Monday, September 29, 2008

Why Americans Want Wall Street & the Banking Industry to Suffer

*updated 9/30/08 2 PM EST

When it was first announced that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke were asking for a $700 billion in order to stabilize (bailout) Wall Street, the response of most Americans was,

"Oh, Hell NO!"


Because for many Americans watching the great ships of the financial industry like Washington Mutual and Wachovia go down stirs up feelings of ...


Why are American's SO outraged?

Because over the past 3-4 years, while some in Washington were repeatedly stating that the economy was fundamentally strong, financial institutions were loosing the hounds of hell on millions of honest, hardworking Americans who were struggling to stay afloat.

*It seems that Mr. McCain simply doesn't understand.

And while Americans were struggling with stagnant wages, declining real estate values and mounting debt, many of them encountered someone like the guy who uttered the following quote:

"I like to make the analogy the you know, you're like,
you're like this pirate on this pirate ship, right.
And you've got that person and you're walking them out on the plank
and you walk them as far as you can walk them out on that plank
without pushing them off and then you bring them back to get what you want."

-- uttered by a debt collector ( who has hopefully lost his job and his shirt)
from the movie "Maxed Out" by James Scurlock

Not only did debt collectors like this one walk Americans to the edge of the plank but he and many of his compatriots literally pushed their victims headlong into bankruptcy, foreclosure, ill health and in some cases, suicide. And to these guys it was all just a game.

Two million Americans filed bankruptcy in 2005.

Now the same financial institutions, represented by The Federal Reserve, are asking the people, who they've charged usury rates as well as merciless fees and penalties, to bail out their sorry backsides. And the American people are supposed to say,

"OK, No Problem, Kick Me Some More."

I don't think so.

In the following video clip Wharton Business School Graduate and Film Director James Scurlock and Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren discuss the abuses that Americans have suffered at the hands of banking industry pirates:

Click here if the video is not visible

The following is an abbreviated synopsis of the movie "Maxed Out" from the film's website:
Maxed Out reveals the secrets of the new bank. John Ballew, a Midwestern banker whose neighborhood bank has been merged so many times he's lost count, tells us why suggestive selling is the primary qualification for working at a modern bank. Bud Hibbs, a well-known consumer advocate and the collection industry's enemy number one, explains why banks want us to be late. Liz Warren, a Harvard Professor who conducted the largest study of why Americans are going broke—at a rate higher than during the Great Depression—debunks the conventional wisdom that only "bad apples" declare bankruptcy. Liz's study proves that the bare necessities, not Prada shoes, are killing American families. A lifelong Republican, Liz's foray into the world of debt changed her politics and inspired a best-selling book: "The Two Income Trap".

Maxed Out reveals that the financial industry's best customers are the broke and the bankrupt. The most profitable niche of the industry is called "alternative" or "sub-prime"—euphemisms for a business formerly known as loan-sharking. They target those with less than perfect credit-people like Mark Mumma, whose frustration with the sub-prime credit card issuer Providian caused him to start the website From 2000-2002, Providian paid over $400 million to settle charges that it defrauded its customers. Soon after, a Providian director and the chairman of its compliance committee was appointed corporate crime czar by George W. Bush.

Maxed Out exposes the modern debt-style in all of its absurdities and contradictions. Nowhere are these more evident than in a journey with award-winning investigative journalist Mike Hudson, who travels to Mississippi, Pittsburgh, and New York City interviewing the victims of predatory lending scams. The most shocking discovery? The predators aren't boiler rooms or goodfellas. They are the nation's largest and most respected financial institutions! And they're not just preying on adults anymore. In 2001, FirstUSA hired two teenage high school students as walking billboards to make their cards seem "cool". FirstUSA also pioneered "partnerships" with colleges—paying them millions of dollars for access to their students' personal information, setting these kids up for ruin.

Maxed Out examines an industry that thrives on making people fail, then pursues them relentlessly to death's door. The film features a shocking interview with Bob and Chris—two idealistic entrepreneurs from Minneapolis whose "People First Recoveries" is buying bad debt all over the country in the hopes of huge profits. They're going to make "People First" a big success by being shockingly duplicitous. To get psyched up, Chris and Bob imagine themselves as "debt pirates", wrestlers and professional football players. The personal information at their disposal and the ways in which they are allowed to use it—calling people's neighbors and relatives to humiliate them into paying, for example—are nothing short of terrifying for us, fun for them.

So, what can Bush, Bernanke, and Paulson say to the people who have been terrorized by the financial industry and who are now flooding the Congressional offices with angry letters?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Because if your credit is maxed out, or you've borrowed against all of the equity in your home, or you've already lost your home or you've declared bankruptcy, you're not going to be frightened when someone tells you that without a bailout the banks won't be able to extend more credit.

For more reasons why Americans are outraged check out the following video, "In Debt We Trust" by Danny Schecter which explains how the banking industry has already made "hundreds of billions of dollars" from the poor :

Click here if the video is not visible

Related post

Congress Rejects Economic Stabilization Act

Get Over The Shock ... Stop Them Now

Congress Rejects Economic Stabilization Act -- GOP Blames Pelosi's Speech

Shortly after 2 PM EST, the US House of Representatives failed to pass the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (aka the $700 billion bailout ) by a vote of:
  • YEAs=205,
  • NAYs=228,
  • NV=1
As a result the Dow has recorded an historical one day loss of 777 points

House Republicans are stating that many of them changed their minds from Yea to Nay because of a speech that Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered on the floor moments before the vote.

Give me a break. Is this adult behavior?

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act is 2008 is a substitute amendment for HR 3997 -- an old bil entitled the Defenders of Freedom Tax Relief Act of 2007 which has already passed the the House and Senate

You can see a precise breakdown of the vote on

To read the full text of the Economic Stabilization Act go to

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Recap of the 2008 Presidential Debate from Ole Miss

*updated Saturday, 9/27 11:33 am est

The pundits will be spinning this all night but there are three ways to look at Friday night's debate hosted by the University of Mississippi.

  • You can judge whether each candidate advanced their message
  • You can judge the substance of the candidate's argument
  • You can judge the candidates on their style.
I'll look at these in reverse order.

On Style

There is a strange irony that this debate was held at Ole Miss. The University of Mississippi was the scene of one of the pivotal moments in the civil rights movement. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy had to call out US Marshals in order to protect James Meredith, the first African American student to enroll in the University. Both the University and the State of Mississippi have come a long way since then.

So why do I bring that up now. Because tonight it seemed that Senator John McCain treated his debate opponent Sen. Barack Obama with the same disdain that Governor Ross Barnett directed at James Meredith.

No, I'm not calling John McCain a racist. But McCain's repeated use of the phrase "Senator Obama just doesn't understand", his failure to ever look in Sen. Obama's direction, and those angry scowls, struck a strange chord with many debate observers.

Mississippi has progressed into the 21st century and McCain is stuck in the Sixties.

On the other hand, Sen. Obama seemed strong, cordial, occasionally smiling and in control of his emotions and his facts.

So on style points, I give the debate to Obama.

On Substance

Neither candidate did a great job in answering the question on how the $700 billion Wall Street bailout would impact their plans. However, Senator Obama was consistent in his message that
healthcare, energy independence, and education could not be ignored if this nation is to move into the future.

Conversely Senator McCain suggested that he would "freeze spending". All I could think at this point was: Is he saying that he'll just let the bridges keep falling down?

When it came to a discussion of "The Surge", Senator McCain stated that "Senator Obama doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy." That line worked for McCain during the debate. But listen to what Senator Obama's running mate, Senator Joe Biden had to say about it post-debate*:

Senator McCain remarked that Senator Obama shouldn't have openly discussed going into Pakistan after Bin Laden. This statement from then man who sang, "bomb, bomb. bomb, bomb, bomb Iran".

However, Senator Obama probably stated one too many times that he agreed with Senator McCain. And even if he was agreeing on minor points, these will be the clips that the GOP will play over, and over and over .....

So on substance, while I don't agree with many of Senator McCain's views, I have concede that this area would be scored as a tie by most viewers.

On Who Advanced Their Message

Here we have a draw. They both spoke to their core constituencies.
John McCain came across as a warrior and Barack Obama came across as a diplomat. What else did you expect.

By the way, it took until the bitter end but John McCain did work in a reference to his POW experience.

Of course, these are just my thoughts. You have to decide for yourself.

P.S. Thanks to C-SPAN for creating their new debate hub. It was great live blogging and reading the tweets.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Like Watching A Pitbull Trying to Survive in the Wild

Unless you have no media access or you're dead you've now heard something about Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric. Well, let me say right now that it's time to stop this form of inhumane torture of both the American people and Sarah Palin.

Despite the fact that she brought this criticism on herself by her "the media is picking on me", "hockey moms and pit bulls", and condescending "community organizer"
comments I just can't stand to keep watching this pitbull puppy being torn apart by the wolf pack.

Watching Sarah Palin over the past week has been like watching an episode of "Wild Kingdom". I always close my eyes when the lions close in on the wildebeast or the wolves close in on the baby moose.

Yes, the wolves have an axe to grind (the moose too) with Sarah Palin. And yes, the wolves have every right to line her up in their sights and take any shot they can. But do we all have to watch this.

Where's PETA?

A pit bull may be one fierce animal in its own backyard but out in the wild against a wolf pack it just isn't prepared.

Forget freeing Sarah Palin. Will someone please place her back in her own yard.


This is just too cruel for everyone concerned.

Palin Accepted $25,000 in Gifts, Alaska Records Show

excerpt from:
Palin Accepted $25,000 in Gifts, Alaska Records Show

Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 26, 2008; Page A08

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has made a crackdown on gift-giving to state officials a centerpiece of her ethics reform agenda, has accepted gifts valued at $25,367 from industry executives, municipalities and a cultural center whose board includes officials from some of the largest mining interests in the state, a review of state records shows.

John McCain on John McCain

"I don't torture myself over decisions. I make them as quickly as I can,
quicker than the other fellow if I can. Often my haste is a mistake,
but I live with the consequences without complaint."

--- from "Worth Fighting For"
by John McCain and Mark Salter, 2002

Is this the person who you want with the power to deploy US troops?

Is this the person who you want with the ability to launch a nuclear assault?

Is this the person who you want attempting to influence the US economy?

Are you willing to live with the consequence's of John McCain's quick decisions without complaint?

If I worked for the Obama campaign this would be the one quote that I would repeat in ads over and over and over again.

Quote of the Day: We've Spent More TIme on Steroids in Baseball

"We've spent more time in Congressional hearings on steroids in baseball than we have in discussing the $700 billion dollars rip-off of the American people" -- Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX, 2nd District

Amen, Ted!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Modern Bedtime Story

Once upon a time, around five or six years ago, a group of men on Wall Street and "K" Street decided that they wanted to make a lot of money and at the same time bolster their political friends by making the nation's economy (in general) and the housing market (specifically) look prosperous.

These men devised a plan to create really shady mortgage and high risk loan
products and offer them to the most economically vulnerable members of society. The men knew that the mortgage and loan rates would adjust in approximately five years placing the economy in jeopardy but until that day arrived, they would make a financial killing and their political friends could boast of a booming economy and increases in home ownership.

These men also knew that the millions of homes lost to foreclosure could be picked up real cheap, later.

The men knew that at the end of five years their plan might be discovered but they also knew that by then:
  • no one would understand what had happened;
  • no one would believe that this had been planned; and,
  • no one would ever be prosecuted.

They knew that
when their plan was finally exposed their millions would be resting comfortably in off-shore banks and the government would have no choice but to throw billions of dollars into the market in order to stave off a depression.

These men knew that by the time that their house of cards came tumbling down their political friends would be out of office and the whole mess would be someone else's problem.

And oh by the way ...

their friends in the oil industry had their own plan. There's a lot of cheap shoreline property available these days.

Sweet Dreams

No Bailout for Wall Street -- Protest on Wall Street this Thursday at 4pm!

No Bailout for Wall Street -- Protest on Wall Street this Thursday at 4pm! | Naomi Klein

Call to Self-Organize

Note: Naomi Klein is not organizing this protest, she is just helping get the word out about it. If you would like more information, please contact Arun Gupta at

This week the White House is going to try to push through the biggest robbery in world history with nary a stitch of debate to bail out the Wall Street bastards who created this economic apocalypse in the first place.

This is the financial equivalent of September 11. They think, just like with the Patriot Act, they can use the shock to force through the "therapy," and we'll just roll over!

Think about it: They said providing healthcare for 9 million children, perhaps costing $6 billion a year, was too expensive, but there's evidently no sum of money large enough that will sate the Wall Street pigs. If this passes, forget about any money for environmental protection, to counter global warming, for education, for national healthcare, to rebuild our decaying infrastructure, for alternative energy.

This is a historic moment. We need to act now while we can influence the debate. Let's demonstrate this Thursday at 4pm in Wall Street (see below).

We know the congressional Democrats will peep meekly before caving in like they have on everything else, from FISA to the Iraq War.

With Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie, AIG, the money markets and now this omnibus bailout, well in excess of $1 trillion will be distributed from the poor, workers and middle class to the scum floating on top.

This whole mess gives lie to the free market. The Feds are propping up stock prices, directing buyouts, subsidizing crooks and swindlers who already made a killing off the mortgage bubble.

Worst of all, even before any details have been hashed out, The New York Times admits that "Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it," and its chief financial correspondent writes that the Bush administration wants "Congress to give them a blank check to do whatever they want, whatever the cost, with no one able to watch them closely."

It's socialism for the rich and dog-eat-dog capitalism for the rest of us.

Let's take it to the heart of the financial district! Gather at 4pm, this Thursday, Sept. 25 in the plaza at the southern end of Bowling Green Park, which is the small triangular park that has the Wall Street bull at the northern tip.

By having it later in the day we can show these thieves, as they leave work, we're not their suckers. Plus, anyone who can't get off work can still join us downtown as soon as they are able.

There is no agenda, no leaders, no organizing group, nothing to endorse other than we're not going to pay! Let the bondholders pay, let the banks pay, let those who brought the "toxic" mortgage-backed securities pay!

On this list are many key organizers and activists. We have a huge amount of connections – we all know many other organizations, activists and community groups. We know P.R. folk who can quickly write up and distribute press releases, those who can contact legal observers, media activists who can spread the word, the videographers who can film the event, etc.

Do whatever you can – make and distribute your own flyers, contact all your groups and friends. This crime is without precedence and we can't be silent! What's the point of waiting for someone else to organize a protest two months from now, long after the crime has been perpetrated?

We have everything we need to create a large, peaceful, loud demonstration. Millions of others must feel the same way; they just don't know what to do. Let's take the lead and make this the start!

When: 4pm – ? Thursday, September 25.
Where: Southern end of Bowling Green Park, in the plaza area
What to bring: Banners, noisemakers, signs, leaflets, etc.
Why: To say we won't pay for the Wall Street bailout
Who: Everyone!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Strange Thought to End A Strange Day

After watching Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin I had a very strange thought.

What if the friends of George and Dick within the GOP used their remaining influence with the RNC to force John McCain to choose Sarah Palin as a running mate?

Could they be that cruel?


I told you that it was a strange thought?

Sweet Dreams

Bush Faces America

... and Cheney is MIA or possibly skulking the halls of Congress threatening house Republicans with waterboarding.

Despite the fact that he looked like a deer that has been chased for days and is now caught in the headlines, The current US President stood before the American people and made his case for the Wall Street bailout. Maybe I'm mellowing a little, but I say you have to give him a little credit for standing up and admitting that the economy has gone to hell in a hand basket on his watch.

This had to be worse than facing impeachment.

Reuters is reporting:

" President George W. Bush on Wednesday said the United States was in a serious financial crisis as he tried to convince Americans to support a $700 billion financial rescue plan.

'We are in the midst of a serious financial crisis and the federal government is responding with decisive action,' Bush said in a televised national address.

He warned that 'the market is not functioning properly,' there is widespread loss of confidence, major sectors are at risk, and more banks could fail and threaten sending the U.S. economy into recession. 'We must not let this happen,' Bush said.

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Chris Wilson)

I want to believe that this wasn't just another Bush/Cheney scare tactic.

As bad as the news was, I want to believe that this time the threat is real and imminent.

And most of all I really want to believe that the person, George W. Bush has finally learned the lessons that "humility is not weakness" and that "you can learn from listening to dissenting opinions."

I want to believe that when a man can't save his legacy, he can still save his soul and maybe help save his nation.

Oh my, I'm mellowing.

Joe Biden speaks on Foreign Policy in Cincinnati, OH

Earlier today Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Joe Biden spoke about Barack Obama's judgment and readiness to lead the country in a new direction from the failed Bush-McCain foreign policies.

This afternoon Senator McCain wants to postpone Friday night's debate.


John McCain's September Surprise?

Senator John McCain, who just a few days ago said that the US economy is "fundamentally strong", has now announced that he is temporarily suspending his campaign in order to return to Washington and work on the financial crisis.

CNN is reporting:

"The Arizona senator called on his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, to do the same.

The Obama campaign announced that Obama would make a statement shortly.

He also urged organizers of Friday's presidential debate at the University of Mississippi to postpone the event.

'I am calling on the president to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself,' McCain told reporters in New York. 'It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.' "

Is McCain just whining? Is this all in his mind?

Is this the GOP's October surprise a few weeks early?

Now I can understand that now is not the time for the presidential candidates to debate the economy. But correct me if I'm wrong, isn't the topic for Friday's debate "foreign policy".

Isn't foreign policy supposed to be the McCain/Palin ticket's strength?

Maybe they need a few more weeks to catch Bin Laden.

OK, we get it. Things are SO Bad that everything should be put on hold in order to fix it and we should all be VERY AFRAID AGAIN.

And tonight President Bush is going to address the nation and tell us that unless Congress once again gives them the keys to the kingdom that the economy will collapse. The economy that both Bush and McCain have insisted for years was strong and sound.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Maybe the economy is facing collapse within a few days. And maybe this time the little boys are not crying wolf. But Americans are tired of being lied to, manipulated and terrorized from within.

Related posts:

Get Over The Shock ... Stop Them Now!

Roads to Nowhere

Update on this post: As of 7/17/15 the person referenced in this post and I are still friends.  Go figure :-)

No, this is not another post about Alaska's infamous "bridge to nowhere" or the "road to nowhere" which ends where the bridge was never built.

This post is about my ever increasing awareness that there may be some political chasms that simply can't be bridged. And it's about the time and energy spent on human relationships that end up as roads that dead-end at un-built bridges.

For the past eight years I have been extremely disheartened by the tenor of political debate during presidential elections. However, after all that the country has witnessed, experienced and learned in hindsight over the past few years, i held great hope that this time people would put political party allegiance and the rhetoric of hate aside to find common ground. For the most part, I believe that most Americans have done, or are at least trying to do, just that.

However, in the past few days I have come to realize that there are still many people who, when it comes to politics, are stuck in the Sixties. No matter how you reach out to them and no matter how much you try to find common ground, their political arguments are reminiscent of the '64 and '68 campaigns.

Don't misunderstand me, many of the arguments put forth in 1968 are just as applicable today as they were then. But a segment of the American electorate seems so entrenched in the divisive rhetoric of that era and for them the world is black and white, no shades of gray and no colors.
Are they all racist? No. And many of those that are, are so on a subconscious level.

Are they all sexist?
No. Many of them treat the women in their immediate sphere with great respect.

Are they all unintelligent or uneducated?
Sadly, no. If that were the case it would be so much easier to understand.
No, those rooted in the politics of the Sixties are simply people for whom life's issues can be more easily managed when they conform to stereotypes and can be categorized and labeled.

A few days ago, I wrote a post about a very disturbing viral email which I received from an internet acquaintance. The email contained a link to a video by the inflammatory "Rev." James David Manning in which he purports to be defending Bristol Palin by making disparaging remarks about Barack Obama's mother. The video was so hateful and misleading that I felt that I needed to not only reply to the sender but send an open letter to my other friends as well as post my thoughts on this blog.

Since that time, I have received numerous responses to that post. Many of the responses thanked me for speaking out against the hateful speech, misrepresentation of the Christian faith and the claim that the media and the Democrat party had waged an attack on Bristol Palin. However, as you may have guessed not all of the responses were positive. And two of those responses, in particular have lead me to believe that some bridges cannot be bridged.

The following are those two responses and, of course, the sender's names will be omitted.

First a response from JP:


    Read your reply to the video and I know your feelings are focused on Obama as the person you want to see elected in Nov. You have to understand that there are a lot of people who do not see things your way (me for instance). However, my reasons for opposing Obama are on a more intellectual level - I just flat don't think he is qualified to be president.

    We are now going into the most terrifying time I can remember in my life - and Pam, that is a long time - We stand at the brink of a 1930's depression - no joke. Our elected leaders have put themselves ahead of the country for years and years and now the decisions that were made in the past are coming home to roost. I'm not going to go into all of those bad decisions, but suffice it to say, there is plenty of blame for both republicans and democrats. But, so what? That is the past, who can get us out of this mess?

    Who has (you'll pardon the expression) the balls to do what is "right" and to hell with political expediency? Do you think for one second that Obama has that kind of backbone? The guy who voted "present" 130 times when he was in the Illinois senate? The guy who has been conspicuous by his silence on the current financial mess?

    It is your future and the future of your children, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces that is at stake. The fools think that throwing a TRILLION dollars or MORE at the banking/finance industry is going to change or fix a problem that can only be fixed by getting rid of the people and institutions that got us into this mess in the first place.

    Yes, I'm saying, let the banks fail - let the feds go in and take them over - that's the way the system is designed to work. Let the investors lose their collective asses. Get rid of the zillionairs at the top of these organizations and make sure they leave with the shirt on their back and nothing else. Hard love - no breaks for people that made bad decisions - that is how we learn not to do the same dumb shit in the future.

    Nuf said... my stand is "lesser of evils" or who will do the least damage in a rotten situation. I think McCain has got to be the sacrificial goat here - the decisions he will have to make will almost certainly guarantee that he will only be a one term president - read Herbert Hoover... just a really bad situation and we must have someone who is not afraid to do some really hard things - no way out of this mess easily...


My response to JP was:

    Dear J,

    Sadly it is clear from your opening statement that you do not know my feelings at all on this issue.

    Before I am African American, before I am a woman and before I am a Democrat I am a Christian. I am deeply offended by the use of a "religious" forum to demean or degrade anyone. I am also offended by anyone, Black or White, male or female, gay or straight, Democrat, Republican or Independent who uses any form of bigotry to advance a political position.

    I've made no secret that I support Barack Obama but no where in my email did I imply that you or anyone else should support Obama, McCain, Barr or any other candidate.

    It is also clear from the rest of your response that you do not realize that I have been watching and blogging about the financial situation for the past three years. During that time I've pulled no punches and have leveled criticism at both Democrats and Republicans, The Fed, and the unscrupulous practices of Wall Street and the banking industry.

    Overall, your feedback further confirms my beliefs that:

    * many Americans have stopped reading/listening to anyone whom they presume doesn't share their views;

    * many are willing to stoop to any depths to advance their political views;

    * and sadly many Americans are still way too comfortable with bigotry.

    And yes J, I know that there are a lot of people who do not see things my way.


Next is a response from JS who was a little more upset. The comments in green are JS's quoting of my original reply:

    JS wrote:

    >> Dear JS,


    >> I am sitting here asking myself why anyone whom I consider a friend,

    >> internet buddy or even casual acquaintance would think that I would find anything funny about this

    >> video.


    >> And as a Christian, a woman, an African American and an intelligent

    >> individual, I do not find this humorous on any level and I am only passing it along so I can address

    >> this brand of hateful ignorance.


    > **Ignorance, huh? In our various letters exchanged, it became more and more

    > obvious you are a Democrat. And what is the platform of that party? It's

    > pro-choice (abortion) and okay for same sex marriage. If you can show me

    > where in the Bible God gives his okay for these two sins, I'd appreciate it.

    > For years now the Democrats have held this view of those subjects. I'd rather

    > starve as the result of poor economics than to directly tell God these two

    > sins are okay with Him. Yet many Christians who are Democrats just pass

    > by on this law of God's, choosing to rather deal with economics. And for

    > that matter, I applaud blacks who do not let the race issue affect the way

    > they vote.


    > **I am not a prejudiced person, contrary to what you seem to be saying.

    > If Obama was against abortion and against same sex marriage and McCain

    > was on the opposite side of these issues, I'd be voting for Obama.


    > **If you have had enough of me, I'll remove your e-address from my

    > Address Book. But I'll still wish the best for you, even a change of how

    > you feel about politics and issues.


    > **Take care, JS

My reply to JS:

    Dear John,

    First of all, no where in my comments did I accuse you of being ignorant or prejudiced. I said that I find "Rev." Manning's comments to be "a brand of hateful ignorance." I do not refer to anyone, White, Black Asian, Latino or other as "trash".

    Second, since I know that you are a Republican I have respected your views and have very, very seldom sent you anything of a political nature. In fact, I don't recall ever sending you anything that was a personal attack on any other person. And since you have not read much of what I have written about this campaign then you jump to the conclusion that I have always supported Barack Obama and have never been critical of him.

    For the many years that we have corresponded I have never made a secret of the fact that I am a registered Democrat. I have also on numerous occasions stated that I while I am pro-life, I do not feel that the government can legislate the behavior of others. I am also a fiscal conservative. I am a Democrat because I believe that when you take care of the most vulnerable in our society it benefits everyone.

    I am not going to try to explain that the majority of Democrats care about many more things than two issues. Nor am I going to attempt to justify my faith to anyone but God.

    Yet, in spite of our differences I never thought of your political affiliation when I prayed for the health of (wife's name) or yourself. Or prayed for the safety of your children and grandchildren.

    And while I also wish you well I do not feel that you view me with the same respect in which I have always tried to hold you. Nor do I believe that you are interested in exchanging ideas with anyone who does not exactly share your point of view. Therefore, I will leave it up to you to determine if this relationship has run its course.

    I wish you and your family well. May God bless your home.

    Pamela Lyn

Today, I'm reflecting on what I should or could have said differently or possibly not said at all.  But I guess, sometimes you're just left with roads to nowhere

Remember These Names

These are the men who in years to come will probably be in your children and grandchildren's history books somewhere near Michael Milken and Ken Lay.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Get Over The Shock ... Stop Them Now!

Dear Readers,

If the last few days have left you with the same feelings that you had during the run up to the Iraq War you're definitely not alone.

Remember the WMDs that posed an imminent threat to America?

Remember the statements that implied that the Iraqi oil revenue was going to pay for the war?

Now the Bush Administration and The Fed are saying that we have a financial crisis that needs an immediate $700 billion infusion from the American taxpayer. Did you know that some of that money could be used to bail out foreign owned banks?

Within the next 24 hours, Congress is expected to make an historic choice in addressing America's financial crisis:

Cut the Bush administration a $700 billion blank check for Wall Street
demand sensible public checks and balances in the $700 billion bailout.

Well, before you let them cut that blank check think about this?

Remember the brave US service men and women who were sent to war in Afghanistan and Iraq without proper body armor.

Remember the appalling conditions at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Remember that the US embassy in Iraq which cost in excess of $600 million to build and is projected to have an annual operating cost of $1.2 billion.

Remember that President Bush vetoed a $35 billion expansion to the SCHIP program which would have provided health insurance to millions of America's uninsured children. He said that we couldn't afford it.

Remember the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and now Ike. There are still parts of New Orleans' 9th Ward as well as many parishes in Western Louisiana which have yet to have all of the debris removed.

Remember that five years after the worse blackout in US history, the energy grid is still "in dire straits".

Americans, Get Over The Shock Already!

Are you going to let The Fed, the Bush Administration and Congress rush through a $700 billion dollar bailout of Wall Street and the banking industry when all of the aforementioned have put America and Americans last time after time after time after time?

Now, I'm not saying that nothing needs to be done to fix this broken economy. But are you going to let them rush to a bailout like they rushed to a war?

I just took action with the Campaign for America's Future to weigh in for common sense solutions. I wanted to urge you to do the same. Please write an emergency letter to Congress now, and tell them: **No $700 Billion blank check to the Bush administration for Wall Street!**

Enough is Enough!

Speak up now, this may be your last chance.

In the following video clip, Rep. Dennis Kucinich sounded the cry --


He may have been addressing the Democratic National Convention at the time but his words are a call to all of us.

Americans wake up. Please!

Related posts:

A Healthy Dose of Economic Reality
July, 2008

In Search of Answers to the Foreclosure Crisis That Won't Make Matters Worse
May, 2008

Bad Luck, Incompetence, Lack of Regulation, or Simple Avarice
March 2008

Where Are They Getting The Money?
March, 2008

Watch for the Signs
October, 2007

Lay, Skilling Convicted in Enron Collapse
May, 2006

For Minorities, Signs of Trouble in Foreclosures
February, 2006


The Debt Peonage Society by Paul Krugman
New York Times, March 2005

Republican Alaskan Senate President Upset Over Blocking in "Troopergate" Investigation

excerpt from: | Alaska Politics Blog :
Green: 'They're attacking nice people, saying things that aren't true.'

Mother Jones mojo blog reports that Senate President Lyda Green is pursuing options that might allow the state Senate to convene and deal with Troopergate.

Calling herself a "raging Republican," Green says, she is "absolutely disgusted, embarrassed, and ashamed" by the McCain-Palin campaign's intervention in the Troopergate probe.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Sunday Evening Email

What is it about an election campaign that brings out the deep seeded ugliness in the American psyche?

As I was preparing to write a review of the 60 Minutes interview with John McCain and Barack Obama I paused to read a few email messages. And after reading the following email, it became quite clear in my mind that there are still many, many people in this nation who are not now, and possibly never will be, able to view a political campaign based on the issues.

After receiving the email below I decided to share my reply not only with the sender but all of you because I want everyone to know exactly where I stand on this type of rhetoric.


Before you read my reply you may want to view the video it references. But a word of caution. *The BS that you are about to see may cause your blood pressure to rise* And that is being kind.

First, here is the email that I received:
JS wrote:

> In search engines I could not find this article to be a false one.
> Do let me know if you do..
> Subject: Obama's Mama
> Wonder what the Rev. really thinks?
> (This just received....about a
> black preacher hitting the Democrats for their attack ads on
> Saraha Palin's daughter, Bristol. He really rakes them over the
> let's do church !!!!)
> OK, here's the just
> gotta click on the link below and you're gonna laugh your head
> off. That's one black man that sure tells it like it is about
> Obama and his mama as he defends Palins daughter, Bristol. Really, you don't want to delete this without first listening all
> the way to the end.
> If fact, this is one email I'll bet
> you can't resist passing ion to ALL of your email buddies. Wanna
> bet?? Go ahead, click the link below for a real good laugh.

Now here's my reply:
Dear JS,

I am sitting here asking myself why anyone whom I consider a friend, internet buddy or even casual acquaintance would think that I would find anything funny about this video.

As an American, I am wondering when we will have had enough of this.

As a Democrat, I am going to expose this for what it is -- just one more tool being used to use race as a wedge issue in a political campaign and to distract people from the real issues.

And as a Christian, a woman, an African American and an intelligent individual, I do not find this humorous on any level and I am only passing it along so I can address this brand of hateful ignorance.

First, will someone, ANYONE, give me *ONE* example of an attack ad directed against Bristol Palin that has been sponsored by the Obama/Biden campaign or a member of the Democratic National Committee. Name one. And if you can come up with an example, I invite you to post your findings publicly (as a comment) on my blog, Pam's Coffee Conversation.

Second, I am not sure of how many African Americans you know personally, but any Pastor whom I respect would not refer to either Barack Obama's mother, Bristol Palin or The Virgin Mary, for that matter, as "trash".

In fact, anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ and thinks that ANYONE is "trash" better spend A LOT more time reading their bible. Obviously, they've missed something.

I do not sit under leadership that preaches against White, Black, Asian, or Latino people. A fact which I addressed in a blog post when the "Rev. Jeremiah Wright" sermon was headline news.

As I stated then:

For me, personally, as an African American and as a Christian, I do not feel comfortable with preaching from a minister, of any race, who uses the pulpit to preach anything other than the gospel of grace, love, faith and reconciliation with God (/and your fellow man/).

Third, let me say this as clearly as I know how, *James David Manning is behaving like an ignorant buffoon*. He does not represent "*black style*", whatever you think that is supposed to be, or the Christ whom he is claiming to serve. I do not know him, nor am I familiar with any of his other messages, but if this rant is an example of his teaching he is a pitiful human being.

This video serves no one except Mr. Manning's ego because you can be sure that he knows that it will be widely circulated. It also serves the bigots who believe, and want you to believe, that all African American ministers are hatemongers. And hence, Barack Obama as an African American can not be trusted.

Fourth, there is a place for political humor and satire but personal attacks on anyone's mother, child, spouse, etc is crossing way over the line.

And finally, if you were not deeply disturbed by this video then you and I do not share the same core values.
As I sit here posting this to my blog a thought comes to mind that brings me to tears. It is highly likely that the person who sent that email to me attended Sunday morning church service just hours before clicking the forward button. I originally titled this post "The Ugly American Voter Exposed" but the irony of receiving this email on a Sunday is crying out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

You CAN Tell A Lot About A Man By the Women in His Life

Joe Biden began a rally in Sterling Virginia by introducing the women in his life. He later spoke about his fight to end domestic violence, women's struggle for equality, and the impact the economy has on women's lives.

Can you imagine the McCain/Palin women having lunch with the Obama/Biden women?

Neither can I. LOL

Cenk Uygur's Commentary of John McCain's Use of Thinly Veiled Racism

The video clip speaks for itself

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What "NOW" Viewers Are Expressing about Sarah Palin

As I noted in a previous post PBS' current events program "NOW" is conducting a poll which is asking voters if they believe that Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is qualified to serve as Vice President. Well, as of 8 PM EST the results show:
  • 51% yes,
  • 46% no and
  • 1% not sure.
Of course everyone has a right to their opinion but I would be very interested hearing from the 51% why they believe that Gov. Palin is qualified to assume the Presidency of the United States in the event that Senator McCain can not fulfill the duties of the office.

When Governor Palin was asked at recent Town Hall Meeting to outline "specific skills" to support her foreign policy credentials she herself could not answer the question.

Pete Snyder, a Republican consultant states that her "energy experience" gives her foreign policy credentials.


And Frasier Seitel, FOX News' "PR kinda guy" states that "she's coming up the learning curve" and that she has three strengths:

  • She's an outsider;
  • She believes in energy independence; and,
  • She's an advocate for children with special needs. (an "advocate" who by the way, cut the state's budget for The Special Olympics).

Even Fox News couldn't make this sound good.

Yet 51% of the people who've voted in the "NOW" poll believe that Sarah Palin is ready to be VP.

Oh My!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Vote Immediately in Poll on Sarah Palin

 PBS has a short video on Sarah Palin on their website.

Also included is a poll that asks: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be VP?

I logged on a few minutes ago and 53 percent had voted YES,
and 41 percent NO, and 5 percent not sure.

Make your voice heard.....

Here's the link:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bullwinkle Newsflash

Thanks Lee.

And just when we were getting over Mike Huckabee's confession about frying squirrel in a
popcorn popper ... Now Bullwinkle :-(

Can you believe the audacity?! Is no one safe???!!!

What’s next???!! Or who??!!!

Sad Sad news- I’m outta here!!

This is by far the best email of the week. Thanks to the creator of this great cartoon.

No copyright infringement intended.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Psalm for Days Like These

If you live in a society that has internet access then you probably live in a society that is affected in some way by the global banking crisis created by the failure of a number US financial institutions.

And while politicians, CEOs and the media are trying to explain how this happened, this crisis is causing many people to fear and worry about their financial futures and the futures of their children.

People everywhere are starting to realize that this situation did not happen overnight and like a runaway train, it can't be slowed down much less turned around any time soon. And no matter who wins the US Presidential Election it's going to be very hard to mend this fallen humpty-dumpty economy.

Sticking your head in the sand isn't going to make it go away. And fear never has been, is not now, nor will it ever be an answer to any problem. So if what you're hearing in the news is troubling you or someone you know, here is a thought to hold on to.

Psalm 37 (NIV)

A Psalm Of David.
1 Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;

2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

9 For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.

11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;

13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.

15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;

17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.

18 The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever.

19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish: The LORD's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields,
they will vanish—vanish like smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;

22 those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off.

23 If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm;

24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.

27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.

28 For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.
They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;

29 the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.

31 The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip.

32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives;

33 but the LORD will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil,

36 but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace.

38 But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him

# # # # #

Thank you Pastor Brian Houston for reminding me that people need good news.

Debate Porridge Investigates Voter Purging in Ohio?

Now what are you going to do?

Joe Biden on The Today Show, September 16 2008

Biden: McCain's Plans Disasterous for the Middle Class

Appearing on CNN, Joe Biden discusses how McCain's economic policies will be disasterous for the middle class.

Despite Threats Alaskan Women Want You to Know The Real Sarah Palin

Despite threats to their physical safety over a thousand Alaskan women rallied so you would know what they know about Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.

excerpt from:
Anti-Palin rally organizers receive threats
by Lori Tipton Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008

ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- Opponents of Gov. Sarah Palin's policies are being threatened.

Alaska Women Reject Palin, a local group that opposes the Republican vice presidential candidate, on Wednesday announced plans to host an anti-Palin rally this weekend.

Since that announcement organizers say they've received intimidating messages.

A press release for the Reject Palin rally went out to practically every media outlet in town Wednesday. And one talk radio host decided to share the names and phones numbers of the two contacts on-air.

That decision has left organizers feeling somewhat fearful of practicing their First Amendment rights.

KBYR talk radio host Eddie Burke admits he is a conservative and a "Palinista."

But on Wednesday Burke resorted to name calling when he found out Alaska Women Reject Palin planned to host a Saturday rally.

"They're a bunch of socialist maggots, that's what I'm going to call them -- socialist maggots, that's what they are, a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots," said Burke.

On Thursday Burke pulled back, a little.

"Yesterday, I was probably a little over the top," he said.

The talk show host encouraged listeners to call the two women listed on the press release, which he calls a public document.

Burke says he released the information across the airwaves because organizers had included their contact numbers in the press release.

But some listeners ended up making abusive threats toward the two rally organizers.

One message said, in part, "You liberals need to get a life. What is wrong with you? You think you speak for everybody? You don't speak for nobody but your individual, stupid selves."

An organizer of the rally said the message "shocked" her. Channel 2 News is not publishing or broadcasting the name of this organizer.

"I was honestly shocked because I couldn't believe that a member of the media would take information that I think is pretty standard in a press release and use it for what seems like pretty unethical purposes, for one thing," the organizer said.

This organizer and another woman have voicemail boxes "full of messages," they say, thanks to Burke.

The messages range from people objecting the rally to personal threats.

"To really abusive, hostile, you know, swearing, personal attacks, name calling," they said.

On September 13, 2008, the "Alaska Women Reject Palin" Rally took place as scheduled.

Thank you to these courageous women.

Happy Constitution Day

excerpt from:
Common Cause Blog :: Constitutional Role of the Media in our Democracy

By Jon Bartholomew
Posted on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 10:40:08 AM EST

Today is Constitution Day.

221 years ago, the United States Constitution was crafted to guide the great experiment known as American democracy.

Four years later, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, were ratified and became law of the land. The First Amendment does something not found in any other part of the Constitution or its amendments. It protects one particular industry - the press. (Read our media reform plan for a new administration)


Simply said, a democracy can not function properly without the press informing the public, exposing voters to the marketplace of ideas, and holding public officials accountable.

But here's how the founders of our country put it...

The Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776) proclaimed that "the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by despotic governments."

Thomas Jefferson said: "The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them." (Jefferson wrote a lot about this subject)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And now it's AIG

Today all of the talk in US financial and political markets has been about saving insurance giant AIG. 

Readers, all of this chaos did not happen overnight and it did not happen in a vacuum.

excerpt from:
Regulators struggle to keep AIG afloat
            - International Herald Tribune

By Mary Williams Walsh and Michael J. de la Merced
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NEW YORK: U.S. regulators struggled Tuesday to prevent the collapse of one of the world's largest insurance companies, American International Group, as investors' fears of yet another failure of a Wall Street behemoth prompted another dramatic sell off in its stock.

Federal Reserve officials and two leading investment banks, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, were in urgent talks to put together a $75 billion line of credit to stave off a crisis at the company. Without the financing, AIG might be forced to declare bankruptcy, according to two people briefed on the situation.

A failure of AIG would have a broad impact. The company has links to many of the world's financial institutions and plays a major role in the largely unregulated market for a complex financial instrument known as credit default swaps. Never before has a large participant in that opaque market failed, creating great uncertainty about the consequences in global financial markets if that were to indeed happen.

In Singapore, customers of AIG's local life insurance unit lined up outside its city center office to terminate policies, prompting the city-state's central bank to declare the unit had "sufficient assets" to soothe customers, Bloomberg News reported.

Governor Palin's Reading List

If the revelation that Sarah Palin quoted from a man that openly wished Robert F Kennedy dead does not receive that same amount of attention as the comments by Reverend Jeremiah Wright then there is something terribly wrong with the media in this country.
About Sarah Palin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

In Defense of George W. Bush - from a member of "the angry left"

Well not as much a defense as a little bit of human compassion for a man who is being hurled overboard like Jonah. And it seems that the people most anxious to hurl him into the sea are the members of his own party.

Now that the great ship of the US economy is caught in a tsunami, the crew has decided that instead of drowning they are going toss the pariah.
It's amazing what happens when a ship is going down.

Don't get me wrong, I doubt that there are many people who have been more critical of the policies and actions of George W. Bush than I. But then again, I was never a fan to begin with.

What has happened to the members of the religious right who proclaimed that Bush 43 was: "god's chosen leader"; "the only Christian choice"; and, "the man who would restore integrity to the White House"?

What has happened to all of the campaign strategists who spun his every move, staged every public forum and used every natural and man-made disaster for political advantage? Weren't these people always telling him how devoted they were to his cause?

What has happened to his second in command and his body guards in the Justice Department who repeatedly convinced him that he was untouchable, invincible?

What has happened to his friends at The Fed, on Wall Street, in the oil industry and in Saudi Arabia who were giving him economic advice and kept telling him that the economy was in great shape?

What happened to Iraqi oil paying for the Iraq war?

What happened to "trickle down economics" and the philosophy that "the market" will correct itself?

What has happened to all of the "K" Street lobbyists who begged for and got virtually everything that they wanted for nearly eight years?

What has happened to all of the heads of private contracting firms like Haliburton, KBR, Blackwater, et. al., who've made a fortune from Bush policies?

What happened to all of the Republican politicians who grabbed those Bush coat tails after 9/11 and road them like a rented mule?

Will none of you stand with the President now?

George W. Bush certainly hasn't run Washington by himself for nearly eight years.

So, I have just one question for all of the politicians, pundits, political advisors, members of the religious right and the GOP who are now busy leveling so much criticism on "Washington" for the way that the economy has been managed over the past seven plus years ..

What took you so long to speak up?

How many times did you take the President aside and suggest another course of action?

How many times did you take the President behind closed doors and flat tell him he was wrong?

How many times did you put your own self interest aside and stand up for what was right for the country?

Just how many times in the past eight years did you really put "Country First".

And to John McCain and Sarah Palin --

If you've known how to reform Washington all this time why couldn't you share this information with the other members of your party?

"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming
to where he was baptizing, he said to them:
"You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?"
-- Matthew 3:7