Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, CIA Choice for Surgeon General

July 19, 2009
Obama and Dr. Regina Benjamin

Obama and Dr. Regina Benjamin

From Wikipedia: The Surgeon General is nominated by the U.S. President and confirmed via majority vote by the Senate. The Surgeon General serves a four-year term of office and is the highest ranking uniformed officer of the PHSCC, holding the grade of a three-star vice admiral while in office.[1] However, the Surgeon General reports to the United States Assistant Secretary for Health, who himself may hold the rank of a four-star admiral within the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

The Surgeon General reports to the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), who is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on public health and scientific issues. The Surgeon General is the overall head of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC), a 6,000-member Commissioned Corps of the USPHS, a cadre of health professionals who are on call 24 hours a day, and can be dispatched by the Secretary of HHS or the Assistant Secretary for Health in the event of a public health emergency.

If Obama had gotten his way,and he hadn’t played fast and loose with his taxes, Tom Daschle, the darling of Big Health and Pharma lobbyists would be Secretary of Health and Human Services and the new Surgeon General would be working for him.  Tom Daschle is gone but his promises to health and pharma companies have not been forgotten.  Enter HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Dr. Regina Benjamin to deliver the goods for the corporate campaign contributors.

There is something about the new Surgeon General nominee, Dr. Regina Benjamin, that merits attention: while completing her undergraduate degree in chemistry at Louisiana’s Xavier University she was a CIA undergraduate intern.  Imagine that.  There’s just that one sentence about Dr. Benjamin’s association with the CIA program in the article and nothing further from her about it, but here’s what the CIA recruiters say about their program:  On campus CIA recruiters sponsor the chosen undergraduate with scholarships and paid fees.  In exchange students work on a variety of classified programs during annual breaks.  CIA scholarships anyone?  What did they get in return?

Plenty of others have ugly things to say about the activities of the CIA recruitment on campus here, here, and here.  From the Church Committee Report on the CIA, 1976:

The Central Intelligence Agency is now using several hundred American academics (“academics” includes administrators, faculty members and graduate students engaged in teaching), who in addition to providing leads and, on occasion, making introductions for intelligence purposes, occasionally write books and other material to be used for propaganda purposes abroad. Beyond these, an additional few score are used in an unwitting manner for minor activities.

It’s no surprise that President Obama would choose a CIA associate for another important post in his administration, since faux liberal Obama is the biggest intelligence hawk in the history of the nation. But why Dr. Regina Benjamin?  Why her and why now?  Aside from the up from the disarming poverty and deprivation biography she shares with Obama’s fake one, here’s my answer:  It’s the medical records stupid! What better individual to oversee the electronic upgrade of national medical records and act as conduit and interlocutor between the intelligence community, Big Health, Big Pharma and Jane Q. Public than a country doctor and former CIA recruit.  The biggest heist in world history, the stealing and patenting of the world’s genomic information and resources, will be carried out under the auspices of the intelligence community and the benign appearing people’s doctor.  Perhaps the fact that our medical information will be examined under an unbreakable, warrantless, national security gag order of the Patriot Act will be easier to accept if we see the  friendly face of the  female, African-American, the country doctor next door. Does the support of a nice looking, African-American with a sympathetic biography and a career in community activism and a CIA connection sound familiar?  CIA scholarships anyone?

If you’ve read some of my other posts you know I believe Obama comes from a line of naval intelligence officers, his grandparents Sidney and Madelyn Dunham and his mother Ann Dunham Soetoro.  Not only is Obama comfortable with the intelligence community, he has militarized U.S. intelligence, appointing PACOM chief Admiral Dennis Blair (who attended the Cold War created East-West Institute in Honolulu and studying Russian, as did Ann Soetoro).  He has kept in place DoD Chief and former CIA Chief, Robert Gates, among others, while downgrading the importance of the civilian arm of the CIA, Leon Panetta.  Obama also has plans to extend intelligence and surveillance within the U.S.:

In addition to stepping up efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mr. Obama wants to tackle some of the tougher intelligence issues that the Bush administration hasn’t resolved. Two former intelligence officials said the Obama team is weighing whether to propose the creation of a domestic intelligence agency (emphasis mine).

Isn’t this unlawful, unconstitutional? Very Troubling.

But the Obama payoff to Big Health and Big Pharma for the gigantic campaign contributions that helped put him in office is the electronic bundling and availability of the nation’s medical histories combined with patient biological tissues and DNA as well as all information that can be triangulated from other cyber sources to reap an intelligence and marketing bonanza heretofore unknown.  The secret plundering of human raw material will have the biggest payoff since the discovery of the New World.


Phyllis Schlafly v. ERA Redux

July 12, 2009

Within the last few years the Equal Rights Amendment, ERA has been given a breath of new life. It may be that the 3 year extension sought and dismissed as moot by the courts in 1982 may now be the congressional beneficiary of a no time limit extension.  I think that’s good, even great.  What worries me is fighting for the ERA the second time around  the same way it was fought between 1972 and 1982.  I don’t think the ERA’s opponents will use the same tactics, but they will update the old ones.  Paul Weyrich, (here he is delivering a speech on the benefits of low voter turnout)  founder and CEO of the Heritage Foundation and funder of Renew America U.S. has this to say about a possible ERA revival:

They are back, just when you thought it was safe. I mean the Feminazi (doesn’t Rush use this word?) crowd. And guess what they have in store for you? Why, they intend to re-introduce the Equal Rights Amendment in both Houses of Congress.

Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum allowed in 2001 that it was possible ERA may be on the table again.  This was their take on it from ERA Mischief in Illinois, a letter to Illinois legislators:

It comes as a surprise that someone is trying to dig up the dead-and-buried ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) and pretend it’s alive. Please don’t be fooled. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on October 4, 1982 that ERA is officially dead because its time limit has expired. (NOW v. Idaho, 459 U.S. 809, 1982) (Also see St. Louis Post Dispatch, October 4, 1982)

Schlafly and Justice Clarence Thomas

Schlafly and Justice Clarence Thomas

Schlafly reminds the legislators that not only did not one more legislature endorse the ERA, but five actually rescinded their endorsements between 1979 and 1982.  No doubt Ms. Schafley is willing to accept most of the credit for these outcomes.  She claims that the more people were exposed to the ERA the more it was reviled, citing these reasons:

Not only does Schlafly contend that the loathsome federal ERA is dead but the states which adopted an ERA should also face a challenge, i.e.  a complete rollback in the feminist quest for equality.

Abortion Funding: Without an ERA, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no right to have abortions paid for by public funds. (Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297, 1980) That’s why Congress has been able to pass the Hyde Amendment each year since 1977, forbidding the use of federal tax funds for most abortions. The same policy is followed by 34 states, which prohibit the use of state tax funds used to perform most abortions.But the law is different in states that have a “State ERA.” In New Mexico, the state supreme court ruled on Nov. 25, 1998 that ERA requires the state to pay for abortions in exactly the same way as any other medical procedure. The court reasoned that, since only women become pregnant or undergo abortions, the denial of taxpayer funding for them can be construed as sex discrimination. That logic dictates the conclusion that ERA makes taxpayer funding of abortion a constitutional right. (N.M. Right to Choose/NARAL v. Johnson , 975 P.2d 841, 1998)Likewise, the Connecticut Superior Court ruled that “the regulation that restricts the funding for abortions . . . violates Connecticut’s Equal Rights Amendment.” (Doe v. Maher, April 9, 1986) And, on December 7, 2000, the same result was reached by a state court in Texas, which also has a State ERA: “[W]e hold that the State’s implicit adoption of the Hyde Amendment violates the Texas Equal Rights Amendment.” (The Low-Income Women of Texas v. Bost , Texas 3rd Court of Appeals, No. 03-98-00209-CV, 2000)Same-Sex Marriages: Without an ERA, Congress in 1996 was able to pass the Defense of Marriage Act (P.L. 104-199, codified at 1 U.S.C. 7), which states that, for purposes of federal law, “the word `marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word `spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” That federal law, and some 33 similar state laws, would be swept away if ERA would make same-sex marriages a constitutional right.  In the article Will the ERA Rise Again by Paul Weydrich, founder of the ultra conservative Heritage Foundation, Mr. Weydrich (2007) covers much of the same ground as Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, disputing the strength of the movement for ERA on the second go-round: ERA proponents made no progress during their time extension. When that time expired Phyllis Schlafly held her second victory dinner with her friends in the Conservative movement, who hailed her as a heroine. She was certain, as was I, that this fight was over once and for all.

Reagan and Schlafly

Reagan and Schlafly

When ERA was first proposed many opponents said that proponents wanted unisex bathrooms and gay marriage. They claimed that this was the most vicious propaganda that the right had ever adduced. I don’t know about unisex bathrooms but many of today’s proponents do want homosexual marriage.In the House I doubt the ability of the proponents to achieve a two-thirds majority.

In the Senate the question is where Senators Elizabeth Hanford Dole (R-NC) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) will be.

Current female senators

Current female senators

Other Republican female Senators likely will be in the pro-ERA corner. So it is conceivable that the Senate might come close to two thirds. Meanwhile, Phyllis Schlafly, now in her 80s, still is going strong. And she has a strong organization to pick up the fight.Republicans control more state legislatures than during the first go-around. It may be that, rather than this being a serious legislative effort, ERA proponents simply want to draw a bulls-eye on conservatives at the state and local levels. If that is the case two can play the game. Just ask the good lady from Alton, Illinois.

Clearly, what the far right warned us about regarding the ERA has come to pass.  Some states DO have marriage equality and the trend seems to be spreading. Will the far right be able to muster the arguments and the forces to fight it? Women ARE taking more places in the military, although still in non-combat, though dangerous,  positions.  Abortions DO exist although their numbers are fewer.  There are even a few unisex toilets.  And guess what?  The world hasn’t ended.  Perhaps public sentiment will continue to move in these directions.  Perhaps the radical conservatives won’t forever be able to hold back the tide of change that will culminate in a new ERA.  Let’s hope not.

Why I don’t Use the N Word

July 1, 2009

I don’t use the N word. Yeah. I know what you’re thinking.  And you’d be wrong.  My N word and the other one are closely related and there’s a reason for that.  Nappy and nigger have the same parentage.
“Nappy”. On-line definition: Kinky. Said esp. of the hair of blacks and always used pejoratively or contemptuously.

“Nappy” as it applies to the hair on an African-American woman’s head.

Nappy headed hoe like that bow is covering up those nigger naps”

Self hatred.  On so many levels.  Need I say more.

Here’s the well known Don Imus clip and his not-so-nice commentary:

I’ll bet, having grown up and still remaining black, that the “nappy” part of Imus’ comment was more hurtful to those young basketball champions than the “ho” part.  In my youth even men were more discrete about calling women whores.

Africans dancing

Africans dancing

It is said that the hair on her head is supposed to be a woman’s crowning glory, the mark of her status and femininity. Not so, for many of us African-American women. Our hair that doesn’t swing, or blow in the wind or pull back into a pony tail, hair that is never blond or red or chestnut, kinky hair that doesn’t gleam or glisten, that no Breck man would run his fingers through-hair that is not (to some) BEAUTIFUL. It is our secret shame.  In the world I grew up in light skin and “good” hair could be tickets to a better life, maybe a career (such as they were), maybe a good man. It was a world of color angst, and for some,  limited privilege invisible to the surrounding society.

Scarlet and Mammy

Scarlet and Mammy

No African American woman can grow up without the hateful skewering over her hair, be it kinky, curly or straight.  No African-American girl can escape the taunting and beatings over her own or some other sister’s hair. Some other African-American woman will hate her or loathe her for her hair, no matter what.  No amount of hot combs, twists, jheri curls or extensions will change the facts.

Strangely, poor Michael Jackson suffered from the same mania over his own locks.  Year by year his kinky hair grew longer and straighter while his skin grew paler, his nose chipped into a paragon of the petite.  People said, my gawd , he’s a freak.  Why does he do this to himself?  But we all really knew the answer.

The truth is, that for most of our history in America we were not women, we were breeding stock and work horses.  Maybe heifers.  The comb reminds us that we have a long way to go. No one, not even some of our parents or boyfriends still love a nappy headed girl child.

For all of our intra-racial squabbling over hair, it’s funny that in America most non-black people don’t notice our hair at all,  whether it’s “good” or “bad”, kinky or straight.

Until we stop noticing it we’ll be stuck in the past.