Flimsy Sanity: August 2007

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is This For Real?

Lifegem turns your loved ones ashes into a jewel.

Saddam's Mass Graves

According to the always abrasive Air America radio announcer Randi Rhodes, many of the people in Saddam's mass graves were the people King George the first told to rise up and take back their country from Saddam after Desert Storm. They assumed the US would back them up. How many Iraq deaths are we directly and indirectly responsible for in total? Iran Contra arms sales so that the Iran - Iraq war could be extended, selling the chemical components to gas the Kurds, the strict economic sanctions for many years, quick indiscriminate issuing of guns to Iraq police recruits with a desertion rate of 80%, supplying the vehicles and guns to the death squads, and of course the present occupation. And many of the people in favor of more war on these folks are the same folks that believe in the sanctity of life. Strange priorities.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pooch gets millions

OK, I admit I kind of liked Leona because she said, "Only LITTLE people pay taxes". An honest snob is hard to find. Billions were left to a charitable trust and her dog only got 12 million. What treats, food or leashes are available that could eat up a couple million? I am going to send a couple samples of my liver snacks and see if the estate is interested. My dog loves them so I am hoping dear little "Trouble" will become dependent like a little heroin addict.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Today's Most Popular Video

Some of the better comments:
*Her parents must be proud of her, HAHAHA, and her teachers just shot themselves
*c'mon..no one's said it (at least i don't think so) she was SAVED BY THE BELL!
*the ideal woman!!! Beautiful and dumb as a post!Thank you, God!
*I bet she can color match her lipstick with her shoes though.
*I bet this was her answer to any question they were going to ask.
*hmm she gets the W Bush pass to Yale for that one
*I totally understood what she said. then again I am legally retarded.
*she needs to watch dora the explorer im tne map im the map I AM THE MAP
*She sounded just like George Bush. bla bla bla Iraq bla bla bla bullshit bullshit Iraq...Yep just like Bush!!

Medicare Will Not Pay for Hospital Mistakes

This is long overdue.

Hospital acquired infections kill nearly 100,000 Americans a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with 2 million patients needing treatment that costs over 25 billion dollars a year.

Consumer groups say the changes will give hospitals a strong incentive to prevent such mistakes and thereby increase patients safety from infections and procedural errors.

According to the Consumers Union, at the moment, more than 60 per cent of the total national bill for treating hospital acquired infections is met by Medicare. And many of these infections could be prevented if hospitals followed simple infection control procedures such as making sure hospital staff washed their hands between patients.

The conditions that will no longer be covered by Medicare include mediastinitis after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, bed sores, air embolism, falls, leaving objects inside the patient during sugery, vascular catheter-associated infections and certain catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

I am betting the AMA is going to fight this.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tornado hits North Dakota

What do a tornado and a redneck divorce have in common?In the end, someone is going to lose a trailer.

Tornado hits North Dakota trailer court. What is it about tornadoes and trailers. Does the metal attract the twisters?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Vick's Dog Killing

I think that Vick's killing of losing dogs was probably the only decent thing done in this whole fiasco. A dog conditioned to be so aggressive that it will attack and kill should probably not be allowed to bite the face off some kid. Hurting animals for fun is why we have rodeos (you would buck too if they strapped a band across your gonads) and bull fights.

Lucky for dogs and cats, people love them. If you really want to have your stomach churn, read how animals we slaughter every day are treated in life - especially pigs and chickens.

Risperdal Approved for Children

The FDA has approved using antipsychotics on children. Of course the drug dealers minimize the side effects like obesity and incontinence. Who cares if the fat kid pissing in the corner will be drugged for life, at least he is placid.

Robert Whitaker, science writer for the Boston Globe and author of the book Mad in America talks about psychiatric drugs in this interview:

RW: In reality, the common thread in all these different treatments was the attempt to suppress "mental illness" by deliberately damaging the higher functions of the brain. The stunning truth is that, behind closed doors, the psychiatric establishment itself labeled these treatments as "brain-damaging therapeutics." The first generation of antipsychotic drugs created a drug-induced brain pathology by blocking the neurotransmitter dopamine and essentially shutting down many higher brain functions. In fact, when antipsychotics such as Thorazine and Haldol were first introduced, psychiatrists themselves said that these neuroleptic drugs were virtually indistinguishable from a "chemical lobotomy."

This is a scientific question. We have a form of care where we’re using these drugs in an ever more expansive manner, and supposedly we have better drugs and they’re the cornerstone of our care, so we should see decreasing disability rates. That’s what your expectation would be. Instead, from 1987 until the present, we saw an increase in the number of mentally disabled people from 3.3 million people to 5.7 million people in the United States. In that time, our spending on psychiatric drugs increased to an amazing degree. Combined spending on antipsychotic drugs and antidepressants jumped from around $500 million in 1986 to nearly $20 billion in 2004. So we raise the question: Is the use of these drugs somehow actually fueling this increase in the number of the disabled mentally ill?

When you look at the research literature, you find a clear pattern of outcomes with all these drugs -- you see it with the antipsychotics, the antidepressants, the anti-anxiety drugs and the stimulants like Ritalin used to treat ADHD. All these drugs may curb a target symptom slightly more effectively than a placebo does for a short period of time, say six weeks. An antidepressant may ameliorate the symptoms of depression better than a placebo over the short term. What you find with every class of these psychiatric drugs is a worsening of the target symptom of depression or psychosis or anxiety over the long term, compared to placebo-treated patients. So even on the target symptoms, there’s greater chronicity and greater severity of symptoms. And you see a fairly significant percentage of patients where new and more severe psychiatric symptoms are triggered by the drug itself.

The FDA’s funding changed in the 1990s. An act was passed in which a lot of the FDA’s funding came from the drug industry: the PDUFA Act, or Prescription Drug User Fee Act. Basically, when drug companies applied for FDA approval they had to pay a fee. Those fees became what is funding a large portion of the FDA’s review of drug applications.So all of a sudden, the funding is coming from the drug industry; it’s no longer coming from the people. As that act comes up for renewal, basically the drug lobbyists are telling the FDA that their job is no longer to be critically analyzing drugs, but to approve drugs quickly. And that was part of Newt Gingrich’s thing: Your job is to get these drugs to market. Start partnering with the drug industry and facilitating drug development. We lost this idea that the FDA had a watchdog role. Also, in a human way, a lot of people who work for the FDA leave there and end up going to work for the drug companies. The old joke is that the FDA is sort of like a showcase for a future job in the drug industry. You go there, you work awhile, then you go off into the drug industry.

The children’s story is unbelievably tragic. It’s also a really sordid story. Let’s go back a little to see what happened to children and antidepressants. Prozac comes to market in 1987. By the early 1990s, the pharmaceutical companies making these drugs are saying, “How do we expand the market for antidepressants?” Because that’s what drug companies do -- they want to get to an ever-larger number of people. They saw they had an untapped market in kids. So let’s start peddling the drugs to kids. And they were successful. Since 1990, the use of antidepressants in kids went up something like seven-fold. They began prescribing them willy-nilly.
Now, whenever they did pediatric trials of antidepressants, they found that the drugs were no more effective on the target symptom of depression than placebo. This happened again and again in the pediatric drug trials of antidepressants. So, what that tells you is there is no real therapeutic rationale for the drugs because in this population of kids, the drugs don’t even curb the target symptoms over the short term any better than placebo; and yet they were causing all sorts of adverse events. For example, in one trial, 75 percent of youth treated with antidepressants suffered an adverse event of some kind. In one study by the University of Pittsburgh, 23 percent of children treated with an SSRI developed mania or manic-like symptoms; an additional 19 percent developed drug-induced hostility. The clinical results were telling you that you didn’t get any benefit on depression; and you could cause all sorts of real problems in kids -- mania, hostility, psychosis, and you may even stir suicide. In other words, don’t use these drugs, right? It was absolutely covered up.

The antipsychotics profoundly block dopamine receptors. They block 70-90 percent of the dopamine receptors in the brain. In return, the brain sprouts about 50 percent extra dopamine receptors. It tries to become extra sensitive. So in essence you’ve created an imbalance in the dopamine system in the brain. It’s almost like, on one hand, you’ve got the accelerator down -- that’s the extra dopamine receptors. And the drug is the brake trying to block this. But if you release that brake, if you abruptly go off the drugs, you now do have a dopamine system that’s overactive. You have too many dopamine receptors. And what happens? People that go abruptly off of the drug, do tend to have severe relapses... and that was understood by 1979, that you were actually increasing the underlying biological vulnerability to the psychosis. And by the way, we sort of understood that if you muck with the dopamine system, that you could cause some symptoms of psychosis with amphetamines. So if you give someone amphetamines enough, they’re at increased risk of psychosis. This is well known. And what do amphetamines do? They release dopamine. So there is a biological reason why, if you’re mucking up the dopamine system, you’re increasing the risk of psychosis. That’s in essence what these antipsychotic drugs do, they muck up the dopamine system.

Here’s just one real powerful study on this: Researchers with the University of Pittsburgh in the 1990s took people newly diagnosed with schizophrenia, and they started taking MRI pictures of the brains of these people. So we get a picture of their brains at the moment of diagnosis, and then we prepare pictures over the next 18 months to see how those brains change. Now during this 18 months, they are being prescribed antipsychotic medications, and what did the researchers report? They reported that, over this 18-month period, the drugs caused an enlargement of the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that uses dopamine. In other words, it creates a visible change in morphology, a change in the size of an area of the brain, and that’s abnormal. That’s number one. So we have an antipsychotic drug causing an abnormality in the brain. Now here’s the kicker. They found that as that enlargement occurred, it was associated with a worsening of the psychotic symptoms, a worsening of negative symptoms. So here you actually have, with modern technology, a very powerful study. By imaging the brain, we see how an outside agent comes in, disrupts normal chemistry, causes an abnormal enlargement of the basal ganglia, and that enlargement causes a worsening of the very symptoms it’s supposed to treat. Now that’s actually, in essence, a story of a disease process -- an outside agent causes abnormality, causes symptoms...It’s a stunning, damning finding. It’s the sort of finding you would say, “Oh Christ, we should be doing something different.” Do you know what those researchers got new grants for, after they reported that?
They got a grant to develop an implant, a brain implant, that would deliver drugs like Haldol on a continual basis! A grant to develop a drug delivery implant so you could implant this in the brains of people with schizophrenia and then they wouldn’t even have a chance not to take the drugs! Because that’s where the money was. And no one wanted to deal with this horrible finding of an enlargement of the basal ganglia caused by the drugs, and that is associated with the worsening of symptoms. No one wanted to deal with the fact that when you look at people medicated on antipsychotics, you start to see a shrinking of the frontal lobes. No one wants to talk about that either. They stopped that research.

(Side effects) Oh, you get tardive dyskinesia, a permanent brain dysfunction; and akathisia, which is this incredible nervous agitation. You’re just never comfortable. You want to sit but you can’t sit. It’s like you’re crawling out of your own skin. And it’s associated with violence, suicide and all sorts of horrible things...I think the newer drugs will eventually be seen as more dangerous than the old drugs, if that’s possible. As you know, the standard neuroleptics like Thorazine and Haldol have had quite a litany of harm with the tardive dyskinesia and all. So when we got the new atypical drugs, they were touted as so much safer. But with these new atypicals, you get all sorts of metabolic dysfunctions.
Let’s talk about Zyprexa. It has a different profile. So it may not cause as much tardive dyskinesia. It may not cause as many Parkinsonian symptoms. But it causes a whole range of new symptoms. So, for example, it’s more likely to cause diabetes. It’s more likely to cause pancreatic disorders. It’s more likely to cause obesity and appetite-disregulation disorders.

In fact, researchers in Ireland reported in 2003 that since the introduction of the atypical antipsychotics, the death rate among people with schizophrenia has doubled. They have done death rates of people treated with standard neuroleptics and then they compare that with death rates of people treated with atypical antipsychotics, and it doubles. It doubles! It didn’t reduce harm. In fact, in their seven-year study, 25 of the 72 patients died. You’re getting respiratory problems, you’re getting people dying incredibly high cholesterol counts, heart problems, diabetes. With olanzapine (Zyprexa), one of the problems is that you’re really screwing up the core metabolic system. That’s why you get these huge weight gains, and you get the diabetes. Zyprexa basically disrupts the machine that we are that processes food and extracts energy from that food. So this very fundamental thing that we humans do is disrupted, and at some point you just see all these pancreatic problems, faulty glucose regulation, diabetes, etc. That’s really a sign that you’re mucking with something very fundamental to life.

You’re touching on something (prescribing to children) now that is a tragic scandal of monumental proportions. I talk sometimes to college classes, psychology classes. You cannot believe the percentage of youth who have been told they were mentally ill as kids, that something was wrong with them. It’s absolutely phenomenal. It’s absolutely cruel to be telling kids that they have these broken brains and mental illnesses. There’s two things that are happening here. One, of course, is that it’s complete nonsense. As you remember as a kid, you have too much energy or you behave sometimes in not altogether appropriate ways, and you do have these extremes of emotions, especially during your teenage years. Both children and teenagers can be very emotional. So one thing that’s going on is that they take childhood behaviors and start defining behaviors they don’t like as pathological. They start defining emotions that are uncomfortable as pathological. So part of what we’re doing is pathologizing childhood with straight-out definition stuff. We’re pathologizing poverty among kids.

For example, if you’re a foster kid, and maybe you drew a bad straw in the lottery of life and are born into a dysfunctional family and you get put into foster care, do you know what happens today? You pretty likely are going to get diagnosed with a mental disorder, and you’re going to be placed on a psychiatric drug. In Massachusetts, it’s something like 60 to 70 percent of kids in foster care are now on psychiatric drugs. These kids aren’t mentally ill! They got a raw deal in life. They ended up in a foster home, which means they were in a bad family situation, and what does our society do? They say: “You have a defective brain.” It’s not that society was bad and you didn’t get a fair deal. No, the kid has a defective brain and has to be put on this drug. It’s absolutely criminal.

Let’s talk about bipolar disorder among kids. As one doctor said, that used to be so rare as to be almost nonexistent. Now we’re seeing it all over. Bipolar is exploding among kids. Well, partly you could say that we’re just slapping that label on kids more often; but in fact, there is something real going on. Here’s what’s happening. You take kids and put them on an antidepressant -- which we never used to do -- or you put them on a stimulant like Ritalin. Stimulants can cause mania; stimulants can cause psychosis... so the kid ends up with a drug-induced manic or psychotic episode. Once they have that, the doctor at the emergency room doesn’t say, “Oh, he’s suffering from a drug-induced episode.” He says he’s bipolar... they give him an antipsychotic drug; and now he’s on a cocktail of drugs, and he’s on a path to becoming disabled for life. That’s an example of how we’re absolutely making kids sick... There’s an astonishing number of kids being given Ritalin to cure hyperactivity. But what 10-year-old boy in a confined school setting isn’t hyperactive? You write that the effect of Ritalin on the dopamine system is very similar to cocaine and amphetamines... Ritalin is methylphenidate. Now methylphenidate affects the brain in exactly the same way as cocaine. They both block a molecule that is involved in the reuptake of dopamine... Now, methylphenidate was used in research studies to deliberately stir psychosis in schizophrenics. Because they knew that you could take a person with a tendency towards psychosis, give them methylphenidate, and cause psychosis. We also knew that amphetamines, like methylphenidate, could cause psychosis in people who had never been psychotic before.

So think about this. We’re giving a drug to kids that is known to have the possibility of stirring psychosis. Now, the odd thing about methylphenidate and amphetamines is that, in kids, they sort of have a counterintuitive effect. What does speed do in adults? It makes them more jittery and hyperactive. For whatever reasons, in kids amphetamines will actually still their movements; it will actually keep them in their chairs and make them more focused. So you’ve got kids in boring schools. The boys are not paying attention and they’re diagnosed with ADHD and put on a drug that is known to stir psychosis. The next thing you know, a fair number of them are not doing well by the time they’re 15, 16, 17. Some of those kids talk about how when you’re on these drugs for the long term, you start feeling like a zombie; you don’t feel like yourself.... There are some colleges where something like 40 to 50 percent of the kids arrive with a psychiatric prescription.

It creates customers for the drugs, and hopefully lifelong customers. That’s what they’re told, aren’t they? They’re told they are going to be on these drugs for life. And next thing they know, they’re on two or three or four drugs. It’s brilliant from the capitalist point of view. It does serve some social-control function. But you take a kid, and you turn them into a customer, and hopefully a lifelong customer. It’s brilliant. We now spend more on antidepressants in this country than the Gross National Product of mid-sized countries like Jordan. It’s just amazing amounts of money. The amount of money we spend on psychiatric drugs in this country is more than the Gross National Product of two-thirds of the world’s countries. It’s just this incredibly lucrative paradigm of the mind that you can fix chemical imbalances in the brain with these drugs. It works so well from a capitalistic point of view for Eli Lilly. When Prozac came to market, Eli Lilly’s value on Wall Street, its capitalization, was around 2 billion dollars. By the year 2000, the time when Prozac was its number-one drug, its capitalization reached 80 billion dollars -- a forty-fold increase.

So that’s what you really have to look at if you want to see why drug companies have pursued this vision with such determination. It brings billions of dollars in wealth in terms of increased stock prices to the owners and managers of those companies. It also benefits the psychiatric establishment that gets behind the drugs; they do well by this. There’s a lot of money flowing in the direction of those that will embrace this form of care. There’s advertisements that enrich the media. It’s all a big gravy train. Unfortunately, the cost is dishonesty in our scientific literature, the corruption of the FDA, and the absolute harm done to children in this country drawn into this system, and an increase of 150,000 newly disabled people every year in the United States for the last 17 years. That’s an incredible record of harm done.

And you know what’s interesting? No one says that the mental health of the American people is getting better. Instead, everyone says we have this increasing problem. They blame it on the stresses of modern life or something like that, and they don’t want to look at the fact that we’re creating mental illness.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Some favorite quotes on religion

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion. —Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate

I know of no crime that has not been defended by the church, in one form or other. The church is not a pioneer; it accepts a new truth, last of all, and only when denial has become useless. -Robert Ingersoll

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics. -Lazarus Long, in Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein

It is no defense of superstition and pseudoscience to say that it brings solace and comfort to people... If solace and comfort are how we judge the worth of something, then consider that tobacco brings solace and comfort to smokers; alcohol brings it to drinkers; drugs of all kinds bring it to addicts; the fall of cards and the run of horses bring it to gamblers; cruelty and violence bring it to sociopaths. Judge by solace and comfort only and there is no behavior we ought to interfere with. -Isaac Asimov

It is usually argued that we need religion in order to get humanity to behave and work together. All evidence is to the contrary. Religion has not notably improved human behavior. The pagan Romans were far kinder than the Inquisition Christians. Nor has religion united Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or Jews. It has divided them. In fact, religion will never unite them, because religion requires that they share the same beliefs, without offering any reliable evidence that their ideas are correct. Reason, on the other hand, is the only thing that can unite people of diverse opinions. Reason bases its decisions on evidence available to everyone, and allows people to disagree when evidence is lacking. Religion will never do that. -Richard C. Carrier, Jr.

One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it ... You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. -Bertrand Russell

Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration -- courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth. -H.L. Mencken

Religion is the brainchild of fear, and fear is the parent of cruelty. The greatest evils inflicted on humankind are perpetrated not by pleasure-seekers, self-seeking opportunists, or those who are merely amoral, but by fervent devotees of religion. -Emmanuel Kofi Mensah

The Christian church, in its attitude toward science, shows the mind of a more or less enlightened man of the Thirteenth Century. It no longer believes that the earth is flat, but it is still convinced that prayer can cure after medicine fails. -H.L. Mencken

The great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights ... not only for acquiescence in poverty, inequality, exploitation and oppression, but also for enthusiastic justifications for slavery, persecution, abandonment of small children, torture, and genocide.... Moreover, religion enshrined hierarchy, authority, and inequality.... It was the age of equality that brought about the disappearance of such religious appurtenances as the auto-da-fe and burning at the stake. -Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history. -Lazarus Long, in Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein

When the churches literally ruled society, the human drama encompassed: (a) slavery; (b) the cruel subjection of women; (c) the most savage forms of legal punishment; (d) the absurd belief that kings ruled by divine right; (e) the daily imposition of physical abuse; (f) cold heartlessness for the sufferings of the poor; as well as (g) assorted pogroms ('ethnic cleansing' wars) between rival religions, capital punishment for literally hundreds of offenses, and countless other daily imposed moral outrages.... It was the free-thinking, challenging work by people of conscience, who almost invariably had to defy the religious and political status quo of their times, that brought us out of such darkness. -Steve Allen

When two men of science disagree, they do not invoke the secular arm; they wait for further evidence to decide the issue, because, as men of science, they know that neither is infallible. But when two theologians differ, since there are no criteria to which either can appeal, there is nothing for it but mutual hatred and an open or covert appeal to force. -Bertrand Russell

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world. -Bertrand Russell

Adults have imaginary friends too.--Alan Jay Weiner

Why to not let your sons become soldiers

How Much Are You Making on the War Daddy? A Quick and Dirty Guide to War Profiteering in the Bush Administration by William D. Hartung (Paperback - Dec 5, 2003)

Book Description
Columnist Paul Krugman has described Bush’s melding of political hardball and economic favoritism as “crony capitalism,” while Senator John McCain calls it war profiteering. George W. Bush’s approach to military spending is a higher-priced version of what went on under the Suharto regime in Indonesia, when corporations connected to the military and the president’s inner circle had the inside track on lucrative government contracts. The military budget has increased from $300 billion to more than $400 billion annually since George W. Bush took office. The Iraq invasion and occupation will cost at least another $200 billion over the next three to five years. U.S. policy is now based on what’s good for Chevron, Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Bechtel, not what’s good for the average citizen. Dick Cheney’s ties to conglomerate Halliburton are the tip of the iceberg since at least thirty-two top officials in the Bush administration served as executives or paid consultants to top weapons contractors before joining the administration. In George W. Bush’s Washington, it has reached the point where you can’t tell the generals from the arms lobbyists without a scorecard. This book provides that scorecard, in a style designed to provoke action for change.
And this review by CG, Washington State:
The author points out how Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense in 1976, was a prime mover behind the CIA's infamous Team B. That panel forced acceptance of its "findings' that the Soviet Union was rapidly overtaking the United States in military power. The author notes that the Soviet archives reveal that even the supposedly too low original estimate of the CIA was vastly exaggerated. .Rumsfeld of course, played a key role in the late 90's arms industry funded movement to portray North Korea as able to quickly develop missles to hit the U.S. These frauds avoided addressing the issue of whether North Korea would really build up some missiles, then just haul off and launch them at the United States, knowing full well North Korea would be wiped off the planet in retaliation. Rumsfeld, he observes, played a role in opening the funnel of American arms and WMD materials to Saddam in his visits with Saddam in 1983-84.
He shows how Rumsfeld might have alerted Carlyle Group CEO Frank Carlucci about the planned cancellation of one of it's subsidiary's programs to build the Crusader artillery system. Several months before the cancellation, Carlyle suddenly put the subsidiary on the stock market so that it might draw in shareholders and took out a huge loan based on the inflation of the value of the subsidiary and distributed it to shareholders and execs. Carlyle is of course the group which George Bush Sr. advises and whose executive James Baker and his law firm are representing the Saudi royal family against the families of 9-11 victims.
Rumsfeld was on the board of the Swiss engineering firm ABB for years.. That firm made the contract to oversee the construction of North Korea's two light water nuclear reactors. North Korea of course is one of the reasons we have to spend 400 billion on defense according to people like Rumsfeld who of course advocates that the reactor deal shouldn't have been made. . Rumsfeld claimed ludicrously to know nothing about the deal. Of all the ABB board members, all but one, who insisted on anonymity refused to talk to a Fortune magazine reporter about Rumsfeld and this deal. Rumsfeld is obviously very feared, the author notes.
He discusses the deal that had the Pentagon be leased a hundred Boeing commercial aircraft to be transformed into aerial refueling tankers. And it seems from documents released by John McCain's office that Darleen Dryun, Airforce undersecretary, gave Boeing the details of its rival Airbus's bid for the project. Dryun then quit her Pentagon job to become a top official of Boeing's Missile Defense division. The author discusses the none-too subtle campaign contributions made to Senator Ted Stevens, Senate appropriations chair just before this deal was put through.

The author notes that Richard Perle, while head of the Defense policy board, used that position to try to lobby some rich Saudis into investing in his new security oriented firm, Trieme. Perle claimed that he wanted to talk about Iraq, but his interlocutor in the deal, Adnan Koshoggi of Iran-Contra fame, only mentioned in his message to the Saudis about investing in Trieme. Then Stephen Laboton of the New York Times revealed that Perle offered his services to the bankrupt telecom firm Global Crossing to influence the U.S. government to allow it to sell one of its firms to China, which is not allowed to receive U.S. high tech resources. Perle advertised himself in his affidavit to Global Crossing as someone with great insider connections because of his post. Perle insisted that this affidavit was a clerical error. He tried to use his influence to allow Loral to resume selling high tech satellite stuff to China. According to Hirsch none of Perle's fellow board members knew of the existence of Trieme and were quite upset about it.
Then there's the redoubtable Mr. Cheney and Halliburton. After going through the motions of competitive bidding under public pressure, the army corp of Engineers suddenly accelerated the schedule for work in Iraq's oil infrastructure so that Halliburton would be the best placed firm to do that under the schedule, it already being in Iraq as a result of a no bid contract to put out oil fires. Cheney receives hundreds of thousands in "deferred compensation" from the company. He denied any remaining "ties' with the firm but his spokesperson, accoding to the author, said that the deferred payment technically did not constitute a "tie."
The author notes one of the more blatantly questionable appointments in the present administration, former Lockheed Martin executive Everett Beckner being picked to oversee the Nevada Nuclear test site, which Lockheed partly runs. Many Bush officials sit on the board of groups like the Center for Security Policy run by Frank Gafney Jr. Gafney dosen't seem to think his intellectual integrity is compromised by his group being funded by the arms companies who stand to make huge profits with the policies he advocates. The author cites some statistics about the dramatic rise in CEO pay since 9-11. He points out that Lockheed Martin's annual income from government contracts is more than that for the top Federal program for the poor. The Leave No Child Behind Program is being underfunded by 10 billion.
About 800 million in taxpayer money was used to subsidize the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta, supposedly to encourage these two firms to consolidate, making them more efficient. This Clinton administration encouraged merging has left a few big firms in control of the arms market and with this oligopoly are in an even better position to easily get expensive contracts from the government. The merging-consolidation has also encouraged defense worker layoffs as this impresses shareholders that the firm is trying to become efficient.

Maybe you believe the bullshit about patriotism and duty, but I don't.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


This is 45 minutes long and talks about Canadian beef, but things in US are the same or worse. No wonder Europe and Japan don't want our beef.

The growth hormones make animals gain more weight with less feed. You have to wonder if these stay in the meat and are passed to the consumers and contribute to the obesity epidemic.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Can Man be Ethical?

I finally got around to watching the award winning documentary The Corporation( Part 1 and Part 2) I don't consume very much so I don't have a dvd player and while my intentions were to see it at the theatre, it never came to middle America. Patience IS a virtue and now it is available on google so I could watch it and yes, I did pay the people directly through a voluntary contribution.

While most corporations have absolutely no ethics, I believe most individuals do not have them either. Luckily for businessmen, caveat emptor "let the buyer beware" is very handy as it enables creeps to shift the guilt to the victim. It is only a matter of degrees. We see a corporation billing the Pentagon nearly a million dollars to ship a couple washers and also some ebay individual charging $11 shipping for a first class item which cannot cost more than $3.17 shipping even if it were the heaviest thing allowed in that classification? Or the mechanic (Sanderson Auto) who charges $153 labor to change a battery, or the mechanic (Ultimate) who charges $73 to do a pressure test, or the mechanic (Car Clinic) who quotes a substantial price to do major work and then charges in an extra $50 for an oil change that wasn't even needed or requested. Last week, I saw a workman across the street with extra waste concrete and I had a 8" x 3 foot space that needed filling so I naively thought this could be a win/win situation. He charged me $60 when I could have bought Sackrete and have done it myself for $10. I think a charge of half the amount would have been more than fair and I was particularly disheartened because he has served as a teacher and principal at a local school. Everyone screws everyone as much as they can get by with. I can either feel guilt that there was something I should have done that would have tricked them into being honest or else I can come to the conclusion that humans suck and the only way to get a fair deal is to do everything yourself - and suffer the name calling that goes along with being a woman doing work that is considered "man's work". If you tell me I got this treatment because I was a woman, I want to know if there is some unwritten code that says that women should not only get paid less for their work, but should also be charged more when others do work for them? Our only hope is something like Angie's List to warn people of crooks, but that costs money and is only available in large cities. (I am naming names since I don't have access to Angie's List and if I don't talk about it, I fear I will burst). I almost never confront people directly and I guess that is my major fault but actually quite common in people who come from abused childhoods.

I watched a little video of some guy's experiment on honesty. He dropped 100 billfolds and computed how many people returned them. Now I thought the experiment blew because he only had $2 and no credit cards in each. Most people would like to feel good about themselves if it only cost $2. Had he put $100 in each, I think his results would have been way different. As it was, 14% of the women kept the billfold and 34% of the men (if I remember right - I tried to find it again to post it, but I cannot).

I think I am ready to form my own religion. This is how it will go: God made heaven and earth and the devil made man to F#&K it up. (You DO need supernatural beings in order to have a religion, ya know). The reason Christianity needs replacing is that there is no incentive to be ethical because THEY believe in forgiveness. It is no wonder the earth is on the brink of human extinction as the whole is just the sum of the greedy, unethical parts.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Get Nude and save the Earth

Swiss folks get naked to protest global warming. Now if they threw out their clothes dryers and put up clotheslines (but then naked people wouldn't need either) or went around smashing hot tubs and smashing their cars, I could think they were serious about doing something.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bush's dementia


I was listening to NPR this morning and a scientist was talking about why small animals like mice have such short lifespans while elephants and whales have long ones. He says they all have the same number of heartbeats in their lives. The mice hearts beat really fast and the whales really slow. Humans for some reason do not conform to this theory, however. We should actually have shorter lifespans according to our heart rhythms.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Dick in 1994 describes Quagmire

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bumper Sticker