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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Machiavelli had nothing on the Catholic Church

Whoever the person (persons?) was (were) that came up with the idea in the Catholic Church to tie church attendance to entrance into heaven was a bloody diabolical, brilliant, manipulative, abusive son of a gun, what else can you say?

Machiavelli had nothing on that guy.

Think about it.

How perfect a manipulative set-up is that?

With that, the church had their members by their collective throats.

To my knowledge, no other religious group had ever tied heaven (or some definition of it) or hell to mandatory church attendance.

To do this, to require church attendance in order to attain "heaven", tied also to the idea that we're all born "unworthy", "unholy", indeed, "dirty" and in need of baptism, just to be accepted, if only marginally, by their "god" and then to make them repeat it, at least every time they went to church is genius.

First the followers believe themselves to be "unworthy"--make them have low self-images--then, tie heaven to church attendance and voila'! You have automatons in the pews, along with automatic contributions to the church because you're sure going to guilt them into giving money ("we'll call it 'contributions'")to the church, too.

If you see this for what it is, you see that this--the Catholic church--is a horrific, abusive set-up that preys on the people.

And they've been doing it for centuries.

And that doesn't even include the sexual abuses and physical abuses they exposed the young boys to, or the "non-believers" they tortured and killed (e.g., Spanish Inquisitions, etc.).

Strange quote. Strange progression

David Brian Stone is the leader of the Hutaree (whatever that means) militia group, the one that was just arrested in Michigan as "an extremist group federal authorities say was preparing to 'levy war' against the US government by killing police officers."

Here's the crazy thing--a quote from Donna Stone, David Stone's wife:

“It started out as a Christian thing," Donna Stone told reporters at the preliminary court hearing Monday morning. "You go to church. You pray. You take care of your family. I think David started to take it a little too far. He dragged a lot of people with him. When he got carried away, when he went from handguns to big guns, I was done."

Really?

From "Christianity" and the Bible?

To guns.

Nice.

Say, David, who would Jesus kill?

Specifically?

It really is "God, guts and guns", isn't it?

Sick.

Link to original article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20100329/ts_csm/291267

For more information on this Hutaree militia, which is really freaky because they are described as a "radical fundamentalist Christian militia group..." (I can't get over that phrase, "radical fundamentalist 'Christian' militia group), go to this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutaree

A challenge for Sandra Bullock

 

Please tell me you're not completely surprised he cheated on you.
Posted by Picasa

And these are the people you want back in Washington, cutting spending?

From the Open Secrets blog today:

"RNC's Strip Club Expense Just One of Multitude of Party-Related Travel and Entertainment Costs"

First there was George W. Bush, Mr. "I'm Conservative" (but not really), who boosted spending and debt absurdly, wrecked the economy with his Ayn Rand "let's not regulate business" nonsense, now this.

You're heard about this, right? It seems the Republicans just recently spent almost $2,000.00 of RNC (Republican National Committee) money "for expenses at this bondage-themed strip club where topless female dancers are reported to simulate sex acts, act out S&M scenes and dangle from the ceiling."

Man, I love these hypocrites.

Of course, after the fact, they're going to see to it the money is paid back and they're firing the staffer that okayed it but hey, the damage is done, boys.

It turns out, the $2,000.00 isn't the least of it.

"Entertainment- and travel-related costs aren't, however, unique to Republicans. Both the RNC and its Democratic counterpart, the Democratic National Committee, sometimes spend lavishly on travel, catering, resorts and hotel accommodations."

(See the associated data at the link at the bottom of this post.)

And the Washington insiders--of both parties--wonder why there's such an uproar in the country and why we're calling out for turning all these people out and starting all over again.

Get a clue, boys and girls.

Link to original post here:
http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/03/rnc-strip-club-expense.html

And yet, still more guns

Mo. House OKs Bill Broadening Concealed Gun Rules

"Missouri House members have endorsed a bill allowing some legislative staff members to bring concealed guns into the state Capitol."

Great idea. "Disagree with me now, bitch!"

"The legislation would also lower Missouri's minimum age for getting a concealed-carry permit to 21. It's now 23."

"Lawmakers and local government officials who have permits currently can bring a concealed gun to meetings. The House approved an amendment Tuesday that expands that to cover lawmakers' staff. The provision was added to broader gun legislation."

I'm telling you, more and more guns is patently not a good idea.

This never ends well.

Link to original post: http://www.kctv5.com/news/23005319/detail.html

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On the Catholic Priesthood--because more people need to see this

“Somewhere underneath all of this there is a root story that has to do with celibacy. The celibate status of its priests is basically the Catholic church’s last market advantage in the Christian religion racket, but human beings are not designed to be celibate and so problems naturally arise among the population of priests forced to live that terrible lifestyle. Just as it refuses to change its insane and criminal stance on birth control and condoms, the church refuses to change its horrifically cruel policy about priestly celibacy. That’s because it quite correctly perceives that should it begin to dispense with the irrational precepts of its belief system, it would lose its appeal as an ancient purveyor of magical-mystery bullshit and become just a bigger, better-financed, and infinitely more depressing version of a Tony Robbins self-help program.”

- Matt Taibbi

http://trueslant.com/matttaibbi/2010/03/27/the-catholic-church-is-a-criminal-enterprise/

And yes, if you know local Kansas City blogs, I took this from Matt Payton's blog because, as I said above, more people need to see it. Thanks, Matt!

Link to original post here:
http://mattpayton.tumblr.com/post/484741619

What bizarro (racist, anti-Semite) world is this?

What have we become as a nation and people?

News out yesterday from The Kansas City Star that "The program director of KMBZ radio in Kansas City says the station has no choice but to air commercials with racially biased and anti-Semitic claims from a write-in candidate for the US Senate from Missouri."

What?

What happened to the "march of progress"?

Apparently this is true.

Some racist and anti-Semite (read: Jew-hater) from Springfield, one Glenn Miller is paying for it and running for the Senate.

According to the article: "One of Miller's ads, aired during the Darla Jaye talk show program in the evening, urges whites to 'take their country back' and disparages Jews and non-whites."

More: "Under Federal Communication Commission rules and federal laws, a 'legally qualified candidate' must be given reasonable, uncensored access to broadcast airtime if he or she can pay the cost."

I hope that every Jewish person and every person of color--African-American, Hispanic, Chinese, Asian of any kind, Native American, heck, Irish, etc.--all turn out to make clear that we, as Americans, don't tolerate this kind of hate and ugliness any longer in this country.

Let's make this message clear, people.

We used to be better than this, as a country and a people.

At least some of us thought so.

Just out: The (Vatican) plot thickens

Vatican defends pope in US lawsuit

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer Nicole Winfield

VATICAN CITY – Dragged deeper than ever before into the clerical sex abuse scandal, the Vatican is launching a legal defense that the church hopes will shield the pope from a lawsuit in Kentucky seeking to have him deposed.

In court documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, Vatican lawyers map out a three-pronged strategy — to be formally filed in coming weeks — seeking to dismiss the suit before Benedict XVI can be questioned or secret documents subpoenaed.

"Vatican lawyers plan to argue that the pope has immunity as head of state," that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren't employees of the Vatican,"...(why? because they aren't paid? that's laughable)..."and that a 1962 document is not the 'smoking gun' that provides proof of a cover up, the documents reveal."

"Three men claiming they were abused by priests brought the suit against the Holy See in 2004, accusing Rome of negligence in failing to alert police or the public about priests who molested children in Kentucky."

"The preview of the legal defense, provided to the AP by a person familiar with the case, was submitted last month in the U.S. District Court in Louisville. Vatican officials declined to comment."

The case is significant because it's the first among a handful of cases targeting Rome in the United States to reach the stage of determining whether the victims actually have a claim against the Vatican itself.

Previous cases attempting to implicate the Vatican have failed or are pending at more preliminary stages.

In the Kentucky suit, the men argued that U.S. diocesan bishops were employees of the Holy See, and that Rome was therefore responsible for their alleged wrongdoing in failing to report abuse.

What's really great, though, I think, is this "smoking gun":

They charged that a 1962 Vatican document mandated that bishops not report sex abuse cases to police. The Vatican has argued that there is nothing in the document that precluded bishops from reporting pedophiles to police.

________________________________________

Right. "Nothing to preclude the bishops from reporting pedophiles to police." Except a "Vatican document"--from their bosses, the ultimate boss--telling them not to do any such thing.

This is pretty smarmy for a pope, to be, in effect, dodging legal rulings with attorneys and obfuscations.

Oh, and the Vatican has "secret documents" it doesn't want released? Doesn't that smack of guilt? And if you're not guilty, why not release them?

Oh, and, just for good measure, "Vatican officials declined to comment."

Nice.

It's getting juicier and juicier.

Happy Holy Week, Pope Benedict.

Link to original post: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100330/ap_on_re_eu/eu_the_vatican_s_defense

Here we go some more (with guns)

In Sunday's paper, I see the State of Kansas Legislature wants to lift a ban on concealed weapons.

Yee-haw.

The thing is, the Johnson county Community College administrators (along with the police and sheriff's departments, too, no doubt) would rather keep things the way they are, with handguns not allowed on campuses, etc.

But what do administrators on campuses know about campuses, right?

Or Police Departments?

Or Sheriff Departments?

The answer for the legislators--the Right Wing ones, anyway, along with the NRA--is "more guns, more places."

Better yet, to them, it's "all guns, all the time."

Oh, joy.

I'm reminded of that 60's song:

"When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"

If they have their way, apparently never.

Tragically, it almost seems true, doesn't it?

Monday, March 29, 2010

One of America's best attributes

I was reminded this morning, on the way to work, of one of our--America's--best traits and that is our collective, group politeness.

A traffic light was out just East of the Plaza today, on 47th Street, and it was flashing yellow for us (on 47th) and red for the North/South traffic.

And do you know what everyone was doing?

Instead of the 47th Street people just going slowly through, as the traffic regulations allow, everyone was stopping and letting the opposite, through traffic go first.

Sure, I know, part of this was safety but I also give some credit to just sheer manners.

I learned this years ago, on the mountain slopes of Colorado. We all were lining up, ever so quietly and politely, as is still done, to this day, to get on the ski lifts.

I was told then that, in Europe, it's not uncommon for people to just pretty much push their way through, to the shortest and quickest routes to the lift, not unlike Italian traffic, I've also heard.

And sure, you can run into rude people at different times here in the States but I think they are, thankfully and up to now, the minority.

So here's one for us, America. Keep up being polite, positive and pleasant.

Republicans would be against blue sky if the President came out for it

Yes, I'm convinced of it.

Word out yesterday, in The Kansas City Star, at the end of an article about President Obama's trip to Afghanistan, tells of Republicans thinking they're going to come out against this administration's work for a new treaty with Russia for a nuclear arms deal.

WTH?

Seriously.

How can we take these people seriously any longer?

If President Obama comes out tomorrow for clear breathing, it seems the Republicans would come out against it.

They just patently cannot, they think, allow this President to be successful, country be damned, as I've written before.

They're scared half to death that he'll usher in the next FDR-like 40 years of Democratic control.


Chill, guys, okay?

Work for the betterment of the US, will you? Work with us.

You lost the last election.

Get over it.

A Facebook group for virtually all Americans

A proposed Facebook for Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Independents--all--to join:

People against--and for the end of--corporate welfare:

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/group.php?gid=114068968607604&ref=mf


This is the problem, folks.

It's "us" against this "them", not against one another.

Needing and wanting reforms--health care, banking and more


Bill Maher: telling it like it is



Note/warning: some adult (crude) language

Questions--and a challenge--for all Catholics

What, exactly, if anything, do you plan to make clear to all your church leaders about all the physical and sexual abuse that has been shown--documented--to have taken place by some of these same "leaders" and then covered up by others?

What are you going to demand be done about it?

Will you require that more investigations be done so you and the rest of the world know exactly what has taken place, to date, as should happen, in fairness to the victims and so it doesn't get repeated elsewhere and/or to others?

Are you going to insist that any appropriate civil charges be filed in the courts if any of these priests, Cardinals or Bishops are shown to be guilty, as should happen?

Are you going to insist that some structures be put in place within the church to insure that these horrific abuses don't resume or ever get repeated, elsewhere, by the same or other, new abusers, in the future?

As Catholics, if you don't demand this of your clergy, it likely isn't going to happen. This Pope apologized recently for the abuses in Ireland, de facto admitting they happened, but hasn't addressed the 200 deaf children who were abused in Germany and yesterday, in his "Palm Sunday" address, suggested that you shouldn't listen to the "rumors" out in the world and suggested sweeping this under the rug, in effect.

As Catholics, aren't you tired of all these abuses?

Speaking for the rest of us out here in the world, we certainly are.

Please write your priest, Cardinal and Bishop and make clear it needs to stop.

Friday, March 26, 2010

An open letter to conservatives

Guest post from AmericanDad's Blog via TPM. See link at bottom. (Btw, I don't think for a minute that many--any?--people will read all of this but it's all very true, by my way of thinking. So much so that, if you go to the original link--again, at bottom--you will see that each line (accusation?) has a link to a source proving what Mr. King wrote. So please don't claim that any of this is untrue. Don't waste our time).

March 22, 2010, 3:16PM

Dear Conservative Americans,

The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You've lost me and you've lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I'd like to give you some advice and an invitation.

First, the invitation: Come back to us.

Now the advice. You're going to have to come up with a platform that isn't built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more. But you have work to do even before you take on that task.

Your party -- the GOP -- and the conservative end of the American political spectrum have become irresponsible and irrational. Worse, it's tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred. Let me provide some examples -- by no means an exhaustive list -- of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.

If you're going to regain your stature as a party of rational, responsible people, you'll have to start by draining this swamp:

Hypocrisy

You can't flip out -- and threaten impeachment - when Dems use a parliamentary procedure (deem and pass) that you used repeatedly (more than 35 times in just one session and more than 100 times in all!), that's centuries old and which the courts have supported. Especially when your leaders admit it all.

You can't vote and scream against the stimulus package and then take credit for the good it's done in your own district (happily handing out enormous checks representing money that you voted against, is especially ugly) -- 114 of you (at last count) did just that -- and it's even worse when you secretly beg for more.

You can't fight against your own ideas just because the Dem president endorses your proposal.

You can't call for a pay-as-you-go policy, and then vote against your own ideas.

Are they "unlawful enemy combatants" or are they "prisoners of war" at Gitmo? You can't have it both ways.

You can't carry on about the evils of government spending when your family has accepted more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts.

You can't refuse to go to a scheduled meeting, to which you were invited, and then blame the Dems because they didn't meet with you.

You can't rail against using teleprompters while using teleprompters. Repeatedly.

You can't rail against the bank bailouts when you supported them as they were happening.

You can't be for immigration reform, then against it .

You can't enjoy socialized medicine while condemning it.

You can't flip out when the black president puts his feet on the presidential desk when you were silent about white presidents doing the same. Bush. Ford.

You can't complain that the president hasn't closed Gitmo yet when you've campaigned to keep Gitmo open.

You can't flip out when the black president bows to foreign dignitaries, as appropriate for their culture, when you were silent when the white presidents did the same. Bush. Nixon. Ike. You didn't even make a peep when Bush held hands and kissed (on the mouth) leaders of countries that are not on "kissing terms" with the US.

You can't complain that the undies bomber was read his Miranda rights under Obama when the shoe bomber was read his Miranda rights under Bush and you remained silent. (And, no, Newt -- the shoe bomber was not a US citizen either, so there is no difference.)

You can't attack the Dem president for not personally* publicly condemning a terrorist event for 72 hours when you said nothing about the Rep president waiting 6 days in an eerily similar incident (and, even then, he didn't issue any condemnation). *Obama administration did the day of the event.

You can't throw a hissy fit, sound alarms and cry that Obama freed Gitmo prisoners who later helped plan the Christmas Day undie bombing, when -- in fact -- only one former Gitmo detainee, released by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, helped to plan the failed attack.

You can't condemn blaming the Republican president for an attempted terror attack on his watch, then blame the Dem president for an attempted terror attack on his.

You can't mount a boycott against singers who say they're ashamed of the president for starting a war, but remain silent when another singer says he's ashamed of the president and falsely calls him a Maoist who makes him want to throw up and says he ought to be in jail.

You can't cry that the health care bill is too long, then cry that it's too short.

You can't support the individual mandate for health insurance, then call it unconstitutional when Dems propose it and campaign against your own ideas.

You can't demand television coverage, then whine about it when you get it. Repeatedly.

You can't praise criminal trials in US courts for terror suspects under a Rep president, then call it "treasonous" under a Dem president.

You can't propose ideas to create jobs, and then work against them when the Dems put your ideas in a bill.

You can't be both pro-choice and anti-choice.

You can't damn someone for failing to pay $900 in taxes when you've paid nearly $20,000 in IRS fines.

You can't condemn criticizing the president when US troops are in harms way, then attack the president when US troops are in harms way , the only difference being the president's party affiliation (and, by the way, armed conflict does NOT remove our right and our duty as Americans to speak up).

You can't be both for cap-and-trade policy and against it.

You can't vote to block debate on a bill, then bemoan the lack of 'open debate'.

If you push anti-gay legislation and make anti-gay speeches, you should probably take a pass on having gay sex, regardless of whether it's 2004 or 2010. This is true, too, if you're taking GOP money and giving anti-gay rants on CNN. Taking right-wing money and GOP favors to write anti-gay stories for news sites while working as a gay prostitute, doubles down on both the hypocrisy and the prostitution. This is especially true if you claim your anti-gay stand is God's stand, too.

When you chair the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, you can't send sexy emails to 16-year-old boys (illegal anyway, but you made it hypocritical as well).

You can't criticize Dems for not doing something you didn't do while you held power over the past 16 years, especially when the Dems have done more in one year than you did in 16.

You can't decry "name calling" when you've been the most consistent and outrageous at it. And the most vile.

You can't spend more than 40 years hating, cutting and trying to kill Medicare, and then pretend to be the defenders of Medicare

You can't praise the Congressional Budget Office when it's analysis produces numbers that fit your political agenda, then claim it's unreliable when it comes up with numbers that don't.

You can't vote for X under a Republican president, then vote against X under a Democratic president. Either you support X or you don't. And it makes it worse when you change your position merely for the sake obstructionism.

You can't call a reconciliation out of bounds when you used it repeatedly.

You can't spend taxpayer money on ads against spending taxpayer money.

You can't condemn individual health insurance mandates in a Dem bill, when the mandates were your idea.

You can't demand everyone listen to the generals when they say what fits your agenda, and then ignore them when they don't.

You can't whine that it's unfair when people accuse you of exploiting racism for political gain, when your party's former leader admits you've been doing it for decades.

You can't portray yourself as fighting terrorists when you openly and passionately support terrorists.

You can't complain about a lack of bipartisanship when you've routinely obstructed for the sake of political gain -- threatening to filibuster at least 100 pieces of legislation in one session, far more than any other since the procedural tactic was invented -- and admitted it. Some admissions are unintentional, others are made proudly. This is especially true when the bill is the result of decades of compromise between the two parties and is filled with your own ideas.

You can't question the loyalty of Department of Justice lawyers when you didn't object when your own Republican president appointed them.

You can't preach and try to legislate "Family Values" when you: take nude hot tub dips with teenagers (and pay them hush money); cheat on your wife with a secret lover and lie about it to the world; cheat with a staffer's wife (and pay them off with a new job); pay hookers for sex while wearing a diaper and cheating on your wife; or just enjoying an old fashioned non-kinky cheating on your wife; try to have gay sex in a public toilet; authorize the rape of children in Iraqi prisons to coerce their parents into providing information; seek, look at or have sex with children; replace a guy who cheats on his wife with a guy who cheats on his pregnant wife with his wife's mother;

Hyperbole

You really need to disassociate with those among you who:

•assert that people making a quarter-million dollars a year can barely make ends meet or that $1 million "isn't a lot of money";
•say that "Comrade" Obama is a "Bolshevik" who is "taking cues from Lenin";
•ignore the many times your buddies use a term that offends you and complain only when a Dem says it;
•liken political opponents to murderers, rapists, and "this Muslim guy" that "offed his wife's head" or call then "un-American";
•say Obama "wants his plan to fail...so that he can make the case for bank nationalization and vindicate his dream of a socialist economy";
•equate putting the good of the people ahead of your personal fortunes with terrorism;
•smear an entire major religion with the actions of a few fanatics;
•say that the president wants to "annihilate us";
•compare health care reform with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a Bolshevik plot the attack on 9/11,or reviving the ghosts of communist dictators (update: it's also not Armageddon);
•equate our disease-fighting stem cell research with "what the Nazis did";
•call a bill passed by the majority of both houses of Congress, by members of Congress each elected by a majority in their districts, an unconscionable abuse of power, a violation of the presidential oath or "the end of representative government";
•shout "baby killer" at a member of Congress on the floor of the House, especially one who so fought against abortion rights that he nearly killed health care reform (in fact, a little decorum, a little respect for our national institutions and the people and the values they represent, would be refreshing -- cut out the shouting, the swearing and the obscenities);
•prove your machismo by claiming your going to "crash a party" to which you're officially invited;
•claim that Obama is pushing America's "submission to Shariah";
•question the patriotism of people upholding cherished American values and the rule of law;
•claim the president is making us less safe without a hint of evidence;
•call a majority vote the "tyranny of the minority," even if you meant to call it tyranny of the majority -- it's democracy, not tyranny;
•call the president's support of a criminal trial for a terror suspect "treasonous" (especially when you supported the same thing when the president shared your party);
•call the Pope the anti-Christ;
•assert that the constitutionally mandated census is an attempt to enslave us;
•accuse opponents of being backed by Arab slave-drivers or of being drunk and suicidal;
•equate family planning with eugenics or Nazism;
•accuse the president of changing the missile defense program's logo to match his campaign logo and reflect what you say is his secret Muslim identity;
•accuse political opponents of being totalitarians, socialists, communists, fascists, Marxists; terrorist sympathizers, McCarthy-like, Nazis or drug pushers; and
•advocate a traitorous act like secession, violent revolution , military coup or civil war (just so we're clear: sedition is a bad thing).
History

If you're going to use words like socialism, communism and fascism, you must have at least a basic understanding of what those words mean (hint: they're NOT synonymous!)

You can't cut a leading Founding Father out the history books because you've decided you don't like his ideas.

You cant repeatedly assert that the president refuses to say the word "terrorism" or say we're at war with terror when we have an awful lot of videotape showing him repeatedly assailing terrorism and using those exact words.

If you're going to invoke the names of historical figures, it does not serve you well to whitewash them. Especially this one.

You can't just pretend historical events didn't happen in an effort to make a political opponent look dishonest or to make your side look better. Especially these events. (And, no, repeating it doesn't make it better.)

You can't say things that are simply and demonstrably false: health care reform will not push people out of their private insurance and into a government-run program ; health care reform (which contains a good many of your ideas and very few from the Left) is a long way from "socialist utopia"; health care reform is not "reparations"; nor does health care reform create "death panels".

Hatred

You have to condemn those among you who:

•call members of Congress n*gger and f*ggot;
•elected leaders who say "I'm a proud racist";
•state that America has been built by white people;
•say that poor people are poor because they're rotten people, call them "parasitic garbage" or say they shouldn't be allowed to vote;
•call women bitches and prostitutes just because you don't like their politics ( re - pea -ted - ly );
•assert that the women who are serving our nation in uniform are hookers;
•mock and celebrate the death of a grandmother because you disagree with her son's politics;
•declare that those who disagree with you are shown by that disagreement to be not just "Marxist radicals" but also monsters and a deadly disease killing the nation (this would fit in the hyperbole and history categories, too);
•joke about blindness;
•advocate euthanizing the wife of your political opponent;
•taunt people with incurable, life-threatening diseases -- especially if you do it on a syndicated broadcast;
•equate gay love with bestiality -- involving horses or dogs or turtles or ducks -- or polygamy, child molestation, pedophilia;
•casually assume that only white males look "like a real American";
•assert presidential power to authorize torture, torture a child by having his testicles crushed in front of his parents to get them to talk, order the massacre of a civilian village and launch a nuclear attack without the consent of Congress;
•attack children whose mothers have died;
•call people racists without producing a shred of evidence that they've said or done something that would even smell like racism -- same for invoking racially charged "dog whistle" words (repeatedly);
•condemn the one thing that every major religion agrees on;
•complain that we no longer employ the tactics we once used to disenfranchise millions of Americans because of their race;
•blame the victims of natural disasters and terrorist attacks for their suffering and losses;
•celebrate violence , joke about violence, prepare for violence or use violent imagery, "fun" political violence, hints of violence, threats of violence (this one is rather explicit), suggestions of violence or actual violence (and, really, suggesting anal rape with a hot piece of metal is beyond the pale); and
•incite insurrection telling people to get their guns ready for a "bloody battle" with the president of the United States.
Oh, and I'm not alone: One of your most respected and decorated leaders agrees with me.

So, dear conservatives, get to work. Drain the swamp of the conspiracy nuts, the bald-faced liars undeterred by demonstrable facts, the overt hypocrisy and the hatred. Then offer us a calm, responsible, grownup agenda based on your values and your vision for America. We may or may not agree with your values and vision, but we'll certainly welcome you back to the American mainstream with open arms. We need you.

(Anticipating your initial response: No there is nothing that even comes close to this level of wingnuttery on the American Left.)

Written by Russell King

Update: removed the mouth kissing reference and tried to clean up spelling

Link to original post at TPM:

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/a/m/americandad/2010/03/an-open-letter-to-conservative.php?ref=recdc

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Note to Missouri chemical companies Bayer and Monsanto

To the chemical companies--and even the farmers--around the world:

You're killing us:

"The mysterious 4-year-old crisis of disappearing honeybees is deepening. A quick federal survey indicates a heavy bee die-off this winter, while a new study shows honeybees' pollen and hives laden with pesticides."

Do you know how central, how pivotal, the common honey bee is to our existence, folks?

Extremely.

Pollinization is key to a great deal of plant's lives around the world and if we don't have bees, it can't happen.

What else, other than the common honey bee, is going to go from plant to plant, pollinizing?

You? Me?

Nope. And we know it.

Check it out: "About one-third of the human diet is from plants that require pollination from honeybees, which means everything from apples to zucchini."

Note that it's from A to Z.

One third of the human diet potentially not available because we use--overuse, really--chemicals and pesticides.

"This year bees seem to be in bigger trouble than normal after a bad winter, according to an informal survey of commercial bee brokers cited in an internal USDA document. One-third of those surveyed had trouble finding enough hives to pollinate California's blossoming nut trees, which grow the bulk of the world's almonds."

As Bob Dylan wrote and sang "A change is gonna' come" and it better be sooner than later, folks.

We'd better start paying attention to what we're doing to our world.

Whole sections of the world seem a lot brighter than the good old US

A few notes from the news in the last 24 hours:

First, Ann "the man" Coulter was told she couldn't be coming up to Canada to give a speech at Ottawa University and spew hate speech because they have laws against it.

Wow. How refreshing is that?

Imagine--rules against hate speech. One step further--enforceable rules on hate speech.

Then, as an additional bonus, it turns out 2,000 Canadians came 'round to rather vehemently demonstrate against her.

Who said Canadians are sissies?

So check this out---Ms. (Mr.?) Coulter cancelled her trip and speech.

Score one for the right thing happening.

Love those Canadians.

Second, according to the After Downing Street blog, "A journalist tried to arrest Tony Blair for 'crimes against peace' as the former prime minister arrived to give a speech at the European Parliament in Brussels."

Again, how cool is that? Someone standing up for justice in the world, even if it was just a symbolic gesture.

It seems the reporter attempted to make a citizen's arrest, right there on the street.

It wasn't successful, of course (unfortunately) but the article went on, "As Mr Cronin was pushed away on Monday, he shouted 'Mr Blair, you are guilty of war crimes' referring to the Iraq invasion."

Wouldn't it be great if this happened here in the States, to the person who's really responsible for the debacle and crime known as the current Iraq War, Former President George W. Bush?

For that matter, with Former Vice President Dick Cheney and/or Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld?

One last good thing that's happening in this regard is the ongoing investigation in the British government as to what happened, when and by whom, prior to the start of the Iraq War.

It seems the British have enough guts , intelligence and determination to see what happened in their government at the time and to see if it was all legal and proper. (Oh, and the Dutch also have enough fortitude to calmly and fairly see what happened in their government before the start of this stupid, misbegotten war, too).

Some terrific, strong examples of how Europe and Canada, at least, seem to have far more, again, intelligence, courage and determination in running their respective countries.

Don't accuse me of saying this isn't a good place, the US.

I'm just saying we could make some pretty significant improvements.

I just knew we wouldn't have seen the last of "W"

and his ignorant antics:

At least he never pretended to be a "man of the people". At least he did us that service.

For more delicious "W" goodness, go here, to the original link:
http://thinkprogress.org/2010/03/24/bush-clinton-wipe/

Let's have a great weekend, y'all.

The Republican Party today


You know, no one likes angry people.

And angry, old white people are just about the worst.

Note to Republicans: We wanted health care reform. We got it. Get over it and work with the rest of us--Americans, all--to fix more of our problems.

Hateful old goats.

Thanks and a hat tip to The Osterley Times for this "heads up."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Betty Ford: One cool, smart, tough, beautiful person

Think about it: Republican First Lady Betty Ford--for the Equal Rights Amendment, a true announced feminist--and not afraid to say and live it--for women's abortion rights, went through and survived breast cancer and then went on to help other women deal with their own cancers, overcame prescription drug and alcohol addiction, started a clinic that bears her name to help others overcome their addictions and a whole lot more, after having national American politics and all it entails thrust upon her.

What a gal.

Betty Ford, we salute you.

If you didn't see any of the series on Betty Ford on PBS, you really missed something. There's a link to last evening's segment here:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bettyford/act4.html

Unreasonable Right-wing responses

Keeping track of the Republicans, "Tea Baggers" and Right-wingers and their unreasonable, ugly and,in some cases, wildly illegal responses to the Health Care Reform Act:

From Politico and Yahoo! News:

"Reps. Louise Slaughter and Bart Stupak have received death threats."

"A tea party participant published what he thought was Rep. Thomas Perriello’s home address and urged disgruntled voters to “drop by” for a 'good face-to-face chat.'”

"Vandals broke windows at Slaughter’s office in New York and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s office in Arizona."

"And angry voters are planning to protest this weekend at the home of Steve Driehaus — who’s already seen a photograph of his children used in a newspaper ad published by reform opponents."

"The vitriolic health care debate has become personal — too personal, say House Democrats who voted for the bill and now find not just themselves but their families in the cross hairs of opponents."

"Slaughter, a Democrat who chairs the House Rules Committee, said a caller to her office last week vowed to send snipers to 'kill the children of the members who voted yes.' Her office reported the call to police, who were dispatched to provide protection for Slaughter’s grandchildren. She has also been in touch with the FBI and U.S. Postal Service inspectors, who intercepted a letter en route to her home in upstate New York."

--Rep. Bart Stupak's wife can't answer the phone at their home due to the obscenities that are being phoned to them.

--Representative "Driehaus faults Republicans for providing encouragement to the most extreme opponents of reform. Last week, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned that anti-abortion Democrats would suffer politically if they voted for the health care bill; he singled out Driehaus, saying he 'may be a dead man' and 'can’t go home to the west side of Cincinnati' because 'the Catholics will run him out of town.'"

--"Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) said he had to change his personal cell phone number after a Republican gave it out to health care opponents."

--"And Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Blue Dog Democrat from California, said he’s gotten physical threats over health care reform."

--"Law enforcement authorities are investigating the discovery of a cut propane gas line at the Virginia home of Rep. Thomas Perriello’s (D-Va.) brother, whose address was targeted by tea party activists angry at the congressman’s vote for the health care bill."

It's wildly irresponsible. It's dangerous. It's stupid. It's truly, literally despicable, stirring up these kinds of reactions to legislation the American people want and need.

It's important we're aware of what's going on. There has already been a lessening in the quantity of calls to some representatives, since Sunday, and hopefully this will all tamp down soon.

It seems the crazies have been on the loose.

At any Republican President's worst, especially when "W" invaded Iraq and took us to war with no cause, against our own and international law, did any Liberal, Democrat or anyone else rebel like this. We took our demonstrations, very peacefully, to the streets. We never threatened anyone.

And health care reform is nowhere near as bad for the country, in any way, as that invasion.

This insanity needs to stop now.

5 Overblown Fears About Healthcare Reform

From US News and World Report and Yahoo! News, earlier today:

Rick Newman, On Monday March 22, 2010, 4:22 pm EDT

In Washington, everybody knows about unintended consequences: the outcomes you fail to anticipate when you change the way something works. But there's another phenomenon that works somewhat in reverse: Preregulatory paranoia, or the fear that new rules meant to make the system better will instead produce mayhem and disaster.

It will be a long time before we know whether the historic healthcare reform finally passed by Congress will make the system better or worse. But the rhetoric surrounding the yearlong ordeal has already set new standards for overwrought fearmongering. There's a long history of pre-emptive hyperbole in Washington, in which the combatants on each side of an issue paint a dismal scenario if things don't go their way. But the dire predictions almost never materialize. Businesses adjust. Lawyers find loopholes. Lobbyists get new rules watered down. Entrepreneurs come up with better ways to make money, regardless of constraints. And if the new rules really do fail, we have this little process called electoral politics to make sure the government responds to voters' concerns.

Still, the overheated claims and counterclaims about healthcare reform have produced widespread confusion about what the new legislation will actually do. Here are a few of the most overblown concerns:

The government will take over one sixth of the economy. That would be alarming if it were true. But government involvement in healthcare will increase gradually over time and remain modest, especially since there's no "public option" in the current plan that would set up a government-run insurer. If you have doubts, consider the attitude of professional investors, who would stand to lose a lot if the government took over healthcare. They don't exactly seem worried. Shares of health insurers like Aetna, UnitedHealth, Wellpoint, and Cigna--subject to the strongest new rules under reform--have outperformed the stock market over the past year. The pharmaceutical and hospital industries also are considered winners because there will be millions of new customers who suddenly have insurance that can pay for treatment. That led the entire stock market higher the day after reform passed. In fact, it's hard to identify any part of the private-sector healthcare industry that stands to lose under reform.

The federal debt will explode. It might, but not because of healthcare reform. The Congressional Budget Office--which is probably the most reliable, nonpartisan number-crunching outfit in Washington--says the reforms will reduce government deficits by $143 billion through 2019, thanks to new taxes and fees and cost savings in government healthcare programs like Medicare. But opponents of the bill and powerful lobbying groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce say otherwise, and they seem to have had a stronger influence on public opinion than CBO's methodical analysis. A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, found that 55 percent of Americans mistakenly believe the CBO has said the healthcare legislation will add to the deficit. Only 15 percent know that CBO has said the opposite.

Doctors will revolt. Doctors don't like the current system, in which insurance companies call the shots. But instead of sweeping reform and more government involvement, they prefer gradual reform that puts more control in the hands of ... doctors. In one recent survey, nearly one third of physicians said they'd consider leaving medicine if reform passes, which it now has. Doctors worry that the new rules will cut into their incomes--which may happen, eventually. But it's implausible that thousand of doctors who have dedicated years to a complex profession will simply quit. What will they do? Become accountants? Open a Subway franchise? Besides, with millions of new patients seeking care, the demand for doctors will actually rise, not decline. And if cost controls discourage the docs who are in it to get rich, maybe that will help bring costs down for everybody else. Meanwhile, the American Medical Association and dozens of other physicians' lobbying groups will continue to look out for doctors' interests in Washington.

Businesses will suffer. The new rules will impose fees on businesses with more than 50 employees if their workers receive government subsidies to buy insurance in lieu of employer-provided coverage. Business groups complain that this could stunt economic growth and slow hiring. But businesses are more resourceful than that. It's true that many companies will have to absorb additional costs, which they do every year anyway when health insurance premiums go up. But well-run companies excel at solving problems. That's what makes them successful. Smart entrepreneurs salivate at the chance to outcompete bigger firms that can't manage challenges like this. And companies already pass on the rising costs of healthcare to their employees; there's no reason to expect that will change if they can't manage costs some other way. There's also an outside chance that the new insurance exchanges will make life easier for small businesses, as intended, by giving their workers a way to buy coverage at rates comparable to what big companies are able to negotiate.

Socalized medicine is on the way. In the Kaiser poll, 41 percent of respondents said they believe the new law would require people who already get insurance through their employer to change their coverage. But most people who already have health coverage won't have to change anything, unless they want to. The new rules will have the most direct impact on people who don't have coverage, or who don't get it through an employer. Those who fear the advent of "socialized medicine" mainly seem to worry that the current set of reforms is just Phase 1, to be followed by bigger changes that will replace doctors with bureaucrats and render individual patients even more powerless than they are now. This is supposed to happen despite the likelihood that the Democrats who supported reform will lose seats in the November elections, while Republicans who opposed reform will gain seats. It seems much more likely that after surviving the battles of the last year, the current for-profit healthcare industry will be with us for the foreseeable future.
________________________________________

We need facts right now and calm and patience and intelligence.

We decidedly don't need fear-mongering, demagoguery and patronization of absurdly emotional people and groups.

The fact is, this Health Care Reform Act, though not perfect, was and is a good idea.

Now let's move on and solve more of our nation's problems, as I said earlier.

Have a great day everyone.

Emotionalism in politics: One of America's biggest problems

After reading the news this week, and watching the Sunday morning news programs, it occurred to me, once again, that we have far too much emotion and emotionalism in our politics today in America, it's getting worse--much more so--and that we need to rid ourselves of it.

Proof:

No. 1--Last Saturday, protesters in Washington, outside Congress, yelled "nigger" at Representative John Lewis, a highly respected--and elderly, if that means anything, African-American leader from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's;

No. 2--A man was arrested--and later released-- for having spat on our own House of Representative Congressman Emanuel Cleaver at this same rally.

What good purpose could that have possibly served?

No. 3--On ABC"s program "This Week", Karl Rove continually and repeatedly rudely interrupted Presidential Adviser David Plouffe when answering questions directed at Mr. Plouffe, when Mr. Plouffe did no such thing to Mr. Rove. He ran right over Mr. Plouffe's answers and discussions, allowing for little reply to any questions directed specifically at him (Mr. Plouffe);

No. 4--Routinely, on American news programs, especially and specifically the Fox Network "News", people will shout over one another (e.g., Bill O'Reilly) or turn to tears, for effect, while reporting the "news" (e.g., Glenn Beck), etc., apparently so their shows have more impact;

No. 5--If we can't discuss the salient points of an issue, we yell names: Representative Barney Frank was referred to as a "homo"--as though that has anything to do with anything--during that same demonstration in Washington last Saturday;

No. 6--One Mike Vanderboegh of the "Alabama Constitutional Militia" "...put out a call on Friday for modern 'Sons of Liberty' to break the windows of Democratic Party offices nationwide"--because that's a good idea, right?--"in opposition to health care reform." Windows ended up broken in Wichita, Kansas, Tucson, Arizona, Rochester, New York and several other places.

These are just a few recent examples, too. This isn't nearly everything I could list as examples.

It is my contention that all of these above episodes are mighty indicators of what is going wrong in American media, American political discussions and so, finally and sadly, negatively, in our government.

We have stopped calmly reasoning with one another and we merely shout at one another.

We need William F. Buckley, his reasoning and his speaking style, back again. (Even if he was wrong, at least part of the time).

We don't want discourse from one another any longer, it seems. All we want is for the "other side" to come over to our "correct" way of thinking, so we just shout at one another. And worse.

Frankly, I think the Fox Network seems to lead the way in this by only espousing one viewpoint--the Conservative one--and by allowing commentary to get emotional and vitriolic. We end up with no patience for PBS discussions where a Conservative and a Liberal or a Democrat and a Republican and other political groups calmly, cooly and logically lay out their points and the data that supports them.

So the electorate knows little, rarely, of hard statistics and facts that should rule the commentary and discussions.

Our sincerity, however mistaken, rules the day through emotional rants.

Again, as I've said before, this is no way to run a country.

And we seem to be getting worse.

A lot worse.

Quickly.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bad news for Republicans

Breaking news from The Huffington Post:

"Only hours after the president signed health care reform legislation into law on Tuesday, the immediate political benefits for the Democratic Party are already coming into focus."

"According to a Gallup/USA Today poll conducted the day after health care legislation passed the House of Representatives, 49 percent of the respondents think the passage of reform is a 'good thing,' compared to the 40 percent who think it is bad."

So there you have it, for all the Republicans, "Tea Baggers", Glenn Beck, Rush "Porkulus" Limbaugh and anyone and everyone else who has railed or is railing about the new Health Care Reform Act that the President signed into law today, in spite of what you think about it, the American people were for it, are for it and think it's a good idea.

The fact is, our health care system is badly broken and it needed fixing.

It would have been nice if we had a better fix than this but so it goes. At least we got this much repair.

Now, go away. Take your defeat, be quiet, be good little boys and girls, get with and behind America and behave yourselves.

We have other problems to fix, too.

Do they have to muzzle Joe Biden or what?

The end of representative government in America

According to The Huffington Post , "A Texas company recently took out a political ad in several local newspapers, making it one of the first corporations to do so in the wake of a landmark Supreme Court ruling that lifted restrictions on corporate political spending."

"The Texas Tribune reports that the company, KDR Development, paid for an ad against state Rep. Chuck Hopson, formerly a Democratic member of the state legislature who switched parties and ran in the Republican primary for re-election."



This, ladies and gentlemen, is what the end of "representtaive government" looks like.

The money floodgates for elections and attack ads are open.

It was nice while it lasted.

Guest post on the Republican Party and health care reform

James Kunstler-- "The Party Of Cruelty"... (as posted on the "Monkeyfister" blog)

There is not much to disagree with here.

via Kunstler.com

It was amusing to see the Republican party inveigh against health insurance reform as if they were a synod of Presbyterian necromancers girding the nation for a takeover by the spawn of hell. This was the same gang, by the way, who championed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, then regarded as the most reckless giveaway of public funds in human history. Along the way, they enlisted an army of nay-sayers representing everything dark, disgraceful, and ignorant in the American character. If the Republicans keep going this way, they'll end up with something worse than Naziism: a party that hates everything but believes in absolutely nothing.

The most striking elements of so-called health care in America these days is how cruel and unjust it is, and in taking a stand against reforming it the Republican party appeared to be firmly in support of cruelty and injustice. This would be well within the historical tradition of other religious crusades which turned political --such as the Spanish Inquisition and the seventeenth century war against witchcraft. Whatever else the Democratic party has stood for in recent history, it has tended to oppose institutional cruelty and injustice, and notice that it has also been the party for keeping religion out of government.

Now a health care reform act has passed and there's some reason to hope that insurance companies will be prevented from doing things like canceling the coverage of policy-holders who have the impertinence to actually get sick, which has been their main device for revenue enhancement, and we'll see how they cope with the idea that being alive in a treacherous world is the fundamental pre-existing condition.

I surely don't know if the nation can afford to pay for what this law requires, but then can we really afford to pay for anything? -- including the salaries, retirement benefits, and health insurance of congressmen, not to mention two wars, bailout life support for banks, rising unemployment benefits, shovel-ready stimulus projects, et cetera, blah blah? Probably not.

My guess is that the health care "industry" will unravel in the years ahead under the weight of its own hypercomplexity just as all the other hypercomplex systems of normal American life (such as it is) groan and collapse under their own unworkable immensities -- and I speak here of industrial-style farming, Big Box "consumerism," Happy Motoring, too-big-to-fail finance, centralized public education, and the pension racket. All the activities of daily life in this country have poor prospects for continuing in their current form.

At least this once a workable majority in the government has stood up to the forces of cruelty and injustice, and whatever else happens to us in the course of this long emergency, it will be a good thing if the party of fairness and justice identifies its adversaries for what they are: not "partners in governing," or any such academical-therapeutic bullshit, but enemies of every generous impulse in the national character.

I hope that Mr. Obama's party can carry this message clearly into the electoral battles ahead, painting the Republican opposition for what it is: a gang of hypocritical, pietistic sadists, seeking pleasure in the suffering of others while pretending to be Christians, devoid of sympathy, empathy, or any inclination to simple human kindness, constant breakers of the Golden Rule, enemies of the common good. In fact, the current edition of the Republican party has achieved something really memorable in the annals of collective bad intentions: they have managed to create a sense of the public interest whose main goal is the destruction of the public interest.

This is exactly what the Republican majority on the Supreme Court did earlier this year by deciding that corporations -- which are sociopathic by definition in being answerable only to their shareholders and nothing else -- should enjoy the same full privileges in election campaign contributions as human persons, who are assumed to have obligations, duties, and responsibilities to the common good (and therefore to the public interest). This shameful act by the court majority only underscores the chief defining characteristic of Republicans in their current incarnation: an inability to think. And so, naturally Republicans gravitate toward superstition and the traditional devices of improvident religious authorities -- persecution of the weak, torture, denial of due process, and dogmas designed to spread hatred.

I hope the American public begins to understand this, because they have been manipulated in their own pain and hardship by these dark forces, and their thrall to the likes of John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush, Hannity, and the rest of these vicious morons could easily increase as their economic hardships deepen. We're facing a comprehensive contraction of wealth and economy that is going to challenge every shared virtue in our national soul, and we're not going to meet these difficulties successfully without a sense of mutual obligation and sympathy for each other. The Republican party is just itching to turn a giant thumbscrew on the US public -- that is, before they try to start burning their enemies at the stake. We understand that the Health Care Reform Act is a first stand against that.


Thank you, James.



And thank you Monkeyfister blog for bringing it to our attention.


Link to original post:
http://monkeyfister.blogspot.com/2010/03/james-kunstler-party-of-cruelty.html

Monday, March 22, 2010

What they said wasn't "the 'n' word"

As the now-old saying goes, let's not put lipstick on this pig.

I keep seeing references to the incident in Washington, DC this past Saturday wherein some "Tea-bagger" Republican protester shouted an epithet at Represenetative John Lewis and it's irritating me.

I keep seeing it referred to as this ignorant person yelling "the 'n' word."

And I want to say stop.

Let's stop calling it that.

Let's stop making this nice. Or pretty. Or politically-correct.

Because it absolutely isn't any of those things.

Whoever that person was called Representative John Lewis--longtime civil rights activist and now legislator--a nigger.

The word isn't nice.

This is racism of its near-worst form.

The only thing worse, after this, is physical violence, let's be clear on this.

That word--nigger--is the worst thing a white person can call an African-American yet that's what this person did.

And then someone spat on our own Kansas City, Missouri Representative Emanuel Cleaver.

And then someone else, shortly thereafter, across Washington, called Representative Barney Frank a "homo."

Racism, homophobia and bigotry, all.

And stupid. And irresponsible. And hate-filled.

And it all has no place in any discussion or debate about health care.

And it has no place in America.

And it needs to stop.

And it needs to stop now.

If we call it something less than what it is, we're giving it a pass and that's not acceptable.

The 10 Most Ridiculous Quotes About Health Care Reform--and then some really ugly stupidity

They speak for themselves.

By Daniel Kurtzman, About.com Guide

1. "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." —Sarah Palin, in a message posted on Facebook about Obama's health care reform plan, Aug. 7, 2009

2. "To our seniors, I have a message for you: you're going to die sooner." –Sen. Tom Coburn (R- Okla.), on what will happen if health care reform passes, Dec. 1, 2009

3. "If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that’s in people’s pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the war between the states — the Great War of Yankee Aggression." –Rep. Paul Broun (R- Ga.), March 18, 2010

4. "They intend to vote on the Sabbath, during Lent, to take away the liberty that we have right from God. This is an affront to God." –Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), interview with Glenn Beck, March 18, 2010

5. "Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly." Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), summing up the Republican health care plan

6. "Obama's got a health care logo that's right out of Adolf Hitler's playbook … Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate." —Rush Limbaugh, Aug. 6, 2009

7. "You have three people in the White House that are in love with eugenics or whatever it is you would call it today. … Please dear God, read history. Please dear God read the truth of what these people have said in their own words, and ask yourself this one question: Do you trust these people enough to give them control over who lives and who dies? Because that's what health care is when you have no other choice but to go to the state." —Glenn Beck, comparing health care reform to Nazi eugenics

8. "We should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma." —Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Aug. 12, 2009

9. "That's why people need to continue to go to the town halls, continue to melt the phone lines of their liberal members of Congress, and let them know, under no certain circumstances will I give the government control over my body and my health care decisions." —Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a pro-lifer who completely missed the irony of using the same slogan as the pro-choice movement

10. "Exercise freaks ... are the ones putting stress on the health care system." —Rush Limbaugh, June 12, 2009

~Compiled by Daniel Kurtzman

Up to now, they've only been saying fairly stupid, outrageous and ignorant things like the above.

They're going batshit crazy now, since health care reform passed.

In Washington, Saturday, as you no doubt know, some of the "Tea Party" protesters starting yelling "nigger" at RepresentativeJohn Lewism ,spat on our own representative Emanuel Cleaver (he waived charges) and yelled "homo" at Rep. Barney Frank, all in their anger. (But no, no, they're not racist or homophobic, right?).

Now it's getting really ugly.

In fact, the ugliest, stupidest and worst of all, that I've seen, to date, is two Twitter posts that suggest assassinating the President.

Here's hoping sanity rules.

Original link here:
http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/healthcare/a/health-care-reform-quotes.htm

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Once again, we must rely on the "Fourth Estate"

I just saw a report that the Bloomberg news group won a court legal battle for us, the American people, against the government, this time against the government keeping secrets.

It seems they were able to successfully use the Freedom of Information Act:

"The Federal Reserve Board must disclose documents identifying financial firms that might have collapsed without the largest U.S. government bailout ever, a federal appeals court said."

More: "The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled today that the Fed must release records of the unprecedented $2 trillion U.S. loan program launched primarily after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. The ruling upholds a decision of a lower-court judge, who in August ordered that the information be released."

I see local blogs online bemoan newspapers and always complaining about how they are the "dead tree media" and I find it tiresome. And ignorant.

Sure, kill the newspapers in that paper form but they need to exist, for sure. Without media--a good, strong, searching, investigating and persevering media to question our government and its institutions, bureaucrats and legislators, we are far weaker as citizens, taxpayers and voters.

We would be operating far more in the utter darkness without them.

Additionally, they can't be owned by other, big corporations that have so much to gain from having only their own viewpoint put out.

So score one for the media and the people.

We need lots more of this.









Link text

Weekend entertainment suggestion

I think I have a great weekend entertainment suggestion for you today.

A friend mentioned that he did it last night while we were at breakfast this morning.

If you either get tired of "March Madness" basketball or your team isn't on or you just want something to watch on TV with the thought of having a good laugh, turn on Fox "News" this weekend.

Oh, yeah.

They're going nuts right now, what with the President and the Democrats anchoring to get a health care reform fix right now.

They're flipping out.

They're coming unhinged.

Whether it's Hannity or Beck or O'Really or whomever, go over and give them a view.

It's a hoot.

They're just sure that this is the end of the world or the virtual end of the world or that by Sunday evening we'll all be living in a Socialist country or some such absurd, ludicrous, insane, and/or emotional nonsense and hyperbole.

You may thank us later.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Okay, if we can't stop Fox "News", then let's have fun with them



Let's have a great weekend, y'all.

On the anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war


What lessons have we learned?

What do we do now?

To the Iraq warmongers

Let's see, that's now-former President, George W. Bush, now-former Vice President Dick ("the Dick") Cheney, now-former Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz etc., etc.

To all of you, listed above, the Republican Party, any and all Democrats who went along for this hair-brained scheme, the media who didn't ask questions and also let the American people down and anyone and everyone who was for attacking Iraq pre-emptively and without provocation:

It was wrong. It was stupid. It was against our own, internal, national laws and it was against International Law.

And now this:

"In a Thursday panel at Cato on conservatism and war, U.S. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and John Duncan (R-Tenn.) revealed that the vast majority of GOP members of Congress now think it was wrong for the U.S. to invade Iraq in 2003."

Well, thank you, gentlemen. Thank you for joining us. You're 7 long years, 4,282 American soldiers --men and women--and trillions of dollars too late.

To say that you screwed up is the grossest understatement I can imagine.

And I say this for a few reasons, none of which are to gloat.

First, we told you so.

There were thousands of us, nationwide, who were literally on the streets, protesting this war before it happened. We told you, warned you this was a mistake.

You didn't listen.

Second, the UN told you Saddam Hussein had no "weapons of mass destruction", that he was cooperating and that you could find no evidence of any such weapons.

You didn't listen.

Third, 13 intelligence agencies of our own government declared that Saddam Hussein was not a threat to the US. This was broadcast before the war began on National Public Radio, very calmly and cooly. I heard it myself.

You didn't listen.

Fourth, again, this pre-emptive attack was against our own, internal laws.

No one listened.

Fifth, pre-emptively and without provocation attacking another sovereign nation was then and is now, to this day, against International Law.

You didn't listen.

Finally, and I'll put this last note in one heading instead of two--both history and common sense said that attacking Iraq was a mistake, and a big one. I have frequently, since this war began in March of 2003, quoted Winston Churchill on war and going to war. It is as true today as it was these 7 years ago as when first stated, all those decades ago:

"Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."

But then no one ever accused George W. Bush of having a "world view" since he hadn't traveled outside the country before running for the Presidency, or of knowing history.

And he just wouldn't listen.

Sharp contrasts

 

Last evening on the Plaza was in sharp contrast to the night before, since the previous evening was all drinking and loud conversations.

As this shows, it was warm temperatures and wide open stores. It was really nice. While not yet completely, officially Spring, it surely felt like it.

And it's also in sharp contrast, apparently, to what it's going to be like on the Plaza this evening, when the rain comes in, and then this weekend, when the temperatures fall further and we get snow, if the forecast is correct.

But what the heck--last evening was terrific, Spring starts this weekend and next week has promises of temperatures in the 60's.

Somehow I think we'll make it.

Have a great weekend, everyone.
Posted by Picasa

Thoughts on a Friday morning

--it was sure great to see and be in the sun and have such warm temperatures yesterday;

--so what if it's going to cloud up and bring us rain and snow this weekend--a) Spring begins this weekend, too and b) by next week, we'll be back in the 60's;

--I like the way Google predicts my searches (just don't try finishing my sentences);

--If I didn't have to get to the office this morning, I surely could have taken what I think were some terrific photographs;

--Great news for the weekend as it looks as though we're going to get at least some health care reform relief this weekend. The Democrats finally decided to "play rough", thank goodness;

--I wish I had more times and reasons to say "acoutrement". I love the way it sounds. (heck, for that matter, I wish I could speak French).

Let's have a great weekend, y'all.

We all need to know about this group and their work

I was just made aware of what is to me, a new organization and website that seems to do terrific work, showing what appears to be a direct and clear correlation between money elected officials receive and their voting records.

I know. Shocking, right?

But the fact is, they take raw, hard, reported data, put it in their computers and show direct paths from monetary contributions to our elected officials votes.

That's some great work.

Maybe, one day, with this kind of hard data, we can better get and keep control of our officials and government so the right and good things happen for the country, instead of just for corporations and the wealthy.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Molly Ivins would be pleased, rest her soul.

Anyway, the group is MAPLight and you can find them at MAPLight.org. (For what it's worth, I found it yesterday on The Huffington Post).

Knowledge being power, this is the kind of information we need so we can get back some power in this countr.

Following is from their site and tells of them and their work. Check it out.

Let's "follow the money", as the old saying goes, and hold and keep our representatives accountable to us.

Mission and Purpose

MAPLight.org, a groundbreaking public database, with offices located in Berkeley, California, illuminates the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes in unprecedented ways. Elected United States officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws.

This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal. MAPLight.org makes money/vote connections transparent, to help citizens hold their legislators accountable.

Nonprofit and Nonpartisan

MAPLight.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is nonpartisan. Contributions to MAPLight.org are tax-deductible as provided by law.

The Database
MAPLight.org combines three data sets:

•Bill texts and legislative voting records

•Supporting and opposing interests for each bill

•Campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National

Institute on Money in State Politics

Combining this data makes visible key information that could never before be determined easily.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fox News: White trash?


The question has to be asked.

The evidence:

They're reactionary.

They're virtually exclusively white.

They've proven themselves to be racist.

They're embarassingly emotional (e.g., Glenn Beck, at minimum).

They yell at their guests, if they don't agree with them (e.g., Bill O'Reilly).

They interrupt their guests after they ask them questions, up to and including the most powerful man in the world, the sitting President of the United States, showing few good manners and no respect for that same guest (e.g., Brett Baier interviewing President Obama, above).

I'm not saying it's so.

I'm just saying it seems like a good and fair question.

(Or is that a "fair and balanced" question?).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Freeze earmarks? Hell, kill 'em

Yesterday, some Conservative Republicans put up a proposal to "temporarily ban senators from earmarking spending bills with back-home projects like roads, water projects and grants to local governments."

The Senate rejected it.

It seems they don't have the courage to take away this little privilege of theirs that they use to take more fiscal pork back home.

Sure, they call themselves "Conservatives" or "Blue Dog Democrats" but like a hog at a trough, they just can't come up with enough strength to walk away.

This was only going to be a temporary moratorium on these earmarks, too.

Talk about lack of conviction.

Here's a thought and suggestion I've put up here before for some enterprising representative in Washington:

Propose that earmarks be done away with.

Heck yes.

It's the only fiscally responsible thing to do.

We've been hearing for weeks, if not months, about the debt and deficit we have as a nation.

And these legislators will still spend far too much in government--who are they kidding?

"Defenders of earmarks say they represent but a small portion of the overall budget, are a legitimate way for lawmakers to exercise Congress' power of the purse, and that they know the needs of their states better than agency bureaucrats."

Horse-hockey.

Besides spending too much money--and coming out of "back rooms" to do it--it also raises questions of these same representatives doing illegal political favors for constituents and companies that get funds from earmarks. Getting rid of them would give the nation a huge double benefit, at minimum.

"Opponents say earmarks are often wasteful, invite corruption and are a way to win votes for big-spending legislation."

Much more true.

So, note to some political upstart Senator or Representative out there (Claire? Anyone?)--go against the Party line and make a serious proposal for a law making earmarks illegal.

You'll be on and in the news immediately (you glory hound).

I'm surprised someone hasn't done it already.

This is no way to run a government. Or country.

"Crunch time" on health care reform

We need this.

It's not arbitrary.

Our health care system is broken--and badly.

Millions, literally tens of millions of Americans don't have health care and more lose it, each day.

People die in America because they don't have and can't afford health care.

Further proof of our needs and the problems:

Patient's plea makes the best case for health care reform

Catholic nuns urge passage of Obama's health bill

It's the right thing to do.

We need it, as I said.

Now is the time.

Let's get this passed.

Please support health care reform.

It is patently not a "government takeover" of our health care system.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Michael Jackson: Good news, bad news

The good news?

Your music just made for the biggest music deal ever , worth a reported $250 million. That's one quarter of a billion dollars.

Congratulations.



The bad news?

You're dead.

Texas: Rewriting history

"History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon." --Napoleon Bonaparte

It couldn't be more true.

And it's being proven again, down in Texas right now, as I wrote earlier.

Here are just a few of the real beauties that the Texas State Board of Education has come up with to add to or change in their textbooks, and so, in textbooks that can end up all over the rest of America:

--A greater emphasis on “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s. Who knows why, except they do downplay the liberal gains of the 60's, too. Maybe this is their way of "getting even." (pathetic, isn't it?);

--A reduced scope for Latino history and culture: A proposal to expand such material in recognition of Texas’ rapidly growing Hispanic population was defeated in last week’s meetings.

Never mind that more 36.5% of Texas' population is Hispanic or Latino as of the 2008 census .

Never mind that more minorities will be born this year, compared to Caucasians.

Forget about Texas' rich history of Hispanics in the state's creation and growth. Forget all that. The Board just marginalized them, big time: "Oh, you exist, but we just don't think you're that important."

And you know what else? They won't even recognize the inherent racism of this;

--Changes in specific terminology: This one really cracks me up. Check this out--"Terms that the board’s conservative majority felt were ideologically loaded are being retired. Hence, 'imperialism' as a characterization of America’s modern rise to world power is giving way to 'expansionism,' and 'capitalism' is being dropped in economic material, in favor of the more positive expression 'free market.' (The new recommendations stress the need for favorable depictions of America’s economic superiority across the board.)"

These are Conservatives, for pity's sake, and they're ashamed of the word "capitalism". God, I love that. I bet they don't get the irony or hypocrisy of it;

--A more positive portrayal of Cold War anticommunism: This is another beauty. They prop up Senator Joe McCarthy and his communist witch-hunt, wherein he ruined people's lives. Nearly unbelievable. These are some sad, tragic, misguided people on that Board;

--Thomas Jefferson no longer included among writers influencing the nation’s intellectual origins: Okay, here's where they start really making me angry. It's one thing if you glorify communist-baiter Joe McCarthy (hateful jerk though he was), but to eject Thomas Jefferson as an influential source for America? Holy cow. That's almost unthinkable. Jefferson is known, in the world out there that is educated and civilized, as a truly brilliant man, writer and thinker. Just not in Texas. Knocking him off this pedestal does a true and deep disservice to the students of Texas and any- and everywhere else these textbooks land. This is sacrilege;

--A recommendation to include country and western music among the nation’s important cultural movements: The popular black genre of hip-hop is being dropped from the same list.

This ruling on "country and western music" and dropping hip-hop is, to me, where they show their real stupidity, shallowness and racism, by my--and I'm thinking a lot of other people's--thinking. Country and western music? Really? And you care about this? This is the part that starts to get laughable (but still, continued pathetic).

Oh, and, once again, Texas State Board of Education--your racism is showing.

If this weren't so tragic and stupid, I'd be laughing.

Link to original post:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts1253

Monday, March 15, 2010

Important Senate election this Fall

When it comes time to vote for a Senator for Missouri this Fall, keep in mind that the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), voted Roy Blunt as one of the most unethical members of Congress.

Additionally, the website theMiddleClass.org gave our same Representative Roy Blunt failing grades--all F's --when ranking him for his work for us in Congress from 2003 through 2008. (They're still compiling data on all our representatives for 2009.)

It seems he supports corporations and "Big Business" just fine.

You and me out here in the working Middle Class, not so much.

At all.

The website Public Citizen (www.citizen.org) compiled "a disturbing dossier on Blunt, based on original research and a comprehensive compilation of news accounts of recent months. In the end, what emerges is a portrait of a legislative leader who not only has surrendered his office to the imperative of moneyed interests, but who has also done so with disturbing zeal and efficiency."

Public Citizen came to the conclusion that "Ties to special interests" leave him "unfit to lead."

I can go on about Roy Blunt and how he is and has been for (against?) Missourians but I'll only post this one more note--that is, how Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele himself came down on the issue of Roy Blunt:

"...conservative Springfield radio host Vincent David Jericho spoke with RNC Chairman Michael Steele. In their conversation, Jericho unleashed a litany of criticisms against Roy Blunt, Matt Blunt and other Washington Republicans."

"'Guys like Papa Blunt make us sick to our stomach. They aren’t conservatives, and they sure don’t reflect moral absolute the way that we expect the Republican Party to stand up,' Jericho said."

"Steele responded: 'I agree with you. And when stuff gets in the crapper, you gotta clean it out.'"

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Even the present leader of the Republican Party spells out what kind of a guy Roy Blunt is and who should vote for him.

Sure, it's early in the Fall Senate election cycle but I want to make sure as many Missourians as possible know all they can about Roy (and Matt) Blunt and their allegiances and histories.

If you need more information, just Google "Roy Blunt". It will quickly and easily give you all you need to know about this man.

A Missouri Travesty

Thanks to Representative Jason Kander for this video and to Tony at Tony's KC Blog (from whom I saw and appropriated it). This is too important not to put up.

It is stunning that these are the conditions for our state.

This all needs to change.

And as soon as possible.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI----guilty?

If you aren't following the big new sex scandal coming out of Germany and Rome--yes, right up to and including the Vatican--you should be.

It's getting very close to the Pope himself.

It seems his brother was in charge in Germany when they reportedly had some sexual and physical abuse, both, going on.

Worse, the Pope's "former archdiocese acknowledged it transferred a suspected pedophile priest while Benedict was in charge."

Ouch.

It gets worse, too:

"...concern is mounting over a 2001 Vatican directive the pope penned instructing bishops to keep abuse secret."

It's getting curiouser and curiouser.

It's the old problem, at a new place: What did the Pope know and when did he know it?

Dan Brown's book and movie, "Angels and Demons", might not have anything on this one.

Stay tuned.



Link to another, new story, too, on abuse reports now coming out of Switzerland:

http://www.kansascity.com/2010/03/13/1810039/swiss-media-60-people-report-abuses.html

No ethics in Kansas government?

You know you have problems as a state if you don't even have rules regarding conflicts of interest and ethics regarding your representatives.

Such is the case in Kansas right now.

According to KMBC: "House rules don't spell out what constitutes misconduct worthy of a reprimand, censure or expulsion."

And yet House Speaker Mike O'Neal is "representing businesses, trade groups and insurance funds in a lawsuit against the state."

Check that out--the House Speaker, whose job is to represent the State and the people in it, is also representing business groups AGAINST the State of Kansas, in a lawsuit.

And there's no rules against this seemingly crystal clear conflict of interest.

If you're a business that wants to file or has filed a lawsuit against your own state, can you imagine having any more preferred attorney representing you than the Speaker of the House of Representatives?

That is, if you can make that fly.

And/or there are no ethics rules against it in your state.

Notes to the citizens of Kansas:

1) You need conflict of interest rules for your legislators;

2) Your legislators should have written them a long time ago (again, quoting KMBC: "The House last appointed a committee to review a member's conduct in 1951.";

3) You need them quickly. Now would be a good time;

4) In words from the Broadway play "Avenue Q": "It sucks to be you".

Thoughts on a Sunday

--Apparently it was another "lily white" day of Sunday morning news programs.

After searching them all and seeing most, I don't think there was one "person of color" represented on any of the shows. No minority perspective other than the one minority of women.

Surely this will change soon.

Note to networks: there's a whole world of "minorities" in the US whose viewpoints aren't being given, when they're left off the programs.

--George Will is, of course, against the President's plan for health care reform and said as much, again, on ABC's "This Week" program.

ABC should have had the economist Paul Krugman on, if possible, to counter his viewpoints. They needed someone authoritative on to rebut what points he made.

--I hadn't read anywhere, to date, about three Republican representatives (Hennsarling, Pence and Campbell) proposing we cap the national debt at 20% of the GDP. This was news to me.

I'm sure it will get traction, too.

It would have anyway, but with the news out today that the Social Security Administration is starting to pay out more--much more--than it takes in this year, it's easy to see this will resonate with Americans a great deal.

Speaking of spending, did you know the US has 90 military facilities in Japan?

Anyone thought of cutting there?

And why are we still in Germany?

And Italy?

--Quotes from "Kansas City Week in Review" on KCPT this week, both regarding state cuts in spending, due to Missouri and Kansas budget deficits in the millions of dollars:

"Our expectation of government has to change." --Nick Haynes, moderator.

"The 'day of reckoning' really is here." --Dave Helling, KCTV 5 reporter

--The Kansas City, Missouri Chamber of Commerce moving to Union Station is a great idea and deal for the station, the Chamber and the city, overall, period.

Good on ya', Chamber---you did good.

--From a song on KCUR today:

"Every generation thinks its the last, it's the end of the world..."

Face it, folks, we're just not that significant.

(Not that you can't help your neighbor).


Let's all have a great week.

(Also, you might go to KC Photog Blog this Wednesday for one picture per hour of the Brookside St. Patrick's Day parade, starting fairly early in the day. I think they turned out pretty well and they're a lot of fun.)