Chris Hedges: Is America Yearning for Fascism?

Chris Hedges, as always, is right on the money in his latest piece.

And as an extra added bonus, he makes many of the same points that I made yesterday about the media’s portrayal of the Tea Party, although he attacks from a slightly different angle.

The main gist of his argument is that of course there are lots of angry people out there who are fed up with the government.  Some of them are even confused, racist, and yes, possibly even dangerous, as you’ve been told over and over and over again by the corporate media.  This is to be expected, however, in a collapsing economy where the interests of ordinary people have been sold out to those of international corporations.

Hedges quotes Cynthia McKinney, who was railroaded from Congress precisely because she was one of the few to recognize our government for the corporatocracy-sustaining system that it is.

McKinney:

“It is time for us to stop talking about right and left.  The old political paradigm that serves the interests of the people who put us in this predicament will not be the paradigm that gets us out of this. I am a child of the South. Janet Napolitano tells me I need to be afraid of people who are labeled white supremacists but I was raised around white supremacists. I am not afraid of white supremacists. I am concerned about my own government. The Patriot Act did not come from the white supremacists, it came from the White House and Congress. Citizens Untited (repealing limits on corporate campaign spending) did not come from white supremacists, it came from the Supreme Court. Our problem is a problem of governance. I am willing to reach across traditional barriers that have been skillfully constructed by people who benefit from the way the system is organized.”

Hedges covered the Balkan war in the 1990’s, and sees many parallels between that situation and the current one in the Unites States:

“The unraveling of America mirrors the unraveling of Yugoslavia. The Balkan war was not caused by ancient ethnic hatreds. It was caused by the economic collapse of Yugoslavia. The petty criminals and goons who took power harnessed the anger and despair of the unemployed and the desperate. They singled out convenient scapegoats from ethnic Croats to Muslims to Albanians to Gypsies. They set in motion movements that unleashed a feeding frenzy leading to war and self-immolation. There is little difference between the ludicrous would-be poet Radovan Karadzic, who was a figure of ridicule in Sarajevo before the war, and the moronic Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. There is little difference between the Oath Keepers and the Serbian militias. We can laugh at these people, but they are not the fools. We are.

The longer we appeal to the Democrats, who are servants of corporate interests, the more stupid and ineffectual we become. Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, and they are right. Only 25 percent of those polled said the government can be trusted to protect the interests of the American people. If we do not embrace this outrage and distrust as our own it will be expressed through a terrifying right-wing backlash.

We are bound to a party that has betrayed every principle we claim to espouse, from universal health care to an end to our permanent war economy, to a demand for quality and affordable public education, to a concern for the jobs of the working class. And the hatred expressed within right-wing movements for the college-educated elite, who created or at least did nothing to halt the financial debacle, is not misplaced. Our educated elite, wallowing in self-righteousness, wasted its time in the boutique activism of political correctness as tens of millions of workers lost their jobs. The shouting of racist and bigoted words at black and gay members of Congress, the spitting on a black member of the House, the tossing of bricks through the windows of legislators’ offices, are part of the language of rebellion. It is as much a revolt against the educated elite as it is against the government. The blame lies with us. We created the monster.”

Please visit Truthdig and read the entire piece, because it’s a message that we all need to hear and understand deeply, before it’s too late to do anything about it.

And what should we do about it?

Well, corporate boycotts, the firing of every single complicit elected official, and the development of real, independent, grass roots, alternative political parties is a great place to start.  Like Hedges said above, “the longer we appeal to the Democrats, who are servants of corporate interests, the more stupid and ineffectual we become.”  And the exact same thing can be said for the Republicans.  We’re all in the same boat, people.  It’s high time that we figure that out, get off of our asses, and do something about it that doesn’t involve pulling the same old levers that got us to where we are now.  After all, that’s a very good definition of insanity.

The Destruction of Real Dissent in the Last Empire Standing

The destruction of real dissent continues in the last empire standing.

The latest uppercut appeared in the New York Times on March 27, and quite frankly, it’s like they’re not even trying any more.  But hey, why put forth any effort if the same old tricks keep working?  And in this case, the same old trick is to point out a few members of a movement who are easily characterized as “kooky”, or confused, or (gasp) constitutionalists, and then paint the entire movement with that brush.

Like I said in one of my Facebook debates yesterday:

“Entire movements shouldn’t be reduced to their lowest common denominator, although that’s what the corporate media is doing in order to protect the system that feeds it.

It’s useless to point at an idiot in a group of hundreds, or thousands, or tens of thousands, and label the entire group based on the idiot.

Isn’t that Common Sense 101?

Especially when you consider who is doing the pointing.  The corporate media show you what the corporate elite want you to see.  They literally create reality in editorial board rooms when they decide to label the tea partiers as “nut job right wingers”, when they easily could have been labeled something completely different, like:

“Progressives who want our tax dollars to go towards helping our own poor and middle class instead of towards helping corporations and killing brown people thousands of miles away in order to procure more resources.”

I went on to say:

“The tea party movement started out as a bipartisan grass roots movement, by people for whom the multi-trillion dollar “bailouts” and Obama’s continuation of most of the Bush administration’s empire expanding policies and civil liberties destruction were the last of many straws.  I was at the first event in NYC, and it was mostly people who understood that the phrase “too big to fail” really meant socialism for the rich while screwing the poor and the middle class, which really means corporatism, which was Mussolini’s definition of fascism.

Many of them were extremely bright, well informed people who have had it with both existing parties because they understand that they are both complicit in the destruction of this country’s poor and  middle class at the expense of international corporations, while killing and maiming millions of innocent civilians in foreign countries in order to expand corporate profits and power.

The movement was quickly co-opted by the GOP though, and the corporate media jumped on the “all tea partiers are wack-job right wingers” meme because they understood that a real grass roots bipartisan movement of people who had figured out that the real game is militarist empire expansion for the sake of international corporate profits, was dangerous to their system.”

And unfortunately, the corporate media’s strategy worked like a charm.  First, to scare most real progressives away from the movement, and now, to drive home the Orwellian point that any criticism of our Lords and King is racist, or dangerous, or the latest and greatest in the coporo-propaganda lexicon; domestic terrorism.

Are many tea partiers confused about details?  Certainly, but that’s mostly because the two-party system and corporate controlled media does such a good job of pitting us against one another while taking turns selling ALL of us out.  The fact that a movement has idiots in its membership does NOT mean that the movement is NOT justified in much of its anger towards a power structure that hasn’t represented normal people for decades, and as far as I’m concerned, that IS taxation without representation.

I don’t want the US government borrowing money from international bankers and foreign countries in order to sustain the largest military budget in the history of the known universe, while ignoring the demands of the majority for single payer health care.

I’m not being represented and haven’t been for a really long time.  Being pissed about that is a very reasonable reaction, regardless of whether some of the other people who are also pissed are idiots.

I urge you to read the entire Times piece, but the most egregious  moment is this:

Jeff McQueen, 50, blames the government for his unemployment. “Government is absolutely responsible, not because of what they did recently with the car companies, but what they’ve done since the 1980s,” he said. “The government has allowed free trade and never set up any rules.”

He and others do not see any contradictions in their arguments for smaller government even as they argue that it should do more to prevent job loss or cuts to Medicare. After a year of angry debate, emotion outweighs fact.

First of all, blaming the government for enacting policies (NAFTA and the WTO) that have led directly to a massive loss of good, blue collar jobs in the United States is not a kooky idea.  Those policies have indeed been responsible for the off-shoring of millions of jobs over the past twenty or so years, while benefiting the multinational corporations who now pay pittance wages and zero benefits to people who live in third world countries that don’t seem to have even the tiniest problem with sweat shops.  This is fact, not fiction.  Further, it’s not at odds with wanting smaller government, even though the Times does NOT quote McQueen ever saying that he wants smaller government.  The Times simply did what it always does; it irresponsibly conflates in order to protect the system that feeds it.

And really, what are people to do when they suddenly find themselves in a completely different reality from the one they spent their youth preparing for, and they discover that their future was sold out from beneath them by THEIR representatives for the sake of profits for INTERNATIONAL corporations, and their skill set now makes them qualified to stock shelves, or run a cash register for $8.00 dollars an hour, if they’re lucky enough to have a job at all?

We’ve all been royally screwed over the past 30 years, but as long as 50% of the population continues to point and laugh at the other 50%, instead of getting pissed off at the people on top (from both parties), who are doing the screwing, then I’m afraid we’re going to continue to inflate the dollar, murder children in foreign countries for phony, media hyped reasons, export good jobs that actually contribute to GDP, tighten the Orwellian “security” control grid, and generally slide towards 3rd world status.

And all of this is EXACTLY what the system wants.  What it needs.  What it craves.  And this is exactly why the Times, and all of the other tools of the system have been mobilized to misrepresent, conflate, and basically make certain that most people will never understand how badly the two-party, corporate juggernaut is screwing EVERYBODY, from both sides, and those who do understand will never band together in any meaningful way to put an end to it.

Michael Chertoff: You can’t keep a good man down

It’s good to see that Michael Chertoff has been able to profit from the Orwellian security/military matrix that he helped to create while faithfully serving in public office.

After all, if we didn’t allow people to parlay their public service into successful business careers, nobody would ever want to serve.

Earlier this year, the lawyer, turned Secretary of Homeland Security, turned businessman, made some waves when he gave dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports.

A few cry babies have publicly have accused Chertoff of using “former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients.”

Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org said that “Mr. Chertoff should not be allowed to abuse the trust the public has placed in him as a former public servant to privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners…”

Can you imagine the gall?  I mean, why on earth would anyone leave a lucrative private sector law firm partnership for public service, if not to establish a demand for their post-public service business ventures?

Kate Hanni is simply penalizing Mr. Chertoff for his superior business acumen.  Most likely because she is jealous.

Chertoff’s extraordinary savvy was on display again earlier this week when he was named to the Board of Directors for BAE Services.

As per its own website, BAE Systems is a global defense, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. In 2009 BAE Systems reported sales of GBP 22.4 billion (US $36.2 billion).

This is an absolute win-win for everyone involved.  Chertoff gets a great job with a very successful, multi-national corporation, and BAE gets a man who is extremely well connected to the politicians who create the demand for their “product”.  So what if a few million people get maimed and killed?  After all, business is business.  Either accept that, or go live in a socialist cave in Costa Rica.

There’s just no pleasing some people.

Pope protecting priest who molested 200 deaf boys?

Take a good look at the photo above.

Do you really believe that a gentleman dressed in white, sitting on a stylish chair between court jester bookends would ever engage in anything as untoward as protecting a grown man who molests boys?

I leave out the “deaf” part, because while it does make the story a bit more spectacular, it really doesn’t add to the despicableness (yes, I do know that’s not a real word) of it.

I also won’t mention the backdrop of the demon rising through a sea of wailing souls because, well, it sort of speaks for itself, no?

So, apparently Pope Benedict XVI “was drawn deeper yesterday into the clerical sex abuse scandal that has begun to overwhelm the Roman Catholic Church, when he was accused of personally failing to take action against a serial paedophile…who had molested up to 200 deaf boys.”

That’s A LOT of deaf boys, by pretty much any standard.  But again, look at that sweet old man sitting on the naughty chair of Ba’al, erm…I mean the Papal throne.   Can you really imagine him allowing anything so devilish to go on under his watch?

Really?

From The Times
March 26, 2010
Pope accused of ignoring pleas to stop priest who molested 200 deaf boys

Pope Benedict XVI was drawn deeper yesterday into the clerical sex abuse scandal that has begun to overwhelm the Roman Catholic Church, when he was accused of personally failing to take action against a serial paedophile.

The Pope was blamed directly for ignoring repeated pleas by senior American churchmen to take action against a priest who had molested up to 200 deaf boys.

Father Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked at the St John’s School for the Deaf in St Francis, Wisconsin, from 1950 to 1974, starting as a teacher and rising to director, allegedly molested scores of pupils, preying on his victims in their dormitories and on class trips.

But instead of being defrocked and the police called in, it is alleged that Father Murphy avoided justice and remained a member of the Church after a key intervention by the Pope — then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Murphy was quietly moved to the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin in 1974 and spent his last 24 years working freely with children in parishes and schools. He died in 1998 at the age of 72, still a priest.

In 1996 Monsignor Rembert Weakland, then the Archbishop of Milwaukee, twice wrote about Father Murphy to the current Pope — who was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at that time, a position he held between 1982 and 2005 — requesting that Father Murphy be defrocked after admitting to the abuse. Documents obtained by The New York Times show that Archbishop Weakland told Cardinal Ratzinger that he was referring the case to him as head of doctrine, not least because the priest was alleged to have used his role during confession to solicit victims.

Archbishop Weakland said his aim was to defuse anger among the abused and to restore their trust in the Church. Cardinal Ratzinger did not reply.

Nonetheless, eight months later Father Murphy was subject of a secret canonical trial — one using internal Church law — ordered by Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy at Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Cardinal Bertone is now the Pope’s right-hand man as Secretary of State, or the Vatican prime minister.

The trial was halted after Father Murphy wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he had already repented and was in poor health, adding that the case had run out of time under the Church’s own statute of limitations because it related to allegations made more than two decades previously. “I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood,” Father Murphy told Cardinal Ratzinger, adding: “I ask for your kind assistance in this matter.” Cardinal Bertone agreed, saying that the priest should instead repent, undertake a spiritual retreat and be restricted from celebrating Mass outside his diocese.

“This Dicastery [Vatican administrative department] has every hope that the priest in question will demonstrate a willingness to co-operate in the solution to this painful case which will favour the good of souls and avoid scandal,” wrote Monsignor Bertone.

The documents on the Murphy case were made public by lawyers representing five men who have brought lawsuits against the archdiocese of Milwaukee. They include letters between bishops and the Vatican, victims’ affidavits, handwritten notes by a sexual disorders expert who interviewed Father Murphy and minutes of a final meeting on the case at the Vatican.

A letter from Monsignor Bertone later in 1998, after Father Murphy had died, said: “This Dicastery commends Fr Murphy to the mercy of God and shares with you the hope that the Church will be spared any undue publicity from this matter.”

Victims of Father Murphy’s abuse said yesterday that the Pope should be held responsible. Arthur Budzinksi, 61, said: “The Pope knew about this. He should be held accountable. I believe somebody should be punished.”

Critics of the Pope are also focusing on a 1962 document entitled Crimen Sollicitationis, which he updated in 2001 as Vatican head of doctrine in De Delictis Gravioribus. Referring to cases in which priests were accused of sexual relations with minors, the 2001 instruction said: “Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret” — a phrase interpreted by many in the Church as an instruction not to alert the police to sex abuse claims.

The latest allegations undermine the Pope’s efforts to draw a line under a series of abuse cases that have emerged in the past few months. After official government reports revealed decades of abuse in Ireland last year, cases have begun to emerge more recently in the Pope’s native Germany, as well as Austria, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Brazil. Last week Benedict XVI issued an unprecedented letter to bishops in Ireland, saying that he was deeply disturbed and “truly sorry” over years of abuse by Catholic priests in the country, which the Church had covered up. He stressed that the Church must co-operate with civil authorities.

Victims’ groups said they were disappointed because he had made no reference to the Vatican’s — or his own — responsibility for cover-ups. The Vatican has insisted that no cover-up took place and has denounced what it calls a campaign “to smear the Pope”.

The growing scandal provoked a protest at the Vatican yesterday. Leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap) were detained by police after demonstrating on the edge of St Peter’s Square, holding up pictures of Father Murphy and some of his victims and signs reading “Stop the secrecy now” and “Expose the truth”.

“The goal of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was to keep this secret,” said Peter Isely, the Milwaukee-based director of Snap. “This is the most incontrovertible case of paedophilia you could get,” he added, flanked by photos of other clerical abuse victims and a poster of the Pope.

“We need to know why he [the Pope] did not let us know about him [Murphy] and why he didn’t let the police know about him and why he did not condemn him and why he did not take his collar away from him.”

Barbara Blaine, president of Snap, said: “I would ask the Pope if he would please open up the files from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and turn over all the information to the police. I would also ask him to make a public order to all bishops across the globe that all predator priests must be removed from ministry immediately.”

Inside the Vatican there was little sign that that was going to happen. L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said that there was a “clear and despicable intention” to strike at the pontiff “at any cost” over revelations of how the Vatican handled clerical abuse.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s spokesman, admitted Father Murphy had violated “particularly vulnerable” children in Milwaukee who “suffered terribly from what he did” in a “tragic case . . . By sexually abusing children who were hearing-impaired, Father Murphy violated the law and, more importantly, the sacred trust that his victims had placed in him.”

But he said that the Vatican had not learnt of the case until 1996, two decades after civil authorities had investigated and dropped it. The “decisive factor” in the decision not to punish or defrock Father Murphy had been his age, his “precarious state of health” and the lack of further accusations against him. Father Lombardi added that the Crimen Sollicitationis and its updated version had not “prohibited the reporting of child abuse to law enforcement authorities”.

Cases that link the Pope to a policy of secrecy

The Vatican argued yesterday that there had been no systematic cover-up of clerical sex abuse and that the Pope was being criticised unfairly . However, three incidents seem to link the Pope with the Church’s apparent policy of secrecy:

1980 As Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Joseph Ratzinger presided at a meeting about Father Peter Hullermann, who had forced an 11-year-old to have oral sex and had assaulted three other children. Diocese authorities approved Hullermann’s transfer to southern Germany for therapy; police were not told. Hullermann returned to pastoral duties within two weeks but it is unclear whether Ratzinger knew this. Hullermann reoffended

1996 The Archbishop of Milwaukee wrote to Ratzinger, then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to ask that the Rev Lawrence C. Murphy, a child abuser, be put through a church trial. Father Murphy had molested up to 200 youngsters. The Archbishop received no response but cardinals halted proceedings against Father Murphy after he wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger begging for mercy

2001 Ratzinger ruled that child abuse claims must be handled in canonical trials behind closed doors. Critics say it has done little to stop paedophile priests from transferring to another parish or to encourage reporting of abuse.

A Fake Fight Over Fake Health Care Reform

The other day I had a debate on Facebook with a friend where I said the following about the health care debate:

“This is phony criticism of phony criticism that exists in an echo chamber of phonyness.”

I was referring to a Paul Krugman Op-Ed that appeared in the NY Times on March 21.

I went on to say this:

“What I mean is that it’s no longer useful for “people on the left” to excoriate “people on the right” and vice versa. It’s just completely meaningless at this point. It just provides cover fire for the corporatization that’s been happening under both parties for the past several decades. And this health care bill is a big chunk of that corporatization. They pulled a bait and switch on us, and most of us didn’t just fall for it, but we FOUGHT for it. And a major reason for that is that we continue to be tricked into believing that the Democrats have our backs, when they really do not.

First they promised single payer. Then they reduced that to a public option. Then, while people were still trying to figure out what the hell that vague term even meant, Obama met in secret, a la Cheney, with the insurance company executives and guaranteed them higher profits and more control, while lying about the number of votes that existed for the real reform that they promised initially.

And Krugman mentions none of this. Instead he does his job, which is to play the red vs. white card, which does nothing but confuse people and channel their anger and frustration in the wrong directions.

Again, sorry to disagree so vehemently, because we normally agree right down the line, but I’m really, really tired of being stuck in this phony, two-party, corporate hall of mirrors.”

It ended up being a refreshingly good debate, too, as most Facebook exchanges generally go something like this:

Person A:

“Gotta love PopTarts!”

Person B:

“Yes!  Especially the frosted ones.”

So anyway, here’s a great piece from the Black Agenda Report making many of the same points that I made in my Facebook debate.

Obama Democrats VS Tea Party Republicans: A Fake Fight Over Fake Health Care Reform

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

There are real fights and there are fake fights, engineered to distract attention away from the real deal. The shouting match between Obama’s Dems and the Tea party Repubs is one of those fake fights. The health care legislation passed by the Obama Democrats is incomparably worse than anything they could have passed right after the presidential election, and significantly worse than anything Democrats could have passed at midyear 2009. The president and his minions have delayed as long as possible to guarantee the worst, not the best bill for patients, and the best deal possible for Big Insurance, Big Pharma and Big Medicine.

Obama Democrats VS Tea Party Republicans: A Fake Fight Over Fake Health Care Reform

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The fifteen month running battle between Obama Democrats and tea party Republicans was never much more real than televised professional wrestling. Like the opposing wrestlers, both sides work for the same bosses, for Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and the biggest medical providers. The real health care fight waged by the Obama administration has not been against Republicans, who never had the votes to stop, let alone dictate or pass anything.

The administration’s effort all along has been to pass the worst bill possible, with the greatest amounts of corporate welfare and loopholes, and the fewest protections for patients, while silencing, neutering and coercing the voices of most Democrats, who have favored some form of single payer, or Medicare For All from the beginning.

The Fake Reform

On the whole, the Obama health care legislation is just plain bad. It’s fake reform. Most of the people getting medical coverage for the first time under its provisions will get through an expansion of Medicaid. The Medicaid expansion and inclusion of children in their parents’ policies till the age of 24 are perhaps the only unambiguously positive aspects of the bill, and both these could have been passed through the House and Senate at any time since the end of 2006.

Supposedly, insurers can’t refuse to insure anybody, or jack prices on the basis of pre-existing conditions, and can’t revoke policies when people get sick enough to actually use them. But so many loopholes and end runs have been written into the legislation that these and other widely ballyhooed provisions to safeguard the interests of patients are in fact meaningless. The ban on pre-existing conditions for example is negated by allowing insurers to offer “wellness” discounts. The older, the fatter, the less physically fit and the already sick need not apply for these discounts, and the fit will lose them when they gain a few pounds.

Insurance policies will continue to cherry pick their customers in the marketing, and like the credit card industry, insurers will now be able to evade already weak state regulators by selling policies across state lines. This will undoubtedly lead to concentrations of insurance companies in the least regulated states, and a race to the bottom. Health coverage that many working Americans now get will be steeply taxed, and to evade this tax employers will simply offer policies worth less, provoking yet another downward stampede.

Big pharmaceutical companies are assured exclusive rights for even longer periods than before to new classes of drugs, and insurance companies are prohibited from paying for the re-importation of drugs originally manufactured here from Canada, or combining to negotiate drug prices downward.

The ban on selling low-cost health insurance to the nation’s twelve or fifteen million undocumented means the border will now extend to every doctor’s office and emergency room in the land. And insurance policies offered through “the exchange” are prohibited from covering abortions or a list of reproductive health services.

Private insurance companies will use their all-too-real death panels to continue to decide which procedures they will cover, and which ones they won’t, and how much they will pay for them. Health insurance premiums will be capped at just under ten percent of a family’s income, but this will not include already high co-payments, or deductibles. In Massachusetts, where a version of the president’s plan has been law since 2006, sick people are forgoing treatment because they cannot afford the high co-payments and deductibles, and the flood of bankruptcies from unpayable medical bills is continuing.

The legislation is not a step toward single payer, as it removes none of the legal obstacles facing states which choose that path on their own. It’s almost a good thing that most of the bill’s provisions don’t take effect till 2014.

And of course the too big to fail private health insurers get a stream of compulsory customers, some of them paid for in part with government money.

The Fake Fight

The legislation just passed is a million miles away from anything Democrats campaigned on in the 2006-2008 run for the White House, and incomparably worse than anything House Democrats would have passed in the first months of the Obama administration. The 2007-2008 class of House Democrats included 99 co-sponsors of HR 676, the Single Payer Medicare For All. All but one or two of these were sworn in for the current Congress.

What happened? Persistent and single-minded interventions of the White House and its minions in the Senate and House Democratic leadership have relentlessly censored and excluded single payer viewpoints from the public conversation and pushed the actual legislation further and further in the directions the insurance companies, the drug companies, and the biggest medical providers desired.

The White House met continuously in early 2009 with representatives of pharmaceutical companies, and insisted that their super-profits be protected. A former VP of WellPoint, one of the nation’s top insurers was allowed to write large portions of the Senate version of the Obama bill. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid handed the writing of its legislation over to a committee of senators who had more money from private insurers and Big Pharma than any of their fellows, and which gave its Republican members veto power over its final product.

To cover their own impotence, Democrats who had once supported single payer became outspoken advocates of a phantom policy called “the public option,” which polled well because it sounded something like universal health care or single payer, but never in fact existed. The president definitively stomped on their fake public option back in September 2009, when he said his version of it would only apply to fiver percent of the market at most, and was not essential to his proposal anyhow. House leaders balked a little, and corralled their members behind whatever the president wanted, and whatever the pea party fanatics declared they didn’t want.

A much better health care bill could have been passed at mid-year 2009, and a less good, but still somewhat better one was possible at year’s end. But the Obama administration was convinced that still more could be given to Big Insurance and Big Pharma, and so delayed the bill into 2010. Even as late as December a majority of Democratic senators were willing to pay lip service to the public option. For the Obama administration, that meant it was still too soon to pass its version of heath care.

The Real Fight

The margin and distribution of votes last weekend reveals White House effort to blame Republican obstruction and Democratic progressives for the delay in passing health care to have been utter scams. Not one Republican voted for the bill, and no Republican votes were ever needed. While the White House allowed 26 of 58 Democratic Blue Dogs to vote against the bill, including Art Davis of Alabama and John Marshall and John Barrow of Georgia, it applied incredible pressure against Dennis Kucinch and other advocates of single payer to line up behind the pro-corporate, anti health care bill. They, and the movement for real universal health care, for single payer, were the White House’s real foes.

It’s Not Over. For the next several years 18 or 20 thousand people will sicken and die each year who don’t have to, thanks now to Barack Obama and his hand picked Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. The most awful failures of this legislation will not be obvious for several years, as most of it does not even take effect till 2014. More than six hundred thousand bankruptcies truggered by unpayable medical expenses will continue to happen yearly at least till then, with their numbers not greatly reduced on the other side.

The Single Payer Movement, among whose leading organizations are the National Nurses Union, HealthCare NOW, and Physicians For a National Health Care Plan are preparing for a long struggle. Not this year or the next, but in a decade or less, many predict, single payer will be enacted. California has passed single payer three times now, but has never had a governor with the guts to sign it. Pennsylvania and a few other states are thought to be close to passing single payer on their own. That’s how it happened in Canada. One province did it, everybody saw how it worked, and it became national policy.

In health care, as in war and peace, as in the environment and education, as in the rights of women and immigrants, the First Black President’s historic role is clear. His job is to smile and speechify and neutralize the left on every front, while taking the country further to the right than his white Republican predecessor would ever have been able.

Fluoride is awesome! At making you sick and docile.

Fluoride is awesome!

At making you sick and docile.

I know, I know, that’s crazy talk.  After all, everybody knows that fluoride is good for us.  If not, the government wouldn’t allow it in our toothpaste, and they certainly wouldn’t dump it into our drinking water.  The government only has our best interests at heart, right?

Wrong.

Spend the next 30 minutes watching The Fluoride Deception, and you just might begin to question many of your most fundamental beliefs about your government.

Enjoy!

If you’re still hungry for information on fluoride, the Fluoride Action Network is a great site.

Iran Planning to Crash Moon into Earth

Wait a second.

Hold on.

As soon as I stop laughing, I promise that I’ll start writing the actual post, but I need a few more minutes to compose myself.

Ok, here goes…

Guess who “U.S. military and intelligence officials” are now claiming is “helping to train Taliban fighters within its borders”?????

Give up?

Ok, it’s none other than IRAN.

Ooops, I just did a spit-take on myself trying to drink water while laughing.

Isn’t this an amazingly serendipitous development, seeing as the Scotland Herald reported a mere nine days ago that “hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.” In fact, it’s so serendipitous that one could almost imagine U.S. military and intelligence officials making it up so that they had a pretense to do what Israel has been begging the US to do for ages; attack Iran.  Or as John McCain so blithely put it…

Bombing people is funny!

Especially when you can do it with the bravery of being out of range.

But you might ask, why on earth do we keep manufacturing reasons to go to war with Iran?  After all, nobody likes war, do they?

Well, you’re not supposed to know this, but Iran does not play ball with the global banking elite. The Iranian government is among the very few to have very little foreign debt. It uses its state-owned banks to make loans and credits available, following the Islamic proscription against usury, which means that loans are made interest free.

This is no good for the global banking elite, because they’ve somehow convinced just about every other nation on earth that they need to BORROW money from them AT INTEREST.

This makes the global banking elite extremely, extravagantly, filthy freaking rich, and very, very, very powerful. As the godfather of Central Banking, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, once said:

“Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes her laws.”

Well, most nations have given him and his family control over the past 200+ years (ok, ok, the Rockefellers are involved too, but I’m trying to keep this somewhat simple.) This is the secret control grid operating behind the scenes.  A major quadrant of the matrix, if you will.

Iran, however, is NOT one of those nations, and I have to think that at this point, it’s REALLY beginning to piss in the banker’s lemonade that they don’t control them as well as everyone else.

And so we’ve had all of the bullshit stories about Iran’s supposed aspirations for nuclear weapons, even though the head of the IAEA needed to be replaced in order to get them to even come close to accusing Iran of attempting to build nuclear weapons.   And all the while, Iran has steadfastly denied that they have any desire to build them.

I’d also like to point out the obvious double standard that U.S. administrations going back to the 1960s have applied with respect to Israel’s nuclear weapons.   Israel’s suspected arsenal includes chemical, biological and more than 100 nuclear warheads, along with the capacity to deliver them.

And as I recently said here, between Israel and Iran, it is the former that has most recently attacked a neighbor.

So anyway, that’s why I find this new story so side-splittingly humorous.  I mean, for crying out loud, they’re not even pretending like it’s hard to fool us any more.

I imagine a board room somewhere, probably at a “think tank” like the Brookings Institute, or the American Enterprise Institute, or possibly at the Council On Foreign Relations.  Somebody says “You know, I think the masses are figuring out our game by now.  Maybe we should couch this a little bit better.”  Somebody else says “Are you kidding me?  These people still haven’t noticed that one of their favorite news anchors is a Vanderbilt, and another is a Brzezinski.  We could tell them that Iran is planning to crash the moon into the earth and they’d barely blink.”

So anyway, here’s CNN’s flavor of the Kool Aid.

U.S. Officials: Iran training Taliban within its borders

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Iran is helping train Taliban fighters within its borders, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials.

The United States has already said that the Taliban may be receiving limited training from the Iranians in Afghanistan, but the officials told CNN that training in the use of small arms was occurring within Iran.

“We’ve known for some time that Iran has been a source for both material and trained fighters for Taliban elements in Afghanistan,” said Army Lt. Col. Edward Sholtis on Monday. But, he said, it is unknown whether that training is occurring with the support of Tehran, or it is “simply something that is happening beyond the government’s control.”

“For some years, Iran has supplied arms and munitions to the Afghan Taliban,” said a U.S. intelligence official. “It has also helped conduct at least small-scale weapons training for the Taliban. There’s reason to believe that some of this training has occurred in Iran.”

The officials who spoke with CNN did not say how many Taliban fighters have been trained in Iran, or whether the training was sanctioned at the highest levels of the Iranian government.

Iran, which has always denied supporting the Taliban, said the training allegations were false.

An Iranian official at the United Nations said these are “…absolutely baseless and wrong allegations, and strongly rejected by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in the region, has said Iran was aiding the Taliban within Afghanistan but that its role was limited in scope.