In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
Just Compensation

Love him or loathe him, he nailed this one right on the head..........

Rush Limbaugh:

I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.

If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable.

Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.

Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.

We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well.

You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing. Make sense?

However, our own US Congress voted themselves a raise. Many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system. If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed them in harm's way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.

I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting.

When do we finally do something about this?
If this doesn't seem fair to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can.

How many people CAN YOU send this to?

Bush Gives Pombo "The Squeeze"

A Message from Jerry McNerney

In my inbox this afternoon was one of the best political messages I've ever received. If you are not aware of the importance of the McNerney vs. Pombo race in CA Congressional District # 11, please read it carefully. Even if you are aware of what's at stake in this race, please read it carefully.

Jerry McNerney is a decent, honorable human being who is not a professional politician (thank god) but who holds solid, progressive positions on the important issues. Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee and the rest of the Progressive Caucus are strongly behind him, Republican challenger Pete McCloskey is campaigning for him, he's has tremendous grassroots support, and I believe he will trounce Pombo whatever the Democratic Party establishment--in its infinite wisdom--decides to do or not do. Go to his web site ( and volunteer your time (the district isn't far) or contribute. Because the Democratic honchos are slow to get it and time's a-wasting, Jerry needs the support of every one of us.

Here's Jerry:

If you watch the Sopranos, you've probably seen an underworld boss kiss the cheek of the next victim of the family hit squad. Recently, voters in Connecticut let the world know that a kiss from the Don of the regime in Washington, D.C., can be politically just as lethal.

As the recipient of another commander-in-chief cuddle (what I like to call "The Squeeze"), no incumbent is a more worthy target of voter ire than Richard Pombo.

While promoting Bush's foreign policy disaster in Iraq, Pombo voted to cut $1.8 billion in benefits to veterans. He also cast the deciding vote in the House against funding for prosthetics for wounded veterans -- including soldiers coming home from Iraq who have lost limbs caused by roadside bombs.

Pombo has made it his 13-year mission to gut the Endangered Species Act. From his powerful perch as Chair of the House Resources, Pombo pushes legislation to line our coasts with oil rigs and lease our nation's parks to the highest bidder. As gas prices and oil company profits simultaneously skyrocket, Pombo abuses his power over the purse to provide massive subsidies to his Big Oil buddies. The Palm Beach Post calls Pombo an "eco-thug" and Mother Jones has named him the #1 enemy of the world's oceans.

While Pombo's disregard for our veterans and his record on the environment are deplorable, Pombo is also under fire for corruption. Pombo's ethical transgressions include ties to Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay, paying his wife and brother more than $350,000 in campaign "consulting fees," and taking a family vacation in an RV on the taxpayers' dime. As a result, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a non-partisan watchdog group, recently filed a multiple-count ethics complaint against Pombo to a House committee and gave Pombo the ignominious honor of being named one of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress

I'm Jerry McNerney and I'm running for Congress because the people of California's 11th Congressional District deserve a better choice and a chance to put an end to Pombo's politics. I believe we can restore integrity, honesty, and ethics to the people's house. This is why I've gained the endorsement of former Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey, who garnered an impressive 32 percent of the vote against Pombo in this year's June primary (as well as support from Republican Tom Benigno, who received 6 percent of the vote). Like many patriotic Republicans in my district, Pete McCloskey is prioritizing the needs of his country over his own party.

I'm not a politician. I've spent my career developing wind energy technology. Like many Americans, my concern for the direction of our country has deepened over the last six years, with the tipping point coming in 2004 when I received a life-changing call from my son Michael. He called from his Air Force post to tell me his primary absentee ballot did not list a Democrat running against Pombo. He told me that he was going to write in my name and then asked me to run. Michael said he was doing his duty and it was time for me to do mine. I decided, that if no one else was willing to stand up against Pombo to fight for the future of America, then I would take up the challenge.

To the surprise of many pundits and power-brokers, I captured more votes in the general election than any other opponent Richard Pombo had ever faced. I did that, and won a competitive contested primary in June, by telling people the truth: that we can't drill our way to energy independence, that those who have served our country deserve our steadfast support, and that we owe our citizens more than the culture of corruption and greed that has gripped our nation's capital.

By speaking out on these vital issues and holding Richard Pombo accountable, I can win this election and help the Democrats take back Congress. In fact, an independent poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in May showed me leading Pombo 46 to 42 percent.

I am in a strong position to defeat Pombo because the people of my district and the country are sick and tired of the status quo and want real change. We want a rational foreign policy that recognizes that blindly "staying the course" will not strengthen our national security. We want real action to reverse the climate crisis that is already engulfing us. We want fiscal responsibility instead of an economic policy that allows foreign countries to hold our nation's financial future hostage.

We simply can't afford two more years of one-party rule by extreme right-wing ideologues, and Americans know it. Starting with this seat, and with the support of Republicans like Pete McCloskey and Tom Benigno, we will take back the House of Representatives and change the course of our country to a more hopeful future.

Bush's Legacy . . .

... does not include cleaning up his own mess.

Have you noticed that G.W.Bush, our beloved president, the one whose most important job is to keep us safe, the one who will accept nothing from the evildoers short of complete and total victory, is beginning to go slightly offcourse in his recent speeches?

Starting just a few weeks ago, he subtly mentioned in one of his speeches that the War on Terror could go on for several years. This has been followed in recent speeches with references to the fact that it could go on beyond his term in office. This theme is now picking up steam, with references to future presidents (plural).

I also heard some supporting member of Congress say something about not changing horses in midstream.

So now the Great Man can relax. Either he can choose to go on to greater glory in another term, or he can turn the whole thing over to some other man or men to cope with. If he chooses the latter, he will get credit for having had the insight and courage to start this crusade for freedom and democracy, and those who follow will be stuck with the responsibility of cleaning it up.

Israel Disappoints! Again!!

If Israel had chosen to be noble, it would have announced that it was stopping any war activity immediately following the UN agreement, rather than continuing to fight up until the deadline. Israel also would have announced that it was ready to return the many combat prisoners from both Lebanon and Palestine that it holds, contemporaneously with the return of all Israeli prisoners held by them.

Following closely upon the exchange, Israel should call for peace talks, during which Israel should seek better relations with its neighbors by giving back the territories which it has seized over past years and still holds, as well as deconstruction of the walls between them. In return, Hamas and Hezbollah should be expected to reciprocate by withholding any further belligerent action against Israel. Nations, like individuals, respond to respect and goodwill with respect and goodwill. If Hezbollah should continue to send missiles into Israel under such circumstances, its credibility and world support would sink to zero.

What heroes the Israelis would have been! But unfortunately, the Israelis have chosen to follow the Bush Plan, complete victory and the humiliation of the enemy. There hasn't been much nobility in the world since Shakespeare.

Homeland Insecurity

Jon Carroll (17 July):

Ever since I have been paying taxes, some of my money has gone to programs of which I have disapproved. I figure that's part of democracy; you have to pay the bills of whoever gets elected. I don't get to earmark my tax dollars; my money and everybody else's money just gets hurled into one great big pot, and then the government takes out a lot more money than was put into the pot, proving the old American adage, "There is such a thing as a free lunch if we say there is."

So if the administration is spending insane amounts of money on weapons systems, or on unwisely invading other countries, I should work to elect an administration that will reorder the spending priorities. Right? That's the deal we signed up for.

What really causes the steam to come out of my ears is the money that gets wasted on corrupt practices. I understand that government is by nature corrupt; I had always thought it was splendid that, in a transparent democracy, corruption came with some risk. Harry Truman became famous by heading the Truman Commission, which vigorously investigated instances of fraud, waste and war profiteering during World War II. It wasn't just a public relations gesture; it made a difference.

OK, can you envision this Congress setting up a new version of the Truman Commission? Can you imagine this administration cooperating with such a commission? Ha! I laugh bitterly. You laugh bitterly too.

I do get the uneasy sense that, within five hours of the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, more than a few people said, "I know it may be too soon to be talking about this, but I can see a real opportunity here." So while some people were digging out, other people were creating scenarios, generating cash-flow charts and identifying opportunities for cost overruns. Organizations like Halliburton obviously had the inside track, but if you acted swiftly and spread money around, you too could be part of America's latest profit center, unwinnable wars in not one but two desert nations.

Young men are dying while old men are getting rich. 'Twas always thus, but was it always this much thus?

It wasn't just the White House; Congress saw Sept. 11 as an opportunity too. The Department of Homeland Security was a blinking neon sign -- Use Me! Use Me! -- money for your home district, all in the name of keeping our country strong and free. Everyone was thinking all terrorists all the time, which apparently meant a lot of large machines in airport waiting rooms, but then along came nature's own terrorist, Hurricane Katrina, and it turned out that the Department of Homeland Security was a shell corporation designed essentially to launder money.

Ah, but surely the failures during Katrina brought shame to relevant organizations and caused them to mend their ways. Well, no. Last week, the inspector general released a report saying that according to the National Asset Database -- which was a list you definitely wanted to be on -- there were more potential terrorist targets in Indiana than in California.

And oh, those targets, and not only in Indiana, either. The Apple and Pork Festival in Clinton, Ill. -- that made the list. The Sweetwater Flea Market in Knoxville, Tenn. -- also a location of concern. There was a petting zoo, an ice cream parlor, a tackle shop, a check-cashing store and the exquisitely mysterious "Beach at End of a Street."

Understand: This is an official government list, used to determine where resources should be allotted, and no one noticed that "beach at end of a street" was perhaps a little vague for a national emergency. "Sergeant, I want you to get your men down to the beach at the end of a street." "Is that A Street, sir?" "No, Sergeant, not A Street -- a street."

Why write comedy anymore? The amateurs have taken over.

All of these "assets" remind me of the earmarks that congresshumans stick into spending bills at the last minute. It's an ancient tradition, but it does seem that it might be suspended in time of war. (Either that, or we could suspend the war -- I'd go for that.) If we need more soldiers in Iraq to protect the ones we've got there already and the civilians who actually believed what our government told them, then I could sure do without my on-ramp or bridge repair or Twine Museum. I think most citizens could, if they were asked.

But they're not asked, except for money, and the machine rolls on, and even the leaders are now having trouble remembering what its ostensible purpose is.

Sept. 11 Panel Considered Pentagon Probe

Authors, panel’s chairmen, offer behind-the-scenes look at terror response.

Finally, all sorts of stuff is starting to erupt from this pustule of an administration. Please send this to any of your friends or relatives that still believe that 9-11 and Iraq were connected and start thinking about WHY our fighters never made it to Ground Zero when they can fly at warp speed, why no one noticed 4 jets going off course, etc. These guys are not commie conspiracy nuts. I hope I live to see bush, cheney, rove, rumsfeld and the other murderers in jail in my lifetime. I hope I never see a bush/cheney bumper sticker on anyone's car. God, god, god. OH, and the media. Where were they in all of this? Good job all around. Thank God for the real patriots in all of this, the ones who dared to question their country. That is what democracy is all about and maybe we will survive this after all.

New Thoughts on Illegal Immigration

Why are we getting so hysterical about people crossing our border from Mexico, at risk of death by starvation and/or fatal dehydration? To my knowledge, none have been found so far to be carrying nuclear weapons.

Some may be carrying drugs, but they are paying an awful physical price for the journey. Besides, the market for drugs in this country evidently makes the price worth it. Whose fault is that?

A great deal of crime is said to come with the illegal immigrants. Hey, we have plenty of that in this country already, physical, social, and corporate.

The physical act of crossing the border may be illegal, but it is hardly criminal or an act of war.

Rumination on a Different Direction

It has suddenly crossed my mind that each nation in this fractious world should withdraw within its own boundaries and learn to live on what’s left of its own resources with whatever time is left before the complete collapse of civilization.

For the poorer countries it should be relatively easy because their lives are more engrossed with survival than with frills. They are accustomed to expecting less and dying sooner. But the resources of their own country would then at least belong to them.

It will be more difficult for the wealthy countries, because so many of the resources of other countries, including cheap labor, are what supply our creature comforts. This will be especially hard for the people of the United States who have been encouraged by our capitalist society to believe in the ethic of personal frolic and consumption, and to fear the personal shame of not supporting our country if we do not make the mall and world travel the cornerstone of our days.

Free trade does not appear to benefit anyone to any particular extent except the corporations and the very rich. The rest of us may benefit to some extent, but at the expense of the people who are employed by our corporations in foreign lands for meager pay, similar jobs that are lost to American workers, and the immigrants here, both legal and illegal, who can’t make a living wage in this country either.

Tribalism exists throughout the world. There is a great deal of tribalism within the United States: ­economic, political, financial, “social”, racial, and especially religious. When it becomes time for history (if there is anyone here to record it), the Great Divider will be remembered best for his faith-based fragmentation of his country and this world.

But it is not entirely his fault. Unfortunately, the Great American Dream of a country that said, after we got rid of the Indians, “Come one, come all, and we will live forever in peace and harmony” has become the world’s nightmare, aggravated by the increasing closeness in which we live.

God and Nature

The awareness of global warming is beginning to grow all over the planet. Whether you are a believer in God or a believer in Nature, what is happening is being felt by all of us. Many who believe in God believe the End Days are upon us. Many who do not believe in God agree that that might be possible, but from a different point of view.

God and Nature are essentially one and the same. For those who believe fervently in God, mankind is being punished for its sins of ignorance, greed, and venality. For those who believe in Nature, mankind is being given a warning. Those who believe in God react by feeling helpless and praying for his help. Those who believe in Nature realize we are thinking creatures and we had better start trying to get ourselves out of the hole we have dug.

For one thing, there are just way too many of us on this earth for the room and resources it has provided. Many of those who believe in God will have to come to realize that we just cannot continue to breed ourselves into oblivion. Saying that every life is precious is a fine idea, but a life that is born into poverty, disease, and starvation can hardly be God's choice. Mankind is responsible for that and had better start taking responsibility.

Many natural disasters, like earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, are not really caused by mankind, but mankind can often ameliorate them by living differently. Hurricanes and other storms originating in the atmosphere are telling those who believe in Nature that how we live individually is beginning to affect mankind globally. The fumes that America in particular sends into the atmosphere are beginning to affect not only us, but the entire planet.

Many of those who believe in Nature are working hard to climb back out of the hole we have dug. On the other had, many of those who believe in Nature are also into greed and venality. For example, if producing pesticides and other chemicals which do more harm than good are faster and pay well and people want them, go for it.

Unlimited prosperity and the pursuit of fun and creature comforts beyond those which are necessary are warnings to us of increasing personal greed, made even worse in a capitalist society, which can only exist if it is made up of those who have more and those who have less.

If we, especially in this country, do not accept God's punishment and /or Nature's warning and begin individually to lower our standard of living, it will indeed be due to our individual ignorance, greed, and venality, and can only eventually lead to the End Days. It is our fault, and we can do something about it. What a shame if we don't!