Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

VA CALLED SLOW ON SECURITY

WASHINGTON---Veterans affairs officials didn't fully heed warnings dating to 2001 to tighten access to personal data for the millions of U.S. veterans, investigators said Tuesday.

And the Justice Department said it wasn't told about the theft of information on 26.5 million veterans until last week---about two weeks after it was taken from a VA employee's home. The department issued a public warning about the theft Monday.

In the briefing paper to Congress, VA Inspector General Jon Wooditch said he was reviewing the theft from a VA data analyst's home, noting that his office had long cautioned that access controls were weak. Since 2001, the inspector general has reported lax security related to the operating system, passwords and a lack of strong detection alerts, he wrote.

The VA said Monday that the personal information---mainly from veterans discharged since 1975---was stolen in a government-owned laptop with disks in what appeared to be a routine burglary in early May. Included were Social Security numbers, birth dates and in some cases the numbers that rate the severity of the veteran's disabilities.

David Farber, a former Federal Communications Commission official and a professor of computer science and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said such information doesn't belong outside a secure environment.

"Even if someone only stole the laptop for the hardware, they can find a market for the information," he said.

VA Secretary Jim Nicholson said Monday that the analyst had taken the information home to work on a department project. The employee has been placed on leave.

Sen. Larry Craig (R-IDAHO), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, said his panel would hold a hearing Thursday because "26 million people deserve answers." Nicholson was expected to testify.


Source: Detroit Free Press
Story By: Hope Yen
Associated Press
May 24, 2006

AMERICA'S BLINDERS CONTINUED............

***Sorry about that! I just didn't want the storm taking out my computer.


...We would remind whoever we can that President Polk lied about the reason for going to war with Mexico in 1846. It wasn't that Mexico "shed American blood upon the American soil," but that Polk, and the slave-owning aristocracy, coveted half of Mexico.

We would point out that President McKinley lied in 1898 about the reason for invading Cuba, saying we wanted to liberate the Cubans from Spanish control, but the truth is that we really wanted Spain out of Cuba so that the island could be open to United Fruit and other American corporations. He also lied about the reasons for war in the Phillipines, claiming we only wanted to "civilize" the Filipinos, while the real reason was to own a valuable piece of real estate in the far Pacific, even if we had to kill hundreds of thousands of Filipinos to accomplish that.

President Woodrow Wilson---so often characterized in our history books an as "idealist"---lied about the reasons for entering the First World War, saying it was a war "to make the world safe for democracy," when it was really a war to make the world safe from the Western imperial powers.

Harry Truman lied when he said the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima because it was "a militry target."

Everyone lied about Vietnam---Kennedy about the extent of our involvement, Johnson about the Gulf of Tonkin, Nixon about the secret bombing of Cambodia, all of them claiming it was to keep South Vietnam free of communism, but really wanting to keep South Vietnam as an American outpost at the edge of the Asian continent.

Reagan lied about the invasion of Grenada, claiming falsely that it was a threat to the United States.

The elder Bush lied about the invasion of Panama, leading to the death of thousands of ordinary citizens in that country.

And he lied again about the reason for attacking Iraq in 1991---hardly to defend the integrity of Kuwait (can one imagine Bush heartstricken over Iraq's taking of Kuwait?), rather than to assert U.S. power in the oil-rich Middle East.

Given the overwhelming record of lies told to justify wars, how could anyone listening to the younger Bush believe him as he laid out the reasons for invading Iraq? Would we not instinctively rebel against the sacrifice of lives for oil?

A careful reading of history might give us another safeguard against being deceived. It would make clear that there has always been, and is today, a profound conflict of interest between the government and the people of the United States. This thought startles most people, because it goes against everything we have been taught.

We have been led to believe that, from the beginning, as our Founding Fathers put it in the Preamble to the Constitution, it was "we the people" who established the new government after the Revolution. When the eminent historian Charles Beard suggested, a hundrd years ago, that the Constitution represented not the working people, not the slaves, but the slaveholders, the merchants, the bondholders, he became the object of an indignant editorial in The New York Times.

Our culture demands, in its very language, that we accept a commonality of interest binding all of us to one another. We mustn't talk about classes. Only Marxists do that, although James Madison, "Father of the Constitution," said, thirty years before the Marx was born that there was an inevitable conflict in society between those who had property and those who did not.

OUR PRESENT LEADERS ARE NOT SO CANDID. They bombard us with phrases like "national interest," national security," and "national defense" as if all of these concepts applied equally to all of us, colored or white, rich or poor, as if General Motors and Halliburton have the same interests as the rest of us, as if George Bush has the same interest as the young man and woman he sends to war.

Surely, in the history of lies told to the population, THIS IS THE BIGGEST LIE. In the history of secrets, withheld from the American people, THIS IS THE BIGGEST SECRET: THAT THERE ARE CLASSES WITH DIFFERENT INTERESTS IN THIS COUNTRY. To ignore that---not to know that the history of our country is a history of slaveowner against slave, landlord against tenant, corporation against worker, rich against poor---IS TO RENDER US HELPLESS BEFORE ALL THE LESSER LIES TOLD TO US BY PEOPLE IN POWER.

If we as citizens start out with an understanding that these people up there---THE PRESIDENT, THE CONGRESS, SUPREME COURT, and all those institutions pretending to be "checks and balances"---do not have our interests at heart, we are on a course towards the truth. NOT TO KNOW THAT IS TO MAKE US HELPLESS BEFORE DETERMINED LIARS.

The deeply ingrained belief---no, not from birth but from the educational system and from our culture in general---that the United States is an especially virtuous nation makes us especially vulnerable to government deception. It states early, in the first grade, when we are compelled to "pledge allegiance" (before we even know what that means), forced to proclaim that we are a nation with "liberty and justice for all."

And then come the countless ceremonies, whether at the ballpark or elsewhere, where we are expected to stand and bow our heads during the singing of the "Star-Spangled Banner," announcing that we are "the land of the free and the home of the brave." There is also the unofficial national anthem "God Bless America," and you are looked on with suspicion if you ask why we would expect God to single out this one nation---just 5 percent of the world's population---for his or her blessing.

If your starting point for evaluating the world around you is the firm belief that this nation is somehow endowed by Providence with unique qualities that make it morally superior to every other nation on Earth, then you are not likely to question the President when he says we are sending our troops here or there, or bombing this or that, in order to spread our values---democracy, liberty, and let's not forget free enterprise---to some God-forsaken (literally) place in the world.

It becomes necesarry then, if we are going to protect ourselves and our fellow citizens against policies that will be disastrous not only for other people but for Americans too, that we face some facts that disturb the idea of a uniquely virtuous nation.

These facts are embarrassing, but must be faced if we are to be honest. We must face our long history of ethnic cleansing, in which millions of Indians were driven off their land by means of massacres and forced evacuations. And our long history, still not behind us, of slavery, segregation, and racism. We must face our record of imperial conquest, in the Carribean and in the Pacific, our shameful wars against small countries a tenth our size: Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq. And the lingering memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not a history of which we can be proud.

Our leaders have taken it for granted, and planted that belief in the minds of many people, that we are entitled, because of our moral superiority, to dominate the world. At the end of World War II. Henry Luce, with an arrogance appropriate to the owner of Time, Life, and Fortune, pronounced this "The American century," saying that victory in the war gave the United States the right "to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit."

Both the Republican and Democratic parties have embraced this notion. George Bush, in his Inaugral Address on January 20, 2005, said that spreading liberty around the world was "the calling of our time." Years before that, President Bill Clinton, speaking at a West Point commencement, declared: "The values you learned here...will be able to spread throughout this country and throughout the world and give other people the opportunity to live as you have lived, to fullfill your God-given capacities."

What is the idea of our moral superiority based on? Surely not on our behavior toward people in other parts of the world. It is based on how well people in the United States live? The World Health Organization in 2000 ranked countries in terms of overall health performance, and the United States was thirty-seventh on the list, though it spends more per capita for health care than any other nation. One of five children in this, the richest country in the world, is born in poverty. There are more than forty countries that have better records on infant mortality. Cuba does better. And there is a sign of sickness in society when we lead the world in the number of people in prison---more than two million.

A more honest estimate of ourselves as a nation would prepare us all for the next barrage of lies that will accompany the next proposal to inflict our power on some other part of the world. It might also inspire us to create a different history for ourselves, by taking our country away from the liars and killers who govern it, and by rejecting nationalist arrogance, so that we can join the rest of the human race in the common cause of peace and justice.


Source: Progressive
By: Howard Zinn
April 2006

AMERICA'S BLINDERS

Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war, now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, always late, have begun to register indignation), we might ask: HOW COME SO MANY PEOPLE WERE SO EASILY FOOLED?

The question is important because it might help us understand why Americans---members of the media as well as the ordinary citizen---rushed to declare their support as the President was sending troops halfway around the world to Iraq.

A small example of the innocence (or obsequiosness, to be more exact) of the press is the way it reacted to Colin Powell's presentation in February 2003 to the Security Council, a month before the invasion, a speech which may have set a record for the number of falsehoods told in one talk. In it, Powell confidently rattled off his "evidence:" satellite photographs, audio records, reports from informants, with precise statistics on how many gallons of this and that existed for chemical warfare. The New York Times was breathless with admiration. The Washington Post editorial was titled "Irrefutable" and declared that after Powell's talk "it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction."

It seems to me there are two reasons, which go deep into our national culture, and which help explain the vulnerability of the press and of the citizenry to outrageous lies whose consequences bring death to tens of thousands of people. IF WE CAN UNDERSTAND THOSE REASONS, WE CAN GUARD OURSELVES BETTER AGAINST BEING DECEIVED.

One is in the dimension of time, that is, AN ABSENCE OF HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE. The other is in the dimension of space, AN INABILITY TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOUNDARIES OF NATIONALISM. We are penned in an arrogant idea that this country is the center of the universe, exceptionally virtuous, admirable, superior.

IF WE DON'T KNOW HISTORY, THEN WE ARE READY MEAT FOR CARNIVOROUS POLITICIANS AND THE INTELLECTUALS AND JOURNALISTS WHO SUPPLY THE CARVING KNIVES. I am not speaking of the history we learned in school, a history subservient to our political leaders, from the much-admired Founding Fathers to the Presidents of recent years. I MEAN A HISTORY THAT IS HONEST ABOUT THE PAST. If we don't know that history, than any President can stand up to the battery of microphones, declare that we must go to war, AND WE WILL HAVE NO BASIS FOR CHALLENGING HIM. He will say that the nation is in danger, that democracy and liberty are at stake, and that we must therefore send ships and planes to destroy our new enemy, AND WE WILL HAVE NO REASON TO DISBELIEVE HIM.

But if we know some history, if we know how many times Presidents have made similar declarations to the country, and how they turned out to be LIES, WE WILL NOT BE FOOLED. Although some of us may pride ourselves that we were never fooled, we still might accept as our civic duty the repsonsibility to buttress our fellow citizens against the mendacity of our high officials.


Have to end this, a storm is coming..........

TROOPS WITH PTSD MORE LIKELY TO BE PHYSICALLY ILL

Med Page Today Action Points:

* Note that this research suggests that poor health in soldiers without an obvious cause is strongly associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

* These studies were published as abstracts and presented orally at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary as they have not yet been reviewed and published in a peer-reviewed publication.


REVIEW

TORONTO, MAY 23---Combat troops meeting the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who are still on active duty are much more likely to have physical health problems than their comrades, according to research presented here.

Most earlier studies of PTSD have focused on veterans many years after they have returned from combat and found strong association between the disorder and poor health, said Artin Terhakopian, M.D., of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Silver Spring, Md., at the American Psychiatric Association meeting here. The new research is on active duty personnel---"working soldiers"---he added.

The researchers studied 2,863 soldiers of the U.S. Army combat brigades that had been rotated back to the U.S. after duty in Iraq, Dr. Terhakopian and colleagues found dramatic differences between the 16% who were diagnosed as suffering from PTSD and those who were not.

Using an anonymous survey a year after the soldiers' return from combat duty in Iraq, Dr. Terhakopian and colleagues examined PTSD symptoms, self-rated health, sick call visits, and missed work days, as well as physical symptoms evaluated on a 15-point Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-15).


THE STUDY FOUND:

* 468 of the 2,815 soldiers who returned the surveys---or 16.6%---were suffering from PTSD.

* Of those, 46.7% reported their health as fair or poor, compared with 19.8% of those without PTSD. The odds ratio was 3.56 and was statistically significant at P<0.0001.

* 37.6% of those with PTSD had two or more recent sick call visits, compared with 20.5% of those without PTSD. The odds ratio was 2.33 and was significant at P<0.0001.

* 11.8% of those with PTSD reported recently missing two or more days of work because of illness, compared with 6.5%. The odds ratio was 1.93, and was significant at P<0.0001.

* Finally, 34.4% of those with PTSD had a PHQ-15 score indicating ill health, compared to 5.2% of their comrades. The odds rate was 9.64 and was significant at P<0.0001.

Dr. Terhakopian noted that the study was cross-sectional, so that no conclusion can be drawn about whether PTSD causes ill health or vice versa. But he added that the clinical implication is that veterans with ill health without other obvious causes should be suspected of suffering from PTSD and offered treatment.

The Walter Reed researchers did not report the effect of injury on PTSD, but scientists from the Naval Medical Center at San Diego showed that battlefield injuries are more highly linked to PTSD than the usual run of medical conditions that can cause soldiers to be evacuated from a war zone.

In a retrospective chart review, David Oliver, M.D., and the colleagues at the center, analyzed the relationship of PTSD with both branches of service and reason for being evacuated from the war zone. Since 2004, the San Diego center has been the receiving station for military personnel medevaced from Iraq, he said.

The majority of the personnel with PTSD or acute stress syndrome were marines, Dr. Oliver said, and most of the remainder were sailors. However, there was no statistically significant link between branch of service and the chance of having PTSD, he said.

On the other hand, the researchers found, there was a significant link to the reason for evacuation. Those who came home because of a battlefield injury or for psychiatric reasons were significantly more likely to suffer from PTSD, compared to those with non-battlefield injuries or other medical circumstances.

Specifically, 26% of those with battlefield injuries and 48% of those with psychiatric issues had PTSD, compared with 17% of those with non-battlefield injuries or other medical concerns. A chi-square analysis showed that the differences were statistically significant at P<0.05.


Source:MedPage Today
By: Michael Smith, MedPage Today Staff Writer
Reviewed By: Ruben K. Israni, M.D.
Pennsylvania School of Mdicine
May 23, 2006

ANOTHER INCOMPETENT BUSH APPOINTEE: FED CHAIRMAN

ANOTHER INCOMPETENT BUSH APPOINTEE: FED CHAIRMAN CAUSED STOCKS TO DROP

Bernacke regrets remarks to CNBC reporter

WASHINGTON, (AP)---Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday he suffered a "lapse in judgement" by talking recently to a CNBC anchor, a conversation that caused the stock market to tank when his comments were reported.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), asked Bernanke about the episode during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on financial literacy.

"Senator, that epidose you refer to was a lapse of judgement on my part," Bernanke replied. "In the future, my communication with the public and with the market will be entirely through regular and formal channels."

***This country cannot afford "another" illiterate to be running this country. These people don't listen before they speak. Everytime they open their mouths, you wish you were there to catch the words that are coming out of them! Haven't they caused "the people enough grief?"

Bernanke took over the job on Feb.1. On a congressional appearance on April 27, he had raised the possibility of the Fed pausing its two-year, credit-tightening campaign. Stocks rallied that day.

But on May 1, CNBC reported that Bernanke had told CNBC anchor Maria Bartitomo that investors has misinterpreted his recent congressional remarks as an indication the Fed was nearly done raising rates----which had been up for most of that day---slumped.

Bernanke had actually talked to Bartiromo a few days earlier---on April 29---at the White House Correspondents Association's annual dinner.

Besides raising questions about Bernanke's communication skills, the incident underscored the fact that a single word uttered by a Fed chief can move stock and bond prices.

At Tuesday's hearings, Bunning, who opposed Bernanke's nomination as Fed chief, said: "I warned you to be careful about what you say because people are going to follow your words very closely."

Bunning also took issue with the Fed's decision to push interest rates higher to fnd off inflation. The Fed's last rate hike, on May 10, left a key rate at a five-year high of 5 percent. It marked the 16th increase since June 2004.

Bernanke defended the action. He pointed out that he and his Fed colleagues at the May meetings noted there were some inflation risks to the economy. In terms of the Fed's next rate decision in late June, though, Bernanke said the Fed will rely heavily on what incoming barometers say about inflation and economic activity.

Between now and then, "we'll be watching that data very carefully," Bernanke said.

The exchange came at a hearing focused on financial literacy. The Fed chief told the panel that sharpening Americans' financial know-how and skills is crucial to consumers' ability to make smart money choices and is also good for the overall economy.

***How can we, as consumer's make smart money choices when there is no money to go around anymore. The only smart money choices the everyday American can make nowadays is whether we can afford to go to the mall or to Wal-Mart. The Republicans love it when we go to Wal-Mart becuase that's who owns them!

Consumers with the necessary skills to make informed financial decisions about buying a home, financing an education or their retirement or starting a business will almost certainly be economically better off than those lacking those vital skills, Bernanke said.

***Buying a home, an education or especially planning for a retirement is a thing of the past for most Americans. You used to hear people talking about taking an early retirement. Not anymore! Not ever since this administration has come along. When they came into power, they redistributed the wealth of this country! I guess they thought that their friends and campaign contributors didn't already have enough!

Bernanke said he believes competition is the best way for promoting the provision of better, cheaper financial products to consumers.

He said research says that financial education and credit counseling can help people make better choices. That's important not only for adults but also for teaching young people the basics of making good financial decisions, he said.

But young people are flunking when it comes to their understanding of basic financial matters, research says.

Young people are flunking when it comes to basic financial matters because they are living paycheck to paycheck, since the American worker has now been made to work for lower wages or we get threatened by the immigrant workers that Bush wants to make legals. Does Bush actually think that when these people become American citizens, that they won't start making demands too? Then what happens? Even more illiegals start crossing the borders again to do the work that the "newly made American citizens" don't want to do! Our young people don't have any extra money to invest in their futures, so they figure, why learn about something you can't get involved in.

On average, high school seniors answered correctly only 52.4% of questions about personal finance and economics, according to a natiowide survey released in early April. Still, that was a smidgen better than the 52.3% in the previous survey in 2004 and was up from the lowest-ever score of 50.2% in 2002.

The surveys, done every two years, were sponsored by the Jump Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, which wants students to have the skills to be financially competent.

Bolstering financial literacy---while important---isn't a cure-all, Bernanke said.

"Clear disclosures, wise regulation and vigourous enforcement are also essential to ensuring that financial service providers do not engage in unfair or deceptive practices," he said.

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman, Christopher Cox, who also appeared before the panel, said the SEC would likee to see corporate annual reports and mutual fund prospectuses written more clearly so they are easier for investors to understand.

Bush has given corporations a free pass to make the rules since he came into office. There is no oversight and that's the problem. Corporations can do whatever it is they want to do. The Corporations are the ones that sat down with the Bush Administration and made up the policies! Take it from there.........


Source:SFGate
By: Jeannine Aversa
AP Economics Writer
May 23, 2006