Undernews For April 14, 2008
Undernews For April 14, 2008
Washington's Most Unofficial Source
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Washington DC 20003
Editor: Sam Smith
14 APRIL 2008
That we are to stand by the president,
right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is
morally treasonable to the American public. - Theodore
FLOTSAM & JETSAM
A HALF CENTURY AGO, j azz musician Dave Brubeck became a star in an anomaly: some American foreign policy that actually worked. He recently was in Washington celebrating his participation in the Jazz Ambassadors program of the 1950s,which sent musicians abroad to show a different side of America. Among the other participants: Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Thelonius Monk, Benny Goodman and Miles Davis.
In 1958, Brubeck visited 12 countries, including Poland, Turkey, East and West Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Iran and Iraq. As Brubeck explained it, "We were out 120 days without a day off, and it was rough travel. The water wasn't fit to drink, but you got so thirsty, you drank it. The State Department didn't want us to come home. They wanted us to stay out. They cancelled our concerts here at home."
In an interview with National Endowment for the Arts chair Dana Gioia several years ago, Brubeck told how the Voice of America had been his warm-up band: "Most of the people, when they spoke to you in English, sounded like Willis Conover from the Voice of America. His show came on every night worldwide. . . To this day . . . you can hear his voice. In Russia, people sound like Willis. If you listened to my recordings in the Soviet Union during the darkest days of the Cold War, you could be sent to Siberia or worse. They listened to my records, and they called it 'Jazz in Bones.' Using X-ray plates, they could record Willis Conover and get a fairly good recording. If you were caught with that, you were dead. But the doctors and the nurses and the students would very carefully listen to these recordings, and they had underground jazz meetings all the time."
Listening to Brubeck recall his tour under the prodding of Hedrick Smith at a Library of Congress event the other evening, it was clear that Brubeck had added his own flair for diplomacy. And not just from the stories. The Brubeck Institute Quintet played tunes between the anecdotes. The musicians were all 18-20 years old but the 87-year old Brubeck treated them with respect and enthusiasm, turning his chair to watch each solo and even at one point signaling to Christopher Smith that he noted the bassist hadn't got his solo. It's one of those things that happens to bass players so they both shrugged and smiled.
Brubeck himself only played one number all the way through and when it was time for his "Blue Rondo" he stood behind Javier Santiago and announced, "This piece is so damn hard that I'm going to have him play it." Santiago masterfully tackled the opening, relinquished the piano bench to Brubeck for the solo and then returned for the close. You don't see many legends do that sort of thing, especially when it's their tune.
As I watched Brubeck and the young musicians under his influence, I recalled being an 18-20 something drummer and buying a ten inch LP called "Jazz at Oberlin," which I would play repeatedly in my room and on my college radio station show, "Jam With Sam." Maybe I even played it while Brubeck was on his tour in 1958, my junior year. One thing is certain, for young college musicians and jazz fans of my vintage, trapped behind the Iron Curtain of 1950s values and culture, there was no doubt that Dave Brubeck revealed the meaning of life better than your parents or your professors. And if you were a young white musician, it was a sign that there was room for you, too.
Brubeck crossed the generations like it was just another national border in the Cold War. Matt Schudel of the Washington Post quotes the NEA's Gioia as saying: "There is no American alive who has done more extensive and effective cultural diplomacy than Dave Brubeck. Dave is not only one of the greatest living American artists, he's also one of the greatest living American diplomats."
Just the sort of guy you would have wanted to send to Poland in the midst of the Cold War. Brubeck told Gioa, "When we played in Poland in 1958, I had gone to Chopin's home, and I had seen the statue that the Nazis had almost broken. I had been in his home and seen his pianos. So that night on the train to the last concert in Poland, I composed in my head a song dedicated to Chopin and the Polish people. As an encore, we played it, and there was absolute silence in the auditorium. I thought, now I've ruined all 12 concerts. They're shocked that I would play in a Chopinesque kind of way. And then, the place went insane with applause. . It's called Dziekuje, which means 'thank you' in Polish. Here it is 2005 - that was 1958 - and they still remember that piece."
BRUBECK QUARTET IN IRAQ
[FROM THE BRUBECK COLLECTION, UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC]
It hadn't been easy getting to Poland. A Hedrick Smith documentary website notes:
"The tour also featured a stop in Poland, which required a journey into communist-controlled East Berlin. Because of a State Department snafu, the group didn't have the necessary visas. A tour official found a way to get papers, but collecting them required a risky illegal journey through Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and into communist territory. 'I was supposed to be in [music promoter] Madame Gunderlach's trunk to go through the gate,' Dave explains, 'And of course, there were plenty of signs telling you not to go through. Many people that had gone through into East Germany disappeared for about six months or longer. So I didn't want to be in that position.'
"Brubeck refused to ride in the trunk, but did crouch down in the backseat and was dropped off at a big, non-descript building. 'I sat there for two hours alone in this bare room,' he said. 'And this guy, very shabbily dressed came and sat next to me. He said, 'You Mister Kulu?' And I said, 'No, Mister Brubeck.' And he said, 'No, you Mister Kulu.' And I said, 'No, I'm Mister Brubeck.' So he took out a Polish newspaper and there's a picture of me. And under it, it says, Mister Kulu. So I figured it out - "Mr. Cool Jazz, that's what Kulu means. He thought that [was] my name. But he had the papers for me to continue on through East Berlin into Poland."
The problems didn't end there. Reports Schudel: "Later he climbed aboard an East German train bound for Poland with his wife, son, three band mates and a musician's wife. When guards demanded to know why the Americans were carrying so much luggage, Brubeck recalls, he had to pantomime drumming to explain that they were musicians traveling with instruments. His boom, boom' drew suspicious glares, but they eventually made it to Warsaw."
In India that Brubeck found only one decent piano - a 12 foot grand in Bombay with gold in its keys. He wondered aloud what he would play at a major event the next day. His hosts answered by gathering 20 men who lifted the piano and carried it to the stadium. In Afghanistan it was tougher. Kabul, recalled Brubeck, "was a hard place to find a piano." They located a terrible one, but Brubeck said it was okay; there were "just certain notes I won't play."
But Brubeck didn't just perform. He learned. In Turkey it was about 9/8 time. In India about a different standard for improvisation that Deepak Ram explained at the Library of Congress event: "We encourage improvisation after you have studied 12 years." Everywhere Brubeck went he not only played, he listened. Out of it came a number of tunes including Blue Rondo a la Turk based on the Turkish zeybek,
And he kept at it. Thirty years later, Brubeck had Mikhail Gorbachev tapping his fingers to "Take Five" at a break during a stalled summit meeting. The next day Secretary of State George Shultz gave Brubeck a big hug and credited him with breaking the conference stalemate.
But then this was a white musician who had won the first jazz poll ever taken by the black newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier. And Schudel tells the story of Brubeck and William "The Lion" Smith doing a tour in the Netherlands, during which Smith is asked by a journalist, "Isn't it true that no white man can play jazz?" Smith, Brubeck beside him, replied, "I'd like you to meet my son."
It was not unlike what Louis Armstrong said to Jack Teagarden on their first meeting: "You're ofay, I'm spade, let's blow."
It isn't that jazz musicians are better people; it's just they have better things on their mind than national and cultural anger. Finding these better things is the quickest way out of human conflict: the commonality of appreciation overcomes fear of the uncommon. Jazz has always been a metaphor for this: a place where everyone gets to solo but only if they also back up everyone else - that mystical blend of individual and community that makes some human societies thrive. One day we may even learn how to make it work for countries as well.
PAGE ONE MUST
INSURERS FIND NEW WAY TO SCREW PATIENTS
NY TIMES Health insurance companies are rapidly adopting a new pricing system for very expensive drugs, asking patients to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for prescriptions for medications that may save their lives or slow the progress of serious diseases.
With the new pricing system, insurers abandoned the traditional arrangement that has patients pay a fixed amount, like $10, $20 or $30 for a prescription, no matter what the drug’s actual cost. Instead, they are charging patients a percentage of the cost of certain high-priced drugs, usually 20 to 33 percent, which can amount to thousands of dollars a month.
The system means that the burden of expensive health care can now affect insured people, too.
No one knows how many patients are affected, but hundreds of drugs are priced this new way. They are used to treat diseases that may be fairly common, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, hepatitis C and some cancers. There are no cheaper equivalents for these drugs, so patients are forced to pay the price or do without. . .
The system, often called Tier 4, began in earnest with Medicare drug plans and spread rapidly. It is now incorporated into 86 percent of those plans. Some have even higher co-payments for certain drugs, a Tier 5.
Now Tier 4 is also showing up in insurance that people buy on their own or acquire through employers, said Dan Mendelson of Avalere Health, a research organization in Washington. It is the fastest-growing segment in private insurance, Mr. Mendelson said. Five years ago it was virtually nonexistent in private plans, he said. Now 10 percent of them have Tier 4 drug categories.
FBI SEIZES $400,000 FROM COUPLE USING
BOB EWING, CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER For 40 years, Meredith and Luther Ricks did everything the right way. They worked hard, saved carefully and raised a family in their modest Lima home. They were poised to enjoy their retirement years in peace. Despite their four decades of hard work, however, an absurdly unjust law has turned their hope for the American Dream into an outrageous nightmare at the hands of the Cleveland FBI.
Both of the Ricks spent their careers at the Ohio Steel Foundry, eschewing lavish spending to save for a comfortable retirement. Not trusting banks, Meredith and Luther kept their life savings in a safe inside the house.
Last summer, two violent intruders broke into the Rickses' house. Luther and his son fought with the burglars. After his son was stabbed, Luther broke free, got his gun and saved the family by shooting one of the intruders and scaring the other off.
When Lima police arrived, the Ricks' nightmare should have been over - but it was just beginning.
The police entered the house and discovered the family safe. Because a small amount of marijuana was inside the home - used by Luther to ease his painful arthritis, hip replacement and shingles - the officers decided to confiscate Meredith and Luther's entire life savings, more than $400,000.
Shortly afterward, the FBI got involved - not to help the stricken family, but to claim the money for the federal government.
Such is the result of civil forfeiture laws, which represent one of the most profound assaults on our rights today.
BEEKEEPERS SUFFER 35%
LOSS OVER WINTER
DAILY GREEN The Apiary Inspectors Of America commissioned a survey of colony losses this past winter. . . . The AIA talked to beekeepers who have under their control about 18% of the nations 2.44 million colonies (about a half million colonies. . . Overall these beekeepers suffered a 35.2% loss over winter. This represents a 10% increase compared to last year. . .
Only about 29% of all the bees that died last winter died from Colony Collapse Disorder symptoms. But if your bees died of those symptoms you would lose, on average about 44% of your bees. If they died of, say starvation, you would lose only about 17% . . . which is right about what most beekeepers lose every winter. . .
The one thing this survey wasn’t able to capture was the extent of colony losses in only the past few weeks due to the abnormally late spring snow storms in the Midwest. Heavy colony losses are only just now being reported, (but not confirmed) in that region because beekeepers simply have not had weather that would permit examinations.
IS DC MADAM CASE BEING BURIED?
SAM SMITH - The headline was a tip off: "D.C. Madam' Case Generating More Winces Than Thrills." It was the sort of story you find in the Post when establishment Washington wants a problem or embarrassment off its back. One can even a imagine future edition: "Schools Helping Children Deal With End of World" The diminution of important news is one of the Post's greatest skills.
The dismissive coverage raises an interesting and not unlikely possibility: that some sort of deal has been struck with Deborah Jeane Palfrey so the better known names of her clients don't come out, a goal which has been seemingly high on the agenda of the US Attorney and the courts since the case hit town. Shorten Palfrey's sentence and everyone can get back to business.
And so, once again, a woman will do time so that men can continue to have their fun. Some day the women's movement might even notice.
CARTER DISCUSSES PLANS TO MEET WITH HAMAS
ABC NEWS Former President Jimmy Carter defended his intention to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal during an upcoming trip to the Middle East, saying the group must be included in the peace process for the troubled region. "It's very important that at least someone meet with the Hamas leaders to express their views, to ascertain what flexibility they have, to try to induce them to stop all attacks against innocent civilians in Israel and to cooperate with the Fatah as a group that unites the Palestinians," Carter said in an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News' "This Week."
"There's no doubt in anyone's mind that if Israel is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their next-door neighbors, the Palestinians, that Hamas will have to be included in the process," Carter added. "I think someone should be meeting with Hamas to see what we can do to encourage them to be cooperative and to find out what their attitude."
MOMENTS IN MEDIA COVERAGE
GLEN GREENWALD, SALON In the past two weeks, the following events transpired. A Department of Justice memo, authored by John Yoo, was released which authorized torture and presidential lawbreaking. It was revealed that the Bush administration declared the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to be inapplicable to "domestic military operations" within the U.S. The U.S. Attorney General appears to have fabricated a key event leading to the 9/11 attacks and made patently false statements about surveillance laws and related lawsuits. Barack Obama went bowling in Pennsylvania and had a low score.
Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days: "
- "Yoo and torture" - 102
- "Mukasey and 9/11" - 73
- "Yoo and Fourth Amendment" - 16
- "Obama and bowling" - 1,043
- "Obama and Wright" - 3,000+ (too many to be counted)
- "Obama and patriotism" - 1,607
- "Clinton and Lewinsky" - 1,079
INTO THE SECOND GENERATION
David Weigel in Reason notes that Chelsea Clinton has a misspeaking problem, too, as evidence from this story in Penn State Daily Collegian:
"Before joining the campaign trail with her mother in January, Chelsea Clinton said she had no idea how much sexism still existed in the nation. 'Two guys in New Hampshire stood up and shouted 'Iron my shirt,'' Chelsea Clinton said. 'They were serious. I was shocked that they were serious. But I was even more shocked to see that no one seemed the think that it was a news story. It wasn't something you saw a news clip of.'
Writes Weigel: "No, they were local shock jocks doing a stunt for their show. This was revealed within about 4 hours. . . It was a huge news story. Most of my news at the time was coming from chatter at campaign stops and listening to the radio, and I knew about this instantly. This isn't a perfect measure, but google 'iron my shirt' and Clinton's name and you'll see 39,000 items, most of them contemporary news accounts.
HAROLD ICKES' ICKY FIRM
NY TIMES When Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton needed help rounding up superdelegates, she turned to Harold M. Ickes, the ultimate Democratic fixer, who is now working round-the-clock for her, drawing on his vast energy and decades of political connections. But, at the same time, Mr. Ickes is also wearing another hat. He is president of Catalist, a for-profit databank that has sold its voter files to the Obama and the Clinton presidential campaigns for their get-out-the-vote efforts. With his equity stake in the firm, Mr. Ickes stands to benefit financially no matter which candidate becomes the Democratic nominee.
In creating Catalist, Mr. Ickes, who was deputy chief of staff in the Clinton White House, has formed a rare entity on the political scene, a for-profit limited-liability corporation that allows wealthy Democratic donors to help progressive organizations and candidates by investing in the company. And if Catalist, which has data on 230 million Americans, is successful as a business, these donors-turned-investors stand to reap financial returns from using their money to help elect Democrats.
But some campaign finance watchdogs say they wonder whether Catalist was established not so much to make money but to find a creative way to allow big-money liberal donors to influence the election without disclosing the degree of their involvement or being subjected to other rules that would govern spending by an explicitly political organization.
Catalist has raised over $11 million in venture capital, including more than $1 million from the billionaire financier George Soros, according to his aides. It also counts on such large unions as the Service Employees International Union and the A.F.L.-C.I.O., to buy its products and create revenues. And it plans to be the go-to source for voter data for a broad swath of groups often aligned with Democrats - like the Sierra Club, Emily’s List and Clean Water Action - as they embark on ambitious get-out-the vote efforts this fall.
DON'T CRY FOR ME,
PROGRESSIVE REVIEW, 1999 In her videotaped testimony shown at the McDougal trial, Hillary Clinton declares, "I never spent any significant time at all looking the books and records of Whitewater." But in 1993, Jerry Seper of the Washington Times uncovered a letter that HRC had written Jim McDougal enclosing a power of attorney for him to sign "authorizing me to act on your behalf with respect to matters concerning Whitewater Development Corporation." Another power of attorney is enclosed for Susan McDougal. The power of attorney includes the right to endorse, sign and execute "checks, notes, deeds, agreements, certificates, receipts or any other instruments in writing of all matters related to Whitewater Development Corporation." The letter directly contradicts the Clintons' claim that they were "passive shareholders" in Whitewater.
DIARY OF A MAASAI MARATHON RUNNER
GUARDIAN, UK - Six Maasai warriors will run the London Marathon tomorrow to raise money for a well in their village. Isaya, 24, is their chief. This is a diary of his week in London, the first time he has left Tanzania
The plane was so big and frightening, and I closed my eyes. My family didn't want me to come to England because they never saw a plane before.
Our elders told us we can do the marathon because we have been running all over, killing a lion and herding cattle. . .
Heathrow was very busy and it was difficult to walk on the floor because some of it moved. You're walking along and the next moment it's whooosh! It's difficult to get on and off but very good when you're on.
I miss meat and blood very much. Not vegetables because they are food for a woman. . .
The weather here is strange. From a window it looks warm but outside it's very cold. It is better when we're running or in the shower. We heard about showers before, in a briefing about the country. It said be careful - when the shower is hot it is really hot, and when cold, really cold. This is true. . .
All journalists ask
the same questions. They ask why you have the strange shoes
and shields, about blood, about lions. In Trafalgar Square,
they asked: "What do you think about the bronze lion over
there?" But what can I say? It's not a real lion. I don't
mind because we are interesting to them but I am not here to
be a show, an exhibition.
WE'RE on quite a few listservs and become frustrated on an almost daily basis by emails responding to earlier ones which are totally inexplicable absent searching for the original or scrolling through badly formatted attachments with carets preceding every line and 32 other uninteresting replies preceding what it is you're looking for. But today's case in point led to the thought that we might make something good of all this. We have thus begun seeking email replies that stand on their own on the basis of their poetry, mystery or other virtue. Reader contributions are welcome. Our first offering:
"Maybe that explains the NAKED man walking down Independence Ave. waving his arms on Friday evening @ 7:15 p.m. "
WHY A BASEBALL POP UP IS HARD TO CATCH
NEW SCIENTIST By modeling forces such as the strike of the bat and air resistance, a team led by Alan Nathan at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Terry Bahill at the University of Arizona, Tucson, calculated the various trajectories that a pop-up can take.
A normally struck baseball follows a parabolic path. But a pop-up's path is influenced by the huge backspin it acquires by hitting the top of the bat. This generates a rotating sheath of air around the ball, which makes its trajectory curve.
In the worst case for the fielder, a backspinning ball begins by flying forwards at a steep angle, before the backspin forces its path to vertical, and then eventually sends it looping back on itself. Once it reaches its apex and begins to drop, the spin will cause the ball to cross back over its upward path.
When the team ran a computer simulation of how a fielder would react to such an unexpected trajectory, they found it matched the to-and-fro dance that players tend to make when faced with such a tricky catch.
NOTE: You can post your comments on any of the above stories by going to our Undernews site and searching for the headline. Once posted, a copy is immediately mailed to the Review and we pick some of the most interesting to publish here. http://prorev.com/indexa.htmCARTER REPORTED READY TO MEET WITH HAMAS LEADER
- Gaza is devastated by a deadly, oppressive USA, EU, and Israeli border control scheme. I'm sorry to see prorev.com posting without comment this material from Fox news: " the Bush administration has sought to isolate Hamas, enforcing rigid sanctions on its government in Gaza . . . ." whereas actually the whole population is targeted. - Soylent Green
PASSINGS: DADDY MADISON
- precious daddy madison r.i.p because your home now and thank you for giving me a chance of being your maid from the state of pennsylvania and i luv u daddy and you can take your rest now and ill miss you but i hope to see you in heaven
- Good riddance to the passing of a false prophet.
- You mean so much to me. I thank God for giving me the mind to put my name on the House of Prayer roll at 14 years old. Without your spiritual guidance, not alone your natural fatherly love for me, I would not be the person that I am today. I will forever cherish the memories and keep them close to my heart where you will always be.
- sweet daddy I am one of your children from the detroit's Hop I will truly miss you i was so much looking forward to seeing you in detroit on april 21,2008 and letting my daughter meet you for the first time. But she has seen you on pictures and also we listen the praises from the band on tapes when we can't make it to church I love you daddy and we will meet again
- Thank you precious Daddy Madison for your teachings. For being my strength when I had no will to go on. I never could've made it without you. When I was in trouble you were there, I know you're still here all I have to do is call. Truly,I will miss you, you were my everything. I'll meet you at the House of Prayer.
- Bishop S.C. Madision: May you Rest in Peace for you have now joined Bishop C.M Grace our Founder And Bishop W.McCollough. May God Bless the United House Of Prayer. - Rev.Lucile Hogan-Morris, Detroit, Michigan
OBAMA'S ARMS LENGTH APPROACH TO THE GAY
- Another "stealth" Hillary act of selfless principle - like her super secret opposition to NAFTA. Unfortunately, her husband actively supported the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act which denied the extension of equal rights across the states or recognition of gay marriages for the purpose of federal benefits.
Again, the Hillaristas make a completely unsubstantiatable claim of Hilly's fealty to progressive causes when the record clearly shows that she was part of a very regressive administration that sold these very causes for the most trivial political advantage. Face it, gays got screwed over by the Clintons just like labor did. But there's always some sucker willing to come back for more if they toss a few platitudes out now. Damn, people can be dumb.
OBAMA TOO GOODY GOODY FOR PHILLY
- That's rich, coming from a candidate who looked the other way at the Daley and Stroger family kleptocracies in Chicago as he worked his way up the system.
BOTH CLINTON & OBAMA BACKED ANTI-POOR
- Oh my God, recipients were forced to work. How horrible. The rest of us work as a frickin' hobby, not because we have to? I'm sorry, it's liberal shit like this that makes me tend to switch off to the whole "oh, the pitiful poor people" issue.
- I work a fifty-hour work week. I make 11.50 an hour, am single, have no dependents, and most months, I get to make a choice whether to pay the rent, the utilities, or eat decently for a while. There's no rational excuse for that. I don't use credit cards. As for gratuitous personal expenses on 'luxuries'--forget it. I also have no insurance, and no savings, because by the time taxes are taken, and the bills are paid, there's nothing left to save.
Unlike the majority of welfare recipients, I can't get food stamps. I don't qualify for help on my utility bills, so sometimes it gets a little cold around the place in the winter. I don't qualify for medical assistance, or Section 8, where a sizeable portion of my rent gets paid by Uncle Sam every month.
But my working-class ass can damn sure afford to pay for these benefits for others.
I, and many others like me are being systematically penalized for not having illegitimate children, not being dropouts, and for being chumps enough to try to be responsible for ourselves, and earn our own way, rather than live off of someone else's sweat. And I can guarantee you, looking at the welfare apparatus in this nation, those of us who choose the above path are chumps, and we are going to continue to be chumps who are continually milked to pay for everyone else. That is, until the day finally comes when we really do get mad as hell, and decide not to take it any more.
And for those of you out there who dislike what I've just said--tough. I could not care less. My answer to you is that the majority of Americans who work for a lousy (barely) living wage in this country will start to care a lot more once they start getting screwed a lot less. And once they get to share equally in some of those benefits that right now they are only underwriting for others. And none of your smart, condescending remarks are ever going to change that.
- The most viable and longest lasting of the European and Latin American socialized welfare plans provide on a completely equal basis for all their citizens, wealthy or poor (or in the middle). The same systems that US corporate interests are doing their damndest meddling best to dismantle. The United States, on the other hand, the supposed cradle of equality, has the worst, and most unequal, distribution of public welfare monies in the Western world. And of course, no such thing as universal health care, or rent controls that could help prevent a fair amount of economically created homelessness, when people who work find that their income is no longer sufficient to meet their housing costs. Until there are huge changes made in the system of wealth distribution in this country, those who labor the hardest to provide the revenues to fund welfare, and often times derive the least benefit from it, are going to remain justifiably angry. The only thing that will cut it is ceaseless agitation for a progressive governmental system that provides for equal care to all its citizens. It works elsewhere, and the only thing that has stopped it from working here is a greed-crazed laissez faire capitalist fascism run amok, strangling the life out of the people it employs to keep its engines running.
- The U.S government just provided a $30 billion dollar bailout in corporate welfare for Bear Stearns. The war in Iraq is providing trillions of dollars in corporate welfare for Halliburton, Blackwater and weapons manufacturers. And critics of welfare for the poor come here and sound off about the crumbs of aid needy families receive, while the politicians and Wall Street CEOs laugh all the way to the bank, eating lobster and drinking martinis, smirking at how easily you are divided against your fellow citizen.
Nearly everyone receiving social services or social security, except for children, have paid into the system's safety net at one point or another. And children have already paid into it, because they will inherit the responsibility of paying off the national debt our corrupt governing officials have racked up. These people deserve to collect the benefits they have helped fund when times get rough. This scapegoating of welfare recipients is predictable, and as always, pathetic.
- Not one of these posters has defended corporate welfare, nor the morally reprehensible Bear Stearns bailout. I have no doubt that they, like me, would agree that moves like that are a huge part of the problem.
But "nearly everyone" is not receiving social security or social services. That is a major issue here. The welfare system has been twisted to the point that only a small, specialized fraction of those who need aid, however temporary, are able to get it. Since all are expected to pay into these programs, via their taxes, that is wrong. A state of affairs such as this would not be tolerated in countries that have social welfare programs that cover all, fairly and equally. That is not blaming or scapegoating the recipients, that is blaming the system.
- Nary a mention from the mainstream press of George Bush's admission to knowing war crimes were being discussed. None of the Sunday bobbleheads, none of the news sources, none of the Sunday morning papers. I guess it's just not that important.