Saturday, May 05, 2007

Iraqi Doctors Denied Diplomas

Iraqi doctors are not being given diplomas or medical transcripts to keep them from fleeing the war torn country. This was the same tactic used by Saddam Hussein as he tried to build his medical infrastructure.
Iraq is hemorrhaging doctors as violence racks the nation. To stem the flow, the Iraqi government has recently taken a cue from Saddam Hussein: Medical schools are once again forbidden to issue diplomas and transcripts to new graduates.

Hussein built a fine medical system in part by withholding doctors' passports and diplomas. Although physicians can work in Iraq with a letter from a medical school verifying their graduation, they say they need certificates and transcripts to work abroad.
Doesn't it sound like freedom is on the march? How can this administration still try to peddle the same talking points that things are better in Iraq. For who are they better?
It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Electricity in Baghdad was more reliable; sectarian hostility was rare; Iraq was safe -- except for the many victims of Hussein's tyranny
The Iraqi's considered themselves better under a brutal dictator. Any American that can not understand that and realize that this war was one of the most colossal foreign policy mistakes in our history is delusional.

Read the rest of this article here.

Bush Approval at 28%

In the lowest approval rating for a President in a generation, George W. Bush has hit a 28% approval rating in the latest Newsweek poll. The last President to hit this mark was Jimmy Carter in 1979. This has cast a long shadow over the Republican Presidential hopefuls who all lose head to head to every major Democratic candidate for President.
It’s hard to say which is worse news for Republicans: that George W. Bush now has the worst approval rating of an American president in a generation, or that he seems to be dragging every ’08 Republican presidential candidate down with him. But According to the new NEWSWEEK Poll, the public’s approval of Bush has sunk to 28 percent, an all-time low for this president in our poll, and a point lower than Gallup recorded for his father at Bush Sr.’s nadir. The last president to be this unpopular was Jimmy Carter who also scored a 28 percent approval in 1979. This remarkably low rating seems to be casting a dark shadow over the GOP’s chances for victory in ’08.
This new poll is exactly what I have been talking about when I say that there is a nearly perfect storm brewing that could kill any Republican chances of regaining either house of Congress or holding onto the Presidency. With a sinking economy and a very unpopular and costly war, the American electorate will be looking for someone to blame. Who better than the party that is responsible. My only real question is who are the 28% and what does George W. Bush need to do to lose them?

Friday, May 04, 2007

NRA Says Don't Ban Guns To Terror Suspects

I thought I had heard it all but then this news came out today. The NRA is requesting that the Bush Administration withdraw its support for a bill that would make terror suspects unable to purchase weapons. Yes that is right, terror suspects can't fly but they can legally purchase guns.
The National Rifle Association is urging the Bush administration to withdraw its support of a bill that would prohibit suspected terrorists from buying firearms. Backed by the Justice Department, the measure would give the attorney general the discretion to block gun sales, licenses or permits to terror suspects.

In a letter this week to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, NRA executive director Chris Cox said the bill, offered last week by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., "would allow arbitrary denial of Second Amendment rights based on mere 'suspicions' of a terrorist threat."
Is the NRA insane? Under there warped version of the second amendment, Osama Bin Laden would be entitled to purchase a gun, since he has not been convicted of anything and remains just a suspect.
"Right now law enforcement carefully monitors all firearms sales to those on the terror watch list," said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. "Injecting the attorney general into the process just politicizes it."
Are they kidding me? With the assault weapons ban no longer in existence terror suspects could purchase a few AK-47's with the blessing of the NRA. Insane!!

Op-Ed About Commander Guy

Read this op-ed from Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post.

U.S. Jobs Growth Sluggish In April

In another sign that the economy is slowing the U.S. job growth rate softened in April.
U.S. jobs growth slowed in April to 88,000 with 12% fewer added jobs than economists had forecast, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.5%, the Labor Department said Friday.
The one thing to remember is that 150,000 new jobs per month are needed to keep up with new people entering the market. I am not an economist but I have said for some time that the housing market will lead the U.S. into recession by early 2008. That is actually the Republican Party's worst nightmare. With an unpopular war, a bad economy and deficits as far as the eye can see, it could be a long election season for the GOP. This will be a difficult year for the middle class with negative savings rates,not seen since the Great Depression,and energy prices exploding. It will be hard for the average family to keep their heads above water.

Read the rest of this article here.

Former Fake Reporter Now Spokesman For Christian Bible Group

Jeff Gannon, the disgraced former White House reporter who was also a male prostitute, is now the spokesman for the International Bible Reading Association.
Former White House correspondent Jeff Gannon, also know as James Dale Guckert, has a new gig these days, according to a Washington Post report. The one-time reporter for the one-time conservative news site has now become a spokesman for a Christian bible group.
To learn about Jeff Gannon please click here. Read all the articles posted by John Aravosis at AMERICABlog. John deserves a ton of credit for helping to expose this hypocrite. Being gay myself, it is very hard to watch someone who is gay help to destroy a community he is part of.

I still haven't stopped laughing at this latest revelation. I guess this isn't too far off from his escort job. They both require longs stretches on your knees.

Tommy Thompson - It's OK TO Fire The Gays

It seems every election cycle that the Republicans, in order to please the far right elements that control the party, will use gay bashing as a campaign tactic. In last night's debate Tommy Thompson, the former Governor of Wisconsin, said that it was OK to fire gays if the employer had a moral issue with homosexuality.

Watch the video here.

Gov. Thompson is it OK to fire Muslims, Jews, African Americans or catholics if you are Evangelical Christian? We all know that our current laws prohibit that but is OK to fire Gays and Lesbians in over 30 states in this country. Gov. Thompson you are a bigoted, small minded fool and the very reason why the Employment Non Discrimination Act needs to be passed. The 2008 campaign is here. Let the gay bashing begin.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Defining Success in Iraq Is Now "An Acceptable Level Of Violence"

As the war in Iraq rages on, with seemingly no end in sight, the bar to measure success has been continuously lowered. Now being successful in Iraq according to President Bush is just less violence.
"Either we'll succeed, or we won't succeed," he said. "And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not no violence."
OK so let me get this straight, the President is saying that we will spend 1 trillion dollars to turn Baghdad into Iraq's Darfur region. I don't know about you but I want my money back.
The president then compared Iraq to the United States, saying that there were parts of the US with "a certain level of violence," but that "people feel comfortable about living their daily lives" in those areas. That level of violence, said Bush, is what the US is aiming to achieve in Iraq.
Does this mean that the car bombs need to stop entirely or is a car bomb or two a day acceptable? Does it matter that before the start of the war that Baghdad had no history of car bombs? I guess car bombs don't really matter anyway since dying as a result of them will leave you off of the casualty lists.

What is happening is a slow but deliberate erosion of expectations so that a victory can be claimed when no such victory was achieved. What this war has accomplished is the destruction of a country, 3000 dead soldiers, 25000 wounded soldiers and estimates of as many as 655,000 dead civilians. This is what George W. Bush calls success.

Diplomats Returning From Iraq With PTSD

State Department employees serving in Iraq are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder just like soldiers. These employees, who seldom leave the fortified green zone, hear daily gun fire and frequent mortar and rocket fire.
U.S. diplomats are returning from Iraq with the same debilitating, stress-related symptoms that have afflicted many U.S. troops, prompting the State Department to order a mental health survey of 1,400 employees who have completed assignments there.
Imagine what is happening to the children of Iraq who are seeing bloodshed and violence on a daily basis. Our troops who make it out alive and physically uninjured will come home mental casualties of this war. The administration chose to cut Veterans Benefits which will be even more needed by our returning soldiers. How can anyone believe them when they constantly insist they support the troops yet cut the very funding necessary to help the troops? The cost of this war will be over 1 trillion dollars and a generation of mentally damaged troops. What a disgrace!!

Read the rest of this article here.

FDA Unable To Keep Food Safe

As a matter of national security our food supply must be monitored and protected but it is not due to dangerously low staffing at the Food and Drug Administration
Last year, inspectors sampled just 20,662 shipments out of more than 8.9 million that arrived at American ports. China, which in one decade has become the third-largest exporter of food, by value, to the United States, sent 199,000 shipments, of which less than 2 percent were sampled, said former officials with the agency.

"The public thinks the food supply is much more protected than it is," said William Hubbard, a former associate commissioner who left in 2005. "If people really knew how weak the FDA program is, they would be shocked."
With inspection rates this low it would be nearly certain that a terrorist attack aimed at our food supply would be successful. This time it was your pets that died. Unfortunately the next time it could be your children. How safe do you feel now? Actions have consequences and the War in Iraq has left us more vulnerable at home.

Millions Have Eaten Chicken Fed Tainted Food

Once it was revealed that the pet food poisoning was the result of a chemical put into the food to artificially raise the protein level, I was sure that this product must have some how been ingested by humans. CNN is now reporting that this is the case.
People have eaten millions of chickens that were given feed tainted with recalled pet food, federal officials said Tuesday, though they said the threat to human health is minimal.

The announcement came after an investigation of chicken farms in Indiana found that 38 of the facilities had given contaminated feed to poultry raised for human consumption, and that 2.5 million to 3 million people ate them.

The officials added that they expect to discover that chickens on possibly hundreds of farms in other states were also given tainted feed.
The United States spends more than all other nations combined on our defense yet we could not keep our pets from dying due to tainted food. This shows how vulnerable we are to unconventional attacks and the need to re-examine our national security priorities.

Read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Personal Savings Rate Numbers cause For Concern

The United States personal savings rate was a negative 1% for the first quarter of 2007. Middle and lower class Americans are finding it necessary to take from their savings to finance their daily lives.
"The amount of money Americans save as a percentage of their income has been declining for almost two years, and the March figures clearly demonstrate that we're not making any headway," Jeff Seely said. "A recent ShareBuilder survey found that over half of America does not have a financial game plan for their future. In fact, one in four Americans have no savings at all according to the latest retirement confidence survey from EBRI*. Combined with the negative savings rate, this lack of planning for the future could have severe consequences for the average American's retirement security."
I think the savings rate shows how under stress the middle and lower classes are in the United States today. With home prices, property taxes and medical care at record price levels and stagnant wages how can the average person save?
As recently as the 1980s, Americans' savings rate was stable at around 10 percent. In 2005, it sunk below zero. This marks the eighth consecutive quarter during which the U.S. personal savings rate was negative. The only other time in U.S. history when the savings rate has been this low for such a sustained period of time was during the Great Depression.
This is a dangerous trend that could lead the United States economy into recession when there is little to no more savings available for the average American family.

Read the rest of this article here.

U.S Losing Its Middle Class Neighborhoods

While doing some research for the site I came across an article in the Washington Post from June 2006. It dealt with the decline of middle class neighborhoods throughout the nation. It reaffirmed what I had seen in my own neighborhood.
Middle-class neighborhoods, long regarded as incubators for the American dream, are losing ground in cities across the country, shrinking at more than twice the rate of the middle class itself.

In their place, poor and rich neighborhoods are both on the rise, as cities and suburbs have become increasingly segregated by income, according to a Brookings Institution study released Thursday. It found that as a share of all urban and suburban neighborhoods, middle-income neighborhoods in the nation's 100 largest metro areas have declined from 58 percent in 1970 to 41 percent in 2000.
With the loss of middle class neighborhoods comes the loss of good schools and loss of security. I have seen my own neighborhood at a crossroads with the south side of the neighborhood becoming more and more violent and the north side seeing huge price hikes that is pricing out the middle class. I would assume that this trend is everywhere. This forces people to spend more than they can actually afford to live in a good neighborhood. I am sure that is one of the reasons why saving for retirement is so poor in this country.

The sub prime mortgage disaster will force many people, who spent more than they could actually afford, back into the neighborhoods they so desperately wanted to leave. In the end, the market determines the price and with so many foreclosures and an unsustainably priced market a perfect storm is gathering for the housing market. Will this storm bring the prices down to an affordable level or will the middle class be even further weakened?

Read the rest of this article here.

You Can't Veto the Truth

Enough is Enough. It is time to end this war one way or another.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Pet Deaths May Finally Bring About More Screening

The Food and Drug Administration released an updated alert concerning the recent pet food contamination. The alert is quick to point out a much greater death count from the contaminated food as well as adding additional products to the recall.
As of April 26, 2007, FDA had received over 17,000 consumer complaints relating to this outbreak, and those complaints included reports of approximately 1950 deaths of cats and 2200 deaths of dogs.
This is what happens when you examine less than 1% of all food products coming into the country from foreign sources. With China having no environmental or safety standards, this was to be expected. Today's Washington Post examines this issue in detail:
Despite a temporary post-Sept. 11, 2001, staff increase inspired by fears of terrorist attacks on food, the number of FDA employees working on port inspections has returned to pre-Sept. 11 levels -- part of a gradual shriveling of the agency's food safety division relative to its burgeoning pharmaceutical branch.
How can this administration claim to be fighting terrorism when one of the greatest vulnerabilities has to be the food supply and it is not protected.
About 99 percent of imported foods are simply acknowledged by computer and waved ashore.
This time it was the animals that died but next time it could be me or you.

Read the rest of this article here.


After posting the Bill Moyers special regarding the media. I did not think the real impact of that special could be felt until everyone watched "Outfoxed". Until everyone in the United States understands what Fox News is peddling and how this is a true threat to national security, we will have no chance of changing course.

Watch Outfoxed

Media Failure Before the Iraq War

I just watched the Bill Moyers program on PBS about the run up to the war in Iraq and how our media did not ask any hard questions. I am posting the link to this program. Everyone should take an hour and watch this. One of the main reasons I started this site was because of the collapse of our media. Gone are the days of investigative reporting. We are now subjected to infotainment and not news. Until we can bring our media back to the days of old we will continue to be given half truths and propaganda. A free, independent and non corporate media are needed if we are ever going to reverse this dangerous trend.

Watch Buying The War

Monday, April 30, 2007

Rush Limbaugh is A Racist Fool

Why is there a double standard regarding Rush Limbaugh? This is a man who advocated stricter drug laws while sending his maid out with a cigar box full of cash to score some "Hillybilly Heroin". Now this video has surfaced showing racist parodies. Imus was fired for less than this. Why is this man still on the air? The answer is very simple, money. When the advertisers leave, this drug addled gas bag will finally be retired. If Rush really believes that blacks can not speak proper English then he should vocally support higher education funding to solve the problem. This is disgusting on so many levels.

Malaki Purging Forces that Combat Militias

It would appear that the government of Prime Minister Malaki is responsible for the removal of officers heavily involved in trying to control the militias in Iraq.
A department of the Iraqi prime minister's office is playing a leading role in the arrest and removal of senior Iraqi army and national police officers, some of whom had apparently worked too aggressively to combat violent Shiite militias, according to U.S. military officials in Baghdad.

Since March 1, at least 16 army and national police commanders have been fired, detained or pressured to resign; at least nine of them are Sunnis, according to U.S. military documents shown to The Washington Post.
While some of these officers were legitimately fired most seem to have been removed because they were fighting the Mahdi Army, the Shiite led militia which is connected to sectarian violence and the current administration in Iraq.
"Their only crimes or offenses were they were successful" against the Mahdi Army, a powerful Shiite militia, said Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, commanding general of the Iraq Assistance Group, which works with Iraqi security forces. "I'm tired of seeing good Iraqi officers having to look over their shoulders when they're trying to do the right thing."
How can we be supporting a government that seems to be complicit in the sectarian violence gripping Iraq? Have we decided that we will support the Shiite's in the Iraqi civil war? By supporting the Shiite's are we not supporting the Government of Iran which we claim is a threat to both regional security and U.S. security?

Read the rest of this article here.

Poison Filler In Animal Feed Is An Open Secret in China

Melamine, which is created from coal, is routinely added to animal feed to artificially raise the levels of protein.
For years, producers of animal feed all over China have secretly supplemented their feed with the substance, called melamine, a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests, even though it does not provide any nutritional benefits, according to melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.

“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”
I am at a loss to understand why as a country we can not manufacture our own pet food. Profit has taken the place of everything. Does anyone really believe that this substance did not make it into the human food chain?
They have fewer people inspecting product at the ports than ever before,” says Caroline Smith DeWaal, the director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington. “Until China gets programs in place to verify the safety of their products, they need to be inspected by U.S. inspectors. This open-door policy on food ingredients is an open invitation for an attack on the food supply, either intentional or unintentional.”
In the age of terrorism how can we allow our imports to not be inspected and protected just to save the profit margins of large multi-national corporation? This is exactly what the Democrats were talking about when they said less than 1% of containers coming into our ports are inspected. It is time to put our security over profits. How can anyone take the Republicans seriously on Homeland Security when it was there policies that allowed an almost 100% open border policy at our ports?

Read the rest of this article here.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

George Tenet on 60 Minutes

In a widely anticipated interview with 60 Minutes, George Tenet, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, discussed his tenure at the CIA, 9/11 and the so called "slam dunk" comment. Tenet seemed combative, defensive and apologetic. Tomorrow his book "At The Center Of The Storm" hits bookstores. This book is sure to add even more fuel to the fire that Vice President Cheney had an unusually big role in the decision to go to war with Iraq. George Tenet became the scapegoat for a failed policy that chose war in Iraq even though he knew that Iraq had no part in the attacks of September 11. This interview should be seen by everyone.

George Tenet Interview Part 1
George Tenet Interview Part 2

Iraq Rebuilding Projects are Crumbling

In a sign of more tax dollars being wasted in Iraq it is now certain that rebuilding projects called successful are now crumbling.
In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.

The United States has previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time inspectors have found that projects officially declared a success — in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections — were no longer working properly.

The inspections ranged geographically from northern to southern Iraq and covered projects as varied as a maternity hospital, barracks for an Iraqi special forces unit and a power station for Baghdad International Airport.

At the airport, crucially important for the functioning of the country, inspectors found that while $11.8 million had been spent on new electrical generators, $8.6 million worth were no longer functioning.
How can we hope to stop an insurgency when the Iraqi people can not see any progress? All they see is waste and fraud and a country still crumbling. There is still less clean water and electricity than before the invasion. Everyday life for the normal Iraqi is nearly unlivable. Until real progress is achieved no amount of troops or tax money will solve this problem. When will the American people realize that so much of the two billion dollars we spend a week in Iraq is wasted and when will they say enough is enough?