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.
On Facebook a few days ago, Matthew Rose posted this public status that’s making the rounds on my list of friends:
Oct 2008: “You’ll never get elected and pass healthcare.”
Nov 2008: “We’ll never let you pass healthcare.”
Jan 2009: “We are going to shout you down every time you try to pass healthcare.”
July 2009: “We will fight to the death every attempt you make to pass healthcare.”
Dec 2009: “We will destroy you if you even consider passing healthcare.”
March 2010: “We can’t believe you just passed healthcare.”
April 2010: “We are going to overturn healthcare.”
Sept 2010: “We are going to repeal healthcare.”
Jan 2011: “We are going to destroy healthcare.”
Feb 2012: “We are going to elect a candidate who will immediately revoke healthcare.”
June 2012: “We will go to the Supreme Court, and they will overturn healthcare.”
Aug 2012: “The American people will never re-elect you, because they don’t want healthcare.”
Oct 2012: “We can’t wait to win the election and explode healthcare.”
Nov 2012: “We can’t believe you just got re-elected and that we can’t repeal healthcare.”
Feb 2013: “We’re still going to vote to obliterate healthcare.”
June 2013: “We can’t believe the Supreme Court just upheld healthcare.”
July 2013: “We’re going to vote like 35 more times to erase healthcare.”
Sept 2013: “We are going to leverage a government shutdown into defunding, destroying, obliterating, overturning, repealing, dismantling, erasing and ripping apart healthcare.”
Oct 2013: “WHY AREN’T YOU NEGOTIATING???”
I woke up this morning, obsessed with a single thought:
If the GOP don’t think there’s anything bad about the letting the Debt Ceiling collapse, then why do they think holding it hostage will get them anything?
I’ve been chewing on this all night and I think I know.
I took the name Cassandra for a reason. It’s not my given name, never been called that in my life, but I begin to think I must be one of her descendants because I’m seeing where this is headed and I’m afraid the President is going to weaken his resolve before the 17th. This MUST NOT HAPPEN.
God Bless Bernie Sanders, because he’s preaching what I’m preaching.
I have been saying for well over a year now what some news organizations are only now reporting on their main pages. On October 5th, The New York Times said that there is no issue so important that it could possibly pull the House Tea Party from their brinkmanship because this is a carefully planned process and it’s proceeding according to their hopes.
If for any reason you have failed to grasp what’s happening 10 days from now, worry no more. It’s going to happen. I’ve already sold one of my stocks and both the mutual funds (what’s left in my meager IRA), riding this one out with cash and stock in Yahoo and one Solar Energy company because I think they’ll survive this. That’s all. Everything else is cash because I simply can’t afford to lose what’s left of the teeny gains I’ve made in the last year.
Despite all the craziness on the Hill, Wall Street’s been reacting slowly. Why?
Here’s just one example, from an unlikely source, The Motley Fool:
Here’s another, from Slate.com:
I never once watched an episode of the X-files, but I can quote their tag line: “The truth is out there.” Just go look at the main sites for business: Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, pick one. This is where we should have been looking while the Obamacare smokescreen was in action. We haven’t paid attention. We’ve been too busy. And that’s just what the Tea Party wanted.
They’re serious. They don’t care who they railroad. And I’ll tell you why. Because they won’t lose their money if the US economy tanks over the Debt Ceiling. Let me repeat, because this is the single most important thing to understand about the Tea Party mentality:
They don’t care.
Three words, but they mean everything and you should be terrified.
I posted this before on Facebook, but I’m repeating it here because it needs to be said and you need to share it with everyone you know.
The Tea Party’s whole goal is the destruction of the U.S. government. They are happy to toss the country over the Debt Ceiling cliff and this time the Democrats aren’t going to stop them.
Stick with me, because I’m about to go off the rails, but if you are going to fight the enemy, you have to think like them, and that is precisely what we have to do. If you do, you’ll see the whole picture.
We are looking down the barrel of a semi-automatic weapon-driven Second Civil War and if we aren’t careful, that’s exactly where we will be by the end of this month.
Don’t think for one single second that the Second Amendment is about your personal rights. Or that Obamacare is about socialism or job loss. These are threats that keep the workers in their place, going to church and praying instead of noticing what’s going on in their world. How did Lenin and Stalin rise to power? By taking out the aristocracy in a bloodbath that immediately followed World War II. In their strange, twisted world, the Tea Party (the New Confederacy) paints President Obama as the charismatic leader on an equal basis with Hitler. I’m not making this up. It’s not Godwin’s law. They’ve said it themselves, so it must be true!
The Tea Party doesn’t live in our world.
They have sold their base on the idea that We the People refers only to certain people, and is not representative of their world view. It must therefor be thrown out as a useless document.
They will toss this country over the Debt Ceiling cliff because they want to see the government change and they know they can’t do it any other way. If the US defaults, they have someone to blame because he wasn’t willing to negotiate, and that isn’t John Boehner, though he richly deserves the honor. No, they believe the Gingrich model from 1996 will work this time with President Obama, too. They don’t have a Monica Lewinsky to use as leverage this time, because Barack loves Michelle too much to mess around with someone else, so they need another something to pin on him. And the Debt Ceiling is it.
Mark my words: The motion to impeach President Obama will come on either the 17th or 18th, when he is forced by law to do something about the Debt Ceiling, and they will sing to Fox News that they’ve FINALLY got him where they want him. I hope he’s ready for that next step, because it’s a mess.
This disaster in the making is larger than the two-party system. It’s larger than Us against Them. We’re talking about more than a four-year gap in the budget process, failure to hold the banks responsible for despicable acts against our people because they set up the rules and then changed the game. We’re talking about failing to preserve our social structure in the face of domestic terrorism that strikes me as so very similar to the Weimar Republic that we should all be very, very frightened.
Ask yourself: If Godwin’s law is so very bad for conversation, why does it happen so often that people pull the subject into the discussion? We narrowly avoided electing our own charismatic leader because he lacked the charisma of the German leader I refuse to name here.
I buried these comments on a Canadian friend’s Facebook wall, under comments related to this article from The Guardian:
The second individual in the comment stream suggested I didn’t know much about American politics (apparently he assumed — incorrectly — that I was Canadian, too). As flattering as that was, I resisted the urge to thank him for the compliment and wrote this instead:
The fact is that the situation here closely parallels the development of the Nazi party in more ways than we ought to be comfortable with in this country. And the parallels are no accident, either. Wanna see something really scary?
Note that the comparison is NOT disputed, but that those who suggest the ties are called Communists, lumped together with Democrats.
Have a little more education on the rise of the Koch brothers and their deep connections to the John Birch Society and the leap they took to control the Tea Party at the top level. (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer)
Fascism is not correct, however. You’re looking for the term Neo-fascist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-fascist
Last year I did a fairly extensive exploration of Machiavelli’s The Prince and the relationship between mid-17th Century European history and the German rise and fall in the 1940s. The Koch brothers, no doubt, have paid close attention to the way the Nazis rose to power and it shows in this current stand-off.
The American government has been more or less powerless in the last 20 years. The Kochs have exerted increasing pressure on American politics since just after Reagan was elected, which explains the Bush family’s rise to power and the Romney/Ryan ticket. They don’t want leaders. They want puppets they can control. And if they can’t control the puppets, they’ll do everything in their power to neutralize the work [we] do.
We can only hope that the electorate will remember this enormous game of Chicken come November, 2014, but I wouldn’t count on a recall election for any of these so-called representatives, and I wouldn’t imagine many of them will lose their jobs. It’s the moderate GOP who stand to lose the most when 2014 comes, and they know it.
I can hope that in another year, more voters will come to realize just how much their leaders lied to them, and do something about it in the polls.
The Kochs are making up for 150 years of failure to win the Civil War. If you can’t win one way, and replace the government the way you wanted then, there are other ways, up to and including the Tea Party, our New Confederacy. That’s precisely what the Patriot Act, Citizens United and ALEC are all about. They set the foundation for a takeover of catastrophic proportions.
And when it happens, they can finally put uppity black man back in his place, the poor can serve the RICH without educations to know they can do better, become Christian or starve to death. We don’t need government. It just takes money away from the rich who’ll take care of their own (as long as they’re rich and white).
And when Jesus comes to collect them, because the calculations were just wrong but they’ll be right soon because the Bible tells them so, the rest of the Earth won’t matter because they’re going where it’s much, much better.
And if that doesn’t happen in the near term, it’s okay because there’s always the Cayman Islands, or other off-shore locations that will welcome these guys, because they’ve got enough money invested there that they can do whatever they want, no matter what happens to the US in the process.
And if all this does come to pass, I will have to become an expat and move to Canada, because I won’t be able to live here in the US anymore.
Howl all you want about the weather, education, the environment, science, the poor, and other earthly delights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
You are talking about people who Just. Don’t. Care. They have no reason to care. They have a better place to go.
And screw the rest of us.
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.
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.
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:
- http://www.people.hbs.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely%20in%20press.pdf [modified slightly, because the actual link took you to an introduction to the study and the study’s the really important part.]
Finally, there’s this, from UNCOMMON SENSE: TO NAVIGATE UNCHARTED WATERS OF 21ST CENTURY LIFE:
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.
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.
So sorry it’s been so long, but I’ve been busy in a combination of studying for my two college courses and fulfilling my civic duty to file tax forms so I can continue to receive student aid.
Classes started just three weeks ago. The two courses are 2-Dimensional Design and Western Civilization to Modern Times.
I’m finding the former class is challenging my views of space and the latter my perspective on current events. Of the two, I think the latter’s also more useful in the context of this blog.
Interestingly, we started class by reviewing the changes in Europe during the Renaissance. In at least one class, Gutenberg’s bible was a subject of brief discussion, lumped in with other luminaries and quickly overcome by the importance of Martin Luther, John Calvin and the Holy Roman Empire.
Gutenberg’s contribution to society, the printing press, brought reading down to the more pedestrian classes, spreading literacy and driving the Renaissance forward in many unexpected ways.
That, in part, is why I am shocked (SHOCKED, I tell you) to find that libraries are among the current budget cuts being proposed to government in the upcoming Sequestration.
Let me try to tackle this briefly, because sooner or later I need to go to sleep, but this topic is on my mind and I’ll keep stewing about it until I get it out of my system.
So, let’s see. We’re seeing a huge surge in sales of the Kindle, Nook and other E-readers. Many cell phones and other hand-held devices carry with them the ability to read books and web sites, not just answer calls or surf the web.
Many books are being locked up by the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. And with books going out of print every day, libraries running out of space for storage and fewer and fewer archivists hired to preserve volumes, more books are becoming obsolete. No big deal, right? Except for all those people who don’t have computers because they can barely feed themselves or their families.
It’s like the digital revolution for television signals. We assume a digital converter that costs just a few dollars will justify changing to an all digital format, but have resulted in discarded analog televisions. People who can no longer receive television signals unless they have the proper equipment because their old tvs can’t handle digital without modification or replacement. No books, no newspapers, because all the media has become electronic.
And we wonder why the literacy rate isn’t where we think it ought to be. There’s a colossal disconnect, funded by special interest groups who want to sell more televisions and found the market flat. What better way to increase sales than to discard an entire format? The same is happening with books. Movies, too, thanks to Netflix, Hulu and other companies that make it easy for those with the right equipment to watch what they want, when they want it.
But hold up. Wait a sec.
Have you looked at the cost of an internet connection lately? Or the availability of computers in libraries? When the library is open at all, that is. What’s a poor person to do? Subscribe to the newspaper, of course. Right.
Except that print media in general is suffering historically low sales. The big guys are turning increasingly to online delivery and subscription, the poor be damned.
No problem. Kids can get this stuff at school. Right?
Public education is so underfunded, we can’t guarantee all our kids will have access to the text books they need. And that’s just elementary and secondary education. College textbooks have become ridiculously expensive, and they were already overpriced the first time I attended college, back in the mid-80’s.
We are working harder and harder toward a permanent poor. Let the uneducated or hopeless commit crimes because they can’t get ahead any other way, and these people become indentured servants, free or extremely cheap labor. Pretty soon, the only ones who’ll be able to read are the ones who can afford the books.
But isn’t that what Gutenberg was fighting by creating a printing press in the first place? So we step centuries back in enlightenment while the current bourgeoisie keep raising prices in the interest of “Free Market Expansion” and we’re supposed to thank them for the privilege.
Something is rotten. It’s the smell of hypocrisy. And the revolution everyone is so worried about that they all need their precious semi-automatic multi-round magazines isn’t the government coming to get them. It’s that permanent underclass. Folks are remembering the race riots of the 1960’s. That’s why they’re so afraid.
How do we fix the problem?
By following our own Constitution and avoiding a country split by the haves and have-nots.
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
If we do these things in the spirit for which the Constitution was intended, I think we will discover ourselves to be fulfilling the dream Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about, and we can be proud of our accomplishments. We’ll race back to the top of the pile in education, forward-thinking progress, fundamental liberty and the pursuit of happiness that our forefathers wanted when they broke from Mother England. We’re not going to get there by supporting Free Market Thugs who think only of their own bottom line, and to hell with anyone else.
This I believe.
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.