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Member since: Sat Dec 6, 2003, 05:15 AM
Number of posts: 57,936

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The Saudis and 9/11.P

A must read: Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty (2004). It's the memoir of Sec. of Treasury Paul O'Neil's service in the Bush II administration.

The chapter on 9/11, starting about page 176, is enlightening as much for what it does NOT say as for what it DOES SAY.

Suskind's book is a MUST READ. It paints the picture of corruption. How it works. Of how economic theory is wielded, twisted to get the result that enriches the already rich and trivializes the misery of the poor.

It is a very small part of the book, but Suskind so accurately describes the corruption of the very possession of great wealth, in this case, the Saudis (and not just the Saudis), their piety, their hypocrisy, their largess, their cruelty, their power, their exoneration set against the ignorant, desperate materialism of the Bushes and American corporations.

I will try to pick four paragraphs, but it's really a tough choice. I can't do the book or Suskind or O'Neill justice.

Please read the whole book or at least this chapter beginning on page 191.

Paul O'Neill was charged with tracking the finances behind 9/11 and the hijackers. His plea for assistance from the Saudi Arabians was rejected when the vice minister of finance stated on September 28, 2001 that "he did not think that they had any accounts that might help terrorism."

Eventually, by late October 2001, O'Neill was able to get official agreements for cooperation from a number of countries and located Al Qaeda's money, $20 million held in the Bahamas. But O'Neill advised Bush that there was still money that could not be obtained. It was "clean money, in charities" -- from what I read between the lines, associated with Saudi Arabia.

About a week after October 7, 2001, PRINCE BANDAR GAVE A PARTY -- two months after 9/11.

Officially, the fete was hosted by Laura Bush, along with the Mosaic Foundation -- an organization comprising the wives of Arab ambassadors to the United States -- and the United Nations Foundation, to raise money for AIDS for Africa. The guest of honor was Nelson Mandela.

. . . .

Virtually the entire American power structure was represented. The underwriter for the evening was ExxonMobil. Benefactors included Chevron Texaco and the Ford Motor Company. Patrons or sponsors included General Dynamics and General Electric, Kuwait Investment Partners, Raytheon, Saudi Aramco, Citigroup, Marriott, Black Entertainment Television, Merrill Lynch, and Pfizer. On one of the undercards -- the Mandela Challenge Grant Sponsors -- were the names Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and David Rockefeller.

. . . .

Prince Bandar stood and the room hushed. He spoke of how the friendship between the United States and Saudi Arabia will 'last for all time.' He said his country is 'doing everything possible to help America in these trying times.'

. . . . . (Bandar sat and one of the guests stood and smiled at him.)

It was Roberta Flack. Still elegant in her sixties, she crossed the room, sat at a grand piano near the picture window, and, tapping the keys expertly, sang a haunting rendition of 'Killing Me Softly.'




Oh, the sweet seduction of corruption.

Actually, California is the state with huge numbers of minorities.

White people are just another minority here.

It isn't about racism.

California is the most populous sub-national entity in North America. If it were an independent country, California would rank 34th in population in the world. It has a larger population than either Canada or Australia.[2] Its population is one third larger than that of the next largest state, Texas.[3] California surpassed New York to become the most populous state in 1962.[4] However, according to the Los Angeles Times, California's population growth has slowed dramatically in the 21st century.[5] In 2010, the state's five most populous counties were Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County, with Riverside County having the largest percentage increase in population.[6] The largest metro areas in California, as of 2010, are Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, San Diego, Riverside-San Bernardino, and Sacramento.[7]

As of 2006, California had an estimated population of 37,172,015, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 1,557,112 people (that is 2,781,539 births minus 1,224,427 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 751,419 people. Immigration resulted in a net increase of 1,415,879 people, and migration from within the U.S. produced a net increase of 564,100 people. California is the 13th fastest-growing state. As of 2008, the total fertility rate was 2.15.[8]

No single racial or ethnic group forms a majority of California's population, making the state a minority-majority state. Non-Hispanic whites make up 40.1% of the population.[9] Spanish is the state's second most spoken language. Areas with especially large Spanish speaking populations include the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the California-Mexico border counties of San Diego and Imperial, and the San Joaquin Valley. Nearly 43% of California residents speak a language other than English at home, a proportion far higher than any other state.[10]

. . . .

California has the largest population of White Americans in the U.S., totaling 21,453,934 residents as of the 2010 census. The state has the fifth largest population of African Americans in the U.S., an estimated 2,299,072 residents. California's Asian population is estimated at 4.9 million, approximately one-third of the nation's estimated 15 million Asian Americans. California's Native American population of 362,801 is the most of any state; some estimates place the Native American population at one million.[citation needed]

As of 2011, California has the largest minority population in the United States. Non-Hispanic whites decreased from about 76.3 - 78% of the state's population in 1970[12] to 39.7% in 2011.[13] While the population of minorities accounts for 100.7 million of 300 million U.S. residents, 20% of the national total live in California.[14][15]


California is going to go for Bernie. We vote June 7 for 546 delegates to the Democratic convention.

Feel the Bern!

Big money just doesn't get it.

We need a stock market. We thrive on capitalism.

But most of us do not do well when the few at the top grab the entire economy and leave us out.

Wall Street has taken the jobs of ordinary Americans, shipped them overseas and shipped poor quality products back to fill the shelves of our stores. They hide their profits overseas so that they don't have to pay taxes to maintain our schools, our public colleges, our roads, our bridges and the rest of our infrastructure. They are in a sense taking their money and slowly but surely abandoning us.

I don't know the numbers, but it feels like fast food is the top employer in the country. That is probably not statistically accurate, but it sure feels like that. What kind of economy is that? How does someone buy a house or feed and clothe and educate their children on a minimum wage job at McDonalds or some other big chain, low-wage operation?

A lot of Americans are still doing OK, but the crash of 2008 meant many people lost their homes, their jobs and their businesses. That was a big warning to all of us. We all know someone, probably more than one hardworking, good person who lost their job or their home or their business. And many of those who lost out are still suffering. In many cases, these are people who thought they were doing well in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Those of us who did not lose just about everything are all frightened that we could join those who did. And those of us on Social Security and Medicare are worried that the Republicans and Wall Street with the silent acquiescence of the leadership of the Democratic Party will pull our meager monthly payments out from under us. Students and graduates are overwhelmed with debt and just at the time when they are starting their families, paying high rents. They really struggle.
We feel that the rich take and take and care nothing about anyone else, nothing about the rest of us. They want a share of our healthcare dollars, a share of our education dollars, a share of our housing dollars, a share of everything. And they give us nothing tangible in return for what they take. They just grab a little profit but provide no meaningful service for it.

And Bernie says it for us: Enough is enough. You can't have it all.

Why is the Democratic leadership surprised that we feel that we need a better safety net?

Occupy Wall Street put it well:

The banks got bailed out, and (I'm paraphrasing badly) we got locked out.

Who can we turn to? Congress with its Republican leadership and the apologetic minority of Democrats, those "you have to love us because at least we aren't as bad as the Republicans." What hope are they offering us?

When the bubble burst and the economy crashed, Wall Street leaders had contracts that protected their big paychecks. But Wall Street seemed oblivious to the many, many Americans who didn't have contracts like that and lost the small savings they had. There are a lot of people out there now in their 50s and 60s who lost their jobs and homes, spent the little they had saved for retirement just to survive and now can only get temp jobs or jobs that pay far less than they were earning before 2008.

Wall Street and the "leadership" of the Democratic Party seem to be oblivious to that reality. And if, as people like Hillary and other "leaders" of the Democratic Party are prone to do, they meet with "ordinary" people to talk about their problems and concerns, the ordinary working people they meet with are so starstruck and so anxious to please and say the right thing that the important "leaders" don't hear the truth. They see people at their best, not the reality under the dress-up clothes, the Sunday-best smiles and the cheerful talk.

So now Bernie is doing well in the polls, and these very important but oblivious people who are out of contact with the reality of American life at this time don't understand it.

They never will. They see the shopping centers full of shoppers -- of imported products -- often spending borrowed money. Hey. Credit is great for Wall Street and the banks. The interest boosts their income. But that same interest represents losses to the borrowers. Americans need living wages, not credit cards.

Bernie is doing well because he is speaking to the problems that are important to real Americans when they sit behind closed doors with their families. He understands how people are trying to figure out how they are going to survive in the future, whether they will have jobs five years from now, whether their jobs will be outsourced or exported.

He gets it. He knows what to do about it. He has ideas we haven't already tried. He tells us that we can work together to make our lives, our society more secure without sacrificing our creativity and individuality.

Meanwhile, Wall Street which seems so capable of predicting market trends pays very little attention if any at all to the trends in the lives of ordinary, the majority of Americans.

And then the Wall-Streeters think they are going to be able to buy this election the way they buy stocks.

Maybe they can. Maybe they can.

But what will it mean for America if they do?

Do they have any answers for what is ailing America? For what is scaring Americans?

I really don't think so.

There is a concept in religion of having "a calling." A calling is the mission that chooses you. It isn't something you choose.

We have a lot of politicians in both parties who don't have the calling.

They try to act like they do, but they really aren't called.

Bernie Sanders is called to public service. When we say we "feel the Bern," we are saying that we feel that Bernie is called, called to public service. He is selfless in following his calling. He is devoted to, obsessed with good government. That is what America needs in its next leader.

There are some nice people out there running for office. But none of them that I can think of have been called, feel the calling, like Bernie Sanders.

I just don't think that these self-satisfied makers, important people and politicians understand what that calling is or why it makes Sanders so different and so appealing.

We need Bernie.

He has the calling to clean up our government. None of the other candidates have that.

We need Bernie. We need him because he will provide responsible leadership, and at this time, more than anything we need responsible leadership not only in Congress but on Wall Street. Is that really too much to ask?????

If Wall Street was as smart as it thinks it is, it would go with Bernie. He is actually the candidate with the character and the personal skills, the independence, to reconcile the needs and interests of Wall Street with those of the rest of America. Probably sounds crazy. But if we continue on the corrupt track we are on, our country will divide and fall apart.

If Wall Street doesn't have the vision to understand that, we may well be doomed. We can't afford another administration that lives to cooperate with the corrupt, insatiable demands of big money and sacrifices the well being of average Americans for that end.

Sometimes only by giving up control can you exercise it. That's what America's business leaders need to learn. Because by constantly trying to grab and exercise their control and ignoring the needs of the American people, they are killing the goose that laid their golden egg -- the American people.

Bernie knows how to save that goose.

Stop Bernie at your peril, all you rich folks. He is what America needs, and guess what, he is what you need too.

Lookin' good.

Iowa cities by population.


What do you mean by "rackety"?

What is intolerant or too extreme about Bernie?

And what "leftward movement" over the past 9 years are you talking about?

Except in the area of gay marriage and detente with Cuba and Iran (maybe???), I don't think we have made much "leftward" progress at all in the last 9 years.

Economically, the disparity in wealth is greater than since 1929.

So is the tax unfairness if you include the sales and property taxes that all poor people and the middle class pay. We pay a higher percentage of our income in taxes than do many very wealthy people I would wager.

African-Americans face police brutality, and we have all been made aware of it, but virtually nothing is being done to end it. In fact, when it comes to voting rights, African-Americans ARE WORSE OFF THAN THEY WERE TEN YEARS AGO.

Unions are weaker than in several generations.

We just missed the bullet on Social Security and it is constantly under attack.

Health care costs, especially the costs of pharmaceuticals, are on the steep rise.

Republicans are so cheap they will push poisoned water on school children in Flint, Michigan. They also want to increase the privatization and for-profitization of healthcare and thus make it inaccessible to the poor and many in the middle class.

Education policy, what with student loans and charter schools, is moving far to the right and higher education risks becoming the province of the intellectual and financial elites.

What in the world are you talking about when you speak of "leftward" progress in the last 9 years?

The fact that the House inevitably falls rightward to the point that pulling it even upright is pretty much viewed as impossible is nearly proof that "leftward" is not the direction in which our country has been moved by the acquiescence of the leadership of the Democratic Party, the failure of most Democrats to dare to speak up for the ideals that have traditionally been held high by Democrats.

Moving to the "middle" or "leftward" with Hillary and her corporate donors really means moving to the right, accommodating Republican craziness, and that is not what we need. Not at all.

If we want to win independents and others, we have to move left. We have to inspire them, give them hope. And left is where, as you admit, Bernie plans to take us.

Bernie presents the leftward option.

Hillary, on the other hand, presents the option of more acquiescence, more fear of the right, more corporate coziness, more disparity in wealth (unchecked), more lies about who is paying taxes, more disparity in educational opportunity, more land grabbing by the super-rich, more and more and more telling the middle class it should be just happy to survive while that tiny percentage on top take and take and take and thrive.

I do not see how Hillary can give voters any dream, any hope, any ideals, any goals, any values to vote for. Not with her current views.

Bernie will inspire lots of people who don't usually bother to vote to come out and take part.

Will Bernie be able to achieve all the goals he has set before us? Absolutely not by himself. And with our help?

Maybe. But most likely not. We are all realistic enough to know that being president does not give one person the ability to simply remake reality. That is not what we expect of Bernie.

What we expect of Bernie is that he show us the way, what can be done, pointing honestly to the hurdles in front of us, and inspiring US to jump them, to elect representatives and senators to Congress who will help us jump them.

At least with Bernie we are sharing a dream, and that is a good thing. With Hillary, there is just a boring recitation of very limited goals. Not much there at all.

Compare that to the great leaders of our past.

When Jefferson and Adams and Franklin and all of our Founding Fathers first shared their dreams, when Martin Luther King and Franklin D. Roosevelt shared theirs, the dreams seemed unattainable.

But their dreams, their unrealistic-at-the-time dreams, gave courage to others who began slowly to implement and work together to gradually realize those dreams.

Think how far we have come. Think how far we have to go, how much greater we can be if we dare as the great leaders of our history did.

In theory, we have universal suffrage (hard as the Republicans try to limit and deny it). In theory, we are allowed to have unions. We can work together to make universal suffrage and union rights reality.

We can work together to have universal healthcare as a human right (just as they do across Europe and in many other countries like Cuba).

We can work together to get big money out of our elections.

We can work together to save our environment, to reduce pollution and the poisoning of our water, air and the warming of our planet.

We can work together to better unite our country.

We can work together toward better income and tax fairness.

We can work together to reform our justice system from the local police to the Supreme Court.

We can work together to find a way to make state schools tuition-free.

We can work together to further expand the limits of our technologies.

We can do these things.

We can accomplish Bernie's dreams.

It's just a matter of will, and more and more people are willing.

Don't get mired in the negativity of the "we can't" of the Hillary campaign. This is precisely the mistake that Hillary made in 2008. And here we go again. Too limited. Schoolmarmish limited.

But that is Hillary's fate. If you accept the money from the folks who want to put the brakes on human progress, on those whose first priority is protecting what's "theirs" from the dreams of those who don't have quite so much, then you dare not dream beyond the present reality.

But always, it is those who dare to dream beyond the limited reality of the day who create progress, who move leftward, forward and into the future.

Hillary offers what she considers to be a "safe" alternative. In fact, it is regressive, a move into the illusion of a safer, slower past that never existed. Never, ever. Hillary's "safe" and "conservative" political philosophy will never succeed. Reality is moving quickly and leaving Hillary behind.

Bernie Sanders is the man of the moment, the man who, like Adams, like Jefferson and Madison, like Lincoln, like the Roosevelts (including Teddy who cleaned up the government of his time and Eleanor) were limited by their present reality, but who saw as he sees the future and knew as he knows the dreams and ideas that the future demands.

Feel the Bern!

How did FDR get it? He investigated what was going on on Wall Street and prosecuted and

embarrassed the worst offenders.

He spoke directly to the people with humility but also with bold proposals.

Through the force of his personality and because of the desperation of the people and their willingness to support him, he won majorities at times in the houses of Congress.

He backed down the Supreme Court.

He had the utter support of the people of the United States.

Conservatives like to diminish and degrade FDR's accomplishments. But my mother who died not long ago in the full presence of her mind spoke of FDR often. She was a teenager and a young woman during his presidency. She remembered the misery. She remembered the wonderful inspiration that FDR was and the gifts of hope and opportunity that FDR shared with poor Americans.

We now and my mother included wish that FDR had done even more than he did for race relations and for the African-Americans especially in the South, but at least he advocated for, taught, values that later translated into readiness for a movement to support equal rights for all.

No president, no person, is perfect. We all try to achieve what we can to help our country improve during our lives. But FDR was a model for all of us to follow in that respect.

And one thing FDR did as did Martin Luther King was to share his dreams of equality and abundance for all Americans.

Bernie Sanders dares to share those same dreams with us. We need to grasp this opportunity and support Bernie as he seeks to realize those dreams.

No. Bernie will not, and especially not alone, achieve everything he proposes. Not every dream will come true in the next eight years, not every program will proceed smoothly. At 72, I know the reality of life.

But if we do not, as a nation, dare to dream -- of economic progress that we can share, of equality, of a better justice system (ours is close to medieval in my opinion), of universal healthcare, of better education, more affordable higher education, a more equitable sharing of the benefits of new technologies, more trust between government and the people, a fairer distribution of wealth, more investment in our commons as well as a better sharing of responsibility for the common good, we will cease at some point to be one nation.

As we see at Malheur, the Republican way and to some extent the moderate Democratic way leads to division, to relinquishment of the commons to a few greedy individuals and, who knows, quite possibly eventually to a sort of feudal kind of economy in which very few of us are the owners and the rest of us do their bidding.

Bernie is the one candidate with a real understanding and appreciation for the idealism that can make our country great again.

We should not settle for less than Bernie and his dreams.

If we settle for less, if we go with Hillary's very limited proposals, we will end up with far, far less and maybe over time even a more divided country.

We need high ideals and the dreams that go with them to stay united. We need to know that we are working together to achieve those ideals.

Feel the Bern!

I am 72. I have had an amazing life. Just unbelievable.

And I never, ever say "never."

I was 9 and in the fifth grade. My teacher presented a little homemade model of the Parthenon and told us that was the birthplace of democracy. Now I was a poor kid living in the Midwest in the early 1950s. But I said to myself right then and there, "I'm going to go there and see that Parthenon." And close to 15 years later, that is precisely what I did. It was thanks to the man I married. But what I said I would do, I did.

That is only one amazing example from my life. Be positive in your thoughts and actions.

If you never dare to want something that everyone says is impossible, you probably won't get it or do it or have it. You have to keep focused on your cosmic wish list.

It isn't magic. I just don't know what it is. But if you, from the get-go say "That is impossible. We can never do that. Forget it," you will never get what you know is right for you and for the country.

One of the things I greatly dislike about Hillary and her campaign is the negativity of it and of her supporters.

We are the country of people who achieve the impossible.

Of course, Bernie can get Congress to enact the legislation he wants if we strongly support his request for it, his campaign for it. Of course, we can.

Remember the Obama slogan: "Yes, we can."

That's what I believe about Sanders. Yes, we can.

In this you are right. It isn't "Yes, he can."

Rather it is "Yes. We can."

I like the fact that Bernie is so determined and so positive in his belief that he will achieve what is right for America.
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