Category Archives: General

Look here for issues that don’t fall easily into the other categories.

Your Circle of Empathy

Your Circle of Empathy
by
David Schlecht

One finds countless excuses why conservatives are so different than the rest of America, excuses that range from authoritarian followers, to misplaced morals, to compartmentalized thinking, to downright sociopathy, to just plain ignorance. Many times you will see writers trying to fit all or even most of the symptoms into one shoe box or another. You will also see writers trying to put these in a less than honest light to help buffer some of the raw ugliness of their findings.

I’m going to present another perspective. This isn’t so much separate from all the rest but is rather a unified theory that includes many of the other findings and concepts.

Your Circle of Empathy

Humans have a natural inclination to feel and exhibit empathy. Your degree of empathy and the size of your circle of empathy is primarily dependent on one thing, your feeling of safety. There are other less influential factors, such as mental illness like sociopathy but this essay does not deal with those. But, it has been found that the vast majority of ruthless business owners are clinically psychopathic, finding gratification in stealing candy from babies. This is no exaggeration.

But, alas, that is a whole blog post all in itself.

Kinds of safety affect ones circle of empathy

There are many kinds of safety. Primarily, safety can be defined as freedom from want and fear. Are you afraid for your personal safety in your home and neighborhood? Are you afraid of the Mexicans invading America to steal our jobs? Are you afraid of the mooslems coming for ya? Are you afraid you won’t have enough food to feed the family tonight? Are you afraid you’re losing your home? Are you afraid that lump in your breast or throat is cancer and you don’t have decent insurance? Are you afraid you’ll be shot by a vigilante on your way home some night? Are you afraid Omaba’s commin’ for your guns?

There are countless types of fear and uncertainty that we face every day.

How Fear Reduces Our Empathy

When you have little fear and are adept at dealing with you fear, your capacity for empathy is naturally quite high, your circle of empathy contains the entire universe. You feel for the wildlife losing their habits to human encroachment, you feel for the oceans that are being poisoned and are dying around us. You feel for Mother Earth. You would probably even feel empathy for life on other worlds if they existed.

That is the natural state of human empathy.

Why do you suppose that is? Caring for the earth has allowed our small clans and societies to coexist in the world. If the cave men hadn’t survived by coexisting with the world, you and I would not be here today. Therefore, empathy is in our genes.

Now, let’s take away some of the safety. Let’s consider two small societies, living close together. When the food becomes scarce, the loving neighbors become competitors for the scarce food. They become “the other.”

If your town is hungry, you don’t have time to worry about the health of the rain forest. It’s time to slash and burn so you can feed your family. It doesn’t matter how many plants and animals have to die.

Your circle of empathy has just gotten much smaller. Even your next door neighbors are now looked at like possible competitors. In fact, when food becomes even more scarce, the loving community becomes bitter rivals. Now, it’s each family out for themselves.

Even more scarcity, more fear of hunger, and families start to split apart. Siblings are left to fend for themselves. One parent abandons the family, some times just to go out and die of hunger, leaving the food for the remainders. Sometimes parents will even abandon children when things get bad enough. This is a point where this theory ends. Some will sacrifice for the kids and many will not. The argument is, “They’ll all just die when we’re gone anyway, and we can always have more kids when things get better.”

Still some will stay together and die together and some will not. Seldom will both parents remain. We see this all the time in hunger stricken countries in Africa.

At this gruesome extreme of the safety scale, nothing is safe. The family dog starts to look like possible nutrition to keep the children alive. The size of our circle of empathy at this point includes just ourselves, and maybe our children.  That’s a pretty small circle compared to the first circle encompassing all the universe.

“Let Him Die”

How big is the circle of empathy of a person who yells, “let him die” when asked about medical care for a sick but uninsured neighbor? In this example, it wasn’t just a single person, but the entire Republican debaters and audience. Not a single person disagreed, though many were too embarrassed to admit out loud that they agreed.

Cultivating the Culture of Fear

There is no hiding the fact that the Republican party cultivates fear and capitalizes on the irrational voting behavior of their followers. The psychopathic millionaires and billionaires running the Republican party, you know, the ones without any empathy, reduce the empathy of their followers through fear and then add to that fear by reducing the safety of the American voters by destroying the things that make us safe, like industry regulations, water and food safety, drug safety, Social Security, Medicare, sitting idly by while religious fanatics attack America, taking us off to war on illegal wars.

If you don’t control your fear, the Republican party will control you.

 

 

 

How to Tell if Your News is Biased

How to Tell if Your News is Biased
Matthew K.

How can you tell if your news source is biased? How can you tell if you need to turn off your news TV or radio and find something more honest? I’ll give you some simple guidelines.

  1. Is your news source coming from a multi million dollar corporation? Well then you can guarantee that it wouldn’t be in their best interest to get the poor and working class all up in arms about multi million corporations, now would it? This is the first and most obvious indication that something is wrong with your news.
  2. Are your news casters paid more than $106,000 per year? If so, you can be sure it’s not in their interest to give you the truth about taxes on the wealthy now is it?
  3. Does your news source clump Social Security expenses in as part of the general federal budget? If so, turn off your lying news right now. This is an obvious lie that has been disproven so many times it’s sad, but the liars keep repeating it.
  4. Did your news have a piece on the thousands of picketers who marched in front of the Koch industries headquarters? No? Never heard of it? You know what that means. But I’ll bet you know about every single Tea Party gathering.
  5. Does your news source explain how taxes on the rich have caused the budget deficit? No? Didn’t think so. Turn them off.
  6. Does your news source explain how the rich, making more than $106,000, pay ZERO social security tax on every penny over that? No, I suppose not. I never hear any of them talking about that. Social Security would be in fat city if the rich just paid their fair share.
  7. Does your news source explain how demand drives an economy and giving money to the fat cats is what’s caused this problem?

This is just a few of countless distortions and lies that come out of the major corporate news.

So, what can a person do to get the real news? Well, let’s start by turning off the corporate news and start looking for independent news and look for better alternatives. I’m not going to tell you what to listen to, you have to decide that on your own, but here are some great places to check out.

  • The Thomm Hartmann radio/TV show. You can get it on the Web and on Dish TV. He has lots of great guests, liberals and conservatives, debating the issues.
  • Think Progress is a great think tank that is current on all the goings on in politics.
  • Daily Kos is a great website with lots of daily news.
  • Democratic Underground is another great news source.
  • The Nation has a great newspaper and online news source.
  • Check out The Guardian and the BBC, two British news sources.
  • You can even check out Al Jazeera for news not quite as biased as Fox.

You may have noticed, but I’m not giving you links. You can find these and more by doing a little googling. Get in the habit of doing some research and finding news sites that are actually good for you and good for America.

I’m Fasting

I’m Fasting
by
Matthew K.

Hi,

When Congress can seriously debate cutting food aid to pregnant women and children while giving tax breaks to billionaires–and the only question the media asks is whether the cuts are big enough–we have a crisis. This week progressive faith leaders called for Americans to join an ongoing fast to protest the immoral budget cuts being debated in Washington.

I’m joining  the fast along with thousands of people including the leaders of many leading progressive organizations including MoveOn.org. Will you join too?

Thanks!

A Safe Level of Radiation

A Safe Level of Radiation – Updated
by
David Schlecht

Safe Level?

I’ve been hearing this term on our worthless American corporate news the past couple weeks and it makes my head want to explode. Either none of the news casters ever went to school or they forgot everything they learned. I also hear them say that the half-life is only some number of days.

To start with, the reason radiation causes cancer along with a whole host of other mutilations is because the nuclear atoms split apart and the components blast through the human body like a hot knife through butter. In the process of blasting through our cells, the electrons destroy parts of the DNA strands in our cells.

So, when the DNA gets mutilated, either the cell dies or it survives with the new defective DNA (mutation). The mutated cell no longer has the ability to self-regulate its growth so it begins to grow unrestrained. Now we have cancer.

So, how many electrons does it take to cause terminal cancer?

One!

One electron hitting the wrong place in a cell and you have cancer.

When scientists say a safe level, they mean statistically safe. In other words, if your chances of getting cancer from a disaster is only 1 in 100,000 then that’s pretty safe. But if there are 100,000 people living in the area, like in Japan, that means that at least one of those people will get cancer even though it’s considered “safe”. You can be that lucky one.

There is no safe level of radiation.

Half Life

The term half-life is the amount of time it takes for only half of the material to lose its radioactivity. This doesn’t mean it’s safe after that time, it means it’s only half as lethal. In other words, it’s still unsafe but it will now only kill half as many people.

Once it’s lost half of it’s poison, it takes another of those half-lives before it loses another half of it’s poison. In other words, it will become half as lethal with the passing of each half life. Using the example of radioactive iodine, the half life is 8 hours. That means that in a population of one million people, if the level of radiation was enough to kill half the population, after eight hours, it would still be strong enough to kill 250,000, and another eight hours later it would kill another 125,000.

Half life is not the end of the disaster, that’s only a fraction of the total time it will take to dissipate.

Remember, there is no safe level of radiation. That’s why we can have cancer even if we don’t get purposely irradiated.

And, even with a half life of eight hours, it can take a long time before the risk becomes low enough to forget.

Update –

Radioactive Iodine has a half-life of 8 days, not 8 hours.

Japan’s Disaster

Japan’s Disaster
by
David Schlecht

We, at Just Say Why, offer our condolences to all those affected by this awful disaster while at the same time express hope that America can learn from your hardships.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to you.

For a good list of possible ways to help with the relief effort, go to Huffington Post.

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A Good Economy

A Good Economy
MatthewK

By now most people have realized that when the press reports that the economy is strong or getting better, it mean nothing to them. The working conditions or unemployment problems for the average American are not reflected in the reports on the economy. Why is this?

The answer is simple. The media does not report on the state of labor in this country. The most you will see the press report on is the unemployment rate and doesn’t even care to investigate the real numbers.

So, why is the state of the economy so different than the state of labor? The GDP, or the amount of product produced, used to closely track the income levels. In other words, as we made more in America, both the workers and the rich got richer. Over the past 30 years this has changed. Now the workers pay goes down as the rich get richer.

That is why you will often see the stock market go up as the unemployment rates go up. The more they can squeeze the worker, the more the companies are worth, at least short term.

Of course, when the stock markets go down, wages usually go down as well, so the American worker never gets a break.

What’s the solution?

Germany has a wonderful solution. We should investigate it, but you will never hear about it in our news. In Germany, half of all board members in a corporation must be representatives of the workers. Sounds reasonable doesn’t it? After all, the corporation would be  nothing without the workers. Shouldn’t they have some say in how things are run?

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?

What Is The American Dream?

What Is The American Dream?
by
David Schlecht

Since the days of Reagan, the American Dream has been recalibrated. We once believed that the American Dream was to live in a society that is upward mobile. In other words, to live in a society where you aren’t limited in life based on what class you were born into.

The Reagan years recalibrated the American Dream into getting as rich as you can regardless of who you have to hurt or destroy to make it. Greed became God. Even today, you hear of people pursuing a commercial theocracy. We went from being a “We” society to a “Me” society.

What is the American Dream today? What is your definition of the American Dream?

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Some Times

Some Times
by
David Schlecht

Some times I get so frustrated with Republicans and Conservatives and Libertarians when they don’t put any effort into understanding more than one side of an issue.

How will we ever fix this country until we can come together and Obama and the Democrats have been trying relentlessly to work together and the Republicans have done nothing but try to derail any hope of recovery just for political gain.

The Republican Party has done such a good job of convincing their unthinking followers that anyone who disagrees with them is the enemy. No, I’m not calling all Republicans unthinking, I’m saying only the unthinking ones think everyone else is the enemy.

Honestly, if we can’t come together to fix this mess that both parties have bestowed on us, how will we ever get out of it? We need to agree on what has caused this mess in order to fix it and stop it from happening again. We Americans have come together and fixed it before the last time this happened. But coming together this time is more of an effort since half (arguably the majority) of America is now painted as the enemy.

I talk with many of my conservative friends and family and it’s like talking to someone in a foreign language at times. I honestly try to understand and find items of mutual agreement but all they seem to be looking for is an argument. It’s not about coming together.

How can we help heal this country while half of us are calling the other half names?

Cultivating Fear

Cultivating Fear

The Manipulation and Exploitation of Emotions

by
David Schlecht

Have you ever wondered how people and businesses and political parties can get otherwise intelligent people to do things contrary to their best interests? In this text I will illuminate some of the root causes of our most basic emotions and show how they can be purposely triggered repeatedly to achieve reliable results. With this information you can better spot attempts to manipulate your emotions and better prevent such attempts.

What are emotions?

What kinds of emotions we experience can vary widely but for the purpose of this text we will  investigate the most common and most easily exploitable, namely fear, jealousy, hate, and love. There are numerous other emotions and numerous other ways to exploit them but the concept is the same.

Our emotions, like our memory, are strengthened by repeated use. For example, the more our fear emotion is evoked, the easier it is to evoke it again. Being frightened by the same thing repeatedly will eventually desensitize us to the fear response from that stimulus, but invoking fear from a new stimulus is still easier with each successful fright.

The strengthening of the emotion and ease of triggering it is caused by the increased number and the strength of the neurons in our brains stimulated by each emotion. This is similar to learning through repetition as we all do in our younger school years.

We experience emotional fatigue when the same emotions are triggered too often. Different people have different thresholds before fatigue sets in.  The more emotional exploitation you can endure before becoming fatigued, the better candidate you are for those intent on exploiting it.

You have probably wondered why I selected this particular list of emotions to explain rather than some other list. If you did, then, good. There is some thought involved in which emotions best explain this phenomenon.

Fear

Fear is our most basic and most easily triggered emotion and as such is the most easily exploited. Typically, newborn babies do not experience fear. They can be startled by a sudden rush of sensation, such as loud noises, but there is no lasting emotion from the experience. As a child grows he learns that consequences follow events. It is the anticipation of the consequences that teaches a child fear.

The fear response does not require logic and, in fact, will often trigger contrary to logic. Most of us remember going through life with certain fears that we eventually realized were groundless. Some people can go their entire lifetimes with unfounded fears that they never successfully deal with. It is the fact this this emotion is so quick that we, as a species, have survived our history.

Fear is a repelling emotion. Its value is that it repels us from negative consequences.

It should be obvious from this that fear is the easiest emotion to induce and can be induced regardless of facts.

Jealousy

Unlike fear, jealousy is not a base emotion. This emotion requires thought. This emotion also requires fear as a catalyst. How does one become jealous? Jealousy comes from fear of having to do without. From fear it can evolve into greed where we demand that other do without just so we can benefit. At its most fundamental level, jealousy is just a short distance away from fear.

Where fear is a repelling emotion which repels us from harmful consequences, jealousy can start as repelling and can become more of an attracting emotion as it evolves into greed.

Anger and Hatred

These emotions are both by-products of fear so neither are base emotions. Where anger is a reactive emotion, hatred is a proactive emotion. Anger requires a certain amount of logic. It is only after we have decided what the consequences may be that we become angry over the cause.

Hatred, on the other hand, is an emotion based on fear of future actions and future and possibly imagined consequences.

Obviously both these emotions require some level of thought.

Love

Love is typically associated with sensations associated with certain hormones in the bloodstream. A newborn baby may feel the emotion of love while cuddling with a parent or most commonly, while breastfeeding. The mother also typically feels the emotional bond.

There are also other hormones that trigger this emotion, some related to sexual intercourse such as oxytocin.

As most romantics will tell you, there’s more to love than physiology, and I agree. There is a huge amount of thought required to process the emotion of love outside the physiological level and that, though pertinent, is far outside the realm of this text.

Where the previous three emotions are typically repelling, love is attractive.

Comparing these four emotions, you can see that three are fear based and are strong due to their necessary role in keeping us alive. Still, in the long run, love can help us overcome all the other emotions and thus can be the strongest.

Exploitation

As we have seen, fear based emotions are repulsive so we try to avoid conditions that cause the fear. If the unethical exploiter can push the fear button in you and redirect your repulsion to another cause, your quick fear response will typically fire before you have had a chance to evaluate the real cause. If this happens more than once then the displacement to the new imagined cause will become more solid and easier to associate with that fear.

There is a multi-billion dollar industry that provides this exact service. We teach orators how to get the crowd worked up and riled up and all full of fear and tell the crowd, “it’s them, over there, who are causing the problem.” In such an emotionally charged environment such as a great speech or a rally, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear without realizing what’s causing it.

Once you’ve been lured in by the fear tactic, it’s an easy step for someone to not only say it’s them people over there, but let’s all hate and fear them. It’s easy to get a crowd riled up enough to go get the torches and pitch forks. It takes some skill to work the crowd up just enough to get them to take the fear and hatred home and act on it outside the rally.

As we’ve learned, people get fatigued from fearing all the time so the way to keep the fear fresh in the followers’ minds is to change the fear. This is why you will see leaders manipulating their people by swapping one fear for another at regular intervals. One great orator went from pushing the hate and fear buttons because of Jews, then it was because of those carrying bad genes (handicapped citizens), to fearing communism and then back to the Jews. Can you guess who this was? His tactics are obvious in hind sight.

To take another obvious example, notice how the American Republican Party induces fear of “illegal aliens are taking your jobs” or “the illegal aliens are breeding us out of existence” only to ignore this fear for a couple months while they’re ginning up fear of the socialists in the Democratic Party that we should all fear and hate, only to find that a few months later they’re preaching fear and hatred of abortion mongers and then it’s back to the illegals.

By bringing in fresh new fears regularly, those intent on exploiting our emotions keep up perpetually hooked on fear and hatred.

Just to be fair, the Democratic party uses plenty of fear tactics as well but since the Democratic voters don’t have over-stimulated fear neurons, the tactics don’t have the same impact. That’s why controlling Democratic voters is so often referred to as herding cats.

What You Can Do

All is not lost. There are things that you can do to minimize the impact these unethical fear merchants have on you. The first line of defense is the old rule of counting to 10. Don’t succumb to non-immediate fear without first stopping and taking a breath and counting to 10. Then, ask yourself if someone is trying to take advantage of your emotions.

Secondly, any time someone is trying to stir up your fear emotion, cover your wallet and get ready. A fear that comes from outside you, one that has been sold to you is almost certain to be manipulation. That means it’s time to really stop and evaluate and more than anything, research the facts that the fear merchant is peddling. This isn’t to say that all fear merchants are false. Sometimes people really do have to get others educated to the risks.

And, most importantly, realize that everyone is vulnerable to these tactics. Those who are the most vulnerable to unethical salesmen are those who feel they have nothing to fear. If you think you’re immune to the tactics, you’re the easiest target.

Tea Bagger Education #3

Tea Bagger Education #3
by
Captain Jack

There’s no shortage of amusing stupidity in the lies told to the poor naive tea baggers. From today’s mail box, the honorable (convicted felon criminal) former mayor Roger Hedgecock spews lie after lie after just plain stupidity. Check out how low this man goes in deceiving the poor scared tea baggers. Why do you still listen to those you know are lying to you? Wake up tea baggers. There are real problems we ALL need to be addressing and we can’t while you’re distracted with these silly foolish lies.

Here goes — watch out, be scared, wet your pants, Obama wants to steal your retirement.

The idea to confiscate your retirement money came (no surprise) from academia.

Do you get that? Mr. felon criminal Roger Hedgecock warns you about how Obama wants to confiscate your retirement. Does anyone really believe this filth? Well, obviously a few here and there will be inclined to follow this garbage. It’s sad, but some people don’t have the critical thinking skills required to know up from down. But this is just sad to be taking advantage of the poor Americans that don’t know any better than to believe this nonsense.

Just think about that for a moment. An American president wants to confiscate your retirement? Really? And what’s next? Is he having an affair with an alien from outer space? It’s sad, but yes, some poor people don’t know any better than to believe this stuff. Shame on conservatives like Hedgecock for taking advantage of the less fortunate. Shame on them for taking advantage of our friends and neighbors.

Some people don’t remember much past last week, but about 30 years ago employers used to provide pensions for retirement benefits to their employees. A pension is like an insurance program. The longer you live the more you take out. The shorter you live the less you take out. In the long run, the same amount is taken out as is put in and everyone gets paid until the day they die.

The conservatives have brainwashed us all into thinking 401Ks are the way to go. Think for a moment about your 401K. If you are lucky enough to live a long healthy life, you’ll run out of retirement money and end up homeless or on Social Security or Welfare. Nice! Thank you Republicans for the 401K.

If, on the other hand, you die early, then you don’t get to use all the money you saved up. Thank you again, Republicans, for the 401K.

In other words, you lose either way. Who ever thought up such an awful retirement plan and who sold this lie to us? But, that’s another story.

So, Theresa Ghilarducci (repeat after me, OBAMA’S name is OBAMA, not Theresa), suggests many possible changes to the handling of 401Ks. For anyone alive today and who still has a brain cell, our 401Ks are worthless! The current Republican Depression has wiped them out. Theresa’s recommendations would prevent this from happening again and again. Shame on her for trying to come up with solutions. Let’s all hope the Republicans in Congress continue to obstruct everything that can possibly help us.

Yes, my dear tea baggers, Obama is after your worthless 401Ks and he plans to spend them on dinner and a night out with his favorite alien from Mars.

Oh, and by the way, Hedgecock’s bribery case and lying under oath was mysteriously tossed out by an appellate judge on a technicality. Do you really want to take the word of this man?

We’re Winning the Race to the Bottom

We’re Winning the Race to the Bottom
by
David Schlecht

From the Las Vegas Review Journal:

Nevada’s budget outlook is so bleak that lawmakers doubt whether state government can remain afloat without drastic cuts to everything from prisons to schools to state parks and services for the poor and elderly.

Legislators met Tuesday with Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons to discuss how they will cope with a short-term deficit of about $900 million during an upcoming special session of the Legislature. Some Democratic lawmakers acknowledge options to bridge the gap probably won’t include tax increases.

Assemblyman John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said pay cuts and layoffs for state employees are probably inevitable.

“These are drastic, drastic cuts. I would be surprised if some folks didn’t lose their jobs,” Oceguera said.

Taylor said such a cut would hit lower-wage employees extremely hard, especially because some lower-paying jobs are held by single parents raising children. There had been talks that salary cuts would be made only to employees earning more than $40,000 a year.

Oceguera was uncertain whether it would be considered “a socialist type thing” to tailor pay cuts according to earnings.

A Chamber of Commerce study released earlier this month found state and local government employees in 2008 earned an average pay of $55,657 in 2008, sixth highest among states and $6,800 higher than the national average. For state employees alone, the average pay was $55,266.

Teacher pay in Nevada averaged $48,257 a year in 2008, below the $50,852 national average, according to the chamber study. University and community college faculty members in Nevada earn $69,282 on average, compared with the national average of $72,959.

The study also found that Nevada has the fewest number of public employees on a per capita basis in the country, at 43.7 per 1,000 residents.

But Gibbons, who sets the agenda for the session, has long said he would veto any tax increases.

“Our only real option,” Horsford said, “is to eliminate or reduce spending.”

This is absolutely shocking. Gibbons is leading us in a race to the bottom.

Nevada state and local government employees get paid more than the average. That means the local employees get paid more than the average and the state employees get paid considerably less than average. But, that’s not what the Chamber of Commerce says since they might have a little difficulty being objective in this matter. What on earth are they even involved for? They’re the enemy and part of what made our current mess.

This seems so terribly obvious to any casual observer to be a race to the bottom. Nevada has been groveling at the bottom of everything important for so long, we just don’t know what to do if we’re not dead last. We seem to be winning the race to be the first state to resemble Haiti. Let’s all compete to see how low we can pay our state employees. Soon we’ll all be greeted by illegal aliens at the state agencies because they’ll work for less than Americans will. Is that what we want in America?

They’re afraid to affect the rich more than the poor because they’re afraid it’ll sound Socialist? This has to be about the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a while. When was it considered Socialist to expect those who benefit the most from society to pay the most? Socialist? If this is Socialism, then America’s founding fathers were all Socialists. They expected everyone to pay their fair share. Shame on you for disparaging the names of our forefathers!

And, if you were paying attention, Nevada is paying our educators well below the average. Obviously we’re dead last in education. We only get back what we’re willing to invest. We should be having a race to see how much more money we can put back in the hands of the middle and lower class and we should be expecting the wealthy to start paying their fair share.

Gibbon, oh what a fine example of Republican principles. No new taxes. We wouldn’t want the billionaires to pay their fair share, now would we? No, let’s just take it out of the pockets of those who need it the most.

When will America start to realize that this Republican approach is destroying our country?

2010 and America’s Lost Decade

2010 and America’s Lost Decade
by
Captain Jack

Happy New Year to one and all. May this year bring you the financial relief and medical coverage you so deserve. Let’s take a quick look back at the past decade.

Let’s see, it’s January 2000. The economy is booming, the federal budget is in the black for the first time in decades, we were at a time of relative peace. We trusted our sciences and scientists, we had confidence in our banks. We had some control over our banking sector, even though Gramm-Leach-Bliley act had just been passed but the banking sector insanities hadn’t shifted into high gear, yet.

The middle-class American made almost $1700 more per year than today.

Oh, and did I say that we weren’t in the middle of two middle-eastern wars? Oh I did?

So, what, exactly, can you say that America saw in the past decade that was beneficial? Okay, sure, there were a few Peace Prizes, a few discoveries, oh, and we finally pulled the life support from a long gone dead woman.

You can say it is just a coincidence that these were the Bush years, but no one really believes that it was anything but Bush and the Republican politicians who benefited from everything that is now harming America.

More Examples of Welfare for the Rich

More Examples of Welfare for the Rich
by
David Schlecht

This week I’ve seen a scenario played out in Nevada that I’m sure most Americans will recognize in their their own neighborhoods. In Nevada, we’ve had a week of cold and snow, the same cold and snow affecting most of the country about now. So what have we noticed during this weather?

In Nevada, the ability of the towns to clear the snow has been greatly diminished, mostly because of budget cuts. Many of the businesses are paying fewer taxes and the rich have been paying fewer taxes for 30 years now, and the tax revenues are drying up, so the civic services, like snow removal, are greatly reduced. But, who is getting the services and who is not? Look around your town and you will notice what I see here in Nevada.

The businesses get plowed first, followed by the wealthy neigborhoods. And, if at all, the middle class and lower class neighborhoods get plowed last. Is this because businesses and the rich pay a higher percentage tax than the real Americans? Of course, not, they’re paying considerably less. Corporations now pay less than 7% of the country’s tax burden. Who pays the rest? You and I do. The Rich have seen insane tax breaks over the last 30 years, down form 92% to as low as 15% in most cases.

How much do you pay? 25%? 30%? 35%? Include your income tax and your property tax and your sales taxes and you can bet you’re paying a higher percentage than the corporations or the rich. So, aren’t you glad that your neighborhoods aren’t getting plowed but theirs are?

Isn’t it time to start getting enraged by this theft? Isn’t it time to say enough?

The Tea-Baggers have it right. Something stinks in America and we have to get motivated to get it fixed. Unfortunately for the Tea-Baggers, though, nobody is telling them that it’s the rich that are stealing their money so they think it’s the Mexicans or the Liberals or the illegal aliens to blame. But, eventually they will realize, and we all need ot be ready to stand beside them and demand that this mess get fixed. Or better yet, it’s time we stood up ourselves and let the Tea-Baggers join us. Get motivated!

NO MORE WELFARE FOR THE WEALTHY!

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Fox Lies

Fox Lies
by
David Schlecht

So, is there still anyone out there who doesn’t believe that Fox is just a propaganda network? Check out this case. Fox reporters refused to rewrite their story condemning Bovine Growth Hormone to instead glorify it and were fired for their refusal. Google it if you want more information on Fox Lies.

In a case decided by a jury of their peers, Fox was found guilty. However, when Fox appealed it to a higher court, the judge (mind you, no jury) found in favor of Fox. Sounds to me like an appellate court judge should be investigated.

The bottom line, Fox Lies.

Compartmentalized Thinking

Compartmentalized Thinking
by
Captain Jack

Extrapolating some on David’s earlier post regarding deficiencies in logic and reasoning, I’ll cover a specific shortfall in human thought.

To begin with, humans have a natural curiosity and a natural tendency to group our thoughts and learnings into compartments and to link these compartments together. In other words, once you learn that one stovetop hurts when it’s hot, you don’t have to learn the same for every other stovetop but rather can believe that everything in the compartment is the same.That’s compartments.

The next step is to link these compartments so since you know stovetops are hot and ovens are like stovetops, they just might be hot, too. That’s linking.

When a child learns too many things that can’t be reasonably linked, they learn to skip the linking part. As a simple example, a child may learn repeatedly that Jesus loves us and Jesus is Lord. He also learns, repeatedly, conflicting data, such as examples where God is hateful and destructive. [This isn’t about religion, so don’t get too excited.]

In order to believe the two conflicting compartments, the child learns not to try to link, or to give up easily on the task of linking. This condition makes it easier for the child to learn falsehoods and outright lies because there is no need to link and to reconcile the differences.

This is a mental deficency that is often a learned behavior.

This condition also arises when a child believes that he cannot question the authority figure that is lying to him or unknowingly misguiding him.

So you should be asking, “what does this mean to an adult?”

Let’s take a look at another example. Ask yourself, are you pro-life? [No, this isn’t a rant on abortion rights.]

If you said yes to this question, then it is most likely (statistically speaking) that you also endorse capital punishment. Capital punishment is not pro-life so why do you say you’re pro-life? Okay, maybe you’ll argue that I’m pro-life for everything except for that.

Is that really true? Are you pro-life? Do you think all American, better yet, all people should have free health care? If you’re pro-life, I’ll bet you are saying absolutely no to that question. Now we have three different compartments and you have no way to link them. How can you be pro-life and be against the majority of things that reflect a respect for life?

It’s natural for humans to interpret new data in the context of his understanding of the world around him. Things that don’t fit into this model of the world are rejected or forgotten. When there are too many things to reject, he finally stops and re-evaluates his model of the world.

If he has become an expert at not linking the categories then he can have any number of conflicting beliefs and never lose a night’s sleep.

Obviously this is not only bad for our hypothetical thinker, but for the world around him as well since he is constantly making decisions that are not only wrong but often dangerous.

If you find yourself wondering how to get out of this ditch, it’s easier than you might think. Just start trying to link your compartments. Start slowly and work from what you see to be true around you. For example, are you a kind person? Do you consistently make decisions that demonstrate that you are kind? When you catch yourself demonstrating otherwise, then stop and ask yourself if you’re really a kind person. Every day is full of opportunities to learn and grow.

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