Friday, December 23, 2011

The GOP’s slip is showing - The Washington Post

The GOP’s slip is showing - The Washington Post
The Skinny from Gene:
There are only two possible reasons for House Republicans to behave the way they did. Maybe they are so blinded by ideology that they no longer care about the impact their actions might have on struggling American families. Or maybe their only guiding principle is that anything Obama supports, they oppose.

The week’s events offer a lesson for Obama, too. One reason for all the Republican angst was that public opinion has become more sensitive to issues of economic justice. This may be partly due to the Occupy protests. But I’m convinced that Obama’s fiery barnstorming in favor of his American Jobs Act has played a big role. People are hearing his message.

The president has been on the offensive. It’s no coincidence that, for the first time in quite a while, Republicans are backing up.

Radicals in power offer no help in governance. Radicals only serve to push the pile. It's up to all of us to push back.

More work to do.

Merry Christmas! One and All, From President Obama and the EPA

President Obama's Christmas Present to America | Mother Jones

It is estimated that the cost of the new policy to the Coal companies is in the neighborhood of 10 Billion and a logistical headache as ancient coal-fired power plants will be shut down.  Compare this to the benefit as predicted by the EPA:
 The total health and economic benefits of this standard are estimated to be as much as $90 billion annually....Combined, the two rules are estimated to prevent up to 46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks among children, 24,500 emergency room visits and hospital admissions. The two programs are an investment in public health that will provide a total of up to $380 billion in return to American families in the form of longer, healthier lives and reduced health care costs.

This is the essence of good governance. This is government doing what it is supposed to do, protect the well-being of it's citizens and provide a counterweight to the necessary but sometimes oppressive influence of unchecked capitalism. 

Much more to do....

Dwight Eisenhower, Conservative Hero (No kidding!)

Words well spoken. I'm often amazed by the prescience of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. That his brand of conservatism is now so grotesquely out of style is a commentary of our times. His observation that "they are stupid," is pointed and true. The conservative movement has been co-opted by ideological purists who compete with themselves over who is truly pure, dragging themselves farther and farther towards a wingnut wonderland that doesn't and can't exist in this world.

It is truly stupid to insist on wishes and wonder as policy. It is truly stupid to resist the needs of a nation for the sake of an imaginary pot of gold at the end of a mythical rainbow. It is truly stupid to resist expertise, knowledge, and education. It is truly stupid to try and roll back the tide of culture, music, and art. And it is truly stupid to try and force the nation into a tiny box of religion-based social engineering against their will.

Dwight Eisenhower was a hero. Never would he have expected this from his Grand Old Party. Well spoke sir, well spoke.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Handling the Mic Check

This snippet from the Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday night is a dramatic demonstration of the political divide in our country. By simply pointing out how the different candidates handle the free speech activities pointed at them, the point is driven home very clearly. Who is for the status quo, preserving the biased economic system supporting the financial and politcal elite, and who is for the allowing the American dream to be preserved for everyone. Watch this and observe the reactions. As always, Rachel's analysis is insightful.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Some of the candidates fought with the demonstrators, one candidate respected them. Some of them didn't really know how to handle the situation, one candidate called them by name and indicated that THEY were the reason he entered public service. Can any of the other candidates in the current lineup say the same thing?

More work to do...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Contract on OWS. Hit job on the way.

Up with Chris Hayes

Last weekend Chris Hayes made this remarkable video [below] about the coming pushback from Wall Street against the burgeoning OWS movement.  His reporting about the coming "hit job" concerns the attempt by one lobbying firm in DC to sell its services to members of Congress and to the GOP generally. It turns out that many of the lobbyists are former congressional aides who brag that they have extraordinary influence on Capital Hill.  Mr. Hayes reports that this is a pretty dramatic representation of how Washington works these days.  The "craven, corrupt" system of revolving door lobbyists, heavily financed by allies of the corporate finance industry, who then sell their services to political elites is exposed in this one segment.

The real tragedy here is that the OWS movement is being attacked with impunity. At this point their is no political consequence for smashing the movement virtually or physically. The power elites will use their resources to attempt to cut off this popular uprising at its knees in order to preserve the status quo.

There is very little support so far, from any of the political power brokers in our government. The largest point of the entire #OWS movement is simply that. All the protections of government, the constitution, and the bill of rights are dedicated to preserving those rights and freedoms for the 1%. The 99% can claim no such protections. It's a chilling commentary. Must see.

More work to do...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Of Revolutions and Pendulums.

A local pundit wrote in the opinion pages today,  "There’s nothing wrong with America that an unleashing of our creativity, our business acumen, our free-market, risk-taking ethos wouldn't cure."

The results of the past 40 years of "free market" ideology: A society where the elites have been exposed.  The free market that is being praised turns out to be not very free at all.  It is a rigged game that scoops up the wealth of the nation and deposits it in the accounts of the Wall Street elites. They call this "being successful."  Success in raising the unemployment number, success in casting the poor and the elderly farther into poverty, success in subverting public education, success in the dumbing down of America.

Washington intervention in our lives is what government does. It's what we as citizens in a free nation choose to do for our own general welfare. It includes everything from subsidizing school lunches to providing adequate infrastructure, to ensuring the national defense, to preserving the quality of life of all of it's citizens.

The Elite don't seem to mind government intervention after they've purchased to power to open the coffers of the national treasury for their own profit and plunder. Would they mind turning over all their government contracts?  Would they mind not using the roads, the public lands, their own government subsidized education, the homeland security forces?   Would the oil companies like to pay for their own safe passage over the seas or for their own security in foreign lands without the helpful support of the taxpayer funded Federal Government?  Government intervention seems to be just fine if it helps corporations find huge piles of money to be made.

Chris Hedges offers this:

"Welcome to the revolution. Our elites have exposed their hand. They have nothing to offer. They can destroy but they cannot build. They can repress but they cannot lead. They can steal but they cannot share. They can talk but they cannot speak. They are as dead and useless to us as the water-soaked books, tents, sleeping bags, suitcases, food boxes and clothes that were tossed by sanitation workers Tuesday morning into garbage trucks in New York City. They have no ideas, no plans and no vision for the future.

Our decaying corporate regime has strutted in Portland, Oakland and New York with their baton-wielding cops into a fool’s paradise. They think they can clean up “the mess”—always employing the language of personal hygiene and public security—by making us disappear. They think we will all go home and accept their corporate nation, a nation where crime and government policy have become indistinguishable, where nothing in America, including the ordinary citizen, is deemed by those in power worth protecting or preserving, where corporate oligarchs awash in hundreds of millions of dollars are permitted to loot and pillage the last shreds of collective wealth, human capital and natural resources, a nation where the poor do not eat and workers do not work, a nation where the sick die and children go hungry, a nation where the consent of the governed and the voice of the people is a cruel joke.

Get back into your cages, they are telling us. Return to watching the lies, absurdities, trivia and celebrity gossip we feed you in 24-hour cycles on television. Invest your emotional energy in the vast system of popular entertainment. Run up your credit card debt. Pay your loans. Be thankful for the scraps we toss. Chant back to us our phrases about democracy, greatness and freedom. Vote in our rigged political theater. Send your young men and women to fight and die in useless, unwinnable wars that provide corporations with huge profits.  Stand by mutely as our bipartisan congressional super committee, either through consensus or cynical dysfunction, plunges you into a society without basic social services including unemployment benefits. Pay for the crimes of Wall Street."

The revolution has begun.  40 years of steady erosion of the gains of the Great Society is over, the pendulum has swung, it's time....

More work to do...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Buying a Presidential Nomination

The third Koch brother? -

No question. None. Nada. Mr. Cain is the Koch's candidate. They are attempting to buy the nomination for President. Mr. Cain himself has confirmed it. No national organization, no ties to the Republican Party, no support from GOP politicos, all his money and all his staff coming from Americans for Prosperity...

This is a test. We know from the economic meltdown that our economic and political elites are now immune from prosecution for breaking laws. No bankers have even been investigated for wrong doing, no heads have rolled for the crimes of fraud and insider trading that tanked our financial system. The current system of legalized bribery brought about by the Citizens United decision has opened the floodgates and is washing away what remains of campaign finance law. These guys simply know that they'll get away with it. The media is covering the "sexy" story of harassment and Mr. Cain's numbers just improve with his bloodthirsty and misogynistic supporters. Talk about felonies and criminal behavior from Mr. Cain's campaigns and .... nothing. Joan Walsh talks about it, Rachel Maddow spends time on it, the rest of the media?

This is a test. Will Mr. Cain not only by absolved for his sexual exploits but will he be allowed to escape scrutiny for his campaign finance crimes? Will he be insulated by the Koch Brother's Cash? Can these two autocrats buy the Presidency of the United States for their "third brother?"

Mr. Cain's numbers are not tanking. He's enjoying his performance. He's a celebrity making headlines. It's a great American tradition in the entertainment industry, it's just never happened in a presidential election before.

More work to do.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The American People vs. The Political Elites

Fox News Poll: Majority Says Obama's Economic Policies Are Good Ideas | ThinkProgress

This is the Occupy movement's complaint in a nut shell. Large majorities of the American people from every part of the political spectrum feel that Mr. Obama is actually trying to make progress with the single most important issue for the country, the economic recovery. This is a Fox News poll for goodness sake!

The incredible, growing gap between what's best for the country and what's best for the economic elites and their political lacky's is the single biggest source of the populist anger. As the GOP continually offers nonsensical "jobs" programs that actually put millions out of work, the protests continue to grow.  The anger in the country is now pointed at the 1% who control the political process.

The fight against the actual, real class war being waged against the 99% has begun in earnest.  The problem is that the 1% do indeed hold the reins of power and will not give them up under any circumstances.  The bad news for them is that their are millions of us, and only a few of them.  They will need to spend all their money to sustain their control. Will the Occupy movement force them to spend until it hurts?  I certainly hope they try.  It's time to let them know what a real "spending problem" is like.

More work to do...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Alabama's Stupid Immigration Policy

Here is a consequence of radical anti-immigration fervor. Somebody forgot to count the cost of a policy that forces all immigrant workers, legal and illegal to flee the state. Are we ready to pay American workers what they expect to be paid in order to harvest the crops?  Are we willing to treat workers with the respect Americans expect in order to fill the jobs being vacated by the cheap labor pool of legal and illegal immigrant workers?

Alabama has chased off their cheap labor pool.  It's precisely the wrong thing to do and Alabama will suffer economic and social consequences. Giving in to radical, emotional policy decisions is never a good idea. What would have happened had an intelligent, pragmatic immigration policy been in place?  Wouldn't it have been better to offer a path to citizenship? Wouldn't it have been better to have treated the workers with enough respect to enable them to keep their jobs and perhaps allow them to become American citizens? Wouldn't it have been better to find away to let them be here legally?
I think yes to all of the above.

It's the common good of the nation that's at stake. A radicalized fear of foreign immigration does nothing but affects everything.  Time to call this out, put a stop to it, grow up, get a life, acknowledge reality, accept the "melting pot," get over it, move on……

More work to do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Inside the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council conference - YouTube

Inside the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council conference - YouTube

This is a non-profit.... charity group. They write legislative templates for legislators to use in every state in the union. What's their charitable cause? They actually write and lobby for legislation that state legislators use to introduce laws in state governments. They are using the non-profit designation to lobby for huge profits and influence in state governments all over the country. It's illegal.

This is the "point of the spear" so famously referred to by a recent GOP frontrunner. This is where the right wing gets it's radical agenda implemented. It's the most dangerous aspect of the right wing junta that's been going on since Citizens United.

It's largely under the radar. We hear on the news about policies that seemingly arise from nowhere. In Wisconsin and Michigan, the governors of those states ran fairly unspectacular campaigns. Yes, they were Republicans and talked the talk, but both of them shocked their constituents with a rain of legislation busting unions, privatizing government, taking over localities, stealing from the public coffers to bribe corporate interests.

This torrent of legislation came from ALEC. It was written by their cadre of lawyers, offered to any and all Republicans in every state in the Union. A little close examination reveals the similarity in the issues represented. Everything from carbon emissions, fracking licenses, nuclear waste removal, to privatization of public education, abortion, and the repeal of the AHCA. Our own Virginia Attorney General was able to launch is first-in-the-nation suit against Health Care Reform by cutting and pasting from an ALEC template.  It's illegal.

More work to do....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Great Sucking Sound

Occupy Wall Street says the top one 1 percent of Americans have gotten too rich. Are they right? - Slate Magazine

That big sucking sound you hear in the news is the wealth and opportunity of American citizens disappearing into the great black hole of Wall Street. We've reached a turning point in our history. We're in worse shape now than in 1928 before the Great Depression.  The difference between "them's that's got" and "them's that don't" is wide and growing wider.

The share of income among the top 1% is 21%.  It's higher than at any point in American history. The share of wealth among the top 1% is 33%, also higher than at any point in American history.

The bad news is that the wider the disparity in wealth and income, the less opportunity exists for the 99% to improve their lot.  This represents a severe downturn in the expectations for the American Dream.  It is a waste of the most precious resource this country has, it's people.

How bad is it?

The 1 percent has about 43 percent of all the nonhousing wealth, which has held up comparatively better. Sociologist William Domhoff reports that the 99 percent hold just 38 percent of equity in businesses, 40 percent of financial securities, and 62 percent of stocks and mutual funds. Among the 99 percent, about one in three households has more than $10,000 in stock. Among the 1 percent, nearly nine in 10 households do.
In short, inequality has increased in the past decade, leaving the 99 percent with smaller and smaller proportions of income and wealth. And it has many economists, public policy wonks, and, well, protesters very, very worried. As put by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, “growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible.”
This is the reason the 99% are now marching in the streets.  This is the reason that folks are starting to wake up to the loss of social justice, of the social contract, and of the opportunity to chase a dream.  It's not just about the money. It's about America. It comes down to who is doing well and who isn't.  Is much more about who will be able to well and who won't.  It's about the future.  Vast quantities of opportunity and wealth are getting sucked up by fewer and fewer of our citizens.  It should be the reverse.

More work to do. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Another Fabricated Myth from the Right

Christie, Obama and "Class Warfare" | Democratic Strategist

Class Warfare.... yet another fabricated talking point of the right wing echo chamber. It's a baseless charge in a democratic society. The charge of class warfare is troubling in that it just may be signaling the intention of the Right to CREATE a multi-tiered society by disenfranchising those who can't afford to "pay to play." To hear folks like Gov. Christie complain that public employees, school teachers, public transit workers, and union members are somehow waging war against a privileged class of "Producers" is simply absurd. It's democracy he's railing against.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Christie Calls out Cantor's Fools Errand

Another Republican Rebukes Cantor: Chris Christie Demands Hurricane Aid Without Offsetting Cuts | ThinkProgress

Twice in recent weeks, I've had cause to stand up and cheer for a Republican. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey got his first standing ovation from me and from the entire cast and crew of Lawrence O' Donnell's show, "The Last Word," when he called the Sharia Law conspiracy theories floating around "a load of crap." He was in the process of appointing a Muslim judge to the state supreme court. Thanks Gov. Christie.

Now he's called out Mr. Cantor. I've been following Mr. Cantor's foibles with great interest and Mr. Christie is the second Republican governor to call Mr. Cantor's so-called fiscal responsibility foolish.
Our people are suffering now, and they need support now. And they [Congress] can all go down there and get back to work and figure out budget cuts later,”
Our own Governor McDonnell split with his own Congressman yesterday. So I'm sitting, talking to my friend Shannon Dove and a thought just bounces into my head. These two guys are governors of states that have needs and responsibilities to their citizens. They are required by law to actually GOVERN. They've got to balance their budgets, provide state mandated service, provide for the general welfare, in short, care for the citizens in their charge.

Contrast this to the wacko, political gamesmanship practiced by Mr. Cantor and his minions. Governance doesn't come to mind when describing what they do. Sure they'll provide funding for disaster relief, but the funds will have to come from the funds that were supposed to be used to clean up the last big disaster in Alabama. Remember that one? Melissa Harris-Perry says, "That disaster is SO yesterday....." (she's kidding of course.) Or the funds can come from First Responder training programs.  Imagine if you can, disaster relief fund sitting in the bank unused because no first responders have been trained who know how to use the money to do the job!  Or we can cut taxes or kill medicare.... that'll fix it....  sigh....

The constant theme that I've been following is how Mr. Cantor is promoting policy that is solely for short term political gain and wreaks havoc with the future. He continually robs programs that are necessary and vital for the country's security and welfare to pay for the latest program. His insistence on "off-sets" for every expense might have a ring of financial responsibility to it, but HOLY SMOKE what choices he makes! His true purpose is now so transparent that he's being exposed as a complete fool by his own party.

Say something to someone!

More work to do.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where are the Off-sets Mr. Cantor?

Military Spending Waste: Up To $60 Billion In Iraq, Afghanistan War Funds Lost To Poor Planning, Oversight, Fraud

That's right. 60 billion dollars from the US Government to the Afghan insurgency. Money wasted...on what? This report clearly states that an unregulated military adventure has now wasted an incredible amount of money. Let me say that again.... AN UNREGULATED military has been allowed to waste 60 billion dollars on a nation building exersize, against an enemy that is no threat to our security, and doesn't want us to be there.
Much of the waste and fraud could have been avoided with better planning and more aggressive oversight, the commission said.
Where's the outrage? Eric Cantor, Representative in Congress of some of my fellow Virginians has made the news recently when he famously stated his desire to block funding for disaster cleanup of hurricane Irene including his own district in Virginia unless spending off-sets are found. His proposal includes cutting funds for first responders and infrastructure preparation for the NEXT disaster. Where's your press statement about this financial disaster Mr. Cantor? We've just heard today that the military has created a massive boondoggle that will turn out to be 30 TIMES more expensive that the hurricane clean-up you are so concerned about. Where's your press release? Where's the outrage? If you are a fiscal conservative sir, why aren't you on TV with this too?

Mr. Cantor, is your lack of concern because of your belief in a strong military? National Security? I thought you might have said something if we were talking about, say, subsidies to farmers?
The commission cited numerous examples of waste, including a $360 million U.S.-financed agricultural development program in Afghanistan. The effort began as a $60 million project in 2009 to distribute vouchers for wheat seed and fertilizer in drought-stricken areas of northern Afghanistan. The program expanded into the south and east. Soon the U.S. was spending a $1 million a day on the program, creating an environment ripe for waste and abuse, the commission said.
"Paying villagers for what they used to do voluntarily destroyed local initiatives and diverted project goods into Pakistan for resale," the commission said.
Mr. Cantor, I know you are a fan of deregulation. We'd best leave this vast military corporation to run it's own affairs. Congress shouldn't have to look over their shoulder now should they? Because of poor oversight and a heavy reliance on privatization of many of the important functions of the military, we've ended up being a major funder for the very folks the soldiers are fighting.
The Afghan insurgency's second largest funding source after the illegal drug trade is the diversion of money from U.S.-backed construction projects and transportation contracts, according to the commission.

The Associated Press reported earlier this month that U.S. military authorities in Kabul have estimated that $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade battling: the Taliban, criminals and power brokers with ties to both. The military said that only a small percentage of the $360 million has been garnered by the Taliban and insurgent groups. Most of the money was lost to profiteering, bribery and extortion by criminals and power brokers.
Did I hear the word "privatization?" Mr. Cantor, isn't that your dream for American government? Shouldn't the government get out of the way and let the private sector drive our policy, our economy, and even our military industrial complex? Would you please take a look at this report and let me know what you think of the fine job our private contractors are doing in Afghanistan. Please report on how they are more efficient and fiscally responsible with taxpayer money than the actual military arm of the conflict. Then tell me please why it's ok to squawk and complain about "spending off-sets" for disaster relief for Americans here at home and NOT ok to squawk about 30 TIMES the amount being wasted on our so-called enemy in Afghanistan?

Mr. Cantor, how about every time you want to off-set the expenses for something you don't like, just scoop up some military-industrial-private contractor money to off-set the expense. It's a no-brainer Congressman. Evidently it's pretty easy to do. Taliban tribesmen are eating our lunch, ripping us off, soaking up bribe money in the millions. Why don't you just dip into that large pool of unregulated money and off-set the cost of stuff that might do us some good right here in America? Well Mr. Cantor?

More work to do.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Greg Mitchell: 5 Photos That Must Never Be Repeated: He Took the Only Pictures in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945

Greg Mitchell: 5 Photos That Must Never Be Repeated: He Took the Only Pictures in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945

In the current climate of talk of spending cuts, here's the best motivation for cuts in the military budget. The magnitude of potential destruction of our current nuclear stockpile is enough to destry the entire earth 500 TIMES OVER! Isn't there a better way to spend our tax dollars? May we never forget.

More work to do.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Country Gangstaz | Mother Jones

Country Gangstaz | Mother Jones

With nearly one-fifth of the county's population below the poverty line, some young people here say they see gangs as the most reliable way to make a living. This large recruitment pool, along with ample empty space for clandestine drug and weapon deals and admittedly overwhelmed law enforcement, have led more than a dozen established gangs to set up outposts here.
So add this in with the accomplishments of the "Austerity Now, Austerity Forever" crowd. They've already proven their bones at making terrorists so now they move on to gangs and gang violence. That's right. Continue cutting public education, continue cutting back on public sector jobs, continue sending jobs overseas, continue foreclosing on houses and continue squeezing the poor and middle class and they'll respond in ways that could get pretty ugly. Public education was instituted in large part to solve the problems of poverty, crime, and employment. Public sector jobs constitute and essential portion of the labor market. Cutting all of this is part of the "pain" we must bear according to the plutocrat funders of the Teabaggers.

Listen to the policy discussions going on and you have to listen ever so closely to even hear about the most serious problems facing us as a country, the jobs crisis, the infrastructure crisis, the green energy crisis, and the education crisis. All the talk is about debt. Solving the debt problem helps plutocrats, hurts the people.

The elections in Wisconsin are only the shots across the bow. The mixed results there should only serve to show the difficulty of the task of facing down the ruthless capitalists who care only about "creating a good climate for business," or "rewarding competence." Anytime you see these codes just think, "$$$$$$ we want your $$$$$."

More work to do.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Why Unions Matter: The Numbers | Mother Jones

Why Unions Matter: The Numbers | Mother Jones

At last. Here's the research that shows the effect of union busting on the middle class. It's no surprise to find that without a political force that speaks for everyman, their plight becomes bleak. It's pretty clear, Union busting equals a lower lifestyle, a decrease in wealth, a sicker, hungrier, and poorer middle class. I repeat.... Union busting equals poverty, harder work for lower pay, fewer health benefits, and the most important factor in the decline of a civilization, a huge gap in wealth between the rich and the rest.

We hear a lot about the legacy of debt we will be leaving our granchildren. We hear nothing about the legacy of poverty that will great them in old age. They will have heard stories about great grandad being on something called medicare and about grampa and grandma who lived in town on a small but comfortable pension and entertained them through their childhood. Those days are gone... The future will be much different for the young folk of today.

Thanks Republicans.....

More work to do.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Follow this thread...Democracy is Dying

REPORT: Debt Ceiling Deal Will Cost 1.8 Million Jobs In 2012 | ThinkProgress

The stated goal of the Republican Party is to defeat, destroy, discredit, and demoralize President Obama. The stated goal of their allies in the think tanks and conservative power groups is to destroy shrink the government of the United States. Mission very close to being accomplished. They are using a fundamental strategy. "Put us in charge, or we really make things ugly for everyone." Cynical? Treason? Mad?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Krugman Nails it...The Economy is in the Crapper by choice!

No, We Can’t? Or Won’t? -

I've often offered the cynical view in political conversations that one party is heavily invested in the poor economic climate we find ourselves in. The saddest part is that the current "boom" benefits only the wealthiest citizens while the less wealthy haven't seen much benefit, and the middle and lower class are struggling and fighting to maintain what's left of their share of the American Dream. It's good political news for the corporatists in politics if the default happens. Eric Cantor's blatant conflict of interest is the glaring example. The dirty little secret no one will talk about is that if the debt default happens, interest on the debt goes up and everything gets more expensive, especially the government's debt. Some one needs to look into who will be benefitting from all that newly generated interest income. Follow the money and you'll find a whole bunch of investors, foreign and domestic that will make out like bandits when America defaults.

The economy is perking right along for the big banks, the international corps, the big energy companies and is being protected by a bi-partisan band of corporatist congressioners who are heavily invested in tanking the economy. It's politically a no brainer too. History shows that the party that's running things when the economy tanks loses... period. In this case the party that doing the tanking and purposefully and deliberately taking the wrecking ball to America will come out on top. What then?

Our failure to create jobs is a choice, not a necessity — a choice rationalized by an ever-shifting set of excuses.
More work to do.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

GOPer's on the March.. Slavery next?

Union Workers Replaced With Prison Labor Under Scott Walker’s Collective Bargaining Law | ThinkProgress

So here you go. We kill Unions so the jobs can't be negotiated. Then we give the jobs to prisoners to get FREE labor, (or at least cheaper, considering the cost and upkeep of prisoners.) The GOP is now free to pass draconian laws to up the prison populations to cheapen the supply of labor. Someone needs to do some research on the private prison industry in Wisconsin. Here's a perfect example of privatizing government services.

Disturbing trend indeed. Putting good union labor on the sideline will have consequences, both politically and economically. Gov. Walker is determined though. He's on a crusade. He just knows if if he can get everything turned around, all of us will see the benefits and everything will be fine. Fine that is if you enjoy autocracy, a lower class lifestyle, poor health, crappy infrastructure and watching rich people play with their toys. Disturbing trend indeed.

More work to do.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Voter Fraud... Not. Know Nothings press on.

1984 New York Grand Jury Report on Voter Fraud Now Available | Election Law Blog

This is the essence of the GOP argument. Voter fraud happened in Brooklyn once upon a time, 40 years ago. A corrupt Democratic machine with election officials on the take conspired to stack the election. The problem was solved. Regulations and rules put in effect since pretty much ensure that this can't happen again. It doesn't stop the GOP whose crusade to stop "voter fraud" is in itself a fraud. Conspiring to keep possible Democratic Party supporters away from the polls is the actual purpose and lying about voter fraud is the means.

More work to do.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Is Rand Paul as dumb as he sounds? - Rand Paul | Kentucky Senate Republican, Ron Paul's Son -

Is Rand Paul as dumb as he sounds? - Rand Paul | Kentucky Senate Republican, Ron Paul's Son -

He's trying as hard as he can to make his brand of libertarianism work. His statement is boldly ignorant. It's a premise of the corporate world that you've got to spend money to make money. That Mr. Paul would propose that we can make money but not spend any with a straight face tells me only that he's a thief. But because even thieves have to spend money to get access to their ill gotten goods, I would have to say that he's an ignorant thief. So... yes Mr. Pareene in Salon Mag... He is indeed as dumb as he sounds.

Funny how quirky and radical ideologies sound very ignorant in the light of day.

More work to do.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bad medicine alert: Austerity in the U.K. - How the World Works -

Bad medicine alert: Austerity in the U.K. - How the World Works -

Yet another laboratory model to showcase the futility of draconian spending cuts in the midst of a great recession. This is reality, not a made up fantasy world.

Recessions are bad for government finances. For that reason alone, governments should avoid causing recessions. A long-term plan to balance the budget is a fine, upstanding idea. But rash spending cuts in the short term will make achieving that balanced budget goal harder. Just ask the U.K.

It's the Congress Problem Stupid!

Ezra Klein came into my inbox today with this nugget of wisdom:

On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office released its latest long-term budget outlook. As always, the scorekeepers offered up two scenarios: In the first, Congress does nothing, follows the laws currently on the books -- which means the tax cuts expire, the Medicare cuts from the 1997 Balanced Budget Act go into effect, and the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented -- and the debt stabilizes. In the second, Congress extends most of the tax cuts, ignores the Medicare cuts and repeals various cost controls in the Affordable Care Act. Debt, of course, explodes.

We have a congress problem, not a deficit problem. The deficit only explodes if the next few congresses vote to detonate it. Congress doesn't have to extend the Bush tax cuts without offering offsets, or put off the Medicare cuts without paying for them in other ways, or do the easy parts of the health-care law without doing the hard parts. The answer to this, however, is not a high-stakes negotiation over the debt ceiling, where one false move could bring down the American economy, but a much-strengthened version of PayGo, where deficit-increasing deviations from current policy need to be offset with spending cuts or tax increases elsewhere.

Politicians are constantly talking about the need to signal seriousness to the markets, but what could be more serious than saying that they will work from the baseline in which America's deficits are much more under control, and though they intend to change those policies, they do not intend to deviate from the manageable deficit path they've already agreed to? That must be preferable to saying that Congress chooses to believe it will vote to increase the deficit by trillions over the next 10 years, but that the market shouldn't worry as the two parties plan to stop the government from paying its bills and throw the financial system into chaos if the other party doesn't agree to the deficit-reduction strategies they prefer.
It is incredibly stupid to play the totally unnecessary game of chicken the two parties are currently engaged in.  The whole point of that exercise in futility is simple power grabbing.  It's a high stakes poker game they are playing with the entire world economy in the pot.  It's the refusal of either party to let the other have any success at all.  As Mr. Klein says, one misstep and the whole pot explodes....

Extortion is no way to govern. Compromise means that sometimes your political opponents get what they want.  Terrorism means that if we don't get our way, we'll just blow everything up.  Write a letter to your local terrorist congressman and tell 'em to walk away.  Go solve the jobs crisis instead.

More work to do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

David Brooks making sense?

Pundit Under Protest -

This is the first time I've ever commented on a David Brooks op-ed. He is usually way to establishment and hoi falloi for my taste. His defense of the wall street elite and the condescending manner and tone of his writing has just never done anything for me. I usually simply read about him or what other commentators think of his writing.

That being said, this article bears some notice. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that our political system is limping along, barely functional. His comments about both Republicans and Democrats make some sense, though in the Dems case grossly over simplified. I don't think you can say that when one party is regressively dedicated to the perverse pursuit of the new gilded age of wealth for the few and will bring down an entire economy to achieve their ends that all the other party can propose is the preservation of medicare. It just doesn't work that way. When one party's only goal is to make things intentionally so bad that the only relief possible is to put them back in power, the political equation is hopelessly out of balance.

Mentally, they (Democrats) are living in the era of affluence, but, actually, they are living in the era of austerity. They still have these grand spending ideas, but there is no longer any money to pay for them and there won’t be for decades. Democrats dream New Deal dreams, propose nothing and try to win elections by making sure nobody ever touches Medicare.
We don't live in an age of austerity. We live in an age of wealth beyond any one's imagination. The money is in the hands of the corporate raiders of the middle class. The purveyors of the global economy chasing wealth outside our borders. It's not cost effective to continue the American Dream for the less fortunate. They are cast aside as the moneyed interests of the corporate elite pursue ever higher profit margins.

A better analysis of the current doomed political atmosphere we are currently plodding through would be then, to lay the blame on the corporatism that pervades both parties. The insidious infestation of corporate money and influence, openly courted by the GOP and only a little less so by the Dems has pretty much thrown much of Mr. Brooks four shopping baskets under the bus. Mr. Brooks may be covering the coming political campaign under protest, but he'll cover it along with the rest of the corporatist media. It is refreshing though, to read from one of the most establishment, corporatist writers out there, his own admission of the futility of his job. Proposing any programs that might actually help the nation get past the current collective depression is an exercise in fantasy writing. He knows his ideas will be discarded out of hand. Yet he plods on...

More work to do....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

But... the Cat's out of the bag...

Top 6 Health Care Myths From Yesterday’s Republican Presidential Debate…In One Minute | ThinkProgress

But.... they've said it. They've said it to their base. The media is reporting everything they said and not the rebuttal. The rebuttal doesn't matter, the media coverage of the falsehoods matters. Now the Democrats or the Progressives or both are faced with putting the cat back in the bag. It's a lot harder than letting it out.

The Big Six liars have gotten a start on the election. The mud had been thrown on the wall, I hope none of it sticks.

More work to do.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Medicare, Social Security... remember the Third Rail?

New Polling Says Overwhelming Majority Wants Social Security Left Alone | TPMDC

That's why they call it the third rail of American politics. The numbers in the polling are telling. They answer the question, "Just how much money does it take for a 20% minority to buy enough political power to impose their will on the 80% majority. I'll wager (irony intended) that they haven't spent as much as it's going to take. That's a staggering thought considering the flood of cash that went into the last election. The word on the street is that we ain't seen nothin' yet. The monied elite obviously think they can buy an America of their choosing.

I'm always impressed by the chutzpah, the boldness, the absolute egotistical greed of the conservative rich. In their world, they get what they want, period. 80% majority be damned, if there's money to be made they'll make it happen. Trouble is, the mighty have always fallen and when they do, they take a large chunk of us with them.

So to repeat. We the people: "Hands off Medicare, Hands off Social Security." The Political Elites: "We must reform Medicare and Social Security." Follow this debate closely. Take note of the choices being made here. The Elites will choose most anything they want over the will of the people. Advertising on race cars anyone? How about a nice new upgrade to the dockyard for their yachts? How about a nice new lakefront golf course? (That would be after the property was condemned the folks that live there thrown out.) All this is just some of the chump change that is going forward in the new Wingnut World. Stay tuned.

More work to do.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The New "Know Nothings"

OOPS! Historic 'Spending Cut' Bill Increased Spending By $3 Billion | TPMDC

Historically, the "know-nothings" or the American Party originated in 1849 and carried some weight in the political circles until the new Republican Party of Lincoln became a major political party. Know-nothings were famous for answering every question about their anti-catholic, anti-immigration beliefs with one answer, "I know nothing."

The current crop of Republicans are deserving of the nickname "know-nothings" because of their erratic, bumbling efforts at governance. Their bragging and posturing about the deficit, spending, and entitlements are largely supported by a belief in the infallibility of their economic policy. "Trickle down" is one article of faith, along with free markets, no new taxes, carte blanch for military spending, and defunding the social safety net. When all of these economic priorities are mixed in with a generous dollop of culture war, the resulting stew is a toxic mess. This article in TPM is just one instance of reality imposed on ideology. Ouch, indeed.

The GOP was elected to fix the economy. We got a hundred ways to make abortions harder to obtain. The GOP tried to cut spending. They ADDED billions to the spending for the rest of the year. The GOP went to the mat for the Bush Tax Cuts indicating very strongly that these cuts should be made permanent. This was their highest priority. As unfunded "tax expenditures" it forced the government to borrow money to meet its obligations. The GOP now refuses to allow the Treasury to borrow the money needed to pay for their OWN PRIORITIES! The are huffing and fussing about entitlements and mandates and throwing around ultimatums, generally making asses of themselves and causing a lot of worry among folks in the money world about these children playing with dynamite.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new "Know Nothing" Party. They know nothing about how the world works. They know nothing about what is best for ALL Americans. They know nothing about governance. They have lots of answers and policy statements but they know nothing of their real affect on real citizens.

More work to do....

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hating Taxes, Ezra Klein Explains.

Why does the GOP hate taxes so much? - Ezra Klein - The Washington Post

I love this guy. He asks questions and searches out relevant answers. How many of us regular citizens have ever found experts who would ask or answer these? We're much more likely to read whatever claptrap is published by our particular side of the political spectrum and rant about the talking points derived therefrom. So friends...

Ezra writes:
I spent much of yesterday asking right-leaning economists to walk me through two quotes that seemed to summarize the Republican Party’s argument against taxes. The first came from Boehner on the “Today” show. “The fact is you can’t tax the people we expect to invest in the economy and create jobs,” he said. The second came from Louis Woodhill, a member of the anti-tax Club for Growth’s leadership council. “To stimulate GDP growth, a tax cut has to cut the marginal tax rates upon which the decision-makers in the economy base their decisions to work and, above all, to invest.”
There you have it... the Randian philosophy that the "producers" must be in the lead because they and only they can drive the economy. Their choices must be incentivized hence lower taxes and no tax raises ... ever. Unstated though, is the value of cutting "tax expenditures." Klien again:
But let’s say we cut the deduction for your health-care insurance, or your mortgage interest. That raises your taxes, and you may not like it. But it doesn’t give you a reason to work less. Quite the opposite, in fact. But Hubbard didn’t feel Boehner was giving sufficient weight to this distinction. “When I heard the speaker,” he said, “I didn’t just hear him rule out marginal increases. I heard him rule out cutting tax expenditures, too.” To Hubbard, that didn’t make much sense. Cutting tax expenditures wasn’t like raising tax rates. It wouldn’t be apocalyptic for the economy. It wouldn’t keep the decision-makers from investing. It might even keep them from over-investing in things we want less of, like expensive health-care insurance policies and homes.
Not exactly raising taxes, but it does have the same effect. This is the irrational part of the GOP argument. The no new taxes ever argument is expanding to include all forms of income streams available to the government.

It's particularly insane because of the laboratory experiment in economics conducted by the United States in the early '90's.

Leonard Burman isn’t a Republican economist, but he is a tax expert. He was actually deputy undersecretary for tax analysis in Bill Clinton’s Treasury Department. And when I reached him for comment, he found the whole conversation baffling. “You can build these models where people are very sensitive to changes in taxes,” he said, “ but in practice, there’s scant evidence of it actually working out that way. And lucky for us. If we really needed to get the tax code just right in order for the economy to grow, we’d have been in a depression for the last 40 years.”
The bottom line, he says, is that these theories were tested, and recently. “In the 1990s, we raised taxes, particularly on the rich. And a lot of these people were saying our tax increases were going to kill the economy. But remember what actually happened? We got rid of our deficits and the economy grew really robustly for 10 years. And what if it happened again? We might get rid of our deficits and the economy would grow really robustly for another 10 years. Maybe it’s good for the economy to actually get the deficit under control.”
Thanks Ezra. I needed that.

More work to do.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

GOP chokes on own Medicare Kool-Aid - War Room -

GOP chokes on own Medicare Kool-Aid - War Room -

Exhibit 1A... Republicans suck at governance. Turns out, socialism isn't quite as unpopular as they'd have us think. Seems it's pretty popular and works very well... for regular folks. That, of course, is maddening to the Plutocrat Party. It's just too hard to get rich when you keep giving away money to the middle class, the poor, the veterans, teachers and public employees of all kinds. It's just not fair to redistribute wealth downwards instead of upwards... Them's that got, shall get, them's that not shall lose..... right?  Isn't it easier to make money on poorhouses and prisons?

More work to do....

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Making the Case From a Different Place | Truthout

Making the Case From a Different Place | Truthout

All I have to say is, Prince William is a foreigner... Republicans care so much about the real catastrophe of unemployment they are going to.... oh no, ban abortion funding again, and Mr. Obama is..... oh no a foreigner too?  sigh....


After the amusement, there is actually a very good progressive point to be made.  Some important things to think about...  Read on

More work to do....

GOP Ponders Holding 'Debt Limit' Hostage Every Sixty Days,

GOP Ponders Holding 'Debt Limit' Hostage Every Sixty Days, Not Just Once | Common Dreams

Holding the American people hostage, just because they can. Extortion? Political terrorism? Refusal to enter into debate? Refusal to compromise? Radicalism?

Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes.

“It is the only leverage that we have over a Senate and a president that is seemingly unconcerned about the over-spending,” said freshman Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), who said he would not support any bill that allows borrowing past Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. “I would support a much shorter time-frame.”
This view is gaining ground in the Republican caucus. It is profoundly ignorant. It is profoundly lazy in a political sense. It implies a complete refusal to engage with any compromise out of the question. If this truly is the last resort of a repressed minority, as these folks are telling us it is, what is the true role of the Republican Party after all? More importantly, what is the role of the majority? Call their bluff? Does anyone here understand the risk involved? If Republicans are hell-bent on blowing up the financial integrity of the government of the United States for whatever reason, isn't that treason? For this to work, they have to convince us that they really would pull the trigger. Will their wealthy constituents let them do it?

It's profound ignorance of how the economy works, or it's a very, very, high stakes poker game with our life as a nation at stake, or it's simple extortion. If they truly are serious, they must be absolutely sure that someone has their back. It is the government, after all, and the largess provided by the very taxes they vilify that is the major source of their vast wealth. The treasury of the US government is the insurance policy for the wealthy bankers of Wall Street. Would these guys give THAT up to these anti-tax radicals?

Radicalism never works. It can only crash and burn. The radicals in Congress are hell bent, and determined to take us all with them.

More work to do.

Friday, April 29, 2011

When did we see Thee hungry?

Today's post is a reprint of the Forward from the 2010 report from the Children's Defense fund by Marian Wright Edelman.  The entire report can be read HERE.  The moral depravity of the current political debate over spending vs austerity is glaringly clear in this report.  The twisted priorities of the beltway political class, the faux outrage of the wealthy and their supportive peasant class, the impotence of the supposed supporters of progressive priorities, the misplaced religious fervor of the evangelical christian right, and the insane policies of the NRA fighting for the divine right of gun violence, all conspire against children in America. 

I encourage you to read this entire report, then find something you can do to try and help ALL the children. Thanks.

He who opens a school door, closes a prison.
— Victor Hugo
The clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice. All eyes are fixed on people like Barack Obama and OprahWinfrey, who have defied the odds and risen to power, fame and fortune. 
There are more African Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the CivilWar began.
— Michelle Alexander, Author The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Children Need Emergency Help in This Deep Recession Now!

Children have only one childhood and it is right now. Millions of children in our nation require emergency attention in our recession ravaged economy as poverty, including extreme child poverty, hunger, and homelessness have increased, if irreparable harm is not to be inflicted on them and on our nation’s future.

The greatest threat to America’s national security comes from no enemy without but from our failure to protect, invest in, and educate all of our children who make up all of our futures. Every 11 seconds of every school day a high school student drops out of school; every 32 seconds a baby is born into poverty; every 41 seconds a child is confirmed abused or neglected; every 42 seconds a baby is born without health insurance; every minute a baby is born to a teen mother; every minute a baby is born at low birthweight; every three hours a child or teen is killed by a firearm. A majority of children in all racial and income groups cannot read or do math at grade level in 4th, 8th or 12th grade and over 80 percent of Black and Hispanic children, who with other minority children will constitute a majority of our population in 2023, are behind in these grade levels – if they have not already dropped out of school.

If the foundation of your house is crumbling, you don’t say you cannot afford to fix it. Children are the foundation of America’s future. We need to invest now in their health, early childhood development and education. Today is tomorrow.

God has blessed America with great material wealth but we have not shared it fairly  with our children and our poor. Although we lead the nations of the world in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in billionaires, and in military technology, defense expenditures, and military exports, our money and our military might have not translated into moral might, adequate child safety and well-being, and a concept of enough for those at the top and at the bottom.

Children are the poorest age group and the younger children are, the poorer they are. We rank highest among industrialized nations in relative child poverty and in the gap between rich and poor, and last in protecting children against gun violence.

The gap between the rich and the poor is the highest ever recorded in America. In the 1960’s, when the economy was expanding, about two-thirds of the nation’s income gains went to the bottom 90 percent of U.S. households. In the first half of this decade, it was just the opposite: the wealthiest one percent reaped two-thirds of the income gains. Between 2002-2007, the income of the wealthiest one percent of U.S. households grew more than ten times as fast as the income of the bottom 90 percent. In 2007, the income share for the wealthiest 10 percent of households, 49.74 percent, was the highest ever recorded.

In 2008, the highest-paid American CEO took home over $100 million, an amount equal to the salaries of 2,028 elementary school teachers, or 3, 827 Head Start teachers, or 5, 275 child care workers. The average CEO of a Fortune 500 company earned 319 times as much as the average worker. The combined net worth of the United States’ 408 billionaires is $1.3493 trillion – greater than the combined GDP of 134 countries where more than a billion people live.

This fiscal year, the Department of Defense is scheduled to spend a total of $683.7 billion. This is $13.1 billion a week; $1.9 billion a day; $78 million an hour; $1.3 million a minute; and $29,679.13 a second. Just one second of defense spending is more than a Head Start teacher earns in a year. Yet our children are three times more likely to die from firearms at home than American soldiers who are fighting in the Afghanistan war. Headlines blazed across America in June 2010 when America’s military death toll in Afghanistan reached 1,000 after nine years of that war. No headline blazes when CDF releases the disgraceful annual numbers showing more than 3,000 children – 3,042 children in 2007 – dying in the gun war at home. Six times as many child gun injuries occur.

The terrible Taliban terrorist threat to American child and citizen safety is rivaled by the terrible NRA threat which terrorizes our political leaders from protecting our children from the over 280 million guns in circulation which have taken over 110,000 child lives since 1979, when gun data collection by age began. More American preschool children died from guns in 2007 than police officers in the line of duty and more Black male youths die in one year from guns than all the lynching of Black people in American history. But where is our anti-war movement at home?

And where is our anti-poverty movement at a time when one in 50 Americans, a New York Times front page story tells us, has no cash income? “Almost six million Americans receiving Food Stamps report they have no income. They described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash and no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay. About one in 50 Americans now lives in a household with a recorded income that consists of nothing but a Food Stamp card,” the New York Times’ Jason DeParle reported.

This shocking New York Times article provoked no public outcry, action or shame. It did not stop some political leaders from trying to block extension of unemployment insurance benefits, more federal dollars to protect or create jobs or to expand tax credits for working families desperately trying to feed, house and clothe their children, or to invest more in stimulating an economy struggling to recover with 14.6 million workers still unemployed and massive state deficits which will cause more job loss. How morally obscene it is that a nation with a GDP exceeding $14 trillion cannot find the will, common sense and decency to provide a safety net to protect its over 14 million poor children – the number before the recession which is expected to push millions more children into poverty and extreme poverty, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Brookings Institution. The Connecticut legislature recently enacted a bill to cushion its children from the harmful impact of recession by decreasing bureaucratic barriers to accessing a range of benefits and tax refunds as occurred in New York during 9-11. State leaders recognized that the impact of even short periods of poverty can have a long term – even permanent – effect on children pulled from
the stable security of their home, school, and friends when families lose their homes and jobs and are forced to move in with others or into homeless shelters. The loss of a sense of safety amidst the turmoil of economic insecurity fuels stress for parents and children and breeds a sense of hopelessness about the future. Our leaders and citizens need to respond.

This is a time when America can and must turn economic downturn into an opportunity to step forward to correct the gross imbalance of government subsidization of the wealthiest and most powerful among us and provide a safety net for all children from growing hunger, homelessness and stress. A college student working three jobs in Connecticut, causing her to make lower grades, feels she will never be able to get into medical school and fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. Teenagers are leaving home to ease the burdens on their unemployed parents. Now is the time to correct the laissez-faire federal policies that enabled the few to run roughshod over the life savings of many hard working Americans and wreck the lives and dreams of millions of children. And now is the time to replace the costly, ineffective, unjust and abusive child and youth policies which favor punishment and incarceration and cost tens of billions of tax payer dollars with more cost effective prevention and early intervention strategies, based on best practices that put children on the path to healthy adulthood rather than into the adult criminal system.

We are the world’s leading jailer and are criminalizing our poor and minority children at younger and younger ages – both shameful badges of misguided and negative leadership. A cradle to prison pipeline, driven by poverty and racial disparities, is becoming the new American apartheid threatening to undermine the hard earned racial and social progress of the last half century. The prison pipeline sucks hundreds of thousands of children every year into a trajectory that leads to marginalized lives, illiteracy, imprisonment and often premature death. Nationally, one in three Black and one in six Latino boys born in 2001 are at risk of imprisonment during their lifetime. There are more Black citizens under the purview of the corrections system today than there were Black people in slavery ten years before the Civil War according to legal scholar Michelle Alexander in her important book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

The federal government is spending $6.2 billion and states are spending $50 billion a year to incarcerate 2.4 million people. States are spending on average three times more per prisoner than per public school pupil. New York state spends $210,000 a year on youths in abusive and ineffective upstate New York youth prisons. Black children are 32 times more likely than White children to be sent to these upstate youth prisons far from home. Seventy-five percent of them have committed nonviolent offenses and pose no threat to public safety – until they come out. This unjustifiable profligate state youth prison spending of $210,000 per youth – the equivalent of four years at Harvard or Yale—is simply underwriting abusive prep schools for the adult criminal system. Their recidivism rate is 75 percent. Their results threaten rather than increase public safety and derail so many youthful lives. There are far cheaper and more effective community based alternatives that help rather than hurt children.

It is time to replace the costly, ineffective and destructive prison pipeline with a pipeline to college, career and productive work for all our young. We cannot afford not to provide a healthy, fair and safe start for every child and a continuum of support with the help of caring families and communities to enable them to reach productive adulthood. Table after table in this report shows how dumb and costly our failure to invest early in children is. Building on best practices and accelerating help children and their families need, especially during this deep recession, is the right and economically
wise thing to do in a decent society. Saving child lives early and saving money go hand in hand.

I hope the facts in this report will wake us up and provoke us to speak out and stand up and demand our leaders act now to alleviate the massive child suffering around the nation. The catastrophic BP oil spill’s assault on our environment is an urgent national emergency. But so is the catastrophic impact of this recession and the chronic plight and suffering of millions of children left adrift in a sea of poverty, hunger and homelessness and political neglect. The selfish and reckless profiteering of Wall Street bankers who are still living high need to be adequately regulated—to prevent a repeat economic catastrophe. And wounded children losing teachers and days of schooling and safe spaces after school and in the summer, and enough food and safe housing need equal priority attention by their government.

If we could bail out bankers to steady the economy, we can bail out babies who without our help will see their hopes and dreams for a better life wiped out. Denying children their basic human rights to adequate nutrition, health care, education, and safety from adult neglect, abuse, and violence should be a no brainer.

I grew up in a small rural county in South Carolina which I still call home. Marlboro County has a population of about 30,000: 52 percent African American; 42.5 percent White; and 3.7 percent American Indian and Alaska Native. Our unemployment rate at last look was 20 percent. A federal and state prison are among the county’s largest employers. I was deeply saddened by a recent story of three young teen boys in my county who were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. The first boy said he wanted to work at McDonalds; the second boy said he wanted to be Spiderman
and when pushed for a real person, he could not think of one; and the third boy drew a boy lying on the ground and said he was going to be dead before he grew up. This is not Dr. King’s dream. This is not America’s dream. This is not my dream for them.We can and must do better.

What the Report Provides

This State of America’s Children 2010 describes: (1) the status of children in a range of  areas – what has improved, worsened or stagnated; (2) the continuing racial and income disparities faced by children of color who will make up a majority of our workforce to support our increasingly aging population; and (3) the higher costs of poverty and neglect and the savings from preventive investment.

State by state data with the best and worst states on key child indicators also are included.

Marian Wright Edelman

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ben Bernanke renounces Middle Class

Ben Bernanke Makes History, Not News

The war on the middle class continues. The unmitigated disaster that is 8.8% unemployment continues unabated. That's millions and millions of Americans who will suffer poor health, stress, depression, unhealthy diets, poor performance in school, and a huge decrease in quality of life.

Unemployment buys us mediocrity, not exeptionalism. Unemployment is our road to the bottom. The Fed has just declared that it is more important to preserve a low inflation rate benefiting the employed and the employers rather than stimulating job growth by helping the middle class. Once again the choice has been made... the middle class is toast.

 More work to do....

Palin’s Incoherence or "What's a Know-Nothing?)

ThinkProgress » Palin’s Incoherence: U.S. Has No Interest In Libya, But U.S. Must ‘Help Freedom Fighters’ In Libya

So here you go. A Know-Nothing hears the president's rationale for an policy decisions and responds, "The President has never given a rationale for ...."

A Know-Nothing says first we should be supporting "freedom fighters" around the world then accuses the President of "fighting expensive wars."

A Know-Nothing says only what they know how to say. The only thing Ms Palin knows how to say is "The President is profoundly mistaken."


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Governor to Citizens: "You Don't Matter..."

Governor to EPA: Water guidelines aren’t necessary here - Florida -

Citizens need clean water. Think about it... drinking, boating, swimming, fishing. The environment needs clean water. Again, think about it. The human animal is dependent at last, upon a healthy, clean environment. Plutocrats need dirty water. They need cheap dumping grounds for the poison bi-products of their entrepreneurial expertise. They aren't particularly evil nor are they trying to help extinguish the human race on purpose, they simply need to dump poison cheaply to preserve the profit margin for their stock holders. The earth to them is a ball of raw materials to be used and discarded. The citizens of the earth are simply products and consumers of their goods. As long as we're buyin' they're sellin'. If anyone is harmed by this free market activity, "so be it."

Check Ayn Rand.

More work to do.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Political Movement Gone Mad

GOP Wave Reshapes Nation's Agenda State By State

The most effective means of gaining control when you are in the minority is to win as many local, county, and state offices as possible. Folks in these positions are often not rabid partisans or even professional politicians and are in the positions as legitimate community service. If a "movement" wants to gain control of the political landscape, scooping up all the small offices is pretty easy for a rabid partisan. Here we have example after example of state governments being taken over by the (I'm a little)Tea(Pot) Party. They might be doing us a favor though, because as their agenda now comes into the open, it suffers the fate of all radical ideas. Let the light shine....

Republican governors and state legislators are bringing abortion restrictions into effect from Virginia to Arizona, expanding gun rights north and south, pushing polling-station photo ID laws that are anathema to Democrats and taking on public sector unions anywhere they can.
Union crushing, abortion obsession, voter suppression, and Guns4Us is just for starters..

The realignment in Florida has produced a law imposing more accountability on teachers, along with 18 proposed abortion restrictions, some bound to become law. Immigration controls are motivating lawmakers far from borders, constitutional amendments against gay marriage are picking up steam, Michigan and Missouri shortened the period people can get jobless benefits and Indiana may soon have the broadest school voucher program in the U.S.
Then we move on to blaming teachers, more abortion obsession, xenophobia, homophobia, screwing the unemployed, and undermining public education.

In bellwether Ohio, new Republican Gov. John Kasich burst out of the gate with a plan, now law, to hand over job creation functions from the government to a nonprofit corporation whose board he chairs. Bills that would have met quick death under Democratic control have advanced under Republican majorities – none more apparent than the law to curtail the collective bargaining rights of more than 350,000 public workers.
And of course, we're running states now like corporations. The CEO gets to pick all the appointees and squash the competition. Public servants? Boo! Unproductive feather bedders... It's happening in Ohio as well as Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida. The Governors of these states are setting up little "caliphates" of their own, ignoring their own citizens and imposing Republican rule. Are they a little power mad? ANN SANNER and CALVIN WOODWARD think so. Remember this is the end game for the right wing. There isn't much farther right they can go. There are only so many times they can go to the well with "death panels" before folks catch on. How long will the "Guns4Us" crowd be able to cry, weep, and knash their teeth about being victimized by "do gooders"? Encouraging stupidity and ignorance, squashing other minorities (Republican-Americans aren't even a large minority these days...) bashing gays, white pride, rule by and for the rich.... a political movement gone mad....

More work to do...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tranforming the Debate, Liberals Win

Robert Creamer: How Obama Seized the Political High Ground in Budget War

Mr. Creamer is the most optimistic progressive I know. If you are ever in need of a pick-me-up, if you're down and troubled, read some of his writings. It's a shot in the arm to the progressive soul.

"...the moment we transform the debate into a contest between progressive and radical conservative values -- between the progressive and conservative visions of the future -- we completely change the political equation.

Yesterday, President Obama argued that the debate about the federal budget is actually about two very different visions of American society:

  • Are we all in this together -- or do we believe in a society where everyone is out for himself and himself alone?
  • Should we simultaneously take responsibility for ourselves and look out for each other -- or should the strongest and most clever among us simply be allowed to dominate and exploit the rest?
  • Do we aspire to hope and possibility -- to the belief that we can shape a better future for our kids? Or are we ready to concede that we can no longer afford to assure that every child has the education she needs to fulfill her potential =- or that seniors should be denied a dignified life in their retirement -- or that if you're sick and poor, you're just out of luck?

Our religious traditions make it clear which side of this value debate embodies the true aspirations of most Americans -- as does our choice of heroes and heroines."

I like it. The part about the transformation of the debate. Liberals win when we talk values, about being in this together and about being personally responsible while we are in this together. Huge majorities of the country support the liberal social safety net as well as the policies that help all of us do better.

Thank you Mr. Obama.

More work to do...

Friday, April 15, 2011

ThinkProgress » BREAKING: House Republicans Overwhelmingly Vote To Phase Out Medicare

ThinkProgress » BREAKING: House Republicans Overwhelmingly Vote To Phase Out Medicare

There you have it ladies and gentlemen. The Republican-Americans are reaching as far as they can. They must be very sure that some very deep pockets will have their backs. Get ready for a media blitzkrieg like you've never seen before. The plutocrats will now try to convince us that dying early, being sicker and poorer is in our best interest. They'll also try and convince us that it's the patriotic thing to do to hand over all our worldly possessions to the "successful ones" in our society, as if they'd spend an ounce of energy on our behalf. Who are the real sickos here?

Republicans voted to kill Medicare today. Republicans voted today to kill my kids and my grandkids when they get to be seniors. They must have great faith in the ability of their money to buy our support... great faith....

More work to do.

"The Rich" - Suckling Pigs?

The Daily News Record: Editorial Opinion

First of all.. it was Wednesday.

Walter Williams is a political economist. We know how economics works politically. The folks that pull the strings get what they want. Simple. His Free Market religion gives him the answers for everything from Racial Equality, Economic Justice, to National Security and Gun Control. (he's against it.) He considers the maelstrom of laissez-faire economics the greatest force for good, solving economic crises by hoovering up all the cash and giving it to "the rich." This policy of Public Theft improves the quality of life in America for the Republican Americans, not so much for the non-Republican Americans. (There are LOTS of us...)

Government is NOT the problem any more. The effectiveness of policies, the quality of public service, the control of the economy, the protection of the environment, and now even the social safety net are becoming dinosaurs of a bygone era. The New Gilded class of government-haters has effectively dismantled the government to the point that it is simply a cash cow for the wealthy.

There is a lot of talk about suckling at various teats. Americans suck at "300,000,000 government teats." The poor and homeless depend on the government for food and shelter, sucking at the government teat. Any and all social programs are viewed as handouts to the poor, invitations to sloth and laziness... Those who view America as a huge suckling pig, are missing something. THEY all want to be the pig! They want all the cash and political power to dole out as they see fit.

The plutocratic class enjoys using the taxpayers money to enrich themselves. Check the military industrial complex. Take note of how often the words personalize, or privatize enter the jargon of legislation. Most of all, check the use of the words "Tax Cut." Tax Cuts are Public Theft. Stealing the money from those without enough political power to prevent it is simple, evil theft.

Mr. Editor, your beloved "rich" advocate the greatest evil, money. Money is the root not the cure of all evil. You have it sadly backwards. Your oft stated gratitude for the wealthiest of us has the power of misplaced religious fervor, advocating what is wrong with America rather than what is best for America.

The most prosperity America has ever achieved was during an era of the greatest social justice in the 30 years after World War II. The tax burden was spread more widely and the disparity between the wealthiest and the poorest was not as great. The last 30 years has been an exercise in dismantling that prosperity and redistributing the wealth upwards. This is the end game for Reaganomics. It’s not very pretty. It will not succeed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ThinkProgress » As Taxpayers Pad Big Oil’s Soaring Profits, Landry Praises Excessive CEO Compensation As ‘The American Dream’

ThinkProgress » As Taxpayers Pad Big Oil’s Soaring Profits, Landry Praises Excessive CEO Compensation As ‘The American Dream’

So here you go. This is the American Dream, according to Rep. Landry. His view, of course, is supported by his Tea Party colleagues. If they get away with it, the rest of us can get our serf outfits ready. They'll be coming for the rest of our "wealth" pretty soon. It'll be in the form of more expensive health care, more forclosures, laid off workers, denied benefits, stolen pensions, more expensive...everything. They want it all....

More work to do.

Economists: Gridlocked Congress 'Playing With Fire' As Failure To Legislate Could Devastate Economy

Economists: Gridlocked Congress 'Playing With Fire' As Failure To Legislate Could Devastate Economy

Only radical extremists would play the "cure it or kill it" game. Reminds me of the Armageddonists' wish for the end times. The GOP has been leading us in this direction for 30 years. This is the endgame. Reaganomics fullfilled. It's nothing less than a new aristocratic regime, we just don't know who is King. The American Dream? It's there for the taking. Will we let Mr. Ryan and his overlords, the Koch Brothers kill it for us?

More work to do....

Monday, April 4, 2011

House GOP's 'Radical' Plan To Overhaul Medicare, Medicaid | TPMDC

House GOP's 'Radical' Plan To Overhaul Medicare, Medicaid | TPMDC

Here it is. Right out in the open where we can all see. Who will look?

Low-income Medicaid beneficiaries will lose their guaranteed benefits altogether.
There you go. In a nut-shell. Think about that for a little. The American Dream is now officially out of reach for the Low-income, the poor, the lower class. But wait, it gets worse.

Recently Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt -- a respected health care expert -- described the plan this way: "Under the defined contribution approach envisaged by the Rivlin-Ryan plan, most of the risk of future health-care cost increases would be shifted onto the shoulders of Medicare beneficiaries. This feature makes the proposal radical."
Shifting the costs of health care onto the folks who can afford it the least. What part of the American Dream does this belong to? The part where the heel of the boot is on your neck? Where is that in the annals of American History? Oh wait! Wasn't that what the original Tea Party was all about? The Oligarchs of the East India Tea Company ruling the colonies with an iron hand? Now we're handing the oligarchs of the Health Care industry the power of quality of life? Is the dream over? Will anyone look?

More work to do...Mr. Obama has just declared for 2012.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bob Cesca: The Republicans Lack the Seriousness to Govern

Bob Cesca: The Republicans Lack the Seriousness to Govern

Hitting Nail On Head.... alternate title. This latest flimflammery of Mr. Cantor is simply amazing. They will soon be re-writing the nation's motto to say "In Money We Trust." Can anyone doubt the true Republican agenda now? The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, American Values, the strength and breadth of the melting pot... all cast aside for the preservation and creation of wealth. The Republicans are not serious about ANYTHING else.

More work to do...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More Hate from the Right

ThinkProgress » Ohio House Passes ‘Nation’s Most Restrictive’ Voter ID Law That Would Curb Rights Of Almost 900,000 Ohioans

Republicans hate folks who commit voter fraud. In Ohio and Texas they have passed new restrictive voter registration laws dedicated to stopping it. They hate it so much that they will deny almost a million citizens the opportunity to vote. They hate the seniors, the college students, the homeless, the disabled, and people of color that would be disenfranchised by legislation requiring new forms of identification for voter registration.
They hate the fact that most of these disenfranchised voters vote for candidates from the Democratic Party. They hate it so much that they use the shadowy spectre of "voter fraud" to deny the right to vote for millions of United States citizens. I think they also really hate the idea that there just aren't enough good conservative Republican voters to out-vote the Democrats. They hate the idea that they have to work so hard and so strenuously to win by such narrow margins.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice only 4 cases of voter fraud have been found out of more than 9 million votes cast. The problem doesn't exist.  Republicans can't produce any evidence of voter fraud.  There is none.  Republicans BELIEVE that voter fraud is a big problem and then they say, "Prove that voter fraud does not occur."

I repeat, only 4 cases of voter fraud have been proven in over 9 million votes cast from 2002 to 2004.  I think Republicans just hate that.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Become a Producer

Next Season on Survivor...

Have you heard about the next planned "Survivor" show?

Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for 1 school year. Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district's curriculum, and a class of 20-25 students.

Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.H.D., one gifted child, and two whospeak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.

Each business person must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. They must also stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways.

In addition, they will complete fire drills, tornado drills, and [Code Red] drills for shooting attacks each month.

They must attend workshops, faculty meetings, and attend curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their 2 non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the SOLS tests. If they are sick or having a bad day they must not let it show.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times. If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible.

The business people will have access to the public golf course only on the weekends, but with their new salary, they will not be able to afford it. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to thirty minutes, which is not counted as part of their work day. The business people will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class.

If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before, or after, school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies. The business people must continually advance their education, at their expense, and on their own time.

The winner of this Season of Survivor will be allowed to return to his/her job.

Pass this to your friends who think teaching is easy, and to the ones that know it is hard.