the holistic radical

September 29, 2008

Stop this Bailout! Kick out Palin! Stop Raping Homeowners!

A trifecta of non-conservative reporting in today’s NY Daily News. Man, when your own party is saying your veep candidate should step down, you know you have a problem in making choices.

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Calls rise among Republicans for Sarah

Palin to step down from GOP ticket

BY THOMAS M. DeFRANK and DAVID SALTONSTALL
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Sunday, September 28th 2008, 9:53 AM

Sarah Palin faces the biggest test of her month-old candidacy with this Thursday’s vice presidential debate, but many Republicans are already convinced the Alaska governor is not ready for prime time – and may never be.

“It was fun while it lasted,” conservative National Review columnist Kathleen Parker regretfully concluded last week. “But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick.”

Those “circumstances,” Parker and others are now saying, include not just the Wall Street meltdown – a crisis that seems to cry out for seasoned leadership – but also Palin’s choppy, tenuous, even unintelligible answers to the few questions she has fielded on her own.

Palin’s interview last week with CBS’ Katie Couric is Exhibit A – a frightening glimpse, say fans and critics alike, into what happens when Palin is allowed to speak without a script.

“It’s very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia,” she told Couric in explaining why being able to see Russia from Alaska should count as foreign policy experience on her résumé. “It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our state.”

On the Wall Street meltdown and polls showing Republican nominee John McCain slipping, she added, “What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it.”

It made some GOP veterans yearn for Dan Quayle.

“You needed the Jaws of Life to pry a coherent sentence out,” moaned one Republican operative.

Palin’s uneven answers may help to explain why her handlers have let her grant only a handful of media interviews so far.

It may also explain why her poll numbers have started to slip, as in a Fox News poll last week that showed her favorable ratings dipping to 47% from 54%.

Republican guru Ed Rollins believes Team McCain did Palin a disservice by keeping her so walled off from the press.

Palin was thrust straight into the big leagues with ABC’s Charlie Gibson and Couric (and a softball toss with conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity).

“They put her in storage,” said Rollins, “and it broke her confidence.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/09/27/2008-09-27_calls_rise_among_republicans_for_sarah_p.html?print=1&page=all

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Right-wingers are scapegoating hardworking American families

Saturday, September 27th 2008, 8:06 PM

http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2008/09/28/alg_gygi-drawing.jpgDarren Gygi

Conservative activists are busy concocting an utterly revisionist history of how America got into the current economic crisis.

Predictably, the talking points issued by right-wing bloggers, talk-show hosts and columnists lay blame on their favorite targets: Democrats, liberals, big government, neighborhood organizations – and above all, those irresponsible poor people who kept foolishly trying to snag a bit of the American Dream by becoming homeowners.

The starting point of the attacks  is the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, a splendid and important piece of legislation requiring federally insured banks and thrifts to negotiate with local communities about providing financial services fairly throughout their entire service area.

Back when I worked as an activist in central Brooklyn, it was CRA that required bankers to bargain with churches, block associations and other groups about keeping branches open, depositing bank funds in community credit unions, donating bank furniture to neighborhood groups and so on.

I spent so much time arranging reinvestment deals that the state Banking Department – under Republican Gov. George Pataki – offered me a job monitoring bank compliance with the law. (I declined.)

The law was – and remains – an important corrective to decades of red-lining, in which banks would take in millions in savings and bank deposits in low-income areas but refuse to lend any of it to even the most creditworthy families and businesses in those neighborhoods.

It isn’t a mandate with hard-and-fast penalties and loads of onerous regulations. Banks are only required to try to serve all parts of their business area – and the penalty for noncompliance is maybe getting denied permission to merge or expand operations in the future, an exceedingly rare occurrence.

Nor has the law ever been exclusively about extending mortgage loans: Banks can also open branches in underserved areas, offer low-cost checking accounts, sponsor financial seminars and make donations to community organizations.

In other words, CRA represents America at her best: a good-faith attempt to get big, self-interested institutions to expand opportunities to hardworking people who would otherwise be left on the outside looking in.

But you’d never know that from listening to the right-wing echo chamber, which would rather add insult to economically injured families. Typical of the tone is an error-filled video diatribe prominently posted on the Drudge Report Web site.

“Deregulation did not cause this. A bad government regulation caused this that made Main Street banks become predatory lenders to fulfill a government mandate to offer souped-up, shell game ‘affordable mortgages,'” the video says. “Bad social engineering caused this.”

Repeating a lie won’t make it true. For starters, CRA only applies to federally insured depository banks – not the investment banks, loan syndicators, mortgage brokers and other Wall Street players that fueled the subprime crisis. According to congressional testimony this year by Michael Barr, a law professor at the University of Michigan, 80% of subprime loans were made by those market players.

And nationwide, the number of agreements created between banks and community groups from 1977 to 1991 was only $8.8billion, a pittance compared with the hundreds of billions in shaky subprime loans now featured in the headlines.

Did some low-income Americans agree to risky loans that they knew full well they couldn’t pay? You bet. Did others try to game the system? Sure. But those were the exceptions, not the rule.

The Community Reinvestment Act was an opportunity-expanding watershed – in exactly the right way. It stands in a line with the 1932 Home Loan Bank Act, created at the height of the Great Depression, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act that outlaws racial discrimination in housing.

And guess what? Anti-government conservatives opposed each one of those landmark reforms, too.

This isn’t about policy. What we’re really seeing is a cramped, callous view of society in which the poor and the striving middle class are entitled to nothing in the way of help from the rest of us – not capital, not laws, not political activism, not even sympathy.

All those things are reserved for the Wall Street types, whose well-being and year-end bonuses, we are told, are now the nation’s highest priority.

There is plenty of blame to go around in this economic swamp. But the fiction being peddled by ideologues only helps the real crooks slip away.

elouis@nydailynews.com

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2008/09/27/2008-09-27_rightwingers_are_scapegoating_hardworkin.html?print=1&page=all

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A whole lotta nothing: McCain, Obama offer not even two cents worth of wisdom on bailout

Saturday, September 27th 2008, 3:59 PM

John McCain delivered platitudes about forcing accountability ...Richards/Getty

John McCain delivered platitudes about forcing accountability …

... and Barack Obama spoke in generalities about protecting taxpayers. But neither offered any clear analysis or insight on the bailout.Dunand/Getty

… and Barack Obama spoke in generalities about protecting taxpayers. But neither offered any clear analysis or insight on the bailout.

For those who like boxing metaphors to score debates, here’s the most frightening one to come out of Friday night’s fight: Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain laid a glove on the financial meltdown.

That both men are trying, Muhammad Ali style, to dance like a butterfly around the crisis reveals neither has come to grips with the severity and its implications for the next President. After they delivered their platitudes about protecting taxpayers (Obama) and forcing accountability (McCain), their wells ran dry of ideas.

With the daily headlines filled with warnings of another Great Depression, we really do have something to fear: that our next President isn’t up to the job.

Obama and McCain railed vaguely against outdated regulations, but the same might be said of their campaigns. The world one of them will inherit has changed since they started running nearly two years ago, only they don’t seem to get it. Maybe the next bank failure will wake them up.

Then again, maybe not. The collapse of Washington Mutual happened hours before their first debate, yet it rated nary a word. It was the largest bank failure in American history. Ho-hum.

The disconnect is startling. Neither candidate would commit to voting for or against the proposed $700 billion bailout that could be finalized today. Nor could they talk about it with any plain-English detail. Do they even understand it?

McCain, who correctly said Wednesday the bailout discussions were more important than the debate, changed his mind Friday and never explained why. Perhaps the complexity of the issue and the lack of a risk-free political path convinced him the debate was actually safer turf than taking a stance on the largest government intervention ever.

Polls show that only about one-third of Americans support the bailout, yet the men vying to be responsible for it ducked the chance to explain to a huge TV audience why it is good or bad and what might happen next. They stuck to the tired refrain that the plan is more about saving Main Street than Wall Street, a Madison Avenue slogan as bloodless as it is outdated.

Moderator Jim Lehrer‘s prodding to detail how the crisis would reshape their economic plans was fruitless. Asked what they would cut in response to the new realities, the candidates fell back on promises crafted in the relatively flush times of last year.

They have their talking points and they’re sticking to them, facts be damned.

In biographical terms, Obama and McCain are unconventional candidates. But with a few exceptions – Internet fund-raising and made-for-YouTube ads – they are running utterly conventional campaigns.

They promise to be different, but I’m increasingly getting the creepy feeling that more of the same is what we’re in for, no matter who wins. The national landscape has changed in the blink of an eye, but the candidates are on autopilot.

We’re also getting a good lesson about why no senator since JFK has been elected President. The stereotype about Washington being the problem has more than a kernel of truth. Insiders navigate arcane procedures, busily scoring inside-baseball points while giving lip service to the global forces scaring the bejesus out of 300 million Americans.

It’s telling that Obama and McCain both deferred to congressional leaders of their parties during the summit with President Bush on Thursday. Instead of seizing the chance to set the agenda, they handed the baton to the people who either created or ignored the crisis while it was happening.

Come to think of it, that description also fits the two men who want to be President.

mgoodwin@nydailynews.com

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2008/09/27/2008-09-27_a_whole_lotta_nothing_mccain_obama_offer.html?print=1&page=all

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Jon Barron Gives the Definitive Slam on High Fructose Corn Syrup

Folks, this stuff is not food and has caused the spike in obesity in recent decades. HFCS is not good for human consumption in any amount! The truth will be told–

This is definitely the best article I’ve seen about why HFCS is bad for you as a human being. Kudos to Jon Barron. This is a must-read.

Interesting that even tonight’s “King of the Hill” had a main character getting type 2 diabetes, which at least 40-50% of Americans have–a conservative estimate–whether they know it or not. Around 50% of the US population is obese, and diabetes is a surefire consequence of obesity, beginning with chronic high blood sugar caused by bad diet and inactivity. Diabetes is best reversed through an attentive diet and exercise.

Let’s get HFCS out of our food supply now! Put pressure on the FDA!

Stop eating fake food, people!

The cycle is like this: government subsidies to fake food makers–> people get deadly non-food (filled with HFCS, aspartame/equal, MSG, sucralose/ Splenda, and other toxins)–> Big Pharma jumps in with lots of medications for you to be dependent on forever!

All of which could be prevented by eating natural foods that do not have any ingredients you can’t pronounce or don’t know the origin of!

Also, if something has more than 5 ingredients, it better have a reason to have more than 5 ingredients. Read labels!

A preview:

” Despite claims to the contrary, there is a wide body of research that validates the concept of sugar “addiction.” To be clear, we’re not talking about a physical addiction comparable to a drug here, but the simple fact that the more sugar you eat the more you want to eat. Also, studies show that the high levels of isolated fructose (as found in HFCS) cause a reduction in circulating insulin and leptin, which effectively turns off the body’s appetite control mechanisms, thus causing you to eat more.
Bottom line: the words moderation and HFCS don’t actually go together.”

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http://www.jonbarron.org/diabetes-program/2008-09-29.php

High Fructose Corn Syrup, Oh Boy!

Date: 9/29/2008
Posted By: Jon Barron

This month, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) launched the first of a series of television ads that are planned to run for the next 18 months as part of a campaign to “make-over” the image of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The core message of the ads is that high-fructose corn syrup is made from corn, has no artificial ingredients, has the same calories as sugar, is okay to eat in moderation — and that it’s endorsed by the AMA and the FDA. The ads are priceless in their misrepresentation of facts and in their total lack of respect for the intelligence of the viewing public — although experience says they are, nevertheless, likely to win over large numbers of people. Before we go any further, you probably need to see one of these ads.

Isn’t that delightful? Absolutely! But let’s take a look at what HFCS actually is and at the key points in the ad one-by-one to see how they stack up on the “truth meter.” Then we can examine the so called “endorsements” from the AMA and the FDA. And finally, we’ll take a look at the reality behind high fructose corn syrup.

Definition of high fructose corn syrup

HFCS doesn’t actually exist anywhere in nature. It is a manufactured product created by using enzymes (two natural, one synthetic) to increase the fructose content of corn syrup to about 90%. This super high fructose syrup is then blended “down” with a 100% glucose corn syrup to create various mixes. HFCS 55, for example, which is 55% fructose and 45% glucose is the mix used most commonly in beverages. HFCS 42 is the blend used more commonly in baked goods.

As a point of comparison, table sugar (sucrose) is a disaccharide comprised of a molecule of fructose and glucose bound together. It is very easily digested in the stomach into its component sugars, and in that respect is not unlike an HFCS 50 mix. However, it should be noted that table sugar, like HFCS, is not a naturally occurring substance itself and must be “refined” (although not chemically altered) through manufacturing processes before it sits on your table. And keep in mind, it’s no badge of honor for the HFCS industry to claim that there’s no difference between HFCS and sucrose since heavy consumption of sucrose has been linked to everything from obesity to diabetes.

High fructose corn syrup is made from corn

cornYes, it’s absolutely true that high fructose corn syrup is made from corn, but it doesn’t mean anything. Biodiesel is made from corn too, and you wouldn’t want to see that used as a food additive. Or take castor oil. It’s used as a food grade additive, in flavorings, and in chocolate as a mold inhibitor. And the FDA has categorized castor oil as GRAS (generally regarded as safe) for use in laxatives. Unfortunately, castor beans also happensto be the source of one of the most deadly poisons known to man, ricin — made famous as a tool of assassination used by spies. The bottom line is that just because you start with a natural, safe substance doesn’t automatically make derivatives of that substance safe. So much for the first argument.

High fructose corn syrup has no artificial ingredients in it

According to the high fructose corn syrup industry itself, most claims that HFCS is not a natural product arise as a result of the fact that corn starch is treated with three different types of enzymes in order to produce HFCS. Two of the three enzymes used in HFCS production are naturally occurring enzymes; one (glucose-isomerase) is synthetic — the synthetic enzyme being the cause of concern. The industry’s counter argument is that the synthetic enzyme is never actually added to the HFCS, rather the sugar mixture is simply passed over it and it interacts with glucose to produce fructose.

In point of fact, the statement and argument are both disingenuous. Most claims concerning the artificiality of HFCS have nothing to do with the enzymes used in processing, but rather relate to the fact that chemical bonds are broken and rearranged in the manufacturing process. (Note: this does not happen in the process of refining table sugar.)

High fructose corn syrup has the same calories as table sugar

That it does. And once again, comparing HFCS to table sugar in this regard is not necessarily something you want to brag about. At first glance, it doesn’t look that bad. Both sugar and HFCS contain about 15 calories per teaspoon. The problem is how quickly that builds up. Soft drinks and fruit punches (think back to the ad we looked at earlier) contain about 1 teaspoon of sweetener per ounce — so you’re looking at about 150 calories per 12 ounce can of soda and about 180 calories per 12 ounce glass of fruit punch (as seen in the ad). Have 3-6 servings a day, as many people are wont to do, and you’re looking at 500-1,000 empty calories per day. That could actually mean as much as 2 lbs of extra body-weight gained each and every week.

High fructose corn syrup is okay to eat in moderation

Ahhh! That’s the issue isn’t it? The simple fact is that it’s almost impossible to consume HFCS in moderation. If you think about it, even a single serving of fruit punch, which contains 43 g of sugar, is already well beyond moderate. Have two to three servings a day and you’re into sugar la la land. And did you get alook at the serving size mommy is hefting about in the ad? That’s a one gallon jug. Yes, there’s nothing like a gallon jug to say “moderation.”

Then, of course, there are the cravings.

Despite claims to the contrary, there is a wide body of research that validates the concept of sugar “addiction.” To be clear, we’re not talking about a physical addiction comparable to a drug here, but the simple fact that the more sugar you eat the more you want to eat. Also, studies show that the high levels of isolated fructose (as found in HFCS) cause a reduction in circulating insulin and leptin, which effectively turns off the body’s appetite control mechanisms, thus causing you to eat more.
Bottom line: the words moderation and HFCS don’t actually go together.

High fructose corn syrup is endorsed by the American Medical Associationamerican medical association

Despite CRA’s use of the AMA quote in their ads, the AMA’s position is significantly more nuanced than implied by the isolated quote. In fact, the CRA used only the first half of the first sentence taken from the June 17th AMA press release:

“After studying current research, the American Medical Association (AMA) today concluded that high fructose syrup does not appear to contribute more to obesity than other caloric sweeteners.”

In fact, the last half of the sentence adds an immediate qualifier:

“But [the AMA] called for further independent research to be done on the health effects of high fructose syrup and other sweeteners.”

They then went on to say:

“We do recommend consumers limit the amount of all added caloric sweeteners to no more than 32 grams of sugar daily.”

And as we already know, a single 12 oz serving of fruit punch as featured in the CRA ad contains 48 g, 1/3 more than the AMA’s maximum allowance — for an entire day — in a single serving.

Finally, the AMA press release concludes with a statement that hardly qualifies as a ringing endorsement for HFCS. In effect, they say they just don’t know.

“Currently, there are few available studies on the health effects of high fructose syrup and most are focused on the short-term effects.”

High fructose corn syrup is endorsed by the FDA

The simple truth of the matter is that the FDA does not actually “endorse” HFCS. All they did was come out with a statement/letter from Geraldine June, Supervisor of the FDA’s Product Evaluation and Labeling Team at FDA’s Office of Nutrition, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements written to the Corn Refiners Association that said HFCS could be labeled a “natural” ingredient.

“[the FDA] would not object to the use of the term ‘natural’ on a product containing the HFCS produced by the manufacturing process…”

But even that statement is far more nuanced than it might appear. First of all, as made clear in the letter, it’s actually a reversal of a previous position taken by Supervisor June just two months earlier based on a clarification of the process used by one manufacturer only — it’s not a blanket statement:

“The use of synthetic fixing agents in the enzyme preparation, which is then used to produce HFCS, would not be consistent with our (…) policy regarding the use of the term ‘natural’. Consequently, we would object to the use of the term ‘natural’ on a product containing HFCS.”

But more importantly, it makes clear that the FDA’s definition of “natural” probably is not the same as yours. You might think that “natural” has something to do with “as it exists in nature.” Not so for the FDA. Their definition is restricted to the fact that nothing artificial or synthetic “has been added.” It absolutely avoids the issue of whether something that might have started out from a natural source might be altered or made “unnatural” in its processing. Or to look at it another way, according to the FDA, Frankenstein’s monster would be considered a “natural” creation because nothing artificial or synthetic has been added — just all “natural” dead body parts assembled and electrified to make the monster. “It’s alive! It’s alive!”

That definition might work for the FDA, but I doubt if it works for most of you.

The bottom line on high fructose corn syrup

Manufactures love high fructose corn syrup because it’s cheaper than table sugar and easier to transport and work with (it’s a liquid). Unfortunately, the human body is not designed to handle high levels of isolated fructose.

Since the dawn of man, humans have consumed fructose (mostly in fresh fruit where the fructose is actually bound to the fruit fiber, thus slowing its absorption in the body), at about 16–20 grams per day. The heavy use of HFCS, though, has resulted in significant increases in consumption of fructose isolate, leading to typical daily consumption reaching an average of 85–100 grams of fructose per day — again, not bound to fiber. And remember, the AMA recommendation is 32 g a day — maximum. Yet in 1980 the average person ate 39 pounds of fructose and 84 pounds of sucrose. And by 1994, those numbers had climbed to 66 pounds of sucrose and 83 pounds of fructose. Today, it’s almost impossible to find a commercial food that doesn’t have added sugar — predominantly HFCS with its high content isolated fructose.

The problem is that fructose is absorbed differently than other sugars — and fructose isolate as found in HFCS even more so. It causes major health problems. For example:

  • The exposure of the liver to such large quantities of fructose leads to rapid stimulation of the breakdown of fats and the concomitant rapid accumulation of triglycerides, which in turn contributes to reduced insulin sensitivity, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance.
  • Unlike glucose, fructose doesn’t stimulate insulin production, which means it isn’t utilized for energy, but rather is stored in the liver as triglycerides.
  • Again, unlike glucose, HFCS doesn’t increase leptin production or suppress production of ghrelin. (These are hormones that play a primary role in appetite control.) The net effect is that HFCS encourages you to eat more…the more of it you eat. In effect, HFCS is addictive and encourages weight gain and obesity.
  • And if that were not enough, it appears that HFCS distorts the body’s magnesium balance, thereby accelerating bone loss.

Finally, it’s true that medical authorities and publicity seeking politicians took on trans fats, but that was a relatively easy target. Let’s see if they have the cojones to take on high fructose corn syrup, which has replaced trans fats in my book as the number one dietary killer. So far, at least, it appears they do not.

September 11, 2008

Blue or Red, The Betrayal is the Same: Seven Years Later

Today, the world gives its condolences.

The idea of nineteen frustrated men hijacking planes and steering them with such precision into three of their four desired targets (T1, T2 and the Pentagon, but not the White House) is a fairy tale. Many independent and alternative media sources (media not bought wholesale and controlled by its corporate sponsors and thus with no allegiances to any particular company or reason to censor any unpleasant truths) provide ample reason to believe the version of events as we’ve been told is a not-so-carefully woven story gathering strength not through force of fact (for the script is not based on fact) but through sheer repetition and inflicting of looped traumatic imagery, combined with jingoism reducing the geopolitical complexities of the day.

Can your information source explain why:

· NORAD (the North American Air Defense system) was “stood down,” that is, told not to intercept the hijacked planes, thereby averting the crash into the towers?

· Why Towers 1 & 2 (first reported in the media as “exploding,” then reported in the media as “collapsing”) went down, considering that they were designed to precisely stand up to planes and hurricane winds, and considering that no solid-steel construction building in history has ever collapsed due to fire before or after that day? Fire alone could not have reached a high enough temperature to melt enough of the steel in the towers, because there was not a constant oxygen supply to literally fuel the fire. What about the telltale “squibs” caught on video coming out of the buildings as they were going down, signs that a controlled demolition was bringing the buildings down neatly into their footprints in a matter of seconds? What about the evidence of thermite? What about reports from people who worked in the buildings noting strange people coming and going the weeks before the “attacks,” strange power outages and turnings off of the camera and alarm systems while “construction” and “upgrades” were happening on short or no notice?

· Why were massive “put options” placed on United and American airlines? Why were these very visible transactions not noticed or investigated by the SEC?

· Why tapes from the Pentagon attack were immediately seized and not shown to the public except for a few frames years later? Why is there not a plane-shaped hole in the side of the Pentagon? Why was there so little debris, and why was it disturbed, carried away by hand by staffers? Why did the plane just happen to make a quite complicated turn to make the hit away from the side where key staff like Rumsfeld were, but “coincidentally” on the side of the structure being diligently renovated for reinforced strength? Could hijackers fresh out of Florida flight school have been capable of such a maneuver?

· Can anyone relying on conventional media alone explain why Building 7, a building never hit by a plane and several hundred yards from the Twin Towers, crumbled to the ground after 5 pm that day after burning on only a few floors for a few hours? This steel-constructed building held the IRS, the Secret Service, the SEC, the Office of Emergency Management, and other offices. Why did it have to go down, or, in the words of new leaseholder Larry Silverstein, why was it “pulled”? Why is there massive media silence about Building 7?

· The EPA, then headed by Christine Todd Whitman, said the air was safe to breathe in Lower Manhattan, just so the markets could be re-opened quickly?

· Why weren’t the firefighter’s radios working? Why did there have to be so many needless deaths?

· Why was this day interpreted as an act of war requiring us to militarize immediately, but a commission investigating the attacks could not be called for over 400 days?

· Why was evidence from the scene of the crime (and sacred ground) immediately hauled away to Fresh Kills and to China? Tampering with evidence is a Federal Offence. Why the rush to clear the scene so quickly?

These are just a few of the questions the conventional media is not interested in probing, let along attempting to answer. The conventional media, consolidating and seeking more consolidation all the time. The conventional media, where NBC is owned by defense contractor giant GE. The conventional media, which seeks to commercialize and censor the Internet in the United States, to limit communication on web pages, forums, and blogs like these.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to 9/11. No one individual has all the answers. When someone says the day was the result of an “inside job,” what they are trying to bring to light is the fact that the events of the day were not just a number of coincidental, horrifying, isolated incidents that can be avoided in the future through increased militarism and attention to “security.” What such a person is saying is that you need to see that the mainstream media has motives to deliberately distort and hide information from you, information that may have influenced how you voted in 2004 or how you will vote this November. The media is relying on a failure of memory on the part of the American people in order to control them. This complacency is also accomplished through our utterly bankrupt educational system that is only good at medicating children and administering them biased, meaningless, high-stakes tests with no relation whatsoever to skills or real learning. Honesty, integrity, and critical thinking are no longer revered in American life. We must use this day to insist on getting the answers the media and corporate interests would rather have us forget about. We must be brave enough to show the powers that be that some of us will not be bought off, that some of us not only remember, but question, and will not contain our drive for truth, not for the families of the victims, not for the families of the soldiers.

The events of 9/11, the “New Pearl Harbor” the neoconservatives were waiting for the implement their global agenda of warmongering and domestic enslavement—have been used to justify a shocking number of assaults to our freedom: from wiretapping, to the use of torture on those deemed “enemy combatants,” to the invasion and domination of other sovereign nations. We are no longer citizens with privacy and dignity—we are conforming, scared consumers. And it is guaranteed that we will lose our quality of life in return. Ron Paul was the only presidential candidate who spoke to all of these issues—including taking down the Federal Reserve, strengthening our currency, and running the wasteful and brutal system of taxation out of town. Predictably, Ron Paul was, on the whole, shut out of the mainstream media, despite an impressive number of supporters and financing from those supporters (and not major corporations). What his candidacy proves is that both major parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, are unwilling to ask the tough questions about what happened on 9/11 and are further unwilling to test the waters in implementing real, groundshaking, immediate change—because both sides are beholden to special interests. Blue or red, the betrayal is the same.

Even supposing this fairy tale is true, the myth of 19 (some of which were reported alive and well after the event by the BBC and others), that “they hate us for our freedom,” what “they” (the perpetually mysterious, exoticized, xenophobic, racist, polarizing “they”) actually hate us for is our stupidity, our wastefulness, our inability to see that our consumption of resources is putting the globe in peril but not before reducing two thirds’ of the world’s population to a slave-like existence, permitting deprivation and cruelty in the 21st century. If there is a “they,” their only fault is that they don’t see that it is not most Americans perpetrating that waste—not the ten million unemployed and not the likely fifty million without health insurance who barely have enough resources to move out of their ghetto or trailer park, let alone go to college or get anything other than a minimum-wage job (usually at Wal-Mart, at that). These aren’t the people influencing global policy. They are searching for dignity as well, and they are getting constantly beaten down by high costs and health problems brought on by processed food (often the only food they can afford, filled with aspartame and MSG) and a contaminated environment. They are not the ones deepening the debt and struggle of others; they are mired in the struggle. However, there is a cold elite in this country that not only is removed from this struggle—they are actively involved in wiping out and taxing to death anyone who cannot make six figures or a high five figures (I will be lucky to be entering the low five figures this year). These people, through the media, aim to tighten the screws on the poor and lower middle class, and they have succeeded—the gap between the rich and the poor in the United States, the “Leader of the Free World,” has never been higher in its two hundred-plus year history. If this is “Leadership,” don’t show me what falling behind looks like—I don’t think I can take it.

True patriots should remember this day and demand a true investigation, an independent, thorough and nonpartisan effort at decoding what truly happened before and during September 11, 2001.

That would be a far better use of our resources than bailing out the usurious financial sector or the irresponsible automotive industry; better than subsidizing companies that pollute the planet and aim to poison and reduce the food supply with genetically-modified crops; better than throwing money at the landlords who own this country while millions are on the brink of homelessness; better than screwing over our brave injured veterans while awarding never-ending contracts to Blackwater and KBR and Lockheed while civilians die in a country that we shouldn’t be in to begin with. A real and honest investigation would ultimately result in an end to all this madness, and it is for that reason alone that it is not being convened: it would be too much of a threat to the rampant exploitation and inequality that has become the status quo of American life.

Today, the world gives its condolences, but the grief will never end until we stop permitting war as a way of generating profit for a select few while the rest of us suffer. The grief will never end while we allow mass deceit to go on unpunished. The grief will never end until we demand our leaders stand up to their corporate puppetmasters and work for the people who elected them. The grief will never end until we become our own leaders and reassess what true security, freedom, and prosperity is. So long as poverty has been allowed to exist unchecked in America, there has never been freedom. As the number of poor will explode in America due to the neoconservative’s policies, the poor must find their voice—and really stand up and be counted. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work. Incarcerating one quarter of our adult population doesn’t work (though the FEMA “concentration” camps exist, waiting for the next disaster).

The grief will never end: where there is an injustice anywhere, there is injustice everywhere.

But where there is money, some people are just not interested in ending the injustice.

The time is now. We can let politics and the struggle for power distract us from the real problems facing the country and globe—food shortages, housing inequities, poverty, a looming water crisis, natural disasters, crumbling infrastructure—or we can act now to work on these urgent challenges. These are tasks that will require the foresight, cooperation, resourcefulness, and determination long absent from the public stage. They will require austerity and discipline, but most of all they require an angry populace that will insist on accountability and be vigilant in pursuing it. This is what it means when people say, “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Anything else promotes the perpetuation of the plutocracy we currently have. The events of September 11, 2001 have been interpreted as the end of the “American Empire.” Besides the fact that a true democracy should not be interested in starting or maintaining empires, it must be said that the events of September 11, 2001 actually represented the failure of our Democratic system—which must be addressed with unfashionable attention to bona fide campaign finance reform, an end to racist gerrymandering (redistricting), term limits for all offices, stopping the practice of requiring identification to vote and other ways of preventing people from registering to vote, and an immediate end to the use of electronic voting machines, particularly those that would not permit a “paper trail” or written record of ballots cast. Until these very reasonable standards are met by a sincere democracy interested in counting the votes of all people, any election will be a complete farce.

Two films I hope to watch in the near future and will recommend to everyone are “Able Danger” and “Fabled Enemies.” “Able Danger” will discuss the program of that name that was one of the many “war games” being tested on that fateful day—but there are indications that the program is more sinister than a simple drill. Uncovering “Able Danger” should bring us right to the top of the military-industrial hierarchy that may have orchestrated most, if not all, of the attacks. “Fabled Enemies” is an Alex Jones production also probing who the real perpetrators are, and it promises to be a comprehensive investigation of some of the major players here and abroad.

It’s not enough to say “never forget” or “never again.”

We must begin to say, “never let them get away with it.”

September 1, 2008

The Politically Incorrect thing to say

Filed under: elections, national policy, politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — sesame seed @ 2:23 pm

In this “politically correct” age, we’re supposed to look beyond things, superficial things, like race and gender, and judge people by their merit. People even thinking of voting for McCain because Palin is part of the picture aren’t just politically incorrect, they’re showing a complete failure of imagination. Folks, Alaska is not the nation, and she isn’t experienced. (She also has poor taste in jewelry—come on, you want a VP who wears hoops? Not to be blunt, but is it Pennsylvania Avenue or South Philly? I know our culture is getting completely crass & trashed—before the fall of Rome, absurd decadence to the lowet-common-denominator—but there’s one thing to have a puppet government and other for them to cut their “populist” facade and be in appearance as elitist as they are in actuality.) Ovaries or testes, both parties show the same kind of betrayal—selling this country out to multinational corporations and big bankers while taking the carpet out from under the middle class and instituting fascist police-state surveillance and military mechanisms in order to get away with their injustice. These big bankers love neve-ending wars that drain infrastructure and resources so we are perpetual slaves to their money, their policies, their visions of the future. Those are the facts of the matter.

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