Category Archives: General

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

What Part Taxes Play in the Recovery

What Part Taxes Play in the Recovery
by
David Schlecht

Let me preface this with a challenge. I’ve voted for my share of Republican candidates so don’t mistake this challenge as a partisan rant. A friend of mine recently asked me to tell him a single piece of legislation that the Republican Party has introduced and passed in Congress, that help the average voter. I was woefully unable to come up with even a single one. I must defer to our trusty readers for your expertise. Can you name a single piece of legislation benefiting the average American submitted and passed by the Republicans?

Now to our topic. What role will taxes play in the recovery process and what role should they play? Now that the foolhearty Conservative Economic joke has exploded in our faces, it’s time for us all to realize what went wrong so we can fix it and ensure it never happens again, at least not until the next Republican Great Depression.

Before JFK, the financial elitists were charged a 90% tax on anything over 3 million dollars. Over time, slimeballs in Congress passed bill after bill that allowed their rich buddies to get around the taxes. After enough time, the 90% was more like 70% actually getting paid. When JFK closed the loopholes (well, it wasn’t really JFK as he was assassinated before he could sign the law) he explained to the American people that this was actually a tax increase on the swine (my words, not his) bribing our representatives and the tax cut from 90% to 74% actually increased tax revenues.

Then comes along the next Republican president to attack the American economy, Reagan. He dropped the top marginal tax rate on those sickeningly rich scumbags trying to corrupt our government from 74% to 35%, while the Republicans in Congress were poking more and more loopholes in the laws JFK closed up. This had the short-term effect of making the economy look good but within a year we had Reagan’s first recession. And just a few years later, we had the second Reagan recession, the Savings and Loans disaster.

You may be wondering why taxes have anything to do with the economy and recessions. If you are, read the earlier posts describing how these interact. In short, taking spending money away from the government takes income away from government workers and the needy and thereby takes it out of the economy. Giving more money to the uber-rich puts more money in risky speculation. What follows are bubbles and crashes. On top of that, the Republicans were busy destroying the rules put in place to get us out of the past Republican Great Depression. The S&Ls were free to speculate and with billions in slush money from the Republican sponsors, the industry self-destructed.

Along comes Bush, Clinton, and Bush. I cringe at grouping Clinton in with the Party of the Uber-Rich, but he followed the same stupid ideals, reducing the size of government further, reducing the services to the needy, and removing safeguards on the risky investments. All this made us ripe for the next Republican Great Depression. By now, Bush Junior had reduced the average tax on the wealthy corporations to less than 7%, while the middle class workers (the actual financial engine) were paying as much as 35% and paying Alternative Minimum Tax on top of that.

The families of the 50s and 60s had almost 50% of their budgets available for discretionary spending, with a single bread winner. Today, the middle class family spends less than 25% on discretionary spending. The middle class pays more for taxes, more for health care, more for housing, and now needs two cars because both parents must work.

It’s simple. With less spendable money in the hands of the middle class, less money goes into the economy. The next step is to start relying on credit. The middle class went into hawk, up to their eyeballs. Rake up the credit cards, rake up the mortgage, charge your groceries when you can’t make ends meet.

Eventually, the middle class can no longer live off credit and spending grinds to a halt. That’s were we are today. All because of taxes and relaxed regulations.

Armed with this knowledge, how do we devise a solution to this mess? Obviously going back to the 90% tax rate for anything over 3 million dollars is a good start. Those who benefit the most from our country should pay the most back into it. Those who own Wall Marts and make billions of dollars while their workers go hungry must repay those stolen dollars back to society. It’s easy and it’s fair.

But, leveling the playing field by taxing the rich isn’t enough in iteself. Higher taxes on the rich will automatically translate to more money for the workers, barring the Republican generated loopholes. But this is still the trickle-down approach and the Conservatives have proven to us that this approach doesn’t work. The higher taxes on the sickeningly rich must be ballanced with a higher average wage for the workers, yes the engine of the economy. Our minimum wage must be increased to above the poverty level. A good start is $30,000 per year. A rising tide lifts all boats and this will translate to better compensation for all workers and will mean a stronger economic engine.

Sure, the billionaires will still make more money than a normal person can spend, but they will just have to deal with it.

I can almost hear the Conservatives groaning in disbelief. “What? You mean tax the rich? It’ll kill any incentive to make money!”

What are they thinking? Let me ask you. Would you be happy to invent something to make $3,000,000.00? This would actually increase innovation because there would be more people able to be innovators rather then working two and three jobs at below poverty wages.

So, how do we get there from here? We can’t just change the tax laws overnight. And, we can’t continue to borrow the money to pay for this recovery. We need to pay as we go. We need to implement a change as quickly as possible. This means a two-pronged approach. The first approach is the re-implement the Paris Hilton tax. There’s no reason for any estate to carry billions of dollars from one generation to the next to the next while others starve. The income from insurance policies and from inheritance should be taxed at the same rates as any other income. Anything over three million dollars get taxed at 90%.  Just by turning back on the estate taxes, we will have enough tax money to pay this recovery package as we go. During the coming 5 years we can gradually re-implement the 90% tax on anything over three million dollars.

One more big shot in the arm is to open up Medicare to all Americans. If we can buy better insurance through Medicare than we can get by paying billions of dollars to the CEO’s of the big insurance companies, the businesses will have more money to pay for wages and other benefits, or they can pay for the 90% tax if they prefer.

Derivatives and the Coming Bust

Derivatives and the Coming Bust
by
David Schlecht

There is a serious and gravely overlooked disaster staring us in the face, one that is part of the current financial crisis but has the potential to completely destroy America’s and the world’s economy, for good. This disaster is the Derivatives Market.

The Republican Congress of the 90s (with the help of Clinton) destroyed the safeguards that prevent our banks from becoming casinos and betting on anything and everything. Today, many of our financial institutions own lots and lots of derivatives that they will soon find to be worthless.

What are derivatives? In simple terms, they’re bets, multi-billion-dollar-bets. Remember how the banks bundled up the risky mortgages, into securities, thereby masking the true risk of the investment. Derivatives as when investors bet that a particular stock or security or commodity would go up or go down. These derivatives were “derived” from the value of the original investment. Then, the next “master of the universe” would bundle these derivatives again, adding more bets. As you can see, $100 worth of investment can be resold endless times by bundling and by creating derivatives.

If this sounds like a Ponzi scheme to you, you’re right on the money. It’s a scam, but it’s bundled so the investors don’t really know what they’re getting.

You may be wondering how pervasive the derivatives market really is. If you guess it must be pretty darned big in order to be bigger than our existing crisis. then you’d be right. The total investment in all the derivatives is more than 100 times greater than all the Gross Domestic Product on the entire planet. When they go down in flames, there won’t be enough money in the world to bail them out.

Until we see how other countries deal with this, it’s impossible to say just how bad things will get. Common sense, however, indicates that this could be the event that causes the entire world to re-invent our financial systems. It could be that the only way we can survive this coming crash is to let all the investors that bought the bad derivatives jump out of their windows and start up the investment systems from scratch.

This could be a good change in the long run but it is not a good time to be getting this news and it will be many years of bad times, fighting with the Always-Been-Wrong Republican Party’s obstruction getting this fixed.

Deregulation and our Current Crisis

Deregulation and our Current Crisis
by
David Schlecht

Before we begin, let me suggest that you take a quick trip to Devilstower’s page and get a black and white list of America’s accomplishments over the past 8 years and beyond. It’s impressive, to say the least.

Continuing from our discussion of credit’s effect on the economy, let’s look at the disastrous effect deregulation had on the current mess.

A quick trip down memory lane, or down the pages of Google, will remind us of the rigid and difficult changes that were necessarily implemented to lift us out of the last Great Depression. Of the many regulations implemented, most were geared towards reducing risk in the banking industry.These regulations helped usher in decades of safe and reasonable prosperity for America.

Before the last Great Depression, the banks were freed up to speculate to their hearts’ content. That was Free Markets at it’s height. Many banks had invested heavily in the real estate boom of the 20s. When home prices fell, like they did here the past 8 years, many of these institutions began to falter. At that time, many of the banks were closed for a banking-holiday and restructured to stop the run on the banks and to allow the banks to understand and make changes for the new regulations.

Also, at that time, the government stepped in and guaranteed the bank accounts, helping to restore some trust in the banking industry. Many of the banks were simply bought by our government and restructured and then sold when they were, again, profitable. It worked.

Nobody ever accused George Bush or the Republican party of being intelligent, but they could have at least consulted with someone who knew how to read history books. Instead, what they did was flood the faltering banks with billions of our tax dollars and never asked the banks to make a single change in their greedy and risky ways. Herbet Hoover all over again. Bush never even asked them what they were going to do with our money or even asked the banks to report on their progress. Sounds like a scam to me.

So, what are they doing? They’re buying up other banks (speculating) and giving themselves and their investors the money, billions of dollars. Does that sound like a scam to you?

When our banks start to falter and crumble like the 30s, Americans won’t panic quite as bad since our government is insuring our savings accounts. But they will still panic and we may be looking at another “Bank Holiday” to help prevent another run on the banks.

There is one more crutial aspect of this that needs to be addressed. The people who caused this mess, besides the Republicans who deregulated the banks, are a small group of greedy financiers, who prefer to be called “master of the universe,” who have made billion and billions of dollars off of this disaster. The money didn’t just disappear. These “masters” need to be investigated, their proceeds returned to the public, and criminal punishment rendered.

You must be wondering, by now, exactly what happened to all those regulations put into place after the last Great Depression. Remember all the cries for Let The MARKET Decide? Remember, all the huffing and puffing about “The FREE Market will fix it”? There have been numerous safeguards loosened up and many more just plain ignored by the Bush Administration, but the worst thing was actually done by a Republican Congress and a Democratic president, Bill Clinton. He allowed the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act which allowed the banks to get back into doing the same greedy things they did in the 20s and they have gotten stinking rich while our economy crumbled.

Demand-Side Economics

Demand-Side Economics
by
David Schlecht

Revisiting the previous post, Supply-side, or Voodoo Economics is the Trickle-down disaster that our world is currently suffering through.

When money is directed at the top of society in the hopes that it’ll trickle down to the rest of society, the economy suffers a reduction in spendable wages, thereby causing recessions and bubbles and bursts from speculation.

Viewing economies from the perspective of demand, the more spendable income the spenders (lower and middle class) have, the more money that goes through the economy. When the greedy get in power, they start taking more and more of the spendable income from the other classes until the system melts down.

That’s were we are, today.

Where do we get enough money to give to the spending classes to reinvigorate the economy? Before saying, borrow it, realize that in America, every single working family pays on average, $3,000 in taxes to pay for nothing more than the interest on the deficit spending of the prior three Republican presidents, Bush, Bush, and Reagan. Borrowing another trillion dollars will only cause greater problems as less money is spendable since more has to go to pay the interest.

The only way to correct the imbalance is to correct the distribution of wealth. While the rich have been getting richer off the backs of the workers, they’ve been giving less and less for their work. Repaying the debt to the working class is the only way to get the economy back on track. This means the corporations must not only start paying a living wage ($40,000 minimum wage) but pay back what they’ve stolen from the workers through immediate tax increases. We need to return to the 90% tax rates from before Reagan.

Another available source of revenue which won’t add to the interest burden is to increase tariffs. This will help raise the wages of the spenders while bringing in tax dollars to help with the works projects.

Sure, this is painful, but fair, and furthermore, the only real solution to this disaster. Roll back the wage distributions and repay the money stolen from the workers.

So, what is in store for our world economy? A lot of short term pain and suffering, but within a year or two things will start to turn around, given the right decisions by our leaders. In the short term, the governments will find difficulty in getting credit for further deficits and interest rates will climb considerably.

This increase in interest rates will hurt those who have maxed out their credit cards and maxed out their mortgage lines of credit. However, most people have quit borrowing for everything and so the interest rate increase will not affect them as much.

Since governments won’t be able to borrow more money, they will have to resort to printing more money (or issuing credit to the lending institutions). This will add more to the interest rate increases.

Is Obama up to the task? If not, then what should have been a 1-2 year turnaround will become 4-5 years. That’s an eternity living out of your car.

Voodoo Economics 101

Voodoo Economics 101
by
David Schlecht

Voodoo economics, also referred to as Supply Side Economics is one of the primary causes of our current financial disaster and many of the state governors are intent on using this same Voodoo to get us out. Nonsense!

In short, Supply Side Economics is built on the premise that “If you build it, they will come.” In other words, directing money at the wealthiest fraction of people and corporations will provide more jobs. Let’s see how this plays out.

Imagine that you’re a multi-billionaire and the US taxpayers give you an additional million dollars. You already have just the right number of employees in your corporation. What would you do with your extra million? Hire more employees? Of course not, you already have the right amount. Would you pay your employees more? Don’t make me laugh. Would you provide more benefits or a better work environment for your workers? Of course not. If they’re content to work under the existing conditions, you wouldn’t waste a million dollars changing it.

So, what would you do?

The same thing our ultra-rich have been doing with their increased revenue, speculating. Over speculation in technology sectors was the primary cause of the dot-com bubble and burst. Speculation is the cause of last year’s oil price spikes.

In conclusion, Voodoo Economics causes no benefit to the economy by way of citizens buying more things and stimulating the economy, but cause devastating bubbles and bursts.

Is this starting to sound familiar, yet? It should.

We all know that economies are driven by supply and demand. The supply must balance the demand. When there is more supply than demand, prices drop and businesses go broke, laying off workers. When there is more demand (from increased middle-class wages, unemployment benefits, higher minimum wage…) than there is supply, prices go up and new businesses open up to provide more product, thereby causing the supply-demand dichotomy to balance and prices to fall back to normal.

So, if you were a governor in a state where the economy was failing, what would you do? Reduce the spendable income of the average person or increase it? What are the governors doing in the US? Many are cutting wages and laying off people. What is this going to do to the states’ economies?

Simple.

Next post, let’s talk about demand-side economics and see if this will really save us from the next Republican Great Depression or is it too late? What’s in store with our economy?

Governor Gibbons Failing at Record Rates

Governor Gibbons Failing at Record Rates
by
Dave Speck

It is almost a complete consensus that the only way we can dig ourselves out of the disaster of the past 25 years of Conservative rule is to put money in the hands of the spenders. It’s painfully obvious that the past 25 years of “Free Market” nonsense and “Free Trade” foolishness is coming home to roost. Thank you, Conservatives.

Paul Krugman has a good piece in the NY Times regarding the important role state Governors will play in the recovery process:

But even as Washington tries to rescue the economy, the nation will be reeling from the actions of 50 Herbert Hoovers — state governors who are slashing spending in a time of recession, often at the expense both of their most vulnerable constituents and of the nation’s economic future.

These state-level cutbacks range from small acts of cruelty to giant acts of panic — from cuts in South Carolina’s juvenile justice program, which will force young offenders out of group homes and into prison, to the decision by a committee that manages California state spending to halt all construction outlays for six months.

Now, state governors aren’t stupid (not all of them, anyway). They’re cutting back because they have to — because they’re caught in a fiscal trap. But let’s step back for a moment and contemplate just how crazy it is, from a national point of view, to be cutting public services and public investment right now.

So now is the time to invest in the public – and what is Nevada’s Governor Gibbons doing? He’s trying to cut the pay of state employees, he’s cutting services that are intended to keep the most vulnerable in our society from suffering and dying, and he’s continuing the nausiating mantra, “no new taxes”. Sorry, Jim Gibbons, but everyone – but you – knows that your actions are the worst way you could handle this emergency. You’re a true Republican, through and through. Nevada! It should be painfully obvious to you by now that this man is in over his head. Time to remove him before he can do any more harm.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays
by
David Schlecht

From all of us at Just-Say-Why — Happy Holidays.

May you all enjoy a joyous and safe holiday season and a wonderful year in 2009.

The recession/depression may be far but over, but it’s never too early to remember what’s important, and those things most important are usually those that don’t involve money.

And, it’s never too soon to get involved in turning this country around and back on track.

I look forward to working with you all in the coming year.

Bush’s Requirement – Lower the Average Middle Class Wage

Bush’s Requirement – Lower the Average Middle Class Wage
by
Dave Speck

What happens when you have a mental midget running the country? You end up with what we have today. No wonder Bush’s closest friends call him 85. I’m sure it’s not because of his IQ. I couldn’t imagine him reaching above 75.

Anyone who has read any history knows what caused the first Republican Great Depression and it’s only painfully obvious that that’s the same that is causing this Republican Great Recession (hopefully not another Depression).  The cause? An imbalance between productivity and wages, or in simpler terms, supply and demand. Of course, there were other contributing factors like the run on the banks and no minimum wage. The run on the banks is more a symptom than a cause and the missing minimum wage is just more of the same supply and demand balance issue. Like the run on the banks a century ago, we are again failing to properly monitor and regulate the banks and investment institutions.

Let’s talk about the balance between productivity and demand in simple terms. Productivity is the amount of products that Americans make in a given time. In other words, supply. Demand is driven by low and middle income wage earners. When supply goes up and demand (aka wages) doesn’t, prices have to fall. Simple, yes?

A president like eighty-five will want to reduce the wages thinking that the consumer fairy will take care of buying up the excess supply. He probably also thinks he was chosen by God. Eighty-five.

So, what has Bush done? He is demanding that the United Auto Workers reduce their wages, bringing DOWN the average spendable wage in America. When the UAW workers wages fall, all the other non-union automaker wages will fall as well. So will the income at all the businesses relying on the auto workers and so on.

Just as an aside, remember the HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of dollars mysteriously given to the banks to free up credit? Wonder why it’s not working? The bank execs have skimmed off 1.7 BILLION for their personal income. I don’t remember giving them money to fatten up their coffers, do you? If anything, they should be penalized for being greedy and for helping cause this mess.

Back to the economy… When you give a billionaire $100 dollars, he pockets it; when you give $100 to a low or middle income family, they spend it immediately. Which one will stimulate the economy? Simple, yes? Even ol’ eighty-five could figure it out if he had half a desire to.

So, lowering the average wage of the American low and middle class worker will reduce demand even further and more prices will fall. If we continue to mismanage this disaster like Hoover, we’ll be in the next Republican Great Depression. The ONLY solution to this is to raise the average wage for American workers.

We can’t wait for January 20th to get Bush out of power. We need to tie him up in investigations 24 hours a day until the day he leaves office. Otherwise, he’ll only continue to cause America more harm.

Eighty-five.

How to Celebrate Christmas

How to Celebrate Christmas
by
Paul Johnson

Here we are, my fellow Eathlings, celebrating the end of another year on this planet and being thankful that we’re still here to celebrate. Now that the past 20 years of foolish economic policies have destroyed our nation’s and the world economy AGAIN, we’re taking a second look at what’s really important. That’s the sliver lining around the otherwise gloomy economy.

We’re still inundated with commercials on the TV and on the radio and in the papers. It makes one think that it’s not Christmas without all the presents, and it’s bad taste to not over spend for Christmas. How did we get to this notion? Christ was against commercialism, or physical glutony as it better defined. The real notions of celebrating Christ’s birthday (which was really in June, by the way) is celebrating what Christ was about, about being not being a consumer or a glutton, but remembering to help those less fortunate. Yes, Jesus was a Progressive.

Do you ever wonder why organized religion moved the birth of Christ (lied about the date, in other words) to the Winter Solstice? Why? Was it better for you and me? Obviously not. It was a lie for the benefit of the organized religion. And now there are numerous reasons to celebrate at the end of the year. Many religions and many non-religions have events to remind us to pay attention to what’s important and to ignore all the advertisements.

What kind of a religion would move their celebration to compete with other celebrations in December and then complain because people say more than just Merry Christmas? Obvously only a religion like the Taleban’s Islam, that wants to destroy all other thoughts but following blindly behind the anointed ones. In other words, only a non-Christian religion would refuse to show tolerance. The Bill O’Reilly religion?

So, how best to celebrate the holidays? Here are my suggestions:

  • Regardless if you’re Christian or not, there are plenty of principles promoted by Christ and many other religions. Be more tolerant (blacks, gays, anyone different), keep the money out of church, like Jesus, challenge your own organized religion, help the needy (low and middle class).
  • Avoid gluttony in all things, especially in what you buy and what you eat.
  • Be thankful, and really mean it. You’re not on this earth because you’re chosen or elite or special. You’re here only because we have communities that support one another. If you’re a successful business owner, be thankful to your employees.
  • Be thankful to your community, local and global. We wouldn’t be here and won’t be here for long if we don’t all work together to make this a better world.
  • Tell your loved ones that you love them, and really mean it.
  • Smile, laugh, celebrate

Happy holidays: Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, Happy New Year, Happy Hanuka, Happy Thank the Earth Day, and happy tolerance.

The Death of America’s Free Press

The Death of America’s Free Press
by
David Schlecht

The New Yorker has an article about the pending collapse of America’s Free Press. This isn’t really anything new or surprising, but it a bad thing for our country.

When our country was created (barely more than 200 years ago) our forefathers knew how important it was to have a well informed pouplace and even made it a point to ensure that the news would be free from government manipulation. When the Fox Propaganda station became the mouthpiece for the Republican Party, it became the antifhesis of what our forefathers intended.

As more and more of our local newspapers have been gobbled up by national corporations, their thrust and their natural bias has been toward big business and away from the interests of the workers. This bias has turned away the majority of their readers, in search of a more honest and reasonable reporting.

We have even had laws that pretect the truth in the news and even has tried to ensure that two points are presented for any position, no matter how foolish. Now, with the newspapers dying and propaganda outlets like Fox News becoming our only source of news, we’re becoming an uneducated and illinformed populace, the opposite of what our forefathers wanted.

The Internet has become a news source for many, but it is too unregulated to be reliable. Drudge, much like Fox’s Hannity is not only biased but so often wrong that the readers, like Fox viewers, are fooled into a false sense of reality.

It’s time for America to find a solution to this problem, and the sooner the better. Should we regulate Online News outlets and blogs? Should we offer financial incentives to local media outlets? Should we leave it to the “Free Market” and the Corrupt Corporate Media to continue on this obviously wrong-for-America path?

The Ethics of the Corrupt Corporate Media

The Ethics of the Corrupt Corporate Media
by
Paul Johnson

Have advertisements ever gotten you to buy something you later wished you hadn’t? Do you know of things others have bought that you knew they shouldn’t have? Of course. We all know this happens. We see it every day. Often, we don’t even realize we were scammed.

How many times have you gone to a movie that is supposed to be the best movie ever, only to find that it’s bunk. We will often chalk this up to just a difference of opinion between us and the critics, when in reality it is a discrepancy between what was promised and what was delivered.

Knowing how bad cigarette smoking is for us and how bad it smells and how it costs every single tax payer to help those being poisoned, we should question how anyone would ever be fool enough to get hooked. The answer is simple. Advertising is successful at getting you and me to do things and to buy things that are not in our best interests. The examples are endless.

Some people are more susceptible to marketing and different marketing affects different types of people. The more obvious the “bad purchase” is, the more susceptible the buyer is to marketing. But, we are all susceptible. With the years and years and billions of dollars that have been devoted to marketing research, most of us are easy pickings.

Is it morally acceptable for a company to advertise cigarettes?

My unscientific numbers show that people who buy political lies buy many other bad purchases. Of course, they don’t think smoking is a bad purchase any more than they think they made a mistake with their party.

In order to be competitive, a company today has to resort to unethical marketing or they will be washed aside. 25 years of Reganonomics (A. K. A.: Voodoo Economics) only the monster corporations survive. Ma Bell is coming back together, our Military Industrial Complex is moving offshore to avoid taxes, cigarette companies are still making billions. Why? Because we’ve been believing the Greed is Good marketing of the Free Market advertisers.

Why do we not have a national health system? Because of the same unethical marketing.

How do we fix this problem? How do we educate those most susceptible to unethical marketing (and the Corrupt Corporate Media)? How do we train buyers to resist this barrage of marketing?

Many college programs have courses on ways to take advantage of marketing and how to help avoid it. Everyone needs this training and the marketers need to be paying the bill for this education. Without the unethical marketing, there would be no need for the training.

Hence, we need a marketing tax. For every dollar spent on marketing, advertisers should be paying another dollar to help teach people to avoid their lies. However, how do we avoid charging the ethical advertisers to help protect us from the unethical ones? We also need to charge the big marketers more than the little shops as we can all but guarantee that the big fish got big by being just that little bit more ruthless, aggressive, and unethical.

I guess the real question is, is there a difference?

Other than infomercials, every advertisement is intent on getting us to buy something that we otherwise know we don’t need and don’t want.

We also need more strict penalties for unethical marketing and need a government that is serious about protecting the buyers.

A Health Care Story

Impeach Now

A Health Care Story
by
David Schlecht

Surveys show that the majority of Americans know there’s a health care crisis, but less than half consider their coverage unacceptable. Why is that?

A little research of my own seems to indicate that the surveys are asking the wrong questions. Let me tell you a little story.

My wife and I have good friends, a married couple, Sally and Tom, who were happy with their health coverage, too. They are in their late 30s and until recently, quite healthy. Sally had a little trouble with Asthma when she was in her 20s but it went away.

Recently, she had an asthma attack that put her in the hospital.

You probably already guessed, but I’ll tell you, any way. Their insurance refused to cover the costs because it was a “Pre-existing condition.” In fact, since they failed to report a pre-existing condition on their application, the carrier decided it was a good time to drop their coverage, entirely.

The medical costs have destroyed their life savings and they have had to take loans out against their retirement accounts. Tom is in the software business and had a pretty good retirement nest-egg started. Right now, they’re wondering if Social Security will be around when they retire as they will be working the rest of their lives just to pay for their medical.

In order to get coverage for Sally, Tom left his job and went to work at a government agency where he could take advantage of a health-coverage co-op. The insurance is still shockingly expensive and even though Tom is making less money, at least they have the feeling that they’re secure in their health coverage.

Recently, Tom has been complaining of recurring headaches. He has a spot at the top of his brain’s right hemisphere that causes excruciating pain from time to time. Tom exercises regularly and is quite fit. His blood pressure is great and has no problems with his vision.

So, what is Tom going to do about his headaches? He knows that if he goes to a doctor and nothing shows up, and some time down the road he finds he has a tumor or aneurysm he knows that any new insurance covering them would immediately drop him just like they did Sally.

Would Tom and Sally say they were happy with their current insurance. Probably yes.  Should they be happy with their current condition. Of course not, but at least Sally is covered and if Tom has to go to the hospital now, at least he is covered.

Are you happy with your coverage? Would your insurer drop you like they did Sally if you come down with an expensive ailment? It’s obvious the only solution to this problem that all Americans face is to take the insane profits out of the Medical Industry, and the only way to do that is with a national health care.

Now, sure, we’ve all heard the propaganda put out by the insanely profitable health care industry how it would be just terrible if we went that route. After all, someone somewhere came to America to get an operation that their national health care didn’t cover.  Someone somewhere. Sounds like deceptive propaganda to me. After all, why would the industry not fight to keep their insane profits? They could spend billions on deceptive ads every year and still make insane profits, and that’s just what they plan to do.

They Need Our Help

The organization started and intent on helping women and couples deal with family planning issues is under unrelenting attacks by the “Forced Pregnancy” arm of the Conservative Radicals. Without our help, another pillar of our free, informed society will fall, women will be lied to by the Heritage Foundation and their liars and America will suffer for generations to come.

Can you spare $20? $100? Do you have 10 minutes to write a letter or make a phone call? They need our help. Here is their statement:

Family Planning is under attack in Washoe County.
Nevada women need your help.

The Washoe County Board of County Commissioners and the Washoe County Board of Health have scheduled meetings to discuss the process for distributing Title X funding (America’s family planning funding for low-income women). When Planned Parenthood Mar Monte received a two-year grant to run Street Smart, a program for HIV/AIDS outreach for youth in our area, several commissioners raised questions about the Health Department budget and grant program. There is a chance they may recommend the Title X funds not be accepted by the County.

Take action now! One minute of your time will make a big difference – please write an email to the County Commissioners and the Department of Health to show your support of Title X funding and access to family planning.

Use one or more of these points in your message:

  • Washoe County should not refuse to take Title X funds.
  • I value family planning and comprehensive sex education and outreach as the best way to protect women, family and teen health.
  • Preventing unplanned pregnancies saves Nevada taxpayers – every dollar spent saves $4 in Medicaid costs for pregnancy and newborn health care.

Washoe County Commissioners:

Bonnie Weber, District 5

bweber@washoecounty.us

Jim Galloway, District 1

rlencioni@washoecounty.us

David Humke, District 2

dhumke@washoecounty.us

Robert Larkin, District 4

rlarkin@washoecounty.us

Kitty Jung, District 3

kjung@washoecounty.us

Washoe County District Health Department:

sbfisher@washoecounty.us

Report Back: Email renopa@ppmarmonte.org with “I took action” in the subject line to let us know that you sent your email in!

In addition, the Washoe County Board of Health is proposing to cut family planning funding 90% over a three-year period. This means the county may no longer provide family planning services or the Teen Health Mall program. If this happens about 700 women a year will go without family planning services – this is in addition to the 44,000 in Washoe County who already can’t access family planning they need for breast and cervical cancer screening, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment and affordable birth control.

Other ways you can take action:

  • Call the County Commissioner’s office at (775) 328-2005 to voice your opinion. Call the Washoe District of Health’s office at (775) 328-2400.
  • Go to the joint meeting on 2/26: Commission and Board of Health at 1pm, Commissioners Chambers in Bldg A, 1009 E Ninth St, Reno NV 89502.
  • Go to the Board of Health meeting 2/28: The Board of Health meets at 1pm, Health Department, South Auditorium, 1009 E Ninth St, Reno, NV 89502.

P.S. Thank you for your support! Learn more about Title X.

The Class Wars

by David Schlecht

So, we’re not supposed to talk about this, but the Class Wars are in full swing and our side is losing. Soon, if the Republicans get their way, there will only be two classes of Americans, the Haves (yes, the Republican BASE) and the Have-nots (yes, this will eventually be everyone else). But, don’t be afraid to talk about it. That’s just what the top 1% want. Be afraid to talk about how you’re losing your income and benefits and how the top 1% keep getting richer and richer off the sweat of our labor.

The ultra rich are taking over our government and for the past 25 years have been getting their pet laws passed, and for the most part, the rest of us just went along with it. What, with the billions of dollars spent on lobbying and on factious advertising, we were all behind the “Free Trade Agreements”. Why wasn’t there anyone from our side standing up and saying, “Hey, that’ll ship millions of our jobs over seas.” But, no, all we heard was how nice it would be to be able to buy Wal-Mart products from China’s slave labor.

The ultra-rich are calling the shots and doing their best to make sure we’re doing with less while they do with “all”. It’s time to stand up and get money out of our election process and get the lobbying leeches out of our government.

It’s time to re-instate the old tax on Aristocracy. It’s time to cut the taxes on the working people and activate the 95% tax on the blood suckers. Keep the playing fields level.

Take Action on Media Control

by David Schlecht

It’s rare for media reform issues to make the front page… but they did today.

This morning, the New York Times revealed that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is rushing through a plan to rewrite media ownership rules, letting the biggest media companies control even more local outlets. And he’s doing it without giving the public a chance to respond. The rules could take effect as early as December.

<Link>

Not ALL Republican Conservatives are Mentally Retarded

by David Schlecht

My thanks to the gentle readers who have correctly noticed that many of the authors on this site condemn groups when they really should be focusing on the specific cases.

It’s not right to condemn all Republicans as morons, or all Nevadans as trailer trash or all conservative media as corporate corrupt or all  conservatives as immoral. Though many of the blog posts demonstrate these principles giving obvious examples, it’s not always correct to condemn the whole group for what the vast majority do.  I’m sure that out of the remaining 26%ers not more than 99.999% are immoral. The last two or three are just stupid. Hence, it’s not fair to blame the poor stupid for being immoral.

Just like you can say that the vast majority of Liberal blogs are accurate and offer plenty of evidence of their statements, there are one or two that don’t. Now we don’t want to be blamed for all being like the one or two, and we all know that not all the Conservative blogs will lie to show just that.  Two or three are just plain stupid.

Hence, I suggest that we all try to do a better job of exposing exactly what is so evident rather than assuming that the readers have the same knowledge foundation that you have.

Okay, enough comedy. There are some good Republicans out there just like there are some bad Liberals. Let’s stick to the specifics rather than generalities.

New By Lines

by David Schlecht

Dear gentle readers. Thanks for all the feedback on this site.

Due to popular demand, and due to the number of distinct authors contributing to this blog, you will now see By Lines showing who writes each article. I admit, it’s been rather confusing who we’re reading.

Who wrote the article? The mystery is now solved.

This will also make it easier to search on a particular author.

Light Posting

Hi All,

In case you’re wondering why the postings have been so light this week — I’m out of the area until Friday. But, oh, there’s so much to cover. Al beat me to a response to a Krattenmaker about the bad old securlarists.

14 more of our soldiers have died today, in Iraq. “IT’S NOT A QUAGMIRE!” My heart goes out to the families and friends.

Stop Big Media!

1) Minorities Find Themselves in Crosshairs of Cutbacks
As newsrooms across the country trim their staffs amid shrinking
budgets, many say diversity has become the unintended victim.
Seniority policies dictate that recently hired minority staffers
are some of the first to get the ax.
Yuxing Zheng, Asian American Journalists Association
( Link )

2) Radio Since 1996 – Fewer Owners, Higher Rates, Fewer
Listeners
According to the media ownership studies released by the FCC,
there are fewer radio group owners than there were right after
passage of the 1996 Telecom Act; and radio listening continues
to trend down. At the same time, ad rates have nearly doubled.
Radio World
( Link )

3) Where Do the Candidates Stand on Media Consolidation?
Because the mainstream media has an inherent bias against
reporting media consolidation issues, there is not a lot of
coverage in the papers or on television. But the candidates have
stated their positions on media consolidation and Net
Neutrality.
The Seminal

4) Media Consolidation Gets Addressed at YearlyKos Convention
Media consolidation has come up again as a primary question
during the presidential forum at the YearlyKos conference. Sens.
Dodd (D-Conn.) and Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Alaska Sen.
Gravel give their views.
Jennifer L. Pozner, WIMN’s Voices
( Link )

5) Sen. Chris Dodd Slams Media Consolidation
Presidential candidate Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) received cheers
at the Presidential Leadership Forum at YearlyKos when he talked
about his views on media consolidation. (Video 1:51)
YearlyKos Convention
( Link )

ACT NOW! Tell the FCC to Stop Big Media
Visit http://action.freepress.net/ct/e7xr_Ks1DahR/

Power Corrupts

We’ve all heard the phrase, power corrupts. However, it’s easy to forget exactly how corruptible it is.

I’ve witnessed a marked increase in the amount of power corrupting our local governments.

Has anyone complained about all the cameras pointing in every direction on every street corner in America. Some poor fool probably thought this would be good to help protect our citizens, but never spent a moment considering how extremely dangerous this is to our privacy and safety.

All it takes is a suspicion that you’re working for the Evil Terrorists and you will disappear forever. What if you’re car is seen in the proximity of suspicious events? With the license-plate recognition software available and in use, today, your police can track every move you make in your vehicle.

You have no way to know that this information isn’t being abused, or sold. We need to demand to be informed what this information is being used for and if it’s really necessary.
Throughout America, there has also been a notable increase in the number of unmarked police cars. A hidden and covert police force is not in our best interest. Sure, each force needs a few unmarked cars, but to avoid a Police State, we need to be able to watch and restrict the powers of our police forces.

There are many similar examples all around us every day. We need to stop and take notice, and write letters to the police chief, and the newspaper, expressing our concerns over this encroachment on our privacy and our loss of control over the power of our local police force.