All Government is Bad

All Government is Bad
by
David Schlecht

I’m so sick of hearing this chant from the Republicans. Our forefathers would be disgusted to hear people say that “we the people” is bad. I’m not bad. And if you’re reading this I know you’re not bad because you research the issues. Government is not bad.

But, what they’re really saying isn’t that we should have a weak government but that we should have no government to interfere with the greed of the corporations. Our government is the only way we can stop the multi-billion dollar corporations and CEOs from taking over our country. When they say, “do you want government coming between you and your doctor?” what they’re really saying is “Let the insurance billionaires come between you and your doctor, not ‘we the people’.”

Look around the world and you will find that the most successful and most socially advanced countries have BIG GOVERNMENTS.

Government isn’t bad, lack of “we the people” is a disaster for a democracy.

Use the Right Words

Use the Right Words
by
David Schlecht

I used to have a college professor who would often say, “you can’t get the right answers if you don’t ask the right questions”.  This couldn’t be more true than it is today with the Right-wing nuts trying to poison our information. When you hear people trying to defend a position using the wrong words, take notice. It generally means that their position is indefensible. It’s called framing. Let’s look at some examples:

From the previous post from Matthew, the MoneyRates quote uses the phrase, “tax burden“. Taxes aren’t a burden, they’re the price we gladly pay to live in a civil society. The nice thing about America’s constitution is we the people can decide we want to be more like Somalia and less like America by lowering our taxes. But, is that really what we want? When you hear “tax burden”, beware of the right wing spin.

Another simple example is the whole question of abortion. Nobody is pro-abortion. Period! Nobody is arguing for abortions. But one side is arguing that there are times when abortions should be protected. This is considered a choice. People want to be able to make a choice if it affects their lives and their health and the health of their family.  So the question is “choice”. The anti-choice crowd knows they lose the argument using the right words to they cheat and use the wrong words to purposely come up with a different answer. They say “pro-life”. Really? Everyone’s pro-life. Well, everyone but most of those who say they are. If you’re pro-life, you’re anti-death so you support free medical, and oppose the death penalty. If you say you’re pro-life to oppose abortion, you are not pro-life, you’re anti-choice.

How about the term “death tax”? Do you know anyone who has signed a check to pay for their taxes after they died? Nah, me neither. Why not? Because there’s no such thing. There is, however, a rich-brat tax. Rich brats who are set to inherit billions of dollars (contrary to the wishes of our founding fathers) have to pay a high income tax (inheritance tax) when they receive the money. That’s not a death tax, that’s a rich brat tax and it should be a progressive tax that goes up to 99% on anything over 100 times the lifetime income of an American worker (worker, not counting the CEOs). That is what our founding fathers envisioned.

The right wing are masters at changing the words so we come up with the wrong answers. Before you start discussing issues with your friends and family, make sure you start out using the right words or you will never come up with the right solutions.

What other words do you hear the right use to get the wrong answers?

Nevada Comes In Last Again

Nevada Comes In Last Again
Matthew K.

Hey Nevadans! Our state has come dead last yet again. Well, actually we came in first place. That’s first place in the WORST place to retire, IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY!

Here’s why, according to MoneyRates:

No. 1: Nevada
Economic factors: Cost of living is 105 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 14.3 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 6.6 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 30.43 degrees in January to 71.94 degrees in July.

Crime rate: 3rd in the nation in violent crime, and 13th in property crime.

Life expectancy: 75.8 years.

Reason for low rank: Nevada has the second lowest tax rate in the country, but scored poorly on just about every other criterion. Gambling enthusiasts may disagree, but high crime rates and a dismal economy make Nevada a bad bet for retirees.

Now, sure, we can’t blame all that on ignorant voters. You can’t blame the weather on stupidity. But you can blame every other reason Nevada comes dead last in everything on the way we vote. More importantly, our state is dead last in everything that matters and first in everything we don’t want because WE DON’T VOTE!

Believe it or not, most Nevadans are smart people. If only the majority would start voting.

Since Nevadans don’t spend 5 minutes researching candidates and only a handful of the Palin fanatics and Tea Partiers vote, the state has gone down the toilet. Contrary to what most of the rest of the country thinks, Nevadans aren’t trailer park people. But only the nuts seem to vote. When will we Nevadans wake up and start voting and start learning about politics and start taking our state back and start taking our country back?

But, when we don’t care enough to research the issues and we don’t care enough to get out there and vote every time, we get just what we deserve. We get a state run by nuts making all the wrong decisions.

Information Pollution

Information Pollution
by
David Schlecht

“An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.” Thomas Jefferson

We have multiple posts regarding the emergency caused by the Republicans on the Supreme Court in their attempt to rewrite the constitution (activists judges, they’re called) in the Citizens United v. FEC case. They have made it so that businesses, international corporations, and foreign entities like al Qaeda and the Taliban can spend unlimited money to pollute our elections. The last election was just an example. It was by far the most expensive mid term election in our history and hundreds of millions of dollars was spent on  false propaganda (lies) by corporations around the world and we have no idea who.

All this money slanted the election as money always does.

The University of Maryland has a project that is researching the disinformation in this past election and it is exactly as one would expect. The voters were tragically misinformed. From their research, the following disgusting ignorances were reported.

1. Perceptions of Misleading and False Information – An overwhelming majority of voters said that they encountered misleading or false information in the last election, with a majority saying that this occurred frequently and occurred more frequently than usual.

2. Evidence of Misinformation Among Voters – The poll found strong evidence that voters were substantially misinformed on many of the issues prominent in the election campaign, including the stimulus legislation, the healthcare reform law, TARP, the state of the economy, climate change, campaign contributions by the US Chamber of
Commerce and President Obama’s birthplace. In particular, voters had perceptions about the expert opinion of economists and other scientists that were quite different from actual expert opinion.

3. Variations in Misinformation By Voting Behavior – There were significant differences between those who voted Democratic and Republican in the level of misinformation on various issues that were prominent in the campaign and that respondents said were important in shaping their votes.

4. Variations in Misinformation by Exposure to News Sources Consumers of all sources of media evidenced substantial misinformation, suggesting that false or misleading information is widespread in the general information environment, just as voters say they perceive it to be. In most cases increasing exposure to news sources decreased misinformation; however, for some news sources on some issues, higher levels of exposure increased misinformation.

There is more findings and plenty of detail in the actual document so don’t take my word for it; go out there and find out for yourself.

We Americans need to respect the integrity of our information and start demanding that corporations and so called “think tanks” and so called Fox “news”  quit lying to us. We can’t expect our Democracy to survive if we voters don’t know our hats from a hole in the ground.

Bring Our Jobs Home

Bring Our Jobs Home
by
David Schlecht

There are numerous quotes stating that America lost over 40,000 factories during the Bush years. Doing a quick Google search for “factories closed” and “plants closed” is a ballpark confirmation of these quotes. Why is America losing all our jobs?

I’m pretty sure there’s little argument amongst Americans as to the cause. All our jobs are being shipped out of the country. That presidential candidate with the big ears, Ross Perot, was right. Free trade is destroying America. That “giant sucking sound” has come true. But, what caused this? How did free trade do this. We were told free trade is the best thing for America.

It’s simple. If it’s cheaper to build things in a third world country where there no laws to protect the workers and no laws to protect the environment, then there’s nothing to stop companies from moving out of the country. The best defense we had against this, since the founding of our country, has been tariffs. PROTECTIONISM! We used to protect our industries and our jobs.

The Democrats in Congress tried passing a bill that would discourage companies from doing this but, as in everything else good for America, the Republicans obstructed it; they wouldn’t even let it go up for a vote. Now, let’s be fair, here. This problem isn’t just Bush and it’s not just the Republicans. Clinton was the one who started this whole screw-the-workers program. But, the Republicans have done more than their share to increase the problem and obstruct any solution.

We all need to start putting bumper stickers on our cars saying “BRING OUR JOBS HOME NOW!” We need to start chanting that at every town hall meeting we go to. We need to start calling our representatives and telling them. We need to start writing letters to our newspapers saying it.

It’s the only way we can drown out the noise of all the money telling Congress to keep it up. More tax breaks for companies sending our jobs out of the country. More tax breaks for the rich. That’s what got us in this mess and Obama wants to continue it.

Punishment for WikiLeaks

Punishment for WikiLeaks
by
David Schlecht

What happens in China when someone says something the government doesn’t like? What happens in China when a news outlet publishes something the government doesn’t like? They get sent to prison (or worse). What happens in America when WikiLeaks publishes something the government doesn’t like? Should we do what China does? If you’re a conservative, chances are you will say yes, we need to be as bad as China. (If you’re a conservative and you disagree, please let me know. Leave a comment.)

What do you think our forefathers would have said? I’ll tell you. They made it part of the US Constitution. The very first amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; …

That seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Our founding fathers knew how important it is to have a press that is free to expose wrongdoing and downright stupidity and ineptness in our government.

America needs WikiLeaks. Anyone who thinks they should be punished has no clue what our founding fathers intended when they created this country. They are against what America stands for.

Yes, the courts have, in my opinion, incorrectly and illegally weakened this amendment without changing the constitution. If they have their way, they will continue to weaken it further and further until we have no freedom of the press left. Without freedom of the press like WikiLeaks, our freedom is doomed. Stand up for freedom, stand up for America, stand up for freedom of the press, and stand up for WikiLeaks.

Who Funds the Terrorists?

Who Funds the Terrorists?
by
David Schlecht

Another revelation from WikiLeaks is that the US knows that the Saudis are the primary funders of terrorism. Well, I guess there’s no surprise there. But, why, after all this time, haven’t we stopped funding the Saudis?

Every time the USA tries to reduce our addiction to foreign or domestic oil the oil industry and their Republican whores paid shills in Congress scream and holler. “We can’t demand more efficient automobiles.” “We can’t restrict drilling in environmentally risky places.” “Drill Baby Drill.” “Global warming is a hoax.” Yes, yes, I know. There’s at least one corrupt Democrat too so it’s alright, right?

Sure, it’s the Saudis who fund the terrorists but who funds them? Who gives them the money they give to the terrorists?

You do and I do and all because of the oil industry and their Republican representatives.

It’s time we broke our addiction to oil.

List of facilities vital to US security

List of facilities vital to US security
by
David Schlecht

WikiLeaks reports on a new list of facilities vital to US security. Guess where some of these facilities are. China!

You know? China? The only super power to threaten nuclear strike against America in the past 10 years.

Why would our representatives allow us to rely on a threatening adversary? Because some people who donate to (aka: control) our government can make money off it. And what is the “it” I refer to? It is “free markets” and “free trade” that have created this mess. American can’t even build a cruise missile without chips from China.

We have allowed our jobs to be shipped over seas and now don’t build anything we need here anymore.

Stop the free trade disaster.

Job Creators

Job Creators
by
David Schlecht

Nevada’s Senator, John Ensign, blamed the Democrats for the Republicans opposing the middle class tax cuts by saying:

“Today we witnessed that political stunts are still alive and well on the floor of the United States Senate.  At a time when both sides of the aisle could and should be working together to ensure that we are not raising taxes on Americans during this economic downturn, Democrats are playing games.  By setting arbitrary income limits for tax relief, our nation’s job creators will be forced to suffer under increased taxes; greatly limiting their ability to create jobs for the many unemployed people across our country.  The American people expressed their outrage at this kind of wasteful legislating, but their voices have fallen on deaf ears in the Senate.”

Let’s look at that comment for a moment.

Say you are the CEO of a big corporation and taxes on every dollar over one million dollars was 90%. Would you take lots of money out as income and give 90% to the country? No, probably not. You would probably keep most of the money in the business where you can use it to reduce your taxes by claiming expenses. Keeping the money in the business is like money in the bank. You can take it any time you want.

Now let’s add in a competitor. This makes it even more realistic since most businesses have competitors. If you took your money out of the company (and paid high taxes) and your competitor put his money back in the business, which of you would be going out of business?

So, ask yourself, does it help the economy when people keep their money in their businesses or when they take it out of the company? It seems pretty obvious doesn’t it? The business that is reinvested in becomes more valuable and provides more jobs. The company that takes the money out in profits and taxes hurts the economy by losing jobs.

Let’s play along with this scenario just a bit further. If it is good for the economy to have lower taxes on the rich, then why did lowering the taxes on the rich cause recessions and depressions every time? Remember reading about the roaring 20s? That was a time when the taxes on the super rich were reduced into the 20% range. What happened right after that? The Great Depression. What happened right after Reagan lowered taxes on the super rich? The Reagan Recession and bank failures. What happened when Bush lowered the taxes on the rich? Possibly the second Great Depression in a century. See a graph of top tax rates and compare the dates with 1) the Great Depression and 2) the steady decline of our economy since the 1980s.

If you stick your finger in a light socket and get hurt, would you stick it right back in there? No, probably not. Then why would you vote for a candidate that wants to put the country’s finger right back in that tax-breaks-for-the-rich light socket?

It’s really not that hard to understand.

And one last point. The Republicans have been using and abusing procedures for the past three years trying to obstruct everything the Democrats try to do. They have broken all records for filibustering. That’s how they used procedure abuse to stop this last attempt to fix our broken tax system. They abuse the political system and then go and lie to us about how the Democrats are abusing the system.

Ah, the party of lies. If we want to save our country we’ll have to start pushing back and exposing the lies. After all, ALL the Republican congressmen are chanting the same lies. After all, the lies were tested out on the blind followers before being released to the talking heads.


WikiLeaks and the Death of America’s News

WikiLeaks and the Death of America’s News
by
David Schlecht

What does the rise of the WikiLeaks tell us about America’s news industry?  It shows that our news is Dead on Arrival.

Industries and companies grow by filling a niche or a vacuum. The vacuum that WikiLeaks has grown to fill is what used to be our news. Many of our readers are too young to remember the days of Watergate, but it was the news industry that exposed it. Believe it or not, America’s news industry used to expose wrongdoing, especially in our government. Our founding fathers were so concerned about protecting the news that they subsidized it through special postal rates and subsidies to the print/paper industry.

Today, none of the news media will expose wrongdoing by the government or major corporations. Even our public news such as PBS and NPR, thanks to Conservative corruption, are reliant on donations (bribes) by government and big businesses so that even  they refuse to investigate. So, along comes WikiLeaks to fill the vacuum.

Why would more than a couple hundred misguided fools listen to or believe the right wing propaganda machine which is so reliably wrong? Why would people actually turn to comedians for their political news? It’s because we no longer have a news media; it’s all just multinational and billion dollar corporations spinning whatever best benefits them.

Without real news, America is no longer informed and parties like the Tea Baggers spring up to do the bidding of the billionaires. Why doesn’t the news industry report on that? You know why.

Republican Platform of 1956

Republican Platform of 1956
by
Dave Speck

How much has the political landscape changed in the past 50 years? You would be horrified if you knew it was going to change that much in the next 50 years.What if I was to inform you that the health plan that Nixon proposed is very similar to Obama’s, yet hardly a single Republican voted for it. (Only the democratic republicans voted for it.)

Here are some highlights of the 1956 Republican Party Platform.

  • We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs—expansion of social security—broadened coverage in unemployment insurance —improved housing—and better health protection for all our people. We are determined that our government remain warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people.
  • We favor a comprehensive study of the effect upon wildlife of the drainage of our wetlands.
  • We favor recognition, by the States, of wild-life and recreation management and conservation as a beneficial use of water.
  • We subscribe to the general objectives of groups seeking to guard the beauty of our land and to promote clean, attractive surroundings throughout America.
  • We recognize the need for maintaining isolated wilderness areas to provide opportunity for future generations to experience some of the wilderness living through which the traditional American spirit of hardihood was developed.
  • We will vigorously promote, as we have in the past, a non-political career service under the merit system which will attract and retain able servants of the people. Many gains in this field, notably pay increases and a host of new benefits, have been achieved in their behalf in less than four years.
  • We condemn illegal lobbying for any cause and improper use of money in political activities, including the use of funds collected by compulsion for political purposes contrary to the personal desires of the individual.

Some would say that the party was as good a liar back then as they are now but that’s wrong. They helped advance lots of programs and policies that actually helped America.

Contrast that with today. The Republican party’s sole purpose is to destroy America’s president, even knowing that it’s destroying America.

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Kill the Comcast NBC Merger

Kill the Comcast NBC Merger
By
Matthew K.

If you haven’t had time to understand the issues around the Comcast merger with NBC, it’s critical that you read this.

The big picture is MONOPOLY.

This new entity will control the whole spectrum of media from the production, filming, scheduling, broadcasting streaming and finally delivering to the computers of a huge portion of America. In a time when we need to demand that our representatives enforce the Sherman Antitrust Act, we surely can’t be allowing bigger and bigger monopolies, especially one that does so much harm to our already defective media.

The big picture number two: Net Neutrality.

With this merger, Comcast doesn’t have to wait for America to vote on Net Neutrality. They can immediately starting slowing down all the Internet news sites like Fox or ABC or CBS and allowing preferential speeds just to NBC news sites. Then the only news their DSL or Cable customers will get will be the news Comcast wants them to get.

This merger is wrong on many levels. It’s time, today, call your representatives and tell them to support Net Neutrality and oppose the Comcast merger.