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Enabling a Madman: George Bush and American Amnesia

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It just doesn’t stop. With painful consistency, there always is a new effrontery, a new attack on the Constitution, and a new slap in our collective faces. And every day, the American public responds largely in silent quiescence, seemingly unperturbed and indifferent to the insults and abuses being hurled at them from the man who reigns supreme in the White House.

And with this apathy, the people of the United States offer aid and comfort to their greatest enemies from within, and unwittingly give tacit approval to a madman and his masters.

I refuse to give total credit to Bush himself for his actions. The man does not have the intelligence, insight or experience to personally inflict all the damage done by his administration. However, for the sake of simplicity, I will refer to George Bush as the major culprit involved in the crimes against the nation and the world.. In fact, responsibility lies with the entire cadre of neocons and delusional managers who placed a sociopath in the White House and allowed him to play a role he was ill equipped to handle.

Therefore, just consider what George Bush managed to slip past a sleeping public in just the past few days: First, he vetoed legislation that would ban the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods such as water boarding “to break suspected terrorists,” Never mind the Geneva Conventions, never mind US military law, never mind the danger to our own military personnel at the hands of a future enemy. Never mind, because the wimpish Congress will go along without a murmur.

And never mind because the American public, if they know about it at all, will very soon forget.

Then consider that just today the arrogant, self-aggrandizing President of the United States issued another record-breaking signing statement, adding to the more than 750 of his administration. This time Bush declared his right to open mail under emergency conditions, contrary to existing law and contradicting the bill he had just signed.

Hey, people…. That’s about opening YOUR mail….contrary to existing law. But never mind, because the American public, if they know about it at all, will very soon forget.

After all, they’ve forgotten so many other crimes for which this administration is not accountable. Here, at, we’ve been writing about these crimes for years, as have so many other concerned investigative news sites. In doing so, we have enlarged the proverbial choir and increased the murmur of discontent. But in the long run we have failed.

We have completely failed to stir America to the point of outrage that would have resulted in massive protests in major countries around the world. And that’s because, despite all they learn about the criminal behavior of their government, Americans forget.

And by forgetting, they aid and abet the Bush administration as it destroys the fabric of American life and liberty.

Take a moment to explore a fractional realm of American amnesia as it relates to the past seven year.

Think about some of the crimes that far too few Americans remember:

• the WH refusal to investigate 9/11 for an entire year
• the mounds of evidence countering the official version of 9/11
• the lies that led us into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
• the linking of Iraq to Al Qaeda
• the Powell lies to the UN
• the outing of Valerie Plane as a CIA operative
• illegal spying by the NSA
• suspension of habeas corpus
• rendition of detainees to foreign countries of torture
• Abu Ghraib atrocities
• violations against detainees at Guantanamo
• use and defense of water boarding and other tortures
• the firing of federal prosecutors for political motives
• the disappearance of millions of WH email messages
• the refusal of subpoenaed WH witness to appear before Congress
• the protection of telecom companies who allowed illegal spying
• the censorship of photos showing returning US military dead
• the censorship of Iraqi and Afghan civilian deaths
• the censorship regarding military wounded….

Get the idea? It’s all been said over and over. So now, what?

Thank the gods that be for the new Spitzer scandal in New York. That should fill the news void for a while and replace the 24/7 coverage of the Obama-Clinton feud for a while.

Again, not to worry, Americans will forget about it all in time, although sex and prostitution titillate the mind and keep a story going far longer than crimes against the nation and the Constitution. Fun is fun.

Personally, I am weary of it all. Life around me goes on as if nothing is remarkably amiss in America. Five American soldiers reported dead today. Scores of Iraqis reported dead two days ago. More than sixty thousand vets diagnosed with PTSD, so many others who are homeless and have brain injuries or severe loss of hearing. An aberration, we are told. No big deal.

Not to worry, America. None of this is really newsworthy. Madness is as madness does, and surely…no of this is important enough to remember.

Clinton Intersects With Bush in Brooklyn

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Clinton Street intersects with Bush Street in Red Hook Brooklyn. I find this to be the most intriguing city planning coincidence that I have ever seen.
Is someone trying to tell us something? Some things just make you go hmmm! -Jesse Richard - Editor,
Here...see for yourself. Link

I Know! Let’s Rape Grandma!

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By David Glenn Cox

With the current subprime crisis, most lenders don’t sleep well at night. For years they lived an idyllic life style, lending out a dollar and getting back a buck and a quarter. Come in late and leave early; only a pimp had it better. But bankers never had to contend with the cops or wayward hookers. Like a drug dealer they just stood on the corner and waited for the suckers to come to them.

Not that bankers don’t do good things for a community, they can. Marijuana growers in Northern California donate to the United Way and support the Little League; no one is all good or all bad. But the predatory aspects of American capitalism tend to bring out the worst, rather than the best. During the good times, bankers extended credit at higher interest rates to those who probably couldn’t afford it. Home equity lines could turn the roof over your head into a new car, or bass boat, and the banker profited on both transactions.

I hear ya out there, libertarians mainly, "They made a choice, don’t blame the banker." Tony Soprano used to say the same things: don’t gamble, don’t borrow money from us. People make bad choices all the time; no one is immune. If you don’t believe me, check out the docket in divorce court. But when we ask the government to tightly regulate the lending industry we’re called communists and anti-capitalists, and told that the government should leave free enterprise alone. Ok, I’ll accept that, it's no business of the government to protect people from themselves.

By that reasoning, marijuana prohibition laws are void, as are all drinking laws; after all, I’ve known people very mature at 17 and people immature at 35. You said it! "The government has got to stop trying to protect people from themselves."

These same people want tax credits because they want to send their kids to private school but it doesn’t bother them one iota that we send Columbia 5 billion US tax dollars to fight drug trafficking. Most are deficient in their knowledge of Columbia; President Uribe is the son of a politician who went to prison for drug trafficking. Uribe was himself removed as the administrator of Columbia’s air ministry for supplying pilot’s licenses to Medellin drug cartel pilots. He then became the mayor of Medellin where he was a close personal associate of Medellin’s first citizen, Pablo Escobar. So close, in fact, that he was forced to step down as mayor after Escobar’s demise. This is the man that we trust with 5 billion US tax dollars to fight drug trafficking? But, sshhh, the government are people, too, and sometimes they make bad choices as well.

But, you know, it’s the funniest damn thing, the local drug dealer buys from the bigger guy who himself buys from the bigger guy still and somehow all that money makes it back to Columbia. Bankers wouldn’t get involved in that, would they? Millions of dollars in cash? No, they wouldn’t. Besides, if American bankers did that, someone would be arrested. But it’s funny still, all that money and all those transactions and yet they never seem to be able to catch anyone besides the low-level dealers. Our prisons are full of them, tens of thousands and no one talks, nobody knows nothing.

But times are hard today in the banking industry; they are at a loss as to what to do. The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates three times and they’re betting 90 to 10 that the fed will cut again. But why? That’s helping people who have made bad choices. People who have taken the last three rate cuts and, rather than pass their good fortune along, have instead raised mortgage interest rates and put the difference in their back pocket. Proof positive, the government shouldn’t help people who make bad choices.

The banks are struggling for new areas of revenue; mortgage loans are toast, equity lines of credit are gone as home values decline. Car financiers have come up with a great new plan, Nine Year New Car Financing! Talk about your bad choices, a car loan that you might not live long enough to pay off. If you have to finance a car for nine years maybe you need to lower your sights some. Yes, they’ve had to come up with new and imaginative ways to draw in depositors. The pre-paid debit card! You give them your money and, for just a small fee, you can use it on anything you want!

Wal-Mart advertises their card for only $8.95 with no credit check! Wow, no credit check! You’ll take my cash without checking my credit! Cool! Just the tip of the iceberg as the banker’s wring out the sponge of American prosperity. Pay day loans, car title loans, which I've always affectionately referred to as the First Bank of Crack Head. But, all attempts at humor aside, these are industries whose profitability depends on fleecing those the most in need. These aren’t bankers redeveloping blighted urban areas or lending money to build schools or hospitals, these are pimps.

But, you can’t get rich on nickel and dime car loans made to people during tough times. There has got to be someone somewhere, someone with money socked away. Enter the reverse mortgage. Yes ma’am, we will lend you money against the value of your home, and because we’re such damn nice guys, you don’t have to pay us back, not one thin dime! We like you! You remind me of my own grandmother. That? Oh, that’s just the interest rate, don’t worry about that because you don’t have to pay us back!

As Grandma says, "Now I can pay for my Healthcare! (God Bless America) And take that trip to see my children who think I’m leaving them this house!" The reverse mortgage gives grandma half the value on the property, depending on the program, along with the ticking time bomb of credit card interest rates of 14, 15, 16%, compounded per month. But, no worries, you don’t have to pay it. But someone does.

Lawmakers in Australia have already begun to reign in the reverse mortgage for what it is. Just another way to scam the elderly. To take from them what has taken them a lifetime to earn with a promise of easy money. People on a fixed income, in declining health and fearful about tomorrow. Some of them alone for the first time in decades, solicited by mail , TV and Radio. With wealthy elderly celebrities telling them what a great idea this is.

It makes me wonder, it makes me question capitalism. A society where, in our future, we will all end up as road kill for the buzzards to pick at the bones of our lives. To work and struggle to build a home and raise a family, to obey the laws and follow the rules and to be treated by that society as just so much carrion for our trouble. It makes me question what sort of parents have raised their children to behave so?

How many nights did they lean over the kitchen table, writing checks to the State University instead of putting it away for their own retirement? How proud were they on graduation day? The picture that still sits on the coffee table, of them smiling with the robed and tasseled, excited, young graduate. Who then moved up the ladder of success and into the boardroom and when the CEO asked for ideas to grow the bank’s revenue, raised their hand and said, "I know, let’s rape grandma!"

Hey, Raul, find those Cuban Oil Reserves!!!

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Wanna lift nearly five decades of embargo?  Wanna make the US your best friend?   Wanna take photos of you and Georgie holding hands and smiling like lovers?  Get those oil reserves on record, Raul.  Time’s a-wasting.

Fidel’s a done deal.  He’s old and sick and done for.  As Brother Raul, you’re in charge and the barbs are out.  Every US presidential candidate will take the Bush lead and aim at your brutal rule, your political prisoners, your embrace of communism, and your refusal to follow our extraordinary example of democracy and freedom..  And, for the record, Florida has twenty-five electoral votes in play, Raul.  Deal with it.

Better still, repent and be loved.

Take a lesson from the Saudis. They’re our best friends, Raul.  Never mind that they sentenced a victim of a gang rape to 90 lashes for daring to speak to the press.  Never mind that they convicted a woman of witchcraft after a confession obtained by torture.  Never mind that they have no religious freedom at all, and never mind that just today the Saudi secret police arrested 37 men for …you guessed it….flirting!!!!

In case you're wondering, the men are accused of wearing indecent clothes, playing loud music and dancing in order to attract the attention of girls, but remember, Raul, they’ve got the oil.  And where there’s oil we can control, human rights are irrelevant.  That’s the American way.

Hey, Raul, you’ve got political prisoners languishing in your prisons.  Not nice, so just stop it!  Never mind that Saudis working for social change have been jailed for years with no access to counsel.  Kind of like Gitmo, right?  Just last year ten men, - lawyers, doctors, academics, a former judge were hauled away for their crimes against tyranny.  They’re still in jail

But that’s okay, they’ve got the oil and you don’t.  So there.

You’re close, Raul. Foreign interests are sniffing at your door.  Spain, China, Argentina, India, China, Norway, and others are making deals with you as we speak.  Don’t leave us out, Raul,, - we want to get in on the kill, but we have to know for sure.  Repentance  is revelation, Raul: get those studies done and show us what you have.  If your oil reserves are what they’re suspected to be, all will be forgiven.

Barriers will fall, Raul.  Diplomacy will arise from the ashes and the devil will be exorcised from your collective souls.  And surely, love will follow.

We are waiting, Raul.  Get a move on.

African AIDS and US Bull….

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It is a last legacy lap for George W. Bush, as he traipses through five African nations in six days, touting his great initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and poverty in the ravished nations of Africa. One has to wonder what in the world he has to boast about.

For the record, it is important to understand that the 2003 President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) allotted 15 billion dollars to be spent globally over a five year period. to prevent 7 million new infections, treat 2 million people living with AIDS related illnesses, and provide care and support for 10 million persons affected by AIDS.

For the record as well, consider that in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, nearly 23 million people are victims of this pandemic.

And understand that the Bush war machine spends more than that the entire PEPFAR budget every month and a half to sustain its occupation of Iraq.

At any rate, during the first days of Bush’s jaunt, the slavering media finally had photos of crowds welcoming, rather than protesting this very unpopular President. For sure, there were people in Tanzania and who genuinely seemed delighted by a visit of the great American President whose generosity is so appreciated. After all, as that country’s president Jakaya Kikwete told Bush, "hundreds of thousands of mothers' and children’s lives" have been saved from HIV and malaria,

Some of that is true. Mediations, palliative care and other related services certainly have helped many thousands of people in this disease-ravaged part of the world.

But, as usual, the devil is in the details. The largely unreported story is that the Bush HIV/AIDS policy is a devastating failure motivated by right wing religious ideology. In a widely ignored report released on April 4, 2006, the U.S. Government Accountability Office severely criticized the PEPFAR program. It clearly disapproved of the focus on sexual abstinence and faithfulness to an HIV-negative partner as primary prevention practices.

The GAO report also strongly condemned the Bush program for refusing to apply scientifically proven methods of reducing the continuing spread of infections. In short, the Bush policy insisted on a “just say no” approach, concluding that the way to prevent HIV/AIDS was to encourage those in the greatest danger of infection to practice abstinence until marriage and fidelity to a stricken spouse..

PEPFAR actually supported a three-prong or ABC strategy: Abstinence, Being faithful, and using Condoms. However, as points out, the policy virtually ignored the role of the most effective preventive measure of all – that of condom use. It required that “…1/3 of the overall prevention budget (and 2/3 of the behavioral prevention budget) must be spent on abstinence/being faithful (A/B-only). “

At the same time, the policy “…avoided providing information about correct and consistent use of condoms out o fear that it would be interpreted as promoting or marketing” condoms in violation of spending restrictions.”

In the meantime, last year 1.7 million Africans were infected with HIV and more than1.6 million died of AIDS. To date, more than eleven million children have been orphaned by this virulent disease.

Just think about that.

Then tell me why the crowds in Africa were cheering, and why George W. Bush was touting anything. Does he really believe he has done a single thing to be proud of during his term of office? I suppose he does.

But, if we stop to think about it, photos of our morally corrupt President dancing with some happy Tanzanians are rather charming. Perhaps they, rather than millions of HIV/AIDS victims, will become his legacy.

When History Repeats

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As the inaccurately named “coalition” forces set up the new American/British capital of their new colony in Iraq, I cannot help but  reflect on the original victim of Anglo-American aggression; the Native American.

I call myself an American and I consider myself a patriot. I am grateful to have been born in America. I am grateful for the freedoms my government protects for me. My criticism of US policy is an example of my desire to correct what is wrong, prevent injustice and encourage the exploration of constructive solutions to our problems; to make this a greater nation. Yet from deep down inside of me, as if a needle were stabbing my conscience, the hypocrisy of my patriotism resounds with the question: whose freedom am I really enjoying?

Our court-appointed President speaks daily of democracy and freedom. At the  same time, he and his administration work feverishly to weaken the very democracy they tout and to eliminate the very freedoms they claim separates us from the “evil” empires of the world. While the world that has been so drastically disunited by this administration ponders the legitimacy of our invasion and occupation of Iraq, we all seem to forget that the Unites States of America is at its core an occupying force. Let us not forget whose land we occupy. Let us not forget that this land was a great nation before the “Americans” decided that they wanted it for themselves.

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