Thursday, July 29, 2010

Depleted Uranium

Although the supreme war crime of illegal invasion encompasses all other war crimes, there are multiple other war crimes committed in the years afterwards.

The US attacked Fallujah twice in 2004, targeting the hospital the second time, because they didn't want the bad publicity they got when wounded civilians in the hospital were shown on TV.

They used illegal weapons, and weapons that should be illegal, such as depleted uranium weapons.

Now, again, there is proof that the suffering of the Fallujans continues although they are not being bombed at this time.

I mentioned on my radio show last year that we Southern Illinoisians are partially responsible for the increased birth defects, leukemia and other cancers in Iraq, since we have a depleted uranium weapons manufacturing company right here, in a wildlife refuge, employing lots of people. (Jobs, jobs, jobs! No morals allowed.)

One of my listeners told me an interesting story. She works as a driver for people wanting to go to the St. Louis airport, a two hour drive.

She had a Canadian professor in the front seat, and two teachers for military brats on a base in Texas in the back seat.

She brought up the fact that we make depleted uranium weapons to the professor.

The women in the back seat went nuts! They started screaming at her and the professor. The US wouldn't use those such things, and anyway, it was OK, and just SHUT UP! SHUT UP!

She said that the professor, (luckily), knew about the weapons and calmly tried to explain it to the teachers. They put their hands over their ears and refused to listen!

Yeah, but they heard!

I was pretty pleased that two women, deliberately and proudly ignorant, were exposed to the truth, as unwilling as they were to hear it.



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Sunday, July 25, 2010

"I Don't Care About the Facts"

"I will never apologize for the United States of America. I don't care about the facts".
George H. W. Bush, speaking about the US shooting down of a civilian Iranian airline in 1988, which killed 290 people, including 66 children.

We are now in a mini-media uproar about the Scottish pardoning of Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am 103. Great indignation flows from the talking heads! 270 people died!
And the man convicted was pardoned!

The man responsible for the shooting down of the Iranian airline, Captain William Rogers, was not convicted or imprisoned. He was given a medal.

The US in 1988 was backing Iraq in its (US sponsored) war against Iran.

Saddam Hussein, our man in Iraq, had attacked Iran in 1980, after the 1979 Iranian revolution had deposed the US man in Iran, the Shah. The US supported Iraq, but also sold arms to Iran, because the Reagan White House was also attacking Nicaragua illegally and needed the money. By the way, Israel was the country who actually delivered the arms. The illegal guns-for-drugs operation was run out of the White House basement by Oliver North, now a well-paid right wing talking head, and "investigated" by a committee headed by Lee Hamilton, who later "investigated" 9-11.

In 1988, the US started militarily attacking Iranian targets, and this culminated in the shooting down of the civilian airline, killing everyone on board.

Immediately after the war crime, the US put out a cover story, claiming that the civilian airliner was not on its flight path, that it was descending towards the US warship, and that it didn't respond to signals.

These claims were all lies, but the truth came out in dribbles, buried in the back pages, and then put back down the memory hole for the propaganda parts.

The United States has never apologized for or admitted wrong doing for shooting down the airliner. No one was ever prosecuted or punished for it. Vice-President George H. W. Bush said repeatedly that he didn't care about the facts, he wouldn't apologize for America.

Six months later, Pan Am 103 was shot down over Scotland.

At first, the US blamed Iran-backed Palestinians for the crime, but, in the meantime, Saddam Hussein had fallen out of favor. He seemed to think that the US owed him for the attack on Iran. When he told the American ambassador that Kuwait was slant-drilling Iraqi oil, and he was planning on attacking them,
she said "We have no position on your border dispute with Kuwait".

He was punk'd!

The US organized international backing for their attack on Iraq, and part of the deal with Iran was blaming two Libyans for the bombing of Pan Am 103, instead of the Palestinians. Libya wasn't cooperating with the US.

But they did hand the two over in 1999, and after a "trial", one was convicted. Abdelbasit Ali al-Megrahi.

But on appeal, a Scottish court found that he had suffered a "miscarriage of justice", and the defense was planning on showing that the US had lied about evidence and bribed witnessses to get the conviction. Pan Am hired investigators to help them prove that they weren't liable and they found some interesting facts. Maybe the Palestinian terrorists planned to blow up that plane, but their efforts were facilitated by the very same drugs for guns terrorists that were working with Oliver North!

(And who was on that plane, although others were warned against boarding? A team of DIA investigators looking into the drug-running of Oliver North and his terrorist buddies.)

So, suddenly, Megrahi was released on "compassionate" grounds.

Now we have the villain of the day, BP, being accused of interfering with the justice system. Well, we can't have that!!

What I'm curious to see is if they use their original story in the propaganda attack on Iran.

It wouldn't be unprecedented.

The gas attack on the Kurds was said to be done by the Iranians, back in 1988, when the US backed Saddam.

Then, in 2002, it became Saddam's attack! (Is this getting confusing?)

Would they have the nerve to use this issue to heap anger onto BP, and then change the story to whip up hysteria against Iran?

I wouldn't put it past them!

Remember that within 6 months after the US attack on Iraq in 2003, the story was that Saddam had refused weapons inspections.

And, within 2 days, Georgia's attack on South Ossetia became a Russian attack on Georgia.

We'll see. After all, they just don't care about the facts!





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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Protecting Americans, the Class Difference

The news just announced that Congress passed a bill to protect Americans from predatory lenders. Well, good for Congress! That's the kind of protection Americans need. I'm sure we'll see an end now to usurious interest rates, payday lenders, unasked-for credit offers, outrageous bank fees, etc.

But it got me thinking about "protecting" Americans, because that seems to be the phrase de rigueur for any number of Congressional actions.

Regular Americans, and by that I mean the 99% of us on the bottom, not the Sarah Palin "white" version, want to be protected from the excesses of capitalism, even if 98% of us couldn't identify capitalism as the problem.

Adulterated food, unsafe water and dangerous workplaces were among the first dangers to be identified. Ralph Nader identified cars with windshields that acted like guillotines when unseatbelted people flew into them as a problem, followed by cars that exploded when rearended (the number one version of the millions of car crashes a year).
Polluted air, mercury contaminated water, unsafe chemical additives in food, as well as bacterial contamination. You get the picture. There are plenty of dangers that Americans need to be protected against.

Now we are in danger of losing our jobs, our houses, and our healthcare.

But what does the ruling class identify as dangerous to Americans?

Bolsheviks! Are they in your washroom? The ruling class was in an uproar over Bolsheviks for a while.

Russian Communists! After WWll, in which the USSR lost 20,000,000 people and most of its infrastructure, we were told that their greatest ambition was to come across the ocean and attack us!

The Nicaraguans were only a couple of days drive from Brownsville, Texas, remember? So we had to attack them, as well as Cuba and Grenada, both islands from which armies were unable to drive, if Grenada had had an army.

The Vietnamese were a threat to our freedoms! And Iraqis (and now Iranians) were working on getting a nuclear bomb someday, and then working on a way to launch it towards us someday after that!

The US military has attacked people all over the world to "protect our freedoms".

After our freedoms were attacked by Congress and the Presidents under the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, the Military Commissions Act, the FISA Act, the Homegrown Terrorist Act, and all the rest of the sorry bunch, they dropped the "protect our freedoms", and now just "protect Americans".

Notice that? It's the one very small concession to reality. Our freedoms, having been attacked and destroyed at home, can't really be protected overseas, can they?

So the rhetoric changed. No longer having freedoms, our very persons must be protected.

From random individuals, though, not from systemic class based violations of our ecosystems and economy.






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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Plague of Locusts

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself"

This snippet is occasionally recalled, but not the rest of FDR's exhortation -
" So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory."

This was from his first inauguration speech, in March, 1933, when millions were unemployed and hungry.

Now, of course, our rulers prefer us to be in a state of nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, exactly because it paralyzes us, and makes us more malleable to their schemes. Instead of FDR, we have Hitler, invoking the homeland and terrorizing us into submission to an overwhelming police state.

Back in FDR's day, communists and socialists were on street corners and soapboxes, asking why the ruling class was allowed to shut down productive machinery, when people were willing to work, and goods were needed. Why was food being buried or destroyed, when people were hungry?What kind of crazy system would allow such waste?

So FDR addressed this in his speech-

"In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment."

And then he acknowledged the obvious, that which no President today would ever say-

"Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men."

Ooh, did he say that? Snap!

He acknowledges that Nature and workers create wealth, not the "rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods".

Yet today we are told that the rulers create the wealth! And that we must grovel before them, and beg them for "jobs", no matter how destructive those jobs may be to Nature, or our fellow human beings.

FDR rejected the rulers calls for more money, for more credit, in 1932-

"True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit."

"Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money". Sound familiar? This would be the Bush/Obama/Geitner plan for prosperity - borrow more money to "get the economy growing again".

Growing? There are limits to the bounty that Nature can provide, and there are 4,000,000,000 more people on the planet than there were in 1933. Unlimited growth on a small planet is clearly impossible to rational people. Like the unlimited growth of cancer, unrestrained growth will kill its host, our Mother Earth.

What is FDR talking about, there are values more noble than mere monetary profit? What kind of commie hippie was he? No wonder the Right hates him so-

"Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men."

Now he's talking about "work", instead of "jobs", implying that WHAT a person does is as important as just getting a paycheck.

"Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live."

Now he's saying that the rich, as well as the poor, must have ethics! Can you imagine a President today saying such outlandish things?

"Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our natural resources."

Again, he refers to "work", instead of "jobs". What is the difference?

"Work" implies that something of value will be done, that something of value will be created.

"Jobs" simply implies people will do anything for money, whether it be blowing up mountains for coal, or blowing up buildings and people in other countries, or building the bombs to drop on those buildings and people, or locking people in cages and guarding them, or building a vast repressive "Homeland Security" apparatus, and giving people badges, so that they can badger everyone else, or any of the other "jobs" that people now fight to get.

Again-

"Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. "

What needed to be done? The Dust Bowl, caused by plowing up prairies, was fought by sending men to plant trees. Millions of people were given electricity by the REA. The National Parks were improved. My Dad was in the CCC, and fought forest fires with a gunny sack. I grew up crossing a bridge everyday in LA, built by the WPA. Here in southern Illinois, the Shawnee National Forest was expanded and a beautiful lodge was built, which still stands.

Writers, photographers and artists were paid to produce plays, photos and art! The last remaining slaves were interviewed for posterity.

And for the victims of capitalism, unemployment insurance, workman's comp, and Social Security, all under attack now, instead of being strengthened.

And what about now? What do we need, besides help for the victims?

We need trees planted, to capture carbon and water, and to stop erosion of topsoil. We need art and plays. We need new sources of electricity. We need our houses retrofitted to save energy. We need our children to be educated. We need public transportation. We need safe and healthy food.

We need to put our money and our people to work providing for our needs!

Why are we spending on war, oppression, road widening and bank bailouts? Only a people reduced to begging for jobs, instead of demanding work for our common good, would assent to such a travesty.


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Friday, July 16, 2010

It's Too Damn Hot!

Here's the dilemma. It's really, really hot here, but I know that using electricity to cool my house contributes to further global warming, so I don't. My electricity comes from burning coal, with it's mercury pollution, carbon dioxide production and acid rain problems, not to mention the destruction that mining it causes. It seems wrong to me to waste it. And it aggravates me to know that I'm one of the few that doesn't.

Since voting in elections is widely known to be ineffective, we are now told by the propaganda organs to vote with our dollars.

Great idea. If I had enough dollars, I would buy solar panels and supply my own electricity. I would put in geo-thermal, and use the earth to cool my house.

That would be the major flaw to voting with your dollars. Very few of us have any.

But you know who does? Major corporations. So here's a grievance that I have.

My city, like most others, gives my tax money to giant corporations so that they will come to my town and bestow jobs upon us. We beseech them like primitives sacrificing animals or virgins for crops. We sacrifice land, money and infrastructure.

I went to Lowe's the other day. They have probably over 2 acres of parking lot. Why? There are never that many people at Lowe's.

Anyway, I like to park in the shade, so that my car will be cool, since I usually have my dog, and my car air conditioning doesn't work very well.

In those 2+ acres, they have about 12 spindly saplings, not capable of throwing shade.

Why can't they have parking sheds, with the roofs covered with solar panels? Sacramento, California, has the fairgrounds with such parking lots.

The solar panels could be used to shade the cars, and provide electricity for the building's air conditioning, instead of burning coal.

Instead, Lowe's was busily re-blacktopping the parking lot! Causing it to retain that much more heat! Why would you paint two acres black at the beginning of summer?

This is insane.

And if we lived in a sane society, it would be easy to implement sane solutions. But we don't.



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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Musical Chairs vs Coliseum

In the old days, we played a game called Musical Chairs. There was one fewer chair than children, the music would play as we circled the chairs, and when it stopped, we fought over the chairs, and one kid was the loser. Then they took away another chair and it started again.

This was preparation for life under capitalism, where the jobs are always fewer than the available workers, but the music keeps playing and people leave jobs and people get jobs, so it appears that there is always a chair, or job, open.

No one plays those games anymore, so instead we have "American Idol" and "Survivor" TV shows, where cruelty reigns when throwing people out.

Because you can almost always find a "Help Wanted " sign somewhere, people with jobs are told that people without jobs are "lazy". They are told that they are working hard to support those lazy people, and that if it weren't for them, we would all be rich.

Remarkably, propaganda trumps actual life experience for many. We now have 8 million fewer jobs than we did in 2007. That means that there are 8 million Americans who became very lazy in the last three years. There are 6 Americans looking for work for every job that opens.

So, although people repeat the mantra "You can always work at McDonald's", there are at least 6 people for every hamburger flipping job that opens up.

Really, though, this is unrealistic. Some of the jobs that open up are for engineers, or nuclear physicists, or cement pourers. Anyone without those skills must compete for the limited amount of unskilled labor jobs.

I am a nurse. I became a nurse decades ago, when the wages were comparable to many other jobs.

In the meantime, luckily for me, my wages went up, while, unluckily for them, millions of other people's wages went down. So suddenly, comparatively, my job looks like a good one to have. The medical-industrial complex became very profitable, and some of those profits trickled onto me and my co-workers. But now, those profits are cutting into other corporations' profits, and they are screaming about it. Hence, "health care reform", which turned into insurance company profit enhancement without actually cutting health care costs. Something else must be done.

The ruling class, like the dinosaurs in the old horror movies, having devoured the first victims, slowly swings its giant head around, and its beady eyes fix upon me, hiding in the corner. Yes, that's the ticket, cut nursing salaries, that'll solve the problem!

You can't open a magazine, log onto a website, listen to TV, without hearing the news "Be a nurse! There's a shortage, and they make great money! Unemployed? Go to school. Be a nurse."

My previous boss told me that she had continuous pressure put on her to get rid of us experienced, better paid nurses and hire new grads, who make just a little more than half as much as we do. Upstairs, on Med Surg, they have continuous turnover, as new grads come in, work a year, get experience, and then head out to greener pastures, out of fly-over country, where nurses make more money than even the most experienced here. Then the hospital hires the new crop.

My boss resisted this, pointing out that it is better for the patients to have experienced nurses. She's not my boss any more.

I went to a class in marketing today. Apparently, part of the new health insurance company enrichment bill is a No Child Left Behind-like impossible goal.

Starting in 2014, the Federal government, sugar daddy to the health industry, will start grading hospitals on a percentile basis, based not on patient outcomes, like trauma or surgery or pneumonia, etc., but on patient opinion questionnaires.

The bottom few won't be paid, thus throwing them out of business, and resetting the stack with fewer hospitals, which will be paid on a opinion-based percentile basis, closing a few more hospitals, and resetting the stack with fewer hospitals, etc., etc., etc.

What????? The logical end to this is two hospitals open in the US, one of which will fall below the other, leaving only one.

The speaker today accepted all this, telling us that we were in a competition with the hospitals down the street and across the country and that we had to learn to please our customers, so as to get better ratings. Their loss is our gain.

He used the old - two men in the woods who see a bear, and one laces up his shoes, and the other one says "Don't be silly. You can't outrun a bear" and the other one says "I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to out run you"- joke, but he was serious!

But this isn't outrunning a bear. This is being thrown into an arena and having the lions pick one off at a time. You're not outrunning the lions, you're just postponing your inevitable death.

I question the premise. Why would the Federal Government want to foster competition to close hospitals?

The emphasis used to be on quality improvement, as in improving patient outcomes, with increased survival rates, fewer nosocomial infections, and the such. Patient satisfaction, while important, is not the same as patient survival.

I can't imagine that closing hospitals, throwing more people into the remaining ones, is going to improve patient satisfaction at all!

People mostly are dissatisfied with waiting for hours! We need more clinics and doctors and nurses, not less.
But basic medical care is not profitable, so won't be pursued.















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Monday, July 12, 2010

Who's to Blame?

The distraction is now complete.

The coverage of the on-going disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has faded, and the scapegoats settled upon.

BP for the left and Obama for the right. Let the finger-pointing continue!

As I pointed out before, some things can't be undone, once started.

Therefore, don't start them! Just Say No.

Screaming about the lack of remedies while the oil spews into the Gulf is like driving your car off a cliff, stomping on the brakes, and then blaming the car manufacturer for your inability to stop the car.

Who do I sue? These brakes are faulty!

There must be money passed out to make everything all right again!



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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Science and Belief

Gaileo claimed that the Earth was not the center of the universe, that it wasn't even the center of our solar system. Earth was just a planet, circling the sun.

Well. All hell broke loose with that claim. Galileo had to recant, because he challenged the powers that were.

Newton, on the other hand, supposedly was sitting under an apple tree, saw an apple fall, and developed the theory of gravity.

There was no conflict with the ruling class with that claim, so Newton got knighted.

But suppose the apple hadn't fallen, but the apple tree had exploded, shooting tiny pieces of apple hundreds of yards onto neighboring apple trees, and then collapsed into a pile of twigs?

And the King immediately claimed that Robin Hood had shot an arrow into it, causing the collapse, so there was a full -out attack on Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and Englishmen were whipped into a state of fear that Robin Hood would shoot an arrow at them, with the ensuing anger being deftly used to get rid of the common law, the Magma Carta, and to increase the king's men.

But a few people pointed out that apple trees had never before collapsed from arrows being shot into them, so Newton was appointed the task of explaining why it happened this time.

It took him a couple of years, because this was not an easy task!

Finally, he explained that the arrow had knocked off all the bark on the tree, and everyone knows that trees can't live without bark, so of course twigs started to fall, and then the twigs fell onto the branches, knocking them down, and the branches knocked the trunk down.

It's called gravity!

He still would have been knighted, because his theory would have suited the ruling class.

And the bits of apples found hundreds of yards away on the other apple trees?

His theory didn't address that, did it?

How many people would believe such a story?

Hmmmm.


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