Category Archives: There’s still time.

Body Language/Speech Analysis: FBI Director Comey & the Inevitable Hillary Indictment

Logic is hard. Critical thinking is no longer taught in our schools. Most colleges do not require a course in logic to graduate, and because the media can legally lie, even if people were skilled at drawing reasonable conclusions, they would often be basing those conclusions on false information anyway.

 

That said, let’s try applying a little logic to the Hillary implosion — aided and abetted by one Associated Press. Fact: The number of delegates required to “clinch the nomination” is 2383. Fact: Hillary does not have that many today. She did not have that many on June 6, 2016, the night someone blackmailed/bribed someone else at AP to discard all journalistic integrity and declare that she had enough superdelegates to “clinch the nomination.” AP claims that they polled all the superdelegates and that there were just enough to give her the win. This would be like polling all the members of the Electoral College and declaring that Trump had enough electoral votes to win the presidency! (Does it sound like I’m speculating when I use big words like “blackmail” and “bribery”? Well, that’s because I am. Simultaneously, I’m extending AP the benefit of the doubt — the doubt that they could ever do something so unethical, immoral and unjust unless they were under the incredible pressure of being blackmailed or bribed.)

 

 

FACT: There’s a date on the calendar when the superdelegates vote. That date — JULY 25, 2016 — has not come and gone according to the passage of months, days and hours that we measure using time-keeping devices and subsequently label “history.”

 

 

 

TRUTH: Hillary has not received the nomination. She is not the presumptive nominee. She is exactly where she was a year ago: Not the Democratic nominee for president in the 2016 election cycle.

 

Further, we can analyze FBI Director Comey’s word choices, body language, and tone of voice and see (and hear) that he does indeed plan to recommend to the Department of Justice that Hillary be indicted under the Espionage Act. Why? Because that is the law she has broken by allowing Special Access Program emails to go unencrypted on her private server for three months (from NBC: “the special access program in question was so sensitive that McCullough and some of his aides had to receive clearance to be read in on it before viewing the sworn declaration about the Clinton emails“). Author and columnist H. A. Goodman explains the basic legal facts in the excellent video below (it will start at exactly the point in the video where he gets to that, 12:32). In summary, yes, some of the emails were retroactively classified, but that’s not relevant. Convicted whistleblowers sit in prison right now for transferring retroactively classified emails, so it’s a crime and one that gets indictments and guilty verdicts. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The SAP emails were born classified. There is no “retroactive” for those emails. They were above Top Secret from the get go.

 

 

But don’t take Goodman’s word for it: the recent release (5/26/16) of the State Department Inspector General report concluded that 1) Hillary violated the federal records act by not turning over all official emails before she left the State Dept and 2) that there was no evidence that she ever received approval to use her own email account for conducting official State Department business (or ever even requested such approval). So there’s ample evidence that she should be indicted. Will she? She’s betting she won’t. Her alienating presumptuous arrogance is embarrassing enough (for example when she says that the report won’t affect either her campaign or “my presidency”) but the disrespect and disregard for the law she doesn’t even attempt to hide is really over the top.

 

Frankly, I thought that there was a good chance that corruption would thwart the release of the State Dept IG report and, that even if it were released, it would likely be false. (And it’s damning — very damning.) The FBI, on the other hand, I have far more faith in (or rather, less doubt). There is no way to get inside Director Comey’s head and know what he intends to do, however, there is a fascinating theory that people are always confessing (literally, that people are always subtly revealing the truth with their words, tone and body language) and that if you listen well enough, you can hear what they’re really saying. In other words, there are three elements of communication. First, the words that are coming out of a person’s mouth; second, what they’re really saying; and third, what they’re not saying.

 

Cenk Uygur explains below that Director Comey, at a May 11 “Pen & Pad” Briefing with Reporters, was very direct in clarifying that there is no “security inquiry,” that in fact, Hillary is being investigated as part of a criminal investigation. Comey says, “I’m not familiar with the term ‘security inquiry.’ We’re conducting an investigation. That’s what we do. It’s in our name. There are no special set of rules for anybody that the FBI investigates.”

 

 

But there is no audio in this segment from TYT. Those phrases are really an amalgamation of several things Director Comey said in two separate exchanges with a reporter. Here’s the first one, copy/pasted from the FBI’s website (except, it wasn’t a complete transcription so I edited it). Turns out, it’s not so direct after all. In fact, the way he square dances with the truth is far more revealing. Pen & Pad briefings are audio only, so we can’t see Director Comey, but in a way, that’s easier, at least for me. Undistracted by facial expressions, I can hone in on “weak” spots in his speech (this means, places where the societal mask we all wear disappears for a second or two).

Starting at 21:04:

 

Catherine: On the e-mails, Director Comey, are you doing a security inquiry?

Director Comey: (long pause – awkward!) I’m sorry?

Catherine: On the e-mails are you doing a security inquiry?

Director Comey: I don’t know what that means.

Catherine: So it’s a criminal investigation?

Director Comey: We’re conducting an investigation. That-that’s the bureau’s business. That’s what we do. And (pause) that’s probably all I can say about it.

Catherine: The reason I ask is that Mrs. Clinton consistently refers to it as a security inquiry, but the FBI does criminal investigations. I just want to —

Director Comey: Right —

Catherine: — see if you can clear that up.

Director Comey: — it’s in our name.

Catherine: Okay.

Director Comey: Yeah.

Catherine: Okay. So it’s not —

Director Comey: I’m not familiar with the term security inquiry.

 

BEST PART EVER: “I’m sorry?” he says, as if he has no idea what a security inquiry is and in fact, has never even heard such an bizarre off-the-wall term! A what??? A dinglehopper inquiry? A security yackamadoodle? How odd! I’ve never HEARD of such a thing!! Silly Catherine. Surely you jest! From what alternate realm do you descend where FBI stands for Federal Bureau of Inquiry? Inquisition maybe, inquiry — NEVER!

 

Ok, so he’s just a little too ready to respond with confusion to that question and a little too ready to feign innocence. It’s so funny, so actually hilarious that if it were say, Chris Parnell playing Comey in the SNL version of this exchange, Chris would not even have to exaggerate his intonation on “I’m sorry?” I think James Comey means, Sorry, not sorry. #sorrynotsorry

 

Let’s keep breaking it down: Cat goes, “on the email, are you doing a security inquiry?” and Directory Comey is all, “I don’t know what that means.” He’s actually being quite kind to Catherine in particular (she is one of the few people he addresses by name), so what does his faux-surprise pretend-ignorance MEAN???? Well, if we were using something I call “red neon sign translate,” he would be holding up a red neon sign that says, “the concept of a security inquiry is so absurd, so silly, and so illogical because the concept of actually and truly being investigated by the FBI is so measurably tangibly serious that downplaying it that much can only mean one thing: that Hillary is actually dumb which is measurably untrue OR she’s very very afraid; either way, I am not even going to acknowledge the insult to the entire Bureau that her euphemism conveys; if there’s anything I can do about it, she will never be our boss.”

 

Ok, that would be a big red neon sign. Fine. God, split hairs.

 

But WAIT — there’s more! Cat tries to make him admit on the record that it’s a criminal investigation when she says, “So it’s a criminal investigation?”

 

Now we get to hear his dad tone. All of a sudden he gets — just a little — pissed. “We’re conducting an investigation,” he barks says in a clipped tone. He’s not angry with/at Catherine, but again, he’s sick and tired of saying that they’re conducting an investigation because conducting investigations is all a bureau of investigation does. What else would it do? Really?

 

Then Catherine, taken aback by Comey’s departure from his generally jovial low key tone slips into hedge language: “the reason I ask” — she doesn’t have to give a reason; she’s a reporter, she asks questions for a living, we know why: it’s her job. But she feels compelled to gently rephrase her question because he barked at her and she felt bad for a second. She concludes with “I just want to see if you can clear that up.” This kind of hedge language is what we use on parents, bosses and other authority figures when they’re “in a bad mood” because we don’t want to get snapped at. Phrases that couch our request, such as “I was just wondering …” or “how would you feel if I possibly …” or “Do you happen to know by chance if/when/what ….?” instead of a direct question. She could have said, “You know why I’m asking — it doesn’t make any sense. Will you please state for the record that the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation of Hillary Rodham Clinton?” But, he answers affirmatively anyway! TWICE!

 

He says, “Right. It’s in our name.” Listen to the way he says it: “Right.” As in, yes, obviously. Hillary is being criminally investigated. And then when Catherine starts to use a placating tone to communicate to him primally that she is not a threat (“Okay, okay”), he communicates back to her with his calmer tone, “yes, I know you’re not a threat; you’re good, and yes, you’re 100% correct — yeah.” He uses affirmative language twice here, with the word Right and the word Yeah. This is not a coincidence. This is a man who chooses his words extremely carefully, and has no problem with hesitating if he hasn’t found the right words yet (wise man — as my mom used to say, “Once words come out of our mouths, they can never go back in, just like bullets from a gun. And words can be even more dangerous.”).

 

There’s more. At 14:21:

 

Eric: I know you don’t want to talk about the Hillary e-mails but I’m asking anyway.

Director Comey: [Are you ashamed?]

Eric: Yeah, I try not to. You’ve indicated publicly, in Niagara Falls and a few other places that you were going to finish this up on your own schedule. You were in no rush. The convention wasn’t a factor, nothing else was a factor. Is there a concern in the director’s office that this investigation is now the subject of so much scrutiny and speculation that you’re affecting a presidential election, in a negative way?

Director Comey: All I would do Eric is repeat what I said before. In any investigation, especially one of intense public interest, and I felt this about San Bernardino. We want to do it well and we want to do it promptly. And so I feel –I feel pressure to do both of those things? (passive aggressive up-talk) What I said at some places, I don’t — I don’t see — I don’t tether to any parTICular external deadline? (passive aggressive up-talk) Look, I understand the interest in this particular investigation. I do feel the pressure to do it well and promptly. As between the two, we will always choose well. That’s the same general answer I hope I’ve [been giving] before.

 

Director Comey’s uptalk is pronounced in this exchange. When noticeable in a teen-aged girl, this voice mask is used to hide her intelligence because she feels compelled to hide any trait that could be a threat to others. In the head of the FBI, it’s super condescending. And he totally insulted “Eric” when he asked rhetorically, “are you ashamed?” Here’s what we know now about Director Comey (but could really have already guessed knowing that he was a US Attorney because they are lawyers who use words as tools and weapons to persuade juries): he can be mean. So, he has that streak of meanness. Now, we haven’t seen him in twenty different situations — we aren’t omniscient either — so we can only make an assessment based on the available data. Plus, he wasn’t mean to Catherine — he was only a little tetchy. The only time he was actually unkind was with Eric. And after all, we might be mean too if we had to keep dealing with idiots who asked stupid questions, especially if they were attempts to put concerns words in our office mouth disguised as questions.

 

So in order to truly gauge his character and make a well-rounded analysis, we need to look at at least two more interactions, with varying power dynamics. In the Pen & Pad briefing, the reporters were subject to him. He was most likely standing at an elevated podium, and they had to get permission to speak to him, to even be in the room. In this next video, he is on an equal level with the person interviewing him — they are both sitting (this is a position of non-dominance, and if the other person is standing, it is a position of subservience) and he was invited to be the interviewer’s guest. And in the third video we’ll look at, he is subject to a Congressional Committee, sitting below the members of a Senate Select Committee, looking up at them (looking up TO them, as a public servant, where the Senate represents the public — or the 37% of the public that bothers to vote in Senate elections).

 

I’ve capitalized or bold/italicized some words that Director Comey speaks, for a specific reason, below the video:

 

 

He says:

“Somebody asked me -uh- in the States about whether I’ve -uh- I think the question was, is the Democratic National Convention a, I forget what the question was, a hard stop for you or is that a key date for you or are you doing this investigation aimed at — and I said, NO. I — we aspire to do all our investigations in two ways: well and promptly. I’m personally close to this investigation because I want to enSURE [pause] that we have the resources, the people, the technology, and the SPACE [pause] to DO those things. And to do it in the way I hope we do ALL our work which is competently, honestly and INDEPENDENTLY. Um, and, I’m CONFIDENT it’s being done that way.”

 

So in communication element 1, the words that are coming out of his mouth, we can hear him say that he’s committed to concluding the investigation well, professionally, above board, the right way, quality over speed, etc, etc. It’s the same party line he’s been repeating for months.

 

But what is he really saying (communication element 2)? He says: I’m personally close to the investigation. Now, as we know, from a logic standpoint, the director of the bureau technically oversees all investigations but he says he’s “close” to it. The word close here is important. He could have said, “I am watching over my agents” or “I am doing everything I personally can to ensure the integrity of the investigation” but he doesn’t.  He says he’s close. What he’s really saying is that he’s close to finishing it. Now why does he mention space? That’s weird. Really weird. You don’t bring up space until you feel like you don’t have enough space, until you feel that your space is being encroached upon. For example, people who say they “need some space.” Space is also a word where his voice mask slips for a split second. Why? Because someone is likely hovering over him or attempting to infringe upon his space, probably someone who would rather the investigation stop.

 

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS ALL SPECULATION — DON’T FREAK OUT, EVERYBODY. IT’S PSEUDOSCIENCE — IT MEANS NOTHING. FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.

 

Now, to deduce what he’s not saying, the most revealing of all the three elements of communication, we’re going to “do the math” and take all the pressure points or weak spots in his speech, every word or syllable where his mask slips (this is not a face mask, this is a voice mask) and add them together.

 

NO + SURE + SPACE + DO + ALL + INDEPENDENTLY + CONFIDENT

 

We then treat this like putting a ripped up handwritten note back together that is missing some of the pieces. No, we’re not reading it in context, but it could still be a very valuable source of information. The fun part here is that we get to fill in the blanks and move the pieces around into different orders (this also means that we are doing art, not science, and therefore the accuracy rate of our conclusion goes down).

 

So imagine that we heard him say, “No sure space do all independently confident” and we were like, what did he say?

 

There’s no sure space to do it all independently or confidently (?)

OR

There’s no confident space to be sure or all independent (?)

OR, what I think it is,

There is no sure space (secure space); [I’m] doing all (everything) independently and confident [ially].

 

 

Yes, it is a stretch. And we’ll never know if this was the right analysis or not. The only thing we can verify (and I’m happy to be wrong — this is fun for me because I’m often right, but not always!) is that he’s close to being finished with the investigation, from communication element two. I predict it will be August of 2016 when the DOJ finally indicts Hillary.

 

I predict it will be August of 2016 when the DOJ finally indicts Hillary.

 

Additionally, watch his hands when he says he’s close to the investigation — his hands hold — nay, grip! — an invisible object. It’s very close to him indeed. There are other very pleasant aspects of his body language; I’m not going to specify all the indicators in his voice and hand movements and posture, etc, but they mean that he is probably a protective person, a thoughtful person, a person who can be violent sometimes but defensively, not aggressively, that he would not hurt women, that he has some regret (people who don’t feel regret don’t have an intact moral compass — we WANT indicators of regret), that he is very gentle toward children and domestic animals and vulnerable people, also that he’s methodical, logical, reflective, and talkative. Negatives? He likes the sound of his own voice, he likes giving advice and keeping people rooted to the spot while they listen to it because they feel obligated to, is moderately arrogant (the regret off-sets this and neutralizes the effect in his everyday life), is self-righteous, assumes that he is smarter than most people (although there are indicators of high intelligence and an excellent memory so he probably IS smarter than most people). Finally, there is also an interesting indicator of humility: it tells us that there was an event in the recent past where he realized just how powerful his influence on changing the outcome of a situation for the better really is (within the past 5 years, probably 3 years ago).

 

 

Now let’s go to that Hearing on Worldwide Threats, the Senate Select Committee hearing I mentioned earlier, where Director Comey is acting as a public servant and is thus the subordinate one in the power dynamic. Click here and then forward the feed to 1:04:46 to see the opening question from a Senator and then his response.

 

 

There’s no text for me to copy/paste and this hearing is long and sad and boring so suffice it to say, there are more indicators that Comey is logical, methodical, respectful of authority (both kinds, that which is endowed by rank and that which is endowed by We the People), humble, kind, protective of vulnerable peoples, along with new interesting indicators: that he is curious, deferential (he shows the most deference to Jim Clapper in this video; his body language indicates respect and admiration for the DNI), patient (listen to the way he explains concepts to Congress — he goes out of his way to not sound condescending toward them) and also happily married.

 

 

Finally, there was a second exchange Director Comey had with Catherine at the Pen & Pad briefing that really encapsulates my whole conclusion.

Catherine: I’m hopeful that you can answer this one.

Director Comey: Is it Hillary Clinton related?

Catherine: Yeah, but this is a really important issue though.

Director Comey: I don’t doubt that all of your questions are important. I’m just telling you I’m predicting the answer. As short as you can.

Catherine: I actually keep my questions very short (Cute — she knows she’s special and the favorite). [crosstalk 00:56:06] I consistently hear from security clearance holders that if they had done a fraction of what had been done by Mrs. Clinton’s team that they would already be in jail. Can you assure people that Mrs. Clinton and her team are being held to the same standard? That there isn’t a special set of rules because they are powerful and politically connected?

Director Comey: I’m not going to comment (pause) other than to say there are no special set of rules for anybody that the FBI investigates.

 

So, first he says that he’s not going to comment … then he comments — lol. So WHY does he comment? Because his moral compass compels him to. If he really doesn’t say anything (or regurgitates the same old non-answer he gave to Eric), then he’s not denying what everyone already thinks, that people like the Clintons get special treatment and everyone else gets a SWAT team at 4:00 a.m. breaking down the door and terrifying the entire building/block. It annoys him that he even has to say this (because in his ideal Just World it’s a given) but he grudgingly (after a pause) agrees exactly with Catherine’s word choice and echoes her phrasing exactly, “no special set of rules,” and goes beyond that — for anybody the FBI investigates. So now we know he’s idealistic and has an aversion to hypocrisy and bullies. Good! And what else do we know? That he is a person who is compelled by his moral compass. In the end, he will not be able to keep from doing the right thing and seeking justice.

 

So Bernie, you better stay in the race, Senator!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Did you enjoy this body language/word choice analysis? Great! Please let me know on twitter and comment below!

 

***If you are the FBI, I would like a mug, please. An oversized one with the seal on it. You can send it to me at

Sarah Reynolds | 1299 Grand Ave #304 | St Paul, MN 55105

 

****But I would like Hillary indicted more than the mug, so if I have to choose, then the indictment.

 

Tell the @EPA: it’s time to ban #Organophosphates

It’s that time again! The EPA is taking public comments on whether chemicals that cause cancer and are linked to autism and other developmental delays should be allowed on our food! And in our water! Let’s say no  … all over again! Just say no! No means no!

 

Click here, enter your name and address, and click submit OR copy/paste my slightly longer paragraph below into the text box and submit THAT. Also, take 30 seconds if you have time to read the original April 2016 report released by the EPA stating that these organophosphates are killing us, our kids and plants & animals — link at the bottom of the post. THANK YOU!! You earth lover, you.

 

It’s time to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion. These nerve-damaging pesticides put nearly 97 percent of all endangered species at risk of harm, jeopardizing the existence of plants and animals listed under the Endangered Species Act. Multiple scientific research studies link these organophosphates to cognitive delays in children and a host of other detrimental human health effects. The World Health Organization last year announced that malathion and diazinon are probable carcinogens. The EPA should immediately remove them all from use. Please take action on this important issue.

 

 

April 2016 EPA Analysis: 97 Percent of Endangered Species Threatened by Two Common Pesticides

Copy/paste this into your browser for more info: https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2016/pesticides-04-07-2016.html

Wanna Bet? $20 says Donald Rumsfeld dies in prison, convicted of war crimes

 

A twitter follower doubts my prediction of eventual justice for alleged war criminal Donald Rumsfeld.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you doubt my premonitory ability too? Vote in my poll!

 

RE-BLOG: Q & A with Sarah Reynolds, Interview by Activist Joslyn Stevens

The following text is re-blogged with permission from JoslynStevens.com from her blog post entitled “Q & A with Sarah Reynolds.” Joslyn is a social justice activist who promotes income equality and the #RaiseTheWage movement, like myself. I was lucky enough to receive a DM from her asking me if I would like to be interviewed as part of her series of weekly Q & A’s with people who are making a progressive difference in our country and the world. We share a love of Jesse Ventura, Ralph Nader, and the Bill of Rights, and I admire her independent, 3rd party-loving passion and drive for truth and justice so of course I couldn’t wait to see what awesome topics she would come up with for me to write about. Please check out her blog when you have a chance and be sure to follow her on twitter at @JoslynStevens. If you enjoy her thought-provoking questions below, please click here to be taken directly to the original post in order to like and share. And if you enjoyed my thought-provoking answers, please like this post. Your comments are welcome, as always. Especially from any patriots who might want to be interviewed in Nathan Hale Park and talk about the (opposite of how a) Patriot (would) Act and closing Gitmo.

 

This week I spoke to Sarah Reynolds, author, messenger, and millennial about our government’s abuse of its power, what it means to be a patriot, and why there’s still time for the Millennial generation to change things.

 

Last month in North Carolina over 80,000 people came out for a Moral Monday protest against extreme austerity and the other weekend close to 100,000 Australians protested the corruption of their prime minister and government. I know you are a big fan of signing online petitions to bring about change but it seems a more hands on approach is necessary. In terms of citizen engagement, do you think petitions are just as an effective form of activism as opposed to hitting the streets?

A. If not more effective. What I’ve noticed — and this is so so unfortunate — is that when people’s commute is lengthened by protesters in
the street blocking the flow of traffic, the protest’s purpose (to shed light on an injustice) is actually now associated in the bystander’s mind
with the pain and discomfort of an inconvenience. People are funny. If you piss them off on the way home from work, they’ll hate you for a long time. It’s that whole primal reward and punishment part of the brain we have to appeal to as activists if we’re going to motivate the unaware and inactive to read up on issues and take action.

 

It’s my thought that if those same number of activists spent the same number of hours door-knocking, registering people to vote, and organizing monthly meetups where people engage in calling, post-carding and letter writing to Congress, that we would get a lot further a lot faster in our efforts to achieve progress. I always tweet that a petition a day keeps the fascism away and then follow up with the line from the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting…the right of the people…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Any time we exert pressure on our rulers (politicians) to get what we want instead of what monied interests want, we are petitioning authority. And sustained pressure will be the key to our progress – we’ve got to request and remind, request and remind. Hey, Congress, Mr President, this is what we want.

 

And then, we have to remind these elected officials that they work for us. The day we turn 18, we become the employer of 4 federal employees: the President, our 2 U.S. Senators, and our 1 U.S. Representative. Yes, elected officials have the authority, but we have the power — the power to keep them on the payroll or vote them out.

 

By the same token, the history in our country of the right to peacefully assemble is very interesting: the right to gather became enshrined in the
1st Amendment because the Crown had prevented the early American colonists from gathering and discussing the issues of the day by making town meetings illegal. Essentially, King George knew if people could get together and share ideas, they would soon start organizing and protesting injustice and revolting against tyranny. Organization is like rocket fuel to a movement. Additionally, I 100% agree with you that taking to the streets is a great way to publicize a cause — and as long as the emphasis is on signing a petition, and writing, and calling Congress as soon as everyone gets home, I’m all for it, as step 1 in a 2 Part Action Plan.

 

 

You are passionate about and committed to seeing Gitmo closed and filmed yourself calling Obama on this issue. Here we are over 5 years into Obama’s presidency and Guantanamo Bay is still open and at least 76 prisoners, who have been exonerated, remain captive. What’s going on?

A. There are two issues here: the transfer of the 76 cleared-for-release “detainees,” or as you more accurately put it, prisoners, and the remaining 79 men who really could be charged and tried for crime in federal court or a military commission. But Congress has repeatedly passed legislation that prevents them from being transferred to the United States from Cuba. President Obama said in January of this year that, “The executive branch must have the authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees.” Ironically, the desires of the executive branch shouldn’t have anything to do with why they get charged and tried in federal court.

 

They should get charged and tried in federal court because Camp Justice should never have come into existence; there should never have been off-the-grid interrogations at Gitmo or anywhere else. AUMF — the travesty of legislation known as the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed in the wake of 9/11 — is the only thing that allowed a “detention facility” off US soil used to hold people indefinitely without charge or trial to be built in the first place. You know, they could hurry up and do the military commissions right at Gitmo. They’re not doing that because of lack of evidence or evidence that was obtained through torture – so by delaying trial, Fed Gov is essentially admitting that they couldn’t get the guilty verdicts they want. And the truth is that there is a very real possibility that men who are guilty of engaging in terrorist acts could go free after a not-guilty verdict is rendered because the burden of proof that a trial requires might not be satisfied.

 

There’s a cost/benefits analysis built into our justice system: the founding fathers, the framers of our constitution, believed that it would be better if a hundred guilty people went free (due to lack of satisfying the burden of proof) than for one single innocent person to end up imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit. This was their mathematical formula — a justice to injustice ratio! — for calculating the value of preventing injustice. They valued preventing injustice (wrongful imprisonment) 100 times more than getting justice (“rightful” imprisonment). Our entire court system is predicated on this concept, the idea and ideal that the price to prevent injustice is the cost of lost justice, and the founders had decided that the resulting margin of error was one that society should accept and be happy to pay, for the greater good.

 

And for a very specific greater good: to protect the common man or woman from a corrupt government that would plant evidence and/or charge the innocent – as an act of retaliation for protesting that government corruption – with crimes they did not in fact commit. So the founders made the guilty conviction a lot harder than the not-guilty one: the prosecutor has to sell 12 people (a whole jury) on guilt whereas the defense attorney only has to sell one person on doubt of that guilt. So due process ends up being a lot like the Yelp review filter: not all the guilty get caught but only a very few innocent people end up wrongly categorized.

 

The other half of the delay is the incredible amount of money that is being made from Gitmo: 2.7 million dollars a year isn’t the cost of each Gitmo detainee – it’s the price. The cost is less, so there’s a profit. Just the building being open is causing the whole Bill of Rights-violating set-up to act as a source of profit for an untold number of people. And that is the primary reason I believe that Congress doesn’t budge on the transfers – the military industrial complex is lobbying against it, and that means lots of re-election campaign funding dollars for lots of representatives and senators. Again, sustained pressure is the key: request and remind, request and remind.

 

 

Like many others, I love Jesse Ventura’s no-bullshit approach to the truth especially when it comes to confronting the greed of the one percent. Ventura has held office before and isn’t ruling out a 2016 run. Why do think a presidential ticket of Jesse Ventura and Dennis Kucinich would be good for America?

A. Oh, yes — my dream ticket would have Ventura for President, Kucinich for Vice President. Call it the Progressive Patriot Party. I love Jesse
Ventura!! And I love Dennis Kucinich — the man carries a copy of the Constitution around with him in his pocket. I LOVE YOU, DENNIS, if you’re  reading this. (Kidding … mostly kidding). But seriously. I was seventeen and a senior in high school when Jesse Ventura ran for Governor in Minnesota in the fall of ’98. I missed being old enough to vote for him by six weeks — I was so disappointed that I didn’t get to vote in that
election. I was so excited about him as an independent politician. He had such an aura about him, what you refer to, Joslyn, as the no-bullshit,
take-no-prisoners, doesn’t suffer-fools-gladly approach, along with this neighborly, down to earth, what we call a true Minnesotan, personality. He just says what he’s thinking.

 

He’s not trying to polish it up or impress anyone, he speaks the truth and isn’t afraid to make a mistake, knowing full well the media will beat him over the head with the reminder of it every chance they get. He can handle it. We know he wants minimal government interference in personal preferences and civil liberties (like gay marriage, drug use, abortion, etc) but he understands that some things are better socialized, like the military. He’s a SEAL so he gets that while we ought to have a military (what I call the original Department of Homeland Security), we certainly don’t need to be spending billions of dollars every year enriching private security contractors like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, etc. Not only is it more expensive, it’s not wise to ever give anyone an incentive to prolong war.

 

What a dangerous game that kind of greed engenders — building F35′s that don’t fly is the tip of the iceberg. And Kucinich is such an old school democrat. He really understands that he is to represent the people in everything he does, and that without taking care of our planet, future generations will be left with a legacy of ever increasing cancer rates due to chemicals in the air and water, that no mater how cheap nuclear power is, the costs of the inevitable tragic meltdown are far greater — and he said this years before Fukushima. He wants us to be done with war for profit (voted against invading Iraq post-9/11) and supports Medicare for All, as just one step in achieving income equality. The man loves his country and everyone in it, let’s put it that way. He proposed a Department of Peace and wants us to pull out of NAFTA – I love this guy.

 

 

Many people-powered political uprisings have been the result of food insecurity, a global problem, in countries like Egypt. Here, we have over 46 million people living in poverty so we’re seeing more families going hungry and food pantries popping up on college campuses. Given repeated cuts to the SNAP program and congress’ continued proposals to steal Social Security from seniors, do you see Americans finally having our own Arab Spring?

A. I hope it never comes to that because revolutions involve such chaos: women get raped, children have to witness horror, schools shut down, hospitals get looted — revolutions are hell, second only to hell of war itself. That’s the extreme side of it, of course. Can they be worth the outcome? Yes, definitely. I remain somewhat skeptical of the six of one, half a dozen of the other dictator-switch that happens so often in the Arab world. What I would like to see blossom in the hearts and minds of Americans are the buds of awareness of our own collective power. The people of Tunisia took to the streets because they do not have have the right to vote for representatives in a democratic republic also known as a constitutional republic (our system) or anything remotely close to our referendums and other forms of direct democracy.

 

We have the power here in the U.S. And more and more people are waking up to the responsibility that having power requires us to take. Social Security is a good example. President Obama and party-line dems thought they could pass chained CPI and the American people wouldn’t bat an eye last year. Wrong. We called, we wrote, we signed the petitions. And we did it – we succeeded at getting chained CPI off the table. This past summer we collectively prevented an attack on Syria the same way. It was amazing! Again it started out as a “support the President; you love Obama, right? Cuz you totally just re-elected him so do what he says, okay, you guys?” and we were all like, no. I wrote my Rep and my two Senators, and called all three and tweeted at them and told them, “hey, I voted for you before and I was happy to do it. You support an attack on a country that is not a threat to us? I’ll be writing in Nathan Hale in the next election, thanks.”

 

If more people continue to wake up and take action, and realize that we the people are in the superior position in the power/control/authority dynamic with our elected representatives, we won’t ever need an actual in-the-streets revolution. But good point on Social Security – they don’t quit, do they? If it’s not chained CPI, it’s Abby Huntsman saying we have to raise the age or reduce benefits. No, we can just remove the income cap, Abby, and tax all income, not just the first $117,000 per year, at the same rate. So all of us normal people with a moral compass that tells us to make sure the elderly aren’t starving in their old age have to keep reacting to the anti-Social Security crowd’s ploys with sustained pressure, the same way  corporate lobbyists do, by informing Congress, “Don’t do what we want, we’ll find someone who will — next election.”

 

 

“There are two ways to get and maintain justice: protest the injustice and demand that a specific solution be implemented by those in the position of authority to make it happen OR occupy a position of authority and implement it yourself.” Our government isn’t listening to us so I take your quote to mean that more people need to run as Independents at the local level to bring about justice. Thoughts?

 

A. Oh, you read my blog post on “How to Adopt A Zero Tolerance for Weakness in Yourself”! Yes, more people ought to run as independents or even as democrats and republicans with either a progressive or libertarian bent, and not just at the local level, the federal level too. You know I eschew labels and will always say, “I’m not a can of soup so labels are not going to stick to me” because it’s part of this #OpDivideAndConquer, and by that I mean a strategic effort to use language that induces the feeling of Us and Them, Left and Right, and inevitably, right and wrong. And once people are divided, they’re conquered. And once they’re conquered, they stop speaking up because they think it doesn’t matter. So is the government really not listening to us or is it that not enough people are talking? Well, okay, yes – a combination of both. But one thing is for sure: the more we talk, the more they listen. And not the louder we talk.

 

The more: the frequency of protests (calls, letters, petitions, gatherings on a consistent basis) and the quantity of the people doing the protesting (in every state, organized, if by city, all the better). And we’ve got to stop viewing politicians through the lens of their self-adhered labels (which often turn out to be masks) too. I ask myself, what does this politician believe and believe in? Are they likely to stand up to greed in both its expressions, and protest greed for power and greed for money? Or are they lying liarpaths with the moral compass of styrofoam? Then I make my decision from there, regardless of whether they call themselves democrat, republican, green, independent, libertarian, or what have you. It’s really a common misperception that the party of individual congresspeople matters at all — we remind them, “you work for us. You don’t do what we want, you don’t keep your job. Bottom line.”

 

 

Thanks to Edward Snowden, Americans are now aware of the National Security Agency and their illegal data collection of our every communication. However, the Fourth Amendment 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act is supposed to provide some protection from government intrusion but it’s outdated and allows for the same thing. What do you think is the purpose for all of this data mining aside from “keeping us safe”?

A. And don’t forget President Reagan’s Executive Order 12333: “Most of NSA’s data collection authorized by order Ronald Reagan issued.” As I have said in the past, I love a good conspiracy theory as much as any Millennial daughter of a liberal Boomer, and if my mom were alive today, she would love that Snowden brought Ellsberg out of “whistleblower retirement,” if you will. And Ellsberg makes an excellent point that via PRISM, the system is in place for anyone to be blackmailed for anything by the NSA: with the literally limitless capacity to collect the details of our entire lives via our internet trails, the government could use the kind of porn we watch, the affairs we’re having, or the political candidates or political movements we might have preferred to keep supporting anonymously, or anything — any random seemingly innocuous site we visited without a second thought — against us. And how the Stasi worked most pervasively was to use the intel it gathered on/against certain individuals to get those easier targets to then provide the juicy and/or gory details of the deep dark secrets of the un-spy-on-able harder targets. So let’s say for the sake of argument that it’s a huge conspiracy. Maybe it is.

 

But I really don’t think it’s as sinister as gathering secrets to set up a Stasi network. I’m going to say it’s pure greed. If I were a betting woman, I would bet the house on greed for money, plain and simple. Piles and piles of money — our tax dollars — are sitting there and these war mongers want to rake in the money pile. “Oh, we need even more data to protect us from the Terr’ists, so hire more analysts, build more data centers, and don’t forget to outsource wherever possible at a 300% markup compared to in-house spies.” The desire to profit from everything as much as possible – unbridled greed – will be the cause of the fall of our empire before any other catalyst.

 

But … on the off chance there is something sinister going on, let me stress here that it’s imperative that we demand that our elected
representatives repeal the entire USA PATRIOT Act, and not just section 215. After all, Snowden said in his Greenwald interview that the NSA was hell bent on “making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them.” Ellsberg describes this as “a global expansion of the Stasi, the Ministry for State Security in the Stalinist ‘German Democratic Republic,’ whose goal was ‘to know everything.’”

 

And just in case, have everyone sign this one too:  It’s a letter to your 2 Senators and 1 Rep asking them to support the Email Privacy Act, which would require law enforcement to get a warrant to view any email, the same as the law currently requires now for them to read any of our regular USPS mail.

 

 

On your website you write about patriotism, dying for your country, and giving thanks to those who have. It’s a word proudly claimed by conservatives who don’t really know the true meaning. What is patriotism?

A. Patriotism is true unconditional love for everyone in your country. The true patriot is happy to die for any American — not just the ones who share the same political beliefs. I try to wrap my mind and my heart around being willing to die for anyone in our country at any time. Every time I get trolled on twitter, I think, “hey, this person is expressing their right to freedom of speech, the same as I am” and I block them and move on. But the soldier, the vet, the true patriot – they’re happy to die so the troll can tweet word-vomit, you can blog about raising the wage, I can tweet @whitehouse every single night to close Gitmo, and the tea partiers can tell the President that Obamacare is communism. To the true patriot, all that matters is that someone always be there, ready and willing to give their life on demand as payment on an insurance policy against tyranny, as the premium that will insure that no government does to us again what the government we revolted against did to us.

The Founders delineated those tyrannical injustices with the Bill of Rights to insure that we’d be protected from specific violations. Freedom of speech is just one of many rights, but here’s an example using it. People will quote Voltaire and say, “I may detest what you say, but I will defend to the teeth your right to say it.” The true patriot lives this idealism as a lifestyle, always ready to die – to defend to *the death* – our right to protest injustice and object to abuse of power by authority, our right to practice any religion we choose, our right to be free from religion, our right to bear arms, our right to free speech and a free press, the right to a jury trial, the right to remain silent and make the accuser prove whether or not we’ve actually done something wrong in a court of law, the right to gather in protest or to gather to organize and discuss the government’s unjust actions out in the open, and the list goes on and on. That’s love – being willing to die for freedom, not because any specific person has earned it with behavior that deserves it, but simply because freedom itself is worth dying for.

 

 

Last week you tweeted, “Not voting at the polls is the same as voting with our silence for everything to stay the same.” Despite the high level of voter apathy and low approval of congress, voting matters and it’s a right we still have. It seems congress would prefer that we not vote so they can go back to pretty much electing themselves like they did before the 17th amendment. What do you think?

A. Well, members of congress definitely count on apathy to get re-elected, that’s for sure. Apathy, I believe, comes from a shortage of time. People literally don’t have the time to care: at the end of the day, after dealing with their survival needs (working, taking care of offspring, etc.), they’re literally and figuratively spent. The 24 hours in their Time Account is tapped out and they have to go to sleep, without one minute left to read an article or sign a petition. And you make a great point — prior to the 17th Amendment, it was state legislatures that elected each state’s U.S. Senators.

 

In my state, the only reason pro-consumer, anti-Citizens United, Al Franken was able to win the senate race was because he was running in 2008, the same year people turned out in droves to elect Barack Obama and many — but not all — voted for Franken because they voted Democrat all the way down the ticket (it was such a close call here in Minnesota that there had to be a recount of all the ballots and it took months). There’s a very real possibility that Senator Franken will not be re-elected this fall because the people simply don’t turn out to vote in high enough numbers for Senate and House elections for the outcomes to represent the actual desires of the populace, so in a way, it’s as if the 17th amendment is repealed by default.

 

The same party-line establishment dems and republicans are predominantly the ones who take the time to go and vote in those elections, so yeah, it might as well be the state legislatures choosing the Senate, the same as it was pre-Amendment 17. I call this winning by a default plurality– probably every politician holding office in our country won because the majority of people didn’t vote at all.

 

I’m always so sad when I meet people who do not realize how lucky they are to live in a country where we get to vote. I’ll never forget going with my mom to vote when I was 7, in the Bush/Dukakis election in 1988: she lifted me up in the tiny booth to show me the ballot and explained that people had died for us to be free of a monarchy, to be able to elect our leaders, and that those people, during the Revolutionary War, didn’t fight so that they would get the right to vote, because they wouldn’t get to, and they knew it. They knew they were going to die on a bloody battlefield. No, they fought so that we would get the right to vote. And they were happy to die, to put another generation’s happiness above their own.

 

I am so thankful for the right to have my voice and opinion literally counted – I know I’m honoring all vets, living or dead, when I cast my ballot. It’s not an option or an obligation to me, it’s a true privilege. I love voting – I try to take the day off work when I can and enjoy the whole day of being alive and not living under a monarchy or a fascist regime.

 

 

You’ve been on hiatus for almost a year now from blogging and posting Youtube videos mainly using Twitter to communicate your message for social and economic justice and to incite progressive action. When can we expect you back?

 

A. Spring time is always a productive time of year for me — in some ways, I do hibernate during winter which here in Minnesota lasts about 5 months; some years, it’s even longer. On the calendar for this spring is more Nathan Hale Park Interviews (the snow has to melt off the bench though or my butt gets wet during the interview), and specifically I’d like to interview someone from my co-op, the Mississippi Market, about how they run a business paying everyone a liveable wage and how that same business model could be applied to large companies. I’m a huge proponent of the #FifteenNow movement for a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage and it would be a dream interview to have Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant on the bench to discuss how she mobilized an entire city to vote for her and support her $15/hr minimum wage agenda.

 

I’d also love to interview Colonel Morris Davis and Coleen Rowley about being whistleblowers: his first hand experience with the Gitmo military commissions and her front end experience with terrorist act prevention. And I’d really like the opportunity to have a conversation with CIA Director John Brennan if he had a chance to make it out to St Paul some time. I’d ask him a few questions about the differences between the PATRIOT Act and how a Patriot would actually act. I’d also like to pitch to him my idea for an overt op (like a covert op, only different) for closing Gitmo: what it would be is a collaborative effort to meet with every single member of Congress, 535 people, in 90 days, to get them to pass the legislation required to transfer all the men in Gitmo to a prison on U.S. soil and finally close the detention facility in Cuba for good. I would be the warm sell, he would be the deal closer. Gitmo isn’t going to get closed until someone on the inside comes forward and says, hey, what we did by opening this prison was not good (or “was the best decision we could make under the circumstances at the time”), but we can stop doing it now. I’m all about idealism so my gift is inspiring people to consider doing the right thing.

 

To actually get Congress to vote to close Gitmo will require upping the ante: someone who can apply sustained pressure and make good use of the power of persuasion. That person needs to be big and scary and federal, in order to radiate the sense of safety and confidence necessary to convey that “bad guys” getting transferred to a prison in the U.S. will not be the end of the world. As I always say, it really could be worse – instead of (alleged) terrorists, they could be child pornographers and child rapists; and we give those people a trial in a court of law, don’t we? To put it into perspective, those kinds of pedophiles aren’t under a religious delusion that violence is justified; they’re fully aware that they are hurting minors and/or profiting from it. Bin Laden’s stated goal was to ruin our country financially — he wasn’t even trying to morally bankrupt us, but here were are 12 years later holding people without charging them with, or trying them for, a crime, 76 of whom could be released. Indefinite detention is torture! There must be someone inside the intelligence community who is brave enough and patriotic enough to volunteer to help Congress realize it’s not too late — that there’s still time to restore our nation’s moral authority, what President Obama called our greatest currency in the world.

 

Thank you so much for interviewing me, Joslyn! I love your passion and drive — it’s so inspiring. It’s up to our generation to shift the paradigm and it’s people like us who are making it happen right now.

The Scent of Patriotism

 

 

Have you seen this 4th of July themed candle? As soon as I saw this red, white and blue jar of love in the store, I felt compelled to rush up to it, yank it off the shelf, and deeply inhale its fragrance. My libertarian friend happened to be there at the time and of course she had the perfect response. Here is how the actual conversation went down (and below is an image of said candle).

 

Me (finally exhaling): Ah — the scent of patriotism.

Friend: Umm — I’m pretty sure patriotism smells like blood and sweat.

Me: Hello? Bottom layer — tears.

 

The Scent of Patriotism

 

On that note, let’s give thanks today, and not for scented candles. For those who’ve bled for us, sweated for us, and cried over the loss of people they loved who were happy to die, not so that they would enjoy freedom but so that we would.

 

We get to vote – because people died for this freedom.

We get to complain (out loud, in writing, on twitter, via a blog, in letters to the Editor) about the government — because people died for this freedom.

We get to complain TO the government and petition it for a redress of grievances — because people died for this freedom.

We get to have a jury trial if accused of a crime and all 12 people have to be convinced of our guilt before we are deprived of our life, liberty and property because we are presumed innocent until the burden of proof is met by the government — because people died for this freedom.

 

And more. Much more. I get to have a gun if I want, I get to face my accuser if accused of a crime, I get to remain silent when the police try to get me to self-incriminate, I get a lawyer even if I can’t afford one, I get to accuse someone if they hurt me, and the government pays for that trial, I get paid money to work and I can quit anytime I want to if I don’t like that job (because slavery is illegal), I get to worship God in any manner I choose and government can’t keep from worshiping that way, and if I don’t want to participate in religion, government can’t force me to; and I get to gather with fellow concerned citizens in front of government buildings to protest corruption if I do it peacefully.

 

If you follow me on twitter, you know I’m quite concerned with a number of unconstitutional laws, such as the PATRIOT Act, NDAA, the FISA amendments, and more — but today is a day for gratitude. And here’s why: any freedoms we lose will not be lost because there weren’t enough patriots happy to die for our freedom on the battlefield of war. Our freedoms will have been lost because there were not enough patriots happy to endure the pain involved in objecting to abuse of power by authority and enduring the consequences of petitioning that authority for a redress of grievances — while still alive. So on this day, Independence Day, I celebrate all of those Revolutionary War Vets who gave their lives so that 237 years later, I could tweet @whitehouse every single day to remind the President that indefinitely detaining people without charge or trial is unconstitutional. If there’s a way to measure the intensity and quantity of thankfulness I feel for these Revolutionary War patriots every time I speak up, out, and against government injustice and don’t get get publicly executed to set an example for anyone else who thinks they might want to follow suit, or disappear, I haven’t figured it out yet.

 

Also on this day, let’s remember that “freedom” is not intangible. People who are patriotic to the point of being happy to die for their country have assigned a value to their own lifespan, viewing those potentially lost years of life as currency they can use to pre-pay to insure that no government does to us the people — ever again — what the government we originally revolted against did to us, including our own.

 

 

Happy 4th of July.

Ask your Congressperson and Senators: Please Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership

 

There’s still time to prevent the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement, a.k.a. NAFTA on steroids, from becoming the law of the land. Please click this Roots Action link and enter your zip code. There you will see a form letter that you can edit to your satisfaction which will be sent to the President, your two U.S. Senators and your one Representative. The text they provide is very short, so please feel free to copy and paste my letter below and use that text instead. It is almost verbatim the text that Public Citizen provides on this “Expose the TPP” page.

 

As your constituent, I urge you to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

 

The TPP would provide big banks with a backdoor means of rolling back efforts to re-regulate Wall Street in the wake of the global economic crisis.

 

The TPP would require domestic law to conform to the now-rejected model of extreme deregulation that caused the crisis. The TPP would forbid countries from banning particularly risky financial products, such as the toxic derivatives that led to the $183 billion government bailout of AIG.

 

The TPP would threaten the use of “firewalls” – policies that are employed to stop the spread of risk between different types of financial institutions and products. While many in the United States have called for a reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, that helped eliminate banking crises for four decades by prohibiting deposit-holding commercial banks from dealing in risky investments, the TPP would bar such reform. The TPP would ban capital controls, an essential policy tool to counter destabilizing flows of speculative money. Even the International Monetary Fund has recently endorsed capital controls as legitimate for mitigating or preventing financial crises.

 

The TPP would prohibit taxes on Wall Street speculation. That means that there would be no hope of passing proposals like the Robin Hood Tax, which would impose a tiny tax on Wall Street transactions to tamp down speculation-fueled volatility while generating hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of revenue for social, health, or environmental causes.

 

The TPP would empower financial firms to directly attack these government policies in foreign tribunals, and demand taxpayer compensation for policies they claim undermine their expected future profits.

 

At the core of this unjust trade agreement is the violation of our own United States Constitution because the TPP would render the decisions of secret tribunals sovereign to the decisions of our own courts. Please commit to opposing the TPP and using your considerable influence as a member of Congress to prevent this  tragedy from becoming the law of the land.

 

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Forget Presidential Debates — Why Can’t We Have Presidential Interrogations?

In Sarah’s fantasy realm (not to be confused with my vision of world joy which — admittedly — is a reach goal), we throw out the whole idea of a “debate” and call in a joint CIA-FBI task force to subject the candidates to lie detector tests and interrogate them until their actual views on the issues and their real plans for our country are revealed in their entirety on live national television. And why not? The members of both federal agencies work for us — we pay their salaries. And the truth is a matter of national security. Besides, if Romney gets his way, it sounds like they’ll soon be one merged entity anyway. Will it be called the FIA? the CIB? Oh, no!! Although, yes, please, let’s do away with the TSA child molesters and the DHS a.s.a.p. Plus, we already have a Department of Homeland Security. You’ve probably heard of it — it’s called the Military.

 

 

Instead of Jim Lehrer opening up the debate with a polite request for silence, let’s have a masked CIA agent appear out of thin air to get the party started. In the sketch comedy version, could this role of Primary Interrogator be played by Will Ferrell, using the same voice he used when he played the retail store manager who dressed all in black and pulled out his teeny tiny phone while riding on a scooter (it was called Jeffrey’s Clothing Store)? He could face the crowd and greet them with, “Splendid. You’re all here. So I’ll begin the interrogation now.”

 

Can the Primary Interrogator wear this terrifying mask? Oh, please?

 

Meanwhile, a [very long buffet style] table would fill with ten FBI profilers who would sit behind the Primary Interrogator and take notes on the facial expressions and hidden communication patterns of the candidates so that they could deliver their personality analyses of the two Presidential candidates to us, the People, at the end. And tag team interrogate the candidates during Round Two. Ah, yes. Good cop, good cop, good cop, good cop, good cop, good cop, good cop, scary masked cop, good cop, good cop, good cop. Every time the lie detector test detects “untruthfulness,” a gigantic red neon sign behind the candidates would blink a warning, alternating between bright crimson, “Lying Liar” and neon orange, “Lying Liarpath.” I imagine Will Ferrell with his terrifying golden mask and a megaphone announcing a lie: “LIAR.” And the profilers firing follow-up questions, such as:

 

“Which loopholes, Governor?”

“Would you be willing to name one?”

“Would you be willing to name one, right now?”

“Would you be willing to specify, tonight, one loophole that you would close?”

“When we say tonight, we do mean tonight, before midnight, because at that point in time, it will officially be tomorrow — do you think you could describe a particular tax write-off that you would eliminate, and describe it in five words or fewer within in the next five minutes? It could be one for a hundred dollars or a thousand dollars or even one dollar or ten cents …. No, the answer has to be yes or no. Yes or No, Governor. The word yes or the word no. One or the other. Right now.”

“Then we’ll sit here and wait till you can think of one.” (Oooh … awkward!)

 

And none of this Lehreresque, “I’m sorry, we’re way over 15 minutes.” No, bring on the Will Ferrellian, “Time is up. I said time is up. If you don’t stop talking, I’ll waterboard you on live national television. Raise your hand if you want to be waterboarded on live national television. Oh, not so much? Splendid. Shut your mouth. We’re moving on to the next topic.” (To which President Rockstar could point out that he outlawed the use of waterboarding just 2 days after taking office, I suppose!)

 

 

And I want major demands for clarification when Romney says he’s going to “give $716 billion back to seniors” on Medicare. Obama missed an opportunity here to explain that the $716 billion reduced from Medicare costs to fund Obamacare was cut out by lowering the amount of money to be paid to doctors and hospitals per service. So if Romney were going to reverse Obama’s action, the $716 billion would go back to doctors and hospitals, not to seniors. When Romney says, “back,” I want the interrogators to demand the form. Via a check? A voucher? A deduction? An extra dessert off the Senior Menu at Perkins? Someone, please, make Romney say — disclose — that he doesn’t want to give a penny back to seniors, he wants to give the profit back to doctors and hospitals.

 

 

If we had national health insurance — and I am still sad that not even a public option was included in Obamacare — the health needs of everyone in our nation could and would be met: seniors, the young, the poor, rich, the healthy, the sick, and everyone before, after or in between. And the program could be designed so that your family doctor would be paid the same way FBI profilers and CIA agents are: on salary! Not per service. It is true — conservatives are not lying when they say this — that nearly a third of doctors are no longer taking on Medicare patients because of the rate at which those doctors are being reimbursed per service compared to a private insurer. They miss the point (and oh, how I want the Presidential Interrogators to help them see it … so so badly, my friends …) that, to reference the example in this blog post on Forbes’ website by Avik Roy,

 

“Wertsch billed Medicare $217 to care for a Medicare patient with a sinus infection whose appointment ran late, because the patient required more time. Medicare reimbursed the clinic for $54.38. Later in the day, a younger patient with the same sinus infection, requiring half the time, was charged the same $217. But his private insurer reimbursed the clinic for twice the amount of Medicare: $108.04,”

 

the reason the private insurer, as an insurance company — which is a profit-motivated organization — can afford to pay  more to the doctor is because many young and healthy people are paying in the same premium for coverage but needing less care than the elderly because they are so healthy. So the insurance company has more money to pay out to the service providers (doctors) because they are making a profit — unlike the government. And the reason the insurance company has so many healthy people? They deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions (unhealthy people) and drop people in the middle of terrible sickness once they’ve received the lifetime maximum dollar amount in treatment. So who picks up the tab for the unhealthy people? The government. (Ironic, right? The government as the FBI and CIA is also picking up the tab on people who are unhealthy in a “different” way, unhealthy people who want to auction children and fly airplanes into tall buildings. Talk about sickness. And preexisting conditions.)

 

 

Would it be so bad if primary care physicians — general practitioners we go to when we want a check up or have an infection — and ER doctors were government employees? Paid on salary? And were offered bonuses for preventing recurring accidents and illnesses, and maintaining the existing good health of their patients? Everyone, sick or healthy, would be in the same pool, causing an average between the two figures mentioned above for the treatment of sinus infections (which were $54.38 and $108.04; the average works out to be $81.21) but it would probably be even higher because, just as in the insurance company pool, there are more healthy than unhealthy people in the pool of our country. But we’d remove the profit motive for the physician to patient-load (like carb-loading before a marathon) in order to make more money by taking as many patients as possible and shorten visits to the minimum required, and the other profit-motive which is to skip any lifestyle change recommendations that could prevent more billable, charge-able, profit-from-able visits in the future? Doctors, really consider this: a 5% matching savings account (Thrift Savings Account) and only 6.2% social security tax instead of the 12.4% you pay when you’re self-employed, and other great benefits like paid vacation and sick time, and how awesome would it be to have no overhead costs, such as paying rent for the clinic space, the wages of your receptionist, nurses, etc.? No, it wouldn’t be ideal for specialists, in my opinion, but if we think of how the CIA and FBI work — for the greater good of the entire country — then you can see how establishing an agency of highly trained physicians, motivated to protect the People from illness and serve them by helping them to achieve and sustain excellent health, could be considered a success strategy. And wise. Especially if we want to really truly take down type 2 diabetes and heart disease, two totally preventable diseases that are killing people! In the same way WMD’s do.

 

 

This kind of system would restore the healing element of practicing medicine to the doctor’s lifestyle too. Instead of feeling impelled to drive up the number of patients and the number of visits and treatments, the doctor would truly act as a conduit for healing. Still not convinced? Consider the fact that no one has to pay Due Process Insurance which would be calculated on how likely you were to eventually have criminal charges brought against you at some point or other in your life. The 5th Amendment guarantees everyone the right to due process in a court of law (a trial where evidence has to presented that proves guilt) and the 6th Amendment guarantees that, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” Yes, you get a lawyer, and if you remember from TV, “if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed for you.” So, we get a lawyer if we need one. Why not a doctor? The Justice System is socialized: our tax dollars pay for criminals (er … alleged criminals) to have a public defender. And all the judges and clerks and everyone else involved in the process part of due process are paid their salaries with money that was collected through taxes. What is a doctor but a judge of disease, coming up with an opinion/diagnosis and a sentence/treatment plan?

 

 

Obamacare is a great start, and I was amazed the President got that much transformation of the system passed into law. And as far as the popular ideas for single payer health care currently stand, I’m glad none of them were on the table because the greed element remains as long as primary care doctors who would ideally feel called to prevent illness still have a financial incentive (a motive if it were a crime, which it ought to be) not to. There’s still a lot to be done and I look at it in the light of, “Look how much the President accomplished in four years with a divided Congress during the second half. How much more will he accomplish in four more years?”

 

 

On a primal note, what’s interesting about how the President did not defend himself — or counter-attack Gov. Romney — on Wednesday night is that the lack of the act of self-defense often indicates that we simply do not feel attacked. So we might truly be experiencing an attack — with words as weapons in this case — but in the very confident person’s perception of what’s happening, there is no genuine threat, thus no genuine need for self-defense.

 

 

Some said that the President’s manner could only be described as “subdued” during the first presidential debate, but I saw a man granted the acceptance of things he cannot change. He was surprised by the bald-faced lies from his opponent, but only slightly and only for a second. I saw a man resigned to his fate, one who knows that in the end, his occupation for the next four years will be determined by the collective caprice of a nation. After all, he can’t make us google the lies. And no one’s going to force us to see the truth either; after all, we don’t live under a fascist regime. Wednesday night, I saw a man (not a perfect man, as he reminded us) who has come to terms with the inevitability of life’s whims, and who, with a shrug of consent, knows that either way, what was true before he became president will be true after: he was and will be a husband, he was and will be a father, and every Oct 3, he will celebrate the anniversary of his marriage to the woman he adores and the woman he mentions every time he speaks in public directly to the people. She was the first thing he said. Literally, his first point: “There are a lot of points I want to make tonight,” said the President straight out of the gate, “but the most important one is that 20 years ago I became the luckiest man on Earth because Michelle Obama agreed to marry me.” This matters to me, possibly as much as my gratitude for the good parts of Obamacare and my disappointment over his reneging on the promise to close Gitmo. It matters because it means that the President finds his identity primarily in his ability to love and is, perhaps unconsciously, acknowledging that although everything else about life is transitory, love isn’t.

 

 

At the end of the day, Chris Rock says it best.

“If you’re voting against Obama because he can’t get stuff done it’s kind of like saying, “This guy can’t cure cancer. I’m gonna vote for the cancer.”

-Chris Rock

Voting is Awesome — and don’t forget, Easy and Fun!

September 25 is National Voter Registration Day! In honor of such a beautiful day and in celebration of the freedom to vote granted to me by the 19th Amendment, which states that “the rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” and granted to everyone else who is a U.S. citizen by the United States Constitution and the 15th Amendment, I made this video with my friend Rose.

 

 

To get registered to vote, go to http://www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org/

And watch for more videos about the Electoral College, Citizens United and more!

Bring Back Glass-Steagall and End Too Big To Fail

I just signed the petition to end “too big to fail” banks who had gotten so big in 2008 that when their risky investments went bust, their ruin threatened our entire economy. And instead of demanding a return to the commonsense and time-tested Glass-Steagall Act (which was passed in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression because of the banks’ role in causing it), President Bush and Congress handed the banks big bailouts, paid for with our tax dollars and inflation of the money supply by the Federal Reserve.

 

Now, the consummate Wall Street insider, Sandy Weill, who successfully lobbied Congress to tear down the walls between Main Street banks and Wall Street by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 (after which he proceeded to build Citibank into the financial behemoth Citigroup), has come out on national television against the very changes he had advocated, the changes which helped create the “too big to fail” financial giants, saying:

 

What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking…Have banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not too big to fail.. That means we need to press our solution hard enough for them to hear us on the rest of Wall Street — and in Washington.

 

Let’s NEVER let these behemoth banks hold our economy hostage again. Let’s end “too big to fail.” Please join me in protesting the tragic injustice of the repeal of Glass-Steagall in ’99 and objecting to the abuse of power by authority that Congress and President Clinton perpetrated against an entire nation by not doing everything in their power to stop it.

 

This image came from the website of economic journalist Barry Ritholtz.