One Bold Step

Everyone talks a great game about changing the world, or even just their lives, but courage, while free, comes with one price: action. I want to share my bold step with you, and, if you write to me with your bold step, and it's timely, I'll post it on my site every couple of weeks, if not more often.

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Location: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Director of Research for (aka: The Foundation Foundation). Formerly with Air America Radio Phoenix ("Froggy Went A Marchin..."). Sang the National Anthem at a rally in Phoenix with Cindy Sheehan. Loves: chocolate, flowers, perfume (my grandmother), great music, politics, and a whole-hearted appreciation of the truth (Are there really "conspiracy theories" or do we need more FOIAs?). Seeker of justice and agent for change.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Want to Build a Bridge? Show It

I haven't written a blog post in a while. What I've learned in the interim is crucial to the end of discrimination against women and gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenered persons: most people don't know anything about their civil and criminal rights.

A few months ago, as I was working on what I thought would be a story to describe a situation I had experienced -- a proverbial disaster of the lack of non-sports related Title IX enforcement, which is a can of worms unto itself, I gave a speech on victims' rights and proved to myself the existence of a huge knowledge gap in American society today. Of the dozen, or so, people to whom I was speaking, most of whom were in their early thirties to early seventies, only one other person in the group knew his civil and criminal rights. You could ask me if he knew the answer due to whether or not he was gay, himself, but that wouldn't be a fair question. The whole point, I realized, is that whether most of these people experienced problems like a burglary, workers compensation, or even unethical counseling from a therapist or clergy member, they had absolutely no idea that the most time they would have to do anything about their situations legally would be in the range of, at most, one year from the date of discovering that a crime had been committed against them, or that they are suspected of committing a crime.

This may seem obvious, yet it raises many questions. Most people don't stop to think if people are behaving ethically, let alone professionally, until they find themselves in a difficult, or, they think, unusual situation which forces them to look at the issues.

Rather than focus on just the issues of violence, gender, and sexuality, perhaps its time for the leaders of the feminist, domestic violence, sexual assault, and GLBT movements to build a bridge with advertisements showing people the connections between their rights in various settings, from the religious to the secular, and the rights and struggles of the people in the community. Sometimes, people have to be shown, rather than told, what they're missing. It might start a very uncomfortable set of conversations, but then they'd be transferred from the people who seem obsessed with their rights and safety to the entire citizenry. It might just be the kind of campaign that raises enough eyebrows to turn heads and finally convince the larger populace that they really are missing something besides universal single-payer health care and the definition of habeas corpus -- their own grasp of personal rights and safety.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Frank Rich - NYT via Raw Story - Another 9-11?

The counterterrorism officials were right the first time. They may, unfortunately, be right again unless the media, i.e. television and radio, pick this up:

Rich: 'Surge' debate is same kind of 'sideshow' as Britney's scalp; Bush ignoring urgent warning about Qaeda 'comeback'

RAW STORYPublished: Saturday February 24, 2007
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Comparing the debate on the "surge" or escalation of US troops in Iraq to a "sideshow" like media coverage of pop star Britney Spears' shaving of her head, New York Times columnist Frank Rich worries that, just as in August of 2001, President Bush is ignoring urgent warnings by counterterrorism officials about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

Referring to "last week's terrifying but little-heeded front-page New York Times account (link) of U.S. 'intelligence and counterterrorism officials' leaking urgent warnings about al Qaeda's comeback," Rich writes in his latest Sunday Times column, "ask yourself: Haven't we been here before?"

"If so, that would be the summer of 2001, when America pigged out on a 24/7 buffet of Gary Condit and shark attacks," Rich writes. "The intelligence and counterterrorism officials back then were privately sounding urgent warnings like those in last week's Times, culminating in the President's Daily Brief titled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.' The system 'was blinking red,' as the CIA chief George Tenet would later tell the 9/11 commission. But no one, from the White House on down, wanted to hear it."

Rich believes that the Bush administration "doesn't want to hear it now, either," which is "why terrorism experts are trying to get its attention by going public."

As RAW STORY reported last Sunday, US officials told the New York Times that "mounting evidence" indicates Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda deputy are building an operations hub in Pakistan.

"Senior leaders of Al Qaeda operating from Pakistan have re-established significant control over their once battered worldwide terror network and over the past year have set up a band of training camps in the tribal regions near the Afghan border, according to American intelligence and counterterrorism officials," Mark Mazzetti and David Rohde reported for the Times.
The article continued, "American officials said there was mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, had been steadily building an operations hub in the mountainous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan. Until recently, the Bush administration had described Mr. bin Laden and Mr. Zawahri as detached from their followers and cut off from operational control of Al Qaeda."

"Officials said that both American and foreign intelligence services had collected evidence leading them to conclude that at least one of the camps in Pakistan might be training operatives capable of striking Western targets," the Times reported last Sunday.

Rich writes that Prime Minister Tony Blair is pulling troops from Iraq "not because Basra is calm enough to be entrusted to Iraqi forces...but to shift some British resources to the losing battle against the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan."

"This is why the entire debate about the Iraq 'surge' is as much a sideshow as Britney's scalp," Rich writes. "More troops in Baghdad are irrelevant to what's going down in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The surge supporters who accuse the Iraq war's critics of emboldening the enemy are trying to deflect attention from their own complicity in losing a bigger battle: the one against the enemy that actually did attack us on 9/11."

Excerpts from column:


...Who lost Iraq? is but a distraction from the more damning question, Who is losing the war on terrorism?

The record so far suggests that this White House has done so twice. The first defeat, of course, began in early December 2001, when we lost Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora. The public would not learn about that failure until April 2002 (when it was uncovered by The Washington Post), but it's revealing that the administration started its bait-and-switch trick to relocate the enemy in Iraq just as bin Laden slipped away. It was on Dec. 9, 2001, that Dick Cheney first floated the idea on "Meet the Press" that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. It was "pretty well confirmed," he said (though it was not), that bin Laden's operative Mohamed Atta had met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague months before Atta flew a hijacked plane into the World Trade Center.


...It is precisely by pouring still more of our finite military and intelligence resources down the drain in Iraq that we are tragically ignoring the lessons of 9/11. Instead of showing resolve, as Bush supposes, his botch of the Iraq war has revealed American weakness. Our catastrophic occupation spawned terrorists in a country where they didn't used to be, and to pretend that Iraq is now their central front only adds to the disaster. As Scheuer, the former CIA official, reiterated last week: "Al-Qaida is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you want to address the threat to America, that's where it is." It's typical of Bush's self-righteousness, however, that he would rather punt on that threat than own up to a mistake.



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Monday, October 16, 2006

All the More Reason to Pick Up a Dictionary

Late last week, I tied together the Debra Lafave nonsense on "The Today Show" with the Foley scandal on Capitol Hill and a few dictionary definitions of the word "violence." Today, my tie-ins come full circle with Bill Maher's latest on "Real Time." 99.9% of the time, I love his work. Except this time, with the help of FindLaw, one can easily access The Preamble to our Constitution and see the problem with his Friday show come to light:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Note that "We the People of the United States" chose to do the following on our own soil -- right here in the U. S. A.

Bill, it's time to clean house. I couldn't agree with you more. As long as violence at home is not as important as violence in war, neither problem will ever really be solved.

NEW RULE: Bill Maher, please pick up the dictionaries I have referenced before you embarrass yourself again.

Best regards,

Your Humble Blogger

Friday, October 06, 2006

Among The Scandals, The Real Disaster... The Real Tough Questions Worth Asking.

This morning, I must begin my post with a caveat: I have some personal experience in the matter that I am presenting to you. No, I have not been on television, and, no, I am not associated with any case that has gone public. However, the deeper issue in this post is one that I can speak on from my own life. With this, the following:

Debra Lafave is interviewed by Matt Lauer of NBC's "The Today Show" and tells viewers that the crime her fourteen-year-old victim suffered at her hands -- statuatory rape -- is not violent. Representative Mark Foley, a Florida Republican, may not end up in prison because it is reported on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" that something more serious than the phone calls and instant messages would have had to occur in order to press charges against him.

As Keith said last night, and previously on his show, this is not about: "Gay people thinking about sex all the time." The real problem, which even the staff of Countdown may or may not be aware of, is that many counselors and psychologists in America do not consider the crimes committed against these young people, or people of any age in these situations, for that matter, to be violent crimes. Yes, that's right, what Debra Lafave said to Matt Lauer is actually true.

While I cannot, and will not, divulge any specific personal information, here, I am able to give you a picture of the problem, courtesy some of our finest dictionaries. The crux of the problem is not that a crime was committed. This, everyone agrees on. The issue at hand is whether or not what happened to Debra Lafave's victim and the Capitol Hill pages was violent, or not. Before I list the dictionary definitions, I will give you one more startlingly sad fact: if police officers had quotas for domestic violence, sexual harrassment, and rape offenders rather than traffic violations, and were equipped with the information that I am, herein, about to present, we would see a significant change not only in how crimes committed against children are investigated and prosecuted, but also in the overall safety of our home and work lives. Our nation's "domestic tranquility" would be much more ensured. Behold now, several credible definitions of the word "violence" from on-line dictionaries, most of which have published hardcover book versions in print [NOTE: Steven Colbert, this "WORD" is on me.]:
4. criminal law illegal force: the illegal use of unjustified force, or the intimidating effect created by the threat of this
2 strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.
2 : injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation
b : vehement feeling or _expression
an instance of such action or feeling c : a clashing or jarring quality : DISCORDANCE 4 : undue alteration (as of wording or sense in editing a text)
1 actions or words which are intended to hurt people:
3 sudden and powerful:
3. the vehement, forceful _expression of feeling or use of language.
5. harm caused by misrepresentation of motive or meaning.
3. Intensity or severity, as in natural phenomena; untamed force: the violence of a tornado. 4. Abusive or unjust exercise of power. 5. Abuse or injury to meaning, content, or intent: do violence to a text. 6. Vehemence of feeling or _expression; fervor.

Given what we read above, is it any wonder that America has one of the highest violent crime rates of any developed nation in the world? Is it surprising that The Republican Party is really "The Cover-up Party"? Is it sad that Debra Lafave thinks she can dream about becoming a journalist -- someone who speaks the truth to people like herself? The task, now, is for people whose professions are all about helping other people to stop taking the easy way out when it comes to dealing with real victims and people who need their assistance, of all ages, with these concerns. When this happens, and only when this happens, will the true offenders -- of either sex -- be dealt with appropriately and put behind bars instead of dreaming about becoming journalists, members of Congress, or otherwise "upstanding" members of American society.

On this note, good morning, good luck, and I'll turn this over to the journalists. It's time for some deeper tough questions.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Time For Reflection

Dear Readers,

It has been quite a long while since I last posted on this, or any other, blog site. It seems, perhaps, not so strange, that I am doing so at this time. I write to you now from the middle of The Ten Days of Awe, better known as The Jewish New Year. It is a reflective time, and a very somber time, very different, indeed, from the secular New Year on January 1st. I have asked a great many questions during this time, including the following:

I have asked myself why a counselor, and there are many of them, unfortunately, would cast aside common sense and ignore intellect, including from several dictionaries, and end up vindicating those who commit crimes of the mind, as well as of the body.

I have asked myself why an institution would cover up a serious crime wave at the expense of its own reputation.

I have asked myself why the people who ought to love me the most are the quickest to blame me for opening Pandora's Box without first checking the people they chose to surround themselves with, let alone the ones they wake up to every morning and why others in my shoes, whether or not we are "whistleblowers," are often the first to be blamed, cast aside, written off, or otherwise blacklisted for wanting to know the logical truth.

I have asked myself why the greatest, most healthy nations are often the ones that fall so hard and, seemingly, so fast.

I have asked myself why, at times, I have been so brutally hard on myself, at only my own expense.

I have asked God why I have been chosen to experience certain things in this life.

Fortunately, I have learned this Rosh Hashanah, that there is precedent for such questions of God.

Now, at this time, I ask you to join me in doing one thing, besides a little personal reflection of your own: giving yourselves some extra credit. This might sound like a school task, yet it is the one thing I find many of us deserve and do not do nearly enough. And, while your at it, if you need to thank someone -- in person or in writing -- for something that he or she has done for you during the last year, please to this, too. We are raised not to expect a thank you, but a little appreciation can go a long way both in your office and at home.

Thank you to my many teachers, of different roles and places, over the last year. You have shown me much wisdom.

May you all have a healthy, happy, prosperous, and loving New Year.

L'shana Tovah,

Rachel Gluck
Your Humble Blogger

Monday, May 29, 2006

Nation's First Bill of Rights Monument Needs Urgent Help in Arizona

Memorial Day Appeal

Dear Supporter;

I need you take a few minutes this Memorial Day to email ( and call (602-926-5584)

Arizona Senate President Ken Bennett about the fate of HB 2682, the Bill of Rights monument bill. After being assured by his top aide that this non-partisan measure was finally scheduled for a vote last Thursday, I was told on Friday that not only didn’t the scheduled vote take place, but the bill is not at present re-scheduled.

As the 2006 legislative session is within days of adjourning, it is now clear that the Senate President could kill HB 2682 to settle some unknown political score. There is no other explanation for why a bill approving a privately funded monument to honor and celebrate the Bill of Rights, which every single member of the legislature has signed on to as a co-sponsor, can’t get a vote.

Even as someone born and raised in Washington DC, I have to admit that I am astonished by this level of partisanship. Until two weeks ago it had never occurred to me that the leadership of the Arizona Senate, given the opportunity to make their state the first in the nation to so honor this sacred document, could instead decide to snub it in such an off-handed way. That this snub could take place right after Memorial Day, when we take time to remember those Americans who died to defend the freedoms embodied most eloquently in our Bill of Rights, adds insult to injury.

Unless Senate President Bennett hears loudly and clearly from you that he will be noticed and remembered for what he does with this bill, as will the entire Arizona Senate, that is exactly what could happen. Tell Ken Bennett to stop playing politics with HB 2682, and to do the right thing for the people and state of Arizona and the nation by approving this long-overdue honor for the Bill of Rights.


Chris Bliss

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Take a Number

This clip, featuring a short study of women and leadership by David Fenig of, is very telling:

When you've finished viewing this clip go here for a cool shirt with $2.00 of each purchase going to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, a local women's shelter, or the campaign to elect the first woman president:

Enjoy, and be empowered!

Your Humble Blogger

Update: ALL the proceeds for the shirts, after costs, will go to those causes: $2.00 to breast cancer, $2.00 to David's local battered women's shelter, and the balance to the campaign to elect the first woman president. Also, David is seperating the clothing out so he can form a non-profit with them. This will allow him to send more of the money to the above causes.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Too Chicken to Impeach

So, even former Senator John Edwards is talking around the "I" word: impeachment. Did I say that I'm angry about this yet? There is a reason why I care to remind people that we have a long way to go -- even within The Democratic Party. When you take your eye off the ball, it's likely to roll away, and this is as true for holding our President and Vice President of The United States accountable as it is for our own credit reports.

Now, you could say: "Well, at least he'd vote for censure." The trouble with this notion is that it suggests we'd be okay, as a nation, with settling for a slap on the wrist when what Bush's administration has done has lead to countless, needless death and murder, not to mention the loss of several of our civil rights as laid out under The Bill of Rights.

I'm glad to see that the dire need for civics classes are back in the national debate (thanks for the air-time, Randi), but I'm now going to take this one step further: we need to teach Thomas Paine in classrooms across this country. I'll be the first to admit that it took me ten years after my high school graduation to finally read Common Sense. [NOTE: Barnes & Noble carries a very thorough store-published volume of Paine's works for the money.] However, the more I delved into Paine's writings, the more pissed off I became. Here is the man, love him or not, who finally lit a big enough fire under the seats of enough of our colonists that they finally realized they had to break away from Great Britain, and we never read Common Sense in high school. What a shame! In Common Sense Paine delivers many passages that made me realize just how "kingly" our present day President is. Now, I knew that what he was doing was morally and legally offensive, but the detail into which Paine describes The Colonies' relations with King George, III, are astonishingly similar. The last time America took on a task as closely as the Iraq conflict with Great Britain was prior to our Revolution. [NOTE: Mr. Blair, did you really need to partner up with our George on Iraq? Where's your history book?] Hence, the following from Part III of Common Sense:

"I have heard it asserted by some, that as America hath flourished under her former connection with Great Britain that the same connection is necessary towards her future happiness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument. We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk that it is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. But even this is admitting more than is true, for I answer roundly, that America would have flourished as much, and probably much more, had no European power had any thing to do with her. The commerce, by which she hath enriched herself, are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe.
"But she has protected us, say some. That she has engrossed us is true, and defended the continent at our expense as well as her own is admitted, and she would have defended Turkey from the same motive, viz. the sake of trade and dominion.
"Alas, we have been long led away by ancient prejudices, and made large sacrifices to superstition. We have boasted the protection of Great Britain, without considering, that her motive was INTEREST not ATTACHMENT; that she did not protect us from OUR ENEMIES on OUR ACCOUNT, but from HER ENEMIES on HER OWN ACCOUNT, from those who had no quarrel with us on any OTHER ACCOUNT, and who will always be our enemies on the SAME ACCOUNT. Let Britain wave her pretensions to the continent, or the continent throw off the dependence, and we should be at peace with France and Spain were they at war with Britain. The miseries of Hanover last war ought to warn us against connections.
"It has lately been asserted in parliament, that the colonies have no relation to each other but through the parent country, i. e. that Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, and so on for the rest, are sister colonies by the way of England; this is certainly a very round-about way of proving relationship, but it is the nearest and only true way of proving enemyship, if I may so call it. France and Spain never were. nor perhaps ever will be our enemies as AMERICANS, but as our being the subjects of GREAT BRITAIN.
"But Britain is the parent country, say some. Then the more shame upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their families; wherefore the assertion, if true, turns to her reproach; but it happens not to be true, or only partly so and the phrase PARENT or MOTHER COUNTRY hath been jesuitically adopted by the king and his parasites, with a low papistical design of gaining an unfair bias on the credulous weakness of our minds. Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from EVERY PART of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still."

It ought to have been a HUGE signal to Prime Minister Blair that he was heading down a bad road if he chose to follow President Bush for no other reason than the fact that occupying Iraq turned out so poorly the first time. However, apparently no one in his Cabinet thought to look at their own HISTORY. Can you imagine? Thomas Paine must surely be rolling over in his grave, which happens to be back in England (he was buried on his farm in New Rochelle, New York, for only ten years before an admirer from England took him home to his country of birth).

Paine went on to write what became at least a good portion of the backbone of our current system of government. He discussed the idea of a constitution at length. Surely, enough time has passed since The French Revolution that we can give this man's ideas a second look. Here is Paine on the distinctions between "Society" and "Government," (Part I):

"Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher.
"Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. WHEREFORE, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows, that whatever FORM thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.
"In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labour out of the common period of life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time would urge him from his work, and every different want call him a different way. Disease, nay even misfortune would be death, for though neither might be mortal, yet either would disable him from living, and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than to die.
"Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which, would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.
"Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the branches of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters. It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of REGULATIONS, and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. In this first parliament every man, by natural right, will have a seat.
"But as the colony increases, the public concerns will increase likewise, and the distance at which the members may be separated, will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every occasion as at first, when their number was small, their habitations near, and the public concerns few and trifling. This will point out the convenience of their consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select number chosen from the whole body, who are supposed to have the same concerns at stake which those who appointed them, and who will act in the same manner as the whole body would act, were they present. If the colony continues increasing, it will become necessary to augment the number of the representatives, and that the interest of every part of the colony may be attended to, it will be found best to divide the whole into convenient parts, each part sending its proper number; and that the ELECTED might never form to themselves an interest separate from the ELECTORS, prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often; because as the ELECTED might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the ELECTORS in a few months, their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally support each other, and on this (not on the unmeaning name of king) depends the STRENGTH OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE HAPPINESS OF THE GOVERNED.
"Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. freedom and security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding, the simple voice of nature and of reason will say, it is right."

" this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally support each other, and on this (not on the unmeaning name of king) depends the STRENGTH OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE HAPPINESS OF THE GOVERNED." What a statement! This, alone, is the whole reason for impeachment. Yes, it can get ugly. Yes, it can be mean. But when done for the right reasons, impeachment can save us from immoral disasters of revolutionary proportions, the likes of which have started to happen in 2006.

The question is all, then, that remains: Do we really want to avoid impeaching Bush and Cheney?

My answer: Not if our nation's future depends upon it.

It's time to keep our eyes on the ball, Friends. Last time, Nixon was pardoned. Now, we have Bush. This time, we avoid impeachment. Next time?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

An Urgent Message from Chris Bliss and

Dear supporter:

We urgently need your help this weekend through Wednesday of next week. For the last month, HR 2682 – the unanimously co-sponsored bill approving placement of the nation’s first monument to the Bill of Rights here in Arizona – has been in limbo awaiting a final vote in the Senate. After passing the House 57-0 and sailing unopposed through its Senate committee hearings, the bill – which is non-partisan, has zero cost to the taxpayers, and would bring new prestige to the state capitol - suddenly can’t seem to find a spot on the voting calendar. Incredibly, a non-partisan measure to celebrate and honor the Bill of Rights that's co-sponsored by every single member of the legislature, can't find its way to the Senate floor for a vote.
The office of the bill’s Senate sponsor, Senator Karen Johnson, tells me that the bill is up again in Monday’s Senate caucus, presided over by Senate President Ken Bennett, where a series of measures will be scheduled for votes on Wednesday.

The Bill of Rights needs and deserves to be remembered, revered, and celebrated, not held in reserve fro reasons unknown. This is especially true at this point in our history, with citizens facing the most serious challenge to their personal freedom in generations. We need you to take a few minutes to email and call and your state senator, as well as Senate President Bennett, and tell them you care about the Bill of Rights, and to please schedule the vote for this non-partisan, unanimously supported measure, HR 2682.

To contact Senate President Ken Bennett:
Call : 602-926-5584

To find out who your state senator is, and how to contact him/her, go to: (you will need to know your district #)

Chris Bliss

IMPORTANT PS:: Please, also take the time to thank Senator Karen Johnson. It was Karen, solely out of her passionate belief in the Bill of Rights, who stepped forward to join hands across the aisle and declare her active support for this proposal from the very beginning. It is because of her leadership that the bill is on the verge of Senate approval.
To thank Senator Karen Johnson for her leadership:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Love Your Member of Congress?

Courtesy Dana Milbank of The Washington Post and Keith Olbermann, the question arose on "Countdown" this evening of people actually continuing to vote for their own member of Congress, even if they don't like the majority of what that person's party is doing right now. Over 60% said that they would vote for the incumbent.

Note to and the Democrats: It's time for the "Love Your Congressman?" commercial. Many Americans, it seems, need to be reminded that just because you love someone doesn't make that person good at his or her job, or even a good person, it just means that your constituency is attracted to charisma, gerrymandering (albeit with some ignorance of this situation), and... power.

The boldest thing we can all do this November is take an honest look at our own Congressional Representatives and Senators and ask ourselves if they are really meeting up to the standards being an American, i.e. actually protecting and defending our Constitution and Bill of Rights. By the way, if you don't remember what's actually written in these documents and need to do your homework, you're not alone. So do many Americans.

If you can do this, you deserve kudos from me.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Look Inside The Democratic National Committee - Time To Look Again?


I posted this article at Arizona Indymedia and back in December. Given the current state of The Union, and of the Democratic machine, I thought it might be interesting to do a repost. I called myself "Friendly Fire" that night, half-jokingly, but I didn't hold back. I asked the tough questions, including the ones that many of our nation's top mainstream journalists were, and to a degree still are, ignoring or, at the very least, not openly exploring.


Your Humble Blogger


Rachel Gluck

On Thursday, December 1, The Progressive Democrats of America hosted the opening party of the Democratic National Committee semi-annual meeting at The Lucky Break on Second Street and Jefferson in downtown Phoenix. It was a boisterous event with about 200-300 of the party’s 450 delegates present. People milled around the pool tables, ate terrific hors d’oeuvres including quesadillas and chips with salsa, Phoenix favorites, and chatted up the place over a myriad of drinks, tee shirts and books for sale, and the wonder that comes with meeting other people from all across America. I had the chance to talk with some of the D. N. C.’s finest, including Howard Dean’s National Finance Chairman for his past Presidential race, Terry Lierman, Christine Pelosi, daughter of famed Democratic national House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representative Maxine Waters from California’s 35th district, and the Chairman of the P. D. A., actress Mimi Kennedy. This article is the result of my interviews. Key questions included Iraq, immigration, and the character of the Bush administration, including the history of fascist support within the Bush family, itself, and how that might play into the current political landscape, as has been discussed on several national Air America Radio shows including “The Randi Rhodes Show” and “The Mike Malloy Show”. Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic Party, had been rumored to be coming, but did not appear.

First off, the state players, Arizona and elsewhere: I met with Jeff Latas, Candidate for The U. S. House of Representatives, Arizona, CD 08. Mr. Latas is a mild-mannered, well-spoken man who has served five tours of duty in the Middle-East and currently has a son in Iraq. He has served in Iraq himself, during the Gulf War in the 90’s, and spent several years in Saudi Arabia, among others. Jeff has a strong knowledge of the local agenda, including hot-button issue immigration. He told me that the most troubling parts of this issue are the legal status of new immigrants working, or who want to work, in Arizona and that there needs to be a stronger crack-down on employers who hire immigrants illegally. As for national issues, the most imposing one, the Iraqi offensive, needs to be dealt with responsibly. He shares many of the opinions on the war currently circulating among many in the progressive wing of the Democratic party and is supportive of Representative John Murtha (D-PA). Jeff Latas receives my endorsement. He has the right combination of ease in personality, sense of purpose, and knowledge of complex issues that can go a long way in Congress.

Rosalinda Guillén, Affirmative Action Chair of the Whatcom County, Washington, Democratic Central Committee and Executive Director of Comunidad a Comunidad (Community to Community), explained the situation of minutemen in her state, along the U. S. – Canada border. “There were several men from Whatcom County that volunteered for a month [in Arizona]… and started a minuteman contingency in Arizona.” She went on to tell me about County action dealing with the situation: “We have a county council that has drawn up a resolution opposing the minutemen.” Rosalinda let me know that a resolution dealing with this issue would be brought before the D. N. C. this weekend. For more information on Whatcom County Democrats, and issues there, go to:

Now for the people with national connections: Tom Hayden, who authored what eventually became the P. D. A.’s “Out of Iraq” strategy, gave the first major speech of the night. “The goal of the [Bush] administration was to remove the [Iraq] war from television.” In light of recent revelations in this week’s Rolling Stone Magazine ( about how the war was sold, his statement took on the aura of prophecy come true. He went on to state that the Democrats need a new “New Deal” and that immigrants should be at the center of it over the next decade. Tom mentioned that Iraq is already a member of the World Trade Organization and the problems that this suggests for the Bush administration. When asked if he knew whether or not fascism had a bearing on this administration, Tom said that he didn’t know.

Next up in the cue of my digital recorder was Terry Lierman, currently Maryland’s Democratic State Chair. When the issue of fascism was brought up, the following was his response: “If you look at President Bush’s policy as it relates to energy and the military industrial complex, he is so smitten with both of those that it’s going to be paid for for generations by our children.” When I asked Terry about why this country is still supporting voting machines, he explained a measure coming up on the Maryland ballot in about a month and a half: “It would make a paper record required for verification for counting your votes, for letting people know exactly how they voted the second after they voted. So, in Maryland, we’re really trying to take the lead on that. The second reason is very simple: people are not demanding it enough, and they’re not asking their legislators to put it in.” In light of the recent Ohio election, this might not actually be the case. The Columbus Dispatch reported overwhelming support for reform prior to the election, but the issues “failed” on Election Day. On the “liberal movement,” he said, “That’s what’s so important about the liberal movement, the liberals have got to wake up their elected officials and get these issues on the ballot.

On the D. N. C., Iraq, and Democrats speaking truth to power: “I think [Rep. Jack] Murtha’s statement was absolutely terrific. What [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi said was great. I think more and more Democratic leaders are speaking out because they see the consequences of not speaking out. I think the Democrats have learned a really, really, really difficult issue in the last six years in this country. The greatest risk is not taking one, and silence is deadly. We’re now saddled with a seven trillion dollar debt. Medicaid is cut. Our environmental and educational programs are all cut back. The list goes on, and on, and on, and, finally, people are saying, ‘enough is enough.’ We have got to stand up for what we believe in, and I’m proud of Democrats now. We did ourselves, and the nation, a terrible disservice by not speaking up. Now we are speaking up, better late than never, and we’re speaking out on the issues of moral values. More values are addressing issues of poverty, investing in America’s future for our children, talking about health care for everybody, talking about immigration programs; talking about issues that really mean something to every day Americans.”

Christine Pelosi, member of the D. N. C. from California since 1996 and one of five children of Representative Nancy Pelosi, was present and talked with me for a few minutes. “Not everybody came to this position at the same time, but I think Jack Murtha changed the debate [about Iraq]. He spoke for the kids he visits in the hospital every week. He spoke for the child he once was fighting in Vietnam.” Ms. Pelosi praised the diversity of voices within the party and said, “We are not going to bow to any efforts to curtail our liberty.”

Representative Maxine Waters gave a terrific speech about the battles that must be fought by the Democrats. She covered everything from Iraq to election reform, including endorsing a “no machines” policy. When I sat down with the Representative, we were able to get into detail about a few more issues. I presented Ms. Waters with The Council for Secular Humanism’s Fourteen Points of Social Humanism and Fascism ( - search fascism for those points). The Representative was open to the idea that fascism may very well play a role in the current administration. I explained that the word “ownership,” which has been a large part of Bush’s agenda (“ownership society”), is the foundation of domestic violence (Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft, the preeminent expert on abusive men in the nation). In response, Rep. Waters said the following: “We have to be careful because when you grow up with this idea [as Americans have], it [ownership] becomes part of the society.”

I asked Ms. Waters about two people who seem to be thorns for progressive Democrats right now: Senator Joseph Lieberman (D – CT) and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D – NY). On Lieberman being an apologist for the Bush administration and Iraq: “I am very disappointed in him. I thought he was coming from a much better place than he apparently is.” On Clinton: “[Hillary] thought a lot people would be there for her while she took the more ‘centrist’ positions on the war and abortion, but a lot of people aren’t.” It seems to be a shift in the way people look at candidates who come from their own party.

Finally, I talked with Mimi Kennedy, Progressive Democrats of America Chairwoman and a woman who has studied non-violence with Reverend James Lawson (, who taught Martin Luther King, Jr., and was taught by Mahatma Gandhi. On her role as Chair, “It’s been the second most demanding role I’ve ever had. The most demanding has been my children. I remember being a good Republican girl in upstate New York during the Vietnam War, and I wanted to stop that war, as I saw the political realities [of it]. When this administration was selected, I didn’t believe that Al Gore had lost because he’d won half a million more popular votes. So, I really thought something was wrong. I predicted that Republicans would go to war because that’s what they knew and loved. I was right. My husband went to Afghanistan and started the Global Exchange Teachers Program to try and reconstruct the country because there had been a war, and it was the least we could do to help with the aftermath.”

Mimi was approached by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich about helping him with his campaign, “As he was the only candidate speaking for peace, I readily agreed and traveled with him and spoke for him.” During this time, Ms. Kennedy met Tim Carpenter who told Mimi that he was starting a new organization, and that anyone else who wanted to join could meet at The Democratic Convention. She was offered the honorary position of Chairman and agreed. “It’s been two years since I joined, and I’ve had the most wonderful opportunity to work on my country, which I love. I’ve gotten to work with people who have convictions of social justice and community and peace and strategy.”

On Democracy in America and fascism in America today, Mimi commented: “In the process of my work, I have found that we really are in danger of losing Democracy in the United States. P. D. A.’s main issues are ending the war [in Iraq] and fair and honest elections…. What I find troubling about fascism in America now is the lie that national security in this day and age of air wars can be law by telling another country we’re going to fight our battles on your soil and ruin your country for our purposes.”

On Iraqi contractors: “They don’t know anything about national security, and they don’t know anything about patriotism.” On our military and making service mandatory for all Americans who are healthy enough to serve: “Something is wrong with the military right now. The military has been thrown like cannon fodder at every problem the way we throw money at every problem. There’s no human caring, and there’s no human intelligence, and I’m not sure that the lack of intelligence can be solved by teaching every young person to thrust their bayonet into a dummy and say, ‘Kill, kill, kill the dummy.’”

All in all, the night was successful. While it would have been the icing on the cake to have an opening appearance from Dr. Dean, Representative Waters more than filled his shoes. Tom, Mimi, and Terry also made the night exciting for the Dems, who stayed until midnight to take part in the festivities. If every issue mentioned in this article is being seriously discussed this weekend, then it will be a successful weekend, indeed.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chris Bliss & My Bill Of Rights Take Off

As your humble Director of Research for, I proudly present two outstanding video clips from last night and this morning of the ever funny and passionate Chris Bliss juggling on "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) and "American Morning" with Soledad O'Brien (CNN). Watch, enjoy, and then go support one of the best projects of this millennium.

From "Countdown":

From "American Morning":


Rachel Gluck
Your Humble Blogger

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Best Feminist Music Video - 2006

[As originally posted at]

Kudos have to be given to Alecia Moore, the lady otherwise known as Pink. Her new video "Stupid Girls" is exactly what art is for: taking the political, which is also often personal, and turning it on its head so that we can all see the truths that would otherwise be difficult to describe to some people, all while having a little fun. Her video is a nod to women of every stripe, and her statement on the controversy surrounding Stupid Girls is simply terrific. On this note, I direct you to Pink's official web site. At this site you will find her "Latest Letter." Click on it, and be inspired. While you're at it, watch her video, too.

Runner's up in this category over the last few years are:

1. "Teary Eyed" - Missy Elliott

2. "Because of You" - Kelly Clarkson

3. "Confessions of a Broken Heart" - Lindsay Lohan (yes, even she does some things right)

4. "Daughters" - John Mayer (Hey, look! I've got a guy up here.... )

5. "Fighter" - Christina Aguilera

6. "Beautiful" - Christina Aguilera (If you aren't reading her lyrics, then you're missing her

7. "Me, Myself, and I" - Beyonce

8. "Independent Women, Part I" - Destiny's Child

9. "What It Feels Like For a Girl" - Madonna (Would this list really be complete without at least
one of her videos?)

Any more you like? Hey, guys, this includes you, too. If so, send 'em to me, and I'll post the best ones in a future editoral.

For more information, check out my previous post at:

Peace, and happy watching!

Air America Radio Phoenix's New Home

Dear Readers,

I have some exciting news to report: Air America Radio is coming back to Phoenix! Dr. Mike Newcomb is the first confirmed weekday morning host, and you will hear all of your favorite national personalities. This will happen tomorrow, so be at KPHX 1480 AM on your dial, or be out of the loop. The choice is yours.

The new station still needs to keep raising revenue, so, if you have some spare cash, please by pixels. Any inquiries on funding with loans, grants, etc., can be directed to Jeff Farias, host and producer for Dr. Newcomb at: The revolution continues.


Your Humble Blogger
(and "Friend of AAR Phoenix")

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On The Waterfront

Calling all boaters and fishermen on Lake Erie: Are you protected by the waters that surround you? Have you ever been so cushioned by said waters? Are you wondering why I, now living in Arizona, am asking you this? While I would like to think you could steer some of that great fresh water down to our end of the country and help ease the drought in these parts, I'm not that naive. However, this, too, is a border state.

While growing up, it was easy to forget that Ohio was, in fact, on the border with Canada. We owned the fishing rights to only one-third of the lake. In some ways, it seemed like it was more Canada's responsibility to deal with the water than ours. Now, that's a bit immature to see it that way, but it does leave that impression. Our fishermen had access to only one-third of the entire lake? Whose water was this, anyway?

However, as an adult, it becomes clear how precious that chunk of water is. Now, I'm not suggesting that southern Ontario is a threat to northern Ohio. We never had any major problems, that we knew of, while I was a kid. I suppose you could say we were relatively safe. There are several islands in Lake Erie that one could think are populated to protect the mainland. The truth, however, is that those people are no more equipped to defend this country than anyone else is on the mainland.

Therefore, if President Bush wants to say that the oceans are protecting us, he has that right under our First Amendment. The problem is that his First Amdendment rights stop where mine, and yours, begins. Thus, the real answer to his riddle is this: water is not an easy thing to conquer, but this also is not the age of Magellan and Columbus. Anyone with enough dough can buy a submarine. Do they make them for shallow water? I don't know, but there are other methods one can use to sail from The Atlantic to The Great Lakes. Given that only five percent of all of our ports' cargo gets checked these days, it seems safe to say that that other ninety-five percent could make its way to my hometown of Port Clinton, and no one in Washington, D. C., would have a clue it existed.

So, Mr. President, given that your family has a seaside retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, do you think that maybe you could stop trying to treat me, and everyone else on our nation's bodies of water, like we're complete fools? By the way, from where I sit in Arizona, it's about a ten hour drive to Los Angeles. That's another major port of entry. How safe do our oceans make us? Hmmm? Oh, yeah, that's right. You're not necessarily in business to tell us the truth. What else is new?

Monday, March 20, 2006

In Memory Of...

This past Saturday was seven months, to the day, since my grandmother passed away. On this day, my grandfather began his final battle for life -- a battle he would lose in the early hours of yesterday morning.

I had the priviliedge of spending a portion of Saturday evening taking a break from the emotions, the machines, the monitors, and the struggles of old age via a gathering around a campfire, courtesy my Toastmasters friend, John. After eating some bratwurst, we settled around the fire and listened to stories. I started off reading Edgar Allen Poe's short story Morella. It was a haunting tale of a man that settled for a woman who haunted him throughout her life with her grim outlook, German philosophies, and gloomy disposition. She died during childbirth and left him a daughter who, through the genius of fantasy, grew terribly fast and became a spitting image of her mother, in every conceivable way, including her morose personality. The child was named, after years of searching for a name, Morella, and died thereafter, only to be entombed next to the mother. The story was fitting for a fire, and, although I nearly lost my eyesight squinting into the reflecting firelight to read it, it was worth the effort. John told a similar, if slightly more lighthearted tale, and then we evolved into trying to create our own "story-in-the-round." There were references to all sorts of silly, and serious, things: the Texas brush fires, Napoleon's second coming, the devastation of Katrina, needing to "clean up," Morella, ghostly children, and, of course, little green men (What is a good ghost story around a campfire without little green men?).

The highlight of my evening, besides the company and the stories, was an all too brief conversation with Louis Hodges, Professor Emeritus of Ethics in Journalism at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Hodges, not only an astute journalist but also a very fine horseshoe competitor, and I discussed today's problems in journalism. Two important topics came up. The first was the idea that until the blogs, while noted, by me, that they're admirable in task, can come under an umbrella of editing by credible journalists of standing, they won't be entirely credible sources of information. The editors need to be present so that necessary fact checking can be done before information is disseminated into the mainstream of the Internet. I inferred that this goes for blogs on both sides of the political spectrum. The other issue was that too often all we get from journalists is conflict, and that politicians understand this is what drives ratings, particularly with television and radio news. As a result, journalism is often more about ratings and money than it is about presenting problems and their potential solutions, real news, to the public so that its members can make their own best choices using the given information.

I'll note here that I would like to have taken the time to get into a more in depth interview, however, given the circumstances, it was quite an opportunity. Noteworthy from our discussion was one more point: that anyone can be a journalist. If you can develop a sense of ethical conduct and stick to it while being sensitive to the people whom you interview, you can be a journalist. Writing well helps, but it's not the key, here.

I will leave you with these thoughts as I prepare for my grandfather's funeral on Wednesday. With the reminder that life does not last forever, and is precious, comes the idea of what is worth fighting for while we're on this earth. I hope that we can all find a new reserve and strength to keep soldiering on into that good night.

With love to my grandfather... "The Jokemaster of Sun City"...
May heaven smile upon your presence and the spirits laugh with you forever.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Counting Hillary Out Too Early?

Normally, I would not blog about Senator Clinton. There are plenty of people doing that already. Journalists are reviewing her Wal-Mart record relentlessly now, and Chris Matthews seems almost infatuated with her as he glorifies in picking apart any possibility she has of a presidential run in 2008. I stand firmly with those, including the Senator, herself, who see 2006 as a much bigger, more immediate conundrum. For readers who have missed it, while I disagree with her stances on Iraq, "flag burning," and at least the language she uses now on abortion, she has -- publicly and privately -- expressed anger at the lack of cohesion of her own party in standing up to President Bush and the rest of the Republican three-ring circus. If it wasn't for Iraq, the issue of where to draw the line with freedom of speech, and the notion that I don't want the government in my personal business, I would be behind her 100%.

But this is the problem for Hillary. We're forgetting that this nation has yet to elect a woman as president. And I really do mean forgetting. Here's the list of countries that have already had women in key positions of top leadership, whether prime ministerial or presidential, that come immediately to my mind: Israel, Ireland, Canada, Finland (with thanks to Conan O'Brien for the second term), Liberia, and now Chile. Two of them -- Liberia and Chile -- have done us the honors of placing women in these positions just in the last few months, alone. We are sorely lacking.

France has now adopted an equal pay law. France's women didn't get the right to vote until after ours did, but that nation has the equivalent of one of the tenants of the Equal Rights Amendment, and we don't. According to a recent Mother Jones Magazine article, women still make only $o.56 on every male dollar, unless we're raising children, in which case the number goes up to $0.80 (Can I hear the collective frustrated sigh of single women everywhere?). In another issue, they discuss the status of fighting domestic violence in this country, and the statistics are startling. The United States of America hasn't even ratified CEDAW. "The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination." One hundred eighty-two other nations have done so. Yes, that's right: 182. Our status on this list is embarrassing, and it should be.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is in a very difficult position: she has to prove herself on issues of foreign policy to people who wouldn't even follow a woman into battle, and she has to keep her head on straight, and I'm not talking about just appealing to the Democratic Party's base. Any woman considering running for our nation's highest office has quite an act to create. Make no mistake: I'm not condoning her positions on Iraq, flag burning, abortion, nor even a degree of her own silence in the face of some of the current administration's huge disasters, but I am calling this country on the carpet. We need only three states to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to get this ratified as an official amendment to The Constitution. There is precedent, via the 27th, for such a move, and I'm sitting in one of the states that ought to do it: Arizona (Governor Napolitano... post-re-election agenda priority number one). What the hell is it with this country that our women don't have this amendment as our foundation for freedom? Where's our light to shine to the rest of the world? Pardon my bluntness, hell... my boldness, but this is ridiculous. If Betty Ford, my favorite Republican ever, could back this amendment, and her husband could, too, what's stopping this country from adopting these two major bills into law, here, let alone electing a woman to our nation's highest office? This question is rhetorical. I don't expect an answer. I want you to think about it. Seriously. Even if you're a "feminist." I know from entrenched power structures in some of the most "liberal" places in the nation, personally. So, when my own interactions are sometimes questionable, it leaves a lot on the table to be desired.

It may well take a good November Congress cleaning in order for Hillary to feel that she has enough public support to say what she really thinks now. Can we blame her for this? I don't like it any more than anyone else, and I wonder if by speaking out now she would do more good than she perceives, including on issues like Iraq. We all know she's been walking the line with it for some time now.

Frankly, people who aren't "ready" to see a woman as president of this nation ought to be ashamed of themselves. This isn't a question of readiness. It's a question of faith, and I don't mean the Dobson kind. It's the type that requires us, individually, to revolutionize this nation; the sort of decision that could open way more doors for people than we think. For people, women, especially, who can't see themselves as part of a political movement (I Corinthians comes to mind, here), voting a woman into office is exactly the sort of individual act that could validate them, too, not just those of us who are "activists."

If we need Biblical precedent, then maybe Deborah should be given a second look. She wasn't just a "judge," she was that time's equivalent of a political leader. For all of my own complaints about religion, this is one story any religion has right. Can I get a few million: "Amen" and some votes? It's time to make a leap of faith, and, while we're at it, time to rethink just where we stand with Hillary. She's not perfect, but she is brilliant, and she has a cadre of the best political advisors in the nation at her side, including, yes, her husband. I'm keeping my eyes on 2006, but I have to admit that, with stakes this high, I just can't count Senator Clinton out this early for 2008.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What's in a paperclip?

A paperclip is normally thought of as an incendiary device in office work. It is not something that engenders discussion of serious issues. When it comes to memories that are slowly becoming abstract with the passing of time, however, such an object suddenly becomes monumental in meaning and in proportion.

This happened to me recently when I discovered "The Paperclip Project." Now, this isn't the most timely article on the subject, as PBS has already aired the documentary on it more than once, but I think it deserves attention anew. It means a lot to me because it's the sort of project that I could never have conceived of as a young Jewish girl in northern Ohio, surrounded by mostly Catholics and Methodists in a town of over 6,000. It also has meaning because it does what words, and often books, alone, cannot do: it tears down biases simply with its presence. It reminds me that who I am is important because I am here, and it is a great lesson for all of us: who we are and what we do matters, irrespective of our stature in life or our physical worth to society.

On the day that now marks the passing of one of our great civil rights leaders, Coretta Scott King, this project seems all the more important. If you have followed my posts up to this point, you understand that I have a lot to say and that I do my best to bring it to you on a consistent basis. Now, with this post, you have an idea of my motivations springing to life. Please keep in mind that this occurred in a town where there were no Jews living, probably not any other diverse population, either. You can see for yourselves how amazing this is.

And now, the main, very bold, story, as described by someone with a beautiful, down home view of the project.

Enjoy and be inspired,

Your Humble Blogger

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Paperclip Project

I love documentaries. Over the weekend, I saw one on HBO titled, "The Paperclip Project." It was about a group of students at a middle school in Whitwell, Tennessee, who were studying the Holocaust. The school principal, Linda Hooper, wanted to do something different in her school. She wanted these children who have little or no exposure to other ethnic groups, to really understand the costs hatred and violence bring to the world. It began as a weekly, afterschool, project, attended on a volunteer basis, due to the graphic scenes and descriptions of violence that the children would be exposed to.

As they read books, did research, the same number kept coming up over and over. Six million. Six million Jews executed. One student asked, "What does six million look like?"

The students asked if they could collect something to represent six million, so that they could grasp the vastness of that number. Hooper agreed, but the students were told they'd have to find something that had meaning to the project. They decided to collect paperclips because, they discovered, during the Holocaust, Norwegians wore paperclips on their collars in silent protest against Nazi policies.

By the end of the first year, they'd only collected 10,000 paperclips. But then, two reporters from the DC area, who worked for a German newspaper, caught wind of the project. After their story was published, the flood gates opened. The school began receiving so much mail that the local post office could no longer deliver it. Most of the paperclips they received were from Holocaust survivors, their children, their grandchildren. A large portion of the shipments were accompanied by letters, personal stories of horrid experiences.

I managed not to cry through the beginning of the story, but when a few New Yorkers arrived to speak to the students, all Jewish, all a little afraid of being in Redneck land, and were greeted with hugs and tears and exclamations of, "Don't be scared, we're just folks!" well, that's when I started to lose it. It was a beautiful thing. Then, an older man, not very tall, spoke to the crowd and said, "My name is Joe and I'm a Holocaust survivor," while holding up his arm and showing his tattoo, I fell apart. I watched the remainder of the movie through tears, I'm a big wussy baby, I know.

The school decided to use the paperclips to build a memorial. Through a series of events, they were able to obtain one of the rail cars used by the Nazis to transport people to the concentration camps. The entire town volunteered to help with repairs and landscaping. It now stands in the town of Whitwell, Tennessee, holding eleven million paperclips. Six million for the Jewish people who died in the camps and an additional five million to represent the Romani, homosexuals and other human beings who were forced to suffer and were senselessly murdered.

God Bless Linda Cooper and the teachers, students and townspeople of Whitwell, Tennessee. It's a beautiful thing.

Submitted by Romani Heart @ 8:02 PM

For more information, please visit:

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A New Constitutional Amendment?

Many of our dear senators are doing what? Raw Story reported today that members of Congress, specifically The Senate, are talking about a new Constitutional Amendment that would limit The President's powers during war time. Now, I'm all for this. However, there's a small problem here: we already have one. It's called our Fourth Amendment, and it's in The Bill of Rights. The text is as follows:

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by
Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and
the persons or things to be seized.

Do we really need a repeat performance? Doesn't this reek of something known as: Many members of Congress think we're stupid or willfully ignorant and this is just a HUGE waste of news space? Doesn't Congress have anything better to do?

Oh, that's right. Congress doesn't have anything better to do with their time, like, say... pass an economic bill of rights, draft a law against military industry profitting during war time, write and pass another law that bans voting machines, or... how about pass the Equal Rights Amendment? Hey, wait a minute.... This would mean that I could be drafted. Well, don't you gentlemen of sound mind already serving think this would be a good way to stop future unnecessary wars? Hmmm.... Or, you could just impeach the undeserving person in The Office and his cohorts in crime right now.... But maybe this is too much work for you? Aw... such a shame that you all have to work so hard. I'll give you some pity when you pay for a new G5 Apple computer system with dual monitors and an updated sound recording package for me. (Um... maybe I'll take the latter, but you still won't get the former. As Garfield would say, "DUH!")

If you really must know, my dear Senators, you would accomplish a lot more by following in the lead of the Arizona State Legislature and Representative Kyrsten Sinema in conjunction with and get monuments of The Bill of Rights on the grounds of every State Capitol in the nation, including Washington, D. C. Maybe then, when We The People are reminded of our rights across the board and on a consonant basis, we won't keep having these senators and representatives who are so willfully ignorant or poorly taught that they make it all the way to Congress this way and consistently break our own laws. After all, democracy and freedom are things we do not things we have.

Here I Go...

This is probably one of the bravest posts I will ever make, so I ask that you bear with me here. A lot of us are debating various religions and their principles these days, and rightly so. However, there is a tendency for people on both sides of the debate to qualify their beliefs. People who are against terrorism will often say that their own religions, be they Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or something else, do not, at heart, teach bad things like violence, rape, etc. as solutions to problems. People who try to deny terrorism or brush it aside will say that their religions are forgiving, peaceful, etc., etc.

The problem, here, is that religions are both good and bad -- just like most everything else in life. They are chronicles of the people that believe, as well as lists of beliefs. Judaism, for example, makes blatant statements about homosexuality, women, and slavery. Christianity has statements about women (I'm not Christian, but I do know about I Corinthians), and Islam (and, no, I'm not Muslim either, but I am familiar with some chapters of the Quran) does, at times, call for Jihad as the answer to dealing with "non-believers." There are also depictions of graphically violent acts in the Jewish Bible. There is at least explanation of justification of violence in the Quran, and Christianity has the violent belief, as well, that Jesus died to save his believers, even if this has ultimate implications of non-violence.

The point, here, is that we have to look at religion for what it is, and stop trying to paint it as one or the other. If we read our holy books critically, they can help us down the road to a better life. If we don't, and we accept everything verbatim, then we risk hurting many of our friends, family members, colleagues, and even ourselves. It is tempting to say that we want to get rid of religion all together, due to its negative effects, but this carries with it a slippery slope that we can trace back as recently as World War II and The Holocaust. Whenever we try to blame any religion or belief system for our problems, we just end up worse off than when we started. It's like the child who can never forgive his parents for anything. Even if they did do some bad things, continuing to blame them forever will hurt him the most in the end.

The solution to all this may ultimately end up being a radical acceptance of all different kinds of belief systems being parts of the overall heritage that each of us possesses in our lives. There are valuable lessons that certain groups can teach us. Modern Judaism, for example, can inspire people to accept that everyone on Earth deserves a home within it and a right to exist without fear of further genocide. Christianity teaches that we ought to forgive people as much as possible to prevent harm to ourselves and others. Islam, by teaching that Moses and Jesus were both past prophets, suggests that we can, indeed, accept that we have different ways of coming to many of the same conclusions in life for the better.

I can understand people wanting to emphasize the positive about our religions. Violence is not something worth teaching to anyone except as part of an overall history, cultural, or interpersonal lesson about how to avoid it. However, if we deny the violent history of all religions, then we risk only repeating it in the future. So long as we learn from the past, there is no reason to be ashamed of it. On this note, I encourage you to look at religion with a more objective eye and try to see it as a motivation to move forward as a species, if nothing else.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

How Many Hours Straight??

The Young Turks have been broadcasting now for almost 80 hours straight! It's the "Filibuster for The Filibuster." If you don't want to give up your right to vote for who is President of this nation altogether, and you've read 1984, then go listen in and, while you're at it, go to The Alito 48 page at to let your senators know you want them to vote no and support the filibuster.


Your humble blogger

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Dear Readers,

Dissent is not being "obstructionist." It never was, and it never is. If you think this is the case, then you have not read The Bill of Rights, nor have you ever read Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, or The Constitution. I don't mean to be blunt, but these are the times which try men's souls, so please do go and read them all. It's our duty as American citizens to know our birthrights.

Speaking of which, kudos go to Senator John Kerry for finally showing that the Dems still have a spine in them somewhere as the opposition party rightly should. When the opposition party stops unifying around some form of dissent there is good reason to worry.

My Blog is not one of the large ones, yet, but I believe in supporting everyone worthy of such an honor anyway. Go to and help the 70% of Americans against Alito keep him off of our Supreme Court. Say no to the "unitary executive," otherwise known as a dictator or a king, and help keep this nation free.

Respectfully yours,

Rachel Gluck
Concerned Citizen
of The Republic

Friday, January 27, 2006

On Calling Israelis "Terrorists"

Dear Readers,

I have heard enough of well-meaning, sorely misguided people calling Israelis "terrorists." As I respond to these people, please bear with me. Reuters News Service reported yesterday that Israel had tried to kill Osama bin Laden in 1996 -- two years before American embassies were bombed by Al Qaida in east Africa and four years before the bombing of the U. S. S. Cole. If Israelis really wanted to do so, they could easily cut off diplomatic ties with the United States and Great Britain. Neither nation helped Israel become independent in 1948. Britain actually helped the Arabs by supplying weapons to them and fighting along side the Arab Legion to keep "order" in the region. The U. S. supported the Arabs, too, by staying "neutral" in the Palestinian Jews' fight to make Israel their homeland. And, before you can think to mention it, while The United States does give financial assistance to Israel, they also support The Palestinians, along with many other Arab nations, and have done so for quite a while. This action has not really been much of a gesture of friendship in the larger scheme of things; merely a token payment. Lastly, before you can think up this one, as well, just because Jews have lived in this country for just over 350 years does not make the U. S. Government our official "ally of allies." Anyone who thinks Jews should have set up Israel in the Australian outback has about as much information on Jewish history as the British seem to care to remember (especially if Prince Harry's Halloween costume is any indication of how things still are in the good ol' G. B.). These very same British, at the time, still considered Australia a Commonwealth of The Crown. Given the current scheme of things, and our past fortunes, unfortunately, I think Jews in this nation have good reason to think about their own survival. As Yitzhak Rabin once said, "Israelis are responsible for the protection of Israel."

If you're thinking that the Arabs have never fought the Jews fairly, you're right. The history goes back to The Crusades when Romans wanted to keep "order" in that region. Sound familiar? If, by the mid-1960s, The Catholic Church can strike out of its own holy books that Jews killed Jesus (and how much fuel does this untruth still add to the fire?), then other Christians ought to follow in re-examining the history, too, since, whether they like it or not, Rome is the heart of Christian development in the western world.

I have tried talking with Christians about their uses of terms such as "Judas" and "I was Jewed." I have even heard, privately, of course, openly "decent" people say to me that Osama bin Laden isn't even the problem. While the former is troublesome, the latter is clearly a falsehood. Osama and his followers are the problem. We have been appeasing them ever since we never went to war with Iran in 1980 and, perhaps, long before then in our seemingly never-ending quest for oil. Remember when Iran held some of our soldiers hostage? We already "fought" them "over there" during the Iran-Iraq War by propping up Saddam Hussein (Google the picture of his handshake with Donald Rumsfeld if you don't believe me), and we now know how far this got us. Now, our own young men and women, barely adults, and many older, are over in that region fighting the wrong group of Arabs in place of essentially the same type of people. For lack of a better way of saying this, Al Qaida, and others like them, are the Arab equivalent of the Japanese kamikaze (Google them, too, and you'll see what I mean.).

Now, you can go ahead all you want to and call Israelis terrorists, but remember this fact: Israel was only supported at all as more than just a passing idea after Adolph Hitler built a myriad of ovens and gas showers designed to kill millions of people, primarily Jews, in his "Final Solution" plan, and followed through with it. Let's face it: we have reached many of the technological heights that we are ever going to face in the world. Can you honestly imagine an Israel without at least a few nuclear weapons? Can you honestly tell me that you would rather not have the Israelis try to get the bad guy before he's even on our radar screen long enough to kill over three thousand of our citizens, especially when, and I don't like saying this, President Reagan dropped the ball by "avoiding" an open conflict with the Iranians, and probably others in the Middle-East? (I thought Republicans didn't "negotiate" with terrorists? I don't like saying this, either, but I have to ask you this question. Surely, you understand.)

People call themselves "pacifists," but I suspect that the belief in so-called "pacifism" really doesn't exist except in the most naive among us. After all, I think even the most "pacifistic" Americans would hardly have complained if President Bush had gone after the real target. I doubt these same people would have protested much, if at all, had Mr. bin Laden been hung, or otherwise executed, for his crimes.

We have to face, as a people, a sad notion that was first formally introduced to us by Dante Alighiery: "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality." The Swiss, whether they ever admit it, or not, know what I'm talking about. Their banks still hold the wealth built on the backs of many a Nazi "sympathizer," even if great portions of the money, gold teeth, and works of art have been returned to their rightful owners.

I ask you, dear Readers, do you really want to support bin Laden and lose the backing of a nation that has no spectacularly good reason to be friendly to you? I ask you, also, to consider this: most of our cures for diseases, computer advances, and agricultural miracles do come from, and will continue to come from, Israel. Is it really right to pick fights with Israel when Jews have proven themselves able to use their money, and resources, wisely? Wouldn't it be better if the British and Americans, and other white, European folks, simply left the Jews and Arabs alone once and for all, and openly said as much? Maybe the two peoples would be able to work things out on their own, even eventually like good adults do....

By the way, after pondering what I've written for several moments, and perhaps even doing some of your own research, are Israelis still "terrorists"?

Respectfully yours,

Rachel Gluck
Concerned Citizen
of The Republic

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Problem With Legislators At Every Level Of Our Government

Dear Legislators Across The Nation,

I have beef with many of you. I, and my fellow citizens, elected you so that we wouldn't always have to call you in the middle of a crisis. These days, I am bombarded by e-mails, petitions, calls to get on the phone and let you people know just what I think. I feel like I need to call many of you in for a session, or a few, with Dr. Phil. Frankly, you should know what I think when you take your oaths of office. "Defend and protect The Constitution of The United States," comes to mind. Your hands are on your holy books for that purpose, above all others. If there have to be masses of us, who are busy scrambling in our own lives every day, many of us with our own battles to fight, calling you, doesn't this tell you something? For the sake of the common good and our national welfare, think about this for more than a moment.

If you are having trouble deciding what to do and the polls are getting too frenzied to keep up with them all, check your own consciences first. If your parents didn't give you them, check with a member of the clergy or a counsellor, or, heck, even an attorney. These folks are sworn to secrecy unless you prove, yourselves, to be dangerous to people around you, or yourselves.

The bottom line is that you are not off the hook for the ways in which you've done your jobs. It is up to the common citizens, with the help of the press, to inform you of problems that you couldn't possibly know of on your own. However, it is also your job to investigate and be ready when the opportunities arise to finally make your battles with the executive branches at all levels of government in this country public. We elected you so that we would not have to feel like we had to be activists every single day of our lives. We think you're smart enough to do it for us. Do we need to wonder about this now?

I hope not, but there is always the ballot box, or at least the black box.

Respectfully yours,

Rachel Gluck
Concerned Citizen

Monday, January 23, 2006

A Call To Duty

Dear Citizens,

What troubles me now is a leadership and a general state of mind across our great nation, so far removed from intellect that our country seesaws on the brink of irreversible destruction. I see only dark clouds in the likes of our appointed President Bush and his shadows Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rice, Secretary Rumsfeld, and nominee to The Supreme Court Samuel Alito. Mr. Bush is Jeffersonian in his fancy ways of igniting democracy, yet we forget so easily that he has neither Jefferson’s eloquence in a foreign language, or his Revolutionary experience. I do see a very disturbing time ahead if such people as The President are continued to be espoused as Leaders. The thought leaves me wishing for the likes of The Alien and Sedition Acts proposed under Adams, who also reminds me of Mister Bush in his eventual turn against a free press, but who differs from Bush in his senses of necessity and sacrifice, not to mention a certain learned capacity which Bush seems to have drunk into the abyss of our six year hell. Even these two men, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, would not have stooped, for all their humanly blunders, to the low point of directly spying within the homes of their own citizens. Brutal though paying off the press is, vile though going to war is, neither buying a seditionist’s services nor warring with Napoleon would be so deep a breech of trust, not to mention a blatant display of arrogance, even for a young, flowering nation such as ours in the late 1700s.
It would do The Fourth Estate well to remember Adams’ acts against the seditionists. They seem to cower in fear at the thought of losing coveted access to a man no more powerful than you or I. A pitiful sight is The White House these days. The fact of the matter is that the only thing a free press didn’t do was stop Adams from retaining peace with the French; this at a time when the high seas were the only thing standing between a man and his reelection. How stupid it would have been if Jefferson’s ilk had had its way and gone to war with a revolutionary Napoleon. He was no Adams, no Washington, and even no Jefferson. And here America stands, on the brink of permanent war with the likes of a modern-day Napoleon Bonaparte. The French deposed Napoleon. Should not one day the Muslim world and the common Saudis do the same of Osama bin Laden and his followers, whether they family or mere friends? What nerve our dear President has to suggest that they will never be capable of doing so! For all their struggles, today both America and France enjoy greater freedoms than either nation could ever have expected; the British, too. Curse you, Mr President. Curse you for your ignorance and foolishness. Did you drink us into the underworld Hades?
And as to you, my dear fellow Americans, Dare you fall asleep? I am not the only poor soul who wonders where all of our pride has gone. We posses documents that inspire modern revolutions in nations where no such thought would have previously occurred. Yet, at the first signs of betrayal by our leaders in The Government, a great group of us stands by silent? It does not take memories of The Holocaust to make our Revolutionary Fathers and Mothers restless in their graves. All they have to do, from their heavenly respites, is look at the living ghosts of King George III.
I call those of you, now, who have foolishly chosen to continue following the Napoleon upon our own soil to repent before your people. I urge you currently to admit your grave mistake. Blame it on the same human fear that the rest of us shared with you on The Eleventh of September, of The Great Year Two Thousand and One, if you must, but do it at once! Never has our Republic so dearly needed your return to the laws of the heart, as well as of the logical mind. See with your minds’ eyes into the core of our depleted Treasury and the concern of our spent Military. Envision the sad spirits in a foreign land filled with outlandish names like “Iraq” and “Iran.” View the great disservice you have done to their futures, as well as your own. Deliver us from the abomination you call your duty, and return to duty’s side as her true companions.
The will of our people is thin, but not gone. As long as we have breath in us, we are free to rebel, if we must. On the testimony of men, and women, who have risen up against tyranny and won, I submit my deepest beliefs in this nation, and I urge restraint on all sides, lest we need our energies for greater causes.

Respectfully yours,

Rachel Gluck
Proud Citizen of The Republic