And Speaking Of Waving It...

Happy birthday to Barb K (aka Hally, aka The Goddess of the Cattle Prodess)!

Flag Day - Don't Wave It, SAVE It

I've grown to have mixed feelings about Flag Day (today) because it always seems like all the wrong people wave the American flag and proclaim it as their own and then deny its "rightful" ownership by those more committed to the ideals on which this country was founded. HOWEVER...

Today, perhaps we ALL need to commit at least ONE act to restore the fundamental principles for which we love our country which provides the underlying value which the American flag symbolizes. If all this flag symbolizes is greed and hypocrisy and exclusionism and brutality, then the flag means nothing at all. So we must make our flag symbolize what it should, rather than what the Bushies and the rest have done to shat upon our land.

Write or call your Congress critters and tell them you're sick of having them in thrall to the Bush Right Wing. Stand up for universal health care or Immigration Reform (our founding fathers did NOT limit who could come) or the homeless or the poor (and remember, many of the homeless today HAVE a job; but one - or two or three - job in many sectors does NOT always guarantee Americans a place they can live).

Stand up today. Don't wave the flag until you've done your very best to try to ensure a change for the better, back to the basics of what our founding fathers (and the women who sacrificed behind them) envisioned. Take our country back for you, your family, and for every other American already here or to be born or to immigrate here.

And if you're smart - and I bet you are - you won't stop at just Flag Day. Do your best again tomorrow, and the weekend, and Monday, and... you get my drift.


"Diagnosis: Conflict of Interest"

Perhaps another reason to see Michael Moore's "Sicko"? Or just another indication of how much the FDA is in the pocket of pharmaceutical companies who decide what your doctor knows about treating you with what drug?

THE revelation that the diabetes drug Avandia can potentially cause heart disease is the latest in a string of pharmaceutical disappointments. Vioxx was pulled from the market in 2004 because it doubled the risks for heart attacks and strokes. Eli Lilly recently paid $750 million to settle lawsuits alleging that Zyprexa causes diabetes. Many have criticized the Food and Drug Administration as being too lax about monitoring drug safety.

While those criticisms have merit, there is another culprit: the transformation of continuing medical education into an enterprise for drug marketing. The chore of teaching doctors how to practice medicine has been handed to the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, dangerous side effects are rarely on the curriculum.

Most states require that doctors obtain a minimum number of credit hours of continuing medical education each year to maintain their medical licenses. Not so long ago, most of these courses were produced and paid for by universities and medical associations. But this has changed drastically over the past decade.

According to the most recent data available from the national organization in charge of accrediting the courses, drug-industry financing of continuing medical education has nearly quadrupled since 1998, from $302 million to $1.12 billion. Half of all continuing medical education courses in the United States are now paid for by drug companies, up from a third a decade ago. Because pharmaceutical companies now set much of the agenda for what doctors learn about drugs, crucial information about potential drug dangers is played down, to the detriment of patient care.

Sidenote: Giant Bird-Like Dinosaur Fossil Found In China

Some put the fossil at about 70 million years old which, for the group of scientists who believe the Earth completely reshapes itself every 75 million years or so, might be of concern since it could mean the end of humans is indeed near (and perhaps the Rapture-End of the World crowd might want to stop reading those stupid books and remember how to spell science - s-c-i-e-n-c-e).

If the dinosaurs couldn't survive the changes on earth 70-75 million years ago, what chance do fat Republicans from Texas running their air conditioning 24/7/365 even while they're out driving in their Humvees stand?

"The Dying Continues... While We Bury Our Heads In The Sand"

Very powerful words from Joseph Galloway (author of "They Were Soldiers Once") on Iraq and our complicity through our ignorance and blinders:

The war in Iraq grinds on without much regard for an American president's pipedreams of victory, a congressional majority's impotent attempts to stop it and most of the American people's wish that it would just go away.

We're now well into the fifth year of this war. All 30,000 of President Bush's surge reinforcements are on the ground, and we have more than 150,000 American soldiers and Marines in the cauldron. The only surge in sight is an inevitable surge in the numbers of those troops being killed and wounded.

More than 3,500 Americans have now been killed in action and more than 29,000 wounded, along with an additional 25,000-plus injured in accidents. That's close to 60,000 American casualties to date, and God alone knows how many Iraqis have been killed and wounded in the war and the civil war - certainly hundreds of thousands.

The central focus of George W. Bush's escalation was to make Baghdad more secure so that the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki could take control of its own capital. In truth, Baghdad seems no more secure now than it was - only a more target-rich environment - and even the president and his generals predict that things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

A beleaguered president must travel to Albania, of all places, to find a little love. Will he now, as Richard Nixon before him, become an inveterate lame-duck globetrotter in search of a crowd that will cheer him? What's next? Kazakhstan? Tierra del Fuego? How about Baghdad?

The Army and Marines scrape and scratch and scheme and pay big bucks and beguile high school dropouts, even those with criminal records, in their efforts to recruit enough young men and women to replace the casualties and those who are leaving the service.

The administration doesn't want you to worry about any of this. It's summertime, shopping time, surf's up. Head for the beach and bury your heads in the sand.

The planes loaded with flag-draped coffins soar over the Atlantic coast sunbathers to land at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the site of the military mortuary, unseen as they come home to a nation that barely noticed when they left so full of hope and dreams. Your government, your president, has banned cameras from Dover so those images won't intrude on your good times and good life.

The planes loaded with the scores of wounded - some of them double and triple amputees with bodies and brains shattered by the roadside bombs and mines that are responsible for two-thirds of our casualties - fly over the beachfront bars and restaurants and land at Andrews Air Force Base outside the nation's capital in the dark of night. The administration doesn't want too many people noticing them, either.
The rest is here.

Say Hello to...

The Common Ills where I've enjoyed (well, ok, enjoyed isn't quite the word; horrified on top of my current horror, actually) some coverage of the latest Bush actions against Iraq and the Middle East.

And remember: what Bush does goes out with our responsibility.

Iraq: Our War For Oil Proven By U.S. Army's Visit

Granted, President Bush has in several speeches made it clear that we waged war in Iraq for "cheap" oil (like those cheap prices now? - heh) and before we launched the war in mid-March 2003, then Assistant Secretary of Defense (and now a man who had to leave the World Bank for serious fraud) Paul Wolfowitz said the Iraq war would pay for itself in cheap gas. But a report in yesterday's New York Times made it abundantly clear that we went to Iraq to hand their oil fields over to oil and energy companies (many of them American) for unheard of profits. Why else would the U.S. military be demanding the so-called democratically elected representatives of Iraq to sign an oil deal (the real reason for the surge) "or else."

BAGHDAD, June 11 — The top American military commander for the Middle East has warned Iraq’s prime minister in a closed-door conversation that the Iraqi government needs to make tangible political progress by next month to counter the growing tide of opposition to the war in Congress.

In a Sunday afternoon discussion that mixed gentle coaxing with a sober appraisal of politics in Baghdad and Washington, the commander, Adm. William J. Fallon, told Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki that the Iraqi government should aim to complete a law on the division of oil proceeds by next month.
Be clear: there is NO good reason for anyone in the U.S. military to be telling the democratically elected rep of ANY country what to do re: oil. That this happened gives us the conclusive proof that this is why we went to Iraq.


Bush Flips His Middle Finger Yet Again

Today, Bush is throwing a (yet another) temper tantrum, reminding the American people and their duly elected representatives on Capitol Hill, smirking at the planned no confidence vote today on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a man not even other Republicans can continue to defend.

I could be tacky and suggest the Bush Twins give their daddy a big bag of chunky pretzels for Father's Day next Sunday. But I won't.