Abolish the US Senate, End the Filibuster

The glacial pace of our senate has never served to protect the interest of US citizens: a minority can prevent passage of important legislation. Such was the case with the bill to abolish the poll tax, that languished for 3 decades while a minority of senators fought it. In 1939, the House of Representatives passed the measure 254–84. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy was criticized for proposing the 24th amendment as an end run to prevent further delays, but it took little more than a year for ratification by the required votes of 38 state legislatures.

The filibuster alone is good enough reason to dispense with the Senate completely. The US House abolished the practice in 1842, even before the term "filibuster" was coined, and quashed similar manuevers by 1890, yet the the Senate continues to cling to a practice that is unique to this country. They have even made it easier to accomplish by relaxing the rules in favor of those who wish to stage a filibuster – all that is needed is for the oponents of a popular measure is to post notice. They don’t need to stay up all night and hold the floor like Mr. Smith in the Frank Capra film. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

"– the film premiered in Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., on October 17, 1939, sponsored by the National Press Club, an event to which 4000 guests were invited, including 45 senators – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was attacked by the Washington press, and politicians in the U.S. Congress, as anti-American and pro-Communist for its portrayal of corruption in the American government. While Capra claims in his autobiography that some senators walked out of the premiere, contemporary press accounts are unclear about whether this occurred or not, or whether senators yelled back at the screen during the film."

The Senate proved it could act in a timely manner by passing Senator Neely’s Anti-Block Booking Bill, which eventually led to the breakup of the studio-owned theater chains in the late 1940s, clearly intended as relatiation.

The film was released just as the Senate was burying the first of many attempts to ban the Poll Tax. One hundred years after the House eliminated the practice that became known as the filibuster, Tom Connally again staged a successful effort to stymie the 1942 attempt to repeal the so-called "tax". Senator Connally is famous for having led a filibuster to block an anti-lynching bill in 1937:

"…on the third day of the filibuster, impish Bennett Clark brought into the chamber a placard on which were mounted pictures of the two blowtorch lynchings at Duck Hill, Miss, this year."

TIME, Nov. 29, 1937

Connally later helped forge the doomed foreign policy that divided Korea in 1945 (yes, 1945 not 1950), thus insuring the perpetual war that continues today throughout in South Asia.

It is interesting to note that Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was banned in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Soviet Russia and Falangist Spain.

Today, the US Senate continues to move in the wrong direction. The most notable filibusters have been staged for the benefit of landowning bigots and corporate oligarchs, like the filibuster in favor of preserving the Poll Tax – so descendants of slaves could continue to be disenfranchised in a country built with their sweat and blood. Yet senators move swiftly to insure trillions of dollars are spent on international warfare each year, thanks to the practice of allocating military expenditures through various government departments other than the DoD.

(for details, visit these links:

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1941

http://electromagnet.us/dogspot/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=200 )

A more robust version of our current health care legislation could have been in effect for several decades already but for the efforts of our highly paid and well coifed Senators. Yet we have spent more than a trillion dollars in Afghanistan alone, and the indirect costs are even more staggering. This has been made possible by the dinosaur that is the US Senate.

Eliminating their haircuts alone will save us millions of dollars each year. They have literally hijacked Democracy, numerous times, because Filibuster has, over the years, become their guiding principle. And what does it mean?

"The term "filibuster" was first used in 1851. It was derived from the Spanish filibustero, which translates as "pirate" or "freebooter." This term had evolved from the French word flibustier, which itself evolved from the Dutch vrijbuiter (freebooter). This term was applied at the time to American adventurers, mostly from Southern states, who sought to overthrow the governments of Central American states. Later the term was applied to the users of the filibuster, which was viewed as a tactic for pirating or hijacking debate." (wikipedia)

Those of us who still have hope for change won’t find it in the US Senate. It is time to sweep them out of the way with the first of a series of new constitutional ammendments to restore and extend the rights of the common citizen.

David Roknich

Galesburg, Illinois

Late Late Night FDL: When Magoo Flew

When Magoo Flew starring Mr. Magoo.  This Columbia Pictures UPA cartoon was released in 1954 and won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject in 1955.

Directed by Pete Burness.  Produced by Stephen Bosustow.  Story by Barbara Avedon (as Barbara Hammer) and Tedd Pierce.  Production Management by Herbert Klynn.  Art Department design by Sterling Sturtevant.  Animation by Rudy Larriva, Tom McDonald, and Cecil Surry.  Animation Color by Bob McIntosh.  Voices by Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo).  Original Music by Hoyt Curtin.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the seatback in front of ya, and no spitballs aimed at the ushers please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?

So here’s a quickie for ya…

Nothing in particular driving it, other than while I pack all my stuff up and whine about how I can't get anything I do with old fashioned pen and paper done for a while (which is a lot more than I am willing to admit) it popped into my head, here's an odd question for you:
Does a guy who is gay, is involved in the gay community, identifies as gay, consistently states that he has no attraction to women (and even establishes such through the usual penis measuring while watching porn measure”, suddenly become straight when he hires a trans prostitute to come over and have sex with him, her being the top and him being the bottom?
And before you turn around and say “hey, wait a sec…” be aware that a lot of trans women pay for their surgeries, their enhancements, and their hormones (as well as housing and all the rest) doing exactly that.
It should prove very interesting…

(more…)

Desalinization Projects Promoted By Water Shortages

There are many parts of the globe where fresh water has always been a scarce and precious resource. The traditional approach to sustaining human populations in such places has been dams and aqueducts. Those facilities are becoming over extended in the face of growing populations and other areas are beginning to see a decline in previously reliable sources of water as a result of such factors as over use and the beginnings of climate change.

I live in California where water wars have shaped the history of the state and they have never come to an end. A growing population of over 40 M is straining what have always been limited and unpredictable water resources. There is a vast infrastructure that moves water hundreds of miles from the mountains of the north to the semiarid regions of the south. The amount of water that is being taken from rivers has reached the limit of environmental laws. The Middle East and Australia are other areas that have been historically worried about water. However, other places that we think of as having wet climates are facing increasing water problems.

There are a variety of approaches to these problems being explored. One that is being resorted to with increasing frequency is desalinization, taking salt water and processing it to make it useable as fresh water. The traditional method of accomplishing this is distillation. That requires boiling the water and condensing the steam back into a liquid form. It’s the same method as a moonshine still. Of course the process of heating large amounts of water uses large amounts of energy.

Energy is of course a greater public concern than water. Our traditional reliance on fossil fuels is raising a long list of worries. They include environmental pollution, declining supply and global warming. Global warming will in turn exacerbate water problems by decreasing the amount of water that can be naturally stored as snow and glaciers. Desalinization projects that make more demands on energy supplies and use dirty sources such as coal are going to add to our problems. Australia has a number of coal fired projects either in operation or under construction.

There are however, new developments that offer a somewhat more optimistic prospect. There are two under development in California that have promise. One in the city of Carlsbad will be a cogeneration facility and another in Monterrey will use methane gas from the city landfill.

Cogeneration is a process that holds much prospect for reducing our total energy demand. Most of our existing methods of producing electrical energy are very inefficient. A typical generating plant only converts about 33-50% of the energy used to electricity. The rest is discharged as heat. In most case that is simply discharged into the atmosphere. The energy of that heat can be used for other purposes such as heating buildings or boiling water. Cogeneration is likely to be one of the major approaches to reducing our energy demand.

There are newer desalinization technologies in the works. Reverse osmosis desalinization is presently in use. It involves pumping salt water through a series of membranes that filter out the salts. While this uses less energy than distillation, the pumping still uses a lot of energy. Two technologies that are under development are forward osmosis and low temperature thermal desalinization. Forward osmosis is a mix of membrane and thermal purification, using a solution of removable solutes that draws water towards it. The low temperature process works by placing the salt water in a partial vacuum so that it will boil at a lower temperature.

None of this comes cheap. The cost of constructing desalinization plants is substantial. As already explored, they all use energy in some form and that is likely to become more expensive rather than less. A far less expensive approach to the problem would be water conservation. In California agriculture is the largest user of water. The possibilities for conservation there are immense. There are more efficient means of irrigation than those typically used and certain water intensive crops such as rice and cotton really should be grown elsewhere. Of course it wouldn’t be very popular to talk about doing something about all the golf courses.

Late Night: Hallelujah, Anderson Cooper Repents of Anti-White Racism, Promised Land Achieved, Andrew Breitbart Proved Greater American Hero Than Martin Luther King Jr., Who Was After All a Commie

No, really. The following was emanated at Breitbart’s Big Stupid websites.

In the early stages of the Shirley Sherrod controversy, the media began to craft the narrative Shirley Sherrod was the embodiment of the term “post-racial.” Then on July 22nd on Anderson Cooper 360, this happened:

SHIRLEY SHERROD: I think he [BREITBART] would like to get us stuck back in the times of slavery. That’s where I think he would like to see all black people end up again. And that’s why…

COOPER: You think — you think he’s racist?

SHERROD: … I think he’s so vicious. Yes, I do.

Why, she as good as lynched Andrew Breitbart. And now his career is in ruins, he has been fired, his party has turned against him, the media won’t take him seriously, he is a pariah, these are all the inevitable horrific consequences of being called a racist on National Teevee.

Or, you know, not.

Anyway, AC apologized for his Racial Thought Crime. You can see the abjection at the video linked in the, uh, link. And then he very helpfully assigned a young black reporter to Take Seriously all sorts of ridiculous horseshit from the Wingnuttosphere, thus proving once more that Liberals Control Teh Media with a Cheesecloth Fist.

Anyway, I’ve already said this as well as I could, in another context, so permit me to quote myself in public:

Can we just pause for a moment and consider what black people feel, or if that makes anyone uncomfy, what Shirley Sherrod is likely to be feeling here? “I grew up with members of my family murdered by white people and their system, and this made me distrust white people and their system, and then I had an epiphany about how some white people need help through the system, and because I said that, I got called a racist, my reputation got pissed on, I got fired, and now if I dare to say white people and their system are unfair, I’m the oppressor?”

Meh. Meh. Meh. Meh. GAH.

In 2010, all the MSM deference is to the feelings of shitheaded palefaces like those predisposed to fall for Breitbartian race-baiting bullshit.

A post-racial society, my pasty Celtic posterior. A post racist-society, I’d settle for.

WikiLeaks Docs Show Futility of Illegal Afghanistan War

The WikiLeaks war diaries are hard to read, and full of boring details written in a half-ass fashion, but the larger picture that it reveals is fascinating, and politically explosive when put into historical context. Essentially, the U.S. is fighting a runaway political war in Afghanistan. American troops are tasked by their treasonous political leaders with many things; shelter heroin, defend the sites of oil pipelines, and patrol Afghan villages like cops. Notice that defeating America’s fabricated military enemy is not one of the military’s task. U.S. forces could have dealt with Bin Laden, and his entourage in 2001 at Tora Bora, but Donald Rumsfeld let them escape:

(The Guardian, November 29, 2009): Donald Rumsfeld had the chance when he was US defence secretary in December 2001 to make sure Osama bin Laden was killed or captured, but let him slip through his hands, a Senate report has found.

The report by the Senate foreign relations committee is damning of the way George Bush’s administration conducted the aftermath of its bombing campaign in Afghanistan, saying it amounted to a "lost opportunity". It states that as a result of allowing the al-Qaida leader to flee from his Tora Bora stronghold into Pakistan, Americans were left more vulnerable to terrorism, and the foundations were laid for today’s protracted Afghan insurgency. It also lays blame for the July 2005 London bombings on a failure to kill the al-Qaida leaders at Tora Bora.

The blame ultimately lies on U.S. political leaders for the catastrophic damage that the people of Afghanistan have suffered in the last nine years. Meanwhile, public support is at the cut-throat stage, as in, there is no going back to September 12, 2001, when the majority of Americans were unaware of the traitors who controlled their government, and merely wanted the bastards dead. Simply dead, they said. Is not that hard, is it? Find Bin Laden, and kill him. But the poster of "Bin Laden Wanted: Dead or Alive"that Bush drew for the world was a total fiction. The Bush administration didn’t want Bin Laden dead, because a dead Bin Laden is a dead enemy, and a dead enemy means no war.

The U.S. government was never interested in capturing Bin Laden, or in liberating the Afghan people from the Taliban, their former Cold War pals. Bush, and Obama are not in the pursuit of ending international terrorism, but of crushing human freedom, and political self-determination by the Afghan people, the American people, the people of the Middle East, and the people of the world.

As Juan Cole pointed out last month, more than half of the American people believe the war in Afghanistan is lost, and not worth the cost:

"This Rasmussen poll shows a mood even more pessimistic than another recent sounding by ABC & the Washington Post, which found that 53% of Americans think the war is not worth its cost.

Nearly half in the Rasmussen poll also say that they think Afghanistan is very important to US security and over 80% think it is at least somewhat important. It is hard to understand how the fifth poorest country in the world, a virtual failed state, can pose a security threat to the United States."

The painful truth about Afghanistan is that it is not a war of necessity. Afghanistan, like Iraq, is not a defensive war, but a war of aggression. As Prof. David Ray Griffin wrote in the article, "Did 9/11 Justify the War in Afghanistan?," the September 11 terrorist attacks do not justify U.S. presence in Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the Middle East. America’s national security interest is not served in the long run by fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. And in what can only be described as an act of grave betrayal, the current American government, and the mainstream media are kicking the can of truth down the road of national ruin.

In the over 90,000 leaked documents that was published by WikiLeaks last Sunday, July 25, there are zero historical revelations, but that does not make the docs any less significant. They are a timely reminder of the daily horror of war, and in a society that has been desensitized by brutal acts of violence, it is encouraging to see the success of an organization that pulls back the curtain, and forces us to see the lies, the murder, the treason, and the brutality. The work of Assange and WikiLeaks is beyond monumental. It is heaven sent. It is a much needed breath of fresh air in a room full of lies, and spies.

Spencer Ackerman of Wired writes that the WikiLeaks docs are "a real-time account of how the U.S. let Afghanistan rot." Perhaps, what’s most surprising about the leaked docs is what they don’t show, such as the breakdown of troop morale. Last year saw the highest suicide rate in the army’s history, and much of the suffering by American soldiers has been suppressed by the 24/7 cycle of bullshit on television news.

I’ve tried reading the documents, but they’re so boring to read. The traces of Siegfried Sassoon’s ghost are not in any of these war diaries, that’s for sure. Just one glance at some of the nitty-gritty details and you can tell that the greatest fact about the Afghanistan war is how boring, and futile it is. American soldiers were trained to do battle with giants, but they’re forced to play hide-and-seek with rats.

If you want to know what war is like, read Homer, Thucydides, or Tolstoy, don’t read the WikiLeaks docs. All they reveal is that the Afghanistan war is not a war, and Obama is not Pericles. War is not nation-building; it is nation-destroying. War does not liberate people, it enslaves them. War is not executed based on a timetable; it is anything goes, whatever comes its way, and whenever it does. A real war is not classified by an incompetent military bureaucracy into fifty different categories, it is fought by guys who are good at killing people, you know, at literally taking their hearts, and minds. Like the Taliban. They’re fighting a real war. America is fighting a pretend war. And you can’t win a pretend war, it’s like a bad movie that you can’t wait to end, and then walk out of the theatre to ask for your money back.

What angers me is that we have sit through it all. Let’s roll the credits to this nightmarish movie. We know how it ends. It ends with mass death, and mass suffering. It ends with the heads of traitors in the gutter, limbless children, and crying widows. So what are we waiting for? D-Day? There won’t ever be a D-Day in the War on Terrorism because it is not a real war. That needs to be repeated two thousand and one times. It is a war based on lies and deception for endless profits, and conquest. It is purely a money-making enterprise for the National Security State, and a corporate sludge fund for politically connected war profiteers, and pentagon bureaucrats. They want a century of warfare. And only they are yielding profits from this war, America itself has been ruined because of it. The only country that is reaping any benefit from the war on terror is Israel because the entire West has jumped on the bandwagon against the exaggerated threat of Islamic extremism, which has allowed Israel to demonize its Palestinian subjects without criticism from the world for the past nine years. A billion people of the human race have essentially been accused of being "terrorists" and there seems to be no end to their suffering.

We are living the deformed dream of monsters, and sociopaths. We are not living according to the truth. The whole world has been manipulated by dark magicians. This whole era is play-acting. U.S. soldiers are pretend liberators, U.S. politicians are pretend statesmen, and the U.S. president is a pretend Commander-in-Chief. And the press is a pretend press. And the people are a pretend people.

At the Oslo Freedom Forum this year, Julian Assange spoke about the world of lies that we have been living in since 9/11, and what we can do to change it. He said that we must dismiss the illusion that the West is free. It is not. Censorship exists in the West, and it is not justified by concerns for national security. Assange:

"Censorship in the West is used to legitimise censorship in other countries, and abuses in the West of Enlightenment ideals, which we should all hold dear, and the corrosion of those ideals not only impoverishes Western countries, it is also used as an excuse for terrible abuses in other countries."

The mission of WikiLeaks is to lift the veil of state secrecy, and promote human rights, freedom of speech, and public debate around the world, but most importantly in the West because if the West is lost, then the World is also lost. Assange is a freedom information fighter, and a crusader for public knowledge. His presence in the world at this critical hour is a hopeful sign that humanity may get out the woods of the tyranny of state secrecy. At the end of his address at Oslo, Assange said that we must stop state abuses in their infancy, or else they may become too large to fix later on:

"So, in this broader framework of what we do, it is to try and build a historical record, an intellectual record, of how civilization actually works in practice, now, from the inside, everywhere, in every country around the World. Because all our decisions, individual decisions, our political decisions, are based upon what we know. Humanity is nothing but what we know and what we have. And what we have can be replaced, and degrades quickly. And what we know is everything, and it is our limit of what we can be. So before we embark on any particular political stratagem, we first have to know where we are because, if we do not know where we are, it is impossible for us to know where we are going. Likewise, it is impossible to correct abuses unless we know that they are going on. So I ask you to think about the words of Machiavelli; think about them in their negative, when he said,

“Thus it happens in matters of state, for knowing a far-off, which is only given a prudent man to do, the evils that are brewing, they are easily cured, but when, for want of such knowledge, they are allowed to grow until everyone can recognize them, there is no longer any remedy to be found.”

So secret planning is secret, usually, for a reason: because, if it is abusive, it is opposed. So it is our task to find secret abusive plans and expose them where they can be opposed before they are implemented. Because if they are exposed by the implementation, by people suffering from that abuse, then the abuse has already occurred and it is too late."

Assange’s words are admirable, and timely. He is a great spokesman for the truth, and is heroically spreading the importance of public knowledge of state deeds to everywhere in the West. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s comment that Assange has "blood on his hands" reveals the U.S. government for what it truly is; a lying, treasonous, terrorist state.

Arthur Silber has written some of the best stuff on WikiLeaks. In his essay, "Wikileaks, Resistance, Genuine Heroes, and Breaking the Goddamned Rules (II)," Silber writes:

"Consider what the United States government stands for at the moment. I will summarize very briefly. The U.S. government is engaged in the occupation of Iraq, while it wages a war in Afghanistan. The U.S. intentionally seeks to broaden the war into Pakistan (and has already done so to a significant extent), and it continues to threaten Iran militarily. Simultaneously, the U.S. has launched operations in at least 75 countries, and made "[p]lans … for preemptive or retaliatory strikes in numerous places around the world."

The U.S. government also continues and even expands the Bush administration’s policies with regard to torture as a "legitimate" State instrument, as it continues and even expands the Bush administration’s comprehensive assault on civil liberties at home. And the U.S. government ceaselessly works to impoverish and brutalize the majority of Americans in countless other ways, as it forcibly transfers countless billions of dollars from "ordinary" Americans to the already massively wealthy ruling elite.

The United States government does all of this "legally." All of this monstrous behavior is approved by the "sanctity" of "the law" and by "the rules." Some of us argue that most or all of these actions are in fact criminal; indeed, under legal provisions that the U.S. government employs to condemn others, certain of these actions are criminal. But that is not the story told by our rulers. They consistently maintain that all of these actions are legal, moral, and entirely just.

That isn’t all. The State seeks to protect itself from all criticism and challenge by surrounding itself with an intricate and almost impenetrable web of laws, rules and regulations. The State arrives at its decisions on the basis of alleged "secret" information, which is not to be shared with the likes of us. It fashions and implements its policies on the basis of special, superior expertise, which "ordinary" Americans cannot hope to share or understand. All of this is a lie, of course; see the second part of this recent article, concerning "The Claim to ‘Special’ Knowledge and Expertise."

If you seek to challenge the death grip of the authoritarian-corporatist-militarist State in a serious way, you will necessarily have to break the goddamned rules. As I have argued, the point of "the law" and "the rules" is to protect the ruling class and to restrict your range of action so severely that it approaches the vanishing point. If we challenge the State only within the bounds of what is permitted by the State itself, the challenge will be trivial and utterly insignificant. The State allows such challenges so that "the people" can delude themselves, again, that their "voices" are being heard.

This is not the route followed by Wikileaks. Wikileaks steps outside the boundaries established by the State altogether: it dispenses with the restrictions of "secrecy" and access limited to the already powerful. Wikileaks’ approach is the embodiment of justice. It takes the repeated proclamations that the United States is a "representative democracy" and that its government is "our" government, and says in effect: You contend that you act in the name of the people. Then the people surely have the right to know what you’re doing. This is what you’re doing."

The recent success of WikiLeaks has made me more hopeful about the future of the West, and all of humanity. But knowledge isn’t everything, what matters more is what we do with the knowledge that we have. I hope we can change the world with the truth, and put the terrorist traitors to bed.

Peter Wehner Likes to Watch Things Die from a Good Safe Distance

Anthony Wiener was very upset with Republicans the other day because they voted down funding for continuing health benefits for the 9/11 first responders because, you know, 9/11 isn’t really relevant anymore unless you want to scapegoat Muslims or maybe start a war in a brown country.

Former Bush-administration shitsack (and current Commentary shitsack) Peter Wehner finds this most amusing:

Here’s a clip of Representative Anthony Weiner losing his cool. It’s just the kind of civilized discourse and thoughtful engagement with the issues that the public is thirsting for.

I suppose Representative Weiner could be excused for his outburst; perhaps he just read the latest Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll, which Jennifer highlighted earlier today. It shows extremely bad disapproval numbers for Obama on the three issues that are shaping up to be the most important of the mid-term elections: The economy (59 percent), the deficit (65 percent), and health care (55 percent). It also shows Republicans with a double-digit lead on the generic Congressional ballot, which is something I can’t recall having occurred before.

So, ha ha, Democrats are going to lose and fuck the sick and incapacitated of New York for being big fucking losers and coming to the aid of their fellow citizens. Ha ha. Suckers. (more…)

Chris Hayes Highlights the Failed HAMP Program on The Rachel Maddow Show

When I took to Twitter the other night and mused that Chris Hayes should use some of his time filling in for Rachel Maddow to highlight the failed HAMP program and the forgotten foreclosure crisis, I didn’t think he’d come up with something so focused and cogent. But there it is to your right. Hayes hit the important point – that this is a Treasury program, and they had $50 billion to do basically whatever they wanted to stop foreclosures. The Administration chose this as their method, without any need to hedge because of Republicans or ConservaDems. And what they chose may be, as Chris said, “the single biggest failure of the Obama Administration.”

I knew that some private lenders were engaged in loan modifications as well, but I didn’t know that these alternative programs have actually helped more borrowers than HAMP, which is truly pathetic, considering the resources at the disposal of the federal government. Servicers have performed 800,000 of these alternative modifications in 2010, compared to just 389,183 through HAMP since March 2009. However, these modifications have no government oversight, and are more watered-down than what would be mandated under HAMP, which is why the lenders are opting for them.

Despite a price tag of $50 billion, HAMP has only spent $250 million, or 0.5%. That’s because they almost don’t have the ability to spend it, under the structure of the program. The money goes into rewards for the lenders to modify loans, yet it’s at the lender’s discretion whether or not they choose to make a permanent modification through HAMP. So the lender decides the flow of the money, in a sense, and they’ve by and large determined that the reward from the government isn’t worth it. They’d rather perform alternative modifications with less favorable terms for the borrower.

I suppose you could say that getting 389,000 permanent modifications for the small price of $250 million dollars isn’t a bad return. But a significant number of those borrowers will eventually default, as well as the majority of those securing modifications outside the program. And of course, 389,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the millions who need help. Many of those interfacing with HAMP come out more indebted at the end. I can’t see how that’s a good use of public money. Basically the programs of foreclosure mitigation, whether public or private, serve only to string along the borrower and extract a few more payments out of them.

As Hayes said in his powerful close, “If the 25 year-old community organizer Obama were around to see HAMP program, I think he’d be disgusted.”

A Week Of The Debilitating Side Of Bipolar II ½

In my occasional discussions of being Bipolar II ½ (cyclothymic disorder), Image: BrainI discuss the limitations that come with this mental health condition. This past week I got to experience one type of the limitations.

So let me back up a couple of weeks or so. In recent weeks I’ve had what I’ll label as “productive hypomania“:

Hypomania represents the lesser degree of mania. Hypomania is characterized by cheerfulness, increased confidence, increased goal directed activity, decreased need for sleep, over-grooming, disinhibition, etc.

Through NetRoots Nation, I experienced that productive hypomania. The day after I returned home, I experienced  what I’d label as significant “energy depression.” In this past week I’ve had many of the physical symptoms of depression, such as being extremely tired (with lots of sleeping), and a kind of in a “brain fog” — very hard to think clearly. I feel  physically like I’m like I do when emotionally depressed, without actually being — or feeling — emotionally depressed. It’s an odd state to be in, for sure. Fortunately I know from past experience that this kind of non-depression depression passes with time.

That said, I’m medically retired specifically because…well, sometimes the unproductive kind of hypomania (extreme restlessness, mind racing through thoughts, easy distractibility, and even pressured speech), as well as the different forms of depression I experience, leave me with with little ability to be productive. So physical depression, but not mental depression, left me unproductive this past week.

I appear to be coming out of my physical depression. This could just as easily be a small spike upwards; however, in a slower climb out of physical depression — I just won’t know until I’m all the way through this phase.

Anywho, I’m talking about my Bipolar II ½ condition because just like being out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender can be societally stigmatizing, so can having a mental illness be societally stigmatizing. I’m being out as Bipolar II ½ for pretty much the same reason I’m out as transgender — being out changes the world. (more…)