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 Author Thread: Poll: BP Oil Spill Response Rated Worse than Katrina
 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 13 (view)
Poll: BP Oil Spill Response Rated Worse than Katrina
Posted: 6/9/2010 1:52:33 PM

(This post has been specially formatted to fit your screen)

ah, thank you hard starboard. Am having major eye problems, and it has been extremely difficult to come here to read all. Hope other posters would do the same as you have done.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 38 (view)
Gaming the System
Posted: 5/31/2010 10:43:41 PM
the only personhood gaming the system is corporations. It's always easier to blame poor people or illegals, they have no way of changing the system.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 34 (view)
Offshore drilling vs. Alternative energy time to voice your opinion!
Posted: 5/1/2010 11:42:45 AM
this from dkos,
BP Oil Platform Spill Disaster is CHENEY'S Fault UPDATED
by ericlewis0
Digg this! Share this on Twitter - BP Oil Platform Spill Disaster is CHENEY'S Fault UPDATEDTweet this submit to reddit Share This
Fri Apr 30, 2010 at 0350 PM PDT

Mike Papantonio, an environmental lawyer on the Ed Show just now: An 'acoustic switch' would have prevented this catastrophe - it's a failsafe that shuts the flow of oil off at the source - they cost only about half a million dollars each, and are required in off-shore drilling platforms in most of the world...except for the United States. This was one of the new deregulations devised by****Cheney during his secret meetings with the oil industry at the beginning of Bush's first term.

(Will try to post Ed Show clip when it becomes available.)

UPDATE 4: Here's a link to the video of Papantino on the Ed Show - go to the 5 minute mark:

* ericlewis0's diary :: ::


Mr. Papantonio said he is amazed that this part of the story hasn't been reported yet - that it's really the key to the whole thing - that it's yet another classic example of Bush/Cheney Era deregulation wreaking havoc on the planet.

Many thanks to Ed Schultz for shining light on this. I'd say it's high time we brought Richard Cheney to justice. Cheers.

UPDATE 1: From followyourbliss in the comments: the oil platform in question was run by Halliburton, another factor that implicates Cheney. kjoftherock found more on this connection from

UPDATE 2: From the Wall Street Journal, an article titled Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device:

The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn't have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.

The lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig last week.

full article here:

deregulation has worked so well on so many levels, eh?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 367 (view)
A great day for America
Posted: 3/28/2010 10:45:14 PM
Look, it's been known for quite a long time that there was going to be shortage of medical doctors everywhere in the world. Even with great medical coverage, there are still waiting times and these were going to increase even within your old system. That is not the fault of poor people; that is poor planning by the previous governments, as far back as early 90's. Governments did not want to fund more seats for doctor training; they (at least here in Canada and I am sure the same thing happened in the US) even decreased funding somehow thinking that the growing population was not going to need healthcare.

Most doctors did not want an increase in funding as it meant they could hold the government hostage to their demands; nothing has changed and I don't think most doctors have changed their mindset on that.

Why did your government not foresee the need for more funding for medical training?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 68 (view)
Massachusetts Senate Race
Posted: 2/6/2010 11:57:06 AM

Again...reel in the insurance companies and health care costs...but do it without bankrupting your kids before they are even born!

so who do you suggest should rein in the insurance companies? If not the government, then who? The insurance companies have everyone by the short and curly, what to do!!!!

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 16 (view)
Why do people often vote against their own interests?
Posted: 2/2/2010 1:08:33 AM
End of October 09 I woke up with a migraine type headache and could not see to read in left eye with very high BP. Went to see family dr who referred me to my own glaucoma specialist for the next day. He found nothing and said to wait. I was back the next week and still found nothing, so made an appointment with my specialist's in-house optometrist. This wonderful newly graduated dr found I had something serious and sent me across the street to the best retinal specialist in BC; he found I had a hole in my macular, luckily a very tiny hole.

Had surgery early Dec, had to lie on my stomach 24/7 for 3 weeks. Terrible operation and terrible recovery time. I have seen this retinal specialist 5 times since having my operation. Found out last Wednesday, hole is completely healed, eye sight restored to normal. Yea, I get to drive again and get my life back. All my many prescriptions, surgery, appointments, special equipment for my bed and chair, all free. Can you imagine! I have much to be thankful for. We do have problems, no doubt about that, the government, both federally and provincially, is to blame for the waiting times. Our conversative government would like nothing better than to have American style health care, huge huge profits to be made from sickness, and I know how beholden conservative government is to Corporations.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 15 (view)
The proposed POF US Healthcare Bill
Posted: 2/1/2010 4:28:47 PM
^^^^^ Ah, Monty, I had a laugh when reading this. Langley Memorial Hospital, BC, has birthing centres, truly magnificent, wish they were available when I had my children. Well it turns out during one day last week that all centres were full, and moms-to-be who arrived at LMH were told to go to Tim Horton's (just down the road, although I think if I remember correctly, there is a Tim Horton's right in the hospital) and wait there. Of course, there is also a pizzeria right down the road too and some were told to go there. The comments on CBC's website were hilarious, hadn't laughed so hard in a long long time. Of course, being in labour, I wouldn't have been in the frame of mind to laugh, but still.....

CBC also commented that moms-to-be were told to leave home early during the Olympics b/c of traffic tie-ups, and closed roads, etc. This produced even more funny quips.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 8 (view)
The proposed POF US Healthcare Bill
Posted: 1/28/2010 6:18:38 PM

At which point the bill was adjusted to the standard doctor visit fee of $30

So that must mean the insurance company would collect $120! What a scam!!

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 1 (view)
Social Security
Posted: 12/8/2009 1:24:58 AM
I thought this article was important enough to post. All comments would be welcome. I know Harper here in Canada has this on his agenda somewhere down the line.

The (Very Real) Plot to Loot Your Social Security
by Dartagnan
Digg this! Share this on Twitter - The (Very Real) Plot to Loot Your Social SecurityTweet this submit to reddit Share This
Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 06:02:40 AM PST

Bink's Diary last Thursday highlighting Ben Bernanke's comments that "Social Security is where the money is" (and is thereby logical fodder for the chainsaw) seems to confirm William Greider's warning written this February for The Nation magazine:

Governing elites in Washington and Wall Street have devised a fiendishly clever "grand bargain" they want President Obama to embrace in the name of "fiscal responsibility." The government, they argue, having spent billions on bailing out the banks, can recover its costs by looting the Social Security system. They are also targeting Medicare and Medicaid. The pitch sounds preposterous to millions of ordinary working people anxious about their economic security and worried about their retirement years. But an impressive armada is lined up to push the idea--Washington's leading think tanks, the prestige media, tax-exempt foundations, skillful propagandists posing as economic experts and a self-righteous billionaire spending his fortune to save the nation from the elderly.

* Dartagnan's diary :: ::

This is ...The Plan our Overlords have devised to ensnare our President into taking more from the middle class to accomodate the continued comforts of the Gulfstream Guard. And sadly, it looks like Obama may be giving them a hearing, which Chris Bowers aptly describes as a "national suicide pact"(Bowers might also have termed it a "political suicide pact," given the fact that Seniors are already being demagogued on Health Care reform):

Congress and the president enact explicit long-term budgets for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that are sustainable, set limits on automatic spending growth, and reduce the relatively favorable budgetary treatment of these programs compared with other types of expenditures.
The programs be reviewed on a regular schedule by the Social Security and Medicare Trustees or the Congressional Budget Office to determine whether they will remain within budgeted amounts.
Significant long-term deviations from budgeted amounts trigger automatic adjustments in benefits, premiums, provider payments, or other revenues. These adjustments could only be over-ridden by an explicit vote of Congress and acceptance by the president.

By way of explanation, the outsize Federal budget deficits under Reagan necessitated hiking the FICA tax substantially in order to fund Social Security. Most of you see that deduction on your paychecks. The idea was to provide for the baby boomer generation when its massive ranks began to retire.

As result of these taxes, Social Security accumulated a vast, 2.5 trillion dollar surplus. Good news for a generation of retirees, right? Well, sorta. That money has been spent. When you hear someone talking about "Social Security in Crisis," that's what they're talking about. That's the "crisis." They're talking about the fact that Uncle Sam owes back that vast amount of money it has already spent.

Every year the Treasury has borrowed the surplus revenue collected by Social Security and spent the money on other purposes--whatever presidents and Congress decide, including more tax cuts for monied interests. The Social Security surplus thus makes the federal deficits seem smaller than they are--around $200 billion a year smaller. Each time the government dipped into the Social Security trust fund this way, it issued a legal obligation to pay back the money with interest whenever Social Security needed it to pay benefits.

* * *

That moment of reckoning is approaching. Uncle Sam owes these trillions to Social Security retirees and has to pay it back or look like just another deadbeat.

So, what to do? Ah, there's the rub!

But if the government cuts the benefits first, it can push off repayment far into the future, and possibly forever. Otherwise, government has to borrow the money by selling government bonds or extend the Social Security tax to cover incomes above the current $107,000 ceiling

That is what these "concerned" foundations and think-tanks, apparently now joined by the head of the Federal Reserve, are proposing. Cutting ordinary Americans' Benefits to pay for what the government already spent. And they're pressuring Obama to buy into it.

Obama is also playing footsie with the conservative advocates of "entitlement reform" (their euphemism for cutting benefits). The president wants the corporate establishment's support on many other important matters, and he recently promised to hold a "fiscal responsibility summit" to examine the long-term costs of entitlements. That forum could set the trap for a "bipartisan compromise" that may become difficult for Obama to resist, given the burgeoning deficit. If he resists, he will be denounced as an old-fashioned free-spending liberal.

Obama did in fact hold a Fiscal Responsibility Summit, by the way. Remember
that? Me neither.

So,who are the authors of this enterprise?

The authors of this plan are sixteen economists from Brookings and Heritage, joined by the American Enterprise Institute, the Concord Coalition, the New America Foundation, the Progressive Policy Institute and the Urban Institute. "Our group covers the ideological spectrum," they claim

Not exactly, as Greider points out.

All these organizations are corporate-friendly and dependent on big-money contributors. No liberal or labor thinkers need apply, though the group includes some formerly liberal economists like Robert Reischauer, Alice Rivlin and Isabel Sawhill


And who is its point man? A concerned billionaire named Pete Peterson. We're so lucky to have those concerned billionaires! Why, Newsweek just printed a heartwarming piece of self-adulation authored by Mr. Peterson, filled with such wondrous quotes as:

But immediately I began wondering: what do I do with $1 billion? The idea of trying to make the money grow felt empty to me.

He gave the "billion" to his own "foundation." What a soulful individual. The tender billionaire.... Oops? Not so tender?

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, is against nationalizing health care in the US. Health care is one of the single biggest holes in the US social safety net today with record numbers of Americans going bankrupt to pay for essential medical care. The foundation is also against clean energy incentives, social security expansion, and extended unemployment benefits. Basically, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation is against some of President Obama's most socially relevant reforms.

Step back and conceptualize this for for a minute. This is your money. It came out of your paycheck. It will continue to come out of your paycheck. Your money, that you've faithfully let slide into the government's pocket with the assumption that it was going to pay for the Social Security you get when you retire. This is WHAT THEY WANT TO LOOT to pay off their DEFICIT. Not by raising taxes on billionaires like Mr. Peterson. Not by raising taxes on behemoth corporations offshoring their grunt work to farmers in India. You. They want YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY. To pay for Bush's Trillion Dollar Iraq Fiasco, among other Bailouts of AIG, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, to name just a few.

Who exactly are the Greedy **stards pushing this?

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate."

They're the same people who caused the Economic Disaster to begin with:

AEI scholars are considered to be some of the leading architects of the second Bush administration's public policy.[2] More than twenty AEI scholars and fellows served either in a Bush administration policy post or on one of the government's many panels and commissions.[3] Among the prominent former government officials now affiliated with AEI are former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, now an AEI senior fellow; former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities Lynne Cheney, a longtime AEI senior fellow; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

Well that's the AEI. How about the "New America Foundation"?

The New America Foundation is a Washington D.C.-headquartered think tank which states that it "invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States ... With an emphasis on big ideas, impartial analysis and pragmatic solutions, New America invests in outstanding individuals whose ability to communicate to wide and influential audiences can change the country's policy discourse in critical areas, bringing promising new ideas and debates to the fore

Isn't it reassuring that we have our Billionaire class looking after our interests? The New America Foundation contains such luminaries as Eric Schmidt as its Chairman of the Board of Directors. Schmidt is the CEO of Google. It also boasts such ideologically diverse names as Laura Tyson and Francis Fukuyama, the repentant neocon and utterly clueless historian. And last but not least among its members is multimillionaire Christine Todd Whitman , she of EPA fame, whose last notable achievement was lying about the toxic air quality at Ground Zero so Wall Street could remain open for business while the firemen and police involved in the recovery effort continued to breathe fumes in a potentially toxic cauldron.

Aren't you glad these people are looking out for your Social Security money?

To be fair, New America also tolerates folks like Michael Lind who recognizes this bogus sleight of hand for what it is. Recognizing the argument that rather than our tax dollars, the Trust Fund contains

government bonds that are simply IOUs, a measure of how much the government owes the system." So government bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, a government that has never defaulted on its obligations in its entire existence since 1776, are not actual assets? Really?

Here's Peterson again, back in 2000, telling us it's time to tell the elderly they need to "adjust and prepare." So rich coming from a Billionaire:

"Our leaders face a choice. They can address the question of entitlements for the elderly while the economy is still booming and the budget is in the black, and before most baby boomers retire. Or they can delay until the window of opportunity closes. Either way, America will change course. If we act now, everyone, young and old, will have time to adjust and prepare."

Read the rest of the article and you'll see the "choice" is between cutting benefits or raising taxes, presumably on folks like Pete Peterson.

I have a Modest Proposal for Mr. Peterson. How about we nationalize 2 (just 2!) of your purported 2.8 Billion in Net Worth, and give 2 million Americans a check for $1000 each? It may not solve the deficit you folks created with your laissez-faire economic theories, but it might help out with the heating bills during this supposedly mild winter.

And I'm happy to give you time to "adjust and prepare."

And then we'll tap the folks who who make up the American Enterprise Institute, and so on. Because that's pretty much what you're proposing to do to us.

But let's let our Fed Chairman have the last word, shall we?

Bernanke worked to assure the committee he had nothing against old people. "I’m not in any way advocating unfair treatment of the elderly, who have worked all their lives and certainly deserve our support and help, but if there are ways to restructure or strengthen these programs that reduce costs, I think that’s extraordinarily important for us to try to achieve," he said.

Here it comes...

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 287 (view)
Sarah Palin Stepping Down As Alaska Gov. Running for Pres. 2012?
Posted: 11/25/2009 12:16:51 AM
Just read this and thought it was so........funny! Sara Palin has no idea just how much she has helped us Canadians keep our "socialized" health care system.

Palin tells Marg Delahunty Canada should 'dismantle' public health-care system

Module body

Tue Nov 24, 7:06 PM

By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON - Marg Delahunty has braved the wilds of the American Midwest to come face-to-face with Sarah Palin.

Comedian Mary Walsh's beloved character button-holed the former Alaska governor at a recent book-signing in Columbus, Ohio, only to be strong-armed away from Palin by a cabal of security guards.

The action was documented on Tuesday night's "This Hour Has 22 Minutes," but four days later, Walsh was still marvelling at her close encounter with one of the most controversial politicians on the planet.

"We told her we're from Canada, and we're just looking for a few words of encouragement for the Canadian conservatives who have worked so tirelessly to destroy the socialized medicare that we have," Walsh recalled Tuesday from St. John's.

"Four huge big burly guys started pushing, and I pushed back, but I got her attention, and she told us to keep the faith, something like that, and said we're all trying for the same thing."

After being kicked out of the book-signing, Walsh and her crew then waited outside at a loading dock close to where Palin's bus was parked. When Palin emerged from the Borders bookstore, Walsh said, Delahunty - dressed in a more toned-down version of her trademark warrior princess costume - called out to her.

"Hey, remember us, we're the Canadians! We came all the way here from Canada!" Delahunty yelled. "When we asked you that question, we didn't hear your answer."

Palin strolled over, looking down on Walsh and her crew to tell them that "Canada needs to dismantle its public health-care system and allow private enterprise to get involved and turn a profit."

"Basically, she said government should stop doing the work that private enterprise should do," Walsh said.

In addition to those comments, Walsh said, she found it equally bizarre that no one was allowed to ask Palin any questions at the book-signing.

"It was great fun, but also very strange," Walsh recalled.

"We're in a bookstore, at a public event, in a place one would think was a bastion of free speech. And no one was allowed to ask questions. What are they afraid of?"

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 27 (view)
New christian craze: Praying for Obama's death.
Posted: 11/23/2009 4:00:48 PM
One should wonder why the entire Psalms 109 was not included? From Dkos:

In Psalms 109, King David, who is a major figure in the Old Testament is lamenting. He says:

For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
They beset me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
In return for my love they accuse me,
even while I make prayer for them.
So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.

For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me? He goes on:

They say, Appoint a wicked man against him;
let an accuser stand on his right.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty;
let his prayer be counted as sin.
May his days be few;
may another seize his position.
May his children be orphans,
and his wife a widow.
May his children wander about and beg;
may they be driven out of the ruins they inhabit.
May the creditor seize all that he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil.

And then King David says,

Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love.
Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O Lord, have done it.
Let them curse, but you will bless.
Let my assailants be put to shame; may your servant be glad.
May my accusers be clothed with dishonour;
may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a mantle.
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save them from those who would condemn them to death.

For those would quote the Bible for their justifications, wouldn’t you think they can do a bit better than this?

The rich irony is that those who have chosen this Bible verse as a slogan clearly have no idea of the context and meaning of that which they quote.

The Bible clearly says the exact opposite of that which they imply.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 6 (view)
Veterans Make Up One in Four Homeless People in the United States
Posted: 11/16/2009 12:14:22 PM
This is interesting to read,

VA Sec. Shinseki: "I’m here to end veteran homelessness"
by Turkana

Mon Nov 16, 2009 at 0750 AM PST

One of the most insidious lies often disseminated by the corporate media, and still permeating much of public consciousness, is that Republicans care more than Democrats about our service personnel. That President Obama recently visited Arlington National Cemetery and Dover Air Force Base were important symbolic gestures which demonstrated a clear break from Bush Administration aloofness, but last week also saw a huge substantive move by the Obama Administration in actually providing actual support for veterans.

As reported by the Associated Press:

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on Tuesday unveiled a plan to end veterans’ homelessness in five years, saying that without action the improvements of recent years could be lost because of the bad economy.

Shinseki said the VA will spend $3.2 billion next year to reduce homelessness among veterans and is working to strengthen partnerships with other government agencies and service organizations. He said he recognizes that a goal of zero homeless veterans is ambitious but that he wants a high target so that everyone puts in their best efforts.

"My name is Shinseki and I’m here to end veteran homelessness," he said at the beginning of a speech to 1,200 service providers at a VA summit.

Veterans of the Bush Wars are suffering from myriad personal traumas, including dramatic rises in mental illness, including PTSD, and spiking rates of suicide and homelessness, with a doubling of homeless female veterans, alone. And with little wonder. The Bush Administration's treatment of our men and women in uniform was nothing less than abusive.

In the past week, Salon has been reporting criminal neglect and mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery, but I long ago began compiling a list of Bush Administration abuses of our military.

Overused and over-extended.

Christian Science Monitor: As of the beginning of 2006, Stop-Loss policy had prevented at least 50,000 troops from leaving the military when their service was scheduled to end.

USA Today: Multiple deployments are adding to the troops' stress.

United Press International: Nearly two-thirds of polled veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars consider the military over-extended.

Spiegel Online: Troops stationed in Germany are increasingly going AWOL rather than be cannon fodder for Bush's insanity.

New York Times: The army had to revise updwards its understated desertion rate.

Associated Press: The army now has the highest desertion rate since 1980.

Boston Globe: West Point graduates are leaving the military at the highest rate in three decades, as repeated tours of Iraq drive out some of the army's best young officers.

Los Angeles Times: Both Republican and Democratic governors warned Bush that using National Guard troops for his escalation was overburdening units already stretched to their limits.

Associated Press: Two army brigades had to forgo their desert training to accomodate Bush's escalation schedule.

Associated Press: Deployed single parents are having to fight to retain custody of their children.

CNN: In April of 2007, tours of duty were extended from 12 to 15 months.

New York Times: Republicans killed Senator Webb's attempt to give troops more down time between deployments.

Inadequately protected

New York Times: A 2006 study showed that eighty percent of marines killed from upper body wounds would have survived, if they'd had adequate body armor.

Newsweek: Troops have been having to improvise their own vehicle armor, because the military hasn't been providing the real thing.

Washington Post: Even as the escalation began, thousands of Army Humvees still lacked FRAG Kit 5 armor protection.

Inadequately cared for, when wounded or scarred.

Salon: The Veterans Administration knew as early as 2004 that there were serious problems with the conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center- and did nothing.

Salon: The Department of Defense also knew about the problems long before public exposure and the resulting outcry forced them to actually do something about it.

National Public Radio: Veterans are receiving fewer medical disability benefits now than before the war.

MSNBC: Up to twenty percent of Iraq Vets may be suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Washington Post: A Pentagon task force concluded that the available medical care for those troops suffering psychological problems is "woefully inadequate."

TXCN News: Soldiers were provided such inadequate supplies of water, on the battlefield, that it was literally making them ill.

Actually being sent back into battle, when medically unfit.

Salon: Wounded soldiers classified as medically unfit for battle were being reclassified as fit, so they could be sent back into battle.

Salon: These reclassifications were done to provide enough manpower for Bush's escalation.

Salon: Even soldiers with acute Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder were being sent back to Iraq.

The bottom line.

Stacy Bannerman, in Foreign Policy in Focus:

Pentagon statistics reveal that the suicide rate for U.S. troops who have served in Iraq is double what it was in peacetime.

Soldiers who have served -- or are serving -- in Iraq are killing themselves at higher percentages than in any other war where such figures have been tracked. According to a report recently released by the Defense Manpower Data Center, suicide accounted for over 25 percent of all noncombat Army deaths in Iraq in 2006. One of the reasons for "the higher suicide rate in Iraq [is] the higher percentage of reserve troops," said military analyst James F. Dunnigan.

CBS News:

About 38 percent of soldiers and 31 percent of Marines report psychological conditions such as brain injury and PTSD after returning from deployment. Among members of the National Guard, the figure is much higher — 49 percent — with numbers expected to grow because of repeated and extended deployments.

Journal of the American Medical Association, reported that:

The prevalence of reporting a mental health problem was 19.1% among service members returning from Iraq compared with 11.3% after returning from Afghanistan and 8.5% after returning from other locations (P

Washington Post:

Suicides among active-duty soldiers in 2007 reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980, according to a draft internal study obtained by The Washington Post. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006.

At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began. Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

Another new study shows the rate of PTSD among Iraq troops could be as high as 35%. The Bush Administration pushed our service personnel beyond human endurance. With this unprecedented pledge, President Obama and Secretary Shinseki are demonstrating what it really means to support our troops!

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 37 (view)
Did the President LIE on September 9, 2009 ... in his speech to Congress?
Posted: 11/1/2009 1:23:49 AM

but the Republican plan has not been given a hearing since July
Where can I find a copy of this plan?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 22 (view)
Conservative Vs Liberals
Posted: 10/27/2009 10:08:46 AM

Take a read of this and say what? I remember the recession in early 80's and how many in Alberta and BC lost their homes and the shirts off their backs. I lived in Calgary at that time and it was horrible. The oil companies were raking in huge profits all the while saying they were in the hole. The bubble hasn't burst yet but it will.

Canada's sub-prime mortgage time bomb
By Murray Dobbin
| October 22, 2009

What do the mid-recession housing boom and the Harper Conservatives’ rise in the polls have in common? Answer: the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s massive sub-prime mortgage scheme that is keeping up the appearance of an economic recovery.

Reading the newspapers these days you have to wonder whether Canada was on another planet when the global credit crisis hit. House prices have actually increased in some provinces and now there is a shortage of houses for sale in southern Ontario. Credit is flowing everywhere.

Ottawa: The biggest sub-prime lender in the world

But what few Canadians realize is that the housing market has avoided collapse (prices are down 32 per cent in the U.S.) because the Harper Conservatives directed the CMHC to change the mortgage rules to effectively make the Canadian government the biggest sub-prime lender in the world. What’s almost as alarming as this reckless policy is that no one in the financial media is talking about it, even though everyone knows the facts. I was alerted to the scandal by David Lepoidevin, a financial advisor with National Bank Financial, in a warning letter to his clients. (Blogger Jonathon Tonge has all the CMHC charts and graphs on his blog.)

The facts are that over 90 per cent of existing mortgages in Canada are “securitized” -- that’s the practice of pooling mortgages (or other assets) and then issuing new securities backed by the pool -- MBSs, or Mortgage Backed Securities. That’s what happened with the sub-prime mortgages in the U.S. which (because the whole pool was so diversified) received triple A ratings by the rating agencies. Losses around the world amounted to hundred of billions of dollars.

Credit is still tight in the U.S. because no private investor has the stomach for such risky MBSs. That’s because those losses were private and not back-stopped by any government. In Canada, mortgages have been securitized for years. The Canadian-issued securitizations are called National Housing Act, Mortgage-Backed Securities. Unlike the failed U.S. pools, says Lepoidevin, “In order to find buyers for securitized mortgage pools, the Government of Canada has put guarantees on them” by directing CMHC to guarantee all Canadian mortgages.

So long as borrowing requirements were tight, the percentage of loans that were securitized remained modest. But in 2007 the Harper government allowed the CMHC to dramatically change its rules: it dropped the down payment requirement to zero percent and extended the amortization period to 40 years. In light of the mortgage meltdown in the US, Finance Minister Flaherty moderated those rules in August 2008 (it’s now 5 per cent down and 35 years). But these are still relatively very loose requirements and securitization has taken off.

By the end of 2007 there were $138 billion in NHA securitized pools outstanding and guaranteed by CMHC -- 17.8 per cent of all outstanding mortgages. By June 30, 2009, that figure was $290 billion, a figure Lepoidevin says “…exceeds the total value of mortgages offered by CMHC in its 57 years of existence!” CMHC’s stated goal was to guarantee $340 billion by the end of this year and is on track to reach $500 billion by the end of 2010. Total mortgage credit in Canada will grow by 12-14 per cent of GDP in 2009.

Keeping credit flowing: At what cost?

In an effort to prop up the real estate market in 2008 (when affordability nosedived) the Harper government directed the CMHC to approve as many high-risk borrowers as possible and to keep credit flowing. CMHC described these risky loans as “…high ratio homeowner units approved to address less-served markets and/or to serve specific government priorities.” The approval rate for these risky loans went from 33 per cent in 2007 to 42 per cent in 2008. By mid-2007 average equity as a share of home value was down to 6 per cent -- from 48 per cent in 2003. At the peak of the U.S. housing bubble, just before it burst, house prices were five times the average American income; in Canada today that ratio is 7.4:1 almost 50 per cent higher.

This high-risk policy actually prevents the natural playing out of the recession -- that is, the purging of the excesses of the previous boom period. CMHC’s easy-money resulted in a 9.3 per cent increase in Canadian household debt between June 2008 and June 2009.

Even bank economists admit to being concerned about a housing bubble. In a September research note, Scotiabank economists Derek Holt and Karen Cordes said, “…lenders have been scrambling to get enough product to put into the federal government’s Insured Mortgage Purchase Program over the months, and that may have translated into excessively generous financing terms.” Holt suggested that in two or three years -- or whenever the Bank of Canada increases interest rates -- many of these mortgages would be at risk.

The banks themselves have taken on virtually no new risk. According to CMHC numbers in the two years from the beginning of 2007 to January 2009 Canadian banks increased their total mortgage credit outstanding by only 0.01 per cent. Fully 90.5 per cent of all growth in total Canadian mortgage credit outstanding since 2007 has been accounted for by Mortgage Backed Securities. Of course, the banks have no interest in saying no if you have qualified for a securitized CMHC loan -- because they bear no risk if you default.

If that sounds like sub-prime mortgages, it should. Sub prime is any loan below prime. If a bank refuses you a loan, and CMHC gives you one, the loan is sub-prime. As Lepoidevin says in his warning letter, “Every single U.S. lender specializing in sub-prime has gone bankrupt. The largest sub-prime lender in the world is now the Canadian government.”

The high price of political cowardice

This is the ticking time bomb Prime Minister Stephen Harper has tossed at the Canadian taxpayer. Why? So that he can maintain the fiction that he is a good economic manager and win a majority in the next election.

The problem is no opposition political party wants to expose the looming disaster and risk being responsible for a dramatic fall in house prices. As Liberal finance critic John McCallum told the Globe and Mail: “I don't think we want the government to be rationing Canadian home-buying.”

The price of political cowardice will be very high. And in the end the housing bubble will burst anyway, putting taxpayers on the hook for tens of billions of dollars in defaulted mortgages.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 46 (view)
Van Jones resigns...
Posted: 10/27/2009 12:28:36 AM

Two years later, Jones launched the Ella Baker Center, an Oakland, Calif., based "strategy and action center" which states that it tries to "promote positive alternatives to violence and incarceration."
And that makes him a communist?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 19 (view)
Conservative Vs Liberals
Posted: 10/27/2009 12:23:25 AM

Now.... if the above scenario does indeed play out.... who should I be most dissapointed with? The oil companies? The banks? Or... just maybe... my government?
your conservative government of course. They are the ones who made the rule changes. And yes, many are going to lose their homes. The housing bubble will burst here in Canada in about 2 years and what is Harper going to do then?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 326 (view)
Right wing radio host gets waterboarded for 7 seconds. Admits it is torture
Posted: 9/30/2009 7:58:29 PM

waterboarded was part of their training

not anymore, too many soldiers were suffering brain damage.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 17 (view)
Most red ink ever: $9 trillion over next decade
Posted: 9/27/2009 10:56:29 PM

I had no idea we were interupting nap time. Speaking of which, check y'all later.

You find this so boorish, eh?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 13 (view)
US ranked 37th in Health Care!
Posted: 9/27/2009 10:54:07 PM

Why with all of this research being done does cancer even exist any more?

What would the pharmaceutical companies plus the CDC, College of Physicians, do if cures were found for cancer and many other diseases? It's in their best interests for people to be sick, in some cases perpetually.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 53 (view)
What is happening with ACORN?
Posted: 9/22/2009 11:55:48 PM
Well go after ACORN and see who else gets dragged down,
As Ryan Grim reports on HuffPo today, Rep. Alan Grayson had the same thought:

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman both popped up quickly, with 20 fraud cases between them, and the longer list is a Who's Who of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors.

The bill -- crafted as a motion to recommit -- has already cleared the Senate and House, so what Rep. Grayson intends is to file a list of all applicable entities in the legislative history that goes along with the bill so that judges can reference it when determining whether a company should be denied federal funds.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 12 (view)
Socialized Medicine
Posted: 9/18/2009 12:01:12 AM
Still do not want socialized medicine?

Many Employers to Raise Cost of Health Benefits, Survey Finds

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By David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Though Americans who already have medical coverage may be wary of change, a new survey indicates that they may be hard-pressed to escape it -- even in the absence of health-care reform.
This Story
As businesses contend with rising costs, many workers face an erosion of health benefits next year, according to an annual survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust.

Forty percent of employers surveyed said they are likely to increase the amount their workers pay out of pocket for doctor visits. Almost as many said they are likely to raise annual deductibles and the amount workers pay for prescription drugs.

Nine percent said they plan to tighten eligibility for health benefits; 8 percent said they plan to drop coverage entirely. Forty-one percent of employers said they are "somewhat" or "very" likely to increase the amount employees pay in premiums -- though that would not necessarily mean employees would pay a higher percentage of the premiums. Employers could simply be passing along the same share of the overall increase that they are doing this year.

The authors of the study said the findings underscore the need for federal action to rein in costs.

The survey is one of several reports providing fresh ammunition to President Obama as he struggles to overhaul the nation's health-care system. One of his biggest challenges has been winning over Americans who are satisfied with their existing coverage.

A major business lobby weighed in Tuesday, saying that if current trends continue, annual health-care costs for employers will rise 166 percent over the next decade -- to $28,530 per employee.

"Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option," said Antonio M. Perez, chief executive of Eastman Kodak and a leader of the Business Roundtable. "These costs are unsustainable and would put millions of workers at risk," Perez said in a statement.

Rather than letting the trends go unchecked, employers will probably adopt a variety of cost-saving measures, said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, an alliance of corporations. Those steps could include giving employees financial incentives to participate in weight-loss programs, order prescription drugs by mail and undergo health assessments, she said. In addition, before workers pursue costly procedures such as back surgery, they could be required to receive briefings that explain the potential downside of the treatment, Darling said.

Almost two-thirds of corporations surveyed by the Mercer consulting firm plan to call on employees to pay a greater share of health plan costs next year, according to a report last week.

The Kaiser Family Foundation survey, released Tuesday, obtained in-depth responses from more than 2,000 private firms and non-federal public employers. The foundation focuses on health issues; its collaborator, the Health Research and Educational Trust, is affiliated with the American Hospital Association. Annual premium increases for families, which totaled 13 percent in 2002 and 2003, have held steady at 5 percent since 2007, the groups reported. Premiums for single coverage did not rise significantly in 2009, breaking a long-standing trend.

However, premiums have continued to rise faster than wages and overall inflation, the survey found. Though family premiums for 2009 rose 5 percent, during the 12-month period ending in April, general inflation fell 0.7 percent.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 20 (view)
What is happening with ACORN?
Posted: 9/17/2009 11:50:37 PM

As for ACORN, nobody is apologizing for them or suggesting that they've done nothing wrong. Any group that large will have individuals in it who do bad things. The issue is one of proportion. If someone ostensibly opposes government waste and unfairness in tax policy yet spends most of their time focusing on a tiny group that helps the poor and receives a miniscule amount of government money -- all while ignoring or even revering the enormous, omnipotent industries which eat up trillions in taxpayer waste and dwarf the impact of ACORN by many, many magnitudes -- then any rational person would question what the real motives are (and the claim that ACORN is "Now Eligible for up to $8 billion" is pure Beckian deceit; they (like every other group in the U.S.) are theoretically "eligible" for any stimulus funds in the areas in which they work, but they haven't received a penny of it, and the chances they'd receive all or most of it are, and always have been, zero).

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 19 (view)
What is happening with ACORN?
Posted: 9/17/2009 11:48:52 PM
Why are so many Republicans fixated on ACORN? Is it because this agency helps poor people? Don't you care about the poor?

ACORN has received a grand total of $53 million in federal funds over the last 15 years -- an average of $3.5 million per year. Meanwhile, not millions, not billions, but trillions of dollars of public funds have been, in the last year alone, transferred to or otherwise used for the benefit of Wall Street. Billions of dollars in American taxpayer money vanished into thin air, eaten by private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, led by Halliburton subsidiary KBR.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 15 (view)
Most red ink ever: $9 trillion over next decade
Posted: 9/17/2009 2:14:56 AM
If US taxpayers want to know where their taxes are going,

CIA Experiments on U.S. Soldiers Linked to Torture Program
by Valtin
Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 0756 PM PDT
Originally posted at The Public Record and Truthout
A number of new articles have been published recently that have highlighted evidence of illegal human experimentation on U.S.-held "terrorism" prisoners undergoing torture. These articles followed the release of a "white paper" by Physicians for Human Rights [PHR], Aiding Torture: Health Professionals’ Ethics and Human Rights Violations Demonstrated in the May 2004 Inspector General’s Report.
This report looks at those recent charges, and reveals that experiments by a CIA researcher on human subjects undergoing SERE training went unreported in the legal memos the Bush administration drafted to approve their torture program. It will also connect major military and intelligence figures to the SERE experiments, and tie some of them to major science and "experimental" directorates at the CIA and Special Operations Command.
An article by veteran journalist William Fisher, looking at PHR's white paper, asks, "Did physicians and psychologists help the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency develop a new research protocol to assess and refine the use of waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques?"
A column at Scientific American quotes PHR's medical advisor on the subject:
[PHR] also raises questions about the ethics of medical note-taking during some of the interrogations. "Medical doctors and psychologists colluded with the CIA to keep observational records about waterboarding, which approaches unethical and unlawful human experimentation," Scott Allen, lead study author and PHR medical advisor, said in a prepared statement.
Finally, a story in Wednesday's UK Guardian discussed the significance of the charges of unlawful human experimention:
Human experimentation without consent has been prohibited in any setting since 1947, when the Nuremberg Code, which resulted from the prosecution of Nazi doctors, set down 10 sacrosanct principles. The code states that voluntary consent of subjects is essential and that all unnecessary physical and mental suffering should be avoided.
The Geneva conventions also ban medical experiments on prisoners and prisoners of war, which they describe as "grave breaches".
After describing how "[h]ealth professionals in the Office of Medical Services and psychologist contractors engaged in designing and monitoring" torture, as "selecting and then rationalizing" the use of various harmful interrogation techniques, the PHR report goes on to say:
By requirement, all interrogations were monitored in real-time by health professionals. Previous reports, including the ICRC report, document allegations that a medical device called a pulse oximeter (a device to measure oxygen saturation in a subject’s blood) was placed on the finger of a detainee to monitor the effectiveness of his respiration during waterboarding. In this way, medical professionals were used to calibrate physical and mental pain and suffering....
The possibility that health professionals monitored techniques to assess and improve their effectiveness, constituting possible unethical human experimentation, urgently needs to be thoroughly investigated.
An Experimental "Battle Lab"
The CIA's Office of Medical Services was supposed to be in charge of monitoring "detainee" health under interrogation. However their instructions, described in an annex to the CIA Inspector General report, exemplifies the dual nature of the "monitoring," as this example from the report shows:
If there is any possibility that ambient temperatures are below the thermoneutral range, they should be monitored and the actual temperatures documented. [2 or 3 redacted lines]
At ambient temperatures below 18 [degrees]C/64 [degrees]F, detainees should be monitored for the development of hypothermia. [Four redacted paragraphs]
Rather than make changes to ambient temperatures, to prevent harm to prisoners, medical professionals are instructed to monitor and document the situation. The torture techniques used by SERE are known to cause endocrine and metabolic disorders (see section on CIA research below), prisoners tortured and subjected to cold are at higher risk of hypothermia, which for a normal person can set in at an ambient temperature of 60 degrees F. The monitoring in this case seems to be as much about experimentation as it is any concern for a prisoner's health. (For what other possible reason could this section be mostly redacted?) Parallels to the experiments on hypothermia by Nazi scientists at Dachau are chilling, as is the fact that some of these scientists werelater imported, along with their data, to the United States.
Questions were raised around possible human experimentation in an article last May at Firedoglake on "The Zubaydah Torture 'Experiment,'" noting, "Of the many fascinating details coming out of [the May 2009 Senate] Judiciary hearing... the references to the application of an experiment by the ex-SERE CIA contractor, most likely James Mitchell, seemed especially important."
The experimentation was not limited to "high-value" CIA prisoners. Last April, another article at Firedoglake reported how the Senate Armed Services Committee report (PDF) on prisoner abuse described the creation of an experimental "battle lab" at Guantanamo, demonstrating support for the torture program from the main Army intelligence school at Ft. Huachuca.
According to the Levin report, in August 2002, "COL John P. Custer, then-assistant commandant of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona" conducted a review of interrogations operations at Guantanamo. Custer called Guantanamo "America's 'Battle Lab'" in the war on terror, and recommended combining FBI and military techniques to extract "information by exploiting the detainee's vulnerabilities." The "Battle Lab" label stuck, though some, like Colonel Britt Mallow, of the Criminal Investigative Task Force, objected.
MG Dunlavey and later MG Miller referred to GTMO as a "Battle Lab" meaning that interrogations and other procedures there were to some degree experimental, and their lessons would benefit DOD in other places. While this was logical in terms of learning lessons, I personally objected to the implied philosophy that interrogators should experiment with untested methods, particularly those in which they were not trained.
Later, Dunlavey denied using the term, and Miller testified he couldn't remember.
Pre-9/11 Experiments on SERE Torture
The experiments on the effects of SERE-torture techniques began even earlier -- upon SERE trainees themselves. An April 2009 AlterNet article reported on the history of experimentation on soldier subjects undergoing SERE training. (SERE is a military program, the acronym standing for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape.) The article explained how the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and the CIA "ignored a wealth of other published information about the effects of SERE 'stress inoculation,'" citing a June 2000 article, "Assessment of Humans Experiencing Uncontrollable Stress: The SERE Course," in Special Warfare (PDF). Special Warfare is "The Professional Bulletin of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School" (emphases added to following quote):
As shown in the charts on page 7, SERE stress caused significant changes in students' hormone levels. Recorded changes in cortisol levels were some of the greatest ever documented in humans. In some cases, the changes noted among the trainees were greater than the changes noted in patients undergoing heart surgery....
Changes in testosterone levels were similarly remarkable: In some cases, testosterone dropped from normal levels to castration levels within eight hours.
The Alternet article also quoted from a May 2000 article in Biological Psychiatry, Hormone profiles in humans experiencing military survival training (emphasis added):
Conclusions: The stress of military survival training produced dramatic alterations in cortisol, percent free cortisol, testosterone, and thyroid indices. Different types of stressors had varying effects on the neuroendocrine indices. The degree of neuroendocrine changes observed may have significant implications for subsequent responses to stress.
Looking beyond more than physiological symptoms, other studies have looked at purely psychological data. Consider this oft-quoted study from the August 2001 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry, which looked at dissociative symptoms, such as depersonalization, derealization, psychic or emotional numbing, and general cognitive confusion, produced in military subjects exposed to SERE torture techniques (emphasis added):
The current study was designed to assess the nature and prevalence of dissociative symptoms in healthy humans experiencing acute, uncontrollable stress during U.S. Army survival training. METHOD: In study 1, 94 subjects completed the Clinician-Administered Dissociative States Scale after exposure to the stress of survival training. In study 2, 59 subjects completed the Brief Trauma Questionnaire before acute stress and the dissociative states scale before and after acute stress. A randomly selected group of subjects in study 2 completed a health problems questionnaire after acute stress. RESULTS: In study 1, 96% of subjects reported dissociative symptoms in response to acute stress. Total scores, as well as individual item scores, on the dissociation scale were significantly lower in Special Forces soldiers compared to general infantry troops. In study 2, 42% of subjects reported dissociative symptoms before stress and 96% reported them after acute stress.
Other research results include the effects of SERE-style torture upon the immune system and other biological markers. The findings regarding high levels of cortisol upon subjects was corroborated by a SERE psychologist at the Navy Brunswick, Maine, SERE school, who -- according to an unclassified, undated Talking Paper from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency -- found "empirical medical data... [of] elevated levels of cortisol in the brain stem caused by stress levels incurred during water-boarding." The Brunswick school subsequently discontinued waterboarding as part of its SERE training, as it created a "negative learning environment." The other Navy SERE school, in North Island, California, refuses to eliminate exposure to waterboarding as part of its training program, despite the opposition of JPRA and the other SERE schools, which believe it can induce a "learned helplessness" state in students.
SERE Research and the Development of the Torture Program
One of the lead researchers in a number of these studies is Yale psychiatrist Charles A. Morgan, III. According to one source, "Over the past 10 years, Dr. Morgan has served as a Subject Matter Expert to the US Special Operations Command." But at a June 2004 symposium on "The Nature and Influence of Intuition in Law Enforcement," sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI, and the American Psychological Association, Dr. Morgan is listed as affiliated with "Behavioral Science, CIA."
Additionally, in the Information Science Board (ISB) document, Educing Information -- which was heavily drawn upon by President Obama's task force on interrogations, for recommendations on the interrogations issue -- Dr. Morgan is identified as a member of the 11-person "Government Experts Committee," and listed as affiliated with the Intelligence Technology Innovation Center (ITIC). According to Intelligence Online, ITIC is "a research organization under the CIA's authority," which "answers directly to the CIA's Science and Technology directorate."
The Obama Interrogations Task Force recently made clear they found a lot to value in the ISB study (emphasis added):
The Task Force concluded... that the United States could improve its ability to interrogate the most dangerous terrorists by forming a specialized interrogation group, or High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), that would bring together the most effective and experienced interrogators and support personnel from across the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense and law enforcement. The creation of the HIG would build upon a proposal developed by the Intelligence Science Board.
Whatever the fate of the HIG, what is noteworthy here is that the Office of Technical Services (OTS), which was cited in the recently released 2004 CIA Inspector General report as having vetted the aggressive SERE interrogation techniques, is, along with the ITIC, also a part of the Science and Technology directorate. OTS, formerly the Technical Services Division (or Technical Services Staff), was the branch of the CIA in charge of torture and assassination. It was also in charge of the experimental mind control and interrogation program known as MKULTRA.
Dr. Morgan's online profile states that between 1998 and 2002 he received over $400,000 in research grants from the Army and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for studies on "Psychobiological Assessment of High Intensity Military Training" and "Neuro endocrine assessment of Survival School Training." A 1977 Washington Post expose -- those were the days of scandalous revelations surrounding the CIA's MKULTRA program -- describes CIA use of ONR to funnel funds for secret experiments in the 1950s and 1960s. The same relationship was also explored during a 1977 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. This is not evidence that Morgan's research was paid for by the CIA, but along with his institutional affiliation, it is suggestive of possible CIA involvement.
While it is unknown to what degree the CIA was directly involved in the SERE research (outside of Dr. Morgan's affiliation), Special Operations Command reportedly was a major supporter.
The co-author of the Special Warfare article referenced above, and working with Dr. Morgan on a number of other SERE research papers looking at physiological and psychological effects of SERE techniques, was Gary Hazlett, a clinical psychologist with the Psychological Applications Directorate at U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Moreover, Morgan and Hazlett cited "the approval and support [for their research] of Lieutenant General William Tangney, Major General Kenneth Bowra, Major General William G. [B]oykin and many others..."
Maj. Gen. Bowra retired from the military in 2003, after serving as Commanding General of Army Special Operations Command South, U.S. Southern Command. Following the military, he went to work as Senior Program Director with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, serving as national laboratory liaison to U.S. Joint Forces Command, J9 Directorate. Another source states that currently Bowra is senior mentor/concept developer at USJFCOM J9 for Joint Urban Operations and Homeland Security experimentation. J9 stands for the Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Directorate (JCD&E). It "leads the development of emerging joint concepts, conducts and enables joint experimentation, and coordinates DoD JCD&E efforts in order to provide joint capabilities to support the current and future joint force commander in meeting security challenges."
The possible involvement of USJFCOM's J9 in research upon SERE follows upon the revelation, discussed above, that CIA's OTS, part of CIA's Science and Technology directorate, was heavily involved in the implementation of the SERE techniques for use by the CIA. While the use of the term "experimentation" appears to have a broad meaning in military usage, beyond that of conducting scientific experiments, given the charges surrounding human experimentation upon torture victims, any connections between these secretive "experimental" directorates and the SERE torture program, or research upon it, is worrisome.
Maj. Gen. Boykin was the controversial former commander of Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who resigned over statements that indicated he saw the "war on terror" as a religious war. At the time he was Special Operations commander at Fort Bragg, according to a recent New York Times article, SERE psychologist James Mitchell was completing his last military assignment as "psychologist to an elite special operations unit in North Carolina." Boykin previously served as CIA Deputy Director of Special Activities, and in June 2003, became Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under Donald Rumsfeld right-hand man, Stephen Cambone.
Lt. Gen. Tangney is yet another former commanding general at Army Special Operations Command. Also retired from the military, he is currenly Senior Vice President for Intelligence, Security, and Special Operations, at Future Technologies, Inc., a supplier of, among other things, a "well-developed global network of experienced intelligence, security and special operations professionals" working with Special Operations, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and other military customers.
While Dr. Morgan appears to be well-connected among the military and intelligence elite, it is important to remember that there is no reason to conclude that Dr. Morgan or his co-researchers have ever been involved in torture or experiments meant to be used for torture. (We cannot say the same for CIA or military medical or psychological personnel, however.) In fact, it is possible that Dr. Morgan's research has led him to oppose coercive interrogation techniques, as his published research documents the debilitating effects of SERE torture, which utilized against a prisoner could only be considered cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, if not torture. (Although, at the 2007 convention of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Morgan indicated he was against the idea of removing psychologists from national security interrogations, which was being considered in a motion before APA at that time.)
A 2007 New York Times article quotes Dr. Morgan:
Many SERE veterans were appalled at the "reverse engineering" of their methods, said Charles A. Morgan III, a Yale psychiatrist who has worked closely with SERE trainers for a decade.
"How did something used as an example of what an unethical government would do become something we do?" he asked.
Dr. Morgan's comments appear to put him at odds with other members of the CIA's Science and Technology directorate, particularly those who work for OTS, as well as individuals within the Pentagon and Special Operations Command, who have been tied to elements of the U.S. torture program.
The Suppression of Research on SERE in the OLC Memos
What is clear is that the CIA and the Pentagon had plenty of experimental evidence from the peer-reviewed, published research of Dr. Morgan and his associates (and possibly others), both before and after 9/11, that SERE techniques had serious, debilitating effects on individuals subjected to them. As this research is never cited in any of the Office of Legal Counsel memos issued to the CIA around their torture program, it appears such research was deliberately withheld from government attorneys as the CIA sought approval for the use of SERE-style torture. Nor was this obscure research, but had been funded by the government at a minimum of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and promoted by some of the Pentagon's highest generals.
The frenzied search for data on waterboarding, sleep deprivation, isolation, confinement in a small box, etc., to submit to OLC attorneys making legal determinations on whether proposed interrogation techniques constituted torture, was a kabuki organized by the CIA. The OLC attorneys involved -- John Yoo, Stephen Bradbury, Jay Bybee, and others -- were witting or unwitting partners in suppression of CIA research on torture (as future investigations will disclose). Given the participation of members of the Office of the Vice President, particularly David Addington and Vice President Cheney himself, in the promulgation of the torture program, and the composition of the memos, it seems likely they were also involved in the suppression of this material. As a result, the memos produced authorizing the "enhanced interrogation techniques" were composed as the result of fraud and bad faith, the result of a criminal conspiracy to implement illegal torture techniques.
The public response to the recent "white paper" by Physicians for Human Rights shows there is great interest in following up on charges of human experimentation upon torture victims of the U.S. government. The Congress and Department of Justice should move swiftly to initiate full, open investigations and charges against those involved.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 10 (view)
Socialized Medicine
Posted: 9/17/2009 2:03:07 AM

the latest Senate Finance Committee compromise bill would reportedly allow insurance companies to charge most employers more to insure women employees - this while the current system that Republicans are defending includes rescission which itself allows for pre-existing conditions to include being beaten by your spouse or being pregnant.

Every woman in this country supporting the Republicans and the status quo is directly or indirectly also supporting canceling or precluding insurance for battered women or pregnant women.

This is what the Republicans want?????

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 21 (view)
Older women wanting caves?
Posted: 9/16/2009 12:06:50 PM
ah Serenity, I am in the same boat as you. I have been trying to analyze it and can't seem to come up with an answer. Much like yourself, I don't know if it is my Lyme, or my hormones or my age or too much stress. It is really confounding me. I talked with Lyme Dr. yesterday and he feels stress is the culprit. I think it is more than that.

I have always been very social, love going out and have always been very busy looking forward to whatever comes up. There has been a great deal of stress in the last few months, perhaps I really do need to stay quiet and stop thinking and rest. Now that I am retired, one would think I would welcome this advantage, and yet all I want to do is retreat. If you or anyone else come up with an answer, I would love to hear it.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 5 (view)
Socialized Medicine
Posted: 9/15/2009 12:19:03 PM

We treat our "most vulnerable" the way every other country treats them, with socialized medicine. It's called Medicaid.

And oh yes, Medicaid is being cut back drastically in some of your states. Lots of info out there that says the mentally ill will be left out there on their own. More and more people will be left out there on their own. It's only to get worse.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 16 (view)
Approval Ratings??
Posted: 9/10/2009 11:50:56 AM
^^^^^^ reading this, I am blind with rage, I can hardly see straight. Where is the outrage from the Republicans on this site regarding this? Is this what family values is all about.....hide behind religion to further their own agenda.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 59 (view)
Tom Delay ..... Some ....New Questions for the President
Posted: 9/2/2009 5:58:14 PM
paranoid xenophobic racists
believe stuff like this, and all it will take is one crazy
paranoid xenophobic racists
to act out the wishes of the people behind this stunt. Crazy to believe this indeed!!!

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 100 (view)
Free Speech in Jeopardy
Posted: 8/22/2009 4:52:20 PM
If this keeps up, how do you think businesses are going to be able to pay such premiums or will they be willing to? How about your own premiums? This is nuts!!! Insurance companies are bankrupting your country. What a way to go!


Health Insurance Premiums May Double by 2020
By Todd Neale, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: August 21, 2009
Click here to rate this report

Health insurance premiums, which doubled in the last decade, will nearly double again in the next 10 years, placing an increasing burden on families and employers if costs continue to grow at the current rate, a Commonwealth Fund report predicts.

In 2008, the average employer-sponsored insurance premium -- including the employer and family shares -- was $12,298, which represents an increase of 119% from 1999, according to the report.

That figure is expected to grow to $23,842 by 2020 if current trends continue.

Because premiums are expected to increase faster than median incomes, it will become harder for individuals to keep their insurance, according to lead author Cathy Schoen, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, and colleagues.

"Without a change in course," they predicted, "projections of premium trends indicate that middle- as well as lower-income families may well be priced out of the insurance market, or forced to sacrifice future wage increases to hold onto shrinking health benefits."

Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Insurance Component, the researchers found that employer-sponsored insurance premiums increased by an average of 33% from 2003 to 2008. Thirty-six states had an increase of 30% or more, which outpaced the 29% growth in median income from 1999 to 2008.

In 2003, only three states had an average premium that exceeded 18% of the average household income. By 2008 the number had risen to 18 states, mostly in the South and Southwest.

Healthcare reforms -- including insurance market changes, payment incentives for high-value care, and other proposals could slow the increase in healthcare costs by 1% to 1.5% a year, the authors wrote, shaving $2,571 to $3,759 from the expected average insurance premium in 2020.

The report cited a May letter to President Barack Obama from a coalition comprising the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Advanced Medical Technology Association, and the Service Employees International Union, promising to help cut the spending growth rate by 1.5%.

The authors acknowledged that employers pay the majority of the premiums, but argued that reducing total premiums would free more money for pay increases or additional benefits.

"As of 2008, premiums are often buying less in scope of benefits or financial protection than they had been at the start of the decade, and families are paying not only higher premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs for medical bills," they said.
 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 99 (view)
Free Speech in Jeopardy
Posted: 8/22/2009 4:04:51 PM

Health Insurance Profits UP 400% since 2001..............

Why should anyone profit from the illness of others?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 94 (view)
Free Speech in Jeopardy
Posted: 8/21/2009 11:09:31 AM

Why are we putting all our apples in one cart? We need to find a way to reform the system without putting the next 10 generations of Americans in major debt. Trillions nothing to laugh at folks

Yes, why are you willing to put all your apples in the private insurance scheme? Seems to be working so well for you right now, especially considering how your premiums and co-pays are skyrocketing. If you continue with the current private insurance scheme, then yes you are the ones who for the next 10 generations of Americans will be in major debt. How long are you willing to stand for this? Why don't you go after the private insurance companies?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 7 (view)
Rep. Paul Stanley busted for sex with 22 year old intern.
Posted: 8/11/2009 11:21:17 PM
Ah, nice to see you back Musician Friend, I have missed you.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 9 (view)
Palin says Obama's health care plan is 'evil'
Posted: 8/11/2009 2:27:09 AM
Now, this is what I call evil,

From Southern Beale, a very important point:

Don’t talk to me about death panels, Sarah Palin.

You, who so carelessly bolstered a lie about healthcare reform to score a cheap political point; you, the most craven of political opportunists, who fearmongers about some dystopian socialist/fascist fantasyland; you, who earlier this year were only too happy to accept free medical, dental and veterinary care from the U.S. military for Alaska’s remote villages; you, dear lady, are an idiot.

In your free market wonderland everyone somehow manages to get healthcare, even those who are poor or live in isolated areas, though the poor and isolated in your own state required assistance from the federal government.

And despite all of this, you appear blithely unaware that the free market healthcare system we have now does, indeed, have “death panels.” I’ve been part of a death panel conversation. I know about death panels.

You have no idea what it’s like to be called into a sterile conference room with a hospital administrator you’ve never met before and be told that your mother’s insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU. You can't imagine what it's like to be advised that you need to “make some decisions,” like whether your mother should be released “HTD” which is hospital parlance for “home to die,” or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been made for you. "Living will" or no, it doesn't matter. The bank account and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.

If this isn’t a “death panel” I don’t know what is.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 2 (view)
Posted: 8/2/2009 1:21:24 AM
But then why did it require socialism to bail out the ship of finance capitalism from sinking?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 1 (view)
Posted: 8/1/2009 1:30:52 PM
What are your thoughts on this well-written article by Naomi Klein? I am almost certain of what some commentators will say, but still would like to get feedback from all persuasions in this forum.

Let's put an end to Sarah Palin-style capitalism
By Naomi Klein
| July 31, 2009
We are in a progressive moment, a moment when the ground is shifting beneath our feet, and anything is possible. What we considered unimaginable about what could be said and hoped for a year ago is now possible. At a time like this, it is absolutely critical that we be as clear as we possibly can be about what it is that we want because we might just get it.
So the stakes are high.
I usually talk about the bailout in speeches these days. We all need to understand it because it is a robbery in progress, the greatest heist in monetary history. But today I'd like to take a different approach: What if the bailout actually works, what if the financial sector is saved and the economy returns to the course it was on before the crisis struck? Is that what we want? And what would that world look like?
The answer is that it would look like Sarah Palin. Hear me out, this is not a joke. I don't think we have given sufficient consideration to the meaning of the Palin moment. Think about it: Sarah Palin stepped onto the world stage as Vice Presidential candidate on August 29 at a McCain campaign rally, to much fanfare. Exactly two weeks later, on September 14, Lehman Brothers collapsed, triggering the global financial meltdown.
So in a way, Palin was the last clear expression of capitalism-as-usual before everything went south. That's quite helpful because she showed us -- in that plainspoken, down-homey way of hers -- the trajectory the U.S. economy was on before its current meltdown. By offering us this glimpse of a future, one narrowly avoided, Palin provides us with an opportunity to ask a core question: Do we want to go there? Do we want to save that pre-crisis system, get it back to where it was last September? Or do we want to use this crisis, and the electoral mandate for serious change delivered by the last election, to radically transform that system? We need to get clear on our answer now because we haven't had the potent combination of a serious crisis and a clear progressive democratic mandate for change since the 1930s. We use this opportunity, or we lose it.
So what was Sarah Palin telling us about capitalism-as-usual before she was so rudely interrupted by the meltdown? Let's first recall that before she came along, the U.S. public, at long last, was starting to come to grips with the urgency of the climate crisis, with the fact that our economic activity is at war with the planet, that radical change is needed immediately. We were actually having that conversation: Polar bears were on the cover of Newsweek magazine. And then in walked Sarah Palin. The core of her message was this: Those environmentalists, those liberals, those do-gooders are all wrong. You don't have to change anything. You don't have to rethink anything. Keep driving your gas-guzzling car, keep going to Wal-Mart and shop all you want. The reason for that is a magical place called Alaska. Just come up here and take all you want. "Americans," she said at the Republican National Convention, "we need to produce more of our own oil and gas. Take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska, we've got lots of both."
And the crowd at the convention responded by chanting and chanting: "Drill, baby, drill."
Watching that scene on television, with that weird creepy mixture of sex and oil and jingoism, I remember thinking: "Wow, the RNC has turned into a rally in favour of screwing Planet Earth." Literally.
But what Palin was saying is what is built into the very DNA of capitalism: the idea that the world has no limits. She was saying that there is no such thing as consequences, or real-world deficits. Because there will always be another frontier, another Alaska, another bubble. Just move on and discover it. Tomorrow will never come.
This is the most comforting and dangerous lie that there is: the lie that perpetual, unending growth is possible on our finite planet. And we have to remember that this message was incredibly popular in those first two weeks, before Lehman collapsed. Despite Bush's record, Palin and McCain were pulling ahead. And if it weren't for the financial crisis, and for the fact that Obama started connecting with working class voters by putting deregulation and trickle-down economics on trial, they might have actually won.
The President tells us he wants to look forward, not backwards. But in order to confront the lie of perpetual growth and limitless abundance that is at the centre of both the ecological and financial crises, we have to look backwards. And we have to look way backwards, not just to the past eight years of Bush and Cheney, but to the very founding of this country, to the whole idea of the settler state.
Modern capitalism was born with the so-called discovery of the Americas. It was the pillage of the incredible natural resources of the Americas that generated the excess capital that made the Industrial Revolution possible. Early explorers spoke of this land as a New Jerusalem, a land of such bottomless abundance, there for the taking, so vast that the pillage would never have to end. This mythology is in our biblical stories-of floods and fresh starts, of raptures and rescues-and it is at the centre of the American Dream of constant reinvention. What this myth tells us is that we don't have to live with our pasts, with the consequences of our actions. We can always escape, start over.
These stories were always dangerous, of course, to the people who were already living on the "discovered" lands, to the people who worked them through forced labour. But now the planet itself is telling us that we cannot afford these stories of endless new beginnings anymore. That is why it is so significant that at the very moment when some kind of human survival instinct kicked in, and we seemed finally to be coming to grips with the Earth's natural limits, along came Palin, the new and shiny incarnation of the colonial frontierswoman, saying: Come on up to Alaska. There is always more. Don't think, just take.
This is not about Sarah Palin. It's about the meaning of that myth of constant "discovery," and what it tells us about the economic system that they're spending trillions of dollars to save. What it tells us is that capitalism, left to its own devices, will push us past the point from which the climate can recover. And capitalism will avoid a serious accounting-whether of its financial debts or its ecological debts-at all costs. Because there's always more. A new quick fix. A new frontier.
That message was selling, as it always does. It was only when the stock market crashed that people said, "Maybe Sarah Palin isn't a great idea this time around. Let's go with the smart guy to ride out the crisis."
I almost feel like we've been given a last chance, some kind of a reprieve. I try not to be apocalyptic, but the global warming science I read is scary. This economic crisis, as awful as it is, pulled us back from that ecological precipice that we were about to drive over with Sarah Palin and gave us a tiny bit of time and space to change course. And I think it's significant that when the crisis hit, there was almost a sense of relief, as if people knew they were living beyond their means and had gotten caught. We suddenly had permission to do things together other than shop, and that spoke to something deep.
But we are not free from the myth. The willful blindness to consequences that Sarah Palin represents so well is embedded in the way Washington is responding to the financial crisis. There is just an absolute refusal to look at how bad it is. Washington would prefer to throw trillions of dollars into a black hole rather than find out how deep the hole actually is. That's how willful the desire is not to know.
And we see lots of other signs of the old logic returning. Wall Street salaries are almost back to 2007 levels. There's a certain kind of electricity in the claims that the stock market is rebounding. "Can we stop feeling guilty yet?" you can practically hear the cable commentators asking. "Is the bubble back yet?"
And they may well be right. This crisis isn't going to kill capitalism or even change it substantively. Without huge popular pressure for structural reform, the crisis will prove to have been nothing more than a very wrenching adjustment. The result will be even greater inequality than before the crisis. Because the millions of people losing their jobs and their homes aren't all going to be getting them back, not by a long shot. And manufacturing capacity is very difficult to rebuild once it's auctioned off.
It's appropriate that we call this a "bailout." Financial markets are being bailed out to keep the ship of finance capitalism from sinking, but what is being scooped out is not water. It's people. It's people who are being thrown overboard in the name of "stabilization." The result will be a vessel that is leaner and meaner. Much meaner. Because great inequality-the super rich living side by side with the economically desperate-requires a hardening of the hearts. We need to believe ourselves superior to those who are excluded in order to get through the day. So this is the system that is being saved: the same old one, only meaner.
And the question that we face is: Should our job be to bail out this ship, the biggest pirate ship that ever was, or to sink it and replace it with a sturdier vessel, one with space for everyone? One that doesn't require these ritual purges, during which we throw our friends and our neighbours overboard to save the people in first class. One that understands that the Earth doesn't have the capacity for all of us to live better and better.
But it does have the capacity, as Bolivian President Evo Morales said recently at the U.N., "for all of us to live well."
Because make no mistake: Capitalism will be back. And the same message will return, though there may be someone new selling that message: You don't need to change. Keep consuming all you want. There's plenty more. Drill, baby, drill. Maybe there will be some technological fix that will make all our problems disappear.
And that is why we need to be absolutely clear right now.
Capitalism can survive this crisis. But the world can't survive another capitalist comeback.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 43 (view)
Seriously, is this administration crazy??
Posted: 7/9/2009 10:14:51 PM

......because it's so much better to blindly follow and be a yes man to the messiah as he bankrupts the nation.
isn't that what the Republicans did with Bush et al?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 92 (view)
Military burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan
Posted: 6/22/2009 12:16:20 AM
oh yes, this gets more interesting as time passes, from dkos:

DoD-Certified Agency's 9/08 Newsletter Suggested Killing Democrats
by Troutfishing

Sun Jun 21, 2009 at 05:07:58 AM PDT

"In 2008, Ammerman implied that four presidential candidates should be "arrested, quickly tried and hanged" for not voting to designate English America's official language, and speculated that Barack Obama would be assassinated as a secret Muslim." - Newsweek, June 20, 2009

Last Friday's June 20, 2009 Newsweek story by journalist Kathryn Joyce, "Christian Soldiers: The growing controversy over military chaplains using the armed forces to spread the Word", explores the role of a highly connected, retired US Colonel and military chaplain endorser at the center of a recently exposed scheme to distribute native-language Bibles in Afghanistan: chaplain endorsement agency head Jim Ammerman, who claims friends in the US Congress and Senate and states that his agency works with three and four star generals in the Pentagon. As Founder and President of the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, Ammerman presides over more than 270 active duty military chaplains, perhaps 7-8 percent of military chaplains.

The Newsweek story also noted that in 2008 Jim Ammerman "implied that four presidential candidates should be "arrested, quickly tried and hanged" though Newsweek did not reveal the names of those senators or when the newsletter was published. But a May 20, 2009 story Huffington Post story by Military Religious Freedom Foundation Senior Researcher Chris Rodda does: Dodd, Biden, Clinton, and Obama. The newsletter was published in September, just as the 2008 presidential election was heating up [PDF file of September 2008 Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches newsletter].

Joyce's story expertly covers the foreign policy dimensions of the story as well as the religious freedom issues defended by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which defends freedom of worship, and fights improper evangelizing, in the United States Military. But the Newsweek story only hints at another aspect, Ammerman's domestic activities:

In in a 1997 speech the retired Colonel accused Bill Clinton of treason and suggested that President Clinton should be executed along with actress Jane Fonda. Ammerman made his call for Bill Clinton's execution while on a national speaking tour, arranged through a Topeka, Kansas ministry called The Prophecy Club, during a January 1997 speech that was recorded, sold as a VHS cassette, and broadcast across America on scores of radio and television stations.

[For 1997 video footage of Jim Ammerman calling for the execution of then-President Bill Clinton and claiming that Jewish bankers control the American economy, see Scroll down Buzzflash page & look for video with the title "Jim Ammerman/Prophecy"]

From the late 1990's and up into the 2008 presidential election, Retired Colonel Jim Ammerman has engaged in a pattern of anti-government agitation and has promoted overtly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of the type that experts who study the relationship between conspiracy theory and right wing violence, such as Political Research Associates Senior Analyst Chip Berlet, suggest feed a cultural climate that can provoke acts of violence against targeted, demonized groups in society.

Both Jim Ammerman, and one of his top chaplains noted in the Newsweek story, James Linzey, have aggressively incited the American anti-government militia movement by promoting dire conspiracy theories claiming that a United Nations takeover of the United States, with the help of foreign troops hidden in national forests and military bases, is immanent. James F. Linzey's conspiracy theories, which Major Linzey promoted in 2005 during a Prophecy Club speaking tour and through appearances on Christian media venues in 2005 and 2006, had an overtly racialist, anti-immigrant slant. Both Ammerman and Linzey have publicly claimed that Jewish banking concerns, including "The Rothschilds", control the American economy through the Federal Reserve. The Anti-Defamation League identifies that class of conspiracy theory as A Classic Anti-Semitic Myth."

As Joyce's Newsweekstory describes, Jim Ammerman and his chaplain endorsement agency are unabashedly Christian supremacist, and that posture often spills over into domestic politics:

"Department of Defense policy says that chaplain-endorsing agencies should "express willingness" for their chaplains to cooperate with other religious traditions. But Schulcz claims that Ammerman, who is not a paid government official, and his chaplains, who are, are entitled to say whatever they want unless they're advocating insurrection.

On this point, MRFF charges they come close. Ammerman and chaplain Linzey have espoused conspiracy theories about "Satanic forces" at work in the U.S. government facilitating a military takeover by foreign troops; Ammerman even appears in a video favored by militia groups titled The Imminent Military Takeover of the USA."

[note: Ammerman appeared in two videos with similar titles, "Imminent Military Takeover of the United States", filmed during a 1996 speaking tour, and "Imminent Military Takeover of the United States II", videotaped during a 1997 speaking tour.]

As Kathryn Joyce frames the foreign policy aspect of her Newsweek story,

Ever since former President George W. Bush referred to the war on terror as a "crusade" in the days after the September 11 attacks, many have charged that the United States was conducting a holy war, pitting a Christian America against the Muslim world...

A May article in Harper's by Jeff Sharlet illustrated a military engaged in an internal battle over religious practice. Then came news about former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Scripture-themed briefings to President Bush that paired war scenes with Bible verses... Later in May, Al-Jazeera broadcast clips filmed in 2008 showing stacks of Bibles translated into Pashto and Dari at the U.S. air base in Bagram and featuring the chief of U.S. military chaplains in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Gary Hensley, telling soldiers to "hunt people for Jesus."

At the center of the Bible distribution scheme was Jim Ammerman who, through his military chaplain endorsing agency, The Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, wields power, over the 270-plus chaplains his agency currently endorses, to terminate their jobs by pulling his agency's endorsement. All active duty military chaplains must carry such endorsements as a precondition to their employment.

Buzzflash has some video of Jim Ammerman in action, from a 1997 video. Scroll down Buzzflash page & look for video with the title "Jim Ammerman/Prophecy"

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 53 (view)
He seems like a gentelman, but neglects his dog : red flag?
Posted: 6/21/2009 6:15:49 PM

Yeah, if he neglects his dog, he'll probably neglect you too. Major red flag.

so true, so true, especially if he/she is cruel and unkind to his pets.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 71 (view)
Silver haired dancing machines your thoughts.
Posted: 6/21/2009 5:42:13 PM

Dancing is a vertical expression of horizontal desire

To think that is why I have absolutely loved dancing all these years. Oh, the passion!!!

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 6 (view)
Rules of the Road
Posted: 6/18/2009 4:08:58 PM

that's just laughable! BIG GOVERNMENT, his corrupt political CRONIES, the INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, and CORPORATIONS are first![/]

No different than what Bush's neocon government did for the 8 years they were in power.

Please tell me how and what, if the neocons had won the last election, would do to fix all the horrible mistakes/errors/wrongdoings that had occurred during Bush's watch? What do you suggest that would be a better plan?

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 9 (view)
Torture-memo-prosecutions … to prosecute or NOT to prosecute … what would be best?
Posted: 4/23/2009 11:33:58 PM
Be damned with any kind of expense. This is why there needs to be an investigation. Time to stop all torture,

I have been silent on torture per se not anymore
by testvet6778
Digg this! Share this on Twitter - I have been silent on torture per se not anymoreTweet this submit to reddit Share This
Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 0355 PM PDT

I watched Darth Vader's daughter on TV this afternoon defending her father, what she does NOT understand her father was evil long before being elected Vice President.

He and Rumsfeld and other members of the Nixon and Ford White House's abused and tortured American soldiers in secret human experiments at places like Fort Detrick (biological weapons) Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland in 1974 and 1975 in chemical weapons and illegal drugs and throw aways from drug companies that did not have marketable products, but may have had military applications.

The "volunteers" were all told the experiments were safe and no one would be harmed and our actions would save lives on the battlefields of the future. Similar to what the British were telling volunteers at Porton Downs, England.

* testvet6778's diary :: ::

I am not one of the plaintiffs in this Vietnam Veterans of America, et al. v. Central Intelligence Agency, et al. I am one of the 7120 men used from 1955 thru 1975, when the Army stopped the program upon the release of the 1975 Department of the Army Inspector general Report on Human Experimentation, that found the government was violating the Nuremberg Codes of 1947.

I blame****Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld as they both had seats at the National Security Council, Cheney as Chief of Staff and Rummy as Secretary of Defense. To date the government still has failed to help these veterans and or their widows, more than 34 years after the last experiments was conducted.

You will notice in the lawsuit no one is asking for money, they are asking for healthcare, an apology, an admission we were lied to, and some want the medals we were promised. (I have enough, and I damn sure don't want one commemorating that I was a fool).

What This Case Is About
Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief only – no monetary damages – and Plaintiffs seek redress for 25 years of diabolical experiments followed by over 30 years of neglect, including:

the use of troops to test nerve gas, psychochemicals, and thousands of other toxic chemical or biological substances and perhaps most gruesomely, the insertion of septal implants in the brains of subjects in a ghastly series of mind control experiments that went awry;
the failures to secure informed consent and other widespread failures to follow the precepts of U.S. and international law regarding the use of human subjects, including the 1953 Wilson Directive and the Nuremberg Code;
an almost fanatical refusal to satisfy their legal and moral obligations to locate the victims of their gruesome experiments or to provide health care or compensation to them;
the deliberate destruction of evidence and files documenting their illegal actions, actions which were punctuated by fraud, deception, and a callous disregard for the value of human life.
The Complaint asks the Court to determine that Defendants’ actions were illegal and that Defendants have a duty to notify all victims and to provide them with health care going forward.

What is left out of this case, is the fact that the scientists and doctors that worked at our defense agencies spent years traveling back and forth to Gagetown, Canada and Porton Downs, England, where our allies were doing similar experiments, sometimes jointly to see if the results were the same.

This web page on Porton Downs explains the English project since they have Universal Health care, the English paid each of the veterans a small stipend and publicly apologized to them for the betrayal.

This is the history of the Porton Down experiments written by Professor Ulf Schmidt Cold War at Porton Down: Informed Consent in Britain’s Biological and Chemical Warfare Experiments as you can see they were as lax as the American doctors were.

Bottom Line is that the national Security Council in 1974 and 1975 had the opportunity to stand up and say you will NOT use American soldiers as human guinea pigs, they failed to do so, despite the fact that is exactly what they should have done.

I am appalled by what they approved in the past 8 years on detainees, but I am more sickened by what they approved in 1974 and 1975 it is way past time the government is held accountable for torturing foreign detainees and American soldiers more than 30 years ago.

In my opinion Liz Cheney is a apple who did not drop to far from her fathers tree, and for that matter she is her mothers daughter also. Evil is something you know when you see it.

I have seen it and lived thru it. Enough talking about it, prosecute them.

The republicans sure know how to support their troops.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 23 (view)
The beat of a different drum
Posted: 4/19/2009 1:05:21 AM
I absolutely love this song, "Both Sides of Goodbye", it doesn't reflect where I am right now in regards to my love life, I would love to be able to sing like Chrissie Hynde and love Willie Nelson's voice.

"Break Up The Concrete is the new album-- the first since Artemis released the mostly unheraldedLoose Screw six years ago-- from The Pretenders. I love it. So many great references to Dylan! And, like most Pretenders' albums I love it because of Chrissie's songwriting. And yet, tonight we're listening to one of the two songs on the album, the other being "Rosalee," not written by Chrissie. Actually this isn't even officially on the regular album. It's a bonus track offered by a certain unnamed big box retailer for CDs sold in their store. And, fittingly, it's a song, "Both Sides Of Goodbye," by Hank Williams, Jr. Fortunately Chrissie chose Willie Nelson to sing it with her."

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 11 (view)
The New America
Posted: 3/6/2009 8:18:57 PM

Maybe we can see if EU will let us join

Funny you should say that, just today I read that Harper government is setting up plans on just that very thing; he thinks joining EU is a good idea.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 189 (view)
Medical Insurance for all
Posted: 2/8/2009 11:23:27 AM

How come people can figure out that a group health plan is a good idea ... and not realize that a universal health plan is simply a bigger group health plan?

Exactly! The people here in Canada who want privatized health care do not seem to realize that they will be paying much much higher premiums and the kind of service that they think they will be getting will actually go down from what they now get. There are only so many doctors and nurses, beds, etc., to go around. Somehow they think that because they pay more, that these same number of doctors, etc., will magically go up. The only thing that will go up is PROFIT for the doctors and insurance providers and pharmaceuticals. Eventually the doctors would see that their salaries would not go up and in some cases would actually go down. Boggles my mind that some doctors have bought into this kind of thinking (greed).

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 14 (view)
How do you really feel about this large stimulus package?
Posted: 2/6/2009 11:58:38 AM

Make items here in this country for comsumption by those in this country (and creating products that people overseas might just want too). Stop importing goods into this country that we can make ourselves.

Can't do that. Read awhile ago that there is an agreement between China and US that US will import Chinese made products in exchange for loans to US.

Anyways, corporations would never allow that.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 114 (view)
Medical Insurance for all
Posted: 2/3/2009 11:10:40 PM
And Cotter, even if you only work p/t, you still get your benefits here! You know, BC is lovely. You should look into it.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 113 (view)
Medical Insurance for all
Posted: 2/3/2009 11:01:15 PM

I worked for 3 years as a casual in 4 different hospitals. Yes, there were times when there were long waits, but only for short periods. Those problems have now been sorted out. I also have to use medical emergencies about 6 different times (day and night) and did not have to wait at all, I was either seen to right away or had to wait about 15 min.

Without our kind and caring socialistic medical system, I have would have gone blind, and suffered greatly. I had a partial hysterectomy, had to wait about 3 weeks to get in, and then suffered a collapsed lung with an additional week and the BEST care available. I would not have been able to have 6 children with the best care for me and my children. All this for practically nothing, depends on the province. Albertans now don't have to pay any premiums to get such great socialized care. I, nor my children (even as children and now adults), have ever had to wait for anything. I have lived in several provinces, all the way from Nova Scotia out to here in BC.

I can walk into any clinic and get great care and if I need to see a specialist, depending on what it is for, don't have to wait long. And I have seen my share of specialists, seeing as I have Lyme Disease and eye problems. My eye specialist is one of the best in the West.

Unless you have lived here in Canada, you don't know what you are missing!

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 20 (view)
Medical Insurance for all
Posted: 1/23/2009 7:43:59 PM
How about this story from Dkos,

U.S. healthcare system frightens even the rich
by nyceve
Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 0110 PM PST

Yesterday I met a remarkable woman.

Instantly, she became my buddy, my dear friend. If you're intensely lucky, a few times in life, you might meet someone and immediately feel, where has this person been? This was my reaction (my blink), to Kimberly Green.

Despite having pretty serious cancer, she said over and over, "I'm blessed".

Kimberly is in her late thirties. She was diagnosed about two or so years ago, with stage four breast cancer. She describes her situation with an air of bemused determination, "after they got to the 19th lymph node [which contained cancer] the surgeons stopped counting". The cancer metastasized to her brain, but I think the brain surgery she recently endured, successfully took care of that, at least for now.

She wants people to know that cancer patients in the United States are dying because they cannot afford the costs of their life saving medications, and many insurance companies either refuse to pay, or only pay a tiny fraction of the cost.

* nyceve's diary :: ::

She's lucky in one respect. She comes from a pretty damn affluent American family. After sitting with her for more than three hours and listening to the extraordinary work she does (which I'll tell you about), she said, "no one should feel sorry for me, I'm a rich white girl". When she said this, I don't know why, but I just broke down. Like so many, she's battling this awful disease and the merciless insurance industry. No one who's sick--rich, poor or middle class, should face the further indignities heaped on all of us by the delay, deny and deceive for-profit insurance industry.

And of course, I'm not even touching today the fifty million Americans who don't even have the junk insurance we accept as a normal fact of life in the United States.

You may be wondering how could a child of privilege be diagnosed with such late stage cancer. Well Kimberly explained that she had been feeling lousy for several years prior to being diagnosed. She was brushed off by a variety of doctors. Ladies, you know how it is, you go in complaining of vague symptoms (fatigue, weakness, whatever) and the doctor pats you on the hand and tells you to take it easy. Hey, if this sort of shit can happen to someone like Kimberly Green imagine what the rest of us endure.

So, what you're about to read is neither unique nor exceptional, it's Murder by Spreadsheet writ large. You may think you're special or immune--a terrible health catastrophe will happen to the other guy. Well you're wrong. Sooner or later, someone in my family or yours will get sick--as Americans we're all in this leaking boat together.

Yes, Kimberly is privileged and blessed to be the daughter of Americans who can afford the numbing costs of cancer treatments, but even she is worried about the endless bills. And she knows how damn lucky she is.

And this generous, gracious and dignified woman has allowed me to tell her story. She says, no one in the richest country on the planet, where we give the banking industry a trillion dollars of TARP money which is squandered on bonuses and wretched greed, should die for lack of healthcare.

This is Kimberly before she got sick. She's still just as beautful and full of life.

Kimberly Green

Yes, indeed, by many measures, Kimberly is blessed.

She lives in a safe and secure home.

She has a loving family.

She is surrounded by loyal friends.

She has the best doctors money can buy.

But though insured, she must pay $6000 a treatment. This is essentially her co-pay which she must pony up in order to receive Herceptin, the medication which is keeping her alive. She told me repeatedly, without Herceptin I would die.

I asked Kim what happens to women who can't pay for Herceptin? She said, struggling to hold her emotions in check, "they die". I would not allow myself to believe such an atrocity really occurs in the United States of America, so I asked my friend, who is an oncologist the same question, he had an identical response, "they die".

And before I go too much further, here's what our favorite criminal lobbyist Karen Ignagni of AHIP had to say about how health plans "manage costs" which in turn make drugs like Herceptin unaffordable to gravely ill, yet insured Americans.

Kimberly told me something that may shock you. In Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the government pays for the first year of Herceptin treatment. She explained that most women only require the drug for a year, she will need it for the rest of her life.

She has no immediate, and probably no long term financial problems, yet she and her family are wondering what will happen when and if she hits the $5 million lifetime cap on her health insurance? She says, one more major setback, one more complex surgery and she may be at that cap. She is worried, and yes, she is rich.

Kimberly is correct, somehow she and her family will foot the enormous bills, they won't be ruined financially.

Most Americans though are not so blessed.

Imagine, just imagine what happens to Americans with far fewer resources than she has. Well you don't have to imagine.

Here's what the New York Times is reporting.

More Americans Skipping Necessary Prescriptions, Survey Finds

One in seven Americans under age 65 went without prescribed medicines in 2007 as drug costs spiraled upward in the United States, a nonprofit research group said on Thursday.

. . .Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that researches health care issues, said the new study confirms previous Commonwealth studies. In 2007, nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults, or an estimated 116 million people, struggled to pay medical bills, went without needed care because of cost, were uninsured for a time or were underinsured, according to the foundation.

"It has become a middle class problem," she added, noting that improving health coverage is an integral part of economic recovery.

I haven't a clue how American women who need Herceptin to stay alive pay for it. I assume as Kim says, they die. They can take up residency in Australia, where the government pays.

You see, this is what we mean when we say, you think you're insured, think again. When we get sick we think the insurance will be there for us,but it isn't. No wonder Americans don't like the idea of mandates, we pay and pay and pay the insurance industry extortion, then when we expect it, when God forbid, we need something like Herceptin, we're told, go away and die.

The situation is so bleak that the American Society Of Clinical Oncologyis going to issue guidelines on how physicians should discuss the costs of treatment options with their patients.

Let me tell you what this remarkable woman does even while battling such a terrible disease. She runs the Green Family Foundation which is devoted to global health issues, they focus most of their resources on Haiti.

This grueling work gives Kimberly energy and she gushes about the selfless doctors, the medical students at the University of Miami and the heroes at Project Medishare who travel frequently to Haiti. And when her health permits, Kimberly leads these good people to the land and people she loves, and lends her heart and her hands to help those who she says with absolute conviction are in much bigger peril than her.

I would say Kimberly Green is the embodiment of what Dr. King and President Obama mean when they talk about the fierce urgency of now.Certainly there are Haitians alive today because of her noble work and selfless good deeds which give her such strength.

We have socialized medicine in Canada and without it, I would be blind today. Didn't cost me a penny and even my eye drops are covered for low income people. When I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, I was able to get the best of treatment and have all my antibiotics covered for 2 1/2 years. Again I would most likely have been dead by now without socialized medicine.

Yes, we have long waiting lists, but I did not have to wait to get treatment for either diseases. If our government (federal and provincial) would release more of our money, there wouldn't be long waiting lists. Our Harper government wants the same kind of health plan as you people have, and is doing everything it can to aid and abet privitization of our health care system. There's oodles of money to be made off illnesses, even man-made illneses. But most people (the ones who are advocating for privitization) here have no idea what would be in store for them, rich and poor alike.

 bliss serendipity
Joined: 12/27/2006
Msg: 110 (view)
Obama + Warren sends a sad message
Posted: 1/15/2009 10:30:23 PM
Such a lovely, lovely christian man. What must Obama been thinking to invite this man?

This from Dailykos,

[Update] Be Dedicated as Hitler Youth, Rick Warren Tells Stadium Crowd
by Troutfishing
Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 0256 PM PST

[ source of audio recording used in video #1 : Saddleback Church ]

* Troutfishing's diary :: ::

Update [2009-1-16 0:1:5 by Troutfishing]: Below - see updated video, which combines segment above with footage from Rick Warren's current official P.E.A.C.E. Plan web site, in which Warren tells an anecdote, similar to the one initially discussed in this post, that celebrates the political efficacy of the Hitler Youth and the Nazis, and the Maoist Red Guards (unlike the original anecdote the second one, from the P.E.A.C.E. Plan website, does not mention V.I. Lenin).

On April 17, 2005, at the southern California Anaheim Angels sports stadium thirty thousand Saddleback Church members, more than ever gathered in one spot, assembled to celebrate Saddleback's 25th anniversary and listened as Rick Warren announced his vision for the next 25 years of the church: the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. [Digg this story]

Towards the close of his nearly one hour speech, Pastor Warren asked his followers to be as committed to Jesus as the young Nazi men and women who spelled out in mass formation with their bodies the words "Hitler, we are yours," in 1939 at the Munich Stadium, were committed to the Führer of the Third Reich, a major instigator of a World War that claimed 55 million lives. Rick Warren has exhorted Christians towards Nazi-like dedication in at least several public speeches and also during a one hour video recording of a talk by Warren, explaining his P.E.A.C.E. Plan, that is currently hosted on the official P.E.A.C.E. Plan website (see 'video page', "The Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan"). A version of the anecdote can also be found on page 357 of Rick Warren's 1995 book The Purpose Driven Church, which sold over one million copies.

During his Anaheim stadium speech Warren, sometimes called 'pastor Rick' talked about a number of visions and communications he had received from God. By calling on his church members to follow Jesus with the fanatical dedication with which the Nazis, or Hitler Youth, gave to Adolf Hitler, Rick Warren appeared to be in effect asking his Saddleback members to be fanatically dedicated to Warren's own leadership, given his role in divining God's intent for the Saddleback church flock. During his speech, Rick Warren also explained that God had personally instructed him to seek, for the good of the world, more influence, power and fame.

Warren moved on, from his celebration of Nazi dedication to purpose, and held up Lenin, and Chinese Red Guard efforts during the Cultural Revolution, as behavioral examples for his Saddleback flock, whom Warren called on to carry out a "revolution".

Concluding his motivational speech, the Saddleback Church founder instructed his ranks in the stadium to hold up signs, from their official programs, with the preprinted message "whatever it takes". Warren then introduced, as leader of the first nation on Earth in which the P.E.A.C.E. Plan would be implemented, Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

In 1998 under Kagame's leadership Rwanda, along with the now officially "Purpose Driven" nation of Uganda, invaded the Democratic Republic of The Congo, touching off a conflict that has claimed more civilian lives than any since World War Two. On December 12, 2008, the United Nations accused Rwanda of aiding Congolese warlord Laurent Nkunda, accused of massacres and human rights violations and whose recent offensive has created several hundred thousand Congolese refugees.

In March 2008, Rick Warren's Saddleback launched an official national "Purpose Driven Living" program in Uganda, a country which was indicted in 2005 by the International Criminal Court for perpetrating "massive" human rights violations by invading and looting the natural riches of the Congo. Uganda is know for brutalizing its own population too. In the late 1990's under president Yowerie Museveni, whose wife Janet Museveni has spoken at Saddleback Church conferences, the Ugandan military drove upwards of two million Acholi tribe members in Northern Uganda, through a terror campaign of massacres and bombing, into crowded concentration camps on the Congo-Uganda border where many languish to this day, in what one Former Undersecretary for the UN has described as an ongoing, slow genocide.

Mega-pastor Warren, who will give the opening prayer at the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama on January 20, 2009, aspires to great moral and spiritual leadership. Rick Warren has called for a second Christian Reformation, and he has stated his intent of inspiring 'one billion' Christians, half of all Christians globally, to become personally and 'radically' committed to changing the world.

With his impressive managerial skills and through his global network of four hundred thousand Christian pastors who have been trained by Saddleback over the last two decades, Rick Warren might well be able to start such a movement.

"Stop dreaming and start doing," the "Purpose Driven Life" author told his Anaheim Stadium crowd. Warren described a global Christian movement to bring the message of Jesus Christ to every man, woman and child on Earth. "It's going to cover the planet," he proclaimed, "and then the end is going to come."

Calling for "total mobilization of this church" and "radical devotion" to the cause, Pastor Warren sketched out his vision, which he declared was from God, of a "revolution", launched through Warren's "Purpose Driven" network of hundreds of thousands as pastors globally, to create a Christian world regime.

Though Warren's speech was in the idiom of Christianity, he did not seek to inspire his Saddleback audience with examples of great religious leaders who have changed history through persuasion or other nonviolent approaches. Rick Warren looked to 20th century exemplars of vision and dedication but not to Mohatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or any other religious leaders.

With more than a hint of admiration in his voice, pastor Warren described how in 1939 in a packed Munich Stadium before the leader of the Third Reich, young brown-shirted men and women spelled out in formation, with their bodies, words in German which read "Hitler, we are yours."

"And they nearly took the world, " pastor Rick told the stadium crowd. He moved on to quote another inspirational example from the 20th Century, Lenin, who said 'give me 100 committed, totally committed men and I'll change the world.' Once again Warren observed, "They nearly did."

Having cited dedication and zeal of young Nazis and the efficacy of Bolshevik Revolutionaries, Warren moved on to describe how the sayings of Chairman Mao, printed up in the "Little Red Book", had helped propel the revolutionary fervor of the Chinese Red Guard who had carried out the violent, anarchic revolutionary spasm known as the Cultural Revolution.

With those examples fresh in his audiences mind, Rick Warren instructed the crowd of his thirty thousand to hold up pre-printed signs, within their programs, white letters against a red background, that said "Whatever it takes."

Looking out at the crowd Warren enthused, "I'm looking at a stadium full of people who are saying, 'whatever it takes, God'.

Initially, the "P" in Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. plan stood for "planting churches". In a later iteration the "P" was recast as standing for "promoting reconciliation". But as Warren's one-hour talk currently on his official P.E.A.C.E. Plan website makes quite clear, the plan is primarily about evangelizing the world and multiplying Christian leadership to help carry that out. Compared to the need to save souls, alleviating human suffering is secondary.

As described in a January 7th, 2008 Daily Beast article by journalist Max Blumenthal, the reputation of Rick and Kay Warren, for work on HIV/AIDS reduction, appears considerably overrated. As Blumenthal writes, "a survey of Warren's involvement in Africa reveals a web of alliances with draconian right-wing clergymen who have sidelined science-based approaches to combating in favor of abstinence-only education. Most disturbingly, Warren's allies have rolled back key elements of the continent's most successful initiative, the so-called ABC program in Uganda. Their activism, according to Stephen Lewis, the United Nations' special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, is 'resulting in great damage and undoubtedly will cause significant numbers of infections which never should have occurred.' "

As Blumenthal's article goes on to explore, one of Rick Warren's allies in Uganda, Martin Ssempa, has played a key role in reducing the availability of condoms in Uganda. Known for publicly burning a pack of condoms at Uganda's Makerere University, Ssempa advises Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni on HIV/AIDS policy and has successfully lobbied the US Congress to de-fund Population Resources International, a world distributor of condoms. As abstinence-only has ramped up and condom availability decreased in Uganda, the HIV/AIDS rate has begun to climb.

Martin Ssempa has delivered two speeches, and also led workshops, at Rick and Kay Warren's HIV/AIDS conferences. As public health expert Dr. Helen Epstein described, in an excerpt from a recent book of hers published in the New York Review of Books, Martin Ssempa told her that 'Satan worshipers under Lake Victoria' make deals with the devil to stage car accidents and kidnappings in exchange for cash.

Ssempa, a charismatic pastor, runs a church which performs regular exorcisms. Pastor Ssempa is also highly active in antigay activism in Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal, and has publicized names of accused homosexuals who have subsequently gone into hiding.

Media coverage has tended to emphasize the component of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan in which Christians would work to alleviate diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, and address poverty and illiteracy. But the two top problems, according to Rick Warren, have nothing to do with human material or physical needs. The top problem, according to Warren, is "spiritual emptiness".

As Warren explained to a Dallas gathering of 12,000 Baptists, charismatic and nondenominational evangelicals in May of 2005, "spiritual emptiness" is an acute disorder characterized by aimlessness, fear and lack of purpose, afflicting non-Christians, that arises in the absence of a personal relationship with Jesus; "Billions of people live without Jesus Christ. Billions of people don't know God has a purpose for their life," Warren told his Dallas audience. "Egocentric leadership", the second greatest cause of world problems according to Rick Warren, is due to a lack of 'servant leaders' who model their behavior after Jesus.

Having defined the paramount world problems as, in essence, the fact that evangelicalism has not fully converted everyone on Earth into Christians, Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. plan squarely addresses that dire need -- for the Christian belief system to envelope the globe.

During his Anaheim speech, Warren revealed that he'd received a message from God to seek more influence, power and fame. God, Warren narrated, led him to Psalm 72, "Solomon's prayer for more influence... in Psalm 72 [Solomon] says 'God, I want you to make me more influential. God, I want you to give me more power. I want you to bless my life more. God, I want you to spread the fame of my name through other countries.' "
"It sounded pretty selfish," mused Warren but, as he explained to the crowd, God had led him on a path towards solving the five biggest global problems.

Beyond 'spiritual poverty', egocentric leadership is the next most oppressive 'global giant', according to Rick Warren, and thus a higher priority than HIV/AIDS, poverty, and other material afflictions. "The world is full of little Saddams," he observed, "they're in every country, they're in every church, they're in every business, they're in every homeowner's association. They're everywhere. You give a guy a little power and it goes to his head. "


Partial transcript of Rick Warren speech

[ ~minute 33:00 ]

"God is going to use you to change the world.

"We have a kingdom that nothing can destroy... it's indestructible, it's unshakable, going to last forever, it's going to cover the planet.

So the kingdom is multinational, it's powerful, it's eternal and, number four (this is the best news), it's inevitable because God is in control of history. History is his story.

And the Bible says this in Matthew 24 : 'The Good news about God's kingdom will be preached into all the world, in every nation, and then the end's going to come. '

And you can go argue about prophecy all you want but Jesus Christ is not going to conclude history until everybody he's wanted to hear the world has had a chance to hear the word. But one day God's going to bring everything to a culmination.

For the past 18 months we have been on a stealth, secret mission - project - around the world. We've been sending members out, actually over 4500 members somewhere overseas, over the period of time, the last few years, going out to do what we're gonna call the P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

You've been hearing little snippets about it, today we're going to unveil it publicly. But the first thing before I even talk about it in a minute is you need to understand that at the heart of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan is this theme - The Kingdom of God.

Saddleback and our Purpose Driven Network has now trained over 400,000 pastors in over 162 countries."

[ Minute ~43:00 ]

"What is the vision for the next 25 years ? I'll tell you what it is.

It is the global expansion of the kingdom of God.

It is the total mobilization of his church.

And the third part is the goal of a radical devotion of every believer.

Now, I choose that word 'radical' intentionally, because only radicals change the world.

Everything great done in this world is done by passionate people.

Moderate people get moderately nothing done. And moderation will never slay the global giants. . ."

[ minute 48:45 ]

"In 1939, in a stadium much like this, in Munich Germany, they packed it out with young men and women in brown shirts, for a fanatical man standing behind a podium named Adolf Hitler, the personification of evil.

And in that stadium, those in brown shirts formed with their bodies a sign that said, in the whole stadium, "Hitler, we are yours."

And they nearly took the world.

Lenin once said, "give me 100 committed, totally committed men and I'll change the world." And, he nearly did.

A few years ago, they took the sayings of Chairman Mao, in China, put them in a little red book, and a group of young people committed them to memory and put it in their minds and they took that nation, the largest nation in the world by storm because they committed to memory the sayings of the Chairman Mao.

When I hear those kinds of stories, I think 'what would happen if American Christians, if world Christians, if just the Christians in this stadium, followers of Christ, would say 'Jesus, we are yours' ?

What kind of spiritual awakening would we have ? "

[ minute 51:50 ]

"Jesus said, 'I want you to do this publicly.' So what I want you to do is take the card, and in just a minute, and if you say 'Rick, I am willing to serve God's purposes in my generation.'

I want you to open up to the sign that says 'Whatever it takes.'

Whatever it takes.

And I want you to just say, 'This is my commitment, before God and in front of everybody else. I'm in.' "

And I would invite you to just stand quietly and hold up 'Whatever it takes'. . .

I'm looking at a stadium full of people who are saying 'whatever it takes'.

Whatever it takes, God. Time, talent, energy, money, effort, vision... God, whatever it takes.

Whatever it takes, that's what I'm going to do.

And I believe that today we are making history. We're making history that's going to start a movement that will bring a new Reformation in the church of God and a new spiritual awakening in our world. And, our world needs it.

And today, as you say 'whatever it takes,' you're saying publicly, "I'm in, God. I'm in...

...I'm in.' "

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