Workers Rights



(Los Angeles 1985) Fifteen hundred Scientologists crowded into the courthouse, trying to block access to the documents. The church, which considers it sacrilegious for the uninitiated to read its confidential scriptures, got a restraining order, but the Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of the material and printed a summary.

“A major cause of mankind’s problems began 75 million years ago,” the Los Angeles Times wrote, when the planet Earth, then called Teegeeack, was part of a confederation of ninety planets under the leadership of a despotic ruler named Xenu. “Then, as now, the materials state, the chief problem was overpopulation.” Xenu decided “to take radical measures.” The documents explained that surplus beings were transported to volcanoes on Earth. “The documents state that H-bombs far more powerful than any in existence today were dropped on these volcanoes, destroying the people but freeing their spirits—called thetans—which attached themselves to one another in clusters.” Those spirits were “trapped in a compound of frozen alcohol and glycol,” then “implanted” with “the seed of aberrant behavior.” The Times account concluded, “When people die, these clusters attach to other humans and keep perpetuating themselves.”

The NewYorker
February 2011


Quintessential Idiot


Vice President: Mubarak Has Stepped Down

A tourist in Cairo spots three photographs on the wall of a restaurant: one of Nasser, another of Sadat, and the third of Hosni Mubarak. He asks the owner who the first man is, and the owner tells him it's the man who overthrew the Egyptian monarchy and served as the country's president. "Who's the second man?" the tourist wants to know. "That's Anwar Sadat, our next president," comes the reply. "He made peace with Israel but was assassinated in 1981." Next the tourist wants to know who the third man is. "Him?" says the restaurant owner. "That's my business partner's father."
(A popular joke in Egypt.)

NEW YORK -- In his first speech to the country, the new president of Egypt promised "not to commit myself to what I cannot implement, hide the truth from the people, or be lenient with corruption and disorder."

That was Hosni Mubarak in 1981, taking the reins of his proud country in the wake of Anwar Sadat's assassination and expressing a determination to steer Egypt in a new direction. During a crackdown on profiteering by politically-connected wealthy businessmen, Sadat's half-brother and his sons were jailed and handed steep fines. Several dozen prominent members of Sadat's circle were slapped with criminal charges for misusing their power and other corrupt practices. Mubarak was known for his "rigid personal probity," according to a 1990 New York Times profile, which noted that "his family has not profited from his office."

But over the last 20 years, Mubarak, his family and his close circle of advisers have enriched themselves through partnerships in powerful Egyptian companies, profiting from their political power, according to numerous reports. The 82-year-old leader and his two sons also wield the levers of the government, including the military and the country's preeminent political party, to reward friends and punish enemies.

Mubarak -- who enraged thousands of protesters by refusing to step down in a widely-watched speech to the nation on Thursday night -- and his family have a net worth of at least $5 billion, analysts tell The Huffington Post. Recent media reports pegging the family fortune at between $40 and $70 billion are considered to be exaggerated.

Much of their fortune has reportedly been invested in offshore bank accounts in Europe and in upscale real estate. When questioned about Mubarak family bank accounts, which could be frozen under Swiss laws regulating ill-gotten gains, Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlump announced earlier this week that auditors are looking into whether the family has any such assets in the nation's banks. Last month, the Swiss government froze the accounts of Mubarak's ally, ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose overthrow inspired the first protests in Cairo.

The Mubarak family reportedly owns properties around the world, from London and Paris to New York and Beverly Hills. In addition to homes in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh and the upscale Cairo district of Heliopolis, they also have a six-story mansion in the Knightsbridge section of London, a house near the Bois de Bologne in Paris and two yachts.

Largely through Mubarak's two sons, Gamal and Alaa, the family controls a network of companies that earn money through concessions wrangled from foreign companies that do business in Egypt, according to prominent businessmen and "Corruption In Egypt: The Black Cloud Is Not Disappearing," an investigative report compiled in 2006 by a coalition of opposition groups. (The report, which names the companies allegedly owned by the Mubarak brothers and details multiple instance of corruption by government officials, has been cited by numerous international good government groups, such as Transparency International, but it was taken offline and is no longer available on the Internet. The Huffington Post obtained a copy, replete with rhetorical flourishes and thinly-sourced allegations, which is available here.)

"Egypt's state under Mubarak's regime is an embodiment of corruption," concludes the report, with descriptions of numerous allegations of corruption involving bribery, undue influence and nepotism.

In the 1980s, Mubarak seemed sincere in his desire to crack down on corruption in an effort to distinguish himself from Sadat, says an Egyptian-American businessman who often does business in the country. "But as time went on, the cronies around him started taking advantage of the system," he says. "And the other factor was his children got into business, taking commissions out of each and every company that comes to Egypt. The way they have amassed that money is not by stealing but by ensuring that businesses that want to operate in Egypt pay from 5 percent to 20 percent commission to a company formed by Gamal Mubarak. I know businessmen who have been squeezed this way."

Some of the family's wealth is also believed to be through partnerships with foreign companies -- under Egyptian law, foreign businesses are required to give a local partners a 51-percent stake in their Egyptian operations. "According to this law, any multinational company needs to have a local sponsor, and this local sponsor usually goes through members of the family or powerful people in the ruling party," says Aladdin Elaasar, the author of "Last Pharaoh: Mubarak and the Uncertain Future."

A spokesman for the Egyptian Embassy did not return calls for comment and members of the Mubarak family could not be reached for comment.

Privatization initiatives sponsored by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Agency for International Development have been accused of favoritism. When several historic hotels were sold by the government to friends of the Mubaraks, local newspapers complained about the "smell of corruption."

The wealth of the Mubarak family and other elites stands out in a country where millions toil as low-wage laborers, high rates of inflation make it harder for those aspiring to a middle-class lifestyle and unemployment is a persistent problem -- half of all Egyptian men don't have a job and 90 percent of females remain jobless two years after graduating college, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report.

Gamal, who has been groomed to succeed his father before the recent protests, was educated at the American University of Cairo and spent six years working as an investment banker for Bank of America. He then formed his own investment advisory firm, Med Invest Partners, which helped Western investors seeking to purchase stocks and companies in Egypt.

Alaa, the older brother, is a businessman who owns a company that services most of the airlines in Egypt, according to Elaasar, though he reportedly fell out of favor when he was accused of benefiting from privatization initiatives. One persistent rumor making the rounds is that the government enacted a law in 2001 making seat belts mandatory in vehicles because Alaa has a concession to import seat belts.

Close friends of the Mubarak government also prosper. Taher Helmy, adviser to Gamal and Hosni and president of the American Chamber of Commerce, recently bought a $6.1 million apartment overlooking New York City's Central Park. Ahmed Ezz, a steel magnate and close confidant of Gamal, has been accused of using his connections to monopolize the steel market.

Several former government officials have started to go public with their allegations of corruption. Last week, former deputy foreign minister Ibrahim Yosri and 20 lawyers petitioned Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, the country's prosecutor general, to put Mubarak and his family on trial for allegedly stealing state wealth. Yosri did not return emails for comment.

In 2005, the most senior official to defect in decades fled to Switzerland and began a campaign to have Mubarak put on trial at Belgium's International Court of Justice for corruption and human rights abuses. "The Mubarak era will be known in the history of Egypt as the era of thieves," said Mohammad Ghanam, former chairman of the legal research unit in the Egyptian Interior Ministry. The unlikely whistleblower condemned the regime in a speech to a human rights conference in London, condemning Mubarak and his sons in the strongest terms: "his official business is the looting of public money, and we find that the super-corrupt, ultra-delinquents have attained state posts; extreme corruption and treachery throughout the land has caused the current condition of our country, as all of you know!"

Ghanam's case turned a strange corner in 2007. Though he was granted political asylum by Switzerland, he later claimed that Swiss authorities were trying to coerce him into infiltrating and spying on the country's Arab community. When he vehemently refused and some of his comments appeared on jihadist Websites, Ghanam was jailed for what Swiss authorities called his "dangerosite" (French for "dangerousness").

His brother, Ali, who lives in the United States, says that he has been unable to talk to his brother for more than two years and blames the Mubarak regime for his detention. "He exposed the corruption of the Mubarak family," Ali Ghanam says, "and look what happened to him."


Remembering Ronald Reagan.

In California they remember "Governor" Ronald Reagan and "Bloody Thursday" when he sent in 2700 National Guard troops to crush student demonstrat­ions, 6000 strong, on the Berkeley Campus in May 1969. Reagan called the Berkeley campus "a haven for communist sympathize­rs, protesters­, and sex deviants."
Many were injured including the elderly, and children. One killed by shotgun blast, some blinded by the tear gas, several crippled for life.
Addressing the California Council of Growers at Yosemite, Reagan defended his actions, saying: "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with. No more appeasemen­t."

Another B actor playing the part of a tough guy to an adoring and gullible public.
And always remember, "Trees cause pollution.­"


What Are The Bad Things Ronald Reagan Did?

What Are the Bad Things That Ronald Reagan Did During His

I know the good things, I just need as many bad things as possible for a school project.
(Ignorant 16-year-old)

Deregulation of the banking industry and supply side economics led to our current
Iran contra comes to mind as well.
Cut and ran from Lebanon after our Marine Corps barracks in Beirut was bombed.
Refused to allow federal federal funding for aids research until a courageous young man named Ryan White publicly shamed him into reversing his position that aids was god's punishment for homosexuality and therefore trying to treat it like it was against god's will.
He gutted federal funding programs for poor college students.
Fired the air traffic controllers and deregulated the airline industry, resulting in a massive increase in air traffic fatalities.
He laid a wreath at the tomb of an unknown German SS soldier from WW2, but declined
to visit a nearby concentration camp.
He proclaimed that trees caused air pollution and that ketchup was a vegetable.
eliminated federal funding for planned parenthood. about the same time, infant mortality
rates in america began to skyrocket... i believe this was due to the fact that planned
parenthood provided the only source of pre-natal medical care in poor neighborhoods
(they aren't JUST an abortion provider). in 1980, the USA had the second lowest infant
mortality rate in the world. today, we're ranked 39th. myrrdin_...
What are the bad things that Ronald Reagan did ... file:///Users/pj/Desktop/index.html
1 of 6 2/5/11 11:14 AM
Other Answers (12)
reduced federal funding for inexpensive social programs like head start by 90%. the kids
who grew up without these during the 80's went on to become the crack kingpins of the
Encouraged Americans to hate poor people with his speeches about "fur coat-wearing
welfare queens picking up their food stamps in limousines". this claim was later
debunked as an out-and-out lie.
Nearly got us all killed when he made his famous "open mic" gaffe, saying "i've just
signed a bill outlawing russia. we begin bombing in 5 minutes." russia was listening and immediately jumped to their version of def-con 2. we haven't been that close to nuclear annihilation since the cuban missile crisis.
Began the tradition of doubling the national debt during republican administrations.
national debt when he took office stood at $900 billion. when he left, it was $2.1 trillion.
I could continue this all day, but this should be enough to send you scurrying for sources to support or refute my points.

Reagan rebuked his own surgeon general, C. Everett Koop, for advocating the use of condoms to prevent transmission of the disease.
You're cute, but you can't have it both ways. You can't criticize people for not using
condoms at the same time you criticize a man for advocating their use.

He had members of his 1980 campaign staff contact Iran, and told them if they would be
willing to hold onto the US embassy hostages until after the US election (he defeated
Carter), then the US would send them missiles.
He ignored, delayed, and didn't fund the growing AIDS epidemic research.
Reaganomics. This so-called economic concept of Ronald Reagan was that if you cut
taxes you would increase Federal Revenues since economic activity would increase.
That has been proven false over the long term.

The War on Americans, I mean Drugs comes to mind. By attacking marijuana as a drug
on par with heroin, Reagan created a campaign that has cost tax payers BILLIONS of
dollars and led to millions of Americans being prosecuted for doing nothing wrong.
There is not one single reported case of someone dying from long term marijuana use.
Unlike alcohol or tobacco. There were numerous studies to prove the marijuana is
harmless, but Reagan ignored those in a typical Republican fashion. Americans are still paying for his dishonesty and mistakes.

During the campaign he sent envoys to Iran to promise them parts for their military
equipment if they kept the American Hostages jailed until after the 1980 election.
He funded this and an illegal war in Central America by getting involved in the drug
business, the Iran Contra Scandal.
When you are done with that you may want to look up the Savings and Loan scandal.
The S&L industry looted the US treasury.

David J...
He started America on it's current trajectory of ballooning foreign debt.
Clinton did start to turn things around until Bush No.2 came along.
With the mess he left the economy in, Obama has had no choice but to spend to try to dig America out of it.
It's ironic that so many Republicans are frothing at the mouth about the increasing public debt under Obama when it's almost exclusively due to Republican presidents that

"Black Monday" the day the stock market crashed under Reagan.
Reagan also cut public funding to mental hospitals with a very tragic result in the fact that many mental patients were literally tuned out onto the cold hard street. Ironic Reagan himself suffered from the mental disease of Alzheimer's after that.
There is nothing that can top that in my opinion except for the fact the the so called
Trickle down economic theory does not work and the tax breaks to big corporations just
end up in their off shore tax free bank accounts any way instead of creating more jobs

Dr.R. Luxemberg...
Invaded Grenada, Armed the Contras in Nicaragua, failed to budget money for HIV, he
was anti-labor as for example breaking the airline controllers union, he cut welfare
benefits and in the process mocking a woman as a welfare queen. Made deals with Iran
to not release the hostages until after the election, in exchange for arms so that he
could, take credit. Corruption in foreign policy with some of those indicted being Sec of State George Schultz, Elliott Abrams, and Col. Oliver North.
He placed a wreath on the grave of an SS soldier in Germany.

Hohn M...
Mislead or miscalculated about the impact of his tax cuts and overall impact of his
economic policies. We were told that his policies would produce a balanced budget by
the end of his first term (oops he missed by $2 trillion).
Funded the Contras, illegally, while they were killing innocent people and Americans.
Did nothing to prevent the S & L crash (costing taxpayers hundreds of million dollars)
even when warned the crash was about to happen. There's more but I can't type!

Reaganomics (which we are paying for now). The idea that giving even more money to
the most wealthy in this country, and somehow it will trickle down was the biggest con
Ronnie played on the American people. The continuation of this flawed thinking has
continued through Bush, Clinton, and Bush.. and is evident in some of things Obama
has done as well. Bottom line on that is that since Reagan, wages have moved steadily
downwards for working Americans, to now. While on the flip side, the wealthiest
Americans have made tremendous gains in personal wealth. From 2001-2008 alone,
the wealthiest 400 people in this country saw their collective wealth increase by around 700 billion dollars.
Ridiculous tax cuts on the wealthiest (part of Reaganomics).
Iran Contra... lots of info out there about that.
Manipulating the Iran hostage crisis (which I would call treasonous, but did swing the
election from Carter to him).
Started the whole idea of underfunding government programs, then a couple years down the road and say, "look government can't do anything right."