Saturday, August 29, 2009

Senator Edward Kennedy, A Good Friend to Chile

From the Daily Beast(Teddy's Idealism):

A 1973 military coup overthrew the popularly elected left-wing government of Salvador Allende, whom the United States worked against. Admiral Augusto Pinochet’s new regime shot hundreds of Allende’s supporters in the National Stadium, although the United States Embassy whitewashed the new regime. By 1973, Kennedy had assembled enough support in the Senate to enact a ban on all arms sales to Chile, and in 1981 secured a ban on all aid to that nation until it provided basic human rights. In 1986, he visited Chile, and despite government-run demonstrations against him, met with and encouraged opposition politicians and mothers who came with pictures of children who had been “disappeared” by the military.

In 2008, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, herself tortured and exiled by the Pinochet regime, presented Kennedy with the Order of the Merit of Chile, saying “you were there for us when human rights were being massively and systematically violated, when crime and death was around our country. You are one of the great, good, and true friends of Chile.”

September 23, 2008


BOSTONSenator Edward M. Kennedy today received the highest award bestowed to a civilian by the government of Chile, the Order to the Merit of Chile Award, for his decades-long commitment to the struggle of human rights and democracy in the country. Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet, the President of Chile, traveled to the Senator’s home in Hyannis Port this afternoon to present the award. President Bachelet is in the United States for an annual visit with heads of state at the United Nations.

Kennedy has been a leading voice in the struggle for human rights and democracy in Chile for three decades. Following the 1973 coup against democratically elected president Salvador Allende, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the tortured and disappeared. In 1974, Kennedy led the fight in Congress to cut off military aid for the Pinochet regime. This was the first time Congress directed an end to military aid to another nation without waivers, conditions and delays.

In 1986, Senator Kennedy traveled to Chile to observe human rights conditions. The Pinochet government refused to meet with him and actively tried to obstruct his meetings with human rights and religious leaders. Four years later, Senator Kennedy returned to witness the swearing-in of Chile's democratically-elected President and has continued working closely with Chile, and President Bachelet, as they have become a thriving democratic ally of the United States.

From the Huffington Post:

John McCain, who has harshly criticized the idea of sitting down with dictators without pre-conditions, appears to have done just that. In 1985, McCain traveled to Chile for a friendly meeting with Chile's military ruler, General Augusto Pinochet, one of the world's most notorious violators of human rights credited with killing more than 3,000 civilians and jailing tens of thousands of others.

The private meeting between McCain and dictator Pinochet has gone previously un-reported anywhere.

According to a declassified U.S. Embassy cable secured by The Huffington Post, McCain described the meeting with Pinochet "as friendly and at times warm, but noted that Pinochet does seem obsessed with the threat of communism." McCain, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the time, made no public or private statements critical of the dictatorship, nor did he meet with members of the democratic opposition in Chile, as far as could be determined from a thorough check of U.S. and Chilean newspaper records and interviews with top opposition leaders.....

At the time of McCain's meeting with Pinochet, Chile's democratic opposition was desperately seeking support from democratic leaders around the world in an attempt to pressure Pinochet to allow a return to democracy and force a peaceful end to the dictatorship, already in its 12th year. Other U.S. congressional leaders who visited Chile made public statements against the dictatorship and in support of a return to democracy, at times becoming the target of violent pro-Pinochet demonstrations.

Senator Edward Kennedy arrived only 12 days after McCain in a highly public show of support for democracy. Demonstrators pelted his entourage with eggs and blocked the road from the airport, so that the Senator had to be transported by helicopter to the city, where he met with Catholic church and human rights leaders and large groups of opposition activists.

Mark Schneider, a foreign policy aide and former State Department human rights official who organized Kennedy's trip, said he had no idea McCain had been there only days before. "It would be very surprising and disappointing if Senator McCain went to Chile to meet with a dictator and did not forcefully demand a return to democracy and then to publicly call for a return to democracy," Schneider said.

Surprising? I'm not surprised at much anymore.

The links between Chile and the USA are endless-I can really only write about a few each time. I believe Chile under Pinochet was an immense planned experiment of privatization under Friedman 'free market" economics and the tactics practiced to get the Chilean people to behave-a combination of starving the people under Allende(military kept the food on the docks and out of the stores) and feeding them under the Pinochet dictatorship. A Chilean friend told me that on the day of the coup, four hours later, food was in all the stores. "FOUR HOURS!" she said. It all worked very nicely. Behave and you get to eat. If you still won't behave, you'll disappear. Thanks to Friedman's "miracle", corporations have control of utilities, education, and even rivers. And there was no economic miracle.

“You, Senator Kennedy, were such a friend to Chile in our hour of need,” said Bachelet as she delivered the award. "You were there for us when human rights were being massively and systematically violated … You understood what was happening from the very beginning ... and you acted accordingly."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chuck Norris and sections 440 and 1904

Every day, there is a new conspiracy theory about US healthcare bills. Now, remember, there are several in Congress and NONE are a finished bill. They are being discussed and debated. Chuck Norris made some commentary which has spread like wildfire, repeated on blog after blog with absolutely no research, no reading-simply repeated over and over.

Chuck says

"It's outlined in sections 440 and 1904 of the House bill (Page 838), under the heading "home visitation programs for families with young children and families expecting children." The programs (provided via grants to states) would educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills.

The bill says that the government agents, "well-trained and competent staff," would "provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains ... modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices," and "skills to interact with their child to enhance age-appropriate development."

Are you kidding me?! With whose parental principles and values? Their own? Certain experts'? From what field and theory of childhood development?

Government agents??? Like nurses ???

I have to start by saying Chuck runs a program called Kickstart and is paid by the Dept of Education for these services. Sure, it's "non-profit" but don't believe for a minute that means Chuck and everyone else doesn't get paid. Non-profit means you want to make sure you spend everything you make. On salaries, etc., just spend it, so you don't lose that valuable tax-free status.

KICKSTART is a Middle/Junior High school program that creates strong moral character in teens through martial arts. Founded in 1990 by Chuck Norris with the help of former President George H.W. Bush, KICKSTART provides a positive alternative to drug and gang-related peer pressure for at-risk youth. KICKSTART is the only prevention program in Dallas offered as part of the daily public school curriculum.

Well, how nice-DAILY part of the curriculum. Chuck has done very well...

So, from the Kickstart Myspace page....

"My KICKSTART Program is actively working in 43 schools in the Texas public schools. We have over 6,000 TEAM members learning the philosophies of the martial arts in order to live a more productive life and make healthy choices for themselves. Please browse through these pages to see why I am so proud as well as devoted to my Foundation.Someday, it is my vision to have this prevention program in every school in America! I want to make the nearly 7,000 students we now have develop into 24,000,000 students and beyond."

"I desperately need your help today. You can join this fight against drugs and gangs and make this happen for America and for the youth of our blessed country. Please send your tax deductible donation to the Houston address or conveniently charge to your Master Card or Visa today and let's give our children strong, healthy philosophies and hope for a productive future. We can achieve these goals together!"

During President Bush’s 1988 campaign, Chuck Norris spent several weeks traveling nationwide appearing at fundraising events. It was during these trips that Chuck had the opportunity to discuss his idea of creating a Foundation that targets and instills protective factors which are known to enhance resiliency.* Originally, the Foundation would target drug abuse prevention. President Bush was very encouraging and set up meetings for Chuck Norris with various government entities including the U.S. Department of Education, and the Office of National Service (Thousand Points of Light).

I see, Chuck spent a lot of money on campaign donations in order to get close to Bush I(that takes really big money folks). Lo and behold, daddy Bush was "very encouraging."

On August 16, 1990, the Kick Drugs Out of America Foundation was formed in Washington, D.C. The Foundation received its 501(C)(3) status on March 1, 1991. The headquarters for the Foundation is located in Houston, Texas and also maintains an office in Dallas. Currently, the Foundation has a national board with Chuck Norris serving as Chairman, Houston and Dallas Advisory Boards, an Executive Director, a Director of Operations, a Community and School Relations Director, a Business Manager and over forty Black Belt instructors. Funding permitting, the Foundation will be expanding on a continual basis.

And Chuck serving in all these capacities-how many do you think are paid positions?

From Wikipedia..

501(c)(3) exemptions apply to corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, educational purposes, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. [7][8]

Another provision, 26 U.S.C. § 170, provides a deduction, for federal income tax purposes, for some donors who make charitable contributions to most types of 501(c)(3) organizations, among others.

And if you google 501(c)(3), you will find lots of advice on how to set up your very own. Of course, you'll need a lot of money...but it's big business.

Chuck Norris’ KICKSTART Foundation needs full-time, committed Black Belt Instructors of the Martial Arts to reach at-risk youth on a daily basis as part of the school curriculum. The Foundation has an opportunity for possible expansion in Texas and needs qualified instructors who are willing to relocate and undergo a background check.


Instructors teach approximately 150 students in a public elementary, middle or high school. Beyond teaching kicks and punches, instructors are required to instill positive life skills to all students. Instructors are required to organize special activities such as belt presentation ceremonies, after school classes and a summer program for their school. They will also assist and participate in tournaments, fundraisers and other events for the Foundation.

Wait a second here-you mean make healthy choices as those home visit folks want too? Oh, I see, Chuck thinks he would make better choices that say, a health professional. And these black bely instructors have the training to teach "positive life skills"???? So, Chuck is fine with positve life skills-he just likes his own values better. I see. "At risk youth" on a daily basis? You mean "invading their home"? I think I would choose a nurse home invasion over a Chuck Norris home invasion....

Here's a link from Alternet:

It was only a matter of time. Chuck Norris has weighed in on the health care debate.

In an op-ed for the conservative outlet, the former kung-fu action hero says that he was thumbing through the health care bill and found a disturbing section that "is about the government's coming into homes and usurping parental rights over child care and development."

The idea that health care reform will lead to government agents raising your children has been floating around right-wing blogs for the last several weeks. Norris' op-ed quickly got a link on the Drudge Report.

But it has no basis in reality. Norris is referring to section 1904 of the House bill, which "provides grants to States to support voluntary, evidence-based home visitation programs for pregnant women and for families with pre-school age children in order to improve the well-being, health and development of children."

The programs would be voluntary, a number of states already have such programs, and this sort of legislation is introduced almost every year.

Last Congress it was H.R.2343, which sought to "expand quality programs of early childhood home visitation that increase school readiness, child abuse and neglect prevention, and early identification of developmental and health delays, including potential mental health concerns, and for other purposes."

What kind of radical government-takeover advocates cosponsored such treachery? Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), a member of House GOP leadership, for one. And Republicans Mark Souder (Ind.), Zach Wamp (Tenn.), and Rick Renzi (Ariz.).

The Senate version was introduced by that well-known communist Kit Bond, a Republican from Missouri. Former Republican Rep. Kenny Hulshof of Missouri backed the House measure before he left Congress to run for governor. Republican Senators Pat Roberts (Kan.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) cosponsored Bond's bill.

Rep. Todd Platts (R-Penn.) sponsored a similar measure this year, H.R. 2667, the Early Support for Families Act. H.R. 2205, the Education Begins at Home Act of 2009, is cosponsored by Republicans Mike Castle (Del.), John McHugh (N.Y.), Vernon Ehlers (Mich.), and Thomas Petri (R-Wisc.).

The bill passed committee unanimously by a voice vote. Republicans spoke highly of home visits at the hearing.

And here's another.

By the way, Chuck, people who follow these things refer to "House bills" by their H.R. number. The one you are trying to roundhouse is H.R. 3200.

Anyway, you seem to have forgotten to include this next part. I thought it was perhaps one of the more, um, important passages:

‘‘(a) PURPOSE.—The purpose of this section is to improve the well-being, health, and development of children by enabling the establishment and expansion of high quality programs providing voluntary home visitation for families with young children and families expecting children.

That's right, Chuck; it's voluntary.

At ease, Texas Ranger.

Here's the whole bill.

I noticed that you didn't provide a link to it on, Chuck, but you did link to your non-profit's website. But, hey--maybe it was an oversight.

What does this have to do with Chile? I just cannot believe the US won't have healthcare as good as in Chile. It is too crazy and beyond comprehension.