January 5, 2016 by Amanda Froelich
The biotech industries are “transforming our agricultural system in a bad way,” says Senator Sanders.
Even before Senator Bernie Sanders decided to run for President of the United States, he was quite vocal about factory farming, big corporations, and the Biotech giants. In fact, as early as 1994, Sanders was fighting against companies such as Monsanto for using chemicals that impact human and animal health, reports Alt Health Works.
Now a presidential candidate nominee, Sanders isn’t backing down from the biotech giants and is fighting harder than ever to protect peoples’ right to know what’s in their food.
Unlike Hillary Clinton, who is an avid supporter of genetically modified foods (GMOs), Bernie believes that the biotech industries are “transforming our agricultural system in a bad way.” He believes in mandatory GMO labeling (after all, he helped pass a mandatory GMO labeling law in Vermont) so consumers may be informed and make conscious choices.
Like activist and musician Neil Young, Sanders believes the GMO giants are trying to keep consumers in the dark about what they are eating (DARK Act), and supports family-owned and organic agriculture.
Senator Sanders spoke about how to make sure our food is healthy and our farming is ethical during a private dinner event on December 27th.
In the video above, the presidential nominee states:
“The debate should be – how do we make sure that the food our kids are eating is healthy food. And having the courage to take on these huge food and biotech companies who are transforming our agricultural system in a bad way.”
He also addressed the fossil fuel industry and said that it’s past due time we start shifting toward renewable and alternative energy.
Before Sanders tackled the heavy topics in his speech, he transported the audience to his home state of Vermont. In the lush state, organic farmer’s markets and sustainable farming are becoming the norm; his vision is to lead an America where this is commonplace everywhere.
“We have hundreds of farmers markets (in Vermont), you’ll find people buying food, beef and poultry directly from farmers, and there’s a growing farm to school pipeline,” he says. “It’s something we’ve worked very hard on and I think all over this country people are concerned about the quality of food their kids are eating.”
Thom Hartmann comments on Bernie Sanders’ Wall Street speech in which he, if elected President, promises to jail bankers break the law.
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Lyndon LaRouche announces that Obama has been indicted by a foreclosed Federal Court on April 24, 2013.
Could this be the beginning of announcements that will change our world? We shall see…
I do not agree with his complete synopsis of Obama’s impeachment (he is the president of a foreclosed corporation). The Patriot thing causes division as far as I am concerned. I am for:
- One People (Earthlings)
- Open Borders
- World Peace
- Self Governance
- Corporations (Employee Owned and Profit Sharing companies)
Political madness is on full display, from the halls of power to the legions of frothing conservative foot soldiers.
November 15, 2012 |
Photo Credit: Stephen Coburn/ Shutterstock.com
Last week on election night, we saw the right-wing media and its audience have a collective meltdown after their fantasy world was shattered and Barack Obama won a second term. It was a big win for people who believe in numbers, and a loss for folks who prefer to have Karl Rove lie to them.
We had seen signs of stress within the party and its adherents leading to to the election, and since then we’ve seen everyone from members of the GOP elite to right-wing foot soldiers go through the first four Kübler-Ross stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. (Whether they’ll get to acceptance remains to be seen.)
Below are several examples of how conservatives at all levels have gone off the deep end in the days leading up to and following the election.
1. Restaurant owner imposes nonsense “Obamacare surcharge,” threatens to reduce employees’ hours.
John Metz, the guy who owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings chain and is a franchisee of dozens of Denny’s and Dairy Queen restaurants, has said he will reduce employees’ hours and pass a 5 percent surcharge onto his customers because Obama was re-elected. His specific argument is that he has to take these steps because of how much Obamacare will cost his businesses.
Get a load of this (via the Huffington Post):
“If I leave the prices the same, but say on the menu that there is a 5 percent surcharge for Obamacare, customers have two choices. They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare,” Metz told The Huffington Post. “Although it may sound terrible that I’m doing this, it’s the only alternative. I’ve got to pass the cost on to the consumer.”
It sounds terrible, because it is terrible, Mr. Metz. Metz isn’t the first business owner to threaten workers’ stability or increase costs for consumers in the name of Obama’s re-election. As Forbes’s Caleb Melby points out, Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter has threatened to increase prices on his pizzas by 10 to 14 cents per pie, though if he “were to fairly reflect the increased cost of doing business onset by Obamacare” the price increase would be “[r]oughly 3.4 to 4.6 cents a pie.” Not only are these business owners exaggerating how much Obamacare would cost to make a political point – they also assume that customers wouldn’t be willing to pay an extra 4 cents to ensure that the person making their meal has health insurance. And that is pretty sad.
2. Georgia state senators hold four-hour briefing on Obama “mind-control technique” conspiracy.
We’ve all heard our fair share of Obama conspiracy theories, but this one is noteworthy in that it comes from inside the Georgia state Capitol. Mother Jones reports that majority leader Chip Rogers convened state legislators in mid-October to listen to a four-hour presentation given by tea party activist Field Searcy.
About 23 minutes into the briefing, Searcy explained how President Obama, aided by liberal organizations like the Center for American Progress and business groups like local chambers of commerce, are secretly using mind-control techniques to push their plan for forcible relocation on the gullible public:
They do that by a process known as the Delphi technique. The Delphi technique was developed by the Rand Corporation during the Cold War as a mind-control technique. It’s also known as “consensive process.” But basically the goal of the Delphi technique is to lead a targeted group of people to a pre-determined outcome while keeping the illusion of being open to public input.
Uh, right. Read more about the conspiracy and watch a video of Searcy’s presentation here.
3. Montana state representative asks to be paid in gold and silver because he fears the collapse of U.S. currency.
This one comes to us via the Billings Gazette:
A legislator from Columbia Falls is asking the state to pay him in gold and silver coins because he is skeptical about the future of the dollar.
Republican Rep. Jerry O’Neil justified his request in his letter to Montana Legislative Services this week by saying a clause in the U.S. Constitution says no state shall “make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.”
O’Neil writes that he thinks the high national debt makes it possible that the bottom will fall out from under the U.S. dollar.
O’Neil says he does not know how Legislative Services will respond.
I have a few guesses about how they’ll respond.
4. Conservative columnist goes full racist: “Maybe minorities’ values need changing.”
There were too many racist dog whistles to count during this election season. But this column by right-winger Dennis Prager isn’t a dog whistle so much as it’s a blow horn. A big, sad, loud blow horn trumpeting a pathetic resistance to accept that women’s and minorities’ priorities are legitimate.
The headline (“Maybe Minorities’ Values Need Changing”) and lines like “there is no debate over whether the minorities’ (and single women’s) values are correct or whether the values of the white males are correct” tell you pretty much everything you need to know about Prager and his ideas.
Oddly enough though, AlterNet readers will probably find a few things to agree with in the piece:
The Democratic Party, and the left generally, have done a magnificent job in identifying conservative values as white male values.
Right, because they are. (Thanks for the compliment!)
5. Convicted con man whines about how “difficult” the next four years will be.
Here are a few choice lines from Conrad Black’s whiny missive for the National Review:
“In the last 40 years, as many as 20 million unskilled peasants have illegally entered the U.S.”
“This president could not run on his record and just smeared his opponent as a rich asset-stripper, and frightened women voters with fatuous red herrings about ‘reproductive rights.’”
“For the first time, a coalition of pigmentational minorities and government employees and other benefit recipients outvoted the bulk of the traditional white majority. If this is the template for America’s electoral future, strains unimaginable since the Civil War will result.”
Those are some strong moral judgments coming from a man convicted of defrauding shareholders of $6.1 million.
Lauren Kelley is the activism and gender editor at AlterNet and a freelance journalist based in New York City. Her work has appeared in Salon, Time Out New York, the L Magazine, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter.
Ed. note: It’s hilarious, yet pathetic at the same time watching people go into meltdown over Obama’s re-election. One YouTube commentator who’s covered the socio-economic decline in Los Angeles over the last couple years was almost in tears after the election, virtually declaring the end was near with economic collapse, martial law and FEMA camps inevitably around the corner. His solution: Less than one week after the election, he gathered his family and headed into Mexico to for a better life.
What’s sad about all of this is how these people have been stirred into a fear frenzy by the alternative “prepper” news media, an information source that’s become just as divided as mass media and the mainstream population in it’s views and beliefs. Here’s a guy who, like myself, jumped into the mix to help people understand what’s happening in the world and in the process has become so fearful that he’s not helping anyone ~ least of all himself. These people actually believed Romney could pull us out of this mess and when he didn’t win they’re simply beside themselves…there’s a word for this state of mind: delusional.
Please don’t fall for the rhetoric, your vote counts. Voting third party or staying home is nothing more than giving your vote to Romney and the GOP. I can’t remember a more important election in the last 50yrs, that had more at stake. The biggest lie of all is that both parties are the same, if you’re considering doing anything other than voting for Obama and are not familiar with the destructive policies set forth ALEC, in all due respect the truth is ~ your are NOT a well-informed voter. Please take the time to look over the ALEC Exposed information under the Rise of Fascism category on this website and here:
The entire GOP has taken oath’s to an organization that dictates policy-making that serves corporate interests at the most basic levels of society. If you think corporate schools systems, libraries, parks, postal service, police and fire departments will give you a better level of service for a “price” much higher than your current tax rates…go ahead and throw your vote away. Remember the man in Kentucky who watched his house burn down because he didn’t pay his fee to the fire dept., that’s the result of ALEC imposed legislation. Isn’t that Rand Paul turf?
ALEC is what separates the two party’s in a huge divide between the people and complete corporate control…it’s bad enough as it is.
The astrologers are telling me the astrological configuration of tomorrow’s vote is remarkably similar to the configuration during the Bush-Gore election. All I could think was oh, fucking great, hanging chads and Kather
ine Harris. As per the astrologers, mercury is going retrograde so expect machines to break-down, traffic jams going to the polls, mile-long lines at the polls, hundreds of thousands of lost ballots, and beyond shady dealings when it comes to the actual count, i.e. machines and people that flip the vote. The optimistic astrologers tell me that since it’s a Mercury retrograde Obama will be re-elected; other astrologers tell me there’s something going on with Neptune, which is going work in (Pisces) Romney’s favor. What I say, and what the kitchen table caucus says, is that it’s going to razor close and every vote will count. What I say, and what the kitchen table caucus says, is that given the mess that is the eastern seaboard there’s no way we’ll know the results of the election by tomorrow night or even early Wednesday.
In New York voters living away from their homes, due to Sandy, will be able to vote for President and U.S. Senate from any polling place. They may not however vote for candidates for Congress, the state Senate, and the Assembly if they are not voting in the same district where they live. Given the fact that quite a few of those districts and their polling places have been completely wiped out, this isn’t right. New Jersey is allowing e-mail voting for the displaced victims of Sandy; though I think Christie’s heart was in the right place every programmer I have spoken with has said that to get something like that up and running with the kind of security that is needed in the amount of time that Christie has is pretty much impossible.
There is no question today’s Republican Party, ALEC’s tool, has made it increasingly difficult for American’s to vote and have their votes honestly counted. Clearly we are all going to have to be extra vigilant about the count, fortunately the MAWT family is smart and noisy and I will post what needs to be posted and shared as it comes up.
The following was written by a friend of mine, MaryAnn Schwartz, and pretty much sums it all up….
“Please don’t throw your vote away on a third party candidate. If women are relegated to second-class status, voting for a third party candidate might make you feel superior, but it won’t make a difference for the future. I’m voting to make sure the next Supreme court selections are not “severe conservatives” who will send us all back to the 50’s. I remember the way it was and never want to see women live that way again. It isn’t just reproductive choices, but also choices as far as education and employment. If you don’t remember when women couldn’t even apply to many colleges or jobs because they were only for men, you don’t know what they are proposing. Even the want ads were in male and female columns. And, by the way, none of this will really affect me, I’m well past childbearing and fortunate to not have to worry about furthering my education or finding a job, but I can’t imagine allowing this to happen to the next generation. Please think about this before making your choice tomorrow.”
If Obama looses my darlings it won’t be because we didn’t fight like hell. It has been an honor being in the trenches with you.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools. Kat Manaan
As I write this, we are in the middle of an unfolding natural disaster the likes of which most have never seen. A few hours ago, “Hurricane Sandy” made landfall off the coast of New Jersey. To give you some perspective on the size of this storm, it would take a jet liner 2 hours to fly from one end to the other. As is our custom, some have named it “Frankenstorm.” It is a monster of a storm to be sure. Ironically, this type of storm is predicted and fits perfectly within the oft denied “Global Warming” model of climate scientists. Thus far there are 8.2 million power customers without power.
This is the only light some people have right now.
New York is flooded. Public transportation has been suspended and the Subway’s have been shut down due to the tunnels being full of salt water. Wall Street was closed today and will be closed tomorrow as well. The American marketplace, the engine of our economic system has been suspended while we all listen to a sermon from “Mother Nature.” All our technology, ingenuity and current “know-how,” has been placed in it’s proper perspective by a power greater than ours.
Power Company Truck – Ice Storm
Every State in the path of this monster is experiencing power outages and devastation from high winds and flooding caused by driving rains. It gets worse. A dip in the Jet Stream has allowed a blast of Arctic air from Canada to come down to join the party. Where the moisture meets the cold, you have extremely heavy snowfall and ice formations. Because this storm has hit at a time when leaves are still on the trees, we’re now looking at even more devastation from trees icing up and limbs breaking. The limbs falling on power lines is bound to increase the number of power outages exponentially.
Power Outage and it’s growing
It would be folly at this point to attempt to project the extent of the devastation we’re facing. Thus far at least 48 people are reported as casualties of this storm with more reports coming in. We do know that a hospital’s generators failed. As yet we have no idea what ramifications this may have caused. We are being reminded in the most fundamental way of how truly fragile our technology based society actually is. You turn on the faucet without ever considering that somewhere there is a pump driven by an electric motor, pumping that water into your home. If the power goes down at the pumping station, nothing but a distressing gurgle will flow from your faucet.
We no longer have “ice boxes,” what we have are refrigerator/freezers. Unlike our ancestors who had to spend a good portion of each day, either hunting, gathering or harvesting what they were going to eat each day, we now avail ourselves of supermarkets and grocery stores and buy food for the week. We store it safely in our refrigerators freeing up the hours in our days to pursue careers and other endeavours. When the power goes out, the clock starts ticking and that food we counted on is at risk of being lost. When the power goes out, the most disturbing thing is the absolute silence. You live each day surrounded by that 60Hz hum. You’ve become so accustomed to it, You don’t even notice it. That soft background hum is like the soundtrack to our lives. When it’s gone, the silence is deafening.
The Myth Of Self-Sufficiency
Dave Canterbury of the Pathfinder School. He’s no fool! He teaches survival but it’s a business. He gets paid to teach people how to rough it.
Most evenings, I listen to a radio program called, “Coast to Coast with George Noory.” The show covers a wide range of topics with an ever growing number of guests. There are a few guests who have become “regulars.” Depending on the news du jour, there may be a segment with a guest who’s written a book or has a website dealing with the particular hot topic of the day. Needless to say, tonight there were several guest who are into self-reliance and preparedness.
Survival Lean-to Shelter made from brush. If it comes down to this, you’ve got a lot of problems.
Back in the early 90′s I wrote a piece for a Usenet news group on being a survivalist. It was entitled, “The Realities of Being a Survivalist. (Getting Past the Bug-Out Mentality.)” Much to my surprise it is still around and referred to from time to time. It was written around the time the movie “Red Dawn” was in a lot of people’s minds. Many people had the mindset, that in the event of TEOTWAWKI – The End Of The World As We Know It – the thing to do was grab your “Bug Out Bag,” your guns and head for the hills. Live off the land, hunt and forage for food and survive like a hero from a Mad Max movie.
Sounds exciting, but it’s not very realistic. The gist of my article pointed out many of the fallacies of that type of thinking. For one, I’m not at all interested in running around in the woods with a bunch of other armed people all hunting for that same damn deer. My suggestion was to make your own home your survival retreat. Yes, I preached self-reliance. Food stores, water, a backup generator, certainly the ability to protect yourself and your family, with the added admonition of giving some thought to where you were living and relocate now to a safer, more strategic location. You probably wouldn’t want to be in the heart of a metropolis in the event of a crisis. We’re seeing some of the problems with this unfolding right now.
Desperately Needed Food Supplies
There are a lot of people in New York. In a day or so, they’re going to need access to food and fresh water. With transportation shut down and limited, bringing supplies to that many people is going to present a problem the likes of which may rival or surpass the problems caused by Hurricane Katrina. One thing in favor of the denizens of New York, the administration of President Obama is much more competent than that of George Bush. Nevertheless, it may be weeks or even months before New York and the rest of our eastern seaboard is back to normal.
Nobody ever thinks about toilet paper. How much do you have stored up?
Yes, self-sufficiency is good. Having supplies on hand is a great idea and everybody ought to have enough on hand to last at least 72 hours without assistance. A week or two would be even better. However, let’s be realistic. We cannot maintain our quality of life on our own. “No man is an island.” Even if you have a generator, eventually it is going to run out of gas. With the power out, if you can make it to a gas station, those pumps will not be working. How much food can you store? Toilet paper? How long can you stay or would you want to stay if you could not flush your toilets? Is it winter? How long do you think it will take for your apartment or home to reach the same temperature as it is outside? Is it summer? How long can you go without air conditioning? Excessive heat can be just as dangerous as freezing cold.
Ayn Rand High Priestess of the Virtue of Selfishness. Darling of Paul Ryan and Guru of the Republican philosophy
The Republican ideology of the virtue of selfishness begins to fall short when faced with the reality of the survival of a society. For years now the Republican mantra has been, “Government is the problem.” They’re right! Bad government is the problem. They fail to make this distinction. There is a reason human beings invented government. We exist today and have achieved what we’ve been able to achieve, even with all the setbacks and missteps, because we learned that working together in a coordinated fashion increased our chances for survival.
It was a hard and rugged life out on the frontier. There was nothing glamorous about it.
Species who’s survival strategy focused purely on distinct individual achievement are no longer here. They’ve gone extinct. Wolves hunt in packs, whales swim in pods, fish swim in schools, bees, ants and other insects have hives and colonies. The coordinated efforts of a group increases efficiency and effectiveness. In our recent history, early 1800′s, the era of the self-reliant outdoors-man, frontiersman, the average lifespan was just 40 years old. Think about that for a moment. You reached 40 years of age and died of the natural cause of old age. Why? Life was hard. It was brutal. It was dangerous. Your caloric intake was low. You suffered from malnutrition. You died.
The things we enjoy today and take for granted come to us because we’ve learned to work together much more efficiently than at any other time in our recorded history. We have become a society of specialists. We make the education of all our children mandatory. Not just the aristocrats or plutocrats. Allour children. Why? Because genius and innovation are not the exclusive province of the privileged and wealthy. We develop all minds both male and female.
We realize that you cannot be a productive, contributing member or society if you’re tethered to your home, armed to the teeth to repel thieves, robbers and invaders. Thus, we have professional police officers and if need be a military. You do not have to rely on folk medicine and remedies handed down by your family traditions. We have hospitals, emergency care facilities and emergency response personnel. They are specifically trained to quickly and efficiently respond to all medical emergencies.
Gas main exploding in a residential neighborhood.
Should some disaster strike, or your home or business catch fire, we have professional firemen and first responders. In times past, should your home or business catch fire, or some natural disaster befall you, you were largely on your own. To be sure, some of your neighbors may have come to help after they saw to their own needs, but professionals with equipment they were not! Because of our combined efforts – coordinated by Government – to care for and meet the needs of everyone in our society, we have experienced progress heretofore unknown in recorded human history.
Climate Change Anyone?
Notice a trend?
The Lunacy in the way the Republicans and the so called conservative movement, have dealt with the issue of “Global Warming” has been simply appalling. They have treated this issue as though the planet is sick and you can go shop for a doctor until you find one that will give you the opinion you want to hear. Scientist after scientist has sounded the warning. “We’re in serious trouble if we don’t do something now.” “We’re nearly at the tipping point.” I’m sure you’ve probably heard all the warnings. They haven’t exactly been keeping things a secret. The prescription has not been that severe. Reduce our use of fossil fuels. Invest in more wind and solar. Incorporate hydro-electric wherever possible. Develop wave powered tidal generators. Increase batter efficiency. Increase fuel efficiency standards in automobiles to bridge us over.
What the Republicans did was turn to their own scientist – most on the payrolls of the energy industry – who say, “Global Warming” needs to be studied more. Or, “we’re not sure how much of this is caused by man.” Really? You’re kidding me right? It’s like that commercial that says, “4 out of 5 dentist agree…” and they turn to that 5th dentist for advice. We simply cannot afford this.Too much is at stake. Remember the GOP convention where they were chanting “Drill Baby Drill” as though it were some Buddhist Mantra? I want you to hold that in your mind and hear it as you look at the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Two huge lies. The first is, that the global supply of oil determines your price at the pump. The price per barrel is set by oil speculators who are trading oil futures like Day Traders trade “penny stocks” on the Stock Market. It’s pump and dump. They don’t give a damn about consumers, they’re in for he quick kill and you pay for their profits.
Coming to a National Park Near You?
Lie number two: We can drill our way to lower energy costs. The United States has a little over 2% of the World’s proven oil reserves. We consume roughly 20% of the World’s oil. Do you see a problem? I do. Simply put, if we were at peak capacity we’re not able to produce as much oil as we consume. It’s like being behind on your mortgage and coming up with the brilliant idea that going through you couch cushions looking for change, will solve your problems. The humor is muted by the tragic reality. You’re going to lose your home. If you were lamenting to me that you were facing foreclosure and I asked you if you’d checked your couch cushions for change, I’m pretty certain you’d have to suppress an impulse to bust me in my eye. Hell! I wouldn’t blame you if you did! I have the same impulse whenever I see or hear a Republican talking about “drill baby drill.”
The reality is, our planet is heating up. How many “100 year storms” have we had in the past decade? They’re coming almost every two years now aren’t they? Coincidence? I don’t think so. To those who lamely try to make the argument that “Man” is not involved, look at it this way. If you were coming down a mountain and you tapped your brakes and they went all the way to the floorboard, what would you do? Would you throw your hands in the air and say, “oh well, there’s nothing I can do. Might as well floor it and go out in a blaze of glory?” Or would you down shift and try the emergency brake? Would you look for a place to drag your car along the side of the mountain to slow and stop it?
The Republican Lie
Republicans have as one of their confessions of faith, “Government is the problem.” “We want Government so small you can drown it in a bathtub.” What about now? When disasters strike like Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, Mt. St. Helens erupts, Earthquakes, God forbid, Yellowstone’s super Caldera lets loose, you’re going to want Government there with all the resources necessary to return our lives to some semblance of normalcy. this is why we pay taxes. This is why whom we elect is so critically important!Everybody complains about taxes… until their home is under 6′ of water or on fire. When your child gets lost in a National Park while you’re out on a picnic, you couldn’t afford the cost of the search and rescue effort that the government – we the tax payers – will mount to reunite you with your child.
Irony – It’s a Bitch isn’t it?
If your home is on fire, you don’t want the fire department to show up with a clipboard and ask you, “will this be cash, check or charge?” Same thing if you were having a heart attack. These things we take for granted, are the very services that cause people to want to live in our country. No matter whom you are. No matter what you’ve done. If you’re in trouble, society will come together to save your life and help you get back on your feet. We call it “Our Social Contract.” It is what makes us Americans. There is a cost associated with this contract and we cover this cost by paying taxes.
Ever hear the phrase,”all roads lead to Rome?” There is a reason for that expression. The Romans knew that to build and maintain an empire, they needed to be able to quickly move and supply their armies to any location within their empire. Thus they built roads. These roads made marching easier and faster. They made it possible for wagons with supplies to accompany their armies. People spend a lot of time talking about the Roman phalanx, armament and use of the short sword to explain their military success. True their tactics and use of equipment played a large part, however the most important part in my opinion were the roads they built that increased their logistic efficiency and made it possible for reinforcements to quickly arrive on the scene of a conflict.
Collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis in 2007
At one time, we knew this. At least we acted as though we did. We spared no expense to connect our country, first with rail lines and with the invention of the automobile, our interstate highway system. Our roads made commerce possible and caused towns and cities to spring up and grow along these thoroughfares. Power lines, roads, rail systems, bridges all these things make up parts of our infrastructure. If we do not maintain them, they will crumble and fail. It always costs more to rebuild something than it does to maintain it. Don’t like paying taxes? Think about this the next time you’re crossing a bridge. Saving money can be expensive.
When Katrina struck, the Levees broke.
How expensive? Hurricane Katrina really wasn’t all that bad by the time it came ashore. It had greatly weakened. The problem was the levees. They knew there was a problem with the levees and in fact money had been set aside to address this problem. However, instead of that money going to fix the levees, because of decreased revenue caused by cutting taxes, that money went to take care of other things. A levee is sort of like a parachute. You can fly 1,000 times and never need one. However, when you do, you need it to work. Again, infrastructure like those Roman roads, gets ignored until it crumbles or is no longer there.
Privatizing Profits, Socializing Costs
David Cay Johnston – Author of “The Fine Print.”
In his book “The Fine Print,” David Cay Johnston lays out how we’ve arrived at our sorry state of affairs. We have deified the private sector to the point we damn near worship corporations as gods. We have allowed such aphorisms as, “the business of America is business,” or “what’s good for business is good for America,” to filter into our collective psyche. We accept these pronouncements as divine truth. We do not question them or actually analyze them. Perhaps we should. First of all, the government of the United States is not nor should it be considered a business. When the Constitution speaks about “promoting general welfare,” it is not talking about corporations or business interests. It is talking about the welfare of the citizens. Quite often what is best for corporations is terrible for citizens.
To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, “the game is afoot!” It has been afoot for quite awhile now. Step one in the game plan? Promote the idea that taxes are bad and that they’re too high. This part is easy. When you tell people they’re paying too much, who is going to disagree? Everybody has been convinced that paying more for something than you have to is a sign of a mental defect.
Step two in the game plan? Convince the State that the “private sector” can provide the same services cheaper and more efficiently. Has anyone ever studied this leap of faith? Yet, because you’ve got the citizens up in arms over paying taxes, this suddenly looks like an attractive alternative. Utilities which used to be owned by the commonwealth have been turned over to private companies. Of course, they’re going to need some assistance and incentives in the way of tax abatements, but hey! It’s off the State’s books. Did you catch that? “tax abatements?” What that means is these companies won’t be paying State income taxes. Thus, the revenue of the State has just been decreased. The State also has lost control over vital parts of our infrastructure.
Here’s what this means. One of the reasons Hurricane Sandy has caused over 8 million people to be without power, is because, power lines have been knocked down by the high winds of the storm. There is a really simple solution to this. Bury the damn lines!Because power companies are now privatized, they’re not interested in incurring the cost of burying the power lines. What’s in it for them? If they cannot justify the cost – translation: make a profitburying the lines – it’s not going to happen. Had the power lines been underground where they should be, our power grid would have been largely unaffected by Hurricane Sandy.
Isn’t it interesting that Mitt Romney wants to get rid of FEMA? Right now when people’s lives and the restoration of their property hangs in the balance with FEMA standing between them and total unrecoverable loss, Governor Romney wants to get rid of FEMA. Hear him in his own words.
Just as he showed abysmal judgement when it came to – in his words – “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt!” Drawing from the same arid well of wisdom, he has prescribed doing away with FEMA. I don’t know how to say this any other way… but the man is a dangerous idiot!
Hurricane Sandy Destroys Republican Ideology
I am not a religious man, but it seems that some form of divine intervention may have occurred. “October Surprise?” This one may have come from higher up than we’d like to consider. For the past four years, Republicans have been trying to paint President Obama as divisive, partisan and refusing to work with Republicans. The reason they’ve been so successful in selling this nonsense is that their base only watches FAUX News. In point of fact, President Obama has alienated his own progressive base by reaching out to Republicans.
The Affordable Care Act called “Obama Care,” went before the U.S. Supreme Court over one issue. That issue was “the individual mandate.” The “individual mandate” was a Republican idea. Republicans have added “poison pills” to Bills and proposed them. When President Obama has said, “okay, we’ll do it your way,” they then turn and vote against the very Bills they’ve written and proposed.
President Obama with an extremely grateful Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey
The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has made it necessary for Republican ideologues such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to have to put aside partisan politics and seek Federal Aid from the President of these United States. Right about now, Chris Christie is damn glad that Barack Hussein Obama is the President of these United States. He has been effusive in his praise of our President. One can only imagine how things might have been had the Republicans acted like grown-ups from day one and participated in governing instead of collecting tax payer checks for doing nothing?
The Monk, Monastery, Basket and Rope
A traveller visiting an ancient monastery was surprised to discover that the only access was by an elevator up the side of the cliff in a basket pulled up by a rope. As he rode up he noticed that the rope was frayed. He turned to the old Monk and asked how often they replaced the rope? The Monk replied, “each time it breaks.” This describes the way we currently handle business.
Rather than raise taxes and spend the money maintaining, repairing and improving our infrastructure, we will wait until it breaks. Had the levees in New Orleans been fixed and maintained as they should have been, the flooding from Katrina would have been minimal. The loss of life would have been greatly decreased. If our power lines were buried underground as they should be, we’d have very few power outages.
Had the Republicans extended their hands in a willingness to work with our President, instead of coming to him in their time of need, imagine what things would be like today.
by Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.
Ebers Papyrus. Ancient Egyptian Medical Text on how to induce abortions.
A brief history of abortion
Believe it or not, abortion is not new. It has been around for thousands of years. It was practiced in ancient Rome and the earliest reference comes from ancient Egypt. For those who’s views are informed by their religious faith, particularly the Christian faith, this is something to think about. Jesus would have of been familiar with the practice of abortions, yet he is not recorded as saying anything about it. As a matter of fact, Abortions do not even merit an honorable mention in the Bible.
We often believe that abortion is the result of modern medical advancement. Nothing could be further from the truth. Surprisingly enough, unwanted pregnancies have been occurring since people first began to make babies. Not long afterwards, they began discovering how to terminate those pregnancies. The irony is, some of the methods practiced in “Ancient Egypt” and other places, employed the exact same approach used today. They used certain plant based suppositories to cause a hormonal reaction which would end the pregnancy.
When does life begin?
When life begins is largely dependent on the person answering the question.
The answer to this question depends on one’s subjective point of view. Does life begin at conception? Does it begin when the brain becomes active in the fetus? Does it begin when the baby takes it’s first breath? Does life begin before conception? Some people believe we live many lives. It might even be prudent to ask, “what exactly is human life?” The answer to this question truly depends upon the person being asked and the person asking the question. It could be argued in a variety of ways, with each position able to defend their points of view.
The problem is, it really comes down to the belief of the person asking the question and doing the answering. From the perspective of the Christian Bible, it is interesting to note, Adam did not become a “living soul” until he took his first breath from God. He was fully formed – presumably an adult – with all his limbs, organs, vital system etc., but he was not alive until the moment of that first breath. Thus, based on that passage in the Bible, I could sustain the argument that life does not begin until the moment a baby takes its first breath. I’m sure many will find this unsatisfactory because it goes against what they’ve been led to believe.
Of course, one could also use the Bible to argue that life begins before conception.
[KJV] Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations
Note the the part about being known before being formed in the womb. This could support those who believe that we live many lives. To be known, one must exist. Actually there are numerous Biblical passages which suggest reincarnation and multiple lifetimes. However, dealing with that topic is for another day. It does raise an interesting question. To wit: If one is known prior to coming here and God is intimately involved in whom comes here and why, does it seem logical that God would send someone into a body that was going to be aborted? It is a question of faith, and it is worthy of thoughtful contemplation.
Abortions in the Bible
The Holy Bible
While the Bible does not mention abortion by name or seem to take issue with people practicing abortions, oddly enough there are passages in which either God causes an unnatural termination of pregnancy or authorizes a ritual to accomplish much the same thing. In the book of Hosea a curse is placed upon Ephraim. A part of that curse involves God causing miscarriages. This is without a doubt the ending of a pregnancy unnaturally. An abortion by any other name… except that the abortion provider in this case is God.
There are numerous passages where God demands the murder of pregnant women. If you murder the pregnant mother, you’re effectively aborting the fetus as well. Thus this notion of God being against abortions is actually unsustainable when one actually examines the Bible. Those who identify as Christian and oppose abortion for religious reasons, clearly have not read their Bibles.
Hypocrisy that knows no bounds
“Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value.” __Joe Biden
Enjoy it while it lasts
It is high time someone called the “Pro-Life” movement on their blatant hypocrisy. Some of the same people who are out picketing Abortion Clinics will leave that protest, head cross town and join up with a TEA Party rally. Some of the same people protesting abortions, on the basis of being “Pro-Life,” believe in and support the “Death Penalty.” Where were they when we invaded Iraq? This sovereign nation had nothingto do with the attacks on September 11, 2001. They did not have any “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, men, women and children lost their lives, where were these “Pro-Life” protesters?
Notice the difference between the Red and Blue States?
Life is more than just conception. It is more than just giving birth. It is providing shelter for your child, food, clothing, medical care, education, all those things Republicans are hell bent on cutting. They know the words, but they don’t know the music. They speak the “Pro-Life” language, but when you look at their actual policies, their words ring hollow.
Pro-Life? I do not think it means what you think it means.
The same people who are marching under the “Pro-Life” banner are some of the same people who are in the TEA Party. They complain about taxes they aren’t even paying. These are the same TEA Party Republicans who want to cut funding for education, want to do away with the “Affordable Care Act” which gives health care to millions of children who did not have it before. These are the same people who are against school teachers being given a raise. These are the same people who will vote for a candidate who has as much as promised a war with Iran if he’s elected. Yet they claim to be “Pro-Life.”
This shows what they value and it’s not Pro-Life
Make no mistake. Although resources are always limited and choices have to be made, when you vote to give $4 billion dollars in subsidies to the most profitable corporations on this planet – the Oil Industry – while at the same time cutting spending for “Head Start,” “School Lunch Programs,” “Pell Grants,” “Education,” “Health Care” and a host of other programs that provide quality of life and opportunity, don’t pretend to be “Pro-Life.” As Joe Biden says, “don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget and I’ll tell youwhat you value.”
The harsh realities of an Abortion decision
Surgical Suite – Most people tend to avoid these if at all possible
I am puzzled by those who have convinced themselves that getting an abortion is the equivalent – if not easier – of going to their dentist for a teeth cleaning. An abortion is an invasive medical procedure. It’s an operation. I know of few people if any who look forward to being operated on. You can die from an abortion and people have died. An abortion is not a woman’s first choice. There is a recovery period following an abortion. Complications, both physical and psychological are common.
It can and does happen
Consider your average 14 year old. Remember when you were 14? You had all the answers didn’t you? You were as good as grown, just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up with your epiphany. Yet, at 14 years of age, if your parents had put you out of their home, they would have been charged with child neglect. The State won’t give you a driver’s license because at 14? They know you don’t have good judgement. At 14, you may have thought you knew everything you needed to know. Yet, going to school was still mandatory. Even if you were industrious and got a job, your parents have to sign off on it. During the school year your employer, by law had to limit your hours.
At 14 you cannot vote, you cannot buy liquor, you cannot smoke and you cannot enter into a legally binding contract. The State understands this and protects the 14 year old from his or herself. Unfortunately, at 14 you can get pregnant. Rarely does a 14 year old get pregnant by following her parent’s instructions or advice. It was because of her lack of judgement that she got pregnant. A 14 year old doesn’t have the requisite judgement to drive, vote, end their educational career or work a full time job, but suddenly we’re going to pretend that she’s got the judgement to become a mother? This is insanity on a whole new level.
If she carries the baby to term now what? She cannot get a job because she cannot drop out of school. If she lives in poverty, her parent(s) may both be working. Which of them should quit their job to stay at home and care for their grandchild? They cannot afford child care costs and the cost for infant care is even higher. Currently? There are programs in place to offer some assistance. However, Republicans are going after those programs hammer and tong to dismantle and de-fund them. Many of these Republicans fly under the “Pro-Life” moniker. But are they?
What about giving the child up for adoption? That is a shotgun solution usually put forth by people whom have no idea what they’re talking about. First of all, it’s not that easy. It’s not that cut and dried. Even if it were, by the time that 14 year old carries her child to term, holds her baby just one time, there’s no letting go. It’s that whole judgement thing again. Guess what! The same courts who in their infinite wisdom have determined that a 14 year old cannot drive, vote, smoke, drop out of school, or drink beer… those same courts will suddenly determine that this same 14 year old who is too young to enter into a legally binding contract, has the right to keep her baby. Not only is she now condemned to poverty, but her child is as well. The thing about poverty? It becomes an endlessly repeating cycle. Children raising children. Like the sign over the gate to Hell, “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here.”
Often the pressures of parenting at such an early age cause young parents to become abusive. Thus we now add abuse to the poverty stew. Abuse begets abuse and often a child born under such conditions winds up in jail, a ward of the State or worse.
Understanding the statistics
At some point in the Abortion debate, the subject of acceptable exemptions comes up. Usually those who are moderate agree that Abortions should be available in cases of rape, incest or to protect the health of the mother. A disturbing trend has developed of late. Now, certain people are even discounting these as legitimate reasons to perform abortions.
Most rapes are never reported
According to The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, 1% of abortions are due to rape or incest and 6% involve the health of the mother. There is a problem with that first statistic. Rape is one of the most under reported crimes there is. This comes from the Department of Justice and FBI studies. Out of 100 rapes only 46 are ever reported. 54% go unreported. There are many reasons for this. Oft times the rapist is someone the victim knows. It may be the boyfriend of her mother, it may be a brother-in-law and uncle or cousin. The fear of what would happen to family relationships should the victim go public is often enough to keep the victim silent.
This is the dirty little secret that resides in the dark, dank fetid corners of our culture. We do not want to talk about it. We pretend that if we do not acknowledge it, it will cease to exist. Question: If most women don’t report their rapes to the police, what are the odds they’re going to report it to the doctor performing the abortion? Would the doctor be required to report it? If a 16 or 17 year old gets raped by say her mother’s boyfriend, most will never tell their mother what really happened. They’re not going to tell the police and should they get pregnant, they’re not going to tell the doctor. Thus that 1% figure is an error. What should it actually be? I have no idea and I’m not sure anyone can accurately determine the true figure. All we know is that it is higher. Rape by it’s very nature is not a planned sexual encounter. I don’t think a rapist acting on the spur of the moment, stops to put on a condom. Thus because the sex is unprotected, there is a much higher chance of an unwanted pregnancy occurring.
Ramifications of reversing Rowe v. Wade
Reversing Rowe is not going to end abortions. Abortions have been going on since the time of the Ancient Egyptians. They will continue. What will happen is, they will go underground. No laws or regulations. No one to prevent late term abortions from occurring. No licensing agency. Think about it like the war on drugs. We all know how well that’s turned out.
“The morning after pill”
In fact, there would be an immediate black market created for the RU-486 pills. If you cannot keep cocaine, meth or an assortment of other narcotics off our streets and – dirty little secret – out of our prisons, do you think you’ll have better success with RU-486? Once that market is created, all sorts of people will rush in to fill that void. Some will produce fakes, others, lacking the technology or quality control will be pushing pills that are dangerous and in some cases deadly. Not a problem for you? Actually it may be. As parents, try as we might, we often do not know when our children become sexually active. Should a pregnancy occur, what might a daughter do to keep from disappointing her parents?
Something else to consider, what if a woman has a legitimate miscarriage? A woman discovers herself to be pregnant. The pregnancy is unplanned and she’s dealing with the ramifications of bringing a new life into this world. She begins seeing her doctor for pre-natal care. She shares her reservations with her doctor. So he knows she’s having some anxiety. One day while she’s at work, she begins having cramps. She runs to the bathroom and miscarries into the toilet. Does that toilet now become a crime scene?
Could this become a crime scene?
With Abortions becoming illegal it would also be illegal for her to have taken RU-486 or some other abortion inducing compound. If she’d taken something to cause a miscarriage, under the law she would have committed feticide. Would she be required to try and recover the fetal mass for analysis? Should she call the police so their crime team can come and recover the evidence? When she returns to her doctor, he’s going to know she’s no longer pregnant, will he be required to report her? Would this have a chilling effect on women seeking pre-natal care? These are things that must be considered.
Picking a place to be
Paying lip service to being “Pro-Life” does not make one “Pro-Life.” To be “Pro-Life” you must be supportive of all the systems that make life possible. Pre-natal care, post-natal care, health care for the child and the mother, nutritional support such as WIC programs, early learning, “Head Start” and other programs which aid parents and children, must be supported.
When you cut public assistance programs, you’re not just cutting adults, you’re also cutting the children that depend on those adults. When you do not support “A Living Wage” for people at the low end of the income scale, you’re not supporting the children they are responsible for.
Various contraceptive methods
When you refuse to support access to contraception for women or sex education in the schools, you’re increasing the number of unwanted pregnancies. Abstinence? Works great… right up until it doesn’t. When it comes to sex, we’re like a person with a carbohydrate addiction in a bakery. Eventually we’re going to eat something sweet. We are hard wired for sex from millions of years of evolution. The survival of our species depends on it.
“Agent Smith: I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species, and I realised that humans are not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment; but you humans do not. Instead you multiply, and multiply, until every resource is consumed. The only way for you to survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern… a virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer on this planet, you are a plague, and we… are the cure.”
We’re so good at it, we now have over 300 million living here in the United States and over 7 billion populating the entire planet. We are in the middle of a population explosion. The global population is growing exponentially. The resources on our planet are not. We have seen what happens in nature when a population of creatures becomes unbalanced. Their population explodes until they consume all available resources and then they die slowly, painfully from disease and starvation.
Farmers inspecting their withered crops
The reality is, we’re already beginning to see the signs of this happening to us already. When you see those commercials at night showing you starving and impoverished children, they live in places where the populations grew beyond the resources required to sustain them. Could anything like that happen here? What makes you think it couldn’t? This past year we had one of the worst and widest droughts since the “dust bowl” of the 30′s. It hit in our main agricultural belts. We will not fully understand the impact of this drought until this spring. It will take that long for whatever crops we were able to harvest to be turned into the staples we rely on for sustenance.
“Let them eat cake.” __Marie Antoinette
We no longer understand our relationship with the land. We go to grocery stores and super markets without ever stopping to ask “where does that produce come from?” We are living out the “let them eat cake” mentality that caused Marie Antoinette to lose her head. Her inability to realize that her people were starving was no doubt exacerbated by the largess she enjoyed. Her pantry was full. The supermarkets and grocery stores have become our pantries. It won’t hit home for us until we go to the store and find those shelves bare. What will we do?
Every choice, every decision carries consequences. If you want to decrease the number of abortions, but you object to providing access to contraceptions and sex education, you’re not “Pro-Life.” If you want to decrease the number of abortions but you’re against having your tax dollars go to support the programs and agencies that provide support and make it possible for struggling people to care for their children, you’re not “Pro-Life.” If you’re not concerned about planetary resources, preserving our environment and repairing our fragile ecosystems, you’re not “Pro-Life.”
If your concern for human life begins at conception and ends at birth, you’re not “Pro-Life,” you’re Pro-Fetus and that is something entirely different. Don’t get it twisted.
Simply stated…Pro-life politicians and their supporters love the fetus, and once it’s born they hate the child.
Published on Nov 2, 2012 by SchlepLabs
Cher and Kathy Griffin on Mitt’s efforts to turn back time on women in the latest video from the Actually… series. When lies go unchecked, we all lose. Actually.org spreads the truth, because the truth matters—even in politics. Our team calls ’em like they see ’em, and we hope you’ll support the truth by sharing Actually.org videos before Election Day.
Actually… is a partnership between American Bridge and JCER. Schlep Labs is a project of JCER. Actually… was produced by Amy Rubin at Barnacle Studios
Jimmy Kimmel Live – Chris Rock – Message for White Voters
by Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.
Faced with how a real President responds to a national crisis, Republicans are running around with their hair on fire! One is forced to ask, are they really that unpatriotic? Or is it that their hatred for our first Black President is greater than their love for country or their concern for the welfare of their fellow American citizens?
A Tale Of Two Storms
Woman picks through the rubble of her home after Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina and it’s aftermath is still fresh in our collective psyches. For the first time in our modern technological history, a portion of our nation took on the optics of a 3rd world nation. We seemed powerless to help our fellow citizens and this impotence was hammered home day after day, night after night by our 24 hour news coverage.
Hurricane Katrina Victims signalling for help
We watched as the people of New Orleans – those fortunate enough to make it to their roofs – stood on their roofs, some waving t-shirts, other’s spelling out the word “help” with whatever debris they could get their hands on, all begging for rescue. News helicopters unequipped to be any more than a photographer’s platform, filmed the horror with the unblinking eye of the camera… and we watched. We saw men, women and children endure what none of us could possibly imagine ever happening in the United States of America.
We pride ourselves on coming to the aid of other nations to bring relief and rescue. Suddenly it appeared that we, the worlds last remaining “Super Power,” needed aid. It was a blow to our pride, self-esteem and wounded our delusion of independent self-reliance. The notion of “American Exceptionalism,” was laid bare for the myth that it is.
Michael D. Brown – Head of FEMA under George W. Bush
When Katrina hit, Michael D. Brown – an appointee of G.W. Bush – was the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA. This was a curious appointment because Brown had absolutely no experience in emergency management of any sort! He was a lawyer and a radio personality. The only management responsibility on his résumé was his time as commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association. Bush might as well have made him “Surgeon General.” He was just as qualified for that position.
To his credit, following the Katrina débâcle a video tape emerged showing Michael Brown warning George Bush that Katrina “might be the big one.”
Unfortunately, being able to perceive that the light at the end of the tunnel might be a train, doesn’t necessarily mean you know the way out of the tunnel. In short, from my perspective, Michael Brown did the best he could, he was just in over his head.
George Bush in his pick-up truck on his ranch in Crawford, TX. Secret Service wouldn’t let him drive it on the streets.
George Bush had been vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, TX. On the Monday the storm hit, he was attending a ceremony in California. He did not return to Washington until Wednesday following the storm and did not visit New Orleans until that Friday. It was 5 days before he arrived on the scene of what he called “our worst natural disaster in history.”
Unusable FEMA Trailers – Contaminated with toxic levels of formaldehyde.
FEMA under the Bush administration had given a no bid contract to Bechtel. They were to provide trailers to be used to house victims of major disasters until they could return to their homes. The problem was these trailers had toxic levels of formaldehyde. The people who were moved into them became ill. Of course law suits were filed. Needless to say, this gave FEMA a “black-eye” in the view of the public.
To sum things up, the government’s handling of Katrina was worse than a Chinese fire drill. People died who could have been rescued. The perception that the government was ineffective and more hindrance than solution, was reinforced in the minds of many.
When Hurricane Sandy struck we all, I included, expected the government response to be similar. No, I did not think it would be anywhere near as bad as it was under the Bush administration. Cronyism and incompetence simply oozed from the pores of the Bush administration. However the differences in the responses between the Obama administration and the Bush administration have been stunning!
Craig Fugate – Head of FEMA under President Obama
The first notable difference is, when it came time to select a Head of FEMA, President Obama hired the director of Emergency Management from the State of Florida, Craig Fugate. Why? Florida is in the line of fire 6 months out of the year during Hurricane season. Florida gets hit frequently. Thus when he hired Craig Fugate, he was hiring someone with actual experience in crisis management and disaster mitigation. Yes, competence makes a difference.
In the aftermath of Sandy, in the words of Dawn Zimmer, the Mayor of Hoboken, NJ, “I put out a call for help and within 90 minutes, FEMA and the National Guard were here.” The other difference? The day after the storm, President Obama was on the scene, viewing the damage, finding out what was needed and giving physical and emotional comfort to those who’d lost everything. George Bush? 5 days. President Obama? Next day. There is a difference.
A Real President
I’ve heard some make the claim that the President does nothing other than show up for “photo-ops.” The explicit implication – I know, borders on an oxymoron – is that the President is using a tragedy for political gain. While there is little doubt this has happened in the past, with President Obama this is clearly not the case. Sometimes it requires an “Act of God,” to cause people to realize what is truly important.
President Obama meets with Governor Christie in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has been an outspoken supporter of Mitt Romney and an ardent, vociferous, bombastic critic of the President. When Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey, that was his “come to Jesus” moment. Partisan politics went out the window and Governor Christie found himself in the awkward position of needing the help of the President of the United States for the people of New Jersey. When your home gets blown away, you don’t give a damn which party the person helping you belongs to. You’re just happy someone is extending you a helping hand.
President Obama Comforts Female Victim of Hurricane Sandy
Having a real President show up clearly means a lot in a time of despair. It clearly meant a lot to the people who’d lost everything. When President Obama took that woman in his arms and told her that everything was going to be alright and that our government was going to help her put her life back together, it carried the weight of a President who means what he says and says what he means.
Say what you will about President Obama, there’s one thing that is beyond dispute, whatever he says he will do, he does. He said he would defeat Al-Qaeda, he’s done that. When the question was asked in the primary debates, if he would go into Pakistan to get Bin Laden if he had actionable intelligence, he said he would and he did. He said he would pass healthcare reform, he did that. So when he tells a grieving lady that everything is going to be alright and that the government was going to be with her every step of he way, she tends to believe it and takes hope from it.
Aircraft Carrier turning
What can a real President do? First of all, he can cut through government “red tape” like a hot knife through butter. President Obama gave instructions that he didn’t want any hold ups or impediments to government aid. He can do a lot more. This is what I believe stunned Governor Christie. When the issue came up of helicopters coming in to bring supplies and assist in search and rescue missions, the problem was where to land them. President Obama picked up the phone and ordered 3 aircraft carriers to station themselves off the coast of New York and New Jersey, to act as mobile bases for the helicopters that would be needed.
C-130 being loaded
Getting the power back on? We’re Americans. When one State is in need, all of the United States pitch in to help. States all around the nation began rolling crews, equipment and trucks toward our Atlantic seaboard. California sent crews. When President Obama heard they were driving all the way from California to New Jersey and New York, he told them to divert to an airport where he would have C-130 military transports waiting to pick them up, trucks and all. This is what a real President can do. I’m damn glad we’ve got one.
Because fringe right-wing, neoconservative mass media outlet’s like Fox have the public so misinformed and dumbed-down to the facts that millions of people will be voting for Romney, someone they know absolutely nothing about. None of these people know who they’re voting for or against because their perception of reality is entirely based on lies, misinformation and racist, hate propaganda.
Decisions based on fear, hate or anger NEVER result in wise choices.
Also I do not subscribe to the story that both parties are the same camp. Yes most politicians are bought and paid for by the same banking and corporate entities, they all answer to the same puppeteers; and the military does it’s own thing regardless of the president. But, there are still fundamental differences in who and what each party stands for. The big thing to remember is Republicans will ALWAYS put monied interests before the welfare of the people and the environment, in addition their track record with honesty speaks for itself. The last four years – along with the 2012 presidential campaign – has been a race to the bottom for conservatives, with no lie left untold. I’ve never seen anything so pathetic or corrupted as the marriage between mass media and the Rebuplican/Tea Party, they’ve worked hand in hand to work the public into an ignorant frenzy of zombified racists, hate mongers and angry voters who have no idea what they stand for, what Romney stands for or how we got into this mess in the first place.
Published on Nov 1, 2012 by NewLeftMedia
Election observers believe that Ohio is the state most likely to decide who becomes our next President. These interviews were conducted with Ohio voters at a recent Romney rally in Defiance, OH.
See Interview B-Roll – Social Issues here: http://youtu.be/_6-ePaZ8148
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Very interesting read, Obama has my vote…yes, I’m voting. If I felt a third party candidate had a chance to win my vote would go there, unfortunately the way the system is set-up they represent token alternatives at best. At this point the GOP is counting on as many people staying at home or throwing their vote to a third party candidate in hopes to take away as many votes as possible from Obama, because the closer the race the easier it is to tinker with the numbers and steal the election as Bush did in 2000 and 2004.
Dear Friend and Reader:
Once I read an article in an astrology magazine about how to figure out who is going to win an American presidential election. “The person with the worst chart wins,” said the author, who had been paying attention for a while. Astrology, a vastly complex subject, often seems best suited for teaching in one-line quips.
I don’t want to predict who will ‘win’ the election, mainly because the process seems so heaped on with agendas, puppetry, muppetry, dishonesty, evasion, paranoia, Big Bird being served for Thanksgiving dinner and, most of all, way too much money, that I doubt there will be an actual winner. After a fuss, someone will take office, and sadly, the public seems to be the party that loses at every turn. That said, it’s now that time in the election season to look at the charts of these candidates. Before we go forward, I would like to give my official astrology disclaimer, paraphrasing our Terms of Service.
Barack Obama is seen with his step-father Lolo Soetoro (L), his sister Maya Soetoro and his mother Ann Dunham (C) in an undated family snapshot released by his campaign in 2008.
Astrology is not the truth. It is a form of personally applicable mythical fiction. Astrology is a story, which I am basing mostly on the charts of these two men, in accordance with my skills and intuition, and which to a lesser degree I’m basing on my knowledge of them as public figures. These are living people, which entitles them to a measure of respect, and they are public figures seeking vast amounts of power over our lives, which entitles us to examine them with careful scrutiny.
Before I read the charts, let’s do a birth data check. When doing natal astrology, it’s essential to have good data, or to know when you don’t. Such a big deal has been made of Obama’s birth certificate that we know his time better than any candidate, ever. He was not born in Kenya. He was born in Hawaii when it was not only an island but actually a state. His data gets the highest rating: AA (which means birth certificate in hand), even if Donald Trump doesn’t like it.
As for Romeo, his data gets an A rating, the second highest, by our profession’s most respected collector of birth data, the late Lois Rodden. (An A rating can mean ‘from memory’, because either he was wearing a watch when he was born, his mom told Rodden, or it was reported in the newspaper.) So: we have two candidates with good birth times, which helps us do an actual comparison of the charts.
Let’s start with Obama. [View both charts side by side here.] There’s only one thing I respect about him, which is an aspect in his chart. Obama’s regal Leo Sun is opposite a very weird minor planet: Damocles, named after the guy from the Greek legend.
I say weird because this little planet has an elongated (way elliptical) 40-year orbit, and it spends nearly all of its time in Aquarius. It then races through the other signs in a very short time, and then is back in Aquarius for what seems like forever. It was named for a slave (or courtier, in some tellings of the legend) who was envious of the magnificent fortunes of the tyrant he served. So the tyrant said, OK, you want to be king? Have a seat on my throne. Sitting there, he noticed a sword that dangled all the time by a single thread, usually over the king’s head but now his — and the thread could snap at any moment.
Mitt Romney, his sons Tagg and Matt, and wife Ann in the 1970s. Photo released by the Romney for President campaign.
Obama has his Leo Sun so precisely opposite Damocles that it really does feel like the sword hanging over his head by a thread (the opposition is exact to a quarter of a degree). To me this gives new meaning to the line, “Either his brains or his signature would be on the contract,” from the scene in The Godfather. This is the famous scene where the guy is made an offer he cannot refuse. Obama lives under this pressure all the time, which is why I think he would do something like sign the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) even if he didn’t want to.
You (as in you) can claim you wouldn’t sign a law that allows U.S. citizens to be arrested as enemy combatants, but then, you’ve never sat underneath that sword. You don’t have to think: I can do something noble, and my kids will grow up without a father. Well, maybe I’m giving him too much credit. He may be serving his role just as he expected to, and just as he promised he would.
Astrology depends on these things called houses, which tell us the environment where certain events happen. One is called the 8th house, important in astrology for many reasons (most often, a map to financial matters), though in part because it sometimes describes the nature and cause of death, and one’s relationship to the topic of death.
Obama has Mars there. He fears and indeed may expect a violent death, and he’s likely to be easily swayed by that idea. He doesn’t need it explained to him. He passes this fear off as a kind of intellectual construct, but it looks like he’s easily manipulated by the silent knowledge that he could end up like so many other politicians who refused the offer.
Obama has had a deeply troubled past — worse than we know about. He was subjected to some kind of extreme psychological cruelty as a child, and it haunts him constantly. The aspect is the Moon in the 4th house, conjunct Nessus, the centaur associated with these kinds of issues. The 4th is the house of emotions, security and family of origin. Obama is the living incarnation of The Drama of the Gifted Child, and he probably thinks he’s our therapist. He is also tapped into some deep, ancestral cruelty — a pattern of abuse that goes back generations, like a family tradition.
Obama family, official White House portrait by Pete Souza.
There is also a security and comfort factor here. It’s as if he was so often subjected to a morph of psychological and emotional abuse that he feels safe in a danger zone, which I guess should be a prerequisite for any president.
One problem, however, is that the aspect involves his Moon in Gemini, which under such stress has a way of splitting him in half; the psychological word is ‘dissociative’. This is a typical response to extreme abuse. What it does is give him the ability to subvert his feelings and his intuition, and to work with two separate sets of ethics, almost as if he’s two different people. One is obvious to see; the other, you have to look for carefully, going outside the mainstream media for your information.
He is extremely good at cultivating his friendly, neighborly PR image, but the split shows up, for example, in something I read on Alternet this morning: “Perhaps the most damning fact about Barack Obama is that his administration has indicted more than 100 people for distributing medical marijuana — and not prosecuted a single major Wall Street executive for fraud.”
This becomes a serious problem when we consider other aspects to his Sun, and nearby Mercury. Both are square Neptune (tense, 90-degree angle), which is not inherently given to honesty. In fact this is often a situation where the person must do a lifetime of learning and growth to learn what honesty even is, why it matters, what it means to be real with yourself, and why you want to be. There is an integrity problem here. Obama is a talented liar, helped by the fact that he’s the kind of guy who believes his own PR.
Obama was also born in the evening, moments after sunset. This puts many factors of his chart on the relationship side of the wheel, in the west, sometimes called the zone of projection. (He has a Leo Sun with Aquarius rising.)
Charts like this can produce people who will morph into whatever they perceive others need them to be, to get the approval they need. By itself, this can be worked with, but with so many other factors suggesting integrity problems, the bottom line is we have no idea who this person really is. This shows up in shadow form with the conservatives who cling to their ‘birtherism’, trying to claim that Obama is not American, or not loyal to the United States. They are seeing shadows and making up stories.
Mitt and Ann, on prom night.
Do we ever know who a public figure is, having had no direct personal experience with the person? There are always limits, of course, but some people are more transparent than others. And some are less. Obama is impressively opaque, though he seems transparent.
Let’s consider Mitt Romney. The first thing I see when I look at his chart is that Venus is the highest planet. This is his charm, if you can call it that; he’s charming in that B-rate actor playing a presidential candidate kind of way. This planet is placed right on his ‘presidential angle’ — the 10th house — and it’s what makes him Big Boss Man.
This guy is certain that he was born to be big. He cannot help it; it’s in his karma. He just knows for super duper sure that he’s cut of that old-fashioned presidential timber (and that part of his ‘destiny’ is that women are going to help him get there).
Venus, a planet involved with emotional receptivity and emotional intelligence, is in Aquarius. In her classic work, Secrets from a Stargazer’s Notebook, Debbi Kempton-Smith described this as a person who acts like an $80 robot from Sears. She wrote this in the 70s, I guess back when Sears sold toy robots. (Who knows — they still may.)
Have you ever seen that YouTube video of Romney campaigning for Senate in Massachusetts about 20 years ago? The one where he walks into a diner, and everyone is sitting around eating? “This is terrific! What’s going on here today?” As if he’s never seen people eating, he bumbles around: “Look, a room full of humans. What are they doing? Oh, they are consuming foodstuffs. Hello, consuming humans! I mean ‘fellow humans’ haha. What does your foodstuff taste like? Hello! I am a politician.”
It would be painful to watch, were it not so damned strange. I’ll come back to Venus in Aquarius — his whole chart pivots around this one placement. Note, if you have it, it doesn’t automatically make you a robot; you might just be a little like Mr. Spock. You might be able to feel your feelings; just make sure you can feel those of others, and you’ll be fine.
Romney was born with the Sun in Pisces, along with a cluster of other planets — Mercury, Ceres and Mars among them. Pisces is the sign of illusions; it changes constantly and evades accurate perception. Mercury happened to be retrograde in Pisces when he was born, which is like a long discussion with yourself, where you don’t necessarily tell the truth, and which can break into a full-on convoluted internal argument that nobody seems to win. It’s also about marching to the beat of a drummer that nobody else can hear.
Natal chart of Barack Obama. Damocles is indicated by the black capital D on the left side of the chart, which is exactly opposite the Leo Sun. He also has Aquarius rising, and a Gemini Moon. One thing that both candidates have in common is Gemini; Mitt Romney has it rising. Nessus is conjunct Obama’s Gemini Moon, in light blue, at the bottom center of the chart. See both charts side by side at this link.
The first thing I think of when I see this Pisces cluster is “pleasure seeking.” I know we think of Romney as “business guy,” but really he is Mr. Lifestyle. He wants you to know it, and he wants it to be visible. He can’t be humbler about his car elevator because he so desperately wants you to know he has one. What good is a car elevator otherwise?
This excess factor is confirmed by his powerful, very exact Scorpio conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter. This describes both sex and money: he can never get enough, no matter how much he has. How he goes about this doesn’t matter; it’s meeting the goal that does. This aspect screams with entitlement, as if he personally inherited the world. Maybe he was a Mormon on another planet, did very well for himself, and got the Earth as his reward.
Now, back to that Venus. I said that it’s the highest planet in his chart — the most elevated in the sky. That gives it a lot of what the old astrologers called ‘accidental dignity’. It makes him an elitist, the kind of guy who can only relate to others he perceives to be of his class. Even though Venus isn’t terribly happy in Aquarius, it’s particularly strong in Romney’s chart.
Strong — and under siege. It’s at one point of a cross — a fairly rare aspect called a grand cross. (This is four planets spread at 90-degree angles to one another.) To one side is the planet of psychological abuse (Nessus, which is also strong in Obama’s chart). For this guy, love is a bitter pill. To another side is Chiron, an aspect structure that I could write a book about, however, we see it demonstrated plain as day in his values about women, which are both conflicted and controlling.
And then Venus is opposed by a rare conjunction of Saturn and Pluto — chilly, detached and yet intense. There is a real drive for power here, and it’s all about him. I think we are looking at a sexual hypocrite to the highest order of magnitude. Washington D.C. is famous for this, though I think that Mitt Romney stands tall in this regard.
He impresses me as a three-hooker kind of guy. At least in his dreams, he needs the three most beautiful, best-dressed and (most of all) most expensive call girls in town. Then he needs them to do all manner of delightfully perverse things to him, simultaneously, for hours on end, till they finally start to get sleepy. That’s when he reminds them to vote for him, and invites them to church the following Sunday.
Mitt Romney’s natal chart, with Gemini rising, and a Pisces Sun. His Moon-Jupiter in Scorpio conjunction is on the right side of the chart, below the horizontal line. Venus is the blue planet toward the top right of the chart (next to the glyph with the circle and the X, which is the Part of Fortune.) He has Nessus in the 12th house (left side of the chart, above horizontal line, in light blue). It’s square his natal Venus, which illustrates his suspicion of women. Chiron (an orange key) is exactly opposite Nessus. Saturn and Pluto are at the bottom of the chart, skewed to the left. Link to both charts side by side.
Think of this as a consumerist form of polygamy. It’s also not sex for the sake of love, or human contact, or venting steam — which he seems unable to blow off in any event (the pressure just builds and builds). It’s sex for the sake of power, and getting over on people — just like he lives the rest of his life.
Romney gives me the impression of being 100 psi of scandal pumped into a 10 psi tire. He seems on the verge of exploding, and my impression is that sooner or later he will. True, his 8th house Juno in Sagittarius looks like he’s Mr. Monogamous Marriage. It can also say, “My wife is chattel, hence, all women are chattel.”
This looks good from the outside, because the family image he portrays plays right into a scenario most people think they can relate to. It’s vital to remember that politics is as much about image as your average television commercial.
We get a more concise statement of his true spiritual values in his 9th house Pholus in Capricorn (think Rupert Murdoch and News of the World). He can conceal all kinds of unusual things (including psychological distress, which may be medicated) in that Capricorn 9th, while maintaining the appearance of propriety. Mormons, particularly of his age, are conditioned to repress their sexual energy to an extreme degree, and when that happens it can have some strange manifestations. In my perspective, what is happening behind the scenes would actually be shocking to most people. Whether or not he takes office, this will come out in one form or another. If he does not take office, eventually there will be that, “My God, this guy could have been president” moment.
His 10th house Venus in Aquarius, aspected by Nessus, Chiron and the Saturn/Pluto conjunction, has him pulled in four different directions all the time. He ‘doesn’t know who he is’ because he’s split four ways down the middle; it’s like he’s drawn and quartered psychically. But he’s learned how to juggle this, and the man knows how to have fun. Especially in public office, which he wants more than anything in the world, and which in many ways he is simply not compatible with. I don’t think that a Romney presidency would end well, especially for him. This man has enemies, and most of them are Republican.
Which chart is ‘worse’? I think Obama has suffered more and, despite his political and psychological problems, I think he’s closer to his humanity. And I think that most people can feel this, mostly in the form of expecting more humane conduct from him. Just remember: Mercury stations retrograde on election night, so there really are no guarantees, including the outcome of whatever administration takes office on Jan. 20.
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 21:26
Written by Kerry Cassidy
For what it’s worth in this sound bite world… I had a dream about Obama last night. He is leaving office. I spent the night in the Oval office with him and his family… He is resigned to the fact that he is leaving. That it didn’t work out. He is relieved but saddened by the turn of events.
I spent hours talking with him. He’s not a bad man contrary to what people would have you think. He was groomed for this role yes, even genetically engineered for it. But as a soul he wanted more. However the Bush Cabal has held him in a tight grip. Strangle hold.
This is, anyway what I got. And I don’t know when he is leaving… whether he will win the election (he might as well) and then step down or what kind of drama will ensue.
Of course Romney is also run by Bush. But I don’t think he will win. Neither do they. According to my sources anyway, Obama is already selected as the ‘winner’. What does he or anyone running end up with under the circumstances….?
It’s like that ad on American Freedom Radio… the one with the comedian who says.. This guy runs for office. He finally wins. He reports to the oval office. They sit him down and show him the Kennedy assasination from an angle he’s never seen before. Then they ask him “any questions?”
This is America. It used to be a better place.
So blame Obama if you need a face and a name but that’s not it…. This country is run by a secret government. The President is a figurehead. End of story. Voting is a farce. Dream on.
We are the change we want to see in this world. The revolution is now. It is in the hearts and minds of the people. It is only going to be led by people like you and me.
Note: For what it’s worth ~ no pun ~ I completely agree with Kerry’s assesment on Obama. He’s the right man for the job, at the wrong time. The mass media is entirely controlled by right wing interests, after all there are only 3 or 4 players who have gobbled up all the U.S. major markets as well as the independent, small market media outlets including radio, television and print. They’ve even infiltrated the alternative news community to control the message, Since day one of his presidency the smear campaign was on full force, honestly I’ve NEVER seen so many lies, deceit and manipulation of the system as over the last four years. The president is by no means the most powerful man in the country, there is much that goes on he has no control over and no knowledge of ~ because the controllers want it that way. John F Kennedy was killed because he knew too much and was hell bent on stopping and exposing the corruption, and it got him killed. Since then, they’ve worked hard at keeping the POTUS as an uninformed figure head on many levels, who’s constantly up against the military industrial complex, Wall St bankers and corporations. All of which buy their influence in White House policy making. IMHO I believe he’s been working under the threat of harm to family members to make him tow the line. This is not to say he’s perfect and hasn’t made mistakes in judgement, but I honestly believe in the beginning he tried to do the right thing in Afghanistan by pulling troops out, but was up against to much resistance. And he wanted a universal healthcare system similar to Europe and Canada, but the insurance companies were not about to allow that to happen. No Way!
ANYONE who thinks Romney is a better choice has had their brains scrambled by mass media….period.
Tue, 23 Oct 2012 08:43 CDT
Tue, 23 Oct 2012 08:43 CDT
I have travelled this world much more extensively than either Obama or Romney, and I still do. I find everywhere, even in areas of conflict and economic difficulty, the vast majority of people are friendly, even kind, and have very similar aspirations, across cultures, to personal development and emotional fulfilment.
The striking thing about last night’s US Presidential “foreign policy” debate, is when it did occasionally discuss foreign policy, the world out there was discussed not as a place of vast potential, but as a deeply disturbing place full of foreigners who are, apparently, all evil except the Israelis, who are perfect.
The vast benefits from cooperation and trade with “abroad” were not mentioned once that I noticed (though I confess the thing was so awful my attention wandered occasionally). Europe apparently doesn’t exist, other than Greece which is nothing more than a terrible warning of the dangers of not being right wing enough.
The correct attitude to all these foreigners that God so unfortunately and inexplicably placed on this planet, is apparently to maintain incredibly large armed forces, murder people with drones (they were both very enthusiastic on this one), place sanctions on them and declare them “currency manipulators”. The only surprising note was that both agreed that they could not kill everyone in Iran.
But “We can’t just kill our way out of this mess” was spoken with regret, rather than as an affirmation of the possibilities of cooperation instead. What a grim and joyless world view. Maybe I had better not step out of this hotel into Africa this morning; those Islamists might get me.
Can the 2012 election get anymore corrupt? It’s almost as if they know something is about to happen that will change everything so they’re all just taking what they can and doing whatever it takes to steal this election…again. Maybe none of it willo matter in the end, especially if they know the planet is about to hit a reset point on December 21. At this stage of the game, it’s anyone’s guess…
20 Oct 2012 ‘Voting’ machines used in Hamilton County, Ohio–the county home of Cincinnati– are supplied by Hart Intercivic, a national provider of voting systems in use in a wide variety of counties scattered throughout the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Colorado and Ohio. Hart Intercivic is owned, in large part, by H.I.G. Capital–a large investment fund with billions of dollars under management–that was founded by a fellow named Tony Tamer. …H.I.G. employees hold at least two of the five Hart Intercivic board seats. Tony Tamer, H.I.G.’s founder, turns out to be a major bundler for the Mitt Romney campaign, along with three other directors of H.I.G. who are also big-time money raisers for Romney. Indeed, two of those directors–Douglas Berman and Brian Schwartz–were actually in attendance at the now infamous “47 percent” fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida. Two members of the Hart Intercivic board of directors, Neil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have made direct contributions to the Romney campaign. Solamere Capital–the investment firm run by Mitt Romney’s son, Tagg, and the home of money put into the closely held firm by Tagg’s uncle Scott, mother Anne and, of course, the dad, Mitt–have shared business interests with H.I.G. either directly or via Solamere Advisors which is owned, in part, by Solamere Capital, including a reported investment in H.I.G. by either Solamere Capital or Solamere Advisors.
[WHY are RMoney’s ‘voting’ machines still standing? They need to be dismantled and deep-sixed, ASAP. Otherwise, the same coterie of a**wipes is going to steal this election, too — as they did in 2000 (Florida) and in 2004 (Ohio) for George W. Bush. –LRP]
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Monday, October 15th, 2012 | Posted by Gordon Duff
Romney Candidacy Takes Major Blow as Bain Exposed as Cartel Cash Laundry
I can’t guarantee the video you will see will save your grandchildren or bring back our freedoms. What I can guarantee is this: Anyone who sees this will demand the immediate arrest of Mitt Romney and the entire Bush drug cartel.
[A Long Editors Note: This material is as much a disgrace to American media as anything else, on top of the Intel community who has sat by and watched these high level criminal organizations operate with government and even Intel protection. They were warned that the deeper the shadow gov guys got their hooks in the more aggressive they would be in ‘what they wanted’. But cowardice was the word.
YouTube – Veterans Today –
All those that took their phony oaths chose to keep enjoying their own gravy train ride to retirement and join the multiple pension and paycheck brigade, which has turned out to be what way to many of them were serving. We are now in a much worse situation, looking down a double barreled coup in action. Bush 911 was first, now the Romney ‘cleaners’.
The Bush family went to great lengths to hide their long time shady dealings, but Romney’s sliding by on his with all of this stuff just laying out there for anyone to find who wanted to. It’s proof that investigative journalism has been co-opted. Only ‘permitted’ kind is allowed, and against ‘approved targets’ only
We are truly showing the signs of a defeated people, a la the last days of Rome. The main difference of course is that there are no barbarian hordes coming. It’s the folks wearing the white robes and olive twine tiaras who are putting it to us.
Please comment below if the video is removed, rebloggers would be well advised to download this video because footage like this tends to disappear from YouTube…mahalo!
September 26, 2012
MIAMI—Responding to widespread criticism of voting procedures that have plagued the state since the 2000 election, the Florida Elections Commission announced Thursday its plan to experiment with new 600-lever voting machines.
The 22-foot-tall, 11-foot-wide steam-powered machines, which Florida officials are hailing as “the future of voting,” each feature more than 45 separate panels of levers, along with an intricate series of valves, knobs, cranks, pumps, and switches, all reportedly designed to help ease the electoral process and ensure accurate balloting this November.
“We hope these advances will allow Floridians to go to the polls this fall fully confident their votes will be counted,” said Elections Commission general counsel Tim Conner, explaining the “completely intuitive” machinery’s use of diagonally, vertically, and horizontally shifting levers, as well as 270 separate pistons designed to ensure chads are fully punched. “Voters simply place their ballot in the machine; enter their name, address, and social security number using the corresponding alphanumeric lever panels at the top; and then maneuver the remaining 564 levers to select a candidate.”
“And just to guarantee there is no confusion, voters will reconfirm each selection by repeating the 80 required steps using a second panel of levers on the machine’s side,” Conner added. “The whole system is designed to get voters in and out of the booth in no more than four hours.
Upon entering a polling place, each Floridian will reportedly be handed a 2,200-page instructional manual, the first 410 pages of which are devoted to teaching users how to start up the machine by operating a hand crank at the back and using the side valves to unbolt its 18 security locks—as well as step-by-step instructions on how to engage the pulley system that closes the booth’s curtain.
“Some of the levers are naturally a bit rusted and may require some extra jiggling, but other than that the process should be pretty straightforward if you read the manual,” said the machine’s inventor, Mason Reid, who went on to describe the series of pedals that voters must operate with their feet at all times to ensure the pistons and cylinders are adequately sprayed with coolant. “Every 10 minutes or so, voters will have to remember to go around back and pour more water in the boiler tank to ensure the steam engine stays operational. And then every hour, of course, they’ll need to shovel more coal in the firebox.”
“We’re also keeping a ladder nearby in case a bird gets caught in the smokestack and the voter needs to climb up to get it out,” Reid added. “Happens from time to time.”
According to early reports, Florida voters are being asked to bring a crowbar, a screwdriver, and tweezers to their polling place for a section of the process that requires them to crawl underneath the machine’s base and pry open a panel containing the 83 tiny switches necessary to print the final ballot.
Officials also noted that any minor voter errors at any point could be “easily remedied” by pulling a green lever right at the front of the machine that allows users to restart the process altogether.
Prototypes of the new device were used in seven Tallahassee-area voting precincts for this January’s Republican primary, and the Elections Commission deemed the experiment “largely successful.”
“The process got a little confusing when I had to manually shift the oscillating cylinders inside the engine during Stage 12 of the process, but at the end of the day I’m glad to have voted,” 79-year-old Tallahassee resident Angela Stern said. “I’m pretty sure I voted.”
Despite the fire that burned down a polling site after one of the trial machines overheated, officials said they are thrilled to see the how Floridians take to the new process this fall.
“Ultimately, the system is designed so that no matter who you’re voting for, you have a very simple 90 to 450 levers that will allow you to properly select your candidate,” Conner said. “Of course, if you decide to vote straight-ticket Republican, you can, alternatively, just hit the large red button right in the center of the machine and move on with your day.”
September 25, 2012
Part two of our series looking at how senators and representatives fare on important health issues. Action Alert!
With elections in just a few weeks, we’re reviewing which legislators have been good on our issues—and which have dropped the ball. (As we did last week, we’ve indicated with an asterisk those legislators who are up for reelection.)
As before, we assess our elected officials according to their activity in three important issue areas: your right to access natural health options; your right to choose toxic-free food and drink; and your right to the healthy food of your choice.
Action Alert! If your senator or representative is listed below, click the link in their name to send them a “You can do better!” message, and tell them how much their support of natural health issues means to you! (Don’t know who your representative is? Click here to find out!)
Your Right to Access Natural Health Options
For example, did they fight the Free Speech About Science Act, support the FDA’s Draft Guidance on New Dietary Ingredients (NDI), and support Sen. Durbin’s anti-supplement amendment?
Senate: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the disastrous Dietary Supplement Labeling Act, and Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Jeff Bingaman* (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin* (D-MD), Kent Conrad (DNL-ND), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirstin Gillibrand* (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar* (D-MN), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John McCain (R-AZ), Claire McCaskill* (D-MO), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Jim Webb (D-VA) all supported it. Even some senators whom we praised last week for their stance on toxic-free food and drink supported this dreadful bill: Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein* (D-CA), and Bernie Sanders* (I-VT).
When the bill didn’t go anywhere, Sen. Durbin tried to sneak some of the bill’s provisions into an FDA bill as an amendment, which was defeated through an outpouring of grassroots activism from people like you.
House: We’d like to draw special attention to Representatives Henry Waxman* (D-CA) and John Dingell* (D-MI), who have always been especially antagonistic toward nutritional supplements. Rep. Waxman tried to oppose DSHEA when it was introduced in 1994, and slipped an obscure anti-supplement measure into a Wall Street Reform bill in 2010.
Your Right to Choose Toxic-Free Food and Drink
House: Rep. Frank Lucas* (R-OK), head of the House Committee on Agriculture, allowed the insertion of two pro-GMO riders into the 2012 Farm Bill. And Rep. Fred Upton* (R-MI), chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, should have brought up several important bills for hearings and consideration—particularly bills concerning BPA exposure and the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed—but failed to do so. The bills languished in his committee.
One of our champions from last week, Rep. Jack Kingston* (R-GA), who was so instrumental in our work on the NDI draft guidance, unfortunately also allowed the terrible GMO riders into the Appropriations bill.
Your Right to the Healthy Food of Your Choice
For example, did they oppose a farmer’s market exemption from the Food Safety Modernization Act, oppose your access to raw milk, and support the school lunch program in classifying frozen pizza as a vegetable?
Senate: Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mark Udall (D-CO), both from big potato-producing states, joined with the National Potato Council to fight the limits on potatoes and other starchy vegetables in school lunches. Sen. Amy Klobuchar* (D-MN) wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack extolling the nutritional value of tomato paste; Schwan’s Food Service, which supplies frozen pizzas to 75% of US schools, is based in Minnesota.
House Opponents: Joe Pitts* (R-PA), chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, has not held hearings on bills concerning citizens’ access to raw milk and other health freedom bills.