Be INFORMED

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sunday Satire: New Years Day Edition

  The first day of the year! Only 364 more days until 2013

                HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

  

Jay Leno: "President Obama went Christmas shopping at Best Buy in Virginia this week. He had to go to Best Buy because he's not allowed to go to Walmart, because China said, "You can't buy any more stuff from us until you pay off what you already owe us."
"While shopping at Best Buy, out of force of habit, President Obama put everything on layaway. He told the store, "Don't worry about it; the grandkids will pay for it."

''Obama called on Americans to have more grandchildren. Probably so there's more of them to pay off our debt.''

Bill Maher: ''Sarah Palin said Obama should stop 'pussyfooting around' and release the photos. Yes, because the guy who ordered the SEALs into a sovereign country without permission and killed public enemy number one is a pussy, and the woman who quit her job as the governor of a state with no people after half a term and won't do an interview with anyone but Greta Van Susteren is a bad-ass. Right.''

''Hank Williams Jr. got his ass kicked off of Monday Night Football. His crime was comparing Obama to Hitler on Fox News. Or as it used to be called, 'The Glenn Beck Show.' ... If we are going to fire every Southern hillbilly who thinks Obama is like Hitler, who will be our Republican congressmen?''

Conan O'Brien: ''This morning on the 'Today' show, Jenna Bush interviewed Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy was so confused and inarticulate that Jenna accidentally called him 'dad.'''

David Letterman: ''Herman Cain was unaware that China is a nuclear power. And I said to myself, 'Hey, Herman, how about making an unwanted advance on a history book?'''

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why The Oligarchs Want to Ghettoize The Country

Originally posted to Ray Pensador on Mon Dec 26, 2011

It works like this... The most important assets for a free people are time and leisure.  Once you have that, then you can develop the ability to think critically, to analyze facts, events, trends, and to become aware of the dynamics that operate within a social system.

In a society, once a large-enough segment of the population has developed an understanding of how the system works, you then have an informed citizenry who is able to act in favor of their interests.

So in a healthy democracy where the population is informed and educated, you will not have a very marked disparity in income distribution between the population and the rich.

So having access to time and leisure, leads to an improved ability to think, to analyse, and to become aware about how the system works.  This in turn leads to the ability to organize with other informed citizens to take collective actions to safeguard your interests.

For the citizenry, this results in having a larger share of the nation's income, wealth, and power.

That's why the oligarchs are always (eternally) trying to find ways to chip away at the ability for the common man to be able to have access to idle time and/or leisure.

That explains the hundreds of millions of dollars certain business organizations and lobbying groups spend on bribing politicians nationwide to setup a legislative framework to make it harder for workers to unionize, to make education less accessible, to destroy the proper functions of government.

When it comes to power, the most significant component is income and wealth, especially in a capitalist system.

Once people fall into poverty, they become powerless (by and large); that's why you hardly see politicians talking about the poor.  They are always talking about the "middle class." 

And it does not matter how large the segment of the population falling into poverty may be.  For example, a population that has a 10% incidence of poverty, is as powerless as a population who has 80% living in poverty (in my opinion).

Right now (as you read this), there is a segment of the population who has vast wealth and it's using it to manipulate the bought off politicians nationwide (federal, state, counties, cities) to push "austerity measures" onto the citizenry.

These austerity measures have the effect of curtailing access to education, health care, and a plethora of workers' rights.

As these very well-planned policies take effect, the average worker then has less time, and less leisure.  This immediately translates into a rapidly-expanding wealth gap between the rich, an the rest.  As the rich become richer (aided by the bribing of Democrats and Republican politicians across the entire country), and the poor become poorer, the percentage of the population who is poor also increases rapidly (as it is the case now).

As poverty spreads through the population, ignorance also spreads, since poor people don't have access to the proper infrastructure to get educated.

And here's the "brilliance" of the oligarchs.  As the "hamster wheels" (as it were) are spun faster and faster, the workers try to keep up.  Those who fall off the wheel, unable to keep up with the oppression and exploitation, then fall into poverty, and are quickly marginalized, stripped from any source of power, and ghettoized.

The dwindling middle class, seeing the wretched consequences of poverty are then intimidated and fearful, and do everything they can to stay on the wheel, picking up the pace mandated by the increasingly oppressive system.

But the system is rigged, which results in the inexorable rate increase of poverty and/or economic insecurity in the population.

And here's the biggest quandary: Once a citizen understands that the system is no longer legitimate, and that it is rigged in this way, does it becomes the duty of such a citizen to rise up in protest with the objective of stopping the system on its tracks, so it can be fixed?

Herein lies the inherent conflict between those who have come to realize that the system is broken, and that it's not longer legitimate, and therefore has to be stopped from operating normally, and those who because of fear and/or their inability to understand the situation still hang on to the notion that the system is "normal."

In every society where oligarchs rise, along with oppression and exploitation, it is the latter type of citizen who is the most responsible for it.

For once the system has turned totally corrupt, predatory, and criminal (as it's the case today in the United States), then patriotic and informed citizens have the duty to stop it from operating normally, in order to defend against a domestic enemy (the likes of ALEC, The US Chamber of Commerce, and other neo-fascistic organizations).

Such a system, if not stopped on its tracks, always leads to the following: A very tiny elite comprised of people with extreme wealth and a totally bought-off class of politicians (as it's the case now with the Democratic and Republican party establishments), in control of most of the wealth and power of the country, and a population living in a neo-feudal society.

We are way on our way to become such a society.  All the hallmarks of a banana republic or third world country have been met, including rampant bribery of the political establishment, thievery and criminality at grand scale, with impunity and aided and covered up by bought off and corrupt politicians, the rise of an increasingly brutal police state.

The only question that remains is if the dwindling middle class is going to decide to cower in fear, remain on their knees, bowing down to large-scale criminals, or stand up for justice, freedom, and democracy.

We'll find out soon enough.  If we decide to remain on our knees, we'll keep feeding the corrupt and exploitative system, which is rigged to eventually totally destroy the middle class and plunge the entire population into serfdom, and ignorance.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

Mitt Romney: Another “ Christian “ Liar In Politics

    I sometimes find it amazing just how casually our “ Christian “ presidential hopefuls forget the “ Thou shalt not bear false witness “ part of God’s Word when they seek election to the office of president.

    Mitt Romney, being the “ family values “ man from the Mormon branch of Christianity, is no different than either Michele Bachman, Rick Perry, or any other Republican who seeks the GOP nomination.

The Big Promises and Bigger Lies of Mitt Romney

Avenging Angel                Posted on Mon Dec 26, 2011

In the election of 1928, the Republican Party of Herbert Hoover promised voters "a chicken in every pot and a car in every backyard."  (We all know how that turned out.)  Now, Mitt Romney is pledging that "If I'm President" every college graduate will be guaranteed a job, Iran will have no nuclear weapons and the United States will dominate the 21st century.  And when Romney isn't making fantastic promises about what he'll do when he gets to the White House, he's slandering the current occupant, Barack Obama.

"I Won't Let Iran Get Nukes"

Governor Romney's guarantees start with Iran and its nuclear program.  In a November 10, 2011 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Romney pledged, "I won't let Iran get nukes."  Or as he put it 10 days earlier during a GOP national security debate:

"If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon.  If you elect me as president, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon."

As to how he'll ensure that outcome, Romney explained that "If you want peace, prepare for war."  And despite occasionally acknowledging the complexity of a strike against Iran and even the questionable possibility of success, Romney told the Wall Street Journal this weekend how he would get it done:

So what would he do about it? "I do not have a top secret security clearance at this stage to be able to define precisely what kinds of actions we could take." But he adds that "the range includes something of a blockade nature, to something of a surgical strike nature, to something of a decapitate the regime nature, to eliminate the military threat of Iran altogether."

No U.S. Decline in Romney's "American Century"

Romney's promise to "eliminate the military threat of Iran altogether" is just part of his larger assurance that the 21st century will be another "American Century."  Pretending that the rise of India, China and Brazil doesn't inevitably entail the relative loss of U.S. power and influence, Romney announced in his October address at The Citadel:

"This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world...As President of the United States, I will devote myself to an American Century. And I will never, ever apologize for America."

Not content to rest there, Romney accused President Obama of "waving the white flag of surrender":

"An eloquently justified surrender of world leadership is still surrender.

I will not surrender America's role in the world. This is very simple: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your President.

You have that President today."

Two months later, Mitt Romney repackaged his promise and his slander at the December 15 Republican debate in Sioux City, Iowa:

"Our president thinks America is in decline. It is if he's president. It's not if I'm president. This is going to be an American century."

As for Romney's charge that President Obama "went around the world and apologized for America," the Washington Post Fact Checker deemed it a Four-Pinocchio lie.

A Job for Every College Graduate

At an event in New Hampshire last week, Governor Romney's pandering went from the sublime to the ridiculous.  There, Mitt pledged President Romney would deliver full-employment for all American college graduates:

"What I can promise you is this -- when you get out of college, if I'm president you'll have a job. If President Obama is reelected, you will not be able to get a job. That's the reason I will hopefully get young people who are in college is to say, You know what, I understand what it takes to get jobs in America."

As the record shows, not so much.  After all, as the Los Angeles Times recently documented, Romney's "Bain Capital often maximized profits in part by firing workers."  That's why FactCheck.org, the Washington Post Fact Checker and Fortune all refused to vouch for Romney's claim that "In those hundreds of businesses we invested in, tens of thousands of jobs net-net were created."

Obama "Has Not Created Any New Jobs"

If Mitt Romney can't prove his boasts about his own job creation record, neither can he justify his blatant lie about President Obama's:

"25 million people are out of work because of Barack Obama. And so I'll compare my experience in the private sector where, net-net, we created over 100,000 jobs."

"I'll compare that record with his record, where he has not created any new jobs."

Sadly for Mitt Romney, the Bush recession began in December 2007.  As ThinkProgress rightly noted, "The private sector has added 2.3 million new jobs since March 2010, and it took the Obama economy one year to create more jobs than the economy under President Bush did in eight."  As The Economist explained earlier, the recession was not at its deepest just as Barack Obama was entering office, but far worse than official statistics revealed at the time.  Romney might also want to check with former McCain economic adviser Mark Zandi as well as the non-partisan CBO, who concluded that the Obama stimulus program "added up to 0.9 million jobs in 2009, 3.3 million jobs in 2010 and 2.6 million jobs in 2011."

Obama's Debt Exceeds All Previous Presidents Combined

Mitt Romney didn't just lie about Barack Obama's jobs record.  At the Sioux City debate, he got President Obama's contribution to the federal debt all wrong as well:

"We all understand that the spending crisis is extraordinary, with $15 trillion now in debt, with a president that's racked up as much debt as almost all of the other presidents combined."

Of course, we don't all understand that, because it's not true.  After Ronald Reagan tripled the gross national debt and George W. Bush doubled it again, Uncle Sam's red ink totaled almost $11 trillion when Barack Obama took the oath of office.

Obama is "Taking over 100 Percent" of Health Care

In his desperate quest to win over conservative Republican primary voters, Mitt Romney has turned his back on his signature achievement which he once boasted was a health care model for the nation.  And to do it, Romney has been lying for months by telling voters "Obamacare is about taking over 100 percent of the people's insurance in this country."

In a September 15, 2011 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Romney made the same charge:

"The Massachusetts plan was crafted for Massachusetts, for the needs of 8 percent of our population that didn't have insurance, not for the 92 percent that did. Obamacare is a plan that takes over 100 percent of the people in the country and their health care, and that's one of the reasons why people don't want it."

Sadly for Mitt Romney, repetition of a lie doesn't make it any more true.

The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in the spring of 2010 targets the 17 percent of people (over 50 million people) who are uninsured.  As Politifact explained in deeming Romney's fraud another "Pants on Fire" lie:

According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans without health insurance nationally was slightly under 17 percent in 2009, the year Obama began pushing for the bill. According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, the number was about the same in 2010, when the measure was signed into law. Other estimates have pegged the national number at about 15 percent.

As Henry Aaron, a senior fellow with the centrist-to-liberal Brookings Institution right noted, comparing 8 percent to 17 percent "would have been apples to apples" when it comes to the impact of the individual mandate at the center of both the Massachusetts and national plans. Sadly, Politifact concluded, Romney was guilty of "a felony case of comparing apples and oranges."

Romney "Will Reverse President Obama's Massive Defense Cuts"

During that same "American Century" speech in October, Governor Romney pledged:

"I will reverse President Obama's massive defense cuts.  Time and again, we have seen that attempts to balance the budget by weakening our military only lead to a far higher price, not only in treasure, but in blood."

Sadly for Romney, as Steve Benen pointed out, defense spending has not only gone up every year of the Obama presidency.  It is higher than it ever was when George W. Bush sat in the Oval Office.

Of course, Romney's confusion over matters of war and peace are hardly new.  In an April op-ed for the Manchester Union Leader, Mitt forgot about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as he denounced President Obama for "one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history."

Obama's "Equal Outcomes" and "Entitlement Society"

Last week, the Romney campaign rolled out what may well become the meta-theme and meta-lie for the 2012 general election race.

After President Obama declared in his Osawatomie, Kansas address that Republican trickle down economics "never worked," Romney struck back.  Just not with the truth:

"Just a couple of weeks ago in Kansas, President Obama lectured us about Teddy Roosevelt's philosophy of government. But he failed to mention the important difference between Teddy Roosevelt and Barack Obama. Roosevelt believed that government should level the playing field to create equal opportunities. President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes.

"In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing -- the government.

"The truth is that everyone may get the same rewards, but virtually everyone will be worse off."

By raising the mythical red menace of communism and falsely attributing it to Barack Obama, Romney in the words of Paul Krugman had introduced "The Big Lie" into his "Post-Truth Campaign." While Andrew Sullivan announced "Mitt Romney is a big, fat liar," Steve Benen lamented that "Romney, allegedly the responsible one in the Republican field, has been reduced to lying uncontrollably."  And while Greg Sargent in the past had expressed amazement at "Mitt Romney's casual, effortless falsehoods," New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait explained that Romney's red scare rose to a whole new level of duplicity:

"This isn't just a casual line. In eight sentences, Romney asserts over and over again that Obama wants to create "equal outcomes" and give everybody the "same rewards." This is nuts, Glenn Beck-level insane. Restoring Clinton-era taxes is not a plan to equalize outcomes, or even close. It's not even a plan to stop rising inequality. Obama's America will continue to be the most unequal society in the advanced world -- only slightly less so. The alternative proposals accelerate inequality even further."

Of course, as the proliferating profiles from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post and others show, Mitt Romney is no stranger to inequality.  Legendarily cheap and analytical, as a Harvard Business School student Romney gave a presentation to his classmates that "proved the value of family time based not on emotion but on yield."  Two Romney quotes - "I love business" and "I love data" - seem to sum up the man.

As for loving the truth, that for Mitt Romney is apparently another matter altogether.

* Crossposted at Perrspectives *

Originally posted to Avenging Angel on Mon Dec 26, 2011
Also republished by Community Spotlight.

 

 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Newt Gingrich’s Christmas Present

    Merry Christmas everyone. You to Newt

Twas the Day Before Christmas—in Virginia

by Neapolitan        Sat Dec 24, 2011

Reposted from Neapolitan by Kaili Joy Gray

'Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the land
All the candidates went to events that they'd planned.
There were breakfasts, and lunches, and dinners galore;
There were so many speeches their throats became sore.

Late last night, on their bus, they'd been snug in their beds,
While a vision of victory danced in their heads.
But today, there would never be time for a nap;
Just a flight or a drive to some dot on the map.

Then from deep in Virginia, there came such a clatter!
The media sprang to see what was the matter,
And found that, despite spending mountains of cash,
Two front-runners' efforts were gone in a flash.

In Virginia, no votes go to Gingrich or Perry,
So Christmas, for them, will be much less than merry.
"Too few signatures gathered", the state's rationale; it
Appears that their names won't appear on the ballot.

"Just get 10,000 signatures, as the state asked.
Go and get'em!" the candidates' staffers were tasked.
"There are five million voters!" and out they were sent,
Their goal to go gather just point-two percent.

But even so few was, it seems, just too many;
They may well have not bothered gathering any.
A few scattered thousands, their meager collection,
And these two are out of this March's election.

You'd think, with their millions, and well-paid promoters,
They'd maybe connect with a handful of voters.
But Perry's aw-shuckness, and Gingrich's "greatness"
Meant nothing: their campaigns were vanquished by lateness.

Oh, the horror! The anger! The utter dismay
On this Christmas-y Eve of a Christmas-y Day!
Yes, for Perry and Gingrich, the end of the race--
In Virginia, at least, where they're gone with no trace.

In Virginia, their campaigns fell in on themselves,
Like the work of some angry, malevolent elves.
And the candidates face these Virginia defeats,
Where the Klown Kar continues with two empty seats.

But while many rejoice at this most recent reason
To laugh at this silliest GOP season,
Remember, before you go off with a grin:
While those two may be out, all the others are in.

Now I'm through here; I've had a few minutes of fun,
But tomorrow is Christmas; there's work to be done.
So I'll leave you with this: as I head out the door,
To the GOP wannabes, let me implore:

"Now Bachmann, now Romney, now Hunstman, now Perry,
And Gingrich--yes, you of the multiple-marry--
Santorum, and Johnson, and even Ron Paul:
Please go away! Go away! Go away all!"

 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

American Healthcare Hassles: Part II

    Any of you diabetics reading this know what I feel like with my sugar levels going up throughout the day, as you have also suffered the same dilemma on more than one occasion. The nausea, weakness, and the dry mouth alone would make most normal people wish that they were dead. Forget about the risk of coma after a certain point, and possible death.

   So how did the day end?

    Well, after being unable to find any cash by either a loan from friends, or a little bit of work, I decided to make my way to the closest emergency room some 3 miles away. I did not have enough cash in pocket to be able to take the local city bus, so I started walking at 1 in the afternoon. I walk pretty quick even when feeling like shit, so I was looking at maybe a 45 minute walk. As luck would have it, I ran across some homeless friends of mine at an intersection not far from home, who told me to go into a clinic sitting at the same intersection because one of them had been treated for no charge. That is where I went to.

   Seven sheets of paper-work to fill out, no problem. Clinic did not even ask for an I.D., which was really cool. Sat in their waiting area from 1:45 until 4 waiting to see the doctor.

    Got through the exam, and got me 2 scripts for the Insulin I needed.

   Now, this clinic charges patients on a sliding-scale, there is nothing coming out of the building for free. They will bill me for the initial visit ( $ 15 ) but the meds are gonna cost up front. If I had the money, I most certainly would not have complained about the price of the Insulin ( $6 Per vial ) because it was much cheaper than having to buy at regular price. But. I did not have any money even at that price, so I was basically in the place for a little more than 3 hours and got nothing.

   At this point, I was tossing in the towel and beginning to head to the hospital, as I had originally planned. Then fortune turned to the better.

    I ran into a friend of mine who offered to buy me at least one of the vials I needed, which was just fine and dandy with me. I figured that I would pay him back whenever I was able to, but he told me “ Merry Christmas “ and not to worry about it. So that worked out great. I got at least one vial I needed, and I did not go apeshit and kill anyone.  I say that because high sugar levels tend to make me very ill and hostile to the point of actually knocking the crap out of someone.

   So I ended up with one vial ( NPH ) and I avoided a $1,000 emergency room visit.

    I am not finished with this topic, so the next time I will taking a look at just how pathetic the United States of America’s healthcare system really is.

    Nobody needing medicine that keeps them alive should have to worry about how they are going to get the stuff when an emergency situation arises and they are broke at the time.

   

Thursday, December 22, 2011

American Healthcare Hassles: Diabetes Issue

    This post is a flat-out rant against the bullshit that some people must go through in order to receive any medical attention, or help in getting medicine (s ) which they need in order to stay alive. I seriously doubt that the following example  happens in any other industrialized country, and I note that this is happening as I type this. This is my very own experience in trying to get medication ( Insulin )  in an emergency situation here in Tampa, Florida without having to use an emergency room.
   First, a little background.
   I have lived in Tampa since the summer of 2009, and I arrived here with a pretty messed up I.D. card. It had broke into 3 pieces after being wet while working on water fixing and cleaning pleasure craft. Obviously, it was not a Florida I.D., so I naturally made that much dreaded trip to the nearby D.M.V. office to get an I.D. card, only to discover that I needed my birth certificate. I lost my certificate while moving down to Florida, I guess, because I was not able to locate it.
    Going through the I.N.S. and all of the other agencies has been nothing but one big cluster-fuck due to the fact that some information is required on their forms that I have no way of getting, yet.  I was adopted by a German mother and an American father, so getting any info on the adoption has been a real pain in the ass, to say the least. My father was U.S. Army, so one would think that the military might be able to help, right? Nope.
    Back to the health care issue.
  With no I.D. card, I have not been able to enroll in the Hillsborough County healthcare plan that many are enrolled in. I have not had a complete physical in over a decade! Hell, I couldn't get a doctor to do one even when I had a handful of cash. The Salvation Army and other groups such as them will do nothing for you if you do not have a current I.D., so they were of no use to me. I should note that I do have an 13 year old N.C. expired driver license that I somehow ended up keeping. It is expired and of no use, even though I am not expired as of this post.
    I have lived in Tampa 3 times and there are medical records of me in at least 3 area hospitals, but it seems that even that is not good enough for identification.  Past employment and even current employment records are of no use either, it would seem. not that current employment would be of any help, since I have not worked for at least half of 2011. There is not enough work to go around here in Tampa. If there was, I would not be searching for ways to get my Insulin for free. I've been doing Insulin for 40 years and have always been able to buy my meds without government assistance up until now. Now I can't get the help because of an out of state invalid I.D.?
    I was able to register to vote here in Florida, but I will not be able to vote in the 2012 elections unless I somehow can get my I.D. I was also able to get SNAP benefits ( food stamps ) without an I.D., but no medical care or meds? WTF?
   I have had a Florida driver license in the past, and they can't just look that up with a few keystrokes?
   Here is what is going to happen unless something changes real quick.
   I am going to run out of Insulin on Friday,when all of the state offices will be closed thanks to the kindness of Governor Rick Scott, and then I will slowly begin to get a little ill. At that point, I will then be making a trip to an emergency room, where I will be hooked up to an I.V. with an Insulin drip and an Saline drip for dehydration. After about 4 or 5 hours, I will then be sent home, maybe with a prescription for Insulin which will be worthless to me since I will not have the money to pay for it. In the end, I will have a brand new hospital bill of at least $1,000 and no way to pay for it. This means that I will then begin getting collection notices and all of that shit, and it also means that the taxpayer will be footing the bill while my credit rating takes another hit from medical bills. All of this because I have no current Florida I.D. card.
   The really sad part of this whole situation is that I do not use Insulin that one needs a prescription to get. What I use costs only $25 per vial at Wal-mart, and what the prescription that I get from the hospital will cost anywhere from $35 up to $107, depending on what they try to give me, if anything.
    The taxpayers are going to get screwed and I am getting screwed also. American health care. gotta love it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Those Republican Candidates: A French View

Le Point, France
Difficulties of the Republican Party Candidacies

By Antoine Grenapin    13 December 2011
Translated By Cynthia Perez
Edited by Gillian Palmer

France - Le Point - Original Article (French)

There are still eight of them in the race. With less than a month before the first primary elections, taking place in Iowa and New Hampshire, it is impossible to distinguish a favorite among the Republican candidates.
“It is the first time since the post-war period in which no candidate really stands out,” analyzes Vincent Michelot. Professor at the Political Science Institute of Lyon (France) specializing in the United States, he is the author of several works on American political life, including Le pr├ęsident des Etats-Unis: Un pouvoir imperial? [The president of the United States, an imperial power?] (Gallimard, 2008). Here, he passionately delivers a list of six reasons for all the suspense, a plunge into the heart of American politics.
1. There has been total redefinition of the conservative movement.
“Nixon, Reagan and Bush Jr. each gave a definition to conservatism in their time. Today, this movement, paralyzed by contradictions, staggers mostly along three major lines of division.
“First, when it comes to questions of morality, there is a distinction between ‘social’ values, which aim to defend the integrity of the family, and those of libertarians.
Concerning foreign politics, there are two clashing camps: One favors a projection of American power while the other is more of an advocate for withdrawal, that is, isolationism with the use of force only under direct threat.
“Lastly, in economic matters, there is a divide among those who'll accept a rise in taxes and those who'd prefer to lower taxes, dig the country deeper into debt and effectively ‘starve the beast.’”
2. Voters are much more right-wing than in general elections.
It is a recurring observation during each Republican primary. The candidate must unite the hard right in order to win its vote before broadening its campaign to more moderate voters. But with the emergence of the tea party movement this year, the phenomenon is even more visible.
The paradox is that this essentially populist movement flatly refuses to be represented. They want nothing to do with politicians, though certain candidates, like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin, have, without much success, claimed to be their voice.
3. There is a desire for renewal.
It's Mitt Romney who, in spite of the lagging polls, seems to be in the best position for getting the nomination (at 20.8 percent in the polls, following Newt Gingrich with 33.3 percent). But besides being a Mormon (which doesn't delight fundamentalists), he is a part of the Establishment.
The Republican electorate, and Americans as a whole, aspire to a renewal of the political community. They want to see new faces come onto the scene. This is most evident when we look at the approval rating of a mostly Republican Congress: Only 9 percent of Americans have a favorable image of it, an historic low.
4. The Republican Party has not made a decision.
Paradoxically, if the Establishment suffers from its image, it maintains a significant influence in the campaign. Its most important elected officials carry a lot of weight right from the beginning of the campaign. By openly supporting a candidate, it sets the course. Generally speaking, its support goes to the candidate who stands out among the others.
So far, however, no candidate has been exceptional. This explains why none of them have or can receive the party's support at present; each of their weaknesses and quirks can be blamed for this.
5. The eight candidates have many flaws.
A poll leader for a while, Herman Cain has suffered from what is called “bimbo eruption” in the United States. A series of women did in fact accuse the only black candidate of sexual harassment which in the end forced him to give up the race.
As for the current favorite, Newt Gingrich, the eldest candidate (68) in the primary, there is a wide rift between what he says and his private life. He preaches a return to family values and moral conservatism; all the while he is on his third marriage. And each time he began a new relationship, his previous one hadn't been ended.
6. The importance of foreign policy.
The blunders of Michele Bachmann (wanting to close the embassy in Tehran...which has been closed since 1979) and of Newt Gingrich (qualifying the Palestinians as an "invented people"), as well as the once favorite Rick Perry's hesitations on questions over foreign policy, have all helped to weaken certain candidates.
It should not be forgotten that in this field, voters always have qualms about voting for candidates who unsure on this issue because they know they are not only electing the next president but also the commander in chief.
For the moment, only two of the candidates, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, are qualified in the matter. But it's just the beginning the primary election process; the more it advances, the more the candidates will be surrounded by advisers and refine their speech. An election only depends on foreign policy during times of war. But blunders will still ban you from becoming the ideal candidate.

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Christmas is No Time to Talk About War and Peace

Monday, December 19, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

by Jim Rigby

When I heard the President speak to returning troops last week, my mind flashed back to an article I once wrote for our local newspaper. Each week a different member of the local clergy would write a column, and I had been asked to write the piece for Christmas. That year all I could hear was the drumbeat leading toward a war with Iraq. I racked my brain trying to think of a way to put faces on the people we were about to bomb. Looking at a nativity scene I thought, “the people we are about to kill look like that.” Maybe a reframed Christmas story could help Americans stop hating Saddam long enough to care about the people who will pay the real cost of this invasion. I submitted the following article, covering the Christmas story the way the U.S. press was covering the build-up to the Iraq war. Looking back, I should have known what was about to happen.

Christmas Cancelled as a Security Measure

ELLIS ISLAND --  The three wise men were arrested today attempting to enter the country. The Iraqi nationals were carrying massive amounts of flammable substances known as “frankincense” and “myrrh.” While not explosives themselves, experts revealed that these two substances could be used as a fuse to detonate a larger bomb. The three alleged terrorists were also carrying gold, presumably to finance the rest of their mission.

Also implicated in the plot were two Palestinians named Joseph and Mary. An anonymous source close to the family overheard Mary bragging that her son would “bring down the mighty from their thrones and lift up the lowly.” In what appears to be a call to anarchy, the couple claims their son will someday “help prisoners escape captivity.” “These people match our terrorist profile perfectly,” an official source reported.

All of the suspects claimed they heard angels singing of a new era of hope for the afflicted and poor. As one Wall Street official put it, “These one world wackos are talking about overturning the entire economic and political hierarchy that holds the civilized world together. I don’t care what some angel sang; God wants the status quo -by definition.”

A somber White House press secretary announced that it might be prudent to cancel Christmas until others in the plot are rounded up. “I assure you that this measure is temporary. The President loves Christmas as much as anyone. People can still shop and give expensive gifts, but we’re asking them not to think about world peace until after we have rid the world of evil people. For Americans to sing, ‘peace on earth, good will to all’, is just the wrong message to send to our enemies at this time.”

The strongest opponents of the Christmas ban were the representatives of retail stores, movie chains and makers of porcelain Christmas figurines. “This is a tempest in a teapot,” fumed one unnamed business owner. “No one thinks of the political meaning of Christmas any more. Christmas isn’t about a savior who will bring hope to the outcasts of the world; it’s about nativity scenes and beautiful lights. History has shown that mature people are perfectly capable of singing hymns about world peace while still supporting whatever war our leaders deem necessary. People long ago stopped tying religion to the real events in the world.”

There has been no word on where the suspects are being kept, or when their trial might be held. Authorities are asking citizens who see other foreigners resembling nativity scene figures to contact the Office of Homeland Security.

A few days after submitting that piece, I received a nervous call from an editor. “We love your story. It’s very funny.”

“Thank you,” I said waiting for the other shoe to fall.

“The thing is, we want to take out the part about Iraq and Palestine.”

After a horrified pause, I explained that had been the whole point of writing the story -- to humanize the people who were about to be killed. When I refused to gut the story, he told me they would have to drop it all together.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Clergy who want to talk about real events in the world are seen as too political for the religious section, and too religious for the political section. Of course, if a minister gets in the pulpit and waves the flag and prays for the troops, that’s not called “political”, but if a minister questions any war, then it is considered mixing religion and politics. The resulting pablum in most clergy columns validates their strategic placement somewhere between the obituaries and the comics.

President Obama welcomes home troops at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Wednesday. December 14, 2011.What have we learned as a result of the war? That was answered by Obama’s words to the returning troops:

“Because of you -- because you sacrificed so much for a people that you had never met -- Iraqis have a chance to forge their own destiny. That’s part of what makes us special as Americans. Unlike the old empires, we don’t make these sacrifices for territory or for resources. We do it because it’s right. There can be no fuller expression of America’s support for self-determination than our leaving Iraq to its people. That says something about who we are.”

Looking back at my earlier Christmas article, I feel pain not pride at what the President said. His speech to returning troops could have been taken from any leader, of any nation, from any period of history, simply by changing the names and places. It is the kind of speech every leader has given since the emperors: brave and noble words, written in someone else’s blood. This President who ran, in part, against this war, has come to repeat the party line. This President, who once spoke of respect for all people of the world, has now deported more immigrants than Bush.

Hearing another speech expressing our nation’s narcissistic delusion made me physically ill. I could not help but think of the bloody wake such rhetoric leaves behind when put into action. The fact that we are leaving Iraq at this point says nothing about the purity of our initial motives. Even bank robbers don’t stay around after the crime has been committed. I appreciate trying to make our young soldiers not feel like they were pawns in someone else’s parlor game, but for the sake of future generations we must painfully remember and affirm, that is exactly what happened.

We, from the United States, are not like the people in our nativity scenes. We are like the Romans looming ominously in the background of the story. Christmas is about the little people of the world who find joy and meaning while living under someone else’s boot. We from the United States can only celebrate Christmas by ending our cultural narcissism, renouncing empire, and making room for the poor and the weak of the world like Joseph and Mary.

Christmas is not a fact of history, but Christianity’s particular symbol of every human being’s hope for world peace and universal happiness. When the angels sang, “peace on earth good will to all,” they were expressing the song written in every heart. But, that song calls us out of empire and into our entire human family. Maybe stopping the frenzy of Christmas long enough to really hear the song the angels sang to the wretched of the earth, would give us the humanity to stop hanging our Christmas lights until we no longer kill our brothers and sisters for the fuel to illumine them.

“O ye beneath life's crushing load, whose forms are bending low,

Who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow;

Look now, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing;

Oh rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.”

Jim Rigby is pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. He can be reached at jrigby0000@aol.com, and videos of his sermons are available online at http://www.staopen.com/sermons/.

                               www.commondreams.org

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dept. Of Homeland Security?

    For those of you who did not know it, Homeland Security not only takes care of keeping the United States safe from terrorist organizations and such other security measures, but the department also has the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department under its wing.

    So, why am I bringing this up to you? To let you all know how much paper-work that one has to endure, plus the cost if you have ever lost your birth certificate, and/or identification card, and are a U.S. citizen who was born overseas and adopted by parents with one being a U.S. citizen and the other a foreigner.

    It also does not help if this part of the government bureaucracy is so big, making it hard to navigate.

    I was born in Germany in the early 60’s, and somehow ended up in an orphanage when I was months old, from what I understand. I was adopted by my real mothers sister and an American G.I. after the two were married, from what I understand.  After my fathers tour was over, we came to the United States.

    From what I understand, I have been in the states since I was 2 years of age, and my mother was naturalized in the early 70’s in the state of Kentucky. I remember that event since I was at the proceedings.

   Fast forward now to 2009.

   I moved down to Florida and discover that I no longer have my birth certificate with me. It moved somewhere else, I guess. In many, if not all states, you need that piece of paper to get a driver license or a state i.d. card. Did I mention that the birth certificate that I did have at one time was in German?

    Anyway, I go through all of the government agencies in order to try to get a new b’certificate and shelled out quite a bit of money to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for the proper forms. Then there was also money paid to the appropriate consulate for even more forms to fill out.

    What have I received in return? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. It would appear that some of the information that I gave was incorrect.

    After doing much Goggling on the Internet, looking for a different way to get the stuff that I need, I was lead to Form N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship at the lowly cost of only $600. $600! Has our government lost their fucking minds? Who in the hell has that kind of money to spend for a sheet of paper, especially if they are not making the kind of money needed, to just throw it out for something like this? A barely make enough money to live on and that is with much help from others.

   Give me a break, will you? I happen to be working out of a “ day-labor “ pool, when they have work, because I can’t get an i.d. to apply for any type of regular employment. My i.d. and S.S.N. were already on file at this place, or I would have been shit out of luck with work.

    These places only pay their workers the minimum wage ( $7.31 per hour ) and I am supposed to pay our government $600 to get proof that I belong here? WTF?

   The government needs some kind of organization at the federal level, or even the state level, which could help people  get their papers at an either free or a very reduced cost.

    It does not help either that much of the information that is needed is material that I have no way of knowing without some help from either the military and maybe the I.N.S. itself.

   Want to hear something really shameful? I managed to get my voter registration card from the state of Florida, without any problems at all, but I can’t vote because I have no i.d. What kind of shit is that? I applied for and receive SNAP benefits ( food stamps ) and have never stepped into the state agency that oversees the program. I did it online at a friends house.

   At the same time, I am a type-1 diabetic who has to buy my insulin from friends, when I have the cash, because I cannot get on any of the county health programs because I have no current state identification. The programs which the state of Florida have available thanks to President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, would be very beneficial to me if I could only get into one of them. Once again. No birth certificate, no i.d., no healthcare coverage.

   It is no fun being a diabetic and having to be concerned with whether or not you will have the cash in hand to buy your Insulin when the current vial either runs our or reaches its throw-away date. That date is 28 days after you begin using the vial. The Insulin breaks down and loses its potency, and it can make one very ill. Laboratory manufactured junk at a high price.

   At $107 per vial ( Lantus ) here in Tampa, that is out of reach for someone who may manage to get only 20 to 40 hours of work per month, if lucky. Most of that would comes under the table. With the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years Holidays, work has come to a standstill for me. Not one day of work since November 13, 2011.

   I have been using my dwindling vial of Insulin, which will be gone by December 20, for what is already a week past the 28 day discard date.

  If you do not see any posting at this site after the 20th, it is because the government killed me with their outrageous paper-work and with their high fees.         ( To be Continued ? )

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Funnies: The Republican Party Clowns Edition

Newt-Tidings

David Letterman; "A campaign staffer on the Newt Gingrich campaign was fired because he was making negative comments about Mormons. I thought, 'Wait a minute, isn't Newt in favor of multiple wives?'"

"Michele Bachmann is picking running mates. That's like the Colts picking out Super Bowl rings."

"More good news for Newt Gingrich. Earlier today, he was endorsed by the voices in Glenn Beck's head."

"Newt has a holiday book out. 'The Newt Before Christmas.'"

Jay Leno: "Rick Perry said there were eight supreme court justices instead of nine. But, in his defense, he did know there were only three judges on 'Dancing With the Stars.'"

"Perry also said the Obama administration sent $500 million to the 'country of Solyndra.' If an energy company was a country, don't you think we would've invaded it by now?"

"Rick Perry was interviewed in a library, and they placed special books that were kind of mean: "Runnin' Texas for Dummies," "Supreme Court for Dummies," "Dumb & Dumber for Dummies."

Conan O'Brien: "Newt Gingrich released a statement promising he would not cheat on his wife. Even better, he said he wouldn't cheat on his next wife either, or the one after that."

Rick Scott's Guide to Unpopularity

by Doug Foote    Posted on Wed Dec 07, 2011

                                            Source

Florida Governor Rick Scott has achieved a historically low approval rating of 26 percent. How did he do it? Here's our guide to being an incredibly unpopular state executive:

1.) While campaigning, make sure to promise to take action on the most pressing issue on the minds of Americans: jobs. Declare unequivocally and repeatedly that you will create 700,000 jobs in 7 years, and make "Let's get to work" your campaign slogan. That way, voters can feel a sense of betrayal and disappointment when you do nothing to follow through.

2.) Start breaking promises right off the bat -voters love initiative! Despite a historic high level of unemployment in construction, reject federal money for a high speed rail project that would employ thousands of construction workers and engineers. Don't give a good reason for your actions. That way, voters can assume you are killing jobs for political reasons.

3.) Has your state experienced a huge economic hit because of a man-made, preventable disaster recently, perhaps an oil spill? By all means, do not make any effort to hold the corporations behind that disaster accountable. Even if other governors of your own party are making such an effort, continue to have more sympathy for those corporations then your constituents.

4.) One of the keys to being an unpopular governor is to demonize huge segments of your state’s population, and then watch it backfire. Here's a good list to start from:

  • Firefighters and police officers
  • Students
  • College professors
  • Welfare recipients
  • People who want to vote
  • Teachers
  • People who enjoy parks
  • People with preexisting medical conditions
  • "Government"

5. Related: Fire lots of teachers. Voters love crowded classrooms.

6.) Display your callous disregard for working families by raising the salaries of your personal staff while slashing wages for state employees.

7.)Continue to tout your business background while doing everything you can to seed doubt about your understanding of economics. Bonus:Fail at basic math and attack public workers simultaneously.

8.) While you're ignoring the jobs crisis, try addressing some imaginary problems. Let your imagination run wild! Don' stop at fighting imaginary voter fraud, that’s just Bad Governor 101. Search for oil in the Everglades! Fight imaginary drug use among welfare recipients! Spend as much taxpayer money as possible.

9.) Establish a "jobs agency"  that can't keep track of its own spending. Voters love irony!

10.) Make lots of statements that are demonstrably false. These statements should concern topics a governor should be familiar with: regulations, budgets, spending, transportation, health care, and the geography of your state. (Bonus: Racial insensitivity.)

11.) Don't forget your role: serving the needs of corporations and the super-wealthy. For instance, pass $2 billion in tax breaks targeting the wealthiest and lift regulations on property insurers. Announce plans to privatize as many things as you can. Make sure your campaign donors coincidentally benefit from your policies. (Bonus: Wink at the taxpayers for footing the bill -€“ they're in on the joke!)

12.) At all times, lack compassion and understanding about the basic needs and priorities of your state. The majority of your constituents just want to find a decent job, put food on the table, afford health care when they get sick, pay bills on time, vote on Election Day, and make sure their children get an adequate education. Your job is to wake up every morning in your mansion, drive to work, and make sure all those things are as difficult as possible.

Got more to add to Rick Scott's Guide to Popularity? Leave your suggestions in the comments, or tweet at us with the hashtag #RickScottFail.

Originally posted on Working America's Main Street Blog.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Robert Fisk: Bankers Are The Dictators Of The West

Robert Fisk   Sunday 11 December 2011

 Original Article

Writing from the very region that produces more clich├ęs per square foot than any other "story" – the Middle East – I should perhaps pause before I say I have never read so much garbage, so much utter drivel, as I have about the world financial crisis.

But I will not hold my fire. It seems to me that the reporting of the collapse of capitalism has reached a new low which even the Middle East cannot surpass for sheer unadulterated obedience to the very institutions and Harvard "experts" who have helped to bring about the whole criminal disaster.

Let's kick off with the "Arab Spring" – in itself a grotesque verbal distortion of the great Arab/Muslim awakening which is shaking the Middle East – and the trashy parallels with the social protests in Western capitals. We've been deluged with reports of how the poor or the disadvantaged in the West have "taken a leaf" out of the "Arab spring" book, how demonstrators in America, Canada, Britain, Spain and Greece have been "inspired" by the huge demonstrations that brought down the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and – up to a point – Libya. But this is nonsense.

The real comparison, needless to say, has been dodged by Western reporters, so keen to extol the anti-dictator rebellions of the Arabs, so anxious to ignore protests against "democratic" Western governments, so desperate to disparage these demonstrations, to suggest that they are merely picking up on the latest fad in the Arab world. The truth is somewhat different. What drove the Arabs in their tens of thousands and then their millions on to the streets of Middle East capitals was a demand for dignity and a refusal to accept that the local family-ruled dictators actually owned their countries. The Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddafis and the kings and emirs of the Gulf (and Jordan) and the Assads all believed that they had property rights to their entire nations. Egypt belonged to Mubarak Inc, Tunisia to Ben Ali Inc (and the Traboulsi family), Libya to Gaddafi Inc. And so on. The Arab martyrs against dictatorship died to prove that their countries belonged to their own people.

And that is the true parallel in the West. The protest movements are indeed against Big Business – a perfectly justified cause – and against "governments". What they have really divined, however, albeit a bit late in the day, is that they have for decades bought into a fraudulent democracy: they dutifully vote for political parties – which then hand their democratic mandate and people's power to the banks and the derivative traders and the rating agencies, all three backed up by the slovenly and dishonest coterie of "experts" from America's top universities and "think tanks", who maintain the fiction that this is a crisis of globalisation rather than a massive financial con trick foisted on the voters.

The banks and the rating agencies have become the dictators of the West. Like the Mubaraks and Ben Alis, the banks believed – and still believe – they are owners of their countries. The elections which give them power have – through the gutlessness and collusion of governments – become as false as the polls to which the Arabs were forced to troop decade after decade to anoint their own national property owners. Goldman Sachs and the Royal Bank of Scotland became the Mubaraks and Ben Alis of the US and the UK, each gobbling up the people's wealth in bogus rewards and bonuses for their vicious bosses on a scale infinitely more rapacious than their greedy Arab dictator-brothers could imagine.

I didn't need Charles Ferguson's Inside Job on BBC2 this week – though it helped – to teach me that the ratings agencies and the US banks are interchangeable, that their personnel move seamlessly between agency, bank and US government. The ratings lads (almost always lads, of course) who AAA-rated sub-prime loans and derivatives in America are now – via their poisonous influence on the markets – clawing down the people of Europe by threatening to lower or withdraw the very same ratings from European nations which they lavished upon criminals before the financial crash in the US. I believe that understatement tends to win arguments. But, forgive me, who are these creatures whose ratings agencies now put more fear into the French than Rommel did in 1940?

Why don't my journalist mates in Wall Street tell me? How come the BBC and CNN and – oh, dear, even al-Jazeera – treat these criminal communities as unquestionable institutions of power? Why no investigations – Inside Job started along the path – into these scandalous double-dealers? It reminds me so much of the equally craven way that so many American reporters cover the Middle East, eerily avoiding any direct criticism of Israel, abetted by an army of pro-Likud lobbyists to explain to viewers why American "peacemaking" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be trusted, why the good guys are "moderates", the bad guys "terrorists".

The Arabs have at least begun to shrug off this nonsense. But when the Wall Street protesters do the same, they become "anarchists", the social "terrorists" of American streets who dare to demand that the Bernankes and Geithners should face the same kind of trial as Hosni Mubarak. We in the West – our governments – have created our dictators. But, unlike the Arabs, we can't touch them.

The Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, solemnly informed his people this week that they were not responsible for the crisis in which they found themselves. They already knew that, of course. What he did not tell them was who was to blame. Isn't it time he and his fellow EU prime ministers did tell us? And our reporters, too?

Barack Obama: The Lesser Of Two Evils?

    The U.S. Senate passed a bill known as the  National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 which allows the military to act against American citizens in the United States, and to indefinitely detain US citizens, and to deny US citizens their Article III rights to a jury trial. All of these act run contrary to the Constitution of the United States, but who cares about what that piece of paper says anymore, right? Our government certainly does not, whether run by the Republicans or the Democrats.

The bill also would provide for indefinite detention of suspected terrorists, even US citizens detained within US borders, without legal counsel, judicial review, or trial by jury. (sources here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... and here: http://www.aclu.org/... and here: http://www.aclu.org/...)

And according to one report, the NDAA2012 also legalizes sex with animals (here: http://www.texasgopvote.com/...).  Perhaps the authors of this article chose the whole legalizing-sex-with-animals thing in an effort to distract readers from the real humping canard of this bill: the US military taking action against US citizens.     Source

    Obama has said that he will veto this bill if it makes it to his desk unless the provision that requires military detention of suspected terrorists is removed, but he says not a word about the use of the military against against its own citizens or the fact that our constitutionally protected rights are being tossed into the garbage bin.

The Patriot Act removed many of the constitution protections against search and seizure of citizens; it gave the government permission to tap your phones and read your mail without a warrant or judicial review.  The NDAA2012 hacks broadly at civil protections enumerated in Article III of the US Constitution and amendments V, VI, VIII, and IX (limitations on trials and punishment, the right to confront witnesses, and prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishments)               Source

   In case you have not noticed, President Obama has been running our national security in much the same way that the lesser-Bush did when he was in office. In fact, Obama has added to the onslaught of our freedoms and rights.

   In fact, the Obama administration has been pretty busy intruding on all of our rights. you can check out some of those intrusions here.

Criminalization of Dissent and Militarization of the Police
Anyone who has gone to a peace or justice protest in recent years has seen it – local police have been turned into SWAT teams, and SWAT teams into heavily armored military. Officer Friendly or even Officer Unfriendly has given way to police uniformed like soldiers with SWAT shields, shin guards, heavy vests, military helmets, visors, and vastly increased firepower. Protest police sport ninja turtle-like outfits and are accompanied by helicopters, special tanks, and even sound blasting vehicles first used in Iraq. Wireless fingerprint scanners first used by troops in Iraq are now being utilized by local police departments to check motorists. Facial recognition software introduced in war zones is now being used in Arizona and other jurisdictions. Drones just like the ones used in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan are being used along the Mexican and Canadian borders. These activities continue to expand under the Obama administration.

   and:

Technological Spying
The Bay Area Transit System, in August 2011, hearing of rumors to protest against fatal shootings by their police, shut down cell service in four stations. Western companies sell email surveillance software to repressive regimes in China, Libya and Syria to use against protestors and human rights activists. Surveillance cameras monitor residents in high crime areas, street corners and other governmental buildings. Police department computers ask for and receive daily lists from utility companies with addresses and names of every home address in their area. Computers in police cars scan every license plate of every car they drive by. The Obama administration has made no serious effort to cut back these new technologies of spying on citizens.                       Source

  Sadly for America, the 2012 elections will once again be a choice between the lesser one of two evils. This time though, I’m not so sure that there is a lesser evil. The only difference between Obama and Gingrich is that Obama has not turned into a serial adulterer, yet.