Burden of Proof…

Burden of Proof…

This nugget showed up on a friend’s FB post, which I can now no longer find. Chances are, either the friend decided it had to go, the genius who posted it blocked me, or I blocked him.

At the time, (sometime just after Christmas, I think) I thanked the guy for posting virtually every propaganda-driven talking point Alex Jones and Fox News have shoved into his brain in the name of truth. Here it is, folks. GOP trash talk, all in one convenient comment.

He said:

Stop watch mainstream media it’s bad for your brain. If we look back in history even JFK said Tax cuts like these would bring economic boom like no other. As far as healthcare goes the ACA screwed that up a long time ago anyone who tried to tell you that trump is the one that caused premiums to almost tripe this year in some places it out right lying. Also those so called environmental regulations had nothing to do with protecting the environment and everything to do with eliminating clean coal. Just look at the Democratic controlled Flint, Michigan they still don’t have clean drinking water. Stop looking at the virtue signaling idiots saying everything is bad and open your eyes markets up, costs are dropping, companies are pledging billions in Christmas bonuses to their employees, you are no longer forced to buy health insurance that most cannot afford, you also won’t be penalized for not buying health insurance you can’t afford, and last but not least we now have evidence of the Russian collusion that liberals have been so desperate for. Unfortunately the proof is the Hillary Clinton sold 40% of our uranium stockpiles to Russia and the Robert Mueller as well as Obama were in on it.

Fallacy Ref: Burden of Proof

Then he told me I had to debunk all the claims he made. First I said no. Normally I’d have called him on the fallacy, because it’s not MY job to prove he’s wrong. It’s HIS job to provide his source.

But then I thought about it and decided to make an example of him. It’s too good to pass up, because this is a dump truck load of bunk.

Note: If you find the text out there, you’re doing better than I. And I left every grammatical error, all the fallacious bullshit, all the propaganda where it is.

I’ve addressed each point. You’re welcome to follow (and read) all the articles below. Obviously there’s a lot to read. Heck, took me almost a month just to sit down and compile this post, but then it’s been sitting in my draft folder all this time and frankly, I need some time to process the current spy novel that is our political situation in the US, so this is acting a little like a sewage-based palate cleanser.

Your mileage may vary. Additions to the debunking are welcome, as are corrections. This stuff is like a fast moving freight train. Four of the articles came out in just the last week.

Onward…

But whatever. It’s an exercise in researching and I’ve got nothing better to do. Well, that’s not true either. I’ve left all the impressive typos and grammar as an exercise in identifying a fool. Feel free to interpret his prose the way I did.

Best way to do this is to break it down, one bogus claim at a time.

Here goes:

1. If we look back in history even JFK said Tax cuts like these would bring economic boom like no other.

Well, no. Forbes: The Laffer Curve Files: JFK’s Advisor Said Tax Cuts Raise Revenue

Also: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Kansas Provides Compelling Evidence of Failure of “Supply-Side” Tax Cuts

2. As far as healthcare goes the ACA screwed that up a long time ago anyone who tried to tell you that trump is the one that caused premiums to almost tripe this year in some places it out right lying.

From a conveniently timed article posted TODAY by the NY Times:

Why Is U.S. Health Care So Expensive? Some of the Reasons You’ve Heard Turn Out to Be Myths

In a new, detailed international comparison, the United States looks a lot more like its peers than researchers expected.

There were two areas where the United States really was quite different: We pay substantially higher prices for medical services, including hospitalization, doctors’ visits and prescription drugs. And our complex payment system causes us to spend far more on administrative costs. The United States also has a higher rate of poverty and more obesity than any of the other countries, possible contributors to lower life expectancy that may not be explained by differences in health care delivery systems.

3. Also those so called environmental regulations had nothing to do with protecting the environment and everything to do with eliminating clean coal.

Um…

National Geographic: Can Coal Ever Be Clean? It’s the dirtiest of fossil fuels. We burn eight billion tons of it a year, with growing consequences. The world must face the question.

Coal ISN’T clean. That’s a lie told by coal and oilmen who don’t want to see their profits cut through advances in renewable energy like solar, wind, or hydro-energy. And this guy has forgotten what life was like before the EPA.

4. Just look at the Democratic controlled Flint, Michigan they still don’t have clean drinking water.

That’s a massive oversimplification of the problems that led to Flint’s water disaster, and it ignores Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s role in the decision-making process. From Politifact:

Who’s to blame for the Flint water crisis?

Our conclusion

Based on what is currently known, Snyder does bear a significant share of the responsibility. His fiscal approach helped set the stage for the water switch that led to the poisoning, and it was his hand-picked emergency managers who implemented the changes. Snyder also oversaw the state environmental and health departments that have come in for sharp criticism for their failures to act quickly and forcefully when the first indications of a problem cropped up.

However, experts say that claims from Clinton and Sanders that focus on Snyder alone oversimplify matters — and give a partisan spin to what is more fairly characterized as a broad failure of governance at all levels. Such one-sided accounts gloss over the responsibility borne by local Flint officials who supported the decision, by an EPA that failed to press harder for changes as the problem worsened, and by officials of both parties who contributed to the longstanding fiscal problems at both the state and city level.

5. Stop looking at the virtue signaling idiots saying everything is bad and open your eyes markets up, costs are dropping, …

Well, not exactly…

NY Post: Wall Street surges on strong hiring, low wage growth

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 440.53 points, or 1.8 percent, closing at 25,335.74 Friday after the Labor Department reported the US economy added 313,000 jobs in February — blowing past analyst estimates of 200,000. Unemployment remains at 4.1 percent — its lowest level since December 2000.

Meanwhile wages, although still climbing, grew only 2.6 percent in February over the last year. That’s down from the 2.9 percent year-over-year growth initially reported for January.

But that’s not the whole story either:

NY Times: Are Wage Gains Picking Up? Stalling? Questionable Data Makes It Hard to Say

When the Labor Department reported last month that average hourly earnings had jumped 2.9 percent in January, it looked as though the long, steady recovery in the American job market might at last be translating into faster wage gains for the nation’s workers.

Then came Friday and the latest jobs report, which showed that wage growth was weaker in January than initially reported and that the gains in February were weaker still, up just 2.6 percent from a year earlier.

The muddled data on wages was a potent reminder that even the strongest job market in a generation has not been robust enough to reverse a longstanding pattern of lagging pay.

With flat wages and a reduction in what your money actually pays for (like, for example, the quantity of orange juice in a carton, which used to be 64 fl. oz. but is now almost always 59.5 fl. oz. instead, for more than we paid 10 years ago), the wages haven’t kept pace with the actual costs. While it looks like goods are getting cheaper, they’re just less high priced. When the prices return to the same level as they were when people first started earning these wages, come talk to me about lower costs.

6. …companies are pledging billions in Christmas bonuses to their employees, …

Yeah, about that…

Fox Business: Bankrupt Toys R Us execs could still get up to $21 million in holiday bonuses

Chicago Tribune: AT&T hands out bonuses to 200,000 workers, pink slips to 600 others

Newsweek: COMCAST FIRED HUNDREDS OF WORKERS BEFORE CHRISTMAS ALONGSIDE PLEDGE TO GIVE $1,000 ‘TRUMP TAX CUT’ BONUSES

7. … you are no longer forced to buy health insurance that most cannot afford, …

Sure we’re not…

Idaho Statesman: Nebraska groups rally behind Medicaid expansion ballot drive

He’s got a nasty surprise coming, in about a year, I’m thinking because…

8. … you also won’t be penalized for not buying health insurance you can’t afford, …

Still not correct. As a matter of fact, the IRS has a bit to say on that subject:

IRS: Affordable Care Act (ACA) Tax Provisions

And his crowning achievement, the 2017 equivalent of Benghazi:

9. … and last but not least we now have evidence of the Russian collusion that liberals have been so desperate for. Unfortunately the proof is the Hillary Clinton sold 40% of our uranium stockpiles to Russia …

*eyeroll*

Snopes: Hillary Clinton Gave 20 Percent of United States’ Uranium to Russia in Exchange for Clinton Foundation Donations? Allegations of a “quid pro quo” deal giving Russia ownership of one-fifth of U.S. uranium deposits in exchange for $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation are unsubstantiated.

Unsubstantiated. That’s because this is bullshit. See below.

10. … and the Robert Mueller …

No. Just no.

Snopes: Did Hillary Clinton Tell FBI’s Mueller to Deliver Uranium to Russians in 2009 ‘Secret Tarmac Meeting’?
Hyperpartisan web sites mischaracterized a State Department cable alerting the U.S. Embassy in Russia of a transfer of criminal evidence obtained in a sting operation.

Mischaracterized. Meaning twisted, slanted, or otherwise spun to tell something that isn’t true. Go figure.

11. … as well as Obama were in on it.

Oh, the conspiracies. But never about the Republicans, only the Democrats. The poor guy just isn’t going to get it until after the 2018 elections are over, and when he realizes how screwed he really is, he’s going to turn around and blame everything on the Democrats, just like his masters have told him to do.

This *just in* (and right on time, too).

Washington Post: The ‘dossier’ and the uranium deal: A guide to the latest allegations

As a service to readers bound to be confused by an increasingly complex story, here’s a brief guide to the latest developments in the tangled allegations involving Russia, President Trump and Hillary Clinton.

But wait. There’s more!!!

Reuters: Informant had no evidence Clinton benefited from uranium sale

An informant whom House Republicans have said could reveal a link between a 2010 sale of U.S. uranium supplies and donations to the Clinton Foundation provided no evidence of that during a four-hour interview with congressional staff last month, Democrats said on Thursday.

The informant, lobbyist William D. Campbell, “provided no evidence of a quid pro quo involving Secretary (Hillary) Clinton or the Clinton Foundation and no evidence that Secretary Clinton was involved in, or improperly influenced” the uranium sale, the Democrats said in a five-page summary of the Feb. 7 interview.

And that’s that.

No cries of foul, no backpedaling. Once you toss the junk out into the Internet wild, like those tiny microbeads of plastic in the Great Lakes, it’s out there, suitable for framing or tossing into an otherwise sensible discussion of politics. And no need to declare truth because who wants to take the time to sort it all out?

Seriously.

This guy used virtually every Alex Jones/Breitbart/Daily Caller/Gateway Pundit PROPAGANDA-based talking point to try and refute a legitimate source for something he disagreed with, and that’s what’s wrong with American Conservatives today.

They have no idea they’re being told lies, have no filters for this BS, and think liberals like me will waste our time trying to tell them the truth when they’re not going to listen or believe it anyway.

I tell ya, I ought to get paid for this stuff.

Now where’s my Soros check?

*kidding*

Goodbye, Amazon: A cancellation story in seven PDFs and a phone call…

Goodbye, Amazon: A cancellation story in seven PDFs and a phone call…

“Hey, Amazon.com!”

Sorry, but you don’t get to market HATE objects to me or my kids. I’ll be sorry to see Woot and IMDB go, and Prime was useful for a while there, but it’s time to part company.

(Click the following “exhibits” to see PDFs of the objects in question, and their “suggested” additional items. I’m not going to provide them with free advertising.)

Amazon.com Exhibit A

Amazon.com Exhibit B

Amazon.com Exhibit C

Disgusting?

Yes, but nowhere near as disgusted as I am with the customer service trap Amazon sets for customers who really, truly want to leave.

Seriously.

The last time I had this much trouble canceling an account was way, way back in the dark ages when I had an AOL account for all of 10 minutes. It took almost an hour to cancel the account after I realized it wasn’t going to serve my purposes, like, ever.

See, there’s this rabbit hole called “Help” that’s supposed to answer all your questions. Just for grins, go to this link and type in the word “close” and then type in “cancel” and see what you get.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=nav_cs_help

Notice how many different ways people have asked the question?

There’s a reason.

Now, click through this link and then click the link that actually says About Closing Your Account.

Lots of scare tactics, right? But do you see, anywhere, a place where you can actually close your account?

No?

Good. You’re not blind. It doesn’t exist.

And when you do go down that rabbit hole, here’s where it eventually leads here:

[AMAZON LOGO]
Your Account Amazon.com
Message From Customer Service
Hello,

I want to make sure that closing your Amazon.com account won’t cause problems with any open transactions or other websites you might visit.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

— If you use your Amazon.com log-in on other sites (e.g. Audible.com, international Amazon sites (co.uk/.fr/.de/.es/.ca/.in/.au/.com.br/.nl/.com.mx) except for Amazon.cn and Amazon.co.jp, etc.), you’ll also lose access to those accounts.
— If you’ve placed orders on AmazonLocal, you’ll no longer have access to your vouchers.
— Any open orders you have will be canceled.
— All subscriptions will be canceled (Amazon Prime, Subscribe and Save, etc.).
— If you have a remaining Amazon.com Gift Card or promotional credit balance, you won’t have access to use the funds.
— Returns and refunds can’t be processed for orders on closed accounts.
— You won’t be able to initiate Textbook Rental returns and will remain responsible for outstanding rentals.
— You won’t be able to access digital content (Kindle, Amazon Video, Amazon Appstore, Digital Music, etc.).
— You won’t be able to re-download content from your Games & Software Library.
— Your Amazon Payments account will be closed and can’t be reopened.
— We can’t transfer the history of an account to another account.
–We will delete your customer profile as well as all your reviews, discussion posts and customer images.
— You’ll no longer have access to your Associates, Amazon Web Services, Seller, Author Central, Kindle Direct Publishing and/or Mechanical Turk accounts.
— If you have an Amazon Web Services account, please contact AWS customer support for assistance with closing your AWS account :
https://aws-portal.amazon.com/gp/aws/html-forms-controller/contactus/aws-account…

If you still want to close your Amazon.com account after reviewing the items above, please write back by visiting this link and state that you want to close your account:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/rsvp/rsvp-mi.html?q=acc1

I hope this helps. We look forward to hearing from you.

We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.

[snipped]

Best regards,
[clueless git]
Did I solve your problem?
Yes No
Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.*
Thank you.
Amazon.com

[*Emphasis mine. –CT]

About Closing Your Account (Amazon.com Exhibit D)

Contact Us (Amazon.com Exhibit E)

What can we help you with? (Amazon.com Exhibit F)

More Information, Please (Amazon.com Exhibit G)

Nowhere. Not on any of the previous screens, not in the email I received after.

They simply do not provide an exit.

It took me a phone call to the supervisor of the first level and a solid 45 minutes to get across to these people that there was no additional activity and that closing the account immediately was the only thing that would satisfy my desire to disengage.

And this is what I disengaged from, when I finally got what I wanted.

THE AMAZON LIST
————

6pm
Score deals on fashion brands

AbeBooks
Rare Books & Textbooks

ACX
Audiobook Publishing Made Easy

Alexa
Actionable Analytics for the Web

Amazon Business
Everything For Your Business

AmazonFresh
Groceries & More Right To Your Door

AmazonGlobal
Ship Orders Internationally

Home Services
Handpicked Pros Happiness Guarantee

Amazon Inspire
Free Digital Educational Resources

Amazon Rapids
Fun stories for kids on the go

Amazon Video Direct
Video Distribution Made Easy

Amazon Web Services
Scalable Cloud Computing Services

Audible
Download Audio Books

BeautyBar . com
Prestige Beauty Delivered

Book Depository
Books With Free Delivery Worldwide

Casa . com
Kitchen, Storage & Everything Home

ComiXology
Thousands of Digital Comics

CreateSpace
Indie Print Publishing Made Easy

Diapers . com
Everything But The Baby

DPReview
Digital Photography

East Dane
Designer Men’s Fashion

Fabric
Sewing, Quilting & Knitting

Goodreads
Book reviews & recommendations

IMDb
Movies, TV & Celebrities

Junglee . com
Shop Online in India

Kindle Direct Publishing
Indie Digital Publishing Made Easy

Prime Now
FREE 2-Hour Delivery on Everyday Items

Prime Photos
Unlimited Photo Storage Free With Prime

Shopbop
Designer Fashion Brands

Soap.com
Health, Beauty & Home Essentials

TenMarks . com
Math Activities for Kids & Schools

Wag.com
Everything For Your Pet

Warehouse Deals
Open-Box Discounts

Whispercast
Discover & Distribute Digital Content

Woot!
Deals and Shenanigans

Yoyo.com
A Happy Place To Shop For Toys

Zappos
Shoes & Clothing

Welcome to the company store. Amazon covers just about everything you could possibly need, filtered through their myopic lenses. And what they don’t have, Wal*Mart does. I wonder whether we will get to the point when we are only paid in Amazon credits or Wal*Mart credits, while real money becomes a thing of the past for the average worker.

I’ve had direct connections to the things above that are italicized. It’s annoying, but I’ll get over it.

 

Your mileage may vary. I’m done and I don’t regret the choice.

No vast right-wing conspiracies here. Nope.

No vast right-wing conspiracies here. Nope.

And here we are, at the end of the first full week in January. That didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would.

Koch-backed political coalition, designed to shield donors,
raised $400 million in 2012

“The political network spearheaded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch has expanded into a far-reaching operation of unrivaled complexity, built around a maze of groups that cloaks its donors, according to an analysis of new tax returns and other documents.”

It’s almost as if…as if…

But wait. That can’t be right. Can it?

Well, yeah, it can. And folks are finally starting to notice. It’s about time, after 30 years of Conservative howling about deregulation. 2014 promises to be a nasty, nasty year, if we can’t figure out how to force Corporate America to let our people go.

So here’s a preview. Watch what this year looks like, because with the mid-term elections, we’re still three years away from the real deal. The big question I have right now: How do we get rid of Citizens United so this nonsense stops for good? That’s an excellent question. Here’s what the Huffington Post has to say on the subject:

Well here. Let’s see how the Dark Money likes it when we get all uppity and try to make things better for ourselves. Wait. You mean we can’t? Whut?

Right. Because while corporations are people, my friend, people AREN’T corporations. And that, dear friends, is the sum total of what’s wrong with America right now. You heard it here…well…now, really. I’m just spreading the Word. It’s what I do.

And here we are…

And here we are…

At 11:58 pm on Monday, September 30, 2013.

Lest there be any question or confusion in anyone’s mind over who is directly responsible for the closure of our national parks, the sudden and explicable shutting down of services far and wide throughout the country, and the eternal brinkmanship of the Tea Party, this article sums it up for you:

Boehner Refuses To Allow Vote on Popular Democratic Bill That Would Avoid Government Shutdown

That’s right, kids. The Hydra is just about ready to eat itself, and all because political theatre is more important than running the country.

But why? Why?

Here’s what’s been brewing in my head the last two weeks, thanks to yet another mass shooting, in my neck of the woods. Better buckle your seatbelts and hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis driven by delusions

On September 16, 2013, something remarkable happened. Again.

13 people died, including a mentally ill man, aged 34. Those are the details you can gather from the article above. Additional details have surfaced about how Alexis’ behavior was cause for concern, but not sufficiently off to justify actual medical treatment. He was, as far as anyone knew, fit enough to hold a security clearance and to purchase guns and ammunition. And as soon as the act was over, and it was clear the shooter was dead, all we had left was a series of clues that added up to a head-scratchingly vague image of what drove this man to commit random murders that morning.

This time, the discussion of gun control ended before it even had a chance to start, because the timing was so close to the end of the government’s fiscal year, even this tremendous loss of life, just a short mile or so away from Capitol Hill, was insufficient to jumpstart the discussion of sane guidelines for owning and operating a firearm.

Stunning, really, because one short week later, all the news reports could talk about was whether there would be compromise.

I could have told them then that there wouldn’t be. There’s no reason for compromise. You can’t compromise with terrorists.

These senselessness acts of violence and mayhem are no less vile than the one perpetrated by the members of our House of Representatives against this country and our people. Republicants, Thuglicans, Tea Publicans – call them what you want, but whatever, you need to wake up and realize that the whole group is suffering from a case of paranoid schizophrenia, and we have left the disease untreated because we can’t seem to figure out what to do with the mentally ill.

These citizens, armed with hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars are telling the rest of us that we’re to blame for the mess our country is in.

A ‘post-democracy’ phase

Really?

Why are we in this mess today?

Because people in Ohio (a state bought and sold by ALEC) elected John Boehner again in 2012.

Boehner has zero interest in working the differences out. It’s not why he was elected.

The extreme Right elected him and his ilk because they don’t WANT the rest of the country to know that the way to fix the problem is to reverse 30 years of Trickle Down Damage, brought on by people who believed the horse hockey Saint Reagan fed them when he said all we needed to do was make it easier for the rich to spend their money and everyone would win.

It took 30 years for us to get where we are today, and the plutocracy like what they have just fine. Keep the scum down and they can’t rise up like they did in France because they’re too busy chasing turban-wrapped shadows and uppity black Presidents. 

When Mitt Romney made those ill-timed comments and the nice guy waiting tables caught him on camera, he wasn’t talking to the general voters. He was talking to his infernal brotherhood. And now, his puppet masters are mad because they didn’t get their way last November, so here we are, 45 minutes after midnight and not a budget in sight. 

The only way this has to do with the Democrats is that they are not the Tea Party. Ergo, they are W.R.O.N.G.

And the worst thing is, every last one of the Tea Party’s supporters has swallowed the crap the Koch brothers have fed them through the last 30 years. Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves.

The only difference between what Aaron Alexis did and what the House Republicans are doing now is that he was shot for his crimes. Instant retribution. The House of Representatives is still getting a big, fat paycheck (more in a year than I’ve made in the last 10 years, combined). They’re not going to see anything happen – at least until November 2014. (See that countdown ticker to the right? That’s how long we have before we can fix this mess.)

The last time the government shut down, Newt Gingrich was in the driver seat. Even Newt has figured out this is wrong-headed.

Newt Gingrich: ‘No Grand Strategy’ Around Possible Government Shutdown

Maybe the Affordable Care Act will do what we haven’t been able to accomplish since the GOP sucked the life out of the House in the 1990s – finally win the government back so that we can rise back up to our former glory as a compassionate country that takes care of its own. Instead of throwing our most vulnerable citizens under the bus, perhaps we can find a way to make it possible for us to enjoy life again. But first, the Tea Party has to go.

Someone needs to stop the insanity.

And the sooner, the better.

Two days to armage…Government Shutdown…Again…

Two days to armage…Government Shutdown…Again…

Ya know, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t going to matter one bit, once the rest of the polar ice melts and all the fresh water gets mixed up with ocean water, but in the short-term, I’ve had about enough of the Tea Party’s brinkmanship and Ted Cruz’s 21-hour hot air festival. The Grand Obstructionist Party wants the Affordable Care Act to fall and they think what they do now to shut the government down will matter. The miscalculation (and it’s huge), is that President Obama already signed the act into law, and no matter how many times they vote to repeal it (42 at last count, including the current Budget fiasco in process this weekend), it’s still the law and they don’t have enough votes in either the House or Senate to override it.

Their fantasy land will cost the country big time in the next few weeks, but if the ACA has the effect I suspect it will, come 2014 (just a little over a year from now), we’re going to see a sea change in the House, because the little people who put these Tea Party bullies in office are going to begin to understand the real ramifications of the fight to keep the American People from the benefits of the law.

Frankly, nothing would please me more than to see a clean sweep of the House and Senate, though we have a solid four years before we can really clean house, thanks to the Class of 2010, but there’s a bunch of folks rooting for the government shut-down to happen so the GOP can finally get their comeuppance, and I’m right there with them.

And you know why I’m certain this is going to happen? Because President Obama has nothing to lose.

Nothing.

He’s already gone through the second term election. No matter what, he’s good till he steps down in 2016. And by then? That’s three years of education, along with more time spent bolstering the economy. (You have noticed how it’s improved, right? I mean, I had to take money out of my IRA, which will serve to affect my tax situation almost not at all, thanks to my current miserable financial situation, and lo, it’s back at the same level it was before I pulled the cash out.

So when you get right down to it, there’s a lot the government shut-down will do, but I’m okay with it, if the long-term benefits are that we can finally eject the insanity and start doing something about our current crazy situation.

What do I want?

I want an end to both Citizens United and the Patriot Act.

I want the Voting Rights Act restored or at least fixed so that it addresses our current reality, because otherwise a whole bunch of brown people and poor people and old people and young people are going to find it difficult to vote in the Tea Party states come next year.

I want women’s rights respected.

I want Marriage Equality throughout the country, in all 50 states, so my friends who want to be married don’t have to worry about which state they’re in.

I want the poor to have their protections restored and the safety nets fixed so that people can stop worrying about how to feed their kids and they can concentrate on getting jobs.

I want the jobs to come back from China and India, and all the loopholes closed so that we stop bleeding our good jobs overseas and rewarding companies for reducing their overhead at the cost of our own people.

I want sane gun-responsible legislation in place, so we can finally start addressing the gun owners and stop blaming the objects for misuse, before another toddler shoots her cousin or another undiagnosed psychiatric thug goes off randomly and takes more innocent lives at random.

I want the War on Drugs to become a Discussion on Responsibility and I want the prison system to become a public responsibility again. No more work-camps.

I want sensible and practical Immigration laws that protect our workers and give them opportunities.

I want people to receive the pay that they need so they aren’t relying on public assistance because they don’t need it.

I want free and easy access to birth control and better education about, well, just about everything, including real world life skills (pregnancy, relationships, marriage, money, lifestyle and practical skills, not just math and reading). Without context the education is meaningless.

And more than anything else, I want the rich to stop being greedy assholes who are just as happy to count their money in their comfy second homes offshore as they are living apart from the squalor of everyday existence for the rest of us.

We need the Tea Party and their neo-fascist leadership (read: ALEC) out of power. We’ve got three years to do it, by my calculations. Here’s hoping this is the start to the end.

Government Closure?

Bring it.

 

Realignment…

Realignment…

Okey dokey. Here’s the thing.

I’m pretty sure I’m suffering post-semester burnout, but after spending 10 weeks cozied up to the aristocracy and the totalitarian governments it spawned in Europe, I’ve had about enough.

If you’re angry, that’s great! BE angry. Go find out the details and post those – article, blog, whatever.

There’s been a tremendous amount of activity on my Facebook account since I launched it in 2008, before I got laid off. I’m angry about all sorts of things and I know it shows. I want the world to wake the hell up and do something before we stifle ourselves and poison our environment so much that we won’t survive. Running to hide in the wilderness won’t solve our immediate problems and probably won’t solve the long-term ones either.

I’m deleting pretty much all the photos (and associated comments) from my feed if I think they contain text that should relate to an article, if they have a “Like this? Share it!” command or if I think for any reason there’s no benefit gained from sharing the photos.

If you want me to read and like/share something, go find me the article that supports the text, and check that it’s not a humor web site because if you don’t, I’m just going to laugh at you. In public. On your wall.

In the meantime, if you put something on my wall, especially if it was a Tea Party rant in favor of their ludicrous behavior, or a Gun Lobby rant in favor of the Second Amendment without exception, it’s probably going away. I am standing down from fighting with you because I can’t win and I have better things to do with my time.

I want to hold accountable those who put us in this place. I want to see restitution for the terrible political decisions our people have made in the last 32 years. And I want to see it in my lifetime. Life’s too freaking short.

I long for the day when the GOP finally realizes the only ones in office whose behavior can truly be called reprehensible enough to justify actual impeachment come from their side of the aisle.

If you blow enough smoke, you’ll keep everyone’s eyes closed, but it won’t fix the problems you create, it will just force us to postpone dealing with them until the smoke finally clears. I just hope there’s still something left of the original American Dream when that happens, because our chances aren’t looking real good right now.

The value of a college education…

The value of a college education…

On my way to class on Wednesday last week, I tuned in to the Diane Rehm show and got an earful about what’s wrong-headed about college education.

The show, broadcast on NPR, is here:

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2013-05-08/who-benefits-college-and-why/transcript

As is often the case, I found myself talking to the radio, which has cathartic benefits but fails to solve any real problems other than to raise my blood pressure.

I’ve stewed on the discussion since then, having completed finals in the first two college courses I’ve taken since 1987, when I failed to grasp the reality behind attaining a Master’s degree in Costume Design. (Western Civilization and the Modern World and 2-Dimensional Basic Design, thanks for asking. I have As in both classes.  Apparently I’ve learned a thing or two about college since 1985. But I digress.)

So why, I ask, did it take almost 45 minutes before anyone mentioned the Human Resources requirements for college degrees? In fact, why hasn’t anyone focused attention on the database method of hiring? If we have to spend hours customizing every job application to fit each job listed, perhaps we should spend more time looking at the specialization movement instead of asking why college is so important.

Lord knows, college isn’t for everyone. The bureaucracy alone is enough to turn many people’s minds to mush. Endless paperwork, boring lectures that are best handled with judicious combinations of textbook reading combined with constant searches on Wikipedia (yes, my professor insisted this was a way to manage in his class) and the ultimate test – the written essay question – are unrealistic as real-world examples of what we’re expected to do…unless, of course, we’re working in an office environment, where we are constantly expected to write, research on the Internet, and listen quietly to boring speeches about whatever topic(s) our boss(es) think are vitally important to our jobs.

So, yes, if you’re destined to be an auto mechanic, a trade school might be more appropriate for you, and no, college isn’t necessary, but if that’s what the entire population of the US is destined to become – a nation of auto mechanics, waitresses, retail workers and hairdressers, then by all means, eliminate college as an option except for the very wealthiest of us.

But if we do, we shouldn’t expect these people to be able to purchase automobiles, eat out at restaurants, or buy a lot of clothing, because there won’t be much of that when the working class spends most of their money on food and shelter.

If we want to enjoy an economy that works for everyone, we need everyone to work at a living wage that pays more than just for the basics. The sheer waste of food, manufactured clothing and goods outweighs our ability to enjoy these things. And Congress has found ways to make the decisions even harder for us.

In just the last month, the House has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (for the 37th time) and to take away overtime pay. They have done more damage to the working class than anyone can possibly imagine, and threaten to do more if they get their way. It’s not just about voting against anything President Obama wants. It’s about hurting the people who put them in office.

We all need to wise up and throw them out. All of them.

Then, maybe, we can go back to concentrating on earning a living so that we can actually enjoy our lives.

Connecting the Dots, Part 2

Connecting the Dots, Part 2

United States of ALEC from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

On October 11, 2012, I wrote the following post: Do you know ALEC? If not, you should. And you should be afraid.

The video above was part of the above post. I just watched it again. Somehow, there has to be a way to get the word out that ALEC isn’t just a lobbying organization masquerading as a non-profit educational organization but is actively writing legislation that states are voting on now to take away individuals’ rights. Including the Stand Your Ground law, Right to Work law and more.

Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Virginia…they’re in every state (including Maryland, where I live).

Fortunately, Maryland still carries Democratic Majority, and we are still able to pass legislation that protects our rights, much to the NRA-backed gun lobby’s consternation, but if we don’t spend the time and learn more about ALEC’s activities today, we’re dooming our country to a corporate-driven demise not seen since World War II, or possibly ever.

(Yes, I don’t like the source, but the sources he quotes are legit, and frankly, he’s not the only one who’s noticed the parallels between then and now. If you have a real problem with the site, go to Harvard and view the docs there instead: http://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu/)

Back in the late ’90s, Hillary Clinton referred to a “vast right-wing conspiracy” targeting Bill Clinton for takedown, first with Whitewater and then Monica Lewinsky. The GOP-backed House, led by Newt Gingrich, almost achieved impeachment, which failed in part because the 1998 election cycle brought in enough senators (not exactly bipartisan, but enough who crossed the lines to make acquittal possible).

Most people blew off  the possibility that there was an actual right-wing conspiracy as improbable at best, unprovable at worst. Who knew the conspiracy would be driven by corporate America, interested most in retaining the bottom line.

Enter the makers of the documentary above.

Suddenly, 40 years of American political history starts to make sense.

The New Yorker, in August 2010, published Jane Mayer’s investigative biographic article, COVERT OPERATIONS: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. In the article, she outlines the role the brothers have played in shaping conservative politics.

Forbes Magazine, on March 21, 2011, published The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy 2011: Less Vast- More Powerful as a clearer picture of the men behind the curtain, but even this article failed to get to the true depth and breadth of the organization.

On September 12, 2012, in the heat of last year’s election cycle, the Center for Media and Democracy published this article, which helps map out the relationships between the top three conservative think tanks:  Paul Weyrich’s Troika Reunited: ALEC Partners with Republican Study Committee at Heritage Foundation.

The Trayvon Martin case, as sad as it was, has served to expose ALEC’s role in state government politics. Every time I hear the phrase “States’ Rights” I go back to one thing: We have set ourselves up via the Constitution for a corporate takeover the likes of which has never been seen.

All the signs are there. Social programs designed to protect the poor? Gone. Equal pay for equal work? Laughable. Health care? Social Security? Even privacy? Every last one of these is suspect.

So today, we come to this (from Salon.com, today): The Republican Party is officially broken: Washington’s problem isn’t partisanship or a fatally flawed system. It’s that one party is massively dysfunctional

Only, I would argue that they aren’t broken at all. They are operating exactly, specifically as planned. And unless we can find some way to stop their progress, before 2014, there will be no way to fix what’s wrong with this country because Corporate America will have won.

Public school will eventually cease to exist, becoming private (commercial). Tens of thousands of people will die because they can’t afford the cost of healthcare. We will decrease the unnecessary surplus population and that will suit the Suits just fine. The Tea Party will do all the driving if we don’t figure out a way to stop them. Because the Tea Party is leaving “Brownshirt” stains everywhere.

Heck, if this keeps up, I may have to buy a gun.

Remember: You heard it here. Spread the word.

dis·in·gen·u·ous

dis·in·gen·u·ous

Your word lesson for the day:

dis·in·gen·u·ous

Adjective: Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

Synonyms: insincere – false – devious – hollow-hearted

Okay, so I’m going to put this out there and get hammered for it, but I said almost a year ago that the GOP can’t complain about something THEY voted for in the first place. 

Forbes (2/7/2012): Congress Welcomes The Drones

My question is: Would this complainiing even be happening under a Romney/Ryan administration?

I’m sorry but signs point to No. The ACLU was unhappy with the first authorization back in 2012, so it’s no surprise they’re taking this up now. What’s surprising is how “suddenly” vehemently opposed everyone is about domestic drones. Shouldn’t they have thought about that last February? Really?C’mon, folks. Really.

And while we’re at it, this tidbit hit a couple of days ago too. Cue “I told you so” commentary:

Politics USA: The Koch Brothers Take Credit for Imposing Economic Hardship on Millions of Americans

Daily KOS: Americans for Prosperity Cheer on Sequester, claims Ownership

Just in case it wasn’t clear by reading the above, David Koch IS Americans for Prosperity (Wikipedia).

Why do we have Sequestration? Look above.

And remember, because in 2014 we have our first opportunity at payback…If we still have a country and people are still allowed to vote by then.

It’s all there. All you have to do is look…

It’s all there. All you have to do is look…

Sedition:

In lawsedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interests of sedition.

Typically, sedition is considered a subversive act, and the overt acts that may be prosecutable under sedition laws vary from one legal code to another. Where the history of these legal codes has been traced, there is also a record of the change in the definition of the elements constituting sedition at certain points in history. This overview has served to develop a sociological definition of sedition as well, within the study of state persecution.

The difference between sedition and treason consists primarily in the subjective ultimate object of the violation to the public peace. Sedition does not consist of levying war against a government nor of adhering to its enemies, giving enemies aid, and giving enemies comfort. Nor does it consist, in most representative democracies, of peaceful protest against a government, nor of attempting to change the government by democratic means (such as direct democracy or constitutional convention).

Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power. Treason is the violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or state, giving aid to enemies, or levying war against one’s state. Sedition is encouraging one’s fellow citizens to rebel against their state, whereas treason is actually betraying one’s country by aiding and abetting another state. Sedition laws somewhat equate to terrorism and public order laws.

people think that the Republicans  are afraid -- that the economy will be harmed when tax rates go up on the  rich. It`s the opposite of the truth. They are terrified that when tax  rates go up on the rich, it`s not going to harm the economy. And 30 years  of ridiculous orthodox are going to go down the drain with it. - Nick Hanauer

Courtesy of http://stfuhypocrisy.tumblr.com/post/35992280941/people-think-that-the-republicans-are-afraid

The above quote comes from an episode of THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ on MSNBC aired November 16, 2012. You’ll find the quote a little over halfway down the transcript, but it’s all there.

Special abilities are often called gifts. Some folks might consider it mind reading, but I was apparently gifted with an ability to match patterns. I solve jigsaw puzzles with a speed and drive that excludes all else. So here’s my pattern-matching gift to you, courtesy of my curse. But it doesn’t take a genius (and I’m not that), to see where we are headed.

What isn’t clear at this point is what the revolution will look like when it happens, but happen it will, so long as the American Aristocracy continues to hold firm to the belief that wealth entitlement is a right in this country, and that sharing is not necessary to the overall health of the country. The French learned this lesson, but not before tens of thousands lost their lives, including the king and queen.

Robert Reich knows it. The Sequester and the Tea Party Plot, posted on February 28, 2013, includes this damning statement regarding the Tea Party: “Sequestration grew out of a strategy hatched soon after they took over the House in 2011, to achieve their goals by holding hostage the full faith and credit of the United States – notwithstanding the Constitution’s instruction that the public debt of the United States “not be questioned.””

Ezra Klein of the Washington Post’s WONKBlog posted this on March 2, 2013: This is why Obama can’t make a deal with Republicans. He knows it too.

So do the folks at Mashable: Viral Video Shows the Extent of U.S. Wealth Inequality

The links at the end of the video are here, for those of you who just can’t stand to see these claims without the statistics to back them up:

Finally, there’s this, from UNCOMMON SENSE: TO NAVIGATE UNCHARTED WATERS OF 21ST CENTURY LIFE:

Stranded Island Dilemma

The Tea Party is amazingly good at pointing the fingers elsewhere and laying blame, and for that I suppose they will be remembered as a modern equivalent to Robespierre’s single-minded, blood-thirsty Mountain, the organization that finally brought down the French Aristocracy, except for one key point, and a major point at that: The Tea Party does NOT represent you.

Read that again.

The Tea Party does NOT represent you.

They never have. They, and many Tea-leaning Libertarians, believe in the very fiber of their beings, that this country was not formed to do any of the things outlined by Jefferson and the rest of the men who drafted and signed on to the Declaration of Independence.

Quite the contrary. They wish to restore the country to its original aristocratic roots, to ensure that those who have achieved all their wealth, the modern-day First Estate, remain exactly where they are, and that the rest of us should be reduced to the serfs we are.

To achieve their goals, they will do anything they can to subvert the standing administration, because they were all elected legally to their positions.

Our founders could not have foreseen the Gerrymander. They could not imagine automatic weapons. They had no concept that our country’s ruling class might one day look different from them: white males of western European descent. It never, ever, occurred to them that we might one day look down the gun barrels at each other, and fight to the death to protect wealth we have NO chance of ever achieving ourselves. They drive their own Grand Bargain, in which the poor simply die off and the wealthy walk over their bones.

I am not exaggerating.

I have lost friends who knew me casually out of the political context because they are certain I am absolutely dead wrong and unable to listen to reason. They imagine themselves at the forefront of the debate, because the rhetoric must mean them when it comes to giving up wealth. I don’t have many friends whose incomes exceed the six figure mark, and the vast number of them don’t have a lot of patience for the stupidity playing out in Washington and in the back rooms of local political offices across the country. The core reason people have walked away, aside from my inability to keep my politics to myself, is the fundamental assumption that I am somehow after their guns, their religion, their way of life.

I represent the Ebil Liberal.

No matter how many times or ways I can illustrate where these ideas are coming or the inherent problems with them, there is simply no telling them they are wrong, and that the country will do just fine on its current trajectory.

Just today, I saw a post that says, essentially, the Ninth Amendment entitles me to do whatever I want, because my rights already exist. (Okay, that’s not what he said, but what’s sauce for the gander…) It is, in essence, the same divine right by which the French Aristocracy died. You can do whatever you want, as long as I can do whatever I want, and no rule of law can touch me because my rights trump your laws.

I will freely admit that I have never, ever understood the Libertarian mind. I don’t think I ever, ever will. This isn’t just a fight to keep and bear arms, or to protect the safety net, or to ensure domestic tranquility. This is the ultimate in brinksmanship. This time, I don’t know that the United States of America can handle the stress. With hundreds of thousands laid off on top of an already fragile economy, there’s simply nowhere else to go. Relying on the sweet hereafter as an alternative simply isn’t enough.

We are less than two years from the next round of elections, but that could well be too late. It certainly won’t be enough to clear the Senate, and will change all too little in the House.

Buckle up. We’re in for a bumpy year.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.