Friday, December 26, 2008

Gerald's Last Christmas



My own 1986 calligraphy of a meditation offered by Gerald Pearson, at the last Christmas before he died of AIDS, as told in the astonishingly honest book, Goodbye, I Love You, by his ex-wife, the noted Mormon writer, Carol Lynn Pearson.

Click title to go to Album/Slideshow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In Honor of Christmas: The Truth About What Threatens Our Families


















My daughter insisted. With this her first year of driving, on her way home from dance, she had decided to meander through the blocks of Christmas-lit homes, and found something she needed to share. So, we took a detour.

And what a sight it was. The family in this house, in this quaint neighborhood, took the genre to a new level of artistry, using the already interesting, multilevel shapes of landscaping, pottery, ironworks and exquisitely framing tall thin trees, with lights carefully selected and meticulously placed, to create a brilliant gift to those fortunate enough to live nearby or discover it in their journeys.

One can even imagine its glow as a beacon of love. For truly, it takes love to express such beauty for all to see freely.

This home, so illuminating, can be seen as a brilliant expression of the Light of the Christ Consciousness, and the message that that brings – the one we should be celebrating, and honoring in our own lives, in our daily actions and in our communities:

Emanating Light – Is that not the essence of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you? Couldn’t we call that "PRE-EMPTIVE KINDNESS"?
I am also reminded of the concept of Christ as the "Light of the World" – not only as a guiding beacon for others to better see, but as an individual way of looking at the world, along the lines of the adage, "Angels can fly because they take themselves so lightly."

To me, that Light speaks of Forgiveness, the ultimate healer.

I speak of the Forgiveness that begins at home. Long before there were organizations that receive donations and help the needy, "charity" meant "leniency in judging others". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition includes among its definitions for the word charity: "Christianity. The theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one’s neighbors as objects of God’s love."
"I forgive myself completely for being so judgmental" – is a powerful starting point.

So this artistry, this beautifully lit home, has taken my mind – always busy with gathering news, retrieving memories, connecting dots, assigning priorities, sorting time, keeping on track, holding together multitudes of responsibilities, adjusting, adjusting, adjusting -- has taken my mind and given it a higher focus, attached with my heart, to ponder the universal truth I too often forget, the truth that is the reason we have this holiday season.

All is healed with the Thought, brought forth as Action: Treat others as we wish to be treated.

Christians acknowledge Christ as the bearer of that knowledge. That is the gift.

That same concept, in different words, is at the heart of the world religions. The message is the same. The mistake is in getting distracted by everything else.

All this from looking at some very carefully placed light bulbs.

I am reminded of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Defense of Poetry, in which he describes the role of Poetry in the world: "A Poem is the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth."

Thus this moment, with this poetic lighting, and all that was brought forth because of it, has been added to the wealth of encircling memories that constantly enliven my relationship with my daughter, and we are once again enriched with hope.

I am so grateful that my daughter had brought me to this glorious creation of Christmas color and light. This is a moment we will never forget.

As we drove away, both a bit lighter, I said to my daughter, "What do you want to bet it’s a gay couple who lives there?"

Now, my good reader, take a moment and notice your reaction.

I guarantee you that I did not suggest this probability with so much as a kilowatt of negativity or detraction – nor was there anything in the comment that should take anything away from this holy experience.

If anything, there could be insight and, perhaps, a recognition of irony.

With these words, I am simply acknowledging a pattern, evidenced throughout history: Those whose masculine/feminine balance is less polarized, and whose creative energy is not completely invested in raising children, are often more able, perhaps even more driven, to focus on producing complex, inspired – even profound – Art, in a vast array of genres.

In my life’s travels, I have been very blessed with many gay friends and co-workers – friends who have been both compassionate and strong, communicative and productive, generous and creative, funny and soul-shaking, warm and determined – the best qualities you could ever want in a friend – especially when they aren’t concerned about being judged. These are friends for whom I am most grateful.

Such friends have also been great role models. At the age of 11, my daughter told me, after great consideration, who were the three friends of mine she most respected and loved. Two of the three were gay. All three rated so highly because of their forthright communication with her, their wit, their independence, their commitment to their dreams, and their own standards of excellence. Oh yes, and to an inherent kindness. Her pronouncement was another bit of evidence that we’re on the right track.

We drive home. Traveling those three blocks, we hope to retain what we’ve just gained. Lately, life, at home, has been, well, not so easy. The tension my husband and I are feeling about finances has become pervasive and our fears darken too much of what we say and do, often spoiling moments of joy over the many positive aspects of our lives. It is so saddening to continually miss that connection we used to be able to find.

There are no Christmas lights on our house. Though we have many, in boxes, and my husband used to do a great job of it, it’s been a few years now since he’s made the effort, despite my bringing home the new, even easier, blankets and wraps and icicle lights. And I’m too busy trying to take fit in my own ample Christmas responsibilities. Daddy has always been in charge of lighting, because he’s good at it. I believe it made him feel good, too – the challenge, and the accomplishment, and how happy it made me.

But the spark is dimmer now. There is, too often, grumbling. There is tension. There is blame. Because most of all, there is fear – of what’s ahead, of where this will take us, of separation.

It turns out we are living a statistic in the headlines. We are behind in the mortgage on the house we’ve been in for 17 years. The sad relief is that we are not alone. But if that is true, that means there are many family homes this Christmas where there is grumbling, tension, blame, and most definitely – fear.

There is a line that is drawn, for us, that I am grateful for. There is NO physical abuse. That is understood here. Other families, facing these conditions, and worse, are far less fortunate.

We have our own story as to how we got here, to our financial problems. There have been mistakes, yes, but in our case, the mistakes that have been most damaging involved trusting a family member. Those mistakes hurt a lot, not only in the initial damage that occurs, but in the rejection and sadness of the betrayal, and ultimately the lack of justice, regardless of honest efforts, and finally there is empty loneliness. When also topped with accusations and blame, it can be devastating, far beyond the money.

But the money does matter. The threat of foreclosure also means the threat of separation. For how could we survive such a ripping apart of our foundation when we have been so hurt along the way? And if we separate, do we not face greater financial difficulties, along with the tearing of our hearts?

Then just when we negotiate something with the mortgage company, my husband’s wages are garnished for some medical bill left after his quadruple bypass surgery last December. It used to be that hospitals and their doctors wouldn’t come after you like that. They wouldn’t add late fees and interest. There was some humanity in medicine. No more. Now, thanks to industry lobbyists, laws have been changed to favor corporate profit over patient well-being.

Apparently, the flow of blood is the only thing that must function in the human heart, according to these standards.

So now there are hundreds of thousands of foreclosure stories across the country, and though some pundits would like us to believe they are the result of irresponsible decisions made by irresponsible people who don’t deserve to be helped, each story is unique, and if someone listened, they’d hear narratives that reflect the kinds of hopes and dreams we’re taught to believe in.

Why, lately, we’ve learned that even responsible, high-functioning, educated, and certifiably successful people can suddenly find themselves crashing financially, losing in one fell swoop chunks of money large enough to have kept thousands of regular people in their homes. Where’s the 50 billion dollars that Madoff "lost"? These victims aren’t going to put up with it. Now, we’ll see if attention is paid where it needs to be.

The U.S. economy is now based on the wheeling and dealing of the Financial Industry rather than manufacturing and production. What is the role of American citizens in this economy? They are merely debtors. Without the work that production requires, eventually the debtors cannot pay. Thus, the manic, insatiable greed of the few has reached its point of self-destruction.

The problem began to build under the rationale of trickle-down Reaganomics, then "the precious" attracted eager Democrats as well, and with everyone aboard, Wall Street lobbyists began to succeed in pulling down regulatory restraints, even gaining significant ground with a foolish Clinton’s approval.

However, the greatest damage has come with the utter disregard for safeguards and ultimate support for illegitimate financing by the Bush/Cheney White House. What a pair.

George W. Bush is a man who mismanaged a series of failing oil companies, always rescued by investors seeding favors from his father. He didn't make the big bucks until he illegally dumped his shares in Harken Energy just before the release of an adjusted accounting statement to the shareholders that revealed the company was tanking. An SEC investigation into these criminally corrupt trading practices was dismissed because, by then, Daddy had loaded the Securities and Exchange Commission with chums from James Baker’s infamous Texas law firm – Baker & Botts.

As for Dick Cheney, while it is well known that he was the CEO of Halliburton between Bush administrations, and that this connection undoubtedly increased Halliburton’s worldwide contracts, it is less widely acknowledged that his biggest move as CEO, the acquisition of Dresser industries, widely advertised as a win/win that created the world’s largest oil services company, came at an enormous price to Halliburton shareholders, with Dresser having been notified that one of its subsidiaries would be subject to legal liability for medical claims from employees exposed to asbestos. Cheney’s exit from Halliburton was well-time, allowing him to sell his stock in the company at $50 a share, to the tune of $40 million, before the asbestos issue was publicly known. By August 2002, the stock continually hovered in the $13 a share range.

These are the economic practices of our leaders, our role models.

On Sunday, December 21st, the top headline of the front page of The New York Times read "White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire". The almost 5,000-word article delineates the disastrous combination of two of Mr. Bush’s policies.

First, there was his naive but outspoken push for expanded home ownership, especially to provide minorities with a sense of hope and belief in the stated goal of the Republican party - an "ownership society", as well as providing business for some of his biggest donors, the finance industry – even pushing "the mortgage brokers and lenders to devise their own innovations" which resulted in "too good to be true teaser rates and interest- only loans".

Second, there was his other enormous reward for his short-sighted donors – the deregulating, or the defunding and elimination of those who in charge of regulating, of the finance industry. To keep this loosening of the rules moving required a silencing of the alarms that went unheeded, and deliberate overstatement of well-being. The man Mr. Bush most recently put in charge of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, who demanded of Mr. Bush more power in economic policy than any Treasury secretary before him, appeared to be particularly good at controlling the message, until it was too late.

Apparently, bottom line, if the top 1% of the money earners get so greedy that they suck too much away from the remaining 99%, then they just can’t buy anything from them or pay them back any more. It all stops.

Then, shaken by low sales and loss of revenue, companies scramble to cut costs and dump tens of thousands of employees, making for more people who absolutely can’t buy anything or pay debts. And those who were trying to buy into the ownership society are now competing against multitudes of overqualified and desperate Americans for a rapidly diminishing number of decent jobs.

Two weeks ago, here in the United States, the Labor Department announced that there were 533,000 jobs eliminated in November, the worst single job-loss statistic in nearly 30 years. What will these people do?

The problem is, Americans don’t even know, or think they can know, how they got here. In his book, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, the brilliant historian Kevin Phillips argues that the southern and western constituents of Bush’s conservative coalition have, over the last two decades, been anesthetized by "evangelical, fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christianity, infused with a millenial preoccupation with terrorism, evil and Islam that greatly strengthened after September 11th."

The most irritating, pathetic aspect amidst this painful disaster is that those who have brought the American economy to its knees and left responsible heads of households desperate, frightened, and angry, without clear solutions – have simultaneously distracted these Americans by pointing to single, divisive issues, arming them with self-righteousness, and urging them to gain the power they feel they’ve lost by standing up for some false claim of moral superiority.

This is how we have come to a point where religious pomposity has been encouraged to pursue a ridiculous, unnecessary and uncivil political action which actually crushes compassion, usurps freedom, and heartlessly seeks to blame and punish gay people by taking away the redeeming solace of a sacred loving, monogamous, marriage between two adults.

Not only did Proposition 8 pass in California, funded enormously by out of state money from evangelists and members of the Mormon Church, taking away the right of gay couples to marry – those same people are also seeking to dissolve the thousands of marriages that have already been sanctified there.

This is the point. What exactly is the real threat to marriage and families?

Statistics show that unemployment increases violence, not just theft as a measure to provide (ask Jean Valjean), but domestic violence. Simply Google-News "domestic violence" and economy together and you’ll see the reports of increased incidents within the home, even while services are being cut back for lack of funding, both from the federal government, and now from the usual donors: collapsing corporations and the foundations demolished by Bernie Madoff. It is another fiendishly dangerous unintended consequence of Bush policies, which are, beyond a doubt, the most destructive threat to families.

On a seemingly smaller level, unemployment increases depression, which may not lead all the way to violence. But it certainly is extraordinarily destructive to families. It’s just slower, harder to define, and leaving more blame all around, and often results in years of painful suffering by so many.

Being thrown out of a home can lead to separation of families, damages education and limiting possibilities for the young, and forces desperate, often criminal acts. Overqualified adults scrambling for jobs displace the working poor and teens. Children become discouraged at an early age.

The damaging effect on families of this unnecessary, mismanaged, greed-based economic disaster will be felt for generations to come.

While my gay friends’ marriages are statements of stability, and at last honor the kind of love that doesn’t require progeny to keep it together.

So I return to photograph the Christmas-lit home that so inspired me. Some of these neighbors here must feel torn. You see, this neighborhood is overwhelmingly Mormon, of course, given that it is in the heart of Salt Lake City.

Only blocks away is the locally-owned grocery store where, on election day, the middle-aged woman who rang up my purchase answered my "How are you doing today?" with, "We’ll see. I’ll know tonight if I have to leave my church. You see, I’m gay."

It was an astonishingly bold admission here. I felt privileged by her honesty. I know so many who are so hurt by the decision of their church’s leadership to go beyond an already un-Christ-like judgment, to an aggressive, hurtful stance, causing more damage within families than ever does the love they choose to blame.

In fact, Utah leads the nation in suicide rates amongst men ages 15-24.
Yet there is hope. A leading Mormon writer and performer, Carol Lynn Pearson, shocked the community in 1986 with her book, Goodbye I Love You, in which she revealed that her husband, Gerald, the father of her children, had left her after he admitted he could not deny his being gay, then died in her arms years later when she brought him home to care for him as he succumbed to AIDS.

She has spent the decades since diligently communicating in every way possible to heal the judgments within families.

In 2006, her play, Facing East, was produced in Salt Lake City, drawing full houses and tearfully cathartic audiences, as she revealed a Mormon couple at the graveside of their gay son who had ended his own life, first dealing with their own mixed bag of guilt and relief, and then meeting for the first time their son’s partner. The production also traveled to Off-Broadway in New York and San Francisco, where it was also extremely well received.

But the best result for me was this. My daughter said there was a new fellow at their school, in her Drama class. They hit it off immediately, and it wasn’t long before he told he was gay, but it wasn’t going well with the family. In fact, he said that the recent family move from out of state was at least in part because of his relationship with another young man.

When I first considered writing about Proposition 8, I looked for our copy of the play, Facing East, only to find out that our daughter had loaned it to this young man, who was looking for material for a monologue.

His mother found the book in his room. It stopped her in her tracks. She sat down and read it, and wept. Since then, his life has changed for the better.

That’s all a writer can ever ask for. I know. For, I, too, hope that I’ve said something well, and that it is read, despite (or because of) discomfort, and as a result, someone see things differently.

I return to Percy Bysshe Shelley, who states, in conclusion:
The most unfailing herald, companion, and follower of the awakening of a great people to work a beneficial change in opinion or institution, is poetry.


This is my gift to you, dear reader: the truth, so you can share it, and together we can more accurately align cause and effect, and embrace our families.

Remember, forgiveness is essential in families. So is accountability and indictment in government.

As for our own problems, I know we will find a way to reconnect. There is still hope. Yes, we can.

With this I wish you a Merry Christmas, and for those who do not celebrate Christmas, I encourage remembrance and celebration of the Thought and directive itself within all the world’s versions of the Golden Rule.

Merry "Prince of Peace" Day

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF THE MAN WHO COULD NAIL KARL ROVE

BREAKING: MIKE CONNELL, GOP 'IT GURU', KILLED IN SOLO PLANE CRASH

Said Recently Threatened by Karl Rove, Had Been Key Witness in OH '04 Election Fraud Case

Built Alternate WH Email System, Websites for Bush, McCain, Swiftboaters, '04 OH Election, More...

Read more, including significant updates posted here at the BRAD BLOG.

Another important source for information on this is here:

The suspicious, disturbing death of election rigger Michael Connell
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

Please note that in July U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey was contacted by Ohio election protection attorney Cliff Arnebeck and informed that Connell had been threatened by Rove to stop him from testifying in the ongoing federal case about the 2004 election in Columbus Ohio, and Mukasey was asked to provide protection for Connell and his family.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December 14, 2008 - The Baseball Season Begins in Iraq




The Iraqi reporter who threw both his shoes yelled, "This is your farewell kiss, you dog!"

Saturday, December 06, 2008

"Prop 8 - The Musical" starring Jack Black, John C. Reilly, and many more

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die


A star-studded cast turns out for Marc Shaiman's "Prop 8 - The Musical."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008


Brad Friedman of www.BradBlog.com wrote that he was most grateful "That it's our last legitimate opportunity to use the following photos" and invited caption suggestions.

I wrote:

TOP PICTURE:
BUSH: "I appreciate your efforts. See, I'm putting effort into the war, too --- this tray is the heaviest thing I've ever carried! Now, can you direct me to a table --- this height, open space --- wait, no, instead --- quick! Bring me a table!"

BOTTOM PICTURE:
AGENT BACK AT THE REMOTE WATCHING THE TURKEY SPY-CAM VIDEO: "It's true. Nothing. The old man DID get Koop to lop it off in the 80's! No wonder Billy Graham didn't remember the walk on the beach!"
2ND AGENT: "...and what a price the world has paid."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wordle for Article Below



Image created at http://www.wordle.net/ .

Honor Vets by Learning About Depleted Uranium

The rest of the world knows about the health effects of the Depleted Uranium weaponry we use. Only Americans are kept in the dark.

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As Europe mourns in Verdun today for those lost in "The War to End All Wars", World War I, we could look to another moment in European history to shed light on the most aggressively silenced story of the Bush administration.

In late 2000 and January 2001, reports were exploding across Europe about the rise in cancer amongst NATO soldiers who had served in the "peacekeeping missions" in Bosnia and Kosovo. The effects of the depleted uranium in the U.S. and U.K. weapons could not be ignored.

But history shows that the United Nations and the World Health Organization could be intimidated. The report from the WHO – that detailed how the DU vaporized upon impact into tiny particles that were breathed in, or consumed through the mouth or entered through open wounds, where the irradiating bits attacked cells all the way through the body, causing mutations along the way – was shelved under pressure from the U.S.

Even now, the major U.S. news organizations do not touch the subject, though the international press cannot ignore it. Even last month, a Middle Eastern Reuters reporter discussed the health damages because of the contaminated environment with Iraqi Environment Minister Nermeen Othman,
"When we talk about it, people may think we are overreacting. But in fact the environmental catastrophe that we inherited in Iraq is even worse than it sounds."


And The Tehran Times further endangers their country by continuing to report on the problem, calling it a war crime.

And across the internet, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Helbig seeks to intimidate anyone who dares to bring up the subject.

But we evolve, and the United Nations First Committee has overwhelmingly passed a resolution , on October 31st, calling for "relevant UN agencies, in this case the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to update and complete their research into the possible health and environmental impact of the use of uranium weapons by 2010." The only countries that voted against it were the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and France.

Meanwhile, to help the reader get to the point, I've put together the following. Although the facts, for the most part, do not contain links, there is a list of the references at the end.

Ten Essential Facts:

1. Depleted uranium, the nuclear waste of uranium enrichment, is not actually "depleted" of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which still emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second, with an estimated half life of 4.5 billion years.

2. Depleted uranium is plentiful - there are 7 pounds remaining for every pound of enriched uranium - and requires expensive and often politically-contentious hazardous waste storage.

3. Depleted uranium is less of a problem for the nuclear industry when it is cheaply passed on to U.S. weapons manufacturers for warheads, penetrators, bunker-busters, missiles, armor and other ammunition used by the U.S. military in the Middle East and elsewhere, and sold to other countries and political factions.

4. Depleted uranium is "pyrophoric", which makes it uniquely effective at piercing hard targets, because upon impact, it immediately burns, vaporizing the majority of its bulk and leaving a hard, thin, sharpened tip - and large amounts of radioactive particles suspended in the atmosphere.

5. Depleted uranium weaponry was first used in the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1991, under President George H. W. Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

6. Depleted uranium weaponry was later used by President Bill Clinton in the NATO "peace-keeping" bombing missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. By January 2001, as the 2nd President Bush and Dick Cheney were moving in to the White House, there was a furor in Europe over the news of an alarming increase in leukemia and other cancers amongst the NATO troops who'd served in the Balkans.

7. The World Health Organization suppressed a November 2001 report on the health hazards of depleted uranium by Dr. Keith Baverstock, Head of the WHO's Radiation Protection Division and his team, commissioned by the United Nations. Baverstock's report, "Radiological Toxicity of Depleted Uranium", detailed the significant danger of airborne vaporized depleted uranium particles, already considerably more prevalent in Iraq than the Balkans due to the difference in military tactics, because they are taken into the body by inhaling and ingesting, and then their size and solubility determines how quickly they move through the respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems, attacking and poisoning from within as they travel, and where the damages occur. In addition, the report warns that the particles tend to settle in the soft tissue of the testes, and may cause mutations in sperm. In 2004 Dr. Baverstock, no longer at the WHO, released the report through Rob Edwards at Scotland's Sunday Herald.

8. The George W. Bush/Dick Cheney administration twisted the meaning of the failure of the World Health Organization to produce evidence of depleted uranium's health hazards, turning it into evidence that there was no link between exposure to depleted uranium and the increases in cancer in Europe and Iraq; instead, as presented in the January 20, 2003 report by the new Office of Global Communications, ironically titled Apparatus of Lies: Saddam's Disinformation and Propaganda 1990 - 2003, the depleted uranium uproar was only an exploitation of fear and suffering. Two months later, Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Rice began to "Shock and Awe" Baghdad by again dropping tons of depleted uranium bombs on densely populated areas.

9. On March 27, 2003, significant increases in depleted uranium particles in the atmosphere were detected by the air sampler filter systems of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at 8 different sites near Aldermaston Berkshire, Great Britain, and continued at 4-5 times the previous norm until the end of April 2003, after the Coalition forces declared the war over. This information only came to light in a report on January 6, 2006 by Dr. Chris Busby, due to his diligent fight for access to the data through Britain's Freedom of Information law.

10. We have a new, intelligent President, who is willing to listen. It is up to us to bring this to his attention. THIS IS HOW WE CAN HONOR VETERANS.

***************************************





VALUABLE REFERENCES:

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium. http://www.cadu.org.uk/ Founded by one of the great long-time scientist/activists, Dr. Rosalie Bertell.

International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) is probably the best of the best all-in-one place http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/.

Department of Defense description of self-sharpening depleted uranium: click here

Dr. Keith Baverstock's November 2001 report, suppressed by the World Health Organization:http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/DU-Radiological-Toxicity-WHO5nov01.htm

Rob Edwards article on Baverstock: http://www.robedwards.com/2004/02/who_suppressed_.html

Karen Parker, a Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Lawyer: http://www.webcom.com/hrin/parker.html Scroll down on the page and you'll find her documents on DU.

January 2003 White House Report - Apparatus of Lies: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ogc/apparatus/suffering.html

January 2006 Chris Busby report: click here

***********************************************
COMMENTS FROM THE OPEDNEWS POST

From "editnetwork":

"Traces of uranium" found at bombed Syrian plant
My first thought at seeing that headline was: "depleted uranium."

It's truly a crime that our outgoing administration somehow is escaping all accountability as it waltzes out the door. They are getting away with this horror of irradiating a population in Iraq that posed no threat to us and had been systematically weakened by ten years of sanctions, supposedly directed against their leaders. Now the displaced truly have no home to which to return, no water to safely drink, etc., because of lingering radiation. (Of course our civilian contractors supply safe water, etc., to the occupying "warfighters.")

All this lasting destruction thanks to us. Some legacy. I have no reason to doubt that the arms we give or "sell" to Israel are just as "advanced" and were used against the Syrian installation they destroyed and probably stand ready for use anywhere else in the region they decide to strike. Hence the "traces of uranium" which scientists will no doubt find a way to construe as evidence that the Syrian plant was bent on nefarious (nuclear) ends.

I may be proud to live in a free country, but I am not repeat not proud of the mark the U.S. is making on this planet and the ruin we are wreaking in the lives of countless humans and uncounted ecosystems.


***

From "editnetwork":

Note to Barbara -- requesting clarification

In your first listed point of information:

'Depleted uranium, the nuclear waste of uranium enrichment, is not actually "depleted" of radiation; 99.3% of it is Uranium238, which still emits radioactive alpha particles at the rate 12,400/second, with an estimated half life of 4.5 billion years.'

For "12,400/second" to be meaningful, it should be per given unit of mass (weight): for example, alpha particles 12,400/second/kg or whatever. I am unable to find the factor and hope your research will turn it up.

In fact, that "per weight" factor will turn out to be rather high, because with such a long half-life the radiation is fairly low-level. This in NO way diminishes the hazard of exposure to this material or the criminality of its continued use in weapons, whether against civilian or military populations.

Thank you -- the editor person

***

From Me (BBT):

Dr. Rosalie Bertell

Here is the article full of excellent information by Dr. Rosalie Bertell written for the May 1999 Hague Peace Conference, entitled "Gulf War Veterans and Depleted Uranium" from which I got those specific statistics: http://www.ccnr.org/du_hague.html.

The point is that the public is fooled by the term "depleted", which generally means "empty", which seems to indicate that it is harmless.

Similarly, the term "low-level radiation" results in another misconception. I am not a scientist, but I do understand that 12,400 emissions per second indicates a great deal of blasting. It turns out that the term "low-level" refers to the size of the distance the emission travels, not the power of the blast.

While I may be able to stand a few feet away from a chunk of depleted uranium and not be affected by it, because the emissions don't reach me, if instead there is a particle of it in my body, the cells that are next to that particle that is working its way through the gastrointestinal or respiratory system, for example, are being constantly bombarded, and change as a result.

For the universe of my body, there is nothing low-level about the experience.

Thank you for asking for more clarification. I hope this helps.


***

From "editnetwork":

Thank you for clarifying

The article for which you posted a link helped enormously, and I hope everyone reads it.

The portion that clarified the statistic for me is this paragraph:

"Natural uranium in soil is about 1 to 3 parts per million, whereas in uranium ore it is about 1,000 times more concentrated, reaching about 0.05 to 0.2 percent of the total weight. Depleted uranium concentrate is almost 100 percent uranium. More than 99 percent of both natural and depleted uranium consists of the isotope U-238. One gram of pure U-238 has a specific activity of 12.4 kBq, which means there are 12,400 atomic transformations every second, each of which releases an energetic alpha particle. Uranium 238 has a half life of 4.51 E+9 (or 4.51 times 10 to the 9th power, equivalent to 4,510,000,000 years)."

So the emission rate is 12,400 per second per gram of U-238, much more than I realized. And even though they are low-energy (velocity) alpha particles (helium nuclei, two protons with two neutrons), they are massive and do considerable subatomic damage when they do strike -- as do ingested particles of this material, no matter how small.

Especially enlightening was the section a bit later in the article was the treatment of decay products, one kind after another decaying into further radioactive isotopes. The final resting stage of this process is atoms of lead, which noboty wants in their system.

Thanks again for raising this terribly important issue.


***

From Me (BBT):

My Thanks for Your Follow Through

It is that concern to really know what's being said, so you, too, can consider its meaning and what you can do about it, that encourages me.

More important, it creates the public dialogue which is so profoundly called for, so we can put an end to the use of depleted uranium in weaponry.

Thank you.


***

From Me (BBT):

Writing about DU

I should mention that I first learned about depleted uranium on Memorial Day 2005. It took me more than a year and a half to dare to post anything anywhere about it, but during that time I gathered a ton of articles and reports, so when I did finally say something, I could back it up.

Some people who write about Depleted Uranium are so frustrated (understandably) that they let their need to be heard outshine the facts, and those who want this embarrassing and potentially expensive liability silenced are ready and willing to jump on that weakness.

I've been pleased that my presentation of the essentials has been reviewed and confirmed by two of the top experts in the field. Phew.

It is a sad tale, but it must be faced.


***

From Me (BBT):

P.S.

I noticed that this article has been picked up and posted on a blog.

When I visited the blog, there he was, that retired Lt. Col. Roger Helbig I mentioned in the article, to criticize the blogger for posting "lies about depleted uranium", saying that no one ever reads the referenced reports.

So, I wonder, did Helbig actually read the article? Does he actually criticize an article that points out that he may show up to criticize it?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

November 4, 2008 (created at www.wordle.net)

November 4, 2008, 8:45 PM MDT

Diebold TSx not responding to Touch a "Human Problem"

At the Sprague Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. . .

Hi. I followed up on an email by Heather Bennett, a local candidate, forwarded to me explaining that one of her constituents contacted her about voting at the Sprague Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Diebold TSx was having a problem with recording votes on the lower left of the screen. When I saw that there was nothing with the key words on Google News, I reported it to CNN, which then forwards you to your local county officials.

At the office of the Salt Lake County Elections, I spoke to a young lady (at 2:51 pm MDT) who left the phone for a few minutes then came back to tell me that "The machines are working fine." She got this from someone she called Scott K, a technician regularly employed by the Salt Lake County Elections office, who had been sent to the Sprague Library and he told this young lady that the machines were working fine. She also said I could call him at his phone number, 801-468-3470.

So I did. Scott told me that he'd heard that a voter was having difficulty voting, so he stopped by to see if there was an issue, but that it turned out to be a human problem, not a machine problem.

I asked if the pollworkers had been aware of the problem, and at this point Scott wanted to know if I was calling as a citizen or was I part of a group. I said I was a citizen who will post what I find out online because activist organizations across the country were asking individual citizens to get involved in reporting. We continued.

Scott said that according to the pollworkers, when the voter's vote had not registered, one of them had tried, and failed, but that they solved the problem before the voter actually finally "cast" the vote.

Scott observed a demonstration of what had happened, and he told me that for the vote attempts that did not register, they were touching the screen in a way that he wouldn't expect the screen to be responsive. They were pressing it with a wide surface of their finger, then pressing very hard.

When he heard my typing, Scott asked about it, then said he should have been told that I was doing so, but I simply asked if there was a problem with it, and continued.

Scott reiterated that this was a human problem rather than a mechanical one, that people touch things differently, and that some machines are more responsive than others.

When I interrupted to question that, he said, "Let me rephrase that." Some touches, he tried to explain, "The way people touch the screen has something to do with a machine's responsiveness."

I questioned whether this was information that the voters knew or that the pollworkers knew? Scott's response was to point out the three "feedback mechanisms" in the system that give the voters a chance to check to see if their vote was properly recorded before voting. He insisted that this was a voter problem and not a pollworker training issue. He said that a voter is usually persistent enough to handle this.

Finally, he said that he had told the pollworker that if this should happen again, the voter should be given a pencil, because an eraser head is more precise than a digit.

Then, why don't the machines have a stylus? No response.

Scott's full name is Scott Konopasek, and his phone at the Salt Lake County Elections office is 801-468-3470.

Barbara Bellows-TerraNova




[Click title to go to thread at BlackBoxVoting.org where you can comment.]

His Last Win, 2004 (A Preview for This Evening)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Gore Vidal et al to Obama: DO NOT CONCEDE!

An Open Letter to Senator Obama and the Democratic Leadership:

On Election Night, DO NOT CONCEDE!


"Eight years is too much" is how Barack Obama explained why we must win the coming election and begin to restore America. But, even if we receive the most votes, will we win the election?

DO NOT CONCEDE!

Both of the last two elections were conceded by the Democratic presidential candidate. The 2004 election was handed to George Bush while votes were still being counted in closely-fought Ohio. While the 2000 election was contested to the Supreme Court, it too was ultimately conceded to Bush "for the good of the country."

Some good.

Numerous politicians, investigators and authors, including Robert Kennedy, Jr., agree the 2004 election was stolen, not only in Ohio but in several other battleground states. Tactics included purging of legitimate voters and the use of nefarious voting software--but when even these actions did not yield the required numbers, Republican election officials simply changed the vote tallies in several states, all without a peep from the Democratic Party.

DO NOT CONCEDE!

In the time since the last general election the public has learned much about these scandals, which have led some states to reject electronic touchscreen voting (and which caused the infamous Diebold voting machines corporation to hide behind a new corporate name,) yet the Democratic Party seems to have learned nothing.

THREE STRIKES AND WE'RE OUT!

If we cannot afford another Republican administration, we cannot afford a third concession in the face of election fraud. Already there is evidence of massive fraud such as voter purging and caging of Democratic voters, and "flipping" of votes in early voting on electronic touchscreen machines. It is reasonable to once again expect further manipulation on election night by some Republican operatives and election officials, as was seen in 2004; should we also expect our Democratic Party leaders and candidates to repeat history, by once again conceding in the face of such blatant fraud?

Senator Obama, we need you, our Party and all candidates to stand firm, come what may on election night. You ask us to work for you, contribute to you--and to have your back; we ask that you promise to have our back: We ask that you PLEDGE TO STAND FIRM, AND NOT CONCEDE THE COMING ELECTION in the face of election irregularities, no matter how long it takes to contest such fraud, while there remains any doubt as to any part of the process. Be assured, Democratic voters will be more--not less--energized if we see you promise to stand firm.

Senator Obama, if there is any reason to contest the election, DO NOT CONCEDE!
Signed: (Titles for identification purposes only)
Gore Vidal, Author
Bob Fitrakis, Professor of Political Science, Columbus State Community College, Attorney; Editor of The Free Press (freepress.org)
Harvey Wasserman, Senior Editor, FreePress.org, Author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth
Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, Author of Fooled Again, How the Right Stole the 2004 Election
Tim Carpenter, Director, Progressive Democrats of America
Mimi Kennedy, Chair, National Advisory Board, Progressive Democrats of America
David Swanson, Co-Founder, After Downing Street
Eric Bauman, Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party
Garry S. Shay, Member, Democratic National Committee (CA) Lead Chair, Rules Committee, California Democratic Party
Jo Olson, MD, Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
Mal Burnstein, Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
Marcy Winograd, Executive Board representative, California Democratic Party, 41st AD, Former Chair, Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles
David Earnhardt, Filmmaker, "Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections"
Don Goldmacher, Chair, Election Integrity, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
Michael Jay, Progressive Democrats of America, Special Projects, Former Delegate, California Democratic Party, 42nd AD
Sheri Myers, Director, "Wake Up and Save Your Country"
Robert A. Feuer, Former Chairman, Stockbridge, MA Town Democratic Committee
Thomas Patrick O'Shaughnessy, Region 3 Vice Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair, Irish American Caucus, California Democratic Party
Howard Jennings, PDA-Virginia, State Co-Coordinator
Sarah Stott, Chapter Chair, PDA-Virginia
Lisa Pease, Co-editor, "The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X"
Cindy Asner, Former Delegate, California Democratic Party, Member, National Advisory Board, Progressive Democrats of America
Julie Lopez Dad, President, Santa Monica Democratic Club, Chair, 41st AD Committee, Los Angeles County Democratic Party
Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA California State Coordinator and Orange County
Chapter Leader, Delegate, California Democratic Party, 73rd AD
Linda Milazzo, Senior Editor, OpEdNews.com, Blogger, Huffington PostRady Ananda, Senior Editor, OpEdNews.com
Jan Baumgartner, Managing Editor, OpEdNews.com
Cheryl Biren-Wright, Managing Editor, OpEdNews.com
Sherry Healy, Co-Founder California Election Protection Network, Coordinator, Election Defense Alliance
Laura Bonham, Summit County, UT Democratic Party Chairperson
Albert E. Fairchild, Retired Foreign Service Officer
Dorathea Peters, Precinct Captain, Alexandria, VA Democratic Committee
GO HERE TO ADD YOUR NAME TO THE PETITION!

The Passing of a Wise Man




In my 2006 Christmas Card, following Dennis Kucinich's announcement that he would again run for the U.S. Presidency, and having recently sponsored a bill that would create a Cabinet-level Department of Peace, I cast Studs Terkel as the Wise Man on the left.

On October 31, on the very day he received his absentee ballot in the mail, Studs Terkel died, at the age of 96.

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! had a wonderful hour with Studs on his 95th birthday on May 16, 2007 that she called "Studs Terkel at 95: 'Ordinary People Are Capable of Doing Extraordinary Things, and That's What It's All About. They Must Count!'"

Then she brought him back on November 13, 2007 for an hour she called "Legendary Radio Broadcaster and Oral Historian Studs Terkel on the Iraq War, NSA Domestic Spy Program, Mahalia Jackson, James Baldwin, the Labor Movement and His New Memoir Touch and Go".

These are absolute treasures to hear. Such energy, determination and insight from years of listening.


P.S. More on the Christmas Card -- The Notes that accompanied the card:

Christmas Card 2006 Cast
Original Card by Avanti Press, Photo Elements by David Langley, 1999 - The 12 Dogs of Christmas

Cast by BBT as follows:

Babe: Dennis Kucinich, author of the bill creating the Department of Peace, 2008 Presidential Candidate

Mary: Cindy Sheehan, Mother of Casey Sheehan (killed in Iraq), Peace Activist

Joseph: Senator Jim Webb, who told Mr. Bush, "I’d like to get them out of Iraq" and wouldn’t accept Presidential patronizing.

Wise Men:
( L ) Studs Terkel, Radio interviewer and author. Hope Dies Last includes chapter on Kucinich’s courageous stand against power industry.

( LC ) Congressman John Conyers, Jr., recently known for What Went Wrong in Ohio presented to Congress on January 6, 2005, and George W. Bush versus the Constitution: The Downing Street Memos and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, Coverups in the Iraq War and Illegal Domestic Spying.

( R ) George McGovern, former Congressman and Senator, and 1972 Democratic Presidential Candidate.

Happy Animals:
( L ) Bill Moyers, public broadcasting journalist and former Press Secretary to Lyndon Johnson

( C ) Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, who courageously stood up to VP Cheney with Conyers above report on January 6, 2005 (backed up by Senator Barbara Boxer).

( R ) Pete Seeger, longtime Peace, Justice, and Environmental activist.

Angel: The Late and much missed Senator Paul Wellstone, Peace Activist.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Questions for The Diane Rehm Show News Roundup, Friday October 17, 2008

Questions for The Diane Rehm Show, News Roundup, October 17, 2008

[Posted, for the first time, at www.opednews.com]

I've begun to post the questions I send, separately, in each Friday morning to the most listened-to NPR talk show. Feel free to offer some version of these same questions/comments to other broadcasters and journalists:

1. Yesterday on your show analyzing the debate, no one seemed to know what NPR's economy reporter, Chris Arnold, had just stated on Morning Edition in a segment called "Double-Checking Candidates' Claims in Last Debate". Mr. Arnold first acknowledged that if Joe the Plumber earned $250,000, ABOVE AND BEYOND his expenses and supplies, then "yes, under Obama's plan his taxes would go up."

Then he continued, "But, again, that implication that that represents middle income people is misleading. MIDDLE INCOME AMERICANS WOULD GET THREE TIMES THE INCOME TAX BREAK UNDER OBAMA THAT THEY WOULD GET UNDER MCCAIN."

These days, with excellent fact-checking websites quick responses, shouldn't analysts be discussing the accuracy of tactical accusations?

2. I am deeply concerned about the national focus on voter registration fraud or voter fraud. It is not a threat. Major studies have shown that deliberate fraud is extremely rare, and when it happens, it is even more rare for it to result in any fraudulent votes being cast.

In response to the insignificant nuisance of voter fraud, the Republican Congress passed a law ordering states to verify their voter registration lists. Now we find that in key battleground states, the Republican party is particularly aggressive about widespread purging of the lists and challenging new voters, which is highly intimidating and will be enormously time-consuming and labor-intensive on election day.

Have we already forgotten that the ugly reason behind the U.S. Attorney firings was often Republican anger at their failure to prosecute voter fraud cases just prior to the 2006 election?

Are Americans going to be fooled again by Rovian trickery?

3. Isn't purging voter registration lists to prevent voter fraud akin to treating a cold with chemotherapy?

4. To set the record straight, ACORN is a very legitimate organization, a decades-old advocate for the generally disenfranchised low-to-middle income often-minority population. Its work is irritating the McCain campaign because it is so successful in registering low and middle income voters, and these people are less likely to vote Republican. They have a very large workforce and some employees have been problems, but they are fully cooperative with election officials in finding bad apples and reporting problems. When they are accused of turning in fraudulent registrations, it should be noted that they are required by law to turn in all the registrations they collect, and in most cases, they are already flagged as fraudulent.

What good would it possibly do for ACORN to destroy their own voter registration drive?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Desperately Seeking Qualifications

This morning I received an email from Mark Crispin Miller, the NYU Professor of Media, and Election Protection author/activist, with a letter from Melissa Lammey to MCM, introducing a petition she’d created after watching one of his recent talks on youtube, in which he suggests that Palin was selected to provide an excuse for a surprise election win by Senator McCain, which, in fact, would be the result of election theft.

One way, of course, to blow that Palin excuse is to simply reveal and reveal and reveal all we learn about the Governor, so that her appeal deflates, as well it should, when knowing more about Governor Sarah Palin. Then, as the strange pair, The-Old-Man-Who-Will-Not-Reveal-His-Medical-History-But-Can’t-Stop-Revealing-His-Decreasing-Faculties, and She-Who-Will-Not-Testify-Answer-Read, are in the spotlight, and her supporters can recognize the dangers of such puppets, brought together on this ticket by the RNC Puppetmasters who seek to stay in power, they can choose to stop those who have brought so much lying and destruction over the last eight years.

As I say in my personal info at OpEdNews.com (initially regarding George W. Bush, but applying, as well, to Sarah Palin):

"I continue to write about the hypocrisies I study, believing that what the Bush administration has done goes far beyond partisan disagreement and should be known. I've learned that it isn't that hard to discover the bit of information that puts the news we see into a much greater perspective. I don't need to bash. I don't even need to convince. I simply need to reveal what is going on behind the tap dancing."

So, in agreement with Melissa Lammey’s "Petition to Alaska Governor Palin to Voluntarily Release Her College Grade Point Average!" I went to the website and signed, adding this personal comment:

If Governor Palin is the right person for this extremely important job that requires full-time character, dedication, wisdom, integrity, intelligence, willingness to learn, humility, patience, honor, compassion, and more...

Then her qualifications will be evident not only in the person we see today, but also throughout the history of her work experience and higher education.

So far, we have learned that in her work experience, she has abused her power. She has, from her very first national appearance at the Republican convention, demonstrated her willingness to lie to the people she wants to vote for her and to continue to spread lies that are already publicly exposed, which is an insult to her supporters and a significant indication of her methodology should she be trusted with power.

She has also demonstrated a Mastery of Disguise. She presents herself with a face value of friendliness, feminist, loving mother and wife, middle-class folksiness, and gutsiness, with executive skills and independence.

But a bit of Googling reveals a woman who uses her husband to provide the pressure when she doesn't get what she wants, who manipulates the system in every way possible to make the state pay for her family's life, whose management skills as Mayor caused a threat of a recall unless she brought on a functioning administrator to clean up the problems she'd already caused, who has strong ties to anti-American separationists who proudly claim to be above U.S. law, who has been happy to allow permanent irreparable damage to the land, air and water that are the essential elements that support the lives of her own large family, as well as all the people of Alaska, whose understanding of Christian faith clearly lacks its most significant lessons -- the Golden Rule and the Beatitudes, whose recent speeches appear to aim at getting the least intelligent to act on their deepest, ugliest fears, and finally, who has completely sold out her family and the people of Alaska to the Rove/Cheney Neoconservative and Corporate Imperialists who descovered her, all for the sake of appearing to be in Power.

If this isn't true, we need to see the evidence.

It should be there in her college records. I would think that Governor Palin, if she is the right person for this job, would have lots of documented evidence of the qualities of her character and intelligence, starting with her GPA.

I would think she would be delighted to have an opportunity to show off. That is something we do know about her.

I wholeheartedly support the "Petition to Alaska Governor Palin to Voluntarily Release Her College Grade Point Average!"

I also wholeheartedly thank Melissa Lammey for having the courage and follow-through to start this petition based on what she'd learned from paying attention, and Professor Mark Crispin Miller for his dedication to teaching all who are wanting to know more
.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

FOUR YEARS LATE



Patriotism and truth
Public Forum Letter, The Salt Lake Tribune
October 5, 2008

Sen. John McCain has made patriotism an issue in his campaign for the presidency. Patriotism is indeed a legitimate issue and McCain, shot down, captured and imprisoned for years, suffered greatly. Patriotism, however, must extend beyond military service.
Of the dangers threatening our country today, one of the most subtle has been failing ethics and the erosion of standards of honorable behavior. We have had a president who has lied and supported torture and an enemy combatant ploy in which, at his whim, a citizen can be jailed for years without evidence, without trial, with no appeal and with no explanation of the charges. This is fascism.
The principle focus of patriotism today must be the defense and reaffirmation of the ideas and ideals that made our country great. Surely truthfulness is one of these ideals. How then can we support a candidate for the presidency whose campaign includes many lies - most recently one falsely accusing Barack Obama of proposing sex education for tiny tots?
Yes, this is politics, but should not political attack be limited to the issues? McCain's tactics are to divert attention from them and to focus instead on unrelated nonsense.

Dick Scudder
Chairman of the board
MediaNews Group
Denver, Colo.

Editor's Note: The Salt Lake Tribune is owned by MediaNews Group.

THE FOLLOWING SATURDAY, MY OWN PUBLIC FORUM LETTER IN RESPONSE WAS PUBLISHED.






BUSH ENDORSEMENT
Public Forum Letter, The Salt Lake Tribune

October 11, 2008

"What!?" I grabbed the newspaper that my teenage daughter was reading aloud. That letter, "Patriotism and truth" (Forum, October 5), criticizing John McCain for his false attack ads, then harshly denouncing George Bush's presidency of lying and torture as "fascism." It was by Dick Scudder of MediaNews Group, owner of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Does this mean MediaNews Group now feels betrayed after pushing The Trib to endorse George W. Bush before the 2004 election? That singularly strange Opinion page left editorial page editor Vern Anderson with difficult explaining to do. Straight across from that editorial was Pat Bagley's cartoon portrait of the presidential candidate, stating "The Choice is Simple."

The choice was simple for those who'd searched past the Bush lies, but that required time and dedication, because media owners, indebted to Bush's Federal Communications Commission, were complicit in the propaganda, restricting investigative reporting.

I celebrated Scudder's enlightened letter, but I grieve for those who suffered and died because his MediaNews Group and other large corporate media didn't let the light shine on the truth four years earlier.

Barbara Bellows-TerraNova
Salt Lake City

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Questions for The Diane Rehm Show, October 10, 2008 - News Roundup

1. If Sarah Palin becomes too much of a liability, who do your panelists think McCain will turn to at the last minute?

2. With Lehmann's CEO testifying before Congress on the executive payoffs, did we learn what Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, on its Board of Directors, or his cousin, George Herbert Walker, in charge of Global Investment, walked away with?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

That Last Question: What McCain Doesn't Know. . .Ooooommmmm

Breathe, Senator John McCain, and discover your inner blankness. . .

When Tom Brokaw reached the culminating moment of the Presidential debate he had, um, well, been the "hired hand" for, he sought some kind of meaning that would make the spectacle appear more, well, worthwhile.

And so, moving away from the campaign's legacy of embarrassing spiritual End-of-Timers, Witch-blockers, and America-Damners, Tom Brokaw looked Eastward.

Well, East U.S.A.  New Hampshire, that is.  Amherst.  AAAAAAAAAAAAmmmmmmhhhhhhhhhh - erst.

And he gave, as he called it, "fair warning."  For it would be "Zen-like".

What?  Involving a Koan, perhaps? -- those succinct stories or questions Zen masters use to facilitate insight, which, according to Wikipedia, may serve to "confound the habit of discursive thought or shock the mind into awareness."

Wow. 

Whoever you are, Peggy of AAAAAAaaammmmmmmmmhhhhhhh-erst, thank you.

Brokaw speaks:  "What don't you know and how will you learn it?"

And so I, too, in that moment, look Eastward, and take three deep breaths.

Floating in the essence of spirit, I imagine John McCain taking his own three deep breaths, and from his own inner flotation, where he is suddenly centered and whole, brief though that space may be, a sudden truth is born from the emptiness.  He opens his mouth, and the uncensored words spring forth that reveal that which he does not know:

"Who Sarah Palin has selected to be her Vice President.  And I suppose, to find out, I'll have to ask Dick Cheney."

The colorful auras vibrating around McCain fall away as the audience's gasp sucks the atmosphere out of the room.

The badgering voices in his head rise up again, yelling angrily, and he sputters a correction quickly:

"I mean Steve Schmidt!"

Ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

INSIGHT IS ATTAINED.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Palin: My, Wasn't She a Fast Talker

A theory on the Handler's solution. . .

* * * * * * *

With Sarah Palin's other recent appearances in mind, my instant reaction to her first response to a question at the Vice Presidential Debate was:

They've put her on SPEED!

Ritalin, that is. Adderall. Methylphenidate.

(Okay now, for those who remember the theme song from The Beverly Hillbillies, reread from "Ritalin" on like "Oil, that is. Black Gold. Texas Tea." Actually, given her drive to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, either lyrics work for Sarah Palin. But I digress...)

Come on. Think about it. Have you ever seen her zoom through her talking points like that? Without notes, without a teleprompter, and without enough pauses for wires to be effective?

And let's review: McCain campaign advisor Steve Schmidt is from the Bush administration (he worked closely with both Rove and Cheney),Bush has shown all the signs of a man on antidepressants, with occasional variations in his twitches appearing to indicate shifts in his medication strengths or combinations. and Mr.

Her handlers must have been desperate -- so needing to yell at her and so aware of what it would mean if she bolted and told the world -- and she just might do that if they pushed too hard...

She certainly had the will and ambition to do the lying, twisting, and sarcastic attacks they needed her to do...

But it was those gaping pauses when her mind hadn't yet found the way to bulldoze the question and move on to her talking points that was the problem.

The media can easily forgive blabbering and illogic and untruths and gibberish. Both the audience and the professionals are used to politicians not making sense.

Given the credibility gap when politicians have to say what is necessary to sell themselves to a majority of voters (to say nothing of the lies everyone knows they must tell to stay true to the deals they've made with big-money donors) . . .

And given the way that the corporate mainstream media, so in debt to the Bush administration, has facilitated the dumbing down of America by conditioning its audience to respond to the quick-and-shiny, and shift focus willingly-- on command--when faced with nuance, complications, hard truths, and deeper examining. . .

And given the hordes of political pundits, some more bought than others: some interested in discovering what may be behind the words that are said and what that will actually look like in that politician's policies, while others are clearly there to emphasize partisan talking points regardless of what was said, there to claim victory above and beyond logic. . .

THE MAJORITY OF THE AUDIENCE IS BARELY LISTENING TO THE WORDS.

But they do notice gaps. Fumbling for words. Big pauses. Uhhhhhhhhhh.

And not having an answer. Any answer, dammit! Gobbledygook, for God's sake! Something!!!

Name ANY newspaper or magazine! Can't you think of one dang title? Time? The Anchorage Daily News? Hell, what about Sports Afield! The Oil & Gas Journal!!!!

Sorry boss, but when asked by Katie Couric what newspapers and magazines she used to read "to stay informed and to understand the world", she could not name one.

"I've read most of them. . ." Specifically? "Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years." Name a few? "I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news."

Nope, can't let that happen again, at least not in the debate. Gotta spew out paragraphs full of bla-bla and smile pretty all the while, and never--NO NOT EVER--get caught looking like you can't come up with something--SOMETHING to regurgitate oops--I mean "say".

"Quick!" barked the Handler to his Igor. "Call PHARMA (actually PhRMA, but that's hard to say) and see what'll do the job best! Noooowwwwww!"

As Igor pulled out his Blackberry, the Handler pulled his own bottle of samples out of his pocket and popped two--no, make that three. He was glad there was someone he could still get at--and something he could swallow that would hold him back from yelling at (taking a deep breath) that woman.

Besides, he thought, the speed's right up her alley. Keeps her bikini-worthy. Keeps the men attracted. And Cindy's just gonna have to get used to it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Questions for The Diane Rehm Show News Roundup, October 3, 2008

On the front page of last Sunday’s New York Times was a huge story on John McCain’s gambling problems, citing both his own personal risky high-rolling gambling habits, as well as his and many of his top campaign staff’s financial ties to the gambling casino industry. It was an extraordinary story. Yet I have heard nothing about it since on NPR.

Has Steve Schmidt managed to muffle the media on this?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Busting the Fraud of Voter Fraud

When we see or hear reporting on the non-issue of Voter Fraud, we must call it what it is -- AN EXCUSE FOR VOTE SUPPRESSION



In response to the September 21 NPR Morning Edition Sunday's Report on Voter Fraud in Wisconsin:

YOU NEED TO KNOW:

There is a major difference between Election Fraud and Voter Fraud.

Election Fraud is a broad term for the manipulation of election results--away from the choice of the majority of eligible voters.

Voter Fraud is the term for voting and/or registering to vote by people ineligible to vote, such as non-citizens, non-residents, those with fictional identification, and, in some states, felons.

Election Fraud can alter the vote tally by tens of thousands of votes, and when carefully targeted, can alter the results of the Presidential Election and the control of Congress.

Voter Fraud is extremely rare, and has little or no effect on results.

Election Fraud is accomplished by:

1. Altering votes

2. Not counting votes

3. Limiting votes

Voter Fraud has been an excuse to enact election laws and encourage policies which accomplish #3 on the previous list, "limiting votes", particularly in low-income and urban areas, which tend to vote Democratic.

Voter Fraud was only raised as an issue after the 2004 election to distract from the multiple instances of Election Fraud investigated and documented in the January 6, 2005 report based on the Field Hearings held by the Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee during December 2004 in Ohio, entitled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio". This report became part of the Congressional Record that same day in January when the late Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, backed by Senator Barbara Boxer, stood up to Vice President Cheney during the certification of the election and challenged the Ohio results.

The following March, as the soon-to-be imprisoned Congressman Bob Ney, Chair of the House Administration Committee (and author of the Diebold/Jack Abramoff- influenced Help Amerca Vote Act) finally prepared to hold a hearing on the irregularities of the 2004 election, suddenly, out of the blue came a self-proclaimed expert on "voter fraud", Mark "Thor" Hearne of the brand new "American Center For Voting Rights" to testify at the hearing and at the Carter Baker Election Reform Panel the following week.

Watching the insignificant issue of voter fraud take focus away from what really happened, Brad Friedman, investigative blogger for wwwbradblog.com, dug a little into this new expert and his organization, and was able to quickly reveal that Mr. Thor Hearne turned out to be the General Counsel for the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign.

A later report on Voter Fraud for the Election Assistance Commission was withheld from the public because it found voter fraud was widely-understood to be a non-issue. It was only released after the language was altered to suggest that voter fraud's significance was still in dispute.

It should also be noted that the U.S. Attorney firing scandal showed that U.S. Attorneys were fired for not prosecuting voter fraud cases prior to the 2006 election.

And now the Wisconsin Attorney General, J. B. Van Hollen, who is also the co-chair of the Wisconson McCain campaign, is using faulty parameters to challenge names on the Wisconsin Voter Registration lists just weeks before the election, which will incorrectly purge thousands of voters -- under the phony guise of stopping one or two invalid votes.

This is rotten, anti-democratic Rovian trickery, and your segment on September 21st only served to legitimize this tool of Election Fraud.

You owe your listeners another segment in which you speak to one of the very knowledgeable experts on Election Protection, such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller, blogger Brad Friedman, BBC reporter Greg Palast, or Congressman John Conyers, Jr.

Finally, I love NPR, have listened to it for 30+ years, and have been greatly saddened to see it succumb to this administration's pressure (i.e. Kenneth Tomlinson and the CPB). When NPR failed to report accurately on those December 2004 Ohio hearings and the outrage of Ohio voters, and the January 6, 2005 challenge to the election certification -- when so many people trust NPR -- it was a huge setback for Truth and Democracy in our country.

Please, take another look at this issue.

Thank you.

P.S.

To learn more about Election Protection, Vote Suppression, and other election issues:

http://www.freepress.org/econf/ Sponsoring a free online Election Protection Conference, September 26-28th. Also go to www.freepress.org for more articles and books on Election problems and excellent coverage of what happened in 2004.

www.stealbackyourvote.org Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. investigate current efforts by the RNC. An illustrated voter guide should be available for free distribution within the next two weeks, as well as a documentary film.

www.novoterleftbehind.net Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Democrats for America's Future join to EXPOSE, SPOT & REPORT Election Theft. Also has a Candidate Pledge: "I pledge that I will make sure that every vote is counted and that I will contest any evidence of theft or other voter suppression."

www.Bradblog.com The most determined, dedicated and effective blogger, a hero to many working on election protection, Brad Friedman, is the best single source for information on voting issues. Brad is also the co-founder of http://www.velvetrevolution.com http://www.velvetrevolution.us/electionstrikeforce/ and http://www.standingforvoters.org/ , where candidates on all levels can sign on to this pledge: "I, , pledge to use my candidacy, whenever feasible, to advance the preservation of democracy I will officially challenge the results of the election as provided by law if the combination of election conditions, incident reports, and announced election results calls into question the reliability of the vote count. I will wait until all valid votes are counted and all serious challenges resolved before declaring victory or conceding defeat."

Brad can also now be seen in the outstanding new documentary Murder, Spies & Voting Lies (the Clint Curtis Story) as well as Dale Earnhardt's documentary Uncounted, The New Math of American Elections.

Finally, www.markcrispinmiller.blogspot.com is the site of NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller, author of Fooled Again about the 2004 election and, most recently, Loser Take All. He is an excellent speaker and a diligent advocate for voters, with a great email news group.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Election Protection: The Dark Side and the Light

The Dark Side:

First, you need to know...

There is a major difference between Election Fraud and Voter Fraud.

Election Fraud is a broad term for the manipulation of election results – away from the choice of the majority of eligible voters.

Voter Fraud is the term for voting and/or registering to vote by people ineligible to vote, such as non-citizens, non-residents, those with fictional identification, and, in some states, felons.

Election Fraud can alter the vote tally by tens of thousands of votes
, and when carefully targeted, can alter the results of the Presidential Election and the control of Congress.

Voter Fraud is extremely rare, and has little or no effect on results.

Election Fraud is accomplished by
1. Altering votes
2. Not counting votes
3. Limiting votes

Voter Fraud has been an excuse to enact election laws and encourage policies which accomplish #3 on the previous list, “limiting votes”, particularly in low-income and urban areas.

Voter Fraud was only raised as an issue after the 2004 election, to distract from the multiple instances of Election Fraud reported in Ohio. Voter Fraud is continually highlighted since March 2005 by the self-proclaimed expert, Thor Hearne of the brand new “American Center For Voting Rights”, who turned out to be the General Counsel for Bush/Cheney 2004 (Google Thor Hearne +bradblog to open your eyes).

* * * * * * *

The Light:

To learn more about Election Protection, Vote Suppression, and other election issues:

http://www.freepress.org/econf/ Sponsoring a free online Election Protection Conference, September 26-28th. Also go to www.freepress.org for more articles and books on election problems and excellent coverage of what happened in 2004.

www.stealbackyourvote.org Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. investigate current efforts by the RNC. An illustrated voter guide should be available for free distribution within the next two weeks, as well as a documentary film.

www.novoterleftbehind.net Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Democrats for America’s Future join to EXPOSE, SPOT & REPORT Election Theft. Also has a Candidate Pledge: “I pledge that I will make sure that every vote is counted and that I will contest any evidence of theft or other voter suppression.”

www.Bradblog.com The most determined, dedicated and effective blogger, a hero to many working on election protection, Brad Friedman, is the best single source for information on voting issues. Brad is also the co-founder of http://www.velvetrevolution.us/electionstrikeforce/ and
http://www.standingforvoters.org/, where candidates on all levels can sign on to this pledge:

“I,_____________ , pledge to use my candidacy, whenever feasible, to advance the preservation of democracy. I will officially challenge the results of the election as provided by law if the combination of election conditions, incident reports, and announced election results calls into question the reliability of the vote count. I will wait until all valid votes are counted and all serious challenges resolved before declaring victory or conceding defeat.”

Finally, www.markcrispinmiller.blogspot.com is the site of NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller, author of Fooled Again about the 2004 election and, most recently, Loser Take All. He is an excellent speaker and a diligent advocate for voters.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bobby Kennedy, Jr. and Greg Palast launch STEAL BACK YOUR VOTE



Two of my very favorite truth-seekers in the world are hard at work to stop another election from being stolen again -- and (Glory Be!!) they also know that, as deadly serious as this is, we desperately need to laugh as we rescue our tattered Democracy.

Here's their announcement:

Investigative journalist Greg Palast and voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have just released an investigative comic book voter guide “Steal Back Your Vote.” it lays out 6 ways they’re trying to steal the 2008 election… And the seven ways you can steal it back, in a 24 page downloadable graphic guide. It’s non-partisan, it’s humorous, it’s heroic, it’s helpful.

Illustrated by graphic gonzos Ted Rall, Lukas Ketner and Troubletown’s Lloyd Dangle, the “Steal Back Your Vote” guide gives you the no poop scoop on the tricks that can overturn the November vote. For example, did you know that the state of Colorado has purged 1 out of 5 voters? What about Jacksonville-based military personnel, fighting to bring democracy to the Middle East but relieved of their voting rights in Florida? And let’s not get started on the 10 Indiana nuns forced to break the voting habit.

When you go to bed tonight, can you answer this question: do you know where your registration is? Find out how your vote is being stolen, and how you can steal it back, by downloading the guide here: www.stealbackyourvote.org.

We encourage you to add an excerpt, and consider using the banners and links found at: http://www.stealbackyourvote.com/please-link-to-us/