Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pepper Spray: Carcinogenic, Destructive to Cardiac and Pulmonary Function...United States Army Findings, 1993

The violence of police actions  against several 'Occupy' venues is difficult to understand.   The disturbing images, ( male officers unleashing streams of pepper spray in the faces of women or dragging them through  streets by the hair), might better describe the actions of an invading force of mercenaries, not Americans on Americans. 


Escalation to chemical spray and poison gas violates, at minimum, the spirit of the international treaties enacted after the First World War prohibiting use of such horrific weapons. The nationally coordinated use of tactics and weapons against our own citizens raises serious questions. What are our police forces anticipating? What eventuality are they practicing for?  Whom are they protecting? 


Even if you believe the distortions by Murdoch's FOX reporters, the protesters are Americans exercising protected freedoms that, in theory at least, make us more of a democracy than any other country on the planet. It's OK to pitch a tent in front of one's favorite Walmart while waiting overnight for the store to open on Thanksgiving Day. It's apparently not OK to do the same to support the 50 million Americans without health care,  the 25 million children who go to bed hungry every night or the millions evicted from their homes this year. 


As our once great country collapses on the backs of 'the 99%,' the CEO of Goldman Sachs searches for ways to spend the bonuses he paid himself for implementing the mortgage ponzi scheme that caused our economic collapse. The greatest irony is the CEO's brilliant manipulation of his congressional and Treasury allies to stage the taxpayer bailout which funded those bonuses.


US politicians, while quiet on the home front, had voiced broad support for the 'Arab Spring'  and the brave activists throughout the Arab world.  Imagine the frustrated embarrassment as the worldwide media captured the circular hypocrisy of our 'leaders'.  Broadcast for the world to see were the images of spent tear gas canisters held for the cameras, (in the hands of Egyptian demonstrators), to reveal bold markings spelling out,'Made in the U.S.A'.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Obama Plays 'Guts"


President Barak Obama has reached the pinnacle of leadership. He has essentially risked reelection to a second term by committing to a balanced, fair allocation of responsibility for the deficit and national debt. That mega corporations enjoy loopholes that significantly reduce their tax burdens, (to zero, in some cases), while collecting government subsidies as well, is pure exploitation of middle class workers who can’t afford the tax lawyers and lobbyists advising these companies.  
Fund managers have structured their income to be taxed at the capital gains rate of 15%, while middle class workers pay a higher rate. This is nothing but a slick coup by the same tax attorneys and lobbyists who proclaim that we must provide incentives to those who make their living managing money. Why? If they are required to pay a blue collar worker’s typical tax rate, do we fear they will quit money management and compete for plumbing jobs? Probably not.
Tax attorneys, lobbyists, mega corporation CEOs and fund managers, enjoy gathering to plan strategy during three or four day ‘business retreats’ at sun drenched, ocean side golf resorts. Later, they write off the rounds of golf, poolside luncheons, extravagant dinners and hotel suites, as business expenses. 
The tax revenues lost to golf outing write offs, become part of the deficit which John Boehner wants to recover by increasing the burden middle class Americans. At the same time Mr. Boehner maintains his handsome golf tan through the incredible generosity of lobbyists’ expense accounts.
President Obama has decided to play two card ‘guts’. It would be inspiring to see Democratic members of the House and Senate, choose to remain in the game with him.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Paul Ryan's Got Coverage

Paul Ryan is leading a crushing charge against healthcare, specifically, the availability of healthcare to those who most need it including millions of America's children. A surprising number of the populace victimized by Ryan's faux 'free market' ideology, blindly supports the exclusion of a right to be protected from the ravages of serious illnesses. Those who oppose Ryan believe guaranteed healthcare  is as fundamental as the nearly universal support for the strong military that protects us from other threats to our health and well being.

Why do affected Americans  refuse to stop and ask the question, 'who's making out on this deal?'  Though other countries have better health care we Americans refuse to consider the alternatives because the Tea Party will label us 'unpatriotic'. How can it be unpatriotic to think about where your kids' healthcare will come from after Ryan gets through dismantling the system?

Of course, he presents his arguments with the misty eyed fervor of Abe Lincoln giving the Gettysburg address; except Lincoln was trying to preserve the Union for all,  while Ryan would divide us into the have-nots and the Koch brothers. Can you imagine how well he'll be taken care of after demolishing healthcare for middle America?

The executives running private insurance companies, multinational pharmaceutical corporations and for-profit medical care facilities, are elated at ever growing profit margins, and the prospect of even greater returns as Paul Ryan shifts  risk and expense from their businesses to the individual. They in turn oil the machine with billions of dollars in campaign contributions, executive compensation, payments to lobbyists, (former members of congress), and the astonishingly effective, anti-health care ad campaigns.  It's no mystery that the quislings in Congress,  ignore the needs and demands of constituents whose support in the long run is financially insignificant to their quest for personal wealth.

Where does all that loot come from to pay these executives, lobbyists, and the ad agencies? Of course  it's most of every dollar we pay for healthcare no matter how we buy it as the system is currently configured.

Worse than Ryan, (he makes no excuses for pandering to the monied elite ), are the so called Democratic members of both houses. They meekly abide the lies, the misrepresentation of facts and the lobbyists' spin, so they can 'Get Some' in the scramble for the stream of dollars sprayed in the direction of any rep and senator willing to play ball.

Worse still is 'we the people' obliviously standing by while the 'mob' running D.C. laughs up its sleeve. Our so called representatives in the bicameral legislature have no respect for us, nor should they. We do not hold them accountable for their actions and we allow them to turn our tax dollars over to the wealthiest Americans, while health care and pension services are raped to 'balance the budget'.

In an earlier day they may have feared our retaliation, made strong by aggressive union action, a free and outspoken press, and the tendency of its citizens to organize. Acknowledging Jeffersonian freedom of speech, away from a rigged electoral system, citizens once protested on a massive scale whenever our government wandered towards tyranny.  But, it seems the neo-con infiltration of our government has facilitated a style of governing leading to a concentration of power and equivocation of purpose.

They have emasculated the unions, redacted transparency in government, and by engineering a coup for the control of all media, disrupted the free flow of information around which an opposition might be sustained. Paul Ryan is a pawn in a game being won by a powerful, superbly organized few, with a focused, singular agenda. The continued existence of a free and democratic United States of America has no doubt been threatened before, but never with such overt disdain for public sentiment. Healthcare is but their first major victory.

Saturday, July 3, 2010







THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2009


Business Development, Cheney Style

Turns out that declaring war on a concept, like Cheney's 'war on terror", might provide cover for major errors (like invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11), but makes an unwieldy disaster for the troopers sent by our "courageous leaders" to engage an amorphous enemy. 


Not only that, but think how much better our airport security would be if we had a fraction of the hundreds of billions of dollars misspent in Iraq, (while Bin Laden was stocking his cave in Afghanistan with food and ammo), to modernize our airport scanning equipment and add legions more, highly trained, airport security personnel.

Why are so many, ordinarily street smart citizens, taken in by Cheney's blatant lies? Americans by and large resent intensely, efforts to use them as suckers or patsies to the money making schemes of unscrupulous charlatans. But here is Cheney pulling off scam after scam like a Wizard of Oz who feels no need to hide behind a curtain.


 On any stage he can find, he spouts his vial rhetoric; WMD, a mushroom shaped cloud, Iraq's connection to 9/11, all long ago proven false. But most injurious to the health of this great land is Cheney's continuing call for war to stop the terrorists "over there" so they are unable to hurt us here.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was not even slowed by our forces, airplanes or drones presently tearing up Afghanistan as he boarded Northwest Flight 253. Others who hate us for killing their wives and babies will follow one at a time because in our distracted state of "war", we leave ourselves open to the only effective weapon in their arsenal. All the while, the Haliburton stock in Cheney's "blind trust" climbs in the boldest example of war profiteering this country has ever experienced.

But hang on. There is more to come. As long as we the people allow an evil few to write themselves a check from our tax dollars, while they send other peoples' children to kill and die to protect their wealth, it will go on and on and on.

It's Embarrassing, Really

“It’s Embarrassing, Really.”
Looks like the big insurance companies will have their way. The senate’s proposal allows them to continue to foist dramatic premium increases on the American people while crushing alternative plans like the public option. On the one hand we could blame it on Congress. The companies are spending $1.4 million dollars per day to send an army of lobbyists, 5 for each of the 535 congresspersons in Washington, D.C., to coerce favorable policy votes. But that’s a cop out. We as voters have the real power if we will use it and if not, we will live with the result.
PT Barnum of the eponymous circus has been credited as saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Around his circus venues Barnum made a killing off of citizens who were na├»ve or trusting enough to believe that; the booth games were honest and the meat in the sausage sandwiches was fresh.
Bernie Madoff hoodwinked “smart” people including leading lights of the financial industry. He turned billions of dollars into air before an incredibly gullible SEC was forced to get involved after the horse, the cow and the rats were out of the barn. One has to wonder how smart people could have been so easily taken in by such obvious schemes. It seems people believed they could trust him.
Like PT Barnum the insurance companies, fearing reduced profits, use misleading advertising to inflate the benefits of their product, and fear tactics to trash the “public option”. Meanwhile health care costs are rising 3 to 5 times faster than wages in this country. Employer sponsored health insurance premiums increased 119% from 1999-2008 and are projected to double again by 2020 forcing more businesses to drop coverage for their employees. Interestingly in 2008, 600,000 workers making over $75000 a year lost their employee sponsored coverage. The number of people without health coverage went from 45.7 million in 2007 to 46.3 million in 2008.
Insurance companies want Medicare to remain in place because it is paying 46% of our nation’s health care bill, while the companies pay 42%. Medicare covers the elderly, the group most likely to get sick and require coverage. Essentially the government pays for the most costly demographic, leaving the insurance companies to comb through the healthiest, lowest risk, most profitable population. For each dollar health insurance companies collect in premiums, they spend just 77 cents on patient care. For every dollar Medicare receives, it spends 97 cents on patient care. One way or another we each contribute to pay twice what Europeans pay for a health care system that is no better, and with 47 million people left uncovered.
The way to bring down the premiums we pay is to introduce a major player, big enough to compete with the insurance companies for our benefit. The public option is the only plan that adds a mechanism to allow free market competition to function, leveling the playing field and all but guaranteeing health insurance at a reasonable rate for U.S. citizens.
According to recent ABC/Washington Post poll, 55% of Americans favor the public option. The latest New England Journal of Medicine poll finds 73% of physicians favor the public option. Stunningly, the bill coming out of the Democratic led senate committee does not.
Five years from now the question will be, “How could we have been so naive?”

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2009


"Generals On the Ground"

President Obama has decided to spend the money, and the lives and bodies of great young Americans, on a foolish effort in Afghanistan.. Bush, Cheney and now Obama, feigned soul wrenching pain as they deployed our young people to kill and die in a place where we don’t belong, have no right to be and where we cannot win without nuking the entire populace into oblivion. 


Despite1 in 4 children in the U.S. living on food stamps, and 20000 kids a year die because they are without health care, our so called leaders are on track to divert close to three trillion dollars on a “war” being waged to protect the Cheney and Bush family oil interests.
Lindsay Graham is with the president on the latest troop surge. Isn’t that reassuring. Lindsay Graham, who says, “If it’s good enough for the generals on the ground it’s good enough for me”. Some deep thinking there before committing the cream of American youth to perpetual war. Good enough for him sitting in resplendent Washington banquet halls or in his warm, comfortable office in the capital.


 And, by the way, these generals are not on the ground for long, as they make their appearances with macho shoulder holster prominently displayed. They’re back in the personal chopper before dark, returning directly to HQ for a hot shower and a home cooked meal on white table cloths while the real troopers lie each night on the frozen Afghan earth, hungry, dirty and sleepless.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2009


Open letter to the "Wizard"

Dear Mr. President,
I hope you and your family had a fine Holiday. I hope you found moments of peace, even brief respites, from the ugliness of our times.
I can’t but think, though, during this time of celebrating peace, of the parents who have lost children or are caring for severely maimed children, the victims of the insatiable maw that requires so many young bodies to fill its belly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I used to think of it all as Cheney’s evil; Cheney working the levers to continue a brilliantly choreographed annihilation of any threat to the industrial mechanism of his wealth. Any threat to oil or defense spending based profits is a threat to the inheritance of his grandchildren and those of his cronies.
I’m sure that the greatest punishment in the hereafter is suffered by those who harm children in this life. I’m convinced that nothing angers the power of the universe more than those who cause children to suffer. Though they provide well for their own children, Cheney and his ilk will pay the devil’s price for the kids coming home to the U.S., youth in their prime with limbs blown off with ears, no, entire faces burned away in the searing inferno of an IED blasted Humvee, their souls shredded like tattered rags.
And then there are the children of Afghanistan and Iraq. They have little standing in our eyes it seems, but considered of equal in value to our children by any god worth believing in.
I supported your run to the White House because I believed you to be our best chance to confront the Cheneys of this world. But there has been a subtle and chilling change in perception as the person of Barak Obama is revealed. You seem to have stepped in behind the curtain and learned to pull the levers in much the same way.
History repeats. Lyndon Johnson, I’m old enough to remember, fell in love with driving this awful military machine. Like you, Mr. President, he was viewed as a champion of the downtrodden until too many of them died for his “honor” in Vietnam and he became the catalyst for revolt.
Those who matter most to the spirit of America, the population that supported you in November of 2008, are losing hope as you complete your first year in office. If you lose that base, Mr. President, we all lose, for what it portends for the future of our country are fear and a despairing in the possibility of a return to what the United States of America once stood for. It’s a far leap but one you, and maybe only you, can make by ending these wars now, Mr. President.
Respectfully,
Stephen Greene


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2009


The Hogs of War

When Dick Cheney worries aloud about the tax burden being passed to “our” grandchildren to cover the deficits that we would incur by providing healthcare for all, (even just all children), improving schools, or providing a safety net to make sure kids don’t go to bed hungry, think about whose grandchildren he’s worried about. 


Not the kids of the 15.4 million unemployed or the kids in the U.S.A. going hungry today; not the kids whose moms or dads are deployed overseas to fight his oil war.


 He’s speaking of his grandchildren and those of his associates at Haliburton, Exxon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the rest of the contractors feasting at the trough of war. Like hungry hogs, they’re too fat and addicted to the free flowing supply of war funding to look up at the America they are destroying.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Who's Kidding Who?

President Obama has decided to spend the money, and the lives and bodies of great young Americans, on a foolish effort in Afghanistan.. Bush, Cheney and now Obama, feigned soul wrenching pain as they ordered multiple deployments of our young people to kill and die in a place where we don’t belong, have no right to be and where we cannot win without nuking the entire populace into oblivion.

 Despite that 1 in 4 children in the U.S. are being fed by food stamps, and 20000 kids a year die because they are without health care, our so called leaders are on track to divert close to three trillion dollars on a “war” being waged to protect the Cheney and Bush family oil interests. Lindsay Graham is with the president on the latest troop surge. Isn’t that reassuring. Lindsay Graham, who says, “If it’s good enough for the generals on the ground it’s good enough for me”. Some deep thinking there before committing our kids lives to the risks of battle. 

Good enough for him sitting in resplendent Washington banquet halls or in his warm, comfortable office in the capital. And, by the way, these generals are not on the ground for long, as they make their appearances with macho shoulder holster prominently displayed, jump back in the personal chopper before dark, and return directly to HQ for a hot shower and a home cooked meal on white table cloths while the real troopers lie each night on the frozen Afghan dirt, hungry, dirty and cold.