Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Comment On Forcing Care On The Mentally Ill

Today's story in the Washington Post, and headlined on today's MSNBC web site, about New York State's so called 'Kendra's Law', should disturb all Americans due to the invasion of individual rights to privacy it envisions and enacts, as well as the opening of an entirely new Pandora's Box.

While not in total disagreement with the premise of the law, which I'm sure was intended to stop violent mentally ill people from committing the horror show that took place at Virginia Tech, there seems to this writer to be a slippery slope that we are heading down when it comes to the force of law being behind what has always been, and should always rightly be, the individual's right to choose his or her own health care, or on the flip side of that coin, no health care at all.

Take for instance the recent rulings in Texas, wherein teenage girls are now forced by law to receive an unproven inoculation against certain types of cervical cancer. Since when does our government get the chutzpah to openly force experimental drugs on the public at large? Have our drug companies become so powerful that they are now running amok and being allowed to run human trials on the public?

Understanding full well the need to make sure that violent person's do not commit atrocities, we must consider the fact that there are already laws on the books in every state that gives police and doctors the ability to hospitalize a person who exhibits what a rational person would consider dangerous behaviour, whether to themselves or to others. A family member may even get a court order to force the person into a hospital.

Today's story, while extolling the virtues of New York's law, and concentrating on the case of one woman who feels she was helped by being forced into treatment, also tells us that now the State of Virginia is considering the passage of similar legislation. It makes one shudder to think of the implications and the potential for abuse that lies at the bottom of this particular rabbit hole. Don't like your neighbor? Call the authorities and complain that he or she is exhibiting signs of violent mental illness. Speak out against the run amok government? Why, you must be disturbed, and therefore forced into treatment! Without trying to bring up a particular theme over and over, I seem to remember another country that took up this practice about 60 years ago. Try and guess who they were.

This trend needs to be reversed, not encouraged, for if it's not, it can and will only lead to more Big Brother activity in the individual's daily life. And before you say that our government only has our best interests at heart, take a good hard look at what has happened over just these past few years and tell yourself that statement again. What we most certainly do not need is more government control over our lives and this most definitely would fall under that category.

And again, while sympathetic to what the intent of these laws may start out to be, the risk and potential for abuse of the very same laws is so great, that they must be repealed or at the very least, challenged in court. Here's an example of why.

The State of Nevada has, arguably the worst mental health care system in the nation. In places like Las Vegas, mental health advocates have been fighting an uphill and never ending battle for the city to increase it's capacity to house patients who need inpatient care. While a recent facility opening added some bed space, it is woefully inadequate to deal with a city the size of Las Vegas, whose flashing lights draw many a strange character. Most patients that are suicidal or even dangerous to others may spend 3 to 4 days in hospital emergency rooms due to the lack of available beds in crisis centers. The rest of the state is in even worse shape. So what would happen if Nevada had a law such as those being proposed? Where would they house these people? That's right. The only other option to comply with the laws that mandate the locking up of mentally ill people would be the jails. Do we really want to go down that road?

Because where that road leads to next would be the vision of people like Mike Huckabee, who wanted to lock up all AIDS patients. Who gets to decide who gets locked up?

There are already calls in New York for the repealing of Kendra's Law, as cases of abuse are already cropping up. There are several lawsuits in play by the families of people who were court ordered into treatment that no one felt that they needed, and the harm that was caused to them by the forced taking of psychotropic drugs that caused irreversible personality disorders. One has to begin to wonder exactly who is really behind the pushing of these laws. Is it truly well meaning citizens? Or is it actually the major drug manufacturers looking for yet another way to drum up business? Some of the major lobbyists pushing for the enactment of these laws are, you guessed it, the drug companies.

No. In this writer's mind, this is a dangerous trend and must be stopped dead in it's tracks, or the next case that gets decided may be yours or mine. Batmanchester

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Corporations Come Before Veterans Says Bush

As the entire world's attention has been rightly focused on the tragic and horrific events in Pakistan this week, an under the radar event took place with far reaching consequences for our military, but in particular, our veterans.

President Bush 'pocket vetoed' the defense spending bill that he has been harassing the Congress to get before his desk to sign because of suddenly last second realizations that within the bill were clauses allowing American citizens to sue the governments of state sponsored terrorism. Countries such as Iran, Libya, and even Iraq would have been left vulnerable to lawsuits under this spending bill, which was co-sponsored by the same exact right wing Senators who are now condemning the bill's 'outlandish' provision that allows Americans to dare to exercise their Constitutional right to their day in court.

Inside the defense spending bill are the long over due and long awaited pay raises for our service members, as well as cost of living increases for those on disability. In fact, so is the money to pay for the widening of health care services for our veterans, and so it should come as no surprise to anyone that Bush pulled this childish move, as he was the one who slashed veterans benefits in the first place, remember?

But one of the most telling aspects to this story, and the real reason this corporate President let the bill expire without signing it, in effect vetoing it, was the fact that had Americans been allowed to sue terrorists, it could have had the potential to freeze the assets in the United States of those countries being sued, which in turn would have hurt Halliburton, Bechtel, Lockheed Martin, Blackwater, etc. etc. etc. This crony administration was not about to let their buddies lose one nickel, and so the veterans of the wars that these very same monsters started in the first place are told to sit back and relax, this may take awhile. They are told once again by this President that he could care less that they are suffering and can not obtain the medical care they need, nor afford to feed their families. I guess it's A-OK in this President's mind that husbands and wives of United States military personnel stand in food bank lines in order to feed their children.

The worst part of this story isn't even that the President pulled this last second and unexpected sucker punch to the American people, it's the fact that the very same Republican Senators who co-sponsored the bill in the first place, are now backing the liar in chief on his veto of the very same bill by claiming they didn't know these provisions were in the bill!

And so, hoping that no one would notice, the corporate President and his corporate Senators slap our vets and the victims of terrorism in the face with this last second end around, with the absurd claim that they didn't know these clauses were in this bill. They can't have it both ways. You can not stand up on the soap box calling for the backing of our troops, and screaming about the terrorist threats, but then veto legislation designed to give Americans the chance to hit the terrorists in their pockets, as well as deny the troops much needed help, all in the name of making sure that corporate interests do not take a hit in their bottom line. It just shows us once again where the loyalty of these charlatans and hucksters truly lies. And lies. And lies. Batmanchester

Friday, December 28, 2007

Kissinger Pushes For Perpetual War

Do you believe that world affairs have reached a boiling point, and could not possibly get any worse? Well, they can and they will if the former Secretary of State and most feared and hated of war criminals in the world has his way.

Henry Kissinger, the architect behind some of America's worst foreign policy decisions, the bombing campaigns in Laos and Cambodia, and the ally of every vicious, cruel, and maniacal dictator the world over, including the one that currently resides in the White House, is now advocating for John McCain's never ending war scenario. This traitor who was allowed to skulk away scot free after advocating for Nixon to tear up the Constitution of our nation, is now, and always has been, just behind the curtain, and along with other good buddies such as James Baker the third, who himself tried to block any investigations into 9/11, have been influencing the events that are throwing the world into chaos, and pushing the United States and the Russians back into the days of the Cold War.

Being the shrewd politico that he is, Kissinger knows that Americans need a boogeyman in order to rally them around the flag and allow for their precious civil rights to be taken away in the name of freedom of course.

This being the case and even after being weaned from the government payroll, Kissinger still lurks around Dick Cheney's office, like Satan himself, whispering deadly thoughts and ideas, that then become public policy.

Here's just some of Kissinger's crimes. Ones that he got away with after Nixon's downfall. Ones that he continues to commit to this day, even as he openly advocates for John McCain to be our next President. If you can read this and believe that this is the direction that our country needs to go, then we are truly all lost.

First let's look at some of Kissinger's more famous quotes, just to remind you of the evil that this man is capable of and the man that this current evil regime turns to for advice:

“I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”
“Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government.”
“The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”
"It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination."
"It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true."

Next, let's take a look at some of the actions that only scratch the surface of Kissinger's crimes against the American people, notwithstanding the fact that he has business dealings with some of the world's cruelest and most violent dictators:

VIETNAM: Kissinger scuttled peace talks in 1968, paving the way for Richard Nixon's victory in the presidential race. Half the battle deaths in Vietnam took place between 1968 and 1972, not to mention the millions of civilians throughout Indochina who were killed.
CAMBODIA: Kissinger persuaded Nixon to widen the war with massive bombing of Cambodia and Laos. No one had suggested we go to war with either of these countries. By conservative estimates, the U.S. killed 600,000 civilians in Cambodia and another 350,000 in Laos.
BANGLADESH: Using weapons supplied by the U.S., General Yahya Khan overthrew the democratically elected government and murdered at least half a million civilians in 1971. In the White House, the National Security Council wanted to condemn these actions. Kissinger refused. Amid the killing, Kissinger thanked Khan for his "delicacy and tact."
CHILE: Kissinger helped to plan the (Sept. 11)1973 U.S.-backed overthrow of the democratically elected Salvador Allende and the assassination of General René Schneider. Right-wing general Augusto Pinochet then took over. Moderates fled for their lives. Hit men, financed by the CIA, tracked down Allende supporters and killed
them. These attacks included the car bombing of Allende's foreign minister, Orlando Letelier, and an aide, Ronni Moffitt, at Sheridan Circle in downtown Washington.
EAST TIMOR: In 1975 President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger met with Indonesia's corrupt strongman Suharto. Kissinger told reporters the U.S. wouldn't recognize the tiny country of East Timor, which had recently won independence from the Dutch. Within hours Suharto launched an invasion, killing, by some estimates, 200,000 civilians. (Village Voice, August 15-21, 2001).

And with the same cast of characters from the Ford Administration (Vice President: Nelson Rockefeller, brother of David with whom Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski
founded the Trilateral Commission--also in 1973, while he was still Secretary of State; Chief of Staff: Dick Cheney--now Vice President; Secretary of Defense: Donald Rumsfeld; Director of Central Intelligence: George Herbert Walker Bush--back as Daddy Bush) back for a return engagement in the current administration, it seems only natural that Kissinger would also return. Maybe that’s why we have such a sense of déjà vu at the headlines surrounding 9/11 and the subsequent “investigation.” Remember that Bush’s first choice to head the commission to investigate 9/11 was none other than Henry Kissinger. After all, Kissinger had experience in heading such commissions, having done so for the events in Central America in the 80’s. And considering the fact that he is deep in the counsels of the current Administration and that Bush has stated that he and Kissinger are “of the same mind,“ his proposed appointment to investigate 9/11 would appear to be very much a case of history attempting to repeat itself.
Conducting whitewash “investigations” isn’t the only recurring theme associated with Henry Kissinger; we also have the domestic spying programs. Kissinger ordered the bugging of his own NSC staff after Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, which led to the organization of the “plumber’s unit.” So is the level of secrecy upon which the administration is insisting and the reliance on the claim of executive privilege in order to protect a corrupt administration run amok,.
Whenever we being to see the sins of the past returning to haunt the present with implications for the future, it’s time to take a good hard look at the common threads. In this case, the common thread is a cabal of men determined to rule the world through whatever means necessary, the people be damned. Deep in the heart of that cabal stands Henry Kissinger. His crimes are a matter of public record, it’s time to hold him accountable, and stop this demon from continuing to stink up the halls of our government, from giving his insidious advice to our current leaders, or from endorsing anyone as our next President. Yes, Kissinger gleefully looks forward to the next Cold War, and openly pushes us in the direction of annihilation in order to make money off of all of our deaths. Batmanchester

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Insane Quotes From The People Running The Store

I thought to lighten the mood a little with a look at some of the most humorous things that I could find that were said by the people either elected to run our government, or those appointed in some capacity. Some are dark. Some are funny, but none are boring and some should frighten you. Enjoy.

The minutes of a secret 1975 meeting of the National Security Council attended by President Ford reveal Henry Kissinger grumbling, "It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination."

In November of 2005, President Bush, when told that his push to re-enact the worst parts of the Patriot Act would alienate those of us in this country who still believe in a free America snapped back at his advisers, "“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Reagan's remark announcing the formation of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Centennial Commission, May 18, 1982
“ makes one wonder about the illegal alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won't do? One thing is certain in this hungry world; no regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters.”

"The President has kept all the promises he intended to keep." Clinton aide George Stephanopolous.

"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers We are the president." Hillary Clinton.

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country." Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC.

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"George W Bush

"Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the National Debt." Herbert Hoover

"There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full."Dr. Henry Kissinger.

"Get all the fools on your side and you can be elected to anything." Frank Dane.

"As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing." Karl Rove

"The real reason her nomination sticks in the craw is the brass-and-leather whiff of the Praetorian Guard house. The ancient Praetorian Guard was an elite military unit that guarded Rome's emperors and sometimes murdered them. The modern Praetorian Guard is the penumbra of family and cronies that, under the American imperial Presidency, is accorded unseemly attention and respect. Some Presidents look to it for actual officeholders. Bill Clinton put his wife in charge of health-care policy. John Kennedy put his brother in charge of the Justice Department. Mr. Bush seems to find the Praetorian Guard especially seductive. There were the Texas League Texans he sent to FEMA. Joe Allbaugh, Michael Brown. There was the way his running mate emerged from a search committee headed by Dick Cheney. Look no further! Harriet Miers emerged in the same way, helping to vet judicial nominees. At least she tapped John Roberts before herself; gentlemen first. This is an elitism far more restrictive than anything Ms. Miers critics are charged with. Beltway/Ivy League elitism embraces anyone who works in the federal government, or who graduated from one of seven old colleges. The President's elitism embraces anyone who works down the hall. He looked out over what Tom Wolfe calls this wild bizarre unpredictable hog-stomping Baroque country of ours and whom did he see? The woman sitting next to him." -- Richard Brookhiser

"That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it." Ron Paul

"Well, President Bush said he wanted to export American-style democracy and, by God, I think it's working." Barak Obama

"You got it backwards. You messed around with a Jewish girl, and now you're paying a goyish lawyer. You should have messed around with a goyish girl and gotten a Jewish lawyer." --Former White House aide Rahm Ehmanuel to President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

"As I was telling my husb-" before stopping abruptly, then continuing, "As I was telling President Bush". Condoleeza Rice

"What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) - this is working very well for them"? Former First Lady Barbara Bush, referring to Katrina evacuees.

"You work three jobs? ... Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that". George W. Bush

"Many of you are well enough off that...the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good". Hillary Clinton

"If one person criticizes them, or says one more thing, including the president of the United States, he will hear from me -- one more word about it after this show airs and I -- I might likely have to punch him -- literally". Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu

While dressed as Barney the Dinosaur at an office Christmas party, who said, "They don't call me Tyrannosaurus Sex for nothing"? Ted Kennedy

Sen. Jeff Sessions: “I talk to those who’ve lost their lives, and they have that sense of duty and mission.”

Prince George’s County, MD, County Executive Jack Johnson: “I always fly business class or first class. I think the people of Prince George’s County expect me to. I don’t think they expect me to be riding in a seat with four across and I’m in the middle.”

And the best quote ever from a foreign leader comes from none other than Hugo Chavez while speaking at the U.N. about George Bush, “The devil is right at home. The devil — the devil, himself, is right in the house. And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday, the devil came here. Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today.”

Hopefully this brightened your day just a little. I was too worn out to write a full article, after Christmas, and so I borrowed the words of others for you to enjoy. And oh, yes, Mr. Kissinger, that means I'm researching you. Batmanchester

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Message For Our Troops And Veterans

To all of our men and women who serve in the Military of the United States, every American, whether they agree or disagree with the mission that you have been tasked with, or whether or not we agree with the political decisions being made in Washington D.C., extend to you, our bravest and finest all of our sincerest best wishes this Christmas Eve.

Your sacrifices are what makes it possible for the rest of us to sit under our lit up trees, safe in the knowledge that there are some among us who stand guard at the gate. We sit down on the morrow to feastings and laughter only because you forego such festivities, manning radar and sonar stations, in the skies above us, deep below the oceans of our world, and in fierce desert winds.

We thank you for what you protect us from, and raise our glasses to you on this day, indeed, on every day, because without you, there could be no us.

You have stood your ground in the worst of circumstances, providing Americans the security to go about their daily lives, getting little recognition, and sometimes the shaft after you returned home. But know that at least some of us, nay, that most of us, keep all of you in our thoughts and our prayers as we celebrate this Holiday season.

For those of you who have answered the call, and who save others who face utter disaster in their lives, whether it be natural or man made disasters, a salute in the highest order is due, and hereby raised to recognize you and yours.

May the blessings of whatever God you believe in keep you and hold you safely until you return home, and for those of you who have already served, we pray that the worst is over for you and your families, and that this government realize that you are not expendable in the minds of the citizens of our country, but deserve to be treated with all the respect that can be mustered, with all available aid offered out to you willingly, and not forced to be given in some begrudged form. Things will get better for you and your families. The American people demand it, and so it shall be.

Let this little note, written from the heart of a grateful American, echo the sentiments of the vast majority of us, who know and understand the ordeals and the trials that our service members go through, and we collectively raise our glasses of toddy or eggnog, or apple cider, and say to all of our troops, past and present, Happy Holidays and stay safe. Whether you be in Al A'Zamiyah, Senjaray, Okinowa, or Ft. Hamilton, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Peace be unto those who celebrate Eid El Fitr, and may the new year ring in the homecoming of all of you. Batmanchester

Friday, December 21, 2007

The NFL Spits In America's Face

In every single nation around the world, or at least the ones that have access to the internet, one can watch NFL games almost any time they are played by any channel that has online live streaming capability. Or, you can if you don't live in the United States or Canada. For a time, there were several U.S. based web sites that carried those live streaming channels, but after lawsuit threats by the NFL, they were forced, due to lack of funds to fight a lawsuit from the behemoth, to shut those online channels off to the U.S. and Canada, although you may still watch them overseas.
The reasoning behind this is as cynical and twisted as the logic that many major television outlets use for not broadcasting streaming television over the internet. Loss of revenue.
The same twisted reasoning is behind the newly realized by Northeastern fans that they will not be able to see what could be a game that has huge implications for not only the NFC playoff picture, but may determine whether or not the New England Patriots go undefeated for the entire season. The NFL Network will not budge from it's stance that prevents most cable customers that do not have access to that network from seeing the game, to move the game to an over the air major network, which is what is required by law if the game is being played in the area where the fans of both teams reside.
Sen. Arlen Specter has been looking into whether or not the NFL exemptions to U.S. antitrust laws should be re-examined, and that statement alone took my breath away. It boggles one's mind to realize that what is supposed to be an enjoyable past time for Americans has turned into this all consuming drive for more and more revenue by corporate hyenas, who spit in our faces every week by blacking out home games in certain markets, in some weird bid to try to force fans that want to see their team to go and buy massively over priced tickets.
Why does the NFL have an exemption to the laws of the United States in the first place? What idiots gave the league this preferential treatment? Do they not make enough money already that they would deny those who are in on the future of television and how these events will be viewed ten years from now access to games on the internet? The streaming online games showed the same exact commercials, could be tracked back by hit numbers as to how many household exposures to the ads there actually were, and would provide an even wider audience for not only the NFL, but other media outlets as well.
NBC already presents many of their hit television series online, with limited commercials, and they are widely watched on the internet. At least NBC has some vision of the future, while the NFL does not. Or does, but will try to vacuum every dime out of American and Canadian audiences until the time comes when they start to actually lose money by not airing games online, free for everyone who wishes to watch them.
This latest bid by the NFL Network to hold onto the games, and the cable companies to force Americans to pay a 'premium' fee in order for the carrier to show the Network to viewers is a cynical attempt at nothing short of extortion.
This unfair practice of allowing the rest of the world to view NFL games online, while blocking access to only American and Canadian markets should either be reversed, or maybe it's time that Americans start looking elsewhere for their entertainment. Boycott their games and stop buying the NFL's paraphernalia for just one year, and see how quickly they reverse themselves.
You'll do this if you're as outraged as the fans in the North East are at being blacked out by the NFL once again in a game of such importance to the followers of both teams involved. And you'll do it if you're sick of corporate entities receiving special treatment when it comes to following the laws of our nation. Maybe we all need to drop Sen. Spector and Sen. Leahy a note and ask them to stop 'exempting' the NFL from anti-trust laws, and force them to not only protect the millionaire players of the game, but those of us who watch the games also from board room sharks who screw us every chance they get, from over priced tickets and concessions at the games, to the forced shut down of internet television stations that carried the games that the rest of the world may watch, except for us. Batmanchester

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Of World Conquest Proportions

As George Bush gleefully signed a bill requiring automobiles in the United States to have emission standards of at least 35 MPG by 2020, the other bills practically spoken of as after thoughts went right by everyone once again, just as expected, because they pass them when everyone is out rushing around doing last minute Christmas shopping. Other nation's news organizations blare warnings of the newly passed U.S. defense budget, asking just why in the world our country would need to be spending over 700 BILLION dollars for fiscal 2008 on the Defense department.

The way they keep getting away with slipping these things past the public, is by passing these budgets piece by piece, never slapping us with the entire bill all at once. Compare it to being in a restaurant. The wait person brings your drink, hands you a bill for 2 or 3 dollars, you pay it, and your salad then appears, for which you are handed another small bill for oh, say, 3-4 dollars, and so on and so on. This is exactly what our government does to us. They hand us an 'appropriations bill for around 216 billion dollars for the Defense Dept., and everyone says "Well that's not too bad." But just around he corner comes a bill for the salad, and it's a bit pricey at 500 or so billion.

But for dessert, you now get the gutless wonders that stink up the halls of our nations' institutions handing Bush another 70 billion dollars to keep his illegal wars going, until after the Holidays at least. Can't interrupt the next vacation for the lawmakers, now can we? And so, to take yet another 2-3 weeks off, (wish we could all do that, huh?), they cave in to this madman in chief, and give him his money like weak willed school children who hand over their milk money to the bully in the yard.

But this same Congress also backed down to the bully's demands for cuts in social programs for the poor, and so as they go off to their nice warm homes, many in America will be cold and hungry while they dine heartily on traditional feasts. How does anyone who works in Washington sleep at night?

And why, at this time of record budget deficits, falling home prices, stock scandals, soaring domestic pricing for everything, does our Defense Dept. need ever more money from our Treasury, unless they intend to use this for the domination and conquest of an entire globe?

We have 705 military bases in 130 countries around the world, with another 6,000 military bases in the U.S. and it's territories. And this doesn't even account for the 300 or so 'secret' military installations that we have around the world, some disguised as part of a friendly nations' own military apparatus, and some are so huge, such as Anaconda Base north of Baghdad, that they have 9 separate bus routes to shuttle service members around the base.

Ever wonder why California Senator Feinstein, a supposed left wing liberal, is always siding with Bush when it comes to the war in Iraq?

It's because she is on something called the Senate's Military Construction Subcommittee, which uses as their catch phrase, "America's footprint on the world." This subcommittee has identified what they call 'the arc of instability' that stretches from the Andes to North Africa, and reaches across to the the Asian continent and includes the Phillipines.

Our new family of bases include the impoverished nations of Europe: Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria; in Asia -- Pakistan (where we already have four bases), India, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and even, unbelievably, Vietnam; in North Africa -- Morocco, Tunisia, and especially Algeria (scene of the slaughter of some 100,00 civilians since 1992, when, to quash an election, the military took over, backed by our country and France); and in West Africa -- Senegal, Ghana, Mali, and Sierra Leone (even though it has been torn by civil war since 1991). The models for all these new installations, according to the Pentagon, are the string of bases we have built around the Persian Gulf in the last two decades in such anti-democratic autocracies as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

This small window looking directly into the heart of why we need a Defense budget that is more than half of our nations' annual Gross National Product, should give everyone pause as to what the intentions of our government truly are. The Congress is complicit in the attempted hegemony that this administration has forcefully endorsed, but has been in the works for at least two decades. And we haven't even mentioned the bases we now have in former Soviet countries such as Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

Ask yourself one question this Christmas. Is it worth it to terrify and subjugate the entire world, as we allow our own citizens to go hungry and cold in order to feed the never ending war machine?

If you can't honestly answer in the affirmative, then it is your responsibility to demand change from your lawmakers. Demand they stop their attempted takeover of the globe on the backs of dead American children, and the discarding of what they perceive to be expendable American citizens. Demand that they rebuild our infrastructure before spending another dime on this foolish war of choice, and give our children health care and educations. Anything less makes you as complicit in this disgusting policy as they are. Batmanchester

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Israel Acting Like The Nazis They Hated

When the U.S. Intelligence Community issued the latest estimates on the Iranian nuclear program, stating that to the best of their knowledge, the Iranians had abandoned their ambitions to own weapons of mass destruction more than three years ago, the Israelis almost had a heart attack. They fully expected that Prime Minister Olmert would be able to lead the U.S. down the road to war once more by providing us with their own version of 'intelligence' through MOSSAD. Not caring about the death and destruction such a war may have caused for the United States, they would have watched gleefully from the sidelines as the sands of the Middle East ran red with both American and Arab blood on a scale that would have been on par with World War Two.

The Israeli government is lambasting the Intelligence Report, and going so far as to warn us here in the U.S. that if we don't change our minds, there may be a 'catastrophic war' in the Middle East.

To be sure, the Iranians are no little angels. As the talks were going on in Annapolis, the Iranians were busy test firing their newest toy, called the Shihab-3, which has a range of 1,250 plus miles, and is capable of striking not only Israel, but Western Europe as well. But if we step back and consider the consequences of any sort of Iranian action towards Israel or any of our Allies, does anyone truly believe that Iran does not know that their entire nation would cease to exist as soon as their first missiles left the launch pads?

The Israelis have become quite adept over the years in influencing U.S. policy to the detriment of the American people. Touted as our staunchest allies and a true friend to the United States, all one has to do is look at the plight of the Palestinian people and that should put the relationship to the test. What happened to the Jewish people during World War Two in the ghettos of Warsaw, is now being perpetrated on the Palestinians by the very same survivors of Hitler's infamous techniques.

Put aside all talk of Israel's right to exist where it does, because the fact is that they are where they are, and they're not going anywhere. They have as much right to their own country as anyone else. But what about the Palestinians?

The IRC just released a report calling the deterioration of conditions in the Palestinian Territories a humanitarian crisis on par with some of the world's worst suffering by any single people. The Israelis routinely carpet bomb villages and towns in the West Bank and Gaza, purportedly to go after terrorist cells, or what they suspect are terrorist cells. Women and children? Bah. Collateral Damage. Poisoned drinking water? Too bad. And as the suffering increased over the last 40 years of Israeli occupation, they have restricted the movement of the Palestinian people to the point that most are unable to cross borders in order to find work, and so unemployment is skyrocketing out of control, the people are starving, living in hovels and tin shacks, and suffering in conditions comparable to the conditions that the Jewish people suffered in the Warsaw ghetto.

But as the suffering increased, a few Palestinians tried to resist, in much the same manner that the Jewish people in the Warsaw ghetto tried to resist their own extermination. Labeled as 'terrorists', it gave the Israeli government the excuse they needed to further their own brand of genocide against the Palestinian people. They have shut off the flow of electricity and clean drinking water to the Palestinian Territories, causing sickness, suffering, and death.

To make matters worse, when the Palestinians decided to try to grow their own food, and raise their own livestock for their starving population, the Israeli government set up a road block system designed not to protect against any threat, but to prevent farmers from accessing their own land, and the ones that did manage to harvest a crop were denied the ability to bring that food to the market places.

The international community is about to deliver billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority, but it will be meaningless if the Israeli stranglehold on the economic life of the Territories is not lifted. And it won't be. With so many dual Israeli/American citizens in high places throughout our governemnt, there will be no change in policy, nor any pressure on the Israeli government to end the genocide of a people who only want their own state and to live out peaceful lives. To make a better world for their children.

Yes, of course there are people fighting the Israelis in the Palestinian Territories. But has anyone stopped to wonder just how much of it would calm down if the Israelis would stop pushing for the extermination of all Arab countries? Let's not delude ourselves any longer about the realities of the world at large. We ended up in a war in Afghanistan due to the Taliban. Who trained the Taliban how to fight, and helped them rise to power in the first place? Why, the Israelis! Supposed enemies, they trained the Taliban fighters in Pakistan, but that's an issue for another day. So is the fact that when convienient to them, the Israelis were not above attacking U.S. ships, their main ally.

The point is that the Israelis have allowed themselves to become what they hate most in the world, and remind us of every chance they can, the Nazis. Just as Hitler tried to wipe out the Jewish people, so too the Israelis now try to exterminate the Palestinians. And the administration may twist words about Iran saying they were going to wipe Israel off of the map, but a reading of that speech shows the lie to that also.

Unconditional support for the Israeli government is a long held fallacy in our foreign policy and must be changed. Supporting a regime that kills women and children, and causes the suffering of millions upon millions of people should not be something that Americans are proud of, but we should be holding that government to the same exact standards of humane conduct in which we hold every other nation in the world.

Israel must stop the genocide and give the Palestinians back their self respect, their own state, resume the electricity and water, and allow farmers to grow food for their people, millions of whom are now suffering from the effects of malnutrition, or we should cut off the 10 billion annual tax payer dollars to Israel until they comply. Period. Batmanchester

Friday, December 14, 2007

Gannet Media Decides What You Need To Hear

The farcical reasoning behind the Des Moines Register's exclusion of yet another Democratic contender in the race for President is yet another example of dirty politics being played behind the scenes by our defense contractor controlled corporate media. It was bad enough when MSM was crowning Hillary Clinton Queen of America, and basically deciding the election for the United States a year before any primary had even taken place, but when they start to exclude candidates on the basis of money they have raised, or the even more hypocritical claim that a candidate doesn't have a campaign office in the state, then maybe it is finally time for Americans to have their own debate, online, that includes every candidate that wants to participate.

The Register, owned by Gannet Media Inc., also owns such fine bastions of right wing thinking such as USA Today, The Military Times and Defense News. So should it really come as any surprise to us that the candidate who speaks openly and defiantly about ending the wars of convenience, stopping the spread of military spending to the detriment of other social programs, impeachment proceedings against the war criminals in the White Hose, and helping the poor and the middle class regain some self respect, was the candidate that was chosen to be excluded from the non debate?

Mike Gravel was also excluded from the debate because of his similar stances, but the hypocrisy shows up in full military dress when one realizes that former Ambassador Alan Keyes was allowed to participate in the Register's Republican debate, despite the fact that he doesn't have a campaign office in the state of Iowa either. The only other debate that Keyes has even participated in was one held on Sept. 27th, in Baltimore, and if they even try to start with the money as a factor reasoning, they'd better check their facts first. Keyes, besides being the longest shot in the history of Presidential races, has raised about 75 thousand dollars total for his campaign, while Kucinich rivals Bill Richardson in fund raising, which translates into millions of dollars.

We no longer, or maybe have not had for a long time and are just now seeing it for the first time, open and honest elections, where fair play was the rule. What we have is a media that whittles down the candidates at the direction of the corporations that own them, until they get it down to the two choices they figure will do their bidding the best. This time around the media tried to foist another Clinton on us, but the backlash against that idea is taking hold, as people are becoming more aware of what is really going on due to internet bloggers.

Not only that, but had the other Democratic candidates had any guts, any spine at all, they would have resisted this censorship of a Presidential candidate, and boycotted this phony debate altogether.

And so, once again, a candidate for the highest office in the land is silenced by the media. But only if we allow it. Despite what the corporate mega buck world may think, we the people, can do something to stop them from stomping out the voices they don't want the public to hear from. It doesn't matter whether or not you are right, left, or middle of the road, this issue affects us all. As Americans, we believe in decency, fair play, and everyone getting the same chance as the next person. And so it doesn't matter either if you agree with Dennis Kucinich on the issues, or whether you would never vote for him. What does matter is that we should be able to make that informed decision ourselves, and not have it made for us in the board room of some multi-national conglomerate. (Yes, Gannet owns overseas media also.) Here's Gannet Media's contact info, just in case, you know, you felt like telling them how you feel:

Gannett Co., Inc.
7950 Jones Branch DriveMcLean, VA 22107
Voice (703) 854-6000

Tell the media to stop trying to make our voting decisions for us. Tell them to allow us to hear all points of view from anyone that wants to give it, and not just the ones who fit into their neat little never ending war scenario. Tell them we have had enough, and there are other ways to get information that isn't cherry picked, and packaged into what they want you to believe. Tell them that in the United States, we believe in equal opportunity for all, and you'll not only be making a stand against corporate media censorship, but you'll be making a stand for every single American, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green Party, and any other political leaning person alike. Batmanchester

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Eating Bad And Bad Journalism

In the Today section of MSNBC's site, there's an article that drew my attention, only because I'm not as young as I used to be, and like to pay at least a little lip service into watching what I eat now a days.

The article, entitled: "16 secrets the restaurant industry doesn't want you to know", and written by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, with additional research by Lauren Murrow, leads the reader to believe that something of major importance is about to be imparted, some pearls of wisdom that none of the rest of us are aware, that may someday save our lives.

Instead, what we are treated to is a hit list of restaurants that the writers obviously don't care much for, with almost no information on the actual food content, cleanliness factors, or any other truly health related information. Let's take apart their hit list piece by piece, and examine what's passing for journalism these days.

First though, this is the byline to the 'story' that draws you in and makes you think you're about to get the inside dirt: "Men's Health scrambled behind the counters, dug under the drive-thrus, and plunged into the deep fryers to find out what's really going into our meals "

The article itself gives absolutely no information as to why these restaurants are bad for our health, but lists sixteen restaurants that are not noted for their dedication to healthy eating in the first place. In this day and age of consumer awareness, it should be obvious to a second grader that Burger King, home of the Double Whopper with cheese, would not be considered a first pick for the vegetarian minded among us. They complain about Burger King's food without going into numbers that may have been, oh you know, maybe analyzed in a lab, with a report, or something of that nature.

They also don't like Outback Steak House, Applebee's, Red Robin, Hooter's, TGI Friday's, Maggiano's Little Italy, or any of the other chain restaurants. Hmmm, I personally think that TGI Friday's flank steak is awesome, and could care less that it's red meat, or that the company only has three dishes that are under 500 calories on it's menu. The same goes for all of the other restaurants. I eat steak, many millions of Americans eat steak, wings, Italian food by the truckload, and those deep fried onion things make my toes curl in ecstasy.

The funniest one on the hit list is IHOP. The article whines about the fact that IHOP's Omelette Feast has 1,335 calories and blah blah blah. Ok, Mommy and Daddy, listen up. If I wanted a veggie burger with some soy milk, I'm sure that I'm old enough to go find it in either a restaurant or my local grocery store. I go to IHOP or Denny's because I'm starving and WANT to eat a humongous breakfast, not caring about the fat content. I'll drink a V-8 later on today and all will balance out with the universe.

Also included in this hated food parade are favorites of many of us, such as Baskin Robbins, Papa John's, Fuddruckers, Dunkin Donuts, Arby's and a couple of restaurants that I've never visited, but will now just to show that I can. Are they serious? Is there any one of you who are reading this and actually saying to yourself that any of the just mentioned restaurants are health food joints? Or do you truly buy this new line that these establishments need to be regulated to the point that they have to TELL you before you eat there that their food is probably going to clog your arteries some day? We're talking about places whose main staples are ice cream, pizza, big fat hamburgers, feel good sandwiches, delicious donuts, and other nefarious fare.

This wasn't an article designed to inform us of anything that we didn't already know. Or, in the case of those still watching the Simpsons on a nightly basis, maybe you didn't know, but could care less any way. Can't these health food elitists leave the rest of us in peace, and just lament our eating habits over their chi tea and scones?

If we, as a nation are so concerned with these restaurants and the content of the food that they serve, don't you think we'd stop eating there? Most of us are more worried about an out of control President with his itchy finger on the Iranian nuclear trigger that what McDonald's is serving in it's Happy Meals. Maybe if the elitists would join the real world, and the rest of us down here in the trenches, using their talents to do some good, rather than whining about what the rest of us are eating, we could actually get someone in D.C. to realize just how unhappy the nation truly is.

Instead, they want to take our comfort foods away and really make us miserable. Thanks. This was a yellow hit piece if there ever was one, and just to spite them, I'm off to Runza's to get a double bacon cheeseburger, with a side of cooked in CORN oil fries, Biggie sized please, with a LARGE chocolate shake. And for desert, a nice, relaxing Camel Wide. So there..............Batmanchester

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Worst Charity In America

The appropriation of funds for those in need during the holiday season has become such a huge business for some of America's charitable organizations, that we talk in terms of billions of dollars donate by Americans every year to some organizations who most of us have heard of, but really know very little about. The sad fact is that there are some of these boiler room charities whose sole purpose is the raising of funds to feed their corporate appetite for raising more money. At some of these scandal plagued charities in name only, less than 10% of the money donated is actually put to the use that donors intend it for. And with little to no government oversight, combined with the refusal by some of these places to open up their books to the public, we can safely assume the have something to hide.

One of the best watchdog type of agencies that receive almost no publicity mainly due to the fact that they expose the corrupt charities, down to the dollar amounts received and the outflow of dollars going to what the charity's stated mission is, is an organization called the Charity Navigator. Being the research type, I run through their site on a regular basis, and was appalled at some of the outright fraud they know all about, but the general public is blissfully unaware of.

Let's have a peek at what's going on behind the scene at one of America's worst charities.

Starting with the American Red Cross, there is literally an entire section of the Charity Navigator's site devoted to this most corrupt and mismanaged so called charity, with an entire blog section that details so many instances of embezzlement that has gone unpunished and money that has been donated by good hearted Americans that can not be accounted for, that one must wonder exactly why this corporation exists in the first place.

Two of the largest scandals to rock this agency in recent memory have been the misuse and outright theft of funds given generously by the public to help the victims of the 9/11 attacks, and Hurricane Katrina.

According to aid workers, and directors of agencies set up in the aftermath of these incidents, money that was supposed to flow into the coffers of agencies to be distributed to the actual victims of these disasters has never been received, causing untold misery for those who have the most need. So what is going on at the Red Cross and why can't they keep a national chapter head for very long? And where are the billions of dollars in donations that were given to the charity in the aftermath of Katrina? One of the answers buried on page six should help to clarify things just a little.

First and foremost, and not known by most, is the fact that the Red Cross is now packed full of Bush appointees. The very same people who have taken the nation as a whole down the road to ruin, are also the people who sit on the ARC's Board of Directors, such as Michael Chertoff, and Condoleeza Rice, among others who also work in the Bush Administration.

The most recent head of the Red Cross was quietly fired, with almost no attention paid to the fact that the reason that he was released was due to his having an affair with the head of the South East Red Cross Chapter. Mark Everson, the Red Cross National Chapter appointee, and Paige Roberts, of the South East Chapter were both married, and Roberts is now pregnant with Everson's child. But even more important is the issue of monies that are alleged to have been used by both to carry on their affair, that came from the coffers of the Red Cross. In any other corporation, someone would be on their way to jail for this type of activity, but for some reason, the Red Cross seems to be moving swiftly to cover up the entire incident and sweep it all under their proverbial rug.

All mention of the scandal is disappearing from their individual chapter web sites faster than one can find the postings, and in fact, all references to the scandal are being pulled from even pages on AOL. Going further, the web site for the South East Chapter is gone entirely, and is currently 'under construction.'

Who would have that type of pull? Again, all we have to do is look at the Board of Directors. The secrecy and refusal to disclose information is so in step with the Bush White House policy, that it has now become almost impossible to differentiate between the administration and the charity. They have become essentially one and the same, which was never the intent of the founders of the Red Cross. Could this be just another chapter in the saga of this administration's middle finger to America's poor? Much in the vein of the appointments of unqualified people running FEMA, Everson's appointment to the Red Cross chair was suspect from the outset, as he had absolutely no experience whatsoever in running any charitable organization, coming, as he did, from being the former Commissioner of the IRS.

Public statements by the Red Cross about the misuse of funds by Everson and Roberts are vague and only say that the matter is being looked into. Privately, Red Cross and industry insiders talk of the fuming mad Board looking for any amount misspent by the pair and how they intend to make them pay any money used back.

All of this would be bad enough, but when one starts to delve just a little deeper into what happens to the money that is donated to the Red Cross, a pattern begins to emerge. Going into just the 25 million dollar donation by the country of Kuwait earmarked for the victims of Katrina, the pattern of misuse becomes clear. None of the 25 million dollars went to aid any victim. It was used instead, on 'administrative costs.'

Kirby Sommers, who heads Katrina Home Drive, has looked into where a lot of the theft has been happening, and has compiled a startling list of fraud, theft and abuse at the agency, none of it reported on or looked into by our 4th Estate.Among her findings are these little gems:

Eileen Therese Saxon of the Asheville, North Carolina Red Cross chapter charged with embezzling $165,000 – 9% of its $1.25 million dollar annual budget. (Source Ashville Citizen Times)

Karen Shuerger, former assistant director of accounting at the Orange County, California Chapter of the Red Cross has been sentenced to six months in Federal prison, ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $110,000 and when she is released, she will also serve 3 years of supervised release and six months of home detention. (Source: NY Times)

Red Cross Director Jonathon A. Jarrell of Virginia indicted on one count of embezzlement. Jarrell allegedly embezzled about $16,452 from the chapter between November 2004 and July 2006.

Joseph Lecowitch, CEO of the Hudson County Chapter in New Jersey, and his bookkeeper Catalina Escoto. Escoto gave herself $75,000 in bonuses. According to prosecutors, these two stole well over $1 million Red Cross donor dollars squandering it on gambling and each other. (Source: NY Times).

The list goes on and on, and includes reports by Red Cross volunteers of bags of money that simply disappeared, with no accounting of where the money went, or even of how much was stolen.

Every single charity watchdog group online has been calling for Congress to step in and clean up this mess by firing the entire Board of Directors, and imposing some sort of oversight on the agency, but to date, no one is willing to step forward and do anything about it.

With all of the cronyism, theft of donations, hirings of family members into positions that are essentially no show jobs, and the appointments of non experienced personnel, we can see once more just what this administration thinks about helping the poor, or victims of disasters. They have turned a once prestigious, caring organization, that could always be counted on to do good works, into their personal piggy banks, and the worst charity in America.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Death Of Decency

Having survived two tours of duty in Iraq, and having been involved in some of the fiercest fire fights in Fallujah, the marine whom I met about three years ago in a bar in New Hampshire, returned home missing not just the lower portion of both of his legs, but according to everyone who knew him, he returned missing a piece of his soul.

I met this man quite by accident in a small bar in Dec. of 2004 because I happened to be in the same little hole in the wall as he just before he was going to be shipped overseas. He was smartly dressed in fatigues, neatly pressed, and had that military way of speaking when addressed, with the annoying habit of answering every question with "Yes Sir!"

Trying to decipher as to the reason why someone so young would want to run off to fight in what I felt even then was a false war, his reply was the usual standard one for those who have been indoctrinated into the faith. That it wasn't his place to question the legalities of a given conflict, it was only his job to go and protect America. I wrote a piece about our conversation back then, and how we promised to keep in touch, so I would know that he'd made it back alive.

Before he actually left, he actually took me to his mother's house, who promised to make sure that I knew of his home coming, so we would have the chance to meet up again. And meet up again we did.

When this honorable man got back from Iraq, he was missing a third of his left leg, and three quarters of his right. Not given much over to complaining, it was sad to see the eyes that had been so sure and so strong just the year before, now having that glazed over and hollow look of those who are haunted by visions of death and destruction often reveal.

Starting out in a wheelchair, he waited patiently for it to be his turn to be fitted for prosthetic devices, but as time wore on, and the waiting list for him to be flown to Walter Reed became longer, he sort of resigned himself to the fact that he'd be sitting in that chair for awhile, or using the crutches so generously offered by the VA in New Hampshire.

During the time that he waited, he lost the love of his life, which often happens in these types of situations, along with his ability to keep an apartment, and so he moved back in with his mother.

I still remember the last time that I saw him, because it was snowing and he wanted to go to the bar where we met, but it was snowing so hard that he couldn't push his wheelchair through he building drifts, and so, of course, I had to do the pushing. No easy task, we trudged ( or rather I trudged, he sat giggling at my feeble effort at heroics) until we made our way there, vowing to taxi it on the way back. As the night wore on, he became somewhat morose, most likely due to the copious and generous flowing of inebriates, but as his eyes became infused with that look of which I spoke, I asked him whether or not he would have done it all the same way were he to have the opportunity to simply walk away this time.

He told me that he would run as far and as fast to Canada or any other country he could, and would encourage everyone to do the same. That what he had seen and done he would not wish on anyone, and had it been for the protection of his country, then he would have felt differently. But he knew, as did many of his fellow soldiers, once they were over there, that the entire affair was a sham. That no one had any idea of what it was they were attempting to accomplish, and that the powers that be were more interested in guarding the oil fields than they were in trying to rebuild the infrastructure that the Bush Administration had so shockingly and awe inspiringly blown sky high. As the night became late, I wanted to take him back to his mother's house, but he insisted on staying, assuring me he'd hitch a ride with one of the good fellas from the neighborhood. I made sure that he had my email and my cell number so he could keep in touch, and we could get together again.

That was the last time that I ever saw him. Life being fluid, it was time for me to move on, and before I left Manchester, I tried to stop in and see him, but his mother didn't know his whereabouts, and so I left her my email once more, extracting the usual promises to keep in touch. She promised this to me, and before leaving, told me that my friend's situation was getting worse, as depression and suicidal ideation had set in, but not to worry, as he was getting medications for this new condition. But one can always tell when another is putting on the bravest of faces, when the reality of the situation has yet to sink fully in, and I left New Hampshire troubled that no one was paying any attention to this man's plight.

Friday past, I received the email that I knew would come eventually after months of speaking back and forth electronically with this woman. I never could get him to write to me, to him, life had become little more than a jumble of blurring pain, and the bottom of an empty glass. And so it came as no surprise to learn that he had finally decided to end it all, by overdosing on the very pills they had given him to ease his pain. He took all of them. Not by accident. You don't accidentally overdose on a newly filled prescription. They're going to bury him this week, but alas and to my chagrin, I can not be there.

What this saga has taught me is that there is no decency left in our nation. Oh sure, the veterans make the headlines every once in a while at times like the scandal at Walter Reed. But now that the defense contractor owned media has declared the corporate line of mission accomplished part two, you know, the surge worked after all, the plight of our men and women in harms way has dropped off of the radar like yesterdays old news. The talking heads who think to analyze for us the goings on of the world, but who are little more than paid shills that wouldn't know a wounded vet of this President's criminal war if they passed them on the street while they wore a sign saying "Homeless Iraq Vet, Please Help", should shut their mouths about what the people of our country are concerned about in the upcoming election.

Here's something they don't want you to know. Such as the fact that at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, a full 25 per cent of those returning from this horror show exhibit signs of mental illness. And less than one quarter of them are receiving any treatment due to long waiting lists.

Our veterans have become little more than propaganda pieces for our politicians, who trot them out for photo ops when ever a rally round the flag moment is deemed appropriate, but forgotten by them the minute the television cameras are off. The politicos and the news people go off to a hot cup of coffee and congratulate each other on a job well done, while the vets, many of them homeless, go back into the cold of the day, in a never ending search for their lost sanity.

It's time for everyone to keep these men and women in the spotlight during this election, and not allow talking heads to assure us that everything is all better now. If we allow the death of decency, the pushing aside of these people, then we are as lost as the pundits who don't have any clue of the reality of life on the streets.

Now is not the time to take the pressure off as a favor to this administration. It's time for the media to grow some you know what, and take this administration to task every day if need be, until they stop speaking platitudes about helping our injured vets, and do something to provide them with the care they so desperately need. The public can do this also by putting on the pressure with emails and phone calls to both the media and their politicians demanding action.

To the mother of my friend, forgive us all for not being there when your son, my friend, needed us the most. Batmanchester

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Clinton Political Crime Machine

With the primaries drawing ever closer and with so much at stake in this election that will determine whether the United States continues on it's present course towards the cliffs, or veers away to a brighter future, it's time to take a deeper look at the woman who has already been crowned Queen of America by the corporate controlled media.

After considerable research, one can only come to the conclusion that the Clinton political machine is every bit as formidable as the one put in place by former White House operative Karl Rove, and every bit as criminal. Let's see what they've been up to.

Ms. Clinton has out right refused to open up the records of her husband's Presidential library, and with good reason. The group known as Judicial Watch recently obtained photos from the library that show Hillary was less than truthful when she stated that she had no hand in nor had she met with any of the principles of the generous pardons handed out by then President Clinton at the end of his term. The case that I'm referring to would be the one wherein Mr. Clinton pardoned 4 Hasidic men convicted of stealing up to 30 million dollars in educational grant money. In return for the pardons, Grand Rabbi David Twersky agreed to deliver the Hasidic vote to Ms. Clinton during her upcoming Senatorial bid. Which is exactly what happened. Out of the almost 1,500 eligible voters under the good Rabbi's influence, more than 1,400 of them voted for Ms. Clinton.

Despite denials, the old saying of a picture being worth a thousand words holds true in this case, as the photo obtained by the Judicial Watch people clearly show a smiling Ms. Clinton posing for the cameras with her husband and Rabbi Twersky near the end of Mr. Clinton's term as President. Just a coincidence? Doubtful.

But let's take a look at some of the fund raising practices of the Clinton political machine.

A recent story in the Washington Post shows clear evidence of criminal conduct when it comes to raising the Hillary War Chest. It highlights some $400,000 in contributions from New York's Chinatown district alone that came from some very unlikely sources. Like dishwashers who toil for minimum wage writing checks to Clinton for upwards of $1,000. Likewise, the same is true of wait staff and others, who unemployed and living in tenements, somehow scraped together the maximum allowable donation amounts, and forwarded it to the Clinton campaign. Indeed, after an investigation, it was revealed by some of the 'donors', that they didn't even know who Clinton was, let alone donate money to her campaign. Furthermore, more than one third of the donors were not registered voters, and some were illegal aliens. Well, I imagine when one has a La Raza head as one of your campaign managers, illegal immigrant contributions are just as good as anyone else's.

If you think that a vote for Hillary would be a vote for freedom restoration in this country, think again. In 1998, then First Lady Clinton proposed that the internet needed 'Gatekeeping', and some sort of government control and oversight. For your own protection of course. Given Ms. Clinton's stances on the issues, somehow none of them jive with her '98 stance that the internet should be filtered for content that contains references to homosexuality, feminism, drug use, criminal activity, and best of all, "negative product reviews." Now that's net neutrality.

Think that Clinton would be for peace or for more war in the Middle East? Let's look at what she said in front of the United Nations. “We will support Israel’s efforts to send a message to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians, to the Iranians, to all who seek death and domination instead of life and freedom,”

This was during Israel's invasion of southern Lebanon. At the time of this little speech by Clinton, the Israelis had dropped leaflets ordering the civilians to evacuate their towns and villages, then proceeded to carpet bomb the same civilians on roads and bridges as they tried to flee. No outrage from Clinton there.

But let's look at Ms. Clinton's much cried about, failed 'Universal Health Initiative' that she wants another crack at. In 1994, Clinton's plan included fines of up to $50,000 for individuals who refused to sign up for her insurance company give away, $5,000 for failing to pay your premiums on time, $10,000 per day for faulty doctor paperwork, and $100,000 per day against drug companies who made mistakes. When told that this plan could and probably would bankrupt small businesses and homeowners, Clinton replied" "I can't be responsible for every under capitalized small business in America." Her plan also would have required people to carry national identification cards that embedded confidential patient information on computer chips.

But the best campaign contributions have come from such obvious criminal sources that the N.Y. Post ran this:"A purported pyramid-scheme operator who was run out of Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor has reinvented himself as the head of an upstate group accused of being a “cult” - and his devotees have pumped thousands into Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential run. Executives and top associates of the Albany-based NXIVM group - along with their family members - donated $29,900 to Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to federal records. On March 14 and April 13, records show, more than a dozen contributions poured into Clinton’s coffers from NXIVM, an executive and group-awareness training organization led by Brooklyn-born Keith Raniere, 47. Most were from first-time political donors, each giving the $2,300 maximum…In his previous incarnation, the Svengali-like Raniere ran a $30 million multilevel marketing business that imploded after federal agencies and regulators in 23 states alleged it was an illegal pyramid scheme."

So much for caring about where your campaign donations come from.

Add all of this to other things that I wrote about in the piece entitled "The Crimes Of Hillary Clinton" and what we are starting to see here is another version of Whitewater type politics from the Clinton campaign, who are determined to keep this country on the Bush course despite all denials and platitudes to the contrary. A vote for Clinton is as good as a vote for George Bush, because as interchangeable as their families are, so are their politics, and their determination to push forward the agenda of the neo-cons. Batmanchester

Friday, December 7, 2007

An Open Letter To The Republican Party

On March 4th, 1861, the very first Republican President of the United States was sworn into office. Known as a great American, he is forever enshrined in our nation's capitol, the memorial to him visited by millions the world over every year. Abraham Lincoln is probably rolling over in his grave upon seeing what his party has become, and the greed, fear, and lies that now permeate the American landscape because of it.

Teddy Roosevelt was another Republican President who is widely considered to be a great man, and who was also, along with General Dwight D. Eisenhower, forever seared into the American psyche as true patriots. But that's where it ends.

You, the politicians who have inherited a party that was always before known as the party who could always be counted onto do the right thing when America needed you the most, are now widely perceived, not just here in America, but indeed, the world over, as the American political machine that is to be feared, that is corrupt, and that believes that somehow, America has an inherent right to own the world.

The world has seen the corruption that ran rampant during the administrations of Nixon, and Reagan, as well as the first President Bush. But nothing in the entire history of the Republican Party could have ever prepared the world for the outright evil that permeates the halls of Capitol Hill and the White House today. Not to say that the Democratic Party is not without their own skeletons in the closet, but that issue can wait for another day. This one can not.

There are those of you within the party who see the skirting of the laws of the land, but have chosen to remain silent or have voted along party lines to the detriment of the people you were elected to serve. You have backed this President and his Executive cronies, even as they have taken more power unto themselves than is allowed for in our Constitution. You have now seen that this President can not be trusted, has lied us into a war, manipulated our Intelligence Communities, favored his political hacks with positions of high power, even though they were not qualified for the jobs, and taken this country, our beloved America, down a path that will surely lead to ruin for all of us.

You can no longer delude yourselves about any of this, or truly believe in your hearts that this President, his Vice-President, or any one else working for this President has the interests of anyone but themselves and their corporate friends in mind as they make decisions that hurt our economy, get American citizens killed on a daily basis, gut our Constitution, and lead us into war on falsehoods.

In order to regain any credibility with the vast majority of the people of this country, several steps must be taken by the members of your party. First and foremost, you must disavow yourselves of this President, this Vice-President, and indeed, with the entire current Executive Branch. Your continued fealty to them no longer seems like loyalty, but a reckless disregard for the truth. Support the impeachment proceedings, and help to remove these dangerous criminals from office. Anything less is complicity in their ongoing crimes against the American people.

Second. You must stop pandering to the extreme right wing fanatics who are trying to reshape the United States into a fascist entity. This country is beginning to look more like the Nazi Germany of the late 1930's than the America of the modern day.

Third. You can not possibly believe that you are the religious party of our nation. If you truly believe this, then you are lost already, and nothing can be done for you. Your party holds no monopoly on the path to God, for there is something called freedom of religion, as well as freedom FROM religion in this country. Your insistent kneeling before the altar of the religious fanatics, who see themselves as the harbingers of the Hand of Doom, only serves to drive away those of us who might have considered a candidate from your party.

You can no longer block investigations into malfeasance by the White House, the Dept. of Justice, current or former White House officials, or agencies that were created to serve the people, but have been turned into corporate piggy banks. If you are, as you say, a party of truth, then you will see the writing on the wall, and switch course accordingly.

The Republican party needs to go back to their roots. The roots of decency, of the rights of all Americans, of balanced budgets, and of going to war only when there were no other options. Ignoring all of the above can only lead to the continued erosion of your party, as Americans grow weary of your attempts to defraud us, the continued unwavering support of a mad man in the White House, and the open pandering to certain segments of our society to the detriment of the rest. Go back and start over. Those true Republicans among you must kick out those others in your midst who have hijacked the party to further agendas or to rob the United States of it's treasure. There are countless dead Americans who have fought in wars for freedom who demand it. And there are countless Americans alive today who will no longer tolerate the status quo. Batmanchester

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Iranian Obsession

The world has been spared from the horrors of a third world war this week, not because of a sudden change of heart by the draconian chicken hawks that squat in our Executive Branch, but by our Intelligence Community, who were not going to be the scapegoats of an administration run amok again.

This Iranian war obsession by the Bush administration can be traced back to the invasion of Afghanistan, where it was actually the Iranians themselves who pointed out to the then U.S. Representative to the Bonn Conference, James Dobbins, that the original version of the Bonn Agreement, (the plan for Afghanistan after the U.S. and it's NATO allies invaded), contained no mention whatsoever about the little things, such as freedom, democracy, or fighting terrorism. It was only due to the "professionalism of the Iranian diplomats", that these goals were set in place in the Bonn Agreement according to Dobbins' own words.

It was after this Conference that the Iranians tried to set up a rapport with the U.S., giving Dobbins a letter to bring back to the United States, which he did. He gave it to then Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, who rejected it out of hand, saying the Iranians were nuts. Yeah, that's professional.

Even after the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, the Iranians made a second attempt at overture to the United States through the Swiss Ambassador. They offered up a broad range of negotiations, including the recognition of Israel, dropping their support for the radical Palestinians, and putting their nuclear programs on the table. The offer was swiftly belittled by Bush's White House, who actually berated the Swiss Ambassador for bringing the offer to them.

Why wasn't the public made aware of any of this? Well, because that wouldn't serve the interests of the defense contractors who own the media, now would it?

So, even after we get the admission from the Intelligence Community on matters that many of us knew all along were baloney, this President still insists that Iran is a danger to the world, but specifically to the United States. Why in the world would he continue along this phony line of reasoning? It couldn't be because the Israelis are fuming mad about the release of this information, as now they'll have to figure out a way to attack Iran by themselves now would it? Even today, in the N.Y. Times, Israeli Defence Minister Barak said this: “But we cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the Earth, even if it is from our greatest friend.” And with the Israeli lobby in Washington pressuring us from all sides, it's no wonder Bush didn't know what to do, and so chose the easiest way out, which was to plan a bombing run on Iran.

The ramifications of such an attack would have been swift and horrible. Iran, unlike Iraq, hadn't been subjected to the partitioning of their country into no fly zones, or a decade long bombing campaign every time they got out of line. Their Qods force is quite formidable, and their alliances with radical groups that lie under cover within Iraq are extensive. Had an attack occurred the retaliation would have been swift and severe. Our men and women in Iraq would have suffered the brunt of it, and any gains made in Iraq would have been utterly wiped away. Although, even those gains are suspect, as bombs continue to kill Iraqi civilians by the day. But since it's only Americans who aren't getting killed as swiftly, it must count as gains, since in the minds of many, the Iraqi people getting killed don't count. Maybe that was the plan all along. The 100 year war, remember?

This government is not intended to be the personal Big Brother to the state of Israel. Just because the Israelis feel threatened by a stronger Iranian presence in the Middle East, doesn't mean they should have such influence in our government that we would allow our government officials, from the President on down, to lie us into another war, one that could have had the potential of setting the entire world on fire, just to make the Israelis feel better.

It is time for us to sit down at the table with the Iranians. Despite public appearances, we've done it through back channels before when it suited our purposes. Now, with this latest sham foisted on us by an administration that has absolutely no credibility left, it's time to do so openly and publicly. And it's high time that this Congress tie this President's hands. It's time for this Congress to impeach this President for lying once more to the American people about a grave subject that had and still has the potential to get a lot of Americans killed. We can no longer afford to shrug off the feeble attempts at explanation by a mad man or his insane neo-con cronies, who want nothing less than to drag the entire world into a never ending war in order to feed the military/industrial complex. What's next? Will another threat emerge suddenly now? Say like, Syria? The war obsession must stop, and we must demand it, or we are all complicit in the consequences. Batmanchester

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

North American Union Truth Is In The Details

Lately there seems to be a major push by certain right wing elements within the media to try to pooh pooh the very notion that there is a secret agenda quietly moving the United States, Mexico, and Canada towards a North American Union, thereby wiping out the borders of the U.S. altogether. The push to make you believe that this is all just another 'crazy' conspiracy theory is akin to the old saying wherein the devil's greatest trick was to make you believe he didn't exist.

In case no one has been reading the articles that have been appearing with more frequency, the writers of these propaganda pieces basically eschew the government line, explaining away seeming glaring discrepancies in the official version with oh so simple reasoning.

First, because a great many people are starting to notice that, hey, there is a Texas Superhighway being built, the pundits and talking heads feed us the line that these are projects that were in the works for a long time, and have nothing to do with any North American Union.

But let's take a look at what's really going on.

First, in Texas, they ARE building the Texas Superhighway system, and as anyone that lives on or near the border already knows, they have even set aside special lanes, called SENTRI lanes, that opened in December, 2005. These lanes, designed to speed cross border travel for frequent travelers, were hailed by Mexico's government for allowing for the quick and speedy movement of goods and people across the border. One may purchase a SENTRI pass, undergo a swift background and vehicle inspection, receive a border pass, and travel back and forth pretty much unimpeded already. Now, somehow that doesn't have the feel of securing the borders to it. What's to stop a terrorist from obtaining a pass, then secreting his buddies across into the U.S.? Answer: Nothing.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, the TTC or Trans Texas Corridor is being built not only in Texas, but parts of Tennessee, and Mississippi already have sections constructed in their states. The corridors are planned to include 6 lanes for automobiles, 4 truck lanes, 6 rail lanes, as well as power lines and water ways. And although being paid for with your tax dollars, the NAFTA Superhighway will be mostly privately owned by foreign corporations and governments, the two largest beneficiaries being the governments of Spain and Great Britain. And yes, they're going to be TOLL ROADS, with the proceeds and profits going not to the U.S. Treasury, but to foreign entities.

In Canada, in a July 30th, 2007 press release, the Canadian equivalent of our Transportation Department called Transport Canada , announced final agreement on their own plans to build The Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor that would connect to the American/Mexican road and railways already being built.

Third on the list would be the little known fact that not only is one of the heads of La Raza, the racist organization intent on the ouster of Americans from all of the southwestern United States one of Hillary Clinton's campaign managers but they are also being funded by the U.S. government to the tune of over 10 million dollars per year, with a bill introduced earlier this year by U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, to increase La Raza's funding by 5 million dollars per year. Here's a sample of La Raza's own reading material: "Our devil has pale skin and blue eyes," and, "We're a new Mestizo nation." These words were spoken by Jose Angel Gutierrez, one of La Raza's founders and a strong proponent of something called Atzlan which would be accomplished by separating much or all of half a dozen southwestern states from the United States. Why in the word would the U.S. government be funding this group? It is clearly unethical for lobbying groups to be involved in any sort of political discourse, but yet, according to ALIPAC spokesman William Gheen, the way the funding setup has been done, La Raza stands to rake in not just the 10 or so million a year from taxpayers, but because of the way the bill was written, it's an open ended commitment, that could conceivably allow for hundreds of millions to be given to La Raza or any of it's offshoots. Let the KKK or the Black Panther Party apply for that money and see what happens.

How did all of this start you might be wondering? Why, all we have to do is look back a decade and a half to the Presidency of Daddy Bush, who, on April 30th, 1992, signed Executive Order No. 12803 on infrastructure privatization, which created PPPs by clearing federal barriers for cities and states to lease public works infrastructure to private investors.

Furthering this agenda was none other than President Bill Clinton, who actually was the President who signed the first NAFTA agreements, with the goal of opening up our markets to foreign competition. And now the media wants you to put the Clintons back in the White House.

The N.A.U. is a reality. The only way to stop it is to vote for a candidate who will pull us out of the NAFTA agreements, stop the NAFTA Superhighway, and restore fair trade balance and secure the borders of the United States. Don't be suckered by the media pundits who tell you that all of this is a myth. The people of Texas, who stand in front of the Governors mansion and protest know the truth, and so should you by now. There are a lot of other points to make in proving the reality of the coming North American Union, but this should be enough to get you started on the right path. Batmanchester

Monday, December 3, 2007

Supreme Court Proves Who They Work For

Today's refusal by the Supreme Court to even get involved in the case involving Rep. Jim McDermott and Sen. John Boehner should serve as notice to the American people as to whom this Court actually works for. It isn't the American people as a whole, but the Republican party.

In a case that stems back some ten years, the Court refused to consider the case wherein it was alleged by Boehner that McDemott had invaded his privacy by releasing a taped conference call involving Boehner, Newt Gingrich, and staffers. The tape had been received by McDermott by a Florida couple, who overhearing the phone conversation on a police scanner, recorded it, because they realized that what these men were talking about was breaking the law.

McDermott went public with the tape, giving it to the press, which is just one of the reasons that led to Gingrich's eventual resignation.

Boehner, on the other hand, was so outraged that his civil rights had been violated by McDermott, you know, the right to PRIVACY, that he has dragged McDermott through the legal system for ten years, in order to punish the man for revealing what was essentially an attempt to commit fraud on the American people by Boehner and Gingrich.

As the case wound it's way through the appellate courts, the legal fees and judgements against McDermott amounted to almost one million dollars. There were no less than eighteen news organizations involved on the side of McDermott, but we all know by now that this government, all branches of it, have been stifling the voice of the press for many years, and could care less what they think.

Chief Justice Roberts did not even participate in the case at all, and refused to give a reason for his decision. But the ruling itself should give proof to the sham that has beset us in this country as a whole. Because the implications are clear as day, even to a casual observer.

This same Supreme Court, who has allowed this administration to run roughshod over our Constitution, who has allowed for the invasion of privacy of every other American, refused to consider this case, due to the exposure it would have given to the issue of the privacy rights of Americans as a whole. They were not about to open that can of worms now were they?

What they have done by not making a stand in this case, is to say to the rest of us, that the Republican party may break the law, get caught at it, but if you tattle on them, you're going to pay the price. That the Republican party may enjoy freedom from eavesdropping or recorded phone conversations, but the rest of America does not.

Bear in mind that this Supreme Court has sided with this Administration over illegal wiretapping, domestic spying, etc. etc. But only when it comes to the violation of the rights of you and I, not the rights of Republican lawmakers.

John Boehner doesn't need to shed any tears today, now does he? He can laugh all the way to the bank, with his unbelievably hypocritical stance on his own privacy rights, but his voting for the destruction of the privacy of the rest of America. We've all seen chutzpah when it comes to politics, the courts, and how they conduct the people's business, but this one has to be nominated for the political hall of shame. Make votes and speeches about the need for the government to spy on Americans, for their own safety of course, then sue someone else for violating his privacy, while he was involved in a scheme to get Gingrich off the hook for breaking the law in the first place. I believe the phrase for that is criminal conspiracy, but, no kidding, neither Boehner, Gingrich, or anyone else involved were ever charged, and now they never will be.

But I imagine it doesn't hurt when the Supreme Court of The United States is on the payroll of your political party now does it? The Supreme Court, by it's own hypocritical stance in this case, once again shows that it could care less about the rule of law, but only cares about helping the neo-cons further their agenda, which is what they were appointed to do. Maybe it's time for the American people to be able to ELECT Supreme Court judges, with term limits, so we can get fair and balanced representative rulings or non rulings from the Court, instead of bought and paid for duckings on issues as important as individual privacy. Batmanchester