Friday, December 31, 2010

NY's problem isn't snow removal, it's parasite removal

In case you haven't noticed, the real reason for New York City's "snow removal" effort is that there isn't any snow removal equipment.

When it snows in New York they strap snow plow blades on the front of garbage trucks, and call that "snow removal".

Of course all the garbage trucks can do is push the snow around, from one end of the block to the other, burying and often denting and scratching cars parked on the side of the street.

Under the administration of Giuliani-Bloomberg Inc., the City has been busy

-"cooking its books" to pretend its budget is balanced, by omitting to include appropriate reserves for purchases and infrastructure maintenance

-encouraging developers to build more and more large buildings to house the wealthiest people and corporations in the world;

-making war on the public school system in hopes of privatizing it and turning it over to their wealthy friends;

-destroying neighborhoods;

-conducting "pretend" antiterrorist games, such as assigning a large number of police officers to perform random bag checks at a single subway station, thereby greatly deterring terrorists since a suicide bomber wouldn't walk, drive, or ride 3 or 4 blocks away to enter the subway system at a different stop;

-encouraging chainstores to drive out neighborhood stores;

-increasing gentrification;

-swelling the ranks of (a) Arab sheikhs (b) billionaires (c) yuppies (d) poor people (e) mentally ill people receiving no treatment (f) homeless people, and on and on.

So it's plain to see why there's no time or money for the parasites who run New York to sit down for two minutes and arrange to actually remove some of the snow.

And of course Bloomberg is the first to get on the news and accuse the poor sanitation workers of not pushing the snow onto people's parked cars fast enough. He would not think of his own lack of planning -- despite having had 3 terms of office -- as a possible cause.

The sociopathic parasites who are destroying our city are what need to be removed.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Very important action memo from Sen. Bernie Sanders @senatorsanders #p2 #progressive

Ray -

As you know, enormously crucial decisions are being made in Washington now which will impact the future of our country for decades. Please join me for an interactive discussion on issues ranging from how we protect Social Security for our kids and grandchildren, to how we create the millions of new jobs we desperately need to how we address the deficit crisis in a fair and progressive way.

Sign up to join me for DFA Live on Tuesday, December 7th, at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

In terms of Social Security, let's be very clear. Social Security has not added one dime to either the federal deficit or the national debt. In fact, Social Security is running a $2.6 trillion surplus that is projected to grow to over $4 trillion by the year 2023. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that even if no changes are made, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits to every eligible American until the year 2039. In other words, Social Security is not in crisis.

Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress, who claim to be so concerned about our large deficit want to extend Bush's massive tax breaks to the wealthiest 2% of Americans -- which will add, over a ten year period, $700 billion to our national debt. Given the fact that we already have the most unequal distribution of income of any major country, this is a totally absurd and irresponsible proposal.

That's why I organized a working group in Congress to provide a real, progressive alternative to the Deficit Commission's recommendations. We can move this country forward in reducing our national debt, but we don't have to do it on the backs of the already suffering middle class and working families of this country.

All and all, there's a lot to talk about and I look forward to a lively discussion with my friends at Democracy for America. Thank you very much for your grassroots activism. Together, we will move this country forward.

Please join me and my friends at Democracy for America next Tuesday, December 7th at 8:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time) for DFA Live -- a conversation on some of the important issues facing our country including Social Security, reducing the deficit in a fair and progressive way and job creation.

Thank you,


P.S. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date on the work I'm doing on Social Security, the deficit, job creation and more.

Democracy for America relies on you and the people-power of more than one million members to fund the grassroots organizing and training that delivers progressive change on the issues that matter. Please Contribute Today and support our mission.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Landmark speech by Senator Bernie Sanders @senatorsanders

(Originally posted 12/4/10)

A landmark speech by Senator Bernie Sanders (@senatorsanders on twitter).

Every American citizen should take 13 minutes and watch it.

It makes me wish Bernie Sanders were our President.

There is nothing I can say that will do it justice, so just watch it:

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Today the great silent majority raised its head. #rally4sanity

Today the great silent majority raised its head.
Teachers and students of history, not book burners.
The carriers of true family values.
Defenders of the poor, and of children,
The workers for peace and for community,
Fighters for equality and for justice.
The sharers, not the takers.
The givers of love, not the exploiters of hate.
The real America, holding her torch high,
reminded us today of her abiding presence,
and her quiet, but insurmountable, strength.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Remarkable goings on in MA: Green Guv candidate @jillsteinforgov just $7k away 75 min from deadline

The great Green Party gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts Jill Stein is on the verge -- just $7000 away -- from qualifying for matching funds, with 75 minutes until the deadline.

This is a truly remarkable turn of events, and an opportunity for progressives to bring the important issues of the day to the fore in the Massachusetts election.

She needs a bunch of small Paypal or credit card contributions -- $250 or less -- within the next 75 minutes.

Here's the site:

Go do it. We'll talk later.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mass Gov Debate on CNN tonight at 7PM-Green/Rainbow candidate Dr. Jill Stein included!

The Massachusetts gubernatorial debate will be televised nationally tonight at 7 PM on CNN.

Despite first excluding her from the debate, the [corporate] media consortium hosting it eventually relented, and has allowed Green/Rainbow candidate Dr. Jill Stein to participate:
2010 Nationally Televised Massachusetts Gubernatorial Debate

Event Date:
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Watch Green-Rainbow Party candidate for governor, Dr. Jill Stein, join her 3 opponents in the Boston Media Consortium's first major debate. The media consortium, made up of The Boston Globe, WCVB-TV, WHDH-TV, WGBH-TV, NECN, and WBUR, has re-invited Dr. Stein after a lot of citizen outrage when they tried to exclude her because she had not raised $100,000, even though their criteria had given her until October 1st to do so.

The debate will be aired from 7 to 8pm -- nationally on CNN as well as locally on WGBH, The Boston Channel, WHDH/7, NECN, other local TV and radio stations, and online.
Complete article

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

GOP doesn't believe in protecting (a) humans or (b) other species. What's left?

I was trying to figure this out.

The Republicans aren't interested in protecting human health, safety, and lives.

Nor are they interested in protecting any other species, animal or vegetable.

So I asked myself, "what do they care about?"

And then it hit me: they do get animated about protecting man-made inanimate objects.

They usually do have strong feelings for things like


-riding mowers

-stocks and bonds

-oil drilling platforms

-golf clubs

-coal burning power plants

-motor boats, and


No wonder I don't like Republicans. I'd rather protect lives.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My view on the Koran-burning tweets I'm seeing

My views on this are simple, but take more than 140 characters:

1. It would be wrong to burn Korans.

2. It would be wrong, when a handful of idiots in America burn Korans, for Islamic people to attribute that to the hundreds of millions of Americans who would never do such a thing.

3. It is wrong for Americans to be fearful of retaliation; there would be no justification for retaliation, and one cannot live one's life in fear of unjustified behaviors. One can only counter them when they occur.

4. While the people doing it might be Naziistic, there is a big difference between these planned book burnings and those of the Nazis. Nazi book burning was done with the approval of the government. These book burnings would be by a handful of rightwing nut jobs who are opposed to the government of the United States.

5. As to preventing this.... you can't. Even if the nutjob who threatened to do it changes his mind, there will be others stepping up in his place. This is America, which has a large degree of tolerance for bad behavior. Our jurisprudence allows all kinds of vermin plenty of room in which to demonstrate what they are.

Monday, May 31, 2010

My views on Zionism, Gaza, the flotilla, & the #Iran threat

This is no more and no less than an expression of my personal beliefs on Zionism, Gaza, and the flotilla. I have no special knowledge of the facts, and am not an expert on middle east history. I have some knowledge of international law. I am an American and I am Jewish.

I am not looking for any arguments. I just wanted to make it clear what my views are.


Zionism is no more and no less than a belief that Israel is entitled to exist -- i.e. that the Jews are entitled to a national home in the area traditionally referred to by them as the Holy Land.

Zionism is NOT blind approval of any specific conduct by any specific administration in Israel, and it is certainly NOT approval of any war crimes, violations of the rules of war, or standards of decency and humanitarianism.

Gaza occupation

The Gaza occupation came about through an unfortunate series of events, and is not being handled properly by the Netanyahu administration. Under Netanyahu insufficient care has been taken to protect the lives and well being of noncombatants. The occupation of Gaza has been cruel. If Mr. Netanyahu thinks his handling of the situation has helped improve Israel's security, I beg to differ. But whether it does or not, it is violative of standards of human decency.

The flotilla

Most of the people traveling on the flotilla were nonviolent human rights activists. Some of them are anti-Israel and/or anti-semites, specifically trying to delegitimize Israel, but some of them were simply in good faith trying to make a legitimate point about the Netanyahu administration's callousness and inhumanity. However, the organizers of the flotilla included at least one terrorist organization.

Israel had refused the boats direct access to Gaza, but committed itself to escorting the boats to an Israeli harbor, and then -- after a security check -- transferring all humanitarian goods to Gaza. This offer was refused. (That is because this was not about getting humanitarian goods to Gaza; it was about getting a certain kind of publicity.)

Israel had a right under international law to board boats which were admittedly about to violate Israel's territorial sovereignty, especially in view of the fact that they were being led by a vessel operated by a terrorist organization.

Appropriate nonviolent activists would have, under such circumstances, submitted to boarding or redirection by the Israel defense forces. This occurred on five (5) of the six (6) boats in the "flotilla".

However, one of the six (6) boats, the Mavi Marmara, did not act in a "nonviolent" manner. That boat was operated by IHH, an organization which has been outlawed in Israel since 2008 as a sponsor of terrorism, and which is in fact a long time sponsor of terrorist operations. IHH was one of the organizers, and by some accounts the primary organizer, of the flotilla.

The IHH boat was boarded by Israeli Navy men, who had been ordered to shoot only paintballs if necessary. [There are conflicting reports as to whether the IDF had fired lethal shots prior to boarding. This report by "Raw Story" and this report by Common Dreams report that it did.] [Prior to the boarding, men in an IDF boarding craft were attacked with various objects, including a stun grenade which detonated upon landing in the craft.]

It appears that there were two (2) separate bodies of "passengers" on the Mavi Marmara: one group of fifty (50) men boarded separately from the other passengers, did not undergo the same security checks, were carrying no passports or ID's, and were each carrying envelopes containing approximately $10,000US in cash.

In what appears to me to have been a planned, concerted action, carried out by a group of about thirty (30) men waiting for them on the top deck, the IDF commandoes were set upon by this Arabic-speaking group when they rappelled onto the deck. Some of the soldiers were stripped of their helmets and equipment and thrown from the top deck to the lower deck, and some even jumped overboard to save themselves. At one point several of the Arabic-speaking "activists" seized several of the soldiers' handguns and opened fire. Israeli soldiers were attacked -- viciously -- with bats, pipes, metal rods, axes, knives, sling shots, and two (2) handguns. A supply of switchblades, slingshots, metal balls and metal bats was later confiscated from the boat.

The Israeli soldiers' response included killing nine (9) persons aboard the ship.

In my opinion, based on the sketchy facts available to me, the men who attacked the Israeli soldiers were not "activists", but trained provocateurs, and the Israel soldiers were (a) justified in exercising force, including deadly force, but (b) not justified in using the degree of force that was used.

Iran Revolutionary Guard

On June 6th Iran's Revolutionary Guard announced it would like to accompany additional ships breaking the blockade. Although these well known "human rights activists" specialize in torture and rape of the defenseless, and are therefore highly unlikely to cross swords with the Israel Defense Force, their announcement demonstrates what is really at play, which is the war of Islamic radicals against the 7.5 million Jewish people who live in Israel.

I certainly can't imagine anyone with weaker credentials as "human rights" activists.

This announcement should make people think about what it would be like to live in a world controlled by Iran's Revolutionary Guard and its allies, and about who's really running the show for the flotilla.

(I don't think this will ever come to pass, by the way. Clearly, were the "Revolutionary Guard" to carry through on their threat, their boats would be blown out of the water, and no one -- not even their own countrymen -- would shed a single tear.)

As more information becomes available to me, I will update this post if I think any of my above preliminary conclusions warrant revision.

For discussion of the legal issues, see "Q&A: Is Israel's naval blockade of Gaza legal? (Reuters)"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My International Womens Day tweets, collected #IWD

(On March 8th, International Womens Day, at about 10 minutes to midnight I realized that although I had tweeted all day about womens' rights issues, I hadn't said anything personal about women. So I ran off these 15 tweets, and have collected them here so they'll be in one place.)

Well it's still International Womens Day, I should say a few words about women.

I don't understand women, & I wouldn't want to be one.

But they are the central force in the human race.

They are what keeps it together, they are the primary teachers.

They are transmitters of values, for good or for evil.

They are magical people, and they represent the life force.

Any man who would lay hands on a woman is not a man.

Women need to stick up for other women, and for kids, and for their menfolk too.

I don't get them... but I sure like them... especially those that stick up for something.

And don't let go.

Women like Eleanor Roosevelt, and Barbara Jordan, and Shirley Chisholm.

Women like Sojourner Truth, and Bella Abzug, and our @joancbaez

So my hat's off to women, especially to those who refuse to sit in the back of the bus.

On International Womens Day I just want to say...

thank you ladies for all you do and all you will do to make the world a better place

Monday, March 1, 2010

My home-cooked dinner in New Mexico

Once, on a one-week vacation to New Mexico, we were privileged to be invited into the home of a Native American family on a feast day at a reservation.

The ladies who prepared our wonderful bounty reminded me so much of my grandmother, an Eastern European Jewish immigrant, living in a walkup apartment in a crowded building in the Bronx.

These were Native American women whose forebears had probably arrived here on foot 10,000 years ago.

But certain things are universal.

These ladies are the nurturers. The givers, the preservers, the protectors of lives.

You take a little old lady anywhere, give her some water, a flame, and something edible -- and through the magic of her love -- she turns it into a bounteous feast, which warms your stomach, warms your soul, gives nutrition, comforts us, keeps families alive, keep families together, steels us against the adversity and challenge the outside world heaps upon us.

And they are in every society that exists or has existed since mankind made its appearance.

No matter where you are -- in what country, what century, what religion -- no matter what your skin tone is, or your language -- we are basically all the same.

We need to think of the victims and potential victims of the bad things we do as our mother, our grandmother, our child. Because they are. We are one family.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Irish Blasphemy Law Goes into Effect Today

via @firedoglake

Lisa Derrick Friday January 1, 2010 8:35 am

Where would humor be if you couldn’t tell the one about a priest, a rabbi and a witch walking into bar or watch an episode of South Park about a litigious, celebrity-filled space alien cult or their classic “All About Mormons“? Where would art, music literature and film be without reactions against religion?

But as of today in the Irish Republic–a nation known for its poets, authors, musicians and artists, a nation which has had tens of thousands of its citizens beset upon by pedophile priests who’ve now been ordered to pay $242 million in victims’ aid to the children they raped, and nuns who systematically abused children and have since offered to pay $193 million in restitution–blasphemy is punishable by a € 25,000 fine–about $40,000.

Complete article + video

Brazil Announces National Policy on Climate Change

Via Environmental News Network:

Brazil's President introduced national legislation that will guide efforts to reduce projected emissions by 36.1 to 38.9 percent by 2020. This legislation comes on the heels of the COP-15 climate change conference held in Copenhagen earlier this month, and demonstrates Brazil's eagerness to make significant and immediate progress against global climate change.

Complete article

Controversy about Bagua official report continues in Peru

via @LivingInPeru

Complete article

For background, see Struggle of Indigenous People of #Peru Amazon to preserve rainforest,way of life,human rights

Hope, War and Resistance: 2009 in Review

Via Democracy Now

Hope, War and Resistance: 2009 in Review

Complete article

Indian tribes buy back thousands of acres of land

Via Indian Country Today:

Indian tribes buy back thousands of acres of land

By Timberly Ross, Associated Press Writer

Story Published: Jan 1, 2010

Story Updated: Dec 31, 2009

OMAHA, Neb. – Native American tribes tired of waiting for the U.S. government to honor centuries-old treaties are buying back land where their ancestors lived and putting it in federal trust.

Native Americans say the purchases will help protect their culture and way of life by preserving burial grounds and areas where sacred rituals are held. They also provide land for farming, timber and other efforts to make the tribes self-sustaining.

Tribes put more than 840,000 acres – or roughly the equivalent of the state of Rhode Island – into trust from 1998 to 2007, according to information The Associated Press obtained from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs under the Freedom of Information Act.

Complete article

Learning the Wrong Lessons From the Attempted Bombing

Via @laprogressive

Learning the Wrong Lessons From the Attempted Bombing

by Ivan Eland posted on Friday, 1 January 2010

The botched attempt by a Nigerian, apparently trained in Yemen by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to conduct a suicide bombing on a plane as it neared Detroit has highlighted the U.S. government’s overzealous, ineffective, and even counterproductive efforts to overcome terrorism.

Although Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano’s stance that “the system” worked buckled under withering ridicule, she was right—but only if the non-governmental aspects of that system are included. The government’s performance and after-incident measures are ridiculous and even ill-advised.

Complete article

Ex-Homeland Security Chief Chertoff Pushes Body Scanners, Abuses Public Trust

Via Common Dreams

Ex-Homeland Security Chief Chertoff Pushes Body Scanners, Abuses Public Trust

by Kimberly Kindy

Since the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports.

What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. The relationship drew attention after Chertoff disclosed it on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question.

Complete article

Houston Mayor-Elect Annise Parker: “The World Is Changing”

Via @firedoglake

Houston Mayor-Elect Annise Parker: “The World Is Changing”

Complete article