How to Spot a Lie

How to Spot a Lie
David Schlecht

Now that the Republicans in the Supreme Court have flushed America down the toilet with Citizens United v FEC, major American corporations as well as foreign corporations and governments can spend an unlimited amount of money to buy our elections. Are you watching all the negative ads on your TV and on the radio and in your mail box? These almost all come from some PAC named something like Defending America PAC or Concerned Citizens PAC or Americans for a better government PAC.

If the name isn’t enough of a red flag, you should remember that any one who has to tell you he’s a white night is probably the devil. All these PACs are as dishonest as their names. They are almost all created and funded by big businesses, not citizens. They’re concerned about fleecing America, not supporting good government. In fact, thanks to the Supreme Court, they could even be terrorist organizations or communist dictators.

The entire world can now take part in our elections and they are, and what’s worse? They don’t even have to state who they are. The Republicans voted against a bill that would require these PACs to state in their ads who was funding the lies.

So what can we do? This is the time for America to wake up and turn off the TV and turn off the corrupt corporate news and shut off all negative ads. The law that the Supreme Court unilaterally passed at least prevents ads from supporting candidates, only policies. So, if it’s a negative ad and it’s from a PAC you don’t recognize, it’s probably the People’s Communist Country of China trying to influence your local elections.

I know, I know, it’s not all about the Republicans or the Democrats. Well, maybe in this case it is. The Democrats have tried repeatedly to correct this and the Republicans have forced this upon us all on their own. When will the Real Republicans take back their party?

[Update] What many Americans don’t realize is that political advertisements do not have to be true or factual. PACs take advantage of this by dumping millions of dollars in outright incorrect lies right before elections.

The War on America’s Middle Class

The War on America’s Middle Class
David Schlecht

There is an interesting article circulating the Web showing numerous indicators of how America’s middle class is being destroyed. Here are just a few examples:

  • 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
  • 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
  • Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
  • Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
  • In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
  • As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
  • The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
  • Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
  • In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
  • The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
  • In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.

What policies have caused this mess? One party is hell bent on reducing government (in other words, removing regulations on greedy business). One party wants more tax breaks for the rich. One party is screaming to reduce and remove tax dollars spent on the middle and lower class while voting for more subsidies for the international corporations. Both parties are afraid to protect American industries.

I know, I know, it’s not a party issue, it’s a policy issue. But who is voting for America and who is voting against America and for the multi-national corporations?

Health Care for America Now

Health Care for America Now
Captain Jack

I got this in my inbox today. It’s so sad to see the extent of the lies coming out of the right and the millionaires and billionaires. They’re making more and more money while the rest of us do with less and less and they lie to keep it coming. We are all being lied to and many of us are believing the swill. Check out this email and help stop the lies about national health insurance reform.

As you know, the insurance companies spent over $700 million to try and kill health care.  Now, the insurers and their allies are spending millions on ads filled with lies to try and buy a Republican anti-health care majority hell-bent on repealing the new law. These ads are designed to trick and scare voters especially seniors.

Just last week, the conservative 60 Plus Association (an astro turf, insurance industry front-group claiming to represent seniors) launched its latest round of misleading ads that falsely attack the Members of Congress who stood on our side against the insurance companies.

Fight back now and call voters across the country and tell them the truth about the health care law.

These next few weeks are crucial in the fight to protect consumer and end the insurance companies’ stranglehold on our health care. It was your work, your one-on-one conversations, your phone calls, and your e-mails that defeated the insurance lobbyists. We beat the insurance industry before and we will do it again.

Click here to sign up and call seniors across the country and tell them the truth about the health care law.

The insurance companies and their mouthpieces will continue to take every opportunity to prevent the new law from fulfilling its promise. Their tactics are getting more brazen by the day. Several insurance companies are refusing to issue child-only policies because the new law prohibits their practice of denying coverage to children with “pre-existing conditions.” They continue to blame these indefensible actions on the new law.

Will you fight the insurance industry as they attack health care and its supporters? Sign up to phonebank today.

We will continue to stand up to the insurance industry and be the voice of truth in their sea of lies. This movement was built on your hard work and dedication. We won’t let this country go backwards.

American Taliban

American Taliban
Paul Johnson

It’s been a while since I’ve come by this way but wanted to share this wonderful book with everyone who can read.

American Taliban is a wonderful book by Markos Moulitsas that puts serious work into showing just how dangerous the radical right fringe of the Republican part has become. They are without a doubt just as bad and possibly worse for America than the Taliban in Afghanistan.

We have to be worried about these radicals getting even the slightest foothold in American. We have no room here for nut cases like the Taliban. The Tea Party is so full of these nut cases that America is looking over the cliff at what can become of our country.

If they get into power, Osama bin Laden has certainly won.

Get the book, read it, and do everything you can to protect America from the American Taliban.

Consider this an open thread to discuss the book.

More Depression Please

More Depression Please
Captain Jack

Is this recovery going too fast for you? Itching to get back in the days of Bush when we were losing 700,000 jobs every month? Sorry to see the housing prices leveling off? Need more pain and suffering?

Well, then all you have to do is … nothing. Stay home. Don’t vote and you can guarantee that the Republicans will be out voting in force afraid that Obama is a secret Muslim. The frightened crazies don’t care if the Bush years return. Just so they get the “enemies”, their fellow Americans, out of office.

That’s what we have to worry about in America.

America doesn’t need to worry about nuclear attack or terrorist attacks as much as we need to worry about what will happen to this country if we get another conservative government before we get done cleaning up after the last one.

But you can bet that they will all be out there voting and if we want to stay home because we’re unhappy we didn’t get a little pony, then we will be responsible for the disaster as much as the fools who are all out there wetting their pants about the scary black man in the oval office.

Want more depression? Easy! Just don’t get involved in the coming elections in November. Stay home. Don’t vote. You’ll get exactly what you deserve.

How Can We Ever Dig The USA Out Of This Hole?

How Can We Ever Dig The USA Out Of This Hole?
David Schlecht

Both America’s political parties are working overtime to magnify the divide between the left and the right. It’s good for a political party to have a well defined platform, but it’s downright bad for America for the parties to encourage their voters to hate the other party. We will only be able to fix this mess when we can come together on the causes and the solutions.

It’s not a matter of political parties. It’s not just the left vs the right. It’s not the Republicans vs the Democrats. It’s not even the conservatives vs the liberals. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s not a “us vs them” issue. It’s an issue of all of Americans coming together to fix this mess.

The first step in cleaning up this mess is just like addiction recovery, we must admit that we have a problem and face the causes of this problem. Once we can see the problems, the solutions become clear, even easy.

So, what are the problems and the causes? Obviously the issue first and foremost on everyone’s mind is the abysmal state of the US economy — our jobs or lack thereof. Also way up on the list are issues like our dysfunction government, but this is too vague to address. Let’s really address exactly what is dysfunctional about our government. Many say the unresponsiveness of the government to the people’s needs, or something about how our government seems to be owned by the big businesses and industries. Still others lament about our loss of oversight. How can BP be drilling all those off-shore wells given their proven inability to deal with problems?

Here is my short list of things that have been going wrong with our country:

  1. Sluggish economy
  2. Lack of jobs
  3. Steady decline in wages while productivity sky rockets
  4. Reduction in workplace safety
  5. Corporate lobbyists writing the laws that our representatives rubber stamp.
  6. Lack of a reliable or believable news media

Next we have to look at the causes of each of these issues. One of the best ways to determine the cause is to look at what has changed to cause the problem. After all, these issues are new to America. None of them existed 30, 40, or 50 years ago. What has changed? Let’s look at it.

1. Sluggish economy — I don’t think that anyone can argue that this isn’t the direct result of lack of jobs. No one is really believing that the economy is sluggish because businesses aren’t making enough products. In other words, supply side economics are an obvious farce.
2. Lack of jobs. This is obviously caused by the fact that all our good jobs have been shipped over seas while our “service economy” that the sellers of the “free trade” disaster promised us have gone to minimum wage workers or in many cases, immigrants who are willing to work for even less. Migrant (even illegal immigrant) workers weren’t a serious problem before the 80s. Let’s look at the two issues separately.

The problem with our jobs going over seas is quite simply caused by the free trade deals we’ve entered into. There is no way American workers can compete in free trade with workers willing to work for pennies a day. This, in itself isn’t everything. We are also suffering from companies moving their factories overseas and then sending their products back to America to sell. This only became profitable when we dropped our tariffs from the 20% range to the current 2% range.

As for immigrants taking our “service economy” jobs, it’s just a sad state of affairs that we’re left fighting over service level jobs and fighting with foreigners. What has caused this? We didn’t have this trouble before the 80s. In the 80s we had unions that would act as watch dogs to ensure that Americans weren’t losing their jobs to immigrants. Now there is no one to stop businesses from encouraging illegal immigration.

3. Steady decline in wages while productivity sky rockets. What has happened in the past few decades to cause this drop in wages while the rich reap the benefits of our increased productivity? Before the 80s, wage increases directly tracked productivity increases. Now they don’t. What was different then? For one thing, we had unions.  For another, we had higher taxes on the super rich.

4. Reduction in workplace safety. What has caused this? One obvious issue is the lack of unions. Remember the days when unions played an active role in ensuring workplace safety? But there’s more. We used to have a government that had agencies that policed the companies to ensure that we were safe at work. Now we’re shrinking our government to the point where it is no longer able to function to protect us. Of course, even a well funded government is worthless if the agencies are filled with people uninterested in the people. Remember the line, “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie”. All the money in the world wouldn’t make FEMA a functional agency as long as it is managed by the wrong people.

5. Corporate lobbyists writing the laws that our representatives rubber stamp. When Reagan took office there were less than 400 lobbyists. Now there are over 47,000. What has caused this? What is different today than 40 years ago? The cost of our elections! It now takes millions of dollars to run for office. The average American can’t afford this without a generous corporate backer.

6. Lack of a reliable or believable news media. What has changed in our news business in the past 40 years? One obvious change is the extreme consolidation of the industry. We used to stop companies from taking too much control of an industry. Now we just close our eyes to it. When the news media is run by the millionaires, it will only reflect the interests of the wealthy.

Now that we have found some probable causes of the current ills destroying our nation, we can formulate plans to correct them.

1 & 2. Jobs and economy. The problem is simple. stop the free trade nonsense and put our tariffs back in place.

3. Wage decline. Again, reverse the mistakes. Stop the war on unions. Tax the super wealthy. Bring back the 90% top tax rate.

4. Reduction in workplace safety. We have to fund our agencies enough and give them enough power to stand up to the big businesses that are making money off our unsafe working conditions. We also need to be careful to never vote for candidates that say government can do no good. The might just prove themselves right. And, again, unions would only help in this area.

5. Too many lobbyists. The only way I see of turning back the undue influence money has in elections is to demand publicly funded elections.

6. Our broken media. Certainly if we started enforcing our anti-trust laws we could break up the big monster news media corporations and get local interests back to running our news sources. We used to have laws that required news outlets program in the public’s interest. It’s time we brought back those laws.

In conclusion, our problems are not party related, but they certainly are policy related. Don’t fall for the trap of accusing the “other side” for the problems. It’s all our problems and only WE can solve them.