December 31, 2008

My First Podcast Dec 2008

In less than 30 minutes the GDAE Podcast brings you...
  • Music by Ryan Harvey, "It's Not Just Bush," on hard-driving acoustic guitar
  • WakeUp Am podcast satire on the Bush presidential library
  • Rick Back Book Bock (Ricky) on art and other things
  • Van Jones on Green Jusice
  • GDAEman sings "This Old Man" (humor)
... all for the price of your time, which I know is valuable. So, don't waste it. Be sure to get pissed off and make your voice heard in response to this podcast. We certainly can't depend on Obama to get us out of the mess we're in.

Episode 1 - Click Here

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December 29, 2008

On Free Podcast Hosting Sites

I'm not impressed. True, the for-pay versions might not be any better, but the free ones have left me unimpressed.

My brother recommended Switchpod. It says 450MB for free unlimited transfers. For a little extra you can remove ads from your web page. Then you register and, "welcome, you have 250MB to play with." Huh? What about the 450MB? And how hard should it be to upload a 30MB mp3 file? Pretty hard. It has failed twice.

Other sites offer archiving... that is, you get 100MB per month of fast access space, then your old episodes are "archived" to slower access storage. The storage is unlimited, but the download transfers are limited. So, hopefully your podcast won't get too popular. Huh? OK I can live with that for starters, the only problem is the sites don't work that well.

Take for example. Liberated Syndication. They have this cool feature called the "Sandbox." You login: sandbox, with password: sandbox, and presto! you're able to test out their system. Only problem is, it isn't too hot. Images fall off the page. Setting the look/feel of the web page didn't work for me. Uploading a podcast file ... got uploaded, but then I wasn't able to do anything with it. Not impressed.

So, what about Looked good. Nice clean web pages. Player right on the page, with option to download and many options for subscribing. Comments. A place for adding links. Now the down-side. They embed an audio ad in each of your podcasts... that's maybe OK if they are just advertising the free podcast hosting, but it's probably more than that. The on-screen player didn't seem to work... it worked once, but that was it.

Then there is Doesn't accept Yahoo e-mail accounts. Maybe that's a good thing, but I didn't want to give my other personal e-mail, so had to set up a Gmail account. OK...

So, I continue to search and ponder the $4/month option.


Finally went with GoDaddy, bought a URL and use a service called Quick Blogcast. Works fairly well. Still thinking about going into my own website.

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December 28, 2008

The Hole is So Deep

Lamenting the US trade deficit, the Baltimore Sun Editorial, "Trade Trouble" December 28, 2008, presents two paths for the US to get out of the deep hole we're in:

The U.S. must either get its economic house in order, by reducing debt-financed consumption and rebuilding savings, or learn to live with a decline in American buying power and its influence.

It is certain that we are heading for Option 2. Obama has promised a stimulus package as big, or bigger than, the $700 billion financial industry bailout that's been added to the US debt. Option 1 would spell a depression, so as cathartic and healthy as that might be in the long run, "There are no atheists in fox holes, and no Libertarians in charge of managing an economic crises."

You might look to the Plaza Accord of 1985 as a possible "third way." The Accord, signed by five major nations, agreed to depreciate the US dollar in relation to the Japanese yen and German Deutsche Mark by intervening in currency markets. The intent was to balance US trade deficits with Germany and Japan, but it didn't work. Prepare for less buying power and less influence.

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The Fair Trial of George Bush

In an essay, "Why Bush and Cheney Should Get A Fair Trial," Nightprowlkitty at Docudharma poses the question, Why should they get a fair trial? Much of the piece presents variations on the theme:

One reason is because so many have not gotten a fair trial, both here in the USA and abroad.

Underlying that theme is a message that the legitimacy of the United States system of Justice depends on it.

If we do not hold those in power accountable for their crimes, then who will ever believe the average American has any chance of a fair trial? Why should our faith in our justice system continue?

This is a very powerful rationale for letting blind justice take its natural course, rather than having the natural flow dammed by the establishment. But there is another powerful reason.

Impunity of the elite from justice is a certain path to social breakdown. We know the crimes committed by George Bush and others. In the words of chief American prosecutor at Nuremberg, Robert H. Jackson:

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

The crimes are not in question. The only question is whether society will allow Bush to get away with these crimes. If it does, the rule-of-law will become illegitimate in the eyes of many more people and the thread of civil order will unravel further.

Put another way, do the elites want orderly Justice or disorderly Justice? I saw the dot-com bubble burst coming, I saw the Bush wars coming, I saw the housing bubble-burst coming, I see inflation coming and I see social breakdown coming if Bush and his associates are not prosecuted.

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December 27, 2008

Another Plaza Accord?

On September 22, 1985 the Plaza Accord was signed by 5 nations - France, West Germany, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. The agreement, named for the Plaza Hotel in New York City in which it was signed, was intended to depreciate the US dollar in relation to the Japanese yen and German Deutsche Mark by intervening in currency markets.

The exchange rate value of the dollar versus the yen declined 51% over the two years following the agreement, and prices of Japanese goods increased by 51% over that time... price inflation. The intent was to stimulate US production for export by making US products cheaper for the Japanese and German markets in the face of the lingering economic down turn of the early 1980s. The US imbalance of trade didn't significantly re-balance due to this accord, and in 1987, The Louvre Accord was signed in Paris to halt the continuing decline of the US Dollar.

A friend says that another Plaza Accord might be in the wings. Word is that devaluation of the dollar, orderly or disorderly, is inevitable. Whether or not other nations collaborate with the US to seek an orderly devaluation remains to be seen. The message is that inflation is on the way.

I'm thinking of taking out a loan at a modest interest, and having it inflate away over the next few years. We'll see if I act on that.

Related: A war for the future of "free trade" is raging. Obama is tied to Schumer and Lindsy Graham, who have been beating the drum for protectionism for two years.

Update: Weaker Dollar Worries Japan, Germany , Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2008.

Sources: Encyclopedia, Plaza Accord.


December 26, 2008


OK, I've been a bit quiet the last few daze. Grading final papers, coming up with final grades, shopping, wrapping, partying, unwrapping, more partying... did I say eating? Oh, yes and the ever-so-important napping, which often follows reading... By tradition I delve into a fiction book around this time of year.... did I say cooking? AND I've recently started playing with a Rubiks Cube... it's a little addictive.

On top of all of this, and being an awesome partner [sic], I've been researching how best to syndicate my new PODCAST. It's true, I'm going audio. And, for all of my regular visitors, once I can figure out how to interview people over the phone, I'll invite you to add your voice to the podwaves.

Nuff Said. Happy New Year wishes to all.

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December 24, 2008

Jerry Nadler for NY Senate Seat

Hilary Clinton's Senate seat is opening and the New York Governor will appoint her replacement. Caroline Kennedy is actively campaigning for the seat. Jerrold Nadler is a contender, but isn't openly campaigning.

Nadler is chair of a House subcommittee on the US Constitution. He speaks truth to power. He was one of the first politicians I heard, well over a year ago, say, to the effect, "impeachment is NOT important, because we will seek criminal prosecution," of Bush and the other high officials who have broken laws that define our democracy.

Nadler has 8 years of experience in Congress and has the temperment to be in the upper house (Senate). Please raise your voice on his behalf.

Contact New York Governor David Paterson.
Urge him to appoint Jerrold Nadler to the US Senate for the state of New York.

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December 23, 2008

You're American...

.... and you know it's gone too far.

Rock 'n Roll in the finest tradition. 3.3 minutes to help get yourself pumped up for action.

Written and Directed by Brian Fox
ChemTrail Records

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ChemTrail Records
on YouTube.


December 21, 2008

Dump Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel is too tainted by the "FUCKING" Blagojevich corruption scandal to survive. Lets show Obama where the "FUCKING" power lies by swamping his email with demands for Emanuel's dismissal.

Editor's Note: The curse words above are excerpted from the transcripts of numerous phone conversations between Blagojevich and Emanuel.

See references to "President-elect Advisor" in the federal indictment document.

Contact Obama... and your media outlets



December 19, 2008

Iraq's Sovereignty and Flying Shoes

File this one under "Orwellian." From Associated Press:

The folk hero shoe thrower, journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, could face two years in prison.

Judge Dhia al-Kinani acknowledged that Iraq's president can grant pardons that are requested by the prime minister, but such a pardon can be issued only after a conviction.

He added that he could not drop the case even though neither Bush nor al-Maliki had complained. "This case was filed because of an article in the law concerning the protection of the respect of sovereignty," he said.

Give me a break, as if Iraq actually has sovereignty.

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Associated Press,
Iraqi judge: Shoe-tossing reporter was beaten
, December 19, 2008.


December 18, 2008

Look! Up in the Sky. It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

No, it's Super Al-Zaidi's Tennis Shoes.

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Get Bizzy

Here's some good video of the street scene on Nov. 4, 2008 after the Obama victory posted by Bizzy17 on YouTube. It goes beyond "happy talk" about Obama's victory to include an interview with a Teacher/Writer/Activist from Harlem, NY, who says we now have to hold Obama accountable.

Worth the watch.

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Bizzy17 on YouTube


December 17, 2008

32-Hour Work Week is on The Way

Search for "32-hour work week" on Google today and you'll find about 15,000 entries. Google "40-hour work week" and you'll find about 435,000 entries. Lets get those search result numbers for the 32-hour work week to go up. Below I describe a possible path to a 32-hour work week for most people that would also motivate universal health care.

A friend and I were discussing the failing economic paradigm, which led me to describe the huge loss in our standard of living over the past few decades. It generally goes unrecognized. When I was a kid "dads" worked and "moms" maintained the homestead. Then, moms started entering the workforce driven both by interest and economic need. Now, it's a given that both parents in a traditional family must work to maintain the middle class living standard. Single parent families struggle to get by. Again, we've witnessed a huge loss in our standard of living. Beyond this obvious perspective, the numbers are documented.

But there is a contradiction. Automation of production has reduced the workforce need. There aren't enough jobs for everyone who wants one. As an aside, the unemployment statistics are misleading. The statistics only count those who are actively looking for work. Including the people who are unemployed, but have given up on finding a job, unemployment is running at about 12%.

Before the Wall Street scam imploded, economic statistics suggested the "National" economy was growing at a reasonable pace. I put "National" in quotations because only a small fraction of the people in the nation were gaining more wealth from that economic growth. The US economy, in which financial services made up around 20%, was funneling wealth to a tiny fraction of people.

That system is coming unhinged, despite establishment law maker's attempts to salvage it through bailouts. But as many have observed, facts on the ground might dictate systemic changes. One of those changes could be an economic system that distributes wealth more fairly, rather than the insider takes all system we have now.

I have an inkling of how this might come to pass. First, we're living in a context in which more and more people recognize the value of time spent with their families. This reorientation of lifestyle is related to the movement to simplify life and the locavore movement associated with increasing numbers of farmer's markets.

Second, if people work fewer hours for livable incomes and good benefits, then wealth is being more broadly distributed. This happening in an incremental way today, not by choice, but by demand. State governments are instituting furloughs in which state workers are being required to take several days off without pay. Although the number of people employed isn't increasing as a result of this, it represents an acceptance of fewer hours shared among the workforce. This same philosophy is being adopted in the private sector too.

Third, furloughs are intended to be temporary; however, this economic slump is going to go on for more than a year or more. The furloughs could go on for a number of years. In that time, people might discover they don't mind a little less pay for a little more time to live their lives.

The current furloughs could be a back door to shorter work weeks in the long run, particularly if working people like the idea and push for it. If that were to happen, we could find ourselves adopting a 4-day work week as the norm within the decade. If the economy recovers, and social expectations insist on a 4-day work week, the effect will be more people employed representing a massive sharing of wealth among more people. It would blend well with a medicare-for-all plan in which private businesses are no longer directly burdened with paying for employee's health care costs.

In short, if we have the vision and unity of voice, we could parlay this economic down-turn into an opportunity to secure shorter work weeks and universal health care for all Americans.

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December 16, 2008

Release the Heroic Shoe Thrower

You can join the growing international call for the release of al-Zaidi! Click here to sign a petition: Zaydi.html

I'm just doing the progressive echo-chamber thing:

By now, you've all seen the footage of the Iraqi journalist hurling his shoes at George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad this past Sunday. Click here to see a YouTube video of the event.

What has not been so widely reported are the words Muntadar al-Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, shouted out. As the first shoe was thrown at Bush, he said: "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog." And with his second shoe, which the president also dodged, al-Zaidi said: "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq ."

This bold statement also has to be understood in its cultural context. Showing the soles of your shoes to someone, let alone tossing your shoes at them, is a sign of contempt in Arab culture.

After throwing his shoes, al-Zaidi was wrestled to the ground by security personnel and hauled away. According to Democracy Now! this morning, "Muntadar al-Zaidi has been held without charge for over twenty-four hours and has been reportedly beaten in jail. His brother said al-Zaidi has suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury. Earlier today, al-Zaidi was handed over to the Iraqi military command in Baghdad."

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December 13, 2008

What I said in August 2007

Not that you couldn't see it coming if you looked... Here's what I said in August 2007:

... get ready to fight with Congress. The next thing we'll be hearing is that some of these banks and high-flying financial institutions, which give out six-figure bonuses, are "too big to let fail." Congress (read "the US tax payer") will be asked to bail them out. Our answer should be "No." Economics 101 says that businesses must be allowed to fail so that the word "risk" means something, and to clean out the dead wood.

You can read the short piece, which has a funny introductory story involving Winston Churchill.

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New Victims of Bank Abuses

Face it. The banking sector, abetted by Democrat and Republican
deregulatory policies, ran amok the past couple of decades. People have been abused by the banks.

Isla Vista, CA B of A
Burned in Feb. 1970

That abuse has claimed many victims. We usually think of these victims in terms of people loosing their homes to foreclosure, bank mismanagement leading to an unnecessary credit crunch preventing small businesses from making payroll on time, and retirees loosing their savings. But today, we have several new victims.

Apparently someone wanted to get even with the banking industry and planted a bomb in a bank in Woodburn, Oregon. The unfortunate victims were a police officer killed, the police chief and a State bomb technician injured. Ultimately, the banks and those who pushed the deregulation are to blame. This is an example of the long term costs that result from short sighted policies.

When you think of the current economic crisis in historical terms, you can tell your grandchildren that "Anger with banks was so intense that it led to at least one bank being bombed." Something tells me we haven't seen the end of this type of reaction.

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Associated Press, Bank blast kills police officer in Oregon, December 13, 2008.


Don't Worry, They're Just Trainers

Today we hear:

Thousands of U.S. troops will remain in Iraqi cities at local security stations after the summer deadline to have combat troops out of the urban areas, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Saturday.

The report continues,

Gen. Raymond Odierno told reporters that the troops would serve as training and mentoring teams, and thus would not be included in the mandate to pull combat troops from the cities. That mandate is included in the recently approved U.S.-Iraq security agreement.

My first thought was "in your face Iraqi scum," as in the USA! USA! shouters saying, "the US doesn't really have to adhere to its agreements... because we're the superior USA!"

My second thought was, these little security stations will be sitting ducks. It's only a matter of time before one is over run and every American in it is liquidated. Then we'll have a big step backwards; we're all familiar with such events. (Hopefully I'm wrong).

My final thought drifted back to the prediction I made back, coincidentally as I check the date, two years ago today in a piece entitled Iraqization and Predicted Length of Iraq War.

Vietnamization was a term used to describe the training and mentoring of South Vietnamese soldiers by US trainers so that war could be "vietnamized."

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Associated Press, Commander: Troops to stay in cities past deadline, December 13, 2008.


December 11, 2008

Changing My Name to Chrysler

A four minutes well worth spending, thanks in part to Arlo Guthrie.

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December 9, 2008

White Supremacy Joke

In the context of the crumbling economy Rep. Charles Rangel (D. N.Y.) said, when asked what he thought about the President;

"Well, I really think he shatters the myth of White Supremacy once and for all."

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The Future Was Yesterday blog


New York Times Complicit

Did you hear that White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley disputed the accuracy Monday morning of an editorial that ran in the Sunday New York Times?

The Times had written,

The truth is that Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had been chafing to attack Iraq before Sept. 11, 2001... They justified that unnecessary war using intelligence reports that they knew or should have known to be faulty. And it was pressure from the White House and a highly politicized Pentagon that compelled people like Secretary of State Colin Powell and George Tenet, the Central Intelligence director, to ignore the counter-evidence and squander their good names on hyped claims of weapons of mass destruction.

The White House response should have been, "We were simply stating what the The New York Times was reporting. In fact, Mr. Cheney regularly quoted the New York Times reporters Judith Miller and Michael Gordon on Sunday talk shows."

The establishment media is as rotten as the establishment financial system. We can only hope it collapses along with the corrupt speculators.

Update: No longer had the words left my keyboard and DemocracyNow reported the following headline news.

Tribune Company Declares Bankruptcy

In media news, Monday was a turbulent day for the newspaper industry. The Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy. The company’s holdings include the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, twenty-three television stations and the Chicago Cubs. Meanwhile, the McClatchy Company has put the Miami Herald up for sale, and the New York Times Company has announced plans to borrow up to $225 million against its mid-Manhattan headquarters building to ease a potential cash flow squeeze.

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December 8, 2008

Obama: Good News, Bad News

The following is a blatant rip-off from David Sirota... the progressive echo chamber.

Good news and bad news in the last day [December 2]. The good news: Barack Obama has appointed a NAFTA critic, Rep. Xavier Becerra, as the next U.S. Trade Representative (more on that here).

The bad news is this just off the Reuters wire:
CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama is not planning to implement a windfall profit tax on oil companies because prices have dropped below $80 a barrel, an aide said on Tuesday...
» article continues...

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Pearl Harbor in Pakistan

Someone is going to get fired for this.

Peshawar, Pakistan, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008. Militants blasted their way into two transport terminals in Pakistan on Sunday and torched more than 160 vehicles destined for U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan, in the biggest assault yet on a vital military supply line. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

And they did it without multi-million dollar weapons and no national debt. Looks like an empire under attack to me.

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December 7, 2008

Counting Those Who Have Given Up on Employment

The following is a revised version of my June 7, 2008 post.

Peter Goodman writes...

The unemployment rate does not count people who have given up looking for work. Over all, the percentage of working age Americans employed dropped to 62.6 percent in May from 63 percent a year earlier.

That means nearly 40% are unemployed. Even if one argues that 10% of these unemployed people are unemployable, due to health or other legitimate reasons, the real unemployment figure in the US is closer to 30% not 5% as we are lead to believe.

The figure below, which shows the percentage of adults employed, verifies the rough 40% figure. Some might be thinking, "How can these numbers be so different than the government statistics?" Kevin Phillips' book Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism explains how. Chapter 3, entitled, "Bullnomics: Favoratism and Fictions," outlines the manipulation of key economic indicators and the implications. For example, many cost-of-living adjustments are tied to government inflation statistics. By keeping the inflation statistic artificially low, retired people's cost-of-living adjustments are suppressed.

Goodman's Article is worth reading. The in the New York Times publication of his article is a rare example of the establishment media acknowledging a distinction between the Main Street economy and the Wall Street economy. (Rembember comment was written in June 2008 before the meltdown).

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New York Times, Job Losses and Surge in Oil Spread Gloom on Economy, Peter S. Goodman, June 7, 2008.

Lead to St. Louis Fed graphic: Paul Krugman's December 6, 2008 blog post.


ABC's Misleading Auto Worker Compensation Figures

I just sent a note to ABC News, criticizing their Dec. 3 misleading coverage of the wages and benefits of unionized auto workers. ABC claimed they make $73 in wages and benefits. What they didn't say was that this figure includes the pension benefits paid to retired workers.

The Center for Automotive Research determined that "average wages for workers at Chrysler, Ford and General Motors were just $28 per hour as of 2007." Worker compensation is about 5% of a car's cost (10% if you include the pensions).

Webform to Contact ABC:

For a more authoritative run down, see Media Matters.

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Thanks to Godless Liberal Homo for the link to ABC, and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) for researching the substance of this issue.

Media Matters, Media still wedded to $70+ per hour autoworker falsehood despite GM's recent statements to the contrary, December 6, 2008.


December 6, 2008

Insufficient Funds

Letter to a Bank

Dear Sirs,

In view of what seems to be happening internationally with banks at the moment, I was wondering if you could advise me.? If one of my cheques is returned marked 'insufficient funds,' how do I know whether that refers to me, or to you?

Yours faithfully, etc.

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A relative in Wales.


December 4, 2008

People are Contacting Obama

According to my blog statistics, people are searching google for how to contact president-elect Obama. That's a hopeful sign.

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Alternative "US" Currencies

Most libertarians are probably all familiar with these gold and silver based, privately minted currencies. It's worth checking out The Shotgun Blog entry on one of the newest entries into the field, the Free Lakota Bank currency pictured to the right.

The US dollar is hollow, like the house of cards that was Wall Street. So, the people promoting these alternative currencies cite the inherent value of the underlying metal for its legitimacy.

Included in the "AOCS approved" network are seven currencies. The Free Lakota Bank is on the list, but so, too, is the Liberty Dollar, the "NeoCoins," the Dixie Dollar, the Freedom Mint, the Community Dollar, and the "LibreCoins" which are coming soon.

According to the Shotgun Blog, the AOCS, American Open Currency Standard, is a loose network of currencies noted above. Exactly what they "approve" I'm not sure.

The Lakota brand is an outgrowth of the Lakota Tribe's declaration of independence last year. They have opened the Lakota Free Bank, that challenges the Federal Reserve system by operating under their own principles (it is not a fractional reserve banking system).

It's worth checking out the NeoCoins. These are folks who have a sense of humor. Look closely at the Bush Coin.

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Slavery is Alive and Well

Dusty's Blog, It's My Right to be Left of Center, has an informative piece on how the corporation that Dick Cheney headed, and still profits from, Halliburton/KBR, knowingly participated in modern day slavery. We also have McClatchy News Service to thank.

Lets beat the drum on the theme of criminal investigations. The new Attorney General needs to hear from us come January 20, 2009.

But in the mean time, we should all Contact President-elect Obama.

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Graphic Credit: Snape71