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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fantastic article

As I described above, there is a terrific article just now, posted on Truthdig: "Why I am a Socialist" by Chris Hedges.

Some of the best parts of it:

"The corporate forces that are looting the Treasury and have plunged us into a depression will not be contained by the two main political parties. The Democratic and Republican parties have become little more than squalid clubs of privilege and wealth, whores to money and corporate interests, hostage to a massive arms industry, and so adept at deception and self-delusion they no longer know truth from lies. We will either find our way out of this mess by embracing an uncompromising democratic socialism—one that will insist on massive government relief and work programs, the nationalization of electricity and gas companies, a universal, not-for-profit government health care program, the outlawing of hedge funds, a radical reduction of our bloated military budget and an end to imperial wars—or we will continue to be fleeced and impoverished by our bankrupt elite and shackled and chained by our surveillance state."

(Please note that he points out the need to take the profit out of health care, as I have said for some time now. Yes, yes, I know it's inconceivable in the US but the rest of the world long since did this, and to their great benefit).

What's sad and frustrating and maddening is that, for so long, Americans have been fed this pablum from corporations and big business about how Socialism is bad--evil, even, and how all those things government does is bad but the things they--corporations--do are good and right and just, including taking big profits, be it from their gasoline sales for our cars or the fuel for heating our homes or the medicine and medical treatments we need to survive or whatever.

They've successfully confused gross, greedy Capitalism with patriotism, sickly enough.

And the American people have bought off on it, completely.

You want to isolate yourself, socially, in this country?

Tell everyone you're a Socialist.

It's down there with Communism and Communists. It's as bad as being a "queer", if you know what I mean.

So we have a long way to go to show the American public that this financial armageddon has been brought on by corporations and corporate greed and acquiescent, bribed government officials who aren't regulating those very same businesses as they raid and fleece the marketplace and consumers.

As a warning about the article, I will say, I take exception and even umbrage to his assertion, at the end, that there needs to develop a "Christian Socialism", in order for things to work out.

Yeah, right.

The Christian, Catholic and especially Protestant religions have all given in to corporations and let them say and do whatever they want, no questions asked--ever--when it comes to operating in our society, long ago. I think this, again, comes from the corporation's ability to equate profit and Capitalism with America and patriotism, wrongly enough.

That and it's safer to not get involved with these questions and issues, for churches.

All the congregation leaders want to do is get money in their plates so the less questioning and controversial they are, the better.

Anyway, I don't think any changes and advancement will come to our society from any "Christian Socialism" unless he simply means "Christian" as a description and not representing any current organized religion.

So go to this article and be sure you read it and take it in. It points out the devouring, cannibalism and destructiveness of corporstions very well.

"Ray Anderson, the CEO of Interface Corp., the world’s largest commercial carpet manufacturer, calls the corporation a 'present day instrument of destruction' because of its compulsion to 'externalize any cost that an unwary or uncaring public will allow it to externalize.'"

There's a lot more good stuff there.

Hopefully, with all that's going on in the country and world, financially, Americans will be open to learning.

We can't be too old to learn.

As it is, we're being eaten alive.

Original artile here: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20081229_why_i_am_a_socialist/?ln

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A new poll out right now and more from "W", the Chief Knucklehead

There's so much information coming out right now, about this last nightmarish 8 years of the Bush Administration it's dizzying.

Truly.

If only Molly Ivins were here to write about it--she was so right about this idiot.

Get this:

It seems "W" said "So what?" when told that there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq before he invaded that country in 2003. (Link to story and video here:
http://crooksandliars.com/cernig/bush-admits-al-qaeda-wasnt-iraq-invasion-so)

So what??

Are you effin' kidding me?

So what, George?

SO MORE THAN 4,219 AMERICAN SOLDIERS WOULDN'T BE DEAD!

So more than 100,000 Iraqis wouldn't be dead.

So thousands of American soldiers wouldn't be crippled by your stupid war.

So many more thousands of American soldiers wouldn't be suffering from PTSD.

So thousands of Iraqis wouldn't be crippled by your illegal, invasive, tragic war.

So we wouldn't still be in Iraq.

So we wouldn't have squandered the heretofore good American name and reputation if we didn't go in.

So there wouldn't be 2 million Iraqi refugees in the Middle East right now because their home country was blown apart, completely in violation of international law.

So there wouldn't have been an Abu Graib.

So there wouldn't have been all these pointless tragedies, stemming from this clusterbuck you created.

Anyone can go on and on here.

So what?

So we've squandered how much American capital on this mess so now we're in the largest debt of our country's history, just when we need money and infrastructure and jobs and much, much more, at home?

Holy cow.

How flip can one get?

Answer: "George Bush flip", that's how, and it's the worst, ever, like his Presidency.

And how does the American people feel about the "Knucklehead in Chief" now, at the end of this hellish nightmare?

Sure, most want him out of office.

According to a just-released poll from CNN, 75% of us want him out. (Link to original story here: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/26/bush.poll/index.html)

And that stands to reason.

But, get this--only 28% think he's the worst President ever.

Further proof, ladies and gentlemen, that Americans just don't know history--even their own.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The "Trillion-dollar President"

George Walker Bush gets another distinction.

From November's federal deficit report, we're told that we're absolutely on track, as a country, to have a federal deficit of one trillion dollars.

And sure, we're fairly numb anymore to reports of millions and billions and now trillions of dollars worth of anything, let alone deficits, that it has lost meaning.

I know that.

But the fact still remains that we, the United States, are going to have the largest, trillion dollar budget deficit in the 232 year history of the country. (Sure, there's inflation in them-thar figures but it's still the largest deficit ever and it DOES mean something).

Anyway, that gives this worst-ever President--again, George Walker Bush--the additional ignominious distinction of being the most profligate, spending, wasteful, irresponsible trillion-dollar President, ever.


My point in bringing this up is, first, to make sure people know it and second, to make sure we don't forget it.

Ever.

Never.

We must never forget.

And it was the Republicans and the Republican Party who, during their years of control of Congress who, among other things, took "pay-go" out of our government. (Pay-go is, more literally, "paying as you go" or, more specifically, the rule of law that used to be in effect--again, before Republicans took it out of our laws--to only create spending if you had a place in taxes from which it was coming. For example, the lawmakers could create a bill to spend money but it had to either come from a new tax--which they are not wont to create--or from killing some other program).

And this "pay-go" program is something, now, that the Democrats should put back into law but they can't or won't anytime soon because of the huge, ridiculous financial mess and straits we're in.

We're in too much debt and have too big of problems to be responsible right now.

And that stinks.

Let's never forget who got us here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oh, and check this out...

In an effort to prove that the Republican Party is a group of equal-opportunity haters, they created this video, too, so they could show they aren't just racist against African-Americans but Mexicans and Hispanics, too.

Gosh, thanks, Republicans!

To make sure as many people see this as possible


Unbelievable.

This is some outrageous racism, direct from the Republican Party.

Holy cow.

They are some kinda' haters.

This was "first played on conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh's radio show in 2007." (Link to full story here: http://news.aol.com/main/obama-presidency/article/magic-negro-satire-rnc-candidate-says/287730)

It seems it's being defended just now, all this time later, by the guy, Chip Saltsman, who is trying to be the head of the Republican National Committee.

Instead of condemning this ugliness and calling it what it is, instead he's defending it.

Truly unbelievable.

You would think he would "cover his ass", completely and totally here, and, wisely call this the racism that it is, admit it should never have been made and go on with his hopes for the Republican election.

But no.

Not only did he not "let it die", so to speak, get this--it's even worse--he sent it out to people FOR CHRISTMAS GIFTS.

You can't write stuff wackier than this.

And do you know why, ladies and gentlemen?

Because the Republican Party really is, more often than not, a political party of racists.

They created this ugly, racist video.

And now they're defending it.

And they wonder why they're out of power and why we don't want them to run our country.

For more Republican, racist fun, go to the following link to hear Rush Limbaugh defending the video, too: http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=vbBgRiHYrs0

What we've come to

Years ago, when I was a child, reading the back of cereal boxes at the breakfast table, I used to read where the "terrific sweepstakes" was always void in Missouri, etc., etc.

I didn't understand why and for a brief moment, I was mildly disappointed.

I always went back, box after box, to read the same thing.

Years later, I had a somewhat similar experience by visiting other states. We'd fly down the highway and I'd see these big 2- and 3-story signs that said "XXX".

This time, however, I was glad I didn't see them back in my home state.

Honestly.

I thought, because we didn't have those signs and their businesses, we were a bit better people because of it.

Don't get me wrong--I'm no prude. I just thought we didn't need those signs and businesses in our state. I thought it was better without them.

So here we are, all these years later.

We have gambling in Missouri. Big time.

We've got our casinos. We've got our lotteries. We've got lotteries out the proverbial wazoo.

And you know what?

We're not the better for it.

I have a friend whose Father gambled away all of what little he had because we have casinos now. He even lost the family home. And this guy is long past retirement age, I can tell you.

Everything he had--gone.

And those "XXX" signs?

Oh, yeah, we got 'em.

Fly down I-70 and there they are.

We're now no better than Texas. Or any other states with those things.

At one time, we had sense, as a people, of some idea of what was good for us.

And what wasn't.

It's the same way now.

I'm reminded of this today because of a story from the Associated Press, in the Kansas City Star. (http://enews.earthlink.net/article/top?guid=20081227/4955b650_3ca6_1552620081227-1760989258)

It tells of the bad situation many states are in today with their budgets so they're thinking of everything they can sell off, to cover their deficits.

Sure, some of the assets I can see selling off, like premier golf courses and things like that, including lotteries.

But highways? Tollways? Airports?

If we sell off some infrastructure like that, whatever corporation buys them "has us", if you know what I mean.

They can do, for the most part, whatever they wish with those assets, and so, with us.

We're so impoverished, at least financially--if not morally (and I don't mean to get all pious here, anytime, let alone now)--that we'll do anything to cover our debts.

We should be better than all of this.

We should have stayed better than all of this all along.

History should have and could have taught us to know better.

Friday, December 26, 2008

 
We must open ourselves up to the beauty of the world--the beauty in our lives
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To me, there's so much going on here
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God, I love this one
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More of, again, Earth, opening up. Some part of Grand Canyon
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Earth,opening up
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So much to see
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I like how this turned out, with regard to being very linear. Who knows where it is or what state it's in.
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Looks somewhat prehistoric, doesn't it?
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On those mornings when you think you're cold...
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

From Mish Sedlock

I said I'd print only stuff I wrote but this is too good not to reprint:



Paulson Steals Show From the Grinch

Did I hear someone say “making a list, checking it twice?” Not Hank. He might as well have made the checks out to cash. Come to think of it he did.

The Associated Press tried to do what Paulson hasn’t, asking 21 banks how much they’ve spent and on what, how much is being held in reserve and what their plan is for the rest. The folks responsible for the mess, in possession of billions of our dollars, were too arrogant to say.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. said of its $25 billion haul: “We’ve lent some of it. We’ve not lent some of it,” AP reported. Now get lost.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. spokesman Kevin Heine told AP, “We’re choosing not to disclose that.” Wendy Walker of Comerica Inc., after refusing to share any details, said, “We’re not sharing any other details. We’re just not at this time.”

What time would be better, Ms. Walker? Never. I bet never is good for you.

Financial superstars got used to talking this way when they were lionized as American royalty. Sprawling oceanfront estates the size of hotels, private 737s outfitted like palaces weren’t marks of wretched excess but totems of swashbuckling capitalist derring-do.

This happened even as almost no one knew what these geniuses were doing. They weren’t making anything like a railroad you could see. They were moving money from one place to another, keeping some for themselves as it changed hands.

Try to follow the trajectory of a mortgage on a house in Cleveland into a bundled credit default swap of collateralized debt. Few could, yet paydays of $30 million and bonuses of twice that were based on it. Therein lay its charm.

Thanks to an economic meltdown, we now know the decade’s financial superstars walked off with money they didn’t earn in a scheme more sophisticated but no less damnable than a punk in a ski mask holding up a convenience store.

You would think heads would roll, some into jail. I’m not just talking about Bernard Madoff. I’m talking about the titans of commerce.

They still walk the streets, when in truth schemes should be named after them. Ponzi just doesn’t do justice to what they pulled off.

But why isn’t anyone screaming about giving these miscreants more money? Who’s in charge here? Surely, there is someone left with a conscience, and a pulse, in the White House, someone in Congress who can call a hearing and rough up these bankers at least as much as they did the auto industry.

Fortunately, I’ve found something even a Grinch can be jolly about: Reverend Warren’s stricture against gays in his church was removed from his Web site this week. And for 2009, the number of applicants to Teach for America jumped to 25,000 from 18,000 for 3,700 chances to serve in the poorest schools.

The best and the brightest want to do good instead of doing well. I’ll raise a glass to that.

Merry Christmas


that's it.

Happy Festivus

Happy Saturnalia

Whatevah

Enjoy

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lovin ' those crazy Catholics, this Christmas Eve

This is extremely rare.

I just got a Christmas gift from the Pope and Vatican.

Actually, it's more of a holiday gift, since I don't celebrate the religious side of Christmas but, you get the idea.

It was in my newspaper this morning.

As if to further prove Catholicism's, the Pope's and the Vatican's absurd irrelevance, it was annonunced recently--and, again, in my paper this morning--that the Pope has "forgiven" Galileo for announcing that--shock of shocks--the earth goes 'round the sun and is not the center of the universe.

Thanks, Pope.

Now that I think of that one, it makes me think that someone should announce to the Pope and Vatican that they aren't the center of the universe any longer either.

Far from it, thank, uh, whomever or whatever.

As if that's not bad enough, come May next year, "several Vatican officials will participate in an international conference to re-examine the Galileo affair..."

This must be their way of doing more of that stuff they call "Penance" cuz, you know, they have guilt down pretty pat.

Let's keep in mind, too, folks, that this was part of that fun Catholic faith's many "Incquisitions" and Galileo was sentenced to "house arrest" for the rest of his life.

Hey, at least they didn't boil him in oil or crucify him, as they did so many millions of other "disbelievers".

The other announcement I got was less of a gift, for sure, but certainly proves further the ridiculousness of the Catholic Church and that same Pope and Vatican.

It seems the Pope declared that gays, of all groups, are a bigger threat to mankind than global warming.

I wish someone were making this stuff up.

It's that just wildly, obscenely ridiculous?

Hurricanes? Drought? Starvation? Disease caused by weather conditions? etc., etc.

They're all nothing compared to the idea of two women or two men loving one another.

Holy cow.

Somebody needs to propose selling the Vatican and all those Catholic jewels and artifacts, so we can feed, clothe and heal the poor.

God knows it would go a lot farther towards being helpful to makind than that collection of knuckleheads in that tiny country.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What we're fighting right now

Dick Cheney's still at it.

Dick thinks all his papers and all his emails are his, you see.

Dick doesn't play well with others.

Dick wants to make sure that you and I--taxpayers and voters--don't get the mistaken idea that he was working for OUR government or on OUR tax dollar.

All those pesky materials that could finger him for oh, say, felonies of one kind or another? He wants them. He wants to take them with him.

From the White House.

From the Vice President's mansion.

From our government.

Even as we speak.

Those Enron papers the government still wants to read about?

Fugedaboudit.

The real hoot here, too, is that his friends over at his pal-zy Supreme Court are the ones who get to decide if he keeps 'em, too.

And I'll tell you, they'd better not agree with him.

This administration has trashed too much of our Constitution and this country to get away with more of this crap, I'll tell you.

That's not where it ends, though, either.

Dick is also fighting the GAO--the Governement Accountability Office--of all groups. He doesn't want his papers from his secret deals with Enron to be made public, of course.

And why would you, when what they came up with in private brought about incredible, cushy deals for the very energy companies that were there in the room?

So it ain't over, folks, not by a long shot. We can't "breathe easy", what with the Bush Administration being almost over.

There are still battles to be fought against these people and battles to be won.

We can't have them savage our country any more than they already have.

Awareness and some kind of action are what's required, even now.

Original links here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2871869/Dick-Cheney-fighting-to-keep-Enron-papers-secret.html

http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2007-06/2007-06-22-voa16.cfm?CFID=82953120&CFTOKEN=53401419

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/22/washington/22cheney.html

http://www.judicialwatch.org/cheneycase.shtml

Regarding stolen elections

Did you see where 'Karl Rove's IT guru' Mike Connell died in a plane crash this last weekend, mysteriously enough?

Not only were the 2000 and 2004 elections quite probably (provably?) stolen from the American electorate, but one man--this Mike Connell--was going to testify about it and suddenly, again, mysteriously, and tragically dies all of a sudden, just before he's to testify about GOP computers, emails and servers.

huh.

(Thanks for sending, Bryce!)

original link here: http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Karl_Roves_IT_guru_Mike_Connell_1220.html

A George Bush "Three-fer"

Over the last 8 years of the George W. Bush Administration, I have not--even once--been able, frankly and honestly, been able to say anything good or positive about anything that came our of either this White House or the President's mouth.

It's absolutely not that I could not or would not give him a chance or a "benefit of a doubt."

If he said or thought or sponsored something intelligent, I'd have been the first to note it, here or with friends or something.

Honestly.

I would have.

So it's been quite a drought.

Then, suddenly, in the last few weeks, I've been astonished to note some things W said that were, dare I say it? Bright? Right? Intelligent?

Geez.

Even I'm stunned.

The biggest, so far, has been his reluctant but correct support of loans to the Big 3 automakers.

I mean, come on, what else could he have done? He would have beat out Herbert Hoover for the "Most Do-Nothing President of All Time" Award.

The Great Depression would have been overshadowed by the mess we'd be in if he and the government walked away from our auto-making industries.

Well, now, here he comes with a three-fer.

George Walker Bush gave us the third correct, intelligent thing out of his Presidency this weekend.

I was shocked.

Sure, back in February of this year, the President "described President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as a 'discredited dictator,' sharpening his criticism of one of Africa's most stridently anti-American leaders on the eve of a trip to the continent." (original link here: http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/14/africa/bush.php)

And sure he was right then but this, from this weekend, was much truer and more spot-on: "'As my Administration has made clear, it is time for Robert Mugabe to go,' Bush said in a statement issued by the White House. 'Across the continent, African voices are bravely speaking out to say now is the time for him to step down.'"

“'These leaders share the desire of ordinary Zimbabweans for a return to peace, democracy, and prosperity,'” the U.S. president said. “'We urge others from the region to step up and join the growing chorus of voices calling for an end to Mugabe’s tyranny.'” (original link here: http://www.christianpost.com/article/20081210/bush-tells-mugabe-to-resign-with-zimbabwe-in-shambles.htm)

Fortunately, Zimbabwe doesn't have oil or he might be talking about going in and taking him out militarily.

Anyway, it seems that Mr. Bush is really trying hard to have a good legacy after all, what with all these final truths and "rights" coming out of his mouth.

After 8 years of not believing what I hear, it's a big, welcome surprise.

I have to get used to this.

Fortunately, our time with him is almost over so I don't have to get too used to it.

Besides, in the "back door" of our government, his minions are still trying to tear everything else down that they can, like EPA rules for mining, etc.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Giving credit

According to a news segment this morning on NPR, first, information that Mark Felt, also known as "Deep Throat" from the Woodward/Bernstein/Watergate saga, died. (Full story here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/20081219/pl_bloomberg/aizqqzwko9pi;_ylt=ArFralV9aPyPq_Q7tOeMFvas0NUE)

He was 95.

The identity of Mr. "Deep Throat" had remained a mystery to the public, at least, until May, 2005, when Mr. Felt stepped forward and made the announcement of his role.

According to this segment on NPR, the one thing we don't know for sure, after all these years, supposedly, is why he informed on these people within the government.

And that, to me, is a shame.

Not a shame that we don't know what his reason for exposing these people, no.

I think it's a shame, particularly now that he's gone, that we don't just give him the credit for seeing people in high and powerful places in our government and country doing things horribly, ethically and legally wrong and wanting to see the right thing--justice--done.

Like I said, now that Mr. Felt has passed, can't we all just give him the benefit of the doubt?

And our country's admiration and appreciation for coming forward?

If we had his kind of courage and determination today, maybe at least some of the illegalities and travesties of this administration over the past 8 years wouldn't have been even tried, let alone successfully executed on and in the country and world.

Maybe the Iraq War wouldn't have happened after all.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Thank you, Mr. President...

you did the right thing.



I hoped that, one day soon, I'd be able to say something like that, if not that very thing, to or about President George W. Bush and that day has come.

A little while ago, the sitting President made 17.4 billion dollars of loan money available to the "Big 3" automakers, to ensure they won't go bankrupt--not right away, anyway. He/we took it from the TARP boondoggle originally planned for the banks.

So, yes, Mr. President, you/we did the right thing and thank you for that.

But then, could you really have these 3 huge pillars of American production capacity go bankrupt on your and Republican watch?

No, not really.

We are, as the President said, already in a bad way, so to speak, and just can't let these guys go down.

Sure there are all kinds of strings attached and that's as it should be. This kind of largesse shouldn't be without some quid pro quos and responsibilities, in sharp contrast to the unrestrained monies they've thrown--so far--to Wall Street and the investment banks, which is totally inexplicable and, yes, irresposible but that's another story.

For now, we can breathe a small sigh of relief.

For now.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Unbelievable on a few different levels

It's just being reported in the American press now, after a long delay, that our current President wants to create a nuclear giveaway to the United Arab Emirates in an effort to counter-balance Iran and their desire for nuclear technology.

Holy cow.

We need to get this clown out of the White House as soon as possible.

Yes, this is all true.

It was reported November 25 this year, actually, but did you see anything about it in American papers or media?

I sure didn't and I watch for this stuff.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) reported this back in November, as I mentioned above: http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20081125_9390.php

So "W" wants to inject even more nuclear weapons capability into the Middle East.

The man's a rocket scientist, I tell you.

How many more things is this guy going to give us, before he's gone, to infuriate us all and drive us insane? The list just doesn't seem to end.

And get this: in true, illegal, internally-subversive style, he's trying to get it done by totally going around Congress and our lawmakers. He did it in a "presidential determination"--whatever that is--November 14. It was printed in the Federal Register the week of November 18, apparently.

Not that he hasn't done this before but, hey, here he goes again.

And with nuclear weapons technology, to boot.

And then there's the additional fact that the American press isn't reporting things like this to us.

Good God, the world's gone mad.

Could we not have some accountability in our world, please?

Could we have our country--and sanity in world government--back?

And as soon as possible?

PLEASE?

Monday, December 15, 2008

You want faith in our economic and political leaders?

Well don't look for it here.

Or lately.

Check out this quote for why, exactly, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson asked for 700 billion dollars of our taxpayer money to bail out his cronies on Wall Street, according to a "Treasury Department spokeswoman explaining how the $700 billion number was chosen for the initial bailout, quoted on Forbes.com, September 23:

"It's not based on any particular data point, we just wanted to choose a really large number."


Makes ya' wanna vote for higher taxes, doesn't it?

You want transfer of wealth statistics?

One of the things that really frustrated and, in fact, angered me during the campaign for the Presidency, was the ridiculous, obscene accusation on the part of anyone against Liberals, Democrats or specific candidates like Barack Obama that he was a radical, far-left Liberal, at least, and, more likely, Socialist, at worst, who was going to take away our money.

What nonsense.

You want transfer of wealth statistics? You want to hear unfairness?

This from the January, 2009 Harper's Magazine and its Harper's Notebook section I wrote about Saturday--just two statistics:

1) Portion of all US income gains during the Bush Administration that have gone to the top one percent of earners: 3/4 (that's 75%)
2) Increase since 2000 in the number of Americans living at less than half the federal poverty level: 3,500,000

You Conservatives and Republicans and fat cats and "Joe the Plumbers" want to talk "transfer of wealth" now?

Can you say "oligarchy"?

Disrespect

So, after the 2 shoes were thrown yesterday at out illustrious President, I'm thinking there are going to be many, many similar displays January 19 or 20th, depending on the party, really, to throw shoes at the outgoing clown.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Big recommendations

For the coming new year, I highly recommend getting--or keeping--a Harper's Weekly magazine subscription. I can think of no better way of keeping up with what's going on in the nation and the world.

Harper's Magazine is THE read, I think, to know what governments and societies and individuals worldwide are doing or considering. Granted, I don't get or take enough time to read all of it (or of books, for that matter), as I should (right, Michael?), but you can't get enough Harper's.

The second and last recommendation today, of this entry, is that you (whoever you are) get the latest Harper's (January, 2009) and read the "Harper's Index" at the front of the magazine.

The Index is always a good, rather light and brief but important synopsis of what either is going on or has, and this month no less so.

It is "A retropspective of the Bush era" and a knockout. (In a month or so, when it's online, I'll put it out here. It's that good).

It should be instantly considered a "must read" for all Americans: rich, poor, Black, White, Hispanic, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, Conservative, Liberal, Moderate--you name it.

But especially any and all Republicans.

And conservatives.

And anyone who ever voted for George Walker Bush for President.

Once again, we thank you chuckleheads for the travesties of this administration.

And we blame you.

Jon Stewart's sendoff to Alan Colmes of Hannity and Colmes last night

Have a great weekend, y'all

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flirting with disaster

So the Repugs threw the Big 3 car makers life line out after all.

For now.

I feel certain that W will come to their--and the carmakers--rescue.

They've got to.

For THEIR sake.

The last thing these Repugs and W want for more of their legacy is to have the demise of the US car industry on their doorstep, like I said yesterday.

The reason why I bring this up again today--other than the fact that it's big news--is because, yes, it happened just last evening but also because of what I didn't mention yesterday.

And that is that it is so painfully obvious that this is those same Repugs attempt to shut down the Labor Unions in Detroit and around the country.

That's what this is, to the largest extent, all about.

Sure, people like Richard Shelby and others can push for the automakers in their own backyards---even though they're, shhhhhh, FOREIGN AUTO COMPANIES.

But they can--and are--going against the Unions, singlemindedly here, while also going against the entire American car industry and all their workers and suppliers. All 2 to 3 million of them out there in the country.

What's really galling about this is that the Repugs big upset was over the Union's refusal to further lower their pay, too.

What unmitigated nerve.

Where were the Repugs outrage, anger and incense over the Big Banks outrageous, multi-million dollar pay, bonus and benefits packages?

Answer: there never was any.

But now, all of a sudden, they want to kill a temporary loan package to one of the most widespread, national industries in the country, just because they think these "little guys", the average worker, these Union employees, won't take further pay cuts.

A pox on their houses, these Repugs.

Don't get me wrong. There's a great deal of truth to the fact that the executives at GM, Ford and Chrysler have been virtually off the charts stupid about running their companies. They should have been making smaller, higher mileage cars for a long time and a long time ago.

They also should have gone much further on making cleaner cars, especially GM, since they killed their electric car. (See the movie: "Who Killed the Electric Car?", menitoned in earlier entry).

I'm no big fan of Detroit, for sure, but taking down a whole industry so you can punish and bust the unions should go in the face of every worker in this country.

Rght this minute, as everyone knew it would, the Dow is down and headed who knows where lower today and the Repugs just don't care. They hate the Unions, they want to cut costs and if they can also help hurt them financially and in any other way, they'll do it, their own reputations and legacies be damned.

And the country, too.

Look at these headlines today, just now, off Reuters:

-Goldman slashes 2009 commodity price forecasts
-Bank of America to cut up to 35,000 jobs
-Retail sales drop for fifth straight month

On top of all this bad news right now, I repeat, the last thing the Repugs want--or need--is to be blamed for ruining an entire, large, multi-billion dollar manufacturing industry in the United States.

I bet W and the White House are paying attention to all this today.

Every once in a while they do.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Who's zoomin' who?

Okay, word today of a couple of things.

One, we keep hearing how the Republicans in the Senate are going to keep pushing for "concessions" on the bill to bail out the car companies.

The first thing that comes to mind is that this is what those pussy Democrats in both houses of Congress should have done when Hank Paulson and the White House came screaming out for 700 billion dollars, of all things, to help save the banks.

What hooey.

If ever we could have had concessions, it was then.

How about lose the company jets, Citigroup?

How about put in a maximum still-obscene multi-million dollar salary range for the executives?

How about losing the "credit swap" tool?

How about jettisoning "hedge funds", eventually but absolutely, since they just weaken our financial system and are, as I've said, a virtual "bet on a bet", since they're conjecturing on the position of where stocks are headed in the future?

There were all kinds of things that Congress could--and should--have demanded, since they supposedly wanted and badly needed tax money--and lots of it--to save their hides?

Pussies.

As I quoted my friend Bryce, "Republicans are evil; Democrats are retarded."

(No offense to the retarded).

Anyway, who's kidding whom here or, as Aretha Franklin so aptly put it: "Who's zoomin' who?"

Does ANYONE really think the Repugs are going to let the auto industry go bankrupt?

They'd better not.

There would be between 2 to 3+ million additional people AUTOMATICALLY out of work and on the street.

You don't think there wouldn't be some "revolution goin' on"?

Besides, they don't want that on their tombstone.

They're already so far down on the US public's popularity list, it'd be curtains, for sure.

It kills me that they're pushing so far and so hard on this.

It also gets me that people like Richard Shelby, a Southerner who has some foreign auto manufacturers in his backyard, ladies and gentlemen, would be allowed to weigh in on this.

He should absolutely recuse himself from this.

As hard as it is to believe, even though he's an American, and a representative of at least some Americans here in the States, that he'd tempt the fate of ruining both this industry and, possibly, the country, by letting this whole industry fail.

I'm no big fan of the American auto industry but hey, jobs are jobs, and we need 'em all right now.

Just now, even the White House has come out, pushing the Repug Party to accept this 14 billion dollar "loan"--or whatever you want to call it--for the Big 3 car makers.

Hey, what's a few more billion dollars to this President, right? He hasn't met money he hasn't wanted to spend yet.

Anyway, let's get over this whole "you gotta' give more concessions", crap, Senators.

The country's in a heck of a mess and, regrettably, this is something that needs to happen.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The World Turned Upside Down--now in a good way

For the last 7+ years, with this Bush Administration, I've complained and described how it seems our world has been turned upside down, what with the EPA fighting rules for cleaner air and water, the State Department unable to get out passports to us citizens, the FDA fighting the "little guy", in favor of the big corporations, etc., etc.

And I won't even mention the oil companies.

But now, at the end of this administration, all of a sudden it seems there's some intelligence coming from the most unusual places.

George W. Bush himself and Bill O'Really.

I can hardly believe it.

We're already getting more benefits from this reconnection with our collective senses that's come from electing Barack Obama to the White House.

George W. Bush, saying something both right AND INTELLIGENT (I can still hardly believe it) about Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe: "It is time for Robert Mugabe to go. Across the continent, African voices are bravely speaking out to say now is the time for him to step down."

(link to story here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081209/ts_nm/us_zimbabwe_crisis_22)

In fairness, I will give W credit for saying this before now, too.

The flip side of this is that this is such an obvious situation--brutally so--and has been for some time that, really, it's an easy stance for virtually anyone to take, too. Mugabe has been brutal to his subjects for years and wrecked his country's economy. If ever there were a situation that called for a leader's ouster (aside from Blagojevich in Illinois right now), it's this one with Mugabe.

The other stunning intelligence that has come from, of all places, Faux News Bill O'Really is that he describes our illustrious President as suffering from a "spoiled rich boy" personality.

Zounds.

It seems, when it comes to the obvious, even these 2 can say and admit truths.

O'Really states, finally, at the END of this nightmare administration, in his new book that Georgie always has people cleaning up after him, in effect, so he's lassez faire (my words) in his actions, since he won't be responsible for them. (O'Really also has the chutzpah to call his book, describing himself, apparently, "A Bold, Fresh Piece of Humanity" See more: http://www.amazon.com/Bold-Fresh-Piece-Humanity/dp/0767928822/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228925436&sr=1-1)

Okay, again, very obvious and it's way too late in the country's "game" but, hey, at least he said the obvious. At least he admits George is lazy and has been wrong, wrong, wrong on issues.

The world isn't completely, totally, absolutely upside-down forever after all.

I was beginning to think, a few years ago, that "stupid" was going to possibly start staying with the United States permanently.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Saint? Communist?

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” --Dom Helder Camara


I am almost constantly, lately, reminded of this quote when I think of the current situation in the United States, with our bailouts for big corporate banks and car companies and the like.

Sure, giving money to the "big guys" is absolutely okey-dokey and gets the big thumbs up, all 'round, either because they're "too big to fail" or whatever.

But request money for education in this country in virtually any form and what do you hear?

"WE GIVE TOO MUCH MONEY TO THE SCHOOLS ALREADY!"

And while it's true that some school districts have been awash with cash (research Kansas City, Missouri School District) with really, disastrous results, the fact is we end up spending far more in our society and country putting people in corrections institutions--particularly people of color--than we do educating them.

(And while we're at it, could we give up on the idea that ALL children have to be completely proficient in ALL subjects, in order to pass our school system? Can't some of them who are especially good at mechanics, or electronics or even, for pity's sake, plumbing, be allowed to go to vocational schools for those jobs instead?).

Anyway, back on my point.

This morning, on the way to work, listening to NPR, as always, I heard part of a new series on people with "Moxy" in our times. This particular story was about people down on their financial luck, who also happen to have no health care.

And right then, I knew, this is one of those stories where, because it's on NPR, people who hear that automatically call the network "liberal".

Apparently, FOX News isn't liberal because it reports on businesses and wealthy people and their situations and/or problems, while NPR and others like them (a colleague of mine said CBS's "60 Minutes" does this horrible thing, too, as an example), report on people in tough economic situations, thus making them that awful thing--"liberal".

It makes me wanna scream.

Folks, we have problems in this country. And we have a LOT of people in tough financial straits in this country.

And we should be able to report on them.

And we should be able to report on them or listen to these stories and not be labeled "liberal", like it's a bad thing.

Or "socialist".

Like that's a bad thing.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Poverty and being poor transcends time

But people in the United States, since Reagan was President, seem to have forgotten that.

A quote from the esteemed Dr. Samuel Johnson:

"Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding; yet for the poor we delight in stripping it still barer."


Apparently, we'll get a chance to remember all this, in a short time to come, what with the financial meltdown taking place lately.

President-Elect Obama's Weekly "Radio Address" 12/6/08

Friday, December 5, 2008

 
From a taxi in Las Vegas at about 55 mph. (I know it saved me).
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Small light prism shot on the way home from the airport at sunset over downtown Kansas City.
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

 
Late Autumn sunrise on the Rocky Mountains
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Approximately 30,000 feet over Kansas somewhere, I estimate.
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One of my favorite shots (of a total of 623 I took) from a brief, 2-day trip to Las Vegas--on business, thank you--this week. I cropped this from a larger shot but really like the way this turned out. I would absolutely recommend flying out of Kansas City to Las Vegas on an early morning--6:30 am--flight on a clear day. The sun, the light, the changing geography, all make for a fantastic trip and viewing.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Top 10 Bushisms of 2008

The Dumbest Things President Bush Said in 2008

By Daniel Kurtzman, About.com

10. "Thank you, your Holiness. Awesome speech!" --to Pope Benedict after he spoke at the White House, Washington, D.C., April 15, 2008 (go to About.com to see video clip)

9. "First of all, I don't see America having problems." --interview with Bob Costas at the 2008 Olympics, Beijing, China, Aug. 10, 2008

8. "I didn't grow up in the ocean -- as a matter of fact -- near the ocean -- I grew up in the desert. Therefore, it was a pleasant contrast to see the ocean. And I particularly like it when I'm fishing." --Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2008

7. "Wait a minute. What did you just say? You're predicting $4-a-gallon gas? ... That's interesting. I hadn't heard that." --at a news conference, Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2008

6. "This thaw -- took a while to thaw, it's going to take a while to unthaw." -- on liquidity in the markets, Alexandria, La., Oct. 20, 2008

5. "And so, General, I want to thank you for your service. And I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who are trying to defeat us in Iraq." --to Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Washington, D.C., March 3, 2008

4. "I reminded the president that I am reminded of the great talent of the -- of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at the White House." --referring to White House chef Cristeta Comerford while meeting with Filipino President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Washington, D.C., June 24, 2008 (See video clip at About.com)

3. "I think I was unprepared for war." –on the biggest regret of his presidency, ABC News interview, Dec. 1, 2008

2. "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." --Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

1. "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter." --in parting words to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at his final G-8 Summit, punching the air and grinning widely as the two leaders looked on in shock, Rusutsu, Japan, July 10, 2008

~Compiled by Daniel Kurtzman at About.com


The boy's an idiot. (W, not Mr. Kurtzman)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Okay, did you notice?

Little Miss "I don't think it's going to change me at all...", while still stupid and, coincidentally, as we all noticed, standing in front of a guy killing turkeys (LMAO), just HAPPENS to be wearing an exclusive and expensive Burberry scarf.

Anyone else notice?

Yeah. Right. Burberry, for pity's sake.

Where do you suppose Miss "I'm not changing" got a Burberry scarf in ALASKA??

Personally, I'm thinking this is a leftover--for Thanksgiving--from her not-so-little $150,000.00 fleecing of the Republican Party, on her shopping trip to "Needless Markup" (read: Neiman Marcus).

So much for watching out for the "working man" on the street, eh, Joe the Plumber?