Posted by: wantpeacework4justice | May 6, 2009

Crack v. Cocaine

I like the following article…  I haven’t heard much about the crack/cocaine sentencing debate since I lived in Milwaukee.  We don’t have much crack around these parts (or black people).  Totally agree with the opinion… but, of course it’s not the only thing tearing families apart.

A Law That Tears Black Families Apart

By Courtland Milloy
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Washington Post, p. B1
There’s a law that some experts say contributes mightily to the destruction of low-income African American families and neighborhoods. It’s not a law that specifically prohibits them from getting a job or a loan or buying a home or voting. But the effect is often the same.

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 doesn’t sound as onerous as, say, the Black Codes of the late 1800s, which legalized arbitrary imprisonment to limit the movement of newly freed slaves. But when it comes to ruthless incarceration, nothing compares with this federal drug law: It has subjected tens of thousands of black people to lengthy prison terms for possessing ridiculously small amounts of crack cocaine.

“If you want to know why black children are overrepresented in foster care at four times the rate of the national population, then look no further than the mass incarceration of black people,” Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, told me recently. “The vast majority of them are nonviolent drug users, many first-time offenders. Instead of providing them with the treatment they need, we send them to prison, often breaking up their families in the process.”

A campaign to reform the drug law hit a milestone last week when the Justice Department endorsed plans to end the measure’s most odious aspect: a sentencing disparity in which anyone caught with five grams of crack gets the same five-year mandatory minimum prison term as someone caught with 500 grams of powder cocaine.

But the fight is far from over. Congress could simply raise the penalty for powder cocaine instead of lowering it for crack. Maybe police would then start targeting the well-heeled, uptown coke-snorting crowd, as unlikely as that may be. The effort would be counterproductive nonetheless, because law enforcement would still be diverted away from drug kingpins, the original targets of the law.

“There are about 10,000 federal crack and powder cocaine cases a year, two-thirds of them involving the lowest-level offenders in the drug trade,” Eric E. Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, told me. “If you look at the average sentence imposed on low-level offenders and the amount of crack cocaine involved in those cases, then compare that to the average sentence given to high-level offenders and the amount of powder cocaine involved in those cases, you’ll find that the low-level offenders are being punished 300 times more severely than the kingpins.”

In 2007, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, 81 percent of those convicted for crack offenses were African American, though only 25 percent of crack users are black. In other words, law enforcement officials have become so focused on busting small-time black drug users that almost everybody else in the drug trade gets a free ride.

You would think there would be a tremendous outcry against this kind of systemic oppression. But efforts to change the law have plodded along for two decades. Never mind that research into cocaine addiction has found no significant difference between the effects of smoking cocaine and snorting it, certainly nothing that would warrant such vast differences in law enforcement.

Last month, about 100 members of the Crack the Disparity Coalition showed up on Capitol Hill to lobby for elimination of the harsh penalties for crack cocaine. They should be applauded. But when you have nearly a million black people behind bars, most for using drugs, there should have been a whole lot more caring souls among them.

“These racial disparities profoundly undermine trust in our criminal justice system and have a deeply corrosive effect on the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities,” Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said last week at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee meeting on the sentencing disparity laws.

Too bad he couldn’t have said that the relationship between law enforcement and all communities was being corroded. But such is the mythological power of crack throughout much of America , a demon drug so evil, so craved by imaginary black crack fiends, that apparently no law is too draconian, no tactic too racist to be deployed in a war against them.

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Posted by: wantpeacework4justice | January 16, 2009

Fourth Amendment

     I’m a big fan of the fourth amendment.  We grew close while I was employed by the SLPD office, and then again as a law clerk for the 4th District Ct. in UT.  The Herring case should make us a bit uncomfortable…. basically, it gives the police another way to dodge the exclusionary rule; and an incentive to the department to keep shoddy records… Ignorance is bliss, I guess. 

January 16, 2009

Editorial

The Fourth Amendment Diluted

With a lamentable 5-to-4 ruling on Wednesday, the Supreme Court carved a new exception to the nearly century-old exclusionary rule, which forbids prosecutors from using evidence obtained by the police as the result of an improper search. The result was a meaningful dilution of Americans’ Fourth Amendment protections and one more instance of the court’s conservative majority upsetting precedent without admitting that it is doing so.

The case centered on the 2004 arrest of Bennie Dean Herring by police officers in Coffee County , Ala. , based on a mistaken belief that he was the subject of an outstanding warrant. It turned out that the warrant, although still in the computerized database of a neighboring town, had been withdrawn five months earlier. By the time the error was discovered, officers had stopped Mr. Herring, handcuffed him, searched him and his truck and found methamphetamine and an unloaded pistol.

No one disputed that Mr. Herring’s arrest lacked probable cause and that both the arrest and the search were therefore unconstitutional. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court declined to exclude the seized evidence, and upheld Mr. Herring’s conviction on drug and gun charges. The arrest was based on careless police record-keeping rather intentional misconduct, the court reasoned.

“To trigger the exclusionary rule,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority, “police conduct must be sufficiently deliberate that exclusion can meaningfully deter it, and sufficiently culpable that such deterrence is worth the price paid by the justice system.” The decision instructs judges to use a sliding scale to decide whether police misconduct warrants suppressing evidence.

That may seem reasonable, but it ignores both the inadequacy in the real world of using a cost-benefit calculus to deter unconstitutional law enforcement conduct, and the harm of involving the courts in trampling on people’s rights by admitting the fruits of an unconstitutional search. The decision also overlooks the importance of preserving a strong incentive for maintaining accurate, up-to-date records in an era of increased law-enforcement reliance on coordinated computer databases. These points were noted by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a thoughtful dissenting opinion.

The outcome was not very surprising. In recent years, the court has carved out several “good faith” exceptions to the exclusionary rule, and justices on the court’s right flank have made no secret of their ambition to carve out more. But until this week, those exceptions were limited to instances when the improper search resulted from nonpolice errors, say by judicial officers or a legislature — not solely from police behavior.

The danger of this ruling is that judges will read its broad reasoning to prevent the exclusion of evidence in cases of negligent police conduct going well beyond sloppy record-keeping.

 

 

Robert Snoddy

Outreach Coordinator

ABA Criminal Justice Section

Posted by: wantpeacework4justice | December 8, 2008

from “But, If Not”

“I say to you, this morning,
that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you
that you will die for it,
then you aren’t fit to live.

You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day,
some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand
for some great principle,
some great issue,
some great cause.
And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.

You refuse to do it because you want to live longer.
You’re afraid that you will lose your job,
or you are afraid that you will be criticized
or that you will lose your popularity,
or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house.
So you refuse to take a stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety,
but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety.

And the cessation of breathing in your life
is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right.

You died when you refused to stand up for truth.

You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967.

Posted by: wantpeacework4justice | November 7, 2008

What’s a mind if you can’t change it?

This week, I changed my opinion about whether to use an artificial tree or a real tree at Christmas.  For the last eight to ten years, I was of the opinion that it would be better for the environment to use an artificial tree (I have a super nice one by the way) instead of a real tree because I hated the idea of cutting down trees.

But, a recent article authored by the organization Arbor Day, which I greatly respect, changed my mind.  Here are the reasons they gave for using real trees v. artificial:

  • According to the National Christmas Tree Assoc., 85% of artificial trees begin in overseas factories where working conditions are less than ideal.
  • Many artificail trees are made with metals and plastics that sometimes include PVC or lead, and they end up in landfills
  • real trees are a renewable, sustainable resource
  • real trees provide jobs in rural areas and support American families
  • real trees provide the usual benefits of trees, including oxygen, CO2 uptake, erosion control, and wildlife habitat
  • help to preserve open space
  • are biodegradable and recyclable; they can be made into chips or compost, or used for conservation purposes such as filling eroding gullies or sunk in lakes to provide better fish habitat

Use real trees from forest thinnings or tree farms.

Yeah – my house will smell nice this Christmas.

christmas-trees1

Posted by: wantpeacework4justice | November 6, 2008

Thank goodness….

The United States got it right….

200810201053360_brett-yasko_main

I think that the selection of Sarah Palin damaged McCain’s campaign more than helped.  Most Americans saw through the Palin excitement and realized that she was greatly unqualified.  Sarah Palin gave only 3 press interviews – to Biden’s 100 during the election… Here’s why.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/24/eveningnews/main4476173.shtml

I can’t believe that so many conservatives compare Palin to Obama… astounding.

I talked with my mom on the phone last night.  She lives in Milwaukee – arguably the most segregated city in the United States.  She says that racial tensions there are very high right now, and that there is a lot of fear.  That astounds me.  I guess I didn’t think of that living over here in GJ – we definitely don’t have enough diversity here to create tension.  People here are more worried about their guns…. My future father-in-law purchased a very large gun safe for us for Christmas.

Yes, we’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

Posted by: wantpeacework4justice | October 16, 2008

Deos Morality Exist in a Virtual World?

Interesting to ponder… read this:

http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/80/virtual_morality.html

Posted by: wantpeacework4justice | October 10, 2008

Where are the Women?

I looked through all 182 photos here (3 different countries), and not one woman.

http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Stock-Markets-stock-market/ss/events/bs/081202stock/s:/ap/20081010/ap_on_bi_st_ma_re/wall_street#photoViewer=/081010/photos_ts_afp/efaba76c496cba2f49d4615b8447f1cc

Maybe it is just more shocking to see men being emotional…

 

Granted, there is a greatly disproportionate number of men compared to women on wall street…. But, still, where are the women? 

Women are being affected by the financial crisis just as much as men.  And, I would argue, will be affected by a greater margin in the future, as the trickle-down effects become realized.

Generally, women are more likely to be unemployed than men, and as a result have less money and face unemployment for longer periods without regular income.  Women who are employed  tend to make less than men, have fewer benefits or have part-time positions.  They are more likely to hold minimum-wage jobs and to leave the work force to provide caregiving responsibilities. They save less money (because they usually have less money) and have smaller pensions or retirement accounts.

I for one will feel more sorry for the indirectly affected.

Posted by: wantpeacework4justice | October 7, 2008

How can a Catholic cast her vote for a candidate who is pro-choice?

Interesting article below….  As a Catholic, I’ve had a tough time responding to the issue of abortion in elections.  Namely, how can a practicing Catholic ever vote for a candidate who is pro-choice when abortion is a non-negotiable?  I think that the commentary below is well-reasoned regarding the dilemma many Catholics face.

 

National Catholic Reporter: ‘I’m Catholic, staunchly anti-abortion, and support Obama

By NICHOLAS P. CAFARDI, Religion News Service
Published: September 30, 2008

Editor’s note: Nicholas P. Cafardi is the second high profile Catholic legal scholar who is staunchly anti-abortion yet says he supports Barack Obama.Commentary   

I believe that abortion is an unspeakable evil, yet I support Sen. Barack Obama, who is pro-choice. I do not support him because he is pro-choice, but in spite of it. Is that a proper moral choice for a committed Catholic?

As one of the inaugural members of the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board on clergy sexual abuse, and as a canon lawyer, I answer with a resounding yes. 

Despite what some Republicans would like Catholics to believe, the list of what the church calls “intrinsically evil acts” does not begin and end with abortion. In fact, there are many intrinsically evil acts, and a committed Catholic must consider all of them in deciding how to vote.
 

Last November, the U.S. bishops released “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” a 30-page document that provides several examples of intrinsically evil acts: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, torture, racism, and targeting noncombatants in acts of war.Obama’s support for abortion rights has led some to the conclusion that no Catholic can vote for him. That’s a mistake. While I have never swayed in my conviction that abortion is an unspeakable evil, I believe that we have lost the abortion battle — permanently. A vote for Sen. John McCain does not guarantee the end of abortion in America. Not even close.

Let’s suppose Roe v. Wade were overturned. What would happen? The matter would simply be kicked back to the states — where it was before 1973. Overturning Roe would not abolish abortion. It would just mean that abortion would be legal in some states and illegal in others. The number of abortions would remain unchanged as long as people could travel.

McCain has promised to appoint “strict constructionist” judges who would presumably vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. But is that sufficient reason for a Catholic to vote Republican? To answer that question, let’s look at the rest of the church’s list of intrinsically evil acts.

Both McCain and Obama get failing marks on embryonic stem-cell research, which Catholic teaching opposes. The last time the issue was up for a vote in the Senate, both men voted to ease existing restrictions.

But what about an unjust war? In 2003, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) said flatly that “reasons sufficient for unleashing a war against Iraq did not exist.” McCain voted for it; Obama opposed it.

What about torture? “There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,” according to Antonio Taguba, the retired major general who investigated abuses in Iraq. Obama opposes the use of torture in all cases; McCain, himself a victim of torture, voted to allow the CIA to use so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” — a euphemism for torture.

How, some may ask, can I compare these evils with abortion? The right to abortion is guaranteed by the federal judiciary’s interpretation of the Constitution. And while the president appoints federal judges, the connection between a president’s appointments and the decisions rendered by his appointees is tenuous at best. After all, in 1992, five Republican-appointed justices voted to uphold Roe v. Wade in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Yet on other intrinsic evils — an unjust war, torture, ignoring the poor — I can address those evils directly by changing the president.

There’s another distinction that is often lost in the culture-war rhetoric on abortion: There is a difference between being pro-choice and being pro-abortion. Obama supports government action that would reduce the number of abortions, and has consistently said that “we should be doing everything we can to avoid unwanted pregnancies that might even lead somebody to consider having an abortion.” He favors a “comprehensive approach where … we are teaching the sacredness of sexuality to our children.” And he wants to ensure that adoption is an option for women who might otherwise choose abortion.

Obama worked all of that into his party’s platform this year. By contrast, Republicans actually removed abortion-reduction language from their platform.

What’s more, as recent data show, abortion rates drop when the social safety net is strengthened. If Obama’s economic program will do more to reduce poverty than McCain’s, then is it wrong to conclude that an Obama presidency will also reduce abortions? Not at all.

Every faithful Catholic agrees that abortion is an unspeakable evil that must be minimized, if not eliminated. I can help to achieve that without endorsing Republicans’ immoral baggage. Overturning Roe v. Wade is not the only way to end abortion, and a vote for Obama is not somehow un-Catholic.

The U.S. bishops have urged a “different kind of political engagement,” one that is “shaped by the moral convictions of well-formed consciences.  

I have informed my conscience. I have weighed the facts. I have used my prudential judgment. And I conclude that it is a proper moral choice for this Catholic to support Barack Obama’s candidacy.
Posted by: wantpeacework4justice | October 3, 2008

Michael Moore’s Bailout Plan

Friends,

 The richest 400 Americans — that’s right, just four hundred people — own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. 400 rich Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is $1.6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly $700 billion — the same amount that they are now demanding we give to them for the “bailout.” Why don’t they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They’d still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!
 
Of course, they are not going to do that — at least not voluntarily. George W. Bush was handed a $127 billion surplus when Bill Clinton left office. Because that money was OUR money and not his, he did what the rich prefer to do — spend it and never look back. Now we have a $9.5 trillion debt. Why on earth would we even think of giving these robber barons any more of our money?

I would like to propose my own bailout plan. My suggestions, listed below, are predicated on the singular and simple belief that the rich must pull themselves up by their own platinum bootstraps. Sorry, fellows, but you drilled it into our heads one too many times: There… is… no… free… lunch. And thank you for encouraging us to hate people on welfare! So, there will be no handouts from us to you. The Senate, tonight, is going to try to rush their version of a “bailout” bill to a vote. They must be stopped. We did it on Monday with the House, and we can do it again today with the Senate.
 
It is clear, though, that we cannot simply keep protesting without proposing exactly what it is we think Congress should do. So, after consulting with a number of people smarter than Phil Gramm, here is my proposal, now known as “Mike’s Rescue Plan.” It has 10 simple, straightforward points. They are:

 1. APPOINT A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO CRIMINALLY INDICT ANYONE ON WALL STREET WHO KNOWINGLY CONTRIBUTED TO THIS COLLAPSE. Before any new money is expended, Congress must commit, by resolution, to criminally prosecute anyone who had anything to do with the attempted sacking of our economy. This means that anyone who committed insider trading, securities fraud or any action that helped bring about this collapse must go to jail. This Congress must call for a Special Prosecutor who will vigorously go after everyone who created the mess, and anyone else who attempts to scam the public in the future.
 
2. THE RICH MUST PAY FOR THEIR OWN BAILOUT. They may have to live in 5 houses instead of 7. They may have to drive 9 cars instead of 13. The chef for their mini-terriers may have to be reassigned. But there is no way in hell, after forcing family incomes to go down more than $2,000 dollars during the Bush years, that working people and the middle class are going to fork over one dime to underwrite the next yacht purchase.
 
If they truly need the $700 billion they say they need, well, here is an easy way they can raise it:
 
a) Every couple who makes over a million dollars a year and every single taxpayer who makes over $500,000 a year will pay a 10% surcharge tax for five years. (It’s the Senator Sanders plan. He’s like Colonel Sanders, only he’s out to fry the right chickens.) That means the rich will still be paying less income tax than when Carter was president. This will raise a total of $300 billion.
 
b) Like nearly every other democracy, charge a 0.25% tax on every stock transaction. This will raise more than $200 billion in a year.
 
c) Because every stockholder is a patriotic American, stockholders will forgo receiving a dividend check for one quarter and instead this money will go the treasury to help pay for the bailout.
 
d) 25% of major U.S. corporations currently pay NO federal income tax. Federal corporate tax revenues currently amount to 1.7% of the GDP compared to 5% in the 1950s. If we raise the corporate income tax back to the level of the 1950s, that gives us an extra $500 billion.

 All of this combined should be enough to end the calamity. The rich will get to keep their mansions and their servants, and our United States government (“COUNTRY FIRST!”) will have a little leftover to repair some roads, bridges and schools.
 
3. BAIL OUT THE PEOPLE LOSING THEIR HOMES, NOT THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BUILD AN EIGHTH HOME. There are 1.3 million homes in foreclosure right now. That is what is at the heart of this problem. So instead of giving the money to the banks as a gift, pay down each of these mortgages by $100,000. Force the banks to renegotiate the mortgage so the homeowner can pay on its current value. To insure that this help does no go to speculators and those who have tried to make money by flipping houses, this bailout is only for people’s primary residence. And in return for the $100K paydown on the existing mortgage, the government gets to share in the holding of the mortgage so that it can get some of its money back. Thus, the total initial cost of fixing the mortgage crisis at its roots (instead of with the greedy lenders) is $150 billion, not $700 billion.

 And let’s set the record straight. People who have defaulted on their mortgages are not “bad risks.” They are our fellow Americans, and all they wanted was what we all want and most of us still get: a home to call their own. But during the Bush years, millions of them lost the decent paying jobs they had. Six million fell into poverty. Seven million lost their health insurance. And every one of them saw their real wages go down by $2,000. Those who dare to look down on these Americans who got hit with one bad break after another should be ashamed. We are a better, stronger, safer and happier society when all of our citizens can afford to live in a home that they own.
 
4. IF YOUR BANK OR COMPANY GETS ANY OF OUR MONEY IN A “BAILOUT,” THEN WE OWN YOU. Sorry, that’s how it’s done. If the bank gives me money so I can buy a house, the bank “owns” that house until I pay it all back — with interest. Same deal for Wall Street. Whatever money you need to stay afloat, if our government considers you a safe risk — and necessary for the good of the country — then you can get a loan, but we will own you. If you default, we will sell you. This is how the Swedish government did it and it worked.
 
5. ALL REGULATIONS MUST BE RESTORED. THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IS DEAD. This catastrophe happened because we let the fox have the keys to the henhouse. In 1999, Phil Gramm authored a bill to remove all the regulations that governed Wall Street and our banking system. The bill passed and Clinton signed it. Here’s what Sen. Phil Gramm, McCain’s chief economic advisor, said at the bill signing:

“In the 1930s … it was believed that government was the answer. It was believed that stability and growth came from government overriding the functioning of free markets.
 
“We are here today to repeal [that] because we have learned that government is not the answer. We have learned that freedom and competition are the answers. We have learned that we promote economic growth and we promote stability by having competition and freedom.
 
“I am proud to be here because this is an important bill; it is a deregulatory bill. I believe that that is the wave of the future, and I am awfully proud to have been a part of making it a reality.”
 
This bill must be repealed. Bill Clinton can help by leading the effort for the repeal of the Gramm bill and the reinstating of even tougher regulations regarding our financial institutions. And when they’re done with that, they can restore the regulations for the airlines, the inspection of our food, the oil industry, OSHA, and every other entity that affects our daily lives. All oversight provisions for any “bailout” must have enforcement monies attached to them and criminal penalties for all offenders.
 
6. IF IT’S TOO BIG TO FAIL, THEN THAT MEANS IT’S TOO BIG TO EXIST. Allowing the creation of these mega-mergers and not enforcing the monopoly and anti-trust laws has allowed a number of financial institutions and corporations to become so large, the very thought of their collapse means an even bigger collapse across the entire economy. No one or two companies should have this kind of power. The so-called “economic Pearl Harbor” can’t happen when you have hundreds — thousands — of institutions where people have their money. When you have a dozen auto companies, if one goes belly-up, we don’t face a national disaster. If you have three separately-owned daily newspapers in your town, then one media company can’t call all the shots (I know… What am I thinking?! Who reads a paper anymore? Sure glad all those mergers and buyouts left us with a strong and free press!). Laws must be enacted to prevent companies from being so large and dominant that with one slingshot to the eye, the giant falls and dies. And no institution should be allowed to set up money schemes that no one can understand. If you can’t explain it in two sentences, you shouldn’t be taking anyone’s money.

 7. NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD BE PAID MORE THAN 40 TIMES THEIR AVERAGE EMPLOYEE, AND NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD RECEIVE ANY KIND OF “PARACHUTE” OTHER THAN THE VERY GENEROUS SALARY HE OR SHE MADE WHILE WORKING FOR THE COMPANY. In 1980, the average American CEO made 45 times what their employees made. By 2003, they were making 254 times what their workers made. After 8 years of Bush, they now make over 400 times what their average employee makes. How this can happen at publicly held companies is beyond reason. In Britain, the average CEO makes 28 times what their average employee makes. In Japan, it’s only 17 times! The last I heard, the CEO of Toyota was living the high life in Tokyo. How does he do it on so little money? Seriously, this is an outrage. We have created the mess we’re in by letting the people at the top become bloated beyond belief with millions of dollars. This has to stop. Not only should no executive who receives help out of this mess profit from it, but any executive who was in charge of running his company into the ground should be fired before the company receives any help.
 
8. STRENGTHEN THE FDIC AND MAKE IT A MODEL FOR PROTECTING NOT ONLY PEOPLE’S SAVINGS, BUT ALSO THEIR PENSIONS AND THEIR HOMES. Obama was correct yesterday to propose expanding FDIC protection of people’s savings in their banks to $250,000. But this same sort of government insurance must be given to our nation’s pension funds. People should never have to worry about whether or not the money they’ve put away for their old age will be there. This will mean strict government oversight of companies who manage their employees’ funds — or perhaps it means that the companies will have to turn over those funds and their management to the government. People’s private retirement funds must also be protected, but perhaps it’s time to consider not having one’s retirement invested in the casino known as the stock market. Our government should have a solemn duty to guarantee that no one who grows old in this country has to worry about ending up destitute.

 9. EVERYBODY NEEDS TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH, CALM DOWN, AND NOT LET FEAR RULE THE DAY. Turn off the TV! We are not in the Second Great Depression. The sky is not falling. Pundits and politicians are lying to us so fast and furious it’s hard not to be affected by all the fear mongering. Even I, yesterday, wrote to you and repeated what I heard on the news, that the Dow had the biggest one day drop in its history. Well, that’s true in terms of points, but its 7% drop came nowhere close to Black Monday in 1987 when the stock market in one day lost 23% of its value. In the ’80s, 3,000 banks closed, but America didn’t go out of business. These institutions have always had their ups and downs and eventually it works out. It has to, because the rich do not like their wealth being disrupted! They have a vested interest in calming things down and getting back into the Jacuzzi.
 
As crazy as things are right now, tens of thousands of people got a car loan this week. Thousands went to the bank and got a mortgage to buy a home. Students just back to college found banks more than happy to put them into hock for the next 15 years with a student loan. Life has gone on. Not a single person has lost any of their money if it’s in a bank or a treasury note or a CD. And the most amazing thing is that the American public hasn’t bought the scare campaign. The citizens didn’t blink, and instead told Congress to take that bailout and shove it. THAT was impressive. Why didn’t the population succumb to the fright-filled warnings from their president and his cronies? Well, you can only say ‘Saddam has da bomb’ so many times before the people realize you’re a lying sack of shite. After eight long years, the nation is worn out and simply can’t take it any longer.
 
10. CREATE A NATIONAL BANK, A “PEOPLE’S BANK.” If we really are itching to print up a trillion dollars, instead of giving it to a few rich people, why don’t we give it to ourselves? Now that we own Freddie and Fannie, why not set up a people’s bank? One that can provide low-interest loans for all sorts of people who want to own a home, start a small business, go to school, come up with the cure for cancer or create the next great invention. And now that we own AIG, the country’s largest insurance company, let’s take the next step and provide health insurance for everyone. Medicare for all. It will save us so much money in the long run. And we won’t be 12th on the life expectancy list. We’ll be able to have a longer life, enjoying our government-protected pension, and living to see the day when the corporate criminals who caused so much misery are let out of prison so that we can help reacclimate them to civilian life — a life with one nice home and a gas-free car that was invented with help from the People’s Bank.

 Yours,
 Michael Moore

 MichaelMoore.com

Posted by: wantpeacework4justice | September 29, 2008

Color Weekend on the Grand Mesa

Color weekend is one of the most popular weekends on the Grand Mesa.  The Grand Mesa is famous in Colorado as being one of the top spots to view fall colors. 

Chris and I spent the weekend remodeling the bathroom and laundry room in my house which is on Hwy 65 – a scenic byway.  Everyone has to drive right past my house to get to the top of the Mesa.  On Saturday, Chris put the toilet in the front yard.  I think people really liked this lawn decoration as they were driving past.  (On Sunday, the busy day, we put it in the back – thank goodness).

We had lots of visitors over the weekend – and friends beeping as they drove by… One visitor, though, was unexpected… Goob.  Goob is my roommate’s dog.  My roommate, Kristen, is currently housesitting about 3 miles up the road at Demi’s house.  Well, at about 5 in the evening, while Chris and I were in the back of the house working on the foundation, Goob came to the back of house to say hi.  I thought Kristen must be at the house, but thought that would be odd, because she usually is at work at that time, so I went to the front of the house – no Kristen.  Chris thought he heard a car-door, so he was sure that Kristen dropped off the dog and took off to drive back home to Washington to get out of town.  Well, he had me suspicious, but my first thought was that the dog walked down the highway to stop for a visit (She was very thirsty when she got to the house)… And, that is what happened.  Probably picked the worst day to do it – the most traffic of the year, but she didn’t have any problems apparently… And, I think people driving up the mesa are usually vigilent for animals.

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