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SPEND $ IN U.S. NOT AFGHANISTAN

 

“Cannot be secured and cannot be sustained,” Clair McCaskill referring to construction in Afghanistan.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today introduced a measure that aims to use funds for large-scale construction projects in Afghanistan on the construction of roads and bridges in America. McCaskill, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered a floor speech today in which she explained her plan to limit U.S. Defense Department spending on unsustainable infrastructure projects in Afghanistan. The limits would not affect any resources directly supporting U.S. troops. The savings that result from the limits would be redirected from infrastructure projects in Afghanistan to road and bridge projects in the United States where there is currently an $2 trillion backlog in road, bridge, and infrastructure needs.

“This is a very small percentage of the money we’re spending in Afghanistan,” McCaskill said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “The majority of the money we’re spending is to support our troops on the ground, to train the Afghan army and to integrate and train the Afghan police so that there can be rule of law and stability in these communities. Taking this money away doesn’t have any impact on any of those activities. It’s just saying, we probably … need to take that money and build some roads in the United States, where we don’t have to hire security to keep people from getting shot who are building them.”

Posted December 15th, 2011.

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SOCIAL CONTRACT OF THE RICH

 

Elizabeth Warren speaking on a walking tour, “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there—good for you! But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea—God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Posted September 22nd, 2011.

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DEBT CEILING SIMPLIFIED

Normally Congress passes a budget and then raises the debt ceiling to accommodate it. George Bush did it seven times. But this time, the Republicans, spurred on by the religious right, are refusing to raise it unless they get certain concessions. They are holding the debt ceiling, and the ability of the government to function, hostage.

Without raising the debt ceiling, the government cannot pay it’s bills and the U.S. will lose its triple A credit rating. So why would anyone contemplate not raising it?

There is a movement on the extremist right which has an underlying belief that government is a bad thing. They hate the government. These groups, one of which is The Tea Party, have become more active in the face of a black president and gay rights. And they don’t care about reason since they are driven by faith. They actually want to bring the hated government down. They believe that this is what Jesus wanted — no government — everything run for profit. They also don’t care much for evolution and global warming. The latter is considered to be a left-wing plot to take away our freedom despite every scientist’s opposite opinion.

The religious evangelical right wants to overthrow our government. And they have enough power in Congress to allow the debt ceiling and our country to fail. This is such an absurd concept that the stock market hasn’t even responded to it yet, but if it happens, Wall Street will plummet.

Most intelligent people believe it can’t happen — it’s that insane. But as we get closer, the country is wondering. Has our economy been hijacked by religion — which many people believe should have nothing to do with politics? Remember the separation of church and state? This is why it’s is a bad combination. This type of religious belief doesn’t care about your social security check, treasury bonds, military salaries — all federal government workers for that matter. If you are not a member of this crazed movement, call the White House (202 456-1111) or your representatives in Congress. This is about you. And if this happens, your life will change on August 2nd.

If you’re unhappy with our government, support Campaign Finance Reform and allow ordinary citizens to run for office.

 

Posted July 26th, 2011.

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GLOBAL WARMING BY THE NUMBERS

Chilling statistics to think about!!!

(Posted: 24-Jan-2006; Updated: 24-Feb-2009)

1 — Rank of 2005 as hottest year on record (tied with 1998), according to NASA.

100% — Increase in intensity and duration of hurricanes and tropical storms since the 1970′s, according to a 2005 MIT study.

$100 Billion — Estimate of damage caused by hurricanes hitting the U.S. coast in 2005 alone, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

2030 — Year by which Glacier National Park will have no glaciers left, according to the U.S. Geological Survey predictions.

400,000 — Square miles of Arctic sea ice that have melted in the last 30 years (roughly the size of Texas), threatening polar bear habitats and further accelerating global warming worldwide, according to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

15-37% — Amount of plant and animal species that global warming could wipe out by 2050.

1  – Rank of the United States as a global warming polluter compared to other large nations.

6 —  Number of former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency leaders who say the U.S. is not doing enough to fight global warming.

0 — Number of bills passed by Congress to cut global warming pollution.

Tell Washington to take action » Get more global warming facts » Click here to visit.

Sources: NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2005 Study, Nature Magazine January 2004, National Climatic Data Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

Posted November 5th, 2010.

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YOU COUNT & SO DOES YOUR VOTE

This video was made in 1948. Watch it if you have any doubts about voting — Tuesday, November 2. In most states, if you are disabled, you can vote curbside in your car. They will come out to you. There are people who will pick you up — call your party Democrat or Republican. You can also get paid around $100 if you help at your precinct, and it’s not too late to call. They will still need help tomorrow. In California, the precinct inspector can hire you right there in person at your polling place if he/she needs more help. No excuses. You have no business complaining if you don’t vote.

Posted November 1st, 2010.

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YOUR TAX DOLLARS PRODUCE LIGHT SHOW

The most famous of all comets, Comet Halley is noted for producing spectacular displays when it passes near Earth on its 76-year trip around the sun. However, you don’t have to wait until 2061 to see a piece of the comet — you can do it this very week!

Halley’s Comet leaves bits of itself behind — in the form of small conglomerates of dust and ice called meteoroids — as it moves in its orbit, which the Earth approaches in early May and mid-October. When it does, it collides with these bits of ice and dust, producing a meteor shower as the particles ablate — or burn up — many miles above our heads. The May shower is called the Eta Aquarids, as the meteors appear to come from the constellation Aquarius. The October shower has meteors that appear to come from the well-known constellation of Orion the Hunter, hence the name: Orionids.

Orionids move very fast, at a speed of 147,300 miles per hour. At such an enormous speed, the meteors don’t last long, burning up very high in the atmosphere. Last year, the NASA allsky cameras at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and in Chickamauga, Ga., recorded 43 definite Orionid meteors. Most of these appeared at an altitude of 68 miles and completely burned up by the time they were 60 miles above the ground, seen in the graph at right.

Even though the peak isn’t until October 21, the shower is going on now. The NASA camera systems saw their first Orionid on Oct. 15. Unfortunately, the light from the nearly full moon will wash out the fainter meteors, so expect to see fewer than the 30-per-hour rate you might see under completely dark skies.

The good news is that watching Orionids is easy. Go out into a clear, dark sky after 11 p.m. at night — your local time — and lie on a sleeping bag or lawn chair. Look straight up. After a few minutes, your eyes will become dark-adapted, you’ll start to see meteors. Any of these that appear to come from Orion will be an Orionid, and therefore represent a piece of Halley’s Comet doing its death dive into our atmosphere.

Most folks would consider seeing one or two of these a fair exchange for an hour or so of time.

Thanks to your tax dollars at nasa.gov. The video is from 2009.

Posted October 19th, 2010.

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HORSES CAN’T SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

Congratulations to Suzanne Porter, our new Director of Animal Affairs.

Running into my old friend, Judy, from Fairview Bed & Breakfast at an antique store in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia last weekend, I mentioned to her that I was working on an article for THE PSYCHIC BUBBLE on Madeleine Pickins and her foundation, Saving America’s Mustangs. Judy replied, “Good grief, are they still going on about that?. Do you remember that burro we used to have at the bed & breakfast back in 1997? He was adopted from that program to save wild mustangs and burros.”  Doing the math (2010 minus 1997), I came up with 13 years! Yes, for 13 years the American people have been petitioning our government to save wild mustangs and burros and so far we have gotten nowhere. We are now down to the last 12,000 mustangs and an unnamed number of burros and are still being ignored by our haughty, haughty government. It took the near collapse of ours and the world’s financial systems for our elected officials who seem to forget where their salaries come from to even begin to address some of our country’s deepest problems. So if you are a horse lover and want the government to stop their position of animal cruelty towards wild horses (mustangs), now is the time to stand up and be counted.

The horse species (Equus) evolved and was indigenous to North America but died out at the end of the last ice age approximately 10,000 to 12,000 year ago. Thus, it seems appropriate that North America be populated by wild horses. The American mustang evolved from horses first brought to the Americas by the Spanish. Starting around the time of Columbus, horses descended from Spanish horses, were brought to Mexico and Florida. Most of these horses were of Andalusian, Arabian, and Barb ancestry. Some escaped or were stolen by Native Americans and rapidly spread throughout the western North America. Native Americans quickly adopted the horse as a primary means of transportation. They replaced the dog as a travois puller and greatly improved success in battles, trade, hunts, and in particular, bison hunts. In the Colonial era and continuing with the westward expansion of the 1800′s, horses belonging to explorers, traders, and settlers that escaped or were purposely released joined the gene pool of Spanish-descended herds. It was a common practice for western ranchers to release their horses to locate forage for themselves in the winter and then recapture them as well as any additional mustangs in the spring.

Since 1900 North America had an estimated two million free-roaming horses. During that time mustangs were viewed as a resource that could be captured and used or sold (especially for military use or slaughtered for food, especially pet food). The controversial practice of “mustanging” was dramatized in the John Huston film “The Misfits,” and abuses linked to certain capture methods, including hunting from airplanes and poisoning led to the first (feral) wild free-roaming horse protection law in 1959. Protection was increased further by the “Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.” Today the United States Forest Service administers 37 wild horse or burro territories in several western states.

In 1971 the United States Congress recognized mustangs as “livings symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” which enrich the lives of the American people. And then what did they do? They started a Bureau of Land Management under the now Interior Department Secretary Kenneth Salazar. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is tasked with managing these wild horses to insure that healthy herds thrive. Shooting them or poisoning them is, under the 1971 Act, a criminal felony.

Healthy, adult mustangs have few natural predators aside from mountain lions. To maintain population balance and to make room for cattle, some people say, (please pay attention here) an argument that mustangs are encroaching on cattle grazing land is made though it is well-known that mustangs live in arid areas which cattle cannot fully utilize due to lack of water resources. Horses are better adapted by evolution to lack of water resources and can travel 50 miles a day. They can also obtain adequate nutrition from poorer forage than can cattle, surviving in areas where cattle would starve. The Bureau of Land Management’s responsibility is to determine an appropriate management level of wild horses and burros on public rangelands (lands belonging to the American people) dedicated specifically for wild horses and burros. There are specific guidelines for techniquess used to round up mustangs. One method uses a tamed horse, called a “Judas horse.” (We all remember Judas from the Bible, don’t we?) The Judas horse leads the wild horses into a pen; then the Judas horse is released–job done! And the wild horses, finding themselves penned up, are terrified, rearing up, screaming and colliding with one another. Very often foals are separated from their mares. These captured horses are then offered for adoption to individuals willing to provide humane, long-term care after payment of an adoption fee ranging from $25.00 to $125.00. In order to prevent the later sale of mustangs as horse meat, adopted mustangs are still protected under the 1971 Act and cannot be sold in the first year except when VERY SPECIFIC CRITERIA are met. Smell a rat, yet?

At the moment, there are about 30,000 mustangs in holding facilities, butt to butt, and the taxpayers are footing the bill. The BLM is considering euthanasia as a possible solution. In January 2005 a Congress by former Senator Conrad Burns, “The Burns Rider,” modified the adoption program to allow the sale (with the usual result being slaughter) of captured horses that are more than 10 years old. A horse is fully capable of living 20 years or more. In the 110th U. S. Congress, legislation was introduced to have the “Burns rider” repealed and the original language restored. (We are paying a Congress to do all of this!) The matter passed the house but as of mid-2008 awaited action in the Senate. In early 2009 the House passed H.R. 1018, the Restore Our Mustangs Act (ROAM). ROAM amends the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to expand criminal penalties and would ban the processing and the transport for processing of “a live or deceased wild free-roaming horse or burro.” There are also increased efforts to assist with finding appropriate adoption homes. At this point I’m thinking — which countries eat horse meat?

Enter the lovely, English-born Madeleine Pickins, wife of a gone-green oilman. On the “Breakfast Club Show,” on www.kezw recently she was interviewed and tells of her passion for saving the “old West,” and how she loves cowboy movies. She is heartsick to know that only 15,000 or less of these American mustangs still exist and she cries out to Americans to have a say in our national history. She tells of her plan to save our treasure, the mustangs. She and her husband have purchased 14,000 acres in Nevada dedicated to the mustang and is requesting an additional 590,000 public lands to go with it to be fenced in as a public sanctuary for the mustangs, no cattle. A park where people could visit would be created. She has been ignored by Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar and BLM Director Robert V. Abbey to have 20,000 electronic emails sent in to petition the government to stop the BLM’s horrific summer roundup by helicopter. Yes, they are rounding up wild horses by helicopter. What part of “Yee, Haa, don’t you get?” This is cruelty to animals in a particularly unorthodox way — not part of the current law on rounding them up.

Madeleine has met their cruelty with creative imagination. She had 30,000 letters protesting this roundup delivered to them by the old American Pony Express. Two ponies with saddle bags delivered the letters to the Capitol. We are awaiting the answer.

Watch for Madeleine and her ponies in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day!

Contributor:  Suzanne Porter, Director of Animal Affairs for THE PSYCHIC BUBBLE.

Posted September 19th, 2010.

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