"He Couldn't Take it Anymore"--The Real Cost of those Low Prices at Wal-Mart

"...The collapse of the American economy and its effect on the worldwide economy is directly related to the debt bubble created by an underpaid and often underemployed or unemployed American workforce that used credit to survive during a period of decline in real wages for the American worker...."

By Grant Lawrence

Recently a 58 year old employee of Wal-Mart set himself on fire in the store parking lot. A Wal-Mart employee reported the man just "couldn't take it anymore."

Although I don't know the exact reasons for this man's particular suicide, I do know that people are more apt to commit suicide when they are under a great deal of stress and feeling a great deal of despair.

You might say this man was lucky enough to have a job.

But America has been transformed into a place of "haves and the have nots". A formerly prosperous and growing American middle class has shifted into a large and growing working poor represented by a Wal-Mart workforce.

Wal-Mart has been notorious for low wages, working its employees off the clock, inadequate and costly health insurance, discrimination against woman, violations of child labor and the use of undocumented workers, anti-unionization efforts, and violations of workers safety.

But even if you don't care about the guy that lit himself on fire at Wal-Mart or the emotional trauma and exploitation of those subjected to the dehumanization of a "Wal-Mart" economy. You might be concerned about the cost of this "Wal-Mart" economy to your pocket book.

Sure you can buy some cheap plastic junk and some cheap groceries, but Wal-Mart has decimated American small business and has soaked communities of a great deal of their tax revenue.

"The subsidies Wal-Mart lobbies for run the whole gamut: free or reduced-price land, infrastructure assistance, tax increment financing (TIF), property tax abatements or discounts, state corporate income tax credits, sales tax rebates, enterprise zone tax breaks, job training funds and low-interest tax-exempt loans. The most deals and dollars were found in Texas (30 deals worth $108 million) and Illinois (29 deals worth $102 million)."

Also, when workers are being paid well below the living wage for an adequate living and mostly working part time. Then you have workers that are not able to pay much in taxes and must depend on the government for subsidies to survive.

In fact, those low Wal-Mart prices have helped bring about a transformation of the American economy into a what we see today.

The collapse of the American economy and its effect on the worldwide economy is directly related to the debt bubble created by an underpaid and often underemployed or unemployed American workforce that used credit to survive during a period of decline in real wages for the American worker.

Most of us are aware of the phenomenon of several workers in a household (mom, dad, and kids) struggling to make the household income of just one American worker in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Unfortunately, the American economy can no longer sustain the low prices of Wal-Mart and the other big box corporate retail stores which

When you have an underpaid and underemployed American worker then you have a consumer that can no longer afford to keep the American and world's economy moving and growing.

Sadly the abuse and dehumanization that came with the Wal-Mart economy has not only wrecked the American psyche along with their incomes, but it has also spread throughout the economy of the world in the form of our present collapse.

The real cost of the American Wal-Mart economy has rippled through the world in the form of an economic collapse.

Jindal's Office Tries To Spin Katrina Story, Digs Itself In Deeper

By Zachary Roth - February 27, 2009, 4:48PM

It looks like Bobby Jindal's staff has been trying to do some damage limitation on that phony Katrina story -- with some help from Politico. But it's blowing up in their faces.

Picking up on an earlier post at Daily Kos, we wrote a post yesterday that raised questions about a key anecdote in Bobby Jindal's big Tuesday night speech.

You can watch the key excerpt here, but here's the transcript:
During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine. When I walked into his makeshift office I'd never seen him so angry. He was yelling into the phone: 'Well, I'm the Sheriff and if you don't like it you can come and arrest me!' I asked him: 'Sheriff, what's got you so mad?' He told me that he had put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. The boats were all lined up ready to go - when some bureaucrat showed up and told them they couldn't go out on the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration. I told him, 'Sheriff, that's ridiculous.' And before I knew it, he was yelling into the phone: 'Congressman Jindal is here, and he says you can come and arrest him too!' Harry just told the boaters to ignore the bureaucrats and start rescuing people.

In our post, we reported -- among other red flags -- that we couldn't find any news reports that put Jindal on the ground in the affected area during the time when a boat rescue would have been needed. As we noted, we called Jindal's office twice before posting to ask them to verify the incident, but heard nothing back.

This morning, Politico's Ben Smith, noting that we and others had raised questions about Jindal's story, posted a response from the governor's chief of staff, Timmy Teepell:
It was in the days following the storm. Sheriff Lee was a hero who worked tirelessly to rescue those in danger, and he didn't take kindly to bureaucrats getting in his way.

That didn't really seem to clear things up either way -- indeed it admitted that it wasn't "during Katrina" as Jindal had originally said. Still, the headline of Smith's post characterized the statement as "stand[ing] by" the anecdote.

Team Jindal probably would have been wise to leave things there.

Instead, they went back to Smith, now telling him, in Smith's words, that Jindal "didn't imply" on Tuesday that the story "took place during the heat of a fight to release rescue boats." (Take 30 seconds to read Jindal's actual words, and you'll see that's flatly untrue -- but no matter.) Rather, Jindal spokeswoman Melissa Sellers told Smith, "It was days later .. Sheriff Lee was on the phone and the governor came down to visit him. It wasn't that they were standing right down there with the boats."

Smith added:
She said she thought Lee, who died in 2007, "was doing an interview" about the incident with the boats when the governor described him yelling into the phone.

In other words, Jindal only heard from Lee later that this had happened. He didn't actually see it happening and played no role in it himself. We posted a few hours ago, noting that Jindal's office had admitted the story was false.

But then things got weirder: Jindal's people went back for yet more.

Smith soon posted an update explaining that he had misunderstood Sellers earlier. According to Teepell, Smith now wrote, rescue efforts were in fact still underway when Jindal met with Lee. And Jindal overheard Lee yelling on the phone to justify a decision he had previously made, not giving an interview about the episode, as Sellers' earlier version had had it.

In fact, that whole thing about Jindal overhearing Lee giving an interview? It's now gone from Smith's post (though, thanks to the dangers of syndication, it remains here) as if Jindal's office never said it.

There's more. Amazingly, Sellers then argued to Smith that there is no difference between Jindal's original story as told Tuesday night, and the one her office finally settled on this afternoon. And even more amazingly, Smith added another update in which he transcribed that argument without comment, as if it were reasonable.

Then the capper: With Jindal's office now satisfied with the third iteration of its story -- a version that clearly acknowledged that the first version, told Tuesday night to millions, was false -- Teepell went back to Smith with the following comment:
"This is liberal blogger B.S. The story is clear."

And Smith, in yet another update, published it.

Good work all round!



New Rules From Bill Maher For February 27, 2009

Social Security (Tax on the Poor) Runs A Surplus

Source: nthought

The facts.

The federal government "borrows" from your social security to pay down part of the deficit created by Bush's tax cuts, which mostly went to the rich. It was under Reagan that social security was reformed (taxes raised) and the income tax system was made more flat. This led to a major general deficits, which of course, was paid down by the social security tax which was running surplus. The social security tax is a regressive tax used to pay for a tax breaks for the rich.

George Bush and Ronald Reagan essentially both stole from the poor to give to the rich. Now they tell us that Social Security is becoming insolvent. The fact is, social security will run surpluses until 2017, and will be solvent for decades more. Had the government kept it's hands off of it, it would be solvent much longer.

But no, they're not going to shoot you straight. They want your money. They own you. They own this place...

about 3 minutes in, Carlin, as usual, 100% correct.

"It's a big club, and you aint in it"

Obama--The War President

By Grant Lawrence

President Obama has decided to continue the policy of American Global hegemony. Obama has had a rare opportunity to make a real change in American foreign policy but instead has decided to opt for Bush Lite--a foreign policy a little more palatable but almost as deadly.

Recently the President has asked for $205 billion to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan until 2010. Although the spin in the managed media is that Obama is ending the war in Iraq by 2010. The President will still have close to 50,000 American troops in Iraq after that date.

If you recall, last year Bush had been negotiating a troop withdrawl with Iraqi Prime MinisterNouri al-Maliki and it called for a deal in which all combat troops would withdraw by 2010.

President Obama has promised to expand the war in Afghanistan and has recently sent another 17,000 troops there. But the Obama Administration is also expanding the war into Pakistan with the recent drone attacks on Pakistani villages.

So Obama's decisions to continue occupying Iraq with a large military presence and military bases for many years to come, to expand the war in Afghanistan, and to extend military attacks into Pakistan is pretty much what you would expect from our former NeoCon Doctrine of Empire.

Also Obama's silence last December and later support for the Israeli war on Gaza was pretty much a NeoLib response to the usual NeoCon support of Israeli atrocities.

So far President Obama has proven that American foreign policy will run a course dictated by the military industrial complex no matter who is President, as many of us suspected before the election.

His recent actions have made him our new "War President" and unfortunately they are a continuation of failed Bush policies. The United States will continue to occupy that region of the world for Oil and strategic positioning but it will be a costly and deadly move. So far it has taken over a trillion dollars, more than a million dead Iraqis, thousands of dead Americans, and tens of thousands of wounded Americans to put some bases in Iraq and set up a puppet government.

How many more lives and at what cost will it take to continue the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Americans voted for change and a President that believed in peace last November. What America got was the NeoLib version of a Neocon vision of empire and global dominance.

America got itself a new War President.

Jindal Admits Katrina Story Was False

Looks like the game is up.

Remember that story Bobby Jindal told in his big speech Tuesday night -- about how during Katrina, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with a local sheriff who was battling government red tape to try to rescue stranded victims?

Turns out it wasn't actually, you know, true.

In the last few days, first Daily Kos, and then TPMmuckraker, raised serious questions about the story, based in part on the fact that no news reports we could find place Jindal in the affected area at the specific time at issue.

Jindal had described being in the office of Sheriff Harry Lee "during Katrina," and hearing him yelling into the phone at a government bureaucrat who was refusing to let him send volunteer boats out to rescue stranded storm victims, because they didn't have the necessary permits. Jindal said he told Lee, "that's ridiculous," prompting Lee to tell the bureaucrat that the rescue effort would go ahead and he or she could arrest both Lee and Jindal.

But now, a Jindal spokeswoman has admitted to Politico that in reality, Jindal overheard Lee talking about the episode to someone else by phone "days later." The spokeswoman said she thought Lee, who died in 2007, was being interviewed about the incident at the time.

This is no minor difference. Jindal's presence in Lee's office during the crisis itself was a key element of the story's intended appeal, putting him at the center of the action during the maelstrom. Just as important, Jindal implied that his support for the sheriff helped ensure the rescue went ahead. But it turns out Jindal wasn't there at the key moment, and played no role in making the rescue happen.

There's a larger point here, though. The central anecdote of the GOP's prime-time response to President Obama's speech, intended to illustrate the threat of excessive government regulation, turns out to have been made up.

Maybe it's time to rethink the premise.

Late Update: Politico's Ben Smith has updated his post with the following:
UPDATE: I'd initially misunderstood Sellers to be saying Jindal and Lee didn't meet while rescue efforts were still underway. In fact, she said, the conversation took place in the aftermath of the storm, but after the boat incident.

"Bobby and I walked into Harry Lee's office - he's yelling on the phone about a decision he's already made," Jindal chief of staff Timmy Teepell recalled. "He's saying this is a decision I made, and if you don't like it you can come and arrest me."

Teepell said the exchange took place in the week following Katrina, when Jindal visited Jefferson Parish multiple times.

"He was boots on the ground all the time," he said.

This doesn't seem to bear on the key question. As we said, the key elements of Jindal's story were that he was in Lee's office during the crisis itself, and that his support for the sheriff helped ensure the rescue went ahead. Neither of those things was true, it now seems.

SOURCE: TPM Muckraker

FOX claims Jindal skipped CPAC for “state business,” not Disney World

On FOX News Channel Thursday, Carl Cameron claimed that Bobby Jindal missed the Conservative Political Action Conference to attend to “state business” (which Cameron said was reasonable because of the economic recession). The truth, however, is that Jindal wasn’t even in his home state — he was actually on vacation in Florida, at Disney World.

The Conservative Strategy

Have half the country believing there is a good old fashion culture war taking place in America, any proof will be viewed as just the Intellectual Elite attacking the good old American Values of hard working folks.

All over the media broadcast that the Intellectual Elite are attacking America, you don’t need proof when you can have repetition. Turn any actions to promote science and education into a rallying cry to use to wage war against all of science.

Science will start to be viewed as a cult religion, Universities will be viewed as Elitist Clubs, Teachers will be viewed as union pawns who’s only purpose is to spread liberal heresy. Truth will be a matter of perspective as logic and reasoning become viewed as tools of the Evil Elitists.

Teaching of the scientific method, evolution, and logical fallacies and even math, except for in select technical schools, will all be banned.

Knowledge will become the enemy and logic a menace, we will no longer have to worry about ruling a nation under laws as knowledge, logic and truth become suspect, then so to are the laws. This nation will be ruled as we see fit, as the Constitution and all Laws will be just quaint relics from a different time that only Activist Judges will care about.

The "Oasis" Music Video - From "Who Killed Amanda Palmer"

A trip to the lighter side.


Conservatives Don't Know the Difference Between Socialism and Fascism

By Mark Naccarato, NASHVILLE

Source: The Tennessean.com

Here come conservatives with their screaming cries of “socialism” directed at any new approach to government that is different from their failed ones. To hear them tell it, “socialism” is an existential threat to the American way of life.

Let’s take a moment to examine what socialism actually is. As defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, socialism is “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”

By that definition, and by most other standard definitions, things like 401(k) plans, public ownership of stock, police and fire departments, the highway interstate system and even the United States military fall under the correct definition of the term “socialism.”

So, either conservatives don’t actually know what socialism is or they are against all these things. Which is it? And while we’re at it, perhaps our conservative friends can take a look at the real definition of another word they like to throw around a lot these days: fascism.

From Merriam-Webster, fascism is “a political philosophy, movement, or regime … that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition.”

Hmm. That sounds like a political philosophy that sounds familiar (and comforting?) to conservatives.

Things to Come--A Green Economy or an Eco Nighthtmare?

By Grant Lawrence

"....But what we have seen is that the time since 2000 was a period of rapid economic growth, and it was also a period of time where a large fraction of the economic growth was fueled by electricity based on coal, and coal is the energy source that releases the most CO2 per unit of useful energy that’s released. The consequence of that is that we have seen a very rapid increase in CO2 emissions....
Chris Field, a leading member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says the current trajectory of climate change is now much worse than the IPCC had originally projected. (Democracy Now)

Just as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is warning that the earth's warming is much worse than previous climate models had proposed, there is the news that some Southern governors are waging a "water war" over the rights to Lake Lanier.

If a water war is beginning in the American South, Dr. Field of the IPCC believes that things could be very bad for the American Southwest.

According to Dr. Field," We basically see a big tongue of area that extends from California to about Oklahoma, where the combination of decreased precipitation and increased temperature, increased evaporation, leads to decreased river runoff. And that decrease is quite large, in the range of 25 to even 35 percent. It really projects a period of extreme stress on water resources, limited availability of water for all of the kinds of water users that are out there, from agriculture to industry to cities to in stream ecological uses."

As the world's climate is drastically changing at an alarming rate, it is imperative that the people of the world demand a real change from our governments in dealing with the climate crisis.

The water war that we are seeing in the American South is surely a sign of things to come.

Still there is also a hopeful sign of things to come in that people, especially young people, may finally be getting the message on the climate crisis. A large protest is being called in Washington DC at a coal fired plant and it promises to be the largest act of civil disobedience against global warming in this country.

The solution to help offset global warming is that a real Green Economy has to be initiated along with conservation. This Green Economy has the potential of moving the world beyond its present economic depression by creating new technologies, investments, and jobs. But this Green Economy will also mean that our children will have a future and that humanity prospers in that future.

Hopefully, President Obama and other leaders of the world will begin to make good on their promises of combating global warming. In the face of an extreme crisis in global climate change that has emerged, even beyond the old projections on climate change, the people need to make Obama and the rest of the world's leaders go Green.

Source: Bodhi Thunder



Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called President Obama's plan to fix the economy "irresponsible" and certain to increase taxes and federal debt. "The way to lead is not to raise taxes and put more money and power in hands of Washington politicians," said Jindal, who gave the Republican Party's response to Obama's speech. The stimulus bill will expand the government, "increase our taxes down the line, and saddle future generations with debt," he said.

Jindal, widely thought to be considering a presidential bid in 2012, said Republicans wanted to work with Obama but criticized Democrats for placing "hope in the federal government." He invoked the memory of Hurricane Katrina to make his point. "Where we agree, Republicans must be the president's strongest partners," said Jindal. "And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward."


An Expert in Economics Explains Why the Rich Shouldn't Pay More in Taxes

By Grant Lawrence

“The income distribution has to stand.... By trying to alter it with a more progressive income tax, you end up in problematic circumstances. In the current world, there will be people who will move from one tax area to another. I am proud to be an American. But if the tax became too high, as a matter of principle I would not be working this hard.”
Kenneth C. Griffin, who received more than $1 billion last year as chairman of a hedge fund, the Citadel Investment Group.

The economic situation is very confusing to me. President Obama is talking about having the rich pay a greater share in taxes. But I just don't know about that. There are a lot of rich people and a lot of folks in the media telling us that it is not good to have the rich pay more in taxes.

So when I get confused like this I usually take a trip to talk to a big time economist at a major Ivy League university for a little more clarification. Unfortunately, he doesn't give me permission to use his name so I will just call him Dr. Reaganomics.

The good doctor eloquently and passionately explained to me last September, right after the collapse of the economy, all about the "new global economy" and how the rich were too important to fail and needed bailouts. So I figure if anyone could help me understand about taxing the rich, it should be Dr. Reaganomics.

"Oh, it is you again," Dr. Reaganomics looked pained to see me.
"Yes, Hello professor I have a couple of questions for you about taxing the rich," I said.
"OK, but make it quick," last time you took too much time," he said

Dr. Reaganomics, if the top 1% of wage earners have more wealth than the entire lowest 95% of wage-earners, wouldn't it make sense that they should pay their fair share in taxes?" I asked.

"As I previously explained to you, the rich are special," he said.

"They keep the economy moving and everyone benefits. They are not only too big to fail but they are too big to pay too much in taxes. You see if the rich had to pay more in taxes then that would interfere with the money we are giving the banks to bail the rich out of their risky schemes and bad investments. To take more money from the rich would simply defeat the purpose of taking the trillions from tax payers in the bail outs. The rich need their money to invest in hedge funds and various financial instruments so that they can grow richer and thus everyone benefits. It's all very simple." Dr. Reaganomics was smiling as he related the wonders of the new economy.

"Dr. I realize that you are an expert on the economy, but still I don't see how taking money out of the pockets of the rest of the 95% of Americans to bail out the rich helps the economy. If 95% of Americans have a lot less money to spend doesn't that hurt the economy?" I asked.

"The economy is a free market in which the rich must be free to earn as much as the people can give them. This goes beyond economics. This is a question of liberty and freedom. The rich must be at liberty to take your money and pay less than their fair share in taxes because that is the beauty and wonder of capitalism. The capital has to go to the top because it is the rich that invest in hedge funds and risky investment instruments and thus everyone benefits. Who else will be able to risk the capital in these instruments if the rich don't have the money to do it. If we tax the rich more then they will not be able to invest in risky financial instruments to grow their wealth," Dr. Reaganomics said.

I could see that he was clearly getting annoyed with me now.

"But Dr.," I demanded, "isn't it a question of fairness that the rich 1% that have more than 95% of Americans pay a greater share in taxes."

"The economy is all about freedom and fairness is never a question to be considered. When you introduce fairness into the economy then you are going to have a lot of fairness but the rich will be less rich and thus that will hurt everyone. Again the whole idea of the "new economy" is to allow the rich to get richer so we cannot tax them more or expect them to take losses on their grand investments. It would interfere with the freedom of the rich to get richer. After all, you idiot, they are rich and if they weren't rich then who would the economy serve?" Dr. Reaganomics was clearly angry now.

"Isn't the economy supposed to serve everyone?" I asked.

"Again you are hopelessly lost in fairness and serving everyone. This is the talk of Democrats at election time but it should never be considered when talking about the taxes and the economy. It is all about freedom, my simple friend. The freedom of the rich to risk the world's wealth and to gain the rewards so that everyone benefits. Unfortunately, as I stated, when we tax the rich more they can't take as many risks," he said emphatically.

"But Dr. wouldn't that be a good thing. If the rich had a little less money and were not free to take such wild risks then the people would not be bailing out the Wall Street and the banks?" I puzzled.

"You are missing the point of our new global economy and unfortunately for you, I must go now. But I will repeat so that you finally understand that the rich must be free to take fantastic risks on Wall Street. If the people have money they do things like buy groceries, pay for housing, buy cars, buy clothes, send their kids to college, and all of the little things that will not create vast fortunes in this new global economy. The rich have to be protected so that they have the money to invest in risky investment instruments. When they grow their vast fortunes then we all benefit. That is why we can't tax the rich any more than we do now," he said.

So I said to goodbye to Dr. Reaganomics and headed out the door.

I was now confident that an expert had the right idea about taxing the rich. Sure some of what he said didn't seem to make much sense. But I do know that I want everyone to benefit and if bailing out the rich and not having them pay their fair share in taxes will help everyone then I am all for it. I am just not sure how that works, but fortunately we have experts like Dr. Reaganomics that know how it all works.

A Republican Tells The Truth

John Huntsman, the Republican Governor of Utah, tells MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell that the GOP response to President Obama’s economic recovery legislation is “gratuitious political griping.”



Senate Chairman Says "Truth Commission" Would Also Investigate Democrats that Supported Bush Policies

Source: Raw Story

In a little noticed one-line remark on Sunday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) endorsed the investigation of Democrats who approved of President George W. Bush's policies as president that he aims to review as part of a "truth commission."

The veteran Democrat has floated the idea of a "truth commission" to probe and put to rest alleged Bush Administration constitutional abuses, in areas such as wiretapping and harsh interrogation. Those who participated would likely be granted immunity from prosecution so long as their testimony is truthful, mirroring similar venues of public catharsis as were practiced in South Africa and Chile in previous decades.

Speaking to the New York Times' Scott Shane, "Mr. Leahy said he has learned that the temptation to abuse powers in a crisis is bipartisan and the commission’s review should include the role of Democrats in Congress in approving the Bush policies. The work should be done in one year, he added, to avert accusations that it was being dragged out for political gain."

Leahy's commission has attracted unusual followers. While receiving a tepid response from President Barack Obama -- who said he was “more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards” -- former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he would cooperate if called to speak.

“My view has always been to be as cooperative as possible,” Gonzales told the Washington Independent, an alternative news site. “And that’s what I’ve been with respect to everything. As far as I’m concerned I’ve got nothing to hide and I’ll cooperate. Every time I’ve been asked to cooperate, I’ve cooperated. In terms of what happens in the future, I’m not going to comment on that, but that is what I’ve done in the past.”

The lawyer for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, Robert Luskin, meanwhile, told Raw Story he had no comment about the commission concept earlier this month.

Leahy's push toward investigating Bush's tenure may have a formidable opponent, however, in his own party.

On Saturday, a report surfaced that President Obama's administration was supporting a Bush administration bid to dismiss a lawsuit aiming to restore millions of White House emails the Bush administration said had been lost.

"The new administration seems no more eager than the last" to deal with the issue, Anne Weismann, chief counsel for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told AP.

Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, noted that Obama called for greater transparency in government on his first full day in office.

But Obama has seemed lukewarm to probes that would bring White House documents into the light of day. Reports indicate that the Obama White House and representatives of President George W. Bush are negotiating on the terms of testimony from Rove to Congress, and in each statement by Obama's office, the language has been careful to indicate that the administration is carefully considering executive privilege claims.

On Friday, the administration also supported the Bush administration's legal position on detainees held at the US airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan, saying they shouldn't be given access to US courts to contest their detention.

Obama has aggressively sought to distance himself from President Bush's policies in other ways -- he announced the closing of the US prison at Guantanamo Bay and said the US would not allow the CIA to operate "black sites" abroad. He hasn't, however, given a clear read on his position on the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program and the practice of "renditioning" terror suspects on CIA jets.

Leahy has not yet formally introduced a bill that would create a commission.

1.3 Million Vets Live in Poverty and Army Charity Hoards Millions

...According to 2007 U.S. Census Bureau figures, 1.3 million veterans — or 6 percent — lived in poverty, with 537,000 unemployed....

Army Community Services financial educator Yolanda Davis, center, talks with AP – Army Community Services financial educator Yolanda Davis, center, talks with Pvt. Terrence Nicholas and …

FORT BLISS, Texas – As soldiers stream home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the biggest charity inside the U.S. military has been stockpiling tens of millions of dollars meant to help put returning fighters back on their feet, an Associated Press investigation shows.

Between 2003 and 2007 — as many military families dealt with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures — Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, according to an AP analysis of its tax records.

Tax-exempt and legally separate from the military, AER projects a facade of independence but really operates under close Army control. The massive nonprofit — funded predominantly by troops — allows superiors to squeeze soldiers for contributions; forces struggling soldiers to repay loans — sometimes delaying transfers and promotions; and too often violates its own rules by rewarding donors, such as giving free passes from physical training, the AP found.

AER was founded in 1942 to soften the personal financial hardships on soldiers and their families as the country ramped up its fight in World War II.

Today, AER's mission is to ease cash emergencies of active-duty soldiers and retirees, and to provide college scholarships for their families. Its emergency aid covers mortgage payments and food, car repairs, medical bills, travel to family funerals, and the like.

Instead of giving money away, though, the Army charity lent out 91 percent of its emergency aid during the period 2003-2007. For accounting purposes, the loans, dispensed interest-free, are counted as expenses only when they are not paid back.

During that same five-year period, the smaller Navy and Air Force charities both put far more of their own resources into aid than reserves. The Air Force charity kept $24 million in reserves while dispensing $56 million in total aid, which includes grants, scholarships and loans not repaid. The Navy charity put $32 million into reserves and gave out $49 million in total aid.

AER executives defend their operation, insisting they need to keep sizable reserves to be ready for future catastrophes.

"Look at the stock market," said retired Col. Dennis Spiegel, AER's deputy director for administration. Without the large reserve, he added, "We'd be in very serious trouble."

Navy- and Air Force-sponsored charities also are deeply intertwined with their services, but they impose controls that help safeguard their independence.

Officers in those services are expected to keep their noses out of requests for aid. Sailors should "be comfortable coming to us without any fear that the command is going to be involved," says retired Rear Adm. Jan Gaudio, executive vice president of Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Meanwhile, civilian charities for service members and veterans say they are swamped by the desperate needs of recent years, with requests far outstripping ability to respond.

According to 2007 U.S. Census Bureau figures, 1.3 million veterans — or 6 percent — lived in poverty, with 537,000 unemployed.

"I have so many people who are losing their homes, they're behind on their mortgage payments, they're losing their jobs because of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or the medication they're taking — and the Army Emergency Relief can't help them," says Outreach Director Sema Olson at U.S. Welcome Home Foundation, which finds aid for combat veterans....

Read More at Yahoo News

Obama’s a Homosexual Darwinist from Outer Space

The main talking point that Conservatives seem to have these days is that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery. The only one’s who seem to dispute this is pretty much everyone who has looked at it. With only little known sites like Snopes and The Associated Press doing vague stories like: "State Department of Health Declares Obama Birth Certificate Legal." - Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 31 October 2008. The lack of rebuttals to this talking point must mean Obama was not born in the United States.

Some Conservatives even use this as proof of the media’s liberal bias. After all if the press didn’t have a liberal bias they would ask would ask the Hawaii Department of Health to check to see if Obama’s Birth Certificate is Legal.

This reminds me of another story that Conservatives use to show the media’s extreme liberal bias. “Little Green Doctors” beating up Conservative candidates wives and the press not investigating it.

Back in 2004 the Honorable Senator Bunning (R-KY) was unable to go to Political Rallies due to the fact that his opponent had sent “Little Green Doctors” to assault and harass him. He said that the “Little Green Doctors” were not only after him but they had once beaten up his wife at an event that she never attended.

It was obviously only the media’s liberal bias that kept an investigation into his opponent’s connections with these “Little Green Doctors” a secret. If Dan Mongiardo’s connection to the “Little Green Doctors” had been reported in the press he never would have become Lt Governor of Kentucky.

It’s this extreme liberal bias that makes the media refuse to report on the militant Homosexual/Darwinist Agenda to stop people from saying “Merry Christmas” in retail stores that Senator Butters is proposing legislation to stop.

Looking at these cover-ups by the liberal media it becomes obvious that it is all part of an even greater conspiracy to hide the fact that Obama must be a Homosexual Alien from Outer Space.

The fact that the media doesn’t investigate this story proves that it is true.

Iran Nukes--Weapons of Mass Deception Again

By Grant Lawrence

Here we go again.

The United States "Weapons of Mass Deception" propaganda war machine is presently hard at work building a case for an attack on Iran. As some may recall, we were told Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction" and the technology to strike America. Reportedly, Saddam was also working with Al Qaeda and was somehow involved in the attack on September 11th. So the United States had to act to save the civilized world from the mad "Hitler" in Iraq. You know the rest of the story.

But now, from the same liars in the Military Media Industrial Complex that brought us the nightmare in Iraq, comes the news Iran is building a nuclear bomb. They tell us there can be no negotiating with a country that wants to destroy Israel. The propagandists also assure us that
Achmenijad, the new "Hitler" of our time, will not stop until he gets the nukes to destroy Israel (forgetting that Israel is loaded with nukes and a nuclear strike on Israel would be suicide).

Yada Yada Yada....

Sound familiar? That's because It's Deja Vu all over again.

But history doesn't have to repeat itself and the world doesn't have to move toward another terrible war. Instead, let's look at some good news on Iran.

Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Israel is not.

The international Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is "cooperating well"
with the agency. Also the under reporting of low enriched uranium is not seen by the agency as intentional. According to Melissa Fleming, IAEA spokesman, "The (IAEA) has no reason at all to believe that the estimates of LEU produced in the (Natanz) facility were an intentional error by Iran."

Also Fleming goes onto say that, contrary to media reports, it was not possible for the Iranians to have
enriched the LEU into weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU). Fleming says,"No nuclear material could have been removed from the facility without the agency's knowledge since the facility is subject to video surveillance and the nuclear material has been kept under seal."

So what you are not hearing in the managed media is that Iran is cooperating and that they don't have weapons grade highly enriched uranium. Instead, we are being told that Iran has enough nuclear material for a weapon.

Unfortunately, those beating the war drums in the managed media have control of most of the drums and the truth on Iran is hard to get. But hopefully an America that has been lied into a costly and inhumane war on Iraq will begin to question the disinformation on Iran being delievered by same masters of deception in the Military Media Industrial Complex.

Source: Bodhi Thunder


Zbigniew Brezinski Warns of Possible Riots in US

Source: Press TV

Former US national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski warns of riots should the economy continues to hurt Americans.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former national security advisor, has warned that the US could witness riots if economy continues its downward spiral.

"There's going to be growing conflict between the classes and if people are unemployed and really hurting, hell, there could be even riots!" said Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor, in a recent interview with NBC.

"In 1907, when we had a massive banking crisis, when banks were beginning to collapse, there were going to be riots in the streets," he added.

At least 3.6 million jobs have been wiped out throughout the US since the recession began in December 2007. The jobless rate officially reached a 16-year high of 7.6% (11.6 million people) last month.

Earlier this week, a new Federal Reserve report said that US unemployment could increase to 8.8%, causing the economy to contract for a full calendar year for the first time since 1991, when a contraction of 0.2% was registered.

The Obama White House has put forward an array of measures, including a $787 billion stimulus package, in the hopes of reviving the flagging economy.

Brzezinski, meanwhile, made some recommendations to the young administration.

He proposed the creation of a voluntary national solidarity fund, whose contributors would be those who became wealthy in recent times.

"Where is the moneyed class today? Why aren't they doing something: the people who made billions, millions. I'm sort of thinking of Paulson, of Rubin [former treasury secretaries]. Why don't they get together, and why don't they organize a national solidarity fund in which they call on all of those who made these extraordinary amounts of money to kick some back?" he argued.

"I was worrying about it because we're going to have millions and millions of unemployed, people really facing dire straits. And we're going to be having that for some period of time before things hopefully improve," said Brzezinski.


Nationalize the Banks and Dissolve the Federal Reserve

By Grant Lawrence

"This administration continues to strongly believe that a privately held banking system is the correct way to go, ensuring that they are regulated sufficiently by this government,"
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs regarding nationalizing the banks.

The truth is that the major banks are insolvent. Banks won't lend to other banks and they don't trust the banking system because they know that the banks are bad risks.

We can continue to throw money at the problem but the problem is a bottomless pit. There will never be enough money available to fix the banking system in the long term. In the short term, Geithner and the Fed can play games and charades with the American people to keep the banking corpse looking alive. However, eventually the rot and the stink of the corpse will become obvious.

The Obama Administration shouldn't have appointed Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Not only is he a tax cheat but as the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York he is one of the many responsible for the banking mess. Geithner, I am sure, was appointed to make sure that Obama acts in a way that is acceptable to the Federal Reserve System. But what is good for the Federal Reserve and the banksters is not good for America, or even the world.

The part of the solution to our banking crises is to nationalize the banks. Clear out the upper management of the major banks and look for ways to prosecute fraud.

That however is only a good first step. The other part of the solution is for the government to end the Federal Reserve. Most informed people know that the Fed is not a government agency but is a private corporation. Not only is the Fed is unconstitutional, since the constitution calls for Congress to print the money, but it is directly and indirectly responsible for the present banking collapse we see today. By assisting in the bubble economies of the last several decades through interest rate policies, by excess liquidity, and by promoting an environment of deregulation, the Federal Reserve needs to take responsibility for the collapse of a money system that it controls.

The federal government needs to take drastic measures to offset the present economic collapse. Trying to Create an inflationary spiral in the form of the Obama stimulus package to offset a deflationary depression is not the solution. Rather the government needs to correct banking abuses, excesses, and fraud by taking control of a bankrupt banking system and by removing the economic players that brought about the collapse.

See the Video Below For a Quick Look at the Scam Known as the "Fed"


Change Your Focus and Change Your World

By Grant Lawrence

The Mass of Men Lead Lives of Quiet Desperation.

Henry David Thoreau

Things have changed since Thoreau's time. Today most people lead noisy, busy lives of desperation. But Thoreau is right when he points out that people lead lives of desperation.

But there is a way out of the desperation.

The mass of humanity is currently rapt up in a "Me" Consciousness which limits our focus, our understanding, and ultimately our consciousness. Instead, by expanding our awareness into a "We" consciousness, people can move beyond the desperation and into a higher consciousness.

I am not sure if 2012 or if any other date means that much. But I am sure of this. That it is now time for the mass of humanity to take a leap in consciousness. Every time a person grows into We consciousness it's a blessed time, not only for that person, but for all of humanity.

A person that actually thinks about others is doing himself and the world a world of good.


Because that person no longer thinks in terms of just himself. The shift of that person's focus is now on the whole of life and his or her relation to that life. A person in We consciousness is open to all of life and what he or she can do to help and be of service. To know that we are not alone but that even the rocks themselves hum with life is a wonderful knowing. A We consciousness expands the boundary of our being and understanding. It moves us beyond the desperation and into the awareness of the stream of life.

So we can choose to live in the desperation, worrying about our own lives, or we can move to a mind expanding Love that cares for all of life.

It is our choice and no one can force someone to change their focus and thus their consciousness. But know this, we live life in a web of relationships and our choices are not only important for ourselves but for the rest of that web. Also know that our choices have a direct effect on our emotions and feelings. We can choose to stay stuck in the rut of living life selfishly, Me consciousness, or we can move beyond into We consciousness and into a better life and a better world.

Source: Bodhi Thunder

Some Atheist thoughts on God and Religion.

I find it interesting that any public discussion about god and religion, is dominated by the small group of people who claim to believe in a Superior Being, yet their God acts like a spoiled, abusive, bastard.

In any private discussion on the same subject people will tend to talk about a Superior Being that is better than themselves even in temperament.

Consider this thought experiment: Let’s say your version of a God is real, and there is a person who has helped others all his life, on a few occasions he even directly saved a few peoples lives (Although he doesn’t consider it heroic just something anyone would do in his place). He totally believes in a modified version of “Do on to others as you would have them do on to you.” He has added “If you were in their place.” Because he knows not everyone likes the same thing he does.

Now let’s say this nice person who has never intentional harmed anyone goes to Red Lobster and orders Lobster.

Would your God turn him away from Heaven because eating shellfish is a sin?

Would you consider him a wicked person that shouldn’t be entitled to the same respect you give others, because he eats Lobster?

If you said yes to both you are a mean and petty person.

If you believe that your God would turn someone away for not following some arcane rule that you yourself wouldn’t punish someone for, then congratulations you are better than the God you worship.

If you believe that your God isn’t interested in those little things and only cares about if a person has intentionally done good throughout their lives and intentionally avoided harming anyone, then congratulations you are following a God worthy if your worship.

In a completely unscientific survey of people I know most Protestants (and all Catholics) believe in the second type of God. Although they are unsure if an Atheist can get into heaven. But in an equally unscientific survey of preachers on the airwaves they seem to all preach the first type of God that is so unsure about himself that he needs people to follow strange and arbitrary rules to “prove” they love him or else they are punished.

To make this thought experiment even stranger, lets pretend that you want the same qualities in a mate that you envision your God having.

There are boyfriends that insist their girlfriend follows strange and arbitrary rules to “prove” their love. They set up a system of arbitrary rewards and punishments for not obeying those rules or proving their love well enough. The name for those boyfriends is usually “The Accused.”

The point I’d like to make to believers is to think about the message that the preachers on the airwaves are sending out about your God. If they are right and your God is petty, abusive, spoiled bastard do you really want to spend eternity with him, because if he is this bad during the courting phase imagine what he’ll be like during the sit around the house in soiled underwear phase.

However if your God is better than you, all you have to do is do as much intentional Good to others as possible and as little intentional bad as possible and your God will welcome you with open arms.

And what if there is no God? If you believed in a God that was better than yourself then you’ve gone around a helped a lot of people and haven’t done anything that would cause you major regrets, and that is justification within itself.

Why Obama’s healthcare plan will mean worse treatment.

Many of the Conservative Pundits are talking about how under Obama’s healthcare plan faceless government bureaucrats, whose only concern is seeing that the maximum number of people get some treatment, will interfere with the decisions made by faceless insurance industry bureaucrats whose only concern is spending as little on treatments as possible.

What they most of them fail to mention is how this will affect individual treatment.

It comes down to basic medical research, which is handled through Government grants to the National Institutes of Health and to Universities. The money allocated to research comes from taxpayers so it is independent of the amount of people who get healthcare.

By not having to do research on the diseases that effect 16% of Americans (the 44 million uninsured) but still taking their money, more research dollars per person can go to those who are insured.

By only having to cover 84% of Americans but taking money from all Americans means better research for the diseases that hit that group.

A simple plan to provide better treatment is to allow Health Insurance Companies to exclude more people for pre-existing conditions. This would narrow the focus of research without decreasing the amount money that goes towards medical research.

The ideal pre-existing condition to exclude would be a person’s financial status. By eliminating anyone who made under $250,000 we could get the entire country paying for the research to cover only 5% of Americans (probably less after the last 8 years).

With only 5% of Americans reaping the benefits of medical research that is paid by all Americans, the amount of research money per patient would be phenomenal and they would receive the best treatment in the world.

Of course, some people might complain about their money going to support medical research that they personally will never benefit from, but those people are just being selfish. After all shouldn’t Americans be able to get the best healthcare in the world.


What do We Do Now? A few Propositions

By Grant Lawrence

The economic collapse shouldn't have come as a surprise. The signs that something was terribly wrong had been evident with the collapse of each of the economic bubbles going all the way back to George H. Bush in the early 90s. But through the Savings and Loans bank collapse, the dot com collapse, the commodities bubble, the war bubble, and the housing bubble, people came to see illusions as economic growth.

Interestingly, few in leadership positions or in the lap dog press ever looked at the economic illusions and gave any clear warning to the American people.

Instead they sold the people on the bubbles while they also sold them on the glories of "disaster capitalism." Our leadership and media marched the people off the economic cliff in the same way they marched the public into war in Iraq. All of it was based on lies.

So what do we do now?

I have a great idea. Americans, as well as people around the world (it is a global problem) should begin to act like adults and accept some basic propositions.

#1. All governments lie and so do the societal institutions that support them.

A sucker doesn't have to be born every minute. It is a sacred duty, that we not only have to ourselves but to our children, to begin to question the state, the media, the church, the educators, and all of those societal institutions that support each other. Don't just believe something because your bible (as interpreted by a preacher) tells you it is so. Don't just believe a politician because he looks like a game show host and is on television all of the time. Start reading and listening to alternative media. After all, it was the alternative media that has been right nearly all of the time while the managed media has lied just as they were paid to do.

#2. Don't expect the politicians to make any real change.

If there is to be some meaningful change then it is going to have to come from the people. When people lose the illusion that a vote every couple of years is going to change the system, then they are moving toward real change.

Instead people are going to have to do some organizing and demand real change. When the paid off politicos get the message that the people are really "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore" then there can be some meaningful change.

#3. Don't allow yourselves to be manipulated by hate and fear.

The power structure uses an old tactic, that works, of finding ways to dilute the power of the people by pitting groups against each other. When the people are constantly being divided over various wedge issues then they lose their power. It is time to move past the hate and fear mongering and to recognize that people are people with the same basic desires and interests.

#4. Start thinking of others, as well as yourself.

The only way for the human race to move past the lies, the war economies, and the bubble economies is for humanity to develop a good heart to go with a strong mind.

It is really that simple.

It is true that it is hard to cheat an honest man but it is also true that it is hard to blow up the world when the people are aware and caring. Ultimately we don't have an economic problem or a political problem, but we have a relationship problem. The way we relate to others is either helpful or hurtful to the whole humanity. If we disregard others, see them as not human, or abuse them and use then we are contributing to a hellish world.

Sure, there is going to be "blow back" from our past actions and we have to deal with that. But a basic psychological and spiritual understanding that we are a community of people and that what we want and allow for others not only determines the type of people we are but the type of world we have.

I believe that when people begin to take responsibility for their world by expanding their awareness, using their heads (reasoning), and by using their hearts then the world will be profoundly transformed.

Source: Bodhi Thunder


The Good News of Economic Collapse

By Grant Lawrence

Amid the terrible economic news there was a bright spot in the economic collapse. A beaver was sighted in the Detroit River for the first time in
75 Years.

The economic news just keeps getting worse. GM may need another 30 billion to stay out of bankruptcy. About 400 banks throughout the US have received a government hand out. The Dow is tanking. California is an economic basket case and now the collapse has even hit Kansas, where they recently found they could not pay their bills. Things are so bad that even Republicans are considering bank nationalization.

But amid the terrible economic news there was a bright spot in the economic collapse. A beaver was sighted in the Detroit River for the first time in 75 Years.

So what does a lowly beaver in the Detroit River have to do with the good news of economic collapse?

Well, I was born and raised in the rust belt of the Midwest some 50 or so miles from Detroit, Michigan. I used to play in the PCBs that soaked the ground, streams, and rivers of my boyhood. I later learned that I was living in a cancer triangle and that nearly all of my boyhood friends and acquaintances became cancer victims as they aged. The whole of the industrial Midwest was a smelly, dirty and terribly polluted place. Things got so bad in the heart of America that one day the Cleveland river caught on fire.

Today there is very little industry in those areas of the rust belt. Most factories have closed and with it went a lot of the pollution that used to choke the birds, fish, animals, and people in the area. Most of that industry moved off to places like China where they now choke the life from the birds, fish, animals, and people that now have to be exposed to that toxic life.

The good people of my former rust belt home are suffering through a terrible economic collapse. The true unemployment in some of those areas are already reaching Great Depression levels.

But in all of the doom and gloom of modern life. A beaver is able to find its way back home to a once filthy dirty polluted river.

One day, when our corporate and financial masters have been replaced by a humane economic "green" society, there will be industry and sanity. The best and the brightest minds of the world will use their skills to replace the oil based economy that presently exists because of the tremendous monopoly profits that come from a 19th century technology.

The Beaver of the Detroit River is a symbol of an end of an era. An end to the dirty technologies that have killed so many and have caused so much suffering to the life of the rust belt. But it could also represent a beginning in an understanding that humanity is a part of nature and has a responsibility to nature. Humanity can use the opportunity of economic collapse to redesign its economy and its society from a consumption and greed based system into a giving and need based society. When we begin to understand some of the great minds of the world and their message for humanity, then the world will turn from defiling their own natural homes for profit.

You cannot kill the beavers, the bees, the birds, and the frogs and expect not to kill your own children. The lowly Beaver of the Detroit River has a message for us if we have the wisdom to understand.

Source: Bodhi Thunder

Rove Not Protected by Executive Privilege


The One State Solution to the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

By Grant Lawrence

Recently the prestigious medical journal Lancet revealed shocking mortality and morbidity statistics in the recent Israeli war on Gaza. The paper, "The Wounds of Gaza" reports that there were "1,350 killed (60% children) and 5,450 severely wounded (40% children) in reprisals for zero (0) Israeli deaths from Gaza rockets in the preceding year."

So is the world supposed to accept the slaughter of civilians and children by Israel and not question the situation that is leading to such atrocities?

The key player in all of this inhumanity is the United States and their unquestioned political support of Israel along with the Billions in monetary support that allows for Israeli arrogance, intransigence, and violations of international laws and UN mandates. Without the United States, Israel would have to become a citizen of the world and act accordingly.

But given the power and influence of the Israeli lobby in the United States, that political, military, and financial support will likely continue to gusher into Israel.

Since the United States will not put the proper pressure on Israel to remove itself from a rogue state status, the Israelis will have to come to some understanding that there is a humane solution or continue the cycle of violence.

As humanity moves out of the dark ages and accepts and appreciates the various races, ethnicities, and cultures of the world so must there be an awakening in Israel. That awakening should involve a One State Solution in historic Palestine where Jews, Muslims, and Christians have equal rights and responsibilities. Where there is not a Jewish State or a Palestinian state, but a multi cultural and multi religious state where all can live peacefully and enjoy statehood together as brothers and sisters.

Jews need to move past the idea of a Jewish State (I know it is difficult) and move into the idea of "One State" serving all peoples of the historic Palestine. Israelis should come to understand that there will never be peace in that region with millions of Palestinians living as refugees and in dire poverty. The Israeli policy of brutalization and inhumanity will only increase the hatred and the bloodshed in the region.

It has obviously been Israeli policy to keep the endless hostility and wars going in that region so that there would be an unquestioned support for division and separation among the Jewish people and its ally the United States.

But can this Israeli war policy be continually maintained?

Sure it can be maintained for many years to come as long as they get the unquestioned support of the United States. But the Jews have insisted on a Jewish State because of past persecutions, injustices, and mass murder of their people. But, in a twisted irony, the Jews are now party to that terrible persecution, injustice, and mass murder of the Palestinians.

It is time now for Israel to join most of humanity and accept a multi religious and multi cultural country in which all are equal citizens in one homeland. The One State solution is the only one that will ultimately allow for peace in the Middle East and it will allow for the prosperity of all living in historic Palestine. A broken and divided region can only be maintained under tremendous death and suffering, as we have seen for many decades. It is better to live in unity even if it means that all the peoples of historic Palestine fully share in the rights and responsibilities of governing one country.

Source: Bodhi Thunder Blog


The Bishop of London Proclaims the "Good News" Of Losing Your Job

By Grant Lawrence

An Obviously Well Fed and Comfortable Bishop of London Has Some Words of Encouragement to Laid Off Workers

Bishop Richard Chartres

Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London Pic source: Timesonline.co.uk

....The Right Rev Richard Chartres, speaking in advance of a debate at the Church of England's General Synod on the financial crisis, said that it was difficult to know whether to sympathise more with those who had lost their jobs, or those who were left carrying even greater loads with higher targets and fewer colleagues....

The Bishop of London has obviously captured the essence of what it means to unemployed. No doubt he has had the experience of losing a job, having a family to feed, and no prospect of a job anywhere to be found.

But the Bishop knows that to be unemployed is a good time to reflect. As the bills mount up and the worries grow into a bit of terror, being unemployed can be a special time. Or at least that is what the good Bishop is telling us. It can be a time to "get off the treadmill and be given an opportunity to reconsider what they really want out of life," according to Bishop Chartres.

Oh and the silly Bishop offers us more. "President Obama is among those who cannot live without their BlackBerrys," says the astute Bishop Chartres. Judging from the looks of the Bishop he is among those that can't live without more than just blackberrys. He certainly must be eating 3 healthy square meals a day and that probably includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. All of that good nutrition is evidently helping him to keep such mental clarity.

How nice it must be to be able to live in such utter stupidity.

So the Bishop looks like he has 2 eyes and 2 ears but evidently he has nothing between them. The Bishop likely has been getting his social awareness training from Dick Cheney.

But really, the Bishop's words and understanding passes for much of Christianity today. It is the sort of "compassionate" Christianity professed and practiced by one of the world's most famous Christians--former President George W. Bush.

The Bishop, GW Bush, and many Christians believe that an unjust society and the brutalization of humanity is the just the way things have to be. They don't do anything to change the systemic problems, many times contribute to it, and live to find ways to get others to accept it. Against Christian dictates, they selfishly look out for their own interests and condemn others as they suffer.

The Bishop, Bush, and others of the heartless that pass themselves off as Christians have to live with themselves. But psychologically and spiritually, they never seem to be bothered.

How nice it must be to live in such utter stupidity.

Source Bodhi Thunder