Saturday, October 10, 2009

Toledo Rep. Marcy Kaptur Tells Obama to Fire the Generals

Congressman Marcy Kaptur was a guest on PBS's Bill Moyer's Journal last evening and pulled no punches regarding Wall Street Bankers. She told Moyers, referring to Timothy Geithner and Larry Sommers, "When Lincoln ran into trouble during the Civil War, he got new Generals. He brought in Grant. I hope that President Obama will bring in some new generals on the financial front. I don’t think any individuals who had their hands in creating this mess should be in charge of cleaning it up... I don’t think President Obama has the right people around him."

Kaptur went on to excoriate Wall Street and the big banks of America, pointing out that they are right back at their 'game' of fleecing the citizens and gorging themselves with profits and bonuses. She said, "Let me give you a reality from ground zero in Toledo, Ohio. Our foreclosures have gone up 94 percent. A few months ago, I met with our realtors. And I said, "What should I know?" They said, "Well, first of all, you should know the worst companies that are doing this to us." "Well, give me the top one." They said, "JPMorgan Chase."

JPMorgan Chase- the company we taxpayers bailed out. Simon Johnson, another guest with Kaptur said, "I'm afraid that it's pretty obvious, and it's very tragic, that they have no interest in helping the homeowners. They make money with what they're doing. They expected a lot of these mortgages they made to default, okay? It was in their models. A high default rate. Now, they didn't expect house prices to come down so much. That's where they got their losses. But they absolutely made these loans expecting they would have to foreclose on people. And figuring they would make money on that."

It was noted that when President Obama came to Wall Street to address the members, not one of the CEO's of the largest banks was in attendance. Not one. Why?
Because they know that they are now free to do what they want to as the 'crisis' is over and the time for Congress and the Executive Branch to act has already passed.

Johnson said "the opportunity for real reform has already passed. And, not only is there not going to be change, but I'll go further — I'll say it's going to be worse, what comes out of this, in terms of the financial system, its power, and what it can get away with."

Kaptur points out that there is 'socialism' in America and Wall Street got all of the benefits: " what they're doing is they're taking their mistakes and they're dumping them on the taxpayer. So, you and I, and the long term debt of our country and our children and grandchildren. It's all at risk because of their behavior. We aren't reigning them in. The laws of Congress passed last year in terms of housing, were hollow. Were hollow."

Socialism...Wall Street and the big banks of America. And Congress is impotent, paid-off, putty in the hands of the financial institutions of this nation.

Johnson predicts disaster down the road. "And by the way, Bill, it's going to I think it's going to be a long haul. I think that the economy will start to recover. We'll get some jobs back. It's going to be very painful for a lot of people. But other people's attention is going to drift. It's a three, five, seven, maybe twelve year cycle. But when it comes back, it will come back with a vengeance. And it will be even, I think, even more devastating, in all likelihood, than what we just saw."

Money influencing members of Congress. Representatives bought and sold like cattle, like slaves. This is what American democracy has become. Disgusting!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Curious Card in the Mail Today

I received this card in the mail today; it had no return address. When I opened it, I wondered if it was from an evangelical, a fundamentalist attempting to set me straight with the Lord. They always seem to know what's best for other people, you know. But then I realized that I don't actually know any evangelical fundamentalists and knew it must be a gag.

Upon opening it, it reads, "So you might as well enjoy them!"

I suppose this raises the prospect of some long theological discussion on whether one's 'sins' have been already wiped clean before one 'commits' them or not and, part two, whether the enjoyment of said pre-forgiven 'sin' compounds the 'sin' problem and erases the automatic forgiveness there of. Deep stuff.

But as I turned the card to the back, I saw that it was produced by "Mooning Duck" and that pretty much put closure on the discussion.

The Rev. Needs a History Lesson

She signed her Letter to the Editor of the Toledo Blade, Rev. Carolyn Eyre. I suppose she earned that title somewhere, some time, but that does not imply any deep understanding of either the U.S. Constitution or American history. Those 'church' people like to imagine stuff, like angels, raised dead bodies, and a place, just above the cloud layer, called heaven. They like to imagine that our America government ought to include that stuff, too.

The Reverend writes,

Members of the Ohio House who voted in favor of H.B. 176 voted to deny one of our most basic constitutional guarantees: The freedom of religious expression.

The behaviors associated with certain "sexual orientation" are contrary to our religious convictions. The Ohio and the U.S. constitutions guarantee our freedom to make decisions based on such deeply held convictions. Further, courts have established criteria that groups of persons must meet to qualify as a protected class under civil rights laws. Those who self-identify by their "gender identity" do not meet those criteria.

I would suggest we remember this as the 2010 election approaches and vote for candidates who respect our beliefs and retain those who uphold our constitutional rights.

Rev. Carolyn Eyre

I believe that she is confused, as her essay displays, over the separation of church and state and ignorant of the guarantee of equal rights to all U.S. citizens. An obvious bigoted homophobe, the Reverend curiously wants to deny gays and lesbians Constitutional rights because of some ancient writings in that dusty journal kept by the wandering Jews. It seems that, in writing this letter, Rev. Eyre is positioning herself for another run at public office, something that she continues to do election after election. Clearly, she has established herself as the 'choice' candidate among the evangelical fundamentalists of Toledo. Luckily for us, few other voters see her as a viable candidate for anything higher than dog catcher.

The Peace Prize- One More Log on Obama's Pire

One can only imagine the anger, the curdled words flowing off of the tongues of the right-wing gas bags today as they address their audiences. Recall that just a few days ago they were all agog, tickled pink that the United States did not get the Olympics. Chicago, you know. Now, they have a very different scenario to spin, more hate for President Obama. 'Why Obama?' will surely be the opening salvo heard blaring form the radios all across right-wing America today. 'What has HE done?' question two. Stoke the fires, add more logs. Soon there will be a grand bonfire into which they may toss the President, vicariously. Many, I believe, would prefer an actual conflagration.

You do have to admit that 'they' provide a humorous undertone to our society. Really, if one acknowledges the fact that hucksters like Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck are just hucksters, carnival barkers who make their living off of this stuff, then, like the circus, it becomes pure entertainment for the more proficient audience. But sadly, there are those also sitting in this 'circus' who think all of it is real, like wide-eyed children.

Food for the animals, scraps for the peons, hungry for anything that will perpetuate their fantasy- it is all there at the right-wing circus. "Step right up, ladies and gentlemen..."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Homophobes are not Dead: Another One Just Raised his Ugly Head

I received an email this morning concerning Catholic homophobia. It seems that the evangelical fundamentalists do not have a corner on bigotry and denial of human rights. Of course, the right wing of the Catholic Church and Calvinists are kissing cousins [insestually]. My email reads,

"President Obama has nominated Chai Feldblum to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Feldblum has had an exemplary career culminating in her current role as a Full Professor of Law at Georgetown University and Director of the Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic.

But since her nomination, she has been vilified by the Right Wing, and attacked specifically by the Catholic Right Wing. In an editorial on CatholicOnline, Deacon Keith Fournier wrote:

"Ms. Feldblum’s work to, in the words of the announcement, advance “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights”, places marriage and religious freedom in America at grave risk."

Founier is essentially saying that Feldbaum's advocacy of basic human rights under the law somehow threatens the very fabric of the nation. We must counter this hysterical nonsense.

Hysterical nonsense. Nonsense to the majority of Americans who uphold the Constitution and the 'human rights' articulated in many of the sacred documents upon which this nation was founded. Nonsense to most of the first-world nations on this planet.

Yet, not to those obsessed with Leviticus and Deuteronomy. No, not to these holier-than-thou Sadducees who live among us, watching us, chiding us, examining our 21 Century lives through the microscope of Mosaic Law. "Abomination!" they yell from the steps of the Temple. They know all of the passages by heart and will recite them for you whether you ask or not.

The poor souls. It must be extraordinarily difficult for them to live in these times. Occasions of sin everywhere! Ritual hand washing at every turn. A cloak of bible verses to ward off the demons, the sinners, the unclean. A lightening rod ready to stab a sinful soul! And the guilt, the ever-present guilt. The compulsive prayers, compulsive bible reading, compulsive thoughts raging through the head.

Loony, we'd say. Probably true. Psychologists have already labeled it: Religious OCD. ABC's 20/20 recently reported on the syndrome and said that nearly 7,000,000 Americans are afflicted, clearly 10% of all OCD patients. They believe that they must constantly 'please' god because he is a 'punitive' god.

Of course, the mentally healthy adult knows that it is impossible to 'please' an angry god, a god of judgement and punishment. The 'wrath of god' knows no boundaries and takes no prisoners. Therefore, the mentally healthy adult has moved beyond this childlike vision, this adolescent concoction, and lives his/her life well by treating others with love and compassion. After all, isn't that what Jesus taught?

We ought to have compassion for those stuck in pitiful Religious OCD. I do. I recommend mental health counselling and prescription drugs. After all, this is the 21st century.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk

One of the things I miss about living in the States is watching those TV preachers. It's hard to top some of them for pure entertainment.

FOX News Poll: 61% Say Use Force To Stop Iran

FoxNews Poll:

Most Americans say they are worried about Iran developing a nuclear weapons program, and think President Obama should be tougher on the rogue nation. In addition, a clear majority supports the use of force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

According to a new FOX News poll released Thursday, a sizable 69 percent majority of Americans thinks President Obama has not been tough enough on Iran. That includes over half of Democrats (55 percent), two-thirds of independents (67 percent) and almost all Republicans (88 percent).


Can you imagine that 61% of Americans want to use 'force' against Iran? Of course, it was a FoxNews poll, yet the result is astonishing to me, absolutely mind-numbing! Have we as a nation truly become the warmongering police of the world? Do that number of American citizens understand what an attack on Iran would mean? A third theater of war? Even more military men and women coming home in body bags. Billions upon billions more tax dollars? Three wars with Muslim nations?

Didn't the faux Iraq war teach any lesson? Are we still dumbed-down? Are the residual effects of the propaganda put out by the Pentagon and the White House still affecting the brains of many Americans? This is an amazing phenomenon.

Further, I worry about such an attack on Iran from Israel; when that happens, how will the American citizens respond? Will there be a wide-spread call here in America to join 'our friends' the Israelis in the war? Will the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) beat the drums of war here? Will Americans once again be blinded by so-called patriotic fervor, wave flags, demonstrate in the streets, and call on President Obama to join with Israel in the attack? After all, we are a knee-jerk nation.

Today, incidentally, is the 8th anniversary of the War on Afghanistan. We all can see how well that war is going.

Sixty-one percent. Astounding!

Praying Couple Sentenced in Child's Death, a Wisconsin web site, reports on the sentencing of the couple who allowed their 11-year-old daughter to die by not seeking medical help, all the while praying over her.
Marathon County Judge Vincent Howard crafted a unique sentence Tuesday for Dale and Leilani Neumann, who prayed instead of seeking medical care for their dying 11-year-old daughter.

Howard placed the Weston couple on probation for 10 years each and ordered that both serve 30 days a year in jail for the next six years. However, he stayed the jail terms pending appeals.

The Neumanns were convicted at separate trials of second-degree reckless homicide in Madeline Kara Neumann's March 2008 death from undiagnosed diabetes and could have received up to 25 years in prison.

Under terms of the sentence, the two parents would serve their jail sentences at different times. One would serve time in March and the other in September.

The probation, which begins immediately, includes having the Neumanns' surviving children undergo regular and random health checks until they reach the age of 18, and seeking medical attention if their three surviving children become seriously ill or injured.

I guess that fourth paragraph means they would serve their jail sentences at different times if they end up serving them. The second paragraph says those sentences were "stayed" pending appeals.

What's your opinion? Is this a fair sentence? I often write about people who let their kids kill themselves with guns and wonder if any jail time is just that much overkill since they've already suffered such a great loss. Would that kind of leniency apply here, do you think?

What about the fact that they may have been sincere in their beliefs about healing? Would that mitigate the culpability?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Monday, October 5, 2009

White House Openly Confronts Fox News’s Lies!

There have always been factions that publish or make public oppositional political viewpoints with their own slant to a sitting President in the past, but Fox News has gone to the extreme of just propagating blatant lies.
Harry S. Truman banned reporters he disliked from his presidential yacht. Franklin Roosevelt placed his journalistic critics out of earshot at the back of the room during presidential press conferences.
No such subtleties in Barack Obama's White House. The White House is taking a full out frontal assault exposing the Fox News Channel calling quite bluntly, “their broadcasting of lies.” Of course the White House does not expect an apology from the network’s owner and driving conservative force, Rupert Murdoch.
As a response to the Fox News’s propensity to fabricate facts and inaccurate broadcasting topics for the sole purpose of showing the President in a bad light, the Obama White House gave all major networks interviews except Fox News for their Sunday talk shows. Chris Wallace of Fox News response was to simply call the White House "the biggest bunch of crybabies." (Oooooh, what a scathing editorial from this intellectual group. Is this the best that Fox News has? Name calling?)
One of the White House's main targets to date is Glenn Beck, the conservative Fox News commentator whose rants of provocative commentaries that are more often full of inaccurate and misstatements than not.
This past Wednesday, September 30, 2009, Glenn “Blowhard” Beck went on a negative rant about President Obama going to Copenhagen to try to get the Summer Olympics for Chicago. The White House’s counter attack pointed out Beck's lack of research of the subject and misinformation by referencing the financial losses Vancouver sustained hosting the Olympics. What any well read person knows is that Vancouver won't host the Olympics until 2010, and the clueless Beck should have said the Calgary Olympics.
Beck has also gone on another negative rant to say that President Obama’s confidante, Valerie Jarrett, had participated in a controversial August phone call that attempted to recruit artists to create works that promoted President Barack Obama's policies. The White House noted that Jarrett did not participate in any such call. Just another fabricated incorrect lie for the sole attempt to make the President look bad.
Now of course Beck has stated that the White House political director, Patrick Gaspard, had ties to ACORN but the Pulitzer Prize winning Web site, PolitiFact quickly debunked these claims by publishing the facts, and once again, Glenn “Blowhard” Beck, had just made up more lies to base his arguments against the President. PolitiFact has posted and debunked many false claims with regards to the White House that Glenn “Blowhard” Beck continues to repeat along with others on the Fox News Network.
As I see it, the White House has no other option but to meet these falsehoods head-on at every turn or the lies will have a tendency to take on a life of their own to be quoted by the conservative lemmings who want nothing more than to believe them to be true. The President said in his speech to Congress that he would call out those that misrepresented his record and that includes ideological news outlets like Fox News and its various commentators. "In this day and age," Dan Pfeiffer, the White House deputy communications director, added, "every falsehood must be met head-on no matter how absurd the charge or discredited the source."
Now in conclusion, I do want to caution this administrations calling every inaccurate comment a “lie” because it could end up like the old fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” but do not be afraid to call it what it is and do not back down from its meaning. When there's a willfully dishonest statement made by these fabricating conservative bias personalities, attack and expose the “LIES” when there is not any question in the context that it is being referred to, and do not be afraid to call it a “LIE” as an accurate use of the word.

Amish Women Replacing Colored Cleaning Ladies

A young Amish woman, about 25-years-old, is presently cleaning the house of my daughter in the Cleveland area. A van drops off the women at the houses early in the morning and picks them up in the afternoon, when the cleaning is completed. There are many Amish communities just south of Cleveland and the women have found an opportunity to bring some money into their households through cleaning . 'Laura,' the one who just finished in the study, speaks fine English, is intelligent, and attractive, yet is stuck carrying pails of water and mops from room to room, perhaps for the rest of her life.

Back in the 40's and 50's, my mother had a 'colored' woman do the cleaning for her. She and other colored women would get off of the bus in the white section of town, and walk down the street, each entering a separate [and unequal] house to do the daily maid's work. Black women today, of course, have been partially liberated from that dead-end job and are able to find work beyond cleaning. Amish women, on the other hand, are stuck. There is no 'equal opportunity' for the Amish because of their culture, their education, and their overarching religious beliefs. They are stuck doing the work of the 'colored' women of the 1940's.

My wife is reading a novel, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, a book that opens the door of the colored maids of the South, specifically those who served the white households of Jackson, Mississippi. Occasionally she reads a passage to me and it brings back memories of those awful Jim Crow Laws and that terribly shameful period of American history.

Racism is not dead; it often raises its ugly head. And when it does, a shiver runs through my spine, and my mind floods with those black and white TV images of police dogs, water hoses, and white policemen beating the heads of black men and women in the streets of the South.

I know racism: I lived through the 1960's. And when I hear a racist joke my hair bristles and affect falls from my face. When I hear those phony, whining white teabaggers and other right-wing nuts accuse blacks of 'racism,' my blood pressure and adrenalin levels rise in response. Those blokes have no clue, no idea of what racism is all about. They just want to score a cheap point in the game of politics. Ignorant twits.

Laura just wrung the mop, water splashing into the pail. Is she happy with her limited opportunities in life? Perhaps she is. Yet, like the colored cleaning ladies of the past, there are boundaries, prohibitions which keep her stuck in the service of The Help.

Bitch Dog Territorial Marking

I understand that dogs like to 'mark' their territory with urine and feces droppings. I suppose it is a throw-back to their primitive state eons ago.

The Humane Society says this about dog marking: "Some dogs go to the extreme of urinating and defecating to mark a particular area as their own."

I wonder about people, too. Is there, for example, a 'territory' or a 'subject area' that needs to be claimed by some people in order that they feel better or can function more properly?

This thought popped into my head this morning about 7:30 as I looked at the blog's 'comment monitoring' log. It seems that the posting by Mike titled, 'Where have all of the Christians gone?' has irritated a certain bladder, so to speak. And bowel! Apparently the 6 comments on that thread did not give the 'real' answer, the 'holier-than-thou' input that was required.

We 'Men with the Muckrake' are so very fortunate to have an auxiliary 'member' who serves as our expert in all things religious; a religious editor, so to speak. Every once in a while [fortunately] she drops by to urinate and defecate a little morsel for us to inspect. Sadly, the bitch dog has chronic diarrhea and therefore one comment is never enough. This morning there were three. What does one give a dog for irritable bowel disorder?

I never read the comments, but rather just 'trash' them so that the entire blog will not smell of that certain odor, you know. Ever vigilant of each 'agnostic' and 'atheistic' post on this blog, she surely must be frustrated that her turd, her pile of crap never sees the light of day. Yet, she is undaunted in her missionary work because, surely, she is doing the will of god. I believe the Catholic Church of old coined a phrase for that type of effort- potential grace.

Some dear nun assured us, one afternoon as we struggled to keep our eyes open, that if you had the intent to do good or to obey a church law, but you were foiled in that attempt, you received 'potential grace,' a kind of 'atta-boy!' pat on the shoulder for the effort. Perhaps even one of those very special and endearing holy cards that sister passed out to the good boys and girls.

So, to our religion editor in absentia, don't fret that your triple chunk of religious wisdom entered the abyss of cyber trash in vane. You received god's grace- potential grace- for your ever-so righteous actions. And, here's a Holy Card that you can stick in Leviticus, your favorite book of the Bible, for your effort.

Only in California

Front page of the Los Angeles Times.

Photo credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

The Blessing of the Waves is an annual celebration that includes officials from various religions. This year organizers decided to include a more somber note: a moment of silence for victims of recent natural disasters in Southeast Asia.

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