Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Krassner vs. King

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Universal Healthcare for All Citizens?

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Cynthia McKinney and the Spirit of Humanity Crew are captured and detained by the Israel Navy

McKinney, Gaza aid workers kidnapped by Israeli navy on high seas
 
 
Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

"This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip," said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. "President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do. We're asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey."

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are "trapped in despair." Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel's December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel's disruption of medical supplies.

"The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of "Cast Lead". Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone" said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: "No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry  medical and reconstruction supplies, and children's toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters."

Arraf continued, "Israel's deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release."
 
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Street Installations by Mark Jenkins

IMG_7101

Date: 12/08
Bordeaux

Date: 11/08
Washington, DC
toiletries

Date: 10/08
Prato, Italy

Date: 7/08
Barcelona, Spain
video

Date: 4/08
Malmö, Sweeden
video

lg

Date: 4/08
Malmö, Sweden
w/RUSKIG/ANGEST
full

flower signsDate: 3/08
Washington, DC

http://www.xmarkjenkinsx.com/

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Upcoming Events

At five minutes and six seconds after 4 AM on the 8th of July, the time and date will be 04:05:06 07/08/09. This will never happen again.

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Knock knock

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Little to Celebrate in Iraq

by Robert Dreyfuss

There's little to celebrate about the US pullback in Iraq.

More than six years after the US invasion, Iraq is shattered. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead -- far more, incidentally, than even the largest estimates of the number of Iraqis who died during 35 years of Saddam Hussein's rule -- its social fabric is utterly destroyed, its economy is in ruins, and its dominant political faction is in hock to neighboring Iran.

And now what?

As we pull back, we're leaving Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in charge. Increasingly, Maliki is taking on the trappings of a dictator. He's established a network of security agencies that report directly to him. He's built a countrywide patronage system to bribe and pay off tribal allies, in anticipation of 2010 elections. He's shown no compunction against using the army, the police, and the secret agencies he controls to eliminate rivals. He's used divide-and-conquer tactics to outflank the Sunni-led sahwa movement, known as the Awakening or the Sons of Iraq, driving some of them back into armed resistance and others into sullen resentment or fear for their lives.

And Maliki, despite his protestations that he is a born-again "nationalist," has close ties to Iran. With Iran now revealed as a fundamentalist-run, naked military dictatorship, I expect Iran to act ruthlessly vis-a-vis Iraq, and if he wants to stay in power Maliki will pretty much have to go along.

A prominent Sunni activist from northern Iraq told me yesterday that anyone who thinks about opposing Maliki in Iraq has to fear for his or her life. The fact remains that despite the resurgence of secular nationalism in Iraq, as evidenced by the results of provincial elections last February, Maliki sits atop a conspiratorial little party called Al Dawa, a fundamentalist Islamist grouping, and he is reliant on a small, secretive clique that surrounds him. During the February election, in order to appeal to Iraqi voters, Maliki posed as a nationalist of sorts, but in fact he is dependent on two outside powers. First, he's dependent on the United States, for despite his bravado about the US withdrawal from Iraq's cities, Maliki desperately needs American backing to remain in power, to build up his armed forces. And second, Maliki is dependent on the good will of Iran, who could topple him instantly if he crossed Tehran.

And Obama?

It's clear that Obama doesn't want to think about Iraq. It seems like he's hoping it just goes away, so he can worry about Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Israel-Palestine. But Iraq's not going away.

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/dreyfuss/447282/little_to_celebrate_in_iraq

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Obama vs. McCain

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Obama, They Want You to Fail

 
After last year's elections, a Democratic operative told me that if the Democrats got to 59 seats in the Senate, it would be easy to peel off one or two Republicans to pass key legislation like serious health care reform. I was left wondering what political planet he'd been living on for the past three decades.

By Robert Parry

For almost as long as I've been in Washington (I arrived for the Associated Press in 1977) it has worked the other way. Even when the Republicans appear to be on the defensive and outnumbered, they band together and vote as a bloc, while Democrats bend over backwards to be "bipartisan."

This dynamic has continued into Barack Obama's presidency as he and the Democrats have watered down their proposals with the hope of winning over a few Republican votes so they can claim they achieved some bipartisanship, even if it means passing bills that are half-hearted half-measures.

That process dominated the debate over the $787 billion stimulus bill that the Democrats diluted with Republican tax cuts and shrank in size despite warnings from top economists that the package would fall far short of the needed boost in jobs, a bleak prediction that now appears to be coming true as unemployment climbs toward 10 percent.

In exchange for the weaker stimulus bill, the Democrats got three Republican votes in the Senate and none in the House. (The Republicans then drove one of those GOP senators, Arlen Specter, out of the party, though Specter still won't count himself as a reliable Democratic vote.)

The pattern of belligerent Republicans and timid Democrats is now repeating itself on health-care reform. Democrats first excluded from the debate the one measure that probably could save significant money – a single-payer system – and they now appear poised to trade away Obama's proposal for a "public option" to possibly garner a couple of Republican votes.

Though enacting a public option is favored by nearly three-quarters of the American people – and has the potential of at least saving some money by pressuring private insurers to rein in costs – Democrats are so entranced by the siren song of bipartisanship that they appear on the verge of scuttling it.

In doing so, the Democrats could well recreate the worst mistake of Hillary Clinton's failed health insurance plan of 1994. The fundamental flaw in her complex scheme was that it tried so hard not to harm the insurance industry that it wasn't clear how it would make matters any better – and the industry still torpedoed it with a misleading public relations campaign.

Today, the Obama administration and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus have been so proud of getting all the players to sit down at the table (with the exception of single-payer advocates who were excluded) that they have lost track of the hard reality that if the nation is really going to address its health care crisis, there will have to be some financial losers.

Right now, the losers are the tens of millions of uninsured and under-insured Americans, the doctors and nurses who are appalled at the cruelty of the U.S. medical system, and the U.S. businesses that pay for their employees' health insurance and thus are put at an economic disadvantage to their foreign competitors operating in countries that have single-payer systems.

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2009/062809.html

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Lucky for me...

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Oregon legalizes hemp cultivation

Oregon's House of Representatives voted Monday night to legalize the cultivation of hemp, becoming the sixth state to do so just this year.

Oregon's Senate voted 27 to 2 in favor of the new law last week. Monday's 46 to 11 House vote means that the measure will become law, barring an unlikely veto by Governor Ted Kulongoski.

The move is part of a rapidly growing nationwide trend to liberalize laws relating to marijuana. Hemp is a botanical cousin of marijuana, traditionally used to make clothing, rope and other durable fiber goods.

"Hemp is a versatile, environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown in the U.S. for over fifty years because of a misguided and politicized interpretation of the nation's drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration," Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra said in a statement.

"While a new bill in Congress, HR 1866, is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful that President Obama's administration will recognize hemp's myriad benefits to farmers, businesses and the environment."

According to Vote Hemp, this year Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Vermont and "all passed resolutions or memorials urging Congress to allow states to regulate hemp farming."

http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/06/30/oregon-legalizes-growing-industrial-hemp/

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Interactive Guide to Recent Republican Sex Scandals

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GOP Spends Nearly $2 Million on Norm Coleman, and Gets Al Franken

by Rebecca Freitag

The timespan covered all four seasons and almost eight months -- the Norm Coleman-Al Franken circus of recounts. We may be at the end. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled 5-0, declaring Al Franken the winner in his contested U.S. Senate race against Norm Coleman.

The justices said Coleman's appeal had "not shown that the trial court's findings of fact are clearly erroneous or that the court committed an error of law or abused its discretion."

Now that the courts have decided, it would seem that the GOP has wasted close to $2 million trying to fight the possibility of a Democratic majority in the Senate. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said that he didn't think anything was wrong with the GOP funding Coleman's eternal quest for a recount, and it wouldn't affect the 2010 elections.

The Republican National Committee and fellow GOP Senators have given Coleman hundreds of thousands of dollars to challenge Franken. In the past three months, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has also given him more than $1 million for legal expenses. The Federal Election Commission gave Coleman permission last week to use campaign funds in two separate legal battles he is involved in outside of the recount.

Coleman still has the opportunity to challenge Franken on the federal level. However, Gov.Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) said recently that he will seat the winner of this latest case, because if he delayed the case any longer it would be "dereliction of duty."

http://blog.buzzflash.com/analysis/844

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The Vendor Client relationship - in real world situations

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Oregon man's wallet returns after 63 years

BAKER CITY, Ore. – Bill Fulton doesn't remember losing his wallet, but its return helped him remember the past. The leather stayed smooth and the cowboy design unblemished. The zipper moved with ease. And when he looked inside, the contents brought back memories from 1946, when he apparently dropped the wallet behind the balcony bleachers in the Baker Middle School gym.

Fulton's Social Security card and bicycle license, bearing the address where he lived during his teenage years, were positioned in their respective compartments, apparently untouched since the year after World War II ended.

"After that long, my gosh, it stayed in good shape," Fulton told the Baker City Herald. "It's hard to believe."

Worker Nathan Osborne found the wallet — along with old homework, lost library books and a 1964 talent show program — while removing the bleachers for renovations on June 17. It was brought to Fulton's door the following day by Melanie Trindle, the Baker Middle School secretary.

"He was pretty much amazed," Trindle said. "He just kept saying, 'Thank you. Thank you so much.' "

Middle School Principal Mindi Vaughan said the brown pine bleachers were connected to the gym balcony's brick wall and had remained in the same place since the school, known as the Helen M. Stack Building, opened in 1936.

Fulton, 78, said he probably lost the wallet while cheering for the Baker High basketball team with a group of friends. Though a high school team, the Bulldogs played at the middle school gym back then.

Fulton said he returned to the gym in the 1960s to watch a basketball game. It's likely he was within a dozen or so feet from his old billfold that night. Both of his children attended the school, so they also must have come near it.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_odd_lost_wallet;_ylt=AlYKuilnYXzozlzjGWFuD9IDW7oF

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Wasn't asked... Didn't tell...

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