Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few

Wendell Phillips, 1852





The enemies of Freedom do not argue: they shout and they shoot.

W.R. Inge, 1935





....and the more things change, the more they stay the same...

Monday, November 29, 2010

America - He's your President for Goodness Sake!

America - He's your President for Goodness Sake!


By William Thomas
Posted: Friday, October 1st, 2010

There was a time not so long ago when Americans, regardless of their political stripes, rallied round their president. Once elected, the man who won the White House was no longer viewed as a Republican or Democrat, but the President of the United States. The oath of office was taken, the wagons were circled around the country’s borders and it was America versus the rest of the world with the president of all the people at the helm.

Suddenly President Obama, with the potential to become an exceptional president has become the glaring exception to that unwritten, patriotic rule.

Four days before President Obama’s inauguration, before he officially took charge of the American government, Rush Limbaugh boasted publicly that he hoped the president would fail. Of course, when the president fails the country flounders. Wishing harm upon your country in order to further your own narrow political views is selfish, sinister and a tad treasonous as well.

Subsequently, during his State of the Union address, which is pretty much a pep rally for America, an unknown congressional representative from South Carolina, later identified as Joe Wilson, stopped the show when he called the President of the United States a liar. The president showed great restraint in ignoring this
unprecedented insult and carried on with his speech. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was so stunned by the slur, she forgot to jump to her feet while clapping wildly, 30 or 40 times after that.

Last spring, President Obama took his wife Michelle to see a play in New York City and republicans attacked him over the cost of security for the excursion. The president can’t take his wife out to dinner and a show without being scrutinized by the political opposition? As history has proven, a president in a theatre without adequate security is a tragically bad idea.

Remember: “Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”

At some point, the treatment of President Obama went from offensive to ugly and then to downright dangerous.

The health-care debate, which looked more like extreme fighting in a mud pit than a national dialogue, revealed a very vulgar side of America. President Obama’s face appeared on protest signs white-faced and blood-mouthed in a satanic clown image. In other tasteless portrayals, people who disagreed with his position distorted his face to look like Hitler complete with mustache and swastika.

Odd, that burning the flag makes Americans crazy, but depicting the president as a clown and a maniacal fascist is accepted as part of the new rude America.  Maligning the image of the leader of the free world is one thing, putting the president’s life in peril is quite another. More than once, men with guns were videotaped at the health-care rallies where the president spoke. Again, history shows that letting men with guns get within range of a president has not served America well in the past.

And still the “birthers” are out there claiming Barack Obama was not born in the United States, although public documentation proves otherwise. Hawaii is definitely part of the United States, but the Panama Canal Zone where his electoral opponent Senator John McCain was born? Nobody’s sure.

Last month, a 44-year-old woman in Buffalo was quite taken by President Obama when she met him in a chicken wing restaurant called Duff’s. Did she say something about a pleasure and an honour to meet the man or utter encouraging words for the difficult job he is doing? No. Quote: “You’re a hottie with a smokin’ little body.” Lady, that was the President of the United States you were addressing, not one of the Jonas Brothers! He’s your president for goodness sakes, not the guy driving the Zamboni at “Monster Trucks On Ice.” Maybe next it’ll be, “Take Your President To A Topless Bar Day.”

In President Barack Obama, Americans have a charismatic leader with a good and honest heart. Unlike his predecessor, he’s a very intelligent leader. And unlike that  president’s predecessor, he’s a highly moral man.

In President Obama, Americans have the real deal, the whole package and a leader that citizens of almost every country around the world look to with great envy. Given the opportunity, Canadians would trade our leader, hell, most of our leaders for Obama in a heartbeat.

What America has in Obama is a head of state with vitality and insight and youth. Think about it, Barack Obama is a young Nelson Mandela. Mandela was the face of  change and charity for all of Africa but he was too old to make it happen. The great things Obama might do for America and the world could go on for decades after he’s out of office.

America, you know not what you have. The man is being challenged unfairly, characterized with vulgarity and treated with the kind of deep disrespect to which no previous president was subjected. It’s like
the day after electing the first black man to be president, thereby electrifying the world with hope and joy, Americans sobered up and decided the bad old days were better.

President Obama may fail but it will not be a Richard Nixon default fraught with larceny and lies. President Obama, given a fair chance, will surely succeed but his triumph will never come with a Bill Clinton caveat – “if only he’d got control of that zipper.”

Please. Give the man a fair, fighting chance. This incivility toward the leader who won over Americans and gave hope to billions of people around the world that their lives could be enhanced by his example, just naturally has to stop.

Believe me, when Americans drive by the White House and see a sign on the lawn that reads: “No shirt. No shoes. No service,” they’ll realize this new national rudeness has gone way, way too far.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MICHAEL CHERTOFF'S SCREWING OF AMERICA (again)...

on Monday, November 22, 2010 by CommonDreams.org



Michael Chertoff, Bend Over, Please…


by Thom Hartmann




During the time you're reading these words, somewhere in the world somebody is getting onto or off an airplane with a few ounces of cocaine, heroin, or diamonds packed into a condom and stuffed up their rear.The cocaine, heroin, or diamonds could just as easily be enough C4 plastic explosive to blow out the side of a plane, easily molded to fit into a condom.

Easily removed in an airplane lavatory and detonated.

Why isn't anybody discussing this?


Not since 2001 when we learned that Taco Bell managers made more than our airport security people - and in most cases were better trained - has this much attention surrounded airport screening procedures.

Procedures that led to one woman - a cancer survivor - being forced to remove her prosthetic breast during a pat down procedure.


Another cancer survivor had his urostomy bag torn during a pat down - causing urine to spill all over his clothes.

And just today - a new video was released showing a young boy - half-naked - being touched by a TSA agent.

Had it been that boy's teacher, he'd be in prison right now.


And the alternative is to get X-rayed.

If you fly several times a year, some suggest there is a higher risk that you could die from contracting skin cancer from one of these x-ray machines than die in a terrorist attack.


And statisticians point out that when people don't fly but drive long distances, they're more likely to die in car accidents than to die in a terrorist attack if there was no security whatsoever.

And these skin-surface X-ray machines - or even the most invasive of pat downs - won't be able to find plastic explosive stuffed into a body cavity.

So, if we really care about being secure, shouldn't we add another layer of security - one including sterile gloves and KY Jelly?


Show your driver's licence and ticket, and bend over?


What we are losing are basic freedoms - the right to privacy, the right to not be irradiated.

But some Americans are waking up.


In increasing numbers, they're saying no to Michael Chertoff's lobbying group that sells the Chertoff Porno Scanners, and to the frightened pundits defending our being groped.

And canceling their airline flights.

As Benjamin Franklin famously wrote on February 17, 1775 in his notes to the Pennsylvania Assembly, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."


If we are serious about stopping Middle Eastern zealots from attacking us, instead of blowing up our own Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our persons, let's stop blowing up Middle Eastern countries.

When the Obama administration pulls our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and works hard to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, then I'll believe our government really cares about our safety.


Until then, it's just theatre - with a few millions in profit for Chertoff and his friends.


Michael Chertoff?


Come over here and bend over, please.

Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show. His most recent book is Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country. Previous books include: Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights, We The People: A Call To Take Back America, What Would Jefferson Do?, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It, and Cracking The Code: The Art and Science of Political Persuasion.









Sunday, November 14, 2010

IN YOUR FACE AMERICANS...

For the past thirty years the rich have been waging war on the middle class. It’s been astonishingly effective, partly because it has been undeclared. But even that pretense is now being abandoned. The President’s National Deficit Commission has effectively declared that the rich will now go after what is left of working and middle class wealth and will take whatever steps are necessary to seize it. If allowed to succeed, their plan will reduce Americans to a state of serfdom.



Ronald Reagan began the war on the middle class with his “supply-side” economics. Its very purpose, according to David Stockman, Reagan’s Budget Director, was to transfer wealth and income upwards. It cut the marginal tax rate on the highest income earners from 75% to 35% while dramatically expanding spending for war. The results were two-fold: massive federal debt and an astonishing rise in the share of income and wealth going to those who were already the wealthiest people in the world. The national debt quadrupled between 1980 and 1992. George W. Bush would repeat Reagan’s policies and double it again between 2000 and 2008. Meanwhile, the share of national income going to the top 1% more than doubled, from 9% to 24%. The share going to the top one-tenth of 1% of income earners more than tripled. We now have the most unequal distribution of income in the developing world and the inequality is growing rapidly.

Shifts of this magnitude over such short periods of time have never been seen in American history. With the rich getting much, much richer, its means that everybody else is getting poorer. And in fact, real wages for median workers are lower today than they were in 1973. Indeed, while the inflation-adjusted income of the bottom fifth of workers fell by $6,900 between 1979 and 2007, the top 1% saw its annual income increase by $741,000!

To try to keep up with living standards Americans resorted to debt. They increased their personal debt-to-income ratio from 62% in 1980 to 130% in 2008. When housing prices fell 35% nationwide in the recent collapse it left Americans with a smaller share of equity in their homes, 48%, than at any time since the Great Depression. The share they have lost has been taken by the banks. In other words, all of the income and wealth gains for middle Americans from the “golden years” between 1945 and 1975 have now been wiped out. Or more accurately, have now been transferred to the very rich. The top 1% holds 34% of the nation’s wealth while the bottom 50% holds just 2.5%. The bottom 40% owns absolutely nothing.


These effects and numbers can be numbing, even dizzying. But it’s important to understand that they have not been the result of random events or impersonal market forces. Rather, they have followed as the intended consequences of the relentless application of a wide array of government and industry policies. The massive run-up in debt is one such policy. The wealthy are net lenders. This means that massive public and private debt transfers interest income to them from the rest of the economy. Another method for effecting massive wealth transfer: Beginning in 1981 the Reagan administration effectively stopped enforcing anti-trust laws, allowing monopolies to gouge everyone who had to buy their products.


The government actually provided tax subsidies so that corporations could eliminate jobs in the industrial heartland and ship them to Mexico and later, China, India, and other low-wage countries, reducing wages and pitting American workers against each other for those jobs remaining.


The bank deregulation that began in the early 1980s reached its apex with the repeal of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act in the late nineties. This set up the “casino capitalism” of the next decade that would spawn massive criminality and mortgage fraud by the nation’s leading banks—none of which has been prosecuted. The result was the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression. But even as more than five million homeowners have lost their homes, the wealthy had their losses covered by the Bush and later Obama administrations. Bloomberg news estimates that the transfer to the banks through the financial bailout comes to some $13 trillion dollars.


We could go on and on and on with the roster of ways the wealthy have used the government to transfer national wealth to themselves. Environmental and health laws that are not enforced. Deals with the pharmaceutical industry so they don’t have to compete with foreign manufacturers. Health care “reform” that forces tens of millions of Americans to buy questionable insurance products, even as insurers continue to kick legitimate claimants off their rolls. Give-aways of the telecommunication spectrum worth hundreds of billions of dollars to media monopolies that ladle out state propaganda as if were news and never, ever challenge official narratives.






In these and a thousand other ways, the rich have conspired with the government they largely control to shift more and still more of the nation’s wealth away from the working and middle classes, to themselves. It amounts to the most insidious class warfare and the most rapacious looting of public and private resources in the history of the world. The result is vast impoverishment, demoralization, and the destruction of the American middle class. One out of eight Americans are on food stamps. One out of five people are in official poverty. One out of four children are raised in poverty. Twenty five million people cannot find enough work, while their skills atrophy and their families and communities are destroyed. These are not figures describing a banana republic, a disaster-stricken region, or a third world country. They describe the United States of America after three decades of plunder by the rich. And now they want to go in for the kill.






Not satisfied with the staggering wealth they have already siphoned away, the ultra-rich are now using Barack Obama’s National Deficit Commission to propose even more brazen plunder. And the looting is no longer taking place behind closed doors or under the cover of arcane public policies. The commission proposes to cut the federal government’s budget deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. But 75% of the “savings” will come from gutting programs that help stabilize the middle class and their communities. None of it comes from policies that would harm the rich. For example, the commission proposes cutting the tax deduction for mortgage payments. Not only will this render housing much less affordable for millions of prospective home buyers, it will reduce housing prices, perhaps substantially, for without the tax writeoff, buyers will be able to afford much less house. This will decimate the sole source of wealth of tens of millions of Americans.






It is housing wealth that undergirds retirement security for the middle class. Or, at least it did until one out of four homeowners went underwater on their mortgage in the recent bank-triggered collapse. Then, even as the Commission plans to decimate home prices and owner equity, it proposes cutting back benefits to Social Security recipients. It would lower Social Security cost-of living adjustments while raising the minimum retirement age. And this is being proposed at the very moment that the bank-owned Federal Reserve Board is beginning to print hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out the banks from what’s left of their toxic assets still held from the housing crash.






The ensuing inflation is going to destroy the value of retirement incomes at exactly the moment that 77 million baby boomers head off into retirement. It was exactly this process of money printing and bankrupting of retirees that destroyed the German middle class in the early 1920s, giving rise to Adolph Hitler. The Commission’s proposals would increase co-pays and deductibles for Medicare, making it unaffordable to millions. It proposes taxing as income the health insurance benefits millions receive from their employers. The Child Tax Credit would be eliminated as would 10% of all federal government jobs. This, at a time when more than 20% of the workforce is already underemployed and there are five workers trying for every available job.






We should be crystal clear: these policies amount to a mortal assault on what remains of middle class solvency and the democracy that a vibrant middle class makes possible. But even as it girds up for this assault, the Commission barely touches the ultra-rich on whose boards they serve and who have gained so much over the past 30 years. And it cannot go without being said that it was these same professional predators who actually wrecked the economy, pitching it into its greatest collapse since the Great Depression.






The Commission’s proposals would actually lower the maximum tax on the highest income earners, from 35% to 24%. The nominal tax rate on corporate income would fall as well, from 35% to 26%. There is nothing proposed to raise taxes after so many decades of steadily amassed wealth. No financial transactions tax (as the IMF recommends) to stanch the kind of tsunami of speculative buying and selling that brought down the economy. Such a tax would raise over $700 billion over the next decade. Of course, there will be no claw-backs of the trillions of dollars transferred to the rich under the phony duress of “saving the system” during the height of the financial crisis. No proposal that the cap on earnings subject to Social Security withholding should be removed. That proviso alone would raise more than half a trillion dollars over the next decade.






In fact, it is in comparison with other give-aways to the rich that the take-aways from the middle class by the Commission can be seen as so one sided and venal. Remember, they propose to save $4 trillion over 10 years. But the war in Iraq, which we now know was entirely premised on lies, will cost more than $5 trillion, according to Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz. It has proven a huge boon to the rich weapons makers, bankers, logistics companies and oil companies that Bush used to coddle as his “base.” As mentioned above, Bloomberg news estimates that the financial bailout cost some $13 trillion, all of it going to the very richest people on the planet. There is not a syllable in the Commission’s report proposing getting any of that back to help reduce the deficit.






Or consider the notorious Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 where fully 40% went to the top 1% of income earners. Obama once promised to overturn them but, as is his typically cowardly pattern, is now folding. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has estimated that they will cost the government more than $18 trillion over their lifetime—four times what the Deficit Commission claims it will achieve in savings. But God forbid we should ask for even a penny of that back to help battle the deficit. In other words, there are many, many substantial and just ways that the savings the Commission proposes to create could be secured via small contributions from those who have gamed the system and gained the most over the past three decades. But that is not the Commission’s plan. And it is in that omission that its true intent is revealed.






There is no more time for stealth, no more need for subtlety. Western capitalist economies are declining at a pace that is frightening their elite stewards and compelling such desperate, slovenly measures as the wholesale printing of money to postpone the inevitable. While Obama sings lullabies of “hope” and “change” to tranquillize the suckers out front, the rich are backing the truck up to the vault in the back, no longer even deigning to disguise the heist. And of course, why should they? They have the additional diversion of the moronic Tea Party vigilantes (“Keep the government out of my Medicare”), ever ready to cut other people’s throats to cure their own nosebleeds.






The Commission’s proposal is the most naked, undisguised declaration of class warfare possible. Its agenda is not to reduce the deficit but rather to reduce what is left of the American middle class and American workers, to a condition of servitude, of feudal peonage. Their poverty will make them docile and subservient. This will make possible the final looting of America by those whose sociopathic greed has brought it so low already. The battle over this proposal is the last bulwark against the devastation and final destruction of America. It must be fought and won or our freedom and security ceded forever. There is no other choice."


- http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/11/14-1

Sunday, October 31, 2010

FRANK SCHAEFFER'S EXCELLENT TAKE ON OBAMA'S FIRST TWO YEARS...


FRANK SCHAEFFER
Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times best selling author.

Obama Will Triumph -- So Will America

By Frank Schaeffer

Before he'd served even one year President Obama lost the support
of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of
the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and

ideological backgrounds -- including this white, straight, 57-year-

old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer


and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader(this unlikely Obama supporter -- are sticking with our President.
Why?-- because he is succeeding.
We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of
him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.


Obama's steady supporters will be proved right. Obama's critics
will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.


The Context of the Obama Presidency


Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe , the Second
World War and the Depression has any president faced more
adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more

bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial

integration has any president faced a more consistently short-

sighted and willfully ignorant opposition - from both the right

and left.

As the President's poll numbers have fallen so has his support from

some on the left that were hailing him as a Messiah not long ago;

all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling all

over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the

2008 election.


The left's lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling "prophecy"--
snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and

then pretend you didn't have anything to do with it!

Here is what Obama faced when he took office-- none of which was his fault:


# An ideologically divided country to the point that America was
really two countries



# Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that
was unnecessary and immoral


# The worst economic crisis since the depression


# America 's standing in the world at the lowest point in history


# A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture


of prisoners of war


# A health care system in free fall


# An educational system in free fall


#A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions


(about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done


nothing)

# An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left

# A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally
irresponsible Bush administration.


And those were only some of the problems sitting on the
President's desk!

"Help" from the Right?


What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and
half-baked conspiracy theorists -- that is what the Republicans
were reduced to by the time Obama took office -- do to "help" our
new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he
wasn't a real American, didn't have an American birth certificate,
wasn't born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating "racist",

was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was

a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted "death panels" to kill the
elderly!

They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-

subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper
sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized "tea parties" to sound
off against imagined insults and all government in general and
gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry
lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) "commentators" from
Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh

The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the
utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who
was trying to actually do something about the poor, the
environment, to diminish the number of abortions through
compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick! And in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: "No!"

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy
American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse
neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big
business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving
crazies, child-molesting acquiescent "bishops", frontier loons and
evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite
them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at
all costs!

"Help" from the Left?


What did the left do to help their newly elected president? Some of
them excoriated the President because they disagreed with the bad
choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he'd inherited from the worst president in modern history

Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President's
economic policies had "failed" before the President even instituted
them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been
fully won within virtually minutes of the President taking office,
they'd been "betrayed"! (Never mind that Obama's vocal support to
the gay community is stronger than any other president's has been.
Never mind that he signed a new hate crimes law!)

Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific
emotion on election night turned into an angry mob saying how
"disappointed" they were that they'd not all immediately been
translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House!


Where was the "change"? Contrary to their expectations they were
still mere mortals!
And the legion of young new supporters was too busy texting to pay attention for longer than a nanosecond. "Governing"?! What the hell does that word, uh, like mean?"


The President's critics left and right all had one thing in common:
impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history (let alone
reality) thrown in for good measure. Then of course there were the
white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just
couldn't imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren't as smart as
they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their
president. He hadn't consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!


The Obama critics' ideological ideas defined their idea of reality
rather than reality defining their ideas-say, about what is
possible in one year in office after the hand that the President
had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot nation
that voted Bush into office. twice!


Meanwhile back in the reality-based community - in just 12 short
months -- President Obama:


#Continued to draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of several bad choices
regarding the war in Afghanistan
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Gave a major precedent-setting speech supporting gay rights
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Restored America 's image around the globe
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Banned torture of American prisoners
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)


#Stopped the free fall of the American economy
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort
to halt global warming
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Stood up for educational reform
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Won a Nobel peace prize
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)


#Moved the trial of terrorists back into the American judicial
system of checks and balances
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)


#Dil what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost
impossible process of health care reform that 7 presidents had
failed to even begin
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good
humor and patience
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of job losses
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and
dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting
people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the "blood of
tyrants" needing to "water the tree of liberty".
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

Other than those "disappointing" accomplishments -- IN ONE YEAR --
President Obama "failed"! Other than that he didn't "live up to
expectations"!


Who actually has failed...


..are the Americans that can't see the beginning of a miracle of
national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the
smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for
this President to fail so that they could be proved right in their
dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned "news" into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.

Here's the good news: President Obama is succeeding without the
help of his lefty "supporters" or hate-filled Republican detractors!


The Future Looks Good

After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his
wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on all fronts -- with a canny and calculating eye to the possible
succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proved not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all
Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.

Just because we didn't get everything we wanted in the first short
and fraught year Obama was in office not all of us gave up. Some of us stayed the course. And we will be proved right.

PS. if you agree that Obama is shaping up to be a great president,
please pass this on and hang in there! Pass it on anyway to ensure
that his "report card" gets the attention it deserves.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A BIT OF A LIFT...

I don't watch Glee, so for those of you who, like me, have not seen this...it does give one hope in the midst of a very difficult time for our country and the world...its worth a watch...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

COME TO THE AID OF OUR YOUNG...

Dating violence


Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.


(Jay G. Silverman, PhD; Anita Raj, PhD; Lorelei A. Mucci, MPH; and Jeanne E. Hathaway, MD, MPH, “Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 286, No. 5, 2001)






Forty percent of girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.


(Children Now/Kaiser Permanente poll, December 1995)






One in five teens in a serious relationship reports having been hit, slapped, or pushed by a partner. 14% of teens report their boyfriend or girlfriend threatened to harm them or themselves to avoid a breakup. Many studies indicate that as a dating relationship becomes more serious, the potential for and nature of violent behavior also escalates.


(Information provided by Oregon Law Center.)






Date rape accounts for almost 70% of sexual assaults reported by adolescent and college age women; 38% of those women are between 14 and 17 years old.


(Information provided by Oregon Law Center.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

WALKING VET...

                             Photo by J. Lucas

Ron Zaleski walking barefoot, across the country to raise awareness of PTSD and the need for counseling for all military troops returning from war.  You can sign his petition at:  http:..www.thelongwalkhome.org.

Our veterans account for 40% of the homeless population and 40% of the prison population, with suicides and homicides at an all time high for our vets.  Let your senators and congressmen know that you support appropriate and meaningful treatment for all our soldiers returning home from the horrors of war.

Monday, September 13, 2010

IRON-JAWED ANGELS...

FIGHTING FOR OUR RIGHTS...
This is the story ......

of our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.


Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.


The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed
nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison
guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a
rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing
sidewalk traffic.'




(Lucy Burns)

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above
her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.


(Dora Lewis)


They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, whe the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.




(Alice Paul)



When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike,


they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured


liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks


until word was smuggled out to the press.






So, refresh MY memory. Some women won't vote this year because - Why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving
a 60 day sentence.


Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.










Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown, New York






All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But
The actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more
rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege.


Sometimes it was inconvenient.
(Berthe Arnold, CSU graduate)


My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'


HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco/Bingo night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.


Left to right: Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right).


Conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at National Woman's Party headquarters, Jackson Place , Washington , D.C.


it is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized.


And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.


The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'






Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party


- remember to vote.










Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk , Conn. Serving 3 day sentence in

D.C. prison for carrying banner, 'Governments derive their just

powers from the consent of the governed.'






Wednesday, September 8, 2010

INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY...


Some 774 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 72.1 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.

Objective:
On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally.

September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. It was first celebrated in 1966. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Celebrations take place around the world.


Give a book, make a donation to your local library or a literacy organization, become a mentor, help all to become literate.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2010 PATRIOT-IN-ACTION AWARD GOES TO...

Mayor Bloomberg takes his leadership role seriously, even when standing alone!
In his fiercest defense yet of the mosque proposed near Ground Zero, Mayor Bloomberg declared yesterday that it must be allowed to proceed because the government "shouldn't be in the business of picking" one religion over another.


"I think it's fair to say if somebody was going to try, on that piece of property, to build a church or a synagogue, nobody would be yelling and screaming," the mayor said.


"And the fact of the matter is that Muslims have a right to do it, too."


Placing the proposed mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site has led to an outcry from opponents, including family members of 9/11 victims, who contend the holy place at 45 Park Place would defile the memories of those who perished in the worst terror attack in US history.


Community Board 1 approved the project Tuesday night by a 29-1 vote after a raucous four-hour hearing in which nine members abstained.


The meeting got so heated that one young girl, whose father is Muslim and mother is Jewish and who went to testify in favor, decided instead to sit silently.


The issue also continues to fuel an intense debate on the Internet. One commenter likened a mosque near Ground Zero to a convent established on the grounds of Auschwitz. Pope John Paul II ordered the nuns to move in 1993 after years of protests from Jewish leaders.


But Bloomberg argued that blocking the 13-story mosque and Islamic cultural center would violate the essence of America.


"What is great about America and particularly New York is we welcome everybody, and if we are so afraid of something like this, what does that say about us?" asked the mayor.


"Democracy is stronger than this. You know the ability to practice your religion was one of the real reasons America was founded. And for us to just say no is just, I think, not appropriate is a nice way to phrase it


". . . If you are religious, you do not want the government picking religions, because what do you do the day they don't pick yours?"


Even with Bloomberg on board, the project still has to win approval of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission, because the current building on the mosque site dates to 1857-58 and would have to be razed.


The landmark application has been pending since 1989 and was recently reinstated. The commission is scheduled to hold a hearing and a vote in the early summer.


The mosque's proponents say they are prepared to raise $100 million and hope to accommodate up to 1,500 worshippers on Fridays. About 500 people already use the site for prayers.


david.seifman@nypost.com






Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/mike_rite_right_M3z4XOjda0JlzbRv0VnxhL#ixzz0xfMzCwZD

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You either believe in freedom of religion or you don't.

Monday, August 16, 2010

SOME BADLY NEEDED GOOD NEWS...

Amnesty International USA




We are thrilled to report that earlier this week Congress passed the Tribal Law and Order Act as an amendment to H.R. 725, a groundbreaking and long-overdue piece of legislation that tackles violent crime against Native American and Alaska Native women.


A huge thank you to the thousands of Amnesty supporters like you who took action to make this human rights victory possible.

 
Because of you, Native American and Alaska Native women will no longer be trapped in a mindboggling, jurisdictional maze that allows perpetrators to rape with impunity.


Every Native American and Alaska Native woman will be given the chance to:

 
get a police response, have access to a rape kit,


have the opportunity to see her case prosecuted, and


see justice served for crimes committed against her.


Spurred by our hard-hitting 2007 report, Maze of Injustice, Amnesty's millions-strong, global human rights movement has worked tirelessly to ensure this legislation became a reality.


People like you have set the stage for reversing the devastating rate of sexual violence that Native American and Alaska Native women have endured for much too long.



This is what we can accomplish when we work together.


I want to thank you again for all you do. This is a truly amazing victory for women’s human rights and we couldn’t have done it without you.




Thank you,

Rachel and the rest of the Stop Violence Against Women team

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

KEEPING A WATCH...



Do you believe the crisis in the Gulf is behind us? BP would like us to believe it is
But we don't believe it.
Government statistics still can't tell us about what happened to most of the millions of gallons of oil that gushed from the well, and even more importantly how it's damaged ocean life. To get a full picture of this disaster, we need to know what's going on in the Gulf
Today, we are getting set to launch our research expedition to find out. But we've got two months ahead of us and that equals a lot of fuel and supplies.

Please donate today to ramp up our expedition TODAY, and a generous supporter will match every dollar, up to $50,000 »

This mission is vital and we need your help. Your donation will support our team understand how sharks, sea turtles, corals and other marine life have been affected by the oil and what we need to do to protect them over the long term. With your help, we'll be able to extend our research and get the facts.


Getting the Facts on the Oil Spill


Today, we are beginning our two-month research expedition into the aftermath of the BP drilling disaster.


Help support this trip by August 31 and your gift will be doubled.

Make a Donation


Your gift goes twice as far when you donate today »


Thank you for your ongoing and dedicated support of Oceana.

For the oceans,


Jeff Wiedner


Director of E-Activism


Oceana






PS. Please help spread the word - forward this email to 5 friends, post on Twitter, and share on Facebook.

Friday, July 30, 2010

ZEALOTS LOOKING FOR A CAUSE ARE EASY PREY FOR THE FEARMONGERS...



On Sunday, July 18, unhinged ex-convict Byron Williams loaded his truck with guns and headed up a California highway with the intention of starting a revolution. If he hadn't been stopped by brave officers -- two of whom were wounded in the confrontation -- he could have carried out a plan to kill staff at progressive organizations, including the Tides Foundation.



What is the Tides Foundation? It's the nonprofit that Glenn Beck brags about "turning the light of day" on by constantly attacking it as part of a socialist conspiracy to destroy our government. The Tides Foundation isn't the shadowy political influence of Beck's fantasies -- it's a transparent organization known in the philanthropic community for doing good public service. Make no mistake: Beck's intention was to paint the Tides Foundation as a dangerous, increasingly powerful threat to freedom that must be stopped. And Williams set out to stop them.

It's time for those who profit from Beck to take responsibility for his incitements to violence. Beck's paranoid, dishonest and incendiary rhetoric doesn't just reflect on Beck -- it reflects on News Corp., Fox News' parent company, and its shareholders. Morgan Stanley owns nearly $300,000,000 in News Corp. stock, Bank of New York more than $175,000,000, Goldman Sachs $115,000,000, and JPMorgan Chase nearly $70,000,000. As owners of the company, they need to take responsibility for the conduct of its employees.

Demand that News Corp.'s major shareholders renounce Glenn Beck's violent rhetoric and its dangerous consequences.


As Media Matters Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert wrote:

Indeed, for more than a year Beck has been portraying the progressive organization as a central player in a larger, nefarious cabal of Marxist/socialist/Nazi Obama-loving outlets determined to destroy democracy in America. Beck has routinely smeared the low-profile entity for being staffed by "thugs" and "bullies" and involved in "the nasty of the nastiest," like indoctrinating schoolchildren and creating a "mass organization to seize power."


As Media Matters reported, the conspiratorial host had mentioned (read: attacked) the little-known progressive organization nearly 30 times on his Fox program alone since it premiered in 2009, including several mentions in the last month. (Beck's the only TV talker who regularly references the foundation, according to our Nexis searches.)


So yes, Beck has done all he can to scare the hell out of people about the Tides Foundation and "turn the light of day" onto an organization that actually facilitates non-profit giving.

And guess what? Everybody in America would have found out about the Tides Foundation last week if Byron Williams had had his way.

Demand that News Corp.'s major shareholders renounce Glenn Beck's violent rhetoric and its dangerous consequences.


Thank you again for your support.


Ari Rabin-Havt


Media Matters for America



Friday, July 23, 2010

SHAMEFUL POLITICS BY SHAMELESS PEOPLE...






ONE DAY LATER, THE "RELUCTANT" JUDGE REFUSED TO SIGN OFF ON THE DECISION MADE. MRS. MICKIE ELDRIDGE'S VOTE IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY NOW COUNTS JUST LIKE ALL THE REST OF THE DEMOCRATS THAT VOTED IN THAT SAME REPUBLICAN PRIMARY. THE TENNESSEE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION IS INVESTIGATING THE REAL POSSIBILITY OF A CONSPIRACY INVOLVING SHARON YORK(MRS. AVERY CLYDE YORK) ELECTION OFFICE DIRECTOR AND THE AUNT OF THE CANDIDATE BRINGING THE CHALLENGE, LINDA WHEELER THOMPSON (MRS.JIM THOMPSON)
FREEDOM IS NOT FOR THE WEAK OF HEART