Friday, February 24, 2006

Mirror, Mirror

It has been 20 years since the "People Power" movement in the Philippines ousted their corrupt President Ferdinand Marcos and things don't seem to have gotten any better for the people of that country. Indeed, the case could be made that things have become much worse since "government reforms" have been implemented. The "People Power" movement made a serious mistake when they ousted Marcos all those years ago. They allowed the government to remain in place as it had been since the US imposed it on them way back in 1898, after we "liberated" the Philippines from Spain. Now we can see the results of that mistake.

Their current great leader, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is on the brink of declaring martial law in the country because she thinks someone is plotting against her. She's probably correct given that the "representative" form of government in the Philippines is nothing less than a "representative plutocracy" run by hereditary rulers from a handful of families, (Arroyo being a member of one of them). Her cousins are likely planning on retiring her and giving someone else a turn at running things on the playground. And things will become worse for the people on the street.

The Philippines is a picture perfect example of why the US should not become involved in Empire Building or spreading "democracy", (hint to the president: we've never spread "liberty". That would be a novel concept). No matter what you do you all too often have to deal with the law of unintended consequences, as in the Philippines. Since the ouster of Marcos, a world class plutocrat and political pilferer, the people of the Philipines have been saddled with incompetent rulers who have been nothing more than cultish figureheads for their political families. Imagine a country where all the major politicians were John Edwards, yeah, they look nice, but that's all they have going for them. That's the Philippines body politick and it is too similar to what we currently have in our country.

While the Philippines have a handful of ruling familes we have two. Ours are named Republicans and Democrats and they are, like their Philippines counterparts, plutocrats. They were elected by advertising and spending obscene amounts of money so they could gain a powerful office and make even more money while grasping power from "the people" for themselves and their "family". All the while making it virtually impossible for people outside the family to join in the game and try to straighten out the mess.

The people of the Philippines are taking a decision that must truly be hard for them. They, like Americans are unable to effect any substantive change in the way their government functions and so they are choosing to vote with their feet. They are abandoning their country in droves to go abroad to work and live. This isn't new, either. It's been going on for over 20 years and has accelerated as things deteriorate in their country. The government in the Philippines estimates that 2500 Filipinos
leave their homeland every day to go abroad and escape things in their country.

Will we be seeing the same thing happening in Iraq in 20 years? Afghanistan? Are we setting the stage for a Middle Eastern diaspora as we have in the Philippines? Instead of the US spreading "democracy" it is painfully obvious from past failures that we should be spreading the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, individual sovereignty and natural rights. Almost anything but "democracy" is what we should be spreading. History is a good teacher for those who bother to pay attention in class.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Steve Kubby Update

Just when you think things might be stabilising we get an update from Michele Kubby letting us know that her husband, Steve Kubby is deteriorating. Steve, as has been reported before, has managed to hold off his adrenal cancer through the use of medical marijuana and diet. While the jail is allowing him to use Marinol in an attempt to control some of the symptoms, his diet is that of most prisoners of the state. Lousy. Michele and supporters have asked to be allowed to bring him food that meets his special dietary needs, (and, at the same time relieving the taxpayers of the burden of feeding him) and have met with resistance and denial.

While I am sure that the "authorities" have their reasons, one of them cannot possibly be that a jailhouse diet is superior to any other diet. There can be no denial that diet is essential in staving off illness, especially cancer and immune system diseases. While they may fear that the food could contain marijuana, how hard would it be to have the food inspected upon delivery or to have the food prepared on site?

Mr. Kubby has so far lost 25 pounds and is suffering from shingles, I can't imagine they are doing much for him if he has managed to develop a case of shingles while imprisoned and a 25 pound weight loss should be setting off alarm bells in any halfway competent attending physician. Hopefully, Mr. Kubby will make it to his next trial date where we might see him released from his current imprisonment. The question still stands, tho as to what this period of incarceration will do for his longterm health. In the end the State may well get its way, even if Mr. Kubby goes free.

Spoke with Steve today. He's lost 25 pounds and has had blood pressure problems due to the poor diet he is being fed. He also has had shingles for three weeks, indicating that his immune system is failing.

The jail feeds the inmates with the lowest quality, most processed food avaiable. They do not believe this is affecting Steve's health, but his weight loss is getting quite dramatic. I am personally very concerned that he will not make it through this situation specifically because of the diet he is being fed.

We are gathering information about the importance of diet and cancer because we are hoping to educate the jail about the danger they are
putting Steve in with their poor food quality. So far, the jail has been
very stubborn about offering Steve food that will nurish his body's particular needs.

I am so angry at this poor treatment of Steve. Maybe if we all call the jail and try to educate them about the danger they are putting him in, they would relent and let us provide healthy food. So far, they won't even let us give him food.

This is quite odd, because the jail has a deal with McDonald's to provide food from the outside.

This is such a sick situation. I hope that it all ends up O.K. The girls and I have so many wonderful plans for our future together as a family. I pray we can see them come to fruition.


Please feel free to contact the jail, as Michele Kubby asks and do take the time to contact the Governor of California and his wife.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why The U.A.E. And Why Now?

With all the hoopla about the purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. by Dubai Ports World, a State owned U.A.E. company, I started looking at reasons for the uproar in various areas. Why would the Bush administration be so vehemently opposed to the Congress delaying things to take a look at the deal? Why would George Bush, as one Libertarian blogger put it pick this as the "hill he's willing to battle to the death upon"? What is so important about this one deal that the Wheeler Dealer in Chief would be willing to actually take up his pen for a veto, when he's yet to veto ANYTHING that crossed his desk? And why would he bother to deny ever having heard of a deal like this as opposition mounted?

Perhaps, he's been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, so to speak and some of his future plans are being jeopardised by all the attention this is being given. The major beneficiaries in this deal are the stockholders of P&OSN and DPW, since they are going to reap the benefits of this buyout. Jobs at the ports will stay the same and security in the US is already handled by the US Coast Guard. AT a glance, nothing will change. But....DPW is not a privately owned company. It is a State Owned Company, that makes things a bit different in most peoples eyes, as well it should. DPW is one of the worlds leading companies for port operations. They are well qualified to do the job, and yet they are owned by Persian Gulf Arabs and, given the continual harping on Homeland Security in this country you can see why there's a big, burning question mark. The Bush White House has failed to answer any questions about why the Secretaries and heads of the government have vetted this.

Maybe I can shed a tiny light. I'm not an analyst and I don't play one on TV, but I do read and can put two and two together, sometimes I even get the answer right.

1. Why the UAE? Well, the US has a big, and getting bigger airbase there, just outside Abu Dhabi. If, likely when the government decides to engage in conflict with Iran the base will be right where they need it in the front lines of an Iranian conflict. This could very well be a tit for tat deal with the administration. The US gets the UAE base and their ports and they get a lucrative new income source with no real questions about the deal. It might have almost worked, too.

2. Saudi Arabia. Yep. No-one's bothered to even mention them in this matter. Why is that? Because it would almost appear that they haven't anything to do with the matter, when they could well be the cause for this. The Saudi reticence to allow forward basing and expanded support in the region may well have driven the US to deal with the UAE. The Saudis have a much greater tie to 9/11 than a couple of banks in the UAE, couple this with the refusal to co-operate militarily with the Bush Administration and a willingness by the UAE to assume a greater role in that capacity and you have another reason. This also allows the US to balance some political difficulties that have been present between the UAE and Sau Rewarding loyalty and slapping the Saudi's in the face.

3. Iran. It's a given that our government wants a forward base of operations for a future conflict with Iran. The UAE is well situated for such an event and the UAE has zero love for Iran who has possession of three islands the UAE contends are theirs. This entire deal could be a form of "baksheesh", a bribe for the UAE. It's how business is done in the Arab world. The promise of getting the ports contracts in the US, a shot at getting their islands back and a chance to slap the Saudis are a much greater incentive than a carton of smokes or a trip to Vegas.

The UAE is a lot closer to being "secularist" than other countries in the area and that may well make them easier to deal with for the Bush Administration. They have longstanding grudges with Iran and the Saudi's. They are seriously into making money and, as anyone knows "War is good for business".

In the end this may all boil down to a backroom business deal dragged out into the light with the parties on our side not wishing to reveal the details to the "interested parties". Access to our ports may well be bribe in order for our government to engage in their expansionist "business". I can't say with 100% certainty but, after 6 years in that region I have to say it looks as if it could be the case. All in all, tho it won't hurt for our Congress to ask the pertinent questions given the current sentiments towards the deal.

Presidential Prevarication And SCOTUS Gets Something Right

Yep, it's true. President Bush is lying and the Supreme Court has actually ruled well, for once. Combine this with a strengthening of the US Police State, KBR contracts for US Prison Camps and there's actually something out there worth readin' about today.

How Do I Know Bush Is Lying?
Well, his lips were moving, for one thing. That, and he said he was going to use a veto if the Congress crossed him up on the UAE State Owned Company taking over the day to day operations of key US ports facilities. This guy is incapable of vetoing anything. Hell, he's managed to sign anti-gun legislation, a National ID scheme and more spending than any of his predecessors combined. That's how I know he's a liar. The man is so fascinated with writing his own name on documents, that there's not a snowballs chance in hell of him ever vetoing anything. The fact of the matter is that, while this is a matter of a private business engaging in legitimate commerce, the "private company" is, in fact a state owned company from the UAE. While they are indeed a "partner" of the US that can change overnight with a state owned entity. If the company were truly privately owned I wouldn't have much of an issue with it but, as it stands letting a bunch of Monarchists take over the day to day operations of our port facilities might not be the smartest idea. Making someone wealthy who may be your enemy tomorrow isn't necessarily a good idea. Anyone remember our aid to the Taliban and Osama Bin Ladin not so long ago? Some things can come back to bite you in the buttocks, huh?

For some more libertarian insight into the issue we have Brad Spangler and the Kn@ppster. Both excellent and thought provoking reads!

SCOTUS Sides With Religion And Drugs
Colour me surprised at the ruling for religious freedom and expression and against the Drug War that the Supreme Court has handed down! Given the current makeup I had expected anything but this sane ruling. It does give me some hope that the people who are on there may actually have some knowledge of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and liberty in general. Wonder if the Drug Warrior in Chief is gnashing his teeth over this one today?

Bush's Internal Prison Camps
Yeah, I know it sounds like conspiracy theory stuff and it would be...except that it's all out in the open and no big secret for the powers that be. KBR has landed some big contracts for building prison camps in the Continental USA. I wouldn't have been surprised if the contracts had been in Iraq but these camps are going to be built right here in the US of A. Who is going inhabit these camps and labour facilities? Nat Parry at Consortium News has put together all the information you need from all the right sources. If something like this doesn't concern you then you need to wake up.
As for KBR's role in this...I knew John Kellogg, (founder of the Kellogg) , way back when. He was a fine upstanding Irish American and I seriously doubt he would approve of the company he founded building internment camps such as this.
via Ali's Voice.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Steve Kubby Update

Michele Kubby has updated the website with some new information concerning Steve Kubby's case and where things stand now in Placer County. The court and Placer County Prosecutor were informed that Mr. Kubby has a new defence attorney, Mr. J. David Nick.
In a move that may have surprised the prosecution, the new Kubby defense team rejected the 120 day misdemeanor jail sentence the Placer D.A.'s office had offered. In stead, Kubby is asserting his right to be re-sentenced as a felon by Judge John L.
Cosgrove, the original trial judge. A felony sentencing hearing provides Kubby with new rights not available to him under misdemeanor sentencing
Prosecutor Christopher Cattran has not swayed from his original stand, strenuously demanding Kubby be sent to jail for refusing probation, or registered as a drug offender, and that he be forbidden from using medical marijuana, without any further delay.
Consequently, the Court has presently scheduled a re-sentencing hearing for Kubby on March 3rd at **8:30 AM**. David Nick will argue that Kubby should be sentenced to probation.
Mrs. Kubby also points out that Steve Kubby's physician, Dr. Tod Mikuriya has also become a victim in the War on Drugs, as the California Medical Association has decided to go after him for prescribing a drug which is perfectly legal in the Republic of California. Dr. Mikuriya is the M.D. who prescribed the Marinol that is currently helping to keep Mr. Kubby's blood pressure and cancer symptoms in check until he can regain access to medical marijuana.

Mrs. Kubby added, “Dr. Mikuriya is also under attack, as is anyone involved with marijuana. Currently he is facing persecution by the **California** Medical Association for bravely recommending cannabis to a wide variety of patients. He is facing a fine of over $75,000 for his brave stand.

Hopefully we will soon see Mr. Kubby freed since the judge in the new trial is the same man who originally sentenced him.

The Coming Oil War

The Nigerian Oil War?
Opponents of the War In Iraq have long stated that they believe the conflict to be about oil, the government contends otherwise. Well, a real war for oil is looming in the Nigerian Delta and it is slipping under the radar, even as things escalate in the region. Nigerian militant actions have already caused the price of oil to jump by $1 a barrel, as of Fridays close and further action will obviously cause even greater jumps if they carry through on their threats of escalation.

While the forces involved in the Delta are said to be small groups, when you combine their attacks with the unrest and violence in other parts of Nigeria you find that there's a well fueled powder keg waiting the right spark to go off and when it does foreign powers will see no reason not to step in. The US already has contingency plans to send in US troops to protect their oil interests in the Delta region. There is no reason not to assume that other interested nations also have plans on the table. All of this, plus the Muslim unrest in other parts of Nigeria and the presence of Avian Influenza should be drawing the attention of the American public.

When you combine this with the Iranian situation, the international unrest over the Mohammed cartoons and America's current global military "strategy", the U.S. could well be looking at a multi layered recipe for disaster, economic and political. It's well past time that the U.S. stepped back from their current policies and reassessed things. Interventionism isn't working too well.

There's a rather interesting blog from an oil worker on the ground in Nigeria here, take a look for a view from the ground.

OutSource This...
In the continuing saga of selling off our ports to Middle Eastern concerns the Crypt Keeper hit the Sunday news circuit defending the decision to put our port facilities under the control of a United Arab Emirates company. Something tells me that Crypt Keeper Chertoff and the Bush Administration aren't paying attention. As I have said before, the mental instability in D.C. is amazing. Given the governments penchant for "security at any cost", (usually our liberties) you would think that turning over operations of our nations port facilities to people from a region that really doesn't like us, would be a no-brainer. Apparently it IS a no-brainer....when you have leftist Democrats pointing out the obvious to socialist Republicans something is seriously askew.

From The Libertarian Front
Wally Conger has posted some intriguing Murray Rothbard "masterworks" at "out of step". Now, I have a readin' assignment this week. Thanks, Wally! (If only Natasha Henstridge was a brunette!)