Tuesday, December 8, 2009
He knows, however, that to truly convince he must break a “conspiracy of silence that would envelop our government, our media, our academic institutions, and virtually our entire society from November 22, 1963, to the present.” This “unspeakable,” this hypnotic “collective denial of the obvious,” is sustained by a mass-media whose repeated message is that the truth about such significant events is beyond our grasp, that we will have to drink the waters of uncertainty forever. As for those who don’t, they are relegated to the status of conspiracy nuts.
Fear and uncertainty block a true appraisal of the assassination - that plus the thought that it no longer matters.
It matters. For we know that no president since JFK has dared to buck the military-intelligence-industrial complex. We know a Pax Americana has spread its tentacles across the globe with U.S. military in over 130 countries on 750 plus bases. We know that the amount of blood and money spent on wars and war preparations has risen astronomically.
There is a great deal we know and even more that we don’t want to know, or at the very least, investigate.
If Lee Harvey Oswald was connected to the intelligence community, the FBI and the CIA, then we can logically conclude that he was not “a lone-nut” assassin. Douglass marshals a wealth of evidence to show how from the very start Oswald was moved around the globe like a pawn in a game, and when the game was done, the pawn was eliminated in the Dallas police headquarters. As he begins to trace Oswald’s path, Douglass asks this question: “Why was Lee Harvey Oswald so tolerated and supported by the government he betrayed?” After serving as a U.S. Marine at the CIA’s U-2 spy plane operating base in Japan with a Crypto clearance (higher than top secret but a fact suppressed by the Warren Commission), Oswald left the Marines and defected to the Soviet Union. After denouncing the U.S., working at a Soviet factory in Minsk , and taking a Russian wife - during which time Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane is shot down over the Soviet Union - he returned to the U.S. with a loan from the American Embassy in Moscow, only to be met at the dock in Hoboken, New Jersey by a man, Spas T. Raikin, a prominent anti-communist with extensive intelligence connections, recommended by the State Department. He passed through immigration with no trouble, was not prosecuted, moved to Fort Worth, Texas where , at the suggestion of the Dallas CIA Domestic Contacts Service chief, he was met and befriended by George de Mohrenschildt, an anti-communist Russian, who was a CIA asset. De Mohrenschildt got him a job four days later at a graphic arts company that worked on maps for the U.S. Army Map Service related to U-2 spy missions over Cuba. Oswald was then shepherded around the Dallas area by de Mohrenschildt who, in 1977, on the day he revealed he had contacted Oswald for the CIA and was to meet with the House Select Committee on Assasinations’ Gaeton Fonzi, allegedly committed suicide. Oswald then moved to New Orleans in April 1963 where got a job at the Reilly Coffee Company owned by CIA-affiliated William Reilly. The Reilly Coffee Company was located in close vicinity to the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and Office of Naval Intelligence offices and a stone’s throw from the office of Guy Bannister, a former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Chicago Bureau, who worked as a covert action coordinator for the intelligence services, supplying and training anti-Castro paramilitaries meant to ensnare Kennedy. Oswald then went to work with Bannister and the CIA paramilitaries.
During this time up until the assassination Oswald engaged in all sorts of contradictory activities, one day portraying himself as pro-Castro, the next day as anti-Castro, many of these theatrical performances being directed from Bannister’s office. It was as though Oswald, on the orders of his puppet masters, was enacting multiple and antithetical roles in order to confound anyone intent on deciphering the purposes behind his actions and to set him up as a future “assassin.” Douglass persuasively argues that Oswald “seems to have been working with both the CIA and FBI,” as a provocateur for the former and an informant for the latter. Jim and Elsie Wilcott, who worked at the CIA Tokyo Station from 1960-64, in a 1978 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, said, “It was common knowledge in the Tokyo CIA station that Oswald worked for the agency.”
When Oswald moved to New Orleans in April 1963, de Mohrenschildt exited the picture, having asked the CIA for and been indirectly given a $285,000 contract to do a geological survey for Haitian dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier, which he never did , but for which he was paid. Ruth and Michael Paine then entered the picture on cue. Douglass illuminatingly traces in their intelligence connections. Ruth later was the Warren Commission’s chief witness. She had been introduced to Oswald by de Mohrenschildt. In September 1963 Ruth Paine drove from her sister’s house in Virginia to New Orleans to pick up Marina Oswald and bring her to her house in Dallas to live with her. Thirty years after the assassination a document was declassified showing Paine’s sister Sylvia worked for the CIA. Her father traveled throughout Latin America on an Agency for International Development (notorious for CIA front activities) contract and filed reports that went to the CIA. Her husband Michael’s step-father, Arthur Young, was the inventor of the Bell helicopter and Michael’s job there gave him a security clearance. Her mother was related to the Forbes family of Boston and her lifelong friend, Mary Bancroft, worked as a WW II spy with Allen Dulles and was his mistress. Afterwards, Dulles questioned the Paines in front of the Warren Commission, studiously avoiding any revealing questions. Back in Dallas, Ruth Paine conveniently got Oswald a job in the Texas Book Depository where he began work on October 16, 1963.
From late September until November 22, various Oswalds are later reported to have simultaneously been seen from Dallas to Mexico City. Two Oswalds were arrested in the Texas Theatre, the real one taken out the front door and an impostor out the back. As Douglas says, “There were more Oswalds providing evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald than the Warren Report could use or even explain.” Even J. Edgar Hoover knew that Oswald impostors were used, as he told LBJ concerning Oswald’s alleged visit to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. He later called this CIA ploy, “the false story re Oswald’s trip to Mexico…their ( CIA’s) double-dealing,” something that he couldn’t forget. It was apparent that a very intricate and deadly game was being played out at high levels in the shadows.
We know Oswald was blamed for the President’s murder. But if one fairly follows the trail of the crime it becomes blatantly obvious that government forces were at work. Douglass adds layer upon layer of evidence to show how this had to be so. Oswald, the mafia, anti-Castro Cubans could not have withdrawn most of the security that day. The Sheriff Bill Decker withdrew all police protection. The Secret Service withdrew the police motorcycle escorts from beside the president’s car where they had been the day before in Houston; took agents off the back of the car where they were normally stationed to obstruct gunfire. They approved the fateful, dogleg turn (on a dry run on November 18) where the car came, almost to a halt, a clear security violation. The House Select Committee on Assasinations concluded this, not some conspiracy nut.
Who could have squelched the testimony of all the doctors and medical personnel who claimed the president had been shot from the front in his neck and head, testimony contradicting the official story? Who could have prosecuted and imprisoned Abraham Bolden, the first African-American Secret Service agent personally brought on to the White House detail by JFK, who warned that he feared the president was going to be assassinated? (Douglass interviewed Bolden seven times and his evidence on the aborted plot to kill JFK in Chicago on November 2 – a story little known but extraordinary in its implications – is riveting.) The list of all the people who turned up dead, the evidence and events manipulated, the inquiry squelched, distorted, and twisted in an ex post facto cover-up - clearly point to forces within the government, not rogue actors without institutional support.
The evidence for a conspiracy organized at the deepest levels of the intelligence apparatus is overwhelming. James Douglass presents it in such depth and so logically that only one hardened to the truth would not be deeply moved and affected by his book.
He says it best: “The extent to which our national security state was systematically marshaled for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy remains incomprehensible to us. When we live in a system, we absorb and think in a system. We lack the independence needed to judge the system around us. Yet the evidence we have seen points toward our national security state, the systemic bubble in which we all live, as the source of Kennedy’s murder and immediate cover-up.”
Speaking to his friends Dave Powers and Ken O’Donnell about those who planned the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, JFK said, “They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong.”
Let’s hope for another president like that, but one that meets a different end.
[ii] Vernon Loeb, “Soviets Knew Date of Cuba Attack,” Washington Post, April 29, 2000
[iii] See James K. Galbraith, “Exit Strategy,” Boston Review, October/November 2003
Despite a treasure-trove of new information having emerged over the last forty-six years, there are many people who still think who killed President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and why are unanswerable questions. There are others who cling to the Lee Harvey Oswald “lone-nut” explanation proffered by the Warren Commission. Both groups agree, however, that whatever the truth, it has no contemporary relevance but is old-hat, history, stuff for conspiracy-obsessed people with nothing better to do. The general thinking is that the assassination occurred almost a half-century ago, so let’s move on.
Nothing could be further from the truth, as James Douglass shows in his extraordinary book, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters (Orbis Books, 2008). It is clearly one of the best books ever written on the Kennedy assassination and deserves a vast readership. It is bound to roil the waters of complacency that have submerged the truth of this key event in modern American history.
It’s not often that the intersection of history and contemporary events pose such a startling and chilling lesson as does the contemplation of the murder of JFK on November 22, 1963 juxtaposed with the situations faced by President Obama today. So far, at least, Obama’s behavior has mirrored Johnson’s, not Kennedy’s, as he has escalated the war in Afghanistan by 34,000. One can’t but help think that the thought of JFK’s fate might not be far from his mind as he contemplates his next move in Afghanistan.
Douglass presents a very compelling argument that Kennedy was killed by “unspeakable” (the Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s term) forces within the U.S. national security state because of his conversion from a cold warrior into a man of peace. He argues, using a wealth of newly uncovered information, that JFK had become a major threat to the burgeoning military-industrial complex and had to be eliminated through a conspiracy planned by the CIA – “the CIA’s fingerprints are all over the crime and the events leading up to it” - not by a crazed individual, the Mafia, or disgruntled anti-Castro Cubans, though some of these may have been used in the execution of the plot.
Why and by whom? These are the key questions. If it can be shown that Kennedy did, in fact, turn emphatically away from war as a solution to political conflict; did, in fact, as he was being urged by his military and intelligence advisers to up the ante and use violence, rejected such advice and turned toward peaceful solutions, then, a motive for his elimination is established. If, furthermore, it can be clearly shown that Oswald was a dupe in a deadly game and that forces within the military/intelligence apparatus were involved with him from start to finish, then the crime is solved, not by fingering an individual who may have given the order for the murder or pulled the trigger, but by showing that the coordination of the assassination had to involve U.S. intelligence agencies, most notably the CIA . Douglass does both, providing highly detailed and intricately linked evidence based on his own research and a vast array of the best scholarship.
We are then faced with the contemporary relevance, and since we know that every president since JFK has refused to confront the growth of the national security state and its call for violence, one can logically assume a message was sent and heeded. In this regard, it is not incidental that former twenty-seven year CIA analyst Raymond McGovern, in a recent interview, warned of the “two CIAs,” one the analytic arm providing straight scoop to presidents, the other the covert action arm which operates according to its own rules. “Let me leave you with this thought,” he told his interviewer, “and that is that I think Panetta (current CIA Director), and to a degree Obama, are afraid – I never thought I’d hear myself saying this – I think they are afraid of the CIA.” He then recommended Douglass’ book, “It’s very well-researched and his conclusion is very alarming.”
Let’s look at the history marshaled by Douglass to support his thesis.
First, Kennedy, who took office in January 1961 as somewhat of a Cold Warrior, was quickly set up by the CIA to take the blame for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. The CIA and generals wanted to oust Castro, and in pursuit of that goal, trained a force of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba. Kennedy refused to go along and the invasion was roundly defeated. The CIA, military, and Cuban exiles bitterly blamed Kennedy. But it was all a sham.
Though Douglass doesn’t mention it, and few Americans know it, classified documents uncovered in 2000 revealed that the CIA had discovered that the Soviets had learned of the date of the invasion more than a week in advance, had informed Castro, but – and here is a startling fact that should make people’s hair stand on end - never told the President. [ii] The CIA knew the invasion was doomed before the fact but went ahead with it anyway. Why? So they could and did afterwards blame JFK for the failure.
This treachery set the stage for events to come. For his part, sensing but not knowing the full extent of the set-up, Kennedy fired CIA Director Allen Dulles (as in a bad joke, later to be named to the Warren Commission) and his assistant General Charles Cabell (whose brother Earle Cabell, to make a bad joke absurd, was the mayor of Dallas on the day Kennedy was killed) and said he wanted “to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” Not the sentiments to endear him to a secretive government within a government whose power was growing exponentially.
The stage was now set for events to follow as JFK, in opposition to nearly all his advisers, consistently opposed the use of force in U.S. foreign policy.
In 1961, despite the Joint Chief’s demand to put troops into Laos, Kennedy bluntly insisted otherwise as he ordered Averell Harriman, his representative at the Geneva Conference, “Did you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don’t want to put troops in.”
Also in 1961, he refused to concede to the insistence of his top generals to give them permission to use nuclear weapons in Berlin and Southeast Asia. Walking out of a meeting with top military advisors, Kennedy threw his hands in the air and said, “These people are crazy.”
He refused to bomb and invade Cuba as the military wished during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Afterwards he told his friend John Kenneth Galbraith that “I never had the slightest intention of doing so.”
Then in June 1963 he gave an incredible speech at American University in which he called for the total abolishment of nuclear weapons, the end of the Cold War and the “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war,” and movement toward “general and complete disarmament.”
A few months later he signed a Limited Test Ban Treaty with Nikita Khrushchev.
In October 1963 he signed National Security Action Memorandum 263 calling for the withdrawal of 1,000 U. S. military troops from Vietnam by the end of the year and a total withdrawal by the end of 1965. [iii]
All this he did while secretly engaging in negotiations with Khrushchev via the KGB , Norman Cousins, and Pope John XXIII , and with Castro through various intermediaries, one of whom was French Journalist Jean Daniel. In an interview with Daniel on October 24, 1963 Kennedy said, “I approved the proclamation Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will go even further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we will have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.” Such sentiments were anathema, shall we say treasonous, to the CIA and top generals.
These clear refusals to go to war and his decision to engage in private, back-channel communications with Cold War enemies marked Kennedy as an enemy of the national security state. They were on a collision course. As Douglass and others have pointed out, every move Kennedy made was anti-war. This, Douglass argues, was because JFK, a war hero, had been deeply affected by the horror of war and was severely shaken by how close the world had come to destruction during the Cuban missile crisis. Throughout his life he had been touched by death and had come to appreciate the fragility of life. Once in the Presidency, Kennedy underwent a deep metanoia, a spiritual transformation, from Cold Warrior to peace maker. He came to see the generals who advised him as devoid of the tragic sense of life and as hell-bent on war. And he was well aware that his growing resistance to war had put him on a dangerous collision course with those generals and the CIA. On numerous occasions he spoke of the possibility of a military coup d’etat against him. On the night before his trip to Dallas, he told his wife, “But, Jackie, if somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it, so why worry about it.” And we know that nobody did try to stop it because they had planned it.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
by Gregory Zuckerman
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
provided by the "Wall Street Journal"
Even as the financial system collapsed last year, and millions of investors lost billions of dollars, one unlikely investor was racking up historic profits: John Paulson, a hedge-fund manager in New York.
His firm made $20 billion between 2007 and early 2009 by betting against the housing market and big financial companies. Mr. Paulson's personal cut would amount to nearly $4 billion, or more than $10 million a day. That was more than the 2007 earnings of J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey and Tiger Woods combined.
How did he do it? Believing that a housing-market collapse was coming, Mr. Paulson spent over $1 billion in 2006 to buy insurance on what he then saw as risky mortgage investments. When the housing market cracked and the mortgages tumbled, the value of Mr. Paulson's insurance soared. One of his funds rose more than 500% that year. Then in 2008, he shorted financial shares, or wagered that they would fall in price, profiting again when these companies collapsed.
And are there any investing skills that average investors can learn from his success? Yes. There are no guarantees, of course, but the success of Mr. Paulson and a few other underdog investors lends encouragement to individuals trying to compete with Wall Street's pros.
Adapted from "The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History," by Gregory Zuckerman. Broadway Books. Copyright © 2009 by Gregory Zuckerman.
History, as always, is a guide for these American moments.
There was once a political party that came out against concentration of wealth. They called for regulation of food, drugs, and big corporations. Called for “square deal” for the average American. And their robust spokesman, the leader of their party, said this of his countrymen:
“There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensitive to every duty, regardless of principle, bent only on amassing a fortune.”
That party was the Republicans, a bit more than century ago, led by Teddy Roosevelt.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The murder of President Kennedy was a seminal event for me and for millions of Americans. It changed the course of history. It was a crushing blow to our country and to millions of people around the world. It put an abrupt end to a period of a misunderstood idealism, akin to the spirit of 1989 when the Soviet bloc to began to thaw and 2008, when our new American President was fairly elected. Today, more than 45 years later, profound doubts persist about how President Kennedy was killed and why. My film JFK was a metaphor for all those doubts, suspicions and unanswered questions. Now an extraordinary new book offers the best account I have read of this tragedy and its significance. That book is James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. It is a book that deserves the attention of all Americans; it is one of those rare books that, by helping us understand our history, has the power to change it. The subtitle sums up Douglass’s purpose: Why He Died and Why it Matters. In his beautifully written and exhaustively researched treatment, Douglass lays out the “motive” for Kennedy’s assassination. Simply, he traces a process of steady conversion by Kennedy from his origins as a traditional Cold Warrior to his determination to pull the world back from the edge of destruction. Many of these steps are well known, such as Kennedy’s disillusionment with the CIA after the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion, and his refusal to follow the reckless recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis. (This in itself was truly JFK’s shining moment in the sun. It is likely that any other president from LBJ on would have followed the path to a general nuclear war.) Then there was the Test Ban Treaty and JFK’s remarkable American University Speech where he spoke with empathy and compassion about the Soviet people, recognizing our common humanity, the fact that we all “inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.” But many of his steps remain unfamiliar: Kennedy’s back-channel dialogue with Khrushchev and their shared pursuit of common ground; his secret opening to dialogue with Fidel Castro (ongoing the very week of his assassination); and his determination to pull out of Vietnam after his probable re-election in 1964. All of these steps caused him to be regarded as a virtual traitor by elements of the military-intelligence community. These were the forces that planned and carried out his assassination. Kennedy himself said, in 1962, after he read Seven Days in May, which is about a military coup in the United States, that if he had another Bay of Pigs, the same thing could happen to him. Well, he did have another “Bay of Pigs”; he had several. And I think Kennedy prophesied his own death with those words. Why does it matter? The death of JFK remains a critical turning point in our history. Those who caused his death were targeting not just a man but a vision — a vision of peace. There is no calculating the consequences of his death for this country and for the world. Those consequences endure. To a large extent, the fate of our country and the future of the planet continue to be controlled by the shadowy forces of what Douglass calls “the Unspeakable.” Only by unmasking these forces and confronting the truth about our history can we restore the promise of democracy and lay claim to Kennedy’s vision of peace. But don’t take my word for it. Read this extraordinary book and reach your own conclusions.
“I don’t think most people really understood that they were in a casino” says award-winning financial reporter Mark Pittman. “When you’re in the Street’s casino, you’ve got to play by their rules.” This film finally explains how and why over $12 trillion of our money vanished into the American Casino.
For chips, the casino used real people, like the ones we meet in Baltimore. These are not the heedless spendthrifts of Wall Street legend, but a high school teacher, a therapist, a minister of the church. They were sold on the American Dream as a safe investment. Too late, they discovered the truth. Cruelly, as African – Americans, they and other minorities were the prime targets for the subprime loans that powered the casino. According to the Federal Reserve, African-Americans were four times more likely than whites to be sold subprime loans.
We meet the players. A banker explains that the complex securities he designed were “fourth dimensional” and sold to “idiots.” A senior Wall Street ratings agency executive describes being ordered to “guess” the worth of billion dollar securities. A mortgage loan salesman explains how borrowers’ incomes were inflated to justify a loan. A billionaire describes how he made a massive bet that people would lose their homes and has won $500 million, so far.
Finally, as the global financial system crumbles and outraged but impotent lawmakers fume at Wall Street titans, we see the casino’s endgame: Riverside, California a foreclosure wasteland given over to colonies of rats and methamphetamine labs, where disease-bearing mosquitoes breed in their millions on the stagnant swimming pools of yesterday’s dreams.
Filmed over twelve months in 2008, American Casino takes you inside a game that our grandchildren never wanted to play.
Published on Sunday, May 14, 2006 by CommonDreams.org
A Tale of Two Theories: Supply Side and Demand Side Economics
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the era of low taxes. It was the age of high deficits. Prices were up. Wages were down. Oil and gold soared. Housing and big cars cratered. Foreign powers threatened. Foreign currencies beckoned. Some saw a new Jerusalem in the nation's future. Others saw only the glaucoma of gluttonous greed. It was the summer of economic hope. It was the winter of economic despair.
In short, the early eighties were an economic time not unlike our own�a time that scared the Dickens out of most sober observers.
The common thread that unites the two times is Supply Side Economics. In the eighties it was new and promising. In the aughts it is recycled and damaging. In both eras, it stood against Demand Side Economics in its prescription for how to manage the economy. But it is in their outcomes that the two theories present such stark and measurable differences.
In the late seventies, the U.S. economy was falling to pieces. Johnson's Great Society programs and the Vietnam War had produced enormous inflationary pressures. But these were only the beginning. In 1973, Arab oil sheikdoms tripled the price of oil and in 1978, they tripled it again. Inflation soared, interest rates skyrocketed, and the economy tanked.
Higher prices cut into corporate profits, forcing employers to cut back production. The higher prices also reduced the purchasing power of workers, causing a slowdown in the economy. It was the worst of both worlds: a stagnant economy with rampant inflation. Economists called it "stagflation". They were at a loss for a cure.
Traditionally, to fight inflation, governments raise interest rates and cut spending, tampening down demand. To fight unemployment, they do the opposite: cut interest rates and raise spending, increasing demand. But now they had both problems at the same time. The cure for stagnant growth (lower interest rates and higher spending) would only aggravate the inflation. And the cure for inflation (higher interest rates and lower spending) would only aggravate the stagnation. The problem seemed insoluble. Enter Supply Side Economics.
Supply Side Economics claimed that if the government cut taxes on the wealthy, it would jump-start the economy as the wealthy plowed their tax savings back into investments. New factories fitted with new technologies would produce goods at lower cost, taming inflation. And the newly hired workers would tame unemployment. It would, in effect, square the economic circle, fixing both inflation and unemployment at the same time.
Even better, more output meant government tax receipts would grow. The government could continue to spend money without having to raise taxes it would simply materialize as a byproduct of higher levels of production! The economy would bootstrap itself in an ever-expanding, virtuous circle of tax cuts, investment, productivity, employment, and rising tax revenues. It was the proverbial "something for nothing" story. It seemed too good to be true.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan promised that, if elected, he would cut taxes, raise military spending AND balance the budget all at the same time. His opponent, George H.W. Bush called it "voodoo economics". But Reagan won the election and kept his promise. He cut the marginal tax rate on the highest income earners from 75% to 38%. What happened?
In 1982, the first full year for Reagan's policies, the economy shrank by 2%, the worst performance since the Great Depression. Investment the magic transmission belt through which all other Supply Side benefits were supposed to flow actually declined as a percent of GDP over the 1980s. Worse, Reagan�s Supply Side policies created the biggest budget deficits in history. The numbers tell the story.
Jimmy Carter�s last budget produced a deficit of $77 billion. At the time, it seemed huge. But Reagan�s first budget swelled the deficit to $128 billion. By the next year, 1983, it had exploded to $208 billion and was creating severe problems for the economy. By 1992, at the end of the "Reagan Revolution, (under Reagan's Vice President and successor, Bush, Sr.) the deficit was approaching $300 billion a year.
Annual deficits, of course, accumulate to the national debt. In 1980, the national debt amounted to less than $1 trillion. By the end of 1992, it had reached $4.35 trillion. In other words, the debt, which had taken over 200 years to reach $1 trillion, quadrupled in the 12 years of Supply Side Economics. A more complete, definitive repudiation of Supply Side�s claims could not be imagined. What went wrong?
According to Supply Side theory, tax cuts should go to the wealthy for only they can afford to use the extra income to invest in the economy to increase its capacity to "supply" goods. But there is nothing to make sure they actually invest, especially in the U.S. economy.
The new money might simply sit in the bank, or be spent on expensive foreign imports. It might be wasted in misdirected speculation, or invested in fast growing markets like southeast Asia. Without the ability to ensure that tax cuts are, in fact, invested in new productive assets, Supply Side Economics cannot ensure any real linkage between tax cuts and the hoped-for economic boom.
Revealingly, Supply-Siders strenuously resisted calls to tie tax cuts to actual productive investments, that is, give the tax cut only after the investment had been made. This led critics to suspect the real motives behind the "theory". The only thing that was certain was that the rich would become richer and revenues to the government would be lower. Beyond that, it is all just wishful thinking.
Contrast this wishful thinking with Demand Side economics. Demand Side Economics, says that if taxes are to be cut, they should go to those who earn the least amount of money. The reason is that low-income workers spend virtually all of their incomes. Money given to them goes right back into circulation, fueling a boom in consumer spending. This is essentially the policy that rescued the U.S. economy from the Great Depression. This, say the Demand Side economists, is the real foundation for an expanding economy. How has this theory held up in practice?
Bill Clinton reversed Reagan's supply Side policies, raising taxes on the wealthy and lowering them on the working and middle class. This Demand Side formula was fiercely resisted by Republican leaders in Congress who predicted a stock market crash and another Great Depression. Indeed, every single Republican member of Congress voted against it. It took a tie-breaking vote by Al Gore in the Senate to get the bill passed. What happened?
The economy produced the longest sustained expansion in U.S. history. It created more than 22 million new jobs, the highest level of job creation ever recorded. Unemployment fell to its lowest level in over 30 years. Inflation fell to 2.5% per year compared to the 4.7% average over the prior 12 years. And overall economic growth averaged 4.0% per year compared to 2.8% average growth over the 12 years of the Reagan/Bush administrations.
It wasn't even close. The economy performed dramatically better in almost every way once Supply Side policies were replaced with Demand Side policies.
The most dramatic outcome was the reversal of the Reagan-era Supply Side deficits. Clinton's Demand Side policies not only paid down the Reagan/Bush deficits, they produced the first budgetary surpluses since 1969. By the time Clinton left office, the government was running surpluses of almost $140 billion per year. This is what he turned over to George W. Bush in January of 2001.
Bush, of course, returned to the Supply Side policies of Reagan and his father. He lowered taxes on the very rich his base as he calls them. His $1.6 trillion in tax cuts give 45% of the benefits to the top 1% of the population. It is classic Supply Side economics. What happened?
According to the Economic Policy Institute, "By virtually every measure, the economy has performed worse in this business cycle than was typical of past ones." GDP growth since the bottom of the 2001 recession has averaged 2.8%. But it grew at an average rate of 3.5% over the prior six recoveries dating back to World War II. Or consider jobs: 1.3% more jobs under Bush versus 8.8% more during earlier upswings.
Private sector jobs an especially telling measure of economic health are up only 1% since 2001 versus an average of 8.6% for past recoveries. Investment? That Holy Grail of Supply Side orthodoxy? Up 3.6% compared to the 8.2% average for the six earlier rebounds. Pick your measure: growth, jobs, income, spending, investment. The recovery based on the Bush II Supply Side tax cuts is one of the weakest ever recorded.
The one thing the Supply Side revival did excel at � not surprisingly � is debt. Bush turned a $136 billion surplus from Bill Clinton into a $158 billion deficit in his first year. When he took office, the national debt stood at $5.8 trillion. It now stands at $8.1 trillion and is projected to hit $10 trillion by 2008 when Bush�s second term is over. The ten-year cumulative deficit forecast by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has changed from a $5.6 trillion surplus in January 2001 to a $3.4 trillion deficit in March of this year�an almost inconceivable swing of $9 trillion to the worse in only six years.
After more than 17 years of experience with Supply Side economics, we now know beyond doubt that this is not an accident.
These mammoth debts are a huge boon to that rich "base" that Bush loves to coddle. It is they, the very rich, who loan the money to the government to fund its debts. And since more borrowing drives up interest rates, they get to do so at higher and higher rates of return. This is simple supply and demand. By increasing the demand for borrowed money in the economy as a whole, Supply Side deficits drive up the cost, not just of government borrowing, but of ALL borrowing�everything from credit cards and mortgages to car loans and municipal bonds.
In other words, Supply Side economics rewards the rich both coming and going. Higher government debt leads to higher interest rates for all borrowing or in their case, lending. And then, they get to pay lower and lower taxes on their higher and higher earnings. It is a magical two-fer worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
This is the real reason Bill Clinton was so relentlessly hounded while in office. It wasn't that he was being serviced by an intern or that he was a particularly radical president. Indeed, Clinton himself described himself as �"an Eisenhower Republican". His big faux pas was that by paying down the Republican debts, he lowered interest rates, the basis of Republican earnings. In fact, real interest rates declined 40% while Clinton was in office. You can see why he simply had to go.
This is the real magic of Supply Side economics: greater-debts-leading-to-higher-returns-but-lower-taxes for the rich. It is one of the reasons the top 20% of income earners has raised its share of national income from 44% in 1980 when Supply Side policies began, to 50.1% last year. They now earn more than all of the rest of the people in the economy combined.
But it only works for the rich. If you�re not rich, it is you who are paying those higher and higher interest rates and it will be you or perhaps, more precisely, your children who will be stuck with the bill for the higher government debts. Paying off those debts can only come at the expense of future economic growth for income spent paying off inflated debts is money that is not available for college tuitions, job retraining, repairing infrastructure, etc.
Rarely in matters of public policy do we have the luxury of such starkly clear, repeatedly proven, empirically founded contrasts. Demand Side economics, as we saw in the 1990s, while far from perfect, produces robust growth, budgetary surpluses, and broad based prosperity. Supply Side economics produces middling growth, soaring deficits, and broad based debt. Mountains of debt. And the mountains are growing.
If we are to salvage any kind of economic sanity and prevent the bankruptcy of the nation, the next Congress must reverse the Supply Side agenda and return the country to a responsible fiscal course.
Robert Freeman writes on history, economics, and education. He can be reached at email@example.com
Friday, September 25, 2009
The adaptive use of new technology was central to this achievement. The Nazis pioneered voice amplification at rallies, the distribution of recorded speeches and the sophisticated targeting of poster art toward groups and regions.
But it was radio that proved the most powerful tool. The Nazis worked with radio manufacturers to provide Germans with free or low-cost "people's receivers." This new technology was disorienting, taking the public sphere, for the first time, into private places -- homes, schools and factories. "If you tuned in," says Steve Luckert, curator of the exhibit, "you heard strangers' voices all the time. The style had a heavy emphasis on emotion, tapping into a mass psychology. You were bombarded by information that you were unable to verify or critically evaluate. It was the Internet of its time."
This comparison to the Internet is apt. The Nazis would have found much to admire in the adaptation of their message on neo-Nazi, white supremacist and Holocaust-denial Web sites.
But the challenge of this technology is not merely an isolated subculture of hatred. It is a disorienting atmosphere in which information is difficult to verify or critically evaluate, the rules of discourse are unclear, and emotion -- often expressed in CAPITAL LETTERS -- is primary. User-driven content on the Internet often consists of bullying, conspiracy theories and racial prejudice. The absolute freedom of the medium paradoxically encourages authoritarian impulses to intimidate and silence others. The least responsible contributors see their darkest tendencies legitimated and reinforced, while serious voices are driven away by the general ugliness.
Ethicist Clive Hamilton calls this a "belligerent brutopia." "The Internet should represent a great flourishing of democratic participation," he argues. "But it doesn't. . . . The brutality of public debate on the Internet is due to one fact above all -- the option of anonymity. The belligerence would not be tolerated if the perpetrators' identities were known because they would be rebuffed and criticized by those who know them. Free speech without accountability breeds dogmatism and confrontation."
This destructive disinhibition is disturbing in itself. It also allows hatred to invade respected institutional spaces on the Internet, gaining for these ideas a legitimacy denied to fringe Web sites. After the Bernard Madoff scandal broke, for example, major newspaper sites included user-generated content such as "Find a Jew who isn't Crooked" and "Just another jew money changer thief" -- sentiments that newspapers would not have printed as letters to the editor. Postings of this kind regularly attack immigrants and African Americans, recycle centuries of anti-Semitism and deny the events of the Holocaust as a massive Jewish lie.
Legally restricting such content -- apart from prosecuting direct harassment and threats against individuals or incitement to violence -- is impossible. In America, the First Amendment protects blanket statements of bigotry. But this does not mean that popular news sites, along with settings such as Facebook and YouTube, are constitutionally required to provide forums for bullies and bigots. As private institutions, they are perfectly free to set rules against racism and hatred. This is not censorship; it is the definition of standards.
Some online institutions, such as The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, screen user comments before posting them. Others, such as The Post and The Wall Street Journal, rely on readers to identify objectionable content -- a questionable strategy because numbness to abusiveness and hatred on the Internet is part of the challenge.
Whatever the method, no reputable institution should allow its publishing capacity, in print or online, to be used as the equivalent of the wall of a public bathroom stall.
The exploitation of technology by hatred will never be eliminated. But hatred must be confined to the fringes of our culture -- as the hatred of other times should have been.
Washington Post 9/25/09
Monday, September 14, 2009
It’s a Coon Picnic over there at BET. BET stands for Black Entertainment Television but lately could stand for Black Exploitation Television because of its lack of anything helpful to African American culture. Sure they have a half and hour news show and from time to time show a decent movie (if that) but that’s where the buck stops. Remember when BET used to have Teen Summit with Prince Dejour and Ananda Lewis? An educational forum that young people tuned into every week that not only gave you insight on problems plaguing our teens but also gave you a decent performance or two (remember the baby faced Usher before he got crunk?). Remember when Donnie Simpson brought personality to Video Soul? Every day it felt good to look at the likeable and well spoken Donnie wake you up to your favorite music. This is before the naked asses you see today of course.
No more BET Tonight, Heart and Soul or Lead Story. But whose fault is it? Robert Johnson sold BET to go after being the first Black owner of a sports franchise. Hooray for Bob Johnson! He’s rich and we are still poor in knowledge and culture. He reportedly once said that the ‘E’ in BET stood for Entertainment not Education. I guess he’s not responsible for what comes on TV but more interested in his bottom line. That makes him a good businessman right? But when will it become someone’s responsibility to help assist in the growth of our culture rather than succumb to the never ending stereotypes that plague BET today.
Now look what BET is. The only outlet for African American television that does damn near nothing for the culture that helps keeps this station afloat. I mean...dammit... I hate BET! It’s a shame when you show more videos than a station whose name says “Music Video” in it! I can’t bear to watch Tip Drill again (okay maybe one more time...but that’s it and I mean it! ) because of its degrading images. I can’t watch another video with zero substance but more than 1,000,000 dollars worth of rims, cars, jewelry and clothing that the next generation idolizes more than content and history.
Speaking of history, where the hell is the history!?!? Geezus! What do you have to do to get a little education around here? I don’t know what the hell videos teach us but I don’t think it would hurt too much to show other great African Americans who have transcended our culture through various outlets besides rapping about big booty bitches who get low and thug out. The Gordon Parks, Bo jangles, Eldridge Cleavers, Bobby Seales, Stokely Carmicheals, Angela Davis, Assata Shakurs, Donnie Hathaways, Marcus Garveys, Ossie Davis, Spike Lees, Omar Tyrees, Michael Eric Dyson, Barack Obamas, Duke Ellingtons, Lena Hornes, Ruby Dees, Josephine Bakers, Harriet Tubmans, Billie Hollidays, Tom Joyners, Princes, Sistah Souljahs, Bill Cosbys, Nikki Giovannis, Cornel Wests, and the many others who have assisted in making African Americans valuable.
Why can’t BET show African Americans how to make money instead of spend it? It’s crazy how a video can influence us go out and buy the silliest items which depreciate as soon as you drive it off the lot, but why not take 1 hour out of the umpteen hours of videos and deliver a show about how to make money and how to make your money make money. Look how we are viewed. No other channel has more “debt free” commercials than BET yet will do absolutely nothing to teach people how to stay out of debt. It’s like we are their prey. But we bite the bait every single time.
Talk about how important credit is for young people. I mean just for entertainment purposes let P. Diddy host it. He’s rich and he got everybody who didn’t know jack about an election to believe in his “Vote or Die” mantra so why not let him show people how he makes money on his various lucrative endeavors. His accountant can hold up the que cards. Oh and next can we please rid ourselves of the crappy shows BET picks up that were booted off of another station? The Parkers?
Awwwww... C’mon! Why not show television shows that meant something like What’s Happening, Good Times, Sanford and Son, A Different World, Living Single, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, In Living Color, Martin, the list can go on and on. BET has crappy shows period.
Take College Hill for instance, an outright bite off of MTV’s The Real World yet looks like it was shot with the world’s first video camera. Viacom owns MTV, BET and VH1 so why is it that VH1 and MTV have the better quality shows while BET shows look like bootleg garbage? They gave us the scraps from the bottom of the barrel and we accepted it. It’s like feeding your two favorite children while the redheaded...or I guess you can say...nappy headed stepchild rummages the crumbs off of the floor. I suppose it all boils down to what we accept as a culture.
Since a high percentage of time on BET is devoted to videos, let’s talk about that garbage as well. How many times can one person watch the same 20 videos? I swear you can catch a video that ends BET Start and then kicks off 106th and Park which is shown again on the BET.com Countdown.
I mean really, there aren’t any other artists out there? Remember when BET was groundbreaking and would show videos that you couldn’t catch on the radio? Remember when Rap City was the @#%$? Now it’s in some dudes basement under his mama’s house. Remember the first time you saw Nas climbing the steps to “The World is Yours”? Or watching the dust rupture off of the instruments on the Roots “Distortion to Static”? Or how about Public Enemy fighting the power?
What if these videos were never shown? Of course hip hop has changed which results in a programming shift but there can be more time allotted to spotlighting more innovative artists. Videos play a huge role in what the public gets behind so why not be a little more responsible with what type of videos are shown? It’s amazing how BET can take Eminem off the air because he dissed Michael Jackson but there was no shame in showing the women degrading “Get Low” over and over and over again. Eminem can’t diss Michael Jackson but Comic View does it every single day.
Hypocritical perhaps? And speaking of Comic View...when will that show die??? The comedy is so linear and not funny it’s unbelievable. But I guess when people view us as dancing, singing, rapping, God fearing jiggaboo comedians; we can’t let them down right? And speaking of God fearing....
There is something I have to get off my chest real quick before many of you send me death threats and make an attempt on my life. ALL AFRICAN AMERICANS DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE CHURCH ALL DAY SUNDAY! Yes... I’m a god fearing individual but why is it that BET is the ONLY station besides the Christian Network that has to show the Gospel all day on Sunday. I don’t go to church (for my own personal reasons of which I will not get into) along with many other African Americans so I really don’t want to sit through TD Jakes as my programming all damn day. That is just as stereotypical as the rest of the programming. If there was a balance none of this would be an issue but it’s either one extreme or the other. So I guess all we can do is laugh, sing and rap about sex, cars, women and money. That’s what BET gives us everyday. 24hrs a day 6 days a week (can’t forget about the whole Sunday dedicated in crooked pastor programming). But what can we do?
Make a statement! Stop supporting BET and the garbage that it is committed in delivering to your television set. Take a stand and fight the power. The only thing worse than another race dissing you is your own race dissing you unabashedly for the fancy of Entertainment. How can we stop the attacks on the outside unless we work on healing our own wounds internally? Be an activist within your community and make others knowledgeable of their history and their culture. Maybe then we can appreciate the path that Bo jangles had to take in order for us to get through the door. Maybe then we can understand that what Amos and Andy did was relevant but was done so we would not have to tread that path once again. But until then I’m still singing along with Nas
“One for the coons on UPN 9 and WB who yes massah on BET” but I’m just a critic...
Who the Hell Am I?
Monday - December 06, 2004
Thursday, September 10, 2009
1816 NW 45th Str
Miami, FL 33142-4748
September 10, 2009
[recipient address was inserted here]
Dear [recipient name was inserted here],
While the price per barrel of oil has fallen from the last summer highs,
it's beginning to rise again. What hasn't changed is the percentage of
oil we import every day: over the past 12 months we have continued to
import nearly two-thirds of the oil we use.
Most of the oil we import is used as a transportation fuel - cars, trucks,
aircraft, boats and trains. About one barrel out of every five is used as
diesel fuel to power heavy trucks - 18-wheelers.
I am all for developing battery and fuel cell technology - or some other
technology which is still in the laboratory stage. But neither batteries
nor hydrogen are ready for widespread distribution to our national fleet
of approximately 250 million cars and light trucks. A battery also won't
push an 18-wheeler. The only fuel which is available to reduce our
dependence on foreign oil is domestic natural gas.
Due to recent advances in technology, we now have the ability to recover
natural gas from the enormous deposits in Texas, Louisiana and Appalachia
in the lower 48 states. In fact, a recent study Potential Gas Committee
estimates that natural gas reserves have surged by 35 percent. The 2,074
trillion cubic feet of domestic natural gas reserves cited in the study is
the equivalent of nearly 350 billion barrels of oil, about the same as
Saudi Arabia's oil reserves.
Natural gas is cheaper than diesel fuel. Natural gas is cleaner than
diesel. It's abundant. And it's ours.
The time to act is now and the NAT GAS Act is the best tool we've had in
decades to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
The NAT GAS Act of 2009 is a bi-partisan bill in both the U.S. House of
Representatives (H.R. 1835) and the Senate (S. 1408). In the House,
Congressmen Boren (D-OK), Larson (D-CT) and Sullivan (R-OK) introduced it
April 1 and it already has nearly 80 bi-partisan cosponsors. In the
Senate, Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Hatch (R-UT) were joined by Senate
Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) to introduce it on July 8.
The NAT GAS Act provides industry with the incentives to replace older
diesel trucks with newer natural gas vehicles - it's a great step in the
right direction. It will provide the momentum for engine manufacturers,
natural gas producers and natural gas distributors to ramp up and make a
real difference in our dependence on foreign oil.
I hope you will sign up as a cosponsor to support this important
legislation. I will be watching your press and floor remarks for
statements of support.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
.....Great stuff! I know much of what he said should be common sense for every grown woman.He really put his brain to work on that one. Much of which I already knew, but I got a much better understanding of some things that had me stumped at times. But here are what I feel were the most important and useful points of the book (in my cliffnotes version, lol)
**To women "Unless a man feels like he has established himself as a man, he's not going to establish you as his woman". If he's really the one you want to be with, sit your ass down until it's your turn! Don't try to force him into anything because he'll resent you for it, and honestly, if he's a real man, he won't stand for it. Get a man with goals, short-term and long-term. If he doesn't even have his short-term figured out ain't NO WAY you're going to be incorporated into his long-term.
**Men are simple creatures. Minimalists that thrive off of basic male necessities. Ladies, you know how you say the smallest things make you happy? The same thing goes for him! As Dave Chappelle says, "Make him a sandwich, play with his balls, and don't talk so much!" Ladies I'm just kidding, not.
However, I must also add that just because you want a man with goals and a plan doesn't mean jump on the first man that comes along! Ladies set your standards high and expect the man you want to reach for the bar and go above and beyond. You have all got too much going for ourselves to settle for less than the best.
I cannot and will not get into all that he had to say but he did indeed give me validation and why I don't regret being single since 2004. Some women just aren't ready for it! LOL (but no seriously), this has also given me time to grow and mature as man into the person I want myself to be...to quote (don't judge me) Souljah Boy: "Be yourself, everybody else is already taken."
Seriously though ladies, it's a good read! It's not a man telling you how to live your life, it's a man offering some insight to a man's mind and how to handle certain situations. You're not obligated to take his advice. But don't say you weren't warned when he takes your cookie and runs. Leaving you wondering why his phone number don't work.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
The Black man, the Italian, and the Irish, have something in common, racism. Except they new that you will not be given anything your must take what you want. Let take a look at the Italian man coming from distant shore landing at Ellis Island being processed in sometime 1n th late 1890's and early 1900's. He looked white, yes he had fair skin and straight hair and if he did not to open his mouth, he could pass as born on these shores to parents from whose ancestors came on the Mayflower, Pinta or Santa Maria. But as soon as he open his mouth and his thick Italian accent came out he experienced racism. Maybe he was not hanged but he experienced economical racism, maybe not as shocking but just as painful. A father knowing that he is being kept from earning a living and providing for his family. He was not given the ability to get a city job, corporate job or dishwasher unless he had no competion for the job by a secondary native (white man), the primary native of America being the native american.. The Irish man also had the same skin complexion, same hair except sometimes his was red. But again when he opened his mouth it was clear that he was not a descendant of those who came on the Mayflower. He also experienced the same economic discrimination. Now what they did understand from their experiences from across the water in their homeland was that if you want something you must do whatever is necessary to get it.
Italians the Mafia and Irish the Boston Mob who have suffered the stigma of the criminal element but with their ill gotten gains they sent the sons and daughters to private schools, joined country clubs and cleaned up themselves and their grandsons and daughters have doctors, lawyers, mayors, senators and govenors. They thought about "commin up not dummin up". The Irish of Boston hired the own political leaders, secured every job in city government that was a hiring position and hired their own, to make sure that every Irsihman in Boston could make a good living for their families.
As a teacher in the public school system I so not see the children of the crack dealer, the pimp or any underworld figure comin up just the children of the poor dummin up. We must get some political power in our community and use it pull our people up. We must not live the "crab in the bucket" syndrome.
Mothers we must go back to raisng our children with strict standards of our grand parents and discipline children with the understanding and not emotional sentiment. Base the severity of the punishment on the wrong act displayed not on having a pretty child. Talk to your grandparents about how they were brought and lets go back to that. The time of all this superficial nonsense is past and understanding is needed. Malcom X said that Black women are the mothers of our race. Men we need to step up and give the game to our women. Make sure that they know what is important to us as a people for our up and commin like "George Jeffrerson".
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
of TRUTH or a LIE, RIGHT or WRONG, LEFT or RIGHT, all
You need to do to OWN Your Life is to Program Your
Mind with The 7 Positive Emotions all the time.
When Your Sub-Conscious mind goes to the 7 Negative
Emotions Click on the Bob Newhart Video below.
According to scientists, 25% of our lifespan is determined by genes. Which means the other 75%, fortunately or not as we embark on the long weekend, is determined by lifestyle choices. What are some other tips Buettner gleamed from interviewing dozens of people who've lived well into their 90s, and even into their 100s? We consulted his book and then asked him - and a few of his 100-year-old friends - to help us come up with The Queen Victoria Tributary: 101 Ways to Live to be 100 years old.
101. Practice moderation. This isn't rocket science. Even Brussels sprouts become deadly when you're mainlining them a dozen at a time.
100. You see, you can have chocolate, foie gras and even the odd Du Maurier as long as you practice portion control.
99. "Port wine, olive oil and a sense of humour," 122-year-old Jeanne Calment's three rules for living a long, happy life.
98. Experience nature. A hike through the woods is better for you than two hours at the gym.
97. Still, even the worst gym work-out is better than an afternoon in front of your computer. Everyday, try and do something active.
96. Eat a light meal for supper.
95. And, dear God, forgo fast food. (Even a Wendy's salad can't compare with something grown in your own backyard).
94. "Start a garden!" implores Dan Buettner, who says that was the first thing he told his bacon-addicted 73-year-old dad.
93. A garden not only provides fresh, organic vegetables, but it also gives us a purpose. Through weeding, watering and watching something develop, we have something healthy to look forward to.
92. Having a purpose in life is a proven link to living longer. What's the most likely demographic to live past 100? Women who've had children after 40.
91. Not that we're particularly suggesting all women over 40 should go out and have kids.
90. That said, sexual intercourse is a terrific exercise.
89. A lean, plant-based diet accented with meat is much healthier than the typical North American diet. Eat your veggies.
88. Okinawa, Japan has the greatest concentration of healthy centenarians. What is 104-year-old Ushi Okushima's tips for a long, happy life? "Stop worrying about getting something in your future and worrying about what you missed in your past," she says in The Blue Zones. "Living in the present, more than anything, keeps you young."
87. Okushima also says to celebrate your elders. Remember, Father's Day is coming up!
86. Choose fish over red meat. Most of the healthiest diets eschew meat altogether, but we'll just recommend upping your fish protein intake and lowering your beef and pork.
85. Especially salmon.
84. We know it isn't easy. Buettner says bacon is the one thing his father won't quit.
83. Associate with like-minded people. If you hang out all day at buffets with alcoholic chain-smoking food addicts, odds are you won't be walking thirty minutes a day.
82. Get your flavonoids. Found in red wine, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables and dark chocolate, this secondary plant metabolite reduces rates of cancer and heart disease.
81. Eat soy. It's found in edamame and tofu, and it's painless.
80. "I grew up on a farm in Alberta and never much cared to drink the secretions of cow," says Dr. Ellsworth Wareham. We always thought a glass of milk was healthy, but Dr. Wareham is 94 years old and, when we spoke to him, he'd just completed eight hours of cardiac surgery. As the surgeon.
79. Take in a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun.
78. And what of Canadians, people in Saskatchewan and Manitoba who have just come through one of the coldest winters in years? Think SAD lamps. Available at orientationsnova.com, a Canadian company doing innovative work with seasonal affective disorder and light therapy for the past eight years.
77. Don't be so paranoid about carbs. In Sardinia, Italy, one of Buettner's designated Blue Zones, the shepherds mostly ate bread.
76. They also have cheese. Which, as any Frenchwoman will tell you, can be the elixir of life.
75. "None of us know how to live a long life, it wouldn't be fair if we did," says Marge Jenner, 105, from her home in Loma Linda, Calif. "My granddaughter goes out of her way to make me happy. Sometimes I feel guilty for taking up her time. She should live a really long life."
74. Marge Jenner has been a vegetarian for the past 60 years and when you get her on the phone, it's hard to ask her too many questions because she spends most of the conversation asking about you. "All I can say is thanks God for all he's given me," Jenner says. "I just got over hip surgery and look forward to taking my walk."
73. "You want to know my big secret for living a long life?" she asks. "Not hurrying. You young folks hurry too much these days."
72. Family may be the other big secret for living a long life. 95% of the people in Sardinia who lived to be more than 100 had a daughter or granddaughter caring for them.
71. The fatty acids in goat milk helps prevent atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.
70. Goat's milk also contains 13% more calcium, 25% more vitamin B, 47% more vitamin A and 134% more potassium than cow's milk. It's also good in soup.
69. Still, go easy on the salt. It contributes to high blood pressure and weakens arteries.
68. Go see a doctor. "As the Chinese say, you can't treat a disease until you put a name on it," says Buettner. "Get yourself checked out so you know where you stand."
67. Since Buettner has been so helpful to us, we'll also plug his website, bluezones.com. On the site, there's a checklist for measuring your estimated life span. If smoking knocks off six years of your life, walking everyday can add another two years. All sorts of handy algorithms are available on the site.
66. "Eat until you are 80% full." This just plum makes sense.
65. Make your house less mechanically inclined.
64. This means manually opening your garage door, shovelling your driveway and whisking the flour in your cakes. Even the six calories you'll burn opening a can of tuna helps.
63. Leave the car at home.
62. Cut down on stress. Remember that line from Alice in Wonderland? "The hurrier I go the behinder I get." Think about that. Because it's true.
61. Friendships, like wine, also relieve stress. It's healthy to vent.
60. Turmeric, found in spicy curries and mustard, has antioxidants that are an easy defense against inflammatory ailments.
59. Follow a sports team. It's nice to have something to cheer for.
58. Just as long as that "something" isn't the Maple Leafs. People die over broken hearts.
57. Eat nuts -- a simple way to add at least three years to your life expectancy.
56. And no, it doesn't matter what kind of nuts you eat. They help cut down the risk of heart disease.
55. Don't forget about vitamin S -- a smile. And not only because a happier person experiences less stress but, according to Buettner, a person's likability makes a huge difference in not only the help you'll receive in the health care system, but also from family and friends. Think of being nice to people as a cheap insurance policy.
54. How does a person become "nice"? "Remember names, ask questions of people rather than droning on about your life and don't complain," Buettner says. "If you're generous, you'll be well-liked. There are measurable returns that come from friendships with regards to good health."
53. Be positive. When you get down, remember: a super-centenarian is a person aged 110 and over. Their numbers have climbed since the 80s. Odds are, you're going to be here awhile. May as well enjoy.
52. Which basically means, "embrace your ikigai," as they say in Japan. "Ikigai" is your reason to get up every morning.
51. And everyone should drink water. Men who drink five or six glasses a day are 70% less likely to suffer fatal heart attacks.
50. Reduce the noise around you. And this doesn't just mean lowering the volume on your TV. Simplify everything.
49. Organic wheat grass has been known to work wonders.
48. And gluten-free foods, like the kind found on the Canadian Celiac Association website, celiac.ca, are much healthier than the stuff you find at the grocery store.
47. By all means, maintain social connections. Queen Victoria began her decline after the death of her husband. Who knows? The long weekend could have stretched out through Wednesday had he lasted a few more years.
46. Please stop smoking. Tobacco-related ailments remain the most preventable causes of death and disease in North America.
45. "My mantra is do what you enjoy," Buetnner says. "If you're not liking something, whether it's your workout or your gluten-free diet, 98% of people won't keep something up. Find the things that adhere to you."
44. Like gardening. Both Marge Jenner and Dan Buettner spoke so effusively about the power of having a green thumb, that we hereby abdicate every National Post reader maintains some kind of green space. It pays dividends.
43. Don't be afraid of mugwort. It may sound like something out of Harry Potter, but this wild weed used to flavour teas has proven medicinal effects.
42. Volunteer. Because it's not only how long we live, but what the life we live is actually like. Give something back. You will grow.
41. Dr. Ellsworth Wareham is truly inspirational. He recently relaid his backyard fence. "I think it's important for me to keep active," he says. "People say, 'I don't drive at night.' Well, I drive over 2,000 miles a month on Southern California freeways, much of it at night. It keeps me alert." Again, Dr. Wareham is a heart surgeon. The 94-year-old drives home after operating on the hearts of younger men.
40. Mental acuity is closely tied to physical health. Whether it's online Scrabble or Sudoku, keep the tools sharp.
39. One centenarian in Costa Rica suggests reciting a few stanzas of poetry every night. From memory, she can recite a six-minute Pablo Neruda poem.
38. Breakfast should be your day's largest meal, then lunch, and then dinner. Portion-size should decrease through the course of the day.
37. In Nicoya, Costa Rica, the average 60-year-old has twice the chance of reaching 90 than people in Canada, France or even Japan. Luis Rosero-Bixby has studied their population. "The people here have very liberal attitudes toward sex," Rosero-Bixby says in The Blue Zones. "They tend to have many sexual partners throughout life."
36. They also eat three times as many limes.
35. Sleep tightly. Sleep is what keeps the immune system functioning. Adults need between seven and nine hours a night.
34. "Moderate drinkers outlive teetotallers," says Buettner. "You guys have a long weekend in Canada? You should drink!"
33. "Moderately," Buettner adds.
32. Everyone knows oranges have high vitamin C content. But did you know they also prevent heart disease, cancer and strokes?
31. But you have to eat them, not drink ‘em.
30. If you're going to take vitamins, find something with calcium. The heart is a muscle, and calcium makes our muscles strong. It also helps with bone strength. Hip fractures are one of the leading causes of death amongst seniors.
29. Dedicate yourself to something for five weeks and the practice becomes a habit. Start living healthier now, and you're odds of living longer will have increased by Father's Day.
28. Introduce balancing exercises into your workouts. (One in every three adults over 65 experiences a fall each year). It's never to early to train. And it can be as easy as standing on one foot every day.
27. Yoga also helps improve balance.
26. Not to mention that joining a yoga studio, cycling club or gym will also increase your social network.
25. Take care of your teeth. They're one of the most important parts of your digestive system and can easily be maintained with regular brushing, flossing and trips to the dentist.
24. Also, eat sardines. They're loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and offer high levels of Coenzyme Q10, which is a powerful antioxidant known to promote a strong immune system.
23. Choose healthy hobbies. Even two hours of bowling can burn 490-calories -- and two hours of dancing burns more than that!
22. Your goal should be to get in the habit of at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week. And exercise does include walking.
21. Losing 10% of body weight will lower blood pressure and cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. Have we mentioned how important it is to practice portion control?
20. Also, put a scale in your bathroom. One study showed that women who weighed themselves daily lost an average of 12-pounds a year.
19. But don't for one minute think you have to give up red wine. Red wine contains artery-scrubbing polyphenols that fight against arteriosclerosis.
18. Just don't get behind the wheel after drinking. That greatly reduces the effectiveness of the previous 83 tips.
17. Eat four to six vegetable servings every day. And if you can get down tofu, even better.
16. Learn a new language or how to play an instrument. People are purpose-driven.
15. Adopting a pet will also give life meaning. Having something to care for makes us want to live.
14. Go slow. "People who've made it to 100 seem to exude a sense of sublime serenity," Buettner says. Take naps. Taste your food. Don't eat in front of the television.
13. Basically, stop and smell the roses. Preferably ones that you've grown.
12. Arriving fifteen minutes early to every appointment helps to minimize stress. (And no, I didn't just put that in there for my wife).
11. Carry your clubs on the golf course and fore-go escalators for stairs. Make slight lifestyle alterations as opposed to a series of massive changes all at once.
10. And furthermore, don't try all of these things today. Buettner suggests only taking on any three tips at a time. (Maybe four if you're experimenting over the long weekend).
9. Pick up The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest. It is a pretty damned inspiring book.
8. "I don't know what you young people believe, but I couldn't imagine life without God," says Marge Jenner, our 105-year-old Californian. Most research suggests having a belief-system is healthy. Whatever that belief-system may be.
7. Eat cooked corn. It's loaded with calcium (as is broccoli, kale and cheese).
6. Do something nice for somebody else. Who knows? Maybe they'll give you cooked corn.
5. "I had a sit-down with my dad about his bacon-eating habits and, believe me, they're hard to change," Buettner says. Expect these changes to be gradual. No one lived to be 101 overnight.
4. In two years, 98% of people on diets run back to their previous eating habits. Make real lifestyle changes. Don't let these tips become fads.
3. Hail the power of the sweet potato! High in fiber, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C and folic acid, they're also easy to make.
2. Dark chocolate is another treat which, when not eaten in a massive Chris Farley-sized binge, doesn't have to be denied. (It has more antioxidants than milk).
1. "You've got to have piece of mind," Dr. Ellsworth says. "I was a navy officer on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II and that taught me something: I don't have stress in my life. If you watch your diet and exercise, well, I don't see any reason why all sorts of people can't live just as long as me."
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
achievement which stagger the imagination, is well described in the following verse:
‘If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don't
If you like to win, but you think you can't,
It is almost certain you won't.
‘If you think you'll lose, you're lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will—
It's all in the state of mind.
‘If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
‘Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!’
Observe the words which have been emphasized, and you
will catch the deep meaning which the poet had in
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The emotions of FAITH, LOVE, and SEX are the most powerful of all the major positive emotions. When the three are blended, they have the effect of ‘coloring’ the vibration of thought in such a way that it instantly reaches the subconscious mind, where it is changed into its spiritual equivalent, the only form that induces a response from Infinite Intelligence. Love and faith are psychic; related to the spiritual side of man. Sex is purely biological, and related
only to the physical. The mixing, or blending, of these three emotions has the effect of opening a direct line of communication between the finite, thinking mind of man, and Infinite Intelligence.
First. I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my Definite Purpose in life, therefore, I DEMAND of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action.
Second. I realize the dominating thoughts of my mind
will eventually reproduce themselves in outward, physical action, and gradually transform themselves into physical reality, therefore, I will concentrate my thoughts for thirty minutes daily, upon the task of thinking of the person I intend to become, thereby creating in my mind a clear mental picture of that person.
Third. I know through the principle of autosuggestion, any desire that I persistently hold in my mind will eventually seek expression through some practical means of attaining the object back of it, therefore, I will devote ten minutes daily to demanding of myself the development of SELFCONFIDENCE.
Fourth. I have clearly written down a description of my DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life, and I will never stop trying, until I shall have developed sufficient selfconfidence for its attainment.
Fifth. I fully realize that no wealth or position can long endure, unless built upon truth and justice, therefore, I will engage in no transaction which does not benefit all whom it affects. I will succeed by attracting to myself the forces I wish to use, and the cooperation of other people. I will induce others to serve me, because of my willingness to serve others.
I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism, by developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative attitude toward others can never bring me success. I will cause others to believe in me, because I will believe in them, and in myself. I will sign my name to this formula, commit it to memory, and repeat it aloud once a day, with full FAITH that it will gradually influence my THOUGHTS and ACTIONS so that I will become a self-reliant, and successful person. Have Faith in yourself; Faith in the Infinite.
Before we begin, you should be reminded again that:
FAITH is the ‘eternal elixir’ which gives life, power, and action to the impulse of thought! The foregoing sentence is worth reading a second time, and a third, and a fourth. It is worth reading aloud!
FAITH is the starting point of all accumulation of riches!
FAITH is the basis of all ‘miracles,’ and all mysteries which cannot be analyzed by the rules of science!
FAITH is the only known antidote for FAILURE!
FAITH is the element, the ‘chemical’ which, when mixed with prayer, gives one direct communication with Infinite Intelligence.
FAITH is the element which transforms the ordinary vibration of thought, created by the finite mind of man, into the spiritual equivalent.
FAITH is the only agency through which the cosmic force of Infinite Intelligence can be harnessed and used by man.
now, a very significant statement of truth:
THOUGHTS WHICH ARE MIXED WITH ANY OF THE FEELINGS OF EMOTIONS, CONSTITUTE A ‘MAGNETIC’ FORCE WHICH ATTRACTS,
Excerpts frorm "Think and Grow Rich" by Napolean Hill
Friday, May 15, 2009
I thought of money and how it was an odious beast. It consumed everything offered to it. What slobbering was in such greed! Ithought of how the rich are choked with the weight of gold, and the gardens grow no fruit to satisfy them. There is oppression in the perfume of the air, and none of the rich man's blooms bring happiness. For his neighbor is wealtheir than himself and his gardens more beautiful. So the rich are always envious of the next man's gold.
Here in the outer court of the Temple, surrounded by these money lenders, I spoke to all and my voice was my own. I said: " No man can pay allegiance to two masters. For he will cling to the one he needs and in secret dispise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon."
Then I heard the Devil speak to me for the first time since I been with him on the mountain. He said" Before it is over, the rich will posess you as well. They will put your image on every wall. The alms raised in your name will swell the treasury of mighty churches; men will worship you most when you belong to me as much as to Him. Which is just. For I am His equal." And he laughed. He knew what he would say next:" Greed is a beast, you say, but note this! Its defecations are weighed in gold. Isn't that the color of the sun which all things grow?" The Lord chose to reply in my other ear: " Everything he says makes sense until it does no longer. He gives this speech to all who catches his eye, and his eye is only for the best and most beautiful, whom I have fashioned with great hope. He scorns those who are modest but remain with Me. And this was more than my Father ever said again about Satan, but at this moment it gave little force to my faith. Did my Father speak well of the meek because thay were the only ones who remained loyal to Him and to me? How full of chaos was such a thought! I fell prey to a wrath greater than any I had known before.
In the eyes ofthe moneylenders, greed was as sharp as the point of a spear; the rage of Isaiah came into me. In his words I cried out: " These tables are a pool of vomit. In such filth, nothing is clean!" And I overturned each of he tables before me. I threw them over with the money that was on them, and I exuilted as the coins gave small criess one striking stones of the courtyard. Each possessor ran after his lost coins like he swine of Gadreene as they rushed into the sea. Then I knocked over the seats of those who sold doves and I opened the cages. On this commotion of wings the multitude who were with me came forward and cheeered at the defiance of usury. I said: " My house shall be called the house of prayer. Whereas you are men of Mammon and have made it a den of thieves.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
This movie set in 1890 this amazing tale about a man and his mustang horse, Hildago, takes us on an incredible journey from America's Wild West all the way across the Sahara desert. Frank T Hopkins is half Indian and white. He is mail delivery person who delivers dispatches to army post. The United States government was nervous after containing the Indians on this reservation. The Indians were doing the Ghost Dance, a dance that calls the spirits of past Indians and ask for help in a current situation. When Frank gets to Wound Knee Reservation he sees the Indians are doing the dance and mentions it to the captain. He is riding off and hears approximately a quarter mile back gunshots. He turns and realizes that the dispatch he delivered contained the orders to slaughter the Indians on the reservations. When he gets there he can only look in disbelief at his people are being gunned down and then he realizes that he brought the orders that resulted in the massacre Wounded Knee Creek of the reservation of Indians. He then becomes an alcoholic drowning in the bottle trying to run away from the memory of the slaughter. He also becomes the star of Buffalo Bill Cody's (J K Simmons) Wild West Show where Frank's horse is touted as the greatest endurance racer in the world. He hears of the race across the Sahara from Buffalo Bill. An old Indian Chief tells him that he must go on this race of endurance across the Sahara Desert. Not to win the money a $100,000 purse but to find himself, to become the Indian of his mother or the White Man of his father or die as a no account person in Wild Bill’s Wild West Show.
Frank has blue eyes and blonde hair. The race is truly a race of endurance and self seeking. He is about to enter a race of thoroughbreds horses, with a Spanish Mustang ”Hildago” which is a mut of a horse with different breeds intermingled. The mustang is bred to be tough and fast though. His main rivals are two, the Sheik’s horse Al Atttal, a horse among horses. Also a white woman's horse who if wins will have the rights of breeding with Al Attal. She is unscrupulous and has hired the Sheik's nephew, a no account thief to sabotage the race. The nephew visits the Sheik to ask to ride the horse and is refused by the Sheik which leads to the kidnapping of the Sheik's daughter. Now prior to the kidnapping Frank is the underdog of the race because he is riding a mustang and not a thorough bred. The desert race goes through four countries for a total of 1500 miles through Syria, Iraq, Iran and ending in Egypt at the ocean. The daughter of the Sheik has been promised to the winner of the race. Hopefully, the prince who is riding Al Attal if he wins. She is caught in the tent of Frank, and even though Frank’s intentions were honorable, he did not touch the Sheiks daughter. She was giving him dates, camel butter to mix with the water for the kidneys of the Frank and the mustang during the race through the dessert. She tells him of the wind / sand storms, that the locust are a gift from Allah as food and not a curse, and how much her father is addicted the stories of cowboy west of America. But she is found in the tent of an infidel, she has dishonored her father and herself. Frank is set to be castrated until he remembers to mention stories of the west her father is so fond of and saves himself “ Wild Bill” , “The Okay Corral”. These stories buy him time and save his life.
He is sent to get the daughter from the kidnapping nephew in exchange for his testes. The story ends with him about to kill his horse when the horses kidneys start going out and horses nose starts to bleed. Then he sees what he thinks is a spirit and remembers the ghost dance then chants and gets help from the spirits. He takes the saddle off the horse and rides it bare back across the finish line to the ocean. Frank accepts that he is an Indian and lives a peacefully thereafter. The United States in away to further disable the Indian was to kill all the mustangs if the so they could not be bought back by the Indians. But the price is so high they are too much for a poor Indian to buy. After Frank comes back for Egypt he with the purse buys all the mustangs. He delivers another dispatch to the captain on duty. Who replies “You got another dispatch for me.” This dispatch read something like this “ Frank has purchased all the mustang s you are to let him do as he pleases with them.” Frank release all of the mustangs out of the gate back onto the plains along with his horse “Hildago” .
Because of the truth racism in these films I am not surprised that these movies did not do well at the box office, and also equally surprised that “Hildago” and “Quigley Down Under” were even allowed to be made.
This is when the story begins. Quigley and Kate are found by Aborigine and nursed back to health. Quigley and Kate stay with the Aborigine for a few days to a couple of weeks and become friends of the Aborigine. Quigley want revenge for his treatment. He witnesses the Aborigine people who nursed him and Kate to health run off a cliff. This scene is so very violent about 30 or so men, women and children were ran off a cliff to their deaths. (It is the slaughter of this people by white men that is repulsive to me as an African American black man with Black Foot Indian as a part of my heritage.) All were killed except a baby boy who was saved from the impact by his mother on who protected him from the fall with her dead body. Kate ran down to stop the masequer but was too late. She found the boy and took him. Now what made Kate crazy was that a year or so earlier she suffocated her infant son to quiet him during an attack. Her husband put her on a boat and sent her to Australia to die. With the logic saying that he could not be married to a woman who would kill her baby to save herself. So now with this boy she has a chance to perhaps redeem herself in her own mind by having courage. She always has dreamed of her husband coming to get her and fantasizes that Quigley is him "Ron". Kate and Quigley are now on a mission to get revenge on the rancher for the people. Quigley along the way has killed several whites to protect the Aborigine from death in an uneven fight. As he would always say "All me were not created equal but Smith and Wesson changed that." So when the Aborigine was fighting with just spears against rifles Quigley evened the odds. In the end Quigley killed the rancher and his men, Kate defended the baby against dingoes successfully which then gave her a peace of mind. Quigley was surrounded by British troops on the ranch after his dessimation of the rancher and his men, who was lead by a captain that had no love for Americans. The same captain who he had a brief conversation with. The conversation went something like this
Captain: “England had kicked all he unsavory Brits out and they started America. Quigley : “ America kicked all it unsavory out and they were called Brits.
So now Quicgley is surrounded by this captain and his men . The captain assures Quigley that he will come to trial according to the warrant peaceably or hung there. Then in the background he Captain sees a nation of Aborigine surrounding the ranch on the horizon with spears. The British Captain and his men are forced to let Quigley go. Kate and Quigley go back to America to start a life together. From this I get that men can live in peace with love if we chose to.