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FB is disappointing these days.

I am thinking of using this again. FB is getting... well, disappoinitng. I love my friends, and it is easy to stay in touch. But I feel like I can't post private or intimate feelings there like I could here. And G+ isn't making any of my friends excited enough to join it. Tumblr is OK, but again... no one wants to make the switch. FB is like a drug. A bad drug... like crack-cocaine for the MTV generation.

One more time. ROLL CALL!

You out there, peeps?
I am so proud of you. What a refreshing change from people that talk to see a bunch of young people actually *doing* something... trying to make a difference. I applaud you, I am one of you, and I realize that the fight is far from being over. I have something to say, however, that you wont like. I don't like it myself, but it needs to be said.

Unfortunately, the OWS movement here in Portland, has picked up every street person and drug addict that is looking for a place to stay. They shit where they eat, sell meth there, harass film crews and people that walk by. This is hurting the cause because the voices of the well educated civic activists is being drowned out by the activities of the people that are just there because they have nothing better to do. This is too bad, because our Mayor has been giving us the space we need to protect our rights to free speech, but during a march last week, one of these "protesters" tried to push a bicycle cop in front of a passing bus. Couple that with the self-proclaimed "anarchists" who have no idea what the term means, and are not willing to look it up in a dictionary out of fear that it will mean he can't bash bank windows with their skateboards, and you see a movement that started out for all the right reasons but will go down in history for all the wrong ones.

Create you own security crew. Don't let the squeaky wheel get all the grease. They are going to make the assholes at FOX, who see us as a bunch of disorganized hippies wishing for a handout right.

We have an opportunity here. Let's not let a few criminals fuck it up for the rest of us.

Nov. 30th, 2010

"To obtain these advantages of security and freedom is the object of all proper government; and it is not only the right of every man for himself, but his duty to his neighbor, to refuse obedience to any authority which does not serve its people to this end with loyalty and fidelity." Aleister Crowley. 1915 Declaration of the Irish Republic

On Mothers Day

Mother's Day was originally started after the Civil War, as a protest to the carnage of that war, by women who had lost their sons. Here is the original Mother's Day Proclamation from 1870, followed by a bit of history. Please feel free to pass this on to other moms.
............

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe
Boston
1870

Public Service Announcement

Public Service Announcement: File this under "Chinese Companies that exist to rip off Americans." BTW: their "100% guarantee is not honored." In fact the only think you are guaranteed is to be ripped off.

http://www.buyelectronicstore.com
I borrowed this from a new friend. File under "things that make you go hhhhmmm."

The real reason God destroyed Sodom, not the reason your fundamentalist preachers and friends tell you: "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy."--Ezekiel 16:49 (NASB) Sound familiar?

Worth reading.

It has the added benefit of educating and providing ammo.

http://tinyurl.com/yz9ubw6

My Religion

My religion is not subject to corruption any more than the immutable laws of nature. My gods cannot be desecrated and any attempt to do so instantly puts the offender in the most dire predicament one might imagine. My Religion is the Mother of all religion. It is pure and unbending, unaffected by the whims and desire of man.

Who is really to blame?

Who is to blame, really? If you reduce everything down to its lowest common denominator we find that corporations are a small part of the problem. The largest, most responsible parties to the plunder by far are the stockholders, who talk a great game about environmental responsibility and human rights so long as those stocks perform badly, but trip over their own cocks in the frenzy to buy them when they are churning out cash.
We have something new and exciting we'd like to share with you! It's the new Order of Thelemic Knights toolbar - once added to IE or Firefox, each time you shop at more than 1,300 stores (from Amazon to Zazzle!) a percentage of your purchase will automatically be donated to Order of Thelemic Knights - at no cost to you (and you may even save money as the toolbar provides coupons and deals as well!). The toolbar also has a search box and each time you search the Internet, about a penny is donated to Order of Thelemic Knights. http://www.goodsearch.com/toolbar/order-of-thelemic-knights

Part one of the "greatest deal on earth."

What the Supreme Court decisions really means.

Our New Video

I invite you to check out the Ego and The Ids video for Merlin Summons The Dragon from our
new album: Another Sad and Bizarre Chapter in Human History. Directed and produced by our good friend David Zietz. Please join our channel. Enjoy, have fun, post and pass it around, please!

So much suffering

So much drama. All of it unnecessary. People seem to be hardwired to do destructive things - things which have been proven, again and again to lead to disaster. Each and every single person thinks that they can get away with it... get a grip on it and assert some control, only to fall face first and weep "why me?"

Check it

The Yule Issue of Rending The Veil is up!
http://www.rendingtheveil.com/
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Supplemental Notice To Authors, Publishers And Other Book Rightsholders About The Google Book Settlement

The parties in Authors Guild, et al. v. Google Inc . announced a settlement of the litigation in October 2008 and sent out a Notice of that settlement (the “Original Settlement”). The parties have now amended the Original Settlement in response to discussions with the United States Department of Justice and objections to the Original Settlement (the “Amended Settlement”). The Amended Settlement Agreement (“ASA”), as well as the original Settlement Agreement and the original Notice, may be found at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com or obtained from the Settlement Administrator.

This Supplemental Notice is not designed to replace the original Notice, but rather, to supplement that Notice. This Supplemental Notice identifies:

1. The material amendments to the Original Settlement,
2. Your rights under the Amended Settlement, and
3. The date of the fairness hearing scheduled to determine whether the Amended Settlement should be granted final approval.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The deadline to claim Books and Inserts for Cash Payments has been extended from January 5, 2010 to March 31, 2011. The Removal deadline as to Google has been extended from April 5, 2011 to March 9, 2012. (The Removal deadline as to the libraries’ digital copies remains April 5, 2011.)

Summary of Amendments to the Original Settlement

1. Amended Settlement Class. The definition of Books has been narrowed. As a consequence, many class members under the Original Settlement are no longer class members under the Amended Settlement.

Rightsholders Who Are Included in the Amended Settlement Class

* For United States works, the definition of Books remains largely unchanged: United States works must have been published and registered with the United States Copyright Office by January 5, 2009 to be included in the Amended Settlement.
* Under the Amended Settlement, however, if the works are not United States works, they are only included in the Amended Settlement if they were published by January 5, 2009 and either were registered with the U.S. Copyright Office by that date or their place of publication was in Canada, the United Kingdom (“UK”) or Australia.

As a result of the narrowing of the definition of Books, the scope of Inserts has been narrowed as well.

Please note that you may be a member of the Amended Settlement Class even if you do not reside in the United States, Canada, the UK or Australia. If your work meets the criteria above, then you are a member of the Amended Settlement Class regardless of where you reside and regardless of where else your work may also have been published. (ASA Section 1.19)

A work will be considered to have a place of publication in Canada, the UK or Australia if its printed copy contains information indicating that the place of publication was in one of those three countries. Such information may include, for example, a statement that the book was “Published in [Canada or the UK or Australia],” or the location or address of the publisher in one of those three countries.

Rightsholders Who Are Not Included in the Amended Settlement Class

As a result of these amendments, if the only United States copyright interests you own are in works that were not either (a) published and registered with the United States Copyright Office by January 5, 2009 or (b) published in Canada, the UK or Australia by that date, you are not a member of the Amended Settlement Class, even if you were a member of the original Settlement Class.

If you are not a member of the Amended Settlement Class, you will not be eligible to participate in the Amended Settlement and you will not be bound by its terms. You retain all rights to sue Google for its digitization and use of your copyrighted material without your permission. If you wish to sue Google for such digitization and use, you must do so in a separate lawsuit. Your rights may be affected by laws limiting the time within which you may bring such a suit. If you are interested in bringing a lawsuit against Google, you should consult your own attorney.

If you were a class member under the Original Settlement, but are not a class member under the Amended Settlement, you should visit http://books.google.com/books-partner-options in order to learn about Google’s current policies with respect to the removal of your works from its databases, as well as Google’s interest in making your works accessible in models similar to those in the Amended Settlement under similar terms.

2. Commercially Available. The Amended Settlement clarifies that a Book is Commercially Available if it is being offered for sale new by a seller anywhere in the world to a buyer in the United States, Canada, the UK or Australia. (ASA Section 1.31)

The Amended Settlement now provides that Google will not display any Book it classifies as not Commercially Available for at least 60 days after the date of that classification, or the Effective Date, whichever is later. The Amended Settlement also now provides that, if a Rightsholder asserts that a Book is Commercially Available, Google will not display the Book unless Google successfully challenges that assertion in a dispute. (ASA Sections 3.2(d)(i) and 3.3(a))

3. Representation of Canadian, UK and Australian Rightsholders on the Board of the Registry. The Amended Settlement provides that the Board of the Book Rights Registry (the “Registry”) will, at a minimum, have one author and publisher director each from Canada, the UK and Australia. (ASA Section 6.2(b)(ii))

4. Monitoring for Rightsholders Outside the United States. Because the services authorized by the Amended Settlement will be unavailable to users outside the United States, the Registry will, upon request, monitor Google’s use of Books and Inserts to ensure that they conform to the requirements of the Amended Settlement and to Rightsholders’ instructions, and will attempt to provide a means for such Rightsholders themselves to monitor and verify their claimed Books and Inserts. (ASA Section 6.1(f))

5. Dispute Resolution Optional For Rightsholders. The Amended Settlement now provides that Rightsholders may agree not to arbitrate disputes between or among them under the dispute resolution mechanism in the Amended Settlement. In addition, Rightsholders (but not Google) can elect to participate in any arbitration by teleconference or videoconference in order to save travel costs. (ASA Sections 9.1(a) and 9.3(a))

6. Independent Representation For Rightsholders of Unclaimed Books and Inserts. The Registry will include a fiduciary who will have the responsibility for representing the interests of Rightsholders with respect to the exploitation of unclaimed Books and Inserts. (ASA Section 6.2(b)(iii))

7. Unclaimed Books and Inserts and Unclaimed Funds. The Amended Settlement clarifies that, from its inception, the Registry will use settlement funds to attempt to locate Rightsholders. The Amended Settlement also now provides that funds owed to Rightsholders of unclaimed Books and Inserts (“Unclaimed Funds”) will not be used by the Registry for general operations or reserves and will not be distributed to claiming Rightsholders. The Amended Settlement makes the following changes to the Original Settlement: (a) after Unclaimed Funds are held for five years, the Registry, in collaboration with organizations in Canada, the UK and Australia, and in consultation with the fiduciary, may use up to 25% of the funds for the sole purpose of locating Rightsholders; and (b) remaining Unclaimed Funds will be held for the Rightsholders for at least 10 years, after which the Registry, subject to fiduciary approval as to timing, may apply to the Court for permission to distribute Unclaimed Funds to literacy-based charities in the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia, upon notice to Rightsholders, the attorneys general of all states in the United States and Fully Participating and Cooperating Libraries. (ASA Section 6.3)

8. Commitment to Improving Claiming Process and Website. The Amended Settlement provides that the Registry and Google (for as long as Google continues to provide operational support for the Registry) will maintain and improve the Settlement Website to facilitate the claiming of Books and Inserts. Google will also work to correct errors in the Books Database. (ASA Section 13.3)

9. Additional Revenue Models. The Amended Settlement now limits the potential new revenue models to the following three additional Revenue Models, which must be approved by the Registry:

1. Print-on demand (“POD”),
2. File download (formerly “PDF Download”), and
3. Consumer subscription.

The Amended Settlement limits POD, if approved, to Books that are not Commercially Available. In addition, the Amended Settlement specifies that the revenue split between Google and Rightsholders as to the additional Revenue Models will be the same as for the existing Revenue Models.

Finally, the Amended Settlement provides that Rightsholders of claimed works (and the fiduciary for unclaimed works) will be given timely advance notice before an additional Revenue Model is launched, with an opportunity to exclude works from that model. (ASA Section 4.7)

10. Agreeing to Different Revenue Splits for Commercially Available Books. For Commercially Available Books, the Amended Settlement provides that either Google or the Rightsholder will have the ability to request renegotiation of the 63/37 standard revenue split for any or all revenue models. If they cannot reach an agreement, then neither of the parties is obligated to offer the Rightsholder’s Books in the revenue models. (ASA Section 4.5(a)(iii))

11. Discounting off Consumer Purchase List Price. Google will now have an unlimited right to discount the List Price of Books for Consumer Purchase, so long as it continues to pay 63% of the undiscounted List Price to the Registry for Rightsholders. The Registry may also authorize Google to make special offers of Books for Consumer Purchase at reduced prices from the List Price and pay 63% of the discounted List Price to the Registry for Rightsholders. Claiming Rightsholders (and the fiduciary for unclaimed Books), however, will be notified of this reduced price proposal and can disapprove it for their (or unclaimed) Books. (ASA Sections 4.5(b)(i) and (ii))

12. Resale of Consumer Purchase. The Amended Settlement requires that Google allow third parties to sell consumer access to Books offered through Consumer Purchase, with the reseller receiving a majority of Google’s 37% share of the revenue split. (ASA Section 4.5(b)(v))

13. Non-discrimination Clause (i.e., “Most Favored Nations” clause). Section 3.8(a) of the Original Settlement has been eliminated from the Amended Settlement.

14. Settlement Controlled Pricing. The Amended Settlement clarifies that the Pricing Algorithm used to establish the Settlement Controlled Prices for Consumer Purchase will be developed to simulate the prices in a competitive market and that the price for a Book will be established without regard to changes to the price of any other Book. The Amended Settlement also clarifies that the Registry will not disclose the Settlement Controlled Price for a Book to anyone other than the Book’s Rightsholders. (ASA Sections 4.2(b)(i)(2), 4.2(c)(ii)(2) and 4.2(c)(iii))

15. Modification of Feature Restrictions. Rightsholders may authorize Google to modify or remove the Amended Settlement’s default restrictions on Revenue Model features, such as copy/paste and print. (ASA Section 3.3(g))

16. Registry Support for Alternative Licenses (Including Creative Commons). The Amended Settlement provides that the Registry will facilitate Rightsholders’ wishes to allow their works to be made available through alternative licenses for Consumer Purchase, including through a Creative Commons license. For information about Creative Commons licenses, visit http://www.creativecommons.org. The Amended Settlement also clarifies that Rightsholders are free to set the Consumer Purchase price of their Books at zero. (ASA Sections 1.44, 4.2(a)(i) and 4.2(b)(i)(1))

17. Public Access Terminals. The Amended Settlement authorizes the Registry to agree to increase the number of public access terminals at a public library building. (ASA Section 4.8(a)(i)(3))

18. Pictorial Works. The Amended Settlement no longer includes children’s book illustrations in the definition of Inserts. (ASA Section 1.75) The Amended Settlement, however, does not change the inclusion of pictorial works, such as graphic novels and children’s picture books, in the definition of Books and provides that the Amended Settlement only authorizes Google to display the pictorial images in such Books if a U.S. copyright owner of the pictorial image also is a Rightsholder of the Book. The Amended Settlement also clarifies that comic books are considered to be Periodicals and that Periodicals (as well as compilations of Periodicals) are not included in the definition of “Books,” and thus are not in the Amended Settlement. (ASA Section 1.104)

19. Music Notation. The definition of Book was amended in the Amended Settlement to better achieve the parties’ goal of excluding books that are primarily used to play music. (ASA Section 1.19) Also, “music notation” is no longer included in the definition of Inserts. (ASA Section 1.75)

20. Deadline to Claim Usage and Inclusion Fees. Usage Fees will now be held for Rightsholders who have not yet claimed their Books for at least ten years and Rightsholders will now be eligible for Inclusion Fees if they claim their Books or Inserts within ten years of the Effective Date, instead of five years, in both cases as had been provided in the Original Settlement. (Plan of Allocation Sections 1.1(c), 1.2(c) and 2.2)

Your Rights Under the Amended Settlement Agreement

Members of the Amended Settlement Class have the following options:
If you… Then… Deadline
Wish to remain in the Amended Settlement Class (if you did not previously opt out of the Original Settlement) You need not do anything at this time. N/A
Wish to remain in the Amended Settlement Class and wish to be eligible to receive a Cash Payment for any Book or Insert scanned on or before May 5, 2009 but haven’t yet claimed your Books and Inserts You must submit a claim by using the Claim Form, available at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com or from the Settlement Administrator. March 31, 2011
Have already claimed Books and Inserts using the Claim Form You need not take any additional steps at this time with respect to those Books and Inserts. N/A
Opted out of the Original Settlement, and wish to remain opted out of the Amended Settlement You need not – and should not – opt out again. Your opting out of the Original Settlement will serve as an opt-out of the Amended Settlement as well. N/A
Did not opt out of the Original Settlement but wish to opt out of the Amended Settlement You may do so by following the instructions in the original Notice and at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com. January 28, 2010
Opted out of the Original Settlement and wish to opt back in to the Amended Settlement You may do so by notifying the Settlement Administrator or Class Counsel or by filling out the “Opt-Back-In Form” at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com. January 28, 2010
Wish to file an objection to the terms of the Amended Settlement If you have not opted out, you may file an objection by following the instructions in the original Notice and at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com .

At this time, you may only object to the provisions amending the Original Settlement.

All objections filed in connection with the Original Settlement are preserved unless withdrawn and should not be refiled. January 28, 2010
Wish to appear and be heard at the Fairness Hearing and have not yet filed a Notice of Intent to Appear You must file a Notice of Intent to Appear by following the instructions in the original Notice and at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com. February 4, 2010

Rescheduled Date of the Fairness Hearing

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on February 18, 2010 at 10 A.M. in Courtroom 11A of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007, to consider whether the Amended Settlement, as set forth in the ASA, is fair, adequate and reasonable. Please review the original Notice for further information concerning participation in the Fairness Hearing.

If you have any questions concerning this Supplemental Notice or the Amended Settlement, please contact Class Counsel, or the Settlement Administrator, whose contact information may be found in the original Notice or at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com. You may also contact the Settlement Administrator at:

Google Book Search Settlement Administrator
c/o Rust Consulting, Inc.
PO Box 9364
Minneapolis, MN 55440-9364
+1.612.359.8600 (Tolls may apply. Toll-free numbers are available at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com.)




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EGo and The Ids http://egoandtheids.com

Ego and the Ids
Almost Masons
Posted: Sunday, November 29, 2009
By: Stephen Lussier
Contributing Writer

http://www.regenmag.com/Reviews-1984-Ego-and-the-Ids-Almost-Masons.html

Difficult to classify into any particular genre, Ego and the Ids use their experimental oddities to lure you in with their melodic charm.

Portland band Ego and the Ids manage to build up and break down confining labels with their music all at the same time. The band's music incorporates mysterious synthesized elements, traces of gothic rock, acoustic experimental lulls, and a wide number of additional obscure ingredients; all of which come together in the collection Almost Masons. Ego and the Ids is in actual fact a collection of musicians fronted by ringleaders Delonde Bell and Gerald del Camp, the latter of which is no stranger to the experimental alt. rock music scene. Notable influence can be heard from such bands as Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, or even the Cocteau Twins when listening to the ambient sounds that they are quite proficient at generating. The Almost Masons EP offers a taste of what the project - as opposed to "band" - is currently producing as far as unique, shadowy, melodic music. The six song collection gives us an unadulterated glimpse into the experimentation and examination of sound that this collaboration, now in its early stage, is attempting to fashion as its own distinctive style.

The initial introduction of bass and underlying synthesizer of "The Silver Key" opens up a world of soothing and enticing wave-like sound, which continues to build upon itself with layers of bittersweet complexity. "Out of Time" maintains this flow of temperance and simplicity, combining beautifully arranged synthesized and acoustic melodies. At times on the disc, there exist crescendos of music that begin quite basically but manage to upsurge with an assemblage of instruments that heighten the emotion within each song. By the time the satirical sampling of former President Bush's State of the Union speech comes into play on "March of the Woodland Fairies," the music begins to downplay into an orchestral, somber flow. For the remainder of the EP, the same general atmosphere maintains itself with an in-and-out stream of instrumental placidity that would seem more fit finishing a much larger full-length album. There is a distinct mysticism fraught with inspiration brought forth through these songs, but in such a small dose that it can't help but feel as though the music is still being explored - not finalized.

Almost Masons accomplishes what it had most likely set out to do: allow the music to develop. It also gives us as listeners a hint of not only what Ego and the Ids have to offer, but also what they are capable of delivering once a more complete collection is ready for the masses.

Chris Parker

I still remember.

Nov. 28th, 2009

For most of us the world as we envision it, and the world as it is are always at odds with one another. So what is new? But I have learned that the road between those two conflicting ideas provides me with the time I require to use my magick to change one into the other. Happiness is the road folks. There is no pot of ...gold at the end of the rainbow: only the rainbow. I pity those for whom that is not enough.

White Lilies, White Lies

March of The Wood Fairies

The Day Before Tomorrow

Out of Time

Ophelia, I...

Samhain Issue of Rendiing The Veil

It is live now! There is art in all forms there this issue, and some really good articles by some really good people. Check it out now. http://rendingtheveil.com
Yesterday, the Hillsboro store manager at Fred Meyer called police to arrest three union representatives for talking with workers—a right guaranteed to workers under federal law. Two Union representatives were arrested.
If you support Union Workers, and you live in the Portland area, please do not shop at Safeway of Fred Meyers. They are in violation of their contract.

For example, Safeway can afford to fund things like the Oregon Blues Festival and the Ladies Professional Golf Association but can't seem to honor a Union contract for its workers.

Shop where employees are treated as though they mattered instead.
Thank you.

Please repost everywhere

Jupiter Recording Studio Robbed: Seattle area musicians and studio types watc for someone trying to sell 2 Neumann M147s, 2 vintage AKG C414EBs, Royer R122, 2 Crown CM700s, Oktava ML52 Ribbon, Lots of SM57s and SM58s, AKG D12E, and a .........Mac G5, Radial J48 Active DI Box, Proco DI Box, ProTools 8 HD TDM Software. All stolen early today from Jupiter Studios in Wallingford. Please help spread the word.

Circulate, please

Dear friend,

As the vote on health care reform works its way through Congress, the insurance industry is doing its best to weaken already too weak bills. In fact, the bills Congress is considering will give the insurance industry hundreds of billions in new annual revenue by forcing Americans to buy their overpriced insurance. But, even with this massive giveaway the insurance industry is twisting the screws to squeeze every bit of profit out of "reform," consistently putting profits before patients.

Prosperity Agenda has been urging a different approach, the most popular reform among Americans, a single payer national health care system - improved Medicare for all. We've protested in Congress, written letters, emails, faxes and called. We are not giving up. Our Mobilization for Health Care is going national in two days and is already catching fire.

When we launched the campaign we sought 100 people willing to risk arrest in protests of the insurance industry, already 700 have signed up. We hoped for 3 to 4 cities by this stage, now "Patients Not Profit" sit-ins will be happening in at least 9 cities across the country this Thursday! There is a hunger in America for a vision like this. The incredible response of people has left no doubt - people want to end insurance company abuse. Click here for the list of cities where mobilizations will occur on Thursday, and there will be even more on the next day of action, October 28th (coincidentally, my birthday!). If you have not signed up to participate, please visit www.MobilizeForHealthCare.org and do so now.

The Congressional leadership took single payer off the table, but we pushed and now we have two important single payer votes before the full House of Representatives. First, this week Rep. Anthony Weiner will be introducing an amendment on the House Floor to replace the current bill with a single payer system. Second, Rep. Dennis Kucinich's amendment, making it easier for state's to pass single payer, will also be voted on in the House. Please click here to write your representative to urge support for both these amendments and urge the House to not force people to buy overpriced insurance.

We do not expect the Weiner Amendment to pass - there have been no hearings and little public discussion - but it is important that this vote receive as high a vote total as possible. Similarly, the Kucinich Amendment faces a challenge to pass with the insurance corporations working hard to defeat it. But, both of these historic, first-ever votes on single payer health care give us a chance to see who our allies in Congress are and who are our opponents. Push now. Contact your representative to support these amendments and oppose the requirement forcing Americans to buy overpriced private insurance.

Congress has demonstrated that the multi-payer, private health system cannot work. The plans pushed by President Obama and the congressional leadership will leave tens of millions without health care and not control costs. In fact, the insurance industry issued a report this week that said insurance costs will rise by 111% by 2019 under the reform bill to $25,900 for the average family and $9,700 for the average individual.

Since Congress failed to solve America's health problem, we are also working at the state level. Several states are near passage of single payer systems. When Canada created its national health system it first passed in one province. After it worked there it became national policy. There's a bi-partisan bill working its way through the Pennsylvania legislature right now, and Prosperity Agenda is already working to help pass it. Join me on October 20 in Pennsylvania's capitol rotunda in Harrisburg for the Healthcare4allPA Rally. We're urging everyone in surrounding states to attend so Pennsylvania can create a model for the rest of the country to follow.

Other states - California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Ohio - are also close to passage of a single payer system that rids the nation of the scourge of private insurance.

This year has seen tremendous growth in the vitality of the Medicare for All movement. On October 15th the Mobilization for Health Care will demonstrate a new political force in the American landscape - Americans fed up with the real death panels, the insurance industry who are seeking to end their abuse once and for all. Join us in seeking a health care system that guarantees the right to health care for all. The status quo cannot continue, and current reform proposals simply will not solve the problem. Sign up to join us on the national days of action this Thursday and on October 28th.

Thank you to all who have donated so far - we could not do this without you! If you can make a donation to help build this campaign, please donate now.

Sincerely,

Kevin Zeese
Executive Director
Prosperity Agent

Attn: Oregonians.

The Oregon Legislation has proposed a tax to increase the corporate tax from $10 (yes, ten bucks. This was set in the 30's) - There is also a proposed tax to raise the SSI tax to over 100k.

Until now, people making millions of dollars only had to pay SSI tax in the first 100k, while the rest of us pay on all our earnings. The revenue collected from this tax will help schools. This tax will only effect the most affluent 3%. I urge you to vote in favor of this tax.

http://tinyurl.com/ylmmoc2
Netting $2.5 billion in profits last year wasn't enough for WellPoint, the nation's largest insurance company.

Now, WellPoint's affiliate, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is suing the state of Maine for refusing to guarantee it a profit margin in the midst of a painful recession.

Forward this video to a friend

Holiday Gift Ideas Behind Cut

This time I have included all my oils.

Read more...Collapse )
The plan

PGE wants to invest $600 million in pollution-control equipment at the aging Boardman coal plant in northeast Oregon to sustain use until 2040. PGE is also considering building two additional natural gas power plants.
The impact

The Boardman coal plant spews a total of 5 million tons of carbon dioxide, mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide into the atmosphere every year. Studies have pinpointed it as one of the prime causes of pollution in the Columbia Gorge. Building additional power plants reduces the incentive for conservation and efficiency and encourages more consumption.
What you can do

PGE is taking public comments through October 5th on the proposed plan. Let them know what you think -- and feel free to use any of the key points listed below to help make your case.
Key points

* The proposed pollution controls at Boardman would not address the plant’s huge carbon dioxide emissions, which means it might fail to meet expected tougher federal guidelines and risk a substantial investment of ratepayer money. That money could be spent on cleaner energy. Phasing out this coal plant would have the effect of removing nearly 900,000 cars from Oregon’s roads. Right now, PGE’s proposal would nullify steps Oregon is taking to curb pollution and global warming.

* Though PGE’s plan calls for increased conservation and wind power, we need more. The potential for conservation through weatherproofing homes, more energy-efficient washing machines and refrigerators, and improving lighting in homes and businesses is immense. According to The Oregon Power and Conservation Council, such conservation efforts in Oregon, Washington and Idaho could avoid millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate 85 percent of the expected increase in electricity demand by 2029. That’s the equivalent of 20 new power plants.

* The great majority of ratepayers want to do the right thing - pay a little more so we can all pollute less. The public gets that the decisions we make today will have tremendous impact on our children and grandchildren. We have to act now to stem pollution that threatens our air and water, and puts the entire planet in jeopardy through global warming. Make sure PGE gets it too!

Onward,
The Team at Onward Oregon
www.OnwardOregon.org
These are the Democrats that joined with the Republicans to defeat the Single Payer option which would guarantee health care for all Americans.

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.)

So if you live in these states, consider this: Your Democratic "representatives" have voted against your financial best interests while they and their families enjoy a cradle-to-grave insurance policy that YOU pay for with your tax dollars.

By the way, this thing isn't over yet, but if you guys don't care about this enough to make phone calls, write letters and inform others, then no bitching from you next time you can't afford health care, or loose your house so you can try to save some one you love from cancer.

The democratic process requires involvement beyond pulling some lever at the voting polls.

ATTN Oregon Peeps!

Dear MoveOn member,

Tomorrow, Senator Ron Wyden will be voting on the public health insurance option—can you call his office right away?

Here's what's happening:

The Senate Finance Committee, of which Sen. Wyden is a member, is debating an awful health care bill that doesn't include the public option—the key to expanding coverage and bringing down costs.

Progressives have offered amendments that would add the public option to the bill, and the committee will begin voting on them tomorrow. Meanwhile, conservatives are pushing a bogus "trigger" amendment that would kill the public option through indefinite delay.

So we've got to show Sen. Wyden that his constituents are demanding real health care reform with a strong public health insurance option that's available immediately. Tell him to vote "yes" on the public option amendments, and "no" on the trigger.

Here's where to call:

Senator Ron Wyden
Phone: 202-224-5244

Then, please report your call by clicking here:

http://pol.moveon.org/call?tg=FSOR_1&cp_id=1123&id=17352-14388865-S3j6DKx&t=2

Four other congressional committees have already passed good bills that include the public option, but the Finance Committee has been dragging its feet and considering half-measures—like the trigger—that won't fix our nation's broken health care system.

Make no mistake: the trigger is a Trojan horse designed to kill the public option by delaying its availability and then offering it only in a limited number of states after certain conditions are met.

So we need to send a strong message to the Senate Finance Committee that health care reform must include a strong public health insurance option that's available immediately—not a trigger.

Can you call Sen. Wyden right now?

Senator Ron Wyden
Phone: 202-224-5244

Then, please report your call by clicking here:

http://pol.moveon.org/call?tg=FSOR_1&cp_id=1123&id=17352-14388865-S3j6DKx&t=3

Thanks for all you do.

–-Nita, Wes, Kat, Joan, and the rest of the team
Hi, I'm the public health insurance option.

People have been saying all sorts of untrue things about me lately, so I decided it was time to stand up and set the record straight.

First off: the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I'm happy and healthy. And I'm proud to play a starring role in four of the five health reform bills currently on the table.

Second: I have a lot of friends. President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi support me—as do 77% of the American people.1 In fact, I'm feeling pretty popular.

But there is one area where I could use your help. Your senator, Ron Wyden, sits on the Senate Finance Committee, which is considering a "trigger" proposal that could kill me through indefinite delay.

Can you call Sen. Wyden and tell him that real health care reform must include a real public health insurance option that's available immediately?

Here's where to call:

Senator Ron Wyden
Phone: 202-224-5244

Then click here to report your call:

http://pol.moveon.org/call?tg=FSOR_1&cp_id=1120&id=17304-14388865-eKmqI1x&t=2
A "trigger" that would make me wait to become available is just a trap designed to kill me. As Senator Charles Schumer has pointed out, "any reasonable criteria for triggering a public plan has already been met" because insurance companies have already failed to rein in costs and expand coverage.2

Here are some other things you might not know about me:

* I like candlelit dinners, overseas travel, and long walks on the beach. Whoops, sorry—wrong email.
* Some people say they don't like me because I'm too expensive, but that's just a flat-out lie. Keeping me around will actually save money—I'd cost 10% less than the typical private plan.3
* I'm the best way to keep insurance companies honest. Like my friend Senator Jay Rockefeller has said, "Without the steady, positive influence of a public plan option in the marketplace, we will never truly solve the health care crisis in this country. Private health insurance has a long history of cutting people off or charging too much for too little."4
* Over 60 House progressives have publicly pledged to only vote for a bill that has me in it.5 So without me, health care reform doesn't have enough votes make it through Congress.

And I'm counting on your help to make it through the Senate. Can you call Sen. Wyden today?

Senator Ron Wyden
Phone: 202-224-5244

Then click here to report your call:

http://pol.moveon.org/call?tg=FSOR_1&cp_id=1120&id=17304-14388865-eKmqI1x&t=3
Thanks for all you do.

–The public health insurance option (and the MoveOn team)

Sources:

1. "New Poll: 77 Percent Support 'Choice' Of Public Option," The Huffington Post, August 20, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51799&id=17304-14388865-eKmqI1x&t=4

2."A 'trigger' for the public health insurance option? Already triggered." NOW! Blog, May 20, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51443&id=17304-14388865-eKmqI1x&t=5

3. Letter to Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Congressional Budget Office, July 14, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=84763&id=17304-14388865-eKmqI1x&t=6

4. "Rockefeller Unveils Public Plan Option," Office of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, June 10, 2009
http://rockefeller.senate.gov/press/record.cfm?id=314224

5. "60 Members of Congress Say 'No Public Plan, No Conference,'" Firedoglake, August 17, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51784&id=17304-14388865-eKmqI1x&t=7
It is for you "tea baggers" (man, what an unfortunate name) and good 'ol boys out there who think we are under socialist attack.

I, ________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:

I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.

I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.

I will swear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls.

Also.

I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

* Social Security

* Medicare/Medicaid

* State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)

* Police, Fire, and Emergency Services

* US Postal Service

* Roads and Highways

* Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)

* The US Railway System

* Public Subways and Metro Systems

* Public Bus and Lightrail Systems

* Rest Areas on Highways

* Sidewalks

* All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009 federal senate appropriations)

* Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, socialist shower, socialist dishwasher, socialist kitchen sink, socialist outdoor hose!)

* Public and State Universities and Colleges

* Public Primary and Secondary Schools

* Sesame Street

* Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children

* Public Museums

* Libraries

* Public Parks and Beaches

* State and National Parks

* Public Zoos

* Unemployment Insurance

* Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services

* Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding >From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them)

* Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived >From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)

* Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)

* Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking

* Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies

* Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies

If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care

I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist locations, including but not limited to:

* Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History

* The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments

* The government-operated Statue of Liberty

* The Grand Canyon

* The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials

* The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery

* All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC

I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.

I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.

I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.

I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.

Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.

Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.

SWORN ON A BIBLE AND SIGNED THIS DAY OF __________ IN THE YEAR ___.

_____________ _________________________

Signed Printed Name/Town and State
Dear MoveOn member,

On Monday, September 21, MoveOn members in the Portland area have a special opportunity to watch the one-night-only premiere of an important new film called The Age of Stupid.

The film is a powerful "docudrama" set in the year 2055, after global warming has done massive damage to humanity. Oscar-nominated actor Pete Postlethwaite stars as a historian who "looks back" on real footage from 2008 to try to answer the question, "why didn't we stop climate change while we had the chance?"

In addition to the movie, the theater will simulcast a Hollywood-style premiere event from New York City.

You can purchase advance tickets by clicking here:
Dear MoveOn member,

On Monday, September 21, MoveOn members in the Portland area have a special opportunity to watch the one-night-only premiere of an important new film called The Age of Stupid.

The film is a powerful "docudrama" set in the year 2055, after global warming has done massive damage to humanity. Oscar-nominated actor Pete Postlethwaite stars as a historian who "looks back" on real footage from 2008 to try to answer the question, "why didn't we stop climate change while we had the chance?"

In addition to the movie, the theater will simulcast a Hollywood-style premiere event from New York City.

You can purchase advance tickets by clicking here:
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=64939

You'll get so much more than just a great movie. The premiere event, simulcast live from a solar-powered tent in New York City to over 700 theaters in the U.S. and 50 other countries, will feature such celebrities as Gillian Anderson, Heather Graham, and Moby.

Also, MTV's Gideon Yago will interview Nobel Peace Prize recipient Kofi Annan, environmental scientist James Hansen, and The Age of Stupid director Franny Armstrong. Ending the night will be a special, acoustic performance by Radiohead's Thom Yorke.

The Age of Stupid was number one at the box office in the U.K. this spring, and this one-night event is poised to break the Guinness World Record for biggest simultaneous film screening. You can watch the trailer here: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51921&id=17229-14388865-xO61Vnx&t=1

Check out what critics are saying about this film:

* "A captivating and constantly surprising film."—George Monbiot, The Guardian1
* "Think An Inconvenient Truth but with a personality."—Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times2
* "Political incompetence and inaction can usher in disaster... Rome is burning, and Franny Armstrong is fiddling the right tune."—Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian3

The Age of Stupid looks us right in the eye and asks what kind of future we want for our kids. Be one of the first to see this important film and help spread the word so that as many Americans as possible hear its message. We hope to see you at the theater.

Thank you for all you do.

–Anna, Laura, Steven, Ilyse, and the rest of the team

P.S. When you see this movie, you're really going to be inspired to act. The cool thing is that our friends at Avaaz, an international MoveOn-like organization, are putting together a "Global Wake-Up Call" day of action on September 21, the same day as the premiere of The Age of Stupid. Check out http://www.avaaz.org/tcktcktck/ to get plugged in locally.

You'll get so much more than just a great movie. The premiere event, simulcast live from a solar-powered tent in New York City to over 700 theaters in the U.S. and 50 other countries, will feature such celebrities as Gillian Anderson, Heather Graham, and Moby.

Also, MTV's Gideon Yago will interview Nobel Peace Prize recipient Kofi Annan, environmental scientist James Hansen, and The Age of Stupid director Franny Armstrong. Ending the night will be a special, acoustic performance by Radiohead's Thom Yorke.

The Age of Stupid was number one at the box office in the U.K. this spring, and this one-night event is poised to break the Guinness World Record for biggest simultaneous film screening. You can watch the trailer here: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51921&id=17229-14388865-xO61Vnx&t=1

Check out what critics are saying about this film:

* "A captivating and constantly surprising film."—George Monbiot, The Guardian1
* "Think An Inconvenient Truth but with a personality."—Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times2
* "Political incompetence and inaction can usher in disaster... Rome is burning, and Franny Armstrong is fiddling the right tune."—Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian3

The Age of Stupid looks us right in the eye and asks what kind of future we want for our kids. Be one of the first to see this important film and help spread the word so that as many Americans as possible hear its message. We hope to see you at the theater.

Thank you for all you do.

–Anna, Laura, Steven, Ilyse, and the rest of the team

P.S. When you see this movie, you're really going to be inspired to act. The cool thing is that our friends at Avaaz, an international MoveOn-like organization, are putting together a "Global Wake-Up Call" day of action on September 21, the same day as the premiere of The Age of Stupid. Check out http://www.avaaz.org/tcktcktck/ to get plugged in locally.
"As for the Republicans, how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles... Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead." Want to read the rest of the letter? Find it in S.T. Joshi's biography "H.P. Lovecraft: A Life."

Why I am Not a Libertarian

Original is here: http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/NoLibert.HTM

I am so saddened when I hear Thelemites claim that the Libertarian Party is the "Thelemic Party." I suppose that in the minds of the simpleton the fact that the word "liberty" is implied in it, and Crowley was a big fan of Liberty must make it Thelemic. I wish that Thelemites would stop giving lip service to Thelema and actually explored the philosophy beyond their own needs for attention and instant gratification. I wish that one day enough people will postulate a Thelemic world so that one day we might have one.

The following is posted in its entirety.

Why I am not a Libertarian

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay First-time Visitors: Please visit Site Map and Disclaimer. Use "Back" to return here.

Libertarians tend to be regarded in the popular media as a sort of conservative movement. In fact, they espouse a mix of "conservative" and "liberal" ideas. Many of their ideas appeal to liberals:

* End to prohibitions on drug use
* End to prohibitions on pornography and sexual conduct
* End to foreign intervention and military conscription
* The repeal of all laws interfering with the right to commit suicide
* Opposition to involuntary commitment or treatment in a mental institution.

Other libertarian ideas sound more conservative:

* Free market ownership of airwave frequencies
* End to the taxation of privately owned real property
* Opposition to all laws at any level of government restricting, regulating, or requiring the ownership, manufacture, transfer, or sale of firearms or ammunition.
* Opposition to all laws requiring registration of firearms or ammunition.
* The right to trade includes the right not to trade -- for any reasons whatsoever; the right of association includes the right not to associate (essentially advocates the repeal of all anti-discrimination legislation).
* Families and households are private institutions, which should be free from government intrusion and interference.
* Abolition of welfare
* Dramatic reductions in both taxes and government spending
* An end to deficit budgets

Overall, their stance on personal freedoms is "liberal," their stance on government spending and regulation is "conservative." In short, they combine the personal irresponsibility of liberals with the social, economic and environmental irresponsibility of conservatives. In fact they are rather reminiscent of old-time anarchists.
Some Libertarian Positions

The following quotes are taken directly from the libertarian party platform.

I.9.Government and Mental Health

We oppose the involuntary commitment of any person to or involuntary treatment in a mental institution. We strongly condemn Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), where the patient is ordered to accept treatment, or else be committed to a mental institution and forcibly treated. We also oppose forced treatment for the elderly, the head-injured, or those with diminished capacity.

If there is any area where the libertarian platform has been achieved, here it is. Beginning in the 1970's a coalition of liberals and conservatives virtually eliminated involuntary mental treatment. Liberals felt that involuntary treatment was a violation of the patients' civil rights, that patients were being warehoused in institutions, and that society needed to be "confronted" with mental illness by having the mentally ill in the midst of society. Conservatives had much purer motives: they simply wanted to save money. Most of the homeless persons we see sleeping in doorways, and every mentally ill person we see ranting on a street corner, is a product of de-institutionalization.

You have to wonder why libertarians aren't touting their greatest success more.

I.10.Freedom of Communication

We favor the abolition of the Federal Communications Commission as we would provide for free market ownership of airwave frequencies, deserving of full First Amendment protection.

Okay, now how are we going to keep track of who owns what frequency? Especially since radio waves reach across state lines?

Suppose a large broadcaster simply starts blasting a smaller one off the air? And suppose the big guy has much greater resources for fighting a court battle than the little guy? Or is this maybe what libertarians want?

I.13.Protection of Privacy

If a private employer screens prospective or current employees via questionnaires, polygraph tests, urine tests for drugs, blood tests for AIDS, or other means, this is a condition of that employer's labor contracts. Such screening does not violate the rights of employees, who have the right to boycott such employers if they choose.

And if a large number of employers all adopt the same practices, you can boycott food and shelter, too.

I.18.Immigration

We hold that human rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of nationality. We condemn massive roundups of Hispanic Americans and others by the federal government in its hunt for individuals not possessing required government documents. We strongly oppose all measures that punish employers who hire undocumented workers. Such measures repress free enterprise, harass workers, and systematically discourage employers from hiring Hispanics.

Aww, isn't that nice? Why do you suppose the Libertarian platform specifically mentions Hispanics but not Haitians? Is the concern here for human rights? Or is it, just maybe, a plan for creating a huge pool of low-paid workers?

I.19.Freedom of Association and Government Discrimination

Individual rights should not be denied, abridged, or enhanced at the expense of other people's rights by laws at any level of government based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference, or sexual orientation. We support repealing any such laws rather than extending them to all individuals. Discrimination imposed by government has caused a multitude of problems. Anti-discrimination laws create the same problems. While we do not advocate private discrimination, we do not support any laws which attempt to limit or ban it. The right to trade includes the right not to trade -- for any reasons whatsoever; the right of association includes the right not to associate, for exercise of this right depends upon mutual consent.

Okay, just ask any black who couldn't find a decent place to stay, or a decent job back in pre-Civil Rights days, just how well "mutual consent" worked. Mutual consent means consent of both sides.

I don't like anti-discrimination laws. They are invasive, burdensome to enforce and a fertile breeding ground for meddlesome busybodies. We have them for one simple reason: when we didn't, American society arbitrarily denied equal treatment to entire classes of people. There was a national brouhaha during the Korean War when the Red Cross decided to stop segregating blood by race. When blacks outscored whites on aptitude tests for the Philadelphia Fire Department before World War I, the department said "We don't care what the tests show. We're not hiring blacks - period."

So where are black travelers going to stay if white-owned motels decide not to take them in? Why should we expect the free market to solve this problem? It didn't prior to passage of the Civil Rights Act. Things have changed, and probably if we did away with civil rights laws we would find most people still being less biased than they once were. But can we really be so sure? And what's the libertarian plan if widespread discrimination, so extensive that it shuts some groups out nearly everywhere, returns?

I.20.Women's Rights and Abortion

Recognizing that abortion is a very sensitive issue and that people, including libertarians, can hold good-faith views on both sides, we believe the government should be kept out of the question.

It's nice to see the Libertarians have mastered one tactic of the major parties - the fine art of weasel words. If all government is kept out of the question, that's tantamount to supporting abortion on demand. Or, if by government, they mean Federal government, it's tantamount to permitting local control, which amounts to repealing Roe vs. Wade. So which of the two is their position? And why don't these people who claim to be gutsy enough to take on both major parties have the guts to spell out exactly what they mean?

I.21.Families and Children

A child is a human being and, as such, deserves to be treated justly. We oppose laws infringing on children's rights to work or learn, such as child labor laws and compulsory education laws.

Just imagine how many kids would quit school and flock to 16-hour a day jobs paying $2 an hour in sweatshops if we did this. American kids could have all the rights of kids in Honduras or Bangladesh. Gee, another plan to create a huge pool of unskilled labor.

II.3.Inflation and Depression

All restrictions upon the private minting of coins should be abolished so that minting will be open to the competition of the free market.

Private coins and bills were common in the 19th century when travel was rare and official currency was often in short supply. A token or bill issued by a well-known local bank would be accepted as trustworthy. Just imagine going to Seattle and trying to spend money minted by Bernie's Mint of Tampa.

Presumably the coins would be precious metal, because any other privately minted coins would be worthless, but you can see how easy it would be to adulterate the metal with innumerable private coins floating around.

Actually, it is perfectly legal to mint private coins. There are dozens of private mints doing it every day. And it's perfectly legal to trade them for other things of value, if you can convince somebody to take them. And they can even serve as money - just go to Chuck E. Cheese or take a ride on the New York subway.

The fixation that some extreme right-wingers have with precious metal is interesting. The stock of precious metal hasn't expanded nearly as fast as the total GNP in recent decades. So basically these people want to hold onto inert metal they themselves did not mine, and see its value skyrocket as other people work to advance technology and build infrastructure. All the while, presumably, complaining righteously about freeloaders who want money without working.

II.4. Finance and Capital Investment

We call for the abolition of all regulation of financial and capital markets -- specifically, the abolition of the Securities and Exchange Commission, We call for repeal of all laws based on the muddled concept of insider trading.

II.6. Monopolies

We condemn all coercive monopolies. "Anti-trust" laws do not prevent monopoly, but foster it by limiting competition. We therefore call for the repeal of all "anti-trust" laws, including the Robinson-Patman Act which restricts price discounts, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and the Clayton Anti-Trust Act. We further call for the abolition of the Federal Trade Commission and the anti-trust division of the Department of Justice.

Given the current state of the stock market, it really takes guts to go public with these proposals. Not even Enron in all its glory had the nerve to propose legalizing insider trading.

Now what exactly is a "coercive" monopoly? No monopolist was ever forced at gunpoint to shut out competition. The Postal Service is coercive: by law, nobody else can deliver first class mail. But for a large company to use its economic muscle to drive competitors out of business and then set whatever prices it likes? That's not coercive - those people are acting of their own free will. Their competitors are perfectly free to compete by operating at a loss.

II.5. Government Debt

Governments facing fiscal crises should always default in preference to raising taxes.

The Libertarian Party is opposed to all taxation, feeling that the government has no right to take money away from people. Instead, the government has the right to borrow money and not pay it back.

II.10. Unions and Collective Bargaining

We support the right of free persons to voluntarily establish, associate in, or not associate in, labor unions. An employer should have the right to recognize, or refuse or refuse to recognize, a union as the collective bargaining agent of some, or all, of its employees. We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or the imposition of an obligation to bargain. Therefore, we urge repeal of the National Labor Relations Act, and all state Right-to-Work Laws which prohibit employers from making voluntary contracts with unions.

We haven't had a good bloody clash between strikers and strike breakers in a long time.

III.1. Energy

We oppose all government conservation schemes through the use of taxes, subsidies, and regulation.

Actually, if there's one arena where the free market might play a constructive role, it's in energy. Let the price of gas go up until SUV's become worthless. Let areas with energy shortages pass laws to shut down the NIMBY's (Not in My Back Yard) and build power plants close by. If airports are crowded, let fares go up until people start using less crowded airports. (Fly out of Minneapolis versus O'Hare? No contest.)

III.2. Pollution

Strict liability, not government agencies and arbitrary government standards, should regulate pollution. We therefore demand the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Okay, so you have $10,000 in the bank, and you take a company to court whose annual legal budget is $10 million. Care to guess how well this system will work? And if we dismantle most government and eliminate most taxes, where exactly will the money and people to enforce "strict liability" come from? Details, details.

Many conservatives argue for a "loser pays" system of liability, a step in the right direction. But we can go further. How about a "lowest bidder" system? Both parties in a legal action submit bids of how much they are willing to pay in legal expenses. The lower of the two bids is the ceiling. Neither side can spend more.

III.3. Consumer Protection

We support strong and effective laws against fraud and misrepresentation. However, we oppose paternalistic regulations which dictate to consumers, impose prices, define standards for products, or otherwise restrict risk-taking and free choice. We oppose all so-called "consumer protection" legislation which infringes upon voluntary trade, and call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Just the other day I was wondering where I could buy adulterated food and some appliances with dangerous wiring.

We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration, which has jeopardized safety by arrogating to itself a monopoly of safety regulation and enforcement. We call for privatizing the air traffic control system and transferring the FAA's other functions to private agencies.

Customers will surely boycott airlines with lots of crashes. If the air traffic control system in Chicago creates a hazard, you can just fly to Minneapolis or Cleveland instead. And if you're the owner of a private plane, what's to guarantee a private air traffic control system will let you use a certain airport? If your home town is served by airline X, and your destination is served by Y, and the two airlines refuse to cooperate, what guarantee do you have that you can get there at all?

We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration and particularly its policies of mandating specific nutritional requirements and denying the right of manufacturers to make non-fraudulent claims concerning their products.

That word "non-fraudulent" conceals a multitude of sins. We can presume consumers would avoid products that listed "cockroach parts" or "rat excrement" among its ingredients. (Having worked in some food processing plants, I can assure you that even the most conscientious manufacturer cannot keep an entire factory surgically clean. If you think that's appalling, invite the local health inspector in to check your kitchen, and see if you pass.) The Food and Drug Administration exists specifically because, in its absence, food and drug processors lied blatantly about the contents and efficacy of their products. I mean outright, in-your-face deception, like adding grass seeds to jam to make it appear natural. Read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle if you have any lingering doubts. So who's going to detect consumer fraud in the absence of the FDA?

If you think tainted meat is a problem now, just wait. Do you doubt that there are food processors who'd toss dogs, cats and rats into the grinder, bones, fur and all, if they thought they could get away with it? If the free market didn't provide clean food before the FDA, what assurance do we have that we'll get it after we abolish the FDA?

III.6. Transportation

We demand the return of America's railroad system to private ownership.

Say what? First of all, much of it is private already. Second, Government run railroads like Amtrak and Conrail exist specifically because privately run railroads wanted to unload those lines.

We call for the privatization of airports, air traffic control systems, public roads, and the national highway system.

Public roads and the national highway system? Read up on the history of American roads to see how well the free market did in providing them well into the 20th century. And even if someone could build his own Interstate highway, how would he acquire right of way if everyone on the route knew they could hold out for an exorbitant price? And what if the owner of one highway refused to allow the owner of another to join or cross his?

III.7. Poverty and Unemployment

We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and "aid to the poor" programs. All these government programs are invasive of privacy, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.

And if the need exceeds the resources of private groups, then what?

III.9. Resource Use

We call for the homesteading or other just transfer to private ownership of federally held lands. We oppose any use of executive orders invoking the Antiquities Act to set aside public lands. We call for the abolition of the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. We oppose creation of new government parks or wilderness and recreation areas. Such parks and areas that already exist should be transferred to non-government ownership. Pending such just transfer, their operating costs should be borne by their users rather than by taxpayers.

Do you think you'll get shoreline property in the Apostle Islands or a chunk of Grand Teton National Park under this plan? Call me a cynic, but why do I have the feeling that "just transfer" means "sale to the highest bidder?" and "homesteading" means "being snapped up by the nearest landowner?" Just look at how well the free market has preserved shoreline access in most areas. Where can an average citizen get to any shoreline, anywhere, except on public lands? Then ask yourself what assurance you have that whoever buys some national park won't turn it into an exclusive resort for the wealthy. If you enjoy outdoor recreation, you can kiss it goodbye if Libertarians have their way.

The smartest thing the U.S. Government ever did was to retain ownership of land in the West. Just travel through the West and observe the mean-spirited, petty attitude of Western landowners who bar access to totally unused land merely because they have the legal right to, then picture all open land in the hands of these people.

III.11. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This law denies the right to liberty and property to both employer and employee, and it interferes in their private contractual relations.

Just the other day I heard workers complaining about the Federal government interfering with their right to lose body parts in machinery.

III.14. Civil Service

We recognize that the Civil Service is inherently a system of concealed patronage. We therefore recommend return to the Jeffersonian principle of rotation in office.

This would replace concealed patronage with up front, wide open patronage.

III.15. Election Laws

The Australian ballot system, introduced into the United States in the late nineteenth century, is an abridgement of freedom of expression and of voting rights. Under it, the names of all the officially approved candidates are printed in a single government sponsored format and the voter indicates his or her choice by marking it or by writing in an approved but unlisted candidate's name. We should return to the previous electoral system where there was no official ballot or candidate approval at all, and therefore no state or federal restriction of access to a "single ballot." Instead, voters submitted their own choices and had the option of using "tickets" or cards printed by candidates or political parties.

This one, at first glance, is just plain weird. How does the present system infringe on anyone's rights? You can write in any candidate you like. True, if you write in Mickey Mouse, you probably won't show up on the official tally, but you can do it.

In many cases, the Libertarian Party seems blissfully unaware that there was ever a problem with some of their proposed reforms. Wholly apart from the chaos this could entail in counting votes, there's a good reason we abandoned this system. With privately printed ballots, anyone could tell from across the room how anyone else voted. An employer who wanted to intimidate workers into voting his way needed only to station an observer in the polling place. Also, with privately-printed ballots, what was to stop someone from bringing in a pocketful of ballots and stuffing the ballot box? Do Libertarians really want free and honest elections? This plank sounds more like a plan for voter coercion and election rigging.

The 17th Amendment

Not in the Libertarian platform at the time I wrote this page, but emerging in some conservative and libertarian circles, is the idea of repealing the 17th Amendment, which called for direct election of senators. Prior to that time, Senators were chosen by State legislatures. Some people think that system better preserved the rights of the States, that Senators spoke for their States rather than voters.

Wow. If you want a recipe for rule by lobbyists, this is the one. Which costs more: bankrolling a Senate election or cozying up to a few State legislators? One of the reasons the 17th Amendment was passed in the first place (and 3/4 of the States agreed on it, for all you States Rights advocates) was the abuses of the Robber Baron era and the ease of buying Senators under the old system. Also, occasionally legislatures deadlocked, in which case nobody represented the state.
Who Dreamed This Up? And What Were They Smoking?

The Libertarian Party seems to be completely unaware that the robber baron era ever happened at all in American history. Although libertarians profess to want individual liberty, their platform is a blueprint for unrestrained rule by the rich and powerful. It's so gleefully over the top in its advocacy of unrestrained greed it's almost like the platform a committee made up of Ebenezer Scrooge, Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life, Uncle Duke from Doonesbury and Monty Burns from The Simpsons would write.

I find myself wondering who dreamed this document up. Despite its recipe for unbridled corporate greed, I can't picture anyone at any level of responsibility in corporate America being so detached from political reality as to think this platform has any chance of becoming policy or working if it did.

So who buys into this plan? The typical libertarian, I suspect, is someone like Ed Thompson, who ran for governor of Wisconsin in 2002 on the Libertarian ticket. His sole qualification was that he was the brother of former Republican governor Tommy Thompson. His only achievement was to divert enough votes from the Republican candidate to elect a Democrat (Hint: if you're the Republican Party, bankroll the Greens. If you're the Democratic Party, bankroll the libertarians.) I picture people who fantasize they could rise to greatness if only they weren't being taxed to death or tied down by endless regulations. The fact that other people, paying the same taxes and under the same regulations, do achieve greatness doesn't enter their thinking. Still less does it occur to them that they will end up suffering worse extortion and limitations on their freedom if all government functions and resources are in private, unregulated hands.
What the Free Market Can and Cannot Do

The free market is absolutely superb at creating abundance through technology. To the extent that technology can also improve quality at the same time, it provides quality. The tremendous growth in computers is a prime example.

When quantity or price collide with quality, it's no contest. In a clash between adequate quality and low price versus high quality and higher price, quality loses every time. If you want a car that will last forever, buy a Rolls Royce. If you want one good for ten years or so, any car dealer can help you. Could you build a car that lasts fifty years at current prices? Maybe, but once you saturate the market, then what? Your continuing sales will be a fraction of current car sales. You'll have to lay off workers and shut down idle plants. So why bother? You can earn a profit selling pretty good cars that last ten years. Just try to buy, say, a CD player with durable all-metal parts, or a VCR with every single function having its own, clearly labeled button. Even if you'd be willing to pay extra, you can't find them. The consumer demand for cheap products has driven many higher quality products out of the market. Sometimes it's merely a matter of taste, other times it really is an objective loss of quality. Many tech writers are convinced that the Betamax video tape format was technically superior to VHS, but VHS won and Betamax lost.

The free market provides abundance, but does a lousy job of upholding high standards. At every opportunity, voters elect politicians who water down standards. Any school that really imposed high standards would find its school board voted out of office. (Just check out Piper, Kansas, where a teacher who flunked students for plagiarism was overruled by the school board. Who is so lacking in a life that they would be afraid of being voted off a school board?) Any state that imposed an achievement test that required enough study time to seriously cut into students' leisure time, jobs, athletics, or family vacations would come under insuperable pressure to water down the tests. So we can assume that if we privatize all education and eliminate compulsory attendance laws, we will see a huge proliferation of schools that turn out mediocre, semi-literate students. We do that now, you say? Just wait to see how much worse it can get.

Why don't politicians tell the truth? Because the ones who do, lose. Fantasy drives reality out of the marketplace every election day.

Another thing the free market fails at is providing services that don't yield a profit or cannot be sold. If you clean up your factory emissions, people downwind will get cleaner air whether they pay for it or not. Nobody has ever come up with a way to make money cleaning up slums. This isn't a criticism of industry. Industry exists to make a profit. But it is an indication that we need something besides market forces to patch the holes. Since society as a whole benefits, we bill society as a whole. That's called a tax.
So What's Plan B?

Missing conspicuously from the platform of the Libertarian Party is any specific discussion of Plan B: what will happen if things don't go as planned, how we will avoid problems that historically occurred in the absence of regulation, and how we will deal with people who don't behave like rational libertarians. I'm sure a lot of libertarians will dismiss many of the scenarios I have sketched above by saying they won't happen. But they did happen, and libertarians don't seem to show the slightest awareness of it. How specifically will we deal with a return of widespread discrimination, for example?

The Libertarian plan calls for "strict liability" and "strong and effective laws against fraud and misrepresentation," but there is a conspicuous absence of any specific plans for making this system work. How specifically, do they plan to prevent the wealthy from using their resources to crush any legal challenge?

And what's the big deal about fraud? If we're going to assert that people should be responsible for their own health care and retirement funds and suffer the consequences if they don't have enough money, why not say that people should be responsible for detecting and avoiding fraud? Caveat emptor.

This is actually very reminiscent of the mind-set of radicals in the Sixties: let's totally break up the existing system, then worry about the details later. You'll love it. Trust us.
The Libertarian Safety Net

This is the place to start, because this is where people will end up if they cannot or will not assume full responsibility for their own well-being.

We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and "aid to the poor" programs. All these government programs are invasive of privacy, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals (Emphasis mine).

If libertarians succeed in reducing taxation dramatically, it's hard to see why people would continue to give to charity at high levels. If Libertarians also succeed in doing away with government subsidized health care and Social Security, what assurance do we have that there will be anything left over to give to charity after people safeguard their own health care and retirement?

But the bottom line is this: people who get in trouble should look to private charities for help. So let's see what might happen.
Legalization of Drugs

Most of the comments I get on this page are from people who challenge this section. I suspect some people style themselves libertarians mostly as a pretext for advocating legalization of drugs. I wonder if they have any intention of supporting more "conservative" planks of the Libertarian platform?

Let's assume that we legalize drugs as called for by the libertarian platform (I.4), that most users manage to use their drug of choice responsibly, and that we don't see any dramatic increase in the number of users. This is, in itself, a not very realistic scenario. We can hardly expect to see the same results in a world of PCP, Ecstasy, heroin and crack that we saw a century ago when the most potent things around were opium and crude cocaine, especially if we also create a world of low paying jobs and a huge pool of unskilled workers. But let's assume the best here.

We can assume there will be a lot of people who drug themselves to incapacity, just as they do now. What are we going to do with them? Presumably private rehabilitation centers will spring up to help those who want to be helped. Why? What's the market incentive? But what about those who don't want to get off drugs, or whose brains are so scrambled they can't make an informed decision? Do we expect private shelters to spring up to house them? Suppose that doesn't happen - do we simply let them live in refrigerator cartons, camp out in parks or freeze in doorways? Where are the shelters going to be located? I can just see homeowners welcoming a drug shelter into the neighborhood. If the shelter is someplace safely removed from anyone who might object, how are the drug users going to get there? What if there aren't enough rehab centers and shelters to meet the needs because people are giving to other charities they consider more deserving, or simply not giving at all because they have to finance their own retirements and health care?

And how will they buy drugs? In the libertarian scenario, if they don't have the money, they have to go cold turkey for a while. But drug users don't do that now. Many resort to prostitution or drug dealing themselves, but a lot of them turn to crime. The libertarian platform (I.6) states: "We support restitution for the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or wrongdoer." How is this going to happen? These people are unemployable already. Will we set up work centers where criminals will work off their debts? How will these differ from slave labor camps? Given the costs of feeding, sheltering and guarding criminals, could they ever work off the costs of their crimes?

Then there are the kids. What do we do with the children of drug abusers?

Let's talk about the "responsible" drug users in this scenario (something I maintain is a contradiction in terms.) Surgeons and airline pilots are only a little stoned when they report to work. We can assume a lot of professions will exclude drug users. That means the "responsible" users will try to conceal their drug use, like many do now in the military, which has routine drug screening. We can, of course, invoke "strict liability," but that won't help you if your air traffic controller fails to avert a collision or your anesthesiologist miscalculates your dose.

By the way, if you're not a libertarian, but support legalization of drugs, tell me how you plan to deal with these problems. Don't tell me they won't happen. Tell me what you plan to do if they do happen. I won't even waste bandwidth replying to you if you don't.

Finally, while there is debate over whether drugs should be decriminalized or even legalized, there's another issue that's much simpler and established in law. Do you have the right to decide, unilaterally, that laws against drugs don't apply to you? The answer to that is absolutely settled. Until proponents of decriminalization elect legislators who see things their way, drugs remain illegal, and the issue of whether individuals have the right to violate those laws is non-negotiable. I happen to think most speed limits are set by a joint committee of the timid and the stupid, but until speed limits change, I have no right to complain if I speed and get a ticket.
Bottom Line

* Society has a right to restrict private activities, like drug use, that create large social burdens.
* Most regulatory agencies exist because:
o Someone abused his freedom and used it to deny freedom to someone else
o Someone failed to live up to his responsibility
o The free market failed to prevent or correct abuses.
* The free market is very good at creating abundance but there are some things it just cannot do.
o It often fails miserably to support high standards if those conflict with price, convenience, or popular taste
o It is just not suited for creating diffuse benefits like cleaning up the air or clearing slums

Another View

Bruce Bartlett, in the Washington Times, December 20, 2006:

The LP is worse than a waste of time. I believe it has done far more to hamper the advancement of libertarian ideas and policies than to advance them. In my view, it is essential for the LP to completely disappear before libertarian ideas will again have political currency.

Over the years, I have known a great many people who have flirted with the LP, but were ultimately turned off by its political impotence and immaturity. C-SPAN runs LP conventions and viewers can see for themselves how unserious and childish they are. They show the LP is essentially a high-school-level debating club where only one question is ever debated -- who is the purest libertarian and what is the purest libertarian position? At times, serious people have tried to get control of the LP and make it a viable organization. But in the end, the crazies who like the LP just as it is have always run them off.

Both major parties have fewer libertarians than they would without the LP, meaning the net result of the LP has been to make our government less libertarian than it would otherwise be.

In place of the LP, there should arise a new libertarian interest group organized like the National Rifle Association or the various pro- and anti-abortion groups. This new group, whatever it is called, would hire lobbyists, run advertisements and make political contributions to candidates supporting libertarian ideas. It will work with both major parties. It can magnify its influence by creating temporary coalitions on particular issues and being willing to work with elected officials who may hold libertarian positions on only one or a handful of issues. ... As long as the LP continues, unfortunately, it will an albatross around the necks of small-L libertarians, destroying any political effectiveness they might have. It must die for libertarian ideas to succeed.

Want to Make Yourself Useful?

Instead of pie in the sky platforms that don't have a snowball's chance of ever becoming law, how about this? The Constitution specifies in Article V:

on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, [Congress] shall call a convention for proposing amendments...

This has never been done in American history although it has been tried. Libertarians would advance their agendas much better if they began pushing for such a convention and then worked to have it dominated by people who supported some of their ideas. Once a convention is called, amendments still have to be ratified by three fourths of the states, so the bar is still set high. But a convention could make an end run around entrenched interests. I personally think the worst missed opportunity in recent American history was our failure to call a Constitutional Convention to mark the bicentennial of the Constitution. So what amendments might such a convention propose?

* The first one should be to reduce the number of states needed to propose amendments to one third or even one fourth.
* No person may be required to maintain records for the convenience of the government and absence of records shall not be construed as evidence of guilt.
* Congress shall pass no law exempting itself from any legislation.
* There shall be no law restricting the rights and privileges of any person for the purpose of facilitating enforcement of any law or for the convenience of the government.
* The president may veto any individual provision of any law.

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Dear Republican Leaders: The Republican Party has become the party dedicated to sabotaging the American future. Check out the sermon I just delivered about the Republican Party on CNN when being interviewed by D.L. Hughley -- and/or read on.

You Republicans are the arsonists who burned down our national home. You combined the failed ideologies of the Religious Right, so-called free market deregulation and the Neoconservative love of war to light a fire that has consumed America. Now you have the nerve to criticize the "architect" America just hired -- President Obama -- to rebuild from the ashes. You do nothing constructive, just try to hinder the one person willing and able to fix the mess you created.

I used to be one of you. As recently as 2000 I worked to get Senator McCain elected in that year's primary. (McCain and Gen. Tommy Franks wrote glowing endorsements regarding my book about military service, AWOL.). I have a file of handwritten thank you notes from Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush I and II. In the 1970s and early 80s I hung out with Jack Kemp and bought into his "supply side" myth and even wrote a book he endorsed pushing his ideas.) There's more, but take it from me; my parents (evangelical leaders Francis and Edith Schaeffer) and I were about as tight with -- and useful to -- the Republican Party as anyone. We played a big part creating the Religious Right.

In the mid 1980s I left the Religious Right, after I realized just how very anti-American they are, (the theme I explore in my book Crazy For God). They wanted America to fail in order to prove they were right about America's "moral decline." Soon after McCain lost in 2000 I re-registered as an independent in disgust with W. Bush. But I still respected many Republicans. Not today.

How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now? Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan defined the modern conservatism that used to be what the Republican Party I belonged to was about. Today no actual conservative can be a Republican. Reagan would despise today's wholly negative Republican Party. And can you picture the gentlemanly and always polite Ronald Reagan, endorsing a radio hate-jock slob who crudely mocked a man with Parkinson's and who now says he wants an American president to fail?!

With people like Limbaugh as the loudmouth image of the Republican Party -- you need no enemies. But something far more serious has happened than an image problem: the Republican Party has become the party of obstruction at just the time when all Americans should be pulling together for the good of our country. Instead, Republicans are today's fifth column sabotaging American renewal.

President Obama has been in office barely 45 days and the Republican Party has the nerve to blame him for the economic and military cataclysm he inherited. I say economic and military cataclysm because without the needless war in Iraq you all backed we would not be in the economic mess we're in today. If that money had been spent here at home on renovating our infrastructure, taking us toward a green economy, putting our health-care system in order we'd be a very different situation.

As the father of a Marine who served in George W. Bush's misbegotten wars let me say this: if President Obama's strategy to repair our economy, infrastructure and healthcare fails that will put our troops at far greater risk because the world will become a far more dangerous place. So for all you flag-waving Republicans who are trying to undermine the President at home -- if you succeed more of our troops will be killed abroad.

When your new leader Rush Limbaugh calls for President Obama to fail he's calling for more flag-draped coffins. Limbaugh is the new "Hanoi Jane."

For the party that created our crises of misbegotten war, mismanaged economy, the lack of regulation of our banking industry, handing our country to rich crooks... to obstruct the one person who is trying to repair the damage is obscene.

Just imagine where America would be today if the 14 to 20 million voters -- "the rube base" who slavishly follow the likes of Limbaugh -- had not voted as a block year after year thus empowering the Republican fiasco. We would have a regulated banking industry and would have avoided our current financial crisis; some 4000 of our killed military men and women would be alive; over to 35,000 wounded Americans would be whole; we would have been leaders in the environmental movement; we would be in the middle of a green technology boom fueling a huge expansion of our economy and stopping our dependence on foreign oil, and our health-care system would be reformed.

After Obama was elected, you Republican leaders had a unique last chance to send a patriotic message of unity to the world -- and to all Americans. You could have backed our president's economic recovery plan. Since we all know that half of our problem is one of lost confidence and perception, nothing would have done more to calm the markets and project resolve and confidence than if you had been big enough to take Obama's offered hand and had work with him -- even if you disagreed ideologically. You had the chance to put our country first. You utterly failed to rise to the occasion.

The worsening economic situation is your fault and your fault alone. The Republicans created this mess through 8 years of backing the worst president in our history and now, because you put partisan ideology ahead of the good of our country, you have blown your last chance to redeem yourselves. You deserve the banishment to the political wilderness that awaits all traitors.

Frank Schaeffer is the author of CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back Now in paperback.

Attention Portland Peeps (and others)

Dear MoveOn member,

Have you read the stories this week declaring the public health insurance option dead? Well, it's not.

The public option has the support of 83% of the American people,1 and enough progressives in the House to block any bill without it.2,3 And contrary to what you may have read, the White House has said repeatedly their position hasn't changed.4,5

But there is real danger in the Senate, where conservatives have stepped up efforts to kill the public option.
Can you call Senator Ron Wyden right away? Tell him that you, along with the majority of Americans, strongly support a public health insurance option—it's the heart of real reform.

Here's where to call:

Senator Ron Wyden
District Offices:
Bend: 541-330-9142
Eugene: 541-431-0229
La Grande: 541-962-7691
Medford: 541-858-5122
Portland: 503-326-7525
Salem: 503-589-4555

Then, please report your call by clicking here:

http://pol.moveon.org/call?tg=FSOR_1&cp_id=1078&dofcs=1&id=16878-14388865-rphWJ_x&t=1

After several weeks of protests by angry right-wing extremists, the media is itching to write the story of the administration backing down. The truth is, President Obama has said all along that he wants a public option—it's the key to keeping insurance companies honest. And just yesterday the White House reiterated that a public option is the best way to increase competition, expand coverage, and bring down costs.6

Now, more than ever, the Senate needs to hear that the public health insurance option is non-negotiable, and that the American public is counting on the lowered costs and increased access the public option will bring.

Our demand for real reform is getting through in communities nationwide, thanks in big part to MoveOn volunteers organizing events across the country. Check out the latest:

* At a debate in Dallas, Texas, the MoveOn Council brought over 120 people—far outnumbering right-wing protesters.7 Photos of MoveOn members at the event ran in the New York Times.8
* MoveOn members around the country have been tenacious in getting through to key senators. In the last two weeks, members have had face-to-face conversations with senators in Indiana, North Dakota, Maine, and Nebraska.
* In Boulder, Colorado, pro-reform constituents packed a town hall with Rep. Jared Polis. The message they sent was positive, respectful, and crystal clear. As the local television station put it, "Hundreds urge Polis to keep fighting for 'public option.'"9

But we also need to make sure the word is getting heard in every single Senate office—and with the media frenzy, calling now is more important than ever. Can you call Sen. Wyden today and make sure he hears from you right away about the need for a real public health insurance option?

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Kat, Stephen, Daniel and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. "New Poll Shows Tremendous Support for Public Health Care Option," Blog for Our Future, June 15, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51510&id=16878-14388865-rphWJ_x&t=2

2. "60 Members of Congress Say 'No Public Plan, No Conference,'" Firedoglake, August 17, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51764&id=16878-14388865-rphWJ_x&t=3

3. "Weiner says health plan without public option won't fly," The Examiner, August 17, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51765&id=16878-14388865-rphWJ_x&t=4

4. "White House Issues Q&A on Health Plan," The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51770&id=16878-14388865-rphWJ_x&t=5

5. "White House Insists 'Nothing Has Changed' on Public Health Insurance Option," ABC News, August 17, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51768&id=16878-14388865-rphWJ_x&t=6

6. "White House Issues Q&A on Health Plan," The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51770&id=16878-14388865-rphWJ_x&t=7

7. "Joint health care reform debate remains peaceful in Dallas," Dallas Morning News, August 18, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51772&id=16878-14388865-rphWJ_x&t=8

8. "Alternate Plan as Health Option Muddies Debate," The New York Times, August 17, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51773&id=16878-14388865-rphWJ_x&t=9

9. "Hundreds urge Polis to keep fighting for 'public option,'" KDVR, August 17, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51771&id=16878-14388865-rphWJ_x&t=10

Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

Educational value 10+

If you want to know how people of a political party, church or fraternal organization gets people to support causes against their own best interests, you might want to watch this. It is brilliantly done.

Thugs. All of them.

Did you see today's breaking news? A former health insurance executive just went on record saying that right-wing mobs at town halls are the result of "stealth efforts by health insurance companies."1 And The Huffington Post reports that dirty energy companies are helping bankroll the mobs.2

It's infuriating—but the good news is that everyday folks are fighting back. And the great news is that we're making strides. In city after city, MoveOn Councils are proving to the media that the vast majority of Americans support the change agenda that President Obama ran on.

As we ramp up our "Real Voices for Change" campaign, here are some recent inspiring stories from MoveOn Councils around the country:

* We're keeping it positive. At a town hall in Charlottesville, Virginia, national media were expecting a hostile and extremist crowd—but Rep. Tom Perriello was met by a large and very friendly group. NBC reported, "for the most part the crowd was subdued and in support of reforming the system."3 An event with Rep. Joe Sestak in Philadelphia, where the local MoveOn Council helped to turn people out, was "overwhelmingly civil."4 In Denver, at a high-profile event with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a few right-wing protesters compared President Obama to Hitler—but progressive protesters vastly outnumbered them.5

* We're making direct contact with decision-makers. At a Jobs Fair in northwest Indiana, Council Coordinator David Lambeth handed a flyer supporting a REAL public option directly to Senator Evan Bayh—a key vote on health care reform—and had a quick conversation with him. The Council had organized a flyering event at that Jobs Fair precisely to create such a face-to-face opportunity.

* The media is taking notice. Our signs and footage from MoveOn events are all over the news, including several national spots on MSNBC and NBC Nightly News (one of the most-watched shows on TV). And in one wild moment, conservative Tom Tancredo—a former Colorado congressman—actually waved a MoveOn health care sign on MSNBC!

* We're getting good responses from members of Congress—even in "red" states. In Johnson County, KS, the Council organized a "honk and wave" outside of Rep. Dennis Moore's office. (Rep. Moore is a "blue dog" who supports the public option.) As Organizer Ian Rogers reported:

Despite some right-wing protesters who showed up and tried to disrupt the event, the members stayed strong and their efforts paid off. About twenty minutes after the right-wing protesters showed, Rep. Moore himself drove by the honk and wave. He honked, the tea-baggers booed, and Moore gave the thumbs up to our people and honked again.

Thank you so much for all you're doing to push back against the misconception that right-wing extremists speak for all of us. And there's much more to do in the weeks ahead—keep it up.

–Anna, Lenore, Nita, Ilya, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. "Former exec: Insurers fomenting town hall chaos," The Hill, August 12, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51752&id=16809-14388865-rMNlcqx&t=2

2. "Townhall Mobs—Brought to you by Big Oil and Dirty Coal," The Huffington Post, August 7, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51753&id=16809-14388865-rMNlcqx&t=3

3. "Tom in Your Town Hits Charlottesville," NBC, August 11, 2009
http://www.nbc29.com/Global/story.asp?S=10885372

4. "Sestak health-care meeting a spoonful of sugar," Philadelphia Enquirer, August 13, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51754&id=16809-14388865-rMNlcqx&t=4

5. Pelosi Protesters, Including Kid In Stroller, Compare Obama to Hitler, The Huffington Post, August 8, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51755&id=16809-14388865-rMNlcqx&t=5

From the White House

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage

1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.

2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.

3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.

4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.

5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.

6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.

7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.

8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

Learn more and get details: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/

8 common myths about health insurance reform

1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.

2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.

3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.

4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.

5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.

6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.

7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.

8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:
http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck
http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck/faq

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/denied_coverage/index.html

2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hiddencosts/index.html

3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/women/index.html

4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hardtimes

5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/helpbottomline

6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction

7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction/diminishing/index.html

8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA_Health_Care_Report.pdf
How about this for a New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn't do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn't used to define us. But now it's becoming all that we are.

Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? But now our war zones are dominated by private contractors and mercenaries who work for corporations. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American troops, and we pay them generous salaries to do jobs the troops used to do for themselves ­-- like laundry. War is not supposed to turn a profit, but our wars have become boondoggles for weapons manufacturers and connected civilian contractors.

Prisons used to be a non-profit business, too. And for good reason --­ who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you're going to have trouble with the tenants. But now prisons are big business. A company called the Corrections Corporation of America is on the New York Stock Exchange, which is convenient since that's where all the real crime is happening anyway. The CCA and similar corporations actually lobby Congress for stiffer sentencing laws so they can lock more people up and make more money. That's why America has the world;s largest prison population ­-- because actually rehabilitating people would have a negative impact on the bottom line.

Television news is another area that used to be roped off from the profit motive. When Walter Cronkite died last week, it was odd to see news anchor after news anchor talking about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite's day. I thought, "Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it."

But maybe they aren't. Because unlike in Cronkite's day, today's news has to make a profit like all the other divisions in a media conglomerate. That's why it wasn't surprising to see the CBS Evening News broadcast live from the Staples Center for two nights this month, just in case Michael Jackson came back to life and sold Iran nuclear weapons. In Uncle Walter's time, the news division was a loss leader. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.

And finally, there's health care. It wasn't that long ago that when a kid broke his leg playing stickball, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun put a thermometer in his mouth, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.

But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some Wall Street wizard decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they're run by some bean counters in a corporate plaza in Charlotte. In the U.S. today, three giant for-profit conglomerates own close to 600 hospitals and other health care facilities. They're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. America's largest hospital chain, HCA, was founded by the family of Bill Frist, who perfectly represents the Republican attitude toward health care: it's not a right, it's a racket. The more people who get sick and need medicine, the higher their profit margins. Which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O.

Because medicine is now for-profit we have things like "recision," where insurance companies hire people to figure out ways to deny you coverage when you get sick, even though you've been paying into your plan for years.

When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what's in it for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

If conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private health care "soulless vampires making money off human pain." The problem with President Obama's health care plan isn't socialism, it's capitalism.

And if medicine is for profit, and war, and the news, and the penal system, my question is: what's wrong with firemen? Why don't they charge? They must be commies. Oh my God! That explains the red trucks!

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