Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Real X Files Case Still Unresolved

Born in Glascow, Scotland, Gary McKinnon has been declared by the United States Government to be the most prolific, most dangerous hacker of all time. The U.S. wants McKinnon here in the States to face a possible life sentence and $1.75 million dollar fine for what they say was a massive attack on the military's computer systems between 2001 and 2002. But when one looks at all of the evidence of what actually occurred, a conclusion could also be reached that it's Mr. McKinnon who should be charging the U.S. government for exposing glaring and major security holes in a flawed data storing system.

From his small apartment on the outskirts of London, on Hillfield Avenue in an area called Crouch End, McKinnon used his home PC and a dial up connection and started poking around various U.S. Government web sites seeking information about aliens and whether or not the U.S. was concealing evidence of contact or technology gleaned from any such encounters.

What he found he claims were testimonials by senior government officials of technology being used by the U.S. government and in particular, the military, that was gained in encounters with extra terrestrial life. Believing he had hit the mother lode, McKinnon says that he found so many glaring security holes in the military's computer apparatus that he went down to the local computer shop and purchased software that would allow him to scan more quickly through the various data bases. Searching for the Holy Grail as it were of all UFO believers, McKinnon, from his home remember, on a regular PC, with a DIAL UP CONNECTION, and a piece of readily available software, hacked 97 computers out of the 73,000 that he scanned. 97 U.S. military computers!

Perusing through all of these top secret documents, McKinnon could not believe that it was so easy to hack the Pentagon that he began to leave desktop notes on the computers he did access to warn of the glaring security holes. That was his biggest mistake and one that has cost him six years of worry that he was going to Gitmo, because the U.S. did not quite enjoy being embarrassed in public like that, and demanded that McKinnon be extradited to face charges of illegally accessing computer systems. Told by U.S. prosecutors to come quietly and he'd receive leniency, as in 20 to life leniency, McKinnon chose instead to fight the extradition in U.K. courts.

So the U.S. prosecutors turned up the heat by telling McKinnon they were going to make sure he became the boyfriend of some good old boy from the backwoods of West Virginia. Not really wishing to acquiesce to years of homosexual rape, McKinnon took his case all the way to Britain's highest court, The House Of Lords. And just lost. The only chance he has left to avoid being Bubba's girlfriend is an appeal to the European Court On Human Rights, who would have to agree that McKinnon was not a terrorist, and that the threats of rape by U.S. prosecutors amounted to a threat of bodily harm if extradited. It should also be noted that many U.K. citizens are angry at the extradition ruling by the High Court due to England's law which says that U.K. citizens can not be extradited due to political reasons, and that is clearly the case here.

But during this entire affair, of which almost no one here in America was aware of, the glaring questions that have not been asked would seem to a reasonable person to far overshadow the piddly little hacking complaint against McKinnon. Is the U.S. government, in particular NASA, the Pentagon, all of the military branches, and the NSA, CIA, and FBI going to sit there and tell us that a man who went to Highgate Wood School, and had no real knowledge of computer networks other than what he taught himself, hacked into the most secure defense related military computer systems in the entire world? That the safeguards that should have been in place weren't? And if that's the case, why are they trying to prosecute this man who showed them where the security flaws were, when they should have quietly let the story die and thanked the poor sap for helping fix things? It couldn't be because this run amok government likes to 'fry' people could it? That's what prosecutors told McKinnon. He was going to fry.

Now hold on one damned minute. If this little nobody, who was playing around and accidentally discovered these glaring security flaws could do it with a home PC and a dial up connection, does that not beg the question of who else has been wandering around our defense system computers, like oh, maybe the Chinese, the Russians, the Canadians, the government of Belarus, the Jamaicans, and anyone else with the mind to do so? Who has been fired over this, and which military personnel have been demoted or thrown in the brig for this egregious lapse? Oh. No one. Not a single person. But they want to throw the book at some poor sucker who wasn't out to do any harm, who has been declared by the U.S. to be 'the world's most dangerous hacker', and who just wishes that the alien life he was looking for would come and rescue his dumb ass before the Americans turn him into a victim of lifelong rape.

Does the U.S. government not have enough real terror suspects to track down and prosecute? Isn't there supposed to be some guy in a cave with a dialysis machine who needs killing? And aren't there hackers with much more sophisticated talents and machinery than Gary McKinnon? This is starting to look like a real life X Files case, straight out of Mulder and Scully land. Some little guy snoops around and finds something he's not supposed to, and the government sends out the Men In Black to get him and lock him away where he can't tell anyone what he found. Millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on both sides of the Atlantic to catch a mouse, a scapegoat for the miltary's shortcomings, while the killer lions roam free to wreak havoc at will, both in real time and in cyber space.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Liberal's View On Chuck Hagel For Obama's Vice President

I know. The sky is falling, the rains are pouring down, and lightning will strike me dead. Yet, I still have this feeling that Senator Obama could take a huge step forward by choosing Senator Chuck Hagel as his running mate. A step forward to unity in this country by having a representative of both major political parties included on the ticket for the White House.

It would also go a very long way to shutting down the Republican Party extremists who are gearing up for an August lie fest in attacking Obama. Politico reports that Republicans Lamar Alexander and Adam Putnam intend to kick off the festivities with the completely asinine notion that it is Obama, in cahoots with Reid and Pelosi, that are holding up the offshore drilling in America, thereby causing the rise in oil prices. Uh huh. It's not like the Republicans didn't allow for the deregulation of EVERYTHING, and that caused the 'Enron' types to have a field day pushing prices through the roof. And it wouldn't have anything to do with all those friends and relatives of Republicans current and past that work in the oil industry or as their paid lobbyists either right?

Back to the issue at hand. The reason's Obama should take a very serious look at Chuck Hagel are many, not the least of which is Hagel's integrity. It is very hard to look across to the right side of the divide in America and find any politician that has any honor, and even though Hagel has voted along Party lines in most instances, there are times when he has gone against his own Party to vote on what he felt was right. He was also the only Republican to say the word impeachment when speaking about the Iraq war and the whack job in the Oval Office.

His recent trip to Iraq and Afghanistan with Obama shows that he isn't afraid to walk side by side with fellow Americans against the wishes of his Party, because he sees people in this country as just that. Americans first, Party extremists be damned. The entire Mid-West's fondness and respect for Hagel would also be a major boost to Obama's chances, in fact, it could actually guarantee a victory come November. The states of Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana would almost certainly fall into Obama's lap with a Hagel pick.

The effective neutering of John McCain's candidacy would be assured with an Obama/Hagel ticket, as Hagel's voting record shows he upholds the ideals of many conservatives in this country. Anathema to me personally, being a hard core liberal, Hagel however embodies the ideals of truth, which would be a refreshing change from the usual right wing spin machine.

There are times when conservatives have a valid point on issues, and during those times, it is incumbent that liberals not take the low road of locking them out of the decision making process. The arguments that tit for tat is the name of the game due to what the extremists that hijacked the Republican Party did to Democrats since the 1990's are wrong, and will only lead to more of the status quo. And it's exactly that status quo we are all trying to get rid of. It has caused deep ideological differences across the country, with no end to the dirty politicking, lying, outright falsehoods, and hands at each others' throats.

The country would be served well by a Unity ticket. Until such time that the Congress can be reshaped enough to do their Constitutional duty, an Obama/Hagel Presidency/Vice-Presidency could be the check and balance, with each side having a voice, only this time, it would be voices of truth. Make no mistake. I am personally disappointed with Hagel's voting record. But if it can be Hagel that is reaching out and admitting where the right went wrong, maybe it's time for the Democrats to put aside their anger and seek what's best for everyone. As much as I hated the idea of a completely right wing government, I also dread the thought of a completely Democratic controlled government. There must be a balance, a dissenting voice that's in a position to be heard, and Chuck Hagel as Vice-President would be that voice.

All of us on the left are giddy at the prospect that the White House, the House and the Senate will probably end up predominantly Democratic this year. We want the war in Iraq to be over. We want the government to be opened up again, and we want our jobs back. We demand the return of the rule of law, habeus corpus, an end to the Military Commissions Act, and the re-outlawing of torture. But what we do not want is a sudden shift to cause chaos and even more division. And that can be avoided by making sure that the conservatives have a voice in the new government to come.

Best of all, like I said before, it would pretty much gut John McCain's candidacy, and that, in and of itself is a good argument in favor of a Hagel pick. Imagine McCain with his senile old fingers on the button, merrily singing 'Bomb Bomb Iran.' Yes. A Unity ticket would be the best step forward for the country. The country we ALL love and wish to get back on the course we left three decades ago. The country we all wish to heal, and end these divisions that have been shoved down our throat by fools from both sides. And as hard as it is for the left to swallow, Obama should very seriously take a look at Chuck Hagel as his choice for Vice-President. It would give us the time to vote out of office all of those in the House and Senate who betrayed the trust of the People by providing the needed balance while we the People do some house cleaning in Washington. Yes, I mean you Joe Lieberman, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Jon Cornyn and Sam Brownback for starters. There's many more on the list of 'must go', but we can begin with these traitors first.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Minimum Wage Increase? You're Crazy!

Differing political factions are already at each other's throats over the July 24th raising of the federal minimum wage to $6.55 per hour. Part of a three year phased in total increase that will be finalized next year, the federal minimum wage will rest at $7.25 per hour for non tipped employees, with states such as Minnesota receiving exemptions for businesses that make less than $500,000 per year.

The usual cry and hullabaloo coming from the far right about the increase contain mostly all of the same types of arguments of supply and demand. They whine about employers having to lay off employees to save money, and employ illegal workers. They bald faced call this a Communistic government for allowing for the increase in wages to the poorest of the poor, while they themselves threw the economy into the toilet with their no money down speculation on stocks and bonds of all kinds. Since they have screwed the pooch, as they say, they figure that it must be the poor that become the fall guy once again with their baloney arguments of the minimum wage being the cause for the ills of the country.

Let's tear a big giant gaping hole in their argument.

In 2006, the Fiscal Policy Institute released a report on their findings about just these claims of higher minimum wages causing job losses and higher prices, and, you know, the whole world going to hell in a hand basket. A non partisan group, they focus on nothing but tax, wage, and economic issues, and how they affect the quality of life for Americans. In the Executive Summary of their report entitled "States with Minimum Wages above the Federal Level have had Faster Small Business and Retail Job Growth", they give data that shows exactly what the title of their report says.

They examined the argument that higher minimum wages cause small employers ( those with 50 workers or less) to experience sharp cost increases, thereby lowering employee levels and found it to be a baseless contention. As a matter of fact, the Institute found that in states that have traditionally had a higher than federally mandated minimum wage, the total job growth was larger and faster, especially in the retail sector, who employ the country's largest minimum wage workers. They state in their report that "The simplistic introductory economics prediction that an increase in the minimum wage will result in job loss clearly is not supported by the actual job growth record."

In fact, quite the opposite holds true. In what they call the 'Henry Ford' effect, higher minimum wage gives small business employers an incentive to hold on to workers due to the higher costs involved in training new employees. And of course, the businesses involved make more money overall, because an employee is much more likely to purchase products produced at their place of employment if they have more money to spend, which in turn actually boosts the economy overall.

Going into detail, the study further shows data that supports their findings by showing growth data in the ten states and the District of Columbia that traditionally have had higher minimum wages than federally mandated. Between 1998 and 2006, the latest years for which data was available at the time of their report, the Institute shows that in those ten states the number of small businesses GREW by 5.4%, while in the other 40 states, the growth was smaller at 4.2%. That may not sound like much, but when we're talking about the overall economy, that's a huge difference. Also in these same states with higher minimum wages, job growth GREW by 6.7% vs. 5.4%, again a big difference.

Within the retail industry, higher wage states saw new retail businesses increase by 0.6%, while lower wage states actually had declines of 0.3%. Combining retail and other small business growth in total, the report finds that between 1998 and 2006, states with higher minimum wage laws saw an increase in total employment levels of 9.7% compared to 7.5% for lower wage states. Even more telling are the numbers showing that in just the retail sector, job levels increased by 10.2% in higher wage states, and just 3.7% in lower wage ones.

The Institute also found the argument that employers would cut back workers hours as a result of the increased wage to be false. If anything, the study finds that between 2005 and 2006, median and mean hours increased

So the simplistic THEORETICAL supply and demand arguments hold no water. Going to an even higher level of economic indicators, the Institute points out that the wage increases of 1996 and 1997, in a 1999 Economic Report Of The President show NO adverse effects on either employment levels or small business levels.

It seems to boil down to one thing and one thing only. The brainwashing by corporate America of the American people that dictates lower wages are good for you is just that, brainwashing. If it saves one penny for business, then the far right will lie right to your face and make you believe it. Even as all of the data shows the exact opposite of the issue they are decrying, they'll come up with fabricated and phony side issues to distract you from the fact that you're ultimately going to have less money in your pocket. This latest increase of 70 cents per hour is going to break no one's bank, nor is it going to allow for the poorest of the poor to be riding around in big black armor plated SUV's. What the arguments against increasing wages for all Americans to a living wage really are, are arguments in favor of a dual class system of haves and have nots. That's how simple it really is.

Don't believe the phony pro-corporate mumbo jumbo of higher wages meaning less employment. Those arguments are made by either the brainwashed or the corporate shills who come up with made up numbers and discard out of hand actual research studies that prove them to be completely misleading everyone. Forget Arnold's trying to force state workers in California to live on the new $6.55 per hour, let's have Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court, along with every CEO in America be forced to live on minimum wage for one full year, and you'll see them come running back to increase the wages of all Americans to a level of unprecedented proportions. End of Story.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Harry Reid: Democratic Super Hypocrite

As two wars rage across the seas, unemployment rises inch by inch, poverty levels increase as the middle class is systematically torn asunder, and with all of the other pressing problems confronting our nation, what did Senate majority Leader Harry Reid (D) Nevada do all day? He held a Senate Judiciary Meeting to underscore the need for more money for local and state police to combat polygamy, calling it 'organized crime'. He also called for a federal task force to be set up to investigate what he described was 'a growing threat across the entire country'.

Even though there were members of various different polygamous communities that asked to be heard and to testify at the hearing, Reid refused to even allow them to attend the proceedings. Jim Bradshaw, an attorney for the FLDS Church said ""It is disturbing that they are profiling a group of people for their religious beliefs. If they did this to any other group, there would be outrage." And he's right. Imagine a Senate hearing to denounce far right Christian groups such as Rev. Hagee or Pat Robertson, who in my mind, are much bigger threats to our country that any polygamists. And organized crime? Oh, come on now Reid! "I am here to tell you that polygamist communities in the United States are a form of organized crime," he said. "The most obvious crime being committed in these communities is bigamy, child abuse — teen and pre-teen girls are forced to marry older men and bear their children. They commit welfare fraud, tax evasion, massive corruption and strong-arm tactics to maintain what they think are the status quo. These crimes are systematic, sophisticated and are frequently carried out across state lines."

Ok Mr. Hysteria, get your facts straight before you run your scare tactics to denounce a religion you don't personally believe in. According to Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, there is no need for any task force, as he and his Utah counter part, Mark Shurtleff are in constant communication with various polygamous sects, and monitor very closely whether there is any abuse going on. So Reid, who is a Mormon himself, is using the case of Warren Jeffs to lump all people and groups that practice polygamy into one big criminal conspiracy, when the truth is that Reid doesn't have a clue as to what he's talking about.

According to Reid, the U.S. Government should actively go after people of all different faiths. Some Muslims still practice polygamy. Ugandan families that emigrate to the U.S. still practice polygamy as well as others coming from Africa. It's not just those of the FLDS Church that believe in polygamy as part of their religion, but faiths of all kinds around the world have the same belief system. So I guess we'll have to find them all and round them up also.

The Australian Government just turned down a request to legalize polygamous marriage, but they also aren't going to go after people who practice it. But Reid and other puritans who believe that we should not tolerate others who practice their faith differently than they do, would have us go through another 1880's type of witch hunt against Mormons. Let's be realistic here. The only reason the main Latter Day Saints Church doesn't openly practice their belief in polygamy any more is in order to survive. They were coerced into agreeing to end the practice.

But let's go one better there Harry. Let's arrest all of those Catholic priests who have abused children, and set up a special federal task force to oversee their criminal activities. Or another one to investigate all of these so called 'Christian charities' that receive millions upon millions of dollars and do nothing with the money but enrich themselves. How about Congress go after the criminals in the Oval Office, you know, the ones we elected you to go after but then wouldn't because you're all in the same bed together. What is wrong with this guy's brain with trying to introduce government intrusion and oversight over people's personal religious beliefs?

Are there abuses that occur in these sects? Of course. But there are abuses in every religion and every denomination of every religion, but that does not mean that every single sect that practices polygamy are an evil criminal conspiracy. I mean, come on now Harry, if you'd like to talk about criminal conspiracies, we could take a look back at the land deal that you walked away with over $1 million dollars after paying $10,000 to your friend of 50 years to gain control over a tract of Las Vegas property of 160 acres. After getting that sweetheart deal, you then introduced favorable legislation to force lubricant companies to not abruptly cut off supplies to distributors. What was it that your friend of 50 years did again? Oh. That's right. He was a lubricant distributor. And after taking full control of the property, you introduced more legislation to build a bridge a few miles down the road across the Colorado River. All that development on the property wouldn't have anything to do with the need for a bridge paid for by the taxpayers would it? Talk about criminal conspiracies.

Harry Reid should spend his time doing the People's business, not trying to legislate religion. And if you're going to hold a kangaroo Senate hearing, the least you can do is not stack the deck against those you wish to persecute. By not allowing members of different polygamous communities to testify, only victims of abuse, the hearing could have been run by Joe McCarthy and no one would have known the difference. Reid should just go sit in a corner where he can't do any more harm, and wait to get voted out of office. He won't stand up to Bush. He won't help impeach the real criminals. He'll participate in shady deals himself, and then point the finger of indignant righteousness at others. Why not go after the Amish while you're at it you hyocrite? Better yet, why not just leave people to live their own lives? Yep, there's something wrong with Harry all right, and hopefully the voters of Nevada know it also.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

An Experiment That Ended With An Evil Vote

In May of 2007, several Congresspeople took a challenge to try to survive on $21.00 per week. That $21.00 had to feed them for that entire week, meaning they had just $1.00 per meal, or $3.00 per day. Calculating the average Food Stamp allotment, and trying to raise awareness of hunger in the United States, they set off on their mission. Here's what they found.

Attempting to stick to the rules, Rep. Tim Ryan (D) Ohio, couldn't afford to buy a dozen eggs because they were too expensive, and would have broken his $1.00 per meal budget. Rep. Jim McGovern (D) Massachusetts, found himself at his own fundraiser dinner that cost $20.00 per person, but couldn't eat anything there due to his challenge. He looked over the mounds of food piled high across the serving tables, then sat and ate the lentils he had cooked and brought with him in a brown paper bag.

McGovern and Republican Rep. Jo Ann Emerson were intending to introduce legislation that would have added a mere $4 billion dollars to the food Stamp program's budget, and giving recipients approximately an extra $10.00 per month to feed themselves. Of all the Congresspeople who took the challenge, not all of them even made it to the end of the week. Ryan was caught eating pork chops in a hotel restaurant because, he said, he would have been too weak and might faint trying to give a commencement speech.

There were a few others in Congress who were willing to take the challenge, mostly Democrats, and all of them invariably came to the same conclusion. There was no way that any one person, let alone families, that could survive on current Food Stamp levels, given the rising costs of housing, food, heat, and gas. In California, Rep. (D) Barbara Lee's week long diet consisted of mostly crackers, beans, tortillas, and rice. Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky found she could afford one tomato, one potato, one head of lettuce, and 5 bananas.

Other organizations had representatives join in and take the challenge. Most notable was one called MAZON, whose president, Eric Shockman, noted that even though he managed to not starve for the week, the change in diet from healthy, nutritious food, to peanut butter, bread, and other cheap, fattening food, had caused him to feel ill, weak, lethargic, and depressed. He said he'd never been so happy to see actual 'real food' again.

Taking into account that the experiment was flawed from it's inception, even if it had good intentions, the fact still remains that using the $21.00 per week standard is a little misleading. Most recipients, for one reason or another, do not receive a full allotment, but only partial, due to factors such as having an income of minimum wage, or even cash assistance can lower your Food Stamp amount. In some cases, recipients are jumping through hoops to gain an extra $10.00 per month. Due to recent changes ( recent as in since Bush took office), in the way income and property is calculated to determine how much in Food Stamp assistance one is eligible for, some people end up with no help at all. They might be making one dollar a month over the threshold that the Dept. of Agriculture and the Dept. of health and human Services declares is the poverty level de jour. Others receiving both cash assistance get the shaft when election year raises to their cash benefits come around, usually $10 to $20 per month, because the extra cash makes their food stamp allotment go down. So they've actually gained nothing. And they've been pulling that scam since the 1990's.

So let's just say they should have used a formula for their experiment of about $14.00 per person per week, or about 68 cents per meal. But it was all for nothing anyway. Having been stalled time and again in the Senate, the legislation to give the poor one extra bowl of porridge a month was shot down. In one of the coldest, callous and evil votes to ever take place on the floor of the Senate, President Bush's recent fake 'stimulus' plan was only agreed to by the 'compassionate conservative' far right Republicans after the Food Stamp increase was taken out of the bill. Food for the poor? Bah! You must be out of your mind! No bid contracts for friends and friends of friends in the billions and billions? Absolutely!

And so another year goes by with the poor struggling to feed their children peanut butter while in the Congressional dining hall, they'll have Filet Mignon on the menu. For free. Paid for by you, the taxpayer. Nothing but the best for the American Aristocracy you see.

See, the poor don't have multi-million dollar lobbying firms who can send the Senators and Congresspeople to exotic locations on 'fact finding' missions that include tours of all of those exotic golf courses and five star hotels. That doesn't fit into their $14.00 per week budget.

But then the ridiculous arguments will come pouring in from those sociopaths amongst us that cry that the poor are getting a free ride and should be forced to get a job. They throw this out there in order for you to think that maybe the poor don't have it so bad after all. But what they don't include in their red herring argument is the fact that fully one half of all Food Stamp recipients do work, and still can not afford to feed themselves or their families due to the slave wage mentality that's been foisted on us all. This "Let them eat cake" way of thinking that has turned America from a kind and compassionate country into a nation of Me Only people. The powers that be still pit us one against another, spouting nonsense about America being one big happy family as they drive wedges between the rich and the middle class, and the middle class and the poor. Until they need suckers to go and get killed in some country no one could give a flying fig about. Only then are we united under the falsehood of that our freedom is under attack.

But as the middle class disappears in an intentional attempt to start a new Gilded Age in America, a few more people's eyes are opened every day. People are starting to see what it's like to try to squeeze that extra serving off a ham bone. And as more people slip below the poverty line, Congressional leaders who claim to be on the side of the people, such as Feinstein and Boxer, both of whom voted with the Republicans, along with many other Democrats, and said nay to more food for America's children, will hopefully be forced to seek other employment themselves. Because no matter how many times we try to sweep the issue of poverty and hunger in America under the rug, it keeps popping up again and again. Wouldn't it be easier to do something about it than to ignore the problem until a full 3/4 of Americans end up living in poverty? Do they think that the People would stand for this for very long?

Ask each candidate that's running for office what they intend to do about more Americans being below the poverty line since the days of Lyndon Johnson, and what they intend to do to ensure that America does not end up being a third world banana republic. And if their answer is to let the markets do their job, run as far and as fast as you can to the other person that's running. Ask them if they're aware of the hunger problem in this country, that American children go to bed at night with no food. Then ask the ones who voted against giving the poor help why they did, and ask their opponent if they'll do something different. We need change in America. Not just false hopes and fancy words that end up leaving things the way they are. We the People need to keep the issue of poverty and hunger in the spotlight until the politicos understand that we're not going away until they do something about it. Write your representative today and tell them to help the starving people in this nation before they ship another bag of rice overseas, period.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Are We Going To Do Without Bush?

With only a little while left until the elections in November, I have had the sudden epiphany that those of us who enjoy bashing him on a near daily basis, are about to lose our greatest source for laughter and derision in quite some time. Looking out across the political landscape, one could always see John McCain and his clown posse of a campaign and use that as fodder for our blogosphere, but it would be too short lived and somehow unsatisfying.

How is anyone ever going to be such a gaffe machine as to produce such gems as " "But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me." Dec. 21st, 2001 Just three months after 9/11.

Or “There’s no doubt in my mind that we should allow the world worst leaders to hold America hostage, to threaten our peace, to threaten our friends and allies with the world’s worst weapons.” Sept. 5th, 2002.

Who could forget "“The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the — the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice.” Oct. 27th, 2003.

And after the recent G-8 summit, Bush thrust his fist into the air and shouted his Freudian slip of ""Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter!"

What's going to top some of these sayings by the most incompetent person to ever grace the Oval Office? Just what are we going to goof on when the village idiot retires to his ranch, or flees the country to Paraguay? There's been so much and so many many blunders and gaffes that we couldn't keep up with them all if we tried.

Now, John McCain might have been fodder for our keyboards due to to unerring ability to make a fool out of himself, such as his telling reporters that Iraq was on Pakistan's border to prove his foreign policy credentials, but come on, we all know the Republicans have decided to sit this one out. There's no way they put forth this senile buffoon with any real intention of holding on to the White House. (Unless of course they intend to steal California this time, hahaha, Hmmmm.)

So who is that going to leave us? Cheney will be gone or in prison, Rumsfeld is hiding out in his underground bunker plotting his next war, Rice is going to Paraguay with Bush after he divorces Laura, and Mukasey will be wandering around K Street in an amnesiac dementia. They say you never miss something until it's gone, and it's going to hold true with the departure of the Bush dictatorship. Gone are the jokes of sulphur burning at the U.N. podium. Jeez, I sort of miss the guy already. It's almost going to be like when you break your leg and sit in a cast for three months. You hate the damned thing, but when they finally take it off, your leg feels weird and you almost kind of miss the cast!

Can we goof on Obama when he wins the Presidency? So far he's given us not much to go on. Yes, there will be plenty of time after the election to snark all over him and whomever he picks as his Vice-President, but that doesn't help in the short term. So I've come up with a solution of sorts, but it's going to take a lot of cunning and guile to pull off. I know the idea is radical and some will decry the notion. But after the war crimes trial and conviction, could we not make Bush the official New York City pooper-scooper? You know, the one in charge of cleaning up all the sh*t? It would be a fitting and funny punishment, don't you think, because he's leaving a huge pile of it behind for the rest of us to clean up.

Yep. As we move forward into a new era of American politics, there will no doubt be some nostalgia for the days when we could all write about and laugh about things like ""And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it." Jan. 29th 2007. Or" "One of my concerns is that the health care not be as good as it can possibly be." April 19th, 2007

So just what we going to do without Bush? For starters, we can repair the damage he's done to our Constitution, Bill Of Rights, the Rule of Law, and our reputation around the world. We can stop torturing people, kill the domestic spying program, get out of Iraq, go get Bin Laden so he can tell us how much the neocons paid him, put an end to the abuse of power by the police in this country, and oh yeah, stop Wall Street from ripping off the taxpayers. Maybe we can produce some good paying jobs. End poverty in America. Go to the moon and beyond.

That's just a few of the things we can do when Bush is gone, Cheney isn't stalking the President on the White House lawn, and the American people realize just how badly they've been shafted. but that still doesn't give us a fall guy, so can those close to Rudy Giuliani convince him to run for the Senate, or Governor, or something? Please?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The 2008 Election Means Nothing To Most Of Us

Barak Obama and John McCain are the choices given to the American people for their new President, notwithstanding the fact that Bob Barr and Cynthia McKinney are running also. But the inconvenient fact is that this election means absolutely nothing as far as changing life for the better for ordinary Americans, both the disappearing middle class and the poor.

The positions of both candidates, as we move through the summer months, slide ever so swiftly towards the middle of the road, while voters on both sides ravage each other like pit bulls set loose in a ring. There is no middle of the road though, the powers that be only pretend there's one to keep the electorate divided and fighting over non issues such as gay marriage and abortion. What they don't want you to even contemplate however, is the fact that the corrupt politicians, in league with corrupt corporations, and reported as Gospel truth by a corrupt media, are re-instituting the Gilded Age right here in the U.S.A.

Middle class families are already feeling the squeeze in every aspect of their buying power. The poor have become so destitute that many diets consist mainly of Ramen noodles. But as they call this an 'economic correction', we should be taking a look back to the 19th century, and the privatization of government services and the flow of cash to faith based charities, to shine a light on what these so called 'compassionate conservatives' have been up to.

The late 19th century in America saw the government trying to help alleviate poverty by instituting laws that decreed an Overseer of the Poor in each county in the country. The Overseers would assess the needs of a poor individual, and grant relief based upon each family's need. But of course, along came the 'reformers' who decried the subsidizing of anyone less fortunate than themselves, ie; the bankers, lawyers, and corporate entities. Their 'reforms' included privatizing the Overseer positions to corporate entities, diverting massive aid to faith based charities, and requiring work in exchange for aid.

Here's what happened. The charities grew fat, stopped even pretending they were helping the poor and corruption and massive salaries and perks for charity workers became the norm. In order to comply with the new laws requiring work for welfare, the Overseers held public auctions for the poor who could not support themselves, allowing for the LOWEST bidder to contract to feed and house the poor person, in exchange for labor. Ahhhh. Forgot about this little American slavery tidbit did you? It was because of the major abuses in the 'reform' system and the absolute corruptness of the corporations and the 'faith' based organizations, that the whole idea of welfare at that time collapsed entirely. Which was what they intended all along, after making a bundle off of the government first of course.

Finally, after decades of suffering a true Gilded Age in America, men of compassion stepped forward and gave us a Progressive Era and a New Deal. The implementation of government programs to keep the poor from starving to death, obtain medical care, and have a home to live in actually did alleviate poverty and suffering in this country. But of course, where ever the smell of money is coming from, there you will find lurking like jackals the bankers, the lawyers, and the corporations. Almost from the beginning of the New Deal, they sought to take it over in much the same way as they did in the 19th century. Slowly, ever slowly, they turned the poor into the fall guy for all of the ills that befell the nation, ills conceived and implemented by the very people who spoke out against the poor and the welfare system.

After years of beating it into the very soul of the United States that the poor were to blame for every budget deficit, and that the only way out of the monetary crisis was to 'reform' welfare, the American people once again were hoodwinked into handing control of government and this time, taxpayer dollars to the hyenas in our midst. Here's what they've done with 'welfare reform'.

Since Bill Clinton's election year capitulation to the Republicans, welfare reform has cost this country more money than the system that was in place ever would have. In fact, the first year alone, 1997, the states ended up receiving $4.7 billion dollars more than they would have under the old system. The trend continued on for year after year, with the money that was allocated for programs such as child care going instead to fill state budget gaps, due to the new leeway given to the states as to how best to spend their welfare dollars. In 2004, New York State alone used $1.4 billion dollars of it's welfare money that was to go to pay for education programs and child care on budget gaps entirely unrelated to the poor.

As the the welfare reform of old, faith based initiatives were put forth. More and more of the grant money that was supposed to be helping the poor and even the middle class, went to faith based charities instead. Million dollar salaries, Cadillacs, mansions, vacations to exotic locations, and enlarged overseas bank accounts were the result. People going to the so called 'faith based' charity for help paying their rent, or light bill, or even to get food, would be put through (and still are today) an arduous application process, and after hours of waiting, would invariably be told there was no money left to help them. Organizations would give the poor the bare minimum required to keep up with federal guidelines. Oversight was nonexistent, because hey, these are 'religious' charities right?

But then came the biggest scam of all, and why all of the efforts of those who wished for welfare reform were worth the wait. Because the payday was finally coming, and the largest heist in world history came to fruition with the precision of a missile strike. They privatized the Food Stamp program. They privatized Medicaid and Medicare. They privatized every aspect of the welfare system they could, with the result being out of control costs and less services for those who need it.

With the Food Stamp program, the criminal politicians gave control over it to the banks. Banks like Citigroup and J.P. Morgan. even though there has not been any real rise to food stamp allotments for recipients for over a decade, the costs of the program have doubled during the past ten years. Why is that? Because now there's a middle man. The banks that administer the programs get their cut, the store that accepts the food stamps get an extra few cents per food stamp dollar spent, and the food stamp recipient gets lower aid amounts to offset the corporate welfare. The same with Medicaid and Medicare. HMO's and insurance companies as middle men, paid extra money to ensure less services for recipients. To the tune of billions of wasted tax dollars every year.

As they ship more and more jobs overseas every year, and more and more of the middle class begin to join the ranks of the poor, the demand for services from the welfare system is going to rise. This will be great for the thieves in our midst in the short term, whose sole intent is to steal as much as they can before they break the bank. But it will mean nothing for the people in need of help, as the budget axe falls again and again and again. There will be plenty of money for the corporations that are running their respective programs, but in true trickle down fashion, the people who the programs are intended to help will get the shaft.

That's why this election really means nothing. Nothing is going to change. If McCain wins, he runs the country into the ground at the same pace as Bush. The people surrounding him will urge him to accelerate the destruction of all programs designed to help both the poor and the middle class. If Obama wins, the money designed for programs will once again be diverted to 'faith based' charities, who will them be entrusted to do the right thing. But all one has to do is take a look at the around the corner lines at virtually every food bank in the country to know that the money is going to go into someone's pocket and not to the people who need it. You may as well give the money to Halliburton and KBR, at least they rob you to your face. But whichever candidate wins, no one is going to bring back all those lost jobs, or hold American corporations who shipped the jobs overseas, thereby hurting our nation, to account. Oh sure, the platitudes are all out there. "I promise". Uh huh. And if you believe that line any more without getting a signed statement of intent from all the candidates, then I've got a bridge to sell you. Oh, never mind. It was just bought by a corporation also wasn't it?

The point is that they are deliberately shoving us back into the Gilded Age, and everyone who should be stopping them is either asleep at the switch, sold out and became part of the problem, or been suckered into believing it's for their own good. And the protection of the country of course. Very soon, there will be two classes in America. The haves, and the have nots, period. And as Bush himself said, and it's true of ALL politicians, "I call you my base". There's only one way to stop this decline. One chance to save this country from the tyranny being thrust upon us. And that's to shove the corporations out the door of the nation's Capitol. Enact laws keeping corporate entities from running government programs. Redo the New Deal so it's fair and works for everyone in such a way as to afford all a chance to rise out of poverty. Any other suggestion, especially privatizing more government programs, are ludicrous, and put forth by the thieves and the sociopaths who could care less about America, but love that bottom line.

What it all boils down to is that in order for this election to really be about 'Change We Can Believe In', then one of the candidates, and we know it's not going to be McCain, had better step forward and give us a detailed plan on how they intend to alleviate poverty in America, and how they intend to get our middle class jobs back. How they intend to cut the bankers and corporations out of government decision making and ripping off the taxpayers. If not, we're all better off heading for Canada and applying for political asylum, period.

Friday, July 18, 2008

DNC To Give Homeless Tickets To Nowhere

In one of the most cynical stunts this writer has ever heard of, the Democratic National Convention intends to get rid of Denver's estimated 4,000 homeless individuals, many of whom have camp sites set up around the Pepsi Center. In an effort to make sure that the issue of poverty can not be seen up close and personal by visiting dignitaries and delegates, the DNC, in co-ordination with the Denver chapter of the Coalition For The Homeless are going to treat the homeless of the city to free movie tickets and trips to the zoo. Theaters as far away as possible from the Convention itself. Willing to go so far as to make sure there is transportation to bus the homeless to the other side of town, the fact that the Denver Coalition For The Homeless is going along with this outrage is a disgusting statement on their mission.

Claiming to have only the best interests of the poor and the homeless themselves at heart, the Denver Coalition For The Homeless President, John Parvensky, says that the Denver area day shelters will have extended hours during the convention, with donated televisions so the homeless that don't wish to go to the other side of town can watch the convention from the designated viewing sites, all to keep them safe from those who would harass or harm them.

In addition to these measures , and even more cynical by it's very design, area health clinics that treat the poor and the homeless, as well as the day shelters they'll be forced to stay at during the convention, will be signing up these people to vote. Vote for whom? For the people who just told them they are not American enough to be part of the goings on?

Part of Barak Obama's big talking points are about addressing the issue of homelessness and poverty in America. But if this is the way that he intends to address the issue, then the poor are better off setting up camp around the Pepsi Center. How dare these sycophants and elitist scum try to sweep a group of Americans under the rug as though they didn't exist. Who cares if Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Al Gore, the Clintons, and other Democratic Party Royalty have to look poverty in the face. See it up close in the eyes of a person so destitute they have no home, no food, no worldly possessions other than the camping gear and the clothes on their back.

And how dare this chapter of the Coalition For The Homeless walk hand in hand with these very same elitists, stabbing the people they claim to serve right in the back, under the guise of wishing to provide them an alternative to the Convention "mayhem". Who are these imaginary people going to the Convention that wish to do harm to Denver's homeless population? If you tell me that the Democratic Convention attendees are the ones the homeless need protection from, then you can tear up my party membership.

With the Convention running for four days, are they going to be sending the homeless to the movies and the zoo all day for four days? Are they going to be given popcorn money? Are the bus tickets going to be round trip? Or is this another scam along the lines of Las Vegas' wishing to bus their entire homeless population 40 miles out into the desert to an abandoned prison, where there is nothing but sand for miles in every direction? You know, out of sight, out of mind?

Because as we near the day of electing the next president of the United States, and more and more comes to light about Obama and his housing policies while he was an Illinois legislator, we should be asking him point blank what he intends to do about the issue of rising poverty and homelessness in our country. And if he answers that he would do for the country what he did for the residents he represented in Grove Parc Plaza, we had better run and vote for Cynthia McKinney on the Green Party ticket. Read the June 27th, 2008 edition of the Boston Globe if you'd like to know all about Grove Parc Plaza.

Any way you slice it though, the Democrats have been running around the country talking about helping the little guy. The poor and the middle class. But the very first thing we see from them, even before they hold their Convention, is an attempt to shuffle the poorest of the poor out of the way, so as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of the delegates. I guess it would be somewhat hard to be eating a big fat sirloin steak, when right outside the window is a person scrounging through the garbage can for whatever scraps of food are available. But then again, one could probably just close the curtain and not see them.

That's exactly what this plan is. A closing of the curtain. An attempt to make believe the problem doesn't exist, and a bad decision by all involved. Here's a better idea. Instead of shuffling the homeless off to obscurity, why doesn't the DNC embrace them as victims of the Republican policies, take a couple of those hundred million dollars already in Obama's coffers, and put their money where their mouths are by helping all 4,000 of Denver's homeless obtain housing and jobs? I know. Dream on. It's much easier to make believe there is no problem for the Democrats these days, than to actually do something about it.

Like impeaching a President who makes Nixon look like an altar boy. Standing up for the Constitution by voting down the FISA laws. Not allowing the Republicans strip the food stamp allocation out of the false stimulus package. Re-instating the money that Bush has cut from so many domestic programs like Head Start and Education. You know, the things we elected them to do, but they decided that the best course of action was to kneel before the throne of an imbecile who changes his stories as often as his clothes.

Let the world see the homeless in Denver. Let the homeless have a voice at the Convention itself. Let the Democrats do something intelligent for a change and turn the cameras right on the desperate faces and show the country what Bush has done. Because if the Democrats go ahead with this insidious, evil little ploy, then they are no better than the Republicans. And all of this chanting of 'Change We Can Believe In' are hollow campaign trail words with no substance behind them at all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NI**A Please!

For the love of Jesus jumping Jupiter, would the media and the old timers of America get it through their thick skulls that young America, whether we like it or not , has adopted the use of the word ni**a to mean a term of endearment.

The recent boiling in oil of the Rev. Jackson over his supposed to be private use of the word in describing African Americans and his concern about how Obama talks down to them, was clearly said in a manner not meant to be derogatory, or in any way racist. There seems to be a reluctance in one generation to accept the new slang of the new generation, and therefore even though the word ni**a is bandied about by millions and millions of people everyday, as soon as someone of importance says it, you would think the world was ending. I'm no fan of the Rev. Jackson. In fact, I believe him to be a blowhard. But to watch him having to meekly apologize because of a roasting over the coals by the media for an imagined insult shows once again how out of touch the media is with the realities of the street.

I am white as the driven snow. But my friends of African descent call me their ni**a all the time. As in "You know you my ni**a right? Well, of course I know that, because you're my friend also.

The hip hop community raised the ire of the older generation over the usage of the word when they started to include it in their music. But what people failed to understand was that rappers, love them or hate them, were actually trying to take the curse out of the word. And they have succeeded in doing so, turning what used to be an epithet into a common word, or depending on the phrase in which it's being used, a word of friendship.
Take a look at another common curse word that has a dual usage and perhaps you'll see what I'm getting at. The word sh*t has long been held to be a word used as either an epithet or to describe something bad. But when one has had a wonderful experience, the youth of America will no doubt exclaim "That thing was the sh*t!" Meaning something good.

I would think that the media would have other concerns. Issues such as global warming, a President who doesn't care what the laws of our nation say, the criminals who are destroying the economy for financial gain, and to try to force the Treasury to give the Federal Reserve more power. But yet, as the summer wears on, the trend towards celebrity gossip, Jesse Jackson wanting to neuter Barak Obama, and drivel articles are once again seeping into mainstream media's mentality. Why are they so focused on meaningless drivel, when they should be taking John McCain to task for his flip flopping around like a fish out of water, slapping Nancy Peolsi all over the country for her refusal to help impeach a criminal regime, (one begins to wonder just what Bush has on her, no?), and getting to the real reasons for the current make believe oil crisis.

Instead, on front pages across the land, we were witnesses to the unseemly spectacle of a forced confession of a man who didn't say what everyone is accusing him of saying. He said the word in much the same way that almost every young person in America is saying it. Maybe it's Jesse Jackson who's actually got his finger on the pulse of the country and not the talking heads who allowed for the besmirching of a good man's name.

As the older generation fades away into history, (and this happens with every generation), they must show their outrage at what the younger generation is doing or saying. It happened in the 1920's, the so called Age of Swing. As that generation gave rise to Elvis Presley, the old Swingers were appalled and tried to have Presley's act shut down. Finally accepted, lo and behold, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones set the entire Presley era ablaze with anger, and when heavy metal entered the scene, well, we all remember the lawsuits claiming the backwards messages causing young people to commit suicide.

With each of those generations came the use of new slang words. Words used to define themselves from the generation before. So too comes the new generation with their hip hop, their fusion of hip hop and heavy metal, and so too comes the new slang with it. It is only the 'Me First' generation that looks down upon them and their new found freedoms in the rave dances they hold, the words they use, the clothes they wear, their piercings and tattoos, and all the other things that define this generation from even mine, the generation just before them. I was taken aback the first time I heard white teenagers calling each other ni**a. Now, having come to understand what they mean by it, I applaud their ability to take a hurtful racial epithet and shape it into colorless form of greeting. Maybe we could all learn a little something from that, and stop trying to perpetuate the bad with false news stories. And maybe, just maybe, these young people are on to something. Something that could be the beginning of the end of the racial divide in America, and the start of a new age.

In fact, when Americans start to drift towards thinking of the 'N' word, don't let your mind automatically assume some racial slur. Instead let us have a new 'N' word in the United States we all love and wish to reclaim. Let the new 'N' word be Neocon...........................

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Excommunicate Me Too, You False Prophet

Growing up in the Catholic Church, and having been indoctrinated into the teachings of the only door to Heaven possible, I grew up fearing that anything I did could send me to an immediate and fiery eternity of damnation and torture. This belief stayed with me as I entered my teen years, but I began to drift away from what I saw at the time as a boring and senseless recital of the same old prayers, the same old routines and the ever present money collection plate that came around not once, but twice during the course of a service.

When I came to the age that I was allowed to think for myself, I decided that there had to be other avenues of religion, and that by merely checking them out, I could not possibly be committing a 'mortal sin', as I had been taught. And so began a life long journey of discovery that would take me from church to church, doctrine to doctrine, and faith to faith.

I attended the services of many different Christian denominations, listened to their different approaches to the Bible and what they believed it meant, and decided that I needed to interpret what the Book meant to me personally. To understand it's impact and power, if any, it would have on my way of thinking, without the influence of overbearing preachers, priests or nuns. What I discovered stunned me, and changed my entire outlook on life.

Having always felt that something was missing from the 'official' version of the Bible, I started researching The Council Of Trent, and how from 1534 to 1563, men argued over which books were considered holy, what doctrine would be followed that did not diminish the power of the Catholic Church, and more importantly, which abuses would be overlooked in order to further enrich the Pope himself. Flabbergasted, I couldn't believe what I was reading, and when I came to the years of the Inquisition, was absolutely horrified.

I started to realize that the teachings of Jesus had, throughout the past 2,000 years, been corrupted, twisted, and used to promote political agendas, and to enrich certain individuals. That in order to gain and maintain a grip on absolute power, that not only had the Catholic Church turned away from the teachings of Jesus, but so had Christian churches of all kinds. Realizing that what had occurred at The Council Of Trent was nothing more than an attempt to consolidate power and riches by discarding widely held Gospels written by other Apostles and by Mary Magdeline, it explained why the 'accepted' Gospels sometimes differed in accounts one from another.

Knowing now that women were ordained as priests and bishops as far back as 500 A.D., and that it was only AFTER the much ballyhooed Council of Trent that women were shoved to the back burner under the claim of 'primary truth', I could no longer in good conscience be a part of what I felt was a lie.
The recent excommunications of three women who were ordained as priests by in good standing Catholic bishops, and the excommunication of those who helped them prepare for the ceremony shows the Catholic Church, and more importantly, the Vatican, as an emperor with no clothes. A 1997 discussion of the issue of women priests by a council led by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. At first spewing forth the notion of 'primary truth' as the reason from Scripture why women had to take a subservient role to men, the Cardinal quickly backed off as dissent came from even other Cardinals as to the nature of his argument. And so the argument became that it was 'secondary truth'. Or in other words, he made it up. For his efforts to keep women in their subservient role, Cardinal Ratzinger was rewarded and rewarded well. You know him today as Pope Benedict XVI.

It should be noted that Ratzinger was well known for his use of excommunication as a means to get others to do his bidding. At the aforementioned council, he ordered a theologian to sign a document declaring that his findings of 'secondary truth' were true and the only doctrine that could be followed. To dismiss out of hand all arguments in favor of church equality for men and women alike. The theologian refused and Ratzinger had him excommunicated. Then he found a more pliable sucker.

But the fact is that although when asked, I still answer that I'm a catholic, I do not believe in their corrupt doctrine any more, and haven't for a very long time. So I guess Ratzinger can go ahead and excommunicate me also. Because his excommunication means absolutely nothing, and was begun as a means to control a frightened population. As was the paying of priests to submit a request to God, because only they, you see, had the power to communicate with the Almighty. To this day, in virtually every Catholic church, you'll find statues with prayer candles nearby. And right next to that is a collection box, where although not 'mandatory', all good Catholics know you're supposed to drop some bills in there to expedite your prayer on it's way.

What I believe now is the literal words of Jesus, and the true Gospels that have long been buried and kept away from public view. People the world over still don't understand that the Bible was a cherry picked Book of Gospels. Ones that would only bolster their case for power, money, and dominance. One that would justify the subjugation of women, and one they could use as a weapon against the populace. And use it they did. And use it they still do.

These are not men of God, these preachers of hatred and anger. These are not Christians, these are anti-Christians, because they do and say the exact opposite of everything Jesus said and commanded. To love one another, not claim the power to keep any group of people out of the sight and hearing of God. To give to the poor, not build churches made of the finest marble and gold. To greet each other with a warm embrace, not boil people in oil, burn them alive, and torture 'confessions' out of innocents that you then kill. Saying you're sorry about that does not make the truth of the matter go away. They have twisted Holy Word to make excuses as to why they live lives of luxury, while their constituents live in abject poverty. They claim to help the poor, but they never really do. The church is nothing more than the world's richest corporation, and as in any corporation, it's all about the bottom line. They wish for more illegals to enter the country, and for the American taxpayer to foot the bill. But only because those illegals would be barely educated, and more easily swayed into joining the world's largest cult. Which in turn, means more money for those at the top of the cult's food chain.

We should all applaud the bold move by these women and encourage others to join their ranks. Because absolutely no one has an exclusive communication link to God, and those who tell you they do are liars and their words come not from on high, but from the other place, the one they use to terrify you into submission and obedience not to God's will, but their own. Don't listen to their chanting and hypnotic rituals designed to lull you into a false sense of security and the familiar. The Word of God awaits in ALL of the accounts of All of the Apostles, not just the ones they felt would allow them to dominate life on earth forever. Yes. Go ahead and excommunicate me also there Pope Benedict. I must be a heretic also, because I agree with those women who wish to become priests and bishops, and serve God, not the unyielding whims of men.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

George Bush's Kooky Sociopath Ways

In coming to the conclusion that the President of the United States, his Vice-President, and many of those around him, such as the Secretary of State, the President's advisers, and others are actually a like minded group of sociopaths, one has to take a look at both the actions of George Bush and the definitions of what makes a sociopath.

Pathological lying is one of the main definitions of a sociopathic personality, and as we all know by now, Bush lies the moment his lips begin to move. The problem is, he is surrounded by others such as Cheney, Rice, and Mukasey who do the very same thing. So if the entire Executive is being run by those with mental illnesses, what is the remedy for that one?

Seeing other humans not as friend or foe, but as victims and accomplices to be exploited until the accomplices end up as victims also is another sure sign of sociopathy. Take for instance the Abramhoff scandal. A known lobbyist with shady dealings visits the White House regularly, and despite the lies of Bush, meets with the President often. Accomplices together in whatever dirty doings they had going, as soon as the donuts hit the fan, Bush threw Abramhoff right under the bus, and denied ever meeting the man, making Abramhoff a victim.

Early behavioral problems such as excessive partying and having adults around that cover up any infractions that are done by the budding sociopath lead to the belief later on in life that they are entitled to whatever they wish, believing also that they are called by God to their destiny, in effect making them all powerful and all knowing, without ever having to explain or apologize for their actions. Bush's early years are well documented to include alcoholism, drug abuse, an arrest for driving under the influence, and a deferment to the national Guard instead of going to Vietnam. Bush's own words peg him as a sociopath when he says that he believes that God wants him to be President.

A lack of remorse for any actions due to the belief that one can do no wrong. At one of the NINE inaugural balls held after the 2004 elections, a reporter asked Bush how he and the First lady were holding up. Meaning to entice a response about the President's feelings about the war in Iraq, and the dead Americans and Iraqi civilians, Bush replied "We're having the time of our lives!"

Indeed, there are many an instance that shows Bush's contempt for America, such as the well distributed video of Bush on the golf course, where he exhorts all the countries of the world to join the fight against terrorism, then immediately turns and says "Now watch this drive." Or his complete lack of empathy for his fellow human beings when he was asked how many Iraqi civilians had been killed thus far due to bombing raids and Bush replied with a straight face and an off the cuff as though it didn't matter manner "Oh, around 30,000 or so." Even that was a lie as we now know, but just the manner in which he replied that 30,000 dead Iraqi civilians meant absolutely nothing to him proves without a doubt that he is a sociopath.

Deciding that the rules and the laws of the united States did not apply to him, Bush instituted torture programs against what he declared were not prisoners of war, but merely unlawful enemy combatants. Circumventing the checks and balances of the Constitution, he ordered the spying on of American citizens without the benefit of a warrant and court oversight. Done because he is the President you see, answerable to no one. Refusing to co-operate with Congressional investigations by declaring some sort of blanket executive privilege that doesn't exist reinforces the idea that only a sociopathic personality could have such a grandiose view of himself.

Between Bush and Cheney, the secretiveness of the Executive Branch would have made Nixon blush. The Freedom Of Information Act has been disregarded, subpoenas ignored, testimony under oath denied, and the true nature of this monster revealed itself at a press conference not too long ago when Bush told the gathered reporters " You can ask me all the questions you like, and I'll feign interest, you know, like I'm really thinkin' on it. Then I'll turn around and leave." And guess what? That's exactly what he did.

His self aggrandizement knew no bounds when in April of 2007, and not reported by mainstream media, Bush received a Purple Heart. You heard that correctly. The draft dodging son of elites was presented with a Purple Heart by three time Purple Heart recipient Bill Thomas of Copperas Cove, Texas, for what he and his wife perceived to be the deep emotional wounds the president had to bear. Instead of accepting the gift quietly via mail the way the Thomas's were going to send it, Bush had the couple flown to Washington to present him with it in the Oval Office. Or how about the statement from his wife Laura, who must suffer from the same delusional thinking as her husband, because when asked about how she felt about the soldiers in Iraq dying, she replied "No one suffers more than the President and I do. Tell that to the grieving families of the dead, or the maimed soldiers trying to get a prosthetic device on the V.A. waiting list.

How do we explain how George Bush became a sociopath other than his early drug use and being born with a silver spoon in his mouth? Maybe this will help just a little. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, when thousands of refugees were packed into a stadium in Houston, his mother, Barabara Bush made the now infamous observation that the people who had just had their lives destroyed, lost loved ones and all their worldly possessions, had it better now because "these people were disadvantaged anyway, so this is working out well for them"? You know, they were JUST poor people. Sociopathy.

And so as the world awaits yet another bombing campaign from Junior with his finger on the button, is it not possible for the Cabinet to declare the president unfit to carry out the duties of his office? Oh, forget it. That would mean all the other sociopaths that George Bush handpicked for their positions would have to go against him, including madman Cheney. So it looks as though we are stuck in the nightmare of the realization that the president of the United States is completely off his rocker, we got suckered into putting him there, and we have no choice now other than to sit and watch the mad hatter and his merry band of sociopaths accelerate their desire to destroy America during these last five long months of his tenure. God help us all.........

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Elitist Measuring Of Apples And Oranges

Every time a report is issued by a government agency that shows how 40 million Americans live in abject poverty, some elitist group will come along and argue that they are not living in poverty, they're just poor. In almost the same way that the oil companies try to muddy the waters by claiming the jury is out on global warming, there are actually far right groups that decry the poverty figures on the basis of idiotic notions. Notions such as the fact that a poverty stricken household owns a television proves that they are only poor and not poverty stricken.

Even as that same family who owns a television stands in a long line in the hope that there will be enough food left at the food bank when they reach the front, the elitists spout the nonsense that even with rising food and fuel prices, the nation's poor should be receiving less food stamps, because entitlement programs make them lazy.

The National Review Online is one of the worst of the elitist publications that likes to distort the issue of poverty in America by coming up with incredibly stupid arguments that 'prove' there is no poverty in America at all. Arguments that claim if a household owns a DVD player, or has air conditioning in their apartment, they are not living in poverty. By claiming to cite unnamed 'government sources', they go on to say that only six per cent of Americans living at more than 100% below the poverty level live in over crowded conditions, and actually claim that America's poor have at least two rooms per person in which to live.

Owning a $30.00 microwave oven disqualifies you from being classified as living in poverty, as does having telephone service. And in one of the most galling and telling statements of their elitism, they claim that one of the ways out of the poverty they claimed the paragraph before didn't really exist is for one to get married. That marriage will lift one out of poverty. Oh. I didn't realize it was that simple. They also spew the tired old nonsense of the poor not being willing to work for a living, conveniently leaving out the fact that millions of poverty stricken families in the United States have parents with two jobs, but still can not gain any ground.

There are others who buy into this whole idea of there being a difference between living in poverty and just being poor. They explain away massive poverty in America by claiming that the poor are just jealous and covet what those with super wealth have. And I would have to agree with them on that last point. The poor do covet what the rich have. Things like sufficient heat to stay warm in the winter. Or a refrigerator with enough food in it. A car that runs so they can get to work. A movie to actually put into the $20.00 DVD player, so they can watch it on the $30.00 television they bought at a thrift store, and maybe even a bag of popcorn to burst in their cheap Wal-Mart microwave.

Those who wish to make the distinction of who is poor and who lives in poverty are obviously not paying attention to the world around them. Using a standard of living index such as comparing the lives of those in poverty in America with say, those in Asia who live like animals is disingenuous, and done to give the impression that everything is just fine, while American children go to bed hungry. They don't like to talk about the $1.3 trillion given to the already wealthy Americans by the elitist President and his right wing co-conspirators. They don't want you to remember that these are the very same people who advocated a pay cut for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, because of what they claimed was the overly generous combat pay. Or that this administration has so decimated social safety net programs that more Americans slip below the poverty line every day.

So to those who try to shove aside the issue of poverty in America with asinine arguments or questions as to who is living in poverty and who is 'just poor', I say they do not understand there is no difference at all. What is the difference between a homeless man or woman scrounging for food every day, and the single mother who can not afford food for her children even though she works two jobs? Oh. Right. A DVD player. The difference between a child in a homeless shelter and a child from a middle class family who is about to lose their home due to Dr. Phil Gramms destruction of the economy? Ahhh. That color television and telephone will get you every time.

The entire argument is baseless, a distraction technique perfected by those who don't want you to think about or worry that your neighbor is so poor they have to choose between medicine and electricity. Worry about yourself they say. Leave the poor to fend for themselves. It's not really your problem. These things have a way of working themselves out.

Until the time comes when it's your turn to take a ride on the poverty express. Then and only then will Americans begin to understand the devil in the classifications of poverty and the poor. That when there's no food on the table, people could care less about the apples and oranges elitist world view, they'd just like to have those apples and oranges to eat. The sick and the disabled would like to be able to go to see their doctor, but can't afford the co-pays placed on the Medicaid program by the HMO's who rip off the taxpayers every day. Working families would like to not have to choose which bill they'll put off paying in order to keep the lights on.

No. There is no difference, no difference at all. Go and take a good hard look at those who tell these tales and see how they live compared to the rest of the country. Look at all the red herrings they throw into their stories to confuse you and distract you from what's really happening. Mainly, the largest redistribution of wealth in our nation's history, from poor and middle class families to the ultra rich. The biggest heist in world history going on right in front of your face in the form of corporate subsidies, no bid contracts, and the privatization of government programs. And then come back and tell me the difference between the poor and those living in poverty.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

In reaction to the newly signed FISA legislation, a diverse and unusual group of people are getting together to send a loud and clear message to the Democrats who voted in favor of the destruction of the Constitution. The goal of the group, called Accountability Now, is to raise what's known as a money bomb, and drop it in the laps of whoever runs against those who voted to immunize the telecom industry, and allow the President to have unprecedented power to spy on Americans. They intend to fund advertisements across the country against the re-elections of both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who stabbed America in the back. And to fund advertising for those who run against them.

Holding a month long pledge-a-thon that counts on the Internet's ability to pass word of mouth faster than any advertising campaign, Accountability Now has already received about 2,000 pledges of donations, with 16,000 visitors to the website since Wed.

What makes this hastily formed group so unusual is that it consists of expert fund raisers from the BreakTheMatrix campaign and Ron Paul supporters Rick Williams and Trevor Lyman, as well as well known left wing bloggers Glenn Greenwald from Salon and Jane Hamsher from FireDogLake. left wing and right wing coming together in a common bond to try to oust the traitors who voted away the Fourth Amendment, and gave succor to a criminal President.

The date they have chosen to drop this money bomb on the unsuspecting Democrats and Republicans is August 8th. Given that this is the date that Richard Nixon was forced to resign from office for doing a whole lot less than this president and this and the previous Congress have ever done when it comes to breaking every surveillance law, it seems almost righteously fitting to hit those who betrayed voter trust with their votes with a campaign to drive them from office also.

According to the Wall Street Journal and several bloggers, the ACLU is involved, as well as the Democratic fund raising site ActBlue, who will handle all of the group's legal processing and paper work. Such a strange group of people to be seen coming together in common cause, but it just goes to show that Americans are not really that different when it comes to the issues of freedom and civil rights. We are a nation that believes in our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and the rule of law. Americans also believe that absolutely no one is above that law, and that you don't just change the law when you get caught breaking it, or use it to protect the most corrupt Executive Branch in our nation's history.

One might be tempted to dismiss this as some sort of Internet buzz that will die down soon enough until one also realizes that the BreakTheMatrix people were responsible for putting together the online campaign that raised $14 million for Ron Paul. And that the chorus of outrage is just beginning to resound across the web, especially within the left's blogosphere, with many former Obama supporters calling for everyone to sit this election out altogether. Whether that's the wise choice is another question altogether.

But make no mistake. To the politicians who stand there and say "I am not a crook", you've got a voter surprise coming. You can not vote against the interests of the American people and then try to run for re-election with smiles and more platitudes. Because a group of Strange Bedfellows is not going to allow the people to forget what you have done, and I happily joined their group today, pledging money, time, and effort to make your ouster from office a reality. I hope all of you who read this will join the fight also. If nothing else, visit the site and see what the hooplah is all about.

Busting Al-Bashir-Use A Cruise Missile Instead

Chief Prosecutor Ocampo of the International Criminal Court is seeking to have an arrest warrant issued for Sudan President al-Bashir, to bring him before The Hague for crimes against humanity and genocide. Having never been tried before with a sitting head of state, no one knows exactly what the procedure would be to actually arrest al-Bashir should a warrant actually be issued. If one were to judge from past actions of this monster from Khartoum, he'll kill more civilians in retaliation and thumb his nose at the international community once again.

Although the action taken by the ICC should be applauded, it should be noted that it has taken five long years to put a case together while the entire world has watched with horror as the massacres continued. A case against al-Bashir's henchman Ahmed Haroun was dismissed out of hand by the government of Sudan, as well as warrants for militia and Janjaweed terrorists. In fact al-Bashir showed his contempt for the rule of law and world opinion by elevating Haroun to the position of State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs.

Years of murder and mayhem, rape and pillage. Entire towns burned to the ground with people trapped inside, left to die an agonizing death by fire. Women systematically gang raped by state sponsored devils on horseback, then hacked to death while her children watched. Children being targeted for maiming, with their tiny hands cut off in order to prevent them from growing up and becoming revolutionaries against al-Bashir. Aid workers attacked and killed, food shipments stolen and diverted to government warehouses. And now the predicted killing of U.N. forces by what we all know was the Janjaweed, who would not have acted unless under direct orders from Satan's son in the capital city.

al-Bashir will never submit to any warrant from the ICC. This is purely a political smack down of the Sudanese President, one that will albeit make it almost impossible for him to travel outside his own country, and make it harder for any government to officially negotiate with what will then be considered officially as a criminal regime. But the killings will continue and probably gain momentum now that al-Bashir has no international prestige to pretend to be holding onto. Aid workers are already fleeing. The U.S. has pulled it's USAID people out, and the U.N. soldiers are on high alert.

With the joint U.N./A.U. force out manned, outgunned, and lacking for basic equipment such as helmets due to both Europe and the United States being derelict in providing the equipment, you can bet dollars to donuts that al-Bashir will order the killings of more U.N. soldiers. He knows, just as the rest of the world knows, that when U.N. soldiers start becoming the targets, they leave. And when that happens, and al-Bashir wins the test of wills, the real blood bath will ensue.

Innocent people who's only crime was being born are in danger of being starved to death, shot, stabbed, hacked, chopped, burned alive, bashed with tree limbs, imagine the most evil ways that a monster would kill or maim another human and it is already taking place. And about to get worse. It would seem that with all of the missiles that are flying around these days for testing, that just one errant cruise missile could find it's way to Sudan's Presidential Palace. You know, the one paid for with an $80 million loan from Chinese president Hu. It's located on Blue Nile Street, right next to the historical old Presidential Palace, and it's coordinates are 15o 34N 33o 36E. Because the only thing that this Saddam Hussein of Africa will ever understand is a flurry of military action aimed not at just his Janjaweed militias, his air force , and his military junta, but missiles that have his name printed on them. Hell, take out the new railroad and bridge paid for by China to help facilitate the flow of oil that funds this evil dictator also.

What's the old saying? Kill one to save a thousand. Make that several million. The international community, including the U.N., must make available the means to end this farce once and for all as soon as al-Bashir laughs in the world's face when he is served with the arrest warrant. Iran's launching missiles, China's launching missiles, the U.S. and Russia are testing missiles all the time. They can't all possibly stay on course now can they? Take al-Bashir out, and take him out now. One AGM-129A should do the trick. It's the only way left to stop the genocide.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Democrats To Vote Out Of Office

In what can be described only as the most stunning betrayal of voter trust in the history of our country, the Senate put an end to the debate on telecom immunity for their complicity in the crimes of President Bush and his administration. Giving the entire nation the middle finger, Congress has declared war on the American people and our Constitution by not only capitulating to the will of the worst president in the history of our country, but giving in to his demands for even more domestic spying powers.

With stories of satellite surveillance that can be used to further erode the protections of the Fourth Amendment, the Senate decide that the law breaking Bush could be trusted not to (wink wink) turn those cameras on Americans. What Bush could not accomplish in 2005 with a Republican majority in Congress, was handed over to him like milk money by the most spineless, treasonous group of Democrats to ever assemble in one place.

The FISA bill voted on could have been sent to the President with one of three proposed amendments on telecom immunity, but all three were voted down. Any of the proposed amendments, one of which was put forth by Republican Arlen Spector, would have allowed an investigation into exactly what the telecoms did that broke the law, and what further steps were needed to remedy the situation. But even though all three amendments were voted down with the help of Democrats, some of the very same Democrats who voted in favor of stripping telecom immunity out of the bill voted for it's passage without any amendments. These people, so far removed to the desires of Americans need to feel the wrath of the people when it comes time for re-election. Here are the names of the Democrats who voted FOR the passage of the new FISA bill: Bayh (Ind.), Carper (De.), Casey (Pa.), Conrad (ND.), Feinstein (Ca.), Innuoye (Hi.), Kohl (Wi.), Landrieu (La.), Lincoln (Ar.), McCaskill (Mo.), Mukulski (Ak.), Nelson (Neb.), Nelson (Fla.), Obama (Il.), Pryor (Ar.), Rockefeller (WV), Salazar (Co.), Webb (Va.), and Whitehouse (RI).

All of the above listed Democrats cut and ran from the rule of law in this country, and in order to gain any semblance of it back, voters must choose candidates that will vote in favor of repealing this scurrilous legislation, legislation that says it's ok for corporations and politicians to break the law, but you the People must obey the laws we pass. Even Barak Obama voted for final passage of the bill, and in a moment of "I told you so", Senator Hillary Clinton voted against it.

We've been had, and every Obama supporter, myself included, should give voice to our outrage and not make excuses as to why he voted to betray America. We understand why the Republicans voted in favor of this bill. They side with corporations every time. They stand shoulder to shoulder and vote the party line every single time. But why the Democrats handed Bush this victory is beyond all comprehension. The story of possible criminal liability is just that. Stories. It will never come to pass and we all know it.

There's nothing left to say except this. This November, and in November of 2010, when these Democrats come up for re-election, vote them out of office. To the state of Connecticut, please get Lieberman out of there. Betrayal is betrayal, and this is the granddaddy of them all. Right in your face, and with a middle finger at you to boot. I'm throwing my vote away this November and voting for Nader, because I will not vote for anyone who said that he would filibuster this legislation, then voted in favor of it for political gain. You do what you want, but now s not the time for voter capitulation. This is the time to express our outrage by emailing every Congressional office and bombarding them with phone calls. And then vote for someone with some backbone.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Transparent Government Is A Little Opaque

Established in 1914 by legislation enacted by Congress, the Legislative Reference Service was born and signed into law by former President Woodrow Wilson. Intended to be a research service for members of Congress, it evolved over the years into much more than just another arm of the Library of Congress.

The LRS underwent a name change in 1970 due to it's expanding role in helping to shape legislation. Called the Congressional Research Service, it's functions were to obtain information on the legalities, effectiveness, and ordinary citizen reaction to proposed bills and amendments. With taxpayers footing the bill for the CRS's 700 plus employees to the tune of around $100 million per year, one would think it reasonable to expect the public to have access to the research that was done and how decisions that affect every American were arrived at, but that is not the case. In fact, attempting to glean information from the CRS is akin to pulling teeth with a pair of tweezers.

Although the public at large has access to Thomas, the Congressional website that provides information on legislative sessions, there is no Internet access to the CRS, and it would seem that's the way our government likes it. Repeated attempts to force the CRS to be open to public scrutiny have been met with fierce resistance from both the CRS itself and by some members of Congress, who see the CRS as an extension of their offices. It should be noted that Senators John McCain and Patrick Leahy have offered bipartisan legislation and support to the release of CRS information to the public via the Internet.

If you're wondering why having access to CRS information is so important in a transparent government that is supposed to serve the People and not the other way around, then one must also understand that what members of Congress base their voting decisions on, come directly from the Congressional Research Service. Issues dealing with the interpretation of American Law, Domestic Social Policies, Foreign Affairs, Defense, Trade, Finance, National Resources, Science and Industry.

Things that effect every American and the quality of life of every citizen are debated in secret, with the conclusions reached that are signed into law never being allowed to be scrutinized by the very taxpayers who pay for this service. And so when mistakes in interpretation are made, or erroneous information makes it's way into a bill, the bill gets signed into law, mistakes and all, and the only ones with the authority to go back and research the mistakes, if they are discovered, are the very same people who put forth the wrong information in the first place.

Even with the constant pressure from organizations such as The Project For Government Oversight and the Sunlight Foundation, changes are slow in coming and contested bitterly by those in Congress and the White House, who would rather keep the public in the dark when it comes to the running of our government. But what galls every citizen who becomes aware of the existence of the Congressional Research Service is that although publicly funded, and attempts by both Congress and the CRS to maintain it's secrecy, corporations are allowed access to CRS reports, which they then promptly turn around and sell to lobbyists in order to give them an inside track of what's going on inside the halls of our Capitol.

Not galling enough for you? Try this. Former members of Congress who go to work for lobbying firms have unfettered access to current CRS reports, reports they use to the advantage of the corporations that hire them. If an average citizen that is aware of the existence of CRS wants a copy of a report, well somehow the Freedom Of Information Act doesn't apply to the CRS. But Lexis and Westlaw will sell you a copy of any report you like, for the lowly fee of $7.95 per report, provided of course you are a 'member' to the tune of several hundred dollars per year.

So get this straight now. We the taxpayers foot the bill for the Congressional Research Service but are not allowed to read and critique what they do. But lobbyists and corporations are allowed access, and are allowed to turn around and sell you the information they obtained. Former Congressional Members have access to current reports, but you don't.

In an attempt to soothe the uproar from transparent government groups, the White House had the State Department start putting up selected and redacted versions of some CRS reports. the problem is that when you go to the State Department website to take a look, all of the reports that are posted as NEW are from 2001 to 2006, with only six reports from the year 2006, and nothing past that.

What is the big secret? And why is the taxpayer required to fund a completely separate branch of Congress that we are then told we are not allowed to see? The only way to find out the answers and to acquire the dream of a transparent government that works for the People and not the corporations is for the public to demand that CRS reports be available to all, not just those who can further personal ambitions and profit from what should be public information. Contact Senator Leahy's office and the office of Senator McCain and tell them this issue is important to the American people. Let them know you are willing to support their bill to open the government to public scrutiny. Seek out the organizations named above and others like them and if nothing else, sign a petition, write a letter of encouragement, and if possible, drop a few dollars their way.

There are soldiers dying and soldiers who have died trying to preserve the United States. They fought and fight for freedom, not so the government can do in secret the things they would never even contemplate putting before the masses first. Transparent government means just that. Like a window, not like a filthy, rusty screen covered pane of glass that no one can see through. See who supports this open government legislation in Congress and who doesn't. Those who don't can be easily voted out of office in favor of a person more favorable towards the People. Because in the end, this is OUR government, not theirs. It's OUR money that they spend so freely, not theirs. And freedom includes the ability to know what the government is up to, and how they are going about the People's business. Demand public access to the Congressional Research Services database, and it can be a first step to restoring the governemnt's power back where it belongs. With we the People.