Article 43

 

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Why Bush Will Nuke Iran

The neoconservative Bush administration will ATTACK IRAN with tactical NUCLEAR WEAPONS, because it is the only way the NEOCONS BELIEVE they can rescue their goal of U.S. (and Israeli) hegemony in the Middle East.

The U.S. has lost the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Generals in both war theaters are stating their need for more troops. But there are no troops to send.

Bush has tried to pawn Afghanistan off on NATO, but Europe does not see any point in sacrificing its blood and money for the sake of American hegemony. The NATO troops in Afghanistan are experiencing substantial casualties from a revived Taliban, and European governments are not enthralled over providing cannon fodder for U.S. hegemony.

The “coalition of the willing” has evaporated. Indeed, it never existed. Bush’s “coalition” was assembled with bribes, threats, and intimidation. Pervez Musharraf, the American puppet ruler of Pakistan, let the cat out of the bag when he told CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sept. 24, 2006, that Pakistan had no choice about joining the “coalition.” Brute coercion was applied. Musharraf said Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage told the Pakistani intelligence director that “you are with us” or “be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age.” Armitage is trying to deny his threat, but Dawn Wire Service, reporting from Islamabad on Sept. 16, 2001, on the pressure Bush was putting on Musharraf to facilitate the U.S. attack on Afghanistan, stated: “‘Pakistan has the option to live in the 21st century or the Stone Age’ is roughly how U.S. officials are putting their case.”

That Musharraf would volunteer this information on American television is a good indication that Bush has lost the war. Musharraf can no longer withstand the anger he has created against himself by helping the U.S. slaughter his fellow Muslims in Bush’s attempt to exercise U.S. hegemony over the Muslim world. Bush cannot protect Musharraf from the wrath of Pakistanis, and so Musharraf has explained himself as having cooperated with Bush in order to prevent the U.S. destruction of Pakistan: “One has to think and take actions in the interest of the nation, and that’s what I did.” Nevertheless, he said, he refused Bush’s “ludicrous” demand that he arrest Pakistanis who publicly demonstrated against the U.S.: “If somebody’s expressing views, we cannot curb the expression of views.”

Bush’s defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel’s defeat by Hezbollah in Lebanon have shown that the military firepower of the U.S. and Israeli armies, though effective against massed Arab armies, cannot defeat guerillas and insurgencies. The U.S. has battled in Iraq longer than it fought against Nazi Germany, and the situation in Iraq is out of control. The Taliban have regained half of Afghanistan. The king of Saudi Arabia has told Bush that the ground is shaking under his feet as unrest over the American/Israeli violence against Muslims builds to dangerous levels. Our Egyptian puppet sits atop 100 million Muslims who do not think that Egypt should be a lackey of U.S. hegemony. The king of Jordan understands that Israeli policy is to drive every Palestinian into Jordan.

Bush is INCAPABLE of RECOGNIZING his mistake. He can only escalate. Plans have long been made to attack Iran. The problem is that Iran can respond in effective ways to a conventional attack. Moreover, an American attack on another Muslim country could result in turmoil and rebellion throughout the Middle East. This is why the neocons have changed U.S. war doctrine to permit a nuclear strike on Iran.

Neocons believe that a nuclear attack on Iran would have intimidating force throughout the Middle East and beyond. Iran would not dare retaliate, neocons believe, against U.S. ships, U.S. troops in Iraq, or use their missiles against oil facilities in the Middle East.

Neocons have also concluded that a U.S. nuclear strike on Iran would show the entire Muslim world that it is useless to resist America’s will. Neocons say that even the most fanatical terrorists would realize the hopelessness of resisting U.S. hegemony. The vast multitude of Muslims would realize that they have no recourse but to accept their fate.

Revised U.S. war doctrine concludes that tactical or low-yield nuclear weapons cause relatively little “collateral damage” or civilian deaths, while achieving a powerful intimidating effect on the enemy. The “fear factor” disheartens the enemy and shortens the conflict.

University of California Professor Jorge Hirsch, an authority on nuclear doctrine, believes that an American nuclear attack on Iran will destroy the Nonproliferation Treaty and send countries in pell-mell pursuit of nuclear weapons. We will see powerful nuclear alliances, such as Russia/China, form against us. Japan could be so traumatized by an American nuclear attack on Iran that it would mean the end of Japan’s sycophantic relationship to the U.S.

There can be little doubt that the aggressive U.S. use of nukes in pursuit of hegemony would make America a pariah country, despised and distrusted by every other country. Neocons believe that diplomacy is feeble and useless, but that the unapologetic use of force brings forth cooperation in order to avoid destruction.

Neoconservatives say that America is the new Rome, only more powerful than Rome. Neoconservatives genuinely believe that no one can withstand the might of the United States and that America can rule by force alone.

Hirsch believes that the U.S. military’s opposition to the use of nuclear weapons against Iran has been overcome by the civilian neocon authorities in the Bush administration. Desperate to retrieve their drive toward hegemony from defeat in Iraq, the neocons are betting on the immense attraction to the American public of force plus success. It is possible that Bush will be blocked by Europe, Russia, and China, but there is no visible American opposition to Bush legitimizing the use of nuclear weapons at the behest of U.S. hegemony.

It is astounding that such dangerous fanatics have control of the U.S. government and have no organized opposition in American politics.

Dr. Roberts is Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

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ARE WE HEADED TOWARDS WORLD WAR

Posted by Elvis on 09/30/06 •
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Friday, September 29, 2006

Middle-Class Families In Worse Shape Than Ever

middle-class-squeeze.jpg

Typical families have not stashed enough money; struggling to pay for home, insurance, and education.
CNN Money
September 28, 2006

The typical double-income family is worse off financially than ever, a STUDY released Thursday said, warning that few Americans have saved enough to brace for FINANCIAL SETBACKS

MIDDLE-CLASS families are struggling to pay for a HOME, health insurance, transportation and their children’s college with wages that have not kept pace with HIGHER PRICES, according to the study by a think tank headed by a former top aide to President Bill Clinton.

The middle class’s FINANCIAL CONDITION has been a key issue ahead of the November elections, as Democrats warn that this group is fast losing economic ground amid skyrocketing prices and TAX CUTS that offer them little benefit.

“In our estimates, it’s BECOMING HARDER for families to afford what we consider a typical middle-class lifestyle,” said economist Christian Weller of the Center for American Progress, the political think tank headed by John Podesta, a former Clinton chief of staff.

Weller cautioned that while Americans are taking on more debt to cover higher costs, wages have not kept PACE.

The majority of Americans have not socked away enough money to brace for FINANCIAL SETBACKS such as a job loss or a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

According to the study, less than a third of all American families have accumulated income equaling three months of their wages. The trend is particularly pronounced among the 60 percent income distribution that makes up the middle class: those with dual incomes earning from $18,500 to $88,030 a year.

From 2001 to 2004, the proportion of middle-class families that has saved three months’ worth of income dropped to 18.3 percent from 28.8 percent, the study said.

Higher prices for a range of things - including HEALTH CARE, energy, transportation, food and education - have put AMERICANS IN THIS POSITION as corporate profits have risen, the study said.

It said, that FIVE YEARS INTO THE CURRENT ECONOMIC RECOVERY, average job growth is one-fifth that of previous business cycles and wages are flat when inflation is factored into the equation.

To maintain day-to-day consumption, families have taken on a record amount of debt, equal to 126.4 percent of disposable income in the first quarter of 2006, according to the study.

Commenting on the study, SEIU Labor Union President Andy Stern said, “Of the total amount of our economy and income, we have the greatest share going to profits in modern history and the least amount going to wages in modern history.”

“For most working Americans, things are far worse than any time certainly in recent history and at a time of an incredibly growing economy.” said Stern, whose union represents 1.1 million health care workers.

Health care industry leader Abbott Laboratories Inc. (Charts), Johnson & Johnson (Charts), and Guidant Corp. (Charts) edged higher late Thurday in New York.

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Posted by Elvis on 09/29/06 •
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US Silent On Chinese Laser Weapons

Transcriptfrom
Lou Dobbs Tonight
September 28, 2006

DOBBS: Communist CHINA has developed a ground-based laser system to blind our spy satellites. Some of that technology may have been stolen from this country. It’s just one example of how foreign governments and terrorist groups are spying on this country consistently and frequently, and often stealing some of our most sensitive secrets.

Bill Gertz is the author of an important new book, “Enemies: How America’s Foes Steal Our Secrets and How We Let It Happen.” Bill Gertz is the highly respected defense and national security correspondent of “The Washington Times.” Bill, good to have you here.

BILL GERTZ, WASHINGTON TIMES: Good to be with you.

DOBBS: You say that the communist Chinese—you know, a lot of our people talk about them as if they have a junk yard army. WHAT’S THE REALITY?

GERTZ: The reality is, laser weapons are just one of the niche or boutique WEAPONS THE CHINESE military is developing as part of what they call assassins’ mace. That is a weaker power like China militarily can take on a stronger power like the United States. They’ve obtained large amounts of our weapons technology by sending students to study, by sending businesspeople, and of course by sending large numbers of spies.

DOBBS: And what do you say to those who are concerned? And some are saying it straight out, that the Bush administration, through any executive department of the government, is not responding to the fact that communist China has fired these lasers on U.S. spy satellites, effectively blinding them, because they don’t want to disturb trade relations, they want to maintain what they see as communist Chinese help in dealing with North Korea or Iran.

GERTZ: Well, the U.S. government is really divided over how to deal with China. On one hand, you have one faction that is very pro- China. They want to help China at all costs. There’s another faction, primarily within the Pentagon and national security community, that says wait a minute, we’ve got a major problem here, we’re vulnerable, and we’ve got to be careful about what’s going on, what happens with China. We’ve got to watch it closely.

DOBBS: Let’s turn to Iran quickly, and the fact is that the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, has said they’re going to continue their uranium enrichment. At the same time, it’s clear, since the United States government has given them a few weeks, that there’s some hope remaining, at least on the part perhaps of the European if not the Americans, that there could be some agreement. What is your judgment?

GERTZ: Well, I’ve talked to some senior Bush administration officials within the past few days, and they said that there’s some movement there on the part of Javier Solana, the EU negotiator, in that they’re trying to arrange some kind of diplomatic dance whereby Iran would agree to suspend its uranium enrichment but call it something else, or perhaps keep it in secret.

A lot of conservatives in the administration are saying, no, look, we’ve given the Iranians enough of an incentive to halt enrichment, and the time is to move to sanctions. It looks like they’ve reached a compromise and they’re going to wait a couple more weeks before really pushing hard to impose some tougher economic sanctions.

DOBBS: And then today’s intelligence development in which it is clear that Iran is providing considerable, significant, if not the majority of materiel support as well as financial support to the insurgency in Iraq. What do you think will be the reaction of the U.S. government?

GERTZ: Well, they’ve recognized it for quite a while now, that the Iranians, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Ministry of Intelligence Security, those are the main agencies that are working to get all kinds of expertise, explosives, weapons and to fuel the insurgency. The Iranians recognize that a democratic Iraq is a threat to them more than just from an ideological standpoint. DOBBS: Bill, thanks. It’s good to have you here. Good to talk with you. Bill Gertz, he is the author of “Enemies: How America’s Foes Steal Our Vital Secrets and How We Let It Happen,” to our everlasting shame. Bill Gertz, thank you very much.

GERTZ: Sure.

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AT&T Retirees Still Fuming Over 2007 Medical Benefits

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
- ABE LINCOLN

The folks at the AT&T retiree MAIL LIST are posting a lot recently about the same stuff we’ve been reporting and blogging about for over two years here. Here’s a few more of them…

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First, make no mistake about it. AT&T is DEAD, GONE and will soon be just a memory.  That said, when SBC ACQUIRED AT&T and created at&t they assumed the liabilities along with the assets of their acquisition. This carries certain legal obligations. Make no mistake, it WAS NOT A MERGER!

The contract that was signed by those of us who VRIPd in 1998 made it clear that medical coverage would NOT BE FREE FOREVER, but it did imply that our plan would continue to provide the same coverage as was provided at the time of retirement. The quid pro quo was that we would not sue for addtional compensation, pension or benefits.

The SBC plan (CDHP) that is being foisted on us provides essentially little or no coverage for a $2400 per year premium (for two) until nearly $10,000 of expenses have been incurred. This is nowhere nearly comparable to what whe have had for the last 9 years. I have lived in western NJ and eastern PA for 30 years and in that time I have NEVER had access to an HMO under any AT&T plan simply due to geography. HMOs and like organizations tend to be located in cities, and I have lived in rural Hunterdon and Bucks counties, which did not
have HMO coverage under AT&T’s plans .

The key was IDENTIFIED by another poster to the group....it is unbridled CORPORATE GREED.  Corporate profits are at record levels, but the take home pay of working Americans has remained STAGNANT for at least 6 years.

We are living in a COUNTRY LED BY PEOPLE who believe they have NO RESPONSIBILITY to the public or their employees and whose only OBJECTIVE is to inflate corporate profits and enrich those who are already wealthy by using ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT labor, OFF SHORING work and using those tactics to beat down the STANDARD OF LIVING of those Americans who remain employed by freezing wages and cutting benefits, while lowering taxes on the most wealthy.

I feel sorry for the NEXT GENERATION who will be the real victims of this RACE TO THE BOTTOM. They will receive NO BENEFITS, NO EMPLOYER FUNDED RETIREMENT or PENSION and be forced to work for third world wages or remain unemployed. In the event you’ve forgotten your US history, this is the ROBBER BARON model of the economy that was prevalent until the rise the of American labor movement approximately 100 years ago.

SAD.....ISN’T IT?? [Yes it is. ed.]

Hal
AT&T Long Lines & AT&T 1978-1999

SOURCE

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I hope Al Naness is correct in that I may have an opportunity to join an HMO in the Louisville area without taking too much of a pounding, but if not we need these benefits clarified, and if the company intends to screw us, or even some of us, then we have no alternative but to take them to task.  One idea may be to contact the ACER attorneys and see if they are willing to take the company on again.  I already emailed them on the ACER website.  I am highly suspicious about the $7500 that the company has contributed toward our medical, in that they failed to mention it when they reviewed the opportunity to join an HMO in the brochure.  Could their INTENTIONS be to drop it all together. POOF!

As for as the person who questions “medical for life” in the company offer, I remember distinctly attending a mandatory meeting of all qualifying retirees.  Believe me, at that meeting, the company was pushing the medical for life “card”, all the way.  I realize it was changed to freeze at $7500 max several years later. We should have taken them to task then.  RENEGE

In closing I intend to contact some of my old colleagues who I worked with for years, and who also retired when I did.  I want to ENCOURAGE them to join this yahoo club.  WE WILL ONLY WIN WITH NUMBERS, so I ENCOURAGE all to do the same.  We haven’t much time.

Terence
AT&T Long Lines, AT&T Communications, AT&T Laboratories 1968-1998

SOURCE

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Hal & Terence,

Truly a sad state as you say.  If in fact I have no other option but the $200 a month and $10K out of pocket I will probably just self insure here in the Philippines. 

Would be nice if AT&T would have an option of giving us the money they supposedly spend on us to buy our own insurance, and go the self insure route as I said.  Actually I would imagine that SBC is self insured as AT&T was.  Meaning that UHC and the such only administer the plans for AT&T.  With the payments received and the $10K out of pockets it may turn into a money maker for AT&T.

Living overseas here in the Philippines I really can not avail of the MEDCO prescription plan.  So I get nothing from the part of it anyways. 

What gets me is the CEO’s, and other high officers retire on millions per year with full medical and dental and probably other benefits.  All these rewards after running AT&T into the group IMHO.  If going from the worlds largest corporation to being taken over is not running it to the ground I don’t know what is.

I have no knowledge of Medicare, but would that be of any help, before one reached the $10K out of pocket?  I can’t use it over here, but it may be a deciding factor on whether I move back to the US some day.

Eric
AT&T Retired
Detroit/Ojus/Stockton/Bedminster/Morristown
1969 - 1998 VRIP

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Posted by Elvis on 09/29/06 •
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Thursday, September 28, 2006

AT&T Retirees Outraged Over 2007 Medical Benefits

The letters that follow are from yesterday’s AT&T RETIREES mail list.
See more of them HERE.

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First off, let me say that I retired from AT&T as an SG5 in 1998 by accepting a package, that was full of promises, but short on keeping them.

I was afraid this was coming, and now it has. This latest round of medical benefit increases, that I got in the mail today, has tripled my annual costs from last year. (and my benefit cost was doubled from the year before). What ever happened to “and you will never have to worry about medical, because you HAVE IT FOR LIFE, if you accept this package”.

So now I am paying 6 times our of my pocket, what I was 2 years ago.

Whenever anyone hears about the CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT, let me know, because I doubt that we are going to take this one laying down.

Bunch of lowlife, corporate bean counters need to be taken down a peg or two.

My brother, by the way, is a retired installer from Bell South, and hasn’t paid a nickel for his medical since he retired. Something to be said about CWA. (Lordy lordy why did I ever take that promotion)

SOURCE

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Terence,

It is very disappointing to say the least WHAT IS GOING ON WITH RETIREE BENEFITS.

When I retired in 1998 the first year was free, but then after that it kept going up as you say.  I believe I would have had to pay about $300 a month for the two of us last year had I opted for the full medical and dental.

I did get a mailing but not sure what the cost for the Indemnity type coverage will be.  Now if they do not have an Indemnity option that will cover for us folks that live abroad we may have to look at moving back to the US.  Or just stay here and be self insured, which even though it’s cheaper here an extended sickness and the medicines can still run into the thousands of dollars.  So that would be a gamble.

Since we reside in the Philippines the dental is very cheap and we can get buy with the Indemnity coverage, 80%, and this only runs us $102 a month.  Medical here in the Philippines is about 1/3 of the cost as in the US so the 80% more than covers the 80% of US customary charges.

http://www.erisapensionclaims.com/AT_T/index.html

Above is the AT&T class action link, but I do not believe this suit has anything to do with eroding medical benefits, but is suppose to address cash balance deal a lot of us took.

That was my first big mistake, taking the lump sum, second was retiring at all.  Another story.

Some of the retiree sites I have read also stated that Union covered people had also lost their benefits.  I believe it was in the STEEL industry, perhaps Bethlehem Steel, not sure.

Short of socialized medicine I do hope the government does something.  Medical costs are getting out of hand and when people retire on $2K or $3K a month, if their lucky, 6 or $700 plus the cost of the medicines in a big chunk to swallow.

But then nobody says we can’t to back to work, as long as your health allows you to.

Wall Mart here I come if I ever have to return to the US smile I’m 61 now and probably could still get a JOB IN TELECOM, but in a few more years not sure anyone would pick me up.

Regards,

Eric L.
Living In The Philippines

SOURCE

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Terence,

You were lucky, at least you got to retire for a few years. I got forced out after 23 years after Mike Armstrong screwed us with the cash balance conversion plan. So, retirement is a dream for me, not a reality.

Like I tell my kids, the moral of the story, be your own boss. Don’t ever put the faith of your future in any company’s hands.

SOURCE

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All,

Count your blessings now.  Medical may be increasing, but at least you have medical.

I too am a retired AT&T’er who got stuck with cash balance.  If you recall back on February 1, 2001, AT&T announced that there would no longer be retirement medical benefits for employees who had less than five years service as of 2/1/2001.  The point is that if current employees with less than five years services in 2001 will not receive medical benefits when they retire, how long do you think we will receive them?  ERISA guarantees a certain level of pension dollars, but it does not guarantee medical benefits.  Hold on to that rug, because pretty soon it will be pulled out from under us all.

Ralph

SOURCE

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I failed to mention that I retired with over 30 years service, and as such, was promised medical for life. The package was presented to us with a letter that basically said that you take this package now otherwise next year we will cut back and you get nothing.

The way I read this so called new plan, I do not get a dime paid toward any drugs or remedial medical until after I pay over $5,000 out of pocket for my wife and I. In addition, I must pay a monthly premium of over $200. In my opinion, they are going to be making money off of us by providing this ludicrous plan.

If you received this new mailing, and interpret otherwise, please let me know. Because if it reads like I think it reads, all of us who retired with so called full benefits are going to have a fight on our hands.

Perhaps it is time for us all to get the ACER attorneys involved, pronto!

Thoughts?

SOURCE

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I retired in 1998 and AT&T only promised to pay $7,500 per year toward pre medicare retiree health benefits and told us that anything above that amount would be paid by us. They never promised no cost health care or specified what type of plans would be offered in the future.

I presently belong to an EPO plan here in Orlando, Fl and the coverage is much better then the AT&T MEP that was offered for 2006. The monthly cost with no deductibles and only $15.00 copayments is about half of what the MEP plan cost and almost all local doctors, specialists and hospitals belong to the plan.

This CDHP is a worst case plan for those who will not be able to buy into an HMO or EPO plan where they live. Hopefully this will only impact a small number of retirees.

Under this CDHP the deductible for in network care and prescriptions will be about $2,100 per year total, not per person.

The problem really hits home if you or your spouse needs any expensive hospital or surgical care because the out of pocket costs can go to $7,875 total, and that is a high number.

I am hoping that the HMO and EPO options offered for 2007 will reduce or eliminate these high deductibles at a reasonable cost, but we will all have to wait a few more weeks to see what options are actually offered us.

Al

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Posted by Elvis on 09/28/06 •
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