Category Archives: Human Rights

Ron Paul Appears on ‘The View’ and Gets Grilled on Abortion Position…

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Ron Paul wasted no time crossing the writer’s picket line to defend his anti-abortion position on the daytime talk show, The View…and he took a verbal beating while he did it.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to reach a stage where there will no abortions,” Paul said, before indicating he would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Paul also repeated his position on state governments having the right to decide for themselves, “But I want to sort this out the way the constitution mandates, and that is at the local level.”

Ron Paul, a former OB-GYN, said his anti-abortion position was based on his view that a fetus was a human being with the same rights as any other person, just as he advocated personal privacy that would not give people the right to commit murder. Based on this, he does not view a woman’s claim to her own body as superior to the fetus’s right to life.

“It’s a legal position because I honor and respect the rights of the mother. I don’t want any government in your home: no searches without warrants, no cameras. But you can’t kill your baby in your home.”

Paul is the first candidate to appear on the popular daytime talk show since a writers strike began last month. Democratic candidates have said they would not cross picket lines to appear on The View while the strike persists. However, Paul did.

That speaks volumes on his position dealing with organized labor (post for another day). 

Paul’s and all the other candidates who have taken the – let’s-push-the-abortion-issue-onto-the-states, position, fail to understand one basic idea, and that is that the abortion issue has traditionally been used as a wedge issue to divide the electorate with the hope of distracting us from the unabated corruption that is perpetuated by both parties, and that most people know better. In fact, the only people that still seem to give a shit are the radical Christian right, and they’re a bit ignorant and naive anyways in my opinion (i.e. murdering abortion doctors, trying to convince people that the founding fathers were pro-religion and pro-God in government, etc.) 

If the test to see if you are a true liberal is woman’s right to abortion no matter the circumstances, than I guess that makes me conservative too! Can’t people just use birth control? The ‘pill’ can be gotten anywhere for free along with a ton of other free services for both men and women who are sexually active. I mean let’s be real here – they practically give condoms out like candy in most schools around the country. So what’s with the single moms with three kids by different dads?

Laziness I think. 

But the central problem with Paul’s position is that society has always acknowledged that compromise is necessary in circumstances such as rape and health concerns. Paul doesn’t buy into that, and that’s where he is wrong. In modern times there is birth control, contraception, day after pills, in addition to traditional abstinence. If you can’t handle the responsibility of having a child than you should be able to figure out how to avoid that possibility. However, if you are raped, why should you be held accountable? 

The fundamental flaw in Paul’s thinking and in the thinking of other anti-Supreme Court conservatives who claim that ‘liberal’ judges are legislating from the bench,  is that no United States court has ever legislated anything…ever…really! It is traditional in an adversarial legal system as we have in the United States, that the judicial branch is to determine the ‘constitutionality’ of our laws. This is what they did with Roe vs. Wade. They did not write a new law; rather, they interpreted the permissibility of existing law in the light of what the Constitution says. Seeing guys like Thomas Jefferson have been worm dirt for a few hundred years and we really cannot ask them how they feel about the issue in a modern context, we are forced to rely on the courts. Pretty simple really.

With all that being said, I think Roe v. Wade is on pretty sound legal footing. We do have the right to privacy even though it is not explicitly spelled out, and abortion rights should be based on this ideal as well as a woman’s right to bodily integrity. 
Abortion is not a big deal to me. 

I think the question we need to ask is – Why do we live in a world where we feel we might need to kill our children in the first place? Paul, nor do any other Conservatives, address this.  

Happy Holidays from Your Friends at the Vermont Department of Social Services…

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Reprinted from the Canadian Press… 

A homeless man thought he was doing some good by standing at a supermarket for 10 hours a day to get shoppers to donate money into a red Salvation Army kettle.

The shelter where Paul Tucker lives doesn’t see it that way.

The Good Samaritan Haven ordered him out by Saturday, saying Tucker, 48, is spending his time raising money for the needy instead of finding a place to live or looking for work.

The 20-bed shelter offers emergency housing, clothing and food, and requires clients to leave each day at 7 a.m. to look for housing or go to work, executive director Paul Mascitti said.

The average guest stays 29 days, Mascitti said. Tucker has been there since May.

“If you’re not doing anything 10 hours a day, whether it’s lounging on a beach or working for the Salvation Army or sitting at a Dunkin’ Donuts, you’re breaking your contract with us,” Mascitti said.

“I can’t see someone saying, ‘I’m going to benefit mankind when I haven’t taken care of myself.”‘

The Salvation Army, which runs a soup kitchen he frequents, gave Tucker one of the bell ringer jobs two weeks ago. The gig pays $20 a day for meals.

“He’s a sweet man; he’d do anything for anybody,” said Capt. Louis Patrick, who runs the local group.

Dressed in a knit Salvation Army cap and wearing a Salvation Army coat, Tucker solicits the donations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. under a sign that reads: “Sharing and Caring. Need Knows No Season.”

“It’s for generosity, really,” he said.

Tucker, who has worked as a painter, a farmer and a maintenance worker at a fast-food restaurant, has been getting well-wishes from shoppers who know of his situation and holds no ill will toward the shelter.

“I don’t find fault with them, but I don’t feel it’s quite right,” he said.

Tucker said he isn’t sure where he’ll go when he clears out of the shelter. There’s a hiking camp he’s heard about nearby and may go there.

Mascitti, meanwhile, makes no apologies. Rules are rules, he said.

“Here it is, the ‘Grinch’ time of the year, and this guy is being asked to leave the homeless shelter, no room at the inn. It’s an old story,” he said.

You think Mascitti is a ‘law-and-order’ Republican?

I think so.

Besides, if Tucker is getting paid by the Salvation Army ($20.00), doesn’t that qualify as work? Furthermore, if you don’t have a real job and no income, how do you find a place to live?

It’s the same old institutional double standard handed down by administrators driving Cadillacs and living in the suburbs, who are trying desperately to make “poor” disappear, or worse yet, criminalize them (another Republican platform). 

I don’t get it.

Merry Christmas.

Another Reason Not to Trust China…

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Family members were left stunned in Hong Kong on Thursday (November 22) after a Chinese decision denying the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier entry into Hong Kong. 

The decision was later reversed by Beijing.

Hundreds of families poured into Hong Kong to greet servicemen from the aircraft carrier and fleet, which holds 8,000 of United States’ servicemen, airman and sailors, only to find out Thursday morning that the carrier would not come port-side.

The Kitty Hawk is not expected to make it back to Hong Kong by the end of the Thanksgiving day in Asia, according to the
U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is home to thousands of U.S. expatriates, with many gathering at midday for special Thanksgiving day service at the city’s oldest church, St. John’s Cathedral. Hong Kong is also a favoured stopping point for U.S. warships in the Pacific region. 

There are several issues which may have prompted Beijing’s action, including U.S. plans to sell Taiwan a $490 million U.S. dollar upgrade to its missile system and last month’s meeting between George Bush and the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader whom Beijing considers a traitor.

The State Department and Defense Department said it remained unclear why the aircraft carrier strike group had been denied access at the last moment just as the crew of some 8,000 sailors and airmen were to celebrate the annual US holiday on Thursday.

“At present, it appears the USS Kitty Hawk strike group will not be making a port call in Hong Kong as previously planned as a result of a last minute denial by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson.

“The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not give an explanation for its denial. The United States is pressing the Chinese Foreign Ministry for an explanation and for a reconsideration,” she stated. 

A spokesman for the Pentagon, Lieutenant Commander John Daniels, said, “We don’t know the reason the Chinese have done this.”

It is no secret that China has an array of industrial spies roaming the planet. It freely pirates US technology with no regard for intellectual rights, and has used that technology to cyber attack countries like Germany, blast a satellite out of orbit and demonstrate that it can cripple US defenses if need be. 

It was only a few years ago that China could barely make a stable rocket launch. Now the Chinese turned that program around with purchased and stolen American technology.

So why did China bar the Kitty Hawk? 

They barred it because they are an aspiring global super power, and they want everyone to know that they could – a demonstration of diplomatic bullying. 

China is a quasi capitalist/communist super state that is rapidly expanding with a carefully controlled, state run ideology. The curious thing is, unlike the old Soviet Union, it is working. They believe in what they are doing, because their approach is producing tremendous wealth which conveniently for the Chinese, is driving the world’s fastest growing economy at the expense of U.S. workers. There is no period in history where so much wealth and economic power has been created in such a short period of time. In turn, from that wealth and industrial power, the Chinese are building military might. They are rapidly militarizing, and in a few short years, will be able to control events in Asia, without any interference from the U.S. 

Taiwan will become whatever China wants it to be, the U.S. economy will continue to suffer, and the United States will simply have to accept that, because we continue to cow-tow to a country that is run by Communist thugs and continues to ignore international law.

To neutralize, or at the very least, attempt to check this coming military might that China will undoubtedly exploit to its full advantage, the U.S. must begin to respond in kind to such diplomatic slaps in the face. Our current policy of bending but not breaking, in the name of an apparantly failed mutually beneficial economic relationship with the Chinese, must be halted immediately. That is to say, scrap globalism…it isn’t working as intended.

We must begin to rebuild from within, and that includes rigorous education reforms that focus on science and technology including medicine, a wholesale change in our international economic policy with regards to China, and a renewed push in the area of space exploration, as well as advanced defense technologies. 

Shoring up what little manufacturing we have left here might not be a bad idea either.

Anything short of this is suicide, and it can be done in as little as twenty years.

More to come on this. 

Wounded Warriors Still Can’t Get Help from VA…

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Ty Ziegel once was a bright eyed young man with his whole life in front of him. His once boyish face is now burned beyond recognition by a suicide bomber’s attack in Iraq around Christmas 2004.

He lost part of his skull in the blast and part of his brain was damaged. Half of his left arm was amputated and some of the fingers were blown off his right hand.

Sounds like a no-brainer for VA benefits right?

Wrong. 

His next battle would be with the VA when he returned home as a wounded warrior. 

In an inteview with CNN he said, “Sometimes, you get lost in the system.”

“I feel like a Social Security number. I don’t feel like Tyler Ziegel.”

His story is in many that exemplifies how the VA is simply ignoring wounded vets from Iraq. Many wounded veterans return home feeling that the VA has abandoned them. 

“The VA system is not ready, and they simply don’t have time to catch up,” said Tammy Duckworth, a wounded veteran who heads up the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs. 

VA Acting Secretary Gordon Mansfield said cases like Ziegel’s are rare. The majority of veterans are moving through the process and “being taken care of.” 

But are they?

More than 28,500 troops have been wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom, including about 8,500 that have needed air transport, according to the U.S. military. A recent Harvard study found that the cost of caring for those wounded over the course of their lifetime could ultimately cost more than $660 billion.

In Ziegel’s case, he spent nearly two years recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. Once he got out of the hospital, he was unable to hold a job. He anticipated receiving a monthly VA disability check sufficient to cover his small-town lifestyle in Washington, Illinois, but the check was much less than expected.

After many inquiries, Ziegel finally received a letter from the VA that rated his injuries: 80 percent for facial disfigurement, 60 percent for left arm amputation, a mere 10 percent for head trauma and nothing for his left lobe brain injury, right eye blindness and jaw fracture.

“I’m not expecting to live in the lap of luxury,” he added. “But I am asking them to make it comfortable to raise a family and not have to struggle.”

Miraculously, within 48 hours of telling his story to CNN this summer, the Office of then-VA Secretary Jim Nicholson acted on Ziegel’s case. The VA changed his head trauma injury, once rated at 10 percent, to traumatic brain injury rated at 100 percent, substantially increasing his monthly disability check.

My question is, why does it take bad publicity on CNN for our government to take proper care of our war veterans?

You have to wonder about the fact that maybe this country won’t remember in five years that there are war wounded that need to be helped, and that their president and the VA don’t seem to be advocates for substantial change in the benefit system for vets.

Garrett Anderson with the Illinois National Guard, for example, has been fighting the VA since October 15, 2005. Shrapnel tore through his head and body after a roadside bomb blew up the truck he was driving. He lost his right arm.

The VA initially rejected his claim, saying his severe shrapnel wounds were “not service connected.”

“Who would want to tell an Iraqi or Afghanistan soldier who was blown up by an IED that his wounds were not caused by his service over there?” said Anderson’s wife, Sam.

After pressure from Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the VA acted on Anderson’s case. He has since been awarded compensation for a traumatic brain injury.

It is an outrage that that the VA system operates in a way that it takes people of power to get proper care to vets. 

In July, President Bush and a commission appointed to review the care of veterans returning from war announced the need for a complete overhaul of the disability ratings system, which dates back to World War II. The VA is now considering action on the commission’s recommendations.

However, no real change is happening.

We feed the war machine at the drop of a hat, but we never consider that the war machine comes home and that it also needs feeding there. 

I guess Americans just continue to pursue the path of least resistance…it’s easier to destroy than it is to repair, and when the destruction is in Iraq and the things that need repair aren’t in your living room, we can conveniently ignore them.

Over 35 Million Go Hungry in the U.S. in 2006…

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Here’s something to ponder while you’re gnawing on that turkey leg next week.

More than 35.5 million people in the U.S. went hungry in 2006 as the seldom discussed poverty problem in this country has reared it’s ugly head again. This figure is up from the previous year, the Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.

Single mothers and their children, as you might have guessed, were among the most likely to suffer according to the study.

The 35.5 million people, as previously talked about on the Shadow Democracy Radio Show, and written about on this blog, represent a whopping 12.1 percent of the total population. These people said they did not have enough money or food for at least some period during the year.  That is compared with 35.1 million people who made similar claims in 2005.

Of the 35.5 million people, 11.1 million reported they had “very low food security,” meaning they had a substantial disruption in the amount of food they typically eat. For example, among families, a third of those facing disruption in the food they typically eat said an adult in their family did not eat for a whole day because they could not afford it.

The survey was based on Census Bureau data and does not include the homeless, who collectively represent about 750,000 people in 2005, according to federal estimates.

Some quick facts:

Among all families, about 12.6 million, or 10.9 percent, reported going hungry for at least some period last year.

Single mothers going hungry (30.4 percent)

Black households going hungry (21.8 percent)

Hispanic households going hungry (19.5 percent)

Households below the official poverty line going hungry (36.3 percent)

States with highest prevalence of hunger from 2004-2006 included:

Mississippi (18.1 percent)

New Mexico (16.1 percent)

Texas (15.9 percent)

South Carolina (14.7 percent)

The most alarming statistic deals with children. Of the 35.5 million people reporting periods of hunger last year, 12.6 million were children.

“This report comes at a critical time for hungry Americans and those of us who help serve them,” said Vicki Escarra, president of the nation’s largest hunger relief group — America’s Second Harvest-The Nation’s Food Bank Network. “There simply may be no food for many families when the rest of the nation gathers to celebrate Thanksgiving and religious holidays.”

Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, an anti-hunger group, said he is troubled by the report. He said figures for 2007 could prove to be worse, given rising food prices and an uneven economy this year.

And don’t forget about the price of fuel. That will surely drive prices up as well.

I urge anyone reading this to go through your cupboards if you can and donate anything possible to the food pantry. If you have nothing to give, then please go to your local store, if you have the means, and buy up some of that mac ‘n cheese at four for a dollar, and donate it. Anything helps…even small things. Remember, we are all Americans, we are in this together. This is a national problem that requires national action.

Don’t neglect your hungry neighbors. It’s the rules.

More information here: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err49/err49.pdf

The China You Will See is Not the China That Is…

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Next summer’s Olympics will showcase a China as a modern country of skyscrapers, and Western culture. However the government behind this facade, the same government that has built China into what it is, has acheived modernization by imprisoning political activists, restricting religious freedoms, tightly controling the media and Internet, exposing it’s citizens to deadly pollution, unsafe food and consumer products, and violating international trade treaties with the U.S.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), consisting of nine U.S. Senators and nine members of the House, noted Communist Party leaders authorize political and religious persecution “Against persons the Party deems to pose a threat to its supremacy…” and that party “officials wield the legal system as a harsh and deliberately unpredictable weapon…” 

Here is their overview…

The Commission observed ongoing human rights abuses and stalled development of the rule of law in China during 2006-2007. The Commission also observed increased repression in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and Tibetan Autonomous areas of China, stepped-up harassment of legal advocates, and increased restrictions on Chinese reporters. In addition, across the areas the Commission monitors, the following general themes emerged: (1) Chinese leaders’ increasing intolerance of citizen activism and greater suppression of information on urgent matters of public concern (including food safety, public health, and environmental emergencies); (2) the instrumental use of law for political purposes; (3) the localization of dispute resolution in order to insulate the center from the backlash of national policy failures; and (4) the influence that China’s linkages with the rest of the world have had on some aspects of its domestic rule of law and human rights development.

With the 2008 Olympic Games only months away, China is is under intense pressure from foreign activists to comply with international standards across a broad spectrum of issues. from the workplace to air quality. The CECC not only cited recent issues including food and product safety, which also affects foreign consumers of Chinese exports, but also complained of “inadequate and inconsistent implementation, corruption and a lack of regulatory incentives.” Moreover, the panel found that the Chinese government discourages consumer organizations and harasses people for reporting problems with consumer products. Environmental reforms have been hampered by uncooperative local authorities and outright suppression of green activists that demand the free flow of information. 

Human rights also came under fire by the CECC. Chinese communists continue to detain and imprison democracy activists as well as those attempting to organize workers in labor unions not approved by the government. Police routinely detain people for days without formal charge.

Sound familiar?

2006 saw a tightening of the screws on religion, with communist officials continuing a “campaign of persecution” against the Falun Gong spiritual movement. Protestant church gatherings that didn’t register with the government were shut down, and Catholics were blocked from contact with the Vatican. Independent clergy were also detained, while Tibetan Buddhists faced greater repression. 

Foreign reporters were granted greater freedoms, however Beijing have increased government restrictions on domestic journalists in the interest of preserving order and control before the games. The CECC concluded that, “Developments during 2007 suggests that the prospects for a free press in China remain dim.” 

The Internet has also threatened the Communist Party’s monopoly of information.

In response, it has restricted access to many websites and imposed licensing requirements aimed at curbing politically sensitive data, with the goal of tracking  and arresting online government critics. Chinese officials also continue to impose prior restraints on publishing, and publication of critical books. 

Senator Byron L. Dorgan, the commission’s chairman, said the 360-page study was “sober reading,” a sign that repression is getting worse in China”, despite promises of reform. He called the report a “wake-up call” as well. 

The Chinese Embassy in Washington was called for a comment, but officials did not respond to it.

Western journalists know full well what China is really about as do our political and business leaders. The latter choose to ignore human rights abuses in the name of economic expansion on the backs of Chinese peasants, using their belief in the need for a global economy to cleanse their collective conscious. 

Our actions and reactions as a nation are unconscionable.

I call for a protest and boycott of the 2008 Olympics in China as an act of solidarity and demonstration of support for Chinese people, who are suffering under the yoke of opressive and deadly Communist rule. For humanity sake, we must take a firm stand. 

The New Poverty…

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Poverty isn’t what it used to be. If one takes the time to characterize the modern poor vs. the historical poor, they would find that the avenues out of poverty are quickly being closed by the new world economy and the dynamic that is ‘globalism.’

The postmodern American economy is in utter disarray and social safety net policies used throughout the 20th century, have de-evolved, resulting in a new demographic of poor people. The most visible result of this disarray is that poor children are relatively worse off now than at the beginning of the 20th century despite all of the political rhetoric through the years. More alarmingly, their opportunities out of poverty are slim and none. Maanufactuing jobs that could be had on a high school diploma have evaporated to a large extent, and many are simply priced out of trade school or college.

What is so dangerous about the new poverty is the sense of surprise it brings. Poverty can hit so suddenly, that people can fall so far behind so fast, and lose everything they’ve worked for in a matter of a few months, because they are literally living paycheck by paycheck. The new poverty is about our loss of faith in relationships we once had with companies and the government. It seems nothing is guaranteed anymore. Many people work for several companies in their lifetime because they are simply burned out or pushed out or outsourced out of their old one. Workers cannot depend on a pension, savings, or even Social Security. The new poverty is a complex sociological issue that has many causes and seemingly fewer and fewer solutions. 

Globalism has clearly not helped the situation. For years talk of free trade and the benefits of that trade, was standard political speak. Bob Zoellick, a U.S. trade representative at a recent press conference said, “If one is concerned about developing countries, both history and recent studies would suggest an open system is going to be the formula for them. Others like Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School, claim that globalization “has improved the lot of hundreds of millions of poor people around the world.” I do not agree.

I would argue that globalization has been a losing proposition for most of the countries, including the U.S. When you talk to people like Robert Reich or anyone else that supports free trade, and express concerns, you’re labeled as an isolationist. However, I’m not arguing for an isolationist position – merely to construct free trade in a common sense fashion that softens the broad sword that usually comes down on the world’s poor with brutal consequences. Reich and others suggest that these people must simply get themselves re-educated and lift themselves up. The problem is they often do not have the resources to do so, so they are simply cast aside as a necessary evil of global economic expansion. 

The visible results of globalism do not appear to be as positive as supporters would have us believe. The vast majority of countries, over the last two decades, have experienced slower growth than was seen in the previous two. Moreover, poorer countries have generally suffered the worst declines in the growth of income per person. 

Then there is China. Supporters of free trade point to China as a beacon of progress – but at what cost? China has highly protected domestic markets that close off foreign import across broad sectors of their economy, illegal currency manipulation, and a state owned banking system…remember…they are a Communist nation. As a result, China has been able to resist import pressure from the West especially in the areas of durable goods and technology, as they jail anyone who dissents and poison they’re rural inhabitants with a level of pollution the world has never seen. It begs the question – is this free trade or trade for free?

There is clearly something wrong with the prevailing orthodoxy. Strategies for common sense economic development have been abandoned in the name of profit, and it is generally assumed that open markets, privatization, and attracting foreign investors will do the job in a humane fashion. So far this is not the case. 

The last two decades of globalization have also shown substantially diminished progress in health outcomes for infants and older children, as well as life expectancy, which has also dropped in the U.S. recently. The same is true for other social indicators, including education and literacy, with the slowdown in progress far worse among lower-income countries.

A world in which many third world countries enslave poor children for the purpose of making consumer goods, and where half of all people survive on less than $2 a day, speaks volumes to the failure of globalization, especially whens world trends are moving in the wrong direction from a human rights perspective. The U.S., nor can the rest of the world, afford not to re-think economic policy simply because free trade is fashionable, or to bow to the whims of special interests and their paymaster multinational corporations. No one is arguing to quell the expansion of trade to international markets, however it must be done with humanity as a primary concern, not a socio-economic afterthought.

In short, the globalists have it wrong, and people are beginning to wise up…finally.

Indian ‘Slave’ Children Found Making Low-Cost Clothes for Gap

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Another sad and absurd chapter has been written in the long, destrcutive saga that is the new ‘Global Economy.’

Child workers as young as 10 years old, have been found working in a textile factory in conditions close to slavery to produce clothes that appear destined for Gap Kids. Children described long hours of unwaged work, as well as threats and beatings. Gap said it was unaware that clothing intended for the Christmas market had been improperly subcontracted to a sweatshop using child labor.

I bet they weren’t aware. 

GAP announced it had withdrawn the garments involved while it investigated breaches of the self-imposed ethical code by the company three years ago.

All this, so suburban American white kids can look more fashionable, as their parents take them to the mall where they can over consume and perpetuate this cycle of exploiting the poor.  

Children working in filthy conditions in Delhi, India, has renewed concerns about outsourcing by large retail chains, and their garment production in third world countries. The United Nations has long recognized India as the world’s capital for child labor, yet little change as there are now an estimated 15,000 garment factories in India. According to one estimate, more than 20 per cent of India’s economy is dependent on child labor.

Despite its charitable activities with an eye on polishing it’s image, Gap has been criticized for outsourcing clothing production to the developing world many times in the past. In 2004, when it launched its social audit, it admitted that forced labor, child labor, wages below the minimum wage, physical punishment and coercion were among abuses it had found at some factories producing garments for the company. In the past year Gap has dealt with 23 suppliers reagarding workplace abuses.

Human rights violations in the form of illegal child labor are a logical extension of globalism, in that they serve to apply downward pressure on retail prices, so a debt driven Western economy can continue to over consume, and keep the world retail industry afloat. There is no other solution anything short of exploitation. That’s why human rights violations and child labor keeps happening…no matter what GAP, Wal-Mart or any other retailer wants you to believe. 

The fact is that companies like the GAP and Wal-Mart, are completely insulated from any legal liability or criminal prosecution as they hide behind nameless and faceless sub-contractors who wholesale clothes to these retailers on the backs of beaten children. When caught, they simply do what they always have done – declare that the practice is an outrage and pull product from their supply channels from that contractor, until they receive another shipment from the next contractor. 

If these retailers were really concerned about human rights, they would shift productions operations to countries where these types of abuses cannot happen – the U.S. might be a solid move in that direction…but we know that will never happen. Instead they continue to willingly sacrifice children in the name of profit. They do not care about these third world children because they own everything there is to own, including most governments, and they are simply above any real prosecution that has any teeth. 

Until consumers take action, this dynamic simply will not change, and there’s no sign American consumers, blinded by false prosperity and vanity, are willing to change their habits. Ensalved children aren’t even a blip on the radar to them.

This  deplorable and overtly criminal situation in India is a clear violation of international trade law as well as a gross violation of human rights. GAP executives should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law based on any knowledge they had regarding the use of sweatshops. Surely we can punish those who abuse children and send a message to the money and power elite that this type of activity will not be tolerated.    

Gap said in a statement from its headquarters in San Francisco: ‘We firmly believe that under no circumstances is it acceptable for children to produce or work on garments. These allegations are deeply upsetting and we take this situation very seriously. All of our suppliers and their subcontractors are required to guarantee that they will not use child labor to produce garments. In this situation, it’s clear one of our vendors violated this agreement and a full investigation is under way.’

That’s commendable on their part, but I say consumers in the West should be demanding answers from retailers as to how goods are produced and think twice about where they spend their money. Why you ask? GAP will not police themselves and willingly give up garments made for pennies, even if they are made by enslaved children. Quite frankly, profit trumps all other cards, even a moral conscious or human rights. That’s what globalism is at it’s core of mud – the blind pursuit of ever cheaper labor. It’s happening everywhere at the expense of the poor – child labor in India, wide spread and unrestricted pollution resulting in ‘cancer villages’ in China…all so we can have cheap jeans and lower cost sweaters. 

Proof is embodied in how GAP reacted. They did not immediately cut ties with the supplier it accused of improper subcontracting.

Company spokesman Bill Chandler said the company was taking the breach of its child labor policies “extremely seriously,” and continued by saying, “We’re willing to end relationships with vendors when they don’t meet our standards.” 

The problem is, they didn’t.

Did Bush Offer to Bomb the Kurds to Ease Oil Prices???

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In another example of George Bush’s complete disregard for human life in the name of oil profit, he has announced to Turkish President Abdullah Gul via phone, his willingness to bomb the Kurds in Northern Iraq. The move would be an attempt to stave off an impending Turkish invasion of that country to fight the rebels.

The logic for yet another disastrous decision by an insane was put forth by Prime Minister John Howard, who said the tensions on the Turkey-Iraq border will not help the west’s battle for democracy in Iraq and cited evidence that the US was making headway in their battle against al-Qaeda in Iraq following the US troop surge. 

In response Iraq said it would shut down Kurdish operations based on its soil. “The PKK is a terrorist organisation and we have taken a decision to shut down their offices and not allow them to operate on Iraqi soil,” Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said. “We will also work on limiting their terrorist activities which are threatening Iraq and Turkey,” Maliki said after crisis talks in Baghdad with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan.

Yesterday, the U.S. also warned Turkey not to attack Northern Iraq.

On the surface, all of this might seem like an attempt by Bush and others to stabilize Northern Iraq for political and military reasons. But…could it just be about oil prices?

The price of oil per barrel has spiked recently and peaked at record high levels. The easing in invasion rhetoric by Turkey has helped bring global oil prices down from those record highs. 

The Kurds have their own plans in the Iraq oil debate as outlined by Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed over the weekend.

This August, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq passed an oil and gas law to regulate the oil sector in our region. So far, we have signed eight production-sharing contracts with international oil and gas companies. We expect to sign another two in the near future. …
We hope our friends and supporters in the U.S. will understand that this is not an attempt to usurp the nation’s oil resources, but rather our best effort to move the process forward, leading by example to make these valuable resources work for the people of Iraq.

What does the referendum say?

It decides who controls the oil-rich region of Kirkuk. Companies like Shell, BP, and Exxon mobil will export a combined 5 million barrels from Kirkuk as reported by Reuters.

Once again, Bush is using the U.S. military to police corrupt inside oil deals as he plays chess with people’s lives. His complete disregard for human rights is criminal. Again I ask…when are people in this country going to stand up and hold these war profiteers accountable?

We Need Protesters Like Code Pink More Than Ever…

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An aggressive protester confronted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at close quarters today as she got set to testify before the House Foreign Relations Committee on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A protester with blood-colored paint on her hands rushed toward Rice as she entered the hearing room, yelling repeatedly that Rice was a “war criminal”, as she waved her blood covered hands in front of Rice. The anti-war protester was later identified as Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz.

Fairooz is a member of the anti-war group Code Pink, and got within inches of Rice’s face before security officials removed her from the hearing room. Chair Tom Lantos ordered all other members of Code Pink to be removed from the hearing room as well.

Of course conservatives have been bashing Ali-Fairooz on the blogs, labeling her a ‘wierdo’ and another ‘idiot protester.’ Some conservatives are also questioning why the Democrats would allow these people into hearings in the first place. The answer would be REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT. Remember Abe Lincoln talked about it in the Gettysburg Address – government of the people, by the people and for the people? Thank God we have protesters like this that will stand up and confront war criminals like Bush, Rice and Cheney, while fighting to protect the innocent who have no voice at all, and ensure full disclosure, instead of the secretive meetings behind closed doors that have come to define a corrupt Republican party – a party increasingly out of touch with middle America.

If groups like Code Pink, MoveOn.org, and Media Matters don’t keep people like Rice accountable, who will? The main stream media sure as hell won’t do it. Most main stream media outlets just broadcast the latest government propaganda at the behest of their conservative boards of directors, as soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians die by the bushel, while their country is systematically devastated.

In light of this administration’s latest rhetoric regarding Iran, we need to rely on secondary news sources more than ever, as well as grass root protesters who are actually digging up facts and making their voices heard. The media never asks any hard questions or even attempts to expose the insanity behind the Neoconservative movement and their insatiable appetite to wage a bloody campaign with the purpose of forcefully instituting their inherently faulty ideology on the people of Iraq. The media has been utterly useless since 9/11 in my opinion. Couple this with recent hearings as well as a vote on further media consolidation and market monopolization by the FCC, and it becomes brutally clear that organizations like Code Pink need our support. 

Democrats Must Stand Up to Bush on New War Funding Request for Many Reasons…

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The White House sent Congress a $189.3 billion request for funding for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader war on terrorism in 2008. The request adds $42.3 billion to the administration’s original request of $141.7 billion to cover 2008 war costs. It also includes 5.3 billion dollars that had been previously approved for mine-resistant armored vehicles known as MRAPS.US defense secretary, Robert Gates, outlined the rational for the additional war funding in congressional testimony on September 26. Monday’s action by the White House marks the formal request with all of the documentation to justify it the numbers. Gates said the request would include $6 billion to maintain US “surge” forces in Iraq through July.Gates and the Bush administration may have justified the increase in funding regarding the necessary costs of a war of their making, but they have not justified the human cost. After the veto of the SCHIP legislation last week the Democrats, as I have mentioned in prior posts, need to press this president on his priorities. The Democrats, in good conscious, cannot approve additional war funding until Bush concedes on SCHIP. The health and well-beings of children in this country is at least as important as the lives of the troops. Moreover, if the Democrats approve this request, they will have ultimately proved once and for all that they are more concerned with politics than principle. Bush already has the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent people on his hands and has shown a blatant disregard for human life. Do the Democrats want to be his willing accomplices?It is time to take a stand. Bushes approval rating is down to 25% and continues to plummet. Congresses approval rating stands at 27%. Most Americans want war funding cut specifically. What are Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of these Democrats afraid of? Practically speaking, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They have talked the talk but nothing more. There is no way this country punishes the Democrats next Fall for pulling the war funding. The only thing they really need to be concerned about is how the right-wing spin machine will try to demonize them for the move. If they prepare for that predictable eventuality (which has already started really if you’re paying attention), then they should be able to do the right thing by the American people and still retain their political capital.

The Democrats were elected on a wave of anti-war sentiment. It is time to cash in the chips and deliver on what was promised…an end to this senseless war. But more importantly, Bush and the Republicans must understand that their arrogance and hubris can be restricted – if only to breath some life back into our system of checks-and-balances.     

Bush vs. Jackson…The Similarities are Striking…

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Andrew Jackson to George Bush – do they represent bookends of a centuries old ideology? Can the history of Native Americans in the United States offer any ideological understanding to the occupation of Iraq? Have we simply butchered other cultures in the name of ‘what we need or what we want?’To answer this question, one must define the framework and motives of American Imperialism.

The basic foundation of what I call ‘Resource Imperialism’ is comprised of capitalism, imperialism, and Christian fundamentalism. These three socio-cultural forces have slowly shaped American into a state that has greatly modified it’s political ideology over the past 100 years in order to preserve a way of life, often by eliminating whole cultures of people through war. The catalysts are quite apparent really. Capitalism constantly requires new markets and resources to survive, imperialism is present to secure those markets and resources via land grabs, and Christian fundamentalism provides a convenient veil for the true selfish reasons behind the violence – that is, the conquered must be made to understand that they are ignorant and thus must convert to a more culturally pure ideal in order to save themselves from damnation – Christianity.     

Since Gorbachev began dismantling the Soviet Union, the U.S. has engaged in a variety of military interventions including attacks against Bosnia, Sudan, Haiti, Yugoslavia, the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the pillage of Palestine and now threats of new wars with Iran and Syria, as well as the attempted destabilization of Turkey which has resulted in recent Congressional debate regarding the Armenians. Throughout the 20th century, there have also been actions against Cuba, Vietnam, Korea – the list is long. George Bush’s current dominant political ideology of American Power is complex and aggressive. It covers up motives for war with abstract slogans and rationales such as building civil societies, opening free markets, instituting human rights, spreading democracy and freedom, national interests, security, and terrorism – much like the founding fathers did during the settlement of the West. In fact, one could argue that American violence directed at others cultures and nations surpassed more notorious regimes like Nazi Germany simply because the violence has taken place over a longer period of time. 

In 1830 the Congress of the United States passed the “Indian Removal Act.” Many Americans were against the act, including Davy Crockett – his non-support of the act would cost him his career. The bill passed and President Jackson quickly signed it into law. The Cherokees attempted to fight removal legally by challenging the removal laws in the Supreme Court and by establishing an independent Cherokee Nation. The court ruled against the Indians. In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, the Court refused to hear a case extending Georgia’s laws on the Cherokee because they did not represent a sovereign nation. Native Americans were simply shut out in the name of land lotteries, rumored gold on Indian lands, and natural resources.   The Bush administration is simply applying the aforementioned ideology to modern times. 

The U.S is not interested in uplifting the Iraqi people from oppression. We invaded Iraq to secure scarce resources and entrench ourselves in Iraqi culture with the purpose of regional monopolization of power. Much like the Native Americans, the Iraqi government is not recognized as ‘legitimate’ in the strictest sense of the word. The United States, much the same way we took over all Indian territories in this country by imposing our culture and will on them, has done the same in Iraq. We are only interested in manipulating Iraq for position and power. In 250 years, nothing has changed.   Another equally important fact is that the U.S. virtually immune from international prosecution, that is to say that, the U.S. is unaccountable for all crimes it has committed since the time of the founding fathers. The U.S. has exterminated or killed Native American Indians, Africans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Nicaraguans, Filipinos, Koreans, Vietnamese, Panamanians, Serbians, Afghans, and Iraqis, or anyone else unwilling, afraid, or incapable of making the United States pay for its crimes or force it to change its policy of perpetual violence. As long as this dynamic is in place, this phenomenon will continue.

It begs the question…are the terrorists the first group in history willing to fight this continued exploitation, while being fueled by the current negative international sentiment regarding U.S. foreign policy? 

 

Christians Have Shown Themselves to be the Most Violent and Murderous People in Recorded History…

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I can’t help but notice that most Christians are in ‘historical denial.’ That is to say, most of them tend to conveniently ignore universally accepted historical facts when those facts do not fit neatly into their generally touted mantra, that Christians are ‘right’ and everyone else is ‘wrong.’ More to the point, they tend to perch themselves on a pedestal of righteousness of their own making and look down upon those with slightly different or ‘non-Christian’ beliefs. Of course this holds true of most organized religions but the Christians take it a step further by claiming that Muslims and others are more violent and ultimately are responsible for more deaths throughout history as a result of that violence, than Christians. In turn, this flawed logic has run amok and evolved into a sinister vehicle of racism by some and justification for torture and continued war by others. This post, to some degree, will set the record straight…

The fact is that Christians, historically speaking (and some in recent history) are by far the most violent, blood thirsty, murderous group of people that this world has seen since the end of the Roman Empire.

A synopsis…

The herd of the ,Big Media ignorant, which includes the likes of Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly and others of similarly, historically uninformed, conveniently point out that Christians, unlike Jews, follow the teachings of the New Testament and that this portion of biblical scripture does not contain all of the Draconian and generally twisted teachings found in the Old Testament.

The following statements are attributed to Jesus saying to his disciples:

“I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence. (Luke 19:26-27)

“Do not think that I have come to send peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. I am sent to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matthew 10:34-35)

So much for that theory.

How about some Western European history?

A list of historical facts that can be verified at any local library confirming that Christians are the most murderous and violent people afoot for the past 1500 years…

Saint Augustine’s Cognite Intrare (“lead them in”—i.e. “force them to convert”). The Qur’an says the exact opposite: There is no compulsion in religion ( Qur’an 2:256 ). Augustine’s selfish idea that all must be compelled to “conform” to the “true Christian faith” has ultimately unleashed centuries of unparalleled bloodshed. In fact, I would put forth the argument that Christians have suffered more under the rule of Christian civilizations than under Roman rule or any other rule in history for that matter. Neo-modern Christian doctrine would have the world believe the exact opposite.

Millions were tortured and slaughtered in the name of Christianity during the periods of the Arian, Donatist and Albigensian heresies.

Then there were the crusades. European armies were slaughtering both Christian and Muslim Arabs and saying: “Kill them all, God will know his own.”

During Europe’s Reformation and Counter Reformation Era, two thirds of the Christian population of Europe was slaughtered by Christians.

Christians slaughtered at least 10 million Africans by most accounts in the name of economic expansion and slave trade. The Colonial Conquests estimates for the number of Native Americans slaughtered by the Europeans in North, Central and South America run as high as 20 million within three generations.

The 20th hasn’t escaped the wrath of violent Christians either. Western Civilization has taken murder to a whole new  level. A conservative estimate puts the total number of brutal deaths at the hands of Christian dominated cultures in the 20th century at more than 250 million. Of course I’m sure they all had it coming right? Just like those pesky abortion doctors. 

The greatest death totals come from World War I (about 20 million – 90 % from Western European Christian countries) World War II ( about 90 million, 50% of which were inflicted by Christians).

How about more recent brutality?

In 1994,  Rwanda saw the slaughter of 900,000 Rwandans in 1994 in a population that was over 90 % Christian. Worse yet, the other Christian nations stood by and did nothing. Of course Rwanda is a ‘balck’ nation so that is no surprise to me really. We had a similar situation in New Orleans remember? 

How about the Bosnian genocide in 1991-1995 of over 300,000 Muslims, including the systematic rape and torture of over 100,000 Muslim women by Christian Serbs?

Christians think of themselves as peaceful, but in fact the gentleness and peace of the New Testament, has hardly been proved out through history. I probably could right for three more days. The Salem Witch Trials, The Ku Klux Klan, The Neo-Nazi White Supremisist movement, etc. 

Many Christians seem to simply ignore the facts. 

All of the hate and death outlined here has taken place on a historical stage built by Western Christian culture.

In the end, if conservative Christians just read something other than the bible once in a while, they would look much less foolish to thinking people. This is not an attack, it is hopefully sound advice. Only then will peoples of varying beliefs be able to co-exist in this world village and possibly reconsider pursuing acts of terrorism. When or if the end days come, the one who judges may very well cast Christians down first, as they have illustrated themselves to be the most evil. The historical record cannot be denied, however should be acknowledged Christians and embraced as a valuable lesson on what not to do in the future.

Reflecting on a Murderer this Columbus Day….

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While enjoying my Columbus Day holiday off from work (I’ll take days off anyway I can get them), I wondered why this day is celebrated at all. I mean lets face it, Columbus was nothing more than a slave trader and a murderer by most historic accounts. We don’t celebrate Jeffrey Dahmer Day or Charles Manson Day – so why this guy? He was just as evil as them and maybe more.

When you consider his voyages and exploits, it’s not very difficult to conclude that Columbus was never respectful of the rights of the natives he encountered. His first sight of what he termed “Indians” was of a group of unclothed people. To him their lack of clothing represented a lack of culture, customs, and religion (how do you explain Brittany Spears then? She’s fully clothed…most of the time). Columbus saw this as an opportunity to spread the word of Christianity. He believed that the Indians would be easy to conquer because they appeared defenseless, easy to trick because they lacked experience in trade, and an easy source of profit because they could be enslaved. From the beginning, Columbus never considered these people in any terms other than master and slave.

Columbus’s own letters reflect the arrogance he possessed in claiming the islands he found. In a letter describing his findings to his friend Luis de Santangel, he wrote, “And there I found very many islands filled with people innumerable, and of them all I have taken possession for their Highnesses.…” He simply took over the lands he discovered and exploited what he found. To prove his great discovery, he returned to Spain with many unique things, including kidnapped Indians. Of course during the first voyage, he was only getting warmed up…

Columbus’s true evil began on his second voyage.

Ferdinand and Isabella had ordered that the natives be treated kindly. In opposition to this order, Columbus began exporting slaves in great numbers in 1494. he pursued this trade because he was not making any real profit elsewhere on the island, therefore he decided to exploit the one source of income he had in abundance…people. Thousands of Indians were exported and usually a third died by the time they reached Spain. Bartolome de las Casas wrote that one Spaniard had told him they did not need a compass to find their way back to Spain; they could simply follow the bodies of floating Indians who had been tossed overboard when they died. The Indians that were not exported were put into slavery on the island. There was literally no way to escape some form of enslavement. Columbus would let the settlers of his establishment choose whomever they wanted for their own slave. 

Enslavement of the Indians was not the only violation they were forced to endure; Columbus also terrorized, tortured, and murdered them. One time, Columbus sent five hundred men into the hills to search for gold. Upon hearing that the Indians were planning to attack the men, Columbus sent four hundred soldiers to terrorize them in order to show how strong the Christians were. One of the Spaniards went through the hills, terrorizing the Indians and stealing their food. Columbus punished the Indian victims instead of the Christian culprit. These activities, and others like it, soon led to an all out war between the settlers and the natives. Due to their inferior weaponry, thousands of Indians were wiped out while those that were not were captured and tortured. 

Other atrocities committed by Columbus and his men were reported by Michele de Cuneo, one of the Spaniards with whom he was traveling. One account tells of how they came upon a canoe and Indians and they attacked them. They thought they had killed one of the Indians and threw him into the water. Upon seeing him begin to swim, they caught him and cut his head with an axe. He also gives a highly detailed account of his rape of an Indian woman; an act committed with Columbus’s blessing. 

Under the guise of subduing the enemy, they would engage in horrific activities. At times, they would make an example of an Indian by cutting his hands off and tying them around his neck, telling him to then go and share the message. Other times they would go and massacre an entire village. These are the types of inhumane activities undertaken by the men that Columbus led. This type of treatment continued a pattern seen throughout history. The degradation and belief of superiority can be seen in the way the American Indians were later treated. It can also be seen in the way the Africans were treated. Columbus certainly set a precedent, although not one to be celebrated with a holiday – at least not in my opinion. 

Christopher Columbus was in no way a hero. All he did was encounter unknown lands in route to Asia. In fact, he never managed to complete his initial goal of finding a commercially viable route to Asia. His only recorded accomplishment that affected human kind was the destruction of an entire population. How in any way, is that heroic?  

I say end Columbus Day and replace it with a day worthy of national recognition that would help Americans take pride in their culture and nation…National Election Day.

Los Angeles Immigration Sweep is Long Over Due…

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The U.S. Border Patrol in conjunction with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), rounded up 1300 illegal immigrants in the greater Los Angeles area and are in the process of arresting and/or deporting them. Over 600 in fact have already been deported.What was the reaction of pro-immigration groups? They claimed this action has separated these people from their families and will force other illegals further underground. This reaction, at least in my eyes, showcases the continued mindless defiance and total lack of respect that these groups harbor for the U.S. justice system. Many groups, in official statements, conveniently omit the fact that over 90% of all those arrested were CRIMINALS – and we’re not talking about parking violations or failure to report to court either! We ‘re talking about people who have committed multiple felonies, robbery, carjacking, assault, theft, even murder! 

Do these pro-immigration groups honestly think that average Americans are just going to swallow this element into our society and stand by while they impose their chaotic and destructive lifestyle on the public at large? I do not oppose immigration. I do oppose criminal activity that works to slowly undo a productive and safe society. These people are not just unfortunate illegals who got caught up in the snare, they are people that we do not want crowding our already dysfunctional jails. Let Mexico, Russia, Ireland, and Lithuania (all among the arrested), house their own degenerates – we’re all stocked up here thanks.    

Here are the numbers…  

Los Angeles: 187 including, 34 fugitive criminals, 56 fugitives,40 criminal non-fugitives, 57 non-fugitives

Orange: 62 including, 8 fugitive criminals, 7 fugitives, 6 criminal, non-fugitives, 41 non-fugitives

Riverside/San Bernardino: 245 including, 96 fugitive criminals, 42 fugitives, 77 criminal non-fugitives, 30 non-fugitives

Ventura: 36 including, 5 fugitive criminals, 10 fugitives,3 fugitives, 18 criminal non fugitives, 36 non-fugitives.

*Total: 530 including 143 fugitive criminals, 115 fugitives, 126 criminal non-fugitives, 146 non-fugitives. * Additionally, 797 illegal immigrants were taken from these counties’ jails. 

A secure border and common sense immigration policy would solve this issue. This action is proof that given the resources, U.S. Border patrol and other agencies can resolve this issue if the power elite really want them to.

Bush Slaps Children in the Face with Heartless Child Healthcare Veto…

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President Bush on Wednesday vetoed legislation that would expand a children’s health insurance program by $35 billion over five years. The program called, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), was designed to fill the gap between families who made too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to provide health care for their kids – the key word being kids. Bush said he vetoed the bill because it was a step toward “federalizing” medicine and inappropriately expanded the program “beyond its focus on helping poor children. I believe in private medicine, not the federal government running the health care system.”

Inappropriate? Wasn’t the point of all this to make expanded health coverage for children appropriate? 

What’s not appropriate for old George, is that the program would cut into insurance companies’ profit pie. The government’s policy should be “to help people find private insurance” Bush said.

Ahh! Now that makes more sense! The corporate pay-masters think it’s a bad idea to cover all kids who need it under a federal program, so they just let their puppet president wield the veto sword. I’ve got it now.

The disgusting part is that the bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support in the Senate and House of Representatives. “I think that this is probably the most inexplicable veto in the history of the country. It is incomprehensible. It is intolerable. It’s unacceptable,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy. I’m with you Ted. No matter what faces these heartless Republican bastards, they simply will not throw the middle class a crumb – not even to kids. The Senate voted 67-29 last week to expand the program and has the required 2/3 for a veto.

“It’s very sad that the president has chosen to veto a bill that would provide health care to 10 million American children for the next five years. It is a value that is shared by the American people across the board,” Nancy Pelosi said. House Democrats also were quick to compare the bill’s $7 billion annual cost to the money spent each month on the Iraq war. Where were these ‘fiscal conservatives when we went to war in Iraq? There was plenty of money then. Maybe we should ask the Chinese for the money again? Hell, they already own us like a pet dog anyways, so lets just finance this too! 

Of course there are just enough narrow minded House Republicans that agree with our moron president to quash any override. “The public can see that we’re playing more political ‘gotcha’ than we are at really solving problems,” said Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri, who said the legislation contained “all of these little hidden gizmos, among other things that we’re going to provide health care to the children of illegal immigrants.”

Okay, what if the illegal immigration coverage gets dropped?

Akin also said the bill would have led to “a massive expansion of, basically, ‘Hillary’ socialized medicine,” a reference to Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and her unsuccessful health care efforts in the 1990’s. Gee, I guess you’re right Senator Akin. We are playing ‘Political Gotcha.’ If Hillary is for it, it must be bad – and we can’t give her any momentum for 2008 now can we?

In response, Democrats denied the bill would provide coverage to illegal immigrants and denied Akin’s charge.

I checked the language – the Democrats are right – so that makes Akin and every other Senator who voted against this bill an petty obstructionist and a liar.

What these anti-American middle class Republicans do not grasp is that healthcare is simply out of reach for many people in this country and that situation is only getting worse. Under this legislation, 4 million to 8 million more children will be covered.  It would only cost a maximum of $12 billion for the next five years. We’re spending over $2 billion a week in Iraq.

Sen. Orrin Hatch is as conservative as it gets, and he split from the president. “It’s very difficult for me to be against a man I care so much for,” he told his colleagues on the Senate floor before the vote. “It’s unfortunate that the president has chosen to be on what, to me, is clearly the wrong side of this issue.”

A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted September 27-30 found over 70% surveyed favor the program. 

Critics have said their concern is that parents might be prompted to drop private coverage for their children to get cheaper coverage under the bill. Can’t these knuckleheads get it through their thick skulls that the people who would be helped by this bill HAVE NO DAMN INSURANCE BECAUSE THEY CAN”T AFFORD IT!!!!! There is no switching to be done! We’re talking about the working poor here! They’re among us all and they just want to help their kids! What do we have to do with Bush and the rest of these jackasses who simply cannot wrap their simpleton heads around this issue – whip it into them with a stethoscope until they finally get it?  

…of course given the sexual behavior of some of these guys as of late…they might enjoy that.

Everyone Involved in Jena Case Needs to Wise Up…

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Another perfect situation for racial tension. Blacks and whites are at it again –  fighting over skin color, lifestyle, culture, and ultimately…a way of life – this time in Jena, Louisiana. 

 

Jena is a mostly white town in central Louisiana with a population of about 3,000 people. This whole flap surrounds a tree on the local high school campus – the shade of which supposedly belongs to whites only? I was unaware one can claim shade?

Last fall during an assembly, a black student asked an administrator whether he could sit under the tree. The very fact that the question needed to be asked at all, embodies the crux of racial tensions in this country. To people in the assembly, the question may very well have represented the same retreaded innuendo that suggests a white vs. black power struggle that persists. Students were reassured…they could sit where ever they like.Several black students soon joined white students under the tree – and the next day, three nooses hung from it. The administration of the schools as well as the entire population of the town was oblivious to the hidden meaning of the question in the assembly, and now all wondered why the nooses? It was not a harmless prank – at least blacks didn’t see it that way. It was a sign of hidden racial hatred buried and bubbling just below the surface in the misled and ignorant minds of white students. Tensions immediately rose. The school administration blundered again by inviting Reed Walters, the district attorney, and several police officers, to threaten students at will, which they were all too happy to do. “I can be your best friend or your worst enemy,” Walters told the assembly. “With a stroke of my pen, I can make your lives disappear.” It sounds like a scene ripped straight from Mississippi Burning. Welcome Jim Crow esq.

 

What people in Jena don’t realize is that none of these things matter in the long run. Race, color, lifestyle and culture are not going to be the end of Western culture as we know it, nor will whites or blacks triumph over one another as the ‘ruling’ race. White people need not fear that their wholesome white-flight suburban existence is evaporating and black people need not fear that what they have fought for over the past 150 years will be undone. The real threat to this nation and culture as a whole is destructive economic policy, perpetuated at the hands of the power elite – and their worker bees like Reed Walters who are sent to keep the ‘black folk’ in line – and in some cases, the white folk too.

 

The rich love when we fight among ourselves. Racial tension and fighting in the streets, protests, and arrests, are wonderful distractions for the American middle class. They keeps our troubled minds off of some pretty disturbing facts – like the fact that Jena, is poor on the whole…really poor, and that most of their high school students probably won’t graduate – while the ones that do will have trouble ever finding meaningful work. It also distracts us from destructive war profiteering, the fact that our healthcare system is crumbling, that American wages are being depressed like never before, and that our elected leaders are nothing more than corporate puppets.

 

These issues are not white issues or black issues, they are everyone issues. More and more whites and blacks are falling into poverty as we speak. Some estimates have numbers set as high as 12% of all people in the U.S. living at or under the official poverty line. Of course the poverty line is a distraction in itself. When you really think about it, who can live on $12,000 per year? The poverty line should be at $17,000 to $20,000 per year. If that was the case, I believe the numbers of those in poverty would be much higher, and include many more people in places like Jena.

 

The point is, average people in this country cannot relate to the rich power elite and we never will. They loathe all of us. They will not help us, they do not care, and they want nothing more than to preserve the status quo. As a racially diverse populus, we help do their morally bankrupt bidding by scrapping among ourselves. If we are fighting each other, we can never unite to fight them. I say to the Jena six and everyone else involved in that case, don’t turn your anger on your black or white neighbors, level that anger toward the true culprits…the rich and powerful who manipulate and take advantage of situations like Jena to manufacture profit and rob you of your civil rights – while we bleed and our children are jailed in the name of false justice. 

 

 

Pro-Democracy Crushed in Myanmar and the Chinese Do Nothing…

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Protesters continued to wave the peacock flag of the crushed pro-democracy movement on a solitary march Saturday through the bloody streets of Myanmar‘s largest city. Many dissidents said they are resigned to defeat without international intervention as regimes like China stood around and watch people being butchered in the streets – same as Kosovo, same as Rwanda, same as Iraq. 

A top U.N. envoy on Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, arrived in the country but many protesters said they were nonetheless seeing a repeat of the global reaction to a 1988 pro-democracy uprising, when the world stood by as protesters were gunned down in the streets. “Gambari is coming, but I don’t think it will make much of a difference,” said one hotel worker, “We have to find a solution ourselves.” A young woman who took part in the massive demonstrations said she didn’t think “we have any more hope to win.” She was separated from her boyfriend when police broke up the protest by firing into crowds.

Demonstrations began last month as a result of the crumbling economy in Myanmar, as people angry over massive fuel price hikes took to the streets — shortly afterward it ballooned into tens of thousands after monks began marching in protest. The Junta, who are oppressive militaristic rulers of Myanmar and closely tied to China, responded by shooting into a crowd of protesters that included monks and clubbing them with batons.

What is remarkable, is that China continues to back these criminals and has done nothing to interfere with the terror wrought on the protesters. Of course China’s reaction was predictable. After all, they did roll over the Chinese Democratic party with tanks in the Tiananmen Square Massacare in 1989. And don’t forget that Myanmar (Burma), is also resource rich, so why interfere? Let’s just let them beat the hell out of each other, then roll in and take over when the timing is right under the guise of liberation. Can anyone say Iraq? Funny how the drive for limited energy resources by developed nations is resulting in more and more of these nasty little skirmishes lately – don’t you think? 

But I digress…

Little more than lip service by the U.S., Russia, and China is being offered in order to restrain these thugs. The United States, which possesses limited leverage, froze any assets that Myanmar leaders may have in U.S. financial institutions and prohibited American citizens from doing business with them. The United Nations has resorted to the usual ineffective attempts at reconciliation that never really seem to fly. So the U.S. and others have turned a hopeful eye toward our ‘friends’ China. When they’re not busy poisoning our kids with lead paint, their busy poisoning Myanmar’s kids with lead paint, as they too are Myanmar’s biggest trading partner. 

However, China does not seem prepared to go beyond words in their dealings with the Junta, ruling out sanctions as they jostle for a chance to get at Myanmar’s bountiful and largely untapped natural resources, especially its oil. Can’t offend a friend I suppose. Human rights will have to be the bridesmaid yet again. Some Chinese academics and diplomats say the international community may be overestimating what Beijing can do. “I actually don’t think China can influence Myanmar (Burma) at all except through diplomacy. China’s influence is not at all decisive,” said Peking University Southeast Asia expert Liang Yingming.

Really? I have a few ideas to offer.

Key backers of this group of murders in Myanmar, particualrly China, must pay a cost for the blood they will have on their hands. Women were killed, the young, the old, children, monks were beaten are now holed up behind barbed wire – someone must answer…I say start with China. Specific businesses and their management should be targeted with sanctions as well as the Chinese government for the role they have played in furthering the interests of the Junta, in the name of oil and profit. China should be questioned and brought to bare before the world why they have backed these butchers for years. Name must be named, and the dead must be avenged. The U.S. must act and empower the U.N. as well, to impose sanctions against the junta and China if need be. If the Chinese people really back human rights, they should boycott these Chinese companies as well. There’s an old American saying folks – put your money where your mouth is.

Bush himself, lacks the credibility, intelligence, nerve or grammar to take on this regime and its backers in the world’s eyes, so we must rely on Congress to act so credible damage might be done to the reputations of China and the Chinese companies that do business in both Myanmar (Burma), and the U.S. Congress, along with the U.N. , should impose immediate sanctions on Chinese firms, while going after some of the illegal drug money that the Junta uses to finance these murder sprees. 

Maybe pull a Ronald Reagan.

Train and equip rebellious groups operating within Burma and along its border areas.  These groups are not exactly the proverbial good-guys, (given their history of drug trafficking), however some of them represent ethnic groups that have faced murderous behavior from the Junta that amounts to little more than ethnic cleansing – much like this last week. They could be a valuable ally in this struggle. If China wants to support the Junta, then it will have to accept the consequences of such support as well as running the risk of destabilizing all of Southeast Asia. Let’s see if they like that shit sandwich?

In my opinion, the time is now to finally send a message to China – you cannot simply do what you please whenever you please (or not in this case) without stiff consequences from the rest of the non-communist, non-dictatorial, non-civil rights violating, non-murdering, countries in the world. For the sake of the human condition, our government must take a stand on this situation. I urge Nancy Pelosi (who is cool at best on China) and the rest of the Democrats to act on a resolution that will put these policies into motion. There is no reason why we should tolerate this type of behavior in the name of failed globalistic economic ideals. At some point, the sanctity of human life must supersede the garnering of oil on the totem pole of foreign policy.