Thursday, June 25, 2009

Franken and Coleman - Ridiculous Bullshit


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Here we have an example of politicians and their ridiculous bullshit - forget the sex scandals for a moment and remember that Coleman went before supporters on the day after the election and urged Franken to waive his right to a recount, saying that the prospect of changing the result was remote, that a recount would be costly to taxpayers and "I just think the need for the healing process is so important."

Coleman is a disgusting hypocrite. Now that the recount has given Franken the victory Coleman isn't taking the high road he said Franken should take and is spending millions of dollars trying to sue his way into a victory. Let the healing begin?

The republican national committee who pushed the Bush coronation through without counting all the votes in Florida has in spite of all the votes being counted vowed to drag this ridiculous charade on until it reaches the supreme court. It could be years before Al Franken gets seated as a senator. That of course is exactly what the RNC wants.

Where's the right wing corporate media outrage? You know it would be a 24/7 shrill if Franken was a Republican. I'm getting sick of being associated as an American with these people. They are not Americans. They do not put the good of the Country first. They are very common, common people and all they want is money, privilege and power (so they can have affairs on the tax payers dime I guess).

This is our government in action - or rather in-action and putting the will of the people last to their own interest, and their gamesmanship. This is the exact ridiculous bullshit that the American people are fed up with. Do the peoples business.

I encourage you all to write the Minnesota Supreme Court linked here and tell them to get off their duffs and make a speedy decision, and to write the Republican Governor that he's a partisan hack (link here) and to write Norm Coleman and tell him he's a hypocrite (link here).

When you are done with that I encourage you to consider the dollar a day campaign (linked here). Progressives (myself included) are contributing a dollar a day until this election is resolved and so far it's brought in over 178,000 dollars.

People are fed up with the nonsense that is our political system. This latest brinkmanship in Minnesota is just another poor example of leadership. For the people of Minnesota one of the most egregious hoaxes ever to waste their time, money and political capital.

In light of the fact that Republicans closed the recount down in Florida, and got their Supreme Court appointees to rubber stamp the election before all the votes were counted this should be front page news. But it's not because News Agencies are Corporations and Corporations control the News and Corporations control the Republican party. A party of politicians who go running to the Corporations begging to be their whores.

In Minnesota the votes have been counted - legal maneuverings and the lack of outrage from the right wing corporate controlled media keep a lid on it, and keep the winner of the election from being seated. It is no less than Treason by our so called representatives for their own financial gain.

Paul Burke
Author-Journey Home

Norm Coleman Investigated by FBI

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Corporate Media Bad for Democracy (and Tehran)



With the recent uprising in Tehran, and all over Iran it has become painstakingly clear why consolidated and state run media is flat out awful for democracy or just the population (any population) at large. Because centralized controlled media outlets are being blocked the internet has been turned to and is enabling the people most affected by this restriction the ability to communicate. Twitter has become the De facto news outlet along with You Tube for human rights in the face of the Status Quo blocking dissent.

In our country Fox who is the leading yeller and bomb thrower of political footballs, immigration, gay marriage, abortion, wishing Obama to fail is owned by a large corporation who has a vested interest in pushing their own agenda. Unfortunately that agenda runs counter to what the public wants or needs and doesn't come close to being a free and independent press informing the citizens or acting as a watch dog for our rights and consideration. In fact Fox and other big media keep us "entertained" with celebrity rehab stories and gruesome crime. Gone are the days of hard hitting, fact digging informational pieces. The employees can't because they would be outing their employeer, and the news reporters, and the talking heads would be biting the hand that feeds them.

Real news does not live on corporate television or state run media outlets. Real news is on the internet.

Danger Will Robinson - the big cable and media outlets AT&T, Verizon and Comcast want to take the internet as their own and clamp down on any damaging information to their bottom line, charge exorbitant fees and act as gate keepers deciding which Web Sites load fast or slow or not at all. If they get their way a few consolidated companies will decide which channels, content and applications are available - no bull.

Since Five Companies control just about everything we watch and read every day - this is a huge no-no. The internet must remain free and the conglomerates broken up.

If you want a return to legitimate media content, content not screened and censored by the CEO's of giant corporations who want to push their agendas on Capital Hill then the stranglehold of Disney, Time Warner, News Corp, GE/NBC and CBS Viacom (Sumner Redstone) needs to be broken, dismantled and regionalized. The SEC needs to be held accountable for letting this mass consolidation take place in the first place. It was a short sighted profit grab (aren't they all) that is treasonous on its merits.

As strange as it might seem those five companies own the major networks, top cable channels, local TV, radio stations, movie studios, newspapers and popular WEB sites.

Here's the kicker they pay nothing, zero, zilch to the American tax payers for using our airwaves. That's right the airwaves belong to the public - public with a capital "P" and even though they are worth billions of dollars and have resulted in billions of dollars of profit, lobbying, and contributions for the few the tax payer sees "ZERO" cents.

Worse than the 1872 Mining Law, and to add insult to injury they are using our "Public"" airways to serve their own interest and not even paying dime one for the rights. Billions of dollars have been lost to America to upgrade our health care system, education and infrastructure because the Media Giants do not pay the U.S. a licensing fee - zero, nada, free.

This is a tremendous source of income not tapped because the politicians don't have the nerve to go up against big corporate interest especially those that control the media.

So who's running the show, our show, the U.S. government? Big Media is and we better turn that around starting today. Consolidation is killing everything. That's why with over hundreds of channels to choose from it's the same story, same information and lack of quality journalism. You used to be able to hear local music and news on your radio. Now all you get are the same songs and political views coast to coast.

Bruce Springsteen broke regionally in Philadelphia and New York. Now a Springsteen type can't get airplay but manufactured American Idol amateurs (who don't even play their own instruments) can.

Big Media spends BIG MONEY in Washington (how much) billions, and millions in campaign contributions.

I know that their is a mindset out there that thinks it's okay for the powerful and rich to take over the Country. What they don't understand as a group is that their own selfish best interest run counter to what is good for the WHOLE country. The old saying what's good for GE is good for the Country is complete Bullshit. What's good for GE is good for GE what's good for the country is a divergent, eclectic, diverse cornucopia of markets, talent and vision creating a rich and vibrant market, economy and world.

What's good for GE is good for the Country is just plain old incest and that ain't good for anybody and is turning America into some stagnant, pasty, one size fits all, boring, dumb and dumber, anemic, run down, disease ridden relic of itself with nothing new to say, the same old rhetoric and no new ideas!

The energy sector is exactly the same way. We need to "level the playing field" now before it's too late. Five companies controlling the sum total of the majority of our media outlets, print, radio, film and television is not only bad for the country, our health, education and well being it's bad for the world.

Here's a must click link where YOU can do something about it!


Paul Burke - Author Journey Home

Bella & Tarra - Rock!



I know I'm supposed to like Zoo's. A long time family friend was a big financial supporter of various Zoo's and to some extent they are fun to visit like the San Diego Zoo. But the whole idea reminds me of jail. I'm not saying I'm right or rational but it strikes me as cruel.

Now what about the Circus? I know I'm supposed to like the Circus like the Zoo's I was taken when I was young. Clowns are funny and the high wire act is fearsome and real clowns like Penn & Teller and Groucho Marx are priceless, but the circus like the Zoo leaves me cold. On some level the whole carny thing bubbles up and weird for weird sake doesn't and hasn't ever done it for me.

All this leads me to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. I love those people. What was supposed to be a gushing story about Bella & Tarra has become a confession of confusion on why we even have Zoo's and Circuses. I think the animal sanctuary is the model and viewing animals in a natural habitat like Yellowstone should be the way to go but there is merit in bringing the natural world to the city.

We have been so disconnected and dissociated with our globe. We think and govern from a point of view that is extremely limited in it's view. It's as if we need to turn off all the lights in the world at night just to reacquaint ourselves with our place in the universe. Wouldn't that be great a weekly black out! A temporary elimination of light pollution would probably freak people out. That's how insulated we have become.

And what should we become? Bella and Tarra provide that answer simply and sweetly. Oh my their video's below really get to me. What the natural world can teach us if only we paid a little more attention to our "real" place in it.

We are not gods or generals but manifestations of consciousness by a creative spirit or source of immense force and magnitude. We need to be more cognizant of creation that we are a part of it and that we are barely even lords over are own behavior. How dare we shoot wolves from helicopters and trophy hunt, how dare we create nuclear waste and war heads, how dare we point smoke stacks at the sky and spew dirty energy contaminants into the air, water and soil, how dare we, who do we think we are?

The point is the powers that be and the man in the street have gone off half cocked, half baked and totally gonzo from any real orientation to reality. We are way too arrogant for words quite frankly stupid. How else do you explain living in a world where we knowingly over-fish our food source, pollute our drinking water and kill each other over land and resources?

Weren't we taught to share and help each other like we were taught to go to the Zoo and Circus? Bella and Tarra rock we have a lot to learn from our global companions.

We need to stop slaughtering them, using and abusing them and realize everything we see, hear, taste and touch is a kindred spirit on a small tiny outpost of existence in a vast universe not created by our own doing. And treat all that we see, hear, touch and taste with the respect that such a force deserves.

It is our own undoing if we do not.

Thank you Bella & Tara I hope to live up to your example each and every day!


Paul Burke
Author-Journey Home

Bella & Tara Video Link
Bella & Tarra Video Link II
Elephant Sanctuary Link
Defenders of Wildlife Link

Monday, June 15, 2009

119 Million Americans Want a Public Health Option -- Why Aren't Politicians Listening?

By Robert Parry, Consortium News. Posted June 8, 2009.
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Rarely has an issue more dramatically highlighted the question of whether our government represents the people's interests or an industry's.
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As the health insurance industry and its defenders in Congress lay out their case against permitting a public option in a reform bill, perhaps their most curious argument is that some 119 million Americans are ready to dump their private plans and jump to something more like Medicare – and that's why the choice can't be permitted.

In other words, the industry and its backers are acknowledging that more than one-third of the American people are so dissatisfied with their private health insurance that they trust the U.S. government to give them a fairer shake on health care. The industry says its allies in Congress must prevent that.

The peculiar argument that 119 million Americans must be denied the public option that they prefer has been made most notably by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which is one of two panels that has jurisdiction over the health insurance bill.

"As many as 119 million Americans would shift from private coverage to the government plan," Grassley wrote in a column for Politico.com. That migration, Grassley said, would "put America on the path toward a completely government-run health care system. … Eventually, the government plan would overtake the entire market."

Grassley's logic is that so many Americans would prefer a government-run plan that the private health insurance industry would collapse or become a shadow of its current self. That, in turn, would lead even more Americans entering the government plan, making private insurance even less viable.

Rarely has an argument more dramatically highlighted the philosophical question of whether in a democracy, the government should represent the people's interests or an industry's.

But Grassley said he is simply upholding "the promise that if you like the coverage you have, you can keep it. … That's why I'm concerned about a government-run plan that forces people out of private insurance."

The counter-argument, of course, might be that if the health insurance industry hadn't dissatisfied so many customers – indeed forcing many sick people into bankruptcy because of excessive fees, denial of coverage and gaps in permitted medical treatments – there wouldn't be so many Americans eager for a public option.

So, now to protect the health insurance industry, Congress must stop 119 million Americans from leaping into the arms of a government plan.

Grassley is joined in his position by nearly the entire Republican contingent in Congress. It also appears a few key Democrats, particularly Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, agree at least in part.

Baucus has kept a single-payer option "off the table" during the debate even as he claimed "all options are on the table." He also has suggested that Congress might have to "sculpt" any public option, presumably to make it less appealing to Americans if some version survives in the reform bill.

President Barack Obama, whose mother had to fight with her health insurance company while dying of cancer, says he continues to favor including a public option in the bill as necessary to keep the insurance industry honest. Sen. Ted Kennedy, chairman of the Health and Education Committee which also has jurisdiction over the bill, also favors a strong public plan.

However, there is the additional fact that executives from health insurance companies and related industries are major campaign contributors to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

For instance, since 2005, Grassley's various political action committees have collected nearly $1.3 million in donations from the industries related to the health insurance debate, according to OpenSecrets.org. Grassley's top four donor groups were Health ($411,956); Insurance ($307,348); Pharmaceuticals ($233,850); and Hospitals ($197,137). Eighth on Grassley's donor list were HMOs at $130,684.

On the other hand, the health insurance industry appears about as popular with Americans as the tobacco industry, with both considered highly hazardous to your health. Except that Americans can choose not to smoke, while they run enormous risks for themselves and their families if they don't have some form of health insurance.

Health insurance companies do negotiate rates with hospitals and doctors that are far below what is charged to people who don't have insurance, sometimes as low as one-tenth what the uninsured patient might be charged.

These disparities, in effect, force many Americans to sign up for private insurance even if the insurance fees are excessive, padded with handsome profits for investors and unproductive bureaucratic costs (including investigations into whether people can be denied payments because of undisclosed "preexisting conditions").

If the health insurance industry had its way, Congress would produce a bill that simply required Americans (or their employers) to buy health insurance from private industry. That way, the government would compel citizens to become customers while denying them a choice of the public plan.

To avoid such an outcome, proponents of the public option – including those 119 million Americans who are ready to sign up – will have to overcome opposition from Republicans and some Democrats who are determined to protect the interests of the private health insurance industry.

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Thanks Robert!