Archive for April, 2010

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Is Now the Time for this Change ?

By WJ Anthony

Today the AFL-CIO unions held a march of thousands of workers on Wall Street to demand that the banks and investors who benefited by the government bailout should now invest that bailout money to create jobs.

One year ago, we posted an article that proposed an unusual idea.  After you read the following synopsis of that idea, be prepared to ask the question, “Why not?”

If you are an unemployed worker, . . .

or an employer, about to lay off workers because a foreign competitor in a low-wage country is grabbing your customer market, . . .

or you are an entrepreneur who is ready to produce a great, potential product but are worried that a competitor in a low-wage country could market an equivalent product with lower wage costs and grab the US customer market for such a product, . . .

You may find a surprising answer.

The government didn’t hesitate to fund the bailout of major banks.   Might the US citizens and Congress find a reason to have our government bailout US employers rather than lose their job opportunities?

During the past three decades, many employers have gone out of business because low-wage employers in foreign countries can produce equivalent products at a lower wage-cost and sell them in the US at a lower market price.

If the federal government were to pay the wages of all employees of all employers in the United States, would employers agree to that?

Would the government control employers?  Would employers lose their independence under government control?  Are employers in the US now independent from government control?  Are they free from Labor Department regulations, OSHA, Workers’ Compensation, income taxes and other taxes, insurance, fair employment practices, fair labor standards, etc.?

Does the customer or public now pay the final cost of fulfilling the conditions of all regulations when a product is purchased from the employer?  Would the cost to fulfill those regulations still be paid by the customer?

Would the government tax the profits of the employer?  Does the government tax the profits of the employer now?

Why might the American people agree to give the federal government the responsibility to pay the wages of all workers in the United States?

Most Americans want to have business and industry that provide the products, goods and services that enable them to pursue those unalienable rights that were described in the second paragraph of our Declaration of Independence.

Today, a world of merchants trade in money and probabilities, many of which are not backed by physical or marketable goods or services.  Some use a form of unpublished promissory notes to pay a pledge, based on whether a trend or policy will cause or not cause some aspect of what might occur by a specified time.

Those merchant-gamblers were said to not be the lowly riffraff of horse race losers or back alley poker or pool shark scalpers.  Congress identified them as chiefs of banking or industry.

Meanwhile, thousands of workers have lost their jobs, because the moneymen were not paying attention to the production and distribution of the goods and services that humanity needs.  Instead, they gambled with their Midas addiction of financial profit as their main concern.  They flaunted their egocentric notion of using the government-military-industrial-financial complex to build an empire; but knew or cared not about the premise on which an empire like Rome succeeds – “feed the masses or fall”.

In a money-based society, workers are willing to engage in the tasks that produce and distribute the goods and services that the people of their republic, nation, or empire need.  Human ingenuity and creativity discover and produce new applications that are essential for a free people to enhance their pursuit of happiness, even amidst difficulties that crop up in each new day.

The role of private employers is essential to organize the workers who produce and distribute the vast amounts of goods and services for public consumption.  In a money-based society, the workers also purchase the goods and services that comprise their standard of living.  Workers will perform their duty in the best and most efficient manner if their wages enable them to afford the ability to purchase an appropriate standard of living for themselves.

Honest employers have historically accepted a great responsibility in employing workers.  However, if an honest employer cannot meet the responsibility to pay the wages of its employees, workers will reluctantly be forced to look for another employer that can meet their wage needs.  The unfortunate result is that the enterprise of such an employer will fail or fall, and the goods or services that it produced to serve the public will no longer be available to consumers.

Now is the time for Americans to ask if our system of money–based economy should be changed.

Is it our right to give our government the principles and the powers to organize the appropriate production and distribution of goods and services that will support our safety and pursuit of happiness?

Could the present threat of economic collapse be stopped if our government assumed the responsibility and authority to pay the wages of all employees?

Could employers restart their operations, if they had shut down their business and laid off workers because they could not afford to pay the wages of their employees?

Should we relieve employers of the responsibility of paying the wages of their employees and assign that responsibility to the government?

If we transfer to our government the responsibility to pay the wages of all employees, could employers invest the money that they would have otherwise spent in wages, to upgrade their products or services to a competitive quality that consumers would prefer and buy?

If employers had no necessity to pay wage costs, would employers choose to move their business operations to a low-wage area?

Did most employers, who moved their operations to low- wage areas, choose to do so to avoid paying the higher wages of American workers?

Would those employers have remained in the US if the government had relieved them of the responsibility and to pay the wages of their employees?

Would employers lay off American workers or move their operations to low-wage areas if the government assumed the responsibility to pay the wages of their workers?

If an employer is freed from an obligation to pay its employees, the employer can focus on its primary responsibility – to efficiently serve the public good.

Can an economy be better served by such an arrangement, rather than by the present assumption that employers are responsible to pay the wages of its employees?

If some patriotic Americans may respond to this idea with an assumption that doing this is evidently socialistic, they may need to determine if that is legitimately good or bad.

If a money-based government allows financial stock investors to strategically wager the sustainability of the nation’s complex of Gross Domestic Product and cause the economic and social collapse of the nation’s commerce and destroy the unalienable Rights and lives of American workers without governmental interventions, is such a government behavior “deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed” as is said in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence or as Lincoln said “of the people, by the people and for the people”?

American workers did not choose to participate in that collapsible era of the past decade.  They faithfully devoted themselves to their work, but the monetary controllers of corporations assumed no responsibility for the workers or the public good.  Instead, the government allowed banks and corporations to privately strategize the maximizing of profit for their board of directors and corporate investors.

Even though workers are indispensable as society’s primary consumers, American workers were left without the right to influence the determination of corporate policies.  The workers were not the controllers of those corporate gamblers who caused the economic collapse.

The day has arrived when all workers of America need to realize our jeopardy and our need to secure our economy by empowering our government to fund the payment of all wages for American workers.  Honest employers will be encouraged to continue their enterprises.  The livelihood of their employees should be based on living wages.

All employers should be encouraged to have a satisfactory profit beyond their costs of production and should be taxed appropriately to encourage them to continue their efficient production, growth and innovation.

The income of workers should be taxed at an appropriate level that would encourage and not jeopardize their motivation to excel in their performance and innovation.

The government cost of funding the wages of workers could be fully returned to the Treasury by the continuing taxes of employer profits and wages of workers.

The plan to have government pay the living wages of all US employees will encourage and satisfy the entrepreneur trait of employers and inspire the innovative diligence of workers.  The plan can satisfy consumers, and the public good without strife.

We are at that historic crossroad of economic success, and a plan, such as this, needs our consent.

Once in awhile . . . an Inspiration

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Thank You President Obama . . .

By WJ Anthony

I had the pleasure of reading the “Commencement Challenge” that your administration’s website presented on the Internet today.  What a surprising and worthwhile idea!  Challenge high schools across the country to demonstrate how the vision of their school boards, the motivation and skills of their teachers, and the level of learning, that their students successfully apply, can inspire the millions of adult taxpayers to realize that our children are prepared to be ready to meet the future.

From thousands of senior and junior high schools, across the country, 1000 public senior high schools emerged to display the pride of their school community in the hope that they would win the prize to have the President of the United States give the commencement address at their graduation.

From the 1000 high schools, which took up the nationwide challenge, six schools have successfully moved their presentations into a semi-final contest.  The video presentations of those six high schools show how each school achieves its core values and were posted on the President’s internet website, so they could be evaluated by registered American internet viewers.

From that evaluation by American citizens, three of those six schools will emerge after April 30th, from which one of those three schools will gain the historic distinction of having the President of the United States give the commencement address at their high school.

WOW!  What a marvelous way for Americans to show their respect for education.

Apparently, President Obama will continue this marvelous high school “Commencement Challenge” as an annual event during each year of his presidency.  At the end of each school year, once again he will give the Commencement address at some deserving high school, somewhere in America.   It could be said, and it would be true, that most every high school deserves America’s recognition of their achievement.  I don’t recall that this has ever been done before, and my hat off to you, Mr. President for this wonderful gesture.

What a marvelous way to urge our young students to study and tell them that we believe in the greatness of their future.  It also encourages the hope of all of us Americans, that our people will solve the challenges of peace and prosperity that wait for our devotion.

That’s us, Folks, … All of US !

Saturday, April 24th, 2010


By General Mirza Aslam Beg

Afghanistan Ethnic Population

General McChrystal, having read Winston Churchill’s Memoirs, has opted for the new strategy for Afghanistan, named as ‘Churchill’s Choice’, defined in these words:

“The more an outside army sought to impose order, the more ferocious the Afghan response. Brute force of arms, was not only insufficient and ineffective, but likely to foment greater antagonism. Therefore, there was the option of pulling-out and working through and with the tribal system, and leaving the tribals to their blood letting.”

The new strategy, therefore was formalized during the Strategic Dialogue with Pakistan, with high expectations that the Pakistan Army, having ‘Steam-rolled’ the Taliban from North Waziristan, will be ready to support the surge against the Taliban, but on his return to Pakistan, General Kiyani has poured cold water on their hopes, by saying “Pakistan has no intention to launch ‘steam-roller operations’ in North Waziristan, nor it can provide any military support to the coalition forces surge inside Afghanistan.” So the hope for ‘brick-by-brick demolition of jehadi infrastructure’ is dashed to the ground, as much as the effort to capture Marjeh in the Helmand province, and the hoisting of the American flag on a mud-hut of Marjeh bazaar. The surge will now turn towards Kandahar, inviting a befitting response from the Taliban. This encounter, certainly, will not be a stalemate, as in Marjeh, but a turning point of the surge operations.

There certainly is no possibility of a quick-fix military success, to be presented to the nation before the mid-term elections, nor the option of “pulling-out and leaving the tribals, to their blood-letting”, by implementing the Maldives Plan. In fact the Maldives Plan would be the recipe for disaster. This option was used in 1990, after the Afghan Mujahideen and the government of Pakistan together provided the safe exit to the Soviet troops but for the exit of the occupation forces now, neither Pakistan nor Taliban can provide any such guarantee.

Obama’s dash to Kabul to announce the pre-mature success of the Strategic Dialogue, was a crude attempt to fool the American public, because the ‘surge strategy’ has failed and so has the Maldives Plan before it could be launched. What then is the option? The answer is “find peace with the Taliban of Afghanistan”, which is possible, if the occupation forces try to understand the genesis of Taliban of today and the way forward to negotiate peace with them. The Taliban of today are very much different from the Taliban of 1988-89. The Taliban of today are what the CIA website, ‘The Long War Journal’ describes in detail. Add to it the ‘hard core of young Taliban’, born during the last thirty years, under the shadows of war, who know nothing but to fight, for their freedom. They have seen no pleasures of life – la courtesy foreign invasions, by the Soviets and the Americans. They live in a state of anomie, where life and death have little meaning for them. Two super powers and the pride of Europe, the NATO forces stand humbled by them. They are a phenomenon, least understood, yet one can understand them, if there is the willingness to engage with them.

How to engage with them is the real problem. Because of the obsessions to call them “terrorists”, there is a hesitance to talk to them. One has to get rid of this obsession and treat them as ‘freedom fighters’, who, during the last three decades have sacrificed their two generations in order to “preserve their freedom, their values and traditions, which do not find harmony with the American plans and policies for Afghanistan.” Mulla Umar

There exists a serious trust deficit between the Taliban and USA, who betrayed them in 1989 at Geneva and again in 2001 at Bonn, by denying them power-sharing which they deserved as the winner and also being the majority, i.e. 55% of the population. The Maldives Plans which has now been hatched and is to be implemented, will be another betrayal and a disaster for peace.

Pakistan and the other stake-holders do not want a Talibanised Afghanistan. They have no right under any law to make such a demand. It is, for the people of Afghanistan to choose the form of government best suits them. Amongst our immediate neighbours, China follows the Communist/Socialist ideology and is the most peaceful country in the world. Iran follows the Islamic Ideology and despite such provocations from Israel and pressures from USA, has maintained its cool. Similarly, Afghanistan under the Taliban will follow the Islamic ideology, respecting the rule of law and distributive justice. In fact, the world has to remain engaged with them to ameliorate their sufferings of the last thirty years, caused by foreign aggressions. Pakistan and the USA, in particular therefore have “to recalibrate their positions and harmonize their interests with Afghanistan for a lasting peace in the region.”

It is not Karzai and his government, which will look after the American interests when they are gone from Afghanistan. The Taliban can provide such a guarantee, if we remain engaged with them to create mutual confidence and the promise to invest in rebuilding the country which has suffered untold misery, death, destruction and deprivation, at the hands of the two great powers – Russia and America. They owe to the people of Afghanistan, not in blood, or flesh, any more, but in kind, if they decide to save the day and abandon the Churchill’s Choice of “leaving the tribes, to their blood letting.


General Mirza Aslam Beg is the former Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan. After retirement, he established his Think Tank,

General Beg

‘FRIENDS’ at Rawalpindi. He holds independent views that are widely respected and given serious thought. He contributes his articles regularly to

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Is our ignorance OUR real excuse ?

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010



Posted on 20. Apr, 2010 by Raja Mujtaba in Americas



By Gordon Duff

That was in Iraq, now lost in Afghanistan

As usual, America is in a war for all the wrong reasons, pushed by Israel, bought off by drug money and backed into a corner.  At a time when a “new broom” and strong leadership is needed, we respond with “damage control.”  Even with the press descending into simple “drum beating” for an Israeli attack in Iran to get at the gas supplies needed for her secret pipeline deals, her “shill” in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal is simply no longer credible.

It all fell apart with the phony Marjah operation, a “joint operation” against a town of 80,000 Taliban fighters that turned out to be a couple of small villages in the middle of poppy fields that McChrystal decided needed protection.  Surprise, Surprise.

While Karzai, our disastrous ally, hated by his own people, tried to bully the United States into letting him consolidate control, not over Afghanistan but control over “certain enterprises,” that he has been operating with his partners, India and Israel, McChrystal has been buckling under, “kissing up” to Karzai’s brother, believed by every informed source to be the largest narcotics trafficker in the world.

Now, McChrystal is placing the blame on Iran for financing and arming the Taliban and, at the same time, pointing out that nearly 100,000 “contractors” in Afghanistan, 94% of them armed are “too many.”  He could, if he thought about it a second, also point out that most of them are Taliban.  In fact, he could also point out that he is paying up to $3000 per truck that comes into Afghanistan, thousands of trucks per month, to the Taliban as ransom.

He could also point out that the years and years he has been training and arming the Afghan army, their utterly ineffective Army, and the Afghan police force, their utterly ineffective police force, the ammunition and weapons they get have been flowing to the Taliban also.

Were he more honest, he could point out that the reason he is trying to negotiate with the Taliban is that, if fact, they really aren’t the Taliban at all.  You have a country full of drug lords, the allies that America used in their initial attack against, well, we aren’t so sure anymore.  See, we never found Al Qaeda training camps, we never found Osama bin Laden, in fact, we have absolutely no reliable information that bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11.

We do know that thousands of Indian “security personnel” are organizing, arming and financing terrorist operations against Pakistan and that, of the hundreds of European contractors and UN officials in Afghanistan, hundreds are Israeli agents, some of them training terrorists themselves, who have crossed into Iran and have murdered hundreds.  All of this is going on under McChrystal’s nose, while Pakistan suffers daily terrorist attacks from groups trained and financed in Afghanistan but stays quiet about it because their very survival depends on US aid.  You can’t tell the US the truth.

Lying has become second nature to us.


Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, knows where our weaknesses are, he knows where the bodies are buried.  If you are watching the press, you are seeing “holocaust denialists” being jailed, fined and attacked daily.  The emails coming out of Israeli financed sources, many originating from former “Pentagon pundits,” the former officers who lied continually to help justify the disastrous invasion of Iraq, are all warning about attacks on Israel and a new “holocaust,” with Iran building gas chambers, and making soap, lampshades, the whole Hollywood thing that Israel uses to guilt out the Europeans when they need a few billion, when they have blown up a school and haven’t hunted down all the journalists who could report on it yet or, well, there are so many games now.

Ahmadinejad invited the world’s scholars to Iran a bit ago, to study the holocaust.  He knew Israel was going to yell “Auschwitz” when they came after Iran’s oil and gas with their massive military forces supplemented by the United States.  Now there is a massive move by Israel to build up a frenzy about the holocaust.  Since it is against the law to say any more, I have to move on.

Last week, Ahmadinejad wrote a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations requesting a couple of things:

  • A new and comprehensive 9/11 investigation
  • An international commission to address terrorist attacks on Iran that are staged from bases in Afghanistan and Baluchistan
  • A plan to address that massive flood of narcotics coming out of Afghanistan

Why has Ahmandinejad chosen 9/11?  Since most of the members of the 9/11 Commission have either rescinded their approval of the report they were forced to submit though incomplete, asked for criminal investigation or stated outright that the report is a cover-up and 5 years of new evidence, “leaks” and “cooler heads” has brought informed people around the world to accept the idea that 9/11 may have been conceived in an office and not a cave.  The mainstream news in the United States is no longer able to keep it all quiet, what is likely to be the worst crime of the last hundred years.


Recent reports have shown that only some of the money, billions of dollars, coming from the Afghan drug trade has bought the following governments:

  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Tajikistan
  • Kyrgyzstan

What we aren’t saying is that billions in narcotics trafficking money has seriously influenced policy in these other countries:

  • United States
  • Afghanistan
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Belgium
  • Pakistan
  • Switzerland
  • Spain
  • Poland
  • Kazakhstan
  • India
  • Canada
  • Russia
  • Italy
  • France

Americans remember the flood of narcotics that filled America’s cities during the 1980s.  Dozens of movies have been made describing CIA involvement in drug trafficking, it has become a major  part of our pop-culture.  Every muscle-bound super hero has fought the CIA and their drug importing from Southeast Asia, Columbia or Afghanistan.  Now that we have reliable reports and testimony that this is actively going on with full complicity from, not only foreign governments, but multiple US administrations, not just Reagan but continuing on today, we have no excuse for looking away.  When FBI translator, Sibel Edmonds, broke the story, finally able to testify when her “national security” gag orders were overturned, no network nor major paper would report it.  It is still on the record, though.

General Stanley McChrystal knows.  He has seen her testimony.  He has been told it is reliable.  He knows that tons of heroin are flown out of Afghanistan and distributed around the world and he knows that nearly everyone around him is either involved or afraid to speak up.  Is he only a puppet himself?  This is how things are beginning to look.  Compared to the real power of the “narco-billions,” one American general is nothing.


I have spent dozens of hours meeting with and talking to people who know about Afghanistan, from members of their royal families, to tribal leaders to activists.  We all agree on a few things:

  • Unless all opium production is immediately eradicated in Afghanistan, any attempt to build an economy or organize the country will fail, overwhelmed by the “gun culture” built to support a massive narcotics operation that is growing by 20% or more a year.
  • A massive program of economic realignment supported by powerful military operations will be necessary when the opium crops are destroyed or the country will break out into massive civil war.  Estimates are that it will take two years for America to accomplish what the Taliban did, eliminating opium production, the biggest threat Afghanistan poses to the world, a thousand times bigger than any imaginary terrorist training areas.
  • Karzai is weak, too tied to corruption to be credible, too close to India to be trusted by Pakistan and too unstable to manage even the few miles around Kabul he has “ruled” for all these years.  He must go, replaced by a strong ruler with blood ties to a tribal groups across the nation.  There are several potential candidates far more qualified than Karzai, who has been abandoned by the Jirga’s and is likely to get another “no confidence” vote in May
  • The Afghan army needs to be disbanded, as it is a mercenary army that doesn’t represent the country.  Afghanistan has always had universal compulsory military service and has strong military traditions based on that.
  • The current concept of a national police force has failed.  Until a force based on regional ethnic lines that received broad support from regional/tribal leaders, where such systems are still operating, the current “abomination” must go.  It has become little more than a Mafia.
  • A substantial region along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border is under the control, not of terrorists but criminal elements, even worse than those ruling the country.

It is entirely possible that, with a real president in Afghanistan, perhaps not in Kabul but Kandahar, and a rational policy to end narcotics production, replacing it with a program that will provide education, medical care and needed local services such as cold storage for food along with solar/wind based power systems, Afghanistan can reach a sustainable level of “disorder” in 24 months, not 10 years.  With opium production left as it is, in accordance with McChrystal’s wishes, the chaos will continue indefinitely.  Is this the plan?  Was it the plan all along?


Afghanistan has attracted vermin from around the world.  We have half a dozen intelligence agencies training terrorists in Afghanistan, all financing the efforts by taking part in the narcotics trade.  Attacks on both Iran and Pakistan are being staged in Afghanistan with full complicity on the part of MI-6, the Indian RAW, the Mossad, the CIA and dozens of contractor groups.  All have become so enmeshed in narco-trafficking that nobody can be trusted.  Billions of dollars are floating around in an area with no law, no accountability, just mayhem, chaos and brutality.  We have created a nightmare.

Every gangster in the world that can get there, is there, working for the UN, passing out bibles or Koran’s or pretending to advise someone on something.  Most advice is where to put laundered drug money, the second largest industry in Afghanistan.


If you can judge a policy by its results Afghanistan was invaded to rebuild its drug infrastructure and overthrow the government of Pakistan.

9/11 provided cover, that and the fiction of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, fantasies about terrorists that never existed.  It was all made up.  When the Bush administration needed to arrest terrorists, they went to the drug lords and had them kidnap people off the streets.  This is how we got Dr. Aafia and her children, one of whom may have been released by her kidnappers, American or Pakistani gangsters, we aren’t sure.  She had been missing for 7 years and suddenly, dropped off on the street.  We still aren’t sure if this is one of Aafia’s missing children.

The White House ordered these kidnappings and covered up their phony “Al Quada” arrests by hiding innocent people in secret prisons, torturing them for years and, eventually releasing 95% of them.

This was our real war on terror, a farce, at least to those who weren’t kidnapped and tortured.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.  Our entire military and intelligence networks were tasked with one thing, to invent a cover story to justify two invasions, invent terrorist groups, capture “suspects” and play along.  When the real CIA and military couldn’t do it, we hired foreign gangsters and mercenaries, all for one thing, “cover.”

With the controlled press at home, the phony 9/11 cover-up going full steam and troops in combat, well, you know how it ended up.  The criminal gangs responsible are still trying to cover their trail.  The GOP is trying to stop financial reforms meant to end the looting or our economy, the “tea baggers” are trying to blame “liberals” for the acts of the Bush criminal dictatorship and AIPAC is working overtime, trying to start a new war while the last two they pushed America into are still going on.  Who is AIPAC?  Are they American or Israeli?


I got an email yesterday telling me about how Israel barely survived when all the Arab countries went after them in 1967.  This is the story we are still telling but it is a total lie.  The 1967 war was planned by Israel to seize land and was a sneak attack, first destroying the entire Egyptian air force on the ground, then wiping out their army, an army with no air cover.  Syria was a walkover then.  To get away with it, Israel attacked the American spy ship, USS Liberty, bombing, strafing and torpedoing it, murdering 34 Americans.

Anyone who tries to tell you the 1967 war was anything but a “blitzkrieg” by Israel, a sneak attack on her neighbors with no warning, kept secret by the the planned attack on the USS Liberty is a liar.

Israel had tried the same thing, attacking Egypt in1956, with the help of France and Britain.  Israel send tanks across the Sinai, just like in 1967, this time backed by air power from France and Britain.  This “blitzkrieg” was called Operation Kadesh.  Moshe Dyan and Ariel Sharon planned the attack with friends in Paris and London.  However, the United States, under President Eisenhower, wouldn’t allow it.  The UN Security council drafted a resolution condemning the invasion but Britain and France vetoed it.

Then America threatened to economically destroy France and Britain if they didn’t withdraw troops and end support for Israeli aggression.  Eventually this led France to leave NATO, if that is something you wondered about.  We call this, “the Suez crisis” but, frankly, we don’t call it anything at all because it makes a good case for Israel’s history of aggression and its capability to get western governments to support its policies of conquering the Middle East.

How has this history worked out?  Any patterns appear here?  The myth of the 1967 war no longer holds water once we learn it wasn’t their first try, once we accept they learned from being caught during the Suez Crisis, and decided to attack the American ship that would have discovered their lie.  Israel invaded Egypt with a sneak attack, 1956 and 1967.


Is there a vast plot out there, one capable of pushing the United States into war, bankrupting the world’s financial system or taking over oil and gas supplies?  Do nations like Israel, India, Pakistan, Britain and the United States train terrorists?  Was the invasion of Afghanistan really the result of 9/11?  History says otherwise.

Was the invasion of Iraq the result of 9/11 or “weapons of mass destruction?”  History says otherwise.

Did Bush “make America safe?”  Maybe, what’s left of it anyway, depending on what you call safe.  Safe from what?  I am not entirely sure we are safe from him, even though he is gone.  We still have his wars, his drugs, his Supreme Court justices, his trillions in debt and the Bush economic collapse.  We still have the controlled press, a divided nation and the reputation around the world as a brutal pawn of Israel and a total economic failure.  You don’ t think this is how we look, not just in Africa, Asia and the Middle East but Europe as well?

General Stanley McChrystal is simply, like Karzai is now, like Bush was then, the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time.  When we needed leaders, people of vision, we got small men, with small hearts and small brains.  They told themselves they were wolves but were driven like sheep.  As is often said now, was there never any plan or are things as they are because the plan was chaos and death?

Who won the war?  That’s easy.  Israel won and will win again.  Not the people of Israel but the criminal conspiracy that has taken over that country like Bush and Cheney took over America.  This is a rabid gang, backed by the news media, playing decent Jews around the world for fools.  Who is going to lose? The people, Israeli, American most of all, but all people will lose.  All of this planning, the lying, the total lack of honor and decency won’t buy anything but big homes, fast cars, expensive wine and the ability to live the sexual sickness that so many of our power seekers are driven by.

Today Stanley McChrystal has shown us that he believes his failures, failures of conscience, failures of intellect, failures of duty can be blamed on Iran.  As the darling of the press, he may be able to help Israel push America into another war, one we can’t even begin to think about winning.  It never was about winning, it was about chaos, it was always about money.

Is it that simple?

Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, grunt and 100% disabled vet. He has been a featured commentator on TV and

Gordon Duff

radio including Al Jazeera and his articles have been carried by news services around the world. He has been a UN Diplomat, defense contractor and is a widely published expert on military and defense issues. He is active in the financial industry and is a specialist on global …

Gordon is a regular writer for Veterans Today and Opinion Maker.

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Wil you be an Exempted Patient ?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

By WJ Anthony

Recently, an angry article on the Internet complained that the newly passed health care law apparently exempted adherents of Islam from the obligation to pay the tax for their health care.  The anger against the believers in Islam seems to be based on fear or some other view than health care.  The article seems to suggest that an extraordinary favoritism will be given to members of Islam. If the law gives such believers this advantage, is there then unfair discrimination in the health care law?

When several writers argue that the health care law exemption for Islamic believers discriminates against Christians, a question comes to mind: Do Christians have a basis to claim a similar exemption? If the Quran teaches that Muslims cannot be required to subscribe to a policy that the health care law might impose, it might be wise for Christian leaders to consult with Islamic leaders and learn what facts were presented to claim their exemption under the health care law.

One angry writer said the Islamic exemption was based on Islam’s prohibition of usury.  My simple concordance found 10 biblical tracts that deal with the word ‘usury’; in the Old Testament and New Testament; each warned and prohibited usury because it violated the poor.  I haven’t checked the Quran, but I expect certain texts of the Bible and Quran refer to the same or similar prohibitions.

I then realized that if Islamic leaders spoke up to the federal government and achieved their exemption, they might actually have done the Christians a favor by revealing a reason to dust off their Bible and concordances and find the biblical teachings of the prophets and Jesus that prohibit usury and can possibly also exempt Christian believers.

What puzzled me most was why the author and other writers had not realized that the Islamic leaders had been wise enough to follow their teachings and do what leaders of the Christian right could have also done.  Is it that, those who practice Islam are more aware of their faith, than Christians are aware of the teachings of Jesus and the prophets?

If Christians were to examine the teachings of Jesus, as told in the Gospels, they might find several related passages that teach against the evil of usury and discrimination against the poor, including health care.  The message of the Gospels seems to be what Jesus said in Luke 4: 16-20. He came to “preach the Gospel to the poor …heal the brokenhearted …preach deliverance to the captives …recovering of sight to the blind …set at liberty them that are bruised …and preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”   Might we consider the year 2010 is as good a year as any to be “the acceptable year of the Lord”?  Many people hope that health care for each and every poor person would be accomplished.

Christians could also study the meaning of why Jesus replied to a questioner who asked Him about paying tribute.  Jesus asked to see the coin and whose image was on the coin.  When the questioner said it was the image of Caesar, Jesus told him and us to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

Some Christians now seem to be asking the same question.  In the United States, the Declaration of Independence now tells us, in its second paragraph, the truth that mankind creates governments to secure the unalienable Rights that our Creator gives each person.  That means that out governments have the duty to help us do for ourselves what we need but cannot do for ourselves by ourselves.

Some of us believe the Constitution gives us our rights, but the Constitution doesn’t say a word about God or unalienable Rights.  President George W. Bush once truthfully replied to a news correspondent, who accused Bush, that his war policy violated the Constitution.  And George replied, “It’s just a god-dammed piece of paper!”  In that instance, George was no dimwit; he was right on; we don’t get our unalienable Rights from a piece of paper, whether it is a Constitution or a Declaration.  We get unalienable rights from our Creator who made us.

The healthcare law also is a piece of paper.  It was written by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.  Congress and the President don’t give us unalienable rights.

The Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Who are the governed?  Some say they are “We the people.”

The next part of the Declaration is very pertinent and significant:  “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Up to thirty million Americans had no healthcare coverage because they could not pay for the cost of medical care; their health was not Safe and their health situations affected their right to pursue Happiness.  Many more people could not afford the necessary health care to treat their expensive sicknesses, which require costly surgery and recovery.  Destructive situations like these seem to fit what the Declaration stated, as quoted above.

Our government was expected to secure the right of the people to pursue their safety and happiness, which implies that good health is necessary for people to secure their expressly granted unalienable rights, as stated in the Declaration of Independence.  Since the private practice of medical care has been unable to arrange medical care for all the people who were too poor to afford medical care, the responsibility of providing that care became the duty of the government.

The need for state-supported medical care has been publicly recognized since the Presidency of Harry Truman, more than sixty years ago.  Efforts in Congress to pass legislation, that would accomplish that, were defeated in every Congress since that time, until this year, when it passed by only a slim margin, despite the heavily financed, insurance funded, doctor-organized opposition to the so-called Obama healthcare law.

What Americans need to remember is, what Islamic believers proved to us; that the law could be modified to account for the rights of the people.  Christians would do well to study their beliefs to find if the law’s tax violates their rights.

The law emerged from Congress through the Senate by a majority of 100 Senators.  Those Senators exercise their powers to enact legislation by the “consent of the 300 million governed” citizens.  If all things were equal, each senator would impose the effect of a law on up to 300 million people.  That is a serious responsibility.

How could senators and congressional representatives find what the consent of the people would be on health care or any other proposed legislation?  Ross Perot noted that we have come to an electronic age, wherein each citizen could express his or her consent to a law or practice of government power.  Some people suggest that this could be done by a system similar to the Internet.  Many people use the Internet.  The talented young and older experts in Information Technologies are constantly developing better means of communications.  Congress and the President could design and propose a system that will truthfully inform and convey the will of each citizen about issues or processes that would appropriately serve the people of these United States.  The government is able to know a great deal about each of us by the biography that accompanies our social security number.  If each of our voices could be heard in the formation and administration of each law, then surprisingly valuable ideas could be found and used by the legislators and administrators of our government to shape the plans and policies that would best serve the citizens who elect them.

Will elected officials always be subject to serve the money of lobbyists and vote for the interests who pay the most money?  Must voters be subjected to the persuasions of the media?  If our government were to change the electoral campaigns of candidates to be structured as equal presentations of their pertinent credentials for the offices they seek, and if all media campaign advertising was prohibited, might citizens then be able to effectively weigh the potential service that could be expected of each candidate?  Would the people then have the opportunity to select the best-qualified candidate as their representative?

All believers in good, honest government are needed to fulfill the promise of America that was envisioned in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.  That includes all of us.

Dear President Obama, this IS NOT right !

Sunday, April 18th, 2010


By William Faloon

Life Extension® has published 57 articles that describe the health benefits of walnuts.

Some of this same scientific data is featured on the website of Diamond Foods, Inc., a distributor of packaged walnuts.

The FDA has determined that walnuts sold by Diamond Foods cannot be legally marketed because the walnuts “are not generally recognized as safe and effective” for the medical conditions referenced on Diamond Foods’ website.

According to the FDA, these walnuts are now classified as “drugs” and the “unauthorized health claims” cause them to become “misbranded,” thus subjecting them to government “seizure or injunction.”

Let’s take a look at the science supporting the consumption of walnuts to see what the FDA is up to … and what you can do to stop it!

Eating walnuts cuts heart disease risk

Ingesting nuts used to be considered unhealthy because of their high fat content. This misconception has changed over the past 17 years as human studies reveal sharply reduced incidence of heart disease in those who consume walnuts.1-12

Unlike some nuts that contain high levels of saturated fats, walnuts provide a unique blend of polyunsaturated fatty acids (including omega-3s), along with nutrients like gamma tocopherol that have demonstrated heart health benefits.13-24

The March 4, 1993 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine published the first clinical study showing significant reductions in dangerous LDL and improvement in the lipoprotein profile in response to moderate consumption of walnuts.6 Later studies revealed that walnuts improve endothelial function in ways that are independent of cholesterol reduction.1,25-27

One study published by the American Heart Association on April 6, 2004 showed a 64% improvement in a measurement of endothelial function when walnuts were substituted for other fats in a Mediterranean diet.1

As most Life Extension members are aware, the underlying cause of atherosclerosis is progressive endothelial dysfunction.28 Walnuts contain a variety of nutrients including arginine,29-33 polyphenols,34-36 and omega-3s37-42 that support the inner arterial lining and guard against abnormal platelet aggregation. These favorable biological effects explain why walnut consumption confers protection against coronary artery disease.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine database contains 35 peer-reviewed published papers supporting a claim that ingesting walnuts improves vascular health and may reduce heart attack risk.

FDA ignores the science

The federal agency responsible for protecting the health of the American public views this differently.

At the end of this editorial, we provide a link to the FDA’s entire warning letter to Diamond Foods. Nowhere in this bureaucratic albatross is there any discussion of the science cited by Diamond Foods to support their health claims.

Instead, the FDA’s language resembles that of an out-of-control police state where tyranny reins over rationality. To enable you to recognize the absurdity of all of this, I excerpted a few paragraphs from the FDA’s warning letter to Diamond Foods as follows:

“Based on our review, we have concluded that your walnut products are in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) and the applicable regulations in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR).

“Based on claims made on your firm’s website, we have determined that your walnut products are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease.

“Because of these intended uses, your walnut products are drugs within the meaning of section 201 (g)(1)(B) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(B)]. Your walnut products are also new drugs under section 201(p) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(p)] because they are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced conditions. Therefore, under section 505(a) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 355(a)], they may not be legally marketed with the above claims in the United States without an approved new drug application.

“Additionally, your walnut products are offered for conditions that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners; therefore, adequate directions for use cannot be written so that a layperson can use these drugs safely for their intended purposes. Thus, your walnut products are also misbranded under section 502(f)(1) of the Act, in that the labeling for these drugs fails to bear adequate directions for use [21 U.S.C. § 352(f)(1)].”

This verbiage makes it clear that the FDA does not even consider the underlying science when censoring truthful non-misleading health claims. The chilling effect on the ability of consumers to discover lifesaving medical information is a wake up call for all who recognize the ramifications of this latest act of FDA malfeasance.

What the FDA allows you to hear

The number of people logging on to the website of Diamond Foods is miniscule. I doubt that before the FDA took this draconian action, that hardly anyone even knew this website existed.

What the public hears loud and clear, however, are endless advertisements for artery-clogging junk foods. Fast food chains relentlessly promote their 99 cent double-cheese burger as being bigger than their rivals’. These advertisements induce many consumers to salivate for these toxic calories that are a contributing cause of coronary artery disease. Yet the FDA does not utter a peep in suggesting that their advertising be curtailed.

On the contrary, FDA has issued waves of warning letters to companies making foods (pomegranate juice, green tea, and walnuts) that protect against atherosclerosis.43 The FDA is blatantly demanding that these companies stop informing the public about the scientifically-validated health benefits these foods provide.

The FDA obviously does not want the public to discover that they can reduce their risk of age-related disease by consuming healthy foods. They prefer consumers only learn about mass marketed garbage foods that shorten life span by increasing degenerative disease risk.

FDA allows potato chips to be advertised as “heart healthy”

Frito-Lay® is a subsidiary of the Pepsi-Cola company. Frito-Lay® sells $12 billion a year of products that include:

Lays® Potato Chips

You might not associate these mostly-fried snack foods as being good for you, but the FDA has no problem allowing the Frito-Lay® website to state the following:

“Frito-Lay snacks start with real farm-grown ingredients. You might be surprised at how much good stuff goes into your favorite snack. Good stuff like potatoes, which naturally contain vitamin C and essential minerals. Or corn, one of the world’s most popular grains, packed with Thiamin, vitamin B6, and Phosphorous – all necessary for healthy bones, teeth, nerves and muscles.

And it’s not just the obvious ingredients. Our all-natural sunflower, corn and soybean oils contain good polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which help lower total and LDL “bad” cholesterol and maintain HDL “good” cholesterol levels, which can support a healthy heart. Even salt, when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, is essential for the body.44

Wow! Based on what Frito-Lay® is allowed to state, it sounds like we should be living on these snacks. Who would want to ingest walnuts, pomegranate, or green tea (which FDA now says are illegal drugs) when these fat-calorie laden, mostly-fried carbohydrates are so widely available?

According to the Frito Lay® website, Lays® potato chips are now “heart healthy” because the level of saturated fat was reduced and replaced with sunflower oil.45 Scientific studies do show that when a polyunsaturated fat (like sunflower oil) is substituted for saturated fat, favorable changes in blood cholesterol occur.46

Fatally omitted from the Frito-Lay® website is the fact that sunflower oil supplies lots of omega-6 fats, but no omega-3s.47 The American diet already contains too many omega-6 fats and woefully inadequate omega-3.

Excess omega-6 fats in the diet in the absence of adequate omega-3s produces devastating effects including the production of pro-inflammatory compounds that contribute to virtually every age-related disease including atherosclerosis.48-53

For the FDA to allow Frito-Lay® to pretend there are heart benefits to ingesting their high-calorie snack products, while censoring the ability of walnut companies to make scientifically-substantiated claims, is tantamount of treason against the health of the American public.  

Don’t forget the acrylamides

When carbohydrate foods are cooked at high temperature (as occurs when potatoes are fried in sunflower oil to make potato chips), a toxic compound called acrylamides is formed.54

According to the National Cancer Institute, “acrylamide is considered to be a mutagen and a probable human carcinogen, based mainly on studies in laboratory animals.55 Scientists do not yet know with any certainty whether the levels of acrylamide typically found in some foods pose a health risk for humans.”

In response to these kinds of concerns, the FDA funded a massive study to ascertain acrylamide content of various foods. The FDA found that potato chips and other fried carbohydrate foods were especially high in acrylamides.

The FDA, however, has not stopped companies selling high acrylamide-containing fried carbohydrates from promoting these foods as healthy.

Pharmaceutical companies benefit by FDA’s misdeeds

As the aging population develops coronary atherosclerosis, pharmaceutical companies stand to reap tens of billions of dollars each year in profits. An obstacle standing in their way is scientific evidence showing that a healthy diet can prevent heart disease from developing in many people.

It is thus in the economic interests of pharmaceutical giants that the FDA forcibly censor the ability of companies making heart healthy foods to inform the public of the underlying science. The fewer consumers who know the facts about walnuts, pomegranate and green tea, the greater the demand will be for expensive cardiac drugs.

Once again the FDA overtly functions to enrich Big Pharma, while the public shoulders the financial burden of today’s health-care cost crisis.

In this particular case, however, processed food companies also stand to profit from the FDA’s attacks on healthy foods.

Chilling Effect on Innovation

Headquartered in Stockton, California, Diamond Foods is a processor and marketer of nuts, with distribution in over 80% of U.S. supermarkets. Most of Diamond’s 1,700 walnut growers are family farmers with orchards in the heartland of California’s Central Valley. Their association with Diamond guarantees a market for their crops and provides the company with high-quality walnuts.

In response to independent scientific studies validating the health benefits of walnuts, Diamond Foods made financial investments to educate the public and supply them with walnuts. With one misguided letter issued by the FDA all of Diamond Foods’ good work may be undone.

This kind of bureaucratic tyranny sends a strong signal to the food industry not to innovate in a way that informs the public about foods that protect against disease. While consumers increasingly reach for healthier dietary choices, the federal government wants to deny food companies the ability to convey findings from scientific studies about their products.

FDA/FTC wants more control over what you are allowed to learn

The FDA and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) are proposing new regulations that will stifle the ability of natural food companies to disseminate scientific research findings.

One proposal being discussed within the FTC would require that supplement companies conduct studies analogous to what the FDA requires to approve new drugs. In a perfect world, Life Extension would agree with some of the FTC’s objectives. As far as we are concerned, the more scientific research to validate a health claim, the better.

The reality is that natural foods do not carry high prescription drug price markups, so it would be economically impossible to conduct the same kinds of voluminous clinical studies as pharmaceutical companies do. As readers of this column know, many of the clinical studies the FDA relies on to approve new drugs are fraudulent to begin with. So even if it were feasible to conduct more clinical research on foods and supplements, that still does not guarantee the precise accuracy the FTC is seeking.

If these agency proposals are enacted, consumers will be barred from learning about new ways to protect their health until a food or nutrient meets stringent new requirements. A look at the warning letter the FDA sent to Diamond Foods is a frightening example of how scientific information can be harshly censored by unelected bureaucrats.

If anyone still thinks that federal agencies like the FDA protect the public, this latest proclamation that healthy foods are now illegal drugs expose the government’s sordid charade.

Companies that sell healthy foods try to fight back

The combined sales of the companies attacked by the FDA is only a fraction of food giant Frito-Lay®. Yet some of them are fighting back against the FDA’s absurd position that it is illegal to disseminate scientific research showing the favorable effects these foods produce in the body.

As a consumer, you should be outraged that disease-promoting foods are protected by the federal government, while nutritious foods are censored. There is no scientific rationality for the FDA to do this. To the contrary, the dangerous foods ubiquitously advertised in the media are replacing cigarettes as the leading killers in modern society.

The federal government is heavily lobbied by companies selling processed foods. As Life Extension revealed long ago, an insidious activity of lobbyists is to incite federal agencies and prosecutors to eliminate free competition in the marketplace.

Simple fact is that walnuts are healthy to eat, while carbohydrates fried in fat are not. The FDA permits companies selling disease-promoting foods to deceive the public, while it suppresses the dissemination of peer-reviewed published scientific information.

Now the good news…

On March 23, 2010, a bipartisan bill was introduced into the House of Representatives called the Free Speech about Science Act (H.R. 4913). This landmark legislation protects basic free speech rights, ends censorship of science, and enables the natural health products community to share peer-reviewed scientific findings with the public.

The Free Speech about Science bill has the potential to transform medical practice by educating the public about the real science behind natural health.

For this very reason, the bill will have opposition. It will be opposed by the FDA since it restricts their ability to censor the dissemination of published scientific data. It will be opposed by drug companies fearing competition from natural health approaches based on diet, dietary supplements, and lifestyle.

The public, on the other hand, wants access to credible information they can use to make wise dietary choices. Please don’t let special interests stop this bill.

I ask that each of you log on to our Legislative Action Website that enables you to conveniently email your Representative to cosponsor the Free Speech about Science Act (H.R. 4913).

Passage of the Free Speech about Science Act will stop federal agencies from squandering tax dollars censoring what you are allowed to learn about health-promoting foods.

Our Legislative Action Website provides you direct contact with your Representative to let them know that you want H.R. 4913 (Free Speech about Science Act) enacted into law.

Read entire FDA warning letter to Diamond Food, Inc.

For longer life,

For Longer Life

William Faloon

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson


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Your Time has Come . . .

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
If there is one thing on which all Americans might agree,
it would most likely be that part of the second paragraph
of the Declaration of Independence which says that Governments
should be “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
With that in mind, we would like to encourage you to give your consent
to the effort that our government has recently made in trying to reduce
the threat of nuclear war.  If you read the explanation below you can
make up your mind and advise your government, the way all of us who are
governed should be able to do.
Who knows, it might work and might set a precedent for other decisions.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear Wilfred,

Thanks for signing our petition for a nuclear free world.
But with the world summit coming up next week, we need a lot more people
to get involved soon so we can show BIG public support.
Can you help spread the word by forwarding the message below to 5 friends?


Hey there,

I just heard some good news for everyone who's afraid of nuclear war
(and that means all of us).

Last week, Russia and the USA signed an agreement to reduce their nuclear
arsenals by a third. And next week, Obama is hosting leaders from 48 countries
to talk about going even further in pursuit of a nuclear-free world.

It's the most concrete progress in decades to reduce the threat of nuclear war. 

But public support is crucial if we're going to make Obama's first bold steps
really stick. Which is why I just signed this petition backing up the work
for a nuclear free world.
If you do the same thing today, TrueMajority will make sure it gets delivered
to Obama and world leaders when they convene at the White House next week:


Thanks for all your work!

Drew Hudson
TrueMajority / USAction

Queen of England Cheats workers !

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

The Queen of England owns a great deal of Rio Tinto the largest company of it’s kind in the world a good read, this could be a political ’play’ if you understand how the world or work flows from the ‘one square mile of London.’ It’s troublesome.

A whole group of unions were involved including the SEIU who is a huge supporter of Obama and the SEIU president speaks to the pres. almost daily if not everyday. The SEIU president would know what is going on if it’s in the press. He is the most frequent visitor according to some sources to the White House.

Locked-out Mining Union Gets

Solidarity Boost in Battle with

Mineral Conglomerate Rio Tinto

A megabucks multinational thinks it can intimidate its unionized workers in the California high desert, but L.A. unions offer a show of union muscle and support.

February 26, 2010 |

Hundreds of union members from all across Los Angeles gathered in a Dodger Stadium parking lot early Wednesday morning for a 125-mile caravan solidarity ride in support of 560 brave workers and their families in the Southern California high desert town of Boron (population 2,000). Seven TV news vans and many more reporters were on hand to witness a well-organized display of union solidarity overseen by the L.A. County Federation of Labor, heavily organized by the Teamsters and a diverse bunch of supporters, including the Car Wash Workers and the SEIU.

The solidarity and support is warranted: Since January 31, Local-30 members of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) have been locked out for standing up to multi-billion dollar multinational mining conglomerate Rio Tinto Group’s strong-arm attempt to slash their basic workers’ rights and benefits, busing in replacement workers from its other mines.

Union outrage and organized support was swift; $30,000 worth of food was donated, and ILWU Local-30 has received international support from as far away as Australia.

“The fact that this money was raised quickly from concerned union families in Southern California indicates that the miners’ fight against Rio Tinto’s lockout and corporate bullying tactics is resonating and connecting with the public,” said ILWU spokesperson Craig Merrilees. “This issue has the potential to become a powerful symbol of corporate greed, and a decision by these determined families to stand up and fight is becoming an inspiration to everyone who’s fed up with what’s happening in America today.”

The crowds in the parking lot reached the inspiring point by 7:30am and felt Southern California to the bone: Union members munched on organic burritos stuffed with Niman Ranch sausages served out of the hip and unionized West L.A. food on wheels enterprise, Green Truck on the Go. Dozens of burly Teamsters stood in circles chatting, posing in their bad-ass leather jackets and black sunglasses next to three gleaming 18-wheelers loaded with food supplies for ILWU members. Classic cars in mint condition were spread across the lot, mixed in with immaculately waxed and buffed pick-ups and SUVs — all sporting American flags.

Maria Elena Durazo, head of the AFL-CIO’s L.A. Federation of Labor, got the crowd going as she named the unions in attendance, asking them to shout in affirmation. She fired up the crowd with the day’s plans: The group was going to deliver food, eat lunch and spend the day with ILWU Local-30 workers at their union hall to spread the good spirits and parade through the town of Boron to show solidarity — and the organized strength and reach of union power in Southern California. At 8am, the three Teamster trucks set out and took the lead, followed by a 300-plus vehicle armada.

The SoCal union caravan made its way through L.A. suburbs that melted into high desert and Joshua trees in the stretch to Boron. Along the way, union members were greeted by their compatriots, waving flags over a dozen overpasses along the ride to the ILWU 30 Union Hall, located on the outside of Boron, just across the highway from California’s largest open-pit mine and the largest borax deposit in the world. Rio Tinto purchased the mine in 1968 to capitalize on the demand from dozens of industries that rely on the mineral to make cosmetics, fiberglass and detergents, among other products.

The economic dividing lines between Rio Tinto Group and the union members at its Boron plant are staggering. In 2009, the company pulled in $4.9 billion in profits, and the company, with headquarters in Australia and England, rejected a $147 billion takeover bid with the response that the offer was “significantly undervalued.” The ILWU union members who work at the mine in Boron, some of whom have been at the plant for four decades, take home between $15,000-$29,000 a year, with the average income in the low 20s. Members have to pay in as much as $400 per month so they and their families can access the mine’s health coverage system.

Yet Rio Tinto wants to squeeze even more out of ILWU Local-30. The lock-out is tied to what the union calls a “contract ultimatum.” The workers have refused to ratify Rio Tinto’s demands, which are beyond any civilized level of human decency or fairness, including, as ILWU describes, “authority to reduce employee pay, anytime the company wants, regardless of the contract wage rates and without any right of workers to file a grievance.” Further, the ILWU charges that Rio Tinto wants to be able to “outsource all jobs, anytime it wants, to contractors and temp agencies that pay low wages and provide little or no benefits.”

Terri Judd, a 13-year veteran of the Rio Tinto mine, spoke with me about her grievances with the concessions Rio Tinto is pushing for. Standing outside of the union hall, she looked through slit eyes at the mining facility across the highway. “They want to be able to take away the rights that come with worker seniority. They want to force me to work overtime,” she said. “They want to switch a lot of us from being full-time workers into taking part-time jobs. We said no to all of that, obviously, and they locked us out.” As she stood next to her mother, Judd said these demands would make her life impossible. “I can’t take my mom to the hospital if they’re forcing me to work,” she said.
A Lesson Learned . . .
Pearl Buck, the American writer who became famous for her novels of China, was in Germany in 1923. She wrote later: “The cities were still there, the houses not yet bombed and in ruins, but the victims were millions of people. They had lost their fortunes, their savings; they were dazed and inflation-shocked and did not understand how it had happened to them and who the foe was who had defeated them. Yet they had lost their self-assurance, their feeling that they themselves could be the masters of their own lives, if only they worked hard enough; and lost, too, were the old values of morals, of ethics, of decency.”