25 November 2011


"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things."
- Elise Boulding

21 November 2011

Supercommittee Admits It's Failed To Reach A Deal 21NOV11

HERE are some words of wisdom our government and nation should consider, and should be considering with today's announcement that the super committee and congress failed the people again....THIS is NOT saying the Democrats should have caved in to the demands of the Republicans....It is saying that with this failure we should not lie, deceive and manipulate the facts about why the committee failed and who is responsible. There is enough truth in the facts, that the Democrats finally took and stand, and remained united in their commitment to the poor, the retired, the working class and the middle class of this nation and defended them against what seems to be the insatiable greed of the rich, corporations, the banking-financial cabal and the military industrial complex. Finally someone took a stand and held their ground for the the 99%!
Work toward unity, and live in harmony with one another. Avoid thinking you are better than others or wiser than the rest; instead, embrace common people and ordinary tasks. Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honorable as agreed upon by all people. If it is within your power, make peace with all people.
- Romans 12:16-18

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, the supercommittee co-chairwoman, arrives to meet in the Capitol Hill office of Democratic Sen. John Kerry with other members of the deficit reduction panel on Monday.
Enlarge J. Scott Applewhite/AP Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, the supercommittee co-chairwoman, arrives to meet in the Capitol Hill office of Democratic Sen. John Kerry with other members of the deficit reduction panel on Monday.
The co-chairs of the Supercommittee made it official, minutes ago: They said they have failed to reach an agreement over a deficit reduction package.
The AP reports:
"Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling say that despite 'intense deliberations' the members of the panel have been unable 'to bridge the committee's significant differences.'
"The panel was established by this summer's budget and debt agreement to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the budget over 10 years. But the panel has been divided from the beginning over taxes and cuts to popular government benefit programs like Medicare."
In a statement, Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Sen. Patty Murray, the co-chairs of the commission, said they were "deeply disappointed" in their inability to reach a bipartisan deal.
They add:
Despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve.
The legislation Congress agreed to in the summer stipulates that if the committee could not reach a deal, there would across-the-board cuts of $1.2 trillion — or 10 percent of the nation's collective deficit — over the next decade. Neither party wants that, because it would hit the defense budget hard, which Republicans don't want, and also hit domestic programs, which Democrats don't want.
That could happen, or NPR's Liz Halloran reports, they could change the rules.
We'll have more as this story develops.
Update at 6:02 p.m. ET. A Bit More On The Impasse:
Like the debt ceiling negotiations of earlier this year, the impasse of these negotiations was about taxes on the rich. The Washington Post captures that divide with rounding up interviews with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.):
Kerry said efforts ultimately foundered over the Republican refusal to accept any tax increases on the wealthy in exchange for spending cuts.
"This is a matter of fundamental fairness," Kerry told CNN. "We are stuck on this insistence of making the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. I think the American people will judge that to be insane."
Kyl blamed Democrats for insisting that taxes on more affluent Americans be increased. "Our Democratic friends said we won't cut one dollar more without raising taxes," Kyl said. "That tells you a lot about the ethos in Washington. We went into the exercise to try to reduce federal government spending. What we get from the other side is, 'No, we won't make more cuts unless you raise taxes.' "
Update at 5:49 p.m. ET. Obama Says He'll Veto Rule Changes:
"One way or another, we will be trimming the deficit," said President Obama just moments ago. The president, making a statement in the White House press briefing room, said Congress still has time to reach a deal, but that he does not support changing the rules in order to avoid automatic cuts.
The president warned he would veto any legislation that did so.
Obama opened his statement, however, with sharp words toward congressional Republicans. He said Republicans have refused to give in on new revenue or letting the Bush tax cuts expire. He said Republicans are trying to "protect the rich" despite cuts to medicare and other social programs for the poor.
"Their refusal remains the main stumbling block," he said.
Obama said Congress needs to get back to work and "create a balanced plan."
"They have a year to to figure it out," Obama said.
Update at 5:18 p.m. ET. President To Make A Statement:
President Obama will make a statement at 5:45 p.m. ET. We'll bring you his comments as they happen.

Related NPR Stories


If an elephant has its foot on a mouse and you say that your are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
- Desmond Tutu

19 November 2011

Bills-Dolphins Preview 18NOV11

BILLS at the Dolphins this week and everything for the season is on the line......I still have faith in you the NFL you are a team to be feared!!!!
Ryan Fitzpatrick says his Buffalo Bills have nothing to lose, though another defeat could put a serious dent in their playoff chances.
The Miami Dolphins have little chance of making the postseason, but they've finally started to play like a competitive team.
The Bills look to avoid a third straight loss while the host Dolphins go for their first three-game winning streak since 2008 on Sunday.
Buffalo (5-4) has stumbled since its 3-0 start and is tied for second in the AFC East, one game back of New England. If the Bills can't catch the Patriots, earning a wild-card spot could be even more difficult with Baltimore and Cincinnati at 6-3 and Tennessee at 5-4.
Buffalo didn't look like a playoff team Sunday, falling 44-7 at Dallas.
"We will regroup and continue to work to get better,'' coach Chan Gailey said. "But you have to go do it. Nobody's going to give you anything in this league.''
The Bills have to do something about an offense that has committed seven turnovers and scored 18 points in the last two games. Buffalo averaged 30.1 points in the first seven.
The defense has also come up short the last two weeks, giving up 433 yards to the Cowboys and 348 to the New York Jets in a 27-11 loss Nov. 6.
"We haven't shown up two weeks in a row. It's disheartening,'' said Fitzpatrick, who has completed 56.5 percent of his passes with two TDs and five INTs in two games since signing a $59 million, six-year contract.
Despite raised expectations for a team that hasn't been to the playoffs since 1999, the Bills quarterback seemingly prefers the role of underdog.
"Nobody expects anything out of us again,'' Fitzpatrick said. "We've got to play loose. We've got no pressure on us.''
That's definitely the case for the Dolphins (2-7), whose 0-7 start had them competing for nothing more than the right to pick first in next year's draft.
Miami, though, has rebounded nicely - and quieted the calls for coach Tony Sparano to be fired - with a 31-3 victory at Kansas City on Nov. 6 and a 20-9 win over Washington on Sunday that snapped a team-worst seven-game home skid.
"The first seven games we were kind of in disarray,'' said Reggie Bush, who rushed for two TDs on Sunday and is in the midst of the best three-game rushing stretch of his career with 242 yards. "We were trying to find our identity. The difference now is we're playing 60 minutes and finishing at the end of games.''
Miami has a 27-3 scoring edge in the second half of the last two games after getting outscored 92-51 following halftime in the first seven contests.
The Dolphins, who last won three straight during a five-game run Nov. 30-Dec. 28, 2008, haven't allowed a touchdown in the last eight quarters.
Miami, though, is only team in the East with a losing record.
"We've been worrying about one game at a time and not worrying about where we're going to be at the end of the season, the division, if we can make the playoffs or not,'' Bush said.
Buffalo won 17-14 in its last visit to Sun Life Stadium on Dec. 19 to eliminate Miami from the playoff race.
Fred Jackson ran for just 36 yards in that game, but the veteran arrives in Miami as the NFL's leading rusher with 917 yards. He is second in the league in yards from scrimmage per game with 145.4, though he hasn't reached the end zone in the last three contests.
The Dolphins are 10th in the league in run defense at 105.1 yards a contest, and running against them could be even more of a challenge for the Bills after center Eric Wood suffered a right knee injury last Sunday. He will be replaced by left guard Andy Levitre.
"We know we've got a lot to prove. There's still a lot of season left, and we have to go out and earn everything we get for the rest of the season," Jackson said. "We know that, and it's a challenge we're looking forward to.''
The Dolphins last won two straight at home Nov. 15 and Dec. 6, 2009.

18 November 2011

Stop the Austerity Train Wreck! 18NOV11

ROBERT REICH must feel like one of the Old Testament prophets crying out in the wilderness of political America and the government is not listening. I am afraid it will take us sliding further into recession, maybe depression, before the people actually rise up and force the government to act or take the government by force. It is not inconceivable to imagine things getting so bad economically that violence against the government and the 1% who own them occurs...

The biggest question right now on Planet Washington is whether the congressional supercommittee will reach an agreement.
That's the wrong question. Agreement or not, Washington is on the road to making budget cuts that will slow the economy, increase unemployment, and impose additional hardship on millions of Americans.
The real question is how to stop this austerity train wreck, and substitute the following:
First: No cuts before jobs are back -- until unemployment is down to 5 percent. Until then, the economy needs a boost, not a cut. Consumers -- whose spending is 70 percent of the economy -- don't have the money to boost the economy on their own. Their pay is dropping and they're losing jobs.
Second: Make the boost big enough. 14 million Americans are out of work, and 10 million are working part time who need full-time jobs. The president's proposed jobs program is a start but it's tiny relative to what needs to be done. It would create fewer than 2 million jobs. We need a big jobs program -- rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure, and including a WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps.
Third: To pay for this, raise taxes on the super-rich. It's only fair. Never before has so much income and wealth been concentrated at the very top, and taxes on the top so low. Go back to the 70 percent marginal tax we had before 1980. And include more tax brackets at the top. It doesn't make sense that any income over $375,000 is taxed at the same 35 percent, even if it's a billion dollars. And tax all sources of income at the same rate, including capital gains.
Fourth: Cut the budget where the real bloat is. Military spending and corporate welfare. End weapons systems that don't work and stop wars we shouldn't be fighting to begin with, and we save over $300 billion a year. Cut corporate welfare -- subsidies and special tax breaks going to big agribusiness, big oil, big pharma, and big insurance -- and we save another $100 billion.
Do you hear me, Washington? Do these four things and restore jobs and prosperity. Fail to do these, and you'll make things much, much worse.


Former Governor and now Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate Tim Kaine is urging the bipartisan Congressional supercommittee to reach a deficit reduction plan by its scheduled deadline next Wednesday. Craig Carper reports.

Exclusive Video: Inside Police Lines at the Occupy Wall Street Eviction 15NOV11

EYEWITNESS report and video from Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson of the raid and eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protesters at Zuccotti Park in NYC. What a sad comment on this nation's political leaders that the raids and evictions of the Occupy Wall Street protesters had to take place in the dead of night and involved the banning and even the arrest of reporters to hide the governments actions. This would be expected in a country not claiming to be a democracy, but any more we shouldn't be surprised it is happening here too......the protesters showed what democracy looks like, the government and the police showed what fascism looks like....

By about 4 a.m. today, New York City police had pushed the media out of Zuccotti Park and were preparing to evict the few dozen protesters who remained. Yet there I was, standing in the park amid a gaggle of high-ranking officers, quietly watching the whole thing unfold.
"You gonna occupy awhile?" one officer cracked to another.
"Yeah," the other guy smiled.
I stood next to them against a short granite wall, trying to avoid notice.
Like the other reporters who'd swarmed to Lower Manhattan to cover the eviction, I'd quickly discovered that the media was not allowed here. The police had created a one-block buffer zone around the park—in some areas two or three blocks—and were refusing to admit even the most credentialed members of the press. A New York Times reporter had already been arrested, a member of the National Lawyers Guild told me. I feared that Occupy Wall Street's big day was being censored.
As occupiers streamed out of the park, harried by baton-wielding cops, I resolved to get inside. Shielded from view by a car, I slipped under a barricade and came to another blockade across the street from the park's southeast corner, where I cut through a hole and was quickly approached by a police officer. "I'm not an occupier," I told him, holding out my business card.
"That's great, he said, pointing away from the park. "But you are going to have to wait on the other side of the street."
I waited, and when nobody was looking, I crossed back over as confidently as I could and entered a scrum of suit-wearing police brass and cleanup workers scrubbing the park's sidewalk. Nobody bothered to stop me as I strode up to the park's northern entrance and stopped against a wall, a few yards from where police in helmets surrounded the the remaining occupiers.
Next to me, an officer was telling an important-looking guy named Eddie about "the intel we've had over the past couple of months" about "the severely mentally retarded, the ones that are real fucked up in the head, and have been violent in the past." He went on: "They are a little off kilter. They're off their meds. They haven't had meds in 30 days."
"I'm only 24 hours off mine," Eddie joked.
"It's good for you, Eddie," the cop said. "You've got to come clean every once in a while."
As the two men talked, a sweaty-faced man wearing a neon vest over a business suit walked up and started tearing protest signs off the wall."I couldn't wait," he said. "Destroying things never felt so good."
"Really," someone said, almost inflecting the word as a question.
"They're fucking assholes," the guy in the suit shot back.
Another guy came up to Eddie. "How are we about hooking up the fire hydrants?" he asked. "We talkin' to somebody?"
"Do it. Do it," Eddie said over the roar of a garbage truck.
A few yards away, the last occupiers took turns waving a large American flag. Huddled inside the park's makeshift kitchen, they seemed as diverse as Occupy Wall Street: There was a shaggy punk in a spiky leather jacket. A young girl in a red sweatshirt that read "Unity." Clean-shaven guys wearing glasses. A shirtless occupier named Ted Hall, who has led an effort to hone the movement's "visions and goals." All of them surrounded a smaller group of occupiers who'd chained their necks to a pole.
A white-shirted officer moved in with a bullhorn. "If you don't leave the park you are subject to arrest. Now is your opportunity to leave the park."
Nobody budged. As a lone drum pounded, I climbed up on the wall to get a better view.
"Can I help you?" an burly officer asked me, his helpfulness belied by his scowl.
"I'm a reporter," I told him.
"This is a frozen zone, all right?" he said, using a term I'd never heard before. "Just like them, you have to leave the area. If you do not, you will be subject to arrest."
By then, riot police were moving in, indiscriminately dousing the peaceful protesters with what looked like pepper spray or some sort of gas. As people yelled and screamed and cried, I tried to stay calm.
"I promise to leave once the arrests are done," I replied.
"This is a frozen zone," one cop insisted. "You could be injured." His meaning was clear.
"No, you are going to leave now."
He grabbed my arm and began dragging me off. My shoes skidded across the park's slimy granite floor. All around me, zip-cuffed occupiers writhed on the ground beneath a fog of chemicals.
"I just want to witness what is going on here," I yelped.
"You can witness it with the rest of the press," he said. Which, of course, meant not witnessing it.
"Why are you excluding the press from observing this?" I asked.
"Because this is a frozen zone. It's a police action going on. You could be injured."
His meaning was clear. I let myself be hustled across the street to the press pen.
"What's your name?"
His reply came as fast as he could turn away: "Watch your back."
Josh Harkinson is a staff reporter at Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here. Email him with tips at jharkinson (at) motherjones (dot) com. To follow him on Twitter, click here. Get Josh Harkinson's RSS feed.
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TAKE ACTION! Endangered Critters Beware: Pipeline X-ing 17NOV11

THIS call to action from EarthJustice addresses the huge project proposed by nisource, a gas pipeline company. The want the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to grant them carte blanche for 50 years over a mile wide, 15000 mile long pipeline corridor (that's almost 10 million acres) covering the nation from Louisiana to New York. Carte Blanche means they will be allowed to do almost anything they want on this land, including hunting, killing and destroying the habitat of over 70 threatened and endangered species found in their proposed corridor. No company should be granted this kind of authority, that is why EarthJustice is asking people to send a message to the US FWS opposing the nisource pipeline proposal. Please click the link and send your comments to the FWS......

Earthjustice - Take Action Today
TAKE ACTION! Endangered Critters Beware: Pipeline X-ing Take action today!
A baby bog turtle sits in an open palm. Bog turtles are a threatened species that could be impacted by the NiSource ESA exemption. (Rosie Walunas/USFWS)
The oil and gas industry has already
written itself loopholes into the Safe
Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act and many other laws. Now they’re gunning for the Endangered Species Act.

Take Action Today!
The country is in the midst of an unprecedented oil and gas rush — brought on by a toxic and controversial technology known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."
And if polluting our air and water weren’t enough, now the oil and gas industry looks willing to run right over any animals that get in the way of their latest pipeline expansion plans.
NiSource, a big gas pipeline company, is pressuring the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to issue a permit that would allow NiSource to hurt and kill endangered species anywhere along a mile-wide, 15,000-mile-long pipeline corridor. And to top it off, NiSource wants the permit to last for fifty years!
We’ve seen a lot of oil and gas industry over-reaching in recent years. But the scope of this latest demand is, quite simply, shocking.
This nearly 10-million acre swath of land, covering 14 states from Louisiana to New York, is home to the Eastern bog turtle (pictured), the Louisiana black bear, and the Virginia flying squirrel and over 70 other threatened and endangered species.
The oil and gas industry has already written itself loopholes into the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act and many other laws. Now they’re gunning for the Endangered Species Act. The beleaguered officials at FWS just might cave into industry’s latest demand — unless they hear from you.
FWS is giving members of the public until December 13 to weigh in with their concerns.
Thank you,
Take action today!
Brown pelicans nesting on Breton Island, Louisiana (USFWS)
©2011 Earthjustice | 426 17th Street, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 | 510-550-6700 |
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Photo Credits: Top: A baby bog turtle is dwarfed by a human hand. Bog turtles are a threatened species that could be impacted by the NiSource ESA exemption. (Rosie Walunas/USFWS) Bottom: Brown pelicans nesting on Breton Island, Louisiana (USFWS)
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Attacks Target Palestinians In Israeli Towns 18NOV11 & Genocide Survivor To Sit On Holocaust Museum Board 17NOV11

Pres Obama just appointed Rwandan refugee, now a naturalized American, Clemantine Wamariya to the board of the U.S. Holocaust Museum (see the story after the story on Israeli attacks on Palestinians). She is a 23 year old survivor of the genocide in Rwanda. A genocide that happened after the world said "never again" after the holocaust of WWII. The Rwandan genocide happened after the Cambodian (Khmer) genocide, after the Bosnian genocide. Never again. And now, many of the very people who lost the most from their community in the genocide of WWII, are exhibiting the same behavior, or at least tolerating the behavior symptomatic of those who are considering committing genocide. The dehumanization of a people, violations of their human rights, increasing attacks on their homes, communities, businesses, places of worship are all warning signs that were seen in Germany and occupied Europe, in Cambodia and in Bosnia. Yes, there have been massive and brutal attacks against Israelis by Palestinians, and Hamas and Hezbollah remain committed to the destruction of Israel. But the history of Israel and the holocaust should be enough for Israelis to recognize their behavior is becoming alarmingly similar to that of the brown shirts and Nazi troops and complacent citizens who allowed the holocaust to happen.

Attacks Target Palestinians In Israeli Towns

 A woman shouts slogans during a demonstration against the desecration of headstones at a Muslim and Christian cemetery in Jaffa, Israel, last month. A few dozen Israelis and Palestinians turned out in a show of protest against recent attacks.
Enlarge Ammar Awad/Reuters /Landov A woman shouts slogans during a demonstration against the desecration of headstones at a Muslim and Christian cemetery in Jaffa, Israel, last month. A few dozen Israelis and Palestinians turned out in a show of protest against recent attacks.
In Israel, tensions are rising between Jews and Palestinian Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the population. Over the past few months, several Arab sites have been vandalized by militant Jews who left graffiti such as "Death to Arabs."
Locals blame activists from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
At a recent demonstration on a street corner in the central Israeli town of Jaffa, protesters chant in both Hebrew and Arabic. The crowd is made up of Jews and Palestinians angry over the attacks, which have rocked their community.
Tamar Avia, a 35-year-old Jewish resident of Jaffa, says the neighborhood is being torn apart.
"The problem is national, but it is one that starts on a personal level," she says. "It is a problem that is hitting us in Jaffa hard."
 A man stands near tombstones vandalized in a cemetery in Jaffa, Israel, on Oct. 8. Headstones at the Muslim and Christian cemetery were defaced with messages like "Death to Arabs."
Enlarge Ahmad Gharabli /AFP/Getty Images A man stands near tombstones vandalized in a cemetery in Jaffa, Israel, on Oct. 8. Headstones at the Muslim and Christian cemetery were defaced with messages like "Death to Arabs."
Over the past few months, there has been a series of attacks targeting Palestinians in Israel. In October, a mosque in the northern Arab village of Tuba-Zangariya was torched and a Muslim cemetery in Jaffa was vandalized. At both sites, graffiti were found linking the attacks to Israeli settlers.
Avia says she came to the protest because she was shocked by what is happening. She points out that many right-wing Israelis use different terms for Palestinians who live within Israel.
"They don't call them Palestinians; they call them Israeli Arabs. That's their way to erase their Palestinian identity and kind of contain them within Israel," she says. "The agenda is to have a purely Jewish state and to get rid of all Palestinians, the ones in the West Bank and in Israel."
Avia says these kinds of attacks are new in Jaffa, a coastal community hugging the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv, Israel's largest city.
For years, Jews and Arabs coexisted there in relative peace. That was interrupted in early 2010, says Fatima Helewa, a local Palestinian activist. That's when Bemuna, a construction company that specializes in building subsidized homes for religious Jewish families in West Bank settlements, started building in Jaffa.
Its first project was in the largely Palestinian neighborhood of Ajami. The Israeli Association for Civil Rights petitioned Israel's High Court to stop the building, claiming that Bemuna's openly stated policy of providing apartments only to Jews was racist.
The court ruled against the association, and Bemuna continues to build in Jaffa.
A spokesman for Bemuna insists there are no ethnic tensions here, but he refused to answer questions on tape. Helewa, who lives just minutes away from one of the building projects, disagrees.
"I think it's a development of racism," she says. "I know many Jewish friends, but I think the general society of Israel is developing racism of Arab people inside and in the West Bank."
She feels that groups such as Bemuna are becoming increasingly popular across Israel. She points to a series of attacks that have occurred this year against Palestinian communities in both the north and the south of Israel.
"You can't argue with me that racism is not developing here," she says. "It's a fact."
Helewa stands in front of the once popular restaurant Abu Elabed, set ablaze earlier this month and spray-painted with graffiti calling for death to Arabs.
She says the attack made her feel unwelcome in her own hometown.
"Arab people, they already live with the Jews. We're living with them years by years," she says. "It's just that Zionism made the settlers more and more racist."
For now, she says that all she can do is continue to protest — and hope that more from the community join her.

Genocide Survivor To Sit On Holocaust Museum Board

President Obama has appointed Rwandan refugee Clemantine Wamariya to the board of the U.S. Holocaust Museum. Wamariya, who's an American now, talks to Renee Montagne about surviving the Rwandan genocide.

Copyright © 2011 National Public Radio®. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.
Clemantine Wamariya knows more about death than a young woman should. She's an American now, but hovering always in her memory is one of the horrors of the 20th century, the genocide in Rwanda, where she was born. President Obama has now named her to the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, at 23 the youngest person ever appointed and the first from Africa. Clemantine Wamariya was still a child when she and her sister ran for their lives. She didn't see her parents until 12 years later, when she won an essay contest sponsored by Oprah Winfrey. Today, she's a student at Yale and her early memories of Rwanda are not without joy.
CLEMANTINE WAMARIYA: We had this huge mango tree in my backyard. Every afternoon we'll have literally just tons of kids climb that tree and play and make as much noise as we want. And that tree became sort of a world where we could travel. You know, it was a train. It was a plane. It was a car. My memory of childhood is so rich, and I think that's why I was able to just sort of live and overcome things that had happened, 'cause I remember how beautiful it was growing up in Rwanda.
MONTAGNE: Everything changed in the spring of 1994 when, over the course of just three months, one ethnic group, the Hutus, killed hundreds of thousands of people from mostly another ethnic group, the Tutsis. You were just six and alone in the house with your sister when the killers came for you.
WAMARIYA: Well, I just remember being in a room and being so scared because I did not know who or what was going to happen. I never knew what death meant. To me, whatever was happening outside, I called it noise. I didn't know it was genocide until I started studying about it. But no one is telling you what's going on because everyone is busy trying to find a way to hide and where to pray and how to pray and how to kneel and how to, you know, raise their hand up high so that they can pray more.
MONTAGNE: Do you remember running with your 16-year-old sister when you were six out of the house into a field? I gather you walked and walked and walked for days to get to the first of many places that you spent as a refugee for the next six years in Africa.
WAMARIYA: Yeah. I mean, how can anyone forget waking up and you know that someone's going to come and get you. You do not know where they're going to come - if they're going to come from the front door, the back door, the window. You're in a panic, absolutely panic, and jump out and go and run and crawl so much that, you know, your knees are completely bleeding but you can't stand up. And all you could think about is your stomach. You know, from morning you think of what you're going to eat to a night where what food, what water can you drink?
MONTAGNE: Your life changed so dramatically when you came to the United States, as a sixth grader.
WAMARIYA: Well, a sixth grader who hadn't been in school until sixth grade.
MONTAGNE: Well, you did pretty well because you ended up at Yale. So how do you do well and still hold this other part of your life in your mind? I mean, how is it even possible?
WAMARIYA: Well, I have had so many incredible people in my life. You know, my first role model being my mother and then my sister, nothing can gander(ph) away. And so when I'm place in a challenge to finish the sixth grade, I will ask for any help I could get so I could get through. But then, you know, to realize that being in school is not only, like, oh, I have received an education, but it's more to learn about others. You know, why we do things to each other as the way we do, such as killing a whole race. What does that really mean? You know, slowly, yes, that it - sort of learning about it, especially in eighth grade, that's that question. And since then I've been hunting it down, trying to understand psychologically why do humans do such terrible things to each other.
MONTAGNE: Do you see your work in the future, your appointment to the board of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, helping you find an answer?
WAMARIYA: I think just sitting with incredible leaders who are making decision of others – they might never have an input of what it means to grow up in a refugee camp as a little girl. You have no mother, you have no father. Am I going to give them an input what it means to live in seven countries where people look at you and they think, oh, you are nobody.
MONTAGNE: Is there a particular person who didn't survive that you think about or that you want especially to be remembered?
WAMARIYA: There are too many. And it's not only people that I lost in the genocide. I am most talking about people that I lost along the way, you know, living in refugee camp and dying with diseases that can strike you in a second. Those people had become my family. What I want to remember is the joy that filled my house every Sunday when we had visitors and the joy that I had playing in the mango tree.
MONTAGNE: Clemantine Wamariya, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
WAMARIYA: Thank you so much.
MONTAGNE: Clemantine Wamariya is the newest and youngest person to join the board of the U.S. Holocaust Museum. This is NPR News.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory? NO IMMUNITY FOR WALL STREET BANKS 18NOV11

THE local, state and federal governments have not hesitated to arrest and prosecute nonviolent Occupy Wall Street protesters across the country for demanding those responsible for the recession be held accountable, including the arrest and prosecution of some of the "leaders" of the banking-financial cabal. NOW the U.S. Justice Dept is considering granting civil and criminal immunity to these same people on Wall Street. Rep Tammy Baldwin D WI has introduced a resolution 
"Congressional Resolution: Banks "who engaged in fraudulent behavior should not be granted criminal or civil immunity for potential wrongdoing related to illegal mortgage and foreclosure practices...the Federal Government and State attorneys general should proceed with full investigations into claims of fraudulent behavior by the banks". So far only 27 members of the House are co-sponsors. We, the 99%, have the right to demand accountability for those who have committed the financial crimes that have devastated our nation. Click the link to sign the petition demanding no immunity for wall street banks.

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

We recently achieved a big victory for Wall Street accountability.
Over 100,000 of us took action with friends across the progressive community, and we killed a proposed 50-state deal that would give criminal and civil immunity to Wall Street banks.
But now, top Justice Department officials are trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They have been pushing hard to bring the Wall Street immunity deal back from the dead.
Fortunately, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) leaped into action with a congressional resolution opposing Wall Street immunity. Within days, 27 of her colleagues signed on -- and the more co-sponsors we get, the more pressure the Justice Department will feel to back off.
Can you sign on as a citizen signer of Baldwin's resolution against Wall Street immunity? Click here to sign.
We'll deliver these signatures to local congressional offices -- and make calls to Representatives like Frank Wolf urging them to sign on to Baldwin's resolution.
As more members of Congress join Rep. Baldwin in speaking out, the Justice Department will increasingly realize that a backroom deal with Wall Street is impossible -- and undesirable. This fight is happening in public view, and the public demands real accountability.
Click here to be a citizen signer of Tammy Baldwin's resolution.
Thanks for being a bold progressive.
-- Adam Green, Stephanie Taylor, Kristiane Skolmen, Conor Kennedy, Jordan Krueger, and the rest of the PCCC team.

Named The Nation's "Most Valuable Online Activism of 2010"—thanks to you. Help us continue our effective, independent progressive activism. Chip in here.


karl rove's and crossroads gps' attack ad on Tim Kaines campaign for Senate in Virginia doesn't stand up to FactCheck's scrutiny. Check this out, click the header to go to the article on the wegsite....
Shortfall Becomes Deficit
Crossroads is spending $616,000 on an ad in Virgina attacking Democrat Tim Kaine, claiming that as the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he was “Obama’s partisan cheerleader” and that he was a “reckless” spender when he served as Virginia’s governor. In the Senate race, Kaine faces Republican challenger George Allen, also a former Virginia governor and a former U.S. senator.
The ad claims: “As Virginia governor, Tim Kaine’s reckless spending turned a budget surplus into a big deficit. Reckless spending, massive debt.” Text in the background reads: “2006: $1.2 billion surplus, 2009: $3.7 billion deficit.”
For backup, Crossroads provided two stories from the Virginian-Pilot. The first story, published on Jan. 8, 2006, just before Kaine took office as governor, stated that the budget “debate centers on whether the $1.2 billion surplus should be used for one-time expenses such as construction rather than to create new programs with recurring costs.” The second story, from Feb. 17, 2009, a year before Kaine left office, states, “In December, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine projected that Virginia faced a $2.9 billion budget shortfall. He increased that estimate to $3.7 billion on Monday based on much-lower-than-expected tax payments.”
But those are misleading snapshots. And shortfalls aren’t deficits.
Virginia adopts a new budget every two years, and amendments are added to it in the odd year to square the numbers. There’s no question that Virginia experienced serious budget shortfalls during the recession due to much lower-than-anticipated revenues. But the shortfall was closed by the end of the biennium. The same Virginian-Pilot story in which Kaine talks about a $3.7 billion shortfall, notes that the stimulus provided $1 billion in budget relief, and that lawmakers were forced to cut $2.7 billion to balance the budget, as required by the state constitution.
Responding to the ad on Nov. 10, Kaine told WVEC ABC 13: “I left office with two balanced budgets that I submitted because you have to, by law, submit balanced budgets.”

Gov. Corbett Buried Sandusky Scandal as AG? 16NOV11 & Email, TV talk add new twists to Penn State case 15NOV11

GOV Corbett R PA has some explaining to do on his mishandling of accusations of child molestation by Jerry Sandusky at Penn State in 2002. Seems he was the Attorney General for the Commonwealth when accusations about the sexual abuse reached his office in 2009 and instead of vigorously investigating he assigned just one state trooper to the case, the "investigation" dragged on with little activity for two years and no charges were ever filed. One thing is certain, the Governor has no business lecturing anyone on moral responsibility. What is less certain is whether there will be an investigation into the lack of an investigation by then A.G. Tom Corbett, an investigation of the coverup of these crimes and if A.G. Corbett was involved, and if Gov Corbett will resign willingly or be forced from office. Check out this report from The Young Turks.....
Uploaded by on Nov 16, 2011
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett did not seem interested in pushing forward the investigation into accusations of child molestation against Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky when he was attorney general. The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur explains.
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Email, TV talk add new twists to Penn State case

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — A former Penn State graduate assistant cited by a grand jury report as claiming he saw an ex-assistant football coach sexually abusing a young boy in a campus locker room shower says in an email he made sure the act was stopped and then went to police — contradicting what the report says.
Mike McQueary's comments, in an email made available to The Associated Press on Tuesday, appeared to add more confusion to a scandal that has enveloped the university and resulted in the firing of head coach Joe Paterno, the ousting of president Graham Spanier and charges of perjury against the athletic director and a senior vice president.
McQueary, now the football team's wide receivers coach, told a friend from Penn State that he made sure the 2002 shower assault he witnessed was stopped and went to the police about it. The friend made McQueary's email, written Nov. 8, available to the AP on Tuesday on the condition he not be identified.
McQueary, who has been placed on administrative leave and did not coach in Saturday's 17-14 loss to Nebraska, wrote: "I did stop it, not physically ... but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room ... I did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police .... no one can imagine my thoughts or wants to be in my shoes for those 30-45 seconds ... trust me."
Added McQueary: "Do with this what you want ... but I am getting hammered for handling this the right way ... or what I thought at the time was right ... I had to make tough impacting quick decisions."
According to the grand jury report, McQueary testified he spoke to his father and then to Paterno before speaking to athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz, who oversaw campus police. Paterno has not been charged with any crime, and state prosecutors have said he is not a target. Curley and Schultz are accused of breaking the law by not going to police but maintain their innocence.
McQueary's actions also have been scrutinized, with some critics suggesting he didn't do enough after witnessing what he said was the sexual abuse of a child. Emails to McQueary from the AP were not immediately answered Tuesday.
McQueary's remarks in the email to his friend came less than a day after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's admission that he showered with and "horsed around" with boys stunned legal observers. Sandusky's comments, they said, could be used by prosecutors trying to convict him of child sex abuse charges.
Experts in criminal law and crisis management questioned Sandusky's decision to give a TV interview in which he said that there was no abuse and that any activities in a campus shower with a boy were just horseplay, not molestation.
"Mr. Sandusky goes on worldwide television and admits he did everything the prosecution claims he did, except for the ultimate act of rape or sodomy? If I were a prosecutor, I'd be stunned," said Lynne Abraham, the former district attorney of Philadelphia. "I was stunned, and then I was revolted."
Abraham, who led a grand jury probe involving 63 accused priests from the Philadelphia archdiocese, was retained this week to lead an internal investigation of Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile, from which he's accused of culling his victims.
Sandusky is charged with abusing eight boys over the span of 15 years. He told NBC on Monday that he is not a pedophile but should not have showered with boys.
"I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them, and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact," Sandusky said Monday on NBC News' "Rock Center." ''I am innocent of those charges."
When NBC's Bob Costas asked him whether he was sexually attracted to underage boys, Sandusky replied: "Sexually attracted, no. I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. But, no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."
Sandusky apparently decided to talk to Costas by phone Monday at the last minute, with the blessing of his attorney, Joseph Amendola, who was in the studio.
What was especially astonishing about Sandusky's interview was when he stumbled over the question about whether he was sexually attracted to children, said crisis management expert Eric Dezenhall, who runs a Washington consulting firm.
"That may not be legal proof that he's guilty, but it is certainly not helpful, to struggle with the question," Dezenhall said.
The state grand jury investigation that led to Sandusky's arrest followed a trail that goes back at least 13 years, leading to questions from some quarters about whether law enforcement moved too slowly.
The grand jury report detailed a 1998 investigation by Penn State police, begun after an 11-year-old boy's mother complained that Sandusky had showered with her son in the football facilities. Then-District Attorney Ray Gricar declined to file charges.
Another missed opportunity came in 2002, the grand jury said, when then-graduate assistant McQueary told Paterno that he had witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a boy in the team's showers.
The case apparently took on new urgency three years ago, when a woman complained to officials at her local school district that Sandusky had sexually assaulted her son. School district officials banned Sandusky from school grounds and contacted police, leading to an investigation by state police, the attorney general's office and a grand jury.
Gov. Tom Corbett took the case on a referral from the Centre County district attorney, Michael Madeira, in early 2009 while he was serving as attorney general.
Maderia said he referred the report to state prosecutors because of an "indirect connection" to Sandusky's family, but he declined to specify his tie to the Sandusky family.
Corbett bristled Tuesday when asked whether it was fair for people to criticize the pace of the probe.
"People that are saying that are ill-informed as to how investigations are conducted, how witnesses are developed, how backup information, corroborative information is developed, and they really don't know what they're talking about," he told reporters.
The attorney general's office declined to comment on the pace of the investigation.
The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported Monday that only one trooper was assigned to the case after the state took it over in 2009. It wasn't until Corbett became governor early this year that his former investigations supervisor in the attorney general's office, Frank Noonan, became state police commissioner and put seven more investigators on it, the newspaper said.
Noonan's spokeswoman, Maria Finn, said Tuesday that manpower was increased in the case this year, but she could not confirm the numbers reported by the newspaper.
"The investigation, at the time, was gaining momentum," Finn said. "There were more leads. There were more things to do at that point. It's not that the state police weren't doing anything and Noonan comes in and changes things."
With the case now drawing global media attention and potential civil litigants watching from the sidelines, Sandusky went on the offensive in the NBC interview.
Criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos, who represented O.J. Simpson and other celebrity defendants, said he would "knock my client over the head with a two-by-four before I would let them do it, but it cuts both ways."
"If prosecutors use it, it can end up being testimony without cross examination," he said.
He called the Penn State case an unusual case that may call for unusual tactics, given the "instantaneous uproar to convict the guy."
The New York Times reported Tuesday night that Paterno transferred full ownership of his house to his wife, Sue, for $1 in July. The couple had previously held joint ownership of the house. Paterno's attorney Wick Sollers told the paper in an e-mail that the transfer had nothing to do with the scandal but was part of an ongoing "multiyear estate planning program."
Penn State's trustees have hired the public relations firm Ketchum, which through corporate communications director Jackie Burton said only that "the details of all our client assignments are confidential."
Paterno, who authorities say fulfilled his legal responsibilities, has hired Washington lawyer Wick Sollers.
Also Tuesday, lawyers for Schultz and Curley issued a statement in which they said it was "a travesty" that prosecutors sought to delay their clients' preliminary hearing until next month.
"Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz are anxious to face their accusers, clear their good names and go on with their lives," attorneys Caroline Roberto and Tom Farrell said.
The attorney general's office declined to comment on that.
Sandusky's next court date is Dec. 7, when he is due for a preliminary hearing in which a judge would determine if there's enough evidence for prosecutors to move forward with the case.
Dale reported from Philadelphia. Scolforo reported from Harrisburg, Pa. AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo in New York contributed to this report.

17 November 2011

Bills know there are problems to solve 14NOV11

I still have faith in the Bills, they are still my team as they have been for 40+ years, and I, like all their other fans, expect them to address the coaching and team performance issues that have plagued them the last two games and start winning again, starting with this Sunday's game in Miami. The one reason I think they can do this, after reading this article, is there is no finger pointing by any of the Bills players quoted. Just like when they were celebrating their wins earlier this season and there was no one player claiming responsibility for the win but all celebrated their victories as a team the players are also accepting responsibility for these losses as a team. That team attitude, team spirit, gives me hope for the Bills for the rest of their season.

After their loss to the Jets, the men in Buffalo’s locker room felt it was their own lackluster play that cost them an important division game at home two weeks ago. After their second consecutive lopsided defeat the feeling has changed to genuine concern. At 5-4 the margin for error for the Bills has been significantly reduced. Going on the road again this week to face a Miami team that’s finally on track with two straight victories has Buffalo’s players determined to find answers.
“Against the Jets we thought we just came out and just played flat,” said David Nelson. “Obviously, it’s an issue and it’s something we have to look at and compare the two games and get better from. In the past this year we’ve gotten better after a loss and this week we got worse. We have to re-evaluate what we were doing, come together as a team and move on.”
For the Bills offense the big play has been noticeably absent the past two weeks. In their first six games Buffalo had at least one play of 40 yards or more, and were routinely turning in 10-12 plays of 15 yards or more per outing. On Sunday Buffalo had just six plays of 15 yards or more with four coming in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. The Bills’ longest play from scrimmage was just 21 yards.
“It was definitely tough,” said Fred Jackson, who had two of those six plays. “It’s not the performance we wanted to put on myself included. They came out ready to play and they made plays. We didn’t, myself included. I didn’t make plays and that’s part of the game. We’ve got to look at it and learn from it.”
Head coach Chan Gailey believes the Bills can still move the ball on anyone and feels the execution has not been sharp enough of late. At the same time he made it plain that his team is not going to be playing after the regular season is through if the current level of play continues.
“I believe in the character of the football team and we will regroup and continue to work to get better,” said Gailey. “So my responsibility as the coach is to get our guys back to playing where we were playing earlier in the season. Right now we’re more of a pretender than a contender.”
Defensively, the problems are two-fold. The run defense has allowed runs to bounce outside for extra yardage and the pass rush has not generated enough pressure to disrupt opposing quarterbacks the past two weeks.
Mark Sanchez (20-28 passing) and Tony Romo (23-26) have combined for a completion percentage of almost 80 percent the past two weeks (79.6%) for 500 yards.
“Pressure, coverage, tackling, everything you do on defense needs to be better,” said Drayton Florence. “That sense of urgency throughout the whole game just wasn’t there. It was a must win game for them just like it was a must win game for us and they out-executed us in all phases and it showed.”
In the same breath Florence believes the defense can get back to what made them successful earlier this season, which were timely blitzes and takeaways.
“You’ve seen us beat good teams in this league,” he said. “I think you know we’re capable. You’ve just got to do it. Just because you come in capable doesn’t mean you’re going to win. They’re just as capable as we are and they made the plays and we didn’t. They whipped our (expletive). That’s the bottom line.”
What cropped up as a new issue Sunday were mental errors, something uncharacteristic of a Chan Gailey coached team. Buffalo only had three penalties Sunday, but it was the mental errors in terms of execution.
“We had a lot of mistakes (Sunday),” said Fitzpatrick. “It wasn’t just one guy. It was everybody. I’m the quarterback. You usually see my mistakes the most and I had a lot of them. Mentally we didn’t even play the game we usually do. We made too many mistakes.”
“People running wide open down the field, that can’t happen on this level or any level for that matter,” said Kelvin Sheppard. “It’s just a matter that we know it’s got to stop now point blank.”
The Bills believe they can get back to what helped them sprint out to a 4-1 start on both sides of the ball, and after their first pair of back-to-back defeats the sense of urgency is palpable in Buffalo’s locker room.
“Something has to be done," said Danny Batten. "We have to respond, rally and win some games. We have no choice. We have worked too hard to go 5-11. We know what that feels like. We have to rally, keep working, work harder, whatever it is.”
“If we want to have any thoughts of being what we planned on being, then it has to stop now,” said Sheppard. “Something has to change.”
“We have seven games left in the season,” said Bryan Scott. “It is make or break at this point. As a team we have a bunch of fighters. Our guys are resilient. A lot is just going to be said in these next few weeks. How do we respond to it?”

SUPERFRAUD: Call your senator: No "SUPER-COMMITTEE" cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits 17NOV11

THE democrats are getting ready to cave to the gop / tea-baggers again, this time in negotiations of the "super-committee" which may result in massive cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Click this link to contact your Senators and tell them we will be better off with no "super-committee" deal than the one now being considered, and to remember they are supposed to be representing the best interest of all Americans and not just the 1%.  Be sure to read Paul Krugman's op-ed in the NY Times from 14NOV11.

Take action!

It's long past time to roll back the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest and end corporate handouts. We don't have to pay for it by throwing the poor, seniors and women under the bus with benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

Clickhere for contact info and a sample script:
Take action now!
CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.
The deficit deal Republicans fear the most is the one they already cut when they created the Super Committee.
If the Super Committee fails to pass a deficit reduction bill, a number of budget cuts will automatically be triggered. These cuts, which include defense spending but spare Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits, are much less damaging that what's on the table.
All the Democrats need to do to save our social safety net is stand strong.
But according to recent reports, Democrats on the Super Committee have floated a proposal that would not only make deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, it would also pave the way for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to be made permanent.1
It's simply unconscionable.
Paul Krugman summed up the situation nicely when he wrote:
I thought I had worked out all the worst-case scenarios for the supercommittee (there was never a best-case). But this is even worse than my worst imagining: a deal to undermine key social insurance programs in return for a promise that Congress will come up with a plan for raising revenue at some future date. If you think that promise has any credibility whatsoever — if you have any doubts that the end result would be to gut Social Security and actually cut taxes for the wealthy — I have this Nigerian bank account that can be yours if you send me $100,000 in expenses.2

This is not mere pessimism from Mr. Krugman. Not only are the Democrats apparently poised to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits in return for promised but unspecified tax increases, under this proposal the tax reform in the House would be run by Republican ideologues, and in Senate would be determined in a committee chaired by Sen. Max Baucus, the Democratic senator most responsible for the Bush tax cuts.
The Democrats are structurally in a position of strength. Right now the best scenario would be for the Super Committee to deadlock, or barring that, for the Senate as a whole to reject a terrible deal.
Let's remember that Democrats still have majority control of the Senate.
In the face of massive unemployment, rampant foreclosures, a sputtering economy and widespread anger that the country is systematically prioritizing the needs of the ultra-rich and wealthy corporations over the needs of the other 99% of us, it should be easy for Democrats to reject a plan that makes it harder and more expensive for seniors and the less fortunate to get medical care or pay for their basic living expenses.
But the national discussion has gotten so warped, some are calling for benefit cuts to social insurance programs in the name of shared sacrifice as though the middle class and the working poor aren't already paying their fair share and suffering the most.
It's long past time to roll back the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest and ended corporate handouts. We don't have to pay for it by throwing the poor, seniors and women under the bus with benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. "Deficit Panel Seeks to Defer Details on Raising Taxes," Robert Pear, New York Times, Nov. 13, 2011
2. "Superfraud," Paul Krugman, New York Times, Nov. 14, 2011 

November 14, 2011, 8:56 am


It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a turkey!
I thought I had worked out all the worst-case scenarios for the supercommittee (there was never a best-case). But this is even worse than my worst imagining: a deal to undermine key social insurance programs in return for a promise that Congress will come up with a plan for raising revenue at some future date. If you think that promise has any credibility whatsoever – if you have any doubts that the end result would be to gut Social Security and actually cut taxes for the wealthy – I have this Nigerian bank account that can be yours if you send me $100,000 in expenses.
The worst of it is that Democrats might actually go for it.