Monday, November 01, 2004

Cost of Bush Leadership too High

I hope everyone who has the right to vote does so. It is a right many around the world do not have. I have supported John Kerry not because I think he will make a great President but because he is the only way to bring George Bush to the justice he deserves. He is the first step toward vindication of all the wrongs George Bush has done to so many around the world but especially in Iraq. America cannot continue to call itself the leader of the world yet say world opinion doesn't matter. The world has counted the cost of Bush leadership and said it is too high.

Jobless and Poorer

Tommorrow's the big day. I have an appointment with administration to determine whether I am still eligible for the chomage (unemployment benefits paid by the government). Two years ago this wouldn't have been a problem but with new Sarkozy/Rafferin style government trying to balance the budget tommorrow may find me both jobless and poorer.
Finding a job in France or any other European country is hard enough for a citizen but for a resident who doesn't speak the language fluently and is middleaged it's impossible outside of knowing someone or working illegally.
The 'knowing someone' I'm working on but it takes time. Working illegally is not an option as I would like to continue living in the country.

If you find yourself with some extra cash and would like to help out I wouldn't refuse.

Monday, October 18, 2004

More personality s'il vous plait

I received an email today...I get these from time to time from another blog I have. I received another one from someone looking for a soup recipe who was incensed to find not soup but partisan crap when he clicked on my link. I almost wrote him back asking if it would be partisan if I were campaigning for Bush. I don't have time for the pain so I hit delete.

Back to the email I received this morning. The writer wanted to know why I didn't write more of my personal thoughts. I've been thinking about it and have come up with a couple of reasons. This is an issue because I've been wondering if I will continue this blog after the elections and if so, what will I do with it?

I'm a loner. I have evolved into this over the years for one reason or another. I enjoy other people but only on my terms. I feel no obligation to open my door if you knock. My sense of self is not hinged on whether I am liked or not. It was not always this way. As I said, I have evolved into who I am today.

I started this blog to counter the Bush administration. As an American living in France I was and am increasingly outraged at what I see happening there. For awhile I would write scathing blogs venting my anger. But, over time I have seen that too many just don't care what is happening in the US or the world around them.

That George Bush is still in office and may even be re-elected boggles the mind. This has nothing to do with being a Republican, Democrat, Independent or any other party affiliation. It's not about who's a better debater. It's not even about whether George did his time in the Guard.
It's about this man falsely tying Iraq and Saddam to al-Qaida and the attacks of 9/11 and in doing so being responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

This is it in a nutshell. I post like so many others whatever incriminating evidence I can find to show the corruptness of this administration but what should be causing people, even Republicans, to remove this man from office is stated above.

So, being a loner is one reason for my lack of personality on this blog, being totally disgusted with humanity is another.

Where is the outrage at this President? Don't speak to me of Christian values in light of this President. He has none and if you support him you have obviously forgotten yours.

Don't speak to me of stem cells, abortion, and homosexuality in light of Christian values. Jesus Christ has nothing to say about these issues and homosexuals were very much a part of the world he lived in. But, he had much to say about taking care of the poor, sick and imprisoned the very things Bush policies do not take into account.

I have been here fighting my own war against injustice. Whether I will stay here after the election I have no idea. That this blog will change it's format to a more personal one is doubtful. I enjoy looking at other blogs and reading what people are saying. Only now and again do I have the desire to enter the conversation.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Open Letter to the Inept Bush Administration from a European Entrepreneur

Christa Allen of Je T'Aime Petite may be petite in size but not in spirit.
Be sure to follow the link below and read the entire letter.

Open Letter to the Inept Bush Administration from a European Entrepreneur

I’d like to assure every decent person that at no time will I ever be disrespectful in any shape or form towards the Office of the President of the United States. I am most respectful of any lawfully chosen President, i.e. elected by the people, not ensconced by the Supreme Court. If such an aforementioned action were to happen in another country, the U.S. would undoubtedly promptly condemn them!

I am not the only individual who sees Mr. Bush as a bungling moron who had the Audacity to make jokes of WMD’s while attending a State Dinner! How devastating and heart-breaking this must have been for people who have lost their loved one in the war! This man is not fit to visit the White House, much less occupy it. Sorry, I am simply unable to call such a man “President” and urge everyone to do the only responsible thing and vote him and the other charlatans out of office because this Country can’t afford any more of their idiocy and incompetence!

I have seen Mr. Bush while he was Governor of Texas smirk (he does this a lot, perhaps he thinks it makes him look charming?) and joke about a prisoner who begged for her life! I am a proponent of the death penalty, however, I was appalled by this man’s callousness and cruelty, he seemed proud executing this woman. I am certain that it was the very same “higher power” who would counsel him years later to start his new and arrogant policy of “anticipatory self-defense and first strike.” One already could see a precursor to his sanguinary gruesome personality; why no one stopped this totally incompetent man and instead allowed him to cause such deleterious actions, how he is still able to convince so many people that he truly believes in God is absolutely beyond my comprehension!

I admit that when I first learned of the conspiracy theories I was appalled and didn’t believe them. I have never been involved in politics, I voted only one time in my life. (I am a Fashion Designer, I don’t pretend to be a writer, nor am I a contender for a literary accolade, so, please allow me some slack, yes?) I am simply an entrepreneur who did plenty of research and realized that if we continue the path we are currently on, insipid Bush and Company have too much of a chance turning this Country Totalitarian. I truly believe that the American people can’t fathom that their present government would be involved in the cover-up of a tragedy of such enormous magnitude, too horrendous to even imagine; I at first felt the same way!

One can only be astonished as to why the French were capable of foiling a Commercial Airliner attack on the Eiffel Tower in 1994; did they merely have better intelligence than the “most powerful Nation on earth” or was there no need for Monsieur Chirac to arbitrarily attack another country so he could don a fighter jacket, parade around a flight deck with a stupid grin and thus ensure his next election as “War President?” I can certainly empathize with millions of Americans who were aghast with horror at the constant terror threat’s, it left most of us unable to see where the real threat was coming from, at least until now! Thank God this administration’s spinners and fear-mongers are getting less effective by the day. I hope and pray that I can stir up enough emotion with my letter so people will at least be open to discover for themselves what really happened and why these power hungry buffoons are so adamant in firing and silencing those who are speaking out! If you don’t want your children and grandchildren to suffer the consequences of this inept “team”, please take responsibility and do your homework, I did!

READ THE REST

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

An appeal for America to be American

By Joan Chittister, OSB

I have discovered that there is a lot you never find out, even about your own country, unless you go somewhere else.

For instance, Aug. 31 during the Republican National Convention, 203 Asian scholars from 13 countries published a public declaration, endorsed by 42 Asian organizations, appealing to U.S. voters "not to vote for a president who will turn Asia and the global society into America's enemy." The statement, they tell us, was released simultaneously in both New York and Japan, a nation that understands first-hand what war can do to a people for generations.

"Another America is possible," the declaration insists.

Maybe you heard about it but I didn't. Instead, they handed the document to me in Tokyo, amazed that I knew nothing about it at all.

The declaration makes four major points:

1. With the war in Iraq, America's leadership and its influence have crumbled worldwide. The Iraqi war, they say, is "immoral, unlawful and unjustifiable."

The real news about such a position as this is not that others are saying what the circumstances clearly demonstrate but that Americans, who claim to be the ultimate defenders of the rule of law, don't seem to mind the fact that they are in violation of international law. Nor does it bother them that the war was launched on insufficient and old -- very, very old --data. Nor does this church-going nation seem to think that the moral dictums they teach their children -- as in "thou shalt not lie," for instance, -- has anything whatsoever to do with politics and the standards we set for our politicians even when thousands and thousands of innocent people die because of it.

2. The unilateralism and militarism of the United States in this mis-directed war has evoked "broad and seething rejections from all corners of the globe." It is, they argue, only the first attempt of this new kind of United States to achieve US domination of the world.

Most ironic of all, they maintain, is the fact that because of US militarism, the world is much less safe than it ever was before the US launched its new doctrine of preemption. There is "unprecedented political unrest to the Middle East," they argue. And, most ironic of all, this campaign to "make the world safe for democracy" is now being used as an excuse for whatever political goals other authoritarian governments may have-as in the amendment of the Peace Constitution and the military rearmament of Japan.

They maintain that in its anger over 9/11, the United States has simply unleashed another arms race all around a world that is now using the fear of "terrorism" to justify it.

3. In a globalized and interdependent world, they insist, they have a right to make this appeal because this election is no longer a local affair.

What we do politically, as they see it, effects their countries as much -- sometimes more -- than it effects us. If the United States maintains its present policies, they mourn, "peace and democracy in Asia will be only a dream long gone" as other governments use the same tactics to eliminate human rights and suppress their own peoples.

"By the rest of the world, your country is looked at as an Empire," the document goes on, "looming large over the globe with pre-emptive strike doctrines and blind anti-terrorism policies depending heavily on macho military measures and ignorance of human rights ..."

It is easy to see how this letter could have been written to Julius Caesar, or Nikita Kruschev. But to George Bush II? To us? Have we really fallen this low? "The United States of American is looked at," the document says, "as the most dangerous and destructive nation in the world by civilized global societies."

4. Another America is possible, they remind us. The one that struggled against Hitler and Stalin, against Nazism and Communism, for the rights of all people everywhere.

It is an appeal for America to be American.

From where I stand, this is one of the saddest letters I have ever read in my lifetime. What else besides arrogance or ignorance can possibly account for the fact that as a nation these things don't seem to bother us at all? Most of all, how is that such positions never see the light of day in the very democratic country that stands to lose the most by being unaware of such anger, such pain, such global despair?

National catholic Reporter

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Interesting debt numbers

Some 1.6 million U.S. households -- one of every 73 -- filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

There are roughly 1.2 billion credit cards in use in the United States.

The original Diners Club card was issued in 1950 to let businessmen charge meals. It was pasteboard with a list of the 27 restaurants that accepted it printed on the back. The first plastic card came out in 1955. Today, there are about 20,000 different cards available in the U.S.

Studies show the average consumer is exposed to more than 3,000 marketing messages every day. In the last decade, it's been estimated, solicitations jumped from 1.52 billion annually to 4.29 billion.

Today roughly 24 percent of personal expenditures in this country are made with credit and debit cards.

Average per household debt in the U.S., not counting mortgage debt, is about $14,500 -- especially noteworthy because before the 1930s, most middle and working class people had no major debts. Banks would not lend to them; they rented their homes and if they did own a house, it was paid for as it was being built.

A typical credit card purchase ends up costing 112 percent more than if cash were used.

A $1,000 charge on an average credit card will take almost 22 years to pay, and will cost more than $2,300 in interest ($3,300 total) -- if only 2 percent minimum payments are made.

Some 40 percent of American families annually spend more than they earn.

About 60 percent of active credit card accounts are not paid off monthly.

Average credit card debt among all American households is $8,400.

Average card debt among people who have at least one card is $9,205 -- triple what it was in 1990.

Average personal wealth of a 50-year-old American, including home equity: less than $40,000.

A typical American family today pays about $1,200 annually in credit card interest.

The average interest rate on credit cards is 18.9 percent.

Last year the credit card industry took in $43 billion in card fees.

Nine of 10 Americans claim credit card debt has never been a source of worry.
But 47 percent would refuse to tell a friend how much they owe.

Twenty-three percent of Americans admit to maxing out a credit card.

Eleven percent of Americans admit card debts went to collection.

Thirteen percent of Americans have been 30 days late paying credit card bills in the past year.

The average graduate student has six credit cards and one in seven owes more than $15,000.

People using credit cards in fast food restaurants spend up to 50 percent more than when they pay cash.

The personal savings rate in the United States has dropped from 8 percent in the 1980s to just under 2 percent since 2000.

Medical debts sink the ship in one of every 20 bankruptcies. Typical health care debt: $25,000. Typical victim: a senior on a fixed income. Typical scenario: pricey prescriptions bought on high-interest credit cards.

Bankrate.com