Saturday, December 15, 2007

One Of The Big Reasons I Support John Edwards

Take a look at this video and see if John Edwards is on the right track. I think he is.

Part of what he states, is that we can not make the changes we need in this country if we do not win the battles against corporate power, big money and greed first.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dec. 15th 2007 is Bill Of Rights Day

This saturday Dec. 15th 2007 is Bill Of Rights Day.

I would expect to see the liberal/progressive blogs pushing this as a way to fund raise for our candidates and for our rights, but I see little.

I am a John Edwards supporter because I believe he is honest with his support of We The People, Our Constitution and Our Bill Of Rights.
http://johnedwards.com/

For more information concerning Our Bill Of Rights go here:

http://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/

For information on where and how you can help celebrate Bill Of Rights day go here:
http://billofrightsinstitute.org/borday

In my town we are celebrating it here: (7pm to 9pm)
http://tahomaorganizer.com/annual-bill-of-rights-day-celebration


One last thing, some Dennis Kucinich supporters are attempting a huge one day donation drive on Dec. 15th.

See more info here:
http://www.december152007.com/

and here:
http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/12/14/211235/53

As I mentioned, I support John Edwards but I wish the Kucinich supporters all the best with this fund raiser.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

An Open Letter to Sgt. Smith

Here is a passionate submission to the local publication, The Tahoma Organizer, by my friend Michelle. She, and the Organizer, have been invaluable in this community for being a voice for all of us who care what's happening in our world. Please take a moment to read:

As originally posted at The Tahoma Organizer

An Open Letter to Sgt. Smith

by michelle — 2007-12-12 14:44

I’m sorry that I couldn’t look you in the eye when I saw you in the McDonalds line today.

I’m sorry that I was going to sneak a peek at you on the sly. As I stood behind you, I knew from your height, the width of your shoulders and length of your limbs, the perfect shape of your head and, to be honest, the curve of your buttocks under your uniform, that you just had to be gorgeous. You spoke to the girl behind the counter with a surprisingly rich voice, like a smooth but smoky shot of bourbon, and the inept young woman finally looked up to provide some service, gasped audibly, and didn’t look away from you as she stuttered through your order.

I’m sorry I admired your form even more as the muscles in your back tightened with what I thought was masculine pride at her stare. I’m sorry I couldn’t wait for you to turn around to give me my little thrill of the day.

I’m sorry that half of your face is gone.

I’m sorry your cheek and jaw bones are missing, and that the grafted skin over that grossly concaved canvass looks so painful. I’m sorry your right eye is gone and that I wondered what that obscene, horrific white thing in there was, the sliver that I could see, anyway.

I’m sorry you don’t look people in the face anymore.

I’m sorry that while we waited for our orders I stood beside you for three minutes and didn’t ask what happened, even though I know what happened, so that you could talk about it, explain in a loud voice that you are lucky to be alive and not a freak of nature.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you how much pain I felt for your injury, for your new life, for the loss of yourself and the challenges you’ll have, maybe the love that you’ll miss, the conflict you must feel, have to feel, any time you are brave enough to look in a mirror.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry that when I went to my car and burst into tears that I didn’t instead burst back into the restaurant and try to take you in my arms as a son or brother, husband or lover, neighbor, human-being, simple vertebrate, anything, to tell you how sorry I am for your loss, to lie to you and tell you everything is going to be alright.

I’m sorry that political parties send me straw polls asking me to help them prioritize our country’s “issues” and concerns, and that when I answer, it is blithely; that when ABC or CNN email me “breaking news” about the stock market I don’t find a way to insist they focus instead on this war and whether its vicious casualties are justified, and to not let go, hang on to that unholy bitch like a pitbull until we get answers and then act on them; that I haven’t sent even one, no, not one, letter to Congress or the President demanding an end or even just a time-out to this war until its purpose has been satisfactorily explained and understood, until we’re all grimly convinced the losses it incurs, including your face and future, really were and are unavoidably necessary.

I’m sorry that I did not start or participate in a different war, a bloodless but possible war that might have stopped the thoughtless and casual use of your flesh, that before I even put on a uniform I felt weary of the probable futility and rolled over, stomach up. It’s possible that when I rolled, my lazy flailing leg tripped the device that blasted your bones into pieces.

I’m sorry if you’ve been told or convinced you’re nobly protecting people like me, people who haven’t bothered to protect you. Because you were the vulnerable one. You enlisted to follow orders. You took orders from people who are supposed to take orders, ultimately, from the citizenry. Me. Us. And we haven’t demanded they be reasonable ones. We haven’t insisted they be held up to scrutiny every single day. Every minute. That very second you became someone no one will ever want to look at.

I’m sorry I didn’t storm the castle for you. You’d do it for me. There is hideous proof. I’m sorry I haven’t been held accountable for what’s happened to you, and to so many others like you. Because I am. I am the one who should hide my face.

I’m so, so sorry, but somehow glad, that I’ll never see you again, that you’ll never tell me you forgive me. Especially if you really do.

Yours, in shame, Michelle

Originally posted at The Tahoma Organizer

Monday, December 10, 2007

Prometa - Pierce County's Swan Song?

Things have gotten hotter than a glass pipe on a Friday night here in Pierce County, who some have referred to as the meth capitol of the nation. Yes, we have had more than our share of woes due to the hideous epidemic, and that is why it seemed a good place to launch the pilot program known as Prometa. As stated in a previous entry, the program consists of the ingestion of three drugs that have been FDA approved, but not together and not for said purposes. The first dose is administered intraveiniously, followed by supplements twice orally. The effect is said to be a reduction of cravings for methamphetamine, cocaine, and alcohol. This is to enable the patient to focus on counseling, which is required in the program, as well as to adhere to court orders, and to perform everyday tasks. Many graduates have claimed to have had phenomenal results and have credited Prometa with saving their lives. But the program is still in its infancy and the double-blind placebo tests, which compare subjects taking the drug cocktail with those who are only told that they are receiving such, have not yet been released.

Last April, the Pierce County Council voted to allocate $400,000 to the Pierce County Alliance to assist in Prometa aid to those unable to afford the costs. Those working with the program at the Alliance, as well as in other parts of the country who have been participating, have reported dramatic improvements in their clients. So much so, that the Alliance executive director Terree Schmidt-Whelan, in her excitement of Pometa's promise, bought stock in the Hythiam Corporation, the company that produces Prometa. So did Pierce County Executive, John Ladenburg. News of Mr. Ladenberg's purchase made it to some of the Council members, who cried foul due to Ladenberg's vote to approve public funding of the program. Ladenberg, as well as Schmidt-Whelan bought their shares after funding was approved and have since sold them at a loss.

Council members Shawn Bunney and Dick Muri commissioned the work of Performance Auditor Matt Temmel to conduct what was told to the Pierce County Alliance would be a pre-audit to determine if an actual audit into Prometa, and its effectiveness, was money well spent. Then, at the Oct.24 meeting, although not listed on the original agenda, but later amended, Bunney called upon Temmel to give his report. Other Council members and the staff of the Pierce County Alliance were informed on the previous day by e-mail that the Prometa funding would be reviewed. In what would prove to be an emotional exchange of debate between impassioned Alliance members, along with a drug court judge who inquired as to why this was being brought up before the original date of April 2008, and before the study results were concluded, and Bunney and Temmel. Claiming to be a concerned "steward of the taxpayers money", Bunney concluded that he would revoke the remaining funds of $150,000 from the Prometa program, even though Temmel admitted that, while he saw little evidence that the program worked, he had not taken into account the numbers as a whole, including patients who had financed their own treatment and those outside of Pierce County. He had instead focused on the patients receiving county funding, as Bunney had asked. The result has been that other areas of the country are facing having funding cut as well. But, on an interesting note, just up the road in Federal Way, Wa. (King County), on the advice of a former employee who is in recovery due to Prometa, City Council member Jack Dovey has authorized the use of $20,000 to begin a trial program in their city. This, even after the cuts in Pierce County.

The Prometa story had caught the attention of the fine folks from the television show, 60 Minutes, who paid Tacoma a visit. As a long-time fan of the show and having an interest in the story, being as we had been keeping an eye on it at Equal Time, I couldn't resist tuning in. Scott Pelley personally spoke to recovering addicts singing the effects of Prometa. He also spoke to the seemingly disingenuous CEO of Hythiam, Terren Peizer, who also rallied the cry for Prometa as he wiped the crocodile tears from his eyes. He did not, however, speak to Terree Scmidt-Whelan, John Ladenburg, Matt Temmel, Shawn Bunney, Dick Muri, or any other Pierce County Council or Alliance member.

Not too surprisingly to anyone who had been keeping an ear to the political ground locally, after the now infamous council meeting, and only after the
60 Minutes episode went into production, Shawn Bunney announced his candidacy to run against Council member Calvin Goings for the Pierce County Executive seat to be vacated next year by John Ladenburg. Unlike the Tacoma City Council, the Pierce County Council is a partisan race. Goings, like Ladenburg, is a Democrat. So is Pierce County Auditor, Pat McCarthy, who recently announced that she will vie for Ladenburg's position. Bunney, however, is the only Republican who has thrown his hat in the ring to fill the vacancy that will be left behind by the man whose ethics have been called into question over the Hythiam stock purchase and the frivolous spending of the taxpayers' money. Concerned representation or power grab?

Many of us here in our beloved town, ironically dubbed the "most wired city" (in recognition of our own Click! Cable TV company), will be interested in seeing what the placebo studies result in, and whether or not we will continue to tie up our jails and judicial system or continue to look for alternatives that may offer hope.


To follow the News Tribune's coverage of Prometa in Pierce County, see:

http://tinyurl.com/22m7ko


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No Woman, No Cry

Apparently assault is not illegal or punishable in this country if it is
done in the name of entertainment. The only person threatened with
possible arrest was the woman who complied with the perpetrators'
demands. Left out of this article was the fact that the women who didn't
comply had beer bottles hurled at them and they were spat upon. How far
will this mob mentality be allowed to go? While the U.S. falls short of
condemning the misogynistic acts of the Saudi Arabian government, and
considering our stance on torture, how long will it take before we turn
into being just like them?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/20/sports/football/20fans.html?em&ex=1195794000&en=10054cdcf920bb08&ei=5087%0A&exprod=myyahoo

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/11/20/africa/ME-GEN-Saudi-Rape.php

Monday, October 22, 2007

Only Fools would Bomb Iran - are we to be the fools?

Scott Ritter has been right on the money with so many things. The only thing the right wing smear machine ever does to try and counter what he says, is to try and personally smear him. They never deal with the facts and the realities.

So, here we have Scott Ritter giving all of us some good advice and something real to think about. Will we take it, will we listen or will we (under the weight of the Bush administration) be the fool of all fools?

Are We The People fools or is it just the Bush administration and the fools that follow them?

Will we stand up and say ENOUGH or just go back to watching 'reality TV'?

Monday, October 15, 2007

No Bravery...

Just thinking.....



James Blunt: No Bravery

There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
Tears drying on their face.
He has been here.
Brothers lie in shallow graves.
Fathers lost without a trace.
A nation blind to their disgrace,
Since he's been here.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.
And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness
Only sadness

Houses burnt beyond repair.
The smell of death is in the air.
A woman weeping in despair says,
He has been here.
Tracer lighting up the sky.
It's another families' turn to die.
A child afraid to even cry out says,
He has been here.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.
And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.

There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
But no one asks the question why,
He has been here.
Old men kneel to accept their fate.
Wives and daughters cut and raped.
A generation drenched in hate.
Says, he has been here.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.
And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oh, Blackwater Keep on Rolling

In what is perhaps the most momentous decision by the current Iraqi government, the operating license of private contractor, Blackwater - the second largest military force in Iraq, has been revoked. The announcement by Nouri al-Maliki was made on the heels of an incident that occurred on Sept.17 in which a shoot-out involving Blackwater followed a car bombing. The violence left eight civilians shot to death and thirteen injured. Blackwater, has long conducted business as they've seen fit with virtually no oversight or repercussions from the U.S., be it military or government. More than a year ago, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings into spending and other abuses in Iraq where testimony revealed the contracted mercenaries indiscriminate civilian killings have been consistent since their entry into the conflict. Rep. Henry Waxman (D. CA), who was present at the hearings and has since become chair, has vowed to investigate this recent event. However, there is little clarity as to whether any entity has jurisdiction over determining punishment.

After the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, the first boots on the ground in New Orleans were those belonging to Blackwater. The city was essentially under martial law. As doctors, medical supplies, food, and drinking water were denied access, the private militia were allowed to ride rough-shod over the town with orders to shoot to kill any and all looters. It would be a full five days before FEMA and other emergency relief would arrive, but trained snipers would be allowed freedom of movement.

In an underreported related topic, Blackwater West is in the planning stages in Potrero, a small town on the California/Mexico border. The intention is to build a massive training camp, where military exercises would be carried out. Not surprisingly, the location has local neighbors as well as Mexicans a bit nervous. Blackwater's involvement in rendition extradition, where detainees have been transported to countries whose interrogation methods include torture, as well as their assistance in immigration detainment, leave an unsettling curiosity.

Founded by former Navy Seal and billionaire heir Erik Prince in 1997, Blackwater's roots have strong conservative and political ties. Prince's father, Edgar, was a domestic adviser for Ronald Reagan. He later became the leader of the Family Research Council and has been closely tied to anti-choice activist, Gary Bauer. Erik's sister, Betsy, was formerly the head of the Michigan Republican Party and is the wife of Dick DeVos, son of Amway founder, Richard DeVos. Amway has been reported to have donated more than $7 million to Republican candidates, and DeVos has personally donated $650,000 to Republicans, $2 million to conservative special interest groups including Focus on the Family, The Heritage Foundation, and The Federalist Society, and $1,000 to Democrat Joe Torsella. Erik himself had once interned for George H.W. Bush, but had decided that he was too liberal and opted to work for Pat Buchanan during his presidential candidacy. Presidential Airways, Inc., revealed by Washington Post writer Dana Priest (who also broke the Walter Reed hospital scandal) to have been contracted to provide air support for CIA secret prisons, is also owned by Blackwater. These are merely a portion of examples that the Princes, DeVos, and Blackwater have their hands in.

And so it seems that Nouri al-Maliki has finally done what our representatives should have done long ago and taken the first step towards standing up to an ideological murderous militia who have been bilking tax payers out of billions of dollars. In fact, if we were simply to pull Blackwater out of Iraq, that would easily equal the return of the escalation that Gen. Patraeus has promised, taking us back to the initial numbers of troops, but who are beholden to laws. The other mercenaries, DynCorps and Triple Canopy, should follow suit. That might be an initial move towards ending this sad, miserable occupation and returning hope to the people of Iraq as well as rebuilding of the respect of other nations.

For more information on Blackwater, see:

http://www.blackwaterbook.com/

http://iraqforsale.org/

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Outsourcing IN The USA

Just in time for Labor Day, this little present from gdub (george bush) and NAFTA.

Kill The Unions!

Yep.. that is EXACTLY what they are trying to do! If you can not outsource the work to another country, then out source the labor within Our Own Country!

Mexico trucks to roll on U.S. highways

Working to kill unions on LABOR Day Weekend! This should be a frickin HUGE story! This story and Our Actions (if we choose to do anything about this) should have legs... Running Loud Stomping Legs!

This WILL Kill Union trucking! PERIOD! How long do you think other unions will survive if the Teamsters are taken down? Remember that trucking and our ports are tightly tied together. Will our Longshoreman Unions be next?

Why do I hear NOTHING from the OCE crowd (obama clinton edwards) when We The People are being f 'd over once again?

What are WE going to do about this? Why are we not screaming about this?!

More here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070901/pl_nm/mexico_trucks_us_dc_1

The only people this helps is the rich and the corporations. Diluting the work force always has the same goals and and the same outcomes. The loss of jobs, pay and security. This is the continuing saga of the wal-marting of the USA.

Just as corporations and stock holders look for the short term profit, many people here and around the world look for low prices and what is quick and easy. Both of these situations and ways of thinking are destructive, not only to the ones doing it but also to the majority of society.

If We The People are not willing to put a stop to stuff like this, then we can only blame ourselves for allowing it.

Our jobs, our way of life, our security, our health, Our US Constitution are all in danger. It is in OUR hands to do something about the corporatism that has run amok both here and around the world! It is up to all of us to make a choice, to think, to take action, to get up off of Our Dead Asses and make a friggin difference!

By the way, this is not about Mexicans. This is about neo-cons republicans and corporatist selling out the USA for profit (they are also doing this to other parts of the world). Keep us busy, keep us down, keep us from voting... keeps the corporatist in power. This is just one more nail in the coffin of the middle class in the USA.

Speak Up and Speak Out!
http://congress.org

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Live Earth

Hopefully, you've gotten a chance to tune into the "Live Earth" concerts
and to take part in some of the excellent advice regarding caring for
our environment. I've been watching it on Bravo, but I understand that
it is also being aired on Sundance.

Here is more information:

http://liveearth.msn.com/

http://www.liveearth.org/

http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/sgw_feature.asp?id=11

http://www.leonardodicaprio.org/

http://kauai.net/bambooweb/whybamboo.html

Saturday, June 30, 2007

How to Destroy an African-American City in Thirty-Three Steps - Lessons From Katrina

Please check out Bill Quigley's brilliant essay in a recent installment of Truthout.org. This sardonic analysis of how the victims of Hurricane Katrina have been treated is a must-read. It chronicles the hell that these people have endured in an unusual and thoughtful approach.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/062907N.shtml

And please give to Truthout, as they are grassroots and one of the best sites to get the full story. They could use your help to stay active.

https://secure.entango.com/donate/pkXd5Fr9GE4

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Shocking Discovery Inside a Baghdad Orphanage

There is absolutely nothing more I can say on this horrific subject, as I'm completely speechless and can barely see the computer monitor through tear filled eyes. Lara Logan, who witnessed this appalling and sickening scene, takes you there in gut wrenching but compassionate detail.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/18/notebook/main2946477.shtml


See the video here (yes, you'll have to sit through an advertisement first, but the story will follow).

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=2947253n

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Torture, Terror, and The General's Report

Seymour Hersh, one of the last of the true journalists, has a disturbing article in the June 25 issue of The New Yorker. It seems that we have all but forgotten the atrocities of Abu Graib and other detention centers that the United States runs. Of course, this is no accident. Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba tells of some of his findings into his personal investigation of Abu Ghraib, which would eventually cost him his job. As we know, truth is not appreciated by this administration. This lengthy, but very much worth the read, exposure of what took place behind the scenes as some of the horrors were revealed, can be found here on Truthout.org. Please take the time to read this and also to support Truthout.org., as they are donation supported and could use your help.

Friday, June 08, 2007

What Next!? ... Time To Go Home...

The following is from Dkos:

Pace Fired Because He Balked at Iran

This isn't good news.

THIS IS EXTREMELY OMINOUS

I've been writing for over a year now that the Joint Chiefs have been blocking the White House's efforts to expand the war to Iran. No matter what you might think of Gen. Pete Pace, this really is TERRIFYING news, unless you crave a wider war in the Persian Gulf and South Asia.

Pace has been the most visible symbol of the push-back within the military against the Long War.

MORE below . . .

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/6/8/1 54911/3350

PLEASE Read the information linked above and respond, react, DO Something!

Use the following link to help contact your elected representatives and the media. Please do this.

http://congress.org

While you are reading the above information and reacting, please listen and watch the song/video from Michael Franti and Spearhead. It may just be the catalyst that you need to take action!

Time To Go Home:

http://www.youtube.com/frantiv





To see and read the lyrics for the great song, please go to the following link and scroll down a bit:
Posted at MyDD

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Prometa Effect

To combat the alarming increase of methamphetamine addiction in our nation, a pilot program called Prometa has been launched in several states, including Washington. While it may also be used to treat alcohol and cocaine abuse, its primary use has been directed at bringing relief to meth users. Prometa is not recommended for the treatment of opiate dependence. The program consists of a cocktail mixture of FDA approved drugs, manufactured by the California based Hythiam Corporation, and nutritional supplements administered both orally and intravenously for three consecutive days. Three weeks later, treatment is administered again, this time for two consecutive days. Afterward, the patient will be given prescription medication as well as nutritional supplements for one month. Behavioral therapy is also a vital part of the program.

Hythiam claims that Prometa works by repairing damage done by drugs or alcohol to neurotransmitters contained within the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain. This is the area that controls inhibitions and also creates a feeling of calmness. The desired effect is to reduce the cravings, as well as withdrawal symptoms and anxiety. By eliminating these obstacles, the patient is more able to focus on dealing with other life aspects, such as controlling stress and emotions, holding down a job, and taking care of children. These are the areas aided by behavior therapy, including counseling and guidance.

According to Hythium and clinics including Pierce County Alliance that are currently utilizing Prometa in their practices, the success rate has been stunning. It has been reported that after six months in the program, 95% of the participants were still producing negative urine screenings, 80% have maintained court compliance, and 75% are gainfully employed. As this is a relatively new study, the statistics may alter somewhat with the passing of time.

The Prometa program is not cheap. A one-month outpatient treatment program can cost $12,000 to $15,000 in a private practice clinic. However, some states, such as Washington, have financially subsidized the program, therefore making it more accessible. In fact, the Pierce County Council (WA state) recently allotted $400,000 in the budget for Prometa assistance. Council members cited the growing epidemic of meth use, with Pierce County as being among the highest in the nation, as a problem too big to not seek alternative solutions. According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, the cost of cleaning up one meth lab can run upwards of $150,000. The numbers of drug labs have skyrocketed; having reached over 100 seized each year since 2001. In 2004, an estimated $50 million dollars was spent in Washington state alone to deal with the clean-up of meth labs, enforcement, treatment, prison costs, health and dental costs, and foster care. The numbers can not be determined regarding costs involving property damage, insurance costs, burglaries, robberies, hospital costs, and other injuries sustained by victims of crime that the meth epidemic has created.

Then there are the environmental effects and health dangers caused by meth. Seven pounds of toxic waste are produced for every pound produced of meth. The production, or cooking, of meth involves using a number of dangerous solvents that can be absorbed simply by breathing or contacting the skin. The effects can include shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, lack of coordination, nausea, and even death. Exposure to these chemicals can cause damage to the skin, respiratory tract, mucous membranes, and central nervous system. Toxins can remain in the carpeting and walls of a building even after the production of meth has ceased.

While it could be argued that the most effective way of combating the problem is to remove pseudoephedrine, which is a common ingredient found in decongestants and the single most important element in the making of meth, from everyday over the counter cold medicines. When ephedra, a naturally growing herb that was the model for the synthetic pseudoephedrine, was shown to increase heart rates and subsequently lead to heart attacks, it was pulled off health food store shelves nationwide. But this action would come at the possible expense of huge
profit losses to the giant pharmaceutical companies. Given the track record of the current members that sit on the board of the Food and Drug Administration, the enforcement of such action seems unlikely anytime soon.

In the meantime, Hythiam's claims that all of the aforementioned symptoms can be relieved, if not eliminated, by curing the addict's desire for the drug, thus changing the behavior of the user, remains to be seen. Ongoing studies and evaluations will determine Prometa's true value, monetary or otherwise.

For more information on the Prometa program, please see:

http://www.prometainfo.com/pi/prometa-treatment/after-care.jsp

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003114981_drugtreatment09m.html

To hear interviews and discussions about Prometa on Equal Time Radio, check the links below:

http://equaltimeradio.org/media/20060728.wma

http://equaltimeradio.org/media/20061124.wma


Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Secret That Was Victoria

While America sits in debate over the possibility of her first female president, all but written out of the history books is the chapter containing that of the first female presidential candidate, Victoria Claflin Woodhul. Her 1872 campaign against Ulysses S. Grant was a brazen endeavor indeed, considering that women were not given the right to vote until 1920. Running on the appropriately named Equal Rights Party ticket, her nominee for vice president was Frederick Douglass, who never publicly acknowledged his nomination. Victoria and her sister, Tennessee, opened the first brokerage firm that was owned and operated by women in 1870. While never shying away from controversy, she was founder and editor of the Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly which championed feminism, socialism, sex education, and the labor movement. The first English translation of Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto was published in an 1872 issue. She denounced the hypocrisy of the expectations of monogamy for women while married men commonly kept mistresses. She later moved to England and established the magazine, The Hmanitarian which was published from 1892 to 1901. She would reside in England until her death in 1927.

For a more in depth look at Victorial Claflin Woodhull and her many achievements, please see:

http://www.answers.com/topic/victoria-claflin-woodhull

Monday, April 09, 2007

Radio Air Wave Infestation

Perhaps you've heard of the controversy surrounding the shock jocks known as The Jersey Guys. Like any of the other insult hurling, low brow humored, commute time radio DJs, their objective is to gain attention. And, like any other radio station, the objective of WKXW-FM is to gain ratings. This is well understood, for without good ratings you don't attract sponsors who provide the means necessary to exist. There comes a time, however, when one might question the lengths that should be gone to in order to achieve the desired goal.

The most recent flap regarding the The Jersey Guys is their contribution to the anti-immigration frenzy that has engulfed this country. The oh, so cleverly titled "La Cuca - Gotcha" schtick involves enticing listeners to turn in to the Immigration and Naturalization Service anyone that they suspect may be in this country illegally. Of course, the inference of the title being a wordplay on the song, "La Cucaracha", would lead one to assume that this is meant for those pesky Mexican terrorists that have endangered us so. Apparently, if you're name is O'Reilly you have nothing to fear. But singling out certain ethnic groups is nothing new to the Guys.

While the First Amendment of The Constitution still gives us the right to free speech, as it should, one needs to bear in mind the consequences it can bring. "Cucaracha" is the Spanish word for cockroach. During the build up of the Rwanda genocide that took place between the Hutus and the Tutsis in 1994, newspapers and radio stations began a campaign of hatred and fear. Most notably, Radio Milles Collines was engaged in non-stop broadcasts that incited violence and called for the Hutus to rise up and kill all of the Tutsis, whom they referred to as "cockroaches". In fact, the word became a synonym for all of the Tutsi people. The result was anywhere from 500,000 to 1,000,000 men, women, and children murdered. Most were hacked to death with machetes.

I co-host a radio talk show. Most of the topics are politically oriented and the conversation can become a bit heated. One must have the right to speak out, particularly regarding injustice and the government that represents us. One must also be allowed to poke fun at situations in good humor. But I also must ponder if The Jersey Guys know the events and lessons of Rwanda. Perhaps the Guys aren't calling for the killing of anyone, but indeed they are inciting hatred. As we know, it isn't a far reach from hatred to violence.
Jersey Guys, are your incomes so high that you can sink so low? And what about
WKXW-FM and their sponsors? Ignorance, if it can be plead, is no excuse.

http://newjersey.indymedia.org/de/2007/03/14134.shtml

http://wfmz.com/view/?id=76069


Saturday, April 07, 2007

"Our Soldiers Are Not Toys"

I found this while reading other blogs.

Cindy Sheehan is active again at Camp Casy III in Crawford, Texas. Just outside of George Bush's ranch, many different groups and individuals have gathered to send Bush another message (I think he is deaf). Groups such as Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, many other members of Gold Star Families and more.

Code Pink is asking all of us to help push the following video.



You Tube Link

Take a look at Code Pink's site for what they and others are doing at Camp Casey III.

Code Pink at Camp Casey


Don't forget to visit the Camp Casey site at Gold Star Families For Peace.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This Land is My Land

Well, it was bound to happen. With the devastating blow that was dealt to the citizens of New Orleans from the wrath of Katrina, half of the city fled to seek refuge in other towns as their homes became uninhabitable. Many lay in complete rubble, others might possibly be saved with a lot of hard work and monetary assistance. But the insurance monies, much like the FEMA rescue workers over a year and a half ago, would never arrive. Not before all hope would be lost.

But the spirit and reputation for a love of music and pleasure will always inhabit New Orleans, even if so many of the people who would create and live that vibe had been forced out. There have been immense efforts on the parts of many kind hearted and hard working individuals who have tirelessly toiled to restore the Crescent City and give it back to those it belongs to. Groups like Habitat for Humanity, The Katrina Foundation For Recovery, Inc., and others, along with students choosing to spend their spring breaks rebuilding the city (please see BicycleMark - BicycleMark.org and The Wayward Episcopalian - waywardepiscopalian.blogspot.com).

However, with so much "abandoned" real estate left in unintended disrepair, and the owners having no funds with which to work, vultures have swooped down along the muddy Mississippi salivating at the opportunity to turn others' misfortune into their fortune. These are individuals who could truly make a difference with the riches they've already reaped. They have the ability to help people rebuild and thus help themselves. To restore the city to it's former glory. But that wouldn't guarantee the millions, if not billions, of dollars they stand to profit. Of course, they'll have to clean up those unsightly FEMA trailors, the few that actually made their way from Arkansas and that were only given to homeowners - renters need not apply.

Let the gentrification begin!

The two most prominent individuals playing this game of monopoly are Donald Trump and F. Patrick Quinn. Of course,
The Donald requires no introduction. If one owns a television set it is virtually impossible to avoid the comb-over coiffed magnate pursing his lips and firing some groveling young Trump wanna-be. His latest plans for yet another clever, originally titled Trump Tower to be located in New Orleans, will be the tallest building in the city at the height of 842 feet. The proposed cost of each condominium will be a mere $400,000 apiece for the 299 units There will be another 435 hotel rooms to fetch a steady income.
In a city where a
pre-Katrina two bedroom dwelling ran for roughly $600 a month, that same unit is now over $900. Now, take into consideration that should that tenant's job actually still exist, they are having to repurchase all of their necessities and creature comforts.

One of the many sad things that have come to fruition since Katrina is the onslaught of unethical private contractors. In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, George Bush had attempted to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, which guarantees a fair wage for workers. After a huge outcry from Democrats and union leaders, that option was taken off of the table. Not to be deterred from getting as big a piece of the pie as possible, many contractors simply hired illegal immigrants to perform the necessary duties. However, when it came payday, many refused to pay the workers, knowing that they would have no recourse.

Enter F. Patrick Quinn.
Those of you who are not from New Orleans may not be familiar with Mr.Quinn. He first caught my attention last August while in my hotel room in the French Quarter (one of the areas barely affected by the flood). I had the local news on and was quite taken by what I thought should have been a much bigger story, meaning it should have reached the national media. Quinn is the owner of a hotel chain by the name of Decatur Hotels. In the wake of Katrina, Quinn acquired visas for 290 South American workers to provide services in his hotels. He promised them good wages with plenty of hours and possible overtime. The visas stipulated that they were not allowed to work for another employer during their stays. But when the guest workers arrived, they discovered that they would be paid only $6 per hour with no guarantee of full time work. They were made to sleep 5 per room and were charged $50 each per week to rent their rooms. Even more problematic was that they were indentured $3,000 to $5,000 in recruitment and other fees.

Now what Mr.Quinn had apparently not taken into consideration was the fact that, having acquired visas, these workers were not in the country illegally. For these individuals, there was recourse and they had decided to pursue it. They banded together and filed a lawsuit which is currently pending.

Perhaps the most interesting part regarding Mr. Quinn is that, not only is he a most prominent businessman, but he is well connected in a number of ways. His wife, is Senator Julie Quinn (R-LA) and his son, James, is the Executive Director of the Republican Party in Louisiana. And yet I've still not heard a word about this outside of Louisiana.

In a frantic effort to own New Orleans, Quinn has been buying up property as hastily as possible. Perhaps he heard the news that he may get Trumped.


For more information please see:

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1599032,00.html

http://tinyurl.com/2hgpmz

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/09/16/1222257


Monday, March 26, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Every now and then there is a human being that shines brightly above others. Someone who is truly a blessing to the rest of us for the bravery that they exude and the skills they possess to bring it to our attention.

Such a person lives in the adolescent frame of a young teenage girl from Alabama by the name of Ava Lowery. If you haven't yet become acquainted with Ava, it's time you did.

Ava Lowery is the author of an anti-war website and blog titled PeaceTakesCourage.com . She also has a talent for editing thought-provoking and heart wrenching videos that would make PBS proud. Her unflinching honesty and her ability to get her message across has caught the attention of a number of major league media outlets who may well be looking into child labor laws to see of they can't manage to bring her on board.

Meet Ava Lowery, one of our hopes for the future:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UopOw7FEaI

You can read her website and blog here:

http://www.peacetakescourage.com/page-home.htm

Monday, March 19, 2007

We Just Need a Little Patience

A quote from Axl Rose, you might ask? No, that would be from our fearless leader asking us, once again, to be understanding of the never ending tidal wave of bad judgments that he continues to make. Never mind that we are the ones who must live with the consequences. And as we enter into the fifth year of the mess he created in Iraq, I am reminded that we here at home are the lucky ones. We, at least, get the opportunity to live at all. With over 3,000 of our soldiers killed (suicide victims and others who died while not actually in combat remain uncounted, as do private contractors), numerous allied soldiers, and hundreds of thousand Iraqi men, women and children have died unnecessarily, we celebrate yet another milestone.

But all that seems to be required is that we be a bit more patient. It seems to me that we stood by a little too patiently as we were fed lie after lie to launch the so-called "pre-emptive strike" and are still standing idly by four years later. We sat back patiently as another election was stolen. It was taken so easily the first time as such a laid-back nation neglected to cry out, how could it go wrong a second? Heck, those nice people won't mind waiting in line for hours on end, because their Democratic leaning precinct doesn't need all those voting machines, just to cast a vote. Unless, of course, they grow too impatient and decide to go home without casting it at all. We were all too patient as our telephone calls were listened to, our e-mails read, our bank statements perused. Not even the repeal of habeas corpus, which entitled us to speedy and fair trial accompanied by an attorney, would even ruffle our feathers. In fact, you don't even have to tell us what crime we're being charged with.

So we just need a little more patience, Mr. Bush? Tell that to the families in New Orleans who waited on their rooftops for nearly a week pleading for help as they treaded the rising toxic waters and watched their loved ones float by. To those same people who still have no homes, no hospitals, no functioning police stations a year and a half later. To the mothers who had to bury their babies because they were unable to pull them from the sludge. To the mothers who have buried their sons and daughters because you refuse to end the madness you created in the war torn land once known as one of the most beautiful countries on earth.

I'd like to raise my glass to toast this anniversary Mr. President, but I'm afraid I've grown a bit too impatient.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq20mar20,1,112983.story?coll=la-headlines-world

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Remember New Orleans?

Someone had posted the following article on DailyKos.com but I guess New Orleans is out of vogue, so it went nowhere. This person then cross posted the same article to MyDD.com thinking it would be easier to make it on the rec'd list. Well.. it still has not.

Want to help? Does anybody care about New Orleans and the Katrina area? Have we all become so short sighted that we forget about the people still suffering in the Gulf Coast area, especially in New Orleans?

Check the diary at MyDD.com here:

Back in New Orleans: Recovery Spring Break, Day 1
http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/3/17/19514/9606

They also have a blog of their own that they are using to document the recovery and lack of recovery in the Katrina area.

Check the personal blog here:

The Wayward Episcopalian: Nathan in New Orleans
http://waywardepiscopalian.blogspot.com
I spent fall 2006 working with the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana's Office of Disaster Response. Though no longer in New Orleans, I have many memories and observations left to blog, and recovery news continues to pour in, particularly about volunteer work, government incompetence, and local spirit.

"The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intervene." Isaiah 59:15-16


No.. this is not a blog of mine and I do not know this person.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This Is Sick and Wrong!

This is taken from a comment at SecuringAmerica.com

What is wrong with this country? Why do the rich and powerful hate the American people? Do you think that any of them would use or are using illegal drugs to cope with their pain and illness? No... what was I thinking... how stupid could this common person be.

Even tho I do not smoke pot, I find this to be ridiculous and WRONG!

Court: Dying can be charged for using marijuana
http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/03/14/med.marijuana.ap/index.html

If I was dying I would use whatever drug made my life bearable... no matter what! If using some supposed "bad drug" made my life as a sick person bearable and possibly better so that I may heal, then I should be allowed to use it... No Matter What!

So pot is worse then gdub's buddies corporate made drugs?

Whatever!


Just move along now. Nothing to see here. Don't look at that person, they mean nothing to you.

hm.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Day The Music... died... ?

Do you think this is important? I DO!

No need for me to add much to this. Please read and take action.
http://www.myleftwing.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=15126

From My Left Wing http://myleftwing.com


The Death of Web Radio Is At Hand
by: The Lighthouse Keeper
Tue Mar 06, 2007 at 19:10:05 PM PST

(originally promoted by Carnacki, re - promoted by Maryscott O'Connor)

Cross-posted at DailyKos
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/6/15850/52962

I frankly have no idea how many people on My Left Wing pay attention to the music scene, listen to Web radio on a regular basis or think about this issue.

I pray that some of you do.

If you care at all about music, about art, about having a touch of color in your lives, about having a piece of your life that exists outside of the corporate Borg, you need to read this diary and recommend it.

Money is not involved. Your precious time, however, is really needed. It is one minute before midnight.

And by the way, hello. This is my first post here. I hope I can provoke some thought and some action.

While we are trying to save our country, we also have another thing to worry about - something our Democratic representatives played a major role in creating.

The music is about to die. The coup de grace is about to be administered by the U.S. Copyright Office.

more here: http://www.myleftwing.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=15126

Friday, February 23, 2007

Thank you, Gentlemen!

I'd like to send an appreciative pat on the back to a handful of men who have stood up and had the chutzpah to point out the disturbing imagery and misogyny in Hip-Hop music and videos. Not that its existence comes as a surprise to any of us. Simply tune on MTV at any given hour of the day, as well as the once more grown-up version, VH-1, which have become indecipherable from the other, and you will find scantily clad, mostly black, women gyrating and being photographed at all angles. This, all the while being called "bitches" and "hoes". The clear statement of the plethora of these types of videos that our youth are being bombarded with is that women are to be used for sex and that they have no other worth beyond that. It has even become commonplace to use the word "pimp" to mean the ultimate in cool.

Having worked in the music industry for most of my adult life, I know what an unpopular position it is to be in to point out an artist's responsibility in the message they deliver. I worked for Tower Records during the whole PMRC implementation of warning labels on CDs. Washington State even passed a bill briefly that could send an unwitting clerk to jail for selling indecent material to minors. The bill was subsequently repealed, much to the relief of myself and others, especially since not all product was even stickered at the time. While I obviously was not in support of the bill, I didn't think that labeling the product was such a bad idea. Problem was, while all songs and albums were not alike, all of the stickers were. If one song on the album contained the dreaded "F" word, even though it may not have even pertained to sex, it received the same sticker as those with songs where women were raped, killed, and dismembered (no, I'm not kidding). I had always thought that it should be done more like the movie industry in that it gave you a clue to age appropriateness. For instance, what is okay for my 14 year-old to listen to, might not be alright for my six year-old. Many times I found myself debating the fact a sticker in and of itself does not constitute censorship as long as it is still available to buy.

This brings me to the efforts of filmmaker Byron Hurt. His expose of the crude depictions of misogyny, homophobia, and violence in rap are captured in his documentary, "Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes" and is being shown on PBS (please see http://www.pbs.org for dates and times in your area.). Hurt takes a brave look and asks that we accept responsibility. Another refreshing voice is that of Chuck D., of the seminal rap group, Public Enemy. Long known for his outspoken political views, he has been around almost since the birth of Hip-Hop and has watched it evolve. Many of the current young multi-million dollar recording artists have Chuck to thank for paving the way. While another of Public Enemy's founding members, Flava Flav, stars in a reality show where young women embarrassingly degrade themselves in an effort to win Flav's affections, Chuck D. has been continually speaking out against the many abuses that we place upon one another. He hosts a radio talk show on AirAmerica called "On the Real" with Gia'na Garel (please see http://www.airamerica.com for times in your area) where he touches on many topics that concern all of us. He has also spoken out against what he sees as the negative effects of rap music today.

While these topics are not limited to Hip-Hop by any means, it does lend itself to perpetuating not only negative stereotypes of women, but of black culture as well. We, as a society, reward the artists and the record companies handsomely for their questionable contributions. Don't get me wrong, I believe that art and music are necessary for our well-being, but I also have to ponder the effects of the constant bombardment of these messages on our youth and what it does to shape the individuals they become. Yes, ultimately it is the parents' responsibility, but I know that there are messages that have come from the artists that I love that have helped to form my views and point me in the direction to educate myself on certain subjects.
Bob Geldof brought to light the starvation in Africa, Peter Gabriel helped me to discover Amnesty International, Maynard James Keenan of the band Tool made me take a little closer look into the teachings of Carl Jung, and Spearhead's Michael Franti teaches messages of peace and muti-culturism that are so welcomed today. So, too, the many women, including Janis Joplin, Siouxsie Sioux, and Johnette Napolitano have taught me that women have a place in music - and not just as scantily dressed boy-toys begging to be used and discarded.



Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ms. Magazine - "Paradise Lost", Making a Difference for Women in Marianas


I received this in an email from Ms. Magazine and wanted to share it with all of you. I am attempting to post this as they sent it. Please take the time to read and respond.

This is a very important subject and needs to be kept alive. This is not the only place stuff like this is happening, so let us not stop here.



Dear ...,

"Paradise Lost" - the explosive Ms. magazine investigative report on the appalling conditions of guest workers in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory - is making news again as Congress finally acts to stop the worst abuses. Congress has already delivered a victory for the guest workers in the Marianas by including them in the recently passed minimum wage increase.

Ms.'s hard-hitting cover story brought to the nation's attention the labor and immigration abuses that were the focus of a Senate committee hearing last Thursday. When we published our investigative report last spring, we spurred weeks of additional news coverage and generated widespread public outrage. Two of the women we interviewed for our report - including a young woman trafficked into the sex industry against her will - testified at the Senate hearing.

Make a special contribution to the Ms. Investigative fund today to ensure that Ms. continues to break stories of vital importance to women here in the U.S. and around the world.

Here's the background on the situation:

Although the name-brand clothing companies that contract with garment factories in the Marianas can attach "Made in Saipan (USA)" or simply "Made in the USA" labels to their clothes, until now they have been exempt from U.S. minimum-wage and immigration laws.

Women trafficked to the Marianas, mostly from China and the Philippines, work up to 20 hours a day in factories at a sub-minimum wage of $3.05/hour in often dangerous conditions. In its report, Ms. detailed how these women find themselves in a situation akin to indentured servitude as they struggle to earn enough money to pay for room and board and to repay human traffickers who charge as much as $7,000 for a one-year contract to work in the Marianas.

Moreover, with expiring trade agreements, some companies have closed down their Saipan operations to move to mainland China, leaving their workers stranded and owed months of back-pay. Ms.'s investigative report documented how, unable to make ends meet, many women have been forced to work in the islands' sex tourism industry in order to survive.

Now, with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff (who lobbied on behalf of Marianas factory owners) in prison, Tom DeLay (a leading supporter of garment-company interests) out of Congress, and other opponents of reform defeated in the November elections, Congress may finally be able to pass long-blocked reforms.

Ms.'s in-depth reporting on the suffering of women in the
Northern Marianas is the kind of ground-breaking investigative journalism that truly changes lives.
We are determined to continue to follow this story, and dispatched a reporter to cover the hearings. Look for updates on MsMagazine.com and in upcoming issues of the magazine.

Help Ms. stay strong by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Ms. Investigative Fund now.

For a Strong Feminist Media,

Katherine
Spillar
Executive Editor

Eleanor Smeal
Publisher

http://www.msmagazine.com


Copyright © Ms. Magazine 2006

Friday, February 09, 2007

Worn in the USA pt.2

Here are a few interesting follow-ups in regards to what's being done about the corruption and abuses in the Mariana Islands:

http://www.msmagazine.com/news/uswirestory.asp?ID=10147
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/2/9/24525/93892
http://www.catholicexplorer.com/explore4325/nationworld/rape-victim-catholic-work.shtml

Hopefully, we'll see some some changes made and an attentive eye kept towards maintaining the clean-up.



Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dying for Dollars

To those of you without cable television and are either unable to view C-SPAN (not quite sure why the one form of media where you can actually watch our government at work isn't free) or just happen to choose not to, I must tell you that there have been some incredible goings-on in Congress this week. For instance, L. Paul Bremer, the person who was in charge of the restoration and humanitarian efforts in Iraq and on whose watch billions of dollars disappeared, was actually questioned about his involvement in regards to the missing lucre. Indicted so far are three former Army officers and two civilians for their roles in diverting $3.6 million in Iraq reconstruction money to a contractor in exchange for cash, luxury cars and jewelry.

Last year, I sat in disgust and amazement as I listened to several witnesses tell their stories to a panel that included Henry Waxman (D-CA), Brian Dorgan (D-ND) and John Warner (R-VA) of the things they had seen while in Iraq. A television station that was designated to be the voice of the Iraqi people but became a media outlet for Bremer, plastic sandwich bags containing bricks of $10,000 bundles of cash that were flown in and and handed out indiscriminately, and tales of private contractors murdering innocent civilians. There was even mention of a former FBI agent who had been stripped of his gun, identification, and clothing and was dropped out in the middle of nowhere in Iraq because he threatened to report what he had witnessed.

With the change of Congress this year, Waxman now chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He has taken on these issues and while we will never see the return of the missing funds to the taxpayers, we may actually start seeing some accountability for a change.

Then again yesterday, I found Henry hard at work. This time, he was looking back into the brave faces of four women, reminiscent of the 9/11 widows that Ann Coulter so callously maligned. They consisted of a daughter, a wife, and two mothers of the four private contractors who were slain, mutilated and hung from a bridge in Falluja in March 2004. The men worked for a company by the name of Blackwater who hire people from various countries to essentially become mercenaries. While I find this practice to be offensive on many levels, I felt the anguish of these women at not only the loss of their loved ones, but also how this company has lied to the families and threatened them with multi-million dollar counter suits for daring to sue them for information. These and other private contractors act under no jurisdiction of any law, be it civilian or military, while they operate in Iraq and are free to behave in any manner they please. All the while making millions of taxpayers dollars. I must also note that of these particular men who were working for Blackwater, only one had been there long enough to even receive a paycheck. The others had only been there a few days and had been sent to the most dangerous part of Iraq with no protection.

For more on this, please see:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/02/07/iraq.contractors/

Robert Greenwald touches well on this subject with his film, "Iraq for Sale - The War Profiteers"

http://iraqforsale.org/

Is Somebody Watching You?

Mirth over at EqualTimeRadio.org has written a great piece having to do with cameras, ID, security and our government. This is a must read that should be shared with everyone you know.

Most of us have heard about some or all of the things Mirth writes about but Mirth puts them together clearly and to the point. If you are not worried about how we are gladly or stupidly giving up our rights for supposed security, then you are a fool.

Here is a taste of what Mirth writes:

Somebody's Watching Me

by Mirth Y'know those airport x-ray scanners? The ones that reveal you nude? Well, they're no longer just for passengers wanting to get from one place to another. Look up! If London is the example, then they're coming to a street near you.
>From the BBC:
Leaked documents said to have been drawn up by the Home Office and seen by the Sun newspaper say cameras which can see through clothes could be built into lamp posts to "trap terror suspects".
While Home Secretary John Reid has denied knowledge of the plans, the technology is not dissimilar to that already found in some UK airports. Currently, air security officials pick out individuals to stand in a booth while three pictures are taken of the person in slightly different positions. Within seconds, an X-ray scanner produces an image of the body, minus the clothes. What shows up is the naked human form and anything that may be concealed on the person, such as coins, a gun or drugs.

Read the rest here: http://equaltimeradio.org/?p=130

Do you care? If so, what are you going to do about it? Try starting here: http://www.congress.org

Congress.org is a great place to use for contacting your local and national elected officials and the media. Phone numbers, addresses and email are all there making it easy for you to take action and to be heard.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bush says screw you to We The People!

So Bush wants all of us to sacrifice to help HIS war effort?

"Cutting the deficit during a time of war requires us to restrain spending in other areas," Bush said
Cut social and domestic spending so that he can give his friends, buddies and cronies the tax cuts and "relief" that they sooo desperately need.

Bush also said it would show that his goal of erasing the deficit by 2012 could be accomplished while making his tax cuts permanent.

"Congress needs to make this tax relief permanent, so we can keep America's economy growing. Pro-growth economic policies also play a vital role in our plan to balance the federal budget," he said.


He thinks that these tax cuts for the wealthy and the corporations has helped all of us.

This increase in tax revenue has helped us cut the deficit in half three years ahead of schedule...

You mean the HUGE deficit he has put us in by cutting taxes and waging war at the same time? Cutting taxes and waging war has never been done in the history of this country because it makes no sense!

One of the known but less talked about agenda items by the Bush administration, conservatives and all neo-cons is to defund the government.

They tell you how wonderful tax cuts are while scaring you into going along with huge military spending for illegal wars and to protect us against the "enemy" (Soviet Union, communism, terrorism, etc., etc., etc. - read the book 1984).

By cutting taxes (you love those- right?), raising military spending (you want that because you are scared of all those "bad people" - right?) they put this country into a huge hole when it comes to the deficit.

So the only way to "fix" this economic problem is to make all of us "sacrifice" by cutting social programs. This is what they tell us and you believe this - right? Because you wouldn't want them to "raise" taxes, now would you? Because that would be bad for you - right?

The problem is that the vast majority of tax cuts and "tax relief" has gone to the richest of the rich and to big corporations, like the oil companies, because they are so in need of help - right?

So would this be a tax hike, raising taxes on the average American? Or would this be restoring the taxes to the level before Bush and his cronies put us into such HUGE debt that is going to cripple this country and impoverish the citizens.

So, by cutting taxes, starting wars, raising military spending and mercenary spending (can you say: contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan?), they push us into HUGE debt that can only be solved by cutting domestic and social spending. This is what "defunding" the government is all about. It is to feed the rich and powerful, kill off what they call welfare (domestic and social spending), and keep all of us "little people" too busy trying to survive that we do not have the time to pay attention to politics, the real news, etc. so we end up ignoring what they are doing to us.

More here...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070203/bs_nm/bush_budget_dc_3

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Worn in the USA

While this isn't particularly recent news, it does seem to be vastly underreported. Most of us are aware of the wretched conditions that many clothing factories operate under. Some of us have even made deliberate attempts to refrain from supporting companies that make their profits on the backs of slave labor and have chosen to instead spend our own hard earned wages buying American made products, believing that we are not perpetuating the problem. But, unbeknownst to most, many of those same garments are being manufactured in the Mariana Islands, a territory of the United States, and can legally tout the label "Made in the USA".

The overwhelming majority of the workers in the Marianas are immigrants who were promised a better life only to be placed in sweatshops, working long hours under grueling conditions for little pay and with none of the benefits that we have come to enjoy here in the States, albeit seemingly in decline. Many young women, lured with the vow of employment in the restaurant business, have instead been forced into prostitution and some have even been made to undergo abortions.

The Marianas frequent visitors have included Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay. It is often used as a playground for important politicos and DeLay, who squandered countless tax dollars there, after what was to be an oversight tour of conditions there, once announced at a New Year's Eve party attended by many of the factory owners, "You represent everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America."

I doubt that the American public would proudly exclaim that we stand for inhumane working conditions, sex slavery, and forced abortions. Do the people who represent you?

For more information, please see:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/05/09/real.delay/

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=647725&page=1


Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Silent Screams of Women and Girls

Please take the time to read the entire script of this stunning piece by Lily Mazahery. She is a Persian-American Attorney who is also an activist for women's rights.

The Silent Screams of Women and Girls

Iran's new Islamic-guided government has established a system of legalized prostitution, through the practice of "sigheh" or "temporary marriages," by which a mullah arranges a "legal union" between a man and a girl (some as young as nine years old) for a fee. The so-called marriage can last anywhere from one hour to 99 years. Under this system, men are free to enter into as many temporary marriages as they so desire, without having any legal obligation or responsibility toward the women and children that they "marry" only to use as sexual objects and slaves.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1167467739732&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
Please also take the time to sign the following petitions. There will be English links:

http://www.we-change.org/spip.php?article19

http://www.meydaan.com/Stoning/petition.aspx?cid=46&pid=9

This is an issue completely separate of the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the possible imminent attack on Iran. This is a human rights issue and should not be ignored.

Give Us Your Sick, Give Us Your Poor

One of the issues to be addressed in the upcoming State of the Union Address, not surprisingly, will be the ever increasing health care problem. In another of this president's brilliant plans to help the needy, he has decided that the answer would be to tax the worker on employer provided health insurance. In order to receive a tax break on one's health insurance, you would need to purchase a plan on your own. This comes as no surprise to most of us that non-employer provided medical insurance is offered at a much higher expense and often will not include dental benefits.

The basic concept of the president’s plan is that employer-provided health insurance, now treated as a fringe benefit exempt from taxation, would no longer be entirely tax-free. Workers could be taxed if their coverage exceeded limits set by the government. But the government would also offer a new tax deduction for people buying health insurance on their own.

While he continues to stand firm against rolling back tax relief to multi-billion dollar corporations and wealthy individuals who make their fortunes through investments, apparently he still has no problem letting those of lesser means pay more than their share. This plan would force many to have to opt out of medical insurance altogether and risk the burden of a health affliction or medical emergency creating financial ruin. Thereby, also allowing the employer (Wal-Mart, for instance) to cut back on their expenses by not having to provide insurance to as many workers.

Wouldn't it make more sense, as long as we are continuing to line the pockets of insurance companies rather than opting to move towards a single-payer system, to give the tax breaks to the small businesses to to help them to provide for their employees? How about making insurance companies non-profit organizations? Yeah, I know................

Please see the following story from the New York Times:

Bush Urges Tax to Help Cover the Uninsured



Friday, January 19, 2007

The Department of Injustice

The words "You can't fight City Hall" never have rang so true. If only it were merely City Hall that we were up against. In another long line of resignations and firings to come out of this administration, U.S. Attorney Carol C. Lam has been removed of her duties. She would be the 11th attorney to step down under pressure from the Bush administration. Prior to her appointment as a U.S. Attorney, she served as a Superior Court Judge in San Diego and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of California. She was also Chief of the Major Frauds Section where she successfully prosecuted the case against supplement maker, Metabolife. Most noteworthy of her accomplishments, however, may be the prosecution of former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA). You may recall his tearful apology for the estimated $2.5 million dollars in bribes he accepted and his yard sale that contained everything from carpets to toilets that were purchased on illegally obtained monies.

Along with Lam, Kevin Ryan, another Bush appointed US Attorney who and former San Fransisco Superior Court Judge, has been asked to resign as well. Of late, Ryan has made it his mission to investigate corporate fraud and criminal conduct. He had been looking into over 25 companies in all.

Due to a provision in the Patriot Act renewal in March 2006, several US Attorneys were appointed without the approval of the Senate. They can, therefore, be made to resign without just cause. In other words, the Department of Justice decides who is fit to judge or prosecute whatever they deem legally fit. And US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez dances merrily as this court's jester.

This country's entire judicial system has been hi-jacked by people that would make the Gottis look like Boy Scouts. And, with the implementation of the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act, these and other treasonous crimes have been made into law.

Will it take the Hague to determine what is not acceptable in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

For additional information, please see:

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=politics&id=4950090

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/18/AR2007011801880.html

http://www.arkansasnews.com/archive/2007/01/12/WashingtonDCBureau/339592.html

Monday, January 15, 2007

In Honor Of Martin Luther King Jr.




A great man for a troubled time. Where are our "great men" now?

Why it takes the death of great people for all of us " normal" people to wake up... I will never know.

Watch the entire "I Have A Dream" speech here.

Be at peace but also keep up the fight.

Comments are welcome.

What's Next in Bush's Game of Risk?


Just hours after George W. Bush issued a speech in which he delivered a thinly veiled threat to Iraq's border countries, Iran and Syria, a U.S. led invasion on an Iranian consulate building in Iraq commenced. Legal documents and computers were seized and 5 Iranian diplomats were arrested. Reasons cited by U.S. officials were that the diplomats were involved in providing assistance to insurgents. However, Iraqi sources argue that the charges are false, that the men had held their positions for the last ten years and that the U.S. gave no warning to Iraq that such operations were to take place.

With many Middle Eastern politicos crying foul and that this was an illegal act, the argument could be made that the U.S. has already launched an attack on Iran. In fact, U.S. weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, announced in 2005 that the Bush administration had already begun proceedings to do so. Shortly thereafter, we began hearing about the frightening possibility of Iran seeking nuclear weapons. Sound familiar? According to Ritter, the war in Iraq had begun in 2002, much earlier than the March 2003 invasion that was so widely publicized. When no weapons of mass destruction were discovered in Iraq (as Ritter and David Kay had stated would be the case), it was largely hypothesized that they had been moved to Syria. I guess in this manner, we get a two-fer.

With the "surge" of another 21,500 troops promised by Bush, one has to ask if this is either prudent or effective. We have men and women already mentally and physically exhausted by what are, for some, multiple tours of duty. We will also be pulling troops from Afghanistan where we have been told that the man responsible for an actual attack on the U.S., Osama bin Laden, is still residing. And let's not forget the recent attack in Somalia. All the while our allies have begun pulling their troops out of Iraq if they hadn't already done so.

How long can we continue to close our eyes to the lunacy that is before us? Have we really not learned from what history showed us such a short time ago when a man with the overwhelming desire for global domination nearly brought down the world? Yes, the victors write the history books. Who will be there to tell the story this time?

For more information please see:

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/article2145136.ece
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2781522
http://www.cnn.com/2005/ALLPOLITICS/01/16/hersh.iran/

And to read the article by Scott Ritter:

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0620-31.htm

Friday, January 12, 2007

Do You Think Bush Finally Gets It?

What do you think? Real tears or is Karl Rove sticking him with a remote controlled pin?

Photo

Tears run from the eyes of U.S. President George W. Bush during a ceremony in honor of Medal of Honor winner Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham in the East room of the White House in Washington, January 11, 2007. Cpl. Dunham was killed when he jumped on a grenade to save fellow members of his Marine patrol while serving in Iraq. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (UNITED STATES)

Found this on Yahoo:
http://news.yahoo.com/photo/070111/ids_photos_ts/r3828336413.jpg

Thursday, January 11, 2007

First 100 Continued

Well, looks like the Dems are off and running. While I have strong feelings regarding Nancy Pelosi's remarks regarding the possibility of impeachment proceedings (about which I have previously stated), so far, so good on the embarkment of the first 100 hours promise. With the passage of the enactment of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, we've had a nice follow-up:

Minimum Wage Increase:

PASSED
Date: Jan. 10
Hour: 12
Vote: 315-116
Republicans in Favor: 82


Fund Stem Cell Research:

PASSED
Date: Jan. 11
Hour: 17
Vote: 253-174
Republicans in Favor: 37

Also of note, but I don't have all of the specifics as of yet are:

Ethics Package (will ban gifts from lobbyists and require full disclosure of earmarks):

PASSED
Date: Jan. 5
Vote: 232-200

Pay As You Go

PASSED
Date: Jan.5
Vote: 232-200

To keep abreast as things progress, watch these links:

http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/washington/100HOURS_GRAPHIC.html