Friday, October 17, 2014
Edited at 4:35 PM, Mountain Time, USA, 10-17-14
I've never worked in the medical field. I did teach Biology and Environmental Science at both the high school and college levels for many years, and I worked several years as a HazMat Specialist in both the public and private spheres. As a private HazMat consultant, I've trained literally hundreds of employees in Emergency Response...including extensive training in PPE, Personal Protective Equipment. I mention these bona fides only because I want you to believe what I say below.
Ebola is one of the most dangerous organisms on the face of the Earth, and Oligarchs in the Healthcare System (in this country) do not appear to be treating it with the proper respect. For example, those dinky facemasks that healthcare workers are wearing will not suffice 100% of the time. At the very least, workers should also be wearing a full face shield... and they should be trained in what to do if that shield is sprayed with sputum, vomit, or blood. Other huge problems include the fact that apparently some hospitals have not trained their staff sufficiently in the use of PPE. Incredible!!! Every hospital is required by Law to have a Bloodborne Pathogen Program; PPE training is part of that Program. Every hospital is required by Law to have a Hazard Communication Program; PPE training is part of that Program. There are other Programs as well that apply to hospitals, and they require PPE training. It looks as though some Head Honchos are falling down on the job... and should be fired.
Given current events of late, I cannot believe that a sick person shows up at a hospital, says he's recently been in LIBERIA, he's examined, and sent home. Whoever runs that hospital needs to not just apologize (which he did), he also should resign. That same hospital in Texas is among those which appear to have inadequate PPE training. [On second thought, I shouldn't be surprised. I lived in Texas for only a few years, but it was long enough to observe that Texas in general is one of the most backward States in the Nation... especially when it comes to complying with Environmental/Health/Safety (EHS) Laws. The public water in the town I lived in failed to meet Fed EPA water quality standards for two years in a row. In their Annual Water Quality Report, the Water Department explained that they were working on the problem, but "no water anywhere is pure".]
Our Fed Gov't is trying to calm fears. Good for them...but they aren't being totally honest. As to the World response to this outbreak, it's pitiful.
My message to Oligarchs in the Healthcare System in America is simple: wake up... you're asleep at the wheel when it comes to Ebola.
Not just my opinion. Be Well
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
In an earlier post, I related the story of Frontline's piece, "The United States of Secrets"... truly a MUST-SEE film for anyone who loves Liberty. This past Sunday, 60 Minutes essentially re-told a portion of that same piece in a story entitled, "The War on Leaks". It involves the current case of the NYT reporter, James Risen... a genuine American hero. Risen, as well as Tom Drake and others (independently), revealed the illegal and unconstitutional spying-on-Americans scheme of the NSA. In both films, Bush-Obama-Hayden are revealed as the propagandists, deceivers, and violators of the First Amendment that rival anyone in recent memory. [Hayden is the guy who, at the behest of Dick Cheney, came up with a plan to spy on Americans that exceeded the Executive's authority. They knew it was illegal, but didn't care.]
Relative to all this, here's how the highest levels of an Outlaw Fed Gov't operate: they concoct and execute a completely unconstitutional, secret plan to spy---without proper warrants---on citizens of their own country, and then, when the scheme is exposed, they criminalize & prosecute the whistleblowers. They make it illegal to expose the illegality of the Govt's actions. Perfect...for them. On top of that, We the People have to endure the wishy-washy, sleazy, weak-minded propaganda "justifying" it all... put out by the puppets of the Oligarchy. Michael Hayden, former Head Honcho of the CIA & the NSA, is the worst example. On second thought, Barack Obama may be the worst example... he has pursued and prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other Presidents combined. That's according to 60 Minutes. This is the guy who said he would protect whistleblowers. [When Obama starts talking, about 50% of the time he's lying... and if you look carefully, you can see it in his eyes.] Dubya Bush started the case involving James Risen, and Obama is pursuing it vigorously. The propaganda from both Bush & Obama surpasses that even of Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton.
A Free Press is (or should be) inviolate in this country. It really is our primary protection from corruption in government and loss of freedom. Unfortunately, our present Fed Executive---like the one immediately before him---is waging an unprecedented war on journalism. The case against James Risen is a prime example of that, as was the pursuance of Tom Drake.
I suspect that some people , perhaps many, feel there's nothing we can do about any of this. That's simply not true. It's not a question of "can we", it's one of "will we". Though we live in a soft Fascist State, we still have considerable freedoms; plus, even in a dictatorship, public opinion matters.
The solution will not be found in "voting". It should be obvious by now that these politicians essentially are all the same; they are selected, groomed, and financed by the Oligarchy. Obama is a prime example. [The very, very few who aren't puppets quickly are demonized and/or marginalized and/or eliminated by the Political Machine & the Corporate Media.] No, "voting" is not the answer; it might be someday, but not now. Ballot-access laws (among others) will have to be changed first... an almost impossible task. Peaceful, nonviolent expression and/or protest and/or boycott is the way to have an impact.
As Henry David Thoreau wrote, "Let your life be a counter-friction to the Machine.". That can be done in many ways, not just by marching in the streets. It can be done individually or in groups organized around just causes... or both. It can be done by speaking up (and out) in encounters with Institutionalists, in conversations with anyone, in Art (including Street Art), in music, in boycotts, in writing... in all kinds of peaceful actions. Use your imagination. When the Pulse of the People is overwhelming enough, even Oligarchs pay attention.
Not just my opinion. Be Well
Sunday, October 5, 2014
On Democracy Now!, Jeremy Scahill (author of the NYT bestseller, Dirty Wars) described Obama's drone wars as "Kabuki Theater". He implicitly referred to the Iraqi-Syrian ISIS War as the same. Mr. Scahill is right on the money. Let's also include the War in Afghanistan, the present purpose of which is unclear to just about everyone. Any group having anything to do with 9-11 has left Afghanistan long ago.
Almost three years ago, Democracy Now! ran a clip of General Wesley Clark relating a story of his visit to the Pentagon just after 9-11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8YtF76s-yM An old colleague of his, another General, pulled him into his office and said that we were going to invade Iraq. Clark asked "Why?", and his friend replied, "I don't know."...sometime later, General Clark was back visiting his friend and learned that the NeoCons at the highest levels had plans to invade seven Muslim countries and institute regime change. Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Somalia were on that list. So was Iran. Such plans violate both the U.S. Constitution and International Law.
Enter Barack Obama, the Peace candidate in 2008...the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. The guy was going to protect whistleblowers, close Guantanamo, institute a transparent Administration, restore credibility to the Executive Branch, and end wars. This 2009 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize has bombed and/or launched missiles into Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Syria. [You couldn't make up this stuff if you tried.] His war activities aren't that much different from those of the previous NeoCons...the guys who say he's a "socialist". Obama, the fellow who protects mega bankers from prosecution, is the best friend of the private defense industry, and expands war to the point where it's perpetual...supposedly is a socialist. Looks to me as though he's closer to being a NeoCon than anything else. He's a lover of Crony Capitalism. [His vaunted Obamacare is nothing more or less than a bailout of mega health insurance companies. The "Leftist" Roosevelt Institute said exactly that in one of their analyses.]
Meanwhile, the Constitution is being violated, war "authorizations" either nonexistent ["...as Commander-in-Chief..."] or long expired ["...the Iraq War Resolution..."] are used to wage Perpetual War, the meanings of key terms (such as "imminent" and "war") are totally changed, innocent people are being killed, and phony threats are manufactured. Jeremy Scahill thinks no one in Syria even has heard of the "Khorasan" Group. If it does exist, best estimates are that the very few members are leaders of Al-Qaida...hardly a NEW threat, and no more of an "imminent" danger than they've been for years.
Kabuki Theater for sure. Not just my opinion. Be Well
Friday, October 3, 2014
If I didn't know better, I'd say that Barack Obama is channeling the spirit of George Orwell. Remember Orwell's classic, 1984? That book easily could be re-issued with the title, 2014. In the dystopian 1984, we have "doublethink", the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously... and accepting both of them. In 2014, we have the Obama Administration one day announcing, "Make no mistake, we are at war with ISIS"; a week or so later, the President claims that it's not really a war. We the People appear to accept both those propositions as true.
Also in 1984, we have "newspeak", a language with constantly shifting meanings of words, invented by the Totalitarian State in order to limit freedom of thought and any threats to the Regime. Concepts opposing the policies of the State are "thoughtcrime". In 2014, as just one example, we have the following. During the nomination hearings for John Brennan as CIA Honcho, an official Justice Department document surfaced indicating that "imminent"---as in "imminent threat"---no longer means "immediate" or "liable to happen very soon"; the definition was changed to something like "may occur sometime in the future". That's why the new Boogie-Man threat, the Khorasan Group, could be called an imminent threat. Another example--- war is no longer war; instead, it's "counter-terrorism". As to "thoughtcrime", we have the Feds banning Gov't employees from reading anything on the website, https://firstlook.org/theintercept/ . Apparently if a Fed employee reads anything there, he/she is guilty of thoughtcrime.
In relation to Obama's drone wars, here's why the Feds claim there are almost no civilian casualties--- ANYONE killed by a Hellfire missile fired from a weaponized drone automatically is designated as an EKIA, enemy killed in action. The only way to change that designation is for someone to prove the victim's innocence. In other words, if you're near the SUSPECTS, then you're guilty until proven innocent. If that isn't Orwellian, I don't know what is. [This info came from a Democracy Now! interview today with Jeremy Scahill, author of the book, Dirty Wars.]
Obama not only says one thing and then does the opposite, he also says one thing and means another. Example of the first--- During his 2008 campaign, "Guantanamo, that's easy... just close it!", followed by cheers from the audience. The Gitmo prison complex still is open. Example of the second--- "ISIL consists of brutal terrorists who are attacking Iraq.". What he means is this: In large part, ISIS consists of former Baathist Generals & other high-ranking officers who were under Saddam and are trying to re-take their country. They were, of course, referred to as "terrorists" by our Feds. Bremer, the Iraq Occupation Czar under Bush, fired all 250,000 Iraqi Army personnel in 2003; by that action, he created a quarter of a million enemies of the USA. Then the al-Maliki puppet government began discriminating against the Sunnis, further inflaming the former Baathist Generals. They launched a civil war years & years ago. It's called Blowback. ISIS is not new.
[A bit of trivia: I find it curious that the Obama Administration insists on referring to the rebels as "ISIL" when everyone else calls them ISIS. The term "Levant" (the L in ISIL) must be especially important to the Administration for some unknown reason.]
Orwell quotes relevant to the current mess---
1. "In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." [by a "potential terrorist"]
2. "Big Brother is watching you." [and today, largely accepted by a propagandized public]
3. "...politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia." [enough said]
4. "All the war propaganda...comes invariably from the people who are not fighting." [Amen]
5. "War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it." [a tough sell, but true]
6. "If everybody believes it, does that make it true?" [today... apparently so]
It would be unfair to blame only Obama for all this--- the lies, the half-truths, the propaganda, the Gov't-Speak, the policies benefitting primarily the Oligarchy, the killing of innocent civilians (including children), the deceit, the ignorance of foreign cultures, the creation of enemies, the hubris, the failure to abide by the Constitution, etc. This all has been going on for decades. That, however, in no way excuses Obama... or the rest of the highest levels of our government.
Not just my opinion. Be Well
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
On 60 Minutes this past Sunday, Our President essentially said this (paraphrased) about the current ISIS war: it's not really a war; instead, it's counter-terrorism. The unmitigated gall of the man finally has surpassed that of Dubya Bush & Dick Cheney...which I didn't think was possible. Mr. Obama, though I am loathe to lecture a President, I shall... simply because you appear to be in dire need of it.
You're not fooling us. We know full well that you recognize the following. When the military of one country crosses borders into other countries and then launches missiles and/or drops bombs, thus killing people and destroying infrastructure, that's known as war. Your attempt to sidestep the issue of your violating the U.S. Constitution by saying it's not really war is grossly pathetic. Incidentally, Mr. President, the NYT's editorial board & a Law Professor who wrote a Times Op-Ed piece agree that you are violating the Supreme Law of the Land. [The fact that the Times agrees is truly monumental.] Just so you know: we know that your latest war propaganda (it's not really a war) is BOGUS. The fact that you have a Constitutional Law background further convinces me that you, as well, know that it's bogus. [Anyone who needs more convincing might want to ask Glenn Greenwald (a former Constitutional Law attorney and present day Pulitzer-Prize-winning independent journalist) about it.]
As to Republicans at the highest levels in our Gov't, you should all be thoroughly ashamed of your lack of action relative to defending the Constitution. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot: both branches (Democrats and Republicans) of the only major political party in the USA---the Mega Transnational Corporatist Party--- abandoned the Supreme Law of the Land decades ago. In spite of that (and because of that), you should all be thoroughly ashamed. You're all apparently putting the State-Corporate Complex ahead of We the People.
After WW II, when the name of the War Department was changed to the Defense Department, someone (I forget who) remarked: that's Gov't-Speak for--- from now on, all our wars will be aggressive (as opposed to defensive) and/or unconstitutional. That person was prophetically correct.
Lastly, as I pointed out in my previous post (with examples), no military can defeat a terrorist organization. History has proven that. [There may be an exception in the record.] Terrorists are criminals; terrorism is a Law Enforcement issue. In general, military personnel are not cops and shouldn't be expected to function as such. Recent illegal wars by the U.S. Fed Gov't serve the primary function of enriching huge, transnational corporations. That is so obvious that it's painful.
[Sidebar--- Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes, the journalist who interviewed President Obama, is one of the very, very few Corporate Media employees who exposes the Corporatocracy. Kudos to Mr. Kroft!]
Not just my opinion. Be Well
Monday, September 29, 2014
If it weren't so tragic, it would be absolutely comical.
1. A President decides that he (alone, all by himself) can launch a war.
2. Problem: The Constitution says otherwise. [The NYT's editorial board agrees.]
3. Problem: ISIS is not currently a threat to the U.S. or its allies...except for Iraq, which is finally supposed to be defending itself...and is now engaged in a civil war.
4. Problem: the public is sick to death of unending wars.
5. Problem: this war has no U.N. backing either...just like Bush's war.
6. Problem: mid-term elections are approaching.
There's a new Boogie-Man, more horrible than ISIS, and he's coming to get us!
Any day now!
[Even if that were true, it's a Law Enforcement issue. Besides, History has demonstrated that a military cannot defeat a terrorist organization. Remember British Palestine and the Jewish Irgun? Remember Batista and Castro? Remember Iraq? In the longest war in our history, have we yet defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan?]
The propaganda for this new, current years-long war should be obvious to even the most die-hard Obama worshipper, Fed Gov't lover, and Oligarchy apologist. Come on, people don't really believe this load of crap, do they? It's interesting now that the illegal war has been launched, officials and the Corporate Media have backed off concerning the immediacy of the new threat. Big surprise...not.
By the way, The Intercept website is unique in that the Fed Gov't has banned its employees from reading anything on it. That's a bit like book-burning. Be aware that if you read the article above, most likely you'll run a risk of being considered a "potential terrorist" by the largest terrorist group in the world--- the highest levels of the U.S. Fed Gov't. Of course, you'll be the wrong kind of potential terrorist. Many of us feel that we're free to read whatever the hell we want to in this country, so we go to the site daily. You may not want to take that risk... unless you really desire some independent, non-corporate news. [The Gov't hasn't banned Democracy Now! yet; you also can get non-corporate news there.]
Meanwhile, we're bombing both ISIS and Al Qaida (the Nusra Front) targets in Syria, two groups who hate each other and are rivals. Plus, Human Rights Watch (a fairly conservative rights-watch-group) is calling for an investigation into a U.S. Tomahawk missile strike that allegedly killed five children and wounded other civilians. If it happened that way, once again your tax dollars are killing children...not 500, as in Gaza, but even ONE is too many.
Lastly, the Republicans, the other branch of the Mega Transnational Corporatist Party in the U.S., are no better. The Oligarchy rules.
p.s. I love this Land, but Democrats and Republicans have subverted our Gov't to the point where it's now a soft Fascist Police State primarily serving mega, transnational CORPORATIONS at the expense of the rest of us. We can end this abomination peacefully. STEP ONE: stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
violating the Constitution and his Oath to preserve, protect, and defend it. Finally, a Law Professor and the editorial board of the NYT have the same assessment of the Constitution as I do. At least now someone does... publicly. [See link below.]
So, why aren't the Repubs all over this? Probably because they want the same illegal power that Obama has. They, too, have ignored the Constitution... and they want to be able to do it again relative to war.As I've said more than once, at the highest levels we have an OUTLAW Fed Gov't. There's no question about that...none whatsoever. Both political parties violate the U.S. Constitution... especially in regard to war.
Let's be perfectly clear: the Executive Branch has NO Constitutional authority to put this nation at war. Legally, only the Congress can do that. The Commander-in-Chief cannot legally ignore parts of the Constitution just because he's the Head Honcho of the military. What has been done relative to war by various Administrations ever since the end of WW II is blatantly unconstitutional. In addition, the War Powers Act does not supercede the Supreme Law of the Land; Congress must declare war.
Not just my opinion. Be Well
p.s. Reason.com is a biased source, but I cited the piece because it reported the unprecedented view of the NYT's editorial board. [The NYT agrees that Obama's ISIS war violates the U.S. Constitution.] Lastly, in the interest of accuracy, the NYT's editorial board (or perhaps it's Reason.com---hard to tell the way the article is written) has the following technical error in its opinion. It refers to "Article 8" concerning the fact that the Congress declares war. It's not Article 8, but rather Article 1, SECTION 8.