Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Saturday, 11 February 2006 at 14h 39m 35s|
The insurance scam
Okay here's the reason relying on "personal savings accounts" for anything is
bad social policy.
A person who saves $100 a month for 20 years at 3% annual interest will have
only $32,830 if no withdrawals occur. If the average rate of inflation for 20
years is 2% (big low end assumption, the value of that $32,830 in today's terms
would be only $21,917.
Mind you this is meant to cover the medical expenses or retirement fund of the
elderly. The average catastrophic hospital visit is more than $30,000. Also, a
person who withdrew $800 a month from the built-up $32,830 account, could do so
for only 3.61 years before the account is exhausted.
Now a person who saves $200 a month over the same 20 year period, will have
$65,000. Still expecting citizens to have enough left over at the end of the
month to save is rather foolish expectation of the social system. The more
efficient system is to nationalize retirement and health care, and have every
single citizen pay a small amount into the system. The burdens of financing
retirement and health care should not be placed on the individual or the
company, because the costs are too unmanageable and the inevitable end result
is larger expenses than would be the case if the system was nationalized.
This idea is not "communistic." The financing comes from everyone, but no
goverment is owning the means of production. The government merely pays the
bills from the fund, and audits the costs. It is the same idea as a credit
union. If all citizens were in the same system, the payment and costs of these
two essential elements of society -- old age and health care -- would be more
efficiently managed and beneficial for businesses and individuals.
It's really that simple. The arguments to the contrary are either financed by
the insurance monolith, or they indicate an inflexibility when it comes to the
dualism between private and public economics. Private economics will not
always have the public interest in mind when the desire is to make a buck. The
assumption that it is in the best interest of private economics to provide
quality service has been shown to be a historically inadequate expectation.
Sometimes the people, in the form of public economics, have to take part in
their own best interest, because the private interests won't be able to see
beyond a short-term fixation with profit. Sometimes decisions have to be made
for society as a whole.
|Thursday, 9 February 2006 at 18h 53m 41s|
How the corruption of the law occurs
This is from the Tennessean [SOURCE]
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert
engineered a backroom legislative maneuver to protect pharmaceutical companies
from lawsuits, say witnesses to the pre-Christmas power play.
The language was tucked into a Defense Department appropriations bill at the
last minute without the approval of members of a House-Senate conference
committee, say several witnesses, including a top Republican staff member
Trial lawyers and other groups condemn the law, saying it could make it nearly
impossible for people harmed by a vaccine to force the drug maker to pay for
At issue is what happened Dec. 18 as Congress scrambled to finish its business
and head home for the Christmas holiday.
That day, a conference committee made up of 38 senators and House members met
several times to work out differences on the 2006 Defense Department
Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the ranking minority House member on the conference
committee, said he asked Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the conference chairman,
whether the vaccine liability language was in the massive bill or would be
placed in it.
Obey and four others at the meeting said Stevens told him no. Committee members
signed off on the bill and the conference broke up.
Keith Kennedy, who works for Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., as staff director
for the Senate Appropriations Committee, said at a seminar for reporters last
month that the language was inserted by Frist and Hastert, R-Ill., after the
conference committee ended its work.
"There should be no dispute. That was an absolute travesty," Kennedy said at a
videotaped Washington, D.C., forum sponsored by the Center on Congress at
"It was added after the conference had concluded. It was added at the specific
direction of the speaker of the House and the majority leader of the Senate.
The conferees did not vote on it. It's a true travesty of the process."
After the conference committee broke up, a meeting was called in Hastert's
office, Kennedy said. Also at the meeting, according to a congressional
staffer, were Frist, Stevens and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
"They (committee staff members) were given the language and then it was put in
the document," Kennedy said.
About 10 or 10:30 p.m., Democratic staff members were handed the language and
told it was now in the bill, Obey said.
He took to the House floor in a rage. He called Frist and Hastert "a couple of
musclemen in Congress who think they have a right to tell everybody else that
they have to do their bidding."
Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., also was critical of inserting the vaccine language
after the conference committee had adjourned.
"It sucks," he told Congress Daily that night.
Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., another member of the conference committee, was upset,
too, a staff member said, because he didn't have enough time to read the
language. The final bill was filed in the House at 11:54 p.m. and passed 308-
102 at 5:02 the next morning.
This is what these Rethuglican's do. They manipulate their power over the
legislative process to pull every dirty trick imaginable in order to placate
the corporations that finance their campaigns.
Just look at these corrupt faces of internal guilt:
|Wednesday, 8 February 2006 at 19h 12m 38s|
Funny how this song means more to me now, than it did when I heard it first in
1982 as an 8th grader at Barbre Middle School in Kenner, Louisiana.
Mr. Crowley, what went on in your head
(Oh) Mr. Crowley, did you talk to the dead
Your lifestyle to me seemed so tragic
With the thrill of it all
You fooled all the people with magic
(Yea)You waited on Satan's call
Mr. Charming, did you think you were pure
Mr. Alarming, in nocturnal rapport
Uncovering things that were sacred, manifest on this earth
(Ah)Conceived in the eye of a secret
Yeah, they scattered the afterbirth
Mr. Crowley, won't you ride my white horse?
Mr. Crowley, it's symbolic of course
Approaching a time that is classic
I hear that maidens call
Approaching a time that is drastic
Standing with their backs to the wall
Was it polemically sent
I wanna know what you meant
I wanna know
I wanna know what you meant, yeah!
|Wednesday, 8 February 2006 at 18h 32m 21s|
Lest we forget
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, yesterday:
“Pace said only one Iraqi army battalion is capable of fighting without U.S.
help. That is the same number as in September, when U.S. commanders disclosed
that the number of such highly trained battalions had dropped from three to
one, prompting criticism from lawmakers.” [AP, 2/7/06]
For those of you who don't know, that "one battalion" consists of 800 men.
Yep, after nearly 3 years of Operation Iraqi freedom, the US military effort
can only convince 800 Iraqi's to willingly support them.
|Wednesday, 8 February 2006 at 17h 53m 29s|
Heartless, thoughtless bastards
By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent [SOURCE]
WASHINGTON - President Bush's budget calls for elimination of a $255 lump-
sum death payment that has been part of Social Security for more than 50
years and urges Congress to cut off monthly survivor benefits to 16- and 17-
year-old high school dropouts.
If approved, the two proposals would save a combined $3.4 billion over the next
decade, according to administration estimates....
[T]he benefit is paid in cases in which a surviving spouse was living with the
deceased at the time of his or her death. It is also available in some cases
for a surviving spouse who lived apart and for some surviving children.
Administration officials said the payment began as a burial benefit in 1939, to
assist families with funeral expenses. The amount was set at $255 in 1952 and
until 1981, the payment was made directly to funeral homes, they said.
The second change Bush proposed would terminate monthly survivor benefits for
16- and 17-year-olds who do not attend school full time. Current law requires
18-year-olds to remain in school to receive their benefits. Survivor benefits
are paid in cases in which a parent has died.
|Tuesday, 7 February 2006 at 20h 22m 50s|
It's the constitution stupid
except when winning elections are more important than patriotism.
Howie Kurtz manages to put the NSA eavesdropping fiasco in perspective. Go here
The article essentially glosses over all of the items thrown about in the
news. I don't usually like Howie, because he has been wishy-washy in the past,
and he often chooses the facts to make the point, instead of using all of the
facts to figure out the point. Ignoring poignant facts makes me wonder if the
author who does so consistently is really a shill of sorts, as if he is quite
mindfull of which side his bread is buttered.
But Howie gets why the news-fo-tainment industry can't provide anything but a
slanted, inaccurate perspective of all remotely "political" events. Consider
this snippet, which comments on how the news networks covered Senate Judiciary
hearings with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez yesterday:
The cable nets all made a great show of 'covering' the Senate Judiciary hearing
by carrying the AG's opening statement, then maybe a question or two from Arlen
Specter. Then they trotted out their legal analysts to talk about the meaning
of the hearing, which by then must have been eight or nine minutes old. The
hearing became video wallpaper as the cable talkers talked. They never even got
to Pat Leahy, the panel's top Democrat, meaning that only Republican voices
were heard. Gonzales essentially got a free ride.
Then everyone moved on to other subjects. MSNBC went back to the hearing for a
couple of minutes but thought better of it. We had CNN looking at Fall Fashion
Week, Fox ginning up a debate on Ken Mehlman calling Hillary angry, and MS
doing a 'Massachusetts Murder Mystery.'
Now I'm not saying the Gonzales session should have been covered wall to wall
(though fortunately it was on C-SPAN). America probably got sick of the
preening politicians during the Roberts and Alito hearings. And the cable nets
did deal with other serious issues. But they couldn't even be bothered with
dipping in and out of the first attempt on Capitol Hill to hold the
administration accountable for its domestic spying program. Instead, we had the
appearance of coverage, and even that didn't last long.
It's important to understand the seriousness of what happened yesterday. The
Attorney General of the United States, Alberto Gonzalez, obfuscated every
direct question. He could not answer a simple yes or no to the question
posed by Senator Leahy: does the United States eavesdrop on American citizens?
answer that with certainty" , "It is my belief that that is not our policy", "I
believe that our activities are consistent with the Constitution", and anything
else but the one of two words that would have answered the question : yes or no.
Lets not forget that the hearings began with a vote on partisan lines not to
Gonzalez under oath. [see it here] Senator
Feingold called for a voice vote, and some of the Republicans uttered "no"
looking down at the table, as if ashamed.
|Monday, 6 February 2006 at 21h 49m 16s|
He who gives a little liberty for safety, will get neither of both
Okay, you say. I'm a good citizen. I'm not ashamed of
nothing to hide.
But consider the idea at stake. Do we have to have every conversation --
digital or audible -- monitored in order to be safe? Keep in mind that already
the entire network of telecommunications within -- and exterior to some extent -
- the United States in gathered at the NSA. I repeat. They are already
gathering the data. Accessing that data however, or tapping into the
instantaneous moment of the network, needs a warrant. If an emergency arises,
the executive branch has 72 hours to notify the FISA court with the "probable
cause" basis for the action. The FISA court consists of 12 justices appointed
by the Chief Justice.
When the government doesn't bother to notify or include the FISA court they are
breaking the law.
Nothing is inhibiting the need to protect the public by following the law. The
idea that some super-program can filter out the data is ludicrously
inefficient. No search query could ever be more than 99.9 % accurate. There
are just too many variations. Mind you during the average day, more than 1
billion communications occur. Now lets do the Math. 99.9 % means you have 0.1%
error. 0.1% of one billion equates to 0.001 x 1,000,000,000, which equals a
minimum of 1,000,000 calls a day.
Okay, now of this 1,000,000,which calls are the actual terrorists. And what of
the other "terrorist"-related calls that don't get fished into the net? Since
some of the calls will be false positives, what if your listening to these
calls gains you incidental information not related to the reason for the
monitoring (terrorism?) And what of the false negatives? These will also be
missed, and might be more important, so at best, any kind of software is
1,000,000 calls a day. How do we filter this residue? Does the administration
hire 100,000 people to monitor 10 calls a day? 10,000 people to monitor 100?
1,000 people to monitor 1000? 100 people to monitor 10,000? 10 to monitor
Who decides how to resolve the above issues as regards this "monitoring" of NSA
communications. You say you've got nothing to hide, but what happens if you
wind up in the 0.1% area. Does that mean your name gets put on a list? What
is the procedure? Again, incidental information could occur, so what is the
systematic approach to the filtering of this "monitoring."
Or would the above information leave us vulnerable to "the enemy" ?
"I can't talk about specifics. Information is obtained. Information is
retained. And information is obtained with respect to the rights of all
Americans." Alberto Gonzalez, Attorney General of the the Dubya Bush
administration. The same Attorney General exclaimed in a recent speech
that "reasonable suspicion" was the same as "probable cause" because of
the clustered mumbo-jumbo legalese that he gave in the speech. Essentially,
argument boiled down to the proclaimation that "judges have long since agreed,"
which is not true. Judges have NOT LONG SINCE AGREED because the 4th amendment
is absolutely clear on this :
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and
no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized.
This type of ongoing, surreptitious surveillance leaves us vulnerable to
intimidation. Only fools succomb to the idea that the world is not safe and so
therefore we must surrender our liberty. The world has never been safe, and
no amount of liberty given or surrendered will increase or decrease the world
It's not like we don't have a history. Pinkerton detectives were hired by many
industrialists -- examples: Oil magnate John Rockefeller, Henry Ford, big steel
manager Ford Frick-- from the 1890s to the 1930s to infiltrate and destroy the
union movement. Lynchings were the ante-bellum methods of supressing the slaves
and the black sharecroppers of the early 1900's. Start a cooperative to
finance a store that undercut the exorbitant prices of the small town "white"
store owner, and a few niggahs found themselves hanging by a rope. And equal
to the struggle for civil rights, the Union movement itself involved many
people getting shot and assassinated before Franklin Roosevelt enshrined the
right the form a Union in legislation.
The director of the FBI in the post-World War 2 world, J. Edgar Hoover was
known to be a closet homosexual who blackmailed many people in government and
political groups. The Cointelpro operation by the FBI involved infiltrating
environmental groups, peace groups, and other groups deemed "leftist" in the
effort to disrupt them by all means possible. The Nixon administration used
the CIA, the FBI, the IRS, and the Secret Service in every effort to destroy
perceived enemies on the enemies list, which was why the breaking into Daniel
Ellsberg's home and
the Democratic headquarters at Watergate occurred. Go refresh your history on
The creation of the FISA court in 1978 was the fruition of the Church
investigation by Senator Church of Idaho. The investigation revealed to the
nation the incredible
extent of the activities of the National Security Administration, the
CointelPro FBI program, the use of the IRS to intimidate people, and the use
of the secret service to form a police force under the direction of the
We've been here before.
|Tuesday, 31 January 2006 at 20h 39m 54s|
Arrested for wearing a tee-shirt
From NBC News and news services
Updated: 10:15 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2006
Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the
antiwar movement, was arrested and removed from the House gallery Tuesday night
just before President Bush’s State of the Union address, a police spokeswoman
Sheehan, who had been invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-
Calif., was charged with unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor, Capitol Police told
NBC News. Sheehan was taken in handcuffs to police headquarters a few blocks
away and her case was processed as Bush spoke.
Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an
antiwar slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police
warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the
The T-shirt bore the words “2,245 Dead — How Many More??” in reference
to the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, protesters told NBC News.
Police handcuffed Sheehan and removed her from the gallery before Bush arrived.
Sheehan was to be released on her own recognizance, Schneider said.
|Tuesday, 31 January 2006 at 20h 2m 9s|
He did it again.and again. and again
A "bi-partisan" commission to offer "bi-partisan" solutions to Social
Security. You don't say? Been there done that, people. George Dubya already
tried that attempt to destroy Social Security in 2001-2 when he had Daniel
Moynihan as the token non-partisan on the commission. The suggested remedy was
somehow almost exactly like what Bush promoted last year. Moynihan was
reported at the time to be very disatisfied with the operations of the
commission and made some snappy quip about how conclusions seemed to exist
prior to the investigation.
He goes on
So there he is acting like there is a problem that "won't go away" that isn't
related to his own reckless government spending that is outta control. I
repeat. Social Security is not in crisis.
American Competitivenes Initiative. American children get a sound foundation
in Math and Science. Alternative Energy sources. A tax credit. Public and
Private sectors. Insuring Opportunity for decades to come.
Encourage children to take more math and science. NCLB did what? Did he say
bring in 30,000 Math and Science professionals? Okay, specifically how are you
going to do this?
He is just now lying about the crime rates, the number of abortions, and the
births to teenage mothers. INCREDIBLE. Does anyone read regular newspapers
so they catch the stories that would let them know these were lies?
Activist courts that try to redefine marriage?
We have proven the pessimists wrong before, and we will do it again?
Justices must be subserviant to the law and not legislate from the Bench?
Whoa, boy, then why did you nominate Alioto, who did exactly that on at least 5
occassions -- in applications of legislative statues to safety regulations,
his "theory of the Unitary executive," and his very constant uncommon
understandings of the law which on many occasions put him alone as the sole
descenting vote on the ruling of the Appeals court.
Of course, whatd'you expect. Vague hyperbole in a cute vernacular or ... or
|Tuesday, 31 January 2006 at 19h 35m 25s|
Bush spits on the Union
Ugh, how he has just exploited that soldiers dying words and his family ? I
cannot recall the last time there was this use of American soldiers as a
symbolic mythological creation of a failure for a Presidency.
And just minutes before he declares "We are Winning."
Winning what? What is it exactly that is being "won" ? What does "winning"
mean? Give us a vision, sir Presidente, that isn't airy declarations that
corrupt overlord gang filed Afghanistan is actually a "democracy" because a few
thousand woman in Kabul voted on election day, when the rest of Afghanistan is
under the umbrella of the Taliban.
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS