July 4th, 2014… WHAT FREEDOM MEANS in the Era of Republican Repression…Nelson Mandela Had It Right

By Insightanalytical-GRL

It’s been awhile…aging parent do take a lot of time to care for.

But, that doesn’t mean I’ve checked out of the world.  Believe me, the current political situation in this country only adds to the stress of family issues as one gets swamped by negative, cruel messages from the Republican Party.

In light of the recent Supreme Fart rulings (Hobby Lobby contraception, etc), the general onslaught of religious crap in this country and the  anti- EVERYBODY who is not one of THEM attitude, this sort of captured the moment for me….

This wonderful quote goes to what is being crushed in this country by right wing forces…a sense of what should be normalcy being trashed by a rotten GOP, a cruel version of “Christianity” which borders on insanity and Taliban-like qualities, intolerance, racism/voter suppression, hostility toward women, anti-healthcare expansion,anti-food assistance, holding immigration reform hostage,  etc….it’s all out there now,  courtesy of a rabid bunch who have taken over the GOP.

The Republican Party, its Tea Party wing (which is a deviant of the original Tea Party which was all about economic concerns, not social issues), what I call COCKROACH CHRISTIANS (insidious, crawling out of their very dark places everywhere and not being really Christian at all,  in shorthand CRAP “Christians”)….these UN-PATRIOTIC idiots who want to destroy the country…

These  people show NO RESPECT FOR ANYTHING….They are seriously toxic people….

It’s time for the rest of us to RISE UP and re-ignite OUR REVOLUTION!

 

CREW’s Top Ten Scandals of 2009 (Including Some That May Have Slipped Under Your Radar, But Which Will Keep on Giving!)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

What better way to end 2009 with a snappy overview of the “top ten” ethics scandals of the year!

Citizens for Responsiblity and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has put together a review of some of some of the high points, along with CREW’s wishes for the new year.

Of course, there’s the TARP/executive pay bonuses,  the SEC’s failure to catch Madoff  as he ripped off clients (starting way back in 1992), and a few sex scandals involving the likes of Gov. Mark Sanford and Senator John Ensign.  Then there was the political corruption of  Reps. Charlie Rangel and John Murtha with transgressions ranging from failing to pay taxes to shady pay-to-play schemes.

But there a few other items that may have slipped under your radar.

Here’s a sampling (the report is in PDF format):

CREW’S TOP TEN SCANDALS OF 2009

Public Corruption Prosecutions Were So 2009.
In 2009, the Supreme Court accepted three cases challenging honest services law, a provision in the federal mail-fraud statute making it illegal for public or private employees to “deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.” This statute is a critical prosecutorial tool for fighting public corruption, having been used to convict former Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) and a large number of those involved in the Jack Abramoff scandal. During oral arguments, the Supreme Court justices focused on all the ways the statute can misapplied, strongly suggesting they plan to limit the statute’s breadth, if not hold it unconstitutional. Already, the prosecutors
handling the case of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich have indicated they will re-indict the governor to delete the honest services fraud counts. In addition, Rep. Jefferson plans to ask a court to give him a new trial, though he was convicted of other charges in addition to honest services fraud.

CREW’s holiday wish: For the honest services fraud statute to remain intact so the law can continue to be used to convict the likes of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Jefferson.

Ah, what would the year be like with the Roberts Supreme Court pulling some sort of crap?

And then there’s this:

What, The FEC Is Supposed to Enforce (Not Gut) Campaign Finance Laws?
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is failing in its mandated mission to administer and enforce regulations governing the financing of federal elections. Violations of federal campaign finance law are likely to go unpunished thanks to the partisan deadlock that has rendered the FEC ineffectual. With three Republican and three Democratic appointees, the FEC consistently fails to take action against even the most egregious violations. As The Washington Post said in an op-ed on June 15th: “The three Republican appointees are turning the commission into The Little Agency That Wouldn’t: wouldn’t launch investigations, wouldn’t bring cases, wouldn’t even accept settlements that the staff had already negotiated.”

By not taking action against federal candidates who break the rules, the FEC is encouraging unethical campaign tactics that privilege money over principle. The FEC commissioners’ failure to take their oversight mission seriously threatens to undermine campaign finance laws and further flood the electoral process with money. With a lack of campaign finance oversight, political influence on Capitol Hill will be bought by the highest bidder and the common good will be sacrificed to special interests.

CREW’s holiday wish: A restructured FEC with an odd number of commissioners, as opposed to  he current even number of six, would go a long way to ending the deadlock and allow the FEC to effectively enforce campaign finance laws.

Gee, where’s all that “bipartisanship” when you need it??

All in all, it was a banner year for scandals, but it looks like the stage is set for some of them to staying around as the “gifts that keep on giving.”

…including one that’s just revving up!   Ever hear of the “Caribbean Caucus?”  From the Miami Herald:

Feds probe banker Allen Stanford’s ties to Congress

The ties between indicted banker Allen Stanford and members of Congress — including millions in contributions and weekends in five-star Caribbean resorts — are now the subject of a sweeping federal investigation.

Lots of money floating around over the years to some familiar names: the powerful Republican Pete Sessions, John Sweeney, Gregory Meeks, Donald Payne, Phil Crane, the Republican National Committee, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, the G.W. Bush inaugural committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and more…

Won’t that make a great start to 2010??

P.S.–HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!

While Obama Blows Off Women’s Freedom as He Celebrates His First 100 Days, the Saudis He Bows to Clamp Down on Women Even More (UPDATE 1X – Souter Leaving Supreme Court)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

What, with Sharia Law creeping into our Treasury Department, Pakistani women trying to fend off the encroaching Taliban, etc. etc., it’s so good to hear that The One is so clear on the status of women when it comes to  freedom.  Go on over to Not Your Sweetie’s great post for some choice comments about  Obama’s little lecture about morality and ethics ad how the Freedom of Choice Act isn’t a big priority for the Ego-in- Chief:

Freedom of Choice Act – not a priority, and not “freedom” either

While women here in the U.S. bask in our knowledge The One thinks our reproductive decisions should be run past “our clergy”,  let’s see how that works in places like Saudi Arabia.

Here’s the latest indignity to consider:

Saudis clamp down on women’s gyms

(SNIP_

Women’s gyms have become popular in the ultra-conservative Muslim country where the sexes are heavily segregated.

But only clubs linked to medical groups can get licenses and others will be closed, the Arab News newspaper said.

Saudi women were reported to have launched an online campaign in protest called Let Her Get Fat.

Government departments are not allowed to issue licenses for commercial gyms and sports clubs for women, unlike facilities for men, the newspaper reported.

No more hiding gyms behind the doors of beauty salons…

Amazingly, some very courageous woman fighting back:

A group of women launched an internet campaign in protest against the move, saying facilities linked to medical clinics were too expensive, and their health would suffer as a result of the closures.

Woman are so precious in Saudi Arabia that they really MUST go to gyms linked to medical clinics.  The reasoning behind this must be surveillance, right?

As the article concludes:

Women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving, must wear a head-to-toe cloak when out in public and must obtain permission from a male relative to work, travel, study or marry.

And the Guardian reports that the clergy, of course, consider gyms for women “shameless.”

As a trade-off there’s been talk of letting women vote, but with the half-brother of King Abdullah looking strong as a possible successor, this sop doesn’t offer much solace.  After all, Prince Nayef, who acts as interior minister, said “the kingdom had no need of either women MPs or elections” just last month.

So now, many Saudi women won’t be able to the gym.

Meanwhile, the “President” who bows to the Saudi leader tells us that FOCA isn’t a priority.

I would like to use a string of profanity at this point, but it’s not good for my blood pressure.

By the way, thank goodness I can still go to the gym and work off the stresses of putting up with the insufferable Obama crowd…

UPDATE

With the news that David Souter is retiring from the Supeme Court, do you trust an Obama appointment?? This is the guy who wanted to vote to confirm John Roberts, but didn’t because of political expediency…

Obama could halt a lot of this “interpretation of the Constitution” stuff by pushing for FOCA and getting the court out of the “privacy” issue…but he continues to dance around. His “one hand giveth and the other taketh away” approach to women seems to leave women on the short end as we’re used for bargaining chips.  Well, he’s a misogynist, so why is that surprising?

The Scanner–Politics March 18, 2009: (Taitz-Supreme Court; Sharia Law in Minnesota re: Home Mortgages; Stimulus Money Wanders from the States; Privatizing Vets’ Healthcare)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Where to begin? There are so many things out there to choose and I had to delete a few!

So here goes…

If  you missed the Monday night show (3/16) with Betty Jean Kling and Dr. Orly Taitz, check out the archived on demand program. If you don’t have an hour to do so, at least check out the post on the subject: Chief  justice publicly accepts WND’s eligibility petition which raises some very interesting question about what the heck is going on at the Supreme Court re: the justices “not knowing” about briefs about Obama’s citizenship issues and cases being erased from the docket.  Recall that Obama met with Roberts and other justices and start wondering…But, if you can listen to the show, which has much more information to ponder…

And, to really keep up to date, check out Attorney Taitz’s website at http://defendourfreedoms.us/.

***

From the more funny business department:

A HUGE hat tip to Deadenders for this story about mortgages and Sharia law unfolding in Minnesota.  And, for a news report on this, see this article from the Bismarck Tribune.

Minn. state agency offers Islamic mortgages

Mar 08, 2009 – 04:05:16 CDT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – For many Minnesota Muslims, it’s been virtually impossible to buy a home, because Islamic law forbids the paying or charging of interest. To help close the home ownership gap among Muslim immigrants, the state’s housing agency has launched a new program offering Islamic mortgages.

Now, recall the post we had up  just after the election about meetings at the Treasury Department: The SCANNER-Politics 11/7/08: Newsweek Editors on Charlie Rose in the SCARIEST Description of Obama So Far…(Video/Partially Transcripted); Sharia Hits the Treasury Department/HARVARD Alert!; Hill the Shill (UPDATE 1X) .  American Lassie had tipped me off to the meeting and I did a bit of snooping at the time:

Islamic financing by Sharia law has been in operation around the globe for quite awhile and is not necessarily a first step toward full Sharia Law being included in our legal code.  As far back as 2006, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL was running sessions by the “Islamic Finance Group” under name “Islamic Finance 101: Introduction and Career Opportunities” under the auspices of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

So, we’ve got HARVARD UNIVERSITY/LAW SCHOOL, BUSHCO, and OBAMACO….all doing their thing on SHARIA INVESTING.  Coincidence?????  (UPDATE:  See Al-Mansour connection below)

Michelle Malkin (I can’t believe I’m citing her, but facts are facts!) put up a post on this Treasury event later yesterday/Thursday.)

I couldn’t find the story at Human Events when I tried yesterday, but I did track down it down at the Center for Security Policy. They may sound over the top, but…They were holding a press conference on all this…did you hear about this subject in the MSM?  Think not…

And now it seems the state of Minnesota is involved in Sharia Law…

***

Hey, seen any stimulus money yet in your state?  Well, some of it may be going out of the country… From the Albuquerque Journal:

N.M. Stimulus Creating Jobs Elsewhere

Will a batch of transit-related federal stimulus money help boost the Duke City economy? Or will people mainly be taken for a ride on a bunch of new city buses built in Canada and Minnesota?


The city was recently allocated about $11.3 million in federal stimulus money for ABQ Ride vehicles and equipment purchases. Of that total, $11.1 million will be used to buy about 20 new buses and upgrades to fare boxes.


ABQ Ride has been upgrading its fleet in recent years. Almost 40 new buses are being added, and they are built by Winnipeg, Canada-headquartered New Flyer.


About 40 percent of each bus is built in Canada, the other 60 percent in Minnesota, where New Flyer also has manufacturing facilities.


Transit Director Greg Payne said that, despite its Canadian operations, New Flyer qualifies as an American-made company under the rules of the Federal Transit Administration.


Lawrence Rael, executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, said the stimulus rules require proof of job creation.

They just don’t have to be here.

MORE

***

While the stimulus money wanders around, the American Legion is angered by Obama’s plans to charge wounded service people for their care. No improvement in care in Obamaland over Bush…

The American Legion Strongly Opposed to President’s Plan to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment

Featured Topics:

To: POLITICAL EDITORS

WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization says he is “deeply disappointed and concerned” after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

“It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan,” said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. “He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it.”

MORE

“Moral and government-avowed obligations?”  Obama honoring them?   HAH!

The Past Week: March 8-14, 2009 (Alaska Rivalry? Palin/Murkowski; Franken vs.Colemen=Bush vs. Gore?; China Gearing Up for It’s Own Second Stimulus Package; Sen. Gregg’s Parting Shot)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Here are a few items that you may have missed during the past week as you basked in all the stock market “gains”…

Looks like there’s another star from Alaska who is making some waves in D.C. Lisa Murkowski, who’s father lost to Sarah Palin in the primary election as he tried for re-election as  governor in 2006, is being called a “powerhouse” in the Senate. (One of the charges leveled at Frank Murkowski was that he appointed his daughter to the Senate after he was elected governor.)  From the AP:

Alaska’s Murkowski a new ‘powerhouse’ in Senate

Only in her first full term, Murkowski is Alaska’s senior senator and the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a crucial role for her oil-producing state. She serves on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and is the only woman among eight men on the Senate GOP’s leadership team.

“I can’t think of anybody in recent years in the Senate who has gone further faster than Lisa Murkowski,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “Alaska has a new powerhouse already.”

SNIP

…Even with her climb to power, Murkowski is dogged by an unspoken rivalry with Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2008 who defeated Murkowski’s father in a hard-fought primary in 2006.

Murkowski is up for re-election in 2010, and pundits from Washington to Alaska have focused on a possible primary challenge by Palin, a possible presidential contender in 2012. Palin, whose term as governor ends next year, has not announced her plans.

SNIP

While she supports increased oil and gas drilling, Murkowski is more moderate than many other GOP senators, Begich said. Murkowski supported a fair-pay act for women and an expansion of children’s health insurance, both Democratic priorities.

While both women deny the talk of rivalry, even going so far as to write a joint opinion piece with the title “We’re not rivals; we’re in partnership for Alaska,” rumors persist.  Palin’s term as governor ends next year and Murkowski is up for re-election in 2010 and there is speculation that Palin might mount a primary challenge to Murkowski.  Should be interesting…

And doesn’t it seem that the GOP powers in D.C. may be closing ranks around Murkowski over Palin?

***

If you’re wondering what’s going on with the Franken-Coleman Senate seat battle, here’s the latest update:

Politco.com reported on Friday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is urging a fight all the way to the Supreme Court:

Franken holds a 225-vote lead after a hand recount of ballots cast in November. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested Friday that Coleman’s fight to hold on to his Minnesota Senate seat may still be in its nascent stages.

“This could end up in federal court based on the allegations of the Coleman campaign that there has not been a consistent manner of counting votes county by county,” McConnell said. “I don’t know where this ends.”

Guess what case they are citing?  Remember the one that was supposed to be a “one-time only” decision?

McConnell said that Coleman’s team seems to have been laying the groundwork for a federal appeals challenge by citing the 2000 Supreme Court case in Bush v. Gore, which ended the Florida recount. McConnell argued that the equal protection clause of the Constitution ensures that each county should use similar standards in counting its ballots, which the Coleman campaign asserts was not done in Minnesota.

“We all remember Bush v. Gore,” McConnell said.

***

Guess who else has a second stimulus package ready to roll? From Xinhua News Agency/China Views:

Premier: China ready to roll out new stimulus package if needed

BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) — China has prepared plans to cope with even bigger difficulties amid the financial crisis and is ready to put forward new stimulus package at any time, said Premier Wen Jiabao here Friday.

SNIP

“We are ready to put forward new stimulus policies at any time,” Wen said.

China rolled out a 4-trillion-yuan (585.5 billion U.S. dollars) two-year stimulus package last year, for which the central government has pledged 1.18 trillion yuan.

Wen said Friday the 1.18 trillion yuan from the central government was totally new investment.

The package included huge government investment, tax reform, industrial restructuring, scientific innovation, social welfare and promoting employment.

Apart from the 4-trillion-yuan package, China will cut tax by 600 billion yuan, raise the old-age pension for retired workers, hike the salaries of 12 million teachers, increase farmers’ income and provide more subsidies for them.

The country also plans to spend 850 billion yuan on reforming the health care sector within three years.

“These investment is not included in the 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package,” Wen said.

All investment plans in the massive stimulus package have been fully debated, and would be open for public supervision, he said.

He said the stimulus package included many new projects, such as the housing projects for low-income urban residents.

MORE

Dollars, yuans…it’s beginning to sound all the same…

***

VIA Chicago Correspondent Leslie:

Here’s the quote of the week from Sen. Gregg, the Republican who bailed as Commerce Secretary:

From the end of the article a MSNBC’s First Read:
“Gregg questioned why any foreign country would continue to buy up U.S. debt: “Because if I’m in the international marketplace, and I’m looking at this budget, I’m saying to myself, ‘Where’s the discipline? Where’s the containment?’ There isn’t any.”

In his withdrawal statement last month, Gregg said, “I expect there will be many issues and initiatives where I can and will work to assure the success of the president’s proposals.”

The budget doesn’t appear to be one of them.”
***

THE PAST WEEK

*By American Lassie

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 14, 2009) (Lost Dog; Budding; Pruned Grapes; A Robin Visits; Clouds Around Town; Biker Chic) Pics!

Obama on the Border: The Language Shift & Plan to Use Executive Orders–Tying It All Together (Security, Trade, Immigration )

Mexico Plans World’s Third Largest Seaport, Will Impact U.S. Ports on West Coast; Citigroup to Help Finance? (Updated 1X More on TARP $$ Going Overseas)

What’s Going On North of the Border: The Canadian Economy and Stimulus Plan

An Old Hand Comments on the Current Fix We’re In With Obama the “Post Turtle”

*THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner

The Past Week: March 1-7, 2009 (More on Sinclair Lewis; Canada-EU Free Trade?; China Eyeing the Big Three Automakers’ “Juicy Bits”?; Palin’s “Troopergate” Foe Winds Up In Obama Administration)


On Reflection: These Are The Times That Try Men’s (and Women’s) Souls

~~By American Lassie

On December 10, 2008, Grail Guardian posted an article  entitled How Long Has This Been Going On? (”What They Want is the World”…The Roots of Our Current Coup d’Etat) .  The post opened with this quote:

“What is past is prologue.”

Her last statement in the article stuck in my mind and I couldn’t get past it. She said,  “The good news is America has been at it for 122 years, and some of us have no intention of letting go of our belief in our Constitution.”

A link in a comment by “Music Producer” on December 12, 2008, at 5:15 pm, following InsightAnalytical’s re-post of An Open Letter to Caroline Kennedy–July 13, 2008 (Reposted and Updated 12/11/08) pushed Grail’s statement to the front of my mind and I had to go back and read her post again. I’m sorry to say I missed the real gist of the post the first time because the reference to Oliver Stone turned me off.  My mistake – and I’m ashamed to say that took my attention away from the true message of the article, which was fabulous – and a little scary. But I’m finding many things scary these days.

> Vodpod videos no longer available.

Grail’s post and this video from “Music Producer” plus the disturbing comment on www.DemocraticDisaster.com from an asinine elector from North Carolina named Wayne Abraham  really ticked me off. (Abraham said that since the SCOTUS hasn’t defined “natural born citizen” he would use his own definition for the term. This elector is a hand-picked elector chosen by the Obama camp.) His reply is too long for me to repeat.  The comment that I saw when the site was operating is a sad example of  who made the choice for us on December 15, 2008. (Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, something strange has happened to www.DemocraticDisaster.com.)

A story from 11/26 in the Christian Science Monitor also quotes Abraham:

Wayne Abraham, a Democratic elector in Greensboro, N.C., says he’s received three letters – two signed, one not – and one phone call about Obama’s citizenship.

“I was surprised, but I’m not worried about it,” he says, dryly. “As I said to the lady on the phone, I figured that the Bush administration had ample opportunity to investigate Senator Obama, and if they had discovered he was not truly a citizen they … would have let us know.”

Wayne Abraham (L) Voting 12/15

Wayne Abraham (L) Voting 12/15

The idiotic comments by this elector made me think of Thomas Paine and his passage which includes “These are the times that try men’s souls” quotation.  Of course Paine wasn’t referring to electors, but to those men and women of the colonies who were not convinced that the fight for freedom could be won.

Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was an English pamphleteer, a participant in the American Revolution and a great patriot.

Paine wrote the following on December 23, 1776. The timing is important. It was written just before Washington’s Christmas attack on the British.

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap (sic) we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods, and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated.”

He goes on to say:

“Tis surprizing to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth (sic) (it was actually the fifteenth) century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that Heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment.

(This  written while he was serving with the army on a narrow neck of land between the North River and the Hackensack, thus the reference to the “Jersey maid.”)

We could say this was prophetic in a way. We could have had a Joan of Arc, but we just didn’t have enough patriots to overcome the king’s forces. That doesn’t mean we have to give up, we can keep fighting for our Constitution as long as we remember what it really means and refuse to let those who want to undermine it win the  battle.

Our poor Joan of Arc has taken a different path now, but she should be wary. She is dealing with a devious crowd, and you know what happened to France’s Joan.

I have no illusions that the electors or the SCOTUS will have the guts of our forefathers to do the right thing about honoring our Constitution. I only pray that there are enough people left believing as Grail Guardian does (and many others, myself included) to keep the fight going even in light of the decisions made on December 15, 2008.

God Bless and keep our Constitution safe from those who would trash it, dishonor it, and condemn it to the dust bin of history. What our forefathers fought so hard for should not be allowed to be lost because a group of scoundrels wants to re-make America to suit themselves.

***

Click here for a report on North Carolina’s Wayne Abraham and the electors’ vote.

The Scanner–Politics 12/5/08 (Obama…Vagus Nerve “Elevation” Superstar?; Obama-Clinton Contemplate a Jump (see awesome video!); Hands Like Butter; “Conscience”; Politically-Motivated Abortion “Science” Blasted by Johns Hopkins Researchers

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We’re  back to Obama and his mystical powers. Forget hypnosis, it’s “elevation” that we should be worried about…and women’s lactation.

From Slate:

Obama in Your Heart

How the president-elect tapped into a powerful—and only recently studied—human emotion called “elevation.”

For researchers of emotions, creating them in the lab can be a problem. Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley, studies the emotions of uplift, and he has tried everything from showing subjects vistas of the Grand Canyon to reading them poetry—with little success. But just this week one of his postdocs came in with a great idea: Hook up the subjects, play Barack Obama’s victory speech, and record as their autonomic nervous systems go into a swoon.

In his forthcoming book, Born To Be Good (which is not a biography of Obama), Keltner writes that he believes when we experience transcendence, it stimulates our vagus nerve, causing “a feeling of spreading, liquid warmth in the chest and a lump in the throat.” For the 66 million Americans who voted for Obama, that experience was shared on Election Day, producing a collective case of an emotion that has only recently gotten research attention. It’s called “elevation.”

(SNIP)

Keltner believes certain people are “vagal superstars”—in the lab he has measured people who have high vagus nerve activity. “They respond to stress with calmness and resilience, they build networks, break up conflicts, they’re more cooperative, they handle bereavement better.” He says being around these people makes other people feel good. “I would guarantee Barack Obama is off the charts. Just bring him to my lab.”

It was while looking through the letters of Thomas Jefferson that Haidt first found a description of elevation. Jefferson wrote of the physical sensation that comes from witnessing goodness in others: It is to “dilate [the] breast and elevate [the] sentiments … and privately covenant to copy the fair example.” Haidt took this description as a mandate. Since it’s tricky to study the vagus nerve, he and a psychology student conceived of a way to look at it indirectly. The vagus nerve works with oxytocin, the hormone of connection. Since oxytocin is released during breast-feeding, he and the student brought in 42 lactating women and had them watch either an inspiring clip from The Oprah Winfrey Show about a gang member saved from a life of violence by a teacher or an amusing bit from a Jerry Seinfeld routine.

About half the Oprah-watching mothers either leaked milk into nursing pads or nursed their babies following the viewing; none of the Seinfeld watchers felt enough breast dilation to wet a pad, and fewer than 15 percent of them nursed. You could say elevation is Oprah’s opiate of the masses, so it’s fitting that she early on gave Obama her imprimatur. And that for his victory speech was up front in Grant Park, elevation’s moist embodiment, feeling so at one with humankind that she used a stranger as a handkerchief.

The researchers say elevation is part of a family of self-transcending emotions. Some others are awe, that sense of the vastness of the universe and smallness of self that is often invoked by nature; another is admiration, that goose-bump-making thrill that comes from seeing exceptional skill in action. Keltner says we most powerfully experience these in groups—no wonder people spontaneously ran into the street on election night, hugging strangers. “We had to evolve these emotions to devote ourselves into social collectives,” he says.

When you start thinking about mass movements, all those upturned, glowing faces of true believers—be they the followers of Jim Jones or Adolf Hitler—you don’t always get a warm feeling about mankind. Instead, knowing where some of these “social collectives” end up, the sensation is a cold chill. Haidt acknowledges that in “calling the group to greatness,” elevation can be used for murderous ends. He says: “Anything that takes us out of ourselves and makes us feel we are listening to something larger is part of morality. It’s about pressing the buttons that turn off ‘I’ and turn on ‘we.’ ”

(MORE)

My advice? Protect your vagus nerve over the next 4 years AT ALL COSTS!!

***

In case you missed this photo from a couple of days ago that was posted at the Tennessee Guerilla Women site,  I’m posting it here because I can’t resist telling you what my reaction was when I saw it.  It’s not the hands so much that hit me (more on the hands later) but how both Clinton and Obama are looking DOWN!

Being the cynic that I am, my first reaction was that they looked like they were both looking over the edge of a chasm and seeing a raging river below. (Perhaps with a huge fire moving toward them from behind.)  Sort of like what you’d see at Lucifer Falls near my beloved Ithaca, NY (I did NOT make that name up!).   They looked like they were about to jump.  My second reaction was simply…JUMP!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Lucifer Falls on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod

***

About those hands…Obama’s hands.  According to a report filed yesterday (12/4/08) at The Hill, Obama has hands that are “soft as butter.”

Obama’s Hands ‘Soft As Butter,’ Says Philly Gym Rat

@ 2:51 pm by Walter Alarkon

A Philadelphia man who lingered at his gym to get a chance to work out with President-elect Barack Obama said he was smitten with Obama’s personality and his soft skin.

Stepp Stewart said he worked out with Obama on Tuesday, when he was in Philadelphia for a National Governors Association meeting.

“I get off the bike. He looks me dead in the eye. He shook my hand,” Stewart told the local NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C.

“I held onto it as long as I could,” Stewart added. “His hands were soft as butter!”

Stewart said he heard that Obama was visiting his gym after he had finished his workout, prompting him to return to the gym.

“Girl, I put my sweat-drenched, funky-smellin’ clothes right back on, got right back on the floor and started fakin’ a workout!” Stewart said.

Stewart, a musical director and choreographer, said that he ran on a treadmill next to the president-elect, who also used other workout machines and read USA Today while at the Philadelphia Sports Club.

The choice of words in this piece reminded me about the stories about Obama’s sexual preferences that were circulating a few months ago (remember Larry Sinclair?)  The guy is described as being “smitten” and is quoted as holding Obama’s hand for as long as he could and noted that really soft skin during the clench.  He actually went back to “fake a workout” so he could be on the treadmill next to O (and who’s the “girl” he’s referring to?).  I’m not going to assume that the guy is gay just because the he’s a “musical director and choreographer,” so I’ll just ponder the real question about how Obama keeps his hands so smooth? Hot waxing  like I saw the other night in a scene from “An Unmarried Woman”?  I can just see Obama in big mitts as he sits through a relaxing hand treatment…or maybe it’s just new Dawn “Hand Renewal” dishwashing liquid?

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I’m now wondering if Sen. Patty Murray is going to have any success pushing to overturn the new “Conscience Rule” that Bushco is on the verge of hurling down on us womenfolk. (And it could effect everybody less obvious ways, as well.)  Hillary Clinton was working with Murray on a bill to stop this in its tracks.   As reported in the LA Times:

Broader medical refusal rule may go far beyond abortion

The Bush administration plans a new ‘right of conscience’ rule that would allow more workers to refuse more procedures. Critics say it could apply to artificial insemination and birth control.
By David G. Savage
December 2, 2008
Reporting from Washington — The outgoing Bush administration is planning to announce a broad new “right of conscience” rule permitting medical facilities, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable, including abortion and possibly even artificial insemination and birth control.

For more than 30 years, federal law has dictated that doctors and nurses may refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further by making clear that healthcare workers also may refuse to provide information or advice to patients who might want an abortion.

It also seeks to cover more employees. For example, in addition to a surgeon and a nurse in an operating room, the rule would extend to “an employee whose task it is to clean the instruments,” the draft rule said.

The “conscience” rule could set the stage for an abortion controversy in the early months of Barack Obama’s administration.

(SNIP)

If the regulation is issued before Dec. 20, it will be final when the new administration takes office, HHS officials say. Overturning it would require publishing a proposed new rule for public comment and then waiting months to accept comments before drafting a final rule.

Abortion-rights advocates think it might be easier to get Congress to reject the rule. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), before being nominated Monday for secretary of State, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have said they would move to reverse it.

The HHS proposal has set off a sharp debate about medical ethics and the duties of healthcare workers.

Last year, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology said a “patient’s well-being must be paramount” when a conflict arises over a medical professional’s beliefs.

In calling for limits on “conscientious refusals,” ACOG cited four recent examples. In Texas, a pharmacist rejected a rape victim’s prescription for emergency contraception. In Virginia, a 42-year-old mother of two became pregnant after being refused emergency contraception. In California, a physician refused to perform artificial insemination for a lesbian couple. (In August, the California Supreme Court ruled that this refusal amounted to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation.) And in Nebraska, a 19-year-old with a life-threatening embolism was refused an early abortion at a religiously affiliated hospital.

After all the misogyny we’ve witnessed this year, the last minute pander to the far-right by Bushco really pisses me off no end, for several reasons.

First, years ago I had a friend who had an ectopic pregnancy. She was rushed to the closest hospital doubled over in pain. As luck would have it, it was a Catholic hospital. When she was diagnosed, she was informed that they wouldn’t treat her because it was considered to be “an abortion.” So, her frantic husband had to arrange to have her moved to ANOTHER hospital. My friend could have DIED! So much for the “conscience” of the “healthcare providers” at that Catholic hospital.  No Hippocratic Oath there, I guess. Just this bullshit about choosing a the “life” of a misplaced zygote that would never survive over the life of a LIVE WOMAN!

Secondly, I get totally ballistic when I see the Viagra ads on TV and know that that crap is covered by many insurance plans while contraception is often excluded.  Pleasure for men=covered. Health and well-being achieved by preventing an unplanned pregnancy=covered, are you KIDDING??

If you wonder if women are truly considered to be second-class citizens, look no further than this setup!  And, apparently, many women simply grin and bear it.  As for a new Obama Administration…do you think this disrespectful bastard will want to expend any political capital on this issues considering he’s embraced those mega-pastors??

So, Hillary Clinton leaves the Senate and this issue.  I just hope Patty Murray can make some noise…or will she be squelched by the Obama crowd?  Let’s see if NARAL and NOW make excuses for Obama if he fails to support the reversal of this INSULTING rule and enables the further mistreatment of women. I’m not holding my breath…

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And then it’s back to the misinformation about abortion that has been shoved at us for years.  Apparently, some researchers are getting  bit “uppity” about situation. As reported by Reuters:

Abortion not seen linked with depression

Review of studies found no evidence of emotional harm after procedureS(“3053751”)

Updated 6:59 a.m. MT, Thurs., Dec. 4, 2008

WASHINGTON – No high-quality study done to date can document that having an abortion causes psychological distress, or a “post-abortion syndrome,” and efforts to show it does occur appear to be politically motivated, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

A team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reviewed 21 studies involving more than 150,000 women and found the high-quality studies showed no significant differences in long-term mental health between women who choose to abort a pregnancy and others.

“The best research does not support the existence of a ‘post-abortion syndrome’ similar to post-traumatic stress disorder,” Dr. Robert Blum, who led the study published in the journal Contraception, said in a statement.

(SNIP)

“The U.S. Supreme Court, while noting that ‘we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon,’ cited adverse mental health outcomes for women as part of the rationale for limiting late term abortions,” Blum’s team wrote.

(SNIP)

“The best quality studies indicate no significant differences in long-term mental health between women in the United States who choose to terminate a pregnancy and those who do not,” they wrote.

“…studies with the most flawed methodology consistently found negative mental health consequences of abortion,” they added. “Scientists are still conducting research to answer politically motivated questions.

Is that the same Supreme Court Fart that is supposed to decide Obama’s citizenship case today (Friday)? And are those “scientists” who are still trying to fit research into a political goal really “scientists?”   Let’s stop being so polite!!