Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Picture That Says A Trillion Words






The Corporate Takeover of U.S. Democracy

By Noam Chomsky February 3, 2010

Jan. 21, 2010, will go down as a dark day in the history of
U.S. democracy, and its decline.

On that day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government
may not ban corporations from political spending on
elections--a decision that profoundly affects government
policy, both domestic and international.

The decision heralds even further corporate takeover of the
U.S. political system.

To the editors of The New York Times, the ruling
"strikes at the heart of democracy" by having
"paved the way for corporations to use their vast
treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected
officials into doing their bidding."

The court was split, 5-4, with the four reactionary judges
(misleadingly called "conservative") joined by
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
selected a case that could easily have been settled on narrow
grounds and maneuvered the court into using it to push
through a far-reaching decision that overturns a century of
precedents restricting corporate contributions to federal

Now corporate managers can in effect buy elections directly,
bypassing more complex indirect means. It is well-known that
corporate contributions, sometimes packaged in complex ways,
can tip the balance in elections, hence driving policy. The
court has just handed much more power to the small sector of
the population that dominates the economy.

Political economist Thomas Ferguson's "investment theory
of politics" is a very successful predictor of
government policy over a long period. The theory interprets
elections as occasions on which segments of private sector
power coalesce to invest to control the state.

The Jan. 21 decision only reinforces the means to undermine
functioning democracy.

The background is enlightening. In his dissent, Justice John
Paul Stevens acknowledged that "we have long since held
that corporations are covered by the First
Amendment"--the constitutional guarantee of free speech,
which would include support for political candidates.

In the early 20th century, legal theorists and courts
implemented the court's 1886 decision that
corporations--these "collectivist legal
entities"--have the same rights as persons of flesh and blood.

This attack on classical liberalism was sharply condemned by
the vanishing breed of conservatives. Christopher G. Tiedeman
described the principle as "a menace to the liberty of
the individual, and to the stability of the American states
as popular governments."

Morton Horwitz writes in his standard legal history that the
concept of corporate personhood evolved alongside the shift
of power from shareholders to managers, and finally to the
doctrine that "the powers of the board of directors
"are identical with the powers of the corporation."
In later years, corporate rights were expanded far beyond
those of persons, notably by the mislabeled "free trade
agreements." Under these agreements, for example, if
General Motors establishes a plant in Mexico, it can demand
to be treated just like a Mexican business ("national
treatment")--quite unlike a Mexican of flesh and blood
who might seek "national treatment" in New York, or
even minimal human rights.

A century ago, Woodrow Wilson, then an academic, described an
America in which "comparatively small groups of
men," corporate managers, "wield a power and
control over the wealth and the business operations of the
country," becoming "rivals of the government itself."

In reality, these "small groups" increasingly have
become government's masters. The Roberts court gives them
even greater scope.

The Jan. 21 decision came three days after another victory
for wealth and power: the election of Republican candidate
Scott Brown to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the
"liberal lion" of Massachusetts. Brown's election
was depicted as a "populist upsurge" against the
liberal elitists who run the government.

The voting data reveal a rather different story.

High turnouts in the wealthy suburbs, and low ones in largely
Democratic urban areas, helped elect Brown. "Fifty-five
percent of Republican voters said they were `very interested'
in the election," The Wall St. Journal/NBC poll
reported, "compared with 38 percent of Democrats."

So the results were indeed an uprising against President
Obama's policies: For the wealthy, he was not doing enough to
enrich them further, while for the poorer sectors, he was
doing too much to achieve that end.

The popular anger is quite understandable, given that the
banks are thriving, thanks to bailouts, while unemployment
has risen to 10 percent.

In manufacturing, one in six is out of work--unemployment at
the level of the Great Depression. With the increasing
financialization of the economy and the hollowing out of
productive industry, prospects are bleak for recovering the
kinds of jobs that were lost.

Brown presented himself as the 41st vote against
healthcare--that is, the vote that could undermine majority
rule in the U.S. Senate.

It is true that Obama's healthcare program was a factor in
the Massachusetts election. The headlines are correct when
they report that the public is turning against the program.

The poll figures explain why: The bill does not go far
enough. The Wall St. Journal/NBC poll found that a majority
of voters disapprove of the handling of healthcare both by
the Republicans and by Obama.

These figures align with recent nationwide polls. The public
option was favored by 56 percent of those polled, and the
Medicare buy-in at age 55 by 64 percent; both programs were abandoned.

Eighty-five percent believe that the government should have
the right to negotiate drug prices, as in other countries;
Obama guaranteed Big Pharma that he would not pursue that option.

Large majorities favor cost-cutting, which makes good sense:
U.S. per capita costs for healthcare are about twice those of
other industrial countries, and health outcomes are at the low end.

But cost-cutting cannot be seriously undertaken when largesse
is showered on the drug companies, and healthcare is in the
hands of virtually unregulated private insurers--a costly
system peculiar to the U.S.

The Jan. 21 decision raises significant new barriers to
overcoming the serious crisis of healthcare, or to addressing
such critical issues as the looming environmental and energy
crises. The gap between public opinion and public policy
looms larger. And the damage to American democracy can hardly
be overestimated.


Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the author of dozens of books on U.S. foreign policy. He writes a monthly column for The New York Times News Service/Syndicate.

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Sunday Political Cartoon that offends???

Sunday Political cartoon that offends????

This political cartoon appeared in our local newspaper in February... It really ticked off one of the residents living around these parts (their comment below)... He/she wrote this in the Rant and Rave section of this newspaper... We sure do have more than our share of coocoos... thinkingblue


"My point is concerning the cartoon that is under the Rant & Rave on Friday, Feb. 19. This cartoon is very distasteful. How the board of the Suwannee Democrat could put this in there, I have no idea. Something needs to be done, and something needs to be apologized. This cartoon is just awful. My subscription to the Democrat is in jeopardy right now and I have had it for 10 years, but somebody needs to do something about this cartoon." Click Here

WTF is he/she talking about??? I thought this cartoon was right on POINT! tb

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What Makes A Brain Smart?

Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Intelligence

FRIDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- It's not a particular brain region that makes someone smart or not smart.

Nor is it the strength and speed of the connections throughout the brain or such features as total brain volume

Instead, new research shows, it's the connections between very specific areas of the brain that determine intelligence and often, by extension, how well someone does in life. MORE HERE

What Makes A Brain Smart?

I have always pondered as to what makes a human being intelligent (or the lack thereof)? This article reveals a bit of the reason why some brains excel in intelligence while others are inferior. IQ may simply be a matter of brain [sic] liaisons (lesions - thanks to Ezekial) (the injury or damage to tissue within the brain as in Alzheimer’s disease). So the next time you hear someone talking gibberish, especially if he/she is seeking a position of power, try to imagine what is causing that gibberish... there may be a brain "lesion" lurking behind that wide forehead. Maybe that imagery will be enough to convince us to vote for the smart guy. Now if we could only solve the riddle of why one man/woman’s gibberish seems like rationale and eloquence to some while another man/woman’s rationale and eloquence seems like gibberish to others. Solve that and we will all live together harmoniously. (Believe that and I’ve got some swampland to sell you.) thinkingblue

The Hour: Interview with Richard Dawkins PART 1

The Hour: Interview with Richard Dawkins PART 2

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Accountable Sign Here

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Wearing a tinfoil hat because...

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while we continue to watch THE




Friday, February 26, 2010

JFK Maligned on The History Channel. WHY?

JFK Maligned on The History Channel. WHY?

Please sign petition. History Channel was one of my favorites but no longer. Presenting this
fictional garbage as history, they have now become just
another right-wing propagandist like "Fox UCALLTHATNEWS?"... it can't get any worse than that! The History Channel has now become "The UCALLTHATHISTORY? Channel". What will they attack next? School text books?

Oops, the right-wing-nuts are already doing that!

“Texas to revise history textbooks: liberals out, Limbaugh and Gingrich in":

If we, who worship honesty and truth just sit around and allow
this to take place, the evolutionary process of the human
mind will go the way of the DODO BIRD!

(The dodo has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century. It is commonly used as the archetype of an extinct species because its extinction occurred during recorded human history, and was directly attributable to human activity.)

Make the GOP and The History Channel Accountable Sign Here

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time" (of our political leaders)
HERE... We really need more
dialog from those at the top... The Republicans have got to be
made to realize they can't hide behind "NO" any longer!


Wearing a tinfoil hat because...

Let's keep our heads,
while we continue to watch THE




Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The New Poor, who will be counted?

Click Here To Read The Article “The
New Poor”
by Peter S. Goodman

Monday, February 22, 2010

Even as the American economy shows tentative signs of a rebound, the human toll of the recession continues to mount, with millions of Americans remaining out of work, out of savings and nearing the end of their unemployment benefits. (MORE HERE)

THE NEW POOR who will be counted?

There’s so much sadness in the air today, caused by an economic
philosophy, coined Reaganomics. {The economic policies of
Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. President, which called for
widespread tax cuts (for the rich), decreased social spending
(for the poor), increased military spending (for the wars)
and the deregulation of domestic markets (for the meltdowns).}

It took almost 30 years for this convoluted mindset to take us
to the place we are today... 30 years of bubbles and bursts
where the few got filthy rich and the many, fell into a class
baptized "The New Poor". 30 years is not a long
time in the scheme of things but for the New Poor it's a
lifetime. All the King's Experts and his men... knew
this was happening but they did nothing because the wealthy
were making billions... So the sadness in the air will
continue for years to come and the ranks of the New Poor will
grow, and like Humpty-Dumpty they’ll never be able to
climb back up on that middle-class wall again!

How the wealthiest American make money off the poor-1 of 2

How the wealthiest American make money off the poor-2 of 2

Please sign this very important petition "demand question
time" (of our political leaders)
HERE... We really need more
dialog from those at the top... The Republicans have got to be
made to realize they can't hide behind "NO" any longer!


Wearing a tinfoil hat because...

Let's keep our heads, while we continue to watch ...




Friday, February 19, 2010

Scientists Come One Step Closer To 'WHY?'

Scientists Come One Step Closer To 'WHY?'

Please read the science article below.

When I see anything new about the happenings in the great beyond, my brain cells do a quantum leap into a state of awe. We humans know so little of life’s "WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT ALFIE?” question. That's because our species spent umpteen years figuring out how to survive using only our brains. We weren’t equipped like other hunters in this kingdom called Earth; NO claws, NO sharp teeth, little hair or fur. NO keen eyesight to spot movement afar, hearing so-so, sense of smell fair, all we had was the ability to think which enabled us to develop tools. In just a small amount of time we’ve learned more than we knew for 1000’s upon 1000’s of years and modern knowledge is accelerating faster than the speed of light. Maybe in the future as we open more doors to knowledge, we as a living entity, will develop insights to help us, receptive beings end suffering, achieve nirvana (state of being free from suffering), and escape what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth. YA THINK?

Origin of key cosmic explosions unraveled

Thu Feb 18, 3:31 am ET

CHICAGO (AFP) – Astronomers who have long used supernovas as cosmic mile markers to help measure the expansion of the universe now have an answer to the nagging question of what sparks the massive stellar explosions.

"These are such critical objects in understanding the universe," lead author Marat Gilfanov of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany said Wednesday in describing his team's study.

"It was a major embarrassment that we did not know how they worked. Now we are beginning to understand what lights the fuse of these explosions."

Most scientists say Type 1a supernovae are formed when a white dwarf star -- the collapsed remnant of an old star --becomes unstable after it exceeds its weight limit.

Instability could come from the merging of two white dwarfs or accretion -- a process in which the gravity of the star draws in enough material from a sun-like companion.

Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, Gilfanov and his team studied the supernovas in five nearby elliptical galaxies and the central region of the Andromeda galaxy.

"Our results suggest the supernovae in the galaxies we studied almost all come from two white dwarfs merging," said co-author Akos Bogdan, also of Max Planck.

"If the supernova were produced by accretion, the galaxies would be roughly 50 times brighter in x-rays than actually observed."

Further study will be needed to determine if merging is also the primary cause of supernovae in spiral galaxies.

Pinpointing a possible supernova prior to the explosion is also extremely difficult, the researchers noted.

Pairs of white dwarfs are incredibly difficult to find. And once the white dwarfs spiral into distances when they are about to merge, it takes just a few tenths of a second for
them to explode.

Knowing how supernovas are formed is key to better understand how they can be used to measure cosmic distances and tracing dark matter, said Mario Livio, an astrophysicist with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland.

"We use Type 1a supernova to determine the properties of dark energy in order to be able to do that accurately we need to fully understand the evolution of the power of the luminosity of these supernovae," Livio said in a conference call with reporters.

"There is (also) this process that we call feedback --namely all supernova play an important role in the evolution of their host galaxies."

The study is published in the February 18 edition of the journal Nature.

Supernova explosion. ESA & Hubble space telescope. danielcanoott youtube channel

A black hole destroying a middle sized star.

Okay, because many people think this is real footage - it's not. It's computer animation,and it's obvious for several reasons. Just clearing things
up. SlipknotRevan youtube channel

Please sign this very important petition "demand question time" (of our political leaders) HERE... We really need more dialog from those at the top... The Republicans have got to be made to realize they can't hide behind "NO" any longer! thinkingblue


Wearing a tinfoil hat because... CLICK HERE

Let's keep our heads, while we continue to watch THE




Thursday, February 18, 2010

Could the USA be "UNITED" once again?

Could the USA be "UNITED" once again?

Read this article:
Left and right united in
opposition to controversial SCOTUS decision

"It seems you'd be hard-pressed to get Republicans and Democrats inside and outside of Washington to agree on anything these days, if one party publicly stated its intention to add a "puppies are adorable" (as adorable as Tinfoil Hat Bob) declaration to its platform... that other party would immediately launch a series of anti-puppy advertisements."
Excerpt came from this site:

For the past 30 or 40 years, politics in this country has been
one long lollapalooza of a fracas; causing a split right down
the middle of the Main Street voters.

If polls reflected every American’s opinion, the results would be different, more like a 70% lean to the left and 30% leaning towards the Corporate Right (but that's beside the point).

It's the people who vote who count because they are the ones who
elect the leaders who are either for "WE THE
PEOPLE" or, are for "The United Corporations of
America". But now since SCOTUS ruled that Corporations
are people and because of that, can manipulate elections with
their billions of $$ in profits made off the backs of the
"WE" and can buy our politicians (like so many
pieces of candy, in a candy store) people are starting to
realize who is getting SCREWED and believe me... IT

Corporate Personhood - The Floodgates were Opened Today

FIGHT BACK! Move to Amend!

We, the People of the U.S. of A., reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
Are Supreme Court Vacancies on the Way? Fri Feb 5, 2:31AM PT - ABC News - President Obama's lawyers are preparing for two possible Supreme Court vacancies - See video here:

Please sign this very important petition "demand question time" (of our political leaders) HERE... We really need more dialog from those at the top... The Republicans have got to be made to realize they can't hide behind "NO" any longer! thinkingblue


Wearing a tinfoil hat because...

Let's keep our heads,
while we continue to watch THE




Monday, February 15, 2010

Mitch McConnell Enemy Of America

The Iceman Cometh

He's cool, calm, and out to get Obama.

By: Howard Fineman

The blizzard had paralyzed Washington.
So it was an apt day for a chat (by phone) with Sen. Mitch
McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who is working
successfully—yet with surprisingly little personal
notoriety—to bury the Barack Obama presidency in an
unplowed cul-de-sac called the U.S. Senate. As the GOP leader
there, McConnell strands Democrats in snowdrifts of
parliamentary procedure and nasty talking points. "We
are not just reflexively looking for areas where there will
be no progress," he assured me. Having spent many years
listening to McConnell, I can translate: he is reflexively
looking for areas where there will be no progress. MORE HERE


Mitch McConnell Enemy Of America

I don't like Mitch McConnell. I’ve heard that as you age, your
facial features start to express the mindset you've developed
over the years, i.e., kind, less kind and downright ornery. I'm
not sure if there’s any validity in this but when I look at
Mitch McConnell’s face, I see a selfish one-track mind bent
on getting its own way no matter who or what suffers. If he had
been born around 150 yrs ago he would have owned slaves. Slaves
he would have worked to death because he could do so. The only
difference about today’s McConnell type selfishness is THERE
ARE NO SLAVES. But if McConnell could bring down President Obama
(even if it means bringing down the USA with him) he would enjoy
the same satisfaction of being a master (BOSS) over other human
beings (SLAVES).

“Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either [aristocracy or
monarchy]. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes,
exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did
not commit suicide." -John Quincy Adams-

With Mitch McConnell’s help it will happen sooner rather than later. thinkingblue

Please sign this very important petition "demand question
time" (of our political leaders)
HERE... We really need
more dialog from those at the top... The Republicans have got to
be made to realize they can't hide behind "NO" any
longer! thinkingblue


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Sunday, February 14, 2010




The facebook page Tinfoil Hat Dog is taking off like wildfire.
Tinfoil Hat Dog's goal is to try and top the fans of Glenn Beck's Facebook entry. Please help this little patriotic mutt achieve his objective...
Click this link
and become a fan.

Watch the videos if you need help in deciding whether to support Tinfoil Hat Bob or mush-mouthed Glenn Beck...

Thanks, thinkingblue!

Glenn Beck vs Tinfoil Hat Dog

Glenn Beck doesn't believe he should be afraid of Tinfoil Hat Dog. He believes his White Supremacy can never be toppled!

white supremacy - –noun- the belief, theory, or doctrine that the white race is superior to all other races, esp. the black race, and should therefore retain control in all relationships.

Need more proof on the hogwash, mush-mouth Beck dishes out to his fans view video below!

Glenn Beck's Low Information viewers are so easy to manipulate... TOO SAD! thinkingblue

Please sign this very important petition "demand question
time" (of our political leaders)
HERE... We really need
more dialog from those at the top... The Republicans have got to
be made to realize they can't hide behind "NO" any
longer! thinkingblue


Let's keep our heads, while we continue to watch THE



Friday, February 12, 2010

Can this poodle wearing a tinfoil hat get more fans than Glenn Beck?

Can this poodle wearing a tinfoil hat get more fans than Glenn Beck?

10,000 fans since Monday morning!! YOU GUYS ROCK!!! But our work has just started - we have a LONG way to go.....the Glenn Beck page is now over 617,000 followers. That reminds you know who ELSE had 617,000 followers? Hitler
(Feb. 12, 2010 12,792 fans

CLICK HERE TO JOIN TIN HAT DOGIf you can't stand Glenn Beck and you belong to facebook, please become a fan of Dog With A Tin Foil Hat:!

I did and commented this:

Glenn Beck is a symptom of what ails our country, in other words he’s the pox (raised pus-filled blister) not the virus. There is too much intolerance toward others and
this narrow-mindedness was promoted by conservative leaders starting with Nixon and erupting into full blown prejudice (an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.) by Ronald Reagan. I wish there was an afterlife so these two and their successors could see the damage they had done to our country. It seems that the only thing the Glenn Beck (and his ilk) supporters can do is name-call and slam anyone who THINKS. (Just like they did toward anyone who used REASON, back in their adolescent stage. Sadly they never grew beyond that phase)...
Anyway, when Beck was touting his disgust towards the 9/11 victim’s families and claiming he hates them and the Katrina Victims... I was so beside myself, I had to make up a youtube page exposing the Ad nauseam, Mindlessness of this little man. See it here:

BTW: That's the cutest little dog I've ever seen! thinkingblue

Please sign this very important petition "demand question
time" (of our political leaders)
HERE... We really need
more dialog from those at the top... The Republicans have got
to be made to realize they can't hide behind "NO" any longer! thinkingblue


Let's keep our heads,
while we continue to watch THE THEATER OF THE ABSURD!!!



Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snow and The Homeless

As we watch this horrendous snowstorm hit the Eastern Coast, the worst in decades, feelings of empathy towards those caught up in such adverse conditions, overtake us. But, we forget about one segment of the population... THE HOMELESS! For these unfortunates an insufferable blizzard can mean life or death.

I happened across this video (never shown in our mainstream corporate media) and was taken aback that I never gave a thought to those who try to survive living on the street. It’s hard enough during clement weather for these people to find the means of survival but in harsh conditions many of them either die are become very ill. Seeing the homeless should make us all chant “There but for the grace of god goes I” because in a greedy capitalistic society we are all vulnerable to such a fate. In a corporate culture people have no value other than
the purchase power they possess. If ever you lose that means, you become useless and invisible to those who hold the reigns over your destiny. Perhaps as we watch the storms flurry around us whether we are in the middle of them or an outside spectator, maybe we can take a moment to reflect about how the homeless are faring. (And get angry that there is such a plight called homelessness, a true sign that something is wrong!) thinkingblue

Click Here To See ArticleThose hardest hit in what
was worst snow storm to strike Washington DC in 30 years were
the district's homeless.

While most DC residents found warmth and comfort in their
homes in the wake of "Snowmageddon", for
Washington's six thousand homeless people the storm was a
life-threatening situation.

The US capital does have an emergency hypothermia hotline
during winter months and volunteers are taking action to help, but finding enough shelters to accommodate the large number of homeless has proved challenging.

Al Jazeera's Todd Baer reports from Washington DC.

[February 8, 2010]

US snow storm hits DC homeless

Please sign this very important petition "demand question
time" (of our political leaders)
HERE... We really need
more dialog from those at the top... The Republicans have got
to be made to realize they can't hide behind "NO"
any longer! thinkingblue


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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Hungry Ghosts

“In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts”:
Dr. Gabor Maté,

Physician at Vancouver Safe-Injection Site, on the Biological
and Socio-Economic Roots of Addiction and ADD


"In the Realm of
Hungry Ghosts" Dr. Gabor Maté

interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now 1 of 2

"In the Realm of
Hungry Ghosts" Dr. Gabor Maté

interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now 2 of 2

AMY GOODMAN: The Obama administration’s budget
proposal for the Office of National Drug Control Policy sets
aside nearly twice the amount of funding for law enforcement
and criminalization than for treatment and prevention of drug
addiction. Out of a total of $15.5 billion, some $10 billion
are used for enforcement. National Drug Control Policy Gil
Kerlikowske praised the numbers as reflecting a
“balanced and comprehensive drug strategy.”

Well, just last year, the newly appointed drug czar and
former Seattle police chief had called for an end to the
so-called “war on drugs," raising hopes among
advocates of harm-reduction approaches to curbing drug use.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last May,
Kerlikowske said, “People see a war as a war on them.
We’re not at war with people in this country.”

Well, I’m joined right now here in the Democracy
studio by a doctor who has spent the last twelve
years working with one of the densest populations of drug
addicts in the world. Dr. Gabor Maté is the staff physician
at the Portland Hotel, a residence and harm reduction
facility in Vancouver, Canada’s Downtown Eastside. Dr.
Maté also treats addicts at the only safe-injection site in
North America, a center that’s come under fire from
Canada’s Conservative government led by Stephen Harper.

Dr. Gabor Maté is the bestselling author of four books.
His latest, just out in the United States, is called In
the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Dr. Maté.

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Pleasure to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, what do you mean, the only
safe-injection site, the only legal injection site in North
America? People inject heroin there?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: People are allowed to bring their
drugs there. We don’t provide them with their drugs. I
think we should, but we don’t. But they bring it in, and
without fear of being arrested, they’re allowed to
inject, under supervision. And the staff, without being fear
arrested, are allowed to help them inject in a safe way, give
them clean needles, sterile swabs, and resuscitate them if
they overdose. So, everywhere else in Canada or in the
States, of course, these activities would all be illegal.

AMY GOODMAN: Why are they allowed to do this?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, it was conceived in a moment
of political openness, because so many people pass on
infections, like HIV and hepatitis C, to one another through
injection use, sharing needles. They infect themselves with
bacteria from their skin by using dirty water. So it’s a
harm reduction measure that, in many studies, have been shown
to reduce the burden of disease and also the economic costs
attendant to addiction to society.

AMY GOODMAN: And do you find that addicts can
actually heal themselves or perhaps be able to get off heroin
more easily by injecting there?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, the facility is not designed
to treat addiction, per se; it’s designed to
reduce the harm from it. It’s a harm reduction measure.
What we do find, though, is that we have a detox facility on
the second floor, which is where I’ve been working, and
people come from the injection facility to detox, because
they’ve been into— brought into contact with
compassionate caregivers perhaps for the first time in their
lives. These people all had very tough lives. And so, for
them to even contemplate receiving help takes a lot of trust.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the people you treat.

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, the hardcore drug addicts
that I treat, but according to all studies in the States, as
well, are, without exception, people who have had
extraordinarily difficult lives. And the commonality is
childhood abuse. In other words, these people all enter life
under extremely adverse circumstances. Not only did they not
get what they need for healthy development, they actually got
negative circumstances of neglect. I don’t have a single
female patient in the Downtown Eastside who wasn’t
sexually abused, for example, as were many of the men, or
abused, neglected and abandoned serially, over and over again.

And that’s what sets up the brain biology of
addiction. In other words, the addiction is related both
psychologically, in terms of emotional pain relief, and
neurobiological development to early adversity.

AMY GOODMAN: What does the title of your book mean,
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, it’s a Buddhist phrase.
In the Buddhists’ psychology, there are a number of
realms that human beings cycle through, all of us. One is the
human realm, which is our ordinary selves. The hell realm is
that of unbearable rage, fear, you know, these emotions that
are difficult to handle. The animal realm is our instincts
and our id and our passions.

Now, the hungry ghost realm, the creatures in it are
depicted as people with large empty bellies, small mouths and
scrawny thin necks. They can never get enough satisfaction.
They can never fill their bellies. They’re always
hungry, always empty, always seeking it from the outside.
That speaks to a part of us that I have and everybody in our
society has, where we want satisfaction from the outside,
where we’re empty, where we want to be soothed by
something in the short term, but we can never feel that or
fulfill that insatiety from the outside. The addicts are in
that realm all the time. Most of us are in that realm some of
the time. And my point really is, is that there’s no
clear distinction between the identified addict and the rest
of us. There’s just a continuum in which we all may be
found. They’re on it, because they’ve suffered a
lot more than most of us.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the biology of

DR. GABOR MATÉ: For sure. You see, if you look at
the brain circuits involved in addiction—and that’s
true whether it’s a shopping addiction like mine or an
addiction to opiates like the heroin addict—we’re
looking for endorphins in our brains. Endorphins are the
brain’s feel good, reward, pleasure and pain relief
chemicals. They also happen to be the love chemicals that
connect us to the universe and to one another.

Now, that circuitry in addicts doesn’t function very
well, as the circuitry of incentive and motivation, which
involves the chemical dopamine, also doesn’t function
very well. Stimulant drugs like cocaine and crystal meth,
nicotine and caffeine, all elevate dopamine levels in the
brain, as does sexual acting out, as does extreme sports, as
does workaholism and so on.

Now, the issue is, why do these circuits not work so well
in some people, because the drugs in themselves are not
surprisingly addictive. And what I mean by that is, is that
most people who try most drugs never become addicted to them.
And so, there has to be susceptibility there. And the
susceptible people are the ones with these impaired brain
circuits, and the impairment is caused by early adversity,
rather than by genetics.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “early adversity”?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, the human brain, unlike any
other mammal, for the most part develops under the influence
of the environment. And that’s because, from the
evolutionary point of view, we developed these large heads,
large fore-brains, and to walk on two legs we have a narrow
pelvis. That means—large head, narrow pelvis—we
have to be born prematurely. Otherwise, we would never get
born. The head already is the biggest part of the body. Now,
the horse can run on the first day of life. Human beings
aren’t that developed for two years. That means much of
our brain development, that in other animals occurs safely in
the uterus, for us has to occur out there in the environment.
And which circuits develop and which don’t depend very
much on environmental input. When people are mistreated,
stressed or abused, their brains don’t develop the way
they ought to. It’s that simple. And unfortunately, my
profession, the medical profession, puts all the emphasis on
genetics rather than on the environment, which, of course, is
a simple explanation. It also takes everybody off the hook.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, it takes people off the hook?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, if people’s behaviors
and dysfunctions are regulated, controlled and determined by
genes, we don’t have to look at child welfare policies,
we don’t have to look at the kind of support that we
give to pregnant women, we don’t have to look at the
kind of non-support that we give to families, so that, you
know, most children in North America now have to be away from
their parents from an early age on because of economic
considerations. And especially in the States, because of the
welfare laws, women are forced to go find low-paying jobs far
away from home, often single women, and not see their kids
for most of the day. Under those conditions, kids’
brains don’t develop the way they need to.

And so, if it’s all caused by genetics, we don’t
have to look at those social policies; we don’t have to
look at our politics that disadvantage certain minority
groups, so cause them more stress, cause them more pain, in
other words, more predisposition for addictions; we
don’t have to look at economic inequalities. If
it’s all genes, it’s all—we’re all
innocent, and society doesn’t have to take a hard look
at its own attitudes and policies.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about this whole approach
of criminalization versus harm reduction, how you think
addicts should be treated, and how they are, in the United
States and Canada?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, the first point to get there
is that if people who become severe addicts, as shown by all
the studies, were for the most part abused children, then we
realize that the war on drugs is actually waged against
people that were abused from the moment they were born, or
from an early age on. In other words, we’re punishing
people for having been abused. That’s the first point.

The second point is, is that the research clearly shows
that the biggest driver of addictive relapse and addictive
behavior is actually stress. In North America right now,
because of the economic crisis, a lot of people are eating
junk food, because junk foods release endorphins and dopamine
in the brain. So that stress drives addiction.

Now imagine a situation where we’re trying to figure
out how to help addicts. Would we come up with a system that
stresses them to the max? Who would design a system that
ostracizes, marginalizes, impoverishes and ensures the
disease of the addict, and hope, through that system, to
rehabilitate large numbers? It can’t be done. In other
words, the so-called “war on drugs,” which, as the
new drug czar points out, is a war on people, actually
entrenches addiction deeply. Furthermore, it
institutionalizes people in facilities where the care is
very—there’s no care. We call it a
“correctional” system, but it doesn’t correct
anything. It’s a punitive system. So people suffer more,
and then they come out, and of course they’re more
entrenched in their addiction than they were when they went in.

And by the way, according to many studies, the easiest
place to get drugs is in prisons—and in schools, by the
way. These are the two areas where you can get drugs in North
America: the schools and the prisons. So that it makes no
sense from any point of view. It serves some people, perhaps,
with entrenched interests, but it does not serve the addict,
nor does it serve society.

And I could tell you something else about that. A patient
of mine with a $50 cocaine habit a day, which is not
excessive, how does he raise money to be able to afford those
drugs? By shoplifting. To reach $50 a day, he has to shoplift
$500 worth of goods. Who pays for that? The social cost is
way beyond the cost of law enforcement.

AMY GOODMAN: Wasn’t there an attempt to shut
down the clinic that you have in Vancouver by the federal
government in Canada?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, the federal government we
have in Canada right now, the Harper government, is—got
its stuck head very much in the sands of Bush-era attitudes.
And they never liked the idea of a supervised injection site,
and they’ve tried to shut it down, and twice now, in the
Supreme Court of British Columbia and in appeal court. Their
attempt has been defeated, because the courts have ruled that
this is a necessary medical service which the government does
not have the right to withdraw. And, of course, twenty-four
international studies have attested to that, but the
government ignores the medical information.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re headed back to Vancouver,
where the Olympics are beginning next week.


AMY GOODMAN: What is the effect of the Olympics on
the community, especially when it comes to social services?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, in the Downtown Eastside,
there’s a real fear, because the last time there was a
big international event in Vancouver, which was Expo, the
police simply took street people off the streets and shipped
them out of Vancouver. They put them on buses. Now,
nobody’s clear that that’s going to happen this
time, and probably not, because the political organization
amongst people in the Downtown Eastside is much stronger now.

But certainly, I live in an area of the world where
we’re building highways now so that rich people can see
skiing events, whereas social services are being cut.
There’s a danger of teachers being let go because of the
typical North America-wide economic squeeze. And drug
programs in northern British Columbia that serve aboriginal
youth have been cut now because of budgetary constraints. At
the same time, we’re building skating rinks. So
it’s usually the people at the very bottom who pay the
price for the people who are well-to-do to have a good time.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m curious about your own
history, Gabor Maté.


AMY GOODMAN: You’ve written a number of
bestselling books. We won’t get to talk about them all.
I’m very interested in your one on how attention deficit
disorder originates and what you can do about it. But about
your own history, you were born in Nazi-occupied Hungary?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, ADD has a lot to do with
that. I have attention deficit disorder myself. And again,
most people see it as a genetic problem. I don’t. It
actually has to do with those factors of brain development,
which in my case occurred as a Jewish infant under Nazi
occupation in the ghetto of Budapest. And the day after the
pediatrician—sorry, the day after the Nazis marched into
Budapest in March of 1944, my mother called the pediatrician
and says, “Would you please come and see my son, because
he’s crying all the time?” And the pediatrician
says, “Of course I’ll come. But I should tell you,
all my Jewish babies are crying.” Now infants don’t
know anything about Nazis and genocide or war or Hitler.
They’re picking up on the stresses of their parents.
And, of course, my mother was an intensely stressed person,
her husband being away in forced labor, her parents shortly
thereafter being departed and killed in Auschwitz. Under
those conditions, I don’t have the kind of conditions
that I need for the proper development of my brain circuits.
And particularly, how does an infant deal with that much
stress? By tuning it out. That’s the only way the brain
can deal with it. And when you do that, that becomes
programmed into the brain.

And so, if you look at the preponderance of ADD in North
America now and the three millions of kids in the States that
are on stimulant medication and the half-a-million who are on
anti-psychotics, what they’re really exhibiting is the
effects of extreme stress, increasing stress in our society,
on the parenting environment. Not bad parenting. Extremely
stressed parenting, because of social and economic
conditions. And that’s why we’re seeing such a preponderance.

So, in my case, that also set up this sense of never being
soothed, of never having enough, because I was a starving
infant. And that means, all my life, I have this propensity
to soothe myself. How do I do that? Well, one way is to work
a lot and to gets lots of admiration and lots of respect and
people wanting me. If you get the impression early in life
that the world doesn’t want you, then you’re going
to make yourself wanted and indispensable. And people do that
through work. I did it through being a medical doctor. I also
have this propensity to soothe myself through shopping,
especially when I’m stressed, and I happen to shop for
classical compact music. But it goes back to this insatiable
need of the infant who is not soothed, and they have to
develop, or their brain develop, these self-soothing strategies.

AMY GOODMAN: How do you think kids with ADD, with
attention deficit disorder, should be treated?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, if we recognize that
it’s not a disease and it’s not genetic, but
it’s a problem of brain development, and knowing the
good news, fortunately—and this is also true for
addicts—that the brain, the human brain, can develop new
circuits even later on in life—and that’s called
neuroplasticity, the capacity of the brain to be molded by
new experience later in life—then the question becomes
not of how to regulate and control symptoms, but how do you
promote development. And that has to do with providing kids
with the kind of environment and nurturing that they need so
that those circuits can develop later on.

That’s also, by the way, what the addict needs. So
instead of a punitive approach, we need to have a much more
compassionate, caring approach that would allow these people
to develop, because the development is stuck at a very early age.

AMY GOODMAN: You began your talk last night at
Columbia, which I went to hear, at the law school, with a
quote, and I’d like you to end our conversation with that quote.

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Would that be the quote that only
in the presence of compassion will people allow themselves—


DR. GABOR MATÉ: Oh, oh, no, yeah, Naguib Mahfouz,
the great Egyptian writer. He said that "Nothing records
the effects of a sad life” so completely as the human
body—“so graphically as the human body.” And
you see that sad life in the faces and bodies of my patients.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Dr. Gabor Maté, I want to thank
you very much for being with us. His latest book is called In
the Realm of Hungry Ghosts
. Before that, Scattered:
How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do
About It
and When the Body Says No: Understanding the
Stress-Disease Connection

Please sign this very important petition "demand question
time" (of our political leaders)
HERE... We really need
more dialog from those at the top... The Republicans have got
to be made to realize they can't hide behind "NO"
any longer! thinkingblue


Let's keep our heads, while we continue to watch THE



Thursday, February 04, 2010

Honesty Came To The "No" Spin Zone Today


Imagine, a wee little bit of honesty coming to Fox (News?). The "No" Spin Zone with its host, BallyHooey Bill-O, who wouldn’t know honesty if it ran up and hit him over the head, (which the intellectually witty Jon Stewart virtually did) welcomed Jon Stewart on February 3, 2010. Wow! The mental contrast of bright and dull, between the two, almost seems unfair to imbalanced O’Reilly. But believe it or not it was somewhat entertaining if you could overlook the childish name calling from O'Reilly. He is so use to his Romper Room Tactics that he would not be able to get through a day without them. Hats Off To Jon Stewart The Most Trusted Wit On TV! thinkingblue


Jon Stewart with Bill O'Reilly
Part 1 of 3 February 3, 2010

Jon Stewart with Bill O'Reilly
Part 2 of 3 February 3, 2010

Jon Stewart with Bill O'Reilly
Part 3 of 3 February 3, 2010

Both men have appeared on each other's show before, but it was Stewart's first time back since 2004. O'Reilly annoyed Comedy Central by calling
Stewart's audience primarily "stoned slackers"; on
Wednesday, he amended it to "stoned slackers who love

There was even a dispute over who initiated the return visit.
O'Reilly said on Fox earlier Wednesday that Stewart's
representatives had asked for him to come on the show. Comedy
Central spokesman Tony Fox said an O'Reilly producer
requested the appearance.

Fox "is the most passionate and sells the clearest
narrative of all the news networks, if ... you're still
referring to it in that manner," Stewart said.

O'Reilly pointed out that Fox is like a newspaper with news
and opinion pages, an idea Stewart poked fun at.

"Fox in and of itself doesn't say you're a news network
all day," he said. "What is it, you're news from 9
to 11, then you're opinion, then you're news again from 1 to
2:30 except for the Jewish holidays? And then on alternate
parking days you're news, but Christmas, you're not?"

Stewart was asked about a Washington Post column that
suggested he was becoming disenchanted with Obama. "I
don't take any of that seriously," he said.

But he did criticize Obama for not taking control of his agenda.

"It allows too much room for different narratives to
take hold, for instance, a narrative that might emanate from
a news organization of this ilk," he said.

Original Post: Daily Show host Jon Stewart will enter the
"No Spin Zone" tomorrow night when he sits down for
an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. The sit down
will air over two nights, tomorrow and Thursday.

This isn't the first time the two hosts have squared off.
Most recently when O'Reilly went on the Daily Show right
after the election of President Obama. Click HERE to watch it.

Stewart most recently went after Fox News for its handling of
President Obama's Q&A session with congressional
Republicans. While other networks aired the stunning exchange
in its entirety, Fox News did not. Stewart believes that's
because Obama's answers did not square with Fox's
conservative narrative.

Please sign this very important petition "demand question
time" (of our political leaders)
HERE... We really need
more dialog from those at the top... The Republicans have got
to be made to realize they can't hide behind "NO"
any longer! thinkingblue


Let's keep our heads, while we continue to watch THE


Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Tips for squelching your anger

From time to time we all could use a little advice on how to
control our tempers. I know there are some real reasons for
getting angry (like being... ROBBED, MUGGED or MURDERED but
in those cases you are usually in too much shock to get angry
or YOU'RE DEAD)... But most of the time anger rears its ugly
head when our egos take a wallop or two or we just plain ole
DON'T GET OUR OWN WAY... Waaaa! If only we could all realize
that getting pissed just exacerbates the situation and that
somehow remaining civil will do us and the particular
(infuriating) circumstance at hand, A HELLUVA lot more good.

The writer of this article recommends 8 positive ways to control
HISSY FITS which are quite good (the reason I am creating
this page) But the one recommendation that I like BEST is the
last one...


I've included a few jokes which should mend many-a-angry heart.
If, perchance, they don't touch yours (even with just a
flicker of a grin) then you may be beyond hope so just STAY

And find out where that will land you! thinkingblue

Healthy Living Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tips for squelching your anger

by Gretchen Rubin,

One of my worst faults is my quick temper. I’ve
been working hard to control my anger—by not expressing
it, or even better, not feeling it.

The problem with that familiar advice about “counting
to 10” is that I can never remember to do it. Here are
some strategies that do work for me, when I manage to use

1. Don’t give in to my anger. Many people believe in
the “catharsis hypothesis” and think that
expressing anger is healthy-minded and relieves their
feelings. Not so. Studies show that expressing anger only
aggravates it. I’ve certainly found this to be true;
once I get going, I can whip myself into a fury. It’s
better to stay calm.

2. Let the sun go down on my anger. I tend to get
irritated with the Big Man at night, probably because
I’m tired. Now I force myself to wait until the next day
to berate him about this or that. And the next morning, my
anger is completely gone.

3. Accept blame. I hate being in the wrong, and often snap
back when people find fault with something I’ve done.
Now I really try to pause to ask myself, “Am I in the
wrong?” and to respond with gentleness.

4. Ask: “Am I improving the situation?” This
works especially well with the Big Girl. If I get angry with
her, she has a complete melt-down. It’s unpleasant, but
her reactions have sure helped me get better control of
myself. Now, when I have the urge to snap, I think, “Is
this going to help the situation?” And the answer is
always NO.

5. Find “an area of refuge.” I lifted
this phrase from a sign near an elevator at Yale Law
School—it struck me as funny. Research shows that when
people’s thoughts are unoccupied, brooding sets in. So I
try to “find an area of refuge” in my mind; that
is, to dwell on serene thoughts instead of brooding and
fussing. Along the same lines…

6. Distract myself. Indulging in
“overthinking”—dwelling on trifling slights,
unpleasant encounters, and sadness—leads to bad
feelings. I can enrage myself by obsessing on some petty
annoyance. In what the Big Man calls the “downward
spiral,” I begin to rail about every negative episode in
recent memory. Now I deliberately distract my thoughts,
usually by thinking about some writing question.

7. Ask: am I mad at myself? Martha Beck makes the
interesting argument that we brood on other people’s
faults when we subconsciously identify with them; what we
condemn in other people is what we condemn in ourselves. So
now when someone is making me angry, I ask myself, “Can
I accuse myself of the same fault?” In a telling bit of
psychology, I’ve noticed Beck’s observation to be
very true for other people, but not so much for myself! Do I
suspect a bit of self-denial might be going on…?

8. Laugh. Humor is the answer to everything (humor
and exercise). Now when I absolutely can’t hold back my
anger, I at least try to insert a joke, or make fun of
myself, or assume a lighter tone as I rant on. So instead of
sniping out a comment like “Can you PLEASE just answer
my emails so I can deal with these horrible logistics
issues?!” I might say something like, “I’m
thinking of getting a homing pigeon that will fly to your
office and rap on your window with its beak until you send me
an answer.” The added advantage of this approach is that
no matter how the other person responds, I feel less angry
and more light-hearted when I adopt a lighter tone.

Dear Readers,

My resolution for this month is “Go the extra
step.” As part of that, I’m trying to take extra
steps to promote my blog – even when that means doing
things that make me uncomfortable. (Like attaching this note
to a few posts.)

One of the challenges of a blog is just letting people
know that it’s there. And so I’m asking you for a
big favor.

If you have the time and the inclination, it would be a
huge help if you would email anyone you know who might enjoy
this blog, to give them the link and tell them a bit about
it. Word of mouth is very powerful.

My happiness research predicts that if you do this good
deed, you’ll feel great! That’s the Samaritan
effect: “do good, feel good.”

I really appreciate your help. Be happy, Gretchen


Bedside Manners

Susie's husband had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months. Things looked grim, but she was by his bedside every single day. One day as he slipped back into consciousness, he motioned for her to come close to him. She pulled the chair close to the bed and leaned her ear close to be able to hear him.

"You know" he whispered, his eyes filling with tears, "you have been with me through all the bad times. When I got fired, you stuck right beside me. When my business went under, there you were. When we lost the house, you were there. When I got shot, you stuck with me. When my health started failing, you were still by my side.
"And you know what?"

"What, dear?" she asked gently, smiling to herself.

"I think you're bad luck."
Doggone Brilliant Joke

A wealthy man decided to go on a safari in Africa. He took his faithful pet dachshund along for company.
One day, the dachshund starts chasing butterflies and before long the dachshund discovers that he is lost.

So, wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the obvious intention of having him for lunch. The dachshund thinks, "OK, I'm in deep trouble now!" Then he noticed some bones on the ground close by, and immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the dachshund exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard. I wonder if there are any more around here." Hearing this, the leopard halts his attack in mid-stride, as a look of terror comes over him, and slinks away into the trees. "Whew," says the leopard. "That was close. That dachshund nearly had me." Meanwhile, a monkey, who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So, off he goes.

But the dachshund saw him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figured that something must be up.

The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard. The leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine." Now the dachshund sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back, and thinks, "What am I going to do now?" But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet ... and, just when they get close enough to hear, the dachshund says...

"Where's that darn monkey? Sent him off half an hour ago to bring me another leopard."


Logical Thinking

Two rednecks decided that they weren’t going anywhere in life and thought they should go to college to get ahead.

The first went in to see the counselor, who recommended him to take history or logical thinking class.

“What’s logical thinking?” the first redneck asked.

The professor answered, “Let me give you an example. Do you own a weed eater?”

“I sure do.”

“Then I can assume, using logical thinking, that you have a yard,” replied the professor.

“That’s real good!” said the redneck.

The professor continued, “Logic will also tell me that since you have a yard, you also own a house.”

Impressed, the redneck said, “Amazing!”

“And since you own a house, logic dictates that you have a wife.”

“That’s Betty Mae! This is incredible!”

The redneck was catching on.

“Finally, since you have a wife, logically I can assume that you are heterosexual,” said the professor.

“You’re absolutely right! Why that’s the most fascinating thing I ever heard! I can’t wait to take that logical thinking class!”

The redneck, proud of the new world opening up to him, walked back into the hallway where his friend was still waiting.

“So what class are ya taking’?” asked the friend.

“logical thinking class!” replied the first redneck.

“What the hell is logical thinking?” asked his friend.

“Let me give you an example. Do ya own a weed eater?” asked the first redneck.

“No,” his friend replied.

“You’re gay, ain’t ya?”


Funny Pictures and Cartoons

Have a laugh on me. thethinkingblue youtube

Please sign this very important petition HERE... We really need
more dialog from our leaders... The Republicans have got to be
made to realize they can't hide behind NO any longer!