It seems hardly a week goes by without another astounding revelation of the Bush Regime’s agenda to intervene without limit into the lives of Americans, and everyone in the world, to further its right-wing, psychopathic agenda. Here’s the latest grim news:

Bush plans to screen all Americans for ‘mental illness’: As reported in the British Medical Journal, under another Orwellian program entitled, in Bush Newspeak, ‘The New Freedom Initiative‘, Bush wants all Americans, including pre-school children, to be examined by armies of psychiatrists and those showing signs of potential “disruptive or aggressive behaviours and emotional disorders”, and treated with a range of new, expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs available exclusively from — surprise! — pharmaceutical companies that have contributed three times as much to Bush as to Kerry. This is a flagrant invasion of government into the private medical histories and choices of Americans — Big Brother doping up American children. The plan, developed in Texas, has been decried there as a massive payoff to the drug companies, and this new initiative makes it a national program. An executive who blew the whistle on kickbacks from pharma companies to the Texas legislators was fired for his indiscretion, the BMJ reports.

More foreign journalists terrorized, deported by US Customs: The Guardian tells the increasingly common story of harassment, detention and intimidation of British and other ‘friendly nation’ journalists when they attempt to enter the US. Although this treatment is mild compared to the now-routine despicable, arbitrary and sometimes lethal abuse that people born in the third world face at the US border, it is evidence that the megalomanic and paranoid Homeland Security brownshirts are now treating every non-American, and every American with a foreign-sounding name or appearance as an enemy of the state, and treating them accordingly. It’s a government-run hate factory run amok.

In other depressing and under-reported US news:

Balance of payments debt reaches another record: A statistic watched closely by economists, but not really understood by the media, is the Net International Investment Position (NIIP), the cumulative total of foreign investment and trade deficits. The Center for American Progress analyzes the unprecedented degree to which the US, and global, economy depends on willingness of the US’s trade partners to continue to finance the US’s insatiable demand for foreign goods and services, especially in the increasingly weak US dollar. See my earlier articles for the explanation of the danger. But take a look at the chart above to see how far it’s gone, surpassing $2.5 trillion dollars, a fourth of the entire US economy, last year. Imagine what would happen if the foreign creditors get nervous and decide to call in their debt, or at least denominate it in some other currency. Imagine what will happen when interest rates spike, and the interest on this debt alone suddenly exceeds the lenders’ ability to repay it without slashing domestic spending and massively increasing taxes. That’s exactly what happened to Argentina, and to the Asian ‘tiger’ economies. Except this time, the bankrupt debtors will take the creditors with them.

Heard the latest about anthrax?: There has been surprisingly little blather from the Bush machine about the recent revelations (in the 9/11 report etc.) that Al Qaeda has planned, and still plans, an anthrax-based bioweapons attack on US soil. The group claiming responsibility for the Madrid bombings said that Operation “Winds of Black Death”, involving a planned attack on the United States, was 90% complete. Attorney General Ashcroft has described the statement as coming from an Al Qaeda spokesman. But while senior government and all military personnel now get the (still risky and somewhat unreliable) anthrax vaccine, plans to administer or at least stock vaccine for all Americans appears to have been abandoned. So while Homeland Security wastes time (and America’s reputation) harassing harmless foreigners and torturing Iraqi inmates, this real threat to Americans’ security is ignored. It’s almost enough to make you think they are perversely hoping for another 9/11, or worse, to get re-elected.

Scary stuff. Michael Moore and Ralph Nader were both up in Canada this week urging Canadians not to make the same mistake as Americans by electing a Conservative government here on Monday. As I’ve reported already, even if the Conservatives get a plurality they won’t be able to forge a lasting governing coalition. Michael and Ralph have their work cut out for them in their own country, however. I’ll have more to say about both of them next week.

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  1. Jon Husband says:

    It’s really hard to believe the first item, as reported in the BMJ … really hard.I would think that this, publicized effectively, could potentially have as much impact as Fahrenheit 911 seems to be having.Truly ! unbelieveable.

  2. Susan says:

    On #1, I have no problem with increased funding for mental health care. And some new drugs have wonderful effects on Schizophrenia and other debilitating mental disorders. Let’s also keep in mind that the toxins in our environment today may be contributing to a genuine increase in serious psychiatric disorders in children.But if he’s targeting otherwise normal or slightly hyperactive children, this could be truly dangerous. Many of these kids are already overmedicated by Aspartame and other drugs present in the food supply. Not to mention waaaaaay too much sugar.I read a while back that 2/3 of foster kids in one of the southeastern states were on Ritulin. My brother was on that for a week when he was a kid (he had severe hyperactivity), and my parents took him off after they found him in his room having what can only be described as a psychotic episode.The real solution to many of these problems is an economic system where parents have more time with their kids. My mom had to stay home and care for my brother full time, managing his diet down to the ounce. Most parents these days just can’t do that.

  3. But, Susan – ignoring the fact that the state’s interference with the bodies of random citizens is reprehensible – why can’t parents stay home with their children? There’s a problem here.Our system used to allow one income to buy a house, a car, a few appliances, and raise children. But now, that’s not possible. Children aren’t puppies, they need constant, active parenting. Shoving them into kennels so both parents can work is not an appropriate – or socially sane – solution. And it results in increased mental disorders like ADHD, depression, OCD, anxiety…

  4. Richard says:

    Frank Rich has called into question the veracity of the al Qaeda “spokesman” saying that plans are 90% for an anthrax attack on the United States:”The announcement was not from al Qaeda at all, Lisa Myers of NBC News reported two days later, but from a Web site run by a group that “has no known operational capability and may be no more than one man with a fax machine.” (The same “group” had also taken credit for last year’s Northeast power blackout.)”

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Hmm..interesting Richard, thanks. Gotta go back and look at an earlier report on last year’s (or is it 2 years now?) anthrax attacks that raised alarm over the ease of getting anthrax, especially the ‘disappeared’ Siberian supplies that reported ended up in N.Korea.I’m not going to wade into the mental health discussion. We do need much more funding for it, but what this Initiative is proposing is just drugs, expensive ones at that, prescribed at the discretion of the state to children. I don’t think we know enough about the effect of these drugs on kids, and I sure as hell don’t wash the Bushies deciding who in our society is sufficiently maladjusted to be medicated. The art of psychaitry is still medieval, and this is like the insane push for genetic engineered crops all over again — money triumphing over discretion and science.

  6. I hesitated to compare this state-sponsored drugging to Canada’s steralization of mentally ill patients, but the developing brain is so fragile and we know so little about it that Bush’s plan could very well be handicapping or damaging an entire generation of children. Even if he’s not it’s still wrong, of course.As for the debt-payment thing, how long do you think it will take, Dave, for this race of economics to run its course?

  7. Michael says:

    #1 is very disturbing! Thanks for the information.

  8. Marijo says:

    Oddly enough, here in Tennessee, our republican governor has proposed that our State health insurance stop paying for the newer psychotropics, because they are so damned expensive. (Our State health insurance covers more people and services than plain Medicaid.) They calculated that the health care system spends more on two new drugs (only one is for mental illness) than on the University of TN School of Medicine. As a businessman, the governor can’t justify government spending like that. The pharmaceutical companies really seem to have gone over the deep end with their <strike>greed</strike> pricing. As for the screening for Mental Illness, they should maybe be more careful what they look for. Some huge percentage of our prison inmates are mentally ill, but the prisons don’t want to buy those medicines, either, and pretending they don’t know is a great way to avoid the responsibility for treatment. Also most of the truly mentally ill won’t have the money or insurance to buy the meds, so the government will be opening a can of worms if they set out to identify just who these people are and then refuse to provide any treatment for them due to the expense.I wouldn’t be too shocked about it all, but I haven’t read the report yet either. If I change my opinion, I’ll let you know. My guess is that it’s another of Bush’s Orwellian schemes to provide less treatment for those who really need it under a program that seems to promise an improvement (in the grand tradition of the horrific Reagan years).

  9. Dave Pollard says:

    Renee: We’ve seen a 50-year-long game of economic chicken being played: Republicans (and in Canada, Conservatives) run up huge deficits mostly by cutting taxes and hence services; the service cuts distress the voters who toss them out; Democrats/Liberals have to correct the economic folly by limiting the pace at which services are restored, and also raising taxes to start paying back the massive debt, and voters feel betrayed by that, so they toss them out, and the cycle repeats. Bush has pushed this much further than anyone else, and may well force Kerry to introduce legislation making deficits illegal and capping debts. What will follow is a long hard period of austerity, as America pays for Bush’s recklessness, but hopefully for the last time. The relative unpopularity of bribing taxpayers with their own money means that probably won’t be necessary in Canada.

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