Saturday, August 11, 2007

SYMPHONY OF HOPE

I heard Nancy Pelosi this morning. 'She said that the whole point of the military surge, is to bring forth a peaceful political process. But the Iraqi government seems to be disbanding, desite reports that the military part of the surge is having some success. We can't just stay indefinitely using only military means, since the whole point of the surge was to bring the Democratic government to the table. Are we supposed to stay there forever, providing a virtual police state? The cost to our troops and to our nation is too great.



The following two articles will blow you away. I am a symphony lover and grew up in a family of musicians. I wanted to see if Iraq had a symphony and if there were any signs of hope in Iraq at all. So I Googled "Symphony in Iraq: and here's what I found from this amazing journalist embedded in Iraq. God Bless Terry McCarthy. He also wrote a bizarre and astounding article below called "Prints of War" You will not believe it. In addition, he did an interview last week with Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki, and was shocked at how "dead" Maliki's spirit seems to be.

SYMPHONY OF HOPE by Terry McCarthy of ABC News

July 26, 2007 6:23 PM

We look hard for signs of hope in Iraq. And so we were pleasantly surprised when we went to a music festival in Erbil -- about 300 Iraqi musicians and dancers had been flown in to the northern city, and were given the run of an enormous performing arts center, courtesy of a grant from the US government. On hand were nine American music and dance teachers, who were giving classes on such subjects as Baroque keyboard technique, hip hop dancing and contemporary jazz. It was fun to see the Iraqi musicians soaking it all in. For 10 days, in the relative safety of Kurdistan, they got to act like most musicians in the rest of the world who don’t have car bombs and gunshots constantly disturbing their sense of harmony.

Michael, the hip-hop teacher, was from Texas and very extroverted -- the young Kurds who wanted to learn hip-hop quickly lost all their shyness and inhibitions in the face of his antics. His first task -- to update their musical knowledge. They had been downloading most of their music on their cell phones, which Michael thought was cool -- until he heard it. “There is a definite time lag,” he said. “I had an argument about it yesterday. They still feel Michael Jackson is the King of Pop.” Once that issue was settled, he began teaching them a robocop dance routine. They loved it.

Other inhibitions melted away. Iraq is in the midst of a bitter sectarian conflict, and today people are usually very slow to socialize outside their own group -- it is a simple matter of safety. At the festival there were Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Kurds and Arabs, flown or driven in from all over the country. On the first day the organizers noted that people pretty much stuck to their own cliques when they sat down for lunch or gathered in the hallways. But after about 24 hours thrown together in class rooms and the concert hall, religious and ethnic differences began to be pushed aside, as the musicians and dancers found common interest in their craft.

By the end of the festival they had put together what they called a “Unity Orchestra”, made up of musicians from various cities around Iraq, who were to give a performance on the final evening to an invited audience. A conductor from Baghdad, Mohammed Amin, said the whole point was “to show that we are still here, that there is still hope for Iraq”.

The music festival in Erbil reinforced my sense that, if they are given a modicum of security, Iraqis can lay aside their differences fairly quickly. In the context of today’s violence, provoked by some very vicious extremists, that is a pretty massive “if”. But as the conductor says, the moderate, non-extremist, non-sectarian majority of Iraqis is still here. And so, there is still hope.

THE PRINTS OF WAR

July 31, 2007 2:30 PM

Some time ago a good friend, Chris Morris, a photographer for TIME magazine, told me how he had been traveling through Somalia during the bad days there and had come across a makeshift medical station in an abandoned house north of the capital Mogadishu. There was one doctor, an English-speaking Somali surgeon, who was dealing with a large number of wounded civilians and soldiers who had been brought there from the fighting further south. His equipment was rudimentary – a small number of scalpels and forceps, not many drugs, a wooden table on which he was operating.

Chris, with a photographer’s eye, noticed that the whitewashed walls of the room where the operations were carried out had been decorated with red palm prints. He shot a few frames, and asked about the significance of the designs. The doctor was blunt. There was no water in the building, and he had no latex gloves, so the only way to get the blood off his hands after each operation was to slap them against the wall, before moving on to the next patient.

That image stayed with me, and it popped back into my mind today during a conversation I had with an Iraqi surgeon who has become a good friend to the ABC bureau here, Dr Jamal Taha. Dr Jamal works in the ER of Yarmuk Hospital, one of the busiest in Baghdad, and over the last four years he has seen an unimaginable array of human suffering – gunshot victims, carbomb survivors, victims of torture – and many dead bodies. We talk to him frequently, and he has become a bellwether for us on the level of violence on the streets. He sees the effects first.

I asked him today about supplies of drugs and medical equipment for his hospital – there has been some news recently about how corrupt officials in the ministry of health here have been diverting drugs from hospitals onto the black market to make profit for themselves. Dr Jamal said yes, there was a shortage of drugs, but that wasn’t the worst of his problems. “Many times,” he said, “we have to delay our operations because there is no tap water to wash our hands.”

History repeats itself, often for the worse. The movie “Blackhawk Down” about the war in Somalia starts with a quote from the Greek philosopher, Plato: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Iraqis understand that with a tragic sense of the inevitable.

And they desperately need running water in Yarmuk hospital.

ABC News' Terry McCarthy has been reporting on war, peace, and everything in between from all around the world for 20 years. He writes about daily life in the areas he is reporting from.ABC News

http://blogs.abcnews.com/bizarrebazaar/2007/07/symphony-of-hop.html

"No water, no eat, no everything," Symphony conductor al-Ghazali says. "And we think it's the end of life on the Earth. But we say, 'Hamdallah, we can do the new life.'"

142 comments:

  1. Good post and isn't the quote "only the dead see the end of war" fitting for this moment of existence we are in!

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  2. Isn't it amazing how they can still enjoy music with their lives a living hell!

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  3. That story about the Iraq symphony reminded me of the last episode of MASH, when Winchester tries to find one ray of beauty in the debacle that was Korea, only to literally have it blow up in his face.

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  4. Yes, amazing larry and Carl.

    There will always be rays of hope because life is for the living.

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  5. It just stupifies me that anyone can possibly think the failure Bush guaranteed from day one when he diverted from the so called war on terror to attack Iraq to get our military back into the middle east.
    9/11 gave him the excuse to get in there and the patriot act the abusive power. Win or lose he will not leave period. The surge they say is working but I don't know.
    The total infrastructure is failing and without that you lost. Iraqi's have not and will not take security responsibility for 1 of the more than 2,000 projects going on because they do not have what it takes.
    The Government if that is what you want to call it will never come together. Each sect wants things their way and that will not be turned around by any outside force.
    This is all still just starting and it wil get much worse in Iraq before it encompasses the entire middle and no one will turn it around period then it will really get going.
    The games must stop we are rapidly running out of time. All this talking is worthless. We need some real action from somebody of consequence.

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  6. I can't figure out what's going on with blogger. It is not publishing properly. Now this post is back.

    Thanks for your patience.

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  7. I kept trying to comment on the previous thread but it wouldn't take.

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  8. THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;
    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,
    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.
    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

    Robert Frost

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  9. Bush FINALLY TELLS THE TRUTH!

    Mr. Bush, for his part, was careful not to portray himself as too much of a Francophile.

    "No I can't," the president said, asked by a journalist if he could say something in French. "I can barely speak English."

    This has got to be a first!

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  10. Larry, that has always been my favorite poem. It brings tears to my eyes.

    I just read your Paraguay piece and researched it. I can't believe this is happening. I can't believe Bush is allowed to purchase that much land in a foreign country next to a large military base that he created. Is this possibly true? this does not feel right, there is so much wrong with these people.

    You know when you are in the presence of a liar and you feel so betrayed, so frustrated... can you believe w have to suspect our own president, the leader of the most democratic nation on earth -- of never telling the truth, of never leveling with us, of always hiding wicked evil deeds.

    How on earth can Bush or Cheney or Rove sleep at night? Demons

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  11. Lydia I think the Paraguay land is probably the tip of the iceberg of what else he has planned for the future.

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  12. Found this wonderful way to pray for our government from a woman in Rhode Island:

    "For such a long time I felt mostly angry with our government, and dismay about the governments in countries around the world that treat the populace oppressively, often with tragic results. But lately I've been comforted by the very simple fact that there is just one government, and that is God's (good) government of the entire universe. All creation belongs to Him, and He governs it perfectly, wisely, and lovingly. From that perspective it's easier for me to see that God governs our President and those under him (there really is no choice!) and that He governs all leaders throughout the world. Thus the Christ fills every seat in office, from Cub Scout leaders to monarchs, presidents, kings, and queens. Oftentimes it doesn't appear that way. And lately there seems to have been a lot of evil in governments coming to the surface. But gratefully evil comes to light to be destroyed, making room for the intelligent, wise government that has existed all along. God has never been and never will be dethroned!"

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  13. I posted about the Paraguay thing 6-9 months ago.........I said THEN the same as I say NOW that Bush is doing as the Nazi's did and building a safehaven as a contingency plan in case things go wrong FOR HIM.............i posted how he is doing this with OUR tax dollars and not a peep out of ANYONE.

    this guy and hiscronnies has been following the Nazi's game plan from day one and NO ONE questions or chasllenges ANYTHING he does.

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  14. Good thought and hopefully the rotten chaff will be completely cleared from the wheatfield known as America, before they destroy what's left.

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  15. Lydia, that is a nice way of looking at it, but under that interpretation Bush is under god kinda like Satan is.

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  16. Think about the significance of having a sanctuary in Paraguay, instead of somewhere else.

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  17. Mike look at what she said. God is over all the leaders, but is bringing their evil to light to rid the world of their influence.

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  18. The significane is thats where all their mentors the Nazi's fled to when justice came a callin............better justice comes late than not at all.

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  19. Larry said...
    Mike look at what she said. God is over all the leaders, but is bringing their evil to light to rid the world of their influence."

    Lets hope so!

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  20. To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order, to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.

    Confucius

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  21. The blood is just going to start flowing like a river soon and our troops will be caught in the middle.

    Der Fuhrer Bush has no soul and the deaths of those he sent to die will never bother him.

    And I've also heard about his land purchase in Paraguay. No extradition treaty exists so he probably feels safe there.

    What he don't understand is that the Third Reich's Nazi's also felt safe, however the Nazi Hunters still found them and brought them to justice.

    Just as Fuhrer Bush and all his Nazi's will be brought to justice.

    God Bless.

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  22. Good point Anon-Paranoid, I didn't take into consideration the Nazi hunters who sought them day and night.

    I also agree about the pending bloodbath.

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  23. The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved.

    Confucius

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  24. Wow, excellent points Mike and Anon

    I agree he is following Hitler in more ways than one.

    Regarding "bringing evil to light to get rid of it -- this is actually so true.

    "In the presence of true love, everything that is unlike love comes to the surface to be healed." Kind of like a zit or volcano -- until we see the evil face to face, we cannot confront it. So, no matter how bad things look, good is in charge and healing is taking place.

    It is no longer hidden.

    I have great faith we will defeat the enemy, this lie that they represent. Fear is the lie of original sin.

    But fear is simply "false evidence appearing real."

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  25. If you didn't read Anon-Paranoid's excellent post you can read it here:

    America Weeps

    It is an award winning post!

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  26. I like they way you phrased that which is really more explanatory that the earlier prayer.

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  27. Tsze-Kung asked, saying, 'Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" The Master said, "Is not Reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."

    Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)

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  28. Fantastic post, Anon!!

    Hey, I am going to start a section of this blog called "Therapy for Bush-haters" or "Don't Panic"

    We have got to get a hold of ourselves and stop spiraling down into fear, panic and misery.

    I know uncovering more and more bad news and suspecting the Bush criminals of so many crimes is almost like a full time job or an addiction -- and I know we are doing a service for mankind. But are we really helping or healing the planet to just complain?

    We need to be pro-active.

    It's kind of like an addiction, knowing we're not alone and not crazy -- that Bush may really be mentally ill or evil (certain mental illnesses are a form of evil, as in M. Scott Peck says in "People of the Lie.")

    I will post a hopeful thought in a moment.

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  29. Don't Panic

    Step one: Gratitude

    1. Aren't you glad you live here and not in Iraq at the moment? We must look arouind and be grateful.

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  30. Bush certainly looked mentally ill the other day when he spoke, did you see him he looked completely drugged up.

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  31. Regarding "bringing evil to light to get rid of it -- this is actually so true.

    "In the presence of true love, everything that is unlike love comes to the surface to be healed." Kind of like a zit or volcano -- until we see the evil face to face, we cannot confront it. So, no matter how bad things look, good is in charge and healing is taking place.

    It is no longer hidden.

    I have great faith we will defeat the enemy, this lie that they represent. Fear is the lie of original sin.

    But fear is simply "false evidence appearing real."


    I couldnt agree more at most of my jobs i;m always the one who brings the festering problems to a head so they actually get solved.......you might call me a problem solver.

    And we need a problem solver to get all the festeringh ppoisonm we have running this country out into the open so we can clean it up.

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  32. "Many people are wanting to fan your flames of discomfort, because they
    believe that "you're either with us or against us; if you don't stand in
    the same disgust and horror that we are all standing, then you are not
    with us." It's hard for people to understand that you can not agree with
    them -- and not be against them. That you could be for something without
    being against something else."

    Abraham-Hicks

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  33. Those who constantly look for conflict, will never find peace!

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  34. As for the fear........your right it isnt good or productive to dwell on negativity and evil................for me i thik its more frustration than fear although if the things i see happening come to fruition there will be plenty to fear,

    Lydia like you said we need to talk about this and get it out into the open what is actually going on as i truly believe most of the nation is in the dark.

    The Reich wing will paint us as fringe wacco's and conspiracy theorists but thats their tactic for ANYONE who doesnt agree with them..........according to them the 80% or 240 million Americans who are against the war are fringe rabid left wingers.

    The Reich Wing has been framing the issues and trying to intimidate and dictate what we can talk about for WAY to long with their Hatefull liberals or rabid fringe left winger or conspiracy theorist BS and I dont fall for that crap they start pulling that inane psychololocical crap to try to silence me I'll keep saying what i was saying 3 times as long.

    The Left has to learn to stand strong and stop dancing to THEIR tune if they ever want to win some batles or better yet win the big one.

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  35. "Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false. To know the truth is more difficult than most men suppose, and to act with ruthless determination in the belief that truth is the monopoly of their party is to invite disaster."

    Bertrand Russell

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  36. Larry said...
    Those who constantly look for conflict, will never find peace!'

    plus those who contantly look for conflict will get their teeth knocked down their throat eventually...............there is a time for being nice, but i'm with Doug Basham on this one that time is over when our country and our freedom is at stake............if the Reich Wing sucker punchs us you hit them back 3 times as hard till they dont ever even dare consider cheap shoting you ever again.

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  37. The right wing will always "sucker punch" you because that is the only tactic short of reason they know.

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  38. "But courage in fighting is by no means the only form, nor perhaps even the most important. There is courage in facing poverty, courage in facing derision, courage in facing the hostility of one's own herd. In these, the bravest soldiers are often lamentably deficient. And above all there is the courage to think calmly and rationally in the face of danger, and to control the impulse of panic fear or panic rage."

    Bertrand Russell

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  39. yes Iran too

    Did you know that Iraq won the Asian soccer cup?! It is a BIG deal!

    You know, people who are used to the "Western Menace" (sorry guys, the menace of your governments and policy makers, I mean) become resilient and learn what is important in life, and that is no longer the "material holding" or the length of life, but it's quality, as it may end any moment.

    I was listening to CNN ... (a three pundit panel, with that ugly older woman with glasses and a wish to bomb Iran NOW and two other mediocre analysts) if I were American and that was fed to me as political analysis, I would melt in shame ...

    Forgive me Larry, i'm grupmy today

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  40. No problem Naj I like the term you used Western Menace and I would like to borrow that line myself.

    Feel free to be grumpy here anytime.

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  41. Lydia check out Naj's blog to see things about Iran that we never hear about in the media.

    Neoresistance

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  42. Naj:

    Good article. I'm surprised that the music still plays in spite of the government ban.

    But like the ending said, the music will always go on.

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  43. Oh thank you for the referral!

    You have no idea how it hurts me to think the world will blindly just bomb the hell out of this UNESCO treasure. Iran needs to be protected, for the sake of human civilization, and right now the Iranian regime is not what is endangering Iran, Bushco is!

    God (if exists) help us ...

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  44. Bush is a threat to mankind and I wonder if he will ever be stopped.

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  45. you see, the "government Ban" on music is a myth! The amount of pop music heard in public arenas is reduced in Iran, but there is no ban on music ...

    You see, at the beginning of the revolution, there was this zealous attempt to "stop" country's rapid westernization. This was by no means to indicate opposition to Western culture. In fact, the most vocal advocates of anti-westernizations were the intellectuals educated in the west. The idea was that Pahlavi Regime was an uncultured dynasty (with the exception of the queen, Empress Farah, who was an architect; this was true for the rest of monarchs!) and as such, they feared that the Persian cultural heritage was endangered by the massive westernization plans put in practice by Pahlavis. The Revolution in Iran, was not only an Islamic revolution; it was a nationalist revolution. The dress code, the restrictions on music and etc are all residues of that cultural revolution.

    You would see similar cultural restrictions in the late 70s in Europe that was trying to preserve its culture from American hegemony.

    sorry, unrelated ramblings :)

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  46. Naj:

    They are good ramblings, and I wasn't aware the ban on music was a myth.

    I have been reading your blog about the various things women do like drive a cab.

    Good history you have shared!

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  47. Thanks Naj, those are different from much of the music here but they mix well and fit in nicely.

    Lydia will like these, as she is into different music also.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  48. Naj, I just looked at all the GORGEOUS pictures of Iran you posted on your blog in the slide show too. Thank you for this.

    The ski chalet looks just like one in Aspen, Colorado.
    All of us need to spread these photos around to put a human face and landscape on Iran.

    I just left you a comment on your blog. What a beautiful blog you have. You don't live in Iran I take it. Where do you live?

    Thank you.

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  49. I just listened to Benyamin and I love the song called "Ashegh Shodam" with its haunting viola-violin solos.

    I love the melody, the minor-keys resemble Celitic music, but more exotic of course.

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  50. Hey Larry, you and I are on the same wavelength regarding how to pray.

    Mike, it's good that we are all speaking out, but I think we need to spend equal if not more energy every single day, working FOR peace rather than just AGAINST the Bush crimes. Like Wayne Dyer says, whatever you give your attention to, becomes bigger in your life. So we are actually going to change things faster by working for solutions, actively spreading ideas for good, praying by holding our highest ideas in our minds' eye (the way the most elite athletes and transformational leaders do: they discipine their thoughts on the positive outcome of their goals, anda what they CAN do, not on what is failing or on what they can't do.

    Every single hero has to overcome enormous odds and challenges, and evil is always defeated -- so let's get busy seeing the good in our unity. This is an amazing time in history for us to join forces for PEACE, ENVIRONMENTAL change, spiritual growth, love of our "enemy" and true brotherhood.

    Even the Peace Corps, mission work, Doctors with out Borders, making art and music, connecting with the world by writing and traveling. Nothing can stop love. There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer.

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  51. There is a rather famous line from a well known speaker that fits in with your latest comment Lydia.

    "What gets your attention, will eventually get you"

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  52. If you read the articles Naj shared about the symphony in Iran, they continue to play their music under less than stellar conditions.

    The last line in the second article is " The music will always go on" is telling about the Iranian people and their determination for a normal life.

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  53. The "safety" of Kurdistan is coming to a rapid close.

    Check out both the movements of the Turkish Army and the coming conflagration over Kirkuk.

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  54. Love this article Naj posted.

    Mike take special note of this sentence: "In fact, he took the job leading the 80-member ensemble in the Iranian capital "because it's impossible."

    We must take on the impossible as citizens of the world; we have a chance now to defeat fascism in its infancy in America, and I know we will defeat the Bush regime.

    Iran Symphony Conductor Faces Challenges
    By DAVID McHUGH
    The Associated Press

    OSNABRUECK, Germany -- Conducting the Tehran Symphony Orchestra requires some adjustments. Money is scarce. The female musicians wear headscarves. An old favorite such as Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 could mean criticism from conservative quarters.

    Nader Mashayekhi, the orchestra's new leader, takes it all in stride. In fact, he took the job leading the 80-member ensemble in the Iranian capital "because it's impossible."

    The orchestra played a concert of traditional pieces such as Tchaikovsky's Overture "Romeo and Juliet" and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, with American rock musician Zappa's brief "Dog Breath Variations" slipped in between.

    The orchestra also played Iranian music.

    "It's a good life when you are trying to get things started that are impossible," he said. "Such as the Tehran Symphony Orchestra playing Frank Zappa."

    But that is exactly what he did Sunday, leading the orchestra in Tchaikovsky's Overture to "Romeo and Juliet" and Beethoven's Seventh Symphony _ with American rock musician Zappa's brief "Dog Breath Variations" slipped in between.

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  55. thanks for your nice comment Lydia.

    I cannot agree more with you about working FOR peace rather than AGAINST X-Y-Z!

    I'm with you on that!

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  56. Love this line, from Naj blog:

    "I strongly believe that the path to peace crosses through the battle with self."

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  57. Here is a quote from Naj's blog:

    I never have feared death
    even though its hand
    is heavier than vile
    My fear all
    is to die in a place
    where
    the wage of the undertaker
    is higher
    than the price of
    a man's freedom


    Excerpt from Ahmad Shamlou

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  58. Touche indeed Clif!

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  59. Fatigue cripples US army in Iraq


    Exhaustion and combat stress are besieging US troops in Iraq as they battle with a new type of warfare. Some even rely on Red Bull to get through the day. As desertions and absences increase, the military is struggling to cope with the crisis

    Lieutenant Clay Hanna looks sick and white. Like his colleagues he does not seem to sleep. Hanna says he catches up by napping on a cot between operations in the command centre, amid the noise of radio. He is up at 6am and tries to go to sleep by 2am or 3am. But there are operations to go on, planning to be done and after-action reports that need to be written. And war interposes its own deadly agenda that requires his attention and wakes him up.

    Rest of story here

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  60. Lydia said "Every single hero has to overcome enormous odds and challenges, and evil is always defeated -- so let's get busy seeing the good in our unity. This is an amazing time in history for us to join forces for PEACE, ENVIRONMENTAL change, spiritual growth, love of our "enemy" and true brotherhood."

    Lydia, your absolutely right, evil is always defeated eventually, it always turns on itself and defeats itself.

    I think we are busy seeing the good in our unity...........we have joined forces, we have many many times discussed peace, environmental change, spiritual growth, brotherhood and we have all worked towards those goals.

    We have many times talked about solutions and how to make the world a better place.........I think you are seeing a little snippet of our frustration and anger and possibly mistaking it for the nihilistic anger that consumes and brings you down to the same level as those we oppose.

    Some anger and frustration is healthy and constructive Lydia it lets us vent and purge those unconstructive primitive feelings and focus on the good.

    I travel and see the beauty in this world more than most people, and I always go out of my way to help people even those who anger me or who might be construed as enemies per se.........like i've said for the past two years 98% of the time you are absolutely right showing your enemies kindness can turn things around however there is that 2% when its you or them and you MUST fight or greater evil will be done. like i said I love life I cherish every minute..........LIFE is measured by the number of times it takes your breath away, NOT the number of breaths!

    And as much as I love life and freedom and have some anger and frustration at them being destroyed by very evil and ignorant men........It bothers me far more when I think of the horrors that could befall the next generation, my best friends children, my couisins children, your children, my co workers children etc... if we dont stand tall and fight no matter how ugly it may get at times........once things start happening and we cross that line there may be no going back for a long time............I have many co workers and friends who are over in Iraq, some have been killed.......your kids could be over there eventually if this continues or escalates I dont want to see any more people die if that means being forceful and talking the ONLY language these people understand then so be it because I think its for the greater good........you have to admit what the democrats are doing IS NOT EFFECTIVE .

    Think of it this way, I love people, animals, nature etc and i would try to avoid hurting someone or something at all costs........but if a rabid dog were going to attack my child or your child and it were my child or the dog, i would not hesitate to defend that person even if it meant shooting the dog. sometimes the ONLY way to avert greater evil is to fight it.....it takes a wise person to be able to discern the situations when the only way to avert greater evil is to take a stand.........most of the time war and fighting can be averted if you make it the LAST resort and focus on peace.

    As Edmund Burke said "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

    War and fighting are almost always ugly and should be avoided...........however sometimes we grow as people and become hero's through opposing evil, particularly when you are fighting to protect others or freedom, and it also allows us to more fully appreciate what is good and beautiful.

    Winter often makes us appreciate Spring, Summer and Fall that much more.

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  61. See Lydia you may see me showing a little frustration or anger at times but thats the key............I think at this point it is healthy and normal for most people with a pulse to be feeling a little frustration and anger thats constructive as long as we focus on the solutions.

    We cant let these people Buffalo us and try to silence us..........if i say what i think is happening or what I think the Neo Cons might do, or a TRYING to do that is not giving up or thinking negatively that is shining the light on these people and cluing in those who may be unaware so as to take away the element of surpise from the neo cons.

    Bush should NOT be able to declare martial law from another terrorist attack, he should not be able to seixe our assets on a whim, enter our homes, imprison us toture us or spy on us on a whim and if congress is too gutless to defend the people they were elected to serve we need to let our voices be heard forcefully if need be or else we will be lead down a road we dont want to go.

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  62. Clif, werent a bunch of our weapons seized just like you predicted?

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  63. i'm gonna go check out Naj's blog.

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  64. Mike every time the US Military's Generals try to claim Iran is sending weapons to Iraq, they show weapons and Ammo with western "English" style markings and what i recognize as US military style lot numbers and codes, so unless the Iranian army has a special English course for it's weapons and ammo specialists in it's military I am prone to believe the weapons and ammo come from the Saudi's who are "recycling" the weapons and ammo they buy from us each year....

    I think the reichwing either thinks we are THAT stupid, or maybe they really, really are and don't see the linguistic problems with their delusional claims they sell.

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  65. many, many, peoples continuing nightmare

    The reichwing might just woe the day they realize the unitary executive might also be their worst nightmare ever.....

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  66. No, I heard the insurgents captured a major weapons cache and got hundreds of thousands of OUR weapons.

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  67. I no longer remember where I saw it..... but I either heard or read somewhere that around 400 Iraq deserters have made their way to Russia via Syria. As I said, I have no citation for it, but I'll look for one.

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  68. Also what do you think about what JR said that Bush and Cheney are TRYING to purge the military of all who oppose them so they can attack Iran and declare martial law...........JR said they KNOW they would be arrested if they tried this.

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  69. what do you mean Iraq deserters?

    Do you mean from the government...........because they dont ghave a formal army.

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  70. How scared are they about a world wide market meltdown?

    This Wall Street Journal article goes covers global central bank injections in the past TWO days (all values in USD):
    - They total over $291 BILLION in TWO days
    - $62 billion injected by the US
    - $213 billion injected by the European Central Bank
    - $1.5 billion by Canada
    - $8.39 billion by Japan
    - $1.68 billion by the Swiss
    - $4.1 billion by Australia
    - $0.986 billion by Singapore

    From the article regarding other countries: Others said they were prepared to do so if necessary.

    Almost a third of a TRILLION in cash injections in two days. The banks are trying to control lending rates, which are rising higher than the central banks "recommended" rates.

    Sounds like an inflation solution to me (lowering central bank rates would also lead to this).

    Over 300 billion dollars scared that is.....

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  71. If we could just make it another 1 1/2 years with no wars, economic meltdowns or martial law, and a democrat wins the White House I think things will be MUCH more positive, and we will be on a much better path.

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  72. Mike I didn't hear about US weapons being captured, the 190,000 lost weapons were former Saddam weapons WE captures then handed out like candy sort of and nobody knows who has them now.....

    Like we have armed the insurgency in ways the Iranians could only dream of......(especially the Sunnis who are Iran's mortal enemies)

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  73. Thats exactly what I thought Clif, the Central Banks are printing money to hold down interest rates and manipulate currency..........I think Europe is helping us to prop up the dollar.........notice how are stock market and economy are slowing yet the dollar is rallying...........its starting to look like the Fed is starting to monetize its debt and try to prop up the currency and market.

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  74. Mike I didn't hear about US weapons being captured, the 190,000 lost weapons were former Saddam weapons WE captures then handed out like candy sort of and nobody knows who has them now.....

    Like we have armed the insurgency in ways the Iranians could only dream of......(especially the Sunnis who are Iran's mortal enemies)

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  75. Mike next week is gonna be even more interesting then the past week because as more and more money is thrown into markets to prop them up people are gonna try to play THAT.

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  76. I think even the talking heads and cheerleaders KNOW this is something different..........most of the guys on CNBC were talking about selling the rallies............i think anyone who knows ANYTHING about economics kNOWS this Bear Market is there real deal and the FED Cant prescribe the rate cut medicine this time because it has to defend the dollar.........THATS why its printing money to try and pump liquidity into the system.......but that game only works for so long.

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  77. Like I said Mike if Bernanke and the fed keeps trying that, some larger investors and hedge funds will try top PLAY the liquidity infusions and further the chaos on Wall street for their profit.

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  78. Clif and Carl, this article is right on point with what we have been talking about.

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  79. Inflation; Rotten To The Core

    Paul Mladjenovic (8/2/07)
    © August 2007. Paul Mladjenovic. All rights reserved

    Recently, a venerable financial news website ran a recent headline (July 31, 2007) about the core rate of inflation; "U.S. core rate of inflation falls to three-year low of 1.9%". It is pronounced as a positive development for our economy and therefore treated as if it were an important piece of news. Before we get to the "hard-core" analysis, I think it would be helpful to do a brief primer on inflation. In the general financial media, there is a surprising amount of misunderstanding and misinformation on inflation in general and on the "core rate" in particular. Let's get some perspective on the terms and principles (just in case a politician, bureaucrat or financial reporter is reading this):
    What is inflation?

    Let's first break this question down into the two types of inflation; monetary inflation and price inflation. Price inflation is the general rise in prices of goods and services. This is the one everyone talks about. You here the complaint "Gee…how expensive "fill in the blank" has gotten!" It is important to point out that price inflation is not a problem; it is a symptom. This is a very crucial difference. If price inflation is a symptom, then what is the problem? The problem is monetary inflation. "Monetary inflation" is a fancy phrase meaning the creation (really "excessive" creation) of a particular currency. In our case, it is the excessive creation of dollars. Those dollars can be infused into the economy either through the actual printing (or electronic creation) of dollars or through credit ultimately issued by a central bank. In any case, monetary inflation is the cause of price inflation.

    Stated another way, monetary inflation is the problem and price inflation is the symptom. Monetary inflation means increasing the money supply. Keep in mind that when we talk about "price inflation", it doesn't always mean rising prices of goods and services; it can also mean that assets can experience price inflation as well. Whenever we hear about an "asset bubble" it is a reference to how an asset has risen in price far above its realistic market price (the effects of supply-and-demand) due to an excessive influx of monetary inflation. Some recent examples of asset bubbles (excessive price inflation of assets due to the problem of monetary inflation) are the Internet/ Tech stock bubble of the late 1990s and the real estate bubble of 2002-2006.

    It is an important distinction to point out the difference of a "bull market" and an "asset bubble". A bull market-rising prices for an asset (such as stocks, real estate, etc.)-is a natural and ordinary event. It is an extension of supply-and-demand; there are more buyers than sellers of the asset so the result is "rising prices." An asset bubble is an artificial and unnatural event. The rise in the price of the asset is primarily driven by monetary inflation (such as through the excessive issuance of credit). Because a bubble is unnatural and ultimately unsustainable, it inevitably "pops"; the artificial boom then becomes an artificial bust. As the economist Ludwig von Mises (www.mises.org) painstakingly pointed out, booms and busts (as well as recessions, depressions and hyper-inflation) are not creations of a free market; they are in fact created by government mismanagement of monetary and fiscal policy. Back to inflation…

    Why is it necessary to "fight inflation"?

    Inflation is a pernicious and destructive economic force. Inflation at a real-world rate of 2% or lower (preferably 'zero") is tolerable for an economy. 3-5% inflation is bad but it can be manageable. Beyond that, it can be destructive. When inflation soars into double digits and beyond, it can cause tremendous damage to the economy. Thanks to the efforts of private sources (coupled with data from the Federal Reserve), it has been recently (early 2007) calculated that price inflation is in the 6-9% range and the money supply is expanding at an alarming rate of about 13%. Keep in mind that inflation is effectively a hidden tax that wreaks the most havoc to lower income and middle income folks. Inflation destroys purchasing power and those with limited income, fixed income or little in the way of savings are hurt the most. This is why there are many analysts that have voiced the opinion that the United States (specifically the Federal Reserve) should significantly limit and/or shrink the growth of the money supply and eventually return to the gold standard.

    During the hundred-year span of 1812-1912, there was virtually no price inflation as our country strictly adhered to a gold standard. From 1913 to the 1930s, the United States slowly, partially and then completely abolished the gold standard in our economy. The end result was that a dollar that was worth 100 cents in 1913 is now, in 2007, worth less than three cents.

    The problem today is that most people think that inflation is low yet the public record clearly shows monetary inflation (and the resultant price inflation) growing at a dangerous rate. The public needs to be informed so that proper planning can avert a long-term disaster. If the situation does not markedly improve, 2010-2020 could rival the 1930s in terms of economic hardship.

    If monetary inflation is the problem, who is responsible?

    "Monetary inflation" and "monetary policy" are the responsibility of those in charge of the money supply; typically the nation's central bank. A central bank is essentially the government-sanctioned entity that creates and manages the general money supply of the country whether that money ("the currency") is in the form of dollars, euros, yen or what-have-you. For the United States, our currency is obviously the dollar and our central bank is the Federal Reserve. The bottom line is that the Federal Reserve is responsible for the money supply and, therefore, monetary inflation.

    By the way, let me address a point before people email me about it. Yes…the Federal Reserve is technically chartered as a private corporation but please make no mistake about it; it is a government entity with the full backing and sponsorship of the federal government. What private corporation has the ability to print money? Only a government-sanctioned entity; in this case, the "Fed".

    When you hear the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke talking about "price inflation" and "keeping a close eye on what happens with rising prices" and how "rising prices are inflationary" and so forth, it has to make a logical and discerning person scratch his/her head. It is much like a prolific arsonist wondering out loud about suspicious fires. Find out for yourself; here's a research tip: Read (or listen to) Mr. Bernanke's recent speeches. He will talk very much about price inflation but little (anything?) about monetary inflation. The last speech I heard, he made inflation almost sound like the weather as if it "just happened" and it was out there floating around in the atmosphere. At congressional hearings, you'll even hear him say things like "the Fed will do everything it can to contain inflation". At what point will those politicians just say "stop printing so much damn money and price inflation will come down!" It would be like the authorities saying to the arsonist "If you would just stop setting fires there would be less stuff burning down!" Get the picture?

    So what should the Fed be telling us about inflation?

    They should be informing us about monetary inflation. Specifically, the management and growth of the money supply. The Fed can start by reinstating the M3 money supply measurement which they stopped reporting in March 2006. M3 is the broadest measure of the money supply and it is indeed a critical number for the financial markets. Fortunately, M3 was reconstructed by private sources (such as www.shadowstats.com). The money supply growth rate hit an astounding and disturbing 13% recently. This is the real problem and all of us need to be informed about excessive monetary inflation and its' insidious effects.

    What is the core rate of inflation?

    Price inflation is usually reported in two basic ways; "headline inflation" and the "core rate of inflation". Headline inflation generally includes a cross section of the prices of a representative basket of goods and services that consumers ("the public") contends with. The "core rate" is inflation excluding "food and energy". As headline inflation was running 6-9%, the core rate was running at just under 2%. Ironically, even though headline inflation is a more realistic measure of price inflation, it is the core rate that actually gets all the headlines!

    Why does the core rate exclude food and energy?

    That is a good question and quite frankly, you will not get a rational, logical answer. The answer most frequently given as to why food and energy are excluded are because they are too "volatile". I think a reasonable response should be "So what?" If you can't provide a meaningful measure on a monthly basis, then do it quarterly, semi-annually or annually. If we can "send a man to the moon" then surely we can provide a meaningful measurement of the rising prices of consumer necessities (which definitely includes food and energy!).

    Why is the core rate important?

    Here is where the controversy lies. When you talk to some reporters and economists, they will tell you that the core rate is important to the Fed and to the financial markets. Please understand the following point; the core rate is not important and it should be dropped or ignored. As a financial planner, educator and writer, it is definitely not important to me or to my clients, students and readers. What possible importance does it have? It is only important to the Fed and to some politicians but beyond that, the core rate is useless, meaningless and misleading. If this commentary sounds too harsh, then let's think about it for a moment. Think about why the core rate is only important to the government.

    It is not an accident that Bernanke and other officials spend most of their time talking about the core rate and not about monetary inflation or "real-life" inflation. Imagine for a moment that you are the head of the Fed. Would you rather talk about monetary inflation and the money supply (what you are directly responsible for) or about something vague and distant like … the core rate of inflation? If you were responsible for inflation, what would you rather talk about; an inflation rate of 6-9% (the realistic inflation) or about some benign, vague rate that is only a measly 1.9%?

    Let's face it; the more Bernanke talks about "the core rate" and about "being under 2%", the more the financial press reports the same. The average reporter ends up thinking "gee, he's talking so much about the core rate…it must be important!" Again, it is important to the government because that way they can talk about some seemingly innocuous measurement and essentially keep everyone calm. "Excited? Concerned? About what? After all, the core rate is only a measly 1.9%!"

    The more tangible reason for the government to under-report inflation is so that payments to Social Security recipients and other pensioners are lower. Keep in mind that the initial wave of baby boomers (78 million total.) start retiring in 2008. Over time, every percentage point that is not being paid is worth trillions. So now we can see a solid reason why a lower inflation rate is important to the government. A lower rate is good publicity and it also means trillions in savings.

    Why isn't the core rate important to the financial markets?

    After the government, who's left? Is the core rate important to the financial markets? In the financial markets, there are trillions of dollars in bonds and other fixed-interest vehicles. Much of it is with rates in the 3-5% range. If they think that the official rate of inflation is under 2%, they will presume that they are ahead of the game. But is that reality? Of course not. What good is a 5%, 30-year bond if inflation is 6-9% (or higher)? Over time you are falling behind. In regards to the financial markets, the core rate is misleading.

    Why isn't the core rate important to retirees?

    Millions of retirees have their money in safe investments such as savings, certificates of deposit and bonds. They have worked all their life to accumulate money for their retirement years. Unfortunately, inflation is a cruel and stealthy tax that can destroy their purchasing power. The "cost-of-living" increases they will get from Social Security and other pension programs will not keep them ahead of real-world inflation. Millions of older citizens will see their prosperity erode over time. The core rate is useless to them. It is in fact very detrimental to retirees.

    Why isn't the core rate important to investors?

    As you read this, millions of investors are making choices with their money. What will they invest in? If they think that inflation is benign, then they will invest accordingly. But what if they were aware of real-world inflation? Think about your own actions. What would you do differently if you knew that inflation was 8% instead of 2%? You would certainly invest at least a portion of your portfolio in inflation hedges such as gold, silver, energy and related securities. For investors, a return must be generated that meets or exceeds the real-world rate of inflation. Yes…that includes the costs of food and energy. Therefore, for investors, the core rate is meaningless.

    Perhaps I have missed someone in this inflation discussion. How about you… the reader? How important is the core rate to you? If it is important, then please tell me why it is important. Please feel free to email me at my website, www.supermoneylinks.com. If you have been able to get by without food and energy costs…hey…I'd love to know how you do it. I will even provide your answers to the readers of my newsletter, the Prosperity Alert (with your permission, of course). I thank you in advance!

    But before you send me any messages about inflation (core or otherwise), allow me a moment to write my own letter…

    An Open Letter to Ben Bernanke
    Dear Mr. Bernanke,

    I hope all is well with you. I write you as a concerned citizen regarding your recent public testimony. Your job as the head of the Federal Reserve, America's central bank, is assuredly a daunting and difficult task and I wish you much success. The Federal Reserve plays a vital and pivotal role in our country's economic well-being. Forgive me for being so forward but please consider the following. I think that you could serve our citizenry much more effectively if you enact a few relatively simple changes. They may be simple but they may not be easy. After all, nothing worthwhile is easy. Here goes…

    Please reinstate the M3 money supply metric. It is an important measure of monetary inflation. This is a good way to know how monetary inflation is affecting us today and how it will impact our future real-world cost of living and the value of the dollar.


    Please stop talking about the core rate. It is a useless, meaningless and misleading metric that serves no one except the government. It is very much like my local grocer boasting about the low "price of clouds".


    Give us a realistic measure of inflation. This is critical to know so that we can better manage our finances and that of our families and businesses.


    Stop excessively inflating the currency. History tells us overwhelmingly that excessive monetary inflation has driven man-made currencies into oblivion and has resulted in economic & social chaos for civilized society.


    Suggestions # 1, 2 and 3 could easily be implemented immediately. Suggestion #4 will take some fortitude since many influential politicians (in both major parties) would prefer you do otherwise. Don't take the politically easy choice. Millions of hard-working folks need you to do the right thing.

    I realize that you inherited most of your challenging tasks from Mr. Greenspan but that doesn't excuse you from your role as a responsible chairman of the most powerful central bank in the world today. If you don't enact the hard and diligent responsibilities at hand (see four items above) then America's future will be a difficult one for us and future generations.

    I have had the pleasure to hear you speak and to read your comments. As I listen to you, the following comes across loud and clear to me:

    You spend little or no time addressing the problem (monetary inflation).
    You spend too little time addressing real-world price inflation
    You spend very little time addressing the point that the dollar is losing value due to excessive monetary inflation.
    You spend too much time talking about the core rate of inflation which has no real value to consumers, retirees, investors or anyone else for that matter.
    Doing the right thing for our country would mean resisting political pressure and shunning political expediency and popularity. But doing so would mean no less than our country's ability to survive and thrive as a great republic. If this sounds to extreme than you may want to take a look at the scope of our daunting challenges as documented at the Grandfather Economic reports (http://mwhodges.home.att.net/summary.htm).

    I appreciate your time in reading this sincere letter and again, I wish you much success.

    Regards, Paul Mladjenovic

    P.S. Since you keep telling us how low the core rate is, can you tell me what consumer necessity has only gone up only 1.9% in the past 12 months? Can you tell us where you shop? It would be nice to know! Thank you…J.


    - - - - End of open letter - - - -

    In Summary (the bottom line) …

    The core rate is useless, meaningless and misleading.
    Monetary inflation is the problem and price inflation is the symptom.
    Real-world inflation and the growth of the money supply (which shrinks the value of the dollar) are very real problems and are getting worse.
    What you can do about inflation to help yourself and your country…

    Voice your displeasure and concern with policy makers at the Federal Reserve. There is contact information at www.federalreserve.gov.
    Feel free to pass this article (unchanged) along to others to alert them.
    Voice your displeasure and concern with your representatives in Congress. Find them at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
    Voice your displeasure and concern specifically with the members of Congress's House Financial Services Committee at http://financialservices.house.gov.
    When you read financial articles and see obvious errors about inflation or a glowing report on the useless "core rate of inflation", voice your concerns. Again, feel free to reference this article.
    Take steps to protect/ grow your wealth in an inflationary environment. Add some gold/silver and other tangible assets to your portfolio, etc.
    Make sure your financial advisor understands inflation and how to strategize to benefit you and his/her other clients.
    Get and keep informed. See the next section on resources.
    Resources to keep you informed about inflation and related economic issues:

    Shadow Government Statistics (www.shadowstats.com)
    Inflation Data (www.inflationdata.com)
    Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)
    Financial Sense (www.financialsense.com) Catch their MP3 broadcasts.
    Korelin Economics Report (www.kereport.com) Also broadcasts in MP3.
    Grandfather Economic reports (http://mwhodges.home.att.net/summary.htm).
    Foundation for Economic Education (www.fee.org)
    There are other great sites as well but these are good for starters. The wealth of data and informed commentary at these sites will be very worthwhile. If you need more resources, feel free to go to www.SuperMoneyLinks.com to either contact me directly or to get a free subscription to the Prosperity Alert, my financial & business email newsletter.

    The coming years will be treacherous for our financial well-being and making informed decisions will not be a luxury; they will be a necessity.


    Paul Mladjenovic, CFP is a national speaker, author of Stock Investing for Dummies and the editor of the Prosperity Alert Newsletter, A financial & business email newsletter available free at www.SuperMoneyLinks.com and www.PaulMladjenovic.com.

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  80. Lydia Cornell said...
    Hey Larry, you and I are on the same wavelength regarding how to pray.

    Mike, it's good that we are all speaking out, but I think we need to spend equal if not more energy every single day, working FOR peace rather than just AGAINST the Bush crimes."

    Lydia, I undrerstand what you are trying to say........but at this point working for peace and opposing the Bush crime syndicate are one in the same.

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  81. Lydia Cornell said...
    Naj, I just looked at all the GORGEOUS pictures of Iran you posted on your blog in the slide show too. Thank you for this.

    The ski chalet looks just like one in Aspen, Colorado.
    All of us need to spread these photos around to put a human face and landscape on Iran. "


    EXCELLENT point..........it is much harder to hate or condone violence against someone or something once you have seen it or interacted with it............particularly when you have seen the good or the beauty in it.

    Thats what men like Cheney or Hitler try and do they try to dehumanize people or portray them in absolutes like all evil or murderous and they try to justify brealing down rules of civility to justyify genocide and torture.

    The word has shades of gray, and whenever someone tries to paint things in absolutes or black and whites you need to question their motives and examine what they are saying skeptically.

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  82. Carl, read that article I posted and let me know what you think.

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  83. "We can't just stay indefinitely using only military means, since the whole point of the surge was to bring the Democratic government to the table."

    Wha-at????

    Sorry, folks, but this just doesn't make any sense.

    The whole point of the surge had nothing to do with "bring the Democratic government to the table". The surge had everything to do with attempting (operative word here) to stifle the insurgency - at least about Baghdad.

    Of course, this silly idea failed utterly, despite the propaganda being fed day in and day out.

    But to actually claim that the surge was all about bringing the Iraqi democratically-elected government "to the table" (whatever that means) is pure nonsensical drivel.

    Can't we stick to reality-based facts, here? Sheesh!

    Enough with all the nauseating double talk and the dizzying tap dancing - get the troops out. Period.

    That is the only way to "save" a cluster f**k from becoming a complete FUBAR ... if it is not too late already.

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  84. Hey Mentarch, good to see you over here...............I think we all want the war to end and know not to buy into the dishonest rhetoric.

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  85. Today we learned that Alberto Gonzales was sent to Iraq to help them develop their legal system.


    :|

    The Attorney General, John Ashcroft told President Bush that he had serious problems with his domestic surveillance program, and that he wasn’t sure it was legal.

    Then he got sick. Real sick.

    Then Bush had his lawyer, Alberto Gonzales, to ask the acting AG, to authorize the domestic surveillance program. The acting Attorney General said no, and told the presidents lawyer that the progam was illegal, and could not be authorized, and it had to stop.

    Then Bush told his lawyer to bypass the Acting Attorney General, and go pester John Ashcroft to sign documents authorizing it while he was partially comatose and very very ill, and NOT the Attorney General.

    Then the Acting AG found out and headed to the hospital to cut off Bush’s lawyer, and prevent him from tricking a drugged and seriously ill former Attorney General into signing a document that he was not legally authorized to sign, while he was in a weakened state.

    The Acting Attorney General met the presidents lawyer in the former Attorney Generals hospital room but the presidents lawyer ignored the Acting Attorney General, and walked to the side of the former Attorney Generals bedside, and said here, sign these. The former Attorney General looked up at Gonzales, the presidents lawyer, and pointed a finger at James Comey, the Acting Attorney General, and said “Theres the Attorney General“.

    The presidents lawyer grew angry, and closed the file with the paperwork, and ignoring the Acting Attorney General who was standing a few feet away from him, stomped out of the room.

    Then the president fired the Acting Attorney General, and made his lawyer the Attorney General.

    Then his lawyer signed the paperwork authorizing the domestic surveillance program.

    :|

    I think the Iraqi's already know how to do all that stuff.

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  86. Reuters:

    The current upheaval in global markets has many on Wall Street drawing comparisons to turmoil seen in 1998, 1987 and even 1929, but a new book suggests investors should look back as far as 1907 for insight into the mechanisms that can trigger a crash.

    "The Panic of 1907" (Wiley, $29.95) begins with the Park Avenue suicide of Charles Barney, a prominent New York banker. Barney was one of many casualties -- both individual and institutional -- of an attempt to corner the market in shares of United Copper Co., which brought a string of banks to the brink of collapse.

    Authors Robert Bruner and Sean Carr illustrate the domino-effect of the panic, from the plunge in United Copper shares all the way to the bankruptcy threat for the city of New York. "The Panic of 1907" also paints a picture of the many conditions that made the economy vulnerable to such a brutal chain reaction.

    Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of one of the worst financial meltdowns in U.S. history, the book's arrival on shelves in September is all the more fortuitous, since even mom-and-pop investors are now aware of the volatility that has gripped Wall Street over the past few weeks.

    Some of the conditions that laid the ground for 1907 panic may look familiar to anyone who has read the business pages this year: a booming economy and unprecedented rash of corporate mergers and acquisitions and a profusion of "borrowers and creditors (who) overreach in their use of debt."

    "Credit anorexia" set in once "bank directors awoke to the inadequacy of their capitalization relative to the credit risks they had taken," causing them to cut off the new loans available to their clients. Soon afterwards, long lines of panicked depositors were forming outside several banks waiting to withdraw their funds.

    Bruner and Carr, both professors at the University of Virginia, identify seven elements that can converge to create a financial "perfect storm," no matter what the century. Key among them is some kind of real economic shock. In the case of 1907, one of the shocks was the San Francisco earthquake the year before.

    If such a storm were to strike today, we wouldn't be able to identify the shock until after it hit, the authors point out. But one of the potential culprits they cite are the high amounts of leverage used by hedge funds and their tight relationships with major banks, which could make any losses ripple through the financial system.

    In 1907, it was J. Pierpont Morgan who led the charge to stop the bleeding on Wall Street. Bruner and Carr credit the financial titan with putting his own firm's capital on the line to save smaller banks from collapse, compelling his counterparts to act as a collective to stave off contagion.

    One hundred years later, Bruner and Carr pose the question, does today's rapid, automated style of trading leave any room for such a cooperative rescue effort, should such a panic occur again?


    Will we learn from lessons of the past, or experience that "Perfect Storm" that may be to come?

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  87. KUWAIT CITY - A Kuwaiti contracting firm denied allegations it took Filipino workers to Iraq without their knowledge to build the new U.S. Embassy there, and threatened Sunday to pursue those who made the claim.

    The company's denial came days after the Philippines sent a special envoy to this small oil-rich state to investigate accusations that 51 Filipinos were recruited to work in Dubai but taken to Baghdad instead without their consent.

    The First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co. ran advertisements in five leading newspapers Sunday to deny any wrongdoing.



    "The workers willingly agreed to work in Iraq before their departure and before they arrived at the site of the embassy" in Baghdad, the construction firm said.

    It was the company's first public comment since a U.S. Congressional probe into the accusations last month. Two former employees of the Kuwaiti firm, John Owens and Roy J. Mayberry, testified that the foreign workers were mistreated.


    Bush isn't the only one who enjoys slave labor!

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  88. Mike,

    Part of the illusion, part of why people aren't noticing inflation, so think 2% is the correct figure, is the monetary inflation aspect.

    Let's say it's 2003, and I have a home equity line. I can borrow at three percent, and my rate is locked for five years. I borrow to buy a car. Then to pay down my credit cards. I need money for my kid's college.

    I need to buy the groceries.

    All these have been creeping up in price, but I don't notice, because I have "wealth". The government, quite correctly, according to the rules that have been in place for decades, measure inflation at two to three percent.

    There's not much they can to manipulate that, so I assume it's accurate. Meanwhile, energy prices have shot thru the roof due to Katrina and market manipulations. Food prices, which are more about energy prices than about production anyway, shoot up as well.

    Clothing would have shot up, too, but China's labor market has kept those artificially down.

    So I don't notice that I'm reaching the limits of my HELOC, and my wages are frozen at the COLA.

    Oops.

    And now, it's five years later. Interest rates are at 8%, more than double what I signed on for.

    Us arguing about the core rates of inflation is insignificant when compared to that.

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  89. Lydia,

    Add this to the Don't Panic section

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  90. Nancy "impeachment is off the table" Pelosi said that?

    She really is a liar and an idiot. Worse still, she's banking on the American people being too braindead to understand what Bush's true intent of the so-called "surge" was all about.

    The "surge" is just another stall tactic to drag the mess out until Bush is finally out of office, assuming he actually leaves as scheduled and the NWO doesn't stage a fake terrorist attack on American soil to make Bush dictator for life.

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  91. We need to "surge" Plastic Pelosi into the impeachment line with those she chooses to enable.

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  92. As her father disconnects the plastic tube from her throat, six-year-old Maria Aman’s face contorts as though she has been pushed through an air-lock in space. Hamdi, her father, has 50 seconds to clean her breathing tube before she runs out of air.

    Paralysed from the neck down, Maria cannot breathe without a special ventilator. She has gasped her way through this ritual every morning for more than a year since the tragedy that wiped out most of her family and left her quadriplegic.

    Now her fate rests with the Israeli Supreme Court, which will decide next month whether she should be deported from Israel. Her struggle is a compelling case of how even the worst aspects of the conflict can bring people together – and how bureaucracy and politics can tear them apart.

    It began in May last year, when her uncle invited the family out to test-drive his new car in their native Gaza. They did not know that the car ahead contained Muhammad Dahdouh, a senior Islamic Jihad leader visiting his wife, who had given birth in hospital.

    Thus are the effects of war!

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  93. Larry,

    If Pelosi gets one more treatment of Botox in her mask-like face, she may OD on the stuff and the pathway becomes open for Henry Waxman to take over as Speaker.

    Just so long as we block Pelosi's step-n-fetch it, Steny Hoyer from getting anywhere near "The Gavel."

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  94. I suppose you make the best of whatever situation you're in.

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  95. what do you mean Iraq deserters?

    Do you mean from the government...........because they dont ghave a formal army.


    I mean US soldiers, and I wish I knew why I know that number. Still trying to find it.

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  96. 'Are we supposed to stay there forever, providing a virtual police state?'

    Hey, lydia--
    I believe the short answer to this question is, 'Yes.'

    ReplyDelete
  97. Are we supposed to stay there forever, providing a virtual police state?'

    Hey, lydia--
    I believe the short answer to this question is, 'Yes.'


    Take the numbers on the ground, figure in the KNOWN dead and wounded, and extrapolate.

    Even with Chimpy's brownshirts in the picture, we have as many as 15 months, or as few as 11 months. We're getting out, one way or another.

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  98. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  99. Big Brother Bush is Watching You:

    The Department of Homeland Security is funneling millions of dollars to local governments nationwide for purchasing high-tech video camera networks, accelerating the rise of a "surveillance society" in which the sense of freedom that stems from being anonymous in public will be lost, privacy rights advocates warn.

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  100. Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki, has called for a summit of the nation's main political factions in an attempt to break Iraq's political paralysis.

    In recent weeks almost all Sunni members of the cabinet have quit. Others are boycotting meetings, leaving at least 17 cabinet seats empty.


    Didn't Bush say his handpicked Iraqi Government was doing a great job!

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  101. More Wasted Tax Dollars:

    The U.S. military has paid $548 million over the past three years to two British security firms that protect the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on reconstruction projects, more than $200 million over the original budget, according to previously undisclosed data that show how the cost of private security in Iraq has mushroomed.

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  102. Carl, like I said before if the core rate is to volatile to actually accurately and validly measure what it was designed to measure then whats the point of having it.

    The way I see it the core rate and the CPI is a scam to rip of senior citizens and the disabled by not letting their increases jkeep pace with the REAL rate of inflation.............come on, you dont REALLY BELIEVE that inflation is only 2% do you?

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  103. Right Under Bush's Noise:

    PERUGIA, Italy (AP) -- In a hidden corner of Rome's busy Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a traveler's checked baggage, looking for smuggled drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of weapons, a clue to something bigger.

    Their discovery led anti-Mafia investigators down a monthslong trail of telephone and e-mail intercepts, into the midst of a huge black-market transaction, as Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the bloodbath of Iraq.

    As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.

    For one thing, The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command - a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases.

    Why these officials resorted to "black" channels and where the weapons were headed is unclear.

    The purchase would merely have been the most spectacular example of how Iraq has become a magnet for arms traffickers and a place of vanishing weapons stockpiles and uncontrolled gun markets since the 2003 U.S. invasion and the onset of civil war.

    Some guns the U.S. bought for Iraq's police and army are unaccounted for, possibly fallen into the hands of insurgents or sectarian militias. Meanwhile, the planned replacement of the army's AK-47s with U.S.-made M-16s may throw more assault rifles onto the black market. And the weapons free-for-all apparently is spilling over borders: Turkey and Iran complain U.S.-supplied guns are flowing from Iraq to anti-government militants on their soil.

    Iraqi middlemen in the Italian deal, in intercepted e-mails, claimed the arrangement had official American approval. A U.S. spokesman in Baghdad denied that.

    "Iraqi officials did not make MNSTC-I aware that they were making purchases," Lt. Col. Daniel Williams of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I), which oversees arming and training of the Iraqi police and army, told the AP.

    Operation Parabellum, the investigation led by Dario Razzi, anti-Mafia prosecutor in this central Italian city, began in 2005 as a routine investigation into drug trafficking by organized-crime figures, branched out into an inquiry into arms dealing with Libya, and then widened to Iraq.

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  104. Bush can't even hold on to arms in Iraq, they are sold on the black market.

    What a leader!

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  105. Larry, don't you mean what leader? ;-)

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  106. Good point Tomcat!

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  107. Music is a wonderful thing. One of the items on my very long "To Do" list when I am made King of the World for a Day is to get all of the world leaders together and make them listen to The Beatles' "All You Need is Love", "Revolution" and Lennon's "Imagine."

    I would also make it a requirement that the winners of a war had to eat the remains of the losers. Seems to me that would put a stop to war in a hurry.

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  108. KABUL, Afghanistan - A roadside bomb blast killed three U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, bringing to five the number of international troops killed over the weekend, officials said.

    The three troops were engaged in combat operations in Nangarhar province when the roadside bomb hit their vehicle, a statement from the U.S.-led coalition said. A civilian interpreter was also killed.

    Did you forget about this war Bush!

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  109. Reuters:

    Five U.S. soldiers were killed, including four in a single explosion, during combat operations south of Baghdad on Saturday, the U.S. military said on Sunday.

    Four other soldiers were wounded in the explosion but no other details of the incident were immediately available.

    In a separate statement, the U.S. military said a fifth soldier had been killed by small arms fire while on foot patrol southeast of Baghdad on Saturday.

    Sadly another normal day in Iraq!

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  110. How does Bush ET Al really support the troops when he is done with them, he and the reichwing IGNORES them....

    Supporting the Troops

    Now we have a whole new wave of homeless vets coming, and of course this administration didn’t bother to plan for it. Way to support the troops, guys:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Often, when Ryan Svolto manages to sleep, he finds himself back in Iraq preparing for triage, awash in blood and bodies. But he can’t find his medical kit, and, helpless, he thrashes awake, damp with sweat.

    As an infantry medic, he patched up soldiers wounded in combat in Iraq. Now, Svolto, 24, is trying to fix his own wounded life after a recent stint at a Daytona Beach, Fla., homeless shelter.

    Svolto is one of a growing number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who joined the ranks of the homeless after returning home. Experts say a system already buckling under one of the nation’s largest homeless populations might collapse under the weight of a new wave of veterans, many saddled with mental-health issues and crippling brain injuries.

    ”If I could identify and convince every homeless vet in the area to come to a shelter or a transitional-housing program,” said Cathy Jackson, executive director of the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida, ”we wouldn’t have enough beds for them.”


    They don't have enough beds for the Iraqi War homeless vets, let along the tens of thousands of homeless Vietnam Vets or other veterans who served this country when dead eye and the rest of the reichwing gutless chicken hawks had something better to do and Bush's daddy was running in interference to keep him safe in a NON DEPLOYABLE unit in Texas.(The lying sack if sh*t he is.)

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  111. Bravo to the French:

    Cecilia Sarkozy's decision to bow out of a picnic with the president of the United States this weekend is the latest proof of the French first lady's unpredictable, even rebellious take on her new role.

    President Nicolas Sarkozy travelled alone to meet George W. Bush and his family at their Atlantic holiday home after Cecilia -- staying just an hour away at a US lakeside resort -- bowed out due to a throat ailment.

    Nobody wants to schmooze with Bush!

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  112. Operators at the Crandall Canyon mine experienced serious structural problems in the mine in March and entirely abandoned work in an area about 900 feet from where six miners remained trapped Saturday.

    A memo obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune shows that mine owners were trying to work around "poor roof conditions" before halting mining of the northern tunnels in early March after a "large bump occurred . . . resulting in heavy damage" in those tunnels.

    A bump or bounce occurs when the intense pressure on the coal pillars supporting the mine causes the pillars to burst, "sending coal and rock flying with explosive force," according to that National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

    The memo indicates that mine operators knew the tremendous pressures of a mountain bearing down on the mine were creating problems with the roof, and they were searching for a way to safely keep the mine from falling in as they cut away the coal pillars supporting the structure.

    "It's dangerous. Damn dangerous I would say," Robert Ferriter, now director of the mine safety program at the Colorado School of Mines and a 27-year veteran of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. "What is MSHA doing in all this? They're the ones who are supposed to catch this sort of thing."

    No Union No Safety!

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  113. The Official George W. Bush
    "Days Left In Office"
    Countdown:

    526 DAYS
    3 Hrs 27 Min 31.5 Sec

    Will this day ever come?

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  114. That wannabe tough guy Fred Thompson that the repugs were annointing as the Next Reagan just dropped out.................Sounds like KKKarl and the Fascists backed the wrong horse....................BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  115. Mike:

    It was Tommy Thompson that dropped out. The washed up Senator/actor hasn't ran yet.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Well do you THINK Fred Thompson will drop out BEFORE he officially announces he is in because I have been hearing rumors to that effect.

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  117. Do you Think Mitt "the fearless hunter" Romney will get the nomination.

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  118. Why Ron Paul is running as a repug i'll never know..........he doesnt stand a chance with those fascists..........I actually like him better than many of the democrats.

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  119. I think Thompson will hang in there for awhile to impress his cheerleader wife and rake in bucks for his pocket.

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  120. these were both excellent pieces...wow...finally something that made me think about something in a different light....the PRINT articale was outstanding....and a Symphony in Iraq...so good to hear that....but I am not shocked...because even in bad times music is important...to everyone...

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  121. Hi Enigma:

    Music and the symphony are something most don't equate with Iraq and Bush's war.

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  122. Mentarch - I am repeating what Pelosi said on a talk radio show in Los Angeles on Saturday: that despite Bush bragging that the surge is working, it's not working if there is no political process in place.

    That's what I meant. Of course we all want the troops out yesterday. What's worrisome is that Bush has heard from Petraeus and several reporters (fake or not) that the "surge" is now beginning to work, so Bush is going to milk that with all the propaganda he can muster. That's why he looks so happy on his vacation -- that, and the fact that Sarcozy is a capitalist who is vacationing in the U.S. makes Bush feel powerful, as if his luck is changing.

    UGH.

    By the way, EVERYBODY, instead of being so depressed about the "Dems caving on the FISA law" why don't we acknowledge the fact that 80 DEMS DID NOT CAVE.

    We have to see that most Dems did not vote for FISA.

    On our show Tuesday we have Senator Byron Dorgan whom I interviewed (24 years in the Senate, a dem who voted NO, as he should.

    Pelosi is upset over it too.

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  123. Lydia, I think most of us realize that a lot of dems took the proper position in regard to Chimpy's demand for legalizing his Stasi activities. What we're incensed about is the failure of the so-called leadership to even try to slow the monkey down. Chimpy hasn't had it much harder than he did when the Goppers owned everything.

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  124. Lydia Cornell said...

    Pelosi is upset over it too.



    Yea but how did she vote?

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  125. Pelosi says one thing then votes the opposite.

    I'm sorry Lydia but I can't share your enthusiasm for anything Nancy Pelosi says.

    As far as I'm concerned she's one of the biggest obstacles we have in ending the war, restoring our constitutional rights and holding the administration accountable, that we have.

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  126. I'm sure she's a nice grandmother.

    She should go home and tend to her kids because these are tough times and people are dying while she fiddles and diddles their lives away with her weak will and her two faced policy of saying one thing and then voting another.

    We just don't have time to worry about hurting her feelings. She needs to go. Listen to Cindy Sheehan. Cindy Sheehan is NOT fringe left. Cindy Sheehan is a mother who's son died in a senseless war that Nancy Pelosi has consistently voted for and funded since day one.

    She didn't vote for the spying thing and I will give her that. But she should have had the clout to reign in the 41 idiots calling themselves democrats that did vote for it.

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  127. TROLLS





    I think that I shall never see;

    A troll as smart as Bartlebee.


    A troll whose hungry mouth is prest;

    Against Bush's ass while he's getting dressed.


    A troll that looks to Bush all day;

    And lifts his ballsack from the way.


    A troll that may in summer fear;

    Islamic Extremists or wedded queer.


    Upon whose head Herr Bush has lain;

    A stream of piss and called it rain.



    Thus Trolls are made from Bush's pee;

    But none can beat ole Bartlebee.



    BARTLEBEE

    ReplyDelete
  128. Karl Rove is Resigning, to spend "more time with his family".

    Top White House aide Rove resigns

    Top White House aide Karl Rove has said he will resign at the end of August.

    "I just think it's time," Mr Rove said in an interview for the Wall Street Journal, adding that he was quitting for the sake of his family.

    Mr Rove is a senior political adviser to President George W Bush and has worked with him for more than a decade.

    As Mr Bush's chief strategist, he is seen as instrumental in delivering two presidential and several congressional election victories for the Republicans.

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  129. KKKarl is resigning for his family?

    Isn't that the code they use just before a reichwinger is indicted?

    Here's HOPING....................

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  130. Right before the political fight over the surge report from Iraq, KKKarl thinks it is time to resign?

    He must "know" something he ain't tellin'

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  131. I agree with Larry...Bush looks completely drugged all the time.

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  132. I couldn't care less about Karl Rove. He's irrelevant to the issues that matter.

    Here's something that does matter:

    Al Gore is considering a run for president in 2008.

    He's assembling a communications team in Nashville, TN. Cool, huh?

    The Hillary monster may be up shit creek without a paddle. Tsk, tsk, and she accepted $25,000 from News Corp. for nothing? LOL!

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  133. Poor Guy Misspoke:

    (Bloomberg) -- Mitt Romney, who won the Iowa Republican straw poll yesterday, said he ``misspoke'' when he suggested that his sons' work on his presidential campaign was comparable to serving in the military in Iraq.

    Why did it take him 2 weeks of bad press to realize he "misspoke?"

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  134. (Reuters) - Blackstone Group (BX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Monday quarterly net income more than tripled -- boosted by merger and real estate deals -- but revenue at the private equity powerhouse fell below analysts' estimates in its first earnings report as a publicly traded company.

    Blackstone Group said net income was $774.4 million in the second quarter, up from $224.1 million in the year-ago period.

    At least Bush's buddies are making money!

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  135. One of the most heartless people in America is resigning "for the sake of his family" which is puzzling since he hasn't cared about them all these years.

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  136. Notice how the media is fawning all over Rove since he is leaving?

    Sickening!

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  137. The first chart details what major countries spent on defense in 2006, as a percentage of the total worldwide defense expenditures of $1.2 trillion (which, on its own, is a staggering figure):


    U.S.: 45.7 percent
    China: 4.3 percent
    Japan: 3.8 percent
    India: 2.1 percent
    Rest of the world: 28.3 percent


    The second chart measures world gross domestic product (GDP), as a percentage of the total of $48.2 trillion in 2006:


    U.S.: 27.5 percent
    China: 5.5 percent
    Japan: 9.1 percent
    India: 1.8 percent
    Rest of the world: 38.6 percent


    Finally, the third chart lays out world population shares, of the total of 6.5 billion people:


    U.S. 4.6 percent
    China: 20.2 percent
    Japan: 2 percent
    India: 17.4 percent
    Rest of the world: 50.5 percent

    A clear view of the priorities of the government, and how people are left out!

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  138. The media in Murika is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Rightwing Noise Machine.

    The only exception is Keith.

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  139. ROVE RESIGNS!!

    NEW THREAD, OPEN THREAD IS UP

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