Thursday, January 31, 2008

Colbert: 'Mustaches don't make you gay, but they don't help'

Colbert: 'Mustaches don't make you gay, but they don't help'

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, adopting his faux-outraged-conservative schtick, was aghast during a recent interview with a Republican congressman who observed that gays and lesbians "are not out to destroy marriage."

"If they're not out to destroy marriage, then what are they out to destroy?" Colbert asked Rep. Bob Inglis, a Republican from Colbert's home state of South Carolina. "They've already claimed mustaches and short-shorts; they've ruined those for the rest of us."

Inglis was skeptical about the mustache claim.

"Oh yeah. Look at some of the congressmen who has mustaches, look at how they vote," Colbert said, displayed some previous mustachioed guests of his "Better Know a District" segments.

"[It's] a statistical correlation, it's not cause and effect," Colbert said. "Mustaches don't make you gay, but they don't help."

The following video is from Comedy Central's Colbert Report, broadcast on January 30, 2008

Wave of attacks on Jews in Russia

Wave of attacks on Jews in Russia

Jewish Group Reports 3 Attacks in Russia in 2 Weeks

Russia's Jewish community on Thursday reported three attacks in the last two weeks, including a raid on a synagogue and desecration of a memorial to Holocaust victims.

In Ulyanovsk, a group of about a dozen young men painted swastikas Tuesday on the walls of a synagogue and cursed at members inside, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia said.

In Volgograd, anti-Semitic slogans were scrawled on a memorial to Holocaust victims Sunday, the group said.

Last week, several young men burst into a synagogue in Nizhny Novgorod, throwing religious books out a window and beating up a security guard, it said. All three cities are in western Russia.

The federation said it was concerned about the rise in attacks targeting Jews, calling it part of "a recent surge in anti-Semitic manifestations" in Russia.

In 2007, 67 people were killed and more than 550 injured in ethnically motivated attacks, according the SOVA rights center, which monitors hate crimes.

In a report issued Tuesday, SOVA said hate crimes in Russia have grown increasingly brutal and deadly. Authorities are doing little to combat xenophobia, it said.

According to varying estimates, between 300,000 and 1.5 million Jews live in the nation of 142 million. After an exodus in the years before and after 1991 Soviet collapse, the Jewish community is experiencing a moderate revival, with new synagogues, schools and cultural centers being built across the country.

During the Soviet era, thousands of Jews were imprisoned or executed as part of nationwide purges, and many more were forced to conceal their Jewish identity.

Source: AP News

New Alzheimer's Treatment Completes First Phase Of Testing

New Alzheimer's Treatment Completes First Phase Of Testing

Arun Ghosh, at right, a Purdue professor of chemistry and medicinal chemistry, and graduate student Xiaoming Xu discuss the structure of an enzyme inhibitor designed to treat Alzheimer's disease. (Credit: Purdue News Service file photo/David Umberger)

ScienceDaily (Jan. 28, 2008) — A molecule designed by a Purdue University researcher to stop the debilitating symptoms of Alzheimer's disease has been shown in its first phase of clinical trials to be safe and to reduce biomarkers for the disease.

CoMentis, the pharmaceutical company developing the drug, announced on Jan. 7 completion of its Phase 1 study of a treatment based on the molecule. Results from the study indicate that the treatment is safe and well tolerated.

Arun Ghosh, a Purdue professor with a dual appointment in the departments of chemistry and medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology, designed the molecule that could allow for intervention in the disease's early stages.

The molecule, called a beta-secretase inhibitor, prevents the first step in a chain of events that leads to amyloid plaque formation in the brain. This plaque formation creates fibrous clumps of toxic proteins that are believed to cause the devastating symptoms of Alzheimer's.

The study of 48 healthy volunteers showed dose-related reduction in plasma amyloid beta, a protein believed to be a key biomarker of Alzheimer's. Results showed a single dose of the drug produced a greater than 60 percent reduction of the biomarker. Subjects received one of six different doses or a placebo, and the study measured levels of the therapeutic drug and levels of the biomarker in the bloodstream.

CoMentis plans to begin a phase II clinical study of the drug, oral CTS-21166, in Alzheimer's patients in 2008.

Alzheimer's disease usually begins after age 60, and the risk increases with age. According to the National Institute on Aging, about 5 percent of men and women ages 65-74 have Alzheimer's disease, and nearly half of those 85 and older may have the disease, for which there is currently no effective treatment.

There is no conclusive test for Alzheimer's. Doctors are able to diagnose "probable Alzheimer's" through a combination of medical tests that include blood tests and brain scans and evaluations of brain function.

"The phase I clinical results are very exciting," Ghosh said. "We hope that this beta-secretase inhibitor drug will be one of the first disease modifying treatments that stops or reverses the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease."

Adapted from materials provided by Purdue University.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The helmet that could turn back the symptoms of Alzheimer's

The helmet that could turn back the symptoms of Alzheimer's

By DAVID DERBYSHIRE - More by this author » Last updated at 10:47am on 25th January 2008

An experimental helmet which scientists say could reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease within weeks of being used is to be tried out on patients.

The strange-looking headgear - which has to be worn for ten minutes every day - bathes the brain with infra-red light and stimulates the growth of brain cells.

Its creators believe it could reverse the symptoms of dementia - such as memory loss and anxiety - after only four weeks.

Alzheimer's disease charities last night described the treatment as "potentially life- changing" - but stressed that the research was still at the very early stages.

Scroll down for more ...

Alzheimer's helmet

lead researcher at the University of Sunderland Dr Abdel Ennaceur and Durham University s Dr Paul Chazot are pictured with Dr Gordon Dougal and a prototype cognitive helmet

Around 700,000 Britons have dementia, with around 500,000 suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The helmet is the creation of Dr Gordon Dougal, a director of Virulite, a medical research company based in County Durham.

It follows a study at the University of Sunderland which found infra-red light can reverse memory loss in mice.

Dr Dougal claims that only ten minutes under the hat a day is enough to have an effect.

"Currently all you can do with dementia is to slow down the rate of decay - this new process will not only stop that rate of decay but partially reverse it," he said.

Low level infra-red red is thought to stimulate the growth of cells of all types of tissue and encourage their repair. It is able to penetrate the skin and even get through the skull.

"The implications of this research at Sunderland are enormous - so much so that in the future we could be able to affect and change the rate at which our bodies age," he said.

"We age because our cells lose the desire to regenerate and repair themselves. This ultimately results in cell death and decline of the organ functions - for the brain resulting in memory decay and deterioration in general intellectual performance.

"But what if there was a technology that told the cells to repair themselves and that technology was something as simple as a specific wavelength of light?"

The study at Sunderland found that exposing middle-aged mice to infrared light for six minutes a day for ten days improved their performance in a three-dimensional maze. In the human trials, due to start this summer, the scientists will use levels of infra-red that occur naturally in sunlight.

Neuroscientist Paul Chazot, who helped carry out the research, said: "The results are completely new - this has never been looked at before."

An Alzheimer's Society spokesman said: "A treatment that reverses the effects of dementia rather than just temporarily halting its symptoms could change the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people. We look forward to further research to determine whether this technique could help improve cognition in humans."

Rudy Giuliani: A Failure On 9/11 and A Failure Now

Rudy Giuliani: A Failure On 9/11 and A Failure Now

James Boyce
Posted January 29, 2008 | 11:41 PM (EST)

Never in the history of American politics has someone as so fundamentally, personally, morally and ethically flawed as Rudy Giuliani attempted to run for the White House.

And hats off to everyone who helped deflate the bubble that was the Giuliani campaign, from the firefighters to the film producers to the bloggers, everyone who chipped away at the veneer of credibility only to expose the arrogant incompetence that rages within Giuliani.

How could Republicans vote for a man who annulled his marriage to his cousin on the grounds that he thought she was his third cousin not second cousin?

How could Republicans vote for a man that announced his divorce to a second wife at a news conference?

And then there's the third wife, and a tiara, and a security detail.

And there's Bernie Kerik, and the unsavory clients at Giuliani partners, and the $100,000 speaking fees for charitable events.

But above all, today is a victory for all those who suffered loss on 9/11. This is a victory for the truth about 9/11 and the truth hasn't had many victories from that day.

On 9/11, New York firefighters died because of Rudy Giuliani's incompetence. They died because they didn't have radios that worked. They died because Rudy Giuliani built the Command and Control Center, against the expert's advice, in World Trade Center Building Number Seven.

You're in charge of building mission control for New York City and you build it in the shadow of the only building attacked in the mainland United States by foreign terrorists -- the 1993 World Trade Center attack.

Rudy on 9/11 was running around facing cameras because his command center was destroyed.

After 9/11, Rudy Giuliani fought AGAINST the 9/11 Commission, another shocking move of hypocrisy and arrogance. He knew the Commission would find fault with his leadership and they did.

Remarkably, Rudy Giuliani was supposed to be on that Commission, but his speaking engagements and money-grubbing got in the way.

Giuliani kept going, fleecing countries and corporations of of millions of dollars through Giuliani Partners. He raised tens of millions of dollars from those easily parted from their money.

I never worried about Rudy Giuliani winning, not for one single second. In fact, months ago, I declared him dead and buried -- even my friend Chris Bowers thought I had early called it.
Because even in a country where so often, our media fails to call black black and white white, in a country where so many don't vote and don't pay attention,
in a political system where legends are created out of frauds,
I knew that once a touch of light was shined on Giuliani, the light would destroy him.
And it did.

Rest in hell Rudy -- but at least you'll be there with all your friends.

Scary Santa

Scarborough: McCain’s Platform Is ‘Less Jobs And More Wars’

Scarborough: McCain’s Platform Is ‘Less Jobs And More Wars’

During the coverage of this evening’s Florida primary results, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough discussed the impact of John McCain’s victory with Pat Buchanan. The Republican establishment will rally around McCain and say “he’s the guy,” Buchanan said, but he cautioned that McCain’s vision for America was foreboding.

“What does he say? The jobs are never coming back, the illegals are never going home, but we’re gonna have a lot more wars,” Buchanan said of McCain. Scarborough remarked that McCain’s “inviting” presidential platform for the fall consists of “less jobs and more wars”:

BUCHANAN: Here’s a guy, basically, what does he say? The jobs are never coming back, the illegals are never going home, but we’re gonna have a lot more wars.

SCARBOROUGH: We’re gonna start a lot of wars! He has promised, for the record Keith, John McCain’s platform — and it certainly looks inviting for the fall — he has promised less jobs and more wars. Now that’s something we can all rally behind.

Watch it:

While campaigning in Michigan earlier this month, McCain said some Michigan industries cannot be resurrected. “I’ve got to give you some straight talk: Some of the jobs that have left the state of Michigan are not coming back,” he said.

And just this weekend, McCain told a crowd of supporters, “There’s going to be other wars. … I’m sorry to tell you, there’s going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars.”

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias writes, “Oddly, though, McCain keeps picking up the votes of Republican primary voters disgruntled with the Iraq War despite being, in reality, the candidate most fanatically devoted to the cause.” More here.

Giuliani Scrubs Facts To Defend His Risky Placement Of NYC’s Emergency Command Center

Giuliani Scrubs Facts To Defend His Risky Placement Of NYC’s Emergency Command Center

On CNN’s American Morning today, host John Roberts asked former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani about recent revelations by the New York Times that said as mayor he ignored a “1998 police department memo” saying that it would be a bad idea to place the New York City emergency command center at Seven World Trade Center. The memo called the location — which collapsed on 9/11 — “a poor choice” with “significant points of vulnerability.”

Giuliani defended himself, saying he made the “choice,” but adding that “there were pros and cons for all of the sites”:

Each site had a series of pros, a series of cons. And the reality is, 7 World Trade Center was also the home of the CIA, the Secret Service, it was a logical place to put it for the transfer of information.

Watch it:

Giuliani’s invocation of the CIA and the Secret Service is cynically misleading. In fact, as the New York Times article cited by Roberts makes clear, the 1998 police memo explicitly pointed out that the “presence” of those other agencies “made the building a more likely target“:

Mr. Giuliani has said in the past that one of the reasons for choosing the location was that several federal agencies with which city officials needed to be in contact during emergencies, including the Secret Service, had their offices there. Other federal agencies in the building included the Defense Department and the C.I.A.

But the Police Department took the opposite position in the memo, saying the presence of those agencies made the building a more likely target.

As Media Matters has pointed out, “Giuliani ‘overruled’ warnings from former police commissioner Howard Safir and NYPD chief operating officer Lou Anemone not to locate” the command center at Seven World Trade Center because he wanted it “within walking distance of City Hall.”

Germany Confronts Holocaust Legacy Anew

Germany Confronts Holocaust Legacy Anew

Miguel Villagran/Associated Press

Rabbi William Wolff attends a commemoration of Holocaust victims in the German parliament in Berlin on Friday, Jan. 25, 2008.

BERLIN — Most countries celebrate the best in their pasts. Germany unrelentingly promotes its worst.

The enormous Holocaust memorial that dominates a chunk of central Berlin was completed only after years of debate. But the building of monuments to the Nazi disgrace continues unabated.

On Monday, Germany’s minister of culture, Bernd Neumann, announced that construction could begin in Berlin on two monuments: one near the Reichstag, to the murdered Gypsies, known here as the Sinti and the Roma; and another not far from the Brandenburg Gate, to gays and lesbians killed in the Holocaust.

In November Germany broke ground on the long-delayed Topography of Terror center at the site of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters. And in October, a huge new exhibition opened at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. At the Dachau camp, outside Munich, a new visitor center is set to open this summer. The city of Erfurt is planning a museum dedicated to the crematoriums. There are currently two exhibitions about the role of the German railways in delivering millions to their deaths.

Wednesday is the 75th anniversary of the day Hitler and the Nazi Party took power in Germany, and the occasion has prompted a new round of soul-searching.

“Where in the world has one ever seen a nation that erects memorials to immortalize its own shame?” asked Avi Primor, the former Israeli ambassador to Germany, at an event in Erfurt on Friday commemorating the Holocaust and the liberation of Auschwitz. “Only the Germans had the bravery and the humility.”

It is not just in edifices and exhibits that the effort to come to terms with this history marches on. The Federal Crime Office last year began investigating itself, trying to shine a light on the Nazi past of its founders after the end of the war. And this month Germany’s federal prosecutor overturned the guilty verdict of Marinus van der Lubbe, the Communist Dutchman executed on charges of setting the Reichstag fire; that event’s 75th anniversary is Feb. 27.

The experience of Nazism is alive in contemporary public debates over subjects as varied as German troops in Afghanistan, the nation’s low birthrate and the country’s dealings with foreigners. Why Germany seems unendingly obsessed with Nazism is itself a subject of perpetual debate here, ranging from the nation’s philosophical temperament, to simple awe at the unprecedented combination of organization and brutality, to the sense that the crime was so great that it spread like a blot over the entire culture.

Whatever the reasons, as the events become more remote, less personal, this society is forced to confront the question of how it should enshrine its crimes and transgressions over the longer term.

In the decades after the war, the central question was how Hitler ever came to power, Horst Möller, director of the Institute of Contemporary History, said in an interview. Even an American television mini-series called “Holocaust” in the 1970s affected the debate in what was then West Germany, shifting the focus more onto the suffering of the victims themselves, Mr. Möller recalled.

Rüdiger Nemitz first began welcoming back Berlin’s exiled victims of Nazi tyranny, an overwhelming majority of them Jews, in 1969. Berlin flies its former citizens back for a week of visits, all expenses paid and complete with a reception by the mayor.

The Invitation Program for Former Persecuted Citizens of Berlin, which has brought roughly 33,000 people for visits to the city, once had 12 full-time staff members. Now it is just Mr. Nemitz and a half-time employee.

The program is not, however, winding down because of waning support. At a time when the Berlin city government has had to make deep cutbacks in other areas, Mr. Nemitz said, the program’s $800,000 budget has not been pared since at least 2000.

“When it started, they were grown-ups,” said Mr. Nemitz from his office on the ground floor of City Hall. “Now, it’s people with hardly any memory of Berlin. Those who come today were children then.” The visits will end in 2010 or 2011, Mr. Nemitz estimated, because there are so few victims left.

Overlooked next to the fact of the survivors’ dying out is that Mr. Nemitz’s generation, those who fought to break the silence of their parents and teachers, is starting to retire. When the last tour group leaves Berlin, Mr. Nemitz, 61, who says he is afraid to take vacations and treats his position more like a mission than a job, will shut the door to his office and retire.

Some say that young Germans, who are required to study the Nazi era and the Holocaust intensively, have shown little indication of letting the theme drop, despite their distance from the events. They say that the younger generation has tackled it as a source not of guilt, but of responsibility on the world stage for social justice and pacifism, including opposition to the war in Iraq.

Others say that the crimes are dealt with only superficially, and that the young will eventually, and perhaps in carefully guarded ways, express their exhaustion with the topic. “I can’t help but feeling that some of the continued, ‘Let’s build monuments; let’s build Jewish museums,’ is a fairly ritualized behavior," Susan Neiman, director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, an international public research group, said by telephone. “I worry terribly that it’s going to backfire."

Germany’s relationship with its Nazi history still regularly generates controversy, as in the case of the dueling train exhibits. The first, Train of Commemoration, is a locomotive carrying displays detailing the way Jewish children were murdered in the Holocaust.

The train is making its way through German cities, open for visitors along the way, ultimately bound for the site of the Auschwitz camp, in Poland. Organizers complain that rather than embrace the project, the national railway, Deutsche Bahn, has hindered it, requiring payment for use of the tracks.

The second exhibition, sponsored by Deutsche Bahn itself, opened in Berlin at the Potsdamer Platz train station last week. Critics have derided “Special Trains to Death” as a response to the first exhibition. But Deutsche Bahn’s exhibition does lay out how the company’s predecessor, the Reichsbahn, carried some three million passengers to their deaths; it is filled with painful statistics, photographs and powerful stories of some of the people who perished.

Any failure to handle the history with care grabs national attention. In Munich this past weekend, a traditional carnival season parade overlapped with the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed every year on Jan. 27. The result was a flood of negative publicity for the city.

Stefan Hauf, a spokesman for the city, said, “There was no conscious affront,” adding that the city would have changed the date of the parade, but that too many participants were flying in from other countries to make the change on short notice.

Munich played a special role in Nazi history. It is where the National Socialist party rose to prominence and was the location of the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, the failed coup attempt enshrined in Nazi lore. Hitler eventually declared it the Capital of the Movement. Unlike Berlin, which has developed a reputation as a city with a memorial on practically every street corner, Munich has often been criticized for playing down its history.

“Munich was the Capital of the Movement; since 1945 it’s been the capital of forgetting,” said Wolfram P. Kastner, an artist who said he had fought the city over the years for permission to use performance art to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive there.

Munich’s government believes it has been very active in preserving the history of that time. A short walk from the city’s historic Marienplatz, an entire complex of new buildings is devoted to both the city’s Jewish history and the present. The synagogue there opened in November 2006 on the anniversary of the Nazi-led Kristallnacht attacks on Jewish people, businesses and places of worship. The Jewish Museum and a new community center opened in Munich last year.

The city is working on a new museum to be built where the Nazi party headquarters once stood. Called the Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism, it is expected to open in 2011. The stated goal, according to the museum Web site, “is to create a place of learning for the future.”

To that end, Angelika Baumann of the city’s Department of Arts and Culture has run workshops for schoolchildren 14 to 18 years old. “We’re planning for people who aren’t even born yet,” she said.

Agency claims Justice Dept. blocks probe

Justice Dept. Blocking Probe of US Attorneys' Firing, Federal Agency Says

AP News

Jan 29, 2008 17:24 EST

The head of a federal inquiry into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys claims the Justice Department has impeded his investigation.

Specifically, Office of Special Counsel chief Scott J. Bloch sent Attorney General Michael Mukasey a letter last week saying the department's inspector general and office of legal counsel asked him to step aside until internal investigations are finished.

But that could take months, Bloch wrote, effectively pushing his agency's role "into the very last months of the administration when there is little hope of any corrective measures or discipline possible."

The Office of Special Counsel is a small, independent federal agency charged with protecting the rights of federal workers and ensuring that government whistle-blowers aren't subject to reprisal.

Bloch also complained that his attempts to meet with White House Counsel Fred Fielding to discuss the investigation have been rebuffed. The White House did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment Tuesday.

The firings of eight U.S. attorneys provoked a backlash on Capitol Hill last year, where lawmakers questioned whether the moves were politically motivated. That undermined the position of Alberto Gonzales, who wound up resigning as attorney general. (A ninth U.S. attorney, Todd Graves in Missouri, said he was forced out).

Bloch's letter was first reported Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times and, an online Minnesota news site.

Bloch also complains about the investigation into the performance of Rachel Paulose, who recently stepped down as U.S. attorney for Minnesota amid complaints about her management style, to take a job with the department's Office of Legal Policy.

He referenced a letter he had sent to Mukasey on Nov. 19 — the same day that Paulose announced her resignation — in which Bloch concluded that there is a "substantial likelihood that U.S. Attorney Paulose has grossly mismanaged" the U.S. attorney's office "and has engaged in abuses of her authority" in that job.

Bloch's agency had referred allegations about Paulose to the inspector general's office, but the office told him by telephone in October that it had "asked around" and wasn't planning to do anything, Bloch said.

Then in December, according to Bloch, Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis wrote to him, demanding a retraction from Bloch's "substantial likelihood" finding. That finding was based on allegations made by John Marti, who resigned from his management post as first assistant U.S. Attorney under Paulose.

Bloch bluntly asks Mukasey: "Are you requesting that I report to the president that you refuse to investigate disclosures of wrongdoing made by a career federal prosecutor, an employee of your agency?"

The department's behavior, Bloch claims, "reveals a disturbing pattern of disregard for the authority of my office."

In an e-mail, Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said, "We are reviewing the letter and will respond to Mr. Bloch as appropriate."

Cynthia Schnedar, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General, said Bloch's letter was "replete with inaccuracies and mischaracterizations of our actions. Moreover, we believe it is more responsible for him to hold off initiating his limited inquiry until we have completed our comprehensive and independent investigation into the U.S. attorney matter."

Mukasey is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, his first oversight hearing since becoming attorney general.

Bloch himself is under federal investigation for alleged misconduct.

In 2005, a group of current and former Special Counsel employees filed a complaint against him, claiming he retaliated against those who disagreed with his policies through intimidation and involuntary transfers. The Office of Personnel Management is investigating.

Source: AP News

Early Show's Smith Bizarrely Hints At Obama Assassination

Early Show's Smith Bizarrely Hints At Obama Assassination

Senator Ted Kennedy, having endorsed Barack Obama for President, has begun his barnstorming on behalf of the candidate in earnest. This morning found Kennedy on CBS' The Early Show, where anchor Harry Smith, apparently lacking the wit or the wherewithal to pursue a more substantive line of questioning, took the opportunity to do a little whistling past the Kennedy family graveyard:

SMITH: When you see that enthusiasm though, and when you see the generational change that seems to be taking place before our eyes, does it make you at all fearful?

Naturally, Kennedy really didn't catch on to what Smith was driving at, and responded, "I think that what people are basically saying is that they want a new day and a new generation."

Lacking a more heavy-handed way of getting his point across, like, say, whipping out the Zapruder film or something, Smith delicately waded back into the matter of political assasination:

SMITH: I just...ahhh--I think what I was trying to say is, sometimes agents of change end up being targets, as you well know, and that was why I was asking if you were at all fearful of that.

Kennedy elected not to speculate on the matter, for once demonstrating that the repetition of campaign talking points can help to paper over a host of media sins.

Obama previously addressed the matter of personal security in an interview with Brian Williams in early January, saying, "I think that every presidential candidate, certainly every president these days-- is a potential target. And that comes with the job. And you take the precautions that are necessary and then you go about your business."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Another Signing Statement

Bush Issues Signing Statement On Defense Act, Waiving Ban On Permanent Bases In Iraq

President Bush yesterday signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act after initially rejecting Congress’s first version because it would have allegedly opened the Iraqi government to “expensive lawsuits.”

Even though he forced Congress to change its original bill, Bush’s signature yesterday came with a little-noticed signing statement, claiming that provisions in the law “could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations.” CQ reports on the provisions Bush plans to disregard:

One such provision sets up a commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another expands protections for whistleblowers who work for government contractors. A third requires that U.S. intelligence agencies promptly respond to congressional requests for documents. And a fourth bars funding for permanent bases in Iraq and for any action that exercises U.S. control over Iraq’s oil money.

In his “Memorandum of Justification” for the waiver, Bush cited his Nov. 26 “Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship” between Iraq and the United States. This agreement has been aggressively opposed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress as not only unprecedented, but also potentially unconstitutional because it was enacted without the agreement of the legislation branch.

Today on CNN, Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) voiced concern that this declaration may indefinitely commit U.S. troops to fighting Iraq’s civil wars:

Involved in those declaration of principles, there is an implicit potential for the United States military forces, years from now, being involved in a full-blown civil war in Iraq. And I don’t believe that’s where the American people want us and I don’t think that’s in the best interest of our national security.

Earlier this month, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced legislation requiring the Bush administration “to consult with Congress before moving forward with any agreement that could lead to long term security arrangements and other major economic and political commitments.”

Throughout his presidency, Bush has issued more than 151 signing statements challenging 1149 provisions of laws.

If Bush Is Leaving Office In Less Than A Year, Why Are They Still Intent On Destroying Our Privacy?

If Bush Is Leaving Office In Less Than A Year, Why Are They Still Intent On Destroying Our Privacy?

By William Cormier

For all practical purposes, President Bush is now a lame-duck President. If that’s the case, then why is his administration working so hard to take away even more of America’s constitutional rights and his departmental heads are ramping-up their efforts to increase the spying on Americans? The common logic is that when Bush leaves office, some semblance of sanity will return to the United States and we will continue conducting whatever “war on terror” that needs to be undertaken without violating the constitutional rights of innocent Americans. We are all hoping the 2008 elections will bring back the rule of law to Washington, and these illegal and unconstitutional programs will be dismantled. That’s what we are hoping…

But, the signals coming out of Washington speak of a different story - one that is too horrific to imagine! Based on the rush to dismantle almost off of America’s rights to privacy - and these actions and initiatives are being carried out at a dizzying speeds, it would appear that Bush has no plans of leaving office or this Presidency fully expects the next President to follow in his footsteps of tyranny and oppression. The stage is being set for these violations of our civil rights to escalate and careen out of control until eventually - perhaps within months, nothing Americans use their personal computers for will remain private. No, I’m not being melodramatic.

I’ve warned people myself that S 1959, The “Thought Crime Prevention Bill” is being partially implemented even though its still in committee and hasn’t been passed into law yet. Yesterday, a brilliant essay was a written on exactly what privacy the government is attempting to negate by Elliot Cohen, and he describes why this is happening within America. People must be noticing that none of the Presidential candidates are speaking in depth in regard the way that Americans are losing some of their most basic constitutional rights, and none are pledging to stop the constant fear-mongering that our government is using to push its policies through, nor are they pledging to stop those policies that infringe on our constitutional rights. The following Op-Ed is powerful and covers many of the issues that seem to be intertwined with S 1959:

The End of Privacy

Posted on Jan 24, 2008 (Excerpts)

By Elliot Cohen

Amid the controversy brewing in the Senate over Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform, the Bush administration appears to have changed its strategy and is devising a bold new plan that would strip away FISA protections in favor of a system of wholesale government monitoring of every American’s Internet activities. Now the national director of intelligence is predicting a disastrous cyber-terrorist attack on the U.S. if this scheme isn’t instituted.

It is no secret that the Bush administration has already been spying on the e-mail, voice-over-IP, and other Internet exchanges between American citizens since as early as and possibly earlier than Sept. 11, 2001. The National Security Agency has set up shop in the hubs of major telecom corporations, notably AT&T, installing equipment that makes copies of the contents of all Internet traffic, routing it to a government database and then using natural language parsing technology to sift through and analyze the data using undisclosed search criteria. It has done this without judicial oversight and obviously without the consent of the millions of Americans under surveillance. Given any rational interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, its mass spying operation is illegal and unconstitutional.

But now the administration wants to make these illegal activities legal. And why is that? According to National Director of Intelligence Mike McConnell, who is now drafting the proposal, an attack on a single U.S. bank by the 9/11 terrorists would have had a far more serious impact on the U.S. economy than the destruction of the Twin Towers. “My prediction is that we’re going to screw around with this until something horrendous happens,” said McConnell. So the way to prevent this from happening, he claims, is to give the government the power to spy at will on the content of all e-mails, file transfers and Web searches.

McConnell’s prediction of something “horrendous” happening unless we grant government this authority has a tone similar to that of the fear-mongering call to arms against terrorism that President Bush sounded before taking us to war in Iraq. Now, Americans are about to be asked to surrender their Fourth Amendment rights because of a vague and unsupported prediction of the dangers and costs of cyber-terrorism.

The analogy with the campaign to frighten us into war with Iraq gets even stronger when it becomes evident that along with the establishing of American forces in Iraq, the cyber-security McConnell is calling for was, all along, part of the strategic plan, devised by Dick Cheney and several other present and former high-level Bush administration officials, to establish America as the world’s supreme superpower. This plan, known as the Project for the New American Century, unequivocally recognized “an imperative” for government to not only secure the Internet against cyber-attacks but also to control and use it offensively against its adversaries. The Project for the New American Century also maintained that “the process of transformation” it envisioned (which included the militarization and control of the Internet) was “likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.” All that appears to be lacking to make the analogy complete is the “horrendous” cyber-attack—the chilling analog of the 9/11 attacks—that McConnell now predicts.

It would be a mistake to underestimate the resolve of the Bush administration. But it would be a bigger mistake for Americans not to stand united against this familiar pattern of government scare tactics and manipulation. There are grave dangers to the survival of democracy posed by allowing any present or future government unfettered access to all of our private electronic communications. These dangers must be carefully weighed against the dubious and unproven benefits that granting such an awesome power to government might have on fending off cyber-attacks. (Emphasis added.)

Elliot D. Cohen, PhD, is a media ethicist and critic. His most recent book is “The Last Days of Democracy: How Big Media and Power-Hungry Government Are Turning America Into a Dictatorship.” He is a first-prize winner of the 2007 Project Censored Award.

Only selected excerpts are published and this is an Op-Ed worth reading.

Using a rationale that can only be described as bizarre, the government’s position is that if we don’t allow them (NSA, CIA, etc.) unfettered access to our private computer activities, documents, searches, and downloads, it opens-up the United States and make us vulnerable to being hacked in a “terror attack” on a massive scale.

So the way to prevent this from happening, he claims Mike McConnell, is to give the government the power to spy at will on the content of all e-mails, file transfers and Web searches.

Mr. McConnell’s statements are ridiculous and absurd on their face! I’ve been a computer technician for almost 20 years and have worked for some of America’s premier IT companies along the way and the government being able to monitor your email, downloads, and have access to your private documents has nothing whatsoever to do with large-scale computer attacks supposedly sprung on us by Al Qaeda or another foreign entity! There is absolutely no correlation to our personal computer privacy and hacking on a large scale whatsoever, and to even make such a patently false and misleading statement should insult the intelligence of anyone that takes the time to analyze the statement!

When people in the IT field first heard that electronic voting machines were being contemplated for federal elections, in unison the IT Community gasped in horror; all of us know that anything can be hacked and to trust our elections to electronic voting equipment bordered on insanity. Now we are faced with these blatant lies and falsehoods that are almost comical if they weren’t so absurd. I’d like Mike McConnell to explain to the American people how the government being able to monitor our personal computer systems will help to ward-off a “horrendous” cyber-attack. We know where the primary threats from organized hacking usually emanate from, and that’s Russia and China. It wasn’t so long ago that the “Chinese Military Shut-Down Pentagon Network in Cyber Attack for One Week!” , so those of us with good memories know exactly where the danger of America being hacked is located and monitored 24/7 by the US Department of Defense.

While he’s at it, Mr. McConnell should be honest with the people and tell us exactly what the government wants that Americans possess at a personal level. High level planning was being implemented the second month Bush was in office to begin wiretapping Americans on a massive scale, so don’t hand us that BS that we’re monitoring the Internet because of 911. That is a misconception the Bush administration attempts to peddle-off every time they get the chance, but those that are aware of QWEST and their heroic stand to protect the rights of their subscribers is well-aware that the Bush administration was involving itself in illegal wiretapping within two (2) months after they took office. LINK

Tomorrow, the Senate will reconsider whether to give retroactive immunity to the Telecoms, which will then equate to giving immunity to President Bush and Dick Cheney - and very slick maneuver that will be Filibustered in the United States Senate! Tomorrow is a day that we need to make our voices heard and say No to illegal wiretapping and retroactive immunity for the telecoms. Below is an ad that will run in the New York Times - and we as Americans need to heed the call to action and say no, loud and clear, to government spying and the further erosion of our constitutional rights. This is a bipartisan issue, and whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, all of us should be furious that the government now wants to treat the entire civilian population of the United States as suspects and to make matters worse, now contend that Americans are not entitled to their constitutional rights of privacy!

Tomorrow could be a historic day, and if you lend you voice to the cause, you too could help make history This is the email I received with the below image, and I couldn’t agree more!

Dear William,

I need your help to turn up the heat. Senators Clinton and Obama must lead America forward instead of protecting President Bush and his friends at AT&T and Verizon. This critical vote is scheduled for Monday at 4:30 pm.

Please take a moment right now and contact MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, one of the strongest media voices in opposition to President Bush’s reckless abuses of power, and ask him to cover the telecom fight tomorrow.

Tell Keith how you feel, send him the link to the NYTimes ad, and ask him to interview Jim live before the vote Monday night.

Here’s the ad link:

Here’s Olbermann’s contact email:

President Bush and Vice President Cheney are counting on the media silence to let Republicans win. They both know this is the American people’s last chance to hold the Bush administration accountable for warrantless wiretapping of innocent Americans.

Keith Olbermann and MSNBC could help Jim shine a national spotlight on this incredibly important issue and turn up the heat on our Democratic leaders to stand up, fight the Bush administration, and win.

Please send your email to Keith right now.

No Immunity For Telecoms!

William Cormier

Authors Website:

Authors Bio: I am nothing more than a patriotic American that is doing whatever I can to further the cause of democracy, the rule of law, and am absolutely outraged on how the Bush administration is defying our Congress, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights! Footnote: I write in a style that I believe is appropriate in today’s world where we can’t trust the Mainstream News Media, and rather than concentrating on one article alone, which may or may not receive the exposure and emphasis it should, I prefer to meld several relevant stories together, that each taken alone may not expose the entire situation, but when taken-in as a whole, tend to give the reader a better understanding of the subject. One article or story alone does not represent the “Big Picture” - but when several are effectively tied-together it often reveals a trend or broader view of the subject matter that is important to completely understand any given situation.

Bush is committing Political terrorism

Jay Rockefeller on FISA: Bush is committing Political terrorism: Cloture vote fails

video_wmv Download | Play video_mov Download | Play

Jay: Under the tortured logic of protecting America against terrorism, the WH has decided to exercise frankly its own form of political terrorism and has taken the FISA bill hostage.

Those are powerful words from a man that was helping the telecoms to get immunity. Cheney/Bush and McConnell’s actions have even pushed him over the edge.

Jane Hamsher:

Cloture vote fails, 48-45, with Landrieu, Ben Nelson and Mark Pryor voting with the Republicans.

McCONNELL: Urges everyone to vote against 30 day extension. Said they may have to do a “short extension” but the President has said he will veto a 30 day.

REID: House will pass a 30 day extension tomorrow. People crying “wolf” here a bit too often.

Glenn Greenwald

Victories of any kind are so rare that I’m reluctant to dampen the enthusiasm — and it is notable that, regardless of their motives, Senate Democrats did actually manage to do something different than the White House ordered them to do, so that’s good. But it’s important to emphasize what really happened here today, and what didn’t happen…read on

Chris Dodd: “I Will Continue to Fight Retroactive Immunity with all the Strength Any One Senator Can Muster

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Enderlin: Arafat faked 9/11 blood donation

Enderlin: Arafat faked 9/11 blood donation
17 January 2008 - Joel Pollak

France 2 TV journalist Charles Enderlin told a small audience at Harvard’s Center for European Studies today that Yasser Arafat had faked his blood donation to the victims of the September 11th attacks. Enderlin said the event had been staged for the media to counteract the embarrassing television images of Palestinians celebrating in the streets after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

The blood donation story made headlines around the world. It was reported by esteemed news agencies like the BBC, and photographs of Arafat lying with an outstretched arm ran on many front pages. But the whole scene was staged, Enderlin said. Arafat didn’t like needles, and so the doctor put a needle near his arm and agitated a bag of blood. The reporters took the requisite photographs.

I followed up this extraordinary revelation by asking Enderlin two questions. First, if you know that the story of Arafat donating blood was fabricated, why do you reject any possibility that the shooting of Mohammed al-Dura was staged as well? And second, why did you delete several minutes of raw footage from the Al-Dura tape when you handed it over to the French court in the Karsenty libel appeal?

Enderlin’s answer—from my notes:

Al-Dura was killed before a live correspondent, the day after Israelis opened fire on demonstrators on the Temple Mount. My journalist filmed this kid dying in front of the camera. The video is authentic, we had other witnesses, we had an Israeli military reaction that admitted it was probably them. We broadcast all the relevant reactions from the Israeli army. In November I suddenly heard that an Israeli general was reconstructing the events. The video rushes don’t show you exactly what is happening. So in November a general said that the probability was higher that he was killed by a Palestinian bullet than an Israeli bullet. Then in Septemer 2002, a campaign started. People started saying that the event has been staged. It has not been staged; it is authentic; it has a time code; and if it has been staged, then the father is not injured and the doctors in the chief hospital are staging the events, and then when the father was brought to a military hospital in Amman where King Abdullah visited him, so King Abdullah is part of the conspiracy, and then the Israeli journalists interviewed the father. We sued for libel, and we won, and on appeal we were told to hand over the rushes. It was thought that there were 24 minutes, but we discovered that the rushes had been recorded on a film that already had something on it. So we presented to the court the 18 minutes of the original cassette, and now the story is that the kid is alive, and the father is inviting anyone to go and check the remains in the child’s grave. Today there are generals who say they believe it is fake, but at the time they believed it because they saw the images. Well, does anybody believe that Israeli generals learn things by looking at images on the television? So, we have several libel suits going on. We have won 2. Someone accused me of encouraging the assassination of Israeli children, and if that’s not libel then I don’t know what is.

It’s clear that Enderlin knows he is on shaky ground, because he is resorting to the flimsiest of straw-man arguments. No one has said that Mohammed al-Dura is alive (though a few are starting to wonder). His death, though sad, is actually irrelevant to the question at hand—namely: does the footage that Enderlin aired on France 2, and sent around the world, actually show Israeli soldiers shooting al-Dura?

Richard Landes, who was there today, challenged the claim that al-Dura had been fired at from the Israeli position. He also reminded Enderlin that the cameraman testified that there were 27 minutes of shooting, but there was only one minute on the film. Enderlin said he had more. “You have more?” Landes asked incredulously. Enderlin repeated: “These are just rushes. You think the kid is alive?”

Landes began a strident reply, and the moderator interrupted, allowing Enderlin to continue. “You are part of the smear campaign,” Enderlin snapped. “It’s called criticism,” Landes retorted. Enderlin continued, claiming the soldiers had been shooting for 45 minutes. “I am willing to go in for a polygraph,” he said, with the sympathetic audience chiming in to protect him from Landes’s questions.

It’s amazing that Enderlin can recognize that news events were being faked at the highest levels of the Palestinian leadership, and yet refuse to allow that the al-Dura killing may have been similarly staged. The obvious explanation is that Enderlin’s name is on one and not the other. The Arafat blood donation story may be rather harmless, but the al-Dura story continues to create hatred and death.

The Conservative Stages of Grief

Sun Jan 27, 2008 at 10:00:00 AM PST

In the year 2000, a devastating blow was dealt to conservative ideology. They were at long last given simultaneous control of all parts of government, and a chance to implement their philosophies.

The outcome proved, of course, to be a fiasco of monumental proportions. From budget surpluses to record deficits; unchecked pork; a tide of corruption, both moral and legal, that thinned their ranks like smallpox; mismanagement of even basic government tasks, such as emergency response capabilities; a national economy constantly teetering between mere sluggishness and outright recession; the entrance into a quagmire of a war, one with unclear initial purpose and even less clear strategies for exit. And those are just the highlights.

It would be enough to drive even the most sane person to despair; in fact, the more sane you are, the more likely you are to feel despair over any of these things. With the agonizing lack of grace of a faceplanting pole vaulter, and in every realm -- economics, oversight, foreign policy, etc. -- conservatism unleashed into the real world met, once again, with abject and humiliating failure. It seems there is no aspect of government that conservatism is actually good at, once the adherents are given any more responsibilities than being the besuited blowhards of Washington cocktail parties.

I thought it might be appropriate, at this point, to go over the five conservative stages of grief. They are taken directly from Kubler-Ross, and so are solidly backed by the best psychological modeling. In their moments of understandable despair over actually having finally been given the unfair and dastardly opportunity to put their signing pens where their mouths have been, as opposed the previous years of merely erupting, geyserlike, on Fox News every evening about what they could do if they were in charge, it is expected that most conservatives will at this point go through at least some of these stages of grief. Since we are not ogres, here, we will simply wish them well and pray for their speedy recovery.

Stage 1: John McCain. In the McCain stage of grief, a conservative is mentally aware of their surroundings but unable to emotionally process the information. The result is a mental short-circuit. Sufferers are especially prone to thinking that the Iraq War is going spectacularly well; they may even wander open-air marketplaces in which they are protected by a hundred or more fully armed United States soldiers, with helicopter gunship support, and remark aloud at how normal and stable and safe their location obviously is. Denial may also exist over the state of the economy, of their own party, or, especially, their own past actions.

The McCain stage of grief is known to last years or even decades. Fortunately, the sufferer usually loses all concept of time, such that they cannot differentiate between any particular six month period, and will eventually declare them all to be "a hundred years" long.

Stage 2: Rudy Giuliani. The Giuliani stage of grief is marked by constant, seething anger. Individuals may reduce their entire range of emotional responses to one, that of constant, self-righteous rage. The stage is usually accompanied by Napoleonic fantasies, declaring the fearsome breadth of their own inner fury to be the only salvation not just of themselves, but of the entire world in which they live. Every situation, every social interaction, and every problem is met with a frequently irrational and always militant response.

Long-term sufferers of the Giuliani stage may eventually suffer from a permanent bug-eyed expression and the onset of sociopathy. They may sometimes be mistaken for necrophiliacs.

Stage 3: Mitt Romney. In the Romney stage, the full impact of the conservative situation begins to become clear to the individual, who then begins to attempt to extricate themselves from their predicament through the process of bargaining.

Sufferers may, upon recognizing the unpopularity of past positions, shift those positions wildly from one year to the next, one week to the next, or even during consecutive sentences. They are driven by a need for popularity and acceptance, and are willing to tailor their speech, behavior, and even their thoughts to whatever may be necessary to obtain it. Sufferers of the Romney stage of grief are aware of their surroundings and the negative situation they are in, and are even aware of how their behavior may have contributed to the failure, but lack the mental ability to then adapt their behaviors as a result of those past failures. Instead, they flit haphazardly from idea to idea, from constituency to constituency, looking to empty sloganeering and focus group ideas to rebuild the trust that they have lost.

Stage 4: Fred Thompson. Eventually, sufferers of conservative grief may become distant and despondent, entering the Thompson stage. Individuals may retreat into isolation, even if they are currently supposed to be running for President of the United States or something. While they can sometimes be goaded into action, say, for an evening debate, they are more prone to minimalist activities, such as making a few phone calls, showing up at a county fair, or merely driving around in a truck.

Sufferers of the Thompson stage are fully aware of past conservative failures, but are unable to make even token attempts at new ideas or substantively critiquing the old ones. They become stiff and emotionless, as if a writers' strike is incapacitating them. They may begin to age creepily and horribly.

Stage 5: Mike Huckabee. Finally, the Huckabee stage may be reached. In this stage, the grief sufferer finally comes to term with the situation for himself and his fellow conservatives. He realizes fully how he has been used; he realizes fully how shallow and insincere conservative behavior has been; he realizes that there is little way to change the situation. He may surround himself with trivialities or attempts at obvious self-deprecation in order to make light of the situation; for example, using elderly b-list television action stars as inexplicable campaign props.

Nonetheless, acceptance of the situation is achieved. In the Huckabee stage, the individual no longer grieves for the losses of conservatism, but comes to accept them as the reality of the movement, and nothing that either can or should be changed. Token apologies for past behavior may be issued, with the full internal knowledge that those transgressions will be repeated in the future.

Individuals that reach the Huckabethan stage of conservative grief may achieve serenity and spirituality; the stage is frequently accompanied by the belief that no matter how bad the situation is, those tragedies and failures were preordained by God, who will return at any moment to kick the asses of all those that may now stand in your way.

These seemingly baseless assertions of preordained destiny and of imminent divine intervention on your personal behalf may not be emotionally rational, but it at least allows the individual a cognitive basis for continuing their conservatism even in the wake of obvious and dramatic movement-wide failures. In this manner, a conservative can continue to remain conservative indefinitely, or at least until their conservatism results in another multi-fronted national crisis.

Why and How Hillary, Obama and Edwards DO NOT Offer Universal Healthcare

Why and How Hillary, Obama and Edwards DO NOT Offer Universal Healthcare

By Ron Corvus

Why and How Hillary, Obama and Edwards DO NOT Offer Universal Healthcare
During the last Democratic "debate," Hillary, Obama and Edwards (hereinafter referred to as H.O.E.S.) argued amongst themselves as to who has the best "universal healthcare plan" and who is most closely tied to lobbyists. For me, it was like watching rodents argue who can eat the most garbage in a sanitary fashion. Hillary accused Obama of being a corporate lawyer for an inner-city slum-landlord business (REZCO) while Obama reminded folks Hillary was a corporate lawyer sitting on the board of Wal-Mart. Edwards reminded both he never has represented moneyed interests but has always represented the little guy in lawsuits. Oddly enough, no one mentioned Obama's wife, Michelle Obama, who is a hardened corporate lawyer who has fired hundreds of long-time small-business employees for her corporate masters and who sat on a so-called "NON-PROFIT" hospital board that enjoyed profits of over $100 million dollars, charging minorities over THREE TIMES what Michelle Obama charged whites for the same medical care. These are FACTS.
Unfortunately, too many Americans seem to baffled by BS than by brilliant substance. I contacted Politifact's Bill Adair and asked him to list Hillary, Obama and Edwards' claim of offering universal healthcare as a "LIE," since these H.O.E.S. do NOT, NOT, NOT offer universal healthcare period. I explained to Bill WHY their claim is a lie and Adair agreed, acknowledging their claim of universal healthcare constituted a "LIE." Here's what I told Bill:
"FOR-PROFIT" corporate lobbyists write America's healthcare bills - politicians don't. Anyone who has seen Michael Moore's movie "Sicko" has seen the raw footage of hundreds of corporate lobbyists occupying the floor of Congress at 3am (like a Hannah Montana concert) twisting arms and threatening Congressmen and women who voted AGAINST their corporate healthcare bill. Roll call votes are supposed to remain open only for 15 minutes, but THAT night - the night healthcare industry's corporate lobbyists decided to pass their healthcare bill, the roll call vote was held open FOR HOURS AND HOURS until 3am in the morning - until those corporate lobbyists finished bullying, threatening, conning, and paying members of Congress to change their vote so the lobbyists could pass their corporate masters' healthcare bill.
The United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation in the world that does NOT have a universal health care system. First of all, you CANNOT have fully-paid universal healthcare within our current "FOR-PROFIT" healthcare system. Achieving universal healthcare would REQUIRE America to CONVERT our current "FOR-PROFIT" healthcare system to a "NON-PROFIT" healthcare system. America would have to ELIMINATE the corporate board of directors who have a duty by law to MAXIMIZE the profits of the greedy insurance companies, HMOs and pharmaceutical companies. Their allegiance is to their stockholders and corporate bosses who pay themselves exhorbant salaries and bonuses totalling hundreds of millions of dollars - TAX DOLLARS!!!!! The great majority of our nation's $2.3b Medicare/Medicaid budget goes directly into the pockets of these fatcat corporate executives and their stockholders. These are the same executives who make life and death decisions DENYING American taxpayers much-needed surgeries and healthcare.
We're ALREADY PAYING for universal healthcare - we're just NOT getting it! Hillary, Obama and Edwards do NOTHING AT ALL to CONVERT our current ripoff "FOR-PROFIT" healthcare system to a "NON-PROFIT" healthcare system. In fact, their plan is to SUBSIDIZE those corporate fatcat executives and their insurance companies, HMOs and pharms with our precious tax dollars. John Edwards' plan is the textbook definition of corporate welfare, promising to raise taxes to the tune of a couple of billion dollars TO PAY FOR CORPORATE WELFARE - to guarantee the continued profits and gigantic salaries and bonuses for those corporate fatcat executives. Hillary and Obama won't even admit the fact that their healthcare plans REMAIN taxpayer-funded corporate welfare. Here's my point about paying for universal healthcare: Americans are ALREADY PAYING FOR all the healthcare they would ever, ever need - we're just not getting it! Why? How? Again, the majority of our nation's Medicare/Medicaid budget goes DIRECTLY into the fatcat execs and their stockholders, whereas if We The People elect representatives to Congress who will vote to REDIRECT those "FOR-PROFIT" funds to the actual cost of healthcare services provided, Americans would easily enjoy ALL the healthcare service any American family would ever need. This is not rocket science folks; it's actually very simple to understand that what America needs is to REDIRECT TAX DOLLARS AWAY FROM THE FOR-PROFIT CORPORATIONS AND SPEND THOSE FUNDS ON ACTUAL HEALTHCARE PROVIDED TO YOU AND ME! THIS WOULD PAY FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE WITHOUT RAISING TAXES AND CREATING NEW REVENUE STREAMS FOR THE "FOR-PROFIT" CORPORATIONS!
Hillary's healthcare plan does absolutely NOTHING AT ALL about eliminating the greedy "FOR-PROFIT" corporations, their board of directors and their stockholders from our nation's healthcare system. Hillary says if you like the plan you got - then just keep it. In other words, Hillary wants those of you who are dumb enough to keep on paying insurance premiums to simply KEEP ON PAYING those same old insurance premiums. HillaryCare is actually ANTI- universal healthcare! Hillary's plan is to raise taxes to continue subsidizing corporate welfare. Remember, America will NEVER ENJOY universal healthcare UNTIL WE CONVERT our current "FOR-PROFIT" healthcare system to a "NON-PROFIT" healthcare system. Hillary has ZERO PLANS to do so. The insurance companies and HMOs love her, Obama and Edwards.
It is easy to tell if a candidate offers true universal healthcare or not. When you hear a candidate promising to make healthcare affordable, then you know they do NOT offer true universal healthcare - there are NO payments made by you the citizen to insurance companies, HMOs and pharms within a true universal healthcare system. Hillary, Obama and Edwards ALL want you to keep making payments to these corporate fatcats, a.k.a. their contributors. These H.O.E.s would NEVER betray their corporate contributors and betray their perfect voting record in Congress of subsidizing corporate welfare with our tax dollars. The citizens of those nations who enjoy fully-paid, non-profit, universal healthcare DO NOT MAKE ANY PAYMENTS to FOR-PROFIT corporations, subsidizing and enriching corporate fatcats. The bottom line is, these H.O.E.s will keep Americans making payments to insurance companies, HMOs and pharms.
Hillary, Obama and Edwards all REFUSE, REFUSE, REFUSE to address the heart of the matter when it comes to instituting true, fully-paid universal healthcare in America. These candidates do not want the corporate media calling them advocates of "socialized medicine." If Hillary, Obama and Edwards were sincere about instituting true universal healthcare, they would:
- PROUDLY DISCUSS the great, obvious need to ELIMINATE the fatcat executive salaries and ELIMINATE maximizing corporate profits by CONVERTING our current "FOR-PROFIT" healthcare system to a "NON-PROFIT" healthcare system. BUT NO! You haven't heard WORD ONE about any of that! This fact proves WHO Hillary, Obama and Edwards is representing, and it's certainly not you and your family.
- PROUDLY DISCUSS how there certain basic needs We The People consider so important in pursuing life, liberty and happiness, that private corporations, their board of directors and stockholders' RIGHT-TO-PROFIT do NOT supercede each and every Americans' right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. You will NEVER hear Hillary, Obama or Edwards' pontificate on THESE VALUES!
I really believe Americans do not realize just how messed up things are in Washington and in our electoral process and candidates. Obviously, Hillary, Obama and Edwards will NEVER institute true universal healthcare; the fact is, the Democratic and Republican parties HAVE NO PLANS to institute true, fully-paid universal healthcare coverage; their plans are to CONTINUE SUBSIDIZING "FOR-PROFIT" corporations sucking the lifeblood right out of America's healthcare budget and Americans' lives. How do we get OUT of THIS MESS?
- STOP supporting party candidates and START supporting your own platform!
- We The People must STOP supporting and donating to party candidates; when you support a party candidate, you support that party's continued stranglehold on you and I. STOP engaging in candidate worship - it's not about the candidate - it's about supporting the platform. What really matters is the platform and how much conviction a candidate has towards implementing that platform.
- We The People must begin electing representatives to Congress who support the People's agenda, what I refer to as an "independent voter platform."
- I don't see how anyone could watch Michael Moore's movie, "Sicko" and then vote or support ANY Democratic or Republican canidate. If you haven't seen "Sicko," go rent it or see it. Moore's Farenheit 9/11 was a social commentary - "Sicko" is an indictment. "Sicko" exposes as myth and destroys all the old false claims made over the years against universal healthcare.