Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Major hat tip to firedoglake and Jane Hamsher!
December 23, 2009
Attorney General of the United States of America
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Holder:
We write to demand an immediate investigation into the activities of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. We believe there is an abundant public record which establishes that the actions of the White House have blocked any investigation into his activities while on the board of Freddie Mac from 2000-2001, and facilitated the cover up of potential malfeasance until the 10-year statute of limitations has run out.
The purpose of this letter is to connect the dots to establish both the conduct of Mr. Emanuel and those working with him to thwart inquiry, and to support your acting speedily so that the statute of limitations does not run out before the Justice Department is able to empanel a grand jury.
The New York Times reports that the administration is negotiating to double the commitments to Fannie and Freddie for a total of $800 billion by December 31, in order to avoid the congressional approval that would be needed after that date. But there currently is no Inspector General exercising independent oversight of these entities. Acting Inspector General Ed Kelly was stripped of his authority earlier this year by the Justice Department, relying on a loophole in a bill Mr. Emanuel cosponsored and pushed through Congress shortly before he left for the White House. This effectively ended Mr. Kelly’s investigation into what happened at Fannie and Freddie.
Since that time, despite multiple warnings by Congress that having no independent Inspector General for a federal agency that oversees $6 trillion in mortgages is a serious oversight, the White House has not appointed one.
We recognize that these are extremely serious accusations, but the stonewalling by Mr. Emanuel and the White House has left us with no other redress. A 2003 report by Freddie Mac’s regulator indicated that Freddie Mac executives had informed the board of their intention to misstate the earnings to insure their own bonuses during the time Mr. Emanuel was a director. But the White House refused to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request from the Chicago Tribune for those board minutes on the grounds that Freddie Mac was a “commercial” entity, even though it was wholly owned by the government at the time the request was made.
If the Treasury approves the $800 billion commitment to Fannie and Freddie by the end of the year, it will mean that under the influence of Rahm Emanuel, the White House is moving a trillion-dollar slush fund into corruption-riddled companies with no oversight in place. This will allow Fannie and Freddie to continue to purchase more toxic assets from banks, acting as a back-door increase of the TARP without congressional approval.
Before the White House commits any more money to Fannie and Freddie, we call on the Public Integrity Section in the Justice Department to begin an investigation into the cause of Fannie and Freddie’s conservatorship, into Rahm Emanuel’s activities on the board of Freddie Mac (including any violations of his fiduciary duties to shareholders), into the decision-making behind the continued vacancy of Fannie and Freddie’s Inspector General post, and into potential public corruption by Rahm Emanuel in connection with his time in Congress, in the White House, and on the board of Freddie Mac.
We also call for the immediate appointment of an Inspector General with a complete remit to go after this information.
We both come from differing political ideologies. One of us is the conservative head of a transparency foundation, and the other is the publisher of a liberal political blog. But we make common cause today out of grave concern for the future of our country in the wake of corruption-riddled bailouts. These bailouts continue to rob Main Street to benefit Wall Street, and, because of that, we together demand the resignation of Mr. Emanuel, a man who has steadfastly worked to obstruct both oversight and inquiry into the matter. Rahm Emanuel’s conflicts of interest render him far too compromised to serve as gatekeeper to the President of the United States.
We will lay out the details further below, and are available at your earliest convenience to meet with you directly.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Jesus Christ would not be pleased at what's occurring in his name. Radical religious extremists are in every religion. They are just too busy pointing fingers at others to see their own reflections. Todays Grand Obstructionist Party is actively courting religious extremists.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
By: Georgianne Nienaber
And so it came to pass that the Angel, Hope, received three children to light, to guard, to love and guide for almost eighty years. You see, there are many more people on Earth than there are angels to watch over them, so sometimes the angels are asked to protect more than one. Hope's duties would require her to keep watch over children in Nebraska, Chicago and the deepest regions of Congo--and from the way Hope saw things, time did not stretch from Point A to Point B. Everything happened all at once, and the actions of people, both good and bad, kept repeating. Only the angels know this, and they often discuss among themselves that if people only knew that time did not march on, but forever marched in place, that then they would truly understand what love was all about and how absolutely necessary it is.
Hope's job in Congo was not more difficult than it was in Nebraska or Chicago, even though on the surface it would seem that Congo presented the greater challenge. On the grand scale, the physical suffering of hundreds of millions of people under brutal rulers-- exploitation that is truly hell on earth--is certainly greater than the relatively occasional murders and injustices in the Heartland of the United States. But Hope's job was to watch over the souls and minds of her three assignments. If she could guard them with great care, their spirits would forever march in harmony with Time. Hope was no more responsible for the terrible things that people did to one another than God was, but people always seemed to blame God and bad angels for their own doing. Helen from Nebraska, Annie from Chicago, and Domitile from Congo would be under the protection of Hope's great wings from the time they struggled into the world, and only Hope understood how their lives were in tune with each other and with Time.
Helen was born in Nebraska and lived with two brothers and two sisters in a big white frame house. Life in the rural Heartland revolved around the seasons, a close-knit family, and a special love Helen had for God. Faith and religion were the centerpieces of her idyllic existence, and this resulted in what Helen felt was a "calling" to the Catholic sisterhood. Helen watched the sisters who taught her and felt that their lives held a special interest and mystery. The sisters always appeared to be joyful and happy. God seemed close and near, but what Helen could not know was that her life and her soul would soon be in great danger. Not too long after Helen decided to join the convent, she became a stranger to herself and it was only through the warmth of Hope's wings warming her freezing heart that Helen was able to overcome suicidal thoughts. Helen experienced the dark days of the soul that poets and saints know so well. She had given her life to God, and God had seemingly abandoned her, but Helen had Hope and she rededicated herself to service in God's grace.
And so one day Helen found herself teaching at a large high school for girls in Chicago, and Annie was one of her young journalism students. Annie's life was tough from the beginning. Abandoned spiritually by a mother with special mental challenges, Annie had no comprehension of the love strong family ties could offer. But Annie, also, had Hope. In fact, her Granny had given her a locket with a picture of an angel with great wings that stood guard over a young girl who was crossing a dangerous bridge. The brass casing still has tooth marks on it, and no one knew that Annie kept the locket hidden in the breast pocket of her school uniform. It felt good to have that part of Granny with her and the image of the angel was Hope, of course, and Hope had led Annie to Sister Helen's literature and journalism classes. Helen taught Annie all about the basics of journalism, recognized that Annie had a raw talent for writing, and so made Annie Editor of Page Two of the student newspaper. Helen taught Annie the intricacies of photography and often featured Annie's work. Annie found a place and family and encouragement that she never dreamed possible and began to think of Sister Helen's classes as Home. Helen taught Annie that the pen was mightier than the sword and helped her student to develop the beginnings of a strong sword arm that has served her well through the years.
Image: Inside Annie's Locket
What Annie never knew until many years later was that Helen would sit in her room at the convent she shared with forty other sisters and weep as she struggled to get lessons prepared and papers corrected by the ten p.m. curfew. Her jobs as moderator of the school yearbook and newspaper, senior homeroom, journalism and religion classes were simply too much. In later years, Helen would tell Annie that the years of depression, self doubt and thoughts of suicide provided insights that helped her understand hurting and suffering people in her ministry; a ministry, and Hope of course, which eventually led Helen to live and work with the poor of Appalachia who had migrated to Chicago in the sixties and seventies.
There was a very good reason that Helen and Annie shared Hope. Both would live out their youth and middle age plagued with self-doubt, and Annie would be betrayed late in life by someone she loved and trusted, just as Helen once felt betrayed by God. The incident would lead to the same suicidal thoughts Helen once experienced, but the soul is given only the burdens it can bear. Luckily, Annie had Helen as well as Hope, and when Annie called Helen in desperation after returning from Congo one day--feeling broken, bitter and betrayed-- she told Helen that where she once saw light, she could only see black, and this frightened her deeply. Helen told her that she would learn a depth of compassion from these events that she never dreamed possible. And so it came to pass that Helen's life lessons saved Annie, and the skills she taught Annie enabled Annie to write with passion and conviction about the people in Congo who had lost everything.
And then it happened that Hope led Annie to know four gentle songwriters who became her friends. One day, they were driving together on a country road in the Heartland discussing what they could do to bring Hope to the women of Congo who were being brutalized by war. Hope put the idea into their heads that they could offer the women of Congo music and words that proved there were women on the far side of the world who shared compassion for their suffering. Annie and her songwriter friends realized they had an almost impossible job, but Hope encouraged them to press on. Soon, other singers from around the world offered to help them, but they were really angels in disguise. They had no awareness that they were angels, but sometimes that is just the way it works. The singer-angels would soon form a heavenly choir, but no one knew this would happen, since only Time could reveal their power.
The angels Neko, Eliza, Susan, Irma, Sonia, Karen, Theresa, Sarah, Caroline, Karen, Claire, Kim, Mary, Dede, Janet and Leilani offered their songs and poems. Their Hope was that Annie and her friends would bring their words to the women of Congo. Annie, Sonia, Caroline, Susan, and Mary thought they were very clever to name the women "Congo's Angels," but it was really Hope, of course, who was behind it all.
While all of this planning was going on, Domitile was living in the city of Goma in Congo. Her special calling was that of a midwife, and on most days it was only Hope that encouraged her to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Domitile witnessed levels of violence and cruelty to women that most people cannot imagine. Hope used her wings to support Domitile when she carried the raped and wounded women she found suffering in the forests to safety and help. These were the same wings that protected Helen and Annie. Sometimes the women that Domitile bore on her back died, and Hope would escort the souls of the abandoned and brutalized to heaven. Of course, Domitile had no idea that Hope's great wings were protecting her, but as her horrible burdens would pass into the spiritual realm, she would feel a great weight lifted from her shoulders. Domitile also had Hope, and Hope was a powerful ally.
Then something truly amazing and wonderful happened in Congo. Domitile was feeling especially frustrated and abandoned and she wrote the words on paper because her thoughts were so overwhelming. The sexual violence and brutality made her feel alone and all around her she could see only black. One especially dark day, Domitile was in the city of Goma and heard music coming from the tiny station, Radio Television Communautaire Tayna, RTCT. The sound of the music saved her from the blackness and provided a huge relief. It was the songs of the Congo's Angels, and it made her realize that there were other women who understood what was happening--women who would stand in solidarity with her against the rape and killing as she carried her lovely burdens along the lava roads in Kivu. Domitile wrote that she knew then and there that that through song and words, millions of people would learn about the atrocities taking place in Congo and condemn them.
And so it came to pass during Christmas 2009 that the music of Congo's Angels filled the heavens above eastern Congo. And there were midwives living out in the fields and refugee camps nearby, keeping watch over the babies at night. And Congo's Angels sang to them, and the glory of Hope sounded around them. And the angels sang to them, "Do not be afraid. We are with you and we love you."
####Special thanks to midwife Domitile Posho Mbili, Sister Helen Gourlay, BVM (Whatever Happened to the Good Sisters? ), Sonia Tetlow, Caroline Herring, Susan Cowsill, Congo's Angels, and Hope--for watching over us all.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
We need campaign finance reform. Until them legalized bribery--lobbying--will continue and all laws from DC will be tainted, corrupt and NOT in the people's interest.
Welcome to the United States of America, INC.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Imagine this....In spite of multiple military coups that we support around the world, some Americans think that the US government exports democracy. Multinational corporations continue to use military might to decide who will set the economic policies around the world.
Check it out.