Sunday, February 24, 2008

And, a bozo legislates…

Still half asleep while listening to Weekend Edition this morning, I heard a brief mention of California legislation that would allow any and all vehicles full access to freeway HOV (“carpool”) lanes, once the owners pay a carbon offset charge.

Huh? Suddenly I was awake. The absurdities never end. Time to fire up the search engine…and there it was:
“A California state senator is proposing legislation that would let the owners of gas-guzzling vehicles drive in the car pool lane, but the lawmaker doesn't expect it to pass. Sen. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta, says his legislation would let ‘polluting, flashy, fuel-sucking’ vehicles drive in car pool lanes if their owners buy carbon offset credits. In a press release Friday, Battin mocked the state's efforts to reduce global warming.”
Ha. Ha. Ha.

The state is about to go bankrupt, and this clown is spending his time, and our time, and the press’s time, to make a mockery of the legislative process and the state’s efforts to reduce pollution and fuel use. Whoa, what a funny dude!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A madman speaks…

I don’t think Americans are concerned if we are [in Iraq] for a hundred years, a thousand years, ten thousand years…”
T E N . . . T H O U S A N D . . . Y E A R S . . .

Just listen to him at 1m20s in…

Oh, and don't miss the “bomb, bomb, bomb…bomb bomb Iran…” songfest elsewhere in the clip…

Some folks are beyond scary. McCain is beyond beyond scary.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

“We support the troops.”

President Bush, in Dec. 2004, told families of servicemembers: “we’re doing everything we possibly can to protect your loved ones.” LIAR.

Pleas from commanders in Iraq since at least Dec. 2003 for blast-resistant vehicles went unheeded, for years, and this inaction cost the lives of an estimated “621 to 742 Americans.” Obviously, thousands more were more badly injured than they otherwise would have been. No one can tell me that this is how we should “support the troops.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon made great efforts to obtain these same vehicles, for Iraqi troops:
“On Dec. 22, 2004—two weeks after President Bush told families of servicemembers that “we’re doing everything we possibly can to protect your loved ones”—a U.S. Army general solicited ideas for an armored vehicle for the Iraqis. The Army had an “extreme interest” in getting troops better armor, then-brigadier general Roger Nadeau told a subordinate. [Later] Nadeau clarified his request: ‘What I failed to point out in my first message to you folks is that the US Govt is interested not for US use, but for […] the Iraqi military forces.’ ”
Read the whole gruesome and hideous story at USA Today. Read it and weep.

Who inspects China’s drug exports?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Invasion by stealth

Tainted heparin from China, killing unfortunate patients who receive it by injection: it’s just the latest in a long string of poisoned, defective, counterfeit, or otherwise bogus and harmful products from our largest trading “partner.” Lead in kids’ toys and lunchboxes and backpacks and jewelry; date-rape drug in children’s craft kits; lead in ceramic pottery; counterfeit anti-malarial drugs; antifreeze-contaminated toothpaste and cough syrup; melamine-contaminated “food grade” gluten; rotted fish sold as food; expired foods repackaged and sold as fresh; foods laced with carcinogens such as formaldehyde, and cosmetics made from the skin of executed prisoners.

China makes:

• 70-80% of toys sold in U.S

• 70% of world’s penicillin

• 80% of world’s ascorbic acid

• 50% of world’s aspirin

• most of world’s vitamins

Chinese pharmaceuticals such as heparin, polio vaccine, anti-malarial drugs, and others have been found to be counterfeit and/or tainted, and glycerine-containing products like cough syrup and toothpaste have been found contaminated with antifreeze.

Keep in mind that many pharmaceuticals are injected, and also consider how many of us take vitamins every day to help stay healthy. None of these substances are tested before you take them into your body.

What does it mean when, “for a growing number of important food products, China has become virtually the only source in the world”? It means that we have no choice but to trust them to provide us with clean and pure food products, but their track record means that if we do place this trust in them, we are simply fools.

China made U.S. tires cheaper by eliminating a key safety feature which caused the tires to fall apart in use, which caused vehicle wrecks.

Chinese digital picture frames were (and undoubtedly still are) being sold containing extremely malicious viruses that attack computers and steal data once the frames are connected to a computer for the downloading of photos. Where are most (if not all) computers made today? What is being included in those computers from the time of purchase?

China has made it clear that we cannot trust our bodily safety, our physical safety, or our technological safety to their better impulses. What can this be but a stealth assault? How much more effective than terrorism or war would it be to attack one’s enemies through their food supply, their pharmaceuticals, their industrial products, and their information tech devices? First make them stupid, through pernicious drugs and poisons that they purchase and consume voluntarily, and then make them wholly dependent upon you for their manufactured products, and then attack the integrity of their computerized systems of all sorts (and particularly financial), and then you can take them down without much resistance at all. Child’s play.

Are we so stupid, so oblivious, so weakened already that we can’t see what is happening?
“ ‘It is not just that food from China is cheap,’ said William Hubbard, a former associate director of the FDA. ‘For a growing number of important food products, China has become virtually the only source in the world.’ […] So pervasive is the U.S. hunger for cheap imports, experts said, that the executive branch itself has repeatedly rebuffed proposals by agency scientists to impose even modest new safety rules for foreign foods.”
- Washington Post, May 20, 2007
Well I think that answers my question.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Why Obama?

Frank Rich spells it out, putting into words much of my dismay of recent days:
“ now hear Clinton operatives talk ever more brazenly about trying to reverse party rulings so that they can hijack 366 ghost delegates from Florida and the other rogue primary, Michigan, where Mr. Obama wasn’t even on the ballot. So much for Mrs. Clinton’s assurance on New Hampshire Public Radio last fall that it didn’t matter if she alone kept her name on the Michigan ballot because the vote ‘is not going to count for anything.’ […]

“Last week, Mr. Dean became sufficiently alarmed to propose brokering an ‘arrangement’ if a clear-cut victory by one candidate hasn’t rendered the issue moot by the spring. But does anyone seriously believe that Howard Dean can deter a Clinton combine so ruthless that it risked shredding three decades of mutual affection with black America to win a primary?

“A race-tinged brawl at the convention, some nine weeks before Election Day, will not be a Hallmark moment…it will be a flashback to the Democratic civil war of 1968, a suicide for the party no matter which victor ends up holding the rancid spoils.”
Clinton’s campaign personifies the worst of machine politics, making it impossible for me to trust her to treat the non-machine regular folks like me with fairness and respect. If you like what “free” trade agreements have done to our economy, and if you want a Republican in Democrat’s clothing as your President, and you value ruthlessness in your public servants, and expedience is more important to you than integrity, then Clinton is your candidate.

But if you value forthrightness and courage and fairness to all, not just the moneyed class, and if you are repulsed by backroom deal-making, but want a President who will represent all of our interests and not just those of the favored few, Obama is your candidate.

If Clinton cares about how she is perceived, or would argue that her campaign operatives do not reflect who she is, it is her duty to rein them in, and to demand that their divisive and cut-throat tactics end. Otherwise, she is responsible for all the ugliness that they create, and she must be held to account.