Archive for the 'Health and Environment' Category

State of the Union 2013

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

I suspect my response to the previous State of the Union was too long and delayed for anyone to read, and nobody has taken up my challenge to read it through and then defend the President. This was my response to Gloria Feldt, who thinks Obama hit a political home run.

My favorite part was near the beginning.

It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few…

Yes, this government has been working just on behalf of the few, has it not? That was such a revealing slip. I doubt he meant what that says, but it is too close to the truth, nonetheless. That was presumably a dig at Republicans, but since he has been the President for over four years now, and the Senate has been controlled by his party all that time, and the House for almost half that time, he cannot blame Republicans if the government has been working on behalf of the few, at all. The elite few do not need the help of the government, but they have gotten lots of help, bailed out for their greed-inspired mistakes that caused so much misery, on the backs of everyone else. Meanwhile the rest of us are presumably expected to be grateful for crumbs.

Part of the reason VAWA has been held back by Republicans is because one of its new provisions will cause a shelter for battered women to lose its federal funding if it refuses to shelter gay men or transwomen. In this case, I would say the Republicans are right, but for the wrong reasons. Was it necessary to throw in new provisions Republicans would balk at? No, but it made great political theater, giving Democrats yet another opportunity to scream about the Republican war on women. It would be nice if the Paycheck Fairness Act were passed, but I do not see that happening, so why, if he is aiming high, could he not have proposed the ERA instead? Too controversial, perhaps? He did not see fit to mention the Freedom of Choice Act either. I wonder why.

I also thought it was quite revealing that Obama talked about doing something about climate change, yet bragged again about how much oil and gas USA is producing. What is his solution, cap and trade? Another half measure guaranteed not to work.

Our war in Afghanistan will be over soon, he promises. The war in Vietnam ended the same way. Nixon tried to prop up the government in South Vietnam, which promptly collapsed after US troops left and the North took over, just as the Taliban will take over in Afghanistan. In both cases, the entire effort was a complete waste, but Obama will claim he ended the war responsibly, and that Afghan women benefited from our intervention. Some did, in some ways, temporarily. Afghan women were better off when the Soviet Union controlled Afghanistan, but USA made sure that did not last.

Yes, Gloria, the speech was a home run; the masterful manipulator at his finest. If anyone thinks I am being unfair, my challenge on my blog to read through my response to the previous State of the Union speech and defend the President still stands.

State of the Union 2012

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

This started out as my response, as co-founder of the Free Soil Party 35 years ago, to the State of the Union speech, but developed into a referendum on this Presidency. I conclude it as the Democrats prepare to launch their grand showcase, showing off how they rewrite history and make promises they will not keep. I invite a real debate, here and now, about issues of real relevance, with no issue off the table. I dare anyone to read this through and then defend President Obama. I mean by defend, respond to the charges I have laid out, not bring up barely related things I did not choose to mention, which may seem overlooked and relevant to you, but evasive to an independent observer. My response should be a book, but is beyond the scope of this blog and my free time.

The President was in full campaign mode for his State of the Union speech, complete with theatrics, guests such as the widow of Steve Jobs and the secretary of Warren Buffett as props to illustrate his points, and stirring invocations of patriotic fervor. Perhaps stung by attacks alleging he has apologized for USA, he determined to wrap himself in the flag. He began and ended with comparisons of the teamwork of the military to what the country as a whole could accomplish if it emulated that spirit of teamwork. Given its long history of war crimes and misguided and illegal adventures carried out for dubious reasons, I found his comparison ghastly, yet strangely fitting for the sad state of US politics. He made it sound as if the heroic military of America could do no wrong, and we the people would do well to emulate their example.

The military may seem an example of finely honed cooperation and honor, though I would dispute that on all counts. It is a blunt killing machine, with individual acts of valorous cooperation or honor misdirected and misused. The spin machine must glorify this killing machine and its actions, burying the scandals as isolated bad apples. This marvelous team spirit, focused on noble honorable missions, is the story, which below the surface is just a story that falls apart in face of what is really going down, such as wars cast as necessary self-defense waged to punish regimes such as ruled Iraq and Afghanistan who dared defy big business interests. This team spirit concept grates for military women enduring rampant rape and harassment, which is more or less casually swept under the carpet, recourse even less likely than for women in general. This military is also an example of callous disregard for the lives and rights of those who get in the way. The prison scandals were just the tip of the iceberg. There was the notorious mystery of what really happened to Pat Tillman, the football star who volunteered for Afghanistan, but got disillusioned and shot, supposedly in an accident of friendly fire? Where is the line between opposing US policy and being deemed a terrorist? Protestors and independent journalists risk crossing that boundary, some animal rights and environmental activists have already been designated terrorists, and the recent defense authorization bill has all but revoked the right of dissent for US citizens, who can now be arrested and held without trial indefinitely on the whim of the President who feels the dissenter could present some kind of threat, due process and Constitutional principles be damned in the face of terror. Has the principle of preserving civil liberties in time of war survived the new millennium, with both faces of mainstream politics determined to maintain the established order at home and military supremacy over the world in the name of national security, the economic and social costs no object, or at best secondary concerns? The priorities are all backwards, but that is par for conventional wisdom, its manipulation a fine art practiced by politicians, who call that debating the issues of the day.

The armed forces may display a certain degree of teamwork and courage, but there are more than a few bad apples among them. Their problems are cultural, running deeper than sensationalized scandals such as the missile defenders addicted to porn. When their purpose is serving business interests, calling them heroes does not exonerate their command hierarchy from their war crimes and excessive force, authorized or otherwise, attempts to disassociate American armed forces and values notwithstanding. Was his honoring of soldiers returning from Iraq effectively giving the presidential pardon for what candidate Obama used to call a grave mistake? Does he think he redeemed that mistake by responsibly ending it? War is an institution of primitive origin, the settling of disputes by competition to the death, which should be a last resort, when absolutely necessary for self-defense, the circumstances so dire there can be no alternative, but very few conflicts have met that standard, most certainly not the war on terror. People have brains; they can negotiate a live and let live state of unfriendly competition with their brains instead of fighting it out with killing machines, no matter how high the hostile emotions run. Grievances can be heard and compensated impartially. Obama could have ended the Iraq conquest the day he took office. This may sound impossible, or utopian, but in the war on terror, such ideas have not been near the table; if anything, such talk would be taken as supporting the enemy, heresy, treason? The anti-terrorism laws are intentionally so vague, neutrally interviewing or suggesting diplomacy with someone on the enemies list might earn a place on that list, since in mainstream politics, USA does not negotiate with terrorists, USA brings them down, to the justice of the jungle. People are not incapable of settling disputes without violence, or having a civil society without a creeping fascist police state, but the real problem is a belief system that values power over others, supremacy, dominance, subordination, manipulation, whatever one calls it, violence is elevated into a viable solution to any dispute, people trusting authority acting under its laws to keep violence under control. Obama exudes this belief system, portraying the military and his war on terror as necessary and noble, his halfhearted attempts at diplomacy his style of whitewashing what US policy actually does with its military machine, for what actual purposes. He thinks his macho posturing and intoning America the Greatest sound bytes is Presidential. Perhaps to those of a similar mindset, it is.

Obama began by honoring the warriors who were sent to conquer Iraq:

9:10 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought — and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. (Applause.) For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. (Applause.) For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. (Applause.) Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.

These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.

His mention of pride is odd for one who ran for President making much of opposing the Bush foreign policy, calling the war on Iraq a grave mistake. It is as though he puts it on the level of a redeemable strategic error, not an issue of bad policy, moral failing, act of unjustifiable aggression, and violation of important principles and international law, yet it made us safer and more respected around the world. So was it a good or just war, or what? Democrats like to rant about Republican failed policies. Was the Iraqi conquest an exception, after Obama reluctantly officially pulled out the troops to meet the deadline Iraq wrung out of Bush? This is from a Reuters story when he welcomed home some of the last U.S. troops from Iraq at Fort Bragg last month:

Despite lingering questions about whether the United States should have invaded the Middle Eastern country, the last American troops “will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high,” Obama said.

“Of course, Iraq is not a perfect place. But we are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people,” he said.

Iraq is in shambles, its infrastructure in ruins, its soil, water, and air poisoned by US weaponry, including depleted uranium, causing a massive epidemic of rare cancers and birth defects. For that war USA has a legacy of a civilian death count probably well over a million, many more wounded, sick, or displaced there, along with legions of sick and injured veterans getting substandard or no care here. Iraq wishes to be self-reliant, which is why Obama was forced to honor the agreement Bush made with Iraq to withdraw all troops by the end of 2011. Iraq might have negotiated so some could stay, but Obama wanted immunity from prosecution for the troops, which Iraqi leaders rightly found an intolerable imposition, having reasons to expect some troops would deserve prosecution. To say Iraq is stable with a representative government is just hogwash, mission accomplished whistling in the dark, but par for the course for President Obama, following in the grand tradition of the politics of America the Greatest. What rationale could the conquerors of Iraq possibly have to justify holding their heads high? A job well done? Hardly, unless one considers the enrichment of the military industrial complex for laying waste another country to replace an unfriendly tyrant a job well done!

The remaining security force in Iraq is not supposed to be fighting, but their mission is to protect the massive diplomatic corps now tasked to look after US interests. They are certainly equipped to fight; Obama has to hope they will not have to. I imagine there are still plenty of mercenaries under US command or guidance still there, but presumably they are mostly not Americans.

There are no heroes in the war on terror, but plenty of cannon fodder desperate for a job or lured by recruiting lies, risking their lives to serve this country, called to serve the interests of this corporate empire. They have not made USA safer or more respected around the world, quite the contrary, though they have kept USA a force to be feared. Conflating fear with security or respect is a common tactic of leaders with abusive powers to protect. This claim of successes against the Taliban and al Qaeda is more whistling in the dark. Defeated is a curious euphemism for blowing up some enemy leaders, along with many more innocent bystanders and victims of bad intelligence, by missiles from drones invading the territory of nations with whom USA is supposedly not at war, but bad guys lurking within must be exterminated. The war on Afghanistan is a hopeless quagmire, so cooler heads have started to realize the only way out is to negotiate a political settlement with the Taliban, which will call the shots as it likes. So much for that broken Taliban momentum. Is it back from the fire to the frying pan for Afghan women, or was their alleged liberation just a cruel joke at their expense? The abuse of women certainly did not end when the Taliban were booted from the reins of power, for their effrontery refusing to turn over a war criminal without any evidence. That was the excuse Bush created to retaliate against Afghanistan, since the nationality of most of the suspects was Saudi Arabian, and Afghanistan harbored training camps and that war criminal Obama is so proud he ordered that raid to shoot on sight. Karzai cares far more about maintaining his tenuous hold on his power than the rights of Afghan women. More about that in this prior entry, Karzai Makes Mockery of Democracy. This more recent article on the sorry state of affairs for Afghan women is from the Christian Science Monitor:

Though Afghan laws exist to protect women, they’re rarely enforced. The United Nations found that in the two years since the passage of a law created to stop violence against women, it has only been used in about 100 cases.

“The majority of young girls and young women I work with do not understand anything about our rights,” says Fatana Ishaq Gailani, founder and chairwoman of the Afghanistan Women Council. “We have a very weak government. They are not thinking about the life of women, most of the work for the women in Afghanistan is for show.”

One of the most devastating blows to the credibility of those assigned to protect the rights of Afghan women in the government came almost two years ago when a court convicted Marhaba Karimi, the former Women’s Affairs director in Kunar province, of torturing and brutally murdering her daughter-in-law.

Afghanistan does not struggle with women’s rights because of the Taliban, rather the Taliban represents an extremist version of rural Afghan social constructs.

As usual, women are being used as pawns to put a nice spin on what USA is doing in Afghanistan. More on that from those experiencing it, Afghan women such as RAWA and Malalai Joya, popular member of Parliament twice kicked out for calling out the warlords running that mockery of democracy. Meanwhile, while a few prominent leaders on the most wanted terrorist list have been killed, along with who knows how many civilians, the will to resist what USA represents is far from broken. The desire for revenge does not weaken when leaders are martyred; it may become less restrained, so to say bin Laden is no longer a threat is to dismiss and deny responsibility for all the reasons he was a threat. I kept a running commentary on the raids on Pakistan, mostly on this page, but there have been so many since Obama took office, I stopped trying to keep up.

That last sentence quoted above, Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example, preludes his idea of what a society that works like the military would look like. The military does not operate at all like civil society or Congress. Does Obama have a problem with that? His premise is offensive to anyone who values liberty, independence, creativity, innovation, and seems to attempt to shame the right to dissent, usually covered under free speech. If Obama cannot handle his problem with other politicians not being willing to work with him, he does not belong in government. Blaming opposition obstruction for the failure of unsound policies, such as bailing out the too big to fail, to revive the economy is ducking responsibility; a fight is expected from the opposition, but does not always cause gridlock. Other Presidents have roused public opinion to support their ideas and put enough pressure on opposition politicians to get them to back down and allow a bill to pass, getting much of their programs through even without majority control of both house of Congress, which Obama had during his honeymoon. People might wonder, who would want a society in the mold of the military? Or is it this attempt to link that with his vision that seems so out of touch with reality?

Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.

We can do this. I know we can, because we’ve done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known. (Applause.) My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill. My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.

Rah Rah for our combat heroes and US superiority! I wanted to throw up. I suppose I am not a patriot. I love this planet, compelling me to do what I can to fight for its future, but it was not for nothing Virginia Woolf wrote a woman has no country, her country is the whole world. Regardless, what gall to compare those who fought to stop a league of madmen who thought they could conquer the world, Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito and their Axis, to our modern warriors on terror; this is offensive to anyone who realizes there is a vast gulf of differences between a war of necessary self-defense, and a war of choice on enemies of US policy deemed terrorists wherever they may be all over the world. Patriotism is supposed to overwhelm such misgivings, one is supposed to trust the President in this time of perpetual war? I must be defective, maladjusted as Martin Luther King might have said about this zealous loyalty to militarism. I certainly have nothing against top notch education, but what that has to do with militarism is beyond me. His notion of education reform must explain that mystery. High-paying jobs in high-tech? Those jobs are the exception to the rule in this service-based economy, not a high percentage of what is accessible to most. His notion of high tech and energy security is to trust the experts, those scientists for hire who promote clean coal, safe nuclear power, pesticides, herbicides, genetic engineering, advertised pharmaceuticals with downplayed serious side effects, toxic contaminated vaccines conferring partial temporary immunity at best, natural gas fracking, nanotechnology, business as usual all the while scoffing at the precautionary principle, these are all fine and dandy, no problem, they are the experts and everyone should have confidence they know what they are doing! Just like they did at Fukushima by now spreading its radioactive poisons over at least most of the planet. But the proponents of nuclear power say it is clean, safe, and a potential solution to climate degradation. This would be a joke, except that the President and most of Congress agrees with it. If they get their way, there will be new nuclear power plants soon under construction; plans for a few are already underway, while the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is winking at known problems, asserting US plants are up to standards and freely extending licenses for nukes long past their expected lifetime, as if no lessons from the Japanese disaster need be applied here. Twenty more years for Vermont Yankee despite the state law ordering its shutdown when the license expired, no problem, says the court, since the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sees no problem, the state has no right to interfere! One might keep in mind what these coded words, energy security and clean energy, signify to politicians, because they can be made to sound one way and mean another. The idea of rewarding responsibility and hard work is better than coddling irresponsible large institutions who got themselves in financial trouble, for which politicians of both parties are better known. This was one of many turns of phrase that caught me wondering how Obama could say such things with a straight face. The master politician at work, deflecting responsibility for the failures of mainstream economics and politics by talking about the ideal economy, where theoretically contributions by everyone get fair credit and value, translated by conventional wisdom into the modern day corporate meritocracy prizing short-term gain.

The two of them shared the optimism of a nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism. They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share — the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.

The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. (Applause.) What’s at stake aren’t Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. And we have to reclaim them.

Here I think Obama is appealing to his base, speaking to the public unrest that sparked the Occupy movement, trying to sound populist, as if he is not one of the elite few rigging the system, enabling themselves to be doing so well. This man talking about fairness once defended a shady real estate development firm against Cook County charging it with refusing to provide heat to tenants in the Chicago winter.

In 1994, Obama appeared in Cook County court on behalf of Woodlawn Preservation & Investment Corp., defending it against a suit by the city, which alleged that the company failed to provide heat for low-income tenants on the South Side during the winter.

This past April Obama, now pretending to be the watchdog of bad business practices, got thrown out rules the Labor Department had suggested to make the most dangerous jobs in farming off-limits for children, exempting family farms. The excuse, as quoted in the July 2012 Public Citizen Health Letter article Obama Administration Sacrifices Children to Keep Agribusiness Happy, was to frame the decision

was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms.

Restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot? When did that economy exist? Not in my lifetime, and I am older than the President. He must mean, under President Clinton, whose legacy it was to have a budget surplus during the Internet bubble, while he got passed such top corporate wishes as NAFTA, GATT, welfare reform, and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which allowed the too big to fail banks to get that big and make such risky investments that they should have failed. This is more whistling in the dark, invoking the American dream and values as the defining issue of our time. Sorry, the world is in too much trouble because of how people in power see and manipulate the American dream and values. It was his chance to claim the defining issue of our time; Presidents need to have a plausible vision to be effective at changing anything. Unfortunately for people like me, his vision is more of the same, no real solutions, just pipedreams that sound good while kicking the can down the road until a feminist revolution throws the bums out so women can clean up the mess the old boy network is making of this world. A militaristic police state where the President can get anyone arrested as a terrorist on a whim and held by the military indefinitely without trial is not my idea of change I can believe in, his transparently manipulative signing statement notwithstanding. This master craftsman of spin is still dependent on spin to remain credible. This was a constitutional law professor blatantly violating the Constitution by accepting this power nobody should have under any circumstances in a free country, because that authority fulfills the definition of tyranny. That he will use it wisely, as he says in this signing statement, even if true, has no bearing on how the next President might use it. To accept unconstitutional authority and then renounce the intention to use it is not a wise use of his authority as President, and he knows it. Vetoing the bill on constitutional principles would have forced Congress to back off, since as Obama observed, it was an important bill, so Congress would not want to keep that political hot potato in their court.
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How Democrats Manipulate, Manage, and Control Movements

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The Obama campaign strategy to harness the voters who support the movements generally regarded as the core of the Democratic base, liberals, labor, feminists, environmentalists has been revealed. An unnamed Democratic strategist spilled the beans to David Corn in this article at Mother Jones (the online title was changed and the quote below expanded “for greater clarity” from his magazine article subtitled Can Jim Messina win back Obama’s base and get his boss reelected? about the deputy Chief of Staff under Rahm Emanuel and now campaign manager, in the current issue, July/August 2012).

As the White House’s ambassador to Washington liberals — unions, abortion rights groups, environmental organizations, and general advocacy shops — Messina organized regular Tuesday meetings known as the Common Purpose Project to discuss White House plans, priorities, and messages with these groups. The goal was to coordinate White House strategy with the organizing activities of these outfits. But some of the outside participants considered the meetings mostly sessions where the administration tossed out talking points and marching orders. “Common Purpose was put together to manage the outside groups,” says a Democratic strategist involved in its formation. “To keep them under control as much as possible. It aimed at manipulation more than organizing. Here was Jim Messina, the deputy chief of staff, coming to meetings, and people would be docile because they were getting access to the White House.”*

I inquired as to the identity of this candid strategist, but Mr. Corn has not bothered to acknowledge my request, so I presume this person wishes to remain unidentified. Too bad; now I may have to attempt pestering Mr. Messina or the White House for comment. I imagine I would get the same kind of stock non-response I got to my request for comment on A Case Against Obama Nation. Did people think the Democratic Party gave a damn about the movements comprising its base? No, they are to be managed, manipulated, kept under control as much as possible!

I thank David Corn, as I did in my request for the identity of his source, for providing confirmation from an insider source of this peculiar relationship between the Democratic Party and the movements upon whose votes it depends. Such an attitude has been alleged by many critics of that party, myself included, for many a year, but I do not recall seeing it so callously spelled out by a campaign insider, as if this is just the way the political game is played, people are docile sheep to be led around by their noses while that precious access to power granted to leaders of some groups means little or nothing. I hope this attitude infuriates people as much as it does me. Who the hell do these party strategists like Jim Messina and this unnamed deputy think they are? They know what is best for the sheeple? The Free Soil Party says, throw all the bums out! They are public servants; the public is not supposed to serve them. If the reader wants to be part of a feminist revolution, send the Democrats a message they will never forget! Change your registration, or if you are inspired to, think about running for office! It is never too late to make a statement, and unlike a protest, a large number of changed voter registrations cannot be ignored by the powers that be. That is the writing on the wall, an unmistakable warning that voters are fed up and declaring independence. Many have already declared themselves independent, but that can be ignored, dismissed, or patronized as long as independents are unaffiliated, disorganized, without candidates or a clear vision of alternative possibilities.

Perhaps this is just what one should expect from the Democrats. Jim Messina used to work for Max Baucus, who as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee infamously declared a single payer health plan off the table, and seems to consider him as well as Emanuel mentors. If Obama has pinned his hopes for reelection on the likes of him, what does that say about the President? I ask the reader, how does it feel to have a President who thinks of you as needing to be managed, manipulated, kept under control? It is people in positions of power who need to be kept under control. That is why this republic was founded, and why the Constitution created a system of checks and balances, a government of limited authority. That did not change on September 11, 2001, but the limits on that authority have been stretched so far, they have lost almost all meaning. When the government arrogates the authority to kill or detain anyone indefinitely without charge or trial, the boundaries of a police state have been crossed. Anyone who hoped Obama would live up to his promise to review and repeal unconstitutional expansions of executive power was led around by the nose. That is one issue. I could cite hundreds like that, where what people hoped Obama might do has little or no resemblance to what he has done, which is largely in continuity with the disastrous policies of his predecessors, including George W. Bush. Is this not business and politics as usual? Since when have the interests of the people mattered to the powers that be?

Ms. Magazine may be a prime example of feminist organizations successfully manipulated. It ran a cover story on the War on Women, page 26 in the current issue, spring/summer 2012, by Beth Baker, full of Democratic talking points, but making not one mention of how Democrats have betrayed feminists. The article is not available online at present. For instance, Ms. Baker mentions VAWA is at risk, since the House came up with its own version, which she claims would “deny support to LGBT survivors of domestic violence.” This is the peculiar Democratic twist on the Republican reaction to new language introduced by the Senate which would deny federal funds to domestic violence shelters that want to maintain a female-only policy, at the behest of gay and transgender activists, since gay men and transwomen have been complaining that such shelters have been denying them services. As I understand, there is no problem of lesbian or bisexual females being turned away, so LGBT is at best imprecise, at worst disguising that this language is an attack by Democrats on behalf of non-females on shelters for battered females.

The language I reference in the Senate bill is this section of the law, on page 205 of the Government Printing Office PDF of the bill text:

13 ‘‘(13) CIVIL RIGHTS.—
14 ‘‘(A) NONDISCRIMINATION.—No person in
15 the United States shall, on the basis of actual or
16 perceived race, color, religion, national origin,
17 sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph
18 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual
19 orientation, or disability, be excluded from par-
20 ticipation in, be denied the benefits of, or be sub-
21 jected to discrimination under any program or
22 activity funded in whole or in part with funds
23 made available under the Violence Against
24 Women Act of 1994…

The Republican version took out gender identity and sexual orientation, but did not take out sex, so I do not know what all the fuss is about; a female-only policy will still violate the new law. The explicit language allowing gay men and transwomen to claim the right to access is not in the Republican version, but since a female-only policy excludes both on the basis of sex or perceived sex, shelters for females only will not be getting federal funds either way. I can understand the Democratic Party twisting this as part of the Republican War on Women, but what is up with Ms. Magazine going along with that distortion?

Along similar lines, Ms. Baker also claims the Affordable Care Act “forbids sex discrimination in health insurance pricing,” but as National Organization for Women has pointed out, this is a myth.

This is from the Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill on the passage of that bill over two years ago:

Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

March 21, 2010

As a longtime proponent of health care reform, I truly wish that the National Organization for Women could join in celebrating the historic passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It pains me to have to stand against what many see as a major achievement. But feminist, progressive principles are in direct conflict with many of the compromises built into and tacked onto this legislation.

The health care reform bill passed by Congress today offers a number of good solutions to our nation’s critical health care problems, but it also fails in many important respects. After a full year of controversy and compromise, the result is a highly flawed, diminished piece of legislation that continues reliance on a failing, profit-driven private insurance system and rewards those who have been abusive of their customers. With more than 45,000 unnecessary deaths annually and hundreds of thousands of bankruptcies each year due to medical bills, this bill is only a timid first step toward meaningful reform.

Fact: The bill contains a sweeping anti-abortion provision. Contrary to the talking points circulated by congressional leaders, the bill passed today ultimately achieves the same outcome as the infamous Stupak-Pitts Amendment, namely the likely elimination of all private as well as public insurance coverage for abortion. It imposes a bizarre requirement on insurance plan enrollees who buy coverage through the health insurance exchanges to write two monthly checks (one for an abortion care rider and one for all other health care). Even employers will have to write two separate checks for each of their employees requesting the abortion rider.

This burdensome, elaborate system must be eliminated. It is there because the Catholic bishops and extremist abortion rights opponents know that it will result in greatly restricting access to abortion care, currently one of the most common medical procedures for women.

Fact: President Obama made an eleventh-hour agreement to issue an executive order lending the weight of his office to the anti-abortion measures included in the bill. This move was designed to appease a handful of anti-choice Democrats who have held up health care reform in an effort to restrict women’s access to abortion. This executive order helps to cement the misconception that the Hyde Amendment is settled law rather than what it really is — an illegitimate tack-on to an annual must-pass appropriations bill. It also sends the outrageous message that it is acceptable to negotiate health care reform on the backs of women.

Fact: The bill permits age-rating, the practice of imposing higher premiums on older people. This practice has a disproportionate impact on women, whose incomes and savings are lower due to a lifetime of systematic wage discrimination.

Fact: The bill also permits gender-rating, the practice of charging women higher premiums simply because they are women. Some are under the mistaken impression that gender-rating has been prohibited, but that is only true in the individual and small-group markets. Larger group plans (more than 100 employees) sold through the exchanges will be permitted to discriminate against women — having an especially harmful impact in workplaces where women predominate.

We know why those gender- and age-rating provisions are in the bill: because insurers insisted on them, as they will generate billions of dollars in profits for the companies. Such discriminatory rating must be completely eliminated.

Why, in a story in Ms. Magazine called Fighting the War on Women, is there no mention of any of this? Could it be that supposedly so independent magazine has been successfully manipulated, controlled, managed? Or has defeating Republicans become so important Democrats can betray feminism with impunity, while feminist leaders and writers disregard their dirty tricks? The larger environmental, peace, labor, and gay rights movement groups ought to ponder the same questions. Obama has caught some flak for his betrayals on those fronts, but it is beneath his attention; he wants the swing voters, so his disgruntled liberal base must go along with political reality; to keep Romney out of office they will have to vote for Obama, no matter what he does to demonstrate his independence from his base. When the choice is between the lesser of two evils, no substance is necessary or even expected; the expressed principles and ideas can be all a sham, just for showing off how different they want people to think they are. I am not saying these guys do not believe what they are saying, but what it means to them may not be what it means to the general public. That is deliberate; they speak in code. The public is not expected to understand the machinations of running the country. I do not refer to legalese, rather key phrases, such as national security, working families, middle class; these are all code phrases that evoke a picture of the American way of life, which is one of the key illusions that allow business to go on as usual.

I will have much more to say on the sorry state of politics soon.

State of the Union 2011

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

President Obama may be a fine orator, but his speech was chock full of wishful thinking and spin. Some of his wishes might come true, though they will not have the results he is portraying, while some of his pipedreams are just whistling in the dark.

It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

Contentious, yes. Comprehensive, hardly. Those debates have been most remarkable for the deeper perspectives kept off the table, hallmark of a carefully managed sham of a democracy. If that is what sets USA apart, it is nothing to crow about. Most genuine democracies have debates between more than two sides of the same coin. Considering how often and willingly Obama has caved in the face of opposition from the right, I wonder what it would sound like if he really did fight fiercely for his beliefs. One must expect a President to have reasons for actions that cannot be divulged, but I wonder, what does he really believe?

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.

We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.

That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.

A common creed? The President ought to speak for himself. There is a creed Democrats and Republicans share, which allows both to justify the war on terror specifically, and the aspirations of empire in general. This creed is based on a value system that prizes dominance, power over, US exceptionalism, military supremacy. Jared Loughner did not believe women ought to be in positions of authority. He represents the logical extreme of that value system, but his crime was in principle little different from the war crimes committed in the name of protecting US interests. Violence is glorified and justified by the principle that might makes right.

Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.

Yes, Democrats and Republicans will move backwards together, or not at all. Obama is right about the challenges being bigger than party politics, but neither his approach nor those of his mainstream opponents will meet those challenges.

At stake right now is not who wins the next election – after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world.

What leadership is he calling a light to the world? Until recently, this nation was the biggest polluter on the planet, though China may have overtaken that dubious distinction by now, or will soon. This nation is also one of the worst international scofflaws, waging illegal wars of aggression against governments that did not threaten this nation in any way, except that they dared to resist the attempts of this nation to dominate the world, and in the case of Afghanistan, provided shelter to those willing to kill civilians to that end. I cannot condone such tactics, but when legitimate grievances with an aggressive superpower are ignored and compounded, blowback is bound to be horrific. Besides, USA has no problem with dictators killing innocent people to maintain their power if those tyrants are considered allies, unless there is enough of a spotlight to create embarrassing publicity, as in Egypt at the moment.

We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.

Yes, the economy has been flooded with enough cheap money to create another bubble, creating some jobs but not enough to make a dent in unemployment. When that bubble pops, the crisis Obama inherited will look like a picnic. There has been no progress toward resolving the issues that caused that crisis. The financial reform bill was too heavily watered down, saturated with loopholes, and none of the too-big-to-fail culprits were broken up. On the contrary, they have gotten bigger.

But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.

That’s the project the American people want us to work on. Together.

We did that in December. Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.

But we have more work to do. The steps we’ve taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession – but to win the future, we’ll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.

This is one example of wishful thinking. The recession is still alive and kicking, and about to get much worse. The steps taken to this point only papered over the problems, which have been centuries, if not millennia, in the making. The economic system is hopelessly corrupted, since it is based on a fundamentally corrupt value system. The quality of life is going in the wrong direction, and the tepid proposals of our politicians will do nothing to right the sinking ship. Those tax cuts may have reduced withholding from paychecks a bit, but at what price? Republicans got what they wanted, an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. That two percent not withheld from paychecks will not help average people if their cost of living is inflated as a result of the deficit ballooning, or their retirement benefits have to be cut because less money goes to the Social Security trust fund.

In these times, winning the future is a strangely inappropriate metaphor, though it fits the aspiration of maintaining US supremacy. The future holds many perils. If people do not get their act together fast, the species will be history. The challenge of the future will be to survive without a horrendous decline in the quality of life. But Obama seems oblivious to that; he goes on to lay out his vision of how to “win the future,” as if what the country needs is to beat the competition of other nations. All nations need to take stock of the havoc conventional wisdom has wrought and cooperate to change course.

What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea – the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That is why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It’s why our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can’t just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.

Now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit, and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. And tonight, I’d like to talk about how we get there.

How many students answer questions about what they would change in the world? Is he honestly saying this is a nation of critical thinkers? Wishful thinking, and from what I understand, the educational reforms he has pushed are moving in the opposite direction, teaching the vast majority of children to pass standardized tests in preparation for a life as an unquestioning cog in the corporate world. Politicians need to take responsibility for the deficit, true, but there are more significant deficits in imagination, honesty, respect for diversity of opinion and life.

This tale of immigrants coming here to pursue their own destiny may have been true long ago, but nowadays many immigrants risk a great deal to come here because USA has wrecked their local economies, so the displaced face a life of abject misery, if they can survive at all.

Usually when a politician speaks of creating the best place to do business, that is code for giving businesses a break on taxes and regulations. Regulations are already porous enough to allow businesses to endanger their workers and foul the environment. Obama gave as an example of a silly regulation the EPA requirement to treat saccharin as a toxic waste. Since FDA approved it as a safe sweetener, Obama says the EPA regulation is just plain dumb. Wrong, FDA was just plain dumb, corrupt, or both to approve it in the first place.

The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.

None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.

Innovation is a good thing, when its purpose is good. Some innovations serve no good purpose, such as the financial innovations that contributed heavily to the financial crisis Obama inherited. Liar loans? Yes, some did make a pile of money with such innovations, and other innovations have also been hugely profitable, but should never have been developed at all. I speak of nuclear power, genetic engineering, the innovations of more efficient ways to kill. Obama has no problem with any of those. He may have a problem with liar loans, but not with bailing out the institutions that made a killing on those loans before the game inevitably backfired.

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Already, we are seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.

Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”

That’s what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money. We’re issuing a challenge. We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.

At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

Same old Obama, calling nuclear power, clean coal, biofuels, and natural gas clean sources of energy. This goes beyond wishful thinking; it is just plain dumb. This planet cannot afford to burn carbon much longer, period, end of story. Nuclear power is just as dangerous, in different ways, even discounting the risk of another catastrophic “accident.” Obama showed how interested he was in protecting the planet during the summits on climate change. There is no political will to do what it would take to prevent catastrophic climate change among Democrats or Republicans. They want to promote business as usual, pretending high technology will save the day. Most scientists agree that in order to make biofuels cost efficient, plants will have to be engineered for that purpose. This is a direct threat to biodiversity, and will only slightly decrease the production of carbon dioxide at best. When compared to burning gasoline or diesel fuel, biofuels could decrease carbon dioxide substantially, but not compared to powering fuel cells with cleanly produced hydrogen. Meanwhile the subsidies and mandates for corn ethanol are still in place, and that technology is hardly better than burning gasoline, if at all.

The technology to use sunlight and water to produce hydrogen is hardly a new idea, though the efficiency of the process is improving. That is a genuine part of the answer. Once fuel cell vehicles become affordable, there will be no need for any other fuel for transportation. Battery powered electric cars are also part of the answer, but until there is surplus truly clean electricity to charge the batteries, they will not do much to slow down the generation of greenhouse gases.

The hardest problems in what Obama is calling clean energy would be to make nuclear power safe, coal clean, and biofuels a means of significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Trying to solve these problems would waste an inordinate amount of money and time, because they are impossible. However, it seems likely that is where most of the money and effort will go. That way, politicians can claim they are valiantly trying to stave off climate change, without doing anything constructive at all. The technology to actually prevent catastrophic climate change is already available, though its efficiency is improving and could be further improved, but without the political will to deploy that technology on the necessary scale, Obama and his crew of scientific hacks are leading humanity like lemmings straight off a cliff.
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A Vision for Healing

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Barack Obama has a vision for a changed politics, honoring a preacher John McCain might have chosen with the opening prayer for his inauguration. This is his way of reaching out to all Americans, reaching out to wary Republicans while leaving many of his supporters behind. This is standard old Democratic big tent politics, no great change in policy here. No hesitation to flout international law by bombing Pakistan, not just the requisite dose of bellicose rhetoric for the campaign. Smarting Republicans will not be easily charmed, nor those who supported Obama reluctantly, not their first choice. Sometimes the tent is too big, when efforts to straddle the elusive center matter more than its principles.

Change is coming, but who will benefit? In the name of economic hardship everyone will be asked to sacrifice, but that is not facing the real issues. The model of economics underlying modern capitalism is rabidly self-destructive. This latest bubble bursting was not so hard to predict. Obama has better plans, such as open government, lifting the abortion gag rule, more emphasis on diplomacy and alliances, more careful treatment of prisoners of war, first steps toward nuclear disarmament and a more sustainable way of life, a White House Council on Women and Girls, a White House organic garden, various other reforms, not trifles but nothing radical or unexpected. It remains to be seen what actions will spring from those plans. Among his bad plans are:

Expanding the war on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Taking his time winding down the war on Iraq. Defending Israeli and US war crimes, flouting international law. Stressing patriotism and maintaining military supremacy, claiming our way of life gives USA the moral high ground to project power around the world . Expanding the armed forces and NATO. Clean coal. Any role for nuclear power other than rapid phaseout. Faith-based initiatives. Abstinence as part of sex education, and new restrictions on abortions under mental distress. Promoting agrofuels and genetically engineered crops. Throwing good money after bad, keeping bankrupt crooks afloat. Using any of those extreme executive powers seized by Bush and Cheney with the Patriot Act and its follow ups, while letting them off the hook for their crimes. Promoting reversion to Clinton policies and people as the change we need. Promoting triangulation, selling out core constituencies, as continuity and bipartisanship. Promoting a food safety bill that as written, could ruin small and organic farmers by requiring them to take safety measures prompted by reckless agribusiness practices. Most of these bad plans were readily predictable, within the first weeks of his term.

Among many better plans he will not take on:

Reducing military spending to a minimum necessary to end all occupations, close or turn over all foreign bases, clean up the toxic messes the military-industrial complex has left in its wake, provide a realistic defense against potential invasion, get an international campaign going to decommission all nuclear weapons, research facilities, and power plants, and other indefensible weapons and research programs. Substantial luxury taxes on socially costly indulgences, such as junk food, tobacco, alcoholic beverages and other recreational drugs, unsupportive shoes, cosmetics and cosmetic surgery, unnecessary toxicity or pollution, sexist imagery, resource hogging, solely speculative transactions. Firing Jon Favreau, chief Obama speechwriter featured in a picture on Facebook of his gleeful mug and another Obama staffer groping a Hillary Clinton mockup. Firing the lot of military industrial friendly bureaucrats Obama picked to implement his plans. Abolishing slavery of all kinds, including sexual, and making it an important human rights issue around the world. Abolishing poverty by funding appropriate shelter, nutrition, health care, rehabilitation, education, day care for everyone who wants or needs it, so nobody has to remain stuck in a bad job, relationship, or sexual slavery to survive. Teaching boys thoroughly there is nothing salutary, manly, or legal about raping, battering, harassing, or buying women as part of comprehensive sex education. Banning dress codes requiring women to wear cosmetics or constricting or revealing clothing. Abolishing genetic engineering and cloning, at least outside the laboratory, as examples of science going too far, violating the precautionary principle. Getting toxic chemicals out of food, water, air as fast as possible. Stop subsidizing big agribusiness. Stop logging old growth and using wood for purposes where substitution is easy, such as paper. Nullify the free trade agreements, World Trade Organization, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Federal Reserve Bank. Forget about biofuels, from corn or high tech. The focus on embryonic stem cells is misplaced, since other sources are more promising and less trouble. The focus on prescription drugs is misplaced, since other means are often more promising and less trouble. The focus on metaphorical wars is worse than misplaced, but expected of leaders of an empire.

Examples of misplaced focus abound, since the economic model is corrupted at its source by its assumptions about the value and meaning of hierarchy, capital, competition, incorporation, life itself. Capitalism has long been not about free markets or competition, but has devolved into bailing out insolvent companies too big to fail. That such could exist violates the principle of a competitive free market. The system is not even true to its own principles, let alone principles that affirm life, but will be defended to the last breath by the new leadership as well as the old. The system has revealed its fatal core rot. Let the institutions that deserve to fail die by their sword, unbridled debt and undeserved abusive power. There could be fulfilling work for all, but not under these fundamentally messed up conventional models.

Priorities as well as values and principles of those models are all backwards, designed and working to preserve power and privilege, not for common people. Obama will try to have it both ways, but his plans are too little, too late to do much about this mess. He thinks part of the answer is people acting more responsibly. This has some relevance, but the models underlying the way of life he touts as needing no apology encouraged rich people acting irresponsibly to get the world economy into this bind, inventing vehicles for reckless speculation fueled by cheap debt. Breaking up all the companies too big to fail might seem inconceivable, but it was not so long ago that these were denounced as monopolistic, and forced to split into multiple companies. Antitrust legislation was passed for good reasons, though enforcement has been lax, as a rule. Corporations used to be set up for specific purposes requiring a pool of capital. The idea of a corporate bottom line of short-term profit is among modern corruptions that make such a mockery of competitive free enterprise and fair play.

Those ideals Obama touts so proudly are sullied by blood. Some of that blood is already on his hands, authorizing full speed ahead on the Pakistan front, and hardly a word of protest at the rampage in Gaza. Democrats run scared from the soft on terror label, showing why the nation will not regain the moral high ground it squandered after blowback struck home. Obama was the last hope of Pakistanis to avoid confrontation over the raids, but he wasted no time dashing that, leaving the people of Pakistan to wonder how much worse could things get now that their neighbor and its people hiding in Pakistan are to be the central front of the war. It seems people in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are still fair game for the war on terror, because they are sheltering terrorists, and who knows what Obama will do about Iran when his vaunted tough diplomacy gets nowhere. Is this a war on terror, or of terror? Is this a vision for healing, or is that just a mirage created by a master of illusion? Obama exudes confidence his plans will work. If they accomplish anything, it will be when the business cycle has run its course, or when he is forced by harsh reality to give radical ideas a chance.

Competition for dominance was bound to produce bad consequences, because it is a distorted fundamental value of warlike cultures. It may seem innocuous if one does not think too hard about it. Competition could be about other things, like being the best one can be, providing a better product or service, finding a better way to do or look at anything, honing a skill or talent, building on what works to make it better, and so on. In and of itself, competition is not a bad thing, but warlike culture makes it vicious, cutthroat, cannibalistic, dog eat dog, racist, me first and the hell with whoever or whatever gets in the way, men feeling entitled to rape, assault, harass, devalue, and buy women. The concept of power is closely tied to this valuation of dominance. Power over others is a heady emotion, enabling the atrocities of war and all sorts of other symptoms of this rotten culture, though its practitioners prattle endlessly on their good intentions. Power that empowers is internal, creative, inspiring, passionate, furiously resisting abuse of power. This kind of power is out of political power, but would turn politics as we know it on its head. People with integrity of character and vision could do that, but politics as we know it rejects them as idealistic impractical radicals whose ideas are ivory tower utopian fantasies that could never work. Instead politics presents mainstream versions of pragmatism, conventional wisdom, which can only appear to work through illusions and bubbles, motivated by fear and greed. Where is the sense of perspective in that, looking out for future generations? Unfortunately politicians have learned how to fake concern about the future to convince people how much they care. It remains to be seen what Obama will try, but his initial forays to deal with this colossal mess he inherited are surface treatment desperation measures cloaked in a cool confident manner, as if confidence in him could be the new bubble to obscure what really must be worked through.

There are better ways. There are more where those came from. For example, see the campaign blog Heart put together for 2008, or What This Feminist Revolution Could Accomplish from last January.

A Case Against Obama Nation

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Obama Girl says in her video It’s Hopeless, directed at Hillary Clinton, which made ABC News back in March,

It’s become an Obama Nation…
We all have a crush on Obama

Anyone reading this, contrary to the perspectives behind those notions and the new swiftboating book Obama Nation, is not likely altogether convinced Barack Obama is a different kind of politician, or represents the kind of change one can believe in. The change he represents, I have heard it all before. He is a kinder gentler figurehead of the corporate state. His candidacy is different, not because he is such a different kind of Democratic politician, but his perspective is not that of a white man. His erstwhile primary opponent shared that distinction. This is significant, but their moderate posture is not otherwise groundbreaking, not the kind of root change needed to solve the problems of this time, slightly more rational on domestic policy, but on foreign policy, more of the same, while shifting primary focus of the war efforts from Iraq to what some call the just war, or real war on terror, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This is from a recent flyer asking for money, substituting bold for underlined. What is it with is for these slick Democrats? Here is the Obama brand of change as of that flyer, already slightly revised for the next, the underlined is noticeably absent.

Change is a tax code that rewards work instead of wealth. Change is a health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it, and an education policy that gives every child a chance at success.

Change is ending a war in Iraq that should never have been authorized, and finishing a war against al-Qaida in Afghanistan that should have never been ignored.

(My name), that’s what change is. And that is the choice in this election.

It’s more of the same versus change. It’s the past versus the future. This choice has confronted generations before us. And now it is our turn to choose.

His message for a recent Democratic National Committee fund raiser substituted:

Change is an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who create it. Change is a health care plan that guarantees affordable coverage to all who want it. And change is ending a war in Iraq that should never have been authorized and never been waged and that distracted us from winning the war against al-Qaeda. That’s what change is.

When the proposed future looks like the usual stale veneer of a kinder gentler version of corporate empire, Democratic style, a different kind of choice confronts the people. More of the same, with a slight swerve toward moderate politics, or turn it all around to clean up this mess politicians like these choices have fostered while pretending to the public, everything is under control, there is no cause for alarm, the experts know what they are doing. Obama thinks he can send some more troops to Afghanistan and its people will come around, the job can be finished with military victory there, terrorists smoked out of Pakistan, and friendly Iraqis running Iraq? Obama is dreaming. I can say that with confidence, because I am a dreamer. The Free Soil plan to end the war on terror is more visionary and feasible than his, no comparison. Obama is predictably selective about who is eligible for negotiation, and under what conditions. Free Soil supports a full accounting of all the war crimes on all sides. That means stopping this pretense to hold the moral high ground, negotiating with those these politicians dismiss as envious evil terrorists, the ringleaders Obama and McCain promise to eliminate. USA has lost whatever shaky claim to moral high ground staked after agents of blowback delivered that act of war that could not go ignored, even by a complacent citizen of empire.

Obama finally renounced his Pastor Jeremiah Wright, not for things he said that made me bristle, but for reiterating some inconvenient truths about US foreign and domestic policy. The war on terror is doomed to defeat, because it is battling rebellion against empire. No empire can stand for long, and these days any attempt will fall amazingly fast, this one already showing manifold effects of internal rot, its economy tottering precariously on a house of cards as mountains of junk debt devalue, while a few mostly white men get richer. To maintain the Obama image matters more than truth, so he can say he will finish the war on terror. How he expects anyone with an ounce of sense to believe that shows his arrogant disregard for reality. What does he mean, finish the war? I shudder to imagine what Obama might do to show how tough he can be on those terrorists. From Bloomberg, July 13

“I continue to believe that we’re under-resourced in Afghanistan and that that is the real sediment for terrorist activity that we have to deal with, and deal with aggressively,” Obama told reporters while campaigning in San Diego today.

Afghanistan is notorious for not staying conquered. What makes Obama think this time will be different? How does he expect to find the recruits to expand the ground forces? This is from the text of his remarks on Iraq and Afghanistan published in the New York Times on July 15.

I will restore our strength by ending this war, completing the increase of our ground forces by 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 marines, and investing in the capabilities we need to defeat conventional foes and meet the unconventional challenges of our time.

He sounds like another warmonger to me, but he wants to fight the real war, hoping a US friendly Iraqi government and army will be able to take over there. I see parallels to Vietnamization. It might be possible, if the occupation ended smoothly, but not if US keeps meddling and blaming Iraqis for the violence and not meeting milestones, like that peculiar oil sharing agreement to divvy up oil profits, intended to give control of Iraqi oil to transnational oil companies. These milestones were not meant for the benefit of Iraqis, as they would see it. The point is this change Obama touts is another bunch of timid pseudo solutions people who can remember have come to expect from Democrats, lofty promises never meant to be delivered. Obama talks about health insurance for all and a chance for success for every child. Success as a cog in some corporate machine, or an education policy that gives everyone a fair and reasonable chance to develop their talents and skills? Free Soil has a few things to tell Senator Obama about the meaning of change. There is no need for health insurance if necessary health care is taken as a basic right, as an essential consequence of the right to life.

That right was not meant for a fetus, but Obama thinks if the fetus is far enough along, so-called partial birth abortion can be declared illegal unless birth would endanger the health of the mother. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act Congress passed in 2003 is vague, banning a medical procedure, with no health exception, not only used for late-term abortion, so what late means is up for dispute, the label just another distortion to inflame people against abortion. Obama is the new Mr. Slick, pretending to have a perfect pro-choice record, ignoring the twists thrown on the common sense notion that women should not have late-term abortions unless necessary for health reasons, since after viability the procedure is generally more hazardous for a woman not otherwise expecting complications than carrying the baby to term. The procedure is rarely used, but is sometimes the best alternative before viability, so it is not a trivial matter if Obama would support this bill, with a health exception. It does appear he would not oppose a ban after viability with more limited mental health exceptions than exist in present law. Then there were controversies about him saying sweetie to a reporter, coded language about Senator Clinton, and his present votes in the Illinois state legislature, instead of no on five anti-choice bills, on request of Planned Parenthood as a practical political strategy, but protested by NOW. Is this practical politics at work? Since his supposed trustworthiness on abortion and other feminist issues is a big Democratic selling point for women, one might wonder, what principle will he not sell out in his quest for the center of conventional wisdom?
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Is the War on AIDS On Track?

Monday, April 7th, 2008

AIDS is hard to get my head around. There are too many bizarre aspects of this syndrome. Is the science itself sound? I call for an independent investigation, because none of it makes sense. Some science is sound, some in the service of industry is more or less corrupted by that association. It appears AIDS is an industry, not a well-defined disease, the whole war on AIDS is based on myths. I base that on long skeptical observation of this issue, lately a documentary titled AIDS Inc. produced by Gary Null, written up by Angry Scientist. Several points of view are presented on causes of immune system breakdown and issues with crediting such a variety of unrelated conditions with other known causes to HIV. The conventional wisdom just does not satisfy my BS detector. AIDS is yet another sacred cow I must challenge. I have not made up my mind definitively, but something stinks, one side has to be full of it. I find conventional wisdom rarely reliable on any matter not readily apparent by observation or implications.

An independent investigation should settle the matter, but AIDS experts allegedly do not care to debate, considering it settled, no questions asked, literally not allowing such questions at their conferences. This smacks of bad faith, and the dust bin of history is full of popular theories. The charges raised in that film are extremely serious and troubling. AIDS kills many people, or does it? What actually kills them, rare opportunistic infections preying on weakened immunity, as originally defined? In Africa, a different definition reassigns common killer infections to AIDS. Big money is involved. These things raise my suspicions. I would like to arrange a debate. I know one side has been seeking a debate. I do not know if the popular side will participate on a skeptical forum. I have not settled the issue in my mind, but my suspicions are severe and growing.

I wrote the following in email, but Heart decided to insert most of it as a comment to her AIDS Dissent: African Holocaust, which prompted my private rant.

AIDS here is defined differently than in Africa, different risk groups exist here, and here AIDS used to mean dying of rare opportunistic infections after immune systems breached a critical threshold, high risk for intravenous drug users, fast track gay men, hemophiliacs. Then they linked it to cervical cancer. I am fairly convinced HIV is a scam. That study Angry Scientist blogged that found no correlation between viral load and immune system collapse published in JAMA, with an accompanying editorial recommending looking for other causes, was the last straw for me. How do you answer that?

“The study challenges the current belief that the degree to which the virus replicates itself is the trigger for the loss of CD4 cells, white blood cells that are a key component of the body’s immune system.

An accompanying editorial in the journal said the findings were exciting because they suggested that researchers should look for and target non-viral factors that set off the eventual decline in the immune system.”

The contention the dissenters make is not whether immune system collapse is a myth, but that HIV is the determining factor. Calling them AIDS denialists is a straw man, and generally they take the actual diseases seriously as opposed to HIV, other way around from the orthodox view. Too many things can contribute to immune system collapse, but that study could not correlate that with viral load. Something else causes the collapse. In the high risk groups here, the something else is not hard to find. In Africa, different factors, similar result….

If you watch the whole film, you will see the fraud is not limited to neglecting the real problems of poor nations. The test is for antibodies, not approved to diagnose HIV infection. I know of no other infections disease commonly tested by antibodies. I found autoiummune disease tests, and tests for vaccine protection, but none for the presence of infectious diseases, which are usually easy to find…. HIV is the stealth virus, found only as viral debris magnified by the PCR technique invented by a Nobel Prize winner who denounces this use of it! None of it makes sense, and it is not because I am some stupid lay woman who could not possibly understand the machinations of this diabolical virus! It just does not add up! None of it! It stinks so bad, it begs for an independent investigation. I suspect, none of it can stand the light of day, but I am not certain, so I try to stay neutral, though I am not, not really. I also have to recommend Prescription for Disaster as a great expose of prescription medicine.

Defenders of conventional wisdom, take note, I have you in my sights. Political reality means nothing to me, male machinations that have no power but what people have given it by default. Feminist revolution is unlike any other, about changing basic ways and principles so hierarchy is minimized, besides the point, not the usual switching who is boss. If schemes I call scams have validity, they will have no trouble standing up to an independent investigation. If not, the experts have a lot of explaining to do.

Explain why the war on AIDS is now about allegedly promiscuous Africans, mothers must not breast feed which would pass on the virus that somehow stayed away before birth, but must take drugs that can cause birth defects to prevent transmission? I am a lay woman too dumb to understand what BS is fed to Africans as medical wisdom to save their lives, diagnosed with AIDS for symptoms of common diseases, while their real problems of poverty, war, rape, malnutrition, infectious water, tropical diseases are neglected, too complex to tackle?

Explain why HIV must be detected by an antibody test or PCR. Where is it hiding? All other infectious diseases are plentiful and easily found, and the antibodies confer lasting immunity after the immune system defeats the invaders. What possible use is a non-specific antibody test not approved to diagnose HIV infection?

Explain what kind of scientific conference refuses to answer relevant questions from a Nobel Prize winner, Kary Mullis, inventor of PCR? A theory with no answer to relevant questions is not worth the paper it is written on. Blind faith has no place in science. Science for hire has no place in science. It appears AIDS is an industry, a combination of both.

Explain what good are HIV drugs, if HIV load cannot be correlated with immune system deterioration. These drugs may kill infections, but are too toxic for long term use. Explain why gay men died so prolifically taking high doses of toxic chemotherapy long term, with known risk of fatal complications. It recently came out that Ziagen, one of the most widely-used AIDS drugs, increases risk of heart attack nearly double. No cure or vaccine is in sight, a recent vaccine trial had to be abandoned for backfiring. Explain why you believe these AIDS experts know what they are doing.

Response to Robin Morgan Supporting Hillary Clinton

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Heart posted an article Robin Morgan wrote in support of Hillary Clinton, Goodbye To All That (#2). Heart was thrilled to watch

the giants of our movement rising up to speak out against the horrifying misogyny and sexism in this presidential campaign.

While I agree Hillary Clinton is being subjected to grossly sexist attacks having nothing to do with her stands on issues, I have grave misgivings about many of her stands on issues, enough to make it impossible for me to support her. There was a reason Elizabeth Edwards could claim her husband was better on women’s issues than Ms. Clinton without sounding ridiculous. Remember the Clinton welfare reform. Ms. Clinton says she is proud of the record of the Clinton presidency. This does not lead me to believe she will be a better President than Bill Clinton, though I would not argue she would be worse than the current President. A stone would be an improvement; at least a stone could do no harm of its own accord. This was my response, comment 41 there.

Sigh. This is why I predicted Hillary Clinton would be a disaster for feminism. She is simply not representing anything new, besides the fact she is not male and on occasion speaks about women’s issues. Male Democrats have done that too, though she is more convincing. She is DLC through and through. She supports nuclear power, genetic engineering, and ethanol. If nothing is done to stop those first two, we can kiss the integrity of DNA and biodiversity goodbye. Ethanol from corn, which is what will be the source for this country for a good while, does absolutely nothing to solve global warming. Some environmentalists say it is worse than gasoline, but it will reduce our dependency on foreign oil!

Hillary Clinton is a typical politician, again, except that she is not male. Her equivocation on the Iraq war is disgusting to me. In the last debate, in Hollywood, she blatantly lied about the days of bombing of Iraq Bill Clinton carried out in the height of the impeachment fiasco. She said

We bombed them for days in 1998 because Saddam Hussein threw out inspectors.

Sorry, Ms. Clinton. It did not happen that way, and she of all people should know that. See What a Difference Four Years Makes–Why U.N. inspectors left Iraq–then and now from FAIR

Another bad sign was her taking Barack Obama to task for saying he did not think nuclear weapons would be necessary in his planned attack on Pakistan. This is the voice of experience? Yeah, the voice of empire making sure nobody assumes USA is not crazy enough to drop some more nukes!

I do not think Barack Obama is any better. My beef is not with either of these candidates, rather mainstream politics in general. I see the Democratic Party trying to capitalize on the worst Presidency in history, and they do not deserve to benefit from that. They have done virtually nothing to stop Bush, and since the 2006 election, they have no excuse. Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House. Liberal feminists are liberals first. There is not a radical bone in the body of Ms. Pelosi or Ms. Clinton. I want more than a cosmetic change, but that is all I see offered from any of these mainstream candidates. Must I settle for crumbs, yet again? I would rather throw away my vote.

Robin Morgan wrote a great piece. Too bad it had to be in support of Hillary Clinton. She is the visible one getting all this crap thrown at her, but is it really any worse than what any of us get? Thanks to Hillary Clinton, it is now in the spotlight for all to see. Why did it have to be a woman so hard for anyone with radical principles to support? Because the big corporations love her. They think they can work with her, just like they did with her husband. They are giving Obama plenty of money as well, because they think they can work with him as well. Either way, women and this Earth are screwed.

What This Feminist Revolution Could Accomplish

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Feminist revolution may sound scary because of fools who insist on distorting what it means. Men valuing male privilege do have lots to lose. It means women are so fed up with all men do to women, children, each other, and the planet that the ideas and ways of men have lost all claim to any unearned deference, trust, or credence. Whoever among men disavows prevailing ideas and ways should make it known, or they might as well be complicit. This is to say, men have a choice. Women can meet men halfway, but owe our oppressors nothing, and will fight back when attacked. Women have enemies willing to threaten anything to shut down our voices of revolution. As a mild sample from self-proclaimed great defenders of free speech, “the Free Soil Party website has been taken down by the Internet Police [edited from Anonymous].” I had not known that side of the perils of internet warfare. I had seen verbal trolling, spam, threats, vendettas, but that was no idle boast. The site had to be moved to where it could be well protected. Heart, a primary target as candidate for President, along with her friend whose candor on her forum got their attention, got hit much worse.

In defiance of all attempts to silence me, past or future, I say this. Women are revolting. The prevalent ideas and ways are toxic, emphatically not in our best interest, to be generous. There are always better ways, though improvements may range from minor, such as the Hillary touch on business as usual, to major overhaul necessary to substantially limit the damage, to the total revisioning necessary to reverse all the damage. There are ways to detoxify, rethink, revision, create a different reality, restore natural balance in our lives and the environment to whatever extent possible, as a goal instead of willfully trashing natural balance as a means to profit and subordination. It is not necessary or wise to foul our nest or resort to physical coercion against others, unless they initiate violence. No theory, system, or philosophy invented by man is free of corruption from the cultural rot of this order, based and dependent on fundamental imbalance between male and female, extended to all manner of hierarchy for its own sake.

On a level field, competition could be about quality instead of winning. Taxes could be mostly on luxuries. The hierarchical value system is thoroughly messed up, rigged beyond meaningful hope of reform or repair, headed for environmental collapse not so far off. Feminist revolution could supplant it top to bottom with philosophy that affirms life and balance, values people and other beings regardless of how they look, for their gifts, diversity, uniqueness, skills, effort, who they are by their own lights, their own sense of purpose and meaning.

It is about time to try out ideas of a feminist revolution. Women want our say, our chance to try out ideas, make everything from the economy to relationships work in ways that respect ideas from anyone according to the respect they are due, on merit. Respect is more than I can expect from enemies. Their conventional wisdom I scorn, as worn out shadows cast by their distortions of reality, with predictable disastrous consequences, such a sad, gross corruption of what reality could mean on this planet. As a sample of what that means, this is a sneak preview of the Free Soil Party platform currently in development, bearing in mind it is not like feminist revolutionaries such as myself, my web site editor, Heart, or friends, are blessed with free time or funds for a campaign, grassroots working women all. Men can be friends, those who prove deserving. Language and reality are being reclaimed, agreement is not expected, perfect agreement is not possible. The party has its basic principles it will honor and fight to bring about.

The system is fundamentally corrupt, rigged to perpetuate the existing hierarchical order, all the way down to its core value and belief systems.

There is no political reality, besides what men create to maintain the system. That deserves no more credence than any other illusion men have created for their benefit.

Artificial hierarchies of any kind cannot be allowed to abuse authority.

At least a truce will be negotiated with all enemies willing to negotiate in good faith.

To break down the hierarchical order, a first step will be to roll back all hostile takeovers, another abuse of this unbridled exchange economy known as modern capitalism. Businesses should grow by providing quality products or services, not by taking over rivals or otherwise exploiting political or economic clout to force competitors out of business.

The free trade agreements are the modern face of colonialism and should be dismantled.

A Pollution Abatement Corps will clean up toxic messes, equip buildings to collect solar energy, and build wind farms in suitable locations worldwide to phase out nuclear power and fossil fuels as soon as possible.

Toxic chemicals will be phased out as quickly as possible, heavily taxed as luxuries to encourage alternatives.

All sacred cows are under challenge at the Free Soil Party.

(That is a relatively recent statement of principles and high priority goals. The following is one of the oldest, nearly unchanged over a quarter century. The party was founded nearly thirty years ago by four women deciding our consciousness raising group was diverse and political enough to form a political party. Intent on abolishing sex roles, the original basis of slavery, we revived the name Free Soil, an abolitionist party preceding the less radical Republican Party, which took its time, but did abolish slavery during the war, then passed constitutional amendments granting black men rights, excluding women by design. Both big parties have practiced the art of betraying women to this day.)

Bill of Missing Rights

Whereas, the original bill of rights permitted slavery of Blacks and women, trashing the environment, and other abuses of economic and political might too plentiful to list; Free Soil therefore declares the following rights fundamentally necessary to secure blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all:

The right to nourishment, shelter, and professional care sufficient for good health, with fully informed choice among all alternatives, excepting unwarranted invasive experiments or life support efforts beyond the scope of public support.

The right to noninterference and privacy; the property, dignity, actions, and bodies of people define an inviolable zone against uninvited intrusions, excepting government or business authorities, and people under clearly warranted suspicion of violating or threatening some right of another person.

The right to sufficient basic and vocational education to qualify for a job reasonably consistent with the talents, abilities, and potential of a person. Those people demonstrating unusual creative abilities would be allowed three years of self directed apprenticeship to develop independence. While attaining sufficient skills for survival, no person should be held liable to pay for survival.

The right to procreative and sexual autonomy; birth control, abortion, child care, and assistance to escape abuse should be readily available, at least as high quality public health services, and household work should be fairly compensated.

The right to full information on anything potentially dangerous to a person, including: All possible side effects of any ingredient of anything one may ingest, and of any poisons, irradiation, drugs, hormones, and other treatments used in its production. All possible consequences of medical procedures and exposure to hazards in work, living, and other environments. All files which concern one’s interests or government activities, excepting methods of producing weapons of mass destruction. The right to know belongs to the people, not bureaucrats.

The right to effective prevention of unwarranted disruptions of ecological quality and balance, including: nuclear power; radioactive, ozone depleting, and other unconfined unselective harmful substances; high energy waves; genetically engineered forms of life; endangering species; deforestation; monoculture; cloud seeding; overfishing; whaling; and other irresponsible practices. An appropriate bounty shall be paid for evidence of covert polluting or poaching. The people or legislators of any state or locality may vote for additional specific restrictions, including banning or taxing the production, sale, or use of any selected polluting substance within that area.

The right to fair and equal consideration and opportunity, before the law, and in all fields of endeavor, without regard to sex, ethnicity, or persuasion.

Nothing in this Bill shall be construed to deny or limit any right defined in the Constitution or its Amendments, as Amendment IX states: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The people of any local community or state may vote to overrule any restrictions on rights, or tighten rules on business activities, regardless of previous recognition.

Child Protective Services Prosecutes Mother For Defying Doctor

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

She is fighting mad. Her son had malignant melanoma, but a mysterious black salve got rid of it. CPS could not let that stand, got her thrown in jail, then put on trial for her affront. The outcome is unknown to me at this time. Ms. Laurie Jessop and her son were put under gag order, but what happened before trial is documented here.

Mother Jailed, Put On Trial for Curing Her Son of Melanoma

An unholy alliance of California Child Protective Services (CPS) with a hostile doctor and judge is attempting to railroad Laurie Jessop, framed as a threat to her son and the establishment for finding a way to cure him of malignant melanoma. She is now on trial, under a gag order, since she had gone to the press. When she was arrested, she was put in maximum security, solitary confinement, in the Orange County, CA jail. They claim that everything about. her says anti-Establishment, so she was told, as she was considered a threat in starting a riot.

The following Monday, June 18th, Laurie and Chad turned themselves in to the San Diego Social Services office, with all of their documentation. They were detained for 4 hours, then told that arrest warrants for Laurie and Chad were issued from Orange County. Chad was locked up at the Palenskie Center in San Diego for one night. He had 2 guards watching him around the clock, since he was considered a flight risk. When Laurie went to visit Chad they could not have any privacy, as both guards listened to every word that was said. Laurie spent over nine thousand bucks in San Diego for the treatments done over the five week period of time, and has all the receipts as proof. A new social worker, David Harper, was put on the case. He picked Chad up in San Diego transporting him to Orangewood Children’s Home in Orange County for the next two weeks, where he got fed spaghetti and meat balls, food not fitting one healing from cancer. One aspect of Chad’s treatment was a healthy diet of living foods, but Ms. Jessop’s requests of this social worker that Chad get proper food fell on deaf ears. He did tell her she was allowed to see her daughter graduate from Junior High School. She told him nobody could keep her away without a court order, and that she would be there! The social worker informed Laurie that he completed the paper work to lift the warrant order on her.

After her daughter’s graduation, on June 21st Laurie went to make academic arrangements for her son, having missed five weeks of school. Laurie showed the documentation to the principal and vice principal. The Vice Principal knew Chad well, as Chad did his Eagle Scout project for him at the high school. Chad is now an advanced Eagle Scout. No matter, the VP called police to arrest Laurie at the school and haul her off to the county jail. The arresting deputy harassed her. When Laurie protested, the officer told her she didn’t have to like her or be nice to her. After arriving at the county jail, her first telephone call had been to the social worker, David Harper, although he did nothing to get her out of jail, nor was he willing to help correct the record. Laurie was physically abused, they spread her legs twisting her knee, when she complained they called out “Resisting…Resisting” then they pushed her violently to a cell wall (behind the cameras) causing her to twist her neck, shoulder and arm. After being worked over, they took away her jacket, shoes, socks, and toilet paper, and locked her up. Her holding cell was extremely cold and she was deliberately denied toilet paper. She asked for toilet paper, only to be answered it must have been taken for good reason and she was not getting any. She was denied toilet paper from approximately 3:30pm until 11:00pm. One has to wonder, what was she going to do with the toilet paper, hang herself? By 11:00 pm Laurie got taken to be assessed. She asked “is this a madhouse run by animals, who is running this place?” Laurie told this officer her story for half an hour. He let her talk, then said he sees all kinds of characters, his job is to ascertain threats. He told her she has the fire, the spirit and the power to overturn the system and create a riot. He informed her she’d be put in solitary confinement, but she might get a roommate, probably a drug offender. She was forced to take a chest X-ray against her will, without any explanation and ridicule from the officers. Laurie and her two children have never been in any type of trouble with the law, but were treated like hardened criminals. She was shocked to learn women taking showers have no privacy, that male guards are watching. The next night she got a 58-year old roommate charged with kidnapping her children from her husband 20 years ago, after being extradited from Tennessee on outdated bogus charges tagged with 200 thousand bail.

This kind of meddling is nothing new for CPS. One might wonder if they exist to make the lives of single mothers hell. Rose Cherrix and her son, having gone through similar trouble, commented on that entry. They are developing a site to tell their story. They got a law passed in Virginia to give some rights to choose alternative treatments if the parent and child wish to make that informed choice. Ms. Jessop is trying to spearhead a similar law in California. None of this would be necessary if people in positions of authority did not feel entitled to force official standards of cancer treatment down our throats. The rights of fully informed choice and noninterference defined in the Free Soil Bill of Missing Rights would have prevented CPS from putting Ms. Jessop and her son Chad through this utterly pointless nightmare. It was bad enough they had to go into hiding on the run. Chad received many treatments in a few weeks, and is now cancer free, a healthy young man of 17.

There was no reason to hound them, confine them, abuse Ms. Jessop in jail and feed Chad junk food, all the while insisting he must undergo standard treatment or face impending death. At their hands, perhaps he would have died. They are sure the cancer has spread, so Ms. Jessop may be found guilty of whatever bogus charge they can find that fools the jury, or she may have aces up her sleeve. She is supposed to appear later today at a meeting in Los Angeles so I expect an update will appear soon.

Regardless of the outcome, the point is, the ordeal authorities abusing their position put this mother and son through never had to happen, except under this peculiar democracy that mandates a doctor to give orders impacting life and death to override the wishes of both mother and child, enforced by hostile bureaucrats, law enforcement, and judge. A case like this should fall apart and backfire on the abusers of authority, but the legal system is such that single mothers can be put through hell with impunity. Ms. Jessop is not giving in. She is determined to change all that. I wish her the best with this effort. I urge all women, and thoughtful rebel men, to question what conventional authorities tell us about everything, every last sacred cow we are expected to take on faith. These are all under challenge here at the Free Soil Party.

I will have more to say later. I have been awaiting an update about Ms. Jessop for weeks.

(edited to make corrections)

The update has been delayed, but I expect it soon.