Archive for March, 2010

Lovelock: ‘We can’t save the planet’

March 31, 2010

The man who achieved global fame for his theory that the whole earth is a single organism now believes that we can only hope that the earth will take care of itself in the face of completely unpredictable climate change.

Interviewed by Today presenter John Humphrys, videos of which you can see below, he said that while the earth’s future was utterly uncertain, mankind was not aware it had “pulled the trigger” on global warming as it built its civilizations.

read the whole article:
click here

An Act of Treason by Members of the United States Congress

March 28, 2010

by Anthony Lawson

March 27, 2010 — It must have been realised that the letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, signed by nearly 300 members of the U.S. Congress, affirming their commitment to Israel, would be widely publicised and fall into the hands of that illegal Apartheid State, so the writing and signing of that letter should be considered an act of treason.

The letter has totally undermined the power of the President of the United States by virtually telling Israel: “It does not matter what you do to the Palestinians, how many illegal structures you build on the territory you stole from them; how you behave towards the Lebanese, or what you have in mind for Iran, we, the signatories on this letter are with you, all the way.”

Click here to see the 2-minute video.

On to Health Care Reform!

March 25, 2010

by Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the 150,000-member National Nurses United.

. . . . Where the bill falls short

-The mandate forcing people without coverage to buy insurance. Coupled with the subsidies for other moderate income working people not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, the result is a gift worth hundreds of billions of dollars to reward the very insurance industry that created the present crisis through price gouging, care denials, and other abuses.

-Inadequate healthcare cost controls for individuals and families. 1. Insurance premiums will continue to climb. Proponents touted a “robust” public option to keep the insurers “honest,” but that proposal was scuttled. After Anthem Blue Cross of California announced 39 percent premium hikes, the administration promised to crack down with a federal rate insurance authority, an idea also dropped from the bill. 2. There is no standard benefits package, only a circumspect reference that benefits should be “comparable to” current employer provided plans. 3. An illusory limit on out-of-pocket medical expenses. But even in the regulated state exchanges, insurers remain in control of what they offer and what will be a covered service. Insurers are likely to design plans to attract healthier customers, and many enrollees will likely find the federal guarantees do not protect them for medical treatments they actually need.

-No meaningful restrictions on claims denials insurers don’t want to pay for. Proponents cite a review process on denials, but the “internal review process” remains in the hands of the insurers, and the “external” review will be up to the states, many of which have systems now in place that are dominated by the insurance industry with little enforcement mechanism.

-Significant loopholes in the much touted insurance reforms: 1. Provisions permitting insurers and companies to more than double charges to employees who fail “wellness” programs because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol readings, or other medical conditions. 2. Permitting insurers to sell policies “across state lines”, exempting patient protections passed in other states. Insurers will likely set up in the least regulated states in a race to the bottom threatening public protections won by consumers in various states. 3. Allowing insurers to charge three times more based on age plus more for certain conditions, and continue to use marketing techniques to cherry-pick healthier, less costly enrollees. 4. Insurers may continue to rescind policies, drop coverage, for “fraud or intentional misrepresentation” – the main pretext insurance companies now use.

–Taxing health benefits for the first time. Though modified, the tax on benefits remains, a 40 percent tax on plans whose value exceeds $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families. With no real checks on premium hikes, many plans will reach that amount by the start date, 2018, rapidly. The result will be more cost shifting from employers to workers and more people switching to skeletal plans that leave them vulnerable to financial ruin.

–Erosion of women’s reproductive rights, with a new executive order from the President enshrining a deal to get the votes of anti-abortion Democrats and a burdensome segregation of funds, that in practice will likely mean few insurers will cover abortion and perhaps other reproductive medical services.

–A windfall for pharmaceutical giants. Through a deal with the White House, the administration blocked provisions to give the government more power to negotiate drug prices and gave the name brand drug makers 12 years of marketing monopoly against competition from generic competition on biologic drugs, including cancer treatments.

Most critically, the bill strengthens the economic and political power of a private insurance-based system based on profit rather than patient need.

As former Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote after the vote “don’t believe anyone who says Obama’s healthcare legislation marks a swing of the pendulum back toward the Great Society and the New Deal. Obama’s health bill is a very conservative piece of legislation, building on a Republican (a private market approach) rather than a New Deal foundation. The New Deal foundation would have offered Medicare to all Americans or, at the very least, featured a public insurance option.”

Unlike Social Security and Medicare which expanded a public safety net, this bill requires people – in the midst of the mass unemployment and the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression — to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to big private companies for a product that may or may not provide health coverage in return.

Too many people will remain uninsured, individual and family healthcare costs will continue to rise largely unabated and private insurers will still be able to deny claims with little recourse for patients. . . .

http://counterpunch.com/demoro03252010.html

News Updates from Citizens For Legitimate Government: Looks Like It’s Starrting

March 24, 2010

Gas line cut at home of Va. congressman’s brother 24 Mar 2010 Authorities are investigating a severed propane line at the home of a Virginia congressman’s brother after tea party activists posted the man’s address online. Activists are upset about U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D) vote in favor of the health care reform. Perriello’s office said that a line to a propane tank on a gas grill was cut at Bo Perriello’s Charlottesville home on Tuesday. Tea party activists had posted the address online thinking it was the congressman’s home, telling opponents to drop by and “express their thanks” for his vote. [If you’re a corporaterrorist thug and cut a gas line of a Congressman’s home or hurl a brick through a window — you’re labeled an *activist* by The Associated Press. POLITICO labeled the act an *incident.* If you’re *leftwing* and appeared with a Kerry button at a Bush rally, you were *arrested.* See: Guns OK Outside Obama Town Hall; Kerry Pins Brought Arrest At Bush Rally By Lori Price 12 Aug 2009 Bush’s Waffen-SS arrested (and strip-searched) people with Kerry-Edwards buttons pinned to their T-shirts and paper protest signs at his at his GOP-only appearances. But, when a Reichwinger attends a New Hampshire town hall meeting with a gun — merely yards from President Obama — the protester not only gets to remain at the meeting but also gets to be a guest on MSNBC’s ‘Hardball.’]

FBI investigates Virginia incident 24 Mar 2010 Law enforcement authorities are investigating the discovery of a cut propane gas line at the Virginia home of Rep. Thomas Perriello’s (D-Va.) brother, whose address was targeted by tea party activists angry at the congressman’s vote for the health care bill. An aide to the congressman confirmed to POLITICO that a line to a propane tank behind his brother’s home near Charlottesville had been sliced. The FBI would not disclose the details of the incident but said that they have been to the home.

10 Lawmakers Seek Security After Incidents, Threats 24 Mar 1010 Ten members of the House have asked for security protection after passage of the health care overhaul, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said today. Several incidents of smashed windows and death threats have been aimed at Democrats who supported the bill, he said. Today, FBI and local authorities were investigating a severed gas line at the house of Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother.

FBI investigating threats against Democrats after health care vote 24 Mar 2010 The FBI and local police are investigating threats directed at House Democrats following passage of the health care bill, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters earlier today. At least two acts of vandalism are being examined. Hoyer said that he did not know the exact number but estimated “more than 10” Democrats had received some kind of threat or harassment. He added that some posters depict a lawmaker’s face in the crosshairs of a target.

Those who wish to be added to the list can go here: http://www.legitgov.org/#subscribe_clg and add your name.

Fact Sheet: The Truth About the Health Care Bill

March 21, 2010

Real health care reform is the thing we’ve fought for from the start. It is desperately needed. But this bill falls short on many levels, and hurts many people more than it helps.
read the whole article at http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/03/19/fact-sheet-the-truth-about-the-health-care-bill/

Tea party protesters scream ‘nigger’ at black congressman

March 21, 2010

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol, angry over the proposed health care bill, shouted “nigger” Saturday at U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death during an Alabama march in the 1960s.

Protesters also shouted obscenities at other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, spat on at least one black lawmaker and confronted an openly gay congressman with taunts.

Capitol Police escorted the members of Congress into the Capitol after the confrontation. At least one demonstrator was reported arrested.

“They were shouting, sort of harassing,” Lewis said. “But, it’s okay, I’ve faced this before. It reminded me of the 60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean.”

Lewis said he was leaving the Cannon office building to walk to the Capitol to vote when protesters shouted “Kill the bill, kill the bill,” Lewis said.

“I said ‘I’m for the bill, I support the bill, I’m voting for the bill’,” Lewis said.

A colleague who was accompanying Lewis said people in the crowd responded by saying “Kill the bill, then the n-word.”

“It surprised me that people are so mean and we can’t engage in a civil dialogue and debate,” Lewis said.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said he was a few yards behind Lewis and distinctly heard “nigger.”

“It was a chorus,” Cleaver said. “In a way, I feel sorry for those people who are doing this nasty stuff – they’re being whipped up. I decided I wouldn’t be angry with any of them.”

Cleaver’s office said later in a statement that he’d also been spat upon and that Capitol Police had arrested his assailant. The statement praised the police, who Cleaver said escorted the members of Congress into the Capitol past the demonstrators.

“The man who spat on the congressman was arrested, but the congressman has chosen not to press charges,” the statement said.

“This is not the first time the Congressman has been called the ‘n’ word and certainly not the worst assault he has endured in his years fighting for equal rights for all Americans,” the statement said. “That being said, he is disappointed that in the 21st century our national discourse has devolved to the point of name calling and spitting.”

Protesters also used a slur as they confronted Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., an openly gay member of Congress.

Frank told the Boston Globe that the incident happened as he was walking from the Longworth office building to the Rayburn office building, both a short distance from the Capitol. Frank said the crowd consisted of a couple of hundred of people and that they referred to him as ‘homo.’ A writer for The Huffington Post said the protesters called Frank a “faggot.”

“I’m disappointed with the unwillingness to be civil,” Frank told the Globe. “I was, I guess, surprised by the rancor. What it means is obviously the health care bill is proxy for a lot of other sentiments, some of which are perfectly reasonable, but some of which are not.”

“People out there today, on the whole, were really hateful,” Frank said. “The leaders of this movement have a responsibility to speak out more.”

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol on Saturday as the House Democratic leadership worked to gather enough votes to enact a health care overhaul proposal that has become the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s domestic agenda. Most were affiliated with so-called tea party organizations that originally sprang up during last summer’s protests of the health care proposals.

Heated debate has surrounded what role race plays in the motivations of the tea party demonstrators. During protests last summer, demonstrators displayed a poster depicting Obama as an African witch doctor complete with headdress, above the words “OBAMACARE coming to a clinic near you.” Former President Jimmy Carter asserted in September that racism was a major factor behind the hostility that Obama’s proposals had faced.

The claim brought angry rebuttals from Republicans. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who is black, accused Carter of playing the “race card.”

On Saturday, Frank, however, said he was sorry Republican leaders didn’t do more to disown the protesters.

Some Republicans “think they are benefiting from this rancor,” he said.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said Saturday’s ugliness underscored for him that the health care overhaul isn’t the only motivation for many protesters.

“I heard people saying things today I’ve not heard since March 15th, 1960, when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus,” Clyburn said. “This is incredible, shocking to me.”

He added, “A lot of us have said for a long time that none of this is about health care at all. It’s about extending a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful.”


http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/03/20/90772/rep-john-lewis-charges-protesters.html

A Realistic (not governmental) View of Our Economic Crisis

March 19, 2010

by Alan Nasser

On March 17 Congress passed the “Hire Now Tax Cut” giving companies a break from paying Social Security taxes for the remainder of the year on any new workers hired who have been unemployed for at least 60 days.

The legislation is a token response to the emerging consensus in both the mainstream and independent media that the economy’s unemployment problem is cumulative, structural and long term. But the prescription is entirely inadequate to the diagnosis. This should come as no surprise, as official sources have offered muddled and confusing accounts of the patient’s malaise. . . .

http://counterpunch.com/nasser03192010.html

DEADLY POLITICAL ENEMIES: The Foxes and the Wolves of the 21st Century

March 19, 2010

by Larry Pinkney

“The wolf and the fox are both enemies of humanity; both are canine; both humiliate and mutilate their victims. Both have the same objectives, but differ only in methods.”
—Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, Addis Ababa, July 17, 1964—

The single most deadly calamity to have befallen black people throughout the globe in this 21st century can be found in the person of Barack Obama, that rhetorical and deadly fox in sheep’s clothing. Indeed, humanity as a whole is the unsuspecting prey of this current black-faced head of the bloody, avaricious, corporate U.S. Empire.

Long before the devastating physical earthquake struck the tiny black nation Haiti, the debilitating earthquake of slavery, colonization, and revised 21st century neo-colonization was unleashed upon the peoples of Haiti (and the world wide African Diaspora) by the United States, France, Canada, and its additional concomitant partners in deceit, greed, and economic, political, and social / cultural subjugation. It is this ongoing earthquake which we must forthrightly and uncompromisingly also address. It is this ongoing earthquake that is shattering the very psychological, physical, and political existence of black people around the world.

In less than a historical heart beat the very meaning of the word blackness has been distorted into definitively supporting the economic greed and bloodlust of the 1% of humankind that exploits the needs, hopes, and human rights of the rest of humanity. Nothing could be more despicable or dangerous to this planet collectively and black people in particular.
Peace is now defined as unending war and economic exploitation. Hope is now defined as the endless pimping of the legitimate aspirations of the many, in service to the interests of the greedy few. The new watch word for the “terrorism” and exploitation by nation-states (particularly that of ‘America’ and her allies) is cloaked in the false rhetoric of “national security” and “change.” As bloody, capitalist, imperialistic wars and military occupations are waged against the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Haiti (to name but a few)–all in the hypocritical and fleeting name of so called ‘democracy’ and freedom–the many continue to die for the few.

The economic, political, and cultural exploitation of Africa has been intensified under the rhetorical veneer of some fake “progress” in the 21st century. Thanks to the subterfuge and greed of the filthy rich and their pawns, the masses of humanity have taken giant steps backwards. Much of the so-called black intelligentsia, in the United States and around the world, have cynically joined the ranks of those who consciously and callously exploit humankind. This is wholly unacceptable.

Like a grinning Cheshire cat, U. S. President Barack Obama, on behalf of his corporate / military puppet masters, spins his political and rhetorical sorcery via a web of unending deceit and certain death against the every day people of the United States and the world.

The time is upon us to, without compromise or quarter, organize and speak truth to power. The time is at hand when the corporate / military elite must be exposed and confronted. We’ve nothing to lose but our political and economic chains, as our lives—whether we realize or acknowledge it or not—are already on the line. The question to be answered is whether we will give those lives as cannon fodder on behalf of the systemic gate keepers or stand up as humans to put an end to this capitalist debauchery.

Capitalism is nothing more than systemic terrorism against the poor. We must actively choose to stand with humanity, not against it.

Onward sisters and brothers, for our tasks are at hand!
________________________________________
Larry Pinkney is an editorial board member and author of the ‘Keeping It Real’ column in The Black Commentator, http://www.BlackCommentator.com, and a former university instructor of political science and international relations. He is also a veteran of the Black Panther Party; the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

http://www.bornblackmag.com/deadly-political-enemies.html

Israel Is Boss

March 18, 2010

by Margaret Kimberley

Corporate media pretend U.S.-Israeli relations are in “crisis,” just as they have many times in the past. It’s all a charade, a play for national and international audiences. In real crises, relationships are called into question. But there has never been any question about who is in charge of this “partnership”: Israel. And don’t you dare forget it.

The United States may invade and occupy Iraq, undermine elected presidents in Haiti and throw its weight around in numerous ways in numerous parts of the world. Yet there is one country it does not dare to confront. Of course, the nation in question is Israel.

Israel and its allies in the United States make certain that no president, no political party, no congressional leader nor any citizen who wishes to be in any way influential, will dare to step outside the lines of proscribed behavior and discourse. The American public, either because they are aware of the pro-Israel grip on power, or because they have swallowed the propaganda whole, remain cowed and silent.

Israel can do whatever it wants not only with the United States, but with other western nations as well. Mossad agents succeeded in murdering Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabouh in Dubai last month by using doctored British, Irish, French, Australian and German passports and credit cards issued to an Israeli-run bank located in South Dakota. None of the nations involved has uttered more than the slightest peep after having their sovereignty violated in such an obvious manner.

Just in case there was any doubt about who is in charge, Israel insulted Vice President Joseph Biden and the United States government when Biden made a recent visit to Jerusalem. Biden made the pro forma journey to go through the motions of requesting that the peace process continue. The Israelis could have nudged, winked and gone through the pretense of moving forward on a just peace process. Instead they announced that more Jewish housing will be constructed on Palestinian land, embarrassing the Vice President and his boss, who wanted to pretend to be even handed when they and the rest of American political leadership are anything but. The Obama administration, like every other presidential administration in the last sixty years, does what Israel wants it to do. There shouldn’t be any reason for Israel to yank the Americans’ chain so hard and so publicly, but why follow the rules of diplomatic niceties when doing otherwise has been so successful?

The only thing worse than the obvious slap in the face, is the phony outrage surrounding it. No one gets anywhere near a presidential nomination without first swearing obedience to the Zionists and their lobby. If Obama and Biden and Hillary Clinton were truly upset with the Israelis, it is only because they were so blatant in making them all look like chumps.

Just a few weeks before Obama was sworn into office, George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice were the victims of an Israeli public beat down. Bush was literally pulled off a stage where he was about to give a speech and forced to take a phone call from then Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. Rice had worked on a Security Council resolution which merely called for a cease fire in Israel’s massacre of thousands of people in Gaza. Olmert bragged in a press conference, “I said, ‘I don’t care; I have to talk to him.’” Not content to tell the world that he ordered the American president to follow his orders, he took a swipe at Rice too. “He gave an order to the secretary of state, and she did not vote in favor of it — a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organized and maneuvered for. She was left pretty shamed, and abstained on a resolution she arranged.” It isn’t surprising that Israel would repeat the humiliation just a year later with a different president.
It doesn’t matter if David Axelrod goes on the Sunday morning news shows and fakes outrage about Israel’s settlements. It matters that Israel continues to steal Palestinian land and it matters that only those willing to go along with the crime are allowed to entertain any idea of having a role in United States foreign policy decisions.

Far from being angry at Israel, the United States government is actually becoming more and more like that nation. The Obama administration claims the right to carry out extra judicial assassinations just like their Middle East partner in crime. The temporary embarrassment and damage control pronouncements are not worthy of anyone’s attention.

The only lesson to learn from this sorry episode is that nothing new has taken place between the United States and Israel. All Americans are still made complicit in the joint criminality and earn the enmity of most of the world as a result. So don’t believe the hype. There is nothing to see here, just move along.

http://blackagendareport.com/?q=content/freedom-rider-israel-boss

Where Will Obomber’s Wars End? Or Will they?

March 16, 2010

Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, this week Somalia . . . what’s next, Venezuala? Bolivia? when will the madman go for Russia and China? dubya was stupid. obomber is crazy.