Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I went to the Bay Area UFO Conference on Saturday

I was particularly glad to see that Bob Dean of Tucson, AZ is back after a 5-year hiatus from speaking at these conferences. He related that he took the hiatus after becoming very discouraged that, for all the information he and others like Clifford Stone had brought out into the mainstream eye, there was not a huge hew and cry from the public -- and the government continues to stonewall the public on the subject of UFOs. But, at the urging of many people, including his son who is a high-ranking Naval man (admiral), he is back telling the story that so much needs to get out to the public at large.

Bob Dean has a fascinating history militarily and personally. While in the military, he rose to the rank of Command Sgt. Major and had the highest security clearance possible (Cosmic level). He spent years of his career at SHAPE headquarters in Paris in the '60s. He is the best speaker I have ever heard at these conferences--and I have been going to them for many years. His story is compelling -- and he is discovering more and more truth as the years go on, through his dogged determination to get to the bottom of the coverup and what the UFO visitations are all about. He is angry that the government has been able to keep such important facts from the public for so long. He calls it "the greatest story never told." His talk yesterday was beyond fascinating -- the huge hotel auditorium was filled with people from all over the country who are interested in Bob's pursuit for the truth and encouraged him to speak over his time limit. Bob will soon be 80 -- he introduced a former NASA official, age 87, who has also brought out his own story about information he learned while serving in NASA. Clifford Stone was there, too -- another former military man with a wide scope of information regarding UFOs and aliens, gleaned during his years in military service. These men are aging and they want to get the truth out as much as possible before they pass on, as have so many others in what they call their "Old Boys' Network." It is obvious when listening to them that they are speaking from their own direct experience.

I highly recommend the Bob Dean interview videos (see links below). I only wish the very irritating woman interviewer would have listened more instead of interrupting -- she was one of those interviewing types who wanted to put across her own knowledge, instead of listening to the interviewee. Dean had great patience with her frequent interruptions, but it was extremely annoying to be listening to him and knowing more information was about to follow -- and suddenly she would interrupt, throwing the interview into another direction. In reading some of the readers' comments on these youtube videos, I found I was not the only one who wanted to send her out of the room--permanently.

Please watch the two-part interview of Bob, and the other videos if you have time. I think you will find them as intriguing as I have! They are sure to make you start thinking about all that is being kept from us by our government. Last night, the National Geographic channel replayed the ABC special with Peter Jennings-- UFOs: Seeing is Believing. And it was played just a couple weeks ago on ABC itself. More and more often this kind of program is being put on major TV channels -- I believe it may be part of the government's plan to introduce the public gradually to the idea of UFOs and their obvious existence. Perhaps they are doing it because they know the "visitors" are planning to tell us, if they don't.

Whatever your belief is about UFOs, you may want to watch the following videos to judge for yourself whether Bob Dean and Cliff Stone are believable. I promise you that, at the very least, you won't be bored!!! If you find the information intriguing and credible enough, please feel free to recommend them to your friends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI9fS8Y-fww&feature=related  (Part One -- a 59-minute long interview with Bob Dean) Part #2 - interview with Bob Dean  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5vjv3e9xAo&feature=related  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPUOBd94_cY&feature=related  Cliff Stone and Bob Dean  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2DNSEKx1aM&feature=related  (Cliff Stone on Extra-terrestrial life forms)    
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Do you think intelligence should be a necessary quality for a president or vice president?

I realize that we haven't had an intelligent president for the last 8 years, but do we want to replace him with yet another clueless person? Many Republicans seem to want leaders who are "just like me"--and those are the types they vote for. Sarah Palin's interviews have shown exactly who she is. If it matters to you that your country's leaders be able to speak intelligently and articulately with a keen perception of present-day issues, her performance so far hasn't been very promising. The following article relates Sarah's latest interview with Katie Couric. In another interview, she was unable to name any Supreme Court decision, other than Roe v. Wade.

Palin, a Journalism Major, Can't Name a News Source She Reads

Sarah Palin said she does not support the morning after pill as a form of contraception, strongly implied that homosexuality was a choice, and could not name a single source of news that she turns to for information, in yet another installment of her interview series with Katie Couric.

Appearing on CBS Evening News, the Alaska Governor seemed calmer than she had been in previous sit downs. But while she only occasionally provided the type of befuddled responses that had even conservatives scratching their heads, her interview was nevertheless shaky.

Asked what newspapers and magazines she reads, Palin - a journalism major in college - could not name one publication.

"I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media," she said at first. Couric responded, "What, specifically?"

"Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years."

"Can you name a few?"

"I have a vast variety of source where we get our news," Palin said. "Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, 'wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?' Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America."

Later, when pressed on a variety of cultural issues, Palin provided red meat for religious conservatives. But her answers seemed to fall on the far edge of mainstream political thought. She said she was "unapologetically" pro-life when asked if she opposed abortion even for a 15-year-old raped by her father.

"[I would] counsel that person to choose life despite the horrific, horrific circumstances," she said, before moderating her position a bit: "If you're asking, though, kind of foundationally here, should anyone end up in jail for having an ... abortion, absolutely not. That's nothing I would ever support."

Asked whether she believed that the morning after pill should be outlawed, Palin did not directly address the question, saying only: "Personally, and this isn't a McCain-Palin policy, I would not choose to participate in that kind of contraception."

And quizzed about her position on gay-rights, Palin cited a homosexual friend whom she is close with before noting that she "made a choice" about her sexuality.

"I have," she said, "one of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years who happens to be gay and I love her dearly. And she is not my gay friend. She is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I would have made."

These positions may, in the long run, endear Palin even more to her conservative following. But combined with her failure to name a source of news she turns to, they are also bound to have people buzzing up through Thursday night's vice presidential debate.

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A Contrast in Character

Calm, Methodical Obama vs. Angry, Ungracious McCain
by Amb. Richard Holbrooke

Friday's unique free-form debate format offered the best insights so far into the vast differences, values and style of Barack Obama and John McCain, and how they would approach the challenges that only a president can decide. It was the stunning contrast in personal behavior, not their answers, that was most revealing.

Given the time spent on the economic crisis, Jim Lehrer had time for only five "lead" questions on national security--on Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, and homeland security. Other major issues will have to await later debates. But there was enough time for many intense and revealing exchanges. With a command of both the facts and the underlying issues, and a reassuring manner, Obama convincingly passed the key test of the debate--is he qualified to be Commander-in-Chief? But the real insights came in the revelations about the way each man thinks under pressure, and the way they interacted.

First, note a recurring pattern: With the exception of Iraq, where the disagreement began with Obama's opening sentence, Obama usually began by laying out broad themes, often mentioning instances of agreement with McCain--frequently using phrases like "John is absolutely right"--before going on to stress their differences. This is unusual, and part of what makes Obama a unique leader; I do not recall any previous major party candidate in a debate volunteering so many instances of common ground with his opponent. McCain's response struck me as odd and even ungracious; he has often proclaimed he would work across the partisan divide, but he undermined his own claim by completely ignoring Obama and his comments. Instead, he attacked Obama repeatedly, using phrases such as "Senator Obama just doesn't understand. . ." at least ten times.

The manner in which each man approached problems was strikingly different. McCain understandably emphasized his own personal experiences, but almost never made clear what he thought was the larger purpose of policy. Each problem was treated on its own, and McCain's proposed policies were invariably confrontational. John McCain's world focuses almost entirely on threats. Obama usually agreed with McCain on the nature of these threats, but his proposals for action were more insightful, sophisticated, and comprehensive, and, unlike McCain's, included the use of diplomatic and economic and moral power.

These striking differences were not simply debate tactics; they highlighted differences between the two men that are in their DNA. One is the product of the brawling traditions of the United States Navy, and survival under unimaginable conditions in a Hanoi prison. John McCain has prevailed in life not by seeking common ground (ironically, the most notable exception was his historic voyages of forgiveness to Vietnam). What has kept him energized (and alive) is his enormously combative style, which he proudly calls "maverick," and his quick, sometimes pre-emptive attacks on opponents. It is not a criticism to say that he is a gambler; he said so himself in his memoirs and in the debate.

Although Barack Obama articulates his positions in a calm, methodical, and understated way, he is clearly just as tough as McCain, or he would never have come this far in life, against unbelievable odds. But he thinks about how to solve problems in a manner much more conducive to successful governance than McCain. While he made clear he is ready to use military force if necessary, his life and career embodies the search for common ground between peoples of different backgrounds, different races, different points of view. During the debate he often emphasized the non-military aspects of American power--including diplomacy backed by American muscle, the restoration of respect for the nation, and the direct link between America's economic strength and its national security.

Astonishingly, McCain had virtually nothing to say on any of these issues--yet these are the tools that must be precisely balanced and deployed with skill if the nation is to regain its leadership position in the world.

This difference was reinforced by the much-noted failure of McCain to look in Obama's direction or address him directly during the debate, and by the grim looks that left many viewers with the impression McCain was just plain angry.

The overall effect was exactly the opposite of what McCain hoped to achieve: Obama showed that he could handle the frontal assaults of an aggressive and seasoned senator-war hero in the very area McCain was perceived to be strongest. Obama offered the larger vision for the nation--and a reassuring sense he would approach issues with the seriousness they required. The gambling, brawling style of John McCain has its attractive side to Americans, but it is not what we need in the White House in these troubled times.

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Visualize THIS!

Visualize
The year is 2016. We glance at the television one morning and see Obama having another of his many press conferences . He has now been in office for almost 8 years. It hasn't been perfect, but things are way better than when he took office in January of 2009. You notice that he still has that winning smile and that take charge, positive energy that he had when he was campaigning way back in 2008. You remember back to how concerned you were about whether or not he would win in 2008, but are now contented that he has been safely in office for such a long time. He and Congress have done much to address global warming, health care, development of alternative energy sources and a variety of other important matters to the country and the planet. You feel deep gratitude for the past eight years and how things have unfolded.
See it...Feel it....Breathe it...Pass it on... this was forwarded to us from an unknown author, and makes perfect sense to me....
Let's start working for Obama-Biden on all levels--practical, emotional, and visual. Let's start remembering all of the wonderful reasons we want Obama.
THE CHALLENGE: take 30 seconds right now. Close your eyes and imagine exactly what our country will feel like with President Obama. Imagine how good it will feel. Imagine whatever it is about him that you desire.
Imagine the pride.
Imagine the diplomacy.
Imagine the peace.
Imagine the wind mills and the clean cars.
Imagine the citizen groups.
Imagine the earth being healed and revitalized.
Imagine being very proud of your country and its leader.
Imagine whatever it is that draws you to support Obama.
Imagine what your life will look like.
Imagine it several times a day. We can shift and change the vibration of this country with positive visions just like this.
DO IT.. It will feel good!
Then pass this on to all of your Obama supporter friends. If we all take 30 seconds several times a day to shift into this positive
vibration, it will work.
YES WE CAN.
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The Expectations for Sarah

She is an even bigger disaster than Bush, waiting in the wings should McCain win the presidency. And McCain himself isn't much better. They are a Double Disaster--and Republicans want to foist them on us, after having forced eight years of Cheney/Bush down our throats! ENOUGH ALREADY!
The Sarah Palin Farce

by Brent Budowsky

Perhaps if Sarah Palin does not drool and fall unconscious during the debate, the media will credit her with a good performance. Then again, maybe not. Then again, maybe she will babble incoherently with ridiculous bromides that don’t make sense, which is what happened in the few interviews she has given. McCain should have chosen Tina Fey for vice president. What is truly amazing is that Fey's brilliant spoofs of Palin use her exact words as comedy.

John McCain made the blunder of the century picking someone he did not even know, whose knowledge base falls below that of freshman members of Congress on simple issues, let alone hard issues. Her mumbling and bumbling about how her national security experience with Alaska close to Russia was weird, incoherent and ridiculous. Her mumbling and bumbling about the economic crisis was a jumble of clich├ęs and talking points that didn't fit together or make even minimal sense. She sounded like the village idiot, even on 100 percent predictable and easy questions. To be devastated by Katie Couric is ridiculous.

My biggest concern is her repeated lie that she killed the Bridge to Nowhere when it is now documented, with proof positive, from every source, that her claim is, indeed, a lie. It is alarming that anyone who could succeed to the presidency would have such contempt for the truth, and for voters, that she keeps repeating a proven, demonstrable lie. Just what America needs in a president, right?

Palin's false claims about earmarks, Palin's extreme abuse of power in Alaska followed by Nixon-like claims of executive privilege and Rove-like vendettas and cover-ups make her a walking parody of Dick Cheney.

The Sarah Palin choice was a fiasco, a mega-disaster, rapidly turning into a farce. This person is so manifestly unqualified and so obviously ignorant even on major issues that have been on the front page for years, that it is nothing short of alarming that she could succeed to the presidency.

Of course, the lunatic right-wing base of the Republican Party adores her, but for everyone else, from independent voters to Reagan Democrats, from high-level Republicans to a growing list of conservative commentators, the Palin choice was a ridiculous farce and a genuine danger to the nation.

John McCain increasingly looks like an angry, emotional, hyper-partisan and reckless gambler who could be even more dangerous than George Bush as president. His ridiculous intervention in the bailout talks was a farce. His claiming credit for the bill passing at the moment it was being defeated was comic opera. His choice of Sarah Palin was a farce for his campaign and an insult to men and women alike.

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Astrological insights into Obama's birth chart

I've been looking at Obama's birth chart and taking heart from the Sabian symbols for some important placements. The Sabian symbols are a kind of American I Ching derived in 1925 through psychic divination by a clairvoyant woman named Elsie Wheeler, and, used by astrologers, they are known to give deeply significant meanings to the 360 degrees of the Zodiac. They've been further interpreted by Marc Jones and Dane Rudhyar, astrologers who saw the potential in chart interpretation with these symbols. Elsie Wheeler was given 360 cards, one by one, with each degree of the Zodiac printed on them. She put each one up to her forehead, and immediately had a vision/picture come into her mind. She told what she saw, and it was written down. Later, more expansive interpretations were given to the pictures she saw.

As I look at his chart, I think Obama has the potential to be a great president, if he can break free of the ruler-types who will try to control and manipulate him into doing their bidding. The Sabian symbols are very convincing that he is the right man for our time.

He has a grand trine of Venus (Cancer/5th house) trine Neptune (Scorpio/9th house) trine Chiron (Pisces /1st house).
Venus trine Neptune is a spiritual blessing, representing inner qualities of real worth that attracts others to help and support the person. It's said by intuitive astrologers to represent sacrifice and loving service given in past lives, which earns the person the reward in this lifetime of a deep love union with a partner who will be supportive. He seems to have this in Michelle. Unconditional love is the higher aspect of a Neptune/Venus trine--and gives a charisma that uplifts and inspires others. Obama seems also to have this quality in abundance.

Chiron is a small planetoid, positioned between Saturn and Uranus, discovered in 1977. It's a planet of initiation that helps us to pay attention to our continual transformation, our mystical feelings, and our emotional clearances. It rules healing of all kinds--and, believe it or not, it is known as a "maverick" (a real one, not a fake like McCain). It represents mediation between a traditional viewpoint steeped in ideas of the past, and an unconventional viewpoint looking towards the future. It's a bridge between Saturn, the establishment, and Uranus, the revolutionary. Chiron is midway between--not belonging to the establishment but not desiring to destroy it, either. It's the "how-to" planet for accessing subtle energies, and now, more than ever before, evolved people on earth are being made aware of these subtle but powerfully transforming energies. Chiron is also the bridging planet between life and death. It's interesting to note that, synchronous with the discovery of Chiron, near-death experiences began to be taken seriously and researched.

Chiron is important because it describes the nature of wounds that one has received in the early stages of life and of major influences on us. It describes what connects us with our inner suffering and provides us with a route through that suffering to healing. Through understanding, we achieve our own healing and come to realize how we can best help others, so it is often called the planet of "the wounded healer." The trines from Venus and Neptune to Obama's Chiron give him a real understanding of other's pains and problems. As a black person in a white world, he has had to walk a tough path himself and can empathize with the difficult problems of society as a whole. Instead of becoming hardened and closed down as McCain has, Obama's suffering has expanded his consciousness and made him want to help others.

I decided to look at the Sabian symbols for his ascendant and each of the planets in that grand trine. I felt there might be a message there about his character and true intent. Look at what I found -- and judge for yourself. I think he's a man made for this time and place -- much as Lincoln was for his time. I have felt all along that there might be a connection between Lincoln and Obama -- especially with the geographical ties that are already established. Both of them announcing their candidacy on the steps of Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln an Aquarian and Obama with an Aquarian ascendant (mirrors of each other), and both of them coming forth in times of greatest crisis in the country. Anyway, here's the information I gathered -- if fairness and sanity prevails, I believe this man should be our next president. See what you think:

Obama's ascendant is at 19 degrees of Aquarius. Given what our country is going through now, I think you will see the aptness of the symbol for this! The Sabian Symbol is: A FOREST FIRE IS BEING SUBDUED BY THE USE OF WATER, CHEMICALS, AND SHEER MUSCULAR ENERGY. The explanation given in the Sabian symbols book is: The skill and courage necessary to bring under control the destructive potential of carelessness of karmic "visitations." It goes on to say: Forest fires may be caused by human carelessness, by lightning or by the by-products of modern technology. Every individual --at least once in his lifetime, if not repeatedly--may perhaps have to face spectacular reactions to seemingly insignificant acts. These are to be considered means to test his strength, ingenuity, or emotional stability. Every faculty at his disposal must be made use of--emotional, mental, physical. He needs faith in himself and in superior Powers. The further explanation is: At this point we are shown man in action in a crucial and potentially devastating situation. There is need for a total mobilization of energy and a deep sense of INDOMITABILITY.

His Venus is at 2 degrees of Cancer -- the Sabian Symbol for that is: A MAN ON A MAGIC CARPET HOVERS OVER A LARGE AREA OF LAND. The Keynote says: The ability to expand one's consciousness by stabilizing one's point of view at a higher level. At this point the individual becomes the whole, focused for a particular task or function. He can reflect the consciousness of the greater Whole, Humanity. One now has the capacity to envision life from a wider perspective, thanks to which many lives are seen to converge upon the raised consciousness. At this stage, one gains ELEVATION in a higher dimension of consciousness.

His Neptune is at 9 degrees of Scorpio, the symbol for which is: A DENTIST AT WORK. It explains: In order to properly evaluate and interpret this symbol, we should realize the meaning of the teeth. Permanent teeth appear normally at age 7 when the personalized individuality of the child--the ego--takes full control of the physical organism. The teeth are used to tear down food so it can be digested and assimilated. Social living and cultural patterns impose upon us certain habits of eating, arouse desires for unwholesome or denatured food, force us perhaps to eat in tense circumstances and hurriedly. This results in tooth decay far more frequently than should be inevitable through aging. The symbol therefore shows how society and civilization, which may indirectly cause decay, then have to invent means to skillfully repair the damage. Life in society both perverts and repairs, destroys and rebuilds--truly a vicious cycle. Man is compelled by social needs to display INVENTIVENESS.

Finally, his Chiron is at 6 degrees of Pisces. The symbol is: A PARADE OF ARMY OFFICERS IN FULL DRESS. The Keynote: The dedication of human beings to the service of their community, and the assurance that it will be emotionally sustained by the people at large. Explanation: Here we see at work the emotion-rousing appeal of social activities which demand the surrendering by the individual of his personal way of life, his opinions and his comfort. What is implied is the support that the socialized person can expect from the collectivity if he is ready to act and to sacrifice himself for the nation or the group. It represents the exaltation and mass response which he who has achieved self-surrender to a social tradition can expect in return. The keyword is GROUP RESPONSIBILITY.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Sarah Palin Disney Trailer

See the Sarah Palin Disney Trailer at http://www.collegehumor.com/ It could be a portent of our future (God forbid!), as put forth by Matt Damon in an interview a couple weeks ago:

Actor Matt Damon admits that he’s frightened by the prospect that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin could become president if John McCain wins the upcoming election.

“And I think that’s a really scary thing because I don’t know anything about her,” says Damon. “I know she was a mayor of a really, really small town. And she was governor of Alaska for less than two years. I just don’t understand . . . I think the pick was made for political purposes but in terms of governance it’s a disaster. You do the actuary tables and there’s a one-out-of-three chance, if not more, that McCain doesn’t survive his first term and it will be President Palin.

“It’s like a really bad Disney movie, “The Hockey Mom.’ 'Oh, I’m just a hockey mom from Alaska,' and she’s president. She’s facing down Vladimir Putin and using the folksy stuff she learned at the hockey rink. It’s absurd.

“I need to know if she really thinks dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago … I want to know that, I really do, because she’s going to have the nuclear codes!”

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Going from Bad to Worse -- from Bush to Palin

Sarah Palin has the same world view as my 7-year-old!
By Bonnie Fuller

When Sarah Palin started babbling to Katie Couric about the "good guys" and "bad guys" in the Middle East, I had one immediate terrifying thought — she has the exact same worldview as my 7 year-old son, Sasha. He too in his childish mind, sees the world starkly divided into the two camps.

He also believes in superheroes with superpowers and monsters under the bed at night.

Now, while you expect 7 year-olds to play "good guys" and "bad guys" — and they do — you don't expect the person who could be a heartbeat away from the presidency to think this way.

That was just one of the shocking revelations in Sarah Palin's second sit-down interview. The other alarming revelation — she is astoundingly inarticulate, ill-informed and NOT a quick learner.

It had been 12 days since her last aired interview with Charlie Gibson, in which she first claimed that her state's proximity to Russia gave her an understanding of that complex nation's politics.

Yet here she was, almost two weeks later, still untutored — or so it seemed — and claiming the very same thing. The McCain-Palin camp hadn't even bothered to prep a better answer to this obvious question. Which makes you wonder if she and her handlers didn't realize how inane she sounded in the first place, or if Palin truly believes that she gave a perfectly sound response.

My 7 year-old also wouldn't be capable of seeing the world in a more complex way, but then again, John McCain hasn't selected Sasha to be his running mate.

Speaking of quick studies, or lack thereof, it took John McCain at least three days to read the two and a half page, 700 billion dollar bailout proposal. If anything, Sarah Palin is even less clued in. When she and Couric discussed her running mate's plan for reforming Wall Street and how he has led the charge for more regulation, Couric asked her to cite specific examples of his push for more regulation, Palin could only lamely promise to "try to find you some and I'll bring them to you." That had to be a first for Katie.

What's becoming totally obvious is that Palin is a terrific actress. Give her a good speech/script, a Valentino jacket and a great pair of patent pumps and she can deliver with gusto. She looks and sounds perfect for the Lipstick Pit Bull VP part. No Hollywood actress could do better.

But once she has to go off script, in the Gibson and Couric interviews or even in her first four questions and answer session with reporters in NYC, recently, she can't string together an intelligent-sounding answer, if her life or the election depended on it. The "Great Communicator" she is not. She makes George Bush sound like the leader of the Oxford Debating Team.

Now there is one way that my 7 year-old does have an edge on Sarah Palin. He knows for a fact that dinosaurs walked the earth millions of years ago. He also knows that human beings were not around at the same time.

But then my son isn't a creationist like our potential Vice President.

Now all of this begs the questions: if Sarah Palin ever becomes president and has to deal with complex political, economic and social issues and crisis, both domestic and foreign, will she be able to see these worlds in terms beyond just black and white and "good guys" and "bad guys"?

Will she be able to inspire Americans to be leaders in science and technology or will her non-scientific views about science get in the way?

And finally, will she be able to multi-task a myriad of often unexpected issues and crises and speak intelligently and articulately about them to the American people or will she have to get back to us?

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Palin believes dinosaurs and people existed at the same time, 6,000 years ago

Are Republicans really wanting this woman to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

The LA Times reports:

Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago -- about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct -- the teacher said.

After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.

Palin told him that "dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time," Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said "she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks," recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.

The idea of a "young Earth" -- that God created the Earth about 6,000 years ago, and dinosaurs and humans coexisted early on -- is a popular strain of creationism.

Though in her race for governor she called for faith-based "intelligent design" to be taught along with evolution in Alaska's schools, Gov. Palin has not sought to require it, state educators say.

In a widely-circulated interview, Matt Damon said of Palin, "I need to know if she really think that dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. I want to know that, I really do. Because she's gonna have the nuclear codes!"

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Oops -- Be careful what you accuse your opponent of...

EXCERPT: One senior McCain adviser said the entire flap could have been avoided if the campaign had resisted attacking Barack Obama for his ties to two former Fannie Mae executives, which prompted the media to take a second look at Davis. "It was stupid," the adviser said. "A serious miscalculation and an amateurish move."
Freddie Mac Trail Catches Up with McCain

by: Michael Isikoff and Holly Bailey, Newsweek

Few advisers in John McCain's inner circle inspire more loyalty from him than campaign manager Rick Davis. McCain and his wife, Cindy, credit the shrewd, and sometimes volatile, Republican insider with rescuing the campaign last year when it was out of money and on the verge of collapse. As a result, McCain has always defended him - even when faced with tough questions about the foreign lobbying clients of Davis's high-powered consulting firm. "Rick is a friend, and I trust him," McCain told NEWSWEEK last year.

Last week, though, McCain's trust in Davis was tested again amid disclosures that Freddie Mac, the troubled mortgage giant that was recently placed under federal conservatorship, paid his campaign manager's firm $15,000 a month between 2006 and August 2008. As the mortgage crisis has escalated, almost any association with Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae has become politically toxic. But the payments to Davis's firm, Davis Manafort, are especially problematic because he requested the consulting retainer in 2006 - and then did barely any work for the fees, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement who asked not to be identified discussing Freddie Mac business. Aside from attending a few breakfasts and a political-action-committee meeting with Democratic strategist Paul Begala (another Freddie consultant), Davis did "zero" for the housing firm, one of the sources said. Freddie Mac also had no dealings with the lobbying firm beyond paying monthly invoices - but it agreed to the arrangement because of Davis's close relationship with McCain, the source said, which led top executives to conclude "you couldn't say no."

The McCain campaign told reporters the fees were irrelevant because Davis "separated from his consulting firm … in 2006," according to the campaign's Web site, and he stopped drawing a salary from it. In fact, however, when Davis joined the campaign in January 2007, he asked that his $20,000-a-month salary be paid directly to Davis Manafort, two sources who asked not to be identified discussing internal campaign business told NEWSWEEK. Federal campaign records show the McCain campaign paid Davis Manafort $90,000 through July 2007, when a cash crunch prompted Davis and other top campaign officials to forgo their salaries and work as volunteers. Separately, another entity created and partly owned by Davis - an Internet firm called 3eDC, whose address was the same office building as Davis Manafort's - received payments from the McCain campaign for Web services, collecting $971,860 through March 2008. In an e-mail to NEWSWEEK, a senior McCain official said that when the campaign began last year, it signed a contract with Davis Manafort "in which we purchased all of [Davis's] time, and he agreed not to work for any other clients." The official also said that though Davis was an "investor" in 3eDC, Davis has received no salary from it. As to why Davis permitted the Freddie Mac payments to continue, the official referred NEWSWEEK to Davis Manafort, which did not respond to repeated phone calls. One senior McCain adviser said the entire flap could have been avoided if the campaign had resisted attacking Barack Obama for his ties to two former Fannie Mae executives, which prompted the media to take a second look at Davis. "It was stupid," the adviser said. "A serious miscalculation and an amateurish move." Still, this adviser said, McCain's faith in his campaign manager remains unswerving.

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See if you can tell the difference

Here is a video of Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric, Saturday
Night Live style:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/27/tina-fey-as-sarah-palin-k_n_129956.html
(It's hilarious!)

Scroll down just a little from that video, and see Sarah Palin's actual
interview with Katie Couric, in "real" life. It's almost exactly the same as the parody.
(It's hilarious!)

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Deja Vu -- Bush Style

Jon Stewart compares the videos. This is worth watching just for the reminder of the absurdity of it all (our life, our country, our leaders, the whole damn clusterf*%@).
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/26/jon-stewart-bush-bailout_n_129588.html

For those conservatives who distrust anything that can be read or seen on what they call the Puffington Host, you can see the same video on Comedy Central. Oh...that's right...you don't trust that, either. Too bad -- I don't think you'll be able to catch this one on FOX or Rush Limbaugh.
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Is Sarah Palin ready to be president?

Check out this video with Jack Cafferty: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/26/jack-cafferty-if-sarah-pa_n_129724.html
He got 12,000 e-mails on this question in just 45 minutes.
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America's Elephant in the Room

This is one of the best essays yet on what is happening in our country, re the conservative vs. liberal philosophies. Read it at: http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/17476
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UNDERMINING SARAH PALIN -- BY FOX???

STOP TRYING TO UNDERMINE SARAH PALIN, YOU.....YOU....
FOX NEWS IMBED???  oops.

by: Elizabeth de la Vega

    I don't know what Fox News producer Shushannah Walshe's angle is. While posing as a completely impartial Fox News journalist, she is deliberately trying to create a horrible composite view of Sarah Palin!

    She must know - as we all do - that her job is to be "fair and balanced." (giggle, titter--excuse me, that just slipped out) Yet, for weeks, while embedded with the Sarah Palin campaign, Walshe has been recklessly disclosing entirely accurate information about the governor of Alaska, mostly on her FoxNews.com Embeds Blog, but at times even on air, with absolutely no regard for its subversive effect. Fortunately, however, the McCain-Palin campaign's deputy communications director, Michael Goldfarb, is on high alert for just this type of stealth journalism and he is not shy about making his feelings known.

    Goldfarb knows a thing or two about biased reporting. Before jumping on the Straight Talk Express, the Republican candidates' online spokesperson was the Internet voice of that eminently neutral publication The Weekly Standard. Furthermore, in 2007, he received a $25,000 fellowship to write a magazine-length piece entitled "The Upside of Global Warming." Who provided the funds for this project? The Phillips Foundation, which, as it explains in its own web site, is specifically dedicated to both the promotion of "objective journalism" and the Republican College Leaders Scholarship Program.

    So, there you go. Goldfarb is a fellow in an organization that is dedicated to objective journalism. So when he speaks, or at least writes, about The New York Times's journalistic standards, we should listen. Here, in part, is what Goldfarb posted on the McCain-Palin web site in the wee hours of the morning of September 24, by way of response to the Times September 23 article about McCain aide Rick Davis's connections to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

We all understand that partisan attacks are part of the political process in this country. The debate that stems from these grand and sometimes unruly conversations is what makes this country so exceptional. Indeed, our nation has a long and proud tradition of news organizations that are ideological and partisan in nature, The Huffington Post and The New York Times being two such publications. We celebrate their contribution to the political fabric of America. But while the Huffington Post is utterly transparent, The New York Times obscures its true intentions - to undermine the candidacy of John McCain and boost the candidacy of Barack Obama - under the cloak of objective journalism.

    O.K. The Times is so busted. In fact, looking back at things now, it's clear that they've had an anti-John McCain agenda for years. And what better way to obscure the paper's underlying hostility than by shoring up McCain's bogus arguments for war with the publication of baseless articles about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction?

    It was a brilliant deceit. And even more brilliant on the part of Goldfarb to figure it out. But now he needs to take a closer look at Fox News. Those guys have been much, much sneakier, hiding their true intention to boost Barack Obama's 2008 presidential bid by mindlessly trashing not just Obama, but all Democrats - except Joe Lieberman - for years. What a great setup for tricking people into paying attention to Walshe's partisan truth-telling about Palin.

    Walshe is a remarkably clever con artist. In early September, on camera with Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, Walshe acted excited about Palin and her own good fortune in being assigned to travel with the campaign. She may have seemed ecstatic, fairly jumping out of her chair as she talked about the inside access she would have as an embed. But that pretense was undoubtedly part of the scam.

    It was just days later, in fact, that Walshe began shedding her disguise as a fair and balanced pro-Palin Fox News journalist. She became relentless, making comments and posting blogs in a faux straightforward manner, undoubtedly designed to advance her covert plan to advance Obama's campaign. Here is just a sampling of these outrageous partisan attacks:

  • On September 8, Walshe told Fox's Brian Wilson that the press was not getting much access to Palin at all: "But, as you know, the more access we get, the more press availability, there may be more gaffes, more mistakes and they don't want that."
  • The same day, Walshe quietly pointed out that the McCain-Palin campaign's new commercial claims the "duo will take on Washington," but "does not reveal that Governor Palin did support the Bridge to Nowhere, the much-maligned bridge to a tiny populated island in her home state when she ran for governor in 2006, but opposed it when she became governor of Alaska."
  • Still later, from Lee's Summit, Missouri, Walshe lobbed another zinger: "Governor Sarah Palin went after Barack Obama today for requesting earmarks while she touted her own budget-cutting record at a rally here ...She didn't mention the earmarks she has accepted for Alaska which amounted to 52 earmarks valued at $256 million in her first year, and 31 earmarks valued at $197 million this year."
  • On September 9, she wrote, "There's no doubt about it - she's a superstar. Well, at least to her supporters."
  • September 10: "Palin is staying completely on message. Her stump today was word for word to the speeches she gave at their two rallies yesterday."
  • September 13: "In response to a Boston Globe article today, the Palin camp has been forced to clarify exactly where Sarah Palin traveled in her July 2007 trip to the Middle East to visit Alaskan National Guard troops. Previously, the campaign said she had traveled to Iraq to visit Alaskan soldiers, but the Globe reported today that it was just a border crossing between Kuwait and Iraq ... Today, the Palin camp responded that the vice-presidential nominee did cross into Iraq, but it was a quick trip."
  • From Carson City, Nevada, on September 13: "In her first campaign event since she left her native state of Alaska, Sarah Palin brought back some lines to her stump speech that she took out for the hometown crowds in Fairbanks and Anchorage.... To prove her maverick past she repeated an anecdote wildly told on the trail, but eliminated in Alaska. That she got rid of the Alaska governor's private jet and put it on EBay. She does not add that the plane did not sell on EBay and it had to be taken off the web site and then sold through a broker."
  • September 15: "Both Palin and John McCain have touted the statistic that Alaska provides 20 percent of the domestic energy supply. But, the nonpartisan group, Factcheck.org says it is not true. Instead they say it is much lower."
  • September 16: "The governor of Alaska spoke first and blasted Barack Obama insisting that he would raise taxes on Americans ... Obama has consistently said that he would not raise taxes on anyone who makes less than 250,000 dollars a year. The Democratic nominee has said that he would give credits of 500 dollars to people making less that 150,000 dollars and up to 1,000 dollars per family."
  • And here, in a post headlined "Where's Sarah?" is what Walshe had to say on September 19: "Sarah Palin is spending her weekend in Orlando and for most of that time she has no schedule. On the campaign trail, it is called down time, and due to the maddening pace of covering a presidential campaign it is usually a welcome relief for their harried press corps. But, the Alaska governor has a lot of down time - the campaign usually says she is in meetings or prepping, but no real specifics on what she is exactly doing. Most of this weekend, she will be off the trail in Orlando."
  •     Why would the Fox News embed producer, with the closest access to Palin, smear her this way day after day? Why would she neutrally print facts, which leave the definite impression that Palin - whether she does or does not talk - inevitably reveals herself to be not only spectacularly unqualified to hold the second highest office in the land, but also dishonest to her core?

        Could it be that Walshe is merely trying to provide the public with accurate information?

        Well, that strains credulity. Far more likely, is that the suspiciously forthright Walshe is trying to obscure her true intent - to undermine the Republicans and support the Democrats - by hiding under one of those New York Times-like "cloak[s] of objective journalism." Maybe McCain-Palin campaign spokesperson Goldfarb hasn't caught on to the Fox News embed producer's scheme yet, but, as far as I'm concerned, the jig is up. Goldfarb should start calling out CBS's Katie Couric, too. She's acting really elitist.

    »


    Elizabeth de la Vega is a former federal prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience. During her tenure, she was a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and chief of the US attorney's office for the Northern District of California.


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    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Nero (McCain) fiddling while Rome burns

    Are you enjoying watching your hard-earned dollars burn away? "Country First" (hah!) McCain tells you he is coming to your rescue--and then he puts politics and himself first. He came, he saw, he messed it all up. Just what we're used to in a president.

    And Sarah had quite an interview today with Katie Couric. Sarah proved she is not ready for prime time, which is why they have kept her under wraps for so long. I don't think you'll be seeing her answering any more questions from the press and I'm sure the McCain campaign will try to get the vice presidential debate canceled. Even the Republicans are shaking their heads in dismay at her inability to grasp the meaning of questions and to articulate intelligent answers. Listening to her try to sound like she knows what she is talking about is pathetic. It's as though your next door neighbor were running for the highest office in the land. God help us all if she is put into the seat a heartbeat away from the presidency! I'm sure, though, that the voters who loved having Bush as their leader will think she is just great. Their criteria for a president and vice president is "Let's have a beer with them! They're just like us!"

    McCain Plays Bailout Spoiler
    by Sam Stein

    Inside an intense White House meeting over the financial crisis on Thursday, where nearly every key player came to an agreement on the outlines of the bailout package, Sen. John McCain stuck out. The Republican candidate, according to sources with direct knowledge, sat quiet through most of the meeting, never offered specifics, and spoke only at the end to raise doubts about the rough compromise that the White House and congressional leaders were nearing.

    McCain's reluctance to jump on board the bailout agreement could throw the entire week-long negotiation into a tailspin. Sen. Chris Dodd, after leaving the White House, suggested on CNN that the tenuous process could be derailed by what he viewed as McCain's political motives.

    "What happened here, basically, if you want an honest appraisal of the thing, we have been spending a lot of time and I am tired. I have spent almost seven straight days at this in trying to come out with a workout plan for our economy a rescue plan," said Dodd. "What this looked like to me was a rescue plan for John McCain for two hours and took us away from the work we are trying to do today. Serious people trying to do serious work to come up with an answer."

    According to the source with knowledge of the White House gathering -- which featured both presidential candidates, congressional leaders and the President -- virtually ever key figure in the room, save McCain and GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, were in agreement over a revised version of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's plan.

    Towards the end, McCain finally spoke up, mentioning a counter-proposal that had been offered by some conservative House Republicans, which would suspend the capital gains tax for two years and provide tax incentives to encourage firms that buy up bad debt. McCain did not discuss specifics of the plan, though, and was non-committal about supporting it.

    Paulson, however, argued directly against the conservative proposal. "He said that he did not think it would work," according to the source. At another point in the meeting, President Bush chimed in, "If money isn't loosened, this sucker could go down" -- and by sucker he meant economy.

    ABC News reported that, following the meeting, Paulson "walked into the room where Democrats were caucusing...at the White House and pleaded with them 'please don't blow this up.'" But this story isn't incomplete, according to sources.

    Democrats stayed talking in the Roosevelt room and Paulson approached them. After his comment, Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Barney Frank shot back that the real problem was with House Republicans. Paulson replied, "I know, I know," as he got down on one knee to lighten the mood. Pelosi joked back, "I didn't know you were a Catholic."

    After the White House meeting, Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, restated his long-standing opposition to the bailout, and suggested that a deal was not, as reported earlier in the day, imminent. But Shelby's no. 2 on the committee, Sen. Bob Bennett, supports the compromise principles, as do other top GOP House and Senate leaders.

    Dodd himself was incensed that the hard work he and others had put in could be undermined at the last minute.

    "We were told it came out of the Republican House. We were told at this one point that this was maybe John McCain was floating the idea that Hank Paulson was considering it," Dodd said of the proposal, which he did not elaborate upon. "And of course Barney Frank and I, along with Republicans from the House and the Senate, had spent three hours this morning working on a different core. We were told for the last seven days it was the core issue to give the Secretary authority to move with the crisis, but simultaneously protect the taxpayers and accountability and deal with foreclosure issues all of the things the president mentioned last evening were going to be important as well."

    Obama himself did not directly take McCain to task at his post-meeting press avail, but suggested that his methods were not helping the process.

    "What I found and I think was confirmed today when you inject presidential politics into delicate negotiations it is not necesary as helpsful as it could be," he said, according to Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown. "When you are not worried about who is getting credit and who is getting blamed you tend to move forward more constructively."

    UPDATE: CBS News reports that McCain's alternative proposal includes "fewer regulations and corporate tax breaks":

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    Sam Harris on Sarah Palin in Newsweek

    Some potent comments on Sarah Palin -- giving much to think about for those contemplating voting for her.

    Subject: Sam Harris on Sarah Palin in Newsweek

    Sam Harris writes on Sarah Palin
    NEWSWEEK, Sep 29, 2008
    Let me confess that I was genuinely unnerved by Sarah Palin's performance at the Republican convention. Given her audience and the needs of the moment, I believe Governor Palin's speech was the most effective political communication I have ever witnessed. Here, finally, was a performer who—being maternal, wounded, righteous and sexy—could stride past the frontal cortex of every American and plant a three-inch heel directly on that limbic circuit that ceaselessly intones "God and country." If anyone could make Christian theocracy smell like apple pie, Sarah Palin could.

    Then came Palin's first television interview with Charles Gibson. I was relieved to discover, as many were, that Palin's luster can be much diminished by the absence of a teleprompter. Still, the problem she poses to our political process is now much bigger than she is. Her fans seem inclined to forgive her any indiscretion short of cannibalism. However badly she may stumble during the remaining weeks of this campaign, her supporters will focus their outrage upon the journalist who caused her to break stride, upon the camera operator who happened to capture her fall, upon the television network that broadcast the good lady's misfortune—and, above all, upon the "liberal elites" with their highfalutin assumption that, in the 21st century, only a reasonably well-educated person should be given command of our nuclear arsenal.

    The point to be lamented is not that Sarah Palin comes from outside Washington, or that she has glimpsed so little of the earth's surface (she didn't have a passport until last year), or that she's never met a foreign head of state. The point is that she comes to us, seeking the second most important job in the world, without any intellectual training relevant to the challenges and responsibilities that await her. There is nothing to suggest that she even sees a role for careful analysis or a deep understanding of world events when it comes to deciding the fate of a nation. In her interview with Gibson, Palin managed to turn a joke about seeing Russia from her window into a straight-faced claim that Alaska's geographical proximity to Russia gave her some essential foreign-policy experience. Palin may be a perfectly wonderful person, a loving mother and a great American success story—but she is a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history.

    The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin's lack of intellectual qualifications. When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country. "They think they're better than you!" is the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it once again. "Sarah Palin is an ordinary person!" Yes, all too ordinary.

    We have all now witnessed apparently sentient human beings, once provoked by a reporter's microphone, saying things like, "I'm voting for Sarah because she's a mom. She knows what it's like to be a mom." Such sentiments suggest an uncanny (and, one fears, especially American) detachment from the real problems of today. The next administration must immediately confront issues like nuclear proliferation, ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and covert wars elsewhere), global climate change, a convulsing economy, Russian belligerence, the rise of China, emerging epidemics, Islamism on a hundred fronts, a defunct United Nations, the deterioration of American schools, failures of energy, infrastructure and Internet security … the list is long, and Sarah Palin does not seem competent even to rank these items in order of importance, much less address any one of them.

    Palin's most conspicuous gaffe in her interview with Gibson has been widely discussed. The truth is, I didn't much care that she did not know the meaning of the phrase "Bush doctrine." And I am quite sure that her supporters didn't care, either. Most people view such an ambush as a journalistic gimmick. What I do care about are all the other things Palin is guaranteed not to know—or will be glossing only under the frenzied tutelage of John McCain's advisers. What doesn't she know about financial markets, Islam, the history of the Middle East, the cold war, modern weapons systems, medical research, environmental science or emerging technology? Her relative ignorance is guaranteed on these fronts and most others, not because she was put on the spot, or got nervous, or just happened to miss the newspaper on any given morning. Sarah Palin's ignorance is guaranteed because of how she has spent the past 44 years on earth.

    I care even more about the many things Palin thinks she knows but doesn't: like her conviction that the Biblical God consciously directs world events. Needless to say, she shares this belief with millions of Americans—but we shouldn't be eager to give these people our nuclear codes, either. There is no question that if President McCain chokes on a spare rib and Palin becomes the first woman president, she and her supporters will believe that God, in all his majesty and wisdom, has brought it to pass. Why would God give Sarah Palin a job she isn't ready for? He wouldn't. Everything happens for a reason. Palin seems perfectly willing to stake the welfare of our country—even the welfare of our species—as collateral in her own personal journey of faith. Of course, McCain has made the same unconscionable wager on his personal journey to the White House.

    In speaking before her church about her son going to war in Iraq, Palin urged the congregation to pray "that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God; that's what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God's plan." When asked about these remarks in her interview with Gibson, Palin successfully dodged the issue of her religious beliefs by claiming that she had been merely echoing the words of Abraham Lincoln. The New York Times later dubbed her response "absurd." It was worse than absurd; it was a lie calculated to conceal the true character of her religious infatuations. Every detail that has emerged about Palin's life in Alaska suggests that she is as devout and literal-minded in her Christian dogmatism as any man or woman in the land. Given her long affiliation with the Assemblies of God church, Palin very likely believes that Biblical prophecy is an infallible guide to future events and that we are living in the "end times." Which is to say she very likely thinks that human history will soon unravel in a foreordained cataclysm of war and bad weather. Undoubtedly Palin believes that this will be a good thing—as all true Christians will be lifted bodily into the sky to make merry with Jesus, while all nonbelievers, Jews, Methodists and other rabble will be punished for eternity in a lake of fire. Like many Pentecostals, Palin may even imagine that she and her fellow parishioners enjoy the power of prophecy themselves. Otherwise, what could she have meant when declaring to her congregation that "God's going to tell you what is going on, and what is going to go on, and you guys are going to have that within you"?

    You can learn something about a person by the company she keeps. In the churches where Palin has worshiped for decades, parishioners enjoy "baptism in the Holy Spirit," "miraculous healings" and "the gift of tongues." Invariably, they offer astonishingly irrational accounts of this behavior and of its significance for the entire cosmos. Palin's spiritual colleagues describe themselves as part of "the final generation," engaged in "spiritual warfare" to purge the earth of "demonic strongholds." Palin has spent her entire adult life immersed in this apocalyptic hysteria. Ask yourself: Is it a good idea to place the most powerful military on earth at her disposal? Do we actually want our leaders thinking about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy when it comes time to say to the Iranians, or to the North Koreans, or to the Pakistanis, or to the Russians or to the Chinese: "All options remain on the table"?

    It is easy to see what many people, women especially, admire about Sarah Palin. Here is a mother of five who can see the bright side of having a child with Down syndrome and still find the time and energy to govern the state of Alaska. But we cannot ignore the fact that Palin's impressive family further testifies to her dogmatic religious beliefs. Many writers have noted the many shades of conservative hypocrisy on view here: when Jamie Lynn Spears gets pregnant, it is considered a symptom of liberal decadence and the breakdown of family values; in the case of one of Palin's daughters, however, teen pregnancy gets reinterpreted as a sign of immaculate, small-town fecundity. And just imagine if, instead of the Palins, the Obama family had a pregnant, underage daughter on display at their convention, flanked by her black boyfriend who "intends" to marry her. Who among conservatives would have resisted the temptation to speak of "the dysfunction in the black community"?

    Teen pregnancy is a misfortune, plain and simple. At best, it represents bad luck (both for the mother and for the child); at worst, as in the Palins' case, it is a symptom of religious dogmatism. Governor Palin opposes sex education in schools on religious grounds. She has also fought vigorously for a "parental consent law" in the state of Alaska, seeking full parental dominion over the reproductive decisions of minors. We know, therefore, that Palin believes that she should be the one to decide whether her daughter carries her baby to term. Based on her stated position, we know that she would deny her daughter an abortion even if she had been raped. One can be forgiven for doubting whether Bristol Palin had all the advantages of 21st-century family planning—or, indeed, of the 21st century.

    We have endured eight years of an administration that seemed touched by religious ideology. Bush's claim to Bob Woodward that he consulted a "higher Father" before going to war in Iraq got many of us sitting upright, before our attention wandered again to less ethereal signs of his incompetence.. For all my concern about Bush's religious beliefs, and about his merely average grasp of terrestrial reality, I have never once thought that he was an over-the-brink, Rapture-ready extremist. Palin seems as though she might be the real McCoy. With the McCain team leading her around like a pet pony between now and Election Day, she can be expected to conceal her religious extremism until it is too late to do anything about it. Her supporters know that while she cannot afford to "talk the talk" between now and Nov. 4, if elected, she can be trusted to "walk the walk" until the Day of Judgment.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. Watching her deny to Gibson that she had ever harbored the slightest doubt about her readiness to take command of the world's only superpower, one got the feeling that Palin would gladly assume any responsibility on earth:

    "Governor Palin, are you ready at this moment to perform surgery on this child's brain?"
    "Of course, Charlie. I have several boys of my own, and I'm an avid hunter."

    "But governor, this is neurosurgery, and you have no training as a surgeon of any kind."
    "That's just the point, Charlie. The American people want change in how we make medical decisions in this country. And when faced with a challenge, you cannot blink."

    The prospects of a Palin administration are far more frightening, in fact, than those of a Palin Institute for Pediatric Neurosurgery. Ask yourself: how has "elitism" become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn't seem too intelligent or well educated.

    I believe that with the nomination of Sarah Palin for the vice presidency, the silliness of our politics has finally put our nation at risk. The world is growing more complex—and dangerous—with each passing hour, and our position within it growing more precarious. Should she become president, Palin seems capable of enacting policies so detached from the common interests of humanity, and from empirical reality, as to unite the entire world against us. When asked why she is qualified to shoulder more responsibility than any person has held in human history, Palin cites her refusal to hesitate. "You can't blink," she told Gibson repeatedly, as though this were a primordial truth of wise governance. Let us hope that a President Palin would blink, again and again, while more thoughtful people decide the fate of civilization.


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    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Rachel Maddow -- a journalistic heroine to the left

    Now that Rachel Maddow has her own show on MSNBC (and it is climbing in ratings exponentially by the day!), we are getting truth in news, FINALLY, from an intelligent source! In contrast to what is being shown on FOX News, Maddow and Olbermann deliver journalistic honesty and integrity in their evaluations of the political B.S. that is being thrown at us daily by the White House and McCain/Palin.

    To learn more about Rachel and Keith, read the following: http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=channel_changer_08
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    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    More McCain Hypocrisy

    McCain plays dumb while Meredith Viera nails him on “golden parachute” hypocrisy

    From www.crooksandliars.com Last week, after the Wall Street crisis took center stage in the presidential campaign, John McCain began assailing the greed of corporate fat cats, blasting CEOs who “seem to escape the consequences.” Reminded today by Meredith Viera that Carly Fiorina, as CEO of HP, walked away with over $40 million even after her tenure at the company was marked by tens of thousands of job losses and a 40% decline of shareholders stock value, John McCain insists that Fiorina did a heckuva job and played dumb on the details of her huge payout.

    video_wmv Download Play video_mov Download Play

    Viera: You have said, bottom line, it’s those fat cats. It’s the greed of Wall Street. You promised to crack down on CEOs who walked away with huge severance packages. And yet the person who up until recently was your public face on your economic policy was Carly Fiorina. She’s the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, she was fired in 2005, but she left with a $45 million dollar golden parachute while 20,000 of her employees were laid off. She is an example of exactly the kind of person you say is at the root of the problem. How can you say that?

    McCain: I don’t think so. … Because I think she did a good job as CEO in many respects. I don’t know the details of her compensation package. But she’s one of many advisers that I have.

    Viera: But she did get a $45 million dollar golden parachute after being fired while 20,000 of her employees were laid off.

    McCain: I have many of the people, but I do not know the details of what happened.

    Are we really supposed to believe that McCain had no idea Fiorina was an epic failure at HP and still took home a huge $40 million dollar payout? Of course not. He just knows he can’t say with a straight face that he chose her, knowing she symbolizes the very corporate greed and corruption he now rails against.

    Crooks and Liars

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    George Will's latest column

    When ultra-conservative Republican George Will turns against you, who in the conservative realm can be for you? Will's last question in this essay can be easily answered: NO.

    McCain Loses His Head
    by George F. Will

    "The queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 'Off with his head!' she said without even looking around."

    -- "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

    Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

    Channeling his inner Queen of Hearts, John McCain furiously, and apparently without even looking around at facts, said Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be decapitated. This childish reflex provoked the Wall Street Journal to editorialize that "McCain untethered" -- disconnected from knowledge and principle -- had made a "false and deeply unfair" attack on Cox that was "unpresidential" and demonstrated that McCain "doesn't understand what's happening on Wall Street any better than Barack Obama does."

    To read the Journal's details about the depths of McCain's shallowness on the subject of Cox's chairmanship, see "McCain's Scapegoat" (Sept. 19, Page A22). Then consider McCain's characteristic accusation that Cox "has betrayed the public's trust."

    Perhaps an old antagonism is involved in McCain's fact-free slander. His most conspicuous economic adviser is Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who previously headed the Congressional Budget Office. There he was an impediment to conservatives, including then-Rep. Cox, who, as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, persistently tried and generally failed to enlist CBO support for "dynamic scoring" that would estimate the economic growth effects of proposed tax cuts.

    In any case, McCain's smear -- that Cox "betrayed the public's trust" -- is a harbinger of a McCain presidency. For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are "corrupt" or "betray the public's trust," two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people. McCain's Manichaean worldview drove him to his signature legislative achievement, the McCain-Feingold law's restrictions on campaigning. Today, his campaign is creatively finding interstices in laws intended to restrict campaign giving and spending. (For details, see The Post of Sept. 17, Page A4; and the New York Times of Sept. 20, Page One.)

    By a Gresham's Law of political discourse, McCain's Queen of Hearts intervention in the opaque financial crisis overshadowed a solid conservative complaint from the Republican Study Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the RSC decried the improvised torrent of bailouts as a "dangerous and unmistakable precedent for the federal government both to be looked to and indeed relied upon to save private sector companies from the consequences of their poor economic decisions." This letter, listing just $650 billion of the perhaps more than $1 trillion in new federal exposures to risk, was sent while McCain's campaign, characteristically substituting vehemence for coherence, was airing an ad warning that Obama favors "massive government, billions in spending increases."

    The political left always aims to expand the permeation of economic life by politics. Today, the efficient means to that end is government control of capital. So, is not McCain's party now conducting the most leftist administration in American history? The New Deal never acted so precipitously on such a scale. Treasury Secretary Paulson, asked about conservative complaints that his rescue program amounts to socialism, said, essentially: This is not socialism, this is necessary. That non sequitur might be politically necessary, but remember that government control of capital is government control of capitalism. Does McCain have qualms about this, or only quarrels?

    On "60 Minutes" Sunday evening, McCain, saying "this may sound a little unusual," said that he would like to replace Cox with Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic attorney general of New York who is the son of former governor Mario Cuomo. McCain explained that Cuomo has "respect" and "prestige" and could "lend some bipartisanship." Conservatives have been warned.

    Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

    It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

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    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Dolphin Rings-- Kids (of all ages!) should love this one!

    Check out this great video! Dolphins making silver rings to play with!


    Kind of like smoke rings, only in the water and by Dolphins.
    This is really interesting - after reading it, watch the attached video.
    Lots better than politics! To enlarge to full-screen size, click the small
    box with an arrow inside it - at the extreme lower right corner of your
    screen.

    The attached video is of dolphins playing with silver colored rings which

    they have the ability to make under water to play with. It isn't known how
    they learn this, or if it's an inbred ability.

    As if by magic the dolphin does a quick flip of its head and a silver ring

    appears in front of its pointed beak.The ring is a solid, donut shaped
    bubble about 2-ft across, yet it doesn't rise to the surface of the water!
    It stands upright in the water like a magic doorway to an unseen dimension.

    The dolphin then pulls a small silver donut from the larger one.

    Looking at the twisting ring for one last time a bite is taken from it,
    causing the small ring to collapse into a thousands of tiny bubbles which
    head upward towards the water's surface.

    After a few moments the dolphin creates another ring to play with. There

    also seems to be a separate mechanism for producing small rings, which a
    dolphin can accomplish by a quick flip of its head.

    An explanation of how dolphins make these silver rings is that they are

    'air-core vortex rings'.Invisible, spinning vortices in the water are
    generated from the tip of a dolphin's dorsal fin when it is moving rapidly
    and turning.

    When dolphins break the line, the ends are drawn together into a closed

    ring. The higher velocity fluid around the core of the vortex is at a lower
    pressure than the fluid circulating farther away.

    Air is injected into the rings via bubbles released from the dolphin's blow

    hole. The energy of the water vortex is enough to keep the bubbles from rising for
    a reasonably few seconds of play time.


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    Life after death medical studies

    Good article in TIME Magazine this week re. life after death medical
    studies being done now.
    Am glad to see some in the medical community taking more
    interest....with a willingness to keep an open mind.
    I have many books on this subject and personally don't need convincing
    (~.~).

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1842627,00.html

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    Powerful story that has been covered up...WHY?

    Something no one seems to want to talk about....the shameful story of Vietnam POWs left behind.... This article tells all about it:
    http://www.truthout.org/article/mccain-and-pow-cover-up
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    If you don't read anything else, PLEASE read THIS!

    If you don't read anything else, please read this!!! I wish every Republican would read the following essay -- and understand it, even though it's now too late to do much about changing things for the better. If you saw the faces of any of the "pundits" and senators on the talk shows today, you have to know that this crisis is not just an "adjustment" in the market. We are facing the potential downfall of our country. No one really knows what to do -- they are all scrambling -- but you know who is always going to be left holding the bag. Yep, that's us, the taxpayers.

    The irony about the Republicans' great fears of socialism is that, by their selfish, greedy, give-the-breaks-to-the-rich and keep-the $-all-to-ourselves philosophy, they have actually succeeded in making the U.S. a socialist country! Through their mismanagement, our government now owns our financial system, lock, stock, and barrel. But the fear-mongering Republicans also made sure they don't have to worry about those "marxist, communist" plans Democrats had to help the poor and middle class. No--because by giving all those tax cuts to the corporations and deregulating them, trusting them to regulate themselves (hah!), they've made sure there will be no helpful entitlement programs for the rest of us. The bailout trillions that will burden the taxpayers but leave the scoundrels with their ill-gotten billions and no responsibility, are also going to leave no money for any help for the middle class and poor. So, wave bye-bye to universal health care, educational programs for our children, and any other programs that would have helped our country to grow and thrive. Instead, we are now a dying country, barreling our way toward third-world status while countries like China will become the world leaders.

    Do you think any of your Republican friends will understand this and realize what they have done by their past votes for Reagan and by voting for Cheney and Bush TWICE? No, I don't either. They will continue to defend their votes and their philosophy of "trickle-down" economics that never trickle down. They will keep Reagan as their hero, and defend Cheney and Bush, even in the face of the disaster they have caused. What's worse, they will vote for McCain and Palin in order to keep rolling along their philosophy of more tax cuts for the rich (and wars for the poor to fight in order to make the rich even richer). The following essay tells the sad story better than anything else I have read. I recommend that every American read it -- and weep for what could have been--versus what is.

    REPUBLICANS CAN'T REST UNTIL THEY'VE STOLEN EVERY DIME
    by Jon Faulkner

    When Bush said, shortly after 9-11, “Lucky me - I hit the trifecta,” he didn’t know he’d made such a funny joke until he tried it out at GOP fundraisers. Oh! What laughs he got! He was so funny he began a kind of comedic routine whenever he appeared at some $10,000 a plate dinner, or other, GOP fundraiser. He liked to pantomime looking for Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction by peeking under his lectern. That one always got big laughs! When he deadpanned, “Some people call you the elites; I call you my base," his audience cracked up! Gosh! What a funny guy! Of course, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians don’t think he’s funny at all - they’re dead. The parents and widows of the dead American soldiers that gave their lives so Bush could be a tough guy don‘t get the joke either.

    The Bush Administration’s vacuous understanding of economy has laid waste the nation’s solvency as the supply siders, the trickle downers, and blind greed kicked the U.S. back to 1929. Free Market Magic. The Holy Grail of conservatism. The Bush Administration’s obsession with tax cuts for fat cats has destroyed the nation’s tax base. The wars, the exotic weapons systems, the lobbyists who dangle cash for Congressional votes, conspire and arrive at a place where Americans are not needed, or welcome. “We got it, bubba. Don’t worry ’bout a thing.” The Bush Boy struggles, as he reads soothing words to quell the panic. The snarling Cheney couldn’t care less. George is the front man. It ain’t his problem.

    Before Bush, "that drug store, truck drivin’ man" Ron Reagan, raved that government is the enemy. "Throw out the rule book! It’s morning in America! Those dad gum regulations are killin’ bidness!" Ronnie enthused about The Magic Marketplace. The markets will always correct themselves if the government will only leave them alone the conservatives shouted. Actually, markets never correct themselves. The U.S. taxpayers do, and afterwards, they‘re told to be satisfied with whatever trickles down from ON HIGH. This should offend Americans. Trickle down sounds a lot like charity, or even fish food, or worst of all, golden showers. Fast forward to the Bush tax cuts. Junior’s Administration reduced personal income tax, capital gains tax, and dividend taxes. The republicans also got their repeal of the “Death Tax,” otherwise known as inheritance taxes, which the founders felt were necessary to keep an aristocracy from supplanting democracy. The American people swallowed this garbage. And they deserve what is happening to them now.

    The Bush Administration’s looting of the national treasury cost Americans $3.5 trillion in tax breaks for rich folk. That number includes the ongoing interest on the federal debt. Now he has asked Congress for $700 billion, plus the $300 billion he’s already handed over to the nation’s financial geniuses. That’s a trillion dollars down the tubes and this thing is just getting started! Newsweek Magazine says that finding solutions to the nation’s economic meltdown will probably include “ dramatic cuts in corporate and capital gains taxes.”

    Now isn’t that interestin’? While the peons pay taxes the elite, Free Market gurus, steal every dime the peons hand over to the government. The Kings of Financial Industry are forgiven their tax burden. When the geniuses, the Kings screw up, they slide on their bellies to the money tree and beg, beg, beg. “Oh, pulease. We are busted! If you don’t help us tens of thousands of jobs will be lost!” Bush, recognizing kindred souls, can’t wait to scribble a check. So, as the deregulation of the S&L’s failed on Reagan’s watch, so the deregulated financial industry has failed on the Bush boy’s watch. Not that Bush would know. He is aware as a pimple on Karl Rove’s Butt.

    But if corporate and capital gains taxes are further reduced where will the money come from when the geniuses on Wall Street stick their fingers in the light socket again? Because they will. And it‘s also a safe bet that the poor, dumb working man, will bail them out again. Newsweek also predicts that entitlement reform will be a hot button priority for the next president. Meaning that McCain will overhaul Social Security and Medicare, so the nation’s movers and shakers can absorb that money too. Ultimately, Americans deserve the government they have.

    A trillion so far. Another trillion, and maybe more, before Wall Street is satiated. Joe plods off to work, and when he looks at his check there’s a lot of money that’s been pilfered from it. Joe is America’s quintessential, angry white man. After a few beers Joe gets to railing against the damned librils. Lacking the curiosity, the intellect, and most importantly a sense of morality, Joe hustles off to the polls to vote republican. Never snapping to the fact that the conservatives have been breaking it off in his ass for years. Poor Joe. When God was handing out brains, Joe thought He said trains, and asked for an iron one.

    There have been more than a few Joes who have lost their homes through foreclosure. Four million homes have been foreclosed on, and four million families have had their lives turned upside down. Those family value republicans! God bless ’em! But, by golly! They’ve budgeted a few million for councilors who will help these families through their sorrow and fear. Gosh Joe! Did you ever think that if Bush could bail out the corporate leeches, he may a coulda helped you and four million other Americans avoid foreclosure? “But, but, but ….. that’d be socialism! Maybe even communism!” Right. So Joe pays for Wall Street’s excess and Wall Street, knowing that Joe will always pay for their next exercise in runaway greed, sees a green light to gamble some more of Joe’s money away. What a joke on ol’ Joe! Them high rollers are laughing at him, and it is kinda funny. Ol’ Joe. Throwin’ his money at the ones who’ve been scammin’ ’em from jump street. And he still ain‘t snapped! What a dumbass! How could he be so stupid?

    McCain, “The Maverick” and Palin, “The Wolverine”, are ready to step in and continue the fleecing of Joe. Republicans have a plan. They’ve never much cared for the Constitution, and the concept of majority rule deeply offends them. They’ve long realized that the best way to bring down the government is to starve it to death. “Drown it in the bathtub!” cries Grover Norquist! That quintessential right winger. Gee Whiz, Grover! Where would corporate welfare come from if the government were drowned? Would you say “stick ’em up!” and rob the taxpayers at gunpoint? Don’t you think that’s a little obvious? Even mendacious? Besides, they may shoot back, and everyone knows the republicans, though they’re all for war, damn sure don’t wanna fight in one!

    In the film classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is the owner of the Bedford Falls, Savings and Loan. Potter is the town’s scrooge, and is the quintessential, conservative republican. Potter has always cast covetous eyes on George’s bank. He wants to end the “sentimental hogwash" of home loans for the working poor, calling them “suckers” and “riff raff.” After surviving a run on the bank, Uncle Billy misplaces $8,000 of the bank’s money that Potter scoops up in an opportune moment. Bursting with malicious glee, Potter tips the Bank Regulators who immediately begin an audit of George’s bank. George knows he’s very probably going to jail, and at the least, he’ll lose the bank to Potter. Suicidal, he’s saved by an Angel, Clarence Odbody, who shows George what Bedford Falls would have looked like if he’d never been born. Bedford Falls is gone - replaced by Pottersville, which is a slum, filled with sleazy bars and pawn shops. Human misery can be seen wherever one looks. George now knows that he must keep living - that he can’t let the town fall into Potter’s hands. His many friends step in and raise the missing $8,000, and Bedford Falls is saved.

    The film, shot in 1946, warns viewers of the dangers of capitalism. Self interest, unless balanced with community spirit, will destroy the nation as the right wing leads Americans towards a predatory existence with a few holding sway over the many. As unregulated capitalism advances, those being led will become increasingly corrupted. George Bailey is the embodiment of community spirit. Everything he’s ever wanted to do in his life has been put off for the greater good of Bedford Falls. George understands that right wing conservatism exists for the sole purpose of serving its own, self interests. He also understands that capitalism can be a benign economic system. It doesn’t have to be reduced to a dog eat dog fight for survival, with the winner being determined by how many possessions he has, how much they’re worth, and who was cheated to get them.

    In spite of the warning the film suggested, and in spite of the many cautionary words from America’s finest thinkers, conservatism has triumphed over community spirit as it ever caters to the people’s most vulgar, most base instincts. Republicans, during the Bush Administration, have accomplished a major goal. They’ve redistributed the wealth and concentrated it among a few, while simultaneously undermining the U.S. economy to such an extent that Americans can no longer afford many basic services they once took for granted. Republicans will position themselves, with McCain’s election, to end Social Security and many other programs that improve the lives of all Americans. The republicans will continue their assault against any alternative view but their own, and Democracy will be replaced with a corporate oligarchy that will make no attempt to disguise its fascist agenda, and its resultant demands on the people.

    Benjamin Franklin said the government “is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

    Every advanced nation, and some nations of the third world, offer free health care. Education is recognized as key to a nation’s future prosperity. An efficient and aesthetically pleasing infrastructure promotes a sense of wellbeing among citizens, and communicates a broad functionality as it connects the communities. The U.S. government is paying an inconceivably high price to rescue the dead weight, corporate leeches, while investments in health care, education and infrastructure are beyond consideration. Every American should be furious that conservative republicans have dismissed regulatory oversight as burdensome, and led the U.S. down a ruinous road. But this is what Grover Norquist means when he says, “drown the government in the bathtub.” Americans won’t like it if the conservatives steal the Social Security Trust Fund outright, so they ruin the nation’s economy instead, thus starving Social Security, and other programs enacted for the public good. As years pass, the U.S. will increasingly resemble a third world nation, and contrary to the Founder’s vision, will finally be governed by a few.

    ONE READER'S COMMENT:

    Republicans won't rest until every single vestige of the New Deal, the best and most workable way of managing the conflicting demands of capital and labor, are repealed,and if they have to bankrupt the country to do it, that's fine with them.

    Republicans must wake up in the morning figuring out how to do somebody out of a dime.If they can't loot and destroy, they don't seem to be happy, unlike liberals, who are builders.

    It has to be said and has to be said: Rich Republicans hate and want to put their foot on every man, woman, and child who is not a rich Republican. As for the poor Republicans, the average working person who votes Republican for whatever reason, the only thing you can say about them is they're stupid.

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