Thursday, January 29, 2009
This made my day. Gone are the days of force feeding an inhumane and twisted ideology. Finally sanity has returned. As stated by the famous philosopher, Skolimowski "The Era of Error is over. "
Story can be found at : http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-shoe-art30-2009jan30,0,5722440.story
BAGHDAD -- "When an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at George W. Bush last month at a Baghdad press conference, the attack spawned a flood of Web quips, political satire and street rallies across the Arab world.Now, it's inspired a work of art.
A sofa-sized shoe statue was formally unveiled to the public today in Tikrit, the hometown of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.Baghdad-based artist Laith al-Amari described his fiberglass-and-copper work as a homage to the pride of the Iraqi people.The statue also has inscribed a poem honoring Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist. Al-Zeidi was charged with assaulting a foreign leader, but the trial was postponed after his lawyer sought to reduce the charges."
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This interview was done by Amy Goodman ..... it is so good...Ms. Kelly walks her talk..."Worse than an Earthquake: Peace Activist Kathy Kelly on the Destruction in Gaza
President Obama has dispatched George Mitchell on his first trip as Middle East envoy. Mitchell is set to begin in Egypt today, followed by Israel, the occupied West Bank, Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. My next guest has just returned from the Gaza Strip, where she witnessed the Israeli attack. Kathy Kelly is the executive director of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. "
The website for Kathy Kelly: http://vcnv.org/speaker-bio/kathy-kelly
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Time to celebrate - we are in the embrace of the energies of the Lunar New
Year, when we celebrate the Light Returning.
So let us celebrate, in this Year of Celebration, this Lunar New Year that
honors the birth and rebirth of the Sacred Feminine in her new and renewed
forms. This is the Festival of Quickening, when the spark of light grows
stronger and takes on independent identity; it is a time to honor gestation as an
essential time of preparation. The purging and purifying times of our winter
’s sojourn in the underworld, tending our inner gardens, is spent, and now
our task is to bring the Light we have garnered forth into our world. It is a festival of Light, of Fire and Water, Earth and Air, honoring as it does the reactivation of flow, the renewal of wells, the passion rising – and Proper Timing – the sun responding to the call of the earth as the sun also calls her to respond.
In many ancient European traditions, this festival honors the Sacred
Feminine as Brigid, yet She who is honored this day connects us to a lineage and a tradition that is older than old, and known by many names, and beloved by all who know Her. Imbolc, this Feast of Brigid, is a Festival dedicated to the
Shining Ones of Faerie, accessed through the Maiden-Mother-Crone Trinity of
the Sacred Feminine. (For a more in-depth exploration of the Maiden Muse,
those Ancient Ones whose care and responsibility is to bring forth Inspiration
into form – through Awakening, through Transformation, through Purification –
email me for information about my "Meet the Muse" Year Journey.)
And in this Year of Celebration, as before, I am creating an Essence Blend
each month that supports you in creating and receiving more enjoyment from
your life as you learn and practice the art and craft of Celebration.
Your Creative Fire." The essences that took part in its creation include a
magical synergy of "Amaryllis" energies, Dandelion and Jewelweed. Here is a
little of what it has to say: "This initiating and Overlighting essence of
the Year of Celebration will gently, at your appropriate pacing, grease the
hinges of your heart, ensure the guardians of these hinges are in full regalia,
and support your ever-expanding ability to express Celebration through the
breathing of your heart from happiness to Joy, and your relaxation back to
Happiness - only to breathe again into the exquisite Celebration of Life as the
Gift that it is." (Ordering information below.)
So let us, no matter what, in this Year of Celebration, celebrate every day
as unique and wonderful. Let us open our hearts ‘full and wide’ to the
Wonders of our World –and our Worlds, inner and outer. We all have so much to
celebrate if we allow ourselves to shift our focus for even a moment.
May this year be full of Joy and Celebration for you, and enduring
Individual Bottles (one ounce cobalt blue dropper bottles) are $15 each,
Essence Blend subscription, $13.00 per month for 12 months. You will
receive the new Blend as it is ready.
If you pay in advance for the whole year, you pay the discounted price of
$130, 12 blends for the price of 10.
Pay by check or paypal.
Bronwen Gates, Ph.D.
2711 Cranbrook Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Your letter has been sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.Now I’m counting on you to take one more important action.Go to our “Tell Your Friends” page and forward my email message to your friends and family right away.We need more than one million Americans to speak out now in favor of immediate polar bear protection. If your friends tell ten more friends, we can create unstoppable momentum for saving the polar bear.So please, spread the word to everyone you know -- right now!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Injunction preserves 110,000 acres of wildlands // January 19, 2009
Washington, D.C. -- Today, U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ruled in favor of conservation groups on a temporary injunction they filed against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over the leasing of more than 110,000 acres of Utah wilderness.
Earthjustice sought the injunction December 22 on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and the Wilderness Society, and Earthjustice. The groups filed a lawsuit December 17 to stop the leasing.
The groups argued that the leases did not meet legal requirements regarding air quality analysis, the impacts of climate change, and the presence of archaeological sites. One of the contested areas, Nine Mile Canyon, is world-renowned for its remarkable rock art panels and other cultural features.
"In their rush to get these leases out the door, the Bush administration cut corners," said Robin Cooley, attorney at Earthjustice. "We are hopeful that the Obama administration will reconsider BLM's decision to sacrifice these magnificent lands to development."
"This ruling makes clear that allowing oil and gas companies to lease and drill on Utah's public lands would cause permanent and irreparable damage to some of our nation's most pristine wilderness," said Sharon Buccino, Senior Attorney for NRDC. "The case will now be heard in court, and we will do all we can to permanently protect Utah's wilderness."
The merits of the case will be heard later in 2009. Until that time, BLM is prohibited from cashing the checks issued for the contested acres of Utah wilderness.
"We're thrilled with this decision," said Stephen Bloch, Conservation Director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. "BLM's attempt to sell these leases just before the Bush administration left office has been showcases for what it really is -- a parting gift to the oil and gas industry. Judge Urbina's decision firmly puts the brakes on these plans."
The contested areas near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dinosaur National Monument, and Nine Mile Canyon include lands that contain the nation's greatest density of ancient rock art and other cultural resources. These lands were recently made available to industry through hastily approved resource management plans that have serious ramifications for 3 million acres of public lands.
Seattle, WA -- White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel Tuesday sent a memo to the heads of all executive departments and agencies, ordering a stop to all pending regulations until a legal and policy review can be conducted by the Obama administration.
A rule that would eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains except for those in Wyoming was scheduled to be published on January 27. Now it will fall under review with the new administration.
Among others, the Bush administration recently finalized rules that significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act, allow for mining deposits to be dumped within 100 feet of flowing streams and exempts large-scale factory farms from notifying government officials when they release unsafe levels of toxic emissions into the community. Earthjustice, a public interest law firm, filed suit against all of these rules.
The following statement is from Patti Goldman, Vice President of Program for Earthjustice:
"While we are pleased that the new administration has put a stop to these hasty actions, there are some rules we continue to monitor.
"Under the Emanuel memo, the wolf delisting rule will be withdrawn. This rule was extremely controversial and was rushed through even though a federal district court had declared the wolf delisting illegal in July. It defied the law which prohibits a state by state listing when the wolves do not respect state boundaries.
"For the vast majority of the midnight regulations, the Bush administration got them published in time to evade the Emanuel memo's freeze. Earthjustice has brought dozens of legal challenges to Bush rollbacks, which provides the ultimate pathway to reining in the excesses of the Bush administration."
Henryk Skolimowski -----------
Thank you Professor.
HUMAN LIBERATION — THE ENDLESS PROCESS
The human kind has been staggering
Under the yoke of various forms of oppression.
The human spirit has so often rebelled valiantly
And liberated itself from many tyrannies.
From the tyranny of the pharaohs and Roman emperors.
Then came the tyrannies of social systems.
Already J.J. Rousseau protested and fought
Against the tyranny of Civilization.
His fight was unprecedented in history.
We heard his voice but only some could understand it.
Then the angry Karl Marx protested against exploitation
Imposed on workers by the unjust social system.
His form of liberation turned out to be ephemeral.
And we had to liberate ourselves from Marxism.
Then capitalism returned and the paradise
Of consumerism was established.
Then capitalism collapsed under the strain
Of its own contradictions — and we gasp in disbelief.
Thus we need to liberate ourselves from
The last fragments of the chains of capitalism.
And also recover from the noxious fumes of consumerism.
Yes, we need to stand upright and breathe deep.
And ask ourselves: where do we go from here?
Yes, we need to meditate on our unfinished agenda.
Our liberation is not complete. Far from it!
We need to liberate our tormented soul.
That will not be easy. We know it.
But the human being is incredible and indestructible.
We shall arrive there one day.
With joy and tears will celebrate our positive freedom.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"The times they are a changin’"...
"M. J. Rosenberg makes an astute observation today regarding Bono’s inspired comments during the concert on the Mall this past Sunday:
"Bono was singing “In The Name of Love.” He sang the song, then added a coda: “It’s not just an American dream. It’s an Irish dream. It’s a European dream. It’s an Israeli dream,” Then he took a long dramatic pause to underline his next words, his face worked in pain, and he sang out, “it’s a Palestinian dream.” And the crowd cheered."
"Eight years ago, that never would have happened. Today, in front of the new President, the biggest entertainer/philanthropist in the world expressed human solidarity with Palestinians. The Israelis need to understand that they need to end this war, end the siege, and end the occupation. The knee-jerk sympathy of the Bush/Cheney crowd and their voters is gone. The last three weeks have done serious, maybe incalculable damage to Israel and it’s nothing compared to what it’s done to the people of Gaza."
Reprinted from http://www.aaiusa.org/
A doctor’s grief speaks to us all…
The Israeli media appears to have seized upon the tragedy of one Palestinian to put a face upon the suffering of the people of Gaza. Dr. Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish’s home was shelled just minutes before he was scheduled to speak to Israeli television. Three of his daughters were killed outright: Bisan, Mayar and Aya. “Abu al-Aish said he hoped his three daughters would be the last victims of the fighting in Gaza, and that their deaths would help bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” Haaretz reported.
Dr. Aboul Aish worked in a hospital in Israel and lived in Gaza. Since his wife’s death from cancer, his girls were his life. He worked tirelessly to change Israeli perceptions of Palestinians, and called himself ‘a bridge’ between the two worlds. His heartbroken cries on Israeli television brought the consequences of the war home to the people of Israel.
Monday, January 19, 2009
This woman has more courage and more stamina then any serving currently in the white house.
Thank you Helen for all your years of service to the people, your example through action and your endearing style.
History Cannot Save Him
by Helen Thomas http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/01/11-7
WASHINGTON -- As he leaves office, President Bush is passing on to his successor two wars and a growing economic debacle. What a way to go!
Because of Bush's policies, the U.S. also is complicit in the Israeli attack on the Palestinians on the Gaza Strip by providing a "made-in-America" high-tech arsenal for the assault and blocking a ceasefire for nearly two weeks, a move intended to help the Israelis consolidate their hold.
Not to worry, Bush says he isn't concerned about how history will view his militant eight years in the White House, telling ABC News that he "won't be around to read it."
Well, they say that journalism is the first draft of history. So I am going to predict that those future historians will not deal kindly with the Bush presidency.
It's true -- as Bush and company point at their proudest achievement-- there have been no new terrorist attacks on the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.
But they fail to acknowledge administration mistakes before and after that fateful day, starting with the fact that White House and security officials ignored significant early warnings of an imminent strike against the U.S.
The second half of the double 9/11 mistake was the trampling of our constitutional system and American values by the administration's infamous torture policies, illegal interrogation practices, including water boarding (simulated drowning), secret prisons abroad and U.S. run jails at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. Post- 9/11 Bush strategy also nurtured a climate of fear that enabled the self-styled "decider" to lead the country into a senseless war against Iraq, a calamity still underway as he leaves office almost six years after the invasion.
Add the administration's pathetic response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and you have basis to dub Bush's eight White House years as the "Bush error."
He was to be the great "unifier" but instead he became a great polarizer.
While he remained stubbornly steadfast to his core social convictions, he did a 180-degree turn when it came to the role of government in the economy when he bailed out the collapsed giants of Wall Street.
He told CNN: "I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market systems." So much for all the anti-government rant of Republican conservatives.
After the 9/11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice drummed up the fiction that Iraq was linked to the al Qaida attacks and sold that fable to a naive Congress and jittery American people. During the first crisis meeting after the 9/11 attack, neo-con advisor Paul Wolfowitz, said: "Let's bomb Iraq."
There were no Iraqis involved in the attack and no evidence that Saddam Hussein had any role in planning or executing it.
Other falsehoods that these officials peddled included the tale that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Cheney told his Sunday television audiences, "We know where they are."
Official inspectors found none. The non-existent weapons were used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Bush is not about to admit that his costly inhumane attack on Iraq was a mistake. How could he tell grieving families of more than 4,000 American service members that their loved ones had died because of his error?
In addition to the flawed decision to attack Iraq, Bush and Co. used the aftermath of 9/11 to take wholesale swipes at our civil liberties, including warrantless wiretapping.
So those future historians will have a clear view of the 43rd president as they look back on the early years of the 21st century.
A list of Bush's accomplishments also should include his efforts to pay more money and political support into helping victims of AIDS and malaria in Africa. And he is proud of his controversial program "No Child Left Behind" to upgrade public school students by imposing national standards on an education system that had none.
Those future historians should also take note that Bush was hailed for his "likeability" when he came into office and was dubbed the guy you would like to share a beer with.
However, a CNN poll last year suggested that Bush had become the most unpopular president in modern American history. That CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey indicated that 71 percent of the American public disapproved of how Bush was handling his job as president.
Bush must have a sense of relief in giving up the presidential burdens.
He is confident that those future historians will vindicate him and his presidency.
But no one is expecting him to wind up on Mount Rushmore.
© 2009 The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
But the transformation was neither rapid nor smooth. So strenuously did I resist and so deep were my imprints, that it has taken me until now to begin writing the ultimate self- help book on pronoiac living. It's titled, "EXTREME PRONOIA: 888 Steps to Becoming an Aggressively Sensitive, Wildly Disciplined, Lyrically Logical, Ironically Sincere, Insanely Poised, Lustfully Compassionate Master of Rowdy Bliss." Here is how it begins.
Beauty and truth fans, you don't have to struggle and slave for 15 years, as I did, to throw off your addiction to pop- nihilism. You can launch the first phase of the cold turkey cure right now. Simply carry out the following 13-step crash course in pronoiac reprogramming. Report on your adventures and results here. "
PRONOIA THERAPY FOR BEGINNERS
1. During an intense half-hour rant, complain and whine about everything that pains you. Get a sympathetic listener to be your receptacle if possible, or simply deliver your blast straight into the mirror. Having emptied all your psychic toxins in one neat ritual spew, you'll be able to luxuriate in rosy moods and relaxed visions for a while.
2. Locate or create a symbol of your own pain. Mail it to us at the Angst Incineration Crew, P.O. Box 150628, San Rafael, CA 94915, USA. We will then conduct a sacred ritual of purification during which we will burn that symbol to ash. While this may not banish your suffering entirely, it will provide a substantial amelioration which you will be able to feel the benefits of within a month.
3. Eat a pinch of dirt while affirming that you are ready to kill off one of your outworn shticks -- some idea or formula that has worked for you in the past but has now become a parody of itself.
4. Using crayons, paints, scissors, glue, collage materials or any other materials, create a piece of large-denomination paper money, good for making a payment on your karmic debt.
5. Kick your own ass 22 times.
6. Brag about yourself nonstop for 10 minutes. Record it so you can listen back to it later.
7. Perform a senseless act of altruism, for instance by giving an anonymous gift or providing some beauty or healing to a person who cannot do you any favors in return.
8. Deliver a concentrated stream of praise about someone, either to that person herself or to anyone who will listen. Extra credit: Force yourself to think a kind and loving thought about someone you don't like or from whom you feel alienated.
9. Conjure up an imaginary friend and have an intimate conversation with him and her for at least 15 minutes.
10. Build an altar devoted to beauty, truth, and love in one of the ugliest places you know.
11. With a companion, watch a blank TV while making up a pronoiac story featuring plot twists that are rife with happiness, redemption, and good times -- yet not boring. You may either speak this tale aloud or write it down.
12. Compose and perform a ceremony in which you get married to yourself.
13. While making love, imagine that your physical pleasure is a carrier wave for a spiritual blessing which you beam in the direction of some person you know who needs a supercharged boost.
Friday, January 16, 2009
"The upcoming Aquarius eclipse on January 25 will quickly remove the phony shine from the Obama inaguration.
The solar eclipse at the seventh degree of Aquarius falls in the US second house of finance and in Israel’s fourth house of domestic affairs. Israel has an election coming up soon and pandering to the Likud by committing war crimes in Gaza will bring Israel woe at home. No longer can Israel avoid the shame it has cast on its Moon in Leo in the 10th house, and the US will find its own financial house falling even more quickly to the ground (eclipse conjuncts the US South Node of the Moon) as foreign investors decide the US pretense to humanitarian values is utterly wiped out.
Shame on both these countries and shame on Obama for his cowardly silence. This one will break the hearts of those who have believed in him.
I have just changed my political party registration from Democrat to Green because I am utterly appalled at the Democratic party’s support for Israli atrocities."
We live in similar times. This is not a time for neutrality. It’s a time to go looking for the facts and to take a stand.
These travesties committed against the Arab peoples will surely have a backlash and like the Good Germans who silently watched the Nazis take over, we will one day, as a people, no doubt regret our silence and complicity in crimes against humanity.
The Zionist narrative attempts to portray Israel as a victim of unprovoked Palestinian violence. But Palestinian resistance to the colonization of their land is recognized as a right under international law. The widely accepted and vociferous contention that “Israel has a right to defend itself,” is a bizarre transposition of the rule of law. It is like saying the family that occupied your home has a right to defend itself from your actions to remove them. Israel does not have any right under international law to “defend” its ethnic cleansing and illegal occupation of Palestine. The attack on Gaza, and indeed, any Israeli action taken against Palestinian resistance, whether that resistance be violent or nonviolent, is not an act of self defense. It is an act of aggression against a legitimate resistance movement. Israel is not defending itself, it is defending its illegal colonization of Palestinian lands. "— Joe Mowrey
You Tube Video: Norwegian Physician Reports from Gaza
Aljazeera Video: Eyewitness to Gaza Bombings
Article: US Weapons Facilitate Killings in Gaza
Article: Operation Cast Lead
Article: Israel Uses White Phosophorous While Blanketing American Media with Propaganda
Article: Israel’s War Crimes
Article: Silence is Complicity
Article: About Israel We May No Longer Be Silent
Article: American Puppet State
Article: Lying Silence About Gaza
Article: An Unnecessary War by Jimmy Carter
Book: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Oscar contender FUEL is an insightful portrait of America’s addiction to oil and an uplifting testiment to the immediacy of new energy solutions. Director, Josh Tickell, a young activist , shuttles us on a whirlwind journey to track the rising domination of the petrochemical industry—from Rockefeller’s strategy to halt Ford’s first ethanol cars to Vice President Cheney's petrochemical company sponsored energy legislation — and reveals a gammut of available solutions to "repower America" —from vertical farms that occupy skyscrapers to algae facilities that turn wastewater into fuel. Tickell and a surprising array of environmentalists, policy makers, and entertainment notables take us through America’s complicated, often ignominious energy past and illuminate a hopeful, achievable future, where decentralized, sustainable living is not only possible, it’s imperative.
Can you take a moment and sign the petition?
January 15, 2009
Swindlers Find Growing Market in Foreclosures
By JOHN LELAND
As home values across the country continue to plummet, the authorities say a new breed of swindler is preying on the tens of thousands of homeowners desperate to avoid foreclosure.
Until recently, defrauders tried to bilk homeowners out of the equity in their homes. Now, with that equity often dried up, they are presenting themselves as “foreclosure rescue companies” that charge upfront fees to modify loans but often do nothing to stave off foreclosure.
The Federal Trade Commission brought lawsuits last year against five companies representing 20,000 customers, and state and local prosecutors have brought dozens more. In Florida, Attorney General Bill McCollum recently sued a company that he said had more than 600 victims.
“There’s no way for the consumer to sort out the legitimate companies,” said Mr. McCollum, who added that he had limited resources to fight what he called “a sheer volume question.”
The companies under suspicion typically charge an upfront fee of up to $3,000 to help borrowers get lower rates on their mortgages from their lenders. But borrowers often cannot afford the fees, the service can be bogus and, in the worst cases, the homeowners lose their chance to renegotiate with their bank or to file for bankruptcy protection because of the time wasted.
There are companies that provide legitimate foreclosure services, but the industry is largely unregulated, making it difficult for homeowners to separate the good from the bad. Some of the fraudulent companies — often run by former real estate agents or mortgage brokers — are local; others are national. Many have official-looking Web sites that suggest that the companies have government affiliations and give homeowners a false sense of security.
“That’s all I’ve been doing for the last year,” said Angela Rosenau, a deputy attorney general in California, citing more than 300 complaints about fraudulent companies last year, not counting those made to local prosecutors.
Experiences like those of Maria Martinez, of Stockton, Calif., are playing out with greater frequency across the country, the authorities say. Ms. Martinez struggled to pay her mortgage last summer. She had no shortage of people offering to help. Fliers for rescue companies filled her mailbox.
At a seminar for troubled borrowers near her home, one company offered a service that promised just what Ms. Martinez needed: for $1,000, the company said it would negotiate with her mortgage company to lower her interest rate.
“I was desperate,” said Ms. Martinez, 57, a clerk at the San Joaquin County Jail. She made an initial payment of $500 and paid another $500 a few weeks later.
Now the house is in foreclosure, and Ms. Martinez is waiting for the sheriff to evict her. She cannot reach the man she paid to modify her loan.
In California and 20 other states, including New York, companies are prohibited from collecting payment until they have completed their services, something Ms. Martinez did not know. In Colorado, the attorney general’s office has closed 15 mortgage rescue companies that charged fees up front.
Carol McClelland, 46, fell into foreclosure on her Chicago home when she lost her job as a waitress in two restaurants. She received a call from a company called Foreclosure Solutions Experts, promising to stop the foreclosure and lower her mortgage payments to around $550 a month, from $1,056, Miss McClelland said.
“She showed me other clients’ files, and they were paying $650 a month,” she said. The charge for the service was $1,300, which Miss McClelland paid in installments, borrowing the money from friends and relatives.
When the loan servicer notified her that the house was still in foreclosure, Miss McClelland said, the representative from Foreclosure Solutions Experts told her that the matter had been taken care of.
“She told me everything was all settled; I don’t have to worry about anything,” Miss McClelland said. “All I had to worry about was getting the rest of the money to her.”
According to a suit brought by the Illinois attorney general in November, Foreclosure Solutions Experts does little or nothing to help consumers, and when it does take action, the result is often a repayment plan unsuited to the borrower’s ability to pay. The suit alleges that the company never contacted Miss McClelland’s lender, HSBC.
Illinois is one of the states that bans upfront payments to foreclosure rescue companies. The attorney general’s office has received “thousands” of complaints about such companies, said Michelle Garcia, an assistant attorney general, and the suit against Foreclosure Solutions Experts is one of 22 filed by the state.
Stacy Strong, who runs Foreclosure Solutions Experts, did not return calls for comment.
Advocates say foreclosure rescue scams are particularly insidious because they prey on people’s desperation and because they victimize those who can least afford it.
Borrowers seeking loan modification are often frustrated that they cannot reach the right people at their lender or that the lender insists on a repayment plan they cannot keep, said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.
“When you’re desperate, that’s when the crooks come out,” Mr. Rheingold said. “You’ve tried everything, and a guy calls you up on the phone or there’s an ad on TV, and you have no other options, what do you do? You go to those guys.
“People probably know in their heart of hearts that they may be getting ripped off, just like most people understood on their mortgages that they were getting in too deep, but bankers said yes, so it must be O.K. It’s the same thing. The real problem is that we continue to fail to have systems in place that help people.”
Ms. Rosenau, the California prosecutor, said that even when she told people that they had been swindled, “they don’t believe it, because they want it not to be true.”
“And any money they had to possibly work with the lender is now gone to the scam,” she said.
In Baltimore, where neighborhoods have been buffeted by successive waves of mortgage scams, Ann Norton, director of foreclosure prevention at the nonprofit St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, said companies promising loan modifications started to multiply last summer.
“It’s the same people that joined the industry during the refinance boom, and now they’re making fees for submitting loan remediation forms,” said Ms. Norton, whose agency provides free help to borrowers.
Although Maryland was among the first states to enact legislation defining mortgage rescue fraud, Ms. Norton said, “it’s a growing industry, and it’s under the radar.”
Often the scammers represent themselves as having connections to government groups, or copy the name and typography of the Hope Now program, an alliance of nonprofit, government and lending agencies, said Marietta Rodriguez, director of national homeownership programs at NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit group that provides free government-certified foreclosure counseling through 235 local organizations.
“Several took the Hope Now Web site and just reskinned it with their own information, or they use government seals,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “They’re very crafty, and their marketing strategies are aggressive.”
Peggy L. Twohig, associate director of the financial practices division at the Federal Trade Commission, said consumers should be wary of companies that promise results, charge upfront fees or tell them not to contact their lender on their own. Ms. Twohig said consumers could get the same help free from nonprofit housing counselors.
“Our advice to consumers is to contact their loan servicers directly or to call Hope Now or HUD-approved housing counselors,” she said.
Last year, Congress approved $180 million in grants to nonprofit housing counselors.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The CEE Bankwatch Network's mission is to prevent the environmentally and socially harmful impacts of international development finance, and to promote alternative solutions and public participation.The CEE Bankwatch Network is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) with member organisations currently from 12 countries across the central and eastern European region. The aim of the network is to monitor the activities of the international financial institutions (IFIs) which operate in the region, and to propose constructive alternatives to their policies and projects in the region.
The CEE Bankwatch Network was formally set up in 1995 and has become one of the strongest networks of environmental NGOs in central and eastern Europe. Members of the CEE Bankwatch Network are NGOs from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Slovak Republic and Ukraine. Bankwatch focuses mainly on energy, transport and EU enlargement, while working at the same time to promote public participation and access to information about the activities of the IFIs across our region. Members of the CEE Bankwatch Network attend the annual meetings of the IFIs and are engaged in an ongoing critical dialogue with their staff and Executive Directors at the national, regional and international levels.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Read the Frank Rich article below then..Go to the attached link and view the WAR that we paid for.. and will continue to pay for monetarily, emotionally and spiritually for generations to come.
LET REGULAR EVERY DAY PEOPLE SCREAM NO MORE ! NO MORE. NOT IN MY NAME. NO MORE!
THESE DO NOT HAVE TO BE OUR STORIES.
http://www.battlespaceonline.org/eros-hoagland/ramadi-iraq-2007-02.shtml (graphic images, those with sensitive psyches --- Be Warned.)
Editorial Column: Bush Rule was Eight Years of Madoff Ponzi Scams
New York Times
January 11, 2009 - Three days after the world learned that $50 billion may have disappeared in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, The Times led its front page of Dec. 14 with the revelation of another $50 billion rip-off. This time the vanished loot belonged to American taxpayers. That was our collective contribution to the $117 billion spent (as of mid-2008) on Iraq reconstruction — a sinkhole of corruption, cronyism, incompetence and outright theft that epitomized Bush management at home and abroad.
The source for this news was a near-final draft of an as-yet-unpublished 513-page federal history of this nation-building fiasco. The document was assembled by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction — led by a Bush appointee, no less. It pinpoints, among other transgressions, a governmental Ponzi scheme concocted to bamboozle Americans into believing they were accruing steady dividends on their investment in a “new” Iraq.
The report quotes no less an authority than Colin Powell on how the scam worked. Back in 2003, Powell said, the Defense Department just “kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces — the number would jump 20,000 a week! ‘We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000.’ ” Those of us who questioned these astonishing numbers were dismissed as fools, much like those who begged in vain to get the Securities and Exchange Commission to challenge Madoff’s math.
What’s most remarkable about the Times article, however, is how little stir it caused. When, in 1971, The Times got its hands on the Pentagon Papers, the internal federal history of the Vietnam disaster, the revelations caused a national uproar. But after eight years of battering by Bush, the nation has been rendered half-catatonic. The Iraq Pentagon Papers sank with barely a trace.
After all, next to big-ticket administration horrors like Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo and the politicized hiring and firing at Alberto Gonzales’s Justice Department, the wreckage of Iraq reconstruction is what Ralph Kramden of “The Honeymooners” would dismiss as “a mere bag of shells.” The $50 billion also pales next to other sums that remain unaccounted for in the Bush era, from the $345 billion in lost tax revenue due to unpoliced offshore corporate tax havens to the far-from-transparent disposition of some $350 billion in Wall Street bailout money. In the old Pat Moynihan phrase, the Bush years have “defined deviancy down” in terms of how low a standard of ethical behavior we now tolerate as the norm from public officials.
Not even a good old-fashioned sex scandal could get our outrage going again. Indeed, a juicy one erupted last year in the Interior Department, where the inspector general found that officials “had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.” Two officials tasked with marketing oil on behalf of American taxpayers got so blotto at a daytime golf event sponsored by Shell that they became too incapacitated to drive and had to be put up by the oil company.
Back in the day, an oil-fueled scandal in that one department alone could mesmerize a nation and earn Warren Harding a permanent ranking among our all-time worst presidents. But while the scandals at Bush’s Interior resemble Teapot Dome — and also encompass millions of dollars in lost federal oil and gas royalties — they barely registered beyond the Beltway. Even late-night comics yawned when The Washington Post administered a coup de grâce last week, reporting that Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne spent $235,000 from taxpayers to redo his office bathroom (monogrammed towels included).
It took 110 pages for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan research organization, to compile the CliffsNotes inventory of the Bush wreckage last month. It found “125 systematic failures across the breadth of the federal government.” That accounting is conservative. There are still too many unanswered questions.
Just a short list is staggering. Who put that bogus “uranium from Africa” into the crucial prewar State of the Union address after the C.I.A. removed it from previous Bush speeches? How high up were the authorities who ordered and condoned torture and then let the “rotten apples” at the bottom of the military heap take the fall? Who orchestrated the Pentagon’s elaborate P.R. efforts to cover up Pat Tillman’s death by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan?
And, for extra credit, whatever did happen to Bush’s records from the Texas Air National Guard?
The biggest question hovering over all this history, however, concerns the future more than the past. If we get bogged down in adjudicating every Bush White House wrong, how will we have the energy, time or focus to deal with the all-hands-on-deck crises that this administration’s malfeasance and ineptitude have bequeathed us? The president-elect himself struck this note last spring. “If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated,” Barack Obama said. “I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.”
Henry Waxman, the California congressman who has been our most tireless inquisitor into Bush scandals, essentially agreed when I spoke to him last week. Though he remains outraged about both the chicanery used to sell the Iraq war and the administration’s overall abuse of power, he adds: “I don’t see Congress pursuing it. We’ve got to move on to other issues.” He would rather see any prosecutions augmented by an independent investigation that fills in the historical record. “We need to depoliticize it,” he says. “If a Democratic Congress or administration pursues it, it will be seen as partisan.”
We could certainly do worse than another 9/11 Commission. Among those Americans still enraged about the Bush years, there are also calls for truth and reconciliation commissions, war crimes trials and, in a petition movement on Obama’s transition Web site, a special prosecutor in the Patrick Fitzgerald mode. One of the sharpest appointments yet made by the incoming president may support decisive action: Dawn Johnsen, a law professor and former Clinton administration official who last week was chosen to run the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice.
This is the same office where the Bush apparatchik John Yoo produced his infamous memos justifying torture. Johnsen is a fierce critic of such constitutional abuses. In articles for Slate last year, she wondered “where is the outrage, the public outcry” over a government that has acted lawlessly and that “does not respect the legal and moral bounds of human decency.” She asked, “How do we save our country’s honor, and our own?”
The last is not a rhetorical question. While our new president indeed must move on and address the urgent crises that cannot wait, Bush administration malfeasance can’t be merely forgotten or finessed. A new Justice Department must enforce the law; Congress must press outstanding subpoenas to smoke out potential criminal activity; every legal effort must be made to stop what seems like a wholesale effort by the outgoing White House to withhold, hide and possibly destroy huge chunks of its electronic and paper trail. As Johnsen wrote last March, we must also “resist Bush administration efforts to hide evidence of its wrongdoing through demands for retroactive immunity, assertions of state privilege, and implausible claims that openness will empower terrorists.”
As if to anticipate the current debate, she added that “we must avoid any temptation simply to move on,” because the national honor cannot be restored “without full disclosure.” She was talking about America regaining its international reputation in the aftermath of our government’s descent into the dark side of torture and “extraordinary rendition.” But I would add that we need full disclosure of the more prosaic governmental corruption of the Bush years, too, for pragmatic domestic reasons. To make the policy decisions ahead of us in the economic meltdown, we must know what went wrong along the way in the executive and legislative branches alike.
As the financial historian Ron Chernow wrote in the Times last week, we could desperately use a Ferdinand Pecora, the investigator who illuminated the history of the 1929 meltdown in Senate hearings on the eve of the New Deal. The terrain to be mined would include not just the usual Wall Street suspects and their Congressional and regulatory enablers but also the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a strangely neglected ground zero in the foreclosure meltdown. The department’s secretary, Alphonso Jackson, resigned in March amid still-unresolved investigations over whether he enriched himself and friends with government contracts.
The tentative and amorphous $800 billion stimulus proposed by Obama last week sounds like a lot, but it’s a drop in the bucket when set against the damage it must help counteract: more than $10 trillion in new debt and new obligations piled up by the Bush administration in eight years, as calculated by the economists Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current Harper’s Magazine.
If Bernie Madoff, at least, can still revive what remains of our deadened capacity for outrage, so can those who pulled off Washington’s Ponzi schemes. The more we learn about where all the bodies and billions were buried on our path to ruin, the easier it may be for our new president to make the case for a bold, whatever-it-takes New Deal.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Dear President-elect Obama:
A Great Act of Mercy by you can help heal the still raw wounds of Indian people and their continuing confrontation with the 'Dominant Society' of the United States. I don’t know if you know the Leonard Peltier case personally; nor will I argue it here. Please talk to Secretary Bill Richardson and Sen. Inouye about this great injustice now in its 33rd year; they both know it well. Leonard was 31 when he was framed; he's now 64. A poll a couple of years ago asked thousands of people, "Who Is the Greatest American Indian in History?" The winner, yes, was Leonard Peltier ...
Mr. President-elect, I ask from my deepest heart that you grant a brief audience to me and Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th-Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Pipe of the Great Lakota Nation, so that we may deliver a message to you on behalf of millions of good souls around the earth who plead for Leonard’s freedom, who see Leonard’s freedom as The Sign that Democracy and Love and Prayer and Justice still have a meaning in America.
I ask to read to you from Leonard’s book PRISON WRITINGS: MY LIFE IS MY SUN DANCE, of which I am privileged to be the editor. A wondrous stage play MY LIFE IS MY SUN DANCE has been produced from Leonard's words to rave audiences, and we will be delighted to bring the soon-to-tour words-and-music production to the venue of your choice, for you to experience the power and poetry and compassion of it. It wrings the soul.
I would welcome the presence of VP-elect Biden, Sec.-designate Hillary Clinton (and Bill, of course), Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Inouye, your new FBI director and any other persons you'd like to be on hand. I also ask to have Leonard Peltier himself standing beside me in the Oval Office as I read his words—words Leonard would read to you himself if his locked jaw would allow him to. Leonard also asks me to invite Mumia Abu Jamal--another political prisoner, to whom we also ask you to grant executive clemency. Freeing these two men would be an act of intrinsic greatness, I daresay a Holy Act.
Mr. President-elect, we await your strong hand in bringing these enormous and glaring injustices to an end.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction
Friday, January 9, 2009
Who made up all the rules?
We follow them like fools,
Believe them to be true,
Don't care to think them through
And I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry it's like this
I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry we do this
And it's ironic too
'Cause what we tend to do
Is act on what they say
And then it is that way
And I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry it's like this
I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry we do this
Who are they?
Where are they?
How can they possibly
Know all this?
Who are they?
Where are they?
How can they possibly
Know all this?
Do you see what I see?
Why do we live like this?
Is it because it's true
That ignorance is bliss?
Who are they?
Where are they?
How do they
Know all this?
And I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry it's like this
Do you see what I see?
Why do we live like this?
Is it because it's true
That ignorance is bliss?
And who are they?
Where are they?
How can they
Know all this?
And I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry we do this
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The Rainbow Dream Vision of Freedom ~ 1993-2013 http://worldgathering.net/greatest.html worldgathering.net/vision.html The Rainbow Dream Vision of Hope Intertribal Medicine Societies of Turtle Island The Twenty Count: 1993-2013
Make copies of the Rainbow prophecy, and give or send them to people anywhere on the planet. Then let them be guided by their hearts to do the same until all planetary citizens are brought to life in the Rainbow dream, so that we may dream and work together for true peace. Love, Thunder Woman
Introduction by Aleran Throughout the ages humanity has sought out the prophecies of the spiritually gifted to instil a clear hope and vision into life. During this time many prophecies come to us trying to lead us in many different directions. Some prophecy points to disaster, hopelessness and the annihilation of mankind. But other prophecies create a vision of joyful transformation through quantum leaps into love and light. As things stand now, the human race is dreaming a hell. But as individuals and as a collective humanity it is our potential to dream of paradise and to create the kingdom of heaven on our Mother Earth. Could it be that the pain in our hearts caused by the hell we have created will spur us on into visions and creations of a world formed in love? It is my prayer and dream, along with a multitude of others who have taught me to dream the Rainbow dream, that each and every one of you learn to dream both while awake and sleeping, the dream of unity and love through divine transformation. This prophecy is a dream and vision that is a potential reality for mankind. It is not an ultimatum. But it is ours to behold and to create if we only dare to dream it together. The Rainbow Dream Vision of Turtle Island Prophecies of The Native Americans 1993-2013 PART ONE ~ The distribution and giving back to humanity of the Twenty Count. In the Turtle Island lore we say it is the time of finding one’s path with heart. The time of seeking perfection, growth and development. Most importantly the time of trust and innocence, when mythologies of the world are revealing secrets. PART TWO ~ The critical time. The time of the animal. The time of Tuwalananie, the dark force. The reason for this is that seeds of light have been planted and we are starting to grow and the teachings are starting to come out and all those ones who have taught partial truths, who have taught deliberate lies in history, are going to be threatened by the awakening of the Rainbow people because the Rainbow people exist in every country, in every nation, in every land. The Dark Forces will be threatened and they will use their power and their power exists in technology. We are going to see new technology appearing which will be a tremendous threat to the survival of humanity. We must exert our influence by gathering together and sharing our ideas and plans for alternative power and for world peace. If we put a double amount of energy with what we are for, we can change it. We can change it. PART THREE ~ The time of human to human communication. The time the human family finally starts to become human. There will be more information brought out into open format than has ever been seen on this planet. We will re-establish contact in a very knowledgeable way with our ancestors from the stars. So mark that down because it will happen. The first contact will be with the Pleiades and will be totally acknowledged and will be known to all the world powers. The second contact will be with Sirius. PART FOUR ~ When truth seekers begin to open the veil of the crack between the worlds, we will see our memory circles. Many of the leaders who are trying to keep us locked in the past, will not function today, will fall. Many teachers and wise people will be seen for who they are and they will be the farmers, the labourers and the gas station attendants because the tagashala will be fully awakened. People will begin to link up with other people in gathering together circles. Many of these will be the so-called 'common people' and not the teachers you see up there now. PART FIVE ~ The various winged serpent wheels will begin to turn, to dance once again and when they do the rainbow lights will be seen in dreams all over the world and these rainbow light dreams will help awaken the rest of humanity. We will sit in a new circle of law. All civil and social laws will have to be in conformity with natural laws or the people will not accept them and they will have the enlightenment necessary to reject those laws. Science will once again become metaphysics. They will discover four laws that will help them jump to universal law and transcend the time-space continuum which is the limitation of the age and once again we will begin to take our power and to work with rules and laws that are cosmic laws. PART SIX ~ We will once again see the way to continue a new dream. We will be given the road map back to the stars and we will see the star people come out of the illusion of their two-legged form and into their actual great sleeper-dreamer form. A powerful time approaches humanity and its really hard for me to talk about it. I am a great dreamer but I don’t know if I dream that large. We will see a real shift in planetary consciousness. Many of the enemies of the humans will begin to drop away. We will totally gain the light of the great light wheel. There will be one humanity, one planet composed of all the different ways of dancing in complete harmony in the great gathering together circle. All the seeds will be planted. The Earth will have its true reality formed. It will join the sisterhood of planets, the daughters of Copperwoman and it will create within itself all forms of all things in harmony with the everything. We will see a whole new way of perfection. There will be plants on this grandmother earth that will give life and sustenance as never before seen. Starvation on the earth, all those things will be gone. There will be total balance and harmony. PART SEVEN ~ The new race of humans will begin to design their new reality of life on this planet as they intended it to be when they first came here from the stars. We will begin to establish this planet and use the collective consciousness to hold the power of this space in harmony with the Great Circle of Twelve and all the planets. There is a whole lot I don’t even know. There is more that I am not supposed to talk about yet. The dream will be actualised and this planet will hold its space in the great council of planets and become a part of the universal enlightened sisterhood and brotherhood of humanity and keepers of the light circles. It's happened on many planets and it's expected to happen on a lot of other planets. There will be a moment when the population will be 'the' Population, and something great will happen. This planet will have its design of energy movement guided by all of humanity living here. The Great Spirit will leave its seed and the egg of everything here on this planet and it will create itself 20 times over at the speed of light and this prophecy ends as I have been given it by the Grandmothers that I share with you now. ~~~~~~~~~ Put a double amount of energy with what we are for. We can change it. Make copies of the Rainbow prophecy, and give or send them to people anywhere on the planet. Then let them be guided by their hearts to do the same until all planetary citizens are brought to life in the Rainbow dream, so that we may dream and work together for true peace. Love, Thunder Woman worldgathering.net/vision.html