Monday, March 31, 2008

Here's a story no one will want to miss

It recounts one man's story of the horrors of unjust imprisonment --
you may not be at all surprised to find out who imprisoned him -- and
tortured him for 5 years. It didn't surprise me.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Start your day with a laugh--this is HILARIOUS!

The Lone of the funniest stories I've heard yet! And It's true! (~.~) I'm still laughing....

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Swiftboating of Barack Obama - David M. Green



Forget about charisma, a very much overrated if not dangerous characteristic in politicians anyhow. What matters instead is this: It's been decades since someone spoke to the public with this much honesty and sophistication about our society and its choices. It was breathtaking just to witness that level of esteem pointed in our direction.

All the more so because of the epoch we've just survived. George Bush is far from the only contemptuous politician in recent history, but he is surely the worst of the lot, and his politics are instructive because of that.

In Bush's world, everyone is two-dimensional, at best. They're either good or evil. Folks is either with us or with the enemy. In Bush's comic book reality, no issue is ever nuanced. There's only right - which, remarkably, always happens to be his way - and there's wrong.

[In his speech, Obama] treated his listeners with a dignity and an intellectual esteem largely absent for a generation.

...he demanded sophistication in our thinking. He asked us to use our minds rather than our emotional reflexes, and to invest more energy into determining our own fate than that which is required for passively imbibing deceitful television ads, cold beer in hand.

When he implored us to reject the divisions of race, religion and nationality that right-wing politicians have been exploiting for decades to divert attention from "the real culprits of the middle class squeeze," he showed a political courage that is as exemplary as it is rare.

And when he did all of these things - but especially when he showed us an intellectual respect that we frankly haven't often deserved - Obama demonstrated that he perhaps really might belong in that pantheon of American political giants that includes Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and King, but precious few others.

...For the first time in a very long time, a presidential candidate is speaking to Americans as if they were grown-ups.

We're about to find out if anyone is listening.

The Swiftboating of Barack Obama

by David Michael Green March 28, 2008

If there's anything I've learned about American politics over the past decade, it's this: First, regressives will do anything - and I mean anything - to obtain power (the real purpose of which is to loot the public fisc of all items not securely nailed to the floor). And, second, just about everything they try works when employed against an American public possessed of stunning political immaturity.

It comes as little surprise, therefore, that two things happened over the last couple of weeks. One, that Barack Obama was swiftboated by means of a bogus inference in order to make him look like an angry black radical. And two, that a lot of dumb voters went for it.

It was pretty inevitable, really. I mean, the guy was getting rather, um, uppity, if you know what I mean. Winning elections and all. Mobilizing millions of voters. And so on. Plus he's talking like he might actually, really, seriously, shut off the government teat of Iraq war no-bid contracts, NAFTA/WTO-based cheap labor, and massive tax transfers for the hyper-wealthy. This shit had to end.


The Swiftboating of Barack Obama The Smirking Chimp


Pretzledental "Logic": Violence In Iraq is "Positive"

Bush tells us about the "positive moment" in Iraq--assured that his own daughters are safe at home. In the meantime, more American soldiers of poor and middle class parents are being killed in these "positive moments" in the unnecessary war Bush started on lies. Cheney says "SO?" when told two thirds of the American people disagree with the Iraq war--and fluffs away the deaths of over 4,000 of our brave soldiers with the words:"Well, they were volunteers." Yes. And Cheney wasn't -- when the Vietnam War was on and he was eligible for the draft, he got five deferments and never donned a uniform. The only thing Cheney volunteers for are deals where he knows he and his corporate buddies will make tons of $$$$ (and wow, has this war ever been profitable for them!!). And of course he "volunteered" himself for position of vice president when asked to choose a running mate for Bush. That was a dark decision on a black day for America. Now he "volunteers" other Americans' children for the war he engineered through an idiot puppet president. If you haven't yet watched "Bush's War" on PBS FRONTLINE, you can do so online--and hear the truth about how the war came about--from the mouths of those who were there on the political front lines witnessing the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld Machiavellian schemes that were being kept from us, the American people. See the video at:

Bush: Violence in Iraq is a “positive moment”
from C&L

You see, because we’re winning if casualties go down, and we’re winning if they go up. Got that? We can’t lose!

Times of London:

President Bush gave warning yesterday that Iraq’s “fragile situation” required the US to maintain a strong military presence there, even as he defended the withdrawal of British troops from Basra, the scene of heavy fighting in recent days.

In an interview with The Times, he backed the Iraqi Government’s decision to “respond forcefully” to the spiralling violence by “criminal elements” and Shia extremists in Basra. “It was a very positive moment in the development of a sovereign nation that is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law,” the President said.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

An "interesting" tour through a science museum -- short video

Now here's a rather different tour you can take with Creationists as they walk through a science museum with their children. Right wing fundamentalists are teaching a new generation of voters. These folks (half of the U.S. population!!!) are the voters who have given us Bush & Cheney. Watch the video, take the tour. Shake your head in wonderment. This video was presented on ABC's Nightline program. It's very educational, if not quite in the way the Creationists intended.

Personally, it would give me pause if I belonged to a political party with millions who think this way. You've just got to know these people are Republicans. They couldn't stretch their minds far enough to be Democrats. (Apologies to the few Republicans out there whose minds may be broad enough to actually believe in evolution. I don't think your president does.)



This little video from The Onion is not at all hard to believe....if only it weren't so close to being tragically true.... :-( This is what we have come to in our country.

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Unfortunately, our blue skies are often obscured by chemtrails, as seen in this video (with the beautiful voice of Eva Cassidy).


Blue (Murky) Skies



I highly recommend this book and the Oprah classes that are being held each Monday at  I have heard that up to two million people around the globe are tuning in to these classes every week! 

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)
by Eckhart Tolle

Read more about this book...

Bush's War - FRONTLINE

 Don't miss this program!  Informative, educational, and FACTUAL!

PBS Frontline: The Definitive Account of “Bush’s War”

Crooks and Liars

Tonight on PBS, part two of the Frontline special “Bush’s War” (or as I would call it, McCain’s War) will air. Part one — which covered the period from 9/11 to March 2003 — aired last night was absolutely remarkable in its grasp of the entire picture of how and why we are in Iraq. Although things will certainly evolve from where we find ourselves today, this special will undoubtedly be viewed as the definitive account of the Iraq War.

video_wmv Download | Play video_mov Download | Play Play

Check your local listings or watch the entire program online here. Also be sure to check out all the supplemental material that wasn’t included in the broadcast version.


A Mosaic

A mosaic of McCain and Bush made from the photos of the 4,000 soldiers killed in Iraq. It speaks for itself.

4000: A Mosaic


Monday, March 24, 2008

To be personally touched by the war, watch this video

Most Americans are not being personally affected by the Iraq war (but soon will be when taxes will necessarily be raised to pay for the Bush/Cheney debacle). Those who have been sent into this ill-begotten war that was based on the lies of our leaders are paying a high price--along with their families. Here is the story of one such soldier and his family:

Bill Moyers Journal: Body Of War

By: Nicole Belle on Monday, March 24th, 2008--Crooks & Liars

video_wmv Download Play video_mov Download Play

I defy you to get through this program without crying. ...On this week’s Bill Moyers Journal, Moyers spoke with Phil Donohue and Ellen Spiro about their new documentary feature Body of War, focusing on paralyzed Iraq vet Tomas Young.

DONAHUE: My inspiration for this film was the naked child running from the napalm. Remember that Vietnam picture? I mean, terrified, this little girl is totally naked. You can see the black smoke in the back. That picture won a Pulitzer Prize. See the pain. Don’t sanitize the war.

If you’re gonna send young men and women to fight for this nation, tell the truth. That’s one of the biggest reasons for the First Amendment. And we haven’t been. And so I thought I will tell the story, the real story of the harm in harm’s way.

You definitely see the pain and the truth while watching Tomas and his family cope with his injuries and try to find a way to give Tomas as much dignity and life as he can. I cannot speak highly enough of this little microcosm of tangible reality for a war made purposefully abstract so that we remain apathetic to it. You can watch the full episode at and order the soundtrack, featuring music by Eddie Vedder here.

Crooks and Liars » Bill Moyers Journal: Body Of War


Sunday, March 23, 2008

More Eva Cassidy -- a little bit of heaven

Lordy, has there ever been a better singer? She can sing anything and make it sound heavenly!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Eva Cassidy -- the voice of an angel on earth

This woman who lived such a very short life (she died at age 33) had the voice of an angel. I have never been affected by anyone's voice as I have been by hers. I never tire of hearing her sing. We were blessed to have her among us, even if for such a short while. She never knew she would become famous. I hope she knows now how her voice and songs have carried across the world, uplifting everyone who hears them. By clicking on the following songs, you are in for a rare treat! They bring peace to the heart.....

If you want to learn more about Eva, here is a biography telling about her remarkable life:



Friday, March 21, 2008

Body of War - Bill Moyers Journal

I encourage everyone to watch the Body of War segment of Bill Moyers' Journal for this week. It indelibly brings home the real cost of war. This is a program that should not be skipped.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Here we go again!!! Cheney says Iran "MAY" have restarted nuclear weapons program

The Dark Lord Cheney has been let loose again. He's on the prowl out there, fearmongering and telling us how "dangerous Iran MIGHT be. They MAY have NUCLEAR WEAPONS." When asked how that assessment comports with recent polls that show more than two-thirds of Americans think the Iraq war was not worth it, Cheney replied: "SO?" (!!!) The reporter asked, "You don't care what the American people think?" After a brief pause came his answer: "You can't be blown off course by polls." Well, we all know what the Cheney/Bush course is, don't we?

Next will come our invasion of Iran, which I believe this administration has had planned for many months, if not years. Expect Condosleezza to come out soon with her "mushroom cloud" warning.

Deja vu, anyone? Remember "Iraq MAY have WMDs" then "Iraq DOES HAVE WMDs." Then invasion. Then "OOPS. Well, they MIGHT have had WMDs." Five years and trillions of dollars later--and 4,000 of our soldiers dead and millions of Iraqis dead--we are still stuck in that tar baby, which McCain is predicting could go on for 100 more years.

Our Congress did not impeach these evil men. When we begged them to impeach Bush & Cheney, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (UGH) told us repeatedly, "Impeachment is off the table." SO--when a U.S. invasion of Iran begins, we will know who to blame. When will "We, the people" stop being the pawns of these powermongering demonic men who don't care if they turn the world upside down, as long as they and their corporate buddies make a profit? I'll venture a guess at an answer to that question: When we stop voting for them.


MUSCAT, Oman (AP) - Retaining his tough stance against Iran, Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that Tehran may have restarted the nuclear weaponization program that a U.S. intelligence report said was halted in 2003.

Speaking in Oman, a U.S.-allied Arab monarchy and neighbor of Iran's, Cheney told ABC News, "The important thing to keep in mind is the objective that we share with many of our friends in the region, and that is that a nuclear-armed Iran would be very destabilizing for the entire area."

In December an intelligence report known as the National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran's nuclear weapons development program was stopped in the fall of 2003 because of international pressure. The report, however, cautioned that Tehran continues to enrich uranium and still could develop a bomb between 2010 and 2015 if it decided to do so.

Critics of the Bush administration said the report should dampen any campaign for a U.S. confrontation with Iran.

But Cheney that that while the NIE said Iran had a program to develop a nuclear warhead, it remains unclear if it has resumed that activity.

"What it (the NIE) says is that they have definitely had in the past a program to develop a nuclear warhead; that it would appear that they stopped that weaponization process in 2003. We don't know whether or not they've restarted," he said.

"What we do know is that they had then, and have now, a process by which they're trying to enrich uranium, which is the key obstacle they've got to overcome in order to have a nuclear weapon," he added. "They've been working at it for years."

The vice president's visit to Oman, part of a 10-day trip to the Mideast, fueled speculation that the United States was ratcheting up military pressure on Iran over its nuclear program. As a quiet U.S. military ally, Oman allows the United States to use four air bases—including one just 50 miles from Iran—for refueling, logistics and storage of pre-positioned military supplies.

Cheney denied that he'd stepped up his opposition to Iran's nuclear policy.

"I've been pretty consistent over time about Iran," he said. "I don't think I've ratcheted up the rhetoric. I felt strongly for a long time, and a lot of us have, that Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons."

Cheney officials said the vice president wanted to visit the sultanate to show U.S. appreciation for its cooperation in fighting terrorism, but that Iran would be a top topic of discussion.

Before dining with Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Cheney borrowed his 60-foot royal yacht and went fishing.

A Cheney spokeswoman said the vice president, his wife Lynne, and daughter, Liz, a former State Department official who is traveling with her father as a private citizen, headed out under sunny skies into the Gulf of Oman on "Kingfish I." Cheney has had a personal relationship with the sultan going back to the time when the vice president was defense secretary, but the sultan did not go along on the fishing trip.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCain Missteps on Iraq; Lieberman has to correct him

McCain is the man who tells us he is "experienced" in foreign affairs. Sounds as if he is getting his tutoring from Bush who understands nothing about anything. I still have to laugh at how Bush had to be saved by Condi Rice when he said to the president of Brazil on his visit to that country, "Oh, do you have blacks here, too?" Personally, I wouldn't trust a Republican at the helm of our government for another hundred years or more! (Preferably MORE!)

McCain Missteps on Iraq; Democrats Pounce

EXCERPT: McCain has based his campaign in large part on his assertion that he is the candidate best prepared to deal with Iraq, [but he had to be corrected by Lieberman] on his misstatement. [That brings questions about] his knowledge and judgment.

“After eight years of the Bush administration’s incompetence in Iraq, McCain’s comments don’t give the American people a reason to believe that he can be trusted to offer a clear way forward,” Karen Finney, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement. “Not only is Senator McCain wrong on Iraq once again, but he showed he either doesn’t understand the challenges facing Iraq and the region or is willing to ignore the facts on the ground.”

Simple explanation of the Financial Crisis -- and how it came about

This essay also tells us what we can do about it (which really isn't much, except to hold on tight and ride it out).

Telling Bush, Cheney, and Congress to cut spending is like telling a hurricane to stop producing wind. The damage has been done -- and it was all fueled by greed. Chickens are coming home to roost.

SAY! I have an idea! Trillions have been spent and are continuing to go down a black hole in the Iraq war, which was not necessary and was started on lies by Bush & Cheney. Why don't we pull the plug on that war NOW? And pull the plug on the billions going to Halliburton, KBR, and other corporate buddies of B&C? Billions that they have pocketed for themselves, overcharging us taxpayers and cheating on what they delivered, to boot! But no--instead of that, Bush and Cheney are now planning to attack Iran and they are fully intent on doing so before the election in November! This is what has been wrought on us by those who voted for the worst administration in American history. And some of them voted for it TWICE! "Fool me once, shame on you...fool me, uh, means you can't get fooled again!"--famous quote from our brilliant pretzledent.

Well, I beg to differ. Anyone who voted for B&C the first time and then voted again to keep them in office was certainly fooled again! And these people will no doubt vote for McCain, who predicts we may be in Iraq for 100 years! Talk about not learning from your mistakes! UGH! ERRRGH!!!

What you're not told about the Financial Crisis

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's Speech Reflects His Inner Light

More and more, the stature of Barack Obama reminds me of Lincoln. We, the people now have a chance to put into office a superior human being as our leader after having endured so many inferior ones in the past several years. I hope and pray we don't pass by this remarkable opportunity -- perhaps being offered to us by the better angels of our nature.

Reminiscent of Lincoln's first inaugural address, Obama's speech is a call for us to not be enemies, but friends -- and to come together for the good of the whole. Here is the "better angels" quote from Lincoln's speech, which ended with a message to the Secessionists whom Lincoln would soon oppose in the bloodiest war in America's history:

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama

"A More Perfect Union"
Constitution Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the round table that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Good Article on Energy "Vampires"



( -- Some people bring unexpected lightness and comfort to your life. They crackle with energy, practically electrify you with their presence. And then there are those who leave you feeling stressed out. Or guilty. Or exhausted down to your very last molecule.

I call them energy vampires, and obnoxious or meek, they come in all forms. The sob sister, for one, always considers herself the victim. The world is always against her, and she'll recount every horrible thing that has happened to her, wallowing in every perceived slight.

The charmer is a constant talker or joke-teller who has to be the center of attention.

The blamer, on the other hand, doles out endless servings of guilt.

And then there's the drama queen, the co-worker who claims she almost died from a high fever or the neighbor who lives in extremes of emotion -- life is unbelievably good or horrifically bad.

No matter which type of energy vampire you're dealing with, you're allowed to walk away. Many of us find this really hard to do. We're afraid of being thought of as impolite; we don't want to offend people. But there are plenty of ways to remove yourself from a killing conversation. When leaving isn't an option, you can still maintain your energy level by making a few minor adjustments.

Recognize the signs

One of the first things to do is to recognize when you're being drained, and that begins with tuning in to your physical reactions. Is there a tightening in your chest when a certain person enters the conversation? Do you feel tired when you hang up the phone after speaking with someone? Does your head ache, or do you feel what I call "slimed" when another guest at a cocktail party starts talking to you?

Take a deep breath

The moment you feel zapped -- or hemmed in, or stressed out -- I recommend taking a breath. Breathing is a wonderful way to center yourself. Just follow the breath and tell yourself that you know what's happening and you can deal with it.

It's important to remember our individual power. I know from working with patients that we can lose it easily. The minute somebody comes in who's bossy or blaming, we feel diminished and tense up. If we can focus on the breath, or on an image of a striking sunset or a view from a mountaintop, the tension will drift away.

Use your energy

You can also use some of your own subtle energy to counter the effects of an energy vampire. Visualize a protective white light around you: an energy shield. You can still hear the person who's yelling at you or blaming you or pushing herself into your sphere, but she won't cut into you so viscerally anymore. You've created a buffer zone, where her negative influences can dissipate.

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is another way of protecting yourself; you draw a line saying, for instance, "This is what I can do for you, and this is what I can't." You don't have to convince the vampire of the rightness of your stance. Getting defensive simply adds to the negative charge of the encounter. You want to remain neutral. When someone starts pushing your buttons, and you start sizzling inside, you've got to make the decision not to react.

Step back

I also suggest you step back and think about what type of people aggravate you, because I believe that one law of energy is that we attract what we haven't yet worked out in ourselves. If I'm a very angry person, I'll find myself surrounded by angry people.

By paying attention to the people who seem so draining, you might discover something you need to address. It has been my experience that once you've worked through a particular issue, you're no longer worn out by that kind of energy vampire. And the vampires, robbed of a source, move on to more easily drainable audiences.

By Judith Orloff, MD, from "O, The Oprah Magazine," April 2002


Ohio's Voting Machines Are Now an Official Crime Scene

Kerry just stood by and let vote fraud happen in Ohio, without questioning it (even though hundreds of thousands of us were shouting at him to protest the obvious vote fixing). And it cost him and us the election, giving us four more years of the Bush/Cheney disaster. We have endured enough stupidity on both sides of the aisle in our government to last a lifetime! In this next election (selection?) we need to sweep the Congressional floor clean! With enough of us voting the bums out from both sides, even fixed voting machines won't be able to cope with the overwhelming amount of brooms we will bring into the voting booths.
Ohio's voting machines are now an official crime scene
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

At least 15 touch-screen voting machines that produced improbable numbers in Ohio's 2006 statewide election are now under double-lock in an official crime scene. And the phony "Homeland Security Alert" used by Republicans to build up George W. Bush's 2004 vote count in a key southwestern Ohio county has come under new scrutiny.

The touch-screen machines were locked up after Ohio's new Democratic Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, tried to vote last fall. On November 6, she spotted a gray bar with the words "candidate withdrawn" in a slot where the name of Democrat Jay Perez should have appeared. Her husband, voting nearby, told her Perez's name did appear, as it was supposed to, on his machine.

Perez had been a candidate in the race for Franklin County Municipal Judge. He withdrew his name after the county had finalized its ballots. But it now appears the ES&S machines left his name on some machines but not on others. Perez, a Democrat, wanted to avoid playing a spoiler in the race. But the appearance of his name on some machines may have helped Republican David Tyack win.

Brunner now worries that the state will never find out what happened. County election officials ordered the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation to seize the machines. Ohio Attorney General Mark Dann is conducting an investigation that may cost the state $48,000. Brunner recently told WVKO 1580AM radio: "When you're talking about democracy, it's priceless." In another interview with the Columbus Dispatch, Brunner noted "This is a huge problem. There is great concern that not every voter has the same ballot."

Ironically, Brunner requested a paper ballot in the March 4, 2008, primary, but a poorly trained poll worker gave her a provisional ballot instead. Two other staffers from her office were also given the wrong ballots. Brunner has since pledged to upgrade the training for Buckeye State poll workers.

Brunner further announced that she's banning the practice of so-called "sleepovers" where poll workers take the programmable and easily hackable voting machines home with them overnight prior to an election day.

Brunner succeeded Republican J. Kenneth Blackwell as Ohio's Secretary of State. She has vowed to make sure the Buckeye State does not repeat the experience of 2004, when Blackwell choreographed the theft of Ohio's 20 electoral votes for George W. Bush, giving him a second term in the White House. Since taking office Brunner has vowed to shift the entire state to voting on paper ballots, a move being fiercely resisted by numerous Republican-controlled Boards of Elections throughout the state. Thus far Brunner has forced the resignations of BOE chairs in two of Ohio's most populous cities, Cleveland and Columbus.

Matt Damschroder was removed as Franklin County Board of Elections Director on the Sunday prior to Ohio's 2008 primary election. Damschroder was previously suspended for a month without pay for accepting a $10,000 check from a voting machine salesman at the BOE building. The check, made out to the Republican Party, was delivered on the day the state's contracts for electronic voting machines were open for bidding. Damschroder was former chair of the Franklin County Republican Party and the state's leading foe of paper ballots. "Damschroder was very opposed to paper ballots and was stoking the fire against them," Brunner told WVKO.

Dennis White, the new director of the Franklin County BOE was skeptical of the masking problem, but says if it happened, "it's huge. We have a federal election coming up this November," according to the Dispatch. White, who admits to having little knowledge of computers, is the former Ohio Democratic Party Chair.

That election may once again hinge on Ohio's vote count. In 2006, Franklin County officials failed to conduct mandated tests on each machine, instead testing only one machine per precinct on a random bases. A report by SysTest Labs, a Colorado consulting firm, confirmed that what Brunner saw on her machine was "exactly what you'd see if someone masked a name," the Dispatch reported.

Investigators also found that the "audit logs" on the voting machines were turned off by a board programmer in April, 2007, which has hindered investigators from reconstructing software changes. White says the vendor told a board employee how to disable the auditing system, allegedly to speed programming. Brunner said other vendors told her that "You're never supposed to tell a (client) how to do that."

In the primary this past March, the BOE allegedly did test all Franklin County's machines. But some counties ran out of Democratic paper ballots as an influx of apparently Republican and Republican-leaning independents flooded the polls, apparently to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Enquirer has reported that a "casual conversation" between a "friendly" FBI agent and the county emergency services director in a parking lot may have contributed to the phony Homeland Security alert that prompted the Warren County BOE to lock down the vote count in the 2004 election. The BOE declared the emergency and then moved the ballots from the publicly designated vote center to a nearby unauthorized warehouse. They also barred the public and media from witnessing the counting. Warren County, which is outside Cincinnati, then gave Bush 72% of the official vote count, far exceeding expectations. With neighboring Butler and Clermont Counties, Warren gave Bush a margin of 140,000 votes, which exceeded the 119,000 margin by which he allegedly won the election.

The Enquirer reports that "hundreds" of e-mailed complaints poured into the county BOE after the election, including one from an angry voter in the United Kingdom. "Stop destroying our democracy," said one voter from South Carolina.

The Free Press has previously reported that Warren County BOE employees were told on the Thursday prior to the 2004 election day, that there would be a Homeland Security threat on election day. An examination of the ballots by a Free Press investigation team uncovered numerous irregularities in the Warren County vote that helped give Bush the presidency again.


The Inevitable "B" Word (BAILOUT)

We're staring straight into the black hole of Depression that can rapidly become worldwide. It is inevitable the U.S. government will do a bailout of the bad lenders, rather than letting our financial system fall into complete ruin.  Add one more item under "Managerial Un-Skills" to the George W. Bush and Richard Cheney resumes. 

To all those who voted for these _____ (fill in the blank--I can't think of anything terrible enough to call them anymore):  Your "patriotic" lapel pins can't save us from the disaster you helped bring on all of us.  Think of all that your chosen "leaders" have cost us--financially, in and world respect!  Think of all the trillions it will take to bail us out of this mess (if that's even possible)--plus the trillions that have already gone down the tubes in the unnecessary Iraq war started on Bush/Cheney lies.  Will we ever recover from this tragedy/travesty that was thrust upon us through voter stupidity and vote fraud?  Only God knows.

by Paul Krugman

O.K., here it comes: The unthinkable is about to become the inevitable.

Last week, Robert Rubin, the former Treasury secretary, and John Lipsky, a top official at the International Monetary Fund, both suggested that public funds might be needed to rescue the U.S. financial system. Mr. Lipsky insisted that he wasn’t talking about a bailout. But he was.

It’s true that Henry Paulson, the current Treasury secretary, still says that any proposal to use taxpayers’ money to help resolve the crisis is a “non-starter.” But that’s about as credible as all of his previous pronouncements on the financial situation.

So here’s the question we really should be asking: When the feds do bail out the financial system, what will they do to ensure that they aren’t also bailing out the people who got us into this mess?

Let’s talk about why a bailout is inevitable.

Between 2002 and 2007, false beliefs in the private sector — the belief that home prices only go up, that financial innovation had made risk go away, that a triple-A rating really meant that an investment was safe — led to an epidemic of bad lending. Meanwhile, false beliefs in the political arena — the belief of Alan Greenspan and his friends in the Bush administration that the market is always right and regulation always a bad thing — led Washington to ignore the warning signs.

By the way, Mr. Greenspan is still at it: accepting no blame, he continues to insist that “market flexibility and open competition” are the “most reliable safeguards against cumulative economic failure.”

The result of all that bad lending was an unholy financial mess that will cause trillions of dollars in losses. A large chunk of these losses will fall on financial institutions: commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds and so on.

Many people say that the government should let the chips fall where they may — that those who made bad loans should simply be left to suffer the consequences. But it’s not going to happen. When push comes to shove, financial officials — rightly — aren’t willing to run the risk that losses on bad loans will cripple the financial system and take the real economy down with it.

Consider what happened last Friday, when the Federal Reserve rushed to the aid of Bear Stearns.

Nobody expects an investment bank to be a charitable institution, but Bear has a particularly nasty reputation. As Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times reminds us, Bear “has often operated in the gray areas of Wall Street and with an aggressive, brass-knuckles approach.”

Bear was a major promoter of the most questionable subprime lenders. It lured customers into two of its own hedge funds that were among the first to go bust in the current crisis. And it’s a bad financial citizen: the last time the Fed tried to contain a financial crisis, after the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998, Bear refused to participate in the rescue operation.

Bear, in other words, deserved to be allowed to fail — both on the merits and to teach Wall Street not to expect someone else to clean up its messes.

But the Fed rode to Bear’s rescue anyway, fearing that the collapse of a major investment bank would cause panic in the markets and wreak havoc with the wider economy. Fed officials knew that they were doing a bad thing, but believed that the alternative would be even worse.

As Bear goes, so will go the rest of the financial system. And if history is any guide, the coming taxpayer-financed bailout will end up costing a lot of money.

The U.S. savings and loan crisis of the 1980s ended up costing taxpayers 3.2 percent of G.D.P., the equivalent of $450 billion today. Some estimates put the fiscal cost of Japan’s post-bubble cleanup at more than 20 percent of G.D.P. — the equivalent of $3 trillion for the United States.

If these numbers shock you, they should. But the big bailout is coming. The only question is how well it will be managed.

As I said, the important thing is to bail out the system, not the people who got us into this mess. That means cleaning out the shareholders in failed institutions, making bondholders take a haircut, and canceling the stock options of executives who got rich playing heads I win, tails you lose.

According to late reports on Sunday, JPMorgan Chase will buy Bear for a pittance. That’s an O.K. resolution for this case — but not a model for the much bigger bailout to come. Looking ahead, we probably need something similar to the Resolution Trust Corporation, which took over bankrupt savings and loan institutions and sold off their assets to reimburse taxpayers. And we need it quickly: things are falling apart as you read this.



The most evil administration our country has ever known does not allow truth to get out to the people. The moment someone tries to shine a flashlight into the dark hole of government Bush and Cheney preside over, they send the hounds of hell after them. Thank god for Bill Moyers and Greg Palast and other true journalists like them -- so few in number these days -- who are valiantly researching and reporting on the sleazy underbelly that has been kept from us. Every time a whistleblower brings truth to us, Bush and Cheney try to silence them. Is this the way you want your government to work? Why isn't IMPEACHMENT being considered by Pelosi and Reid? Because of their do-nothing stance, they are two Democrats who should be jettisoned from Congress themselves.

If you want truth about your government, the following video is WELL WORTH WATCHING.

Bill Moyers Journal: Going after the whistleblowers

video_wmv Download Play video_mov Download Play (h/t Heather)

It’s infuriating that the Bush administration has gone so far around the Constitution without any accountability from those who are charged with oversight, yet the few journalists and whistleblowers that have tried to shine a light on the actions of the Bush administration are fighting to not go to jail. (!!!) Case in point: James Risen, the reporter who broke the warrantless wiretapping story and who is now fighting to not go to jail after being subpoenaed to reveal his sources. Rick Karr looks at how the Bush administration has consistently sought to squelch journalists and whistleblowers like Risen, Sibel Edmonds, and even Talking Points Memo.

The entire episode (including an interview with Rep. Henry Waxman on government oversight) can be viewed online.

Transcripts below the fold.

(Read the rest of this story…)


Sunday, March 16, 2008

New Seven Deadly Sins Named by Vatican


Failing to recycle plastic bags could find you spending eternity in Hell, the Vatican said after drawing up a list of seven deadly sins for our times.
See also

The seven deadly sins have been retooled by the Catholic Church to bring them up to date. They now include polluting the environment, taking drugs, and becoming obscenely wealthy. As mortal sins, these are serious and, if committed, will send you straight to hell.

I remember when I used to go to that church in the "old days" that eating meat on Friday would also land you in hell. And woe unto you if you were not baptized. Off to Limbo you must go, a place where you will never see God. That's a place where all unbaptized babies go, too. They haven't had a chance to "sin" but, oh well, it was their bad luck to die before water could be poured on their heads by a priest--and now they can never see God. I've often wondered how many folks are burning in the hell fires who ate meat on Friday when it was a sin. They must have been envious when they found out that those who died after the church declared it was no longer a sin to eat meat on Friday are now enjoying heavenly bliss. Apparently, timing is everything.

These are just more examples of the foolishness of religious doctrine that is devised to control the followers. I was brought up as a Catholic but began to question--there were so many things like Limbo that didn't really make sense. Actually, I read recently that the Pope decided it didn't make sense, either--and the Limbo doctrine is now out the window. Makes you wonder what happened to all those folks and babies in Limbo. Were the gates of Heaven, previously forever closed to them, now automatically opened to admit them? Or were they never in a place called Limbo--and the Pope was wrong on that one right from the beginning? If so, then what does that mean about the Pope's infallibility? Oops. You can see how troublesome this can all be to the church when somebody starts to question.

As my questions mounted during my Catholic days and I voiced them in a letter to the editor of our diocese's Catholic newspaper, I was publicly warned by a priest (who proclaimed he was proud he had remained "orthodox") that I was on dangerous ground. He made it very clear that questioning is not allowed. In religion (whether big or small cults) the rules must be followed so the "sinners" can be kept in line and the donations can keep flowing. So eventually, I left it all behind and now live by my own inner compass. It feels much better this way. (~.~)

Of course, this does not mean everyone should agree with my conclusion/decision. I realize that churches provide communities and support for their members, and many people receive sustenance in this way. I can only speak for myself. I may be wrong--and headed for hell in a handbasket. Actually, with Bush in charge these last eight years, he has made sure we are all in that handbasket together. ;-)

Just some musings on a sunny day... (~.~)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama's Mother: A Free-Spirited Wanderer Who Set Her Son's Path

I like the sound of this woman. I would like to have known her! She makes me like Obama all the more.

U.S. / POLITICS March 14, 2008
The Long Run: A Free-Spirited Wanderer Who Set Obama's Path
By Janny Scott
People who knew Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro well say they see her influence in her son, Barack Obama.

Dubya's Surprise

The White House Idiot is full of surprises--all of them bad. Just when you think he couldn't possibly get any worse--he does.

We're really past expecting anything much, but in times of crisis you would like to at least believe your leader has the capacity to pretend he's in control.

O.K., so he's not good at first-day response. Or second. Third can be a problem, too. But this economic crisis has been going on for months, and all the president could come up with sounded as if it had been composed for a Rotary Club and then delivered by a guy who had never read it before. "One thing is certain that Congress will do is waste some of your money," he said. "So I've challenged members of Congress to cut the number of cost of earmarks in half."
Besides being incoherent, this is a perfect sign of an utterly phony speech. Earmarks are one of those easy-to-attack Congressional weaknesses, and in a perfect world, they would not exist. But they cost approximately two cents in the grand budgetary scheme of things. Saying you're going to fix the economy or balance the budget by cutting out earmarks is like saying you're going to end global warming by banning bathroom night lights.
George Speaks, Badly
By Gail Collins
Op-Ed Columnist
New York Times
Watching George W. Bush address the New York financial community Friday brought back many memories. Unfortunately, they were about his speech right after Hurricane Katrina, the one when he said: "America will be a stronger place for it."
"You've helped make our country really in many ways the economic envy of the world," he told the Economic Club of New York.
You could almost see the thought-bubble forming over the audience: Not this week, kiddo.
The president squinched his face and bit his lip and seemed too antsy to stand still. As he searched for the name of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia ("the king, uh, the king of Saudi") and made guy-fun of one of the questioners ("Who picked Gigot?"), you had to wonder what the international financial community makes of a country whose president could show up to talk economics in the middle of a liquidity crisis and kind of flop around the stage as if he was emcee at the Iowa Republican Pig Roast.
We're really past expecting anything much, but in times of crisis you would like to at least believe your leader has the capacity to pretend he's in control. Suddenly, I recalled a day long ago when my husband worked for a struggling paper full of worried employees and the publisher walked into the newsroom wearing a gorilla suit.
The country that elected George Bush - sort of - because he seemed like he'd be more fun to have a beer with than Al Gore or John Kerry is really getting its comeuppance. Our credit markets are foundering, and all we've got is a guy who looks like he's ready to kick back and start the weekend.
This is not the first time Bush's attempts to calm our fears redoubled our nightmares. His first speech after 9/11 - that two-minute job on the Air Force base - was so stilted that the entire country felt like heading for the nearest fallout shelter. After Katrina, of course, it took forever to pry him out of Crawford, and then he more or less read a laundry list of Goods Being Shipped to the Flood Zone and delivered some brief assurances that things would work out.
O.K., so he's not good at first-day response. Or second. Third can be a problem, too. But this economic crisis has been going on for months, and all the president could come up with sounded as if it had been composed for a Rotary Club and then delivered by a guy who had never read it before. "One thing is certain that Congress will do is waste some of your money," he said. "So I've challenged members of Congress to cut the number of cost of earmarks in half."
Besides being incoherent, this is a perfect sign of an utterly phony speech. Earmarks are one of those easy-to-attack Congressional weaknesses, and in a perfect world, they would not exist. But they cost approximately two cents in the grand budgetary scheme of things. Saying you're going to fix the economy or balance the budget by cutting out earmarks is like saying you're going to end global warming by banning bathroom night lights.
Bush pointed out - as if the entire economic world didn't already know - that Congress has already passed an economic incentive package that will send tax rebate checks to more than 130 million households. "A lot of them are a little skeptical about this 'checks in the mail' stuff," he jibed. Jokejoke. Winkwink.
Then, after a run through of "ideas I strongly reject," Bush finally got around to announcing that he was going to "talk about what we're for. We're obviously for sending out over $150 billion into the marketplace in the form of checks that will be reaching the mailboxes by the second week of May.
"We're for that," he added.
Once the markets had that really, really clear, Bush felt free to go on to the other things he was for, which very much resembled that laundry list for Katrina ("400 trucks containing 5.4 million Meals Ready to Eat - or M.R.E.'s ... 3.4 million pounds of ice ...") This time the rundown included a six-month-old F.H.A. refinancing program, and an industry group called Hope Now that offers advice to people with mortgage problems.
And then, finally, the nub of the housing crisis: "Problem we have is, a lot of folks aren't responding to over a million letters sent out to offer them assistance and mortgage counseling," the president of the United States told the world.
But wait - more positive news! The secretary of Housing and Urban Development is proposing that lenders supply an easy-to-read summary with mortgage agreements. "You know, these mortgages can be pretty frightening to people. I mean, there's a lot of tiny print," the president said. (He ought to know...the master of fine print signing statements)
Really, if he can't fix the economy, the least he could do is rehearse the speech.