Tuesday, December 18, 2012


After the senseless carnage in Connecticut that saw the death of 20 first graders and 6 adults, all from the same elementary school, Sandy Hook Elementary, I received this e-mail from Humanity's Team.

The e-mail describes several steps we can take, if we choose, to address the disaster, from volunteering to writing targeted e-mails.


Twenty first graders lost their lives with six adults last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Their loss follows horrific losses in Oregon, Colorado and countless locations before that including Norway, Germany, London and Australia. The responsibility to see that this never happens again now rests squarely with you and me.

Each person that falls to an automatic weapon from here out is our responsibility. If we speak up and courageously share what is true we can stop the slaughter. If we don’t speak up it will continue. We must not sit idle for a moment longer. We must do three things and we must do them now. First we must share we are all connected. Everything is part of One presence. Science is sharing this is true. We are all interconnected, interrelated and interdependent. Not only are we all connected, scripture tells us ‘we are made in the likeness and image of God’. We are connected in God/Divinity/Source. When we hurt another, we hurt our Self and when we hurt our Self we hurt the One presence, God. Very simply, when we drive an airplane into a building and kill others as happened on 9/11 or when we machine gun young first graders and the adults supervising them we are terminating life that is part of our Self and part of God. If we know this to be true we must share it because it is a powerful stop sign to killing and carnage.

Next, we must immediately ban automatic and semi-automatic weapons. They have no use except for mass killing. I met yesterday with Rabbi Zalman Schachter and his wife, Eve. They suggested we challenge the National Rifle Association to come up with a solution that bans automatic and semiautomatic weapons and still protects the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution (the right to bear arms). Let’s do this. Let's write to the National Rifle Association and challenge them to come up with a solution that accomplishes these things now, right now. Let’s tell them this is urgent and we will take this into our own hands if they don’t act fast, right now. Please write to the NRA now: https://nraila.org/secure/contact-us.aspx. Then, let’s keep up the pressure and do everything in our power to see that a ban on automatic and semi-automatic weapons is passed right away.

Finally, please send a quick note to your lawmakers: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml asking them to enact legislation so that the mentally ill can be better identified and helped. Mental illness is also a large component of the onslaught of gun violence. If we are One, then we are One with all our brothers and sisters, and they need our assistance too.

People often ask how it is that about 100,000 people have come together all over the world to be part of Humanity’s Team, an almost all volunteer movement that is awakening the world to Oneness. Very simply, it is our cause. The paradigm of connection, of Oneness will put an end to killing now and forever. Our connection, our Oneness is a timeless truth verified by more and more scientists. When this truth, ultimate reality, is not talked about it encourages crimes against humanity and nature. The reverse is also true. When we talk about our connection, our Oneness, we come into responsibility to each other (connection always creates mutual responsibility).

This is precisely the point at this sober moment in time. We must not allow a single other to fall to automatic or semi-automatic gunfire. It is our responsibility to put an end to it and to do this now. Are you in? Together, let's find our voice and let’s create the course correct that is long overdue. People’s lives depend on it.

Thank you.

In Oneness,

Steve Farrell Worldwide Coordinating Director
Humanity’s Team

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Human Firewalls

Congratulations Mr. President!

Obama did what many pundits said was impossible--get reelected in a down economy, where unemployment remains above 7%.

By the last count--with more possibly coming--the president had garnered 303 electoral votes to seal the deal, proving his critics wrong.

For all the billions that were poured into defeating this president, with Karl Rove's SuperPac leading the way, we learned that money has it's limits--it can get your message out, even with ample amplitude, but it can't necessarily sell your message, despite the repetition, if it's a lie.

When the final count is in, President Obama may have won all the battleground states, but one, North Carolina, although his statistical margin wasn't all that great in many of them.

Much has been said about the president's firewall--battleground states that would protect his path to victory and the White House.

As it turned out, the president's "firewall," and  "path to victory," weren't these states so much as those indefatigable workers that pounded the pavement to spread the word--promoting President Obama's achievements and vision for the future of this country.

It is to these workers, and those voters who stood in line, some as long as eight hours to cast their ballot, that I wish to acknowledge and thank. In the end, it was the voter, by refusing to be frustrated by the process, a process that had been designed to guarantee a win for Mitt Romney, that was the "firewall" (human firewalls) that created the "path" to the White House.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Symbol Of A Nation Lost!

Obama's Birth Certificate--The Symbol Of A Nation Lost

Responding to a blog posting at a blog of a black journalist, I left the following comments regarding the today's presidential election.

But before I do that, let me say this.

We're in the end game. Today, 11/06/2012, marks the culmination of a long election season, and the potential end to the administration of this nation's first black President.

Today, I'm feeling a bit ambivalent, not about giving the president another four years, which he's earned, and more than likely will receive, to finish what he started almost four years ago, but how I now view this nation, and its people, after four turbulent years of a Democrat administration that saw an absolute obstructionism from those on the Right regarding anything this president sought to achieve--all towards the purpose of not giving him a "win" that he might use to advance his reelection, employing a single-mindedness that would be the envy of a Roman emperor, although the empire might suffer as a result, that empire being the United States.

Conflating those hostile years with the voter suppression we're seeing in key battleground states that even now is convulsing the voting process, my ambivalence has reached a new high, forcing me to reconsider how much, going forward, I'm willing to devote of my personal wherewithal--my energies, my time, and my tangible resources--to the continued welfare of this nation.

If that sounds negative and hyper-cynical,  so be it. Perhaps I'll wait for a more fortuitous season, one where the values of democracy are better appreciated and generally prized, as they appear now to have undergone a throwback to a earlier time--a time that's all too familiar for its ruthlessness and racial animus.

Now to the comment I left on the blog, in response to some remarks that were made:

"I've seen so much anger, frustration, and hatred directed at Obama and Mitt Romney."

Clearly, I haven't seen all that you've seen, nor heard all that you've heard, but when it comes to the level--and amplitude--of "anger, frustration, and hatred directed at [the two candidates]," Obama wins that distinction hands down, not only during this election season, but for the better part of the four years he's been in office, remindful of ages gone by, where the niggerization of blacks was the national pastime.

"I'm pretty sure I can survive four years of Romney."

I can survive him, but I'm not sure that the nation can. Blacks, it's my belief, are watching this election closely, for the racial bellwether that it's becoming. Couple that with the voter suppression we're seeing in key battleground states, and you have in the making a total black disaffection--a turning of their collective back on this nation--a refusal to participate either in its economic growth, or in its survival as a superpower.

Black purchasing power is huge. In the future, blacks just might be more selective about where they put they money, and what they buy.

Whether Obama win or lose, the relationship between blacks and those in the majority will change appreciably--Republicans sought to steal this election and many whites on the Right stood by and watched it happen (finding justification for it), as well as some Republican blacks, notably Condi Rice, who lent her sizable reputation to Romney's bid for the White House, fully aware of the despicable tactics being used to effect that end.

To his credit, Colin Powell endorsed the president. Condi Rice, with her support of Romney, and thereby Republican policies and tactics, may be trying to land a key position in a RomRy administration, but those aspirations come at a high price--by trampling on her own people and failing to speak out against her party's contemptible treatment of this nation's first black president to realize those aspirations, will cause her, in the years ahead to lose a large chunk of black respect and black support.

Cable news is characterizing Romney's base as "hating" the black man in the White House--identifying the hatred as the key motivator driving them to the polls. What they're neglecting to tell you is just how angry black voters are, and blacks in general, as they watch the long lines at polling stations where early voting is allowed, but oftentimes at a reduction in hours and days, thanks to Republican state houses in swing states.

This suppression attempt--and the anger that ensued--will do more to mobilize black voters and bring them to the polls for President Obama (notwithstanding, standing in long lines for as long as it takes to vote), than it would have, had Republicans just allowed the voting process to go forward without the suppression.

They say that elephants have long memories. It's nothing compared to the memories of black Democratic donkeys that have been forced to eat the hay that the Right has served up liberally during Obama's tenure as president--and fairly recently in their effort to suppress the vote.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OH, I Get It!

Recently, on another blog, I responded to the following remark, and several others:

"Your little game of 'them bad, us good' is blinding you to the fact that both the Repubs and Obama are working the same game plan."

Here's my preamble to my response:

I'm under no illusion that both the Left and the Right are manipulating policy outcomes--and, before the coming of TeaPublicans, they did so from the sharp point of a bayonet where one side (primarily the Left) proposed to capitulate to the demands of the other to prevent something worse from occurring, or to score a minor (but necessary) victory on a particular front.

The political wrangling over the raising of the debt ceiling fits that category of threat avoidance by capitulation.

What makes this approach so attractive is that each side is allowed to be seen as supporting the values and wishes of their respective bases, when it fact they're abandoning them.

Nevertheless, I don't believe that we can conclude that, in every instance, Democrats and Republicans are following the "same game plan," as the comment above states, and to which I responded thus--and not without a sprinkling of humor and a smattering of irony:

Using your bizarro logic, Democrats are Republicans and Republicans are Democrats--one big happy party--without one shred of difference between the two: "Obama is playing along with the Republicans and dancing to their tune," or they're dancing to his tune.

One never knows does one?

Obama's plan is to leave Afghanistan by 2014, but that's not a Democrat plan, but a Republican one, which means that if Romney is elected and he stays past 2014, as the RomRy team has suggested, then it's not a Republican plan but a Democrat plan.

Oh, I get it!

Obama repealed DADT, which wasn't a Democrat plan, but a Republican plan, although it was Republicans whose whine could be heard "from sea to shining sea."

Oh, I get it!

We don't owe the suppression of votes in key battleground states to Republicans, but to Democrats, as that's what both sides really want, but aren't telling the rest of us.

Oh, I get it!

Ending the enforcement of DOMA wasn't a Democrat plan, but a Republican plan as there's no light between their policies on this issue, they just want us to think so.

Oh, I get it!

So when Republicans say that they'll introduce legislation to outlaw same-sex marriage, or to defund Planned Parenthood, or when Republicans engage in a contentious brouhaha over contraception, or the passage of legislation to force women to undergo transvaginal or transadominal ultrasounds, it's really the Democrats who're supporting this, although it's Republicans who're pushing it.

Oh, I get it!

When Democrats passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, or the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, it wasn't really Democrats who passed that, but Republicans. Republicans just whined about it to keep us all in the dark about where they really stood, but supported it with all their pachydermic might, from tail to tusk.

Oh, I get it!

So when Republicans said that they wanted to make Obama a "one-term president," and repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, they didn't really mean it, but were just playing a little joke on the nation, pushing, instead, their candidates, Team RomRy, just for the political exercise--push up and sit ups to strengthen the abdominal muscles and biceps of Democrats and Republicans alike.

Oh, I get it!

When Democrats bailed out GM, and passed the stimulus plan, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, it was Republicans who really wanted it passed, as it was their plan, too, but didn't want to crow about it.

Oh, I get it!

"Relative thinking is foolish, ignorant and dangerous in that we elect Republicans...like Obama."

Instead, we should elect a Democrat like Willard Mitt Romney.

Oh, I get it!

"Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it."

So we should elect a Republican that's a Democrat, or is it a Democrat that's a Republican.

Oh, I get it!

"You don't even understand that it was Obama who first suggested the cuts to Medicare, not the Republican party."

It was, then, Obama the Republican who suggested the cuts in the first place, but not the Republican party that's really the Democratic Party.

Oh, I get it!

"Your pied-piper is pushing Republican policy, again."

What we need, rather, is a Republican that's "pushing Republican policy," or is it Democratic policy. It's hard to tell since, as you say, "both the Repubs and Obama are working the same game plan... and it's certainly not for the public good."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What's Right of "Right"?

We can recite chapter and verse what's wrong with our democracy, and how that wrong has impacted our economy--including our individual economic well-being.

Standing back, I see two major defects in the body politic--a political system that thrives on special interest money, and a concomitant, pervasive sense of helplessness gripping the electorate, an electorate that has struggled in vain to take back the reins of government.
Nowhere has this been made more evident than in the 99%, Occupy Wall Street movements, which sought to bring attention to the wildfire raging across this nation, only to be beat back, derided, and pepper-sprayed for their trouble.
I'm what you'd call--paradoxically--a Realistic-Idealist. I see things as they are, but hold fast to the vision of how they might be.
For all that the two parties hold in common, there's still sufficient differences in their approach to governance--their political philosophies--to vote for one or the other. We know all too well where the two political parties' lines merge, but we fail to acknowledge where those lines diverge.
For example: Republicans are autocratic in their approach to winning and governing. Around 20 states are contemplating, or have passed, some voter-suppression legislation, or have purged their voters' rolls, in an obvious attempt to reduce the number of voters--and potential votes--for the Democratic party, preying on blacks, students, and the elderly.
I like the fire and water analogies. Yet, a "leaky faucet" for some is a deluge for others, and the acrid smell of smoke is already flaring the nostrils of those closest to the fire.
We all agree that, without a major shift of emphasis in this country's political and economic philosophies, this country's future as a superpower is in grave danger.
For now, my plan is to stay politically active. This activity will continue until such time the unthinkable happens--Republicans regain control of Congress and/or the White House.
With the fire growing ever so close, threatening both the house and its contents, it becomes paramount that we salvage what we can while doing what some have suggested--indemnifying ourselves against inevitable losses, while "mak[ing] preparations to escape the flames."
Despite the proximity of the fire, we can still make a difference. We can still salvage some things before the roaring flames are allowed to fully consume the house, but not with a Republican administration.
For example: With a Democratic administration, and a supportive congress, we can salvage the Affordable Health Care Act, the current, hard-won law that Millard Mitt Romney has prioritized to repeal as his first official act as president. The Act, not perfect by most metrics, is still better than what preceded it, although a growing number of Americans are opposed to it, which brings me back to the article, "The 1 Percent's Problem," which suggests that people are hardwired to seek their own self-interest.
I say: People are more interested in “being right” (pun intended), even if it kills them!
As a people, we're becoming more and more preoccupied with our own well-being, and less with the well-being of our neighbors, be it their physical or economic well-being.
The prevailing attitude, encapsulated this way--"I've got mine, get yours"--has entered the mainstream of American thought, perhaps driven by conservative talk radio, and a depressed economy placing strain on social services, as the cost for life essentials outpaces family incomes.
With a Democratic administration, and a supportive congress, we can continue our troop draw down in Afghanistan, and foil a potential re-engagement by a hawkish Republican administration, believing that the Obama administration has prematurely abandoned what could be--were we to remain indefinitely in Afghanistan--an indisputable victory.
We can continue to use measures short of war to force Iran to discard its nuclear ambitions, rethink its relationship with Hezbollah, and abandon its supposed plans for the destruction of Israel.
With a Democratic administration, and a supportive congress, we can approach our national debt, not with austerity programs only, but with programs that stress economic growth and expansion. We have seen--by taking account of the lack of success of some countries in the Eurozone with austerity--just how ineffective austerity can be in a down economy--plunging these countries once again into the throes of a recession.
With a Democratic administration, and a supportive congress, we can end the War on the Poor, as outlined in the Paul Ryan Budget, salvaging Medicare without privatizing it, and strengthening Social Security for future generations without gutting key provisions--allowing a portion of it to be invested in a volatile stock market. 
With a Democratic administration, and a supportive congress, we can not only wind down the Afghanistan war (which is now this nation's longest), but bring our bloated defense budget more in line with our current threat assessment, and resist the cry (occasionally by Willard Romney and other saber-rattling Republicans) to keep America strong with an even stronger military, accusing President Obama and his administration of "weakening"
America's  military resolve and readiness.
With a Democratic administration, and a supportive congress, we can bring more balance to this nation's Supreme Court, and the entire federal-court system--countering efforts by Republicans to stack the courts with members of their own party and political persuasion.
Realizing that the federal courts are the last recourse for their draconian laws, and their desire to legislate clear political advantages for their party, Republicans have systematically held up court appointments, while packing the courts with members that often support their radical, conservative agenda.
With a Democratic administration, and a supportive congress, we move one step closer to clinching a deal for a massive infrastructure project, one that will build new roads, and replace dilapidated and unsafe bridges, while putting back to work construction workers, and contractors, while boosting related businesses.
Economist, Paul Klugman, in his new book, "End This Depression Now," is urging the hiring and rehiring of our nation's first responders--police officers, and firefighters--as well as teachers and nurses--groups that have seen their numbers slashed over recent years, because of a loss of state and local government tax revenues during the housing crisis, and the job-reductions that ensued.
In my city alone, firefighters are receiving pink slips, and fire stations have closed, one that would have responded to a fire at my resident had the need presented itself, requiring now a longer response time.
It's axiomatic, that the Republican-held House--currently spending more days in recess,  than in actual work--won't pass the president's jobs bill, and neither will they introduce any of their own, for fear that a recovering economy--and a sanguine employment outlook--will help the president's reelection bid.
Just as it's the first responsibility of a bureaucracy to survive, Republicans will pass no laws that will put Americans back to work in substantial numbers, as the survival of their party hangs in the balance, as they pin their hopes on a continued sluggish and struggling economy.
If asked, I'm sure Republicans wouldn't call their actions un-American, just good business sense, coupling their interests with that of the American people--saying essentially, "What's good for the party is good for America."
Strangely, many Americans aren't upset with this tactic, as Republicans have managed to spin our economic situation to their advantage—even as they promise further tax cuts for the 1%, the uber-rich "job creators"--pledging to reduce our national debt by downsizing government,  and reducing food stamps, and other safety-net programs for the poor.
We're learning--to our chagrin--that people don't always vote their self interest, but their perception of that self-interest (an interest usually molded by others), and are more incline to adhere to established principles, to be right regardless of cost, than to acknowledge the failure of those ideologies to which they've given their heart and
With a Democratic administration, and a supportive congress, we might see higher taxes on the rich, the passage of the Buffett Rule, and full funding for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
To be sure, the Act does little to address "too big to fail," and other measures that brought this nation's economy to its proverbial knees. But it's a start and, with a little luck, the law may be strengthen under a Democratic congress.
Frankly, it's time that the 1 % pay their fair share, since many of them, and their children, aren't volunteering to fight the wars waged on their behalf, and on behalf of the military industrial complex, from which some of their wealth is derived, with the military subsidizing the true cost of providing oil to an oil-gluttonous nation, by keeping
shipping lanes open, piracy to a minimum, and masking the true cost of a gallon of gas.
With a Democratic administration, and a supportive congress, the federal government could take the lead in ending the War on Women, and their need for low-cost contraception to keep abortions to a minimum by providing a shield against the assault of sex-crazed men, who feel that condoms reduce the pleasure of sex, and that abortions are the answers in cases where child support may be imposed.
We would see an end to the attacks on Planned Parenthood at the federal level, threats from Willard Romney to bring it down--and hopefully a federal push to squash new Personhood legislation, to honor a woman's right to choose, and to keep Republican control statehouses from prescribing unnecessary medical procedures--transadominal
and transvaginal ultrasounds--and, in the process, coming between doctors and their patients, all in an effort to discourage women considering abortions.
In recent months, the demand for ultrasound technicians has quadruple!
With a Democratic administration and a supportive congress, we would see an end to the incessant wrangling over extending the nation's debt ceiling; we could then put in place sound fiscal policies, and reasonable cuts over time to reduce the debt, restoring the nation's AAA credit rating in the process, while preserving critical programs that would negatively impact the poor and the overall economy were they to be cut.
The Republicans' resistance to raising taxes on the top earners to achieve that end--presumably honoring their pledge to Grover Norquist--places an undue burden on society's most vulnerable members--the poor.  As the economy resists rebounding, the plight of the poor garners less and less empathy from lawmakers, with congressional Republicans squarely blaming the unemployed for their out-of-work status.
With a Democratic administration and a supportive congress, the assault on gays and lesbians will diminish--as will calls for a Constitutional provision outlawing same-sex marriage, threats to reinstate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and promises to enforce DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.
As Jesse Jackson has famously said, "We have to keep hope alive."
Although not much of a Jackson fan, the sentiment expressed in that aforementioned statement, captures precisely where this nation now stands--our crossroad, so to speak--that may become our cross if we don't choose wisely.
As the ravenous fire approaches, having consumed everything in its path, we--the American people--will have to decide what possessions are worth saving (since we can't salvage everything)--and what can be allowed to perish along with the house, if it comes to that.
 In "The 1 Percent's Problem," the author says this of "rent seeking" and the "rent seekers":
"In a broad sense, "rent seeking" defines many of the ways by which our current political process helps the rich at the expense of everyone else, including transfers and subsidies from the government, laws that make the marketplace less competitive, laws that allow C.E.O.'s to take a disproportionate share of corporate revenue (though Dodd-Frank has made matters better by requiring a non-binding shareholder vote on compensation at least once every three years), and laws that permit corporations to make profits as they degrade the environment."
Although both parties have had a hand in creating the economic conditions that contribute to the income disparities that face this nation, Republicans--almost single-handedly--have become the party almost exclusively devoted  to "rent seekers," convincing a growing number of the electorate that their personal interests lie with those exploiting the system--the "rent seekers."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I thought Eastwood was chair-itable to Mitt. He created a moment that Mitt will chair-ish all his life.