will learn about the elusion of John Wilkes Booth in this documentary.
The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: This documentary addresses a variety of issues surrounding Lincoln.
Looking for Lincoln: Looking for Lincoln shares a view on the shaping of Lincoln’s life and career.
Abraham Lincoln: His Life & Legacy: This documentary includes history, conspiracies, and more from Lincoln.
Abe Lincoln in Illinois: Abe Lincoln in Illinois offers a human look at the early years of Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln: Preserving the Union: Check out this documentary about Abraham Lincoln’s life details, dark side, and sense of humor.

Teddy RooseveltThese documentaries discuss President Teddy Roosevelt.
Teddy Roosevelt-An American Lion: Teddy Roosevelt’s documentary discusses the life of a powerhouse politician.
Rough Riders: Check out this video about Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.

HooverHere you’ll learn more about President Hoover.
Landslide: Landslide is a portrait of President Herbert Hoover.

FDRWatch these documentaries about President Franklin Roosevelt.
FDR-A Presidency Revealed: This documentary examines FDR’s life of overcoming polio and pulling America out of the Great Depression.
FDR-Years of Crisis: Watch this documentary to follow the life and career of FDR.
Eleanor Roosevelt: A Restless Spirit: Check out this documentary about Eleanor Roosevelt’s restless spirit.
American Experience: FDR: Watch this documentary about FDR from PBS.
Eleanor and Franklin: Eleanor and Franklin takes a look at the early years and White House years of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

TrumanWatch these documentaries about President Harry Truman.
American Experience: Truman: This documentary explores the life of President Harry Truman.
Truman: Truman follows the biographical drama of President Harry S. Truman.

EisenhowerCheck out these documentaries about Dwight Eisenhower.
Ike-From Warrior to President: In this TV documentary, you’ll learn about Eisenhower’s life from warrior to President.
Ike-Countdown to D-Day: Follow Dwight D. Eisenhower’s experience in the D-Day invasion of Normandy with this documentary.
Biography: Dwight D. Eisenhower: This biography follows Eisenhower’s life from his boyhood to his tenure at the White House.

KennedyWith these documentaries, you’ll look into Kennedy’s life, assassination, and beyond.
Four Days in November: Four Days in November discusses the Kennedy assassination.
The Kennedy Mystique: The Kennedy Mystique discusses the image of glamour in the Kennedy family.
Frame 313: Frame 313 discusses 5 of the most credible theories about the murder of JFK.
The Kennedys: The Kennedys will teach you about the presidency and family of President Kennedy.
Thirteen Days: Learn about JFK’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis from Thirteen Days.
John F. Kennedy: A Personal Story: See the personal story of John F. Kennedy through this documentary.
Kennedy: The Complete Series: Kennedy discusses momentous events in JFK’s life and presidency.
The Assassination of President Kennedy: Listen to this timeless documentary about President Kennedy’s assassination.
The Kennedy Assassination: 24 Hours After: This documentary takes you into the 24 hours after the Kennedy assassination.
Biography: John F. Kennedy: You’ll find the personal story of John Kennedy in this documentary.
JFK: 3 Shots That Changed America: This special covers rarely seen and heard footage about JFK and his assassination.
The Men Who Killed Kennedy: This History Channel documentary offers the definitive account of the Kennedy assassination.
The American Experience: The Kennedys: Learn about President Kennedy and his family from this documentary.
John F. Kennedy-The Presidential Years: In this documentary, you’ll learn about the Kennedy Presidential years of 1960-1963.
The Murder of JFK: The Murder of JFK takes a revisionist history of JFK’s murder.
Rendezvouz with Death: Watch this German documentary that claims the Cuban G2 organized the assassination of President Kennedy.

LBJYou’ll learn about Lyndon Byrd Johnson from this documentary.
American Experience: LBJ: See LBJ’s rise to the presidency and beyond in this documentary.
LBJ: Study Lyndon B. Johnson in this documentary.

NixonCheck out these documentaries about Nixon’s life and presidency.
Richard Nixon: A Life in Full: You will get a look into Nixon’s personal makeup and political history.
Nixon: Watch this documentary about Nixon’s life with the world on his shoulders.
Richard Nixon: Man and President: See interviews with friends, staffers, and political observers in this documentary about Richard Nixon.
Frost/Nixon: Complete Interviews: Frost/Nixon shares interview footage from Sir David Frost and President Richard Nixon.
Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power: This documentary examines how Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger worked together.
American Experience: Nixon: This biography discusses Richard Nixon, the 37th president.
Nixon: A Presidency Revealed: Watch this biography to see unreleased tapes that shed light on Richard Nixon.

Through these documentaries, you’ll look into Ford’s presidency.Gerald R. Ford: The Accidental President: This documentary takes a look at Gerald Ford, the "accidental President."
Gerald R. Ford: Healing the Presidency: In this biography, you’ll learn about healing the presidency.

CarterLearn about Jimmy Carter through these documentaries.
Road Not Taken: Road Not Taken travels back in time to examine Jimmy Carter’s installation of solar panels on the roof of the White House.
Jimmy Carter, Man from Plains: Check out this documentary about the life of President Jimmy Carter.
American Experience: Jimmy Carter: Watch PBS’ documentary about the 39th American President, Jimmy Carter.

ReaganThese documentaries discuss President Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan: An American President: Watch this documentary about the Reagan presidency.
The Reagans : The Reagans examines the Reagans’ rise as a couple to First Family.
Ronald Reagan-A Legacy Remembered: Through this documentary, you’ll remember the legacy of Ronald Reagan.
American Experience: Reagan: This video offers a look into Ronald Reagan.
In the Face of Evil: In the Face of Evil discusses Reagan’s legacy.

George H.W. BushYou’ll learn about George Bush the elder from this documentary.
American Experience: George HW Bush: Follow this biography of George HW Bush.

ClintonClinton’s life, presidency, and scandal are examined through these documentaries.
The Clinton Years: Watch this documentary to learn about the Clinton presidency years.
The Hunting of the President: The Hunting of the President follows the ten-year campaign to destroy Bill Clinton.
Biography: Bill Clinton: Study the presidency and personal scandal of Bill Clinton through this documentary.

George W. BushCheck out these documentaries to learn about George W. Bush.
Journeys with George: This documentary takes you along the presidential campaign of George W. Bush.
Fahrenheit 9/11: Michael Moore’s documentary examines the Bush Administration after 9/11.
The Bush Years: The Bush Years examines George W. Bush’s life before the Presidency.
Bush Family Fortunes: Watch this documentary to learn about hidden secrets about the Bush family.
Unprecedented-The 2000 Presidential Election: In this documentary, you’ll learn how Bush stole the White House.
The Legacy of George W. Bush: This documentary examines the controversial legacy of George W. Bush.
Bush’s Brain: Bush’s Brain is a documentary that pulls back the curtain to reveal Karl Rove.
Dick Cheney-An Unofficial Biography: In this biography, you’ll learn about Vice President Dick Cheney’s journey to become one of the most powerful men in American politics.

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Saundra Hummer
March 31st, 2010, 12:56 PM


O'Connor Calls Citizens United Ruling 'A Problem'

Retired Justice Says New Rules Could Corrupt Judicial Elections

Jan. 26, 2010 —
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor issued her own polite public dissent to the recently decided case on corporate political spending, telling law students that the court has created an unwelcome new path for wealthy interests to exert influence on judicial elections.

In her first public remarks on the controversial campaign money case, O'Connor said she believes the ruling creates "a problem for an independent judiciary."

In deciding Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission last week, the Supreme Court found that corporations should not be restricted from spending unlimited amounts on political commercials because to limit that spending would violate the First Amendment.

The ruling was a jolt to the lawyers and lawmakers who have been battling to curtail the corrupting influence of money in the political system, and who had found an ally on the Supreme Court in O'Connor, until she stepped down in 2006. The justice who replaced her, Samuel Alito, joined the 5-4 majority in last week's decision.

One wrinkle in the Citizens United case that has largely escaped notice, O'Connor said, is that the opinion has the potential to unleash more corporate spending in campaigns for state judgeships, a problem she has already been highlighting because of the potential for donations to have a corrupting influence on the legal process.

"This rise in judicial campaigning makes last week's opinion in Citizens United a problem for an independent judiciary," she told an auditorium of lawyers and Georgetown University law students in Washington. "No state can possibly benefit from having that much money injected into a political campaign."

The quandary of how to prevent campaign contributions from unduly influencing candidates for judgeships has been a pervasive problem that O'Connor has dedicated her post-Supreme Court years to solving.

The issue was highlighted most recently by a case in West Virginia featured in an ABC News investigation. In that instance, a mining executive waged a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to elect the swing justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court. The judge then presided over a case the executive's company had appealed to the court.

More than 80 percent of state court judges must face the voters in elections at some point during their time on the bench, O'Connor said.

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March 31st, 2010, 03:03 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Reversing a ban on oil drilling off most U.S. shores, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced an expansive new policy that could put oil and natural gas platforms in waters along the southern Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and part of Alaska.
Speaking at Andrews air base outside Washington, Obama said, "This is not a decision that I've made lightly." He addressed the expected outcry from disappointed environmentalists by saying he had studied the issue for more than a year and concluded it was the right call given the nation's voracious thirst for energy and the need to produce jobs and keep American businesses competitive.

"We're announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America's natural resources," Obama said, according to his prepared remarks released in advance by the White House. "This announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy. And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and long term."

He added: "To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake."

Obama made no secret of the fact that one factor in his decision was securing Republican support for a sweeping climate change bill that has languished in Congress. But Obama has long stated his support in favor of the "tough decision" to expand offshore drilling

The plan modifies a ban that for more than 20 years has limited drilling along coastal areas other than the Gulf of Mexico. It allows new oil drilling off Virginia's shoreline and considers it for a large chunk of the Atlantic seaboard. At the same time, he's rejecting some new drilling sites that had been planned in Alaska.

I'd like to hear from those who put down Sarah Palin, George Bush, and others who have advocated this drilling position. Where is your outrage now? Where is the post slamming Obama? Quiet here for some reason......

....I keep looking at the back threads and how much of the silliness that has been posted, heck we're past page 500, most of which is filled with half truths or no truths at all. It must be embarrassing when something like this comes up. I guess silence is all I should expect.

How much of this is lining Obama's pockets? Is he in bed with Exxon now or what he always in bed with them? I bet he expanded the war just to keep funding his buddies side businesses. There was a no bid contract awarded, don't you all recall that? I do. Can I throw a shoe now?

Drill baby Drill. Except now we get silence.

Let me say this one more time: OBAMA IS DRILLING FOR OIL IN ALASKA. IN ALASKA!


On another equally amusing side note, the Cape Cod wind farm will be built by offshore companies. HA again. To bad we had to wait for Ted Kennedy to die before we got movement on this green initiative. Oh the irony of it all.

Shall I post some of the back threads on recess appointments? Those are gems to read. No negative comments about these recent ones.

How about all those companies now restating earnings to account for the added liability for retirees medical liability? Does anyone with half a brain not expect this to translate into higher prices? How stupid is it when a president doesn't even know about Sarbanes/Oxley? It must be his constant drinking and smoking - what is the term that was used on Bush....dry drunk...now we have a wet one in the office. Even his Dr told him to cut back.

Shall we take a look at the last Bond offering and the at best tepid response? Could this be due to spending?

Of the 700+billion in shovel ready jobs...does anyone out here see a significant increase in fixing our roads and bridges?

One more apology tour and all should be fine, right?

Saundra Hummer
March 31st, 2010, 04:04 PM

Is this part of some political payback? This is one incident where the Obama Presidency loses my support. Work for clean air, clean water, alternative power sources, not this.

While I have my *feeling betrayed cap*on, what about ethanol? We have paid and paid dearly due to it being in our gasoline. Cheaper fuel? How is that? We didn't see a decrease back quite a few years ago, when unbenownst to us, it was an additive in our gasoline. It was to be posted at the pumps we were told, however, it never was. It ruined all of our equipment. There's a class action lawsuit we need to join to try to recoup our loses, materially and financially. Lost wages and lost equipment do add up over four to five years time. We were blaming our breakdowns on shoddy workmanship and designs, when it was due to ethanol ruining the fuel systems and valves in our equipment, and trucks.

Now this, and who will benefit?

Will we see better prices at the pump, will we have more chances for employment, lower prices on all consumer goods made or grown here in the United States? I very much doubt it.

Darn, hate to see this happen and screw up our delicate coast lines, our oceans, as, if our oceans and waterways die, we are a dead planet. I'd rather see an all out effort to provide alternative fuel sources.

Maybe, as has been said, "Peak Oil" is here, and the decline in a reliable fuel source is rushing downhill at breakneck speed, but if not, then why this? Is it some sort of political end game, or what? SRH

Our Generation Screwed Over
Obama’s Offshore Drilling Plan

March 31st, 2010
“Its like a kick in the face” says Jonathan Ruiz of Florida International University. Jonathan campaigned for Obama for fourteen months, and now he’s livid about today’s announcement by the administration to open half the east coast to offshore drilling.

“I was born near Florida’s Emerald Gulf Coast.” says Graham Penniman of University of Central Florida. “The memories that I have on those beaches brings me so much joy, that every night I fall asleep thinking about the moons reflection across the water. To imagine my beach any other way destroys my heart.”


Image from the NY times

Why are these Florida university students mad? They are being sold out by the Obama administration in a misguided attempt to curry political favor. From the NYTimes:

“The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.”

Youth, the millennial generation so inspired by Obama to vote in record numbers, have the most to lose from the expansion of drilling. Even some coastal governors and senators will be angry about the announcement because of the small amount of oil and huge environmental risks. If white-haired governors and senators are worried, what about young people who are thinking about protecting this coastline for us and our children, long after the tiny amounts of energy have been extracted?

Obama inspired our generation to turn out to the polls, and he can do it again if he moves to actually inspire us. But youth across the South East have longer memories than this short-sighted political thinking. Under this proposal the first lease sales for drilling would be held in 2012, a year that Obama will be hoping to connect with us and convince us he stands for our interests. If young people don’t believe him, they aren’t going to be inspired to vote. That’s not change we can believe in.

An oil well damaged by Katrina spilled oil into coastal waters
We aren’t going to take this. A protest is planned for an event in Florida today where Newt Gingrich will be promoting drilling. Nevermind that he needs to entice people to come with free “Drill Here Drill Now Pay Less” bumper stickers to the first 1000 rsvps, this event shows how dangerously aligned the Obama administration is getting to the industry-cheerleading GOP.

Lets really listen to Megan Maloney at the University of Central Florida when she says “As a young America citizen I am fearful for my future because of Obama’s decision of pursuing more offshore drilling off our coasts.” And Keziyah Lewis of Florida State University points to the DOE report on the cost of actually extracting that energy to say “obviously offshore oil drilling just doesn’t make sense when you compare the cost of infrastructure, research, etc, to the amount of fuel that is attainable, it’s like throwing money down the toilet.”

President Obama, Ken Salaz and the rest of your teams, hear us loud and clear: young people oppose offshore drilling.

“I understand that they want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but why not reduce our dependence on oil all together. Our tax dollars are being used to drill for something that will just disappear. It is a triple negative; we use oil to run the machines that drill for that oil that we then use to fuel our lives. What kind of generation will we be viewed as if we destroy our oceans just because we want a year or two of independence from other countries? We need to stop worrying about only ourselves and think about our children and grandchildren, how is this going to effect them, what are they going to do when all our oil is gone? Why are we investing in something that can just disappear when we can put our money towards something that can last a lifetime.” Amanda Glaze, University of West Florida

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)
FL Students DEMAND Action: “Give us the Green Fee!!”
drilling off Florida’s coast.
Surfer Blood- Astro Coast
Protestors rally to fight oil drilling off Florida coasts
38.810290 -76.870475

6 Responses to “Our Generation Screwed Over by Obama’s Offshore Drilling Plan”

http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2010/03/31/our-generation-screwed-over-by-obamas-offshore-drilling-plan/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaig n=Feed%3A+itsgettinghotinhere%2Ffb+%28It%27s+Getti ng+Hot+In+Here%29

1 Anna
Mar 31st, 2010 at 6:46 am
So what do you reckon? A mass letter-writing campaign threatening civil disobedience if they go ahead with the plan? Followed by, about a month later, rolling youth sit-ins at congressional offices across the country?

If they win this one, it’s a slippery slope. We can’t let them get these first runs on the board. They’re meant to be *solving* climate change, not *causing* it!

2 Jill
Mar 31st, 2010 at 10:45 am
We have to do something to change this decision. This is too important to stick our heads in the sand and hope it goes away. Unfortunately, I do not have any ideas at this time to what can be done. I do however offer my services to anyone that does as long as it is not insane or counter-productive.

3 JP
Mar 31st, 2010 at 1:38 pm
His attempt to curry favor from the republicans worked real well. “House Republican Leader John Boehner on Wednesday criticized the administration for keeping the vast majority of America’s offshore energy resources off limits at a time when, the Ohio representative said, Americans want an “all of the above” strategy for promoting American energy production and creating American jobs.”

Click on following URL for photo's and links.

http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2010/03/31/our-generation-screwed-over-by-obamas-offshore-drilling-plan/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaig n=Feed%3A+itsgettinghotinhere%2Ffb+%28It%27s+Getti ng+Hot+In+Here%29
^ ^ ^

Saundra Hummer
March 31st, 2010, 05:08 PM


What if Fox News actually wants mob violence?

March 30, 2010
5:15 am ET

Conservative commentators were atwitter last week following news that Ann Coulter's speech at the University of Ottawa was canceled in the face of protests. Of course, Coulter has the right to speak her mind on campuses. But in announcing the cancellation, her conservative Canadian sponsor, pundit Ezra Levant, put the blame on out-of-control liberals who had allegedly made it unsafe for Coulter to speak, breathlessly telling reporters that "the police and the security have advised that it would be physically dangerous for Ann Coulter to proceed with this event and for others to come in" and stressing the presence of an "unruly mob" outside.

Naturally, right-wing bloggers south of the Canadian border then went ballistic. Gateway Pundit claimed a menacing mob of 2,000, armed with "rocks and sticks," had surrounded the Ottawa campus building where Coulter was to speak. And yes, a fire alarm was even pulled.

Oh, my!

But it turns none of those hysterical claims were true (except for the part about someone pulling a fire alarm without cause). The 1,000 protesters were peaceful, according to university officials (good luck finding those rocks and sticks). And no, the police did not cancel the event out of our concern for Coulter's safety. They simply thought the event should have been held in a bigger venue to facilitate the large crowd. (Who invites Ann Coulter to campus and then books a lecture hall that, according to one estimate, holds just 400 people?)

Fact: Coulter and her promoters canceled the show on their own. There were no imminent signs of mob violence or threats of personal harm, just good old-fashioned, raucous, campus-style debate. But faced with a boisterous crowd, Coulter took her marbles and went home, while her conservative allies concocted tales of looming left-wing violence and feasted on the publicity.

Later, whining about her traumatic no-show in Ottawa, Coulter told a reporter, "I would like to know when this sort of violence, this sort of protest, has been inflicted upon a Muslim?" [Emphasis added.]

Oh, so now pulling a fire alarm qualifies as "violence"?

The hysterical hand-wringing was predictable. But the real stunner last week was watching the same conservatives who fretted over Coulter's safety then turn around and excuse and rationalize actual right-wing violence and intimidation stateside in the wake of the historic health care vote. Speaking out of both sides of their mouths with astonishing ease, conservatives denounced liberals who protested Coulter's appearance in Canada, and then played defense on behalf of marauding right-wing radicals who unleashed death threats, threw bricks through office windows, and hurled epithets at politicians. All in the name of saving America from President Obama's brand of evil socialism.

That form of intimidation and harassment the GOP Noise Machine had no problem with. Indeed, Democrats themselves were to blame for the rash of political violence.

Or so said the Tea Party team at Fox News, where there was little sense of remorse or shame -- or even apparent concern -- about the unprecedented bouts of violence and intimidation last week. (See list below.)

Instead, like Sarah Palin, Fox News simply reloaded and kept spraying the poisonous rhetoric all around. Worse, the "news" channel spent parts of last week either denying or rationalizing the uncorked madness. For instance, Glenn Beck suggested the incidents had been concocted. "It's almost as if the left is trumping all of this up just for the politics," said Beck.

Fox News friend Rush Limbaugh agreed:

Our side doesn't do this kind of stuff. It's all made up -- 95 percent of it's made up and it's being done to divert everybody's attention."

And from Andrew Breitbart's Big Government: "We doubt these threats are actually real."

Those who weren't denying the acts of violence were busy whitewashing them. On Fox News, S.E. Cupp made fun of Democrats who she claimed sought sympathy after being on the receiving end of a "couple of angry voices mails." Cheered Cupp, "I'm glad people are angry."

Hmm, "angry" voice mails? Here's an example of one of the actual hate messages left on a Democrat's voice mail:

"Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother f***er... I hope you bleed out your a**, got cancer and die, you mother f***er," one man says in a message to Stupak.

By skimming over the unpleasant details, Fox News talkers did their best to trivialize the illegal, terrorist threats made against elected officials. In fact, they were glad Democrats received voice mails like that.

And yes, it's been the rationalizing that's been so disturbing to watch -- the way the GOP Noise Machine fervently excused last week's violent behavior and eagerly tried to shift the blame onto the victims of the intimidation, and then demanded to know what the big deal was.

I mean, who hasn't had the line on a propane tank outside his house slashed by vandals? This stuff happens all the time, right? Didn't scores of members of Congress, immediately following the vote in 2002 to authorize the invasion of Iraq, find their office windows shattered by flying bricks hurled under the cover of darkness by nasty anti-war libs? Didn't they receive a steady stream of specific death threats and watch as relatives (and even their children) came under attack? Doesn't this kind of harassment and intimidation come with the territory, and hasn't it always been pushed out and legitimized by mainstream media outlets?

Um, not in America. But that may be changing as Fox News fuels the hate and does its best to provide cover and refuge for those supporting the intimidation campaign, as Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media rationalize the wave of political violence and do their best to shift the blame onto the targets -- onto the victims -- while always avoiding responsibility. (Did anyone on the left suggest Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) was to blame when a YouTube nut job posted a threat against his life?)

Note how so many embraced the frightening notion that because conservatives didn't like health care reform, the violence was expected and nobody should have been surprised because Democrats, by passing the bill (i.e. desecrating the Constitution), pushed people too far. "So why are people angry?" asked Fox News' Steve Doocy last week. "Maybe because they didn't want this bill?"

Talk about the rise of tyranny and the minority-rule mob.

And that's where the fear of the perpetual angry mob comes in, and perhaps why Fox News, rather than lamenting the ugly and cowardly eruptions, seems to be encouraging it, or at least rationalizing it. Perhaps Fox News wants that threat of mob intimidation on the table, and Fox News, the de facto Opposition Party, wants Democrats to be thinking about the political consequences of further upsetting that unhinged mob.

As the blogger known as Digby noted last week:

They know that serious violence is very likely. They are simply inoculating themselves against the charge that it was their inflammatory rhetoric that caused it. It will be the Democrats complaining about their inflammatory rhetoric that made the teabaggers snap. If they'd just stayed quiet and not made daddy mad, he wouldn't have had to hit them.

And speaking of irresponsibility, who helped created the red-hot aura of right-wing hysteria over health care reform? Who has been driving the dangerous insurrectionist rhetoric? The right-wing media, of course. This was Beck, just days after the vote:

Get down on your knees and pray. Pray. It's September 11th all over again, except that we didn't have the collapsing buildings.

That's right, the U.S. government (by moving to help insure millions more Americans) had unleashed a surprise terrorist attack against the defenseless civilian population. But no, Glenn Beck doesn't incite people. Why would anybody think that?

And why would anybody think there was a connection between Fox News' hate speech and the recent police blotter of violent and frightening political incidents:

Rep. Tom Perriello's (D-VA) brother's address was erroneously posted online by a Tea Party blogger who invited activists to descend on the house. A gas line outside the brother's house was cut.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) was the target of threatening faxes and phone calls, including death threats. Some of the faxes included "racial epithets used in reference to President Obama," according to CBS News.
A brick was thrown through the window of the Democratic Party office in Rochester, New York. The note attached read: "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice," roughly quoting 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.
Rep. Anthony Weiner's office in Kew Gardens, New York, had to be evacuated after suspicious white powder was found in an envelope mailed to the office.
A thrown brick smashed a window at Rep. Louise Slaughter's district office in Niagara Falls, New York.
Slaughter also received a message claiming that "snipers were being deployed to kill those members who voted yes for health care," according to Politico.
A tossed brick demolished a window at the Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita, Kansas.
There were confirmed accounts of Tea Party protesters hurling anti-gay slurs at Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) on the eve of the health care vote.
"Vandals also smashed the front door and a window at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' office in Tucson early Monday, hours after the Arizona Democrat voted for the health care reform package," reported the Kansas City Star.
Fox News' response to the mayhem? "This happens all the time," shrugged paid contributor Stephen Hayes. His colleague Charles Krauthammer added, "I'm sure a lot of this is trumped up."

It's a chilling prospect, but one that seems more and more plausible: What if Fox News actually wants mob violence?

Follow Eric Boehlert on Twitter.

Expand All Expand 1st Level Collapse All
by IRONY 101 (March 30, 2010 8:18 am ET)
28 1 IMO FOX's broadcasts are like shining the Batman light over the skies of Gotham City...a call to arms for all the crazies. To deny that their incessant, 24/7 crusade against Barack Obama will not inflame some unbalanced, potentially violent, people is simply not dealing with reality.
Reply Report Abuse
by Bad News (March 30, 2010 11:07 am ET)
22 1 IRONY-101, I think David Letterman said it right.

The Terrorist Networks are Al-Qaeda, The Taliban & Fox News.

You tell me which is the most dangerous?

Two can cause Serious Destruction, but only one can completely Destroy a Nation.

Mr. News
Reply Report Abuse
by News Corpse (March 30, 2010 2:57 pm ET)
11 Fox News would be the first network to air Al Qaeda campaign commercials in the US.

Obviously Fox News wants violence. TV thrives on dramatic pictures and video. The worst thing for Fox would be to have to cover civil and respectful discussions on the substantive issues of the day.

That's why they have Glenn Beck whipping people into a frenzy over the demise of America:

That's why they have Liz Trotta dismissing violence by saying that "a brick through a window is pretty low on the violence scale."

I wonder how she would react if it were her window. The intent is just so apparent here that the question hardly seems necessary.
Reply Report Abuse
by Tbone Slickens (March 30, 2010 11:50 am ET)
2 34 So when it's liberals accused of mob actions, it just can't be true, because there was no proof of sticks and stones. When it's conservative mob actions it has to be true, because it fits the agenda even though there is no proof.

Sorry E. You can't have it both ways.
Reply Report Abuse
by NiceguyEddie (March 30, 2010 12:15 pm ET)
28 How is there no proof? The FBI just arrested nine members of a RW religious whacko group in Michigan. You think they have NO PROOF? You think those people will go to jail without proof? There a differecne between claiming "sticks and stones" when that was not even noted by local police (besides, who the hell brings "sticks and stones" in this day and age, even in Canada?!) and claiming someone threw a brick through your window when you have the brick, and the note attached and you're busy sweeping up broken glass as you tell the story.

You, my friend, are as deranged as Beck, and as in as much irrespensible, delusional denial as Fox. What will it take, huh? The assissanation of the President? The gassing of Congress? A Bomb in the Supreme Copurt after they refuse to overturn Roe v Wade? (Or are those just par for the course, expected results?) At what point in this psychopathic world view do the simply ends no longer justify the means?

And what has ANY liberal done in the past three decades that even comes close to what we're seeing from so much of the right these days? Where's YOUR proof?

The Right has long since ceased to be defending America. They are defending only their own fantasy world. They are traitors to our laws, constitution, values and way of life and they are becomeing violent. And when they are eventually put down by the police, FBI or (hopefully it won't come to this) Military, it will be their own fault for breaking the law and not some fantastic "liberal conspiracy."

When this time comes, I wonder how much PROOF you'll believe there is, as the evidence against them piles up and spills over. The Right have lost their minds, dude. Absolutely lost their freaking minds. And at this point, you'd have to be stupiud to believe them and crazy to defend them.

The world is moving on without and despite you. I'll never understand why so many want to be consistantly behind the learning curve of history.

Go on-site for the numerous links, photo and several comments, which I've posted a few of. Just click on the following URL. SRH


Saundra Hummer
March 31st, 2010, 05:57 PM


Do Hannity and North operate a "charitable" fraud?

Sean Hannity and Ollie North
say they collect millions of dollars
for veterans' kids.
But where did the money go?

Joe Conason
Monday, Mar 29, 2010
10:30 EDT

Getty Images
Sean Hannity and Retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North
Go on site to view. Click on link at bottom of post.

A potentially damaging scandal erupted today that implicates Fox News Channel personalities Sean Hannity and Oliver North in the worst kind of charitable fraud. According to complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission and the IRS, the two right-wing icons have exploited American veterans for personal and partisan gain. The actions filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington accuse Hannity and North of misusing millions of dollars collected by the Freedom Alliance, a charity they promote and control.

Similar accusations were aired recently by right-wing blogger Debbie Schlussel, who complained that the "Freedom Concerts" sponsored by the Freedom Alliance and headlined by Hannity were not donating all proceeds -- estimated at more than $10 million -- to scholarships for the children of wounded and killed service members, as advertised. But now CREW, which had been investigating the same allegations independently before Schlussel posted her warning, has completed its own probe and filed legal actions before the two federal agencies.

The CREW complaint to the FTC charges that "Hannity and Freedom Concerts have engaged in illegal and deceptive marketing practices by suggesting that all money generated by ticket sales for the Freedom Concerts he sponsors each summer goes to scholarships for children of killed and wounded service members." Duane Ward, the promoter who heads Premiere Marketing, which produces the concerts, also runs Premiere Speakers Bureau -- which exclusively represents Hannity and North. "After staging the concerts, Premiere donates an unknown portion of the concert proceeds to the Freedom Alliance," according to CREW.

CREW points out that Hannity often promotes the concerts on his radio and television broadcasts, claiming: "Every penny, 100 percent of the donations are applied to the Freedom Alliance scholarship fund." Appearing with Hannity, North has said: "There’s no overhead. There’s no expenses taken out. Every penny that’s donated or that’s raised through things like the Freedom Concerts goes to the scholarship fund."

In its IRS complaint against Freedom Alliance, CREW says that the group’s charitable tax status should be voided because it has engaged in "prohibited political activities" such as its annual "Freedom Cruise" with Republican politicians, including Newt Gingrich and Michael Steele.

"There is little more despicable than preying upon the generosity of Americans by deceiving them into believing they are aiding the children of killed and wounded service members when the truth is most of the money is going to a for-profit venture," said CREW executive director Melanie Sloan in a press release. "Americans deserve to know whether this high-profile charity allegedly dedicated to helping veterans and their families is really doing what it says it is."

Not surprisingly, Hannity and North and their allies have sought to refute the charges first lodged by Schlussel. But one of the researchers who worked on this matter says there is much more that will be revealed in the coming days.

More Joe Conason

Go on-site for more
and to access links
within this article, photo, etc.



Saundra Hummer
April 1st, 2010, 09:58 PM




Dear Sandi,

You and I have stood together on the frontlines in our battles to uphold our constitutional principles and civil liberties.

Now, Big Government politicians want you to carry a national ID card loaded with biometric and personal information. If you don't carry the card, it will be illegal for you to work.

Campaign for Liberty President John Tate has been leading the fight against Big Government outside the halls of Congress while I do battle on the inside.

I sincerely hope you will take a few minutes of your time to read his message below about the threat a national ID card poses to our freedoms and civil liberties -- and then take action.

In Liberty,

Congressman Ron Paul

April 1, 2010

Dear Sandi,
This is getting to be like a bad movie.

You know the ones where the villain, dead and buried more times than you can count, somehow mysteriously reappears in a place you don’t expect him?

Well, here comes... a new fight over a biometric national ID card -- and if you don’t have the card, you can’t work.

Right now, freedom-stealing statists Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), banding together with other statists from both parties, are scheming to sneak a massive power grab into a new “immigration reform” bill.

This bill is a statist’s dream -- “amnesty” for illegal immigrants and a biometric ID card for virtually everyone else.

That’s right. Instead of controlling the border and enforcing the rule of law, these statists want to control you.

That’s why it’s vital you sign the petitions to Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden IMMEDIATELY.

You see, a National ID scheme -- complete with biometric tracking technology -- is embedded in the new “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill” being pushed by Senators Graham and Schumer, as well as other Big Government members from both parties.

And if passed, the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill” would require a new National ID card that would:

*** Include biometric identification information, such as fingerprints, retinal scans or scans of veins on the back of hands. Depending on the technology used, the ID card could easily be used as a tracking device;
*** Be required for all U.S. workers regardless of place of birth, and make it illegal for anyone to hold a job in the United States who doesn't obtain the ID card;
*** Require all employers to purchase an “ID scanner” to verify the ID cards with the federal government. Every time any citizen applies for a job, the government would know -- and you can bet it’s only a matter of time until “ID scans” will be required to make even routine purchases, as well.
Of course, the most dangerous part of the bill is the biometric tracking technology which would allow federal bureaucrats to track our every move.

Allowing our government to have this much “prying power” in our lives will ultimately result in the TOTAL loss of freedom.

This is exactly the type of battle that often decides whether a country remains free, or continues down a slide toward tyranny.

Government goon squads with all our personal information -– information they do not need and constitutionally should not have –- is a recipe for disaster for our nation.

You see, once “well-meaning” government bureaucrats know exactly how we live our lives, it won’t be long until they try to run them.

In fact, it will only be a matter of time until they spend their workdays making sure you and I don’t go anywhere we “shouldn’t,” buy anything we “shouldn’t,” read anything we “shouldn’t,” eat anything we “shouldn’t” or smoke anything we “shouldn’t.”

You see, this fight isn’t really about immigration.

Whatever you think of that fight, it’s simply being used as cover.

If there is good news in this fight, thanks to the help of grassroots citizens like you, it’s that we’ve been able to render the Big Government politicians’ REAL ID nearly toothless in more than two dozen states.

Now, the statists are growing nervous.

They know Americans are FED UP with their mad rush to take over our health care system, expand Federal Reserve power and regulate and control every aspect of our lives.

We’re FED UP with trillion dollar deficits.

We’re SICK AND TIRED of radical schemes like Cap and Tax.

We’re done with their out of control spending on foreign affairs and nation building all over the globe.

They also see that our anger is producing results. Many of their schemes are failing.

Rallies are growing in strength. Candidates are rising up in state after state to say “Enough!”

So the statists are trying a bipartisan “backdoor” scheme to impose more control on American citizens.

They’re hoping that after months of Big Media mouthpieces decrying the “poisonous and partisan politics” in Washington, the American people will jump for joy at the sight of a Democrat from liberal New York and a Republican from conservative South Carolina “working together to solve our immigration mess.”

Well, you and I know better.

After all, liberty activists can hardly find two Senators with bigger vendettas against the liberty movement than Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Lindsey Graham.

Senator Graham himself has very publicly denounced the limited government R3VOLUTION launched by Dr. Ron Paul.

He’s stated that we’re not welcome in HIS party.

And now, he’s proving why the one who should not be welcome in any party that values freedom is LINDSEY GRAHAM.

That’s why it’s up to you and me to FIGHT back.

Unfortunately, the only way to DEFEAT a new National ID card is to contact Americans from coast-to-coast and explain EXACTLY what’s at stake.

They’re not going to get the real story from the media. It’s up to you and me to reach them.

Already, I’ve prepared email blasts, blog posts and other internet activities to alert liberty-loving Americans to the National ID scheme included in the new “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.”

But that’s not all. Campaign for Liberty staff tells me if I pull out all the stops, there’s an additional twelve million folks I can reach through our mail and phone programs.

And finally, if I can raise the resources, I’d also like to run hard-hitting newspaper, radio and TV ads in New York and South Carolina, explaining to the citizens of those states exactly what Senators Schumer and Graham are up to.

Sandi, with all the battles we’ve faced over the past several months to save AUDIT THE FED and stop ObamaCare, I simply don’t have the resources to do everything.

So please sign the petition and .... (edited out portion of text)


Right now, freedom-stealing statists Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), banding together with other statists from both parties, are scheming to sneak a massive power grab into a new "immigration reform" bill.

If passed, it would require every American to obtain a National ID card to work legally in the U.S. -- and you can bet it will be only a matter of time until they're required even for simple purchases.

That's why it's vital you sign the petition to your Senators IMMEDIATELY. And after you sign, please ...(deleted part of text pertaining to donations. SRH)

"Say No to the National ID Card"
Petition to Senator Jeff Merkley
& Senator Ron Wyden

Whereas: Governments that truly want to protect liberty have no need to track the every move of their citizens; and

Whereas: Privacy from government is a chief cornerstone of our liberties, enshrined in the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution; and

Whereas: In the past, many Members of Congress, instead of taking steps to actually end our illegal immigration problem, have chosen to use the issue to dramatically expand government intrusion into our lives; and

Whereas: The so-called "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" proposal being touted by Senators Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham includes a de facto National ID card that would be required for all U.S. citizens in order to hold a job legally; and

Whereas: Biometric scanning technology would be included in the card which could allow government bureaucrats to track citizens' every move;

Therefore: I urge you to vote to defeat any legislation requiring U.S. citizens to obtain a National ID card just to get a job -- or any other bill that would establish a National ID card that includes biometric scanning or tracking devices.

Please submit the information below to sign the petition. Copies will be sent to

Senator Jeff Merkley & Senator Ron Wyden
First Name:* Required
Last Name:* Required
Email Address:* Required
Zip:* Required Please use a 5 digit zip

*If your Senators are incorrect or not listed, Campaign for Liberty will use your zip code to deliver
your petition to the correct Senators.

Campaign for Liberty is a 501(c)4 lobbying organization which neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office and claims
no responsibility for the actions of individuals or groups of individuals who use the Campaign for Liberty logo or name or who
may claim to act as representatives of the Campaign for Liberty without prior written consent of the Campaign for Liberty.

© 2010 Campaign For Liberty | 5211 Port Royal Road, Suite 310, Springfield, VA 22151 | (703) 865-7162 (V) | (703) 865-7549 (F)
You see, this isn’t a fight we can afford to lose.

Passage of the National ID card would virtually guarantee the last vestiges of freedom we enjoy as Americans would be seriously jeopardized.

And if you and I don’t defeat it, who will?

There is already a strong, “bipartisan coalition” developing, and the American people barely know what’s going on.

So I have to ask you -- in addition to your signed petition -- can I count on you to help out with a $5 or more donation?


John F. Tate


P.S. Embedded in Senators Lindsey Graham’s and Chuck Schumer’s “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill” is the groundwork for a National ID card -- complete with biometric tracking technology -- for everyone with a job in America.

If passed, it would require every American to obtain the card to work legally in the U.S. -- and you can bet it will only be a matter of time until they’re required even for simple purchases.


Saundra Hummer
April 2nd, 2010, 01:34 PM
. . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .

April Fools’… Still

April 1, 2010

In view of today’s date, we’d like to pay tribute to the longest-running and most successful April Fools’ hoax we’ve yet encountered.

In the spring of 2009, a chain e-mail started circulating with claims of a "smoking gun" proving President Obama was a foreigner.

AP- WASHINGTON D.C. - In a move certain to fuel the debate over Obama’s qualifications for the presidency, the group “Americans for Freedom of Information” has released copies of President Obama’s college transcripts from Occidental College. Released today, the transcript indicates that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate at the school. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship. This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Obama’s detractors have been seeking.

The dateline, April 1, should have been the first clue for alert readers. If that wasn’t enough, they could have done a quick Google — sorry, "Topeka" — search on "Americans for Freedom of Information." At the time, they would have found no record of any such organization. Later on, in May, they might have discovered a new blog called "Americans for Freedom of Information: We Do Not Exist." The title has now been changed to "Americans for Freedom of Information: Really Now, We Do Not Exist." A recent post reads:

You know, when we started this website, Americans for Freedom of Information, we thought it would be a short-time effort to point out the absurdity in the fake Associated Press “news story” that some desperate right-winger pulled together in an effort to make you think that Barack Obama wasn’t born in this country. Surely, we thought, if we just make it apparent to people that the group “Americans for Freedom of Information” did not actually exist, then everybody will figure out that they’ve been hoaxed and move on to some new crackpot conspiracy, maybe about Corn Flakes.

But no. Seven months later, the completely fictitious “shocking revelation” that Barack Obama registered at Occidental College under the name “Barry Soetoro” is still being posted as fresh news on right-wing websites.
Needless to say, they’re right. This article is a transparent hoax — about the only thing in it with any truth at all is the April 1 date. Obama was registered and received a scholarship under the name Barack Obama. The scholarship was not a Fulbright. Occidental hasn’t released Obama’s transcripts under any court order. And this article is not from the Associated Press. We posted an article saying all of that on May 7, 2009, after getting scores of inquiries. And yet today — April 1, 2010 — we received the following e-mail: "Did President Obama request and/or receive, foriegn student financial aid while he was a student at Occidental College?" That’s not a fluke: We’ve gotten three queries about this utterly fabricated "fact" in the last 24 hours, six in the past week.

Call it a testament to the power and quirkiness of the Internet — it can shuttle fake news around at the speed of light, but somehow buzz-killing fact-checks move more slowly. Or call it a tribute to the e-mail’s anonymous author, who pulled off a remarkably successful April Fools’ coup, which is still making fools of those who wish to believe that President Obama was not born in the U.S.A. At any rate, while this is hardly the longest-running false rumor — we get frequent questions, for instance, about a petition to the FCC that Snopes.com found was defeated in 1975 — it’s certainly the most tenacious April Fools’ prank we’ve seen.

Happy birthday, Fulbright hoax. You’ve succeeded beyond reason.

Posted by Jess Henig on Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm
Filed under The FactCheck Wire · Tagged with april fools', Barack Obama, birth certificate, birther, birther rumor, chain e-mail

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Saundra Hummer
April 2nd, 2010, 08:12 PM

This is what hate mongers in everyday life, and, in the media; media of all sorts, are launching. Ripples that are turning into waves.

We know the kind of destruction and danger these people are causing, and have caused in the past, near and distant.

I've talked about this coming about earlier, as I know, without a doubt, that hate is a runaway horse, it doesn't get how, nor does it want to stop once it's all wired up

We need to stop rewarding the people who fill the airwaves, and our heads with such tripe, regardless of who they are, as the ones who are the most vocal, the most listened to, are only loading up their already hefty bank accounts at ours, and our country's expense. Once they whip up their listeners can even they be totally safe? No way, it just isn't how it is. They very well could end up a target due to their bilious talk themselves. Small incidents have already come about.

Can't we get over being so easily dupped?

Here's the latest SRH :

FBI Warns Extremist Letters May Encourage Violence

Devlin Barrett
Eileen Sullivan
5 hours 28 minutes ago
AP WASHINGTON (April 2) -- A federal intelligence note is warning police that an anti-government group's call to remove dozens of sitting governors may encourage others to act out violently.

A group that calls itself the Guardians of the free Republics wants to "restore America" by peacefully dismantling parts of the government, according to its Web site.

As of Wednesday, more than 30 governors had received letters demanding they leave office within three days or they will be removed, according to an internal intelligence note by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Getty Images
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm are among more than 30 governors who received the letter. Investigators do not see threats of violence in the group's message, but fear the broad call for removing top state officials could inspire others to act out violently.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal were among those receiving the letter.

Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said federal authorities had alerted the governor that such a letter might be coming, and it arrived Monday or Tuesday. Boyd, who described the letter as "non-threatening," said it was opened by a staffer and immediately turned over to the Michigan State Police.

Jindal's office confirmed the governor had received a letter from the Guardians of the free Republics and directed all further questions to the Louisiana State Police.

"They called us as they do for any letter that's out of the norm," said Lt. Doug Cain, a state police spokesman.

He declined to provide specifics about the letter, but said, "not knowing the group and the information contained in the letter warranted state police to review it." Cain said the letter has gone to numerous governors across the country.

The FBI warning comes at a time of heightened attention to far-right extremist groups after the arrest of nine Christian militia members last weekend accused of plotting violence.

In explaining the letters sent to the governors, the intelligence note says officials have no specific knowledge of plans to use violence, but they caution police to be aware in case other individuals interpret the letters "as a justification for violence or other criminal actions."

The FBI associated the letter with "sovereign citizens," most of whom believe they are free from all duties of a U.S. citizen, like paying taxes or needing a government license to drive. A small number of these people are armed and resort to violence, according to the intelligence report.

Last weekend, the FBI conducted raids on suspected members of a Christian militia in the Midwest that was allegedly planning to kill police officers. In the past year, federal agents have seen an increase in "chatter" from an array of domestic extremist groups, which can include radical self-styled militias, white separatists or extreme civil libertarians and sovereign citizens.

Associated Press Writer Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, La., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press

http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/letters-from-guardians-of-the-free-republics-under-fbi-scrutiny/19424343?icid=main|htmlws-main-n|dl1|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aolnews.com%2Fnation% 2Farticle%2Fletters-from-guardians-of-the-free-republics-under-fbi-scrutiny%2F19424343

Saundra Hummer
April 2nd, 2010, 10:30 PM


April 02, 2010

Media Matters:
Fox News, a Beck revival,
and the fringe
"Woodstock" that wasn't

Fox News has promoted and defended the Tea Party movement since that movement's inception in early 2009. It should come as no surprise, then, that March 27's kickoff to the Tea Party Express III bus tour in Searchlight, Nevada, transformed Fox hosts into giddy adolescents awaiting what "organizers" had "hop[ed]" this event would become: "a conservative Woodstock." The rally -- which was sponsored by Republican consultants and headlined by Fox News' resident Tea Party hero, Sarah Palin -- centered itself around defeating Sen. Harry Reid and other members of Congress who support health care reform. But aggressively promoting the rally was really just another day in Fox News' continued political activism.

Six hours before the rally started, Fox & Friends Saturday co-host Clayton Morris was already unable to contain his excitement, as he declared the Nevada rally was a "huge day for the tea party" as they begin "getting ready to rumble." Co-host Dave Briggs concluded that "all eyes" were on the Nevada rally that day.

Fox's Neil Cavuto was hosting a two-hour health care special, but that didn't keep him from repeatedly profiling the upcoming rally. Fueling the hype, he announced, "We're going to be going back and forth to Nevada for something that doesn't take place for another five hours or so." He showed footage of the protesters gathering for the rally and concluded "God bless these folks." On the same show, Fox's Casey Stegall -- live on the ground in Searchlight -- offered a bit of that "fair and balanced" analysis that only Fox can give: "[There is] a real energy that you feel from the people who are out here ... this is a very grassroots campaign." (Note: The Tea Party Express is not a "grassroots campaign," it's run by Republican consultants.)

Promoting both their employee and movement of choice simultaneously, Fox carried "keynote speaker" Palin's speech live in its entirety. Afterward, Stegall described Palin as a "rock star" and reported which Palin comments caused the crowd to go "really wild" and "nuts."

And a fringe party wouldn't be complete without the ramblings and rantings of Andrew Breitbart. In exclusive footage taken by Media Matters, Breitbart attacked George Soros and John Podesta as the biggest enemies of freedom, ranted about ACORN, and, of course, dubbed Media Matters and Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert "a vile group of people."

In another of our exclusive clips, Fox News' Griff Jenkins attempted to interview a child about her feelings on how the "costs of the government might be on your shoulders." That one went about as well as could be expected.

But, alas, even after all of Fox's fevered promotion and coverage, "Conservative Woodstock" it was not. As Boehlert noted: "Woodstock's approximate attendance: 500,000. Searchlight's approximate attendance: 8,000." I'm sure Fox isn't feeling too defeated, though. There's always April 15.

Not to be outdone by his Fox friend Sarah Palin, Fox's resident "rodeo clown" Glenn Beck spent the same day hosting his "day-long American Revival for 8,000 die-hard fanatics." There, Beck touted his "100-year plan" for the nation, as well as a "budget" for America devised by experts he promised to roll out in the weeks to come, complete with tax reductions down to a rate of 12 percent.

To combat all of those pesky accusations that the right-wing media has been inciting the fringe to violence, Beck made sure to add this jewel into his monologue:

"Get God on your side, and then pick up a hammer...with non-violence, take your hammer and POUND that truth every day and everything that doesn't fit, toss it out! We have the truth. ... [W]ith non-violence, be the anvil of truth every single day!"

Well. That's reassuring.

Beck wept several times during the seven-hour long revival -- no doubt a sign of the genuine "love" and "fear" he has for this country. The most notable line from the revival was rampant fear-mongering right out of his radio and TV playbook: "If we don't face the truth right now, we'll be dead in five years -- this country can't survive." As a result, he declared that he is "stockpiling food." You should do the same.

Go on-site for the NUMEROUS LINKS within this article


Saundra Hummer
April 4th, 2010, 04:40 PM


Original Content at:

Terrifying Video:

"I Don't Need a Warrant, Ma'am, Under Federal Law"
Rob Kall
April 4, 2010
Six law officers enter and search a woman's Bakersfield CA home without a warrant, saying federal law allows it. The action starts about 45 seconds into the video. Try not to be outraged.

All across America, law officers are grabbing powers they never had before, that are not theirs to grab-- bullying, arresting, abusing citizens. At least this woman video taped the perpetrators. If she finds a good lawyer, she should be able to sue.

Sheriff's department launches internal investigation after deputies enter woman's home
(Follows below)

From 17KGET.com:
Attorney H.A. Sala says based on the video evidence, the Sheriff's Department could have a lawsuit on its hands because of the way they forced into the home without any knowledge of the wanted person being in the home. "They have to knock, state a purpose, say they have a warrant and give time for the person to surrender," Sala said.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood confirmed the deputies in the video are from the Kern County Sheriff's Department, but he said he can't comment because an internal affairs investigation is being launched.

Author's Bio:
Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), President of Futurehealth, Inc, inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 200 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.

Rob is a frequent Speaker on the bottom up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero's journey, Positive Psychology, Stress, Biofeedback and a wide range of subjects. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates, and optimizing tapping the power of new media. He recently retired as organizer of several conferences, including StoryCon, the Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story and The Winter Brain Meeting on neurofeedback, biofeedback, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology. See more of his articles here and, older ones, here.

To learn more about me and OpEdNews.com, check out this article.

and there are Rob's quotes, here. To Watch me on youtube, having a lively conversation with John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click here Now, wouldn't you like to see me on the political news shows, representing progressives. If so, tell your favorite shows to bring me on and refer them to this youtube video

My radio show, The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, runs 9-10 PM EST Wednesday evenings, on AM 1360, WNJC and is archived on www.whiterosesociety.org Or listen to it streaming, live at www.wnjc1360.com or download older shows at here.

Or check the archived interviews at: whiterosesociety.org

Follow me on Twitter

A few declarations. -While I'm registered as a Democrat, I consider myself to be a dynamic critic of the Democratic party, just as, well, not quite as much, but almost as much as I am a critic of republicans. -My articles express my personal opinion, not the opinion of this website.

Recent press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Sheriff's department launches internal investigation after deputies enter woman's home

Last Update: 4/01 8:58 pm
17 News discovered a youtube video of Kern County Sheriff's Deputies and a bail bonds enforcement officer entering a local woman's home after she told them they couldn't come in without a warrant and her consent. With the evidence she caught on tape, the law seems to be on her side.

"I don't need a warrant," the bondsman said as he appeared to enter on his own into the home from a back door on the youtube video.

There were also sheriff's deputies at the front door. Deputies and bail bond enforcement officials have different laws but a local bail bondsman not affiliate with this case said what happened in this case was against the law.

"If you see the person go in, you can go in," Glenn Pierce, the owner of Gotta Go Bail Bonds said. "But you just can't go in randomly."

The woman who lived at the home told 17 News her name is Star. She said she is in hiding because threats were made against her. She also said deputies and the bail bondsman violated her rights by forcing entry into her home after she stated she was the only one there.

Attorney H.A. Sala says based on the video evidence, the Sheriff's Department could have a lawsuit on its hands because of the way they forced into the home without any knowledge of the wanted person being in the home. "They have to knock, state a purpose, say they have a warrant and give time for the person to surrender," Sala said.

Authorities were looking for Joseph Baker who was arrested for battery on a peace officer in September. They were also looking for a man named Alan Gjurovich because he co-signed on Baker's bail bond which Baker forfeited by not showing up in court. Gjurovich is in hiding but spoke to 17 News by phone. He said the sheriff's department is trying to stop him from filing a lawsuit against the county that could damage county judge and clerks' credibility.

"They're trying to scare us out of town and out of the county," Gjurovich said. "The message I was getting, they were giving us a 48 hour ultimatum--give them what they want on Joe Baker or they will personally come down and arrest me."

Sheriff Donny Youngblood confirmed the deputies in the video are from the Kern County Sheriff's Department, but he said he can't comment because an internal affairs investigation is being launched.


Saundra Hummer
April 4th, 2010, 06:08 PM

Coal-Fired Plants Gulp 1.5 Trillion Gallons of Water
We're Left to Drink the Dirty Backwash

Jeff Biggers, AlterNet
Posted on March 23, 2010, Printed on April 4, 2010


Here's a sobering fact: Coal-fired power plants use approximately 1.5 trillion gallons of water a year in the US.

In many respects, some folks might use more water flicking on their lights, than chugging back a glass of that wondrous stuff.

Makes you wonder: Has the EPA ever tabulated the external costs of coal on our water resources?

And then, after that refreshing drink of desperately needed water, the 600-odd coal-fired plants (the EIA actually reports 1,445 coal-fired generators) typically throw up their chemically enhanced processed wastewater into our rivers and waterways, poisoning our own drinking water.

According to a recent analysis of EPA data, the NY Times concluded:


"Power plants are the nation's biggest producer of toxic waste, surpassing industries like plastic and paint manufacturing and chemical plants."

But the cleaner air has come at a cost. Each day since the equipment was switched on in June, the company has dumped tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater containing chemicals from the scrubbing process into the Monongahela River, which provides drinking water to 350,000 people and flows into Pittsburgh, 40 miles to the north.

"It's like they decided to spare us having to breathe in these poisons, but now we have to drink them instead," said Philip Coleman, who lives about 15 miles from the plant and has asked a state judge to toughen the facility's pollution regulations. "We can't escape."

Even as a growing number of coal-burning power plants around the nation have moved to reduce their air emissions, many of them are creating another problem: water pollution.

Not that the coal industry hasn't already fouled our headwaters and waterways through strip-mining and underground mining pollution. As the NY Times reported in their amazing "Toxic Waters" series, communities across the coalfields of Appalachia do not have access to drinking water, due to the contamination of their watersheds and wells from coal slurry.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-biggers/coal-slurry-smiles-ny-tim_b_286648.html Mountaintop removal mining alone has destroyed over 2,000 miles of streams and waterways in Appalachia--given that strip-mining takes place in over 20 states, feel free to extrapolate the impact of this devastating mining process and legally permitted toxic discharges to watersheds and stream for thousands of communities across the nation.

(On the northern Arizona reservations, Peabody Energy pumped out an estimated one billion gallons of scarce water per year to operate its slurry operations at the Black Mesa strip mine--which was recently denied a life-of-mine permit.)

In the meantime, underground longwall mining--the reckless process of removing pillars from underground mines and allowing for massive subsidence--is plundering the water sources in the farm belt of Illinois, and across coal states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia.



Peruse these stats as you drink today:

According to the
Union of Concerned Scientists:


A typical 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant draws about 2.2 billion gallons of water each year from nearby water bodies, such as lakes, rivers, or oceans, to create steam for turning its turbines. This is enough water to support a city of approximately 250,000 people.

And here's a graph of water violations from coal-fired plants in eastern and Midwestern states, based on the NY Times analysis of the EPA data:


And here's an interesting video from a local battle in Georgia to halt plans for the Washington power plant:


© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:


Saundra Hummer
April 4th, 2010, 07:42 PM

Preliminary Earthquake Report Magnitude 6.9 Ml
Date-Time 4 Apr 2010 22:40:39 UTC
4 Apr 2010 15:40:39 near epicenter
4 Apr 2010 22:40:39 standard time in your timezone

Location 32.093N 115.249W
Depth 32 km
Distances 26 km (16 miles) SSW (211 degrees) of Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico
61 km (38 miles) SW (227 degrees) of San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, Mexico
64 km (40 miles) SW (225 degrees) of San Luis, AZ
173 km (108 miles) ESE (106 degrees) of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

Location Uncertainty Horizontal: 5.8 km; Vertical 21.1 km
Parameters Nph = 14; Dmin = 76.0 km; Rmss = 0.20 seconds; Gp = 291°
M-type = Ml; Version = 1
Event ID CI 14607652

For updates, maps, and technical information, see:
Event Page
USGS Earthquake Hazards Program

CISN Southern California Management Center
Caltech Seismological Laboratory
U.S. Geological Survey




Saundra Hummer
April 5th, 2010, 04:56 PM

None Dare Call It Sedition

Sara Robinson
April 5, 2010
12:13pm ET
Sedition: Crime of creating a revolt, disturbance, or violence against lawful civil authority with the intent to cause its overthrow or destruction
-- Brittanica Concise Dictionary

Well, finally. It's high time somebody had the guts to say the S-word -- sedition -- right out loud.

When the indictments against the Hutaree were unsealed last week, the S-word was right there, front and center, in Count One. The Justice Department accused them of "seditious conspiracy," charging that the defendants "did knowingly conspire, confederate, and agree with each other and other persons known and unknown...to levy war against the United States, and to prevent, hinder, and delay by force the execution of any United States law."

This is very serious stuff. But the Hutaree are getting nailed for sedition only because they crossed the line with inches to spare. They're by no means the only ones. Advocating, encouraging, and sanctioning sedition is the new norm on the conservative side.

We saw it again last Thursday, when the Guardians of the Free Republics -- a Sovereign Citizen group that believes that the oath of office taken by state governors is invalid under their twisted Bizarroland interpretation of the Constitution -- sent letters to most or all sitting state governors telling them to either a) take what they consider to be a legitimate oath of office; b) stand down; or c) or be removed "non-violently" within three days. The FBI, rightly, regards this as a potentially seditious threat against the governors.

These two events are a wake-up call for progressives. They're telling us that it's time to openly confront the fact that conservatives have spent the past 40 years systematically delegitimizing the very idea of US government. When they're in power, they mismanage it and defund it. When they're out of power, they refuse to participate in running the country at all -- indeed, they throw all their energy into thwarting the democratic process any way they can. When they need to win an election, they use violent, polarizing, eliminationist language against their opponents to motivate their base. This is sedition in slow motion, a gradual corrosive undermining of the government's authority and capability to run the country. And it's been at the core of their politics going all the way back to Goldwater.

This long assault has gone into overdrive since Obama's inauguration, as the rhetoric has ratcheted up from overheated to perfervid. We've reached the point where you can't go a week without hearing some prominent right wing leader calling for outright sedition -- an immediate and defiant populist uprising against some legitimate form of government authority.

Moderates and liberals are responding to this rising threat with feckless calls for "a return to civility," as all that's needed to put things right again is a stern talking-to from Miss Manners. Though that couldn't hurt, the sad fact is that we're well past the point where it's just a matter of conservatives behaving like tantrum-throwing spoiled brats (though they are). When a mob is surrounding your house with torches and telling you they intend to burn it down, "civility" really isn't the issue any more.

At that point -- and we're there -- criminal intent and action become the real issues. Progressives need to realize that the right began defiantly dancing back and forth over the legal line, daring us to do something about it, quite some time ago. And it's high time we called it out -- and, where appropriate, start prosecuting it -- for exactly what it is.

What is Sedition?
Before we start throwing around inflammatory terms like "sedition," it's essential that we understand the strict definition of the word -- and use it carefully and precisely, lest it lose all meaning.

(That's what happened with the word "fascism," which has been distorted into meaninglessness by hyperbolic overuse on the left and willful redefinition on the right. Once a word is abused to death this way, it's very hard to recapture it and restore its original meaning. And that's no small thing, because losing the word makes it functionally impossible to even discuss the political idea the word represents. Worse: as Orwell told us, when we no longer have the language to describe what we're dealing with, we also lose our ability to deal effectively with fascism at all. That's a real danger with loaded words -- so, please, let's be extremely careful about how we brandish this one.)

Here's the defining line we need to hold on to. People who promote subversive ideas, no matter how dangerous those ideas might seem, are completely protected under the First Amendment. Even calling for the overthrow of the government is protected (though not benign, as we'll see later, because it creates justification, permission, and incitement to seditious acts). That's why the conservatives have been safe -- so far.

It's only when those people start actively planning and implementing a government rebellion that it turns into criminal sedition. In this case: the weird rantings on the Hutaree website -- not seditious. The group's allegedly operational plans to assassinate a police officer, ambush the resulting funeral, and thus bring on a national militia uprising -- absolutely seditious, if the charges stick.

This bright-line distinction, which has been part of American sedition law for the past 50 years, parallels closely the line drawn by terrorism analysts in sussing out which groups are benign and which ones are headed for trouble. As I've noted before, one of the cardinal signs these experts watch and listen for is a fundamental shift in rhetoric. In the early stages of dissent, groups establish the lines of conflict by obsessively focusing on their enemies and loudly denouncing their essential evilness. You hear this kind of talk in politics all the time these days. It's always ugly, but not inherently dangerous.

But in the latter stage, the talk turns overtly eliminationist, and the group starts expressing its clear desire and intention to eradicate specific enemies. When they shift to that second stage, it's a sign that they have mentally committed themselves to violent action, and are more likely to be actively acquiring arms, selecting targets, and getting ready to act in the near future. When a group enters this planning stage in an attack on government offices or officials, they've officially crossed the line into sedition.

Sedition on The Right
Openly advocating acts of sedition has become the conservatives' main political stock in trade over the past year. (The SPLC offers a strong summary here.) You hear it everywhere from Rush to Glenn to Michelle Malkin to Michelle Bachman. Everybody on the right is now roundly convinced that the fairly-elected President of the United States isn't even a citizen. He's a Muslim, and thus in treasonous league with terrorists. The main goal of his administration is to turn the country over to the One World Government. He's a socialist. He's a fascist. All of these are direct attacks on Obama's fundamental legitimacy and authority to lead the country -- and thus a deliberate incitement to revolt against his administration.

These narratives are coupled with a rising us-versus-them blaming of progressives for all the problems of the country. These days, the screeds typically sound like free-market fundamentalists freebasing Hitler: they're clouded over with the typical eliminationist vitriol that reduces liberals to subhuman vermin that must be violently exterminated from the body politic in order to restore the virtue of the country. (For those who groove on that sort of thing, there's even a slight dash of anti-Semitism in the mix.) This is dangerous stuff. And in the context of the conservatives' longstanding effort to delegitimize the government, it's also an open invitation to sedition.

This seditious intent is expressed even more directly in the increasingly overt firearms displays at right-wing events. The media took to their fainting couches, aghast, when a small handful of people showed up packing heat at last summer's Tea Party disruptions. Now, we've advanced the point where not one, but two, 100% gun-toting marches on Washington, DC are planned for this coming April 19. Their organizers are hoping the marches will draw tens of thousands of armed protestors. Get used to seeing guns in the streets wherever the law allows -- because the conservatives have told their base explicitly that they need to be "exercising their rights" on this front to the fullest extent. The right to carry guns in public is now an essential symbol of how the the right defines freedom.

These escalating armed demonstrations, accompanied by belligerent sloganeering, are a clear signal that these folks are done talking -- and, worse, have already decided that democracy is futile, and taking up arms is the only appropriate response to the threats we now face. They're carrying weapons to scare us weak-kneed girly libs into submission, and to show us they mean business. Growing up in gun country, I was taught at my daddy's knee that when someone says they're going to shoot you, it's always a good idea to take them at their word and handle yourself accordingly. Right now, I think that's good advice for anybody in America who considers themselves a member of the reality-based community.

But it's not just armed individuals. They're also forming more and more armed groups, which are gearing up for a fight. For the past five years, armed Minutemen have been usurping the job of the US Border Patrol. And within the past year, according to the SPLC, the number of right-wing militias has more than doubled to over 500, many of which present themselves as alternative law-enforcement posses that are adjunct to the ones staffed by the county sheriffs.

What these folks are telling us is that they no longer recognize the government's sole franchise on the use of force; and they're actively organizing to seize at least some of that power for themselves.

Most alarming of all: these right-wing warriors have also advanced to actual target acquisition. This should worry us, because law enforcement and terrorism experts know that when groups like this get to where they're settling on specific targets, they're the final stages of gearing up for violent confrontation.

When Bernard Goldberg wrote a book listing the "100 people who are destroying America" -- which included some government officials -- he was writing a target list with seditious intent. (And at least one guy took him up on it, in his own deranged way.)

When the "spiritual warriors" of the Transformations movement proudly announce that they've mapped every town in America -- literally creating target maps of "demonic activity" that pinpoint government offices, non-Evangelical houses of worship, clinics, theaters, Indian mounds and sites; or even just households with Muslims, neo-pagans, Goth-baby teenagers, or Obama stickers on their cars -- they're putting us on notice that they've identified the specific people and places that need to be "cleansed" in order to purify their communities. According to researchers Rachel Tabachnik and Bruce Wilson, these "transformation" attempts have already become government-level issues in New Jersey, Arizona, Texas, and Hawaii.

At present, they claim that they're only mapping their neighborhoods so they can pray over us all; and their attempts to take over local government are being done by purely democratic means. But, as has often happened before (yes, the Nazis started out just this way), the day may come when they'll decide that mere prayer and organizing is not enough. Like any street gang, they've taken proprietary responsibility for a piece of turf; and they believe God is holding them accountable for everything that happens there. The resulting performance pressure is a perfect setup to justify more aggressive cleansing tactics if they can't convert the town by peaceful means.

And some of these groups have already effectively crossed the line, in spirit if not in prosecutable fact. When the Christian dominionists train up "Joel's Army" by sending their sons to the US armed services so they can get the combat experience they'll need to set up a worldwide theocracy, that's evidence of an active plan to effect an armed government takeover. When senior US military officers put their commitment to Jesus ahead of their commitment to uphold the Constitution and regard the military as God's force in the world, we should be very afraid.

For years now, we've dismissed all of this as crazy talk, the rantings of a loony fringe that will never get enough traction to become a material threat to our democracy. But we're well past the point where it's no longer quaint and funny, or an embarrassing breach of democratic etiquette that polite people should just ignore.

It's time to confront the sobering fact that the entire right wing -- including the GOP establishment, which encourages, endorses, and echoes these sentiments almost every time its officials appear in public -- is now issuing nearly constant invitations to criminal sedition. They're creating a climate and using language that emboldens the handful of sociopaths in our midst who are always spoiling for a fight. They've given their newly-expanded corps of flying monkeys permission to brandish their guns in public, empowered their militias, promised them glory, and are now telling them explicitly which targets to hit.

We'd be idiots not to regard this as an overt threat. Especially when they keep telling us, very explicitly, that they mean it to be. When somebody says they're going to shoot you, believe them.

We need to start talking about this for what it is, and calling it out whenever it happens. Leonard Zeskind points out that the feds have never been able to make a sedition charge stick against a right-wing group (if the Hutaree are convicted, it'll be a first); but the first step in stopping sedition is making sure everybody knows exactly what it is when they see it. And that means calling out the S-word every time we see the conservatives defiantly flinging their hands and feet out over that line to score a few cheap political points.

The challenge I once threw down on the conservatives still stands. Do they want a civil war? Are they out to overthrow the US government?

If this is just political grandstanding to energize the base, they're playing with fire, and they need to bring this incendiary campaign to a screeching halt. Right now. This Mickey Mouse pussyfooting around, play-acting at sedition is criminally dangerous chickenshit politics that puts the short-term needs of the Republican party ahead of the long-term viability of the American democracy they've sworn to uphold. In case the party leaders haven't noticed, their base has taken them as seriously as a heart attack -- and they're genuinely making ready for armed revolt.

On the other hand, if seditious overthrow is what they intend, let them stand up, follow through, and face the charges. They're either Americans, committed to working in good faith within the democratic process to create our common future; or else they're seditionists in intention or fact -- and thus enemies of the state, plain and simple.

For the good of the country, we cannot continue to let them have it both ways. They need to choose whose side they're on: America's, or their own.

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Saundra Hummer
April 5th, 2010, 09:53 PM

Hundreds of protestors outside
Wasserman Schultz town hall
Posted by
Anthony Man
April 5, 2010 07:34 PM
Updated at 8:05 p.m.
The FOX News-MSNBC version of democracy is on display outside Fort Lauderdale City Hall.

Supporters of President Barack Obama and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, have taken over the east corners of the intersection of Andrews Avenue and First Street. Their total might be about 175.

On the west side: demonstrators opposed to Obama and Wasserman Schultz. They might number about 100.

The scene is motivated by a town hall meeting with Wasserman Schultz that’s just getting underway inside.

Outside passions are high.

There’s a lot of sign waving and shouting of the kind that makes the most partisan cable news channels.

And there’s an extensive police presence, including officers on horses, on bicycles, on motorcycles and in cars.

From the pro-Obama/Wasserman Schultz side, shouts of “Thank you President Obama” and “yes we can.” One person yelled toward the opposition: “Look at that idiot,” and “look at that racist idiocy.”

From the anti-Obama/Wasserman Schultz side, there were signs protesting the new health care overhaul law and criticizing the president. Many held American flags and some taunted the opposition by asking them why they weren’t carrying flags.

Ray Hernandez of Fort Lauderdale, held a sign that said “Say No to Obamacare.” It had an illustration that made Obama look like the Joker from Batman. The other side of his sign proclaimed “Osama and Obama. Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon.”

“I know this is all based on lies. Why do they have to put 3,000 pages in it [the health care overhaul legislation]?” he asked. “They are totally ignoring us Americans.”

Jonathan Deeb, 26, of Fort Lauderdale was holding a bright yellow “don’t tread on me” flag popular among people in the tea party movement.

“I’m flying this flag because I want them to know American individualism is alive and well,” he said. “The state is not in control of everyone’s lives and decisions.”

He said he’s opposed to the health care overhaul law. “I need to let them know that we don’t approve of this,” he said.

Helene Licursi of Pompano Beach was holding an “electile dysfunction” sign. The other side said “Seniors! Speak up now or shut up and die!”

“I don’t believe in what Obama’s doing. We’ve got to make people understand what it’s all about,” she said. “We are Americans. What he wants to do is corrupt our United States. He’s turning everything around and making it a socialist country.”

On the other side, Aventura resident Jack Lieberman, 59, of Aventura said Hernandez’ sign linking Obama to Osama bin Laden was a “disgrace.”

“That just shows how out of touch they are to reality,” he said. “Obama has done more to fight terrorism and more effectively than Bush did in his eight years.”

He said health care overhaul was vital. “We won the elections and Obama had a mandate.”

Mark Kimbro of Pembroke Pines, a trainer for the painters and allied trade union, said it was important to turn out to show that plenty of people support the health care law.

Jonathan Abramson of Coconut Creek is working with the new coffee party, a group that formed in response to the tea party movement. Members say they want a move civil dialog.

“Government does some things that work,” he said. I’m here just to show my support for Debbie.”

Update at 8:05 p.m.: About half the protests have left. Some of those remaining are noisy; whistles and shouts from outside are audible inside the City Commission chambers where Wasserman Schultz is speaking.

POSTED IN: Debbie Wasserman Schultz (115)



April 6th, 2010, 06:49 AM
The media reduce a complex debate to a simplistic formula of pro-Obama, anti-Obama.

For the most part they ignore the polar differences between the critics of the administration from the Right and those of us from the Left. Their polls measure only Approval-Disapproval.

The disapproval of Obama by whatever can be said to be the "true Left" — the socialistic Left, not the Democratic weasels — is not opposition to "big government," but to the actions of this government: the givebacks to insurance and pharma, the continuing murders in the Mideast, the refusal to prosecute the torturers, and what amounts a continuation of the policies of Bush.

Critics from the Left mustn't put themselves in the position of defending Obama simply because lunatics on the Right oppose the health insurance bill.

Nothing is more fatal to one's own interests than the cliché that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." There are more than two sides to every issue.

Our side must maintain its independence from the morons and opportunists of both the teabaggers and the government. The country continues to pull to the Right. We must pull even harder to the Left.

Saundra Hummer
April 6th, 2010, 12:53 PM
The media reduce a complex debate to a simplistic formula of pro-Obama, anti-Obama.

For the most part they ignore the polar differences between the critics of the administration from the Right and those of us from the Left. Their polls measure only Approval-Disapproval.

The disapproval of Obama by whatever can be said to be the "true Left" — the socialistic Left, not the Democratic weasels — is not opposition to "big government," but to the actions of this government: the givebacks to insurance and pharma, the continuing murders in the Mideast, the refusal to prosecute the torturers, and what amounts a continuation of the policies of Bush.

Critics from the Left mustn't put themselves in the position of defending Obama simply because lunatics on the Right oppose the health insurance bill.

Nothing is more fatal to one's own interests than the cliché that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." There are more than two sides to every issue.

Our side must maintain its independence from the morons and opportunists of both the teabaggers and the government. The country continues to pull to the Right. We must pull even harder to the Left.


Saundra Hummer
April 6th, 2010, 03:11 PM

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Coburn critical of Fox, nice to Pelosi

Jonathan Allen
April 6, 2010
12:58 PM EDT

Tom Coburn wants his constituents to get a more fair and balanced view of politics — even if that means hating a bit on FOX and loving a little on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“What we have to have is make sure we have a debate in this country so that you can see what’s going on and make a determination yourself,” the Oklahoma senator said in remarks to a home-state town hall meeting March 31 that were first reported by Capitol News Connection. “So don’t catch yourself being biased by FOX News that somebody is no good. The people in Washington are good. They just don’t know what they don’t know.”

In particular, Coburn took FOX to task for perpetuating the notion that Americans will be imprisoned for failing to purchase health insurance under the new law.

Coburn spokesman John Hart said the Oklahoman wants constituents to gather information from multiple sources rather than relying on just one news outlet.

“He makes those comments privately frequently about media networks. I think his point was to encourage citizens to be skeptical consumers. He was not trying to pick on Fox,” Hart said.

And, noting the widely held perception that FOX leans right, Hart said “It’s more credible to critique your own side.”

Coburn’s defense of Pelosi — he called her “a nice lady” — elicted a little bit of disapproval from his constituents, according to Capitol News Connection.

While the two lawmakers share little ground on policy, Hart says his boss’s philosophy holds that “you separate the ideas from the individuals.”

But Coburn took exception to Pelosi’s view that Congress shouldn’t set a precedent by requiring budget offsets to pay for a temporary extension of unemployment insurance.

“I want to set that precedent,” said Coburn, who has been holding up a bill that would extend jobless benefits.

FOX News did not reply to a request for comment.

Michael Calderone contributed to this report.
© 2010 Capitol News Company, LLC

:: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
April 6th, 2010, 04:02 PM

Dear Friend,

If you think the content of this news letter is critical for the dignified living and survival of humanity and other species on earth, please forward it to your friends and spread the word.It's time humanity should come together as one family! You can subscribe to our news letter here http://www.countercurrents.org/subscribe.htm

In Solidarity
Binu Mathew

Collateral Murder In Iraq
By Wiki Leaks

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff. Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded

Israel/Palestine: Rule By Law or Defiance
By William A. Cook

How unfortunate that the sympathy of Europeans and Americans for the plight of the Jews at the end of WWII, indeed of the community of nations that compose the United Nations when they offered them a home in Palestine through Resolution 181, should have been turned by deceit and propaganda into an apartheid state that has ruthlessly subjugated the indigenous population as they appropriated their land and imprisoned them behind concrete walls and electrified chain link fences making impossible a normal life

Reversing Faux Legitimacy
By Paul Balles

Strangely ironic, the Israeli treatment of Palestinians as illegitimate under the occupation is coming around to the realization, by increasing numbers, that the illegitimate party is Israel

Was Israel Ever Legitimate ?
By Jeff Gates

The history of Israel as a geopolitical fraud will fill entire libraries as those defrauded marvel at how so few deceived so many for so long. Those duped include many naive Jews who—even now—identify their interests with this extremist enclave

With The Exception Of Israel
By Alan Hart

Does President Obama understand that the best recruiting sergeant for violent Islamic fundamentalism in all of its forms is the double-standard that drives American (and actually all Western) foreign policy on the matter of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel?

How The Corporations Broke Ralph Nader
And America, Too
By Chris Hedges

Ralph Nader’s descent from being one of the most respected and powerful men in the country to being a pariah illustrates the totality of the corporate coup. Nader’s marginalization was not accidental. It was orchestrated to thwart the legislation that Nader and his allies—who once consisted of many in the Democratic Party—enacted to prevent corporate abuse, fraud and control. He was targeted to be destroyed. And by the time he was shut out of the political process with the election of Ronald Reagan, the government was in the hands of corporations. Nader’s fate mirrors our own

Globalisation And Terror
By Helena Norberg-Hodge

To really understand the rise in religious fundamentalism and ethnic conflict, we need to look at the deep impacts of what might be described as the jihad of a global consumer culture against every other culture on the planet. Doing so not only allows us to better understand the September 11 tragedy, but to see a way forward that lessens the violence on all sides

Why There Are No ‘Israelis’ In The Jewish State
By Jonathan Cook

A group of Jews and Arabs are fighting in the Israeli courts to be recognised as “Israelis”, a nationality currently denied them, in a case that officials fear may threaten the country’s self-declared status as a Jewish state

Pope, Archbishop, Catholic And Anglican Churches
Ignore US Alliance Mass Murder of Muslim Children
By Dr Gideon Polya

Neither the Pope nor the Archbishop of Canterbury made any reference in their Easter Messages to the topical issue of clerical sexual abuse of children, a glaring omission that has been noted by the Mainstream media. Yet the Mainstream media also ignored an even more outrageous omission: that the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Catholic and Anglican Churches ignore US Alliance mass murder of about 1,000 Muslim Children every day in the American Empire under Emperor Obama

Shhh!!! What If It Was Reported That
They Are Spraying Aluminum?
By Michael J. Murphy

Could a Ban of Transparent Reporting at the Asilomar Conference be an Attempt to Cover-Up World-Wide Contamination From Stratospheric Aerosol Geo-Engineering Programs?

A Dead Past Lives
By Case Wagenvoord

America’s past became frozen with our victory in World War II, a victory that has turned out to be democracy’s swan song

Latest Pedophelia Scandal Rocks The Vatican
By Stephen Lendman

Because this scandal is longstanding, widespread, and in the open, the church worries most about losing its moral authority. Its main concern should be top to bottom reform, new leadership, and a changed mindset that compromised priests and complicit officials, including the pope, be fully accountable for crimes demanding punishment. No longer are cover-ups, ducking the issue, defending the indefensible, forgiveness, or immunity permissible, nor should judicial authorities allow them

US-Committed Atrocities In Afghanistan
By Stephen Lendman

After General Stanley McChrystal took charge of US/NATO Afghan forces last June, systematic atrocities escalated sharply after promises of kinder, gentler killing (an oxymoron), winning hearts and minds, and fewer civilian casualties as a "paramount" objective - now much higher the result of more than a fourfold increase in night raids, targeting civilians, including children, while they sleep

Cleansing The Maoists?
By Gladson Dungdung

The thanks giving tradition is found among all the Adivasi groups. Unfortunately, it was out of imagination for many of them this time. The India’s Home Minister P Chidambaram’s gunmen (security forces) involved in the so-called ‘operation green hunt’ did not allow them to celebrate their auspicious festivals (Baha and Sarhul) in those villages, where the operation is being carried out. They were prevented from offering their thanks to the super natural God, they were stopped dancing together and they were also forbidden from having the community feast. What kind of operation is this?

The New Indian Middle Class
By Neerja Dasani

It is the inherent insecurity that might explain the passivity of the new Indian middle class, content to watch from the sidelines the spectacle of democracy but unwilling to enter the ring for fear of losing its seat, writes Neerja Dasani

When Modi Met Caesar’s Wife
By R.B Sreekumar

The Gujarat CM’s summon drama has further dipped the SIT’s credibility

Coke: Black Spring In Plachimada
By Prabhat Sharan

Not many knew about Plachimada 10 years back. But today it has become a sign of a Goliath vs David clash

Reservations: Dilemmas Galore
By Ram Puniyani

Heated debate has been generated around women’s reservation bill (WRB) with both sides having their inflexible positions. On one side there are those calling for its implementation and on the other those who are opposing it. This is a superficial view of debate. As such the debate is, on side are those saying that it should be implemented as it is and on the other side are those who say that there should be quota for OBC dalit, minorities within the quota. There are very few who are totally opposed to WRB, there are many willing to support it if quota within quota is accepted, so to paint them as being against Women’s reservation is unfair

Countercurrents And You !



Saundra Hummer
April 8th, 2010, 09:56 PM
A website explaining health benefits within the new Health Care Reform bill.

Just click below and then click on your own state for information.


Saundra Hummer
April 9th, 2010, 05:45 PM


Republicans vs. Republicans?
Meghan McCain Rails at the Tea Party
February 08, 2010
1:19 PM
ABC News' Huma Khan reports: Meghan McCain, the daughter of former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and a self-described “progressive Republican,” today assailed the tea party movement.

Sitting in as co-host on “The View” today, McCain said she has ideological differences with the movement.

She specifically took aim at remarks by former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who suggested that people who voted for President Obama could not pass a basic civics literacy test.

“People who would not even spell the word vote or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House... named Barack Hussein Obama," Tancredo said last week as he kicked off the Tea Party convention in Nashville, Tenn. He also ripped Sen. McCain for being a repeat of "Bush 1 and Bush 2."

“It’s innate racism, and I think it’s why young people are turned off by this movement,” McCain charged of Tancredo’s remarks. “Revolutions start with young people, not with 65-year-old people talking about literacy tests and people who can’t say the word vote in English. It’s ridiculous.”

However, McCain was mum about Sarah Palin, who headlined the tea party banquet Saturday and took several jabs at Obama herself.

“I got a book coming out in August and I’d be happy to come back and tell you everything in August,” McCain said, when asked what her father thinks about Palin.

This is not the first time McCain has criticized the tea party movement.

Speaking at the University of Florida last month, the 25-year-old downplayed their influence.

“These people are not as relevant as they say they are,” she said. “I think my father would be president if they were really that powerful.”

McCain has also repeatedly called for “Old School” Republicans to embrace progressives like herself.


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Saundra Hummer
April 10th, 2010, 03:21 PM


April 10, 2010

"Get the Government Off People's Backs!"
Tell That to the People of West Virginia!
By Bill Hare
A major element of the latest mining tragedy in West Virginia that at latest calculation finds 29 dead 4 missing is that there have been no lasting fundamental changes in this important and highly dangerous profession.

As a consequence we see steadily unfolding tragedies such as that we are currently witnessing along with the lingering deaths of so many miners through the years from black lung disease.

The mainstream media that I have frequently attacked should be given credit for some of the quality stories unfolding concerning this tragedy. One gripping interview I saw on CNN conducted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta last night on Anderson Cooper's program was truly unforgettable.

A widow told Dr. Gupta about how her husband had died a slow and painful death from black lung disease. She related how overwhelmed she was upon observing an x-ray of her husband's badly inflated lungs from the prolonged impact of black lung disease and years of breathing coal mine dust.

I have firsthand information on the cruelty of the profession and how ruthlessly management intimidated workers to secure the highest possible profits. My grandfather was an immigrant from Eastern Europe, like a lot of his fellow miners in the small Western Pennsylvania town of Sykesville.

These men who had emigrated to a new world in hopes of achieving fresh opportunities were intimidated by their bosses. When it came to voting these new Americans, many of whom could not barely read or write in English, were intimidated by their superiors to vote a consistent Republican ticket.

They were told that their superiors had a way of knowing how they voted and that, if they did not toe an undeviating line, that their employment would be immediately terminated.

In the manner of the songs of Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger in the sixties revealing the tragedy and injustice of the Vietnam War, one of the biggest selling hit songs from the mid-fifties recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford captured the tragedy and injustice of what miners like my grandfather and numerous others extending to the present endured.

The song was called "Sixteen Tons" and the final enduring lines captured the pathos of the miners' continuing struggle:

"You load sixteen tons, what do you get?

"Another day older and deeper in debt.

"St. Peter don't you call me "cause I can't go.

"I owe my soul to the company store."

Miners lived in company towns and purchased food and other goods from company stores. These stores charged usurious rates and miners were forever behind, striving to catch up, hence the line from "Sixteen Tons" about miners' souls being owed to the company store.

There was one period during what the "Hell no!" Republicans, Tea Baggers, Milton Friedman free marketers and Ayn Rand Objectivists regard as the Dark Age, the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when a spirit of cooperation existed between United Mine Workers President John L. Lewis and the nation's chief executive where safety regulations were put in place.

Meanwhile Lewis worked hard to obtain living wages for his workers, battling tenaciously against the wealthy, entrenched mining interests.

When the eighties beckoned we received a strong dose of Ronald Reagan, a staunch supporter of Friedman's "free market" economics who had been thoroughly trained by his wealthy "kitchen cabinet" during two terms as California's governor. The sturdy, oft-repeated refrain during that period was "Get the government off people's backs!"

The determined Reagan rhetoric has been reinforced today by the shouts of "Hell no!" from remove the shackles of regulation enthusiasts such as John Boehner in the House of Representatives of John McCain in the Senate.

Tell you what, Congressman Boehner and Senator McCain. Visit the families, loved ones, and neighbors and bellow your determined refrain of "Hell no!"

They do not see regulation as a culprit.

Author's Bio: Began in the journalism field in hometown of Los Angeles. Started as Sports Editor and Movie Writer at Inglewood Daily News chain after working in sportswriting of high school events at the Los Angeles Examiner. Received a bachelor's in political science with history and English minors at California State University at Northridge. Later received a Juris Doctorate degree from University of San Fernando Valley College of Law, serving as editor of the Law Review. Wrote international historical work "Struggle for the Holy Land: Arabs, Jews and the Emergence of Israel." In the movie historical field wrote "Early Film Noir", "L.A. Noir" and "Hitchcock and the Methods of Suspense." On the political essay front, have done nearly 500 articles, posting at the former Political Strategy which is now Political Cortex along with The Smirking Chimp.

Original Content at



Saundra Hummer
April 10th, 2010, 03:37 PM


This is It!

David Glenn Cox
April 10, 2010

These are strange times; I stare into a bowl of water like Nostradamus trying to divine it all out. Perhaps I need a bigger bowl? Let me see if I've got this straight, Richard Nixon was forced from office for authorizing a break in at the Democratic campaign headquarters. He resigned from office when House Republicans explained that they could no longer protect him and would be forced to vote in favor of his impeachment.

Barack Obama authorizes extra judicial murders of Americans and nothing happens. George W. Bush lied and manipulated America in to two unnecessary wars and the public was outraged. Bush and Cheney left Washington with the worst approval ratings ever recorded. They made it virtually impossible for John McCain to be anything more than a Ralph Cramden impersonator on the campaign trail, "Habada, habada, habada." His campaign song was the theme from "Dead Man Walking."

We got in his stead "Hope and Change" and Hope and Change shifted resources from the more unpopular war to the less unpopular war and then expanded the less unpopular war into new countries. Expanding the cost, expanding the troops and nothing happens. When the Bush administration using Predator drones killed innocent civilians the administration said that they would review the policy of drone attacks. When the Obama administration kills innocent civilians in Predator drone attacks it says it will review the policy and then almost doubles the number of attacks over Bush administration levels.

When Ronald Reagan took office the United States was the largest creditor nation in the world. Eight years later the United States had become the largest debtor nation in the world. Reagan's tax cuts and huge military build up gave us the largest deficit in US history but, it was financed by American banks with American deposits.

Reagan shifted the tax burden off of the wealthy and onto the middle class. They deregulated the banking industry, which promptly led to the Savings & Loan debacle. Through out this entire time wages for American workers fell as their tax burdens increased. Asian Mega-corporations began to win market share from American competitors that weren't allowed a level playing field when they tried to compete in Asian markets. American companies instead bought into the Asian Mega-corporations in effect to compete against themselves.

If FDR's New Deal was revolutionary then Ronald Reagan was the counter revolutionary. This is where the rot and blight took hold both inside and outside Washington. Four years of George Bush the elder was all the public could stand and Bush holds the distinction of being the first head of the CIA elected President. It was the Bush administration that fought the first Gulf war with Iraq after the American Ambassador told Saddam Hussein that the US had no interest in how he settled his border disputes with neighboring Kuwait.

This after the navy shot down an Iranian airliner by mistake in 1988 killing all 290 aboard including 66 children. The United States has never admitted responsibility nor apologized to Iran for the incident. And yet people wonder why Iranians don't like America. I guess they're all too blinded by Islamo-fascism to understand what nice people we really are once you get to know us.

Bill Clinton was elected to office as a "New Democrat" the moniker of "New Democrat" meant a business friendly Democrat. During eight years of Clinton the economy prospered due in large part to the rise of the Internet and the home computers and technology. As industrial jobs were disappearing Americans were told, "You don't want those jobs anyway we've got new high tech jobs coming!"

In 1992 Ross Perot made his famous comment that if NAFTA was passed that Americans would hear, "a giant sucking sound of jobs going to Mexico." NAFTA was passed and within ten years the giant sucking was heard in Mexico as well. In 1999 the Clinton Administration signed permanent normal trade relations with China as a precursor to full WTO membership. Since that time 65 percent of NAFTA related jobs in Mexico have moved offshore to China.

So called free trade has left collateral damage all over the globe but the owners and manufacturers are the same people. The alleged drug war in Mexico is a war for criminal market share in a declining market. Manufactures held out the lure of jobs and higher wages causing a population shift in Mexico and then pulled the rug out from under them once less expensive peasants were found in Asia.

Volumes have been written about the exploits of Bush and Cheney and volumes more will be written so there is no reason to expound on them here. Obama was elected as Hope and Change and yet there has been little noticeable change. More war, a larger pentagon budget while a commission considers cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Obama is a called a Socialist and a Communist by Republicans when his actions are demonstrably the opposite of Socialism and are better defined as corporate fascism.

Thirty years of unadulterated idiocy and not one voice in Washington or in the media will say, "Stop! We can't do this anymore! We can't keep exporting our labor to benefit the top one- percent; we can't keep giving the banks free range to pillage the public. We can't allow the largest transfer of privately owned homes in history to pass into the hands of the investor class. Class war? It's class genocide! Yet no one says anything, nobody moves.

China is now the third largest economy in the world and its growth has been fueled primarily from the United States, as China isn't even a factor in the European Union. American manufacturers outsourcing production overseas so that America supplies primarily raw materials. General Motors, Ford and Toyota take $5,000 dollars worth of raw materials and turn it into a $30,000 automobile. That is wealth creation in a nutshell. Supplying raw materials will never build a strong economy and will never create more than a few jobs.

America can no longer afford the super mega fighters planes it once built nor can we afford space exploration. By the end of this year the United States will no longer be able to launch men into space for the first time since 1961. It was the space program and the technology it inspired that gave the United States its technological lead for the past fifty years.

We are running enormous trade and budget deficits but unlike the Republicans I don't see the problem as being in the dollars amounts. You run large budget deficits during economic hard times and pay it back when times are better. The problem is who we are borrowing the money from. It's one thing to borrow money from your uncle or parents but its another thing to borrow money from Lenny the loan shark down on the corner.

Our economy is now wholly dependant on cash from foreign powers and nobody talks about fixing that. Our economy is melting away with long term unemployment expected to last for years and nobody has a plan to fix that.The Gini coeffienct used to gauge income distribution by the United Nations has the United States at 40.8 measuring the overall fairness of an economy. For instance Denmark famous for its equitable society has a 24.7. France is at 32.7 and Germany a 28.3, Japan 24.9. The US economy is closer to nations such as Jordan 38.8 and Morocco 39.5, Mexico is at 46.1 and the Peoples Republic of China is at 46.9

When people forecast the immanent collapse of the American economy I say, "look around! This is it!"

Economists of all stripes have all commented on China's property bubble as hedge fund manager James Chanos said on the Charlie Rose show the other day, that China is "on a treadmill to hell," the same sentiments are offered by Paul Krugman and Ben Bernanke. Like Mexico free trade has created false hopes and rampant speculation. The Chinese government has two choices, let the good times roll unhindered and hope for the best until the crash or try to throttle the economy and hope that it doesn't cause a crash. The first way a crash is certain to happen but no one can say when the second way a crash is almost certain to happen only sooner.

When it does come it will create an economic vortex like a black hole and will swallow the whole economic universe. The fate of the United States of America is in the hands of a Chinese military dictatorship. There is no divining it, there is no logic to it, only greed and power and idiocy and no one has the courage to say stop it. I do see in my bowl the media asking, "How could this happen?"

It happens when government no longer answers to the people and only to the people with money.

Author's Bio: I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I am really. Given a front row seat for the generation of the 1960's I lived in Chicago in 1960. My father was a Democratic precinct captain, my mother an election judge. His father had been a Union organizer and had been beaten and jailed for his efforts. His first time in jail was for punching a Ku Klux Klansman during a parade in the 1930's. I never felt as if I was raised in a family of activists but seeing it print makes me think, yes. That is a part of who I am. We find ourselves today living in a world treed by the hounds of madness, a complicit media covering contrite parties. Multilevel media, giving more access to communication yet stunting actual communication. More noise, less voice, more sound less music, more law less justice, more medicine less life.

Original Content at



Saundra Hummer
April 10th, 2010, 06:48 PM

Kissinger's 1976 Cable Sheds More Light on
'Operation Condor'

Peter Kornbluh
Posted: 04/10/10

On the morning of Sept. 21, 1976, former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier and two young colleagues drove to work in the scenic Washington neighborhood known as Embassy Row. As Letelier's Chevrolet Chevelle passed the residency of the Chilean ambassador and rounded Sheridan Circle, a bomb placed under the driver's seat by agents of the Chilean secret police detonated. Letelier, a vocal critic of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, died at the scene. His 26-year-old colleague, Ronni Karpen Moffitt, bled to death from a shard of metal that struck her jugular vein. Her husband, Michael Moffitt, was blown out the back window of the vehicle and survived.

Now, a newly declassified cable from then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sheds more light on the action, and lack of action, taken by the U.S. government in the days leading up to that act of international terrorism in the capital city of the United States.
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Five days before the Letelier-Moffitt assassination, Kissinger called off a planned warning to Pinochet and other South American military leaders against orchestrating "a series of international murders" of their opponents around the globe.

The secretary "has instructed that no further action be taken on this matter," stated a September 16, 1976 cable sent from Africa, where Kissinger was traveling, to his Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American affairs, Harry Shlaudeman back in Washington. Using identical language, Shlaudeman passed on these instructions four days later to his deputy to be transmitted to U.S. ambassadors in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.

That communication was obtained by The National Security Archive, a public interest research center specializing in the Freedom of Information Act and declassified documentation on U.S. foreign policy. The document and others previously obtained under the FOIA by the Archive have reopened a 34-year-old controversy about what Kissinger's office and the CIA knew about "Operation Condor" -- a clandestine rendition and assassination program among the Latin American military regimes led by Pinochet's Chile.
The Kissinger communique, for the first time, ties the former secretary of state to a decision to withdraw a warning to Chile and its co-conspirators against international political assassination. But the documents offer few clues that would explain why Kissinger called off diplomatic pressure that, if delivered in a timely fashion, might have deterred the Washington, D.C., car bombing.

An inquiry to Kissinger's spokesperson was not answered.
An August 30, 1976 memoranda from Shlaudeman titled "Operation Condor," advised Kissinger: "...what we are trying to head off is a series of international murders that could do serious damage to the international status and reputation of the countries involved," including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil. The CIA had earlier told Kissinger's office of "disturbing developments" in [Condor's] operational attitudes," which included identifying, locating, and "hitting" leaders of the opposition to certain governments in South America.

Letelier was among the most effective opponents of Pinochet, who seized power in Chile during a bloody military coup on Sept. 11, 1973. A former economist at the Inter-American Development Bank, Letelier had served as socialist president Salvador Allende's first ambassador to Washington, D.C.; he had also held the post of foreign minister, and at the time of the coup, was minister of defense -- Pinochet's boss. Living in exile in Washington, Letelier led an international campaign to ostracize the Pinochet regime for its gross violation of human rights and assault on Chile's democratic institutions.
The CIA's alert set in motion efforts by senior State Department officials to deliver a demarche -- diplomatic-speak for an official policy message of disapproval -- signed by Kissinger to express "our deep concern" over "plans for the assassination of subversives, politicians, and prominent figures both within the national borders of certain Southern Cone countries and abroad."

But some of the U.S. ambassadors, at least, were reluctant to pass the word to their hosts. The U.S. ambassador to Uruguay, Ernest Siracusa, had resisted delivering the demarche against Condor assassinations to that country's ruling generals for fear that his life would be endangered, and wanted further instructions, according to a Shlaudeman memo. The U.S. Ambassador to Chile, David Popper, also balked. "[G]iven Pinochet's sensitivities," Popper cabled, "he might well take as an insult any inference that he was connected with such assassination plots."

After receiving Kissinger's "no further action" orders, on Sept. 20, Shlaudeman directed his deputy, William Luers, to "instruct the [U.S.] ambassadors to take no further action noting that there have been no reports in some weeks indicating an intention to activate the Condor scheme."

In fact, Condor's latest scheme had already been activated. Less than 24 hours later, Letelier and Moffitt were killed within earshot of the State Department.
Only in the aftermath of that attack did the CIA meet with Col. Manuel Contreras, head of DINA, the Chilean secret police, regarding U.S. concerns about Operation Condor assassination plots.

In a memo to Kissinger, Shlaudeman wrote that Contreras had denied that "Operation Condor has any other purpose than the exchange of intelligence." He told his boss that passing U.S. concerns to the head of Chile's secret police "seems to me sufficient action for the time being. The Chileans are the prime movers in Operation Condor."

The memo contains no reference to any discussion with Contreras about the deaths of Letelier and Moffitt.

In March 1978, the FBI identified Michael Townley, an American who was working for DINA, as the man who had placed the bomb under Letelier's car; in April the Chileans were forced to turn him over to U.S. authorities. In return for a plea bargain of less than seven years in prison, Townley provided evidence against Contreras as responsible for giving the orders for the Letelier assassination. On the second anniversary of the terrorist attack, the U.S. demanded his extradition, but the Pinochet regime refused to turn him over. In November 1993, three years after Pinochet left power, a Chilean court found Contreras guilty of the Letelier-Moffitt murders.

Contreras served seven years in a specially constructed prison for this crime.

Peter Kornbluh directs the Chile Documentation Project of The National Security Archive. He is the author of "The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability."


April 11th, 2010, 09:16 AM
I came across this on the Open Left site. I think it puts all of the "Tea Party" arguments about the fear of socialism in prespective.

(1) If you live in subsidized housing, like Gregory Lee Giusti , move. Into the street, if necessary. But not to a shelter. All shelters receive government support one way or another-either getting money directly from the government, using government-subsidized resources, or being subsidized via the tax code.

(2) If you're on food stamps, tear them up, throw them away, and don't get any more. Just starve. Food banks are a no-no, just like shelters. All non-profits are government subsidized through the tax code.

(3) If you're on Medicaid, or your children are on SCHIP, just say no! Pay out of pocket or get sick and die. Like the man said, "Give me liberty AND give me death!"

(4) If you are on Medicare, drop out. Refuse to use your Medicare card, and pay for all your medical expenses yourself. You can try to get medical insurance, of course. Good luck with that. Aside from supplemental Medicare coverage, you'll probably have to go to Switzerland, or something.

(5) Pull your kids out of school. Obviously, public schools are socialist. But so are charter schools that receive public money. And even purely private schools employ teachers who went to public school. Yes, I know it's shocking, but it's true! So, no school! It's socialist, through and through.

(6) Stay off the streets. Almost all streets, roads and highways in America are socialist. Private roads are incredibly rare, so unless you live on one, stay off the streets entirely. Besides, you can't buy gas without paying state and federal taxes.

(7) Stay off the sidewalks. They're just as socialist as the streets, if not moreso.

(8) Stop using municipal water. Municipal water is socialist. Use only commercial bottled water for cooking, bathing, clothes-washing, etc.

(9) Tell the fire department to screw off. Notify your local fire department that if your house catches on fire, you do not want them to come. They're socialists, after all. You'd rather have your children die a horrible death.

(10) Tell the police to screw off, too! Notify your local police department that you don't need their help if anyone steals your stuff, or tries to kill you or anything like that. In fact, you'll kill them if they try. You've warned them politely... this time!

Saundra Hummer
April 11th, 2010, 02:58 PM

Persons of the Week:
Washington Univ. Bird Researchers Work on Australian Zebra Finch May Unlock Secrets of Human Language

April 2, 2010—
The secret to understanding how humans learned to speak may come from an unlikely place -- the love songs of the Australian Zebra Finch. This week, scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine announced that after 20 years of work, they have finally mapped the genome of the small bird species that learns love songs the same way a human learns words.

"Most animals instinctively vocalize sounds, for example, cats "meow" and dogs "bark," said Dr. Wesley Warren, who has spearheaded the project at the university in St. Louis, Mo. "In the zebra finch, songs are learned and passed down from the father."

Each finch learns only one song in its lifetime, which lasts just a few seconds. The songs are intended to attract mates, but humans have reason to listen closely, too. The birds' DNA reflects exactly the same genes that have allowed humans to create a speaking world. The new information may give hope to those who struggle with language.

Giving Hope to People with Parkinson's Disease
"What we have now is a map of the birds ability to speak," said Jake Ward, an editor at Popular Science magazine. "We can then compare that to the genes of people who have Parkinson's disease or people who stutter, and we can see, here is a gene that works and here in this person with Parkinson's is a gene that doesn't."

Finches are not the only creatures that learn the songs of their fathers. Elephants, dolphins and parrots, among others, are all vocal learners, and though scientists have studied their language, they have not finished sequencing their genetic codes.

You're probably familiar with an elephant's trumpet-like call, but the animals also have a whole other language that we can't even hear. Elephants communicate with low-pitched hums that signal, 'Let's go!' or 'I like you!' The infrasonic elephant chat can travel as far as two-and-a-half miles away.

A World of Language That Humans Can't Hear
"The truth of the matter is that we are not sensitive enough to really hear everything that's going on," Ward said. "We as humans are really just beginning to understand how sophisticated animal communication really is."

So in fact, we live on a planet bubbling with animals' conversations and songs that someday, humans may be able to speak.

"Whales singing in the ocean, the rumblings of elephants, clicking noises of dolphins, these things are such subtle forms of communication that have evolved over millions of years," said Ward. "So listening to the language of the world has really only just begun."

So we choose as our Persons of the Week, the bird researchers at Washington University for telling us about another voice in the chorus welcoming spring.

Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures




Saundra Hummer
April 11th, 2010, 03:02 PM
I came across this on the Open Left site. I think it puts all of the "Tea Party" arguments about the fear of socialism in prespective.

(1) If you live in subsidized housing, like Gregory Lee Giusti , move. Into the street, if necessary. But not to a shelter. All shelters receive government support one way or another-either getting money directly from the government, using government-subsidized resources, or being subsidized via the tax code.

(2) If you're on food stamps, tear them up, throw them away, and don't get any more. Just starve. Food banks are a no-no, just like shelters. All non-profits are government subsidized through the tax code.

(3) If you're on Medicaid, or your children are on SCHIP, just say no! Pay out of pocket or get sick and die. Like the man said, "Give me liberty AND give me death!"

(4) If you are on Medicare, drop out. Refuse to use your Medicare card, and pay for all your medical expenses yourself. You can try to get medical insurance, of course. Good luck with that. Aside from supplemental Medicare coverage, you'll probably have to go to Switzerland, or something.

(5) Pull your kids out of school. Obviously, public schools are socialist. But so are charter schools that receive public money. And even purely private schools employ teachers who went to public school. Yes, I know it's shocking, but it's true! So, no school! It's socialist, through and through.

(6) Stay off the streets. Almost all streets, roads and highways in America are socialist. Private roads are incredibly rare, so unless you live on one, stay off the streets entirely. Besides, you can't buy gas without paying state and federal taxes.

(7) Stay off the sidewalks. They're just as socialist as the streets, if not moreso.

(8) Stop using municipal water. Municipal water is socialist. Use only commercial bottled water for cooking, bathing, clothes-washing, etc.

(9) Tell the fire department to screw off. Notify your local fire department that if your house catches on fire, you do not want them to come. They're socialists, after all. You'd rather have your children die a horrible death.

(10) Tell the police to screw off, too! Notify your local police department that you don't need their help if anyone steals your stuff, or tries to kill you or anything like that. In fact, you'll kill them if they try. You've warned them politely... this time!

Just goes to show, that for any successful society, or successful country to function and, function well, social programs of all sorts are needed. We all benefit from them.

Then too, without a comprehensive all inclusive health care program, what do you have? A disease prone element in our towns and schools.

We need so much more than we already have. It's easy to see.

Saundra Hummer
April 12th, 2010, 06:35 PM
:: :: :: :: ::

National Lawyers Guild
Calls for Value Shift in Supreme Court Nomination

April 12, 2010
4:09 PM

NEW YORK - April 12 - With President Obama poised to select his second Supreme Court nominee, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) advocates for a return to justices worthy of the title-ones who will put the interests of the downtrodden above those of transnational corporations, who will not compromise on the rights of women to reproductive justice, who will stand for true racial justice rather than the "blind justice" that preserves the status quo of white privilege, and who will protect the people against a government that cloaks itself in secrecy and invades the most private aspects of their lives.

In replacing Justice John Paul Stevens, whomever President Obama nominates will be reviled by many as a radical, socialist, activist judge. Stevens, a conscientious and principled jurist, has been labeled "left" only because, as he himself asserts, the Court has, over the last two generations, moved so far to the right. In that time, due in significant part to a number of Supreme Court decisions, economic inequality has increased dramatically. Most recently, the Court expanded the rights of corporations, which have no attributes of living, breathing, sentient beings, the right to freedom of speech. In addition, school integration - and thus the opportunity for poor African-Americans and other people of color to attend better schools - has come to a grinding halt. And the Chamber of Commerce's priorities dominate the decisions of the Supreme Court and routinely deprive workers of their rights.

The NLG will not be satisfied with the nomination of a centrist, mainstream justice who will do little or nothing to reverse the routine elevation of corporate interests over individual rights. For example, potential nominees such as Elena Kagan, who calls for indefinite detention of terrorist suspects without trial and defines terrorism to include protected speech, are unacceptable.

President Obama will not nominate the kind of justice the times call for without a unified demand from the people. NLG President David Gespass said, "The right-wing demagogues cannot go unchallenged in defining the debate. There will be at least one voice saying a centrist is not good enough and that a moderate is no liberal. Our views will prevail because we speak for the interests of the people of the United States and the world.

The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its members--lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in chapters and committees--the Guild works locally, nationally and internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.


:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
April 14th, 2010, 03:41 PM
:: :: :: :: ::

Al-Qaida ‘Scammed’ in Its Quest for Nukes?

By Nathan Hodge
April 13, 2010
11:32 am

In a press briefing yesterday, John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s adviser on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, made an interesting claim: He said al-Qaida has been “scammed” in its efforts to obtain the material for building a nuclear device.

“There have been numerous reports over the years, over the past eight or nine years, about attempts throughout the world to obtain various types of purported material that is nuclear related,” he said. “We know that al-Qaida has been involved in a number of these efforts to acquire it. Fortunately, I think they’ve been scammed a number of times, but we know that they continued to pursue that.”

How, exactly, do you run a nuclear scam? Brennan hinted that it was a lucrative line of business for criminal groups in the former Soviet Union. “Sometimes they’re criminal gangs that have information that some material had come out from the, let’s say, the area of the former Soviet Union or some stockpiles and they will try to provide that material to other groups to sell,” he said. “As I said, a lot of it is scam, you know, red mercury, whatever else.”

As Danger Room’s Sharon Weinberger recently reported in Nature, “red mercury” (a fictional substance supposedly used in nuclear weapons) is one of the more common nuclear-smuggling scams. She quotes the former Soviet republic of Georgia’s top nuclear investigator, who cited the 2006 case of a Turkish citizen who tried to smuggle cesium-137 (a radioactive isotope that is used in cancer treatment) inside a red liquid and tried to pass it off as red mercury.

But there are also worries about criminals getting their hands on real stockpiles of fissile material. As part of the ongoing Nuclear Security Summit, the White House is touting a deal with Ukraine to eliminate its stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and convert its civilian nuclear reactors to run on low-enriched fuel. This is a so-called first-line-of-defense measure: eliminating or securing fissile materials at their source.

In countries like Georgia, the United States is also paying for a second line of defense: outfitting border-crossing facilities and ports with radiation-detection portals (pictured here) and other hardware to detect illicit nuclear materials obtained by traffickers. It’s only a partial solution, however. That detection equipment is only installed at legitimate border crossings, and can’t stop a smuggler who might be crossing a border illegally. In the case of Georgia, it can’t stop someone who may be crossing into a poorly controlled separatist republic.

In a speech this afternoon, Barack Obama is supposed to remind world leaders that actions speak louder than words when it comes to nuclear security. With world leaders crowding Washington for the summit, the capital is still under tight security: Danger Room’s D.C. bureau isn’t far from the Green Zone (aka the Washington Convention Center) and we can hear the helicopters buzzing overhead.

Photo: Nathan Hodge
Go on-site to gain access to photo and links within this article:

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
April 14th, 2010, 08:51 PM


International Attention Focused
Berkeley Divestment Vote

Allie Bidwell
April 14, 2010
The Daily California
(UC Berkeley)

International attention will descend on the ASUC Senate meeting tonight as senators consider upholding the passage of a controversial bill urging the student government and the University of California to divest from two companies that have provided war supplies to the Israeli military.

PHOTOGo on-site to gain access to this feature:


Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu. In a recent letter to the UC Berkeley community, Tutu, who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts opposing apartheid in South Africa-said he endorsed the bill and urged senators to uphold the original vote, which he compared to similar efforts at UC Berkeley to divest from South Africa in the 1980s. (Wikimedia)The bill names two companies-United Technologies and General Electric-as supplying Israel with the technology necessary to attack civilian populations in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The bill originally passed the senate March 17 by a 16-4 vote following about six hours of discussion. A two-thirds majority, or 14 votes, is needed in order to override the veto.

Senators have received more than 13,000 e-mails, roughly split between both sides of the controversy.

Prominent figures including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, activist Naomi Klein and leftist MIT professor Noam Chomsky have spoken in support of overriding ASUC President Will Smelko's March 24 veto of the bill. Local and national pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-an influential Washington, D.C. lobby organization-Berkeley Hillel and the Anti-Defamation League have each stated the bill is divisive and unfairly targets Israel.

Supporters of the bill say divesting from the two companies would make a powerful statement against Israeli actions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which supporters have compared to apartheid-era South Africa.

In a recent letter to the UC Berkeley community, Tutu, who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts opposing apartheid in South Africa-said he endorsed the bill and urged senators to uphold the original vote, which he compared to similar efforts at UC Berkeley to divest from South Africa in the 1980s.

He said in an e-mail Tuesday that he had a message for ASUC senators.

"I salute you for wanting to take a moral stand," he said in the e-mail. "(Your predecessors) changed the moral climate in the U.S. and the consequence was the Anti-Apartheid legislation, which helped to dismantle apartheid non-violently. Today is your turn. Will you look back on this day with pride or with shame?"

Wayne Firestone, national president of Hillel-a Jewish campus organization-released a statement last month condemning the bill. The statement stated that the bill is "one-sided, divisive and undermines the pursuit of peace" and ignores human rights violations of other countries.

"The ASUC bill will not contribute a whit to the advancement of peace in the Middle East and will only serve to divide the Berkeley community," Firestone said in the statement.

Pro-Israel activist organization J Street U, joined 18 other organizations-including Berkeley Hillel, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, the Jewish National Fund and StandWithUs/SF Voice for Israel-in crafting an April 5 letter to UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer stating that they felt the bill was dishonest and misleading.

Among concerns listed in the letter was that the bill "unfairly targets" Israel while marginalizing Jewish students on campus who support Israel.

"Though it states that the 'ASUC resolution should not be considered taking sides in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict,' the exclusive focus on Israel suggests otherwise," the letter states.

Critics of the bill have said senators cannot make a proper judgement of an issue as complicated as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Student Action Senator Parth Bhatt, who voted against the bill, said he felt the ASUC should not take a stance on such an issue because it marginalizes one community on campus.

"I don't think the ASUC should put any student in that position," Bhatt said. "The conflict is very complex and something I don't think our senators know enough about to vote on."

But CalSERVE Senator Ariel Boone said she supported the bill because she felt compelled to defend human rights.

"I went to Israel and had a really interesting time with Berkeley Hillel in January, and I have Holocaust survivors among my family," Boone said in an e-mail. "I have never felt so uniquely qualified to speak on an issue."

AIPAC has recently stated the need for a strategy to combat anti-Israel sentiments on U.S. university campuses.

"How are we going to beat back the anti-Israel divestment resolution at Berkeley?" said Jonathan Kessler, leadership development director for AIPAC, at a recent conference of the lobbying group. "We're going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote. This is how AIPAC operates in our nation's capitol. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation's campuses."

But according to spokesperson Josh Block, the group did not take a position in the recent ASUC election.

"We don't rate or endorse candidates," Block said in an e-mail. "Of course we would always, publicly and consistently encourage pro-Israel students to be active in civic and political life."

Read statements in opposition and in support of the divestment bill:

Naomi Klein:


Noam Chomsky:


Desmond Tutu:




Letter to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of UC Berkeley George Breslauer:


AIPAC Video:


© 2010 The Daily Californian


April 14th, 2010, 09:37 PM


International Attention Focused
Berkeley Divestment Vote

Allie Bidwell
April 14, 2010
The Daily California
(UC Berkeley)

International attention will descend on the ASUC Senate meeting tonight as senators consider upholding the passage of a controversial bill urging the student government and the University of California to divest from two companies that have provided war supplies to the Israeli military.

PHOTOGo on-site to gain access to this feature:


Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu. In a recent letter to the UC Berkeley community, Tutu, who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts opposing apartheid in South Africa-said he endorsed the bill and urged senators to uphold the original vote, which he compared to similar efforts at UC Berkeley to divest from South Africa in the 1980s. (Wikimedia)The bill names two companies-United Technologies and General Electric-as supplying Israel with the technology necessary to attack civilian populations in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The bill originally passed the senate March 17 by a 16-4 vote following about six hours of discussion. A two-thirds majority, or 14 votes, is needed in order to override the veto.

Senators have received more than 13,000 e-mails, roughly split between both sides of the controversy.

Prominent figures including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, activist Naomi Klein and leftist MIT professor Noam Chomsky have spoken in support of overriding ASUC President Will Smelko's March 24 veto of the bill. Local and national pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-an influential Washington, D.C. lobby organization-Berkeley Hillel and the Anti-Defamation League have each stated the bill is divisive and unfairly targets Israel.

Supporters of the bill say divesting from the two companies would make a powerful statement against Israeli actions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which supporters have compared to apartheid-era South Africa.

In a recent letter to the UC Berkeley community, Tutu, who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts opposing apartheid in South Africa-said he endorsed the bill and urged senators to uphold the original vote, which he compared to similar efforts at UC Berkeley to divest from South Africa in the 1980s.

He said in an e-mail Tuesday that he had a message for ASUC senators.

"I salute you for wanting to take a moral stand," he said in the e-mail. "(Your predecessors) changed the moral climate in the U.S. and the consequence was the Anti-Apartheid legislation, which helped to dismantle apartheid non-violently. Today is your turn. Will you look back on this day with pride or with shame?"

Wayne Firestone, national president of Hillel-a Jewish campus organization-released a statement last month condemning the bill. The statement stated that the bill is "one-sided, divisive and undermines the pursuit of peace" and ignores human rights violations of other countries.

"The ASUC bill will not contribute a whit to the advancement of peace in the Middle East and will only serve to divide the Berkeley community," Firestone said in the statement.

Pro-Israel activist organization J Street U, joined 18 other organizations-including Berkeley Hillel, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, the Jewish National Fund and StandWithUs/SF Voice for Israel-in crafting an April 5 letter to UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer stating that they felt the bill was dishonest and misleading.

Among concerns listed in the letter was that the bill "unfairly targets" Israel while marginalizing Jewish students on campus who support Israel.

"Though it states that the 'ASUC resolution should not be considered taking sides in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict,' the exclusive focus on Israel suggests otherwise," the letter states.

Critics of the bill have said senators cannot make a proper judgement of an issue as complicated as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Student Action Senator Parth Bhatt, who voted against the bill, said he felt the ASUC should not take a stance on such an issue because it marginalizes one community on campus.

"I don't think the ASUC should put any student in that position," Bhatt said. "The conflict is very complex and something I don't think our senators know enough about to vote on."

But CalSERVE Senator Ariel Boone said she supported the bill because she felt compelled to defend human rights.

"I went to Israel and had a really interesting time with Berkeley Hillel in January, and I have Holocaust survivors among my family," Boone said in an e-mail. "I have never felt so uniquely qualified to speak on an issue."

AIPAC has recently stated the need for a strategy to combat anti-Israel sentiments on U.S. university campuses.

"How are we going to beat back the anti-Israel divestment resolution at Berkeley?" said Jonathan Kessler, leadership development director for AIPAC, at a recent conference of the lobbying group. "We're going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote. This is how AIPAC operates in our nation's capitol. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation's campuses."

But according to spokesperson Josh Block, the group did not take a position in the recent ASUC election.

"We don't rate or endorse candidates," Block said in an e-mail. "Of course we would always, publicly and consistently encourage pro-Israel students to be active in civic and political life."

Read statements in opposition and in support of the divestment bill:

Naomi Klein:


Noam Chomsky:


Desmond Tutu:




Letter to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of UC Berkeley George Breslauer:


AIPAC Video:


© 2010 The Daily Californian


I appreciate you putting this up Saundra. I wrote my letter in support of divestment last night through an email I received from Jewish Voice For Peace. Anyone interested in this organization can find them here:

Jewish Voice For Peace (http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/)

Saundra Hummer
April 15th, 2010, 02:34 PM

Celebrity Service

Official portraits recall military careers of Newman, Carson

APRIL 13--Along with historical treasures like the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and those 972 tapes of Richard Nixon screaming about the Jews, the National Archives is home to assorted military records, including the personnel files of famous enlisted men (like Jimi Hendrix, Jack Kerouac, and Marvin Gaye). And, as recently unearthed by a TSG Freedom of Information request, some great military portraits of Paul Newman and Johnny Carson. Newman's Navy service began in January 1943, while Carson, who died in January 2005 at age 79, joined the Navy Reserve in June 1943. Keep in mind that while those images of a fresh-faced Newman, who died in September 2008 at age 83, look like mug shots, they are actually official service photos. (6 pages)


Saundra Hummer
April 15th, 2010, 02:46 PM
I appreciate you putting this up Saundra. I wrote my letter in support of divestment last night through an email I received from Jewish Voice For Peace. Anyone interested in this organization can find them here:

Jewish Voice For Peace (http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/)

Thanks for posting the 'Jewish Voice for Peace' link Internets:....

Money seems to be the best tool for stopping much of what is happening. The lack of it could be the best weapon to stop the killing and the imprisonment and ghetto like conditions of what is happening over there, as it seems that more often than not, with too many of us at least, it's as Mark Twain has said: Money is their God, and how to get it is their religion. Dry up the money well, and a lot less abuse, & a lot less blood is likely to be the result. Simplistic, but it does seem that buckets full of money just drags out this unending conflict, and has for decades.

Saundra Hummer
April 15th, 2010, 04:12 PM

Friends of the Earth

We champion a healthy and just world.


Happy tax day!

Okay, truth be told, if you're like me, you may not associate the fondest feelings with April 15.

But the same can't be said for many of our country's biggest polluters. Industries like big oil and dirty biofuels love tax time because Uncle Sam hands them billions in giveaways.

Just one example: Last year big oil giant Exxon Mobil reported a record $45.2 billion profit, but paid zero dollars to the IRS.1 That's outrageous!

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper demanding an end to wasteful tax giveaways to big oil and bad biofuels.

A key reason Exxon Mobil gets away with this? A recent Friends of the Earth analysis2 found that the oil and gas industry is slated to receive $32.9 billion in tax giveaways and other federal subsidies between 2009 and 2013.

Oil and gas production isn't the only polluting activity that provides corporations with windfalls from your tax dollars. The corporate giants -- including big oil -- that sell dirty corn ethanol, received $5 billion in 2009 from just one of many ethanol tax breaks. Corn ethanol causes even more global warming pollution than conventional gasoline, and growing corn for fuel causes harmful fertilizer and pesticide runoff. It is not something we should be subsidizing. But according to a recent Friends of the Earth study,3 if these giveaways to dirty ethanol continue, taxpayers like you and me will have funded the biofuels industry to the tune of $400 billion by the year 2022.

Unfortunately, much of the public has no idea that these massive, pollution-promoting giveaways exist.

Will you help us sound the alarm by submitting a letter to the editor to your local newspaper today?

Enough is enough. If you're like me, you work hard to earn your tax dollars. Our representatives in Congress ought to spend our money wisely and invest in clean energy that is in the public interest -- not waste our money on polluter lobbyists' pet projects. Help us send them that message through the media.

Please join me in writing a letter to the editor calling for an end to giveaways to big oil and dirty biofuels today.


Kate McMahon
Friends of the Earth

[1] "Exxon Mobil Paid No Federal Income Tax in 2009," Think Progress, http://thinkprogress.org/2010/04/06/exxon-tax/
[2] "Big Oil, Bigger Giveaways," Friends of the Earth, http://www.foe.org/pdf/FoE_Oil_Giveaway_Analysis_2008.pdf
[3] "A Boon to Bad Biofuels," Friends of the Earth, http://www.foe.org/sites/default/files/FOE%20VEETC%20Evaluation%20FINAL.pdf

Friends of the Earth and our network of grassroots groups in 77 countries defend the environment and fight to create a more healthy, just world. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to global warming, protecting people from toxic and new, potentially harmful technologies, and promoting smarter, low-pollution transportation alternatives.
Go on-site to access links within this newsletter.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ .

Saundra Hummer
April 15th, 2010, 09:16 PM

the raw story
Tea Parties created as GOP political ploy.
David Edwards
Thursday, April 15th, 2010
10:17 AM

The Tea Party has been billed as an organic grassroots operation, but a newly uncovered document obtained by Politico suggests the movement has been successfully co-opted as a Republican fundraising ploy.

GOP political consultant Joe Wierzbicki floated the proposal a year ago today to create the Tea Party Express, a nationwide bus tour to "give a boost to our PAC and position us as a growing force/leading force as the 2010 elections come into focus." His idea eventually became one of the best known brands in the Tea Party movement.

The document cautioned planners to be careful when discussing the ruse to use Tea Parties for political gain. "We have to be very, very careful about discussing amongst ourselves anyone we include 'outside of the family' because quite frankly, we are not only not part of the political establishment or conservative establishment, but we are also sadly not currently a part of the 'tea party' establishment," Wierzbicki wrote.

Wierzbicki, who works for the Sacramento firm Russo Marsh + Rogers, went on to outline how conservative media including Fox News could be leveraged to hype the Tea Party Express. He recommended using "mentions and possibly even promotion from conservative/pro-tea party bloggers, talk radio hosts, Fox News commentators, etc..."

Citing Michigan as an example, he noted that one of the plan's primary goals would be to elect Republican candidates. "It is also worth considering making a return run to Michigan. Former Republican Michigan governor, John Engler, has recently stated that he believes the Republican Party will do quite well in Michigan," he continued.

But the primary goal was fundraising for the founding firm's PAC. Despite quadrupling their take in March they told Politico, "We're hardly making any money at all."

Ken Vogel, who broke the story, discussed it on MSNBC's Countdown With Keith Olbermann Wednesday.

"The firm, Russo Marsh, and its operatives have really pushed back hard against this idea that they're making a lot of money off of it. They say, yes, we received $1.9 million in payments from this PAC, which is now the Tea Party Express, but a lot of that was for overhead," Vogel told Olbermann.

He said there's "no doubt" the plan "has been a wild success beyond the sort of most ambitious expectations of these operatives." The GOP has successfully "tapped the Tea Party for a sustainable revenue stream," he added.


This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast April 14, 2010.
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Big Hardy 5 hours ago
We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, but now you get mad!
You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.
You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.
You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted.
You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed..
You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said
illegal war.
You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq .
You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.
You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn't get mad when we let a major US city drown.
You didn't get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.
You didn’t get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides.
You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our
debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark.
You finally got mad when the government decided that people in
AMERICA deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.
Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich get richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans...
Oh hell no!

zach83 4 hours ago in reply to Big Hardy
best. post. ever.

Live Free or Die 4 hours ago in reply to Big Hardy
Bullsh*t! The original TEA PARTY movement started with the RON PAUL REVOLUTION! The Repub idiots have tried to hijack this movement but have not been completely successful. We within the TEA PARTY MOVEMENT of RON PAUL HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ANTI-BIG GOVERNMENT and ANTI-WAR.
Finally, your last comments show that you don't have a f*cking clue:
Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich get richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans...
Can you honestly look me or any other freedom lovers in the face and tell me that that crap isn't still going on with the god called Obama. OBAMA IS AS GUILTY AS BUSH. OBAMA WILL GET TRIED FOR TREASON JUST LIKE BUSH. OBAMA WILL BE EXECUTED FOR TREASON AFTER BEING FOUND GUILTY, JUST LIKE BUSH. WAKE THE F UP!!!!!!!

hackenbush 4 hours ago in reply to Live Free or Die
If I'm not mistaken, Ron Paul is a Libertarian.
Which means that other than his "anti-big-government" and "anti-war" stances (the second of which I agree with), he's more or less completely bat-shit. I mean, things like this : http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/document.php?id=154 detailing how he's against the EPA as part of his "ongoing fight against unconstitutional and unbridled federal agencies". The fucking *EPA*. If not for the EPA, we'd have even more serious pollution issues than we're facing now ... it's not a particularly common-sense approach....

Azazel 3 hours ago in reply to hackenbush
FYI: The EPA lied to all New Yorkers after 9/11. They told the population the air was safe to breath. Thousands of people are now dieing from all the fumes they inhaled.
The EPA is not a godsend as you describe it. Take your head out of your behind.

tootiredoftheright 1 hour ago in reply to Azazel
Wasn't the Bush admin who put certain people in the EPA to suppress reports that the Bush admin and conservatives didn't like?

Live Free or Die 2 hours ago in reply to hackenbush
Hackenbush, I'm probably one of the most left-wing even radical posters on this site. I'll take that label. I am anti-war, anti-big government, anti-empire, pro-pot, pro-people, pro-legal-immigration, anti-Bush, anti-Cheney, anti-illegal wiretapping, anti-hate, pro-love. I am also pro-choice but anti-abortion. I am pro free speech but anti-hate speech though I will be the first person to protect a haters right to free speech, even though I hate hate speech.
Please, hackenbush, I hope that I haven't confused you. I'm anti-forced health care while I'm definitely in favor of revamping the health care system so that all of the corporations don't get rich while the healthcare gets worse. Still, the government even trying to force me to buy health care is going to be met with a very firm and prompt response. I'm anti-tax when that tax money is being used by the criminal U.S. govt. to go around the world killing innocent people by the CIA and I'll continue to protest against said criminality by the U.S. government by refusing to file a tax return; since 93. So, no blood on my hands, hackenbush, and happy that the rest of the lefty's are finally waking up to Obama's real self. Peace!

scytherius 2 hours ago in reply to Live Free or Die
LOL My kinda guy. =)

Azazel 3 hours ago in reply to Live Free or Die
Amen brother. Ron Paul started the Tea Party. The establishment (Thats Democrats and Republicans) knew that they would be finished if this party was ever allowed to really organize. So, Sarah (retard) Palin went "rogue" and Glen Beck (Benedict Arnold) took over the movement. Make no mistake... the real tea party is not related to the GOP or Democrats. F em both!
There's a revolution brewin and it's nothing to do with race or political party. It has everything to do with FREEDOM!

rationaleyes 3 hours ago in reply to Azazel
In what ways aren't you "free"?

Live Free or Die 2 hours ago in reply to rationaleyes
Hey Rationaleyes, take one look at the RawStory story about the NSA executive who now faces 20 years for exposing the illegal wiretapping by the Criminal Bush Administration. I've been illegally wiretapped and followed since I launched an anti-war anti-Bush group in 2003. Now, Obama and his criminal government is trying to put on trial the same freedom loving American who exposed Bush's illegal wiretapping.
That's a good place to start...now you need to dig much, much deeper...you'll be surprised to find out what you find.

Live Free or Die 2 hours ago in reply to Azazel
Hey Azazel! Peace brother...it's good to see so many Americans finally waking up to the criminal two party system that's hijacked America. It's ok though, for now, that the retard Palin has kinda hijacked it, because it's gotten alot more Americans fired up. We know, though, that went push comes to shove, the true freedom loving anti-war Americans will win out. There is definitely a revolution brewing, and once the remainder of the lefty's wake up and see that Obama is Bush but black, the real fun will begin. Peace!

Walldude 1 hour ago in reply to Live Free or Die
Well no point in yelling at the poster. He didn't write that. I did. And it's you without the clue my friend. I wrote that nearly a year ago. Before this crappy health care bill and offshore drilling and CIA death squads and increases in troops in Afghanistan. I wrote that when we still had hopes for a repeal of DADT and closing Guantanamo and bringing troops home.
Fact is I'm not happy with Obama either at this moment. So it's you who really needs to "get a clue". One more thing,
"Obama will get tried and executed for treason just like Bush? Well Mr clueless, apparently you have been out of touch. You see Bush is a free man, no trials, no treason, no war crimes. And you aren't fooling anyone, your comment about Obama being tried for treason is hilarious, the only thing Obama is guilty of is pandering to the likes of you.

Maybe if you geniuses stop hammering for Obama for some made up boogyman crap and got down to the things he's really screwing up you might get some support. As it stands no one is going to listen to your delusional rantings about treason, socialism, communism or birth certificates.

scytherius 2 hours ago in reply to Big Hardy
What a WONDERFUL post.

Goldie 2 hours ago in reply to scytherius
He forgot the best half of that letter. How odd.


You did get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.
You did get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.
You did get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.
You did get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.
You did get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You did get mad when we spent over 600 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.
You did get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.
You did get mad when you saw the Abu Grahib photos.
You did get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You did get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You did get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.
You did get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You did get mad when we let a major US city drown.
You did get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.
You finally stopped getting mad when.. when... wait for it... when the president escalating the illegal wars, running the lawless prisons, claiming the power to murder and torture, rewriting the laws with signing statements, overseeing the corporate bailouts, holding the secret meetings with CEOs and selling out healthcare reform, dropping any fight for fair trade or labor rights, and expanding government secrecy was a DEMOCRAT.
That about right? You know it is.
There people. Now you have the full deal. Not mad anymore? For shame!

drzaius 37 minutes ago in reply to Goldie
It's not a pissing contest Junior. Just because you write it doesn't make it true. On every issue you cite Obama has improved the situation or greatly improved the situation. It takes a while to clean up Bush Messes. They're very good at ruining things.

cessnadriver 20 minutes ago in reply to Goldie
None of it is right. Obama got handed a crap sandwich and is working our way out of it within the US law..

nobodyforpresident 8 hours ago
Why do you think they call it Astro Turf?
Wave your signs, suckers.

harrytripper 8 hours ago
Obviously... where were they during the Bush years when the GOP ran up the largest deficits, started wars and lined corporate pockets with gov't money?
Most are just slow witted numb skulls looking to blame someone else for the problems their past voting record has caused. Their biggest fear is that the gov't might teach evolution and people of color will consider themselves equals.

Fed-Up-With-The-BS 7 hours ago in reply to harrytripper
You know, I am really tired of the network news portraying the Tea Party members as something other than citizens fed up with government. Then people like you latch onto that and start calling them names like you are so much more intelligent. I am part of the generation that by working hard hoped to make it easier for my children, helping them to get a college education and have the tools to be successful in life. I want them to be able to do very normal things, like afford an annual vacation. But, the way things are going, they don't have much of a future. There may not be jobs available, much less good jobs. Our retirement plan was going well, combined with Social Security (which, by the way, we and our employers, have paid into for almost 30 years now and should have been put into Reagan's lock-box, rather than the government spending it on other things). Now that retirement plan has lost thousands and the future doesn't look so bright for that either. Plus, the government wants to take over 401k's. Enough is enough! Race is not the issue. Make it about what it is really about - people feeling like the government is taking over and the future doesn't look so bright. They work for us, we don't work to serve them. So, do yourself a favor - dig a little deeper - listen to mainstream, FOX, talk, etc., understand what their biases are and then you might actually be able to figure out what is going on, rather than sucking up what you want to hear. Here's a radical idea - go to a tea party & see for yourself what is going on. Talk to people. There are several going on in my area, maybe yours, too. Then you will see for yourself they are not made up of middle-aged white bigots, but common people who are fed up.

kiboshki 7 hours ago in reply to Fed-Up-With-The-BS
Your anger is absolutely justified. But there are two points:
First, like it or not, by virtue of the conservative politics that the Tea Party espouses, it is doomed to attract far-rightwing fringe groups. In this country, it's just a fact that that includes white racist groups, survivalists, and "anti-establishmentarian" birthers and the like. If you don't like that, you need to keep the idiots with their mis-spelled signs and racist slogans away from the rallies. Otherwise, that's what the media focuses on: it's better for ratings.
Also remember that this "branding" problem isn't unique to the Tea Party: the left has the same problem, except that it attracts eco-terrorists, communists, fervent animal-rights groups, stoners, and the like-- associations which the MSM has been pushing for decades, far longer than the Tea Party has been around. In fact, because of this, the word "liberal" has become an epithet.
Second and more important, everyone most certainly appreciates the predicaments of the real folks in and out of the Tea Party movement who have legitimate economic concerns. The problem that we outside the movement see is that the current problems are not something that just sprang up last year; they've been in the making for a generation now. We feel that Tea Party anger is aimed in the wrong direction
Contrary to what the Tea Party's Republican handlers say, the woes affecting America today absolutely do NOT arise from some liberal conspiracy to mind-control the American public and seize all their rights and assets. Fact is that there is no significant liberal presence in this country at all, and there hasn't been for decades.
No, virtually ALL the problems we have today are a direct result of pseudo-conservative and neo-conservative policies of the last generation-- policies supported by the votes of the very same older people that make up the Tea Party today!
Deregulation and outsourcing? That's classic conservative "trickle down" economics, and it's caused at least three crashes that I can think of off the top of my head, not to mention the unemployment, foreclosures, income disparity, etc, we're seeing today
Bloated defense budget & warfighting? That "patriotic" neo-conservatism at work! But it's also the absolute worst possible money sink this country has ever seen, not to mention the damage it does to our diplomatic efforts.
Healthcare problems? That's the conservative "free" market at work: turning human life & well-being into a hedge, little more than a profit source. Oh, and notice that this new bill isn't changing that one iota-- because conservatives didn't want a public option to compete with Big Biz in the "free" market.
Pension problems? Private plans are great if you're lucky, but, yeah, they suck if you're retiring at the wrong time. That's the way our deregulated & speculative "free" market works.
Potholes? Crumbling bridges? Slow internet? Police force layoffs? School closings? Thanks to conservative ideals about cutting social spending to fund Big Biz and warfighting, you can expect even less from your community in the future.
And the worst thing about all this? These are the exact same policies that so many Tea Partiers have been voting for over and over and over since they took the reins back in the 70s and 80s. And now that they're retiring, they (and those that follow) are going to suffer the consequences of these greed-based policies.
Thanks a lot, Tea Party hypocrites.

kiboshki 7 hours ago in reply to kiboshki
Ugh. That was "TLDR", I know.
Sorry ;)

zach83 6 hours ago in reply to kiboshki
I'm assuming TLDR means "Too Long; don't read"? too bad reality can't be packaged into a sound byte for some people's lack of concentration. Of course, that's what makes it really easy to persuade and influence...

Fed-Up-With-The-BS 5 hours ago in reply to zach83
Such as "change you can believe in'?

zach83 4 hours ago in reply to Fed-Up-With-The-BS
bah... just another bought-and-paid-for politician as far as I'm concerned.
Get rid of the Federal Reserve (which is a private organization- not under the government at all!) and we have a government run by politicians and not bankers.
I'm a registered democrat, but I'm moving towards conservative values as I age. That being said, the obvious lying to the American people by both parties (right now the republicans are REALLY acting brazenly foolish, and damnably close to revolutionary in nature- which would be cool, except that they're talking points are *more* hateful in nature, not less...) and the less-obvious purchasing of regulations by corporations make me think that average joe should submit a request to banks to provide social relief, rather than government officials.

scytherius 2 hours ago in reply to Fed-Up-With-The-BS
ya know, the problems with your argument is that it is the adult version of "I know you are, but what am I".
Most of us here are VERY liberal and we can't stand Obama or the Dems. We know they played us. We aren't even sure we'll even vote. However, you refuse to see that with the GOP. Fox News says jump, and god if you don't say "how high".

Benway for the Nova Police 8 minutes ago in reply to zach83
There's a difference between a sound bite and a concise presentation of one's views. It is really annoying to drone on about a subject that could be presented in a few sentences.

sandi2 5 hours ago in reply to kiboshki
No, it's not too long. It's perfect the way it is. Thanks

rationaleyes 3 hours ago in reply to kiboshki
not at all! Excellent post!

kimbutgar 4 hours ago in reply to kiboshki
Excellent commentary unfortunately it is probably over this person's head to understand your insightful points. If pox news didn't' tell them this they won't believe you anyway.

Fed-Up-With-The-BS 4 hours ago in reply to kimbutgar
Well, I am only 5'1" tall, so you could be right about it being over my head. Calling people stupid because they don't agree with you. That will win an argument every time....

kimbutgar 4 hours ago in reply to Fed-Up-With-The-BS
I didn't criticize your size nor your intelligence but whether you could think critically. Obviously your response proved my point.

Fed-Up-With-The-BS 3 hours ago in reply to kimbutgar
Next time you are at Wal-Mart, pick up a sense of humor. Then you'll get it.

kimbutgar 2 hours ago in reply to Fed-Up-With-The-BS
I would never set as foot in Walmart. They are what destroyed small businesses and towns in this country. They are responsible for jobs being shipped over to China and people not getting paid a fair living wage. Ha ha you are so funny....not!

scytherius 2 hours ago in reply to Fed-Up-With-The-BS
I'll give ya this (in all seriousness) you do have a sense of humor. =)

tellallthetruth 6 hours ago in reply to Fed-Up-With-The-BS
more crap
"citizens fed up with government"
Obama barely finished a year after having to clean up financial mess created by your man, GWB. Listen to FOX!!! You aren't making any effort to reach out. You people are screaming words of hate about being over taxed when you taxes went down. Screaming about government spending with the stimulus was put in place by YOU MAN.
Now your people want to extend the bail outs and vote against the President on this too.
I would get near a "Tea bagger" party if it was the only party in town.
These people "want their country back" when they freaking had it for 8 years having gotten it illegally through the supreme court and then election fraud in Ohio

Why are you fed up?
common people who are fed up. You are the very people that allowed Sept. 11 to happen in the first place. Bush was warned.
Calling our elected officials BY AMERICAN CITIZENS N**gers and spitting on them yeah I am going to want to got to one of your rallies.
My country back indeed!
Their biases are very clear and they are filthy racists wrapped in the flag that my father and brother served under.

Fed-Up-With-The-BS 5 hours ago in reply to tellallthetruth
Did you ever consider banks being forced to give loans to people who could not afford to buy houses had an impact on the financial situation? I was turned down my first attempt because I didn't have 20% down. Smart move by the banker. At some point, the government told bankers it was everyone's right to own a home, whether they could afford it or not. Bad move on the government's part. Now the governement accepts no responsibility for the problem - blame it on someone else. I have voted for candidates from both parties - the person I think is best for the job. I'm not saying Republicans are right all the time and I'm not blaming the current situation all on Obama - Congress has been around for many, many years. They are responsible for most of the mess. Tax cuts - not necessary. Tax increases - hell, no, not until the waste is eliminated. Because someone disagrees with the government doesn't make them rascist. $100,000 in scholarships was offered to the person who could produce proof the "n" word being used and someone being spit on at a Tea Party rally. No takers - could it be because it didn't happen? Once again, the mainstream media repeats a story enough so that many people accept it as fact. You ask why I am fed up - I thought I explained that in my original post - I want my children to live the American dream.

sandi2 5 hours ago in reply to Fed-Up-With-The-BS
Actually, you have it a little backwards. The bankers told the government they were going to give those bad loans because that's the way our ridiculous money system works. The more that a bank lends, the more money the bankers make. (Google the video "The Money Masters". It's an eye-opener). Since 1913, the bankers have been calling all the shots in government.

hackenbush 4 hours ago in reply to Fed-Up-With-The-BS
"Banks were forced to give loans to people who could not afford to buy houses"?
As if that hasn't been debunked, *several times*, here's the link for the google impaired:


If you really need that explained to you, try "The Giant Pool of Money" from "This American Life". It explains it much better than that "teh poor peoples stoles my hard earned moniez" crap you just dropped:


"You ask why I am fed up - I thought I explained that in my original post - I want my children to live the American dream."
Really? The "American Dream" was living free from persecution and oppression, free to practice your own beliefs and live your own life. Nothing since the last election is preventing you from doing that. Yes, the "pay for private insurance or get tax penalties" thing is an abomination, single payer system would have been much smarter and effective, but it's not preventing you from living your life and pursuing happiness. America is *not* about having more money than everyone around you. I'm pretty sure it says nothing about that in the Constitution or any of its amendments.
Now, raging out about how Muslims have to leave the country, as many of your "tea party" compatriots seem to like railing about, is in violation of those tenets....

Savantster 3 hours ago in reply to Fed-Up-With-The-BS
"Did you ever consider banks being forced to give loans to people who could not afford to buy houses had an impact on the financial situation?"
a) didn't happen. No bank was forced to give someone a loan when they didn't have a job, or when their debt to income ratio was over 50%. The meme that banks were "forced" into this is a lie started by the banks and right-wingers looking for partisan ammo.
b) "At some point, the government told bankers it was everyone's right to own a home, whether they could afford it or not" .. false, see point a. Not requiring 20% down isn't the same as saying give money to those with no jobs. I've bought TWO houses with "no money down", and never missed ONE payment. You say you want your kids to live the American dream? but you don't want them to be able to be home owners until they've slaved away at some corporate labor camp for 20 years?
"Tax cuts - not necessary. Tax increases - hell, no, not until the waste is eliminated." .. But you probably listen to the tea-baggers and Fox talking heads that cry about Medicare and the government wanting to clean up waste in that (and don't forget the right-wingers that brought you Part D, with no government negotiating for drug prices).. they screamed about "they want to cut medicare!".. bullshit.
"$100,000 in scholarships was offered to the person who could produce proof the "n" word being used and someone being spit on at a Tea Party rally. No takers - could it be because it didn't happen? " .. LMFAO.. that was BREITBART, the guy that helped LIE to get ACORN shut down... You know about that FRUAD he and O'Keef perpetrated, right?! RIGHT?! And you're using the fact that no one happened to catch the slurs on tape as PROOF it DIDN'T HAPPEN? Wow, you really aren't very bright. Logic and reason are not something you've ever learned.
The problem with "living the American dream" is that it is not sustainable, period. 5% of the world's population burning up 40% of the resources. Do the math. If you want to live a better life as measured by all metrics but one, check out www.thevenusproject.com and www.thezeitgeistmovement.com .. but if you want to be a CONSUMER and buy shit just to buy it (the current definition of the American Dream), then you're going to have to kill a lot of people to steal their resources.



Saundra Hummer
April 15th, 2010, 09:51 PM
Tucker Carlson's 'non-ideological" news site'sponsors Tea Party bash

Muriel Kane
Thursday, April 15th, 2010
12:46 PM

When former MSNBC host and current Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson launched The Daily Caller last winter, he described it as a general news site, a conservative but non-ideological version of Politico or the Huffington Post.

But now Carlson is scheduled to appear at Thursday's Tea party rally on the Washington Mall. And on Wednesday evening, the Daily Caller co-hosted what Andrew Breitbart's Big Government touted as "a happy hour for tea party activists who are coming to town for the rally," along with Americans for Prosperity, Dick Armey's Freedomworks, and Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform.

Last winter, Carlson appeared to be trying to give the impression that the Daily Caller would be non-ideological. He told Politico that the aim was simply to publish news stories that would be factual and "hard-hitting." And the Washington Post's Howart Kurtz also wrote that "Carlson insists this won't be a right-wing site."

"We're not enforcing any kind of ideological orthodoxy on anyone," Carlson told Kurtz.

But Kurtz also noted that "when he announced the Daily Caller last spring, Carlson was more explicit about its ideology, telling Human Events the site would be 'opposed to what's going on' under President Obama -- 'a radical increase in federal power . . . a version of socialism.'" Now Carlson's ideological bent appears to be coming to the forefront.

One bond between the Daily Caller and the other groups sponsoring that Tea Party happy hour may be the issue of climate change. A recent report from Greenpeace International described Americans for Prosperity as one of the chief beneficiaries of the billionaire Koch brothers' "climate denial machine," and Americans for Tax Reform has also received Koch funding.

Brendan Demelle of the DeSmog Blog explicitly describes Thursday's rally as featuring a "cast of Koch Industries favorites." He notes that "Lord Christopher Monckton, infamous for his 'Hitler Youth' comments at the Copenhagen climate summit, is among the guest speakers at this week’s Tax Day Tea Party in Washington, DC. Organized by FreedomWorks, the sister organization of Americans for Prosperity, the Tax Day Tea Party at the Washington Monument will also feature appearances from FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey and President Matt Kibbe, right wing publisher Andrew Breitbart, Texas Congressman Ron Paul and Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson."

In January, the same blog pointed out that "the primary funder of Tucker Carlson’s new website ‘The Daily Caller’ is climate change denier and GOP bankroller Foster Friess, and Carlson has reportedly lined up sponsorship from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association and Southern Company, all major opponents of meaningful action to curb climate change."

Carlson told Kurtz last winter, ""Our goal is not to get Republicans elected," and that may be true. But any suggestions that the Daily Caller would be genuinely non-ideological appear to have been premature.

Add New Comment
You are commenting as a Guest. Optional: Login below. ccazz 6 hours ago
John Stewart called it, "You're a dick." To Tucker on one of his previous failed ventures.

Maximum Bob 6 hours ago
Well, these hillbillies scumbags cheering for a prep school rich kid....please let there be video.

LibertyBill 7 hours ago
Just to point out, Carlson is a Libertarian, not a conservative (thank god).

tellallthetruth 7 hours ago in reply to LibertyBill
That is just crap, Libertaians are just failed Republicans.

JustSayin 6 hours ago in reply to tellallthetruth
Libertarian doesn't mean conservative or republican "tellallthetruth". I'm considered a left leaning Libertarian since my biggest concern is personal freedom while the conservatives want big business freedom.

mindboggeling 4 hours ago in reply to JustSayin
Personal freedom? You want your country back? Where were you when bush was systematically eroding our freedom? Nary a one of you demonstrated or even spoke up against him. But then again he wasn't black.

JustSayin 3 hours ago in reply to mindboggeling
You're an idiot... where were you? I didn't vote for Bush, or Obama you moron. I'm saying this idiot is not a Libertarian and that libertarian doesn't mean conservative anyway... it means you want less government meddling in personal freedom but some conservatives take it to mean more corporate freedom as if a corporation is a person. Anyway who says i'm not black you retard? I think you have me confused with Tea Party morons or some other political crackpots.

dennycrane 2 hours ago in reply to JustSayin
Then sign this pledge and move along:
The Teabagger Socialist-Free Purity Pledge
I, ________________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a
socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:
I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly
being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.
I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly
being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing
unconcealed firearms in public.
I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming
unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls. Also.
I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and
participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:
● Social Security
● Medicare/Medicaid
● State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
● Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
● US Postal Service
● Roads and Highways
● Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
● The US Railway System
● Public Subways and Metro Systems
● Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
● Rest Areas on Highways
● Sidewalks
● All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009 federal senate
● Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink,
outdoor hose!)
● Public and State Universities and Colleges
● Public Primary and Secondary Schools
● Sesame Street
● Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
● Public Museums
● Libraries
● Public Parks and Beaches
● State and National Parks
● Public Zoos
● Unemployment Insurance
● Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
● Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or
Federal Government (pretty much all of them)
● Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government
Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
● Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA
● Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the
basis for subsequent computer networking
● Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or
That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
● Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs
From Government Subsidies
● If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and
insist on paying for my own medical care
I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist
locations, including but not limited to:
● Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History
● The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
● The government-operated Statue of Liberty
● The Grand Canyon
● The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
● The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery
● All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC
I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and
government-provided healthcare.
I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United
States of America.
I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing,
Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell,
and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist
I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of
Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.
Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.
Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I
___________________________ ___________________________
Signed Printed Name/Town and State

mindboggeling 1 hour ago in reply to JustSayin
Well then as long as you are for personal freedom I guess your all for gay marriage?

JustSayin 3 hours ago in reply to mindboggeling
..and for the record i voted for the Green Party (Cynthia McKinny) oh and she's black and a woman... there is a shocker for you.. you probably voted for this Obama idiot who is nothing but another agent of the corporations who are enslaving you in the first place...

dennycrane 2 hours ago in reply to JustSayin
Quit beatin' around the bush. It's the group that tried to overthrow FDR and that goofy ****, paul, the racist:


edwards_com 6 hours ago in reply to tellallthetruth
That's the best post this week...

RadicalCaveman 1 hour ago in reply to tellallthetruth
A libertarian is a Republican who wants to smoke pot.

dennycrane 2 hours ago in reply to LibertyBill

Of course, they want to smoke dope and have free sex.

MOTHA 6 hours ago in reply to LibertyBill
Libertarian or Conservative, either way he's a smug'n smarmy (tm) no talent hack. Someone should strangle him with that stupid bowtie.

mindboggeling 4 hours ago in reply to LibertyBill
You may call tucker a libertarian, I call him an opportunist

buttsniffer 6 hours ago
Libertarians want weed legal. It is shameful and Godless....Weed leads to obesity which in turn leads to heart disease and diabetes. Weed is the silent killer and libertarians want it legal. Godless.

paddles57 6 hours ago in reply to buttsniffer
I always enjoy reading your posts that drip with irony.

markusgarvey 6 hours ago in reply to buttsniffer
you know what they say about data...garbage in, garbage out...

dennycrane 2 hours ago in reply to buttsniffer
....and free sex.....terrible.

gr0o 5 hours ago
I think it's about time we sicced Jon Stewart on him again.

michaelvalentine 3 hours ago
How gay looking is Tucker Carlson? So gay looking that the police look for a "Tucker type" when stinging gays at the airport mens room.

samhoustonTX 3 hours ago
Libertarian, conservative, tea partier, etc. Doesn't really matter because he is dumber than a board.

dennycrane 2 hours ago
His bow-tie represents the "loser" flag of the south. We knew that.

johnniefavorite 2 hours ago
I forgot about this worthless ****. Does he live in LA? Cuzz I can't wait to meet him. I just hope I ain't drunk, holdin a shovel when I do, cuzz this little prick will wake up at the corner of Santa Monica and Vine, being picked over by the tranny hookers.

shag11 1 hour ago
He's a clown, always has been and always will be.

RadicalCaveman 1 hour ago
"conservative but non-ideological"

TuckerisaBottom 23 minutes ago


Saundra Hummer
April 16th, 2010, 09:18 PM


David Corn


Tea Party's After-Party:
More Extremism as Gun Rights Activists
Hit Washington

Posted: 04/16/10 On Thursday, thousands of Tea Partiers marked Tax Day by trekking to Washington to protest. It was the usual stuff. The TPers complained about taxes. They carried signs showing Nancy Pelosi in a toilet. They compared the media -- except for Fox News -- to Pravda. One placard depicted President Barack Obama as a vampire sucking blood out of the Statue of Liberty. Another made this cogent argument: "Having Gov't Manage Your Healthcare Is Like Having Michael Vick Watch Your Dog." One sign was blunt: "Go Back To Kenya."

"Saturday Night Live" has-been Victoria Jackson led the crowd in a song, "There's a Communist Living in the White House." Sticking to that theme, one Tea Partier held up a sign depicting Sen. Joseph McCarthy next to Obama with one word on it: "Vindicated." And Tea Partiers, while expressing their outrage and anger, fretted that their rally was being infiltrated by outside provocateurs trying to make them look like a bunch of racist nuts.

In other words, same old same old. But the extremism of the Tea Partiers will be far eclipsed on Monday when another band of American patriots rides into town to demonstrate against the government.
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On April 19, an assortment of gun-rights groups will mount the Second Amendment March at the grounds of the Washington Monument. On the Web site for the march, its founder, Skip Coryell, calls it a "peaceful" event. But these folks, as the Violence Policy Center points out in a new report, are pushing a virulent strain of anti-government extremism that certainly could drive a body to take violent action.

Last month in an article for Human Events, a conservative magazine, Coryell noted that one aim of the march is to imply the threat of violence:

My question to everyone reading this article is this: "For you, as an individual, when do you draw your saber? When do you say "Yes, I am willing to rise up and overthrow an oppressive, totalitarian government?"

Is it when the government takes away your private business?
Is it when the government rigs elections?
Is it when the government imposes martial law?
Is it when the government takes away your firearms?

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating the immediate use of force against the government. It isn't time, and hopefully that time will never come. But one thing is certain: "Now is the time to rattle your sabers." If not now, then when?

... I understand that sounds harsh, but these are harsh times. ...

I hear the clank of metal on metal getting closer, but that's not enough. The politicians have to hear it too. They have to hear it, and they have to believe it.

Come and support me at the Second Amendment March on April 19th on the Washington Monument grounds. Let's rattle some sabers and show the government we're still here.

Notice that Coryell says he's not advocating the immediate use of force against the government. That sure makes it sound like he's revving up the gun-rights troops for possible rebellion down the road.

At the march, he will be in good company. One scheduled speaker for the rally is Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America. In 1992, Pratt participated in a Colorado meeting of neo-Nazis and self-proclaimed Christian patriots that marked the birth of the modern militia movement. Another speaker at this pro-gun hoe-down will be Sheriff Richard Mack, who states on his Web site that the "greatest threat we face today is not terrorists; it is our own federal government. If America is conquered or ruined it will be from within, not a foreign enemy."

And the Oath Keepers are sponsoring the march. This is a group of right-wingers -- many of whom serve in the military or police forces -- who pledge to disobey what they regard as "unconstitutional" orders from an increasingly repressive government. Their view of the government is rather dark. They vow not to "obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps" and not to "obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps." As if the Obama administration is on the verge of declaring martial law and rounding up the citizenry.

Put this all together -- saber rattlng, militia fomenting, demonizing government -- and you have a brew of far-right paranoia mixed with guns. When have we seen this before? Oh yeah, Timothy McVeigh and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. And here's the kicker: This pro-gun march will happen on the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing. This is not insensitivity; it's a message.

Though it is not officially sponsoring the march, the National Rifle Association, the big shot of the gun lobby, has been promoting the event -- and, thus, helping to spread this over-the-top anti-government sentiment. As the Violence Policy Center notes,

The gun lobby is once again embracing -- and equally important, validating -- the anti-government rhetoric being offered by activists that range from Tea Party members, through pro-gun advocates, to members of the militia movement.

And as was the case with Timothy McVeigh, the risk lies not so much with the organized members of these groups, but with the "lone wolves" who not only embrace their rhetoric, but are willing to act on it with violence.
That's right. When people are blasting the federal government as tyrannical, suggesting that government-imposed concentration camps are around the corner, encouraging people to threaten the government with force, or comparing the president to the Nazis and accusing him of being a secret Kenyan-born Muslim imposing socialism on the United States, they are setting the stage for violence. The Tea Partiers are extreme in their hatred of the Obama administration, but these gun-rights radicals are downright dangerous. They talk of insurrection -- and they do have guns.

+2 # galadriel 2010-04-16 09:40
it was my understanding that the oath keepers are not only not sponsoring this even, but have pulled out altogether.

-2 # sonofthewest 2010-04-16 10:22
Whether any groups have pulled out or not is irrelevant. The point to comprehend is that the right wing wing nuts in this country are a threat to ordinary citizens, civility and to our government. The real question is will the rest of Americans fight back if these yellow streaked right wing militias, fascist gangs, set about violence? I think not. Middle-of-the-roaders, progressives, and liberals will stand around singing goombaya and intoning remarks meant to sound as sober analysis while the nation goes down the tubes. Leftists are wuzzes, cowardly, and hypnotized by their dedication to due process and the courts when the courts have turned. They will stand aside as the German and Italian peoples stood aside as their nations were turned into totalitarian dictatorships.

0 # Michelle 2010-04-16 13:35
Quoting sonofthewest:
Whether any groups have pulled out or not is irrelevant. The point to comprehend is that the right wing wing nuts in this country are a threat to ordinary citizens, civility and to our government. The real question is will the rest of Americans fight back if these yellow streaked right wing militias, fascist gangs, set about violence? I think not. Middle-of-the-roaders, progressives, and liberals will stand around singing goombaya and intoning remarks meant to sound as sober analysis while the nation goes down the tubes. Leftists are wuzzes, cowardly, and hypnotized by their dedication to due process and the courts when the courts have turned. They will stand aside as the German and Italian peoples stood aside as their nations were turned into totalitarian dictatorships.

Actually, I for one, also believe in the right to bear arms. We "liberals" should be ready to protect ourselves if the times demand it.

0 # Burkey 2010-04-16 13:52
not what we want to hear, but what do we think's been happening since 9/11?

+1 # Cindi Burkey 2010-04-16 13:56
wow, what a spectacle, this crowd standing listening to a woman who talks in a widdle tiny voice like a child.

it's a david lynch movie, really.

+1 # luzmejor 2010-04-16 14:25
Only an American living in undeserved luxury could complain that Democrats are leftists. What is clear to everyone else is that everyone in this nation is already in debt, at birth, to the complaining babies in the GOP who think everyone else owes them both a living and a fortune, not to mention a salute and a grovel or two!

+7 # Dave Blau 2010-04-16 11:08
the right wing media set up the "tax day" event to try to get the tea baggers away from the april 19 whack jobs. it was done intentionally, because FOX and limbaugh are corporate shills, not insurrectionist s, they want people to give everything to the corporations. but corporations dont do well during insurrection. so they will distance themselves from this, even though they fomented it in the first place.

+3 # Joan Manning 2010-04-16 11:08
Thinking back on the political murders of the sixties, I hope no one today is dismissing assassination as the work of a "lone nut." Nuttiness has gotten out of control, and the President needs to restrict his public appearances to indoors only, where no one with a weapon is allowed in.

+4 # Audrey 2010-04-16 12:54
I feel that this is all to set the stage for some cretin to try to assassinate the president. The Right wing nuts know that is the only way to get rid of a popular leader who is trying his best to bring the country back to sanity that was lost during the last administration.

+1 # Sally 2010-04-16 13:26
SarahPaln, Tea Baggers, Limbaugh, Beck, are all inciting a lot of trouble in this Country. I think they will rue the day they called our President a Communist and every name you could imagine. They must not forget that he is still in power and can do a lot of things without consent from Congress. I never saw anything so stupid as the way they all act in my life, since when do you stand on a Podium or put out signs that say your President is a Communist. Personally they are all getting out of hand riling the people up until something serious will happen and they will be responsible if anyone gets hurt because of what they are doing.

+1 # Gloria 2010-04-16 13:52
It is one thing to recognize these crazies but what do we do about them? Because we are a nation of laws, I can't see how we can head off this God awful problem coming at us. So we wait until the unthinkable happens and the Sara Palins of this world reminds us that they were only just talking and didn't mean for anyone to get hurt? I would really like to read some solutions and not just verbal hand wringing.

Go on-site for photo's, and the numerous links within this article. Just click on the following URL:


Saundra Hummer
April 18th, 2010, 01:43 PM



April 16, 2010

Media Matters:
All aboard the Fox Tea Party Express
(except you, Hannity)
Is Fox finally feeling the pressure and realizing that claiming to be a "fair and balanced" news outlet means you can't flat-out endorse and promote a political movement? Yes and no.

Following Fox's incessant promotion of the tea party rallies last year and the heavy criticism that ensued, one might have expected that Fox's coverage of the tea party rallies would be slightly more subdued this year. After all, News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch acknowledged that Fox shouldn't be "supporting the Tea Party or any other party" just last week.

But that didn't stop some of Fox's usual suspects from praising, promoting, and downright gushing over the events. In fact, Fox News on-air talent participated in over a dozen tea party events. Neil Cavuto, dedicating his entire show to a tea party event in Atlanta, actually promised to devote his hour on Fox to "what [the tea partiers] want to see happen."

Not to be outdone, chronic opportunist Dick Morris advertised his undoubtedly lucrative headlining appearances at tea party rallies in Arkansas, saying to Megyn Kelly, "I'm going to go there because Blanche Lincoln needs to be defeated." In case you still couldn't quite connect the dots between Fox's paid contributors and their participation in the tea party events, Morris told Kelly that he had a "minor role" in the tea party movement.

The brain trust at Fox & Friends tried to defend their shameless promotion of the rallies by claiming that the tea party is nonpartisan, despite the fact that the majority of those who identify themselves as tea party supporters are Republican. It also didn't help that the next day, fill-in-host Eric Bolling called the tea party principles "all very, very conservative issues" and "all great ideas." So much for the tea party being nonpartisan.

Fox also followed up on its coverage of the Tea Party Express, especially Sarah Palin's stop in Boston, with Caroline Shively reporting, "The idea is the same from the Boston Tea Party, too, 237 years ago." Brian Kilmeade also commented, "It's 1773 all over again." Greta Van Susteren promoted "Boston Tea Party Take 2" with an extensive excerpt of Palin's keynote address.

But these are just examples from Fox's opinion shows, right? The straight-up news programs would never compare this highly partisan political pep rally to an emblematic event that helped trigger America's fight for independence, right? There are significant distinctions between Fox's opinion programming and the hardworking, shoe-leather journalists whom Fox viewers rely on to provide the objective news of the day, right?

You tell me:

Special Report declares Tea Party Express protest the "21st century version" of the Boston Tea Party

None of this should be too surprising, considering we also found out this week that when a Republican consultant originally pitched the idea for the Tea Party Express in a GOP consulting firm, he counted on "some mentions and possibly even promotion from conservative/pro- tea party bloggers, talk radio hosts, Fox News commentators, etc." The consultant, Joe Wierzbicki, even cited the fact that "the April 15th tea parties may have been promoted by Fox News" in his pitch for the Tea Party Express.

Now for the encouraging news, a sign that Fox News executives may be getting the message that the salad days of "celebrat[ing] with Fox News" at any of four "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties" have come to an end. As Media Matters' Eric Hananoki noted, the Cincinnati Tea Party sold tickets to what was supposed to be a broadcast of Sean Hannity's Fox News show. Myriad criticisms from media experts and ombudsmen followed. The Los Angeles Times reported in an April 15 article that "[a]ngry Fox News executives ordered host Sean Hannity to abandon plans to broadcast his nightly show as part of a Tea Party rally in Cincinnati on Thursday after top executives learned that he was set to headline the event, proceeds from which would benefit the local Tea Party organization." The article added: "Furious, top officials recalled Hannity back to New York to do his show in his regular studio. The network plans to do an extensive post-mortem about the incident with [John] Finley [the show's executive producer] and Hannity's staff." I hope this was the straw that broke the camel's back and not a flash in the pan -- a harbinger for a new day in Fox News' tea party coverage. After all, Megyn Kelly couldn't even bring herself to inflate the crowd size at the "most high profile" tea party rally of the season.

Go on-site for numerous links within this article:
* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
April 18th, 2010, 05:29 PM
* * * * * * *
Southern Poverty Learning Center
Fighting Hate - Teaching Tolerance - Seeking Justice
* * *

Will We Once Again
Reject the Politics of Hate?

Richard Cohen

Earlier this month, my colleagues and I at the Southern Poverty Law Center were privileged to stand with U.S. Rep. John Lewis at the Civil Rights Memorial as he led a bipartisan congressional delegation in laying a wreath in honor of those who lost their lives in our country’s epic battle for equality.

The ceremony was held on the eve of the 45th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” that Sunday back in March of 1965 when Lewis and other civil rights advocates were beaten and tear-gassed by baton-wielding state troopers as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on a march in support of voting rights.

The pictures of the bloodied marchers pricked the conscience of the nation. Thousands of people of all races and faiths flocked to Selma and joined Lewis, Dr. King, and the people of the Black Belt of Alabama as they resumed the march for justice. As Dr. King explained, “If the worst in American life lurked in [Selma’s] dark street[s], the best of American instincts arose passionately from across the nation to overcome it.”

On March 25 – 45 years ago today – the marchers reached the state capitol in Montgomery. Their courage, their example, inspired the introduction and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, legislation that transformed our nation.

This past Sunday, Lewis was involved in another march. Along with other members of Congress, he walked up to Capitol Hill to cast a vote for health-care reform, another important piece of legislation with the potential to transform our nation.

But once again, Lewis was confronted with the ugly stain of racism. Angry “tea party” protesters shouted racial slurs at him and Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana. Another black congressman, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, was spit on. Rep. Barney Frank, an openly gay congressman, was the target of anti-gay epithets, and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez of Texas was called a "wetback."

Lewis said that the protesters at the Capitol reminded him of the angry mobs that confronted him during the ugly days of civil rights movement in the 1960s.

The question now is whether America will respond as it did 45 years ago when it saw the pictures of the racism at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Will people of good faith – of all races and faiths – stand with Rep. Lewis and reject the politics of hate? Or will the angry mob, fueled by racism and demagoguery, continue to swell?

Will “the best of American instincts,” to use Dr. King’s words from 45 years ago, once again arise “passionately from across the nation to overcome” the hate and fear that threatens to engulf us?

Go on-site to view any links or photo's. If they're included, just click on the following link

* * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
April 18th, 2010, 06:02 PM
* * * * * * *

New SPLC Report:
"Patriot" Groups, Militias Surge
Number in Past Year

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -The number of extremist groups in the United States exploded in 2009 as militias and other groups steeped in wild, antigovernment conspiracy theories exploited populist anger across the country and infiltrated the mainstream, according to a report issued today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Antigovernment "Patriot" groups - militias and other extremist organizations that see the federal government as their enemy - came roaring back to life over the past year after more than a decade out of the limelight.

The SPLC documented a 244 percent increase in the number of active Patriot groups in 2009. Their numbers grew from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 groups in 2009, an astonishing addition of 363 new groups in a single year. Militias - the paramilitary arm of the Patriot movement - were a major part of the increase, growing from 42 militias in 2008 to 127 in 2009.

The report, "Rage on the Right," is the cover story in the Spring 2010 issue of the SPLC's quarterly investigative journal Intelligence Report.

Rage on the Right

Patriot groups have been fueled by anger over the changing demographics of the country, the soaring public debt, the troubled economy and an array of initiatives by President Obama that have been branded "socialist" or even "fascist" by his political opponents.

"This extraordinary growth is a cause for grave concern," said Intelligence Report editor Mark Potok. "The people associated with the Patriot movement during its 1990s heyday produced an enormous amount of violence, most dramatically the Oklahoma City bombing that left 168 people dead."

The Patriot movement has made significant inroads into the conservative political scene, according to the new report. "The ‘tea parties' and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism," the report says.

Unlike the 1990s, the Patriot movement's central ideas are being promoted by people with large audiences, such as FOX News' Glenn Beck and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Beck, for instance, reinvigorated a key Patriot conspiracy theory - the charge that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is secretly running concentration camps - before finally "debunking" it.

The growth of Patriot groups comes at a time when the number of racist hate groups stayed at record levels - rising from 926 in 2008 to 932 in 2009, according to the report. The increase caps a decade in which the number of hate groups surged by 55 percent. The expansion would have been much greater in 2009 if not for the demise of the American National Socialist Workers Party, a key neo-Nazi network whose founder was arrested in October 2008.

There also has been a surge in "nativist extremist" groups - vigilante organizations that go beyond advocating strict immigration policy and actually confront or harass suspected immigrants. These groups grew from 173 groups in 2008 to 309 in 2009, a rise of nearly 80 percent.

These three strands of the radical right - the hate groups, the nativist extremist groups, and the Patriot organizations - are the most volatile elements on the American political landscape. Taken together, their numbers increased by more than 40 percent, rising from 1,248 groups in 2008 to 1,753 last year.

There are already signs of radical right violence reminiscent of the 1990s. Right-wing extremists have murdered six law enforcement officers since Obama's inauguration. Racist skinheads and others have been arrested in alleged plots to assassinate the president. Most recently, as recounted in the new issue of the Intelligence Report, a number of individuals with antigovernment, survivalist or racist views have been arrested in a series of bomb cases.

The hate groups listed in this report include neo-Nazis, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, Klansmen and black separatists. Other hate groups target gays or immigrants, and some specialize in producing racist music or propaganda denying the Holocaust. A list and interactive, state-by-state map of active hate groups can be viewed here.

Go on-site for the numerous links within this article:

Use the link up above^
* * * * *

April 18th, 2010, 09:43 PM
Change is coming to the USA and it isn't the kind Obama was talking about. Pretty soon we'll hear a lot more wing nuts using the favorite American battle cry..NUKE 'EM!!!!!!!!

Saundra Hummer
April 19th, 2010, 03:23 AM
Change is coming to the USA and it isn't the kind Obama was talking about. Pretty soon we'll hear a lot more wing nuts using the favorite American battle cry..NUKE 'EM!!!!!!!!

Where did we go wrong? Who taught these loonies their values? Is there any hope for a more sensible approach? If not, WHEW, BOY, HOWDY. We're in for it.


Saundra Hummer
April 19th, 2010, 03:33 PM

Tea partiers in two camps:
Palin vs. Paul

James Hohmann
April 19, 2010
04:46 AM EDT

Tea party activists are divided roughly into two camps, according to a new POLITICO/TargetPoint poll: one that’s libertarian-minded and largely indifferent to hot-button values issues and another that’s culturally conservative and equally concerned about social and fiscal issues.

The survey, an exit poll conducted Thursday by Edison Research at the massive Tax Day protest on the National Mall, found that the attendees were largely hostile to President Barack Obama and the national Democratic Party — three-quarters believe the president “is pursuing a socialist agenda.”

Yet they aren’t enamored of the Republican Party as an alternative. Overall, three out of four tea party attendees said they were “scared about the direction” of the country and “want to send a message to both political parties.”

The results, however, suggest a distinct fault line that runs through the tea party activist base, characterized by two wings led by the politicians who ranked highest when respondents were asked who “best exemplifies the goals of the tea party movement” — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former GOP presidential candidate.

Palin, who topped the list with 15 percent, speaks for the 43 percent of those polled expressing the distinctly conservative view that government does too much, while also saying that it needs to promote traditional values.

Paul’s thinking is reflected by an almost identical 42 percent who said government does too much but should not try to promote any particular set of values — the hallmarks of libertarians. He came in second to Palin with 12 percent.

When asked to choose from a list of candidates for president in 2012, Palin and Paul also finished one-two — with Palin at 15 percent and Paul at 14 percent.

In general, those who turned out for the April 15 event tended to be less culturally conservative than national Republicans.

Asked to rate their level of anger about 22 issues on a scale of one (not angry at all) to five (extremely angry), the issue that drew the most anger: the growing national debt. The least: courts granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Twenty-four percent said they’re “not at all” upset about gay marriage.

While 73 percent are extremely angry about government intrusion into personal lives, only 48 percent express the same sentiment about “the moral direction of the country.” For instance, only 50 percent of the tea partiers overall said they’re extremely angry about the number of abortions performed each year (16th of 22). That’s less than the proportion extremely angry about bailouts, earmarks and frivolous lawsuits.

“Literally, there’s more harm being done economically to this country than 100 A-bombs could accomplish,” said Dave Kidwell, a 44-year-old from the Detroit suburbs.

Specifically, 51 percent of tea party activists say “government should not promote any particular set of values,” while 46 percent said “government should promote traditional family values in our society.” Compare this to national Gallup Polls, which recently found 67 percent of self-identified Republicans think government should promote such values.

Paul performed best among those who don’t think government should promote any particular set of values, but Palin dominated among the family values set. Of Palin voters, 59 percent said they were either very or extremely angry about same-sex marriage. Among Paul voters, the number was 34 percent. Half of Palin’s tea party supporters attend weekly religious services; a quarter of Paul voters do.

Among the respondents, the two prominent figureheads polarize. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said they would not even consider voting for Palin if she ran for president in 2012; 59 percent said the same thing of Paul.

Indeed, no clear leader is emerging to pick up tea party support in the 2012 presidential election. Not one of a dozen Republicans could get more than 50 percent of tea partiers to say that they would even consider supporting them in the contest.

When asked why they’d come to the protest, two protesters who responded to the survey invoked their grandchildren — but to make different points that reflected the competing ideological pressures within the movement. Palin fan Barbara Denton, a 63-year-old from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, said she has lots of free time to push her political agenda now that she’s retired.

“I don’t want to hand my grandchildren a country that’s going in this direction,” she said, holding a large American flag. “We are a Christian country, and we need to remain that way. In case (Obama) doesn’t realize it, 86 percent of the population in this country says they believe in God. They’re not Muslim, and they’re not atheists. And he needs to figure it out.”

Rodney Rice, a 60-year-old financial broker who drove down with his wife from upstate New York, just wants government out of his life.

“I’ve never liked having to ask permission to do anything,” the lifelong Republican said, with a National Rifle Association hat shading his eyes from the setting sun. “I stayed within the rules of the law, treated society right and the government’s intruding more and more and more. And I don’t want that to happen. I’ve got three grandchildren. I want to see them have the same opportunities that I have.”

The tea party rallies have uniquely defined the movement because there’s no official platform, national committee or spokesman. Previous polls surveyed self-identified tea partiers by phone, potentially overstating the size of the movement and grouping sympathizers with actual participants.

The POLITICO/TargetPoint poll, the first of its kind, takes a statistically valid snapshot of tea party sympathizers engaged enough to actually attend an event. Altogether, 457 randomly selected adult attendees were approached over a five-hour period during the April 15 event on the Mall and asked to complete the self-administered, anonymous questionnaire. The response rate was 58 percent, and the sampling error is 5 percentage points, either way.

[TargetPoint Consulting is a market research and knowledge management firm that works with Republican and corporate clients. Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day exit poll information to major news organizations since 2003.]

For all their differences, these activists share much. They’ve traditionally supported Republicans: 70 percent backed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008; just 12 percent voted for Obama.

The majority agrees that neither major party can be trusted to fix government. On a generic congressional ballot pitting a Republican and Democrat against the “Tea Party,” 27 percent backed the unnamed tea party candidate and 25 percent supported the Republican. Twenty-seven percent said they don’t know how they’d vote.

The tea party activists on the Mall last week were better educated, more affluent and whiter than the country as a whole. One-third of the activists surveyed came from the Washington metropolitan area. Attendees were 64 percent male and 36 percent female. While 45-to-64-year-olds make up 26 percent of the population, they accounted for 49 percent of this crowd.

A third of those surveyed earned more than $100,000 in household income during 2009, and 62 percent came from households that earned at least $60,000. About three in 10 surveyed identified themselves as small-business owners.

Antipathy toward Democrats runs deep: 76 percent said the Democratic Party represents the views of the movement “not at all well.” Only 11 percent said they’d consider voting for Obama in 2012, and only 6 percent said they’d vote for a Democrat on the generic congressional ballot.

© 2010 Capitol News Company, LLC


Saundra Hummer
April 19th, 2010, 04:00 PM


Bill Moyers & Michael Winship:
Crocodile Tears on Wall Street

With all due respect, we can only wish those Tea Party activists who gathered in Washington and other cities this week weren't so single-minded about just who's responsible for all their troubles, real and imagined. They're up in arms, so to speak, against Big Government, especially the Obama administration.

If they thought this through, they'd be joining forces with other grassroots Americans who in the coming weeks will be demonstrating in Washington and other cities against High Finance, taking on Wall Street and the country's biggest banks.

The original Tea Party, remember, wasn't directed just against the British redcoats. Colonial patriots also took aim at the East India Company. That was the joint-stock enterprise originally chartered by the first Queen Elizabeth. Over the years, the government granted them special rights and privileges, which the owners turned into a monopoly over trade, including tea.

It may seem a bit of a stretch from tea to credit default swaps, but the principle is the same: when enormous private wealth goes unchecked, regular folks get hurt - badly. That's what happened in 2008 when the monied interests led us up the garden path to the great collapse.

So the Tea Party crowd should be demanding accountability from Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and scores of hedge funds and private equity firms that constitute what we loosely call Wall Street.

But are the culprits taking responsibility for devastating the lives of millions of ordinary Americans? Don't kid yourself. If you've been watching them appear before congressional committees and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission - the independent inquiry that's supposed to find out what really happened - you've no doubt been reaching for the Pepto-Bismol.

Here's Robert Rubin, former Treasury Secretary and director of Citigroup, testifying last week. "Almost all of us involved in the financial system, including financial firms, regulators, ratings agencies, analysts and commentators missed the powerful combination of forces at work and the serious possibility of a massive crisis," he said. "We all bear responsibility for not recognizing this, and I deeply regret that."

Okay, maybe you didn't have a crystal ball. But what about good, old-fashioned business sense? How could you make so much money and not know the score? "You are talking about a level of granularity no board will ever have," Rubin claimed. Citi paid you $120 million as a senior advisor and rainmaker and you're not responsible for knowing what's happening below you? You didn't bother to assess the risk you were peddling to clients?

The committee heard a similar alibi from Chuck Prince, who served as CEO of Citigroup during its meltdown: "Let me start by saying I'm sorry. I'm sorry that the financial crisis has had such a devastating impact on our country... And I'm sorry that our management team, starting with me, like so many others, could not see the unprecedented market collapse that lay before us."

Commission Chairman Phil Angelides, the former state treasurer of California, wasn't buying it. "The two of you, in charge of this organization, did not seem to have a grip on what was happening," he said, and to Rubin, "I don't know that you can have it two ways: you were either pulling the levers or asleep at the switch."

Nonetheless, the financiers wail, it was all an enormous accident, a once in a century calamity, an act of God. But of course that's not true. Lots of people saw it coming and made a bundle, taking off with the loot at the expense of the millions who lost their jobs, homes and savings. There's no longer any question that many bankers continued to game the system after the collapse - still paying themselves exorbitant salaries and bonuses while hitting everyday people with usurious same day paycheck loans, credit card fees and other charges - and refusing to help small and medium-sized businesses that could be creating employment.

The Tea Party gang really should have dropped by those Senate hearings this week looking into the failure of Washington Mutual, the bank that went belly up during the meltdown in September 2008 - the largest such failure in American history.

As an 18-month Senate investigation revealed, WaMu made subprime loans that its executives knew were rotten, then packaged them as mortgage securities and pawned them off on unsuspecting investors. Loan officers were paid by the number of mortgages they sold, and ran up the numbers by lying to customers and falsifying data so they could make bigger bucks and win trips to Maui and the Caribbean. At one Washington Mutual office in Montebello, California, 83 percent of the housing loans contained bogus information.

Then there's Lehman Brothers. Their misfortune, apart from some chicanery only now coming to light, was being small enough to fail. During those black September days two years ago, the Feds decided it was expendable and let it go, leading to America's biggest bankruptcy ever. In an admirable job of journalism this week, The NEW YORK TIMES reported that Lehman secretly controlled a company called Hudson Castle. Critics say it was used by Lehman to borrow money and to hide bad investments in commercial real estate and subprime mortgages.

But the week's award for sheer gall goes to a Chicago area hedge fund called Magnetar, named after a kind of neutron star that spews deadly radiation across the galaxies. Thanks to the teamwork of the investigative reporting Web site ProPublica, as well as public radio's Planet Money project and "This American Life," we learned that Magnetar worked with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Merrill Lynch and other investment banks to create toxic CDO's - collateralized debt obligations - securities backed by subprime mortgages that management knew were bad. Then Magnetar took that knowledge and bet against the very same investments they had recommended to buyers, selling short and making a fortune.

To simply call all of this "creative accounting" is to do it an injustice. This is corruption, cynicism and greed on a scale that would make the Roman Emperor Caligula cringe. Or rather, the Emperor Nero. He didn't just poison the citizens of Rome; legend has it that he burned the place down, fiddling around in the ashes just like our Wall Street tycoons.

But since we know all this, why is it so hard to hold Wall Street accountable? Which brings us to what the Tea Party people should have been complaining about this week. The banking industry and corporate America are fighting against proposed financial reform with all the money and influence at their disposal, attempting to preserve a system that would enable them to ransack the country once again.

Look at Eric Lichtblau's report this week, also in the NEW YORK TIMES, under the headline: "Lawmakers Regulate Banks, Then Flock to Them." The financial services industry has hired more than 125 former members of Congress and congressional staffers from both parties to help them fight off accountability.

No wonder, too, that this headline appeared in the TIMES this week: "GOP Takes Aim at Plans to Curb Finance Industry." That's not surprising. Earlier this year Republican politicians told Wall Street: Give us the scratch and we'll scrap reform.

The GOP's SWAT team - also known as the United States Chamber of Commerce - has already spent three million dollars to try to kill or cripple a key part of reform - the proposed new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. With the Chamber as their front, corporations have bankrolled ads that make it seem like the Red Army is at our doorsteps.

Advocates for reform have countered with ads of their own, but Democrats are deeply in hock to Wall Street, too. Remember the hedge fund Magnetar that bet against its own products? The owners covered their bets with ample campaign contributions to Rahm Emanuel. Yep, the same - President Obama's White House chief of staff. At the time he was an Illinois congressman and chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which collected millions of dollars from the financial services industry.

In fact, the Web site Politico.com reports that "the nation's ten richest hedge fund managers have dumped nearly one million dollars into campaign accounts over the past several years... consumer advocates and critics from other financial sectors say hedge funds would get off pretty easily" under the Senate reform bill.

Bottom line: "The Wall Street banks are the new American oligarchy - a group that gains political power because of its economic power, and then uses that political power for its own benefit." So write Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund; and James Kwak, former management consultant and software entrepreneur, in their important new book, 13 BANKERS: THE WALL STREET TAKEOVER AND THE NEXT FINANCIAL MELTDOWN.

Their words of warning and the past year and a half make you realize that as usual, Thomas Jefferson, whose birthday we celebrate this week, had it right. Back in 1816, he wrote, "I sincerely believe... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies."

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Saundra Hummer
April 19th, 2010, 04:32 PM

Chris Hedges' Columns

Noam Chomsky Has ‘Never Seen Anything Like This’

Posted on Apr 19, 2010
AP / Hussein Malla
Chris Hedges

Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite and the myths they perpetrate. Chomsky has done this despite being blacklisted by the commercial media, turned into a pariah by the academy and, by his own admission, being a pedantic and at times slightly boring speaker. He combines moral autonomy with rigorous scholarship, a remarkable grasp of detail and a searing intellect. He curtly dismisses our two-party system as a mirage orchestrated by the corporate state, excoriates the liberal intelligentsia for being fops and courtiers and describes the drivel of the commercial media as a form of “brainwashing.” And as our nation’s most prescient critic of unregulated capitalism, globalization and the poison of empire, he enters his 81st year warning us that we have little time left to save our anemic democracy.

“It is very similar to late Weimar Germany,” Chomsky told me when I called him at his office in Cambridge, Mass. “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”

“The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen,” Chomsky went on. “Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response. What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”

“I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime,” Chomsky added. “I am old enough to remember the 1930s. My whole family was unemployed. There were far more desperate conditions than today. But it was hopeful. People had hope. The CIO was organizing. No one wants to say it anymore but the Communist Party was the spearhead for labor and civil rights organizing. Even things like giving my unemployed seamstress aunt a week in the country. It was a life. There is nothing like that now. The mood of the country is frightening. The level of anger, frustration and hatred of institutions is not organized in a constructive way. It is going off into self-destructive fantasies.”

“I listen to talk radio,” Chomsky said. “I don’t want to hear Rush Limbaugh. I want to hear the people calling in. They are like [suicide pilot] Joe Stack. What is happening to me? I have done all the right things. I am a God-fearing Christian. I work hard for my family. I have a gun. I believe in the values of the country and my life is collapsing.”

Chomsky has, more than any other American intellectual, charted the downward spiral of the American political and economic system, in works such as “On Power and Ideology: The Managua Lectures,” “Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War, and US Political Culture,” “A New Generation Draws the Line: Kosovo, East Timor and the Standards of the West,” “Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky,” “Manufacturing Consent” and “Letters From Lexington: Reflections on Propaganda.”He reminds us that genuine intellectual inquiry is always subversive. It challenges cultural and political assumptions. It critiques structures. It is relentlessly self-critical. It implodes the self-indulgent myths and stereotypes we use to elevate ourselves and ignore our complicity in acts of violence and oppression. And it makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.

Chomsky reserves his fiercest venom for the liberal elite in the press, the universities and the political system who serve as a smoke screen for the cruelty of unchecked capitalism and imperial war. He exposes their moral and intellectual posturing as a fraud. And this is why Chomsky is hated, and perhaps feared, more among liberal elites than among the right wing he also excoriates. When Christopher Hitchens decided to become a windup doll for the Bush administration after the attacks of 9/11, one of the first things he did was write a vicious article attacking Chomsky. Hitchens, unlike most of those he served, knew which intellectual in America mattered.

[Editor’s note: To see some of the articles in the 2001 exchanges between Hitchens and Chomsky, click here, here, here and here.] Go on-site to gain access to these links

“I don’t bother writing about Fox News,” Chomsky said. “It is too easy. What I talk about are the liberal intellectuals, the ones who portray themselves and perceive themselves as challenging power, as courageous, as standing up for truth and justice. They are basically the guardians of the faith. They set the limits. They tell us how far we can go. They say, ‘Look how courageous I am.’ But do not go one millimeter beyond that. At least for the educated sectors, they are the most dangerous in supporting power.”

Chomsky, because he steps outside of every group and eschews all ideologies, has been crucial to American discourse for decades, from his work on the Vietnam War to his criticisms of the Obama administration. He stubbornly maintains his position as an iconoclast, one who distrusts power in any form.

“Most intellectuals have a self-understanding of themselves as the conscience of humanity,” said the Middle East scholar Norman Finkelstein. “They revel in and admire someone like Vaclav Havel. Chomsky is contemptuous of Havel. Chomsky embraces the Julien Benda view of the world. There are two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege it will always be at the expense of truth and justice. Benda says that the credo of any true intellectual has to be, as Christ said, ‘my kingdom is not of this world.’ Chomsky exposes the pretenses of those who claim to be the bearers of truth and justice. He shows that in fact these intellectuals are the bearers of power and privilege and all the evil that attends it.”

“Some of Chomsky’s books will consist of things like analyzing the misrepresentations of the Arias plan in Central America, and he will devote 200 pages to it,” Finkelstein said. “And two years later, who will have heard of Oscar Arias? It causes you to wonder would Chomsky have been wiser to write things on a grander scale, things with a more enduring quality so that you read them forty or sixty years later. This is what Russell did in books like ‘Marriage and Morals.’ Can you even read any longer what Chomsky wrote on Vietnam and Central America? The answer has to often be no. This tells you something about him. He is not writing for ego. If he were writing for ego he would have written in a grand style that would have buttressed his legacy. He is writing because he wants to effect political change. He cares about the lives of people and there the details count. He is trying to refute the daily lies spewed out by the establishment media. He could have devoted his time to writing philosophical treatises that would have endured like Kant or Russell. But he invested in the tiny details which make a difference to win a political battle.”

“I try to encourage people to think for themselves, to question standard assumptions,” Chomsky said when asked about his goals. “Don’t take assumptions for granted. Begin by taking a skeptical attitude toward anything that is conventional wisdom. Make it justify itself. It usually can’t. Be willing to ask questions about what is taken for granted. Try to think things through for yourself. There is plenty of information. You have got to learn how to judge, evaluate and compare it with other things. You have to take some things on trust or you can’t survive. But if there is something significant and important don’t take it on trust. As soon as you read anything that is anonymous you should immediately distrust it. If you read in the newspapers that Iran is defying the international community, ask who is the international community? India is opposed to sanctions. China is opposed to sanctions. Brazil is opposed to sanctions. The Non-Aligned Movement is vigorously opposed to sanctions and has been for years. Who is the international community? It is Washington and anyone who happens to agree with it. You can figure that out, but you have to do work. It is the same on issue after issue.”

Chomsky’s courage to speak on behalf of those, such as the Palestinians, whose suffering is often minimized or ignored in mass culture, holds up the possibility of the moral life. And, perhaps even more than his scholarship, his example of intellectual and moral independence sustains all who defy the cant of the crowd to speak the truth.

“I cannot tell you how many people, myself included, and this is not hyperbole, whose lives were changed by him,” said Finkelstein, who has been driven out of several university posts for his intellectual courage and independence. “Were it not for Chomsky I would have long ago succumbed. I was beaten and battered in my professional life. It was only the knowledge that one of the greatest minds in human history has faith in me that compensates for this constant, relentless and vicious battering. There are many people who are considered nonentities, the so-called little people of this world, who suddenly get an e-mail from Noam Chomsky. It breathes new life into you. Chomsky has stirred many, many people to realize a level of their potential that would forever been lost.”

Related Entries

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April 18, 2010 Voices of the Tea Party

http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/noam_chomsky_has_never_seen_anything_like_this_201 00419/

Saundra Hummer
April 21st, 2010, 01:50 AM

Arizona 'birther’ bill forces Obama to show birth certificate

Daniel Tencer
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
5:19 pm

An Arizona lawmaker fears her state is becoming a "laughing stock" after the state House passed a bill that will force President Barack Obama to present his birth certificate before being certified to run for president in the state.

Phoenix Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema said the bill passed Monday is among a handful of legislative items that are making Arizona "the laughing stock of the nation."

While the bill does not target President Obama by name, requiring all presidential candidates to show proof of US birth, its intention is clear. "The legislation originated from a fringe group that believes President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and therefore ineligible to be president," reports the Arizona Republic.

The law allows the secretary of state to keep a candidate from registering to run if he or she has "reasonable cause" to believe the candidate doesn't meet the necessary requirements, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Republicans continue to take Arizona down the wrong track by wasting taxpayers' time on frivolous legislation instead of working on important issues like health care for kids and seniors and education," Sinema said, as quoted at the Republic.

The Arizona House of Representatives voted by a margin of 31 to 22 on Monday to add the measure to a larger bill. The bill will have to be voted on again, separately, in the House, and will have to get Senate assent before it can be sent to Gov. Jan Brewer for her signature.

"Attempts have been made in other states, such as Florida and Oklahoma, to introduce similar legislation," the New York Post reports. "None of them have ever become law."

The Republic notes that there are concerns about the bill's constitutionality.

"Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett also expressed concern about Burges' amendment, saying that creating state-level eligibility requirements to run for federal office could violate the U.S. Constitution."
"While everyone has an interest in ensuring that only eligible citizens run for president, there are obvious issues with states implementing what could become a patchwork of different tests for a presidential candidate to prove his/her citizenship," said Bennett's spokesman, Matthew Benson, in an e-mail.

On Monday, the Arizona state Senate voted in favor of a controversial immigration bill that would "make it a state crime for illegal immigrants to not have an alien registration document," the AP reports. "It also would require police to question people about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally."

That clause about questioning people without suspicion has raised the ire of civil libertarians, who say it will infringe on basic human rights. On Sunday, the head of the US's largest Catholic diocese compared the law to "Nazi" and "communist tactics" used to sniff out dissidents.

"I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation," Cardinal Roger Mahoney wrote on his blog, describing the bill as "the country's most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law."

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April 21st, 2010, 02:56 PM
If you want to see the sad level that American thought has descended to just read the comments of Yahoo news. I repeat andi's question "Where did we go wrong."

Saundra Hummer
April 21st, 2010, 03:08 PM


Killing the Competition
Jim Hightower
Published on Wednesday,
April 21, 2010
Creators Syndicate
Golly, whatever happened to America's good ol', bold-and-brassy, can-do competitive drive?

To see a troubling sign for our nation's famed, free-enterprise frontier spirit, sneak a peek at the downward flight path of America's major airlines. These corporations have become no-can-do, anti-competition behemoths, whining that there are too many airlines, too many planes, too much competition.

"It's a jungle out there," wail top executives of the airlines. So, to enhance their "competitiveness," they are urging a rash of mergers that would consolidate the industry into fewer and even bigger corporations. Yes, in their alternate (and perverse) universe, airline CEOs say that the only way they can compete is to ... well, have less competition!

"The industry needs to evolve into a more rational structure," asserts a top official at American Airlines. "We have an industry that is too fragmented, with too many competitors and with different ideas of capacity, pricing and strategic activity."

Hmmm. Where have we heard that before? Oh yes, from Adam Smith, the 18th century Scotish economist who is considered a founding guru of the free enterprise system. The notion of "many competitors ... with different ideas of capacity, pricing and strategic activity" is precisely what Smith hailed as the proper model for free enterprise.

But the competitiveness that Smith celebrated as beneficial to society is what today's timorous airline leaders see as an irritating barrier that they simply can't hurdle. Better just to lower the competitive hurdle. As the former chairman of Continental Airlines put it: "I mean, do we really need 19 domestic airlines in the United States? I think three or four network airlines would still give you plenty of competition."

Plenty? What he and other executives mean by "a more rational structure" is one that allows a small club of gentlemen to divvy up the market, cut flights and raise ticket prices in unison — without being challenged by pesky rivals.

Soon, at least one more brand name is expected to join Northwest, Pan Am, TWA and others that have succumbed to consolidation. Both Continental and US Airwaysare presently in talks to merge with United Airlines. United's chief, Glenn Tilton, has long been a podium-pounding evangelist for the corporate gospel of shrinking the industry into a handful of more cooperative competitors. This is the route to consistent industry profits, he preaches.

Well, yeah! It's called a shared monopoly, and any goober in Guccis can make profits from that rigged deal. Of course, Tilton comes from the oil industry, where he led the merger of Texaco into Chevron, so he's partial to creating a tidier market for corporate fun and profit — consumers be damned.

Astonishingly, to press their case for consolidation, industry executives point to the example of the telecommunications giants, which went on a merger binge a decade ago. Excuse me, but consumer satisfaction with the arrogance and avarice of conglomerated and consolidated telecom providers ranks down around public approval ratings for Wall Street banksters.

Also, Tilton is hardly an inspirational figure for American workers. In fact, he's a poster boy for rapacious CEOs who try to profit by knocking down employees. He used our country's skewed bankruptcy laws to abrogate contracts, forcing flight attendants, mechanics and pilots to take massive cuts in pay, health care benefits and pensions. He did, however, exclude one employee from the pain: himself. He pocketed $6,471,062 in 2008.

You'll also be glad to know that he's been an industry leader in slashing service at United and socking customers with a plethora of new fees. Now, Tilton wants to bring his executive magic to Continental, US Air — and who knows what after that?

Thank goodness the airline chiefs are not trying to run a hot dog stand or taco trailer. The competition would kill them.

© 2010 Creators.com

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~ .

Saundra Hummer
April 21st, 2010, 03:27 PM
If you want to see the sad level that American thought has descended to just read the comments of Yahoo news. I repeat andi's question "Where did we go wrong."

On face book, when I posted a comment about the PNAC, one woman there went out of it, saying it is all lies. When I posted about Glen Beck, all that I posted about him, such as the Vicks in the nose antic so he could cry at will, it too, or so she believes, was all lies. When I came down on Glen Beck, and Sarah Palin, it were as if I were being sacreligious to the max. She was so rabid about her beliefs that I told her about Fact Check.com, but she said I couldn't brainwash her, to go Fact Check myself.

She believes Glen Beck is educational. He's educating everyone you know, and she has leared a lot from him. About people like me as well, and that I should go away, I just told her "Naw, think I'll just stick around just to push your buttons", or something close to that. I mean she was out of it over what I had posted, all of which is factual. "Sicko" is what she called the web site 'Raw Story", not choosing to believe anything written there, even when it's been proven. She believed that only Fox News, Glen Beck, and their like, are truthful. What do you do when people choose to believe falsehoods and tainted news reports? She says she has learned a lot from Glen Beck., so this is what people in the real world have to deal with, so where is the rationale in such thought processes?

How do we progress when there's so many obviously bigoted people and organizations out there, such as the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, & Glen Beck devotee's? I believe we have to become more progressive and gregarious with those who are thinking straight, and get our own beliefs out there where they can make a difference. We need to get together and not let the hate parties, and the party of corporate America rule over us. Now is the time to act, as they have already made too many inroads into our everyday lives. They have already put the hurt on us. We can't afford to let them make any more advances.

Saundra Hummer
April 21st, 2010, 06:57 PM
. . . . . . .

Seasonings to spice up your health
posted by
Landon Hall
April 15th, 2010
5:00 am
The spices in your kitchen can do more than add zest to dinner. They can improve your health.

According to the May/June issue of the younger-than-it-sounds AARP magazine, five spices in particular are good for the brain:

1. Turmeric, an essential ingredient in curry, breaks up the plaques that form on brain tissue, causing Alzheimer’s, according to a UCLA study. Visit HealthDiaries.com for a list of 20 health benefits of this Indian staple.

2. Saffron, an herb that turns regular white rice into the yummy yellow kind, has been used to treat mild to moderate depression.

3. Garlic’s heart-helping powers are well-documented: University of Connecticut School of Medicine researchers reported last year that a gas released when you crush garlic (as opposed to using dried) enhances blood flow. It also can eliminate some brain-cancer cells, according to a 2007 study.

4. A study at the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Mo. (maybe a busier city would have provided more test subjects) showed that 48 percent of migraine sufferers with mild headaches saw their pain go away within two hours of taking ginger, along with the herb feverfew (which comes from a daisy-like bush). Another 34 percent reported less pain.

5. Cinnamon. It could be the blood-sugar-regulating properties, but a recent study showed that cinnamon helps the brain process visual stimuli faster.

Elizabeth Montez Fazai, assistant culinary manager at Sur La Table in Newport Beach, says she’s become a big fan of turmeric lately, for its versatility and healthfulness.

“It’s starting to infiltrate people’s knowledge base,” she said.

She says it doesn’t taste like curry at all but has a bitter, savory flavor. Here’s an easy dish she teaches her class: Heat some oil on high, but use grapeseed or canola oil, something with a high smoke point. Add some broccoli, garlic and turmeric on top. Sear it in the oil for a bit, then add 1/4 cup water to steam the vegetables. The turmeric will form a crunchy crust on one side.

As good as some spices are for you, consumers should be wary of any outlandish claims made by manufacturers. This story in the Baltimore Sun shows how spice companies often trumpet the therapeutic qualities of their products after putting them through trials they themselves paid for.

Ever wanted to grow your own herb garden? Check out this Register story. And be sure to visit the OCR’s food page.

If you’re still not sated, here are some more delectable Healthy Living posts about food:

1,000-cal club: Cheesecake Factory's lineup
Seasonings to spice up your health
Hungry Girl builds a healthier French toast
Happy 80th birthday to the Twinkie
1,000-cal club: Jack in the Box Oreo shake
Chocolate good for heart, in tiny amounts
Kraft cuts salt, a nod to changing tastes
‘Food Inc.' director: Movement is growing
Act naturally: Healthy products expo turns 30
U.S. spends $152B yearly on food illnesses

Posted in Food:
• Alzheimer's disease • brain • cancer • spices

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
April 21st, 2010, 10:53 PM

Radical Muslim Group Warns 'South Park' Writers

Dana Chivvis
AOL News NEW YORK (April 21) -- The story sounds like the plot outline of a "South Park" episode, but it's playing out in reality. A New York City radical Islamic group, Revolution Muslim, posted a warning to "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker on its Web site in response to last week's episode, which depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a character wearing a bear suit.

The post told the satirists that the episode would likely leave them in the same position as Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, who was shot to death while biking to work in Amsterdam in 2004. Van Gogh had made a short film critical of the treatment of women in Islamic society.

"We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them," Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee wrote in the post, according to The New York Times.

Go on-site to gain access to this video:

The group's Web site has been taken down by its host, according to The Globe and Mail, and a phone number listed for it has been disconnected.

In the controversial "South Park" episode, which aired April 14, every celebrity ever insulted by the show joined a class-action lawsuit. Tom Cruise promises to end the lawsuit if the town can introduce him to the Prophet Muhammad. When the prophet appears, he is wearing a bear suit.

The subplot involving Muhammad is meant to satirize the controversy surrounding cartoons published in Europe in 2005 and 2007 depicting the prophet's image. The cartoons led to violent protests and condemnations across Europe and the Middle East. In 2006, Comedy Central banned Stone and Parker from depicting Muhammad in their show.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Younes Abdullah Mohammed, one of Revolution Muslim's founders, said the blog was not calling for Stone's and Parker's killings outright.

"If it happens to them, they deserve it," Mohammed told The Globe and Mail, explaining that sharia law would allow the killings. " 'South Park' plays a role in the hedonistic, vice-based society that keeps America ignorant."

Last year, Mohammed told CNN that there was nothing wrong with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"I don't think it was wrong, I think it was justified," Mohammed said. "We're commanded to terrorize the disbelievers."

In the interview, Mohammed defines "terrorize" as "making them fearful so that they think twice before they go rape your mother or kill your brother or go onto your land and try to steal your resources."

Comedy Central has not commented on the blog post. The second half of last week's episode airs tonight.

Filed under: Nation, Entertainment

+++++++++++++ .

April 22nd, 2010, 01:08 PM
On face book, when I posted a comment about the PNAC, one woman there went out of it, saying it is all lies. When I posted about Glen Beck, all that I posted about him, such as the Vicks in the nose antic so he could cry at will, it too, or so she believes, was all lies. When I came down on Glen Beck, and Sarah Palin, it were as if I were being sacreligious to the max. She was so rabid about her beliefs that I told her about Fact Check.com, but she said I couldn't brainwash her, to go Fact Check myself.

She believes Glen Beck is educational. He's educating everyone you know, and she has leared a lot from him. About people like me as well, and that I should go away, I just told her "Naw, think I'll just stick around just to push your buttons", or something close to that. I mean she was out of it over what I had posted, all of which is factual. "Sicko" is what she called the web site 'Raw Story", not choosing to believe anything written there, even when it's been proven. She believed that only Fox News, Glen Beck, and their like, are truthful. What do you do when people choose to believe falsehoods and tainted news reports? She says she has learned a lot from Glen Beck., so this is what people in the real world have to deal with, so where is the rationale in such thought processes?

How do we progress when there's so many obviously bigoted people and organizations out there, such as the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, & Glen Beck devotee's? I believe we have to become more progressive and gregarious with those who are thinking straight, and get our own beliefs out there where they can make a difference. We need to get together and not let the hate parties, and the party of corporate America rule over us. Now is the time to act, as they have already made too many inroads into our everyday lives. They have already put the hurt on us. We can't afford to let them make any more advances.

I believe that. in great part, this talk. especially from the right, is based in fear. The fear of change and I don't mean change brought about by Obama or Washington but rather historical that has to come and is coming. These people are not conscious of it but feel it none the less. It is almost a primal fear, like an animal feels when threatened. But the human animal's instincts have been dulled over the centuries and so while he feels it in his gut he has even less understanding of it than the dog who is shivering out of fear. In that state that dog will become vicious to protect himself and a human is no different in that respect.

We are no longer the nation we were 35 or 40 years ago. We are no longer the undisputed number one nation is the world with the best of everything. We have slipped, in a natural historical process. But those with less intellectual reasoning ability cannot understand that and this is where the fear sets in because they do not want to or cannot face the facts that are in front of their eyes. Empires and nations like people, die. Some live longer than others but in the end they all die...except maybe the Chinese who have been around lo long that they have had several returns from the dead so to speak. Is it any wonder that the mythical "phoenix" is, along with the dragon and the tiger, the most important of symbols in their culture. It is a fact that as we come toward the present that empires have lasted short and short periods of time. Ours is showing the ravages of time, degeneration etc in barely a hundred years. We have really only been alone as "number one" since the collapse of Europe in 1945. But look what we have accomplished as innovations, scientific progress, culture and intellectualism in those scant 100 years. It has been more than any other empire before us in a shorter span of time. This partly because we we so isolated from the rest of the world and with a sparsely populated nation to our north and the chaotic clashing of cultures to our south. But that is coming to and end and the lower echelons of our society are worried and frightened out of their wits at the scant prospects for our future. They are incapable of reversing the trends of history and are looking to leaders to make things "like the were'. Yet we have few leaders who they trust because they have allowed themselves to become indolent like every other great nation before us.

So the Sarah Palins, Glen Becks and Rush Limbaughs have become the aspirin to cure those who are afraid to think on their own and face the situation that exists but the aspirin only treat the symptoms. The headache is monetarily cured the the cause is a tumor that continues to grow. We may slow down the ravages of time but we cannot stop it. And these momentary fixes, in reality, do nothing. Like FDR said "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." but today the fear is so strong it has paralyzed the mind of the nation and dragged it down. Unless the people drop the idea that they will be saved by loud voice that offer no real solutions and start thinking for themselves and taking care of business progress, which is difficult as it is to accomplish, our progress may well come to a standstill and we will be looking at other passing us up on the road we are on. All of us, even the most non-thinking of us know that there is no "magic bullet" so we now have to stop ourselves from looking for it and put our shoulders to the grind-stone if we expect any kind of a future at all

Saundra Hummer
April 22nd, 2010, 09:06 PM
Originally posted by Bluebrew. "Quote": So the Sarah Palins, Glen Becks and Rush Limbaughs have become the aspirin to cure those who are afraid to think on their own and face the situation that exists but the aspirin only treat the symptoms. The headache is monetarily cured the the cause is a tumor that continues to grow. We may slow down the ravages of time but we cannot stop it. And these momentary fixes, in reality, do nothing. Like FDR said "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." but today the fear is so strong it has paralyzed the mind of the nation and dragged it down. Unless the people drop the idea that they will be saved by loud voice that offer no real solutions and start thinking for themselves and taking care of business progress, which is difficult as it is to accomplish, our progress may well come to a standstill and we will be looking at other passing us up on the road we are on. All of us, even the most non-thinking of us know that there is no "magic bullet" so we now have to stop ourselves from looking for it and put our shoulders to the grind-stone if we expect any kind of a future at all. "End Quote".

The thing is, these people aren't part of any longed, and hoped for solution, instead they're a diversion, therefore all of the craziness the hate jocks put out each and every day, all of the hate they spew, is picked up by the people who idolize them, and they run with it. So they're all, to our detriment, a part of the problem. Without rational thought and actions how will we ever rebound from the mess we've found ourselves in?

No end in sight is there?

Saundra Hummer
April 23rd, 2010, 04:56 PM

Threat against ‘South Park’ creators highlights dilemma for media companies
Comedy Central bleeped out all references to the prophet Muhammad in the show after he was depicted dressed as a bear. The show’s creators disagreed strongly with the decision.


Recent “South Park” broadcasts depicted Muhammad dressed as a bear, prompting a threat against creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. (Comedy Central / July 28, 2009)
Scott Collins and Matea Gold
Los Angeles Times
April 23, 2010

In its 200 shows, the irreverent animated program "South Park" has mercilessly satirized Christianity, Buddhism, Scientology, the blind and disabled, gay people, Hollywood celebrities and politicians of all persuasions, weathering the resulting protests and threats of boycotts.


FOR THE RECORD: Threat to "South Park" creators: An article in Friday's Section A about the Comedy Central network's response to an online threat by radical Muslims made against "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone said a clip of an interview with Parker and Stone was posted on the website boingboing.com. The website's correct address is boingboing.net.

But this week, after an ominous threat from a radical Muslim website, the network that airs the program bleeped out all references to the prophet Muhammad in the second of two episodes set to feature the holy figure dressed in a bear costume. The incident provides the latest example that media conglomerates are still struggling to balance free speech with safety concerns and religious sensitivities, six years after Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was slain for making a film critical of Islamic society.

Comedy Central declined to comment on the latest incident. But "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone clearly disagreed with their bosses' handling of the situation. A statement posted on their website said that executives "made a determination to alter the episode" without their approval and that the usual wrap-up speech from one character didn't mention Muhammad "but it got bleeped too."

The network may have thought it had no choice after revolutionmuslim.com, the website of a fringe group, delivered a grim warning about last week's episode, which depicted Muhammad dressed as a bear.

"We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show," the posting said. A photo of Van Gogh's body lying in the street was included with the original posting, which has been unavailable to some Web users since news of the item broke earlier this week. "This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them."

Experts say that in trying to forestall such threats, media companies may be setting dangerous precedents — a possibility underscored by the fact that "South Park" has strirred up a free-speech issue that, while dormant for years, has now exploded anew.

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh said that although he sympathizes with the predicament faced by Comedy Central, the network has potentially empowered other extremists by how it has chosen to handle the situation.

"The consequence of this position is that the thugs win and people have more incentive to be thugs," said Volokh, who teaches free speech and religious freedom law. "There are lots of people out there who would very much like to get certain kind of material removed, whether religious or political. The more they see others winning, the more they will be likely to do the same. Behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated."

In 2005, an uproar over Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper rocked Europe and the media industry worldwide, with many newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, declining to publish the materials that some found offensive. One of the cartoons showed the prophet wearing a bomb as a turban that was about to explode. Many Muslims believe that Islamic teachings forbid showing images of Muhammad.

Revolution Muslim, the extremist group that issued the graphic warning, is a relatively small fringe organization based out of New York, said Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism.

The organization, which formed in 2007 and includes about a dozen members, is mostly known for posting inflammatory and often threatening comments on its website, including a poem last October during the Jewish High Holy Days asking God to kill all the Jews. Its members also stage protests in front of New York mosques, advocating a more fundamentalist form of Islam.

The FBI was aware of the matter, but declined to comment.

The irony is that some of the group's postings could be construed as hate speech and therefore raise their own free-speech issues.

"This group definitely crosses the line, or is right on the line, in terms of what is acceptable speech," Segal said. "There is no direct link between this group and violence yet. But by posting this type of information, you never know who is going to take it seriously."

The ADL has identified Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, the blogger who posted the warning about "South Park," as Zachary A. Chesser, a former student at George Mason University who lives in Virginia and has become more active with Revolution Muslim in the last several months.

On April 15, he wrote on one of his Twitter accounts: "May Allah kill Matt Stone and Trey Parker and burn them in Hell for all eternity. They insult our prophets Muhammad, Jesus, and Moses."

Later, he posted a clip from an interview of Stone and Parker with the website boingboing.com, in which the host asked if they feared that they would be bombed for showing a depiction of the prophet Muhammad on their show.

Al-Amrikee noted: "Perhaps they are not, perhaps they should be, only time will tell."

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights and advocacy group, called Revolution Muslim "an extreme fringe group that has absolutely no credibility within the Muslim community.

"In fact, most Muslims suspect they were set up only to make Muslims look bad," Hooper said. "We just have very deep suspicions. They say such outrageous, irresponsible things that it almost seems like they're doing it to smear Islam."

He said he was aware of the recent depiction on "South Park" of Muhammad in a bear suit, but said CAIR has not issued any formal statement about the incident because the group doesn't want to give the show any more attention.

"People are pretty tired of this whole ‘Let's insult the prophet Muhammad thing,'" he said.

Segal said that although he does not expect the warning by Revolution Muslim to stir the kind of mass protests that followed the Danish cartoon controversy, he said the group's rhetoric must be taken seriously.

"You don't know what crazy person is going to respond," he said. "This is in context of a relatively silly, funny show, but a threat is a threat."

For fans of "South Park," the controversy has a familiar air. The show has taken great relish in attacking anyone the creators deem ridiculous or self-important, with celebrities and religion serving as favorite targets. In 2006, longtime cast member Isaac Hayes quit after the series lampooned Scientology.

A group of New Zealand bishops was so offended by the show's depiction of the Virgin Mary that it sought unsuccessfully to have the program banned. But "South Park" has run into more serious problems when making light of Islamic strictures against showing Muhammad.

In 2006, Comedy Central censored the producers' plans to depict the prophet in the episodes known as "Cartoon Wars."

Co-creator Stone, in an interview with boingboing.net, chided his employers in that case. "It's just sad," he said.

He also noted that paradoxically, the network continued to run an episode from an earlier season in which Muhammad is not only shown but speaks, along with Jesus of Nazareth, Buddha and other religious figures. "It was before the Danish cartoon controversy, so it somehow is fine," Stone said. "After that," he said, network self-censorship was "the new normal."

Censoring of 'South Park' episode underscores struggle to balance free speech and religious sensitivities
Muslim group warns 'South Park' creators after Muhammad scene
'South Park' has fun with Kanye West's ego
Controversial cartoons
Trey Parker on a 'South Park' movie sequel
'South Park' vs. Lucas and Spielberg: Too far?
'South Park' stays relevant
By Scott Collins and Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times


Scott Glover contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times




Saundra Hummer
April 24th, 2010, 02:47 AM

Media Matters:
Fox News' ever-expanding ethics nightmare

April 23, 2010
Another week, another handful of ethical scandals that should permanently sink Fox's claim of being a legitimate news organization.

To recap: Last week, they gave us twin scandals starring Fox News stalwarts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. "Furious" Fox News execs pulled Sean Hannity from his planned show filming/fundraiser for the Cincinnati Tea Party after numerous news veterans and watchdogs called foul.

O'Reilly spent last week reminding us of his willful ignorance by repeatedly falsely asserting that "no one" on Fox promoted the falsehood that "jail time" was a penalty for not buying insurance under the health care reform bill. He was outrageously wrong.

Though Howard Kurtz reported that Fox plans to "keep a tighter rein on Hannity and others" in the wake of the tea party scandal, we remain skeptical. Fox has a long history of promising change in the wake of damaging ethics scandals, then failing to deliver on those promises.

Indeed, despite cancelling Hannity's tea party event, Fox News has yet to cancel a planned appearance by Fox Business host John Stossel at a paid event for a nonprofit organization with very close ties to the energy industry. If history is any indicator, Fox will hold its breath and hope that everyone forgets about the Stossel fundraiser.

Of course, this being Fox News, Stossel's planned fundraiser wasn't even the cable channel's biggest ethics scandal this week.

While a great deal of attention has deservedly been given to Rupert Murdoch's statement that Fox News "shouldn't be promoting the tea party," the rest of his comment -- "or any other party" -- is equally notable. So, how's Fox's supposedly frowned-upon promotion of that "other party" -- the GOP -- going? In a word: lucratively.

As we detailed last week, Fox News hosts and contributors have raised millions of dollars for Republican candidates and causes using PACs, 527s, and 501(c)(4) organizations.

In a follow-up report this week, we detailed the massive scope of Fox's fundraising for the GOP:

In recent years, at least twenty Fox News personalities have endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or causes, or against Democratic candidates or causes, in more than 300 instances and in at least 49 states. Republican parties and officials have routinely touted these personalities' affiliations with Fox News to sell and promote their events.

In their defense, they did miss Wyoming.

Were Fox an actual news organization that cared about journalistic standards, all of these ethics scandals would be excellent fodder for its weekly media criticism show, Fox News Watch. Unfortunately, as we noted last weekend, they ignored the O'Reilly and Hannity scandals in favor of such pressing stories as media coverage of the new Oprah bio. Forthcoming coverage of the Fox Newsers' fundraising seems unlikely.

Media Matters reporter and senior editor Joe Strupp pointed out that while Fox News Watch was once a source of legitimate media criticism, the show has increasingly transformed into yet another megaphone for GOP talking points. Strupp quoted former Fox News Watch host Eric Burns (no relation to Media Matters President Eric Burns) saying: "The show was getting to be more and more of a struggle to do fairly. There was a progression of interference to try to make the show more right-wing. I fought very hard against it."

As Media Matters President Eric Burns pointed out on MSNBC this week, "When you have a famed, well known Republican hitman -- Roger Ailes -- running a news network, this is what you're going to get."

Fox News has a slightly different take, however. As Fox News Watch put it in the promo for its segment on Ailes' new ratings high, "Fairness plus balance equals success."

Take note, CNN.

Other stories this week

If dishonesty won't derail financial reform, maybe denial will

Right-wing story time this week -- brought to you by Frank Luntz -- centered around the claim that financial reform legislation would encourage perpetual and permanent taxpayer bailouts. The genesis of this particular tall tale is Luntz's January memo that advised opponents of financial regulatory reform to tie the issue to big bank bailouts. Message received. Driving the clown car was Glenn Beck, who appeared on Fox & Friends to decry the "insane" idea of using $50 billion to save failing firms; Michelle Malkin claimed the bill would "institutionalize and make permanent financial bailouts"; Fox Business' Charles Gasparino said the bill contained a "slush fund" of "$50 billion to bail you out." Actually, the $50 billion fund would be paid for by the financial services industry and would cover the costs of the orderly liquidation of failing firms, quite clearly the opposite of a bailout. No worries. The Wall Street Journal's John Fund tried to argue that the bill was bad because it would bail out firms and because it let the government liquidate them. Rush Limbaugh complained that it was "a bailout bill, or a destroy 'em bill." Neat trick.

Not content to distort the bill to push their talking points, media conservatives also trumped up the completely baseless allegation that the Obama administration colluded with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sue Goldman Sachs over alleged fraud, all to create a villain in the financial reform narrative. Now that would be big -- bigger even than, say, allegedly failing to disclose to investors that the creator of a fund you were selling them is betting on its failure. And so it was, without a scintilla of evidence, that CNN contributor Erick Erickson claimed on his blog that the administration was "colluding to destroy Goldman Sachs." Big Government said Obama was "in need of a villain to serve as a political piñata," and Fox News aggressively pushed the baseless accusation, which SEC officials and the White House strongly denied.

Right-wing media figures also sweated to the oldies while attacking financial reform this week, dragging out a greatest hits collection of anti-progressive attacks to criticize yet another reform bill. Karl Rove and Fox News claimed health care financial reform meant the government would soon by spying on individual bank accounts with a research office actually charged with analyzing risk across the financial sector. Fox News figures tried to undermine support for the stimulus financial reform by aggressively pushing the canard that affordable housing initiatives caused the housing crisis. Limbaugh whined that "the same people that gave you the DMV" will "be running our health care financial system." (Sound familiar?)

Dishonesty, distortion, baseless allegations and yesterday's attacks. Wouldn't it be easier to just bury their heads in the sand and pretend there is no "real crisis" at all?

Fox News rallies for religious bigotry

In October 2001, evangelical preacher Franklin Graham delivered remarks while dedicating a chapel in North Carolina, during which he touched on the September 11 attacks and the newly spawned war on terrorism: "We're not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It's a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion." Graham's stance on Islam has not softened over the years, and he told CNN's Campbell Brown just last December: "[T]rue Islam cannot be practiced in this country. You can't beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they've committed adultery or something like that."

Smearing the world's second-largest faith as "very evil and wicked" and condemning that faith for the worst terrorist attack in American history is inflammatory and wildly offensive. So it should come as a surprise that Fox News rallied to Graham's defense when religious freedom organizations protested Graham's invitation to the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer ceremonies this year. It should come as a surprise because for most, defending Graham's religious bigotry would be unthinkable. But, unfortunately, Fox News does not operate under such standards of propriety, and has added yet another chapter to its long and undistinguished record of smearing the Islamic faith.

Fox's first stab at defending Graham backfired pretty badly, as the Fox & Friends crew invited Graham on to defend himself. He promptly counseled the Muslims that "they don't have to die in a car bomb, don't have to die in some holy war to be accepted by God."

Fox News personalities then turned to the role of apologists, and chief among them was legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr., who for two days running tried desperately to explain away Graham's "evil and wicked" comments, including this excuse: "After 9-11, a lot of folks were making those statements." He also offered this gem: "No one is out to make any excuses for the statements that Franklin Graham made. And they were made nine years ago, in the wake of 9-11. In the wake of 3,000 deaths. He doesn't need excuses."

Johnson certainly wasn't alone in the excuse-making department. Sean Hannity offered a full-throated defense of Graham, falsely claiming that he was only talking about "radical Islam" and going so far to accuse Graham's critics of being "afraid to take on radical Islam." After Graham was disinvited by the Pentagon from a National Prayer Day event, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin wrote: "Nation suffers ... as Mr. Graham is uninvited to speak." Fox News "Culture Warrior" Margaret Hoover felt that the Pentagon's decision was "unfortunate."

So what, if anything, have we learned from all this? We've learned that there's really no smear against Muslims or the Islamic faith that's too outrageous or offensive to find a home at Fox News.

This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Ben Dimiero, Jeremy Holden, and Simon Maloy.

Go on-site for the numerous links within this article.

Saundra Hummer
April 24th, 2010, 02:57 AM


Justice Stevens And George Carlin

Joe Strupp
April 23, 2010
3:49 pm ET

The First Amendment Center, which recently tallied retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' top First Amendment decisions, came out this week with his worst rulings regarding the freedom of religion, speech and the press.

His most egregious, according to the list, declaring George Carlin's "seven dirty words" unprotected speech:

FCC v. Pacifica Foundation (1978)

In this decision, the Court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission could fine a radio station for broadcasting George Carlin's "Filthy Words" monologue during daytime hours when children are apt to listen. Stevens' plurality opinion approved of government regulation of broadcasting, in part by reaffirming its second-class status as a communications medium, and declaring it had a "uniquely pervasive presence" in Americans' lives and was "uniquely accessible" by children. Stevens pressed the idea that the Carlin speech was low-value speech entitled to reduced protection because of its sexual and vulgar content.

Stevens' opinion caused fellow Justice William Brennan to express his ire: "I find the Court's misapplication of fundamental First Amendment principles so patent, and its attempt to impose its notions of propriety on the whole of the American people so misguided, that I am unable to remain silent." Through the years, many have questioned the logic of Pacifica in allowing the regulation of "indecent" speech, as it is often difficult to define exactly what is indecent.

See the entire list HERE.
Go on-site to gain access to this list. Link is at bottom of this post.

by The_Cat (April 23, 2010 3:56 pm ET)
If anyone is curious about what might or might not constitute 'indecent speech', I would direct them to any broadcast of FOX Propaganda, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, or Rush Limbaugh. While not as profanity laden as Mr. Carlin's work, they are completely lacking in artistic merit, and tend to incite violence against Americans and their duly elected government.

If I have to choose between hearing sedition preached and hearing the f-bomb, I find the f-bomb to have much less lasting and permanent harmful effects on my country. But, what do I know? I'm not a Supreme Court justice. If appointed, however, I will serve faithfully for as long as I am able. I'm eligible, you know ;)

by txthinker (April 23, 2010 4:17 pm ET)
If appointed, however, I will serve faithfully for as long as I am able. I'm eligible, you know ;)
If you do get appointed, please slap some sense into Clarence Thomas for us.

by The_Cat (April 23, 2010 7:33 pm ET)
Well, it would be an honor just to be nominated, of course. If confirmed, I will likely take your advice, though in a figurative rather than a literal sense of course!

(There is something hysterically undignified about imagining Supreme Court Justices b!tch-slapping each other...)

by the Grey Path (April 23, 2010 8:26 pm ET)
1978? This was only a few years after being appointed to the Court by Gerald Ford to be the most conservative member of the Court.



Saundra Hummer
April 25th, 2010, 04:48 PM


Pew Research Center
Shows Elites Have Destroyed America's Middle-Class
William Cormier
April 25, 2010
For all practical purposes, the Mainstream News Media in the United States is demonstrating they are no better than China, Iran, or Venezuela when it comes down to misleading the public and acting as a government propaganda tool. Vital polls and assessments of the true impact of the Ruling Class War on America is non-existent, and citizens who desire to find real news and an unbiased assessment of the economy have no alternative other than relying on the Internet to glean the real impact of the "recession" (sic) on the American economy. Global Research, who has always been on the forefront of publishing reports the MSM refuses to relay to the public released this astounding report the Pew Research Center published in March:

Collapse of the Standard of Living in the USA
Studies Reveal Declining Living Standards and Increasing Anger

Hiram Lee
Global Research
April 24, 2010

A series of recent studies conducted by the Pew Research Center shed new light on the scope of the economic crisis in the US and the level of hostility the majority of the American population holds for the US government.

Released in March, before the passage of the Obama administration's health care legislation, a survey entitled "Health Care Reform--Can't Live With It, or Without It" indicates that 92 percent of Americans give the national economy a negative rating. No fewer than 70 percent of the respondents report having suffered job-related and financial problems in the past year, an increase from 59 percent the year before. Fifty-four percent report someone in their home has been without a job and looking for work in the past year, up from 39 percent in 2009.

The poll saw an aggravation of conditions in every area of economic life studied the year before. Increasing numbers of people are reporting difficulty receiving or affording medical care (26 percent) or paying their rent or mortgage payments (24 percent). More Americans faced problems with collections and credit agencies (21 percent), or had mortgages, loans or credit card applications denied (19 percent).

As could be expected, the poorest Americans are suffering the most. Some 44 percent of those making $30,000 per year or less report difficulty obtaining medical care, compared to 11 percent of those making $75,000 per year or more. A similar gap can be found in the category of rents and mortgages, with 37 percent of those making $30,000 or less reporting difficulty making rent or mortgage payments, compared to 11 percent of those making $75,000 or more. However, the percentage of those facing difficulties paying rent has increased dramatically for both groups since 2009.

The Pew survey found that 85 percent of Americans reported difficulty finding jobs in their communities.

"A Year or More: The High Cost of Long-Term Unemployment" reports that no fewer than 44 percent of unemployed Americans met or exceeded the standard measure of long-term unemployment (six months or more) in March 2010. This marks the highest rate for long-term unemployment levels since World War II.

Forty-three percent say the government has a negative effect on their daily life, up from 31 percent in 1997.

While approval ratings for the government are remarkably low, with 65 percent saying the federal government and congress have a negative impact "on the way things are going in the country," the approval ratings for other major institutions are as low or lower. Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed say banks and other financial institutions have a negative impact on the way things are going in the country, while 64 percent say "large corporations" have a negative impact. Some 57 percent say the national news media has a negative impact, while 49 percent say labor unions have such an impact.

The report states that "more than six-in-ten (62%) say it is a major problem that government policies unfairly benefit some groups while nearly as many (56%) say that government does not do enough to help average Americans."

Taken as a whole, the Pew studies from March and April offer additional insight into the growing social misery under conditions of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and the outrage it is generating.

Wide layers of the population, who have seen trillions of dollars funneled from the public treasury into the coffers of Wall Street executives while their own living standards have been assaulted, their jobs slashed, their children's schools closed, and vital social programs such as Medicare cut by billions of dollars, have no faith in the US government to secure their most basic social needs.

The corporate-controlled news media, along with the major institutions overseeing the nation's educational needs and basic food and medical resources, are considered corrupt and untrustworthy, contributing to the suffering of millions. READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

This is a damning report that indicates the economy may be improving, but not for Main Street! It's extremely disturbing that the economic recovery is defined as improving by our Mainstream News Media and business insider's based on the performance of the Stock Market, not how the Average American is weathering the worst economic downturn since World War II. For those whom are reading this post, how many of you making less than $45,000 per year own stock? How does the performance of Wall street Elites affect your daily lives? Please excuse me if I don't become overjoyed knowing that America's ruling elites are rolling in profits while the rest of us wonder how we're going to feed our families for the rest of the month.

American's are struggling as they never have since the Great Depression while Timothy Geithner travels abroad and reassures India that we will continue to support their economy and vowed that we won't harm their thriving outsourcing sector, while the majority of the unemployed can't find jobs in their own country. What comfort does it offer to Americans to know that we support foreign economies as the expense of our own???

This report was released in March, yet this is the first I've ever heard of it, and all of us should be outraged! Our Mainstream News Media is demonstrating that when it pertains to reporting important facts to the public, they are absolutely worthless! Those of us who are condemning China and Venezuela for their restrictions on the news media haven't far to go to find that China and other state-controlled news outlets (at times) are no worse than our own news media; the only difference I can see is that our media releases enough valid news to lull the public into believing that we have news that reflects the needs of the public, however, when it comes to important issues, our MSM is no better than any other fascist/authoritarian news outlet that exist in some of the most restrictive societies on earth.

Ron Paul recently stated that President Obama is not a socialist, but a corporatist. After reading the above report, even though I know the majority of our economic woes stem from past administrations, I have to wonder if Dr. Paul is correct. The American public cannot make informed decisions and evaluate whether or not our economy is actually improving if we do not have all of the facts, not those that our MSM deems acceptable for the public to read. In my opinion, our Mainstream News Media presents the clearest danger to our Liberty and Freedom, and if they don't start reporting the news, not propaganda, the ability of the American public to remain an "informed public" is in danger of falling into the pitfalls that are usually associated when a communist/authoritarian/fascist government controls the news media, not one that professes to be the home of the "Free and the Brave."

William Cormier

NOTE: The sentences of the above report which are in bold represent my emphasis, not that of Global Research. Furthermore, this is not the full report from Global Research, but excerpts, and I urge everyone to follow the link and read the full article at Global Research.

Author's Website: http://thepoliticalbandit.com/

Author's Bio: I am nothing more than a patriotic American that is doing whatever I can to further the cause of democracy, the rule of law, and am extremely concerned in regard the slow creep of "soft fascism" that has been destroying America's middle-class. I am currently disabled, have a background in Sales, Sales Management, and am an A+ Certified Computer technician. Somehow, I manage to live with a take-home income from Social Security that is $829.00 per month. I am not a professional writer and have been attempting to teach myself through trial and error. I have written part one of an autobiography that has been read by several people who state they couldn't put it down and two of those individuals have tried in vain to get it published. If I can ever find the time to rewrite the entire piece, I have been assured that it will likely be published; however, with our political climate in constant uproar, I believe that independent writers must apply themselves to provide information to the general public that our corrupt, corporate controlled Mainstream News Media refuses to publish. Practicing patriotism and fighting for what we believe in is not a part-time job. My Sister is also disabled, and her total income per month to care for two children is only $480.00, so in addition to keeping my personal site up and running, I also provide a home and whatever else I can for my sister and her two children. When I write about the challenges our battered economy poses to those whom are financially challenged, it's often through personal experience and hardship. I often rely on real time experiences to give me the insight and fortitude to write with passion and resolve on issues that are affecting far too many millions of Americans. Freedom is not free. Complacency and believing "the other guy" will stand-up for us has not - and never will succeed. We are only successful in our endeavors when we stand together in solidarity. Life free or die!

Original Content at




Saundra Hummer
April 25th, 2010, 08:24 PM


Potentially deadly fungus spreading in U.S. and Canada
Thu Apr 22, 2010
6:22pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A potentially deadly strain of fungus is spreading among animals and people in the northwestern United States and the Canadian province of British Columbia, researchers reported on Thursday.

The airborne fungus, called Cryptococcus gattii, usually only infects transplant and AIDS patients and people with otherwise compromised immune systems, but the new strain is genetically different, the researchers said.

"This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people," said Edmond Byrnes of Duke University in North Carolina, who led the study.

"The findings presented here document that the outbreak of C. gattii in Western North America is continuing to expand throughout this temperate region," the researchers said in their report, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Pathogens here

"Our findings suggest further expansion into neighboring regions is likely to occur and aim to increase disease awareness in the region."

The new strain appears to be unusually deadly, with a mortality rate of about 25 percent among the 21 U.S. cases analyzed, they said.

"From 1999 through 2003, the cases were largely restricted to Vancouver Island," the report reads.

"Between 2003 and 2006, the outbreak expanded into neighboring mainland British Columbia and then into Washington and Oregon from 2005 to 2009. Based on this historical trajectory of expansion, the outbreak may continue to expand into the neighboring region of Northern California, and possibly further."

The spore-forming fungus can cause symptoms in people and animals two weeks or more after exposure. They include a cough that lasts for weeks, sharp chest pain, shortness of breath, headache, fever, nighttime sweats and weight loss.

It has also turned up in cats, dogs, an alpaca and a sheep.

Freezing can kill the fungus and climate change may be helping it spread, the researchers said.

(Editing by Eric Beech)


Saundra Hummer
April 25th, 2010, 11:46 PM


Aliens may exist but contact would hurt humans: Hawking

Sun Apr 25, 6:56 pm ETLONDON (AFP) – Aliens may exist but mankind should avoid contact with them as the consequences could be devastating, British scientist Stephen Hawking warned Sunday.

"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," said the astrophysicist in a new television series, according to British media reports.

The programmes depict an imagined universe featuring alien life forms in huge spaceships on the hunt for resources after draining their own planet dry.

"Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach," warned Hawking.

The doomsday scenario is suggested in the series "Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking" on the Discovery Channel, which began airing in the United States on Sunday.

On the probability of alien life existing, he says: "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational.

"The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

Glowing squid-like creatures, herds of herbivores that can hang onto a cliff face and bright yellow predators that kill their prey with stinging tails are among the creatures that stalk the scientist's fantastical cosmos.

Mankind has already made a number of attempts to contact extraterrestrial civilisations.

In 2008, American space agency NASA beamed the Beatles song "Across the Universe" into deep space to send a message of peace to any alien that happens to be in the region of Polaris -- also known as the North Star -- in 2439.

But the history of humanity's efforts to contact aliens stretches back some years.

The US probes Pioneer 10 and 11 were launched in 1972 and 1973 bearing plaques of a naked man and woman and symbols seeking to convey the positions of the Earth and the Sun.

Voyager 1 and 2, launched in 1977, each carry a gold-plated copper phonogram disk with recordings of sounds and images on Earth.

Copyright © 2010 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.




April 27th, 2010, 06:29 AM
Rep. Andre Carson wants to change the subject. I don’t blame him.
On April 13, 2010 he told AP reporter Jesse Washington, “I think we need to move toward a dialogue that explores why this kind of divisive and reprehensible language is still making it into our political debate.”

The “divisive and reprehensible language” that Rep. Carson is referring to is his claim that while he left the Cannon office building on March 20 with Rep. John Lewis, they were verbally assaulted by health care protesters hurling the “N-word” at them. He said the scene was so hostile he “expected rocks to come” when he was coming out of Cannon.

I wanted to see the evidence. I wanted the truth. In the course of our search we have actually uncovered further video evidence that casts serious doubt on Rep.Carson’s claims:


Now this story is much more important than the accusation of fifteen racists among the thousands of protesters that day. This is now about the accusers.

It’s not just that Congressmen Carson’s accusation of an extraordinary racist verbal assault by the tea party participants on March 20 doesn’t appear to have occurred, it’s that the accusers have now gone into the bunker and, having raised the incendiary subject, are doing everything they can to avoid the discussion. Why? What’s changed?

When the accusation was made, the mainstream media made it the number one topic on every news show. The Democratic Party was leading the discussion. But when confronted on the baseless accusation, without even a modicum of evidence that it actually happened, other than an assertion, the Democratic Party, and its symbiotic allies the mainstream media, want to have another “beer summit.”

No. The Democratic Party and the political left cannot use the race card to shut up its opponents based upon pure fabrication any longer. This failed tactic ultimately serves to mitigate accusations of real racism — which we are not saying doesn’t exist.

When I offered a reward of $100,000 to be donated to the United Negro College Fund if anyone produced video and audio evidence that this occurred, I was accused of a publicity stunt (because everyone knows that the best way to get publicity in America is to accuse a civil rights icon of lying about racism). Rep. Carson himself suggested that my challenge was “a veiled attempt to justify actions that are simply unjustifiable.” Get it? He calls protesters racist and if you ask him to prove it, you’re a racist, too.
Needless to say, no one has claimed the $100,000.

But, I have taken my search one step further. I’ve asked some of the contributors to Big Government to also actively search for video. We have spent the last three weeks searching for any evidence that might support the allegations, without any help from the accusers. The primary accuser, Congressman Carson, who audaciously claimed the crowd screamed the “N-word fifteen times,” would not return our call. So we have gone part way to try and piece together the events of March 20.

Not only is the audio devoid of any racial slur, but the scene at Cannon clearly shows the congressmen coming down the steps completely unobstructed, and with a clear path to the Capitol. And, when we juxtapose the audio accusation Rep.Carson made moments after the alleged event occurred with actual video footage of the moment Rep. Carson claims he first heard the racial slur, it is as plain as day that Congressman Carson was not isolated by a mob and facing a racist throng that could conceivably hurl rocks at him. As you can see for yourself.

How many more “Duke Lacrosse” faked events should America endure? The list from Madonna Constantine at Columbia University all the way back to Al Sharpton’s unforgivably grotesque Tawana Brawley case, the media plays its role to divide this country on its most sensitive schism: race.

The grassroots and the million-strong Tea Party have been forced to be held accountable against every discussion of vile racism even though they have been proven to do nothing wrong.

The false accusation of racism grants left-wing hooligans carte-blanche to act out on their dehumanized Tea Party counterparts. That’s what the intention was with the false accusation. That was the game plan. It ties together with the similar strategy as employed by Pres. Clinton and Richard Trumka to compare tea partiers and the environment they are creating to a petri dish of hate that will spawn the next Timothy McVeigh or Lee Harvey Oswald.

The left is playing with fire. They are playing fast and loose with the facts and making things up when there are no facts at all. Just because the media (the left’s main enabler), wants to forget about it and move on doesn’t mean we will. We will remain on this case until it reaches closure.

As long as this false narrative lives to fuel the hatred of the activist left, which has on many occasions been acted out against Tea Party activists and other law abiding protesters, we will keep this story at the editorial forefront.
It is a slander with real-world repercussions.

The absence of a real investigation by a press that played up the accusations is a more-than-tacit admission that they were hoping the allegations were true. When I mentioned the lack of response to the $100k offer to Politico’s Ben Smith, he messaged me on Twitter: ’I think you’ve pretty much won this one, no?’

But how does that “win” manifest itself? On April 15, the day of the Tax Day Tea Party in front of the White House, and being interviewed by ABC’s Terry Moran for Nightline set to air Tuesday night, I passionately defended the movement against the powerful racism charge that has been greatly pushed by the Congressional Black Caucus’s accusation of a 1960 Selma-like incident near the Capitol.

At least twice during the spirited questioning by Moran, bystanders screamed “racist” at me.

The power of the propaganda. The power of the repeated accusations. The power of the relentless race-based line of questioning. They are all adding up to the liars and slanderers getting exactly what they wanted. The Tea Party is marred by racism charges while Congressman Carson, at the least, should be facing an ethics investigation, and a civil rights legend should be asking for forgiveness for allowing for the hateful lie to stand.

The “win” Ben Smith speaks of comes in the form of silence. Our nation is split down the middle and the press has chosen to play for one side and one side only.

Congressman Carson refuses to respond to our requests because he can’t answer questions that deserve answers. The press is drawing a line in the sand for those that are doing the job the press should be doing: “Are you calling a civil rights legend a liar?”

Unfortunately, I am. And the mainstream media are as complicit in this lie as Congressman Lewis.

Link (http://bigjournalism.com/abreitbart/2010/04/26/no-more-beer-summits-tea-party-n-word-incident-didnt-happen-and-the-congressional-black-caucus-owes-america-an-apology/)

April 27th, 2010, 07:49 AM
You can't hear what anyone is saying on the video.

This is an attempt to smear a respected and battle-tested civil rights pioneer, and to deflect criticism of the tea baggers for abetting racist posters and epithets on many occasions that are quite well documented.

April 27th, 2010, 08:51 AM
So you think none of these Tea Baggers want the $100,000? What about the counter protesters - they too didn't hear anything? That video didn't show folks getting ready to throw rocks, what about that?

Why is Carlson avoiding this subject now?

This sir, is an attempt by the loony left to paint the Tea Party in a negative light. It is Carlson the slime that is playing the race card. He lost my respect.

Lets give the Tea Party a fair trail and then hang them....has the same ring of racism of the past, no?

April 27th, 2010, 09:36 AM
Lets give the Tea Party a fair trail and then hang them....has the same ring of racism of the past, no?

That's disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourself.

April 27th, 2010, 10:22 AM
So you think none of these Tea Baggers want the $100,000? What about the counter protesters - they too didn't hear anything? That video didn't show folks getting ready to throw rocks, what about that?

Why is Carlson avoiding this subject now?

This sir, is an attempt by the loony left to paint the Tea Party in a negative light. It is Carlson the slime that is playing the race card. He lost my respect.

Lets give the Tea Party a fair trail and then hang them....has the same ring of racism of the past, no?
You can't see or hear everything that was done or said on those videos. And no one said there was a threat of rock throwing, only a fear of the possibility.

April 27th, 2010, 10:29 AM
That's disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourself.

This is an attempt to smear a respected and battle-tested civil rights pioneer, and to deflect criticism of the tea baggers for abetting racist posters and epithets on many occasions that are quite well documented.

Double Standard Internets?

April 27th, 2010, 08:23 PM
Double Standard Internets?


Saundra Hummer
May 1st, 2010, 12:35 PM
We saw the face of the Tea Party with their "little old lady from Pasadena" who represented them on the David Letterman show. Talk about the voice of reason, she was that. Sweet, soft spoken, and so sympathetic, that is until the 'Birther' issue was broached. This at the end of her stint on Letterman, then the face of radicalism rose up briefly. David was so polite to her, never tossing her hard balls, however, even so, for a brief moment we saw the movement as it really is, as it was obvious that it is driven by inane radical, far out there thought.

About her being from Pasadena, just joshing on that point.

Saundra Hummer
May 1st, 2010, 12:58 PM


Jason Leopold
April 30, 2010
Reprinted from Truthout
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t;
Adapted: futureatlas.com, US Coast Guard - Go on-site to view.)

Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf
British Petroleum (BP) has knowingly broken federal laws and violated its own internal procedures by failing to maintain crucial safety and engineering documents related to one of the firms other deep water production projects in the Gulf of Mexico, a former contractor who worked for the oil behemoth claimed in internal emails last year and other documents obtained by Truthout.

The whistleblower, whose name has been withheld at the person's request because the whistleblower still works in the oil industry and fears retaliation, first raised concerns about safety issues related to BP Atlantis, the world's largest and deepest semi-submersible oil and natural gas platform, located about 200 miles south of New Orleans, in November 2008. Atlantis, which began production in October 2007, has the capacity to produce about 8.4 million gallons of oil and 180 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

It was then that the whistleblower, who was hired to oversee the company's databases that housed documents related to its Atlantis project, discovered that the drilling platform had been operating without a majority of the engineer-approved documents it needed to run safely, leaving the platform vulnerable to a catastrophic disaster that would far surpass the massive oil spill that began last week following a deadly explosion on a BP-operated drilling rig.

BP's own internal communications show that company officials were made aware of the issue and feared that the document shortfalls related to Atlantis "could lead to catastrophic operator error" and must be addressed.

Indeed, according to an August 15, 2008, email sent to BP officials by Barry Duff, a member of BP's Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Atlantis Subsea Team, the Piping and Instrument Diagrams (P&IDs) for the Atlantis subsea components "are not complete." P&IDs documents form the foundation of a hazards analysis BP is required to undertake as part of its Safety and Environmental Management Program related to its offshore drilling operations. P&IDs drawings provide the schematic details of the project's piping and process flows, valves and safety critical instrumentation.

"The risk in turning over drawings that are not complete are: 1) The Operator will assume the drawings are accurate and up to date," the email said. "This could lead to catastrophic Operator errors due to their assuming the drawing is correct," said Duff's email to BP officials Bill Naseman and William Broman. "Turning over incomplete drawings to the Operator for their use is a fundamental violation of basic Document control, [internal standards] and Process Safety Regulations."

BP did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this story. Despite the claims that BP did not maintain proper documentation related to Atlantis, federal regulators continued to authorize an expansion of the drilling project.

Last May, Mike Sawyer, an engineer with Apex Safety Consultants, was asked by the whistleblower's attorney to evaluate BP's document database the whistleblower worked on that dealt with the subsea components. The whistleblower made a copy of the database and took it with him upon his termination from the company.

Sawyer looked into the whistleblower's allegations regarding BP's document shortfall related to Atlantis and concluded that of the 2,108 P&IDs BP maintained that dealt specifically with the subsea components of its Atlantis production project, 85 percent did not receive engineer approval. Even worse, 95 percent of Atlantis' subsea welding records did not receive final approval, calling into question the integrity of thousands of crucial welds on subsea components that, if they were to rupture, could result in an oil spill 30 times worse than the one that occurred after the explosion on Deepwater Horizon last week.

In a report Sawyer prepared after his review, he said BP's "widespread pattern of unapproved design, testing and inspection documentation on the Atlantis subsea project creates a risk of a catastrophic incident threatening the [Gulf of Mexico] deep-water environment and the safety of platform workers." Moreover, "the extent of documentation discrepancies creates a substantial risk that a catastrophic event could occur at any time."

"The absence of a complete set of final, up-to-date, 'as built' engineering documents, including appropriate engineering approval, introduces substantial risk of large scale damage to the deep water [Gulf of Mexico] environment and harm to workers, primarily because analyses and inspections based on unverified design documents cannot accurately assess risk or suitability for service," Sawyer's report said. He added, "there is no valid engineering justification for these violations and short cuts."

Sawyer explained that the documents in question - welding records, inspections and safety shutdown logic materials - are "extremely critical to the safe operation of the platform and its subsea components." He said the safety shutdown logic drawings on Atlantis, a complex computerized system that, during emergencies, is supposed to send a signal to automatically shut down the flow of oil, were listed as "requiring update."

"BP's recklessness in regards to the Atlantis project is a clear example of how the company has a pattern of failing to comply with minimum industry standards for worker and environmental safety," Sawyer said.

The oil spill blanketing roughly 4,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed eleven workers, was exacerbated, preliminary reports suggest, by the failure of a blowout preventer to shut off the flow of oil on the drilling rig and the lack of a backup safety measure, known as a remote control acoustic shut off switch, to operate the blowout preventer.

Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, sent a letter Thursday to BP Chairman and President Lamar McKay seeking documents related to inspections on Deepwater Horizon conducted this year and BP's policy on using acoustic shut off switches in the Gulf of Mexico.

The circumstances behind the spill are now the subject of a federal investigation.

Profits Before Safety
Whether it's the multiple oil spills that emanated from BP's Prudhoe Bay operations in Alaska's North Slope or the March 2005 explosion at the company's Texas refinery that killed 15 employees and injured 170 people, BP has consistently put profits ahead of safety.

On October 25, 2007, BP pled guilty to a criminal violation of the Clean Water Act and paid a $20 million fine related to two separate oil spills that occurred in the North Slope in March and August of 2006, the result of a severely corroded pipeline and a safety valve failure. BP formally entered a guilty plea in federal court on November 29, 2007. US District Court Judge Ralph Beistline sentenced BP to three years probation and said oil spills were a "serious crime" that could have been prevented if BP had spent more time and funds investing in pipeline upgrades and a "little less emphasis on profit."

Also on October 25, 2007, BP paid a $50 million fine and pleaded guilty to a felony in the refinery explosion. An investigation into the incident concluded that a warning system was not working and that BP sidestepped its own internal regulations for operating the tower. Moreover, BP has a prior felony conviction for improperly disposing of hazardous waste.

The incident involving Deepwater Horizon, now the subject of a federal investigation, may end up being the latest example of BP's safety practices run amuck.

The issues related to the repeated spills in Prudhoe Bay and elsewhere were revealed by more than 100 whistleblowers who, since as far back as 1999, said the company failed to take seriously their warnings about shoddy safety practices and instead retaliated against whistleblowers who registered complaints with their superiors.

In September 2006, days before BP executives were scheduled to testify before Congress about an oil spill from a ruptured pipeline that forced the company to shutdown its Prudhoe Bay operations, BP announced that it had tapped former federal Judge Stanley Sporkin to serve as an ombudsman and take complaints from employees about the company's operations.

That's who the whistleblower complained to via email about issues related to BP's Atlantis operations in March 2009 a month after his contract was abruptly terminated for reasons he believes were directly related to his complaints to management about BP's failure to obtain the engineering documents on Atlantis and the fact that he "stood up for a female employee who was being discriminated against and harassed." The whistleblower alleged that the $2 million price tag was the primary reason BP did not follow through with a plan formulated months earlier to secure the documents.

"We prepared a plan to remedy this situation but it met much resistance and complaints from the above lead engineers on the project," the whistleblower wrote in the March 4, 2009, email to Pasha Eatedali in BP's ombudsman's office.

Federal Intervention
Additionally, he hired an attorney and contacted the inspector general for the Department of the Interior and the agency's Minerals Management Service (MMS), which regulates offshore drilling practices, and told officials there that BP lacked the required engineer-certified documents related to the major components of the Atlantis subsea gas and oil operation.

In 2007, MMS had approved the construction of an additional well and another drilling center on Atlantis. But the whistleblower alleged in his March 4, 2009, email to Eatedali in BP's Office of the Ombudsman that documents related to this project needed to ensure operational safety were missing and that amounted to a violation of federal law as well as a breach of BP's Atlantis Project Execution Plan. The ombudsman's office agreed to investigate.

MMS, acting on the whistleblower's complaints, contacted BP on June 30, 2009, seeking specific engineering related documents. BP complied with the request three weeks later.

On July 9, 2009, MMS requested that BP turn over certification documents for its Subsurface Safety Valves and Surface Controlled Subsea Safety Valves for all operational wells in the Atlantis field. MMS officials flew out to the platform on the same day and secured the documents, according to an internal letter written by Karen Westall, the managing attorney on BP's Gulf of Mexico Legal Team.

But according to the public advocacy group Food & Water Watch, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit, which became involved in the case last July, BP did not turn over a complete set of materials to MMS.

"BP only turned over 'as-built' drawings for [Atlantis'] topsides and hull, despite the fact that the whistleblower's allegations have always been about whether BP maintains complete and accurate engineer approved documents for it subsea components," Food & Water Watch said in a 19-page letter it sent to William Hauser, MMS's Chief, Regulations and Standards Branch.

During two visits to the Atlantis drilling platform last August and September, MMS inspectors reviewed BP's blowout preventer records. Food & Water Watch said they believe MMS inspectors reviewed the test records and failed to look into the whistleblower's charges that engineering documents were missing. The blowout preventer, however, is an issue at the center of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

An MMS spokesperson did not return calls for comment.

Last October, Food & Water Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for expedited processing, seeking documents from MMS that indicate BP "has in its possession a complete and accurate set of 'as built' drawings ... for its entire Atlantis Project, including the subsea sector." "As-built" means lead engineers on a specific project have to make sure updated technical documents match the "as-built" condition of equipment before its used.

MMS denied the FOIA request.

"MMS does not agree with your assessment of the potential for imminent danger to individuals or the environment, for which you premise your argument [for expedited response]. After a thorough review of these allegations, the MMS, with concurrence of the Solicitor's Office, concludes your claims are not supported by the facts or the law," the agency said in its October 30, 2009, response letter.

In response, MMS said that although some of its regulatory requirements governing offshore oil and gas operations do require "as built" drawings, they need not be complete or accurate and, furthermore, are irrelevant to a hazard analysis BP was required to complete.

Unsatisfied with MMS's response, Food & Water Watch contacted Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona), a member of the Committee on Natural Resources and chairman of the subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, about the issues revolving around BP's Atlantis operations and provided his office with details of its own investigation into the matter.

"Unsubstantiated" Claims
On January 15, Westall, the BP attorney, wrote a letter to Deborah Lanzone, the staff director with the House Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals, and addressed the allegations leveled by Food & Water Watch as well as indirect claims the whistleblower made.

Westall said BP "reviewed the allegations" related to "non-compliant documentation of the Atlantis project ... and found them to be unsubstantiated." But Westall's response directly contradicts the findings of Billie Pirner Garde, BP's deputy ombudsman, who wrote in an April 13 email to the whistleblower that his claims that BP failed to maintain proper documentation related to Atlantis "were substantiated" and "addressed by a BP Management of Change document." Garde did not say when that change occurred. But he added that the whistleblower's complaints weren't "unique" and had been raised by other employees "before you worked there, while you were there and after you left."

Westall noted in her letter that "all eight BP-operated Gulf of Mexico production facilities" received safety awards from MMS in 2009.

"Maintenance and general housekeeping were rated outstanding and personnel were most cooperative in assisting in the inspection activities," MMS said about BP's Gulf of Mexico drilling facilities. "Platform records were readily available for review and maintained to reflect current conditions."

Westall maintained that the whistleblower as well as Food & Water Watch had it all wrong. Their charges about missing documents has nothing to do with Atlantis' operational safety. Rather, Westall seemed to characterize their complaints as a clerical issue.

"The Atlantis project is a complex project with multiple phases," Westall said in her letter to Lanzone. "The [August 15, 2008] e-mail [written by Barry Duff, a member of the Atlantis subsea team] which was provided to you to support [Food & Water Watch's] allegations relates to the status of efforts to utilize a particular document management system to house and maintain the Atlantis documents. The document database includes engineering drawings for future phases, as well as components or systems which may have been modified, replaced, or not used."

But Representative Grijalva was not swayed by Westall's denials. He continued to press the issue with MMS, and in February, he and 18 other lawmakers signed a letter calling on MMS to probe whether BP "is operating its Atlantis offshore oil platform ... without professionally approved safety documents."

Grijalva said MMS has not "done enough so far to ensure worker and environmental safety at the site, in part because it has interpreted the relevant laws too loosely."

"[C]ommunications between MMS and congressional staff have suggested that while the company by law must maintain 'as-built' documents, there is no requirement that such documents be complete or accurate," the letter said. "This statement, if an accurate interpretation of MMS authorities, raises serious concerns" and requires "a thorough review at the agency level, the legal level and the corporate level. The world's largest oil rig cannot continue to operate without safety documentation. The situation is unacceptable and deserves immediate scrutiny.

"We also request that MMS describe how a regulation that requires offshore operators to maintain certain engineering documents, but does not require that those documents be complete or accurate, is appropriately protective of human health and the environment."

On March 26, MMS launched a formal investigation and is expected to file a report detailing its findings next month.

Zach Corrigan, a senior attorney with Food & Water Watch, said in an interview Thursday that he hopes MMS "will perform a real investigation" and if the agency fails to do so, Congress should immediately hold oversight hearings "and ensure that the explosion and mishap of the Horizon platform is not replicated."

"MMS didn't act on this for nearly a year," Corrigan said. "They seemed to think it wasn't a regulatory or an important safety issue. Atlantis is a real vulnerability."

Author's Bio: Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of Truthout.org and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, http://www.pubrecord.org. He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit www.newsjunkiebook.com for a preview. He is also a two-time winner of the Project Censored award, most recently, in 2007, for an investigative story related to Halliburton's work in Iran. He was recently named the recipient of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Thomas Jefferson Award for a series of stories he wrote that exposed how soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been pressured to accept fundamentalist Christianity.

Original Content at:


Saundra Hummer
May 2nd, 2010, 01:14 PM

Bundlers shake money trees

By: Josh Israel & Aaron Mehta - Center for Public Integrity
April 26, 2010 04:46 AM EDT
................Bundlers are a relatively new breed of political animal, the unintended consequences of a 1974 law Congress passed to limit individual donations to campaigns.

Presidential campaigns keep track of them, anointing the ones who are particularly effective at gathering dozens of checks from friends and colleagues with names such as Pioneers or Rangers. And since last year, new reporting requirements enacted by Congress in 2007 have provided a fuller picture of lobbyists who bundle during nonpresidential years and where their money goes.

Of the thousands of registered federal lobbyists, according to an analysis of campaign committee reports by the Center for Public Integrity, only 96 raised enough to meet the reporting threshold of $16,000 in a six-month period. The Top Five together raised at least $1,720,550 in just over a year. Four of them were Democrats. And the champion is based in Austin and was once known as the “Boy Wonder” of Texas politics.

Ben Barnes: $641,950 Barnes, 72, told the Center that he has been raising money for Democrats for almost 40 years and that he does so because he believes “in the principles of the Democratic Party. He’s certainly put his political money where his mouth is: Between July and December 2009, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported receiving a total of $898,150 in bundled donations. Of that total, Barnes raised $641,950 — more than 71 percent of the DCCC’s intake.

Barnes, whose lofty bundling status was first noted by the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group in January, entered the Texas political scene by winning election to the state Legislature at age 21 and became speaker of the House in 1965 at age 26.

After two terms as lieutenant governor, Barnes was tarred by the “Sharpstown Scandal,” a major Texas state government bribery controversy that effectively ended his electoral career. But his website proudly claims that he is still “putting his stamp on the Democratic Party.”

Among his lobbying clients: Motorola, General Motors, Oracle and Lincoln Financial Group.

Tony Podesta: $394,800One of GQ’s 2009 “50 Most Powerful People in D.C.,” Podesta, 65, is wired into the Democratic establishment — his brother John was President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff and more recently was President Barack Obama’s transition team co-chairman while running the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning D.C.-based think tank.

Tony Podesta personally donated at least $84,750 to Democratic campaigns and committees this cycle alone, including a total of $50,000 donated to the DCCC. During the same period, he bundled $142,900 for it and $102,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

His wife, Heather, is a successful lobbyist in her own right and bundled an additional $25,000 to the DCCC and $79,750 to the DSCC, respectively.

Podesta also bundled $78,400 for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and $41,000 for Washington Sen. Patty Murray. His numerous clients cover the gamut of major issues facing Congress, but Podesta has had an especially lucrative year lobbying on health reform — a recent Center investigation revealed Podesta’s firm had the fourth-largest number of clients concerned with the issue.

Podesta’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Brian L. Wolff: $252,100A former executive director and finance director for the DCCC and political director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Wolff is now senior vice president of external affairs at the Edison Electric Institute. But he kept up his old ties to House Democrats, directing all his bundled money to the DCCC.

Now working for an industry association representing U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies, it might seem his employer’s goals would be in conflict with House Democrats, who back legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including increased regulation of electric utilities. But the group neither endorsed nor opposed the main climate change bill, which passed the House in June 2009, and it is actively working with senators to find a compromise it can support.

Wolff told the Center that he would not be surprised to rank higher after last month’s bundling numbers are released. He is “not a pragmatic bundler” who raises money for his own political access, Wolff said, but a bundler supporting a House speaker who “is like a family member.” Wolff said all he receives in return for his efforts are additional requests for fundraising help.

Vincent A. Roberti Sr.: $221,400 A bundler for the DCCC, DSCC and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, Roberti is both chairman and CEO of Palisades Pictures, a New York-based company that finances print and advertising campaigns for independent films. He is also founding principal at Navigators Global, an international lobbying and strategic communications firm.

In that role, he lobbied forUPS recently on the FAA Reauthorization Act, specifically for a provision ensuring the right of express carrier employees to unionize; rival FedEx Corp. calls that provision a “bailout” for UPS. UPS, a union operation, would no doubt like to see nonunion FedEx face the same labor pressures as it does.

The House version of the bill contained the provision, with the support of the Democratic majority; the Senate version passed without it after Republicans threatened a filibuster. The bill awaits a resolution of this and other House-Senate differences.

Roberti also lobbied on behalf of AT&T Inc. for the broadband Internet provisions in the 2009 stimulus bill and on behalf of Citigroup Inc. in support of the Troubled Asset Relief Program — both enacted with strong majorities of House and Senate Democrats, including Schumer.

Roberti did not respond to a request for a comment.

Frederick “Tripp” Baird III: $210,300The lone Republican bundler to crack the Top Five, Baird is a former aide to multiple GOP senators and a partner at Watts Consulting Group, the lobbying branch of J.C. Watts Cos. — both firms started by the former Oklahoma congressman.

Baird represents influential clients like AT&T and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, but also the controversial Bowl Championship Series, which runs the college football bowl games that crown a national champion each year. He has bundled for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint.

Baird told the Center he is “shocked” to be the top Republican on the list of bundlers but said he’s “not ashamed of bundling.” He said his recipients are “people I have relationships with, people I believe in.”

Josh Israel and Aaron Mehta are staff writers at the Center for Public Integrity.
© 2010 Capitol News Company, LLC
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. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
May 3rd, 2010, 11:56 AM


Palin promotes offshore drilling in middle of oil spill

John Byrne

As an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico grows larger by the hour, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin continues to stick to "drill, baby, drill."

In a 30-minute speech to a Republican crowd in Kansas City Saturday, the onetime Republican vice presidential nominee dubbed the gulf spill "very tragic" but added: “I want our country to be able to trust the oil industry.”

Writing in the Kansas City Star (Link), reporter Steve Kraske summed up her remarks as, "She said the U.S. must wean itself from foreign oil in order to be truly free."

“We’ve got to tap domestically because energy security will be the key to our prosperity,” Palin remarked.

Palin spoke as BP and military officials sought to get a handle on a leaking oil rig site in the Gulf of Mexico, which is purportedly leaking as many as 5,000 barrels of oil a day. The leak began after an explosion on an offshore rig sent the rig to the bottom of the sea and unsheathed a tube that was supposed to be carrying oil to the surface.

Kraske noted that Palin's speech was also rich with God and "gottas."

There were lots of “we gottas,” religious references, praise for the troops and even a trademark Palin growl or two as she outlined a conservative vision for the country that adheres, in her view, far more closely to the Constitution.

“We believe that God shed his grace on thee,” she said. “We still believe that America is exceptional.”

In response to a question from local radio talk show host Chris Stigall about her political plans, Palin punted. Although she has hinted in recent months that she is considering a 2012 run for the White House, Palin on Saturday joked that she might run next for a PTA position when her son, Trig, starts school.

Palin spoke to a group called "Preserving American Liberty." She wouldn't disclose how much -- or if -- she was paid for her speech. The former governor has been earning as much as $100,000 for each appearance.

Go on-site for photo and link, just click on the following URL:


Saundra Hummer
May 3rd, 2010, 12:29 PM


Noriega Fights Extradition to France

Part I
of a two-part series on the
Extradition of General Manuel Noriega

Tim Rogers
Nica Times Staff
PANAMA CITY – Gen. Manuel Noriega's defense lawyers criticized the U.S. government's surprise decision to extradite the former Panamanian dictator to France this week as a violation of international law and a suspicious indication of a backroom deal.

Extralegal: Panamanian defense lawyer Julio Berrío says the U.S.' extradition of Gen. Noriega to France violated international law.

Tim Rogers | Tico Times
Longtime Noriega defense attorney Julio Berrío said he thinks the U.S. government's decision to extradite Noriega to France to face money-laundering charges rather than to Panama “has to do with diplomatic agreements that are not based on law.”

Noriega was tried in absentia In Panama, and found guilty of three counts of murder. He faces a 20-year prison sentence here, which would be commuted to house arrest due to his age.

Berrío said he is “completely convinced” that Panamanian authorities privately lobbied the U.S. government to ship the 76-year-old former general to France, where he faces money laundering charges, rather than repatriate him to face murder charges in Panama.

“Neither of the past two Panamanian governments have wanted Noriega back in Panamanian territory for fear that it would have some sort of repercussion in the country,” Berrío told The Tico Times this week in an exclusive interview in Panama City.

Berrío, a professor of international law at the University of Panama, insists that the extradition of the former strongman to France instead of Panama violated several international treaties and conventions.

The defense lawyer, who as a government attorney in October 1990 filed the first of Panama's six extradition requests for Noriega – nearly a decade before France requested extradition on money laundering charges – says international law dictates that when multiple extradition requests are filed, the oldest and most serious charge is given priority.

International law also stipulates that a defendant's nationality be taken into consideration. “Noriega is Panamanian, he's not French,” Berrío said, noting that the general has even filed a formal request to be extradited to Panama and not to France.

Plus, the lawyer says, the Geneva Convention clearly establishes that prisoners of war must be repatriated after completing their sentences abroad. So on all accounts, the U.S. government – with the alleged encouragement of Panamanian authorities – is violating international law by preventing Noriega's return home, Berrío charged.

“Noriega wants to submit himself to Panamanian justice, so how can we deny him the right to face Panama's tribunals?” Berrío demanded.

Marco A. Gandasegui Jr., a University of Panama professor and member of the nonprofit Center for Latin American Studies, argues that the United States' handling of Noriega started with an illegal invasion of Panama and ended with an illegal extradition to France.

“The whole Noriega case should be subject to a general review,” Gandasegui told The Tico Times. “In the first place, the illegal capture and transport of (Noriega) in 1990 needs to be corrected. And secondly, the extradition of Noriega from the U.S. to France would have no legal grounds if Panama acted like a sovereign country.”

Neither the U.S. nor Panamanian governments have addressed allegations of wrongdoing in the Noriega case. Panamanian authorities, for their part, said they respect the U.S.' decision and will continue to follow legal procedures to ensure Noriega is held accountable for all crimes.

“ Panama will follow-up on everything that happens to him in France and will insist that he face the legal processes that follow and comply with all sentences against him,” said Panama's Vice President and Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela.

A former CIA informant-turned-drug-trafficker, Noriega led Panama's military dictatorship from 1983-1989, when he was ousted by a U.S. military invasion. Several months after the invasion, the general, who had been holed up in the Vatican City embassy in Panama, surrendered to U.S. troops and was whisked to Miami as a prisoner of war.

He was later tried and convicted on multiple charges of drug trafficking, racketeering and money laundering. During his time in jail, Noriega suffered multiple health problems, including two strokes, according to his lawyer.

Noriega completed his sentence in 2007, after it was reduced due to good behavior. He was extradited to Paris on April 26, after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a surrender warrant and denied the latest Panamanian extradition request.

Noriega's U.S. attorney, Frank Rubino, said this week that he was not even notified of his client's extradition to France.

Berrío, however, said he's confident France will respect international law and honor Panama's extradition request, even if the United States didn't.

“I think the French tribunals are more objective and independent and adhere more closely to the law, and will not be submitted to the same pressures that U.S. judges were,” the lawyer said. “Sooner or later, if God allows General Noriega to continue living, he will return to his country to face charges here.”

Next week: The implications of Noriega's possible return to Panama.


Saundra Hummer
May 3rd, 2010, 09:21 PM


Because life is good

Dear Saundra,

The Center for Biological Diversity has been a leading critic of the Senate climate bill and Obama's energy policy, because both encourage more dangerous offshore oil drilling. In the twisted world of Rush Limbaugh, this commitment to protecting our environment and endangered species is proof that we blew up the oil rig that is right now ravaging the Gulf of Mexico with a massive oil spill.

In Rush's own blustering words:

"But this bill, the cap-and-trade bill, was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants, nuclear plant investment. So, since they're sending SWAT teams down there, folks, since they're sending SWAT teams to inspect the other rigs, what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I'm just noting the timing here."i

Rush's toxic, illogical rant does beg the question, however: Who is responsible for the catastrophe?

Haliburton? Possibly. British Petroleum? Undoubtedly.

But to head off future oil-spill catastrophes, we have to hold the Obama administration accountable.

The Obama administration approved the BP drilling plan that just caused what is likely to be the greatest industrial accident in American history.ii

The administration also approved new offshore oil drilling by Shell Oil in the Arctic to commence this summer, against the objections of government wildlife scientists.iii

And Obama announced an horrific decision just weeks ago to expand offshore oil drilling in the Arctic, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and along the Atlantic coast.

Be furious at BP. Demand it clean the Gulf up and pay for all costs.

But to prevent this from happening off the coast of Alaska, Delaware, Virginia, or Florida, hold the Obama administration accountable for promoting the biggest expansion of offshore oil drilling in 30 years. This is our best opportunity to stop more disastrous drilling.

Please send a letter today calling on President Obama to immediately withdraw his decision to allow Shell Oil to drill this summer in the Arctic and to reverse his decision to expand offshore oil drilling nationwide. We can't afford to have what's happening in the Gulf happen ever again.


Click here to find out more and take action.


If you have trouble following the link, go to http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2167/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3646.

Sample letter:
Subject: Stop Offshore Oil Drilling, Protect Arctic

Dear President Obama,

I write to comment on the Department of the Interior's new Outer Continental Shelf Preliminary Revised Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2007 - 2012 (revised program) announced on March 31. My comments specifically focus on the plan's impacts on the Arctic Ocean and the decision to expand offshore oil drilling nationwide.

I am very disappointed that the proposal would allow the same harmful exploratory drilling that resulted in the British Petroleum oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to occur in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas this summer. We must learn from the devastation unfolding in the Gulf and take action now to stop future offshore oil drilling.

The Chukchi and Beaufort seas are both biologically rich and extremely fragile. They are home to America's only populations of threatened polar bears, Pacific walrus, and many ice seal species. These iconic species are quickly losing their sea-ice habitat to global warming. It defies logic to open up this fragile, melting environment to dirty, industrial oil and gas development. As the Gulf of Mexico spill shows, industry claims about the safety of their operations are simply untrue. There is no safe way to drill for oil in Alaska's seas, and no way to clean up spilled oil in broken ice conditions.

I urge you to immediately withdraw your approval for Shell Oil to drill in this summer in the Arctic. In order to truly protect the people and environment of the Arctic, you must not allow exploration and development of the current leases in the Arctic.

Further, I urge you to reverse your decision to expand offshore oil drilling nationwide.

Thank you.

i The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/29/10 Regime SWAT Teams Sent to Gulf

ii Obama Offshore Oil Plan a Disaster for Wildlife and Climate. Center for Biological Diversity press release, March 31, 2010

iii Ibid.


Please take action by May 3, 2010.

Deepwwater Horizon oil rig photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.

Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702

Saundra Hummer
May 4th, 2010, 04:27 PM
Secret Erik Prince Tape Exposed
Jeremy Scahill | May 3, 2010
Erik Prince, the reclusive owner of the Blackwater empire, rarely gives public speeches and when he does he attempts to ban journalists from attending and forbids recording or videotaping of his remarks. On May 5, that is exactly what Prince is trying to do when he speaks at DeVos Fieldhouse as the keynote speaker for the "Tulip Time Festival" in his hometown of Holland, Michigan. He told the event's organizers no news reporting could be done on his speech and they consented to the ban. Journalists and media associations in Michigan are protesting this attempt to bar reporting on his remarks.

Despite Prince's attempts to shield his speeches from public scrutiny, The Nation magazine has obtained an audio recording of a recent, private speech delivered by Prince to a friendly audience. The speech, which Prince attempted to keep from public consumption, provides a stunning glimpse into his views and future plans and reveals details of previously undisclosed activities of Blackwater. The people of the United States have a right to media coverage of events featuring the owner of a company that generates 90% of its revenue from the United States government.

In the speech, Prince proposed that the US government deploy armed private contractors to fight "terrorists" in Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia, specifically to target Iranian influence. He expressed disdain for the Geneva Convention and described Blackwater's secretive operations at four Forward Operating Bases he controls in Afghanistan. He called those fighting the US in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan "barbarians" who "crawled out of the sewer." Prince also revealed details of a July 2009 operation he claims Blackwater forces coordinated in Afghanistan to take down a narcotrafficking facility, saying that Blackwater "call[ed] in multiple air strikes," blowing up the facility. Prince boasted that his forces had carried out the "largest hashish bust in counter-narcotics history." He characterized the work of some NATO countries' forces in Afghanistan as ineffectual, suggesting that some coalition nations "should just pack it in and go home." Prince spoke of Blackwater working in Pakistan, which appears to contradict the official, public Blackwater and US government line that Blackwater is not in Pakistan.

Prince also claimed that a Blackwater operative took down the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W Bush in Baghdad and criticized the Secret Service for being "flat-footed." He bragged that Blackwater forces "beat the Louisiana National Guard to the scene" during Katrina and claimed that lawsuits, "tens of millions of dollars in lawyer bills" and political attacks prevented him from deploying a humanitarian ship that could have responded to the earthquake in Haiti or the tsunami that hit Indonesia.

Several times during the speech, Prince appeared to demean Afghans his company is training in Afghanistan, saying Blackwater had to teach them "Intro to Toilet Use" and to do jumping jacks. At the same time, he bragged that US generals told him the Afghans Blackwater trains "are the most effective fighting force in Afghanistan." Prince also revealed that he is writing a book, scheduled to be released this fall.

The speech was delivered January 14 at the University of Michigan in front of an audience of entrepreneurs, ROTC commanders and cadets, businesspeople and military veterans. The speech was titled "Overcoming Adversity: Leadership at the Tip of the Spear" and was sponsored by the Young Presidents' Association (YPO), a business networking association primarily made up of corporate executives. "Ripped from the headlines and described by Vanity Fair magazine, as a Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier and Spy, Erik Prince brings all that and more to our exclusive YPO speaking engagement," read the event's program, also obtained by The Nation. It proclaimed that Prince's speech was an "amazing don't miss opportunity from a man who has 'been there and done that' with a group of Cadets and Midshipmen who are months away from serving on the 'tip of the spear.'" Here are some of the highlights from Erik Prince's speech:

Send the Mercs into Somalia,
Yemen, Saudi Arabia and NigeriaPrince painted a global picture in which Iran is "at the absolute dead center... of badness." The Iranians, he said, "want that nuke so that it is again a Persian Gulf and they very much have an attitude of when Darius ran most of the Middle East back in 1000 BC. That's very much what the Iranians are after." [NOTE: Darius of Persia actually ruled from 522 BC-486 BC]. Iran, Prince charged, has a "master plan to stir up and organize a Shia revolt through the whole region." Prince proposed that armed private soldiers from companies like Blackwater be deployed in countries throughout the region to target Iranian influence, specifically in Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia. "The Iranians have a very sinister hand in these places," Prince said. "You're not going to solve it by putting a lot of uniformed soldiers in all these countries. It's way too politically sensitive. The private sector can operate there with a very, very small, very light footprint." In addition to concerns of political expediency, Prince suggested that using private contractors to conduct such operations would be cost-effective. "The overall defense budget is going to have to be cut and they're going to look for ways, they're going to have to have ways to become more efficient," he said. "And there's a lot of ways that the private sector can operate with a much smaller, much lighter footprint."

Prince also proposed using private armed contractors in the oil-rich African nation of Nigeria. Prince said that guerilla groups in the country are dramatically slowing oil production and extraction and stealing oil. "There's more than a half million barrels a day stolen there, which is stolen and organized by very large criminal syndicates. There's even some evidence it's going to fund terrorist organizations," Prince alleged. "These guerilla groups attack the pipeline, attack the pump house to knock it offline, which makes the pressure of the pipeline go soft. they cut that pipeline and they weld in their own patch with their own valves and they back a barge up into it. Ten thousand barrels at a time, take that oil, drive that 10,000 barrels out to sea and at $80 a barrel, that's $800,000. That's not a bad take for organized crime." Prince made no mention of the nonviolent indigenous opposition to oil extraction and pollution, nor did he mention the notorious human rights abuses connected to multinational oil corporations in Nigeria that have sparked much of the resistance.

Blackwater and the Geneva ConventionPrince scornfully dismissed the debate on whether armed individuals working for Blackwater could be classified as "unlawful combatants" who are ineligible for protection under the Geneva Convention. "You know, people ask me that all the time, 'Aren't you concerned that you folks aren't covered under the Geneva Convention in [operating] in the likes of Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan? And I say, 'Absolutely not,' because these people, they crawled out of the sewer and they have a 1200 AD mentality. They're barbarians. They don't know where Geneva is, let alone that there was a convention there."

It is significant that Prince mentioned his company operating in Pakistan given that Blackwater, the US government and the Pakistan government have all denied Blackwater works in Pakistan.

Taking Down the Iraqi Shoe Thrower for the 'Flat-Footed' Secret ServicePrince noted several high-profile attacks on world leaders in the past year, specifically a woman pushing the Pope at Christmas mass and the attack on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, saying there has been a pattern of "some pretty questionable security lately." He then proceeded to describe the feats of his Blackwater forces in protecting dignitaries and diplomats, claiming that one of his men took down the Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at President Bush in Baghdad in December 2008. Prince referred to al-Zaidi as the "shoe bomber:"

"A little known fact, you know when the shoe bomber in Iraq was throwing his shoes at President Bush, in December 08, we provided diplomatic security, but we had no responsibility for the president's security--that's always the Secret Service that does that. We happened to have a guy in the back of the room and he saw that first shoe go and he drew his weapon, got a sight picture, saw that it was only a shoe, he re-holstered, went forward and took that guy down while the Secret Service was still standing there flat-footed. I have a picture of that--I'm publishing a book, so watch for that later this fall--in which you'll see all the reporters looking, there's my guy taking the shoe thrower down. He didn't shoot him, he just tackled him, even though the guy was committing assault and battery on the president of the United States. I asked a friend of mine who used to run the Secret Service if they had a written report of that and he said the debrief was so bad they did not put it in writing."

While the Secret Service was widely criticized at the time for its apparent inaction during the incident, video of the event clearly showed another Iraqi journalist, not security guards, initially pulling al-Zaidi to the floor. Almost instantly thereafter, al-Zaidi was swarmed by a gang of various, unidentified security agents.

Blackwater's Forward Operating Bases Prince went into detail about his company's operations in Afghanistan. Blackwater has been in the country since at least April 2002, when the company was hired by the CIA on a covert contract to provide the Agency with security. Since then, Blackwater has won hundreds of millions of dollars in security, counter-narcotics and training contracts for the State Department, Defense Department and the CIA. The company protects US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and other senior US officials, guards CIA personnel and trains the Afghan border police. "We built four bases and we staffed them and we run them," Prince said, referring to them as Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). He described them as being in the north, south, east and west of Afghanistan. "Spin Boldak in the south, which is the major drug trans-shipment area, in the east at a place called FOB Lonestar, which is right at the foothills of Tora Bora mountain. In fact if you ski off Tora Bora mountain, you can ski down to our firebase," Prince said, adding that Blackwater also has a base near Herat and another location. FOB Lonestar is approximately 15 miles from the Pakistan border. "Who else has built a [Forward Operating Base] along the main infiltration route for the Taliban and the last known location for Osama bin Laden?" Prince said earlier this year.

Blackwater's War on Drugs Prince described a Narcotics Interdiction Unit Blackwater started in Afghanistan five years ago that remains active. "It is about a 200 person strike force to go after the big narcotics traffickers, the big cache sites," Prince said. "That unit's had great success. They've taken more than $3.5 billion worth of heroin out of circulation. We're not going after the farmers, but we're going after the traffickers." He described an operation in July 2009 where Blackwater forces actually called in NATO air strikes on a target during a mission:

"A year ago, July, they did the largest hashish bust in counter-narcotics history, down in the south-east. They went down, they hit five targets that our intel guys put together and they wound up with about 12,000 pounds of heroin. While they were down there, they said, 'You know, these other three sites look good, we should go check them out.' Sure enough they did and they found a cache--262,000 kilograms of hash, which equates to more than a billion dollars street value. And it was an industrialized hash operation, it was much of the hash crop in Helmand province. It was palletized, they'd dug ditches out in the desert, covered it with tarps and the bags of powder were big bags with a brand name on it for the hash brand, palletized, ready to go into containers down to Karachi [Pakistan] and then out to Europe or elsewhere in the world. That raid alone took about $60 million out of the Taliban's coffers. So, those were good days. When the guys found it, they didn't have enough ammo, enough explosives, to blow it, they couldn't burn it all, so they had to call in multiple air strikes. Of course, you know, each of the NATO countries that came and did the air strikes took credit for finding and destroying the cache."

December 30, 2009 CIA Bombing in KhostPrince also addressed the deadly suicide bombing on December 30 at the CIA station at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan. Eight CIA personnel, including two Blackwater operatives, were killed in the bombing, which was carried out by a Jordanian double-agent. Prince was asked by an audience member about the "failure" to prevent that attack. The questioner did not mention that Blackwater was responsible for the security of the CIA officials that day, nor did Prince discuss Blackwater's role that day. Here is what Prince said:

"You know what? It is a tragedy that those guys were killed but if you put it in perspective, the CIA has lost extremely few people since 9/11. We've lost two or three in Afghanistan, before that two or three in Iraq and, I believe, one guy in Somalia--a landmine. So when you compare what Bill Donovan and the OSS did to the Germans and the Japanese, the Italians during World War II--and they lost hundreds and hundreds of people doing very difficult, very dangerous work--it is a tragedy when you lose people, but it is a cost of doing that work. It is essential, you've got to take risks. In that case, they had what appeared to be a very hot asset who had very relevant, very actionable intelligence and he turned out to be a bad guy... That's what the intelligence business is, you can't be assured success all the time. You've got to be willing to take risks. Those are calculated risks but sometimes it goes badly. I hope the Agency doesn't draw back and say, 'Oh, we have to retrench and not do that anymore,' all the rest. No. We need you to double down, go after them harder. That is a cost of doing business. They are there to kill us."

Prince to Some NATO Countries in Afghanistan:
'Go Home' Prince spoke disparagingly of some unnamed NATO countries with troops in Afghanistan, saying they do not have the will for the fight. "Some of them do and a lot of them don't," he said. "It is such a patchwork of different international commitments as to what some can do and what some can't. A lot of them should just pack it in and go home." Canada, however, received praise from Prince. "The Canadians have lost per capita more than America has in Afghanistan. They are fighting and they are doing it and so if you see a Canadian thank them for that. The politicians at home take heavies for doing that," Prince said. He did not mention the fact that his company was hired by the Canadian government to train its forces.

Prince also described how his private air force (which he recently sold) bailed out a US military unit in trouble in Afghanistan. According to Prince, the unit was fighting the Taliban and was running out of ammo and needed an emergency re-supply. "Because of, probably some procedure written by a lawyer back in Washington, the Air Force was not permitted to drop in an uncertified drop zone... even to the unit that was running out of ammo," Prince said. "So they called and asked if our guys would do it and, of course, they said, 'Yes.' And the cool part of the story is the Army guys put their DZ mark in the drop zone, a big orange panel, on the hood of their hummer and our guys put the first bundle on the hood of that hummer. We don't always get that close, but that time a little too close."

Teaching Afghans to Use Toilets Prince said his forces train 1300 Afghans every six weeks and described his pride in attending "graduations" of Blackwater-trained Afghans, saying that in six weeks they radically transform the trainees. "You take these officers, these Afghans and it's the first time in their life they've ever been part of something that's first class, that works. The instructors know what they're talking about, they're fed, the water works, there's ammunition for their guns. Everything works," Prince said. "The first few days of training, we have to do 'Intro to Toilet Use' because a lot of these guys have never even seen a flushed toilet before." Prince boasted: "We manage to take folks with a tribal mentality and, just like the Marine Corps does more effectively than anyone else, they take kids from disparate lifestyles across the United States and you throw them into Parris Island and you make them Marines. We try that same mentality there by pushing these guys very hard and, it's funny, I wish I had video to show you of the hilarious jumping jacks. If you take someone that's 25 years old and they've never done a jumping jack in their life--some of the convoluted motions they do it's comical. But the transformation from day one to the end of that program, they're very proud and they're very capable." Prince said that when he was in Afghanistan late last year, "I met with a bunch of generals and they said the Afghans that we train are the most effective fighting force in Afghanistan."

Prince also discussed the Afghan women he says work with Blackwater.
"Some of the women we've had, it's amazing," Prince said. "They come in in the morning and they have the burqa on and they transition to their cammies (camouflage uniforms) and I think they enjoy the baton work," he said, adding, "They've been hand-cuffing a little too much on the men."

Hurricane Katrina
Humanitarian Mercenaries Erik Prince spoke at length about Blackwater's deployment in 2005 in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, bragging that his forces "rescued 128 people, sent thousands of meals in there and it worked." Prince boasted of his company's rapid response, saying, "We surged 145 guys in 36 hours from our facility five states away and we beat the Louisiana National Guard to the scene." What Prince failed to mention was that at the time of the disaster, at least 35% of the Louisiana National Guard was deployed in Iraq. One National Guard soldier in New Orleans at the time spoke to Reuters, saying, "They (the Bush administration) care more about Iraq and Afghanistan than here... We are doing the best we can with the resources we have, but almost all of our guys are in Iraq." Much of the National Guard's equipment was in Iraq at the time, including high water vehicles, Humvees, refuelers and generators.

Prince also said that he had a plan to create a massive humanitarian vessel that, with the generous support of major corporations, could have responded to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis across the globe. "I thought, man, the military has perfected how to move men and equipment into combat, why can't we do that for the humanitarian side?" Prince said. The ship Prince wanted to use for these missions was an 800 foot container vessel capable of shipping "1700 containers, which would have lined up six and a half miles of humanitarian assistance with another 250 vehicles" onboard. "We could have gotten almost all those boxes donated. It would have been boxes that would have had generator sets from Caterpillar, grain from ADM [Archer Daniels Midland], anti-biotics from pharmaceutical companies, all the stuff you need to do massive humanitarian assistance," Prince said, adding that it "would have had turnkey fuel support, food, surgical, portable surgical hospitals, beds cots, blankets, all the above." Prince says he was going to do the work for free, "on spec," but "instead we got attacked politically and ended up paying tens of millions of dollars in lawyer bills the last few years. It's an unfortunate misuse of resources because a boat like that sure would have been handy for the Haitian people right now."

Outing Erik PrincePrince also addressed what he described as his outing as a CIA asset working on sensitive US government programs. He has previously blamed Congressional Democrats and the news media for naming him as working on the US assassination program. The US intelligence apparatus "depends heavily on Americans that are not employed by the government to facilitate greater success and access for the intelligence community," Prince said. "It's unprecedented to have people outed by name, especially ones that were running highly classified programs. And as much as the left got animated about Valerie Plame, outing people by name for other very very sensitive programs was unprecedented and definitely threw me under the bus."

Published on The Nation
Source URL:



Saundra Hummer
May 5th, 2010, 01:56 AM

Dick Cheney and the oil spill

As we know from our own comment threads right here on this very blog, right-wingers are expert at taking a few facts from situations that appear to be superficially similar but really aren't upon reflection or closer examination and using them to attack liberals.

And so, in the last few days, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has become Obama's Katrina. Um...look, I'm as pro-pelican as the next guy, and obviously I don't mean to gainsay the scope of this environmental catastrophe, which will end up being staggering.

But Katrina killed about 1,500 humans. And no, it's not George Bush's personal fault that they died, either. But I still rate Katrina a far bigger tragedy for that reason.

And now it turns out, according to an environmental lawyer whose interview on Ed Schultz last week is getting a lot of circulation, that this leak may well be traceable in part to...Dick Cheney.

How? It's hardly as far-fetched as it sounds. From the Wall Street Journal:

The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn't have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.

The lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig last week...

... regulators in two major oil-producing countries, Norway and Brazil, in effect require them. Norway has had acoustic triggers on almost every offshore rig since 1993.

The U.S. considered requiring a remote-controlled shut-off mechanism several years ago, but drilling companies questioned its cost and effectiveness, according to the agency overseeing offshore drilling. The agency, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, says it decided the remote device wasn't needed because rigs had other back-up plans to cut off a well.

The U.K., where BP is headquartered, doesn't require the use of acoustic triggers.
The Journal's report doesn't come out and say this, but the environmental lawyer, Mike Papantonio, said on the Schultz show in an interview you can watch here that it was Cheney's energy task force - the secretive one that he wouldn't say much about publicly - that decided that the switches, which cost $500,000, were too much a burden on the industry. The Papantonio segment starts at around 5:00 in and lasts three minutes or so.

In the interests of disclosure I will note that I haven't heard the phrase "acoustic switch" until this weekend, so I don't really know. And obviously the fact that the US isn't alone in not requiring this switch indicates that there are legitimate questions about cost v. efficacy. So maybe it's just one of those things.

But then again, maybe it's not. Regulatory decisions have consequences all the time, and the people who made them should be asked to justify their decisions in a democracy. It'll be very interesting to watch this week and see if other news outlets pursue this.

Posted by Michael Tomasky
Monday 3 May 2010
13.38 BST

+11 # Margo 2010-05-03 08:01
Who's surprised??

+9 # m 2010-05-03 08:28
Poor Oil Companies... Good thing they had Dick...

+13 # TTIVERS 2010-05-03 09:02
Halliburton was the guilty sub-contractor but was insured by AIG...Aig said they needed Gov help so Liddy re-appeared as head of AIG and with the recommendation of Cheney secured unlimited Gov funds..Another miracle performed trusted Gov...

+13 # Denise 2010-05-03 09:16
You're "pro-pelican," huh, Mr. Tomasky? But you still dismiss this disaster as not being on a level with the destruction caused by Katrina. While I wouldn't belittle or disregard the 1500 [human] deaths resulting from Katrina, everyone who lived in those areas of New Orleans had the choice to NOT be there. Not so the thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of sea creatures and birds who will be killed by this HUMAN-MADE oil spill. It's our human greed for oil and corporate greed for profits that have caused this disaster that will have global effects. The environmental and animal tragedy will be indescribable. Not to mention, of course, the costs to those who make a living from the Gulf waters. Katrina was an act of Mother Nature; this horrifying catastrophe was the work of money-addicted, oil-addicted people, and so was entirely preventable, which in my book, makes it exponentially worse.

+7 # bluechicory 2010-05-03 11:34
I agree with you ... except that Katrina was also a man made disaster.. The Corp of Engineers did not build or design the levees adequate to the need... then they said... Be happy don't worry. Heck of a job! If the levees had held the damage from Katrina would have been minimal.

+2 # Nando 2010-05-03 17:00
Denise, I agree with you that this is a tremendous human-made disaster. However, while you "wouldn't belittle or disregard" the human deaths, you are doing exactly that when you say they had the choice to leave. Most of those who did have that choice, made that choice and survived. Most, if not all, of those who died did not have that choice.
But more to the point of the article ... greed and de-regulation need to be called-out, and those who make these decisions need to be held accountable.

+28 # Raymond Pierotti 2010-05-03 09:26
There is an even stronger link to Cheney that needs to be publicized. Halliburton, the company of which Cheney was president, was responsible for installing the apparatus to control flow which blew up and caused the spill in the first place.

+13 # steve 2010-05-03 10:41
Sue them for damages and punitive too boot!

+8 # Errol 2010-05-03 09:46

+20 # Princess Pele 2010-05-03 10:13
Robert F. Kennedey Jr. and a group of lawyers is suing BP Oil because yes they DO require shut off valves in other countries, and Bush evidently did remove this requirement during his presidency. I haven't examined the deregulation of oil in 2005 by the Bush Administration but you might want to.

And do you expect the MEDIA to actually follow any story truthfully anymore?

+17 # carol 2010-05-03 10:34
If Cheney were selling these acoustic switches instead of his friends in the oil business buying them the rigs probably would have those needed as well as spares.

+27 # steve 2010-05-03 10:40
Corruption and cronyism rears its ugly head again. Cheney is now both a war criminal and now an environmental criminal - this could rank as one of the most disastrous environmental contamination episodes in industrial history - the ecological damage will be irreparable, immense and long-lasting. All off shore rigs should be retrofitted with the latest technology for spill prevention and no new leases for off shore drilling ever issued again. If we are true stewards of the planet, we must make commitments to stop the looting and pillaging of its resources, even if it means a drastic change of lifestyle. Otherwise we are a doomed species - the planet would not miss the majority of the human population.

+46 # Zac Reisner 2010-05-03 11:01
Dick Cheney is a major American corporate criminal who should long ago have been arrested as a traitor, on charges of conspiring to subvert the US Federal Government and the Constitution, of major theft and subversion of the US Treasury, war profiteering on behalf of Halliburton, Bechtel, and Brown and Root, and as a war criminal complicit and instrumental in the use of torture, unauthorized secret rendition, and for the murder of many tens, even hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi and Afghan civilians. Why this evil, utterly corrupt, and venal man has been allowed to walk free is a complete and outrageous mystery and a total subversion of justice.

+8 # Brown & Browner 2010-05-03 11:38 Zac, thank you for this precise and piercing summation. Yes, I believe the U.S., in the past, and other countries in the present, kill traitors -- those who wrong their country. Let the laws and justice be enforced, else they're not worth the paper they're printed on. I'm sure Cheney supports the Death Penalty -- what's fair is fair.

+8 # Shu-shu-gah 2010-05-03 12:20
But you can always depend on the Obama administration and the Obama DOJ to protect and defend Cheney-Bush. They will do it here too.

+1 # Sukumar 2010-05-03 14:32
A complete mystery? Which planet have you been living on these last few years?

+3 # muriel schnierow 2010-05-03 15:38
Agreed! How is Cheney saying out of jail??

0 # richard reeves 2010-05-04 15:30
Zac, I could not agree with you more. Unfortunately, as long as so many Americans have their Sport shows, Beer & burger BBQs, etc. a majority will remain in denial, accept the lies and twisted truths of the mass media controlled by 4 corporations, and allow their continued ignorance and indifference to endanger the entire world along with the U.S.A.
Nothing will change as long as big oil and big banking owns and controls our government, lock, stock, and barrel.

+11 # Zac Reisner 2010-05-03 11:10
Any flippant idea that this catastrophe is somehow less serious than Katrina, simply because it (supposedly) only affects pelicans is sadly mistaken; if anything, the impact on human livelihood, public health,and the economic viability and stability of the entire Gulf Coast and the entire Eastern Seaboard are at grave risk. This can only have a concomitant effect on the whole of the US national economy at a time when the country can ill afford even one more even minor disruption. A very short-sighted, uninformed, and myopic comment from Mr. Tomasky indeed.

+2 # Rebecca Ion 2010-05-03 15:00
I agree with you Zac, All life is precious. Mr. Tomasky really wasn't thinking when he made the comment that the oil spill is less serious than Katina.

Please rethink Mr. Tomasky. How long do you think it will take to seal off the 5,000 gallons of oil per day that is spilling with the opening at the depth of 5000 to consider? The effects are very serious all concerned.

+7 # chuck38 2010-05-03 11:43
The evil dark lord's work is afoot to assist in destroying this planet..... This degree of oil STILL GUSHING INTO THE OCEAN

All in the name of GREED....

+15 # Ingrid 2010-05-03 11:49
There is only ONE word to describe Dick Cheney.....EVIL.

+3 # Victor Yepello 2010-05-03 12:09
To Denise: Just to clarify your point about Katrina---- there were literally tens of thousands who had no means to leave the areas that were hit. So your statement about "everyone" had a choice to stay or go is dead wrong.

+5 # AML 2010-05-03 12:14
Katrina was in fact, not preventable, but the Bush "Administration" was in fact slow to respond, since the governor at the time did ask for National Emergency assistance the Friday before Katrina arrived. Unfortunately, the president had a birthday cake to deliver, and lost track of his post. This fact was buried by the administration.

To those who say the response to the oil rig incident was slow, what should they have done, set fire to the oil with possible rescuees in the water???

+4 # gerard 2010-05-03 12:15
Is it any wonder that "Prickly Dick" had his house "scrubbed" from "Google Earth" pictures? Dahh, if I were him I would be very afraid of people knowing where I live too! Gotta give him credit for being that "foresightful"!

+4 # AB 2010-05-03 12:22
Katrina didn't kill 1,500 people--we did. We killed them by not being conscious of what we were doing before the fact and during the fact. When we measure the immediate toll of something primarily in terms of human lives lost we continue our slumber and will continue to suffer the results of that slumber.

+7 # tamsint 2010-05-03 12:37
The Cheney is even closer.
Los Angeles Times April 30, 2010 | 9:13 pm Gulf oil spill: The Halliburton connection . . into the possible cause of the massive gulf oil spill are focusing on the role of Halliburton Co. . which was responsible for cementing the drill into place below the water. The company acknowledged Friday that it had completed the final cementing of the oil well and pipe just 20 hours before the blowout last week. . . .

+4 # Steve B 2010-05-03 13:00
I predict in time the words "DICK CHENEY" will equal those in the past such as "QUISLING." Steve Wporld War 2

-3 # Karl Drumm 2010-05-03 14:23 Crooks like Dick Cheney are always getting protection from the Obama administration.This is the last time I will vote for Obama.The proof is that ALL the transparency talk by Obama was just HOT AIR.

+3 # TH 2010-05-03 14:32
Wait, how does an American vice president get to determine which safety devices are used on a British company's oil rigs?

0 # Fairbs 2010-05-03 15:58Probably because it is off our shoreline.

+3 # frank67 2010-05-03 15:01
Bush and Cheney: Dumb and Dumber!

Bush and Cheney: Crook and Criminal!

Bush and Cheney: War Maker and War Criminal!

0 # Fancy 2010-05-03 16:39
http://pesn.com/2010/05/02/9501643_Mother_of_all_gushers_could_kill_Earths_oc eans/

Nuclear bomb is being discussed for they can't cap it.

+2 # Mary Baine 2010-05-03 19:25
Wow, the "pelican-lover" who wrote this article isn't very well-informed about the oil well a mile down in the Gulf and likely to start spewing an order of magnitude more crude oil per day--for months to come. Whole chunks of the Gulf Coast are going to drop into the water and sink once the oil kills the grasses, which will be soon, leaving N.O and many other cities totally vulnerable to the next hurricane. Hurricane season starts in about 8 weeks. Even if the Gulf states survive this season, those involved are predicting recovery will be a matter of several decades--if ever, giving rising sea levels. A region bigger than Britain economically and culturally destroyed, the death of cities.... This writer and his total lack of a sense of proportion is part of the problem! Is it more important to score points off a defeated politician than to keep up on the greatest environmental disaster in history, taking place at a time when the world's biggest economy is in free fall? A: No.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

+2 # foxtrot tango 2010-05-03 20:14 Dick Cheney is a cursed man. Everything he touches turns to s--t! He could be the antichrist and we don't even know it.

He his spread his evil on this planet long enough. Arrest the war criminal and let some fresh breath in!

+3 # m 2010-05-03 20:23
Americans need to focus on what the root cause of MANY of our National Problems and Nationals Divisions are.
Its born out of the run-amok 30 year long Scheme by the (for lack of a better title) Global Corporate Wealthy CONservative Class to bring America less and ''LESS GOVERNMENT'' (of the People) through less and ''LESS REGULATION'' (of everything Corporate) and a lot ''LESS TAXATION'' (of the Wealthy Class).., all of which has been sold as the snake oil otherwise known as 'Getting Government Off Our Backs (GGOOB) which never had anything to do with getting government off OUR backs and everything to do with removing Responsibility and Accountability from Corporate pursuit and consequences. Look around now, who owns America, all the Media, Our Government, Our Elections.., etc.? Do you feel 'Less Burdened' by Government..? Do you feel 'Trickle-Down' happier? Doubtful.
We are CONservative Media's Deliberately Divided Losers in this Flim Flam !

+3 # Hors-D-whores 2010-05-03 21:30
Whenever I run across an article or blog that mentions Dick, I feel compelled to comment. It seems to me that in every era, in every culture there is one (in our era maybe a dozen, mostly that operated in Bush 43 the Terrible's administration) , the devil takes on an earthly form, Dick has all the signs of encompassing that distinction. The fact that Dick has survived four heart attacks reaffirms my atheistic bent.

+1 # wsinghe 2010-05-04 04:50
Multiple, coincident errors/failures in independent systems (that led to the spill), -can happen but question it as to probability. Conspiracy to keep troops and current power structure in the Middle East?

+3 # dtlincoln 2010-05-04 06:48
KOAN SLAP, CLAP OF HANDS!!! WAKE UP, WAKE UP AMERICA! Dick Cheney should already be in jail for assisting in the largest cover up bilk of our national resources to feed his frenzy for oil and all the mini corps devoted to putting our nation at risk in Iraq, Afghanistan, and with natural resources anyplace in the world where oil exists. Halliburton made so much money by skimming it off in construction in Iraq which never was completed or done properly.

+2 # Chris Gillespie 2010-05-04 11:03
Too big to fail.

Wait AIG is too big to fail and therefore any lost legal suits will end up being paid by the taxpayers. Come to think of it Halliburton is now pinnacle to the U.S. military and therefore can't fail either as a matter of national defense. In the end we pay for it all.

+2 # Procyon Lotor 2010-05-04 13:04
Throw Darth Cheney in jail immediately! If anyone asks for a reason, simply say "The offshore oil rig blowout disaster is the reason." To anyone failing to comprehend this, point out: It makes every bit as much sense as attacking Iraq on account of 9/11. Who can fault logic like that? Certainly not Cheney!


Saundra Hummer
May 5th, 2010, 01:12 PM

US school for disabled
forces students to wear packs
that deliver massive electric shocks

Diana Sweet
Tuesday, May 4th
2010 -- 9:15 am

Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) has filed a report and urgent appeal with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture alleging that the Judge Rotenberg Center for the disabled, located in Massachusetts, violates the UN Convention against Torture.

The rights group submitted their report this week, titled "Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center," after an in-depth investigation revealed use of restraint boards, isolation, food deprivation and electric shocks in efforts to control the behaviors of its disabled and emotionally troubled students.

Findings in the MDRI report include the center's practice of subjecting children to electric shocks on the legs, arms, soles of feet and torso -- in many cases for years -- as well as some for more than a decade. Electronic shocks are administered by remote-controlled packs attached to a child's back called a Graduated Electronic Decelerators (GEI).

The disabilities group notes that stun guns typically deliver three to four milliamps per shock. GEI packs, meanwhile, shock students with 45 milliamps -- more than ten times the amperage of a typical stun gun.

A former employee of the center told an investigator, "When you start working there, they show you this video which says the shock is 'like a bee sting' and that it does not really hurt the kids. One kid, you could smell the flesh burning, he had so many shocks. These kids are under constant fear, 24/7. They sleep with them on, eat with them on. It made me sick and I could not sleep. I prayed to God someone would help these kids."

Noting that it believes United States law fails to provide needed protections to children and adults with disabilities, MDRI calls for the immediate end to the use of electric shock and long-term restraints as a form of behavior modification or treatment and a ban on the infliction of severe pain for so-called therapeutic purposes.

"Torture as treatment should be banned and prosecuted under criminal law," the report states.

The U.S. Department of Justice opened a "routine investigation" of the center in February of this year in response to a September 2009 letter signed by 31 disability organizations claiming that the center violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Judge Rotenberg CEO and founder Dr. Matthew L. Israel began his first program in California back in 1977. In 1981, a 14-year old boy died face down, tied to his bed, while living in the California center. Dr. Israel was not held responsible for the death. After an investigation by the State of California, Israel relocated to Rhode Island, and then to Massachusetts, where his facility still operates today.

Mother Jones magazine published an extensive investigative report on the Rotenberg Center in 2007 titled "School of Shock." Reporter Jennifer Gonnerman asked, "How many times do you have to zap a child before it's torture?"

Children at the Judge Rotenberg Center are often shackled, restrained and secluded for months at a time, the report says. Social isolation, and food deprivation as forms of punishment are common. Mock and threatened stabbings -- to forcibly elicit unacceptable behaviors resulting in electric shock punishments (Labeled as Behavioral Research Lessons or BRLs, by the center) were reported to MDRI as well as state regulatory bodies.

A former student of the center reportedly tells MDRI, "The worst thing ever was the BRLs. They try and make you do a bad behavior and then they punish you. The first time I had a BRL, two guys came in the room and grabbed me – I had no idea what was going on. They held a knife to my throat and I started to scream and I got shocked. I had BRLs three times a week for stuff I didn't even do. It went on for about six months or more. I was in a constant state of paranoia and fear. I never knew if a door opened if I would get one. It was more stress than I could ever imagine. Horror."

Behaviors that the center deemed "aggressive," as well as those considered "minor," or "non-compliant" -- such as raising one's hand without permission -- are all considered punishable by electric shocks, restraints, and other punishments to students.

"One girl who was blind, deaf and non-verbal was moaning and rocking," a former teacher says in the report. "Her moaning was like a cry. The staff shocked her for moaning. Turned out she had broken a tooth. Another child had an accident in the bathroom and was shocked."

The rights group investigation found that the Rotenberg center is the only known facility in the United States, "Or perhaps the world," that employs the use of electricity, long-term restraints and other punishments to deliberately inflict pain upon its children and then refer to it as "treatment." The electric shocks alone are cited as having possible long-term effects such as muscle stiffness, impotence, damage to teeth, scarring of the skin, hair loss, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), severe depression, chronic anxiety, memory loss and sleep disturbances.

The MDRI report states that more than any other source for its information, they relied upon information readily obtained from the Judge Rotenberg Center's own website.

In response to MDRI's report, the Judge Rotenberg Center said, "There is no credible evidence that for these most severe forms of behavior disorders, there is any pharmacological or psychological treatment that can effectively treat these students or even keep them safe. JRC is the only program willing to address the reality of these children’s disorders and endure the political firestorm in order to save these children and give them an education and a future."

Go on-site to gain access to the numerous links within this article.
This is something that needs to be stopped. SRH

The complete response from the center can be read in full at JRC's website


Saundra Hummer
May 5th, 2010, 05:51 PM


David Corn

BP Oil Spill,
NYC Terror Plot: Limbaugh & Co. Go NutsPosted: 05/5/10 Remember during the George W. Bush administration when a former Clinton official appeared on "Hardball," stated that President Bush had allowed 9/11 to happen for political gain, and Chris Matthews nodded along in agreement? Of course, you don't. Because that never happened. But this week former (and disgraced) FEMA chief Michael Brown on Fox News Channel asserted that President Obama had permitted the BP oil leak to continue for days in order to justify reversing course on expanding offshore drilling to "pander to the environmentalists." And Fox host Neil Cavuto nodded.

Just when you though the conspiratorial wacky right couldn't become more detached from reality -- see Glenn Beck -- it has. With the oil spill and the New York City terror plot, prominent conservative pundits have jumped the rails. I often ignore the cranks and blowhards of the right. Life is too short -- and too real. But the past few days have served up too many examples of extreme conservative nuttiness. Sorry if that sounds uncivil. But there's no other way to describe it in polite company.

Michael "Heckuva Job" Brown was not the only clown on the oil spill conspiracy bus. Rush Limbaugh was at the front. On his radio show, he suggested that environmentalists might have created this disaster to sabotage pending legislation in the Senate that would allow for more offshore drilling and nuclear plants: "What better way to head off more drilling and nuclear plants then by blowing up a rig? I'm just, I'm just noting the timing here." Former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino -- on Fox, of course -- declared, "I'm not trying to introduce a conspiracy theory, but was this deliberate? You have to wonder . . . if there was sabotage involved." (The explosion that created this spill occurred a mile beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. How many wild enviros have their own underwater vehicles?) Eric Bolling, a host on the -- what else? -- Fox Business Network, hinted that the Obama White House "let this thing leak" so the administration could dump its proposal for expanding offshore drilling.
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But I'm confused. Which is it? Did the Obama administration allow a catastrophe to proceed unchecked? Or did green meanies in a submarine (a yellow submarine?) pick one of the hardest wells to reach and blow it up to show people how environmentally dangerous an oil spill can be? Hey, maybe it's both. How ingenious of all those environmentalists, secret socialists, and covert Muslims. I bet they worked this out years ago during a meeting in Kenya.

Meanwhile, Limbaugh and other right-wingers also went cuckoo over the failed car-bombing in New York City. "I wonder if [the] SUV had an Obama sticker on it?" Limbaugh said. "Notice how quickly they got it out of Times Square before anybody could hop and maybe see an Obama 2012 bumper sticker on the damn car." Referring to suspect Faisal Shahzad, he added, "Of course, he's a Democrat. Who knows how many times he voted and where." Anything to tie the president to terrorists, right? And before Shahzad's arrest was announced, several conservative bloggers suggested the NYC plot was the work of leftists looking for a big May Day blast, with one writing, "So, we have the suspicious explosion of an oil rig in the gulf that happened the day before Lenin's birthday (Earth Day) and now we have an attempted attack on May Day, another day celebrated by left wing communists." What a busy week for the left: destroying the Gulf and attacking New York City.

Should we laugh or cry at all this nonsense? After all, who cares about a few no-name bloggers? But Limbaugh and Fox do have millions of followers -- even if most of them live in a bizarro alternative world. Does this toxic sludge, like an oil spill, spread, and then poison the national discourse?

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs seems to believe so. At Tuesday's daily briefing, he lit into Fox News correspondent Wendell Goler about the Michael Brown interview. When Goler asked the already-clichéd question -- is the spill "Obama's Katrina"? -- Gibbs noted it was essentially pointless to answer a Fox News query:

I'm not entirely sure that a factual answer that I might give to any one of your questions is going to change the notion that your network put out the former FEMA director to make an accusation that the well had been purposely set off in order to change an offshore drilling decision.

Gibbs also told Goler that he and Major Garrett, another Fox correspondent who covers the White House, ought to "get on a conference call and maybe do some work."

Gibbs was right to be ticked off. With both the oil spill and the failed Times Square attack, there are serious matters to ponder. What are the implications of the oil spill for future drilling plans? Did the Obama administration make a mistake in accepting BP's early statements that this leak was not so calamitous? Did the federal agency that oversees offshore drilling screw up? (Short answer: yes, big time.) How can we best protect the people and ecosystems in harm's way? As for the near-bombing, how could Shahzad get so close to committing such an attack? Why did he almost get away on that flight to Dubai? How can an open society prevent someone from stuffing an SUV with explosives and detonating it in the middle of one of the great cities of the world? This is all dead-serious stuff.

Yet Limbaugh, Brown and Co., when their country needs informed discussion, seem to be most concerned with setting new records in bogus political exploitation. They are not patriots. They are sound-bite scoundrels.



Saundra Hummer
May 6th, 2010, 07:48 PM

. . . . . . . . . .

Rove, GOP plot vast network to reclaim power
Mike Allen
Kenneth P. Vogel
May 6, 2010
04:42 AM EDT
The Republican Party’s best-connected political operatives have quietly built a massive fundraising, organizing and advertising machine based on the model assembled by Democrats early in the decade, and with the same ambitious goal — to recapture Congress and the White House.

The new groups could give Republicans and their allies a powerful campaign apparatus separate from the Republican National Committee. Karl Rove, political architect of the Bush presidency, and Ed Gillespie, former Republican Party chairman, are the most prominent forces behind what is, in effect, a network of five overlapping groups, three of which were started in the past few months.

The operating assumption of Rove, Gillespie and the other organizers is that despite the historical dominance of Republican fundraising and organizing, the GOP has been outmaneuvered by Democrats and their allies in recent years, and it is time to strike back.

“Where they have a chess piece on the board, we need a chess piece on the board,” said Gillespie, who is involved in all five groups in roles ranging from chairman to informal adviser. “Where they have a queen, we shouldn’t have three pawns.”

The network, which doesn’t have a name, attempts to replicate the Democracy Alliance, an umbrella group — founded in 2005 and funded by George Soros and other billionaires — and to borrow tactics from liberal groups established to help Democrats regain power after eight years of the Bush administration.

Two organizers of the Republican groups even made pilgrimages earlier this year to pick the brain of John Podesta, the former Clinton White House chief of staff who, in 2003, founded the Center for American Progress and was a major proponent of Democrats developing the kind of infrastructure pioneered by Republicans.

Rove, currently on a book tour, has provided “a laying-on of hands” for the groups — as one organizer put it — by encouraging major Republican donors to support them as part of the GOP’s path to revival. “Karl has always said: People call us a vast right-wing conspiracy, but we’re really a half-assed right-wing conspiracy,” he said. “Now, he wants to get more serious.”

While separate, the five entities are so closely related that three share an 11th-floor office near the White House. The groups are:

American Crossroads
American Crossroads — designed to counter spending by labor and progressive groups, including the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Unit and MoveOn.org — will focus on voter contact with the potential to move into ground game and turnout efforts. Organized under the tax code as a Section 527 organization, meaning it can spend directly on political activity, it’s set an ambitious budget of $52 million and says it’s already received commitments for $30 million of that. Its president and CEO is former top U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive Steven Law; its political director is veteran GOP operative Carl Forti. The chairman is Mike Duncan, former RNC chairman; the treasurer is Jo Ann Davidson, former RNC co-chairwoman; and the secretary is Jim Dyke, former RNC communications director.

To try to avoid undercutting RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who has alienated some givers, Duncan tells prospective donors that the party structure is “an important part of winning” and that he is looking for people who “want to go above and beyond.”

American Action Network
American Action Network, modeled on the Center for American Progress, will conduct polling in key races, and plans to put up TV advertising since it is allowed to engage in explicit political activity as a group organized under Section 501c(4) of the tax code. Former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota is the CEO; Fred Malek, a longtime top GOP financier, is chairman; and Rob Collins, a former top aide to House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, is president. Board members include former U.S. Sens. George Allen and Mel Martinez and former House Reps. Tom Reynolds, Jim Nussle and Vin Weber.

American Action Forum
American Action Forum, a policy institute linked to the American Action Network, also will mirror CAP. Coleman is also chairman of this group, which as a 501c(3) organization, is prohibited from directly endorsing or opposing candidates. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director and campaign adviser to Sen. John McCain, is the president. Board members include former Govs. Jeb Bush of Florida and Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.

Resurgent Republic
Resurgent Republic co-founded a year ago by Gillespie and Republican pollster Whit Ayres, says in its official description that it is “modeled on Democracy Corps, which has made important contributions to the public debate from the left and has proven to be a valuable resource for labor unions, environmentalists and liberal congressional leaders.” The group has released a series of polls and offers itself as a message-testing laboratory to help GOP lawmakers develop policies.

The Republican State Leadership Committee
The Republican State Leadership Committee, which focuses on down-ballot races for statewide and legislative offices, raised $22 million in the last campaign cycle. Gillespie took over as chairman earlier this year.

Collectively, the groups have a goal of raising at least $50 million to $70 million.

Coleman recalled in an interview that he admired the left’s financial prowess so much that until recently, he gave potential donors copies of “The Argument,” a book by Matt Bai that chronicles progressives’ rising financial power.

“This is what the left does — we need to do it on the right,” Coleman said he told people.

Democrats say the new GOP network has the potential to tip Republicans back into the House majority, since the formal party structures will burn through money as they struggle to compete in a record number of House seats.

Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said he is worried about the groups as a potential “conduit for a lot of special-interest money to flow into campaigns.”

The Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission opened possibilities for groups like American Crossroads, American Action Network and others backed by corporations, unions or huge donors to be more aggressive in supporting or opposing candidates. Democrats in Congress are pushing legislation that would curtail its effects, but right now the decision is emboldening donors - particularly on the right - who had grown reluctant to open their wallets to outside groups, said Charlie Spies, a GOP campaign finance attorney on Resurgent Republic’s legal advisory board.

“It sent out a message to donors that it’s OK to engage again,” said Spies.

Organizers say another reason the GOP’s “donor community” and “political investors” are ready to step up their giving: Republicans had opposed the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law and therefore were slow to adapt their structures to what it permitted. But Democrats weren’t shy and got a huge head start.

“It’s time for us to accept and embrace it and stop getting outspent,” Gillespie said. “It’s the law of the land, and it’s not going away.”

Because the groups are registered only with the Internal Revenue Service and not the Federal Election Commission, they can accept so-called soft money — that is, contributions not subject to FEC donation limits or source restrictions forbidding cash from corporations or unions.

“There are a lot of people who were very active in the Bush years who are going to get active with these groups, just because of the leadership of the groups,” said one major GOP fundraiser, or “bundler.”

According to its first report to the IRS, American Crossroads’ first gift was a check for $250,000 from B. Wayne Hughes of Lexington, Ky., the chairman of Public Storage. The American Action groups and Resurgent Republic are not required to disclose individual donors.

Tom Matzzie, a Democratic operative specializing in independent group activity, said MoveOn, which he effectively ran during the 2006 Democratic takeover of Congress, has been successful because big contributions and high-priced consultants have taken a backseat to small donors and grassroots activists.

By contrast, conservatives’ repeated attempts to copy MoveOn have been “huge donor-driven TV ad operations run by consultants,” Matzzie said, asserting Republicans “tend to keep the creativity all isolated to a few elites whereas the MoveOn model allowed a good idea to come from anywhere including the membership.”

The idea for a federally focused “527” started over breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel last year. Gillespie was looking to stay involved in politics after his White House years. Law, then the U.S. Chamber’s chief legal officer, mused as he complained about Republicans’ inability to match the spending of Democratic-friendly political groups: “I really think we’ve got to do something to offset this.”

Law said that he had studied MoveOn and America Coming Together, which relied on a combination of union funding and huge contributions from Soros and other activists.

“Democrats have had tremendous success in building enduring and fairly large and sophisticated third-party organizations that have a major impact on politics,” Law said. “On the Republican side, it’s mostly been small, ad hoc efforts that tend to pop up and then disappear from cycle to cycle.”

Democratic strategist James Carville said the GOP’s extra-party machine is emerging now largely for the same reason the Democrats’ did.

“There’s nothing that makes people hungry like being out of power and out of government,” Carville said. “When you’re in government, all of the big operatives have good jobs or they’re working for some lobbying firm and making $3 million a year, while the other guys don’t have anything to do."

Podesta didn’t return an email seeking comment about conservative efforts to mimic his group, but Malek said that after American Action Network formed, “Podesta being the class act that he is, called Norm Coleman and congratulated him and welcomed him to the battle.”

Debate this story in the Arena.

© 2010 Capitol News Company, LLC

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
May 7th, 2010, 03:57 PM

Time travel possible, says Stephen Hawking
Monday, May 03, 2010
18:24 IST

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking thinks that time travel is possible.

In the past he has steered clear of the topic in public lest he be considered a crank but Hawking told the Daily Mail that now he is less worried about that possibility.

Preparing for the debut of his Discovery documentary, Stephen Hawking''s Universe, which screens next week, Hawking said he believed humans could travel millions of years into the future and repopulate their devastated planet.

"Time travel was once considered scientific heresy, and I used to avoid talking about it for fear of being labelled a crank," News.com.au. quoted him as saying in the docu. "These days I''m not so cautious," he added.

Manchester University professor Brian Cox told The Times that Hawking''s theory had already found some basis in experiments carried out by the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.

Hawking also says we can only travel forward in time.

Moving backwards is impossible, Hawking says, because it "violates a fundamental rule that cause comes before effect".



@ dileep v. sathe:the conclusion you have reached is not so obvious. the age of your grand-daughter now has no bearing. if you travel 17 years into the future, she would be 17 years older. if, however, she traveled 17 years into the future, your great-granddaughter would simply not exist, her mother having been removed from the causal chain before her conception. none of this disproves the possibility of traveling forward in time at a rate faster than we already do.

Gerald Ford - Kentucky, USA once you are able to go past the speed of light,this looks possible!!!

naresh singhania - jamshedpur i, as a physics teacher, agree with stephen hawking that one can not travel backward in time, because that requires effect preceding the cause - which is impossible. but the same principle makes time travel in the forward direction impossible. let me clarify with a simple example. today, my grand-daughter`s age is 10 and she will get married - in normal course - after 15 years. so birth of my great-grand-daughter will be 2 years after that. this leads to the obvious conclusion, i can ``not`` take time travel of 17 years, now, to see my great-grand-daughter because her mother is just 10-year-old now.

Dileep V. Sathe - Pune / MH / India i always thought time could be manipulated by gravity and that, as with light, could be bent by large gravitational fields, and that by somehow avoiding the gravitational field a ``traveller`` could end up ahead of the time that was distored. maybe i just dreamt it after (trying to read) a brief history of time...

Aaron - The future, until now... how do we can move forward ? i think earth will spin faster and more faster



Saundra Hummer
May 9th, 2010, 07:25 PM

This is for you Jer.
I hope that your reply to Ianant was tongue in cheek about how peace loving the Mexicans are, as like here, there's black and white and the gray area's in between. I mean like any race or ethnic group, (even us), can be terribly dangerous. There's no boundry on sociopathic violent behavior.

Did you catch the long report on television about a Mexican man and his American wife and the hell they went through when he was kidnapped and held in a small wood box for months on end? He was beaten and starved, and kept in bright light with blaring music until any weaker person would have gone stark raving mad. Upon his release long after money was paid, They tried to stay on in Mexico, but they had endured too much, so they left their beautiful hacienda and land that their dreams had built and moved to the United States. The fear and nightmares of everyday life in Mexico, especially after such an ordeal, were too much to continue to endure.

I hope that you not thinking that the Mexicans aren't capable of crime, and violence, hope you were joking. Just read this and the related articles that follow it to see that it can be terribly dangerous down there. We've even had Mexicans from Sinaloa tell us to go around that state regardless of how many more hours it adds to a trip as it is too dangerous to be in for Americans and other foreigners, as well as their fellow Mexicans. Driving at night is just down and out stupid to do as they can see your lights coming and set up a situation to stop and rob you. That is common.

It's pretty bad when people living there tell you this. Two family's from where our daughter lives in California went down for the sailing races, and they had their gradeschool age children with them. They weren't friends either, they weren't together, but they shared the same fate. They were driving new 4 wheel drive SUV's, and they, nor their vehicles, were ever found. It's believed the Federales murdered all of them for their new 4X4's.

My cousin's husband, who was an employee of IBM in Texas, I believe that is who he was working for, as it's been so long ago that I don't remember with any certainty who his employer was, anyway, he and a friend from his job went down to Matamoras for lunch, which they did quite often. While there, they became the victims of a violent kidnapping. Jenette's husband was shot twice in his leg. I don't know what else was done to him. I don't know what happened to the other man. They were held for ransom and would have died at their kidnappers hands had their employer not paid something like $180K each for their release. So be careful down there because even if you are into good works, they will kill you, or worse, at the drop of a peso.

Here's the article and then there's more to check out:



Gunmen Kill Guest, Kidnap Groom at Mexican Wedding

Michelle Ruiz
7 hours 21 minutes ago
AOL News (May 9) -- Moments after saying "I do," there was no happy ending for a bride and groom who tied the knot in Mexico's Ciudad Juarez over the weekend.

Outside the church, the couple was met by a group of gunmen who killed a wedding guest before kidnapping the groom, his best man, his brother and his uncle. Chihuahua State Attorney General's Office spokesman Carlos Gonzalez told CNN that dozens of guests looked on as one of the gunman shot the victim in the back as he fled towards the church parking lot.

There were no arrests made but officials said an investigation into the incident is underway. Cuidad Juarez is Mexico's most violent city and the site of thousands of deaths related to turf wars between battling drug cartels.

Addressing the wedding shooting, Gonzalez told CNN: "It's unclear if this was gang or drug related."

Chihuahua state prosecutor's office spokesman Arturo Sandoval also told The Associated Press that the motive for the wedding violence has not yet been determined.

Cuidad Juarez, located across from El Paso, Texas, is one of the deadliest cities in the world. Local reports said at least 870 people have been killed there this year alone and more than 5,000 have been killed since the drug wars began in late 2006.

More Headlinesrelated from AOL News
Mexican Widows Fed Up by Constant Violence
39 days ago

10 Students Gunned Down in Mexico
39 days ago

Once Vibrant, Mexican City Now a Haven of Death
43 days ago

US Consulate Victims in Mexico 'Targeted,' FBI Says
54 days ago
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Huffington Post - 15 days ago

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Huffington Post - 30 days ago

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Politics Daily - 46 days ago

Filed under: World, Crime
2010 AOL Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Go on-site to gain access to the other articles, just click on this URL:

http://www.aolnews.com/crime/article/gunmen-kill-guest-kidnap-groom-at-mexican-wedding/19470169?icid=main|htmlws-main-n|dl1|link5|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aolnews.com%2Fcrime%2 Farticle%2Fgunmen-kill-guest-kidnap-groom-at-mexican-wedding%2F19470169

May 9th, 2010, 07:59 PM
Yes. And I have known several people in New York over the years who were murdered in one way or another.

My tongue was mid-mouth, nowhere near my cheek.

My experience in Mexico has been completely positive. I have good friends there. Most of the violent crime in Mexico is drug-related, not targeted at Americans or ordinary citizens. The drug wars are between rival factions, and with the police.

There are serious crime problems in certain parts of Mexico ... and also in St. Louis, Detroit, Flint, Baltimore, Newark, Washington D.C. ... et al.

Individual crimes in American cities are rarely reported nationally. The media finds it more profitable to sensationalize crime in places like Mexico, since it feeds directly into American paranoia about drugs, as well as American xenophobia and national chauvinism.

Here is a recent blog about murder in Mexico (http://www.mexicomike.com/safety/safety-UsStateDepartment.html) based on U.S. State Department statistics. And just one statement from that blog:

With about three million Americans tourists a year and about one million living in Mexico, the murder rate for Americans is around one per 100,000 or so — about one-sixth the murder rate in the USA.

Saundra Hummer
May 9th, 2010, 08:20 PM
Yes. And I have known several people in New York over the years who were murdered in one way or another.

My tongue was mid-mouth, nowhere near my cheek.

My experience in Mexico has been completely positive. I have good friends there. Most of the violent crime in Mexico is drug-related, not targeted at Americans or ordinary citizens. The drug wars are between rival factions, and with the police.

There are serious crime problems in certain parts of Mexico ... and also in St. Louis, Detroit, Flint, Baltimore, Newark, Washington D.C. ... et al.

Individual crimes in American cities are rarely reported nationally. The media finds it more profitable to sensationalize crime in places like Mexico, since it feeds directly into American paranoia about drugs, as well as American xenophobia and national chauvinism.

Here is a recent blog about murder in Mexico (http://www.mexicomike.com/safety/safety-UsStateDepartment.html) based on U.S. State Department statistics. And just one statement from that blog:

With about three million Americans tourists a year and about one million living in Mexico, the murder rate for Americans is around one per 100,000 or so — about one-sixth the murder rate in the USA.
Glad to hear you aren't blind to what it's like down there.

We're planning a move to Costa Rica and everyone rolls their eyes and they start asking us if we aren't afraid of the criminal element down there? We just say "As compared to where, here in the United States?"

We are lucky to be alive with the murderers we've been exposed to, starting with 3 bank robbers up at Lake Tahoe who were eyeing my girlfriend Laurie Johnston's car, the hottest Corvette in California, one that Vasek Polack in Hermosa Beach (the Porshe dealer), had built up for her, and Bob Bondurant had won races in. A black beauty.

Two men and a woman, dressed to the 9's the woman in red high heels in the snow, and a beautiful tan suit, were all staying at the little cabin place at Lake Tahoe, part of the Tahoe Inn I believe, this is where we were staying for three days until we could find something better. This was during the Olympics. When we moved they came prowling about one night, we found their foot prints in the snow around the house we had rented which was down a dead end road in Lone Pine. We had hidden the Corvette, & taken the rotor out, as we thought they were suspicious acting, them always checking her car out, asking questions about it and so forth. Come to find out they were bank robbers. They had killed a Calif. Hiway Patrol man so they would have thought nothing of killing us after they got it from us. They thought we were gone, so that was the end of that, but it was spooky, as I was there all alone, trying to keep my dog from barking, pretending that the house was empty, so they wouldn't come in. My heart was pounding, didn't want to die and I didn't want them to shoot my dog. He got the drift and was as still and quiet as could be. Smart to know something was different with how I was acting. Like one Highway Patrolman that Laurie went out with, (that night in fact), said they had "enough CHIP's there to eat them alive. He patrolled our area after that.

There were other instances we've been part of, serial killers and all. Over and over we've met up with or been exposed to some very dangerous people right here in Oregon and in California. But when people who are caught up in illegal activities in Mexico themselves warn you off. I do listen. Then too, if you have something that one of the criminal types want, you most likely will lose it to them and if it's worth a lot, you may pay with your life, and they will have it, you'll go missing, and they'll get off scott free for their crimes, as they are not pursued with any vigor.

Saundra Hummer
May 10th, 2010, 04:03 PM


What I can't believe is this, we are willing to watch our freedoms shrink while we yell to the high heavens about any social program that will benefit all of us in the long run. What in the world are people thinking? SRH

Hysteria Lane

John Cory,
Reader Nupprted News

National ID Card. (photo: file. Go on-site to view)http://readersupportednews.com/opinion/42-42/1913-hysteria-lane
Reader Supported News | Perspective
I wasn't going to write anything this weekend because I was angry with Democrats. Again. Yes, I know - big surprise.


Democratic Senators Durbin and Schumer introduced legislation calling for a National ID Card for all working Americans as part of the solution to immigration problems. A really cool one too, with biometrics and fingerprints and all that stuff.

Holy Joe Lieberman's reaction to the failed Times Square bomb attempt is to find a way to strip citizenship from suspects accused of terrorist actions against America.

And the great GOP blowhards are screaming about Miranda rights and revoking them or just ignoring them and now Attorney General Holder is on TV talking about "modifying" Miranda under certain circumstances. WTF?

I am screaming at the television, which is now ignoring me as it tells me to ask my doctor about a new pill that will keep me from screaming at the television. Side effects could include depression, suicidal thoughts and talk radio voices in my head.

The reaction around the failed bomb attempt has generated a whole new brouhaha about whether people on the Terrorist Watch List should be allowed to purchase guns or not. Mayor Bloomberg calls it common sense that such a loophole should be closed. Senators Graham and Collins say that we need to be careful about denying citizens their Second Amendment right to purchase firearms.

Now I am screaming - inside my own head - no need to disturb the neighbors again.

Whether or not people on the Terrorist Watch List should be able to purchase a gun IS NOT the issue, folks.

The Terrorist Watch List/No Fly List should be the issue!

Government agencies have a LIST - but unlike Santa this list is only the bad people. You know, like 8-year-old Mickey Hicks or the late Senator Ted Kennedy. That list. Remember?

How big is the list? One million names. How do you get on it? How do you get off it? Who the hell controls it? How valid is it?

There must be a hundred questions that need answering about this LIST and I realize the celebrity media journalists are still sharing Facebook photos from the big White House Correspondents prom they just attended but - anyone? Hello?

Okay. My fault. There is no news media today - they all sold out for really cool parties and red carpet sunglasses. And the only rights they are interested in saving are the movie and publishing rights of their next book.

But what about the protectors of democracy and freedom and all those noble words pontificated by Democratic leaders and candidates during campaign season? Where are they now? Transparency? Change? Hope? Democracy?

How do you modify freedom? How do you modify constitutional rights? Either you have freedom or you don't. Either you have civil liberties and constitutional rights or you don't. You can't be a little bit pregnant and you can't be a little bit free.

Right after the Times Square bomb attempt, Mayor Bloomberg said that these people attack New York and America because of our freedoms. They hate us for our freedoms.

If the terrorists wait a bit longer maybe they can pick up our freedoms at the fire sale on Hysteria Lane. Buy civil rights cheap - two for the price of one.

I wonder how much angrier I can get with Democrats?

A rhetorical question.

Never mind.



Saundra Hummer
May 11th, 2010, 03:14 PM


Space technology revolutionizes archaeology,
understanding of Maya
May 11, 2010
University of Central Florida researchers led a NASA-funded research project in April 2009 that collected the equivalent of 25 years worth of data in four days. Aboard a Cessna 337, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) equipment bounced laser beams to sensors on the ground, penetrating the thick tree canopy and producing images of the ancient settlement and environmental modifications made by the inhabitants of the Maya city of Caracol. This LiDAR image shows the density of terracing in the Ceiba terminus area. Credit: Caracol Archaeological Project
A flyover of Belize's thick jungles has revolutionized archaeology worldwide and vividly illustrated the complex urban centers developed by one of the most-studied ancient civilizations -- the Maya.

University of Central Florida researchers led a NASA-funded research project in April 2009 that collected the equivalent of 25 years worth of data in four days.

Aboard a Cessna 337, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) equipment bounced laser beams to sensors on the ground, penetrating the thick tree canopy and producing images of the ancient settlement and environmental modifications made by the inhabitants of the Maya city of Caracol within 200 square kilometers (77 square miles).

UCF anthropology professors Arlen and Diane Chase have directed archaeological excavations at Caracol for more than 25 years. The hard work of machete-wielding research scientists and students has resulted in the mapping of some 23 square kilometers (9 square miles) of ancient settlement.

The NASA technology aboard the Cessna saw beyond the rainforest and detected thousands of new structures, 11 new causeways, tens of thousands of agricultural terraces and many hidden caves - results beyond anyone's imagination. The data also confirm the size of the city (spread over 177 square kilometers or 68 square miles) and corroborate the Chases' previous estimates for the size of the population (at least 115,000 people in A.D. 650).

Until now, Maya archeologists have been limited in exploring large sites and understanding the full nature of ancient Maya landscape modifications because most of those features are hidden within heavily forested and hilly terrain and are difficult to record. LiDAR effectively removes these obstacles.

"It's very exciting," said Arlen Chase. "The images not only reveal topography and built features, but also demonstrate the integration of residential groups, monumental architecture, roadways and agricultural terraces, vividly illustrating a complete communication, transportation and subsistence system."

UCF Biology Professor John Weishampel designed the unique LiDAR approach. He has been using lasers to study forests and other vegetation for years, but this was the first time this specific technology fully recorded an archeological ruin under a tropical rainforest.

"Further applications of airborne LiDAR undoubtedly will vastly improve our understanding of ancient Maya settlement patterns and landscape use, as well as effectively render obsolete traditional methods of surveying," Chase said.

The images taken at the end of the dry season in Belize last April took about 24 hours of flight time to capture and then three weeks to analyze by remote sensing experts from the University of Florida. Now Caracol's entire landscape can be viewed in 3-D, and that already offers new clues that promise to expand current understanding of how the Maya were able to build such a huge empire and what may have caused its destruction.

"The ancient Maya designed and maintained sustainable cities long before 'building green' became a modern term," said Diane Chase, who has worked as co-director of the Caracol Archaeological Project beside her husband for the past 25 years. Her conclusion is based on the extensive agricultural terracing LiDAR revealed.

In addition to the UCF researchers, partners include Jason Drake with the U.S. Forest Service in Tallahassee and an adjunct professor at UCF; Ramesh Shrestha, K. Slatton and William Carter of the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping; and Jaime Awe, director of the Institute of Archaeology in Belize.

Much more powerful information is anticipated from the data collected. UCF's Weishampel said rainforests play an important role in understanding and managing global warming today. The team's results also give him a snapshot of forest vegetation in that part of the world and how it was influenced by land-use practices 1,000 years ago. This may help scientists understand past human-environment interactions and changes that should be made today.

Provided by University of Central Florida (news : web)




Saundra Hummer
May 11th, 2010, 04:28 PM


BP to lead blame game in testimony

Jake Sherman
May 10, 2010
07:11 PM EDT

When the top executives from BP, Transocean and Halliburton go before a Senate committee Tuesday, the companies at the center of the Gulf oil spill will direct their fire at one another.
President and Chairman of BP America Inc. Lamar McKay waits to testify before a Senate hearing on the Deepwater Horizon explosion,
05/11/10. (photo: Reuters)

Open Article On Originating Site:

Congress is about to get a lesson
in oil drilling and blame passing.

When the top executives from BP, Transocean and Halliburton go before a Senate committee Tuesday, the companies at the center of the Gulf oil spill will direct their fire at one another, with nobody taking direct blame for the ecological disaster.

The testimony will go something like this: BP will blame Transocean, Transocean will blame BP and Halliburton, and Halliburton will say its work on the oil well was done just right.

BP is the driller — it leases the land from the government and reaps the benefits from the oil found. It will claim that the blowout preventer — a last-ditch mechanism meant to stop a massive oil leak — failed.

BP’s chief executive will also duly note that BP only had a few employees on the doomed drilling platform, according to testimony released ahead of the Tuesday hearing.

“Only seven of the 126 onboard the Deepwater Horizon were BP employees, so we have only some of the story, but we are working to piece together what happened from meticulous review of the records of rig operations that we have as well as information from those witnesses to whom we have access,” BP President Lamar McKay will tell the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Yet Transocean will certainly take issue with BP’s description of the catastrophe.

Steven Newman, its CEO, plans to tell the committee that BP “manages all of the work that is performed” on the leased oil site. Newman said it “makes no sense” to assume that blowout preventers caused the accident — at least a subtle contradiction to BP’s claim.

“[T]he BOPs were clearly not the root cause of the explosion,” Newman plans to say.

While Transocean is deflecting blame from BP, the rig operator plans to dish some blame off on Halliburton. Newman will say Halliburton’s cement casing could be to blame.

Halliburton performed the cementing operations designed to close the drilling process 20 hours before the “loss of well control,” according to testimony to be given by Tim Probert, a Halliburton president. They tested the seal, he’ll say, and “the results of the positive test were reviewed by the well owner and the decision was made to proceed with the well program.”

“Halliburton is confident that the cementing work…was completed in accordance with the requirements of the well owner’s well construction plan,” Probert will say.

After the companies get done blaming each other for the oil spill, they’ll move on to their next grilling, before Environment and Public Works, for a 2:30 p.m. hearing. That panel has not released the testimony in advance.

© 2010 Capitol News Company, LLC


Saundra Hummer
May 11th, 2010, 05:17 PM
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The Invisible Crazy Robot Hand

Bruce Sterling
May 10, 2010
3:50 am
*Nobody is less surprised than me to see that interacting pieces of software can do weird emergent stuff, and act all buggy. This is not, like, some surprising discovery. It’s more like a law of computational physics.

*For the stock market to go into a “tornado” of dark pool trading is not all that great, though. Especially when days tick by, and nobody knows what the hell actually happened. This is not a chaos-theory lab experiment: this is supposed to be the bedrock of global capitalism.

*That is not a stable market, folks. That’s not a free market, either. Why would any sane person have any confidence in the behavior of a creation like that? It’s like a series of mechanized panics waiting to happen. Ivan the Terrible had more common sense than this rickety robot.

*And I don’t wanna get all cybarmageddon here, either. But all we need is like the whisper that our sinister Chinese underlords are manipulating these markets with some covert hacks, and the tender, trembling, shy woodland creatures who are our global rich are gonna completely wig out. They’d blow up the Parthenon if they thought they could save ten cents on the dollar. What safe haven do they expect to find? What other planet to do they think they’re gonna put their money on? How did we ever get into such a flaccid and miserable and unnerved condition? We’re as shaky and decadent as the drug-addled degenerates in a Fritz Lang “Dr. Mabuse” film.


“The technology has gotten ahead of the regulators and the regulators need to get ahead of the technology,” Shelby said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program. “That is going to be a big challenge down the road. Otherwise, we could have more of this.” (((You ALREADY had more of this. It’s been going on for years, and all you do is chant nostrums about the ineffable wisdom of free enterprise.)))

“The House Financial Services Subcommittee on capital markets will hold a hearing tomorrow to examine last week’s stocks plunge. Officials from the SEC and exchanges have been asked to testify, said a person familiar with the matter. (((Oh well, that’s comforting. Thank you, “familiar person.” Way to go in being the adult in the room.)))

“Regulators are reviewing a drop that briefly wiped out more than $1 trillion in U.S. equity value as the Dow slid almost 1,000 points before paring losses. Concern over the integrity of markets may have contributed to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index falling as much as 3 percent May 7, a day when the U.S. reported the biggest growth in jobs in four years.

“Dark Pools (((Or, as Dr. Mabuse liked to murmur when enchanting his hapless victims, “Melior,” “Tsi Nan Fu”)))

“The SEC, in a May 7 joint statement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said it is reviewing data from exchanges and will make findings public once the agency determines the cause of the crash. The regulators pledged to make “structural” changes to markets if necessary. (((This is like going to Monte Carlo to inspect the roulette wheels after the prince blew his brains out.)))

“SEC staff are examining innovations in U.S. stock markets, including high-frequency trading and private trading venues known as dark pools that don’t display prices publicly.
The agency in October proposed rules to address concerns that dark pools were growing too rapidly and drawing volume away from regulated exchanges. In an attempt to better track high- frequency traders, the SEC last month proposed regulations that would assign computer codes to market participants who buy and sell at least 2 million shares a day. The SEC hasn’t finalized either rule….”

(((Later: this just in from the masters of finance:)))

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Saundra Hummer
May 11th, 2010, 08:10 PM

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Was Last Week's Market Crash a Direct Attack By Financial Terrorists?

David DeGraw
Amped Status
May 10, 2010
Printed on May 11, 2010

In a market where 70 percent of all trades are executed by computer algorithms via High Frequency Trading, Goldman Sachs has the power to make the market crash or rise at will.
Last week, the U.S. stock market suffered the greatest sudden drop in its history, for reasons that nobody on Wall Street can seem to decipher. But of all the explanations being examined—a tech glitch, Greek debt worries and fraud have all been discussed--the most troubling is not being given sufficient attention.

Coming on the very day that Congress considered two key financial reforms, the timing of the "flash crash" raises concerns that Wall Street is resorting to extreme tactics in its efforts to intimidate politicians who want to rein in the capital markets casino. Thursday's market plunge could have been an act of financial terrorism. Wall Street has both the motive and the means: Goldman Sachs, which is currently under investigation for a very different kind of fraud, has the trading power to make just such a market crash occur, and has much to lose from financial reforms moving through Congress.

On Thursday afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 700 points in about 10 minutes. A few hours later, top Democratic negotiators reached a compromise with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, over a plan to audit the Federal Reserve's secret bailout operations. The Fed has pumped nearly $4.3 trillion in bailout funds into the banking system since the onset of the crisis, and we know almost nothing about that money. The "Audit The Fed" amendment would finally tell the public the full extent of Wall Street's bailout operations.

Later Thursday night, Congress voted on—and rejected—an amendment that would have forced the break-up of the six largest U.S. financial behemoths into banks that can fail without wrecking the economy. Goldman Sachs would have been one of those six banks. Meanwhile, riots in Greece and inaction from the European Central Bank raised the possibility of major trouble for our financial titans across the pond.

This amalgamation of events is eerily similar to what took place on Sept. 29, 2008, after the U.S. House of Representatives shot down the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Immediately after the vote, big banks made the market plunge a record 778 points, sparking widespread fear and panic that helped convince Congress to eventually pass the bailout.

Can these conveniently timed market freak-outs be chalked up as a simple, if stunning, response to significant political events? Or is there something more sinister going on?

Right now, there is enough financial firepower concentrated in the hands of a few individuals to move the stock market whichever way these people want it to go. These 10-minute 700 point drops could very well be a precision-guided High Frequency Trading (HFT) attack designed to show Congress who's boss.

In today's stock market, 70 percent of all trades are executed by computer algorithms via High Frequency Trading. And Goldman Sachs completely dominates the HFT business, with a virtual monopoly over trading at the New York Stock Exchange, as Tyler Durden describes for Zero Hedge:

Goldman's dominance of the NYSE's Program Trading platform, where in addition to recent entrant GETCO, it has been to date an explicit monopolist of the so-called Supplementary Liquidity Provider program, a role which affords the company greater liquidity rebates for, well providing liquidity, and generating who knows what other possible front market-looking, flow-prop integration benefits. Yesterday [5/6/10], Goldman's SLP function was non-existent. One wonders -- was the Goldman SLP team in fact liquidity taking, or to put it bluntly, among the main reasons for the market collapse.

Importantly, Durden notes that in April, Goldman executed a huge proportion of trades for its own account—enough to significantly move the market, if it wanted to.

What is notable here is that of the 1.4 billion in principal shares, or shares traded for the firm's own account, Goldman was the top trader by a margin of over 100% compared to the second biggest program trader.

We have long claimed that Goldman is the de facto monopolist of the NYSE's program trading platform. As such, it is certainly the case that Goldman was instrumental in either a) precipitating yesterday's crash or b) not providing the critical liquidity which it is required to do, when the time came. There are no other options.

For further investigation, I turned to Max Keiser, who has written and authored similar Program Trading and HFT computer algorithms. I asked him if he thought this was an attack, and here is his response:

May 6th was an unequivocal act of domestic financial terrorism in America. A day that will live in infamy. To scare the lawmakers, themselves large owners of the very banks and stocks that they are supposed to be regulating, a financial weapon of mass destruction was put to their head and they acquiesced.

As the inventor of the continuous double-action, market-making technology (VST tech. US pat. no. 5950176) that is referenced 132 times by program trading and HFT patents since 1996, I can tell you that Goldman, JP Morgan and the gang simply pulled the "buys" from their computer trading programs and manufactured a crash. And when the coast was clear, and it was clear the politicians were not going to vote for anything that would break up the "too big to fail" banks; all the "sells" were pulled from the computers and the market roared back.

This is a Manchurian Candidate market where program trading bots start the ball rolling in whatever direction Wall St. wants the market to go -- and then hundreds of thousands of day traders watching Cramer on CNBC jump on the momentum bandwagon and commit the crime for the Wall St. financial terrorists, who then say, "It wasn't us, it was 'the market!'"

On Friday, the day after the "flash crash" and the defeat of the "break up the banks" amendment, Goldman just happened to be meeting with the SEC to work out a settlement in the Abacus fraud case.

These two major market crashes are not the only grounds for suspicion. On January 21 and 22 of 2010, President Barack Obama had a press conference and came out in favor of the Volcker Rule, which would have limited these HFT and "proprietary trading" schemes. At that time, the market dropped 430 points. Soon afterward, the Volcker Rule faded away and Obama has not seriously addressed this reform since then.

We know banks are willing to put the entire global economy at risk in order to pursue their own reckless profits. We also know that bankers at the largest U.S. financial firms are fighting like hell to keep their too-big-to-fail gun pointed at the head of the U.S. economy, and to keep their riskiest and most abusive activities beyond the scope of regulators. Consider what they've already accomplished over the past two years:

. 50 million Americans are now living in poverty, which is the highest poverty rate in the industrialized world;
. 30 million Americans are in need of work;
. Five million American families foreclosed on, with 15 million expected by 2014;
. 50 percent of U.S. children will now use a food stamp during childhood;
. Soaring budget deficits in states across the country and a record high national debt
. Record-breaking profits and bonuses for themselves.
Motive and means are not enough to prove a case. You have to show that someone actually executed the dirty deed. But right now there is an alarmingly narrow scope of the calls for investigation into the flash crash. The SEC is considering "market manipulation" investigations, while members of Congress want to investigate whether technological malfunctions are to blame. But shouldn't somebody at least be looking into whether the flash crash was not merely fraud perpetrated for profit, but outright political intimidation—an act of economic terrorism? We'll never know if we don't investigate.

© 2010 Amped Status All rights reserved.

View this story online at:
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Saundra Hummer
May 11th, 2010, 09:27 PM

Why is it that hemp farming, it's production, is illegal in the United States?

Could it be due to the fact that nylon is a by-product of oil production?

Saundra Hummer
May 12th, 2010, 05:28 PM




Protecting Health, Safety and Democracy

As Oil Gushes Into Gulf, Here’s What Lawmakers Should Do
Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program
May 11, 2010 As Senate lawmakers today hear testimony about the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, they should focus on these needed reforms:

1. Pass “Your Spill, Your Bill.” Congress should pass H.R. 5214, the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act, would increase the liability of deepwater leaseholders responsible for an oil spill from a paltry $75 million to $10 billion. Importantly, this legislation would retroactively apply to the current disaster. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate. It is important to note the difference between these bills and one introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, S. 3309. Murkowski, who hails from the oil-producing state of Alaska, proposes increasing liability for spills to $10 billion, but rather than expose oil company executives and shareholders to that liability, her measure instead asks consumers to pony up the $10 billion by increasing the 8-cent-per-barrel tax on both domestic and imported oil to 9 cents.

2. Restructure the Regulator. The Minerals Management Service (MMS) in the Department of the Interior has structural schizophrenia: On one hand, the agency must act as a cheerleader for oil drilling, as it’s responsible for delivering tons of cash to the U.S. treasury from lease sales and collected royalties. But on the other hand, MMS is supposed to protect the environment and workers by being a tough, independent enforcer of safety rules. This split personality causes internal problems that are not necessarily the fault of the agency’s hardworking civil servants. One solution would be to spin off the agency’s environmental regulatory duties to the Environmental Protection Agency and the workplace safety rules to the Occupational Safety and Health Addministration, and let MMS retain its functions of overseeing lease sales and royalty collections.

3. Put Safety First. Regulations that would have required emergency backup blowout prevention (BOP) valves that could be controlled acoustically – as they are in Norway and Brazil – were not adopted, after heavy lobbying against them by Big Oil. In March 2000, MMS released a safety alert saying that “the MMS considers a backup BOP actuation system to be an essential component of a deepwater drilling system and, therefore, expects [outer continental shelf] operators to have reliable backup systems for actuating the BOP.” But MMS never adopted regulations requiring such backup BOPs. Indeed, in March 2003, a consultant hired by MMS concluded that mandating such acoustic controls would be “very costly.” We see now why oil companies should be required to spend the $500,000 that such acoustic BOPs cost. Safety regulations haven’t kept pace with the new dangers posed by deepwater wells.

4. Hold Big Oil Accountable. If BP and its partners are found to have negligently caused this disaster, we can’t be satisfied with another financial slap on the wrist. We must consider permanent sanctions against them and any other companies that cause spills – whether that’s denying them access to lucrative leases, keeping them from securing federal contracts or revoking their corporate charters. All options must be on the table to send a clear message to corporations that criminal misconduct will not be tolerated.

5. Ban New Drilling. We should permanently ban all new offshore drilling, leasing and permitting. The environmental and human costs are simply not worth the tiny supply of oil we may procure. Instead, we should be aggressively developing forms of renewable energy. That’s the only way to reduce the chances of a repeat of this nightmarish disaster that gets worse by the day.



Saundra Hummer
May 13th, 2010, 03:18 PM

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Does Immigration Cost Jobs?
Economists say immigration, legal or illegal, doesn't hurt American workers.
May 13, 2010

SummaryDo immigrants take American jobs? It’s a common refrain among those who want to tighten limits on legal immigration and deny a "path to citizenship" — which they call "amnesty" — to the millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. There’s even a new Reclaim American Jobs Caucus in the House, with at least 41 members.

But most economists and other experts say there’s little to support the claim. Study after study has shown that immigrants grow the economy, expanding demand for goods and services that the foreign-born workers and their families consume, and thereby creating jobs. There is even broad agreement among economists that while immigrants may push down wages for some, the overall effect is to increase average wages for American-born workers.

AnalysisArizona’s tough new law targeting illegal immigrants and the possibility of congressional action on immigration have brought a renewed focus to the issue. Among lawmakers and others who seek stricter immigration limits and stronger enforcement, we’ve noticed a common theme that may have particular resonance at a time when the unemployment rate remains stuck at close to 10 percent: that immigrants take American jobs. But most who have studied the topic say it’s not true. We’ll explain after we show you some of the arguments being made.

"Elevator": Going Down?Exhibit A is an ad that ran in late April in Arizona. It was sponsored by the Coalition for the Future American Worker, an organization that includes such groups as NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, both of which seek to limit the number of people coming to the U.S. to live, legally or illegally. The spot’s narrator, lamenting the high number of unemployed Americans, says that "with millions jobless, our government is still bringing in a million-and-a-half foreign workers a year to take American jobs."


⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full transcript ⬏

Coalition for the Future American Worker Ad: "Elevator"
Narrator: Another American has lost his job. Another breadwinner going home with the bad news.

Nearly 15 million Americans are now out of work. High-tech, construction and auto workers. Engineers.

Yet with millions jobless, our government is still bringing in a million-and-a-half foreign workers a year to take American jobs.

Could your job be next? Find out how you can help save jobs for American workers at AmericanWorker.org.

Paid for by the Coalition for the Future America Worker.

Simple Math CaucusThen there’s the new group in the House of Representatives, the Reclaim American Jobs Caucus, which has at least 41 members. Republican Reps. Lamar Smith of Texas, Sue Myrick of North Carolina, and Gary Miller of California announced its formation in a video in March, with Myrick saying: "Right now, with unemployment hovering around 10 percent, we thought it was time to talk about the direct link between unemployment and illegal immigration."
Miller makes it all sound so easy: Eight million illegal immigrants working in the U.S., 15 million unemployed American citizens and legal immigrants — we could cut the number of unemployed in half if we just booted out the illegal workers. "The numbers are simple," he says.

The numbers certainly would be simple, if they worked that way. But they don’t.


⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full transcript ⬏

Reclaim American Jobs Caucus Video
Smith: I’m Congressman Lamar Smith, and I’m joined today by my colleagues Gary Miller and Sue Myrick. We co-chair the Reclaim American Jobs Caucus.
Myrick: We formed the Reclaim American Jobs Caucus because right now, with unemployment hovering around 10 percent, we thought it was time to talk about the direct link between unemployment and illegal immigration.
Miller: The numbers are simple. At last estimate there were more than 8 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. labor force, and there are more than 15 million unemployed American citizens and legal immigrants. In my home state of California, there are 2.2 million unemployed, but 1.8 million illegal immigrants in the labor force.
Myrick: In my home state of North Carolina, there are almost half a million unemployed Americans, but 250,000 illegal immigrants in the labor force.
Smith: And in Texas there are 1 million unemployed, but 925,000 illegal immigrants in the labor force.
Miller: And there are similar figures all across America. That’s just not right.
Smith: If we were to just enforce the current immigration laws on the books, we would cut unemployment in half. But the Obama administration is just not serious about immigration enforcement, and nowhere is that more apparent than in workplace enforcement. In the last year administrative arrests have fallen 68 percent. Those are deportation cases. Criminal arrests are down 60 percent, criminal indictments have fallen 58 percent, and criminal convictions are down 63 percent.
Miller: It doesn’t stop there. In one recent case the Obama administration first arrested, then released, several illegal immigrants, then drove them to work. The administration is also once again pushing for amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. And open borders advocates are coming to Washington to rally for their cause. It’s an insult to every American and grim irony that as activists are flooding our nation’s capital, asking for new rights and citizenship, millions of citizens and legal immigrants are out pounding the pavement looking for work anywhere.
Myrick: Dozens of our colleagues agree, and joined out caucus. Together, we will promote policies to help citizens and legal immigrants reclaim the nearly 8 million jobs that illegal immigrants currently hold. The Reclaim American Jobs Caucus will turn off the magnet that currently draws illegal immigration. We will push for the use of the e-verify system that allows employers to validate the eligibility of new hires, support enforcement of workplace immigration laws, encourage attrition through enforcement and oppose policies like amnesty that encourage illegal immigration.
Smith: The Reclaim American Jobs Caucus will continue our efforts to get Americans back to work. Millions are hurting, and it’s time we moved them from jobless to jobs.

Arizona ReduxExhibit C is from GOP Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, a leader in the tea party movement. DeMint supports the new Arizona law, as do many tea partiers, and advocates its spread:

DeMint, May 6: Every state will handle it differently. … South Carolina has already passed laws to crack down on illegal immigrants. Many other states are also under a lot of pressure because of high unemployment to not let illegal immigrants come and take jobs.

A Job for a Job Exhibit A above, the CFAW ad, focuses on legal immigrants, those who have employment authorization documents or who are lawful permanent residents (often known as green card holders). According to a fact sheet posted by NumbersUSA to support the ad, the 1.5 million immigrants mentioned by the narrator is a combination of the two groups using 2007 figures. (The coalition had to do some double-counting to get to that figure, but delving into the math would take us off-topic.)

The video from the congressional caucus and the statement from Sen. DeMint refer specifically to illegal immigrants. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, there were nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in 2008, with 8.3 million in the labor force. About 5.4 percent of the nation’s workforce, then, was composed of illegal immigrants.

But whether they’re legal, as in the CFAW ad, or illegal, as in our two other examples, really doesn’t matter for the purpose of answering our question: The truth is that immigrants don’t "take American jobs," according to most economists and others who have studied the issue.

Immigrant workers "create almost as many" jobs as they occupy, "and maybe more," said Madeleine Sumption, policy analyst at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, which is funded by a range of foundations, corporations and international organizations. "They often create the jobs they work in." In addition, "they buy things, and they make the economy bigger," she told us. As she and a co-author wrote in a report last year for a group created by the British government:

Somerville and Sumption: [T]he impact of immigration [on a nation's economy] remains small, for several reasons. Immigrants are not competitive in many types of jobs, and hence are not direct substitutes for natives. Local employers increase demand for low-skilled labor in areas that receive low-skilled immigrant inflows. Immigrants contribute to demand for goods and services that they consume, in turn increasing the demand for labor. And immigrants contribute to labor market efficiency and long-term economic growth.

David Griswold, director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, wrote in an article for Commentary magazine in December:

Griswold: The addition of low-skilled immigrants expands the size of the overall economy, creating higher-wage openings for managers, craftsmen, accountants, and the like. The net result is a greater financial reward and relatively more opportunities for those Americans who finish high school.

And a new study by economist Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute — a liberal think tank that has been funded in part by U.S. labor unions – says that:

Shierholz: In the ongoing debate on immigration, there is broad agreement among academic economists that it has a small but positive impact on the wages of native-born workers overall:[/B] although new immigrant workers add to the labor supply, they also consume goods and services, which creates more jobs …

Both Griswold and Shierholz acknowledge that some workers may be harmed by an influx of immigrant labor. Griswold writes that "low-skilled immigrants do exert mild downward pressure on the wages of the lowest-paid American workers," though the overall impact on jobs and the economy is positive. Another economist, George Borjas, an advocate of clamping down on immigration, found that between 1980 and 2000 native-born Americans without a high school education saw their wages decline 7.4 percent because of immigrant labor.

Shierholz found that it’s often other foreign-born workers — especially those who came to the U.S. several years earlier — who get the short end of the stick. But American workers benefit, she writes:

Shierholz: A key result from this work is that the estimated effect of immigration from 1994 to 2007 was to raise the wages of U.S.-born workers, relative to foreign-born workers, by 0.4% (or $3.68 per week), and to lower the wages of foreign-born workers, relative to U.S.-born workers, by 4.6% (or $33.11 per week).

The consensus that immigrant workers expand the U.S. economy is broad, and crosses party lines. In 2005, the White House of Republican President George W. Bush remarked on the fact in one of its annual economic reports to Congress:

Economic Report of the President, Feb. 2005: The foreign-born are associated with much of the employment growth in recent years. Between 1996 and 2003, when total employment grew by 11 million, 58 percent of the net increase was among foreign-born workers…. [E]mployment of natives as operators, fabricators, and laborers fell by 1.4 million between 1996 and 2002, while employment in such occupations grew by 930,000 among the foreign-born. This should not be taken as evidence that the foreign-born displace native workers; rather, it reflects the fact that immigrants have made up all of the growth in the low-skilled workforce.

The people pictured in the elevator in CFAW’s ad aren’t likely to be competing with immigrant labor for positions. There may be other reasons for an overhaul of current immigration policy. But the idea that foreign-born workers are stealing American jobs should be turned back at the border.

– by Viveca Novak


Monger, Randall. "U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2009." Department of Homeland Security. Annual Flow Report. Apr 2010.

Passel, Jeffrey S. and D’Vera Cohn. "A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States." Pew Hispanic Center. 14 Apr 2009.

"Reclaim American Jobs Caucus." Web site of Rep. Sue Myrick. Accessed 11 May 2010.

Costa, Robert. "DeMint: ‘Push Back Against the Federal Government." nationalreviewonline. 6 May 2010

Somerville, Will and Madeleine Sumption. "Immigration and the labour market: Theory, evidence and policy." Equality and Human Rights Commission. Mar 2009.

Griswold, Daniel. "As Immigrants Move In, Americans Move Up." Cato Institute Free Trade Bulletin. 21 Jul 2009.

Griswold, Daniel. "Higher Immigration, Lower Crime." Commentary. Dec 2009.

Shierholz, Heidi. "Immigration and Wages – Methodological advancements confirm modest gains for native workers." Economic Policy Institute. 4 Feb 2010.

"Economic Report of the President." U.S. Government Printing Office. Transmitted to Congress Feb 2005.

Interview with Madeleine Sumption, policy analyst, Migration Policy Institute. 4 May 2010.

Interview with Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer, Pew Hispanic Institute. 4 May 2010.
Posted by Viveca Novak on Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 12:22 pm
Filed under Articles · Tagged with Coalition for the Future American Worker, Gary Miller, immigration, Jim DeMint, Lamar Smith, Reclaim American Jobs Caucus, Sue Myrick

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May 13th, 2010, 05:56 PM
Thanks for that one, Sandi.

Even on its surface, without the overriding facts at hand, it was obvious from the tone of the anti-immigrant movement that it was purely political, designed, like so many other alarmist pronouncements of the government, to keep workers divided by appealing to the most racist and xenophobic elements in this society.

Saundra Hummer
May 14th, 2010, 12:24 PM
Thanks for that one, Sandi.

Even on its surface, without the overriding facts at hand, it was obvious from the tone of the anti-immigrant movement that it was purely political, designed, like so many other alarmist pronouncements of the government, to keep workers divided by appealing to the most racist and xenophobic elements in this society.

It was "illegals", green card holders, and women who made huge contributions to this country during WWII, playing an important role in keeping this country up and running. I'm not alone, according to studies, in believing that immigrants have done us more good than harm. Everything with them hasn't been perfect, but for the most part immigrants have been a plus. We've gained from them being here in more ways than most will ever realize.

I for one enjoy diversity other peoples give us. Makes life so much more interesting.

May 14th, 2010, 06:53 PM
It was "illegals", green card holders, and women who made huge contributions to this country during WWII, playing an important role in keeping this country up and running. I'm not alone, according to studies, in believing that immigrants have done us more good than harm. Everything with them hasn't been perfect, but for the most part immigrants have been a plus. We've gained from them being here in more ways than most will ever realize.

I for one enjoy diversity other peoples give us. Makes life so much more interesting.

Being the grandchild of four immigrants, I would be hypocritical to deny others the same chances they had ...

... like Clarence Thomas, who benefited from affirmative action and now would vote against it.

Saundra Hummer
May 14th, 2010, 07:42 PM

Being the grandchild of four immigrants, I would be hypocritical to deny others the same chances they had ...

... like Clarence Thomas, who benefited from affirmative action and now would vote against it.

Just goes to show Jer, from where I stand, you're a plus for our country, just as your family must have been.

I really don't get this fear people have of immigrants.

Even in San Francisco's China Town, a shop owner thanked us profusely one night, as we were just browsing different shops, thanking us for being understanding and polite to a young girl just over from China. She tried to explain that it was preseved ginger that was in a beautiful container we were admiring. She tried and, tried to tell us what it was, and finally the shop owner came over to tell us about it, while also telling us we were the only people who had been understanding and kind to her, which amazed me. I just told him that she would one day learn English, but we would never be able to learn Chinese. He interpreted for us and for her, and we had a nice little back and forth with her for a bit. I don't see why it would ever be any different.

Saundra Hummer
May 15th, 2010, 04:19 PM

NRA in Charlotte: Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Lots of Guns

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -"No open or concealed carry weapons on Convention Center property," reads the sign outside the Charlotte home of what promises to be one of the biggest events to hit this city -- the 139th annual meeting of the National Rifle Association. How big? From Friday through Sunday, up to 70,000 people are expected to listen to speakers, line up for book signings, and wander through the giant exhibit hall and gun displays. "It's Toys R Us for big boys," a visitor told me.

It's so big that Michael Phelps, in Charlotte for UltraSwim, had trouble finding a room. Any other weekend, he would be the draw. But, with all due respect to the gold medal winner, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck will no doubt best him in the "enthusiastic applause" heat. Just like the Olympics, there will be lots of red, white and blue.

The theme for this year's NRA meeting is "A Celebration of American Values." While the NRA is nonpartisan, convention speakers do trend Republican, with few exceptions such as N.C. Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Heath Shuler. NRA spokeswoman Rachel Parsons said that when it comes to lawmakers, "if you support us, we support you 100 percent."

Palin, waiving her considerable appearance fee, is the headliner at Friday's "Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum," with support from a long list that includes Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Lt. Col. Oliver North and Chuck Norris. The last time I saw the action movie actor, he was jamming at Clemson University with Mike Huckabee during the South Carolina GOP presidential primary race; in Charlotte, he'll be signing copies of "Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America."

Beck shares a spotlight with Newt Gingrich at Saturday night's "2nd Annual Celebration of American Values Freedom Event," with musical entertainment by Charlie Daniels. Both events move to the larger Time Warner Cable Arena. Gingrich is going to be a busy man that day, also signing copies of "To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine" and speaking at a midday fundraiser for North Carolina GOP Rep. Sue Myrick.

Charlotte, besides having the room and the facilities for the convention, is within driving distance of many of its members. Gun-friendly South Carolina next door had a tax-free gun holiday last fall.

With 4 million members, the NRA has grown because "people are concerned," Parsons said on Thursday as workers assembled booths labeled Winchester, Remington and Smith & Wesson. "People want to make sure their freedoms are protected." The NRA puts the number of gun owners at 80 million.

Parsons cited the 2008 landmark Supreme Court decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, that struck down a D.C. ban on handguns as a sign that passion for the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment are strong. She's not so pleased by President Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, or Attorney General Eric Holder, who have not done anything, "yet," she said, to curb gun rights. Obama's "had his hand full" with so many other things.

John Fasching, of Naples, Fla., like Parsons and other NRA members, has doubts about the president. In Fasching's view, Obama is "just waiting for the right time," to crack down on gun ownership. Fasching, who turns 55 in July, and his wife, Ann, have come to their first annual meeting to see the exhibits, hear the speakers -- especially Sarah Palin -- and spend time in a place "where everybody feels the same way you do," he said.

It's all mixed up, said Fasching, when people are more likely to "blame the gun than the person" for a crime. He owns "at least 15" guns; Ann has "a nice, pretty, little pink one" she said. They've bought their 12-year-old granddaughter a .22-caliber Beretta for shooting targets, and have already taught her how to take it apart and put it together.

Mel Morganstein, 70, is a retired Army design engineer who lives in Charlotte. A volunteer for the meeting, he was doing whatever he was asked to get ready for Friday's grand opening. We first met at a Wednesday night dress rehearsal for the North Carolina Dance Theatre, where he also volunteers as a photographer and in community outreach. The dance lover and gun owner is a poster child for the NRA's broad reach, and he hates to be pigeonholed, he told me. He's more of a libertarian, he said, than anything.

While I don't want to stereotype, I do believe a Venn diagram of the NRA and the Tea Party movement would show substantial overlap. Both Morganstein and the Faschings are Tea Party members. My Creative Loafing story on the Charlotte Tea Party this week shows the area is fertile ground for discontent with government regulation.

"It's anti-politics," said Morganstein, who this weekend wants to attend workshops by the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, the group's lobbying arm. "It's about my grandbaby," he said, and showed me her picture, "and what kind of world she's going to have."

Ten years ago, at the 129th annual NRA meeting, also in Charlotte, its president, Charlton Heston, raised his gun in the air and shouted his famous, oft-repeated phrase -- "From my cold, dead hands!" -- to candidate Al Gore, in particular. The late actor's likeness is on a poster at this weekend's Charlotte gathering, not far from one with a slogan for a new decade: "Stop Obama's Gun Grab!"
* * * * *

Anti politics? What an issue.
These are meetings that self seeking politicians and others speak to while playing to their listeneners gullibility, their naivete', even to their stupidity, believing them to be dim witted, while not giving any credit to their audience about being able to think and process facts on their own. Plant these off the wall thoughts and their audience's can be used to get their own way politically.

It's Get Rid Of Our President Time people, don't you get it? SRH



Saundra Hummer
May 15th, 2010, 07:15 PM

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Media Matters: Conservatives claim Kagan is an inexperienced, socialist, Marxist bad driver who hates the military and wants to steal your guns

Well, that was predictable.

As we saw last year with the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, few events unleash a bigger torrent of conservative misinformation than when a Democratic president nominates someone to the Supreme Court. But there was a chance, albeit small, that this time might be different.

By all reasonable accounts, Elena Kagan does not fit the Marxist/socialist mold into which conservative media like to shoehorn all prominent figures to the left of Glenn Beck. (This is not to suggest that Sotomayor fit, either.) In fact, prior to -- and in the days following -- her nomination, numerous conservatives and legal scholars praised Kagan. Reagan Solicitor General Charles Fried endorsed Kagan's nomination, describing her as "supremely intelligent" and "an effective, powerful person." Bush judicial nominee Miguel Estrada called Kagan a "rigorous lawyer" who "should be confirmed." Even Fox News personalities joined the chorus of praise, with reporter Shannon Bream calling her a "brilliant individual" with a "fantastic resume." Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said that Kagan's credentials are "impeccable."

Of course, it's naïve to think the conservative noise machine would sit on its hands and not seize a good opportunity to rile up its base. After all, the conservative movement is fueled -- both monetarily and electorally -- by a cynical mix of outright misinformation and fearmongering about all things conservatives perceive as not conservative.

Prior to Kagan's nomination, conservatives telegraphed their upcoming efforts to oppose any nominee, regardless of opinions or qualifications. Bill Kristol, who by this point is qualified to teach a master's-level course in shameless dishonesty, said in April that while he "endorsed Elena Kagan," Republicans "should oppose her anyway." National Review Online said that the "question for conservatives will be not whether but how" to oppose the eventual nominee. Foreshadowing his future efforts to set the new land-speed record for lies about a Supreme Court nominee, Sean Hannity agreed that "it's always good to have a fight over the courts."

Additionally, as TPM reported earlier this week, conservative activist Curt Levey -- whom the media should stop quoting -- counseled the GOP on delaying the eventual confirmation to help block the president's agenda. In a recording of a conference call between Levey and "Republican operatives," Levey made it clear that conservatives shouldn't be bound by pesky things like reality and honesty when opposing the eventual nominee. From TPM's Brian Beutler:

Levey acknowledged that a filibuster likely won't last--that Obama's nominee, now known to be Solicitor General Elana Kagan, will almost certainly be confirmed. But he hammered home the point to Republicans that there's value in mischaracterizing any nominee, and dragging the fight out as long as possible, whether or not Obama's choice is particularly liberal.

"We wouldn't have a lot to object to if it was Salazar. He's quite moderate as Democrats come," Levey admitted. "We're not necessarily going to say that if he's nominated, but I think that's the truth." Emphasis mine. This advice was met with laughter by one of the listeners on the call. (Salazar was cited in early reports as a long-shot candidate on Obama's short list.)

So, conservatives made clear that their eventual opposition of Obama's Supreme Court nominee would be motivated by political gain, with Levey suggesting that lying would be a good way to accomplish this goal.

And lie they did.

The two main themes that have dominated conservative attempts to derail Kagan's confirmation have been that she lacks judicial experience and is "anti-military." These are both rooted in blatant falsehoods, so let's tackle them one at a time.

Immediately following Obama's announcement of Kagan, Fox News, RedState, and several other conservative outlets rushed to brand her as "Obama's Harriet Miers," a comparison that conservatives themselves say doesn't hold water.

The argument that Kagan's lack of judicial experience should disqualify her is asinine for several reasons. First, it is far from unprecedented to have Supreme Court justices who've never served as judges. More than a third of justices had no prior judicial experience when they were first nominated to the court, including two of the past four chief justices and seven of the nine justices who decided Brown v. Board of Education.

In fact, Kagan's legal experience is comparable to that of William Rehnquist, Clarence Thomas, and John Roberts at the time of their nominations.

But experience doesn't matter if you hate the military, right? Kristol helped to get the ball rolling on this front, claiming on Monday that Kagan has a "hostility to the U.S. military" and urging conservatives to fight her confirmation. This may strike you as strange considering Kristol had previously "endorsed" Kagan -- then again, if you are at all familiar with Kristol's "work," you'll realize this probably doesn't even rank in the top 100 most absurdly dishonest things he's ever done.

The "anti-military" attacks on Kagan have hinged on the claim that she kicked military recruiters off campus at Harvard. First of all, most people who are "anti-military" don't usually describe serving in the military as the "noblest of all professions." But more substantively, Kagan did not actually kick military recruiters off campus at Harvard. Conservatives (looking at you, Sean) are having a hard time grasping this simple fact. Again, Elena Kagan did not "throw," "kick," "boot," "ban," or "bar" military recruiters from Harvard's campus while she was dean of Harvard Law School. Harvard Law students still had access to military recruiters during her tenure. In fact, military recruitment at Harvard Law was not even diminished during Kagan's tenure.

So, there go those talking points -- but of course those weren't the only smears conservatives tried to lob at Kagan. As Media Matters president Eric Burns said on MSNBC this week, "conservatives have nothing" so "they're throwing everything at the wall."

Indeed, we haven't even covered some of the more ridiculous smears. Let's take a quick tour of some of the inane things conservative media figures and outlets threw at the wall this week.

Walking embarrassment/Human Events editor Jason Mattera led the race to the bottom with an attack on Kagan's looks. Mattera said that Kagan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Sotomayor all "look like linebackers for the New York JETS." Responding to a caller who referred to Kagan as a "horrendous creature," radio host Michael Savage said that "although I find it personally grotesque, there are many who find it attractive. ... Let's talk about her radical, Marxist policies."

Numerous conservative media figures seized on Kagan's college thesis to claim, as Rush Limbaugh put it, that "it is clear this babe is hot for socialism." Conservatives have run with this ridiculous claim despite the fact that the thesis did not express support for either socialism or radicalism.

Limbaugh and Beck claimed Kagan wants to censor right-wing speech. This is literally the opposite of true. In the article they cite, Kagan stated that the government "may not restrict" speech "because it disagrees with ... the ideas espoused by the speaker."

Taking a break from looking for Obama's birth certificate and Noah's Ark, WorldNetDaily.com distorted Kagan's record to fabricate the smear that Kagan essentially supported terrorism sponsors.

Byron York, with an assist from Fox News, forwarded a decade-old smear against Kagan that even NRO judicial attack dog Ed Whelan called "highly speculative."

Speaking of Whelan, he spent most of the week making things up, and actually hit Kagan for being a bad driver.

And it wouldn't be a Supreme Court confirmation "debate" if conservatives didn't tell their base the evil liberal judge wants to steal their guns. So they went ahead and lied about that, too.

So, just to recap: According to the unhinged right, Elena Kagan is an inexperienced, socialist, Marxist, anti-military, free-speech-censoring bad driver who supports terrorism and wants to steal your guns.

Not only are the smears the same -- always -- but we were also reminded that some other things never change. Namely, Bill O'Reilly has absolutely no idea what he's talking about.

Oh, and Pat Buchanan still has a problem with "Jews."

[I]This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Media Matters' Ben Dimiero.

Go on-site to gain access to the numerous links within this article: URL:


You should go on-site for the list of books that contain falsehoods about any number of issues, and political figures. It's an astounding bit of information, it truly is. Check it out. SRH
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Saundra Hummer
May 17th, 2010, 08:25 PM

. . . . . . . . . .

Reader Supported News
16 May 10 AM

Glenn Beck Tells NRA Members: Fight the 'Marxists' at the Polls

Mary C. Curtis
Posted: 05/16/10
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Glenn Beck shed his jacket, rolled up his shirt sleeves, mopped his face with a towel and got down to business. "Why won't somebody tell us the truth?" he asked the crowd of 10,000 gathered for the National Rifle Association's annual meeting on Saturday night. "We're American," he said. "We can handle the truth. We demand the truth and we can understand the truth."

And then – aided by his chalkboard and a dark sense of humor – the conservative Fox News Channel host gave his "touch of the truth." It wasn't pretty.

"This country will never fail by an outside force," he said. "This country will only be destroyed if we destroy ourselves." According to Beck, we're on that path. Yet with every prediction came a Beck-style solution. His cheering fans at the Time Warner Cable Arena took hope from that.

For a preview of America's future, look to Europe's current financial and social problems, he said. "Any of your friends that say it can't happen here, they're wrong."

"The Titanic is going down," Beck said. But as long as we save the passengers, the ship can sink. "You telling me we can't build a better ship?" he said. "We have a great plan; it's called the Constitution."

Churches are emptying out because they "don't stand for anything anymore," he said. "God understands individual rights; he's the creator of them."

Beck defended one particular right to the receptive audience. "Let's talk about a well-regulated militia and why you might need one because the government's not doing its job," he said.

Though he said his warnings are not about parties but the size of government, Beck -- like other speakers at the night's "Celebration of American Values Freedom Experience" -- placed blame for his dystopian American vision on the Obama administration and urged the audience to take the fight to the polls (and attend Beck's Aug. 28 "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial).

"These are not Democrats" he said. "They are revolutionary Marxists."

"I think he's great," said Sharon Browder of Port Orchard, Wash. "He's inspiring, he's focused. We love him. We're proud of him. We need him."

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who preceded Beck onstage, dismissed Elena Kagan, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, as not worthy for consideration because of Harvard Law School's policy barring military recruiters while she was dean. "You don't need hearings," he said.

In defense of gun ownership, he said, "Government has no business trying to stop you as long as you are a legal and law-abiding citizen," earning a standing ovations and shouts of "Newt" in the style of rock stars who have filled this arena on other nights. (NRA members who stayed long enough did get to hear the Charlie Daniels Band.)

On Saturday night, Gingrich previewed themes in his new book "To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine." Though its official release date is Monday, signings were scheduled during the meeting here that winds to a close on Sunday with a prayer breakfast and an appearance by rocker and gun enthusiast Ted Nugent.

© 2010 Weblogs, Inc. All rights reserved. Politics Daily is a member of the Weblogs, Inc. Network.

+21 # Vito 2010-05-17 09:44
Where was Beck during the Bush Administratio? He was pretty silent than. Did he agree with the Republican destrution of our economic systems? You know what they say empty barrels make the most noise!

+11 # Ken G 2010-05-17 12:18 I agree with Vito, we had the greatest loss of personal freedoms and more growth of "Big Brother" than any time in our history. Additionally, the "Conservative" Supreme Court recently ELIMINATED our Democratic system by ruling that corporations are the same as individuals when it comes to political donations, and took the cap off those donations - oh, and they don't even have to be US corporations. So a Chinese company, owned by the Chinese Gov't can donate unlimited funds in our elections... he doesn't talk about that either.

+9 # hahaney 2010-05-17 10:14"Let's talk about a well-regulated militia and why you might need one because the government's not doing its job,"

It's regulated by the government. What a fool.

+10 # Robert Uttaro 2010-05-17 10:58Wait a minute! Is this the same Glen Beck that kept referring to Obama and the Democrats as Nazis? I thought we were all Nazis in this drug-fried brain dead lunatics view. Nwo we're revolutionary Marxists?!! Well, better company so we should be thankful for small gifts. Sad, that the loons he speaks to have no idea of the difference but that is the result of Repugnant's undermining education in America.

Want to see how infatuated this tow-headed cry-me-a-river imbecile is, watch Lewis Black take the idiot's rants and (il)logic on.


If only his foam mouthed followers would watch this, they at least would maybe see this ranting lunatic for what he is: a NAZI!

+8 # Ezmerelda 2010-05-17 11:29It would be more plausible if Mr. Beck would settle on one 'bad' thing to pin on the Obama administration, but he vasilates between Marxism, Fascism, Socialism and doesn't appear to see any difference in any of the 'bad' isms any more that his cheering fans understand the differences. He is a snakeoil salesman who is trying to sell a product to eradicate all of the ills of his suffering legions of believers. He is Elmer Gantry who revels in his own egomania. 'Take Back our Country?" From whom? The mess we are in is not the fault of any one party, it goes back several administrations and both parties are complicit in bringing America to the edge of disaster for the benefit of the money changers, not the political parties or the folks who belong to them.

-3 # 420 2010-05-17 11:37 Either way you look at it Americans are screwed. I mediocare president is great for being a minority. The republicans answer an idiot from fox news and SARAH EFFN IDIOT PALIN!!! COME ON VOTE THEM ALL OUT!!!!!!!!!!

+9 # Tom Baker 2010-05-17 11:46There are two things about G. Beck that come to mind. Either he is suffering from extreme paranoia or he is putting on an act which brings him a huge salary. (or both!) The man is scary!

+3 # Christopher Marlowe 2010-05-17 12:18Glenn Beck is an idiot and a liar; no doubt.
But if Glenn Beck supported the right of habeas corpus, would you object?
Or if Glenn Beck supported our free speech rights?
I personally do not own any guns, but the Constitution declares that the right to bear arms is a personal right and the Supreme Court in Heller agreed: "The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes..."
Using guns to defend personal liberty is not a right wing fantasy.
Jeremy Scahill told Bill Moyer that during Katrina, Blackwater & Israeli mercenaries were sent to New Orleans.
The NY Times said that legal guns were confiscated during Katrina:
Even a broken watch is right twice a day.

+2 # Gregg 2010-05-17 13:50The problem with a broken watch is that you need a second watch to know when the broken watch is only momentarily correct. Why have two watches if one will do?

+3 # DaveW. 2010-05-17 14:20 Do you, Mr.Marlowe, believe America will be a safer place if we all arm ourselves? Hasn't humanity spent thousands of years trying to establish "civilization" with a core concept being that law and order was reserved for law enforcement officials and that society in general would be more productive if it's members weren't engaged, enraged and armed, ready to inflict grievous injury upon one another over any number of people on people disputes? Will you feel safer if everyone on the block you live on is carrying a gun? Why the hell did towns in the old west require individuals to "check your gun at the door"? Here's a hint: so they wouldn't shoot each other or some innocent person standing by. Do you think a bunch of backwoods yahoos running around the woods playing army and spouting anti-government rhetoric out of one side of their mouths and Christian platitudes out of the other constitute a "well regulated militia"? I'll make ya a bet. When the shooting starts Beck will be the first one hiding.

+1 # Rosemary Pappa 2010-05-17 12:26 Glen Beck is threatening and scary. Today I went to pick up my vacuum and there in the store were about six or seven men sitting around in the showroom discussing politics, applauding REagan and criticizing this administration, I felt the tension they were giving off. I handed the owner of the shop my stub to retrive my item and then asked her if this was a "Tea Party " meeting, just joking and she said YES! I frowned and said, "OMG! and she looked at me and said "I am a registered Democrat". I just looked at her straight in the eye and said, "I won't be coming here any more, I'm not comfortable here." This is the second encounter with a merchant in town putting this "in my face". The dry cleaner not that far from the vacuum store, has the "don't tread on me" flags in pots in front of his store and has a huge bulletin board with all info on Tea Parties and pictures of Tea Parties!

+2 # stormkite 2010-05-17 12:43 If we're Marxist revolutionaries and whatnot... how come he and Sean and Rush and Coulter are still roaming loose? Wouldn't we have dumped them in a mass grave somewhere in like North Dakota or Death Valley or someplace like that?

+2 # Lola 2010-05-17 12:48 OMG!! Somebody please show me something redeeming about this article and this man!! What an idiot! Let's see, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Joe Biden, Barak Obama.---George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. I think I've got it!!! The repugnants put the idiots out on the front line while the 'evil ones' sit behind the scenes and pull the strings like puppets while the Dems put the intelligent ones on the front line.

+6 # Phrixus 2010-05-17 12:58 Beck, coupled with the ignorance of his supporters, is more of a danger to America than any of the external or internal forces he rails about. The Beck's, Limbaugh's, O'Rielly's, and Palin's are not the solution to our problems - they ARE the problem.


+2 # Gregg 2010-05-17 13:51 Well, yeah.

+3 # Saje Williams 2010-05-17 13:18 Yeah... and let's ignore that a large part of Europe's current issues were created by the fast-and-loose way our financial institutions handled their responsibilitie s.

Glenn Beck wouldn't know a Marxist if one was attached to his leg by its teeth.

+3 # Ming 2010-05-17 13:21The Brady Campaign has given President Obama an "F" for actively resisting calls for gun control.
These people should be worshiping the President!

+2 # Marylu 2010-05-17 13:22 Beck is indeed paranoid but crazy like a fox (or FOX), but Gingrich is neither. He is a very intelligent man and a total sociopath whose Contract On America almost destroyed us. And he is the one referring to Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine. These people will stop at nothing; no lie is too base, no risk too great. They can call us Marxists, Nazis, Fascists, Commies, Lions, Tigers, or Bears... but what they want is total anarchy; armed militia freely roaming the land, grabbing whatever they want from whoever they want.

+3 # George 2010-05-17 13:26 Newt (as in slimy amphibian) Gingrich is concerned about military recruiting? When did Newt serve his country? Oh, that's right, he didn't.

+3 # Lynn Williams 2010-05-17 13:30This mindless name-calling bullcrap started during the 2008 election when McCain called Obama a socialist, and the raving loonies of the Republican party (sorry, that's a redundant phrase) just kept at it, because they realize that the best lie is the one repeated most often. Actually, I wish Obama was a socialist; he'd get a lot more done for the benefit of ordinary people. Most of these idiots carrying on about "socialism" wouldn't know a socialist if Karl Marx bit them in the ass.

+3 # Fred 2010-05-17 13:58What's absolutely driving these right-wing nut cases crazy is we have a black man in the White House. A very bright, articulate, thoughtful, powerful black man. And this drives them crazy. So they form the last stand of white supremacy. What is most hilarious is this movement is being led by the likes of Beck and Gingrich, both weird little men who were too afraid to serve their nation in the military, who have led shameful personal lives, and who are obvious wimps. And now they go way back--to the 50s commie scare. Hilarious!

+4 # Ginny 2010-05-17 14:09Any government that still allows terrorists to buy guns is not exactly seizing everyone's guns.

+3 # maddy 2010-05-17 14:34 Glenn is a natural born hitlerian promoting hitler polices.


. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
May 17th, 2010, 08:45 PM

The New York Times

Going to Extreme

May 16, 2010

Utah Republicans have denied Robert Bennett, a very conservative three-term senator, a place on the ballot, because he’s not conservative enough. In Maine, party activists have pushed through a platform calling for, among other things, abolishing both the Federal Reserve and the Department of Education. And it’s becoming ever more apparent that real power within the G.O.P. rests with the ranting talk-show hosts.

News organizations have taken notice: suddenly, the takeover of the Republican Party by right-wing extremists has become a story (although many reporters seem determined to pretend that something equivalent is happening to the Democrats. It isn’t.) But why is this happening? And in particular, why is it happening now?

The right’s answer, of course, is that it’s about outrage over President Obama’s “socialist” policies — like his health care plan, which is, um, more or less identical to the plan Mitt Romney enacted in Massachusetts. Many on the left argue, instead, that it’s about race, the shock of having a black man in the White House — and there’s surely something to that.

But I’d like to offer two alternative hypotheses: First, Republican extremism was there all along — what’s changed is the willingness of the news media to acknowledge it. Second, to the extent that the power of the party’s extremists really is on the rise, it’s the economy, stupid.

On the first point: when I read reports by journalists who are shocked, shocked at the craziness of Maine’s Republicans, I wonder where they’ve been these past eight or so electoral cycles. For the truth is that the hard right has dominated the G.O.P. for many years. Indeed, the new Maine platform is if anything a bit milder than the Texas Republican platform of 2000, which called not just for eliminating the Federal Reserve but also for returning to the gold standard, for killing not just the Department of Education but also the Environmental Protection Agency, and more.

Somehow, though, the radicalism of Texas Republicans wasn’t a story in 2000, an election year in which George W. Bush of Texas, soon to become president, was widely portrayed as a moderate.

Or consider those talk-show hosts. Rush Limbaugh hasn’t changed: his recent suggestion that environmentalist terrorists might have caused the ecological disaster in the gulf is no worse than his repeated insinuations that Hillary Clinton might have been a party to murder. What’s changed is his respectability: news organizations are no longer as eager to downplay Mr. Limbaugh’s extremism as they were in 2002, when The Washington Post’s media critic insisted that the radio host’s critics were the ones who had “lost a couple of screws,” that he was a sensible “mainstream conservative” who talks “mainly about policy.”

So why has the reporting shifted? Maybe it was just deference to power: as long as America was widely perceived as being on the way to a permanent Republican majority, few were willing to call right-wing extremism by its proper name. Maybe it took a Democrat in the White House to give some observers the courage to say the obvious.

To be fair, however, it’s not all a matter of perception. Right-wing extremism may be the same as it ever was, but it clearly has more adherents now than it did a couple of years ago. Why? It may have a lot to do with a troubled economy.

True, that’s not how it was supposed to work. When the economy plunged into crisis, many observers — myself included — expected a political shift to the left. After all, the crisis made nonsense of the right’s markets-know-best, regulation-is-always-bad dogma. In retrospect, however, this was naïve: voters tend to react with their guts, not in response to analytical arguments — and in bad times, the gut reaction of many voters is to move right.

That’s the message of a recent paper by the economists Markus Brückner and Hans Peter Grüner, who find a striking correlation between economic performance and political extremism in advanced nations: in both America and Europe, periods of low economic growth tend to be associated with a rising vote for right-wing and nationalist political parties. The rise of the Tea Party, in other words, was exactly what we should have expected in the wake of the economic crisis.

So where does our political system go from here? Over the near term, a lot will depend on economic recovery. If the economy continues to add jobs, we can expect some of the air to go out of the Tea Party movement.

But don’t expect extremists to lose their grip on the G.O.P. anytime soon. What we’re seeing in places like Utah and Maine isn’t really a change in the party’s character: it has been dominated by extremists for a long time. The only thing that’s different now is that the rest of the country has finally noticed.


Saundra Hummer
May 18th, 2010, 03:24 PM
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Saundra R. ,

Due to a technical error last week, I'm not sure you received my urgent email about the Cap and Tax legislation making its way through the Senate. There is a very serious situation developing. Please read below.

- John Tate

President, Campaign for Liberty

* * * * * * * * * * *

May 13, 2010

Dear Saundra R. ,

One day, you hear a loud knock on your front door.

But it's not a neighbor visiting or someone trying to sell you a subscription.

Instead, it's a federal agent -- the federal government's newest threat to your liberty coming to check your household appliances . . . your light bulbs . . . your thermostat . . . and this is NO JOKE.

Believe me, I wish it was.

But should Cap and Tax pass, what I just described could be EXACTLY what you and I see in home after home, town after town all across our country -- along with skyrocketing home electric and heating prices.

That's why it's vital you sign the petition to your U.S. senators, demanding they vote against this dangerous power grab IMMEDIATELY.

You see, Cap and Tax has been revived and is moving through Congress right now, with select weak-kneed Republicans like Lindsey Graham and John McCain looking to make deals to pass this key plank in the radical globalist agenda.

Because make no mistake, that's what Cap and Tax is all about. More government control. More INTERNATIONAL control, with the corresponding loss of freedom and sovereignty.

There's really no other way to put it -- Cap and Tax would give the federal government UNPRECEDENTED control over the private sector -- and our very lives.

Big Government bureaucrats in Washington would effectively be able to tax businesses for emitting more carbon dioxide than they think is "appropriate."

Just as bad, they'll be able to demand you change your way of living -- forcing you to "retrofit" your house with "government-approved" light bulbs, refrigerators, water heaters, toilets, air conditioners, and whatever else they can dream up.

And don't think for a second they won't send around federal jackboots to make sure you're complying.

In fact, the Cap and Tax Bill SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZES just such intrusive home visits by government snoops.

And combine that with the expanded power of jackbooted federal thugs under the so-called Patriot Act (which was recently reauthorized), and you have a recipe for Americans, for the first time in our memory, not being safe and secure in their own homes.

Of course, that's bad enough. But just like the recently passed nationalized health care mandate, Cap and Tax is just another excuse for Big Government to reach its greedy little hands into our wallets.

If passed, Cap and Tax would:

*** Increase taxes by $650 BILLION, virtually guaranteeing that our economy gets even worse and NEVER recovers;

*** Result in over ONE MILLION lost American jobs per year, as energy-intensive industries are forced to shut their doors or move overseas;

*** Allow Big Government politicians to decide which businesses get taxpayer subsidies and which ones are shut down, virtually guaranteeing massive corruption on a scale we've never seen before in the United States.

And don't believe the lies. This bill has nothing to do with the environment.

In fact, the best experts agree Cap and Tax will have almost zero impact on the environment anyway -- except, of course, for lost jobs, higher taxes, and blighted small towns and rural communities.

So what is Cap and Tax really about?

Raw government POWER.

Government POWER to tax.

Government POWER to enter your home to "check for compliance."

And government POWER to control the economy, our lives and our freedom.

Just take a look at Spain -- the Cap-and-Taxers' "shining" example of an eco-socialist paradise.

There, unemployment is approaching 20% and rising.

And what about all those new "green" jobs Cap and Tax apologists are claiming will be generated?

In Spain, for every new "green" job created (at a taxpayer cost of $800,000 EACH, mind you), 2.2 economically-productive jobs are destroyed!

The fact is, passage of Cap and Tax could send our economy nose-diving off a cliff!

So it's never been more important that you act TODAY.

The good news is, Campaign for Liberty has a plan to fight back.

But, I'm afraid, unless you act IMMEDIATELY, Cap and Tax will become law.

I won't mince words. Our backs are against the wall. Already, Big Government politicians on both sides of the aisle have rammed this bill through the U.S. House.

And President Barack Obama would love nothing more than to flash a grin for his pals in the national media as he signs Cap and Tax into law.

So that means our ONE CHANCE to stop this radical bill is the U.S. Senate.

And there, our job isn't easy. Just like in the House, there are pro-Cap and Tax senators in both parties.

But there is good news.

There are also a lot of VERY nervous senators in both parties. In fact, even John McCain is now wavering from his past support for Cap and Tax, as he faces conservative primary opposition in his reelection.

They're nervous because they see the anger in the eyes of the voters. They know they rammed through a health care bill opposed by over 60% of Americans.

They know they passed a huge tax increase.

They know they've added trillions to our exploding national debt.

And these senators are nervous because they know that so far freedom-loving folks like you have fought back against other freedom-grabbing schemes – and are making real progress in our fight to reign in the out-of-control Fed.

They're nervous because we've exposed their assaults on our liberty.

So now, in this latest fight, many senators are riding the fence.

They're afraid of what YOU'LL do to them if they vote to ram Cap and Tax into law.

So today, our job is to KNOCK those senators off the fence and squarely onto our side by sending a very LOUD and very CLEAR message to the U.S. Senate . . .

. . . Any politician who votes FOR Cap and Tax should look for another job.


Here's how Campaign for Liberty plans to do that -- hopefully, with your help.

First, we're already busy contacting up to five million activists nationwide through mail, phones and email to generate petitions to the U.S. Congress demanding U.S. senators vote AGAINST Cap and Tax.

And that's just the beginning.

With your help, we'll work the blogs and write guest editorials. We'll brief influential writers and columnists who will be sympathetic to our efforts.

We'll work the talk radio stations and grant local media interviews to further turn up the pressure on Congress.

We will literally SATURATE the internet with posts, banners, emails and more.

You and I both know, we can certainly light up the "tubes" when we try hard enough!

And a few days before the vote, if we have the resources, we'd also like to run hard-hitting targeted radio, TV and newspaper ads calling on senators to vote against Cap and Tax.

Now, none of this is going to be easy -- or cheap.

But, with your help, I'm confident we can turn up so much grassroots pressure on our U.S. senators, they'll find out what REAL heat feels like!

So, in addition to your signed petition, I also hope you'll chip in with a $10 contribution to Campaign for Liberty.

I know times are hard, but this fight is absolutely critical.

If you and I don't fight back . . . well, I shudder to think about what could happen.

But I'm sure you'll agree, the America you and I treasure could end up looking much, much different in just a few years.

So can I count on you to join the fight to STOP Cap and Tax by signing the petition and by chipping in $10 to Campaign for Liberty?

In Liberty,

John Tate


P.S. H.R. 2454, the Cap and Tax Bill, has already been rammed through the U.S. House, and our ONE CHANCE is to stop the bill in the Senate.

If passed, the Cap and Tax Bill could send the entire U.S. economy nose-diving off a cliff, and you and I will be handing unprecedented control of our lives to the federal government.

That's why it's vital you sign the petition IMMEDIATELY, and please chip in with a $10 contribution!


* * * * * * * * *

Dave Martin
May 18th, 2010, 04:26 PM
If you and I don't fight back . . . well, I shudder to think about what could happen.

Yikes! On one hand, I almost admire the skill that went into crafting that piece of work. On the other... At least they're only killing electrons instead of trees...

Saundra Hummer
May 18th, 2010, 07:59 PM
Yikes! On one hand, I almost admire the skill that went into crafting that piece of work. On the other... At least they're only killing electrons instead of trees...

Government gets into too much of our lives with this bill, that is if I understand it correctly.

Why should we everyday people be the ones to pay, be the ones to be intruded on?

Drive by just about any office building during down time, and you'll see them lit up like a Christmas tree. Not like in the past, but it does still come about. They're pretty to see from a distance, but this unneeded use by corporations and big companies eat up so much from the power grid. About all of this, I don't know the answers however, it seems to me those who pay no taxes should share burdens that the rest of have to carry, and will be asked to carry in the future, increasing what we have to pay out once again. Should this bill pass, the corporate world should have to carry their fair share as well.

You know, the FDA and other government agencies don't even have enough inspectors to check out the safety of our food, so do they truly believe they will be able to put people into our homes and offices and have this crazy idea work for them? What a crazy bit of legislation. It's just nuts.

Dave Martin
May 19th, 2010, 10:32 AM
Government gets into too much of our lives with this bill, that is if I understand it correctly.

Why should we everyday people be the ones to pay, be the ones to be intruded on?

Sandi, I think that you were sucked in by the libertarian/right wing rhetoric; I'm sure that you understand the email, but what he's talking about has nothing to do with either pending legislation OR reality - it's simply another anti-government diatribe with a plea for money at the end.

As I said, these guys aren't bad propaganda writers; a an example, notice that they didn't USE the word "Nazi"; the phrase 'jackbooted thugs' adds the flavor anyway. Calling Lindsey Graham and John McCain 'weak kneed Republicans' makes it clear that the writer's target audience is not the right, but at the radical right - but by NOT mentioning Glenn Beck, he avoids the 'Tea Party' label. Oh, yeah - just in case you weren't scared by the jackbooted thugs, he added "radical globalist agenda", which adds the idea that there's a world-wide plan (that probably involves muslims, communists or jackbooted thugs). Interestingly, I'd never noticed the phrase 'globalist agenda' before the Bush Era, but have since found it to be really popular among conspiracy theorists....

Sadly, though the ivory-tower wine sippin', tree huggin' birkenstock wearin' liberals seem to have in their ranks some of the most creative folks in the US, we seem to suck at naming things to our best advantage (notice it was called "Cap and Tax" throughout the email, and don't forget the Patriot Act) AND at writing this sort of not-quite-hate-filled-but-really-scary screed. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not...

Saundra Hummer
May 19th, 2010, 04:33 PM
Sandi, I think that you were sucked in by the libertarian/right wing rhetoric; I'm sure that you understand the email, but what he's talking about has nothing to do with either pending legislation OR reality - it's simply another anti-government diatribe with a plea for money at the end.

As I said, these guys aren't bad propaganda writers; a an example, notice that they didn't USE the word "Nazi"; the phrase 'jackbooted thugs' adds the flavor anyway. Calling Lindsey Graham and John McCain 'weak kneed Republicans' makes it clear that the writer's target audience is not the right, but at the radical right - but by NOT mentioning Glenn Beck, he avoids the 'Tea Party' label. Oh, yeah - just in case you weren't scared by the jackbooted thugs, he added "radical globalist agenda", which adds the idea that there's a world-wide plan (that probably involves muslims, communists or jackbooted thugs). Interestingly, I'd never noticed the phrase 'globalist agenda' before the Bush Era, but have since found it to be really popular among conspiracy theorists....

Sadly, though the ivory-tower wine sippin', tree huggin' birkenstock wearin' liberals seem to have in their ranks some of the most creative folks in the US, we seem to suck at naming things to our best advantage (notice it was called "Cap and Tax" throughout the email, and don't forget the Patriot Act) AND at writing this sort of not-quite-hate-filled-but-really-scary screed. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not...

From what I understand, which is limited in comparison to the fellows here on the board, it was the PNAC signatories and it's followers who were working towards a global economy, not that others weren't, however, those behind the PNAC, with their empirical intent, had nefarious reasons for working towards it.

I think of those cut from the same cloth as Dick Cheney as a thugs, I really do, and I feel the same about the others who were part of that plan, the PNAC.

I believe that moderation is needed by all of us, but, I do think of myself as more "liberal" leaning, as opposed to my occasional listing to the right. That said, there are times when radical measures need to be taken, when radical words are needed, along with radical acts that target those who would screw up what we have left of our freedoms, along with what we have left of a good world.

An addition. I don't agree with a lot that this fellows opines, however, he does make some points, a few points, that I tend to agree with, but never totally.

I believe, in response to what he is saying about taxes, that it's time to stop corporate welfare and spread out the billings on taxes.

The rest of the world benefits from a global economy, or should, but often times, it's captive workers who are making big bucks for the countries they're held captives in. China for certain fits into this category. It's all complicated, and I don't have the answers to this problem, or know nearly enough about these issue's to work towards any solutions.

I do think it's important to see all sides of an issue, so I have to tell you I'm glad you're doing your thing as well Dave. I like how you look a bit deeper and dissect what it is you're being shown and told.

Saundra Hummer
May 19th, 2010, 04:55 PM


Wal-Mart still selling Miley Cyrus cadmium jewelry
Justin Pritchard
Associated Press
Updated: 05/19/2010
02:42:14 PM CDT
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jewelry from two entire lines being sold exclusively at Walmart stores nationwide, including bracelets and necklaces branded by Miley Cyrus, contains high levels of the toxic metal cadmium, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Testing of 61 samples purchased by AP reporters across the country from a Cyrus line and from a series of make-it-yourself metal bracelet charms indicated that 59 of the pieces contained at least 5 percent cadmium by weight, with 53 of those measuring 10 percent or higher.

And the world's largest retailer knows the items are tainted.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. received test results in February showing cadmium in these jewelry lines, but has continued selling the items.

Instead, Wal-Mart revealed in an April 26 statement that as of April 9, it was requiring suppliers to show through tests at a company-approved lab that children's jewelry and other kids' products had little cadmium — or else Wal-Mart would not accept the items for sale.

The policy did not apply to products already on store shelves. A Wal-Mart executive told a Consumer Product Safety Commission hearing that testing items already in stores would be too difficult.

In its only comment for this story, Wal-Mart said the Miley Cyrus jewelry was for "juniors," without defining that age range. Representatives for Miley Cyrus and BCBGMaxAzria did not comment when asked.

To judge the extent of the ongoing availability of pieces that Wal-Mart

knew were contaminated, AP dispatched reporters throughout the country last month. They purchased any of 13 items matching those on the test results the company had in February. Those items came from two product lines: three were Miley Cyrus jewelry, a project done with designer BCBGMaxAzria; the other 10 were from a series of make-it-yourself metal bracelet charms.
The packaging said they were made in China; all were bought for $6 or less.

All but one of the 13 was on store shelves in

Miley Cyrus performs at the VH1 Divas show, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009 in New York. (Associated Press: Jason DeCrow, file)the eight states where AP reporters looked. Go on-site for photo and VIDEO

At AP's request, the purchased items were then tested by Prof. Jeff Weidenhamer, a chemist at Ashland University in Ohio. He said the average cadmium content was 16 percent, and that the levels are probably higher. Weidenhamer's prior research has shown that the testing method he used — an X-ray gun that can roughly tell the amount of cadmium in an item — typically underestimates how much is present.

Representatives of the jewelry industry have argued that the presence of cadmium, even at high levels, is not by itself proof that an item is dangerous. The important thing, they say, isn't how much cadmium is in jewelry but rather how much can escape if the item is sucked, bitten or swallowed.

Cadmium in children's jewelry became a public concern in January when the AP published the results of an investigation that showed items at Walmarts — and other large chains — were as much as 91 percent of the toxic metal by weight. Federal regulators have since issued three recalls, including one affecting "The Princess and The Frog" movie themed pendants sold at Walmarts.

Long-term exposure to cadmium can lead to bone softening and kidney failure. It is a known carcinogen that recent research suggests can, like lead, hinder brain development in the very young.

While AP's January investigation focused on jewelry clearly intended for children, the items tested for AP this time were labeled "not intended for children under 14 years." That is an important legal distinction: Under current regulation, children's items are defined as for kids 12 and under, and children's products have all kinds of regulations that others do not.

Federal regulators' own research says that kids start becoming interested in making their own jewelry around age six or eight. As for products featuring Miley Cyrus — she is 17 and thanks to the "Hannah Montana" franchise, her appeal dips down to kids as young as five.

The importer of the charms for make-it-yourself bracelets, Cousin Corp. of America, said the jewelry was targeted at adults. Roy Gudgeon, vice president of merchandise at Florida-based Cousin, said that didn't mean high cadmium levels were acceptable.

"We recognize that many of our adult customers are homemakers who may have children present in their home," he said. "Our intention as a company is to never willingly cause harm to a child."

After checking company records, Gudgeon said that it had imported more than 300,000 of the charms that Weidenhamer tested. Shipment figures were not immediately available for the Miley Cyrus items.


Associated Press writers Briana Bierschbach in Minneapolis, Ben Dobbin in Rochester, N.Y., Ray Henry in Atlanta, David Mercer in Savoy, Ill., Kathleen Miller in Alexandria, Va., Thomas Peipert in Denver, Bob Salsberg in Boston, Terry Tang in Phoenix, and Michael Tarm in Chicago contributed to this report.
. . . . .I've got to say, cadmium is nothing to mess with, I know from experience. I had cadmium poisoning twice from art supplies and it isn't a picnic. It can and does kill. I thought I would die. Two hospitalizations and test after test at UCLA, but I was never tested for heavy metals, as it didn't dawn on me to tell them about my art work. It wasn't until I read up on it and had started using certain art supplies again that a bell rang. Wall Mart knows better and should be held accountable for any childs injuries, which can be terribly severe. I mean it is just the worst thing to have to endure. A child might not stand a chance. SRH

Saundra Hummer
May 20th, 2010, 02:27 PM

Headless Egypt King Statue Found; Link to Cleopatra's Tomb?


Find adds to clues Egypt's last queen may lie in Taposiris Magna, dig leaders say. This headless statue found at Taposiris Magna is thought to be of King Ptolemy IV.

Photograph by Kenneth Garrett via SCA
Andrew Bossone
for National Geographic NewsPublished May 19, 2010

A massive, headless statue of a Greek king has been found in the ruins of an ancient Egyptian temple, adding to evidence that the structure could be the final resting place of Marc Antony and Cleopatra, excavation leaders say.
For the past five years archaeologists have been searching around the temple of Taposiris Magna, about 28 miles (45 kilometers) west of the port city of Alexandria (map), in hopes of finding the couple's graves.

(See pictures related to the new National Geographic exhibit "Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt.")The newfound black granite statue—which stands about 6 feet (1.8 meters) without its head—is thought to be of King Ptolemy IV, because a cartouche carved of the same stone and bearing his name was found near the figure's base. (See a picture of headless king statues at Luxor Temple.)

Ptolemy IV was one of several Greek royals who ruled Egypt during the Ptolemaic period, from 332 to 30 B.C. (Take an ancient Egypt quiz.)

In addition to the headless statue, the Egyptian-Dominican dig team found an inscription, written in Greek and hieroglyphics, in the foundation deposits of one of the temple's corners. The writing says Ptolemy IV—who ruled from 221 to 205 B.C.—commissioned the temple.

Previously experts had thought that the temple was built during the reign of Ptolemy II, who ruled from 282 to 246 B.C.

"If you are arguing for it to be a burial place for Cleopatra, then the later it is built, the more chance we have to have connections with her—the greater the possibility it was still active during her lifetime," said Salima Ikram of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, who is not associated with the Taposiris digs.

During the latest digs, the archaeological team also found a row of 6.5-foot-tall (about 2-meter-tall) bases for sphinxes outside the temple's north entrance, where the granite statue was found.

Martinez and colleagues think the bases mean the north entry—and not its east portal, as had been previously suggested—was the building's main gate, since other Egyptian temples feature sphinxes leading up to their entrances.

Taposiris Once a Bustling Temple
Cleopatra VII was the last queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty, ruling as co-regent with her son, Ptolemy XV. The queen and her lover, Roman general Marc Antony, committed suicide after their defeat in 30 B.C. by Octavian, who soon after became Rome's first emperor, Caesar Augustus.

The newfound statue—along with two statues of the Egyptian goddess Isis and the ruins of the temple's main gate—are the latest pieces of evidence that link Taposiris Magna to the Ptolemaic rulers, and perhaps to the ill-fated lovers.

Archaeologists have known of Taposiris Magna for centuries, with the first excavations started at the temple under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801.

Until recently, many experts thought Taposiris was an unfinished temple, because it has no inscriptions and bore little evidence of internal structures. Archaeologists knew of a massive cemetery outside the temple and a tower that may have been a lighthouse, but little more.

But the recent digs have made the temple look much more active, increasing the likelihood that it was an important site in Cleopatra's day.

So far, the temple's cemetery has been found to contain at least 12 mummies, 500 skeletons, and 20 tombs. The bodies were buried facing the temple, which could mean the building contains the tomb of an important figure, Martinez said.

Inside the temple, the team found a place for a sacred pool, rooms likely used for mummification, and chapels dedicated to the gods Osiris and Isis. The powerful pair were husband and wife in Egyptian mythology—a fact that could have inspired the couple to chose the temple as their burial site.

"Cleopatra could [represent] Isis and Marc Antony could be Osiris," said Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), who is supervising the digs.

And in 2008 the team unearthed an alabaster bust of Cleopatra, coins bearing her image, and a bronze statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, among other artifacts. (See pictures of Cleopatra's bust and other treasures from Taposiris Magna.)

"After excavations, we have uncovered what belongs to this temple, to this huge complex, proving it really was one of the most sacred temples in Alexandria" during the Ptolemaic period, said archaeologist and dig leader Kathleen Martinez.

"And because of the solemnity of this temple, and it was so sacred at that time, I believe it could have Cleopatra's tomb."

"Perfect Place" to Hide the Dead
Hawass added that Taposiris Magna is a good candidate site for the tombs of Antony and Cleopatra because the legendary couple would have wanted to be sure Roman conquerors couldn't find and desecrate their graves.

Marc Antony likely suspected that Octavian would have paraded the dead bodies around Rome to show off his military might. The couple would have therefore wanted to be buried in a sacred but secret location outside Alexandria's royal quarter. (Related: "Underwater Museum Planned for Egypt's Alexandria.")

About a year ago the SCA allowed Martinez to start using ground-penetrating radar inside Taposiris Magna. The results show a series of tunnels and as many as eight underground chambers that are still being explored.

"It's the perfect place to hide their tombs," said Hawass, who is also a National Geographic explorer-in-residence. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)

Excavation leader Martinez added that the sheer size of Taposiris Magna would have made any tombs there hard to find.

"This temple complex is five square kilometers," or roughly two square miles, Martinez said. "We have been searching with new technology—how would the Romans have found them?"

Go on-site to gain access to photo, and numerous links within this article. Just click on the following URL:



Saundra Hummer
May 20th, 2010, 02:53 PM
. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Prosecution Asks To Subpoena Naomi Campbell In War Crimes Trial Because of New Evidence of 'Blood Diamond' Gift

After ABC News Report, Supermodel's Former Agent Comes Forward to Say She Remembers Campbell Receiving A 'Half Dozen' Gems From Warlord

May 20, 2010 —
Prosecutors at an international war crimes trial have asked the judges to subpoena supermodel Naomi Campbell to testify about whether she received a 'blood diamond' from an African warlord.

The request comes after the attorney for Campbell's former modeling agent saw an ABC News report on allegations that Campbell had received a 'blood diamond' from former Liberian president Charles Taylor. The modeling agent, Carole White, has now given a statement to prosecutors saying that she witnessed several men giving Campbell a "half dozen" uncut diamonds.

Campbell has previously declined to testify in the case, which is being tried at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the Netherlands. Prosecutors have asked the judges to subpoena Campbell, and to call Carole White and actress Mia Farrow as witnesses.

In her statement, White, who was Campbell's modeling agent from 1992 to 2007, claims that she saw men working for Taylor giving Campbell the uncut stones after a dinner at Nelson Mandela's house in South Africa in 1997. Taylor is on trial for allegedly fomenting a bloody rebellion in neighboring Sierra Leone, and using uncut diamonds to pay for weapons that he allegedly provided to the rebels.

When ABC News asked Campbell earlier this year if she had received a blood diamond from Taylor, she slapped an ABC News producer's camera aside and denied ever receiving a diamond. She has refused to answer questions about the alleged receipt of a gem, telling talk show host Oprah Winfrey during a May appearance on her show that talking about the alleged incident would put her family in danger.

"I don't want to be involved in this man's case he has done some terrible things and I don't want to put my family in danger," Campbell told Oprah and her millions of viewers.

Actress Mia Farrow claims that during a September 1997 visit to South Africa, she and Naomi Campbell were at then-South African president Nelson Mandela's house for a dinner when Charles Taylor showed up. War crimes prosecutors say that they believe Taylor was in South Africa to trade gems for weapons for the Sierra Leonean rebels.

Farrow has told ABC News, and war crimes investigators, that the morning after the dinner, Campbell told her she had received a "huge" uncut gem from representatives of Taylor who had come to her room during the night.

In a statement entered into the court record on May 18, Carole White says she remembers Taylor attending the dinner, and saying during the dinner that he would like to give diamonds to Campbell. White also says in the statement that representatives of Taylor came to the guest house where she and Campbell were staying that night and gave uncut diamonds to Campbell.

In an interview, White's lawyer, Daniel Bright, said that White overheard Taylor telling Campbell at the dinner that he wanted to give her diamonds. Later, according to Bright, when the representatives of Taylor came to the guest house they threw pebbles at the windows. They hit White's window with the pebbles and she let them into the house. White allegedly then watched the men gave about a "half-dozen" uncut gems to Campbell.

According to Bright, White remembers Campbell being disappointed with the stones, since she had not expected them to be uncut. Bright saaid that White claims she convinced Campbell to dispose of the stones the next day, and that she gave them to an unnamed third individual.

Mia Farrow told ABC News and prosecutors that Campbell had told her she planned to give the diamond to Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. The Fund told ABC News that it has no record of receiving any gems from Naomi Campbell.

White and Campbell are currently embroiled in dueling lawsuits. White was Campbell's agent at a London agency called Premiere Elite Modeling and then Premiere Modeling from 1992 to 2007. Bright is representing White in a suit against Campbell in which White alleges that Campbell owes her money for royalties earned on a perfume. Campbell's countersuit alleges that Campbell was tricked into an unfair deal for the perfume.

Bright said that White first told him the tale of the alleged 'blood diamonds' after the story first surfaced in an ABC News report in January. Bright said he did not realize at the time that prosecutors in a war crimes trial were seeking Campbell's testimony. When a second ABC News report aired in April, Bright asked White if she was willing to talk to prosecutors about the alleged blood diamonds, and she said she was willing. Neither a lawyer nor a spokeswoman for Naomi Campbell responded to requests for comment by press time.

A defense lawyer for Charles Taylor told ABC News Thursday that a "hearsay story of [Taylor] giving a gift of the diamond to a fashion model" would not prove the allegation that he bought arms while in South Africa.

The defense has ten days to respond to the prosecution's motion for a subpoena.

Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Saundra Hummer
May 20th, 2010, 04:47 PM

Farm * Workers

Si, Se Puede!------UFW

Citrus worker after citrus worker say. . .

"I have not complained because I have my family to support and I'm afraid to lose my job." - Marcelino Tepec

"I do not file a claim against my boss for fear of retaliation. I'm afraid he will no longer give me work." - Pule Vargas

"I know my legal rights are being violated by this contractor, but I do not complain because my other co-workers do not complain and I am afraid to speak up for myself." - Javier Cantor

That's why we want to tell you what's been happening in California's citrus groves and ask for your financial assistance.

Narcizo Peralta has worked for a labor contractor in the citrus orchards for nine years. When asked about his employer, he begins a litany of abuses that bother him deeply. "... I work in the citrus and they do not provide water for us. We have to take our own water. They do not provide us with equipment nor do they pay us the minimum wage. When someone gets hurt on the job, the crew boss cusses us out."

The first three items on Narcizo's list are blatantly illegal. If an employer pays less than twice the minimum wage - and citrus growers pretty much all do - they must provide tools and can't expect workers to purchase their own. Yet Narcizo's co-workers report they are required to buy shears, sacks, and gloves out of their own pockets. Employers must also pay the state's minimum wage.

Agricultural employers must provide clean drinking water for workers. Can you imagine working under the hot California sun without it? They are also supposed to provide sanitary bathrooms. But workers report that the bathrooms, when they are available, are filthy.

Rafael Vega has worked for various labor contractors for about 20 years, so he knows what he's talking about when he notes the ways that contractors cheat workers. "This contractor paid us in cash and one day me and my co-worker asked her to pay us with a check so that we could report to social security, and she became upset and fired us all, the entire crew!"

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* * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
May 22nd, 2010, 12:17 PM

more than a network
A movement
Blackwater is just the tip of the iceberg.

Stop reckless outsourcing.
(A Petition to Sign)


Submit a public comment to move us away from the Bush-era practice of dismantling our government and giving free rein to Blackwater and companies like it.
:::::::Dear Friend,

President Bush opened the floodgates for outsourcing government jobs, and we're still reeling from the effects.

Blackwater (now known as Xe), Halliburton, DynCorp, KBR, and Triple Canopy are just some of the multitude of private, for-profit corporations that became integral parts of the American war machine during the simultaneous Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

There is already legislation that has been introduced to tackle some of this problem. The Stop Outsourcing Security Act would prohibit the American government from using mercenaries to fight our wars.

But military contractors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reckless government outsourcing.

We have an opportunity to change direction. The Obama administration is seeking public comments on the definition of "inherently governmental" functions, which sets the parameters government-wide for what can and cannot be outsourced.

Click here to submit a public comment to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy about "inherently governmental" functions.

It's vital that we speak out to make sure the federal government steps back from the Bush-era practice of dismantling our government and giving free rein to Blackwater and companies like it.

The role of Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan offers a clear picture of the rot that infects our government when we outsource important functions to private entities that only care about their own bottom lines.

When we use private contractors, we sacrifice even the insufficient transparency and accountability we have over our military. Meanwhile, our reliance on greedy and shameless entities magnifies both the human and monetary cost of war.

In 2007, Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater, testified before Congress that over 90 percent of Blackwater's contracts were with the federal government (and publicly available data shows over 2/3 of those government contracts were awarded as no-bid contracts).

Weeks before Prince's testimony, Blackwater mercenaries needlessly slaughtered 17 civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad while guarding American State Department officials. Despite massive and widespread outrage in Iraq and elsewhere, the State Department still has a contract with Blackwater to provide protection for its personnel.

There's no justifiable reason why our government ought to outsource the decision to pull the trigger and take another life in our name. And what's true for shooting a gun and taking a life is also true for a whole host of broad areas where our of government should act directly, not through a company looking to squeeze a buck out of the process.

Click here to speak out and submit a public comment about the definition of "inherently governmental" functions.

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/inherently_gov/?r=5569&id=9278-183960-3Zlp9AxThank you for standing up to companies like Blackwater.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

P.S. This issue is, of course, about more than Blackwater, and it's about more than military contractors. The lack of clarity about what can and cannot be outsourced and the willingness of the American government to outsource as much as possible has allowed the role of federal contractors to metastasize and transform in horrific ways.

It's even gotten to the point that we cannot adequately oversee contracts and have contractors evaluating the performance of other contractors on behalf of the American government.

We can no longer allow the government to abdicate responsibility of core government functions based upon the unfounded hope that the profit motive will somehow ensure everything will turn out okay.

We need to speak out. There are some things that only the government should do. This outsourcing craze needs to come to an end. Click here to submit your public comment about "inherently governmental" functions today!

Did you know CREDO has a Facebook page?
Click here to check it out!
© 2010 CREDO. All rights reserved.

Get action alerts on your mobile phone! Click here to join CREDO Mobile Action; we'll text you on important issues when your voice is urgently needed in Congress.

This is a message from CREDO / Working Assets.

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

May 22nd, 2010, 03:41 PM
Here is an interesting overview of PMCs like Blackwater and Executive Outcomes (now operating under a different name as a subsidiary company) from all over the world. The largest number seem to be US based companies but the Germans, the Brits and even the Russians are hard at work building private armies for hire. They are doing a far better business than one would imagine. The results however, are dubious at best. The danger of these PMCs is obvious but that doesn't seem to deter governments from walking on thin ice. These easy solutions are often the least desirable and they could come back to bite one.


Saundra Hummer
May 22nd, 2010, 07:18 PM
Here is an interesting overview of PMCs like Blackwater and Executive Outcomes (now operating under a different name as a subsidiary company) from all over the world. The largest number seem to be US based companies but the Germans, the Brits and even the Russians are hard at work building private armies for hire. They are doing a far better business than one would imagine. The results however, are dubious at best. The danger of these PMCs is obvious but that doesn't seem to deter governments from walking on thin ice. These easy solutions are often the least desirable and they could come back to bite one.


I remember reading about how the military wouldn't send American born Italians to fight in Italy, or American born Germans to fight in Germany. They were worried about ingrained sympathies clouding their resolve and patriotism.

I remember how the military, even in peacetime, would move individual men all about from base to base, from state to state, trying to avoid any deep seated friendships from developing, or any deep seated loyalties to the wrong people or causes from taking hold. They did this with our overseas military men as well, shipping them to different military bases overseas, over and over, as they never stopped shuffling them about, a long held policy put in place eons ago, all to avoid a military coup. They didn't want to enable such a thing.

These private armies that we keep hearing horror stories about, are more than frightening, they're something that could keep one awake at night worrying about the what if's.

May 23rd, 2010, 10:01 AM
I remember reading about how the military wouldn't send American born Italiians to fight in Italy, or American born Germans to fight in Germany. They were worried about ingrained sympathies clouding their resolve and patriotism.

I remember how the military, even in peacetime, would move individual men all about from base to base, from state to state, trying to avoid any deep seated friendships from developing, or any deep seated loyalties to the wrong people or causes from taking hold. They did this with our overseas military men as well, shipping them to different military bases overseas, over and over, as they never stopped shuffling them about, a long held policy put in place eons ago, all to avoid a military coup. They didn't want to enable such a thing.

These private armies that we keep hearing horror stories about, are more than frightening, they're something that could keep one awake at night worrying about the what if's.

Yep, as you look through history you can see plenty of examples of where private mercenary armies have directly contributed to the downfall of those who hired them. IMO there is nothing wrong with the "citizen soldier' who is called upon when his nation is in peril. They did a pretty good job for us from 1941 to 1945 although there is some doubt as to the effectiveness of the leadership corps. To me the American military tradition is best expressed through "Willie and Joe" rather than the volunteer professional soldier.

May 23rd, 2010, 10:17 AM

Saundra Hummer
May 23rd, 2010, 05:46 PM
* * * * * * *

Blackfeet woman sees end to 14-year govt fight

Associated Press
02:32 PM EDT
BROWNING, Mont. -- After 14 years standing toe-to-toe with the federal government in an attempt to recover billions of dollars of squandered Indian trust money, a Montana woman may finally see a $3.4 billion settlement that could be approved by Congress this month.

Elouise Cobell's class-action lawsuit represents at least 300,000 Indians from almost every state whose land is held in trust by the federal government.

The Department of Interior leases that land to others to farm or develop resources, and by agreement is supposed to pay the Indians the money generated by the land into individual trust accounts.

The suit alleges the government mismanaged Indians' trust assets, swindling them out of billions of dollars in royalty payments. It was filed in 1996 by Cobell, of the Blackfeet tribe.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

* * * * *

Saundra Hummer
May 23rd, 2010, 10:26 PM

Your Moment of: WTF?

John Cory
Reader Supported News
23 May 2010


Republican video activist James O'Keefe on FoxNews,
01/26/10. (image: FoxNews)
I guess if you live long enough you'll get to see it all.

On Thursday a federal judge gave James O'Keefe a stern talking to about his deception in entering a US Senator's office and trying to vandalize and muck about with the telephones. What could have been felony charges were reduced to misdemeanors by influential GOP lawyers previously and after the stern talking to - O'Keefe avoided trial.

Meanwhile in Georgia, a 14-year-old autistic boy with the mental function of a third-grader will face felony charges of terrorism for drawing a stick figure with a gun aimed at another stick figure with a teacher's name above it.

Sounds about right.

A guy named Rand Paul and another guy named John Stossel both agree that civil rights should not be forced upon private businesses because a free market is more effective than legislation. A free market is about freedom and freedom is about everyone having the freedom not to be free or making other people less free. Oh, both these guys think the minimum wage is a bad thing and will drive business - out of business - because paying workers a decent wage is not profitable.

Well, that makes sense.

A CBS news crew tried to film oil hitting Louisiana shores but got stopped by BP contractors and the Coast Guard and were told BP had not given permission to be there and film. BP = British Petroleum told an American News Organization that they did not have permission to land and film on American soil. But not to worry, I read somewhere that President Obama had harsh words and a stern warning to BP to get this oil disaster taken care of - ASAP!

I guess that will teach them, eh!

The corporations that caused the greatest financial disaster in American history have faced no criminal charges and no real changes in how they pay bonuses and perks to their executives. In fact, perks are rising. And remember that commission, looking into AIG? They said to move along now, nothing to see.

But I understand President Obama is forming a commission to look into BP about that oil disaster so that should even things out. Right? I wonder if he had to get permission from BP or Sarah Palin to do that?

I almost forgot, financial stocks rose on news of the Senate passing Financial Reform on to conference. If Wall Street likes it, how bad could it be? Like Healthcare? No.

President Obama gave a commencement speech to West Point. You should read it because frankly it chilled me to the bone to hear how the wars all started, why they continue and what is ahead on the horizon - more of the same but not as much.

I don't get it.

How upside down is this country?

I mean, come on folks. Chris Matthews is considered a leading liberal? The guy who ranted and railed against Clinton and Gore, who fell in love with George Bush's flight suit macho package only to turn around with a thrill up his leg for Obama and now he's a liberal? The only thing liberal about Matthews is the amount of wine he pours himself on the veranda of his multi-million dollar Nantucket house.

We are literally drowning Louisiana and the Gulf Coast in oil with very little action to stop it. We got pissed at George Bush for letting New Orleans drown during Katrina and now President Obama appears reluctant to interfere with the free market of Big Oil.

This has to be your moment of: WTF, over?

We are making sure teenagers go to jail but people of privilege skate.

Corporations are god and citizens as worker bees for the greater greed.

If you want freedom, start a business. If you want civil rights, stick with your own kind. Party like it's 1951!

And be sure to thank CNN for warning us about the new Miss America with that great headline: Miss USA: Muslim Trailblazer or Hezbollah Spy?

Apparently BP hates Arizona because the free market of Big Oil hires these folks in Florida. I'm sure it has nothing to do with minimum wage or regulations or big government impeding the free market or...?

We used to hang Old Glory upside down as a signal for distress.

No need for that these days.

The only reason to hang the flag upside down is to match America.



Saundra Hummer
May 23rd, 2010, 11:09 PM

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Noam Chomsky Compares Right-Wing Media to Nazi Germany
12 May 2010


Go on site to view, just click on the following URL:


+2 # dusty 2010-05-15 12:58 Well, this was already 8 months ago and I think the intervening months have shown that Noam Chomsky has his finger on something as he usually does when he speaks. Propaganda is designed to heighten the fears and widen the divides so that irrational answers become rational in the eyes/ears of the listener.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saundra Hummer
May 24th, 2010, 02:14 PM

Protection with a price:
Some question the safety of sunscreen

Story Discussion
Sunday, May 23, 2010
1:00 am

Go on-site to view
Sunscreen can help prevent those painful episodes of childhood sunburn, a risk factor for skin cancer later in life. But although sunscreen is recommended for infants older than 6 months by everyone from the National Institutes of Health to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there's growing concern by advocacy groups, parents and some doctors that some of the chemicals in the products are endocrine disruptors and may pose risks to children.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which drafted sunscreen safety standards in 1978, is expected to issue the final rules in October. But for the last three decades, "it has been a Wild West on the market," said Jane Houlihan, senior vice president of research for the advocacy group Environmental Working Group (ewg.org). "Parents need to be careful what they're using, as well as follow other sun-safety measures, including wearing protective clothing and sunglasses," she said.

EWG, which plans to release its third annual sunscreen safety report Tuesday, recommends against using any product containing the ingredient oxybenzone. Though oxybenzone is one of more than a dozen ingredients approved by the FDA, "we know it's absorbed significantly into the body," said Dr. Alan Greene, the author of "Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth and Baby Care" (Jossey-Bass).

What concerns Greene is that the tests evaluating oxybenzone have been done on healthy adults in the middle of life. "Permanent changes of puberty happen with one drop of sex hormones," he said. "We don't know the impact of kids and babies who get at least three times the concentration as adults."

But the data are preliminary. Moreover, "absorption alone isn't enough to justify any posture," said Dr. Michael Smith, director of pediatric dermatology at Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University.

"We are very comfortable with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide agents," said Smith, chair of the AAP section on dermatology. He added that he's unaware of compelling data showing that parents need to be concerned about any ingredients in current FDA-approved sunscreens, including oxybenzone.

Still, zinc and titanium products have their own issues: They may contain nanoparticles that have limited safety studies, may be dangerous if inhaled and may pose a risk to the environment. (Regular sunscreen is generally made with microsize particles; nanoparticles are even smaller.) The FDA doesn't require the manufacturer to list nanoparticles on the label.

So far, the data show the use of nanoparticles on the skin is safe for adults; the EWG calls nano-scale zinc and titanium "a reasonable choice" in sunscreens.

But experts caution that there is little, if any, data on the potential impact on children's health. For that matter, "information on the safety - or lack thereof - of sunscreen chemicals is, to the best of my knowledge, very limited," said Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

Posted in Family on Sunday, May 23, 2010 1:00 am



Saundra Hummer
May 24th, 2010, 05:50 PM


Glenn Beck's Common Nonsense:
An Interview With Alex Zaitchik

Sara Robinson
May 24, 2010
12:05am ET
America has this long tradition of twisted, odd, widely beloved and yet darkly dangerous right-wing cultural impresarios that pop up out of our landscape like cultural tornadoes, leaving huge swaths of derangement and destruction in their wake. Aimee Semple McPherson. Father Coughlin. Joe McCarthy. Once in a while, when the cultural cross-currents intersect just so, they rise on the whirlwind, gather huge followings, and lead their followers on a furious high-velocity turn that blows across the countryside in desperate pursuit of a utopia only they can see. These maunderings are typically mercifully short and usually end in disaster, for both the people who started the storm as well as those who got swept away in it. And all is forgotten—until the next time.

The next time, in this case, arrived on 9/11/01; and the tornado took on the form of Glenn Beck. It only seems like Glenn Beck has been with us forever. It's hard to remember a time when his endless rants weren't filling hours of TV time on Headline News, and more recently dominating everything else on FOX. But Beck was basically going nowhere fast before 9/11—the event that saved his failing TV career, turned this know-nothing showman into a leading political theorist, and catapulted him into the very eye of the far-right's always-churning cultural storm.


Hear Sara Robinson interview Alexander Zaitchik about Glenn Beck's life story and his impact on today's politics.

Go on-site for audio.
Who is this guy? A precocious former Top 40 deejay with a longstanding drug problem, no discernible book learning, and a mean streak a mile deep. A "morning zoo" radio host known for his ruthlessness in ratings wars, yet unable to keep any job for more than a couple of years. A Mormon convert who immediately gravitated to the farthest edges of that faith's orthodoxy. The hottest host on cable TV. And soon, if all goes according to "The Plan," America's next great spiritual leader, stepping boldly forward to guide the Tea Party faithful in a complete re-making of this nation.

It's high time somebody took a critical look at the full arc of Beck's character and career. That somebody turned out to be Alex Zaitchik, who had already spent quite a bit of time covering the right wing. Zaitchik's book, Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance, hits the bookshelves this week. (Some of the chapters originally appeared as articles at Alternet.) Besides being an engaging telling of Beck's personal tale, "Common Nonsense" examines Beck's character and motivations in a way that might help progressives get a better handle on who he is, what he means to do to America, and what we're really up against.

Sara Robinson: I guess the first question is: what possessed you to write this book? Where did your interest in Glenn Beck begin? What did your research process look like?

Alex Zaitchik: It came out of a conversation I was having with an editor at Wiley about a rather different project -- about India, of all things. It could not have been more different. And we started talking about Glenn Beck shortly after his "we surround them" episode on Fox in March of last year. We were talking about how bizarre it was, and trying to figure where this guy was coming from -- we'd never seen anything like it.

This is, of course, the famous episode where Beck started crying about how much he loved his country and feared for it and the rest of it. And the more I started looking into him after this conversation, the more I realized there was this culture forming around him, this "cult of Beck" with big viewing parties, meetups, this kind thing. And I sort of got fascinated by it, and wrote an article for Alternet, and the response was pretty overwhelming. There seems to be a lot of interest in this guy.

So I when brought the idea back to Wiley, we put the other idea on hold, and decided to do a book-length treatment on this phenomenon -- Glenn Beck.

SR: There's a lot in the book that's extremely damning. One of the things that struck me was your description of Beck's antics while working as a morning zoo DJ in Phoenix, which is one of the most over-the-top things I've read this year. But it also revealed the extent of Beck's essential meanness, as well as the extent he'll go to to win a ratings war. Can you talk about that?

AZ: One of the consistent threads running throughout Beck's career has been this rather vicious mean streak that has changed over the years. It now sort of masquerades a sort of political argument -- but in fact, at its base, it's the same kind of gut spleen that's constantly looking for new avenues of expression.

As a young DJ, he used to attack other people in the market for being overweight. Lately, of course, he's attacking people like Rosie O'Donnell for being overweight -- but now he says it's because she's a Democrat and a progressive, not just because she's overweight, which is what he used to do back when he was doing Top 40 radio.

Probably the most famous example of this mean streak that I was able to track down is the time he called up a competing DJ's wife on the air and proceeded to mock her for having a miscarriage the previous week. She had just come back from the hospital. He did this live on the radio, which is of course illegal -- he didn't notify her that she was on the radio -- and then there's the moral question involved. He was the bad boy of an already bad-boy genre.

SR: Did the local media cover any of this when it was going down? Was it widely known, or just known within radio circles around Phoenix?

AZ: It made him infamous in radio circles. He had quite a reputation nationally for being talented, but also a bit of a prick. So yeah, people were definitely aware of it.

He never lasted very long in any one market. I think his record was close to two years. He bounced around quite a bit; I think he had over seven jobs in the space of 20 years.

SR: One of the things that struck me about that whole description of his early career, Phoenix, Tampa, and elsewhere, is how vicious he gets when he's backed into a ratings war. I'm looking at that in the context of his newest schtick, "The Plan," which he announced last Thanksgiving and is planning to roll out this August on the anniversary of the "I have a dream" speech on the mall -- having his King moment.

What can you tell us about "The Plan"? Is this just another ratings stunt, or does Beck really have the wherewithal to pull off a Tea Party 2.0 kind of movement?

AZ: That seems to be what he's going for. It seems to be something quite on a different level than creating controversy for ratings. He sees himself now as not just a movement leader, but actually (if his words are to be believed) a conduit for the Word of God itself. The idea that God is giving him this plan for the saving of the Republic is, of course, a very Mormon idea -- the Constitution hanging by a thread, and Mormons will come to its rescue, possibly led by Beck. That seems to be where he's headed -- the idea that he's a sort of world historical religious figure who's actually going to be saving the country.

His plan is actually a little bit less exalted than that -- it's basically just your usual list of right-wing think tank talking points. If you had the Heritage Foundation and Cato come together and put their best minds together, it would look something like The Plan. He wants an 11% flat tax, abolishing most federal departments, cutting social services, that kind of thing.

He originally advertised the date to coincide with Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, but he's since pulled back from that and now he claims that he picked that date just because it's near Labor Day, and he wanted people to be able to bring their children and make it a family vacation. But clearly what happened is that somebody informed him that Martin Luther King was a famous progressive "cockroach" (in Beckian language), and of course he must have felt pretty embarrassed. He stopped talking about the King connection pretty quick.

SR: You also got several people on the record about Beck's struggle with mental illness. In one of his books, he's admitted to being a borderline schizophrenic; another is premised on his confession of multiple personality disorder. He's also copped to having ADHD, and taking medication for it. And of course there's this very long history of addiction. What did these folks tell you, and why do you think they were so forthcoming with this information? And what part does all of this play in his history?

AZ: One of the first things people used to say when Beck first arrived on the national radar is over the last few years is: This guy is obviously crazy. And, in fact, a number of his former colleagues said that they believed that Glenn was under treatment for some form of psychiatric problem. They didn't know exactly, but many believed that it was bipolar disorder, and he used to take medication that one person believed was lithium, and all the behavior traits seemed to be lining up in that direction. That was in the early 90s in Baltimore. And then from New Haven in the mid-90s, I heard another colleague say that that sounded about right. One of his old bosses in Baltimore said he always used to remind Beck, "Don't forget to take your pill."

So clearly, he's now or was at some point under treatment for something. But what that is is less important than the fact that he's able to command such influence over so many people while putting forward a sort of political version of his personal mental illness.

SR: Another thing that struck me is the crass way he manipulates his own family stories to elicit sympathy. He uses his daughter, who has cerebral palsy, as one of his props; and he tells people that his mother committed suicide when all the evidence points to a very straightforward boating accident. Even for someone like me, who's intimately familiar with the testimonial culture of the religious right, lying that your mom committed suicide for the sake of ratings is just beyond comprehension. You actually went out and tracked down the documents on that.

AZ: The police records record a drowning accident in 1979. His mother and a friend of hers were found dead in the water after they apparently went swimming. There was an empty bottle of vodka found in the boat; there was no sign of foul play; and there was no suicide note left that was left or referenced in the local papers or police records.

Family friends also seemed to think that it was just a tragedy. I tracked down one of Beck's closest childhood friends who was actually a pallbearer at the funeral, and he said that there was never any sign or discussion of a suicide at the time. So while I don't know for certain why the death occurred, it appears to be the case that Beck sort of embellished this tragedy to make a more compelling life story.

Which, of course, is one of his stock-in-trades. He's constantly talking about his personal redemption narrative, which begins with the tragedy of his mother, and continues through this sort of 700 Club arc to his brother's death, after passing through a valley of depression and despair.

SR: Which is, of course, the classic redemption narrative. There's a lot of incentive on the right to make those stories as dramatic as possible. That's how you get your cred in that highly emotional culture. You need that drama.

Tell me about Glenn Beck's America, the one that he wants to take us to. Is this really about a return to some mid-century Golden Age, and is that even possible?

AZ: He does sentimentalize the middle of the 20th century, and even the America of his youth. Which is an odd thing to sentimentalize, because that's the mid- to late 1970s, which most conservatives usually don't remember as the halcyon days.

But what I think is most interesting about his reveries about mid-20th century America is that this was the social democratic peak of the country's history. I mean, this was when the New Deal and the post-New Deal programs gave the country its most egalitarian tax structure. There were more dollars flowing down the income pyramid than ever before.

This was the nation that FDR built -- and of course, the America that would like to build looks nothing like the America that was built by New Deal policies. So he seems to want to have the benefits -- the sense of social purpose, the middle-class fantasy -- without having the economic policies that really are alone capable of leading to this kind of society that he remembers as a kid.

The policies he advocates result in Detroit today, not Mt. Vernon in 1955.

SR: What influence do you think his conversion to Mormonism had on Beck? And how do Mormons view him?

AZ: Mormonism has, I think, had a pretty big impact on Beck in a couple of ways. First, he didn't have much of a political education before he went to talk radio. There was a big void that needed to be filled. He sort of poured the liquid from right-wing Mormonism, in the form of this guy Cleon Skousen, into this empty vessel. That's what formed the bedrock of his political education.

Cleon Skousen's this very right-wing Mormon involved with the [John] Birch Society and later got more and more into conspiracy culture. In the 50s, 60s, 70s and into the 80s, he was a very influential guy in Mormon circles.

SR: Although he was also something of an embarrassment to the Mormon elders as well, wasn't he?

AZ: He became so, yes. He became too extreme, and he was causing problems for the church. But he did manage to drag the church fairly forcefully to the right, and now you have this orthodox Mormon culture that is in many ways the product of Cleon Skousen. And it's the same Mormon culture that embraces Beck. So that's one way that the conversion deeply influences his development.

Another thing: I have a chapter in the book where I talk about this very Mormon ritual known as "bearing testimony," which involves members of the ward house getting up and telling what amount to radio monologues. They talk for a couple of minutes about some sort of gut knowledge that they have, and very often they get emotional and tear up. It's very stylized. If you look at video of church leaders doing it off the LDS website, often they look like they're imitating Glenn Beck. It's a very Mormon thing.

So it seemed that he sort of embraced that aspect of Mormonism, and it's informed his persona, which is very much tearful, and has this sense of having direct access to spiritual truths.

SR: Why does Glenn Beck cry?

AZ: I think that, at bottom, there's a really fundamental emotional neediness in Beck that's come out over the course of his career in different ways. To some extent, you see it in a lot of entertainers -- people who've always had audiences and always sought them out. Even as a young kid, Beck was on stages performing magic; and then he was on the radio from age 13. He loves to be heard, to be the center of attention.

And crying is a way to not just be the center of attention, but to hush the audience and draw them in emotionally and connect with them in a way that is unique. That's something he's really trained himself to do well. That's one of the reasons why his success has been as striking at it is: he does manage to connect with his radio and television audiences and his live audiences and his readers in ways that most people doing conservative commentary cannot or dare not.

Beck's willingness to go there is one of the keys to his success. And it's not just a media strategy; it also dovetails with his personality and his deepest needs.

SR: OK, this is a long question, so bear with me. One of the things that's got progressive right-wing watchers most concerned is Beck's real skill in co-opting the language and symbols of American patriotism. The right has done this systematically for 40 years -- but Beck is a genius at it.

I'm thinking specifically of the way he's hijacked Tom Paine, who was easily the most progressive of the Founders. Paine was the first one to propose social security and welfare. The 19th century elites found him so threatening that they wrote him right out of history. Most Americans didn't even know who Tom Paine was until FDR and Eleanor put him back in the pantheon, for reasons of their own.

Another example is how he's publicized Jonah Goldberg's revisionist idea that the Nazis were somehow left-wing welfare statists. Can you speak to this?

AZ: What makes that that founder appropriation possible is relative ignorance on the part of his fan base. Also: Beck himself has only recently started to learn about this stuff, and he's really not a scholar on early American history. So it's an easy sort of touchstone for him to seem like he's representing the deepest and most consistent traditions in American history.

Of course, if you went back to exactly what the founders believed -- Paine being perhaps the most glaring -- it's just absurd that he would claim that mantle. Another one is Ben Franklin. has a picture of Ben Franklin on his TV set a lot, and also in his radio studio. Of course, Ben Franklin was a giant of the Enlightenment: this is not a guy who'd have had very much patience for Glenn Beck had they been contemporaries. And Beck himself would probably not have idealized Ben Franklin.

And you can just go down the line. Thomas Jefferson, of course, believed in a pretty radical egalitarian view of society. He belief in limited government isn't limited government for its own sake, but limited government for the sake of a society of equal citizens, in which there weren't massive concentrations of economic wealth like the kind we see today -- which Beck not only glorifies, but openly worships. There's few things that'll quiet Glenn Beck faster than a kind word or the presence of a multi-billionaire industrialist.

SR: Beck has set himself up as this sort of revisionist history and civics teacher. What do you think it means for the country that we've got two million people watching his fractured-fairy-tale versions of history every day?

AZ: It doesn't speak very well for the state of conservatism, that's for sure. It wasn't that long ago that those people representing conservatism in high-profile positions were people like Bill Buckley, who -- disagree with him as you might have on the issues -- was fairly educated, and didn't make statements that were so wildly at odds with reality. So I think first and foremost, it's a statement on conservatism more than it's a statement on the country.

You also need to keep it in perspective that it's only a very small percentage of the country at large that's watching this guy, and those people tend to be the more hardcore conservatives.

And to the extent that it is a reflection on the country, it's a sign of the fracturing of media into these niche communities where people get their politics -- and in this case, their ignorance -- reinforced. The old gatekeeper system is, of course, done. You no longer have people producing what used to be called "quality television." You don't have three networks and PBS deciding what goes on television. Now you have FOX producers, and people like Glenn Beck, who are able to draw audiences -- who formerly were forced to go on community television or become street corner preachers and stuff -- are now on FOX News.

SR: Having written this book, do you think Glenn Beck really deserves the attention the left wing lavishes on him? And knowing everything you've told us about him, what's the best way for progressives to deal with this huge Glenn Beck phenomenon going forward?

AZ: It's certainly important that his statements -- and those of his peers, like Rush Limbaugh -- are taken seriously and debunked. To some extent, I'm glad there are organizations like Media Matters out there doing fact-checks on these guys.

At the same time -- and I may be a weird messenger for this, having just spent the better part of a year thinking and writing about Glenn Beck -- I do think that at some point you have to start asking yourself what the opportunity costs are of fixating on every absurd statement coming out of the mouths of Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Limbaugh, and the rest. I mean, it takes a lot of time to mock and/or fact-check every idiocy that is said these days. Sometimes, when you tune into radio or blogs, it seems there's a real lot of time spent talking about this stuff.

And while it's important to know, and counter, I think we need to ask ourselves sometimes how much is enough, and realize that it's much more important to come up with a positive agenda that is educative and based in reality to counter the profusion of lies. Ultimately, what this amounts to is diversionary programming coming from the right wing message machine, of which Beck has emerged as a central component.

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Saundra Hummer
May 24th, 2010, 06:20 PM


Reagan Revolution Home To Roost: America Drowning In Debt
Dave Johnson
May 19, 2010
3:20pm ET

“Watch what we do, not what we say.”
(Famous Republican advice.)

The Reagan Revolution was first and foremost about cutting the taxes paid by the rich and corporations. Now, almost 30 years later, the United States of America is drowning in debt. And that is exactly what they wanted to happen.

The Plan
There were the reasons for the tax cuts Reagan said, and there was the plan Reagan had. Reagan SAID that there was this thing called the "Laugher" Curve that he said proved cutting taxes would actually increase government revenue. But what they were saying was a smokescreen, something to tell the rubes. Increasing government revenue was the last thing Reagan and his cohorts wanted. They knew (and have since said so) cutting taxes would lead to terrible deficits. They called this a "strategic deficit." This was the plan.

Bankrupting our government (We, the People) was the plan and today we can see that it was what they did. They didn’t want revenue to increase because the idea was to “starve the beast.” Reagan called it “cutting their allowance.”

The plan was that by cutting the funding for government, government would have to cut back on what it does: regulating business, protecting regular people against powerful interests, building infrastructure, educating kids, taking care of the poor and elderly. With government (We, the People) out of the way businesses could be unleashed and really start to make money. And for those who could afford to pay, private companies would take over those other functions. That was called "privatization."

Infrastructure? We had plenty of infrastructure back then – grab the cash now and worry about that later. (It's later now.)

So taxes were cut. And immediately the budget went into deficit and the government started borrowing. The debt started to grow. That was the plan. They said so.

Conservatives well understood that the public was not behind their plan. This was why it was explained as a way to increase government revenue. “Watch what we do, not what we say” is about tricking the public – deceive people by telling them you are doing one thing while really doing another. They knew that if the public came to understand their plan they would all be voted out of office. The idea was to force the other party to make the cuts.

Every time someone did try to cut the public outcry was enormous. So they just kept borrowing, intentionally trying to make the debt get so bad that eventually the government would be faced with bankruptcy.

Clinton, for a time, foiled their plans. In 1993 there was a hard-fought battle to raise taxes at the top by just a small amount. Every Republican voted against it. The public was saturated with lie after lie about how this would destroy the economy. Of course, the economy boomed in the 1990s following the Clinton tax increases and by the end of Clinton’s term the government was paying off debt so quickly that Alan Greenspan called for Bush II to again cut taxes on the rich, saying it was dangerous to pay off the government debt – yes, the same Alan Greenspan who now says we have to get rid of Social Security to pay off debt. The plan. (I've read this same thing in reports on the original draft of the PNAC. What a bunch of radical nutcases signed onto this boondoggle that William Kristol is the chairman of. It has failed along with ours and the world economy which planned on picking up the pieces from, but they too have crashed, with all they've destroyed. SRH)

Bush called restoration of deficits "incredibly positive news"
Seven months after taking office, George W. Bush learned that his budgets had already erased the previous administration's huge surplus -- that was paying off our country's debt at a rapid rate -- and had instead forced the country to start borrowing heavily again. Bush said the huge deficit was "Incredibly positive news'' because it will create [/COLOR That's right, massive deficits were "incredibly]"a fiscal straitjacket for Congress." positive news." The plan.

Deficit hawks today
Now we're experiencing part two of The Plan: use the debt as a reason to cut the things government does for We, the People. The deficit cutters insist that the government should cease investment in infrastructure, educating kids, taking care of the poor and elderly and protecting regular people against powerful interests. First and foremost they want to cut Social Security. They blocked a reasonable health care plan in the name of "less spending." They fight every effort to stimulate the economy and create jobs so that We, the People can get out of this unemployment emergency. (High unemployment puts tremendous wage pressure on the remaining workers.)

Are we going to fall for it? Are we going to walk right into part two of The Plan? Or are we going to restore the tax base, which is the lifeblood of democracy. Taxes on the wealthy and big corporations are what brings the ability of We, the People to control our own destiny instead of yielding always to the powerful interests.

This is the choice we are faced with. The "deficit hawks" are offering only The Plan. So far restoring the tax base back to where it was is off the table, not even to be discussed. Are we going to allow that? Or are We, the People going to fight back and demand that democracy be restored?

Previously: Reagan Revolution Home To Roost: America Is Crumbling and Finance, Mine, Oil & Debt Disasters: THIS Is Deregulation

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Saundra Hummer
May 25th, 2010, 02:03 PM

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a movement

Tell EPA: Take away BP's billions in federal contracts

EPA can make BP pay

Clicking here will add your name to this petition:

EPA must immediately take steps to impose discretionary debarment and ban BP from all future federal contracts.

Dear Friend,

BP continues to stonewall the American people about the growing Deep Horizon disaster in the Gulf, even while the company reaps millions of dollars in profits each day from its other federal leases.

The White House, the Department of Interior, and Congress are all crying foul, but they are not taking action to hold BP accountable. If the Obama administration is serious about making BP pay, there is a very simple and powerful tool at its disposal: the EPA can take away BP's billions in federal contracts.

Ask EPA Administration Lisa Jackson to impose "discretionary debarment" and strip BP of all federal contracts. Click here to automatically sign our petition.

The Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to bar BP from receiving U.S. government contracts. Suspension of BP contracts would mean the loss of billions of dollars and effectively stop the company from drilling in federally controlled oil fields both on and offshore.

This is the strongest possible action that could be taken against BP.

Discretionary debarment is among the most serious actions EPA can take. EPA's own regulations allow the agency to ban BP from future contracts after considering "the frequency and pattern of the incidents, corporate attitude both before and after the incidents, changes in policies, procedures, and practices."

Prior to the current Gulf spill, EPA had linked BP to at least four instances of criminal misconduct and BP has paid tens of millions in fines for environmental crimes. According to the public interest investigative journalists at Pro Publica, the EPA is considering re-evaluating BP and determining whether the company's actions leading up to and following the Deep Horizon spill are evidence of an institutional problem inside BP that would qualify for debarment action.

Tell the EPA to take action to strip BP of all existing and future government contracts. Click here to automatically sign our petition.

If BP is hit with discretionary debarment, the company would lose valuable contracts for selling fuel to the military and would be prohibited from obtaining or renewing drilling leases on federal land. It could also cancel BP's current federal leases. The impact on BP's bottom line could be in the billions of dollars.

Neither Congress, nor President Obama, nor Interior Secretary Salazar have taken steps to truly hold BP accountable. It's up to EPA to use the regulatory tools at its disposal to make BP pay.

The American people are outraged by the politicians' inaction in the face of an exponentially growing economic and environmental disaster in the Gulf. It's time for EPA to take immediate and decisive action.

Your pressure works. Sign the petition to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today.

Becky Bond, Political Director

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Saundra Hummer
May 29th, 2010, 09:43 PM
Nothing is working on the "oil spill' the oil erruption, It's a geyser of water fouling, killing oil.

Nothing in our past experiences with oil has been so dire, so extreme, so overwhelming. We don't have a way to clean this mess up before it causes dead zone, on top of dead zone.

I pity those who make a living on or near what has happened due to drilling in such unsafe conditions. With no fail safe proceedures in place to remedy what has happened. Can you even imagine the audacity of such decisions? The maddening thing, what makes it all even harder to come to grips with, at least in a calm and rational manner, is that we're hearing corners were cut as well. You don't cut corners with mile deep drilling. A stupid as hell act.

BP should be paying the price for all of this, not us. Then too, put the CEO's out on the front lines with those who're doing the grunt work that needs doing, and see if they think their money saving ideas are worth it now.

If there are no better stop gap measures, nothing any better to be put in place to get a quick handle on such a catastrophy, then this type of deep sea drilling needs to never take place. Not ever. This horror which has taken place, due to top level decisions, was more than neglectful, it was planned out we're being told. Their brainstorming has caused untold damage to sea life and coastal animals, and will harm our country, and the whole of the area's fishermen, for decades. Already the damage is too weighty to handle and have it work.

May 31st, 2010, 11:48 AM
Israeli killings of Gaza ship activists must be investigated
31 May 2010

Amnesty International has called for Israel to launch an immediate, credible and independent investigation into the killing by its armed forces of at least 10 activists on boats protesting the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

“Israeli forces appear clearly to have used excessive force,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"Israel says its forces acted in self-defence, alleging that they were attacked by protestors, but it begs credibility that the level of lethal force used by Israeli troops could have been justified. It appears to have been out of all proportion to any threat posed.”

As a first step, Amnesty International has called on the Israeli authorities to make public immediately the rules of engagement issued to the troops who carried out this lethal attack.

“The activists on the ships made it clear that their primary purpose was to protest against the continuing Israeli blockade, which constitutes a form of collective punishment and so a breach of international law,” said Malcolm Smart.

For nearly three years, Israel, which is the occupying power in the Gaza Strip, has implemented a policy of banning all movement of goods and people, except for the most basic humanitarian necessities, which are imported by international aid agencies. Only a fraction of patients in need of treatment outside Gaza are allowed out, and dozens have died waiting for Israeli permission to travel.

“The blockade does not target armed groups but rather punishes Gaza’s entire population by restricting the entry of food, medical supplies, educational equipment and building materials,” said Malcolm Smart.

“Unsurprisingly, its impact falls most heavily on those most vulnerable among Gaza ’s 1.5 million people: children, the elderly and the sick. The blockade constitutes collective punishment under international law and must be lifted immediately.”

Israel has a duty under international law to ensure the welfare of Gaza ’s inhabitants, including their rights to health, education, food and adequate housing.

May 31st, 2010, 12:08 PM
At least 10 people killed in clashes
Last Updated: Monday, May 31, 2010 | 11:45 AM ET

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cutting short his visit to Canada and cancelling a planned trip to Washington after Israeli commandos launched a deadly raid on a flotilla of humanitarian ships destined for Gaza.

At least 10 people were killed and dozens were wounded after a pre-dawn raid Monday on the ships. The attack happened in international waters more than 60 kilometres from shore.

Israeli officials said their soldiers were defending themselves, but Palestinian officials condemned the attack, saying the Israeli army targeted unarmed civilians.

Israeli officials say at least five Israeli soldiers were wounded in the confrontation.

Netanyahu, who began a two-day official visit to Canada on Sunday, is now expected to cut short his visit and leave after his 10 a.m. ET meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, forgoing a planned joint news conference and a gala dinner.

He has also cancelled a Tuesday meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, officials said.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel regrets the loss of life, but he called the moves from the flotilla "premeditated" and an "outrageous provocation."

"The organizers are well known for their ties to global jihad, al-Qaeda and Hamas," he said.

"On board the ship, we found weapons prepared in advance and used against our forces."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli "aggression," and declared three days of mourning across the West Bank, calling on the United Nations Security Council and Arab League to hold emergency sessions on the incident.

No provocation: Free Gaza Movement
The aid convoy was organized in part by the Free Gaza Movement, an international group of pro-Palestinian activists that claims the Gaza blockade is a violation of international law.

Audrey Bomse, the legal co-ordinator for the Free Gaza Movement, told CBC News that claims the passengers had planned to provoke the soldiers were "absurd."

"It was clearly an attack — probably a premeditated attack — by Israel upon civilians," she said.

"These are supposed to be crack military forces. I can only assume that they wanted to intimidate people from doing this in the future."

Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian government spokesman, said the government "condemns the brutality in which the Israeli government treated this peaceful attempt to break the siege on Gaza."

He said the Palestinians were calling on the international community to pressure Israel to end the three-year blockade of the territory.

Ayalon said Israel offered to deliver the aid supplies through the "appropriate" channels, and did "everything" it could to avoid a violent outcome.

Calls for investigation
The raid drew condemnation from a number of countries, including Turkey, which recalled its ambassador to Israel.

Canada "deeply regrets" the loss of life in the Israeli raid on an aid flotilla sailing to the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement Monday.

"We are currently looking for more information in order to shed light on what exactly happened," the statement said.

The White House issued a cautious reaction, saying: "The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained, and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy."

UN officials and the European Union's foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, called on Israel to carry out an inquiry.

Turkey swiftly condemned Israel's actions, while Israeli ambassadors in Sweden, Spain, Denmark and Greece were summoned for meetings.

The Turkish deputy prime minister called on the UN Security Council to convene an emergency session about Israel, and said Turkey is cancelling several military drills with Israel.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/05/31/israel-gaza-aid-death.html#ixzz0pWVLBdDO


May 31st, 2010, 01:54 PM
Don't hold your breath. America has always supported repressive regimes (as long as they were capitalist).

The U.S. record on support for human rights around the world is abysmal. This country's government is controlled by a reactionary ruling class whose lip service for human rights is, to borrow a phrase from Churchill, A Big Lie.

The U.S. has murdered hundreds of thousands, first in its sanctions on Iraq and then in its invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. is a far bigger problem than israel. Asking it to help "reign in" Israel is asking for a pact with the devil.

May 31st, 2010, 02:18 PM
Sounds like a suicide attack, attacking a force equipped with guns using knives and other crude weapons. What an outstanding way for Palestinians to gain world sympathy! Maybe the Israelis should have hit the attackers on their heads with the guns instead of shooting them. Better yet, throw their guns away and learn to sword fight so it'll be a fair fight next time.

May 31st, 2010, 02:24 PM
Sounds like a suicide attack, attacking a force equipped with guns using knives and other crude weapons. What an outstanding way for Palestinians to gain world sympathy! Maybe the Israelis should have hit the attackers on their heads with the guns instead of shooting them. Better yet, throw their guns away and learn to sword fight so it'll be a fair fight next time.
What a cynical viewpoint.

May 31st, 2010, 03:42 PM
Sounds like a suicide attack, attacking a force equipped with guns using knives and other crude weapons. What an outstanding way for Palestinians to gain world sympathy! Maybe the Israelis should have hit the attackers on their heads with the guns instead of shooting them. Better yet, throw their guns away and learn to sword fight so it'll be a fair fight next time.

This despicable act of aggression by Israel happened in international waters and was fully a crime of piracy and then murder which Israel says was provoked by people on the aid flotilla. Interesting - and the last time I believed what Israel said was???? The 51st state of America needs to be held accountable!

May 31st, 2010, 04:47 PM
Oh well, China has North Korea and we have Israel. We all have a cross to bear. Oh wait maybe the wording of that isn't quite right.;)

May 31st, 2010, 05:49 PM
I doubt if Israel stopped building in Palestinian 'hoods would stamp out generations of hate(taught in Palestinian schools, even, from what I've heard) and violence.

May 31st, 2010, 06:54 PM
I doubt if Israel stopped building in Palestinian 'hoods would stamp out generations of hate(taught in Palestinian schools, even, from what I've heard) and violence.
If Israel stopped murdering Palestinians it would be a start.

May 31st, 2010, 08:08 PM
If Israel stopped murdering Palestinians it would be a start.

There's a lot of that going around. :) I imagine as an oppressed people the Palestinians would think that. Personally, I have my doubts that it is indeed the case.

Anyhow, I've heard that Palestinians and Israelis coexist in same neighborhoods just fine, that the political winds keep stirring shit up.

May 31st, 2010, 09:35 PM
There's a lot of that going around. :) I imagine as an oppressed people the Palestinians would think that. Personally, I have my doubts that it is indeed the case.

Anyhow, I've heard that Palestinians and Israelis coexist in same neighborhoods just fine, that the political winds keep stirring shit up.
I don't understand from your post what you have doubts about. That Palestinians are being murdered?

Individuals can coexist; that's been proven. But Israel's government is oppressing a whole nation of people, and Palestinians living in Israel "coexist" as second-class citizens.

May 31st, 2010, 10:54 PM
I may have mentioned this before on another post, but it is worth repeating. About ten years ago I went to a peace conference in France with both Palestinians and Israeli Jews. The Palestinian congregation had many ex-Hamas fighters there and the Israeli congregation included extreme Orthodox Jewish settlers. What was interesting about the conference is that over and over again most on either side wanted to peacefully coexist together and for their children to go to school together. Although their was moderate levels of distrust and some horror stories from both sides, I met amazing humans, who despite a deep fear and distrust for one another came all the way to France to discuss the possibilities of peace.

I met a Palestinian individual who started a school for both Palestinian and Jewish children and it was a success story I will never forget. I met a Hasiadic Jew that wrote songs on love and brotherhood for Palestinians and played his songs for them which is another moment I shall not forget.

Although these are seldom heard examples of something positive in the embattled region, it is important to remember that our government continues to massively fund Israel's government and gives very little to the Palestinians besides telling them to talk to the Israeli's and come up with a peace agreement.

Extremeism will continue to happen as long as their is such a disparity in wealth between Israel and Palestine and the embargo of much needed supplies and aid continues or is stopped by criminal acts in international waters.

Their are plenty of moderate non-violent Palestinians and Israelis who believe in a Free Palestine and for the Gaza embargo to end. It is time they are listened too and both Hamas and the Nentanyahu governement, who strongly defends the commando raid on the high seas, listen to the majority of the people!!


May 31st, 2010, 11:03 PM
I don't understand from your post what you have doubts about. That Palestinians are being murdered?

Individuals can coexist; that's been proven. But Israel's government is oppressing a whole nation of people, and Palestinians living in Israel "coexist" as second-class citizens.

From the Palestinians perspective it's murder, of course. From the Israelis perspective it's self defense against a people who have sworn the destruction of their nation and all their citizens.

I don't know for a fact because I've not been to Israel nor Palestine, but I suspect most of the murdering that goes on is by the Palestinians. Of course it's not murder to them because they are just trying to get rid of the "squatters."

June 1st, 2010, 12:27 AM
Sounds like a suicide attack, attacking a force equipped with guns using knives and other crude weapons. What an outstanding way for Palestinians to gain world sympathy! Maybe the Israelis should have hit the attackers on their heads with the guns instead of shooting them. Better yet, throw their guns away and learn to sword fight so it'll be a fair fight next time.

I doubt if Israel stopped building in Palestinian 'hoods would stamp out generations of hate(taught in Palestinian schools, even, from what I've heard) and violence.

There's a lot of that going around. :) I imagine as an oppressed people the Palestinians would think that. Personally, I have my doubts that it is indeed the case.

Anyhow, I've heard that Palestinians and Israelis coexist in same neighborhoods just fine, that the political winds keep stirring shit up.

From the Palestinians perspective it's murder, of course. From the Israelis perspective it's self defense against a people who have sworn the destruction of their nation and all their citizens.

I don't know for a fact because I've not been to Israel nor Palestine, but I suspect most of the murdering that goes on is by the Palestinians. Of course it's not murder to them because they are just trying to get rid of the "squatters."

In my opinion, you are not making any sense. And it's not because I disagree with what little I can understand in you're saying. You either don't know what you're talking about, or can't express yourself clearly. Either way, it's hard to take you seriously.

More importantly - Saundra: I did not intend to co-opt your thread. I didn't know my single posting would get so many responses in a thread that's supposed to be about more than one thing.

It's good, of course, that people are paying attention to Gaza/West Bank and Israel's illegal occupation, seige, transfer of population/settlements to land acquired through war (illegal action per International Law), ludicrous self-defense claims flying in the face of all common sense and reason, Israel's decades-long consistently disproportionate responses in terms of force and casualties, on and on and on and on.

But if you think this should be in a different thread, maybe you should have the mods move it. Not trying to derail your "Controversial/Informative Site." :cheers

June 1st, 2010, 10:20 AM
Makes sense to me. :)

Actually, the whole Mideast thing doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

June 1st, 2010, 02:35 PM
Sounds like a suicide attack, attacking a force equipped with guns using knives and other crude weapons. What an outstanding way for Palestinians to gain world sympathy! Maybe the Israelis should have hit the attackers on their heads with the guns instead of shooting them. Better yet, throw their guns away and learn to sword fight so it'll be a fair fight next time.

clarification: the relief workers who were in international waters were resisting the attacking force, namely, the IDF.

If the IDF really wanted to inspect the ships then why did they attack it under the cover of darkness? What did the IDF expect the aid workers to do - welcome them with garlands and offer them beer?

It would have been very simple for them to confront the flotilla in broad day light and demand an inspection citing the reason that they did not want weapons to be smuggled.

Surely the international community would have understood that - or did the Israeli goverment think that the international community is as dumb as they are?

June 1st, 2010, 04:00 PM
clarification: the relief workers who were in international waters were resisting the attacking force, namely, the IDF.

If the IDF really wanted to inspect the ships then why did they attack it under the cover of darkness? What did the IDF expect the aid workers to do - welcome them with garlands and offer them beer?

It would have been very simple for them to confront the flotilla in broad day light and demand an inspection citing the reason that they did not want weapons to be smuggled.

Surely the international community would have understood that - or did the Israeli goverment think that the international community is as dumb as they are?

I take it IDF is Israeli Defense Force?

Anyhow, from the account that I read, the Israelis were tracking several ships of Palestinian people/sympathsizers. When the boats entered GAZA waters, which EVERYBODY knew was off limits, because of Hamas(?)hardheads, was when the Israeli commandos boarded a boat. While on the boat the commandos were physically attacked and defended themselves because they were overwelmed and would have been killed if they had not done so. The boats could have landed most anywhere except GAZA, but choose to enter GAZA space.

Moral of the story: **** with a truck, you get tire treads on your forehead.

June 1st, 2010, 04:32 PM
While on the boat the commandos were physically attacked and defended themselves because they were overwelmed and would have been killed if they had not done so.

Hanin Zoabi, an Israeli Member of Parliament was on the Turkish boat as an observer and has gone public saying that the soldiers opened fire on the crew 5 minutes before boarding.

Moral of the story: **** with a truck, you get tire treads on your forehead.

Turkey warned that further supply vessels will be sent escorted by the Turkish Navy.

moral of the story: **** your truck.

June 1st, 2010, 06:13 PM
Hanin Zoabi, an Israeli Member of Parliament was on the Turkish boat as an observer and has gone public saying that the soldiers opened fire on the crew 5 minutes before boarding.

Turkey warned that further supply vessels will be sent escorted by the Turkish Navy.

moral of the story: **** your truck.

I wouldn't take his word for it, would be surprised if that wasn't (a) warning shot(s), if it indeed happened at all.

There is video of the Pals attacking the commandos.

Do I sense some hostility here, Mr. jonesy?

Hamas doesn't want peace. They want Israel gone, period.

June 1st, 2010, 06:54 PM
I wouldn't take his word for it, would be surprised if that wasn't (a) warning shot(s), if it indeed happened at all.

There is video of the Pals attacking the commandos.

Do I sense some hostility here, Mr. jonesy?
Hamas doesn't want peace. They want Israel gone, period.

Nah, I don't get hostile dealing with simple. But you mean well.

June 1st, 2010, 07:45 PM
Hanin Zoabi, an Israeli Member of Parliament was on the Turkish boat as an observer and has gone public saying that the soldiers opened fire on the crew 5 minutes before boarding.

Wow that's an eye opener. Jonesy have you got a link for that. I want to get into someone's (not here) face with that.

June 1st, 2010, 08:08 PM
Wow that's an eye opener. Jonesy have you got a link for that. I want to get into someone's (not here) face with that.

I heard it on a BBC broadcast and saw a reference in a CBC news site.
-also saw it here (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897396,00.html)

June 1st, 2010, 08:34 PM
I heard it on a BBC broadcast and saw a reference in a CBC news site.
-also saw it here (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897396,00.html)

Thanks Jonesy.

June 1st, 2010, 10:53 PM
Nah, I don't get hostile dealing with simple. But you mean well.

Cool. I feel the same about naiveté.

June 2nd, 2010, 01:14 PM
Hamas doesn't want peace. They want Israel gone, period.

You're wrong. This wrong, and sadly widespread, impression of yours is mainly due (at best) to two things: lack of diligence, and sophisticated media manipulation by U.S. and Israel.

As harmful as Hamas's original charter may have been (well over 20 years ago), time marches on and they no longer ask for Israel to "be gone, period." Of course it's important to know about history, but you can't stop yourself from moving forward because of what may have happened in the past. Do we no longer trust Germany because Hitler existed in the 30s-40s? We have to internalize lessons and then move on or else you become paralyzed, or worse.

They (Hamas), in fact for years, along with nearly every nation of the world community including The Arab League, support a two state solution which keeps the pre-1967 borders of Palestine (West Bank settlements gone, Gaza, and East Jerusalem) and recognizes Israel's right as its own State. There have been multiple votes in the U.N. on these resolutions/actions over the years that show overwhelming support by virtually the entire world; minus Israel and The U.S.

From a letter sent almost a year ago today to President Obama from Dr. Ahmed Yousef, Deputy Of Foreign Affairs Ministry, Hamas, June 3rd, 2009:

We in the Hamas government are committed to pursuing a just resolution to the conflict not in contradiction to the international community and enlightened opinion as expressed in the International Court of Justice, The United Nations General Assembly, and leading human rights organizations. We are prepared to engage all parties on the basis of mutual respect and without preconditions.

The ICJ he refers to above is the main judicial body of the U.N. and is represented by China, Sierra Leone, Jordan, United States of America, Germany, France, New Zealand, Mexico, Morocco, Russian Federation, Brazil, Somalia, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland. And the human rights organizations he refers to are mainly Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, among others.

And from Yousef earlier (written during the Gaza 2008-09 massacre no less):

For many years, we have proposed a long-term truce provided that the Israelis prove their willingness to withdraw, in accordance with international law, from all the territories occupied in the aftermath of their 1967 incursions. We are committed to end hostilities provided that Israel demonstrates its willingness to stop its continuous attacks on our people and lifts the economic blockade that has crippled our economic and social life over the past three years. Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; the dismantling of all Israeli settlements behind the June 4 lines; and the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and determine their own future also need to be addressed to secure long-term peace.

These parts in bold are supported near universally in the international community; again aside from The U.S. and Israel.

I feel the same about naiveté.

You embarrass yourself.

Do I sense some hostility here, Mr. jonesy?

Your uninformed, simplistic sarcasm isn't appreciated.

Nav Singh
June 2nd, 2010, 04:08 PM

"Ma'an - Strongly condemning Israel’s actions against a flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip, the UN Human Rights Council voted Wednesday to dispatch an independent, international probe into violations of international law resulting from the incident.

With 32 votes in favor to three against, and nine abstentions, the 47-member council also deeply deplored the loss of life resulting from Israel’s “attack” on the convoy, and demanded that Israel release all detained persons and material aboard the ships. Israel began deporting activists late Monday.

Italy, the Netherlands and the United States voted against the resolution, which also called on Israel to immediately lift the blockade on Gaza, which it imposed in 2007. Israel says the blockade is to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas, but Palestinians and the UN consider it collective punishment"

June 2nd, 2010, 08:50 PM
You're wrong. This wrong, and sadly widespread, impression of yours is mainly due (at best) to two things: lack of diligence, and sophisticated media manipulation by U.S. and Israel.

As harmful as Hamas's original charter may have been (well over 20 years ago), time marches on and they no longer ask for Israel to "be gone, period." Of course it's important to know about history, but you can't stop yourself from moving forward because of what may have happened in the past. Do we no longer trust Germany because Hitler existed in the 30s-40s? We have to internalize lessons and then move on or else you become paralyzed, or worse.

They (Hamas), in fact for years, along with nearly every nation of the world community including The Arab League, support a two state solution which keeps the pre-1967 borders of Palestine (West Bank settlements gone, Gaza, and East Jerusalem) and recognizes Israel's right as its own State. There have been multiple votes in the U.N. on these resolutions/actions over the years that show overwhelming support by virtually the entire world; minus Israel and The U.S.

From a letter sent almost a year ago today to President Obama from Dr. Ahmed Yousef, Deputy Of Foreign Affairs Ministry, Hamas, June 3rd, 2009:

We in the Hamas government are committed to pursuing a just resolution to the conflict not in contradiction to the international community and enlightened opinion as expressed in the International Court of Justice, The United Nations General Assembly, and leading human rights organizations. We are prepared to engage all parties on the basis of mutual respect and without preconditions.

The ICJ he refers to above is the main judicial body of the U.N. and is represented by China, Sierra Leone, Jordan, United States of America, Germany, France, New Zealand, Mexico, Morocco, Russian Federation, Brazil, Somalia, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland. And the human rights organizations he refers to are mainly Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, among others.

And from Yousef earlier (written during the Gaza 2008-09 massacre no less):

For many years, we have proposed a long-term truce provided that the Israelis prove their willingness to withdraw, in accordance with international law, from all the territories occupied in the aftermath of their 1967 incursions. We are committed to end hostilities provided that Israel demonstrates its willingness to stop its continuous attacks on our people and lifts the economic blockade that has crippled our economic and social life over the past three years. Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; the dismantling of all Israeli settlements behind the June 4 lines; and the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and determine their own future also need to be addressed to secure long-term peace.

These parts in bold are supported near universally in the international community; again aside from The U.S. and Israel.

You embarrass yourself.

Your uninformed, simplistic sarcasm isn't appreciated.

Thanks for pointing all this out to me.

Next you'll be telling me the suicide bombings and occasional missiles lobbing are entirely justified or never happened because the poor downtrodden Palestinians are only reacting to that meanie Israel's aggressions(which are primarily building settlements where they're not wanted).. Tell me another bedtime story.

Anyhow, I see bullshit on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. I just believe the Palestinians are more wrong than the Israelis.

Your condescending tone doesn't impress me, BTW.

June 2nd, 2010, 10:24 PM
Thanks for pointing all this out to me.

You're welcome.

Nav Singh
June 2nd, 2010, 10:33 PM

Which country in West Asia actually has 200-300 warheads? Any guesses?

Nav Singh
June 2nd, 2010, 10:54 PM
Anyhow, I see bullshit on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. I just believe the Palestinians are more wrong than the Israelis.

Your condescending tone doesn't impress me, BTW.

Well, this is the story of 20th century history, ain't it---when bad things happen to White People, it's important. When it happens to the chinks, gooks, negroes, spics, camel jockies/sand Negroes, it's essentially like cockroaches being stepped on.

Maybe it would be worth your while to google the political differences between Camus and Sartre---I say google, because nobody really reads anything, any more, I modestly propose. not even Jonathan Swift. Or even Franz Fanon.

"The Battle of Algiers" is a fantastic movie, one of the all time best, for sure. But it's also dishonest, politically. The French killed 1 million people, out of a population of 8 million. Is this a massacre?

Nahh, just cockroaches. Just like Congo--pre/post/and during dictatorship.
Hey, about 4 million died in the mid 90s. But again, just cockroaches.

What does history, when written by the victors, "teach" us? The violence of the oppressor never happened--it's the violence of the oppressed that must always be remembered.

June 3rd, 2010, 12:02 AM
Next you'll be telling me the suicide bombings and occasional missiles lobbing are entirely justified... .

They are.

...or never happened

They did.

June 3rd, 2010, 11:38 AM
There are some very puzzling things about this whole operation that IMO must me addressed and answered before anyone can really say anything.

First we are dealing here with a government who's military is possibly the very best in the world at commando type operations whether you agree with a particular operation or not. The IDF has for at least 50 years lead the world in this type of "lightening strike" military operation. So how did they screw up so massively on this one? It was almost like it was handled by the boy scouts.

First: The paint ball guns? Now this is unheard of. it just makes absolutely no sense especially when you have excellent devices for crowd control, which is what this operation was in essence, like bean bags, tazers, flash grenades and as a last resort rubber bullets. All of which Israel manufactures and even exports. Paint ball guns used by a commando force? Mind-boggling, not to mention dangerous to the commandos themselves. Did the IDF ask Matell to outfit this raid?

Second: If you just want to stop these unarmed vessels on the high seas why wait until the dead of night when most are asleep? Even an idiot would realize that with people awakened from sleep in the middle of the night are going to react in an very frightened and very unpredictable way which is exactly what seems to have happened. As the Chinese saying goes "Even the mouse will scratch the cat when cornered." Far more intelligent would have been waiting for day-light halting the ships and boarding then to search for contraband military supples. They (the Israeli forces) did this before with A+ results and no harm to anyone. Why then resort to this ridiculous plan of action in this instance?

Many of us feel we wish we had the Israeli security forces taking care of our airports instead of the ineffectual Department of Homeland Security and it's poorly trained TSA. I wonder about that now. There is little doubt that over the past four decades the Mossad has been the most effective intelligence and special operations organization in the world. What happened here? It's a little to fishy to accept without an investigation by an out side and neutral (if after this one exists) source.

It is also understandable that the US would vote against any measure that would make Israel culpable in any way. But why Italy and the Netherlands? the first thing one would think of is "ulterior motives" because neither country is especially close friends with nor has strong ties to Israel.

There are a lot of questions to be answered before the media Nazis go off half-cocked on their usual sensationalist reporting as they all too often do.

June 3rd, 2010, 12:18 PM
They are.

They did.

So, you're a potential suicide bomber? That must be SOME kinda goal in life, getting all those virgins and stuff. :)

Saundra Hummer
June 6th, 2010, 03:07 PM
Until Bebe N. is out of office, and those who are behind him are no longer in power, I'll tend to believe, and think of anything Israel does as suspect.

Saundra Hummer
June 6th, 2010, 03:19 PM
In my opinion, you are not making any sense. And it's not because I disagree with what little I can understand in you're saying. You either don't know what you're talking about, or can't express yourself clearly. Either way, it's hard to take you seriously.

More importantly - Saundra: I did not intend to co-opt your thread. I didn't know my single posting would get so many responses in a thread that's supposed to be about more than one thing.

It's good, of course, that people are paying attention to Gaza/West Bank and Israel's illegal occupation, seige, transfer of population/settlements to land acquired through war (illegal action per International Law), ludicrous self-defense claims flying in the face of all common sense and reason, Israel's decades-long consistently disproportionate responses in terms of force and casualties, on and on and on and on.

But if you think this should be in a different thread, maybe you should have the mods move it. Not trying to derail your "Controversial/Informative Site." :cheers

No one is co-opting anything, glad all of you are here, hope you keep it up.

I might interject an article now and then, or even all the time, just know it's not to derail your posts, just skip around what I post and go about posting your own thoughts.

Had people upset over hijacked threads, so this way I can post what I like, and so can anyone else, not posible to hijack this thread. I see it this way, this is what conversations and learning are all about. Thoughts seem to jump all over the place, one thought leads to another, and for me, it makes it more fun at times.

Just do your thing here, and don't be concerned about it. I won't run to moderators and complain, as this is what is interesting to me.

Nothing organized about me or my thoughts, ha. Not touchy about differing viewpoints either. It's everyone's ballpark.

June 7th, 2010, 10:37 AM
Until Bebe N. is out of office, and those who are behind him are no longer in power, I'll tend to believe, and think of anything Israel does as suspect.

Sandi's back!

:banana::banana: :banana: :elephant: :wohoo: :wohoo: :clap: :clap: :clap: :tanz: :tanz: :) :) :cheers :cheers :) :) :thewave :thewave :thewave

Mario Abbagliati
June 8th, 2010, 09:38 AM

June 8th, 2010, 10:36 AM

Mario Abbagliati
June 8th, 2010, 11:26 AM

June 8th, 2010, 03:27 PM


Mario Abbagliati
June 8th, 2010, 04:11 PM


The Gaza-bound aid ship "Rachel Corrie" arrived Saturday at the Israeli port city of Ashdod after Israel Defense Forces soldiers boarded the ship peacefully and escorted it into Israeli territory. The move came after warnings that Israel would not allow the vessel to reach Gaza, which is under blockade by Israel, and several days after an Israel Navy takeover of another boat headed for the Hamas-ruled coastal strip ended in violent clashes and the deaths of nine passengers.

The Cambodian-flagged Rachel Corrie - named for an American college student who was crushed to death by an IDF bulldozer in 2003 while protesting Israeli house demolitions in Gaza - was carrying hundreds of tons of aid, including wheelchairs, medical supplies and cement.

An IDF spokesman said Saturday that Israeli special forces soldiers used boats to board the ship, and were not air-dropped as in the nighttime takeover of the Mavi Marmara on Monday.

The spokesman said the soldiers had boarded after receiving full consent and cooperation from the Free Gaza activists on the ship. The activists dropped a ladder in order to help the soldiers board the ship, the IDF said.

The group of IDF soldiers that boarded the ship included several female soldiers to handle the female passengers on board.

The IDF said earlier that the "Rachel Corrie" had ignored an invitation to unload its cargo at an Israeli port and chose to continue its trip toward Gaza.

According to the army, the organizers "chose to ignore the invitation to dock at the Ashdod port where the cargo could be unloaded and transferred to the Gaza Strip upon inspection."

The Cyprus-based Free Gaza group used micro-blogging website Twitter to announce that troops from three three Israeli naval boats, which had been tailing the ship, had boarded peacefully at 5:50 A.M. Israel time, with no struggle or injuries.

The activists' latest attempt to crack the blockade was seen as a test of Israel's resolve in the face of international conmdenation over the takeover of the Mavi Marmara.

Saundra Hummer
June 8th, 2010, 04:19 PM

. . . . . . . . .

Dear Helen Thomas With A PS To All Her 'Colleagues' And Every American

Eileen Fleming
08 June, 2010

Ninety-year old Journalist Helen Thomas has taken a lot of heat for daring to address the fact that any Jew without any historical connection to Israel is encouraged to settle-as in colonize-upon legally owned Palestinian land.

I learned about, Aliyah , which means ‘going up,' during my first of seven trips to Israel and occupied Palestine in June 2005 from an American Jewess who had taken the deal and she informed me:

I get fifteen hundred shekels or about thirty-six hundred dollars a year in increments to help with my expenses. I can apply for unemployment benefits after seven months, as long as I look for a job. I just completed Ulpan, which was five hundred hours of Hebrew language immersion studies that took five months, five hours a day, for five weeks. I get subsidized rent and just moved out of the Absorption Center Projects. All the new immigrants get room, utilities, and three meals a day for the first five months in Israel. We also receive free medical care and all the doctors here are dedicated. We can go to the university with 100 percent of the tuition paid by the government. College is much cheaper here; it's about three thousand to four thousand dollars a year. Until I am thirty years old, I can receive up to three years of education for my master's degree.

On February 9, 2009, Journalist Helen Thomas, asked President Obama about Middle Eastern state with nukes.

Obama blew her off stating he didn't want "to speculate" and her 'colleagues' remained mute, but the US State Department has published reams of material about President Kennedy's concern about the Israeli bomb!

And looking back to December 1953, when President Eisenhower addressed the 470th Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in India, I excerpt:

I therefore decided that this occasion warranted my saying to you some of the things that have been on the minds and hearts of my legislative and executive associates, and on mine, for a great many months: thoughts I had originally planned to say primarily to the American people.

I know that the American people share my deep belief that if a danger exists in the world, it is a danger shared by all; and equally, that if hope exists in the mind of one nation, that hope should be shared by all.

I feel impelled to speak today in a language that in a sense is new, one which I, who have spent so much of my life in the military profession, would have preferred never to use. That new language is the language of atomic warfare.

The atomic age has moved forward at such a pace that every citizen of the world should have some comprehension, at least in comparative terms, of the extent of this development, of the utmost significance to every one of us.

Clearly, if the peoples of the world are to conduct an intelligent search for peace, they must be armed with the significant facts of today's existence…this subject is global, not merely national in character.

On 16 July 1945, the United States set off the world's biggest atomic explosion.

Since that date in 1945, the United States of America has conducted forty-two test explosions. Atomic bombs are more than twenty-five times as powerful as the weapons with which the atomic age dawned, while hydrogen weapons are in the ranges of millions of tons of TNT equivalent.

Today, the United States stockpile of atomic weapons, which, of course, increases daily, exceeds by many times the total equivalent of the total of all bombs and all shells that came from every plane and every gun in every theatre of war in all the years of the Second World War. A single air group whether afloat or land based, can now deliver to any reachable target a destructive cargo exceeding in power all the bombs that fell on Britain in all the Second World War…But the dread secret and the fearful engines of atomic might are not ours alone.

In the first place, the secret is possessed by our friends and allies…If at one time the United States possessed what might have been called a monopoly of atomic power, that monopoly ceased to exist several years ago.

There is at least one new avenue of peace, which has not been well-explored -an avenue now laid out by the General Assembly of the United Nations…The United States, heeding the suggestion of the General Assembly of the United Nations, is instantly prepared to meet privately with such other countries as may be "principally involved", to seek "an acceptable solution" to the atomic armaments race which overshadows not only the peace, but the very life, of the world…the great Powers of the earth, both of the East and of the West [must] open up a new channel for peaceful discussion and initiative at least a new approach to the many difficult problems that must be solved in both private and public conversations if the world is to shake off the inertia imposed by fear and is to make positive progress towards peace…the United States pledges before you, and therefore before the world, its determination to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma - to devote its entire heart and mind to finding the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to life. [1]

This August 6th and 9th will mark the 65th anniversary of the most brutal acts of terrorism upon innocent people; America's atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On Armistice Day, 1948 General Omar Nelson Bradley warned US:

We live in a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants, in a world that has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. We have solved the mystery of the atom and forgotten the lessons of the Sermon on The Mount. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about dying than we know about living.

A little history:

At 2:45 AM, on August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber flew north from Tinian Island toward Japan. Three and a half hours later, the Enola Gay dropped "Little Boy" an 8,900-pound atomic weapon upon civilians in Hiroshima and leveled almost 90% of the city. On August 9, "Fat Man" was dropped on Nagasaki, and one third of that city was destroyed.

"Little Boy" was fueled by highly enriched uranium-235 and generated a destructive force of about 15 kilotons—the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT. "Fat Man" consisted of a plutonium core surrounded by high explosives wired to explode simultaneously and yielded a 22 kiloton explosion.

As a child, I could not comprehend how my country could cold bloodily target and murder Japanese citizens in order to 'save' American lives, which was the lame response I always received from every adult I questioned as to why after what we did to Hiroshima did we do it again to Nagasaki?
If THAT DAY, we call 9/11 taught us anything, it should be that America's nuclear arsenal cannot defeat 'terrorism' or provide security from the actions of a few violent mad men who target and murder innocent ones.

American money is imprinted with "IN GOD WE TRUST" but reality is we have become a nation of hypocrites, for by our foreign policy we expose that we live by the sword.

America has a nuclear arsenal of over 10,000 weapons and nearly 2,000 remain on hair-trigger alert ever since the end of the Cold War.

An estimated 150 – 240 tactical nuclear weapons remain based in 5 NATO countries and the United States is the only country with nuclear weapons deployed on foreign soil.

American taxpayers provide over $54 billion annually to maintain WMD's, which is but a drop in the bucket of the overall U.S. military spending.

Before and during the Cold War the United States conducted over a thousand nuclear tests , developed many long-range weapon delivery systems and still maintains an arsenal of about 5,500 warheads.

Between 1945 and 1990, more than 70,000 total USA made warheads were developed, in over 65 different varieties.

Between 1940 and 1996, the U.S. spent at least $5.8 trillion (in 1996 dollars) on nuclear weapons development. In addition to deploying weapons on American soil, during the Cold War the United States also stationed nuclear weapons in 27 foreign countries and territories, including Japan, during the military occupation after WWII.

In 1998 the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project determined:

“The bottom line: $5.5 trillion dollars. If future cleanup, stockpiling and dismantlement is included, that rises to $5.8 trillion. Even with the Cold War over, the United States is spending $35 billion a year—14 percent of the defense budget, or $96 million a day—on nuclear efforts of which about $25 billion goes for operation and maintenance of the nuclear arsenal. The rest is spent on cleanup; arms control verification, and ballistic missile defense research… this 'exceeded the combined total federal spending on education, training, employment, and social services; agriculture; natural resources and the environment; general science and space research; community and regional development (including disaster relief); law enforcement; and energy production and regulation.”

On January 17, 1961, in his Farewell Address, President Eisenhower also stated:

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government…we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.

You and I – my fellow citizens – need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations' great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love. [2]

America's prophet, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. warned US that:
Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.

In 1987, the Whistle Blower of Israel's WMD Program, Mordechai Vanunu, wrote from Ashkelon prison:

No government, not even the most democratic, can force us to live under this threat. No state in the world can offer any kind of security against this menace of a nuclear holocaust, or guarantee to prevent it…A state that lives in fear of destruction must not threaten the whole world with annihilation…Any country, which manufactures and stocks nuclear weapons, is first of all endangering its own citizens. This is why the citizens must confront their government and warn it that it has no right to expose them to this danger. Because, in effect, the citizens are being held hostage by their own government, just as if they have been hijacked and deprived of their freedom and threatened…when governments develop nuclear weapons without the consent of their citizens - and this is true in most cases - they are violating the basic rights of their citizens, the basic right not to live under constant threat of annihilation…Is any government qualified and authorized to produce such weapons?

In 1995, from Ashkelon Prison, Mordechai Vanunu also noted:

A radioactive cloud consumed rubbed out Hiroshima...A live nuclear test sentenced you. A nuclear laboratory…children women trees animals in and under a nuclear mushroom…burning… burned…flattened to ground radioactive ash-Hiroshima...Nuclear weapons gamblers win against you…Hollywood doesn't know you - you are not a Jewish Holocaust.

In April 1999, thirty-six members of the House of Representatives signed a letter calling for Vanunu's release from prison because they believed "we have a duty to stand up for men and women like Mordechai Vanunu who dare to articulate a brighter vision for humanity."

President Clinton responded with a public statement expressing concern for Vanunu and the need for Israel and other non-parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to adhere to it and accept IAEA safeguards, but ever since the silence from the American Government has been deafening! And Israel returned Vanunu to prison on 23 May 2010, essentially for speaking to foreign media in 2004!

On April 5, 2009, President Obama stood on the world stage in Prague amongst thousands of flag-waving Czechs and spoke of good humor, home town Chicago, the will of the people over tanks and guns, old conflicts, revolution, moral leadership as the most powerful weapon, iron curtains that fell and the state of 21st century nuclear weapons and I excerpt:

We are here today because enough people ignored the voices who told them that the world could not change. We're here today because of the courage of those who stood up and took risks to say that freedom is a right for all people, no matter what side of a wall they live on, and no matter what they look like. We are here today because the simple and principled pursuit of liberty and opportunity shamed those who relied on the power of tanks and arms to put down the will of a people…

Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be stopped, cannot be checked -– that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction. Such fatalism is a deadly adversary, for if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then in some way we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.

As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act…It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, "Yes, we can.
Words must mean something.

There is violence and injustice in our world that must be confronted. We must confront it by standing together as free nations, as free people. I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress must be raised together.

Human destiny will be what we make of it...Let us honor our past by reaching for a better future. Let us bridge our divisions, build upon our hopes, and accept our responsibility to leave this world more prosperous and more peaceful than we found it. Together we can do it

Yes we can do it and all we lack are the eyes to see, ears to hear and the political will to comprehend that all roads lead US to Israel:

1. http://www.iaea.org/About/history_speech.html
2. http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

Eileen Fleming, Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"
Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
Staff Member of Salem-news.com
A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com and Dandelionsalad.wordpress.com
Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"


. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
June 8th, 2010, 05:20 PM


Probe urged on
Bush-era interrogation research (document)

Ed Stannard
Register Metro Editor
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Local and national religious leaders Monday called for President Barack Obama and Congress to investigate whether the Bush administration required medical personnel to conduct research on its interrogation methods.

The medical staff monitored and recorded data from waterboarding and other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that human rights groups call torture, according to Physicians for Human Rights, which issued the report, “Experiments in Torture.” It called such activity a violation of the Nuremburg Code, the Geneva Conventions and the War Crimes Act.

“It’s appalling and profoundly disturbing to me that health professionals have been involved in research,” said the Rev. Allie Perry of New Haven, vice president of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and worship coordinator for Shalom United Church of Christ.

Perry said the report emphasizes the need for a commission of inquiry into the interrogation methods, which President George W. Bush’s administration approved after 9/11.

“Most people in the public would say under the Obama administration torture has been abolished,” Perry said. “But that’s not the case. An executive order is not sufficient,” she said.

She pointed out that PHR’s report was based on publicly available documents, and classified material might reveal worse abuses.

The report said the Bush administration redefined waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” as not rising to the level of torture.

“Medical personnel were ostensibly responsible for ensuring that the legal threshold for ‘severe physical and mental pain’ was not crossed by interrogators, but their presence and complicity in intentionally harmful interrogation practices were not only apparently intended to enable the routine practice of torture, but also to serve as a potential legal defense against criminal liability for torture,” the PHR report said.

“There’s enough questions raised that I would think the moral and ethical thing to do is to call a commission of inquiry to see what exactly happened,” said the Rev. Emilie Townes, professor of African American Religion and Theology at Yale Divinity School.

Rabbi Herbert Brockman of Congregation Mishkan Israel in Hamden said, “I just find it rather extraordinary, unbelievable, that physicians would allow themselves to be involved in that kind of thing.”

The PHR report cited three ways allegedly illegal and unethical research on human subjects was conducted:

ÇMedical staff monitored the use of waterboarding and collected data to modify the procedure, such as using saline solution, which PHR called “Waterboarding 2.0.”

ÇInterrogation techniques were studied to assess how much pain subjects could endure.

ÇData on sleep deprivation, up to 180 hours at a time, was collected and studied to improve its effectiveness.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano flatly rejected the claims. “The CIA did not, as part of its past detention program, conduct human subject research on any detainee or group of detainees,” Gimigliano said.

PHR, based in Cambridge, Mass., called on Obama to launch a criminal investigation of the CIA and other agencies that were involved in the interrogations.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Call Ed Stannard at 203-789-5743.

Experiments in Torture
URL: http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2010/06/08/news/aa3torturedocs060810.prt

© 2010 nhregister.com, a Journal Register Property


Saundra Hummer
June 9th, 2010, 03:34 PM

. . . . .

Jim Hightower

Government Impotence and Corporate Rule
Many news reports about the Gulf oil catastrophe refer to it as a "spill." Wrong. A spill is a minor "oops" — one accidentally spills milks, for example, and from childhood, we're taught the old aphorism: "Don't cry over spilt milk." What's in the Gulf isn't milk and it wasn't spilt. The explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon well was the inevitable result of deliberate decisions made by avaricious corporate executives, laissez faire politicians and obsequious regulators.

As the ruinous gulf oil blowout spreads onto land, over wildlife, across the ocean floor and into people's lives, it raises a fundamental question for all of us Americans: Who the hell's in charge here? What we're witnessing is not merely a human and environmental horror, but also an appalling deterioration in our nation's governance. Just as we saw in Wall Street's devastating economic disaster and in Massey Energy's murderous explosion inside its Upper Big Branch coal mine, the nastiness in the gulf is baring an ugly truth that We the People must finally face: We are living under de facto corporate rule that has rendered our government impotent.

Thirty years of laissez-faire, ideological nonsense (pushed upon us with a vengeance in the past decade) has transformed government into a subsidiary of corporate power. Wall Street, Massey, BP and its partners — all were allowed to become their own "regulators" and officially encouraged to put their short-term profit interests over the public interest.

Let's not forget that on April 2, barely two weeks before Deepwater Horizon blew and 11 people perished on the spot, the public's No. 1 official, Barack Obama, trumpeted his support for more deepwater oil drilling, blithely regurgitating Big Oil's big lie: "Oil rigs today generally don't cause spills." He and his advisors had not bothered to check the truth of that — they simply took the industry's word. That's not governing, it's aiding and abetting profiteers, and it's a pathetic performance.

But that was only the start of Washington's oily confession that it has surrendered control to corporate arrogance and avarice. With an unprecedented volume of crude gushing from the well and the magnitude of the disaster multiplying geometrically by the day, who was in charge of coping with that? Not the White House, not the interior secretary, not the EPA. As we saw when Wall Street's greed exploded our economy, the polluting scoundrels were left in charge!

While BP's dapper CEO issued patently ridiculous statements (such as, "Everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impact of this will be very, very modest."), our government blindly went along with BP's false assertion that only some 5,000 barrels a day were pouring from the well, when independent experts were shouting at the White House that the correct volume was up to 19 times that much.

Finally, almost a month after the blowout, Obama ordered a moratorium on drilling new offshore wells and on granting environmental waivers to the oil giants. Bravo, Mr. President! But ... his moratorium was simply ignored. Days after his order, oil companies were handed at least seven more drilling permits and five waivers.

Last week, with 63 percent of the public disapproving of his meek deference to BP, the president of the United States of America was reduced to convening a press conference to insist that he was "engaged" and, behind the scenes, was "monitoring" BP's efforts.

Wow, monitoring! Excuse me, but who's the president here? Obama should personally take charge —-cancel all of his social and political events, convene an emergency response team of the best scientific minds in the world, announce a clear plan of clean-up actions, install all relevant Cabinet officials in a Gulf Coast command center to direct the actions, make daily reports on progress to the public, fire a mess of failed regulators and go to Congress with sweeping legislation to replace America's oil dependency with a crash program of conservation and renewable energy sources.

Oh, he should also wring a few corporate necks. Instead of monitoring these criminals, prosecute them — and put the public back in charge of our government.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.


Go on-site to gain access to the numerous links within this article and several other topical issues by several other publications and journalists. Just click on the following URL:

. . . . . . .

June 9th, 2010, 04:41 PM
Barack Obama, trumpeted his support for more deepwater oil drilling, blithely regurgitating Big Oil's big lie: "Oil rigs today generally don't cause spills."

But when they do they are one "MF" of a spill. I wonder who told Obama to say that? Sounds like a George W Bush kind of response.

Saundra Hummer
June 9th, 2010, 05:05 PM
But when they do they are one "MF" of a spill. I wonder who told Obama to say that? Sounds like a George W Bush kind of response.

I read, somewhere on the web, that the military has convinced President Obama that we will be, or already are, at a disadvantage, convincing him that we will be in a perilous position if we don't drill and drill, regardless of where the oil might be, that national security overrides, and exceeds, environmental concerns.

June 9th, 2010, 05:57 PM
I read, somewhere on the web, that the military has convinced President Obama that we will be, or already are, at a disadvantage, convincing him that we will be in a perilous position if we don't drill and drill, regardless of where the oil might be, that national security overrides, and exceeds, environmental concerns.

That falls right in with the "military/industrial comples" that Eisenhower spoke.

And it's coming to pass....****, it's here.

Saundra Hummer
June 9th, 2010, 06:17 PM
That falls right in with the "military/industrial comples" that Eisenhower spoke.

And it's coming to pass....****, it's here.

Yep, and it gets spookier and spookier every minute.

Saundra Hummer
June 11th, 2010, 01:18 PM

06/11/2010 06:21 PM

They'll Put a Spell on You

The Witchdoctors of African Football

Thilo Thielke

Go on-site for photo gallery, j
ust click on the URL at end of post.

Just as every German team has a physiotherapist, every African team has a resident witch doctor. And the spells work, say some. The governing body of African football has gone out of its way to ban the practice.
Aliyu Mbenkem and Julienn Aboude are absolutely convinced of their magical powers. The two faith healers live in a village called Akolinga in the West African nation of Cameroon, around three hours north east from the capital Yaounde by car. I'm on the road with two colleagues and we have come to pay the faith healers a visit. We have come because we want to know more about their powers. Can they influence the outcome of a football game?

"That's nothing. All I have to do is cast a few shells and contact the spirit of the playing field, then our own goal will be nailed up and the opposition's goal will be wide open," the magician Mbenkem says. He doesn't offer any more details. No teams, no matches. We thank him and drive on.

And When the Path to the Stadium is Bewitched?

But what does one do when a spell has been cast? In the 1980s, sports development specialist Holger Obermann was working as trainer of FC Wallidan in the Gambian capital of Banjul. He had decided to ignore any witchcraft worries and just play the game. But shortly before the team was supposed to meet Sierra Leone in the West African Nations Cup, there was a sudden panic.

"I was ready for a lot -- but not this," Obermann wrote in his memoirs. "Biri was pointing fearfully at a green powder, which was strewn at irregular intervals along the narrow path to the stadium. It reminded me of laundry powder, maybe some sort of powdered paint. 'The path is bewitched,' Biri cried out agitated and the other players immediately agreed." The players refused to go further. They were not so foolish as to start a conflict with supernatural powers. The team rebelled, and Obermann was in a difficult position. "We had to act," he wrote.

So as not to miss the game altogether, the coach herded the players onto a bus. He took the steering wheel himself and "sped along the narrow path at high speed" while all aboard "were thrown around." The team arrived just a few minutes before the start of the game. And won, 2:0. It was a close call.

Trainer Caught Casting Spells on the Field

Not everyone is as lucky. At the 2002 Africa Cup, Camaroon trainer Winnie Schäfer had to do without his co-trainer Thomas Nkono because, just prior to the semi-final, he had been seen burying bones under the turf and spraying a strange elixir, in order to cast a spell on the playing field. Nkono, a legendary African goalkeeper, was arrested and led away in handcuffs and had to spend the night in police custody. Although that was probably a good thing given the threats he had received from his team's semi-final opponent.

Despite Nkono's antics, a former teammate of his doesn't believe in the power of witchcraft. "There is no magic in football," Roger Milla once told a reporter from France Football, a bi-weekly French football magazine. "And Cameroon is proof of this. Our country is not strong in witchcraft. But our football is better than in those nations where magic is so strong -- countries like Benin, Togo or Nigeria."

The Confederation of African Football likewise doesn't want to hear about magic anymore and have banned witchcraft. No substances may be sprinkled over the playing fields and there can be no witch doctors on the bench with the teams.

This regulatory measure was likely seen as necessary after a game between the Rwandan and Ugandan national teams. The Cranes, as the Ugandan team is nicknamed, had shot and missed five times, the ball narrowly missing the goal or hitting the posts. The goal was jinxed, as it were. Before long, however, it became clear why. Naturally it was not due to any team member's personal sporting inadequacies. Rather, it was all due to an extra pair of gloves dangling from the Rwandan goal keeper's net, which were "nailing shut" the goal. "Magic hands! Witchcraft! Cheating!," the people yelled. There was rioting: The players themselves fought and the audience stormed the field. The whole circus lasted five hours. And the Rwandans left the field 1:0 victors.

And then there is also the legendary story that is told about the Ivory Coast team, which won the Africa Cup of Nations final in 1992 after a penalty shoot-out 11:10. The fans credited the victory to the witch doctors who had been employed by the Ministry of Sport. The witch doctors themselves said that their services had been commissioned by the Ministry but that they had never been compensated for their services.

As a result, they cursed the national team. And indeed, the Elephants, as the team is known, won nothing for years. Finally, a decade later, the country's defense minister apologized to the aggrieved witch doctors on behalf of the nation for "the 1992 promise that was not fulfilled after the Africa Cup." The minister also offered the witchdoctors $2,000 (around €1,670) and asked them to start working for "the republic and the sports minister" again.

Bending Lines and Bewitching Balls

"They bend the lines, bewitch the ball, befuddle the referees (and) paralyze goal keepers," Bartholomäus Grill, the Africa correspondent for weekly newspaper Die Zeit, wrote about the witch doctors -- and sometimes their mischief making even leaves the field. "For example, when Shamo Quaye, who was playing professionally in Sweden, came home to Ghana to collect debts from his old team, he was bitten by a poisonous snake while at supper. He died on the way to hospital. The whole country had only one explanation: Juju, black magic."

"Just as every German team has a masseur, every African team has a witchdoctor," says Anthony Baffoe, a Ghanaian footballer who played for years in Germany's top league as well as for Ghana's national team and who now works for the Ghana Football Association. German filmmaker Oliver Becker tells of watching a Tanzanian player anoint the grave of a deceased teammate with chicken blood so that he might acquire the dribbling skills of the dead man, for himself. And the Botswana Sports Magazine has even felt it necessary to inform citizens that: "There is no evidence that football games can be won through witchcraft alone."

Photo Gallery: Visiting The Witchdoctor's Clinic

Schweinsteiger's Metamorphosis: The Newfound Maturity of Germany's Key Player (06/11/2010)
Diego Maradona: God's Gift to Argentina? (06/11/2010)
A New Slave Trade?: Europe's Thirst for Young African Footballers (06/04/2010)
World Cup Jitters: Excitement and Tension Run High in South Africa (06/03/2010)
Succumbing to the Injury Bug: Young Players to Fill Roster Holes on German National Team (06/02/2010)
'Berlin Cries Today': German Capital Bids Auf Wiedersehen to Top-Flight Football (05/11/2010)

All Rights Reserved



Saundra Hummer
June 11th, 2010, 05:22 PM
Go on-site for the numerous links in this newsletter. I have posted the different perspectives from India and elsewhere about the Gaza Relief Flotilla, and Israel's Commando Boarding. Some pro, mostly con. Some interesting reading. These links, which you'll have to go onsite to access are informative one way or the other. Nothing is all Black & White, there are shades of gray in-between. Counter Currents lets us in on how others see the Gaza Flotilla incident.

Israeli Commandos Execute American Citizen

Israeli soldiers allegedly killing Furkan Dogan 19 years

The Crimes I Saw On The Mavi Marmara By Lubna MasarwaLubna Masarwa was a Free Gaza Movement representative aboard the Mavi Marmara and wrote this essay from her house arrest in Kfor Qara, Palestine

Israel's Political Occupation Of
Obama's Press Corps
By Yvonne RidleyWhat they have proved by their swift action against Heln Thomas is that while Israel conducts a military occupation in Palestine it is conducting a political occupation of The White House Corps

A Defence Of Helen Thomas
By Jonathan CookMs Thomas let her guard down and her anger and resentment show. She generalised unfairly. She sounded bitter. She needed to -- and has -- apologised. But she does not deserve to be pilloried and blacklisted

Get Helen Thomas
By Dan Lieberman Organized attack on most revered member of White House Press Corp

Israel’s Cult Of Victimhood
By Jonathan CookThe angry demonstrations sweeping the country against the world’s denunciations; the calls to revoke the citizenship of the Israeli Arab MP on board -- or worse, to execute her -- for treason; and the local media’s endless recycling of the soldiers’ testimonies of being “bullied” by the activists demonstrate the desperate need of Israelis to justify every injustice or atrocity while clinging to the illusion of victimhood

A Bit Less Righteous, But A Bit More Wise
By Maryam SakeenahThe world’s senses still reel from the shock of the brazen violation of law, human rights and basic morality that was witnessed. It will go a long way, to teach us that it is more important to be ‘a little more righteous’, and that this in fact is the highest wisdom. As a friend wrote, ‘I see the winds of change blowing.’

To the Apartheid State
By Huda Jawad

To the Apartheid State of the Twenty-First Century
They're Coming: Freedom Flotilla Two
And Others Planned
By Stephen LendmanPreparations for an even larger Freedom Flotilla Two are well advanced, and will be launched in the coming weeks

Shabnam Hashmi Resigns From
National Integration Council
By Ram PuniyaniShabnam Hashmi resigned from the National Integration Council, in the aftermath of appointment of Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray on the council

08 June, 2010
God Bless Helen Thomas
By Roger TuckerShe has seen it all, and if there's anyone who knows what the truth is, it is Helen Thomas. She saw the pressure and treachery applied by the Zionist mafia that led to the birth of Israel as an American protectorate in the Middle East. She saw her country that she so loved fall prey to a ruthless fifth column that has turned America into an obedient puppet of what a French diplomat once called "that shitty little state."

Dear Helen Thomas With A PS To
All Her 'Colleagues' And Every American
By Eileen Fleming Ninety-year old Journalist Helen Thomas has taken a lot of heat for daring to address the fact that any Jew without any historical connection to Israel is encouraged to settle-as in colonize-upon legally owned Palestinian land

Israeli MP Who Joined Flotilla Faces Witchhunt
By Jonathan Cook An Israeli parliamentary committee recommended stripping an Arab MP of her privileges yesterday in a move to prepare the ground for putting her on trial for participating last week in the Gaza-bound aid flotilla attacked by Israeli commandos

Jewish Ideology And Psychosis –
A Danger To World Peace
By Gilad AtzmonGilad Atzmon considers the deep religious and psychotic roots of the genocidal impulses of Israelis, as most recently demonstrated in the cold-blooded murder of humanitarian activists aboard the Gaza-bound international aid flotilla, and warns of the implications for humanity unless urgent decisive action is taken against the rogue Jewish state

Where Is The American Freedom Flotilla?
By Dr. Sama AdnanReacting to the complicity of their governments, the European Freedom Flotilla took the initiative to shed light on Israel’s policies in the occupied territories. The American peace movement should emulate their success by setting its Freedom Flotilla a-sail

Israel 's Crimes Against Humanity
By Dr. Elias Akleh How could the world trust this mad Israeli dog with nuclear weapons threatening nuclear war in the Middle East that would, certainly, touch every country in the world in one way or another?

The Old Gaza Boy And The Sea
By Ramzy Baroud But despite the pain that is now too deep, the lives that were so unfairly taken, the tears that were shed across the world for the Freedom Flotilla, I know now that my fantasy was not a child's dream. That there were people from Australia, France, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, the US and many other countries, who were coming to us in boats loaded with gifts from those who, for some reason, really liked us

Israel Is Fueling Anti-Americanism
Among U.S. Allies
By Nicola NasserWashington has found its diplomacy faced with an Israeli fait accompli to be involuntarily embroiled in what the Israeli media harshly criticized as a tactical failure, which engulfed the U.S. administration in the roaring Arab and Muslim anger to be accused of being a partner to the Israeli adventure, thus fueling anti – Americanism

Roger Waters' Tribute To Gaza :
"We Shall Overcome"
A Video

Israel Steps Up Operations In Gaza
By Patrick O’Connor Israeli naval commandos killed four Palestinian militants off the coast of Gaza yesterday morning in an operation designed by the Israeli government to send a signal to the Palestinian people and the world—that its illegal blockade of the territory will continue despite mounting criticism following the May 31 massacre of nine Turkish activists

The Flotilla Massacre: Historical Perspective,
Aftermath And Implications
By Stephen Lendmansome of Israel's most incompetent leaders, including Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, Ariel Sharon, and Netanyahu are rewarded with new chances to repeat mistakes, perhaps because of Washington's unflagging support, but for how long, given the price America pays for damaged goods, compounding its own appalling record abroad and at home with a shelf life of definite limits and an ability to preserve it running out of cash

Video: Children Of Gaza
By Jezza Neumann

A Must Watch Documentary
Right-Wing Zionist Thugs Try To Assault
Peace Activist Uri Avnery After Tel Aviv Rally
By Joshua HollandA dozen rightist thugs attacked Gush Shalom’s 86 year old Uri Avnery, when he was on his way from the rally in the company of his wife, Rachel, Adam Keller and his wife Beate Siversmidt. Avnery had just entered a taxi, when a dozen rightist thugs attacked him and tried to drag him out of the car. At the critical moment, the police arrived and made it possible for the car to leave

Photos Show Mavi Marmara Passengers
Protecting, Aiding Israeli Soldiers
By Ali AbunimahPhotographs have emerged that show that the Israeli soldiers injured in Mavi Marmara being protected and cared for by the passengers in the ship

The Deadly Closing Of The Israeli Mind
By Ilan PappéThe decline in Israel's reputation since the brutal attack on the Gaza flotilla is unlikely to influence the country's leaders

The Truth Behind The Israeli Propaganda
By Robert FiskI wasn't personally at all surprised at the killings on the Turkish ship. In Lebanon, I've seen this indisciplined rabble of an army – as "elite" as the average rabble of Arab armies – shooting at civilians. I saw them watching the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinians on the morning of 18 September (the last day of the slaughter) by their vicious Lebanese militia allies. I was present at the Qana massacre by Israeli gunners in 1996

An Act Of State Terrorism
By Lee Sustar & Kevin OvendenKevin Ovenden is an organizer of the Viva Palestina solidarity group and veteran of two convoys to Gaza. He spoke to Lee Sustar about the murderous Israeli assault on the peace flotilla--and he makes the case that the Palestinian solidarity movement must seize the moment to build wider support for ending the siege

The Flotilla Tragedy: A Turning Point?
By Chandra MuzaffarIn the wake of the flotilla tragedy of 31st May 2010, are there signs to suggest that the struggle of the Palestinian people and other Arabs for justice and peace has entered a new phase? Are some elements of the shift more obvious than others? How should we encourage the change that may be taking place? There are five signs that we may want to focus upon

What Happened To Us Is Happening In Gaza
By Iara LeeAt least nine of my fellow passengers were killed by the Israeli military for attempting to defy the ban on delivering aid. Far more Palestinian civilians have died as a result of the siege itself. What happened to our Flotilla is happening to the people of Gaza on a daily basis. It will not stop until international law is applied to all countries, Israel included

Gaza Flotilla: Israel, The United States,
And A Special Relationship
By Sean FenleyThere seems to be a double standard in the application of the principles in the War on Terrorism. The inhuman acts that unbreakable allies perpetrate upon defenseless humanitarian aid givers, are apparently perfectly fine and good. It seems it is the activists’ word, versus the Likudnik government of Israel at this point, and the Obama administration — like finely tuned clockwork — appears to be siding with the latter of the two

Gaza Occupation And Siege Are Illegal
By George BisharatActions taken to enforce an illegal siege cannot themselves be legal. Israel's blockade violates the human rights of Gaza Palestinians and must be brought to an end

Krauthammer: Gaza Flotilla A Threat To
Israel's Existence
By Adil E. ShamooCharles Krauthammer's columns defending Israel's handling of the Gaza flotilla demonizes Muslims

Erdogan: The New Hero Of Islamic World
By Kourosh ZiabariMr. Erdogan who has determinedly warned Israel that it might lose one of its most important friends in the Middle East is gaining a growing popularity in the Muslim world due to his recent categorical statements about the Israeli regime

Gaza Aid Ship Taken To Israeli port
By AljazeeraIsraeli soldiers have boarded an aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip and forced it to head to the Israeli port of Ashdod instead. The Israeli military said in a statement that troops boarded MV Rachel Corrie on Saturday after the activists aboard the ship ignored warnings to divert to Ashdod

Flotilla Choir Presents: We Con The World
A Video

An Israeli video response to the freedom flotilla massacre
Protecting America’s Security From
The USS Liberty To The Freedom Flotilla
By William A. CookPerhaps it is time for Israel to consider that to fester as a boil inside the mid-east, distrusted and isolated, bodes ill for their future and the future of their best friend, the United States, that has supported them blindly these past 63 years. Perhaps for the sake of that friendship they might consider justice for the Palestinians and peace for the world

Gaza: Infant Dies Due To Ongoing Siege
By Saed BannouraPalestinian medical sources reported Friday that an infant died at a hospital in Gaza after Israel refused to allow his family to transfer him to an Israeli hospital to receive specialized medical treatment

The Right To Exist: Who has it? Where is it? Why?
By Gary CorseriThe Zionist state demands the right to exist as a Zionist state—a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, bristling with nuclear weapons. Did Yahweh come out of the clouds and declare that this state alone can break all the rules of international decorum with impunity, without censure?

Israel Vs The Rest Of Humanity
By Salim Nazzal & Kate HowarthAfter the flotilla massacre, the Freedom of Palestine has become a human responsibility

Israel Invites The World To Revolt!
By Kourosh ZiabariIsrael which is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and one of the three non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has blatantly rejected the appeal of the 189 signatories of the NPT, including its key ally the United States, to sign up to the treaty and put its nuclear facilities under the comprehensive safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Israel Defends Murderous Assault On
Gaza Aid Flotilla
By Jean Shaoul The Israeli government remains belligerent in the face of worldwide outrage at its acts of piracy and murder of at least nine unarmed passengers aboard the international flotilla taking much needed aid to Gaza

Letter From Israel: The Flotilla In The Israeli Press
By Ran Ha CohenIn any normal place, you would expect masses to take to the streets and protest. Indeed, precisely this happened all over the globe. Not in Israel. A few hundred people did demonstrate in Tel Aviv and in several other towns, but then again a few hundred gathered to throw eggs at the Turkish embassy. On the internal front, the Israeli government has nothing to worry about. How is this consensus achieved? How can you turn millions of fairly educated citizens into silent lambs, or worse, into supporters of their own state’s terrorism?

'No Citizenship Without Loyalty!’
By Neve Gordon In Israel, almost all of the protests against the navy’s assault on the relief flotilla took place in Palestinian space. In Jewish space, by contrast, business continued as usual. Except for a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, which brought together a few hundred activists, the only site where there was some sign of a grassroots protest against the raid was on Israeli university campuses

US Media's Pro-Israeli Bias: Response
To The Freedom Flotilla Slaughter
By Stephen LendmanAn analysis of the US media reporting on the Freedom Flotilla slaughter

Missing the Boat: Skewed Responses To
Israel’s Attack On Gaza Flotilla
By Dan LiebermanMuch has been said, but too much is missing from the reactions to Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla

Israel's Attack On Flotilla Mirrors
Daily Reality In Gaza
By Eva BartlettThe world should question not only the killing of non-threatening civilians in international waters, but also the validity of Israel’s jurisdiction in the whole matter. Does Israel occupy Gaza, or not? If so, why are malnutrition and poverty levels rising in the Gaza Strip?

Is Israel Planning Act Of Desperation?
By Gordon Duff It still holds two stolen nukes for possible port attack

Activists On The Ship 'Rachel Corrie' Challenge
Israel's Unjust Gaza Blockade And Zionist Myths
By Ira ChernusAnother ship is steaming across the Mediterranean toward Gaza,loaded with humanitarian supplies, posing another impossible dilemma for the government of Israel

Sabotage On The High Sea
By Greta BerlinOn Tuesday,, Colonel Itzik Tourgeman told the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that two more ships are on their way to try and break the naval blockade of Gaza. The head of research in the operations division said, "The ships have not reached their target as of today because covert action was taken against them."

The Hypocrisy Of Netanyahu
By Juan ColeThe defiant speech on Wednesday of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu defending the Israeli boarding of an aid flotilla headed for Gaza, and his insisting that the blockade of Gaza would continue displayed all the problems with hyper-nationalist Israeli discourse, of inappropriate analogies, factual errors, propaganda, and magical thinking. These fallacies have dominated the narrative presented by members of the Netanyahu government and those who support it

03 June, 2010
Washington Comes To Aid Of Israel
By Jean Shaoul The Obama administration has come to the aid of Israel in its efforts to quell criticism of its murderous act of piracy on the international aid convoy to Gaza and to manage the worsening diplomatic fallout. The early Monday morning raid has sparked international condemnation, against a background of global protests and calls for Israel to lift its three-year blockade of Gaza

America Complicit In Israel's Crimes
By Paul Craig RobertsObama made America complicit once again in Israel's barbaric war crimes. Just as the US Congress voted to deep-six Judge Goldstone's report on Israel's war crimes committed in Israel's January 2009 invasion of Gaza, Obama has deep-sixed Israel's latest act of barbarism by pretending that he doesn't know what has happened

The Day The World Became Gaza
By Ali AbunimahIt was not just "expendable" Palestinians or Lebanese who were Israel's victims - but people from 32 countries and every continent. It was the day the whole world became Gaza. And like the people of Gaza, the world is unlikely to take it lying down

Evidence Belies Israeli Claim
By Ayman MohyeldinThe freedom flotilla travellers were called "terrorists and al-Qaeda sympathisers"... they were "armed and had planned a premeditated attack". But what an Aljazeera reporter saw on the ship was children's toys, medicines, text books, wheel chairs and much more... not exactly a list of contraband posing a risk to Israel's security as it has claimed

The Legality Of Freedom Flotilla Attack
By Yvonne RidleyAccording to international law, the actions of the Israeli military were beyond the law and those involved should be treated no differently than, say, the Somali pirates who are also in the habit of boarding ships by force. Any rights to self defence in such dramatic circumstances rests purely with the passengers and crew on board. Under international maritime law you are legally entitled to resist unlawful capture, abduction and detention. What those on board the Freedom Flotilla did was perfectly legal

The Urgency Of This Moment
By Radhika SainathLet us not overlook the urgency of this moment. Let's urge our representatives to end military aid to Israel. Let's not invest in Israeli corporations or buy Israeli products. Let's follow the historic example of the South African trade unionists and refuse to offload Israeli ships and planes. Now is the time for us to call on our governments to be on the right side of history. Another humanitarian ship is en route to Gaza; what besides our pressure will guarantee its safe passage?

Israel's Mad Dog Diplomacy
By Jonathan CookThe mad dog is baring his teeth, and it is high time the international community decided how to deal with him

Israeli MP’s Terror On Aid Ship
By Jonathan CookAn Arab member of the Israeli parliament who was on board the international flotilla that was attacked on Monday as it tried to take humanitarian aid to Gaza accused Israel yesterday of intending to kill peace activists as a way to deter future convoys

Why Did Israel Attack Civilians
In The Mediterranean?
By Thierry MeyssanIsrael weighed in advance the consequences of its attack against a humanitarian convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip. What were its objectives in triggering a world diplomatic crisis, and why did it defy its Turkish ally as well as its U.S

The Real Motive Behind
The Freedom Flotilla Attack
By Rannie AmiriThe latest Israeli operation against 700 activists delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza is only the latest in a series of criminal endeavors meant to quash any hope for peace, negotiation or conflict resolution between Israel, its neighbors and the Palestinians

Time For A Wide Political And Legal Action
Against The Crimes Of Israel
By Salim NazzalThe victims and their relatives must sue the state of Israel in the international court to let it pay for its brutality. And the international society must put more pressure on Israel to ensure its respect to international laws

Rights Groups Call For Investigation Of
Israeli Attack On Flotilla
By Mary ShawA coalition of more than 30 NGOs from around the world, who had gathered at an International Criminal Court (ICC) Review Conference in Uganda, signed a statement condemning the killing and injury of the civilians carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza, and calling on the international community "to immediately take all appropriate measures in response to this unacceptable violence."

Israel Is Already Singled Out
By Kourosh ZiabariIsrael has not been singled out in the final document of the NPT review conference. Israel is already a singled-out country which kills, imprisons, destructs, invades and exploits without being questioned or held accountable

The Flotilla Attack Spin: How The BBC
Spends Your Licence Money
By William BowlesI think it’s worth analyzing a ‘complete analysis’ by the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent [sic] Jonathan Marcus as to how they pull off the stunt of pulling the wool over the reader’s eyes

How And Why I got 'On-Board'
By Eileen FlemingI am an American without a drop of Arab blood within me and my org has been an endorsing org of the FREEDOM FLOTILLA, since I learned about it on the final day of the 27th annual American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's Washington, D.C. Conference on 10 June 2007

Canada on Israel - Defending Oppression -
Criminalizing Dissent
By Diane V. McLoughlinOpen letter to Members of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA) et al, via the kind assistance of the Office of the Secretariat

Life In Occupied East Jerusalem
By Stephen LendmanIts longstanding neglect and abuse are especially evident in East Jerusalem and Gaza under siege. But the entire Palestinian population is affected, including Israeli citizens, enduring relentless persecution, discrimination and systemic violence to crack their spirit and dispossess them - something Israel's failed at for over six decades, showing its mindlessness to the Palestinian spirit to endure, survive, and eventually overcome what can't be sustained nor will be, no matter how many more decades of struggle it takes

Israel Assaulting Our Future
By Satya SagarOnce again the Israelis have carried out a despicable act of wanton destruction, this time killing over a score peace activists aboard aid ships headed for Gaza. Watching the unfolding outrage a simple question very high on many minds must be “How in hell does this artificially concocted child of European guilt and American ambition get away with all this again and again and again?’

The Rachel Corrie MV Continues To Sail
Towards Gaza In Defiance Of Israeli Threats
By Michel ChossudovskyFollowing Israel's criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, the Rachel Corrie MV continues to sail towards the Gaza coastline in defiance of Israeli threats. In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza

Passengers Recount Mid-Sea Horror
By AljazeeraIsrael has started releasing some of the 700 activists it captured after it troops stormed a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Here are excerpts of what some of the freed passengers had to say

3 Dead In Israeli Air Strike On Gaza
By Ma'an NewsMedics in the Gaza Strip confirmed three dead following an Israeli air strike on the northern Strip near the town of Beit Lahiya on Tuesday afternoon

The Tyranny Of Disequilibriated Diplomacy
By Iqbal AlimohamedIt would be a sheer travesty of international diplomacy, if the Israelis were once again allowed to talk their way out of their errant and abhorrent behavior

US Navy Veterans Continue To Seek Justice
For Israeli Attack
By Dahr JamailThis is not the first time the Israeli military has attacked a nonthreatening entity in international waters. On June 8, 1967, while sailing in international waters, the US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty was attacked by air and naval forces of the state of Israel. Of the Liberty's crew of 294, more than half were killed or wounded. More than 40 years later, survivors are still seeking justice

Felled By Pathocracy: Rachel Corrie, Palestinians
And 20 Newly Dead Humanitarians
By Rady Ananda Yesterday, Israel added to its war crimes by attacking a Gaza humanitarian aid ship in international waters. Twenty people are reported dead, and the remaining 700 passengers abducted. Today, on Memorial Day, many of us pause to remember those who died in the cause of social justice, rather than imperial aims. One of those fallen heroes is Rachel Corrie (1979-2003), who has become an international icon for the horrific and ongoing genocide being perpetrated on Palestine by Israel

Attack On Freedom Flotilla- Come On Obama,
Earn Your Nobel!
By Dr. Shah Alam KhanThe Israeli attack on the Turkish boats carrying humanitarian aid to the caged people of Gaza is an opportunity thrown by history towards President Barrack Obama to earn his Nobel Peace Prize

BRussells Tribunal Petition Against
Apartheid Israeli Piracy
By Dr Gideon Polya The eminent BRussells Tribunal has issued a powerful statement over the latest Israeli mass murder and piracy and urges good people to sign the Petition

Direct Bias Showed On BBC On Flotilla Crime
By Palestinian Return CentreThe Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) expressed its deep apprehension and anger over the BBC coverage regarding freedom Flotilla

Israel’s International Piracy
By Dr. Elias AklehThose countries claiming to be partners in fighting global terror should also join in fighting Israeli terror. Those countries, which are fighting Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, should also fight Israeli piracy in the Mediterranean

Has Israel Declared War On
The International Community?
By Pablo Ouziel One cannot predict the outcome of this massacre; nevertheless, there are clear signs pointing to the potential beginning of a new epoch, for Israel, for Palestine, for the Middle East, and for the citizens of the world. Defining this epoch will revolve around determining whether Israel¹s latest act, is an act of war against numerous members of the International community

Intentational Law And Israel's War On Gaza
By Francis A. Boyle The UN must help uphold Human rights and Justice for Palestinian People, by seriously considering establishing an International criminal tribunal for Israel, (ICTI) in order that Israeli Gov., be held accountable for war crimes

31 May, 2010
Israel Attacks Freedom Flotilla: 19 Killed
By AljazeeraIsraeli commandos have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships off the coast of the Gaza Strip, killing up to 19 people on board. Dozens of others were injured when troops raided the convoy of six ships, dubbed the Freedom Flotilla, early on Monday

World Outcry Over Israeli Flotilla Attack
By Ma'an News AgencyInternational outcry is pouring over Israeli flotilla attack

End Israeli Impunity Now
By Cynthia McKinney Cynthia McKinney Mourns the Dead of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza: People of the U.S. and the world must end Israeli impunity now!

The Gaza Flotilla – Your Move, Mr. President
By Alan HartAs I write from America, with the drama and implications of Israel’s murderous attack on the Gaza Flotilla still being played out, I find myself wondering if President Obama will have the balls to say to Israel, “Enough is enough”

“Those Responsible Must Be Held Criminally Accountable”
By Richard Falk (UN Rapporteur for Palestine)This incident should serve as a wakeup call for a complicit international community

Israel: Massacre At Sea
By Dr. Chandra MuzaffarThe cold-blooded massacre of 20 unarmed peace activists by commandos from the Israeli army in the eastern Mediterranean in the early hours of 31st May 2010 has once again revealed to the world what this rogue regime is all about. It is evil incarnate

Brave Israeli Commandos Slaughter
Aid Activists at Sea
By Stephen LendmanEven America's major media can't duck a crime this grave - attacking and slaughtering up to 20 Gaza Freedom Flotilla activists and injuring dozens more

“Criminal Pirate” Israel Makes A Fool Of The OECD
Only Days After It Clasped The Viper To Its Bosom
By Stuart LittlewoodThis morning I’m hearing reports of 20 or more dead and dozens injured after Israeli forces attacked the Free Gaza flotilla in international waters and gunned down unarmed crew and passengers. This is no surprise. Israel had been threatening for weeks to use violence, as is its style, to intercept the peaceful mission

Welcome To BBC Israel
By William BowlesThe BBC has outdone itself this time with an outrageous piece of blatant Israeli propaganda

Attack On Freedom Flotilla Was Beyond The Pale
By Gul Jammas HussainThe blood of the men and women who sacrificed their lives on Monday for the cause of Palestine will not have been spilt in vain and will usher in a new era of hope for the oppressed people of Palestine

Archived Articles

Here is a large collection of articles since the time countercurrents.org came online in 27th March 2002

People Behind
About countercurrents.org and the people behind


Saundra Hummer
June 12th, 2010, 08:08 PM

Why Is Dick Cheney Silent on the Oil Spill?

The former vice president is usually a vociferous defender of his time in government. But not on the disaster in the gulf.
Ravi Somaiya
June 11, 2010

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Cheney defending his record on national security at the Gerald R. Ford Foundation last year. Go on-site to view photo's, gain access to the numerous links within this article, and to read comments.
When the Obama administration, or the media, or just about anybody contradicts Dick Cheney's views on national security, he is far from shy about responding. But facing a firestorm of criticism over the oil spill, he's been notably silent.

More than national security, energy policy and the oil industry might be considered Cheney's real areas of expertise. He was chairman and CEO of oil-services company Halliburton between 1995 and 2000. And, of course, he worked prominently on energy policy as vice president from 2000 to 2008.

Halliburton was working on the Deepwater Horizon rig just before it blew up, opening the well and sending oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. Some experts have speculated that the company may have been to blame for the explosion. The pro-oil atmosphere (and Cheney's continued links to Halliburton) during his vice presidency, have also come to the fore since the April 20 accident.

The criticisms center on a possible conflicts of interest and cronyism. Cheney received a $34 million payout when he left Halliburton to join George W. Bush's ticket in September 2000. But the Congressional Research Service found that he "retained ties" to the company into 2003, while in government, through "unexercised stock options and deferred salary."

In 2001 Cheney headed a team tasked with developing national energy policy. The Washington Post reported that many of those consulted were from big oil and gas companies, some also donors to the Bush campaign and the Republican Party. The task force's executive director, Andrew D. Lundquist, subsequently became a lobbyist representing companies who appeared before him—including, according to the Post, BP, Duke Energy, and the American Petroleum Institute. Critics accused the administration of cronyism, and argued that the National Energy Policy Report, issued by the White House in May 2001, was unfairly lax toward the "dirty energy" companies at the expense of renewable and sustainable alternatives.

In 2005 President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act, which retained the focus of Cheney's report, into law. It included what has become known as "the Halliburton loophole," which removed authority from the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate a potentially dangerous gas-drilling process invented by Halliburton.

These links, the fact that Cheney's former campaign press secretary Ann Womack-Colton has recently become BP's head of U.S. media relations, and the general pro-oil, anti-regulation atmosphere in the Bush years have not escaped the attention of the pundits. MSNBC's Chris Matthews highlighted the Halliburton-Cheney connection in an interview with Jay Leno on the BP spill. Frank Rich, in The New York Times, pointed out that the Interior Department degenerated into a "cesspool of corruption," under Bush and Cheney, and that the pair bequeathed Obama "a Minerals Management Service as broken as the Bush-Cheney FEMA exposed by Katrina."

His ears ringing with the cries of "Cheney's Katrina," a title many are striving to bestow on the gulf oil spill, one might expect the former VP to convene journalists for a speech, like he did in May last year at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute to talk about national security. That lengthy rebuttal was timed specially to coincide with a speech President Obama gave on the same topic—a ploy calculated to get the maximum press attention. The closest we have this time is Liz Cheney, Dick's daughter, arguing with Arianna Huffington on ABC's This Week.

We wondered why. Are the claims too substantial to refute? Is Cheney so incensed that he cannot trust himself to speak? Or, conversely, is he perhaps so sanguine about the entire issue that he doesn't feel it merits comment? We reached out to Cheney, via the American Enterprise Institute, to ask. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, there was no response by the time we posted this.

Will no one rid us of having to suffer through what this man is doing? We have, or did have laws in place that could be dealing with him, but he cruises along oblivious and above the laws the rest of us gladly live by. SRH


Saundra Hummer
June 12th, 2010, 10:56 PM
. . . . .

USC and Reggie Bush:
How Bad Behavior Showed Them The Money

June 11, 2010 - 1:30 pm
Patrick RisheBio
Dr. Rishe is the Director of Sportsimpacts and an Associate Professor of Economics at Webster University in St. Louis, MO.
On Thursday the NCAA Infractions Committee levied some rather significant penalties upon the University of Southern California for transgressions undertaken by some of their star athletes...most notably, former USC running back and current New Orleans Saint Reggie Bush.

More generally, the NCAA ruled that USC's athletics department exhibited a lack of institutional control from 2004 to 2009.

They took away scholarships. They took away postseason bowl appearances. They took away wins.

But they didn't take away what all top-tier programs covet the most...MONEY.

Based on my calculations, USC's lack of institutional control is partially responsible for boosting USC's athletic department revenues by $42-54 million from 2004-2009. And it is these riches that the NCAA should be targeting when issuing sanctions and penalties.

And Reggie Bush, the man at the center of this scandal, profited between $35-45 million from his alleged deceit and cover-up that were not discovered until after his collegiate career which arguably could have been negated had the NCAA busted him at the time of the crime. The only penalty he'll suffer now is the impending loss of endorsement income that will likely follow as corporate America may now view him as a cheater.

The Big Money
The USC story is a cautionary if not predictable tale regarding why schools are tempted to skirt the rules while turning a deaf ear and blind eyes to whispered and suspected improprieties.

From 2004 to 2009, average attendance at the L.A. Coliseum was 87,765. In stark contrast to Pete Carroll's 9 year tenure at USC, average football attendance during the 9 years preceding Pete Carroll from 1992-2000 was 59,531. Hence, USC's football attendance saw an annual boost of 28,234 fans during the last 6 years as compared to the 90s.

Assuming an average ticket price of $50 per game, then the analysis above implies that USC's football ticket revenue increased by $1.4 million per season during this 6-year stretch as compared to the 90s.

But this just scratches the surfaces of the financial benefits USC enjoyed during this era of substandard institutional control.

According to page 31 of the NCAA's Division I Revenue and Expense Report, ticket sales only comprise 28% of the total generated revenue for the top quartile of Division I programs...which USC most certainly belongs to. Unquestionably, USC's pronounced success on the field during this 6-year span of improprieties undoubtedly increased alumni giving, NCAA and conference distributions, as well as royalties, advertising, sponsorship, broadcast rights, and game day revenues such as concessions.

If the estimated $1.4 million boost in ticket revenue was only 28% of the total revenue gains, then this implies that USC's football revenues increased by at least $5 million per year from 2004-2009, or $30 million over 6 years.

This too is likely an understatement of revenues gained because as a perennial top 5 program in recent years with an affluent alumni base, multiple trips to BCS bowl games, and with superior brand identity, it's highly conceivable that ticket revenue for USC's football program is perhaps as low as 15-20% of its total generated football revenues.

If so, this would imply a $7-9 million annual boost in revenues for USC football over the last 6 seasons compared to the pre-Carroll era, or between $42-54 million over 6 years.

In sum, it is concluded that USC's institutional ineptness towards compliance as cited by the NCAA contributed to their resurgence as a college football powerhouse, and thus, allowed football revenues to grow an estimated $42-54 million above and beyond what it would have been had more institutional control been employed.

Bush Bucks
Reggie Bush is arguably the catalyst to this 6-year period of Trojan successes both on and off the field. He and Matt Leinart engineered the 2004 undefeated season which earned a BCS National Championship. And Mr. Bush won the Heisman Trophy a year later.

Mr. Bush then parlayed these successes into being the 2nd overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft which garnered $26.3 million in guaranteed money, as well as a bevy of endorsement opportunities before commencing his rookie NFL season with companies such as Adidas, Pepsi, General Motors, Subway, EA Sports, and Hummer. The estimated value of these endorsements is approximately $10 million annually, which implies that Mr. Bush has earned approximately $50 million in endorsement income since turning pro in 2006.

These riches are largely due to the fact that Mr. Bush was an integral part of Trojan football during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Through his sheer participation and prowess during those seasons, he created a highly marketable brand for himself.

However, had Mr. Bush's alleged transgressions been revealed prior to his Heisman winning season and subsequently been ruled ineligible to compete for the USC Trojans in 2005, Mr. Bush's future earnings potential would have suffered immensely.

It is highly unlikely that he would have been even a top 10 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft had he not competed in 2005 and had he been dogged by character issues associated with his transgressions. Allowing that he still would have been a 1st round pick but that he could have dropped anywhere between the 11th and 25th pick, his signing bonus would have fallen by $10-20 million.

And had he been labeled a cheater then as he has now by the NCAA, it is conservatively estimated that at least 50% of the endorsement income he's earned since 2006 (or $25 million) would have never materialized due to perceived character issues that would have raised a red flag with corporate America.

In short, Mr. Bush should count his lucky stars that the NCAA took this long to arrive at their current findings. Because Mr. Bush's alleged deceit and violation of NCAA rules allowed him to profit at least $35-45 million in combined salary and endorsement income above and beyond what he would have earned had the NCAA been lucky enough to 'catch him in the act' back in 2005.

His public remarks in the aftermath of the NCAA's findings were a predictable attempt to protect his future stream of endorsement earnings. But if we as sports fans have learned anything about corporate America in today's economy, they won't tolerate athletes with visible and publicized character flaws. So expect some companies to dump Mr. Bush as an endorser, and expect that it will be harder for Mr. Bush to land new endorsement deals going forward.

What Now?
Athletic programs cheat to win, and more winning means greater status, ratings, and alumni love.

In short, cheating means more money.

So if money is what drives the cheating in college athletics, then the NCAA needs to exact financial penalties above and beyond the standard penalties of postseason bans and scholarship reductions.

Most people argue that big-time college football and college basketball are like professional sports. And in pro sports when teams break the rules, financial penalties abound.

It's time the NCAA acts in a similar fashion.

If my analysis herein is accurate and the Trojans earned $42-54 million above and beyond what they would have as a result of a lack of institutional control, then hit them where it hurts and levy a monetary fine that recoups these monies.

Surely this is more fair and equitable then penalizing current and future Trojan players by denying them roster spots or bowl game glory.

And surely it would send a menacing message across the bow of all Division I athletic programs that the NCAA will take away what you covet most - money - if your program strays afoul from the rules


Saundra Hummer
June 14th, 2010, 09:43 PM


Cheap drug could save tens of thousands

06.14.10, 07:01 PM EDT
Associated Press
LONDON -- A cheap drug that can stop bleeding in recently injured accident patients could potentially save the lives of tens of thousands worldwide, a new study says.

Researchers studied the effects of tranexamic acid, or TXA, in more than 10,000 adult trauma patients in 40 countries who received the drug within 8 hours of being injured. They compared those patients' outcomes to more than 10,000 accident victims who got a placebo treatment. The study was published online Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet.

Doctors found that patients who got TXA had a 15 percent lower chance of dying from a hemorrhage than those who didn't get it. They also had a 10 percent lower chance of dying from any other cause, including organ failure and a head injury, versus patients who didn't receive TXA. The study was paid for by the British government.

The drug is commonly used in wealthy countries during elective surgeries to stop bleeding, but isn't prescribed for accident victims.

TXA is off-patent and manufactured generically by many companies. It costs about 3 pounds ($4.50) per gram, and a typical dose is two grams. It is usually given via an injection and would be relatively easy to introduce, even in poor countries, experts said.

"This is one of the cheapest ways ever to save a life," said Ian Roberts, a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one of the study's main investigators.

Previous tests of the drug regarded its use in elective surgeries, such as heart operations, but this was the first study to test the drug on accident victims.

Doctors were worried it might increase side effects such as blood clots in the heart and lungs, strokes, or heart attacks. There was no evidence of that in the Lancet study, though the authors said it was possible they might have missed some of these incidents.

For people between 5 and 45, accidents are the second leading cause of death worldwide after AIDS, and about 600,000 injured patients bleed to death every year. Nearly 6 million people die of injuries every year, more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Roberts and colleagues estimated that if TXA were readily available, between 70,000 and 100,000 lives a year could be saved. Though the drug wasn't tested in children, he said it would almost certainly work in them as well.

Etienne Krug, director of violence and injury prevention and disability at the World Health Organization, said the drug would likely have the biggest impact in developing countries such as China and India, where 90 percent of injury-related deaths occur.

"People often have a fatalistic attitude about accidents and think nothing can be done to save people," he said. "But this study shows that isn't true."

Experts said rolling out TXA could save as many lives as other measures such as making seatbelts compulsory or strengthening drunk-driving laws.

The drug also could save thousands of people in the West.

"This is not just something for developing countries," said Dr. Karim Brohi, who works at one of London's busiest emergency rooms at Barts and the London School of Medicine and University of London-Queen Mary. "We could probably use tranexamic acid on a daily basis."

Last week, Roberts and colleagues submitted an application to WHO to include TXA on its List of Essential Medicines, which is used by many developing countries as a shopping list for drugs. Once drugs are on WHO's list, other U.N. agencies such as UNICEF often buy the drug for poor countries.

"In many developing countries, emergency departments are like war zones, even when there's no war," Roberts said. "If (TXA) is available, a lot of those deaths could be avoided."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

Saundra Hummer
June 15th, 2010, 03:54 PM


War, Politics and the Economic Crisis:
Why We Barely Know What’s Going On

Danny Schechter
Plunder: The Crime Of Our Time
In war as in Politics and finance, the real “action” is now covert hidden from the public — deceptive and dishonest.
Defending America covertly has become an ongoing theme for one more TV series. Salute the flag and praise NBC (GE) for its latest effort to persuade the population to accept the kind of secret operations that now drive the war in Afghanistan. Their latest show is called “Covert Affairs” and airs on the patriotically named USA Network.

This fiction is based on faction, glamorizing the work of our unaccountable CIA at home and at war with Piper Perabo who has been promoted from dancing barmaid in Coyote Ugly into a CIA trainee “who is suddenly thrust into the inner sanctum of the agency after being promoted to field operative.”

The dumbed down formula is tried and true , showcasing what TV pros call “the three S’s:” Sex, Spies, and Sensationalism.

It’s a “world of bureaucracy, excitement and intrigue,” the network tells us, on the frontlines of protecting our declining way of life. Doug Limon, an old friend who directed the first Bourne blockbuster is exec producing this propaganda exercise. And if that’s not bad enough, the series about covertly defending America is being overtly filmed in Canada. Toronto gets the jobs, one more reason, no doubt, why we have had a “jobless recovery” here at home.

So much of politics and economics today is a covert affair where public knowledge is blatantly manipulated. For weeks, we were told that political incumbents were toast until they weren’t in the recent election, but few media outlets let the facts get in the way of their Tea Party reinforced and endlessly repeated narrative.

On another big story, 49% of the American public is said to have been convinced by one-sided pro-Israeli coverage of the Gaza Flotilla interception perhaps because it built on long embedded perceptions in which alternative information—make that factual information– is excluded.

Netanyahu’s publicity army got out its video version of the events first even as his military army screwed up while keeping their victims from getting out theirs. The US media dutifully used it as a perception management exercise of demonizing Israel’s critics and boostering the heroism of the IDF’s pirates at sea while keeping the humanitarian aid workers from the media and seizing/surpressing their videos—which are just getting out—a bit late, perhaps too late to change the media frame.

The outsourcing of jobs for actors on TV shows mirrors the wider outsourcing in the economy as a whole. So many jobs are gone and not coming back.

There is a growing number of war jobs while civilian employment sinks. Pro-business propaganda has successfully convinced the Congress that deficit reductions must come before job creation. The National Employment Law Project (NELP) reports:

“The Department of Labor has reported that more than 300,000 workers will run out of benefits by June 12th, the end of the first week Congress returns from recess.”

Economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich attacks what he calls the “Deficit hawks” by arguing that consumer spending is 70 percent of the American economy, so if consumers can’t or won’t spend we’re back in the soup.

He writes, “Yet the government just reported that consumer spending stalled in April – the first month consumers didn’t up their spending since last September. Instead, consumers boosted their savings, probably because they’re worried about the slow pace of job growth ….

So what’s Congress doing to stoke the economy as consumers pull back? In a word, nothing.”

Congress may not be passing new job creation bills but there is something insidious underway as these deficit hawks are said to be beginning to target Medicare and Social Security.

As for financial reform, many media outlets are not sure where that is going either. Example, an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal:

“As Congress works to put the finishing touches on a massive bill to reform the nation’s financial system, it’s a fair question to ask whether the proposed legislation will do what its sponsors claim: reduce the odds of another crisis, protect consumers and ensure that taxpayers won’t be on the hook for a future bailout.

At the same time Heather Booth of Citizens for Financial Reform is mildly optimistic, and chides my pessimism, writing:

“Do think you are not recognizing what was accomplished–while it is important to say that the struggle goes on and the nature of the crisis demands more.

We achieved so much more than anyone thought we could at the start of this fight.

First time there was real fight back against Wall Street. And the bill has gotten stronger, not weaker. We probably will win: consumer protection–still need no carve outs in the future fight to greater enforcement

….There is MUCH more to do: ban naked credit default swaps (the weapons of mass financial destruction), foreclosure (!!!) and community reinvestment, executive compensation, and more. But quite a start and should not be discounted.”

I hope she’s right but, even as no changes have yet been made, there has been a wave of unjustified media optimism as satirized by the Onion which asks, “Could the economy be on the rebound? Here are some other favorable indicators:”

Sufficient supplies of toilet paper in all rest stops between Tomah, WI and Gary, IN Jim Cramer no longer wildly waving a gun around during his telecast

Phrase “Fucking Goldman Sachs” has been dropped almost completely in favor of “Fucking BP.” Alas, this is nothing to joke about as an article on the Naked Capitalism website makes clear:

“It is not a sign of intelligence to repeat a course of action and expect different results. Yet our officialdom is doing pretty much just that on the economic front. Treasury and the Fed in particular seem quite pleased with their success in patching up the financial system with duct tape and baling wire and prodding it into a semblance of operation via massive support, most notably via super low interest rates…

The failure to change the structure, operation, or leadership of major financial firms means they are just about certain to repeat the same behavior that led to mind-numbing bonuses in 2007 and 2009.”

In the meantime, even as an investigation of Goldman Sachs is being broadened, there is still no clamor in Congress or big media to go after financial crime, the story I tell in my film Plunder The Crime of Our Time. (Plunderthecrimeofourtime.com)

The sad truth is that the banjsters who have gotten away with the massive theft of our economy are still getting away with it and profiting while so many of us continue to sink.

– News Dissector Danny Schechter offers his “crime narrative” in his book The Crime of Our Time and in the film, Plunder: The Crime Of Our Time.
Comments to


One Response to “War, Politics and the Economic Crisis:
Why We Barely Know What’s Going On"
electronic display said:

this is nothing to joke about as an article on the Naked Capitalism website makes clear

June 13th, 2010 at 9:39 PM
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Go on-site to gain acess to any links and to leave your own comment

It seems that many of our best sources of news and OP Eds are struggling as the economy has hit them hard due to our own hardships. Hope this site isn't forced out of business. Too many good sites are in a bad spot due to our faltering economy. SRH



Saundra Hummer
June 16th, 2010, 01:07 PM
. . . . . . .

Netanyahu disclaims minister's controversial Gaza plan
Posted : Tue, 15 Jun 2010 21:12:57 GMT
By : dpa
Category : Middle East (World)
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Jerusalem/Cairo - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Tuesday distanced himself from a controversial Gaza goods delivery plan suggested by one of his own ministers.

The plan in question was made by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who wants the goods transport from Israel into the Gaza Strip to be gradually closed and replaced with deliveries out of Egypt.

Netanyahu said the proposal was Katz's own private initiative and personal opinion, and not policy of the Israeli government.

Katz's proposal provoked outrage in Egypt earlier Tuesday, when a foreign ministry spokesman charged that Israel wanted to "evade responsibility for the Gaza Strip and dump it on Egypt."

Netanyahu said that the Israeli government had not made such a decision.

After Israeli troops killed nine people in late May on board a protest ship that was trying to bust Israel's blockade of Gaza, Israel could loosen the blockade and allow the import of more goods. Netanyahu will meet with his security cabinet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007. Israel has insisted on screening all Gaza-bound cargo to prevent the import of missiles, cement, metal goods and other material that could be used for weapons or fortresses by the Hamas government.

Also on Tuesday, the United Nations special envoy for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry said that the UN would take charge of distributing the cargo of humanitarian supplies in the three Turkish vessels that were seized by Israeli forces before they reached Gaza Strip on May 31.

The Egyptian government noted that Katz's plan would leave Gaza entirely dependent on Egypt for goods and access.

"Egypt confirms that Gaza is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories, and of the future Palestinian state. There is no room to talk or think of it as anything else," the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson said.

In response to Israel's bloody seizure of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla which left nine people dead, Egypt opened its border with Gaza indefinitely for the first time two weeks ago.

However it has come under heavy criticism in the Arab world for apparently working on a secret construction project to build a steel barrier beneath the border, aimed at curtailing the network of smuggling tunnels.

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. . .
Your Comments

Guess the facts just get in the way
By: Allison , Wed, 16 Jun 2010 09:47:28 GMT

"Drs." Ever heard of a pesky little thing called "the fact"? Hello?! If the ship was humanitarian why did it not submit to be searched? What did it have to hide? Why did the "humanitarians" attack Israeli soldiers, just trying to do their job, with knives, chains and stun grenades? Didn't you see the video?!

Controversial Gaza Plan by Israel Stinks
By: Drs. Delmas J. and Sarah Bahous Allen , Tue, 15 Jun 2010 22:56:37 GMT

Israel continues to procrastinate on anything it promises to the Palestinians, Gaza Strip, the United Nations, the Turks, the WORLD CITIZENS. Is this another of your "Siege Mentality" & "Lying Purposefully to the World, Israel??
OBAMA is going to have to get tough with his favorite Zionist Ally in the Middle East......just another USS LIBERTY MASSACRE, Uh, ISRAEL??? Why don't you go and siege another HUMANITARIAN SHIP OR ANOTHER USS RADAR SHIP DETECTING YOUR WAR CRIMES (1967 WAR MISTAKE AS YOU LIED TO PRESIDENT JOHNSON SO PITIFULLY.....NO APOLOGY FOR THE HUNDREDS OF U.S. SAILORS KILLED AND WOUNDED. When will your day come, Netanyahu?????

Copyright DPA

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Saundra Hummer
June 16th, 2010, 01:33 PM

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West Bank Settlements Obstruct Peace:
Israel’s Empire State Building*

Marwan Bishara
Why is it so hard to make peace in the Middle East? The greatest barrier is the Israeli settlements—these are both the motivation and engine of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Three decades of objections from the United States and Europe have achieved nothing. The rapid expansion of Israeli settlements—all illegal—has undermined Palestinian attempts at nation building. If they continue to spread, they will end the Israel that its founders envisioned.

As Israel makes more incursions into the Palestinian cities, it has placed new restrictions on the movement of their people and goods, stifling the economy. Oslo has ended. And still Israeli settlements increase and expand, in violation of all international resolutions. The settlement drive and its ideology have become a cornerstone of modern Israeli national identity. The policy of settlements and the current violence they are breeding have transcended the country’s ethnic and religious divides to create a new Israelism based on a new Jewish nationalism. The setters and their allies are recreating Israel in their own image: as a theocracy in permanent conflict. Under the government of Ariel Sharon and with the explicit support of President George W. Bush, this process is becoming a destructive self-fulfilling prophecy.

These new settlers are nothing like their predecessors of the pre-1948 generation who founded Zionism and formed the state as a secular, socialist and mainly European enterprise. The post-1967 settlers are predominantly religious, conservative, Reagan-style neo-liberals. And unlike their predecessors, their settlement activity is state-sponsored by Israel. The new Zionists (or post-Zionists) believe that for their Greater Israel nationalism project to succeed, another campaign of ethnic cleansing will be necessary. Many members of Sharon’s cabinet are already speaking about “transfer”—the collective expulsion of the Palestinians.

Worse, former general Efi Eitam, a newly appointed minister and leader of the National Religious Party, is a supporter of settlements. Though Eitam was once a Labor supporter, he has now said that transfer is politically “enticing,” though not realistic without war. In that case, he says: “Not many Arabs would remain.” And Eitam has in fact called for war on Iraq and Iran through Israeli pre-emptive strikes.1

Sharon has admitted that without the settlements, the army would have left long ago. But the settlements have a great advantage: they enable Israeli leaders to convince ordinary people that their military is not a foreign army ruling a foreign population. In 1977, when Sharon chaired the ministerial committee for settlement affairs, he oversaw the establishment of new Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. He planned to settle 2 million Jews there. A quarter of a century later Sharon remains adamant that Israel has a “moral right” to transform the demography of these territories. Since his election in January 2001, Sharon has built 35 new settlements.2

In the second half of the 1970s, during the transition from a Labor to Likud government, Sharon emerged as a leader capable of realizing the dream of a Greater Israel beyond Israel’s internationally recognized borders. Shimon Peres’s encouragement to Israelis to settle everywhere in the occupied territories strengthened Sharon’s drive to implement the program of the influential bipartisan (Likud/Labor) Greater Land of Israel movement, which foresaw an Israel spreading from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.

The number of settlers in the occupied territories outside East Jerusalem has increased from 7,000 in 1977 to over 200,000 in 2002—plus 200,000 others in East Jerusalem. Their 200 settlements take up 1.7% of the West Bank, but they control 41.9% of it.3 Many of these settlers are armed and dangerous fanatics with a shoot-to-kill license from the Israeli army. Over the years, settlers’ death squads have attacked unarmed civilians, gunned down elected officials and tortured and killed many other Palestinians.

During the Oslo peace process, Israel doubled its settlements, tripled its settlers and connected them with a network of bypass roads and industrial parks, ensuring their domination over the Palestinian territories. As the minister of infrastructure in the Netanyahu government, Sharon concentrated Israel’s investment programs in the occupied Palestinian lands. The Rabin and Barak governments were no less active. There was an orgy of settlement building during the Barak government under the supervision of Yitzhak Levy, then leader the National Religious Party and minister for the settlements.4

When the time came to end this at the Camp David summit in July 2000, the negotiations stumbled and eventually failed because of Israel’s insistence of holding onto the settlements and 9% of the West Bank. The Palestinians were asked to sign a final agreement based on a promise of a quasi-state divided into four separate regions, surrounded by Israeli settlement blocs. Determination to retain the settlements has undermined attempts to end the occupation and compromised peace efforts.

After the Camp David summit failed and the intifada broke out, the internationally commissioned Mitchell Report insisted that the settlements issue should go hand in hand with a peace accord. The commission recommended a freeze on Israeli settlements as a requirement for a cease-fire and a resumption of peace talks. Instead, Sharon’s cabinet approved an extra $400 million for the settlements.

Today 7,000 settlers remain in control of 30% of the 224 square kilometers of the Gaza Strip—home to 1.2 million Palestinians, most of them refugees. They cannot travel without passing fortified settlements with their swimming pools and basketball courts, built in the heart of this sandy, overpopulated land where water is scarce and land precious. Israel demolished 400 Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip during the first year of the intifada, to protect the nearby settlements.

When the army asked Sharon to remove a number of distant settlements and regroup them within closer, better defended settlement blocs, he refused; he vowed not to dismantle a single settlement while in office. He then brought in two new ministers from the National Religious Party, which forms the core of the settlements’ leadership, and made them members of his security cabinet, which deals with the occupied territories. The new geography of the settlements is like carving a map of the West Bank out of Swiss cheese. The small black holes, disconnected and empty, are the Palestinian cantons, called autonomous regions, and the surrounding continuous rich yellow parts are the Jewish settlements.

There are two laws in Palestine: one for Jewish settlers and another for Palestinians. The settlers have the freedom to move around, build and expand; the Palestinians are cooped up in 200 encircled cantons. Israelis have access to the land and expropriate more of it; Palestinians have less and less. In recent years Israel has increased its closures of the Palestinian areas, hermetically imposed either locally or throughout the territories, to allow easy travel for the settlers. According to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, these closures have caused more damage to the Palestinian economy and its nation building than any other factor.5 They have made Palestinians’ lives impossible.

Friends of Israel in the West like the journalist Thomas Friedman, say that if the logic of the settlers wins, Israel will become an apartheid state. The former Israeli Attorney General, Michael Ben-Yair, thinks the logic of the fundamentalist settlers has already won since Israel has already “established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories.”6

The settlers do not see it this way. General Eitam, the rising star of the religious right, sees a Greater Israel as “the state of God; the Jews are the soul of the world; the Jewish people have a mission to reveal the image of God on earth.” He sees himself as standing “in the same place that Moses and King David stood” where “a world without Jews is a world of robots, a dead world; and the State of Israel is the Noah’s Ark of the future of the world and its task is to uncover God’s image.”7

Low and middle-income families and new immigrants have been enticed to the settlements by offers of cheap housing and financial rewards, at times using U.S. aid money. But as the promise of better living turned into a colonial nightmare, the pragmatic settlers have tilted toward the right. More than 94% voted for Binyamin Netanyahu, and then Sharon in the last elections. Today, the fundamentalist settlers dominate the council that oversees the settlements, and they exercise a formidable influence over decision-making in the Israel government. Almost 1 out of 10 members of the Israeli Knesset are settlers. Three settlers have served as ministers in Sharon’s cabinet and two are now serving as deputy ministers.

Although they are extra-territorial entities in the judgment of the international community, the settlements are the hotbed of pan-Israel nationalism. Unlike those Israelis who seek an internationally recognized Jewish state within sovereign borders, the new zealots insist that their homeland is the Land of Israel and not the State of Israel: they will therefore not allow the emergence of another state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

The power of the settlers goes beyond their electoral influence. Over the last quarter of a century, with the exception of the short-lived Rabin and Barak governments, the religious settlers’ influence increased rapidly as the hard political core of the Likud-led coalitions. They are a threat not only to Palestine and the normalization of Israel, but to the whole region.

Think-tanks in the settlements show a war-driven style of thinking that taps into new U.S. concepts such as the war on terror and the “axis of evil,” as well as new missile systems and the worst, most sensationalist literature produced by the Pentagon. As they dream of U.S.-style wars, the settlers do not think about such things as coexistence with their next-door neighbors. This is not surprising since they believe that Israel is the hope of the world and Palestinian moral savagery is organized to prevent this.

Paradoxically, the latest wave of Palestinian suicide bombings has played into the settlers’ hands. Their erroneous claim that the Palestinians want not only removal of the settlements, but that of Israel, has relieved the pressure on the settlements—seen until then as an obstacle to peace—and radicalized ordinary Israelis. Israel’s settlement policy, continued regardless of signed agreements, has created a new geography of conflict. Millions of Palestinians and Israelis live in fear on account of illegal settlers who are plunging the area into communal and colonial war. If Israel continues the expansion of its settlement activity at the rate it did during the peace process, the settlers will soon reach a million. If that happens, separating Palestinians from Israel and its settlers will be impossible without ethnic cleansing.

That would compromise the future of a Palestinian state and also the chances for maintaining a Jewish state over the long term, since the Jewish majority will diminish in mandatory Palestine (Israel, the West Bank and Gaza). In 10 years, the Palestinians will become the majority—one that will grow. And the millions of Jews and Arabs will become increasingly inseparable.

Sharon and his settlers will continue to sustain a state of permanent conflict and war in Palestine and the Middle East. Unless the international community intervenes, the settlements’ logic will eventually lead to the same stand-off as on the eve of the 1948 war: either accept a bi-national state or attempt another ethnic cleansing. That would be a dramatic strategic error for Israel.

Notes * This article also appeared in a French Translation in Le Monde Diplomatique, June 2002.

1 Ha’aretz, Tel Aviv, 12 April 2002.
2 New York Times, 27 April 2002.
3 See B’tselem, “Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank,” Tel Aviv, 13 May 2002 at: http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/ Summaries/ Land_ Grab_2002.asp.
4 The Fourth Geneva convention, which Israel and the US signed, stipulates that: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” The convention is legally binding on member states.
5 Conversation with Osama Kina’an, coordinator of the West Bank and Gaza desk at the IMF.
6 Ha’aretz, 3 March 2002.
7 Ha’aretz, 28 April 2002.


Check out their home page, just click on the following URL:http://www.logosjournal.com/
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Saundra Hummer
June 16th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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a journal of modern society & culture

2010: Vol.9, Issue 1

EssaysAnticapitalist Readings of Weber’s Protestant Ethic: Ernst Bloch, Walter Benjamin, György Lukacs, Erich Fromm
by Michael LöwyCapitalism, Identity, and Social Rights
by Stephen Eric BronnerChomsky’s Audience Problem: Is Anyone Listening?
by Matthew AbrahamJoseph Haydn Two Centuries Later
by David SchroederOrwell and the British Left
by Ian WilliamsThe Fourth Estate in the Service of Power: Media Coverage of the Middle East
by Assaf KfouryThe Present State of Anti-Semitism
by Lawrence DavidsonReflections on the Wall Twenty Years Later
by Stephen BrockmannReviews“Laboratory of the Extreme”: Spatial Warfare and the New Geography of Israel’s Occupation

reviewed by Steve NivaJohn le Carré’s A Most Wanted Man
reviewed by Emad El-Din AyshaMark Wolverton’s A Life in Twilight: The Final Years of J. Robert Oppenheimer
reviewed by Colin HughesMeera Nanda’s The Wrongs of the Religious Right: Reflections on Science, Secularism and Hindutva
reviewed by Ralph DumainRobert Fisk’s Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East.
reviewed by Matthew AbrahamThe Present State of Anti-Semitism
by Lawrence Davidson

I) Ahmadinejad and Holocaust Denial

On September 18th 2009 the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a speech, in the form of a Friday sermon, on the occasion of Al-Quds, or Jerusalem Day in Iran. Based on a translation of the original radio broadcast (not the official Farsi version issued by the government) here is some of what he said,

Before the Second World War....a complicated show started which was called anti-Semitism. Of course, some governments and their peoples have always abhorred the Jews because of indecent behavior by some of the Jews and they were willing to evict the Jews out of Europe. However, some European governments and statesmen and the Zionist network did the main plot of anti-Semitism. They produced hundreds of films. They wrote hundreds of books and circulated rumors. They started a psychological war in order to make them [the Jews] escape to Palestine.

Elsewhere, referencing the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad goes on to say,

The pretext used to establish the Zionist regime was a lie and a corrupt act. It was a lie based on a fabricated claim that cannot be proven. The occupation of Palestinian land had no connectionwith the issue of holocaust. The claim, the pretext, are all fraudulent and corrupt. They are all historical criminals. They [the Zionists and the imperialists] are responsible for plundering and colonizing the world for the past 500 years.

In addition, the Iranian President says,

Four or five years after the Second World War, all of a sudden they [Western officials and historians] claimed that during this war, the Holocaust had occurred. They claimed that a few million Jews had been burned in the crematorium furnaces. They institutionalized two slogans. One was the innocence of the Jews. They used lies and very sophisticated propaganda and psychological ploys and created the illusion that they [the Jews] were innocent. The second goal was that they created the illusion that the Jews needed an independent state and government. They were so persuasive and convincing that many of the world’s politicians and intellectuals were deceived and persuaded.

What is Ahmadinejad telling the people of Iran? He appears to be asserting that: (1) Western imperialism for the last 500 years is the consequence of a conspiracy between Western governments and the Jews. (2) That when it came to European persecution, the Jews themselves were not “innocent.” (3) That modern anti-Semitism was and is a conspiratorial plot hatched by the Jews and certain European governments in order to create conditions for the taking over of Palestine. (4) That the Holocaust is a “lie.” He goes on to assert that research into the truth or falsehood of the Nazi genocide is being prevented. This, of course, flies in the face of the fact that the Holocaust is one of the most thoroughly researched historical tragedies in modern history. In all of this Ahmadinejad has taken a great leap beyond his previous suggestions that the death count of the concentration camps has been exaggerated. The present speech is also qualitatively different than his statement of October 26, 2005 predicting that Israel in the form of a Zionist state will “past from the pages of History.” That statement (despite the inaccurate “wipe Israel off the face of the map” translations of it by the New York Times and others) was directed at a political program and not the Jewish people.

Now, however, there can be little doubt that the President of Iran, apparently continuing a policy of challenging select foundational paradigms of the West, has slipped over the edge into what Juan Cole calls the “weird and creepy world of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.” There is also little doubt this will deepen suspicion and fear of Iran in the West (despite the fact that most Iranians who publically demonstrated on Al-Quds Day clearly did not buy into their leader’s pseudo-history). However, an equally important question is how well this harangue will play in the Muslim world?

The answer to that question might be that it will play well. Take, for instance, the recent adamant reaction of several Hamas members of the Palestinian Legislative Council to the possibility of teaching about the Holocaust in UN assisted schools in Gaza. According to Yunis al-Astal to teach this subject to Palestinian children would be “marketing a lie.” Al-Astal has bought into Ahmadinejad’s interpretation of history at least in reference to the Holocaust. Of course, one can find an equal level of Nakba denial on the Israeli side, but that does not lessen the damaging potential of Holocaust denial on the Muslim side. One can readily understand that there is an enormous amount of pent up anger and hatred toward Israel throughout the Muslim world. But why focus in on the Holocaust and attempt to deny the reality of such a seminal disaster? Here is a possible answer.

II) Understanding the Holocaust As a Western Event
For the West, the most disastrous event of the twentieth century is the Holocaust. Some six million European Jews and countless others as well died in the concentrations camps. But why is it so very seminal? The answer goes beyond the numbers involved. It was the industrial nature of this mass murder, where the technology of modernity that so characterized European civilization was turned into the genocidal killing of subsets of Europeans themselves. To use a present popular phrase, this was an “existential” shock to the European system that could not be rationalized away. Up until this point the Europeans, and their other Western counterparts, had not taken genocide seriously. As long as it did not impact their own local lives, as long as the victims were non-Western, no official attention was paid to such organized slaughter. Distant geography and myriad rationalizations that ranged from the racial inferiority of the victims to the manifest destiny of the perpetrators, sufficed to bury the issue. This was so even when, as in the colonies, the murders were agents of the West.

However, by the 1930s the Nazis had, in effect, brought the racial stereotyping and prejudice that had made possible colonial slaughter back home to Europe. By inventing the latter day Aryan race and designating its primary area of activity to be Europe itself, the Nazis came to see not just the non-Western world, but Europe too as a land full of inferior peoples to be bullied, enslaved and murdered for the benefit of a superior people with its own overweening locally produced ideological view of things. If, under the new order, the Jews were to be slaughtered, then the Poles and Russians were to be enslaved. And what of Western Europeans such as the French? Well, ultimately, they were to be treated by the Nazis in the same manner as the French treated the native Algerians. Upon the defeat of the “master race” in 1945, the populations of the West were severely shaken and shocked by what they had experienced.

Yet, as horrible as the Holocaust was, it was also mainly a Western affair. One might with some justification argue that the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust were universal, but that does not negate the fact that in terms of worldwide consciousness, the Holocaust was something that concerned Europeans and not to Africans, Middle Easterners or Asians.

This is an important fact. If one goes to the Arab world today and asks people what is the greatest disaster of the 20th century you are not going to get the Holocaust as the most common answer. Rather, from a good number of Arabs the answer will be the Nakba, the massive dispossession of the Palestinian people by Zionist invaders. After all the Arabs were not running the show in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. There is no reason why Europe’s tragedy has to be their tragedy. Unfortunately, since 1948 an added complication has crept into this equation. Because of the attitude taken by the leaders of Israel and their Zionist supporters, the two disasters, the Holocaust and the Nakba, have become inextricably intertwined.

III. The Israeli Holocaust Gambit

Despite the fact that modern Zionism predates the Holocaust by half a century, the disaster has been consistently used by the Zionists to justify the need for the Israeli state. The notion that Israeli stands as a defense against a new Holocaust is present in much of the propaganda that makes the West’s Zionist lobbies so powerful. Within Israel this belief is literally enshrined at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Museum in comme ration to the Jews who perished under the Nazi terror. There one finds the Pillar of Heroism, constructed following the 1967 Israeli-Arab war. According to Batya Brutin, the Director of the Holocaust Education Center at Beit Berl College in Israel, the 1967 victory saved Israel from just such a fate. “The war was perceived to be the antithesis of the Holocaust: Israel was in full control of its security, unlike the Jews of Nazi Europe.” As a corollary to this stance, any criticism of Israeli behavior (particularly pointing out that they committed an act of widespread ethnic cleansing in the Nakba) weakens the defenses against a new genocide of the Jews and is therefore de facto anti-Semitism. Thus, any Western gentiles, such as John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt who authored The Israel Lobby in 2007 or President Jimmy Carter who came out with Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid in 2006, are excoriated by the Zionist in the most damning terms. Jews who are critical, such as the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe or the American activist Noam Chomsky are dismissed as “self hating Jews.” Both groups are charged with unwittingly encouraging a new Holocaust. The attention directed to either group, however, cannot compare with the hateful and hysterical reaction of the Zionists toward the Palestinians who resist Israeli aggression. They are simply reduced to latter day Nazis. This claim was most recently made explicit by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, in his September 25, 2009 speech before the United Nations General Assembly. In that speech Netanyahu compared Hamas to the Nazis and the firing of Qassam rockets with the London Blitz during World War II.”

It is important to note that there are Israelis who have not and do not agree with, at least, the use of the Holocaust to garner support for Israel. The Israeli journalist Gideon Levy called Netanyahu’s statements “propaganda.” Indeed, one of the founding fathers of the Israeli state and a long-time president of the World Zionist Organization, Nachem Goldman, long ago criticized the use of the Holocaust images to sustain anti-Arab feelings in years following 1948. Goldman called it an act of “sacrilege.” According to Israeli journalist Aluf Benn, many ordinary Israelis do not buy the Holocaust connection either. “Here we are taught that Zionist determination and struggle - not guilt over the Holocaust - bought Jews a homeland” he wrote in the New York Times. Leaving aside for the moment what that “determination and struggle” has wrought, it is clear that Israeli education has not stopped Mr Benn’s elected leaders from consistently using the Holocaust to justify Israel’s existence in the eyes of the outside world.

IV. Consequences of the Holocaust Gambit

No matter how one might feel about this connection between the Holocaust and Israel, its use as a justification for the Zionist state and its policies is a grave strategic mistake. For by underpinning their continued existence on preventing a second Holocaust, Israelis and Zionists invite some of their adversaries to call into doubt the first Holocaust. As we have seen, these opponents now led by Ahmadinejad, assert that the Zionists and their allies have, at best, exaggerated the victimhood of the Jews during World War II, or that they might be just making it all up to justify stealing Palestine. If you can establish doubt about your enemy’s core argument you have struck that enemy a serious blow.

In this effort it is unlikely that the Iranian president is simply poking his finger into the proverbial Western eye. The populations to whom Ahmadinejad is really talking do not live in the West. They live in the non-Western world and more specifically the Muslim lands. Most of them have no more knowledge of modern European history than their Western counterparts have of Arab or Muslim history. Except, of course, that educated non-Westerners can readily identify the West with the history of modern imperialism. For many of them that is local history–the kind that stays in the collective memory for generations. On the other hand, this is a history of which their Western counterparts are largely ignorant. So while the average citizen of the Muslim lands probably knows little about the reality of the Holocaust, they are likely to know a lot about Israel as a surviving symbol of their immediate ancestors imperialist experience. Under the circumstances, convincing them that the Holocaust is a Western ploy to justify an imperialist crime is not such a difficult task. That is just what Iranian president’s anti-Holocaust rhetoric is all about, and millions may well have begun to take him seriously. Before righteous indignation sets in over this deception, keep in mind it is equally easy to convince an Israeli Jew born and raised within a Zionist environment that the Nakba was an act of “Zionist determination and struggle.” That is what happens when people are raised within relatively closed information environments.

III. Stereotyping the Jews

It is not difficult to see where all this leads. Anti-Semitism is on the rise and the Zionists, at least publically, appear clueless as to their part in making this so. Of course, there is the standing argument that it is exactly a persistent and active level of anti-Semitism that allows Israel and Zionism to maintain their viability. Perhaps in recent years the Israeli leadership have become worried on this score, for more Jews have been leaving Israel than have been entering. A worldwide upsurge in hostility to the Jews could reverse that trend, and that would be seen as being in Israeli’s national interest. However, there does not have to be some sort of conscious conspiracy on the part of Israeli and Zionist leaders to bring this scenario to life. The Zionists live in their own ideologically prescribed world. Their worldview makes all of Israeli policies and activities acts of self-defense in a world that is a priori anti-Semitic. What is being played out here is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. 1. The Zionists, always knew the world (not just pre-World War II Europe) was full of anti-Semites. 2. That is why we need Israel. 3. So what we do to expand and defend Eratz Israel is part of a never-ending war against genocidal foes. 4. The counter charge that what the Zionists do is actually a generator of anti-Semitism is dismissed by the Zionists as a form of blaming the victim..

For all intents and purposes the Zionist Holocaust gambit and the posturing of the likes of Amadinejad have now come together as, if you will, two sides of one coin. And, in the mass confusion of name calling and wild accusations that have resulted, it has become increasingly difficult for the audiences to whom both groups are pitching their propaganda to make any distinctions based on the actual positions taken by various constituencies. In other words, the mutual stereotyping is working to reduce the Palestinian-Israeli conflict of all nuances.

In the process one very important group of players, namely anti-Zionist Jews, have been cast into an undeserved oblivion. . And, of course, this is just where the Zionists want them. They have been literally wiped off the perceptual map for an increasing number of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. Take, for instance, the recent article by Hesham Tillawi entitled “The Israeli Occupation of America.” What Tillawi wants to argue is that American Zionists have a commanding influence over US foreign policy in the Middle East and that this is not a unique historical situation. That it has happened before, particularly in Britain during and after World War I. But in doing so he drifts into generalizations that undermine the historical accuracy of his argument and gives rise to unsupportable stereotypes. Here are a couple of examples:

(1) “The history of how the Zionists controlled England is not shrouded in mystery. Through Jewish control of the British government the Balfour Declaration was drafted that ‘gave’ the land of Palestine to the Jews after WWI....” There are two things that are wrong with this sentence. First, Tillawi uses the terms Zionists and Jews interchangeably. This is just historically wrong. From the very beginning of the Zionist movement there was significant Jewish resistance to it. I have outlined this resistence in detail in my book America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood (University Press of Florida, 2001). Indeed, the fact is that prior to the Holocaust, Zionism was a minority movement among Jews, though a vocal, well organized and well connected one. Within the British War Cabinet that debated the Balfour Declaration in 1917 the most strident opposition came from Lord Edwin Montagu, who happened to be the Cabinet’s only Jewish member. Thus using Zionist and Jew to mean the same thing is inaccurate and contributes to dangerous stereotyping.

By the way, Tillawi, Ahamadinejad and an increasing number of other Middle Easterners are not the only ones to do this. This confusion is purposely and persistently foisted upon the public by the Zionists themselves. This helps account for Tillawi’s quote of Ariel Sharon attributing control of America to “the Jewish people.” Ariel Sharon and his ilk could no more accurately speak for all the Jewish people then could the Pope. However, it is truly the Zionist goal to meld these two different things into one. Tillawi and others like him are unwittingly helping the Zionists toward their goal.

(2) The second thing wrong with the sentence is the historically incorrect assertion that the Jews and/or Zionists controlled England and its government. Neither the Jews nor the Zionists controlled either one, nor even Britain’s Middle East foreign policy in 1917. The British leaders had their own strategic reasons for adding Palestine to the post-war British empire. And, those reasons had as much to do with the Suez Canal and the expected post war presence of France in Syria as it did with both Arthur Balfour and David Lloyd George’s romantic attitude toward the Old Testament. Balfour and Lloyd George’s sympathetic feelings for the Zionist cause certainly helped the latter get what they wanted, but to equate that with “control” of the government is a gross exaggeration.

Tillawi then moves on to the United States and attributes the same power to the American Zionists in recent times as he alleges was held by those in England at the beginning of the 20th century. He relates how President John Kennedy, Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Senator J. William Fulbright were all stymied in certain policy objectives by Israel and the power of the American Zionist lobby. At one point he quotes Fulbright as saying “I am aware how impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy not approved by the Jews....” It is absolutely true that both American domestic and foreign policies are subject to lobby influence. And, in some cases, such as foreign policy in relation to Israel and Cuba, and before 1972, Communist China, these lobbies have used their political clout to obtain near veto power over policy formulation in areas of their interest. But there is nothing particularly conspiratorial about this. As I have demonstrated in my recent book Foreign Policy Inc (University Press of Kentucky, 2009) the nature of U.S. politics has allowed the development of inordinate lobby power starting right from the founding of the nation. The Zionists (in this case both Jewish and Christian) have learned to play this game very well, as have the Cuban Americans. To equate this to the “Israeli [or for that matter the anti-Castro Cuban] occupation of America” is the sort of exaggeration that feeds into ethnic stereotyping. Lastly, as to the Fulbright quote, the Senator seems to have made the same mistake as Tillawi, confusing politically active Zionists with Jews in general, and Tallawi has used this as support for his own misjudgment.

The persistent confusion of Zionism with Judaism and the Jewish people by both Israeli leaders and their Zionist backers, as well as increasing numbers of Middle Easterners standing against Israel and Zionism, badly distorts reality. And, it is an insult to the tens of thousands of Jewish people around the world who have for so long fought against Zionism and horrible damage it has done and continues to do to both the Palestinians and the Jewish religion. Here is a short list of some of the present Jewish organizations in the United States, Europe and Israel which are either blatantly anti-Zionist or at least striving for a humanitarian reform of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians: Jewish Voices for Peace; Jews for Justice for Palestinians (UK); Tikkun (Jews for Justice); Brit Tzedek; The Shalom Center; Neturei Karta (Orthodox Jews against Zionism); Gush Shalom; Jews Against the Occupation; Rabbis for Human Rights; Another Jewish Voice (Netherlands); Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique (Belgium); Network for Jews Against Occupation (Italy); Jewish Manifesto (Sweden); Union Juive Francaise pour la paix (France); New Outlook (Denmark). In addition it should be noted that at least one fifth of the volunteers that have gone into the Occupied Territories with the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) have been Jewish. Finally, according to Esther Kaplan’s account of “The Jewish Divide on Israel” which appeared in The Nation in June of 2004 the numbers of American Jews affiliated with Jewish groups seeking a just peace for the Palestinians and Israelis alike was “fast approaching AIPAC’s 65,000 member and polls show that there is tremendous room for growth” within these organizations. Kaplan goes on to note that a petition in the United States calling for the relocation of all Israeli settlers on the West Bank was able to obtain the signatures of over 10,000 American Jews.

IV. Conclusion

One wonders if Ahmadinejad, Yunis al-Astal and Hesham Tillawi are truly ignorant of the extent of historical and contemporary Jewish resistence to Zionism and Israeli policies. With a little effort all of them could avail themselves of this history. For what it is worth, someone should tell Ahmadinejad that America’s Palestine is published in Iran in Farsi. However, it is likely that these leaders and writers, like so many of their Zionist counterparts are encapsulated in a closed information environment within which they seek out only information, companions and advisers who will reinforce their established position. They have created a thought collective for themselves and it serves as umbilical cord sustaining a warped worldview. So strong is that warped worldview that it might make no difference at all to their position and statements even if they were fully aware of the existence of anti-Zionist Jews. They might simply dismiss them as irrelevant.

Thus, in the “weird and creepy world” of anti-Semitism the Israeli leaders who insist that all real Jews are Zionists and that a racist, aggressive and expansionist Israel is the only bulwark against a second Holocaust, have crawled into bed with anti-Semites who deny the Holocaust ever happened but are happy to lump all Jews into the category of enemy. The result is a very messy world of myth, lies and hypocrisy. Such a world cannot help but be increasingly dangerous. One should keep in mind the words of Voltaire, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Both sides are peddling absurdities. They relish the absurdities as if they were divine truths and the atrocities as if they were commanded by God. And on it goes even to the present day, the air blissfully filled with lies and the ground littered with corpses.


Esther Kaplan at HYPERLINK:

These figures give the lie to Zionist claims, produced by bias polls sponsored by the Anti Defamation League that 79% of American Jews supported the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in the recent Gaza War. Yet those bent on anti-Semitic stereotyping are quite ready to use their enemy’s own propaganda when it suits their purposes. Thus Joachim Martillo has asserted that “the American Jewish community is dominated by evil Jewish Nazis, who support the slaughter of women and children” on the basis of just such suspect “evidence.”

See HYPERLINK: http://eaazi.blogspot.com/2009/02/decent-muslims-versus-evil-jews.html

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Saundra Hummer
June 16th, 2010, 04:09 PM


Whole Foods Follies

Henry I. Miller, 06.16.10, 2:38 PM ET

STANFORD, Calif. -Whole Foods markets are big business in this part of the world: upscale havens for rich shoppers seeking "healthy" foods. It's not surprising, then, that John Mackey, cofounder and CEO of the $8 billion company, was warmly and uncritically received by Stanford MBA students during a recent New Age lecture to them.

"Why should the purpose of business be to make money?" he asked. "A doctor doesn't say his purpose is to make money, but rather to heal people. Did Bill Gates say his purpose was to make money? No, he had a vision that everyone should have a PC." Mackey claims to have created a "conscious business"--one that is not a slave to profits but strives to serve others, change the world and fulfill a higher purpose.

Maybe Mackey chose the wrong business. He seems not to appreciate the difference between making life-saving vaccines or pacemakers--or even computer software that boosts society's productivity--and selling overpriced groceries to the affluent. How overpriced? At my local Whole Foods (Redwood City, Calif.) I found "Darjeeling Tea- and Ginger-Cured Smoked Salmon" for $39.96 a pound. But that was a veritable bargain compared to dried morel mushrooms priced at a whopping $1,280 a pound. (That is not a typo.) Around here Whole Foods is widely referred to as "Whole Paycheck"--because that's what you'll spend shopping there. In addition to a higher purpose, Mackey also offers higher prices. Much higher prices.

Who am I to argue with Mackey's financial success? But there are more holes in his world view than in his stores' insect-ravaged organic arugula. Many doctors do, in fact, enter the field to make money. Does Mackey really believe that a diet doctor, cosmetic plastic surgeon or aesthetic dermatologist chooses his field to "heal people?"

Mackey isn't the only big-time CEO to be misguided about what has become known as corporate social responsibility, or CSR. At the 2008 Davos conference Gates laid out his vision of "creative capitalism," which encourages companies to spend money on worthwhile causes or money-losing projects that are judged to be socially desirable. According to Gates' logic, this is "market-based social change" that performs "work that eases the world's inequities." Good goals, bad strategy.

Daniel Vasella, the chairman and CEO of Switzerland-based Novartis, the world's fifth-largest pharmaceutical company, is yet another. He declared that multinational companies "have a duty to adhere to fundamental values and to support and promote them." If he were referring to the corporate values of honesty, innovation, voluntary transactions and the wisdom of the marketplace, he'd be right. But what he meant was "collaborat constructively with the U.N. and civil society to define the best way to improve human rights." The corrupt, highly politicized, relentlessly incompetent and self-serving U.N.?

Service to others, the reduction of inequities and expansion of human rights are worthy goals, to be sure, but the altruism of Mackey, Gates and Vasella brings to mind economist Milton Friedman's reproachful observation, "businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned 'merely' with profit but also with promoting desirable 'social' ends; that business has a 'social conscience' and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination ... and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers."

There is something else that the three self-styled paragons of socially conscious industry have in common: irrational, antisocial antagonism to crop plants produced with the most precise and predictable genetic techniques. Gerber, a division of Vasella's Novartis, publicly repudiated genetically engineered ingredients in its baby food; Gates chose the anti-genetic engineering (and corrupt) Kofi Annan to head his African agriculture initiative; and Whole Foods is fanatical about organic foods (in part because genetically engineered components are strictly proscribed).

These business geniuses may be unaware that genetically engineered products could alleviate famine and vitamin-deficiency diseases for millions and even lead to the development of edible vaccines incorporated into fruits and vegetables. And also that they reduce the need to spray chemical pesticides, the amounts of fungal toxins that end up in food, soil erosion and the release of CO2 into the atmosphere, and that they conserve water and farm land. In other words, genetic engineering is an important tool for moving toward greater sustainability. But maybe these guys just don't care because genetic engineering isn't politically correct among some of their constituencies or social circles.

Although "corporate social responsibility" imposes enormous costs on shareholders and society at large, many business executives fear taking on its proponents. "This is especially so in large-scale retail businesses like Wal-Mart Stores or Coca-Cola or BP that are highly vulnerable to organized public criticism," according to Henry G. Manne, dean emeritus of the George Mason University School of Law. Other examples include McDonald's decision to end its popular super-sized portions in the name of discouraging obesity, and the various businesses that have adopted less efficient but supposedly "environmentally sustainable" practices.

President Calvin Coolidge famously remarked that the business of America is business. Well, businesses don't have social responsibilities; only people do. And inasmuch as corporate leaders work for their companies' owners, their legal and moral responsibility is to pursue the best interests of their employers (that is, shareholders)--interests that relate primarily to making as much money as possible while conforming to the laws, regulations and ethical norms of society. By spending the company's funds on activities that he decides arbitrarily are "socially responsible," a corporate executive, in effect, reduces returns to shareholders--and is, therefore, spending someone else's money.

It is far easier to part with other people's money than one's own. If executives wish to support non-business-related goals of their own choosing, they should offer philanthropy from their private fortunes. But billions of corporate dollars are now being withheld from investors and redistributed elsewhere, often according to the whims of social activists who are accountable to no one and who pursue goals based not on a desire for greater corporate efficiency or profits but on their own vision of what is sustainable, equitable and good for all.

Whether or not free enterprise or the human condition is likely to experience net benefit from the pursuit of corporate social responsibility, such actions do raise the cost of doing business and lower corporate productivity. By diverting resources away from productive capital, businessmen will hurt many of the very people they claim to want to help, as well as society at large.


Henry I. Miller, a physician and fellow at the Hoover Institution, was an official at the NIH and FDA. Barron's selected his most recent book, The Frankenfood Myth, one of the 25 Best Books of 2004.


Saundra Hummer
June 17th, 2010, 07:52 PM

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WHALES: FINAL PUSH TO STOP THE HUNTIn days, the International Whaling Commission will gather in Agadir, Morocco to vote on a proposal that would legalize commercial whale hunting for the first time since 1986.

The global public is against this proposal, but pro-whaling countries are pushing for it hard. Let's make sure our voices are heard.

Avaaz has a team on the ground in Agadir setting up billboards, publishing front-page newspaper ads, and building a giant, constantly-updating petition counter to show that the world's people oppose whale slaughter.

Let's give this campaign a massive boost! Help reach 1 million signatures -- sign the petition below, and pass it along to everyone you know:

To parties of the International Whaling Commission:
As citizens from around the world, we call on you to retain the international ban on commercial whaling as the core policy of the International Whaling Commission in its pursuit of conservation of whales.

Sign the petition
Already Avaaz member?
Enter your email address and hit "Send".
Avaaz.org will protect your privacy and keep you posted about this and similar campaigns.



https://secure.avaaz.org/en/whales_last_push/97.php?cl_tta_sign=f3f42ff455fed15ba3fb02c2d314760 1

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Saundra Hummer
June 17th, 2010, 08:31 PM
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Congressman to BP: "I apologize"
On June 17, BP CEO Tony Hayward appeared on Capitol Hill to testify for the first time regarding the oil spill disaster. Unbelievably, the ranking committee member, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), apologized to the BP CEO, calling it a tragedy that a private corporation was being forced to pay back Gulf Coast victims.

It’s absurd, and we need to make sure that our elected leaders will not get away with putting the interests of dirty energy companies ahead of all the rest of us.

Please share this video with your friends and tell them to support our efforts to end our addiction to fossil fuels and transition to a clean energy economy.



The Repower America Web site is shared by the Alliance for Climate Protection and the Climate Protection Action Fund.
Learn more about the distinction between the efforts of these two organizations through Repower America.

Republican's Barton Apologizes To BP, Accuses Obama Of 'Shakedown'

2010-06-17 17:42:07
(3 hours ago)
Posted By: Intellpuke

A day after top BP officials met with President Barack Obama at the White House and agreed to set up a $20 billion compensation fund, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas called the money a "shakedown" of the company and apologized for the president's action.
Barton, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce committee, told BP CEO Tony Hayward Thursday morning that he was sorry about what the president had done. The money is a "slush fund," Barton said, and "unprecedented in our nation's history."

"I do not want to live in a country where anything a citizen or corporation does something that is ... wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure, that again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown," said Barton.

His opinions aren't those of the Republican Party, Barton said, they were his alone. But other GOP members of Congress on Thursday echoed his remarks. Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, who heads the House's conservative Republican Study Commission, said there was "no legal authority for the President to compel a private company to set up or contribute to an escrow account."

"BP&'s reported willingness to go along with the White House's new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics," he said in a statement. "These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration's drive for greater power and control."

But they were countered by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, who said he disagreed "in "the strongest possible terms." He called the fund an admirable effort by the federal government to "protect the most vulnerable citizens we have in our country, the residents of the Gulf."

"It is in fact President Obama ensuring that a company that has despoiled the Gulf is made accountable for the harm done to our people," said Markey.

The White House also reacted strongly to Barton's comments.

“What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction,” said Robert Gibbs, press secretary.

Gibbs called on Barton’s fellow congressmen to “repudiate his comments.”

Barton’s comments were contradicted by neighboring lawmaker Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, the ranking member of the energy and commerce panel’s oversight and investigations subcommittee holding the hearing.

Burgess started his round of questioning of Hayward at the subcommittee hearing this afternoon by saying “I am not going to apologize to you.”

“It was BP executives on the rig. It was BP executives who made the decisions,” said Burgess. “You are the person at the top. I don’t feel apologies are in order.” Burgess then went on to say that “I do have serious questions about this fund” and said he had questions for federal regulators from the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Services and their approval of the company’s emergency response plan. “Shame on you, Mr. Hayward, for submitting the response plan and shame on us for rubber-stamping it.”

Barton’s comments drew partisan jabs.

Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said, “It takes an appalling amount of chutzpah for Congressman Barton to apologize to the BP CEO this morning about Democrats’ efforts to hold BP accountable. Where is his apology for the families of the 11 men who lost their lives and the industries along the Gulf that have been devastated because of this disaster? Where is his sympathy for the ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico that will be damaged for generations because of BP’s negligence? And shouldn’t he be apologizing to the people of the Gulf Coast for decades of Republican policies that ignored oversight and accountability for the oil industry?”

According to opensecrets.org, a nonpartisan website that monitors federal election committee data, Barton’s top corporate contributors are from the oil and gas industry, with a total of $1.488 million from 1989 to 2010.

And a liberal think tank with ties to the Obama administration, the Center for American Progress, noted that Barton has long been the beneficiary of campaign contributions from BP employees: $27,350 since 1989.

BP CEO Tony Hayward, when asked by Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, whether he thought the $20 billion compensation fund was a so-called "shakedown."

"I certainly didn't think it was a slush fund, congressman," said Hayward.

Thursday's hearing is an investigative one, and it is expected to focus on specific decisions engineers and managers made about the well's construction and how they handled the problems they encountered.

Hayward, who hadn't yet testified when Barton apologized, sat alone in front of the investigative panel.

The subcommittee earlier this week charged that the company cut corners on its doomed well, leading to the conditions that caused the explosion that killed 11 and continues to spew an estimated 60,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Barton added later that he looked forward to hearing more about the findings of the committee, including anything that could shed light on the mistakes the company made that could be prevented in future drilling.


Mr. Barton, please?

BARTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Mr. Hayward, for appearing before us.

We have kind of a dual-track under way, in my opinion. We obviously are trying to gather the facts, what happened in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a month and a half ago, trying to find out the causes of that spill, what can be done to prevent it in the future. We're obviously very concerned about the mitigation and the clean-up.

We have a system in America built up based on the British tradition over 200 years of due process and fairness, where people that - that do bad things or, in this case, a corporation that's responsible for a bad accident, we want to hold them responsible, do what we can to make the liable parties pay for the damages.

Mr. Stupak and Mr. Waxman are doing an excellent job working with Dr. Burgess and myself in conducting, I think, a very fair oversight investigation, and we're going to get into a number of those issues in this hearing, and we're going to ask you some pretty tough questions.

I'm speaking now totally for myself. I'm not speaking for the Republican Party. I'm not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives but myself, but I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House Wednesday.

I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a $20 billion shakedown, with the attorney general of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of the American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, that's got no legal standing, and which sets, I think, a terrible precedent for the future.

If I called you into my office, and I had the subcommittee chairman, Mr. Stupak, with me, who was legitimately conducting an oversight investigation on your company and said, if you put so many millions of dollars in a project in my congressional district, I could go to jail, and should go to jail.

Now, there is no question that British Petroleum owns this lease. There is no question that British Petroleum - that B.P. - I'm sorry. It's not British Petroleum anymore - that B.P. made decisions that objective people think compromise safety. There is no question that B.P. is liable for the damages.

But we have a due process system, where we go through hearings, in some cases court cases, litigation, and determine what those damages are and when those damages should be paid.

So I'm only speaking for myself. I'm not speaking for anybody else. But I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is - again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.

But on this hearing today, I am with Mr. Waxman, with Mr. Stupak. There are answers that need to be - questions that need to be asked that are legitimate, because we don't want another oil spill of this magnitude or of any magnitude in the Gulf of Mexico.

And if this subcommittee can do things that make it much more difficult for this type of an incident to occur in the future, then we will have done our work for the American people.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

Intellpuke: It sounds as though Rep. Barton wants to have his cake and eat it, too. On the one hand he attacks President Obama for shaking down BP, when - with its low estimates on the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico and its make-believe emergency plans to stop any leaks (you know, the plans that would protect sea otters and walruses from leaks in the Gulf of Mexico), it is BP who is shaking down the U.S., particularly the Gulf Coast. On the other hand, Rep. Barton says he is in synch with his colleagues in the U.S. House. Really? You can read what Rep. Barton's House colleagues had to say in a separate article on Free Internet Press' mainpage today under the headline 'Angry U.S. Congress Lambasts BP Chief Hayward Over Safety'. In other words, Rep. Barton is more in synch with BP than he is his colleagues or the vast majority of the American people.

You can read this article by McClatchy Newspapers staff writers Erika Bolstad and Maria Recio, reporting from Washington, D.C., in context here:


Bread gets buttered doesn't it? However, he's now apologized, but, only after some of those in his own party saw the damage he had caused to their own political standing. SRH



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Saundra Hummer
June 17th, 2010, 09:01 PM

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Tons of bushmeat smuggled into Paris, study finds

06.17.10, 07:01 PM EDT
Associated Press
PARIS -- The traders sell an array of bushmeat: monkey carcasses, smoked anteater, even preserved porcupine.

But this isn't a roadside market in Africa - it's the heart of Paris, where a new study has found more than five tons of bushmeat slips through the city's main airport each week.

Experts suspect similar amounts are arriving in other European hubs as well - an illegal trade that is raising concerns about diseases ranging from monkeypox to Ebola, and is another twist in the continent's struggle to integrate a growing African immigrant population.

The research, the first time experts have documented how much bushmeat is smuggled into any European city, was published Friday in the journal Conservation Letters.

"Anecdotally we know it does happen ... But it is quite surprising the volumes that are coming through," said Marcus Rowcliffe, a research fellow of the Zoological Society of London and one of the study's authors.

In the Chateau Rouge neighborhood in central Paris, bushmeat is on the menu - at least for those in the know.

Madame Toukine, an African woman in her 50s, said she receives special deliveries of crocodile and other bushmeat each weekend at her green and yellow shop off the Rue des Poissonieres market. She wouldn't give her full name for fear of being arrested.

"Everyone knows bushmeat is sold in the area and they even know where to buy it," said Hassan Kaouti, a local butcher. "But they won't say it's illegal."

For the study, European experts checked 29 Air France flights from Central and West Africa that landed at Paris' Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport over a 17-day period in June 2008.

Of 134 people searched, nine had bushmeat and 83 had livestock or fish.

The people with bushmeat had the largest amounts: One passenger had 112 pounds (51 kilos) of bushmeat - and no other luggage. Most of the bushmeat was smoked and arrived as dried carcasses. Some animals were identifiable, though scientists boiled the remains of others and reassembled the skeletons to determine the species.

Experts found 11 types of bushmeat including monkeys, large rats, crocodiles, small antelopes and pangolins, or anteaters. Almost 40 percent were listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Based on what officials seized - 414 pounds (188 kilos) of bushmeat - the researchers estimated that about five tons of bushmeat gets into Paris each week.

They also noted that penalties for importing illegal meats are light and rarely imposed. Under French law, the maximum penalty is confiscation of the goods and a $556 (450 euro) fine. Of the passengers searched in the study, only one person with bushmeat actually was fined.

Bushmeat is widely eaten and sold in Central and West Africa, with Central African Republic, Cameroon and Republic of Congo being the main sources. It varies whether it is legal. It is typically allowed where people are permitted to hunt, as long as their prey aren't endangered and they can prove the animals were killed in the wild.

A bushmeat ban is enforced in Kenya, but it is legal in most parts of the Republic of Congo, where hunters may stalk wildlife parks that aren't heavily guarded. Even after several outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus linked to eating bushmeat, the practice remains widespread.

Scientists warned eating bushmeat was a potential health hazard.

"If you have intimate contact with a wild animal - and eating is pretty intimate contact - then you could be exposed to all kinds of diseases," warned Malcolm Bennett, of Britain's National Centre for Zoonosis Research at the University of Liverpool, who was not linked to the study.

Bennett said bushmeat had a higher risk of bacteria like salmonella and might also be carrying new diseases. The virus that causes AIDS originated in monkeys, and the global 2003 SARS outbreak was traced to a virus in bats and civets.

Nina Marano, chief of the quarantine unit at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said similar underground markets for bushmeat exist across America.

"We have to be culturally sensitive and recognize this is important for some African communities," she said. "But there are no regulations for the preparation of meat from wildlife to render it safe."

The scale of Europe's illicit bushmeat trade suggests the emergence of a luxury market. Prices can be as high as $18 per pound (30 euros per kilo), double what more mundane supermarket meats cost.

"It's like buying the best cut of organically grown beef," Rowcliffe said, adding that bushmeat like giant rats and porcupine, which he has tasted, has a strong, gamey flavor.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

This is really pushing it as far as health concerns go, and with environmental concerns as well, I'd have to imagine. Ebola? Nothing to take lightly. That's for certain. Spooky I'd say. We have enough problems in trying to insure our own food stuffs are safe to eat, now this? It's insane. SRH

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Saundra Hummer
June 19th, 2010, 05:05 PM


Religion as Political Carnage

Iran Mullahs’ Blame Game

Amil Imani
16 Aug, 2008

Last Paragraph from article:
No matter how loudly and frequently Ahmadinejad brays about eliminating Israel and chasing the U.S. to its corner of the world, Iran’s problems will remain and the Iranian people will continue to suffer. Please, my people, don’t let this end-of-the-worlder homicidal-suicidal man and his gang of frauds take you on a certain death ride. Let us, once and for all, purge ourselves of the deadly disease of victimization and join the world in a multilateral live-and-let-live relationship. America is not our enemy, neither is Israel. We are our own worst enemy by remaining chained to the victimization mentality, buying the Mullahs’ blame game, and following the ruling Islamists who are either crooks, mentally disturbed or both.

Click here to see the complete article, and comments regarding it:


Saundra Hummer
June 21st, 2010, 03:33 PM

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Sunlight Foundation Blog
Former government officials hired to lobby
Congress looks to rewrite telecom law

Paul Blumenthal
06/20/10 @ 11:08 pm
As leaders in Congress announced a series of hearings this June to tackle huge telecommunications issues with a focus on the Internet, the top phone and cable organizations that control the majority of the access to the Internet have hired 276 former government officials to lobby both the Congress and the executive branch.

According to data obtained from lobbyist disclosure forms and the Center for Responsive Politics, seventy-two percent of the lobbyists hired by AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the US Telecom Association have previous government experience. These organizations combined to spend $20.6 million lobbying the federal government in the first quarter of 2010.

Eighteen of the 276 revolving door lobbyists are former members of Congress. These include the powerful former senators John Breaux and Trent Lott. The Breaux Lott Leadership Group reported spending $150,000 lobbying on behalf of AT&T in the first quarter of 2010.

Both Breaux and Lott served in the leadership of their respective parties while in the Senate with Lott serving as Majority Leader. Lott also served on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, the committee with jurisdiction over the telecommunications industry.

The eighteen former lawmakers include a heavy representation from the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, the House committee with telecommunications jurisdication. In 2010, the organizations hired former Energy & Commerce Committee members Jim Davis (AT&T), Jack Fields (Verizon), Ron Klink (Comcast), Chip Pickering (Comcast and National Cable and Television Association) and Al Wynn (US Telecom Association).
The organizations are also hiring former lawmakers with previous clout in both the House and the Senate. Former Sen. Don Nickles, hired to lobby for Comcast, was the Republican Majority Whip from 1996 to 2001. Comcast also hired the former House Majority Whip William H. Gray.

Aside from Breaux and Lott, AT&T has hired two other lawmakers with strong resumes, former House Republican Conference Chair J.C. Watts and longtime California Democrat Vic Fazio.

The top telecom organizations are also hiring a number of lobbyists who previously worked on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation or the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. Fourteen lobbyists used to work on the House committee and thirteen previously worked at the Senate committee. In addition, the six organizations employ 26 former staffers of current members of the House committee and 22 former staffers of current members of the Senate committee.

These staffers include the former chief of staff, Lane Bailey, and deputy chief of staff, Patrick Robertson, to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation. Robertson lobbies for Comcast and Bailey lobbies for the National Cable and Television Association.

The former counsel to Sen. John Kerry, the number two Democrat on the committee, Barry LaSala, is registered to lobby for Verizon.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable lead the way in hiring former government officials as lobbyists. Ninety percent of lobbyists hired by Time Warner Cable previously worked in government. Two Time Warner lobbyists served as congressmen and two others served as staffers to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation.

In first quarter lobbyists disclosure filings for 2010, eighty-eight percent of all lobbyists hired by Comcast had previous experience in government. While this percentage is slightly lower than Time Warner’s, Comcast hired more than twice as many lobbyists with former government experience as Time Warner did—82 to 38. This includes five former members of Congress and four Energy & Commerce Committee staffers. Comcast, as it seeks government approval of its purchase of NBC Universal, has also hired six former officials from the Department of Justice.

Broadband regulation has been a major issue over the past few years as many Democrats, including President Obama, have called for the institution of net neutrality rules to govern broadband transmission. Net neutrality regulations would prevent broadband service providers from blocking or slowing transmission to certain sites, services and users.

In April, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was rebuffed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuitafter trying to stop Comcast from slowing broadband access to users using the BitTorrent file-sharing service. The court ruled that the FCC did not have sufficient regulatory authority to require Comcast to provide equal access to all sites and services online.

In the wake of the court’s decision, four committee and subcommittee chairmen announced a series of meetings with industry players to discuss a rewrite of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The meetings will focus on the changes in telecommunications brought on by the revolution in Internet technologies over the past fifteen years. Much of that time is expected to be spent on the regulation of broadband routes,.

A group of 74 Democratic lawmakers recently sent a letterto FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski asking that the FCC not institute net neutrality rules without specific instruction from Congress. The 74 Democrats were comprised of a mix of Blue Dog Democrats, New Dems and members of both the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC).

At least, six of the letter signatorees—Reps. Joe Baca, Allen Boyd, Corrine Brown, Baron Hill, Eddie Bernice Johnson and Ciro Rodriquez—have former staffers lobbying for the top telecom organizations.

Help us to create a transparent government built on open data and information. Sign the Public=Online pledge.
(Go on-site to gain access to pledge as well as to gain access to the numerous links within this article.)
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Recent blog posts by Paul Blumenthal (Twitter: sunfoundation)

Former government officials hired to lobby as Congress looks to rewrite telecom law
Death Knell for Secret Holds
Conference committee members seek loopholes, receive high percentage of finance contributions
1 Comment on Former government officials hired to lobby as Congress looks to rewrite telecom law

David Peterson said:
Fantastic Article!

FYI, I was directed from Politico.comI’d like to see some opinion & analysis on this Transparency/Information.
Or better yet, see some new Ellen Miller Actionable events.


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Saundra Hummer
June 21st, 2010, 11:29 PM

. . . . . . . . . .

fight for
human rights

Support human-rights

Bacha Bazi Documentary
Uncovers Horrific Sexual Abuse
Afghan Boys

posted by:
Kayla Coleman
2 days ago

"Bacha bazi," or "boy play" is a disturbing practice that entangles Afghanistan's most vulnerable boys -- recruited from the streets or sold to "masters" by their poor families -- in a world of violence and sex.

In a recently released Clover Films documentary, "The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan", a reporter and his crew expose the world of bacha bazi. They told one man, Dastager, who keeps a "stable" of boys, a fabricated story about them comparing bacha bazi with a similar practice in Europe. Dastager and his cohorts completely opened up to the reporter and gave an intimate and disturing look into Afghanistan's bacha bazi culture.

Stop the disturbing Bacha Bazi practice now!
These "dancing boys" are young. Dastager bought one boy, Shafik (though his name was changed), from a destitute family in the countryside. The boy looks no older than nine.

The boys are kept by wealthy, powerful men who train them to sing, dance and play instruments -- skills they'll use to entertain parties made up of all men. The men force the boys to they wear women's clothes and jangling bells. Many times these parties are small and secret, but cameras recorded a bacha bazi circle taking place as part of a wedding celebration, with hundreds of guests.

When the dancing concludes, the boy is then sold to the highest bidder, or shared among the most powerful men for sex.

The bacha bazi culture is filled with expolitation, violence, rape and even murder, if a boy crosses his master or tries to escape the bacha bazi world. These children are puppets for their masters -- they're called names, abused and passed around to their master's friends. The documentary crew caught one particularly disturbing conversation between men who, when they don't know the camera is recording, recount a night when a dancing boy laid in a van while the men took turns having sex with him. The men gleefully recalled how "beautiful" the boy was.

Bacha bazi is a world where children are sex objects, and it's a world where, often, the only escape is death.

The attendees of these parties and the masters of these boys are some of society's most powerful men, from merchants to warlords. A United Nations report on bacha bazi found many are members of the government. Police told the documentary reporter that people who participate in bacha bazi will be punished no matter how powerful they are. But later, camera's find that same policeman at a bacha bazi party himself. Especially disturbing is the fact that the Chief of the Youth Crime Department was there, as well.

Buying and selling children, and sex acts with children, are illegal, but because such powerful people participate in bacha bazi, it's extremely difficult to enforce the laws. After the documentary exposing the world of the dancing boys was released, some of the men featured in it were arrested. But soon after, they were back on the streets and practicing bacha bazi again.

The story of bacha bazi is tragic and the situation may seem hopeless, but these boys need our help too much to give up. They're trapped in bacha bazi's web and more people need to speak up against this cruel and exploitative practice. Sign our Care2 petition and tell the UN envoy to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, to encourage President Karzai to enforce laws against bacha bazi and end the practice once and for all.

Go on-site for photo's and video.

Read more: afghanistan, human rights, sex slaves, bacha bazi, afghanistan dancing boys, boy play, clover films, dancing boys of afghanistan, child sex slaves

. . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
June 23rd, 2010, 12:41 AM


Immigrant families leave Arizona
and tough new law

Associated Press
06.23.10, 12:01 AM ED
PHOENIX -- "Cuanto?" asks a young man pointing to four bottles of car polish at a recent garage sale in an east Phoenix neighborhood.

The question, Spanish for "How much?" sends Minerva Ruiz and Claudia Suriano scrambling and calling out to their friend, Silvia Arias, who's selling the polish. "Silvia!"

Arias is out of earshot, so Suriano improvises.

"Cinco dolares," she says. "Five dollars." And another sale is made.

As the women await their next customer in the rising heat of an Arizona morning, they talk quietly about food and clothes, about their children and husbands. They are best friends, all mothers who are viewed as pillars of parental support at the neighborhood elementary school.

All three are illegal immigrants from Mexico.

They're holding the garage sale to raise money to leave Arizona, and to escape the state's tough new law that cracks down on people just like them.

Ruiz and Suriano and their families plan to move this month. Arias and her family are considering leaving, but are waiting to see if the law will go into effect as scheduled July 29, and, if so, how it will be enforced.

The law requires police investigating another incident or crime to ask people about their immigration status if there's a "reasonable suspicion" they're in the country illegally. It also makes being in Arizona illegally a misdemeanor, and it prohibits seeking day-labor work along the state's streets.

The law's stated intention is unambiguous: It seeks to drive illegal immigrants out of Arizona and to discourage them from coming here.

There is no official data tracking how many are leaving because of the law, but anecdotal evidence provided by schools, businesses, churches and healthcare facilities suggests that sizable numbers are departing.

Ruiz, Suriano and Arias are representative of many families facing what they consider a cruel dilemma. To leave, they must pull their children from school, uproot their lives and look for new jobs and homes elsewhere. But to stay is to be under the scrutiny of the nation's most stringent immigration laws and the potentially greater threat of being caught, arrested and deported. They also perceive a growing hostility toward Hispanics, in general.

On the quarter-mile stretch of Phoenix's Belleview Street where both Ruiz and Suriano live, more than half the apartments and single-family homes have "for rent" signs out front. The women say most of them went up after the new law was signed in late April.

"Everyone's afraid," Arias says.

The three friends are key members of a parents' support group at their children's school down the street, said Rosemarie Garcia, parent liaison for the Balsz Elementary School District.

"They are the paper and glue and the scissors of the whole thing," Garcia said. "I can run to them for anything."

With two of the women leaving and the other thinking about it, Garcia is concerned about the school's future.

"It'll be like a desert here," she said. "It's a gap we'll have all over the neighborhood, the community, our school."

Ruiz, Suriano and Arias met three years ago at cafecitos, or coffee talks, held at the school. Now their families hold barbecues together and their children have sleepovers.

Arias, 49, and her day laborer husband paid a coyote to come to Arizona 15 years ago from Tepic, Nayarit on Mexico's central-western coast. Their children, ages 9, 11 and 13, are U.S. citizens.

"I don't want to leave but we don't know what's going to happen," she says.

Ruiz, 38, and her husband, who builds furniture, came to the U.S. from Los Mochis in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa about six years ago on tourist visas, which expired long ago. Two of their kids, ages 9 and 13, are here illegally, while their 1-year-old was born here. The family is moving to Clovis, N.M., where they have family. "It's calmer there," Ruiz says.

Suriano, 28, and her husband crossed the desert six years ago with their then-toddler. The boy is now 9, and the couple has a 4-year-old who was born here. They're moving to Albuquerque, where they don't know anyone but already have lined up an apartment and a carpentry job for him.

"I don't want to go," Suriano says, wiping away tears. "We're leaving everything behind. But I'm scared the police will catch me and send me back to Mexico."

Some people in the neighborhood are not sympathetic.

"Bye-bye, see you later," says 28-year-old Sarah Williams, who lives two blocks south of Ruiz and Suriano with her 5- and 7-year-old children and her aunt. "They're taking opportunities from Americans and legal citizens."

However, Williams, says she doesn't support Arizona's new law because she believes it will lead to racial profiling.

The law still faces several pending legal challenges. The U.S. Justice Department also is reviewing the statute for possible civil rights violations, with an eye toward a possible court challenge.

The law's backers say Congress isn't doing anything meaningful about illegal immigration, and so it's the state's duty to step up. They deplore the social costs and violence they say are associated with illegal immigration.

The law's critics say it will lead to racial profiling and discrimination against Hispanics, and damage ties between police and minority communities.

As the debate plays out, dozens of healthcare clinics in central and southern Arizona say many of their Hispanic clients aren't showing up for scheduled appointments. They say they're either afraid to leave the house or they're moving away, said Tara McCollum Plese, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers, which oversees 132 facilities.

"Some are actually calling the clinics and asking if it's safe to come, if they need papers," since the new law passed, she said.

Sick people avoiding treatment can become a public health problem, she said. "We're actually worried about communicable diseases."

If enough people stop going to the clinics, she said, some services could be cut, and some clinics, especially in rural areas, could be forced to close.

Schools may face laying off teachers and cutting programs because of fewer students, educators say.

Parents pulled 39 children out of Balsz Elementary, which has a 75 percent Hispanic student body, since April 23, the day the law was signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. In the small, five-school district, parents have pulled out 111 children, said district Superintendent Jeffrey Smith, who cites the new law as the leading factor.

Smith said each student represents roughly $5,000 in annual funding to the district, so a drop of 111 students would represent roughly a $555,000 funding cut.

Many schools across Arizona have seen a steady decline in Hispanic students in recent years, although some district superintendents say the current drop is more dramatic. Schools attribute the declining numbers to the recession and to the state's employer-sanctions law, which passed in 2007 and carries license suspensions and revocations for those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Area businesses also say they're seeing the effects of people leaving the state.

Steve Salvato, manager at the family-owned World Class Car Wash, just around the corner from Belleview Street, said business is down 30 percent. Salvato said the car wash relies mostly on Hispanic customers and points to the new law for the recent decline in business.

"A lot of people have just packed up and moved," he said, adding that a strip mall across the street used to be bustling on weekends. "Now it's like a ghost town."

A nearby Food City grocery store reports a 20 percent to 30 percent drop in business.

Back at the garage sale, the three friends have a row of tables strewn with Barbie dolls, bicycle helmets, old movies and a Jane Fonda workout video. A laundry basket is overflowing with children's toys, and a shopping cart is filled with clothes.

They are selling off pieces of their lives.

Their easy banter, mostly in Spanish, quickly turns to tears when they're asked about their impending separation. Ruiz and Suriano have pleaded with Arias to follow them to New Mexico.

"They're my companions," Suriano says of the other two women. "We do everything hand-in-hand."

Related Stories

Let Them In
Arizona's Message To Washington On Immigration
Arizona's Un-American Immigration Law
Immigration, Terror And Assimilation
Related Videos

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press



Saundra Hummer
June 23rd, 2010, 02:32 PM
* * *

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

President Obama Relieves Top General in Afghanistan of Command After Controversial Interview [1:21 a.m. ET]

For more on this and other breaking news go to ABCNews.com:

* * * * * * *
Obama and Insubordination:
Is He Truman or Mr. Milquetoast?

Ray McGovern
June 23, 2010
Original Content at:

Journalist Michael Hastings has given Rolling Stone magazine a graphic account of the arrogance, disarray and ineptitude that distinguish what passes for President Barack Obama's policy on Afghanistan. For those of us with some gray in our hair, the fiasco is infuriatingly reminiscent of Vietnam.

In blowing off steam to Hastings, NATO/U.S. commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his top aides seem to have decided that, at this low point in the Afghanistan quagmire, political offense is the best defense for a military strategy sinking from waist to neck deep. In interviews with Hastings, McChrystal and his team direct mockery at many senior-level officials of the Obama administration. For instance, one of McChrystal's aides refers to Obama's national security adviser James L. Jones as a "clown."

Members of McChrystal's inner circle also quote the general as saying he was "pretty disappointed" with an Oval Office meeting and describing Obama as "intimidated" by McChrystal and other generals. Commenting on the controversy Tuesday, Obama said McChrystal and his team had shown "poor judgment" but the President added that he wanted to speak with McChrystal directly before making any decision on firing him. That happened today, according to press reports.

Two administration officials who are spared harsh criticism from McChrystal's team are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who were considered key supporters of McChrystal's insistence last year that Obama boost U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan to about 100,000.

In praise of Clinton, one of McChrystal's entourage told Hastings, "Hillary had Stan's back during the strategic review [last fall]." Another aide added, "She said, "If Stan wants it, give him what he needs.'"

As for Gates, McChrystal spared the big boss from criticism perhaps still hoping for support from the chameleon-like Pentagon chief, who will first want to check the surrounding foliage before selecting the best camouflage color. Yesterday, Gates was careful to leave his options open, as is his custom, and limited himself to saying that McChrystal had committed "a significant mistake" in handling the Rolling Stone interviews.

In Hastings's exposure of the backbiting over policy in Afghanistan, the bottom line is best articulated by a predicate adjective beginning with the letter "f" and ending with ""ucked-up."

Some variation of that vulgarism is used repeatedly by the macho McChrystal and the staffers who pattern themselves after him, whom Hastings interviewed at length. Hastings's copious quotes make it seem as if everyone but McChrystal and his merry men are responsible for the fecklessness on Afghanistan.

But their comments also betray a realization that their particular brand of can-do, cut-and-paste counterinsurgency has brought what Thomas Henry Huxley defined as tragedy; namely, "the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."

McChrystal and his supporters have failed miserably and they know it. But they lack any measure of being gracious -- or honest -- in defeat.

Worse still for McChrystal is the fact that his arch rival, retired Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, now ambassador to Afghanistan, has been proven correct "beyond reasonable doubt," so to speak, in challenging McChrystal's adolescent views regarding how to turn the Afghan mess around.

Last November, Eikenberry told Washington that McChrystal's whiz-bang counterinsurgency strategy was nonsense, and that the President should look beyond a military solution.

Anyone with a modicum of experience can now see that it was Eikenberry who had it right during last year's policy review. The texts of two cables he sent to Washington in early November were published in the New York Times. (For more on Eikenberry-McChrystal, see Obama Ignores Key Afghan Warning."

Strike Two
The Rolling Stone article is also strike two for McChrystal's insubordination. His first strike came last fall when his recommendation for 40,000 additional troops was leaked to the press. He also publicly dismissed a more targeted approach toward attacking al-Qaeda terrorists reportedly advocated by Vice President Joe Biden.

The leak of McChrystal's recommendation came well before Obama had decided on a course of action, but the timely disclosure cornered the President, who didn't dare push back against his generals and remind them about the U.S. principle of civilian control of the military.

In an ironic twist -- since the leak of his memo cornered Obama on the Afghan "surge" -- McChrystal complained to the Rolling Stone's Hastings that he felt "betrayed" by the leak of Ambassador Eikenberry's cables to Washington. "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books," the general said. "Now if we fail, they can say, "I told you so.'"

Does that not suggest that McChrystal is fearful of failure -- and of taking the blame? Who now is trying to cover his flanks?

What is clear is that there is not enough room in Kabul for both McChrystal and Eikenberry. One of them has to be given his marching orders, and I would not rule out the possibility it will be Eikenberry. This would be bereft of all logic and common sense. Rather it would be testament to Obama's fear of McChrystal -- not to mention the President's apparent inability to understand that Afghanistan amounts to Vietnam Redux.

As for how McChrystal's inner circle views Vice President Biden, the Rolling Stone article recounts a joke in which McChrystal mentions Biden's name and one of the general's top advisers replies, "Did you say "Bite me'?"

Obama Is No Harry Truman
After publication of the Rolling Stone article, some pundits are predicting McChrystal will be fired -- as he should have been last fall after strike one. (See, for instance, "Should Obama Fire Gen. McChrystal?")

The general is now back in Washington to face the music later today. But Obama might prefer a well-orchestrated minuet with the general rather than a requiem. McChrystal could, I suppose, even be wishing for a chorus of "he's a jolly good fellow" from the "intimidated" President.

That's not how it's always been. When Gen. Douglas MacArthur issued an unauthorized statement containing a veiled threat to expand the Korean War to China at a time when Truman was preparing to enter peace negotiations with North Korea and China, MacArthur was abruptly fired in place. No invitation to Washington to talk it out.

One strike and MacArthur was out -- because Truman could take the heat. In contrast, Obama has shown himself to be an accommodating fellow on issue after issue. It seems far from certain he would fire the White House groundskeeper, even if caught urinating on the flowers in full view of summer tourists.

Little can account for Obama's promotion of McChrystal to his current post, except for a strange blend of cowardice tinged with ignorance. McChrystal had been Vice President Dick Cheney's right-hand man in running Special Forces hit-squad assassins and torturers in Iraq.

From these endeavors, McChrystal has accumulated a fearsome following of what might be called the "worst of the worst" among both the U.S. military and Blackwater-style mercenaries. Here is Hastings on McChrystal's entourage:

"The general's staff is a handpicked collection of killers, spies, geniuses, patriots, political operators, and outright maniacs. There's a former head of British Special Forces, two Navy Seals, an Afghan Special Forces commando, a lawyer, two fighter pilots and at least two dozen combat veterans and counterinsurgency experts. " they pride themselves on their can-do attitude and their disdain for authority."

For good measure, Hastings adds a troubling vignette. Someone (I wonder who) apparently called his attention to what Hastings calls "a piece of suspense fiction" written by McChrystal for a literary magazine at West Point while he was studying there. Hastings includes a description of the short story:

"The unnamed narrator appears to be trying to stop a plot to assassinate the President. It turns out, however, that the narrator himself is the assassin, and he's able to infiltrate the White House: "The President strode in smiling. From the right coat pocket of the raincoat I carried, I slowly drew forth my 32-caliber pistol"I had succeeded.'"

Secret Service, take note. The times require your going back to freshman English and Shakespeare. Gather around the President "men that are fat, sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights. Yond McChrystal has a lean and hungry look; he thinks too much; such men are dangerous."

Please relieve the general of his raincoat before he reaches the Oval Office later today. And, to be on the safe side, invite the President to don his bulletproof vest.

The Unspeakable
Obama might be forgiven for fearing for his own personal safety, particularly if he has read James Douglass's book, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters.

Kennedy inherited a senior military that then-Under Secretary of State George Ball called a "sewer of deceit." They lacked confidence in Kennedy's steadfastness before the menace of Communism, and salivated over how to maneuver the young president into military confrontations. These included operations to provoke war with Cuba, the Soviet Union, China, North Vietnam -- you name it.

The senior military and CIA operatives bitterly resented Kennedy's adamant refusal in April 1961 to be mouse-trapped into ordering U.S. forces to rescue those Cuban counter-revolutionaries marooned on the beach of the Bay of Pigs and send in U.S. troops to get rid of Fidel Castro once and for all.

A lesser-known challenge to Kennedy came in early March 1962, when JCS Chairman Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer proposed a plan called "Operation Northwoods" to justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba. Working from declassified documents for his book, Body of Secrets, James Bamford gave the following concise description:

"Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere.

"People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war."

Kennedy rebuffed the JCS, creating still more bad blood that, in my opinion, eventually would help seal his fate.

In his book, James Douglass lists some of the other grievances held against the young president by the super-patriot Joint Chiefs of Staff, who thought of themselves as self-appointed, authentic guardians of the United States against the Communist threat -- not the Constitution they took an oath to defend, if it got in the way.

During the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, the top military were aghast at Kennedy's unwillingness to risk war with the Soviet Union by invading Cuba. After Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev found a way to stop at the brink of nuclear catastrophe, both saw more clearly than ever a mutual interest in preventing another such occurrence. This led to a sustained back-channel dialogue from which the Joint Chiefs were excluded, and of which they were highly distrustful.

The kiss of death -- literally, I am persuaded -- came when Kennedy ordered the withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam by the end of 1963 and the bulk of the rest of them by 1965.

To the senior military that was proof positive that Kennedy was soft on Communism, which -- if you can believe it -- was an even more heinous offense in those days than being soft on terrorism is today.

Kennedy Gone, Johnson Caves
President Lyndon Johnson knew no better than to let himself become captive to the same military leaders -- the more so, since he was determined not to be the first U.S. president to lose a war. They assured him the war in Vietnam -- sorry, I mean the counterinsurgency -- could be won.

And they were sure they knew best how to do that. (As a result, young Army infantry officers like me were required to educate ourselves on the writings of Che Guevera and Mao Zedung, but, alas, not those of the more profound military strategist, Sun Tzu, from two-and-a-half millennia earlier.)

There was a conventional side to the Vietnam War as well, and conventional provocations. A prime example is the U.S.-military-provoked incident in the Tonkin Gulf on Aug. 2, 1964.

Under severe pressure from the Joint Chiefs and other senior military, President Lyndon Johnson ordered Defense Secretary Robert "we-were-wrong-terribly-wrong" McNamara to use the faux-incident to deceive Congress into approving the fateful Tonkin Gulf resolution to "justify" seven years of additional war against the Vietnamese Communists.

William Fulbright, then chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said later that one of his greatest regrets was that he let himself be snowed by the White House and the military into pushing for approval of the Tonkin Gulf resolution. And George Ball added: "There's no question that many of the people who were associated with the war were looking for any excuse to initiate bombing [North Vietnam] " [T]he sending of a destroyer up the Tonkin Gulf was primarily for provocation."

Could Have Been Worse
Pentagon Papers truth-teller Daniel Ellsberg, of all people, has said that President Lyndon Johnson has not been given enough credit. For what, you might ask? Well, Johnson let himself be persuaded by the military, but only up to a point.

In a talk on the 30th anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg said he was convinced that Johnson and McNamara came to see their main task as protecting the country from the outlandish proposals urged on them by senior U.S. military officials, proposals fraught with the danger of widened war with China, perhaps even involving the use of nuclear weapons.

According to Ellsberg, Johnson saw a need to give the JCS just enough to satisfy them to the point where they would not resign and go public with their proposals for escalating -- and "winning" -- the war.

It was a difficult tightrope to walk. Johnson and McNamara lived in fear that the majority of Americans could be persuaded by arguments the administration knew to be dangerously crazy.

More sober and experienced advisers like George Ball, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and Assistant Secretary of State William Bundy were advising the President simply to get out of Vietnam. Ellsberg indicated that this option was not even seriously considered by Johnson at the time. Rather, priority was given to a middle course, giving into the military just enough to keep them quiet.

And Today?
Am I suggesting that Barack Obama now faces a similar situation with respect to Afghanistan? I am. And I would cite the fawning adulation given Gen. David Petraeus, head of the Central Command, last week during his congressional testimony as, well, testimony to that.

Obama's Afghan dilemma is this: Although the escalation that McChrystal demanded is in shambles, the general cannot be expected to leave quietly, nor with any graceful acknowledgement that he was wrong.

If he should agree to quit -- and he and Petraeus blame the U.S. defeat on everyone but themselves -- there will be considerable resonance. As the mid-term elections loom in November, the last thing Obama and his timid political colleagues want to confront is the charge of being soft on Communism -- sorry, I mean terrorism.

It's the same dynamic Johnson and Humphrey faced and were foiled by.

So hold onto your hats. McChrystal, however inadvertently, has given the President the unexpected opportunity to change course and leave behind the fool's errand called Afghanistan. But the general has also thrown down the gauntlet.

I wish I could be more confident that Obama has enough backbone to face into this critical challenge. Until now, at least, one looks in vain for a profile in courage. So far, at least, Obama is no Jack Kennedy.

This article appeared first on Consortiumnews.com

Author's Bio: Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

* * * * * * * * *

Saundra Hummer
June 23rd, 2010, 03:11 PM

Showdown in the Red Sea:
U.S. Sends 11 Warships to Confront Iran.

Washington's Blog
Global Research, June 21, 2010
Washington's Blog - 2010-06-20

Israel National News is reporting :

Egypt allowed at least one Israeli and 11 American warships to pass through the Suez Canal as an Iranian flotilla flotilla approaches Gaza.

What should we make of the fact that 11 U.S. warships and an Israeli warship are sailing up the Suez Canal on their way to the Red Sea?

This is - on the surface - a faceoff over Iran's support for relief ships trying to sail into Gaza. Specifically, Iran has said it will have Iranian military ships escort the flotilla providing humanitarian goods to Gaza to make sure it arrives safely. On the other hand, the U.S. has backed Israel's blockade of Gaza.

Tensions are obviously high between the U.S. and Israel, on the one hand, and Iran on the other. The U.S. and Israel have talked for years of bombing Iran's nuclear sites.

As the Telegraph wrote last July:

Israeli warships have deployed to the Red Sea for what has been described as a rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran

Israeli and Egyptian officials said two ships had sailed through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea.

Media reports in Israel said the two Saar-class missile ships had been sent as a "message" to the Tehran government....

An armada of U.S. warships in the Red Sea is similarly meant to convey a credible threat to attack Iran.

Indeed, because the Red Sea connects with the Arabian Sea (and see this), a large navy presence in the Red Sea will escalate tensions dramatically.

This could quickly lead to a real confrontation. This is especially true because warships from hostile nations could be in very close quarters, and one mistake (such as accidentally bumping into a foreign ship) could unintentionally lead to war.

But we can't look at this faceoff in a vacuum.

Intelligence Failures
Remember that there have been numerous intelligence failures in the past which have led to war.

For example, the U.S. Navy's own historians now say that the sinking of the USS Maine -- the justification for America's entry into the Spanish-American War -- wasprobably caused by an internal explosion of coal, rather than an attack by the Spanish.

It is also now well-accepted that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident which led to the Vietnam war was a fiction (confirmed here).

And two lies were used to justify the 1991 Gulf War: the statement that Iraqis murdered Kuwaiti babies and the statement that a quarter of a million Iraqi troops were massed on the border with Saudi Arabia (see also this article)(technically, the statement about Kuwaiti babies did not come from the U.S. government, but from a public relations firm hired by the government).

Who Dunnit?
While - as documented above - inaccurate reports have helped rally support for war, other methods for drumming up support have been used as well.

As I wrote in February:

Forget the claims and allegations that false flag terror - governments attacking people and then blaming others in order to create animosity towards those blamed - has been used throughout history.

This essay will solely discuss government admissions to the use of false flag terror.

For example:

The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950's to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected president

Israel admits that an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind "evidence" implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this andthis)

The well-respected former Indonesian president admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings

The former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence admit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and blamed the communists, in order to rally people’s support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism. As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: "You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security" (and see this)(Italy joined NATO in1949, years before the bombings occurred)

As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960's, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings [while the Joint Chiefs of Staff pushed for Operation Northwoods to be carried out, cooler heads prevailed; President Kennedy or his Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara apparently vetoed the plan]

There are many other instances of false flag attacks used throughout history proven by the historical evidence. See this, this and this. The above are only some examples of governments admitting to using false flag terror.

Many high-level people have warned of the use of a false flag attack to justify war with Iran. For example:

Jimmy Carter's former National Security Adviser and Obama's initial foreign policy adviser- Zbigniew Brzezinski - told the Senate that a terrorist act might be carried out in the U.S. and falsely blamed on Iran to justify war against that nation

Congressman Ron Paul told Congress: "I am concerned, however, that a contrived Gulf of Tonkin- type incident may occur to gain popular support for an attack on Iran"

And a member of the British Parliament (George Galloway) stated: "there is a very real danger" that the American government will stage a false flag terror attack in order to justify war against Iran

Thus, if any elements within the U.S. or Israeli government wish to find an excuse to attack Iran, they could either manufacture false intelligence or carry out a false flag attack.

A war with Iran would benefit no one other than the giant defense contractors wouldplunge the world into a very deep depression (notwithstanding George W. Bush'ssentiment to the contrary). Indeed, if China and Russia side with Iran, the U.S. might end up losing against Iran.

May cool heads prevail.

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We live near the Redmond Oregon Air Center, where the smoke jumpers train. It's the main airport for the bombers, spotter planes, and crews that do the work of fighting forest fires in our state, it's the one where the spotter planes, personal transport, and fire bombers fly out of for all of the Pacific Northwest as well. They use the Federal sky lanes for taking off and landing, and so do military aircraft, fighter jets, and ones carrying VIP politicians, etc. For quite some time now, we have been, and are, hearing military jets coming and going. Sometimes they fly right over our smallest road frontage pasture, and I can see the pilots faces they are so low, they'll be less than 30 yards away. Fun to see, but like now with so many jets coming and going, it' becomes a bit worrisome Everytime North Korea rattles it's sabers, when it becomes too beligerient, we hear the jets as well. Then too a lot of times it's just routine training exercises, which we're used to, but there are times when it becomes more than we're accustomed to. Like now. SRH
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Saundra Hummer
June 24th, 2010, 05:35 PM

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Toxins found in whales bode ill for humans

06.24.10, 05:16 PM EDT
Associated Press
AGADIR, Morocco -- Sperm whales feeding even in the most remote reaches of Earth's oceans have built up stunningly high levels of toxic and heavy metals, according to American scientists who say the findings spell danger not only for marine life but for the millions of humans who depend on seafood.

A report released Thursday noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years. From polar areas to equatorial waters, the whales ingested pollutants that may have been produced by humans thousands of miles away, the researchers said.

"These contaminants, I think, are threatening the human food supply. They certainly are threatening the whales and the other animals that live in the ocean," said biologist Roger Payne, founder and president of Ocean Alliance, the research and conservation group that produced the report.

The researchers found mercury as high as 16 parts per million in the whales. Fish high in mercury such as shark and swordfish - the types health experts warn children and pregnant women to avoid - typically have levels of about 1 part per million.

The whales studied averaged 2.4 parts of mercury per million, but the report's authors said their internal organs probably had much higher levels than the skin samples contained.

"The entire ocean life is just loaded with a series of contaminants, most of which have been released by human beings," Payne said in an interview on the sidelines of the International Whaling Commission's annual meeting.

Payne said sperm whales, which occupy the top of the food chain, absorb the contaminants and pass them on to the next generation when a female nurses her calf. "What she's actually doing is dumping her lifetime accumulation of that fat-soluble stuff into her baby," he said, and each generation passes on more to the next.

Ultimately, he said, the contaminants could jeopardize seafood, a primary source of animal protein for 1 billion people.

"You could make a fairly tight argument to say that it is the single greatest health threat that has ever faced the human species. I suspect this will shorten lives, if it turns out that this is what's going on," he said.

Payne called his group's $5 million project the most comprehensive report ever done on ocean pollutants.

U.S. Whaling Commissioner Monica Medina informed the 88 member nations of the whaling commission of the report and urged the commission to conduct further research.

The report "is right on target" for raising issues critical to humans as well as whales, Medina told The Associated Press. "We need to know much more about these problems."

Payne, 75, is best known for his 1968 discovery and recordings of songs by humpback whales, and for finding that some whale species can communicate with each other over thousands of miles.

The 93-foot Odyssey, a sail-and-motor ketch, set out in March 2000 from San Diego to document the oceans' health, collecting pencil-eraser-sized samples using a dart gun that barely made the whales flinch.

After more than five years and 87,000 miles, samples had been taken from 955 whales. The samples were sent for analysis to marine toxicologist John Wise at the University of Southern Maine. DNA was compared to ensure the animals were not tested more than once.

Payne said the original objective of the voyage was to measure chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants, and the study of metals was an afterthought.

The researchers were stunned with the results. "That's where the shocking, sort of jaw-dropping concentrations exist," Payne said.

Though it was impossible to know where the whales had been, Payne said the contamination was embedded in the blubber of males formed in the frigid polar regions, indicating that the animals had ingested the metals far from where they were emitted.

"When you're working with a synthetic chemical which never existed in nature before and you find it in a whale which came from the Arctic or Antarctic, it tells you that was made by people and it got into the whale," he said.

How that happened is unclear, but the contaminants likely were carried by wind or ocean currents, or were eaten by the sperm whales' prey.

Sperm whales are toothed whales that eat all kinds of fish, even sharks. Dozens have been taken by whaling ships in the past decade. Most of the whales hunted by the whaling countries of Japan, Norway and Iceland are minke whales, which are baleen whales that feed largely on tiny krill.

Chromium, an industrial pollutant that causes cancer in humans, was found in all but two of the 361 sperm whale samples that were tested for it. Those findings were published last year in the scientific journal Chemosphere.

"The biggest surprise was chromium," Payne said. "That's an absolute shocker. Nobody was even looking for it."

The corrosion-resistant metal is used in stainless steel, paints, dyes and the tanning of leather. It can cause lung cancer in people who work in industries where it is commonly used, and was the focus of the California environmental lawsuit that gained fame in the movie "Erin Brockovich."

It was impossible to say from the samples whether any of the whales suffered diseases, but Wise found that the concentration of chromium found in whales was several times higher than the level required to kill healthy cells in a Petri dish, Payne said.

He said another surprise was the high concentrations of aluminum, which is used in packaging, cooking pots and water treatment. Its effects are unknown.

The consequences of the metals could be horrific for both whale and man, he said.

"I don't see any future for whale species except extinction," Payne said. "This is not on anybody's radar, no government's radar anywhere, and I think it should be."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

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Saundra Hummer
June 24th, 2010, 08:03 PM

Exposing Corruption Exploring Solutions

Project on Government Oversite


Dear Saundra,

Last week, the White House directed the heads of executive branch agencies and departments not to appoint any new registered lobbyists to federal advisory committees, boards and commissions.

Federal advisory committees, which have been called "the fifth branch of government," wield significant influence—they advise Congress, the President, and agencies on everything from nuclear energy policy to the collection of oil and gas royalties.

Some good government groups have raised the objection that the new White House rule will prevent public interest lobbyists from sitting on these committees. However, POGO argues this is where waivers would be appropriate (unlike the ethics waiver for Pentagon Deputy Secretary William Lynn, a former lobbyist for Raytheon, a major defense contractor). Moreover, when you look at the rosters of these committees, you can see that lobbyists for industries whose business is affected by the work of the committees FAR outnumber the occasional public interest advocate.

The new rule is not a good government panacea, but at the end of the day, it represents a decisive action to limit the pervasive influence of special interests.

Michael breaks down the White House's memo in detail over on our blog.


Danielle Brian
Executive Director

P.S. In a hearing today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar agreed with POGO that a two-year cooling-off period should be required before former government officials can work for the industry that they oversaw.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Featured Blog Post:
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We rely on people like you to spread the word about our work. Tell a friend about POGO!
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. . . . .

June 25th, 2010, 12:01 AM
Another great post, Sandi.

But let's not forget that, lobbyists or no, most of the government is in the pocketbooks of the corporations. Industry has plenty of access to members of Congress, and there is nothing to prevent them from making deals in private, out of the public eye.

I consider a move like the above to be PR window dressing, and likely to do little to affect a bought-off government.

Saundra Hummer
June 25th, 2010, 12:17 AM
Another great post, Sandi.

But let's not forget that, lobbyists or no, most of the government is in the pocketbooks of the corporations. Industry has plenty of access to members of Congress, and there is nothing to prevent them from making deals in private, out of the public eye.

I consider a move like the above to be PR window dressing, and likely to do little to affect a bought-off government.

Got that straight.

Then too if it were to work, which I don't believe it can, not like it should at least, the Supreme Court would in all likelihood, instead of wishing it were stronger, strike it down as a violation of free speech, or some such thing. The Neil Diamond song saying "Money Talks, everything else walks", holds true with it comes to Capital Hill and our courts.
That is a Neil Diamond song isn't it?

Can't believe we are in such a fix having to forget about laws of the land, as Supreme Court Justices go about the business of striking down much of what could help us all. Instead, we have to go by what they deem worthy.

I don't see how they can live with themselves. I really don't. Self-righteous bastards is what they are. This is my opinion of too many of them.

Saundra Hummer
June 25th, 2010, 09:14 PM


Vuvuzela noise drives an American nuts

Associated Press
10:21 AM EDT
BERLIN -- German police say an American got so fed up with the constant mosquito-like droning from his neighbors' vuvuzela plastic horns that he threatened to kill them with an ax.

Police in the Bavarian city of Weiden said Friday the 45-year-old man confronted his neighbors during Thursday's Netherlands-Cameroon World Cup game wielding the ax. They say he was so sick of the constant buzzing and honking from the vuvuzelas since the tournament began that he screamed: "I will kill you," and then returned home.

Yahoo! BuzzGerman authorities took the U.S. Army civilian employee into custody and turned him over to U.S. military police. The military says he has been released and the matter is in German hands.

Prosecutors are investigating whether to bring charges.

Copyright 2010
The Associated Press. All rights reserved.



Saundra Hummer
June 26th, 2010, 11:54 AM
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When the Whistles Don't Blow
David Glenn Cox
June 26, 2010
Every day we see the signs of massive systemic corruption in our society. It makes the day hard to take sometimes and makes it easy to see why millions focus on entertainment news or sports; it's just so much easier on the mind. Just take the blue bill and zone out, and damn it, sometimes I wish that I could.

As time goes by we see layer upon layer of laws restricting our rights while at the same time the courts, the last bastion of our freedom, peel away our constitutional protections until we are left with a justice system that will provide you only with as much justice as you can pay for. The Supreme Court today sided with former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, leading to a possible invalidating of Skilling's 24-year prison sentence. Mark my words, Skilling will walk; he has a bank of high-powered attorneys working on the case round the clock. They've even argued that Skilling couldn't get a fair trial because the Houston newspaper wrote a disparaging editorial about him. From conviction to Supreme Court in three years; now, Buddy, that's service!

In Louisiana we see Judge Feldman, a Federalist Society judge who doesn't believe in legislating from the bench, overruling the President of the United States and the health and environmental concerns of the people. Judge Feldman's holdings in oil company stock give the perception of impropriety and that is enough. Seven of sixteen federal judges in Louisiana have recused themselves because of their relationship with the state's oil companies. It's a private club, judges that own oil companies and oil companies that own judges.

Harry Truman said, "Whenever you put a man on the Supreme Court he ceases to be your friend." Dick Cheney never heard that and neither did Anton Scalia. The justice can still be your friend and you can still go hunting together but only after you leave office. On the foundation of a fair judiciary rests the base of representative government. Without it, all shifts and erodes, tilts and leans.

The rot is systemic and moves from root to branch. It's wise to always remember that when you blow the whistle on a nest of rats, you had best know who the rats really are.

In 2001 Bradley Birkenfeld went to work for UBS Bank in Geneva, Switzerland, and Birkenfeld is no angel by any stretch of the imagination. He is everything that you would expect a corporate international banker to be. The son of a neurosurgeon, Birkenfeld earned a master's degree in business administration and worked for State Street Bank in Boston before joining UBS. Birkenfeld knew the way the game was played and gladly played along.

He was working for the rich and powerful; he managed one account for a billionaire worth $200 million. He carried an encrypted laptop to prevent prying eyes and lied to customs officials about the reasons for his travels. He would call the trips entertainment when he was delivering checks from Europe to the Virgin Islands, Panama and Hong Kong or setting up sham corporations and tax shelters. He once delivered profits back to a customer by putting diamonds in a toothpaste tube.

He was living the good life as UBS sent their people hop scotching the globe to art shows and yachting regattas looking for the rich who were looking to dodge the tax man. It really didn't matter that he held no Securities and Exchange Commission license. Like a mobster worried about a traffic ticket, it was a matter too small to be concerned with.

In 2005 Birkenfeld claimed that he learned that UBS policies had violated an agreement with the IRS. I find that story a little hard to swallow, that a jet-setting international banker dealing with the super rich looks down at his dog one morning and says, "Oh garsh, Sandy, what have we gotten ourselves into?"

He resigned from UBS in October 2005 and provided written whistle blower complaints to the Head Counsel for UBS, and other UBS senior executives, regarding the illegal practices of U.S. international business. I'm sure that it read something like this: "After four and a half years of smuggling diamonds and delivering checks to overseas tax shelters, it has suddenly come to my attention that we might be violating the law here, mister. My master's degree in business administration tells me something just isn't right around here. So I quit, and not only do I quit, but I'm gonna tell on you, too. So just give me my bonus check and I'm out of here!"

Yes, Mister Birkenfeld and UBS finally reached an out of court settlement on his bonus check. UBS did their own investigation into Birkenfeld's accusations and decided that there was no evidence of wrongdoing. "What's that guy talking about?"

Being true to his word Birkenfeld showed up on the steps of the Justice Department, brown paper sack lunch under his arm, and told his dog Sandy, "Now you wait here for me while I go tell the truth." Sandy said, "Arf!" which is pretty much all that Sandy ever says.

Sandy waited and waited for almost two years as Mr. Birkenfeld told everything that he knew about everybody that he knew. And every time Birkenfeld asked for immunity the government would answer, "Tell us more." Mr. Birkenfeld wanted immunity from prosecution but he also wanted the whistle blower award of 15 to 30 percent of the taxes collected, and with the people Birkenfeld was singing about, that's a lot of cheese. So much in fact that some feared for his safety. In August 2007, Birkenfeld's attorney e-mailed prosecutors to say UBS suspected Birkenfeld was talking to investigators, putting him "truly at risk" because the case was "threatening some very powerful people."

"They told me they wouldn't prosecute me," Birkenfeld said. "Kevin Downing (IRS lead prosecutor) told me that in the first meeting. They refused to give me a subpoena or immunity until they saw that I was the real deal, as they said. They kept changing the rules of the game and said "We won't give you immunity.'"

You see, this is America; you start stepping on the toes of billionaires and you might get kicked in the head. Billionaires own all sorts of things like congressmen and senators. So as a prosecutor you have to go slow. This could be the biggest case of your career or it could be the last big case of your career.

The IRS wrote Birkenfeld's attorney on Sept. 6, 2007, to say Birkenfeld had "terminated his proffer with the Tax Division in regards to alleged criminal conduct" at UBS. They said they declined to grant immunity and could continue the proffer if Birkenfeld chose to do so. Or Birkenfeld could continue to talk but immunity was off the table, and Sandy said, "Arf."

Birkenfeld was a man alone, a man with many enemies and few friends. All he wanted was to tell the truth, plus collect the estimated minimum $125 million reward for turning everyone in. The reward could go as high as $200 million or even more!

His next stop was the office of Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, head of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. From there the chips began to fall as the things that Birkenfeld was saying were true.

Birkenfeld's testimony was behind UBS deciding to pay the IRS $780 million and admitting that it was actively engaging in tax evasion. UBS also agreed to turn over information on two hundred and fifty other secret accounts. One hundred and fifty people are being investigated and sixteen were charged by prosecutors. Two UBS bankers and three others are accused of hiding assets overseas. All together more than $852 million has been collected by the IRS. Oh wait, did I say sixteen were charged?

That's incorrect, it was seventeen as prosecutors charged one Bradley Birkenfeld with fraud for not being truthful about his dealings with California billionaire real estate developer Igor Olenicoff. Olenicoff was given two years probation and had to pay $52 million in back taxes but Bradley Birkenfeld was given forty months in federal prison.

In fact, Bradley Birkenfeld is the only person to go to prison for these crimes. He is no angel or saint; he is a rat caught in a trap. He was placed in prison to discourage his attempts to claim the reward, but more than just money Bradley Birkenfeld was sent to jail as a warning to the other rats. The other potential whistle blowers, the people on the inside with the dirt on the ringleaders, the deep throats or the Joe Wilsons.

It would be hard to watch Birkenfeld walk away with $200 million but to see him sit in a jail cell is infinitely worse. He has asked Barack Obama for a pardon but that will happen when pigs fly. They say that crime doesn't pay, but you can't prove that by Birkenfeld. He was doing great until he started telling the truth.

Author's Bio: I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I am really. Given a front row seat for the generation of the 1960's I lived in Chicago in 1960. My father was a Democratic precinct captain, my mother an election judge. His father had been a Union organizer and had been beaten and jailed for his efforts. His first time in jail was for punching a Ku Klux Klansman during a parade in the 1930's. I never felt as if I was raised in a family of activists but seeing it print makes me think, yes. That is a part of who I am. We find ourselves today living in a world treed by the hounds of madness, a complicit media covering contrite parties. Multilevel media, giving more access to communication yet stunting actual communication. More noise, less voice, more sound less music, more law less justice, more medicine less life.
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Saundra Hummer
June 26th, 2010, 02:06 PM

Documents show vast cleanup of Plum Island land

06.26.10, 12:51 PM EDT
Associated Press
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. -- Government documents obtained by The Associated Press show extensive efforts since 2000 to remove vast amounts of waste and contaminants from Plum Island. The 840-acre island - located 100 miles east of Manhattan - was the site of top-secret Army germ warfare research and decades of studies of dangerous animal diseases.

Some environmentalists remain concerned about the secrecy surrounding the island - and they're dubious of any claims that pollution has been remedied.

The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to sell the island and build a new high-security laboratory in Kansas to study animal diseases.

The documents reveal that hundreds of tons of medical waste, contaminated soil and other refuse have been shipped off the island for disposal.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

So, where have they disposed of the waste this time? In whose backyard? SRH




Saundra Hummer
June 27th, 2010, 03:59 PM

:: :: ::

The 36 Hours That Shook Washington

Frank Rich
June 25, 2010
THE moment he pulled the trigger, there was near-universal agreement that President Obama had done the inevitable thing, the right thing and, best of all, the bold thing. But before we get carried away with relief and elation, let’s not forget what we saw in the tense 36 hours that fell between late Monday night, when word spread of Rolling Stone’s blockbuster article, and high noon Wednesday, when Obama MacArthured his general. That frenzied interlude revealed much about the state of Washington, the Afghanistan war and the Obama presidency — little of it cheering and none of it resolved by the ingenious replacement of Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus, the only militarily and politically bullet-proof alternative.

What we saw was this: 1) Much of the Beltway establishment was blindsided by Michael Hastings’s scoop, an impressive feat of journalism by a Washington outsider who seemed to know more about what was going on in Washington than most insiders did; 2) Obama’s failure to fire McChrystal months ago for both his arrogance and incompetence was a grievous mistake that illuminates a wider management shortfall at the White House; 3) The present strategy has produced no progress in this nearly nine-year-old war, even as the monthly coalition body count has just reached a new high.

If we and the president don’t absorb these revelations and learn from them, the salutary effects of the drama’s denouement, however triumphant for Obama in the short run, will be for naught.

There were few laughs in the 36 hours of tumult, but Jon Stewart captured them with a montage of cable-news talking heads expressing repeated shock that an interloper from a rock ’n’ roll magazine could gain access to the war command and induce it to speak with self-immolating candor. Politico theorized that Hastings had pulled off his impertinent coup because he was a freelance journalist rather than a beat reporter, and so could risk “burning bridges by publishing many of McChrystal’s remarks.”

That sentence was edited out of the article — in a routine updating, said Politico — after the blogger Andrew Sullivan highlighted it as a devastating indictment of a Washington media elite too cozy with and protective of its sources to report the unvarnished news. In any event, Politico had the big picture right. It’s the Hastings-esque outsiders with no fear of burning bridges who have often uncovered the epochal stories missed by those with high-level access. Woodward and Bernstein were young local reporters, nowhere near the White House beat, when they cracked Watergate. Seymour Hersh was a freelancer when he broke My Lai. It was uncelebrated reporters in Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau, not journalistic stars courted by Scooter and Wolfowitz, who mined low-level agency hands to challenge the “slam-dunk” W.M.D. intelligence in the run-up to Iraq.

Symbolically enough, Hastings was reporting his McChrystal story abroad just as Beltway media heavies and their most bold-faced subjects were dressing up for the annual White House correspondents’ dinner. Rolling Stone has never bought a table or thrown an afterparty for that bacchanal, and it has not even had a Washington bureau since the mid-1970s. Yet the magazine has not only chronicled the McChrystal implosion — and relentlessly tracked the administration’s connections to the “vampire squid” of Goldman Sachs — but has also exposed the shoddy management of the Obama Interior Department. As it happens, the issue of Rolling Stone with the Hastings story also contains a second installment of Tim Dickinson’s devastating dissection of the Ken Salazar cohort, this time detailing how its lax regulation could soon lead to an even uglier repeat of the Gulf of Mexico fiasco when BP and Shell commence offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

The Interior Department follies will end promptly only if Obama has learned the lessons of the attenuated McChrystal debacle. Lesson No. 1 should be to revisit some of his initial hiring decisions. The general’s significant role in the Pentagon’s politically motivated cover-up of Pat Tillman’s friendly-fire death in 2004 should have been disqualifying from the start. The official investigation into that scandal — finding that McChrystal peddled “inaccurate and misleading assertions” — was unambiguous and damning.

Once made the top commander in Afghanistan, the general was kept on long past his expiration date. He should have been cashiered after he took his first public shot at Joe Biden during a London speaking appearance last October. That’s when McChrystal said he would not support the vice president’s more limited war strategy, should the president choose it over his own. According to Jonathan Alter in his book “The Promise,” McChrystal’s London remarks also disclosed information from a C.I.A. report that the general “had no authority to declassify.” These weren’t his only offenses. McChrystal had gone on a showboating personal publicity tour that culminated with “60 Minutes” — even as his own histrionic Afghanistan recommendation somehow leaked to Bob Woodward, disrupting Obama’s war deliberations. The president was livid, Alter writes, but McChrystal was spared because of a White House consensus that he was naïve, not “out of control.”

We now know, thanks to Hastings, that the general was out of control and the White House was naïve. The price has been huge. The McChrystal cadre’s utter distaste for its civilian colleagues on the war team was an ipso facto death sentence for the general’s signature counterinsurgency strategy. You can’t engage in nation building without civilian partnership. As Rachel Maddow said last week of McChrystal, “the guy who was promoting and leading the counterinsurgency strategy has shown by his actions that even he doesn’t believe in it.”

This fundamental contradiction helps explain some of the war’s failures under McChrystal’s aborted command, including the inability to hold Marja (pop. 60,000), which he had vowed to secure in pure counterinsurgency fashion by rolling out a civilian “government in a box” after troops cleared it of the Taliban. Such is the general’s contempt for leadership outside his orbit that it extends even to our allies. The Hastings article opens with McChrystal mocking the French at a time when every ally’s every troop is a precious, dwindling commodity in Afghanistan.

In the 36 hours between the Rolling Stone bombshell and McChrystal’s firing, some perennial war cheerleaders in the Beltway establishment, including the editorial page of The Washington Post and Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, did rally to the general’s defense and implored Obama to keep him in place. George Stephanopoulos, reflecting a certain strain of received Beltway wisdom, warned on ABC that the president risked looking “thin-skinned and petulant” if he fired McChrystal.

But none of the general’s defenders had an argument for him or the war beyond staying the course, poor as the results have been. What McChrystal’s supporters most seemed to admire was his uniquely strong relationship with Hamid Karzai, our Afghanistan puppet. As if to prove the point, Karzai was the most visible lobbyist for McChrystal’s survival last week. He was matched by his corrupt half-brother, the reported opium kingpin Ahmed Wali Karzai, who chimed in to publicly declare McChrystal “honest.” Was Rod Blagojevich unavailable as a character witness?

You have to wonder whether McChrystal’s defenders in Washington even read Hastings’s article past its inflammatory opening anecdotes. If so, they would have discovered that the day before the Marja offensive, the general’s good pal Hamid Karzai kept him waiting for hours so he could finish a nap before signing off on the biggest military operation of the year. Poor McChrystal was reduced to begging another official to wake the sleeping president so he could get on with the show.

The war, supported by a steadily declining minority of Americans, has no chance of regaining public favor unless President Obama can explain why American blood and treasure should be at the mercy of this napping Afghan president. Karzai stole an election, can’t provide a government in or out of a box, and has in recent months threatened to defect to the Taliban and accused American forces of staging rocket attacks on his national peace conference. Until last week, Obama’s only real ally in making his case was public apathy. Next to unemployment and the oil spill, Karzai and Afghanistan were but ticks on our body politic, even as the casualty toll passed 1,000. As a senior McChrystal adviser presciently told Hastings, “If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular.”

To appreciate how shielded Americans have been from Afghanistan, revisit Rahm Emanuel’s appearance last Sunday morning on “This Week,” just before the McChrystal firestorm erupted. Trying to put a positive spin on the war, the president’s chief of staff said that the Afghans were at long last meeting their army and police quotas. Technically that’s true; the numbers are up. But in that same day’s Washington Post, a correspondent in Kandahar reported that the Afghan forces there are poorly equipped, corrupt, directionless and infiltrated by Taliban sympathizers and spies. Kandahar (pop. 1 million) is supposed to be the site of the next major American offensive.

The gaping discrepancy between Emanuel’s upbeat assessment and the reality on the ground went unremarked because absolutely no one was paying attention. Everyone is now. That, at least, gives us reason to hope that the president’s first bold move to extricate America from the graveyard of empires won’t be his last.

Go on-site for to gain access to the numerous links within this article as well as other articles which are related. Just click on the following URL:


:: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
June 27th, 2010, 04:33 PM


We need your help.

A few months ago, a decision by the Supreme Court called Citizens United made it possible for there to be more money in our elections than ever before - permitting unlimited spending by unions, corporations or shadow groups on things like political advertisements.

Whether or not you agree with this decision, that's the way it is.

At the very least, this influx of money going to influence our government needs to be fully disclosed, which means we need disclosure ONLINE and in REAL-TIME.

Right now you can help make that happen.

The DISCLOSE Act is coming up for a vote this afternoon in the House and we need your help to make sure it passes. This bill will help to make sure we know who is paying for political ads that are influencing the way citizens decide in this year's elections.

Now the bill needs to pass, and we need your help doing three things ASAP:

1) Call your representative right now to tell them to support the DISCLOSE Act, and ask your friends to do the same. Tell your rep that you want all political money disclosed online and in real-time.


2) Let us know that you've made that call in the simple form provided and if you got any feedback from your Rep.

3) Make sure Congress understands that we'll be expecting them to be open and transparent when we go to the ballot boxes this November.


No matter what you think about the flow of money in politics it's important to know who's spending it and where.

Thank you for helping to make the disclosure of money in politics an online, real-time reality!

Ellen Miller

PS Sunlight worked hard to successfully amend the DISCLOSE Act so that information about corporate and union spending on elections would be online, in real time. You can read more about the amendment in Lisa Rosenberg's blog post


. . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
June 28th, 2010, 05:56 PM

June 28, 2010

Deepak Bhargava

Executive Director
of the
for Community Change

Posted: June 28, 2010 02:47 PM

The Local Jobs for America Act:
Why Aren't More Politicians Supporting
Legislation Americans Need and Want?
Read More: The Public Supports a Boldly Progressive Agenda From The Obama Administration And Congress That Would Put People Back To Work And Boost Our Economy. , Politics News
(Go on-site to gain access to these articles.)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) recently introduced the Local Jobs for America Act in the Senate, a piece of legislation that gives Americans exactly what they want: More jobs and the help they need to train for and secure long-term employment.

A companion bill introduced in the House by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) in March has more than 160 co-sponsors. Unfortunately there are members on both sides of the aisle who believe it won't play well with voters concerned that legislation of this kind will further balloon the deficit.

But a major new poll conducted by Lake Research Partners for my organization, the Center for Community Change, along with the Ms. Foundation for Women, finds that those beliefs may be off base. While most support decreased government spending in the long run, a majority of those surveyed do not see it as a top priority today. In fact, they are less concerned about the federal budget deficit than they are about rising health care costs, the lack of jobs with family-sustaining wages, and the affordability of every day expenses like food and gas. Three out of four people surveyed said they believe policies that would create more jobs with decent wages and benefits for low-income families are important to them personally. Even more people believe those policies would be good for the economy.

Our poll provides strong evidence that the public would support a boldly progressive agenda from the Obama Administration and Congress that would put people back to work and boost our economy. And it effectively undercuts the "everyone for themselves" individualism espoused by the Tea Party movement.

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said they believed the government should play a greater role in creating jobs and training programs, helping to trim health care costs, and combating corporate greed. Such beliefs were particularly pronounced among those who have suffered most during the recession. For example, 66 percent of African American women and 68 percent of Latinas want the government to play a bigger role.

It is groups like these who stand to benefit most immediately from legislation like the Local Jobs for America Act. The bill would authorize $75 billion in temporary funds over the next two years to prevent planned job cuts and enable communities to hire back critical service workers who have lost their jobs due to tight budgets. It is estimated that the bill would create or save up to a million jobs quickly in both the public and private sectors and help restore access to vital services. The bill would also fund approximately 50,000 additional private sector on-the-job training positions to enable workers to acquire core job skills and help local businesses increase hiring. Finally, it would provide crucial funding in our communities to hire additional police and firefighters.

By putting people back to work, legislation of this kind strengthens our economy while also providing support for those in need. Although it will require an initial upfront investment, an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute found that the total cost of the legislation would be offset by $39 billion since the bill would help keep taxpayers on payrolls and reduce spending on unemployment benefits and other safety-net programs.

Despite messages from the far Right, most Americans do not think government should withdraw support for struggling communities. Even those with jobs recognize that they may be vulnerable and that their communities need help. Just under half of those surveyed in our poll said they are worried that they or someone in their household will be out of a job in the next 12 months, and more than half are worried that they or someone in their household will not be working enough hours to make ends meet.

With state budget cuts forcing slashes in services and jobs at an unprecedented rate, it's hardly surprising that many people feel deeply insecure about their long-term employment prospects. According to the Economic Policy Institute analysis, tight budgets as the result of the recession could cause local communities to lay off another 225,000 workers beginning this summer, threatening to undercut the recovery.

As far as most Americans are concerned, the so-called economic recovery has little to do with the reality many of them are facing. Government leaders who think they are taking the politically smart path by withholding support for legislation that would help people obtain or maintain good jobs, should take a hard look at the challenging circumstances facing families and communities across our nation and pass the Local Jobs for America Act.

Text CHANGE to 69866 to join the call to pass the Local Jobs for America Act.

Follow Deepak Bhargava on Twitter:
Copyright © 2010 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

. . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
June 28th, 2010, 06:43 PM
. . . . . . . . .


Saundra R --

After more than seven months of work and a prolonged effort by Organizing for America supporters, House and Senate leaders just agreed on a final Wall Street reform bill. They're moving fast toward final votes.

This is the final hurdle to enacting the toughest financial reforms since the Great Depression -- and delivering another historic accomplishment for the American people.

These votes in the House and Senate will come down to the wire. Lobbyists for the big banks will be knocking down the doors on Capitol Hill this week, so we're going all-in over the next few days to fight back -- and that starts with a massive public display of support for the bill.

Many in Congress are fighting hard alongside President Obama for Wall Street reform -- they need to hear our support. Others are standing with the special interests -- and it's even more important that they hear from us too.

Add your name now to the growing list of OFA supporters who are standing with the President on Wall Street reform.


Reform doesn't just help create a more stable economy, it greatly improves the daily lives of all American families. Here are five of the most important benefits of the bill:
1) Reform forces credit card and mortgage companies to play by the rules. No more hidden fees or pages of fine print.

2) Families who are hoping to buy a home or pay for college are put on a level playing field with lenders. Reform ensures they'll get the information they need presented clearly and concisely so they can make good decisions. The same goes for small businesses and community banks who play fair and deserve to see their businesses grow.

3) The legislation cracks down on predatory lenders looking to mislead people into taking on irresponsible debt.

4) Wall Street reform establishes an independent agency -- the Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- whose sole job is to protect consumers and enforce the new consumer financial protections, which would be the strongest ever enacted.

5) Finally, American taxpayers will never again be asked to bail out the big banks that are "too big to fail." Let's be absolutely clear about this, no matter what our opponents in Congress say.

But these changes will only happen if the President can sign it into law. We need to get the bill to him.

Stand with the President in support of this crucial reform:


Thank you,


Mitch Stewart
Organizing for America

Paid for by Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee -- 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
. . . . . . . . . . .

Saundra Hummer
June 28th, 2010, 06:49 PM
:: :: :: :: ::

Associated Press

New Palin defense fund soliciting donations

06.28.10, 06:25 PM EDT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The administrators of a new legal defense fund set up for Sarah Palin have sent out an e-mail that distorts the outcome of ethics complaints against the former Alaska governor and asks supporters to help fight a "vicious campaign" by her political enemies to ruin her.

An ethics investigator said in findings released Thursday that an earlier fund was illegal, but that the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee acted in good faith and relied on a team of attorneys to vet its legality.

The new Sarah Palin Legal Defense Fund sent out an e-mail calling last week's action a victory for Palin's enemies "in their vicious campaign to smear, bankrupt, and force this dedicated public servant and conservative leader out of politics!"

The money from the first fund is being returned.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Saundra Hummer
June 29th, 2010, 11:51 PM

. . .

A Karl Rove Victim

Updated: Supreme Court vacates Siegelman decision
Larisa Alexandrovna
Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 -- 10:30 am

In a surprise decision Tuesday morning, the United States Supreme Court vacated an earlier ruling by a lower court in the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, who was convicted of bribery and honest services fraud in 2006 in a case that has widely been criticized as politically motivated.

The ruling was vacated in light of a ruling last week in the case of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling which partially struck down the so-called "honest services" fraud statute. On the heels of that decision, the Supreme Court issued a surprise ruling in the Siegelman case on Tuesday morning:

The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted. The
judgment is vacated, and the cases are remanded to the United
States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for further
consideration in light of Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S.
___ (2010).
Siegelman's attorney for the Supreme Court appeal, Sam Heldman, told Raw Story, "We are very pleased with the Court's ruling. This is an important step towards a complete victory for Governor Siegelman."

Siegelman's case will now be remanded back to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for a second consideration.

It doesn't mean, however, that Siegelman is out of the woods. In March 2009, the Eleventh Circuit upheld bribery, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges against Siegelman and refused a request for a new trial. They could easily do so again.


In what many have alleged was a politically-motivated prosecution orchestrated from the top echelons of the Republican Party’s power structure, Siegelman, a Democrat, was convicted in 2006 of selling a seat on an Alabama hospital regulatory board for $500,000 to former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, by way of donations to a 1999 Siegelman sponsored state lottery campaign, for which Siegelman received no profit and no campaign financing.

The case has come under public scrutiny because of allegations that former Bush White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, was behind the prosecutions for political motives. Leura Canary, the US Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama and who prosecuted Siegelman is married to Rove’s long-time friend and business partner William Canary. Siegelman's gubernatorial opponent at the time of his indictment, Bob Riley, had hired William Canary as a campaign advisor.

Rove, who was subpoenaed three times by the House Judiciary Committee as part of their investigation into the Siegelman case, failed to show for each of the hearings and only agreed to testify on the condition that he be not under oath and not in public, which the Judiciary granted.

In March 2009, a three-judge panel from the 11th Circuit Court reversed two out of the seven charges of corruption and bribery relating to Siegelman’s conviction.

The Supreme Court decision today vacates the Circuit Court's ruling and remands the case back to them to reconsider in light of last Thursday's ruling in the Skilling case.

Scott Horton, Columbia University law professor and contributor to Harper's is not surprised by today's ruling, telling Raw Story early this morning that if the Circuit Court approaches the Siegelman case fairly, they will vacate the conviction entirely.

'This is not surprising, indeed, it's the outcome I anticipated," wrote Horton in an email Tuesday morning.

"The Supreme Court's majority allowed honest services fraud to continue on seriously narrowed grounds, basically reduced to clear cases of bribery, while a powerful minority wants to strike it altogether expressing sharp dissatisfaction with the Justice Department's management of honest-services fraud, particularly in 'political' cases," he added. "The Eleventh Circuit should now apply this to the Siegelman case. If they do so fairly, the Siegelman case is over. Moreover, the Justice Department should read the Skilling decision carefully. If they do and follow the spirit of the ruling, they will simply abandon the Siegelman case, which they should have done long ago."

Related stories:
Part One – The Political Prisoner

Part Two – Exclusive interview with jailed governor’s daughter, Dana Siegelman

Part Three – Running Elections from the White House

Interview with Dana Jill Simpson and alleged Rove smear campaign

Part Four – How Bush pick helped prosecute top Democrat-backed judge

Part Five – Mississippi Justice: Bush US Attorney targeted my wife, supporters and friends

Part Six - Break-ins plague targets of US Attorneys

Justice Department investigating two US Attorneys for political prosecution

Part Seven - Justice for Sale: How Big Tobacco and the GOP teamed up to crush Democrats in the South

Government opposes appeal by imprisoned attorney to visit dying wife

Democrat claiming political prosecution appeals decision to prohibit visit to dying wife

Judge who ruled on appeal of prosecuted Democrat was Karl Rove protege

Supreme Court ruling may not help Democrats targeted by Bush US Attorneys

Go on-site to gain access to any links within this article, just click on the URL at end of this article.

Editor's note: Because of a legal misinterpretation, the original version of this story asserted that the Supreme Court had vacated Siegelman's conviction entirely. In fact, they vacated a narrower part of the case, a recent ruling by the Eleventh Circuit denying Siegelman the right to a new trial. This version has been updated to correct those misinterpretations.

I do hope that this time around, Don Siegleman will see the doors to the prison he has been kept in, open. His is a sad and unjustified case of justice run awry, but what did we expect with Karl Rove at the helm? He persecuted Don Siegelman without mercy, and he has done it endlessly. Need I say more? SRH

URL: http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0629/supreme-court-vacates-don-siegelman/


Governor Siegelman: I am up for the fight!

Dear Saundra R

Just a late night note to let you know that the US Supreme Court sent my case back to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to review in light of their earlier decision narrowing the scope of the "Honest Services" statute.

This is very good news!

While we have another fight on our hands in Atlanta with the 11th Circuit, the good news is that we have a chance to convince the 11th Circuit that the time has come to finally do justice in this case.

Forget, if you can Karl Rove's involvement...forget that I was brought to trial in the middle of my reelection campaign by the wife of my opponent's campaign manager who is Rove's best friend, this case is important not just for my freedom but for anyone running for office and any of their contributors!

It is important because there was no crime...something that the New York Times __has repeatedly said and to which 91 former state Attorneys General have agreed...appointing a contributor to a board he wanted to be on may be called lots of things but one thing it's not...is bribery! Otherwise President Obama and all of his ambassadors should be in federal prison!

So I am encouraged because we have a chance to convince the 11 th Circuit to do justice... finally and completely.

Hope you will join me in this fight.

All my best,


Don Siegelman
Governor of Alabama 1999-2003

To learn more about my prosecution please visit the website: www.donsiegelman.org

. . . . . . . . . . .


Saundra Hummer
June 30th, 2010, 10:55 PM

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ancient Fossils Show Arctic
Now Near Climate Tipping Point

Published on Wednesday
June 30, 2010
Environment News Service (ENS)

BOULDER, Colorado - Current levels of Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide may be high enough to bring about "irreversible" shifts in Arctic ecosystems, according to new research published today by scientists from the United States, Canada and The Netherlands.

Ellesmere Island natural ice sculptures like this may soon be history. The Arctic climate system is more sensitive to greenhouse warming than previously known said the researchers, who gathered evidence on what is now Ellesmere Island in Canada's High Arctic.

(Photo by Cam17)
The Arctic climate system is more sensitive to greenhouse warming than previously known said the researchers, who gathered evidence on what is now Ellesmere Island in Canada's High Arctic from a time period 2.6 to 5.3 million years ago. This period, known as the Pliocene Epoch, occurred shortly before Earth was plunged into an ice age.

"Our findings indicate that CO2 levels of approximately 400 parts per million are sufficient to produce mean annual temperatures in the High Arctic of approximately zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees F)," said lead author Ashley Ballantyne of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

"As temperatures approach zero degrees Celsius, it becomes exceedingly difficult to maintain permanent sea and glacial ice in the Arctic. Thus current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere of approximately 390 parts per million may be approaching a tipping point for irreversible ice-free conditions in the Arctic," Dr. Ballantyne warned.

The research team points out that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree Earth is warming due to increased atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping gases generated by human activities like fossil fuel burning and deforestation.

Arctic temperatures have risen by about 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C) in the past two decades in response to human-caused greenhouse warming, a trend expected to continue in the coming decades and centuries, said Ballantyne.

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have risen from about 280 parts per million during the pre-industrial era on Earth to about 390 parts per million today.

Environmental advocates are calling on governments negotiating the next climate treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 350 parts per million, the level many scientists say will help to avert the worst consequences of climate change.

The research paper is being published in the July issue of the journal "Geology." The study was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council in Canada, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and the European Research Council.

Co-authors included David Greenwood of Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada; Jaap Sinninghe Damste of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research; Adam Csank of the University of Arizona; Natalia Rybczynski of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa; and Jaelyn Eberle, curator of fossil vertebrates at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and an associate professor in the geological sciences department.

"Our findings are somewhat disconcerting regarding the temperatures and greenhouse gas levels during the Pliocene," said Eberle. "We already are seeing evidence of both mammals and birds moving northward as the climate warms, and I can't help but wonder if the Arctic is headed toward conditions similar to those that existed during the Pliocene."

At the Ellesmere Island research site, called the Beaver Pond site, organic materials have been "mummified" in peat deposits, allowing the researchers to conduct detailed, high-quality analyses, said Eberle.

They found that in the Pliocene, Ellesmere Island had forests of larch, dwarf birch and northern white cedar trees, as well as mosses and herbs.

The island was inhabited by fish, frogs and mammals now extinct, including tiny deer, ancient relatives of the black bear, three-toed horses, small beavers, rabbits, badgers and shrews.

But the research value of the site is now threatened by a proposed coal mine. Eberle said there is high concern by scientists over a proposal to mine coal on Ellesmere Island near the Beaver Pond site by WestStar Resources Inc., a mineral exploration company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Beaver Pond site is close to Strathcona Fiord on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Territory of Nunavut. In the 1980s, reconnaissance exploration conducted by Petro-Canada and others described coal seams up to 12 meters (39 feet) thick close to the surface along the steep north shore of the fiord.

"Paleontological sites like the Beaver Pond site are unique and extremely valuable resources that are of international importance," said Eberle. "Our concern is that coal mining activities could damage such sites and they will be lost forever."

For this study, the team used three independent methods of measuring the Pliocene temperatures on Ellesmere Island.

They measured oxygen isotopes found in the cellulose of fossil trees and mosses that reveal temperatures and precipitation levels tied to ancient water.

They analyzed the distribution of lipids in soil bacteria which correlate with temperature.

And they inventoried ancient Pliocene plant groups that overlap in range with contemporary vegetation.

"The results of the three independent temperature proxies are remarkably consistent," said Eberle. "We essentially were able to 'read' the vegetation in order to estimate air temperatures in the Pliocene."

The scientists found that while the mean annual temperature on Ellesmere Island during the Pliocene was about 34 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius) hotter than it is today, levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide were only slightly higher than present.

Elevated Arctic temperatures during the Pliocene are thought to have been driven by the transfer of heat to the polar regions and perhaps by decreased reflectivity of sunlight hitting the Arctic due to a lack of ice, said Ball