Through the genius of the Wayback machine that is the Internet, let me refresh your memory.
1. an act or instance of extorting.
2. Law. the crime of obtaining money or some other thing
of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority.
3. oppressive or illegal exaction, as of excessive price
or interest: the extortions of usurers.
4. anything extorted.
Yesterday on Facebook, this little gem popped up in my feed. I was nearly done for the night, and with all Facebook’s recent monkey business and tampering with the way news filters through, I might have missed it. But no, it hit me about this time last night and I…I couldn’t stand it anymore.
I’ve been quiet, trying to concentrate on getting through school and the holidays, but I have to say I could not have imagined the depths the GOP will stoop to relieve us poor saps of the one thing that could get them unseated in November. Not until last night, at least.
It wasn’t enough just to believe PoliticsUSA, though. I needed to find corroboration that didn’t link back to the original article, so imagine my surprise when I found this.
Here’s the whole clip from C-SPAN2.
Seriously? Okay, folks. I’m back. Miss me?
This is why the GOP pulled benefits from our Veterans and those suffering from long-term unemployment? (That, by the way, includes me. I fell off the unemployment ranks three years ago. That’s why I’m back in college again, even though I have a perfectly valid B.A.)
There’s no polite term for extortion. It’s illegal. Why aren’t these gentlemen going to prison for violating Federal law? Because someone told them it was okay to do this.
Well, get this. We have just shy of nine months to let these criminals know they can’t pull this crap and get away with it. Show them the door.
Mitch McConnell is up for re-election THIS November. So are roughly one-third of the other Senate seats and ALL the Representatives in the House.
If you allow these thugs to stay the course, you’re just as guilty as they are.
Do something about it.
You have nine months.
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.
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.
Your word lesson for the day:
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.
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:
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.
In law, sedition 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.
This is a lovely and simple video right up until you realize that the GOP forced tax cuts to fall far, far short of what President Obama wanted in the first place, and because we’ve dicked around with spending for the last 30 years and not paying for it in taxes.
The Bush administration added a HUGE amount of debt to the deficit and didn’t pay for it. The GOP is blocking that payment now with obstruction and Sequestration, which hurts the 98% far, far more than anyone at the 2% level.
The lesson here is that if you want to go fight for the right to keep and bear oil, you’d damn well better figure out how to pay for it out of your big fat bank accounts and not force the rest of the people to bear the costs of protecting your interests. Too bad that didn’t happen, because that’s how we got where we are today.
Want to see what this really looks like?
From the Federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics (January 2012): Federal Government receipts and expenditures
Here’s the full article: The U.S. economy in 2020: recovery in uncertain times
From the article’s summary: “Real GDP is expected to grow 3.0 percent annually over the next decade, faster than the 1.6-percent-per-year growth experienced over the 2000–2010 period, but slower than the 3.4-percent growth from 1990 to 2000; recovery of the housing market, improved consumer confidence, strong business investment, rising medical expenses, and narrowing of the trade deficit also characterize the outlook.”
To give the guy credit, Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) also recognizes that we shouldn’t pay congress for their failure to produce a budget, but I bet that doesn’t wash with the rest of the boys and girls up on Capitol Hill. And this is the same guy who sponsored this:
The Protect Medical Innovation Act would repeal the 2.3% excise tax on medical devices included in the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), thereby reducing one of the payment methods for the ACA. Who are they protecting? The corporations providing the service, not the people who receive the benefits. Worse, this is an industry being encouraged by our activities in the Middle East, where improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are everywhere. The price we are paying for the war is too high by half. Cutting anything that helps protect our people when they return broken is wrong on so many levels I can’t even list them.
People need to stop listening to the GOP whining and realize that we have to pay for Bush’s wars somehow. Frankly, my tax dollars (if I had any, which I don’t because of MY employment situation) should be going to support our infrastructure, not to keep these businesses from paying taxes.
I’ll tell you what should change: Manufacturing costs need to drop so the items are less costly and easier to acquire. Oil prices should drop, so we can afford to spend our money in other ways and help support the rest of the country instead of the oil industry.
What the hell ever happened to Supply and Demand? We’re seeing corporate greed out of control and we wonder why we have no money to spend on paying down the debt. Control the greed and the deficit goes away.
Before you forward something that looks like it nails the whole problem, look again. Chances are, you’re only being told half the story and you should be especially suspicious if that story comes from the GOP.
Cassandra isn’t my name. It never has been, but there are times when I can’t imagine a better, more proper identification for how I view the world.
Take this shining example of hindsight, brought to you by EPI, by way of The Atlantic.
But who is EPI?
From their website (www.epi.org):
The Economic Policy Institute’s mission is to inform and empower individuals to seek solutions that ensure broadly shared prosperity and opportunity.
About EPI. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a non-profit, non-partisan think tank, was created in 1986 to broaden discussions about economic policy to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers. EPI believes every working person deserves a good job with fair pay, affordable health care, and retirement security. To achieve this goal, EPI conducts research and analysis on the economic status of working America. EPI proposes public policies that protect and improve the economic conditions of low- and middle-income workers and assesses policies with respect to how they affect those workers.
I’ve known this was going to happen since my senior year of high school (1980-81), though I never had the facts or figures to back it up. The phrase “Trickle Down Economics” and its bastard brother “Supply Side” have been with us since Reagan took over as President. I have no love for the GOP, and certainly none for St. Ronnie, since he took away my access to my deceased mother’s SS Survivor benefits when I was in my second year of college. (I would have voted for John Anderson if I could have, when he ran as an Independent against both Reagan and Carter, the latter of whom I supported in his first run.)
Even then, those responsible recognized cognitive dissonance when they heard it. The Atlantic noticed way back in 1981, with this article: The Education of David Stockman
“The whole thing is premised on faith,” Stockman explained. “On a belief about how the world works.” As he prepared the script in his mind, his natural optimism led to bullish forecasts, which were even more robust than the Reagan Administration’s public promises. “The inflation premium melts away like the morning mist,” Stockman predicted. “It could be cut in half in a very short period of time if the policy is credible. That sets off adjustments and changes in perception that cascade through the economy. You have a bull market in ’81, after April, of historic proportions.”
Reality and the myopic view of the then (and now) GOP leadership have proved very, very different. Robert Reich understands this all too well.
UNDERSTANDING THE FISCAL CLIFF (in 2m 30s):
The sad, sad truth, though, is that whether Sequestration happens or not, we still have a ridiculously long way to go. We seem to have learned nothing in all the time since Dickens first observed so wryly (by way of Ebeneezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, a perennial family favorite) just how little most of the rich care for those beneath them.
Scrooge can’t fathom why the poor deserve a break, declaring December the 25th “a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket.” His grudging day off for his underpaid clerk is the only tip of his hat to sacrifices for other human beings who have less, until his partner smacks him upside the head with reality.
Dickens’ classic does not mention going to hell. There is no discussion of a vengeful god or of a fire-filled eternity. Hell looks very different in Scrooge’s world. His partner, Jacob Marley, knows too well the consequences of a life void of human compassion.
For all the GOP’s constant bluster of morality, public industry, private corporations like Hostess and even the politicians in Michigan and other Right to Work states fail to care about the impact their personal economy has on the US and our majority of poor and middle class. They should be forced to spend some time in the shoes of their employees. Unfortunately, A Christmas Carol is a work of fiction and there will be no Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present or Future to break the chains they forge in life.
It’s up to us. I hope we’re up to the task.
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.
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.
Palm Beach Post: Former GOP chair, governor – both on outs with party – say voter fraud wasn’t a concern, but reducing Democratic votes was.
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.
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.
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.
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):
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.
Honest to god, this election scares me more on a visceral level than any other in my 48 years on the planet. If you thought the debate was a mess, here’s why it seemed such a surprise.
The grammar in this post on ThinkProgress.org is questionable, but the goal is unmistakable.
Romney will say *anything* to get himself elected, no matter how far away from the truth it really is. There is only one reason he is saying now that he was wrong about his candid 47% remarks: He lost part of his base when he said it. He got caught red handed. You don’t need me to review the lies, because fact checkers have been hot on this since five seconds after the debate started.
If Romney can lie this easily now, do you really want to give this man the presumed protections of the office of the President? Think about this.
Bush put into place so many legal shields in his last four years in office that the current administration is unable to build enough evidence against him and his cronies to hold either of them criminally accountable for the lies surrounding the Iraq war.
In the eight years Bush was in office, we were handed the Patriot Act and saw some of the worst business decisions made in the history of the USA. All of it forgotten because we’ve been told it was the fault of the (proven to be nonexistent) Democrat majority headed up by Obama.
It took a major chess game and almost a whole year to extract the suspension of Habeas Corpus from the NDAA bill Obama had to sign in order to fund the military, put in place by the GOP.
This morning on NPR there was a stark reminder of what will come if the federal government is not funded fully. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Look up the word “sequestration.” This is the January surprise that just kept me from being hired at a full-time job with benefits, at a salary that’s appropriate for over 20 years’ experience in business.
Sequestration is, by every source I’ve read, scaring the hell out of federal government employers and employees across the country. Here are three samples from the last several hours. I can’t find the NPR story I heard this morning, but as these are sources away from the “mainstream” media, I suggest you pay attention.
Stars and Stripes: Partisan debate deepens over layoff notices before sequestration
Government Executive: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/threat-sequestration/58559/
Let’s get this straight: Sequestration was put in place as a compromise when the debt ceiling was raised, because the GOP would not consider raising taxes as part of a compromise and the democrats would not simply cut programs.
Caught in the crosshairs? Every household in the US that is dependent on income from contract positions, every low-income household, every family dependent on assistance, every person who depends on medical research and (most notably) every military member who will still be deployed on January 2 and their families.
That’s not a big deal, you say. Not our problem.
Our economy is just starting to come back, but if this across-the-board cut comes down because the GOP is still in lockstep with the Koch Brothers, Grover Norquist and the rest of the cronies who want to see their lucrative positions protected, it will come because people put these people in office to do exactly what they have done: Stop government from working at any cost.
Romney will do or say anything to get hired. The last time I checked, lying on a resume was cause for firing in every company above the size of McDonald’s. If we can’t hold our President accountable, what’s left?