Friday, December 31, 2004


by This Modern World - Now

[ Directly mirrored from This Modern World ]

Some links (lifted from Kos):

American Red Cross International Response Fund
AmeriCares South Asia Earthquake Relief Fund
Direct Relief International International Assistance Fund
Médecins Sans Frontières International Tsunami Emergency Appeal
Oxfam Asian Earthquake & Tsunami Fund
Sarvodaya Relief Fund for Tsunami Tragedy
UNICEF South Asia Tsunami Relief Efforts

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 11:06 PM | link

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Sound of one hand slapping forehead

A Rush Limbaugh caller wants to know where all the foreign aid from other countries for America was during the Florida hurricanes.

....Mark C. picks up the ball and runs with it:

OK all you Limbaugh listeners, try to follow along at home as I walk you through this.  No matter what you've heard, the US is a very, very wealthy nation.  The per capita income in the US is about $35,000. Hurricane Charley hit on Friday, August 13th.  By Tuesday, August 17th, FEMA had already issued more than $2 million in checks for disaster relief.  Ten days later President Bush asked Congress for $2 billion dollars for aid (he wasn't on vacation then, and its possible that the election had something to do with the amount).  Since then the Small Business Administration alone has provided more than $1 billion to Florida businesses to fix hurricane damage.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's per capita income is $3,550, Thailand's is $2,000, Sri Lanka's is $850, India's is $450.  The US poverty level for an individual with no children is just over $9,000.

There's more, go read.

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 01:55 PM | link

Are we stingy?--part two

In a word, yes.

President Bush finally roused himself yesterday from his vacation in Crawford, Tex., to telephone his sympathy to the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, and to speak publicly about the devastation of Sunday's tsunamis in Asia.  He also hurried to put as much distance as possible between himself and America's initial measly aid offer of $15 million, and he took issue with an earlier statement by the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, who had called the overall aid efforts by rich Western nations "stingy."  "The person who made that statement was very misguided and ill informed," the president said.


The American aid figure for the current disaster is now $35 million, and we applaud Mr. Bush's turnaround.  But $35 million remains a miserly drop in the bucket, and is in keeping with the pitiful amount of the United States budget that we allocate for nonmilitary foreign aid.  According to a poll, most Americans believe the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent.

Bush administration officials help create that perception gap.  Fuming at the charge of stinginess, Mr. Powell pointed to disaster relief and said the United States "has given more aid in the last four years than any other nation or combination of nations in the world."  But for development aid, America gave $16.2 billion in 2003; the European Union gave $37.1 billion.  In 2002, those numbers were $13.2 billion for America, and $29.9 billion for Europe.

Making things worse, we often pledge more money than we actually deliver.  Victims of the earthquake in Bam, Iran, a year ago are still living in tents because aid, including ours, has not materialized in the amounts pledged.  And back in 2002, Mr. Bush announced his Millennium Challenge account to give African countries development assistance of up to $5 billion a year, but the account has yet to disperse a single dollar.

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 10:59 AM | link

Are we stingy?

I'm going to quote my friend Bob at length here.  But I'm not cutting-and-pasting all his links, so be sure to click through.  And scroll down, he's also listed a number of organizations to which you can donate.

Writing from Tasmania, which is a great place I'd love to write more about and surely will someday.  But I just don't feel like it right now.

I wish I knew how to do more to help the people who need it right this minute.  I wish I knew how to get my government to behave without its usual level of shameless self-absorption and shortsightedness.

$35 million.  Swell.

The death toll is rapidly approaching six digits -- imagine 30 September 11ths, if you wish, with all the sudden speed, chaos, and complete wreckage of human life that entails -- with the number of affected people surely ten times that high.  And the richest country in the world, the one which believes itself to be singular among nations (thus ironically fulfilling the notion before the neurons have even cooled), can only muster a few dollars per life destroyed.

What's $35 million?

The amount it takes to fix up one park in Pittsburgh.

It's exactly one new school in Montclair, New Jersey.

It's what Dick Cheney put in his own back pocket by ditching his Halliburton stock.

And it's one four-thousandth of what the U.S. has spent invading and occupying Iraq.

Tens of thousands of dead in a dozen countries on two continents, after a disaster so large it literally changed the map of Indonesia and completely obliterated the southernmost tip of India.

Survival infrastructures are simply gone now in many places.  Famine and pestilence are likely to take at least as many lives if the rest of us fellow humans don't do enough to help right now.

$35 million.  George W. Bush is telling the largest Muslim nation on Earth that the massive destruction in Aceh is worth less than the United States spends on occupying Iraq every day.


posted by Tom Tomorrow at 10:38 AM | link


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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Anyone Know More About This?

Movement to Remove Church-State Separation in Florida?
by S.V. Date, Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau, Dec. 16, 2004

Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau

Thursday, December 16, 2004

TALLAHASSEE — Christian conservatives frustrated by court rulings that have found a school voucher program unconstitutional may have hit upon a possible solution: changing the constitution.

Sen. Daniel Webster, a former House speaker and now the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday he is exploring the possibility of a citizens initiative to repeal the 136-year-old wording that separates church and state in Florida.

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Sunday, December 19, 2004

More Bits Of Reality. . .

My America Is On The Cusp Of An Unbearable Disaster
compiled by The Old Hippie, Because Manufactured Reality Is An Abomination

Just a few items to stimulate the sound-bite abused cells of our political minds.  Interviews, videos, Opinions, Articles, and animations that I have been able to discover during my travels inside what
Bush referred to as the "internets."  I've endeavored to avoid the overly intellectualized, and unfairly biased items as best as I could.  That is not to say that some of the items are not obviously biased, but I hope biased toward reality, and not political propaganda.

I've also attempted to include items that are interesting, important, and have an unexpected "eye-opening" perspective.  Especially during this historic period of bombarding bombast.

These are strange times people.  As Garcia said, "What a long strange trip it's been."  I sincerely hope these items help in your own research of our political reality. . .
 Your Right
        (From Doonesbury)

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What Our Troops Want for Christmas

by Arianna Huffington,, Dec. 15, 2004

"...from now until Congress is asked in January to vote on the next $80 billion the president wants for the war in Iraq, not a day should go by without Democrats shouting from the rooftops that the White House is shamefully betraying the very troops it so vociferously claims to be supporting."

Link To The Full Article Here

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The Reality-Based Environment

by Molly Ivins,, Dec. 16, 2004

"The Bush solution to global warming is to declare it does not exist.  While this solves the problem for him in the short term, global warming is highly unlikely to be impressed by the news that we are now an empire and can change history."

Link To The Full Article Here

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The Enemies Among Us

by Mike Whitney, The Progressive Trail, Dec. 16, 2004

"The new Intelligence reform bill is a more stunning attack on the Bill of Rights than the Patriot Act.  Most people have no idea how dramatically their "inalienable" rights have been savaged, or to what extent the Congress has sold them out.  It's no exaggeration to say that the foundation of personal liberty, guaranteed in the law, is cracking at the base.  It'll be a miracle if we can put it back together in time to pass it on to our children."

Link To The Full Article Here

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Fog At Bush's Summit

by Boston Globe Op-Ed, Dec. 17, 2004

"President Bush's two-day economic summit was an exercise in political propaganda that attempted to hide the underlying economic problem for the administration over the next four years:  The government is spending far more than it is taking in and needs to raise taxes to make up at least part of the difference."

[ NOTE:  The woman introduced as a "single mom" from Iowa who would "benefit" from Social Security privatization, turns out to be a conservative advocacy group plant.  Link Here. ]

Link To The Full Article Here

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Buying Into Failure

by Paul Krugman, New York Times Op-Ed, Dec. 17, 2004

"Yet, aside from giving the Cato Institute and other organizations promoting Social Security privatization the space to present upbeat tales from Chile, the U.S. news media have provided their readers and viewers with little information about international experience.  In particular, the public hasn't been let in on two open secrets:

[ 1. ]  Privatization dissipates a large fraction of workers' contributions on fees to investment companies.

[ 2. ]  It leaves many retirees in poverty."

Link To The Full Article Here

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Debunking 'Centrism'

by David Sirota, The Nation, Dec. 16, 2004

David Sirota writes that "multinationals like Philip Morris, Texaco, Enron and Merck" have all "slathered the DLC with cash ... to push a nakedly corporate agenda under the guise of 'centrism,'" while the mainstream media characterize "progressive positions on everything from trade to healthcare to taxes as ultra-liberal."

Link To The Full Article Here

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Ohio Vote Count Battles Escalate Amidst New Evidence
of Potential Criminal Activity

by Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman,, Dec. 18, 2004

"New affidavits point to possible criminal activity by top Ohio election officials, raising yet more questions about the 2004 vote."

Link To The Full Article Here

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Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Power Of Nightmares

The Power of Nightmares
by BBC Documentaries, Oct 2004

If you can set aside three hours and watch this BBC documentary it will be well worth your time. This is probably one of the most remarkable and important investigations of our current times to surface. The video is of poor quality and hard to hear. I found opening it in RealPlayer in a separate window and setting the high on the EQ all the way up helps. Think of yourself being in the old Soviet Union trying to tune your shortwave to get news from the outside world. The video documents the origins and history of the NeoCon and radical Islam movements and the current myths being perpetuated by both movements. It is a real eye opener.

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Put the Rest of the full posting's text here

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

What Part Of. . .

"United We Stand - Divided We Fall"  Don't We Understand?
by The Old Hippie, Because We Have Been Purposely Divided By Domestic Enemies

So many things are happening within the pressure cooker of this purposely divided nation, that de-
Patriot termining, and/or recognizing, the true reality and the perceived reality is not easy.  The following articles, observations, rants, etc., should help you in your quest for the reality-based truth within the bombardment of propaganda we Americans are deluged with 24 hours a day from our compromised corpora-
tist national media.  The powers that be seem worried about a civil war, in Iraq, but maybe they should sift their worry more internally, caused by both their foreign, and domestic policies that are beginning to turn this nation's cit-
izens, on both sides, quiet hostile, and with the heat increasing, and the pres-
sure building explosively, they had best do it sooner, than too late.

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Proof of Ohio Election Fraud Exposed

by William Rivers Pitt,, Dec. 15, 2004

As it turns out, everyone was looking the wrong way.  The company that requires immediate and penetrating scrutiny is Triad Systems.

Pitt's Fully Sourced Article Linked Here

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Bush Chooses EPA Chief To Lead HHS

by Peter Baker & Ceci Connolly, Washington Post, Dec. 14, 2004

The White House defended its vetting process, which failed to uncover the fact that Kerik, a former New York police commissioner, had employed an illegal Mexican immigrant as a nanny without paying employment taxes.  White House officials said they knew in advance about other disclosures now emerging about Kerik's background, including alleged extramarital affairs and reported ties to a construction company with supposed mob connections, but had concluded that they were not disqualifying.

[ Bold & Italics emphasis mine, not the author's ]

Full Article Linked Here

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Who Cares What They Think?  (Gotta Look Like You're A Victim.)

by "Tom Tomorrow", This Modern World, Week of Dec 13, 2004


Full "This Modern World" Site Linked Here

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Bill Moyers, One The Best Truth Tellers, Retires. . .

by Frazier Moore, AP via The Cincinnati Enquirer, Dec 14, 2004

"I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee," says Moyers.  "We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line.  Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people."

Full Article Linked Here

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Someone Please Explain The Following To Me. . .

by The Old Hippie, Just Asking, Dec 15, 2004

How is it we had $10,000,000,000 (10 Billion dollars) for Halliburton, but not enough for the troops to have body armor and vehical armor?

How come we are so outraged at the Ukrainian national election mess, and demanded an investigation, but not be outraged at our own national election, which is obvious to even the most deeply in-denial American to be a criminal and purposeful mess?

How did we come to think we are a Christian Nation, when none of the Founders were Christian, and almost all of them deeply distrusted a State supported religion?

[ If you doubt - Go to this link - and research it more yourself - Don't take it on "faith" that your born-again-Evangelical "pastor" wouldn't lie to you - His income, and credibility, depends on you not questioning his revision of history to promote his profits. ]

Are we Americans so blind and stupid that we can not see and comprehend the agendas, and consequences, of the three groups that have opportunistically joined forces to take over, not only the Republican party, but all three of our government's branches of power - The idealistic Neo-Con zealots, The profits-over-even-life Corporatists, and the insane born-again-Evangelical-bring-on-the-Rapture ideologues?

Why are we Americans not in the streets in revolt?

Do all we non-neo-con-indoctrinated Americans feel that the neo-cons care about us, and that these neo-cons are really good people, with good intentions?

Do all the non-bring-on-the-Rapture Americans not really understand the bring-on-the-Rapture Evangelicals, which the President is openly professed to be one, are purposefully determined to destroy anything to bring-it-on?

Do Americans really want a fully "privatized" government run by and for the corporations profits?

Do we Americans really think their profits - Profits us?

Do we Americans really believe that supporting these three sick groups, that now control almost all of the power structures of our country, is supporting the troops? the best way to improve our lives? going to makes us safer?

Do we Americans really want this Empire of insanity, greed, death, increased terrorism, increased debt, increased poverty, increased imprisonment, decreased social and economic safety-net, decreased environmental protection, decreased respect from the rest of the nations of the planet, decreased job security, decreased pay and benefits, decreased respect for a loyal opposition. . .

Do we?

I mean really - Do we?

Why are we Americans not in the streets in revolt?

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Monday, December 13, 2004

FDR 1936

Remembering FDR 1936

Franklin D. Roosevelt Speeches
Democratic National Convention (June 27, 1936)

Senator Robinson, Members of the Democratic Convention, my friends:

"Here, and in every community throughout the land, we are met at a time of greatmoment to the future of the Nation. It is an occasion to be dedicated to thesimple and sincere expression of an attitude toward problems, the determinationof which will profoundly affect America."...

"But I cannot, with candor, tell you that all is well with the world. Clouds ofsuspicion, tides of ill-will and intolerance gather darkly in many places. Inour own land we enjoy indeed a fullness of life greater than that of mostNations. But the rush of modern civilization itself has raised for us newdifficulties, new problems which must be solved if we are to preserve to theUnited States the political and economic freedom for which Washington andJefferson planned and fought."

"That very word freedom, in itself and of necessity, suggests freedom from somerestraining power. In 1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a politicalautocracy-from the eighteenth century royalists who held special privileges fromthe crown. It was to perpetuate their privilege that they governed without theconsent of the governed; that they denied the right of free assembly and freespeech; that they restricted the worship of God; that they put the average man'sproperty and the average man's life in pawn to the mercenaries of dynasticpower; that they regimented the people."...

"It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these neweconomic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Governmentitself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legalsanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, theirlabor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confrontsthe problem that faced the Minute Man."

"The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions oftheir labor-these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposedby this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, thecapital of the small business man, the investments set aside for old age-otherpeople's money-these were tools which the new economic royalty used to digitself in."...

"Throughout the Nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly. Individualinitiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine. The field open for freebusiness was more and more restricted. Private enterprise, indeed, became tooprivate. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise."...

"For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless inthe face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their ownhands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people'smoney, other people's labor-other people's lives. For too many of us life was nolonger free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit ofhappiness."...

"These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions ofAmerica. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind ofpower. In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In theirblindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, asalways, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; andagainst a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike."...

"We are poor indeed if this Nation cannot afford to lift from every recess ofAmerican life the dread fear of the unemployed that they are not needed in theworld. We cannot afford to accumulate a deficit in the books of humanfortitude."

"Governments can err, Presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tellsus that divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of thewarm-hearted in different scales."...

"I believe in my heart that only our success can stir their ancient hope. Theybegin to know that here in America we are waging a great and successful war. Itis not alone a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. Itis more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting tosave a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world."

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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Domestic Enemies Defined. . .

They Are Not Who You Think They Are. . .
by The Old Hippie, Because This Is So Out Of Control

Domestic Enemy A quote by Avi Schlaim, an Israeli histor-
ian, on the issue of comparisons to Nazi Germany (in this instance referring to the Israeli government and military leaders, but the parallel works here as well--)

"The issue isn't whether or not we are the same as the Nazis, the issue is that we aren't different enough."

Source: Armando at the Daily Kos

Any American that does not see the par-
allel between our current history, and the history of the rise of the Nazi party in the Germany of the 1930's, is one of the fol-
lowing. . .  delusional, ignorant, stupid, or - is profiting, or at least "believe" they are somehow profiting, economically and/or socially, from it.

All federal officers for the United States, both military and civilian officers, must swear an oath, that in part says. . .

"To protect and preserve the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies, both foreign and domestic."

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To Simplify The Obvious. . .

by The Old Hippie, Because History Is Repeating Itself

Hitler did three things that brought his nationalistic party (Nazi party) to power.

1.  He destroyed Germany's "Separation of Church and State" - - -

"The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality. Today Christians stand at the head of our country. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press — in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of LIBERAL excess during the past years."
- Adolph Hitler - Taken from The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1, Michael Hakeem, Ph.D. (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pp. 871-872.

Think!  Faith-Based Initives, Creationism in schools, Evangelical insanity - The Rapture - etc.

2.  He consolidated and took control of Germany's media - - -

"It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion."
- Joseph Goebbels

Think!  Fox - Washington Times - Limbaugh - Hannity - Ann Coulter - Weekly Standard - etc.

3.  Propagandized a non-existent enemy in the State controlled nation's media, to instill
     fear for social and governmental manipulation - - -

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.  It works the same way in any country."
- Hermann Goering

Think!  Iraq - No WMDs - Did not attack us - No Iraqis on the planes - etc.

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Now, dear readers - Can you guess who our "domestic" enemies are?

Shouldn't all of us true-blue, (pun fully intended,) patriotic Americans do something a bit more dramatic than "angry words" about it?  About "them?"

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While we are on history repeating itself. . .  How many of you, or people you know, actually remember that back in the Nixon Administration, at the beginning of detente, the beginning of the end of the cold war with Russia, that three men in his administration fought to stop this coming peace, by claiming that the Russians had super-Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction, that - all - of our intelligence agencies said didn't exist, just exactly like how we Americans were fooled into the war with Iraq?

Know who those three men were?  Dick Chaney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfiwitz.
[ You are on the web - Look it up right now - Google it - Go ahead - I dare you. ]
[ Okay, Okay - Start here with this link - Then keep searching - It's Your right. ]

Isn't that odd?  What was it Bush tried to say. . . ?

"Fool me once, shame on you - Fool me twice, shame on me"

( Shame On Us )

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One Ought To Know. . .

Their Nation Is Being Destroyed From Within By Domestic Enemies.
by The Old Hippie, Because It Is

"The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests.  It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality.  Today Christians stand at the head of our country.  We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit.  We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press — in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of LIBERAL excess during the past years."
— Adolph Hitler - Taken from The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1, Michael Hakeem, Ph.D. (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pp. 871-872.

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The Seeds of the American Taliban

by W. David Jenkins III, Project for the Old American Century

"Well, if the pundits are to be believed, it [the loss of the election by Kerry] would be largely because of the folks who are presently thumping their chests as hard as they thump their bibles.
Those righteous, pompous, judgmental, sanctimonious and incredibly ignorant brethren known as the "religious right."  The ones who are convinced that Jesus hates gays, liberals, science, tolerance and, what’s more, he’s armed to the teeth."

Full Article Linked Here

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Found This Morning At The POAC


"Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson fight for title of biggest douchebag in media.
Tucker wins by welcoming Canada to the New American Century."

Direct Video Linked Here

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Not To Beat A Dead Horse - But. . .

by POAC Galleries

Dangerous Nuts

POAC Galleries Linked Here

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Thursday, December 09, 2004

There Is One Reality. . .

It's That There Is One Republican Party, and Two Democratic Parties.
by The Old Hippie, Because The Constitutional Democracy Must Survive

Only one article in this posting.  I'll get to it in the "Below The Fold" section.

First, like so many others, I've discovered that three major political groups control almost all things political within our nation.  There are others that have some input, but reality is these three groups currently control everything.  They are. . .

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Group 1.  The Republican's Party:  They do control the Executive, The Congressional, The Judicial branches of the government itself, and most importantly they control 95% of the nation's media, therefore the mind set of the majority of the American citizens perceptions of themselves.  They have successfully eliminated almost all vestiges of opposition within their party.  They are the de facto party of the corporatists, openly, arrogantly, and proven to put "party" over "country," and blatantly support corporate greed over "we the people," to a degree that is hard for most Americans to grasp, or accept.

Groups 2. & 3.  The Democrat's Party:  There are actually two separate parties within the Democratic party now.  And this is the point of the following article, and this posting.  One is the The party of the DLC, now solidly aligned with the corporatists, or "Republican-Lite," and has since deserted any semblance of representing the middle/lower and labor economic classes (95% of the nation) of our country.  The other is the original Democratic party, the party that understands the need for commonsense regulation of corporations, understands the need for job security, equality of pay, equality of access, actually represents their constituents, rather than the corrupt corporate structure that has taken the country away from "we the people."

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The Democrats’ Da Vinci Code

by David J. Sirota, The American Prospect Online, Dec. 8, 2004

"The code’s seven lessons are clear, and have been for some time.  The question is, will party insiders see the obvious and finally follow their real leaders?  Or will they continue mimicking Republican corporatism, thereby hastening their own demise?"

Full Original American Prospect Magazine Article Link Here

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A Bit Of Reality. . .

Knowledge - Why Is Such A Reality-Based Concept So Elusive
compiled by The Old Hippie, Because Manufactured Reality Is An Abomination

Just a few items to stimulate the sound-bite abused cells of our political minds.  Interviews, videos, Opinions, Articles, and animations that I have been able to discover during my travels inside what
Bush referred to as the "internets."  I've endeavored to avoid the overly intellectualized, and unfairly biased items as best as I could.  That is not to say that some of the items are not obviously biased, but I hope biased toward reality, and not political propaganda.

I've also attempted to include items that are interesting, important, and have an unexpected "eye-opening" perspective.  Especially during this historic period of bombarding bombast.

These are strange times people.  As Garcia said, "What a long strange trip it's been."  I sincerely hope these items help in your own research of our political reality. . .
 Your Right
        (From Doonesbury)

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Hyping Terror For Fun, Profit - And Power

by Thom Hartmann,, Dec. 7, 2004

Watching "The Terror of Nightmares" is like taking the Red Pill in the movie The Matrix.

Link To This Story & Its Links To The Videos Here

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The Hidden (in Plain Sight) Persuaders

by Rob Walker, New York Times Magazine, Dec. 5, 2004

"I think we all do this naturally anyway," Bollaert concluded.  "If you find something you like and somebody asks your advice and you have a product, good or bad, you'll say don't get it or do get it.  We're a consumer society."

Link To This Story

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Activists Crawl Through Web to Untangle U.S. Secrecy

by William Fisher, Inter Press Service News Agency, Nov. 29, 2004

To combat the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy, U.S. citizens have been forced to un-
earth new sources for information they once read in their daily newspapers.  But thanks to a few dedicated individuals and not-for-profit groups -- and the Internet -- such material is easier to come by than ever before.

Link To This Story

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Across Asia, The Sound of Sharpening Knives

by William Pesek Jr. Bloomberg News, Dec. 7, 2004 Japan and Asia's central banks watch the falling dollar and the U.S. current-account deficit.

Link To This Story

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Did You Know You Could Watch The Daily Show Online?

by Jon Stewart & The Fake News Crew at Comedy Central

The most watched "news" program by Americans 28 and under, and definitely worth the time to watch, and it may explain some aspects of the American political generational gap.

Link To The Daily Show's Videos Here

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Conyers Hearings on Ohio Vote Fraud Coverage

by William Rivers Pitt, Ongoing Coverage at his Blog, Beginning Dec. 7, 2004

William Rivers Pitt has dedicated a blog to these important hearings.  C-SPAN is supposedly going to be covering it also.

Link To The Ongoing Coverage Of The Conyers Hearings Here

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Monday, December 06, 2004

Wrong Reality From The Right -

Battlefield Earth
by Bill Moyers, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Dec. 4, 2004

This week the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School pre-
sented its fourth annual Global Environment Citizen Award to Bill Moyers.  In presenting the
Bill Moyers award, Meryl Streep, a member of the Center board, said, "Through resourceful, in-
trepid reportage and perceptive voices from the forward edge of the debate, Moyers has examined an environment under siege with the aim of engaging citizens."  Follow-
ing is the text of Bill Moyers' response to Ms. Streep's presentation of the award.  The
environment is in trouble and the religious right doesn't care.  It's time to act as if the future de-
pends on us – because it does.

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I accept this award on behalf of all the people behind the camera whom you never see. And for all those scientists, advocates, activists, and just plain citizens whose stories we have covered in reporting on how environmental change affects our daily lives. We journalists are simply beachcombers on the shores of other people's knowledge, other people's experience, and other people's wisdom. We tell their stories.

The journalist who truly deserves this award is my friend, Bill McKibben. He enjoys the most conspicuous place in my own pantheon of journalistic heroes for his pioneer work in writing about the environment. His bestseller "The End of Nature" carried on where Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" left off.

Writing in Mother Jones recently, Bill described how the problems we journalists routinely cover – conventional, manageable programs like budget shortfalls and pollution – may be about to convert to chaotic, unpredictable, unmanageable situations. The most unmanageable of all, he writes, could be the accelerating deterioration of the environment, creating perils with huge momentum like the greenhouse effect that is causing the melt of the artic to release so much freshwater into the North Atlantic that even the Pentagon is growing alarmed that a weakening gulf stream could yield abrupt and overwhelming changes, the kind of changes that could radically alter civilizations.

That's one challenge we journalists face – how to tell such a story without coming across as Cassandras, without turning off the people we most want to understand what's happening, who must act on what they read and hear.

As difficult as it is, however, for journalists to fashion a readable narrative for complex issues without depressing our readers and viewers, there is an even harder challenge – to pierce the ideology that governs official policy today. One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the oval office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.

Remember James Watt, President Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."

Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the bible is literally true – one-third of the American electorate, if a recent Gallup poll is accurate. In this past election several million good and decent citizens went to the polls believing in the rapture index. That's right – the rapture index. Google it and you will find that the best-selling books in America today are the 12 volumes of the left-behind series written by the Christian fundamentalist and religious right warrior, Timothy LaHaye. These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the 19th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative that has captivated the imagination of millions of Americans.

Its outline is rather simple, if bizarre (the British writer George Monbiot recently did a brilliant dissection of it and I am indebted to him for adding to my own understanding): once Israel has occupied the rest of its "biblical lands," legions of the anti-Christ will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts, and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.

I'm not making this up. Like Monbiot, I've read the literature. I've reported on these people, following some of them from Texas to the West Bank. They are sincere, serious, and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the Book of Revelations where four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man." A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed – an essential conflagration on the road to redemption. The last time I Googled it, the rapture index stood at 144 – just one point below the critical threshold when the whole thing will blow, the son of god will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire.

So what does this mean for public policy and the environment? Go to Grist to read a remarkable work of reporting by the journalist, Glenn Scherer – 'the road to environmental apocalypse. Read it and you will see how millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed – even hastened – as a sign of the coming apocalypse.

As Grist makes clear, we're not talking about a handful of fringe lawmakers who hold or are beholden to these beliefs. Nearly half the U.S. Congress before the recent election – 231 legislators in total – more since the election – are backed by the religious right. Forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups. They include Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Conference Chair Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Policy Chair Jon Kyl of Arizona, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt. The only Democrat to score 100 percent with the Christian coalition was Senator Zell Miller of Georgia, who recently quoted from the biblical book of Amos on the senate floor: "the days will come, sayeth the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land." he seemed to be relishing the thought.

And why not? There's a constituency for it. A 2002 TIME/CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the book of Revelations are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations or in the motel turn some of the 250 Christian TV stations and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, "to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same god who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"

Because these people believe that until Christ does return, the lord will provide. One of their texts is a high school history book, America's providential history. You'll find there these words: "the secular or socialist has a limited resource mentality and views the world as a pie... that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece." However, "[t]he Christian knows that the potential in god is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in god's earth... while many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that god has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people." No wonder Karl Rove goes around the White House whistling that militant hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers." He turned out millions of the foot soldiers on November 2, including many who have made the apocalypse a powerful driving force in modern American politics.

I can see in the look on your faces just how had it is for the journalist to report a story like this with any credibility. So let me put it on a personal level. I myself don't know how to be in this world without expecting a confident future and getting up every morning to do what I can to bring it about. So I have always been an optimist. Now, however, I think of my friend on Wall Street whom I once asked: "What do you think of the market?" "I'm optimistic," he answered. "Then why do you look so worried?" And he answered: "Because I am not sure my optimism is justified."

I'm not, either. Once upon a time I agreed with the Eric Chivian and the Center for Health and the Global Environment that people will protect the natural environment when they realize its importance to their health and to the health and lives of their children. Now I am not so sure. It's not that I don't want to believe that – it's just that I read the news and connect the dots:

I read that the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the election a mandate for President Bush on the environment. This for an administration that wants to rewrite the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act protecting rare plant and animal species and their habitats, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act that requires the government to judge beforehand if actions might damage natural resources.

That wants to relax pollution limits for ozone; eliminate vehicle tailpipe inspections; and ease pollution standards for cars, sports utility vehicles and diesel-powered big trucks and heavy equipment.

That wants a new international audit law to allow corporations to keep certain information about environmental problems secret from the public.

That wants to drop all its new-source review suits against polluting coal-fired power plans and weaken consent decrees reached earlier with coal companies.

That wants to open the artic wildlife refuge to drilling and increase drilling in Padre Island National Seashore, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and the last great coastal wild land in America.

I read the news just this week and learned how the Environmental Protection Agency had planned to spend nine million dollars – $2 million of it from the administration's friends at the American Chemistry Council – to pay poor families to continue to use pesticides in their homes. These pesticides have been linked to neurological damage in children, but instead of ordering an end to their use, the government and the industry were going to offer the families $970 each, as well as a camcorder and children's clothing, to serve as guinea pigs for the study.

I read all this in the news.

I read the news just last night and learned that the administration's friends at the international policy network, which is supported by Exxon Mobile and others of like mind, have issued a new report that climate change is "a myth, sea levels are not rising," scientists who believe catastrophe is possible are "an embarrassment."

I not only read the news but the fine print of the recent appropriations bill passed by Congress, with the obscure (and obscene) riders attached to it: a clause removing all endangered species protections from pesticides; language prohibiting judicial review for a forest in Oregon; a waiver of environmental review for grazing permits on public lands; a rider pressed by developers to weaken protection for crucial habitats in California.

I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer – pictures of my grandchildren: Henry, age 12; of Thomas, age 10; of Nancy, 7; Jassie, 3; Sara Jane, nine months. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, "Father, forgive us, for we know now what we do." And then I am stopped short by the thought: "That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world."

And I ask myself: Why? Is it because we don't care? Because we are greedy? Because we have lost our capacity for outrage, our ability to sustain indignation at injustice?

What has happened to out moral imagination?

On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: 'How do you see the world?" And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly.'"

I see it feelingly.

The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free – not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need to match the science of human health is what the ancient Israelites called "hocma" – the science of the heart... the capacity to see... to feel... and then to act... as if the future depended on you.

Believe me, it does.

© 2004 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

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