Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Truckloads of Campaign Money Don't Matter Some Say: Until It Does

Sen. Harry Reid (D) Confers with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) on Spending Bill


First, a look back on the issue from here back in June 2014 with this headline from the NY Daily News:

"Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell clash at hearing on proposed constitutional amendment to limit money in politics" — a proposal that would allow Congress to regulate the sudden flood of money into elections, reversing recent Supreme Court decisions.

Now, let's face it, and based on McConnell's quote that follows Reid's is simple - can't get it through the front door, then slip it in "must-pass bill - ergo: the spending bill. My point:

First, quote from Reid: He testified that “the flood of dark money” unleashed by Supreme Court rulings is “the greatest to our democracy that I've witnessed during my tenure in public service.”

Then, quote from McConnell: “Everyone on this panel knows this proposal will never pass Congress.''

Sadly, both are correct: Reid "greatest threat to our democracy" is 100% correct and so is McConnnell's "it will never pass Congress."

As I said, can't get this or anything through the front door, use the back door or some under the table shenanigan (that Congress is famous for), like this from The Hill, and I love the quote from Democracy 21:

A surprise provision included in the massive spending bill released by Congress on Tuesday evening would give the parties new ways to raise campaign cash. 

Beginning on page 1,599 of the 1,603-page document — under a heading entitled “Other Matters” — the legislation proposes the creation of three additional accounts that would help the parties raise money for party conventions, the building or renovation of party headquarters, the relief of legal debts and election recount costs.

Campaign finance watchdog groups Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center and Common Cause, flagged the provision about an hour after the appropriations bill was released.

That quote I like: “This makes the Great Train Robbery look like a petty misdemeanor. These provisions have never been considered by the House or Senate, and were never even publicly mentioned before today,” said Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer - a man of great respect on this topic.

Now my input with that background in place comes from here (Open Secrets):   

As OpenSecrets.org has noted previously, very few people give any money to political campaigns or committees at all. In fact, out of about 310 million Americans, in the 2014 cycle just 0.21 percent gave $200 or more, and 0.04 percent gave $2,600 or more. In other words, current rules limiting how much an individual can give to party committees haven’t been a pressing problem for most Americans.

As things stand now, an individual donor may give $32,400 to a national party committee each year, and there are three on each side (not counting the DNC and RNC) like these three party committees for each side: the (DCCC, DSCC, NRCC, and NRSC) – all branches of the HQ at DNC and RNC. Note: The main national committees of each party (DNC and RNC) would also be able to create a fund to help pay for the presidential nominating convention. There would be a total of seven committees, instead of three, on each side, and each of the four newly created committees would be able to accept donations of up to $97,200. That is on top of the $97,200 that can already be donated to the three original committees.

So, simple math says that grand total for a donor who wanted to give the maximum to each of the three original committees and all of the four new committees would be $776,000 per year, or $1.5 million per two-year election cycle; for a couple, the total comes to a cool $3 million. Those are gargantuan figures when it comes to hard money party donations.

According to Open Secrets data, since 1989 there have been just 259 people who, in their entire careers as political donors, have given more than $1.5 million. That includes the recent mega-donors to super PACs, like Tom Steyer, who gave $74 million to liberal groups this year, and Sheldon and Miriam Adelson who gave $93.1 million, mainly to GOP Super PACs, just in the 2012 cycle. It also does not count “dark money,” the source of which are not disclosed.

Even in an era of multi-million dollar checks, the number of people who have ever given that much, whether in one check or many combined, is exceedingly small. The number of “donors” may be small, but the truckloads of money are not.

Simple Q: Why do we tolerate and stand for it? People talk about the system being corrupt and broken with Congress not listening to the people, yada, yada, yap, yap, etc., ad nauseam – yet that same public – all of us – are mum on the issue. Why? I contend and have for years that all that big money is the problem. Until we demand change, there won’t be change. Change is a fancy buzzword every election cycle, but changing the Rep. or Senator is not the same as getting then change needed in campaign finance reform.

Some people will still contend that this flow of big money as an issue doesn’t matter – that is until it does. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Goes After Wall Biggest Banks and Bailouts

[​IMG]
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
(On the Senate floor debating the $1.1 Trillion spending bill)


Perhaps the most-powerful speech ever delivered on the Senate floor on a narrow yet most-critical issue: power of the biggest bank in the country and their move for more power.

Ladies and Gentlemen and of the Senate and throughout America, I give you Sen. Warren: Madam, the floor is all yours:


Now we wait to to see who our government honestly and truly stands with what they stand for.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hey, New York Taxpayers: Blame the Schools — Yeah, But Which Ones

All that Green and Not Much to Show for It - Oops ...
(Except maybe to buy a stronger shredder)

42 States Allow Charter Schools


First, a few Pro and Con Considerations (there are plenty more depending on where you stand on the issue):

Pros:  According to proponents:

  • Charter schools present students and parents with an increasingly diverse array of education options.
  • The competition provided by charter schools forces school districts to improve the performance of their schools in order to attract and retain students and dollars.
  • If managed properly, charter schools serve as laboratories for education experimentation and innovation.
  • The easing of certain regulations can free teachers and administrators to develop and implement new learning strategies.
  • Increased accountability for charter schools means that schools have to perform or risk closure.
  • This extra incentive demands results.
Cons: According to opponents:

  • Because charter schools operate as a business, as well as a learning institution, they are subject to market forces that may eventually force them to close, depriving students of a continuous education. 
  • Charter schools sometimes segregate students along racial and class lines and fail to adequately serve students with disabilities or limited English proficiency.
  • Accountability for student performance is difficult to measure and enforce in the burgeoning charter school movement.
  • The usual complications of accurate student measurement are compounded by the often-conflicting demands of the state government’s need for accountability and the marketplace’s desire for opportunity.
  • The emergence of education management organizations as proprietors of charter schools creates “pseudo-school districts” in which decisions are made far removed from the school. 
Now the New York State angle – which is the focus of this post: the lost tax dollars. That story from here in part:

Taxpayers continue to be appalled by the millions of dollars allegedly connected to charter school fraud.

A new report, the latest put out by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), estimates that charter school fraud has cost taxpayers in the state of New York $54 million [.pdf format].

Keep in mind, the state already spends about $1.5 billion on charter schools in New York City alone.

In fact, corporate charter school companies are lobbying New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to raise or eliminate the cap on charter schools so even more companies can have an opportunity to abuse the system and make a profit on the backs of students.

“The audacity of some of these operators — to push for more taxpayer dollars while mismanaging the funds they’ve already received — is really astonishing,” says NEA President Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a (Note: the NEA represents 3-million teachers, education support professionals, students studying to be educators, and higher education faculty nationwide).

More at the link.

Thought you'd like to know - hey, I'm a NYS taxpayer, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thought-Provoking Re Drones: Is Big Brother Hovering Near Your Windows?

New-Age of Drones: Little Privacy, Safety Concerns, Questionable Value, Future Uncertain

This New Growing Pervasive Technology Seems to Fit the Model

First from here on this topic: Early this year, Congress considered House Bill No. 5217 (An Act Concerning Use of Unmanned Aircraft) more commonly referred to as “Drones,” and more formally named: “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVS).” Those Drones have gained notoriety in the war on terror regarding their use for surgical strikes, or so-called “targeted killings” of terrorists in remote areas. 

Military drones were first developed in 1948, and they fall into two categories: (1) surveillance and (2) those employed to deliver payloads to remote targets. The first powered flight occurred in 1951. Within a decade the development of surveillance drones emerged. Now, commercial America is contemplating the domestic use of these UAVS. For example, companies like Amazon and FedEx are exploring the possible use of drones as delivery vehicles for their packages.

Then we have the ever-present hobbyists. Like the model plane and rocket enthusiasts, there is now an active community of recreational drone owners. They operate like any radio controlled, miniature hobby vehicle, over limited areas and at limited heights. This has allowed the hobbyists to escape confrontation with the FAA, operating in the unregulated space from the ground up to 700-1200 feet.

Miniature UAVS like the Parrot AR (selling for $300.00), or the DJI Phantom ($700.00) can be equipped with high-powered action cameras and have the capability of being programmed to fly to and from locations.

Regarding FAA rules see this article from Raw Story (Reuters) – highlights include:

1.  On at least 25 occasions since June 1 this year, pilots have reported drones nearly colliding with larger aircraft (the FAA revealed in a report this past week).

2.  The FAA, in crafting its rules related to unmanned aircraft under 55 pounds, is weighing the interests of those who would like to begin using drones for commercial purposes against those of airline pilots, who are concerned that drone aircraft can be difficult to see.  I have serious issues about the commercial use of Drones across America … I suspect it’s a passing fad but with very serious concerns. Big profits for the manufacturers but that must not drive the debate. 

Surely big brother is watching — Geo. Orwell would not be surprised, what about you?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Getting Bi-Partisan Anything: Better Squeeze Blood Out of a Rock

Reality in Washington, DC - Go Ahead Try to Dispute It

Dr. Gee Old Pee's "Hypocritical" Oath

This posting comes the excellent source at Vox.com:

The article points out what most of us already know. That is just how nasty the GOP is about “who gets tax breaks or not.”

1.  President Obama is prepared to veto a bipartisan package of business tax breaks that House and Senate negotiators are close to finalizing.

2.  The deal would make several corporate tax breaks permanent without offsetting the cost in any way, while failing to extend provisions of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit that are favorable to low-income households.

3.  In a statement, Treasury Secretary Lew described the proposal in part as: “...fiscally irresponsible because any deal on tax extenders must ensure that the economic benefits are broadly shared.”

The GOP natch, disagrees and why are we not surprised. One wonder where the GOP base truly lies – obviously it's a TOP – DOWN – which I guess is their take on trickle down. 

Just watch where you are standing when the trickle down starts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

GOP and NSA Love and Approve Domestic Snooping and Big Brother Tactics

GOPers  Votes to Sustain NSA Abuse
(and yes, it is massive abuse on a grand scale)

More fear from the GOP and it still sells ... the question is why. Story from NY Times here:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a sweeping overhaul of the once-secret National Security Agency (NSA) program that collects records of Americans’ phone calls in bulk.

Democrats and a handful of Republicans who supported the measure fell two votes short of the 60 votes they needed to take up the legislation, which sponsors named the U.S.A. Freedom Act.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, worked hard to defeat the bill, which had the support of the Obama administration and a coalition of technology companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

“This is the worst possible time to be tying our hands behind our backs,” McConnell said before the vote, expressing the concerns of those who argued that the program was a vital tool in the fight against terrorism.

The GOP: standing for massive secrecy, government snooping, invasion of privacy, and the unmitigated gall to say: “We stand with the American people.”

I say bullshit and this action proves beyond any doubt that the GOP is anti-privacy in any form ... in a word, the GOP is running scared and spreading fear along the way.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Major Update for All GOPers: ACA (Obama-care) is Working, So, Please STFU

GOP: One Note Party 
(Repeal Obama-care)

GOP: Obama-care Kills Business
(look at this insurance industry growth)

GOP: Obama-care Not Helping Needy Americans
(oops)

GOP: Obama-care Wrecking the Industry
(look at this expansion)

GOP: Obama-care Hurts Seniors
(one huge oops)

The Proof in the Pudding


Update of the following post: 

For the second year in a row, Obama-care premiums are lower than anticipated and millions of Americans can expect to find affordable health insurance options during the second open enrollment period. Story and key points from here:

  1. Analysis of 2015 premium rates for the individual market in states with Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces shows that premiums will increase by an average of only 3.9 percent from 2014 to 2015, and that average is for individual coverage for the 27-to-40 year old across all plans in each metal level in each state and weighted by each state’s enrollment by metal level in 2014.
  2. Silver plans for example, which is the most popular type of plan in 2014, will increase even less only about 3.45 percent on average. While there is wide variation around the average growth in different geographic areas, the low national average is a testament to the popularity and affordability of the health insurance plans on the exchanges. That is where more than 7 million Americans purchased health insurance in 2014. 
  3. Increased competition in the exchanges (Note: about 25 percent more issuers will offer plans via the state exchanges in 2015 than in 2014), and that has helped keep premiums low. Some of the nation’s biggest insurers will now be participating in the exchanges for the first time as the market place expands and they see opportunities. 
  4. To put this small premium increase into perspective an average increase of 3.9 percent is much less than historical premium growth (one of the main reasons for the ACA in the first place: reduce rising costs). For example, from 2008 to 2010, the national average rate of premium increase was 10.9 percent, which is 179 percent greater than the increase between 2014 and 2015.
This is clearly proof positive that the ACA is working as predicted. Now it moves forward even better to convince more people that it is a good deal for the insured and the country.

Naturally, this good news ticks off the GOP – really big time. Yeah, big time which was the phrase Dick Cheney used when he responded to when George W. Bush called a New York Times reporter seen in the crowd (at a 2000 rally) a “… major-league asshole.”  Yeah, that kind of big time bunch of a-holes.  

Original post starts from here. 

The GOP's biggest fear: They can't stand the reality in fact that despite all their crap since January 20, 2009, that Mr. Obama is in fact succeeding, and this much-needed health care proves the point. His successes, even with the up's and down's, undermines the GOP basic philosophy and old stale party line BS, and they can't stand it.

Click on this link to the access the interactive map above ... then click on your state and then other data from the pull down windows ... 

Stark evidence. B/L: how can the GOP constantly ignore the hard facts and continue the same old line of attack? Um... they keep relying in fear as their main product ... this past midterm results may shore up their hopes .... but the rest of us hope the truth prevails. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Combating ISIS is Nothing Compared to Fighting for Voting Rights

GOP-RED States Sell Voter Fraud Much Like SIS Sells "Freedom"

We have Been Watching: Now is the Time to Act


All sorts of “hot button” issues come and go just as sure as the tides come and go - all the while we wait for the next “even hotter” issue to confront us. However, there no no more-important issue than protecting voter rights. It is the most-enduring and most-fundamental of all our rights as it shows the basic reflection of our democratic greatness ... the backdrop for this post comes from here:

In Texas, Imani Clark, a Black state college student and client of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the lawsuit that declared Texas’s strict voter ID law unconstitutional, was unable to vote with her student ID as she had in the past. Thousands of other students like Imani were also disenfranchised.

In Alabama, a 92-year-old great-grandmother was disfranchised by the secretary of state’s last-minute determination that a photo ID issued by public housing authorities is not acceptable ID for voting. She had previously voted with a utility bill.

These are just two of familiar stories in each of the 14 states with restrictive voting laws that took effect for the first time during this election season.

If the GOP can't win the votes they need, then the next thing to do is stop, slowdown, suppress, or otherwise make it so difficult that is turns voters off and they simply walk away from the polls.

This is very huge major issue. For those who do not agree or not see the danger in this voter suppression (and yes, it is blatant raw voter suppression), then I pity them … just imagine it were you and your vote that were impacted?  

My fellow Americans: it is well past the time to take a stand and stand up and protect this, our most-fundamental and cherished right: the right to vote free and open, unhampered, or restricted in any way like we see these day.

My Other Posts and References Related to this Subject:

  1. http://www.weaselwart.blogspot.com/2014/10/two-parties-two-views-two-paths-to.html
  2. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2014/10/gop-red-herring-state-productions.html
  3. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2014/10/reminder-for-republicans-who-advocate.html
  4. http://www.politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2014/10/ussc-gets-voter-id-laws-wrong-again.html
  5. http://www.politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2014/10/how-to-neuter-wisconsin-gop-weasel.html
  6. http://politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2014/09/how-to-protect-voter-rights-not.html
  7. http://politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2014/09/fox-news-need-another-reason-to-be.html
  8. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2014/07/big-money-competing-goals-for-congress.html
  9. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2014/07/uncontrolled-money-in-our-political.html
  10. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2014/06/bohica-kochs-open-up-wider-floodgate_28.html
  11. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2014/03/citizens-united-iii-mccutcheon-v-fec.html
  12. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2014/03/memo-to-gop-voters-will-win-you-will.html
  13. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2014/02/suppress-vote-with-harsh-id-laws-to-win.html
  14. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2014/01/gop-voter-suppression-movement-oozes.html
  15. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2013/06/back-to-future-redux-ussc-voting-rights.html
  16. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2013/12/nc-leads-on-voter-rights-leads-straight.html
  17. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2013/11/infamous-gop-wars-really-honest-cross.html
  18. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2013/10/gop-wars-aca-women-students-voters-poor.html
  19. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2013/10/citizens-united-part-ii-worst-is-about.html
  20. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2013/08/gop-and-5-4-supreme-court-voter.html
  21. http://politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2013/02/gop-election-strategy-block-vote-or.html
  22. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2013/07/gop-win-in-2014-suppress-vote-and-then.html
  23. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2013/07/north-carolina-armpit-or-cesspool.html
  24. http://www.politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2012/08/pa-voter-hall-of-fame-hall-of-shame.html
  25. http://www.politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2012/08/gop-we-must-stop-voter-fraud-look-inward.html
  26. http://www.weaselwart.blogspot.com/2012/08/jimmy-gee-old-poo-crow-redux.html
  27. http://www.politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2012/08/pa-judge-voter-id-law-okay-although.html
  28. http://www.weaselwart.blogspot.com/2012/06/uncle-sam-plea-red-states-ignore-him.html
  29. http://www.weaselwart.blogspot.com/2012/05/find-weasels-in-herd-of-elephants.html
  30. http://www.weaselwart.blogspot.com/2012/06/voter-purge-florida-now-texas-who-is.html
  31. http://politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2012/11/oh-lord-its-hard-to-be-humble-when.html
  32. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2012/06/voter-suppression-issue-with-legs.html
  33. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2012/05/voters-under-attack-all-accross-land.html

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Can the GOP Lead After Roadblocking While Clearly Unable to Define Leading

“New” America!!  What Happened to the Old America???
(Expect family values, guns, and other neat GOP stuff)

Sample of the New-Old GOP Plan


Pretty good post-election run down here (click here to watch the segment) ... There will be much more as we see the reins of power change after the New Year.

Expect the GOP to be more business friendly (if that’s even possible), more anti-public just about everything (education, Unions, etc.), as always standing for more for jobs (whether that includes more off-shore movement or not remains to be seen), and routinely tax cuts for the top rung in exchange for jobs, lower taxes, and bringing back trillions they have safely stored off-shore in Swiss and Cayman banks since their great recovery after 2008.

All the while, BTW as wages remain stuck in 2nd gear and they resist raising wages and actually creating jobs here at home.

So, hang on tight – it's gonna be a very lively and bumpy two years for Mr. Obama and the country ... I predict that a lot of voters are going to have “buyer's remorse” very soon. Time till tell.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

GOP Takes the Senate and Keeps the House: Then Expect What

He Wants Majority Seat
(I prefer concession speech)

Boehner Stays, McConnell Wins
(Man in the Middle and Country Lose)

I guarantee you this post is not hyperbole ... I loathe hyperbole. As Jack Webb (re: Sgt. Joe Friday on the old Dragnet show) would say, “Just the facts ma'am, just the facts.” 

Here are a few facts (I think) from those who track this stuff daily. Three good sources follow.

1. One headline is on a topic that I follow closely: Detainee treatment and torture and that darn Senate report we've been waiting for release of for months:  “If GOP Takes Senate, Expect the CIA Torture Report to Disappear”

That is a very strong possibility based on this: The new chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee (responsible for the report) would likely shift to Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), who has made it quite clear that he's on the CIA's team and against the public interest in the release of the report where in he has said:

“I personally don't believe that anything that goes on in the intelligence committee should ever be discussed publicly. If I had my way, with the exception of nominees, there would never be a public intelligence hearing.” (Burr told reporters in March).

It would also follow that Burr would try to muzzle Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO), both strong advocates for release and transparency of the report. Bloodbath does come to mind in that regard.

2.  In part from the Washington Post: “With multiple crises confronting the country — including the spread of Ebola in West Africa and cases here at home, as well as threats from Islamic State militants — a majority now says the government’s ability to deal with big problems has declined in the past few years. Among those who say this, more — by 3 to 1 — blame Obama and the Democrats rather than Republicans in Congress.

(I seriously note: That all seems kind of ass backwards, doesn’t it – I mean after all the turmoil, division, road blocking, and resistance by the GOP since Jan 20, 2009 – maybe hypocritical is a better word).

3.  A very good reminder and forecast from here, in part:

If there’s one thing that has epitomized the relationship between the White House and the Republican-controlled House over the past three and a half years, it has been the extent to which showdown politics has become a regular part of governing in Washington.

Less than six months after the GOP took control of the lower chamber of Congress, Washington was gripped by a showdown over the budget and the extension of the debt ceiling that lasted right up until the last minute and resulted in a deal that nobody really liked, but which supposedly would never really be implemented because of the “super committee” that would solve all our budget problems.

When that super committee failed, we ended up with budget cuts that nobody really liked and which ended up being the catalyst for further showdowns. We also saw showdowns over (1) the extension of the Bush tax cuts, (2) the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and (3) pretty much every high profile nomination requiring Senate confirmation.  

Most famously, of course, the showdown strategy resulted last year in a 16-day government shutdown that only seemed to happen because the GOP leadership was outmaneuvered by a Tea Party that had decided that shutting down the government would be a good idea when every indication was saying otherwise.

The question to me is very simple and amounts to this: Will American voters do what is right and they know what that is; or, will they bend and fall prey to the slick campaign Ads, ugly and massive amounts of money this cycle, and the utter deceit and in some cases, downright lies and actually give the all the reins of power to the GOP?

Really.

Friday, October 31, 2014

FOX: Freedom to Distort, Deceive, Lie, Mislead, Misinform & Disinform

Three of the Nastiest, Meanest, Unprofessional, and well.... just Awful people
(Fox and Fiends - my label for them)

Only in America can we see and tolerate and actually allow this, the latest from FOX la la land on the way to the funny farm.  

How can FOX report that a man worth only $1.6 billion (which is a lot of money) spend nearly $43 billion on his continued effort to delay the Keystone XL pipeline. The spender, according to FOX is climate activist Tom Steyer, one who has lobbied strongly against the project. 

FOX claims that Mr. Steyer spent $42.9 billion on the midterm elections (screenshot below), which is a number that is nearly 600 times larger than the amount Steyer has actually spent.

Steyer

Q: Did FOX knowingly (again) mislead the public with this, or was it just a (another) faux pas, as some say: Fox Paw?

Worse: FOX constantly reminds their viewers that they are the best and most-informed in the country since the so-called "mainstream" media is slanted and biased (against FOX naturally).

Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes must work very hard while staying up late at night figuring out this sh*t before their next broadcast don't you think about how to keep the public "informed in a fair and balanced" sort of way - but which way, I wonder?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Open Honest Republican (Oxymoron) Spills the Beans About Bombing ISIS

Jack Kingston (R-GA), former GOP Rep. and Senate candidate

Two stories relate to this man:

First, from here:  The original question was: “Will President Obama ask Congress for permission for those strikes, as he did last year when Congress eventually rebuffed him? Or will he go at it alone?”

Logic says one might think Republicans would demand the president consult with Congress before undertaking those attacks. But, you would be wrong. In a remarkable bit of honesty, Jack Kingston, the Republican from Georgia, explained why in the New York Times this way:

A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, ‘Just bomb the place and tell us about it later.’ It’s an election year. A lot of Democrats don’t know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long.”

Kingston, as the Times notes, supports having a vote on air strikes in Syria. But what he's saying is still remarkable: Republicans don’t want to vote on a force authorization so that they can avoid taking a position and criticize the president no matter what happens. In many ways, this is the story of Obama’s presidency: He can do no right among the Republican Party. Better for the GOP to attack him and avoid laying out a coherent agenda. After all, why govern when you can just sit on the sidelines and score political points? At least, Kingston is being honest though.

The second tidbit about Mr. Kingston - I ask this question: "Who is Jack Kingston?"  

Some from here helps answer that question. When he sat in the House, he had lots of power, like this … “Kingston is on the record as taking the following donations from such DOD lobbyists… “ (story continues at the link).

Seems he would fit nicely in the GOP Senate, right? Oops ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Two Epidemics: (1) Ebola in West Africa, (2) Fear Mongering in the U.S.

4 to 7,000 miles depending on CONUS location

Three Leading the Fear Mongering Pack As it Were

This Scene Across America 
(mostly in GOP La-la land)

Dateline: Pictured above could be any GOP Senate or House candidate’s home where they are preparing their children to go outside and play with their FOX and friends. Usually in a community some 4 to 7,000 miles from West Africa (e.g., either New York, Texas, or California, take your pick).

Related story and many other like it can be seen here (Salon.com).  Highlights:
  1. Some 56 percent of Americans say the government is prepared to handle Ebola, including 61 percent of Democrats. 
  2. But that number is flipped on its head when you ask TEA "Party" voters: 57 percent of them say the government is not prepared, as do 54 percent of rural voters. 
  3. So two core components of the GOP red-state base coalition don’t trust the federal government, in the person of President Obama, to keep them safe – and there’s some political opportunity for Republicans in those numbers.

Leave it to the GOP play politics with our health and lives – rather than focus on the problem. They focus on staying in office or gaining office anyway possible even on this issue.

It will get worse over the next few weeks until election day is over, and it's already started.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Two Epidemics: West Africa: Ebola — USA: GOP Fake Voter Fraud

Justice is Blind 
(The USSC on Voting Rights is Worse)

Time to Wake Up and Take Action
(where needed: at polls)

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN — Less than one week after the Supreme Court delayed the implementation of Wisconsin’s voter ID law until after the midterm elections, a GOP official urged Republican activists to take matters into their own hands to prevent voter fraud.

Milwaukee County’s Republican Elections Commissioner Rick Baas warned a crowd of volunteers and supporters who are “concerned about voter fraud that they need to take an extra step of vigilance.”

He said: “You as a Wisconsin resident can challenge people who are not supposed to be voting. You’ve got to do that.”

Under WI state law, voters, election workers, official observers, or any member of the public can challenge the validity of someone’s vote, but to do so, they must swear under oath that they have firsthand knowledge that the person is not qualified to vote. A challenge cannot be based on a mere suspicion or hunch.

“Providing those parameters would be important to any discussion related to voter challenges,” Milwaukee City Election Commission Director Neil Albrecht told Think Progress. “Failure to provide has the potential to incite unsubstantiated challenges and a disruption to voting.”

How many cases of voter fraud (voter impersonation) has WI had in the recent past?  

ZERO, NONE, NIL, NADA, ZIP, ZILCH...  

Steven Colbert nails the hypocrisy here .... with humor but a serious spin in their own words ... about 6 minutes and a real keeper - watch here:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

USSC Gets Voter ID Laws Wrong (Again) Using the Texas Model

Sample Voting Machine in New York State
(In some, but not all, counties)

Need to Review and Strenghten not Weaken VRA
(The most-valuable right in America)

Introduction from two articles here and from here also:

The Supreme Court ruled (October 18, 2014) that Texas can use the voter ID law it originally passed in 2011 in the upcoming election. For the moment, that puts the kibosh on challenges to the law that have ensued ever since. It was a bitter defeat for Obama Department of Justice and other plaintiffs who had argued that the Court should stay the decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to enforce the ID law this election cycle. 

The appeals court had itself on October 14 stayed a 143-page district court decision following a two-week trial saying the ID law discriminates against minorities, the young and the poor who are less likely than older, more affluent white voters to have the mandated forms of ID necessary to cast a ballot.

Early voting begins Monday (October 20th) in Texas.

The High Court's ruling, the fourth in three weeks affecting major voting law changes, was unsigned, as is usual in such cases. But Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a six-page dissent joined by her colleagues Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The law requires that, before voting, citizens must present a driver's license, passport, military ID, or Texas gun license. Student IDs and tribal IDs of American Indians are among the forms Texas will not accept as valid for voting, making the law one of the strictest in the nation.

This post updates the following two posts from previous dates as noted:

1. Posted on October 9, 2014 here.

2.  Posted on September 23, 2014 here.

A new that needs constant review and action ... voting is the most important right in America... nothing should hamper, suppress, or weaken it, but the GOP just can't see it that way.

Voter fraud is a red herring and more evidence in that regard is here (Brennan Center for Justice at NYU)... review the facts for yourself.  

This election will prove voting rights advocates correct but sadly, it could be too late for hundreds of thousands who are not voter fraud citizens. Stay tuned for more updates.

Separate and Unequal: Income Imbalance — Easy Solution — Why the Wait

Simple Chart - Easy to Comprehend
(Benefits Workers and All Taxpayers)

Steady Progress 
(Unemployment Down since 2008 and Claims at 14 year Low)

Current and Past Fed Chairs
(Janet Yellen, Allan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, and Paul Volcker)

Fed Chair Yellen as the headlines say: "... is... greatly concerned by widening [income] inequality..."

The introduction to this post (and background) comes from here and two links below. I want to emphasize that this is a very timely and serious issue, at least for millions of hard-working Americans struggling with their incomes - stagnant for years. As pointed out in the documents and studies, the issue is not so important for the GOP and sadly, not for some DEMS as well. 

1.  Historically, as mentioned in this book, both the Democratic and Republican Parties are virtual opposites of each other in their economic records, going back to the earliest period for which economic data were available, around 1910. More than a dozen studies have been done comparing economic growth, unemployment, average length of unemployment, stock market performance, inflation, federal debt, and other economic indicators, during Democratic and Republican presidencies and congresses, and they all show stunningly better performance when Democrats are in power, than when Republicans are

These studies are all available online, and they are all summarized and discussed in this path-breaking book, which settles, once and for all, the question of whether there’s any significant economic difference between the two Parties. Not only is there a difference, but – shockingly – it always runs in favor of Democrats in power. 

There might be other types of reasons for voting Republican, but all of the economic reasons favor voting for Democrats. Regarding economic performance, the two Parties aren’t even close

2.  Further, a study of the voting records of members of Congress, recently published in the prestigious online scientific journal PLOS One, shows that “Republicans tended to support legislation increasing economic inequality regardless of their social status,” whereas the tendency of congressional Democrats was in the opposite direction but weaker, because “High status Democrats tended to exhibit less support for legislation that reduces economic inequality than did their lower status” peers.

Now to Fed Chair Yellen and her comments and concerns about this very real and serious issue – one that in essence begs for a solution - links are here and here and several other sites, including this great piece here that has this caption (which I love): “Janet Yellen vs. the Inflation Zombies…”

From all her words and speeches I glean this – what I call the heart of the issue:

“Median incomes have stagnated for decades, so we could actually do with a bit more wage inflation. Despite the recent pickup in hiring, wages are still rising more slowly than productivity is rising. Unit labor costs are declining, and corporate profits are surging. But that means firms could afford to pay higher wages without passing along all the increase in costs to consumers. We might get a bit more price inflation, but it would be worth it. There is nothing in economic theory to suggest that a period of, say, 3% inflation is harmful to an economy. As a first-rate economist, Yellen knows all that, of course. In her speeches she has frequently talked about stagnant wages and the threats they pose to the economy, soaring inequality among them.”  

(Also refer to the charts above for more graphic views). And, keep in mind that the top 5% holds 2/3 of the nation's wealth. A very good segment on this topic is here - worth watching (about 9 minutes).

So, what’s the bottom line if any? The folks who protested on Wall Street surely know; hard-working Americans who want a pay raise certainly know even if most of the GOP does not and as I said, some DEMS as well, and now the public is tuning in, too. 

The ones in office who speak for the public (our Reps and Senators) talk a good game and play a solid effective Pol game, but always on their terms with their fancy lingo and silver tongues to get into office and stay in office, but to do what? 

They blame, fight, argue, bash, block, and well … just about everything in between except what their office calls for: serving the greater good of the entire country and not pick and choose buddies with tons of money seeking access to them for narrow-minded and selfish favors. 

But, hey, maybe that’s just me – but I hardly think so. This is a defining issue of millions in the country – a country we all profess at one time or another to be the greatest nation on Earth, and I certainly support that wholeheartedly. 

We have very good system in place – our government structure. But we then we see a lousy campaign finance system in place that is propped up the courts that I strongly believe are misguided about “money vs. speech” or what fair voting rights, and what we see in place that keeps the corruption alive and well. In essence we have a good system run by lousy people who in fact are backed by tons of ugly massive amounts of money that benefits the top rung of the ladder (who supply that money) all the while they profess to be “helping us all” climb that same ladder – that is the hypocrisy.

Income inequality translates into voice and power inequality from our government and that puts us on a path heading towards in a direction that I think no one wants. I don't speak for the vast majority, but I am part of that majority and those are the ones I mean to speak for with these posts. My voice is one among millions, and now I hear more on the same sheet. It's long overdue and sorely needed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Good Wife: Ann Romney Style — Another Sitcom Script

Wife Says Mittens Could Have Stopped Vlad

Media Hawking of Romney in 2012
(Wife's view all the time)

This story caught my eye - posted here - the headline is interesting:


I have two words (or maybe it's one word) about that:


A “good” wife should always stand by her husband, or as “they” say through thick and thin.

Mittens for his part is pretty thin and the BS like this from Ann Romney in that camp is well, well ... pretty thick ...

Monday, October 13, 2014

ISIS or ISIL: Which One Is It and Does It Matter, Why or Why Not

We Need to "Know Our Enemy" 
(Make no mistake: they are everyone's enemy)

ISIS Prefers to be Called ISIL
(The "L" Map Area of Their Ambition)


The “L” part of their self-identified label: The “Levant” today (according to the so-called “leadership”) consists of controlling areas of CyprusIsraelJordanLebanonPalestineSyria, and parts of southern Turkey.


ISIS refers to the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” and ISIL refers to the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.”  (see map above)

Both acronyms point to the exact same thing: They are a Jihadist militant group hell-bent on implementing an Islamic caliphate throughout the Middle East and by force is their M.O.

The irony is that according to Quartz, the group’s real name is (in Arabic): “Al dawla al islamiyye f’il Iaq w’al sham.”

The proper label matters to them … but their drive and ambition matter more as evidenced by their rapid and blood thirsty advances across Syria and now deep into Iraq.  

The map above shows the "L" part of their ambitions. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Land Ho — We Discovered China — We Are Going to be Rich and Famous: Oops

October 12, 1492 - October 12, 2014 
(522 Years)

Notes (with my blog editing) from History - FYI:

Columbus Day is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492.  It was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century but did not become a federal holiday until the 1937.

Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who had set sail two months earlier, backed by the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He intended to chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and Spice Islands of Asia. However, instead, he landed in the Bahamas, becoming the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland during the 10th century.

Later that same month, he sighted Cuba and believed it was mainland China.

Then in December, he found Hispaniola, which he thought was Japan. It was there, he established Spain’s first colony in the Americas with 39 of his men.

In March 1493, Columbus returned to Spain in triumph, bearing gold, spices and “native Indians” as captives.

He crossed the Atlantic several more times before his death in 1506. By his third journey, he realized that he had not reached Asia but instead had stumbled upon a continent previously unknown to Europeans. The rest is history as they say.

The first Columbus Day celebration in the U.S. actually took place in 1792, when New York’s Columbian Order, better known as Tammany Hall, held an event to commemorate the historic 300th anniversary landing.

Then in 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging Americans to mark the 400th anniversary of the voyage with patriotic festivities, and writing: “On that day let the people, so far as possible, cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express honor to the discoverer and their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life.”

Finally, in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday – to be celebrated on the second Monday in October (regardless of the date – this year anniversary day, October 12, falls on Sunday).

No matter how the story is told (and we all have heard various versions), it's still history and the way millions found the "New World" that ultimately became the United States that we are today.