Tag: NY Times

It’s all right there, if you want to see…

It’s all right there, if you want to see…

ol·i·gar·chy (noun ˈä-lə-ˌgär-kē, ˈō-; plural: ol·i·gar·chies)
Full Definition of OLIGARCHY:
1 :  government by the few
2 :  a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also:  a group exercising such control [emphasis mine]

On April 9, 2014, this report was released on Princeton University’s website, and it’s shaken up news reports all over the world. It might come as no surprise to you, dear reader, that I’m not shocked at all by the finding. In fact, I’ve been using the term for at least the last several years, to describe in various threads just exactly what our country has become. If you think we’ve somehow escaped notice, think again:

The Telegraph: The US is an oligarchy, study concludes

Defence Pakistan: US is an oligarchy not a democracy, says scientific study

UPI: The US is not a democracy but an oligarchy, study concludes

All of a sudden, this is news. Only it’s not news.

 New York Times: Oligarchy, American Style (11/3/2011)

Mother Jones: How the Oligarchs Took America (12/2/2010)

Robert Reich’s film, Inequality For All, does a spectacular job of tying all the loose ends together to explain what happened to the U.S.A. over the last 30 years. I’ve written a lot about the symptoms in the last year and a half, but nothing connects them half as well as this simple, elegant movie.

Too many people spend their time repeating the talking points without understand the source of the platform. They trust the office without paying attention to the officer. They don’t know how to read between the lines because their education fails to explain that the subtext is just as important as the message. We got where we are today because the Republicans beat the Libertarians in 1980, and the Libertarians took a different path.

You can (and should) go back in this blog and read the articles I’ve posted on the Koch brothers, you can listen to the things Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have to say (because comedy is the best source of truth these days), or you can analyze the political rhetoric that’s starting to hit for each of the Senate and House races this year, but the bottom line is, we have maybe two years to get our act together and do something about the GO(T)P.

They’ve got a lock on two of the four (yes, four) branches of government: The Supreme Court and the House. Without cooperation across the aisles, the Senate is barely holding on. Today, the Senate leans Democratic, but that’s not a given based on the 2014 election analysis.

If the Senate flips back to the GO(T)P, and we put another Republican in the office of President, we can write off our country. The poor will become modern-day serfs and the middle class will join them because that class is a modern myth. The combined branches will finally get to do what they always wanted – rewrite the Constitution with impunity.

The Presidency depends on having enough votes in key states – most of which are undergoing the same sort of voter crap that Florida’s done. We tip one or the other (senate or presidency) in the direction of the GOP, and what little remains of our safety nets will disappear completely. Want some practice at reading between the lines? Try these articles out for size:

Huffington Post: Florida’s 13th District Bellwether Report: Why Obamacare’s Least Of Democrats’ Worries

Christian Science Monitor: Court rules Florida voter purge illegal, but will it stop GOP voting tweaks?

Purge the rolls of Democrats, lean a little in the direction most conservatives think they need to go, or split the vote a little more with the splinter parties (Green or Socialist) and the GOP will have what they want: Total control of the US government. Once that happens, they can rewrite our constitution, revise the rules for who gets to vote. Can’t happen? We have three Supreme Court Justices who are on the edge of retirement, and the guessing game for who will retire first, and who will replace them, is heating up. Have a good look at the Tea Party line and platform and you’ll see the fundamentals of the Neo-Fascists who are presently armed to the teeth, thanks to the NRA.

We can still stop the madness, but it’s getting harder, not easier. I’d hoped the GOP was the party of the Old White Male, but that ignores the younger population who are moving in through the Tea Party. I recognize that the Democrats have issues, but the things they want to support – the Social Safety Net, universal health care, public education – will ALL go away if they lose.  So like I said: We’ve got maybe two years to turn this around. We can’t wait until 2020. This election is important. The next one is critical.

Reblogging on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht…

Reblogging on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht…

This is important and you need to see it. If you really want to know what drives me to write the pieces I do, read the post below and watch the clip.

Life in a Minor Key:

November 9: Cabaret ~ Tomorrow belongs to me

And consider this: In the world today, neo-Nazi and neo-Confederacy groups are working hard to control American politics. Our country is in the same place Germany was when the Third Reich rose to power. We are still putting so-called conservatives in power because many people in the south miss their rich, fat incomes thanks to the destruction of slavery. Some of them believe slavery was a good thing.

Think I’m making this up? Think again:

Arkansas Lawmaker Concludes That
Slavery Was Actually Good for Black People

CPAC Participant Defends Slavery At Minority Outreach Panel:
It Gave ‘Food And Shelter’ To Blacks

Look into our prison system, in restaurants, fields, garment factories (where they still exist) and in other places where menial labor means hard work for little pay, and you’ll find modern slavery, “human trafficking.”

It’s all well and good to view our nasty Civil War history through rose-colored filters, but then folks like Steve McQueen (director of “12 Years A Slave”) come along and blow all that rose-colored fantasy away.

Imagine for a moment what would happen if the Tea Party got its way and actually rose to power, with a representative in the Oval Office and enough of a majority to squash the actions of the Senate the way they do the House. Unthinkable, right?

We have less than a year to the 2014 elections. While I don’t see a lot of change in who’s seated in the Senate, there’s a whole mess of trouble in our House of Representatives. In case you’ve forgotten, the next government shutdown threat is scheduled for December. And unless I’ve missed something major in the news, we are no closer to a budget deal than we have been in the last five years. Where’s the discussion? Nobody’s talking. There hasn’t been an update since the end of October. Well, okay, there’s this:

Paul Ryan warns budget talks doomed if members argue about taxes

Now, maybe it’s just that they’re trying to work hard and keep the press out of the discussion, or maybe it’s that there hasn’t been any progress. I’m sure everyone would be happier knowing we’re not going to wind up with another shutdown just as the Christmas season gets underway, but I’m not willing to bet we’ll be any further along than we were on the 17th.

How does this all tie in together?

Here’s a massively oversimplified description of the events that led up to the rise of Hitler:

Nazi Germany Before World War II

But that really misses the bigger picture. The US wasn’t the only country to suffer in the Great Depression. It was global, no better in Germany than it was here. And that’s the key.

We are in the same depression recovery the Germans suffered in the 1930s. Look at Detroit as a clear example of what our depression has done to the people today. Who’s running Michigan, anyway? Oh, right. Rick Snyder. Not an extremist Tea Party member (in fact, they’re mad at him for promoting tax money to cover infrastructure), but a member of the GOP and a venture capitalist on the side of corporate America.

This is what World War II looked like through the lens, as compiled by The Atlantic in 2011:

World War II in Photos: A retrospective in 20 parts

Why am I telling you these things?
Because of this:

Swastikas, Slurs and Torment in Town’s Schools
Pine Bush, N.Y., School District Faces Accusations of Anti-Semitism

It’s not theoretical racism. We are not immune. And unless we start to realize and do something about it, we’re going to wind up just like Germany 75 years ago.

Well now, this is something else…

Well now, this is something else…

You know, the more I think about this, the more I wonder. Is the President waiting for default to declare actual sedition against the members of the Tea Party and GOP who are pulling this stunt? They can try to impeach him if they want, but they don’t have the foolproof 2/3 majority they would need in the House anymore, and I imagine they’d be hard pressed to find Democrats who would back such a measure. Meanwhile, driving the country over the Debt Ceiling cliff could well be the seditious action required to arrest the key members who brought the country to its figurative knees over this.

Arguing about what sedition means, I found two links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedition

and within that,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seditious_conspiracy

So, do we need to wait this out and see if the GOP pulls up? Is that why the Koch brothers have suddenly changed their tunes?

Might be a very good reason to backpedal, in public….

Trouble is, all you really have to do these days is follow the money. The New Yorker figured it out way back in August of 2010. It’s just not that hard to draw the lines between the dots.

It all comes down to this…

It all comes down to this…

On Facebook a few days ago, Matthew Rose posted this public status that’s making the rounds on my list of friends. Continue reading “It all comes down to this…”

One month to go…

One month to go…

The end of November is often too busy to step back and look at where we are. Between prep for Thanksgiving (which came disturbingly early this year) and all the Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday-Tuesday… and so forth, it’s hard to imagine anyone actually accomplishing anything before the Advent calendars start opening on the 1st.

In my life, today is a chance to step back and remember. Two years ago, I lost a true best friend to long-term health problems that might have been diagnosed differently if the ACA were already in place and functioning, and if medical insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industries cared more about the people they serve than they do about their own pockets.

It’s a time for me to reflect on changes in the last year, but most importantly, to review a week or so’s worth of news that could escape attention in all the craziness that leads up to the “Holiday Season” in general.

I’ve been paying attention, mostly on Facebook, so here are some of the highlights (if you can call them that) of November’s last gasp.

A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy by Warren E. Buffett

New York Times: SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”

Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.

Former Florida GOP leaders say voter suppression was reason they pushed new election law

Palm Beach Post: Former GOP chair, governor – both on outs with party – say voter fraud wasn’t a concern, but reducing Democratic votes was.

Judge orders tobacco companies to admit deception

Reuters: Major tobacco companies that spent decades denying they lied to the U.S. public about the dangers of cigarettes must spend their own money on a public advertising campaign saying they did lie, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

Senators Make Bid To End Indefinite Detention In NDAA

Huffington Post: A bipartisan group of senators made a bid Wednesday to end the indefinite military detention of Americans in the United States.

Declaring that a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 put the country on a path to repeat the shame of World War II’s internment camps, they argued the offending language should be stricken in this year’s defense bill.

Michigan Public School System being destroyed. RIGHT NOW.(UPDATE x11)

Daily KOS: If you or anyone you know and care about live in Michigan, or if you care whatsoever about the public school system in this country–or, for that matter, education of our children in general–I urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to read up on Michigan State House Bills 6004 & 5923, and State Senate Bills 1358 & 620.

Robertson tells Christians: Radiocarbon dating proves no dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark

Raw Story: Televangelist Pat Robertson says that radiocarbon dating proves that the Earth is older than 6,000 years — and he’s telling Christians not to “cover it up.”

On Tuesday’s 700 Club, a viewer wrote Robertson that her “biggest fear is to not have my children and husband next to me in God’s Kingdom” because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs.

And finally (because I can’t resist one last dig):

Romney’s final share of the vote? You guessed it: 47 percent.

Washington Post: Call it irony or call it coincidence: Mitt Romney’s share of the popular vote in the 2012 presidential race is very likely to be 47 percent.


Mitt Romney addresses the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) annual convention in Houston on July 11, 2012. (NICHOLAS KAMM – AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Romney’s campaign, of course, was doomed in large part by comments made on a hidden camera in which he suggested that 47 percent of the country was so reliant on government services that those people would never vote for him.

36 Windows: October 15, 2012 – Election 2012

36 Windows: October 15, 2012 – Election 2012

There’s a LOT of reading to do on this page, but each link has value in identifying the issues we need to consider when choosing our leaders for the coming two (House), four (President) or six (Senate) years.

I may already have published one or more of these links, but if so, I think the subject’s that important and bears a re-read.

I’ve broken the page into Presidential Election, Romney, Ryan, Obama, and Congress, based on the subject.

Presidential Election

November 7th
Though their agendas are hidden, both Romney and Obama have plans to dramatically remake the size and character of American government. Very, very quickly. (New York Magazine):
http://nymag.com/news/politics/elections-2012/obama-romney-economic-plans-2012-10/

The Final Word on Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan (Bloomberg):
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-12/the-final-word-on-mitt-romney-s-tax-plan.html

Ryan’s Budget: The Most Fraudulent Proposal in American History (Economist’s View): http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2012/08/ryans-budget-the-most-fraudulent-proposal-in-american-history.html

Romney

Romney Ignores Bainport While Trying to Take Back 47% Comments (PoliticsUSA):
http://www.politicususa.com/mitt-romney-47-comments-ignores-bainport.html

More on Bainport: 
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxHAlRsQzHpVVQojpK9aQCQ?feature=watch

Romney Is Attacked by His Father’s Longtime Aide (The New York Times):
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/romney-is-attacked-by-his-fathers-longtime-aide/

Dear Mrs. Romney (Another view from a Military wife and mother) (Daily Kos):
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/21/1134858/-Dear-Mrs-Romney

Ryan

UPDATE [10/21/12]: It’s come to my attention that Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society President Brian Antal did not tell the whole truth on the story I posted October 16th, just hours after the initial reports hit the wire. NBC News reports that Ryan did, in fact, help to clean dishes and that Antal was not there but received the story second-hand. (http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/16/14485409-ryan-did-wash-dirty-dishes-during-soup-kitchen-visit).

Ryan’s clumsy attempt at gaining public sympathy and recognition for his “care of the poor” backfired, but so has President Antal’s ham-fisted accusation of wrongdoing. No matter what, he should consider stepping down and away from the situation. Partisan politics aside, there are any number of issues with these admissions, and in the end it is the patrons of the Soup Kitchen who will be most hurt by this.

The original article is here: Charity president unhappy about Paul Ryan soup kitchen ‘photo op’ (The Washington Post): https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2012/10/15/charity-president-unhappy-about-paul-ryan-soup-kitchen-photo-op/

Obama

U.S. budget deficit shrinks by over $200 billion, reaches 4-year low (The Maddow Blog/MSNBC):
http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/10/12/14399005-us-budget-deficit-shrinks-by-over-200-billion-reaches-4-year-low

Say WHAT? Obama Will ‘Throw A Lot Of Spears’ In Next Debate, Warns SC Gov. Video of Sanford On Fox News (Addicting Info):
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/10/15/say-what-obama-will-throw-a-lot-of-spears-in-next-debate-warns-sc-gov-sanford-on-fox-news-video/

To the 16-Year-Old Who Knocked on My Door, Asking That I Vote for Obama (Daily Kos):
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/14/1144484/-To-the-16-Year-Old-Who-Knocked-on-My-Door-Asking-That-I-Vote-for-Obama

Congress

Clinton: GOP’s State Dept. cuts ‘detrimental’ to national security (The Hill):
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/143923-clinton-gops-state-dept-cuts-detrimental-to-national-security

Republican leadership’s FY11 budget cuts would endanger national security, Clinton says (The Washington Post):
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2011/02/secretary-clinton-house-republ.html

Todd Akin
No science behind evolution, only faith (Examiner.com)
[Dead link]

DOWN-BALLOT UPDATE: What Ever Happened To That ‘Legitimate Rape’ Guy? (The Daily Show):
http://www.upworthy.com/down-ballot-update-what-ever-happened-to-that-legitimate-rape-guy

Back to October 15, 2012 “36 Windows…”

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