"In Sweden, you are three times more likely to rise out of the economic class into which you were born than you are in the U.S."


John Chuckman: Bush Likes His Flags

bush, flags and coffins.


Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?   The torrential rains of a mother's weeping will never be done.   They call him a hero, you should be glad that he's one, but Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?   He must be brave because his boy died for another man's lies.  The only grief he allows himself are long, deep sighs.   Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?   They say that he died so that the flag will continue to wave But I believe he died because they had oil to save.   Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?
Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?   The leaders want to keep you numb so the pain won't be so deep But if we the people let them continue another mother will weep.   Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?
Carly Sheehan
Sister to US soldier Casey Sheehan who died in Iraq April 4, 2004
 Changes in US family income
Maximum income inequality is hidden in the data.
1/100th of 1% hold a ruling elite of 13,000 families in the US hiding at twenty, thirty, fifty million dollar and higher per year family income averages
The Census Bureau reported that median incomes for working-age families were down again, for the fifth straight year.
Real median income for households under age 65 is down by 5.4 percent since 2000, even though the economy has grown every year.
All of that gain has gone to upper-bracket people and corporate profits.
       Another Year, Another Wage Loss      Boston Globe      
      Robert Kuttner      September 2, 2006      
Number of Americans without Health Insurance Continues to Grow
WASHINGTON — One of the nation's most vexing public-health problems deepened last year as the number of Americans without health insurance jumped by 1.3 million to 46.6 million, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.
Children accounted for 8.3 million of the uninsured, up from 7.9 million in 2004.   Nearly 1 in 5 impoverished children lacked coverage in 2005, and 22 percent of Hispanic children were uninsured.
The new estimates, part of an annual census survey, mark the fifth straight year that the ranks of the uninsured have increased.   The new data, which show that nearly 16 percent of Americans lack health coverage, caught many by surprise because unemployment rates were fairly stable last year.
"I thought we'd have a little reprieve," said Dr. Catherine Hoffman, senior researcher at the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.   "But the problem doesn't seem to be abating even though the economy seemed to have settled in 2005."
The spike in uninsured children, from 10.8 percent in 2004 to 11.2 percent in 2005, is the first in nearly a decade, Hoffman said.
Most experts cited the cost-driven decline of employer-based health coverage and private insurance for the overall increase.
The report also had more upbeat news.   After increasing for four straight years, the nation's poverty rate held steady at 12.6 percent in 2005.
And the median household income — the point at which half of households earn more and half less — increased for the first time since 1999, by 1.1 percent to $46,326.
But a closer look tells a more complex story.   For the second straight year, full-time male employees saw their earnings decline in 2005, while their female counterparts took a similar hit for the third straight year.   The median earnings for men fell 1.8 percent to $41,400.   Women saw a 1.3 percent decline to $31,900.
"It's a bizarre situation where the pie is growing pretty dramatically but most people's slices are getting smaller," said Harry Holzer, a visiting fellow at the Urban Institute and former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor.
That wasn't true, however, for high-income workers.   The 20 percent of U.S. households with the highest income accounted for more than half the total U.S. household income in 2005.   That disparity has widened over the last 10 years, "indicating a higher level of income inequality than in 1995," said David Johnson, the chief of housing and household economic statistics at the Census Bureau.   "Also, the share of total income received by the highest 20 percent of households has increased, while the shares received by those in the lowest 60 percent have declined."
The conflicting data reflect growing concern that despite 2 million new jobs in 2005 and consistent gains in productivity, real wages for working Americans haven't kept pace with inflation.   Rising costs for food, energy and health care are eroding a greater share of wages for the middle class and working poor.
      Tony Pugh      August 30, 2006      
      © 2006 McClatchy Washington Bureau      
      and wire service sources      
Kissinger

Photo: http://kurtnimmo.com/
Kissinger Teams Up with the Neocons
Saturday January 20th 2007
Heinz Kissinger, the Butcher of Cambodia, who essentially signed the death warrants for thousands of Chileans, Indonesians, and micromanaged the slaughter of countless Vietnamese while nodding and winking in Pol Pot’s direction, has bestowed his venomous grace on Bush and the neocons.
Leaving not possible
“Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, an iconic conservative who continues to command the attention of the White House, praises President Bush’s moves in Iraq and says that leaving the war-torn nation is not possible under present conditions,” writes Mike Sheehan for Raw Story.
Child
head injured
US and UK
bombing of Iraq
In an International Herald Tribune op-ed, the elder Malthusian—it rings more true than “elder statesman’—praises Bush’s “bold decision to order a ’surge’ of some 20,000 American troops for Iraq,” thus providing all the evidence we need that neocons and traditional neolibs are on the same page when it comes to killing Arabs and Muslims.
If Kissinger is an “iconic conservative,” then Shinichiro Watanabe’s anime character Cowboy Bebop is a real bounty hunter.
Criminal collaborator with David Rockefeller
More accurately, he is a traditional neolib and criminal collaborator with David Rockefeller, comfortable hanging with the likes of the late Prince Bernhard from the Netherlands, a card-carrying Nazi and member of the SS, Prince Philip, who in his wildest Malthusian dreams wanted to come back as a virus and kill off millions.
Add various members of Bilderberg.
The Council on Foreign Relations.
Child
injured
US and UK
bombing
of Iraq
Planet into a gulag and slave plantation
The Pilgrims Society.
The Trilateral Commission.
The infamous British Round Table.
Folks who have worked unceasingly over the decades for a global order.
That is to say they want to turn the planet into a gulag and slave plantation.
Assault on international order
“Kissinger asserts that the Iraq war is part of a larger conflict, namely ‘the assault on the international order conducted by radical groups in both Islamic sects,’ particularly against the United States.
He insists that despite public disenchantment with the war in Iraq, ‘under present conditions, withdrawal is not an option,’” Sheehan continues. “He calls America ‘the indispensable component of any attempt to build a new world order.’”
There’s that phrase again—one that will get you pegged as a conspiracy nut in mixed company—the “new world order.”
Family destitute
US and UK
bombing of Iraq
Global elite
Naturally, for Kissinger and the global elite, America is “the indispensable component of any attempt to build a new world order,” or rather the “dumb, stupid animals” of the American military are “indispensable” components, more accurately expendable components (according to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Kissinger made the “stupid animals” remark to Alexander Haig).
Bullet-stoppers
Kissinger, like the neocons, has no regard for the American people, that is beyond their utility as bullet-stoppers and cash cows, thus he has no concern for the fact an overwhelming number of Americans oppose the occupation of Iraq.
Made-in-the-USA terrorism
Kissinger’s remark about “the international order conducted by radical groups in both Islamic sects,” in other words Islam writ large, is evidence the neocons and neolibs are on the same page when it comes to utilizing made-in-the-USA terrorism.
To not only deconstruct Islamic societies, but push forward the neoliberal plan to hold a global fire sale, otherwise know as “free trade” and “privatization” conducted at gunpoint.
Families run in terror
US and UK bombing of Iraq
Murder of hundreds of thousands
Finally, as an indication Kissinger and the neocons support this criminal deconstruction:
Including the murder of hundreds of thousands of people.
Consider Kissinger’s declaration that the United States “must not involve itself in the sectarian conflict for any extended period.”
Miserable process blossoms
As this miserable process, long planned by the neocons and their Israeli collaborators, must be allowed to blossom in full.
Thus “leveling the playing field” for the neolibs, who will rush in to pick up the pieces.
That is to say capture all of worth, namely huge reserves of oil and other precious and profitable natural resources.
Back to the Future...
January 27, 2007
Layla Anwar
Painting: Iraq Artist, M.Muhrradin.
A brief summary report on "Operation American Freedom and the Liberation of America."
Following 13 years of a cruel stringent embargo that left 1.5 million americans dead of which 500,000 american children below the age of 5, the Iraqi army, with their imposing armada bombarded the U.S with over 700 tons of B.52's.
Iraqi armored vehicles, 150,000 Iraqi soldiers and 100,000 subcontractors and mercenaries (from the Arab world and Africa) have taken hold of Washington DC and other parts of the country.
The Iraqi soldiers toppled the Washington Monument, ransacked and pillaged the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery as well the great Smithsonian institute and museum.
The White House, the Pentagon and the CIA have also been targeted and now encircled.
Hundreds of Iraqi generals with their troops have squatted the headquarters of the American Government.
The White House, looted, has now become an enclave of the Iraqi occupying forces and has been renamed the White Zone.
The President of the U.S.A as well as his 20 advisors have been caught and are now prisonners of war in a Fort Lauderdale secret prison, camp Babel.
1 million mexicans came in buses
A puppet american government was set up by the Iraqi occupying forces.
They set up elections and eyewitnesses report that over 1 million mexicans came in buses and voted the new government in.
Reliable sources affirm that the current American government is mainly comprised of mexican americans with dual nationalities and totally backed by Mexico.
The American army has been totally sacked and replaced by a grouping of mexican/american police, army and militias working in close cooperation with the Iraqi occupying forces.
The Iraqi Provisional Authority in conjunction with the american puppet government are undertaking a massive campaign of "de-waspization" and "de-americanization" of the whole of the U.S.A.
Hideous crimes committed by Iraqi soldiers
Upper state New York, Buffalo and other towns have declared their independence and are being armed and trained by Canada as mercenaries and snipers.
Atrocious news have been circulating of hideous crimes committed by the Iraqi soldiers:
In Bethesda, over 12 pregnant women were killed as well as a 15 years old boy who spat on a passing Iraqi convoy. His mother's head was bashed against a wall and her boy shot in front of her eyes.
In Lexington Park , 3 neighborhoods have been razed to the ground. Over 500 defenseless civilians, majority of which were women and children have been shot in cold blood and some Iraqi soldiers were filmed pissing on the dead corpses.
In Richmond square, hundreds of bodies are strewn across the square and littering the side streets, showing signs of serious burns from napalm, phosphorus bombs and gun shots.
Gang raped
In Rockville, five Iraqi soldiers from the 32nd platoon division, gang raped 14 years old Abee Jones, shot her whole family including her 3 years old sister and grandparents then set her on fire.
They were seen drinking Arak and grilling kebabs prior to their crime.
In Georgetown, over 500 american academics have been kidnaped and shot dead by Mexican backed militias and 100 students were blown to pieces in front of George Washington University.
Body parts and books were seen lying in the debris.
Detention camps
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN have reported the existence of hundreds of detention camps and prisons and the estimated official number of American prisoners is 50,000 men and women some as young as 13 years old, held without charges or trial.
These agencies have also reported gross violations of the Geneva conventions and have presented evidence of severe torture, including sodomy , rape and genital mutilation.
The Iraqi Minister of Defence denies these allegations. Most torture victims have succumbed to death.
700,000 american civilians since invasion
The French Institute of Medicine issued a report confirming the death of over 700,000 american civilians since the Iraqi invasion.
The UN has issued a report in December stating that for the year 2006 only, 35,000 americans have died as a result of the Iraqi occupation.
2 million american children orphaned
The number for widows is also staggering, over 1 million american widows and 2 million american children orphaned.
The report also adds that american children are trafficked, sold as sex slaves or labourers in other countries.
Public facilities and amenities are no longer existent.
The average American citizen gets one hour of electricity per day and for the past week there has been no water supply.
Transportation systems have been halted, universities and schools shut down, the sewage system no longer functions and most American streets are inundated with rats and dirty water.
Hospitals no longer functional
"Medecins sans frontiers" a french based NGO, has reported severe cases of malnutrition, water born diseases and outbreaks of cholera and typhoid due to the insalubrity of present living conditions for Americans.
Hospitals are no longer functional and can no longer cope with the influx of injured and maimed Americans.
The Morgues are overflowing with dead bodies.
Cancer from depleted uranium
Children suffering from cancer caused by Iraqi depleted uranium can no longer receive treatment and the prognosis for them is very poor.
Other illnesses are no longer treated short of medication and staff as, most doctors and nurses have left the country.
Surgery is done without anesthesia and medical doctors are subject to harassment, kidnaping, torture and death.
The general American population is suffering great trauma,PTSD and doctors have declined to treat patients from 9/11, arguing that there are more urgent priorities.
The UN has launched an urgent plea as 3.7 million americans have sought refuge in Canada, Alaska, Mexico and other countries as a consequence of the Iraqi occupation.
The UNESCO on the other hand has decried some of the Iraqi army practices.
Urinating in churches
Many Iraqi soldiers have been found desecrating worship places by ransacking them, painting Islamic symbols, tearing, kicking, and burning the Bible and urinating in churches.
American Monuments and historical sites have also been destroyed.
Unemployment, inflation
On the economic front, over 60% of the American population is now unemployed, inflation rate is 100% and most outlets, like Starbucks, Mc Donalds and the rest have closed down due to lack of clientele.
Shopping malls are empty and retailers have shut down.
There is an economic depression but the Iraqi Provisional Authority as well as the american puppet government are re-assuring the american public that things will look brighter soon.
Monopolized oil resources
Russian and Chinese corporations and multinationals have monopolized all the oil resources in Texas and the American puppet government has issued a law privatizing all american energy.
Furthermore, Dallas and Houston have become a mexican enclave.
Only Spanish is allowed to be spoken there and all government and public posts are occupied by Mexicans.
Mexicans infiltrated all echelons of governing administration
On the political front, mexicans have managed to infiltrate all echelons of the governing administration included all armed forces : the american army, the american FBI and ministries and they have developed, funded and trained militias that are wrecking havoc in the streets of the American capital.
Countless american citizens have been abducted, kidnaped, raped, and slaughtered.
Dead bodies are seen lying around the city showing marked signs of torture, like eyes and nails plucked out and holes from electrical drills.
The american puppet government denies any role in all of this.
Black americans are fighting with Asians, ethnic cleansing against Protestants
Furthermore, civil war is looming close by.
Catholics backed by Mexicans have waged an unrentless campaign of ethnic cleansing against Protestants.
Black americans are fighting with Asians and Italians with Poles.
Car bombs, mortar attacks, snipers
Car bombs, mortar attacks and snipers are a daily occurrence today in Washington D.C, Maryland and Virginia as well as other parts of the U.S.
Native Americans on the other hand are caught in this ethnic cleansing and are being either massacred again or forced to seek refuge elsewhere.
As Canada and Alaska is refusing them entry, they have ended up in tents on the borders in a no man's land.
President of USA hanged
Four weeks ago, on Christmas eve, the president of the USA as well as three of his advisors were hanged in what appeared to be a sectarian lynching.
The Iraqi President expressed dissapointment at the way the execution was done, he added it was "fumbled" but was glad that justice finally prevailed.
Reuters reported that 5 of the late American President's lawyers have been slaughtered during the Trial period.
The President of the USA was filmed hanging at the gallows on Christmas eve and his body showed signs of post mortem torture.
Americans should show gratitude
The Iraqi President concluded by saying that americans should really show gratitude for what Iraqis have sacrificed in their name and in the name of Freedom.
He also assured the american public in a televised address to the nation, that a surge of an extra 20'000 Iraqis was needed for the reconstruction of the U.S.A to go as planned and that the mission has been accomplished.
P.S: Everything mentioned above took place and continues to take place today in Iraq.
And I hope you realize that I have nothing against either Mexicans, protestants or catholics, Italians, poles, blacks, Native Americans or Martians...It was just to drive a point home (...this politically correct thing is getting very tiresome — ask the Iraqis!)
The shocking truth and "awe" of the American occupation of Iraq — www.uruknet.info and www.albasrah.net
Painting   ©    Iraqi Artist   M.Muhrradin.
US Microwave weapons
The Alex Jones Show — Genesis Communications Network
…from memory it was a top air force general that said there was complaints by international bodies in the UN and others about our use of the new ray gun that burns people's skin when it's at a focus beam and just causes people pain on a wide beam.
They said we are just going to test it on the American people and if we can legitimise its use here, then they can't complain over there.
It's back in the news because they are approving its use…here it is: US military unveils heat gun.   Safety fears as U.S. demonstrates control heat-ray weapon…
Military chief says test weapons on Americans before using them on enemies.  This was picked up by the Associated Press.  This came out in October of last year. [2006]
It was the Secretary of the Air force said:  We should use this weapon on the American people and then they could claim under international law that it was simply a 'law enforcement tool' (sic)
FEMA camp run by Bechtel and George Schultz
…I mean this thing even violates the laws of war.  This violates the Geneva Convention.   This is designed coast-to-coast every American city has gotten mobile units of ear-busting sound cannons.  We showed you that in New York for the RNC in 2004.
They put over 2 thousand citizens in a FEMA camp run by Bechtel and George Schultz.
Well forget the sound cannons.  They are nothing compared to these microwave guns.  They can focus them in to where it actually burns your skin.
Microwave weapon
It's a microwave weapon.
Or they can put them on wide spectrum burst and it creates a feeling where it has been described as when you touch a white bulb, but it's all over your body…burning heat.
[Shudders]
…Notice: once we are already in the North American Union officially they tell you it might be coming.   Okay.  The old-timers were right.  There is a plan for a North American Union and then we are already in it.  But people are just hearing about it…might be coming.
Oh!  It's a prototype…we're talking New York, Detroit, LA, Dallas they've got these things in warehouses.  They've got units trained.
…Oh!  Boston Globe headline: They may start recruiting foreigners.  First paragraph it says:  Well they've already been doing it for the last five years but now they intensify it and open even more recruiting stations in Manila and Mexico City.
It's always the same MO.  It's propaganda.
"The prototype weapon was demonstrated at Moody Air force Base in Georgia.  A beam was fired from a large rectangular dish mounted on a Humvee vehicle.  The beam reaches up to 500 meters, 550 yards, much farther than existing non-lethal weapons like rubber bullets.  It can penetrate clothes suddenly heating up the skin of anyone in its path to 50 Celsius."
Fries skin
That fries your skin boys and girls.
50 Celsius…that is…that is…that is…really hot.
That's stove top.
"But it penetrates the skin only a 'tiny' depth enough to cause discomfort but not a lasting harm according to the military."
We just read you four of five years ago what the actual company said it does.   You turn this…it's got wide beam and focus beam…Wide beam just causes incredible pain.
High beam destructive
High beam is very destructive.
…the experts who are criticizing it says that if it hits the eye it can cause serious…your eye's very delicate mucous membrane…and you know it'll hit you in the face…and…it…it'll burn your eyes.
But so what…I mean up in Boston they got young 21-year-old college student for walking out of a bar.  They shoot her with bullets…nobody gets into trouble…she bleeds out of her eye to death; nobody gets into trouble, that's how it works.
It looks like a table top stuck on a Humvee but the US military…to demonstrate a new weapon, a controversial heat ray — it's a microwave gun by the way — and……called 'Silent Guardian' okay.
"Military chief says test weapons on Americans before using them on enemies…."
Used for 'crowd control'
Secretary Wayne told reports at the Houston Chronicle in September that a 'non lethal' weapon such as a high powered microwave device should be used on American citizens in 'crowd control' situations before they are used on a battlefield.
…writing letters to Wayne's removal…hey let me tell you something…and I think you should still write letters and make calls, but when you do Congress just hires more Federal funds for more paramilitary forces, more microwave guns, more riot troops, more FEMA camps.
No record, voting machines
Oh!  They've gotten the message!
They know 97% don't want toll roads on existing roads.  They know 99% don't want a North American Union.  They know 95% don't want these electronic, no record, voting machines.
They know 91% in Gallop polls don't want open borders.  They work for foreign banks and so they know you are going to revolt.
So they are deploying the microwave guns.
And the only reason they are now announcing this, like it's some brand new thing is because they've got to get you ready for it, to accept it, so that when they take your pensions, and blow out the economy and plunge the dollar down to nothing, so when you are there freaking out in the streets they can have their ' dumbed-down ' goons come out and microwave gun you in the street.
They will KILL YOU
And by the way, the reports I've got are they have hand held microwave guns that will KILL YOU.
And I can't say any more about that because it's classified sources.
BUST YOUR ORGANS WIDE OPEN
They've got sound guns that will BUST YOUR ORGANS WIDE OPEN.
They've got stuff that you can wave across the crowd that's hand held that will KILL YOU.
TOMATO THROWN AGAINST A WALL
They've got hand-held microwave guns.  They've got hand-held particle beams that will hit you and you will BURST OPEN like a tomato thrown against a wall.
Jane's weapons quarterly reports on some of this.  I've got Marines on tape and urban warriors slipping up and talking about it.  We first reported it seven years ago, now it's been in a few papers.  They do have combat…basically an Osprey or a helicopter lands.  It drops off a few of these.  And it looks like…about the size of a suburban but it's got treads…weapons…gas…non-lethal gas…
They're made to drive up and ram into your house.
Sends out tentacles
They they've got big hoses that have got little wheels, 360 around the hose…that way the little wheels…it sends out tentacles folks…just rolls over and it's got wheels on every size, spinning.
And that thing just rushes into your house with a camera on it.
And that operator in there just hits the nerve gas.
Everybody's dead
Whoosh!  Everybody's dead inside okay.
That's what they've got ready for us.
This is what the scum has done.
By 2011 half of the air force fighter fleet will be robotic.
And controlled by technicians thousands or hundreds of miles away.
Okay!
And this allows small criminal elites to run more remote controlled attacks like 9/11.
It allows them to do things that the troops wouldn't follow the orders.
Plus they are going to have large contingents, and already do, of our mainland military force, that are foreigner, that will be lead by loyal 'black [budget] ' operators that have been trained to accept this.
We're in trouble.
I'm telling you.
We're going to face our remote controlled tanks.  Our remote controlled robots.
We're going to face remote controlled microwave guns.
We're going to face foreign troops led by traitor US troops.
Now everything else we've told you is coming, has come.
And I'm telling you folks.  I'm telling you.
They're not playing games.
Number of Americans without Health Insurance Continues to Grow
"Today's numbers are more proof that middle-class life is growing less affordable and less secure under this Republican Congress," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.   "It is time to take this country in a new direction, with a Congress that responds to the challenges the American people face every day."
The Bush administration and Republican congressional leaders focused on the report's positive data to deflect Democratic attacks and tout the economy's strength.
"While we still have challenges ahead, our ability to bounce back is a testament to the strong work ethic of the American people, the resiliency of our economy and pro-growth economic policies, including tax relief," said Rob Portman, the director of the Office of Management and Budget at the White House.
Said Carolyn Weyforth, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.: "Yes, there are some disconcerting numbers that Senator Frist feels that Congress must continue to address, but by no means do these numbers mean that the economy is anything but strong and continuing to grow."
The accuracy of census poverty figures has come under scrutiny because they exclude family expenses such as out-of-pocket medical costs and child care.   They also don't adjust for cost-of-living differences in urban and rural areas or consider the effects of federal anti-poverty programs such as food stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit and housing subsidies.   As a result, "there are a lot fewer poor families over time than the official measures indicate," said Bruce Meyer, a professor of public policy at the University of Chicago and an expert on welfare and unemployment policy.
For a copy of the survey, go to:
      www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf      
      Tony Pugh      August 30, 2006
      © 2006 McClatchy Washington Bureau
      and wire service sources
 
Published on Saturday, April 1, 2006 by the Boston Globe
Stagnant Wages? Made in USA
by Robert Kuttner
As Congress grapples with immigration policy, most experts agree that wide-open immigration slightly depresses wages, especially among unskilled workers.   But the main reason for static wages has more do with policies made in the United States.
Immigrants, coming from destitution at home, will work for less than American wages.   And, if they are here illegally, they can't defend themselves against subminimum wages and working conditions otherwise against the law.
Some of this is supply and demand — more workers competing for the same supply of jobs.   But as former labor secretary Robert Reich has noted, if labor laws were enforced, immigrants would be less likely to depress wages.   Moreover, the supply of jobs is not static.   As immigrants enter the stream of commerce, they generate economic activities and jobs.
However, it is worth leaving the immigration debate to explore the deeper causes of stagnant living standards that make so many Americans fearful of immigrants.
In the current recovery, for the first time since the government has kept such statistics, median household income has lagged behind inflation in a recovery for five straight years.
The Republican Party is now split between business groups who want cheap workers and jingoists who are just plain anti-immigrant.
The nativist wing of the GOP plays both to the national security and economic fears of ordinary Americans.
The attacks of 9/11 did happen (though the attackers were not Mexican.)   Wages of ordinary workers are in fact depressed (though immigrants are not the main cause.)   Both sets of fears make it harder for Congress to legislate sensible policy.
It is a small miracle that four Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee broke ranks and voted for the McCain-Kennedy bill, which would toughen border enforcement and penalties for employers who employed undocumented workers, in exchange for a small ''guest worker" program as well as an earned path to permanent citizenship.
Some Republicans support this because the House bill (no path to citizenship and a Berlin-style 700-mile wall along America's southern border) would reverse whatever recent gains the Republicans have made among Hispanic voters.
US paid for
However, it is worth leaving the immigration debate to explore the deeper causes of stagnant living standards that make so many Americans fearful of immigrants.
In the current recovery, for the first time since the government has kept such statistics, median household income has lagged behind inflation in a recovery for five straight years.
Census data show median household income fell 3.8 percent or $1,700, from 1999 to 2004, according to economist Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute (on whose board I serve.)
And this drop occurred during a period when average productivity rose three percent per year.
Moreover, as economist Jeff Madrick has observed in his book 'Why Economies Grow,' the reality is worse because prices of commodities that make us middle class are rising much faster than inflation generally: housing, college education, health care, and also child care.
These very rapid price increases are offset by falling costs of consumer electronics, basic food, and clothing, creating misleadingly low inflation measures.
It's great that shirts are cheaper than a decade ago, and that we all have cell phones.
But that doesn't exactly substitute for a house, an affordable college education, or health care.
According to economist Bernstein, whose study covers the years 1991-2002, households in the middle fifth of the economy increased their incomes (not adjusted for inflation) by 41 percent.
Inflation during that period, as measured by the government's Consumer Price Index, went up 33 percent.
That implies real living standards rose by a not very impressive 8 percent during more than a decade.
But hold on.   During the same period, housing, healthcare, education, and child care went up 46 percent, or more than incomes.
We cannot afford the big things we need and comfort ourselves with gadgets.
The cheaper laptop, plasma TV, and GPS screen in your car make it appear statistically that living standards are not falling as much as they are.
Died in Iraq
Monday, January 8, 2007
The emblem of the new economy might be a 35-year-old, listening to an iPod, living in a house much smaller than the one he grew up in.
To use a favorite word of my grandmother's, call it the Tchotchke Economy (a Tchotchke is a small trinket): Plenty of nifty, ever cheaper electronic stuff — and ever more costly housing, education, healthcare.   An iPod is swell, but it doesn't exactly make you middle class.
Why does this describe America in 2006?
Don't blame it on immigrants.
Blame it on the people running the government, who have made sure that the lion's share of the productivity gains go to the richest 1 percent of Americans.
With different tax, labor, health, and housing policies, native-born workers and immigrants alike could get a fairer share of our productive economy — and still have the nifty iPods.
Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect.   His column appears regularly in the Globe.
© 2006 Reuters
Common Dreams © 1997-2006
January 9, 2007
No Longer Hidden, No Longer Hiding
Strikers at Smithfield's Tar Heel Slaughterhouse
By Mike Ely And Linda Flores
Winter seems to strip the countryside of secrets.   Driving along the two-lane, you can see deep into the gray stretches of dry pine forest and far across bare, open cotton fields.
But as night fell, as our contact took us farther and farther from the main road, it became obvious that many things about this corner of North Carolina have been carefully hidden.
"Roll down your window," A. said.   "Smell that."   The nose twitches.   It almost burns.   "The plant kills 32,000 hogs a day, many of them raised right around here."   A. gestures at the dark woods around us.
Modern industrial hog farming concentrates the swine and pours their untreated excrement into countless "lagoons" that fill acre after acre across North Carolina.
The farms are tucked back away from any roads, but there is no hiding the pungent mist of manure that hangs across the land.
We turn left, then right. Dirt roads lead off on every side. People too are hidden here.
Suddenly we are in a huge trailer park carved out of the pines.
Rows of doublewides, with muscle trucks parked out front.
"Michoacan" is spraypainted across a fender. "La Hacienda" is across a trunk lid.
Most of the plantation South has not seen immigration like this before.
A white worker quipped to us, "That last wave of immigrants came on slaveships, and they were ordered to 'speak English' too!"
But that has now changed.
Over the last two decades, North Carolina's immigrant population has grown to at least half a million, overwhelmingly from Mexico and Central America.
About 65% of the new immigrants are estimated to be undocumented.
Called "illegal" and "alien," living like an outlaw population, these workers have kept out of sight — often in half-hidden trailer parks like this in remote clearings that dot the countryside.
Worked Mercilessly and Thrown Away
We have come to meet José and Masía, who both work at the Smithfield Tar Heel plant — the largest pig slaughtering and pork processing plant in the world. José, a slim man, is sitting on the sofa, restlessly, as his nephew lets us in.
He is in pain.
Two weeks before, at the Smithfield plant, he was wrestling with a tray, big as a table top, loaded with 70 pounds of fat and excess meat. Something gave out in his back.
José tells us in Spanish:
"When I got hurt, the supervisor told me 'pick up that tray.'
I told her I can't.
'Pick it up and throw it away.'
So I picked it up and I continued working.
But I couldn't hold the tray. She snapped her fingers, 'Then you just go home.'
I was fired — for one day.
If you get hurt you are fired.
Then they told me, 'Work is waiting for you.' I am afraid that work will hurt me more. But now they can say I've quit."
José and Masía's five kids sit in a circle and listen intently as their parents describe their lives and troubles. One son is severely disabled — getting him care was one reason José first came here illegally, 12 years ago, from Guerrero.
Many hundreds of workers are injured like José each year at the Smithfield plant and are routinely fired.
As we were in Robeson County, everyone was talking about a young Guatemalan woman who was accidentally stabbed in the eye with her own knife.
José tells us: "They don't just butcher hogs at that plant. They butcher people."
Smithfield had worked to keep all that secret too.
The plant used to send screaming ambulances 2 or 3 times a day to the hospital in nearby Elizabethtown.
But that became too obvious and too scandalous.
So they built a clinic near the plant gates. Now the rate of injuries is hidden and the injury records are kept close.
And it's not just Smithfield.
Everyone remembers when 25 workers were burned to death in 1991 behind the locked doors of the Imperial Food chicken plant when it exploded near here.
What happens if María now gets fired for not having legal paperwork? In October, under pressure from the Department of Homeland Security, Smithfield announced it would fire hundreds of immigrant workers whose social security numbers don't match their names.
José spits out his words: "The company has sucked the very air out our lungs and now they want to replace us."
María talks about finding a new job, perhaps in a chicken plant, and then her eyes lock onto ours: "This is the way they treat us. We are not going to tolerate that forever."
Yes — push has come to shove.
A thousand Latino workers walked out of the Smithfield plant on November 16.
In a churning rally over two days, they climbed upon cars and spoke their bitterness over the firing of the undocumented, over the brutal treatment in the plant — in the face of the company guards and gathering sheriffs.
That's how our Revolution team of reporters and translators knew to come here to Robeson County.
The Smithfield strike had been like a brilliant flare launched over dark waters.
A thousand workers risking not only their jobs — they knowingly risked arrest and deportation, they risked not seeing their kids that night.
They spoke for themselves, and literally for millions more.
When we met immigrant workers like "María" and "José," many of them did not want their real names or voices recorded.
But they had a sense that, for them, there is no going back.
The hiding is over, and they want their stories, their suffering, their dreams and their questions to reach the world.
They want some justice.
"Things I've seen and that I've lived"
We took over a small storage room in a local office, so workers could hook up with Revolution to give interviews.
CC walked in — a lean, hard Black man, dignified, very tight-lipped at first.
He told of growing up in a sharecropper family with six kids in South Carolina.
He talked about picking cotton at seven years old.
About how, after the army, he had worked construction until decent pay and benefits just disappeared.   And now he was here at the Tar Heel plant.
"They work you hard out there, steady gettin it," CC said, and described how he stands braced on that slimy floor, "chiseling jawbone" in one hard repetitive downward jerk, forcing the hog jowls from the bone on one carcass after another.
"It's not something I want for my four kids."
One Black worker described to Revolution how insult is piled on top of the danger.
He works running the 250-pound hogs up the concrete lane to the kill floor.
"Here we are," he said, "splashed with hog urine and feces because the drains don't work.   And they want to harass you if you go to the bathroom just to wipe it off your face."
Another worker told Revolution, "I've seen hogs fall off the shackles, knock a worker down and the foreman is hollering 'Grab that hog and fill that gap in the line!' all while that worker is still lying there unconscious!"
Raphael came to Tar Heel early in this immigration wave.
He had been arrested as a trade union militant in Mexico, and is active in trying to bring the United Food and Commercial Workers into the Tar Heel plant.
He tells us of "things I've seen and that I've lived."
"Things I've seen and that I've lived"
Exhausted abused turkey on floor

Photo: http://www.goveg.com/
Exhausted abused turkey on floor
An advanced country
"I've been working here for nine years," Raphael started, "and they treat us very badly, worse than if we were slaves.
There is so much pressure and aggression.
They shout at us, 'You, fucking wetback, get moving.'
They call us 'motherfuckers' and more.
The supervisors speak to us through crew leaders who translate their orders and insults, and are, unfortunately, Latino like us.
Supervisors always want us to work better than we are really doing.
If you do it better they want more and more.
The line doesn't come like this: dum dum dum it comes like this ta-ta-ta-ta-ta.
And there we stand on that line, shoulder to shoulder.
So close that we touch, swinging that knife.
And there they stand, the supervisors, each with a calculator, always taking the count — and trying to meet their quota for that day — they just get hysterical, just running around screaming, if they think it is falling behind... I knew I was coming here to work.
But I didn't expect the abnormality, and the abuse.
I expected something far better than this.
Because, many times you've seen stuff like this in your own country — but you don't expect something like this in a country like the U.S. — an advanced country."
The speed and intensity of the killing is startling.
Truckloads bring hundreds of hogs an hour to the pens of the plant.
They are raced to the killing floor — stunned, tattooed, and then stabbed once square in the throat.
The lifeblood spurts warm, splattering the workers, over and over, one after another.
Within seconds the pigs are hanging from hooks — gutted, draining, and moving toward the long lines of workers with razor-sharp knives.
It is work that breaks down your joints at the shoulder, the wrist, and the knees.
The heavy mixed smell of death and bleach is often overwhelming.
Thousands of workers quit every year, or get injured or fired.
And just as many arrive.
Smithfield directly employs between 5,000 and 6,000 workers.
But their turnover is so huge that they also hire around 5,000 new workers each year.
When the plant first opened in 1992, it employed mainly Black workers (plus about 30% that were either white or Lumbee Indian).
Smithfield brought convict labor onto the line.
And alongside them came numbers of Black "ex-cons" who have trouble getting hired anywhere else.
Smithfield quickly went through a lot of the Black workers from the surrounding areas — and the company was obviously worried that the ongoing organizing might bring in a union.
And so by the mid-1990s, Smithfield, like many other capitalists, was actively recruiting immigrant workers from Mexico and Central America.
They dreamed of a workforce that was more desperate, grateful, intimidated and divided.
No one knows for sure if Smithfield directly contracted with coyotes — but certainly they put out the word that anyone who made it here to their plant was guaranteed a job, no questions asked.
That's where the van was heading
When I asked José how he ended up in Tar Heel 12 years ago, he said simply, "That's where the van was heading."
CC says, "It's not just Black and white anymore."
What's true for the plant is true for the South.
Smithfield's operation is about 65% Latino and 30% Black — at least for now.
Workers are tightly segregated from each other by work crew and language.
CC talks about how the system based on petty favoritism inflames the hostilities:
"They are working to keep Mexican and Black at each other.
They do something to satisfy the Mexican, and Blacks get angry.
Do something to please the Blacks to get Mexicans angry."
Workers talked of "stare-downs" in the hall between Black and Mexican workers armed with knives, who have no way to speak to each other.
"Queremos justicia!"
After years of hiring and exploiting immigrant workers, Smithfield turned over their hiring records to the federal government — saying that they were being pressured by the Department of Homeland Security. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that 600 social security numbers from the Tar Heel plant did not to match the employee names.
In October, Smithfield told workers they had two weeks to provide explanations.
One Smithfield representative told workers at the Tar Heel plant that the ICE had threatened to raid the factory if Smithfield had not gone ahead with these firings.
(They have already been carrying out raids against immigrants in other factories in North Carolina.)
People wondered what would happen to their jobs, their families and their very lives.
And the answer came quickly: company guards and officials suddenly took over 50 workers off the line and fired them.
A sharp sign of this continuing division is that when company officials came to fire the targeted workers, a few workers on the line openly supported the firing, shouting "You are illegal, get out of here!"
At the same time, many of the workers felt very differently.
 
Pigs in slaughterhouse.

The pigs you see on the floor are still alive.

Stunning animals: cows, bulls, pigs, chickens, often does not stun them.

Their deaths are a disgusting reflection on the societies that inflict such pain on defenseless creatures.

Photo: http://www.goveg.com/
Pigs in slaughterhouse
The pigs you see on the floor are still alive.
Stunning animals: cows, bulls, pigs, chickens, often does not stun them.
Their deaths are a disgusting reflection on the societies that inflict such pain on defenseless creatures.
Pulled key switches that shut down the production line
After days of mounting tension, workers pulled key switches that shut down the production line early in the morning of November 16.
Hundreds of pig carcasses were just hanging there, swinging, as workers poured out the doors into the parking lot.
They chanted "Queremos justicia!" (We want justice!) and "Sí se puede!" (We can do it!).
The word of the wildcat strike swept through the plant: "The Latinos have walked out!"
Six or seven hundred workers walked out, and at the next shift change, hundreds more from second shift stayed out.
The mass picket swelled to a thousand at the front gate.
Right there in the parking lot, the workers elected a multinational leadership committee to formulate demands.
Cheers went up as a few Black and white workers walked out in support — in small groups or by themselves.
The strikers won an important victory when Smithfield agreed to important concessions.
The company agreed to rehire the fired workers and meet for the first time with an elected committee of the plant workers.
Then, after the strike ended and all the workers returned to work, Smithfield announced that it was giving workers at all its plants nationwide 60 days to clear up any problems with their social security numbers.
The company clearly intends to press ahead to fire any workers who do not provide satisfactory proof of legal status.
And now, in mid-January, those 60 days have ticked down.
Horrific conditions
The powerful action of the striking workers in November puts the spotlight on the horrific conditions faced by workers at plants like Tar Heel, and on the unjust attacks aimed at immigrant workers.
A thousand workers of Tar Heel dared to demand justice — in the face of intense anti-immigrant hysteria in North Carolina, in the face of federal threats of firing and deportation, and in the face of sharp divisions among the workers themselves.
They deserve active support in their ongoing fight to make Smithfield back off completely from firing the immigrant workers they so ruthlessly exploited.
At the same time, this struggle has a potential importance far beyond one plant or one region.
These workers are an inspiring example of resistance to an increasingly repressive political climate.
Their struggle places a challenge before everyone across the U.S. — to take a clear and uncompromising stand in defense of undocumented immigrants and against the criminal injustices carried out by this system.
Mike Ely and Linda Flores are writers for Revolution newspaper and are working on more coverage of the events at this plant and the larger attacks coming down on undocumented workers.
Animal still alive, while hanging.

Photo: http://www.goveg.com/
Still alive, while hanging.
Freedom Of The Road Recently
It was disclosed that the Department of Homeland Security had deployed an X-ray van, previously used in cargo searches at America's borders, in a test run — taking X-ray pictures of parked cars in Cape May, New Jersey.
While, the DHS claimed all X-ray surveillance was conducted on empty cars with their owners' consent, one wonders how long this will last.
After all, American Science & Engineering Inc, the manufacturer of the Z Backscatter Van (ZBV), notes that "it maintains the outward appearance of an ordinary van", so it can stand unnoticed and peep into cars as they drive past, or with its "unique 'drive-by' capability [it] allows one or two operators to conduct X-ray imaging of suspect vehicles and objects while the ZBV drives past".
Since we're all increasingly suspects (in our "suspect vehicles") in the Homeland Security State, it seems only a matter of time before at least some of us fall victim to a DHS X-ray drive-by.
But what happens after a DHS scan-van X-ray shows a dense white mass in your car (which could be any "organic material" from explosives or drugs to a puppy, a baby, or a head of lettuce)?
Assuming that the DHS folks will be linked up with the Department of Transportation (DOT), soon they might be able to call on DOT's proposed Intelligent Transportation Systems' (ITS) Joint Program Office's (JPO) "Vehicle-Infrastructure Integration (VII)" system for help.
According to Bill Jones, the technical director of the ITS JPO:
"The concept behind VII is that vehicle manufacturers will install a communications device on the vehicle starting at some future date, and equipment will be installed on the nation's transportation system to allow all vehicles to communicate with the infrastructure."
In other words, the government and manufacturers will team up to track every new automobile (X-rayed or not) in the United States.
"The whole idea," says Jones, "is that vehicles would transmit this data to the infrastructure. The infrastructure, in turn, would aggregate that data in some kind of a database."
The federal government tracking you
Imagine it: The federal government tracking you in real time, while compiling a database with information on your speed, route, and destination; where you were when; how many times you went to a certain location; and just about anything else related to your travels in your own car.
The DOT project, in fact, sounds remarkably like a civilian update of the "Combat Zones That See" program developed by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Noah Shachtman, writing for The Village Voice, reported in 2003 that DARPA was in the process of instituting a project at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, whose aim was "to track 90% of all of cars within [a] target area for any given 30-minute period.
The paths of 1 million vehicles [would] be stored and retrievable within three seconds." It gives a whole new meaning to "King of the Road".
Halliburton Detention Camps For Political Subversives
Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com
February 1 2006
In another shining example of modern day corporate fascism, it was announced recently that Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root had been awarded a $385 million dollar contract by Homeland Security to construct detention and processing facilities in the event of a national emergency.
The language of the preamble to the agreement veils the program with talk of temporary migrant holding centers, but it is made clear that the camps will also be used "as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency."
Discussions of federal concentration camps is no longer the rhetoric of paranoid Internet conspiracy theorists, it is mainstream news.
Under the enemy combatant designation anyone at the behest of the US government, even if they are a US citizen, can be kidnapped and placed in an internment facility forever without trial.
Jose Padilla, an American citizen, has spent over four years in a Navy brig and is only just now getting a trial.
In 2002, FEMA sought bids from major real estate and engineering firms to construct giant internment facilities in the case of a chemical, biological or nuclear attack or a natural disaster.
Alex Jones has attended numerous military urban warfare training drills across the US where role players were used to simulate arresting American citizens and taking them to internment camps.
The move towards the database state in the US and the UK, where every offence is arrestable and DNA records of every suspect, even if later proven innocent, are permanently kept on record, is the only tool necessary to create a master list of 'subversives' that would be subject to internment in a manufactured time of national emergency.
The national ID card is also intended to be used for this purpose, just as the Nazis used early IBM computer punch card technology to catalogue lists of homosexuals, gypsies and Jews before the round-ups began.
Section 44 of the Terrorism Act in Britain enables police to obtain name and address details of anyone they choose, whether they are acting suspiciously or not.
Those details remain on a database forever.
To date, 119,000 names of political activists have been taken and this is a figure that will skyrocket once the post 7/7 figures are taken into account.
At the height of the Iraq war protests, around a million people marched across the country. However, most of these people were taking part in a political protest for the first time and as a one off.
Even if we take a figure of half, 500,000 people being politically active in Britain, that means that the government has already registered around a quarter of political activists in the UK.
In truth the number is probably above half because we are not factoring in those already on MI5 'subversive' lists and those listed after the 7/7 bombings, when the powers were used even more broadly.
Concurrently in the US, a new provision in the extended Patriot Act bill would allow Secret Service agents to arrest and jail protesters accused of breaching any security perimeter, even if the President or any other protected official isn't present.
The definition of 'free speech zones' can be shifted around loosely and this would open the floodgates for protesters to be grabbed and hauled away in any circumstance at the whim of the Secret Service.
During the 2004 RNC protests, thousands of New Yorkers were arrested en masse in indiscriminate round-ups and taken to Pier 57 (pictured), a condemned, asbestos poisoned old bus depot, where they were imprisoned without charge for up to 24 hours or more.
The existence and development of internment camps are solely intended to be used to round up en masse and imprison 'political dissidents' (anyone who isn't prepared to lick government boots) after a simulated tactical nuke or biological attack on a major US or European city.
PRISON PLANET.com         Copyright © 2002-2006 Alex Jones         All rights reserved.
The Homeland Security State
From the military to local governments, from ostensibly civilian federal agencies to obscure counter-intelligence organizations, they're all on the make, creating interagency alliances, setting up new programs, expanding their powers, gearing up operations and/or creating "Big Brother" technologies to more effectively monitor civilians, chill dissent, and bring the war back home.
Right now, nothing is closer to the heart of Homeland Security State officials (and to their budgetary plans) than that old standby of dictatorships and oppressive regimes worldwide, surveillance - by and of the Homeland population.
In fact, almost every day, new examples of ever-hopeful surveillance programs pop up.
Of course, as yet, we only have clues to the well-classified larger Homeland surveillance picture, but even what we do know of the growing public face of surveillance in the United States should cause some eyes to roll.
Here's a brief overview of just a few of the less publicized, but mostly public, attempts to ramp up the eye-power of the Homeland Security State...
The Homeland Security State by Nick Turse
http://www.tomdispatch.com
 
Gulags For American Citizens In Final Planning Stages
Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com
March 1 2006
Bush administration and US army preparations to target American citizens and intern them in forced labor camps has vastly accelerated in the past month and commentators from all over the political spectrum are sounding the alarm bells that the round-ups may begin soon.
Once the bane of the media's stereotypical 'tin foil hat wearing' caricatures, concentration camps in America are now serious news and no one is laughing.
Following the news first given wide attention by this website, that Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root had been awarded a $385 million dollar contract by Homeland Security to construct detention and processing facilities in the event of a national emergency, the Alternet website put together an alarming report that collated all the latest information on plans to initiate internment of political subversives and Muslims after the next major terror attack in the US.
The article highlighted the disturbing comments of Sen. Lindsey Graham, who encouraged torture supporting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to target, "Fifth Columnists" Americans who show disloyalty and sympathize with "the enemy," whoever that enemy may be.
It is important to stress that the historical precedent mirrors exactly what the Halliburton camp deal outlines. Oliver North's Reagan era Rex 84 plan proposed rounding up 400,000 refugees, under FEMA, in the event of "uncontrolled population movements" over the Mexican border into the United States.
The real agenda, just as it is with Halliburton's gulags, was to use the cover of rounding up immigrants and illegal aliens as a smokescreen for targeting political dissidents.
From 1967 to 1971 the FBI kept a list of persons to be rounded up as subversive, dubbed the "ADEX" list.
The current terrorist suspect list was recently revealed to contain the names of 325,000 people.
The government claimed that only a tiny fraction were American citizens living in America but when compared to the potential terrorist list in the UK, which under section 44 of the terrorism act has ensnared at least 119,000 people, most of them innocent protesters, the number is likely to be far higher.
Britain's population is only 60 million compared to the US at 295 million.
Halliburton, through their KBR subsidiary, is the same company that built most of the major new detention camps in Iraq and Afghanistan.
KBR have been embroiled in a human sex slave trade that their representatives have lobbied to continue.
We have a company that has been handed a contract to build prison camps in America that is engaged in trafficking young girls and women.
Can this horror movie get any more frightening?
A much discussed and circulated report, the Pentagon's Civilian Inmate Labor Program, has recently been updated and the revision details a "template for developing agreements" between the Army and corrections facilities for the use of civilian inmate labor on Army installations."
The plan is clearly to swallow up disenfranchised groups like prisoners and Muslims at first, and then extend the policy to include 'Fifth Columnists,' otherwise known as anyone who disagrees with the government or exercises their Constitutional rights.
Respected author Peter Dale Scott speculated that the "detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law."
Daniel Ellsberg, former Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense, called the plan:
"Preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters.
They've already done this on a smaller scale, with the 'special registration' detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo."
George Bush has declared himself to be dictator and to have supreme power over and above the limitations of the US Constitution.
Bush administration officials like Alberto Gonzales have declared Bush to be "above the law."
White House advisors are openly discussing the legality of crushing a child's testicles as part of the war on terror.
Preparation for the internment of thousands of Americans who are 'disloyal' in times of emergency are afoot.
The next step is clearer than it has ever been.
One more large scale staged terror attack in America and the result will be martial law.
When even famous singers like Morrissey are being detained and questioned by the secret service for "speaking out against the American and British governments," we know we are in a lot of trouble.
PRISON PLANET.com         Copyright © 2002-2006 Alex Jones         All rights reserved.
Into The Wild Blue Yonder
Strange as it may seem, the US Air Force has also gotten into the local-surveillance act as well with an "Eagle Eyes" anti-terrorism initiative which "enlists" average citizens in the "war on terror".
The Eagle Eyes website tells viewers, "You and your family are encouraged to learn the categories of suspicious behavior," and it exhorts the public to call "a network of local, 24-hour phone numbers ... whenever a suspicious activity is observed".
Just what, then, constitutes "suspicious activity"?
Well, among activities worth alerting the flying eagles to, there's the use of cameras (either still or video), note-taking of any sort, making annotations on maps, or using binoculars (bird watchers beware!).
And what other patterns of behavior does the air force think should send you running to the phone?
A surefire indicator of terrorists afoot: "Suspicious persons out of place ... People who don't seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment, or anywhere else."
Just ponder that one for a moment - and, if you ever get lost, be afraid, very afraid ...
While the air force does grudgingly admit that "this category is hard to define", it offers a classic you-know-it-when-you-see-it definition for calling your local eagle: "The point is that people know what looks right and what doesn't look right in their neighborhoods, office spaces, commutes [sic], etc, and if a person just doesn't seem like he or she belongs ..."
An ... ahem ... urban-looking youth in a suburban white community? Call it in!
A crusty punk near Wall Street? Drop a dime!
A woman near the White House wearing an anti-war T-shirt? Well, that's an out-of-category no-brainer!
And, in fact, much of this has already begun to come true.
After all, "suspicious persons out of place" now do get arrested in the new Homeland Security State for such offenses as wearing anti-Bush T-shirts, carrying anti-Bush signs or just heckling the president.
Today, even displaying an anti-Bush sticker is, in the words of the Secret Service, apparently "borderline terrorism".
Holding a sign that reads "This war is Bushit" warrants a citation from the cops and, as an 11-year-old boy found out, the sheriff might come calling on you if you utter "anti-American" statements - while parents may be questioned by law-enforcement officials to ascertain if they're teaching "anti-American values" at home.

To combat hunger, more in US turn to soup kitchens
America's Second Harvest is helping to more than 25 million people, an 8 percent increase over 2001.
NEW YORK  As the economy has steadily grown over the past four years, so too has the number of Americans going hungry.
America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest charitable food distribution network, is now providing help to more than 25 million people, an 8 percent increase over 2001, the last time the organization did a major survey of its more than 200 food banks in all 50 states.
That increase in the number of people who are hungry or "food insecure" — Washington bureaucratese for "not sure where their next meal will come from" — is reflected in data collected by the US Department of Agriculture as well.   In 2005, it found more than 38 million Americans lived in "hungry or food insecure" households, an increase of 5 million since 2000.
"Even though individuals may have a job, they still are having a hard time making ends meet," says Maura Daly, a spokeswoman for Second Harvest, which is based in Chicago.   "We find many people have to make choices between food and other basic necessities like paying for utilities and heat."
More than 35 percent of the people who are served by Second Harvest come from homes with at least one working adult, according to the study, which was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, a social-policy research firm based in Princeton, N.J.   And many of those hungry are children, almost 9 million, or 31 percent.   Another 3 million of the hungry are senior citizens, about 11 percent.
"Food banks are like the canary in the mine shafts.   They see trends in underreported populations long before they show up in other statistics," says Doug O'Brien, vice president for public policy and research at Second Harvest.   "People access emergency food systems because something in their household economy has gone wrong."
In other words, their incomes are not keeping up with their cost of living.   And the food budget, studies have shown, is the most flexible.   It can be cut with a visit to a soup kitchen, while the mortgage, rent, gas, or electric bills are less fungible.
"The fact that so many working people still have to go to a soup kitchen or a food bank to make ends meet shows there's something structurally wrong with the economy," says Mr. O'Brien.   "If you work, you should be able to provide enough for your family.   That's part of the social contract we have with our citizens."
By Alexandra Marks, February 22, 2006
Copyright © 2006 The Christian Science Monitor.
www.counterpunch.org/ October 28, 2005
By Jared Bernstein — Economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
Fastest Decline in Real Wages on Record
Inflation Up; Wages Down
Employers' wage costs grew 2.3% over the past year, the slowest growth rate on record, according to today's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Factoring in the recent energy-driven increase in inflation, the real wage is down 2.3%, also the largest real loss on record for this series that began in 1981.
With hourly wages falling in real terms, the only way working families can raise their incomes is by working more hours-certainly not the path to improving living standards that we would expect in an economy posting strong productivity gains.
This 2.3% rate is a slight tick down from the 2.4% - the previous historical low - that prevailed for the last four quarters.
Compensation - wages plus benefits - also grew more slowly in the third quarter of this year, up 3.1% over the same quarter last year, the slowest yearly growth in six years.
For the first time in this employers' costs report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics presented these values adjusted for inflation.
Both wages and compensation are losing growth in real terms, down 2.3% and 1.5%, respectively, as slower nominal wage growth is colliding with faster inflation.
Largest yearly real losses on record
In both cases, these are the largest yearly real losses on record.
This is a broad measure of earnings, including all civilian workers.
It thus reveals an ongoing, important imbalance in this economic expansion.
Overall measures of economic performance, such as gross domestic product, continue to perform well.
For example, real GDP grew by 3.8% in the third quarter, above expectations and an acceleration over the 3.3% GDP growth rate of last quarter.
Yet the wage and compensation results show that this growth is failing to show up in hourly earnings.
This has two implications.
First, the view that increasing labor costs are pushing up prices is clearly not supported by these data.
There is no evidence of an over-heating labor market that needs to be cooled by Federal Reserve rate hikes.
Second, the resulting stagnant hourly wages will make it hard for working families to truly get ahead.
DELIVERING NEWS AND OPINION SINCE MAY 9, 2005
KATHY FRESTON
01.18.2007
Vegetarian is the New Prius
President Herbert Hoover promised "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage."
With warnings about global warming reaching feverish levels, many are having second thoughts about all those cars.   It seems they should instead be worrying about the chickens.
Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion:
Most serious environmental problems
"The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."
It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.
That's right, global warming.
You've probably heard the story: emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are changing our climate, and scientists warn of more extreme weather, coastal flooding, spreading disease, and mass extinctions.
It seems that when you step outside and wonder what happened to winter, you might want to think about what you had for dinner last night.
Fifth of global warming emissions from livestock
The U.N. report says almost a fifth of global warming emissions come from livestock (i.e., those chickens Hoover was talking about, plus pigs, cattle, and others) — that's more emissions than from all of the world's transportation combined.
For a decade now, the image of Leonardo DiCaprio cruising in his hybrid Toyota Prius has defined the gold standard for environmentalism.
These gas-sipping vehicles became a veritable symbol of the consumers' power to strike a blow against global warming.   Just think: a car that could cut your vehicle emissions in half — in a country responsible for 25% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions.
Federal fuel economy standards languished in Congress, and average vehicle mileage dropped to its lowest level in decades, but the Prius showed people that another way is possible.   Toyota could not import the cars fast enough to meet demand.
Last year researchers at the University of Chicago took the Prius down a peg when they turned their attention to another gas guzzling consumer purchase.  
They noted that feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg production requires growing some ten times as much crops as we'd need if we just ate pasta primavera, faux chicken nuggets, and other plant foods.
On top of that, we have to transport the animals to slaughterhouses, slaughter them, refrigerate their carcasses, and distribute their flesh all across the country.
Heat-trapping carbon dioxide
Producing a calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels — and spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide — as does a calorie of plant protein.
The researchers found that, when it's all added up, the average American does more to reduce global warming emissions by going vegetarian than by switching to a Prius.
According to the UN report, it gets even worse when we include the vast quantities of land needed to give us our steak and pork chops.   Animal agriculture takes up an incredible 70% of all agricultural land, and 30% of the total land surface of the planet.
Slashing and burning the world's forests
As a result, farmed animals are probably the biggest cause of slashing and burning the world's forests.
Today, 70% of former Amazon rainforest is used for pastureland, and feed crops cover much of the remainder.
These forests serve as "sinks," absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, and burning these forests releases all the stored carbon dioxide, quantities that exceed by far the fossil fuel emission of animal agriculture.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the real kicker comes when looking at gases besides carbon dioxide — gases like methane and nitrous oxide, enormously effective greenhouse gases with 23 and 296 times the warming power of carbon dioxide, respectively.
If carbon dioxide is responsible for about one-half of human-related greenhouse gas warming since the industrial revolution, methane and nitrous oxide are responsible for another one-third.
These super-strong gases come primarily from farmed animals' digestive processes, and from their manure.
37% methane, 65% nitrous oxide
In fact, while animal agriculture accounts for 9% of our carbon dioxide emissions, it emits 37% of our methane, and a whopping 65% of our nitrous oxide.
It's a little hard to take in when thinking of a small chick hatching from her fragile egg.
How can an animal, so seemingly insignificant against the vastness of the earth, give off so much greenhouse gas as to change the global climate? The answer is in their sheer numbers.
The United States alone slaughters more than 10 billion land animals every year, all to sustain a meat-ravenous culture that can barely conceive of a time not long ago when "a chicken in every pot" was considered a luxury.
Land animals raised for food make up a staggering 20% of the entire land animal biomass of the earth.   We are eating our planet to death.
What we're seeing is just the beginning, too.   Meat consumption has increased five-fold in the past fifty years, and is expected to double again in the next fifty.
It sounds like a lot of bad news, but in fact it's quite the opposite.
It means we have a powerful new weapon to use in addressing the most serious environmental crisis ever to face humanity.
The Prius was an important step forward, but how often are people in the market for a new car? Now that we know a greener diet is even more effective than a greener car, we can make a difference at every single meal, simply by leaving the animals off of our plates.
Good for our health — good for health of planet
Who would have thought: what's good for our health is also good for the health of the planet!
Going veg provides more bang for your buck than driving a Prius.
Plus, that bang comes a lot faster.   The Prius cuts emissions of carbon dioxide, which spreads its warming effect slowly over a century.
A big chunk of the problem with farmed animals, on the other hand, is methane, a gas which cycles out of the atmosphere in just a decade.   That means less meat consumption quickly translates into a cooler planet.
Not just a cooler planet, also a cleaner one.
Killing entire river and marine ecosystems
Animal agriculture accounts for most of the water consumed in this country, emits two-thirds of the world's acid-rain-causing ammonia, and it the world's largest source of water pollution — killing entire river and marine ecosystems, destroying coral reefs, and of course, making people sick.
Try to imagine the prodigious volumes of manure churned out by modern American farms: 5 million tons a day, more than a hundred times that of the human population, and far more than our land can possibly absorb.
The acres and acres of cesspools stretching over much of our countryside, polluting the air and contaminating our water, make the Exxon Valdez oil spill look minor in comparison.
All of which we can fix surprisingly easily, just by putting down our chicken wings and reaching for a veggie burger.
Doing so has never been easier.
Recent years have seen an explosion of environmentally-friendly vegetarian foods.
Even chains like Ruby Tuesday, Johnny Rockets, and Burger King offer delicious veggie burgers and supermarket refrigerators are lined with heart-healthy creamy soymilk and tasty veggie deli slices.
Vegetarian foods have become staples at environmental gatherings, and garnered celebrity advocates like Bill Maher, Alec Baldwin, Paul McCartney, and of course Leonardo DiCaprio.
Just as the Prius showed us that we each have in our hands the power to make a difference against a problem that endangers the future of humanity, going vegetarian gives us a new way to dramatically reduce our dangerous emissions that is even more effective, easier to do, more accessible to everyone and certainly goes better with french fries.
Ever-rising temperatures, melting ice caps, spreading tropical diseases, stronger hurricanes... So, what are you do doing for dinner tonight? Check out www.VegCooking.com for great ideas, free recipes, meal plans, and more!
Check out the environmental section of www.GoVeg.com for a lot more information about the harmful effect of meat-eating on the environment.
Copyright 2007 © HuffingtonPost.com, Inc
Celebrating Independence in the Era of Empire
Our nation was founded on a determination to be free of domination by the British empire.
The US Declaration of Independence proclaimed the need to fight the War of Independence against Britain because King George III had 'kept among us standing armies' that committed intolerable 'abuses and usurpations.'
Today it is our government whose standing army is committing abuses and usurpations in foreign lands.
Today it is our government that is in the business of empire-building.
Even before 9/11, the US military maintained over 700 foreign military bases and installations and almost 250,000 troops in 130 countries.
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison all warned that the invasion and occupation of other lands would turn America into precisely the sort of empire against which they had so recently rebelled.
"We should have nothing to do with conquest," asserted Jefferson in 1791.
Unfortunately, subsequent leaders of this nation have refused to heed this advice - invading other countries to control their land, their oil, their people.
From the 1890s to the 1930s alone, the US intervened 23 times in the Western hemisphere.
Building and maintaining a vast empire is expensive in both lives and money.
The human cost in Iraq alone tops 1,700 US soldiers dead, tens of thousands severely injured both physically and psychologically, with much greater death and suffering endured by the Iraqi people.
Out-of-control military budget
Our out-of-control military budget will, by 2006, equal that of the rest of the world combined.
This enormous cost is draining money from our schools, our hospitals, our public transportation.
Martin Luther King's words that 'a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense then on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death' resonate today.
According to the organization National Priorities, the $200-plus billion we're spending on the war in Iraq could have provided health care to over 46 million Americans, affordable housing to almost 2 million families, or renewable energy for some 360 million homes.
The imperial ambitions of this administration have also cost us dearly in terms of international prestige.
A survey of public opinion in 16 countries released by the Pew Global Attitudes Project on June 23 found a dismal opinion of the U.S.
Rated China more favorably than the U.S
Most said the world was more dangerous after the downfall of Saddam Hussein, rated China more favorably than the U.S., and said the world would be better off if a group of countries emerged as a rival to U.S. military power.
And while 94 percent of Canadians and 83 percent of Indians said their countrymen were well-liked by the global community, seven in 10 Americans said Americans were ''generally disliked'' abroad - the most downbeat assessment of global popularity given by any country in the survey.
Most Americans have come to understand that the cost of empire in lives, money and prestige is unacceptable.
Recent polls show that the majority believes we should never have attacked Iraq, we should begin to withdraw our troops, and that the war in Iraq has not made us safer at home.
Six out of ten Americans say that our nation is headed down the wrong path.
Liberty to force
In 1821, then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams warned that if America went abroad in search of 'monsters to destroy - the fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.'
While she might become the dictatress of the world, he predicted, 'she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.'
Let us reflect on how empire-building is destroying the soul of our nation.
Let us recommit to getting our soldiers out of Iraq, dismantling our foreign bases, preventing new conquests, rejoining the international community and, in the process, becoming the rulers of our own spirit.
Medea Benjamin      http://www.globalexchange.org      is cofounder of Global Exchange and
CODEPINK: Women for Peace.

The Civilian Half
The civilian side of government, the part of the private sector that is deeply enmeshed in the military-corporate complex, and America's own citizens will have to pitch in as well if a total-security state is to truly take shape and fire on all cylinders.
Pssst ... Wanna Hear A Secret (Law)?
Last November, "the Transportation Security Administration ordered America's 72 airlines to turn over their June 2004 domestic passenger flight records".
With only a murmur of concern over the privacy of passengers' credit-card numbers, phone numbers and health information, the airlines handed the requested information over so the agency could test its new Secure Flight system - an expanded version of the much-maligned terrorist watch list.
More recently, the Transportation Security Administration has made headlines with a change in its pat-down policies.
After public outcry, airport security screeners have been instructed no longer to grope the breasts of female passengers as an anti-terror measure.
Pat-downs, however, apparently remain part of TSA airport protocol in some cases, although we have no idea which ones.
This is because the Transportation Security Administration has begun to dabble in "secret law" by subjecting passengers to special screenings including "pat-down searches for weapons or unauthorized materials", while denying the public the right to know under what law(s) such methods are authorized.
As Steven Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy recently observed, "In a qualitatively new development in US governance, Americans can now be obligated to comply with legally binding regulations that are unknown to them, and that indeed they are forbidden to know."
The Homeland Security State by Nick Turse
http://www.tomdispatch.com
Thursday, December 22nd, 2005
Cheney Casts Tie-Breaking Senate Vote Cutting $40 Billion to the Poor
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The $40 billion dollars in budget cuts is dwarfed by the $70 billion dollar cost of a Republican proposal expected to be voted on next year that would extend previous tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003.   The contentious budget bill was passed by a 50 to 51 vote.   Five Senate Republicans joined the Democrats in opposing the measure.   Their combined votes would have led to a 50-50 tie.   However, Vice President Dick Cheney cut short his trip to the Middle East in order to cast the tie-breaking vote.
As president of the Senate, Cheney was able to break the deadlock and pass the measure.   Critics of the bill note that the poor and middle class would bear the brunt of the cuts.   Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid called it "an ideologically driven, extreme, radical budget.   It caters to lobbyists and an elite group of ultraconservative ideologues here in Washington, all at the expense of middle class Americans.”   The American Council on Education announced this is the biggest cut in the history of the federal student loan program.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Pukin Dogs of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 143 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower on Monday Jan. 8, 2007.

Tuesday, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was sent to join three other U.S. warships off the Somali coast.

The United States is again participating in killing, this time a war against innocent herdspeople labelled as 'terrorists.'

Many desert people were killed in the Somali desert by descending aircraft from U.S. ships. 

The aircraft carrier is part of the Fifth Fleet presently on a war footing in the Middle East. 

Picture: US Government
An F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Pukin Dogs of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 143 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower on Monday Jan. 8, 2007.
Tuesday, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was sent to join three other U.S. warships off the Somali coast.
The United States is again participating in killing, this time a war against innocent herdspeople labelled as 'terrorists.'
Many desert people were killed in the Somali desert by descending aircraft from U.S. ships.
The aircraft carrier is part of the Fifth Fleet presently on a war footing in the Middle East.
Picture:
US Government
AMY GOODMAN:    We are joined in Washington D.C. by Robert Greenstein.
He is the Executive Director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.   It’s good to have you with us.
Well, tell us about this budget.
ROBERT GREENSTEIN:    This bill, as you noted, cuts over $40 billion over a five-year period, but you really can't get the flavor of it just from citing the budget numbers.
If you take, for example, the Medicaid program, which is the principal health insurance program for tens of millions of low-income children, families, elderly people and people with disabilities, this bill makes very major changes in that program.
It authorizes states to particularly raise the amounts that people just above the poverty line would have to pay each time they needed to go to the doctor or the hospital.
You take a family of three that’s making, say, $17,000 a year, various procedures, inpatient, outpatient, for which they now are charged $3 per visit, under this new bill they could be charged, depending on the treatment, anywhere from $20 to $160 for each one of those treatments or procedures.
We have a body of research, Amy, that is this high that demonstrates that when you put co-payments of even a fraction of that size on low-income people, that in many cases they forgo the treatment or they don't take the medication.  
Sometimes they will get better on their own, but the research shows that in many cases they get sicker, sometimes seriously so.
The bill also authorizes states to substantially reduce the healthcare services that are covered under the Medicaid benefit package for various groups, such as working poor parents.
The changes in Medicaid are pretty significant.
Another change in Medicaid, under this bill, native-born U.S. citizens would have to provide birth certificates or passports to stay enrolled in the Medicaid program.
This is expected to have a racially discriminatory effect, because studies show that as many as one in five elderly African Americans don't have birth certificates, in many cases because they couldn't be born in a hospital, because in the South in those days before World War II, blacks often couldn't be admitted to hospitals, and you often got your birth certificate triggered in a hospital.
In the area of child support enforcement we have had a bipartisan consensus for 15 years in Washington with heavy Republican involvement that absent parents should pay their fair share, and there is a program, which the federal government helps fund, to make sure that child support payments are collected and provided to the children and their mothers.
This bill substantially cuts federal funding for that program.
The Congressional Budget Office, which is Congress's own official analyst of these things, has reported that as a result of this cut, $8 billion less in child support payments owed by non-custodial parents will be collected and provided to the children and their mothers over the next ten years.
In other words, this will cause significant increases in poverty.
The changes in welfare are also pretty profound.
They’re the biggest changes since the 1996 welfare law, and they rewrite the ’96 welfare law to make it, in key respects, substantially harsher than the ‘96 welfare law itself was.
There would be new requirements for the percentage of parents that have to be in workfare type programs that are set in such an unrealistic fashion that states couldn't meet them and would then face fiscal penalties; and the easiest way for the states to deal with, to ease those fiscal penalties, would be by cutting the rolls.
Poor, two-parent families
In particular, for poor, two-parent families, married parent families, the new standards would be so unrealistic that not a single state in the United States could meet them.
They would be required to have virtually every two-parent family in a work program virtually full-time every week of the year.
If a parent had to miss a couple days from work because he or she was sick or their child was sick, they wouldn't meet the standard for that month; and if a small number of parents were in that circumstance, the state would fail to meet the standard and would be penalized financially by the federal government.
Experts expect that many states will cut large numbers of poor two-parent families from their rolls in coming years in order to avoid these penalties.
Boeing headquarters
Recipient of billions
of US taxpayer money
for weapons
and war machines
Cuts in student loan program
As you noted, there are also major cuts in the student loan program.
There are major changes in the long-term care part of Medicaid that will make it harder for a number of people to get long-term care coverage when they need it.
There are a variety of other changes, as well.   What's striking is that the Senate had earlier passed a bill that didn't have a single low-income cut of this sort in it.   None at all.
The House, by contrast, had passed an extremely harsh bill, and the difference was that the Senate got a lot of savings in the original Senate bill by restraining well known overpayments to managed care companies in Medicare and dealing with the very large mark-ups that the big drug companies get for drugs provided in Medicaid by reducing the prices Medicaid pays for drugs.
What happened behind closed doors over the weekend was that the drug companies got protected.
The cuts that affected them were taken out. The managed care companies got largely protected.
Nearly all of the changes that would have restrained excessive payments to them got taken out, and the cuts got redirected more heavily towards low and moderate income families instead. Probably not an accident.
If you look at the campaign contribution data, you find that every significant House Republican leader who has something to do with Medicare and Medicaid policy is among the top recipients of campaign contributions for the 2006 election cycle from both the managed care companies and the drug companies.
AMY GOODMAN:    I wanted to touch on the level of burden on students right now. Nearly a third of all the savings in the final budget bill comes from student aid, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Under the bill, college students would pay higher interest rates on loans, banks receive lower subsidies, Education Department will work with the I.R.S. to ferret out students and parents who underreport incomes on financial aid applications.
In this last minute, the effect on students.
ROBERT GREENSTEIN:    There will be effects on students, I think, both in terms of fees and interest rates.
The other thing that should be said is that the savings from the students, from working poor families (who I think will actually be hit harder than students), and everybody else who suffers under this bill, not a dollar of those savings is going to reduce the federal deficit.
Every dollar is going to offset a portion of the cost of tax cuts that’ll be passed when Congress comes back after its recess; and those tax cuts will go heavily to very high income people, and, in some cases, a large share of them will go to the people that make over a million dollars a year.
So, it’s really a transfer in many — It’s not deficit reduction.
We’re talking about a transfer from people who have greater needs to people at very high income levels and powerful forces that make large campaign contributions.
AMY GOODMAN:    Bob Greenstein, thanks so much for being with us.
The website www.cbpp.org, and you can go to our website at democracynow.org for all links.
I’ll end with a couple of paragraphs from the New York Times today:
“Republican negotiators said virtually all the cuts in student aid would be borne by banks and other lenders, an assertion sharply disputed by Democrats and college administrators, who said two-thirds of the savings would be at the expense of students and their families.
Even as it makes those cuts, Congress is creating a new program for students from low-income families who are eligible for Pell grants.
The amount of aid will not be based on financial need.
To qualify, students would have to be U.S. citizens, have completed a ‘rigorous secondary school program of study’ and be taking courses full-time at a degree-granting institution of higher education.
The student would have to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0. Juniors and seniors will be eligible only if they’ve declared a major in the physical or life sciences, computer science, math, technology, engineering, or a foreign language deemed critical to national security.”
College and university groups, as well as most Democrats, oppose the overall bill.
As it becomes harder for students to get money for college, it seems increasingly that it puts pressure on young people to go into the military as an avenue to get to college.
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Bush's Middle Class Tax Hike
The Progress Report.
Posted February 8, 2005.
In the 2006 budget, rolling back massive tax cuts for millionaires is off the table, but the Bush administration has no qualms about raising taxes on average Americans.
A closer look at the administration's 2006 budget shows an economic agenda promoting the wrong choices and wrong priorities.
Rolling back massive tax cuts for millionaires is off the table, but the Bush administration has no qualms about raising taxes on average Americans.
The budget President Bush submitted to Congress yesterday imposes $5.3 billion in new, regressive taxes.
(They are conveniently listed in table 18-3 on page 305 of the Analytic Perspectives supplement to the budget.)
The administration's budget contains new taxes that will increase the price of a six-pack of beer, an airline ticket and prescription drugs for veterans.
Meanwhile, the budget cuts funding for education, public health and environmental protection and includes $1.4 trillion in new tax cuts for the wealthy.
Welcome to Bushonomics.  (ThinkProgress.org.)
Homeless soldier
Homeless soldier
Photo: alternet
No matter which way you slice it, the administration's budget is egregiously fiscally irresponsible - by its own estimates, it will result in a $390 billion deficit in 2006.
Worse, that figure is only arrived at through trickery.
The budget includes over a billion dollars in revenue from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), even though Congress hasn't authorized such drilling and has rejected President Bush's proposal to open ANWR to oil exploration for the last four years.
Budget Director Josh Bolten defended the move, claiming, "the budget is the right place to present the entirety of the president's policies, so all of his proposals are reflected in there."
Really?
The Bush budget excludes all funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the administration's $2 trillion Social Security package.
Share to bottom two-fifths of households fallen to one of lowest levels since World War II
During the Bush administration, more and more Americans are struggling.The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities sums it up: "The number of poor went up for the third straight year in 2003, the share of total income that goes to the bottom two-fifths of households has fallen to one of its lowest levels since the end of World War II, and the number of people lacking health insurance rose to 45 million in 2003, the highest level on record."
Yet the Bush administration is cutting programs that help people get back on their feet.
For example, the administration's budget proposes "a five-year freeze on child care funding that ... will result in cutting the number of low-income children receiving child care assistance by 300,000 in 2009."
The Bush budget also cuts $45 billion from Medicaid, the program that provides basic health coverage to the poor.
The industry-backed prescription drug bill President Bush jammed through Congress is a bad law that keeps getting worse.
While the bill was pending before Congress, the administration promised the bill would cost $400 billion over 10 years and threatened to fire the Medicare actuary who knew that figure was too low.
Later, the administration revised its estimated price tag to $534 billion over 10 years, largely due to excessive payments to private insurers and HMOs.
Now, in the most recent budget, the Bush administration estimates the bill will cost $395 billion over five years.
In the meantime, drug companies have already jacked up their prices enough to offset any discount to seniors.
Apparently, President Bush isn't concerned that abstinence-only programs are misleading the nation's children about sex.
A study last year found that some of the most popular programs pushed lies, such as claiming that mutual masturbation can cause pregnancy and condoms fail to prevent the transmission of HIV 31 percent of the time.
President Bush's budget increases funding for abstinence-only education by $39 million, to a total of $209 million.
Good news for Evian, bad news for everyone else.
President Bush proposes reducing federal funds states use to improve water quality by $369 million.
The federal contribution to the program is now just $730 million, down from $1.98 billion four years ago.

Routine and systematic torture is at the heart of America's war on terror
In the fight against cruelty, barbarism and extremism, America has embraced the very evils it claims to confront
George Monbiot
Tuesday December 12, 2006
The Guardian
After thousands of years of practice, you might have imagined that every possible means of inflicting pain had already been devised.
But you should never underestimate the human capacity for invention.
United States interrogators, we now discover, have found a new way of destroying a human being.
Last week, defence lawyers acting for José Padilla, a US citizen detained as an "enemy combatant", released a video showing a mission fraught with deadly risk — taking him to the prison dentist.
A group of masked guards in riot gear shackled his legs and hands, blindfolded him with black-out goggles and shut off his hearing with headphones, then marched him down the prison corridor.
Going to the dentist!
Taken by US government.
Kept locked up for three years, never charged.
Total sensory deprivation for three years.
Total sensory deprivation
Is Padilla really that dangerous?
Far from it: his warders describe him as so docile and inactive that he could be mistaken for "a piece of furniture".
The purpose of these measures appeared to be to sustain the regime under which he had lived for more than three years: total sensory deprivation.
He had been kept in a blacked-out cell, unable to see or hear anything beyond it.
Most importantly, he had had no human contact, except for being bounced off the walls from time to time by his interrogators.
As a result, he appears to have lost his mind.
I mean that his mind is no longer there.
I don't mean this metaphorically.
I mean that his mind is no longer there.
The forensic psychiatrist who examined him says that he:
Does not appreciate the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him.
Is unable to render assistance to counsel.
Has impairments in reasoning as the result of a mental illness, ie, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder has been complicated by the neuropsychiatric effects of prolonged isolation.
José Padilla appears to have been lobotomised: not medically, but socially.
If this was an attempt to extract information, it was ineffective: the authorities held him without charge for three and half years.
Then, threatened by a supreme court ruling, they suddenly dropped their claims that he was trying to detonate a dirty bomb.
They have now charged him with some vague and lesser offences to do with support for terrorism.
He is unlikely to be the only person subjected to this regime.
That the US tortures, routinely and systematically can no longer be seriously disputed.
Another "enemy combatant", Ali al-Marri, claims to have been subject to the same total isolation and sensory deprivation, in the same naval prison in South Carolina.
God knows what is being done to people who have disappeared into the CIA's foreign oubliettes.
That the US tortures, routinely and systematically, while prosecuting its "war on terror" can no longer be seriously disputed.
The Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project (DAA), a coalition of academics and human-rights groups, has documented the abuse or killing of 460 inmates of US military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and at Guantánamo Bay.
Killing of 460 inmates of US military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and at Guantánamo Bay
This, it says, is necessarily a conservative figure: many cases will remain unrecorded.
The prisoners were beaten, raped, forced to abuse themselves, forced to maintain "stress positions", and subjected to prolonged sleep deprivation and mock executions.
Tortured by the U.S.
Taken by US government.
Kept locked up for three years, never charged.
Total sensory deprivation for three years.
The New York Times reports that prisoners held by the US military at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan were made to stand for up to 13 days with their hands chained to the ceiling, naked, hooded and unable to sleep.
The Washington Post alleges that prisoners at the same airbase were "commonly blindfolded and thrown into walls, bound in painful positions, subjected to loud noises and deprived of sleep" while kept, like Padilla and the arrivals at Guantánamo, "in black hoods or spray-painted goggles".
Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, argues that the photographs released from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq reflect standard CIA torture techniques: "stress positions, sensory deprivation, and sexual humiliation".
The famous picture of the hooded man standing on a box, with wires attached to his fingers, shows two of these techniques being used at once.
Unable to see, he has no idea how much time has passed or what might be coming next.
He stands in a classic stress position — maintained for several hours, it causes excruciating pain.
He appears to have been told that if he drops his arms he will be electrocuted.
US torturers appear to enjoy impunity, until stupid enough to take pictures of each other
What went wrong at Abu Ghraib is that someone took photos.
Everything else was done by the book.
Neither the military nor the civilian authorities have broken much sweat in investigating these crimes.
A few very small fish have been imprisoned; a few others have been fined or reduced in rank; in most cases the authorities have either failed to investigate or failed to prosecute.
The DAA points out that no officer has yet been held to account for torture practised by his subordinates.
US torturers appear to enjoy impunity, until they are stupid enough to take pictures of each other.
Another glorious American tradition: solitary confinement
But Padilla's treatment also reflects another glorious American tradition: solitary confinement.
Some 25,000 US prisoners are currently held in isolation — a punishment only rarely used in other democracies.
Tortured by the U.S.
Taken by US government.
Kept locked up for three years, never charged.
Total sensory deprivation for three years.
In some places, like the federal prison in Florence, Colorado, they are kept in sound-proofed cells and might scarcely see another human being for years on end.
They may touch or be touched by no one.
Some people have been kept in solitary confinement in the US for more than 20 years.
At Pelican Bay in California, where 1,200 people are held in the isolation wing, inmates are confined to tiny cells for 22 and a half hours a day, then released into an "exercise yard" for "recreation".
The yard consists of a concrete well about 3.5 metres in length with walls 6 metres high and a metal grille across the sky. The recreation consists of pacing back and forth, alone.
The results are much as you would expect.
As National Public Radio reveals, more than 10% of the isolation prisoners at Pelican Bay are now in the psychiatric ward, and there's a waiting list.
Prisoners in solitary confinement, according to Dr Henry Weinstein, a psychiatrist who studies them, suffer from "memory loss to severe anxiety to hallucinations to delusions ... under the severest cases of sensory deprivation, people go crazy."
People who went in bad and dangerous come out mad as well.
Christian? society that believes in neither forgiveness nor redemption.
The only two studies conducted so far — in Texas and Washington state — both show that the recidivism rates for prisoners held in solitary confinement are worse than for those who were allowed to mix with other prisoners.
If we were to judge the US by its penal policies, we would perceive a strange beast: a Christian society that believes in neither forgiveness nor redemption.
Useful to erase a man's mind
From this delightful experiment, US interrogators appear to have extracted a useful lesson: if you want to erase a man's mind, deprive him of contact with the rest of the world.
This has nothing to do with obtaining information: torture of all kinds — physical or mental — produces the result that people will say anything to make it end.
It is about power, and the thrilling discovery that in the right conditions one man's power over another is unlimited.
It is an indulgence which turns its perpetrators into everything they claim to be confronting.
Terror, cruelty, barbarism and extremism
President Bush maintains that he is fighting a war against threats to the "values of civilised nations": terror, cruelty, barbarism and extremism.
He asked his nation's interrogators to discover where these evils are hidden.
They should congratulate themselves.
They appear to have succeeded.
Monbiot.com
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006
Emphasis, subtitles, images inserted by thewe.cc
The connection between Vietnam and Iraq.

SURGE
 
When I came back from Vietnam, this is what welcomed me home.

This is the shit I put my life on the line for.

This is what 58,000 American soldiers died for.

This is what 300,000 American soldiers were wounded for.

This is what over 50,000 Vietnam veterans have committed suicide for.

This is why a close vet friend of mine hung himself in a motel room last January.

The Roman Empire is alive and well in Washington, D.C.

Why?

Because all of the books have been burned.

Image and words: Mike Hastie
U.S. Army Medic
Vietnam 1970-71
January 7, 2007
The connection between Vietnam and Iraq.
SURGE
When I came back from Vietnam, this is what welcomed me home.
This is the shit I put my life on the line for.
This is what 58,000 American soldiers died for.
This is what 300,000 American soldiers were wounded for.
This is what over 50,000 Vietnam veterans have committed suicide for.
This is why a close vet friend of mine hung himself in a motel room last January.
The Roman Empire is alive and well in Washington, D.C.
Why?
Because all of the books have been burned.
Image and words: Mike Hastie
U.S. Army Medic
Vietnam 1970-71
January 7, 2007
Five young girls have been killed by US troops in Ramadi in clashes with Iraq resistance forces.
The youngest female casualty was six-months-old and the eldest was aged 10.
Also police and witnesses said U.S. soldiers shot and killed 11 civilians and wounded five on Sunday night in Husseiniya, a suburb about 20 kilometers (13 miles) outside northeast Baghdad.
      BBC/AP      
I am in blood
stepp'd in so far that,
should I wade no more,
returning were as tedious
as go o'er.

Macbeth
Published in the January 31, 2005 issue of Newsweek International
Dream On America
The U.S. Model: For years, much of the world did aspire to the American way of life.   But today countries are finding more appealing systems in their own backyards.
by Andrew Moravcsik
Not long ago, the American dream was a global fantasy.
Not only Americans saw themselves as a beacon unto nations.
So did much of the rest of the world.
East Europeans tuned into Radio Free Europe.
Chinese students erected a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square.
You had only to listen to George W. Bush's Inaugural Address last week (invoking "freedom" and "liberty" 49 times) to appreciate just how deeply Americans still believe in this founding myth.
For many in the world, the president's rhetoric confirmed their worst fears of an imperial America relentlessly pursuing its narrow national interests.
But the greater danger may be a delusional America — one that believes, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the American Dream lives on, that America remains a model for the world, one whose mission is to spread the word.
The gulf between how Americans view themselves and how the world views them was summed up in a poll last week by the BBC.
Fully 71 percent of Americans see the United States as a source of good in the world.
More than half view Bush's election as positive for global security.
Other studies report that 70 percent have faith in their domestic institutions and nearly 80 percent believe "American ideas and customs" should spread globally.
US threat to world peace
Foreigners take an entirely different view: 58 percent in the BBC poll see Bush's re-election as a threat to world peace.
Among America's traditional allies, the figure is strikingly higher: 77 percent in Germany, 64 percent in Britain and 82 percent in Turkey.
Among the 1.3 billion members of the Islamic world, public support for the United States is measured in single digits.
Only Poland, the Philippines and India viewed Bush's second Inaugural positively.
Tellingly, the anti-Bushism of the president's first term is giving way to a more general anti-Americanism.
A plurality of voters (the average is 70 percent) in each of the 21 countries surveyed by the BBC oppose sending any troops to Iraq, including those in most of the countries that have done so.
Only one third, disproportionately in the poorest and most dictatorial countries, would like to see American values spread in their country.
Says Doug Miller of GlobeScan, which conducted the BBC report: "President Bush has further isolated America from the world.
Unless the administration changes its approach, it will continue to erode America's good name, and hence its ability to effectively influence world affairs."
Former Brazilian president Jose Sarney expressed the sentiments of the 78 percent of his countrymen who see America as a threat: "Now that Bush has been re-elected, all I can say is, God bless the rest of the world."
The truth is that Americans are living in a dream world.
Not only do others not share America's self-regard, they no longer aspire to emulate the country's social and economic achievements.
The loss of faith in the American Dream goes beyond this swaggering administration and its war in Iraq.
A President Kerry would have had to confront a similar disaffection, for it grows from the success of something America holds dear: the spread of democracy, free markets and international institutions — globalization, in a word.
Countries today have dozens of political, economic and social models to choose from.
Anti-Americanism is especially virulent in Europe and Latin America, where countries have established their own distinctive ways — none made in America.
Generous social welfare, cultural diversity and respect for international law
Futurologist Jeremy Rifkin, in his recent book "The European Dream," hails an emerging European Union based on generous social welfare, cultural diversity and respect for international law — a model that's caught on quickly across the former nations of Eastern Europe and the Baltics.
In Asia, the rise of autocratic capitalism in China or Singapore is as much a "model" for development as America's scandal-ridden corporate culture.
"First we emulate," one Chinese businessman recently told the board of one U.S. multinational, "then we overtake."
Many are tempted to write off the new anti-Americanism as a temporary perturbation, or mere resentment.
Blinded by its own myth, America has grown incapable of recognizing its flaws.
For there is much about the American Dream to fault.
If the rest of the world has lost faith in the American model — political, economic, diplomatic — it's partly for the very good reason that it doesn't work as well anymore.
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY:
Once upon a time, the U.S. Constitution was a revolutionary document, full of epochal innovations — free elections, judicial review, checks and balances, federalism and, perhaps most important, a Bill of Rights.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, countries around the world copied the document, not least in Latin America.
So did Germany and Japan after World War II.
Today?
When nations write a new constitution, as dozens have in the past two decades, they seldom look to the American model.
When the soviets withdrew from Central Europe, U.S. constitutional experts rushed in.
They got a polite hearing, and were sent home.
Jiri Pehe, adviser to former president Vaclav Havel, recalls the Czechs' firm decision to adopt a European-style parliamentary system with strict limits on campaigning.
"For Europeans, money talks too much in American democracy.  It's very prone to certain kinds of corruption, or at least influence from powerful lobbies," he says.
"Europeans would not want to follow that route."
They also sought to limit the dominance of television, unlike in American campaigns where, Pehe says, "TV debates and photogenic looks govern election victories."
     Bulge story continues into 2005     
     — NASA scientist shows Bush wired in debate     
Published in the January 31, 2005 issue of Newsweek International
Dream On America
"We can't rely on the Americans."
So it is elsewhere.
After American planes and bombs freed the country, Kosovo opted for a European constitution.
Drafting a post-apartheid constitution, South Africa rejected American-style federalism in favor of a German model, which leaders deemed appropriate for the social-welfare state they hoped to construct.
Now fledgling African democracies look to South Africa as their inspiration, says John Stremlau, a former U.S. State Department official who currently heads the international relations department at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg: "We can't rely on the Americans."
The new democracies are looking for a constitution written in modern times and reflecting their progressive concerns about racial and social equality, he explains.
"To borrow Lincoln's phrase, South Africa is now Africa's 'last great hope'."
Much in American law and society troubles the world these days.
Nearly all countries reject the United States' right to bear arms as a quirky and dangerous anachronism.

They abhor the death penalty and demand broader privacy protections.
Above all, once most foreign systems reach a reasonable level of affluence, they follow the Europeans in treating the provision of adequate social welfare is a basic right.
US Law has become "provincial."
All this, says Bruce Ackerman at Yale University Law School, contributes to the growing sense that American law, once the world standard, has become "provincial."
The United States' refusal to apply the Geneva Conventions to certain terrorist suspects, to ratify global human-rights treaties such as the innocuous Convention on the Rights of the Child or to endorse the International Criminal Court (coupled with the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo) only reinforces the conviction that America's Constitution and legal system are out of step with the rest of the world.
ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
The American Dream has always been chiefly economic — a dynamic ideal of free enterprise, free markets and individual opportunity based on merit and mobility.  Certainly the U.S. economy has been extraordinarily productive.
Yes, American per capita income remains among the world's highest.  Yet these days there's as much economic dynamism in the newly industrializing economies of Asia, Latin America and even eastern Europe.
All are growing faster than the United States.
At current trends, the Chinese economy will be bigger than America's by 2040.  Whether those trends will continue is not so much the question.
Better to ask whether the American way is so superior that everyone else should imitate it.  And the answer to that, increasingly, is no.
Overregulated "European model?"
Much has made, for instance, of the differences between the dynamic American model and the purportedly sluggish and overregulated "European model."
Ongoing efforts at European labor-market reform and fiscal cuts are ridiculed.
Why can't these countries be more like Britain, businessmen ask, without the high tax burden, state regulation and restrictions on management that plague Continental economies?
Sooner or later, the CW goes, Europeans will adopt the American model — or perish.
Yet this is a myth.
For much of the postwar period Europe and Japan enjoyed higher growth rates than America.
Airbus recently overtook Boeing in sales of commercial aircraft, and the EU recently surpassed America as China's top trading partner.
This year's ranking of the world's most competitive economies by the World Economic Forum awarded five of the top 10 slots — including No. 1 Finland — to northern European social democracies.
"Nordic social democracy remains robust," writes Anthony Giddens, former head of the London School of Economics and a "New Labour" theorist, in a recent issue of the New Statesman, "not because it has resisted reform, but because it embraced it."

This is much of the secret of Britain's economic performance as well.
Lorenzo Codogno, co-head of European economics at the Bank of America, believes the British, like Europeans elsewhere, "will try their own way to achieve a proper balance."
Never put up with the lack of social protections afforded in the American system
Certainly they would never put up with the lack of social protections afforded in the American system.
Europeans are aware that their systems provide better primary education, more job security and a more generous social net.
They are willing to pay higher taxes and submit to regulation in order to bolster their quality of life.
Americans work far longer hours than Europeans do, for instance.
But they are not necessarily more productive — nor happier, buried as they are in household debt, without the time (or money) available to Europeans for vacation and international travel.
American nightmare rather than American dream
George Monbiot, a British public intellectual, speaks for many when he says, "The American model has become an American nightmare rather than an American dream."
Just look at booming Britain.
Instead of cutting social welfare, Tony Blair's Labour government has expanded it.
According to London's Centre for Policy Studies, public spending in Britain represented 43 percent of GDP in 2003, a figure closer to the Eurozone average than to the American share of 35 percent.
It's still on the rise — some 10 percent annually over the past three years — at the same time that social welfare is being reformed to deliver services more efficiently.

Secret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For Martial Law
Nationwide initiative trains volunteers to teach congregations to "obey the government" during seizure of guns, property, forced inoculations and forced relocation.
Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com
May 24 2006
A Pastor has come forward to blow the whistle on a nationwide FEMA program which is training Pastors and other religious representatives to become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to "obey the government" in preparation for a declaration of martial law, property and firearm seizures, and forced relocation.
In March of this year the Pastor, who we shall refer to as Pastor Revere, was invited to attend a meeting of his local FEMA chapter which circulated around preparedness for a potential bio-terrorist attack, any natural disaster or a nationally declared emergency.
The FEMA directors told the Pastors that attended that it was their job to help implement FEMA and Homeland Security directives in anticipation of any of these eventualities.
The first directive was for Pastors to preach to their congregations Romans 13, the often taken out of context bible passage that was used by Hitler to hoodwink Christians into supporting him, in order to teach them to "obey the government" when martial law is declared.
It was related to the Pastors that quarantines, martial law and forced relocation were a problem for state authorities when enforcing federal mandates due to the "cowboy mentality" of citizens standing up for their property and second amendment rights as well as farmers defending their crops and livestock from seizure.
It was stressed that the Pastors needed to preach subservience to the authorities ahead of time in preparation for the round-ups and to make it clear to the congregation that "this is for their own good."
We have received confirmation from other preachers and Pastors that this program is a nationwide initiative and a literal Soviet model whereby the churches are being systematically infiltrated by government volunteers and used as conduits for martial law training and conditioning.
The Pastor was told that over 1,300 counties were already on board.
It falls under the umbrella of the NVOAD program which is training volunteers in a "Peer to Peer" program in a neighborhood setting.
Pastors were told that the would be backed up by law enforcement in controlling uncooperative individuals and that they would even lead SWAT teams in attempting to quell resistance.
"We get the the picture that we're going to be standing at the end of some farmer's lane while he's standing there with his double barrel, saying we have to confiscate your cows, your chickens, your firearms," said Pastor Revere.
The Pastor elaborated on how the directives were being smoke screened by an Orwellian alteration of their names.
"They're not using the term 'quarantine' — this is the term they're going to be using — it's called 'social distancing' don't you like that one," said the Pastor.
He also highlighted how detention camps had been renamed to give them a friendly warm veneer.
"Three months ago it was quarantine and relocation centers and now it's 'community centers' and these are going to be activated at the local schools," he said.
Pastor Revere outlined the plan to carry out mass vaccination and enforced drugging programs in times of crisis such as a bird flu outbreak.
"In the event of an outbreak or a bio-terrorist attack, there'd be a mass vaccination....they have a program nationwide 'Pills in People's Palm In 48 Hours'," said the Pastor who was told that Walmart had been designated as the central outlet of this procedure.
Pastor Revere said that many attendees believed in the necessity of the program and were completely unaware to the motivations behind its true purpose and were offered incentives to become volunteers such as preferential treatment and first access for themselves and their families to vaccines and food shipments in times of emergency.
Which roads to close off after martial law was declared had also already been mapped out.
The precedent for mass gun confiscation in times of real or manufactured emergency was set during Hurricane Katrina when police and national guard patrols forced homeowners even in areas unaffected by the hurricane to hand over their legally owned firearms at gunpoint as is detailed in the video below.
Click here for the completion of this article.
See the video where
Alex Jones exposes FEMA's deliberate sabotage of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts which were used as a platform for a beat test of forced relocation and gun confiscation.
Alex Jones' 2001 documentary film 9/11: The Road to Tyranny featured footage from a FEMA symposium given to firefighters and other emergency personnel in Kansas City in which it was stated that the founding fathers, Christians and homeschoolers were terrorists and should be treated with the utmost suspicion and brutality in times of national emergency.
PRISON PLANET.com         Copyright © 2002-2006 Alex Jones         All rights reserved.
Published in the January 31, 2005 issue of Newsweek International
Dream On America
Inspiration comes from social-democratic Sweden
The inspiration, says Giddens, comes not from America, but from social-democratic Sweden, where universal child care, education and health care have been proved to increase social mobility, opportunity and, ultimately, economic productivity.
In the United States, inequality once seemed tolerable because America was the land of equal opportunity.  But this is no longer so.  
U.S. CEO pulls in 1,000 times U.S. worker
Two decades ago, a U.S. CEO earned 39 times the average worker; today he pulls in 1,000 times as much.
Cross-national studies show that America has recently become a relatively difficult country for poorer people to get ahead.
Monbiot summarizes the scientific data: "In Sweden, you are three times more likely to rise out of the economic class into which you were born than you are in the U.S."
Other nations have begun to notice.
Even in poorer, pro-American Hungary and Poland, polls show that only a slender minority (less than 25 percent) wants to import the American economic model.
A big reason is its increasingly apparent deficiencies.
"Americans have the best medical care in the world," Bush declared in his Inaugural Address.
Yet the United States is the only developed democracy without a universal guarantee of health care, leaving about 45 million Americans uninsured.
Nor do Americans receive higher-quality health care in exchange.
Whether it is measured by questioning public-health experts, polling citizen satisfaction or survival rates, the health care offered by other countries increasingly ranks above America's.
U.S. infant mortality rates among highest for developed democracies
U.S. infant mortality rates are among the highest for developed democracies.
The average Frenchman, like most Europeans, lives nearly four years longer than the average American.
Small wonder that the World Health Organization rates the U.S. healthcare system only 37th best in the world, behind Colombia (22nd) and Saudi Arabia (26th), and on a par with Cuba.
The list goes on: ugly racial tensions, sky-high incarceration rates, child-poverty rates higher than any Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country except Mexico — where Europe, these days, inspires more admiration than the United States.
"Their solutions feel more natural to Mexicans because they offer real solutions to real, and seemingly intractable, problems," says Sergio Aguayo, a prominent democracy advocate in Mexico City, referring to European education, health care and social policies.
And while undemocratic states like China may, ironically, be among the last places where the United States still presents an attractive political and social alternative to authoritarian government, new models are rising in prominence.
No longer destination number one
Says Julie Zhu, a college student in Beijing: "When I was in high school I thought America was this dreamland, a fabled place."
Anything she bought had to be American.
Now that's changed, she says: "When people have money, they often choose European products."
She might well have been talking about another key indicator.
Not long ago, the United States was destination number one for foreign students seeking university educations.
Today, growing numbers are going elsewhere — to other parts of Asia, or Europe.
You can almost feel the pendulum swinging.
FOREIGN POLICY
U.S. leaders have long believed military power and the American Dream went hand in hand.
World War II was fought not just to defeat the Axis powers, but to make the world safe for the United Nations, the precursor to the — World Trade Organization, the European Union and other international institutions that would strengthen weaker countries.
NATO and the Marshall Plan were the twin pillars upon which today's Europe were built.
Today, Americans make the same presumption, confusing military might with right.
Following European criticisms of the Iraq war, the French became "surrender monkeys."
The Germans were opportunistic ingrates.
The British (and the Poles) were America's lone allies.
Unsurprisingly, many of those listening to Bush's Inaugural pledge last week to stand with those defying tyranny saw the glimmerings of an argument for invading Iran: Washington has thus far shown more of an appetite for spreading ideals with the barrel of a gun than for namby-pamby hearts-and-minds campaigns.
Published in the January 31, 2005 issue of Newsweek International
Dream On America
Last "Bismarckian power"
A former French minister muses that the United States is the last "Bismarckian power" — the last country to believe that the pinpoint application of military power is the critical instrument of foreign policy.
Contrast that to the European Union — pioneering an approach based on civilian instruments like trade, foreign aid, peacekeeping, international monitoring and international law — or even China, whose economic clout has become its most effective diplomatic weapon.
The strongest tool for both is access to huge markets.
No single policy has contributed as much to Western peace and security as the admission of 10 new countries — to be followed by a half-dozen more — to the European Union.
Real epochal event of our time
In country after country, authoritarian nationalists were beaten back by democratic coalitions held together by the promise of joining Europe.
And in the past month European leaders have taken a courageous decision to contemplate the membership of Turkey, where the prospect of EU membership is helping to create the most stable democratic system in the Islamic world.
When historians look back, they may see this policy as being the truly epochal event of our time, dwarfing in effectiveness the crude power of America.
The United States can take some satisfaction in this.
After all, it is in large part the success of the mid-century American Dream — spreading democracy, free markets, social mobility and multilateral cooperation — that has made possible the diversity of models we see today.
This was enlightened statecraft of unparalleled generosity.
But where does it leave us?
Americans still invoke democratic idealism.
We heard it in Bush's address, with his apocalyptic proclamation that "the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands."
But fewer and fewer people have the patience to listen.
True danger: Americans do not realize this
Headlines in the British press were almost contemptuous: DEFIANT BUSH DOES NOT MENTION THE WAR, HAVE I GOT NUKES FOR YOU and HIS SECOND-TERM MISSION: TO END TYRANNY ON EARTH.
Has this administration learned nothing from Iraq, they asked?
Can this White House really expect to command support from the rest of the world, with its different strengths and different dreams?
The failure of the American Dream has only been highlighted by the country's foreign-policy failures, not caused by them.  
The true danger is that Americans do not realize this, lost in the reveries of greatness, speechifying about liberty and freedom.
With Christian Caryl in Tokyo, Katka Krosnar in Prague, Mac Margolis in Rio de Janeiro, Tracy Mcnicoll in Paris, Paul Mooney in Beijing, Henk Rossouw in Johannesburg and Marie Valla in London
© Copyright 2005 Newsweek International
U.S. Congress 9 Trillion debt
Operator: "Thank you for calling Domino's Round Table Pizza.   May I have your national ID number?"
Customer: "Hi, I'd like to place an order."
Operator: "I must have your NIDN first, sir."
Customer: "My National ID Number, yeah, hold on, eh, it's 6102049998-45-54610."
Operator: "Thank you, Mr. Sheehan.   I see you live at 1742 Meadowland Drive, and the phone number's 494-2366.    Your office number over at Lincoln Insurance is 745-2302, and your cell number's 266-2566.    Your e-mail address is sheehan@home.net.    Which location are you calling from, sir?"
Customer: "Huh? I'm at home.     Where d'ya get all this information?"
Operator: "We're wired into the HSS, sir."
Customer: "The HSS, what is that?"
Operator: "We're wired into the Homeland Security System, sir.    This will add only 15 seconds to your ordering time."
Customer: (Sighs) "Oh, well, I'd like to order a couple of your All-Meat Special pizzas."
Operator: "I don't think that's a good idea, sir."
Customer: "Whaddya mean?"
Operator: "Sir, your medical records and commode sensors indicate that you've got very high blood pressure and extremely high cholesterol.    Your National Health Care provider won't allow such an unhealthy choice."
Customer: "What?!?! What do you recommend, then?"
Operator: "You might try our low-fat Soybean Pizza.    I'm sure you'll like it."
Customer: "What makes you think I'd like something like that?"
Operator: "Well, you checked out 'Gourmet Soybean Recipes' from your local library last week, sir.    That's why I made the suggestion."
Customer: "All right, all right.    Give me two family-sized ones, then."
Operator: "That should be plenty for you, your wife and your four kids, and your 2 dogs can finish the crusts, sir.    Your total is $49.99."
Customer: "Lemme give you my credit card number."
Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but I'm afraid you'll have to pay in cash.    Your credit card balance is over its limit."
Customer: "I'll run over to the ATM and get some cash before your driver gets here."
Operator: "That won't work either, sir.    Your checking account's overdrawn also."
Customer: "Never mind! Just send the pizzas.    I'll have the cash ready.    How long will it take?"
Operator: "We're running a little behind, sir.    It'll be about 45 minutes, sir.    If you're in a hurry you might want to pick 'em up while you're out getting the cash, but then, carrying pizzas on a motorcycle can be a little awkward."
Customer: "Wait! How do you know I ride a scooter?"
Operator: "It says here you're in arrears on your car payments, so your car got repo'ed.    But your Harley's paid for and you just filled the tank yesterday."
Customer: "Well I'll be a @#%/$@&?#!"
Operator: "I'd advise watching your language, sir.    You've already got a July 3, 2006 conviction for cussing out a cop and another one I see here on September 2 for contempt at your hearing for cussing at a judge.    Oh yes, I see here that you just got out from a 90 day stay in the State Correctional Facility.    Is this your first pizza since your return to society?
Customer: (Speechless)
Operator: "Will there be anything else, sir?"
Customer: "Yes, I have a coupon for a free 2 liters of Coke."
Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but our ad's exclusionary clause prevents us from offering free soda to diabetics.    The National Health Plan prohibits this.    Thank you for calling Domino's Round Table Pizza!"
     When the state becomes God     
the real state of the union
In releasing his FY2004 budget, President Bush claimed "human compassion cannot be summarized in dollars and cents."   Neither, can the untold suffering of the millions of children whose lives will be disrupted by loss of housing and health care this year.
You can’t summarize the sorrow of their parents, who struggle against the odds to provide stability and hope.
A Nation in Crisis, an Economy in Disaster, Soaring Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness
So what’s the good news George?
Homelessness increased 50% in three years, poverty increased again in 2003, and more children are going hungry.
502 soldiers died in Iraq, and 100 soldiers have now died in Afghanistan.
Is there any good news?
George Bush went on TV Tuesday night and told us all how good it is in America thanks to all the things he has done.
He painted a rosy picture of economic recovery, renewed prosperity, new job growth, and many victories in the war on terror.
Did not even remotely resemble the true facts
The facts he presented to America did not even remotely resemble the true facts behind the greatest crisis America has ever faced.  No matter how he described the current situation in America, nothing he said came close to the truth about the real state of the union.
The facts Bush used to show how great we are doing are just so many more lies and deceptions on top of an already long list of betrayals and deceits that he has committed against the country as a whole.
Let’s forget for a moment any myths the current administration is trying to get us to swallow.  Let’s instead look at the real facts and figures that every American should be aware of.  Let’s look at the current poverty rate, job situation, economic forecast, rise in the homeless population, and decline of our whole system of government.
I am going to present the true facts from both government and private organizations.  I will let you be the judge of the current state of the union after you have seen the stark, cold facts of how bad it really has become in our great nation.
Poverty Rates in the US Soar Under Bush
Let’s start with the increase in the poverty levels in the first three years of the Bush administration.
Since 2001 there has been at least an 8% rise in the number of families living in poverty.
Since 2001 many social service agencies and government agencies have reported a 25-30% increase in the amount of families reporting their income as being within borderline poverty levels.
According to federal guidelines the poverty level for a family of four is income under $18,400 a year.
For a single person the poverty level is income under $8,980 a year.
For a single parent with one child the poverty level is $12,120.
Federal guidelines state that borderline poverty levels are an average income of within $200 a month of the poverty level.
With the economic downturn of the past few years, unemployment and underemployment are higher than they have been in nearly a decade.
The number of children living in low-income families is going up every month.
Low income is defined as up to twice the federal poverty level, or $36,800 for a family of four.
There are at least 26.5 million children living in low-income families.
Poverty Children in U.S.
Children represent a disproportionate share of the poor in the United States; they are 25.6% of the total population, but 36.9% of the poor population.
As low-income families increase their earnings, they rapidly lose eligibility for assistance such as childcare subsidies and health benefits.
It is not until a two-parent family of four reaches roughly $36,500 a year in income that parents can provide the basic necessities for their children.  That’s double the federal poverty level.
There is a very in-depth report called Parental Employment in Low-Income Families that was released by the National Center for Children in Poverty — http://www.nccp.org/pub_pel04.html#note1.
This report has a breakdown of income levels, work records, and some solutions to the problem of children living in low-income families.
The poverty rate in 2000 was 11.3%, but there was a huge gap between minority and non-minority incomes.
The poverty rate for African-Americans was 23.6% compared to 7.7% for whites, with an overall rate for minorities that was three times higher on a national average.
The 2000 figures were the lowest in recorded history and indicated the trend of yearly decreases in poverty starting in 1993.
In 2001 the poverty rate went up to 11.7%, with a general decrease in median income for the first time in 8 years.
In 2001 there were 32.9 million people in poverty, an increase of 1.3 million from 2000.
At first this small rise in poverty did not get much notice, but it affected large segments of the population, regardless of race, or economic class.
In 2001 there were 6.8 million families living in poverty.
13.4 million people living in severe poverty in U.S.
There were 13.4 million people, which means they make less than half of the federal poverty level.
This was just the first sign of the looming economic crisis under the Bush administration.
It was initially blamed on an economic slowdown that began under Bill Clinton.
The actual recession did not start until March of 2001.
The poverty rate went up to 12.1% in 2002, with 1.7 million new cases equaling 34.6 million people living in poverty.
7.2 million families living in poverty
In 2002 there were 7.2 million families living in poverty.
There were 14.1 million people living in severe poverty.
There were an additional 12.5 million people living just above the borderline of poverty in 2002, the same amount as in 2001. http://www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/poverty02/pov02hi.html
The poverty rate increased in the Midwest in 2002, accounting for all the increase in cases of poverty.
The poverty rates for the rest of the country did not increase in 2002.
The Midwest has been the hardest hit by the poverty increases of the last three years.
When Big Brother Goes To College
Since it was enacted in the rough wake of September 11, 2001, the USA Patriot Act has enabled the US government to undermine privacy safeguards such as those once protected by the Family Education Records Privacy Act.
The government is now allowed access, without a warrant, to a student's personal, library, bookstore and medical records, and any disclosure that such records have either been sought or turned over is prohibited.
Now, the Department of Education has suggested upping the ante with a proposal to create a national registry that would track every one of the estimated 15.9 million college students in the US through yet another "massive database" — this one containing everything from college students' academic records, tuition payments and financial-aid benefits to social-security numbers and information on participation in varsity sports.
Right now, students have to give written consent for educational and personally identifiable data to be transferred out of the college.
"With this new proposal, most of that power is given to the federal government," says Sarah Flanagan, the vice president for government relations at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Moreover, if this new database comes to pass, says Jasmine L Harris, legislative director at the United States Students Association, it would further erode various remaining privacy safeguards, allowing government agencies other than the Education Department to have greater access to student records.
 
Tunnel Rat
 
After you have been betrayed by your government
for serving in a war for the cause of profit, you become
a tunnel rat in your own country. The world is no longer
safe.

For years I hid in the closet of my mind.

One day, I simply came out of the tunnel. I could no longer remain
silent. I had to bear witness for the soldiers I saw die in
Vietnam.

My anger motivated me to give their lives meaning,
and to expose the lies that ever sent them to War.

The entire War was staged, and
I was the disposable cannon fodder, who would either
die in country, or self-destruct once I got back to the
States.

That almost happened. I can't tell you why I
do what I do. I am driven by a force that will not let
the dead die.

My betrayal is a universal betrayal.

Those guilty of these political incest crimes have to
be brought to justice.

They cannot be remembered for any great accomplishment, while Veterans
continue to commit suicide.

Photo and words: Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran
December 2, 2006
Tunnel Rat
After you have been betrayed by your government for serving in a war for the cause of profit, you become a tunnel rat in your own country.   The world is no longer safe.
For years I hid in the closet of my mind.
One day, I simply came out of the tunnel. I could no longer remain silent.   I had to bear witness for the soldiers I saw die.
My anger motivated me to give their lives meaning, and to expose the lies that ever sent them to War.
The entire War was staged, and
I was the disposable cannon fodder, who would either die in country, or self-destruct once I got back to the States.
That almost happened.   I can't tell you why I do what I do.   I am driven by a force that will not let the dead die.
My betrayal is a universal betrayal.
Those guilty of these political incest crimes have to be brought to justice.
They cannot be remembered for any great accomplishment, while Veterans continue to commit suicide.
Photo and words: Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran
December 2, 2006
the real state of the union
Estimates for 2003 put the amount of children in poverty in the US at over 15.5 million.
There were over 14 million children living in poverty in 2002.
Estimates for 2003 put the amount of children in poverty at over 15.5 million.
There were at least another one million children who slipped into poverty in 2003.
Official government figures have not been released yet, but many private agency reports and surveys have been.
There are no exact figures for the poverty increase in 2003, but initial reports have pointed to a 13-13.5% rate of poverty for 2003.
The government figures will not be out until September 2004, but many private agencies have complied shocking figures when it comes to new cases of poverty.
Many agencies I spoke to are estimating between 13-13.5% poverty rates for 2003.
Figures for the first six months of 2003 have already shown that the poverty rate is at least 12.5-13%.
It certainly looks like these figures are accurate.
While unemployment has not risen, many people are now working for temporary employment agencies or for day labor agencies.
After losing full time employment many workers turn to temp agencies and day labors when they are not able to find another full time job.
Homeless rate went up by 17-22%
Social service agencies and agencies that provide aid to the poor and low income reported a 20% or greater increase in requests for services in 2003.
The homeless rate went up by 17-22% in all reporting cities this year, and the growth rate of poverty usually reflects any increase in homelessness.
Paying more than 30% of the household income for rent
In 2003 41% of households with children reported one or more of the three targeted housing problems: crowded housing, physically inadequate housing, or paying more than 30% of the household income for rent, mortgage, or housing costs.
In 2003 6.9 million low income households paid more than 50% of their household income towards rent or house payments.
US HUD has stated that a household should not have housing costs that exceed 30% of total household income. (US Housing and Urban Development)
I have contacted social service agencies in 15 major US cities.
All have recorded an increase in the amount of children with families reporting their income as being below the poverty level.
Every agency I spoke to stated that there was at least a 20% increase in the amount of families reporting their income as below poverty level.
Some of the agencies I talked to have charted a 40-50% increase in clients reporting poverty and low income levels since 2002.
Every agency had at least a 20% increase in requests for services by families and adults who claimed to be in poverty or at the borderline of poverty.
From the figures I recently collected it appears that 20% of the nations children live in poverty, and another 40% of children live at the borderline of poverty or in low income families.
The rise in unemployment, lack of full time work, higher debts due to lack of employment, decrease in salary, and rental or mortgage increases were the main reasons many people gave for slipping closer to the poverty line.
Legacy of Vietnam
     and
          Iraq
The Legacy Of Vietnam and Iraq:

The recipe for war is always the same.   You absolutely have to follow the money trail.   Once veterans reach the end of the trail, they see the truth.

At this point, veterans are stoned to death by betrayal from their own government, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.

Betrayal is the maligant cancer that eats you up from the inside out.   It dismantles your entire belief system.   It destroys your soul.

Family and friends keep wanting to know what is wrong with Sean, Bobby, Willie, Jerry, Marvin, Mike, Colleen, Kelly, Suzanne, Don, Bud, Brian, Cliff, Robert, Jim, David, Linda, John, Steve, Don, and a thousand other veterans I know. 

Their names should all eventually be put on the same headstone.   And, the inscription in bold letters should read:
Here Rests In Emotional Silence, American Soldiers Know But To God.

I have to constantly remind myself, that the word WAR stands for:  Wealthy Are Richer.

I did not serve in Vietnam for the cause of freedom, I served Big Business in America for the cause of profit.

Defending the Constitution of the United States, is all about protecting American corporate interests.   He or she died in the interests of protecting the Rich.   That's what needs to be put on the headstone.   That is the dying truth.

This is what every high school student in America needs to know.   This is the kind of truth that might keep them out of a funeral home.

This truth makes a liar out of every military recruiter.   Pay attention class — the life you save may be your own.

So, I will close with a couple of  brief paragraphs that are dedicated to every high school student across America.   For when I speak in high schools, I consider their classes sacred ground.
 
When the survivor returns from the shallow grave to finally take the witness stand, he or she often speaks with the artless skill of a severely abused child who has just blurted out some blatant fact of honesty.   It is the kind of honesty that catches people off guard, leaving them speechless.   What they have to say will shock the most
vulnerable — the naive.   The survivor exposes the truth with such simplistic detail, that it becomes an indictment against all those who had knowledge of its criminal existence.   The survivor's testimony can be so riveting, that it reveals the ultimate evidence: Lying Is The Most Powerful Weapon In War.
 
I was so filled with rage after returning from Vietnam, that for years I wanted to take every political hawk in America and rub their faces in the reality of the Vietnam War, just like someone would rub a puppy's nose in the carpet after it wet on the floor.   The only difference is, the wet area on the carpet would be the blood of teenage boys.

I was a pawn in a deadly chess game, so America would continue to have a high standard of living.   I would be brutally betrayed in Vietnam, and later returned to an unfamiliar home in a coffin draped with deceit, so the corporate Godfathers of our country could fill their greedy coffers with enormous war profits.   Once I understood this untouchable truth, I understood the lies behind the Vietnam War.   Forty years ago, if someone had told me what I have written in a couple of paragraphs, I would have told them they were a damn liar.   That was forty years ago, long before I ever unzipped the truth or a body bag.

Image and words: Mike Hastie
U.S. Army Medic
Vietnam 1970-71
The Legacy Of Vietnam and Iraq:
The recipe for war is always the same.   You absolutely have to follow the money trail.   Once veterans reach the end of the trail, they see the truth.
At this point, veterans are stoned to death by betrayal from their own government, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.
Betrayal is the maligant cancer that eats you up from the inside out.   It dismantles your entire belief system.   It destroys your soul.
Family and friends keep wanting to know what is wrong with Sean, Bobby, Willie, Jerry, Marvin, Mike, Colleen, Kelly, Suzanne, Don, Bud, Brian, Cliff, Robert, Jim, David, Linda, John, Steve, Don, and a thousand other veterans I know.
Their names should all eventually be put on the same headstone.   And, the inscription in bold letters should read: Here Rests In Emotional Silence, American Soldiers Know But To God.
I have to constantly remind myself, that the word WAR stands for:  Wealthy Are Richer.
I did not serve in Vietnam for the cause of freedom, I served Big Business in America for the cause of profit.
Defending the Constitution of the United States, is all about protecting American corporate interests.   He or she died in the interests of protecting the Rich.   That's what needs to be put on the headstone.   That is the dying truth.
This is what every high school student in America needs to know.   This is the kind of truth that might keep them out of a funeral home.
This truth makes a liar out of every military recruiter.   Pay attention class — the life you save may be your own.
So, I will close with a couple of  brief paragraphs that are dedicated to every high school student across America.   For when I speak in high schools, I consider their classes sacred ground.
When the survivor returns from the shallow grave to finally take the witness stand, he or she often speaks with the artless skill of a severely abused child who has just blurted out some blatant fact of honesty.   It is the kind of honesty that catches people off guard, leaving them speechless.   What they have to say will shock the most vulnerable — the naive.   The survivor exposes the truth with such simplistic detail, that it becomes an indictment against all those who had knowledge of its criminal existence.   The survivor's testimony can be so riveting, that it reveals the ultimate evidence: Lying Is The Most Powerful Weapon In War.
I was so filled with rage after returning from Vietnam, that for years I wanted to take every political hawk in America and rub their faces in the reality of the Vietnam War, just like someone would rub a puppy's nose in the carpet after it wet on the floor.   The only difference is, the wet area on the carpet would be the blood of teenage boys.
I was a pawn in a deadly chess game, so America would continue to have a high standard of living.   I would be brutally betrayed in Vietnam, and later returned to an unfamiliar home in a coffin draped with deceit, so the corporate Godfathers of our country could fill their greedy coffers with enormous war profits.   Once I understood this untouchable truth, I understood the lies behind the Vietnam War.   Forty years ago, if someone had told me what I have written in a couple of paragraphs, I would have told them they were a damn liar.   That was forty years ago, long before I ever unzipped the truth or a body bag.
Image and words: Mike Hastie
U.S. Army Medic
Vietnam 1970-71
Bright Lights, Big Cities
With the federal government casting off the Geneva Conventions as "quaint", employing secret law at home, and tasking average Americans to become Peeping Toms and undercover informants, it's little wonder that those in the private sector have now taken up the task of helping the feds in fashioning a Homeland Security State.
After all, with surveillance bureaucracies burgeoning and security budgets growing, there's suddenly a fortune to be made.
Last year alone, under the Urban Area Security Initiative, the DHS doled out $675 million to 50 large cities across the United States.
This year, the total will jump to $854.6 million.
With money flowing in and representatives of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, the New York Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department, among others, sitting beside operatives from the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency, FBI and other defense and intelligence agencies at the DHS's Homeland Security Operations Center, it's little wonder that major urban centers such as Chicago (which is getting $45 million in Urban Area Security Initiative funds this year), Los Angeles ($61 million in UASI money) and New York City (which is raking in a cool $208 million) have moved toward implementing wide-ranging, increasingly sophisticated covert surveillance systems.
the real state of the union
2003 saw the biggest increase in people reporting their income as being at the borderline poverty level.
2003 also saw the biggest increase in families reporting their earnings at low-income levels.
At least 2.6 million workers have lost their jobs under the Bush administration.
The Bush administration is the only one in 70 years which has had a decline in private sector jobs.
The total unemployment rate is at 6.3% for 2003. 9.1 million (adjusted figures) Americans are unemployed and that does not include the millions who have stopped collecting unemployment benefits or did not register as unemployed.

http://jec.senate.gov/democrats/charts/ber_allcharts.pdf
According to a July 2003 survey 70% of workers used up all their unemployment benefits before finding another job.
If you count the workers who are not receiving any unemployment benefits, but are still without a job, the actual figure of those unemployed could be as high as 14 million.
House Republicans have refused to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits to those who exhaust their current benefits and remain unemployed.
The White House has also refused to endorse significant federal aid to the states, even though tax increases and service cuts at the state level will fall most heavily on lower-income and minority populations.
If you look at the official Department of Labor Statistics figures, they claim that the unemployment figure is 8,774,000 (unadjusted figures) for 2003. Many private groups are saying these figures are way too low.
The National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty has stated that the surveys typically miss at least one million unemployed workers who decline to give any information.
Some workers rights groups have said that the government surveys might not include up to three million people who don’t have year round employment, or those who are self employed and may not always have steady work, but are still counted as employed.
African-Americans have a phenomenally high unemployment rate of 11.2%, almost twice that of the nation as a whole.
African-American teenagers have an especially high unemployment rate of 28.2%, twice that of the total national average for teenage unemployment.
Many middle class workers have also been recently affected by the layoffs in the high tech fields and skilled labor markets.
Many high tech and skilled service support jobs have been moved overseas to foreign trade zones.
The biggest increase in workers losing jobs last year was among the middle class.
Many former white collar workers have been forced to take low paying jobs in the restaurant and service industries, after failing to find employment in their former job fields.
Many workers are forced to work for a temp agency or day labor while looking for full time employment.
Due to the general economic slowdown, the temporary agencies and day labors have not had as many jobs available.
In a recent survey among temp agency workers, 62% reported that they have had trouble finding work everyday, or had been unable to find long term temp work.
The number of high tech and factory jobs has declined while the service industry and restaurant industry have been the only job markets that have shown any significant increase in hiring.
Bright Lights, Big Cities — II
In Chicago, a program code-named Operation Disruption consists of at least 80 street surveillance cameras that send their feed to police officers' laptop computers in squad cars and "a central command center, where retired police officers ... monitor activity".
The ultimate plan, however, is to use a grant from the Department of Homeland Security and city monies to purchase 250 new cameras and link them to "some 2,000 un-networked video cameras installed around the Chicago (and at O'Hare International Airport) to create a network of as many as 2,250 surveillance cameras throughout the Windy City".
"We're so far advanced than [sic] any other city," said Chicago's Mayor Richard M Daley of the program, "sometimes the state and federal governments — they come here to look at the technology."
In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced a "major upgrade" for the city's high-tech crime-tracking system, Compstat, through the creation of a "Real Time Crime Fighting Center" to provide "same-day information" for tracking and analysis purposes.
the real state of the union
Millions of Americans are being forced into low paying jobs without benefits due to the loss of higher paying jobs with benefits.
Millions of Americans are being forced into low paying jobs without benefits due to the loss of higher paying jobs with benefits.
Many workers have no other choice but to work two or three part time jobs with no benefits when they fail to find full time employment.
67% of workers who had managed to find some form of new employment said that the job they found did not meet their adequate income requirements.
They stated that their new jobs did not pay enough to meet housing demands, electric costs, food costs, and other household expenses.
85% had taken a pay cut of at least 15%, and 61% said they had taken a pay cut of over 25% when accepting new employment.
37% had taken a new job that paid less than 50% of their former salary.
86% said the their new jobs provided less benefits such as health care, sick leave, and insurance.
61% said they had had been forced to take new jobs that provided little or no benefits.
47% of all US workers do not have health care benefits or any form of health insurance coverage.  (US Department of Labor Statistics and the Urban Institute)
69% of low-income workers reported being unable to pay electric bills, rent or mortgage payments, doctor and medical bills, or health insurance payments at some point in 2003.
Low pay, high rent or electric bills
The main reasons for being unable to pay their bills were low pay, high rent or electric bills, loss of full time work, pay cuts, and temporary loss of employment.
54% of low-income workers reported that they were chronically late in the payments of household rental and mortgage expenses, and utilities.
Chronically late in payments means that they have been unable to fully pay their bills for a period of three months or more.  (Urban Institute)
The latest report from the US Dept. of Labor stated that 277,000 eligible workers had stopped looking for employment after more than a year of being unemployed.
More than two million people have been out of work for at least six months, the highest level in twenty years.
The average job search lasted 19 weeks, up from 12 weeks in 2001.
All these facts and figures show that US labor market is far from the recovery George Bush has pronounced.
The economic prosperity and bright future he promises seem a long way off for the millions of workers struggling to pay the bills after job losses and economic setbacks.
Millions of people most affected by the current economy would disagree with George on how good it is right now.
STAY THE COURSE?
STAY THE COURSE?
 
 
The U.S. Government can do one of two things in Iraq:
1. We can cut and run with 2,840 dead, and 20,000 wounded.
                                        OR
2. We can cut and run with 10,840 dead, and 60,000 wounded.
The Vietnam War could have ended much sooner, but our
government did not want to cut and run.
                                        SO
Vietnam lasted another 5 years, and 20,000 more American
soldiers were killed to try and save face.
Final score card was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Wash. D.C.
58,000 dead, average age 19 — from the senior prom to Vietnam.
Over 300,000 wounded, to include over 50,000 suicides to present.
The U.S. Government can do one of two things in Iraq....

Image and words: Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran
November 10, 2006
STAY THE COURSE?
 The U.S. Government can do one of two things in Iraq:
1. We can cut and run with 2,840 dead, and 20,000 wounded.
                                        OR
2. We can cut and run with 10,840 dead, and 60,000 wounded.
The Vietnam War could have ended much sooner, but our
government did not want to cut and run.
                                        SO
Vietnam lasted another 5 years, and 20,000 more American
soldiers were killed to try and save face.
Final score card was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Wash. D.C.
58,000 dead, average age 19 — from the senior prom to Vietnam.
Over 300,000 wounded, to include over 50,000 suicides to present.
The U.S. Government can do one of two things in Iraq....
Image and words: Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran
November 10, 2006
the real state of the union
Homelessness and hunger increase again in 2003 in the US
Since the year 2000, the homeless population in America has increased by approximately 50%.
In 2003 the homeless population increased by approximately 15% on a national average.
Every year since 1999 the homeless population has increased by 10-15%.
While it is hard to track the total number of homeless, each year at least 5.5 million people experience homelessness at some point.
Since 2000 every major US city has reported an increase in homelessness of between 35-50%.
Most cities are not able to keep up with the increased demand for services from the increases in the homeless and hungry.
Due to budget shortfalls many cities have had to cut back on necessary services such as homeless shelters and housing programs for low-income families, and emergency food centers.
The average wait to get in to public assisted housing was 22-26 months in 2003.
Most low-income families have been on the waiting lists for an average of 14 months and are still waiting for adequate housing to become available.
It is estimated that an additional 2.3 million people applied for public housing in 2003.
60% of all new cases of homelessness are single women with children.
15% of all new homeless cases are families with children.
Homeless families comprise 40% of the total homeless population.
41% of the homeless population are single men, 14% are single women, and 5% are unaccompanied minors.
The National Council of Mayors conducts a yearly survey on homelessness and hunger in the US.  In 2003 there was a 17% increase in requests for emergency food and a 13% increase in requests for shelter.
84% of reporting cities said they had been unable to meet requests for shelter from families due to lack of resources, and had to turn them away.
You can view the US Council of Mayors report and the press release at
http://usmayors.org/uscm/news/press_releases/documents/hunger_121803.asp
Bright Lights, Big Cities — Private Eyes
While the doings of "private contractors" still pop up in articles about prisoner abuse in Iraq, what such mercenary outfits are up to on the home front is hardly ever mentioned.
For example, CACI International Inc, whose employees were linked in news accounts to the Abu Ghraib torture scandals, boasts that its customers include not only a "majority of US defense and civilian agencies and the US intelligence community", but "44 US state governments" and "more than 200 cities, counties and local agencies in North America".
CACI proclaims that it plays "many roles in securing our homeland" and that it "support[s] law-enforcement agencies such as the Department of Justice [and] design[s] and prototype[s] systems that collect intelligence information".
One of CACI's fellow contractors, Titan Corp (which was also linked in news accounts to the Abu Ghraib torture cases), is at work in the "Defense of the Homeland" with programs such as Data Warehousing and Data Mining for the Intelligence Community and a Command and Control Concept for North American Homeland Defense.
Of course, these are only two of the many companies helping to secure the homeland (and fat contracts).
In 2003 alone, the DHS spent "at least $256.6 million in 1,609 separate contracts or amendments to contracts to hire what the [General Services Administration] described as 'security guards and patrol services'" and doled out $6.73 billion in total.
This year the DHS has raked in a cool $28.9 billion in net discretionary spending — including $67.4 million "to expand the capabilities of the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD), which implements the public and private sector partnership protecting cyber security"; $104.7 million for "Aerial Surveillance and Sensor Technology" projects; and $340 million for the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program (US-VISIT), which "expedites the arrival and departure of legitimate travelers".
the real state of the union
The average length of time a person remained homeless increased.
In 2003 the average length of time a person remained homeless increased.
The length of time spent on the streets averaged five months.
Lack of affordable housing, low wages and low paying jobs, loss of employment, and mental illness were the leading causes of homelessness.
The amount of people experiencing long term homelessness of more than one year also increased in the last year.
45% of the homeless people surveyed said they had been homeless for more than six months.
20% said they had been homeless for over a year.  (Urban Institute)
In 2003 the number of so called "precariously housed" has also gone up.
The government uses the term to define those who do not have permanent stable housing.
Those who are considered precariously housed include people who are sleeping on someone’s couch or floor, or spend part of the month living in a motel room or temporary residence.
Often those who work for day labors or temporary agencies fall into this category.
Able to afford a motel room for a few nights a week
Many day labor and temp workers don’t always get out to work, so they may only be able to afford a motel room for a few nights a week.
There are millions of people on Social Security and VA pensions who can also be considered to be precariously housed.
Many receive a monthly check that is not enough to cover the whole months rent and food cost.
They usually stay in a motel or rent a room for a few weeks at a time.
Most will spend at least part of the month living outdoors, but they are not counted as being homeless on most surveys.
At least 5.3 million people described themselves as precariously housed.

At least 5.3 million people described themselves as precariously housed when applying for food stamps and other forms of public assistance in 2003.
In 2003 hunger and borderline starvation was a rapidly growing problem.
The demand for emergency food often could not be met by food banks and hunger relief agencies.
Many food banks have reported a 30-60% increase in emergency food requests.
I have spoken to many agencies that said they had at least a 25% increase in emergency food requests for 2003, with the biggest demand being in the first six months of the year.
Many agencies have reported donations being down 15-20%, while the increased demand for food forced them to cut back on the amount of food given out.
The government has a nice little term for those facing hunger and malnutrition.
The Reflection of the Living
           in the Dead
The Reflection of the Living in the Dead
 
A peacemaker's reflection is seen in the
gravestone of the dead. You demonstrate
because the living must speak for the dead.
You speak, because you cannot not speak.
You march until it becomes a movement.
You march until paper covers the rock of
war. You are relentless, until there are no 
more dead.
You march.
You march...

Photo and words: Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran
October 23, 2006


The Reflection of the Living in the Dead
A peacemaker's reflection is seen in the
gravestone of the dead.   You demonstrate
because the living must speak for the dead.
You speak, because you cannot not speak.
You march until it becomes a movement.
You march until paper covers the rock of
war.   You are relentless, until there are no
more dead.
You march.
You march...
Photo and words: Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran
October 23, 2006
Your Role In The Homeland Security State
In the latter years of the Vietnam era, a series of exposures of official lies regarding the FBI's various COINTELPROs, a host of surveillance and dirty-tricks programs aimed at American activists, and the analogous CIA program known as MHCHAOS; of domestic spying by military-intelligence agents and of the Nixon administration's various Watergate surveillance and illegal break-in operations brought home to Americans at least some of the abuses committed by their military, intelligence and security establishments.
Congressional bodies such as the Church Commission and the Senate Watergate Committee even helped to rein in some of the most egregious of these abuses and to reinforce the barriers between what the CIA and military could do overseas and what was permissible on the home front.
In the 1980s and 1990s, however, oversight and constraints on illegal domestic activities by the military and intelligence community slowly began to drain away; and with the September 11 attacks, of course, everything changed.
Three years later, what was once done on the sly is increasingly public policy — and done with pride — though much of it still flies under the mainstream media radar as the administration of President George W Bush transforms the US into an unabashed Homeland Security State.
the real state of the union
Food insecure
They refer to it as being ‘food insecure’.
America’s Second Harvest says that 35 million Americans are now considered ‘food insecure’ in 2003.
This is an increase of two million from 2002.
More than 13 million children are now considered "food insecure".
In 2003 one in every four people eating at soup kitchens and feeding centers were children.
25% of all children experienced hunger at some point during 2003.
One in every five children missed at least one meal a day for a significant portion of the year.
61% of low-income households reported that their children had gone hungry at some point in the year.
They often reported having a choice between paying for utilities and rent or having money to buy food.
This is the third year in a row that the number of people facing hunger has increased according to the US Department of Agriculture.
The requests for food stamps also increased in 2003 by 23% or 3.3 million new applications.
The Council of Mayors also found a nationwide increase in hunger and requests for emergency food assistance.
20 of the surveyed cities reported that the increased need for food assistance resulted from lack of good jobs in their local economy.
11 of the 25 surveyed cities cited the high cost of housing as being directly related to hunger.
The 25 surveyed cites reported an average 17% increase in requests for emergency food.
59% of those requesting emergency food were families.
39% requesting food reported that they were employed.
More and more workers facing budget shortfalls are forced to look for emergency food assistance.
"This survey underscores the impact the economy has had on everyday Americans," said Conference of Mayors President and Hempstead (NY) Mayor James A. Garner.
56% of surveyed cities reported having to turn away people in need due to lack of resources.
Additionally 15% of requests for food by families went unmet.
88% of cities expect that the demand for emergency food will rise in 2004.
91% expect the requests for food by families to increase.  88% expect requests for emergency shelter to increase, with 80% expecting increased requests for shelter by homeless families.
The Homeland Security State
Today, freedom — to be spread abroad by US force of arms — is increasingly a privilege that can be rescinded at home when anyone acts a little too free.
Today, the United States is just another area of operations for the Pentagon; while those who say the wrong things; congregate in the wrong places; wear the wrong T-shirts; display the wrong stickers; or just look the wrong way find themselves recast as "enemies" and put under the eye of, if not the care of, the state.
Today, a growing Homeland Security complex of federal, local and private partners is hard at work establishing turf rights, garnering budgetary increases, and ramping up a new security culture across the US.
And unfortunately, the programs and abuses highlighted in this series are but the publicly known tip of the iceberg.
They Marched Until
           They Were Arrested
They Marched Until They Were Arrested
 
35 peacemakers were arrested for blocking the entrance to a weapons depot near Port Townsend, Washington.

They marched and marched. With each large step, they chanted,
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS.'

They took another large step, and once again, they chanted,
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS.

They marched and marched and marched....
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS.


They Marched Until They Were Arrested
35 peacemakers were arrested for blocking the entrance to a weapons depot near Port Townsend, Washington.
They marched and marched. With each large step, they chanted,
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS.'
They took another large step, and once again, they chanted,
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS.
They marched and marched and marched....
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS."
By the time they got to the police and the front gate, the hair on my arms stood up.
That is how you stop an insane war.
If need be, you die for your country.
Photo and words: Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran
October 23, 2006
the real state of the union
These are real people who are hungry and homeless in our cities.
"These are not simply statistics," said Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, who co-chairs the Conference's Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness.
"These are real people who are hungry and homeless in our cities."
President Bush claimed that his FY2004 budget "helps America meet its goals both at home and overseas."
Yet, upon examination of the budget numbers, the goals of many Americans appear not to have been included.
Turned Away
At a time when unprecedented numbers of families and individuals are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, the President proposed no new resources to meet their needs.
His budget maintains funding levels for most homeless assistance programs; levels so woefully inadequate that each year record numbers of people are turned away from life-sustaining services.
In releasing his FY2004 budget, President Bush claimed "human compassion cannot be summarized in dollars and cents."
Neither, can the untold suffering of the millions of children whose lives will be disrupted by loss of housing and health care this year.
You can’t summarize the sorrow of their parents, who struggle against the odds to provide stability and hope.
There is also no summarizing the frustration and pain of those who work but cannot afford housing or enough food to avoid hunger.
In January 2005, an estimated 744,313 people experienced homelessness.

56 percent of homeless people counted were living in shelters and transitional housing and, shockingly, 44 percent were unsheltered.
59 percent of homeless people counted were single adults and 41 percent were persons living in families.

In total, 98,452 homeless families were counted.

23 percent of homeless people were reported as chronically homeless, which, according to HUD’s definition, means that they are homeless for long periods or repeatedly and have a disability.

A number of states had high rates of homelessness, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington State. In addition, Washington, DC had a high rate of homeless people.

Picture: www.endhomelessness.org/
In January 2005, an estimated 744,313 people experienced homelessness.
  • 56 percent of homeless people counted were living in shelters and transitional housing and, shockingly, 44 percent were unsheltered.
  • 59 percent of homeless people counted were single adults and 41 percent were persons living in families.
  • In total, 98,452 homeless families were counted.
  • 23 percent of homeless people were reported as chronically homeless, which, according to HUD’s definition, means that they are homeless for long periods or repeatedly and have a disability.
  • A number of states had high rates of homelessness, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington State. In addition, Washington, DC had a high rate of homeless people.
 
Homelessness and the poor
Sleeping Outdoors
Homeless people have a hard time sleeping outdoors.
They lose their jobs and then their home and there’s nowhere to go when the money is gone.   Tired and sick but what can you do.   Friends can’t help — they’re hurting too.   Homeless people have a hard time sleeping outdoors.
Too many shot and killed on the street — some dear souls while they’re asleep.   Sleeping under bridges, doorways and sheds, cardboard boxes for a bed.   Plastic bags to carry their all and no place to go when nature calls.  Homeless people have a hard time sleeping outdoors.
Turned away when the shelters are filled, but given a blanket and minus a meal.   Told good luck, you’re on your own, under the Viaduct hungry and cold with one eye open and one eye closed.   Homeless people have a hard time sleeping outdoors.
Most homeless people really try, work every day for smaller pay.   But let me set the record straight ’cause there’s been too many lies and too much hate.   Called Bums for just being poor, they fought the wars when you and me were scared to go.   They served their country for honor and peace, some lost their lives for you and me....
Homeless people have a hard time sleeping outdoors.
    Real change magazine:   
        Seattle paper sold by homeless people       
    Poor paying for war on terror   
The Homeland Security State
According to a recent report in ISR Journal, "the publication of record for the global network-centric warfare community", a "high-level advisory panel recently told US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld" that the Pentagon needs ultra-high-tech tracking tools that "can identify people by unique physical characteristics — fingerprint, voice, odor, gait or even pattern of iris" and that such a system "must be merged with new means of 'tagging' so that US forces can find enemies who escape into a crowd or slip into a labyrinthine slum".
Imagine if this last program were integrated with any of the aforementioned ventures — in our increasingly brave new (blurred) world.
Yet for all their secret doings, vaunted programs, futuristic technologies and their powerful urge to turn all US citizens into various kinds of tractable database material, our new Homeland Security managers require one critical element: us Americans.
They require our "Eagle Eyes", our assent, and — if not our outright support — then our ambivalence and acquiescence.
They need us to be their dime-store spies; they need us to drive their tracking device-equipped cars; they need us to accede to their revisions of the first amendment.
That simple fact makes us powerful.
If you don't dig the Homeland Security State, do your best to thwart it.
Of course, such talk, let alone action, probably won't be popular — but since when has anything worthwhile, from working for peace to fighting for civil rights, been easy?
If everyone was for freedom, there would be no need to fight for it.
The choice is yours.
the real state of the union
Bleeding of billions into long term occupation
Bush did not even come close to reality when he talked about Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror.
He barely mentioned the increased military budget and bleeding of billions into long term occupation of two countries.
He did not even mention the fact that 602 soldiers have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.
502 soldiers have died in Iraq.  100 have died in Afghanistan.
Over 6000 Afghani civilians and over 16,000 Iraqi civilians have died since US invasions started.
The guerilla attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan show no signs of letting up in the near future.
The intensity and planning of the attacks has increased in the last few months.
Bigger bombs and better planned attacks have taken hundreds of lives in the last few months.
The US has already spent over $120 BILLION on the Iraq war and occupation.
Congress has passed the bill to provide an additional $187 BILLION for the reconstruction and rebuilding of Iraq’s infrastructure.
Forget the fact that US attacks caused the majority of the damage that must be repaired.
Forget the fact that US companies are making billions in profits from the reconstruction contracts.
Don’t think about the fact that billions of dollars needed in the US to solve our problems are being funneled away to enrich huge corporations working overseas.
Forget all about how much that money could actually benefit the American people if it were spent here to fix our problems.
Currently the US is spending over $7 billion a month in Iraq and $2 billion a month in Afghanistan.

While the Bush administration wastes resources and expends billions over seas, our own citizens continue to sink further into debt and poverty.
Bush presented a very positive analysis of the situation in the US.
The actual situation you see from examining all the facts is much dimmer and darker.
In no way does it resemble any facts Bush expects you to believe about the current state of the union.
If the US spent just three months occupation costs, we could wipe out hunger and homelessness completely for ten years.
However, it does not seem like feeding and sheltering our own citizens has a very high priority.
If the US took just 25% of their annual military budget, it could go a long way to wiping out hunger and homelessness around the world.
Just 10% of our military budget spent yearly on America's children could give every high school graduate a college education for four years.
It seems like it is not a priority to protect our children from starvation and living on the streets.
Our education system is crumbling and the child welfare programs are being slashed mercilessly.
Increasingly in America, private foundations and organizations are stepping in to take up the slack that the government fails to adjust for.
Most charities are reporting budget shortfalls due to the government cutting programs that provide their funding and resources.
If this crisis continues, we are in danger of actually having worse hunger and homelessness than some third world countries.
Military expansion must stop
The military expansion and occupation must stop so that we can salvage our future.
We must do this before it is too late to stop the landslide of poor and starving.
We must put our priorities in line with the welfare of all our citizens.
We cannot afford to neglect our people any longer.
There must be a call of reckoning to stop this depriving of anyone their basic needs to exist.
I don’t know where Bush got the idea that everything was going great here in America.
He obviously gets his facts from a different source than the rest of us.
The true State of the Union shows a nation in crisis with growing poverty, hunger, homelessness, and lack of decent jobs that pay enough to support a family.
Our children are the ones that seem to be paying the highest price with 60% living in poverty or low-income situations.
How much longer can we ignore these growing problems before it is too late to fix them?
Can we really afford to ignore them for even another day?

By Jay Shaft

Matt Richmond, Colin DeVries, and Mike Kaeler contributed research, data and figures for this article.
Kristen Leaventhal also contributed additional research and checked data and research figures.
Coalition For Free Thought In Media — 22nd January 2004
Jay Shaft — Editor, Coalition For Free Thought In Media.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/coalitionforfreethoughtinmedia
Your MasterCard or Your Life
Americans are increasingly living in a house of cards — credit cards.
A disturbing new report shows that with health care costs continuing their sharp rise, low- and middle-income patients are reaching for their credit cards with alarming frequency to cover treatment that they otherwise would be unable to afford.
This medical debt, to be paid off in many cases at sky-high interest rates, is being loaded onto consumer debt that is already at dangerously high levels.   Many families have been crushed by the load, driven from their homes, forced into bankruptcy, and worse.
The report, released last week, was jointly compiled by Demos, a public policy group in New York, and the Access Project, which is affiliated with a health policy institute at Brandeis University and is trying to broaden the availability of health care in the U.S.
Imagine for a moment the seriously ill patient who needs to be hospitalized.   In the cold new world of health care, the primary message to such patients is often "Show me the money!"
In many instances, of course, the patient does not have the money.   What the report found is that even people with health insurance are being drained by health care costs to the point where the credit card seems the only option.
"As deductibles and co-payments increase," the report said, "hospitals are finding more patients unable to pay their medical bills.   Some hospital management analysts are expecting an increase in self-pay patients and are bracing for higher levels of bad debt.
"In recognition of the evolving payment landscape and the risk of hospital bad debt, health care providers are more aggressively seeking upfront collection of co-pays and deductibles.   A component of this strategy is to encourage patients to use third-party lenders such as credit cards to pay for medical expenses they cannot afford, which families frequently do to meet high medical bills."
It's one thing to reach for your Visa or MasterCard to pay for a Barbie doll or flat-screen TV.   It's way different to pull out the plastic because you've just learned you have cancer or heart disease, and you don't have any other way to pay for treatment that would prevent a premature trip to the great beyond.
A society is seriously out of whack when legalized loan sharks are encouraged to close in on those who are broke and desperately ill.
This medical indebtedness is hardly surprising.   Health care costs continue to rise much faster than family income and inflation, and Americans (who have stopped saving altogether) were already mired in staggering amounts of personal debt.   Some families have been putting their groceries on credit cards.   Many have taken the financially disastrous step of using home equity loans to bring down credit card balances.
A serious illness for people already in shaky economic circumstances can be the final push into bankruptcy.
According to the report, called "Borrowing to Stay Healthy," about 29 percent of low- and middle-income families with credit card debt reported using their credit cards to pay medical expenses — in most cases for major medical problems.
Over all, a full 20 percent of low- and middle-income families with credit card debt said they had used their cards to cover major medical expenses over the prior three years.
This indebtedness — subject to monthly late fees and penalties, and interest rates that can reach 30 percent — only adds to the trauma of serious illness.
It's believed that 29 million Americans are burdened with medical debt of one form or another.   Individuals who are already saddled with medical bills that they can't pay are much more likely to avoid further medical treatment and to leave drug prescriptions unfilled.   Such decisions often have life-threatening consequences.
There is an epidemic of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. and medical factors are believed to play a role in as many as half of them.
These are problems that cry out for reform — of the American health care system and the American way of debt, both of which seriously threaten the American way of life.   At the very least, in the short term, we need to protect financially vulnerable patients from a credit card universe in which there are no legal limits on fees or interest, and where the abuse of customers is the norm.
Bob Herbert — New York Times — 22 January 2007

Bush lies:  Economy, Tax cuts, Public schools, Patriot Act, Afghanistan, Iraq people free
They Marched Until
           They Were Arrested
They Marched Until They Were Arrested
 
35 peacemakers were arrested for blocking the entrance to a weapons depot near Port Townsend, Washington.

They marched and marched. With each large step, they chanted,
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS.'

They took another large step, and once again, they chanted,
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS.

They marched and marched and marched....
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS.


They Marched Until They Were Arrested
35 peacemakers were arrested for blocking the entrance to a weapons depot near Port Townsend, Washington.
They marched and marched. With each large step, they chanted,
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS.'
They took another large step, and once again, they chanted,
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS.
They marched and marched and marched....
'WE ARE WAR — RESISTERS."
By the time they got to the police and the front gate, the hair on my arms stood up.
That is how you stop an insane war.
If need be, you die for your country.
Photo and words: Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran
October 23, 2006
Wrongly Accused Ex-Gitmo Chaplain and Spy Target James Yee Speaks out on Newly Revealed Pentagon Surveillance — Click Here
The New York Times reported on Sunday that the Pentagon and CIA using powers granted to them by the PATRIOT Act to secretly examine the financial assets and transactions of thousands of American citizens without court approval by issuing national security letters.
The Pentagon and CIA obtain the private banking records by issuing “national security letters” to request banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions to voluntarily hand over information.
The program has been taking place even though the military and the CIA are barred from conducting traditional domestic law enforcement work. Vice President Dick Cheney has defended the program.
We speak to the Center for National Security Studies’ Lisa Graves and one of the program’s most prominent targets: James Yee, the former Muslim Guantanamo Bay chaplain wrongly accused of espionage.
The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America
Today 17,000 local police forces are equipped with such military equipment as Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, chemical sprays, body armor, night vision, rappelling gear and armored vehicles.
Some have tanks.
"I was offered tanks, bazookas, anything I wanted," a retired police chief in New Haven, Connecticut, told the New York Times.
Police departments have been recorded as receiving 1.2 million pieces of military equipment in one year.
SWAT teams are not held accountable for their tragic mistakes and gratuitous brutality.
Police killings became so bad in Albuquerque, New Mexico that the city hired criminologist Sam Walker to conduct an investigation of police tactics.
Killings by police were "off the charts," Walker found, because the SWAT team "had an organizational culture that led them to escalate situations upward rather then de-escalating."
One of many corrupting influences on the criminal justice (sic) system is the practice of paying "snitches" to generate suspects.
People live entirely off the fees paid as police informants.
Surveying the deplorable situation, the National Law Journal concluded: "Criminals have been turned into instruments of law enforcement, while law enforcement officers have become criminal co-conspirators."
Thursday, 25 January 2007
US military unveils heat-ray gun
The heat-ray gun mounted on a Humvee vehicle.

The gun uses a large dish mounted on a Humvee vehicle
The heat-ray gun mounted on a Humvee vehicle
The gun uses a large dish mounted on a Humvee vehicle
The US military has given the first public display of what it says is a revolutionary heat-ray weapon to repel enemies or disperse hostile crowds.
Called the Active Denial System, it projects an invisible high energy beam that produces a sudden burning feeling, but is said to be harmless.
Military officials believe the gun could be used as a non-lethal way of making enemies surrender their weapons.
Officials said there was wide-ranging military interest in the technology.
"This is a breakthrough technology that's going to give our forces a capability they don't now have," defence official Theodore Barna told Reuters news agency.
"We expect the services to add it to their tool kit. And that could happen as early as 2010."
'Blast from an oven'
The prototype weapon — called Silent Guardian — was demonstrated at the Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.
HEAT-RAY WEAPON
US troops scatter after begin hit by the beam
Directs a high energy beam
Range of up to 500m
Penetrates clothes but not walls
Heats but does not harm

A beam was fired from a large rectangular dish mounted on a Humvee vehicle.
The beam has a reach of up to 500 metres (550 yards), much further than existing non-lethal weapons like rubber bullets.
It can penetrate clothes, suddenly heating up the skin of anyone in its path to 50C.
But it penetrates the skin only to a tiny depth — enough to cause discomfort but no lasting harm, according to the military.
A Reuters journalist who volunteered to be shot with the beam described the sensation as similar to a blast from a very hot oven — too painful to bear without diving for cover.
Crowd control
Military officials said the weapon was one of the key technologies of the future.
"Non-lethal weapons are important for the escalation of force, especially in the environments our forces are operating in," said Marine Col Kirk Hymes, director of the development programme.
The weapon could potentially be used for dispersing hostile crowds in conflict zones such as Iraq or Afghanistan.
It would mean that troops could take effective steps to move people along without resorting to measures such as rubber bullets — bridging the gap between "shouting and shooting", Col Hymes said.
HOW HEAT-RAY GUN WORKS
Graphic showing how heat-ray gun works
1 360-degree operation for maximum effective
Silent Guardian prototype can be operated with a joystick
Antenna 1.1m x 1.1m (45in x 45in) linked to transmitter unit
Automatic target tracking
2 Antenna sealed against dust and can withstand bullet fire
3 Invisible beam of millimetre-wave energy can travel over 250m
4 Heat energy up to 54C (130F) penetrates less than 0.5mm of skin
Manufacturers say this avoids injury, although long-term effects are not known
MMVII
"An imminent response is not likely!"
It's not true of course.
Those black ops boys and girls — you know the one's funded by your taxpaying dollars....
The unaccounted billions passed through the US budget by authorization of your Congress person.
The US black budget that starts it all — that pays for the growth of the cells.
The billions perhaps trillions missing — events coming from the cells....
Even drug money traded out of Columbia and Afghanistan....
They have more than enough to attack America.
Have they done it before?
Is red the color of blood?
 
Maximum income inequality is hidden in the data.
1/100th of 1% hold a ruling elite of 13,000 families in the US hiding at twenty, thirty, fifty million dollar and higher per year family income averages
State of the Union — 2014
Congress members exploiting legal loophole for luxury travel on lobbyists’ dime
Number Of Working Age Americans Without A Job Has Risen By Almost 10 Million Under Obama
Senators Menendez and Kirk were the biggest Senate beneficiaries of pro-Israel PAC campaign cash in their 2010 and 2012 election races, respectively, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
It is not clear why any member of Congress would support a bill that closes the door on diplomacy and makes it likely that the United States will have no option but nuclear war
When citizens are being beaten, detained, and murdered by police for infractions you are living in a police state.
     Parking violation turns into police assault      
      All to do with the Israel Lobby       
      Half Of Members Of Congress Are Millionaires, Democrats Worth More Than Republicans      
      U-7 The real unemployment rate     
State of the Union — 2013
The average American’s living standard would be much, much higher today if wages had not decoupled from productivity gains — with the gains all going to the 1 percent instead of being shared by workers
29 Incredible Facts Which Prove That Poverty In America Is Absolutely Exploding
U.S. STUDENT HOMELESSNESS
U.S. sought Japan aid in tapping fiber-optic cables
Thierry Vrain the former pro-GMO Scientist speaks out about genetically engineered foods and if it is safe to eat
     Sending people to prison for profit      
      Number of children with parent in prison or jail       
      Populations under control of US Corrections Systems      
      40% of Americans Now Make Less Than 1968 Minimum Wage     
State of the Union — 2012
      Privatization of prisons — new form of human slavery for 1% — Elite — Illuminati masters     
39 percent of 18 to 29 year olds have no health insurance
24 percent have moved back home with parents to save money
22 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds have postponed having children
      EDUCATION IS A BASIC RIGHT     
      CIA conducting 'signature strikes' killing entire groups of innocent people     
       Pacification of young people by government    
      Slave prisoners working for Illuminati      
      Louisiana more people in prison than anywhere else in the world     
State of the Union 2010 — 2011
Heroes from lost golden age — these were not stripped-down brains with cauterized souls
New World Order Statistics of Human Misery of Soldiers and Military
State of the Union 2007 — 2009
Government securing outlandish private profits of society’s greediest people
 
 
       Radley Balko of the CATO Institute: Overkill        
       — The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America        
       .pdf document available for download        
       Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy       
       Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO     
Bush is like a teenager with your credit card — out of control
Listing of Iraq War — includes photos
The pretense being forced upon us of eradicating terrorism is as ridiculous as a concept as the idea of eradicating the wish for freedom — more photos of this important time
The Garden — A presentation of the planet's present and future state
China EU countries Russia Japan lending money to US to the tune of $2 billion (2,000,000,000.00) daily
— Bleeding Bush strategy
8 Trillion debt
The stovepipe — instructions [were sent] from the Top Man [Saddam]—“give them everything.”
Where your income tax money really goes
Bush approves $400bn ($400,000,000,000.00,) defence bill
       Cluster bombs killing injuring, Iraq, Lebanon        
        US new generation of landmines called Spider        
Iraqi bomb boy's anger at pilot
Relentless fight to block tortured GI compensation
This is the cost — the trickery used to create a threat.Daily Mirror article by John Pilger March 13, 2003, at the beginning of the war.
The armed power of the state will always go as far as you let it
       Civilian Death Toll in Iraq May Top 1 Million     
            —  ORB, a British polling agency, September 2007          
Iraq war images
Behind the mushroom cloud
Grief grips army families
Jesús
And the bewildered herd is still believing everything we've been told from our birth
 
 
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