Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Back........

The only holiday worth it's weight!!!!!!
For me, everyday is Halloween...But today, I go the extra mile and become another person.....Today I'm Marie Antoinette...The party starts at 8 pm......
This morning I'm me...but this afternoon I'll transform into The Queen Without A Head....
So appropriate don't you think......Madame Deficit....Revolution....The changing of the country's leaders....tho this time without all the blood come November 4.

And in fashion and my whole life's philosophy......If it was good once, let's use it again.....Style Recycle.....and Don't ya is the time you want to save money and get something new...nothing better than buying vintage.
We work hard to be sure what you find on my racks is stylish, clean and ready to go!
About men's fashion: Why yes I have tweedy jackets, sweaters, and checked pants....

From the NYTimes is this cute slideshow showing modern revival of 70s fashion.....The GOOD fashion of the 70s....

And an article about of A Revival of Good 70s Fashion.....Yes, Carter was right...Be good, Be Kind, Wear a sweater and install solar panels on the White House.....

And about the Mom/Daughter fashion steal....I remember these years....but I also stole from my kids.......a cute article from the Times also.....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What's Up Buttercup?

I closed down the New Frontier.....that bartender thinks I'm a troublemaker....but I was hardly tipsy.....just real happy and so funny to be there with you kids, and Mark and Murph.....I live just across the railroad tracks ya know.
So we're sitting there enjoying the very nice Martinis in the squatty glasses....and who do I swell pal, to get his attention, because clearly yelling "Michael" wasn't working fast enough....
so I starting slinging micro-milliliters of vodka at him.......all I had left in the bottom of my glass was the tiniest bit of alcohol in there along with the lemon twist .........
then the bartender came over as if a great wrong had occurred....."Do you need a wipedown? he asked. No, I got I pulled a slightly used tissue from the bottom of my purse, and dabbed the table dry. Geez, buddy, trust me, I can be much more entertaining......on a lot less booze.
I was dancing to the jukabox, but I wasn't table dancing..I save that for the gay bars, because they know a Queen when they see one.........
The New Frontier is very pretty and glossy and rough and mixed up. I'm a bit tired of Old Corporate Logos as Ironic Design Elements.......
While Mark and I were at the shop on Friday cleaning and moving stuff around, who did my wandering eyes spy? Bender!!!
It's so much fun for us old-timers to run into each other at places that are not "events" .....I expect to see ya'll at a Big To's the everyday stuff that makes me happy.....
So, Halloween party at the shop.......
And save the dates......
I expect to be a doing the Tacoma Winterfest on Dock Street in mid December, 13/14......
Heidi and Fewster have consented to come back and play for Us and You at the shop on December's Artwalk evening......whatever day that is.....
now, some pretty pictures.......

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Biden In Tacoma Surrounded by Women Leaders

today.....While McCain says that Gov. Sarah Palin is "a direct counterpoint to the liberal feminist agenda for America." I guess Mc forgot that the "liberal feminist agenda" is what got Palin elected in the first place.............Mc just gets dumber and weirder with each passing day. Did he have a stoke?
Here's Biden with Gov. Gregoire, Senator Patty Murray, and Senator Maria Cantwell......

Yes, Mark, Tressie and John were there.....pix later. We were just left of the big American flag. The crowds were was fun! It was 13 yr old John's first time at a campaign rally. He will be a great citizen! He figured out the next presidential election will find him still 17, and not turning 18 until 2 weeks after the election!!

And about That Socialism....I believe it's been the Republicans and the MBA types that support the redistribution of wealth to The TOP 1% while the real workers of the world have to live in fear, in poverty and without proper jobs and wages, without health care and without a sense of hope for the future.
Joe Biden said today, from a News Trib article:
Biden defends Obama tax-cut plan in Wash.
By MANUEL VALDES ; Associated Press Writer
Published: October 19th, 2008 05:46 PM | Updated: October 19th, 2008 06:42 PM

....Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Sunday that a Barack Obama administration would help the middle class by cutting its taxes, answering Republican claims that Obama's plan represented redistribution of wealth.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Saturday likened Obama to the socialist leaders of Europe, saying the Democrat wanted to "convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington."

In response, Biden on Sunday repeatedly linked McCain to President Bush's tax policies, saying that the wealthy and big corporations have received millions of dollars in tax cuts that could have gone to the middle class and small businesses.

"It's not just because it's fair, it's what makes the economy go. The rich do fine when the middle class is going," Biden said.

"John McCain has been a party to the most significant redistribution of wealth in American history and it has been all the wrong way," he said. "There's not one fundamental economic issue that John McCain disagrees with George Bush on."

He cast McCain as someone who believes in "trickle down, government is bad, markets are right" economics.

"What John is proposing and what's been going in the last eight years are virtually no different," Biden said.
Biden also said that 60% to 80% of jobs in America are created by small business.......(not by big mega-corporations)
It is the Middle Class and the small business owners, like ME, that drive the economy here folks.
and from a Seattle Times report:
"And Biden rebutted recent Republican concerns about redistributing wealth, saying that rich Americans have become richer under Republican policies. They have been redistributing wealth, "and it's been all the wrong way.""

Further bolstering the argument that small business creates the most American jobs .....
"The best way to get people spending again is to create good jobs at good wages. Over the past 15 years, small businesses created over 93% of all net new jobs. That is almost 22 million new jobs. In fact, during the first four years of this century, large businesses have already shed over 3.6 million jobs. Today, small businesses make up 99.7 percent of all employer firms. The best engine for job growth and the economy continues to be small business."
so says, Fred P. Hochberg is Dean of Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy and was deputy administrator and acting administrator of the Small Business Administration from 1998 to 2001.

We came home and started making some homemade Obama T shirts.......
and I'm working on some other projects now also.......for Obama.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

White women of the Baby Boom a prized voting bloc

wth? You're joking right? That's me. This link is to an Associated Press article about gals my age.
Since I am a spokesmodel for gals my age.....On the eve of the Joe Biden visit....who wrote the VAWA........
I must tell you a bunch of stuff to save you from yourself.
If you wanted Hillary...and who didn't......
HILLARY wants you to vote for OBAMA>
Do I really have to tell you that McCain has not a single solitary thing in common with Hillary....or Obama. DO NOT be fooled by Sarah Palin. Just because she has a vagina, does not mean she is pro-woman.....or pro-child...or the least bit intelligent...She is.....sadly, quite stupid. She does not speak for blue collar women, unless you are a Drool Case....

I'm 54. My whole adult life has been constrained by Republicans that have wrecked the economy for the working class. Those of us who work for a living..the blue collar worker...have been screwed by the monied class. I didn't get my BA until I was 52, and what a fliggn' waste or 25,000. bucks, clams or bones.......
NO ONE would hire me for more than minimum wage....which would not have paid my student loans and allowed me live in anything roomier than a car.
So, I went right back to doing what I was doing before I got college-edjubicated.
This. and That.
I remember the salad days of the Clinton Years.....I was making Bank pulling weeds. (landscape design)
Blue Collar work. I'm OK with that....I like doing. I was a Painting Contractor before that. I know how to do everything a house requires, inside and out, but for changing out an electric box.

Why any woman my age, who has just seen their 401K plummet into the toilet, (I don't have one) or any other savings, or watched their home value dive bomb, (I don't have one).....would vote Republican.....I am stunned. Listen Menopause Sisters........
Don't Be Stupid!!

Don't you remember the good ol days of the Nixon and Carter admins? Don't you remember when money grew on trees?
When life was good? When Life was easy? When you only had to work part-time? When you had time to do art projects with your kids in the middle of the day?

Now, what is your life......Full time job, take care of parents, raise your kids, etc etc.....some of you went to college young. Huzzah.
So you may think that the system works for you.
No. While women's wages have been rising since the days of "Pin Money".....your husbands wages have dumped......Why?
Outsourcing mostly, and the war on Unions
have done a number on women's and men's jobs and wages.
I'll be back to revisit this issue ...this post with facts and links and stuff that will convince you to VOTE OBAMA.......don't be stupid.

Sarah Palin is not a role model for you. Unless you are stupid. She is a tool of old money woman-hating capitalists. She is like a donkey dancer in Tijuana...She performs the anti-family, more stress, shove your kids off to unqualified daycare.....and act sexy crap that dumb men (and not all men are dumb, I am no man-hater)
Want women to do....She is carrying water for The Establishment.
Jeez, don't you remember that our generation was gonna change the world??
Sarah Palin is the the worst aspects of of a throwback culture......
From the article:
"If you're aged right in the middle like me, it's hard to decide," said Deborah Nance, 56, of Wilmington, Del. "Go with the seasoned guy who might get in there and die the next day, or go with the young guy who you really don't know all that much about."

Do you have kids? How old are they? 29? 35? 37? pushing 40? They are pretty smart right? Obama is pushing 50.....don't you remember how much smarter you became between 40 and 50? Like you knew a lot at 40....but my god, the stuff you knew at 50....and it just keeps getting better right?
Well Palin and Obama are nearly the same age..she's a bit younger.....but she has been sliding by on Looks and Sass...
While Obama has had to prove himself.....
Let me illustrate....
You probably have a woman boss, who thinks she invented Smart.
But she's dumb. And what a bitch!
She does things and takes credit for it......Her bosses love her!
She's pretty, huh?
You are a worker bee. Prompt. Hard working. Probably don't look like a model. ..or a Beauty Queen, or a Cheerleader.
Sad to say, pretty women can get by on looks. It's the way the system still works, mostly.
White people can get by on skin color a lot of the time.
Working class women.....and people of color have to work harder to achieve.
But it sure seems like the pretty people get ahead tho they are often dumb as a box of hammers.
Hillary had to work so hard to get where she is today.
Obama had to work harder to get where he is today.
John McCain just showed up. Even if we forget for a moment that he comes from an influential family, a military family, he has an automatic Way In ......
Oh, and he ain't no Maverick.
He is as mainstream as they come. So sure the system seems to work for him....and it does. The system is made to work for the few. The rest of us have to work and try to get by on merit rather than a Golden Ticket.
He loves everything about Bush, Cheney, Rove, etc etc.....
Oh sure he likes to tweak their noses once in awhile.
But 99% of the time he marches in lockstep.
Obama want the pie to grow everyone can have a piece of it.
McCain wants you to get some crumbs of pie, but the pie should be given to the deserving.....and the deserving isn't the working class. It's the monied class.
Face facts. You are working class. Embrace it!
You will not get rich.
You do depend on the common good......streets, hiways, schools, infrastructure, national and city parks......etc etc.....
The common good has all but been destroyed in the last 8 years.
Falling Bridges, crumbling roads, failing schools......
Where has your tax dollars gone to?
The war in Iraq for one thing.....

Like I said, I'll be back to finish this post.......

Friday, October 17, 2008

Home Is Where The Cute Stuff Is.....

I spend too much time e-chatting with my ebay vintage clothing boardies.....but one needs community....I love chatting with my real life neighbors on Broadway....the Best, The Quirkiest block in Tacoma......tho 6th ave is catching up.....

One of my boardie pals is Holly aka Lucitebox.....If I win the lottery I'll spend half of it with her..she has fantabulous stuff......
My favorite vintage jacket is an amazing late 40s number in gray wool with millions of silver studs.....It's Joan Crawford meets Vivienne Westwood......
I bought if from Holly about 2 years ago.......
I get massive compliments when I wear it and I'm so thrilled to have bought it from someone I admire and like a lot......
So I was so thrilled to find out via DressADay that her stunningly cute apartment is featured now on Apartment Therapy.....
take a peek !

I'm about to start a new decorating project....paint first....then some new furniture.....oh Boy!! This is Good clean fun.....

You Can't Go Home Again.....

Napa Valley was built on and fortunes made from, the sweat and labor of illegal immigration for decades....that fine wine you drink was made possible by Mexicans coming up and picking the grapes.....How do I know this? I was raised in the Napa Valley...Yountville specifically....where my parents were homeowners, landlords, business owners and politicians. We have ICE right here baby....we have illegals right here baby...

The Napa Valley Register
, a fine fish wrap newspaper that I read during my formative years, has just endorsed McCain.
You know McCain ...the Secure Borders/Make Illegals Pay For the Sin of Being Exploited by Agri-business.
MC wants a bio-metric ID card/documents for workers...opening the door to a National ID card....wants the illegals to pay all the back taxes and a fine,etc....How are they gonna do that? Sounds scary, unworkable and mean-spirited.
Obama's plan does much of the same thing without forcing the poor to pay more of what they don't have...and moves the process along so we can have Guest Workers to pick our food/wine products so we can enjoy a nice American life without guilt and shame. Oh, NO bio-metric ID Card required....
This is from MC's website:
Comprehensive Immigration Initiatives for a Secure Nation. Once the borders are secure, John McCain will:

Prosecute “Bad-Actor” Employers. John McCain will implement a secure, accurate, and reliable electronic employment verification system to ensure that individuals are screened for work eligibility in a real-time fashion. John McCain will use this new system in conjunction with other Department of Homeland Security resources to identify and aggressively prosecute employers that continue to hire illegal immigrants. The Electronic Employment Verification System will:

* Establish a user-friendly system employing a limited set of secure documents that contain biometric data and are electronically verifiable to check a worker’s identity.
* Institute targeted auditing by Department of Labor in order to weed out employers abusing the system.

Can you spell Irony? The Napa Valley gets rich on the backs of the desperate poor, and no one notices the work force is illegal (much of it) and the major newspaper of the Valley endorses the presidential candidate that wants to hold Employers responsible for breaking the law.....and punish the illegals too, and start a bio-metric ID card/ know Big Brother...

Currently employers have to check documents to insure no illegals are being hired....checking for valid Social Security numbers...most of this is online!! Funny how so many aren't doing that......

Yes the party of Limited Government Except in Cases of Major Financial FuckUp Due To Unregulated Credit Swap Schemes Based on Fraudulent SubPrime Mortgages That Have Nearly Destroyed The Economy Of The Planet Earth....
wants to
a) Make criminals of rich agri-business (Napa Valley's reason for existence)
b) Make scapegoats/indentured servants of poor workers (Napa Valley's exploitation of the working class-McCain's insistence illegals pay and pay and pay)
c) Establish a mandatory worker bio-metric ID card/documents (Do I have to explain that one also?)

and just for more info/diversion....please click my Spychip link over there --->
Also on this page of MC's.....I don't want to fail again to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.
Oh no! Shades of The Big Lebowski......
and the Little Urban Achievers.....and those who fail to achieve....

About the illegals here now.....MC says: lets make em pay back taxes and a fine!! Fuzzy proposal on a fair worker system for temporary work status, and deny them a green card for years....which will effectively shut down our food/wine development system, so MC further states:
* Low-skilled agricultural workers:

o Reform the H-2A visa program to provide a non-bureaucratic, adaptable, useable program that is reflective of market needs and protects both the immigrant and US workers.

Address the Undocumented. John McCain will address the fact that we have a large number undocumented individuals living in the United States and working in our economy.

Assure that the remaining undocumented immigrants learn English, pay back taxes and fines, and pass a citizenship course as part of a path to legal status.

---------Still with me? --------
Obama offers a clear path with details......Obama says:

Voted YES on establishing a Guest Worker program.

    Voting YES establishes a guest worker program with a path to citizenship for illegal aliens who have worked in the US for 5 years. The bill:
  • Increases border security and enforcement
  • Makes it unlawful to knowingly hire, recruit, or refer for a fee an unauthorized alien.
  • Establishes a temporary guest worker program (H-2C visa) with a three-year admission and one additional three-year extension; and issuance of H-4 nonimmigrant visas for accompanying or following spouse and children;
  • Provides permanent resident status adjustment for a qualifying illegal alien, and family, for aliens who have been in the US and employed for five years.

In a nutshell, pay a fine, learn English/citizenship, get to the back of the line to get a green card, work with Mexico, establish a Guest Worker program, make employers follow the law and pay legal wages.
I'm not (believe it or not.) comfortable with making employers Of all sizes and crimes..uh, Criminals over this matter. I'd prefer a HUGE fine and other disincentives coupled with sensible humane guest worker programs.
With Obama, I don't see anything about a Bio-Metric required ID Card/Documents...that would be the Republican position. You know...papers..can I see your papers??

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's My Birthday....So Sing Along !

So I just wanted to remind you that I hate landlords...but for Riley. Here's some Tressie music.....
Enjoy. Happy Birthday Shayne, my beloved son. And Miles, you lucky kid.
I'm the same age as um, Lucinda Williams...Oprah! Matt Groening, Harvey Fierstein, Michael Moore, Marsha Warfield, Denzel Washington, John Travolta, Kathleen Turner, Stevie Ray Vaughan...
so when I feel like telling the Straight World a big wet FU...Well I just listen to these songs....and right now, I feel like telling all the rich people a big FU!!! and send me cash....American Cash....
The UWT MBA Fight Song:

don't ya just love Charlie Watts and that little fn ting ting he does on the high hat.....

My eternal question....

And is there anything scarier to straight people than people lovin' SEX !

Spooky Times.....

And I don't mean just the economy.....Now is the time for all good Tacoma folks, my friends, look, funkoma vintage is your creepy hdqtrs....for Pirate, Steampunk, Romance, EGL, Lolita, Gothic.....and 50s 60s & 70s vintage wear and other fun's some pics.....
Saddle shoes in various sizes....

Party dresses.....corsets.....and costumes too.....


Corsets, Victorian style blouses and full skirts.....

Other fun stuff!

Friday, October 3, 2008

I Love Democracy......

I'm serious. I love freedom. This is the most important time in America since The Revolution.
I've been saying for years, since I grew up in the Bay Area and revolution was everywhere in the air...that we are moving towards a Police State. Yes, I just said Party with each other. Because, we're in this Great Experiment of Democracy....being with each other gives us strength, gives us hope, and builds a better life for us.

My childhood was formed by Jesus, Indians, foster care, gardening, arts and crafts, politics, law, revolution, and democracy. I had daily pictures and news of war and protest. I also had Laura teaching guitar, and Julia Child teaching cooking on KQED.
I had people like Mario Savio, Abbie Hoffman, Bettina Apthecker, The Black Panthers, S.I. Hayakawa, Phil Ochs, Brautigan, The Oracle, Port Huron Statement, Tom Hayden, ....and so many more....teaching me.....daily on the TV Bay Area news, and in the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle.......

Things we now take for granted: race and sex equality, farmer's market, energy awareness, organic food, better cars, public transportation, urban gardening and much more were shoved into the daily American consciousness by the youth of the 60s and 70s. Even the Chalking in Frost Park is a direct throwback to the People's Park protests in Berkeley in 1969 with the police and National Guard firing on citizens and killing one. Instead of planting flowers in the downtown park, there is chalking!!!
photo: Gil Madrid.

We have much more work to do while much is under attack: civil rights, free speech, basic Constitutional freedoms, we are better off today in many ways because of the heavy lifting of the generations before us. We are in grave danger of living in a country where the Constitution is becoming just wallpaper.....and not the daily rules of American living.
I love the Constitution !!
I vote. I volunteer in political campaigns....because I love democracy.....
here's an article that is short and not so sweet on this subject.


Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

* Naomi Wolf * The Guardian, * Tuesday April 24 2007

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.

Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically - as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.

It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.

Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a "war footing"; we were in a "global war" against a "global caliphate" intending to "wipe out civilisation". There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space - the globe itself is the battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will be no defined end."

Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, secretive, evil - is an old trick. It can, like Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the nation's security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the "global conspiracy of world Jewry", on myth.

It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.

2. Create a gulag

Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where torture takes place.

At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, "enemies of the people" or "criminals". Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders - opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists - are arrested and sent there as well.

This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.

With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no information about the secret CIA "black site" prisons throughout the world, which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.

Gulags in history tend to metastasise, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalised. We know from first-hand accounts, photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty, have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we can't investigate adequately.

But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only scary brown people with whom they don't generally identify. It was brave of the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: "First they came for the Jews." Most Americans don't understand yet that the destruction of the rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.

By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.

3. Develop a thug caste

When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.

The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America's security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution

Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that episode - but the administration's endless war on terror means ongoing scope for what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.

Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for "public order" on the next election day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station "to restore public order".

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.

In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.

In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.

5. Harass citizens' groups

The fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass citizens' groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favour of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.

Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organisations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track "potential terrorist threats" as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as "terrorism". So the definition of "terrorist" slowly expands to include the opposition.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a "list" of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.

In 2004, America's Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela's government - after Venezuela's president had criticised Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.

Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass at Newark, "because I was on the Terrorist Watch list".

"Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that," asked the airline employee.

"I explained," said Murphy, "that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution."

"That'll do it," the man said.

Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist. History shows that the categories of "enemy of the people" tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.

James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and released several times. He is still of interest.

Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is still on the list.

It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the list, you can't get off.

7. Target key individuals

Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.

Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not "coordinate", in Goebbels' term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a group that fascists typically "coordinate" early on: the Reich Law for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.

Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on regents at state universities to penalise or fire academics who have been critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.

Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that "waterboarding is torture" was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.

Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service in April 1933, attorneys were "coordinated" too, a step that eased the way of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.

8. Control the press

Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.

Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy - a form of retaliation that ended her career.

Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organisations ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters such as the BBC's Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or killed, including ITN's Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent prisons; the news organisations were unable to see the evidence against their staffers.

Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.

You won't have a shutdown of news in modern America - it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it's not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can't tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.

9. Dissent equals treason

Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalise certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor". When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times' leaking of classified information "disgraceful", while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the "treason" drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.

Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact, executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail for up to five months, and "beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and threatened with death", according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that, dissent was muted in America for a decade.

In Stalin's Soviet Union, dissidents were "enemies of the people". National Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy "November traitors".

And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realise that since September of last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 - the president has the power to call any US citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power to define what "enemy combatant" means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define "enemy combatant" any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.

Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation, as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy prisoners. That is why Stalin's gulag had an isolation cell, like Guantánamo's, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)

We US citizens will get a trial eventually - for now. But legal rights activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving even US citizens fair trials. "Enemy combatant" is a status offence - it is not even something you have to have done. "We have absolutely moved over into a preventive detention model - you look like you could do something bad, you might do something bad, so we're going to hold you," says a spokeswoman of the CCR.

Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point there are some high-profile arrests - usually of opposition leaders, clergy and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society. There just isn't real dissent. There just isn't freedom. If you look at history, just before those arrests is where we are now.

10. Suspend the rule of law

The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.

Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."

Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act - which was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having seen citizens bullied by a monarch's soldiers, the founders were terrified of exactly this kind of concentration of militias' power over American people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.

Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.

Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.

It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere - while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: "dogs go on with their doggy life ... How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster."

As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions - and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the "what ifs".

What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack - say, God forbid, a dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a President Giuliani - because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic negotiation and compromise.

What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year? What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but they would suddenly be very polite.

Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of tyranny for the rest of us - staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws, under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This small, disparate collection of people needs everybody's help, including that of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.

We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this is the way it is now.

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.

· Naomi Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot will be published by Chelsea Green in September.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Prom...Party...Halloween...Scary Economy...Party...

more is my advice.....I watched my friends obsess over their houses and if the party will never the magic show has can we get back to what life is Really All About??? Party good! Art ......friends......and good stuff.
and I hate really hate to be a I told you so......but, um.............. if you wanna know how you/we got fucked royally by the rich (again) the article at the end of this fun post!

80s bolero for your party -- prom dress!

Oktoberfest dress

Pretty vintage robe

50s Jacket

Fun fall dress

Pirate wench...


Heywood Wakefield

Critics: Reform backed by McConnell fostered crisis
By John Cheves
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Related Story Bill highlights

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led the battle Wednesday to pass a $700 billion Wall Street bailout package, in which taxpayers would buy the failing financial sector's toxic assets.

But only three years ago, McConnell, R-Ky., stood in the same chamber and argued that America's free-market economy requires people to clean up their own financial messes rather than pass them along to others.

After he pushed a tougher bankruptcy law through Congress, making it harder for citizens to escape debt, McConnell said the law "ushers in a new emphasis on personal responsibility."

This week, critics of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Act of 2005 said recent studies suggest that it contributed to the fiscal crisis by encouraging more Americans to walk away from their homes and accept foreclosure rather than try to rebuild their lives under bankruptcy protection.

Either way, they said, it's curious that McConnell — who has taken more than $4.3 million in campaign money from the financial sector — isn't talking about personal responsibility now.

"Clearly, we have two sets of rules: one for individuals who run into hard times and one for corporations that practice irresponsible lending," said Travis Plunkett, legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America.

McConnell's office refused to respond to questions Wednesday about the bankruptcy and bailout measures, other than to say both were necessary and some Democrats supported them alongside McConnell.

"The question is not how we got here, but how we get out," McConnell said of the bailout in the Senate.

McConnell stands for re-election Nov. 4 against Democratic businessman Bruce Lunsford.

Credit card debt

McConnell tried for years to pass a tougher bankruptcy law, which was sought by the credit card industry. Under the previous law, people could run up debts, file for bankruptcy and keep many of their assets while their creditors had to swallow the losses, McConnell said.

"Bankruptcy was created as a ladder to greater economic responsibility," McConnell said at the time. "It should not be an escape hatch to avoid responsibility."

He finally succeeded in 2005 — President Bush credited McConnell by name when he signed the bill into law — and the financial sector held fund-raisers for him. Banks that offer credit cards are among his biggest donors this election cycle, including UBS ($95,900), Citigroup ($49,900) and JPMorgan Chase ($38,375), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Among other things, the law imposes a means test on debtors to determine who can pay their debts. Those who make above their state's median income must develop a repayment plan; individual states decide how much of a home's value is protected from seizure.

Senate Republicans, for whom McConnell then was majority whip, defeated Democratic amendments that would have exempted members of the military, single mothers, long-term caregivers and identity-theft victims.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Joe Lee of Lexington, one of the nation's foremost experts on the bankruptcy code, on Wednesday said the pre-2005 law already was tough on those who did not pay their bills.

But the problem wasn't immoral debtors, he said; it was a credit card industry that promoted high-interest loans to people who obviously could not handle so much debt. The industry then pressured Congress to help it collect, he said.

Although bankruptcy filings rose by an impressive 443 percent from 1980 to 2004, the amount of consumer credit made available climbed even higher, by 501 percent, Lee said.

Similarly, the current financial crisis is largely due to banks making loans they should have realized they could not collect, Lee said.

"The situation that we're in now is as much the responsibility of a lack of morality on the part of commercial lenders as it is any alleged lack of morality on the part of borrowers," Lee said.

"But they (in Congress) are not exactly chastising the lenders, are they?" he added. "We're not hearing about personal responsibility this time. This time, we're being told that we're all in it together."

In fairness, nobody thinks the financial sector will escape without punishment, even if the bailout package succeeds, said University of Kentucky banking professor Donald Mullineaux.

"They're going to take some losses when they sell these assets" to the government, Mullineaux said. "They've already taken some losses. And some of those institutions aren't with us anymore."

"This isn't an effort to save any one institution, it's an effort to get the financial system going again," he said.

Making it worse

Two studies released last summer indicate that the 2005 law — although it boosted bank profits in the short term — aggravated the housing and credit markets, which is where the financial crisis started.

"By making it more difficult and costly for marginal homeowners to utilize the bankruptcy code, restructure their debts, and maintain mortgage payments, (the new law) increased foreclosures and the number of homes for sale," wrote David Bernstein, a U.S. Treasury researcher, in his study.

The law "was intended to help creditors at the expense of debtors," Bernstein wrote. "However, the negative impact of (the law) on real estate markets appears to have damaged the balance sheets of both debtors and creditors."

Consumer advocates pushed this week for the House and Senate to add a provision to the bailout package that would grant bankruptcy judges more flexibility in individual cases, said Plunkett of the Consumer Federation of America. If major banks can be lifted out of their debt, he said, American families should get the same chance.

But lawmakers in both chambers blocked the proposal, he said.

"So I can understand why this bailout sticks in the craw of so many Americans," said Plunkett, whose group considers the bailout a necessary evil. "Not only are the major financial corporations that created this mess going to receive a great deal of public aid, but struggling homeowners will receive little to no assistance."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's Prom Time !!

My neighbors are Promtastic!
I've giving a 20% discount in my shop for Prom Ticket holders........Here's a few things....lots more is coming out in the next 2 days.....