U.S. School Children Losing More Ground to Other Nations…

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U.S. fourth-graders have lost ground in reading ability compared with kids around the world, according to results of a global reading test.

Test results released on Wednesday showed U.S. students scored about the same as they did in 2001, the last time the test was given. During the interim, there has been an increased emphasis on reading under Bush’s No Child Left Behind act.

The U.S. average score on the Progress in International Reading Literacy test remained above the international average. However, ten countries including Hong Kong and three Canadian provinces, were ahead of the United States this time. In 2001, only three countries were ahead of the United States.

The loss of academic ground is

The 2002 No Child Left Behind law requires schools to test students annually in reading and math, and imposes sanctions on schools that miss testing goals.

The U.S. performance metrics on an international test of 45 nations differed from results of a U.S. national reading test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the nation’s report card. Fourth-grade reading scores rose modestly on the most recent version of that test, taken earlier this year and measuring growth since 2005. During the previous two-year period, scores were flat.

On the latest international exam, U.S. students posted a lower average score than students in Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg, Hungary, Italy and Sweden, along with the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.

Interesting how the U.S. metrics showed progress while other countries’ metrics seem to indicate we are getting dumber. 

Hong Kong and Singapore have taken steps such as increasing teacher preparation, providing more tutoring and raising public awareness about the importance of reading, said Ina Mullis, co-director of the International Study Center at Boston College, which conducts the international reading literacy study.

The results:

Countries that improved since 2001 included Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Singapore, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia.

Countries that declined included England, Lithuania, Morocco, the Netherlands, Romania and Sweden. Sweden still outperformed the United States this time around, but average scores in England and the Netherlands were not measurably different from the U.S. average.

Overall, girls scored higher than boys in the United States and all other countries except for Luxembourg and Spain, where the boy-girl scores were the same.

The average U.S. score was above the average score in 22 countries or jurisdictions and about the same as the score in 12 others. The U.S. average fell toward the high end of a level called “intermediate.” At that level, a student can identify central events, plot sequences and relevant story details in texts. The student also can make straightforward inferences from what is read and begin to make connections across parts of the text.

Background questionnaires administered to students, teachers and school administrators showed that the average years of experience for fourth-grade teachers in the United States decreased from 15 years to 12 years between 2001 and 2006. The international average was 17 years.

U.S. kids seem to get more reading instruction than others. U.S. teachers were more likely to report teaching reading for more than six hours per week than those elsewhere.

In my opinion the public education has devolved from the classical approach of character plus basics (reading, writing, arithmetic, respect, and responsibility), to skills, to psychological-social engineering. Today, education “experts” celebrate their doctrines of multiculturalism and values clarification, but sadly, the experts have been too preoccupied with experimental education, diversity training, evolution-instruction, to wake up and realize that 68 percent of students are unprepared for college. 

The long and short of it is…what they are doing…isn’t working.

Check the Nation’s Report Card here

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Hillary Trails Top GOP Candidates in Head-to-Head Polls…

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A new Zogby Poll says Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton trails five top Republican presidential contenders in general election head-to-head match-ups. This, with the previously reported numbers on Obama, may be the electability issue coming home to roost for the Clinton campaign, as her national support from this past summer appears to have evaporated.

I predicted this as far back as as two months ago here, here, here and she has only herself to blame.

Even Newt Gingrich is predicting an Obama win in Iowa. 

Clinton’s top Democratic rivals, in particular Barack Obama and John Edwards, both lead Republicans in hypothetical match-ups ahead of the Nov. 4, 2008, presidential election, according to the survey.

Clinton, a New York senator who has been at the top of the Democratic pack in national polls in the 2008 since June, however now, she trails Republican candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Mike Huckabee by three to five percentage points in the direct matches.

Back in July, Clinton narrowly led McCain, and held a solid five-point lead over former New York Mayor Giuliani, a six-point lead over former Tennessee Sen. Thompson and a 10-point lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Romney.

Huckabee wasn’t even on the radar.

However, as she has wavered on immigration, the failed attempt to license illegal aliens in New York, and in nationally televised debates, her support has eroded…as it should. 

Why?

America wants a truthful President and a person who leads from a pulpit of what is right, not what is right for the pollsters.

We’ve had eight years of dishonesty and back paddling. People are starving for integrity in the Oval Office. They want someone to bring our country back from the edge of the cliff that George Bush has led us to. America has raised the bar and apparently Hillary is having a tough time getting over it.  These poll results come as other national polls show the race for the Democratic nomination tightening five weeks before the first contest in Iowa, which kicks off the state-by-state nomination battles in each party.

This is no way for the Clinton campaign to start on any level.

Many Democrats, including me on this blog and on my Internet radio show, have expressed concerns about the former first lady’s electability in a tight national race against Republicans. This survey slso showed Clinton not performing as well as Obama and Edwards among independents and younger voters – another ominous sign.

“The questions about her electability have always been there, but as we get close this suggests that is a problem,” Zogby said.

Obama, an Illinois senator, and Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, both hold narrow leads over the Republican contenders in the hypothetical 2008 match-ups.

“It all points to a very competitive general election at a time when many people think the Democrats are going to win the White House,” Zogby said.

The poll consisted of 9,355 people had a margin of error of plus or minus one percentage point. The interactive poll surveys individuals who have registered to take part in on-line polls.

Some have pointed out that the poll may be skewed, as Obama and Edwards supporters could be more active. However, several polls suggest the same trends and the data seems to be consistent.

I’ll say it again as I have been saying it for months…

Hillary Clinton is no lock for 2008 and in my opinion, she is not living up to her reputation as a tough campaigner. Her campaign is being run poorly and she almost sounds as though she believes the nomination is a coronation that has already been decided.

Not so Hillary…not so.

Democrats are looking for someone, anyone, with consistent positions on the issues and a solid platform that the Republicans cannot attack with a broadside shot and sink the whole ship! Hillary Clinton nor her campaign should be surprised at all that this is happening. People are beginning to pay attention as we get closer to Iowa and what they are discovering is that Hillary can’t make up her damn mind on just about anything.

I don’t know how much of a problem these numbers are this early, but if I was a betting man, I wouldn’t push all of my chips her way just yet.

Save the waffles for breakfast Hillary and choose your positions carefully, or Democratic caucus goers may choose them for you, in the form of Barack Obama.  

More 2008 Presidential Election News here…

New Post Series “Does God Have a Future?” to Begin Sunday, December 3rd…

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Starting this Sunday we will publish the first of several articles regarding God’s future in American culture.

Are the secular-humanists winning the battle of God? Is Jesus no more than a marketing scheme? Are churches revenue centers and nothing more? Does American culture still need God or even want him?

The posts will attempt to answer these questions as well as examine the continued relevance and resiliency of mono-theism in the modern era, and what the trends are telling us. This series hopes to engage those interested in religion and those who only wish to learn more about religion and it’s place in American culture, both today and tomorrow.

As usual, your comments are always welcome.

Barack Obama Star Rising, Especially Against Conservatives in Head to Head Race…

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A closer look inside the numbers reveals that Barack Obama is quite legitimate when put head to head versus any Republican candidate in a national election.

This must have the Clinton camp at least mildly concerned as her almost daily recurrences of foot-in-mouth syndrome, coupled with her enormous unpopularity among male voters, could spell disaster for her campaign as the race grinds forward into 2008.

Obama has the personality, charm, as most importantly…cash, to go the distance. But more important than all of that is the one crucial question. Can he beat the Republicans, no matter who they throw at him. As of now, the answer appears to be yes.

Here is some recent poll data:

Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 43.7 44.3 44.4 45.0
Rudy Giuliani 42.7 44.0 42.0 42.0
Margin 1.0 0.3 2.4 3.0
Head to Head 2007 Summary Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 48.5 45.3 49.0
Mitt Romney 38.5 35.7 37.7
Margin 10.0 9.7 11.3
Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Nov
Barack Obama 48.0 47.0 49.0
Mike Huckabee 39.0 38.0 38.0
Margin 9.0 9.0 11.0
Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 44.5 43.0 43.7 46.0
John McCain 39.5 39.5 41.3 43.0
Margin 5.0 3.5 2.3 3.0
Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 45.7 47.6 46.2 52.0
Fred Thompson 38.3 39.0 38.0 39.0
Margin 7.3 8.6 8.2 13.0

And what does Hillary have to say?

Hillary Rodham Clinton maintained Sunday that she’s the best candidate to win against Republicans, saying she has more experience battling the GOP than any other candidate in the Democratic field.

“I believe that I have a very good argument that I know more about beating Republicans than anybody else running. They’ve been after me for 15 years, and much to their dismay, I’m still standing,” she said in answer to a woman’s question about her electability. “I’m leading in all the polls, I’m beating them in state after state after state.”

“I think they have looked at the field and figured out who can best beat the Republicans,” Clinton said.

Barack Obama’s campaign weighed in, claiming he is the strongest candidate in the field.

“Throughout his career, Senator Obama has succeeded in bringing Democrats, Republicans and independents together to solve important problems like providing health care to families,” Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Obama had 30 percent support among likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers and Clinton had 26 percent. 

When asked about Obama’s lead in Iowa, Clinton, in typical Clinton style, completely reversed an earlier statement saying that she doesn’t pay much attention to polls, and acknowledged that it’s a competitive race.

“There have been a lot of polls, and frankly, I don’t pay much attention to any of them,” she said. Later, she acknowledged, “It is a much more competitive race (in Iowa) than it is in other parts of the country.”

When you’re looking in from the outside, it’s right there for anyone to see.

Obama may be a bit irregular and unpolished at times, but he is consistent. He’s candid, comes off as honest and tells you what is on his mind. (i.e. Yeah I inhaled, that was the point.)

If nothing else, Obama could move us over the hurdle of a White House that has been monopolized by recent Presidents who could lead but weren’t very good at controlling their collateral behavior, and others who simply couldn’t lead at all.

Ask five voters about Barack Obama, and you’re likely to get five different opinions: America’s not ready for a black president; America can’t afford not to have a black president; Barack Obama isn’t really black; Obama is fresh and honest, etc., etc. But no one can deny that he inspires comparisons, favorable or not, to John Kennedy, and has had significant primary fundraising success against the Hillary campaign finance machine. (When you have Oprah in your camp how can you lose?)

Obama is the only electable candidate running his campaign on universal health care, getting out of Iraq (the only electable candidate who didn’t want to get in), and as his bestselling book put it, embracing the “audacity of hope.” 

I have commented on the Shadow Democracy Radio Show and this blog in the past, and I will maintain, that Barack Obama is for real and if Hillary Clinton sits on her national poll numbers, she may very well find herself in second place come next Spring.

Stay Tuned for the Return of Shadow Democracy Radio…

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Shadow Democracy Radio is set to return in just a few short weeks as we put the final touches on our new studio, and complete a transition to our new webhost. Keep checking back for the new webcast schedule dates and times. Also, feel free to e-mail us at shdowdemocracy@gmail.com with any show topic ideas, or if you are interested in contributing to this blog.

Ho, Ho, Ho a No, No, No???

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Just when you thought the politically correct straight jacket was pulled as tight as possible, it just got a trifle tighter.

Santa is not allowed to say “Ho, Ho, Ho” in Australia.

No joke.

The reason?

It is offensive to women.

Santa Clauses in Sydney Australia have instead been instructed to say “ha ha ha,” the Daily Telegraph reported.

One disgruntled Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm warned him not to use “ho ho ho” because it could frighten children and was too close to “ho”, a US slang term for prostitute.

“Gimme a break,” said Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualizing children called Kids Free 2B Kids.

“We are talking about little kids who do not understand that “ho, ho, ho” has any other connotation and nor should they,” she told the Telegraph.

“Leave Santa alone.”

A local spokesman for the US-based Westaff recruitment firm said it was “misleading” to say the company had banned Santa’s traditional greeting and it was being left up to the discretion of the individual Santa himself.

My question is…what women are we offending exactly? Not that I have an overabundance of experience in the area of ‘street-walker etiquette’, but who the hell cares if someone says the word “ho” in front of a woman of high moral virtue. Those women surely know what a “ho” is, and would never be confused as such. Where do we draw the line?

Maybe we should ban mistletoe because we can’t be too sure that women are being treated as sex objects. We probably should scrap the color red because it denotes sexual promiscuity.

Maybe Australia should just ban the U.S. altogether, then our mindless slang wouldn’t be an issue at all.

Truth be told, they probably would be better off…and so would Santa.

  

Another Reason Not to Trust China…

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Family members were left stunned in Hong Kong on Thursday (November 22) after a Chinese decision denying the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier entry into Hong Kong. 

The decision was later reversed by Beijing.

Hundreds of families poured into Hong Kong to greet servicemen from the aircraft carrier and fleet, which holds 8,000 of United States’ servicemen, airman and sailors, only to find out Thursday morning that the carrier would not come port-side.

The Kitty Hawk is not expected to make it back to Hong Kong by the end of the Thanksgiving day in Asia, according to the
U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is home to thousands of U.S. expatriates, with many gathering at midday for special Thanksgiving day service at the city’s oldest church, St. John’s Cathedral. Hong Kong is also a favoured stopping point for U.S. warships in the Pacific region. 

There are several issues which may have prompted Beijing’s action, including U.S. plans to sell Taiwan a $490 million U.S. dollar upgrade to its missile system and last month’s meeting between George Bush and the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader whom Beijing considers a traitor.

The State Department and Defense Department said it remained unclear why the aircraft carrier strike group had been denied access at the last moment just as the crew of some 8,000 sailors and airmen were to celebrate the annual US holiday on Thursday.

“At present, it appears the USS Kitty Hawk strike group will not be making a port call in Hong Kong as previously planned as a result of a last minute denial by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson.

“The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not give an explanation for its denial. The United States is pressing the Chinese Foreign Ministry for an explanation and for a reconsideration,” she stated. 

A spokesman for the Pentagon, Lieutenant Commander John Daniels, said, “We don’t know the reason the Chinese have done this.”

It is no secret that China has an array of industrial spies roaming the planet. It freely pirates US technology with no regard for intellectual rights, and has used that technology to cyber attack countries like Germany, blast a satellite out of orbit and demonstrate that it can cripple US defenses if need be. 

It was only a few years ago that China could barely make a stable rocket launch. Now the Chinese turned that program around with purchased and stolen American technology.

So why did China bar the Kitty Hawk? 

They barred it because they are an aspiring global super power, and they want everyone to know that they could – a demonstration of diplomatic bullying. 

China is a quasi capitalist/communist super state that is rapidly expanding with a carefully controlled, state run ideology. The curious thing is, unlike the old Soviet Union, it is working. They believe in what they are doing, because their approach is producing tremendous wealth which conveniently for the Chinese, is driving the world’s fastest growing economy at the expense of U.S. workers. There is no period in history where so much wealth and economic power has been created in such a short period of time. In turn, from that wealth and industrial power, the Chinese are building military might. They are rapidly militarizing, and in a few short years, will be able to control events in Asia, without any interference from the U.S. 

Taiwan will become whatever China wants it to be, the U.S. economy will continue to suffer, and the United States will simply have to accept that, because we continue to cow-tow to a country that is run by Communist thugs and continues to ignore international law.

To neutralize, or at the very least, attempt to check this coming military might that China will undoubtedly exploit to its full advantage, the U.S. must begin to respond in kind to such diplomatic slaps in the face. Our current policy of bending but not breaking, in the name of an apparantly failed mutually beneficial economic relationship with the Chinese, must be halted immediately. That is to say, scrap globalism…it isn’t working as intended.

We must begin to rebuild from within, and that includes rigorous education reforms that focus on science and technology including medicine, a wholesale change in our international economic policy with regards to China, and a renewed push in the area of space exploration, as well as advanced defense technologies. 

Shoring up what little manufacturing we have left here might not be a bad idea either.

Anything short of this is suicide, and it can be done in as little as twenty years.

More to come on this. 

A Brief History of Thanksgiving…

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Throughout history mankind has celebrated the bountiful harvest with thanksgiving ceremonies.

Before the establishment of formal religions many ancient farmers believed that their crops contained spirits which caused the crops to grow and die. Many believed that these spirits would be released when the crops were harvested and they had to be destroyed or they would take revenge on the farmers who harvested them. Some of the harvest festivals celebrated the defeat of these spirits.

Harvest festivals and thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese, and the Egyptians.

The Greeks

The ancient Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. Their goddess of corn (actually all grains) was Demeter who was honored at the festival of Thesmosphoria held each autumn.

On the first day of the festival married women (possibility connecting childbearing and the raising of crops) would build leafy shelters and furnish them with couches made with plants. On the second day they fasted. On the third day a feast was held and offerings to the goddess Demeter were made – gifts of seed corn, cakes, fruit, and pigs. It was hoped that Demeter’s gratitude would grant them a good harvest. 

The Romans

The Romans also celebrated a harvest festival called Cerelia, which honored Ceres their goddess of corn (from which the word cereal comes). The festival was held each year on October 4th and offerings of the first fruits of the harvest and pigs were offered to Ceres. Their celebration included music, parades, games and sports and a thanksgiving feast. 

The Chinese

The ancient Chinese celebrated their harvest festival, Chung Ch’ui, with the full moon that fell on the 15th day of the 8th month. This day was considered the birthday of the moon and special “moon cakes”, round and yellow like the moon, would be baked. Each cake was stamped with the picture of a rabbit – as it was a rabbit, not a man, which the Chinese saw on the face of the moon.The families ate a thanksgiving meal and feasted on roasted pig, harvested fruits and the “moon cakes”. It was believed that during the 3 day festival flowers would fall from the moon and those who saw them would be rewarded with good fortune. According to legend Chung Ch’ui also gave thanks for another special occasion. China had been conquered by enemy armies who took control of the Chinese homes and food. The Chinese found themselves homeless and with no food. Many staved. In order to free themselves they decided to attack the invaders.The women baked special moon cakes which were distributed to every family. In each cake was a secret message which contained the time for the attack. When the time came the invaders were surprised and easily defeated. Every year moon cakes are eaten in memory of this victory.

The Hebrews

Jewish families also celebrate a harvest festival called Sukkoth. Taking place each autumn, Sukkoth has been celebrated for over 3000 years. Sukkoth is know by 2 names – Hag ha Succot – the Feast of the Tabernacles and Hag ha Asif – the Feast of Ingathering. Sukkoth begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, 5 days after Yom Kippur the most solemn day of the Jewish year.Sukkoth is named for the huts (succots) that Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land. These huts were made of branches and were easy to assemble, take apart, and carry as the Israelites wandered through the desert.When celebrating Sukkoth, which lasts for 8 days, the Jewish people build small huts of branches which recall the tabernacles of their ancestors. These huts are constructed as temporary shelters, as the branches are not driven into the ground and the roof is covered with foliage which is spaced to let the light in. Inside the huts are hung fruits and vegetables, including apples, grapes, corn, and pomegranates. On the first 2 nights of Sukkoth the families eat their meals in the huts under the evening sky.

The Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians celebrated their harvest festival in honor of Min, their god of vegetation and fertility. The festival was held in the springtime, the Egyptian’s harvest season. The festival of Min featured a parade in which the Pharaoh took part. After the parade a great feast was held. Music, dancing, and sports were also part of the celebration.When the Egyptian farmers harvested their corn, they wept and pretended to be grief-stricken. This was to deceive the spirit which they believed lived in the corn. They feared the spirit would become angry when the farmers cut down the corn where it lived.

The United States

In 1621, after a hard and devastating first year in the New World the Pilgrim’s fall harvest was very successful and plentiful. There was corn, fruits, vegetables, along with fish which was packed in salt, and meat that was smoke cured over fires. They found they had enough food to put away for the winter. The Pilgrims had beaten the odds. They built homes in the wilderness, they raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, and they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. Their Governor, William Bradford, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving that was to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native American Indians.The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. During the American Revolution (late 1770’s) a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress.In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday. 

Here’s an Article We Pulled From White Supremacist site ‘Stormfront’ in Support of Ron Paul…

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Is Ron Paul the One?

Do patriotic White Americans finally have a candidate they can vote for without fear of being sold out again? The Bush family has proven itself the equivalent of political toxic waste. The Bush family supports Open Borders and sees nothing wrong with filling America up with Mexicans. Bush Junior’s occupation of Iraq has cost the Republicans control of Congress. Many Republicans would like to see a complete change of direction. Ron Paul has been consistently against the Iraq War and he also supports securing the Mexican border.

One right wing web site reports that Ron Paul went from relative obscurity to a double digit lead after the first Republican debate in an MSNBC online poll. Jim Capo reports “Now in 2007, Ron Paul comes along last week and gives by most accounts of honest grassroots Americans the best performance in the first televised debate between GOP presidential contenders. Exclusively broadcast by MSNBC, Ron Paul led MSNBC’s post election poll from start to finish with nearly a double digit margin over his nearest challenger Mitt Romney. An even more crushing defeat of the rest of the pack occurred in an ABC News poll which at first had been posted on-line with only nine names on it — Ron Paul’s being the one missing. Irate Paul supporters who complained in the poll’s comment section at first saw many of their posts ominously deleted — some no doubt for language, others for editorial discretion bordering on the c word (censorship). After someone posted in the comment’ thread the cell phone number of a Senior VP at ABC News, the Paul name was added to the poll.”Admittedly the first Republican debate had a small audience. Most people have gotten sick of the “lock step” Republican support for the Iraq War and didn’t watch the debate assuming the candidates would be all the same. Most Americans didn’t know Ron Paul wants us out of Iraq. Still, it’s extremely significant that Ron Paul could jump ahead of the entire field based on a single performance. It also proves that the two biggest issues in 2007 are immigration and getting out of Iraq. Ron Paul is on the right side of both of these issues while the other Republicans (except for Tancredo on immigration) are falling short. If anyone can gain a great deal of momentum through the debate process, it’s Ron Paul.

Just a few weeks ago it looked as though we were going to be stuck with a liberal Republican in the form of Rudi Giuliani or Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Romney is famous for changing positions on key issues like abortion while Giuliani is famous for changing wives. No true conservative Republican wants anything to do with these two east coast liberals.

Romney’s net worth is estimated at being in the hundreds of millions. No doubt he is part of the New England country club elite that includes the Bush family. Someone should carefully check his stand on gun control since these New England elite types tend to sell us out on that issue.

The 2007 election is especially important because Hillary Clinton or the stealth candidate Barack Obama could easily be running. The Republicans need a rock solid candidate who will get us out of the Iraq War and secure the Mexican border if they hope to win. Any “compromise candidate” who wants to continue the Iraq War indefinitely is NOT going to win the hearts of the American people.

There will be more debates ahead and if Ron Paul continues to win the hearts of ordinary conservatives, he will survive the early culling as Romney and Giuliani finally face a serious challenge. Americans want to see a populist candidate, who is right on the key issues, defeat a system-approved candidate like Romney who showed up with his giant bags of money or the ridiculously overrated Giuliani who was mayor of one of the most liberal cities in America.

By: Charles Coughlin

Looks like the Nazi’s have their guy huh?

Is Mike Huckabee the GOP’s Best Kept Secret?

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Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, is gathering strong support from Christian conservatives, and has surged past three of his better-known presidential rivals and is now challenging former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for the lead in the Iowa Republican caucuses, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

Huckabee support is up 200% since late July, eclipsing former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) and Sen. John McCain(Ariz.). Moreover, his support in Iowa appears stronger and more enthusiastic than that of his rivals.

The poll found that overall, 28 percent of likely GOP caucus-goers support Romney, while 24 percent support Huckabee. Thompson ran third in the poll at 15 percent, with Giuliani at about the same level, with 13 percent. McCain, whose Iowa campaign appeared to derail earlier this year over his stance on immigration, had 6 percent and was tied with Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.), who rose from 2 percent in July.

Huckabee’s gains were concentrated among the party’s conservative core, which translated into a 28-percentage-point bounce in support, mainly from Protestants, and a 19-point rise among conservatives. Huckabee also benefited from the decision of Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.) and others to quit the race. Brownback and Huckabee had been competing for many of the same religious and conservative voters. Moreover, Huckabee’s gain in this poll does not come at the expense of those still running, all of whom are faring about the same as they were in July.

But almost half of Huckabee’s supporters (48 percent) said they would definitely vote for him in January and only a quarter said there was a good chance that they would change their minds before the caucuses. In contrast, just 29 percent of Romney’s backers said they would definitely vote for him, while 42 percent said there was a good chance that they could vote for someone else.

The enthusiasm among Huckabee supporters is interesting, particularly in a year in which Republicans have been considerably dissatisfied with a field of mediocre candidates. Half of those who now back the former Arkansas governor said they are very enthusiastic about him, compared with 28 percent of Romney’s backers.

It is also primarily social issues that galvanize Huckabee’s backers.

More than four in 10 Huckabee voters call abortion or broader moral or values issues the race’s top one or two concerns. That is nearly double the number of Romney supporters to highlight these issues. Overall, three-quarters of likely GOP voters think that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, and among the 24 percent who want the procedure to be unlawful in every instance, 36 percent support Huckabee and 22 percent Romney.

But, many issues drive likely GOP caucus-goers.

A quarter of those surveyed said immigration is their biggest or second-biggest concern when considering whom to back on Jan. 3. The same percentage, 24 percent, highlighted the war in Iraq, and nearly as many, 21 percent, singled out terrorism and national security.

Ten percent or more cited five other issues: the economy, health care, abortion, taxes, and morals and family values. Overall, eight issues ranked in the double digits, making the discussion in the Republican contest potentially more wide-ranging than that on the Democratic side. Among likely Democratic caucus-goers, only three issues reach 10 percent, and two — Iraq and health care — dominate voters’ concerns.

On immigration, Romney has an edge: 27 percent said the former Massachusetts governor is best on the issue, while Huckabee received 13 percent. No candidate is clearly preferred on the other top issue, Iraq, with Giuliani, McCain and Romney each considered the best by about two in 10. Giuliani doubles up the competition, however, on handling the terrorism fight.

Romney tops the field as the candidate most trusted to handle the economy and the federal budget deficit. He and Huckabee are preferred by about equal percentages on social issues, such as abortion and same-sex civil unions.

About six in 10 likely caucus-goers said they have been called by one of the campaigns. Twenty-nine percent have attended a campaign event, up six percentage points from July, but far less than the percentage of Democrats who have attended an event (52 percent). A third of GOP voters have visited one of the candidates’ Web sites and 29 percent have received e-mail. About one in five has spoken with or shaken hands with one or more of the GOP candidates. Fifteen percent have contributed money.

Romney has an advantage on the question of who has the “best experience to be president,” after a 10-point increase from July, when he was about even with Giuliani and McCain. Romney had held a marginally significant edge on “best understands problems of people like you,” but while he has stayed at 21 percent on this question, Huckabee has soared from 10 percent to 25 percent.

In July, Romney had the lead on “most honest and trustworthy” at 21 percent. He has risen to 25 percent, but Huckabee jumped from 10 percent to 26 percent.

On top of all this, there’s another intangible at work here I believe.

Huckabee seems really intelligent and genuine to me.

I had a chance to watch Huckabee during a recent television interview and I was quite impressed. His answers were well thought out and lucid, he conveyed his ideas and positions with honesty and candor, and he seemed prepared to lead. Unlike Romney, Giuliani, and the others, Huckabee was clear on his positions, never wavering, and never back pedaling.

Moreover, he wasn’t afraid to hide his Chritianity and clearly explained how he would not project his beliefs on others or use it as a political leveraging tool.

I like that.

If Republicans are smart, they’ll keep one eye on this guy. He has Romney’s charm, Giuliani’s grit, McCain’s humor, and Paul’s libertarian ideals, without out all the extra nuttiness and baggage. I will be interesting to see just how far he can go.    

Obama and Clinton Tied in Iowa?

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As of today, polls show Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton in a statistical dead heat in Iowa (Obama up by 4 points with a 4 point margin of error).

Less than two months before the Iowa Caucasus, the Democratic race is still a toss up, with Edwards trailing close behind. This is according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll released Monday.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, is in the lead with 30 percent support from likely Iowa voters, followed closely by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, who earned 26 percent. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards got 22 percent and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson earned 11 percent.

Clinton is the national front-runner, but has seen her lead drop in recent months, according to the poll.

In July, 50 percent of Iowans thought she had the best experience to be president, but in the poll released Monday, 38 percent said they thought she did. 

39 percent said they still thought she is the most electable candidate, with Obama in second in that category with 25 percent.

I believe the main reason for this sudden closing of the gap between Clinton and Obama is attributed to Hillary Clinton’s constant waffling on key issues. The latest incident involved the immigrant license program in New York. First she’s for it, then she’s not for it, then she understands why Spitzer wanted it, then when Spitzer drops the idea, she says she’s against it again!!!

Get a grip girl!

I’ve said it in other posts…pick a position for God’s sake and defend it! This constant back and forth is feeding an already tarnished reputation that has Hillary pegged as someone who can’t commit to a position – especially on tough issues.

The Democrats better wake up and realize that this nomination process is not a lock for Clinton, as I have been stating on this blog and my radio show for several months. We need a candidate that is dynamic, exciting, and can win next November, so we can progress on key issues. 

Hillary is looking less and less like that candidate everyday.  

Group Says Wearing Their ‘Peace Shirts’ on Campus Verbally Attacked by Pro-War Advocates…

 swa.jpgStudents at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High are waging a war on peace by verbally attacking a group of ‘peace’ advocates.

Sophomore Skylar Stains decided to have ‘Peace Shirt Thursdays’ for her and her friend, Lauren Lorraine. They started wearing peace shirts and recruited other friends to wear them. Now, the “Peace Shirt Coalition” as they call themselves, has close to 30 students from all grades.

“We’ve worn handmade peace shirts every Thursday since the first week of school, without fail,” says Skylar Stains.

However, what started out as a light-hearted gesture soon started to be taken out of context. Students started approaching the group members and yelling obscene things at them. 

The heckling began early in the school year, according to group members. They say they were putting small posters promoting peace on friends’ lockers with their permission. They thought it was OK, because the cheerleaders and football players had signs on theirs. Eventually, though, group members say they were told by the school’s administration they could no longer hang up the posters.

“People just turned on us like that,” she said. “At least 10 boys stood up and yelled things at me at once, and we couldn’t even walk through the halls without a harsh comment being made.”

“People tore them down and drew swastikas and ‘white power’ stuff on them,” Lauren said, referring to the posters.

Skylar had similar things written on her posters.

“Someone taped an ‘I Love Bush’ sign over my ‘Wage Peace’ sign,” she said. “So I tore it down, threw it away, and the whole commons starting booing.

Someone also hung a sign that said, “I Love America, Because America Loves War.”

Lori Masterson, assistant principal at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High, said all students have the opportunity to form clubs and organizations on campus, but those wishing to do so must identify a sponsor and bring their written proposal to the principal outlining what the proposed group’s purpose and goals are.

“As of this writing, to my knowledge, no one has submitted a written proposal with an identified sponsor for a peace club,” Masterson said in an e-mailed statement.

But peace group members say they have submitted a written proposal and had a written sponsor.

As you might have expected, they were turned down.

Skylar and Lauren said that despite the backlash, the T-shirts and posters originally had nothing to do with politics, but the outburst from opposing groups have turned it into a political issue.

“People just kept putting words into our mouths, like we said this or that about current politics,” Lauren said. “But we didn’t say anything.”

Soon, a second group started to wear Confederate flag shirts to oppose the peace group, Skylar said. She saw shirts with sayings such as “This is America, get used to it,” and “If peace is the answer; it must be a stupid question.”

“Now there are even ‘support our troops’ kids who don’t like us because I guess they think you can’t say peace and support the troops at the same time,” Lauren said.

Skylar later passed out yellow ribbons for her group to wear to show they support the troops as well as peace.

However, Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High sophomores Lydia Pace and Joseph Marianetti say the Confederate shirts they wear express support for the troops in Iraq, and nothing more. Joseph said the shirts have nothing to do with racism.

For the troops in Iraq? What?

“Someone took something that stood for peace and twisted it” in regards to the swastikas (drawn by a third group) and the Confederate flag, he said.

On John Lennon’s birthday, the group held an honorary Peace Shirt day and was confronted even more than usual, eventually causing some group members, including Cheyenne, to break down in tears.

The peace group members say their shirts continue to draw negative comments from some students, but point out that other school groups don’t receive similar treatment.

“Since peace is causing other problems, the peace kids are being punished,” Skylar said.

Do you think there’s a bunch of fat, white, old time, stuff shirt, war-hawk, racist, conservatives in Cocoa Beach, teaching their kids to be hate mongers?

I believe so.

Look at the demographics and draw your own conclusion…

The People and Families of Cocoa Beach

In Cocoa Beach, about 54% of adults are married. Lots of people in Cocoa Beach live independently, in one-person housing.

Among adults, males are better represented than women in the city. People 65 and older make up an important part of the community in Cocoa Beach.

Wealth and Education

In 2000, Cocoa Beach had a median family income of $51,795. Cocoa Beach isn’t a place with a large population of people in poverty. The city, compared to most cities like it, can boast of a large population of high-income unmarried people.

Political Inclinations

In the 2004 Presidential fund-raising sweepstakes, George W. Bush came out ahead among Cocoa Beach residents, with $8,770. Residents gave more to the Republican party than any of the others.

Cocoa Beach Housing

In Cocoa Beach, 71% of the houses and apartments are occupied by the owners, not rented out. The city sports a large amount of seasonal housing, typically for vacation or part-time use.

Commuting

In Cocoa Beach, 91% of commuters drive to work.

Stand tall against the rednecks Skylar. If you need any help on the blogs, we’re here for you. Anyone who wears a Swastika or a Confederate Flag shirt is a pinhead who endorses violence and racial hatred. They are as ignorant and foolish as our current president, who I believe also endorses these very things. 

Don’t be naive Skylar. What you are doing is political, just be sure to defend your position. The legion of ‘The Stupid’ that is the Republican party and its sorted conservative knuckleheads will not give up easily because most of these people are patently stubborn and intellectually rigid by default.

Good luck.  

For the Record…Who is Eric Dondero?

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In light of some fairly harse accusations regarding Eric Dondero, former Congressional aide to Ron Paul, that have been posted on our comment threads, I felt it necessary to reprint a post that he authored. The following provides some background on Ron Paul and Eric’s own position. 

 

Reprinted from Townhall.com 

My name is Eric Dondero Rittberg.  For 12 years I worked on and off, mostly on, for Ron Paul.  I started on his staff in 1987 during his Libertarian Party Presidential campaign.  I served throughout 87 and 88 as his Personal Travel Aide.  Ron and I campaigned in over 40 states, including Alaska.   

In 1992, I organized Ron’s Presidential Exploratory Committee.  We operated the effort for about 4 months.  We aborted the effort when Pat Buchanan declared for the GOP primaries. In 1995, Ron agreed to serve as my “boss” as National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus.   

In 1996, Ron decided to test the waters for a Congressional Campaign.  I moved to Texas and served as his Campaign Coordinator.  Ron won first in the Primary and then in the General with 51%. 

In 1997, Ron hired me as his Senior Aide and District Representative.  My job title was to represent the Congressman at all functions throughout the District, to speak in his absence, and to handle all District Scheduling.  I was also in charge of Local Governmental relations.   I served in that capacity til February of 2004.  I can honestly say that the Congressman was more than just my boss, he was also my friend.  We had a good understanding, after years of working together, and were very good Travel mates. 

Him and I would literally spend hours in the car traveling from one event to another, during campaigning and for District events.  We would debate everything under the sun, in a friendly and fun sort of way.  Our differences were always over abortion – I am Pro-Choice, he is firmly Pro-Life, and over foreign policy – I am Pro-Defense, he has always been more Non-interventionist.  But we always maintained our friendship.   

Then September 11, 2001 hit.  My boss, Ron Paul, all of a sudden changed dramatically.  Whereas before he was a reasonable non-interventionist, he was now rabidly so.   

I must say that Ron always knew how to play the game before 2001.  He always campaigned as a die-in-the-wool rock-ribbed Conservative Republican.  Coming from the Libertarian Party there was always suspicions about him on this.  So, he went the extra mile within the District to allay such concerns. He also campaigned as a “Bush Republican.”  I recall two specific events when Ron publicly backed Bush for President, quite enthusiastically; Once during a big GOP dinner in Wharton, and another time during a Bush for President fundraising in Corpus Christi.  He also had Bush’s photo on the wall at our District Office in Freeport.   

I should also note that I personally spoke with Karl Rove twice in 1996.  After Ron won the GOP Nomination, mainline Republicans were unsure as to how to treat him.  We reached out to the Bush people.  After my conversations with Rove, he put out the word to key Houston-area, Austin and Victoria Republicans to back Ron Paul.  All of a sudden like a tidal wave all the GOPers came on board our Campaign.    

Though privately, Ron leaned non-intervenionist, publicly he was always Pro-Troops, Pro-Veterans, Pro-Defense and quite Patriotic, particularly in his Campaign style.   He made extra sure to attend as many Veteran’s events as possible.  And when he couldn’t go, he would always send me, as the only Vet on staff to represent him.  He always made it quite clear that I was to emphasize “my views on foreign policy” more so than his non-interventionist views at such events.  And I did.   

But after Sept. 11, things changed.  He became morose.  He became bitter, and quite pessimistic.   I had to literally beg him to support the vote authorizing the President to send Troops to Afghanistan.  I actually threatened to resign if he did not vote that way.  And another key District Staffer, practically threatened to resign, as well.  At the last minute  Ron voted in favor of the Authorization.  I suspected he only did it, cause he knew if he hadn’t he would cause the Republicans in the District to oppose him, and he wouldn’t win reelection.   But 9/11 served as a wake up call for me.  I started questioning how it is that I could work for such a man.   

Before it was always just a fun-loving disagreement; debating in the car from event to event to pass the time. Now, I saw he was quite serious, and cared even less for how others, even constituents took his views on foreign policy.Ron and I grew apart.  I served as his Travel Aide less and less in 2002/03.   

Finally one day in the Summer of 2003, he called on me to accompany him to an event in Victoria.  He was acting quite strange in the car.  He kept prodding me on foreign policy.  I knew he was trying to get me to debate the War in Iraq with him.  But I kept my cool the whole trip. Finally, when we reached Victoria, I made a slight comeback, that I didn’t think his particular view on the War was correct.  He jumped out of the car and lunged at me. Poking his finger into my chest, he looked me in the eye and said, “I will have nobody working for me on my staff who supports the War in Iraq, even you.”  I’d only seen this look on Ron maybe once or twice in all my 12 years working for him.  He was clearly quite angry with me.   I knew he was trying to provoke me so that he could have justification to fire me.  But I kept my cool.   

For 6 months after than we didn’t speak.  Finally, Chief of Staff Tom Lizardo suggested that Ron and I not talking to each other was not helpful to the “atmosphere” in the District offices.  I offered to my friend Tom to resign.  We discussed a date, two months out, and a compensation package and I agreed.   I’ve been asked by others if my former boss is an Anti-Semite.  My answer is an emphatic NO.  I am half Jewish.  I am familiar with Anti-Semites.  Ron is not one of them. 

But I would say he’s very insensitive to issues concerning Israel and for other concerns of Jewish Americans.   Houston Jews were always suspicious of Ron Paul.  But Ron could always point to me as his “Jewish Staffer.”  He would even send me to Synagogues in the District and to  Jewish events.  But I do remember one time, when a group of Houston Jewish Young  Republicans wanted to lobby the Congressman on some issues.  I begged Ron to meet with them.  He was very hesitant.  He finally agreed.  But the meeting turned out to be a disaster.  The Jewish YRs came all the way from Houston, and all Ron did was berate them in our District Office about how the Israel Lobby was too powerful in  Washington, and other issues.  He also got defensive when the Jewish YRs expressed concern over Palestinian violence against Israel.   I ran down the hallway after the meeting chasing the group, and apologized profusely to them.   After 9/11 Ron also became much more upfront in his anti-Israel views.  He’d even criticize Israel in public speeches which would make me cringe.   

Ron Paul and I agree on about 95% of all domestic issues.  We disagree on a myriad of foreign policy and defense issues.  Still, he was my boss.  He was paying me, so I was obligated to toe the line. This is not why I think less of him today.  

Rather, what concerns me most was the fact that for many years he played both sides of the aisle.  In the very Conservative South Texas CD, he was always Mr. Red, White, and Blue.  If he couldn’t make a Veterans event, he made damn sure that his one Vet on staff could go, even if it was just 8 VFW guys meeting for a couple hours 3 hours drive away. Ron was very careful to portray himself in the District as Pro-Troops, and even Pro-Defense.   

But after 9/11 and most especially after the War in Iraq, he played up his non-interventionist side to a national audience.  This while still keeping the facade of Pro-Troops/Pro-Defense in the District.  As late as last year I got a constituent mailing from RP with 4 pages of nothing but Patriotic/Pro-Troops/Pro-Veterans information from the Congressional office.  I suspect the reason why RP has gone south on foreign policy for the national audience is simple: To gain more dollars from a National fundraising base, and to gain more National media attention from Liberal media sources.     

 

Wounded Warriors Still Can’t Get Help from VA…

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Ty Ziegel once was a bright eyed young man with his whole life in front of him. His once boyish face is now burned beyond recognition by a suicide bomber’s attack in Iraq around Christmas 2004.

He lost part of his skull in the blast and part of his brain was damaged. Half of his left arm was amputated and some of the fingers were blown off his right hand.

Sounds like a no-brainer for VA benefits right?

Wrong. 

His next battle would be with the VA when he returned home as a wounded warrior. 

In an inteview with CNN he said, “Sometimes, you get lost in the system.”

“I feel like a Social Security number. I don’t feel like Tyler Ziegel.”

His story is in many that exemplifies how the VA is simply ignoring wounded vets from Iraq. Many wounded veterans return home feeling that the VA has abandoned them. 

“The VA system is not ready, and they simply don’t have time to catch up,” said Tammy Duckworth, a wounded veteran who heads up the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs. 

VA Acting Secretary Gordon Mansfield said cases like Ziegel’s are rare. The majority of veterans are moving through the process and “being taken care of.” 

But are they?

More than 28,500 troops have been wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom, including about 8,500 that have needed air transport, according to the U.S. military. A recent Harvard study found that the cost of caring for those wounded over the course of their lifetime could ultimately cost more than $660 billion.

In Ziegel’s case, he spent nearly two years recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. Once he got out of the hospital, he was unable to hold a job. He anticipated receiving a monthly VA disability check sufficient to cover his small-town lifestyle in Washington, Illinois, but the check was much less than expected.

After many inquiries, Ziegel finally received a letter from the VA that rated his injuries: 80 percent for facial disfigurement, 60 percent for left arm amputation, a mere 10 percent for head trauma and nothing for his left lobe brain injury, right eye blindness and jaw fracture.

“I’m not expecting to live in the lap of luxury,” he added. “But I am asking them to make it comfortable to raise a family and not have to struggle.”

Miraculously, within 48 hours of telling his story to CNN this summer, the Office of then-VA Secretary Jim Nicholson acted on Ziegel’s case. The VA changed his head trauma injury, once rated at 10 percent, to traumatic brain injury rated at 100 percent, substantially increasing his monthly disability check.

My question is, why does it take bad publicity on CNN for our government to take proper care of our war veterans?

You have to wonder about the fact that maybe this country won’t remember in five years that there are war wounded that need to be helped, and that their president and the VA don’t seem to be advocates for substantial change in the benefit system for vets.

Garrett Anderson with the Illinois National Guard, for example, has been fighting the VA since October 15, 2005. Shrapnel tore through his head and body after a roadside bomb blew up the truck he was driving. He lost his right arm.

The VA initially rejected his claim, saying his severe shrapnel wounds were “not service connected.”

“Who would want to tell an Iraqi or Afghanistan soldier who was blown up by an IED that his wounds were not caused by his service over there?” said Anderson’s wife, Sam.

After pressure from Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the VA acted on Anderson’s case. He has since been awarded compensation for a traumatic brain injury.

It is an outrage that that the VA system operates in a way that it takes people of power to get proper care to vets. 

In July, President Bush and a commission appointed to review the care of veterans returning from war announced the need for a complete overhaul of the disability ratings system, which dates back to World War II. The VA is now considering action on the commission’s recommendations.

However, no real change is happening.

We feed the war machine at the drop of a hat, but we never consider that the war machine comes home and that it also needs feeding there. 

I guess Americans just continue to pursue the path of least resistance…it’s easier to destroy than it is to repair, and when the destruction is in Iraq and the things that need repair aren’t in your living room, we can conveniently ignore them.

Is the U.S. Government Secretly Testing Americans…Again?

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Reprinted from KSLA-TV website, Shreveport, LA (November 9, 2007)

Could a strange substance found by an Ark-La-Tex man be part of secret government testing program?  That’s the question at the heart of a phenomenon called “Chemtrails.”  In a KSLA News 12 investigation, Reporter Jeff Ferrell shows us the results of testing we had done about what’s in our skies.

It seemed like some mornings it was just criss-crossing the whole sky.  It was just like a giant checkerboard,” described Bill Nichols.  He snapped several photos of the strange clouds from his home in Stamps, in southwest Arkansas.  Nichols said these unusual clouds begin as normal contrails from a jet engine.  But unlike normal contrails, these do ‘not’ fade away.

Soon after a recent episode he saw particles in the air.  “We’d see it drop to the ground in a haze,” added Nichols.  He then noticed the material collecting on the ground.
     “This is water and stuff that I collected in bowls.  I had it sitting out in my backyard in my dad’s pick-up truck,” said Nichols as he handed us a mason jar in the KSLA News 12 parking lot back in September after driving down from Arkansas.

KSLA News 12 had the sample tested at a lab.  The results:  A high level of barium, 6.8 parts per million, (ppm).  That’s more than three times the toxic level set by the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA.

Armed with these lab results about the high levels of barium found in our sample, we decided to contact the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.  They told us that, ‘yes,’ these levels are very unusual.  But at the same time they added the caveat that proving the source is a whole ‘nother matter.

We discovered during our investigation that Barium is a hallmark of other chemtrail testing.  This phenomenon even attracted the attention of a Los Angeles network affiliate, which aired a report entitled, “Toxic Sky?” 

There’s already no shortage of unclassified weather modification programs by the government.  But those who fear chemtrails could be secret biological and chemical testing on the public point to the 1977 U.S. Senate hearings which confirmed 239 populated areas had been contaminated with biological agents between 1949 and 1969.  Later, the 1994 Rockefeller Report concluded hundreds of thousands of military personnel were also subjected to secret biological experiments over the last 60-years.

But could secret testing be underway yet again?  “I’d rather it be something inert and you know something that’s not causing any damage but I’d like to know what it is,” concluded Nichols.

KSLA News 12 discovered chemtrails are even mentioned by name in the initial draft of HR 2977 back in 2001, under the Space Preservation Act.  But the military denies any such program exists.

It turns out, until just nine years ago the government had the right, under U.S. law, to conduct secret testing on the American public, under specific conditions.  Only a public outcry repealed part of that law, with some “exceptions.”

Mark Ryan, Director of the Poison Control Center, explained that short term exposure to barium can lead to anything from stomach to chest pains, with long-term exposure causing blood pressure problems.

Ryan addressed concerns by chemtrail researchers that barium could be meant to wear down a person’s immune system.  “Anything that causes ill effects on the body long-term, chronically, is going to affect your ability, it’s just constantly working on the body.  So from that aspect yeah it’s a potential.”

Ryan told us he’s conducted research of his own about secret government testing on the public.  But he’s still a bit skeptical about chemtrails at the moment, especially considering that his Poison Control Center has seen no calls about barium exposure.

by: Jeff Ferrell

Ron Paul’s Jewish Problem…

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People seem to think Ron Paul has a Jewish problem…and maybe he does. 

At an event on September 11, 2007 at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, Paul argued for withdrawing from the Middle East, telling his audience that “Israel is quite capable of taking care of itself” — though interestingly adding that US policy has “hurt Israel tremendously.” Paul also downplayed the threat Iran poses to Israel, saying that even if Iran does develop nuclear arms, that it would not be a serious danger to Israel.

His subtlety is what bothers me.

Given that Israel is armed as Paul suggests, really doesn’t seem to present a problem…or does it? 

Paul’s position towards Israel is not innately anti-Jewish, nor is it necessarily outwardly anti-Israel. In fact, Paul’s position is not particularly uncommon, especially within conservative circles. Pat Buchanan led the charge in March of 2003, writing in The American Conservative that neoconservatives participating in and advising the Bush administration were steering the United States into wars that were not in America’s interests, but rather Israel’s. 

Yet, much to his supporters’ dismay, Paul’s willingness to speak out against U.S. policy regarding Israel has effectively made him the sweetheart among those whom Presidential candidates would typically not desire support: white supremacists and anti-semites.

The Internet is filled with data that indicates Ron Paul has become the most popular candidate among right-wing extremists, including white separatists, neo-Nazis, and conspiracy theorists who believe that “the Zionists” were behind 9/11. Among these people are Frank Weltner, creator of the anti-semitic website JewWatch.com, who in a YouTube video, accuses the “Zionist-controlled media” of attacking Paul’s candidacy.

Paul has also received support from the Vanguard News Network, a White Nationalist news organization. Then there’s the members of Stormfront, an online neo-Nazi community. 

Of course, Congressman Paul cannot be held accountable for the views of his extremist supporters. Yet, he isn’t exactly doing anything to distance himself from them. For instance, when his extremist supporters began providing a substantial amount of campaign funds, his campaign has a habit of not returning the funds. 

According to the Lone Star Times, White Nationalists like Don Black have become high profile donors to the Paul campaign. Black, the founder of Stormfront, and one of the most notorious neo-Nazis in America, has personally contributed $500 to Paul’s campaign.

To date, there is no conclusive evidence showing the Paul campaign has returned the money.

Paul’s campaign has no control over who sends them money. However, wouldn’t it make sense that if you do not wish to be identified with neo-Nazism, that you would send the money back? 

Paul’s spokesman Jesse Benton told the Lone Star Times back in May:

At this time, I cannot say that we will be rejecting Mr. Black’s contribution, but I will bring the matter to the attention of our campaign director again, and expect some sort of decision to be made in coming days.

I believe any other candidate would unequivocally reject that money as soon as its donor’s identity was known. Why not return the money immediately?

On October 26, nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved posted an open letter on TownHall.com that read: 

Dear Congressman Paul:
Your Presidential campaign has drawn the enthusiastic support of an imposing collection of Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, Holocaust Deniers, 9/11 “Truthers” and other paranoid and discredited conspiracists.
 

Do you welcome- or repudiate – the support of such factions?
 

More specifically, your columns have been featured for several years in the American Free Press-a publication of the nation’s leading Holocaust Denier and anti-Semitic agitator, Willis Carto.  His book club even recommends works that glorify the Nazi SS, and glowingly describe the “comforts and amenities” provided for inmates of Auschwitz.
Have your columns appeared in the American Free Press with your knowledge and approval?
 

As a Presidential candidate, will you now disassociate yourself, clearly and publicly, from the poisonous propaganda promoted in such publications?
As a guest on my syndicated radio show, you answered my questions directly and fearlessly.

Will you now answer these pressing questions, and eliminate all associations between your campaign and some of the most loathsome fringe groups in American society?
Along with my listeners (and many of your own supporters), I eagerly await your response.
 

Respectfully, Michael Medved

Medved received no response to the letter from the Paul campaign.

There is even evidence that suggests Ron Paul is anti-semitic on Shadow Democracy’s comment threads. A person by the name of Eric Dondero, who identifies himself as a former Ron Paul staffer wrote:

Ron Paul, my former boss, is not an explicit Anti-Semite, but he is most certainly anti-Israel and one could make a strong case – outright anti-Jewish.

During my 6-year stint with him, I served as his only Jewish staffer. He regularly touted me as proof against allegations that he wasn’t an Anti-Semite, even one time ordering me to wear Jewish clothing and attend a press conference of his Democrat opponent who was exposing his links to Anti-Semitic groups. I felt used.

(For the record, Ron did not know I was Jewish until I had already been hired.)

Ron and I finally departed ways, partly because I was ashamed to work for such an explicitly anti-Israel advocate.

If you still doubt his anti-Jewish/anti-Israel views, ask yourself this question:

Why is it that when Ron Paul talks about the evils of taxpayer dollars going overseas for foreign aid, he only singles out Israel as a recipient? Why does he never mention the billions we send each year to Egypt for foreign aide? Turkey, the Palestinians, other Nations? Never a peep out of Paul about those dollars. It’s just always the “Jews.”

Eric Dondero, Fmr. Senior Aide
US Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)
1997-2003

He comments in a second post:

In fairness, the comments about Blacks being “fleet-footed” were written for Ron, though published under his name in his Ron Paul Newsletter, by his Top behind the scenes aide Lew Rockwell.

But the other comments about Israel being the most powerful lobby, were definitely Ron Paul’s words. In fact, I’ve heard him say similar comments on numerous occasions, some far more explicit, to private quasi-Anti-Semitic groups… the Jewish comments are very accurate.

Check out Eric Dondero’s website here: http://mainstreamlibertarian.com/_wsn/page5.html 

So what are we left with? Is Ron Paul anti-Jew? The facts posted in the article seem to suggest that. How extreme are his views and can the nation take a chance on electing him to find out? His fundraising is on the up-swing and his poll numbers are climbing. Some polls have him as high as 16% in New Hampshire.

I contend that Ron Paul is merely being coy regarding his racism towards Jewish people and indeed, people of color. Couple this with his many other extremist views, as well as massive support among racists of various stripes, and you are left to ask yourself – is this a guy who we should be considering on any level for the Presidency?

Based on this information, I say absolutely not. 

Over 35 Million Go Hungry in the U.S. in 2006…

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Here’s something to ponder while you’re gnawing on that turkey leg next week.

More than 35.5 million people in the U.S. went hungry in 2006 as the seldom discussed poverty problem in this country has reared it’s ugly head again. This figure is up from the previous year, the Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.

Single mothers and their children, as you might have guessed, were among the most likely to suffer according to the study.

The 35.5 million people, as previously talked about on the Shadow Democracy Radio Show, and written about on this blog, represent a whopping 12.1 percent of the total population. These people said they did not have enough money or food for at least some period during the year.  That is compared with 35.1 million people who made similar claims in 2005.

Of the 35.5 million people, 11.1 million reported they had “very low food security,” meaning they had a substantial disruption in the amount of food they typically eat. For example, among families, a third of those facing disruption in the food they typically eat said an adult in their family did not eat for a whole day because they could not afford it.

The survey was based on Census Bureau data and does not include the homeless, who collectively represent about 750,000 people in 2005, according to federal estimates.

Some quick facts:

Among all families, about 12.6 million, or 10.9 percent, reported going hungry for at least some period last year.

Single mothers going hungry (30.4 percent)

Black households going hungry (21.8 percent)

Hispanic households going hungry (19.5 percent)

Households below the official poverty line going hungry (36.3 percent)

States with highest prevalence of hunger from 2004-2006 included:

Mississippi (18.1 percent)

New Mexico (16.1 percent)

Texas (15.9 percent)

South Carolina (14.7 percent)

The most alarming statistic deals with children. Of the 35.5 million people reporting periods of hunger last year, 12.6 million were children.

“This report comes at a critical time for hungry Americans and those of us who help serve them,” said Vicki Escarra, president of the nation’s largest hunger relief group — America’s Second Harvest-The Nation’s Food Bank Network. “There simply may be no food for many families when the rest of the nation gathers to celebrate Thanksgiving and religious holidays.”

Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, an anti-hunger group, said he is troubled by the report. He said figures for 2007 could prove to be worse, given rising food prices and an uneven economy this year.

And don’t forget about the price of fuel. That will surely drive prices up as well.

I urge anyone reading this to go through your cupboards if you can and donate anything possible to the food pantry. If you have nothing to give, then please go to your local store, if you have the means, and buy up some of that mac ‘n cheese at four for a dollar, and donate it. Anything helps…even small things. Remember, we are all Americans, we are in this together. This is a national problem that requires national action.

Don’t neglect your hungry neighbors. It’s the rules.

More information here: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err49/err49.pdf

Gas Prices Set to Jump Again…This Time Twenty Cents…

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U.S. consumers will be paying more for gas just in time for the holidays…much more. By the Thanksgiving holiday gas prices could reach $3.45 per gallon on average with some areas already seeing prices at $3.90 and higher, according to the government’s top energy forecaster.

Guy Caruso, head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, stated that gas prices have not topped out yet. The recent jump in crude oil prices has been reflected in recent motor fuel costs which have already jumped twenty cents since October. 

“We haven’t seen the full pass-through (of high oil prices) yet,” Caruso told reporters at a briefing on oil market conditions and futures held at the Energy Department headquarters. “I would say what’s in the pipe right now (for gasoline) is about another 20 cents.”

If the projected gasoline price materializes, it would be the most consumers have ever paid to fill up at Thanksgiving will break the all-time high of $3.22 a gallon set last May, putting additional pressure on middle class families just before the holiday season.

With oil hitting a record $98.62 a barrel last week, the forecast seems accurate.

Thus far, healthy gasoline imports from Europe and weaker driving demand for this time of the year has helped soften the blow, Caruso said, adding that high prices are the result of strong global oil demand and tight supplies.

“There’s very little cushion in the market … consumption outpacing production,” he said.

He also added that, “We’ve seen steadily declining (oil) inventories.”

OPEC is scheduled to meet in early December to review their current oil production policy and export numbers. Karen Harbert, the assistant energy secretary for policy and international affairs, said the Bush administration has not received any messages from OPEC officials on whether the group will increase output.

If they do not, it would appear that prices will certainly rise as predicted.

“We hope they will take action when it’s necessary to ensure there is a much more calm and mutually beneficial (oil) marketplace,” she told reporters at the same briefing.

Caruso warned that if the group does not boost oil production levels, crude oil prices will stay “well above” $80 a barrel and push gasoline costs higher during next springs busy driving season.

Is $4.00 a gallon the new floor? Moreover, will the Bush administration help ease this burden by releasing some domestic oil reserves into the supply for a short period of time as Clinton did?

I bet not.

Atlanta Mega-Church Takes in $69 Million…Who benefits?

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An Atlanta mega-church took in $69 million in 2006, according to a financial statement the church’s minister released in response to a Senate investigation into him and five other well-known televangelists.

The Rev. Creflo Dollar (excuse me as I snicker a bit) disclosed the World Changers Church International’s financial information to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but said the money he spends is his own.

I’m sure it is. Every last dollar from every last gullible donor.

The good reverand said his income comes from personal investments, but the church gave him a Rolls Royce, which he mainly uses for special occasions.

Don’t pre-judge! It was just a tiny Rolls.

‘Without a doubt, my life is not average,’ he said. ‘But I’d like to say, just because it is excessive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong.’

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa disagrees.

He launched an investigation into the finances of six ministers after hearing reports of some preachers’ excessive lifestyles. In a letter last week, he requested answers by Dec. 6 to questions about their executive compensation and amenities, including use of fancy cars and private jets.

Besides Dollar, the letters were sent to faith healer Benny Hinn, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Texas, David and Joyce Meyer of Missouri, Randy and Paula White of Florida and Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga.

Dollar questioned the investigation’s focus on religious groups.

Boy, you gotta love the balls on this guy.

The minister is among the religious leaders who preach the ‘prosperity gospel,’ the teaching that God will shower faithful followers with material riches. But he said he uses only his personal finances to pay for his luxuries.

‘My lifestyle does not come out of the church’s bank account,’ he said.

So, do you still think these ‘Big Box Retail Churches’, as I like to call them, still shouldn’t be taxed??

Rolls Royce Creflo?

I wonder what kind of Gods work he does in the back seat and with whom?

Wake up my fellow church going sheep!

Anyone who gives money to a mega-church is naive and foolish. Giving money to ANY church benefits very few people as it is, with mega-churches being the worst offenders. Maybe the good minister Creflo could tool around in a Mercedes instead. Maybe a nice “E” Class and use the left over money from the sale of the Rolls Royce to feed 20 or so hungry families in greater Atlanta for oh, I don’t know, maybe two years!!!

The name itself was enough to keep me in laughter until the New Year. “

“Dollar!” You’ve gotta be kidding me!

Can someone please administer an I.Q. test to all of Creflo’s followers? I’m dying to know the results, but I have a suspicion that the average score would be a tad low.

Those “investments” Dollar spoke of were purchased with funds taken from desperate poor people who watch his show while he begs for people to “plant a seed of faith”. These tele-evangelists are nothing but corporate thieves, no different than the ones who have outsourced our economy to China in the name of profit, while taking a giant dump on the middle class.

Think about it for a minute. Most people who watch the program give the church money they’d normally use for medicine, food, shelter, clothes. The minister makes them think they’ll get a windfall blessing in their bank account if they only “plant a seed of faith”. GOD says for us to work, WORK, for a living…so we might give 10% to our church. The Bible states nothing about planting seeds.

www.ministrywatch.com is a great site that tells cold, hard, sinful truth about these tele-thieves.

This is just another tale of people using religion to pad their own pockets, as they prey on the poor and uneducated. Thanks to our government’s unfair endorsement of religion, they do not pay a dime in taxes. Since God apparently will not punish Creflo, we will have to do it ourselves.

He can start by paying taxing his scam operation.

The fact that God didn’t strike Creflo Dollar dead on the spot, in itself, may be proof that there is no god at all!

Iran and the coming of World War III… Huh?

fareed-thumb7.jpg Reprinted from Newsweek Written by Fareed Zakaria

At a meeting with reporters last week, President Bush said that “if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” These were not the barbs of some neoconservative crank or sidelined politician looking for publicity. This was the president of the United States, invoking the specter of World War III if Iran gained even the knowledge needed to make a nuclear weapon.

The American discussion about Iran has lost all connection to reality. Norman Podhoretz, the neoconservative ideologist whom Bush has consulted on this topic, has written that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is “like Hitler … a revolutionary whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it in the fullness of time with a new order dominated by Iran and ruled by the religio-political culture of Islamofascism.” For this staggering proposition Podhoretz provides not a scintilla of evidence.

Here is the reality. Iran has an economy the size of Finland’s and an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion. It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are quietly or actively allied against Iran. And yet we are to believe that Tehran is about to overturn the international system and replace it with an Islamo-fascist order? What planet are we on?

When the relatively moderate Mohammed Khatami was elected president in Iran, American conservatives pointed out that he was just a figurehead. Real power, they said (correctly), especially control of the military and police, was wielded by the unelected “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Now that Ahmadinejad is president, they claim his finger is on the button. (Oh wait, Iran doesn’t have a nuclear button yet and won’t for at least three to eight years, according to the CIA, by which point Ahmadinejad may not be president anymore. But these are just facts.)

In a speech last week, Rudy Giuliani said that while the Soviet Union and China could be deterred during the cold war, Iran can’t be. The Soviet and Chinese regimes had a “residual rationality,” he explained. Hmm. Stalin and Mao—who casually ordered the deaths of millions of their own people, fomented insurgencies and revolutions, and starved whole regions that opposed them—were rational folk. But not Ahmadinejad, who has done what that compares? One of the bizarre twists of the current Iran hysteria is that conservatives have become surprisingly charitable about two of history’s greatest mass murderers.

If I had to choose whom to describe as a madman, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il or Ahmadinejad, I do not think there is really any contest. A decade ago Kim Jong Il allowed a famine to kill 2 million of his own people, forcing the others to survive by eating grass, while he imported gallons of expensive French wine. He has sold nuclear technology to other rogue states and threatened his neighbors with test-firings of rockets and missiles. Yet the United States will be participating in international relief efforts to Pyongyang worth billions of dollar.

We’re on a path to irreversible confrontation with a country we know almost nothing about. The United States government has had no diplomats in Iran for almost 30 years. American officials have barely met with any senior Iranian politicians or officials. We have no contact with the country’s vibrant civil society. Iran is a black hole to us—just as Iraq had become in 2003.

The one time we seriously negotiated with Tehran was in the closing days of the war in Afghanistan, in order to create a new political order in the country. Bush’s representative to the Bonn conference, James Dobbins, says that “the Iranians were very professional, straightforward, reliable and helpful. They were also critical to our success. They persuaded the Northern Alliance to make the final concessions that we asked for.” Dobbins says the Iranians made overtures to have better relations with the United States through him and others in 2001 and later, but got no reply. Even after the Axis of Evil speech, he recalls, they offered to cooperate in Afghanistan. Dobbins took the proposal to a principals meeting in Washington only to have it met with dead silence. The then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he says, “looked down and rustled his papers.” No reply was ever sent back to the Iranians. Why bother? They’re mad.

Last year, the Princeton scholar, Bernard Lewis, a close adviser to Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal predicting that on Aug. 22, 2006, President Ahmadinejad was going to end the world. The date, he explained, “is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the Prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to ‘the farthest mosque,’ usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back. This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world” (my emphasis). This would all be funny if it weren’t so dangerous.

© Newsweek, Inc.

 

Commentary from MJ “revoltingpawn”…

I had to post this article since felt there has been a lack of common sense and reporting of facts from the media in regards to Iran. Fareed Zakaria you are breath of fresh air on the Iranian situation and I am hoping more people will read this article. My questions are… Are the American people gullible enough to believe another set of lies from the Bush administration as we beat the war drum once again? Will the mainstream media again be a willing accomplice for another possible Bush manufactured war? Let’s hope we have different outcome with Iran then what happened in Iraq.