Monday, August 31, 2009

Truth and Justice

Someday we, as a people, are going to have to stand up for truth and justice and stop being mislead by lies, distortion, ambiguity, rumor, innuendo, gossip and flawed rationalization and thinking. Usually, the truth will come out and usually we already know the truth. We need to accept it and face it, even if it shows our own flawed thinking, our mistakes and perhaps our criminal behavior. We must take a stand much like Judge Arthur M. Schack of Brooklyn, New York is doing in regards to foreclosures. It seems to me that he’s saying to banks who foreclose mortgages, “Come in this court with your facts straight and your arguments based in civil law, or else.”

Take the problem of investigating whether America used torture in the interrogation of alleged terrorist. There is already evidence in the documents, specifically a CIA Inspector General report, that have made the light of day that we, America, used torture and that no useful intelligence was gained from doing it. There is also clear U.S. law against it; law established by our own government and international treaties. There is no ambiguity about that. But, Vice President Cheney attempts to fog up the issue. He says, and I paraphrase, “If we allow past administrations to be investigated and prosecuted for their actions, nobody would run for the office.” That’s nonsense.

The truth is that having the ability and lawful responsibility to investigate and prosecute past unlawful behavior is exactly what we should do. No president or vice president should hold the highest office in our country with the belief that they can circumvent, distort or out-right flaunt the law of this country and get away with it. And, if they do flaunt the law, they will be held responsible for their actions. That’s justice. That’s United States law. Either we are a joke, or we are a serious country of laws. There is no ambiguity in our Constitution about that.

We know for a fact that President Bush signed the anti-torture law that Senator McCain, and others, sponsored. We also know that President Bush added his little “signing statement” to the bill when he signed it that essentially said, “…we don’t have to follow this law in regards to terrorist…,” paraphrased. I hope, and more than that – pray, that the special prosecutor will get to the bottom of the torture issue; who did it knowing it was illegal, who authorized it and was responsible for knowing it was illegal or not and who in the Justice Department, White House or any other Government Department justified the use of torture with distorted legal arguments. That should encompass just about everyone who was involved in America’s use of torture.

But, our search for truth and justice shouldn’t stop there. Every time we see some lie, distortion or misrepresentation, we should take a stand; a line in the sand that we won’t accept it. Take a simple email that I received yesterday from a family member. An email that is passed around the internet that distorts the truth, such as this one:





This is nonsense, too. Illegal aliens don’t get Social Security Cards, they don’t get free health care, except in emergencies, and they don’t get a driver’s license. The intent of the email is only to spread ignorance and lies, to cause an uproar and dissention and to cause anti-government resentment. That’s the only reason for the email. If you’re one of those people who pass this nonsense around to your friends and family, don’t you think it’s time that you be honest with your friends and family? Don’t you think it’s time that you investigated these claims yourself and if you find them dishonest or lying or misrepresentations that you send an email back to the person who sent it to you pointing that out? Why do you accept these claims without pointing out that it is nonsense to those who sent it to you? Why do you pass them on?

I would like to know. Is it that you want to “fit in” with your group of friends? Are you afraid to question nonsense in your circle of relatives and friends? Are you a “gossip?” Are you proud of being a “false witness?” Is it that you think it is a “joke” or “funny” to be against your government? Why do you accept the ramblings and ranting of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Rielly without questioning their logic, ideals and conclusions? Is it “entertaining?” Is that all you need? If you or someone you know is without health care and you can see as easily as I do that the insurance companies are taking you for a ride, putting your money in their pockets and your, your family or friends health or financial situation at risk, why would you stand against health care reform? In 233 years this country has followed a Constitution that assures liberty and a pursuit of happiness for its citizens so what would make you believe that it will not do that in health care reform? Have you read the Constitution? Do you really know what “socialism” means or are you just “mouthing” what you heard? Did you know that the health care reform bills in Congress are in no way “socialism?” Are you a racist? Is that your reason for “tea parties” or “town hall” uncivil behavior? And, if you’re a Senator or Representative who distorts the facts, why would you do that? Is it for your own gain in the next election? Is that all your constituents mean to you? People who you can mislead so you can have a job? Why would you lie to them like South Carolina’s Republican Senator DeMint did in his recent town hall meeting or blatantly lie like Sarah Palin’s “death panels?” And, if you are their constituent, why would you accept such nonsense?

And, if you’re a news network, newspaper, a reporter or columnist, why would you want to lie or distort facts? Isn’t it your job to bring the light of day to ambiguity, hidden agendas and corruption in our communities? Why would you want to continue a “controversy” simply to increase your ratings or readership? Are you honest? Are you a good source of truth or just a commercial, bottom-line company? Is exposing lies and deceit important to you, or do you say and do anything no matter how outrageous or nefarious for money? Are you a good reporter or not? Why does the so-called “fair and balanced” news have to include lies and deceit? How are lies, innuendo, rumor, misrepresentation and deceit “fair and balanced?” They sound like lies to me.

The time has come for America to be honest with itself. We need to put the spinners and liars and those who distort and misrepresent truth and justice out of business. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean “Freedom to lie.” We need to reject lies and distortion that comes to our attention. I don’t know any other way for America to get through our many troubles except with truth and justice and the strength to face down lies and injustice.

If you don’t know what’s true, then find out. Don’t send me anymore half-baked ideas or out-right lies, gossip, innuendo, rumor or something you heard Limbaugh say. If you know the lies, then stop repeating them. It isn’t funny.

I can guarantee you that if you are honest and truthful and make every effort to be that and you are just in your decisions, I will honor you. I will read what you write and listen to what you say. I will repeat what you say or write and I will pay you for it if that’s your business.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Edward Moore Kennedy

When God puts his hand on you, we should take ours off.

Rest in peace, Teddy.


Prisoners and Us and The Right Wing Nuts

I’m listening to John Rothman, KGO Radio show host, talking about the ordered California prisoner release. His question, “What are we going to do with these people?” pretty much sums up the problem; he assumes from the start that “these people” should not be in society. The facts, and I’m not well versed with the problem but do hear of disturbing trends about California’s justice system, will probably show that we have an inordinate number of prisoners incarcerated on minor drug charges, illegal entry in the U.S. or they are entirely innocent of any crime. Once in prison, however, they pump iron, associate with ruthless and violent prisoners, are raped or otherwise abused by fellow inmates and/or guards and they essentially learn how to be meaner. Many are illegal aliens. So, if we have to release 37,000 prisoners to save our budget, because we couldn’t manage that either, then it seems to me that we should release the least violent of the bunch; those druggies and illegal aliens and an occasional innocent person. Obviously, our idea of justice and punishment needs to be revised.

Our idea of justice has been, to date, to store people who violate our laws, or at least who are convicted of that, in prison warehouses, out of sight and mind. That’s how we keep our unemployment down. That’s how we feed the huge prison industry’s insatiable appetite for revenue. A prisoner is that industry’s sales statistic on its balance sheet. Oh, and should I say that one of the expenses on its balance sheet is paying off a politician? Or, can you extrapolate that yourself? Maybe I should say it, because I sure don’t see anyone out there, especially politicians, who are going to acknowledge that little tidbit. That balance sheet entry probably says “retained earnings,” but should say “payoffs” since that line-item is a “reserve fund” for lobbying.

So, our lack of foresight, and compassion I should add, i.e., to actually rehabilitate felons, at least those who can be rehabilitated, is finally biting us in the ass. We didn’t do that and the prison system is costing us more per prisoner than it would have had we rehabbed them. It costs less to keep a person on welfare than it does to keep them in prison. It costs our society more to shove a nonproductive person out into our society than it does to pay welfare. In fact, not rehabilitating our prisoners creates more welfare than rehab.

But, as long as we choose to be dumb about it, the cycle of people warehousing will continue. We don’t have a sustainable system of justice because we ignore society’s needs. We call it “socialism” when laws are made to support society, we demand “self sufficiency” for those trapped in a cycle of dependency and we insist on “take-your-lumps-responsibility” when victims of injustice are precluded from doing that. All of these "ideals" are the core of the new conservatism. It just means that we are a mean people. It’s ironic that we claim to be Christian too.

Speaking of the ignorant conservatives, have you seen the new magazine on the market; NewsMax? I see that it features David Limbaugh on its home page. I guess the Limbaugh name gives you an idea on who’s behind it, but, as usual, there is no mention of who the publisher is. It’s just another right-wing source of stupidity; a platform for Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck, the idiots of the right. I don’t think there’s a cure. I wish there was. As long as these idiots dominate the discussion, we will continue to warehouse people in prisons, among a long list of other injustices.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cancel Your "Contra Costa Times" Subscription Now

The times are changing. It is time newspapers stayed with truth and facts. If you believe that, then you should cancel your subscription to the Contra Costa Times, aka The Valley Times, aka West County Times, aka East County Times published by the Bay Area News Group – East Bay. Why? The full page U.S. Citizen Association ad on page AA3 of the August 26, 2009 issue of The Valley Times is the most offensive and lying deceptions I’ve ever seen a newspaper publish. The ad, well, is simply an offensive, lying piece of crap. Click this link or copy it to your browser to see the offensive ad:

I’m not the only one who’s pissed. I notice that the Daily Kos is as well. In fact, he’s so bent out of shape by the face-slap that he wrote a blog entry so quick he didn’t have time to use capital letters; here it is. And, the comments on the blog say people are canceling their subscriptions to newspapers that run the ad and I am too. The ad is intended to deceive and it tells all the lies it can think of to do that. The most offensive part of the ad, however, is a “sign up” form for people to join the ignorance campaign. Here is my letter to The Valley Times:

August 26, 2009

The Valley Times

P.O. Box 5088

Walnut Creek, CA 94596-1087

Re: Subscription Account *****94

Dear Valley Times,

Please cancel my subscription immediately. Your newspaper is straying from honest and truthful presentation of current issues and news. I find the full page ad on page AA3 in the August 26, 2009 issue offensive in every fiber of my being; it presents a lying, bold deceit and it offers the most vulnerable and ignorant in our society a method to spread the deception by joining a revolt against our government.

If your newspaper wishes to sell papers by being controversial, then present facts and broadly held truths about issues. But, you cross the line when you sell your paper to deceptive advertisers. I will not pay you to do that.



Here is my email exchange with David Rounds, Bay Area News Group publisher and a few of his staff. Their email addresses are Rounds, David (publisher), Turpin, Michael (marketing) and Gust, Kelly (editor). As with all email exchanges, the top is response to the one below it.

Dear Mr. Rounds,

I appreciate your position and your response. I'm suggesting that you be a truth police. As I responded to Mr. Turpin, all sides should include factual arguments on the issues. I would add that facts and truths learned from investigative reports, which you see on a daily basis, should be included in any argument or presentation of the truth and attempts to find the truth. But, the ad is none of those. It is clearly deception and misrepresents all known facts about the issues it addresses. It is false advertising. It promotes ignorance. It is selling a deceptive product. At some point in time, your newspaper will have to stand for honesty in the press and on that principal; a line in the sand. I'd say that even two standard deviations on either side of your average ad wouldn't include this particular ad. It's extreme. I'll bet that a good reporter could expose this ad as false on your front page.

It's one thing for opinions, such as those expressed by Thomas Sowell, to preach the extreme right-wing mantra on the opinion page, but quiet another for a paid advertiser to offer a "sign up" form with the intent to deceive and promote ignorance for the sole purpose of defeating a government reform initiative.

No, there's no need to publish my comments.



----- Original Message -----

From: Rounds, David

To: Dave Clark ; Turpin, Michael ; Gust, Kelly

Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 10:11 AM

Subject: RE: Subscription Cancellation

Mr. Clark:

Let me say that I am concerned about every subscription we have and would be very sorry to lose you because of this advertisement. I personally disagree with all of the statements and content of this ad by the U.S. Citizens Association. However I am very reluctant to put our newspapers in the position of becoming the “truth police” around politically based advertisements unless there are clear issues of liable or calls for direct violence against another. If we started to do this we would very quickly find ourselves on a slippery slope of only publishing political advertising for those issues and candidates whose views aligned with our own. I believe that the newspaper has done good work providing balanced coverage of issues that are important to all of us. In any event, thank you for sharing your opinion. I was wondering if you had intended your note for publication in the letters section of the newspaper. If so, please let me know.


David Rounds

From: Dave
Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 8:08 AM
To: Rounds, David; Turpin, Michael; Gust, Kelly
Subject: Subscription Cancellation

Dear Mr. Rounds, Mr. Turpin and Ms. Gust,

I'm sending this to notify you that I'm canceling my subscription to "The Valley Times" by a separate letter. I'm sure that you are not usually concerned with cancellations, but in this case I want you to know why. The ad on page AA3, a full page ad by U. S. Citizens Association, in the August 26, 2009 issue is a lie and probably sedition. There is no reason for such an ad except to turn citizens against the U. S. Congress and the U. S. President and in fact against the U. S. Government. There is no factual basis behind the ad and it is clearly fear mongering.

The fact that your paper was paid to publish it says a lot more about your own attitude toward our country than any other action you might personally take. You are clearly more interested with revenue than truth or the country you live in. I will not contribute to the existence of your paper through subscribing to it for one more day than it takes to process my cancellation.

I also have a web blog where I also will post my dissatisfaction with your paper. It is not a well known blog, but it has a few readers. Perhaps those readers will find the ad equally offensive and take similar action.



P.S. Also watch Sick Around the World, at PBS.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Boycotting Companies that Sponsor Propaganda

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of paying for propaganda. So, I’m starting a list of companies that sponsor distortion, lies and half-truths that are doing more harm to America than good. I really don’t care what political view the CEOs and executives of these companies have. I am generally conservative in my views, but today’s conservatism has moved so much to the right that I can’t identify with it anymore. I want truth in news, not hyperbole. I want valid research and reporting, not constant and continual unresolved controversy. I’m fed up with pundits and talk show hosts who pretend to read the minds of our leaders or who opine on motives of congress. I want a congress that actually attempts to do what’s good for America instead of what some company or lobbyist wants. As far as I can tell, President Obama is attempting to do what’s right and good for America, but the spin, lies and total ignorance propagated over cable and written news media is astounding and impeding or completely blocking good, valid initiatives. I’ve had it.

Therefore, I’m starting a list of sponsors that I am not going to pay or promote so they in turn can pay for propaganda. They need to pay attention to what and where they are putting their name.

Fox News Web Site Sponsors (starting at the top of the propagandist who gives a platform to Hannity, O’Rielly, Glen Beck, etal):


Nationwide Insurance,

People Magazine (,,,

SixFlags, (watch for annoying popups)

Microsoft, (Microsoft Office Products. Get the free OpenOffice)


LaQuinta Inns & Suites,



Maybe you can drop them a note at their web sites saying you’re boycotting them too. More later…


30-Days Notice to the Contra Costa Times

Here’s my cancellation notice to the Contra Costa Times:

I'm giving Contra Costa Times 30 days notice to clean up its act. A newspaper should publish the truth, or at least something as close to the truth as possible. I realize that getting the "full" story may be difficult, but you should be able to determine when a "columnist" is spewing out-right balderdash and hyperbole just by comparing his/her column with the information you've collected and/or reported in investigative reports. Take Thomas Sowell's columns for example. I haven't read one of his columns yet that contains any resemblance to the truth. His latest "Random Thoughts" spews out the typical Bill O'Rielly or Saun Hannity Right-Wing spin on climate change that has dumbed down the general public on the subject simply because there have been a few cool days in Chicago and New York and he cites information from the Cato Institute. That's laughable. The Cato Institute is NOT a scientific organization, it's a Right-Wing POLITICAL organization and it publishes spin like all the rest of the ideologues. How would it know the scientific consensus behind climate change when it too refuses to acknowledge it or research it? Mr. Sowell ignores the truth in nearly all his columns and for Contra Costa Times to continue to print his blather simply continues controversy on mistaken perceptions and clearly not based on any resemblance to the truth.

This country needs health care reform badly, but the noise and bold lies about “obamacare," "euthanasia," "death panels" and "socialism" have distorted the argument to the point where passing a good and beneficial health care reform bill is nearly impossible, and that is exactly what the insurance industry wants. This country needs to address climate change, but the blather propagated by the likes of Thomas Sowell have spun the truth or out-right lied about it and that is exactly what the coal and oil industry want. You can see the effect by reading the many letters to editors from people who have been mislead by the hyperbole and spin and parrot the blather of Mr. Sowell and others.

So, I'm giving Contra Costa Times 30-day notice to clean up its act. The investigative reports from your reporters and the reporters of news agencies that you use contain the good information and usually the truth that the public need to know, so print that instead of allowing half-truths and lies in your newspaper. Otherwise, I'm cancelling my subscription. I'm also cancelling my subscription to the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch's paper, because his Fox News Corp. gives a platform to Glen Beck, Saun Hannity and Bill O'Rielly, all right-wing propagandist. I'm not going to use or buy any product from companies that sponsor or promote those shows or pay for the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage shows. These propagandists do much too much harm to America, and I'm not going to pay you or them to do it.

I don't know how you're going to get me to re-subscribe if you wait too long to clean up your paper. I won't know that you did since I won't be reading it. Maybe you can send me a personal invitation. Be sure to include an apology for misleading your readers and a promise not to do it again.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

America has gone Stupid

Two weeks and one day ago we returned from “The Trip,” twenty days on the road of not listening to news, if you can call it that, not reading The New York Times or the Washington Post, not listening to CNN’s Headline News (HLN) or Anderson 360 or MSNBC or ABC News or Rachel Maddow (our hometown gal), and not listening to The Daily Show or Colbert Report. I don’t listen to Fox even when I’m home, so it’s excluded and I don’t miss it. On reflection, it was glorious; peace of mind that caught me by surprise. Alas, now that I’m back, I’m subjected again to the daily inundation of misinformation. And, while I was gone, America went stupid.

What happened? Well, for one thing Congress went on vacation, its “August Recess,” where each member presumably returns to their constituency to “get an update.” Ha! What they faced, instead, were unruly mobs yelling questions, threatening, bullying, and otherwise disrupting the meetings that is intended as two-way transfer of knowledge. But, how can one have a transfer of knowledge when one side of the transaction is stupid? One lady’s sign said, “Keep Government out of my Medicare.” Another said, “I don’t have healthcare and I don’t want the government to give it to me.” A man asked Senator Specter, “how do you read a 1,000 page healthcare bill?” then the mob wouldn’t let the Senator answer the question. A woman shouted, “Don’t kill old people,” referring to the myth circulating that the healthcare bill provides for euthanasia of the elderly. And, to top it off, Sarah Palin says, “Government healthcare could kill her Downs Syndrome baby.” Are you kidding me? Where do these people come from?

I can answer all the signs, statements and questions, but it wouldn’t help. Stupid is an incurable disease. But, I’ll do it anyway:

  • Medicare is a government healthcare program.
  • The proposed healthcare reform bill is not to “give” it to you, but to provide you with a less expensive option than the healthcare industry will and to force the healthcare “rip-off” insurance industry to become efficient.
  • You read a 1,000 page bill in a short time by separating it into logical pieces, passing each section to an intelligent staff for reading, and then discussing and re-reading relevant parts of the bill that may present problems for the constituency or people at large.
  • The Healthcare Reform Bill does not provide for killing “old people” nor will it kill Palin’s Downs Syndrome child. Don’t be ridiculous. It will provide better options of “choice” for end of life decisions an elderly person may desire. I will also provide better options for caring for a Downs Syndrome child, or any other special needs child for people who don’t have Sarah Palin’s wealth (wealth = money, for people who don’t know what “wealth” means).

Don’t be stupid.

I have to agree with Bill Maher’s New Rule: Smart President ≠ Smart People. For those who don’t know what “≠” stands for, it is “not equal.” Bill says American people are too stupid to “update” congress on their, “the peoples',” real needs. Congress, Bill says, should do what’s right and ignore “the people.” I couldn’t agree more, but when you look at Congress members like Boehner, McConnell, Braun (R-GA) and all the other Republicans, you really don’t see a single member worth his/her salt representing “what’s good” for the country. All you see and hear from these people is an agenda to disrupt, delay and defeat good changes for America and the sole objective of their agenda is to regain power, nothing more. They would sacrifice millions of Americans for their own purposes.

While I don’t always like their language, my favorite comedians are Bill Maher, Ron White, Lewis Black and John Caparulo, not necessarily in that order. They all have one thing in common; their humor is “the irony of stupid.” Ron White sums it all up; “you can’t fix stupid.” So, I’ll listen to their profanity because seeing America go stupid leaves me speechless and the only phrase I can think of that describes America today is “f**ked up.” And it can’t be fixed.


P.S. Would you believe that as speechless as I am, I still can’t put the “uc” in the word? Sheesh. How the hell do you pronounce “f**k” anyway? fasteriskk? A new word.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

“Hot, Flat and Crowded” by Thomas Friedman

Hot, Flat and Crowded should be read by every adult in America. Senators, Representatives, CEOs and every business owner should make this book their manual of operations. Mr. Friedman is a prophet speaking and we should listen.

But, people want to continue to be ignorant by swallowing all the misinformation about clean energy legislation; misinformation that is fed to them by lobbyist and the dirty industry, primarily the coal and oil industry. The Grand Ole Party is led by talk show host and idiot extremist, Right Principles, Americans for Prosperity and Recess Rally, for example. They are anarchists, not Americans.