Thomas L. Freidman’s Op-Ed in today’s New York Times, a lucid appraisal of an absurd VP selection for McCain and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

The following is an Op-Ed piece by ‘From Beirut to Jerusalem’ author, Thomas L. Freidman, published today in the New York Times: (see the original by clicking here.)

Criticizing Sarah Palin is truly shooting fish in a barrel. But given the huge attention she is getting, you can’t just ignore what she has to say. And there was one thing she said in the debate with Joe Biden that really sticks in my craw. It was when she turned to Biden and declared: “You said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, that’s not patriotic.”

What an awful statement. Palin defended the government’s $700 billion rescue plan. She defended the surge in Iraq, where her own son is now serving. She defended sending more troops to Afghanistan. And yet, at the same time, she declared that Americans who pay their fair share of taxes to support all those government-led endeavors should not be considered patriotic.

I only wish she had been asked: “Governor Palin, if paying taxes is not considered patriotic in your neighborhood, who is going to pay for the body armor that will protect your son in Iraq? Who is going to pay for the bailout you endorsed? If it isn’t from tax revenues, there are only two ways to pay for those big projects — printing more money or borrowing more money. Do you think borrowing money from China is more patriotic than raising it in taxes from Americans?” That is not putting America first. That is selling America first.

Sorry, I grew up in a very middle-class family in a very middle-class suburb of Minneapolis, and my parents taught me that paying taxes, while certainly no fun, was how we paid for the police and the Army, our public universities and local schools, scientific research and Medicare for the elderly. No one said it better than Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

I can understand someone saying that the government has no business bailing out the financial system, but I can’t understand someone arguing that we should do that but not pay for it with taxes. I can understand someone saying we have no business in Iraq, but I can’t understand someone who advocates staying in Iraq until “victory” declaring that paying taxes to fund that is not patriotic.

How in the world can conservative commentators write with a straight face that this woman should be vice president of the United States? Do these people understand what serious trouble our country is in right now?

We are in the middle of an economic perfect storm, and we don’t know how much worse it’s going to get. People all over the world are hoarding cash, and no bank feels that it can fully trust anyone it is doing business with anywhere in the world. Did you notice that the government of Iceland just seized the country’s second-largest bank and today is begging Russia for a $5 billion loan to stave off “national bankruptcy.” What does that say? It tells you that financial globalization has gone so much farther and faster than regulatory institutions could govern it. Our crisis could bankrupt Iceland! Who knew?

And we have not yet even felt the full economic brunt here. I fear we may be at that moment just before the tsunami hits — when the birds take flight and the insects stop chirping because their acute senses can feel what is coming before humans can. At this moment, only good governance can save us. I am not sure that this crisis will end without every government in every major economy guaranteeing the creditworthiness of every financial institution it regulates. That may be the only way to get lending going again. Organizing something that big and complex will take some really smart governance and seasoned leadership.

Whether or not I agree with John McCain, he is of presidential timber. But putting the country in the position where a total novice like Sarah Palin could be asked to steer us through possibly the most serious economic crisis of our lives is flat out reckless. It is the opposite of conservative.

And please don’t tell me she will hire smart advisers. What happens when her two smartest advisers disagree?

And please also don’t tell me she is an “energy expert.” She is an energy expert exactly the same way the king of Saudi Arabia is an energy expert — by accident of residence. Palin happens to be governor of the Saudi Arabia of America — Alaska — and the only energy expertise she has is the same as the king of Saudi Arabia’s. It’s about how the windfall profits from the oil in their respective kingdoms should be divided between the oil companies and the people.

At least the king of Saudi Arabia, in advocating “drill baby drill,” is serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. My problem with Palin is that she is also serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. That’s not patriotic. Patriotic is offering a plan to build our economy — not by tax cuts or punching more holes in the ground, but by empowering more Americans to work in productive and innovative jobs. If Palin has that kind of a plan, I haven’t heard it.”

You CAN see Russia from here.

Anderson Cooper 360 has a fun piece about the Alaskan island of Little Diomede, the one place where Americans can see Russian from their homes. (Click here to read article/watch clip) The following is an excerpt:

“When talking about what she says is her foreign policy experience, Sarah Palin told ABC news “…you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”
That quote made us want to go to that island.

So we did.

The island is called Little Diomede. It looks like a rock plopped into the Bering Strait. Only about 150 Alaskans live on the whole island. And just about two miles away; in full view of every single house on the island is the nation of Russia. Specifically, it is the Russian Island of Big Diomede which sits about 25 miles from the Russian Siberian mainland (which you can also see from the American island.) Most everybody on Little Diomede had relatives who lived on Big Diomede.

But decades ago, the Russian government sent them all to the mainland, and today, Big Diomede is limited to a Russian military presence. It’s also a full day in front of Little Diomede because it’s on the other side of the International Date Line. Little Diomede is fascinating. It looks like the moon would if you built a lunar settlement. It’s full of rocks, dirt, and craters. We were curious if Sarah Palin has ever visited this island. According to the natives, the answer is no.

As a matter of fact, no Alaska governor in the state’s nearly 50 year history has ever visited the remote outpost that still has little running water. We were curious what the Little Diomeders thought about Palin’s claim of foreign policy experience because of the proximity of Siberia. Interestingly, many of these Alaskans had no idea who Sarah Palin was! It turns out they have no TV on the island, and therefore, many don’t follow the news.

The island’s mayor has heard of her though. No American mayor resides in a city closer to Russia than Andrew Milligrock, and he says being two miles from Russia doesn’t give him any foreign policy expertise.

He does say she seems like an okay governor, but exclaims she should probably pay a visit to Little Diomede sometime. It may not help her foreign policy experience says the mayor, but would definitely help her domestic policy experience.”

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer on “Leadership” -how it is defined and who actually leads us during this election season.

I am reading Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s book, Wisdom of the Ages, today and wanted to share the following passages with anyone who will listen as we close in on election day:

“I am frequently amazed at how many contemporary politicians refer to themselves as “leaders” by virtue of the fact that they hold public office. Historically it is clear that public office holders are seldom the true leaders causing change. For instance, who were the leaders of the Renaissance? Were they the public office holders? Were the leaders the mayors, governors, and presidents of European capitals? No.

The leaders were the artists, writers, and musicians who listened to their hearts and souls and expressed what they heard, leading others to discover a resonating voice within themselves!

(Ever consider the titles you are known by (father, brother, leader, coach, manager) and how you try to live up to them?) ….You may carry the title of mother or father (which is an awesome responsiblity), and your kids may see you as the leader of the family, and thus seek your advice, but remember that what you truly want is for them to be able to say is, “I did it myself,” rather than give you credit. and so, enhance your leadership by being constantly alert to the mistake of thinking that your title makes you a leader….True leaders are not known by titles! It is EGO that loves titles!”

[In this passage, Dr. Dyer’s line of thinking is inspired by the ‘Tao Te Ching’ (meaing ‘the way’), the basis for ‘Taoism,’ written by Sixth Century Chinese Philosopher, LAO-TZU, he expressed this truth about leaders this way:

“True Leaders
are hardly known to their followers.
Next after them are the leaders
the people know and admire;
after them, those they fear;
after them, those they despise.

To give no trust
is to get no trust.

When the work’s done right,
with no fuss or boasting,
ordinary people say,
“Oh, we did it.”

-LAO-TZU (6th century B.C.)

Dr. Dyer follows up with this, “…….True leaders enjoy the trust of others, which is very different from enjoying the perks and flattery and power that the ego insists are the signs of being a leader. You need to give trust to others in order to receive that trust and be a true leader.”

Re-reading the Gettysburg Address with today’s world in mind…

The Gettysburg Address, by Abraham Lincoln
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

U.S. Central Bank commits US taxpayers to foot 100% of $85 billion AIG bailout, despite the company’s INTERNATIONAL existance and importance (read-bailed out at behest of foreign central banks with only US tax payer money!!??)

Click here to read a Great Opinion Piece  (‘The fleecing of America’) concerning America’s new, diminished role as a pauper nation amongst the world’s new “wealth centers” in China, India, Brazil and the Persian Gulf States and about the lack of foreign investment support in helping to save the international conglomerate AIG (billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars spent to save international company????) Written by Roger Cohen, Published in the New York Times on Sunday, the following is an excerpt:

“…But toxic mortgage-backed securities were pedaled by plenty of foreign banks. And the decision to pour $85 billion of U.S. taxpayers’ money into the rescue of American International Group (A.I.G.), the insurance giant, followed appeals from foreign finance ministers to Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, to save a global company.

Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told me: “Paulson said he was getting calls from finance ministers all around the world saying, you have to save A.I.G. Well, they should have been asked to contribute to the pot.”

Frank has a point. (He should coach Barack Obama on how to put economics in plain language.) As Frank said on “The Charlie Rose Show,” “I don’t think the European Central Bank should be free to spend the Federal Reserve’s money and not put any in.”

I know, you reap what you sow. Nobody’s itching to help the Bush administration. World central banks did inject billions in concerted action to help stabilize money markets. But the U.S. has essentially been on its own. Now foreign banks with U.S. affiliates will want a slice of the $700 billion bailout. That doesn’t make sense until the burden of this rescue starts reflecting a globalized world.

I asked Frank why Paulson and Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, did not get more foreign support. “I think it’s a perverse pride thing,” he said. “We don’t ask for help. We’re the big, strong father figure. But let’s be realistic: we’re no longer the dominant world power.”

It’s time for a responsibility shift. Call it the Hirst reality check. If he can sell a formaldehyde-pickled sheep with gold horns for millions while Lehman goes under, perhaps it’s time for everyone to help a little when Americans get fleeced.”  :(

Matt Damon shares his opinion of McCain’s choice for Vice President, Sarah Palin, watch video here.

hit play on video below as Matt Damon gives his opinion on McCain’s Vice Presidential choice, Sarah Palin:

Watch this video: Inspiring us to restore the Republic. God Bless America

Inspiring Video to give you hope for Restoring the Republic:

Not happy with the three choices for President this year? Makes you wish you voted for Ron Paul, huh?

Just Click play, you might like it:

Congressman Ron Paul trying to convince Congress to fight against war in 2002, and against unbalanced budgets and for securing our borders

“I rise to urge the Congress to think twice before thrusting this nation into a war without merit- one fraught with the danger of escalating into something that no American will be pleased with.” -Congressman Ron Paul, September 4, 2002

“Military force is justified only in self-defense; naked aggression is the province of dictators and rogue states. This is the danger of a new “preemptive first strike” doctrine.” -Congressman Ron Paul, September 4, 2002.

“If we can’t or won’t define the enemy, the cost to fight such a war will be endless. How many American troops are we prepared to lose?…How much money are we prepared to spend?…How many innocent civilians, in our nation and others, are we willing to see killed?…How many American civilians will we jeopardize?…How much of our civil liberties are we prepared to give up?” -Congressman Ron Paul, September 25, 2002

“Let it be clearly understood- there is no authority to wage war against Iraq without Congress passing a Declaration of War…A UN Resolution authorizing an invasion of Iraq, even if it were to come, cannot replace the legal process for the United States going to war as precisely defined in the Constitution…Only tyrants can take a nation to war without the consent of the people. The planned war against Iraq without a Declaration of War is illegal. It is unwise because of many unforeseen consequences that are likely to result…The American people become less secure when we risk a major conflict driven by commercial interests. Victory under these circumstances is always elusive, and unintended consequences are inevitable.” -Congressman Ron Paul, March 1, 2002

“The tired assertion that America “supports democracy” in the Middle East is increasingly transparent. It was false 50 years ago when we supported and funded the hated Shah of Iran to prevent nationalization of Iranian oil…and it’s false today when we back an unelected dictator in Pakistan -just to name two examples.” -Congressman Ron Paul, December 3, 2002

“Mr. Speaker, I once again find myself compelled to vote against the annual budget resolution for a very simple reason: it makes the government bigger.” -Congressman Ron Paul, March 4, 2004

“…I also want to abolish the Federal Reserve…The value of our dollar and the level of our interest rates are not supposed to be manipulated by a few members of the power elite meeting secretly in a marble palace…Without the Federal Reserve, our money could not be inflated at the behest of big government or big banks. Your income and savings would not lose thier value.” -Congressman Ron Paul, 2002.

“The official national debt figure, now approaching $9 trillion, reflects only what the federal government owes in current debts on money already borrowed…It does not reflect what the federal government has promised to pay millions of Americans in entitlement benefits down the road…Those future obligations put our real debt figure at roughly fifty trillion dollars -a staggering sum that is about as large as the total household net worth of the entire United States…Your share of this fifty trillion amounts to about $175,000.” -Congressman Ron Paul, March 6, 2007

“Immigration reform should start with improving our border protection…yet it was reported last week that the federal government has approved the recruitment of 120 of our best trained Border Patrol agents to go to Iraq to train Iraqis how to better defend their borders…National Gaurd troops participating in Operation Jump Start are being removed from border protection duties in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan…Is this a way to discourage people from coming to the US illegally?” -Congressman Ron Paul,March 31, 2007

“If present trends continue, by 2040 the entire federal budget will be consumed by Social Security and Medicare alone…To close the entitlement gap, the US economy would have to grow by double digits every year for the next 75 years.” -Congressman Ron Paul, March 6, 2007

“It is not we non-interventionists who are isolationists. The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe and who chose to use force overseas to promote democracy…a counterproductive approach that actually leads the U.S. to be more resented and more isolated in the world.”

“Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the ability to handle conflict through peaceful means.” -Ronald Reagan

Conservative Republican pundit, Ann Coulter, vows to campaign for Hillary Clinton if John McCain is the Republican Nominee

Click play below to see video:

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