This Thanksgiving, I reflect on our nation. There is reason to despair, or course. Some dire work is still undone. For example, nearly a year after the Sandy Hook horror, we still have no coherent national plan of action to restrict gun ownership. Also, our Congress is still embarrassingly dysfunctional, as the Republicans recently shut down the government in protest of millions of Americans getting access to health insurance. There is also a lack of meaningful citizen action on climate change, which could be the nullifying factor for all human endeavor a few generations out. Read more
Politics today is all about messaging. So I took a quick look at the Twitter account for Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. What I found will not surprise you. Republicans are focused on the ACA rollout and the report that people are being drop from their insufficient healthcare plans. While Democrats are focused on everything from Women's Rights to debt reduction.
While the President mentions healthcare in his tweet today. He also mention's how low the debt is currently vs. 2009. The Democrats are currently searching for a winning message, while the Republicans think they have found one.
Michael Stinnett - 9/03/2013: Legal rulings such as Citizens United and lax campaign financing laws have undermined the democratic process allowing wealthy donors to buy elections; so-called Super PACs are a pernicious influence on society and should be abolished. A Super PAC, or independent expenditure-only committee, “may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates. Super PACs must, however, report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or quarterly basis – the Super PAC's choice – as a traditional PAC would. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates” (Super PACs). The recent ruling protects political spending by corporations in candidate elections, citing the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. In justifying the ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that “'If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech'” (The New York Times). Read more
This year I will be 71 years old, assuming I make it and I have close family now into their eighties. I was born in the first year of WW II and my older relatives born in the 1930s during the Great Depression.
When I was a kid grandparents lived with their children and their grandchildren. One of the kids took in their mom and pop while the rest of the kids were expected to kick into the pot to provide for their support.
That’s the way it was before Social Security.
Folks were expected to work until they died which usually wasn’t long. The average life expectancy for a male in the 1920s was 49 years. If you lived longer there was no expected retirement age. You worked until you could no longer work or until you could no longer find work.
Then you were expected to live on your savings. Home ownership at the time was below 20% in the lower working class and the average wage adjusted for inflation in today’s purchasing power was around $13,000. So usually old folks didn’t have sufficient resources to live on.
So you went to your children if you had any. It was expected. Grandma usually got one of the children’s bedrooms. Read more
I posted this after Aurora. Unfortunately it fits again.
And so we have another "massacre", this time in Aurora, Colorado, maybe 20 miles from Columbine. Pretty soon we can just start characterizing these barbarities as "incidents".
This one is life imitating art. Apparently the young man colored his hair red and called himself "The Joker"; Batman’s arch nemesis was going to spoil the midnight showing.
Our young man had no trouble at all buying four guns at local gun stores, and chemical weapons, full body armor, a gas mask and some six thousand rounds of ammunition over the internet. He had it all shipped directly to his school dorm and to his apartment - over 60 deliveries by UPS alone. Fifteen thousand dollar’s worth of shit.
Did anyone ever ask why this kid, who wasn’t a cop or in the military needed full body armor?
Naah. This is a free country.
As it turns out our brilliant neuro-scientist was a loner and totally forgettable if you passed him on a street or saw him on a bar stool. No criminal record. No Face Book page; no girl friend; no close buddies apparently.
Forgettable. Read more
Recently there has been talk by Republican lawmakers and the media about a deal to help solve the Fiscal Cliff issue and they think that Medicare’s age requirement should be lifted to 67 years old. As far as I am concerned, this is all based on a fallacy.
Next year, millions of Americans will suddenly be required to purchase health insurance. The health insurance industry will see a huge lift in their profits and for a while, the health care industry will be overwhelmed. There will be a shortage of doctors and other health care professionals and many will be unhappy, but I believe we will survive it and we will adapt. Most importantly, we will be leaving behind a health care system that has left tens of millions of Americans without decent health care, beyond emergency rooms. Read more
Those who poured out in droves to vote for President Obama, who by the way, won a second term in office, deserve to have what they stood in long lines on Election Day for. The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, is part of that.
It seems that Republican House Speaker John Boehner does not get it; President Obama won and his signature health care law stands. Our health care system is not going to go back to emergency room care for those who cannot afford health insurance, and tens of millions of Americans without decent care. It is time to move forward, with the full implementation of the law taking effect in 2014, just a little over a year away. Read more
About four or so months I attended a progressive town hall meeting hosted by my Rep. Eddie B. Johnson, with Rep. Barbara Lee from California. An old-aged attendent asked about the healthcare ruling (this was about two weeks before the final ruling) and Rep. Johnson answered, but I don’t remember the question or answer. That’s not important. What’s important is what happened afterwards.
The next attendant, a middle aged woman, assumedly Rep. Johnson’s supporter, asked what difference is the Obamacare tax mandate from other programs like Social Security. Both are “mandatory” she says, why aren’t the other programs, Social Security specifically, being challenged. How are they in law, she asked in confusion. After Rep. Johnson gave her an “answer,” (to be fair, she said we’ll see if it’s constitutional when the court rules) I whispered to her about FDR’s “court packing” controversy in the 40′s and how America copied the same socialist countries policies whom we had tension with. Read more
Children even in poverty-stricken areas go to bed at night dreaming about what they want to be. They dream of being firefighters, police officers, doctors, presidents and even super heroes. The hunger and poverty they have known all their short lives cannot stop them from having those dreams. It is when they grow a bit older and see the reality of their situation through the eyes of the adults in their lives, that they begin to accept the limitations that are put upon them, because of their poverty.
In America, part of our infrastructure is our schools. As a nation, we have always held that education is important to us. We know that a good education is what will give our young people a chance to compete and a chance at success they would not have otherwise. We as parents want our children to have opportunities that we did not have ourselves; this has been a tradition for a long time in America. Wisdom tells us that our children are the future. Read more
Once there was a serial killer. His name was William Hickman.
He was rather famous back in the 1920s. The son of a paranoid schizophrenic mother and grandmother he would torture and kill cats as kid. Anyone who knew him thought he was growing up to be a maniac. Like every good sociopath he stayed on his best behavior so as not to attract unwanted attention from strangers or the law.
After strangling a woman in Milwaukee and killing an old man for his wallet and throwing his body off of a bridge, he murdered a 12 year old girl in 1927, Marion Parker - because he wanted to. He was 19 years old.
He kidnaped her and sent a ransom note to her doctor father. After her father delivered the money to Hickman in his car, our psychopath drove away and tossed the little girl's head and torso out of the car for her dad. He had dismembered her and proceeded to throw parts of her all over the highway.
Hickman was arrested and eventually hanged.
But Hickman had a groupie. Our groupie kept a journal filled with gushing praise for this killer of little girls. She loved his sociopathic qualities. Read more
And so we have our Republican Vice Presidential candidate, the Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan; the young gun star of the radical right. The new John Galt, feeling put upon by the "takers" in society.
Ryan is now less comfortable being associated with Randian Objectivism than he was several years ago. After all, Rand represents the epitome of atheism and social Darwinism. It was not too long ago however that Ryan said "The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism."
Ryan gave his staff copies of "Atlas Shrugged" as Christmas gifts in 2003.
Ryan is not going to be able to slough off his philosophical mentor so easily. Ryan has frequently invoked Rand’s idea of "makers" subsidizing society’s "takers.", his libertarian philosophy a defense of capitalism in general and a conception of politics as a class war pitting virtuous producers against parasites who illegitimately use the power of the state to seize their wealth. Read more
We have had 30 years of what has turned out to be horrible economic policy. All of the facts, when reviewed, will show that the system is failing the majority of Americans. But instead of admitting that failure, we are told that we need to double down. We have not been faithful enough to the system. We were bad capitalists who strayed into the arms of government hooch. Coming to save us is businessman, Mitt Romney. He has made his very profitable career with Bain Capital. Bain Capital specializes in private equity and venture capital. Mitt Romney is a man of the finance world. He has made decisions on a level of business that you or I could never begin to imagine. Mitt Romney has repeatedly touted his business experience as an asset towards reviving the U.S. economy. Read more