Americans Who Betray the Most Basic American Values

Listen up, you so-called Patriots. Any power interest that dehumanizes other Americans, other people, IS THE BAD GUY. What does it take for you to understand that?

I’m getting very tired of receiving hate propaganda in my email. The latest bit followed the predictable pattern – taking one small fact and spinning it to appeal to the dark side of the reader. In 2009, President Obama appointed two highly-qualified people to important posts. Today, in 2012, I get an email called “Wolves Will Be Herding the Sheep.”

The email in question even had its own links to Snopes and to the official announcement, but most people are too lazy to look. They just look at the commentary:

Well, boys and girls, today the fox is guarding the hen house. The wolves will be herding the sheep!
Obama appointed two devout Muslims to homeland security posts. Obama and Janet Napolitano appointed Arif Alikhan, a devout Muslim, as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano swore-in Kareem Shora, a devout Muslim, who was born in Damascus, Syria, as ADC National Executive Director as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC).
NOTE: Has anyone ever heard a new government official being identified as a ‘devout Catholic,” a “devout Jew” or a “devout Protestant”…? Just wondering.
Devout Muslims being appointed to critical Homeland Security positions? Doesn’t this make you feel safer already?? That should make our home land much safer, huh!?
Wasn’t it “devout Muslim men” who flew planes into U.S. buildings 10 years ago? Wasn’t it a “devout Muslim man” who killed 13 at Fort Hood ?
Please forward this important information to any who cares about the future of our Country.

To me, this is so obvious as to not need explaining, but obviously there are some very, very misled or very, very stupid people in this country, because this stuff – that seems so transparent- actually seems to work. These are Americans, highly qualified Americans, who were appointed to these posts, and for good reasons – not that it was even enough to prevent the use of hate flicks for training.

This message is hateful and more importantly, inaccurate. By the way, if we really expect to deal with ANY extremists, including the Hatriot movement or the dominionist “Christian” theocrats or groups like the KKK, we’ve got to learn that appealing to the darkness – through generalizing, scapegoating, fear mongering, or any other dehumanizing effort is wrong. It’s more than wrong. It’s the E word.

America is not at war with Islam. Or with Christianity. But you know, in every religion and in every country and in every large group there seems to be a subset of people who hate, who dehumanize others, who flip logic to manipulate people, and who have little to no capacity for kindness, caring or dialogue. They only care about power, authority, and control. These groups have created centuries of misery, and they make a mockery of the ideals of their religion, country, or the group’s reason for being. You will know them by their fruits. But false prophets always seem to be able to mislead large crowds, no matter what country or century they happen to be operating in.

Do people not understand the idea of America? Do they not understand that this mistake is fatal to the spirit of this country? We absolutely cannot dehumanize other people. Have we learned nothing from our own mistakes, not to mention the history of the word? The Hatriot movement and the dominionist theocrats are the mirror image of the other extremists around the world.

It’s extremely lazy and extremely dangerous to generalize from singular people or events to an entire religion, or country, or race, or class.

Anyone who insinuates that a group is subhuman – then tries to claim that it’s American to think so – is not a friend of America.

Don’t be fooled. I pray you’re better than that. I pray more of our countrymen and countrywomen come to their senses soon.

I’ve given up on trying to explain anything to the contemporary brownshirts. So many have gone past the point of reason or teaching or dialogue. It’s reached a tipping point – they’re gone. A saint would keep trying, but I’m no saint. All I can do anymore is to grieve the reality. May the universe have mercy on their souls.

Be careful out there.

My White House Petition. Please sign if you agree!

If you are against the corruption, profit motives and loss of rights that go hand-in-hand with handing over core public services to private interests, please sign my White House petition: http://wh.gov/4rb

I didn’t see anything on this topic, so I created it. Please sign and spread the word!

We only have 30 days to get 5,000 signatures in order for your petition to be reviewed by the White House. Until the petition has 150 signatures, it will
only be available from the following URL: http://wh.gov/4rb

We petition the Obama administration to:
Block attempts to privatize social services for profit motives.

Citizens of the U.S.A deserve a basic social safety net, free from the motives of the marketplace. There should never be another house that burns down because the “firefighters fee” hasn’t been paid. Core services should not discriminate.There shouldn’t be clear conflicts of interest, such as a “first responders services” company being formed by Jeb Bush. Players like the Koch Brothers should not be unchallenged in their corrupt war against working people. While there is a place for contracting within a government structure, we have all witnessed the waste, corruption, and loss of rights that go hand-in-hand with handing vital services to less-than-accountable entities. Provide blockers to such corruption, both in and out of government, for the sake of the country and its well-being.
Created: Sep 25, 2011
Issues: Consumer Protections, Economy, Labor

Please spread the word!

1. Facebook: Share on Facebook. Here’s a sample status line to cut and paste into your Facebook status:

Sign the White House petition at “We the People” to block attempted private takeovers of core public services. #BlockPublicServicesTakeover http://wh.gov/4rb
We need 5000 signatures in 30 days for an official response.

2. Twitter: Here’s a sample tweet you can use:

Sign the WH petition to block attempted takeovers of core public services at http://wh.gov/4rb #BlockPublicServicesTakeover

3. Email: Here is a sample email to cut and paste, or create your own.

Dear friends,

I wanted to let you know about a new petition to block attempts by private entities to take over core public services on “We the People,” a new feature on WhiteHouse.gov. Will you add your name to mine? If this petition gets 5,000 signatures by October 25, 2011, the White House will review it and respond!

We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama Administration to take action on a range of issues. If a petition gets enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.

You can view and sign the petition here:

http://wh.gov/4rb

Here’s some more information about this petition:

Block attempts to privatize social services for profit motives. Citizens of the U.S.A deserve a basic social safety net, free from the motives of the marketplace. There should never be another house that burns down because the “firefighters fee” hasn’t been paid. Core services should not discriminate.There shouldn’t be clear conflicts of interest, such as a “first responders services” company being formed by Jeb Bush. Players like the Koch Brothers should not be unchallenged in their corrupt war against working people. While there is a place for contracting within a government structure, we have all witnessed the waste,
corruption, and loss of rights that go hand-in-hand with handing vital services to less-than-accountable entities. Provide blockers to such corruption, both in and out of government, for the sake of the country and its well-being.

Just a Light Smattering of Related Material:

Firefighters Watch As Home Burns: Gene Cranick’s House Destroyed In Tennessee Over $75 Fee, by Adam J. Rose

Study: Privatizing government doesn’t actually save money, by Ezra Klein
A new study finds that privatizing government functions is usually more expensive than keeping those jobs in-house. The POGO analysis found that private contractors working with the government make, on average, twice as much as a comparable private-sector worker.

The REAL Reason Why Republicans Want To Abolish FEMA: So They Can Profit From Natural Disasters, by Stephen D. Foster Jr.
Former Republican Governor Jeb Bush is set to lead a newly formed FOR-PROFIT natural disaster response company. According to the Maritime Executive, Bush’s newly created firm, Old Rhodes Holding LLC, joined forces with O’Brien’s Response Management, a subsidiary of SEACOR Holdings, to form a for-profit disaster response company.

Koch Brothers, ALEC and Their Corporate Allies Plan to Privatize Government, by Beau Hodai
“Any rational person can look at what these corporations are doing through ALEC and on their own and know that essentially for-profit corporations are writing legislation in Arizona,” said Caroline Isaacs, AFSC program director. “The spirit of the law—which I think most of us believe is there to prevent money from buying undue influence in politics—is clearly being violated.”

Jim Hightower: The Koch Brothers, Privatization and the Road to Hell, by Jim Hightower.
The megalomaniacal megabillionaires are literally using their money to buy public policy.

You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For: The Economics of Privatization, by Elliott Sclar
“Sclar traveled across the country, examining how different state and local governments attempted to privatize their services. He found that privatization often results in less service for more money, because agencies frequently overlook the high cost of making sure work gets done correctly….”You can save money,” Sclar says, “but you’re taking the cost out of people’s hides at the low end of the wage scale.”

Medicare Is More Efficient Than Private Insurance, by Diane Archer.
Non-partisan data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) demonstrate definitively that private insurance is increasingly less efficient than Medicare. The data show that Congress should examine and address the role that private insurance is playing in driving up overall health care costs. “If spending on Medicare rose at the same rate as private insurance premiums during that period, Medicare would have cost an additional $114 billion (or 31.7 percent).”

Runaway Spending on War Contractors, NYT Sunday Editorial
The Pentagon and the State Department have sent more than 260,000 private workers to Iraq and Afghanistan. And the report makes a compelling case for the need to cut back substantially on the practice. It also argues that the contracts should be made far more competitive and subjected to far more oversight by government managers. The report cites a host of problems, including kickbacks paid to civilian officials and members of the military, and faulty construction work that has led to the death of American troops.

Support Democratic Candidates – Commit to Vote

Don’t buy the right-wing propaganda! It’s become very clear what Republican – and Teabagger – candidates will do.

Vote Democratic!

Action Sponsored by: Organizing for America at Change.org.

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

In 2008, Americans in record numbers voted for change.

But the health insurance companies, the Wall Street banks, and the special interests are already eyeing this November’s elections as an opportunity to put their allies back in power. Many Republican candidates have openly promised to run on a platform to repeal health reform, and roll back the progress that President Obama has made so far.

It will be up to each of us to support President Obama and keep the country moving forward by working to support Democratic candidates.

Commit to do your part this election season by voting in 2010.

Victoria Jackson – Wow~!

I always loved Victoria Jackson on Saturday Night Live – but of course I thought her persona was a put-on for comic effect.

Guess what? It doesn’t look that way. This display actually makes me feel more sorry for, and a little bit less angry at, the people that have been so woefully misled.

I could parse this whole thing, but why? See for yourself. Sadness.

Sick and Tired

125,830 People

I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired.

A Real VirusHead Today

VirusHead

I’ve spiked a fever at 105 degrees, and hovered around 100-101 most of the rest of the time. Vertigo and light-headedness. Fatigue and balance problems. Coughing. Sneezing. Aching, but I can’t rest (and I won’t take that medicine). Crossing my fingers that it doesn’t go into bacterial pneumonia like in many other cases.

It’s been a week now, and I’ve racked up five sick days at work. That’s going to mean a lot of late nights toward the end of the year to meet deadlines, and give me even less time and energy to do everything else.

And there’s so much to do that I need to be doing and I can’t! Christmas shopping and preparations, housework, helping out with some family stuff – and I guess I’m probably not going to get the cards out this year. This is the first day I could really concentrate on anything and I’m getting weepy even trying to edit what should be a very straightforward document.

And of course this whole healthcare reform fiasco is very frustrating and disappointing. The way the bill is now, it just seems like a gift to the insurance companies.

Keith Olbermann’s rant on this last night was incredibly depressing, but it’s worth watching the video.

You have just agreed to purchase a product. If you do not, you will be breaking the law and subject to a fine. You have no control over how much you will pay for the product. The government will have virtually no control over how much the company will charge for the product. The product is designed like the Monty Python sketch about the insurance company’s “Never-Pay” policy … “which, you know, if you never claim — is very worthwhile. But you had to claim, and, well, there it is.”

And who do we have to blame for this? There are enough villains to go around, men and women who, in a just world, would be the next to get sick and have to sell their homes or their memories or their futures — just to keep themselves alive, just to keep their children alive, against the implacable enemy of American society, the insurance cartel. Mr. Grassley of Iowa has lied, and fomented panic and fear. Mr. DeMint of South Carolina has forgotten he represents people, and not just a political party. Mr. Baucus of Montana has operated as a virtual agent for the industry he is charged with regulating. Mr. Nelson of Nebraska has not only derailed reform, he has tried to exploit it to overturn a Supreme Court decision that, in this context, is frankly none of his goddamned business….

Which brings us to Mr. Lieberman of Connecticut, the one man at the center of this farcical perversion of what a government is supposed to be. Out of pique, out of revenge, out of betrayal of his earlier wiser saner self, he has sold untold hundreds of thousands of us into pain and fear and privation and slavery — for money. He has been bought and sold by the insurance lobby. He has become a Senatorial prostitute.

And sadly, the President has not provided the leadership his office demands.

I see the centrist Dems are trying to paint Howard Dean as a quack again – using energy they reserved from their lack of criticsm of Republicans – but check out Dean’s article in today’s Washington Post. I can’t say I disagree.

Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these. Real health-care reform is supposed to eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans, pricing them out of coverage. The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in. Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries — in the range of $20 million a year — and on return on equity for the company’s shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG. …

To be clear, I’m not giving up on health-care reform. The legislation does have some good points, such as expanding Medicaid and permanently increasing the federal government’s contribution to it. It invests critical dollars in public health, wellness and prevention programs; extends the life of the Medicare trust fund; and allows young Americans to stay on their parents’ health-care plans until they turn 27. Small businesses struggling with rising health-care costs will receive a tax credit, and primary-care physicians will see increases in their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Improvements can still be made in the Senate, and I hope that Senate Democrats will work on this bill as it moves to conference. …

I have worked for health-care reform all my political life. In my home state of Vermont, we have accomplished universal health care for children younger than 18 and real insurance reform — which not only bans discrimination against preexisting conditions but also prevents insurers from charging outrageous sums for policies as a way of keeping out high-risk people. I know health reform when I see it, and there isn’t much left in the Senate bill. I reluctantly conclude that, as it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of America.

If the Dems push through a bill that will make things worse, then they’ll have to live with everything that happens as a result of not holding to a line of integrity. Don’t count on those votes next election.

Ooohh, it gives me such a headache.

Argue Pros and Cons of Healthcare Legislation Here

The actual dialogue that we should be having has been eclipsed by the pathologies of the American public.

This post is for arguing the pros and cons of the actual bill, ok?

Civil dialogue, only, please. Stick to topic and argue the actual bill!

Ready Jonathan? Ready Phil? Ready Michael? Anyone else that wants to join in?

Here is your forum. Make your case. See if you can be fair and adhere to the rules of civil dialogue. Maybe then some points could arise that are actually important to everyone.

Here’s how this specific conversation started on Facebook:

I posted this link:

Swastika painted at Georgia congressman’s office – Yahoo! News – Someone spray-painted a large swastika on a sign outside the office of a Georgia congressman who was involved in a contentious argument over health care at a recent community meeting.

And this comment:

“So, this is Georgia and I’m confused. Is this an accusation or a proclamation?”

Feedback from Friends

Michael: Atrocities of WWII aside, that really can’t ever be put aside… EVER.. I’m actually kinda’ impressed that they have both the direction and the tilt correct.. given the usual pool of suspects, anyway. Unlike the one who painted it onto the Plymouth Rock backward… and was caught..

Heidi:
There’s a disconnect for me though. Rush, Limbaugh, etc. have been comparing Obama/Democrats to the Nazis all week, without being aware of the resurgence of the KKK and those sorts of attitudes among their base? Unlikely. Maybe it’s just especially weird here, this week.

Michael:
meh… he’s a clown who’s paid to fill a time slot.. you’d think by now people would wise up against per-minute ideology.

Phil: Typical. The sub-moronic trailer trash who are being goaded and funded to trash the nigg… I mean, that esteemed gentleman of color who happens to be president, praise Jesus and may the man die slowly… lack any apparent form of irony, rationality, intellect or historical knowledge. They DO, however, appear to know how to use spray paint. I guess all those opposable thumbs aren’t totally going to waste!

Phil: PS: Just in case my meaning was not totally clear, I am NOT referring to Obama by any form of racial slur. I am reflecting a sad truth about those who are so vehemently opposed to anything and everything the man does. At heart, they’re just terrified of a colored president, and will believe – or do – anything to counter that apparently terrifying reality.

Jonathan: I’m one of those who dislike the President’s policy decisions. I couldn’t care less what color he is. His policies scare me. Most frightening is the clear difference between his public words, and his actions. In other realms, that would be called lying.

Phil: *sighs*

The “lying” here, Jonathan, is being done by Obama’s opponents. Thanks for being one more American taken in by the high-stakes con-game being run to keep us shackled to the insurance companies! You are buying the lies wholesale, and we’re all paying the bill. If you want to know the truth, READ THE DAMNED PLAN, not the utter fabrications about the plan being spread by Sarah Palin’s lackeys and masters. It’s called “lying,” all right, but Obama isn’t the one doing it.

Phil: And as for “frightened,” be frightened by the people who are starting riots and inciting hatred at town hall meetings. This was done before, Jonathan, using exactly the same playbook. Germany, 1933. Look it up, and see who’s REALLY playing Hitler now.

Jonathan:
Wow. Do you have your tinfoil hat on to block the mind control impulses from the evil republican-neo-cons? We do have that vast right-wing conspiracy including insurance companies…

On a serious note, I’ve only seen/read excerpts from the bill, and those sections are disturbing. How about I post some links to those sections which clearly contradict the Obama rhetoric about the bill? I won’t have time until tomorrow night though. Gotta do laundry.

Phil: Who needs tinfoil hats? All you need is half a brain. As for the “mind control,” it’s quite simple, really: lies, lies, and more lies, backed up by utter fabricated hysteria from Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and FOX News. Utter. Complete. Fabrications. No evil conspiracies necessary. Just the old Vladimir Lenin truism: “A lie told often enough … Read Morebecomes the truth.”

Regarding the insurance companies, please watch the interview with former Sigma executive Wendell Potter; in it, he tells Bill Moyers exactly what they do, why they do it, and how they get away with it… including a mention of the “third-party dirty work” that would be employed to stop health care reform attempts. See http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07102009/watch2.html

As for the proposed bill, see: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc111/h3200_ih.xml

Start from here – or start from your own concerns.

Weekend

It’s Mother’s Day – or Matronalia if you prefer – and I’m wishing all the Mommies a fun day!

Thursday night was interesting. I had just dyed my hair a bit darker than usual (I feel silly now with light blonde hair), and it was almost dry but full of that super-rich conditioner that you put on afterward. I went outside to enjoy the moonlight and the cool breezes. I lit some charcoal, and threw a couple of rosehips and bit of lemongrass on it to saturate the night. I lit a couple of candles, and as I bent down to light the third, my hair dropped into one that was already lit. Phewmp! I was on fire! Just that fast. I clapped it out right away, but now I have some bangs underneath on one side. Oh, it smelled horrible! It made me remember something I had forgotten, though. When I was a kid, I had very long hair, and I remember that I used to pluck strands of it out, and light them on fire off of the gas stove. I was in 4th or 5th grade. The smell reminded me. I wonder if my mom knew.

Readers of the blog… and my neighbors… will know that I sometimes like to sing. I crank up my iPod and go through all kinds of songs. Lots of times I’m just mimicking the singer, which can get a bit amusing sometimes. Anyway, I was doing that – singing pretty loud, but directing my voice into the deepest part of the woods out back. I really got into it, and walked out to the little picnic table. So picture this: I’m standing on top of the table, facing away from the house, eyes closed, singing at the top of my projection power – and to anyone listening, that’s a capella.

I finished the song, and heard applause! When I opened my eyes, two strangers were standing about ten feet away from me, in my yard, wildly clapping their hands. I don’t think I’ve moved so fast since an alligator chased me around my car. I jumped down – I think I must have turned about five shades of red.

It turns out that they live a few houses away, around the block. They said they’ve been listening to me sing for months, and they love hearing me sing. Or – at least they say they do. Anyway, they decided to walk over and meet me and express appreciation (and find out who I am). Their son sometimes joins me with his trumpet – or plays on his own. He seems like a sweet kid, but I only met him in person once, at the neighborhood yard sale. Now I’ve met the family. It was cool in a way – nice to think they like it. I view my singing as something that I have to do – but I don’t really expect anyone to like it.

Wasn’t Barack Obama fun last night? I thought he was a lot more amusing than Wanda Sykes. That line about John Boehner (video) was the best putdown I’ve heard in a long time; it works on so many levels.

In the next hundred days our bipartisan outreach will be so successful that even John Boehner will consider becoming a Democrat. After all we have a lot in common. He is a person of color–although not a color that appears in the natural world.

He poked fun at all the hype around himself, too:

During the second 100 days, we will design, build and open a library dedicated to my first 100 days. … My next 100 days will be so successful, I will complete them in 72 days. And on the 73rd day, I will rest.

I also liked the way he spoke back to the cynicism of the crowd. Catch his last few minutes on journalism and the media if you can.

Work takes up a lot of my energy these days. I enjoy it, but it’s tiring. I haven’t done anything creative lately. There are a number of things I’m supposed to be doing, and writing, and thinking about – but I am not in the right space to do that.

I’ve been waking up really early in the morning for the last couple of weeks, and it feels really good just to take it slow. It’s been a nice relaxing weekend so far. I’ve been puttering around the house, starting to reorganize a little. John dragged a bunch of stuff down to the curb. The place has gotten out of control. I’d like to get things into more streamlined shape before it gets too hot. I’m not a natural homebody, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to concentrate on those sorts of things until my surroundings are a bit less cluttered and disorganized.

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