By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The founder of Blackwater USA deliberately caused the deaths of innocent civilians in a series of shootings in Iraq, attorneys for Iraqis suing the security contractor told a federal judge Friday.
The attorneys singled out Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL who is the company’s owner, for blame in the deaths of more than 20 Iraqis between 2005 and 2007. Six former Blackwater guards were criminally charged in 14 of the shootings, and family members and victims’ estates sued Prince, Blackwater now called Xe Services LLC and a group of related companies.
It has been often claimed that Social Security was the third rail of American politics. No one dared touch it because it affected old people so much and their wrath was something not to be desired. Tip O’Neill, the Speaker of the House for many years, coined the phrase when he was fighting Ronald Reagan’s attempts to privatize Social Security. Well, they are touching it in a big way now and making many American seniors a lot poorer, although in a camouflaged way. They have frozen cost of living increases for two years and are increasing the amounts taken out of checks for Part B and Part D of Medicare. If one is already down at the $700 to $800 dollar a month range in monthly Social Security checks, this puts one, after rent and medicine are paid, down at the hay eating level. It reminds me of the old Joe Hill song: “Work and pray, Live on hay, You’ll get pie in the sky when you die, That’s a lie.”
If you’re interested in learning more, check out the websites below. They have excellent resources and news on the latest PR, front group, and think tank offensives. Front groups do not stay around for long. They pop up like mushrooms, do their job, and then disappear. They do this so the public and media don’t catch on.
You might like my videos if you like: Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Sheldon Rampton, John Stauber, Matt Taibbi, Michael Albert, Bakunin, Proudhon, Amy Goodman, John Pilger, Mike Gravel, Naomi Klein.
Subjects: Edward Bernays, Propaganda, Edward Herman, Public Relations, Front Groups, Think Tanks, Consumerism, Taylorism, Left-Libertarianism, Sheldon Rampton, John Stauber.
President Obama has proposed covering the costs of his new medical plan with “smarter” medicine, meaning the adoption of procedures that eliminate inefficiencies and stress prevention. At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on August 11, 2009, he gave the example of a diabetic needing to have a foot amputated, at a cost of $30,000 to $50,000. It would have been smarter to counsel the patient on diet and weight loss and monitor his medications before amputation was required. The insurance company would have saved money and the patient would have saved a foot.
The 2008 Obama/Biden Plan for a Healthy America also stressed preventive approaches to disease, including the reduction of toxins to which the body is exposed; and chief among these toxins was mercury. The Plan stated as a fundamental goal:
We are watching it happen in the streets. The recurring nightmare has become a grim, new reality for the people of Pakistan. After watching the horrors of the U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq and neighboring Afghanistan for 8 years, the “war on terror” has finally arrived in The Land of the Pure. Obama is fulfilling his campaign promise to Pakistan. The sudden arrival of U.S. marines, U.S. military Hummers, the hired killers of Blackwater, houses barricaded for U.S. personnel in Islamabad and the construction of the world’s largest U.S. “Embassy” are terrorizing this nation of 180 million people. The U.S. slaughter and destruction in Iraq and neighboring Afghanistan for the last 8 years warn them of what may lie in store for them, their families, their land.
The U.S. Marines
On 9/21/08 a bomb ripped through the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad killing scores of people and injuring hundreds. Prior to the bombing, U.S. marines off-loaded steel boxes from a truck, by-passed security and took them to the 4th floor of the building. US officials refused to cooperate with the government’s attempts to investigate their activities. One year later, U.S. Marines are leading the occupation of Pakistan.
August, die she must. The town hall freak show is winding down, the media circus is packing the cameras and satellite dishes and hairspray back into the vans, and Congress is soon heading back to the relative safety of DC. Yet, after all the fuss and bother, they’re probably no more or less resolved to pass health care reform than they were back in June, when those first delirious fevers rose like clouds of infectious mosquito nymphs hatched from a thick, overheated carpet of soggy astroturf.
Let’s hope they succeed at getting it done. But, win or lose, we’re crazy to think that the goon squads formed and trained to instigate this summer’s health care wars will pack it in just because the silly season is over. Those folks have tasted power, graduated from their introductory courses in Political Bullying 101, shared some camraderie and beer, and felt the heft of their own political muscle. That was fun. Now, what do we do next? Paralyze the school board over evolution in the textbooks? Intimidate the city council into shutting down the immigrants’ services center — or beat up some immigrants, so they’ll just stop using it? Vandalize the cars and houses of known liberals? Get one of our own elected sheriff, so he can deputize the rest of us and make our posse official?
The film MONEY-DRIVEN MEDICINE reveals how a profit-hungry “medical-industrial complex” has turned health care into a system where millions are squandered on unnecessary tests, unproven and sometimes unwanted procedures and overpriced prescription drugs.
“Dress Rehearsal For Debt Peonage” with economist Dr. Michael Hudson on why the banks are returning the bailout money; bank fees and penalties; banks prefer default to foreclosure; debt as wealth; Obama’s Financial Regulatory Reform Proposal and its six major flaws; the deregulation-by centralization ploy; failure to reform the economy will lead to debt peonage. Continue reading →
A recent poll shows that most economists now believe that the recession, which began in December 2007, will end in the third quarter of 2009. There’s been an uptick in manufacturing and consumer confidence, and the decline in housing prices appears to be flattening out. Unfortunately, the return to positive GDP will likely be short-lived. The current surge in production is mainly the result of President Obama’s fiscal stimulus and the rebuilding of inventories that were slashed after Lehman Bros defaulted in September, 2008. These factors should boost GDP for two or perhaps three quarters before the economy lapses back into recession. The most serious problems facing the economy have not yet been addressed or resolved. Consumer spending and bank lending are still contracting, and the banks are buried beneath $1.5 trillion in toxic assets and non-performing loans. Also, the wholesale credit system, (securitization) which provided up to 40 percent of the credit flowing into the economy, is barely operating. No one really knows whether the system is salvageable or not. On a fundamental level, the financial system is broken and neither the Fed’s zero percent interest rates nor Obama’s gigantic fiscal stimulus has reversed the prevailing downward trend. Capital has stopped moving; the velocity of money has slowed to a crawl. It’s true, things are getting worse slower, but the signs of “recovery” are as faint and irregular as a dying man’s breath.
This week, the leaders of Israel, UK, Germany and US launched yet another joint propaganda campaign against Iran. The aim is to get the UN Security Council to impose “crippling sanctions” on Iran, a step that would ultimately facilitate their next brutal invasion.