Category Archives: Current Events

Civilized Breakdown

The examples below indicate the breakdown in communication in the western world.   We cannot agree on the Facts of how many US Troops died in Afghanistan.   These facts are concrete.   Our service men and women dying are nameable and countable.  And in that reporting… 2,000 died as of Sept, 30, 2012; but No! that was Aug 21, 2012 according to the New York Times, and yet another date provided by icaualties.org .   None of these 2,000 count articles noted the truly alarming rates of serviceman & veteran suicides that eclipse the battle deaths by 18 times.

Look at the reporting:

US military deaths in Afghanistan hit 2,000 after 11 years of war

By Patrick Quinn, The Associated Press | Associated Press – Sun, Sep 30, 2012

According to Brookings, hostile fire was the second most common cause of death, accounting for nearly 31 per cent of Americans killed.

In Toll of 2,000, New Portrait of Afghan War    ….  August 12th, not Sept 30th

By JAMES DAO and ANDREW W. LEHREN

Published: August 21, 2012  New York Times

Suicides Outpacing War Deaths for Troops

By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS

Published: June 8, 2012  New York Times

The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, the Pentagon said Friday.

A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame

better:

Veterans Death at own Hand, the Nation’s Shame

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Published: April 14, 2012

HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.

An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.

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News

American Forces Press Service       (a product of the Department of Defense)

Battaglia Calls Reducing Suicides a Top Priority

By Karen Parrish

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2011 – Military leaders are committed to reducing suicides in the ranks, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, the Defense Department’s top enlisted leader, said here Dec. 9.

Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters after the recent release of a report on military suicides by the Center for a New American Security.

The report concludes that suicide among service members and veterans challenges the health of America’s all-volunteer force. From 2005 to 2010, service members took their own lives at a rate of about one every 36 hours, according to the report. It also states that while only 1 percent of Americans have served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, former service members represent 20 percent of suicides in the United States. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 18 veterans die by suicide each day.

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Put another way, while 3 million of our men and women serve in the armed forces, out of our total population of 310 million,  they commit suicide at a rate equal to that of 60 million civilians.

While roughly one soldier dies in battle a day in Afghanistan, on that same day 18 veterans kill themselves.  A day.   Are we aware of this? …. is this worthy of comment by presidential candidates, none of which have served?   And where is the Press?    This information is available from DoD sources.

In short, these are potent and concrete facts.   And we cannot get them reported straight.   Without the straight truth, is there any wonder that our politics is dysfunctional.   Could it be otherwise?

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The conclusion by reading these pithy headlines, noting the differences in dates and omissions leads me to surmise that the democracy that we have fought to preserve for 236 years cannot remain if we cannot agree on simple facts.    The AP and New York Times cannot seem to agree.  Isn’t that obvious?   Bloody Obvious.    Without a unity and veracity in facts, our opinions shall never knit.

This is the heart of my communication on the eve of presidential debates where the candidates are each willing to spend a Billion dollars  (One thousand million dollars) to advertise that their opponent is an idiot.     Admittedly, so far, a down-beat message.

So, let me leave you with an antidote:   Our press system has failed because its funding model of display advertising has been eclipsed by Google’s intentional advertising.  Newspapers are dying and broadcasting is become vapid.  The press is strangled without funds.   Google’s motto is “Do no Evil”.    Killing the funding of the press so it can no longer provide the function of Saying Truth to Power, and staying on the point, might be considered evil.    Thus, given the corrupt condition of money, politics and corporate lobbying let me suggest this tonic:     To have Google, and and all who agree with this challenge to continued existence of our country lobby for having a portion (for example one half) of Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) revenue be applied to content.   i.e. Creatives and Reporters be paid for what they provide in some proportional way that allows reporters to be protected and culture makers to be paid for providing sources of social inspiration.

Give it a think.

yours,   David Bean………..      and please at least, pass this along.

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The News Shadow

Ever wonder what is really happening? When the US spends millions of dollars and months of diplomatic time to fly the Secretaries of State and Treasury to China and have all the coverage about a blind man?

Or to send the President to the Latin American Summit to discuss the failed US drug war policy that all the latin leaders want to end…. and have all the coverage about secret service men rooking hookers?

The PR pros call it distraction. We News Readers call it the News Shadow.

How do you get around it? You read the foreign news. Best in the local language, but here at least is the China story that is hidden:

CHINA denied that the yuan is undervalued and pressed Washington to ease controls on exports of high-tech goods on the first day of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged China to let the currency strengthen and open its markets wider.

However, Trade Minister Chen Deming denied the yuan was undervalued and pointed to China’s shrinking global trade surplus. China reported a US$5.3 billion surplus in March, down from a monthly level of at least US$15 billion for most of 2011.

“Given that China’s global trade is basically balanced while running a surplus with the US shows that the exchange rate plays a minimal role in trade,” Chen told reporters.

Geithner urged further appreciation of the yuan while acknowledging China’s plan to overhaul its financial system to increase support for private enterprise and reduce special treatment for state-owned companies.

“The United States has a strong interest in the success of these reforms,” he said.

“A stronger, more market-determined currency would reinforce China’s reform objectives of moving to higher value-added production, reforming the financial system and encouraging domestic demand,” he said.

The yuan has gained more than 13 percent over the past two years since China announced an acceleration of exchange rate reform. With the yuan standing at around 6.3 against the dollar, Chinese authorities said earlier that the yuan had approached a relatively fair value.

from:
http://english.eastday.com/e/120504/u1a6531142.html

In other words, the Chinese have granted a strengthening of their currency, as requested agains ours, but Timothy Geithner says that is not fast enough. Now. What kind of headline would that make?

Thus our News Shadow is covering domestically what the world at large is learning. Whenever there is a big story that is inane and goes on incessantly, such as the OJ Simpson story, or ‘baby Jessica’, or any of Michael Jackson’s, Elizabeth Taylor’s or uncountable celebrity’s stories, one must ask, ‘What is being hidden behind this screen?’: The News Shadow.

It is my opinion that still too few of us realize the depth of propaganda in which we are immersed. The way out of it is so simple, yet requires collective action. We must fund the free press by free citizens. This is not free: gratis. If free individuals pay for more than 60% of the press, whatever it is, that press is free to investigate where the facts lead. If commercial interests pay for more than 50% of a publication of media source, it limits the realm of coverage. The old saw: ‘Do not bite the hand that feeds.’ is ever true. It may not be formal commercial censorship… the simple common sense of an editor wishing to keep his or her job and please the employer is all that is required.

No offense to blind Chen Chuangchen, Michael Jackson, or the news splash personality of the moment. Independent of their plight, they are, and have been used by forces far bigger than they. It will tend to border upon some wedge issue of the moment; that emotion makes it all the more effective distraction.

Today, as flagged by the News Shadow, one can tell when events are drawing toward some item that requires veiling. So consider it a hint when the news is especially vapid. Or is the wedge is an issue that enflames your emotions, especially infuriating.

General Strip-Search, are you secure?

I encountered two young veterans last week, as hot about the current violation of national security as I am.  They too remember taking the oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States.  In all sobriety, I suggest the Supreme Court is forgetting that oath.   Last week’s news provides an example.

The Supreme Court rendered a judgement  in Florence v Burlington that it is OK to strip-search a person if they find themselves in prison, even if by mistake.   The Supreme Court decided that prison regulations trump the constitution in the above case, of a black man who was riding as a passenger in his wife’s BMW and the police  computer erroneously said he had a warrant out for his arrest, when he had already paid the traffic fine.

The judgement is pertinent in the context of the Occupy movement this spring  with many people seeking to assemble and petition their government for redress of grievances.   Those people are being intimidated by the law that they may be strip searched for engaging their first amendment rights.

The fourth amendment,  is explicit: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

It guarantees the right of someone, anyone, to be secure “in their person” from search unless served with a search warrant, signed by a judge naming whom is to be searched, and for what particular things, and stating the probable cause.  The founders included this to prohibit mass intimidation by any agency of law.   I pray you can get this very meaning from the words of the fourth amendment quoted above.  I hope you can commit those words to memory.  It could save you.

I believe that We the People can put these things together; we stand up to the Supreme Court and say:  “Black is not White!”    The people are not secure if they can be strip-searched for whimsy, or by mistake, and without probable cause.   The fourth amendment says as much!

I write this because I want people,  We the People, who give consent and tax money to be governed, to indeed be governed according to law of the land, the constitution as Article VI states.  (Not the law of some institution, be it the Burlington prison or the park service).  I write this so that we can know, and state our rights.   For if we do not stand up for them, they will go away…. as they seem to be doing, with judicial sanction before our eyes.

I refer you to the previous post if you have not read it.  It concerns the legal case, again before the Supreme Court in which President Obama wants a brand new power to be granted to the government, namely to compel people to make a purchase from a private company.    For one to read and understand the constitution, this seems an open and shut case, an argument I made.  But if we all sit back and expect the “experts” to decide, we are going the way of the Reichstag in the 1930’s.   The Germans are not, nor were they, a flippant people.  But by relinquishing their authority to the ‘experts’ they succumbed to a very dark leadership.

Hence, I ask that you write your paper, your Senator and mention to your friends the document that was begun with the words We,  is being countermanded by justices who took an oath to protect it.

The Law in Plain English, The Tenth Amendment and Obama's Health Care Case

Is the health insurance mandate constitutional?

‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.’

____ Tenth Amendment.     The US Constitution is clear as crystal.

I know the constitution, you may not; so let me simply explain: Health is not mentioned once and commerce only twice in the entire constitution, and each time it is about regulating commerce…  not mandating it.

If the Supreme Court were doing its job, it would have said as much.

Best to recall the words of Benjamin Franklin:    “A countryman between two lawyers, is like a fish between two cats.”

…and that, my fellow countrymen, is all there is.  The constitution does not compel purchases; nor will it.

The Business Model

I am with with the many who agree that to make money off of sick people is immoral.  To profit from sickness is itself sick.  You can make a living serving the sick, but not a killing.  That is our current format, called the business model.   Most counties including the 40 or more that are listed as better than ours in health care results, provide health care on the service model, not the business model.   You can seek out this information by searching ‘health care’ and OECD,  or  WHO.

The Service Model 

Providing health care on the service model in contrast to  the current business model would cut costs nearly in half.   What looks to you and me as cost centers if we are patients, are seen as profit centers, or at least competitive overhead by the health care business.   Look at what profit/cost centers would simply go away if we decided to select the service model for our health care:  Insurance profit, insurance marketing, large secretarial  and legal staff’s to deal with insurance denial/compliance/appeal/judgement and malpractice.  The equally huge secretarial offices in every medical clinic.  Gone would be pharmaceutical marketing and huge patent premiums that result from the intent to make money more than saving lives. Universities and foundations would still do research.  The motive would be to save lives though, not to ‘make a killing’.  The main thing that would be removed is the confusion of having all these systems, and the errors bread of that confusion.  Getting personal; the time lost  from this bureaucratic confusion, harms the patients physically, in my opinion, even worse than the costs which are humungous.  These costs are making the US uncompetitive on the world market.  Why?   Nearly twenty cents of every dollar we spend goes into this grinder.    This change would put nearly a dime into your pocket for every dollar spent.

In short, the health mandate is unconstitutional on its face.  The business model for health care is uncompetitive and morally corrupting and that expense cannot be ignored for it prices us out of the world market.   Thus we ought to put our health care on the service model.

The Law in Plain English, The Tenth Amendment and Obama’s Health Care Case

Is the health insurance mandate constitutional?

‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.’

____ Tenth Amendment.     The US Constitution is clear as crystal.

I know the constitution, you may not; so let me simply explain: Health is not mentioned once and commerce only twice in the entire constitution, and each time it is about regulating commerce…  not mandating it.

If the Supreme Court were doing its job, it would have said as much.

Best to recall the words of Benjamin Franklin:    “A countryman between two lawyers, is like a fish between two cats.”

…and that, my fellow countrymen, is all there is.  The constitution does not compel purchases; nor will it.

The Business Model

I am with with the many who agree that to make money off of sick people is immoral.  To profit from sickness is itself sick.  You can make a living serving the sick, but not a killing.  That is our current format, called the business model.   Most counties including the 40 or more that are listed as better than ours in health care results, provide health care on the service model, not the business model.   You can seek out this information by searching ‘health care’ and OECD,  or  WHO.

The Service Model 

Providing health care on the service model in contrast to  the current business model would cut costs nearly in half.   What looks to you and me as cost centers if we are patients, are seen as profit centers, or at least competitive overhead by the health care business.   Look at what profit/cost centers would simply go away if we decided to select the service model for our health care:  Insurance profit, insurance marketing, large secretarial  and legal staff’s to deal with insurance denial/compliance/appeal/judgement and malpractice.  The equally huge secretarial offices in every medical clinic.  Gone would be pharmaceutical marketing and huge patent premiums that result from the intent to make money more than saving lives. Universities and foundations would still do research.  The motive would be to save lives though, not to ‘make a killing’.  The main thing that would be removed is the confusion of having all these systems, and the errors bread of that confusion.  Getting personal; the time lost  from this bureaucratic confusion, harms the patients physically, in my opinion, even worse than the costs which are humungous.  These costs are making the US uncompetitive on the world market.  Why?   Nearly twenty cents of every dollar we spend goes into this grinder.    This change would put nearly a dime into your pocket for every dollar spent.

In short, the health mandate is unconstitutional on its face.  The business model for health care is uncompetitive and morally corrupting and that expense cannot be ignored for it prices us out of the world market.   Thus we ought to put our health care on the service model.

Fourth of July Quandary

Yeah,  We are going through a Big Change and I bet you cannot make it.        But I dare you.
You see, I love this country and I think we are losing it.     Here is the Quandary:
Sure, we have a little financial problem, some persistent unemployment, a wad of debt, a war or two or three, (if you don’t count the assassination drones), and a decades old political stalemate that is really mated in stale, I mean really puewy stale, but that leaves out the failure of the people to fund the press and the failure of the press to cover the important stuff when funded only by commercial interests, a supreme court that thinks money is speech, two administrations that think the constitution is meaningless words, but the Big One, that big slow moving change that we all see and don’t want to admit, and is leaving muddy boot prints all over the future of our dreams:  global climate change: climate chaosYup, you are right and I know it too.   All the Republican Presidential candidates deny climate change as a point of pride.  “How the hell can you grow your way out of a depression, if you admit that the consequences of that growth would just make things worst?”   And what does worst mean?   Migrations of people seeking higher ground and, well, food.    No, not timid people,  desperate ones, wars.

Truth is, the Democrats are not much better.  While mouthing green jobs, and I have to laugh when they call robotics green  and  jobs, they too think the only way out of our recession is to manufacture more stuff.  Ah, efficiency. Democrats can only see growth as the answer too.

OK, maybe the case can be be made that since 82% of Americans don’t have passports, they would not know nor care that Australia had a flood the size of France and Germany put together.   Or that the Russian wheat crop failed. Well, Australia’s conservatives used to deny climate change too.  No more.   Will cyclone ally, or the Mississippi flood, or hundred square mile fires wake up ours?
Back in history at a point similar to now, FDR primed the pump.  He got young men working in the CCC camps instead of inventing a life of crime.  Sending money home.  Imagine that.  Our current stimulus envisioned a giant pump priming, thinking there was just one big pump: the banks.  Truth to tell they can just deal with money when it is moving, they don’t make it move, people do, real ones with real locations… on earth.  So how do we get real people in real jobs?, and that could be doing anything since only 8% of us work growing our food.  Planting trees, cutting brush and making trails worked in the 30’s and made kids into strong men with good values.   Kids today want to manipulate stuff with their fingers, because that is all that they have seen: manipulation, money for nothin’ and ever better remotes.  But I digress.
So these parties, the Democrats and Republicans cannot seem to find a lick of common sense among ’em.  Now Will Rogers had some.  He said, “The United States had two great friends…………..  the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.”   I dare say he is still right even though we have spent TEN years traveling half way around the planet, fighting in the place called the Graveyard of Empires: Afghanistan.We are told by both parties it is for national security. Well my goodness, look at the map. Their neighbors are China, Iran, India and Pakistan.     Talk about a rough neighborhood far away.  Are we snookered or what.  For a decade!  What is this national security?  Domination of all places anywhere on the globe?   It seems to be of the same quality as anything that is  securitized. Even if we had a booming real economy rather than one based upon insurance, financial products and speculation on house values we could not afford that.   Darn.   I was going to dare you, not wheedle bout the thicket of our tarbaby mess.  Seems like I got off my trail.

The dare comes in to design a wiki, you know, one of those computer internet gizmos that allows a lot of folks to work together and figure stuff out.  I think the ancient Chinese saying says it best: “If we don’t change direction, we are bound to end up where we are headed.”  And here I think we need to put our heads together and not expect some celebrity to fix it.  We need change that is not a slogan.

Yesterday ( June 30th)was funny day, not ha ha, when the Greek and British peoples rioted in the streets because the bankers had the legislators renege on pensions, a lifetime promise in those countries.  It is called bait and switch.  In response the US stock market gained 150 points.  What does that say? It seems crazy to one like me.  Bet, we’ll see those same kind of riots in the US within two years time.   You have heard the bankers, haven’t you, complaining about all the greedy people.  Folks get funny when you revoke a life long promise. Not ha ha.
I’ll tell you this, people don’t like to get a screwin’, and there are at least 6 million Americans that have got a good one as the banks have foreclosed them out of their home to collect upon credit default swaps and bonuses.  And the screwin’s not done.  And the politics ain’t mappin it, and the press ain’t covering it, and well, that’s why I ask you to help design this wiki.Because without some meta thinking, some big creative thinking, we are going to have a big train wreck.  Our housing has already lost more than after 1929, and the Parties, if you can call them that are, Clubs are more like it, are still having a pissing contest.  Dumping the economy into the gutter…. simply by having the firm and stupid Republicans come to loggerheads with the firm (well, not really) and stupid Democrats about the debt and create here, just what we observed happening in Greece and Britain yesterday.

So I double dog dare you to figure a way out of this fix.   Or to figure a path to a way……. out.   And don’t tell me you are waiting for Elvis to lead the way.

yours,The Old Sodbuster.

Patriot Act Charade

Every single person inaugurated into elective office, all people who serve in the military, over six million of them,  swear to protect and defend the constitution.   It is a short document.  The very most important part of it personally, to you, and to me, is the Bill of Rights, without which the thirteen colonies would not have signed on to become the United States; not enough protection.   The most personal part of the Bill of Rights which are the first ten amendments to the constitution is the Fourth Amendment.   It protects You, a person.

The Fourth Amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In short it means you and your stuff are free, unless there is a search warrant signed by a judge with particulars stating where, who and what is to be searched and seized.

That was regretfully obliterated by the ‘lone wolf ‘ provision of the patriot act. The enemy needs no affiliation.   That means is could be you, or me, anybody.

Sorry, they say.   There is no law, The world is a dangerous place and we are here to protect you…. but forget the fourth amendment and all the millions of Americans who swore to protect it, and those who died thinking they were protecting it.

I have been too morose to post this.   I guess you could call it denial, the first stage of grieving.     I have a good carpenter friend who just lost his house.  Oh, and his family.   He got securitized out of his mortgage after eleven years paying on it.  I  feel I am losing my country.  I made the vow as I entered the Navy to protect and defend the constitution.    So did President Obama and all congressmen and senators now serving.  I repeat myself because I cannot believe all these people do not honor their own word.

What nudged me out of my stupor was when Miss USA was driven to tears by the personal violation by a TSA airport frisker.   Flying home through Dallas she had the ‘freedom of choice’ to get radiation from a new high powered airport scanner that virtually undress you and gives an unhealthy dose of radiation, or to be molested by a female TSA frisk specialist.  But that is for another post.

The P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act was prewritten when 9-11 happened and was passed with the hysteria of that very dramatic moment, quickly.  It was not deeply considered then, nor by the congress  when it sunsetted a decade later, conveinently, Osama bin Laden had just been killed and a huge trove of intelligence was captured, and what responsible congressman had the political counterwieght to say “Stop Everything, let us discusss the Forth Amendment and the Patriot act.”  Few, the two Oregon Senators  Wyden and Merkley and Udhall from Utah, but not enough.  So the Patriot Act was extended without discussion another four years, fourteen years after September 11th of 2001.      Meanwhile, the population, especially those who travel by air, become habituated to being frisked for….. being in the USA.

And that is the latest from yourconstitution.   Honored, in the breach.