Tuesday, August 26, 2014

GOPers: Running for Office; Serving in Office; After Being Booted Out

Sound Familiar

Big Issue GOP Does Not Comprehend
(They Want to Give it to Wall Street Brokers)


1.  Social Security: Most GOPers running for office, “We are going to fix things” but once in office, “We tried, but the DEMS kept stopping us at every turn.”

Remember thisIn 1936, GOP presidential candidate, Al Landon, said this in Milwaukee on September 26, 1936, in his infamous “I WILL NOT PROMISE YOU THE MOON” speech:  “This law (social security) is unjust, unworkable, stupidly drafted, and wastefully financed. It is a cruel hoax on the American worker.”  Now today: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) even referred to it as a “Ponzi scheme.” 

As of July 2013, almost 58 million Americans will have received over $816 billion in Social Security benefits that year:

•  Retired workers nearly 37 million @ $47.4 billion - $1,269 average monthly benefit
•  Dependents 2.9 million @ $1.8 billion
•  Disabled workers 8.9 million @ $10 billion - $1,129 average monthly benefit
•  Dependents 2.1 million @ $ point 69 billion
•  Survivors 6.2 million @ $6.6 billion - $1,221 average monthly benefit

Fact: Social Security is the major source of income for most of the elderly.
Fact: Social Security provides more than just retirement benefits.
Fact: An estimated 163 million workers are covered under Social Security.
Fact: In 1940, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old was an additional 14 years; today it is more than an additional 20 years.
Fact: By the year 2033, the number of older Americans will increase from 45.1 to 77.4 million.
Fact: There currently 2.8 workers for each Social Security beneficiary. By the year 2033, there will be 2.1 workers for each beneficiary.

2.  Medicare: Various GOP quotes and positions over the years:

In 1961, former President Ronald Reagan warned: “That failure to stop Medicare will mean you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

In 1964, former President George H.W. Bush called it “Socialized medicine.”

In 1964, former GOP Sen. and Presidential Candidate, Barry Goldwater said: “Having given our pensioners their medical care in kind, why not food baskets, why not public housing accommodations, why not vacation resorts, why not a ration of cigarettes for those who smoke and of beer for those who drink.”

In 1995, then House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed to to cut 14% from projected Medicare spending over seven years thus forcing millions of elderly recipients into managed health care programs or HMOs, saying, “The cuts were to ensure that Medicare is going to wither on the vine.”

In 1996, former GOP Sen. and Presidential Candidate, Bob Dole bragged that he was one of 12 House members who voted against creating Medicare in 1965 by saying: “I was there, fighting the fight, voting against Medicare ... because we knew it wouldn’t work in 1965.”

In 2009, Rep. Tom Price (GA), 2009 said: “Nothing has had a greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the federal government's intrusion into medicine through Medicare.”

Flash Back to George W. Bush: He tried to privatize social security – that went nowhere. 

Got it now?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Set the GOP Suicide Watch, Call in Extra Medical Personnel, Stay Alert, Pray

Pen Change Anyone, Anyone At All? 
(Oops...)

Logically, Then (GOP Excuse) This Would Follow


This headlines starts the ball rolling ... so, set the suicide watch. The entire GOP is at risk (as if we didn't already know that). Highlights:

Since the Affordable Care Act became law four years ago, health care experts have warned of sweeping changes to the U.S. health care system.

But here’s one thing they didn’t expect. Instead of weakening the existing system of employer-provided health insurance — which many analysts predicted — the ACA so far seems to have strengthened it. And that could make Obama-care, as the ACA is known, far less revolutionary than advocates promised and critics feared.

More at the link. Enjoy – I darn sure did.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A, B, C Pop Quiz: (A) U.S. Infantry; (B) Jack Bauer & CTU; (C) Local Police

Which is 101st Airborne Division soldier or St. Louis County Sheriff in Ferguson, MO

Or, 24-CTU TacTeam Agent

LA Times coverage of this suddenly growing concern: Community Police Force military style.

Beginning last Saturday, and then for several nights in a row, the image of Ferguson, MO police officers in camouflage pointing high-caliber rifles from armored vehicles at unarmed protesters was inescapable.

Seeing that much military-grade equipment, even in a small St. Louis suburb like Ferguson, has highlighted the debate over whether the arming of the nation's police forces has gone too far. Los Angeles Times correspondents checked in on a handful of police departments around the country to see how the debate affects them.

Here is another slant on the same story from the NY Times

And here from WTOP regarding the Nation's capital police and the same subject. 

Granted our police forces should always be better than those they confront in any situation, but do they have to look like they are ready to airdrop in Iraq and take on the ISIS, or deploy to North Korea, or should the situation dictate the tactics? The answer I think is self-evident.

More on this subject I am sure following what we are now seeing in Ferguson, MO.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Qatar Acts Like U.S. Ally — Treats Us Like the Greedy Fools We Are



Center of the Universe or Center of Big Money???

Qatar, population about 2 million, is the world's richest country per capita and has the highest human development in the Arab World. It is recognized as a high income economy by the World Bank.

Qatar has the world's third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels.  

Qatar has become an influential player in the Arab world. Qatar supported several rebel groups during the Arab Spring both financially and by asserting global influence through its expanding media group, Al Jazeera Media Network.

Any wonder why then they have so much U.S. attention? Ha - how about the deal they and U.S. signed for some $11 billion in military arms that included: Patriot missiles, Apache helicopters, and Antitank missiles.

The most-simple question in view of the contents in this article here is why so much American attention and a deal like that for a country with 2 million people and this size of a military
force: Approximately 11,800 men. That includes an Army of 8,500, a Navy of 1,800, and an Air Force of 1,500.

Qatar is widely believed to be Hamas's top sponsor. In 2012, then-emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani visited Gaza and pledged $400 million in economic aid. Just last month, Doha tried to transfer millions of dollars via Jordan's Arab Bank to pay salaries to Hamas civil servants in Gaza.

So, it really is true what "they" say: "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." 

Friends today, enemies tomorrow and vice versa. Is that the best way to run the world or not? Hardly, but that's what we have right now.

 


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hypocrisy is Our Middle Name — Signed the Formely Grand Old Party

As if We Didn't Already Know 

Who Didn't Know This, Too 
(this is not new info)

And, as noted in the post below, tell me it's not true about Obama-care, and then guess who is “Mr. Amnesty?” Yep, the same GOP “hero” – the Gipper himself, or so they keep reminding us (that is selective reminders BTW).

WASHINGTON, DC — President Ronald Reagan today (November 6, 1986) signed a landmark immigration bill that prohibits employers from hiring illegal aliens and offers legal status to many illegal aliens already in the United States. 

Yet, today, the same GOPers with their biased and narrow-minded mentality blast Mr. Obama because he does not want to crush or punish kids who sneaked into the U.S. or who have been here for decades in some cases. 

Re: That income drop for the middle class and GOP poll showing their attitude about who is and should be rewarded in the country is very revealing. Below is a very good segment on this subject:


My Summary:

DEMS: Stand with the working class, middle class, Unions who strive for better wages and working conditions, low wage workers, minorities, and they always have.

GOPers
: Stand with, by, and for the top and they always have, all the while they hate Unions, most public employees, anyone who does not look or act like they do. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's All in the Name, Isn't It, Mr. and Mrs. Gee Old Poops

Watch the GOP Stop Voting to Repeal Obama-care and Instead Rename It

Mostly from USA Today - edited in part to fit the blog:

The battle over the ACA health care law goes on, including what name it should really be called.

President Obama told Democratic has many that that the GOP critics (mostly) won't be using the term Obama-care much longer because it will be too popular with the American public, adding:
:In five years it will no longer be called Obama-care, because when something is working ... there will be a whole renaming process.”

Mr. Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and more so today it is referred to as Obama-care (GOP started that name in the hopes the anger at Mr. Obama about a lot of things would cause it to take a nasty or ugly meaning).

Then Mr. Obama joked that the future name change, if any, will be like the one given to the Washington airport and other proposals: for former president Ronald Reagan, adding: “I don't know if it will be “Reagan-care” or not, but it will be something different, bet on it.”

Republicans have voted at least 50 times to repeal it and now even today they voted to sue Mr. Obama for not implementing it properly and grating more exemptions that Congress has not approved.

Republicans also want control of the entire Congress for two things: (1) Overturn a lot of Obama things and (2) try, by some estimates, move to impeach Mr. Obama. 

The only question is: W H Y??? 

Oh, yeah, because the GOP thinks they can. So, never mind.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

GOP Education Plan: Abolish Public Schools and Right to Carry in Schools

The Only Book Any Student / Classroom Will Never Need

Bus Service Still Publicly-Funded
(K-12 Classroom Compliance Officers)

Typical K-12 Science Class Flyer

Teacher Ready to Meet Her Class in New School Year

The GOP wants to dismantle public schools badly and has for years ... to replace them with private, mostly Christian-based ... no wonder they dislike science so much ... they prefer the Bible as the only textbook for the classes...

On the move for many years… two examples here:


“Like most other conservatives and libertarians, we see vouchers as a major step toward the complete privatization of schooling. In fact, after careful study, we have come to the conclusion that they are the only way to dismantle the current socialist regime.” Bast spells out the agenda:

“Vouchers zero in on the government school monopoly's most vulnerable point: the distinction between government financing and government delivery of service. People who accept the notion that schooling is an entitlement will nevertheless vote to allow private schools to compete with one another for public funds. That fact gives us the tool we need to undercut the organizing ability of teachers' unions, and hence their power as a special-interest group.”

“Because we know how the government schools perpetuate themselves, we can design a plan to dismantle them.”

Right-wing billionaire Dick DeVos speaking at the Heritage Foundation, 2002:

“And so while those of us on the national level can give support, we need to encourage the development of these organizations on a state-by-state basis, in order to be able to offer a political consequence, for opposition, and political reward, for support of, education reform issues.”

“That has got to be the battle. It will not be as visible. And, in fact, to the extent that we on the right, those of us on the conservative side of the aisle, appropriate education choice as our idea, we need to be a little bit cautious about doing that, because we have here an issue that cuts in a very interesting way across our community and can cut, properly communicated, properly constructed, can cut across a lot of historic boundaries, be they partisan, ethnic, or otherwise. And so we've got a wonderful issue that can work for Americans. But to the extent that it is appropriated or viewed as only a conservative idea it will risk not getting a clear and a fair hearing in the court of public opinion. So we do need to be cautious about that.”

“We need to be cautious about talking too much about these activities. Many of the activities and the political work that needs to go on will go on at the grass roots. It will go on quietly and it will go on in the form that often politics is done - one person at a time, speaking to another person in privacy. And so these issues will not be, maybe, as visible or as noteworthy, but they will set a framework within states for the possibility of action on education reform issues.” 

Those two couldn't be any clearer about their agenda: They want to destroy teachers’ Unions and the public school system. 

And, the ever-popular billionaire Koch brothers, helping educate America, one student and one classroom at a time according to their understanding of how the country should be.


Background: In the spring of 2012, Spenser Johnson, a junior at Highland Park High School in Topeka, KS was unpacking his acoustic bass before orchestra practice when a sign caught his eye. “Do you want to make money?” it read.  

That poster encouraged the predominantly poor students at Highland Park to enroll in a new, yearlong course that would provide lessons in basic economic principles and practical instruction on starting a business. Students would receive generous financial incentives including start up capital and scholarships after graduation. The course would begin that fall.

Spenser Johnson eagerly signed up.

In some ways, the class looked like a typical high school business course, taught in a Highland Park classroom by a Highland Park teacher. But it was actually run by Youth Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit group created and funded primarily by Charles G. Koch, the billionaire chairman of Koch Industries.

The official mission of Youth Entrepreneurs is to provide kids with "business and entrepreneurial education and experiences that help them prosper and become contributing members of society."

The underlying goal of the program, however, is to impart Koch's radical free-market ideology to teenagers. In the last school year, the class reached more than 1,000 students across Kansas and Missouri.

How do we know that? Lesson plans and class materials obtained by The Huffington Post make the course's message clear with these points (do any of them sound familiar):  (1) The minimum wage hurts workers; it (2) slows economic growth, (3) low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper, (4) public assistance harms the poor, and (5) government, in short, is the enemy of liberty. 

Whoa … vote GOP and change America forever. Don’t take my word for it, ask them. 

A quick word about some of those crazy state gun laws, and yes, they are crazy by any measurement. Of course, we have the right “bear” arms and own guns, etc., and I support that right, and even in some cases to carry one concealed, but that does not necessarily mean we should as many states are now advocating and passing laws accordingly (e.g., on campus, in bars, in public and even in some cases at church). 

Think hard about that and how looks to the world to see images of men and women with .45’s strapped on their hips shopping downtown, or some with rifle sling over their should at the local gas station or in public someplace – showing off and, yes that's what it is: Call it pee-pee envy.

Thanks for stopping by. If anything here sticks with you, fine. I would recommend further research. This is a fundamental and critical subject for the entire country.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ultra Rich With Inherited Wealth Out to Change the Country: But How

All Mine - Wow - What For???
(Momma: My diaper is full, too)

Opposition and Income Both Up 

Income Up Help Thy Neighbor Down

Income Up Ditch The Safety Net

Income graphs and heart of the story posted here from Salon.com article - a good read:

"Before we go any further, it should be noted that the wealth of the super-rich is notoriously hard to measure." 

"Often times, these individuals — having gained prominence in society due to their money and stature — have the means and the desire to hide the true extent of their fortunes and most do (called off-shore accounts in the Caymans or some Swiss bank)."

The heart of this story which I want to emphasize is this (with some of my own editing but not to distract from the original story – I do that to make the point stronger with my slant while keeping the point in focus):

“[The] … fresh new wave of many wealthy millennial Congressional candidates, who are usually enthusiastic and idealistic. These young Americans paradoxically promote a style of bland, Washington Consensus politics, what Pennsylvania House candidate (and proud millennial) Nick Troiano has billed “radical centrism.” As a generation generally lauded for our commitment to civil service, noted for our love of structure, and gently mocked for our aversion to risk-seeking, surely we must be the perfect generation to fix America’s broken politics. Right? Unfortunately, probably not." 

“Why? Our current political system, where the cost of running for national office is prohibitively high for candidates of any age, is almost certain to bend further and further toward affluent candidates in coming years."

“On its own, this is troubling enough as it threatens the credibility and productivity of our democracy. But when considering the political views of affluent Millennials — and the rest of the generation more generally — an ominous trend emerges."

So, I posted the three graphs from the story to make my point (graphs I, II, and III above).

“Radical change – um .. According to every metric reason examined, the famed liberalism of young Americans fades as soon as their bank accounts grow.”

Why is that – oh, yeah, to protect your wealth at any cost, and it usually costs plenty. That’s the heart of this story and my view, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

GOP Hype: ACA (Obama-care) Costs Will Skyrocket — Reality: Oops

Enrolling in the ACA (Obama-care) Now Easy and Not Costly
(As the GOP predicted)

Drugs and Care and Treatment
(Big Costs)

First Question: What and why are health care costs to the Moon and back? 

The key components in health care spending and rising costs may not be what you think: rich doctors. Au contraire. Technology, administrative expenses, hospital costs, lifestyle choice, and chronic disease conditions (aided by massive Rx intervention) have all had greater impacts on rising overall health care costs than physicians.

The ACA (Obama-care) critics promised the law would send insurance premiums skyrocketing. They were wrong.  Or, if they're not wrong, they're at least not right yet.

Nearly 20 states have released preliminary information about premiums for insurance policies sold on their insurance exchanges, and the nightmare scenarios have not come to pass. In most of those states, the average increase across all exchange plans is in the single digits.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers analysis found in this article that our of 18 state initial filings, 10 would see see average premium increases of less than 10 percent — nominal hikes in line with the standard increases that have happened every year with or without Obama-care.

The outliers so far are Indiana, with an average increase of 15 percent, and Rhode Island, where the average premium will fall by about 1 percent.

Initial rates could still change: Several states have the power to review proposed increases and bargain for a better deal. But the early look at states' 2015 rates helps shed some light on whether Obama-care's second year will bring steep cost hikes.

Plus, we all have heard the GOP a million times: “Obama-care is a job killer.” Call this another potential oops moment. A few details can be found here  and here – FYI.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Crude Oil Export Ban Since 1975 Back in Play: New GOP Opportunistic Ploy

Nice Graphic Snatched from the ED SHOW on MSNBC

Do You Remember Those Days
(I do)

Some background firstThe Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 was signed into law by President Gerald Ford that blocked exports of U.S. crude oil and natural gas but allowed the president to exempt shipments “which he determines to be consistent with the national interest.”

(That law followed on the heels of the oil embargo from OPEC in 1973 that drove up gas prices and starting hurting the U.S. big time).

There were a few minor exceptions to that law over the years, such as limited exports from Alaska or to Canada. With the United States importing vast quantities of oil to meet consumption, the export ban wasn’t a big issue. But now with the surge in U. S. domestic oil production, the U. S. oil industry (pushed by the GOP) has been loudly demanding that the Obama administration lift the de facto ban on crude oil exports. 

Headlines now, and a lot based on the downing of the MH-17 over the Ukraine and GOP-generated panic coupled with an opportunity, they think to get the ban lifted entirely. A good rundown on that aspect is presented below from the ED SHOW (about 17 minutes):



Thought you'd like to know. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Rational Ideas Based on Coherent Thinking Can Beat Back Big Money

Keep an Eye Focused

ON

“The voice of the wealthy is the voice that is most clearly heard by politicians.”  — Bill Cavanaugh

Introduction: The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that more than $6 billion was spent on the 2012 elections. That’s a lot of money in American politics. That figure only includes election  campaigns expenses – it doesn’t include funds spent on lobbying or advocacy. More on this can be seen here.

To add to the enormity of the challenge, in 2010 the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v.
Federal Election Commission that corporations and unions enjoy the same free speech rights that
individual human persons have, and can therefore spend freely on direct political advocacy.

These developments have raised the stakes on the national conversation about the role of
money in politics. Americans of faith and moral commitment have a critical role to play
in this national conversation. At their best, leaders of faith and moral commitment can avoid
partisanship and instead tackle the subject of money in politics from the perspectives of right
and wrong, of what is morally sound, and of what will strengthen American democracy.

With all the new strategies employed in today’s elections – Super PAC’s, social media strategies,
campaign Ads masquerading as documentary films, and even astro-turfing – it is easy to forget
that the challenge of money in politics is actually an ancient problem. The challenge of money
in politics has been around at least as long as ancient works like the Bible, and probably since
the dawn of agriculture and cities.

And, here we are today, and even on this scale this story from Colorado makes me feel good about what I've preached about for years — that is the massive amounts of big money looking and trying to buy the system for their own narrow agenda and not necessarily for the general public’s good. 

The lesson here is a simple one: When we stand against big money like this story illustrates, we are on the right track, and being right is always the best course of action in the long run, no matter how long it takes. In short, there is not substitute for being right.

The story: Val Flores — a long-time educator with 43 years of experience in public education — won in the Democratic primary for the Colorado State Board of Education District 1 seat recently, despite running against a candidate who raised more money and received corporate endorsements than she did.

Flores said: “We have a large amount of work to do to bring our public school system up to the levels of excellence necessary for the twenty first century. We can get there by studying and applying the best practices available, by including our communities in the conversation about the education process, and by holding true to the values of a free public education system for all.”

Ms. Flores ran against Taggert Hansen, a candidate endorsed by so-called “education reformers” who have been pushing for policies that undermine public schools for years. Hansen received significant contributions from Education Reform Now, an organization funded by the Walton Family Foundation (Walmart folks) who happens to be one of many corporations funding legislative efforts to privatize education. 


You will note that the board of directors primarily is made up of former “capital management” types … that ought to tell you something … it’s the money and not the kids as their bottom line despite what they say otherwise. I think Val Flores saw that, too, and her message resonated with the voters and that's why she won.

My suggestion on this aspect of story is simple for anyone who agrees with me on this subject: 

Stop shopping and making the Waltons richer than they already are. The three primary Walton family members are Jim, Rob, and Alice and they are worth $152 billion by the most-recent reporting and now they are working to undermine public education by privatizing public schools. Keep that in mind the next time you shop at your local Walmart. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Open Carry Gun Laws in Public Places: How Can Anyone Call That Rational

GREEN Are "Open Carry" States
(Simple Question: Why - Just Because We Can)






The view of America that the world sees - Cowboy mentality and Wild, Wild West justice!!! Just because it's a right, is logically no reason to do it ... in a word: utter insanity. We have the right to adult sex, but on a park bench in front of kids? Hey, it's my right.

All this in your face seems to me pretty disgusting. Most of those guys look like they're out of work, have a shitty home life, maintain a lousy outlook in general, and suffer from pee-pee envy that Mel Brooks lectured on in the movie “High Anxiety” as Dr. Richard H.(arpo) Thorndyke.

High Anxiety

For the life of me I cannot reconcile law and order, massive gun violence in the country and states passing "right to carry gun laws" for just about anyplace, anytime, anywhere, and for one simple reason: 'cause it's our right. It may be their right, but I prefer to ask: Why? The Mel Brooks movie was fictional madness — what we see spreading across the county with these open-carry laws is factual madness.