Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor June 30, 2009 11:04 AM
Consumer activist Ralph Nader has a simple message for liberals feeling less warm and fuzzy about President Obama: "I told you so."
"Millions of Americans are feeling betrayed. They thought Obama as President meant change we can believe in. They thought Obama as President meant withdrawal from Iraq. They thought Obama as President meant standing up to Wall Street fat cats. They thought Obama as President meant a living wage," Nader, who ran a presidential campaign last year far less successful than his 2000 bid, said in an email to supporters today,
"But for those of you who stood with us during the 2008 Presidential campaign, you knew the score. You do not feel betrayed. You are immune to Obama Betrayal Syndrome," Nader continues. "Because you knew, as we pointed out repeatedly during the campaign, that Obama was the corporate Democrat. Beholden to large campaign contributors from Wall Street. From the military industrial complex. And from the health insurance pharma complex."
Nader's missive seeks donations for Single Payer Action, a new advocacy group pushing a government-run healthcare plan along the lines of national insurance plans in Canada and Britain.
Supporters of such a plan say it is the only way to cover everyone while cutting costs, but Obama is not among them, saying that while it might make sense if starting from scratch, it makes more sense now to build upon the current system, under which most Americans get their health coverage through their employer.
To combat critics who call his plan socialized medicine, the president reassures that he would not force anyone to change their coverage.
But Nader's new group isn't giving up. Single Payer Action members have confronted members of Congress in their home districts to press them on the issue.
"Let's break through the corporate barriers and make single payer for all a reality," he says in the email. "Together, we can make the difference. Onward to a life-saving, cost-saving single payer."
CARACAS: Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez on Sunday put troops on alert over a coup in Honduras and said he would respond militarily if his envoy to the Central American country was kidnapped or killed. Chavez said Honduran soldiers took away the Cuban ambassador and left the Venezuelan ambassador on the side of a road after beating him during the army's coup against his leftist ally, Honduran president Manuel Zelaya. The Honduran army ousted Zelaya and exiled him on Sunday in Central America's first military coup since the Cold War, after he upset the army by trying to win re-election. Chavez, on state television, said if his ambassador to Venezuela was killed, or troops entered the Venezuelan Embassy, "that military junta would be entering a defacto state of war. We would have to act militarily ... I have put the armed forces of Venezuela on alert." The socialist Chavez, who leads a group of leftist countries that includes the government of Honduras, has in the past threatened military action in the region but never followed through. He said that if a new government is sworn in after the coup it would be defeated. "We will bring them down, we will bring them down, I tell you," he said, while hundreds of red-shirted Chavez supporters gathered outside Venezuela's presidential palace in solidarity with Zelaya. The United States has long accused the Venezuelan former soldier of being a destabilizing force in Latin America. Chavez himself tried to take power in a coup in 1992 and was briefly ousted in a 2002 putsch but was reinstated after protests. Chavez, who accuses the United States of backing his removal, said on Sunday that there should be an investigation to see if Washington had a hand in Zelaya's ouster. "They will have to get to the bottom of how much of a hand the CIA and other imperial bodies had in this," he said. US president Barack Obama said he was deeply concerned by the events in Honduras and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton condemned the action taken against Zelaya. The United States supported a number of military coups in Central America during the Cold War. Chavez and other Latin American leaders from his ALBA coalition, including Ecuador's President Rafael Correa and Bolivia's President Evo Morales, are planning to meet in Nicaragua this afternoon to discuss what action to take over the situation in Honduras. ALBA's nine members also include Cuba, Honduras and Nicaragua. Ecuador said on Sunday it will not recognize any new government in Honduras. The Obama administration recognizes ousted President Manuel Zelaya as the only constitutional president of Honduras, a senior administration official said on Sunday. "We recognize Zelaya as the duly elected and constitutional president of Honduras. We see no other," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters in a conference call organized by the US State Department.
The bottom line: the Liberal Arts Dude gives a hearty standing ovation to Theresa Amato for writing this book. I give it an enthusiastic five out of five stars! Why the overwhelmingly positive review? Let me explain by illustrating with a story about ordinary people seeking a change to the status quo to something better resembling the promise of democracy.
In more than one occasion in online forums which discuss social and political problems in the U.S., I have observed people say that they are sick of seeing professional politicians pay lip service to reform and solving problems but who, upon closer inspection are ineffective, corrupt, or turn out to be uninterested in reform despite their political rhetoric.
The disgruntled citizen then offers him or herself as a viable alternative to the status quo and announces his or her intentions to “throw the bums out” by running for office. The citizen seeks to prove that an honest and concerned citizen can do much better at cleaning up American politics than the traditional, professional politician.
For every concerned citizen who has ever felt this way and are serious on a run for electoral office I suggest very strongly that they first read Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny. This book should be required reading for those who seek to make a difference in American society and who aims to make that difference by using political office as a vehicle for social and political change.
I would even assert that every concerned citizen should read this book as a guide to where the roots of the problems lie and to distinguish real, effective reform efforts from non-issues that sidetrack reformers and which distract from what truly needs to be done to reform American politics.
The book, in large part, is an exhaustively-researched and documented chronicle of the pitfalls, traps, lopsided and unfair rules and regulations, legal and procedural hurdles in the American system of running for political office for those who operate outside the traditional major parties, the Republicans and Democrats.
Grand Illusion will strip away any illusions the average, civic-minded citizen might have about the notion of fair play, fairness, efficiency and ease of participation for political outsiders in American politics. In fact, the author puts to question the oft-boasted claim of traditional politicians that America is a shining beacon of democracy, that it values democratic practices and does its utmost to encourage democratic participation among as many and as wide a range of individuals among its citizens as possible.
In reality, the author Theresa Amato argues that the rules for political participation are lopsided overwhelmingly in favor of the two major parties. Third parties and independents are at a distinct disadvantage by design of the two major parties who govern and make up the rules for political participation in the U.S.
From rules surrounding ballot access, signature requirements for candidates to get on the ballot, redistricting rules which favor incumbency, control of the governing bodies which make up the rules for elections (the Federal Election Commission and Congress) to who gets to participate in televised debates the major parties have made it so onerous, financially expensive, and a nightmare to navigate the byzantine bureaucracy of the political process. These processes of course, largely exempt candidates from the two major parties.
Thus, just starting out of the gate, third and minor parties and independents—most likely cash and resource-strapped shoestring operations already—are very much at a disadvantage. And this is just to enter the ring.
Amato also describes in great detail—using the Ralph Nader 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns that she headed as case studies—what happens when a third party or independent candidate presents a legitimate challenge to the two major parties. She presents in mind-numbing detail the outrageous and dirty tactics the Nader campaign experienced largely in the hands of the Democratic Party.
The Democratic party sought to prevent the Nader campaign from getting into the ballot in as many states nationwide as possible. To make this happen they initiated a campaign of harassment, intimidation of campaign volunteers, sabotage, outright threats and even bribery. Most outrageous and maddening were Amato’s description of the Democrats’ strategy of tying up the Nader campaign’s resources, time and energies in expensive litigation and lawsuits.
More than just a disgruntled person with an axe to grind, Amato is a practicing lawyer and activist who is deeply knowledgeable about the strategies needed to fix the flaws of the political system. To this end she details nine important court cases that need to be revisited at the Supreme Court level in Chapter 5.
In addition, in the Conclusion, among the many great ideas for reform she proposes are:
eliminating the Electoral College
consider adopting alternative methods of voting which remove the spoiler factor in voting for third parties and independents such as Instant Runoff Voting
add an affirmative right to vote in the Constitution
Federalize Federal elections
adding third-party and independent representatives in the Federal Elections Commission and the Election Assistance Commission to make them truly non-partisan
federal financing for federal elections
free airtime for all candidates regardless of political party
rewarding low-donor campaigns or PACs
adding proportional representation at the federal, state and local levels to make them more participatory
Adopt a binding NOTA (none of the above) option in elections
The Commission on Presidential Debates should be reconstituted as a nonpartisan entity
Move Election Day to the weekend to encourage greater participation
Remove administration of federal elections from partisan secretaries of state, state election boards or their subsidiaries
A permanent, national registration of voters
Regardless of how you feel about Ralph Nader, third parties, and whether or not you consider yourself an independent, Grand Illusion is a book that is, first and foremost, about the practice and procedures regarding democratic participation.
Yes, the book is largely, about democratic participation among those who are marginalized in American politics—those most likely to go against the grain and take on public stands on controversial topics which need to be addressed in the public sphere but the two major parties are reluctant to touch.
But if you believe that in a democracy, that every vote should count, that people should be given a wide spectrum of political options that truly reflect their beliefs and values, and that society should encourage, support and reward political participation and civic-mindedness among its citizens, Grand Illusion is a book that you should read.
The book largely outlines how American society and government in modern times largely fails to live up to the promise and ideals of participatory democracy. But if you care about such matters you owe it to yourself to shake up your perspective of the stability, fairness, and essential benevolence of the American political system. Once your equilibrium has been disturbed by this book hopefully it will spur you into seeking out and joining with the reformers who seek to turn to practical reality the ideals of democracy and democratic participation.
Ahead of congressional debates on the Employee Free Choice Act, or EFCA, we take a look at a long struggle of over 600 Rite Aid workers inCalifornia to form a union. The workers are based in Lancaster, California, at the Southwest distribution center for the nation's third largest drugstore. After a two-year struggle, a majority of Rite Aid workers at the site voted to join the International Longshore Workers Local 26. The story has gained national attention and focused attention in the fight over the Employee Free Choice Act. We speak with a Rite Aid worker and with Ken Silverstein about his article in Harper's Magazine, "Labor's Last Stand: The Corporate Campaign to Kill the Employee Free Choice Act."MP3
* EXCLUSIVE: Animal Rights Activist Jailed at Secretive Prison Gives First Account of Life Inside a "CMU" *In a Democracy Now! exclusive interview, we speak with Andrew Stepanian, an animal rights activist who was jailed at a secretive prison known as a Communication Management Unit, or CMU. Stepanian is believed to be the first prisoner released from a CMU and will talk about his experience there for the first time. He was sentenced to three years along with six other activists for violating a controversial law known as the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of CMUs. We also speak with Stepanian's lawyer and a reporter covering the story.
"Color coded democratic revolutions in foreign countries organized and financed by western capital need to be seen as true expressions of the people because of great mobs demonstrating against repressive regimes, but massive mobs demonstrating against America’s foreign wars are meaningless expressions of communist and terrorist inspired ungratefulness for the privileges afforded our shopping masses by their wealthy corporate benefactors."
The USA has lessons to teach the bloody, repressive, fanatic, murderous, anti-Semitic totalitarian Iranian dictatorship about real, true democracy. Independent American presidential candidate Ralph Nader was not allowed to participate in any debates with ruling party candidates in both the 2004 and 2008 elections, while Iranian president Ahamedinjad debated no less than three opposition candidates on Iranian TV during their presidential campaign. See?... SEE?
Reverting to an earlier tax rate on the state’s wealthiest residents and creating a new tax on oil drilling could bring bankrupt California billions more dollars in revenue, which is why the working class majority should oppose taxing the leisure class and petroleum interests lest they emigrate to another country and take their money with them, leaving everyone all alone and without work or oil. Then what’ll they do?
The more than half a million americans idled every month by the present economic crisis should just watch American Idol and pray that they will be struck by lightening, talent and looks good or bad enough to guarantee them money to pay their cable bills so that they can continue being distracted by this and other important expressions of art, culture and reality evasion.
New serious, very harsh , bold and domineeringly restrictive rules created by the Obama administration will put bankers and other financial capitalists in charge of regulating bankers and other financial capitalists. Citizen consumers who don't know the difference between communism and the public library should demand an end to socialist government in the USA.
Color coded democratic revolutions in foreign countries organized and financed by western capital need to be seen as true expressions of the people because of great mobs demonstrating against repressive regimes, but massive mobs demonstrating against America’s foreign wars are meaningless expressions of communist and terrorist inspired ungratefulness for the privileges afforded our shopping masses by their wealthy corporate benefactors.
Questioning any aspect of the holocaust assaults the memories of those hundreds of thousands who - miraculously - survived it, and especially those who weren't born when it happened or who weren't anywhere near europe when it happened, and should mean loss of jobs and/or prison sentences, understandable In the pursuit of historical accuracy, freedom of speech and whatever. Death to the Dictator!
Monty Python is suing twits, twitters, the twittish, and their sister group the twats, who stole their label for fools and use it to claim the opposite. A twit is an ass, but twitters are a class, said a spokesperson for the national organization TWIT ( Totally Without Intellect), but pythoners claim copyright infractions and general american stupidity. A python spokesman hissed Why can’t they just spread celebrity gossip, movie news and color coded revolutions by putting up highway billboards or sending western union teletubbies or some other quaint and backward american practice?
If Ahamedinjad isn’t replaced, assassinated or converted to Christianity, he will destroy the entire planet, after stealing Israel’s nukes because Iran doesn't have any, but Israel also doesn't really have any and would never really use them if they had them, except for high holiday celebrations or if anti-Semites existentially threatened the european apartheid state they created in a semitic land which is the middle east’s only real democracy. Read it again.
Obama is a socialist, the Democratic party is controlled by communists and America was founded by white martians who came here to escape persecution by interplanetary dark skinned anglo saxon protestant illuminati jewish mafia lesbian free mason abortionists who circumsized moses, crucified christ, planned and executed 911 and were behind the last Yankee world series victory. Really. It was on Fox.
I know, I know — it’s a bit presumptuous of me to think I can write the “10 Golden Rules of Social Media.” Then again, I’ve been online since 1987, consulting clients on the Internet since 1992, on the web since 1994, immersed in working on and speaking about the web since the mid-1990s, so I do feel like I’ve paid some dues and learned some lessons along the way.
So here are my 10 Golden Rules of Social Media to embrace, debate, pass around and refine. Have at it.
1. Respect the Spirit of the ‘Net. Since 1995, I’ve been writing about and talking about what I call the “Spirit of the ‘Net.” The Internet was not meant for marketing and selling but for communication and connection to people and information. Understanding this, even today, can flip your marketing and selling strategy on its head, but you’ll have far more success respecting the spirit of the ‘Net, rather than throwing money at hard-sell tactics.
2. Listen. In the ’90s, the Golden Rule of posting to a Usenet Newsgroup or other online community was to listen first before speaking. Listening thoughtfully gives you a better sense of not only what people are saying but also how they are feeling. In virtual spaces where there are no visual cues, good listening skills become a powerful asset. Listening also helps you map out your current social media footprint and measure your marketing campaigns over time. The key to successful social media marketing is listening.
3. Add Value. Enter any online conversation with the aim of adding value. Before posting a message as a new participant in a forum, ask yourself: How is this providing value to the conversation? To the community? In some circles, talking about your product or service can be considered valuable, but in most, it is unwelcome and intrusive.
4. Respond. From the early days of setting up the first web presences for clients such as Origins and Dr. Atkins, my company outlined the importance of timely responses to any feedback or queries generated from those sites. The burden of response can be great, but it can be lessened by using the right tools and crowdsourcing answers. A quick response is more important than ever, and thanks to search tools, alert apps and other services, it is possible to achieve. Don’t be a dam in a conversation flow.
5. Do Good Things. Back in the ’90s, a mentor and dear friend — Jerry Colonna — talked about “doing well by doing good,” sparking in me the confidence to build a successful business with an underlying mission to help others. Doing good things can really help you to succeed in social media, too. Just do a Google search for Social Media for Social Good to see the power of this movement. This goes beyond adding value online. It means fundamentally changing your business model from a single bottom line — profit — to a triple bottom line — people, planet, profit — and then perpetuating this social responsibility to all you do in business, including online marketing and selling. I’m working with a financial client right now who truly believes in doing good. My client’s messages and conversations around social good are getting much more traction than the regular financial messages.
6. Share the Wealth. When I used to talk about the Internet around the world, one key tenet I repeated almost every time was to share the wealth. “If you’ve got it, share it, spread it around,” I’d say, but I wasn’t only talking about money. I was talking about time, information and knowledge. In social media, sharing is the fuel of the conversation engine.
7. Give Kudos. Social media works when you are generous. There is nothing wrong with self-promotion, but things really take off when you give others praise or a moment in the spotlight. The rise of retweeting — real retweeting, not spammy retweeting — shows how far giving credit to others can go in social spaces.
8. Don’t Spam. And speaking of spam, there is also an ugly surge of spamming in social media, today’s equivalent of unscrupulous email marketers who inundated our email boxes with garbage and left a bad taste in our mouths for email marketing. On Twitter, I’m finding it a daily chore to delete people I’m following who send out spam messages, but I just don’t have the time, interest or bandwidth to tolerate the “Get Lots of Followers on Autopilot” spam.
9. Be Real. Authenticity is the secret ingredient behind any good and valuable social media marketing campaign. If you know your audience, locate them online, listen, add value, respond, refrain from spamming and just be yourself, you’ll have far better and more long-lasting positive results than if you try to be someone — or something — you’re not.
10. Collaborate. Before you dive into social media for marketing and selling, take a look at who is out there and who is doing it well. How can you work with them, instead of trying to muscle your way into the space with all of your dollars? Those will often be dollars wasted because people can feel that push and recoil from the hard sell, blog about your misstep, sign petitions to boycott your company, you name it. If you put your money in places where it can do good while generating goodwill for your brand, you’ll be much more likely to get a positive result from social media.
Social media tools are only that — tools. The real energy, spirit and power of social media is people. We are social media.
What are your Golden Rules of Social Media? What am I missing?
In his weekly monologue, New Rules, Bill Maher weighs in on everything from Iran to Twitter, but his primary target Friday night was the Democratic party, which he says has become the new GOP.
Each time President Obama tries to take on a progressive cause, Maher charged that there was "a major political party standing in his way: the Democrats.
But the solution is not a third political party, according to the self-described libertarian pundit: "We don't need a third party. We have a center right party, and a crazy party. Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital."
Maher scoffs at the notion that Obama is a socialist: "He's not even a liberal."
Hammering in his point, Maher asks, "Shouldn't there be one party that unambiguously supports cutting military spending? Straight up in favor of gun control, gay marriage, higher taxes on the rich, universal healthcare, legalizing pot, and steep, direct taxing of polluters?"
"These aren't radical ideas," Maher stresses, "The majority of Americans are either already for them, or would be if they were properly argued and defended; and what we need is an actual progressive party to represent the millions of Americans who aren't being served by the Democrats."
"Because bottom line," he concludes "Democrats are the new Republicans."
The granddaughter of Cuban revolutionary leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara is at the forefront of another revolution — for vegetarianism.Lydia Guevara poses semi-nude in a PETA campaign that tells viewers to "join the vegetarian revolution," said PETA spokesman Michael McGraw.The print campaign is expected to debut in October in magazines and posters, McGraw said. It will be launched first in Argentina, where Che Guevara was born, and then internationally. PETA approached the 24-year-old in recent months after finding out she was a vegetarian, McGraw said.In the ad, Lydia Guevara wears camouflage pants, a red beret, and bandoliers of baby carrots while standing with one fist on her hip and the other outstretched."It very much evokes the tag line of the ad, which is 'Join the vegetarian revolution,'" McGraw said. "It's an homage of sorts to her late grandfather."...
P.S. I DON'T KILL FLIES EITHER...OBAMA IS IGNORANT IN THIS REGARD, IMHO...
Press release from Free and Equal sent to email@example.com
Ralph Nader and Ron Paul, two of the most outspoken political leaders of our time, don’t agree all that often. But one thing they both understand is that the American political system is rigged against independent and third party candidates.
Restrictive ballot access laws across the nation prevent voters from having a real choice in who they vote for.
And the Democratic and Republican machines intend to keep it that way.
Former Nader campaign manager Theresa Amato’s new book Grand Illusion presents a scathing indictment of the current state of ballot access in America.
Grand Illusion recounts the story of the Democratic Party’s attempt to boot Nader out of the 2004 Presidential election, and offers insight into other recent independent and third party campaigns. Amato also lays out specific reform steps that can be taken to improve the state of ballot access in this country.
In this video, consumer advocate and three-time Presidential candidate Ralph Nader lays the failures of our government at the feet of the Two-Party Tyranny. He encourages Americans to read the Grand Illusion and to get motivated to take our nation back from the two corporate controlled parties.
In a statement released last week, Congressman Ron Paul commended the work of Free & Equal Elections, and also endorsed Amato’s new book.
“Our laws are stacked against any real third alternative in the two-party monopoly. By and large, candidates must conform to the system or have difficulty even getting on ballots. Americans deserve better, and across the country, people are waking up and working hard to remove unfair barriers. We deserve a system where third parties can compete, and Democrats and Republicans are held to their platforms and rhetoric. I am impressed by the work of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation, and commend them for their leadership on this issue.
Theresa Amato has experienced the unfairness of our system like few others. Her new book “Grand Illusion” is an important contribution that anyone serious about ballot access reform should read. I thank Theresa for sharing her experiences with us and know her book will make a difference.”
Part personal memoir, part political history, part exposé and part impassioned call for electoral reform, Grand Illusion provides a blow-by-blow account of some of the 24 harassing complaints that the Democrats and their allies filed within 12 weeks to remove Nader from the ballot in 18 states. At least 95 lawyers from 53 law firms nationwide joined the effort to stifle Nader’s insurgent campaign.
Nader prevailed in most states, but Grand Illusion will make citizens wonder: How democratic is an electoral process that forces millions of American voters to choose between just two parties, while freezing out competing candidacies and new ideas?
To prevent such abuse and manipulation of the electoral process in the future, in Grand Illusion Amato proposes a number of practical and easy-to-implement reforms, to replace 50 different, and in some cases discriminatory state ballot access laws. Amato also recounts details of behind-the-scenes conversations with presidential candidate John Kerry, and with Howard Dean, who followed McAuliffe as DNC chairman.
Nader filed a federal lawsuit in 2007 and an FEC complaint in 2008 against McAuliffe, the DNC and others who helped finance and coordinate the attempt to suppress Nader’s 2004 presidential candidacy. Both actions are still pending.
Nazareth — The rights of Palestinian children are routinely violated by Israel’s security forces, according to a new report that says beatings and torture are common. In addition, hundreds of Palestinian minors are prosecuted by Israel each year without a proper trial and are denied family visits.
The findings by Defense for Children International (DCI) come in the wake of revelations from Israeli soldiers and senior commanders that it is “normal procedure” in the West Bank to terrorise Palestinian civilians, including children.
Col Itai Virob, commander of the Kfir Brigade, disclosed last month that to accomplish a mission, “aggressiveness towards every one of the residents in the village is common.” Questioning included slaps, beatings and kickings, he said.
As a result, Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the armed services, was forced to appear before the Israeli parliament to disavow the behavior of his soldiers. Beatings were “absolutely prohibited”, he told legislators.
Col Virob made his remarks during court testimony in defense of two soldiers, including his deputy commander, who are accused of beating Palestinians in the village of Qaddum, close to Nablus. One told the court that, “soldiers are educated towards aggression in the IDF [army].”
Col Virob appeared to confirm his observation, saying it was policy to “disturb the balance” of village life during missions and that the vast majority of assaults were “against uninvolved people.”
Last week, further disclosures of ill-treatment of Palestinians, some as young as 14, were aired on Israeli TV, using material collected by dissident soldiers as part of the Breaking the Silence project, which highlights army brutality.
Two soldiers serving in the Harub battalion said they had witnessed beatings at a school in the West Bank village of Hares, south-west of Nablus, in an operation in March to stop stone-throwing. Many of those held were not involved, the soldiers said.
During a 12-hour operation that began at 3am, 150 detainees were blindfolded and handcuffed from behind, with the nylon restraints so tight their hands turned blue. The worst beatings, the soldiers said, occurred in the school toilets.
According to one soldier’s testimony, a boy of about 15 was given “a slap that brought him to the ground.” He added that many of his comrades “just knee [Palestinians] because it’s boring, because you stand there 10 hours, you’re not doing anything, so they beat people up”.
The picture from serving soldiers confirms the findings of DCI, which noted that many children were picked up in general sweeps after disturbances or during late-night raids of their homes.
Its report includes a selection of testimonies from children it represented in 2008 in which they describe Israeli soldiers beating them or being tortured by interrogators.
One 10-year-old boy, identified as Ezzat H, described an army search of his family home for a gun. He said a soldier slapped and punched him repeatedly during two hours of questioning, before another soldier pointed a rifle at him: “The rifle barrel was a few centimeters away from my face. I was so terrified that I started to shiver. He made fun of me.”
Another boy, Shadi H, aged 15, said he and his friend were forced to undress by soldiers in an orange grove near Tulkarm while the soldiers threw stones at them. They were then beaten with rifle butts.
Jameel K, aged 14, described being taken to a military camp where he was assaulted and then had a rope tightened around his neck in a mock execution.
Yehuda Shaul, of Breaking the Silence, said soldiers treated any Palestinian older than 12 or 13 as an adult.
“For the first time a high-ranking soldier [Col Virob] has joined us in raising the issue — even if not intentionally — that the use of physical violence against Palestinians is not exceptional but policy. A few years ago no senior officer would have had the guts to say this,” he said.
The DCI report also highlights the systematic use of torture by interrogators from the army and the secret police, the Shin Bet, in an attempt to extract confessions from children, often in cases involving stone throwing.
Islam M, aged 12, said he was threatened with having boiling water poured on his face if he did not admit throwing stones and was then pushed into a thorn bush. Another boy, Abed S, aged 16, said his hands and feet were tied to the wall of an interrogation room in the shape of a cross for a day and then put in solitary confinement for 15 days.
Last month, the United Nations Committee Against Torture, a panel of independent experts, expressed “deep concern” at Israel’s treatment of Palestinian minors.
According to the DCI report, some 700 children are convicted in Israel’s military courts each year, with children older than 12 denied access to lawyers in interrogation.
It adds that interrogators routinely blindfold and handcuff child detainees during questioning and use techniques including slaps and kicks, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, threats to the child and his family, and tying the child up for long periods.
Such practices were banned by Israel’s Supreme Court in 1999 but are still widely documented by Israeli human rights groups.
DCI says it has been disturbed by reports from several children of a special tiny cell, referred to as No 36, at a detention centre near Haifa. The cell has no windows or ventilation, its walls are dark and a dim light is kept on 24 hours a day.
In 95 per cent of cases, children are convicted on the basis of signed confessions written in Hebrew, a language few of them understand.
Once sentenced, the children are held in violation of international law in prisons in Israel where most are denied visits from family and receive little or no education.
DCI also criticizes “a culture of impunity” among the Shin Bet, noting that not one of 600 complaints of torture filed against its interrogators during the second intifada has led to a criminal investigation.
Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, reported in November that soldiers too rarely face disciplinary action over illegal behavior.
Army data from 2000 to the end of 2007 revealed that the military police had indicted soldiers in only 78 of 1,268 investigations. Most soldiers received minor sentences.
Academic studies suggest that Israeli soldiers have been routinely using violence against Palestinian civilians, including children, for many years.
In late 2007 Israelis were shocked by the testimonies collected by clinical psychologist Nufar Yishai-Karin from 21 soldiers with whom she shared her military service during the early 1990s.
The soldiers told her of incidents in which bystanders were shot or assaulted. In one of the most disturbing testimonies, a soldier said he had witnessed his commander attacking a four-year-old boy playing in the sand in Gaza.
“He broke his hand here at the wrist. Broke his hand at the wrist, broke his leg here. And started to stomp on his stomach, three times, and left . . . The next day I go out with him on another patrol, and the soldiers are already starting to do the same thing.”
Such revelations have grown in number since the Breaking the Silence began drawing attention to the army’s mistreatment of Palestinians in 2004.
* A version of this article originally appeared in The National, published in Abu Dhabi.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel.
From: www.democracynow.orgOn Capitol Hill, the Democratic House leadership is pressuring antiwar Democrats to support a $106 billion supplemental war funding bill. In May, fifty-one antiwar Democrats opposed an earlier version of the bill. Now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to pressure some of those Democrats to switch their votes to help pass a new version of the bill that also includes increased funding for the International Monetary Fund. California Democratic Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey says the White House has threatened to pull support from freshman antiwar Democrats who vote no on the bill. In order to block passage, thirty-nine House Democrats need to join with Republicans opposing the bill.http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/16/headlines#5
Live H2O, organized by Leonard Horowitz and Masaru Emoto, will be a world-wide simulcast event with more than 30 physical locations on the weekend the summer solstice (June 19th-21st). The event will focus on drawing consciousness to the planet's living water. There will also be a a mass meditation in "the love frequency," 528 hz.
A schedule of simulcast events and list of confirmed cities is available now.
Peruvian massacre aimed at opening Amazon to transnationals
Posted by thomaspainescorner on June 13, 2009...Among the dead were leaders of the Awajun indigenous community, Felipe Sabio and Mateo Inti. Initially, the well-known leader of the Aguarunas, Santiago Manuin Valera, who had received the Spanish Reina Sofia prize for his defense of nature and human rights, was also reported killed, sparking renewed anger among the local population. It was later reported, however, that Manuin Valera had survived surgery after being shot at least eight times, but remained in critical condition.Zebelio Kayap, president of the Frontier Communities of the Cenepa Organization (Odecofroc in Spanish), told La Republica, “Some of the natives’ bodies may have been burned by the police and thrown into the Marañón River.” Eyewitnesses reported seeing bodies placed in black plastic bags, loaded into helicopters and dumped in the river in an effort to cover up the scale of the massacre.The indigenous people began their protest in early April. They claim their ancestral rights to the jungle were not considered in the proposed deals with major capitalist interests and that the government did not consult them. In his typical arrogance, President Garcia responded by saying that he did not have to consult anyone because, according to the Constitution, the state owns all the mineral and hydrocarbon wealth of Peru.In a statement to the press at the end of last month, Garcia denounced the opposition among the indigenous people of the Amazon to opening up their lands for exploitation as “retrograde, backward and wrong,” adding that those who were protesting “haven’t even read” the legislation.http://thomaspainescorner.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/peruvian-massacre-aimed-at-opening-amazon-to-transnationals/* ">Report: 90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing RectanglesJune 15, 2009*Sedaris Reads “Solution to Saturday’s Puzzle”http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/engulfed/audio/SolutionToSaturdayPuzzle.mp3*...As we become one with ourselves and are able to open and accept others and the love that they have to give, only then will be be able to get past the voices in our minds; the ones that tell us how to act, what to fear and to question our very existence and actions. Only then will we be able to give and receive what the world needs to heal itself. Only then will humanity really have a chance to move forward and to come together for the benefit of all the world’s inhabitants. It is the fears that keep us ‘in check’ and keep us from accepting the changes that will transcend the injustices. That keep us from believing in a ‘Utopian’ world that is just for all and that keeps us forever suckling at the tit of the competition based system that tries so hard to keep from slipping away into the abyss that it must eventually flow.Go out and find your ‘orgasm’, for your body, mind and spirit for it can set you free, if you let it. Find the ’self’ that can give completely, without question and without fear and don’t analyze, feel and trust your selves, for we all have the capacity to give and receive, to form a better humanity for all; don’t run from your emotions but rather, embrace them for only then can we begin to ‘feel’ again.http://thomaspainescorner.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/where-did-the-orgasm-go/*The Light of Darkness
This week marks the end of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That’s over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful.
Barack Obama, and the criminal class on Wall Street, aided by a corporate media that continues to peddle fatuous gossip and trash talk as news while we endure the greatest economic crisis in our history, may have fooled us, but the rest of the world knows we are bankrupt. And these nations are damned if they are going to continue to prop up an inflated dollar and sustain the massive federal budget deficits, swollen to over $2 trillion, which fund America’s imperial expansion in Eurasia and our system of casino capitalism. They have us by the throat. They are about to squeeze.
There are meetings being held Monday and Tuesday in Yekaterinburg, Russia, (formerly Sverdlovsk) among Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The United States, which asked to attend, was denied admittance. Watch what happens there carefully. The gathering is, in the words of economist Michael Hudson, “the most important meeting of the 21st century so far.”
It is the first formal step by our major trading partners to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If they succeed, the dollar will dramatically plummet in value, the cost of imports, including oil, will skyrocket, interest rates will climb and jobs will hemorrhage at a rate that will make the last few months look like boom times. State and federal services will be reduced or shut down for lack of funds. The United States will begin to resemble the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe. Obama, endowed by many with the qualities of a savior, will suddenly look pitiful, inept and weak. And the rage that has kindled a handful of shootings and hate crimes in the past few weeks will engulf vast segments of a disenfranchised and bewildered working and middle class. The people of this class will demand vengeance, radical change, order and moral renewal, which an array of proto-fascists, from the Christian right to the goons who disseminate hate talk on Fox News, will assure the country they will impose.
I called Hudson, who has an article in Monday’s Financial Times called “The Yekaterinburg Turning Point: De-Dollarization and the Ending of America’s Financial-Military Hegemony.” “Yekaterinburg,” Hudson writes, “may become known not only as the death place of the czars but of the American empire as well.” His article is worth reading, along with John Lanchester’s disturbing exposé of the world’s banking system, titled “It’s Finished,” which appeared in the May 28 issue of the London Review of Books.
“This means the end of the dollar,” Hudson told me. “It means China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran are forming an official financial and military area to get America out of Eurasia. The balance-of-payments deficit is mainly military in nature. Half of America’s discretionary spending is military. The deficit ends up in the hands of foreign banks, central banks. They don’t have any choice but to recycle the money to buy U.S. government debt. The Asian countries have been financing their own military encirclement. They have been forced to accept dollars that have no chance of being repaid. They are paying for America’s military aggression against them. They want to get rid of this.”
China, as Hudson points out, has already struck bilateral trade deals with Brazil and Malaysia to denominate their trade in China’s yuan rather than the dollar, pound or euro. Russia promises to begin trading in the ruble and local currencies. The governor of China’s central bank has openly called for the abandonment of the dollar as reserve currency, suggesting in its place the use of the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights. What the new system will be remains unclear, but the flight from the dollar has clearly begun. The goal, in the words of the Russian president, is to build a “multipolar world order” which will break the economic and, by extension, military domination by the United States. China is frantically spending its dollar reserves to buy factories and property around the globe so it can unload its U.S. currency. China is frantically spending its dollar reserves to buy factories and property around the globe so it can unload its U.S. currency. This is why Aluminum Corp. of China made so many major concessions in the failed attempt to salvage its $19.5 billion alliance with the Rio Tinto mining concern in Australia. It desperately needs to shed its dollars.
“China is trying to get rid of all the dollars they can in a trash-for-resource deal,” Hudson said. “They will give the dollars to countries willing to sell off their resources since America refuses to sell any of its high-tech industries, even Unocal, to the yellow peril. It realizes these dollars are going to be worthless pretty quickly.”
The architects of this new global exchange realize that if they break the dollar they also break America’s military domination. Our military spending cannot be sustained without this cycle of heavy borrowing. The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion, before we add on things like nuclear research. The next closest national military budget is China’s, at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.
There are three categories of the balance-of-payment deficits. America imports more than it exports. This is trade. Wall Street and American corporations buy up foreign companies. This is capital movement. The third and most important balance-of-payment deficit for the past 50 years has been Pentagon spending abroad. It is primarily military spending that has been responsible for the balance-of-payments deficit for the last five decades. Look at table five in the Balance of Payments Report, published in the Survey of Current Business quarterly, and check under military spending. There you can see the deficit.
To fund our permanent war economy, we have been flooding the world with dollars. The foreign recipients turn the dollars over to their central banks for local currency. The central banks then have a problem. If a central bank does not spend the money in the United States then the exchange rate against the dollar will go up. This will penalize exporters. This has allowed America to print money without restraint to buy imports and foreign companies, fund our military expansion and ensure that foreign nations like China continue to buy our treasury bonds. This cycle appears now to be over. Once the dollar cannot flood central banks and no one buys our treasury bonds, our empire collapses. The profligate spending on the military, some $1 trillion when everything is counted, will be unsustainable.
“We will have to finance our own military spending,” Hudson warned, “and the only way to do this will be to sharply cut back wage rates. The class war is back in business. Wall Street understands that. This is why it had Bush and Obama give it $10 trillion in a huge rip-off so it can have enough money to survive.”
The desperate effort to borrow our way out of financial collapse has promoted a level of state intervention unseen since World War II. It has also led us into uncharted territory.
“We have in effect had to declare war to get us out of the hole created by our economic system,” Lanchester wrote in the London Review of Books. “There is no model or precedent for this, and no way to argue that it’s all right really, because under such-and-such a model of capitalism ... there is no such model. It isn’t supposed to work like this, and there is no road-map for what’s happened.”
The cost of daily living, from buying food to getting medical care, will become difficult for all but a few as the dollar plunges. States and cities will see their pension funds drained and finally shut down. The government will be forced to sell off infrastructure, including roads and transport, to private corporations. We will be increasingly charged by privatized utilities—think Enron—for what was once regulated and subsidized. Commercial and private real estate will be worth less than half its current value. The negative equity that already plagues 25 percent of American homes will expand to include nearly all property owners. It will be difficult to borrow and impossible to sell real estate unless we accept massive losses. There will be block after block of empty stores and boarded-up houses. Foreclosures will be epidemic. There will be long lines at soup kitchens and many, many homeless. Our corporate-controlled media, already banal and trivial, will work overtime to anesthetize us with useless gossip, spectacles, sex, gratuitous violence, fear and tawdry junk politics. America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds. Those who resist will be silenced, many by force. We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon, for the gross malfeasance of our power elite.
The general term Semites applies to the ancient divisions of a race of people including the Babylonians, Assyrians, and the Hebrews of Biblical times. The Arabs and Kabbalah include later Semitic occultism.
Magic was a priestly activity in Babylon and Chaldea (see Chaldeans). In Mesopotamia magic was practiced by the priestly sect called Asipu, who were designated to perform such activities which probably consisted of hypnotism, exorcism, and banning troublesome spirits.
There where another group name the Baru who were augurs, who consulted the oracles about the future by inspecting the entrails of animals and the flights of birds, "the observation of oil in water, the secret of Anu, Bel, and Ea, the tablet of the gods, the sachet of leather of the heavens and earth, the wand of cedar dear to the great gods."
Both the priest of Baru and Asipu were clothed in vestments signifying their rank, which they changed frequently in ceremonies in which they participated. There are records recorded on ancient tablets telling of kings making frequent inquiries through priestly castes. In the tablet of Sippar is decribed the initiation of a Baru to the Sun-Temple. Also, it is written that Sennachrib sought through the Baru knowledge of the cause of his father's violent death.
Again, the Asipu were exorcists whose activities included removing taboos and dismissing ghosts. Their functions are described in the following incantatory poem:
[The man] of Ea am I,
[The man] of Damkina am I,
The messenger of Marduk am I,
My spell is the spell of Ea,
My incantation is the incantation of Marduk,
The circle of Ea is in my hand,
The tamarisk, the powerful weapon of Anu,
In my hand I hold,
The date-spathe, mighty in decision,
In my hand I hold.
He that stilleth all to rest, that pacifieth all,
By whose incantation everything is at peace,
He is the great Lord Ea,
Stilling all to rest, and pacifying all,
By whose incantation everything is at peace,
When I draw nigh unto the sick man.
All shall be assuaged,
I am the magician born of Eridu.
Begotten in Eridu and Subari,
When I draw nigh unto the sick man.
May Ea, King of the Deep, safeguard me!
O Ea, King of the Deep, to see,
I, the magician, am thy slave
March thou on my right hand,
Assist [me] on my left;
Add thy pure spell to mine,
Add thy pure voice to mine,
Vouchsafe (to me) pure words,
Make fortunate utterances of my mouth,
Ordain that my decisions be happy,
Let me be blessed where'er I tread,
Let the man whom I [now] touch be blessed.
Before me may lucky thoughts be spoken,
After me may a lucky finger be pointed.
Oh that thou wert my guardian genius,
And my guardian spirit!
O God that blesseth, Marduk,
Let me be blessed, where'er my path be,
Thy power shall god and man proclaim;
This man shall do thy service,
And I too, the magician thy slave.
Unto thy house on entering….
Samas is before me,
Sin [is] behind [me].
Nergal [is] at [my] right hand,
Ninib [is] at my left;
When I draw near unto the sick man,
When I lay my hand on the head of the sick man,
May a kindly Spirit, a kindly Guardian stand at my side.
by Prof Marc W. Herold...ConclusionHaving inherited a war in Afghanistan, the Obama administration nonetheless had choices. Some for instance like Gilles Dorronsoro argued that the very presence of foreign forces was inflaming the conflict and that what was called-for was a scaling-down of military action, focusing and exiting.[xxx] Instead, the Obama team which includes many members of the former Bush regime, decided to fight the "good war" in Afghanistan. During the past five months, the conflict has further escalated and promises to do more of the same.By the announced metric of protecting Afghan civilians, the Obama team has failed miserably even more so than its predecessor. What is different is the public relations which began with in the words of Michael Stewart "Operation Redefinition." One can redefine as much as one wants, the reality for Afghans pursuing their daily lives has deteriorated as documented herein. Since taking office and assuming the position of Commander-in-Chief, Obama and his NATO allies have killed at the very least some 338-419 Afghan civilians (compared to 278-343 under the Bush clock during the first six months of 2008). In addition, deadly CIA drone attacks within Pakistan have continued since Obama took command. Of the sixty cross-border U.S drone attacks upon Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, Only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda leaders, besides perishing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians. The success percentage of the US predator strikes thus comes to not more than six per cent.[xxxi]Simple arithmetic shows that in some eighty days in office, Obama has managed to raise the monthly average kill rate in drone attacks achieved by Bush from 32 during 2008 to 45 per month (for February-March 2009).The Obama team might well head the words of the Pakistani intelligence agent, ‘Colonel Iman,’ who after training at Fort Bragg’s Special Forces base, oversaw the training camps for jihadis (including Mullah Omar) during the late 1970’s and 1980’s. Iman told Christina Lamb (another fine independent British journalist), that he left Afghanistan in late 2001 and claims he has not returned, but "I can go any time on my old routes, even the Americans cannot stop me, but there is no need," he said. "I have friends roaming all over there. At times they give me a call, they like to hear my voice. I’m quite happy with the current situation because the Americans are trapped there. The Taliban will not win but in the end the enemy will tire, like the Russians."[xxxii]The ex-CIA station chief in Kabul, Graham Fuller is emphatic that Obama’s policies are aggravating the situation in Afghanistan (and Pakistan), Only the withdrawal of American and NATO boots on the ground will begin to allow the process of near-frantic emotions to subside within Pakistan, and for the region to start to cool down. Pakistan is experienced in governance and is well able to deal with its own Islamists and tribalists under normal circumstances; until recently, Pakistani Islamists had one of the lowest rates of electoral success in the Muslim world. But U.S. policies have now driven local nationalism, xenophobia and Islamism to combined fever pitch. As Washington demands that Pakistan redeem failed American policies in Afghanistan, Islamabad can no longer manage its domestic crisis.[xxxiii]http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=13957
From: www.countercurrents.orgAnd The Privatization Of The Global Freshwater CommonsBy Frank Joseph Smecker...Proponents of water privatization argue that privatization of water in developing nations, where millions are subjected to abject poverty, would be a boon, delivering clean water for drinking and sanitation to many who go without. Conversely, many posit that these nations are not equipped to negotiate contracts and the poor bear the brunt of fee increases. The ensuing information will corroborate the latter allegations.In 1997, the people of Bolivia did not choose to privatize their water – it was forced upon them. Bechtel’s subsidiary, Aguas del Tunari, along with the Abengoa Corporation of Spain, went into Bolivia, enforced a forty-year contract that privatized much of their fresh water, and not soon after, rate increases quickly doubled and tripled for most of the poor water users. The private investment relied stringently on market-rate pricing. According to Jim Shultz, in an article for The Nation on January 28, 2005 titled “The Politics of Water in Brazil,” the cost of water and sewage hookup, in El Alto, was more than half a year’s income for those making minimum wage.The contract was so draconian that protest broke out in the streets of Cochabamba, the people demanding an immediate rescinding of the water contract. The protest led to martial law to save the companies’ contract, which led to the death of a teenage boy, and the wounding of more than a hundred people. Over the course of five years in Bolivia, there have been two citizen revolts decrying the privatization of their water. Bechtel’s contract was indeed cancelled, but in 2001 Bechtel filed suit against the Bolivian government, claiming they were entitled to $25 million in compensation for the loss of future profits.By the end of 2000, more than 93 countries worldwide had partially privatized water or wastewater services. The larger the company, the more control. According to research done by Elizabeth Brubaker at the Energy Probe Research Foundation, at the largest scale, private water companies construct, own, and run water systems around the globe, raking in revenues of more than $30 billion – excluding revenue from the sales of bottled water. Most of this money does not make it back into the communities, but is rather transferred to the transnationals.The largest players in water privatization are two French transnationals: Veolia Environment (owned by media conglomerate Vivendi) and Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux whose water and wastewater businesses are run by its subsidiary Ondeo...[Click title for entire article, as usual]
One) Eat light and eat live foods. This frees your physical energies from the shackles of digestion and allows a freer flow of energy throughout your physical system.
Two) Spend time daily in silence and meditation. Even if you are not a longtime meditator, you can now access greatly enhanced states by entering deep states of relaxation and stilling your mind.
Three) Open up a direct dialogue with your higher self. Daily journaling is an excellent way to open up this dialogue. Write out your questions on one side of the page, then turn over your pen to your higher self. Allow answers to flow onto the page. You can also use a tape recorder for this process.
Four) Be playful. Be creative. One of the most important things you can do during your day is to make time for creative play. Your imagination is your doorway into cosmic time. All images, visions, ideas and inspirations flow through this corridor.
Five) Pay attention to the symbols of your dreams and waking life. Make note of the images that flow into your mind. These images are offering you glimpses of new possibilities now crystallizing in your energy field.
Six) Affirm daily that you are an infinite being. As an infinite being, your birthright is the unlimited magic and abundance of the universe. Open to allow abundance and synchronicities to flow into your life in magical and unexpected ways.
Seven) Release any attachments you may have to your present identity, to others, or to ways of being. Attachments and expectations bind you to old habits and patterns and keep you from experiencing new and expanded ways of being.
Eight) View all images/experiences/visions/desires through the lens of your spiritual purpose. Affirm that whatever benefits you receive you extend to all others through your spiritual purpose.
Nine) Allow greater and greater amounts of joy into your life. Make a list of what brings you joy and constantly look for ways to expand this list.
Ten) Accept and embrace whatever unfolds in your life. When you accept what comes before you, you open to its message and wisdom. By contrast, whenever you resist something, you close yourself to its message. This dooms you to repeat the experience.
From the Celestial Vision website
A recent talk by Ralph Nader on Alternative Radio discussed the U.S. wealth care sytem. Yes, you can get a transcript at http://www.alternativeradio.org/. Ralph Nader, a longtime consumer advocate, might be too "radical" to be considered for political office, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know his subject matter. Remember, Ralph Nader has never been indicted for fraud-- unlike some of our political and health insurance luminaries. I listened to his talk today and learned some things I didn't know...
For example, I knew Taiwan, Japan, Canada, the UK and all other civilized European countries had universal health care for all their people, but what I didn't know was that Israel, a tiny country that incidentally receives $3 billion in aid from the U.S.A., also provides universal health care to its people. Well, for that matter, so does Cuba.
What I did already know before Mr. Nader mentioned it was the level of anxiety produced by medical bills. I saw it as a union steward, when the number one complaint by fellow union members was large and unexpected medical bills that they didn't understand, and couldn't pay, and bizarre coverage exclusions--such as diabetic test strips and insulin syringes. Fortunately, the union employed a health and welfare benefits person who knew the insurance game inside and out, and when I gave her number to the distressed union members, she made their bills disappear.
Not everyone is so lucky.
It's estimated that medical bills cause 60% of all U.S. bankrupties.
Census data puts the number of Americans with no health insurance at about 45 million. What? I haven't seen a census taker at my door since the 1990's. How often do they update their figures? And BTW-- most people are out of their homes, at work all day, and sometimes on weekends. How do they get included in the census data? Do the thousands of homeless people in the USA get included in the census data? What about workers who get money sucked out of every pay check for wealth insurance but never use it because:
1. No doctors/dentists will accept their crappy inadequate insurance.
2. They can't afford the co-pays.
3. They can't find a doctor in their "network," and using an out of network doctor is too expensive.
Do they get labeled insured, or uninsured?
If you have employer provided health insurance, and you can't afford to use it, or you do use it and later you get bills you can't pay, so your medical bills get reported to the credit bureaus, your credit rating goes down... your anxiety level goes up, what then?
Big Pharma to the rescue, with a bag full o' drugs--not to solve your problems, but to make you too numb to care.
A single payer public health care program will cut costs, because opportunities to game the system by insurance industry fraudsters will be reduced by having one bill payer. One payer--directly to doctors and hospitals. Kick the HMO's out of medicare and medicaid. Pay the doctors directly--no more HMOs skimming profits, and denying basic care to sick people.
Profit doesn't belong in health care because itdoesharm.
LIMA - Peruvian lawmakers suspended a controversial law that eased restrictions on lumber harvesting in the Amazon rain forest, days after it sparked clashes between police and indigenous protesters, killing dozens of people.
The legislature agreed by a 59 to 49 vote to suspend Decree 1090 -- dubbed the "Law of the Jungle" -- that covers forestry and fauna in Peru's northeastern Amazon rain forest, said Javier Velasquez, the head of Peru's single-chamber Congress.
Natives set up a road block at the entrance of the Amazonian town of Yurimaguas, northern Peru. Peruvian lawmakers suspended a controversial law that eased restrictions on lumber harvesting in the Amazon rain forest, days after it sparked clashes between police and indigenous protesters, killing dozens of people. (AFP/Ernesto Benavides)
A decree related to governing private investment also was suspended.
The decrees are vehemently opposed by the approximately half-million Indians of 65 ethnic groups who live in the Peruvian jungle. The natives, who see the development of the jungle as an assault on their way of life, have been holding protests since April across the region.
The Amazon protest peaked Friday and Saturday when some 400 police officers moved in to clear protesters blocking a highway near the northern city of Bagua. Protesters fought back, then retaliated by killing police hostages.
According to the government, 25 police officers and nine Indian protesters died in the clashes. Protest leaders and media reports however insist the death toll is much higher.
The decrees were originally to be suspended for 90 days, but in the final vote legislators agreed on an indefinite suspension "to negotiate without pressure," said Aurelio Pastor, a legislator with President Alan Garcia's APRA party.
Both measures are among decrees issued in 2007 and 2008 by Garcia easing restrictions on mining, oil drilling, logging and farming in the Peruvian Amazon.
Garcia issued the laws when Congress granted him special powers to implement a free-trade agreement with the United States.
Angry legislators with the opposition Nationalist Party (PNP) called for the decrees to be overturned, and waved signs as they held a protest in the chamber after the vote.
"No to transnational (corporations) in the Amazon," read one sign. "The land and water are not for sale," read another.
The clashes were the bloodiest since the government's war in the 1980s and 1990s against the Shining Path, a violent Maoist insurgency, and the leftist Tupac Amaru guerrillas.
The vote suspending the decree is seen as a compromise allowing the government to resume talks with the protesting indigenous groups who have been blocking key regional highways, said spokesmen for legislators that voted for the measure.
The vote also comes on the eve of a strike called by the country's powerful leftist labor umbrella group, the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP).
CGTP leader Mario Huaman said there would be a protest march ending at the presidential palace in Lima to reject "the arrogant, intolerant, overbearing and discriminatory attitude of the government towards the Amazon communities."
Other protest marches, including those held by indigenous protesters in Amazon cities and towns, are planned in Peru's main cities.
"There is no justification at all for the protests" on Thursday, Interior Minister Mercedes Cabanillas said after the decrees were suspended.
Meanwhile some 3,000 Indians from 25 ethnic groups continue to block a key Amazon highway linking the cities of Tarapoto and Yurimaguas, some 700 kilometers (435 miles) north of Lima.
"We want an immediate derogation of those laws," said Segundo Pizango, an apu -- indigenous leader -- at a roadblock near Yurimaguas.
Another native leader, Kariajano Sandi, told AFP that he and his men will not lift the roadblock until the government definitively overturns the laws.
"We do not believe the government, they lie too much," said Sandi, surrounded by a group of his followers.
The repercussions of the violence have rocked the government, with Women's Affairs Minister Carmen Vildoso resigning Monday in protest over the government's crackdown.
The crisis even extended its reach to foreign affairs after Nicaragua granted political asylum to Alberto Pizango, the main indigenous protest leader, who earlier took refuge in Managua's embassy in Lima.
The Garcia administration has issued an arrest warrant for Pizango on charges of sedition, conspiracy and rebellion.