Sunday, December 21, 2008

Iraq: U.S. Puppet & More of Bush's Midnight Madness

Anyway the Bush Regime claims by invading Iraq in 2003 this has led to Iraq becoming a more democratic state . The government in power in Iraq they claim is not a mere puppet regime of the United States and so can make its own decisions about its future. Yet when the Iraqi people and their government insists that the occupation by American forces be brought to an end the United States balks at them and refuses to end the occupation. The Iraqi Government has passed legislation which requires that all US forces be withdrawn from all cities and towns in Iraq by June of 2009. But the US government and US military have said they will not abide by this agreement. So we are left to wonder what the US means by saying that Iraq is a sovereign nation which has control over its own future.

Iraq's Sovereignty is Unimportant when it comes to America's Military Plans and the expansion of America's Empire - & Obama is warned that he too better Kow Tow to the US Military and Pentagon- President Elect Obama they seem to suggest has no power over the military , the Pentagon, the CIA or Blackwater and that no one tells them what to do. If Obama disagrees will it lead to a coup d'etat. Obama has been told there must be a continuity in military policies including occupation of Iraq and bombing the hell out of Afghanistan while continuing the abuse and torture of detainees and that he must if necessary invade Pakistan and Iran .

You would think America would start acting more favorably towards countries that also hate liberals.,gays and a Free Unbiased Press. The more journalist they lock up the better according to most American conservatives . Conservatives as such come from either US political party. The only news channel they would allow in America or anywhere is Fox News. Saddam used to lock up journalist who spoke the truth and so does the American puppet regime in Iraq as does Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan.

It's Official: Total Defeat for U.S. in Iraq
By Patrick Cockburn, CounterPunch. Posted December 15, 2008.

Iraq's parliament came to a major agreement recently: all 150,000 troops are to withdraw from cities by June.

On November 27 the Iraqi parliament voted by a large majority in favor of a security agreement with the US under which the 150,000 American troops in Iraq will withdraw from cities, towns and villages by June 30, 2009 and from all of Iraq by December 31, 2011. The Iraqi government will take over military responsibility for the Green Zone in Baghdad, the heart of American power in Iraq, in a few weeks time. Private security companies will lose their legal immunity. US military operations and the arrest of Iraqis will only be carried out with Iraqi consent. There will be no US military bases left behind when the last US troops leave in three years time and the US military is banned in the interim from carrying out attacks on other countries from Iraq.

December 19, 2008 by Inter Press Service
"US Military Defiant on Key Terms of Iraqi Pact"
by Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON - U.S. military leaders and Pentagon officials have made it clear through public statements and deliberately leaked stories in recent weeks that they plan to violate a central provision of the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement requiring the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities by mid-2009 by reclassifying combat troops as support troops.

The scheme to engage in chicanery in labeling U.S. troops represents both open defiance of an agreement which the U.S. military has never accepted and a way of blocking President-elect Barack Obama's proposed plan for withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of his taking office.

By redesignating tens of thousands of combat troops as support troops, those officials apparently hope to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Obama to insist on getting all combat troops of the country by mid-2010.

Gen. David Petraeus, now commander of CENTCOM, and Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, who opposed Obama's 16-month withdrawal plan during the election campaign, have drawn up their own alternative withdrawal plan rejecting that timeline, as the New York Times reported Thursday. That plan was communicated to Obama in general terms by Secretary of Defense Robert M.Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen when he met with his national security team in Chicago on Dec. 15, according to the Times.

The determination of the military leadership to ignore the U.S.-Iraq agreement and to pressure Obama on his withdrawal policy was clear from remarks made by Mullen in a news conference on Nov. 17 -- after U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker had signed the agreement in Baghdad.

More Midnight Madness as Bush shoves more pieces of legislation through in his last days as president.Bush in his last days is pushing through regulations which would have a negative impact on Endangered Species and changes in favor of Big Coal & Big oil & which would lead to more environmental damage and quicken the pace of Global Warming. Meanwhile Bush has been passing more pro-business and anti-labor regulations while attacking medicaid for the the poorest Americans. And of course Bush has been pushing through regulations supposedly to better America's security leading to more spying on average Americans.

Its odd how Bush and the Republicans are more interested in helping Big Business while ignoring the impact of these industries on the environment or the negative effect they will have on the health of workers in these industries or on the health of average Americans. As Bush or Cheney would say SO WHAT? So one in four kids have asthma or other health problems due to environmental changes brought about by more deregulation. SO WHAT? if your children are born with birth defects due to high levels of lead and mercury or other heavy metals in the water or a chemical stew being pumped into the air by Big Businesses .

So What? if hundreds of species are wiped out or the forest or lakes and streams are filled with even more pollutants as long as some Americans become richer by this practice. Some enterprising souls will just make better water and air filters which you can purchase for your home if you can afford them or still have your home or still have a job. That's American ingenuity for you.

But isn't that the American dream to help a few Americans to become filthy rich while everyone else lives from pay cheque to pay cheque. It strikes me as ironic that so many of the Bush & McCain supporters who are working class or Blue Collar Workers are the ones who are losing their jobs due to Bush's deregulation of industry and financial institutions and yet these people now cry out for sympathy and compassion. How does it feel to go from being a hater of people who are on welfare and a hater of people who depend on Food Banks and Soup-Kitchens and charity organizations who sit around whining and complaining- How does it feel to now become one of them or to be afraid that if any more jobs are lost that you may become one of them. Well if you believe in unfettered " Laissez-Faire " Capitalism and that those who are without a job should just starve in silence then why should anyone care if you end up on the streets with nothing. Does this mean the end of the American Religion of Greed and Prosperity & Rugged Individualism or will it all re-emerge when things improve again in a couple of years.

Once again the Bush Regime and the Republicans & the Religious Right are out to attack the Reproductive Rights of American Women:

December 19, 2008 by the Associated Press New Rule for Health Providers Stirs Objections
by Kevin Freking

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration, in its final days, issued a federal rule Thursday reinforcing protections for doctors and other health care workers who refuse to participate in abortions and other procedures because of religious or moral objections.

Critics say the protections are so broad they limit a patient's right to get care and accurate information. For example, they fear the rule could make it possible for a pharmacy clerk to refuse to sell birth control pills without ramifications from an employer.

Under long-standing federal law, institutions may not discriminate against individuals who refuse to perform abortions or provide a referral for one. The administration's rule is intended to ensure that federal funds don't flow to providers who violate those laws, Health and Human Services officials said.
"Doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience," said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.

The rule requires recipients of federal funding to certify their compliance with laws protecting conscience rights.

Despite multiple laws on the books protecting health providers, the administration argued that the rule was needed "to raise awareness of federal conscience protections and provide for their enforcement."

But many groups described the rule as a last-minute push designed to make it harder for women to get services such as contraception or counseling in the event they are pregnant and want to learn all of their options.

Several medical associations, more than 100 members of Congress, governors and 13 attorneys general were among the many thousands who wrote the department to protest the rule after it was proposed. Opponents didn't like the rule any better after it was finalized.

"In just a matter of months, the Bush administration has undone three decades of federal protections for both medical professionals and their patients," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. "It replaced them with a policy that seriously risks the health of millions of women, then tried to pass it off as benevolent."

Abortion opponents hailed the regulation because they said the lack of regulation had resulted in confusion and a lack of awareness.

"This is a huge victory for religious freedom and the First Amendment," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.


December 19, 2008 by The New York Times
EPA Ruling Could Speed Up Approval of Coal Plants by Matthew L. Wald and Felicity Barringer

WASHINGTON - Officials weighing federal applications by utilities to build new coal-fired power plants cannot consider their greenhouse gas output, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency ruled late Thursday. Some environmentalists fear the decision will clear the way for the approval of several such plants in the last days of the Bush administration.

The ruling, by Stephen L. Johnson, the administrator, responds to a decision made last month by the Environmental Appeals Board, a panel within the E.P.A., that had blocked the construction of a small new plant on the site of an existing power plant, Bonanza, on Ute tribal land in eastern Utah.

The Supreme Court ruled last year that the agency could regulate carbon dioxide, the most prevalent global warming gas, under existing law. The agency already requires some power plants to track how much carbon dioxide they emit.

But a memorandum issued by Mr. Johnson late Thursday puts the agency on record saying that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant to be regulated when approving power plants. He cited "sound policy considerations."

He said in the memorandum that each year, about 275 new sources of pollution, from power plants to apartment buildings, must obtain permits saying that they will not significantly decrease air quality. Mr. Johnson wrote that the decision he overruled had confused the federal and state agencies that issue these permits.

So Bush America's Savior who reportedly gets his orders directly from God & the Neoconservatives & the Religious Right in his last days is pushing through regulations which would have a negative impact on Endangered Species and changes in favor of Big Coal & Big oil & which would lead to more environmental damage and quicken the pace of Global Warming. Meanwhile passing more pro-business and anti-labor regulations while attacking medicaid for the the poorest Americans. And of course Bush has been pushing through regulations supposedly to better America's security leading to more spying on average Americans.

So Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone outlines a list of more of Bush's Midnight Madness Regulations which will become a major burden on the Obama administration for at least several years since undoing these sneaked in under the wire regulations are difficult to undo.

Rolling Stone Bush's Final F.U.The administration is rushing to enact a host of last-minute regulations that will screw America for years to come
TIM DICKINSON Dec 25, 2008

With president-elect Barack Obama already taking command of the financial crisis, it's tempting to think that regime change in America is a done deal. But if George Bush has his way, the country will be ruled by his slash-and-burn ideology for a long time to come.

In its final days, the administration is rushing to implement a sweeping array of "midnight regulations" — de facto laws issued by the executive branch — designed to lock in Bush's legacy. Under the last- minute rules, which can be extremely difficult to overturn, loaded firearms would be allowed in national parks, uranium mining would be permitted near the Grand Canyon and many injured consumers would no longer be able to sue negligent manufacturers in state courts. Other rules would gut the Endangered Species Act, open millions of acres of wild lands to mining, restrict access to birth control and put local cops to work spying for the federal government.
"It's what we've seen for Bush's whole tenure, only accelerated," says Gary Bass, executive director of the nonpartisan group OMB Watch. "They're using regulation to cement their deregulatory mind-set, which puts corporate interests above public interests."

While every modern president has implemented last-minute regulations, Bush is rolling them out at a record pace — nearly twice as many as Clinton, and five times more than Reagan. "The administration is handing out final favors to its friends," says Véronique de Rugy, a scholar at George Mason University who has tracked six decades of midnight regulations. "They couldn't do it earlier — there would have been too many political repercussions. But with the Republicans having lost seats in Congress and the presidency changing parties, Bush has nothing left to lose."

The most jaw-dropping of Bush's rule changes is his effort to eviscerate the Endangered Species Act. Under a rule submitted in November, federal agencies would no longer be required to have government scientists assess the impact on imperiled species before giving the go-ahead to logging, mining, drilling, highway building or other development. The rule would also prohibit federal agencies from taking climate change into account in weighing the impact of projects that increase greenhouse emissions —

...BIG COAL In early December, the administration finalized a rule that allows the industry to dump waste from mountaintop mining into neighboring streams and valleys, a practice opposed by the governors of both Tennessee and Kentucky. "This makes it legal to use the most harmful coal-mining technology available," says Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. A separate rule also relaxes air-pollution standards near national parks, allowing Big Coal to build plants next to some of America's most spectacular vistas — even though nine of 10 EPA regional administrators dissented from the rule or criticized it in writing.

...BIG OIL In a rule that becomes effective just three days before Obama takes office, the administration has opened up nearly 2 million acres of mountainous lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for the mining of oil shale — an energy-intensive process that also drains precious water resources.

...BIG AGRICULTURE Factory farms are getting two major Christmas presents from Bush this year. Circumventing the Clean Water Act, the administration has approved last-minute regulations that will allow animal waste from factory farms to seep, unmonitored, into America's waterways

BIG CHEMICAL In October, two weeks after consulting with industry lobbyists, the White House exempted more than 100 major polluters from monitoring their emissions of lead, a deadly neurotoxin. Seemingly hellbent on a more toxic future, the administration will also allow industry to treat 3 billion pounds of hazardous waste as "recycling" each year, and to burn another 200 million pounds of hazardous waste reclassified as "fuel," increasing cancer-causing air pollution.

...LABOR Under Bush, the Labor Department issued only one major workplace-safety rule in eight years — and that was under a court order. But now the Labor Department is finalizing a rule openly opposed by Obama that would hamper the government's ability to protect workers from exposure to toxic chemicals. Bypassing federal agencies, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao developed the rule in secret, relying on a report that has been withheld from the public. Under the last-minute changes, federal agencies would be expected to gather unnecessary data on workplace exposure and jump through more bureaucratic hurdles, adding years to an already cumbersome regulatory process.

...In another last-minute shift, the administration has rewritten rules to make it harder for workers to take time off for serious medical conditions under the Family and Medical Leave Act. In addition, the administration has upped the number of hours that long-haul truckers can be on the road.

...In a rule that went into effect on December 8th, the administration also limited vision and dental care for more than 50 million low-income Americans who rely on Medicaid.

...NATIONAL SECURITY Under midnight regulations, the administration is seeking to lock in the domestic spying it began even before 9/11. One rule under consideration would roll back Watergate-era prohibitions barring state and local law enforcement from spying on Americans and sharing that information with U.S. intelligence agencies.

The problem for the Obama administration as the writer points out is that

Once a rule is published in the Federal Register, the Obama administration will have limited options for expunging it. It can begin the rule-making process anew, crafting Obama rules to replace the Bush rules, but that approach could take years, requiring time-consuming hearings, scientific fact-finding and inevitable legal wrangling. Or, if the new rules contain legal flaws, a judge might allow the Obama administration to revise them more quickly.

It's odd to hear such criticism in a magazine that spends most of its time celebrating the lives of the Rich and Famous and calling everybody else who hasn't achieved success a bunch of "whining losers". Rolling Stone for the last twenty years or so no longer represented a rebellious generation of those who felt disenfranchised by America's materialism and Empire Building. Once upon a time those who created Rock & Roll and other music were the most outspoken critics of our society pointing out the hypocrisy and shallowness of our society's values til most of them once they became fabulously rich enough crossed over to the side of the ruling class and as it were to the Dark Side cheering Dick Cheney as he tortured the innocent along with the guilty.. So Rolling Stone became unabashedly materialistic and insanely patriotic condemning anyone who criticized the self-centered hedonistic Narcissistic YUPPIE life-style - In the end you what you sow and so America got eight years of Bush and his worshippers of Greed and selfishness.

These characters would write or sing songs about whatever would make them the most money - so if peace and love-ins are in than that's what they'll sing about like smarmy old-farts like Rod Stewart or Mick Jagger who no longer would know truth or decency if it slapped them in the face and if war and destruction are in they'll sing about that like Kid Rock and all those racist wrapped in the Flag Country singers .

I guess as we get older we realize those so called rebels in the end have their price for selling out the beliefs and ideals they claimed they had but in the end it was just more posing by phony rebels out to make a buck - like most Rappers these days its all about the Money- Fortunately there are have been a few exceptions like those who actually take the music and ideals of someone like Bob Marley to heart. Unlike Rod Stewart and these posers he never owned a half-dozen mansions just for the hell of it.

Reminds me of lines from leonard Cohen's " First We Take Manhattan "

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I'm guided by a signal in the heavens
I'm guided by this birthmark on my skin
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I'd really like to live beside you, baby
I love your body and your spirit and your clothes
But you see that line there moving through the station?
I told you, I told you, told you, I was one of those

so here's a song to take you out:

and so it goes,

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