Thursday, January 17, 2008

Corporate Media versus John Edwards

[Cross-posted at People First Politics]

We in the political blogosphere who have a low opinion of the various celebrity puppets, talking heads and pompous clowns of the major news organizations used to call it "Mainstream Media" - MSM for short. Not really wondering why they always echoed right-wing talking points, or make bad attempts to pass off blatant propaganda, disinformation and Britney's latest pantyless booze-binge as real news.

Now the buzzword is "Corporate Owned Media" - COM - for short. COM is actually more accurate, given the major media's heavy-handed attempts to control the 2008 primaries (as well as which Democrat we'll get for President in November, since Republicans don't have a prayer). But these last couple of weeks definitely take the cake.

I am complaining about the decision of the COM to pointedly ignore John Edwards as a viable candidate for the Democratic nomination and pretend that the only ones running are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Despite the FACT that after 1 primary and 1 caucus (of 49, Michigan doesn't count), John Edwards BEAT Hillary Clinton in Iowa and the delegate count is very close. The split works out thusly:

Obama: 25
Clinton: 24
Edwards: 18

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Health Insurance as Criminal Enterprise

[Cross-posted to People First Politics]


"...insurers are just like shoplifters, they devise a new scheme a day."
Michael A. Sedrish, M.D.
Director of Utilization Management
MediSys Health Network

In comments to other posts on the subject of the health care crisis in America, I have been asked to list some of the practices of health insurers that require rectification, and asked if doing away with health insurance altogether might be the best option for the country.

It is difficult to use examples from other people's health insurance horror stories or even my own - though such horror stories are common enough - as objective justification for my belief that insurers need to be stripped of their excessive profits retroactively for at least a decade and a half (by means of punitive fines), and that a complete realignment of health care in America to single-payer, universal care is the best possible option for our society in the 21st century.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

US National Security for Sale

The Insane World of Nuclear Spies and Counter-Spies

[Cross-posted at People First Politics]

FBI translator Sibel Edmonds

Britain's Sunday Times published an article on January 6 entitled For Sale: West's deadly nuclear secrets, detailing the extraordinary claims of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds about how corrupt US government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to 'steal' nuclear weapons secrets. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a real "bombshell" that ties together many years' worth of nefarious dealings in the Middle East by officials charged specifically with the task of protecting those nuclear weapons secrets from theft by the very people who were allowed to 'steal' them!

Edmonds, a Turkish language translator before turning whistleblower, listened to hundreds of sensitive communications intercepted by the FBI while she was stationed at the FBI's D.C. field office, described to the Sunday Times how foreign intelligence agents enlisted the support of US officials to establish a network of 'moles' inside sensitive US military and nuclear installations. The officials involved included one well-known senior official in the US State Department, whom Edmonds says was being paid by Turkish agents in D.C. Those Turks then sold the information to black market buyers, including Pakistan.

The Times did not reveal the name of that State Department official, but did contact him about Edmonds' allegations which he denied strongly. Yet according to Edmonds, who is currently forbidden from speaking about her knowledge in the US by judicial gag order...
"He was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives."

Edmonds further claims that the FBI was gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials - including some well-known to the public - who were also aiding foreign agents. Her revelations illustrate just how much US officials aided countries such as Pakistan to acquire nuclear weapons technology. In turn, Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan sold nuclear weapons technology to rogue states like Libya, Iran and North Korea - violating every sense of nuclear non-proliferation treaties and protections. US-backed military dictator Pervez Musharraf (lately implicated in the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto) pardoned Khan, who is seen as a national hero in Pakistan for his contributions to their nuclear weapons program.

For those who have not been following Edmonds' case, she has given testimony and evidence in closed sessions of Congress and to the 9-11 commission, with key testimony remaining secret. She is now divulging some of that information in defiance of the gag order after becoming disillusioned with US authorities' failure to act.

Political blogger Chris Floyd writes a fine overview of how Edmonds' latest revelations ties in with the notorious activities of BCCI [Bank of Credit and Commercial International], which a US Senate investigation called "one of the largest criminal enterprises in history." BCCI was a prime vehicle for clandestine nuclear proliferation (among other things), while also being used by the CIA and the Reagan and Bush-I White House as cover and financier for covert operations including military and financial support for Saddam Hussein back when he was our ally instead of our worst enemy. On a side note, BCCI also once gave G.W. Bisj $25 million to bail him out of one of his many business catastrophes.

Floyd's article, The Bomb in the Shadows: Proliferation, Corruption and the Way of the World is a worthy read for background and historical information linked to the revelations of ongoing US involvement in nuclear proliferation from Edmonds.

The ties are myriad and twisted, the implications very serious. The full report of the Senate's 1992 investigation of BCCI (which left several big boulders unturned) is available in full from the Federation of American Scientists. If you're fond of spy skullduggery, plot twists ala Ludlum (where it's never a good idea to trust anybody) and shady characters that just won't stay dead, click on some of these informative links and let your head start spinning. Caution: Be careful not to let your spinning head explode. This has been known to occur...


For Sale: West's deadly nuclear secrets

The Bomb in the Shadows: Proliferation, Corruption and the Way of the World

The Atlantic: The Wrath of Khan

No Quarter: Check Out Sibel Edmonds

Those Very Strangely "Missing" Nukes

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Friday, January 04, 2008

The Iowa Surprise Package: Analysis

Obama! ...and Huck?!?

The Dems


For those of us who weren't thrilled with the idea of revolving political dynasties - the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton mantra - Iowa's caucuses came as a refreshing surprise. Given Hillary's "brass balls" approach to belligerent foreign policy, obvious ties to Big Business and business as usual, and her penchant for dirty politics, I think she got what she deserved - a sound slap-down.

It's not that I like Barack Obama that much either, or that the mostly rural, stoically rustic population of Iowa is a particularly good representative of America in general (or the political leanings of the nation). But when Hillary Clinton set her staffers on Obama with repeats of already established lies and smears, it's gratifying that Iowans turned against her in droves. The *last* thing this country needs is just another dirty politician in a bad suit.

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