New Content: (06/09/2008)
Last Addition: (06/10/2008)
"If the American people ever allow
private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation,
then by deflation, (i.e., the "business cycle") the banks and corporations
that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until
their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
prices are now cresting over 4 dollars a gallon. Sovereign Wealth
Funds (SWF's) are now trying to buy up one of our largest rail systems.
Net job losses have been reported for each of the last 4 months throughout
the United States. There are over 3 million households that have now
missed a mortgage payment and will soon find themselves homeless, due to
foreclosure. It seems as if a "perfect storm" has landed in the
United States. And sadly there is no apparent "light at the end of the
tunnel." In fact most economists predict that things will get much
worse before they get better. For more on that I suggest reading the
accompanying article: "International Experts
Foresee Collapse of U.S. Economy in September 2008."
Meanwhile Bush's stimulus package
consists of giving each America wage earner a paltry $600 in order to
stimulate the economy. Meanwhile Congress -- including McCain
and Obama -- are tripping over themselves in order to thwart measures
against illegal immigration and are actually introducing legislation to
bring in more foreign H1Bs to take what few remaining jobs we have in the
white-collar sector of the economy. Meanwhile the American people are
watching their dreams disintegrate before their eyes.
And if this were not bad enough it
appears that China could soon become our most formidable enemy in the months
to come. Of course what makes this an even bigger problem is the fact
that our Corporately controlled Congress has allowed most of our "blue
collar" jobs and manufacturing to be offshored to China.
At what point do we finally stand up and
The sad reality is that this November we
will be forced to choose between two evils: McCain and Obama. Both are
members of the Council on Foreign Relations which is a stalwart
supporter of Globalization. Both will usher in "Comprehensive
Immigration Reform" which will grant amnesty to between 12 and 30 million
Illegal Aliens. Both will continue to support Marijuana Prohibition
which helps fund local drug gangs as well as Mexican smuggling cartels.
At what point do we start talking about
the "R" word: REVOLUTION. Let me be a little more explicit. When
do we start talking about the need for a 2nd American Revolution?
After all, the signs are all too reminiscent of the First American
Revolution. In both cases a foreign elite is out to reduce the
American people to a state of peonage through taxes and the destruction of
our sovereignty as a nation. In both cases our liberties are slowly
but surely being trashed.
About a year ago I cobbled together 9
initial political planks that have come to be known as the "New Agenda for
America" (NAA). The NAA would rob drug cartels, attorneys, drug
testing labs and the Prison Industrial Complex through one simple measure:
complete legalization of Marijuana for ALL adult Americans. The NAA
would stop the hemorrhaging of US jobs by imposing a 20-year moratorium on
both Legal and Illegal Immigration. The NAA would wrest control of the
Federal Reserve which is really neither a Federal Agency or a Reserve.
The NAA would serve as a catalyst to transform us from a corporatist
government, toward a form of government that might once again serve the
interests of the American people.
I encourage my readers to
understand and promote the "New Agenda for America." Here are the
(1) Universal Health Care for All
American Citizens (2) A 20-year moratorium on all
immigration into the United States (3) Legal Marijuana for all
Adults and Medical Patients (4) An immediate reversal to the
Offshoring and Inshoring of American Jobs (5) A strict enforcement on
issues of Separation of Church and State (6) An immediate move from
so-called Free Trade Agreements to Bilateral Trade agreements (7) A major R&D project to bring
energy independence to the United States and the World through recycling, reuse,
ending hyper-consumerism and investing in the development of sustainable energy
sources (e.g., solar, photovoltaic, wind, geothermal) (8) No further ownership of US
Assets (businesses, homes, ports, stock exchanges) by foreign governments or
individuals! (9) Replace the Federal Reserve
with a People's Reserve which allows public oversight
Much more (articles, videos) on
the "New Agenda for America" can be found through the following links:
Through these links you can better
understand the "New Agenda for America." And if you agree with
most of it you can use our graphic files to link to the NAC website from
your own website, FaceBook page etc. I also encourage my readers
to check out the archives additional articles that will further make the
case for a "New Agenda for America."
The last thing I ask is for you to
get on my mailing list. I would
like to start doing more public speaking on the "New Agenda for America"
and want to make sure you have an opportunity to attend.
For those that don't have
"Showtime" let me briefly summarize the series. The plot
revolves around a widowed housewife from an affluent California suburb
who becomes an upper-middle-class marijuana dealer to make ends meet.
Mary Louise Parker plays the widowed housewife, Nancy Botwin.
As much as I like Mary Louise
Parker, and the rest of the "Weeds" cast, I feel obligated to criticize
the premise behind the show. And the premise is that Marijuana
prohibition is just the way it is and the way it is always going to be.
This strikes me as self defeating in so many respects.
First of all Marijuana has only
been illegal for 70 years. Secondly, if Marijuana were legal it
would only cost an adult $20 and ounce to grow what is selling on the
streets for $300 to $600 and ounce. Thirdly, and most
important, we are amazingly close to reaching a majority consensus for
the legalization of Marijuana. In Canada an overall majority of
54% support the complete legalization of Marijuana for adults. In
the United States majorities already exist on the East and West Coasts.
The Central US support for Marijuana Legalization is around 46%.
And throughout the planet, support for Marijuana Re-Legalization grows
with each passing year. Years ago I had predicted majority
consensus by 2010 and I appear to be right on track.
So I, like millions of other
viewers, have watched the last 3 season of "Weeds" and will probably
watch the 4th season as well. But the premise -- that weed will
always be illegal -- prevents us from even thinking about an America
where Marijuana is, once again, legal. In point of fact Marijuana
was legal until 1938 and was the most widely used analgesic during the
mid-1800's. In point of fact virtually every commission on
Marijuana has concluded that it is neither a societal danger, nor worthy
of such a large waste of our tax dollars.
But that doesn't go far enough.
As an expert on drug policy I am well aware that our very own government
is deeply involved in funding "black ops" projects through the black
market distribution of Marijuana and "hard drugs" such as cocaine and
heroin. As Vice President to Reagan, Bush (1) was deeply involved
in the Iran-Contra scandal. This highly illegal operation
allowed the CIA to exchange guns for cocaine, which was then distributed
to West Coast Drug Gangs. This was well documented in Gary Webb's
series, "The Dark Alliance." The cocaine was then boiled with
baking soda and water to become crack which was then used to decimate
the Black and Hispanic ghettos. Finally these poor minorities were
thrown into the Prison Industrial Complex where Bush and his cronies
could make even more profit. This would be funny if it were not so
damn sick and hypocritical.
So "Weeds" basically promulgates
the fiction that Marijuana will always be illegal. And guest
starts like Snoop Dog feed that fiction by appearing on the show.
What a hypocrite!
I would like to propose another
show which we will call "Cannabis," the scientific
name for Marijuana. It would center around a neo-hippie family in
near future where Marijuana is completely legal. The family would
be portrayed as smart, empathetic and loving. They would be into
things like yoga, nutritious eating: basically the antithesis of current
corporate culture. The parents would be portrayed as responsible
adults, not allowing the children access; intervening when they see
signs of overuse etc.
The show could take a
retrospective look at how the Mexican Drug Cartels and Human Smuggling
operations were brought to a halt after Marijuana became legal under the
"MERP" Model, as proposed by author Bruce Cain. It could look at
all the businesses that went out of business after their real business
-- laundering Marijuana proceeds -- dried up. It could look at how
attorneys go bust after loosing the pool of 800,000 Marijuana clients
that used to pound on their office doors each year for legal counsel.
It could look at the closing of drug testing labs that are no longer
required for court ordered piss tests. It could expose how many of
the drug reform groups were never really that interested in seeing
Marijuana Prohibition end.
Now "that's" the show I want to
see. Instead we have this show titled "Weeds" that just keeps the
false propaganda alive. Weed will never be legal: that is the
subliminal message of the show "Weeds." In a sense it is worse
that "Reefer Madness" because it's subliminal message is far more
subtle. And so we continue to watch, week after week. And
the propaganda is so subtle that we forget to even think about what our
society would be like if Marijuana Prohibition were to end.
But since "Weeds" isn't going to
address life after Marijuana Prohibition (1938 - "Its up to us") let me
summarize for you. Our civil liberties would be rejuvenated as
police would no longer have an excuse to search your car or crash you
Saturday Bar-BQ. Hemp fabrics would displace cotton, which is less
durable and requires huge amounts of herbicides and pesticides to grow.
Mexican Drug Cartels, local gangs and the corruption of public officials
would be greatly diminished, resulting in safer neighborhoods and
cities. Access to high-quality Marijuana would diminish the demand
for "harder" drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin and Meth. In this
capacity Marijuana would act as a "Gatekeeper" substance: keeping people
at arms length from the dealers that are hawking the harder drugs.
Terrorist organizations (Islamic extremists, the CIA, NSA), that derive
50% of their revenue from the sale of illegal drugs, would be
I can almost envision the theme
song for the show: pot smoker extraordinaire, Louis Armstrong, singing
"Its a Beautiful World."
But seriously, if you want this to
happen then here is what you have to do. Demand that McCain and
Obama support and implement the "MERP" Model for Marijuana reform BEFORE
the 2008 Presidential election. Attend their public appearances
and scream out loudly:
"End the War on Marijuana.
Implement MERP before the election or we won't vote for you."
For once we change our minds, we
can change the course of our future.
Here are a few brief articles
describing the MERP Model:
The MERP Project
The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project
The governor and other prominent Texas Republicans were supposed to take
center stage at the opening of the party's state convention, but Ron
Paul may have stolen the show.
Supporters of the Texas congressman's presidential campaign mounted a
challenge to state party chairwoman Tina Benkiser, who learns later in
the convention whether she'll get to keep her post. The meeting began
Thursday and runs through Saturday.
Former GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney were
speaking to delegates Friday.
Paul himself stirred passion among delegates and others when he held a
late-night rally to announce he was officially ending his presidential
run. He's forming "Campaign for Liberty" to continue to spread his
message and support Libertarian-leaning candidates across the country.
Paul invited supporters to attend an alternative mini-convention he's
organizing Sept. 2 in Minnesota during the Republican National
"The campaign is going to shift gears. It's going to accelerate. It's
going to get much bigger," Paul said. "We have the momentum. We have the
Constitution on our side. We have the numbers of people."
Paul, a maverick congressman from Lake Jackson, didn't win any delegates
in Texas' March 4 primary, which is largely a winner-take-all system and
favored presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain.
Paul has refused to endorse McCain and said in an interview with The
Associated Press on Thursday night that isn't likely to change.
"I don't plan to," Paul said, explaining that he doesn't feel he can
endorse McCain because of their disagreement on issues. "I've tried to
soften that by saying 'unless he changes his position, unless he lets us
brings the troops home.' ... So it's not likely."
Hundreds of people rushed into a Houston hotel ballroom to hear Paul
speak. They listened to a guitar player perform peace and freedom songs
beforehand and gave loud cheers when Paul said the U.S. needs to bring
home its military troops from the Middle East. He repeated his stances
against the United Nations and the income tax.
The popularity of his campaign has gone beyond what he'd ever expected,
"Get more people," he urged his backers. "They're paying attention, and
it's across the political spectrum."
Paul said his political message isn't changing and that he'll continue
to speak out on freedom as he has since he first ran for Congress from
"It's just now that there's so much more enthusiasm, and so many more
people involved," he said. "This last year has been astounding. ... We
have to keep it going."
The campaign's official ending is a formality, considering Paul won few
delegates during the Republican primaries. But he raised large amounts
of money online and developed a huge grassroots following.
Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign spokesman, said the campaign still has
about $4.7 million in the bank, money which can now be used for the
"Campaign for Liberty." He said the effort will be a "permanent
At the Texas convention, some Paul backers shouted out at Benkiser on
Thursday as she tried to preside over routine convention business on
opening day, and she cautioned the crowd to follow parliamentary rules.
Paul supporter Paul Perry of Ellis County is challenging Benkiser for
Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst addressed the convention,
possibly giving a preview of things to come in the 2010 governor's race
they've both expressed interest in. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who
also is considering running in the GOP primary, addresses the convention
Convention attendance was down to about 12,300 total delegates and
alternates. The number of delegates is based on GOP voter turnout in the
last gubernatorial election, when Perry drew only 39 percent of the vote
in 2006. That year, the convention had 16,500 delegates.
Comment: Great article by
Mirken. Unfortunately Mirken is a member of the Marijuana Policy
Project (MPP) a group that has historically veered away from the obvious
solution: Legal Marijuana under the MERP Model: The MERP Model is
one of the planks of the "New Agenda for America."
MPP has yet to support the MERP Model and I'm not real surprized. (BC)
The MERP Project
The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project
Overview of the "New Agenda for America"
The "New Agenda for America" and the 2008 Presidency
A 20-year moritorium on all immigration into
the United States
Why Lou Dobbs Should Demand A Stop To Legal Immigration
Legal Marijuana for all Adults and Medical
Patients (under MERP Model)
"Why Lou Dobbs Should Support Marijuana Legalization "
In what is becoming a nearly annual ritual, the ONDCP has released yet
another report filled with dire warnings about rising marijuana potency.
In what is becoming a nearly annual ritual, on June 12 the White House
Office of National Drug Control Policy released yet another report
filled with dire warnings about rising marijuana potency. And the U.S.
media -- led by the Associated Press, by far the nation's most powerful
wire service -- once again mistakenly treated the story as if it was
AP's story, picked up by newspapers and TV and radio stations all over
the country, began, "Marijuana potency increased last year to the
highest level in more than 30 years, posing greater health risks to
people who may view the drug as harmless, according to a report released
Thursday by the White House."
One had to read six paragraphs into the story to get the first hint of a
dissenting view, voiced by Dr. Mitch Earleywine, author of the book,
Understanding Marijuana. Earleywine, a substance abuse researcher and
psychology professor at the Albany campus of the State University of New
York, noted that marijuana smokers simply smoke less when the product is
more potent, just as drinkers imbibe smaller quantities of bourbon or
vodka than they do of beer. Since the only serious proven harm from
marijuana use consists of coughing and other respiratory symptoms caused
by inhalation of smoke, higher potency marijuana is arguably healthier,
since smoke intake is reduced.
But the AP story -- and most other coverage -- was dominated by dark
suggestions of the dire consequences of this new "potent pot." ONDCP
chief John Walters warned of the "serious implications" of increased
potency, saying, "Today's report makes it more important than ever that
we get past outdated, anachronistic views of marijuana."
And Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, added,
"Particularly worrisome is the possibility that the more potent THC
might be more effective at triggering the changes in the brain that can
lead to addiction."
The operative word in Volkow's statement is "might." The claim that
higher-potency marijuana means greater risk of addiction is entirely
speculative, supported by precisely zero data. That, too, was pointed
out by Earleywine, but in a comment buried at the very end of the story.
And not acknowledged anywhere, either by AP or most other news outlets,
is the very large body of evidence suggesting that the whole "it's not
your father's marijuana" scare story is phony. To understand why, a bit
of context -- almost never provided by U.S. mass media -- is necessary.
First, the average potency level of 9.6 percent THC that has ONDCP so
alarmed (and which overstates the potency of most domestic marijuana,
which is around 5 percent) is actually low by world standards. As
reported in the new edition of The Science of Marijuana, by Oxford
University pharmacologist Dr. Leslie Iversen, the average THC content of
seized marijuana products in Britain from 1998 to 2005 ranged from 10.5
percent to 14.2 percent. In the Netherlands, where marijuana is
available by prescription through conventional pharmacies, the minimum
permissible THC content set in government standards for medical cannabis
(except for one special variety developed specifically to be high in
cannabinoids other than THC) is 13 percent.
In other words, the minimum acceptable THC content for medical marijuana
in the Netherlands is over one-third higher than the level that has
Walters and Volkow in such a tizzy.
And more sober analysts around the world continue to be far less certain
than U.S. drug warriors that potency is of great consequence. In a
report issued earlier this spring, the British government's Advisory
Council on the Misuse of Drugs (of which Iversen is a member) expressed
some ambivalence about the issue. While acknowledging a concern about
young people using high-THC marijuana, the ACMD noted that most users
may simply smoke less. It also noted that while potency has clearly
increased in the United Kingdom over time, "there has been no
concomitant reported increase in enquiries to the National Poisons
Information Service nor an increase in hospital admissions due to
A new analysis by a group of Australian researchers, published online
May 20 by the journal Addiction, is even more skeptical, citing "claims
about escalating cannabis potency made as far back as 1975." The
Australians argue that "more research is needed to determine whether
increased potency and contamination translates to harm for users." For
good measure, they add that the evidence "is fragmented and fraught with
methodological problems," explaining that the variations in marijuana
samples (potency data comes from batches of marijuana seized by law
enforcement) are so wide and the sources so varied that it is simply
impossible to know if reported potency accurately represents what is
available to marijuana consumers.
That said, there are some legitimate concerns about marijuana potency. A
first-time user who happens upon some very high-octane marijuana could
well have a more intense experience than they are prepared for. So could
someone accustomed to lower-grade material who unexpectedly happens upon
some high-quality sinsemilla.
There is an easy way to avert such unpleasant surprises, a method that's
long been in use for alcoholic beverages: The bottle of white wine
presently sitting in my refrigerator bears a label indicating an alcohol
content of 13.7 percent, while the bottle of single-malt scotch I keep
on hand for special occasions, contains 43 percent alcohol -- again
clearly marked. Needless to say, I'll drink the scotch more slowly and
judiciously than the wine.
Similar information could easily be given to marijuana consumers. But
that, of course, would require replacing prohibition with a regulatory
system similar to that now used for alcohol and tobacco. Oddly, neither
Walters nor Volkow seem to have brought up that possibility.
Primers on Government Economic
What you've suspected but were afraid to ask.
1. Series Master Introduction
2. Employment and Unemployment Reporting
3. Federal Deficit Reality
4. Consumer Price Index
5. Gross Domestic Product
Intelligencer - And you thought that I had a gloomy outlook on the
economy. Now the bad news pops up everywhere.
Harry Koza in the Globe and Mail quotes Bernard Connelly, the global
strategist at Banque AIG in London, who claims that the likelihood of a
Great Depression is growing by the day.
Martin Wolf, celebrated columnist of the U.K.-based Financial Times,
cites Dr. Nouriel Roubini of the New York University's Stern School of
Business, who, in 12 steps, outlines how the losses of the American
financial system will grow to more than $1 trillion - that's one million
times $1 million. That amount is equal to all the assets of all American
Every day now, thousands of people all over the U.S. and Great Britain
are walking away from their homes - simply mailing their house keys to
the banks - as housing bailout plans fail.
With unemployment growing, the next phase will hit commercial real
estate making the financial institutions the unwilling owners not only
of quickly depreciating houses, but also of empty strip malls and even
larger shopping centres.
The next domino to fall will be credit card defaults, and after that...
who knows? There are so many exotic funds out there, with trillions of
dollars in paper - or rather computer-screen money - all carrying
assorted acronyms, and all about to disintegrate into nothingness. Over
the next couple of years, scores of banks that have thrived on these
devices, based on quickly disappearing equities, will fail.
The most frightening forecast so far comes from the Global Europe
Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB), available for 200 euros - about $300 - for
16 issues annually. Its prediction is quite specific.
Where my warnings never spelled out an exact date, this think tank has
it pegged precisely. Here are its very words:
"The end of the third quarter of 2008 (thus late September, a mere seven
months from now) will be marked by a new tipping point in the unfolding
of the global systemic crisis.
"At that time indeed, the cumulated impact of the various sequences of
the crisis will reach its maximum strength and affect decisively the
very heart of the systems concerned, on the front line of which (is) the
United States, epicenter of the current crisis.
"In the United States, this new tipping point will translate into - get
this - a collapse of the real economy, (the) final socio-economic stage
of the serial bursting of the housing and financial bubbles and of the
pursuance of the U.S. dollar fall. The collapse of U.S. real economy
means the virtual freeze of the American economic machinery: private and
public bankruptcies in large numbers, companies and public services
The report goes on to say that we are entering a period for which there
is no historic precedent. Any comparisons with previous situations in
our modern economy are invalid.
We are not experiencing a "remake" of the 1929 crisis nor a repetition
of the 1970s oil crises or 1987 stock market crisis.
What we will have, instead, is truly a global momentous threat - a true
turning point affecting the entire planet and questioning the very
foundations of the international system upon which the world was
organized in the last decades.
The report emphasizes that it is, first and foremost, in the United
States where this historic happening is taking an unprecedented shape
(the authors call it "Very Great U.S. Depression").
It continues to predict that, although this crucial event is global, it
will be the beginning of an economic 'decoupling' between the U.S. and
the rest of the world. However, non 'decoupled' economies will be
dragged down the U.S. negative spiral.
Concerning stock markets, the GEAB anticipates that international stocks
would plummet by 40 to 80 per cent depending where in the world they are
located, all affected in the course of the year 2008 by the collapse of
the real economy in the U.S. by the end of summer.
The European authors of this report - it appears simultaneously in
French, German and English - state that they simply and without
prejudice try to describe in advance the consequences of the ominous
trends at play in this 21st-century world, and to share these with their
readers, so that they can take the proper means to protect themselves
from the most negative effects.
So there you have it. Three reports from three different sources, all
well regarded, and all pointing to a disastrous fall-out from our
monetary moves. Listen to the economic update below.
Comment: First they came after the "blue collar" worker. Next they
came for the "white collar" worker. Now they -- the multi-national
corpocracy -- is out to destroy the livelihoods of city workers, setting
a precedent that could destroy the America middle class. I have always
suspected that once the baby boomers started to retire "they" would find
a way to renege on the benefits they promised middle class Americans
throughout the United States. And that is exactly what appears to be
happening here. (BC)
VALLEJO – Across the bay from San Francisco, this old waterfront city
with 120,000 residents shares some history with San Diego.
It was a Navy town when an aide to Mayor Osby Davis recalls being warned
as a young girl: Don't go south of Georgia Street, where there are bars,
gambling and other dens of iniquity.
But the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, founded in 1854 and builder of 500
ships, including half a dozen nuclear submarines, was shut down in 1996
during a round of military base closures.
Now the city of Vallejo, hit by the slumping housing market and the
economic slowdown, says it is in deep financial trouble. It's blaming
contracts with public employee unions, much like the city of San Diego.
But unlike San Diego, the Vallejo City Council voted unanimously to
declare bankruptcy and ask a federal court to break its union contracts
– a move that experts say could set a precedent.
An attorney in Santa Monica who worked on a previous government
bankruptcy that also drew national media attention, that of Orange
County, said cities and unions will watch the Vallejo case.
“Probably many cities and municipal entities have problems similar to
Vallejo, if not to the same magnitude, at least of the same kind,” said
Paul Glassman, who represented cities in the 1994 Orange County case
resulting from faulty investments.
Named after Mexican Gen. Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. Busts of the general
and his wife, Francisca Benicia Carillo Vallejo, stand outside City
Briefly the state capital in 1852 and again in 1853.
Located where the Napa River flows into San Francisco Bay, covers 30
Current population 120,000, up from 72,000 in 1970.
College degrees are held by an estimated 20 percent of residents. About
35 percent have attended college or hold a two-year degree.
Average household income projected in 2004 was $64,950. The Solano
County average was $70,200.
Mare Island Naval Shipyard operated from 1854 to 1996.
Home of California Maritime Academy, part of the California State
University system; Touro University, osteopathic medicine and other
disciplines; and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom amusement park.
Three largest employers are Kaiser Permanente Medical Care, 2,735
positions; Vallejo Unified School District, 2,160; and Six Flags
Discovery Kingdom, 1,660.
SOURCE: City of Vallejo
Online: Union-Tribune politics writer John Marelius will take your
questions on national and state politics during a live online chat from
10 to 11 a.m. tomorrow at uniontrib.com/chat
Vallejo said in a filing with a federal bankruptcy court last month that
it has been running a small general deficit for three years, which is
expected to balloon to $17 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1.
The big problem is said to be contracts with police, firefighters and
other unions. General fund revenue is expected to be $77.9 million, less
than the $79.4 million needed for labor contracts, not to mention other
The city said it has cut 87 full-time employees, leaving a work force of
about 600. Funding has been reduced for street maintenance, parks, the
library, a senior center and other services and programs.
Additional cuts would threaten “the city's ability to provide even
minimal levels of service to its residents and, at some point, may
create significant health and safety risks,” the city said in court
The city told the court that unions only agreed to enough pay cuts to
get the city through this month. Then a 45-day mediation failed. Now the
city says it cannot rebalance the general fund “without restructuring
its labor costs.”
Davis, sitting at a desk in front of a large city seal showing a boat
and dock with the words “incorporated A.D. 1868,” said it's a “sad day”
when a city cannot meet its promises and commitments.
Unfortunately, the mayor said, the bankruptcy is necessary because there
is “absolutely no other way to pay our bills” in the new fiscal year
without getting relief from the union contracts.
Is Vallejo, as some observers are saying, a test case for other local
governments that might opt for bankruptcy to get relief from union
contracts, including costly pensions and retiree health benefits?
Davis said Vallejo's situation should be cautionary in another way. He
said a citizens committee reported in 1993 that if employee-benefits
trends continued, they would exceed city revenue in 2010.
The mayor said the warning was ignored by the City Council and city
managers. He said the projected day of reckoning arrived three years
early, accelerated in part by the economic downturn.
“Municipalities that are looking at us ought to say to themselves, 'We
need to start now finding a way to fix it, finding a way to negotiate
with our employee unions,' and let them know we are headed on a
collision path – and clear evidence of it is Vallejo,” Davis said.
A spokesman for the unions, Mat Mustard, a Vallejo police detective,
said the financial problems are the result of “mismanagement” by city
officials, not union demands.
Mustard said the city has for several years been shifting money from the
general fund to a number of restricted special funds, such as
transportation and redevelopment, to make its budget look unbalanced.
“They are not bankrupt,” Mustard said. “They are not insolvent. The city
has in excess of 150 different funds.”
The average police officer will receive a base salary of $121,518 under
the current contract, with pension, health coverage and other benefits
pushing the total cost to $191,060, said a staff report to the City
Council on May 6.
The average firefighter will receive an annual salary, excluding
overtime, of $130,112, costing $193,174 with benefits. Ranking officers
get much higher pay – for example, a police captain earns a salary of
$231,120, and the total with benefits is $347,726.
Mustard said the salary report given to the City Council is overstated.
He said his paycheck and information from colleagues tells him the
average police salary is “somewhere in the neighborhood of $90,000.”
Public employee unions, with their political war chests, can contribute
to the campaigns of elected officials in local government and school
districts, presumably backing those who will agree to lucrative union
Davis said four of the seven members of the Vallejo City Council are
said to have been elected with strong union support. He said he is not
one of them.
“People expect that they will then sell their soul to the public safety
unions and the public employee unions,” Davis said. “I have to say their
vote (for bankruptcy) indicated they were willing to be fair and open .
. . and make the decision they felt was in the best interest of the
majority of this community.”
The unions and others who oppose the bankruptcy have until June 27 to
file with the federal court.
Glassman, the bankruptcy attorney, said he thinks it's more difficult
for a municipality than a corporation to persuade a court to accept a
But once it is in bankruptcy, he said, the law is more favorable to a
municipality than to a corporation. Glassman said bankrupt corporations
such as airlines have obtained contract relief usually through
“You can't even begin to assess this until after the bankruptcy filing
has been accepted,” said Dave Hitchcock of Standard & Poor's, a Wall
Street credit-rating agency.
Hitchcock said city financial crises usually involve defaulting on debt.
San Diego's problem was an unfunded future pension liability, $1.37
billion, rather than an inability to pay current debts.
“We are still working through this ourselves, because municipal
bankruptcies are so rare,” he said.
Hitchcock said a bankruptcy brings “negative consequences,” such as an
inability to sell bonds. He doubts that Vallejo would be able to walk
away from its debt without paying a price.
Struggling as we are with the housing bust, the credit crunch, shrinking
consumption, rising unemployment and faltering business investment, we
can be forgiven for thinking that all the big shoes have dropped. There
another one up there, however, and it is about to come down.
State and city governments have yet to shrink the economy; indeed, they
have even managed to prop it up. They have quietly maintained their
spending at pre-crisis levels even as they warn of numerous cutbacks
forced on them by declining tax revenues. The cutbacks, however, are
written into budgets for a fiscal year that begins on July 1, a month
In the meantime the states and cities, often drawing on rainy-day
have carried their share of the load for the national economy.
That share is gigantic. At $1.8 trillion annually in a $14 trillion
states and municipalities spend almost twice as much as the federal
government, including the cost of the Iraq war. When librarians,
teachers, transit workers, road repair crews and health care workers
disappear, or airport and school construction is halted, the economy
trembles. None of that, or very little, has happened so far, not even in
California, despite a significant decline in tax revenue.
“We are looking at a $4 billion cut to public schools and deep cuts that
result in thousands of Californians losing their health care,” said Jean
executive director of the California Budget Project, offering a preview
coming hardships. “But the reality is we have not pulled money off the
Quite the opposite, the states and municipalities have increased their
spending in recent quarters, bolstering the nation’s meager economic
growth. Over the past year, they have added $40 billion to their
even allowing for scattered spending freezes and a few cutbacks in
of July 1. Total employment has also risen. But when the current fiscal
ends in 30 days (or in the fall for many municipalities), state and city
spending will fall, along with employment — slowly at first and then
noticeably after the next president takes office.
Sometime next year, the decline will reach an annual rate of $50
Goldman Sachs estimates. “It is a big reason to expect a weak economy in
2009,” said Jan Hatzius, chief domestic economist at the firm.
The $90 billion swing — from more spending to less — could be enough to
push down a weak economy to zero growth or less, because state and city
spending has accounted for as much as half of total economic growth
last fall. (A robust economy has a growth rate of 3 percent to 4
compared with the 0.9 percent or less of the last two quarters.) The $90
billion would certainly offset most of the $107 billion stimulus package
going out from the federal government to millions of Americans in the
of tax rebate checks. The hope is they will spend this windfall on
consumption and in doing so sustain the economy. That might happen —
for a while. But with the cutbacks in state and city outlays canceling
consumption, the next president, struggling to revive a weak economy,
almost certainly have to consider a second stimulus package.
But what should it be? Should it be a reprise of the checks, relying
private-sector spending for rejuvenation? Or should Washington channel
extra federal money to city and state governments so they can sustain
outlays for the numerous programs that otherwise would be shrunk? The
answer, even on Wall Street, is often: subsidize the states and cities.
“If you want to make sure that federal money gets spent, and jobs are
created, you give it to them,” said Nigel Gault, chief domestic
Global Insight, a forecasting firm.
Like many others, Mr. Gault contends that more than 50 percent of the
$107 billion in stimulus checks now going to households is likely to
no stimulus at all. Instead, it will be used to pay down debt or buy
goods and services. Imports bolster production in other countries; not
the United States.
Still, rebate checks have been a standard tool for years in efforts to
the American economy. So have tax cuts and — the most popular tool of
— the Federal Reserve’s lowering of interest rates. Each tool assumes
people will respond to the incentive with more spending and investment,
and markets will then work their magic. Not since the 1970s, when
politicians still paid attention to the teachings of John Maynard
public spending — government spending — surfaced in mainstream political
debate as a potentially effective means of counteracting a downturn.
Government has to step in, Keynesians argue, when private spending is
enough to lift the economy, despite the nudge from tax cuts or lower
interest rates or rebate checks. This downturn might be one of those
moments, involving as it does the bursting of a huge housing bubble.
has precipitated sharp declines in various tax revenues on which the
and cities depend, forcing them into extraordinary spending cuts — not
of course, but after July 1.
The issue barely dents the presidential election campaign. The
in particular are less than enthusiastic about Keynesian economics, with
use of government to rescue markets. They, and many mainstream
economists, for that matter, argue that government is inefficient,
bureaucratic, wasteful and unable to spend fast enough to counteract a
downturn. The two Democratic candidates, in contrast, argue that a
stimulus package, if one is needed, should include federal subsidies to
states and municipalities, not to start new projects but to prevent
in existing ones.
No state seems more vulnerable than Florida, with its plunging home
and slashed property-tax assessments, not yet on the books but soon to
In anticipation, the legislature in May approved a $66.5 billion budget
the coming fiscal year, down from $72 billion in the current one.
Schools are a target, said Michael Sittig, executive director of the
League of Cities, “but none has been hurt yet. Nevertheless, everyone is
scared. Everyone is in the mode of trying to figure out how to get
next year” — starting 30 days from now.
Foreign investors are again trying to buy up parts of this country's
critical infrastructure. The latest case involves the purchase of CSX
railroad, which stretches 21,000 miles across 23 states, connecting 13
military bases, 70 ports shipping military equipment, and nuclear sites.
The shadowy foreign hedge fund involved in the deal won't even reveal
its investors, which could include hostile countries. But it has a warm
fuzzy name—the Children's Investment Fund—so it couldn't possibly be a
national security threat, right?
The following videos are something
your really need to watch if you want to understand how Global
Corporations are working to destroy civil societies both here and
abroad. Perkins (author
of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man") is especially compelling
because he was an "insider" working for the National Security Agency
(NSA). In the series of videos he notes that the 2008 Presidential
Candidates will have to raise nearly 600 million dollars which is a new
record. As we all realize, this money is coming from
Multi-national corporations: not the American people. And the
"strings" attached to this money is so extensive that Obama, McCain and
Clinton are really much more "corporate marionettes" than they are
representatives of the American people.
Secret History's" Prologue provides an outstanding summary of the dark
side of American generosity as exemplified by the World Bank's actions.
The U.S. holds veto power over major World Bank decisions, and its
president is appointed by the U.S. president. Perkins asserts that the
World Bank's mission quickly became synonymous with proving the
capitalist system superior to communism, and to further this role, its
employees cultivated cozy relationships with multi-national
corporations. This opened the door for economic hit men (EHM) to channel
funds from the Bank into schemes appearing to serve the poor while
primarily benefiting a few wealthy people.
In the most common scheme, staffers would identify a developing country
possessing resources our corporations desired (eg. oil), arrange a huge
loan for it, and then direct most of the money to our own corporations
and a few collaborators. Infrastructure projects (eg. power plants,
airports, industrial parks) would then spring up - however, they seldom
helped the poor, and the nation was unable to be able to repay the loan
about 50-60% of the time. The EHM could then demand eg. cheap oil, U.N.
votes on key issues, and/or troops for eg. Iraq.
Perkins substantiates his "American Empire" label by asserting that the
U.S. is run by a big group who collectively act much like a king. They
run our largest corporations, and through them, our government. They
cycle through the "revolving door" back and forth between businesses and
government, fund political campaigns and the media - resulting in a
great deal of control over elected officials and the information we
receive, regardless of who is elected.
National disasters, like wars and aid projects, are highly profitable
for big businesses. A great deal of money for rebuilding is earmarked
for U.S. engineering firms and large corporations owning hotel,
communications and transportation networks, banks, insurance companies,
etc. Sometimes they also provide an opportunity for local governments to
extend their oppression - eg. just prior to the 12/26/04 tsunami the
Indonesian government was ready to reach an agreement with Aceh rebels
largely favorable to them - however, after the disaster disorganized and
weakened the Aceh, it instead sent in additional forces to break their
resistance in the resource-rich (multinational target)Aceh sector.
Overseas bribery is usually accomplished without violating U.S. law by
leasing eg. equipment from companies owned by the target (and friends)
at excessive rates; they can then subcontract portions to others at
inflated prices. This model can be used to contract for food, housing,
cars, fuel, etc. Another means is to offer to arrange for the target's
children to attend prestigious U.S. colleges while covering all their
expenses and paying consultant/intern salaries while they are in the
U.S. U.S. companies also pay local militias for protection, thus
weakening local control over them.
Little specific proof of the preceding is offered - however, it follows
Perkins' earlier "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" and numerous other
sources. "The Secret History" then goes on to reference vague specifics
in Asia, Africa, and South America in a conspiracy-mongering manner.
Some useful specifics come through, however. Examples include
privatizing water in South America and then significantly raising rates
to the point of provoking a mini-revolt, engendering political change in
another country through energy-extraction agreements that provide little
for the resident nation, etc.
Our "bottom-line" seems to be "go along with us or we'll foment
revolution and/or assassinate you." Mid-East examples include Iran
(early 1950s), and Iraq (early 1960s). (No wonder leaders are leery of
American-style democracy.) Those wondering why the U.S. is so concerned
about Israel's welfare have the answer provided by Perkins - Israel is
America's foot soldier in the area, there to help keep the Mid-East in
Where have we ended up? Over half the world lives on less than $2/day,
over 2 billion lack basic amenities such electricity, clean water,
sanitation, land titles, phones, police and fire protection, the cost of
servicing Third World debt exceeds their spending on health and
education and is about twice what they receive in foreign aid,
developing countries' 1970 trade surplus is now an $11 billion deficit,
and U.S. corporations now pay less than 10% of federal taxes - down from
21% in as recently as '01 and over 50% during WWII.
Comment: This most recent attack from China is more serious
than the article suggests. First of all there is no way this
happened by accident: they purposely wanted to inflict damage on
American consumers. But far more troubling is that this is most
probably a "dress rehearsal" for a much more serious future attack which
could not just damage individual computers, but entire networks.
It could well be used to disable our computer networks during a military
attack from China upon the United States. But I suppose as long as
poisoning our dogs, our children and our pill poppers doesn't interfere
with the profits -- of US Multi-National Corporations -- Congress will
conveniently do nothing. (BC)
An insidious computer virus
recently discovered on digital photo frames has been identified as a
powerful new Trojan Horse from China that collects passwords for online
games - and its designers might have larger targets in mind.
"It is a nasty worm that has a great deal of intelligence," said Brian
Grayek, who heads product development at Computer Associates, a security
vendor that analyzed the Trojan Horse.
The virus, which Computer Associates calls Mocmex, recognizes and blocks
antivirus protection from more than 100 security vendors, as well as the
security and firewall built into Microsoft Windows. It downloads files
from remote locations and hides files, which it names randomly, on any
PC it infects, making itself very difficult to remove. It spreads by
hiding itself on photo frames and any other portable storage device that
happens to be plugged into an infected PC.
The authors of the new Trojan Horse are well-funded professionals whose
malware has "specific designs to capture something and not leave
traces," Grayek said. "This would be a nuclear bomb" of malware.
By studying how the code is constructed and how it's propagated,
Computer Associates has traced the Trojan to a specific group in China,
Grayek said. He would not name the group.
The strength of the malware shows how skilled hackers have become and
how serious they are about targeting digital devices, which provide a
new frontier for stealing information from vast numbers of unwary PC
owners. More than 2.26 million digital frames were sold in 2007,
according to the Consumer Electronics Association, and it expects sales
to grow to 3.26 million in 2008.
The new Trojan also has been spotted in Singapore and the Russian
Federation and has 67,500 variants, according to Prevx, a security
vendor headquartered in England.
Grayek said Mocmex might be a test for some bigger attack, because it's
designed to capture any personal, private or financial information, yet
so far it's only stealing passwords for online games.
"If I send you a package but it doesn't explode, why did I send it?" he
said. "Maybe I want to see if I can get it out to you and how you open
The initial reports of infected frames came from people who had bought
them over the holidays from Sam's Club and Best Buy. New reports involve
frames sold at Target and Costco, according to SANS, a group of security
researchers in Bethesda, Md., who began asking for accounts of infected
devices on Christmas Day. So far the group has collected more than a
dozen complaints from people across the country.
The new Trojan isn't the only piece of malware involved. Deborah Hale of
Sans said the researchers also found four other, older Trojans on each
frame, which may serve as markers for botnets - networks of infected PCs
that are remotely controlled by hackers.
There is W32.Rajump, which deposits the same piece of malware that
infected some of Apple's video iPods during manufacturing in October
2006. It gathers Internet Protocol addresses and port numbers from
infected PCs and ships them out, according to Symantec. One destination
is registered to a service in China that allows people to conceal their
own IP addresses.
Then there is a generic Trojan; a Trojan that opens a back door on PCs
and displays pop-up ads; and a Trojan that spreads itself through
portable devices like Mocmex does.
How all this malware got onto the photo frames and what it's doing there
is unclear. Trojans can download other Trojans, which is part of how
botnets are controlled.
While SANS is investigating the infections, the retailers are saying
Sam's Club said it has found no infected frames, and its distributor,
Advanced Design Systems, did not return calls seeking comment.
A few Target customers complained about frames distributed by Uniek, a
store spokesman confirmed. Target is no longer selling those frames, but
that's because the frames didn't sell well over the holidays, he said.
Target has found no infections, he said, but is watching for them.
Best Buy said one line of its Insignia frames - also now discontinued -
was infected during manufacturing but would not provide details.
Costco did not return calls seeking comment.
How to avoid problems
Protecting against these new computer viruses, which so far are aimed at
PCs running Windows, is hard - and sometimes impossible.
Updated antivirus software works unless the malware writers get ahead of
the antivirus vendors, which is what happened with the new Trojan.
Computer Associates, for example, just began protecting against it last
While some advise disabling Autorun in Windows, which allows devices to
run automatically when they're plugged into a USB port, it's not a
failsafe. Doing so requires some computer expertise, and this Trojan
re-enables Autorun if it's turned off, according to Brian Grayek of
Computer Associates. "If you plug in (the frame), you're already
infected," he said.
Deborah Hale at SANS suggested that PC users find friends with Macintosh
or Linux machines and have them check for malware before plugging any
device into a PC.
She also recommended backing up data with an online service such as
Mozy.com that offers free backup for home users with less than 2
gigabytes of data. But it does not back up the operating system, she
warned. If you're attacked and your PC fails, you'll have to reformat
and reload all of the programs.
If you think bought an infected device, call your retailer.
China is rapidly plundering the
vast natural resources of sub-Saharan Africa. Oil, copper, timber,
precious metals - China has swooped in to secure long-term deals to
control the resources. It's a bad deal for Africa, which gets virtually
nothing in return, and a bad deal for the United States and Europe,
which have done nothing to protect their own national interests in
securing legitimate access to Africa's resources. Here is Lou's
interview with Fast Company writer Richard Behar and editor Bob Safian.
Here is a link to the actual
article in Fast Company:
Bill Moyers addresses the need for responsible public media.
(Photo: Rick Francis / AP)
Legendary journalist Bill Moyers address the National Conference for
Media Reform in Minneapolis, June 7, 2008. Presented by FreePress.net.
"As journalism goes, so goes democracy," renowned PBS host Bill Moyers
told the crowd at the National Conference for Media Reform. And right
now, journalism is in trouble.
In his serious and eloquent style, Moyers warned the crowd of the
"mighty armada of power and influence" that threatens the media and
democracy today-propagating junk news that dominates the national
discussion and forces out more legitimate and competing storylines.
There is one central tenet that runs through the media reform movement,
according to Moyers: Everyone here sees media consolidation as a
"corrosive force." As the wall between journalism and advertising is
broken down by businesses pushing profit over public good, honest
information and accountability in this country literally disappears. He
called out the "myths of the marketplace," including the idea that
private systems will provide for the public good, and the business
mantra that public interest is what the public is interested in.
Moyers effortlessly drew connections from the complicity of the media in
the war in Iraq to the near-constant attacks on the environment, from
the "political marionettes" in Washington, D.C., to the soaring credit
card debt and inequality in America today. The way to combat these
problems is with media reform, and the only way reform the media is with
a healthy and popular movement.
"In numbers is strength, and in strength is success," Moyers told the
crowd of journalists and activists, urging them to support a diversity
of voices from all communities. He called on journalists and activists
to "be vigilant" and "show courage," because their job is literally to
protect "the freedom that makes all other freedom possible."
It is well know that the
Internet has been a point of consternation for the Global Elite. I
have often compared the Internet to the "Library of Alexandria" in that
it allows all viewpoints with NO censorship: something absolutely
required for a free society to exist. As the "New Agenda for
America" expands you can bet that "Net Neutrality" will eventually
become a plank on the agenda. In fact, consider it already there! (BC)
Some question if report that pay-per-view system to be introduced is a
hoax, but wider march to regulate the web is documented
Paul Joseph Watson / Prison Planet | June 11, 2008
ISP’s have resolved to restrict the Internet to a TV-like subscription
model where users will be forced to pay to visit selected corporate
websites by 2012, while others will be blocked, according to a leaked
report. Despite some people dismissing the story as a hoax, the wider
plan to kill the traditional Internet and replace it with a regulated
and controlled Internet 2 is manifestly provable.
"Bell Canada and TELUS (formerly owned by Verizon) employees officially
confirm that by 2012 ISP’s all over the globe will reduce Internet
access to a TV-like subscription model, only offering access to a small
standard amount of commercial sites and require extra fees for every
other site you visit. These ‘other’ sites would then lose all their
exposure and eventually shut down, resulting in what could be seen as
the end of the Internet," warns a report that has spread like wildfire
across the web over the last few days.
The article, which is accompanied by a You Tube clip, states that Time
Magazine writer "Dylan Pattyn" has confirmed the information and is
about to release a story - and that the move to effectively shut down
the web could come as soon as 2010.
People have raised questions about the report’s accuracy because the
claims are not backed by another source, only the "promise" that a Time
Magazine report is set to confirm the rumor. Until such a report emerges
many have reserved judgment or outright dismissed the story as a hoax.
What is documented, as the story underscores, is the fact that TELUS’
wireless web package allows only restricted pay-per-view access to a
selection of corporate and news websites. This is the model that the
post-2012 Internet would be based on.
People have noted that the authors of the video seem to be more
concerned about getting people to subscribe to their You Tube account
than fighting for net neutrality by prominently featuring an attractive
woman who isn’t shy about showing her cleavage. The vast majority of the
other You Tube videos hosted on the same account consist of bizarre
avante-garde satire skits on behalf of the same people featured in the
Internet freedom clip. This has prompted many to suspect that the
Internet story is merely a stunt to draw attention to the group.
Whether the report is accurate or merely a crude hoax, there is a very
real agenda to restrict, regulate and suffocate the free use of the
Internet and we have been documenting its progression for years.
The first steps in a move to charge for every e mail sent have already
been taken. Under the pretext of eliminating spam, Bill Gates and other
industry chieftains have proposed Internet users buy credit stamps which
denote how many e mails they will be able to send. This of course is the
death knell for political newsletters and mailing lists.
The New York Times reported that "America Online and Yahoo, two of the
world’s largest providers of e-mail accounts, are about to start using a
system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that
pay from 1/4 of a cent to a penny each to have them delivered. The
senders must promise to contact only people who have agreed to receive
their messages, or risk being blocked entirely."
The first wave will simply attempt to price people out of using the
conventional Internet and force people over to Internet 2, a state
regulated hub where permission will need to be obtained directly from an
FCC or government bureau to set up a website.
The original Internet will then be turned into a mass surveillance
database and marketing tool. The Nation magazine reported in 2006 that,
"Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are
developing strategies that would track and store information on our
every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system,
the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According
to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and
telecommunications industries, those with the deepest
pockets–corporations, special-interest groups and major
advertisers–would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers
would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while
information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications,
could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out."
Over the past few years, a chorus of propaganda intended to demonize the
Internet and further lead it down a path of strict control has spewed
forth from numerous establishment organs:
Time magazine reported last year that researchers funded by the federal
government want to shut down the internet and start over, citing the
fact that at the moment there are loopholes in the system whereby users
cannot be tracked and traced all the time.
The projects echo moves we have previously reported on to clamp down on
internet neutrality and even to designate a new form of the internet
known as Internet 2.
In a display of bi-partisanship, there have recently been calls for all
out mandatory ISP snooping on all US citizens by both Democrats and
The White House’s own recently de-classified strategy for "winning the
war on terror" targets Internet conspiracy theories as a recruiting
ground for terrorists and threatens to "diminish" their influence.
The Pentagon recently announced its effort to infiltrate the Internet
and propagandize for the war on terror.
In a speech last October, Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff
identified the web as a "terror training camp," through which
"disaffected people living in the United States" are developing "radical
ideologies and potentially violent skills."
His solution is "intelligence fusion centers," staffed by Homeland
Security personnel which will go into operation next year.
The U.S. Government wants to force bloggers and online grassroots
activists to register and regularly report their activities to Congress.
Criminal charges including a possible jail term of up to one year could
be the punishment for non-compliance.
A landmark legal case on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of
America and other global trade organizations seeks to criminalize all
Internet file sharing of any kind as copyright infringement, effectively
shutting down the world wide web - and their argument is supported by
the U.S. government.
A landmark legal ruling in Sydney goes further than ever before in
setting the trap door for the destruction of the Internet as we know it
and the end of alternative news websites and blogs by creating the
precedent that simply linking to other websites is breach of copyright
The European Union, led by former Stalinist and potential future British
Prime Minister John Reid, has also vowed to shut down "terrorists" who
use the Internet to spread propaganda.
The EU data retention bill, passed last year after much controversy and
with implementation tabled for late 2007, obliges telephone operators
and internet service providers to store information on who called who
and who emailed who for at least six months. Under this law,
investigators in any EU country, and most bizarrely even in the US, can
access EU citizens’ data on phone calls, SMS messages, emails and
instant messaging services.
The EU also recently proposed legislation that would prevent users from
uploading any form of video without a license.
The US government is also funding research into social networking sites
and how to gather and store personal data published on them, according
to the New Scientist magazine. "At the same time, US lawmakers are
attempting to force the social networking sites themselves to control
the amount and kind of information that people, particularly children,
can put on the sites."
The development of a new form of internet with new regulations is also
designed to create an online caste system whereby the old internet hubs
would be allowed to break down and die, forcing people to use the new
taxable, censored and regulated world wide web.
Make no mistake, the internet, one of the greatest outposts of free
speech ever created is under constant attack by powerful people who
cannot operate within a society where information flows freely and
unhindered. Both American and European moves mimic stories we hear every
week out of state controlled Communist China, where the internet is
strictly regulated and virtually exists as its own entity away from the
rest of the web.
The Internet is freedom’s best friend and the bane of control freaks.
Its eradication is one of the short term goals of those that seek to
centralize power and subjugate their populations under tyranny by
eliminating the right to protest and educate others by the forum of
the free world wide web.
The nation is at a dangerous crossroad. Either Congress reasserts its
authority now by impeachment or it forever surrenders that role, leaving
us with what can only be called a dictatorship.
The last couple of weeks have brought confirmation-as if it were
needed-even in the corporate media, that President George W. Bush, Vice
President Dick Cheney, and the gang of thugs and sycophants around them
in the White House, engaged in a massive conspiracy to lie the country
into a war in Iraq.
The release of a confessional book by former White House press spokesman
Scott McClellan and the subsequent release of a long blocked report by
the Senate Intelligence Committee make it clear that Bush, Cheney &
Company deliberately lied to Congress and the American public back in
2002 and early 2003 about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein (there was
none). McClellan also states that Bush and Cheney conspired to "out" CIA
undercover operative Valerie Plame Wilson, as part of a compaign to
prevent her husband from exposing a major part of that campaign of lies:
the claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking to build nuclear weapons.
It would be hard to overstate the extent of or the damage caused by
these crimes that are now exposed to the light of day.
Beginning in 2001, making the most cynical use of the tragic killing of
nearly 3000 Americans in the 9-11 attacks, Bush and Cheney moved to
aggrandize as much power as possible in the executive, and then, to
consolidate that power grab, engineered a full-scale war against Iraq,
enabling them to claim that any opponent of their dictatorial usurpation
of power was a traitor to the nation.
It was all a lie.
Saddam Hussein had no links to Al Qaeda, and he had no nuclear program.
He had no weapons of mass destruction. His country was broken, thanks to
years of international sanctions and war.
As a result of these lies, we have a country that no longer even
remotely resembles what the Founders had intended. The Congress has been
shorn of its once exclusive authority to legislate, and even its
Constitutional power to investigate the executive branch has been
successfully defied. It is now an atrophied relic. The federal
judiciary, right up to the Supreme Court, has been packed with
administration sycophants and Federalist Society advocates of unfettered
We also have been saddled with an unwinnable war in the Middle East that
has claimed the lives of 4500 Americans, destroyed the lives of another
30,000-or perhaps several hundred thousand, if we add in all those
suffering psychological damage, or genetic damage from exposure to
depleted uranium weapons. That war has also killed over 1 million
innocent Iraqis, including countless chiildren, destroyed their country,
bankrupted this nation, and made the US a pariah and a rogue state in
the eyes of the rest of the world.
Most Americans long since came to the conclusion that the Bush
administration was a gang of idiots. Just watching their handling of the
Hurricane Katrina disaster unfold was enough to make that clear. But the
new reports from McClellan and from the Senate Intelligence Committee
should make it clear that this was not just stupidity. The disasters
that have befallen this nation, or that it has brought on the rest of
the world, over the past eight years have been the result of deliberate
lying and deceit and of the conspiratorial policies of a cabal of
leaders whose goal from day one was undoing the Constitution and
establishing the presidency as a kind of dictatorship.
Most of the corporate media have been unable to bring themselves to
state this clearly. They edge around the issue by talking about the
White House having been "misleading" or "untruthful." And little is said
about the lasting damage that has been done to the Republic and the
Constitution, or about what is to be done about a still bloody war that
never should have been fought in the first place.
The answer is clear. Impeachment proceedings should be initiated against
both Bush and Cheney. These two arch criminals must not be permitted to
leave office with their titles intact. They need to be tossed out in
disgrace, and then indicted for war crimes and for crimes like perjury,
conspiracy and perhaps treason.
We are already seeing the long-term damage that has been wrought. John
McCain, the presumed Republican nominee for president, is saying that
the president's use of the National Security Agency to spy, without any
court order, on tens or hundreds of thousants, or perhaps millions of
Americans, is legal, and would continue under a McCain administration.
Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has said
that he would continue Bush's use of "signing statements" to ignore
Congressional legislation that he felt impaired his Constitutional
powers as president.
The nation is at a dangerous crossroad. Either Congress reasserts its
authority now, via impeachment, drawing a Constitutional line in the
stand in defense of Article I of the Constitution-the article that
defines the power of Congress as absolute in terms of passing legisation-or
it forever surrenders that role, leaving us with what can only be called
We clearly cannot count on the next president, whoever that may be, to
surrender powers usurped by the current one. What leader in history has
willingly and voluntarily surrendered authority, after all?
Such power must be wrested back by Congress, and the only way for that
to happen is impeachment-a course laid out clearly by the authors of the
Constitution for just such a crisis.
About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year
veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times
contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of
Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co- author,
with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case
for Impeachment?. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
In order to raise money for the "New
Agenda for America" -- and to continue with this website -- I am
releasing a series of music CD's. I'm hoping to showcase some of
this music during some of my future public appearances. Currently
Guitar Live" is available for purchase and "Gnostic Raw"
is available for pre-order. The mastered version, "Gnostic"
should be available towards the end of 2008. Click
here to place your order.
I've featured some of my
from time to time but have yet to put forth any of my other
compositions. Soon I will be releasing a "Raw" version of the
"Gnostic" music project that
will feature about half of the compositions that will appear on the
final CD. You might say it is something
like the Beatles "Anthology" project in reverse (minus the talent) . . .
as they released early versions of their compositions after selling
their CD rights to Michael Jackson. I, on the other hand, am
releasing the early version first, because the final versions simply
"Gnostic" is philosophically parallel to the
"New Agenda for America" in many ways. There is the "Hemp
Song" which strongly advocates for the legalization of
Marijuana. "I Know What You Want George" is a rocker
which criticizes George Bush's fascist tendencies.
know what you want George
I can hear your feet outside my door
I know what you want George
You’d like to make us your slaves forever more
But your emperors clothes have worn away
And all that’s left is a smarmy corporate whore
Your time is coming
And when the people wake they foil your plan
Your time is coming
And when we rise we’ll take our country back
‘Cus your emperor’s clothes have worn away
And the devil waves behind your back
["I Know What You Want George" by Bruce W. Cain]
Farm" is an instrumental homage to the massacre at that
occurred at "Rainbow Farm" the week before 911. If I ever
get out lecturing this year I may make an attempt to perform some
acoustic versions of some of the songs.
I wrote "The
Hemp Song" quite awhile ago: shortly after meeting hemp activist
Jack Herer (author of "The Emperor Wears No Clothes") in the early 90's.
It reflects our shared vision of what the world might be like if
Marijuana prohibition were to end. The refrain says it all as it
is only after we change our thinking that we can change our reality.
Any time, any day
Any time that we want it that way
We don’t need your Drug War anymore
Although I admit that many of the
song's predictions are "over puffed" (e.g., Legalization is unlikely to
end Global Warming by itself), there is no doubt that Marijuana
Re-Legalization would have an incredibly positive effect on society.
Of course many attorneys and drug testing labs might not quite see it
that way, however, that is not my concern. It is my hope that this
ballad is embraced by the "grass roots" movement to demand an end to
Marijuana Prohibition throughout the globe.
Hopefully, by the end of 2008, the
final version of "Gnostic" will be mixed, mastered and available for
your listening pleasure. Unfortunately I can be a procrastinator
so it is possible this will never be completed.
"Classical Guitar Live" contains
14 solo guitar compositions that span the 16th to 20th Century.
All were captured from a single performance by Bruce Cain performed when
he was at the top of his form. This live concert has been recently
remastered and is now available for your listening pleasure.
Here is a MP3 version of "Dance of
the Corrigedor" by Manuel deFalla which is one of the compositions on
"Classical Guitar Live"
through the links in this column, generate revenue for New Age Citizen
and will help us achieve the policy goals discussed at this website.
In addition to the book links is the "New Age Emporium" link below.
This will take you to our comprehensive digital storefront where you can
purchase anything from books, to DVD's, to computers. This allows
you to purchase things you actually need, while helping New Age Citizen
achieve needed social change. We appreciate your support.