Your Genes-The New Commodities Bonanza

May 31, 2009

Obama signingIt’s finally here, folks. Bio-terrorism meets bio-marketing. Fauxgressive President  Obama, making a claim for government transparency and national economic emergency, has delivered what the Big Health and Pharma lobbyists have been salivating over since the inception of the Human Genome Project: access to the public’s genetic information.  The model for national genetic testing and data storage has been in effect for 12 years in Iceland, in a program called deCODEme.

Iceland's genetic program

Iceland's genetic program

The financial sector collapse of October 2008 and the administration’s hurried and largely unread American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of February 2009 included $20 billion for the digitizing and electronic uploading of all medical records. Would the American people have surrendered so easily without such an “emergency”? The EMR will be carried out by the nation’s physicians,who will be penalized economically for any tardiness in getting on board with the government’s program.

The period between autumn 2010 and January 1, 2011 is expected to resemble a “gold rush” as physicians and hospitals rush to take advantage. So the timing is urgent, during 2009, not late in 2010, for physicians to potentially exploit what looks to be an electronic medical records bonanza.

Americans have been reassured that privacy and security considerations have been protected.  The medical benefits of this gigantic transfer of private medical  information far outweigh the risks, they say.  Throughout the blogosphere a tidal wave anonymous comentors relate personal incidents in which the sharing of medical records between physicians saved lives.  Fail safe’s exist, getting access to records is difficult, they insist.

One problem with that theory:  The U.S. Patriot Act allows access to medical records without the knowledge and consent of the patient.  There is a permanent gag order in place for use and examination notification by designated entities.  State secrecy, bad under Bush and getting worse under the Obama administration, will prevent disclosure of any use of private medical data.  The National Security Agency’s informational driftnet surveillance and interpretation has been contracted out to commercial interests and private industry analysts, such as information giant Booz-Allen Hamilton, subsidiary of the The Carlyle Group.

Another problem: Federal and state laws provide scant security against high tech medical snooping and genetic disorder propensity discrimination.  Health insurers are well known to eliminate from coverage those with “pre-existing” complaints.  Employers could make negative use of such information. Genetic propensity potential is the “pre-existing” complaint issue of the future.

Another problem:  An enormous number of personnel and employment records have been negligently stored, criminally accessed or stolen for criminal purposes and little has been done about it.

The fact is, the health and pharmaceutical industries have been salivating for  electronic medical records (EMR) for a decade. President Bush set it as a goal,.  But it took a fake progressive president Obama, and a trumped up financial meltdown to bring it to fruition.  The “war on terror” and the Patriot Act will secure a wild corporate success for the program. Industry lobbyists made massive donations to all the candidates likely to win power, with gigantic sums flowing both to Barack Obama and House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.  The political “left”, usually skeptical on privacy and surveillance issues, have been mum on the issue of EMR.  No surprise there, since trusting Obama’s goodwill in these matters is part of their cult of personality and esprit d’corp.

Iceland was selected as the prototype for genetic code data mining due to the genetic homogeneity of its tiny population.  Physical isolation of its Nordic settlers, native intermarriage and a common ecological history, made the Icelandic population ideal for testing.  The lack of popular resistance to the program made it easy.  Once it was proved such a program could succeed Big Health and Big Pharma poured billions into the project.

From Mother Jones:

This partnership is just one of many attempts to profit from a revolution in human genome research. A field once dominated by academics has exploded in the past five years with go-go biotech entrepreneurs and pharmaceutical giants. They all dream the same dream: They realize that it may soon become possible to understand the genetic processes that cause diseases and, as the genes yield up their secrets, to find ways of isolating and treating them. As Roche spokesman Roland Haefeli explains, his company thinks deCode’s research will help it “make drugs.”

Health industry patenting of genetic information may create problems for individuals further down the road should they require their own medical or genetic data.  The American Civil Liberties Union is pursuing just such a case, involving breast tissue.

My goodness.  Consider the intelligence bonanza for ordinary law enforcement and the NSA’s “war on terror” intelligence regime, the secret trials, unlimited :threat” imprisonment.  If your genetic material is misread, substituted for another’s, lost, or falsely implicated in a criminal procedure, what will be the consequence?  Sounds like 1984 on steroids.

Again from Mother Jones:

Patients with …. illnesses interact with deCode through a network of collaborating physicians. Based in offices around the island, the doctors gather blood samples and provide the company with raw biological material. Before sending in the blood for testing, the doctors remove the patients’ names, replacing them with encrypted IDs. After receiving the samples, deCode processes the DNA in its laboratories, obtaining genotypes (genetic profiles) for each individual.

These are then matched with medical records, linking genotype to phenotype data—physical details, including a person’s disease status, age, and weight. DeCode fits each genotype into a jigsaw puzzle of family inheritance patterns that can be verified, if necessary, by referring to Iceland’s genealogical records dating back 1,000 years (and now almost entirely computerized). Such a massive cross-referencing should give deCode an unprecedented ability to isolate genes.

GENADDICT Map

GENADDICT Map

Triangulation of data pools means NO PRIVACY. We live in  brave new world.

International genetic testing and data mining will be a bonanza for the military-industrial complex.  China thinks so.  China has refused Big Pharma’s efforts to mine its genetic data. No doubt, all of this genetic information will be processed to yield new generations of biological and genetic weapons, tailored to attack subtle variations in code, rather like a biological neutron bomb without the mess.  It isn’t too far-fetched to suppose this information will be used to cripple and sicken our “enemies” at far less cost.  It can be used to quell resistant populations or cause sterility or massive pharmacological dependencies only the new Big Pharma can satisfy.

I bet it will.

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Obama’s Gay Problem And The Religious Right

May 29, 2009

Writer Maya Angelou famously said : “If someone tells you who he is, believe him.”

This  common sense observation is  usually ignored in the arenas of  love and politics. It applies to no one more  than political chameleon and all-around love god, Barack Obama. BHObamania

We should believe Barack Obama because he has resoundingly  informed us  of what he is: bully, cheater, liar, misogynist, homophobe, manipulator, deceiver, opportunist, cynic, torturer, war-monger, corporatist, globalist.

He also has shouted  through a bullhorn what he is not: progressive, inclusive, liberal, committed, decent, principled, honest, christian, muslim, socialist, feminist, LGBT friendly, environmental activist.

Obama and the democratic party want to break up the social issues constituencies of the fragmented 1960s and settle them into a homogenized, vaguely moderate, hopey-dopey sing-a-long chorus concerned with main stream economic issues and suburban consumerism.  Ain’t gonna happen.

No on Prop 8 protest

No on Prop 8 protest

Since the California Supreme Court upheld the marriage rights busting constitutional amendment, Proposition 8, Obama’s Obamachatter propaganda site, The Huffington Post, has rushed to defend Dear Leader from his critics, repeating the false meme that Obama and Co. are interested in championing their constituents’ rights or fulfilling their campaign promises.

Lincoln Mitchell has hurried to place the blame for Proposition 8 squarely where it doesn’t belong, on 6 of 7 of the court’s Republican gubernatorial appointees. On its face this apologia is absurd as the same court, by a simple majority, recently overturned the marriage equality restrictions of Proposition 22.  The difference in the two outcomes probably has more to do with the religious right’s vocal threat to oust the jurists if they overturned the proposition, than any ideological stand on the issue.

This week, California showed us the judicial past where courts dominated by conservatives, unrepresentative of the people for whom they are determining laws, restrict constitutional rights. Judge Sotomayor and President Obama showed us the future. The Republicans must be aware of this too, but their desperation to try to stop this progress is already showing.

Oy!

HB fundraiser

BH fundraiser

However, in the same issue, an article by Jason Linkins, revealed in New York Times coverage, the real Obama, at a Beverly Hills fundraiser, last night:

a gaggle of sign-waving protesters milled around outside The Beverly Hilton, the sprawling hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. They must have caught the president’s eye when he arrived at the hotel from an earlier stop in Las Vegas because he relayed one of their messages to the crowd.

The Obareporter seemed here to titter along with Dear Leader,

“One of them said, “Obama keep your promise,’ ” the president said. “I thought that’s fair. I don’t know which promise he was talking about.

Hehehe.  Yeah, all politicians are cynical and two-faced but the calculation and public nature of Obama’s falsehoods must be unprecedented in modern politics.

The people in the audience (“gay friendly” fauxgressives?) – who paid $30,400 per couple to attend – laughed as they ate a dinner of roasted tenderloin, grilled organic chicken and sun choke rosemary mashed potatoes.

It’s easy to forget that as recently as June 28, 2008, while campaigning for candidate Obama, his wife Michelle said this in front of a large group of enthusiastic and well off gays:

….she used the phrase, “from Selma to Stonewall,” to connect the gay and civil rights movements.

Oy! Oy! OY!

continuing with the article:

….and his call as a U.S. Senator for a complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages and relieves states of any obligation to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

If elected, Obama said that her husband would reverse laws such as DOMA, end the prohibition against gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, advance stalled legislation to protect the LGBT community against hate crimes and workplace discrimination, and work to achieve equal rights for gay and lesbian families.

“Barack has made crystal clear his commitment to ensuring full equality for LGBT couples,” she said. “That’s why he supports robust civil unions. That is why he has said that the federal government should not stand in the way of the states that want to decide for themselves how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples, whether that means domestic partnerships, civil unions or civil marriage.” She noted his opposition to the November ballot initiative in California that would overturn the recent court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

No applause now.  No need here to go into the depravity of Obama’s painfully “nuanced” sell-out  positions on choice, (abortion), women’s rights, LGBT rights, but evidently, the desire to be in Obie’s inner circle obviates all rational assessment of of his no position positions and cynical duplicity.

One must be vigilent 24/7 to keep up with the Obie cynicism machine.

It’s no secret that Obama made deals with the right wing Christian oligarchy to get elected.  It’s also no secret that he courted the same groups and placed them in positions of power and influence, appointing, James Dobson (Focus on the Family) follower Joshua DuBois to head a revitalized Bush era religious council with his new Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  He also hired John DiIulio, as second in command, and a top professional in Bush’s religious outreach.  But this ugly scheme was way worse than it seemed although the Obie religious spokesmen were gushing

“In President Obama, you have somebody who is not only religiously knowledgeable, thoughtful, open and sensitive himself,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, head of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and a critic of the Bush faith-based office. “You also have somebody who understands constitutional law….”

OK.  He knows about constitutional law, he just doesn’t care about it.

Obama and Warren

Obama and Warren

The really interesting insight into Obama’s unprincipled nature comes from Max Blumenthal (the same Blumenthal who outed Rick Warren’s Africa HIV/AIDS scam in The Daily Beast) writing July 8, 2008, this time for The Nation:

Obama has made a major effort to woo evangelicals, but at what cost to church-state separation?

On June 10, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama convened a meeting in a law office in downtown Chicago with a wide array of about thirty evangelical leaders, in an unprecedented effort to win their support. Obama insisted that the meeting remain entirely off the record, forbidding participants from disclosing his statements to the press. His campaign has kept the names of attendees a closely guarded secret. But through interviews with participants and overlooked statements in obscure publications of the Christian press, a first-hand picture of the meeting emerges, starkly at odds with the news reports that accepted the formal version at face value.

Where was the MSM on this coverage?  From the article:

Franklin Graham, son of the evangelical icon Billy Graham and head of the international Christian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, was seated next to Obama at the meeting. He peppered Obama with pointed questions, repeatedly demanding to know if the senator believed that “Jesus was the way to God or merely a way.” Graham, who once incited an international controversy by calling Islam a “very evil and wicked religion,” proceeded to inquire about the Muslim faith of Obama’s father, suggesting that Obama himself may be a Muslim.

“They focused on abortion, gay marriage, and then Franklin Graham tried to get Senator Obama saved,” said Rev. Eugene Rivers, an African-American pastor from Boston who attended the meeting. Rivers told the Religion News Service that Graham pointedly questioned Obama’s “father’s connections to Islam.” Obama reportedly said of his father, “The least of things he was was Islamic.

Stephen Strang, a right-wing Pentecostal, was among those invited to Obama’s meeting. He is the multimillionaire publisher of Charisma, an evangelical magazine, and a signatory of the World Evangelical Alliance statement urging evangelization of Jews. In naming him one of the twenty-five “most influential evangelicals in America,” Time called Strang “a Bush favorite ever since his homegrown Christian publishing house, Strang Communications, released The Faith of George W. Bush, the first spiritual biography of the President, in 2003.” “We didn’t write it to help Bush, but it no doubt helped elect him,” declares Strang. He is also a close associate of controversial End Times theology proponent Pastor John Hagee….

T.D. Jakes Church

T.D. Jakes Church

Obama also moved to convince T.D. Jakes to get the African-American fauxchristians on board.  From the article:

Besides Strang, Graham and Rivers, attendees at the meeting included conservative Christianity Today editor David Neff, Evangelical Lutheran Church President Mark Hanson, conservative legal scholar and Reagan Justice Department official Doug Kmiec — who has been denied communion for his support for Obama — and T.D. Jakes, the Dallas-based African-American Pentecostal mega-church pastor who has supplanted the black church’s traditional social justice teachings with “prosperity gospel” theology, preaching faith as the way to the promised land of wealth and status.

Billy and Franklin Graham

Billy and Franklin Graham

Another influential African-American prosperity gospel pastor, Kirbyjon Caldwell, attended the June 10 meeting with Obama…. Caldwell, a former bond dealer who founded the country’s largest Methodist congregation, the Houston-based Windsor Village, has been among George W. Bush’s most vocal and visible black backers. He introduced Bush at the 2000 Republican National Convention, delivered the benedictions at his 2001 and 2005 inaugural ceremonies and presided over the wedding ceremony of Jenna Bush. Bush has rewarded Caldwell’s good works by lavishing his missions with federal faith-based grants….

But almost as soon as Obama declared his campaign for the presidency, Caldwell broke from the GOP, delivering a roaring endorsement for the Democrat from Illinois, hailing him for his “character, confidence and courage.” …Just days after Obama delivered a speech criticizing homophobia in the black church, some gay bloggers revealed that Caldwell’s own Windsor Village church hosted a ministry that, according to its website, was “created to provide Christ centered instruction for those seeking freedom from homosexuality.”

Caldwell’s congregation scrubbed all mention of it from its website.

Mara Vanderslice has been called the “faith guru” by The Hill in Washington, DC. Her consulting firm, Common Good Strategies, recently formed a political action committee, the Matthew 25 Network, to advocate on Obama’s behalf. In the past, Vanderslice has advised her clients not only to downplay their support for abortion rights and gay rights but also never to use the phrase “separation of church and state.” Hired by Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004, she ultimately found herself sidelined.

J. Dobson Focus on the Family

J. Dobson Focus on the Family

James Dobson stepped up to say that Obama was dragging Biblical teaching through the mud. He didn’t like McCain, either.  Here’s a snippet.

Even Charles Colson, and Watergate burglar in chief, G. Gordon Liddy have gotten in on the gay hate act with their Prison Ministries.  Murphy at Pumapac.org. outed him on his issues.

Meanwhile, candidate McCain got busy flogging the chiristian imperium for votes.

Washington Post/ABC News poll taken in June is any indication, McCain has cause for confidence; he trounced Obama among white evangelical voters by a margin of 68 to 22 percent. But there remains a question of turnout for McCain .

Of course, we know now that the Christian turnout for McCain was unusually tepid and Obama was able to make great and continuing inroads into the religious community.  The question is, how far can he go in that direction before he’s of no further use to the other constituencies that elected him?

“McCain won’t have any trouble convincing evangelicals he’s on their side,” Warren Smith, the editor of Evangelical Press News Service, says. “The only reason they’re holding back their support is to see how much they can get out of him.”

We know how it turned out.  Obama must have been a better sugar daddy.


In Honor of WACs-Memorial Day

May 27, 2009

In honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to get this post written so others could offer an homage to some of the tough,brave women who came before them.

Not much has been said about the exceptional, but overlooked,  service of women who volunteered for uniformed service in the U.S. military before the very idea of women soldiers, sailors and marines was an acceptable concept. I am personally proud and deeply honored to have had an aunt serving as WACS despite the gender and racial segregation imposed upon the units.  So here’s to you women and women of color who gave all and endured all for their country.

From the article:

World War II was the largest and most violent armed conflict in the history of mankind…World War II was waged on land, on sea, and in the air over several diverse theaters of operation for approximately six years.

Over 150,000 American women served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War 11. Members of the WAC were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army. Both the Army and the American public initially had difficulty accepting the concept of women in uniform. However, political and military leaders, faced with fighting a two-front war and supplying men and materiel for that war while continuing to send lend-lease material to the Allies, realized that women could supply the additional resources so desperately needed in the military and industrial sectors. Given the opportunity to make a major contribution to the national war effort, women seized it. By the end of the war their contributions would be widely heralded.

The AAF was especially anxious to obtain WAACs, and each unit was eagerly anticipated and very well treated. Eventually the Air Forces obtained 40 percent of all WAACs in the Army. Women were assigned as weather observers and forecasters, cryptographers, radio operators and repairmen, sheet metal workers, parachute riggers, link trainer instructors, bombsight maintenance specialists, aerial photograph analysts, and control tower operators. Over 1,000 WAACs ran the statistical control tabulating machines (the precursors of modern-day computers) used to keep track of personnel records. By January 1945 only 50 percent of AAF WACs held traditional assignments such as file clerk, typist, and stenographer.

A few AAF WAACs were assigned flying duties. Two WAAC radio operators assigned to Mitchel Field, New York, flew as crew members on B-17 training flights. WAAC mechanics and photographers also made regular flights. Three were awarded Air Medals, including one in India for her work in mapping “the Hump,” the mountainous air route overflown by pilots ferrying lend-lease supplies to the Chinese Army. One woman died in the crash of an aerial broadcasting plane.

WAC mechanic repairs Army truck.

From Wikipedia:

During the same time period, other branches of the U.S. military had similar women’s units, including the Navy WAVES, the SPARS of the Coast Guard and the (civil) Women Airforce Service Pilots. The British Armed Forces also had similar units, including the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

The WAC was disbanded in 1978. Since then, women in the U.S. Army have served in the same units as men, though they have only been allowed in or near combat situations since 1994 when Defense Secretary Les Aspin ordered the removal of “substantial risk of capture” from the list of grounds for excluding women from certain military units.

Sadly, the armed services were racially segregated during this time.  Many, but not all, African Americans, male and female, were required to remain stateside for their service despite their wish to be sent abroad.

African American WACs (U.S. Army), World War II by discoverblackheritage.

Maj. Charity E. Adams,…and Capt. Abbie N. Campbell,…inspect the first contingent of Negro members of the Women’s Army Corps assigned to overseas service.” 6888th Central Postal Directory Bn. 1945.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

My aunt Lou was one of them. Her light complexion might have allowed her to “pass” for white and improve her chances for overseas assignments and higher rank.  She refused to do so and served in a clerical position in New Mexico.  But she sure looked good in her uniform!  Here’s to you, Lou.

Corporal Lou in uniform

Corporal Lou in uniform


Prop Hate Rides Again

May 26, 2009
stop H8te rally

stop H8te rally

Today was an historic day for marriage equality. And, yes, I mean that in the worst possible way. It was a sobering day for those who believed the  ladder of justice, once put in place,  moves ever upward.  It can and does sometimes move downward. Like today.  But the fight goes on. So fuck ’em.

A friend reminded me just how precarious rights can be with this excruciating and graphic time line of the African-American slog toward social justice.  I thought it worth reprinting:

1809 – New York recognizes black marriages
1810 – US bans blacks as mail carriers
1818 – Connecticut disenfranchises blacks
1821 — New York maintains property qualifications for AA male voters while abolishing the same for white male voters.
1821 – Missouri disfranchises free black male voters.
1822 – Rhode Island disfranchises black voters.
1827 – New York & Tennessee ban slavery
1829 — More than half of Cincinnati’s African American residents are driven out of the city by white mob violence.
1831 — North Carolina enacts a statute that bans teaching slaves to read and write.
1831 – Alabama makes it illegal for enslaved or free blacks to preach.
1838 — Pennsylvania disfranchises black voters.
1847 – Missouri bans the education of free blacks.
1851 — Sojourner Truth delivers her famous “Aren’t I a Woman” speech at Women’s Rights Convention in Ohio
1855 — Massachusetts Legislature outlaws racially segregated schools.
1857 – Dred Scott case: congress cannot ban slavery, and slaves are not citizens
1858 — Arkansas enslaves free blacks who refuse to leave the state.
1864 – Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler of Boston is the first African American woman to earn a medical degree
1865 — Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing slavery throughout the United States.
1865 – Ku Klux Klan is formed in Pulaski, Tennessee
1872 — Charlotte Ray of Washington, D.C. becomes the first African American woman to practice law.
1877 — The Compromise of 1877 effectively ends Reconstruction. Although Democratic Presidential candidate Samuel Tilden won the popular vote, Southern Democratic leaders agree to support Rutherford Hayes’s efforts to obtain the disputed electoral votes of Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina in exchange for the withdrawal of the last federal troops from the South and the end of federal efforts to protect the civil rights of African Americans.
1889 — Florida becomes the first state to use the poll tax to disenfranchise black voters.
1896 — Plessey v. Ferguson – Supreme Court rules that Southern segregation laws and practices (Jim Crow) do not conflict with the 13th and 14th Amendments. The Court defends its ruling by articulating the “separate but equal” doctrine.
1898 — In January the Louisiana Legislature introduces the “Grandfather Clause” into the state’s constitution. Only males whose fathers or grandfathers were qualified to vote on January 1, 1867, are automatically registered. Others (African Americans) must comply with educational or property requirements.
1913 – President Wilson initiates racial segregation of work places, rest rooms and lunch rooms in all federal offices across the nation.
1942 – U.S. Marine Corps accepts African American men for the first time.
1948 – California Supreme Court voids the law banning interracial marriages in the state
1955 – Rosa Parks refuses to relinquish her bus seat to a white man
1962 – James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
1965 — Malcolm X is assassinated
1966 – James Meredith is shot by a sniper.
1967 – Thurgood Marshall takes his seat as the first African American Justice on the United States Supreme Court
1968 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee
1968 – Shirley Chisholm of New York is the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

read the whole timeline here:
http://www.blackpast.org/?q=african-american-history-timeline-home-page

Today, a cowardly and craven California Supreme Court signed over a human right, the right to marry whom one chooses, of perhaps a tenth of its citizens, in exchange for a few more years warming the judicial bench. The California Supremes,threatened with recall by the evil Church machine  if they didn’t knuckle under to their goofy god-smacked homosexual fixation, naturally put on their own oxygen masks first. The religious zealots, for whom California marriage equality was ground zero for the nuclear family, plan statewide celebrations.  They’ll have to fight some party-pooping gayrrillas along the way.

The Supreme Court has set forth the masquerade that what was really at issue in the Proposition H8te anti-marriage amendment was the right of Californians to change their state constitution willy nilly.  Capriciously stripping a minority of rights whenever a plurality can be mustered by money and media was a secondary consideration. I’m so glad the attack on rights was willy nilly.

So now, let’s turn our Terminator-like gaze upon the other scoundrel in the piece: Barack Obamanation. Let’s face it, there was folly in the gay community’s insupportable Obamadoration; believing Dear Leader’s gym-pumped physique in a designer suit spelled A Glorious Future for all his fans.  Why should gays and lesbians be exempt from Obama’s perfidious backsliding on all things constitutional?

Obama had issues

Obama had issues

The signs were  there as big as billboards but were (mostly) ignored.  Obama was the featured attraction at every one:

Donnie McClurkin’s self-loathing and homo-hating gospel hour

ObaMcClurkin on Tour

ObaMcClurkin on Tour

The Rick Warren pow-wow and hoopla

The pre-Inaugural snub of Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson

The scads of LGBT campaign money that bought them a seat under the bus

The trainloads of cash and valuables dumped on the cockeyed clergy to buy their support

Call that prick over at NoChange. gov and ask for your money back.  And then get ready to fight dirty in 2010.

A h/t to Darragh Murphy at pumapac.org for this lovely analysis of what should have been:

The beauty of the Constitution of the United States is not that it holds our nation to a lofty ideal of 18th Century mores and the values of a few dozen white Colonial planters. The genius of the Constitution is that it is so quietly RADICAL. Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin surely never knew the circle of United States citizenship would expand wide enough to encompass non-white men and all women.. (and LBGT) ..and we will never know if they would have written it differently if they HAD known that someday white men would be a minority of the population. But they did not write it differently.


The Carlyle Group-Busted! But Skates On Much More.

May 23, 2009
Carlyle Group

Carlyle Group

The Carlyle Group, primary home for half of the former Reagan and Bush administration defense, CIA chiefs and presidents 41 and 43 was nabbed in a play for pay scheme throwing $13 million in bribes to New York pension fund directors to elicit contracts. New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said:

Carlyle had agreed to $20 million to “resolve its role” in the ongoing corruption investigation and agreed to a new code of conduct that prohibits the use of such middlemen.

Carlyle enlisted the aid of a “fixer”, Hank Morris, and “paid Morris through shell companies he controlled”.

Carlyle then received more than $730 million in New York state pension funds for five different projects, according to Cuomo.

Carlyle employees also made about $78,000 in campaign contributions to Comptroller Hevesi’s campaign in 2005 and 2006, according to Cuomo, some solicited by Morris.

Finally.  Carlyle caught with it’s pants down mooning the public.

But the whole deal seems amateurish and penny ante compared to their propensity for buying up military contractors before and while declaring “war on terror”.

General Dynamics Tank

General Dynamics Tank

Carlyle chairman, Frank Carlucci, former defense department chief during the Reagan years and head of defense contractor, General Dynamics, was unhappy about the fortunes of his industry during the late 1990’s.  Firms had been consolidating, business was slow.  The wars waged by the Reagan-Bush administration were winding down, The Cold War barely a memory. Contracts, previously lucrative, were trickling in.  Carlyle and the rest of the military-industrial complex despaired at the military’s “socialism” and wanted more of it handed over to the private sector.

In 1997 Carlyle Group bought United Defense Industries.  The company’s prospectus describes its mission manufacturing:

Combat Vehicle Systems, Fire Support, Combat Support Vehicle Systems, Weapons Delivery Systems, Amphibious Assault Vehicles, Logistics and Training Support, Intelligent Munitions, and Marine Repair.

….United Defense was upgrading existing vehicles. The company was also busy developing the next generation Crusader Field Artillery System, designed to replace the M109A6 Paladin, and was hoping to land a $20 billion Crusader production contract in 2000. The company was also developing a Composite Armor Vehicle and a Grizzly minefield-breaching vehicle.

After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, President George Bush and his administration launched immense military initiatives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other areas, and these initiatives greatly impacted the U.S. defense industry. In December of that year, United Defense went public on the New York Stock Exchange and was awarded many new contracts.

Iraq soldiers

Iraq soldiers

Carlyle snapped up Cercom, Inc.

In 2004, United Defense acquired Cercom Inc., which specialized in developing armor protection for soldiers as well as for defense vehicles.

From the New York Times:

Cercom, an advanced materials company based in Vista, Calif., began making enhanced plates for the Pentagon this summer and said it was working round the clock to fill its part of the military order.

Weren’t there complaints and desperate calls for help from soldiers and their families for more body and vehicle armor?  Did president Bush send them into the field with inadequate armor from his own company? Just asking.

War is  business.  An eternal war is very good business.

In July 2002, United Defense acquired United States Marine Repair, the country’s largest non-nuclear ship repair, modernization, conversion, and overhaul company. United Defense’s work with the U.S. Army was bolstered as well when, in 2003, the company was awarded a $2 billion contract by Boeing Co. to develop five types of manned ground vehicles (MGVs) for the Army.

From Funding Universe, above:

As the country’s war efforts continued, United Defense’s first quarter revenues in 2004 increased 17 percent, with sales from the Defense System division generating the bulk of the first quarter growth in 2004. These were attributed, in particular, to Bradley Fighting Vehicle upgrades, spare parts, and ramped-up development programs including the Army’s Future Combat Systems and the Navy’s new destroyer program, DD(X).

What a lovely pair of warmongers: Bush with the Carlyle Group, United Defense, Cercom.  Cheney running Halliburton and KBR.  What a racket!  We know the costs and cost over runs for no-bid Halliburton and KBR were enormous.  Could we see the same pattern for United Defense and Cercom?  Did I forget to mention the CIA and Defense Department officials that sit on the Carlyle board?  And how about the Saudi royal family, close associates of Osama and the bin Ladins and countrymen of 13 of the 15 airline hijackers that plowed into the World Trade Center towers to start the Iraq(!!!!???) invasion? What a tangled web they weave.

In 2008 The Carlyle Group acquired Booz Allen, the global management and intelligence consulting firm, for $2.54 billion.

Dick Cheney-sneers

Dick Cheney-sneers

Bush I with Saudis

Bush I I with Saudis

Bush I with Saudis

Bush I with Saudis

A recent deal between Booz Allen and the Carlyle Group has been deemed a national security threat by the Service Employees Union International. The government of Abu-Dhabi holds high stakes in the Carlyle group, and this new union of Booz Allen with the Carlyle Group risks allowing the foreign government access to national security information. Booz Allen is headquartered in Mclean, Virginia and is one of the oldest management consulting firms in the world. The company is one of the largest contractors to the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency. The ties between Booz Allen and intelligence agencies are very close. Former intelligence agency officers have held the position of vice president for Booz Allen and a retired CIA deputy director referred to Booz Allen as “the shadow intelligence community.”

From Democracy Now!:

Mike McConnell, Booz Allen and the Privatization of Intelligence

Mikemcconnell

Mike McConnell, the man President Bush tapped to replace John Negroponte as National Intelligence Director, has been a leading figure in outsourcing U.S. intelligence operations to private industry. McConnell is a former director of the National Security Agency and the current director of defense programs at Booz Allen. We take a look at McConnell and the privatization of intelligence with journalist Tim Shorrock.

McConnell is a former director of the National Security Agency and the current director of defense programs at Booz Allen—one of the nation’s biggest defense and intelligence contractors. Under his watch, Booz Allen has been deeply involved in some of the most controversial counterterrorism programs run by the Bush administration, including the infamous Total Information Awareness data-mining scheme. McConnell has also been a leading figure in outsourcing U.S. intelligence operations to private industry.

McConnell has since the 2008 election stepped down from the top spy post as DNI and returned to Booz-Allen. He has been replaced by Admiral Dennis Blair.

President Bush rushed through FISA and the Patriot Act to ensure the legal authority for comprehensive, high stakes, “drift-net” style and satellite spying capacity on all communications, cell phones, emails, internet searches, medical records, bank accounts, etc.  The FBI has been afforded similarly advanced legal authority and technological support to spy on Americans.  President Obama has gone a step further-shielding telecomunications companies such as Verizon and AT&T and government officials from privacy violations lawsuits.  Obama has also included funds in the stimulus package to  hook up the nation to the telecommunications grid, digitize and upload personal medical files, examining them without consent or knowledge.

Looks like Obama’s going to follow in the Bush-Cheney footsteps. General Michael Hayden, Obama’s NSA spymaster, and the man who doesn’t believe in “probable cause” provisions or search warrants, is George Bush’s old CIA partner.

Bush I with General Hayden

Bush I I with General Hayden

Soros-ex-Carlyle Group member

Soros-ex-Carlyle Group member

Obama’s favorite companies seem to be General Electric, Microsoft and Google. They, too, will reap the benefits of data mining in the “war on terror”.  I wonder what’s in it for him?  Oh yeah, his mentor George Soros owns 6 million shares of Halliburton?  Guess we know where this is headed.


Historic Day: Kuwait Elects Women To Parliament

May 18, 2009
Women elected in Kuwait

Women elected in Kuwait

Today is a historic day in Kuwait and throughout the middle East. Four women of various backgrounds were elected M.P.s of the Kuwait’s Parliament. The women, some running against popular Islamists, won with convincing pluralities. Women voters, 54.3% of the population but only enfranchised in 2005,  may have made the difference.

The four women were liberals, none supported by an established political party.  There are no established Kuwaiti political parties.  According to the article in Al Jazeera:

candidates belong to either a political group, a tribe or they run independently.

The two mainstream Sunni groups, the Islamic Salafi Alliance and the Islamic Constitutional Movement, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, were dealt a heavy blow, winning three seats compared to the seven they held in the previous parliament.

Al-Awadhi elected

Al-Awadhi elected


The elected women are all educated in the U.S. and hold PhD. degrees.  From the article:

Massuma al-Mubarak, one of the four women elected, was first by a large margin among the 10 top positions elected to the parliament from her district.

She also became the country’s first female cabinet minister.

Earlier a fatwa was issued byFuhaid al-Hailam, of the Salafi Islamist movement,stating that women entering parliament was a sin as it would progress to their influence on government.  From Al-Arabiya:

“They have nothing to say,” she told Al Arabiya. “Kuwaiti laws that gave women the right to run for parliament are not against Islamic laws.”

Woman’s rights activist Fatima al-Abdeli ran in the two previous elections

Abdeli called upon the Kuwaiti government to declare the movement’s statements void and said that female candidates intend to organize a press conference to respond to the fatwa.

“This fatwa will harm women candidates and the Kuwaiti people might be deceived by it. We are not going to stand still while this happens. Women should not be told what to do,” said Abdeli.

For further analysis of Kuwait’s elections read here.



No, Nancy, Not You, Too!

May 15, 2009
Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney

According to Dick Cheney (so don’t go gettin’ your hopes up) Nancy Pelosi was briefly briefed on what everyone in Washington, (at least the culpable parties) wants to call Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, EITs.  EITs don’t sound so bad to me, maybe like scrawling a bunch of sentences with a crayon or standing in a corner with  gum on your nose.  Maybe a head first dunk in the tub a hundred and eighty-two times or so if you’re named Abu Zubaida, or Abu anything. iwaterboarding towel

Cheney”s legal boobies said EIT does not include waterboarding (they had promised Nancy over a bag of hot chili cheetos).  Nope, it doesn’t.

Nancy, sweating heavily beneath her Halston pantsuit,  says she didn’t know about the EIT part of waterboarding.  I believe her.  Her friend and fellow multi-millionaire, Diane Feinstein, (who I would have no good reason to doubt)  vouched for Nancy’s character and honesty this way:

“I’ve known Nancy a long time,” Feinstein said. “We lived a few mansions houses apart for couple of decades. I’ve never known her not to be truthful cause even my best friends at Abu Ghraib couldn’t  get it out of her. Let me put that on the record.”

Nancy at secret meeting

Nancy at secret meeting

Fess up everyone. What’s the difference if you did or you didn’t?  Nobody got hurt and Obambam says it happened too long ago yesterday.  Besides, lying makes you look so ugly,errr like EITs are being used on you when you’re standing in front of the television cameras.  Nancy, have you seen yourself lately? I know, point at Dick.  Cheney’s ugly too.  But Monsieur Le VeePee is naturally ugly-stick ugly. You, not so much.

We can still be friends.  Nothing is so terrible that a loving and forgiving American people cannot forget.