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Friday, October 29, 2010

10 REASONS THE CHOICE IS CLEAR!

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!


Not too long ago, it seemed like there was little difference between the Democratic and Republican parties or their candidates. Both spoke of prosperity and preserving essential American values. This election, however, there are vast differences between the two parties and you should be less confused about which party's candidates offer the best future for you specifically and for the country as a whole. If any doubt still remains for you, though, today's post should help you make up your mind.
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1. If you believe that our government is bad and interferes with your personal freedom and private businesses too much, join Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul, Ken Buck, Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Christine O'Donnell, Linda McMahon, and Joe Miller, and VOTE REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY. But don't come crying to me if their party takes over Congress and makes it possible for businesses and public institutions to discriminate against you or passes laws regulating your own personal reproductive choices or behavior.
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2. If you believe that unemployment compensation, the minimum wage, and the recently-passed health care reform bill are unconstitutional, unnecessary, and should be done away with, join Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Rand Paul, and Michele Bachmann and VOTE REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY. But don't come crying to me when you lose your job and have no money, or the only work you can get is for $3 per hour, or when other broke or homeless people beat you up on the street for your pocket change, or when you find you can no longer get health insurance or your health insurance company stops covering you because treatment for your illness has become too expensive for them.
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3. If you believe that we should send our Senators and Congresspersons to Washington and pay them $174,000 per year mainly to stall, politic, and obstruct and filibuster legislation and executive branch appointments just to ensure that the President fails and and serves only one term in office, join MITCH McCONNELL (the GOP Senate Minority Leader who has stated that objective as his party's top priority for the next two years), and if you believe the federal government should be shut down altogether if one party doesn't get its way on everything, join not only McConnell, but the equally unyielding and uncompromising Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Michele Bachmann, John Boehner, Mike Pence, and Eric Cantor and VOTE REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY. But don't come crying to me when Congress gets nothing done, no more jobs are created, mail deliveries stop, you can't get your unemployment or disability check, your home is destroyed by natural disaster and there is no National Guard or FEMA to help you, roads go unrepaired and become impassable, or your doctor won't treat you because you can't afford treatment and there is no longer any Medicare or Medicaid to pay for your medical care. You don't pay your mechanic $174,000 a year to not fix your car, do you? Why, then, should congresspersons get such a break? Instead of just wasting that $174,000 per year on unproductive members of Congress, why not give it to ME to do nothing? I need it a LOT more than THEY do at the moment!
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4. If you think Congress should spend thousands of hours next session IMPEACHING PRESIDENT OBAMA for "going too far" and do everything it can to bring him down, join Darrell Issa, John Boehner, Jim DeMint, and Mitch McConnell and VOTE REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY. But don't come crying to me when Congress gets absolutely nothing else accomplished, or drives a man from office who saved us from a new Great Depression or who made health insurance discrimination against those with chronic or pre-existing conditions illegal.
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5. If you believe the free market system should just be left completely alone and that there is far too much regulation of private business, join all Republican and Tea Party candidates and VOTE REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY. But don't come crying to me when YOUR job gets sent outside of the country, when gasoline and prescription prices double or triple overnight, when YOU get violently or deathly ill from tainted food or water, or when wild market speculation DOES cause a new Great Depression!
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6. If you believe that billionaires and huge multinational corporations like Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, General Electric, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, WellPoint, and many others are all overtaxed or that the Bush tax cuts for them created millions of high-paying jobs here (they didn't) and should be extended or even expanded, join Pat Toomey and all other Republican and Tea Party candidates and VOTE REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY. But don't complain to me that the federal deficit is skyrocketing, that you can't find a good-paying job, that your company is shutting down and moving outside of the country, or that your wages are stagnant but the rich are getting richer all the time.
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7. If you believe that Saddam Hussein had, and was planning to use, WMD against us and that he was behind the 9/11 attacks; that we should proactively militarily attack any country we believe will be a threat to us; that it is a justifiable act for the government to wiretap your phone, engage in torture of enemy combatants, or hold prisoners suspected of being or aiding terrorists for indefinite periods without charge or trial; and that a 110 pound young lady carrying an opposition sign poses a threat to your candidate (or our democracy), should be thrown to the ground and have her head stomped on, then join Rand Paul Tea Party supporter Tim Profitt and other intolerant, paranoid conservative Republican hawks and VOTE REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY. But don't come crying to me if you suddenly find yourself in detention at Gitmo, or if the draft is reinstituted or your newly-enlisted son, daughter, neighbor, nephew or niece, or grandson or grandaughter are shipped off to be killed in combat or injured for life in Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, or someplace else. For the conservatives believe in striking first and asking questions later. You can always count on them to act with brute force, and it is important to them that our military/industrial complex be kept busy, profitable, and in good working order.
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8. If you believe Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional and should be replaced by private retirement and private health care systems, join John Raese, Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Joe Miller and VOTE REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY. But don't come crying to me when you find that rich elderly citizens are living high off the hog while you, your elderly parents, or your grandparents starve to death, find yourself or themselves homeless and out on the street due to inability to pay rent, or suffer needlessly because the market has had a downward turn and wiped out your or their retirement plan and you or they can no longer afford prescriptions or medical care.
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9. If you believe the federal government is actively trying to prevent responsible citizens from owning guns, or that there should be no restrictions on any kind of weapons, and that angry citizens should have the right to take matters into their own hands using their own weapons against the government or its elected officials, then join Sharron Angle, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, and Joe Miller and VOTE REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY. But don't come crying to me if and when you or someone you know is gunned down on the street by a person who has no business possessing a gun, political opponents are shot at random, or roving militias storm the Capitol and take over the government.
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10. If you believe that liberals and Democrats are destroying the moral fiber of the country by either advocating or accepting immigrant rights or alternate lifestyles, or are supporters of immoral personal behavior, join David Vitter, John Ensign, Larry Craig, and Terry Sanford and VOTE REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY. They all have all come out with strong public statements against homosexuality and in support of Christian and family values. Yet each of them has had sexual affairs and none have been stellar examples of good personal moral behavior. So don't come crying to me when you find out the Republicans you elected aren't as pure and lily-white as you thought they were, and they are, istead, boisterous moral hypocrites.
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Voters, I hope you will carefully think over what I have presented above. For these are 10 good reasons the choice is clear in this year's midterm elections: conservative Republicans and Tea Party candidates must NOT be elected and must NOT gain control of Congress or they will implement a dangerously radical and unworkable agenda that will have long lasting, dire consequences for YOU!

These people aren't conservatives who are interested in preserving the best of what we have and wish to change it to make it better. No, these people are REACTIONARIES who want to turn America's clock backward to the 1920s and 1890s, when government had no say in business or couldn't prevent unfair or unsafe business practices, or could let business owners discriminate against you at will. A time when if you lost your job that was just too damn bad and you had to fend for yourself on your own, all by yourself. A time where employers could pay whatever they pleased, or could set long and exhausting hours and not have to be bothered with safe or comfortable working conditions. A time when the elderly had to live by themselves in poverty and utter deprivation. A time when, if you got sick and had no money, you suffered horribly and starved to death, because you couldn't work. Is THIS what you want going forward? Is this progress, and the direction this country should be moving in? I don't think so, and I don't think you do, either. That's why I say, this year, THE CHOICE IS CLEAR!

Monday, October 25, 2010

THE SQUEEZE IS ON!

I INVITE ALL OF YOU TO TUNE INTO FELLOW BLOGGER GWENDOLYN BARRY'S FABULOUS ONLINE TALK RADIO SHOW, "HERE BE MONSTERS", SUNDAYS FROM 6-7 PM EASTERN TIME. IT IS INTELLIGENT, REASONED DISCUSSION UNLIKE YOU'LL HEAR ANYWHERE ELSE. GO TO http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters. SCROLL DOWN A BIT, AND UNDER THE "ON DEMAND EPISODES" SECTION AT LEFT, YOU CAN EVEN LISTEN TO A FEW OF THE ARCHIVED SHOWS. The call-in number to participate is 213-816-0357. GHECK IT OUT!


Lori Sturdevant is an OpEd writer for my local Minneapolis Star Tribune. She wrote the piece below which appeared in the paper's Sunday, October 24, 2010 edition. It deals with former Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton, who is poised to become the state's first Democratic Governor in nearly two decades. This piece is notable not so much for its Minnesota information, but for the national data it contains which deals with the widening gap in incomes between the upper 1% and everybody else. The bolding and capitalization you will see is mine, and my own comments willfollow her piece at bottom below, in bold italic.
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THE PENNY-PINCHED ARE DRAWN TO DAYTON
Minnesotans are feeling the squeeze, which may help bring the election of DFL candidate with "tax the rich" agenda.

These may not be the golden years. When I started searching some months back for explanations for former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton's 2010 political resurrection, I saw one theme skipping repeatedly across my computer screen: income inequality.

The average income gap between the bottom- and top-earning deciles of the U.S. population is now wider than it has ever been, surpassing even the excesses of a portentous year in U.S. economic history, 1928.

A gap that wide packs political punch, perhaps especially in historically communitarian, populist Minnesota. One of its consequences could be the election of a DFL candidate for governor who says he'll tax the rich to shore up eroding public services for the poor and middle class.

Here's some of what's accumulated in my inequality file:

• The U.S. Census data released last month showed that the top-earning 20 percent of U.S. households earned 50 percent of the nation's income last year. The bottom quintile's share: 3.4 percent.

• The top 0.01 percent of U.S. earners raked in 6 percent of the nation's income in 2007 -- the year before the crash -- beating their 1928 share by a full percentage point, reported economists Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley.

• The same researchers found that two-thirds of total income gains from 2002 to 2007 went to the top 1 percent of U.S. households.

• Though the onset of the Great Recession hit the nation's top earners harder on a percentage basis than the rest of Americans, Saez predicted a few months ago that the big downturn won't narrow the nation's income gap. Top earners have rebounded nicely since 2008 -- some of them with the help of federal bailouts to the financial industry. (See why TARP remains a dirty word, even though it's about to be repaid?)














GRAPH COURTESY OF TOMCAT OVER AT THE EXCELLENT BLOG POLITICS PLUS (http://www.politicsplus.org/).

Those stats measure the extent to which the spoils of the American economy have been stacking up in the financial accounts of people at the top. My file also includes new research, both global and local, that shows why excessive income inequality is bad for a society. For instance:

• Inequality shortens lifespans. A new Twin Cities study by Wilder Research, commissioned by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, found that average lifespans in high-income areas of the Twin Cities are 82 years, eight years longer than the average in the region's poorest quarters.

• Inequality increases social ills including crime, chemical dependency and mental illness. It also heightens mistrust, which drives political wedges deeper. Those findings are detailed in "The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger" (Bloomsbury, 2009) by British public health researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.

• INEQUALITY IS A THREAT TO ECONOMIC RECOVERY. In his book "Fault Lines" (Princeton University Press, 2010), former International Monetary Fund chief economist Raghuram Rajan describes the systemic flaws in the global economy that contributed to the Great Recession and put recovery at risk. The fault line he says is most important: rising income inequality in the United States.

• The ever-lucid former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains why in his new book, "Aftershock" (Knopf, 2010). Through nearly 40 years of rising income inequality, spending by middle Americans has been propped up by three coping measures: women entering the workforce in the 1970s and 1980s, the availability of second jobs to supplement income in the 1990s, and borrowing against home equity in the 2000s.

All of those options are now tapped out, Reich says. Americans in the middle have little choice but to spend less and scale back. And without average Americans pulling the world's consumption wagon, the wagon won't move at its old clip. It might not move much at all.

Minnesotans may not know these inequality stats and stories. But my hunch is that to a considerable degree, they feel them. They know that they're working harder and not getting ahead.
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This country is tapped out. We were once the richest country in the world. We were the world's greatest lender nation 30 years ago, before the conservative Republican "Reagan Revolution" began implementing "free market" economic policies, cutting taxes for the wealthy, and busting labor unions for workers. THE NET RESULT IS THAT WE ARE NOW THE WORLD'S GREATEST DEBTOR NATION AND THAT WE HAVE BECOME A POORER AMERICA FOR THE MAJORITY AND A VASTLY WEALTHIER AMERICA FOR ONLY A TINY, TINY MINORITY. George W. Bush and his conservative Republican Congress accelerated this phenomenon with huge tax cuts for the rich and the active advocacy of exportating good-paying American jobs to countries outside our border. This, and the continued Republican (and now Tea Party) push for deregulation has DESTROYED OUR ECONOMY AND MADE YOU BECOME BROKE!

LIKE WORKING TWO JOBS? lIKE NOT BEING ABLE TO BUY THAT CAR, TAKE THAT VACATION, OR SEND YOUR CHILD TO A DECENT UNIVERSITY? LIKE KNOWING THERE ARE CEOs OUT THERE MAKING 300 TIMES AS MUCH AS YOU, PAYING LITTLE OR NO TAXES, LIVING A LIFE OF WORRY-FREE COMFORT AND LUXURY WHILE YOU HAVE TO SWEAT AND FRET FROM PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK?

Thank the conservative Republicans and their "government hands-off, free market economics" for that. YOU'D BETTER THINK TWICE ABOUT VOTING FOR A REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY CANDIDATE ON NOVEMBER 2. THEY'RE THE REASON THINGS ARE SO TOUGH RIGHT NOW, AND THEY'LL NEVER GO TO BAT FOR YOU...THEY'RE FAR MORE INTERESTED IN PROTECTING BIG BUSINESS AND BIG MONEY BY WEAKENING YOUR GOVERNMENT!

Remember, they'll just do more to make the rich even richer and you even poorer. Remember, too, that THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT YOUR ENEMY. THOSE WHO WANT TO GIVE THE WEALTHY AND BIG BUSINESS FREE REIN AND CONTINUED AND EVEN EXPANDED TAX CUTS ARE YOUR ENEMY, AND THEY ARE CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS AND TEA PARTY CANDIDATES!

VOTING FOR A REPUBLICAN OR TEA PARTY CANDIDATE IS COMMITTING ECONOMIC SUICIDE. THOSE PARTIES WILL AID ONLY WEALTHY INDIVIDUALS AND CORPORATIONS, NOT YOU OR YOUR FAMILY.THE SQUEEZE IS ON, AND IT'S UP TO YOU TO PUSH BACK BY VOTING AGAINST THESE PEOPLE ON NOVEMBER 2!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10 QUESTIONS ALL VOTERS MUST ASK THEMSELVES!

No pretty pictures in this blog post today, people. Everyone in the media is predicting huge Republican/Tea Party gains in the upcoming midterm elections, now less than 2 weeks away. Voters have much to be angry about: foreclosures are at record levels and rising; the unemployment rate remains steadfastly just below 10%; working people's wages are all but frozen while CEO salaries continue to skyrocket; prescription and medical costs continue to rise faster than inflation; the federal deficit is at an all-time high; our schools are slipping and dropout rates are rising; our roads, bridges, schools, office buildings, and inner cities are crumbling; Congress is bitterly partisan, fights within itself, and can't get anything done; and the war in Afghanistan drags on, turning into a quaqmire, and is running the risk of spilling over into Pakistan and possibly Iran. The coomon wisdom is that the party currently in power, the Democratic Party, will be ousted and control of Congress will shift back to the Republicans, who held it from 1995-early 2007. The natural trend is for voters to remove the party in power if that party fails to improve the lot of the country. But before voters take that seemingly automatic step this year, it may be wise for them to ask and answer the questions below before they nake what very well could prove to be a dangerously rash and counterproductive move:

1. WHO CAUSED THE COLLAPSE OF THE ECONOMY? Was it caused by overly strict government regulation on banks and investment firms, or was it caused by Republican-led dereregulation of mortgage banks and the stock market? I think most of you know the answer. Why, then, would you even CONSIDER returning this party to power to reimplement its same old deregulation policies?

2. DID THE REPUBLICAN BUSH TAX CUTS CREATE MILLIONS OF NEW, GOOD-PAYING JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY ONCE THEY TOOK EFFECT? That's what the tax cuts were supposed to do, weren't they? Isn't that what Bush and Republican congressional leaders told us at the time? If you said yes to this question, where are those jobs today? In India? China? Mexico? The Philippines? I think you know the answer here. NO good-paying jobs were created here; LOW-paying jobs were created outside our borders, and American workers were laid off by the millions as corporate CEOs padded their own salaries and benefits. This was done because the Republicans told us "free market" policies like this would be good for us. But instead, these policies have proven to be very BAD for all but a tiny few of the wealthy elite at the top. Why, then, would you even CONSIDER returning this party to power to implement even more outsourcing and further tax cuts for the rich?

3. HOW WILL A WEAKER, MUCH SMALLER GOVERNMENT (AS ADVOCATED BY THE REPUBLICAN/TEA PARTY CROWD) BE ABLE TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE ELDERLY POOR, THOSE NOW BELOW THE POVERTY LINE, THE SICK AND HANDICAPPED, AND THE UNEMPLOYED? The conservative Republicans and their Tea Party allies all want a much smaller federal government. If you vote them into power and they get their way, who will feed and shelter these needy people? YOU? Will they starve and drop before your very eyes, or won't you care so long as the government is smaller and weaker? What will you do when desperately sick and hungry people attack YOU on the street for your pocket change? Should they just be shot by police and cast aside like garbage? How will you remain healthy as these people slip into disease and become carriers of tuberculosis and dysentery? Also, in the event of a severe natural disaster, who will have the necessary resources to bring immediate aid to the terribly afflicted victims?

4. ONCE FEDERAL REGULATORS DISAPPEAR OR ARE SEVERELY CUT BACK, WHO WILL ENSURE THAT YOUR FOOD AND WATER REMAIN SANITARY? THAT YOUR HOMES ARE BUILT SAFELY AND THAT UOUR PLACES OF WORK WILL BE SAFE? Will the marvelous Republican/Tea Party "free market" that replaces government oversight provide these safeguards voluntarily all by itself? Surely, you're not THAT gullible!

5. ONCE THE MINIMUM WAGE IS DISMANTLED (SOMETHING MANY REPUBLICANS AND TEA PARTY CANDIDATES ARE NOW ADVOCATING), WHO WILL MAINTAIN WORK STANDARDS AND WAGE AND BENEFIT LEVELS? With no federal government to protect you, how long will it be before your place of employment cuts your wage down to $2 per hour or lower? How long before you are told you no longer get time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 per week? How long before your boss tells you that to keep your job you must work 14 hours each day, 7 days a week, with no vacation or sick days? This won't ever happen, you say? How can you be sure? Who or what will be there to prevent it?

6. WHAT PLANS DO REPUBLICANS AND TEA PARTY MEMBERS HAVE TO CREATE JOBS? HOW WILL THEY KEEP YOUR WAGES AND BENEFITS FROM SLIPPING FURTHER? The Republicans and their Tea Party allies all opposed the Economic Stimulus Plan and do not believe the government should ever intervene in the marketplace to create jobs or influence wage levels. They support "free market" export of American jobs to ensure that big corporations will be as profitable as possible. They have absolutely no plan for job creation other than cutting taxes for the rich, and we have already seen that act not producing any good-paying jobs here. They also jave no plan to protect your current job or maintain your current wage level should the market further contract. Do you really want to trust the task of rebuilding this economy to a party with absolutely no plans in place to do so?

7. IF THE REPUBLICANS ARE ALLOWED TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE (AS MANY HAVE PLEDGED TO DO), WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE ELDERLY IN TIMES OF ECONOMIC DOWNTURN? How will the poor and working poor ever be able to save enough money to invest in a retirement fund big enough to meet their needs? And if the market crashes, won't these lifetime investment funds be wiped out too? Will these people then become homeless and starve once their savings are gone? Will YOU be taking them in and caring for them? Will they die on the streets penniless? Will they, at the time of life when medical care and treatment for pain is needed most, be forced to do without, suffering needless and preventable agony, and die before their time just because they cannot afford ever-rising medical care? Is THIS what you want for your children and grandchildren? Or for your grandma and grandpa, or great aunt or great uncle? Sounds like a sort of cruel "death panel" to me, and I thought conservatives violently opposed those...

8. WITH NO THREAT OF GOVERNMENT REGULATION OR INTERFERENCE AROUND, WHAT WILL PREVENT BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY FROM FIXING PRICES AS THEY SEE FIT? What will stop the oil companies from charging you $12 per gallon for gasoline? Or the pharmaceutical companies from increasing their prices tenfold across the board? The "market" will never permit this and will correct itself, you say? How can you be so sure? And how can you be so naive? It wasn't the "free market" which quickly rolled back $4 per gallon gas prices in the summer of 2008. The "free market" ENABLED this price rise! It was only the threat of windfall profit taxes made by the DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS which caused gas prices to drop! How can you even THINK of returning a party to power who wants to let a greedy and unforgiving "market" run roughshod all over you?

9. WHAT MAKES THE REPUBLICAN PARTY THE PARTY BEST SUITED TO GOVERN THIS TIME? Have these conservative Republicans put forth any solid practical solutions to our problems? How will they rebuild our infrastructure? Reduce or end poverty? Make your job more secure? Or will you be voting for them solely because the economy isn't progressing as quickly as you would like and you want to punish the progressives and Democrats for that? Does the fact that the conservative Republicans have engaged in uncooperative and nonproductive obstruction of all Democratic initiatives for the past four years mean anything to you? That they have stood in the way of progress solely for the sake of political gain? The fact that they are threatening to shut down the government altogether if they gain control and their demands are not met? Would you like no mail during the duration of ssuch a shutdown? No National Guard? No Border Patrol? NO SOCIAL SECURITY or Welfare checks going out to those who need them? No Veterans' hospital care? Is THIS the type of "governance" a responsible and responsive political party should be offering? Is THIS what you, as a taxpayer, are sending people to represent YOU in Congress for? Is this what you really want or deserve?

10. DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR LIFE WILL BE BETTER BY RETURNING TO POWER THE VERY SAME PARTY WHICH RASHLY PUSHED US INTO A COSTLY AND UNSUSTAINABLE WAR AND PUT US INTO THIS CURRENT ECONOMIC CRISIS TO BEGIN WITH?

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Voters, the answers to these questions are starkly clear: the Republicans and Tea Party advocates do NOT have the solution to our problems and have actually CAUSED MOST OF THEM. They will lead this country down the path of economic destruction, NOT prosperity. They must NOT get your vote, because if they gain governmental control, they will embark on a disastrous radical agenda that will wipe out every positive gain the middle class has made over the past 75 years! Moderates and independents, for the good of the country, you MUST vote progressive and Democratic this time around. Progressives and Democrats, DO NOT SIT HOME THIS ELECTION---VOTE!!!


VOTE!!!!!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

ATOMIC CLASS WARFARE!

"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do."
- Jesus Christ, as related in Luke 23:34 -

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What you see below was inspired by Burr Deming, in his superb October 15, 2010 post "Abolishing the Minimum Wage" found over at Fair and Unbalanced (http://fairandunbalanced.com)


We are constantly being assaulted by the far-right crazies of the cultra-onservative Republican Party and reactionary Tea Party with exaggerations, distortions, and outright lies in their public pronouncements and political TV and radio ads. Now that midterm elections are near, these extremists (and that is exactly what they are) are smelling victory, and are growing ever more bold and ever more crazy in what they are proposing to do once they think they will take office. These fanatics all favor more tax cuts for the rich and want all government regulation of business severely curtailed. They are now even calling for outright privatization of Social Security and an end to the minimum wage. Whenever those in lower income brackets or those on the political left talk about stronger labor unions or more fairly and more heavily taxing the very rich, they are immediately attacked by these extremists as engaging in unfair "class warfare." This, like nearly all the other claims made by these extremists, is out and out nonsense. Let's take a look at some of these crazies and examine their statements to see WHY THEY MUST NOT BE ELECTED TO POLITICAL OFFICE:


JOE MILLER,Republican/Tea Party candidate for Senator in Alaska, is a well-to-do attorney who asserts that both unemployment compensation and the federal minimum wage are unconstitutional, and, by inference, should be abolished. He is DEAD WRONG, as Supreme Court decisions in the late 1930s and early 1940s abundantly prove. (The school which gave him his law degree should lose its certification)...


MiICHELE BaACHMANN, Republican Minnesota 6th District congresswoman, has long advocated abolishing the minimum wage, saying she believes getting rid of it would end unemployment altogether. (But I don't see HER applying for any of the $3 per hour jobs that would result if her insane idea was adopted). She has also decried President Obama's plan to raise taxes of those making more than $250,000 per year by a stinking measley 4.6% as an attempt to get rid of rich people. Married to a millionaire as she is, one can certainly empathize with her fear. This foolishly deluded woman must also believe in the tooth fairy and that dragons far out at sea will get you if you venture too far from shore...


Billionaire Republican West Virginia senatorial candidate JOHN RAESE wants to repeal the recently passed health care bill and eliminate the minimum wage. He says it is "an archaic system which has never worked." Tell that to those on minimum wage who like to eat once in a while, have clothes to wear, or enjoy a roof over their head,, Mr. Raese...

SHARRON ANGLE, Republican/Tea Party Senate candidate in Nevada, believes we are coddling those on unemployment and are preventing them from looking for work. She says they make more on unemployment than they would working a real job. It's clear from that insane statement that Ms. Angle has never been on unemployment herself and has never experienced the loss of benefits and halving of pay. She, an advocate of cutting way back on federal government spending, size, and activity, has not yet had her husband refuse any of his government pension checks (for may years, he was a manager in the federal Bureau of Land Management). Obviously, she believes that cutbacks should only apply to those who are down-and-out...


CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, Republican/Tea PartySenate hopeful in Delaware, at age 41 has yet to ever hold a steady full-time job. Yet she, too, believes the federal government should "get off the backs of business" and is a proponent of "free market" economics, a system she obviously knows so well and has done so magnificently under...


Republican/Tea Party Kentucky Senate candidate RAND PAUL has intimated that setting the minum wage too high may cause unemployment (a slinky way of saying he opposes it). This very well paid Opthalmologist has also advised the long term unemployed to just suck it up, take any job at lesser pay than before, and stop expecting government handouts. One question though, Mr. Paul: where the hell are these jobs that you think are so plentiful? I don't see YOU applying for the job of greeter at your local Wal-Mart...

LINDA McMAHON, the billionaire Republican/Tea Party Senate candidate in Connecticut, was recently asked in a public forum what rate the minimum wage is currently at. She couldn't answer that question. But that didn't stop her from later stating that it should be reviewed and even reduced if necessary. Let's see if I've got this right: "I don't know what the minum wage is, but it's too high and we've got to cut it." Now THAT sounds like a Senate candidate on top of her game, doesn't it? Ms. McMahon also wants to cut taxes on income the wealthy get from capital gains and dividends (currently at 15% and far below the rate of 31% most non-wealthy Americans pay on tHEIR income)...
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These candidates are very representative of the other conservative Republicans and far-right Tea Party candidates hoping to win election and take control of Congress on November 2. THEY MUST NOT BE ELECTED! All favor more or extended tax cuts for the rich which will increase our deficit. All oppose government attempts to create jobs. All propose NOTHING to benefit the poor or middle class. Nearly all are wealthy and have not experienced a hungry night, foreclosure, or catastrophic medical expense, and they just don't understand OR CARE ABOUT the struggles facing most Americans today! All want government regulation scaled way back, and all loudly proclaim allegiance to the mythical "free market/free enterprise/supply and demand" economic system which is used and abused by big business and Wall Street every single day. I say "mythical" because this system is free only for the wealthy and big business owners, who set prices in collusion (as the oil and pharmaceutical industries have proven) and fix wages (as all have done). There is no real freedom for the consumer to directly influence price or quality of products and services. Likewise, there is no longer any real freedom for the worker to negotiate or leverage his or her own wages and benefits. Workers cannot even prevent their jobs from being shipped out of the country! So to maintain that our economic system is truly free or even remotely fair is an outright lie. Nonetheless, it is a lie being repeated and supported nonstop by the Republicans and the Tea Party. To add insult to injury, when workers and the poor propose any measure to increase their own income or economic security, they are immediately accused by these people on the far-right of engaging in "class warfare" against the upper class. But the truth of the matter is this: in what these wealthy far-right types are proposing, they aren't merely firing economic artillery shells at those beneath them. They are ATTACKING and attempting to wage ATOMIC CLASS WARFARE against the poor, working and middle classes who are overwhelmingly the majority of the country!

Monday, October 11, 2010

KNOW NOTHING PARTIES IN AMERICAN HISTORY

We have had two "know nothing" political parties in our history. The first, properly called the "American Party" was in existence during the 1840s-1850s and had its roots in fear and religious prejudice. The second, our current " Tea Party," came into being in 2009 and has yet to disappear, although my prediction is that it, too, will have a short-term existence. Like its predecessor, it is also rooted in fear and religious prejudice, much of it irrational and unfounded.

The American Party was composed of mainly white, Protestant, poor and working class males who became alarmed at the vast influx of German and Irish immigrants, most of them Catholic, who poured into this country during the 1840s. A number of secret and truly grassroots movements sprang up across the country in reaction to the perceived threat that these immigrants posed to jobs. When asked about their nativist beliefs and organization, the members of these groups claimed to "know nothing" about their common goals. As such, they began to become called the "Know Nothing" party before adopting their official name. As these various nativist groups began coalescing into one national group, they began to get candidates elected to public office. They pressed for strict limits on immigration, forbidding foreign-born people from holding office, and advocated a 20 year residency requirement before immigrants could vote here. They also pushed heavily for temperance, becoming early Prohibition advocates. Along with this socially conservative stance on alcohol, they also pushed for daily bible readings in public schools as well as permitting only Protestants to teach in them. Their more radical elements feared that Catholics would attempt to turn the country over to Vatican rule. At their peak in 1855, this American Party had gained control of the Massachusetts Legislature and had elected 8 Governors, 5 U.S. Senators, and 43 U.S. House members. They were also instrumental in electing future Treasury Secretary and Supreme Court Justice Salmon P. Chase Governor of Ohio.

The party held its first national convention in Philadelphia in 1856, and nominated former Whig President Millard Fillmore for President. He finished third in the election, behind Democratic winner James Buchanan and runner-up Republican John Fremont. The party's division over the issue of slavery and its failure to take a unified stand over it led some of its members to join anti-slavery Whigs and liberal Democrats together into a force which boosted the rise to electoral success for the new anti-slavery Republican Party, which captured the White House with Abraham Lincoln four years later.
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I refer to our current Tea Party movement as a "know nothing" party because so many of its leading proponents, officeholders, and candidates are woefully ignorant as to the nature and history of our government and our country as a whole. Several of its leading candidates, like Joe Miller in Alaska and Sharron Angle in Nevada, are attempting to rewrite history through their serious misinterpretations and misrepresentations of our Constitution. Miller, for one, errantly claims that the federal minimum wage is unconstitutional, even though its constitutionality was established in a UNANIMOUS 1941 Supreme Court decision in support of the 1937 Fair Labor Standards Act. One of the provisions of that law was the establishment of a federal minimum wage for all businesses engaged in interstate commerce. Both Miller and Angle have questioned the need for, and constitutionality of, federal unemployment compensation. This benefit came into being as a result of the Social Security Act of 1935, and its constitutionality was established in 1937 Supreme Court decisions. One of that law's components included for unemployment compensation.

As I mentioned, part of the Tea Party's agenda is rooted in fear and religious prejudice. These people fear the influx of Hispanics from across our sothern border, and Muslims from Africa and the Middle East. Such fears are irresponsibly stoked by politicians like Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who has made wild and unsubstantiated claims about illegal Mexican immigrants beheading people in the Arizona desert. Others in the Tea Party and conservative wing of the Republican Party have insinuated that President Obama was born outside of our country, making him an illegal, illegitimate President, and that he is a Muslim. Both ridiculous claims serve to stir up opposition to his presidency and the latter one promotes unwise and unhealthy ignorance and suspicion about the religion of Islam.

It is not only politicians who are stoking this irrational fear of immigrants, but also numerous media spokespersons. Former CNN commentator and now radio show host Lou Dobbs has railed excessively and repeatedly on the subject over the years and joins hundreds of far-right talk radio hosts and discredited commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck in that regard.


Unlike the 1840s Know Nothing Party, today's Tea Party did not originate from the grassroots of the poor and working class. Instead, it was artificially CREATED by plutocrats Dick Armey, co-chairman of the far-right free market advocacy group Freedom Works, and oil billionaire David Koch. who is a heavy behind-the-scenes contributor to far-right political candidates and advocacy groups like Americans for Prosperity. Both of these men used their respective organizations to fund summer, 2009 opposition to the recently passed national health care reform bill. Busloads of people were gathered up, given signs and talking points and were driven to town hall meetings of pro-health care reform Democratic congresspersons. Once there, they shouted down these congresspersons and their supporters in a most undemocratic and un-American manner. They scared elderly and poorly-informed people to take part by telling them massive lies and by running numerous deceitful TV ads about health care reform. Such cynically fraudulent and manipulative means being used to influence political debate and outcome are a disgraceful new approach to duping the electorate and heap only scorn and discredit all over this phony Tea Party.

Apart from Sharron Angle and Joe Miller, the Tea Party and Republican Party also have poorly-informed and poorly-qualified candidates like Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin as darlings of their movement. This lends further credence to my assertion that the Tea Party is actually a party of "know nothings." O'Donnell has demonstrated unforgivable ignorance in the area of science ("scientists have created rats with fully functioning human brains"), and Palin has amply demonstrated lack of any knowledge in history, geography, government, law, or world events. Yet O'Donnell has been nominated on the Tea Party/Republican ticket for Senate in Delaware, while Palin enjoys wide adulation among millions of poorly-informed fools who avidly follow her every pronouncement and actually believe she would be a qualified and desirable candidate for President in 2012.


It boggles the imagination.



VOTERS, THIS COUNTRY DESERVES MUCH BETTER THAN THE SARAH PALINS, CHRISTINE O'DONNELLS, SHARRON ANGLES, AND JOE MILLERS THE FAR-RIGHT IS PUSHING AT US.

DO NOT FOR REGRESSIVE TEA PARTY OR CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES ON NOVEMBER 2! DON'T VOTE TO TAKE THE COUNTRY BACK --- VOTE TO TAKE IT FORWARD BY VOTING FOR PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATES!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A CLOSE LOOK AT A TEA PARTY/REPUBLICAN AMERICA

With midterm elections just under a month away, and with a sizable share of the electorate actively contemplating voting for Tea Party and conservative Republican candidates, I thought it might be useful to portray in pictures what a radically changed Tea Party / Republican America might look like should they gain control and implement their policies...

Those on the far right don't believe in social programs. They think they coddle the poor. Therefore, they would love to cut back on or eradicate programs like Welfare and Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). They believe the "free market" approach of giving the wealthy huge tax breaks will create massive employment and prosperity. WE all know otherwise, but the Tea Party/conservative Republican message to these poor kids and their parents would be simply "get a job!"


Tea Party/Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller in Alaska has said that he believes both unemployment benefits and the minimum wage are unconstitutional. Senate candidate Sharron Angle in Nevada has echoed these beliefs, and Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann has even advocated doing away with the minimum wage altogether. Expect more scenes like this if the Tea Party and Republican candidates have their way and do away with both the minimum wage and unemployment benefits.


Joe Miller, Sharron Angle, Delaware Tea Party/conservative Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, and many other teabaggers and conservative Republicans want to privatize Social Security, replacing the safety net we currently have (which works reasonably well) with private retirement funds set up on Wall Street. Nice idea - on paper, at least. But while the elderly would prosper during periods of boom, in periods of bust like we're in right now, they would have little or no money to live on. Do you want future generations of elderly to end up like this guy, a bum on the street subsisting on a liquid alcohol diet? I sure don't!


Tea Party Republican Rand Paul, candidate for Senate in Kentucky, has questioned the constitutionality of federal civil rights laws, and has stated he thinks it is wrong that the federal government can enforce these laws in private businesses and organizations. His belief seems not only unfair, but wildly out of touch and out of date with the mores now held by the overwhelming majority of citizens. Is THIS what we want - a return to a divided, separate but equal America?


ALL the Tea Party and Republican candidates have roundly condemned the President's economic stimulus program and have vowed they will support no more bailouts. Presumably, they would just let our banks go under and our big auto companies go out of business. As they all favor less regulation of business, they would stand by and let the market "fix" itself while millions more would suffer loss of employment and foreclosure. This approach didn't work for Herbert Hoover in 1929, so there is absolutely no reason it would work now or going forward. If these far right people gain power and implement their very flawed economic policy, you had best start saving odds and ends and raw materials so you'll be warm and comfortable when you lose YOUR home and have to start living like THIS poor fellow!


Joe Miller, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Christine O'Donnell, Marco Rubio (Tea Party/Republican Senate candidate in Florida), House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH),, his little parrot House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), as well as Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have all come out in support of rolling back government regulation of businrss. So if they gain majority power, get ready to hurl like the man at left. For these far right teabaggers and conservatue Republicabs will contribute to even more food poisoning from tainted meat, fish, eggs, poultry, and produce due to lax regulations on our food industry. Donj't worry too much, though - the market will "fix" itself all by itself, just like they claim. Didn't you know that? NOT!


NRA and gun enthusiasts everywhere, let up a cheer! Once Sharron Angle and the other Tea Party/Republican candidates strengthen the Second Amendment even further, there will be no more pesky regulation on handguns and assault rifles. EVERYBODY will be free to exercise his or her "second amendment remedies" whenever and wherever they see fit, and scenes like this at left will be commonplace on every American street. We'll be FAR safer with more guns in more hands, won't we? Just think - now ALL will be able to freely shoot ANY hated Muslim, politician, or even YOU, on sight! Gotta love that second amendment!


Joe Miller, Sharron Angle, and numerous other teabagger/Republican candidates are also making noise about privatizing MEDICARE and the VA, and repealing the Obama health care plan that was just passed. Rather than lowering the cost of health care as all of these conservatives claim, this rash position would actually RAISE the cost of health care! Why? Because in the case of the VA and Medicare, YOU, the consumer, would be paying an additional 15-20% or more to accomodate private profit margin, something you are currently NOT paying. This would make YOU poorer, but would make wealthy stockholders and giant health care providers even wealthier AT YOUR EXPENSE. What's more, insurance companies would once again be able to boot you off coverage at will once you got sick, something the newly-passed Obama plan forbids. Millions now eligible for health care coverage would also again be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions if this plan were repealed. Only wealthy stockholders and insurance companies would gain from a repeal; YOU would LOSE!
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VOTERS BEWARE! THINK TWICE BEFORE VOTING FOR A TEA PARTY OR CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE THIS YEAR! These people will cut your economic throat and further empower big banks, big health insurance, and big pharmaceutical companies AT YOUR EXPENSE! They have NO agenda for job creation or higher wages for those who aren't trust funders or corporate CEOs. Last night, Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele was interviewed on MSNBC's new The Last Word show and was unable to answer the question of exactly what the current minimum wage is. Republican billionaire and Senate hopeful from Connecticut Linda McMahon was unable to answer that very same question at a public forum a few days earlier. It is shameful that neither figure had a clue as to what level the minimum wage is at. But what is positively unforgivable is that both believe the federal government should not be able to establish the rate, that it is too high and supposedly hurts business, and that neither really cares about the fact that the minimum wage is not a livable wage. The ONLY salaries these conservatives care about are their own and those of their wealthy peers, NOT yours or mine. These conservative Republicans and teabaggers offer nothing for the vast majority of us who must work for a living! Their tax breaks for the rich will NOT create new high-paying jobs. They never have. They offer nothing for small business or anything that will aid the elderly or poor. These tax breaks will NOT cut our deficit but will actually ADD to it tremendously. These conservatives don't really care about YOU; all they want is power and control for themselves and their wealthy backers. It would be a far wiser course of action to stay with the America we have today, imperfect as it is, and work to IMPROVE it, rather than adopt the rash and radical course of action the abovementioned Tea Party/Republican candidates are offering. THINK ABOUT IT, FELLOW VOTER. A close look at the Tea Party/Republican America yields a dangerously treacherous and undesirable world for all but the very wealthy!