Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dani Klein - Vaya con dios

What's a Woman

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

White Folk Love Affairs

White folks carry on the love affair with black radicals, brothers in prison, past and present.

From the prison letters of George Jackson (1941-1971)
"Blackmen born in the U.S. and fortunate enough to live past the age of eighteen are conditioned to accept the inevitability of prison. For most of us, it simply looms as the next phase in a sequence of humiliations. Being born a slave in a captive society and never experiencing any objective basis for expectation had the effect of preparing me for the progressively traumatic misfortunes that lead so many blackmen to the prison gate. I was prepared for prison. It required only minor psychic adjustments."
Page 28
"I've been asked to explain myself, "briefly," before the world has done with me. It is difficult because I don't recognize uniqueness, not as it's applied to individualism, because it is too tightly tied into decadent capitalist culture. Rather I've always strained to see the indivisible thing cutting across the artificial barricades which have been erected to an older section of our brains, back to the mind of the primitive commune that exists in all blacks. But then how can I explain the runaway slave in terms that do not imply uniqueness?
I was captured and brought to prison when I was 18 years old because I couldn't adjust. The record that the state has compiled on my activities reads like the record of ten men. It labels me brigand, thief, burglar, gambler, hobo, drug addict, gunman, escape artist, Communist revolutionary, and murderer. I was born as the Great Depression was ending. It was ending because the second great war for colonial markets was beginning in the U.S. .."

-------- Born in Chicago, Jackson spent time in the California Youth Authority Corrections facility in Paso Robles for several convictions. He was convicted of armed robbery, a felony, for robbing a gas station at gunpoint and at age 18 was sentenced to serve one year to life in prison. While at Soledad prison in 1966, he founded the Black Guerrilla Family, a Marxist prison gang with political objectives. The BGF is still active today and still considered a prison gang.

On 16 January 1970 along with Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette, Jackson was charged with murdering guard John V. Mills, in retaliation for the shooting deaths of three black inmates by officer O.G. Miller from his guard tower; both the shooting and the retaliation took place inside Soledad Prison. The guard was not charged, a grand jury ruled his actions to be justifiable homicide in response to a fight that had broken out. Incarcerated in the maximum security cellblock at Soledad Prison, Jackson and the other two inmates became known as the "Soledad Brothers".

On 7th August, 1970, George Jackson's seventeen year old brother, Jonathan, burst into a Marin County courtroom with a machine-gun and after taking Judge Harold Haley, Deputy District Attorney Gary Thomas and three jurors hostage, he demanded freedom for the "Soledad Brothers".

Judge Haley and prisoners William Christmas, James McClain, and Jonathan Jackson were killed as they attempted to drive away from the courthouse. Eyewitness testimony suggests Haley was hit by fire discharged from a sawed-off shotgun that had been fastened to his neck with adhesive tape by the abductors. The DA and prisoner Ruchell Magee and one of the jurors were wounded. The shotgun was bought by Angela Davis, but she was acquitted of any crime in 1972 as ownership was not sufficient to establish her involvement in the plot. In August 1971 George Jackson was shot trying to escape prison. Jackson supposedly was armed with a 9mm which also was allegedly smuggled in by Angela Davis. (Davis ran on the Communist ticket for VP in 1980 and 1984, but since then Angie has pretty much been on the lecturing professor circuit tour. I once had her poster next to Che, what was I thinking.)

Yes, life is often unfair. Even so, not all black Americans condition their children to accept the inevitability of prison. Not all familial environments prepare their children for the gates of prison. The men below lived in hard times, sometimes harder, than prison brother George, yet these successful men were never "captured and brought to prison."

George Washington Carver - (USA, ca. 1864-1943) George Washington Carver was an agricultural chemist who discovered industrial uses for crop plants such as sweet potatoes, peanuts and soybeans. He developed methods for improving soil. Carver recognized that legumes return nitrates to the soil. His work led to crop rotation. Carver was born a slave in Missouri. He struggled to gain an education, eventually graduating from what was to become Iowa State University. He joined the faculty of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1896. Tuskegee is where he performed his famous experiments.

Percy Julian - (USA, 1899-1975) Percy Julian developed the anti-glaucoma drug physostigmine. Dr. Julian was born in Montgomery, Alabama, but educational opportunities for African Americans were limited in the South at that time, so he received his undergraduate degree from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Later he moved to Massachusetts and enrolled in Harvard University, where he earned his master's degree in 1923. Denied the teaching fellowship that customarily led to a doctorate at Harvard, he received a Rockefeller Grant and enrolled at the University of Vienna in Austria where he received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1929. Returning to the US he taught at Howard University in Washington, DC, another historically black school, then returned to his alma mater, DePauw, where he completed his landmark work on the drug physostigmine in 1935. Physostigmine was used to preserve sight by lessening the build-up of pressure caused by glaucoma, and it had only been available from its natural source, the Calabar bean. Though the achievement earned Julian worldwide acclaim, DePauw declined to appoint him to its faculty. Disgusted, he left academia and joined the Glidden Company in Chicago (today best known for its paints) as head of its soy products division. Julian used his knowledge of chemistry to make a wide variety of products from soybeans, including sex hormones, other steroids, and foams to extinguish oil and gas fires. In 1948, he developed a new way to synthesize the hydrocortisone used to treat rheumatoid arthritis - the method most widely used to this day. By the time he died in 1975, his research had resulted in more than 160 separate patents. He also integrated the all white affluent Oak Park neighborhood in 1950, his family still owns the home.

Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. (1877 - 1963) was an African American inventor who originated a respiratory protective hood (similar to the modern gas masks), invented a hair-straightening preparation, and patented a type of traffic signal. He is renowned for a heroic rescue in which he used his hood to save workers trapped in a tunnel system filled with fumes. He is credited as the first African-American in Cleveland to own an automobile. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Garrett A. Morgan on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.

Lloyd Augustus Hall (1894 - 1971) An industrial food chemist, Lloyd Augustus Hall revolutionized the meatpacking industry with his development of curing salts for the processing and reserving of meats. He developed a technique of "flash-driving" (evaporating) and a technique of sterilization with ethylene oxide which is still used by medical professionals today. Lloyd Augustus Hall was born in Elgin, Illinois on June 20, 1894, and raised in Aurora, Illinois. Hall invented new ways to preserve food. In 1925, Hall was the chief chemist and director of research at Griffith Laboratories in Chicago. It was here that Hall invented his processes for preserving meat using sodium chloride and nitrate and nitrite crystals. Hall also pioneered the use of antioxidants. Fats and oils spoil when exposed to oxygen in the air. Hall used lecithin, propyl gallate, and ascorbyl palmite as antioxidants, and invented a process to prepare the antioxidants for food preservation.

Otis Boykin - (1920-1982) graduated Fisk College in 1941. He invented an improved electrical resistor used in computers - radios - television sets and a variety of electronic devices. Boykin's resistor helped reduce the cost of those products. Otis Boykin also invented a variable resistor used in guided missile parts, a control unit for heart stimulators, a burglar-proof cash register and a chemical air filter.

So why is it Bubba that white folks love to love black "political prisoners"? The successful black men above, and tens of thousands of other successful blacks are ignored by white (and black) progressives/leftists who prefer to drool over those inmates who cannot adjust to the "decadent capitalist culture," encouraging black men to rant about thieving capitalists, the imperialism-made-me-do-it defense. The evils of capitalism, which apparently forces many black men to rob the neighborhood store at gunpoint, to cap off a rap sheet they've been working on since age 13.

Oddly, capitalism works well for their backers, employed on the outside as authors, lecturers, celebs, weekend sign carriers. A cult of white do-gooders handing out excuses; and all they accomplish is keeping the prisons filled with mama's discarded children and who's yo daddy because the ignorant swallow this political b.s. Isn't it great that a few of those captives, who become literate and articulate with forced incarceration, are chosen by white folks to be poster boys?

Ever notice Bubba that the original field negro, ballot or bullet, any means necessary MX is the "left" hero - not the MX who returned from Mecca with the message that he would accept only "sincere whites" because "the solution for black Americans would not begin with whites, it would begin and end with blacks", self-discipline, self-help, self-respect, etc. MX criticized the "liberalism" of the '60s; you can see why looking at the results today.

You might ask yourself who your real friends are Bubba.

I wondered why white folks don't have a similar group of white prison heroes ... aren't there any screwed up anti-social white guys behind bars waiting to become pet political prisoners? Some Joe Blow willing to change his name and rage against the machine from an 8 x 12 room? What about Johnny Walker Lindh aka Abd-al-Hamid - he would make a fine white political prisoner poster boy. Just a mixed up talibony white boy fighting the system. Free Johnny Hamid free Johnny Hamid free Johnny now. Maybe they're afraid they'll create more Johnny white boys if they romanticize and poster them.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wee Wee'd (Stand) Up

In context : "... And when you notice that nobody is paying attention to what you're doing, just remember we've been through this before. Some of you were involved when we were in Iowa, 30 points down, and all of Washington said, oh, it's over -- hand-wringing and angst and teeth-gnashing. (Laughter.) And then last year just about this time, you'll recall that the Republicans had just nominated their Vice Presidential candidate, and everybody was -- the media was obsessed with it, and cable was 24 hours a day, and "Obama's lost his mojo." (Laughter.) You remember all that? (Laughter.) There's something about August going into September -- (laughter) -- where everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up. (Laughter.) I don't know what it is. (Laughter.) But that's what happens."

---- Hmmm. That's "wee-weed up" on the official website - and BHO should stay away from the word "weed" as we know he has a penchant for smoking ... (laughter).

Could it be wee-wee as in pee pee? Does everyone in Washington in the months of August and September wet themselves (laughter) - because they are going on break from delegating those wordy legislative bills to staffers to read. It's hard labor passing along that much paperwork (laughter).

Or did Obama use "wee-wee'd up" because from what I've seen of the adoring audience nearest Obama that day, it was heavily geriatric, and some may have been wee-weeing as he spoke (laughter). Maybe BHO was getting a whiff of Depend (laughter).

Or maybe he meant wee-weed up as in very small things that only eat, shit, and bother people, like gnats and flies. Was Barry Mojo just speaking off-the-cuff to wee the little people? (Laughter.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Semper Fi, Racketeers Repent

I was thinking of Smedley Butler - always running into references to his "war is a racket" - and I asked myself something I've never asked self before - why/how does a man of Butler's background go from 33 years active duty, a chest full of medals, some of the highest honors a soldier can receive - how did he become a late-blooming "peacenik"?

Butler says in his 1935 pamphlet: "Truthfulness compels me to. I spent 33 years and 4 months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism."

Butler joined the military just shy of his 17th birthday in 1898. After WWI he assumed command of the Marine Barracks at Quantico, Va., transforming what had been a temporary wartime camp into a permanent Marine installation. From January 1924 to December 1925, Brig. Gen. Butler was granted a leave of absence from the Corps to serve as director of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Safety, in an attempt to militarize the police force; but mainly a "supercop" closing down speakeasies and bootleggers, cleaning up Philly's vice. There was another temporary leave of absence, for 9 months in 1908, for a "nervous breakdown" although during that time Butler worked in the West Virginia coal mining business; odd as this was the era of the "Rebellion in the Coal Fields". Hmmm... was Butler acting as "a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers" on the home front?

The difficulty is finding the truth from history - which pushes predominantly the material written by supporters and detractors who paint larger than life legends, while the stark factual record raises more questions than it answers.

Butler returned to active duty in 1926, assuming command of the Marine base at San Diego, and a year later returned to China as commander of an MEF sent to protect American interests in Shanghai during a period of intense Chinese nationalist revolutionary activity. Not a traditional military expedition, this was among the first of what would now be called American peacekeeping missions. To the surprise of many, Butler executed his duties with great sensitivity and diplomatic skill. Twice the Chinese awarded him their ceremonial Umbrella of Ten Thousand Blessings, possibly the first foreigner ever to receive that honor.

Even 80 years ago the "racket" was sometimes a "peacekeeping mission."

Butler served around the world, wounded several times; earned more medals than I care to list, until 1931 when he requested retirement. What happened? Does a leopard change its spots?

In 1930, Smedley was expected to be named Commandant of the Marine Corps, but the position was given to Ben Fuller. Butler's father, Thomas, was an influential career congress critter from Pennsylvania, serving from 1897 to 1928, reelected 16 times until he died in office. His father's influence helped Smedley's life and military career. Had his father been alive in 1930 would Butler have been given the commandant promotion?

It seems he was unpopular with pols and powerful civilians for his loose lip over the years. Not loose in that he exposed government/military secrets or wrong doing - but he was known to gossip publicly about powerful people who didn't appreciate it. After his pass on the promotion he did state in a 1931 Liberty magazine interview that he was going to "do a little swatting of some heads of some low-down-bums who tried to ruin my life for me." Was Butler's anti-war stance born from job politics and personal grudges, or was he a genuine born-again anti-imperialist peace activist?

Still, in 1932 Smed was not quite ready to join the Socialist or Communist club - instead he ran for the US senate as a republican from Pennsylvania, daddy's old slot. Butler lost. This is when he apparently turned "left" - anti-war, anti-imperialism. While many think he was also anti-capitalist I find no information to solidly support the idea. He may have been anti-war, anti-imperialism, an isolationist, and against war profiteering, but he didn't appear to be anti-capitalist anywhere other than in the mind of the "left" who too often assume anyone against war and profiteering is anti-capitalism.

Between 1935 and 1937 Butler served as a spokesman for the American League Against War and Fascism (which some considered communist-dominated). The '30s were an era when the communist party in the US saw growth and popularity among the working class, as it did in Europe. But that popularity was brief - after Hitler and Stalin divided up eastern Europe in 1939, the US communist party lost members, and where communists once supported FDR by 1939-40 they considered him a warmonger.

Before the romance of socialism/communism had worn off though, but after Butler's commandant and senatorial loss, in 1934 he made news with the FDR plot, or the Business Plot - a political conspiracy in which wealthy businessmen plotted a coup d’├ętat to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934, Butler testified that a group of wealthy pro-Fascist industrialists had been plotting to overthrow the government and had approached him to lead it. The investigation supposedly found some merit to the allegations - but was that truth or a ploy to bolster support for FDR who angered many capitalists by signing new acts and new deals - the mood then was much as it is today, from a 1930s cartoon : "spend, spend, spend under guise of recovery, bust the government, blame the capitalists." The tinfoil crowd today claims Prescott Bush was one of the Business Plot plotters.

Butler reportedly was against fascism, so ask yourself - would fascist businessmen hire a man who was anti-fascism to lead a fascist coup? If that makes sense to you, please enlighten me. Butler initially supported FDR but later did not, maybe because FDR praised Benito :

FDR: "I don't mind telling you in confidence that I am keeping in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman."
FDR: "There seems to be no question that [Mussolini] is really interested in what we are doing and I am much interested and deeply impressed by what he has accomplished and by his evidenced honest purpose of restoring Italy. " (Comments on Benito Mussolini in 1933, as quoted in Three New Deals : Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939 (2006) by Wolfgang Schivelbusch, p. 31.)

So again, why would fascist businessmen want to overthrow FDR when in 1933, at the time of Butler's allegations, Frankie D. didn't seem to have a problem with fascists? Who better to serve the US fascists than the FDR of 1933 who found Benito an honest and admirable gentleman?

Butler's Business Plot conspiracy alone is enough to question his sanity. Butler also alleged Douglas McArthur had organized the 1936 assassination of Huey Long. Huey's 1936 presidential bid promised to name Butler as Secretary of War.

Who better to drive the masses into the arms of tyranny than a man like Butler who spent more than half his life warring and profiting and suddenly "sees the light," who can emphatically state the depression era misery is due to the profiteering he himself participated in for 33 years and 4 months? Would that "muscle man" blurb have been written if Butler had won that 1932 congressional seat? Or would Smed have been a John Kerry of the 1930s - the wounded warrior turned pacifist? Someone who would have posed on a peace platform but approve every round of war funding? Or a John Murtha who was for war before he was against it and who's district and family members grow fat on defense pork? Or perhaps Butler would have been a Kucinich - the token "leftist" trotted out every 4 years to make chatter and change nothing.

Butler did not see action in WWI, he was in China, and he attempted to return one of his Medals of Honor awarded in 1914 for service in Mexico, stating he had done nothing to deserve it. He was told to keep it which he did; the medal toss was not part of pop culture in the 1930s. His second Medal was for suppressing Caco rebels in 1915 Haiti, where Smed boasted of his exploits and that his men "hunted the Cacos like pigs."

We, the commoners, know war is a racket - old adages are proof of that. Question is, why did it take Butler 33 years and 4 months to connect the dots, to publicly claim he was a thug for Big Business? Did "truthfulness compel" Smedley to renounce war and imperialism, or was he guided by expediency rather than principle because of the socialist-leaning hope and change political winds of the 1930s?

(What I would like to know but unlikely to find, is how did Butler feel about black Americans in uniform? In WWI 400,000 black soldiers served in the armed forces. Over half of the black American men who served in the war were stationed in France, my dad was exposed to mustard gas in France in 1918, never received a dime in compensation but had a cough the rest of his life.).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Richman Poorman

Concentration of wealth in hands of rich greatest on record. By Daniel Tencer.

Once upon a time I had a gut reaction to statements such as above - then I looked closer for myself at wealth, income, concentration, statistics.

Mr. Tencer says: "The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans now have a larger share of total income than they ever have in records going back nearly a century — an even larger amount than during the Roaring Twenties, the last time the US saw such similar disparities in wealth. In recent years, the fact that differences between rich and poor are the greatest they’ve been since the Great Depression has become a popular talking point among liberal-leaning economists. But an updated study from University of California-Berkeley economist Emanuel Saez shows that, in 2007, the wealth disparity grew to its highest number on record, based on US tax data going back to 1917. According to Saez’s study, which Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman drew attention to at his New York Times blog, the top 10 percent of earners in America now receive nearly 50 percent of all the income earned in the United States, a higher percentage than they did during the 1920s."

--- "Income" and "wealth" are two different animals, although related. Income is what is coming in, wealth is what you own minus debts. You may have a great deal of wealth and very little income. Or you may blow all of a good income and own little.

So my little chickadees - can you list the "top 10 percent of earners" who receive nearly "50 percent of all income earned in the United States" ? And tell me how many are top earners, 1000? 100,000? A million, or more?

And exactly who is making these top "earners" so tops? Would that be us bottomfeeders who buy their products? Buy the tickets to their concerts, their sports, their movies? I guess Russell Peters ($10M last year), Jeff Foxworthy, and Jerry Seinfeld ($85M) really are a million laughs.

But, no joke folks : In 2008 to break into the top 1 percent, a tax return had to have an AGI of $410,096 or more. In 2006 one only had to make $156,000 to be included in the top 5% earners club. The top 10% of earners Krugman drew attention to is anyone with an AGI of $113,000.

To be in the top 1-10% you might be a professor, author, salesman, musician, restaurant owner/manager, doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant, celebrity, sports figure, politician, business administrator, retail manager, ice cream maker, farmer, small time contractor, mid size anything, daycare owner, franchise owner, car dealer, glorified secretary, animal breeder, dog trainer, lottery winner, pet rock man, porn star, call girl, gambler, conman, drug dealer, or Indian chief. You may need to be a 2-income family to join the top 10 percenters club - but the club is not exactly the tiny evil group of fatcats the "progressive" folks would have you believe is crushing you beneath the weight of their wealthy feet. You, and others you know, may be members in the 10% club, and worked for and deserve every dime of it.

So, what do these "disparity" figures, a consistent talking point for the democrats and "left," really mean? Could the repuglicans be right? Do too many Americans now believe they are constitutionally entitled to a nice slice of someone else's hard-earned pie?

Clunkers

Obama's speech in Grand Junction on Saturday - he says opponents way back when called Social Security and Medicare "socialism." Scare tactics he says, by opponents, and they use the same ones today. (Actually, they are socialist programs.)

1935 FDR - In the United States, Social Security did not exist on the federal level until the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. This statute provided for a federal program of old-age retirement benefits and a joint federal-state venture of Unemployment Compensation. In addition, it dispensed federal funds to aid the development at the state level of such programs as vocational rehabilitation, public health services, and child welfare services, along with assistance to the elderly and the handicapped. The act instituted a system of mandatory old-age insurance, issuing benefits in proportion to the previous earnings of persons over sixty-five and establishing a reserve fund financed through the imposition of payroll taxes on employers and employees. The original levy was 1 percent, but the rate has increased over the years. Only employees in industrial and commercial occupations were eligible for protection under the Social Security Act of 1935, but numerous important amendments have expanded the categories of coverage.

A nation providing a net for the needy is appropriate. It is the "numerous amendments" and increasing levy that is onerous. In 2004 Social Security paid out $500 billion in benefits. Our Social Security program is the largest government program in the world and the single greatest expenditure in the federal budget.

2008 mandatory spending programs - Social Security and Medicare:

* Social Security - $544 billion
* Medicare - $325 billion
* Medicaid - $186 billion
* All other mandatory programs - $357 billion. These programs include Food Stamps, Unemployment Compensation, Child Nutrition, Child Tax Credits, Supplemental Security for the blind and disabled, Student Loans, and Retirement / Disability programs for Civil Servants, the Coast Guard and the Military.

Contrary to popular myth - defense spending is not the main recipient of tax dollars. Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment and Welfare are 31.7% of the 2008 pie chart. Department of Defense 16.6%, if we add GWOT and DHS into the defense category their piece of the pie rises to 22.8 - still almost 9% less than that spent on social programs.

1965 LBJ - Medicare and its companion program Medicaid, (which insures indigent recipients), were signed into law by Lyndon Johnson as part of his "Great Society."

The original Acts, not so egregiously burdensome, continued to expand and expand. Initially meant to rescue those who could not provide their own safety net or retirement. But, rather than a net to assist the retirement of the lower classes and those in temporary dire straits, the Deal and Act have become the biggest public troughs.

A large amount of the political and social corruption seen in the US can be laid on the abuse of these programs, which is why we do not have or ever will have social security nor a great society. What we have is everyone who wants to gaming the system - and believing it's their "right."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Give 'Til it Hurts

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN.

Without you serving me – and the people I run with – there is no Kateablog, no opinion update, no one to jiggle the facts, no one to write propaganda to counteract propaganda, no nothing. That’s why I have my own dedicated servants – so I can relax often and better serve you. But there’s just one problem: I'm nearly always under attack. There are plenty of anonymous pranksters out there who would love to see Kateablog brought down. One way to do this is by launching an attack on my lifestyle– bombarding me with so many requests for payment that I will eventually have to shut up and actually do a little work around here.

But I have been under more serious types of attack. Password-hacking, in which people attempt to gain control over Kateablog, is just one example. That could result in bringing down all my rants on this site, wiping out years of archives that no one reads anyway.

I just survived such an attack last week, originating from China (or so I'm told by my web host, MyMuckFace). And, hey, they started hacking just in time for my fundraising drive!

Speaking of which – my lifestyle with servants (only a maid, gardener, and yacht crew) costs me around $50,000 a year to maintain. That’s a lot of money, as far as I'm concerned – and I need to upgrade my security even more to ensure that the have-nots do not access my property or lifestyle which I've become accustomed to, and to ensure it continues uninterrupted. But I can’t afford more hired help right now – unless I get a lot more contributions from you dear supporters.

Kateablog is needed now more than ever – and you can help save it by contributing today. Your donation is 100% non tax-deductible, and goes entirely to the cause of promoting a more plush and easy life so that I may ponder and pontificate on the world and pull opinions out of my ...

Servants and donor$ are essential to my lifestyle – just as Kateablog is itself vital to a functioning opinionator such as myself. For over 4 years, I have been keeping the American people informed about what I think - and I want to keep going for at least another 5 years, at which time I may become an expat. But I can’t keep bloviating and linking to links without your immediate assistance.

Don't Delay!
Help me keep you informed, help me help world peace, justice, truth .. blah blah blah yada yada yada.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Uncle SamCare

End-of-life consultations. Apparently Sarah Palin's "death panels" worried congress sufficiently enough that the end-of-life chitchat has been removed from the Obama health care plan. The consultations, supposedly, were to pay physicians who "provide information about living wills, health care proxies, pain medication and hospice." Don't we already do this? For years, everyone I know who lived on borrowed time, was offered, or their family members offered, info on all of the above.

I don't think Obama's end-of-life consults are about euthanasia per se - they may be close. But why pay a physician to provide end of life information he should be providing already? Under such a health care clause I'm sure every nursing home resident will have a consultation charged to the taxpayer. The number of institutionalized patients grows as the baby boomers age. Alternatives to nursing homes are booming industries - the assisted living and/or supervised adult day care, although these seem to be only delaying the inevitable ride to the nursing home, if and when 24/7 care is needed.

As the obesity epidemic continues, and its subsequent health problems, patients needing end-of-life consults will be younger and sicker. Remember too, anytime the government pays for a service, we see more "need" for that service. The "plan" may not encourage "euthanasia" but I would bet many of the methods/procedures that keep semi-comatose pain-wracked patients breathing will eventually be strongly discouraged by medical professionals and institutes; it's happening already.

Personally, I don't have a problem with euthanasia for myself, as I prefer quality of life over quantity. If anyone ever has to change my diaper and turn me over - shoot me, call it mercy, enroll me in the Hemlock Society End-of-Life Choices, an organization originally formed in 1980. Hmmm... end of life consultations ... end of life choices ... are there hemlockers in this administration?

One good thing that might come out of BarryCare is "rationing." Rationing is adamantly denied by supporters but anytime anything is distributed equitably - it has to be rationed, unless you have an endless supply of geese laying golden eggs. It's Biblical to believe you can take a certain number of loaves and provide equally to all. "Rationing" could be a good thing in that most folks will be forced to stop trips to emergency rooms and doctor offices for the common cold and headache, demanding antibiotics and pain pills. And if there's a god perhaps all those lazyass parents with badass kids will be forced to parent rather than doping Little Johnny to sit still and focus.

And all you fakers - your days are numbered. No more OxyContin for "chronic pain" or benzodiazepines for anxiety - getting buzzed at taxpayer expense may finally be curtailed - or you'll have to buy them on the street. But then again maybe not - a buzzed populace is more docile and PhRMA is backing BarryCare. In their own words, with everyone covered, there will be more sales "volume." And according to PhRMA's main man "... we’ve been able to add nearly 10 years to the average American life over the last 50 years ... we’re doing better at turning once-deadly conditions into medically manageable, chronic conditions.

Chronically ill for at least another decade - woo hoo. Reality check: Our lifespan will drop, is dropping, as obesity and sedentary lifestyles create major health problems at a younger age. Obesity is the new disability.

Where is Obama on better nutrition and preventative care? Absent. Current thinking considers screening and vaccinations as "preventative." It's not. And with 60+% of America obese or overweight it's obvious nutrition and prevention have never been major players in health care reform. Nutritionists are available now, but a trip to Wal-mart will show folks are not looking to nutrition and exercise to reduce those aisle-wide lumbering butts in stretch pants, or spilling over the seat of a motorized shopping cart.

Obama swears we have the money to cover all Americans. No one seems to have a concise idea of where the money will come from, other than rationing and cuts in other programs, but these ideas are pooh-poohed as irrational fears.

Savings could be found in doing away with defensive medicine, which some cite is as much as 10% of medical care, or $240 billion a year. Defensive medicine, the billions wasted on tests and procedures, is done primarily to protect Dr. Quackendamage against liability. But then "trial lawyers" might have a say about any legislation to do with liability caps, or have spoken already as there is no tort reform mentioned in Obama's 1000 page health care reform. Some states are enacting laws on this - so if you make your living from medical lawsuits you'll have to shop for which state is best suited for suers. And I hope you don't mind another deduction from your paycheck, or reduction in that tax refund to cover your share of Uncle Sam Care.

Women may find ObamaCare a plus - if the US follows the path of the old USSR health care. Under the structure of the USSR's medical-coverage-for-all, the majority of physicians were female.

Medical technology and hospital conditions under Soviet collectivism were wretched and doctors did not have the exalted status in Russia that they enjoyed elsewhere; to be a doctor in the USSR was largely perceived as drudgework. Job openings for physicians tended to be filled by women because, frankly comrade, men didn't want the job.

Nor is Michael Moore's Cuba a healthcare utopia. Haven't seen Sicko but Cuba's health care system is a disaster for patients and physicians. Earning an average 400 pesos per month (equivalent to $20USD), many doctors quit the profession and seek jobs in the only industry that offers any chance for economic opportunity and access to dollars - ­ the tourism industry. Doctors can be found driving ragged taxis, acting as tour guides, or working in family restaurants as waiters and cooks. Or they volunteer to work in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and promptly seek asylum to the US. Like I said, I don't know if Moore showed the downside of Cuban health care - but bet he didn't. Did he mention that most physicians in Cuba offer treatments and drugs under the table? (Don't accept a B12 feel-good injection in Cuba, it's much more than a vitamin.)

Seems the M.O. for left/progressives these days is replacing a flawed system with a failed one.

Not to worry though - if the government has its way with us and can stop those townhall mobs, we're going to get all the "reform" we can stand and then some. Reform will widen the class division even more - the wealthy will buy the best care in the world if they want. Federal and state employees, congress, pols, and such will continue their preferred health care at our expense, and corporations who can will use private healthcare packages to attract the best and brightest - honest to god I remember this being practiced in the 1960s, '70s, and early '80s - it was called company provided workers benefits - that was before Big Business had a bottom-line lightbulb moment whereby Big Government could cover the medical costs of the peasantry. Big Business has accomplished much of that in the last 25 years.

But, aside from all that, don't we want to keep up with Beijing? "The Chinese government is hoping that if the country's social safety net is stronger, its people will feel secure enough to spend more, which is badly needed to help offset the global demand slump. Beijing wants to expand basic health coverage to most of the population by 2011 and it is willing to spend the billions needed to do so. Leaders are betting that the ambitious program will help stave off social unrest, as the country slows to its weakest pace of growth in seven years."

You see Bubba? The Government is betting on it. Finally, we will feel secure, spend more, cure global slumps, and Government can stave us off - better living through better chemistry. Hooyah.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Cruel Mockery

D’Artagnan Collier, the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for mayor of Detroit, has deep roots in the city’s working class population and its struggles. Collier, 41, a city worker and lifelong resident of Detroit, joined the socialist movement in 1984.

Collier has such a nice face; likeable. But ... I do wonder if he believes his own rhetoric about the 1960s situation in Detroit. Collier, in describing events that took place a year before he was born, describes the 1967 riots as:

" ... the Detroit rebellion of 1967. During that six-day upsurge in Detroit, 43 were killed and 342 injured, officially. Friends and relatives recalled to me how the city was occupied by over 13,000 federal troops and the National Guard marched through the neighborhoods, carrying loaded weapons and unafraid to shoot.

... The riots in Detroit were part of a series of uprisings throughout the country—uprisings that grew out of conditions of poverty, social neglect, unemployment, and government-sanctioned racism. Even at the height of the post-war boom of American capitalism, the “American Dream” was a cruel mockery for millions of workers."

"Rebellion," is that putting lipstick on a pig or what?

I have an uncle who upon returning from WWII spent his life in Detroit and/or Flint working in the auto industry. My dad as a young man migrated back and forth from the south to work in car factories; as did other family members, during the '40s, '50s, and '60s.

Yes, Detroit was losing jobs during that era - not because of racial issues but taxation and space - decentralization; the state government kept raising income and business taxes - people leave when that happens. Yes, there was "white flight" to build suburbs, but Detroit in 1967 was not a squalid ghetto; it had the highest black home ownership rate in the country. Nothing and no one prevented Detroit's black middle class from doing the same as their white counterparts and moving outside city limits or preparing themselves for futures outside the car industry.

The Michigan era you speak of had two black congressmen, black judges, and blacks on the Board of Education, the Housing Commission was 40% black. In May 1967 the Federal Housing Authority listed Detroit's housing for blacks as superior to that of Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, and Cleveland. The DoJ listed 1967 Detroit as a model for "police-community relations." Twenty percent of the National Guard called out in July 1967 were black.

The 5 days of riot in July 1967 were not part of a "series of uprisings throughout the country." The riot did not grow out of poverty, social neglect, unemployment, or government-sanctioned racism. Poverty, neglect, unemployment better describe today's Detroit than the Detroit of 1967.

The riot of '67 started because of the confrontations between patrons and cops after a police raid on a blind pig. A blind pig is an illegal, unlicensed, after hours joint for drinking and gambling and other things. We have a blind pig here in the 'hood; at least twice a year someone gets shot, knifed, or beat to a pulp. Raids? "The man" doesn't even bother anymore - cops show up after the fact, with an ambulance for clean-up. Can't say I blame them for not wanting to face a drunken doped hostile mob who would scream racism regardless, and witnesses never see anything anyway.

In 1967 blacks were demanding an end to discrimination, equal judicial rights, education, housing, etc. Some felt such goals achievable through policy-making and integration - others thought separatist was the way to go.

Some factors behind black riots are crime, drug addiction, dependency on welfare, bitterness and resentment against society in general and white society in particular. But any way you look at it - black opportunity has come a long way baby since 1967 - yet, here we are - 42 years later and still demanding the government end our poverty, social neglect, and unemployment.

But who do we blame now?

Well, according to Mr. Collier it's the fault of "... the old organizations—such as the UAW, the other unions and the civil rights establishment—have abandoned the working class." And also because "... the corporate powers would cynically utilize race to control social struggle, by putting prominent blacks in charge of the same exploitation and profit-taking once overseen by whites."

Ah do believe Bubba those put-in-charge blacks would be known as "Uncle Tom." Can anyone in their right mind or with a straight face call Barack Obama an Uncle Tom? According to the "left" he would be a prominent black in charge of exploitation and abandonment of the working class.

Hmmm, ever wonder Bubba, why so many seem to abandon the "working class," when even the unions and the civil rights establishment forsake them - is it because so many folks have piddled away 40 years' worth of government and social opportunity only to end up worse off than when they started?

Opportunity I said - not gifting you a free ride to better bling.

Collier, like every good socialist, uses the term "working-class" 24 times in his self-promotional interview. Socialists always urge workers of the world to unite, belong to an "international" working class struggle - but fail to remind you the domestic unemployment they're bitching about is directly due to their jobs having been sent to their working class brothers and sisters overseas. I mean, come on, it doesn't take a billion folks to run a modern assembly line. On the plus side, being jobless, you can spend your free time petitioning for better working conditions for those who are employed in Taiwan, China, India, Mexico, Indonesia, etc.

Economists and social scientists and your own momma have been telling you for at least 30 years to prepare and not expect to find the American dream in a factory.

Collier ends with: "Young people today will find in the Socialist Equality Party the policies and program necessary for the working class to resolve this historical crisis, to end imperialist war and create a world based on the highest achievements of mankind and the principle of social equality."

Politicians of any kind love that word "crisis." They always have a solution, albeit vague and abstract, for those crisis.

Michigan is one of the most socialist states, has been for 100 years - yet even in local politics socialists lose. You can blame it on lack of media exposure, etc. - or maybe the socialist party isn't really saying what America's "working class" wants to hear.

Vague ideas I say Bubba, as: "The crisis confronting mankind cannot be resolved until the working class intervenes with its own solution." What does that mean? Sounds like rhetorical hope and change and every other politician out there - yes it does, yes we can. We are what we've been looking for ... (turn on applause/cheer).

Strategy? The official socialist ICFI (International Committee of the Fourth International) lists 6 member nations: Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, USA, and Sri Lanka. Correct me if I'm wrong, but those first 5 are white owned and operated countries and I don't think many Americans want to imitate the little tea and textile plantation known as Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

But tell me, how are the white folks in Canada and Germany and Britain who founded ICFI, going to create the objective preconditions for a "genuinely ... socialist society." By putting up minority candidates? Isn't that what the DNC did with Obama? Yes they did ... he is/was the change we've been hoping for?

Where the Socialists err is with the idea of "the principle of social equality." We can wrestle all day with the definition of that term; wiki defines it as "... a social state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in a certain respect. At the very least, social equality includes equal rights under the law, such as security, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and the extent of property rights. However, it also includes access to education, health care and other social securities. It also includes equal opportunities and obligations, and so involves the whole society. Social equality refers to social, rather than economic, or income equality."

Okay, we know social groups have, more or less, equal rights under the law, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and property rights. We also have, to varying degrees, from the basic minimum to the best that money can buy - access to education, healthcare, social securities, usually dependent on our own drive or to that of our parents or grandparents. "Social equality" exists no where in the world today. And that Bubba is why the "left," the Socialists, have so few followers.

They promise a world of "social equality" and the public knows such a creature does not exist. We all know individuals of similar origins, background, and intelligence, even from the same family - who do not have equal success. Even if we were a country that gave identical education, healthcare, social securities, and opportunities - there would still be millions of losers among life's winners. Note too that social equality also includes "obligations." But you do not hear politicians demanding voters fulfill their obligations to themselves and society - the voting lower classes don't wanna hear about obligation. The "left" bashes Obama every time he mentions the taboo subject of parental responsibility (obligation).

Obligation is also a debt of gratitude - when was the last time the "left" expressed any gratitude for anything America has offered them? Even though the mythical leftiness of JFK said "... ask not what your country can do for you ..." the current progressive/left has flipped that one around and revised it to mean that the best thing you can do for your country is bring in world socialism. Quite a stretch but legends are always stretched to fit.

Socialists fail because most of the American working class, consciously or not, know that if they somehow manage to become total failures - it is not because they are victims of "corporate powers," or lack of government aid - but simply the poor choices and bad judgment they freely exercised. Most of us know exactly when and where we mucked up by our own devices - at least I hope we do.

Socialism is only another platform advertising the same political product under a different label. It's the 21st century Bub - but 98% of what we accomplish is still done by our own bootstraps. Government systems and society cannot issue personal success the way it does a free school lunch.

So Bub, I read again the official Socialist Equality website which states that when the working class intervenes: "It will create, thereby, the objective preconditions for the development of a genuinely democratic, egalitarian and socialist society. These objectives can be realized only within the framework of an international strategy, the goal of which is the global unification of the workers of all countries and the creation of a United Socialist States of the World."

USSW? Now that is odd, really odd - they didn't include "workers" in the title.

Hmmm... note the definition of social equality "refers to social, rather than economic, or income equality." A prophetic indication of the drones to come.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Progressing Right Along

NAIROBI, Kenya – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has pledged to "expand and extend" American support for Somalia's weak interim government as it struggles against Islamist extremists believed linked to al-Qaida.

Accusing the extremists of trying to turn Somalia into a base for global terrorism, Clinton said Thursday that the Obama administration would continue to provide military supplies and other aid to the government and support an African peacekeeping force on the ground. She did not give details of the new aid.

------- Did anyone really believe that the democrats, progressives, "left," wouldn't use the terminology of "Islamist extremists" and "al-Qaida" just as BushCo did?

Clinton and Somalian president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed spoke at a joint news conference where Ms. Clinton pledged to support Somalia's fight against the Islamic insurgency.

The United States has supported Ethiopia in its intervention in Somalia. In December 2006, Washington provided intelligence and logistical support to the Ethiopian forces working to defeat the armed wing of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) and control most of southern and central Somalia.

But, it's a new day and a new administration in D.C.

Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was leader of the SICC in 2006.

Though the Ethiopian forces ejected the SICC leadership and its militant group of fighters — called the Shabaab, meaning "youth" — from Mogadishu in December 2007, neither the leaders nor the fighters were defeated or captured.

On to Kenya to eventually meet Ms. Clinton.

Sheikh Ahmed was elected president of Somalia January 30, 2009. The election was necessitated following the resignation of President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed in December 2008. The situation was so bad in Somalia the election was held in Djibouti, a tiny piece of African real estate owned by the French until 1977.

"Dressed in military fatigues, Sheikh Ahmed said war against Ethiopia was inevitable, raising fears of a regional conflict. "From today, I am declaring jihad against Ethiopia, which has invaded our country and taken parts of our homeland" ... "The jihad is on from now (and) application of that will be directed by the supreme council," Sheikh Ahmed added.

A week ago the big question was - will Sheikh Ahmed press hands with Hillary or not? Some Somalis have argued that Sharif should refrain from pressing palms, if only to keep the Shabaab from scoring a public relations victory.

"If they shake hands, they'll definitely use it as propaganda," said one Somali analyst who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Shabaab is known to target critics. (Remember, the Shabaab "youth" were Sheikhster supporters.)

But in recent interviews with Somali exiles -- a generally moderate bunch -- most said they are in favor of the handshake, a view that reflects their cautious optimism about U.S. support for Ahmed, usually referred to as Sheikh Sharif. The United States recently shipped 40 tons of ammunition to help the government fight the rebels.

Let's take a brief look at Somalia. Around 1969 Siad Barre became president of Somalia, and ruled for 20 years until his "overthrow" in 1991. Barre, upon taking office, said that Somalia would break the chains of a consumer economy (capitalism) and henceforth would be a socialist state. The USSR totally behind him of course, with military aid and developing facilities at the Port of Barbera, a strategic oil route.

"In our Revolution we believe that we have broken the chain of a consumer economy based on imports, and we are free to decide our destiny. And in order to realize the interests of the Somali people, their achievement of a better life, the full development of their potentialities and the fulfillment of their aspirations, we solemnly declare Somalia to be a Socialist State."

Barre was quite intent on ending tribalism and clanishness in Somalia, making it illegal to ask anyone what clan or tribe they were from - because we are all one village, etc. Ten years into the Barre regime, around 1977, the Soviets began pumping aid and arms to Ethiopia, not a friend of Somalia, and Barre promptly expelled the Soviets, tore up treaties, and switched to the US/West camp. The US became Barre/Somalia's new best friend. The Soviets became the new best friend of Ethiopia, pumping aid and arms into that country.

It was the same old US/USSR proxy wars, using locals in their fight to control the region. But along came Jimmy Carter who, dealing with the oil crisis and the Iranian hostage crisis had little time to concern himself with who would be the big dog in the region, although his administration was backing Barre, only to ward off the Soviets from having complete control of the region. By the way, the US funds were paltry compared to the amounts the Soviets were pouring into the area in this time period. Par for the course, the USSR supplied tens of thousands of Cuban troops to Africa's "civil wars."

Then came Reagan, not as hands-off as Carter, his method more or less encouraged the Soviets to spend and spend to aid and arm their friends in Somalia, Ethiopia, Angola, Sudan, etc., spending which some attribute to the USSR economic collapse. In the meantime, Reagan used the widening footprint of the Soviets in Africa and Latin America as a dire threat. Not because they were a threat to our freedom, would land on our shores and put us nonbelievers of socialism behind barbed wire, but because they would control a large chunk of oil and trade that fuels the American standard of living.

During these times, the American "left" is loud and adamant about US foreign intervention, our "footprint" trampling the poor third world - they seldom, if ever, enlighten their followers to the fact that the Soviet boot print is just as large, sometimes larger. If they do, they pretend to condemn both superpowers - while praising Lenin's doctrine and Fidel's troops.

Barre was overthrown in 1989 by "rebels" who were of course supported by Ethiopia (USSR) - chaos and "failed state" came next. The USSR collapsed, Ethiopia became the US best friend. Then Poppy Bush had Mogadishu. Then the '80s, Bill Clinton had our new best friend China to do business with and the Balkans. Boy Bush looked to the Middle East. Somalia and Ethiopia have been on the back burner more or less since the fall of Barre. Both superpowers leaving fewer footprints. Then comes - a new boot in town, China.

The "left" continues the "human rights" charade (Hillary's husband did say sorry to Rwanda) and continues accusing US capitalist pigs of one devious plot or another - remember Bubba - socialism doesn't kill people, capitalism does.

Now the "left" is back in the saddle and Ms. Hillary is shaking hands with the Sheikh who declared jihad against our used to be best friend Ethiopia. While Boy Bush was busy with Iraq/Afghanistan, China has become the new best friend of Ethiopia and Somalia - same deals as the old US but it's not capitalism because, cough cough ahem, China isn't a capitalist country. But if Americans don't mind living just a notch above most of the third world, this might work out fine, since the Clintons are good friends with China, and apparently Kim Jong since he can get Bill to tap-dance, and Obama has family in the region (Kenya), so what's another 40 tons of ammo among friends, as long as socialist "left" Big Business is not leaving any fingerprints.

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