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Monthly Archives: January, 2009

Dear Mr President (An Open Letter)

Dear President Obama:

I am a citizen of the United States. I am one of your constituents. Since you have billed yourself as a public servant, one who is honored and even grateful for the chance to be “Leader of the Free World”, you owe me. Yes, that’s exactly what I said – “You.” “Owe.” “Me.” That might seem a bit, well, cheeky, I guess, but I stand by my demand.

First, I want you to know right up front that I did not vote for you. I did not vote for your opponent(s) either. I proudly withheld my vote because there was no presidential candidate on the ballot in my state whom I believed represented my best interests as a citizen of this country or the best interests of the nation as a whole. My vote is a valuable commodity. I wasn’t about to waste it by casting it against someone or for a “lesser of two evils”. Evil is evil. I won’t vote for it.

I didn’t vote for you, sir, because, with all due respect, I didn’t buy the hype. I experienced your campaign as a finely-tuned, extremely well-run exercise in creative vagueness and media manipulation. You were too disingenuous for me: “hope” doesn’t feed the bulldog; “change” happens, like it or not – try to stop it. In fact, did you not declare finally that the “change” was you? I find that insulting. In a democracy, sir, the change is the people. You represent us, you do not rule us. Governing and ruling are not the same thing.

So, here, Mr President, is what you owe me – owe all of us in America and the world: truth and justice. Simple.

Here is the truth . . .

  • The United States of America and its “democratic” government have been stolen from us. We will not get it back. It will now be melded into a Western Bloc seeking a centralized “new world order”;
  • Capitalism as we have known it has entered its final phase and has neither the means nor the intention of benefiting humanity. It will be all you can do to keep order as millions become poor, desperate , and scared out of their wits;
  • Militarism will increase, in spite of your stated intentions, abroad and at home; as unemployment soars, the military and the draft (billed as ‘mandatory public service’) will become the employer of first, not last, resort. The military-industrial-academic complex will burgeon, developing efficient and horrific weapons of societal control and international imperialism;
  • The national debt will soar, as your administration borrows unconscionable amounts of money to hide the awful economic truth from the people;
  • Techno-fascism will proceed at alarming speed, as science develops capabilities of changing the very essence of what it means to be a human being or even of life itself; subtle and increasingly mandatory “eugenic” technologies and policies will be put in place to limit populations and change humanity;
  • The chasm between the super-rich and -powerful will continue to grow, as human rights and true freedoms decline. The rich and powerful will devise and develop more ingenious and desperate means to control dwindling resources, including the people of the earth;
  • The rule of law, already tattered and torn, will continue to disintegrate into the rules of greed and fear;
  • Global ecological (not just “environmental”) balance will tremble and crumble, overwhelmed by the catastrophic weight of human selfishness, blindness, and desperation.

These are fearsome, terrifying, even loathsome truths, Mr President, but they must be told; delineated in such a way that the public cannot hide in consumerist denial and unsupported “hope” and “faith”.

And you must stop saying that you and the “leaders” in Washington, the military, the Congress, and business are the answer to the situation. You have agendas and ideologies. You have your own creeks, canoes, and paddles. You’re in your own world. You’re on one page, the rest of us are on another. You live in the circles of the Feinsteins, Reids, and Pelosis; the Gateses, Geithners, and Clintons; the Brzezinskis and the Kissingers; the AIPACs and the acronyms. Your administration is made up of the problems, not the solutions.

So justice, sir, must start with truth. You must acknowledge the truth, out loud.

Then you must tell us what we did wrong and how we can make amends to ourselves and our country and the world.

Tell us that we let democracy slip out of our hands as we were taken in by Madison Avenue and their fantasy that if we bought enough “stuff” we’d be OK. Tell us that we diverted our attention from what really was going on and watched cartoons on TVs, movie screens, and DVD players in houses that we bought on credit we couldn’t afford. Tell us how we screamed about “rights” and “freedoms” and forgot about “responsibilities” to community and country and the world. Show us that we just lost track of the first part of “give and take”.

We’ve been robbed, Mr President, of more than money. It’s true, we left a lot of that get into the wrong hands and they mugged us. They’re off counting the proceeds, while we’re left here with empty wallets, cupboards, and bank accounts. The uproarious part of it, though, is that our government let these thieves make the rules and laws so that what they did often wasn’t illegal! Big joke.

As they say, though, “You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!” In reality, the nation’s high point occurred somewhere in late 1944. Since then we’ve allowed our greed and ignorance to erode our national character and international relations to a point considerably lower than it was when the Vietnamese drove us out of their country. The acts and policies of the US government and its financier and corporate cronies have painted every American with a brown and sticky mess. No one trusts us. Not even our “allies”. We haven’t just damaged ourselves, we’ve hurt the whole world through incalculable neglect at best, abuse at worst.

So I ask you, sir, how you could stand before the American public and the whole world on Inauguration Day and preach hope, and victory, and change, and national strength and character.

Personally, I’ve lost trust completely in the Presidency, the whole Executive Branch with its secrecy, its unreliability, its deal-making and corruption, its disregard for all but the richest and most powerful. And the same goes for the Senate and the leaders of the House of Representatives. Finally, the Supreme Court has fallen almost totally from enforcing the rule of law and has betrayed the Constitution and the American people.

So start with the truth. Believe it nor not, we can handle it. Most of us know it, because we live it. We’re not as numb, dumb, and cowed as you might like to think or hope. The final truth – the bottom line – for you and your presidency is that if you try to protect the lies and liars, crimes and criminals, and cons, neo-cons, and con artists of the recent past, your presidency will have failed right out of the starting gate.

What will you do if the euphoric glow wears off and people realize we’re in danger of four more years of the last eight years? Lock us all up in REX84s and shoot all the folks who won’t go quietly? And don’t give us that stuff about national security and national image. It’s. Too. Late. It’s gone. We blew it.

Here are a few musts:

  1. Bring the military home, not just from Iraq and Afghanistan, but from everywhere; from all 800 some-odd bases around the globe. Most of the folks in all those countries hate us anyway. And put a total stop to arms sales and other military aid. Make our claims that we are a peaceful nation true through our actions. Oh, and just make sure that when the military gets home, they’re fully taken care of and their guns point out against our enemies, not in toward our people. This includes our covert forces, too.
  2. Repeal the USA Patriot Acts and their related mechanisms and start over from scratch. Period.
  3. Work to overturn the laws that legally endow corporations with conceptual humanity. They’re the most inhuman, rapacious entities on the planet. Regulate them, tax the hell out of them, or throw them out of the country. Give the means of production back to the producers and let us make a go of what they’ve ruined and robbed us of.
  4. Reinforce our constitutional rights and freedoms, but remind us constantly of our civic responsibilities.
  5. Make us once again the most well-educated people on earth. And the most artistically gifted. And the healthiest. And the most responsible and of the highest character. Give us the example to follow. Treat all of our children the way you treat your own children. Think about the country and world you want your daughters to grow up in.
  6. Finally, let us know how to be true democrats. Tell us how each of us must act as if s/he is responsible for the whole country and its people. Give us back the power and show us how to use it. Then listen to us. Maybe we will have learned our lesson. Maybe its not too late.

As far as I’m concerned, Mr President, if you’re willing to do even half of that, I’ll buy you a carton of whatever you smoke.



Be about peace.

Categories: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(originally published at P!)

A Comparison

The number of homeless, United States, 2007

There are several national estimates of homelessness. Many are dated, or based on dated information. For all of the reasons discussed above, none of these estimates is the definitive representation of “how many people are homeless.” The best approximation is from a study done by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty which states that approximately 3.5 million people, 1.35 million of them children, are likely to experience homelessness in a given year (National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, 2007).

These numbers, based on findings from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Urban Institute and specifically the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers, draw their estimates from a study of service providers across the country at two different times of the year in 1996. They found that, on a given night in October, 444,000 people (in 346,000 households) experienced homelessness – which translates to 6.3% of the population of people living in poverty. On a given night in February, 842,000 (in 637,000 households) experienced homelessness – which translates to almost 10% of the population of people living in poverty. Converting these estimates into an annual projection, the numbers that emerge are 2.3 million people (based on the October estimate) and 3.5 million people (based on the February estimate). This translates to approximately 1% of the U.S. population experiencing homelessness each year, 38% (October) to 39% (February) of them being children (Urban Institute 2000).

It is also important to note that this study was based on a national survey of service providers. Since not all people experiencing homelessness utilize service providers, the actual numbers of people experiencing homelessness are likely higher than those found in the study, Thus, we are estimating on the high end of the study’s numbers: 3.5 million people, 39% of which are children (Urban Institute 2000).

The number of vacant housing units, United States, 2008

There were an estimated 130.4 million housing units in the United States in the third quarter 2008. Approximately 111.7 million housing units were occupied: 75.9 million by owners and 35.8 million by renters. Both the number of owner-occupied housing units and the number of renter-occupied housing units were higher than their respective estimates a year ago. Of the 2.2 million increase in total housing units, 1.4 million were occupied and 737 thousand were vacant units. Of the 737 thousand additional vacant units from last year, there were 41 percent that were for rent or for sale. The number of total vacant housing units, 18.6 million, was higher than the estimated number in third quarter 2007. Of these vacant housing units, 13.8 million were for year-round use and 4.8 million were for seasonal use. Approximately 4.0 million of the year-round vacant units were for rent, 2.2 million were for sale only, and the remaining 7.6 million units were vacant for a variety of other reasons.

History, Hypocrisy, and Empire

By Larry Pinkney

The so-called democracy of the powerful U.S. elite continues to live up to its legacy of hypocrisy and deceit.

Now that the spectacle of the Barack Obama coronation as the “American” Empire’s first African-American emperor has run its course, and many, many millions of dollars have been spent on self-adulation by the power elite of this nation, the huddled masses will necessarily be compelled to return to a system of no universal, single-payer health care, increasing joblessness, insatiable corporate / military greed, homelessness, de facto racial disparity & discord, police brutality, a burgeoning U.S. prison population, and endless U.S. wars abroad. For yet again, this nation will have done what it all too often does: perverted its promise, including the dream of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., into a hypocritical nightmare of gigantic and historic proportions.

For the majority of Black, Brown, White, Red, and Yellow peoples, the “dream” to which the late Langston Hughes referred [in the poem A Dream Deferred] has not only been “deferred,” it has been obscenely and grotesquely disfigured and distorted into something almost beyond recognition. Barack Obama’s presidency is not a step forward nor is it a step towards the fulfillment of the struggles by Nat Turner, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so very many others. Rather, he is the slick pro-apartheid Zionist antithesis and perversion of the fulfillment of these struggles.

Barack Obama has already begun to repeatedly and shamelessly call upon the people of this nation to make “sacrifice[s],” as if the everyday people of this country have not already made enormous, heart rendering sacrifices. How about having Obama’s elite corporate backers in Lockheed, Goldman Saks, and the insurance and banking industries make some meaningful, ongoing, and painful sacrifices?! How about reversing the government’s criminal financial bail out of the big corporations [which government bail-out Obama enthusiastically supported], and passing those billions upon billions of dollars back directly to the everyday people of this nation – no strings attached?! How about immediately stopping all U.S. wars of aggression, and bringing our men and women in uniform home right NOW – no strings attached?! So many of these men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of so-called U.S. “national security,” which false “security” has meant their being the perpetual working-class cannon fodder for Halliburton and other avaricious corporate components of the U.S. “military / industrial complex.”

Barack Obama, though the first African-American “presidential” figurehead of the U.S. Empire, is actually the last best hope of continuing U.S. international hegemony under the fake cloak of democracy and justice at home and abroad.

read the rest at the link…

This line really stood out for me:

For yet again, this nation will have done what it all too often does: perverted its promise, including the dream of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., into a hypocritical nightmare of gigantic and historic proportions.

U.N. crime chief says drug money flowed into banks

The United Nations’ crime and drug watchdog has indications that money made in illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the global financial crisis, its head was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Vienna-based UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said in an interview released by Austrian weekly Profil that drug money often became the only available capital when the crisis spiralled out of control last year.

“In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid investment capital,” Costa was quoted as saying by Profil. “In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor.”

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had found evidence that “interbank loans were funded by money that originated from drug trade and other illegal activities,” Costa was quoted as saying. There were “signs that some banks were rescued in that way.”

Profil said Costa declined to identify countries or banks which may have received drug money and gave no indication how much cash might be involved. He only said Austria was not on top of his list, Profil said.

(via Dosenation)

Guither at Drug War Rant:

Well maybe we’ve finally found a bizarre and dysfunctional reason for keeping drugs illegal — the banks need the unregulated cash flow.

Shouldn’t be too surprising that this is the case. Banks have been involved in laundering drug money for as long as there’s been a substantial illicit market.

Costa has his own blog. Oddly, he talked up the benefits of subprime lending in December of last year, right after the meltiest part of the meltdown (thus far).

Remember, kids: Get hooked on credit, not drugs!

UN Exec: Evidence Drug Money Used to Rescue, Float Banks

Funny is it not, that the number #1 player in Iran/Contra/B.C.C.I. scandal is a hold over employee from Bush’s posse, now Obama’s Sec of Defense. From Two decades ago… is now
accusing Iran of subversion in Latin America

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates accused Iran Tuesday of engaging in “subversive activity” in Latin America, saying it concerned him more than Russia’s recent naval forays in the region.

“I’m concerned about the level of frankly subversive activity that the Iranians are carrying on in a number of places in Latin America particularly South America and Central America,” Gates told lawmakers.

They’re opening a lot of offices and a lot of fronts behind which they interfere in what is going on in some of these countries,” he said.

Gates gave no specifics in leveling the accusation against Iran at a Senate hearing in response to a question about Russia’s recent naval exercises in the Caribbean with Venezuela.

The secretary said nonchalance was the best response to the Russian ship visits.

“In fact if it hadn’t been for the events in Georgia in August, I probably would’ve tried to persuade the president to invite the Russian ships pay a port call in Miami because I think they would’ve had a lot better time than they did in Caracas,” he said.

“But basically I think at 40-dollar (per barrel) oil, the Russian navy does not bother me very much,” Gates added.

“It’s important for us to keep perspective about their capabilities,” he said.

“When they complained about our escorting their Blackjack bombers to Venezuela, I wanted to say that we just wanted to be along there for search and rescue if they needed it.”

And lets not forget, Former President Bush’s uncle, Jonathan Bush, and the Riggs Bank $25 million fine for a “willful, systemic” violation of anti-money-laundering laws.

The Riggs Bank info dovetails with Sibel Edmonds‘(remember her?)allegations. I think the problem is as you can see, that almost EVERYONE would be implicated. The whole of the Senate and Con-gress.

Sound track for the above…
Same as it ever was...

Same as it ever was..
Same as it ever was..
Same as it ever was..

Tony Benn to BBC "If you wont broadcast the Gaza appeal then I will myself"

This is much more passionate in watching it than the title suggests…

Tony Benn accuses the BBC ON AIR of capitualating to the Israeli Government by refusing to air an appeal for the Gazan people by the Disaster Emergency Commitee (DEC) he then broadcasts the Address himself much to the consternation of the interviewer!

Disaster Emergency Commitee (DEC)
Gaza Crisis
PO BOX 999

Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza humanitarian appeal:
Launched by UK charities on 22 January to raise money for Gaza aid relief and reconstruction

Participants: Action Aid, British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, World Vision

Information on 0370 60 60 900 or at DEC website

Obama Begs Waxman to Yank Birth Control from Stimulus

President Barack Obama has signaled he will not go to bat for birth control in the economic stimulus bill — a move likely to set off a firestorm among powerful forces in the Democratic Party.

Obama has asked House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to strip a plan to extend birth control coverage under Medicaid from the stimulus package, the Associated Press reports. The plea comes as Obama courts Republican support for the $825 billion package, for which he wants to see strong bi-partisan backing.

Republicans are up-in-arms over the family planning provision, calling it a wasteful giveaway that will not stimulate the economy. They claim it is an attempt by Democrats to push through their expansion of health care agenda — via an unrelated bill.

That the Republicans can publicly denounce health care as not being relevant to the economy is just one more symptom of the paucity of our national dialogue. What the bleeding hell is an economy if it doesn’t include the health care sector?

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