Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Slacking a Bit

In watching developments the past few weeks there have been memes galore!  Ohmy, but they just keep getting better.












That sort of sums it up for today.  Yet there is so much more going on.  The Bundy's, the death of A. Scalia, the local issues, the gun violence and so forth.  It's a great time to be getting ready to vote or caucus in the primaries.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Debates and Winning

The Democratic Debates are a very different sort of civilized clash of ideas rather the mud wrestling match the Republicans put on.  There is no gnashing of teeth, pulling of hair or screaming that the opponent(s) is/are wack jobs.  The general idea is to present real differences in a calm and less confrontational way.

Along the way to the debates there is a bit of wrangling over the fact that there are only six debates scheduled and, taking a page from the Republicans, only Democratic Party sponsored debates will be allowed.  With that I have put forth the #ResignDebbie idea to rid us of a poor performance by Debbie Wasserman Schultz in not having a 50 State Strategy AND for restricting the number of possible debates so the Hillary Rodham Clinton is favored to the exclusion of the other candidates.



In any case, as the debates, one of which was actually a Forum, have been a breath of fresh air as I have said before and we are moving forward.  Now the memes are building.  It is early, there is a looong way to go before the Convention selects the Party's candidate.  The leaning of the rules favors HRC to be certain.  The reality of massive rallies favor Bernie Sanders.  Martin O'Malley is struggling to be heard at all.  Despite the handicapping of the candidates in several ways by the external sources of political distraction they have all moved forward with better campaigns than I recall in a long time.   There is some friction between the Sanders and HRC camps, to be sure, but overall the process has remained fairly civil.

The polls don't tell us much, the media is blind to anything but what they want us to see (and MAKE us see) so we rely on social media and chatting with friends and opponents.




Sharing information as well helping others maintain some perspective in this process is part of what the memes are doing right now.  The thing that Bernie Sanders has done is to calm the waters by not attacking the people he is running against in the primaries.  Not everyone is taking that direction so there is lots of bolstering that has to be done to keep as many as possible calm.  American politics has not been prone to calm.

 
There is a lot more that I could post here on this but time does not really allow that today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

An Efficient Bite of Government

One of the arguments that occurs regularly revolves around how Big the government should be.  It's not a smart discussion but you see it happen often enough that it is worth noting.  There are Big Government defenders and then there are those who want an ever Smaller Government.  Some have even stated that they want to shrink Government to the point that you could drown it in a bath tub... and, yes, that is a near quote of that position.  What is this really all about?

Imagine you got rich because you found a way to circumvent the rules that the "Marketplace" has in place such that the rules no longer applied to the way you got rich.  That is, asked another way, what if, without rules the marketplace was whatever you wanted it to be and your income and wealth was dependent on it continuing in that direction?  Would you overturn a system that was rigged in your favor?  

When I hear the comments about how Freedom is dependent on fewer rules I think about what that actually means.  I see no case for that being a factual idea.  Society can be free of rules... just look at Somalia.  There are pirates and everyone possible owns (and uses) a gun to enforce their own particular version of the rules.  When I see memes where someone essentially wraps themselves in a flag and tells the rest of us that their patriotic stance is the more correct (freer) version of what we should all aspire to I shudder.  Being patriotic has virtually nothing to do with a lack of rules.  A lack of rules just means the sins of one are projected on others.  It is the rule of, by and for the bully.  There is no way to make this fair for the majority of us.  We really do need the rules to  work FOR us.

                          

 One way this seems to be projected is when someone says they want a more efficient government.  What they mean by this seems to be that they want a smaller less capable government.  What is needed, they say, is fewer rules so that we don't need such a large government.  It costs money, you know... they say.  We need to cut government to the bone to force it to be more efficient.  Here is the problem with what they are truly saying: shrinking government eliminates the ability of government to enforce the rules that make it safer for most of us.  It eliminates the safety net.  It devastates the weakest among us by letting the predators take over.  It allows the worst of us to dominate.  Society shrinks when you shrink government in the name of efficiency.  Wages shrink when you lower the minimum wage... the floor becomes the ceiling.  You can shrink wages by inflation taking away the buying power you had or you can simply raise prices on essential things to take away the power that money once had.  When the banks do increasingly risky things we are talking about a lack of rules to keep them from taking additional risk... with your money.  With these additional risks I noticed that the benefit of the increased income they received did not trickle down to you in the form of increased interest paid to you, by the way.  But I digress.

When you take enforcement out of the equation you are breaking the value of the rules in the marketplace.  When you decrease the funding to the FDA/USDA and so forth you are allowing the industry to self police and if they do a poor job of it there is no penalty big enough to fix the problem.

We have had 40 years of the regressive diminishing of government.  Forty years of less and less enforcement.  Forty years of breaking government's role in protecting the citizenry.  Forty years of stupid economic policy.  Efficiency in government is not about continuing to decrease the budgets of the agencies that are supposed to defend us against this onslaught.  When you hear this argument you should be thinking about what billionaires are behind the scenes telling you that your money needs to be in their pockets because that is what "Efficient" government means to them.

   



Because a private prison can work its inmates as slaves.






FedEx & UPS want to take over the Post Office... just imagine what it would cost to mail a post card if the did!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Great Week in Memes

 There are so many issues to taking on the 1% that it is hard to sort out where to start much of the time.  This week sort of spread the juice around a bit.






Yeah, I know, it's a bit of a dog-from-every-town kind of week. Sometimes that's just how it rolls.  There are plenty of days left to get to the vote part of the problem solving and THEN we have to stay on it to get things accomplished.  We tend to go back to our lives and step out of the battle... the 1% are counting on that.





In the long haul we just need to stay focused on the ideas we are contrasting.  It's about time we understand just how thoroughly the 1% has corrupted the entire system.  Don't lay down and continue to be run over.  Vote.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Robert Reich's take away.

I just HAD to re-post this because I do NOT get how people do not understand what the Republican agenda is since it is right in front of us almost daily.  It is insanity rehashed but somehow we do not see it when melded into the fabric of our news as a non-event.



Robert Reich

Now that Paul Ryan is Speaker of the House, keep a wary eye out for Ryan’s 7 favorite ideas (they’re also cropping up among Republican presidential candidates):

1. Reduce the top income-tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent (a huge windfall to the rich at a time when the rich take home a larger share of total income that at any time since the 1920s).

2. Cut corporate taxes to 25 percent from 35 percent (a giant sop to corporations, the largest of which are already socking away $1.2 trillion in foreign tax shelters).

3. Make these cuts without adding the budget deficit by slashing spending on domestic programs like food stamps and education for poor districts (now, 18% of the nation's children are in poverty, and these cuts would only make things worse).

4. Also by turning Medicaid and other federal programs for the poor into block grants to the states, and let the states decide how to allocate them (in other words, give Republican state legislatures and governors slush funds to do with as they wish).

5. And turning Medicare into vouchers that don’t keep up with increases in healthcare costs (which would in effect cut Medicare for the elderly).

6. Deal with rising Social Security costs by raising the retirement age for Social Security (making Social Security even more regressive, since the poor don't live nearly as long as the rich).

7. Finally, don’t raise the minimum wage but let it continue to decline as inflation makes it irrelevant; instead, provide poor workers with a larger Earned Income Tax Credit (enlarging the EITC is a good idea, but we need a higher minimum as well). 

Bottom line: Beware Paul Ryan.

What do you think?

This consistent theme of stealing from us through the legislative process is a Republican thing.  Repeatedly breaking every program in sight and taking the good of the common good to the ground is, as often as not, a theme backed by the Big Money of the 1%.





Friday, October 30, 2015

Substance v. A Ghost

Many issues today revolve around a form of fairness and whether or not we are actually seeing fairness in our politically driven marketplace.  In reading Robert Reich's book Saving Capitalism (for the many not the few) it becomes clear that without rule makers having a sense of what is and is not fair in setting policy we lose the purpose for which rule making should be doing its job FOR society.  We are buried in Lobbyists and Lawyers making Legislators and the departments that make the rules for the marketplace unfair.  The Lobbyists and Lawyers, pretty much by definition, want rules that keep their constituents free of regulation.  They cry that regulation is a bad thing even though it is what keeps us safe.  They imply that it is no longer a "Free" market if you regulate it.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  They propose over and over again ways to free the market so that it is more efficient.  Right now they are winning and we are losing. Markets NEED regulation... without regulation we can be given shoddy products, forced into predatory arrangements and generally cheated out of our money.  Without regulation there is no market. 










If we look under most of the problems we face today there is a theme that says the Unregulators have stolen from us the ability to have a fair marketplace.  Subjects like Net Neutrality or Foreign Trade Agreements may not be on the top of the reading list for most people so it is easy to see how the Unregulators have rigged the game quietly while no one was looking.  In the case of what sorts of cars can be sold (safe or unsafe) or what industries are subsidized we do not have access to the agents of change even if we see what has to be done as individuals.  For things like bankruptcy laws or the insurance industry the grip of the industry itself is so tight that we cannot even get a thumb nail under the cure.  The entire interlocking set of regulations is too detailed for the average person to follow and fix.  This leads to frustration with the system.  We become easy prey for the politicians that say,"I have the solution," even though all they have is more ways to mess with the already broken system.

 For the most part it is Republicans who have corrupted the system with the help of a few Democrats.  That way you get to hear phrases like, "Bi-Partisan Support," when, in reality, it happens that something is passed with very thin margins that works against the normal/average person.  We have elected people through the deception of money buying our allegiance through advertising distorting the facts/truth.  It's the Blue Ribbon Committee that lies to us about the intent or the reason for making a certain decision.  It is the money under the vote that has preordained a decision against the good of the People.














So, there you have it, right now we are fighting against the money that has corrupted the system.  We are fighting for our financial existence.  We are fighting against the lies that pervade the media we used to rely on.  We are fighting for a livable community for the many not the few.  We are fighting against the 1% who own almost everything in sight and have worked tirelessly to own the rest.  We are fighting for our next generation and their right to live in a sustainable way, in harmony, on the planet.   


   

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Needle in a Hay Stack

At times like these there is a gnawing sense that I am missing something.  I mean, political sense does not very often make for an understandable world.  Here is Donald Trump being Trumped by... wait for it, Ben Carson in Iowa!  It was a thought that occurred to me this week that the lunatic fringe IS the Republican party.  I know, right?  You're saying,"How could you not have known THAT?"

Deep down I have felt for a long time that Republican self destruction made this case a long time ago.  It is the reality of it that has struck me anew.  The Republicans are looking ever more desperately for a viable candidate that the Uber-Rich can control.  They had that in Romney.  They had that in spades with Bush.  But now, they cannot find anyone who will fill that bill for them.  What they know how to do is to buy a candidate... but the controls are broken when it comes to finding a candidate that real people can relate to.  Since the Uber-Rich seem to be unable to relate to anyone not spouting the dumb stuff they believe and/or want you to believe they will never be able to find that needle-in-a-haystack.





If that doesn't hit you between the eyes then how about this.  




That's where the real conversation taking place in the country is.  That is, this is one expression of what actually matters to most people.  The Republicans are clueless on this conversation because they have strayed to a place that is so incredibly heavy handed in trying to control the national conversation.  They do not control that conversation.  That is why, I think, the "pundits" no longer can sway the ideas that are being the discussion's focus.



















I suspect that by now you can SEE where the conversation really is.  Of course there is more but it butts up against this set of "talking points" quite well.  The social issues are there too.  In every case the radical positions are staked out by the Republicans to show that they are in line with what is traditionally lunatic fringe thinking.  They do not make sense of issues like livable wage, black lives matter, foreign policy, military spending and so forth.  

In fact, the Republicans cannot seem to understand that to have military spending above 40% of the budget harms the economy and foreign policy.  The money wasted on military spending could promote all the things that citizens NEED.  Military spending, by definition, is wasteful.  We are set to create destruction on a massive scale when we go to war.  We blow up bombs that cost millions of dollars per copy as if we have done something positive.  Yes, we paid the people who work on such things to create them but then we eliminate that value in a single second.  This does not even begin to describe the waste we create for others on the planet.  Beyond this we are not including the on-going cost of maintaining the military veterans in the military budget... where it belongs.  The Republicans like to say that they are strong on defense but that truly ignores that they are weak on Veterans.  If we include veteran costs in the military budget the overall cost of war is more clearly recognized.

 The Republican agenda is clear even if you are not fully paying attention.













So, there is a theme to the meme here perhaps?  There is nothing that comes from Republicans that is POSITIVE.  It is always about what they are against.  Always negative.  We can rhyme this set of ideas with what money has bought in America.

If the letters are too small click on the meme to see it larger and when you're finished press the Esc key.  Until next time.