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Friday, March 28, 2014

Elizabeth Warren's new ad on corporate tax rates and out of control student loan debt:

Go Liz go!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Defining Capitalism and Socialism

Monday, March 24, 2014

Destroy Democracy in our system but why Republicans? A quickly changing majority that's why.

What's up with the right trying to kill the 17th Amendment and diminish Democracy in our system you ask?  Weren't they begging to give the entire world Democracy at the point of a bayonet during Bush?

Well if you believe what the Tea Party crowd tells you, it's something along the lines of leaving the power to the states to balance against the Federal Government.  This dirty commie, radical, librul doesn't buy that for a second.

The telling story behind this advocacy lies in some pretty basic numbers, mainly that this country ain't the same old cracker-whiteville it was even just 10 years ago.  America has changed, and in very drastic ways demographically.

Mitt Romney would have won with the American electorate that existed just 10 years ago, Bill O'Reilly hit it on the money election night 2012 in his very own asshole way:

"[I]t's a changing country, the demographics are changing, it's not a traditional America anymore. And there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it and he ran on it.

And, whereby, 20 years ago President Obama would have been roundly defeated by an establishment candidate like Mitt Romney. The white establishment is now the minority. And the voters, many of them, feel that this economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff.

You're going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama and women will probably break President Obama's way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?"

Let's remember, as far as the voters go-- Romney actually outperformed Bush in 2004 as far as the white vote, in fact, 88% of Romney voters were white compared to 58% Bush somehow managed to get in 2004. Though as questionable as 2000 and 2004 were-- ahem voter suppression, cough, cough, 2000 and 2004 were close, very close, but 2008 and 2012 were more or less blowouts, making the scenario seen in Dade County Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004 almost impossible.  It's easier to cheat when it's close.

Think about those numbers for just a second, that's a 30 point jump in white voters for the Republican and Obama "still" crushed Romney at the polls.  That is possible the biggest game changer as far as the history of the American electorate goes, and the right side of the American electorate knows something is very different about the country they grew up in.

The smart ones on the right know what's happening, and the even smarter ones are trying to do something about it--  

Rand Paul to his credit; has been smart enough to hit this situation head on, advocating for an expanded Republican base, and speaking to non-traditional audiences.

Others have gone the opposite route in trying to outright reduce democracy--

In the form of a reorganization of our system to allow states to outright nullify laws they don't care for allowing special status that would eliminate the 'supremacy clause' in the constitution.  There have been calls for a proportionate awarding of electoral votes vs. the general 'winner takes all' and there have been calls to repeal the 17th Amendment, allowing state legislators to vote for their states federal senator instead of a state's citizens.

When Tea Partiers rant about things like 'mob rule' listen for the dog whistle that says-- "Let's change the institutions of government so the new majority can't threaten the wealth of and influence of the minority, Bush failed to give us what we wanted, we tried to change our label, it didn't work and now the country is leaving us and our message behind".

Since Obama's election there's been a loud, concerted effort to try and shift the power from the federal government back to the states, to the last refuge of the radical right.  Mark Levin has been a poster child for this.  Little surprise, the elites hate Democracy for a good reason, people like Levin act on behalf of elite masters believing their interests are tied to his own.  With a 30 year decline in real wages, what do the Republicans really have to lose at this point?  Their policies have crushed our Middle/Working class.

And it's not like the policies of the right are hurting just those on the left, the right's policies suck really bad even for Republicans.  The obsession with minimally regulated markets is almost religious, like, comet coming to take you to heaven religious...

Tea Party people have been railing against the ACA and Medicaid expansion Governor Beshear signed into law by executive order despite it's popularity amongst even people who vote for them (this is headed in a good direction overall by the way).  The healthcare reform law and Medicaid expansion overwhelmingly benefits the very poorest parts of Kentucky which ironically enough votes heavily Republican.  But again, in this game that's a marathon, not a sprint the coming demographics are weighing heavily against the American right.

The bigger states and simple math are running in the left's favor-- Millennials who will compose an estimated 24% of the 2016 election don't care much for the right or their ideas about anything really. "Especially when it comes to the role of government", Millennials want Democracy.

And the bigger states of California and New York, with their bloated budget surpluses, multiculturalism and wonderful example of public transportation are shining like beacons to the rest of the country.  These states are forcing change on the rest of the country by sheer market forces: 

Que 'The Shape of Things to Come', get ready America, this country is going to be more awesome than you can possible imagine, stay tuned:

P.S. COUGH COUGH, There is a ton of evidence that says Millennials would love candidates in 2014 and beyond who would spearhead efforts on student loan relief:

Maybe reinstate the pre-2005 bankruptcy protections?  IBR status for private loans?  Even the private loan industry seems open to it, at least they say they are.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Doing all we can

A piece written by MSgt Thomas Vance USAF Ret.:

A recent article in the Kentucky Enquirer’s USA Today pages titled, ‘Military Efforts to Treat Mental Illness Fall Short’, dated 21 Feb 2014, details the findings of a committee of 13 experts appointed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.  The researchers concluded that, “There is no substantive indication of effectiveness (of suicide prevention programs) and more importantly, there’s no evidence of an enduring impact”.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs about a thousand Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder each week.

Sadly the treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not on the radar of those enforcing our drug laws.  Here again we see the beautiful odiousness of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act in preventing any actions that might show marijuana is either effective medicine or safe for use.  A Food and Drug Administration approved protocol for a study of marijuana for symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in US Veterans has been on hold for over 3 months waiting for the US Public Health Service to sell researchers the Government approved marijuana for the study.  In the 40 plus years since enactment of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act the US Public Health Service has never provided the marijuana for any research and so far not for this Study either.  No ‘approved’ research, thus allowing the Government to claim they can’t legalize or reschedule marijuana because there is no Government approved research showing marijuana is safe or has any medical value!  Actually there is plenty of evidence, some of it gold standard research, showing the safety and efficacy of marijuana, just none supporting the ridiculous claims of the Government.

Happily though, many Veterans aren’t waiting and are turning to medical marijuana for help.  Many are reporting that marijuana has helped them to live with and control their conditions giving them a more normal life; some saying it saved their lives.  Along with the tons of anecdotal evidence from Veterans themselves there is the unexplainable drop in suicide rates in states that have medical marijuana laws.  There is nothing that has changed in these states other than medical marijuana being available to the citizens to account for the drop in suicide rates.

We could easily change all this. According to the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the head of the Justice Department can, with a stroke of a pen reschedule marijuana.  Or we could just allow the Veterans access through the Veterans Administration.  Do a voucher program with a local marijuana pharmacy for Veterans in States with medical marijuana laws and for Veterans not in States with medical marijuana laws, we can treat them the same as the survivors of the old Compassionate Care Program who still receive a tin of medical marijuana from the Government marijuana farm in Mississippi every month to treat their conditions.

We use statistics from the Veterans who use the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System all the time in studies and research.  Why not believe the Veterans this time.  Give them the medicine they swear is doing them good and see what happens.  It’s not like it’s a medicine no one has used before!  Veterans are using marijuana as medicine as I am writing this and have for 50 years that I can personally attest to and they pretty well know what the results of an honest study will show.

The citizens of 20 States and the District of Columbia have been allowed access to this medicine for over a decade.  Our Veterans deserve no less!  To have a treatment that has been shown to be effective and to forbid access to it for those who need it most is beyond the limits of decency and morality!  It is a black mark on the report card of how we treat those who have sacrificed most for this country and suffer for that sacrifice the rest of their lives.  It is long past time for the Veterans Administration to begin providing medical marijuana to Veterans with qualifying conditions.  To do any less is a breach of the promise to do all we can, as stated in the mission statement of the Veterans Administration, to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise, ‘to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphan’.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Attention Kentucky Democrats, here's your battlecry headed into November 2014:

Why not put the Medicaid expansion before the Kentucky population to vote on?

"A solid majority of Kentucky Republicans support the state's decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, according to a new poll, standing in stark contrast to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's opposition to the provision." -TPM

That's according to a new poll released by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky this month, which is the first since the health care rollout began in the state.
It shows 79 percent of residents favor Governor Steve Beshear’s decision to expand Medicaid rolls last year.
The poll finds nearly 90 percent of surveyed adults saying it is important for the state to do so.
Under the president's health care law states are provided funding to increase Medicaid eligibility to all residents with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled state governments have a right to opt out of that provision, and about half have decided against Medicaid expansion." -WFPL

Furthermore, if Democrats across the country up and down the ballot are looking for an issue to run on to retake the state houses, this is it.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Crisis of Capitalism, It's all rigged, Wall Street's 1% and the rest of us, Frontline's "To Catch a Trader"

The land is haunted, haunted by a crisis of capitalism!

The expression 'may you live in interesting times' wasn't a a blessing but a curse.  Many home owners are under water on their mortgages, and student loan debt is at crisis levels (no doubt another bubble).  The issue is systematic.  'Capital cannot abide a barrier' as the video below explains.  And when demand stagnated Wall Street created a abundance of credit to be handed out instead of income.

Things worked for a while under regulated capitalism from around 1932 to 1980. And under a partially workers owned union-corporate-economy things looks pretty good.  Union membership was much higher before Ronald Reagan.

Boy how things did change, while the right loves to attack the idea of State-Socialism-- Red China and Soviet Russia, the kind of Socialism the right talks about is much closer associated what Bill Maher refers to in this piece that's synonymous with the protection of private capital backed up the taxpayers; ie: the state:

While the corporate elite loves to rail again the government, boy do they ignore the fact the very things they profit off of was created by the state (through tax dollars) and private capital picked it up and ran with it claiming it was the private sector that made these things possible.  The bailouts were just the zenith of state-capitalism, when capitalism collapsed on itself with the subprime mortgage crisis corporations begged the assistance of the state.

Little wonder there's radical reaction on both sides of the isle, unfortunately a good portion of that anger is misplaced on the right side of the aisle.  And unfortunately even liberals keep bowing to the corporate-free enterprise, top down hierarchical structure/model.

The folly on the right side of the aisle though mirrors absurdity in regards to the role of the state.  While the right lambastes the state providing services for citizens, the wealthiest ignore the massive subsidies the state affords them.  The mortgage interest deduction is by far the largest government subsidy the government provides to people:

But, there's hope for a new round of thinking, if OWS did anything it was to clear the table in regards to the status quo, Americans are really down on the rich these days, believing few of them deserve the wealth they've "built".  After all, if those influential people who run the state select influential winners in this economy are the wealthiest people's fortunes really earned based upon meritocracy?

From the perspective of a long game, the state-capitalists sense danger on the horizon, people in this day and age are asking all sorts of questions that challenge the very system we're living in.  We've created two Americas-- two economic models and two legal systems.

It's a loaded system with some in the know and in on the take making fortunes on the labor of the working class, then there's rest of us, the 99%.  Stay tuned, we're living in interesting times:

And here's PBS 'To Catch a Trader':