Pakistan Under Emergency Rule - Uh Oh!

If you haven't had the news on, that "pal" of ours, Musharraf of Pakistan, has a mess on his hands... and this time, it's not directly George Bush. The road to the country's Supreme Court is closed and all hell is breaking loose there with a huge honking state of emergency declared.

This has everything to do with the Supremes there set to rule on whether Musharraf can declare himself the winner in the election a few weeks ago which many said was rigged in his favor (sound familiar... Bush 2000? Diebold making Pak voting machines, perhaps?).

Coalition of the willing, indeed.


Repugnicants Love Torture - So Long As It's Done To Others

Much of the time, it's easy to believe you've heard it all, that nothing else can shock you.
But listening to MSNBC later Monday night, in a discussion of AG Nominee Mukasey, the way he's hedging on whether something like waterboarding is torture or not (gee, what is it if not torture?), and how this is making "a sure-fire nomination" into a testy affair, my "delicate sensibilities" were once again tested.

The offender in this case in Michael Reagan, the adopted son of former U.S. president Ronald Reagan, a right-wing talk show host who has always played very desperately into the extreme right fold because he knows he possesses neither the brain power nor the pizzazz to be anyone in his own right. Reagan, making fun of Sen. Lindsey Graham, a GOPeer himself - for having the nerve to question the Bushies' insistence that God WANTS America to torture anyone Muslim (or Dem or Progressive), uttered something like, "heck, the only thing we can be sure of is now we'd like to see Lindsey Graham waterboarded."

Nice. Really nice.

Michael Reagan has always sickened me. But this is a new low, even for him. That anyone in this country is even advocating torture - let alone making it sound like something fun to do to those who disagree with them - tells us a lot about the very wrong direction in which this country has been taken.

Terrorists on 9-11 didn't destroy our way of life - our leaders did it, and any of us who stood up and declared they could take away any rights or liberties or human rights protections from us just to keep us safe destroyed our way of life.

Why, oh why, do the extreme righters - and surprise others like Alan Dershowitz - hate America so much?


Putting A Face On The American Home Foreclosure Crisis

As some of you kindly noticed, I've been absent a great deal lately (although I believe the situation is now corrected... especially once my DSL begins to work). Although I really hate airing dirty laundry in public, I feel obligated to tell you a bit of why I've been missing, since it ties directly into a very serious situation here in America: a record of primary home foreclosures that now EXCEEDS that of the Great Depression that began in 1929.

I am one of 1.6 million home mostly middle class home owners whose home was foreclosed upon. Obviously, my financial problems were a big part of it; like many, my principal income post September 11th nose-dived and (also a sad norm with foreclosures and bankruptcies) a catastrophic illness in 2003 left me unable to work the 20 hours a day, 7 days a week I had for many years. By 2005, every effort I engaged in to secure my home went boom.

Though financial advisors always say to contact your mortgage company, lay out the case, and work with them to find a solution, my mortgage holder - the largest in the U.S. - never returned my calls. In fact, in the 7 years I had a mortgage with them, I never managed to speak to one single human being. When I tried to sell the home (tough in a bad market), the mortgage holder fought that, too, going to court to prevent me from doing so.

Sadly, my case is becoming the norm. Millions and millions of homes have been taken back since Bush took office (the "ownership" society he talked about really only meant the banks owning us), and though 1.6 million have been lost this year alone, some figures cite that at least 20 million other home owners are in serious danger of bankruptcy/foreclosure in the next year. Millions more are at risk of losing homes within the next two years. (More than half of all bankruptcies in the U.S. have as their initial factor medical bills - but, of course, universal health care isn't needed by anyone except Congress for themselves. ::cough::choke::

This crisis does NOT just affect the home owners. Mortgage companies have no reason these days to work with home owners because the federal government gives them a wonderful out: all the laws are written to their favor AND the Federal National Mortage Association (aka Fannie Mae) comes in and buys these foreclosed homes with our tax dollars to save the mortgage holders. Since homes aren't selling, this is only going to worsen... and get much worse if we continue to have someone like Bush (aka Giuliani, Thompson, etc.) in the White House and running Congress.

Massachusetts is talking about trying to intercede to provide some kind of bridge between distressed home owners and their mortgage holders to try to help people stay in their homes and save tax dollars being lost to "help" mortgage companies when it's American families who need the assistance.

I'm not asking for sympathy here, but to help put a face on this crisis. So many of my friends have been totally perplexed how someone like me, hardworking and frugal, could be caught. The answer is, this can happen to anyone. And does.

Crawling In The Fast Lane!

Who knew that when I recently moved deeper into the high rural hills of Vermont - and happened to get a roving bear as a neighbor - that I would happen to land in one of the few areas in the deep woods that offers DSL service. Even got it installed on Thursday.

Now only if it worked!

Sadly, I think it's a TCP issue, messed up beyond recognition and, so far, resistant to removal/reinstallation. But to know that 1.5 mbps is sitting on my desktop just beyond the reach of my system is only incredibly frustrating.

More irritating is that the only place the catten (a three month old kitten who appeared less than 24 hours after I moved in whom the dog adopted immediately, hereafter known as Jerry Che Garcia because, like his namesake, he doesn't do well in rehab EITHER) will sleep is at my temporary desk setup. My rump is a ruin of scars from his trying to convince me to get out of ::cough:: his seat.

However, Karlo will be pleased to learn that Jerry does not blog. In fact, Jerry refuses to do anything but beg for food, make the dog (Ben) cry, and fight for my seat.

My only other complaint is that I missed both a Gogol Bordello (gypsy punk) concert at my old alma mater Vermont College and a Ladysmith Black Mambasa performance at the Barre Opera House earlier this month. However, I intend to LIVE more of my life in this incarnation of me, so next time there's a concert I want to attend, I am there!