Monthly Archives: December 2006

WaPo: Bush has tripled aid to Africa??? not so much….

The Washington Post is running a White House stenographic story entitled: Bush Has Quietly Tripled Aid to Africa.

It’s bullshit. And the Post knows it. This claim has been floated many times over the past couple of years. Susan Rice of the Brookings Institute debunked it last year:

Over the past four years, we have tripled our assistance to Sub-Sahara Africa.” President Bush, Press Conference with Prime Minister Tony Blair, the White House June 7, 2005

The Bush Administration Record

The Bush Administration has significantly increased aid to Africa, but that increase falls far short of what the President has claimed. U.S. aid to Africa from FY 2000 (the last full budget year of the Clinton Administration) to FY2004 (the last completed fiscal year of the Bush Administration) has not “tripled” or even doubled. Rather, in real dollars, it has increased 56% (or 67% in nominal dollar terms). The majority of that increase consists of emergency food aid, rather than assistance for sustainable development of the sort Africa needs to achieve lasting poverty reduction.

President Bush has thus far rejected Blair’s call to double aid to Africa, as well as the benchmark set by the OECD and signatories to the Monterrey Consensus, which called on developed countries to devote 0.7% of their gross national income to overseas development assistance by 2015. In declining to commit to either of these targets, President Bush frequently states that his Administration has “tripled” U.S. assistance to Africa over the past four years to $3.2 billion. On June 7, 2005, the President also announced that the U.S. will spend an additional $674 million, which consists of previously appropriated emergency humanitarian food aid. The U.S. recently agreed with G-8 partners to cancel the multilateral debt owed by 18 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, a positive step forward.

The bulk of this money is the bogus AIDS program, in which Bush takes our tax money, not to give to African nations, but rather to pay full retail to Big Pharma for patented AIDS drugs, rather than using generics and appropriate combinations for a tenth the price. This results in LESS aid to the Africans. The article mentions these concerns, then discounts them by a statement from New Jersey (home of BigPharma) Rep Donald Payne:

PEPFAR, which often funds programs through religious organizations, has come under criticism for promoting faith-based ideology over science, emphasizing abstinence programs and giving inaccurate information about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing HIV transmission. Payne says such concerns have been allayed in recent years, and he and others credit PEPFAR with saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

No evidence, source or link given for Mr. Payne’s opinion.

The worse than useless abstinence teaching program has resulted in a significant increase in AIDS.

On April 4, 2006, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a stinging indictment of U.S. prevention policies that prioritize sexual abstinence and being faithful to an HIV-negative partner over scientifically proven methods of reducing the tide of infections.

Millions of condoms which could be making a huge difference have actually been locked up in warehouses.
The Post article quotes a supposed spokesman for Africa Action, a Washington lobbying group, in support of Bush’s AIDS intiative, but Africa Action participated in a December 1 rally outside the White House, protesting the bogus nature of the AIDS initiative, and a press release this month from Africa Action’s website states:

The UNAIDS report also points to apparent erosions of HIV/AIDS gains in Uganda, which had previously been touted as a success story on the continent. Africa Action today expressed concern that the U.S. focus on abstinence-only prevention policies and other ideologically-driven approaches may be undermining effective and comprehensive prevention programs in Uganda and elsewhere. The organization also noted that Africa’s women continue to bear a disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS, and urged new approaches to address the specific needs of women and girls most vulnerable and affected by this pandemic.

It is not clear why the Post reporter chose not to search the Post’s own files for a more realistic idea of what Bush’s aid for malaria is all about. Back in 2005, the Post said:

Susan E. Rice, who was assistant secretary of state for Africa under President Bill Clinton. Bush’s address “touched on all the right levers for enhancing development,” said Rice, who was a top foreign policy adviser to Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry in 2004. “The bad news is when you look at the numbers . . . it’s a whole lot of smoke and mirrors, and it’s frankly misrepresenting where we are and misleading about where we’re going.”

So in reality, Bush has increased money given to Big Pharma and church groups, not money to benefit Africa.

The idea that he has tripled aid to Africa is mendacious.

He has merely increased the flow of money from the treasury to Big Pharma and sectarian religious groups, to the DETRIMENT of African countries. In return for which, of course, Bush has gotten political contributions on a massive scale.

The reason Bush (never reluctant to take credit for anything he thinks he can…remember “Mission Accomplished?”) has been “quiet” about this stuff is because what he has done is shameful. In essence, it’s not a lot different from Iraq: take a lot of taxpayer money and transfer it big corporations, while the native peoples suffer and die as a result.

The idea that Bush has generous feelings for poor or black people should have been put to rest by his attitude towards the people of New Orleans before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. His crass photo-ops only served to underline his hypocrisy.

Bush will be remembered for his complete sellout to corporate and sectarian religious interests and for the deaths of probably a million people overall. These and the systematic destruction of the Bill of Rights, and the failure to protect us from 9/ll, and his obstruction of any response to global warming, are the other significant parts of his legacy. Bush will not only be considered the worst president in history, he will be extremely fortunate not to be indicted for war crimes. The Washington Post does a great disservice by publishing such poorly researched propaganda pieces about Bush’s motivations, his acts and their results.

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, healthcare, media, Middle East, Politics, religion

Due process for Saddam Hussein…what about Jose Padilla and the other 14,000 held by the US?

The obligatory Saddam Hussein post: I will leave it to Glenn Greenwald’s post today, Dec. 31:

That is why it is so reprehensible and inexpressibly tragic that the Bush administration continues to claim — and aggressively exercise — the power to imprison and punish people without even a pretense or fraction of the due process that Saddam Hussein enjoyed. The Bush administration believes that it has the power to imprison whomever it wants, for as long as it wants, without even giving them access to the outside world, let alone “a fair trial.” The power which it claims — which it has seized — extends not only to foreign nationals but legal residents and even its own citizens.

Jose Padilla? oh, just an American citizen….

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…it tolls for thee…–Ernest Hemingway

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Middle East, Politics

C28: Buy junk for profit, I mean…prophet…I mean…Christ!

[h/t] to the awful truth at dkos]

This is so over the line I can barely contain the laughter. Head shops for Christians (or what passes for Christians these days)…in shopping malls and online.

The headlights play over Walter standing waiting in front of the storefront of SOBCHAK SECURITY. Though he is wearing khaki shorts and shirt, the fact that he holds a battered brown briefcase makes him look oddly like a commuter. He also holds an irregular shape bundled in brown wrapping paper. —The Big Lebowski

C28 stands for Colossians 2:8 (that’s in the Bible), which says

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

$42 for a hoodie with some code on it seems more like good ole American materialistic capitalism. I am definitely going to get into Christian retail…these folks are the biggest suckers on the planet…and do it before they get the idea that Jesus would have preferred that his followers give the $42 plus shipping and handling and applicable taxes to the poor.

AM I WRONG?
—Walter Sobchak, The Big Lebowski

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Filed under gadgets, Humor, religion, The Big Lebowski

Bush signs away the Fourth Amendment: warrantless mail searches

[h/t to oznick at dkos]

In his “signing statement” for this bill, Dear Leader announces his kingly/dictatorly right to open your mail without a warrant:

The executive branch shall construe subsection 404(c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the Act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection.

For Bush of course, that means anyone who has a name that doesn’t end in something like –man” or “—son”, or who gets mail from that sort of person, or from some suspicious place like, say, San Francisco, or who might be attached to some subversive organization like, say, MoveOn. org.

Ask for not for whom the bell tolls…it tolls for you. –Ernest Hemingway

A retired professor says his mail is being opened.

ps: my family got me the “Disappearing Bill of Rights” coffee mug for Xmas. Pour in hot coffee and the Bill of Rights, printed on the outside, disappears, temporarily.

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Politics

Beer from a goblet: the Chimay experience


After a couple of hours at the marvelous DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park, we had dinner at the Park Chow, on 9th, south of the Park. For laughs, I tried the Belgian trappist beer Chimay, which is served in a Chimay goblet, supposedly to enable the beer’s “nose.” I must say, it was good, and I would have had another but I was driving, and the stuff is not weak, that’s for sure.

The Park Chow sounds like a Chinese place, but it isn’t. Park is for Golden Gate Park, and Chow is, well, “food.” It’s basically supposed to be American with some eclectic influences. I’d rate it “okay” but stay away from the pork chops (they were over the line).

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Filed under food/drink, San Francisco

US troops disapprove of Bush’s handling of war

Welcome to “The Emperor has no Brains” club, soldiers; join the Eye Wracky people and the Murcan people.

link

Our young men and women have been indoctrinated in “the mission” and “the chain of command,” and are naturally the last to figure out, and admit to themselves, that Bush is an incompetent boob who has no business running a lemonade stand, let alone a war. But 3000 of them have now died for this idiot, and thousands more permanently disabled. The idea that we are just acting out a Buscheneocon adolescent fantasy game digging a deeper hole, has finally begun to sink in.

The American military — once a staunch supporter of President Bush and the Iraq war — has grown in creasingly pessimistic about chances for victory.For the first time, more troops disapprove of the president’s handling of the war than approve of it. Barely one-third of service members approve of the way the president is handling the war, according to the 2006 Military Times Poll.

When the military was feeling most optimistic about the war — in 2004 — 83 percent of poll re spondents thought success in Iraq was likely. This year, that number has shrunk to 50 percent.

Only 35 percent of the military members polled this year said they approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, while 42 percent said they disapproved.

Of course, the Dear Leader insists that the troops are always uppermost in his mind.

As I think about this plan, I always have our oil Halliburton troops in mind. There’s nobody more important in this global war on terror than the toy soldiers photo-ops men and women who wear the substandard body armor head bandages artificial limbs uniform and their broken families,” he said.

Oh, and he has some land in Florida he wants to sell you…the poll shows that the troops are not fooled: 48 percent said they thought that President Bush had their best interests at heart.

And only 23 percent think Congress is looking out for them

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, healthcare, Iraq, Middle East

Van Morrison: the old guy can still rock

Come on out and dance
Whoa, come on out and make romance
Wild Night, Van Morrison

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Van Morrison

Went to see Van Morrison tonight in a ballroom in San Francisco. Probably wouldn’t have recognized him….I mean, he IS 61….see photo….

Great performance; has a good sized band: 2 women singers, 5 guitars including a country-oid steel guitar, keyboards, drums, etc. Did Wild Night, Brown Eyed Girl, etc; a little James Brown, some Sonny Boy Williamson, but also a lot of country, his latest thing.

Still does those funny vocal touches.

Finished off with St. James Infirmary and then a ROCKIN G-L-O-R-I-A.

Most fun I’ve had in some time. If you get a chance, go see Van the Old Man.

By the way, afterwards we stopped at Juni, on Sutter east of Van Ness, for sushi. A great spot. 

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Filed under entertainment, food/drink, music, San Francisco