Saturday, April 30, 2011

Confederate Pride? This is in response to the article entitled "The Confederate Flag is Still Flying High" on the web site The Grio (link below.) It is written stream of conscious because those who know me understand a fractured foot makes it painful to do most everything. My response is short and sweet .... well NOT so sweet.

I am white and flying the Confederate flag to me is as if someone flew a Nazi swastika flag. Would I say they have the right to fly it? MAYBE but I have just as much right to abhor, loathe and stand with others who feel the same as I in opposition to it. The confederate flag makes me see red and I laud the NAACP for vociferously and continuously without end protest it. They can fly that flag but no one says any person of moral integrity, (ESPECIALLY if they call themselves Christian as nearly all in the south do) has to like it. I THOUGHT Christianity was about in large part love and compassion engendering the ability to walk in the other guy's shoes.

For centuries that symbol has denied African Americans the right to THEIR heritage and WORSE even their right to live. The south was peppered with strange hanging fruit of black men hung from trees because they merely looked at a white person the wrong way. (listen to Billie Holiday's song on Utube: Strange Fruit Utubhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZyuULy9zs).

The Confederate flag and so called "southern pride" is a symbol of all the evil that culture did to an entire race of people. It meant they could not vote, it meant they could not eat at the same table as whites, drink at the same drinking fountain as whites, swim in the same swimming pool as whites, go to the same bathroom as whites, enter the same door as whites, it meant they had to sit at the back of the bus, it meant that they could not vote, it meant that they could not go to the same school as whites, it meant that they had to give favor to whites to walk on the same side of the street, it meant having a difficult life and it meant sometimes not even having a life at all.

I say sure fly the lousy flag but others of humane mind do not and WILL not EVER like it!

http://www.thegrio.com/opinion/why-the-confederate-flag-is-still-flying-high.php

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Radiant beauty and ugliness through the face of a child:

"Chernobyl's Legacy Radiates after Twenty Five Years" is the headline if one clicks on the link below. It is the picture of a child, with one arm, short short stubby legs and a BEAUTIFUL face but it is NOT a pretty picture so you are forewarned!

Still, like a picture of the Holocaust, I believe it is important to view because words on a page are simply black letters on a white background strung together which cannot hope to convey well enough the emotional seriousness of an issue.

They did not raise the classification of Fukishima to 7, the same level as Chernobyl, for nothing. I believe the nuclear disaster at Fukishima is many times worse than Chernobyl but political power and the money behind it will never tell you the entire truth. This picture on Huffington does the job to adequately convey nuclear power's threat.

J. Robert Oppenheimer, supervisor of the Manhattan Project during the development of the first nuclear bomb, was correct when he quoted from the Hindu Baghavad Gita after the first explosion of it: "Now I am become death destroyer of worlds."

Who said a picture is worth a thousand words? This proves they were right!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
TRUMPED by a child: I have a confession to make. For about 1/2 hour I gave Donald Trump consideration because I was so brokenhearted that the leadership I THOUGHT would transpire under Barack Obama was less than I expected. I was brokenhearted by the November 2010 Congressional so called “shellacking” and I thought it happened because the president had fallen leadership short. The president did not come out STRONGLY against the summer of corporately driven town hall MADNESS which wanted to kill desperately needed health care reform and by doing so kill the chances of a Barack Obama second term. I was brokenhearted that he did not explain well enough to the American public what his health plan entailed. He had the bully pulpit but I believed he did not use it effectively and often enough. He did not evoke the kind of leadership that was needed to negotiate through the maze of an intractable and disunited Congress but left it in their lumbering hands to hammer out the golden calf.

I was heartbroken that Wall Street got away with (and still is) highly unethical crimes and worse that the president picked for Treasury in his cabinet the very men behind the Wall Street fraud; he chose those who helped create it and who advocated for policies that fed the beast. He put the very foxes in charge of the coop they and their ilk nearly destroyed.

I was brokenhearted when the president said Lloyd Blankfein, and Jamie Dimon, two of the most sickening Wall Street CEO's from the worst of the worst institutions which gamed the golden egg goose, were touted by the president as "good businessmen." The president said after all some sportsmen make big money as if that could excuse what Blankfein, Dimon and his cronies did while people who lost everything committed suicide. Blankfein, Dimon and others laughed all the way to their respective mansions with taxpayer bonus millions they did not deserve and should not have gotten.

I was brokenhearted that the Middle East wars Obama promised to end do not but rather increase spilling young blood in perpetuity, costing billions each day and not winning any friends. I was brokenhearted that someone like Corporal Manning who whistle blew on heinous military conduct and did what the Nuremberg trials instructed the world to do by exposing crimes against humanity even if one’s own country is the perpetrator. Manning was and continues to be held without trial in this country, possibly tortured and convicted verbally by a president who taught civil liberties at Harvard in a country where innocent until proven guilty is the golden rule.

I wanted leadership -- STRONG leadership I hoped I would get but thought I did not. I wanted leadership which would resurrect the country and create the JOBS it so desperately needs, dismember the inequities and loopholes of the tax code, bring US corporations doing business overseas back by taxing them if they choose to set up corporations abroad. I wanted a strong stimulus package and received a weak one. I wanted strong bank regulation but Obama and the Congress he was supposed to herd could deliver only tepid reform.

After 1/2 hour considering Trump, feeling that his stand on birther and so called “conservative” social issues were merely pragmatism he does not truly believe, I decided against considering him a serious candidate. Why would I think otherwise as he allegedly tries to gain a Republican nomination or in the alternative boost his Celebrity Apprentice ratings. When he had the audacity to say the president was not Ivy League and when he called Robert DiNiro a man of little intelligence I KNEW jealousy is the blood coursing though Trump’s veins and that he does not deserve the honor that attaining the presidency bestows.

Trump is a mean and brash man; an uber egotistical blowhard with fake hair that is metaphor for the faker he is. Trump does not care whom he hurts or what he says to hurt them and he stoops as low as a tabloid newspaper journalist to do it. I suppose a businessman often does not care whom he hurts and we have the Great Recession to prove it. Trump, is in reality a LITTLE man a very LITTLE man who needs to puff himself up to prove to himself his worth. It is ironic for a man who supposedly measures his worth by the alleged billions he accumulates to feel the need to do so. Others measure worth by different yardsticks.

I will vote for Barack Obama in 2012 because I can have the adult conversation about which the Republicans talk ad nauseam. 1 Corinthians 13:11 tells us: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I gave up childish ways.” As an adult I know one cannot get everything one wants. One must compromise and often.

I know Barack Obama has given us much we never would have gotten if a Republican held the oval office. I have faith that the president in a second term will do even more. I know Barack Obama is on our side and as the adult I am he will have my support.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Response: This is in response to my article that appeared in the MDN about Civil War celebrations. There are those rightwingnuts who are always there to protest even the most benign comment especially if a liberal presents it. "Proudliberal" offered a cogent response to many of those who posted. One extremist right wing blogger singled out in the end always uses the word "OUCH" (whatever THAT means) when making an attempt to voice his/her opinion. If you want to see the original article and the blog posts I enclose the link at the end.

The Response: I should not even address CLEARLY illogical and make-no-sense comments but I must. Some wingers on here would have something negative to say if one came out and said the bunnies on the lawn are cute. The most benign and indeed humane comments on some letters to the editor are opposed often with vitriolic rhetoric which is racist transparent. Scratch the surface of those who disagree on, for example, the viewpoint here and I suspect what would be found no not always but OFTEN -- too often.

I would not mind if the opposition was made in intelligent fashion like that which is written by David Brooks, Krauthammer, Jacoby, George Will and others with whom I largely disagree but it is the opinions which are personal attacks that are the most objectionable and I loathe stooping to that low.

I do not think EVERYONE in the south harbors secessionist thought. Nor do I think that everyone is racist and I do surely know racism exists here. One need only read the MDN blogs in response to opinions like the benign one above to know that.

Secessionist thought exists in MANY states and not just in the ones Kane mentioned although it exists there as well. It has been advocated in all states by one crank or another. Check out some recent talk -- sometimes very angry talk -- in states like S. Carolina, Texas by its governor Rick Perry, Nevada, and others. It EVEN exists in Alaska where Palin's husband allegedly was a member of a secessionist group. There have been numbers of Civil War commemorative celebrations and dances complete with Confederate uniforms and stars and bars Confederate flags some of which still fly in southern state capitols today and are pasted on vehicles everywhere.

While states rights can be argued from a Constitutional point of view it has historically and even in contemporary politics been intrinsic code for the abandonment of federal civil rights law secured by and for African Americans and others who have been socially and institutionally ostracized because of an ascribed status i.e. the color of the skin in which they were born.

There are states which want to return to the era of literacy tests but instead of calling it that they advocate for people to show licenses they may not have making it more difficult for the poor and others including African Americans and Hispanics, who are largely Democrats, to vote. Others want as proof of citizenship a requirement to appear on a ballot using the ad aburdium notion of showing baptismal certificates OR even the more laughable proof of all things circumcision. Jewish circumcision is done eight days after birth so conceivably (pardon the pun) one could be born in Somalia, eight days later come to the US to be circumcised by a rabbi and ultimately 35 years later run for president! THAT made me laugh. All of these, I submit, have racist animus.

There is a HUGE difference between arguing for a fair electoral count within each state than there is if certain states want to return to yesteryear to deny service, a home or a job to a selected minority, advocate for the so called 'southern cause' and couch that advocacy in veiled racist thought hiding behind the Constitutional concept of states rights. It is those profound equal rights for minority groups who have been historically excluded from the majority culture and debate that are and should be in this country universal. When they are not the courts need to intervene and can because Federal law ensuring egalitarian treatment gives teeth to those who can prosecute against it. Might I remind, for those who saw it, Rand Paul stumbling over the question of property rights versus human rights when asked if he, who supports property rights nearly universally, would support a business owner denying service to people of color. One could see and hear he did NOT know how to handle that simple question. For most of us the answer to that is easy. Human rights should prevail against property rights when a person simply wants to eat at a lunch counter, have a job, sit on a bus or go to an integrated school.

This is what the Civil War entailed; this is what the fight for civil rights meant; this is what is signified by resurgent secessionist thought; this is what is meant by the Confederate flag flying; this is what is meant by desiring the ability of states to use the 10th amendment to return to an era where states could enforce ANY law they passed no matter how discriminatory and prevail over any federal law which might legislate against it. The celebration of the Civil War and its attendant race issues are alive and well in our country trying to kick and scream their way into modern public policy.

November 2nd, I simply shake my head in incredulity. Your comment today takes the cake. Perhaps YOU should spend YOUR Easter thinking as YOU say 'Absolvi meam animam.' I am sure waxing repentant and getting things off your chest would be an oh so satisfying experience. I promise I won't say 'OUCH'!

Read more: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/archive/x1294651583/Rosen-Lessons-from-the-Civil-War#ixzz1KXem34Nu

Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Addendum to Noam Chomsky: In a previous blog I stated the following and since I finished Prof. Chomsky's Huffington Post article "Is the World Too Big to Fail? The Contours of the Global Order" I would like to append one more prescient thought Chomsky iterated at the end of his piece:

I said:

Love him or hate him, for those who are interested in American foreign policy he is a premier provocateur. Up is down and down is up. US foreign policy and Alice in Wonderland have much in common. Things are not always as they appear. Question everything!

Left of center politics aside I find Chomsky's views interesting and revelatory. You do not have to buy all of it but at least think about some of it. We live in a world shaped by forces larger by far than ourselves.

I add: Prof. Chomsky said: "All of this, and much more, can proceed as long as the Muasher doctrine prevails. As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable­, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplat­e the outcome."

NB: "Muasher doctrine": "There is nothing wrong, everything is under control." In short, if the dictators support us, what else could matter? Quoting The New Left Project -- "The guiding principle was articulated clearly by Carnegie Endowment Middle East specialist Marwan Muasher, formerly a high official of the Jordanian government:

Food for thought. I urge you to read his article and again the link to his opinion below.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noam-chomsky/us-global-power_b_851992.html?page=3

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Sea Change -- the Middle East on Fire?: The news of the unrest in Syria challenging the power of Assad is astounding. It is jaw dropping and it is giving Iran, Syria's ally, a nervous stomach. Who would have predicted Middle East power structures falling like dominoes? The yearning to breathe free is a human common denominator. Ever since I was a child in elementary school I remember thinking how wonderful it was that I could ask my teachers absolutely anything. I was utterly free to speak my mind. Later when I realized that not everyone experiences that I thought how difficult it must be to censor one's thought.

The Internet, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones that capture pictures must give power agida. It is hard to squash the truth when one has these technological wonders at one's disposal to record it all and there is NOTHING power can do to stop it. It does not mean, however, that power will not try their damnedest to hide at all costs the unspeakable things they know they have done to their own people. We cannot be so smug even here as the Wikileaks provider, Corporal Manning, could, I am sure, attest. Power does not give up its secrets easily. It is up to we the people to demand the truth from them and hold their feet to the fire to get it.

The biggest question I have about each Middle Eastern state that has fallen or is in the process of revolt is who are these rebels and where will they take their people. If they go the way of religious fanaticism then I say not much has changed but if they go the way of a truly free society with secular equality, free speech and the accompanying bill of rights then we will have witnessed a sea change for the better of repressive, totalitarian religious fanatical states. If the latter is the case then no wonder Iran has a queasy stomach tonight. It SHOULD!
How the Earth Works -- the wonder and the miracle of our planet: I live with a brilliant person. I cannot believe how intelligent and how humble-about-being intelligent she is. The enormity of things academic she brings into our home is astounding. I wish I possessed the kind of brilliance she does to not only view these things but remember all the things of various study and complexity we experience. The best I can hope for is that some of the intellectual gold mined is sifted and cemented in my middle age brain. There is, indeed, so much to learn and so little time in which to learn it.

She has bought many DVDs throughout the years from the Teaching Company which concentrate on various elements of study from math and science to history, music, religion and more. If you have not heard of the Teaching Company I highly recommend you take a look at what it has to offer. If you have children or grandchildren I cannot think of a better way to introduce them to and teach them about the wonders of our world.

This morning I woke up to the first of 43 lectures entitled "How the Earth Works" taught by Professor Michael Mysession. He is a professor of geophysics at Washington University in St. Louis. He presents a plethora of knowledge about yes, how the earth works, and he does it in a riveting way. It is presented, through a set of six DVDs which carry a series of academic classroom-type lectures. It is NOT like television programming one might see on PBS or the Science Channel complete with video and sound effects to capture the viewer's interest. The Teaching Company, rather, is about just that -- teaching. If you are interested in the subject matter, want desperately to be enlightened as we do, these lectures will provide endless hours of learning. The key is one has to want to expand one's mind by listening to experts in a particular field.

Learning to us IS entertainment even if it is devoid of the glitz and glamor of the contemporary media of our time. The Teaching Company lectures reflect, I think, what higher education is about. Through the DVD's of the Teaching Company one can do this in the comfort of one's living room neither running late to attend a lecture, tied to a classroom seat nor squinting for hours at a back-breaking computer screen to do so.

The Teaching Company has hundreds of lectures in various fields featuring a diverse subject matter. If you love learning as we do, you will be riveted by what these eminently qualified academics have to offer. IF you are interested I enclose its link below.

http://www.thegreatcourses.com/greatcourses.aspx?cm_mmc=affiliate-_-primarylogo_-na-_-na&ai=32675

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Is the World Too Big to Fail? The Contours of Global Order"-- by Noam Chomsky: Love him or hate him, for those who are interested in American foreign policy he is a premier provocateur. Up is down and down is up. US foreign policy and Alice in Wonderland have much in common. Things are not always as they appear. Question everything!

Left of center politics aside I find Chomsky's views very interesting and revelatory. You do not have to buy all of it but at least think about some of it. We live in a world shaped by forces larger by far than ourselves.

I post the link to his opinion below.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noam-chomsky/us-global-power_b_851992.html?page=3
What IS war good for?: This is simply a stream of conscious, not well written as I do not have the time. It was provoked by pictures of Republican former presidential 2008 candidate John McCain prancing around Libya our new found war. It showed a semi-smiling McCain, an unafraid McCain in a sport coat, flanked by other men and it showed two Libyan men carrying American flags. (link provided below) What it does not show is that McCain, to go to Libya, had to do it in the UTMOST secrecy accompanied by a TON of protection. Most of our military and diplomatic professionals, including journalists who are there, as the article states, see a "stalemate." It evoked some thought!

Obama or McCain it makes not a whit of difference. This is just an ugly scenario and I cannot BELIEVE my eyes that Obama, a man who once eschewed war, in the Senate voted against the Iraq war, is now stepping up war in the Middle East. This is never ending, perpetual, permanent war for generations upon generations to come. It is NOT Medicare, Social Security or Medicaid that will bankrupt the US it is incessant war EVERYWHERE especially in the Middle East that even Obama let me say that again OBAMA will not end.

The military industrial complex that even a 1950's anti Communist Eisenhower told us to beware of sees an ATM machine cash cow in the Middle East. They probably licked their chops at 911 and KNEW the American people could easily be scared into forever war IF (1) it did not lead to a draft (2) their kids would not have to fight it (3) it made them SO rich and they would never have to pay for it as taxes which for them would be lowered.

In the final analysis, it is the MIDDLE CLASS, the WORKING CLASS and the POOR that will pay in blood and treasure for these utterly bankrupting and insane wars that go NOWHERE. Now it is reported that it is a stalemate in Libya. Now THAT'S a big surprise. Oh sure, the rebels carry American flags. Once they get into power IF -- I say IF -- they do many in their NOT-cohesive-movement will burn American flags.

This is my prediction based upon Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan who today said NO US predator drones and now a Libyan stalemate. God knows where else we are dropping bombs. I am SURE we are in more live ammunition wars than we can count. Our wars ALIENATE more than they pacify and they condemn us to an eternal hell we have never known. There is no hell after death. There does not have to be. Our leaders will provide us with it for money in their pockets, power and now most of all oil. They do it EVERY time even the once liberal Obama.

Do you think these corporate cows want clean energy so we do NOT have to depend on Middle East oil -- NO WAY. So it will go on and on and on and on until someday MAYBE the American people will WAKE up or the country will collapse from humongous debt.

The Republican Party, the leaders of the Tea Bag Party and some in the Democratic Party are NOT interested in YOU. They do NOT care about you. Vote for people who are NOT tied to the corporate trough, who do not need corporate money and who will get this nation OUT OUT OUT of permanent never ending bankrupting war! Our country's life and YOUR life depend upon it! As the old 1960's anti-war song goes: "War what is it good for? ABSOLUTELY NOTHIN!"

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42715776/

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This opinion was posted in the NYT blog and is in response to an article in it today entitled "Poll Find Few Favorites as GOP Fights for Presidency" (link below)

The Republican Party of the Absurd: It is astounding to me that in a country of 350 million people, there is absolutely NO ONE, in my opinion, in the Republican Party whom I would deem a strong, smart, and credible candidate. I am not a Republican BUT if I were the major horror I would feel is that the party has turned into something uncompromising, extreme and alien. The Republican base, from which the candidate is chosen, is, in my opinion, representative in this country of all that is intellectually bankrupt and academically absurd.

Donald Trump, who is no doubt a smart man, as he so frequently reminds us, had to morph into a crank touting birther nonsense and pro life stances that heretofore he rejected. He voted for Barack Obama once. A man who held strong views on the culture issues representative of the extremist right in the Republican Party could, I think, never do that. Both he and Romney, smart men, flip flop because they know to be considered by the Republican Party one must reverse one's more liberal or moderate stands and therefore reject rational thought.

Even worse they must reject science. If Trump stands up in a debate with other Republicans he will be asked the inevitable absurdity does he believe in evolution. Science is abundantly clear on that non-issue but Trump will have to morph into some position that is palatable to the extremist religious fanaticism of the Republican base which thinks everything instantaneously was created by a sky god of myth. Denying evolution is much like denying the existence of gravity. There is no question in the academic world of scientific truth evolution is a FACT and not supposition. It can be proven over and over again in many of the biological, anthropological and other sciences but the Republican presidential possibilities must reject everything that social and cultural advancement bestows.

This is, as I see it, the ENORMOUS obstacle the Republican Party faces. It must rely on an ignorant base to choose a credible and worthy candidate to occupy the presidency. It cannot be done and still look rational and intelligent to the larger American electorate and to the international community with whom that candidate must work.

If I were Republican I would work within my party FAST to develop CREDIBLE candidates who possess solid economic and foreign policy awareness. I would make intelligence acceptable and even mandatory while I would rid the party thoroughly of those who want to regress to the Middle Ages or at best the 18th century. As much as many in our culture are sadly undereducated I still believe that a country of 350 million some of whom are historically normal Republicans and moderates can manage to do that and save its party from the madness of reactionary and regressive thought IF one is to live with 21st century truths!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/22/us/politics/22republicans.html

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Alarming New Fukushima Reports - by Stephen Lendman on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 6:52pm

Five weeks after Japan's disaster, reports suggest worse, not improved conditions. It portends serious regional and global trouble ahead, besides what's already happened.

On April 16, AP headlined, "Radioactivity Rises in Sea Off Japan Nuclear Plant," saying:

"Levels of radioactivity have risen sharply in seawater near (Fukushima), signaling the possibility of new leaks at the facility, the government said Saturday."

The announcement followed a 5.9 level aftershock rocking the country early Saturday. So far, no additional damage reports were issued. However, seawater radioactive Iodine-131 spiked to 6,500 times above normal, up from 1,100 times Friday, and Cesium-134 and 137 rose nearly fourfold.

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) raised the possibility of worrisome new leaks, admitting that tracking them is difficult. Nonetheless, they still claim no threat to humans or sea life despite numerous independent experts raising dire warnings of spreading global radiation, including plutonium, the most deadly substance known, a microscopic speck enough to cause cancer.

Japan's Kyodo News reported the same news, saying pumping water into reactors and storage pools created large contaminated puddles with high radiation levels inside the reactor containment and turbine buildings. As a result, restoration work is hampered because even short-term exposure is extremely hazardous.

On April 14, Global Security Newswire (GSN) headlined "Japan Plant Emits More Radiation After Cooling Lapse," saying:

The increased radiation explained above "indicates the fuel in storage there had been compromised," suggesting worse trouble than so far reported.

On April 15, GSN headlined, "Japan Plant Fuel Melted Partway Through Reactors," saying:

It settled into lower sections of containment vessels, "raising the specter of overheated material compromising a container and causing a massive radiation release," according to a newly released Atomic Energy Society of Japan (AESJ) report.

On April 15, Japan Times writer Kanako Takahara headlined, "Fuel rod fragments at bottom of vessels," saying:

"If too many....puddle at the bottom, they can generate enough concentrated heat to bore a hole in the pressure vessel, which would result in a massive radioactive release to the environment." In fact, there's no assurance it hasn't already happened but isn't being reported.

Downplaying a serious reactor breach, AESJ claimed only small amounts of fuel so far melted and dispersed uniformly across the lower sections of Units 1, 2 and 3. Minimally, months of restoration work lie ahead, perhaps years based on what's already known. According to some experts, we're in unchartered territory, dealing with a unprecedented disaster.

On April 13, on Democracy Now, Physics Professor Michio Kaku called Fukushima reactors "ticking time bombs," saying Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) "has been in denial, trying to downplay the full impact of this nuclear disaster."

He explained a mathematical formula to determine an accident's level, saying this one "already released something on the order of 50,000 trillion becquerels of radiation," warranting a Level 7 rating.

However, radiation keeps leaking. "The situation is not stable at all. So, you're looking at basically a ticking time bomb." The slightest disturbance causing more damage could increase the disaster's magnitude manyfold.

He described a full core meltdown this way:

"Think of driving a car, and....all of a sudden (it) lunges out of control. You hit the brakes," but they don't work because "the earthquake wiped out the safety systems."

"Then your radiator starts to heat up and explodes. That's the hydrogen gas explosion. And then, to make it worse, the gas tank is heating up, and all of a sudden your whole car (bursts into) flames. That's (a) full-scale meltdown."

"So what can you do? You drive the car into a river (what TEPCO did by using seawater to cover the) top of the core." But its salt corrodes the radiator. So what then? "You call out the local firemen" and use "Japanese samurai warriors" inside the plant on a suicide mission, trying to keep water over "melted nuclear reactor cores."

That's the current situation. So when TEPCO says things are stable, it's only "in the sense that you're dangling from a cliff hanging by your fingernails. And as the time goes by, each fingernail starts to crack. That's the situation now," extremely dangerous and uncertain.

Moreover, radiation contaminates air, water and soil. "Cows then eat the vegetation, create milk, and then it winds up in the milk. Farmers are now dumping milk right on their farms because it's too radioactive. Foods (also) have to be impounded in the area."

So "let's be blunt about this: would you buy food that says 'Made in Chernobyl?' Japanese people are saying: "Should I buy food that says 'Made in Fukushima?' We're talking about the collapse of the local economy. (Yet) the government tries to lowball all the numbers, downplay the severity of the accident, and that's making it much worse."

Further, Japan's limited evacuation zone is "pathetic." America recommended 50 miles for US personnel, and France advised their nationals to consider leaving Japan altogether.

Moreover, radiation levels are rising far beyond the evacuation zone. Expect large future cancer increases. "That's the inevitable consequence of releasing enormous" amounts of radiation into the environment.

As for TEPCO and government officials, "(t)hey're literally making it up as they go along. We're in totally uncharted territory. You get any nuclear engineering book. Look at the last chapter, and this scenario is not contained in....any nuclear engineering textbook on" the planet.

As a result, "we are the guinea pigs for this science experiment that's taking place. Then it could take up to 10 years to finally dismantle the reactor. The last stage is entombment....over a period of many years....in a gigantic slab of concrete."

Other concerns include sea water radiation "millions of times beyond legal levels" and radiation readings throughout much of the country, including Tokyo drinking water. Concerned people wonder if they should leave. Some "are voting with their feet. A lot of people are voluntarily evacuating from Tokyo "because they simply don't believe....consistently lowballed" TEPCO and government radiation level reports.

Kaku also said people, including Americans, aren't told the truth about nuclear power hazards. Now a new generation may be built at risk of meltdowns like older reactors. In fact, the potential for nuclear disaster is so great that insurers won't underwrite it, so Washington under the Price-Anderson Act does it at taxpayer expense for an energy source too dangerous to exist.

As a result, noted experts like Helen Caldicott warn of inevitable disasters as great or worse than Fukushima, the more operating plants, the greater the danger.

On April 12, her London Guardian article headlined, "How Nuclear Apologists Mislead the World Over Radiation," saying:

It "emanates from radioactive elements which enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Hazardous radionuclides (like) Iodine-131, Cesium-137, and other isotopes....bio-concentrate at each step of various food chains," from algae to crustaceans to small fish to bigger fish to animals to humans, as well as vegetation.

They then affect specific bodily organs, including the thyroid, liver, bone and brain, "where they continuously irradiate small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years, can induce uncontrolled cell replication."

That's cancer!

In addition, nuclides stay radioactive for generations, causing increased incidences of cancer and genetic diseases. There's no such thing as an acceptable radiation level. In any amount, radiation is harmful, cumulative, permanent and unforgiving.

Experts also worry about possible re-criticality, defined as a return to a point at which a nuclear reaction becomes self-sustaining or unstoppable. In late March, the IAEA warned that "(t)here might be re-criticality at Fukushima," though so far there's "no final assessment."

On April 11, environmental expert Dr. Ilya Perlingieri's article headlined, "Fukushima's Nuclear Disaster: One Month and Counting," saying:

So far, "(n)othing is even remotely improved. In fact, things are dramatically worse." Hazardous reactors like GE's Mark 1 place entire populations at risk where they operate. "The radioactive consequences of" four Fukushima reactors "far exceed(s) Chernobyl."

As a result, the consequences for all Japanese residents will be enormous. But they also affect others as "various radioactive elements travel (by wind and water) around the globe." Potentially, everyone may be affected to a greater or lesser extent, including future generations.

In addition, dumping thousands of tons of radioactive water into the ocean is an environmental crime. Contaminated water "will now travel across the (Pacific) to North America's West Coast," contaminating the entire food chain in the process.

Then, as "water goes through its cycles, it will evaporate, and radioactive air will be carried around the globe. We are all in grave danger."

Moreover, because EPA closed many of its monitoring stations, including on the West Coast, the public won't get vital information. "How much more deception and deceit can we take?" Fukushima is the worst disaster "we have faced in our lives." Potentially millions of cancer may result.

How many people are already "eating radioactive fresh fruit, or drinking water and milk? High radiation levels have been found in rain, snow, and drinking water. Radioactive Iodine-131 and Cesium-137 have been found in US milk."

Perlingieri quoted from Dr. Janette Sherman's "prophetic scientific paper" written six months before Fukushima, saying:

"Given profound weather effects (earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, etc.), human fallibility, and military conflicts, (it's) only a matter of time before there is a nuclear disaster. Nuclear fallout knows no state or national boundaries....The economic costs of radioactive pollution and care of contaminated citizens are staggering. No country can maintain itself if its citizens are economically, intellectually, politically, and socially impoverished."

Nor can it if the health of its people is gravely, preventably, and permanently harmed. Nature's laws can't be reversed, nor can the effects of contaminating radiation, a destroyer of life too dangerous to exist, but it proliferates because corrupted politicians and industry profiteers are too unprincipled to stop it.
I have recently been assisting as an English writing adviser to a Japanese woman who is a post doc at Harvard School of Public Health. She asked me if I would help in editing a few documents which have been translated into English regarding the nuclear disaster at Fukishima. I naturally said yes because the small editing I do possibly could help save lives. She is currently working with a physician's forum which is dedicated to the harnessing and collection of plant workers' stem cells.

See links below

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/04/should-japan-bank-stem-cells.html?ref=ra

and

http://www.savefukushima50.org/?lang=en

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Am: I was made aware of a film soon to be released called “I Am.” It is directed by Tom Shadyac the maker of “Ace Ventura,” the “Nutty Professor” and other comedic films. We who see so much negative and depressing in the news about our conflicted and hostile world, need a relief to see something which emphasizes something positive and tells us what we CAN do and not what we cannot. Shadyac emphasizes through this entertaining documentary what is right and not what is wrong with us. He interviews some of the major thinkers and humanitarians of our time – Desmond Tutu, the late Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, talk show host Thom Hartmann and more.

Mr. Shadvac is a very successful man by the monetary standards of our time. After having a near death experience, he decided to devote his work to a different perspective. Instead of making his usual comedic films, he decided to focus on what was RIGHT about the hard wiring of man to help us and the planet we all share and need to live. He tried to understand through discussions with these great thinkers our ability to work together through our connective DNA which unites us all. He uses, I think, science to fuse the biological with the sociological.

Instead of illuminating the depressing bad we so often see in our never ending negative news cycle he illuminates the intrinsically good which can help us work together to save us and our beautiful planet as well.

I attach a trailer preview of the film “I Am” below. I hope it convinces you as it did me to see it so that we can glean something good amid all the carnage and sadness we see every day to give us hope for a better, kinder and gentler world. There is no question in my mind that we need it!

http://iamthedoc.com/

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nuclear Power Catastrophes and Stem Cell Collection: The following is an article written by my friend Miwako Hosoda, Phd. who is a Research fellow at the Harvard University School of Public Health. The subject of the article concerns preventive steps which could be taken by government and corporate interests to reduce the dangers encountered by first responders of nuclear power accidents through the storage of their stem cells before maladies, most especially, cancers develop. I believe it has relevance to not only the workers who risk their lives in the effort to clean up after toxic nuclear accidents such as Fukushima but to all of us who live in this nuclear age.

"An urgent plea to protect nuclear power plants workers in Fukushima "

The employees of Tokyo Electric Power Co. and other workers have been trying to resolve the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. They are facing, as many know, exposure to high levels of radiation. There have been a series of aftershocks in that area which contain potential risk of another accident, and it is estimated it will take several years to resolve. The health risk management for workers is considered to be insufficient because the internal radiation dose of workers has not been measured.

In an effort to respond to the possible health-related risks of the front line workers because of massive exposure to radioactive material, some specialists are urging the collection and storing the workers’ own hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), especially peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC), to try to protect them.

Shuichi Taniguchi, the Head of the Hematology Department at Toranomon Hospital on March 25th, 2011 has said "We have to protect the workers. Anything could happen at the nuclear plant, so preparation is important." He therefore, has proposed an idea for this purpose. Once a person is exposed to high levels of radiation his/her ability to form blood is lost. A bone marrow transplant would be necessary. If one’s HSC can be stored in advance, they can be used for a bone marrow transplant. The cells will be preserved in a frozen state. Saving one’s own stem cells is better than receiving HSC from other persons because it avoids the risk of rejection.

The Japan Society for Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation has supported this idea and announced that 107 transplant teams are standing by to collect and store the own HSC on March 29th.

However, according to Mito Kakizawa, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, the Japanese Government decided not to take this course of action after consulting the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Institute of Radiological Science. The reasons they have given are: it is not a standardized treatment internationally and collecting one’s own HSC contains risk itself.

Takanori Teshima, Associate Professor at Center for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Kyusyu University Hospital, gave other reasons such as workers would not be in danger as long as the limit is carefully monitored, it is considered less important than other severe crises and this treatment might exaggerate the fear of workers. Takanori Teshima also said “To do our best [for the workers] by using any resources is our responsibility. The storing of stem cells should be one of the first tasks in preparing a response to high level radiation exposure anywhere in the world, and could be a standardized prevention method in the future. We are proposing to be ready to support the workers in danger.”

Syuichi Taniguchi has been receiving several applications to ask this HSC procedure be done. Protecting the workers from high radiation exposure remains essential. However, as a risk management procedure, collecting and storing one’s own HSC would be worth considering.
Morning in America Again -- Maybe: Are the times really a changing? Am I waking up from a nightmare to see things in this country as I once knew them?

The president's speech yesterday hit a bulls-eye and I am thrilled. I want to write more about it but do not have time. Is my faith being restored? Is it TRULY morning in America again? I HOPE so.

Moreover, the best headline is on Huffington (link below) I am NOT jumping the gun into ecstasy as ACTIONS speaker louder than words but at LEAST someone is MAYBE addressing this financial and economic debacle that put everyone -- states, workers, the middle class EVERYONE except those in the capitol of greed who were the ONLY ones to make BILLIONS while EVERYONE else was sent into the red. After analysis when I have time I will blog my thoughts but another blogger said it all:

Who hasn't believed that super big financial institutio­ns have driven this nation, wor­ld actually, t­o the brink of financial collapse.T­hese "too big to fail" near monopolies have run unchecked through lack of government regulation and oversight.­The Wall Street speculator­s continue as we speak,mani­pulating gasoline prices to the detriment of our economy.It has been a rigged game,contr­olled by those that benefit through lobbyists handing out fat campaign checks to buy politician­s.These hearings need to be more than window dressing. They need to be jail terms handed out,especi­ally where the mortgage fraudsters are concerned.­

More importantl­y however,th­is serves to illustrate to those who either don't care,or just don't get it,that we need government regulation. Those who cry for smaller less intrusive government­,obviously haven't had their savings wiped out,or there houses confiscate­d.Some of these same mouthpiece­s for less government­,are calling for government intrusion into your private lives and bedrooms.I­n more extreme cases,they are trying to insert government into your bargaining rights,or saying that if you are overweight or unhealthy,­you can forfeit some medicare benefits.I­n another instance,t­hey want to force you to hand your medicare or Social Security over to the private sector which has proven untrustwor­thy and irresponsi­ble already through lack of government oversight.

Many have been fooled by these so called "patriots"­,speaking on behalf of corporate and special interests lobbyists.­...I for one am not!!


For now I am compelled to react. The headlines read (link to it below):

SENATE PANEL GOES AFTER GOLDMAN
Blistering Report Scolds Goldman Sachs, Lambasts Financial System Flaws


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Moral High Ground: I do NOT like criticizing a leader whom I enthusiastically supported and loved. Would a Republican be any better? HELL NO. It is why I oftentimes hold back critique. There are some writings of especially civil libertarian advocate Glenn Greenwald which deserve to be read and thought about thoroughly. This is one of them. It is entitled: "Manning, Obama and U.S. moral leadership" link below.

I will never support a Republican for president or any other office but that does not mean I must stay silent when I deem there is an egregious overstepping of our civil libertarian Constitutional principles by a president who taught that course and, indeed, by the law student Obama, who studied at Harvard under the great civil libertarian Professor Lawrence Tribe.

I continue to excuse some presidential actions I deem atrocious because I believe the president to be constrained by a reactionary right-wing in extremis Republican Tea Bag Party House of Representatives. That party is threatening to take control of the Senate as well. Obama NEEDS to be in the presidency in 2012 to check that utterly destructive force which could end this nation as we know it catapulting it back into the nineteenth century.

The president is not a dictator and his power is limited by the necessity of a checks and balances system of government mandating compromise which our Founders presciently installed. Still, there are many things he could have done and can still do to ameliorate the Bush administration's pulverizing of the basic tenets of our nation. The moral high ground the president held often gives way to the low ground of unprincipled policy obviating the hope and change that we so ardently believed his presidency would bestow.

I would LOVE to know what REALLY is in the president's mind to make him take such an egregious right hand turn on many issues and show a paucity of the leadership he promised during his campaign. It is an enigma that will continue to plague me, I am sure, for many years to come.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/04/11/manning
A Very Golden Rule: The nation "celebrated" the 150th anniversary of the Civil War which began at Fort Sumter April 12, 1861. I would rather forget that war except as a student of history. If we must remember it commemoratively I hope it teaches us the forces that would bring us back to that evil period of the so called “southern cause” and who cloak their rhetoric in “states rights” philosophical and political thought must be restrained from walking the halls of power. There are those, mostly but not entirely, in the south who to this day advocate not only for "states rights" but, as unthinkable as it might be, even for secession from the union. As much as our nation seemingly is often stuck in putrefying racist animus no one, I think, can deny since that brutal Civil War period we have advanced the cause of racial justice.

We must not return in reactionary fashion to those destructive times but must advocate for egalitarian policies and truly do to others what you would want done unto you!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42548201/ns/us_news-life/

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Duped by Dylan: Who is like the NYT editorialist, Maureen Dowd? I can only envy her brilliant writing as she weaves her literary and artistic knowledge into prescient opinion that often is itself a work of art. Her editorial yesterday was entitled "Blowin in the Wind" (link below) which takes a sardonic look at the sixties music icon and supposed voice for peace, Bob Dylan. I commented on it and Dylan:

I have given up trying to figure out Bob Dylan a long time ago. I loved the late 1960's that was the best and most meaningful time in my life. Everything seemed to be changing, everything good seemed possible and we were going to finally do it. I loved everything -- the music, the art, the politics, the literature -- everything. It seemed to all point to one thing -- collective change was coming where human beings in this country and beyond were going to finally care about each other and produce a humane world, eschewing war and waging peace. We were going to create a fairer more equitable world and Dylan was a part of that. The folk music of which he now waxes critical was sweet and yet piercing in its message telling us, as we THOUGHT he did, the times they were a changing and none too soon.

He was always enigmatic though. He was to me a bit personally offsetting, condescending and smoked incessantly. There was an edge to him but I overlooked that for what I thought was his greater message. The sound of his music was often rather harsh, many times did not make sense but he was placed at the top of the pack because he was sending new beautiful ideas to our souls. It was fortunate for him that we thought that because I am sure he made millions from us who bought his media and his message even if sometimes we could not understand all the lyrics. It did not matter.

Now, like so much around us he says his message is NOT what we thought it was. He really hated being thought of as a folk singer and leading a movement. He felt uncomfortable with that while he raked in the dough. He and our culture today, have, in my mind, betrayed those that believed in them. He, his music, his words of peace betrayed what we thought he was. Now he is anti everything in which we put our trust. He was a fraud and we were the fools.

I can parallel the leadership of my country to him. I thought it was finally changing; finally we would extricate from wars and wage peace. Finally, someone would rescue us from the greatest economic catastrophe my generation has ever known. Not only were we not extricated from wars the wars increased. Not only will the economics of our time barely change, the academics I do trust say it will get ultimately worse while the smartest guys in the room running the country laugh at our stupidity and they take it all.

Not only did the largest and most powerful money makers of Wall Street not get the jail that is due so many of them, they INCREASED their riches, took was not theirs to take, looked back and smirked when those they took it from lost everything -- their homes, their money, their hope and in some cases their lives.

And what happens to the evil ones who did these dastardly things, who took everything that was not theirs, who left people without savings, without a future, without homes and without hope? NOTHING. Not one except ponsey schemer Bernie Madoff has gone to jail. To the contrary they stole more and will do it again because in our culture petty criminals go to jail while the white collar rich thieves get away with high crimes. Now they know their hateful plan to take it all works and they will take more. Too bad folks -- folk singing is for the gullible. It’s not Dylan’s fault if we believed his message. Face it, we were duped!

Now I loathe Bob Dylan and his so called "music" and I loathe that part of our country who mesmerized us with hope, took that hope, went sailing on their big yachts with it and laughed while many of the folk who believed the lies they sold are left with nothing.

Bob Dylan is a metaphor for our times. He was NOT what we thought he was! Times surely did and are a changing but NOT for the better. The charlatans keep playing their song and we dance to tune of the American Dream while we, the duped, can never wake up from the nightmare!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/opinion/10dowd.html?_r=1

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Banality of an Evil Budget: This excuse for a budget laden with heavy cuts of programs to help the middle class and poor passed in showmanship style nearly at the midnight hour so no congressmen would turn into a pumpkin. My relative blogger says: "War spending rages out of control, Obama's latest foray exacerbating it. The nation is being ripped apart internally and there is no respite in sight. No one understands that things cannot go on this way. Austerity is going to be thrust upon us and there is going to be economic chaos because military spending and corporate handouts are prioritized over public need. The tea baggies and their Republican allies refuse to realize that REVENUE and not simply spending is part of a budget. GE and many corporations like it instead of paying ZERO taxes should pay plenty!

We KNOW this is just the beginning. Watch when the tea baggies and the Republican partners in crime in the banality of evil come to put their hands on your Medicare and Social Security. They are going to take ALL you have because the markets are just such a secure place. In the style of Ayn Rand it will be sink or swim on your own. You can only die once and they will be glad when you do as it will be one less poor mouth yapping for benefits.

The banality of this true evil exists and as proof the Congress with their tea baggie jailers held hostage and imprisoned little predominantly African American DC, which has NO representation in Congress but is controlled through its mandate, so that poor women there could not avail themselves of women's health services which include abortion. They just may make the wrong medical decision by tea baggie standards of choosing a LEGAL abortion of a problematic pregnancy. Isn't it wonderful that we have tea baggies to tell us where our moral compass should be? They have a LOT to say about continuing the life of a deformed fetus even if conceived through incestuous rape don't they but not much to say about sending full term people to their death in trumped up war.

Truly we live in the most toxic of times. Our president served up African American women of DC on a platter. I hope Michelle MADE him sleep on the couch!

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Kennedys a Reelz Channel Docudrama Series--My Review: I was not going to watch this series as I heard the rumor that it was nothing but a conservative's way to speak ill of a family I love warts and all. I am a liberal's liberal a Democrat's Democrat. I always will be.

When I decided to watch I was prepared to excoriate it and write a very negative review. I thought it would be partisan, slanted and another attempt at Republican brain washing.

But my preconceptions were wrong. I love this series and I am hooked on it. It combines a small amount of history with a large amount of personal interactive moments between the characters. I have read much about the Kennedys of power and I have loved all of them. I did not care about their sexual appetites or personal flaws. I loved and still do their politics.

This series makes me love them even more. I believe it makes the stories between them, their supporters, their adversaries and the relationships between each other real. I do not know for sure because I was not among the Kennedy inner circle but this portrait makes me admire Jack more, see what he was up against and how he managed to work though the short tenure of his presidency despite great physical pain. I thought it portrayed him as a sensitive and ethical man, despite his marital infidelity, who was captured by a very domineering father which I knew Joe, Sr. to be. They are an American Shakespearean opus beset by great ethical Greek tragic dilemmas.

I thought the actors were simply wonderful -- all of them. They painted a multi-dimensional portrait of a family married in complexity. Watching the film made me develop even more empathy for JFK and RFK. Joe Sr. too showed a pained and angry man. No one in this life, no one I know of is either all good or all bad and the Kennedys were and are no exception.

What it truly did show me is how difficult it is to run the machinations of the executive branch and how strong one must be to even attempt the Herculean task. The president is dealing with a country which is split on a deep cultural divide. The earthquake of our Civil War perhaps is producing the constant tsunami even until this day. The president is dealing too with a world besieged with difficulty. He must weave into his own presidency ALL those policies of those who preceded him and develop his own and keep the country safe. It it is hard very hard to govern.

I cannot wait for each episode. I think this was one of the BEST in docudrama programming. I do not think conservatives will be so happy because it does more, as I see it, to make the Kennedys human like the rest of us. They suffered through great triumphs as well as great tragedy which could fell the strongest of us. I say good job to the writers and the actors. They have not changed my mind one bit. I still love the Kennedys. I believe, they will go down in history as being on the correct side of it. My problem with them is that they leave us much too soon and can only sigh at how much better this country would be now had JFK, RFK and even JFK, Jr. lived out their years!
One of the BEST blogs on what our Washington swine are doing with YOUR Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid My relative Stephen Lendman http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/ writes an incredible blog. I agree with most all of it with the exception of some of his foreign policy thoughts and even then he makes some points. In my opinion, he is brilliant -- Harvard undergrad and Wharton. The guy knows what he is talking about. I recommend it highly. Read and heed and kick up your hells and SCREAM .. THIS CANNOT happen.

Republican Plan to End Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - by Stephen Lendman

Public rhetoric obscures important facts about these plans politicians won't discuss in their zeal to end them incrementally.

Medicaid is welfare for low-income beneficiaries, jointly funded by the states and Washington, managed at the state level.

Social Security and Medicare are insurance programs, funded by worker-employer payroll tax deductions. They're contractual federal obligations to eligible recipients who qualify. However, you'd never know it the way both programs are publicly discussed, explaining everything but the truth.

On August 14, 1935, the Social Security Act became law, known as the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program (OASDI). It provides retirement, disability, survivorship, and death benefits. It's still America's most effective poverty reduction program that's worked remarkably well since inception. It exists to provide secure inflation-adjusted retirement or disability income, unlike risking personal savings to create private wealth and perhaps lose it.

Despite bogus claims, it's not going bankrupt. When properly administered, it's sound and secure, needing only modest adjustments at times to assure it.

On July 30, 1965, Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security (Medicare) Act into law, enrolling Harry and Bess Truman as its first recipients.

Medicare.gov calls it "the nation's largest health insurance program," covering 40 million Americans. It's a "Health Insurance program for people age 65 or older, some disabled people under age 65, and people of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or a transplant)."

Bipartisan complicity wants Medicare and Social Security ended, citing the nation's burgeoning debt and enormous unfunded liabilities for both programs. The web site usdebtclock.org lists them as follows:

(1) the US National Debt: over $14 trillion;

(2) Social Security Liability: nearly $15 trillion;

(3) Prescription Drug Liability: nearly $20 trillion; and

(4) Medicare Liability: nearly $79 trillion.

Total: over $113 trillion plus the National Debt.

Most important is that future liabilities mask today's soundness that can stay that way if current programs are properly administered. That's omitted from hyped scare tactics to convince future recipients to make unjustifiable sacrifices. Like them or not, they're coming, major media reports promoting the idea as well as politicians from both parties.

Republicans, in fact, always opposed these programs. Given unsustainable deficits from out-of-control military spending and corporate handouts, they now see a chance to end them by a combination of cuts, shifting cost burdens to states and beneficiaries, plus lots of smoke and mirrors. Key is that Democrats concur, despite softer public rhetoric, appealing to constituencies while betraying them behind closed doors, Obama a duplicitous co-conspirator.

As a candidate, he "remain(ed) committed to making sure Social Security (remain) solvent and viable for the American people now and in the future."

Moreover, he opposed privatizing Medicare, promising "a universal health care bill, allow(ing) people who do not have access to group coverage through their employers or public programs....to buy into a national pool (under) a new public plan....that offer(s) comprehensive (affordable) benefits," including for prescription drugs.

At a February press conference, however, he promised major entitlement program cuts as part of his deficit reduction program. Emphasizing the need for "tough choices," despite inflicting "real pain" on working Americans, he said:

"Medicare and Medicaid are huge problems because health care costs are rising even as the population is getting older. And so what I've said is that I'm prepared to work with Democrats and Republicans to start dealing with that in a serious way. We made a down payment on that with health care reform last year."

Social Security is also targeted, Obama's deficit reduction commission proposing deep cuts in Medicare, increasing Medicaid co-pays, raising the Social Security retirement age to 69, and reducing cost-of-living increases as an initial broadside before ending these programs entirely.

At his press conference, Obama outlined a two-step process:

-- a five year discretionary spending freeze combined with major education, environmental, and other social benefit cuts; and

-- "entitlement reform," on the backs of working Americans least able to afford it.

On April 5, Washington Post writers Lori Montgomery and Philip Rucker headlined, Republicans embrace Rep. Ryan's government budget plan for 2012," saying:

Their vision includes "privatiz(ing) Medicare for future retirees, cut(ting) spending on Medicaid, and other domestic programs, and offer(ing) sharply lower tax rates to corporations and the wealthy."

Drafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, the proposal aims to cut discretionary spending "to its lowest level since 1949," Ryan claiming it will create jobs and promote growth by slashing "relentless government spending, taxing and borrowing."

Longtime financial analyst Bob Chapman disagrees, saying in his latest International Forecaster commentary:

"Virtually no change in out of control spending" is planned. "The deficit is accelerating not decelerating. It is obvious that (lawmakers) know exactly what they are doing and that is destroying the financial system and the American economy. By the end of the year and perhaps sooner, the deficit will be more than 100% of GDP, a role reserved for Banana Republics, and there is no end in sight."

"No reality check, no control, no attempt to stop the deficit hemorrhage. War spending rages out of control," Obama's latest foray exacerbating it. "The nation is being ripped apart internally and there is no respite in sight. (No one) understand(s) that things cannot go on this way. Austerity is going to be thrust upon us and there is going to be economic chaos" because military spending and corporate handouts are prioritized over public need.

Moreover, "(t)he Fed is destroying the monetary system. The president and Congress are burying the economy in debt, and our transnational conglomerates along with this gang of criminals have" destroyed America's industrial base...."There is no question that the US government will have ongoing deficits of $1.3 to $2.2 trillion annually for some time to come." As a result, "there is no chance of the debt of government ever being paid."

Instead, limits will be raised. "The Republicans are playing politics and remember the same group of thieves overwhelmingly control both parties." The amount of government-sanctioned fraud is incomprehensible. "The question is do we save America and civilization as we have known it, or do we allow it to collapse around us," making our futures "irreversible."

Yet congressional Republicans call this "The Path to Prosperity," the title of Paul Ryan's budget plan, slashing entitlements while continuing out-of-control spending on militarism and corporate handouts, Washington's version of equity, favoring the rich at the expense of working households.

Ryan's proposal will cut trillions from Medicare and Medicaid over the next decade. Medicare will be gradually privatized, incrementally phasing it out for enrollees under 55, raising the eligibility age to 67, and replacing it with fixed amount vouchers for private plans, instituting major cost-sharing increases. As a result, lower income individuals and those needing expensive treatments may be priced out of getting it entirely.

Medicaid funding will become block grants to states, Ryan saying they'll be able to "customize" health care for the poor, or perhaps eliminate it entirely if budget constraints demand.

His plan reportedly follows recommendations from two deficit cutting commissions - Obama's and another chaired by former Senator Pete Dominici and Alice Rivlin, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office called "Restoring America's Future," by destroying it. Specifically, it calls for huge discretionary spending cuts, including:

-- indexing Social Security benefits to life expectancy to reduce them as longevity increases;

-- eliminating annual cost of living adjustments (COLAs), despite sharply increasing healthcare and other expenses, especially impacting seniors;

-- cutting Medicare benefits, including by large Part B premium increases, co-pays, and fees for outpatient services, as well as establishing privately owned, lower-cost, health insurance exchanges to be given competitive cost advantages over traditional Medicare; the idea, of course, is to replace it, leaving beneficiaries at the mercy of predatory insurers that profit by charging exorbitant premiums (too costly for many) and denying expensive care; and

-- cutting Medicaid by the amount it grows faster than GDP, providing less care for the poor, eventually perhaps none.

Both commissions also propose other social benefit reductions, as well as major corporate and personal tax cuts, favoring the rich - customary financial reforms hitting working households hardest.

A Final Comment

Despite a severe Main Street depression, Democrats and Republicans plan austerity instead of essential stimulus, including for entitlement programs, vital to strengthen, not undermine when they're most needed and will be as well in good times.

Instead, they're on the chopping block for elimination because Republicans are Hooverites, Democrats aren't New Dealers, and Obama's no FDR. Combined, they let Wall Street loot the treasury, reward other corporate favorites generously, ignore vital people needs, do little to create jobs or help homeowners facing foreclosure, spurn budget-strapped states, and spend around $1.5 trillion annually on unbridled militarism and imperial wars at a time Washington has no enemies. No wonder America's on a fast track to tyranny and ruin, no longer a fit place to live in.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.
posted by Steve Lendman @ 1:50 AM

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Not Good as Gold: Jeff Jacoby, editorialist for The Boston Globe wrote an op ed today entitled: "Goldstone's investigation was a one-sided sham." I often do not agree with his conservative views but on this one I did. It involved the Goldstone Report and a rescinding by the author Judge Richard Goldstone of the Goldstone Report which was an indictment of the Jewish state for an abuse of human rights. As stated in the web site "Understanding the Goldstone Report" "On September 15, 2009, Judge Richard Goldstone and his Commission presented their 575-page Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict to its mandating authority, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). From the beginning, observers raised serious questions about the Commission’s propriety. These involved its mandate and terms of reference, the sponsoring body’s domination by dictatorships that regularly abuse human rights in their own countries, the biases and prejudices of members of the Commission itself. And yet, the report will play a key role in the effort to specifically target Israeli troops in both boycott movements and warfare attacks, and more broadly to establish a reigning paradigm of international law as applied to 21st century asymmetrical conflicts."

I wrote the following to Jacoby:


Jeff, when you are right I say you are right. You are dead-on right with respect to the utterly sickening Goldstone Report. When it first appeared, while I did not know if it were true or not, it made my skin crawl for a fellow Jew to issue a report that made such a destructive allegation against the Jewish state. How, I thought, could he have done this to his own people? No matter what I found I could NEVER issue a blanket condemnation against my Jewish people EVER. I might criticize particular policy but I surely would never think for one moment that the enemies of Israel are so lily white pure.

It is the thing that most dismays me about my leftist compatriots. I do not understand their elevation of all things Palestinian and their wholesale condemnation of the Jewish state. They do not even give a nation state the right to defend itself against those who want to pulverize it into dust. No one, no Jew at least, could ever understand Jewish history without the knowledge that the history of our people for over two thousand years has been one of siege by those who want our destruction. The eighth wonder of the world is that we have survived at all. The Jewish people created a beautiful, democratic and progressive state tolerant to those who would even disagree with its existence. If this state were in the hands of the murderers of Hamas would they create the same democratic state? I suspect they would not.

The truth of the Holocaust one would think would play a part in the left wing supposed humanitarian mantra which would allow them to see why a DEMOCRATIC Jewish state with an educated populous where women in most circles share the same bima as men would be reason enough to be in awe of its exceptional success and, more importantly, its right to exist. Are they blind? Do they not see? I suspect that many on the left, even some Jews among us, want the Jewish part of them to simply disappear. The rest of the gentile world who are against the Jewish state -- especially in the west -- STILL even now turn anti-Semitic red with rage that these, as they see it, intrinsically blemished people, spurned throughout history as killers of their god do not deserve the success they own. Many STILL, despite the six million, feel the yearning and the need to disparage the Jew because, of course, the Jew MUST be guilty of something.

BUT when one of our own writes an indictment which gave rationalization to the Palestinian cause and their assault on the Jewish state which is seen round the world that he later must rescind because it was false I sit shiva for him and say only God, if there is one, can forgive this destructiveness against his own people. It is to me TREASON of the highest order. Has the world not had enough Jewish blood to satisfy its cannibalistic hunger? Did Goldstone have to throw a stake at the heart of his own people and feed it to the lions? He sickened me when his report first came out and he sickens me now. He made his bed of excrement now I say let him lie in it!
Three Cheers for a Government Shutdown?: The following is a SHORT transcript of a conversation Rachel Maddow had with one the most brilliant scholars I have ever heard, Melissa Harris Lacewell, Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. Their discussion was about the electorate's understanding of what a government shut down means or does not mean to most Americans and why there are groups which thrive on the notion of shutting the government down. It is an informative discussion which gets, I believe, to the heart of this issue.

MADDOW: If they do not reach an agreement tonight, and the government shuts down this weekend—five years from now, why will Americans understand that this shutdown happened?

HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, who knows five years from now? I mean, you know, seriously, part of the problem here is, I think, that Americans seem to have—despite the poll numbers that you‘re showing—Americans seem to have little understanding about what government is really doing for them on a daily basis. I mean, if you ask Americans, what has government done for you lately, you‘re likely to get a response like, well, not much. Or, you know, they have taken my whole paycheck, or something like that.

And, look, the Republicans are not a dumb group strategically. They know that most Americans have been doing what I‘ve been doing the past couple weeks, which fiddling with, you know, with our heads, in our hands, trying to get our tax returns in. And so, this is a moment where people have kind of the most anxiety about government, because they feel like they‘re paying in, and they don‘t have a clear narrative about what they‘re getting out.

MADDOW: But why then on something like Medicare would they be proceeding now? Why choose—why would the Republican choose to reveal their plan to kill Medicare now? The super, super beloved program. They announced it on the day the president announces that he is running for re-election. They announce it right on the eve of this potential shutdown.

Why Medicare? Why now?

HARRIS-PERRY: I think there‘s a lot of different things going on here. But at its core, what we see is really just the fruition of now 25, 30 years of public discourse that the Democrats have participated in, that says that government is bad. I mean, if you can remember the confusion that was occurring during the health care reform debate, where you had people at town hall meetings saying things like, “Keep the government‘s hands off my Medicare,” right? There was—there was clear confusion about who was providing these services, right?

I think, you know, even when you talk about something like going to the ATM and taking out $50, and knowing that that money is there, because it‘s insured by FDIC, you know, being able to eat an egg for breakfast and know that that egg doesn‘t have salmonella because it‘s been inspected by federal inspectors. You know, my mother‘s new hips, one on the left one on the right, both paid for by Medicare, which she paid into and which I pay into.

But if we—if we disconnect those things from our understanding that this is government provision, I think it‘s actually relatively easy to go after them individually, and to make a claim that private industry can do them better and more efficiently, because that‘s really been the discourse for 20 years.

MADDOW: Well, why are Democrats so shy about wanting to defend the basic idea of government from this, you know, the government is the problem? Conservatism. Letter carriers and firefighters and police officers and teachers are beloved national figures. Medicare and Social Security are beloved national programs. Why are Democrats so shy about making them their party‘s own symbols, even their mascots, for the Democratic Party?

HARRIS-PERRY: You know, you were talking about civics lessons earlier. And I have to say that part of what happened, and we can really trace this back to a very clear strategy on the part of Republicans after the end of the 1960s. And it was to take all of those beloved figures, and link them with figures that are less beloved.

So, for example, the growth of the African-American middle class in
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the 1970s, that was mostly men working in post office, and women working as

teachers. The language of what government was doing for citizens got

linked to groups like African-Americans, poor people, new immigrant

communities. To the extent that Republicans have been very successful in

linking—in fact, very efficient, high-quality and broad-based programs -

or even things like, for example, public schools—two populations in communities that are less beloved, more stereotyped, more stigmatized, they have been able to lap those on to each other and sort of create these anxieties in populations that actually need and benefit from on a daily basis government actions.

MADDOW: And that‘s been a deliberate strategy. And it works, if nobody fights back against it—

HARRIS-PERRY: That‘s right.

MADDOW: -- which is—which is the on going task of the Democratic Party in my lifetime, which means I‘ll never have anything to stop talking about, because they never seem to make progress on this.

Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC contributor, associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton and very smart person—thank you for being here.
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HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks, Rachel.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Love of My Life: I want to write an opinion about the love of my life who occupied the office of the US Presidency and who rises beyond the level of my critical expectation. I want to put on the record now, on my blog, and send it out to anyone who wants to read it what I have to say about the president I have loved above all others. An enormous emotion overcame me as I watch today the decay of our political system rotting from inside with petty bickering and partisan politics. I watch the hope of 2008 disintegrate before my eyes. So I will wax melancholy but state succinctly, I hope, whom and why I love a particular president, hold him high above all others and cried while standing at his grave in Hyde Park, New York.

Obviously, one does not have to be a David McCullough or a Doris Kearns-Goodwin to know that I LOVE (present tense) Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I have LOVED him all of my life and I, incredulously, never knew him. I knew only of him from the many things I have read and the deep adulation of even my very Republican father. My parents LOVED him and transmitted that love to me.

Was he perfect? NO of course not. Who is? I am sure many can tell me some of the less-than-lofty decisions that were made during his tenure and as Kearns-Goodwin, wrote about in "No Ordinary Time" over nearly 16 years of the Roosevelt presidency. I am able to recite a few as well. Some, who were born during his first administration, never knew anyone but him as president. They knew him well into their teenage years. I am fortunate I did not have to experience those dreadful times of the Great Depression and a world at war but IF I did I KNOW I would have felt as my parents did that FDR and the nation that elected him FOUR times would get us through it all and they were correct. He and they did.

I swoon when I read he welcomed the disdain of his Republican enemies and thought that fact was a TRIBUTE to him. He was NOT about compromise with small men who had small minds and cared only for their small upper class part of the world while they expectorated on the rest of America and sunk it into the Great Depression.

Paraphrasing FDR he said first we will try this and if that doesn't work we will try that but the IMPORTANT thing is to try SOMETHING. For the first time in the history of this country the poor, the disabled, the dispossessed, the elderly, the unemployed and the hungry felt a sense of hope that their government would help them in their hour of need. For the first time government WAS the SOLUTION and not the problem for social ills and its spawn of social injustice. This president, at that time, cared but could NOT have cared less about his Republican detractors who cared only for themselves and never knew government could, if the people wanted, fix a problem!

I could recite a PLETHORA of legislation and an abundance of programs from which we the people, the average people, the little guy benefit. Franklin Roosevelt was called a "traitor to his class." He laughed and considered that a compliment. I thank God for him. I think of him every day I am saved by programs such as Social Security he began and Medicare which followed later. I thank him every day for the MILLIONS whose lives he saved and for those who stand on this side of deep death because someone larger than life cared and showed that he did by the policies he wove into the tapestry of the American quilt.

There are those today who want to unravel every thread of that quilt and lead you to believe they are about you and the deficit. They are not. They do not care about most of you. They care about themselves and those who pave their way with gold into office. Still they call themselves patriots! Franklin Roosevelt, those who served under him and the people who elected him FOUR TIMES were patriots.

Thank you, President Roosevelt. I remember you today, I will remember you tomorrow and I will remember you every day I live and hope someone is out there who can use your example to save this country you helped forge but that is disappearing before my very eyes!
ADDICTION: "Is America Addicted to War. The top 5 reasons why we keep getting into foolish fights?"

Excellent article in the publication "Foreign Policy" linked below.


http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/04/is_america_addicted_to_war

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

United We Stand -- An Understanding of Religious Belief: Is there a way for science to clone James Carroll? He is one of the most scholarly, brilliant writers ever to enhance the pages of The Boston Globe. His latest April 4, 2011 article in The Globe "The Roots of Muslim Bigotry" is expressively illuminating. In his many well-written articles for The Globe he gets to the heart of man's religious history and focuses brilliantly upon the etiology of monotheistic religious belief, its prejudices as well as the underpinning of its benevolent equality both of which are reflected in contemporary culture.

When we know these things our ire, I believe, can be defused. Maybe man someday, through this understanding, will finally see the things we share more than the differences and divisions that propel us to do such dastardly deeds against one another.

It is well worth reading. I link it below.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2011/04/04/the_roots_of_anti_muslim_bigotry/

Monday, April 04, 2011

Why I WILL vote for Barack Obama:

We are one more Supreme Court justice away from cementing the worst of the worst destructive polices, besides the slavery issue, this country has ever seen. I never did and never will have an abortion BUT it is a HUGE issue to poor women who need services and NOT ONLY abortion services but life saving medical services as well. It means an important thing to ALL women whose bodies have been controlled by the dictates of men. One more Supreme Court justice choice is a way of overturning one of the most important decisions in the history of the court, besides the issue of slavery, for, perhaps, generations. Many full term human beings in the past committed suicide or died from botched abortions so horribly and unnecessarily. If a Republican is elected president we will begin denying yet again medical services to so many who cannot afford it. People will die. Republican politics is the true death panel. Electing a Republican would give religious fanatical insanity, tied to the state, power. This is extraordinarily important for the advancement of our county to stop.

Although tepidly advocated by Obama at first, the president is still basically in the humane and correct corner when advocating for the rights for homosexual people. He is a bulwark against the reinstating of DADT and a block to the repeal of hate crimes legislation which he passed. We cannot forget that even as I sometimes do when other big ticket issues dominate the airwaves.

Barack Obama may not deliver all the time everything for which I hoped but in our vituperatively hostile divided country we must play pragmatic politics and re-elect the president who delivered on other numerous important social and cultural items he had promised he would. His re-election is imperative. I am hopeful in a second term he may do even better. Moreover, he is a smart and deliberative person at a time when our country sorely needs that. I do fervently hope he will be re-elected. Literally our lives and the quality of them in so many ways depend upon it!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Renewal of My Spirit: I have written many many letters over the past few years which have been printed in many publications and very often in my local newspaper. When they post it online bloggers may respond. Most who respond to letters (and I am not sure why) are less than progressive. Actually they are down right mean-spirited nasty often fanatical religious wing nuts. Their criticism used to upset me but after so many years one becomes slightly inured.

Today when I just happened to click on to my local letters page to simply peruse it I found this letter which appeared today, Sunday, April 3, 2011. If you do not mind I will humbly share it. It said:

I would like to thank a few people who have written for and to your paper for quite a few years.

The late and sorely missed Jack Rivers, Rick Holmes, present opinion editor, and two readers, Natalie Rosen and Nancy T. Lindsay.

They are the type of people who make me proud to be human.

RAY LESABE


I do not know who Mr. Lesabe is but you can be sure I thanked him. Compliments are always welcome as opposed to those who take particular joy in tearing one down. This letter from Mr. Lesabe comes at a particularly good time and I thanked him very much!
De ja vu all over again -- Drilling for oil in the Gulf: I link the New York Times article below entitled "BP Seeks to Resume Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico." The title of the article makes clear its content as it says "BP has asked United States regulators for permission to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, two company officials with direct knowledge of the application said on Sunday" and we know others have again gotten permission to do so. BP probably will as well too. My blog should appear in the NYT Blog soon. I said:

It is SICKENING to watch and ever so difficult to believe that no matter how horrific the disaster, no matter how poisonous the effects to our water, our land and our earth, no matter how toxic the foreign policy effects, no matter how many lives have been lost to the insatiable quest for wretchedly polluting and poisonous fuels, our president in whom I entrusted my life, my hope and my dreams continues to be anything but what I thought he was a mere two and one half years ago. 2008 may as well have been 2001 as our president's policies leave many from his base in SHOCK and utter disbelief.

What will it take? How many disasters, how many sickening and horrific oil spills, how much ruination to our balance of nature, how destructive to our beautiful earth, how many Japan disasters will it take to convince this unknowing, uncaring, somambulant populous that FOSSIL FUELS AND NUCLEAR POWER WILL ULTIMATELY KILL. Few care as they simply go back to their couch, their basketball games and burp from their beer staggering into bed after a cushy day doing nothing.

DO SOMETHING, AMERICA, WAKE UP. Either we or the generation that comes after us WILL pay this sickening price and our president who could have been great, bows down at the corporatist alter, eschews the ones who loved him and brought him to the dance so that he too can plunder the American public's lives and treasury, to stuff his own pockets with fame and the fortune that comes with being a corporate lackey.

Alas, he is NO different than those who came before and maybe worse because he promised to be so much better and we believed him. Shame on us we should NOT be fooled again! Speak OUT for things you know are true, that science TELLS us are true and do not let these corporatist jailers STEAL your lives before you have even lived them!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/04/business/energy-environment/04bp.html

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Malcolm X Revisited: I find Malcolm X's life endlessly interesting maybe the MOST interesting of the black liberation and nationalist movement's advocates. I only wish Professor Marable lived to comment on his new book as according to the NYT, the Malcolm X biographer died on eve of his revealing work.

For anyone who may be interested, I link below the NYT story about the author and his exhaustive study in his book on Malcolm X's life. It upends many of the preconceived notions of Malcolm. The book is entitled “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” by Columbia University professor Manning Marable. I will add it to my reading list and compilation of 1/2 read texts which somehow I never finish.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/02/books/malcolm-x-biographer-dies-on-eve-of-publication-of-redefining-work.html?src=ISMR_HP_LO_MST_FB

Friday, April 01, 2011

Lendman Let Loose: I am cutting and pasting my relative, Stephen Lendman's, blog. I do not acquiesce to all of it but much of it does reflect truths as both he and I see it. We disagree on some things, yes, but what I think we both agree on is that this country, militarily, is OUT OF CONTROL. Our foreign escapades have cost SO many lives both here and on the soil of the countries we attack. Moreover, these militaristic fiascoes have cost us so much of our treasure. The money we have spent on war in the last sixty years could light New York City for eternity and most importantly could give our people the health care, repair badly decayed infrastructure and create an educated public we all deserve for generations to come.

Here is his article posted today and a link to his blog below which contains opinion on many issues of our time. This particular blog is long but I think well written. Even if one reads only part of it, I believe, it worthwhile to at LEAST give pause for reflection and to question what our government does in our name.


America's Permanent War Agenda: Military Keynesianism on Steroids - by Stephen Lendman

Previous articles discussed America's culture of violence at home and abroad. Its entire history, in fact, is blood-drenched, glorifying conflicts in the name of peace, waging them every year in US history against one or more domestic and/or foreign adversaries.

Moreover, since WW II, America's had a permanent war agenda for unchallengeable global dominance throughout decades without enemies since Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945.

The Pentagon calls it a "long war." Obama is the latest warrior president following Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, Wilson, F. Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II preceding him, as well as all others in between.

In his 2002 book, "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace," Gore Vidal said:

"(O)ur rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own."

Rhetorically resisting tyranny, supporting free peoples, and promoting democracy, in fact, masks a destructive, immoral agenda to subjugate and control, no matter the cost in dollars, public welfare, or human lives.

America's Permanent War Economy

It's how Seymour Melman (1917 - 2004) characterized it in his books and frequents writings on America's military-industrial complex. On March 15, 2003, one of his last articles headlined, "In the Grip of a Permanent War Economy," saying:

"(A)t the start of the twenty-first century, every major aspect of American life is being shaped by our Permanent War Economy." Its horrific toll includes:

-- a de-industrialized nation, the result of decades of shifting production abroad, leaving unions and communities "decimated;"

-- government financing and promoting "every kind of war industry and foreign investing by US firms;" war priorities take precedence over essential homeland needs;

-- America's "permanent war economy....has endured since the end of World War II....Since then the US has been at war - somewhere - every year, in Korea, Nicaragua, Vietnam, the Balkans - all this to the accompaniment of shorter military forays in Africa, Chile, Grenada, Panama," and protracted ones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, Yemen, Central Africa, Libya, and increasingly against perceived homeland enemies;

-- "how to make war" takes precedence over everything, leaving no "public space (for) how to improve the quality of our lives;"

-- "Shortages of housing have caused a swelling of the homeless population in every major city (because) State and city governments across the country have become trained to bend to the needs of the military....;" the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) estimates nearly 90,000 homeless Chicagoans during the 2009-10 school year through June 1910, a 19.9% increase over the previous year; the National Coalition for the Homeless estimates about 3.5 million nationwide;

-- the result is a nation of growing millions of poor, disadvantaged, uneducated, and "disconnected from society's mainstream, restless and unhappy, frustrated, angry, and sad;"

"State Capitalism" characterizes America's government - business partnership, running a war economy for greater power and wealth at the expense of a nation in decline, corrupted leadership, lost industrialization, crumbling infrastructure, and suffering millions on their own, uncared for, unwanted, ignored, and forgotten to assure steady funding for America's wars, no matter the cost.

Melman stressed that:

"Further evasion is out of order. We must come to grips with America's State Capitalism and its Permanent War Economy." Re-industrialization is essential "to restore jobs and production competence - industry by industry."

"Failing that, there is no hope for any constructive exit," for the nation or its people.

Dwight Eisenhower's January 17, 1961 Address to the Nation

His farewell address came 30 years to the day before Operation Desert Storm, in which he warned about the "military-industrial complex," citing the "grave implications" of a "coalition of the military and industrialists who profit by manufacturing arms and selling them to the government."

He stated "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence....by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

He added that:

"Every gun that is made, every war ship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and not clothed."

It results from what analysts call the "iron triangle" of Congress, the Pentagon, and war industry, including weapons and munitions makers, as well as producers of sophisticated technology for digital age warfare of a kind Eisenhower never imagined.

Today, militarism consumers over 40% of the national tax revenue at the expense of unmet human needs. It's parasitic, unjustified economically, inefficient, ineffective, self-destructive, immoral, and illegal in all US wars since WW II. It redistributes income and resources to the wealthy, undermines physical and human capital, increases internal vulnerability to natural disasters, is too costly to be sustained, erodes civil liberties and democratic values, and heads America for tyranny and ruin.

America's FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act

In December 2010, Congress unanimously passed a FY 2011 $725 billion war budget, erroneously called defense.

In April 2010, Independent Institute analyst Robert Higgs broke it down in billions of dollars for 2009 as follows:

-- Department of War - $636.5

-- Department of Energy (nuclear weapons and environmental remediation) - $16.7

-- Department of State (plus international aid) - $36.3

-- Department of Veterans Affairs - $95.5

-- Department of Homeland Security - $51.7

-- Department of the Treasury (for the Military Retirement Fund) - $54.9

-- NASA (half its budget) - $9.6; in fact, NASA is a de facto military operation, space the new war frontier; and

-- military-related debt service - $126.3

Sub Total - $1,027.5

Add to it regular supplemental foreign war authorizations as well as black CIA, other intelligence, and Pentagon budgets totally at least another $500 billion for a grand total exceeding $1.5 trillion annually.

Moreover, since 1998, Pentagon spending doubled. Since 2006, it rose 20%. America spends half or more than the rest of the world combined, and Obama (the peace candidate) spends more than any previous president, waging twice as many wars as George Bush despite no prospect of winning any of them. The idea isn't always to win. It's to fight, the longer the better for huge profits.

At the same time, we're broke, cutting back, slashing public services like education, healthcare, and other social needs, as well as ignoring America's crumbling infrastructure.

America's Addiction to War

Noam Chomsky called Joel Andreas' 2004 book, "Addicted to War: Why the US Can't Kick Militarism:"

An indictment of "the curse of the people - the attackers and the victims. (It) brilliantly tell(s) us why and how we must rid ourselves of this curse, quickly, or else descend to barbarism and destruction."

Howard Zinn said it's a "devastating portrait of US military policy," and

Helen Caldicott called it "an addiction that could, in (the) nuclear age, destroy all life on earth, creating the final epidemic of the human race."

The book chronicles over two centuries of war, now menacing nations globally. It explains who benefits, who pays, who loses, who dies, and why militarists fear peace so create enemies when none exist.

In his 1966 book, "How the World Really Works," Alan B. Jones included a chapter on the "Report from Iron Mountain: On the Possibility and Desirability of Peace," later published in 1967 by The Dial Press. It became a bestseller, then disappeared. Now few copies are available, but when circulating in the 1960s, it concerned Johnson administration officials enough to downplay it, saying it had nothing to do with policy. In fact, it very much did then and now.

It explained the elements of war and problems of peace, saying conflicts are an economic, political and ecological necessity, important to continue indefinitely. In contrast, peace "would almost certainly not be in the best interest of (a) stable society" and might be "catastrophic."

In fact, general disarmament would require "scrapping....a critical proportion of the most highly developed occupational specialties in the economy."

Diverting an arms budget to a "non-military system (is) remote (in a) market economy." Replacing it with public works is "wishful thinking (and) unrealistic."

War is "the basic social system, within which other secondary modes of social organization conflict or conspire. (It's) the system (that's) governed most human societies of record, as it (does) today."

No other control mechanism approached its effectiveness. War-making potential doesn't result from threats. In fact, "threats against the national interest are usually created or accelerated to meet the changing needs of the war system."

Significant nonmilitary war functions and benefits were claimed to exist, including economic protections against depression, and stimulus contributing to the rise of gross national product and individual productivity. Nothing else devised "can remotely compare to it in effectiveness." It's the "essential economic stabilizer."

In addition, war's political importance is crucial. It defines and enforces relations with other nations. National sovereignty and the traditional nation-state depend on it. The war system is essential to internal political stability. "Without it, no government has ever been able to obtain acquiescence (to) its legitimacy, or right to rule its society."

A nation's authority over its people "resides in its war powers," including local police to deal with "internal enemies in a military manner."

Military service has a patriotic purpose "that must be maintained for its own sake."

Wars also serve an ecological purpose - "to reduce the consuming population to a level consistent with the survival of the species," but mass destruction is inefficient, and nuclear weapons are indiscriminate, removing physically stronger members important to save.

Because of medical and scientific advances, pestilence no longer can control populations effectively, balancing them with agriculture's potential. As a result, other measures are needed to control "undesirable genetic traits."

An effective political substitute for war requires "alternate enemies....of credible quality and magnitude, if a transition to peace is ever to come about without social disintegration." Most likely, "such a threat will have to be invented."

Other extreme considerations were also reviewed, the report concluding that:

Permanent "war is the foundation for stable government. It supplies the basis for general acceptance of political authority." It lets societies maintain class distinctions, ensuring subordination of citizens to the state, run by elites with "residual war powers," to unleash at their whim. In other words, for militarists and profiteers, war is good, the more the better. Winning doesn't matter, just waging them.

Libya - America's Latest "Big Muddy"

Highlighting Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam quagmire, Pete Seeger's "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" condemned "the big fool say(ing) to push on." Today it's Eurasia, Libya Obama's latest entanglement, promising more protracted war against another non-belligerent illegally, menacing world peace, stability, national solvency, and democratic freedoms.

Like his predecessors, Obama glorifies conflicts and the righteousness of waging them, packaged as liberating ones for democracy, freedom, justice, and the best of all possible worlds. He's just the latest in a long line of warrior leaders, waging war for peace, justifying them by bogus threats, and calling pacifism unpatriotic to further an imperial agenda for greater wealth, power, and unchallengeable global dominance - a national sickness heading America for tyranny and ruin.

As a candidate, he campaigned against imperial militarism, promised limited escalation only, and pledged to remove all combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010. He lied. War in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan continue unabated, now another in Libya to control the entire Mediterranean Basin, then on to another, and still more ad infinitum, no matter the cost or social consequences.

On March 30, New York Times writers Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt headlined, "CIA Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels," saying:

"....CIA operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force (Obama) hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi's military...."

In fact, CIA agents have been in Libya and throughout North Africa and the Middle East for years along with UK MI 6 officers. Moreover, "current and former British officials said that (hundreds) of British special forces and....intelligence officers are working inside Libya. (They've) been directing airstrikes from British jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of" Gaddafi's forces and heavy weapons.

On March 30, Reuters headlined, "Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret help for Libya rebels," saying:

He signed a secret "finding" in recent weeks "authorizing covert US government support for rebel forces," including CIA and special forces aid, as well as weapons, though officially "no decision has been made about providing arms...." On March 29, Secretary of State Clinton tacitly confirmed it, saying:

"It is our interpretation (of SC Resolution 1973 to include) a legitimate transfer of arms (to rebel forces) if a country should choose to do that."

UK Prime Minister Cameron concurred, saying:

"Our view is that this (resolution) would not necessarily rule out the provision of assistance to those protecting civilians in certain circumstances."

In other words, when America and Britain wage war, anything goes, in fact, whether or not any UN resolution authorizes it. Washington especially has its own rules of engagement, concerned only about defeating adversaries by any means, within or outside the law.

The CIA declined comment on involvement in Libya, including about Khalifa Hifter. Once a top Libyan military officer, he spent the last two decades in suburban Virginia. Reportedly he has longstanding CIA ties. On or about March 24, he was appointed top military commander for Libya's rebel forces.

In other words, CIA's man is running insurgent belligerence, directing cutthroat killers, terrorizing areas they control, exposing Washington's disdain for humanitarian intervention, as well as its direct involvement against a sovereign leader, whether democrat or despot.

A Final Comment

On March 28, Global Research published the testimony of Russian doctors in Libya, confirming the bombing of civilian targets, what, in fact, America does in all wars, civilians as fair game as combatants the way they've been waged in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan with no major media discussion, airbrushing truth from all reports.

An open letter from Russian doctors to Russia's president explained saying:

-- "blatant (US and NATO) aggression (is ongoing) against (another) sovereign country - Libya;"

-- "....bombing of Tripoli and other cities in Libya is aimed not only at the objects of air defense and Libya's Air Force and not only against the Libyan army, but also the object of military and civilian infrastructure;"

-- bombing around "densely populated residential areas" is ongoing;

-- "bombs and rockets struck residential houses and fell near the hospital;" a wall in the maternity ward collapsed; 10 miscarriages resulted; the women are in intensive care, doctors fighting to save them;

-- they've been dozens of deaths and injuries; and they call this "protecting the civilian population?"

-- "With full responsibility as witnesses and participants of what is happening, we state that the United States and its allies are thus carrying out genocide against the Libyan people - as was the case in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq."

Clearly, America and co-belligerents France and Britain plan replacing Gaddafi with a subservient puppet, serving Western, not popular, interests. Libya's corpse will be divided and controlled, its people exploited, their freedoms given no chance to materialize, their land irradiated by toxic munitions, harming their lives and futures irreparably.

April 1 marks two weeks of war, the start of months or perhaps years of protracted conflict, assuring widespread death, injuries, disabilities and destruction. A previous article explained it's assured when America arrives - on depleted uranium cruise missiles, bombs and shells, not white horses for humanitarian intervention, peace and democratic values, notions all US administrations disdain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.