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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Growth removed from mccain shows cells have had no contact with intelligent bioform

    Senator John McCain with his wife, Cindy, spoke about the procedure yesterday during a campaign visit to an oil rig. McCain said his doctor told him that he was doing fine.


    Exxon has record profit again on soaring oil prices

    Revenue in the quarter rose about 40 percent to $138.07 billion.

    Exxon both produces oil and refines it to make gasoline, and profit margins for gasoline were weak during the quarter, holding back earnings slightly.

    The company said earnings from its exploration and production business rose about 68 percent to $10.01 billion. But its refining and marketing earnings fell about 54 percent to $1.56 billion.

    U.S. oil prices averaged slightly less than $125 a barrel in the quarter, nearly double prices from a year earlier. Gasoline prices only rose 25 percent during that same period, resulting in weak profit margins for the fuel.


    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Bush's Family Ties to Business With China

    Pictured: Another Member of Bush Crime Family, Prescott
    When President Bush arrives in Beijing on Thursday, he'll embrace a policy that's something of a family tradition.

    Bush's approach centers on promoting U.S.-China economic ties. That's a course favored not only by his father, the first President Bush, but also by his uncle, Prescott Bush Jr., a longtime acquaintance of Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

    The Bush family's ties to China go back to 1974, when President Nixon named George Bush ambassador to China. The college-age George W. Bush spent two months in China visiting his parents during his father's two-year stint.

    Seven years after his brother left the ambassadorial post, Prescott Bush made his first trip to China. He later joined with Japanese partners in 1988 to build a golf course in Shanghai, the first in China. He met Jiang, who was then the mayor of Shanghai.


    Along with access, the family name has also brought scrutiny to Prescott Bush's deals:

    • He was criticized in 1989 for visiting China to meet with business and government leaders just three months after the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which army troops fired at pro-democracy demonstrators.
    • His Shanghai partnership with the Japanese firm Aoki in 1988 proved embarrassing when revelations surfaced that Aoki at the same time was allegedly trying to get business contracts by bribing Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, whom the first President Bush later ousted from power.
    • His connections to an American firm, Asset Management, came into question in 1989, when the company was the only U.S. firm able to skirt U.S. sanctions and import communications satellites into China.
    • When Asset Management went bankrupt later that year, Bush's deal to arrange a buyout through West Tsusho, a Japanese investment firm, raised eyebrows. Newspapers reported that Japanese police were investigating West Tsusho's alleged ties to organized crime.

    Bush declines to discuss those controversies. "That's old news. It's in the past," he says.

    Last year, he opened the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce offices in Chicago. The membership roster includes United Airlines, American Express, McDonald's, Ford and Arthur Andersen, the beleaguered company that audited Enron's books.

    Bush says opportunities abound now that the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis is in the past: "The Chinese are very much interested in getting foreign capital in. They desperately need the jobs."

    Last fall, Bush hosted a well-attended trade conference in Chicago at which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick gave the keynote address. At a dinner he sponsored last month at the Yale Club in New York, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, was guest of honor.

    Perhaps the most intriguing question about Bush's China connections is whether he played a role in ending a U.S.-China standoff in April, when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the South China Sea. The Chinese pilot was killed, and the U.S. plane made an emergency landing on Hainan island, where 24 U.S. crewmembers were held for 11 days.

    The president's uncle traveled to China just hours after news of the incident broke. He flew aboard United's inaugural flight from Chicago to Beijing. Other dignitaries on the largely ceremonial flight stayed a few days, but Bush didn't return home for two weeks. Moreover, U.S. Ambassador Joseph Prueher met Bush — but not the rest of the group.



    John McCain's Business Ties To Cuba or John McCain Opposes Himself

    John MMcCain's wife, Cindy, owns the third-largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the country.

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    Separated at birth


    The New Italian Fascism

    Italian soldiers will start patrolling streets on Monday as part of a controversial plan to fight crime — with many of the 3,000 soldiers descending on Milan, Rome and Naples, the cities that tend to have the most trouble with it, officials announced Tuesday.

    The soldiers will patrol alongside regular state police and the carabinieri, Italy’s paramilitary police, according to a spokeswoman with the Interior Ministry.


    Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi recently declared a state of emergency, and the government’s plan to infuse cities with patrolling soldiers is aimed at stemming the high rate of crime — much of it associated with the influx of illegal immigrants, Interior Ministry officials said.


    Though the soldiers can stop, search and identify suspects, they will have no arrest powers, the spokeswoman said. If they identify a suspect, they can hold him for police, she said.

    Soldiers also will patrol in Florence, Genoa, Bologna, Turin, Palermo, Bari and Venice. Generally, one-third of the soldiers assigned to each city will protect "sensitive targets," such as embassies, consular offices and other institutions; another third will be used for surveillance of city centers; and others will conduct foot patrols from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

    The plan is expected to run for six months, with the possibility of a one-time six-month extension, she said.

    The measure raised eyebrows among some U.S. sailors serving in Naples.

    Martial law, as it were, wouldn’t go over well with the population in America, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Palae Cloud. "This is their city, and we’re just visiting, but people would be pretty upset if it happened in the States."

    Bringing in the military is "the last resort" in the States and could be frightening, especially for tourists, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Queathan McKenzie. "I mean, I wouldn’t want to go to New York if the military patrolled, or to Miami if the military was on the streets," he said.


    7 Underwater Wonders of the World



    Huge chunk snaps off storied Arctic ice shelf

    A four-square-kilometre chunk has broken off Ward Hunt Ice Shelf - the largest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic - threatening the future of the giant frozen mass that northern explorers have used for years as the starting point for their treks.

    Scientists say the break, the largest on record since 2005, is the latest indication that climate change is forcing the drastic reshaping of the Arctic coastline, where 9,000 square kilometres of ice have been whittled down to less than 1,000 over the past century, and are only showing signs of decreasing further.

    "Once you unleash this process by cracking the ice shelf in multiple spots, of course we're going to see this continuing," said Derek Mueller, a leading expert on the North who discovered the ice shelf's first major crack in 2002.


    "We see this in a variety of indicators, including ... a gradual increase in air temperatures in this area. Each year it seems we're crossing a new threshold of environmental change in this area of the world."

    Dr. Vincent said it's important to note that the Ward Hunt ice break is "small compared to what we've seen in the past."

    Indeed, the largest ice break recorded in recent time was significantly larger: In 2005, the Ayles Ice Shelf, one of six in existence in Canada at the time, broke off in its entirety, rendering a 66-square-kilometre ice island that floated out to sea.

    Still, the latest break "indicates ongoing change in this very sensitive area," Dr. Vincent said.

    Dr. Mueller, whom Dr. Vincent calls the pre-eminent expert on Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, says he's concerned that the ice shelves will disappear completely.

    "The take-home message for me is that these ice shelves are not regenerating," he said. "If we're looking at an indicator of whether climate is to blame, it's really the lack of regeneration that convinces me. They're breaking away so rapidly that there's no hope of regeneration," he said, adding that is "pretty strong evidence that suggests this is related to global warming."


    Saturday, July 26, 2008

    John McCain's Daily Dose, 2 patches, one on each inner thigh



    Offshore Drilling, A Mccain plan

    A pilot we spoke to said that it was like this all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. It appears that oil has been continuously leaking from the barge in substantial quantities since the wreck occurred. Disturbingly, there appears to be little effort to contain and collect the leaking oil. While many areas on the river have been boomed off to prevent the oil from getting into things like intakes, diversions and other waterways, there seems to be little real attempt to collect the spilling oil. It appears that the oil is simply being allowed to escape into the Gulf of Mexico.In response to the ongoing disaster, the groups are calling for systemic changes, including:

    * a review of the safety practices for the shipping of dangerous cargo in Louisiana;

    * labeling of barges so first responders can tell from a distance what materials they're dealing with;

    * a requirement that petroleum products and other hazardous materials be transported in double-hulled containers;

    * an additional vessel to accompany hazardous cargo, as with oversized loads on highways; and

    * better communication during an incident so local officials can take steps to protect drinking water supplies and evacuate residents if necessary.

    The full report with more photos is online here.

    Meanwhile, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports, the company that owned the tugboat implicated in this week's accident was involved in another collision on the Mississippi River near New Orleans just 11 days earlier.


    Senate Republicans block heating aid bill. Pelosi finally does something I agree with

    Republicans on Saturday blocked the Senate from considering a bill next week that would nearly double federal aid to help the poor pay heating and air-conditioning bills.

    Democrats needed 60 votes to substitute the measure on heating and air-conditioning aid in place of the debate on an expansion of offshore drilling championed by President Bush and GOP presidential candidate John McCain. They got 50 votes Saturday, with 35 Republicans voting against changing the topic.

    "Do we vote to keep the old, the sick and kids alive when the weather gets cold or very, very hot, or do we spend money on people who make huge campaign contributions? That is part of what this debate is about," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont.

    The government is devoting $2.6 billion in subsidies for helping people with low incomes pay heating and air-conditioning bills this year. Sanders' bill would nearly double that to $5.1 billion.

    While Senate Democrats said they hoped to pass it next week, Democrats in the House were looking at the popular subsidies for anchoring a second economic aid bill they want to push in September, closer to the November election.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is vehemently against letting the House vote on offshore drilling. She and Democratic leaders in the Senate also have shut down normal summer work on spending bills to prevent offshore drilling from getting a legislative footing in the appropriations committees.


    Quote from a high-level Monsanto spokesman: "We want to control the world's food supply."

    The long-awaited film by French filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin is now available in the US!

    Go to Seeds Of Deception and you will get further information at the Institute for Responsible Technology.

    The moment has come when we might finally be able to deliver a deadly blow to the biotech industry. The giant Monsanto corporation is in the lead when it comes to selling and making huge profits from GMO seeds, pesticides and fertilizers.

    These are toxic products that are right now in the process of ruining the earth's ecosystems and which are also in the food we eat, since we are the unknowing guinea pigs for this catastrophic experiment, callously engineered by the biotech companies, GM food sold without proper labeling. GM cultures are replacing biological and small-scale farming by giant monocultures of genetically modified crops that have clearly verified health hazards � from cancer to skin diseases.

    Only through infiltration by Monsanto high-level employees of agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has this gigantic corporation managed to make their way unhindered to an already well-on-the-way take-over of the world's agriculture.

    While the biotech corporations make billions, small farmers are forced to leave their land, move to city slums where they slowly starve to death with their families or outright commit suicide when they are so deeply in debt to these biotech sharks that they see no way out of their misery.

    Read 'The Monoculture of the Mind' about Dr Vandana Shiva, based in Delhi, India.

    The moment for action has arrived. Movements are afoot in the world, and not just in India, such as Letter From Langdon: Talking Seeds and Freedom at Mark Twain State Park

    Also see Linn Cohen-Cole: 'During a world food crisis, Monsanto just raised the price of its corn seed $100 a bag'


    US regulators seize two more banks


    Citigroup paying departing Michael Klein about $42.6 million


    Friday, July 25, 2008

    Rove Threatened GOP IT Guru If He Does Not 'Take the Fall' for Election Fraud in Ohio, Says Attorney

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    T Boone Pickens, Bush Supporter, Oil Speculator, Hedgefund Manager, Sociopath wants control of wind solar and Water

    Pickens is in the planning stages of a $1.5 billion initiative to pump billions of gallons of water from an ancient aquifer beneath the Texas Panhandle and build pipelines to ship them to thirsty cities such as Dallas. So far, no city has taken up his water company, Mesa Water, on the offer. But company officials and experts agree that a continuation of the drought impacting large portions of the United States could turn Pickens into something of a water baron. His yet-to-be-built pipeline would follow the same 250-mile corridor as electric lines carrying power from his wind farms. Pickens prompted the creation of a public water supply district, run by his employees, that can claim private land for the pipeline route through eminent domain. (Follow the pipeline's path here.)

    A drought has drained water from Texas and much of the rest of the United States. That could make water an increasingly profitable commodity for those who hold the rights. According to his Web site, Pickens owns rights to more water than anyone else. "In general, there's a lot of it, it's just not in the right place," says Robert Stillwell, legal counsel for Mesa Water (and board member of the water supply district), which continues to acquire water rights in rural Texas. He dismisses questions about whether the water would be cost-competitive. For cities looking at their future water needs, he says, "cost becomes irrelevant." As far as Mesa's pipeline snaking across the Texas heartland, Stillwell insists that "it's going to happen, it's just a matter of when."

    Pickens is not pioneering the use of big pipelines to transport water: A 330-mile pipeline in Australia supplies water to 100,000 people and California moves water from its northern rivers to its southern deserts with a massive network of reservoirs, aqueducts and pumps. Even in the Texas Panhandle, 323 miles of pipeline deliver water from Lake Meredith to Amarillo, Lubbock and other cities. Texas law allows private companies to pump water and sell it to cities; some have done so on much smaller scales than Pickens plans to do. But his project may become the biggest, with its profitability depending on coming municipal desperation caused by shrinking supply.

    Water is such a basic human necessity that people may not like to think of it as a commodity, despite the billions of plastic bottles of it sold every year. But as population growth and climate change put new pressure on supplies, more regions may now have no choice but to look further and further away for water, says Michael Campana, a professor at Oregon State University and director of its Institute for Water and Watersheds. "If that's the case, then you can bet that money or some other item of value will change hands," he says. "We will see more such transactions in the future." Campana think Pickens is making a wise bet on a future in which (in Pickens's words) "water is the new oil," but says it may take longer than the oilman expects for the bet to pay off.

    That dry future is not hard to imagine, given that the southeast United States is suffering through a lingering drought that last fall put Atlanta within weeks of running out of drinking water. Nearly a decade of drought in the Southwest has left Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the nation, about half-full. The situation is dire in Pickens's domain, as well. The Texas Water Development Board predicts that the state's water demand will rise 27 percent by 2060, even as the supply drops about 18 percent, because the dry conditions fill reservoirs with silt and depleted aquifers. Without new supplies, by 2060 more than 85 percent of Texans will not have enough water to last through a drought, the board projects.


    Typical Sexually Inappropriate Behavior from Republicans and Evangelicals


    Hate crimes hit 5-year high in LA County

    The annual report by the county's human relations commission shows 763 hate crimes were reported in 2007, a 28 percent increase from 2006.

    The numbers buck last year's overall crime trends, which saw a decrease of 6 percent in Los Angeles County and 5 percent in the city of Los Angeles, the report notes.

    The most common hate crimes were those motivated by race, with 310 committed against black people and 125 against Latinos. However, crimes in which anti-immigrant slurs were used dropped slightly.

    A majority of the hate crimes involved vandalism and simple assault, but aggravated assault was involved in 187 of them, a nearly 90 percent increase over the year before.


    Schwarzenegger Abuses California Workers

    Should he? Would he? Could he?


    Off Shore Drilling Anyone?


    The day after a ship collision shut down a 97 mile stretch of water, the river was a traffic jam of about 100 ships waiting to move along the vital link to Midwest grain elevators, coal terminals and other industrial facilities, Coast Guard officials said.

    "Think in terms of days for the opening and think in terms of weeks for the cleanup," said Captain Lincoln Stroh of the U.S. Coast Guard. "Think in terms of weeks for the cleanup."

    The river is a vital link carrying grain from production areas in the Midwest to export markets abroad. Between 55 and 65 percent of all U.S. corn, soybean and wheat exports leave from the Gulf of Mexico.

    Officials deployed an armada of ships to contain the spill, a floating scrim of 420,000 gallons (1,590,000 liters) of No. 6 fuel oil that threatened to contaminate the area's drinking water.

    The Coast Guard continued to look into a report that the tugboat crew was not properly licensed, a spokesman said.


    A spokesman for Minneapolis-based Cargill, the world's largest grain exporter, expressed hope the shutdown will be short.

    At the Port of South Louisiana, largest in the area, barges could still arrive from the U.S. heartland but ships headed out to the Gulf of Mexico and foreign ports were "essentially frozen," a person familiar with operations said.

    The spill was the largest in the area since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 collapsed oil tanks at an area refinery, and Louisiana officials said it was the largest in the river since a tanker ran aground southeast of New Orleans in 2000.

    A major coal shipping terminal south of New Orleans, United Bulk Terminal, which sends coal to other parts of the United States and overseas, declared force majeure on deliveries.



    Gee, Where Were Mine Inspectors Before Collapse? Oh Yeah, Bush appointed industry Insiders

    Six coal miners were killed in the dramatic cave-in of the Crandall Canyon Mine in central Utah on August 6, 2007 that drew worldwide media coverage as rescuers made frantic efforts from below ground and above to reach the men.

    Ten days later two mine employees and a Mine Safety and Health Administration inspector died during a second collapse that forced officials to end the rescue effort and say there was no hope of finding the trapped miners alive.

    Outspoken Crandall Canyon Mine owner Robert Murray said at the time that the collapse was due to an earthquake in the area, but MSHA investigators dismissed that assertion in releasing the findings at a briefing with reporters in Utah on Thursday.

    "First of all it was not, and I'll repeat not, a natural occurring earthquake but in fact it was a catastrophic outburst of the coal pillars that were used to support the ground above the coal seam," MSHA chief Richard Stickler said.


    Harry Reid Votes With Republicans For Oil Speculation and High Prices

    Measure Number: S. 3268 (Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008 )
    Measure Title: A bill to amend the Commodity Exchange Act, to prevent excessive price speculation with respect to energy commodities, and for other purposes.
    Vote Counts:YEAs50


    Not Voting7


    Senate energy speculation bill fails key vote.

    Legislation to rein in excessive energy speculation failed a key procedural vote on Friday to move forward in the Senate, and now lawmakers will set aside the bill to consider other legislation.

    The House of Representatives may take up its own anti-speculation bill next week, and then lawmakers will get ready to leave for their month-long recess in August.

    Sixty "yes" votes were required in the 100-member Senate for the bill to move forward, but the measure received only 50 "yes" votes, while 43 lawmakers opposed.

    Senate Democrats said the legislation was needed to give the government new powers to curb speculators, whom many lawmakers accused of being behind the run-up in crude oil and gasoline prices.


    Arctic Oil offers 3 year supply for Top dollar

    At today's current consumption rate of 86 million barrels a day, the yet-to-be-tapped oil in the Arctic would supply global demand for three years. Pursuing it is sure to be controversial with environmental groups that want to protect the pristine wilderness and the area's endangered species.


    Mortgage Writedowns to Total $1 Trillion, Gross Says


    A total of $5 trillion of mortgage loans, or almost half of the nation's home loans, belong to ``risky asset categories'' such as subprime and Alt-A, Gross of Pacific Investment Management Co. said in commentary posted on the firm's Web site today. About 25 million U.S. homes are at risk of negative equity, which could lead to more foreclosures and a further drop in prices, he said. A home has negative equity when it's worth less than the mortgage with which it was bought.

    ``The problem with writing off $1 trillion from the finance industry's cumulative balance sheet is that if not matched by capital raising, it necessitates a sale of assets, a reduction in lending or both that in turn begins to affect economic growth,'' Gross wrote.



    Jobless claims surge

    The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of new applications filed for these benefits rose by a seasonally adjusted 34,000 to 406,000 for the week ending July 19.

    That matched the level seen in late March. The last time claims were higher was after the devastation of the Gulf Coast hurricanes in mid-September 2005. Then, they spiked to 425,000.


    Monday, July 14, 2008

    U.S. oil industry demands access to federal lands, claim will ease shortage but is shipping record amounts of oil to other countries

    The surge in exports appears to contradict the pleas from the U.S. oil industry and the Bush administration for Congress to open more offshore waters and Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

    "We can help alleviate shortages by drilling for oil and gas in our own country," President Bush told reporters this week. "We have got the opportunity to find more crude oil here at home."

    "As a nation, we can have more control over our energy destiny by supplying more of the oil and natural gas we'll be consuming from resources here at home," Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said in a letter last week to U.S. lawmakers.



    Iran discovers billion-barrel oil field. Cheney Administration Draws Bead


    The field was in the area of Andimeshk town in Khuzestan province of southwest Iran that borders Iraq, Mr Nozari said.

    Iran is the No.2 producer in OPEC and No.4 worldwide, although its ability to reach oil production targets has been hampered by a lack of international investment.

    Production started in February from Iran's biggest onshore oil field, Azadegan, which is estimated to have 42 billion barrels of crude oil.


    Bush Sells the United States to Saudi Arabia and Russia


    Holdings of Treasuries by oil producers and institutions such as U.K. banks that are proxies for Middle East nations rose 44 percent this year to $510.8 billion through April, four times faster than the rest of the world, according to the Treasury Department's most recent data. At the current pace, they'll surpass Japan, which holds $592.2 billion, as the largest owner this month.

    While the investment of so-called petrodollars into government debt is helping to temper a rise in borrowing costs as the U.S. finances a record budget deficit, it highlights America's dependence on foreign money. New York's Chrysler Building was bought last week by Middle East investors.



    The $5 trillion mess created by Deregulation

    A fine example of how the right wing is willing to sacrifice the country's well being in order to fuck up government so they can then proclaim that government doesn't work.


    The two companies are so-called government-sponsored enterprises, created by Congress in 1938 (Fannie) and 1970 (Freddie) to help more Americans buy houses.

    Their mandate is to maintain a market for mortgages - buying loans from banks, repackaging them as bonds, and selling those securities to investors with a guarantee that they will be paid.

    This makes lending more tempting for banks because Fannie and Freddie take on risks like missed payments, defaults and swings in interest rates.

    But the companies are also publicly traded, with the usual mandate of trying to maximize profits for shareholders.

    That effort, of course, involves risk, but as quasi-government programs, they've long carried an implicit guarantee that the feds wouldn't let them fail.

    Their hybrid nature created both the opportunity and the temptation for the enterprises to take on more risk and to make themselves ever larger, more important and thus more profitable players in the mortgage market.



    Change I can Believe in

    Picture of Close-up of uncirculated 1, 2, 5, and 10 Euro cent coins.


    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    The Bush Police State Brings Torture to the Friendly Skies Over America

    Just when you thought you’ve heard it all...

    A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser®. According to this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. website, the bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers (video also shown below).

    This bracelet would:

    • Take the place of an airline boarding pass

    • Contain personal information about the traveler

    • Be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage

    • Shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes

    The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it’s referred to, would be worn by every traveler “until they disembark the flight at their destination.” Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information, and would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if the passenger got out of line.

    Clearly the Electronic ID Bracelet is a euphemism for the EMD Safety Bracelet, or at least it has a nefarious hidden ability (thus the term ID Bracelet is ambiguous at best). EMD stands for Electro-Musclar Disruption. Again, according to the promotional video, the bracelet can completely immobilize the wearer for several minutes.

    So is the government really that interested in this bracelet?

    Apparently so.

    According to this letter from DHS official, Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development, which was written to the inventor whom he had previously met with, Ruwaldt wrote, “To make it clear, we [the federal government] are interested in . . . the immobilizing security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal.”


    DHS, of course, was not created to keep the country secure, but to reroute taxpayer dollars to right wing corporations who then give generously to right wing politicians of both "parties." It was also created to put in place the mechanism for suppressing dissent.

    In other words DHS was created to build the Bush Police State.

    Widespread economic turmoil leading to food and water shortages, massive unemployment, homelessness, decaying infrastructure, constant climate change disasters, perpetual war, etc could potentially lead to citizen response, though with evangelical Christianity and FOX news to anesthetize the public I don't see much chance for that - however, the ruling class does and DHS is there to wipe out dissent before it grows, by shocking, cuffing, detaining, kicking, beating, macing, tasering, arresting, torturing, rendering anyone who might demand justice and accountability from the power elite.

    The letterhead, in case you were wondering, is from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security office at the William J. Hughes Technical Center at the Atlantic City International Airport, or the Federal Aviation Administration headquarters.

    In another part of the letter, Mr. Ruwaldt confirmed, “It is conceivable to envision a use to improve air security, on passenger planes.”

    Would every paying airline passenger flying on a commercial airplane be mandated to wear one of these devices? I cringe at the thought. Not only could it be used as a physical restraining device, but also as a method of interrogation, according to the same aforementioned letter from Mr. Ruwaldt.

    Would you let them put one of those on your wrist? Would you allow the airline employees, which would be mandated by the government, to place such a bracelet on any member of your family?

    Why are tax dollars being spent on something like this?

    Because corporations rule the world and this policy is in the best interests of corporations. And see above explanation.

    Is this a police state or is this America?

    This is a police state. Pretty soon we can all get braceleted when we go to renew our driver's licenses. This can be marketed by the Rovian forces as "Crime Prevention"


    Racial Mixing

    The Destruction of America Got into Full Swing Under Right Wing Hero Ronald Reagan

    Misunderstood, mocked, and maligned, the 39th president (1977-81) will forever be associated with the Iranian hostage crisis and the botched rescue attempt; the human rights-inspired Olympic boycott and grain embargo; inflation; the infamous rabbit attack; and, above all, skyrocketing fuel prices.

    Americans, who hate to be told they must change, roundly condemned Jimmy Carter’s memorable “Crisis of Confidence” speech of July 15, 1979. In it, Carter outlined a program for achieving energy independence: “On the battlefield of energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny.”

    We admirers have long endured ridicule whenever we dared to defend Carter’s prescient plan for reducing U.S. dependence on oil.

    But today, after all the abuse and scorn heaped on Jimmy Carter and his supporters, we find ourselves paying more than $4 a gallon at the pump to fill our hulking gas guzzlers.

    It turns out that Carter was right after all.

    He was right in seeking to raise the fleet auto mileage standard to 48 miles per gallon by 1995. (Even U.S. automakers admitted at the time that they could easily achieve 30 mph by 1985.)

    Jimmy Carter was right in exhorting Americans to turn down their thermostats, even if he did look nerdy in a cardigan while urging us to do so.

    In his July 1979 speech, he was right when he said, “I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States. Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 — never.” That worthy goal quickly went by the board.

    He was right to encourage fuel conservation by proposing a 50-cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline and a fee on imported oil — in effect, a floor for fuel prices.

    Invoking the pioneering spirit of the 1960s’ moon mission, he was right to recommend a tax on windfall oil profits to finance a crash program to develop affordable synthetic fuels.

    Jimmy Carter was correct, too, in setting a goal of obtaining 20 percent of our energy from solar power by the year 2000.

    We balked, and his energy program, which was new and demanding, shriveled up and died. When oil prices began declining in the 1980s, the justification for change vanished altogether. The Reagan administration junked the proposed 1995 mileage standard and the rest of the Carter agenda.

    Amazingly, amid today’s record gasoline prices, Congress even now doesn’t quite get it.

    It was only last December that Congress approved new mileage standards, the first in 32 years. If they stand, the present fleet standard of 27.5 mpg will rise to 35 mpg — but not until 2020.

    Our leaders’ idea of promoting alternative energy is touting future, non-existent technologies, and that false savior, ethanol. Ethanol consumes nearly as much fuel to make as it produces, while collaterally raising food prices and damaging the environment.

    The latest panacea is drilling in the Arctic and offshore, a short-term solution of dubious value that is wildly popular among oilmen and congressmen up for re-election, and in the Bush administration — which evidently hopes to use high gasoline prices as a wedge for opening off-limits areas to exploration for its Big Oil constituency.

    Meanwhile, Congress has failed to take the simple step of renewing federal tax credits for wind and solar power that will expire at year’s end. Every week of congressional foot-dragging on renewing the tax credits further dries up venture capital for critical solar and projects.

    Why is Congress deadlocked over this critical issue? How have our perceived options become so narrow and skewed?

    It is because without any public debate, a de facto U.S. energy policy has evolved and is now in place: to cling ever tighter to our oil-based economy and its lucrative profits for the scions of the status quo, and to marginalize all who are not on board with this.

    And now we are in the exact bind that Jimmy Carter tried to prevent three decades ago, when we were reeling from the concussive effects of oil supply disruptions in 1973 and 1979. Acting with promptness difficult to fathom today, our elected leaders then enacted year-around Daylight Savings Time, dropped the speed limit to 55, and established government price controls. And, oh so fleetingly, we downsized what we drove. All gone.

    Consequently, the United States last year imported 3.6 billion barrels of oil, three times the 1.2 million barrels imported in 1973. We not only are consuming record amounts of oil, we import nearly 60 percent of it, about 13 million barrels per day. In 1977, U.S. oil imports totaled 8.5 million barrels a day, or 46 percent of consumption.

    Remember, under Carter’s energy plan we were to hold the line at the 1977 oil import figure, in barrels. Had we done this, the percentage of U.S. oil imported today would be around 40 percent. Additional savings from Carter’s conservation and his alternative energy and synthetic fuel programs would surely have cut oil imports even further.

    But it happened so fast, we say.

    One hundred years ago, historian Henry Adams, in explaining his “Law of Acceleration,” observed that technological change occurs at an ever-quickening pace throughout history. “A law of acceleration, definite and constant as any law of mechanics, cannot be supposed to relax its energy to suit the convenience of man.”

    Today, change occurs at such blinding speeds that the rise and fall of technologies and nations happen in a single lifetime.

    An energy crisis is again upon us. Soaring gasoline prices and oil imports are daggers aimed at the heart of our stumbling economy.

    It is time to give Jimmy Carter’s proposals a second hearing.

    This is what he said in July 1979: “You know we can do it. We have the natural resources. We have more oil in our shale alone than several Saudi Arabias. We have more coal than any nation on Earth. We have the world's highest level of technology. We have the most skilled work force, with innovative genius, and I firmly believe that we have the national will to win this war.”


    Airlines Seem to Agree with me that Deregulation is behind high gas prices.

    Struggling Airlines Issue Urgent SOS to Customers

    Twelve airline CEOs came together on Wednesday to point fingers in the fuel crisis that is crippling their businesses.

    In an open letter to airline customers, the leaders of the major carriers ask travelers to stand by them in trying to prevent oil speculators from trading oil futures that raise the price of fuel with each trade.

    Many carriers have recently announced that thousands of their employees will soon lose their jobs as the airlines scale back their operations. With the airlines doing all they can to afford to do business as the cost of fuel rises, they tell travelers, "This pain can be alleviated, and that is why we are taking the extraordinary step of writing this joint letter to our customers."

    The letter asserts that there is "another side to this story because normal market forces are being dangerously amplified by poorly regulated market speculation."

    The Air Transport Association, the group that represents the airlines, has been making noise about oil speculators for weeks and speaking up about how critical their business is to the overall health of the U.S. economy. But this is the first time they've teamed up to make such a loud statement directly to the nation's travelers.

    "This nation's economy is inextricably linked to the viability of its air transportation system," ATA’s executive vice president and chief operating officer John M. Meenan testified before Congress on June 24. "If the airlines continue to spiral downward, so will the economy. Aviation contributes $690 billion to the U.S. GDP – that's 10 million new jobs."

    According to the ATA, the price of a barrel of jet fuel to date this year has soared to $139.52. The comparable price of jet fuel was $81.94 just last year.

    What do you think about this take-it-to-the-public campaign? Fair move, given the meteoric spike in oil prices? Or desperate move from an industry that's crashing and burning and needs to do all it can to survive and make a profit?


    Saturday, July 05, 2008

    Republican Family Values

    SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. — Early last month, Jeanne Fair, 62, got her first hot meals delivered to her home in this lake town in the sparsely populated southwestern part of the state. Then after two deliveries the meals stopped because gas prices had made the delivery too expensive.

    “They called and said I was outside of the delivery area,” said Mrs. Fair, who is homebound and has not been able to use her left arm since a stroke in 1997.

    Faced with soaring gasoline prices, agencies around the country that provide services to the elderly say they are having to cut back on programs like Meals on Wheels, transportation assistance and home care, especially in rural areas that depend on volunteers who provide their own gas. In a recent survey by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, more than half said they had already cut back on programs because of gas costs, and 90 percent said they expected to make cuts in the 2009 fiscal year.


    But older poor people and those who are homebound are doubly squeezed by rising gas and food prices, because they rely not just on social service agencies, but also on volunteers.

    In the survey of agencies, more than 70 percent said it was more difficult to recruit and keep volunteers.

    Mrs. Fair, who has limited mobility because of diabetes, lives on $642 per month in Social Security widow’s benefits, and relies on care from her son, who often works odd hours, especially during blueberry season. “He says, ‘You belong in a nursing home; I can’t take care of you,’ ” Mrs. Fair said.

    The delivered meals allowed her to eat at regular hours, which helped her control her blood sugar levels, she said. Last year she lost her balance during a change in blood sugar and spent a month in a nursing home.


    The agencies, which have suffered from Medicare cuts in recent years, are lobbying Congress to account for fuel inflation in reimbursement rates and to reinstate special increases for providers in rural areas, a program that expired in 2006.



    Stocks Decline in Europe, Canada, Led by Banks, Mining Shares


    Pakistan transported nuclear material to North Korea with the full knowledge of the country's army.

    Pakistan-made Shaheen 1 missile

    When asked why he had taken sole responsibility for the nuclear scandal in 2004, Dr Khan said he had been persuaded that it was in the national interest.

    In return, he said, he had been promised complete freedom, but "those promises were not honoured".

    Dr Khan also said that he travelled to North Korea in 1999 with a Pakistani general to purchase shoulder-launched missiles.

    His wife this week went to the Islamabad High Court in a bid to end restrictions on her husband's movements.

    Dr Khan was pardoned by President Musharraf after admitting illegally transferring nuclear secrets to other countries including Libya, Iran and North Korea.

    But in recent weeks he has retracted his confession.

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    Wednesday, July 02, 2008

    Outsourcing the Iraq War: Mercenary Recruiters Turn to Latin America

    Prince told the House Oversight Committee that in contrast, Blackwater’s employees are “Americans working for America, protecting Americans.”

    This statement would come as a surprise—and a slap in the face—to the thousands of Latin Americans and others from outside the United States whom the company has hired to fill its contracts in Iraq since the war began. Greystone Limited, a Blackwater affiliate set up in 2004 in the tax haven of Barbados, has recruited Iraq security guards from countries throughout Latin America, including Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama, as journalist Jeremy Scahill has reported.

    But Blackwater is far from the only such company hiring “third-country nationals,” or employees who are not from the United States or Iraq. In the interest of improving profit margins, private military firms in Iraq are increasingly turning to the developing world for armed guards. Peter Singer, a leading expert on the private security industry at the Brookings Institution, has estimated that there are citizens from 30 countries employed as security contractors in Iraq. While ex-soldiers from the Balkans, Fiji, Nepal, the Philippines, South Africa, and Uganda are all common in Iraq, Latin America has proven to be a particularly fertile recruiting ground for these companies.


    Given the recent history of repressive regimes throughout the region, it is likely that many Latin Americans working for private military firms in Iraq have been responsible for human rights abuses in their home countries. For instance, Louis E. V. Nevaer reported in 2004: “Newspapers in Chile have estimated that approximately 37 Chileans in Iraq are seasoned veterans of the Pinochet era.” Some argue that this is merely a result of poor vetting, while others do not see it as an accident. As Tito Tricot, a former political prisoner who was tortured under the dictatorship in Chile, told Scahill, the Chileans working for these firms in Iraq “are valued for their expertise in kidnapping, torturing, and killing defenseless civilians.”

    “What should be a national shame,” Tricot added, “turns into a market asset due to the privatization of the Iraq war.” In the end, Pizarro was fined and sentenced to 61 days in jail for his recruitment activity, a punishment that is not likely to dissuade many from following in his shoes. Nonetheless, he has appealed the sentence and is currently walking free. Meanwhile, Triple Canopy, which according to State Department figures relies far more on foreign hiring than Blackwater, filled its contract to protect the U.S. Embassy and other sites in Baghdad’s Green Zone by hiring recruits almost exclusively from Latin America (especially El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Honduras), as Foreign Policy magazine noted. In 2005, a local subsidiary of Chicago-based Your Solutions began recruiting for the company in Honduras.

    The company trained its recruits—including a group of Chileans who entered the country with tourist visas—at the former military base in Lepaterique. Located just outside Tegucigalpa, the base is a notorious legacy of the Contra war, having been used by Washington in the 1980s to train Nicaraguan counter-insurgents, as well as Honduras’s infamous Battalion 316 death squad. Echoing this gruesome past, one Triple Canopy trainee explained that he and his fellow recruits were instructed “to be heartless when it was up to us to kill someone, even if it was a child,”


    North Pole Will Melt Away This Summer



    Why do American Mercenary Companies have Immunity from Prosecution for their War Crimes in the first place?

    Security contractors working in Iraq will no longer receive immunity from prosecution in that nation under a deal being brokered by Iraqi and U.S. officials, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said.

    Zebari said he briefed Iraqi parliament members about the immunity agreement Tuesday during a closed-door meeting. Officials at the U.S. State Department, which is leading the U.S. side of the negotiations, could not be immediately reached for comment.

    The immunity issue was one of the sticking points in talks over a long-term security pact that deals with, among other things, the future of the U.S. military presence in Iraq. Negotiations on the pact continue.

    The reported immunity agreement comes more than nine months after an incident in which Iraqi officials allege guards with the Blackwater security firm shot and killed 17 people, including women and children, and wounded 27 at Baghdad's Nusoor Square.

    Survivors and victims' family members allege Blackwater guards started shooting without provocation, but Blackwater said armed insurgents attacked its guards.

    Blackwater is one of the contractors providing security services for the State Department in Iraq. Under a provision instituted in the early days of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, security contractors have had immunity from Iraqi law.



    Is Joe Liebermen the result of Global Climate Change

    He is, after all, a loud, thundering deluge of disinformation delivered on a destructive wind.
    If terrorists strike in 2009 it will be because 8 years of Bush focusing on Iraq, privatization and screwing the middle class rather than securing the country left the nation open to attack.


    Lockheed Martin Gets $1.38 Bln Air Force Contract For Space Launch Program

    Friday, the Department of Defense announced awarding a $1.38 billion contract to Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., a unit of Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT: News, Chart, Quote ), to extend the Evolved Expendable Launch Capability or ELC contract.

    The ELC contract was modified to gain continued support for the last two months of fiscal 2008, to extend the performance period through September 30, 2009, and to incorporate a one-year priced option for fiscal 2010.

    The Defense Department stated that the contract would "ensure continuous services" for providing standard and mission unique integration and development, systems engineering, program management, transportation, and a range of operations for launching the nation's space assets.


    State Department fines Boeing $3 million

    Boeing has agreed to pay a $3 million fine for exceeding value limits on purchases of parts from foreign suppliers for its military products.

    Boeing spokesman Tim Neale says the Chicago-based company discovered the violations and reported them to the State Department.

    Boeing violated manufacturing license agreements required under federal regulations governing international arms sales.

    The suppliers were in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria.



    Boeing gets $19.2M Navy contract for aircraft work

    Boeing Co.'s McDonnell Douglas Corp. received a $19.2 million contract boost from the Navy for engineering services on the T-45 aircraft and simulators, the Pentagon said late Friday.

    The T-45 Goshawk is a replacement aircraft used by the Navy in its jet training program.



    Organic Valley Cofounder Georeg Siemon has Dirty Feet and Cheats Consumers with Dirty Milk

    Organic Valley co-founder and CEO George Siemon frequently works in jeans and bare feet.


    Organic Valley Milk is NOT Organically Produced. Hold Them Accountable

    Over the past 20 years, Wisconsin-based Organic Valley has grown into the nation's largest organic cooperative, carving out a niche selling milk from small dairy farmers who treat their cows like members of the family.

    So imagine the shock within the organic food world when an industry watchdog group recently discovered Organic Valley quietly has been getting some of its milk from a giant Texas dairying operation with more than 5,000 cows.

    "Buying milk from this factory farm could potentially be catastrophic to our marketplace reputation," said Darlene Coehoorn, a longtime Organic Valley member from Rosendale, Wis., where she milks 50 cows with her husband, Dan.


    "Sometimes you have to make compromises; that's just the nature of business," said Organic Valley co-founder and CEO George Siemon. "I made the decision to buy the product, and I'm willing to take the heat."

    Siemon said Organic Valley managers did visit the 50,000-acre Natural Prairie Dairy operation in Delhart, Texas, and found that, unlike other factory farms, the operation was doing some grazing as opposed to strictly confining cattle to a feedlot.

    But the relationship with Natural Prairie Dairy has angered many Organic Valley members, who fear doing business with a mega-farm will ultimately cost Organic Valley customers and hurt the cooperative's hard-earned reputation.

    "What I find most objectionable is the fact that some giant dairy that doesn't even qualify for membership in our co-op can get by with the bare minimum of meeting federal organics standards, but family producers are expected to uphold the high standards set forth by Organic Valley," said Coehoorn, who also serves as president of the Midwest Organic Dairy Producers Alliance.

    Just how long Organic Valley will continue buying milk from Natural Prairie Dairy remains unclear. In May, Siemon told the co-op's executive committee it would cease buying milk from the Texas dairy effective June 1, but that date has since passed.



    Private Intel, the new gold rush. National insecurity. We say whatever for profit.

    n February 2007, Erik Prince, founder of the infamous private military company, Blackwater Worldwide, started what seems to be the next most lucrative market for such companies: intelligence gathering and analysis.

    The new venture exists as a nexus of three companies that were quietly assembled by Prince the year before: the Black Group, LLC, the Terrorism Research Center, Inc (TRC), and Technical Defense, Inc. These companies form Total Intelligence Solutions, LLC, a company run out of an office in Arlington, Virginia, offering "evolved intelligence gathering and analysis" for "Fortune 1000 companies."

    Robert Richer, former CIA deputy director of operations (who is said to have been "forced out" due to insubordination) is now the CEO of Total Intelligence Solutions. J Cofer Black, who served 28 years with the CIA - three of those as the director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center (CTC) - serves as both chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions and vice chairman of Blackwater.

    According to Washington Post Managing Editor Bob Woodward in his book Bush at War (Simon and Schuster, 2003), Black predicted and alerted the Bush administration of a potential attack just weeks prior to 9/11 and later persuaded Russian authorities to comply with the impending US invasion of Afghanistan. Black would later merge his company, The Black Group - a large, international network of high-profile government, military and corporate contacts - under Prince Holdings.


    Outsourcing responsibility

    According to the associate director of national intelligence, the budget set aside for private intelligence contractors has more than doubled since 9/11.

    "There is a very wide range of companies involved in what you might call information assessment or intelligence work. Some of them are involved in classic information gathering and analysis from open sources; others are involved in support services to governmental intelligence operatives like CACI. But there are also some firms that have developed, particularly in the last few years, what has classically been considered counterintelligence and psychological operations," James Cockayne, a security expert for the International Peace Institution (IPI), told ISN Security Watch.

    In what can be seen as a post-9/11 gold rush, a slew of private intelligence companies have since attempted to market themselves as offering services that can crudely be categorized in two forms: investment information and risk assessment; and operational, security and combat-related intelligence operations.

    While many companies offer only one of these, Blackwater's Total Intelligence not only offers both, but also maintains the ability to back up those services with heavy-duty machinery and strong corporate and government connections.

    Critics of the phenomenon are concerned that previous abuses by private intelligence firms are an indication of what happens when states opt to outsource operations to the private sector.

    The same concerns developed in 2004 when private companies CACI International and Titan Corporation (now L-3 Communications) were implicated in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse case. More recently, the CIA director issued statements confirming that along with government operatives, contractors had probably participated in waterboarding techniques on detainees in CIA black sites and other interrogation centers. Before engaging the private sector, Black developed a lead role in some of the rather controversial CIA programs dealing with extraordinary rendition and interrogation techniques.


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    War Profiteer and Weapons Maker Lockheed Martin gets pay off in Child Tracking Business.

    What may be the biggest computer fiasco in the history of state government ended this week on a pleasant note for cash-strapped California – a $193 million rebate from the federal government.

    The federal government finally certified – 20 years after a law was passed – that California has succeeded in building an automated statewide system for tracking and collecting child support.


    The costly state misadventure includes the abandonment of a $111 million computer system in 1997, a $46 million court award to a computer firm found to be underpaid, and delays that reduced federal funding for the system.

    The current system costs roughly $1.6 billion, about a third paid by the state. The federal share, originally 90 percent, dropped to 60 percent after California missed a deadline extended to 1997 for completing the system.

    A state appellate court was sharply critical of state management in the $46 million award to the computer firm, Lockheed Martin, that built the system abandoned in 1997.

    The court said Lockheed Martin had developed an imperfect but workable system that failed, in part, because of demands from counties that the system be customized to fit their individual needs.

    County district attorneys, who are elected officials, had their own collection systems. The court said the state recognized that problems were not simply technical but also “political, emotional, visceral.”

    The administration of then-Gov. Gray Davis launched a reform in 2000 by moving the collection system from the Department of Social Services to a newly created Department of Child Support Services.

    The state Franchise Tax Board, which has experience with large computer systems, provided guidance. The state signed a contract in 2003 with a consortium led by IBM.


    America: Exporting Torture

    MEXICO CITY, July 1 -- Videos showing Mexican police learning torture methods appeared on the Internet this week as the country, soon to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. anti-drug aid, is seeking to improve its human rights record.

    The videos show officers in the city of Leon, about 150 miles northwest of Mexico City, forcing one of their colleagues to crawl through vomit and injecting carbonated water into the nose of another. An instructor, whose face can be seen in one video, barks out commands in English. Leon Police Chief Carlos Tornero told the Associated Press that the instructor is from a private U.S. security firm, but he declined to say which one.


    The videos show officers from Leon's Special Tactics Group, known here by its Spanish-language initials, GET. In one video, a man who appears to be in extreme pain is shown kneeling in the dirt. An instructor -- a bearded man of medium build in a black T-shirt, jeans and sunglasses -- gives orders in English.

    "Now get him to roll back into the puke," the instructor tells one of the trainees.

    The man, dressed in camouflage, can be seen rolling toward the vomit. But he does not touch it.

    "He missed it. Roll back," the instructor says.

    "This punishment works," a trainee, whose face is not shown, can be heard saying in English.

    In another video, an officer -- presumably playing the role of a witness -- can be heard panting and gasping in pain as other officers squirt carbonated water into his nose. The man is being held in a dark room, and his arms are bound as he lies in a hole in the floor. Officers curse at him and talk of torturing him with rats and fecal matter.



    Tuesday, July 01, 2008

    Obama and Billl Clinton get unearned praise from progressives

    It’s feeling a lot like 1992 right now. It’s also feeling a lot like 1980. But which parallel is closer? Is Barack Obama going to be a Ronald Reagan of the left, a president who fundamentally changes the country’s direction? Or will he be just another Bill Clinton?
    Bill Clinton also ran as a candidate of change, but it was much less clear what kind of change he was offering. He portrayed himself as someone who transcended the traditional liberal-conservative divide, proposing “a government that offers more empowerment and less entitlement.” The economic plan he announced during the campaign was something of a hodgepodge: higher taxes on the rich, lower taxes for the middle class, public investment in things like high-speed rail, health care reform without specifics.
    Where is that energy efficient high speed rail and health care for ALL Americans?

    I don't understand positive reviews of Clinton's presidency, especially from a man like Krugman. He knows better. Everyone so much as inch left of center appears to be so mortally terrified of the death's head specter of a McCain presidency, all meaningful criticism of Obama's positions have stopped.

    Clinton is now a hero to people who were willing to eat his liver for dinner 11 years ago. IMV, Clinton was just another right wing disaster. If Obama governs along the same lines as Clinton - deregulating, privatizing, outsourcing, free trading, legislating to punish the poor, committing war crimes, running the usual aggressive, nonsensical American foreign policy of arming sociopaths, roll back, and whatever other chicanery the (newly privatized) spooks come up with, America will never recover from the Bush Disaster and will probably gurgle loudly then swirl down the nearest drain (leaving a little residue of hair, wax, foam and radioactive detritus over the drain bars.)

    It is deeply frightening because the average voter, even the ones who are enraged as well as ones who are most hurt by these right wing, corporatist policies, do not seem to grasp how things work. Obama has turned down an opportunity to educate the public about what is really going on. The fact that the current campaign involves any rhetoric whatsoever decrying 'big government" ( an entity pronounced dead by Clinton if you recall) alarms me.

    Who do these people think will regulate predatory corporate behavior in all its various forms? Who do they think will fix the levees and bridges? What happened to the days of accountable government, representative government? Where is democracy? How is it the right wing extremists and their reactionary religious enablers sold the idea that capitalism equals democracy when a even a quick glance at the American system makes it clear it does not?

    They sold it with the aid of right wing democrats and the media system.

    And why is their no discussion of deregulation as the reason behind the soaring price of oil/gas? The media is pushing the idea of scarcity as the cause when policy is the cause. Deregulation and "free" trade leading to speculation and a weak dollar.

    Of course oil is a finite resource. We had policies in place to deal with that over thirty years ago -and then the reactionary "revolution" of Reagan came along and dismissed those policies of conservation and federally spearheaded development of alternative energy sources and conservation as not manly enough for a country with a such giant testicles as Amerikkka on right wing, Ronnie kool-aid.

    The best I can hope for from Obama is that he will appoint a populist attorney general, restore the FTC and FDA to actual regulatory agencies and make good choices for the supreme court. The very first thing we need to do is break up the media conglomerates that are the star salesmen for the bad ideas, disinformation and bullshit, know nothing campaign rhetoric. But here Obama is endorsing spying on Americans and razing the wall of separation between church and state. Just like senile old fuck John McCain.

    Absolutely, McCain is much worse, though in the long run having one right wing democrat after another has played an essential role in destroying this country, in enabling it to deteriorate so badly that something like the Bush administration could occur..

    When every time the right attacks the democrat responds by being more like the right, we lose the key to controlling government on our behalf - counter balance, right?

    I mean that's how the system was designed by the inglorious, pony-tailed, slave humping, money loving framers - to create restraints on any one group or person who grabs too much power. That is a GREAT idea but is failing, in part because of the right wing democrats who, like a beaten housewife with black eyes and broken bones, won't fight back.

    Where's the opposition ? Where are the other ideas? Why is the progressive party, ostensibly progressive party, unable to generate ideas of its own? Why is Obama endorsing faith based charities? telecom immunity? Death Penalty? etc? I don't think the country is as right wing in its views as all that. Polls appear to agree with me. But there is grave confusion induced by a seriously fucked up propagandist media and no one seems wiling to take it on.

    Not to mention that the election tampering that goes on all over the US has got to be one of the great untold stories of this time in our history.

    While I grasp that McCain is much, much worse, I can no longer buy the argument that voting for the lessor of two evils will make the country better, stronger, more secure. The democrats need to put up an ACTUAL OPPOSITION candidate, one who reflects the interests of the people more than the corporate overlords who have declared war on humanity and war on planet earth.

    Progressive activists, in particular, overwhelmingly supported Mr. Obama during the Democratic primary even though his policy positions, particularly on health care, were often to the right of his rivals’. In effect, they convinced themselves that he was a transformational figure behind a centrist facade.

    They may have had it backward.

    Mr. Obama looks even more centrist now than he did before wrapping up the nomination. Most notably, he has outraged many progressives by supporting a wiretapping bill that, among other things, grants immunity to telecom companies for any illegal acts they may have undertaken at the Bush administration’s behest.

    The candidate’s defenders argue that he’s just being pragmatic — that he needs to do whatever it takes to win, and win big, so that he has the power to effect major change. But critics argue that by engaging in the same “triangulation and poll-driven politics” he denounced during the primary, Mr. Obama actually hurts his election prospects, because voters prefer candidates who take firm stands.


    Obama isn't centrist. Obama is right wing. He can only be viewed as centrist through the lens of the far right. And Obama is not only right wing, he is more right wing every day. The republicans and John McCain are dangerous extremists who worship militarism and are so far outside any tradional idea of conservatism Barry Goldwater would roll over in his grave just to hear wife beating, tax cheating McCain smack his lips in public, but that kind of extremism in he republican party hardly makes Obama a progressive.

    Poll after poll after study show the majority of Americans want things - national health care for example - that the progressive party ought to support, but does not support. It does not support it because it is just as busy servicing corporate interests as are the republicans. Different corporate interests perhaps, but not THAT different.

    How is Mr. Obama progressive? What change will he wrought? I hear more of the same, the same corporate power over democracy, corporate power over the needs of people, wealthy corporate interests over the needs of working and middle class, corporate power over the environment, corporate value of free trade that enslave populations.

    Where is the change?

    I want the bastards who spied on me put on trial. I also don't want Bush's illegal activities covered up further by immunizing corporate whores in telecom. Nor do I want federal resources put into nuclear power when they should be going to solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, etc., when there should be a massive federal push for that.

    And green buildings. That would put the economy to work in a sustainable way. Put the federal shoulder to work pushing a green economy, not the old outmoded fossil fuel economy. The energy companies have made trillions. Must they make more at the expense of EVERYTHING? The washington duopoly seems to thinks so.

    I want the anti trust laws used to break up the propagandist machine of the MSM.
    I want single payer health care. (Just pretend you're Dick Cheney, tell the corporate whores in insurance to go fuck themselves and expand medicare.)
    I want massive federal drive to recreate the energy system.
    I want trade rules that stop slavery and environmental assaults in other countries.
    I want to reduce the pentagon budget by half.
    I want Roe V Wade protected.
    I want strong separation of church and state.
    I want a law passed that spells out that advertisements are not protected speech for Christ sake. Doesn't anyone in this country have any goddamn sense?
    I want the FTC restored and the FDA restored.
    I want REGULATION because it works and even more because it is necessary. Having corporations be the arbiter of all has been a disaster.
    I want the terrifying, expensive privatization of the military reversed and Glass Steagull reinstated.

    In fact I think it would be a good idea if all corporations had their charters torn up after seven years and their assets dispersed to their owners. If they want competition let them have it.

    The market forces so worshipped by Clinton and Obama do not work - OBVIOUSLY. We have quite enough billionaires. I read that 100, 000 families now control 40% of this economy. Bush has demonstrated that Big Government works wonderfully for whomever big government is designed to work for.