Teaching children to worship Obama in Burlington, NJ

Posted on September 24th, 2009 by bile
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I’m sure it happened with Bush and we know it happens with Lincoln, FDR and some of the Founders… doesn’t make it acceptable. Especially for a government  school.

More info here.

Good for him: Polish pianist stops show with anti-US tirade

Posted on April 28th, 2009 by bile
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/…

Krystian Zimerman, the great Polish concert pianist, is usually a man of few words. He doesn’t, as a rule, talk to the audience during performances. He says little or nothing in the press between his all-too-rare concert tours – not even about his habit of travelling everywhere with his own Steinway grand piano. He rarely grants them the pleasure of an encore.

So he triggered more than the usual rumble of discomfort when he raised his voice in the closing stages of a recital at Los Angeles’ Disney Hall on Sunday night and announced he would no longer perform in the United States in protest against Washington’s military policies.

“Get your hands off my country,” Zimerman told the stunned crowd in a denunciation of US plans to install a missile defence shield on Polish soil. Some people cheered, others yelled at him to shut up and keep playing. A few dozen walked out, some of them shouting obscenities.

“Yes,” Zimerman responded with derision, “some people when they hear the word military start marching.”

According to Mark Swed, the Los Angeles Times’s veteran classical music critic who witnessed the incident, Zimerman hesitated before deciding to speak up. He was about to strike up the first notes of the final piece on his programme, Karol Szymanowski’s Variations on a Polish Folk Theme, when he “sat silently at the piano for a moment, almost began to play, but then turned to the audience”.

Swed said he delivered his tirade “in a quiet but angry voice that did not project well”.

Zimerman appears to have been upset by Barack Obama’s decision, announced this month, to maintain the Bush-era policy of installing a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Obama insisted the shield was part of a defensive posture against Iran, not Russia, and that he intended to remove it as soon as the threat from Iran subsided. But many Poles have accused the US of wanting to mount a military occupation of their country, and fear the shield could make them a target of Russian aggression.

Zimerman, though, has developed something of a track record – especially since the 9/11 attacks. In 2006 he announced he would not return to the United States until George Bush was out of office. The same year, at Baltimore’s Shriver Hall, he prefaced his performance of Beethoven’s Pathetique sonata with a denunciation of America’s prison at Guantánamo Bay.

At least some of his opprobrium appears to be personal. Shortly after 9/11, his piano was confiscated by customs officials at New York’s JFK airport, who thought the glue smelled funny. They subsequently destroyed the instrument.

For several years he chose to travel with just the mechanical insides of his own piano and install them – he is a master piano repairer, as well as player – inside a Steinway shell he borrowed from the company in New York. In 2006 he tried to travel with his own piano again, only to have it held up in customs for five days and disrupt his performance schedule.

Obvious: the NSA was/is listening in on average Americas

Posted on January 22nd, 2009 by bile
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http://rawstory.com/…

Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice, who helped expose the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping in December 2005, has now come forward with even more startling allegations. Tice told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Wednesday that the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists.

“The National Security Agency had access to all Americans’ communications — faxes, phone calls, and their computer communications,” Tice claimed. “It didn’t matter whether you were in Kansas, in the middle of the country, and you never made foreign communications at all. They monitored all communications.”

Tice further explained that “even for the NSA it’s impossible to literally collect all communications. … What was done was sort of an ability to look at the metadata … and ferret that information to determine what communications would ultimately be collected.”

According to Tice, in addition to this “low-tech, dragnet” approach, the NSA also had the ability to hone in on specific groups, and that was the aspect he himself was involved with. However, even within the NSA there was a cover story meant to prevent people like Tice from realizing what they were doing.

“In one of the operations that I was in, we looked at organizations, just supposedly so that we would not target them,” Tice told Olbermann. “What I was finding out, though, is that the collection on those organizations was 24/7 and 365 days a year — and it made no sense. … I started to investigate that. That’s about the time when they came after me to fire me.”

When Olbermann pressed him for specifics, Tice offered, “An organization that was collected on were US news organizations and reporters and journalists.”

“To what purpose?” Olbermann asked. “I mean, is there a file somewhere full of every email sent by all the reporters at the New York Times? Is there a recording somewhere of every conversation I had with my little nephew in upstate New York?”

Tice did not answer directly, but simply stated, “If it was involved in this specific avenue of collection, it would be everything.” He added, however, that he had no idea what was ultimately done with the information, except that he was sure it “was digitized and put on databases somewhere.”

Tice first began alleging that there were illegal activities going on at both the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency in December 2005, several months after being fired by the NSA. He also served at that time as a source for the New York Times story which revealed the existence of the NSA’s wireless wiretapping program.

Over the next several months, however, Tice was frustrated in his attempts to testify before Congress, had his credibility attacked by Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, and was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in an apparent attempt at intimidation.

Tice is now coming forward again now because George Bush is finally out of office. He told Olbermann that the Obama administration has not been in touch with him about his latest revelations, but, “I did send a letter to, I think it’s [Obama intelligence adviser John] Brennan — a handwritten letter, because I knew all my communications were tapped, my phones, my computer, and I’ve had the FBI on me like flies on you-know-what … and I’m assuming that he gave the note to our current president — that I intended to say a little bit more than I had in the past.”

This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Jan. 21, 2009.

Rob… I hope you aren’t part of this.

Service Nation Summit: Day Two

Posted on September 12th, 2008 by bile
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Opening:

  • Was just visited by Henri Makembe. Told me they would be providing for interview with people but I’d have to keep it friendly. “If we make them mad then they won’t want to give any of the other bloggers time.” So… they don’t want me to ask serious questions. What a surprise.
  • Have quoted Winston Churchill, Mother Teressa, Mahatma Gandhi.
  • They show all these examples of service yet they all appear to be real voluntarism, ie no government involvement.
  • “We are not here as Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, socialists or Green party members. We are here as Americans.” I appreciate the shout out but I’m here as a libertarian.
  • “We are here today because of Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” Too bad they don’t wish to abide by the ideas contained in those documents.
  • “Politicians get a bad wrap. Some deservingly. But there are all kinds of politicians who help America.”
  • Being a citizen of the United States is the highest reward.
  • If you googled “giving back” you’d likely find “Mike Bloomberg.”
  • Bloomberg: New York City’s government school system improvement is an example for the rest of the nation.
  • New York City is the city of service because William James who wrote The Moral Equivalent of War (intro by Jon Roland) advocating national service was born here.
  • “We are the beneficiaries of those who give their lives to defend us.” Defending from the Koreans? The Vietnamese? The Iraqis? The Pakistanis? The Iranians?
  • Bloomberg babbles on about global warming, “We are polluting the air we breath.” Yes… by breathing.
  • “Service should be asked of everyone and should be open to everyone. So we are creating new programs.”
  • “Democracy and capitalism hasn’t helped everyone…”
  • George Bush: Asks everyone to spend two years or 4k hours helping out in a lifetime.
  • Laura Bush: “People have more opportunities to volunteer through government programs.” Being incentivized by tax payers money is not voluntarism.
  • Rolling Ridge elementary school gives it’s kids service journals and have made ‘service’ party of the curriculum.
  • “Children who learn the importance of service early are more likely to volunteer later in life.” Gotta indoctrinate them young.
  • The program has moved on to personal stories from ‘volunteers.’ One from City Year, Civilian Conservation Corp, AmeriCorps.
  • Admiral Michael Mullen: “the soldiers in Iraq are protecting our democracy at home. They are there because of what happened on 9/11.” I thought Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. How is it that our invasion of Iraq is protecting us?
  • “There is no greater reward than working for something greater than yourself.”
  • “Keep singing (God Bless America), keep waving (flags), and keep serving!” Yay nationalism/fascism!
  • Obama, McCain, Dodd, Clinton have said they will cosponsor the Serve America Act from Kennedy and Hatch.
  • The language used always refers to “the two candidates for the oval office.”
  • Senator Hatch: “We want to help children who want to serve.”
  • “Our efforts will start early in our classrooms.”
  • “Service learning has shown to keep kids interested in school. So we are going to offer more incentives.”
  • 61 million Americans volunteer without government incentives.
  • “We will invest into a volunteer fund matched dollar for dollar from the private sector.”
  • Want to create funds to help non-profit entrepreneurs.
  • Offer older people “education rewards” to give to their children and grandchildren to pay for school.

Read More…

Patrick Buchanan: Blowback from Bear Baiting

Posted on August 15th, 2008 by bile
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http://www.realclearpolitics.com/…

Mikheil Saakashvili’s decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia’s invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.

Nasser’s blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili’s blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

After shelling and attacking what he claims is his own country, killing scores of his own Ossetian citizens and sending tens of thousands fleeing into Russia, Saakashvili’s army was whipped back into Georgia in 48 hours.

Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to kick the Georgian army out of Abkhazia, as well, to bomb Tbilisi and to seize Gori, birthplace of Stalin.

Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain, and America’s lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.

Mikheil did not reckon on the rage or resolve of the Bear.

Read More…

Der Spiegel on The Shrinking Influence of the US Federal Reserve

Posted on July 2nd, 2008 by beetlbumjl
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Gabor Steingart reports from the Spiegel’s Washington DC bureau:

Humiliation for Mr. Dollar: Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Bank, faces a general investigation by the International Monetary Fund. Just one more example of the Fed losing its power.

The United States Federal Reserve Bank, or Fed, seems as much a part of America as Coca-Cola or Pizza Hut. But at least one difference has become apparent in recent days. While the pizza chain and soft-drink maker are likely to expand their scope of influence in the age of globalization, the US central bank is finding that its power is shrinking.

[snip parts explaining the doom and gloom of the current financial situation]

Under its bylaws, the IMF is charged with the supervision of the international monetary system. Roughly two-thirds of IMF members — but never the United States — have already endured this painful procedure.

For seven years, US President George W. Bush refused to allow the IMF to conduct its assessment. Even now, he has only given the IMF board his consent under one important condition. The review can begin in Bush’s last year in office, but it may not be completed until he has left the White House. This is bad news for the Fed chairman.

When the final report on the risks of the US financial system is released in 2010 — and it is likely to cause a stir internationally — only one of the people in positions of responsiblity today will still be in office: Ben Bernanke.

<sarcasm>Poor Ben.</sarcasm>  Reaction to the this article can be found on The Age (an Australian news website).  Liberty Maven discusses the dilemma in which the IMF puts Ron Paul supporters:

We are against the IMF and federal style regulation over markets at all levels, yet we painfully yearn for more transparency from the Federal Reserve. If we aren’t yearning for more transparency from the Fed we are advocating abolishing it outright.

So the question is then, do we support the IMF investigating the hated Federal Reserve because it conveniently supports our anti-Fed sentiments? Or are we truly and purely against the IMF and it’s authority to perform such investigations?