Monday, September 29, 2008

The Rich Are Staging a Coup This Morning

...a message from Michael Moore


Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."

Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets!Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click HERE to find their phone numbers.. Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!

Michael Moore

P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.

P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Bailout Is A SCAM!

Yes, they think we're stupid. The current contrived economic meltdown, and it's prescribed antidote both presume that the American people are ignorant cows (no insult to cows intended.) The Bush Administration, in one of it's parting blows, is moving quickly to transfer any remaining community-held national wealth (tax payer money) to their rich friends. They're also taking final steps to "drown government in the bathtub." At last, after eight long years of secrecy, distractions, and smokescreens we finally see what the true agenda of this administration has always been. Now that we know the goals they've been pursuing, doesn't everything they've done so far make sense in that context?...I mean for them.
A critical - and radical - component of the bailout package proposed by the Bush administration has thus far failed to garner the serious attention of anyone in the press. Section 8 (which ironically reminds one of the popular name of the portion of the 1937 Housing Act that paved the way for subsidized affordable housing ) of this legislation is just a single sentence of thirty-two words, but it represents a significant consolidation of power and an abdication of oversight authority that's so flat-out astounding that it ought to set one's hair on fire. It reads, in its entirety:
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
In short, the so-called "mother of all bailouts," which will transfer $700 billion taxpayer dollars to purchase the distressed assets of several failed financial institutions, will be conducted in a manner unchallengeable by courts and ungovernable by the People's duly sworn representatives. All decision-making power will be consolidated into the Executive Branch - who, we remind you, will have the incentive to act upon this privilege as quickly as possible, before they leave office. The measure will run up the budget deficit by a significant amount, with no guarantee of recouping the outlay, and no fundamental means of holding those who fail to do so accountable.

Is this starting to sound familiar? Robert Kuttner cuts through much of the gloss in an article in today's American Prospect:
The deal proposed by Paulson is nothing short of outrageous. It includes no oversight of his own closed-door operations. It merely gives congressional blessing and funding to what he has already been doing, ad hoc. He plans to retain Wall Street firms as advisors to decide just how to cut deals to value and mop up Wall Street's dubious paper. There are to be no limits on executive compensation for the firms that get relief, and no equity share for the government in exchange for this massive infusion of capital. Both Obama and McCain have opposed the provision denying any judicial review of decisions made by Paulson -- a provision that evokes the Bush administration's suspension of normal constitutional safeguards in its conduct of foreign policy and national security. [...] - Source
The true antidote is voting the bastards OUT! The must be removed from the White House (by voting for the Democratic candidates) and they must be removed from Congress (by increasing the number of Democratic Senators.)
You, dear friend, can read a remarkable book that makes clear everything that is occurring before your eyes...and why it is happening, how it fits into a historical context, and how to stop it. Please get yourself a copy of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine and read it ASAP. She's documented (in very readable form) the history of "disaster capitalism." Arm yourself with knowledge!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

John McCain Has Only His Wealthy Friends' Interests in Mind

And he always has:

Background on the Keating 5 scandal and McCain's integral part in it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's the Greed!

Tax Plan Comparison Chart by the Washington Post.

My fellow activist E.P. has posted an excellent blog about today's big financial news. Here's an excerpt:

As the news broke of the Lehman Brothers meltdown and the rest of the latest financial crisis, John McCain, speaking at a campaign rally in Florida on Monday, angrily declared,

“We will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street. This is a failure.”

And in a statement released by his campaign, McCain called for greater “transparency and accountability” on Wall Street.

If McCain wants to hold someone accountable for the failure in transparency and accountability that led to the current calamity, he should turn to his good friend and adviser, Phil Gramm.

As Mother Jones reported in June, eight years ago, Gramm, then a Republican senator chairing the Senate banking committee, slipped a 262-page bill into a gargantuan, must-pass spending measure. Gramm’s legislation, written with the help of financial industry lobbyists, essentially removed newfangled financial products called swaps from any regulation. Credit default swaps are basically insurance policies that cover the losses on investments, and they have been at the heart of the subprime meltdown because they have enabled large financial institutions to turn risky loans into risky securities that could be packaged and sold to other institutions.

Please read Eric's entire blog post HERE!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This Is What We're Fighting Against

Thursday, September 11, 2008

2nd in Line for the Presidency?

This woman must be stopped!

ABC Interview 9/11/08 with Sarah Palin, Republican VP nominee:

John McCain on Tape 1 Month After 9/11

This makes my blood boil:

The New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick recently noted that McCain “began making his case for invading Iraq to the public more than six months before the White House began to do the same.” The Times reported:

While pushing to take on Saddam Hussein, Mr. McCain also made arguments and statements that he may no longer wish to recall. He lauded the war planners he would later criticize, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney. (Mr. McCain even volunteered that he would have given the same job to Mr. Cheney.) He urged support for the later-discredited Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi’s opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, and echoed some of its suspect accusations in the national media. And he advanced misleading assertions not only about Mr. Hussein’s supposed weapons programs but also about his possible ties to international terrorists, Al Qaeda and the
More from Think Progress

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

About Palin, SHEESH!

Photobucket Image Hosting

No doubt you too have received some of the emails that are floating around about Republican VP pick Sarah Palin. Most of them have my women friends up-in-arms, (which I actually think is a good thing.) But this piece by Deepak Chopra is the most sensible I've seen yet. He really spells out the reasons why it's so important to keep the McCain/Palin ticket from winning the election. This country, and the world, surely cannot survive another year of radical right-wing rule. I know our economy can't survive any more corporate "bailouts", our military can't survive another pre-emptive war, our kids can't survive their bankrupt schools, our homeowners can't continue to lose their homes, and our seniors can't afford privatized medical and Social Security.

This "Reign of Error" must end and it must end on November 4th with the election of the Democratic ticket. Rather that sit around bemoaning poll numbers and positive media coverage for the Republicans we should all turn off our televisions and computers and get out and register voters. This election will be decided by new young voters. They're fired up by Obama. This election will be decided by women, angry at the callousness by McCain's pick of an anti-woman, woman VP. This election will be decided by African Americans who have the best reason in the history of this country to feel engaged in our political system. This election will be decided by you! NOW PLEASE, GET TO WORK!

Obama and the Palin Effect
by Deepak Chopra

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin's pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and turning negativity into a cause for pride. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of "the other." For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don't want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.) I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin's message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision
Look at what she stands for:

* Small town values - a nostaligic return to simpler times disguises a denial of America's global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.
* Ignorance of world affairs - a repudiation of the need to repair America's image abroad.
* Family values - a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don't need to be needed.
* Rigid stands on guns and abortion - a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.
* Patriotism - the usual fallback in a failed war.
* "Reform" - an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn't fit your ideology.

Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from "us" pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of "I'm all right, Jack," and "Why change? Everything's OK as it is." The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness

Obama's call for higher ideals in politics can't be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow - we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise. Source

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Current Political Art

Dishonorable Mention - Detail ©2008 Emily Duffy, photo by Sibila Savage

I'm pleased to share with you not only my own new political artwork but also that of the Art of Democracy Coalition. I'm proud that my own exhibit at True World Gallery in Joshua Tree, is a part of this international effort. Artists and galleries are working hard to influence the upcoming critical presidential election. We want to ensure that November 4, 2008 is the END of the right-wing domination of American government.

If you find yourself in Southern California between October 11th and the November election please see the combined exhibits at True World and Red Arrow galleries:

"11th Hour"
October 4-26, 2008
Joshua Tree, CA

61740 29 Palms Hwy.
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
The Elephant in the Room
Political Art by Emily Duffy
October 11-November 2
(online exhibit:


61010 29 Palms Hwy.
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
New Works by Bret Philpot & Bobby Furst
October 4th - October 26th, 2008


Photo by Ken Duffy

Art of Democracy is a national coalition of artists and galleries working to "amplify artistic voices willing to speak out in this dangerous hour" and before this critical presidential election.

On Thursday my husband Ken and I went to the opening reception for the Art of Democracy show at Meridian Gallery in San Francisco. He took some photos of some of the excellent artwork in that must-see exhibit. You can view a few of them on his Flickr page but if you're in the SF Bay Area you need to go see the exhibit live!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Help Me Watch His Back!

Barack Obama has no fear fighting the radical right wing extremists, unlike Democrats of recent years:

We need to support him in every way we can, by donating to his campaign, by doing rapid response against lies and smears against him, by voting for him in 59 days, and by making sure everyone we know does the same!

Since You Don't Watch Faux News...

You should still know what they're doing.

From Robert Greenwald at Brave New Films (he asks that you share this with all your contacts):

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Americans Want REAL Change FROM the Republican Way of Doing Things

And...we've all been inundated with news about Republican VP pick Sarah Palin. She's certainly energized both bases, (her own fundamentalist radical right wingers and the progressives, myself included ARRRGH!) The excellent progressive Think Tank, THINK PROGRESS has a really good list of Palin's "experience" and positions on all the important issues. Please check it out and share it around. It's essential that we all do "rapid response" refutations of Palin's out-and-out lies (and believe me there are PLENTY of them!)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bush's Legacy = McCain's Agenda

John McCain has voted with George W. Bush 90% of the time in the past 8 years. One would assume that means he agrees with Bush's policies. Not only that, he's skipped voting on dozens of critical bills in the Senate this year. And all the while he running on his record as a so-called "Maverick". Here's the Greatest Hits List (aka the Bush legacy) do we want any of this to continue? Because electing John McCain (and his new VP pick Sarah Palin) will ensure decisions in line with these stellar accomplishments:

* Misleading about Iraq's WMD
* Implying a connection between Saddam and 9/11
* Launching a war that's killed 4,150 Americans and wounded more than 30,000
* Challenging Iraqi insurgents to attack U.S. troops: "Bring 'em on"
* Granting no-bid contracts to Halliburton in Iraq
* Failing to respond to Hurricane Katrina
* Hiring unqualified crony to run FEMA
* Praising crony's performance: "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job"
* Neglecting reconstruction of New Orleans' homes and levees
* Promising American troops would be greeted as liberators
* Declaring "Mission Accomplished" and later blaming the banner on troops
* Cherry-picking facts about WMDs in Iraq, then blaming the CIA
* Promising the Iraq war would lower gas prices
* Claiming the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes" in 2005
* Allowing Osama Bin Laden to escape
* Launching a war that's killed countless Iraqi civilians
* Using Terri Schiavo for political gain
* Attempting to alter Constitution to allow discrimination against gay people
* Wiretapping our phones without court order
* Fighting to privatize Social Security
* Stealing the 2000 election (remember Katherine Harris, voter purges, and the Supreme Court?)
* Concealing the pre-9/11 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."
* Ignoring security at nuclear plants after 9/11
* Battling the wall between church and state
* Enforcing abstinence-only programs in public schools
* Doing too little to halt genocide in Darfur
* Trying to slash funding for PBS and NPR
* Rejecting the Kyoto Treaty to stop climate change
* Giving tax cuts to the rich in a time of war
* Failing seniors with the costly Medicare prescription drug benefit
* Suppressing the vote in the 2004 elections (remember Diebold and long lines in Ohio?)
* Swiftboating John Kerry
* Outing CIA agent Valerie Plame to retaliate for truth about Iraq's WMDs
* Telling the 45 million uninsured Americans to just go to the emergency room
* Spending $341 million a day in Iraq
* Neglecting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center
* Allowing Afghanistan to fall into chaos, with the Taliban and al Qaeda regaining control
* Pressuring PBS to carry pro-government propaganda
* Paying columnists like Armstrong Williams to promote government policies
* Creating fake news reels to promote the controversial Medicare law
* Holding prisoners without trial at Guantanamo Bay
* Covering up torture at Abu Ghraib
* Breaking the Geneva Conventions
* Appointing extreme right-wing Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito
* Forcing the Patriot Act into law
* Firing federal prosecutors who failed to accuse Democrats of voting fraud
* Turning a budget surplus into massive budget deficit
* Letting more than a million homes go into foreclosure—the highest rate ever recorded
* Watching as bank failures surge
* Setting the record for most days on vacation by any president in U.S. history
* Losing 2.7 million manufacturing jobs
* Presiding over Enron scandal—the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history
* Increasing nuclear threat by withdrawing from Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia
* Appointing John Bolton as U.N. ambassador despite his promise to dismantle the U.N.
* Holding secret meetings with Exxon Mobil, Conoco, Shell, and BP to set energy policy
* Letting gas prices double while resisting fuel efficiency and clean energy
* Pushing to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off our coasts Compiled by
More on Sarah Palin's record.

Simply said, the choice this November 4th is clear: Obama/Biden for leadership, change, and finally ending right wing radical rule in America!