Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blue Thread 2.0

This is the blue thread. Discussion: what topics do you want to keep in here?


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christin m p in massachusetts said...

Blue -- progressive policies.

Maybe here we can discuss anything exemplifying the positive evolution of our society. Like, if any politician or other leader in any city, state, or country has come up with outstanding solutions to any societal problems, we could present those solutions to our own local leaders, as they might be willing and able to utilize them.

Perhaps we could also discuss all the political candidates in this thread too.

deb said...

Lady with my own thoughts Christin. Especially since I would love to turn the country BLUE in Nov.

I realize that getting Dems in is only the start and that we will all have to keep our voices heard to counteract the power of corporate money.

Larry Kissell is running for the House in NC 8. Here is a letter from his minister.

I ask that you sign in and click "recommend" to help this post reach the eyes of more people, which means more donations, which increases his chances of winning. Thank you!

Larry responded to the bloggers:

I appreciate you so much. I really do.

I want you to know how this outpouring warms my heart and braces me for my fight.

I checked in this morning to say thank you, and just now took a break from those fundraising calls to check back in. To see so many comments and so much encouragement... honestly, it makes it all worthwhile.

We're going to win in November. I promise you my best. Stand with me, and we'll do this together.

I have to get back on the phones since we have a big push for fundraising before that June 30th reporting deadline, but just knowing you're behind me puts the wind at my back.

Thank you."

PS I enjoyed the baby bird stories Christin:-)

christin m p in massachusetts said...

We took some pictures of the baby bird with a digital camera. I'm going to post them on my blog as soon as I find out how to do it. I was going to ask Christopher to tell me how to do it, but now I don't know what's going to happen to him. Has anyone been able to reach him yet?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb, I'll go back to the Daily Kos link tomorrow to sign in and click "recommend" for Larry Kissell, as he sounds like someone who'll move things in the right direction.

I'm getting sleepy earlier than usual tonight. Ordinarily, I don't start feeling sleepy till around dawn.

dan said...

Hey Debbie, I tried to help Larry Kissel. I signed in at Daily Kos and clicked on recommend then I went to MyDD to nominate him for a Net Roots endorsement. I wrote a little piece, then posted it. I must not have done it right because I can't find my post. Anyway, I'm proud of how dedicated you are to bringing about change in the country and N.C.

Christin, I enjoyed your baby bird adventures and I'm looking forward to seeing the photos.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I found that article I was looking for:


Cheryl V said...

I'd like to rant about a family issue that rarely gets noticed. After school and summer programs for older kids.

The availability of programs starts to disappear when a child reaches ten years old. There is almost nothing available for kids starting at 13. The federal government seems to think that 13 year olds don't need any supervision, just look at the child care credit rules.

Summers get more and more hectic as I try to find something for my kids that is both fun and supervised. Maybe even lasts the whole day so that I can spend some time at work not playing bus driver.

Sometimes it seems like kids are supposed to disappear while they are teenagers, and then suddenly appear ready to work when they are old enough.

deb said...

Just some thoughts, I don't recall if you told me how old the kids are. When mine were 13, 14, and 15 before the got "real" jobs I encouraged them to rake yards, cut grass, babysit, etc. Lisa had so many wanting her to babysit that she had a full time job in the summer. She also got her life guard certificate at 15 and started working fulltime as a lifeguard that summer.

I also encouraged them to volunteer. Karen volunteered with a local vet who gave rabies shots at the free rabies clinic and she volunteered at the Humane Society. The Humane Society would have kept her all day every day and she very much enjoyed it and learned so much. We all helped with habitat houses.

Christin, thanks for the link...I bouys my spirit to see that the amount of time I spend promoting a healthy change for the country via the internet is paying off.

Thanks for promoting Kissell, Dan

dan said...

Meet Nino

Thanks Christin!

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Thanks Dan,

How did you know the address? I was hoping to get some help on "decorating" the blog first, to get it just right before inviting you guys over -- you know, like most of us do at home when "company's coming".

Judy B. said...

Christin... Like your new blog...You seem to like the computer, research, the internet, and now your own space.... Ever thought about getting more education in computing..., maybe web design... It would certainly be one you could do at night, at home or at the office, anywhere in the U.S.... or the world for that matter...

dan said...

Christin, I hope you're not too angry with me. I enjoyed your baby robin story and photos so I posted a link to your blog on an impulse. Later, I worried that it was not proper of me to presume that you were ready to share your blog contents with us. I'm sorry that I acted rashly.

Your blog address was very easy to get. Since you mentioned posting some photos, I wondered if you had a blog. I clicked on your name and saw your blog address in your profile.

I meant no harm, but I just do dumb things sometimes.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Thanks Judy and Dan,

Judy, I wish I could get more education in a few areas, it's just that financial aid doesn't cover the entire cost these days. And given my upside-down sleep pattern, I'm trying to figure out how I could schedule the classes around work. I'm thinking I would have to go to school in the evening and work the overnight shift. The last two to three hours of work in the morning plus the morning commute home are the toughest part for a third-shift worker, but I've done it before, so I know I can do it again if I'm motivated enough. I would also have to spend nearly the entire weekend every week studying for exams and completing research assignments.

And Dan, I think that was really sweet. I'm still hoping, though, that I can learn how to customize and personalize my blog like Ellen and Christopher did.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Christina what I have done to my blog is nothing as far as customizing goes. I am a rank amateur compared to many others. Everything I have done for the most part is in the tool kit that comes with setting up the blog.

Get in there and start clicking on all those tabs on the Dashboard and Post Page and you will see what each one does. If you are not sure about something then don't change it until you learn more about it.

I started my blog at the same time as this Bread Crusts blog. I saw this one and thought well I can do that too.

Just dive in!

deb said...

A movie that will break your heart and educate on how the GOP is managing "rebuilding Iraq".

A friend e'd me today and wrote "I'm passionate about putting the GOP out of business...they're endangering my family, community, state, country and my planet." Which, also, aptly explains my passion for my current mission in life.

Christin, Thanks for sharing Nemo with us:-)

dan said...

Debbie, because of its length, I had to watch the movie in two parts. The first half broke my heart this morning and the second half that I watched this afternoon was even sadder.

Cheryl said...

I've only had time to watch the beginning so far. I remember predictions that this was going to happen because of the way we set up the occupation. There was no accounting system set up and if I remember correctly, one of the big steps forward to democracy wiped out what little records there were. The whole system was set up to steal Iraq's money.

I don't think much of the Katrina frauds either, but why is everyone so worked up about $100 here and there? This was billions of dollars and you never hear about it.

Cheryl said...

Lieberman announce that he will run as an independent if he loses the primary.

"I have loyalties that are greater than those to my party."


deb said...


Nobody is talking about the billions because only those of us who are reading foreign/left of mainstream articles and searching for foreign video clips are finding out that information. I'm with you in being sickened by the lack of media coverage and what is out there is sugar coated.

It is just wrong that Lieberman will run as an indy if he looses the primary. He will cause the republican candidate to win if he does. I wrote a letter to the DSCC explaining just that and how they should put pressure on him to graciously drop out of the race and support Lamont if Lamont wins the primary. Thanks for the heads up.

Speaking of writing and e-mailing...us bloggers have become a seriously recognized group. The numbers of people sending letters to their Congress and Senate Reps is increasing and we are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

High Grass Council/We Speak Up is an organization that stated "The underlying issue was ". . . whether the First Amendment
protects a government employee from discipline based on speech
made pursuant to the employee’s official duties." Check out the action pages.

It is sponsored in part by Government Accountability Project and Whistleblower.org.

deb said...

"Bush also told federal prosecutors during his June 24, 2004 interview in the Oval Office that he had directed Cheney, as part of that broader effort, to disclose highly classified intelligence information that would not only defend his administration, but also discredit Wilson, the sources said."

Bush told Cheney to go after Joseph Wilson

dan said...

RE: Bush told Cheney to go after Joseph Wilson

It's surprising how much Pres. George W. Bush has the same attitude as another "George" from our history. This is an excerpt from this morning's Det. Free Press editorial:

"...Defenders of the current administration have challenged the patriotism of its critics...(That was somewhat the attitude of King George III, the last monarch to rule over America, who so presumptuously declared: "I desire what is good. Therefore everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor.")

Something to think about on this Independence Day.

Richard Yarnell said...

I suppose this is as good a place as any. Are you familiar with Yahoo Answers? I learned about it through an AP report about Dr. Stephen Hawkings question: "In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?"

Predictably, some of the answers are rude. Some are cryptic; some stupid; and some are mystical or spiritual. But a surprising number seem to be making an earnest effort to deal with the dwindling number of options we have. (I caught just a bit of CNN's feature this morning in which a climate expert who's been converted, says we're nearly out of time to do anything worthwhile. According to him, we squandered the time during which we might have reversed our contribution to warming - it's too late for that. But at the same time, we can stop our continuing contribution to the disaster.)

Here's my top of the head response to Dr. Hawking. For any who care to respond to this on the Yahoo site, it's on page 585 (http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=Ak27O7yuRT4Y3HOOxTlsLm6yFQx.?qid=20060704195516AAnrdOD&cp=585&tp=638#all-answers). If you make your own contribution, find out what page yours is on. The average number of entries per page was 30 at that point.

Dear Dr. Hawking,

It won't in any comfortable sense of the word.

You, Dr. Hawking, have proposed that humans must seed the universe with themselves during the next century so that when, I assume, the inevitable collapse occurs, there will be the equivalent of self-sustaining seed banks from which to begin again. I suggest that's squandering the time and energy we have left.

We have a place to live now in which we evolved - we are peculiarly suited to it and it to us. The likelihood of finding another such place is vanishingly small. Despite what we've done so far to our home, we need to adjust and lead a far more benign life.

There have been some rude and some passionate appeals to reliance on God. According to Christian tradition, we got our walking orders in the beginning. I think, on the whole, we have misinterpreted the instruction that we take dominion over the whole globe: we've treated it as an endlessly fruitful resource put here for us alone and from which we can take ruthlessly. We never should have and we can't afford to any longer.

We should reinterpret that instruction to mean we must husband all resources of the world so that all of those resources are available indefinately. We can't survive alone. We can't even digest the food we eat without a couple of trillion organisms in our gut, sharing the nutrition and processing it for us.

If we move off planet, as you suggest, our primary job will be to maintain our mechanical home. So far, we've not had a good record when it comes to maintenance. Perhaps if our lives depend on good maintenance, our attitude might change. But I foresee dedication to maintaining a complex machine at the expense of almost everything else until its ultimate collapse or exhaustion of the raw materials required.

Realistically, our first task here is find a way to reduce the population to a level that can be sustained indefinately. Of the steps we have to take to assure our survival, that's probably one of the toughest. As we approach the question of how, we also need to decide how big a truly sustainable population can be. I suspect it will be much smaller than we imagine. For one thing, we've already used massive amounts of the energy sequestered over millions of years. We've already pumped enormous quantities of ground water from aquifers that will require thousands of years to fill. And we may already have triggered a massive climate change that will affect how population will have to distribute itself. We've also put too many of the species on which we depend, and may have to depend in the future without the help of advanced technology, on the brink of extinction. We must adopt the attitude that the deepest well of genetic variation we can maintain in all species is to our advantage. Reducing our population will help with that because we can return large tracts to "nature." Once we stop competing with most species, they will recover - but only if they are still there to breed again and only if they have appropriate habitat in which to live.

You yourself spent some time in a future in which it appeared that profit was no longer the driving motivation behind human accomplishment. I suspect that utiopian condition really is needed to perpetuate ourselves. We can't continue to erect economic differences in which the haves control more than they can possibly use while the deprived struggle and die. But how to do that while maintaining an interest in advancing our science, arts, and commerce without being overcome by complacency is yet another thorny problem. Can we function without greed?

Yet another issue is choosing which of our existing technical accomplishments to preserve. I suspect we should keep them all. How? And how do we assure ourselves that critical skills are perpetuated in the event we mis-calculate and run out of time before the collapse begins? We can't simply stop reproducing because we'd end up with a uniformly old last generation. That requires that we allow only enough reproduction to populate that sustainable number of people. Solomon, where are you when we need you. Then we train them in a wide variety of skills. In fact, whether we're down to our last hundred years or not, we should redesign our education system so that anyone who needs or wants to go to school can, at any time during their life. No longer does a person remain in the same job for a lifetime.

I suggest that the most practical way is do most of what has to be done, is to insist of ourselves that we become capable again of caring for ourselves. How many people can actually grow and harvest a crop? How many people can breed and husband livestock? How many people have the skill to house themselves? We must choose to become more self-sufficient and generally adept at survival. The more we can do for ourselves, the more we can contribute to a society. That's the way I live now, and I can tell you it's comfortable, challenging, and satisfying. It even leaves me time to do this kind of thing.

On the other hand, we don't need to give up everything. I'm quite satisfied to converse with you remotely. It is not necessary for me to be in the same room or on the same continent for us to have a meaningful exchange. We must choose the cheapest way of having commerce of all kinds.

Of course, if we fail, earth will recover on her own. It will repopulate itself. It is even likely that a few homo sapiens will survive and contribute, in some way, to the next round of evolution. That may not be so bad, in the long run. In the past, I've lamented the probable loss of those things we (I) consider beautiful and meaningful, music, architecture, poetry, and dance. But those are things I've been familiar with and to which, in a small way, I've contributed. Even the loss of those things may not be such a tragedy. Each society should have the right and obligation to celebrate itself, amuse itself, contempate itself in its own way.

And that brings me to my last point:

In the past, what we call "great civilizations" have had roughly 250 years, give or take, to organize themselves, reach maturity and then decline to be subsumed by neighbors. It may be that that formula no longer applies simply because we're no longer separated by geography. Our industrialized components have global reach. We may all decline at the same time. We have no experience at that.

Your question is one that we should have been addressing for a long time. Human nature tends to limit our horizon to our own span plus that of our parents and those of our children. That's woefully short, made even shorter, in effect, by our application of profit motive to everthing. Good luck choosing a course to recommend to the world.

Richard Yarnell

dan said...

Richard, I was impressed with your answer and particularly this passage, "... we must husband all resources of the world so that all of those resources are available indefinately...". That's such a huge leap from current thinking that seems to be, if a resourse will last 30 to 50 yrs, we don't have a problem.

Congratulations on writting a very fine essay.

deb said...


I have read and reread your post the last couple of days. I won't post an answer to Dr. Hawking because your post says all that I would have thought of and much more. For the second time today I will say that you never cease to amaze me.

I am interested in sharing your answer to Dr. Hawking, I haven't searched for the best places for it to be noticed...but perhaps at blogs discussing "An Inconvenient Truth" and other environmental, sustainable energy blogs.

Anyway, is it OK for me to share your answer to Dr. Hawkings?

deb said...

NC Democratic Party Chair Praises Minimum Wage Increase

Promoting this bill has been a project for many dem volunteers in NC. It feels really good to win one.

dan said...

Congratulations Debbie to you and your fellow volunteers on the legislative victory.

deb said...

About time!

Army to End Expansive, Exclusive Halliburton Deal

Richard Yarnell said...

Thanks for asking.

Since I posted it on the Yahoo asks site, there may be copyright issues I'm not aware of.

The best way is probably to give a teaser (if you can find one capable of teasing) and then post the link.

Thanks for asking - and flattery will get you anything you want ;)

Judy B. said...

Richard... I too try to practice self sustainability, but as we (my husband and I) age, we are seriously having to consider selling our property (where the elk, deer, coyotes and raccoons roam freely (and share our crops).
It is not a choice we make lightly, as when we bought this place we decided to keep it "wild" as long as possible. We are just not physically able to maintain it anymore, and as the property becomes more and more desireable for development, the taxes go up and it becomes a financial burden... At one time we had hoped to make it into an intentional community, but found that most people who were interested could not financially invest the dollars it takes to make it feasible...
With your intelligence and your good sense I am thinking you might have a solution for our problem...

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Judy, If I recall correctly you said you had 26 acres? In the old days this would be a family farm and the generations would all live there. My first question then is what about your children? Would they be interested in moving on to the land to help with the upkeep and expenses as a way to insure that they get to keep it when you die.

Send them to see an Inconvienant Truth and then Gone with the Wind. "Remember Scarlet you can always come back to the land. It is the only thing in this world worth fightin and die'n for."

If kids are not an option what about other close family?

There is also the option of subdividing and selling off a portion of the land so there is less to care for and a chunk of change to live on.

Perhaps you could even do some deal where someone could buy a piece of the land and pay it off in labor to you and your husband with the option to buy the whole thing upon your passing. Doesn't having an indentured servant sound nice?

I am sure you have heard of reverse mortgages too. Could that give you enough money to hire help?

Just some thoughts.

Richard Yarnell said...

Another two option if there is no one in your family that wants it, are:

Sale with the right to occupy the land until your death's or inability to remain on the land. My sister bought her land in the San Juans that way. The seller lived to be 97!

Another is a bequest to a college or other charity that allows you to remain on the property, pays you an annual amount until your death.

There are favorable tax consequences that require a good accountant and lawyer.

Judy B. said...

Thanks for the suggestions...I would love to save the land for the family (and the animals), but they could never afford to keep it: if we sold it, we could use the money to live comfortably til we die and leave them a big chunk, but that means the land will be developed pretty high density (for rural land) and the elk, etc., who live here will be forced to fight for other land..
Have looked at gifting it with right to live here til we die, but that still involves a lot of physical work, and doesn't give us much wiggle room financially, plus the kids would not inherit...
Really do not need reverse mortgage at this time as we do have a pretty good income; it is really more the work load that is bothersome to us... and yet hate to give up the gardens, the fruit trees, the grape vines and all my flowers....
We have a 5 bedroom, 4 bath, 4000 square foot home home with two kitchens and over the years we have taken in a lot of people, many were relatives, several were homeless, but that doesn't seem the best option right now...
Sitting here writing this is clarifying some of my issues...so thanks for responding... and any additional comments will be appreciated...
Maybe I will see if Oprah wants to buy the place...

Richard Yarnell said...

Have you tried to find a farmer or nurseryman who would lease and work the land, paying you either a share of the crop or a flat rent?

Around here, there are folks looking for places to do specialty greenhouse production of flowers, herbs and greens - they contract with restaurants.

Sometimes, neighbors who can't afford to buy an addjoining parcel will cheerfully lease to add to the acreage they control.


Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Judy you need a gardener. Figure out how many hours of labor a week or month you need and a way to pay or trade for it. Maybe build a seperate small cottage for the rental income to pay a gardener. Would two full days a week of labor cover your needs? How big are the gardens?

deb said...


another option: I believe it would be possible to sell with the stipulation that the land doesn't get divided. Oprah can't be the only wealthy person who would want such a beautiful place. You could do a web page, or even just use a free blog site with pictures of your home and land. You could advertize in the "by owner" publications and in the newspaper and give the web address.

You could also set aside a few acres for yourself and build that cob house cottage, that way you can continue to enjoy all that you have built and worked for.

dan said...

Judy, Patty and I are about to move to a retirement community. We've talked to many of our new neighbors who have struggled with some of the issues you're facing. Many of them are leaving large homes with acreage that they love but were struggling to maintain. After honestly assessing their age and health, they've decided it was time to let go.

The new Del Webb community, Bridgewater (in Mi), is beautifully landscaped, with significant amounts of land left natural plus a wide variety of social life. It's certainly is not like your private paradise but it allows seniors to live in pleasant surroundings without the burden to maintain it.

You clearly love your land the the wildlife you've shared it with. I have no idea what's right for you. If you decide you must leave, you shouldn't feel guilty. Good luck with your decision and your future.

deb said...

Judy, To clarify a bit: I was thinking of the "by owner" method of selling so that you would have the opportunity to know the buyer and find out if leaving the nature areas in their natural state fits into their plans.

It does sound like an awesome place that you and your husband have invested so much of your selves in. Hope you come up with a solution that you like.

Judy B. said...

Thanks to you all... You have given me much to think on....
One of the things that ui have discovered as we have taken in young people (and some not so young)... is that it would take about three people to replace Rod (my husband)... He was an electrician by trade, but is really a Jack of all trades... did most of the plumbing, mechanical and some of the carpentry in our many endeavors... together we have remodeled several homes, I do the planning, draw up the design, deal with the government agencies (permits) and get the contractors and day labor to do what we can't do.
Our daughters have done most of the clean up and painting as we have slowed down... It is tuff having to realize that we just can't do all that anymore.
Oldest daughter has done most of the flower gardening, but her health (cancer) has limited her abilities also... At least for now we also need to provide for her, so moving to a retirement community is a way in the future...
I really do beilieve that once your higher consciensouusness connect to a situation, the answe comes... this process is helpin with that..
Are you all sure you don't want to buy an interest in the place and come to God's country??/
Sorry Richard...maybe they could just come for a visit...

Judy B. said...

Read this article about population "explosion" in Pacific Northwest and you may understand the our feelings...


Then read this comment on the article... and maybe change our minds about transplanting some good Democrats...
"Citizen wrote on July 01, 2006 2:16 PM:"I am not fooled at all by this. Outside republicans are packing our districts to overthrow the democrats in the elections. They will live here long enough to take over our politics and then return to their rotten states below the Mason Dixon line. A couple of days ago you had a story about the campaign to unseat Governor Gregoire sending lawyers and political hacks to King County to work up voter purge lists of "felons" in our state. WAKE UP WASHINGTON!!! THEY'RE HERE!!!!!!! "

Richard Yarnell said...

"Oldest daughter has done most of the flower gardening, but her health (cancer) has limited her abilities also... At least for now we also need to provide for her, so moving to a retirement community is a way in the future..."

We're about to replace our studio with a fire proof building. It will be designed so that we can use it to house a long term caregiver, if need be (we'll also live in it while we tear down the main house and rebuild.) One of the things that otherwise restrictive land use laws often permit, is a separate apartment for that purpose.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I'm glad you guys are discussing these matters. Back when we had all the specific thread titles in this blog, I was going to ask if we could have one thread for all the issues surrounding the later stages of life. Even though I'm still middle-aged, I know how fast the years fly by.

Besides that, my Mom worries about these matters all the time too. Although her house and the grounds still look really good now, she's aware of all the things that will need upgrading to prevent any deterioration. She also misses having the energy (and good knees) to keep up with everything the way she always used to be able to. And the thing that I think upsets her the most, is that she wants to retire to part-time work now, but she intends to continue working part-time even after full retirement age has passed. And she knows if she cuts back her hours now, not only will her monthly social security benefit itself be lower, but the amount of income she'll be allowed to earn working part-time post-retirement, will also be much lower.

She knows she'd be all set if she were a complete homebody, but my Mom loves to travel. Although she enjoys her home, she said she'd feel too deprived if she's economically forced to stay home throughout her whole retirement.

Also, she wants to get the insurance that will cover long-term care at home, so that she'll never need to go to a nursing home or get a reverse mortgage, but she says it's incredibly expensive.

If you ask me (and I know that no one did), the people of my generation (baby boomers) should be the most concerned with resolving these issues before our turn comes. There are going to be so freaking many of us aging at once that, unless someone discovers the fountain of youth sometime within the next twenty or so years, they're not going to be able to deal with us. From what I hear and read, elderly people already are marginalized in our society. No wonder the suicide rate is highest among people in that age group. I dread living to an old age in this society.

I hope I can still hike up a mountain when I'm a hundred and fifteen... But I know the reality is, that I'll be grateful if I can still hike up the stairs.

Judy B. said...

Christin, I am not sure your mom has the best Social Security information... I suggest she check it out a little more with people in the know..
As for long term health insurance.. it may sound expensive now, but the cost of not having it may doom many of the elderly to spending down all their savings before qualifing for aid, which does not give you options...
My dad spent the last five years of his life in a nursing home... At a $130 PER DAY you figure out the cost... Nursing home cost is now twice that amount.. The $2000 a year that he invested in nursing home insurance (that paid $90 PER DAY) sure paid off. His insurance and his Social Security benefits paid his way in a very nice nursing home and allowed me to manage their investments for my mother to live on.
Rod and I both have long term health care insurance and wouldn't be without it... It is different than nursing home insurance, and I would advise anyone looking to prepare for their future to not confuse the two...

Judy B. said...

Richard... land use laws have really changed in recent years (at least here) and many (most?) allow a "mother-in-law" addition or care-giver (for people) or care-taker (for the land) apartment or home. We have certainly considered that. We can add a second structure here without much red-tape as long as it meets code, water and septic requirements.

If we were to remain in our home that we are in now, we wouldn't need to build anything new, only alter some of the existing amenities. We remodeled one bathroom a couple of years ago and made it semi-handicapped accessible... large shower that can hold a wheeled shower chair and handicapped bars to hold on to.. a wide "hall" that is wheelchair accessible, and a taller toilet... I really appreciat that now, as I am a big woman and getting down to standard height has always been hard on my knees...

Your rebuilding sounds so interesting... Are you contracting out much of the work??
Can you send pictures as the work progresses.... If memory serves me right, you were putting up a web site... If it is up, what is the web address??/

Judy B. said...

In a local blog about Dr. Stephen Hawkings question: "In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?".. I mostly agree with this answer....

"If I understand this correctly, we are under threat of demise because of global warming, nuclear war or other calamity and his answer to that is to pour an incredible amount of money into space research and in doing so, we will trash the planet, destroy the environment, use up our resources and ignore the plight of billions of people in order to send a handful of elitist to some poor unsuspecting planet to continue our destructive behavior there.

It sounds like an obscene example of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Wouldn't it make more sense to limit population, work for world peace and learn to use our resources wisely? Of course, the Republicans tell us that we cannot afford to fight global warming and environmental degradation. But I don't think that we can afford not to."

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Are you and Patty right now moving into your new place? Of course, I don't mean at this very hour -- I mean over the past couple of days...

dan said...

Christin, We're closing on the new home Thurs. but we haven't set a moving date yet. The sale of our current home fell through resently so we'll have two places for a time. We're excited about the new community and anxious to settle in there. We decided to stay in Mi. to be close to my daughters and grand daughters.


My son, his wife and my two grand sons are visiting for a few days so my pc time is limited.

I hope all's well with you.

Judy B. said...

Dan..The new community you are moving to looks great... prices seem pretty good too.

But I am having a hard time seeing you in a retirement community. My pereception of you is much younger..

Richard Yarnell said...

Judy B (7/16)

See mine of 7/9

dan said...

Judy, my perception of me is much younger also, (Im 59). I've met many of my soon-to-be neighbors, and they're a pretty lively group. I'm guessing the ave. age will be 62. It's not really a retirement community since many residents will still be employed. You must be 50 to purchase a home and you can only resell it to people 55 and over. Since the place is billed as an "active adult" community most everyone moving there tends to be social...no rocking chairs allowed.

I often misjudge the age of bloggers. For some reason my impression is usually that everyone is between 20 and 45 and I get very surprised when I hear of someone being older than that.

Judy B. said...

Richard... your thoughts on 7/09 were excellent..as usual...

deb said...

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Deb that is a good quote for a segway into "Help I need a reality check."

Some of you have some knowledge of my spats with the GardenWeb over their Terms of Service in which they grant themselves equal Copyright privledges to the content submitted by the users of the site. (Any of you checked out SSB lately? One of Cheryl's ideas is in one of their position type papers. She gave them that right by submitting the idea.)

I found the blog of a vice-president of iVillage who owns GardenWeb, who is affiliated with Hearst Publishing and partially or wholly owned by NBC. On his blog he talks about promoting their new Photo Gallery which is subject to the same greedy TOS.

Questions from users on the site about this new gallery were ignored.

I left a comment on the VP's blog.

He also had a post about having dinner with the Community Moderators, ie Censors that was a couple of days after I was banned. My ears was burning, Lordy.

Thoughtful in my approach I am not, I am a pest. Should I let this go or is it ok to have my fun?

Thoughts anyone. If you need more background it can be found on my blog.
Banned Again

Censored Thread

Cheryl said...

I had to look. They picked the one written by my then 11 year old daughter.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Congratulations to your daughter Cheryl. Be sure to let her know someone liked her idea enough to lobby it to congress.

My comment at the VP's blog has been removed. I have learned to save this stuff upfront now. His cohort popped back in this morning on the thread about the new gallery, answered no questions and left. The users of the site are leary.

New Gallery Thread

My comment to the VP:

Previewing your Comment
What a very interesting thing to find on the web.
"Wow! In fact I think I may steal some of language..."
You may want to consider some language, any language instead of leaving people's questions unanswered about the GardenWeb's new photo galleries.

As it is with the current TOS at GW "steal" is the operative word in most people's minds.
I see earlier in the week you had a nice dinner with GW's community moderators. The hot topics forum must have been a hot topic.
Posted by: Christopher C at Jul 20, 2006 4:42:08 AM

This is the type of behavior that I think we will see as corporations take over the internet and if congress allows the telcoms to start charging fees to sites for premium access, the loss of Net Nuetrality.

Richard Yarnell said...

Go for it. The practice is not even common in modestly paid print media. Usually what's paid for is the right to print it first.

Find a competing venue, one where your comments won't be intercepted and killed. The word will get out. If people understand what they're giving up, they may find another site to publish their stuff.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Congratulations Dan --
I'm so happy for you guys! I can't think of anyone more deserving...

I guess the up side of having both residences for awhile is that you don't have that pressure to move out in a hurry to make way for the new buyers.

I'm thinking that your battle with the GardenWeb/iVillage/Hearst/NBC overlords may be one of the reasons you referred to yourself in a recent post at your blog as being quixotic. But, in this case, they really are evil giants...

I'm glad there are "brave knights" (both male and female versions) who have the stamina to keep running at them. Sometimes I just want to give up, because there are days when it feels like I myself am "tilting at windmills". But when it comes down to it, I know better. Once upon a time, the evil giants were able to convince the masses that any distrust or anger aimed at them was misplaced or unrealistic. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.

Then again, not all giants are evil... Case in point: Bill and Melinda Gates.

Judy, I read that article about the population explosion in western Washington state that you gave us the address for. I can definitely see part of what's drawing everyone there. But the sad thing is, the home-buying frenzy that surely must be dawning there is eventually going to create exactly the same conditions that Massachusetts, California, and NYC/New Jersey have experienced -- unless laws are put in place to enforce conservative lending practices (as is done in Texas). Otherwise, it will reach a point where essential workers like retail store clerks, hospitality service workers, shipping clerks, etc. will be left out in the cold. They'll be priced completely out of the home purchasing and even the rental market. At the very least, buyers (especially the young, naive ones) should be forewarned to beware of all the shark lending companies with all their "exotic" loan packages.

Which brings me to a more cynical version of the Margaret Mead quote that Deb posted for us:

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-Edmund Burke (1770)

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

The GardenWeb is just the current target in a life time of sparring with powers greater than myself.

Judy B. said...

Christin...Just remember the positive part of that quote..."the good must associate..." and put yourself in the middle of 'good company'...

I used to be one of those "tilting at windmills" persons... but soon discovered that it was sucking the life-blood right out of me.. so I found other ways to accomplish goals.. when I forget, and begin to struggle, my old "self" re-emerges...

My best 'way' to be in this world is to remain as aware as I possibly can, and live diliberately. And when I start to tilt, I catch and do it in a positive frame work... Success comes much easier that way...

Judy B. said...

"The GardenWeb is just the current target in a life time of sparring with powers greater than myself."

Sparring can be fun, but don't start tilting...

And remember, there are really NO powers greater than you... You have revealed enough of yourself for me to say that unequivocably.

Judy B. said...

Yes, Christin... Richard and I share your concerns about the population explosion in the Great Northwest... Housing prices have climbed steeply the past three years, especially in urban areas...
We live 50 miles from Portland, and housing prices are going up here as the job market in the city and the home prices are forceing people to commute further and further...

deb said...

I agree with Richard and Judy...keep fighting for people's rights, Christopher!!!

And it is not just the net:

FEMA a Disaster for Freedom of the Press
Katrina victims “not allowed” to talk to media, reporter told

Is this all not surreal??? And the reality of it all is that only us that have a pc, and actually use it to actively search for information, are aware that this is happening. The others on Christopher's blog possibly aren't even aware...unless they read the posts before they got deleted. It IS up to us if this is to be stopped!!!

Judy B. said...

"If not me...Who?"
"If not now...When?"

Just do it with pizazz and forget the negative... Together we will overcome...

dan said...

Debbie, I share your outrage. I just registered my complaint with an e-mail to the IG of Homeland Secutity.

Inspector General
Richard Skinner,

I am writing to alert you to major civil rights violations taking place at Fema run camps. If you will take a moment to view this link, I'm sure you'll agree that American citizens are being denied their freedom of speech.
Please take the appropriate action to stop this outrage.

Daniel Roy
Brownstown, Mi

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

From the Declaration of Independence: That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Our government under this administration is out of control. If the November elections don't cause a major shake-up we are in deep dodo. Do you know where your pitchfork, torches and clubs are?

I would love to see a march like that, with all plastic of course angry villager implements on Washington.

Richard Yarnell said...


You may get more play out of that fine letter if you send it, different versions to each, to major papers in your state. If it runs in Detroit, it will get to NY and Washington. Your local, most liberal, TV outlet would like to know about it too.

dan said...

Richard, thanks for the suggestion. I'll give it a try.

BTW, I value your opinion very much.

deb said...

Let us know if papers/TV pick up on the story Dan. I will work that angle here in Asheville, but it will be a few days.

Thanks for those words of wisdom from the annals of history, Christopher

Judy, I wish I had more pizzaz and less of the outrage when I see this stuff happening. I work at self-restraint...it's always a work in progress;)

deb said...

I decided that now was as good as time as any to send a letter to the editor of the Asheville Citizen-Times. Dan, I mostly used your letter with a few changes...didn't figure you would mind.

dan said...

Debbie, as Richard suggested,I've sent a form of the letter to the Detroit News(Gannet)and the Detroit Free Press(Knight Ridder)as well as local and national PBS. Of course I don't mind if you send substantially the same letter to media outlets.

I've found from past experience that commenting on a current story gets more attention than pointing out a story that should be covered. That being said, we can always hope to have an influence on future coverage.

I'll certainly let you know if my letters stir up any tangable results. And thanks again for bringing the FEMA abuses to our attention.

Christopher, if needed, I'll grab my plastic pitchfork and march with you.

dan said...

DHS responded to my e-mail about civil rights violations at FEMA run camps.

This is to acknowledge receipt of the information you forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG) by way of e-mail on July 21, 2006. It is the policy of the DHS-OIG to thoroughly review all complaints forwarded to this Office. Accordingly, DHS-OIG officials will review the matters raised by you and determine the appropriate course of action.

Thank you for the information you provided.

Hotline Staff
Department of Homeland Security
Office of Inspector General
Office of Investigations

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I had a thought about the angry villagers with plastic implements March on Washington. Deb you and maybe some Dem's would like this.

What if it could be a co-ordinated Virtual March on the e-mail systems of the White House and every single member of Congress and key Federal Agencies?

An animated or a simple post card of angry villagers that could be e-mailed all at once in the millions might grab the attention of the politicians in Washington.

Some computer person could design a simple phototype e-mail that people could copy and maybe write their own words of protest in the signs of the villagers or choose the tool of choice to carry.

Then pick a day and pissed off citizens could send enmasse copies to a pre-selected and copyable e-mail list of the 565? members of Congress, the White House, all the politcians in the Capitol.

Crashing their computer systems may get the message across.

Cheryl said...

A bill expected to reach the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives tomorrow would strip states of their authority to tax a fair share of the profits of many corporations that are headquartered out of state but do business within their borders.

Under the bill (H.R. 1956, “The Business Activity Tax Simplification Act”), large amounts of corporate profits that are currently taxed would go untaxed by any state.


Judy B. said...

Christopher...I love the visual idea of a march on DC via email... Why don't you send the idea to some progressive political groups that have web designers/email lists...

deb said...

Cheryl, I would love to see the neocons "real" plan for the sustainability of their programs. Do they think that even the richest in the nation will benefit if the economy fails due to overborrowing? Are any of them even capable of seeing past the next qtr. profits?

"Oh yeah, war is peace. black is white, up is down..." Posted by Evan Derkacz at Alternet:

A video clip of the prez explaining how war is peace.

deb said...

I am listening to a woman who lives in Beruit. Be forwarned that I have cried and feel completely horrible...yet,it is worth hearing:

Not in my name

dan said...

Debbie, I just listened to the interview with Tina Naccache in Beirut and I understand why you were moved to tears.

Judy B. said...

I just caught the end of an address by Bill Clinton on LINK TV... It is going to be repeated several times in the next 24 hours if you are interested...

deb said...

This is from Rabbi Michael Lerner Author: "The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right" in an effort to:

I am so weary of war and destruction...that my tax dollars are paying for, btw. Today I feel frustrated and helpless.

OK, off to bed here in the east...I'll look for the Clinton interview tomorrow...thanks, Judy

deb said...

Good News!!! A victory that shouldn't have needed to be fought for...

FEMA OKs media access to residents

It does work to write letters to the editor, to Congress, to the agencies, and share information around the net! I know that we are maybe 7 in a million doing it, but collectively it is working.

dan said...

RE: FEMA OKs media access to residents.

Thar's great news Debbie!
Most of the time, we battle for causes having faith that eventually our efforts might have an impact. For me, a tangible outcome like the FEMA policy change, is a major morale booster.

deb said...

Hey Dan...I think it was that awesome letter to Inspector General Richard Skinner that did the trick;)

Any luck with the GardenWeb, Christopher?

I'm still game for the march on DC to kick the bums out, btw!!!

deb said...

The minimum wage bill (voted on last night) is a fine example of how the Repubs play the game. The bill does raise min. wage to 7.25 over three years, but it also allows a substantial reduction in inheritance tax. Dems voted against it and the pubs for it, so the ads before election time will show that pubs are for raising the min. wage and dems are against it, which isn't close to the truth as dems presented their version with min. wage as the only subject in the bill. The bill will likely die in the Senate. Our fellow citizens will believe that pubs are trying to help low wage workers though, when it is just another ploy to subsidize the CEO set....sheesh....

US House of Representatives approves minimum wage hike

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

That is how Lou Dobbs portrayed the Minimum Wage increase bill, as a disgusting low ploy. If only the rest of the media would call them on their BS.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Then wouldn't it make sense for the Democratic Party to take up the cause of prohibiting contingency riders on bills? If Dems would harp on the issue enough, voters would be more aware of how blatantly twisted the majority of our lawmakers are (plainly demonstrated by the minimum wage hike bill).

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Also, I wanted to get back to you, Deb, on your question in another thread about whether or not our more liberal media here discusses the pros and cons of the war...

I would say, not so much at the local news outlets. But I've heard those discussions on our national news fairly frequently.

We do all get to see the same national news broadcasts, don't we?

Something else I can't help but notice -- whenever news about the Israeli bombings on Lebanon is being discussed, the word coffins keeps being mentioned a lot. Why is it then, that I have never heard the word coffins mentioned even once during news about Iraq? (Please forgive me if it's just a matter of ignorance on my part -- that maybe the Iraqis don't bury their dead in coffins?) For me, it's not a word that would get tuned out, either, so that I might possibly miss it, as that word always makes my heart fall into my stomach.

Cheryl said...

One other point about the minimum wage/estate tax bill. Not only did they vote on it the night before they all left for vacation, the final version wasn't available before the vote. There was no time to read the bill before voting on it. They had to take the word of the Republican leadership about what they were voting on.


By the way, I caught a little of the local news this evening. They said that the House voted to increase the minimum wage, but there was no mention of the estate tax cut.

Richard Yarnell said...

That's when you fire off a testy email to the news department editor's desk and ask why the hell not.

Works around here.

Judy B. said...

In the hope that I will not be lambasted completely off this blog site... i want to go on record as being in favor of the estate tax changes...
My dad (a fiscal conservative) taught me a lot about money... and prosperity... the two are not necessarily the same...

The tax code, which many think favors the rich, has many elements in it that take from the rich and give to the poor too... It is a balancing act...

One of the 'advantages' for us all is the deduction we get when we give to charity. Now this may not seem like much as we give our $10, $20, $30 etc contributions, but when you all it all up it is billions of dollars comming to causes that we support, and we get to deduct it from our taxes...
Now compound that by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet.. By donating $30 bilion a piece to a foundation, they get all kinds of write offs... and at the same time they get to control the mony flow... instead of going to the pentagon (taxes) they are directing it to humanitrian purposes...

The inheritance tax has some flaws, but also some sound reason behind it.... My cousin in Kansas still has the family farm, and over the course of many years has added surrounding farms to his holdings... He has been able to stave off the corporate takeover by employing technology (at a huge financial cost), and now as he is getting older he would like to be able to leave his holdings to his kids, who farm alongside him... The estate taxes can eat up this farm and do away with one more family farm or there can be some write offs.... I go for the write offs... we need families to stay on the land...
This is just one example....
If we are all smart , we take advantage of the tax code... and move from survival (base) chakra to universasl prosperity...

Cheryl said...

Judy, I'm sorry but I do not agree with you. Read "Perfectly Legal - the covert campaign to rig our tax system to benefit the super rich -- and cheat everybody else", by David Cay Johnston. He puts it better than I ever could.

A few points from his book.

Soon after Bush II took office, the White House and the Farm Bureau went looking for farmers that had been hurt by the estate tax. They couldn't find any.

It's not double taxation, many of the biggest fortunes in the US have never been taxed. Without an estate tax, and the related gift tax, huge untaxed fortunes could be built and passed on generation after generation tax-free.

Only the very richest estates ever owe any estate taxes. Paris Hilton could be living just fine with half her fortune. The rest of us pay so many taxes during our lifetimes that we won't ever have the problem of an estate tax.

Richard Yarnell said...

The small business issue (including farms) is a ruse. There are already multi-million dollar exemptions relating to non-liquid assets that almost eliminate the danger of an estate having to be liquidated in order to pay taxes _unless_ there has been tax fraud discovered after the death of the estate holder. As I understand it, the level of that protection is now indexed to inflation.

It is true that we have decided it's in our interest to encourage charitable contributions - I made my living trying to persuade people to give money to artistic endeavors and without the ability of businesses to claim an exemption, it would have been much more difficult; likewise, the near wealthy would not be available as donors of significant money.

But as has already been pointed out, large fortunes have enormous amounts of money in them that never have been taxed. It works this way. I earn or acquire (perhaps from my father's estate a part of which ($1 Million and going up for each of his heirs, is tax exempt) a chunk of money which I don't need to spend. I invest this money. (Note: even if I paid tax on the original chunk, the earnings that flow from it may not be taxed.) While I will pay income tax on dividends and some interest (I favor tax free bonds, myself because my relatively small trust is taxed at 39% (Federal) and 9% (State). Again, we've made the judgement as a society that it's in our interest to attract investment in State and Local infrastructure. The return is smaller than the return on corporate bonds, but the money is relatively safe. My City gets a sewer and my State has money to build an elder care facility, and Utah has money to spend on extending a power distribution system.)

If I'm a buy and hold investor, my Microsoft and Google and IBM doubles, triples, and even more without ever being subject to tax. So when my ex-wife's grandmother who had the foresight to hold onto her husband's IBM stock when he died in the early 30's, died many years ago, until her estate was taxed, the bulk of that money had never been subject to any tax.

I agree with Gates that it is not healthy to give our kids so much money that they don't have to lift a finger live well during their lives. It's all relative, of course. Word is that he'll leave his kids $10 Million each, indexed to the year they were born. They'll also benefit from fine educations and a lot of percs during their early lives. Warren Buffet's kids have been running their own foundations for years. But then he's an exception among wealthy people in terms of personal values and lifestyle.

I am likely to be one of those who will pay estate tax when my father dies (unless he dies in 2010!). I believe that we need to take the exemptions that were passed in a more enlightened time, bring them up to date with respect to their value after the effects of inflation, and then retain the estate tax. If a business truly is family operated, and provided the family continues to operate it for an extended time after the death of its founder, then it is to society's advantage to leave the business intact.

One final note: the gross estate is not taxed. It's the value of the estate at the time of death _less_ the cost of the assets in the estate. So if my ex-grandmother-in-law's husband paid $1/share for 100 shares of IBM and it split 15 times and was worth $100 a share when she died, all but $100 of the $327 Million had never been taxed. The dividends, which used to be generous, were taxed, but not the appreciation. (Those are made up numbers and, during her life, she would have drawn some shares out of the estate to live on, but you get the idea about how it works.)

Finally, if we stop taxing the wealthy who have so much money they can't really spend it at all, let alone in a responsible way, then the tax burden will fall on those who don't make enough to live comfortably or, more importantly, who don't make enough to save and invest. That last point means that the American dream, the idea that people can work their way into a comfortable and influential life, is stopped in its tracks. It's a bad idea that is coming true as the gulf between the wealthy and very wealthy and even the "middle class" (let alone the poor) widens obscenely.

To sum up, we need to include all that untaxed wealth to help pay for programs from which its owner's benefit. Believe me, there will be enough left over that they won't suffer.

PS: Very few family farms are owned outright. If the land is, then much of the equipment isn't. There are mortgages and so on. If a farm is worth $10 Million at death, all of the costs of acquiring the land and equipment are deducted before the tax is calculated. If the $300K combine has a note on it, only the equity is part of the estate, etc. So even though the gross value of the farm is high enough to trigger the estate tax, it's likely that the net value won't be. And don't forget, there are plenty of ways for the just barely rich to manipulate the system to avoid taxes at death.

[I don't have time to edit this, so I'm sorry for the many errors I'm sure are there.]

dan said...

Judy, I'd like to complement you for freely expressing your views on the inheritent tax in spite of the fact that you suspected your opinion would be challenged. We all benefit from re-examining our views from time to time.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Richard I understand the idea that the appreciated value of stocks in an estate has never been taxed and that keeping a tax of some sort on that is fair and reasonable.

I am not a numbers person and when talk like this about taxes, interest rates, mortgages and such come up my eyes glaze over and I can't focus. I have a college degree and find that some parts of the tax code for a Schedule C for self employment baffling. When AT+T split up again back in the late 90's I ended up with shares of about five different companies, Avaya, Lucent, Comcast, AT+T, ect.

Some of it was sold off as odd lots, some they said tough and sold and I cashed a little out. I got 1099's and knew some tax was due but the procedure to determine what was the value which the tax was to be based on from stock that was a graduation present from college in 1987 and left in dividend reinvestment and that had split and doubled and undoubled and Lord knows what else was beyond me. I just ignored it as income and hoped for the best.

Simply put the tax code is too complicated and your average American is going to have difficulty navigating it successfully without paid help. Many people can't or won't pay for that help.

You started with this statenment,"There are already multi-million dollar exemptions relating to non-liquid assets that almost eliminate the danger of an estate having to be liquidated in order to pay taxes" so my question to you is, What about the appreciation of the value of land? Is the purchase price of the land just deducted from the value of the estate or is land a non-liquid asset that is exempt from the calculation of the estates value in its entirety?

Richard Yarnell said...

I may be wrong about that. I'm doing my taxes - I'm on a break. After I'm finished, I'll look at it. It may be that the estate is transferred at market value and that the cost basis is adjusted. Hmmmm.

Your broker should have told you what the basis was for all the little ma bells - which seem to be coming back together as a new mega company.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Broker? What Broker?

Good thing I still have some of the remnants of AT+T. Maybe it will double and split and coalesce and be worth some thing when I am 70.

Richard Yarnell said...

Then the shareholders' relations office of ATT would have been able to provide the details.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I may have gotten one set of directions for figuring out the tax with one check/1099. It was a five page booklet that looked like the calculations for putting the rover on Mars and I just thought I would rather go to jail.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm only too happy to find out the truth... The way I see it, if everyone would carry his/her own weight in the world, unless of course the person is truly disabled in some way, I don't think there would ever be a need for charity.

The more the rich load their tremendous weight (so unbearably heavy, because they usurp so much of the world's resources -- especially the resource called human labor) onto everyone else, the more poverty there is. Notice, for example, that when housing prices surge in a region -- as they have in the four outer corners of the U.S. in recent years (the entire Northeast -- from Maine all the way to Maryland; Western Washington State; Southern California; and Southern Florida), the family homeless shelters in those regions end up being filled with full-time working families (it's always in the local news), and food banks often can't meet their communities' needs. Then come the bankruptcies, repossessions, and foreclosure petitions. And, as always, the shark-and-vulture rich are drooling as they move in for the kill. Around here, their favorite sport is "rescuing" people from foreclosure by buying out their properties at way below market value, or offering desperate homeowners unfavorable refinance loans which eat up their equity, and then in a few years put the homeowners in even more dire straits. In the cases where they buy someone out, they immediately turn around and resell the property for a huge profit.

Yeah, something that is one of the most basic human needs -- security and shelter -- is treated as ****ing gambling chips.

I mean, if all the mega-rich were like Bill and Melinda Gates or Warren Buffet, I'd have no issues with them. But most of them are useless or predatory -- and nearly all are narcissistic -- you know, of the "let them eat cake" ilk.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

And since you guys are on the subject of stocks, there's something I need to know...

Around twenty-five years ago, my Mom bought me a few thousand dollars worth of shares in what was then a brand new local savings bank. The bank has since been absorbed four times by ever-larger commercial banks. Each time the bank changed hands, my Mom gave me paperwork to sign so that I could keep the stock in the new bank. At this time, it is Bank of America.

Now, please no one laugh --
I don't know how to read the stock pages.

How do I find out how much my shares are worth now?

Richard Yarnell said...

The ticker for B of A is BAC. It's listed on the NY Stock Exchange. Price this morning is around $51/share. Its yield is around 4.4% and will probably pay $.56 in dividends at the end of August. It's price/earnings ratio is a nice 12:1. I'd hold on to it if you can.

You can get that information and more by typing the ticker symbol into any quote service and then ask for a detailed quote. Over the last year, the price has gone up about $8.

Judy B. said...

Your Mom gave you a wonderful gift; now you have let that gift ride without taking any action and it sounds like it has done well.

Now Richard has offered you another gift... if you will look at it that way... the gift of learning about what you have and how to take cre of it...

The stock market is not an easy "trade" (pun intended) to master,bt it is a good time to start learning... If you are invested in any retirement/401K plan, that money is surely invested in the stock market... Many money managers do all the work for you, but more and more plans are becoming 'self-directed', with options for you to choose from...
It makes sense for you to understand your options (but don't buy options)... because when you retire, you may have the option of a cash out settlement that you will have to manage... or when you change jobs, you may be able to roll your retirement plan over into some form of self directed IRA...
You too could become rich and need the tax vbreaks the tax code allows....

Cheryl said...

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, who was in charge at Guantanamo Bay, and then Abu Ghraib retired. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

He chose to retire without seeking promotion and a third star.

Richard Yarnell said...

I don't pretend to know how to invest well. I look for companies with promise and good management and still, on occasion, they get beaten up in the emotional crap shoot that the market really is. You heard it here: the market is emotionally driven.

I'm about to have a conversation with one of my brokers (I have two so I can compare notes. One of the accounts has a managed portion in which I don't intervene at all.) The most important decision you can make, if you have savings that are invested in bonds, the stock market, or even mutual funds, is the choice of your broker. He/she should be honest, knowledgable (one not limited to following his company's direction) and someone you can be honest with as well.


christin m p in massachusetts said...

I know this may not make sense to some... But I don't want to be rich, because I know that in order to be rich, someone else must be financially bled. I just want to be completely out of the financial grip of the rich -- I want to be in a position to never have to give them one thin dime of royalties. But I know that's impossible, because I require a reasonable comfort level -- not to mention hot and cold running water.

I also know that what I wish for the entire world, is never going to happen, either. I wish that there would be no rich, and therefore no more poor -- that everyone would have "just enough" to be reasonably comfortable.

I do see the reality of the disgusting human weakness of greed, though. So I know I have to invest for my retirement to make sure the mega-rich don't ever relegate me to requiring charity.

Because my Dad was always looking out for those who were worse off than himself, my Mom sort of counterbalanced it by always reminding us kids, "Charity begins at home". She always tried to get it across to my Dad that if he kept looking out for "the other guy", he could end up worse off instead.

So I'm trying to maintain a balance of looking out for myself, while at the same time being careful never to deprive anyone else.

Judy B. said...

It sounds like you have a good grasp of who you are and what you want...

Having money just for the sake of having money is, in my opinion, what caused the greed generation to come into being...

But having money and not using it wisely can be just as bad... It isn't a bad thing to have "more than enough"... It is how you use your money that really counts...

Your parents both gave you some good lessons in money management..., but only you can decide what or where those lessons will take yuou...

I believe Richard has given you some good advice... If you want to learn more about having a comfortable retirement, there are several good books I would recommend... One of the easiest to understand is "The Automatic Millionaire" by David Bach... You can buy it on line...

And the knowledge that true prosperity does not come from money... but

Judy B. said...

(continued) true prosperty is a way of being in this world... Some of the richest people I have known have very little money, but do have a very profound spiritual life...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

By that definition then, I was once a very "rich" person -- and I most definitely knew it. As long as I was able to have some very basic comforts with only one full-time job, I was pretty content. But for a few years -- from 2002 to 2005, I saw how easy it is for just one apparently soul-less creature's money-lust to make even that bare-bones standard impossible for thousands of people in several cities across my state. (He started before 2002, but that's when I found out about him.) Then about a dozen or so soul-less copycats followed in his footsteps -- and the U.S. government helped fund the whole thing with everyone's hard-earned tax money. It's one thing for masses of people to be forced to migrate because of natural disasters... But for hundreds of thousands of people to be forced out of a region because they can't even afford a place to live???

All I could think was, "Doesn't anyone in power get it? How can any person accomplish anything at all if they don't have a stable place to live? No one should ever take their home for granted.

That is something that some people have not yet had to face, so they do take it for granted. But it was a terrifying reality for droves of people here for several years. To this day, those prices are still untouchable for most. And even with thousands of vacancies in each city, the greedy bastards would rather sit on empty properties and hold out for top dollar. It's only been around a year or so since our local politicians woke up and started to ask, "Hey, where'd everybody go?"

Before that whole nightmare happened, I was so happy with my simple little life that I kept a fortune from a Chinese fortune cookie in my wallet which said:

"He who knows he has enough is rich."

But after that shark-fest hit this area, any trust I might have had in life and human nature was badly shaken. Maybe it's just as well -- now I've learned that I have to get my own little piece of real estate with a low fixed rate mortgage only -- with an emphasis on fixed rate.

I'll definitely check out "The Automatic Millionaire" next time I go to Borders Books. I love bookstore browsing anyway, plus I can sit in the cafe and read a little of it before I buy it, and have one of my few indulgences in life -- a really good bookstore cafe cappuccino.

I'm betting that's one of the first indulgences that book is going to tell me to do without...

Judy B. said...

A book is just a blue print...
It tells one story... but in the story of our life, we make changes according to our needs...

If we follow the blueprint too close it doesn't allow for our own unique creative abilities to take over...

Just like building a house, we make change-orders to the blue-print to fit who we are...

If you are a bookstore cappuccino type of person, maybe you keep thsat part of your expenses and find a different place to economize...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Yes, I find lots of different places to economize. And the bookstore cappuccino is only an occasional treat anyway.

The only reasons I've been able to get by with this cost of living are:

1. I have no children. I know from seeing my sister, and also my brother and his wife slaving their lives away, that even easily-contented children are quite expensive to raise.

2. Although I still rent, I was lucky enough to find a landlord who was willing to let me work on his properties to lop off some of my rent each month. It's like supplemental income for me. Besides, some homeowners are worse off than renters, because they took the risk of getting adjustable rate mortgages, balloon mortgages, "California mortgages", or otherwise risky terms -- and for various reasons were unable to refinance at more favorable terms before their optimal refinance window closed.

3. My car is very economical on gasoline. I do still most definitely waste gasoline, though. At least I have managed to cut back on one weekend day of casual driving, but I have to do better.

4. Other than the occasional book and cappuccino, I buy only exactly what I need to get by. I take very good care of what I own, so that I don't need to replace much.

Richard Yarnell said...

My partner, Susan, is an avid reader and book collector: we have, conservatively, 3000 books in the house. Her favorite xmas gift is my father's Powell's book card where she is able to buy used as well as new books.

On top of that, though, she haunts the Goodwill where they do sell books, frequently from estates. She also shops at the Oregon City Friends of the Library shop which stocks books removed from the over-burdened library shelves.

As I've reported previously, she has a registered "Book Crossing" where books we don't expect to read a second time are labeled as "travelling." People come in just to see what's in the bin and take them away to read them and, hopefully, to release them into the wild again.

As for Powell's Books, probably the first place to put new and used books on the same shelves and almost certainly to be one of the first shops to have coffee service in the store, she does that too. Portland serves such good coffee.

Cheryl said...

I love used book stores. Ed McKay's in North Carolina has a free shelf. If they don't buy your book, you have the option of leaving it on the free shelf. It's always fun to see what treasures you can find there.

Judy B. said...

Book Lovers Unite...

We are in a major down-sizing just in case we do move.... and if we don't move, we don't need all that we have anyway... Our local homeless shelter is having a garage sale and I am donating a couple of pichup loads of stuff to them... furniture, appliamces, old computer, etc,.... but...

The hardest thing to let go of seems to be books... I like your idea richard of the traveling books... I think you talked about this before, but I didn't follow up... Is there a web site I can go to to get more info???

Judy B. said...

Christin... you, like me and the other people on this blog, really do care about other people. Sometimes our concern takes us into emotional places where we can't move forward, just marking time, waiting for????

Being an activist, writing letters, becoming politically involved, even holding public office, didn't change the world a whole lot (although it did some good)...

There was one thing that made a big difference though... and that was to look at the world through different eyes....

As we harp on and on about the price of gas, and housing, and ad nausium... we sometimes forget that we (even our poor) have it easy compared much of the world...

Yes... to live here with our high cost of living does mean that we need to raise ouir minimum wage, but we need to understand the butterfly effect of such a move...

Yes... our healthcare delivery system leaves much to be desired, but when my daughter was litterally dying, she got the very best care for free (at OSHU)... and even though we are shelling out quite a bit for her health needs, when she needs a $4000 test done, there is a medical fooundation that steps in and pays the way....
That is not true in many (most) of the world...
The old saying, "think globally and act locally", was never more important than now....

Richard Yarnell said...


You can print the labels yourself. I haven't gotten any mail I didn't ask for. We did indulge in a stamp to mark the books with, and I did give Susan some of the fancy labels for xmas. But then, she's almost a true bibliophile.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Yeah Judy,

I know we -- even those who live literally from paycheck to paycheck -- are still better off than the poor from a lot of other countries.

I just can't help but want to throw a major wrench into the works of the "Mr. Potters" of the world (you know, the archvillain in the movie It's A Wonderful Life).

I don't feel that's blocking me from moving forward, it's just helping me to keep a sharp look-out for anyone who might take advantage of others and thwarting them with whatever legal means necessary.

Is that what they call "having an axe to grind?"

Judy B. said...

Christin... It is too bad that you don't work in a position to have classified information come over your desk... You would make a great whistle-blower... I do believe that you have the courage of your convictions, and that you would not compromise that, even if you did have an ax to grind... Throwing axes often has a boomerang effect....so be careful

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I know this is going to seem like a 180 degree reversal in attitude, but if you saw what I just saw about this guy, you'd understand my enthusiasm.

ABC's 20/20 just did a segment on Costco's CEO Jim Senegal.

I now worship at his shrine.

Both my sister and my sister-in-law work in retail -- I'm going to let them know that Costco is the best place for them to work.

Isn't that company headquartered in Seattle?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I wish we had a Powell's Books around here... It sounds like it's a store I'd patronize frequently. What does that mean -- she's almost a true bibliophile?

deb said...

My favorite bookstore.

My favorite bumper sticker: I STILL READ

It makes sense that we, who have gathered here to share and discuss info, read to further educate ourselves...so many books...so little time.

Richard Yarnell said...

Costco=Kirkland, WA near Seattle.

It's also the name of their housebrand. Kirkland Coffee is put up by Starbucks and the Kirkland EV Olive Oil and Balsammic vinegar are both terrific and reasonably priced.

What I've found is that even as big as they are, they do respond to reasonble consumer suggestions. I took a printout of an article on a fungal disease of avocados (my family grew them) that was showing up in some of their imported (Guatemalan) fruit. The Kirkland office called and they have removed that source from their system. But, they didn't stop there. They somehow connected several money sources up with a researcher and a co-op that is helping treat the soil before replanting selected infected groves.

Richard Yarnell said...

To me, a true bibliophile is stuck in books to the exclusion of the world. The world, for them, exists in their books.

Mike Powell, who took his fathers tiny used book store and made it into the massive business it is now, looks as though he might be a bibliophile, but he lives to take his wealth and interests into the community.

Susan uses books to improve her experience in the real world.

She reads extensively, quickly, and remembers everything she's read. Even with all the other things she does, including trekking around the internet, playing her banjo and uke, gardening, keeping sheep and bees, being a locksmith and active in local politics - she just became a board member of the county library, is Secretary of the Jacob Sheep Registry, the Community Planning Organization, edits the Pacific Coast Locksmith Association monthly magazine, etc. etc. (I'm tired now) she still manages 5 or 6 books a week. She's a pretty decent photographer, spins, knits, and makes things. I'm in serious like!


christin m p in massachusetts said...

Geez Rich,

After reading all that about Susan, I feel like a major slacker...

Even in the busiest years of my life, when I had myself convinced that I was a Herculean multi-tasker (at least given my relatively small size), I still couldn't accomplish even a tiny percentage of what Susan does.

I swear some people have special powers -- especially power over the clock.

Judy B. said...

Richard... have you and Susan ever considered forming an Intentional Community???

With the knowledge you both have, and your life experiences, I would think you would make the ideal owner/managers of a cooperative group that worked for good government while practicing self sustainability....

Richard Yarnell said...

Neither one of us is very social. In fact, I border on being a misanthrope and she'd much rather spend time by herself that with others.

She did manage Marial Lodge on the Rogue River for two or three years, but I think the reason she did it is because she got to stay there during the winter when it was closed. She was hired there after she lost her job as BLM archaeologist due to funding cuts. Her thesis at Portland State was on local Indian dialects.

Judy B. said...

"Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) narrowly lost the Democratic Senate primary here Tuesday night, falling to antiwar candidate Ned Lamont in a campaign that became a referendum on the incumbent's support for the Iraq war."

Do you think that the pols will get the message???

Richard Yarnell said...

Probably: they'll adjust their personal histories and say what the voters want to hear.

In the mean time, Uncle Joe will run as an indie and split the Democratic and Independent vote, turning a wavering D into an R.

Write to the Democratic election team and encourage them to discourage his already announced run.

Cheryl said...

Lieberman still has some support, Tony Snow has come out for him.

In today's press briefing Snow claimed that a vote for Lamont is a vote for another 9/11.


christin m p in massachusetts said...

My favorite Democratic candidate for governor (the one offering us more accessibility and transparency of government) has a new TV commercial featuring his five young kids, with a brief appearance by his wife toward the end. I've seen ads before where owners of local companies like car dealerships and furniture stores feature their children or grandchildren to help sell their products. But I've never seen one like it by a political candidate before.

I especially enjoy seeing the ad because it reminds me of when I was a kid, growing up in a family just like his with five kids all close together in age. What do you guys think of ads like that?

Here it is, so you can see it for yourselves:
The Gabrieli Kids

Cheryl said...

Down here, most political ads include the family. He's a family guy so he must have family values and be a great guy. Usually the kids are just backdrop. Sometimes they get to say something like "I love my Daddy."

That ad was cute and let the kids look like real people. I consider it a plus when someone can poke fun at himself.

Richard Yarnell said...

I don't know where I'm supposed to put this, but it's so glum, "Blue" seems right. I posted this only moments ago on my college discussion list. My class has more than its share of highly placed diplomats, economists, editors and other media lights, as well as academics who, by now, have worked their ways into positions of acclaim and authority. "Jaimie" is Galbraith who has a piece in yesterday's Guardian. Mrs Tannenbaum is a Jewish writer who survived the holocaust by bringing her family to the US. She's still writing and has an anguished piece in Newsday.

After a long debate with my college classmates, here's my conclusion about the accelerating
hostilities in the Middle East. It should be noted that whomever wins the presidency in 2008
will inherit a hopeless situation and will likely be blamed for it, or at least
for failing to implement a meaningful solution. I can't imagine anyone really
wanting to take on the job, nor can I imagine anything but a one term Presidency
resulting from the 2008 election. In advance, I'm sorry to be so glum.


I've been listening to as many interviews with officials from Israel,
Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, and others as I can find. I
don't see much hope in the only partly disguised belligerence behind
what's being said. Nor do I find encouragement from the nation-states
that are competing for the global oil supply, if that really makes any
difference. Add to this that no one has much experience dealing with
the non-state terrorists (whether supported by states or not), I don't
think there's a way to stop what's going on.

1) I do subscribe to Powell's "you break it, you own it" principle.
Whether that means we need to stay in Iraq and fight our way to an
impasse, I don't know. But we do need to be involved in the process
in some way. Unfortunately, our military machine is in poor shape,
our economy and credit line are extended too far for comfort, and our
diplomatic word is dross. If we can bring our military out of Iraq
and send a good portion of it to Afghanistan where we properly
started, maybe, just maybe we might be able to persuade Pakistan to
purge its territory of bin Laden and al Queda. That would be a start
and one draped in legal linen.

2) While there is furious diplomatic activity taking place, the
principals in these discussions were all involved in drawing
unsatisfactory boundaries during the last century: the UK, the US,
France, and on the periphery, the UN. The contending parties were
formed, arbitrarily, often without respect to tribal or traditional
boundaries, through processes entirely of European origin.

3) The active "Terrorist" or perhaps "guerrilla" organizations do not
seem to be concerned with territory, and certainly not with the
territorial definitions imposed by the western nations, except,
perhaps, to eliminate them. There is now doubt that all of them are
even religious in origin. In any case, they are not subject to the
pressures that can be brought to bear on sovereign states and their
support, it appears, does not necessarily depend on nation-states.

I doubt that Updike has credentials to claim insider's knowledge of
what makes a terrorist, but his description of one kid's journey from
youth to the cab of an explosives loaded truck in the Holland Tunnel
is chilling. Little steps, almost all of them appearing to be
innocent, until commitment to god and loyalty to its earthbound
opportunists, leads to sacrifice. "Give me a child until he's
seven...." doesn't work just for the Pope. If the US military can
mold our kids into killing machines in relatively short periods of
intense training, think of what unquestioning loyalty can be instilled
by lifelong drilling, especially when the hole-card of religion and
the heaven if promises, is played by a command structure willing to
assign guilt by association.

I suspect it's true that the majority of people in any of the
contested territories would simply like all the mayhem to stop. I
suspect that most of the Nation-States are still susceptible to
economic pressures and rewards provided the armed conflict stops and
so long as their sovereignty is respected absolutely. But so long as
the rogue elements of the guerrillas and, as Jaimie (Galbraith) puts it (in an Op
Ed piece in the Guardian, also yesterday), the "amateurs," is present, there
cannot be any guarantee of peace and security.

Add another, as yet only mild, ingredient: the escalating competition
for fossil fuels, no matter where they originate. Because of our
incredible stubbornness, both the established industrial nations and
the emerging industrial powerhouses, China and India chief among them,
to say nothing of the wannabes and should be's in Africa and South
America, don't have the luxury of time to make an orderly conversion
from fossil based energy to much of anything else. Not even
conservation - though privation could stand in for that. It's going
to be from hard to impossible to control nation-state support for
independent guerrilla organizations as those states contend for the
energy that drives our economic engines. Throw in the fact that most
of the nations capable of supporting large scale terrorist
organizations have access to chemical and nuclear materials, and given
that fact that nuclear technology is no longer secret, the level of
violence available for those guerrillas to use has almost no limit.

If we believe that the people of any nation should determine their own
affairs, we have no business making decisions for them. On the other
hand, we've been doing that for a long time and the prospects for
suddenly withdrawing are grim. Add to that, that the economic impact
of giving up global trade, being forced to rely on our own dwindling
resources, would require real sacrifices I don't think we're willing
to make, you have left very little incentive to change tactics or

Whether or not Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1st, and Clinton were right
as they tried to direct the disposition of power and territory in the
Middle East, they were there, actively working. For the last five
years, we've been absent and have given up meaningful access as we
once had. From what I've seen of the UN cease fire deal, directed by
the US, UK, and France, it hasn't got a snowball's chance. If France
and the UN put enough troops on the ground to protect themselves and
to disarm Hezbollah in the South, the latter, in good guerrilla
fashion, will withdraw to the north and simply wait. It will continue
its good works in the North, adding to its tasks, rebuilding what
Israel and it have destroyed over the last month. Can anyone object?
Will such constructive activity win the hearts of the Lebanese people.
You bet. Meanwhile, at the very least, Iran will have succeeded in
distracting the rest of the world from its apparent pursuit of
military nuclear capability - though it's not clear that's really what
they're doing. (And has anyone even heard "North Korea" mentioned
over the last several weeks?)

We don't control the world any more. The benefits of being the only
super-power are not what they were cracked up to be. The USSR was not
the only contender to be bankrupted by the Cold War: We just haven't
realized it yet.

Is there a solution? Would dropping currency over all the contending
territories have any effect? Or would a return to honest negotiation,
trying to live by our own rules, work better?

Mrs Tannenbaum (a Jewish writer who escaped the holocaust by bringing her family
here and who had an anguished Op-Ed piece published in Newsday yesterday) calls
on the Jews to take up their old role of being
the conscience of the world. She should demand that we, her adopted
country, try to do the same thing, resume our role as honest broker.
It's the first thing we should have done and the only thing left to us

deb said...

Bleak, grim...words that come to mind.

I agree that there may be no solution, but we can either try to solve the problems or just resign and watch as life is no longer sustainable on the planet and WWIII occurs.

Possible solutions (to me) would be to have a real trial exposing the current corrupt US officials. I believe that the world is demanding justice and if we expose the perpetrators of the bogus war in Iraq that there would be a feeling of "justice" served around the world.

Along with exposing them I say freeze the accounts of those that have "enroned" this country and destroyed Iraq. Use the money to actually build a decent infrastructure in Iraq. Some of the so called "insurgents" are people who wouldn't be warriors if there were other choices available. What would the average American do if their way of life and their jobs were destroyed by an army and many of their relatives killed?

Quit using oil is the key. The money flows into the middle east through oil...we must stop.

If there is to be an answer it will take us "regular" US citizens providing it...the US continues to have the greatest power on earth and "we" (you and me and everyone else in this country) have the power to control this country. I am hoping (probably hoping beyond hope) that we can elect officials who will regulate our media so that our citizens are educated as to what is actually happening and then present a unified message of what it will take in order make life sustainable into the next century. I will keep working toward that goal because I see no other alternative.

While I would normally work toward electing a "green" president (Al Gore?) I am still very interested in seeing Wes Clark elected in 08. As a military man (and brilliant I might add) I believe that he will offer the best solutions in the middle east.

Cheryl said...

The Middle East is very complicated with an infinite number of "sides", none of them completely good. The conflict will end when enough people want it to end. The problem is that there are a number of people who consider continued fighting in their best interests of power/prestige/authority/money.

It would help to have someone truly neutral to help with talks. Finding a way to make oil less valuable would go a long way towards stopping the fighting.

Judy B. said...

Deb and Cheryl...
Both of your posts mention "oil" as (a big) part of the problem...
I agree!! My last posts on this thread were about "liquid coal" as a possible answer to the need to import oil from the rest of the world... As Richard pointed out, there are problems, but everything seems to be problem oriented... Not that the coal "solution" is perfect environmentally, it does seem to offer some hope...
Check it out and see what you think...

Judy B. said...

The liquid coal posts are on the green thread...

I agree with richard that the next president will be blamed for everthing that he/she inherits...
With that in mind, I want a president who will address the environmental problems without concern about getting re-elected...
I think Al Gore is the man...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

This question is for Rich, because it's about world history:

Listening to what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had to say on 60 minutes this evening, has made me wonder...

Is Israel's geographic location in the Middle East sort of like the U.S.' "foot in the door"? (I'm thinking of the pushy door-to-door salesmen of days gone by, who would put their foot in the door to work their way into the customers' houses.)

After World War II, who decided on Palestine as the location for Israel to be established? And did they just carve out part of Palestine, or did they just take the whole country by something like eminent domain?

As the Iranian president pointed out, why wasn't part of Europe carved out for the Jewish refugees -- or why not part of the U.S.? We had plenty of available land back then -- in fact, we still do. Jewish people are so thoroughly absorbed into U.S. society already -- at least they are around here, so wouldn't this be a better place for them to live than in a war zone?

That leads me back to my original question:

Given that there isn't a drop of oil in Israel, what interest does the U.S. have presently, in Israel's geographic location in the Middle East?

Cheryl said...

Seymour Hersh has an article posted today in the New Yorker on Washington’s interests in Israel’s war.


Another group that is very interested in Israel is the right-wing fundamentalists. They are beside themselves in excitement over this war. They think it means the end times are coming.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

A Brief Misguided History of the World
Or How the Jews Got Israel Back

Back in about 100AD the Romans tired of Jewish guerilla warfare and revolt kicked their butts and burned their main temple in Jerusalem. All that is left of the temple is the Wailing Wall. The remaining Jews fled and were dispersed over the Middle East and Europe. The Roman Empire declined and fell apart by 400AD.

By the time of the death of Mohammed, the prophet who started Islam around 600AD, the Caliphate or Middle Eastern Muslims began to rule the area.

Christianity was spreading in Europe during the Dark Ages and the rule of Kings and their knights. Islam was spreading through the Middle East, Persia, Africa and Indonesia.

Christians believed Jesus was their main man and prophet and path to God. Muslims believed Mohammed was a prophet and God was the main man. Jews didn’t believe either of these guys knew diddly about God.

The Europeans decided they needed some artifacts from where Jesus was born and started the Crusades in 1100 to try and take back the Middle East. After 250 years of war they had their butts kicked and the Ottoman Empire based in Turkey took control of the region and ruled from about 1350 to the end of WWI when the US and Europe took over.

Neither Christians nor Muslims liked Jews because they didn’t believe in their prophet. Christians in particular could accuse them of murdering Christ. This has always baffled me since without the crucifixion, death and resurrection the whole story pretty much falls apart.

Hitler needed a scapegoat and a thing to cause fear in people and based on centuries of anti-Semitism picked the Jews. We know what he did.

At the end of WWII partly from guilt and because nobody really wanted the Jews anyway, but mostly because the Jews who survived had had enough and gone to Palestine and fought a war and took the land back. The UN recognized Israel as a nation.

The US of course was pleased to have an ally and foot in the door in the region. Since the US and Europe had already carved up the Middle East after WWI this was just another rearrangement, no big deal, and a place to put the Jews. God did say it was their land and we all read and believed the same Old Testament. Case closed.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Given that you have more background knowledge on the subject, have you ever thought of a potential strategy for ending the perpetual warfare in that region?

I've been thinking back on everything I have ever heard discussed over the years by the principals involved, and what has been consistently repeated is that the Arabs want the land which is now known as Israel, to be returned to Palestine. With the information I have so far, I'm still not able to judge what would be fair. What would be fair? And is it in our best interests (as American citizens) for the U.S. government to have a role in all of it?

Do we need Israel as a sort of "look-out tower" over that region?

Al Gore is who I'd like for the job under less volatile conditions, as I think he'd take good care of our domestic needs. But if our current circumstances remain unchanged by 2008, I'm going to have to go with Deb's choice of Wes Clark. I think we're going to need him as Commander-In-Chief.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I read the article at the link you posted for us. What stood out most to me was the very end of it. Strange, it's something I myself have been ranting about for ages, even though I have absolutely zero knowledge of (standard) military strategy. But I do think I have a fairly good measure of common sense, which obviously is what's been lacking in our government's approach to "non-standard" warriors.

To successfully fight wars against terrorists and martyrs, I think there needs to be more of the kinds of analysis used by criminologists as well as experts on abnormal psychology.

This is the part of the article I'm referring to:

"Strategic bombing has been a failed military concept for ninety years, and yet air forces all over the world keep on doing it,” John Arquilla, a defense analyst at the Naval Postgraduate School, told me. Arquilla has been campaigning for more than a decade, with growing success, to change the way America fights terrorism. “The warfare of today is not mass on mass,” he said. “You have to hunt like a network to defeat a network. Israel focussed on bombing against Hezbollah, and, when that did not work, it became more aggressive on the ground. The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result."

Richard Yarnell said...

I may get some of the details wrong, so someone should check.

Before WWI, Jews actually bought land from the Ottomans and individual Arabs. As the amount of land accumulated, European jews migrated there and settled on what, I suppose, we'd call communes. Post WWI, when the League of Nations Mandates gave the UK control of Palestine (the Ottomans were allied with the defeated Germans). The UK was favorably disposed to a home for the Jews in Palestine. However, the Mandate required that the UK protect rights of Palestinians: they limited Jewish imigration during the war to under 100K - perhaps a source of their guilt.

The Jews, in the meantime, found the British policy to be contrary to the Balfour Declaration which, in 1917, had supported Jewish colonization of Palestine to which, Arabs took umbrage.

During the war, many Jews fleeing Europe to Palestine, were actually returned to Europe by the Brits. There was little love lost.

After the war, the Brits could not control the hostility between the Arabs and Jews, gave the UN notice it would withdraw, and proposed a partition of Palestine. Hence, the boundaries of Israel were carved out of Palestine by the UN upon British recommendation.

I suspect that our support of Israel is based on money. At the end of the war, the US still had a sizeable and solvent Jewish population. That's a lobby that has been powerful in the extreme over the last 60+ years.

Israel became our surrogate in a region that did have oil (Iran and Saudi Arabia had never been controlled by Europeans while Syria and Lebanon had been colonized or controlled by France, Iraq and Palestine by the UK.) While Syria, Iraq, and Iran were friendly to the USSR, Israel, supported by huge amounts of military and financial aid, developed the strongest military in the region based, not on numbers, but on technology and intelligence (the clandestine kind.)

Given their limited man-power, when pressed, their reaction was swift and ruthless. You will recall that Israel destroyed the first Iranian attempt to establish a nuclear program by bombing the reactor complex.

So, yes. Israel is a client state of the US and has done our dirty work in the region for a long time. It is considered by the Arabs to have occupied Arab land. Even though we didn't establish Israel, our support of it against Arab interests has resulted in our being distrusted and almost hated by many Arabs. I see our unflagging, and often un-questioning support of Israel in the same way I look on our obsessive refusal to deal with Cuba.

Israel uses high tech weapons and its air force because it has no choice. Hezbollah has, albeit ruthlessly, exploited that achilles heel in the present conflic.

For devout Jews, they are at home. Jerusalem has as much religious significance to them as it does to the Arabs. I doubt that they will ever willingly leave. If we ever stop supporting them, I cannot see how that narrow slip of land can be defended.

Would we allow 4 million people to immigrate into the US even if they would, I doubt it.

Richard Yarnell said...

Chris, I like your capsule history better than mine.

It's been interesting to me that my grim take on the Middle East has not been taken kindly.

When people respond, generally they ignore or actively object to the idea that it's out of our control.

By the way, as has been pointed out, the real success against the terrorists has come from the police. It's been my contention from 9/11 that that was a criminal, not a military action and that Bush declared war for domestic political purposes. We were justified to chase bin Laden into Afghanistan and properly assembled joint police cooperation on an international scale. Everyone is at risk.

And there in, perhaps, lies a possible solution: put together an international coalition of law enforcement and then get the military out of the picture. I'll have to think about that for awhile.

One of the things Gore would do, and I still think he'd make a great President, would be to delegate authority to qualified people. I'd rather see Gore as Prez and Clark as Secy of Defense. Wouldn't it be a gas to have Clinton back as Secy of State?

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

A bunch of metaphors

I think there is a solution to the problems in the Middle East. It just isn’t quick, easy and painless like Americans would like it to be.

To a certain extent the fighting with Israel is just a front for disgruntlement many in the region have for the policies of Europe and America in the region as a whole. Many Arab nations would have gotten over Israel’s existence long ago if we hadn’t been messing around with the internal politics and power of other nations to ensure a stable and profitable supply of oil. The poor and unemployed in the area would be fighting their own governments for justice instead of us if we hadn’t been propping them up since the end of WWI.

Oil is the key. We absolutely need to find other sources of energy. Once we are able to do that then we can back out of the region and let those people govern themselves however they see fit. If we really trusted free market capitalism we would stop meddling in the region now. Instead we are protecting the vested interest of corporations who run the oil economy.

We can continue to support Israel’s existence diplomatically and with military supplies. The Israeli’s have shown they are perfectly capable of defending themselves and have never asked for our troops. If that was the extent of our involvement in the region I think there would be much less tension.

I think the chances of a nuclear strike on Israel are remote. It would make the land uninhabitable for the Palestinians and provoke a drastic response devastating much of the region. MAD, mutually assured destruction isn’t mentioned much anymore but that is still a great deterrent. No one would really have much interest in nuking the oil fields. That screws everybody.

The problem is that the history of the region is much like the Titanic. It is incredibly hard to turn such a large ship’s direction quickly and in time to avoid disaster. We have dug ourselves a great big hole and the first thing we as a nation need to do is stop digging the hole deeper. Unfortunately many in power are getting rich digging the hole.

This war with Israel could go on for a very very long time, starting and stopping over and over unless we stop messing with the governments and people over there. It may not be what finally brings a halt to the oil system as we know it. The planet itself and environmental destruction may take out much of the human population more quickly and efficiently than we can by killing each other. Without food, water and air and the right ambient temperature species can and do go extinct. Humans have so removed themselves from the processes of nature and the knowledge that they are part of nature that the slightest environmental changes could take out entire civilizations. It has already happened to humans before. No more rain, no more food.

There are too many rats in the cage and when it gets too crowded and competition for resources gets strong things will get ugly.

We don’t have to go down this road. We have the knowledge and technology to begin to reduce our strain on the planet and our need for oil. There just needs to be the will to do that before we hit rock bottom and have no other choice.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Richard I like your President, Defense and State Secretary lineup.

dan said...

Rats!!! You guys are having a great discussion and I don't have time to join in. My move went pretty well but now that the old house is empty, it needs some fresh paint on the walls and the carpeting cleaned.

I feel comfortable with the list of Dems mentioned for president (and other top jobs), and I would add Russ Feingold and yes, Hillary Clinton. Wouldn't it be wonderful having smart people running the country again!

I would also offer a position to ex-pres GWB. His job would be to explain to taxpayers how his administration managed to double the national debt, where the money was spent, how all that spending (and inevitable tax increases) benefited them.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I'm glad to know that the only reason you haven't been visiting here as much as usual, is because you're having fun getting the old house ready to sell... I was beginning to think you had lost faith in our mini think tank. There are so few of us, we can't afford to lose even one more participant.

We already lost Brian (Skids) a long time ago (I still miss him), and Marilynn must be too busy, because she hasn't posted here in ages.

I don't miss a couple of the people we had here in the beginning, because they seemed to just want to put the brakes on our progress.

I like your line-up of Dems too. For Secretary of State, you mean Bill Clinton, right? I know it's not supposed to be a popularity contest, but Bill Clinton is such a hail-fellow-well-met type of guy, that I can't help but smile any time I think of him. I have to admit, too, that the thought has crossed my mind more than once that if Hillary becomes President, we'll get Bill back automatically:)))))

I can't help it -- I just plain like him.

Judy B. said...

I'll stick by my choice of Al Gore for President; and think Wes Clark would make a great Secretry of Defense.. Maybe if Hillary were to become Secretary of Health et al, she could finally come up with a universal health care plan we could all support.

Bill Clinton as Secretary of State makes sense. How would it be to have him be our ambassador to the UN??? If there was anyone who understands the market driven economy it is Bill Clinton. His ability to hammer out some deals may be just what is needed.

Once again, we come back to the issue of oil. With the petroleum reserves globally onshaky grounds, I do not think we will ever get back to "cheap" gas.. At $3 a gallon, it makes other options more luctative ($$$$) for big business to get on board of alternatives,,,

The long term history of the Middle East may get too big of a play in what is going on here now... People do not think about history when they are being bombed. they think about survival.. And what happened yesterday (this generation) to their loved ones. There are always those who use the injustices of the past to promote their cause, but it is the injustices of today that bring about chaos and hatred...
I don't think there is an answer to satisfy everyone, and yet we must try....

christin m p in massachusetts said...

At $3 a gallon, it makes other options more luctative ($$$$) for big business to get on board of alternatives,,,

I've long suspected that big business was only going to hold back production of alternative energy sources until they could usurp the rights to a sufficiently large share of them (as if any quantity of property "rights" is ever sufficient for big business). Well, it looks like they finally own enough of the rights to them now, as they seem to be allowing production and sales of those technologies to move forward. In fact, they're even peddling them now.

I'm glad that we'll be gentler on the environment, and freed from our "interests" in the Middle East. But just watch how quickly big business will start to price-gouge us on those new energy sources. Right now, all I can think of is those satanic Enron traders laughing as they're bilking everyone who works real jobs for a living. They should bring back chain gangs just for them.

Never a day goes by, where the thought of all those unearned royalties going to all those lazy lying leeches, fails to piss me off. Can anybody tell me what positive value those drains on the working class have in our society? As I see it, if they have any value at all, mathematically speaking it can only be negative (well below zero).

deb said...

Cheryl, That is a terrific article, thanks.

I currently lack time, but I will be rereading these comments...very insightful!

This thread reminded me of articles that I read prior to the start of the war in Iraq by Kathleen and Bill Christison, both are former CIA analysts. Kathleen has written 2 books (I think only 2) about the Middle East.

I did not find the original essay that I had read. It was much more detailed than this one, however this one is similar.

Sorry that I don't have time now, but I definately will come back to this enlightening conversation.

A Rose By Another Other Name

I will also search, when I can, to see what Kathleen and Bill are currently saying about the latest conflict.

Richard Yarnell said...

I think you'll find that $3 gas now, is the equivalent of $1.06 gas in 1979. I was in NY then and paying a good deal more than $1.06.

If you can remember what you paid in any given year using an inflation calculator (http://www.westegg.com/inflation/)
you can see whether it's inflation adjusted price is more or less than $3. (There's also a calculator at the Bureau of Labor Statistics site, but it only lets you calculate in one direction. In this site, if you put 2005 in the initial year box and the date you think you remember in the final year,...

Aren't massive subsidies grand?

Judy B. said...

I don't particularly mind paying $3 a gallon for gas, especially since richard has adjusted that for inflation...
I will pay whatever it takes for the market-place to finally come to terms with our environmental degradation and do something about it... and the only way that happens is for the corporations to have a profit motive to do the right thing...
Bill Clinton understands that... do you remember his campaign strategy..."it's the economy..."

And no matter what oour ideals, what it all boils down to is $$$, where it comes from, who gets paid what, and how the consumer can be manipulated to buy products that they do not need...

Housing bubbles and energy crisis... interest rates and profit motives... slow down the economy or give it a jolt... $$$ makes the world go round...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Those words -- "how the consumer can be manipulated to buy products that they do not need..." make me more than ever want to live like Henry David Thoreau.

That's it. I'm not buying anything that's advertised any more. From now on, I'll get everything I need from Freecycle.com.

My opinion of the marketing industry is that it is all -- without exception -- a sham. I don't know much about Norm Brodsky's character in general, but I do like what he said about marketing in the March 2006 issue of Inc. Here is an excerpt:

A great reputation comes from competing fairly, providing excellent service to your customers, treating your suppliers right, being a solid citizen in your community, and creating a great place to work. Yes, a giant corporation will frequently launch a marketing campaign in an attempt to bolster its image and improve its reputation, but such campaigns are proof positive that the company has failed to build a great reputation the old-fashioned way--by earning it. For smaller companies, image marketing is a gigantic waste of time and money.

Again, I'll use the example of the company I think should be a standard, rather than the exception -- Costco of course, to show why I think the marketing industry is nothing but a drain on consumers. Costco CEO Jim Senegal (whom I now idolize) said that he doesn't need to pay for marketing which would unnecessarily raise the cost of his goods, because his well-treated, well-paid employees do all the advertising for Costco through word-of-mouth.

BTW, Jim Senegal takes a salary of only 350,000 dollars per year, and lives in a modest home in the same neighborhood as some of his entry-level workers do. He's so well-loved, that whenever he shows up at the openings of new store locations, people flock to meet him and get their pictures taken with him. Also, Costco has the lowest employee turnover rate in the retail industry.

Marketers' motivation is all about feathering their own nests, and nothing more. Down with the marketing industry!!!!!

christin m p in massachusetts said...

It's a good thing I wasn't around in the Era of McCarthyism... But they would have been wrong about me -- I think communism has always been just as thoroughly laced with corruption as capitalism has.

That's why I still believe that this is the way our society needs to go:

Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered

Judy B. said...

Chrstin... just checked our your lastlink... seems like a book I would like to read...thanks

Judy B. said...

"Another group that is very interested in Israel is the right-wing fundamentalists. They are beside themselves in excitement over this war. They think it means the end times are coming"

The "end times', 2012, and other "prophesies" may indeed come true if we do not change our ways..

the collective consciousness is being manipulated via mass media. How many times are the networks going to show (natural and man made) disasters bringing humankind back to survivor mentality???/
... Maybe that is whay all the reality shows are such a big success...

deb said...

I always seem to lack time by the time I get to the Blue thread.

A couple of thoughts: Why is it that any criticism of Israel is bandied about as being "anti-semitic"? I am against the Vatican's stance on birth control...does that make me "anti-catholic"? NO I am against China's media censorship...does that make me "anti-Chinese"? I think not.

The end times: Did you know that a person can buy "rapture insurance"? It is for when a person is raptured and plans to leave non-believing relatives behind to face armageddon...so that the relatives aren't saddled with the raptured person's debt.

Judy B. said...

I agree with you whole-heartedly about the "anti-semitic" sentiment being expressed in many places...
I can oppose a particular philosophy or without being opposed to the people who hold that philosophy...

I will haveto let my friends know about "rapture insurance"... Sounds like the best insurance scam yet...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

About crying "anti-semite", "racist", or whatever... Sometimes I feel like we're made to feel obligated to like someone, just because they're a member of an oppressed or formerly oppressed group. I want to feel like I have the right to either respect or not respect a particular Jewish person, based on that person's actions, and not on his or her culture.

deb said...

It has taken me a while...but I finally had time to reread the discussion of Aug. 13 and 14.

Good post Richard August 13, 2006 3:43 AM. I, too believe that we have a responsibility to the Iraqis. The infrastructure is destroyed there; people have lost their loved ones; they are hungry, thirsty, hot and tired of it all; they have lived with killing being commonplace for 3 1/2 years now; they live in hopeless despair...I can easily see how many are lashing out at any enemy, for everyone seems to have become an enemy. Rebuilding the infrastructure where electricity, fresh water and food are available is the first step. Hiring local people is important, people need hope and a good job offers that hope.

I agree that the US and Israel need to become a moral compass for the region, but after all of the senseless killing it wouldn't be easy.

Christopher, Taking oil out of the equation is the first step. But I think that the major problem is the intensity of the fundamentalist religion of the area. Anytime there are too many people trying to live on too small of a piece of land there are 2 choices...birth control or killing...and the fundies there aren't using birth control.

Just an FTY: Rickets is commonplace among women belonging to fundamentalist groups in the Middle East...go figure...a place that gets some of the most sunshine on earth and some women never get even a tiny bit of daily sun on their skin which would prevent this horrible disease.

Israel: There are farms in Texas larger than the country. There are vast tracts of land on the Texas Gulf Coast...I'd be all for rebuilding the country here...let them take apart and rebuild the most important shrines here. Having Israel here and quit buying oil...wouldn't that solve everything???

christin m p in massachusetts said...

For devout Jews, they are at home. Jerusalem has as much religious significance to them as it does to the Arabs. I doubt that they will ever willingly leave. If we ever stop supporting them, I cannot see how that narrow slip of land can be defended.

Would we allow 4 million people to immigrate into the US even if they would, I doubt it.

But we already allowed 12 million people, mostly from Central and South America, to set up new lives here -- no questions asked -- that is, until the money got tight.

Do you think the young people of Israel still feel as strongly about Jerusalem being their homeland, as the older folks there do? And besides the religious significance, what advantage could they possibly see in staying there? Even the physical landscape is hideous -- not a single tree to be found in that godforsaken desert. I do think that letting Israel repatriate here if their citizens were willing, would solve a lot of problems in their present geographic location. And they'd bring with them their own corporations as well as their highly educated and high-skilled populace who would in turn start new businesses. So we wouldn't have to worry about more competition for our already dwindling jobs, or any added tax burden to fund our public schools or to cover free medical care.

I do have one major fear about the prospect, though. If we did offer Israel a chunk of land here in the U.S. and they accepted, do you think it would subject us to an even higher risk of attack from radical Islam? I mean, their hatred of Israel and the U.S. and any other western supporters of Israel and the U.S. is so deeply ingrained, that I think they'd still want us all erased from the face of the planet. Right now, Israel is right there on the front lines -- like pawns in a chess game, and Western Europe is still a relatively easy target for them as well, due to its being in closer proximity to the Arab nations than the U.S. But with Israel cradled right inside the U.S., our buffer zone would be much diminished... Do you think the temptation for Islamic radicals to then focus entirely on attacking us here at home -- thereby eradicating the U.S. and Israel in one fell swoop -- would be too great to resist?

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Israel will not now or ever relocate to the US or any where else. It will exist as a nation where it is or it will not exist as a nation.

The point about the oil is that is the only reason we have any interest at all in the region. If we don't need their oil we do not need to be there. They can be as fundamentalist as they like in that case and return to the 11th century. Who cares?

If we aren't in the Arab/Persian area messing with them then they can't have any beef with the US. The religion is a tool for politics and power. Let them run their societies how they like. They don't need our help to fail. The 21st century can't be ignored for long by a segment of the worlds population. The religious fanaticism can only be defeated by the Muslims themselves when they say enough.

Israel can defend itself with our money and help. Most Arabs have accepted Israel existence and wish the Palestinians would just shut up and cut a deal for their own nation that they could have had long ago. Israel is just another wedge in the larger issue of our meddling in the affairs of the entire region.

Cheryl said...

It really doesn't matter what we think the right solution is. Enough people in the region need to decide that they want peace.

There are a number of things we can do to help though.

Stop egging on fights.

Understand that none of them are completely good guys, and that all of them have legitimate grievances.

Provide a neutral forum for them to sort it out. Encourage the peace process any way we can.

Long term, quit buying their oil.

Iraq is a real mess. We destroyed the country, but the longer we stay the worse things get. We created a power struggle and may just have to let them finish before we can help.

Judy B. said...

Christin...sometimes a notion like yours (relocating the Jewish community to the US) seems like a simple solution... but simplistic solutions bring with them problems... I have to agree with Christopher... this would never work...
In the first place, people have "roots" that are hard to transplant... you have even alluded to that with your discussion of leaving Boston... even with your complaints about the job, the housing market, the cost of living, you are tied there with familiar ties that bind... Transplanting a whole nation (that doesn't want to be transplanted) woould be more problem than solution...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I understand that it's hard for people to transplant themselves once they've established roots. But we have millions of non-citizens here already, who came here with their parents when they were so young that this is the only country they have really ever known. Yet we have a lot of U.S. citizens who just want to go with the simplistic solution of kicking them all out -- no exceptions, no questions asked.

As for Israel, if we continue to support them with money and weaponry, then we are in effect still meddling in the affairs of the Middle East. But as Richard said, "If we ever stop supporting them, I cannot see how that narrow slip of land can be defended." And then, as has always been their lot throughout history, they will yet again become refugees. If we don't take them in here, where will they go this time?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Regarding my being tied here "with familiar ties that bind"... If my whole family and my closest friends all were transplanted to a new area, I'd have absolutely no attachment to this state. I'd certainly never miss it, and there would be no reason for me to ever want to return here. When I lived in New Hampshire, I would have forgotten this state existed, had it not been for my relatives and old friends living here. The only reason I moved back here when I did is because of my attachment to my longtime companion Jack, who took a job promotion which entailed transferring to a new account here.

In the same way, if an entire nation's people and industries were transplanted -- all together to the same place, wouldn't all their ties then be with them in their nation's new geographic location? Aren't the people whom we love and who love us back our "home"? As long as a particular geographic location isn't unlivable -- like Death Valley or Siberia, why would it matter where any of us lives as long as we have our loved ones and our livelihoods available to us?

And although I'm not thrilled about the idea of being so far away from my loved ones (I live only a little over an hour away from my Mom and my siblings right now), I just told my Mom over the phone yesterday evening that I don't think I can stomach the "I gotta make a huge salary off of everyone else's hard work" mentality here for much longer, so I'm about to venture out away from this region on my own very soon.

I feel so little loyalty to this state that nothing would please me more than to witness its undoing by its own hand. Its nickname should be changed from the Bay State to the Greed State.

Cheryl said...

There's a big difference between deciding to move and being told that you have to move. That's what the Palestinians are so upset about. Forcing the Isralis to move will just cause more problems.

Some people enjoy living in a new place, others consider history and continuity more important. There is no way to replace the feeling of living where your family has been for over a hundred years. People have to decide on their own if they should leave.

No matter how obvious a solution may seem to us, it doesn't matter if the people involved don't like it.

deb said...

Just an FYI if anyone is interested;)

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Thanks Deb for that FYI. I thought they'd mainly be looking for cashiers, but now I see they need warehouse workers as well. I'm not going to jump ship just yet, but if our supervisor keeps juggling our shifts around, the "jet lag" feeling is going to start wearing me down.

Also, when I'm ready to move away, I know I can go to that link to apply at the Costco nearest to where I'll be living. Do you think a three month reserve for living expenses would be enough of a safety net for me? I'm thinking that once my car is paid off, my only expenses will be rent, car insurance, phone, food, and other very inexpensive miscellaneous items (like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.). And I don't imagine the heating bills in the South will be very expensive.

deb said...

Christin, Heating can be a problem in the south depending on the efficiency of the equipment and the insulation. The 100 yr. old house that we are renting doesn't have insulation, except for a little between the crawl space and floor and the heater isn't efficient. I live in "polartek" for the 3 cold months. However, coming from the deep south I view cold weather as free air-conditioning and tend to enjoy it...which brings me to the "other" energy cost...air-conditioning. It is very hot in the south and getting hotter. The humidity is high and together with the heat it just wipes a person out. If you move to the Charlotte area your elec. bill for July, Aug. and Sept. will likely be higher than for an all electric house in the cold months. The three spring and fall months should be OK to have the windows open most of the time...but the humidity exists even then. The mountains are cooler, but people here are talking about it being hotter than ever.

I wasn't hinting for you to change jobs, or even to meet guys at drinking liberally...and totally not trying to get into your business...but just thought you might be interested in them. I've been a mom all of my adult life and tend toward that nurturing thing;)

Richard Yarnell said...

A couple of things missing from that budget:

Savings and health care insurance/long term care insurance.

Anonymous said...

"You will recall that Israel destroyed the first Iranian attempt to establish a nuclear program by bombing the reactor complex."

I thought that was IRAQ?

Interesting thread all...
Christopher, You have a unique and intelligent insight of the facts.
My brother was Special Forces back in the day and very well educated on different religions and the conflicts which flared from time to time between them. He believed most conflicts were started when people got hungry and lacked resources, with the rise of radical islam all that changed.
On Israel, the majority of their military infrastructure is underground and very well developed. They occupied Gaza, the Golan heights and southern lebanon mainly as a buffer from attack and rockets which could be fired on their population from the higher elevations each provided. Many in the intelligence community believe the WMD from Iraq ended up in southern lebanon via syria early in 2003. The present conflict as referred to in early posts is a cover for the Israelis to find these before they are used against their populous or in terrorist attacks.
much of The oil we have been buying from
the middle east has been used to finance a brand of islam which seeks the destruction of anything non islam. When I was 7 years old and living in southeast ASIA my first encounter with islam was a 13 year old kid who flunked the third grade 5 times. He went ballistic one day and became very violent when our teacher wanted to say the pledge of allegiance under god. besides throwing a chair at a native, catholic deaf girl half his age injuring here almost fatally. he swore the eventual destruction of all christians. He said he was not afraid to die, he would go to paradise, be surrounded by virgins and live eternally in the name of allah.
He was removed by base security and expelled from school, yet continued to harrass school administrators until his death some years later, he was killed by the deaf girls family. This led school administrators to rethink it's policy about age difference , if a student flunked two years in a row they were put into a special school. Yet myself and twenty other students of all nationalities were eternally affected by the incident, and for many that was the beginning of a unique first hand experience with radical islam. They are patient and history as a guide they will not stop until their objectives are met and all women have rickets.
What has puzzled me for the past 30 years is why our leaders have allowed the financing of radical schools, infrastructure, and states to develop cultures of anti infidels and repeated terrorist attacks on non islam civilians which grew steadily more deadly until 9/11. The people who perished on 9/11 were just like you and me at work many probably could not find the middle east on a map. These people are fanatically deadly and any reason they can find to attack innocent non islams they will take advantage of and exploit, all they need is opportunity. Bottom line is our eventual destruction and annilation from the planet is their only goal, we are non islam and that is their only reason.
My doctor is iraqi and islamic, he does not agree with fanatical islam, and has helped through medicine many more than he has hurt. He has given unique insight
on the Iraqi conflict and openly supports our involvement. He believes in the next generation because of our presence in afghanistan and IRaq and our involvment with many moderate middle east governments in the previous 5 years we will prevail when we are confronted with the real conflict which is coming. This will not only free moderate islams but all belief systems as well. he as you believes it is time to bring the middle east into the 21st century and peaceful coexistence with one another. This would have never happened without the assistance of the west, the moderates and populous simply did not have the technology nor the resources.
We must remember saddam was a master of deception...I for one believe he was up to his eyeballs in 9/11. America being just and democratic and needing proof for everything simply worked to his advantage. We can point to links, we just did not have any red handed evidence expected of us whenever we commit blood and resources. We did not find WMD yet we know he used them before, where did they come from? Where did they go?
The lineup you suggest bringing back into american governance would not work, too much has changed. I like al, yet he laughed at ollie when informed in congressional hearings in the 80s about UBL. And his own state rejected him during the election.
They would make great advisors, but at this point we need new thinking, fresh ideas, realistic analysis. Like the police force suggestion by richard. Which leads me to this...I have been involved with your postings for almost a year now. Why don't you fine folks organize and run for national office. Your solutions are common sensical and what this country needs. You listen to me so you are open to the fresh ideas from the lil people. Try it, you will be elected and feel confident you will leave a positive legacy on the world.
I do not usually get into politcs and my views can be changed so please do not let this posting rub anyone wrong, I just believe there is much to be done and you are the people to do it...
organize and gitrdone, you got my vote.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

When all the dirt and skeletons and shenanigans that is the story of my life gets set out on the front porch for public view it will be because I do it, not because I am running for political office.

It was Iraq's nuclear facility that Israel bombed. I am sure that was a typo of sorts on Richard's part.

Two things that you said JG: "for the past 30 years is why our leaders have allowed the financing of radical schools, infrastructure, and states to develop cultures of anti infidels" and "it is time to bring the middle east into the 21st century and peaceful coexistence with one another. This would have never happened without the assistance of the west, the moderates and populous simply did not have the technology nor the resources."

This was the bargain we struck with the likes of the Saudi royal family and the Shah of Iran. The US will support your rule and turn a blind eye to the greed and corruption that keeps all the oil income in the hands of the few as long as you give us access to the oil.

These capitalist arab rulers made a deal with the Mullahs of Islam and said we will run civil government and you can be in charge of the social and moral aspects of society if you don't mess with our greed. We will even finance your religious schools.

The money in the billions of dollars was and still is there for these societies to feed and educate their citizens and bring them into the 21st century. The US supported greedy regimes that were only interested in their own family or clan being rich.

Radical Islam filled the vacumn of hope and seeing a better future for the people in the region.

I do not think we can make these societies change by force or military occupation. The people themselves have to change and they may have to suffer under radical Islam first before they change.

We are better off giving diplomatic, humanitarian and technological aid only and having a very secure defense from intrusion into the west and other peaceful countries.

This is Islams fight with itself and the greedy rulers in charge and we need to step back and let them do it and keep any damage to us to a minimum.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I do agree that military force and occupation cannot make the islamic radicals change. But I can't stand the thought of the good people there being left entirely defenseless.

The more news footage I see and hear about Iraq, the more I think that Richard's idea of putting together an international coalition of law enforcement is the solution. More and more, the attackers remind me of members of street gangs -- perhaps they should be dealt with as such.

And what is that process which is used to reverse brainwashing? I'm wondering if it could work on someone who has been hypnotized since birth, as was probably the case with that 13 year old boy in John's classroom.

Cheryl said...

It sounds to me like the kid in John's class had a learning disorder and/or mental problem in addition to being raised in a fundamentalist household. Without treatment, he likely would have been violent no matter what kind of family he had.

On Iraq, there is a good summary of the conditions there at http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/40629/
"There is still some hope for the Iraqis to recover their equilibrium. All the centripetal forces in Iraq derive from the American occupation, and might still be sufficiently reduced by an American departure followed by a viable reconstruction program embraced by the key elements inside of Iraq. But if the occupation continues, there will certainly come a point -- perhaps already passed -- when the collapse of government legitimacy, the destruction wrought by the war, and the horror of terrorist violence become self-sustaining. If that point is reached, all parties will enter a new territory with incalculable consequences. "

Richard Yarnell said...

I tried to post a mea culpa last night: June 1981, Israel took out a nuclear facility in Ira(q). But, hey, three out of four is a passing grade. Right?

Richard Yarnell said...

It's possible that, as a tool for moving to a broader form of government, some form of democracy, force is obsolete.

It's pretty hard for any regime to isolate its people completely. In fact, it appears that one of the few is North Korea.

Take China, as an example. They can't seem to keep the lid on the internet. And they won't be able to, either. As satellite delivery of internet services becomes widely available, people will be able to know for themselves what's happening in the rest of the world.

Patience is the word. We should turn our attention to the folks who can't help themselves - places where open genocide has been going on for years.

Anonymous said...

I think your analysis is spot on...
The key as richard pointed out is to stop the genocide wherever it rears it's ugly head.
This type of war will be won by the side which finds a way to reduce casualties. A massive investment in non lethal weapons and armor technology for police would be a method to achieve that. Yet we are still investing trillions in lethal destructive weapons, something oppressed people are already accustomed to...

deb said...

Terrific discussion!!!

JG, Your post August 21, 2006 6:24 PM:

If Hezbollah had aquired the "missing" WMD from Iraq they would have already used them on Israel.

I have scoured transcripts, books and articles written about the WMD evidence or better yet, lack there of, since before the war. The WMD that Iraq had (we know we gave it to them during the Iran/Iraq war) was either destroyed by the UN Inspectors or lost due to the shelf life of their chemical and biological nature. Iraq didn't and doesn't have WMD. Hussein had zero to do with 9/11. Hussein and Osama were never in cahoots...not even close.

Osama and his followers attacked the US. I rarely believe that violence is the right answer, but after 9/11 sent Bush a letter in support of going into Afghanistan to end the Taliban and end the terrorist training of Al Quaeda. I am also in favor of doing what we can, even if it is a military operation to stop the genocide in Darfur. The invasion of Iraq was about oil and about Hussien's plan to sell oil in Euro's...it had nothing to do with 9/11.

I have read articles from many former CIA personel. These people have devoted their lives to knowing what people like Hussein and Osama are doing. They would have never spoken out except they know that Bush and company are and have lied our way into war and the neocons are treading on such dangerous ground as to possibly cause a third world war.

It is obvious that their plans haven't worked...however, I don't know that as I have no idea what their "plan" is. I do know that they have filled their pockets at the expense of people's lives and borrowed that money from you and me and our children and grandchildren.

PS, The media is usually lying or subtly persuading people to buy into the neocon agenda.

As for your cousin tracking WMD, I read several articles where "secret" information was spread throughout the intelligence community based on lies...even Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies" discusses the amount and magnitude of propaganda spread by this administration throughout the military.

Terrorists: I, too, have a story. I taught kindergarten and had tables instead of desks. On the first day of school a 5 year old boy sat at his place, a little girl who happened to be black came and sat at her place next to him. He jumped up and said that he wasn't sitting next to "no nigger" and started mouthing off that all niggers should be shot and that I should call his Dad and get him out of that school. He was FIVE. Is he still a bigot as a young man? Does he continue to want to kill black people? If his lot in life changes to where he is living in poverty how much cajoling would it take to fire him up into believing that black people have caused his misery?

Let's take this a step further...I was a kid in Alabama during the civil rights era. What if another nation had taken it upon themselves to destroy Alabama to get rid of the terroristic KKK? I might not be here if that were the case, and if I had survived the war, my life would have certainly been different. Is war the best way to remove/stop terrorist groups?

I believe that the majority of people in the Middle East are not violent and the way to deal with those that are is to focus our attention on spying on suspicious individuals and groups.

Don't be fooled into thinking that our CIA is inept. They do know what is going on in the world.

If I see a nation amass an army (Germany, Japan circa 1944) that's stated goal is to destroy the USA then I will support us doing what needs done to protect ourselves...but that never happened and we are involved in what is now a civil war in Iraq that we caused.

deb said...

Christopher, your post explains the situation better than most I have read. Would you mind if I save a copy and use it at other sites when appropriate?

deb said...

I would run for office except I am absolutely horrible as a public speaker. So I will continue to work to get those people elected who I believe will serve this country well. I do think that there are many on this blog who would be excellent lawmakers!

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Yes Debbie you may use whatever you like of mine from here.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

"We are better off giving diplomatic, humanitarian and technological aid only and having a very secure defense from intrusion into the west and other peaceful countries."

This makes me wonder... Just how secure is our defense from intrusion now, after all the depletion and wear and tear from the war in Iraq?

Probably the only advantage it has given our armed forces is a first-hand sense of the tactics used by this new brand of enemy.

Judy B. said...

Debbie, i wouldnt worry about your public speaking abilities...
You have a grasp of political reality, an ability to "argue" your point and a fiesty attitude to go along with it... These are traits that make for good office seekers... Go For It...

Anonymous said...

"If Hezbollah had aquired the "missing" WMD from Iraq they would have already used them on Israel."
But Deb,
If they had used them on Israel, would that not sway public opinion against the perpatrators and would Israel then have a blank check to do what is necessary to eliminate those which used them and those which support them?

Your views are very informed and passionate, I have a tremendous amount of respect for your ability to translate your knowledge and beliefs in what is right vs. wrong.

Thanx Judy,
Yes Deb, go for it!
Public speaking is easy when you believe in what you are saying, be yourself and tell the truth. I used to sit at the back of the room, praying not to be called
now I get called to the front every convention...

Thank you for letting me weigh in, I am going back to the yellow thread...it's safer over there:-)

Cheryl said...

Deb, I think you'd be great too.

deb said...

Thanks for all of the compliments:)

You don't have to leave the political thread JG to be "safer"...I promise that I won't reach out and bite;)

The political atmosphere has enabled me to see new things. I easily can tell when some people are lying, I used to think that all adults could see this, but now I know that many if not most can't. I think it's from teaching kindergarten for years. Humans experiment with lying around the age of 4 or 5. If you ask a 3 year old if he hit first, he'll say "Yes, but he had the truck and I wanted it." If you ask the same question of a 5 year old you can see this averted glance and a pause and then a "eureka (yeah, that's the ticket)" look before they answer with "no, he hit me first".

Actors, who are good, are able to become someone else so convincingly that you can't tell they are lying. A really bad actor is someone who just can't so it. I once saw Vanna White in a sitcom and it was just so obvious that she didn't believe anything that she was saying...really BAD acting. Actors who are fabulous are the ones who are so believable as the character that they can even convince us that the character is lying from time to time. Anyway, lying without certain facial and eye movement clues really is an art. Bush completely lacks that skill, as do many of the "talking heads" who are promoting the current political agenda.

I don't think that I am completely unique at seeing when someone is lying...but perhaps it is a skill that must be studied. A person who is trying hard to answer honestly and to the best of his knowledge might furrow their brows and "study" a point in space in front of them, a liar has that "creative" off side look.

Anyway, this is the main reason I have all but stopped watching news on TV...I am fed up with the liars. And you might be surprised who all is involved. I've seen people like Larry King and Charlie Rose trip over a "biased" question. I could tell that they "knew" that what they were asking was intentional propaganda type bias. But, the people who didn't spread the message have lost their jobs and the ones that are still there know that their jobs are dependent upon their not seeing that the emperor has no clothes.

And occasionally they come clean:

Transcript from Fox news aug.21

BUSH: The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

QUESTION: What did Iraq have to do with it?

BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?

QUESTION: The attack on the World Trade Center.

BUSH: Nothing. Except it’s part of — and nobody has suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a — Iraq — the lesson of September 11th is take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody’s ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

He may have accidentally come clean when he said "Nothing", but he back peddles right away.

nobody has suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack.

were ordered by Iraq.

That still leaves a great deal of room for people to feel Iraq was involved in some manner even if Saddam didn't order the attack.

It is just more Weaselness.

Judy B. said...

Debbie, you might be interested in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).

Body language tells us much but so does the position of the eyes...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Regarding the position of the eyes, I'm not sure about what to make of all the different positions of the eyes, but I disagree on the common thinking that "if someone is looking you straight in the eye, then he must be telling the truth..." I've more often experienced the opposite happening -- where someone who looks me straight in the eye and confirms or denies something, and then it turns out that they were lying -- like the "good actors" that Deb was talking about. And in those cases, the lies turned out not to be "little white lies" or simply to maintain personal privacy. They turned out to be ones that enabled them to get away with committing immoral hurtful acts. Con artists NEVER avert their eyes. If someone stares straight into my eyes the entire time they are trying to "sell me" on something, I automatically do not trust them -- I get the distinct feeling I'm being conned. I feel most comfortable if the person at least occasionally averts the eyes -- it just seems more natural.

On the other hand, I've known very honest, decent people who barely ever look straight at someone when they are conversing, simply because they are very shy or self-conscious. Also, there are cultures that consider it impudent or disrespectful to look someone straight in the eye the entire time you are speaking to or listening to each other.

deb said...

Body language is what is missing on a blog. I suppose those ingenious people who came up with the little signs for emotion figured that one out;-o

Then again there are writers that put that emotion into their words (maybe Hawaii inspires it).

JG, How are you doing?

deb said...

Speaking of emotional words...the Lowdown has become a favorite publication of mine...seriousness with a touch of humor. Jim Hightower, Molly Ivans, Ann Richards...maybe Texas inspires it;-o

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb, I just read the article from the Hightower Lowdown, and I can't get over the fact that Bush actually had the brass to say this:

"I'm the commander -- see, I don't need to explain -- I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."
George W., August, 2002.

I had never heard in any TV news broadcasts, and I had never before read in any publications, that statement made by him. Did I just miss that news or was it ignored by the media?

deb said...

Not completely ignored...but it REALLY is what I have been harping about for...well, for forever.

I started seeing the media discrepancy of how our media treated blue vs. red politicians with Carter. Dems are raked over the coals and Repubs are teflon...and it holds true from city gov'ts to the Whitehouse.

Did you know that the whole time Newt was condemning Clinton for his immoral behavior with Monica that Newt was having a legnthy affair with an intern? It even gets better...Newt brought divorce papers to the hospital after his 3rd wife had cancer surgery because in he said she had been avoiding signing the divorce papers...a media outlet couldn't invent juicier stuff than that, and tell me it wouldn't sell tons of papers and get people to tune in on TV...but it got very little attention.

There are several organizations that point out the inconsistancy of how dems and reps are treated in the media. Fairness and Accuracy in Media; Fair are 2 of the most famous.

A Course of 'Confident Action' is an article which gives the quote and references to when it was stated. You will notice that the article downplays the statement in the next paragraph...covering up for Repubs in power is something the media regularly does.

Cheryl said...

Bush's last press conference was edited by CBS & NBC to leave out the "sometimes I'm happy" comment about Iraq.

There's a letter writing campaign to ask them why.


This reminds me of a study I heard of years ago. News reports on Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy were compared to list the adjectives used to describe each of them. The choice of adjectives makes a lot of difference in perception. Decisive vs stuborn, etc.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I have been searching high and low again, because it keeps being relevant for a quote by Edward R Murrow. In essense he says that who ever owns the media controls the dialogue and thus the minds of the nation.

Do any of you know what statement of Murrow's I am talking about and where to find it?

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Hmmm some of my comments seem to be getting kicked to the curb today. I have noticed some weirdness on other Blogger comment pages.

Any way, Edward R Murrow made a statement about the people who own the media control the dialoque and the danger that posed to the nation. I have searched high and low for this quote.

Do any of you recognize this and where to find it?

Richard Yarnell said...

Currently, Jim Morrison gets credit for the quote. However, it has appeared in various forms, from Locke to Ginsberg to CNN's talking heads.

Pithy as always, and in an attempt to not leave Murrow out:

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. " Edward R. Murrow

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Do you mean you're being censored by another Deletriss again?

I just got a comment rejected by a forum moderator recently, because I was personally attacking a troll. He must have been bored or something, because he was goading everyone in every forum at the site, so naturally everyone was jumping all over him. I'm sure a lot of the comments against him were censored. Anyway, my choice of words to describe him were a bit inflammatory, but I figured it would still pass, since there was nothing libelous or vulgar in it.

They sent me an email telling me that I was welcome to rewrite my comment. So I waited a day to cool off, did some research so I could back up my statements, and rewrote the comment. The troll ended up admitting that I was right about his being an "abrasive jerk", and apologized to me saying I probably shouldn't have been one of the recipients of his ire. His excuse was that I happened to walk into the forum when he was already on the defensive.

I never want to go back to that site again. I would end up with stomach ulcers if I did.

Cheryl said...

Two quotes that I found:

"He who controls the medium controls the message. He who controls the message controls the masses." Joseph Goebbels

"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary to keep the waters pure." Thomas Jefferson

deb said...

Are y'all aware of Wikiquote?

Edward R. Murrow page.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

One more message to Christopher: I got quite a kick out of your second comment (the one to Anonymous Circle Jerker) at the August 23rd post The Incomprehensible War at The Anonymous Liberal.

dan said...

Christin, you got me curious, so I checked out The Incomprehensible Warand the comments. The AL post was well worth reading as were Christopher's comments on the post and to the jerk.

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