Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Triumph Of Evil

Thank God the politicians are on vacation for the holidays. Vacation from what? Maybe we'd be better off
paying them to stay home. We practically do!
I guess we should all be grateful that the government is open, mission accomplished on that one. Exactly what did our representatives accomplish this year?
Well back in the summer, there was the student loan crises. Which, yay Congress! They actually passed a bill H.R. 1911. Supposedly, " the rates will stay below 6.8 percent for the next five years, but because they are pegged to 10-year Treasury notes, they fluctuate with the market."
Because, even student loans have to be tied to the almighty market.
One really impressive measure was that Congress and the senate could agree to ban plastic guns or guns made out of any other materials that could not show up on metal detectors. Yeah....after the slaughter at Newtown, this is the best they could do.
Turns out it's no joke telling stories about when you were in "'Nam" when you really weren't. Congress passed The Stolen Valor Act. Nice to know there is something we can all agree on, that its wrong to impersonate a person who served their country. So far that's three things, not counting keeping the government open.
Can you believe it? There was actually a poll taken to see if people thought this was the worst Congress ever. 73%  said it was! Thanks CNN for making that clear.
On December 18 the President signed a budget deal, the first since 2009, what a coincidence since that's when he was sworn into office.
We still have unpassed immigration legislation. No farm bill.  They only have 8 more days to do more of nothing. Congress gets a lot of time off from their hectic schedule, 239 days to be precise. In 2014, they will get even more time to do nothing, since they're exhausted from all that inaction, 252 days off.
It's a good thing that Congress removed the crutch of extending unemployment benefits to people who also have a lot of time off, although it's not of their choosing. Wall Street may be booming but Main Street has flat lined.
During the rest of the holiday, I wish Congress more of the same. Just do nothing, loaf, relax. It's been a tough year of.. nothing much.
With even more days off in 2014, I look forward to more wasted time and wasted opportunities from Congress that gets paid too much to do so little.
Maybe Burke was right, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." However, I'm not convinced any of these Congress Critters are good.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Gentlemen

Time Magazine's Person Of The Year
It's been a tradition for me to write about the Pope during the holidays. Mainly because it's not really a religious holiday anymore. It's basically a festival of broken dreams and empty bank accounts. I'm probably just like a lot of people at Christmas, a lot of us don't go to church anymore. I know I don't mainly because women are treated like second class citizen breeding machines. We can work our ass off  in the secular world, just like any man, but walk into the church and it's another story. It's going to take basically equality for women to get me to go to church again, ( I know, where is there equality for women, anywhere?) however, I will say that Pope Francis is probably the most interesting guy to wear the pointy hat in forever, but there is the thought that Pope Francis is in full damage control mode.
I bring you tidings of multiple investigations. Just one scandal would be," the Institute for Religious Works – the formal name for the Vatican’s bank – widely regarded in Italy as a haven of organised crime." Shocking, but here's the best part, "Peter Sutherland, non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International, said Transparency is important and necessary,” Oh that's really eye opening, this guy is some kind of "unpaid" consultant. A banker, from a bank, known for it's own scandals is giving out advice, I guess from experience, because now Goldman Sachs is so transparent.Yeah, I'll let you digest that with your Christmas dressing.
Did anyone think it was odd that Pope Benedict abdicated? Maybe because of Vatileaks?
 "documents show how contracts were awarded to favoured companies and individuals and also highlight allegations of internal power struggles with the Vatican's bank known as the Institute for Religious Works." 
I guess maybe the butler really did do it.
Pope Francis has tried to address the child abuse scandals, however, "The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) was unimpressed, saying his initiative might burnish the Vatican's image but "in the real world this changes virtually nothing (as it affects only) the 0.2 square miles of Vatican property."
I guess you can't please everyone. Supposedly there's also a "gay scandal" in the Vatican too, but being gay and being a pedophile are two different things even though I hear people use them interchangeably, frequently.  
This is just creepy and wierd
And so this is Christmas, the Pope says his employee's at the Vatican should "stop inspecting and questioning" and gossiping, basically start acting like professionals instead of inquisitors. In his Christmas Homily he tells us "Do not be afraid!" It's pretty sad, because there's plenty to fear in this institution.
As far as Pope's go, I do believe this guy is really trying to focus on the poor and disenfranchised. He's refused to move into the Papal palace. it's rumored he sneaks out at night to hang out with the homeless. That's more than most average people do. But until there's the possibility of a Popess, I think I'll spend my time engaging in other pursuits where being a woman isn't such a liability.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Obama's "Random Impulse"

Photo from Politico

Surprisingly, I have actually heard of some success stories about the reviled ACA aka Obamacare. One woman I know qualified for $350 worth of subsidies and only has to pay around $35 a month. I have also heard of people choosing to work part time in order to not be charged more for their healthcare. I have also been told some people are being quoted very high prices that are unaffordable. There is so much information and misinformation that it's hard to tell what is the reality of the ACA.

There are 48 million uninsured people in America.
Yeah, that's right, 48 million. When I read a number like that, it shocks me. It shocks me that most of the people I know, just don't care. But they do care enough to criticise President Obama for his "socialist" tendencies, this also freaks me out because it seems like most of the people I know are just plain ignorant.
What is really hard to take is that we have all these uninsured people and no one I come into contact with thinks that might be a problem.
There are 46.5 million people in poverty. That's another problem, when you are already living in poverty, you can't afford health insurance. What I wonder is with poverty being defined by 1960's standards, exactly how much does the government think the working poor can pay for healthcare?
Is that why we are hearing so much about people who don't have two nickels to rub together, go to try and get insurance, only to find out it's just like what people pay for Cobra (pretty damn expensive) and financially, just can't afford it.
When I talk to people I know, here in New Jersey, the talk usually turns to Latino's and their "anchor babies" and the free healthcare they get, courtesy of our emergency rooms. Also these people who assume Latino or Mexicans are getting all this free stuff, don't know any immigrants. This second hand information is treated like the truth and is told over and over again. I don't know if these stories are true or not. The perception is that healthcare is somehow free for people who are immigrants, but not for Americans.
There's a CBO estimate that 14 million people would be eligible for coverage. CBO | Effects on Health Insurance and the Federal Budget for the Insurance Coverage Provisions in the Affordable Care Act—May 2013 Baseline.
 I wonder if that's a really conservative estimate, because I see a lot of people who go without healthcare. 14 million people out of 48 million? That's it?
Eric Cantor thinks we should put it off for another year.
"Our entire health care system can't be fundamentally changed at any given time subject to the random impulses of President Obama."
What really cracks me up is that Eric Cantor thinks President Obama has ADD and just had a "random impulse" to try and do something about 48 million people who are uninsured. Oh and Eric Cantor has been just so darn helpful to the uninsured, the unemployed or the millions of people living in poverty.
"Many Americans had good health care that they liked and could afford, but lost it due to ObamaCare."
Ok, there's all kinds of crazy going on about this. What has happened is people had their policies cancelled because they didn't meet the new federal guidelines, meaning, they didn't cover a tissue to wipe your tears in the emergency room when you see the bill, and people are still crying they want their crappy policy back. Sigh.
What I think is the saddest thing of all is that most Americans seem to think it is ok to endure financial ruin if you get some kind of illness. That it's ok to profit from sick people. This is where the ACA didn't go far enough and we should have a nationalized healthcare system like every other civilized country has. But then what would our for profit health insurance companies do? I wonder how much it cost the health insurance lobbies to pay Congress critters to pass a healthcare bill that the health insurance INDUSTRY (that's right it's an INDUSTRY) wanted.
President Obama received $588,055 from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
That's just from ONE health insurance company.  Senator Baucus received nearly $2 million in contributions from the health care and insurance industries. Only presidential candidates John McCain (R-AZ: $7,690,168), John Kerry (D-MA: 7,453,749), and party-switching Arlen Spector (D-PA: $2,214,653) have received more. All of these politicians from the President on down have all been influenced by corporate money, not to have a nationalized health system. How do health care lobby dollars match influence in Congress? | Center for Public Integrity
Between the definition of poverty being inadequate, which means there will be plenty of the working poor, still being priced out of the health insurance market and the influence of the health insurance industry on ObamaCare, it doesn't take a genius to understand there is nothing "random" going on here. What it looks like is that the working poor will still have to pay more for health insurance and that's a win-win for insurance companies.
Eric Cantor gets contributions from healthcare companies a total of almost $200,000. I am sure that's a drop in the bucket and doesn't even include other fancy perks. People I know are well aware that our politicians are bought and sold. They know that the people who supposedly represent us don't give a damn about Americans. Let alone give a damn about their healthcare, unless they have some "random impulse."


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ukraine Winter

Ukraine Protestors Take Down Statue of Lenin
While everyones been busy with Nelson Mandela's funeral, people in the Ukraine are out in the freezing cold protesting. Why?
What's going on is that Ukraine's leader decided not to sign an agreement that's been in the works for years.
The EU said on Sunday that Kiev's government has "no grounds in reality".
 This country has only been a democracy since 1991. If their "democracy" is anything like ours, God help them. On the surface this looked like Russia did not want the Ukraine signing any deal with the EU and their leader, Viktor Yanukovych caved to pressure from Putin. I have read that more than 50% of Ukrainian people want the EU agreement. Why did Ukraine's Yanukovych give in to Russian pressure on EU deal? | PBS NewsHour | Dec. 2, 2013 | PBS
Here is a link to the poll Почти 60% украинцев выступают за евроинтеграцию - опрос : Новости УНИАН
Things must be pretty bad if people are in the streets freezing their asses off fighting the police.The first thing I thought about was the economy must be pretty bad there.
It looks like the "Great Recession" effected Ukraine, they have unemployment on a par with the U.S., according to the CIA World Factbook in Ukraine there are "large number of unregistered or underemployed workers", also 40% of it's economy is a shadow economy. According to what I read in Wikipedia there is no way to know what the true nature of their economy is, "Due to the double nature of the Ukraine economics,"
I read in the PBS piece that Yanukovych is a "short term" thinker, like almost every politician in the US, I guess Ukraine is no different in that respect, as we know politicians will promise anything to get elected, then reverse themselves completely. It surprises me that people would go through a bitter cold experience and protest a politician that didn't keep a promise. Happens all the time in the US. As if the people of the Ukraine didn't have it bad enough, John McCain decides to go over there to give his support. This guy ran for president with Sarah Palin. He's a national embarrassment. 
Yanukovych is one of the top 1% in the Ukraine and his son Oleksandr " has notably become one of the richest men in the country during his father’s time in office, leading a group known as “the family” and a conglomerate called Management Assets Company.[3]
  "companies linked to (Oleksandr) Yanukovych in 2012 at no cost had taken over majority stakes worth an estimated $10 million in five coal enrichment plants from the state" Nothing wrong with a little nepotism, we've got plenty of it in the U.S. Like a lot of relatives of politicians, Yanukovych's son has made a fortune through government contracts. Oleksandr Yanukovych - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Really, I think what the Ukraine situation comes down to is a leader who is really out for himself and his cronies.
Are the people in the Ukraine protesting corruption? That's not what anyone is really saying. What would be the result of a EU agreement for the Ukraine President Yanukovych and his friends and family? Russian sentiment is that if Ukraine signed the EU agreement it would be economic suicide. "It would make little sense to the Ukrainian elite and population to embark on a painful realignment of their entire socio-economic system to EU standards if the Union’s member states continue business as usual with a Russia." So you have a restructuring of an economy that would disrupt the status quo. Especially, for the elite 1% and their cronies.
Good Luck with that.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Street

3 jobs.
The guy who sits behind me at work has three jobs. His wife asked "what are we doing wrong?" She's a school counselor. They are both educated, smart people. 
They can't make ends meet. Together they have 4 jobs. 
That's why employment is up!
I'm not an economist, but I am thinking temporary Christmas jobs might have bounced the jobs numbers. 
Nobody is talking about the kinds of jobs people are getting.
Did anyone notice the fast food workers strike on Thursday? I never buy fast food, so I stayed away from McDonalds like I always do.
McDonald's and Wal-Mart depend heavily on taxpayer subsidies to underwrite their profits. Without food stamps and other taxpayer-paid benefits, most of their workers wouldn't be able to cobble together a living from day to day. 
When I told my friend that the system is rigged, he didn't say anything. He can't understand why he is failing after he has done "everything right."  I hear stories like this all the time. People who just can't get ahead, who can't save a dime. People who work fulltime who are living paycheck to paycheck, very few of these people ever think about why that is. They are too exhausted from working so hard to think about what is happening all around them.
I think about it all the time.
I think about 2008 and the banks that got their government welfare queen handouts. Isn't capitalism great?
While everyone was sleeping off their Thanksgiving turkey coma, this happened; Another Batch of Wall Street Villains Freed on Technicality | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone
Yeah, it's good to work on The Street. On my street, things are very different. 
We are living through a huge transition much like the when farm workers were told to work in factories. Then we didn't need factory workers, so they had to become office workers. Then we didn't need office workers, so now everybody is supposed to be a university-educated professional. 
I know lots of college educated people who can't get a decent job with decent wages. 
They all bought into the American dream that broke.
It broke when an economy that was built on a cheap oil post war boom, crashed. We still have billions to give to oil companies. Oil Companies Reap Billions From Subsidies -
But politicians can't wait to take away food stamps from the poor, including the working poor. We need to start a sustainable economy that isn't hell bent on giving corporations carte blanche and taking everything they can from working class Americans. The status quo lie of hard work leading to a comfortable lifestyle is over. But we are supposed to keep marching into a dystopian future and not even question the capitalist nightmare that has gone into overdrive with a huge economic disparity.
 Nelson Mandela may have brought an end to Apartheid in South Africa, however, there is an economic ghetto that has exiled millions of Americans.
Until my friend behind me wakes up and his wife realizes that they are NOT doing anything wrong, wrong will continue to be done and the people doing it need to be held accountable. We have to stop thinking society exists to meet the needs of an economic system. The economic system must exist to serve the needs of the society, not The Street.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Heckuva Job

It's good to be friends with this chick.
I have no idea how many of you have looked at I did on the first day it was up. Needless to say, it wasn't successful, at least in my case. It was kind of like a first date, awkward.
So I wondered, who the hell set up this website? It turns out that we outsourced it to a Canadian tech company, CGI Group.
My first thought was oh, because Canada has the evil socialized medical care, so that made sense, since I actually have heard people call President Obama a socialist. When I hear this, I always say, I wish.
Anyway I'm getting off course here.
So I start googling CGI Group. I'm wondering if there's someone connected to a lobby or a govenrment official, right?
 Here's what it says about CGI Group in Wikipedia
"In 2012, CGI had its $46.2-million contract to build an electronic diabetes registry for eHealth Ontario formally cancelled after it failed to meet deadlines imposed by eHealth and was eventually declared obsolete and overtaken by newer technology developed by other contractors."
In other words, this company sucks and whoever hired them didn't do any research. I wonder why?
Anyway I'm scrolling down and reading, yada, yada, yada,
"In 2004 CGI purchased the majority of American Management Systems (AMS), acquiring the commercial business and all government business not related to national defense"
 Ok, so I click on the link. This company was founded by some "whiz kids" who worked for Robert McNamara in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. This company won an award for the Defense Department's Standard Procurement System. Really? Are we talking about $500 toilet seats here?
So far no one related to anyone that I can see. Any way CGI could only buy the portion of the company not related to national defense, because it can't belong to a foreign based company. Anyway the defense part was bought by a company called CACI.
If you click on that link and scroll down you will see the words, Abu Ghraib. CACI was sued in "U.S. federal court. The plaintiffs, former prisoners, allege that the companies directed and participated in torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, sexual assault, as well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment"
Ok, in other words, CGI bought a company that, on it's defense end was ultimately responsible for Abu Grahib. That's not a crime but it is interesting.
Anyway, I digress, as usual.
So I am wondering about presidents and senior VP's etc. But it looks like I am late to the party,
CGI Federal executive had White House meetings | The Daily Caller
So it looks like Michelle Obama's college friend is a VP at CGI. 
Sometimes I just want to be wrong, Because I always think that there is some connection to someone in power somewhere. This case is no different.
"The Department of Health and Human Services reviewed only CGI’s bid for the Obamacare account"
This was the ONLY company considered for the job to create the first website for
So there ya go. Heckuva job there.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Something that kind of took me by surprise this week was Pope Francis' "Apostolic Exhortation" where he talks about saying "No to an economy of exclusion." He did say yes to continue  to exclude women from the priesthood.
I'm not a Catholic anymore, but hey, neither is God.
My first thought when I read about Pope Francis and his concern about everyone being so fixated on the stock market and not giving a damn about homeless people dying of exposure was, yeah, many billions is the Vatican sitting on in priceless art and artifacts?
In this season of giving, a gesture like selling the Sistine Chapel and giving the proceeds to the poor would put the money where his mouth is.
Thanksgiving is a bipolar holiday. There's been quite a backlash about employers forcing their employees to work on what was always a family holiday, now, of course, we're supposed to worship the Thanksgiving sale! What would the Puritans think of that? I've never read anything about the Puritans being capitalists, but you would think they were, right? Because now retailers are trying to turn Thanksgiving into a shopping extravaganza.
And why not? Since capitalism is the best "'ism".
Party On Powhatans!
No one knows what really happened back in 1621 when 52 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans decided to hang out and celebrate. Everyone seemed to be getting along until the Indian Massacre of 1622, when unarmed Powhatan Native Americans came to some kind of party with food and suddenly grabbed every weapon in sight for no reason and proceeded to have a "masacree." (for you Arlo Guthrie fans)
 By 1623, there was a switch from communal farming to PRIVATIZED farming.
You don't really hear anything about how these people in the "New World" got their land. First they lived on their Mayflower ship, then they "magically" are farming. From what I've been reading, relations between the Native Americans "deteriorated" because Pilgrims and Puritans kept coming and Native Americans were pushing back against people who just decided to take. There you have it, "Thankstaking"
So now we have a day where people are eating the "free" turkey that has been granted by our retail overlords. (That is, if you have that kind of "reward" at your grocery store) Meanwhile they've jacked up the prices for other "trimmings" for this annual moneymaking "feast". Now I go back to the bipolar part where we stuff ourselves silly and wonder why there's an epidemic of obesity here in 'Merica. Then in order to work off all this extreme eating we do some extreme shopping on Black Friday. Because it's time to give back to Wall Street and spend, spend, spend, so we can have another consumer driven holiday that has everything to do with impoverishing people who are barely surviving and worshiping the Golden Calf, as Pope Francis says. We'll all be watching the market rally with tidings of great profits while our fellow Americans are trying to deal with cuts to the food stamp program.
Who's going to be scratching their head at the Thanksgiving table wondering what the hell we're really celebrating? How many Americans are going to be thinking of the Native Americans living in poverty on the "Rez" what do they have to celebrate? Talk about an"Economy of Exclusion."
Pass the cranberries and have fun shopping tomorrow. Happy Thankstaking.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Going Nuclear

"you may regret this a lot sooner than you think”.
50 years ago there was another nuclear option altogether. Thankfully it didn't happen. Here's another thing that won't happen, another filibuster.
But, uh oh, someone changed the "rules" and they might regret it later. Um yeah, ok. Until the "rules" are changed again right?
Is this guy serious? Let's see, gerrymandering, fraudulent elections, going to war without permission of the people, too bad there wasn't a filibuster for that. The only regret that anyone should have is that they voted for Mitch McConnell.
If there was ever a time that the filibuster served it's purpose, that time is long gone. How much longer would we have to put up with Republican filibusters and why? Then as soon as a Republican is elected there would no more filibusters? They shut the government down, costing $2 billion.
Have a look at all the bills that could have been passed, including millionaires paying 30% in taxes, but nooo, we can't have that. What we can have is a bunch of people not doing anything and getting paid for it.
Right now, Congress is less popular than a colonoscopy.
Harry Reid killed the filibuster but the Republicans never abused it, right?
So now that the filibuster is dead maybe all the Republicans can just retire or quit since they won't be able to filibuster anymore.
 I think it's really interesting that the world might be a safer place thanks to an historic agreement with Iran and their nuclear weapons and Harry Reid had to go nuclear.
82 nominations have been filibustered since President Obama was elected, "blockages under Obama have accounted for a disproportionate share of those undertaken in United States history" 
Oh and here's something else I read in Politifact, "there’s evidence that blocked nominations were rare to nonexistent before that."
"Rare to nonexistant"  versus 82.  
PolitiFact | Harry Reid says 82 presidential nominees have been blocked under President Barack Obama, 86 blocked under all other presidents 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

T.P.....P Trans-Pacific Partnership?

I don't know what the initials T.P. means to you, but I know in my house it means toilet paper. It looks like TPP, Trans PacificPartnership Agreement is probably something ass wipe worthy. While all the craziness and confusion of the ACA and how the website is shite and no one is signing up, (read people can't afford it) the secret negotiations of the TPP has been going on behind our backs with the usual government distractions to keep us in the dark. Thanks to Wikileaks, they have brought the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations to light and it ain't pretty.
Really, what we have here, in typical U.$. fashion, is an agreement in favor of, you guessed it, CORPORATIONS. There will be new copyright terms which will effect public domain. There is also some kind of copyright liability for ISP's (Internet Service Providers) filtering and blocking access judged to be infringing on copyright laws. Patents are also primo in this agreement, especially when it's in a corporations favor. It's called "Evergreening" and it would stop denying patents to corporations in what I can sort of interpret as whatever product is invented "does not have enhanced efficacy of said product" Say what? 
According to Truthout's article Chile's lead negotiator in this farce has dropped out. Peru is asking for a "public, political and technical debate" I can only think that the reason that there hasn't been a public debate is that there is something shady going on and less freedom will be the result especially when it comes to the internet.
Unbelievably China is not a part of this "partnership agreement" and other countries giving pushback are New Zealand. and Japan.
I can only imagine what this 'trade agreement" will mean for U$ (and I don't men average citizens) According to the House Ways and Means committee, " If the Administration continues to delay its engagement on this politically and economically important issue, it will undermine support for TPP and could delay our ability to conclude TPP."  I can  hardly believe anything will pass the in the House, but money talks and who knows what lobby's are really writing regarding the TPP? It would be nice of there was some kind of public debate going on, but then angain people who actually remember NAFTA might not be so inclined to agree with the TPP goals, which do not seem to be in support of average citizens anywhere. What place does a secret treaty have in a free and democratic society?  Why is it that we have to find out what is going on through Wikileaks? Why is the American press not doing it's job?  Maybe because it is owned by commercial interests and big business?
I expect this "Agreement" to be passed with very little fanfare or debate, while our privacy and access to information is sold to whatever international corporation the U$ sells out to.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

One Nation Under Minimum Wage

Governor Christie may have won the election, but the people of New Jersey also voted to increase minimum wage, which Christie rejected.
What minimum wage means is that if employers could get away with it they wouldn't pay you at all. 
President Obama wants to raise minimum wage
to $9.00 an hour. But just like Christie, I doubt any Republican will go along with that. Whether the will of the people vote to raise minimum wage, or President Obama suggests legislation to raise it, it ain't gonna happen, plain and simple.
Income disparity is out of control and CEO's pay has never been higher. What's crazy is the high price we pay for just about everything except for peoples labor.
While President Obama might want to raise minimum wage, the government is one the leading offenders paying contractors less than $10 an hour.  In Chicago, there's a labor movement called Fight For 15. They are asking for $15 an hour, sick days and other humane conditions, unless of course, you like people who are ill and contagious cooking and serving your food.
There are some estimates that if wages were tied to inflation minimum wage would be $11 an hour. 
You would think at some point we would stop living in the past, paying people 20th century wages and move into the 21st century. Instead we keep going backward.
 I think that a lot of fast food minimum wage employers would probably be happy going way back to slavery, it seems like that's their goal. CEO's pay is outrageous, then they take their profits and offshore them. 
Then there's the argument that "job creators" will not be able to create more jobs because of higher wages. They been doing such a great job with the crap wages we are earning now, the economy is positively booming, right? Let's see is there an economy that's kicking America's ass with strong labor protections for it's workers? Why yes indeed! That would be Germany!
Germany's economy is better than ours, their workers get 35 days paid vacation and guess what? Their job creators aren't complaining about not being able to create jobs. Look around the world at the countries that have strong unions and the countries that have no unions, where would you rather live? America is just not that exceptional. Our current system is unbalanced, the result being that corporations and big banks have too much power making the system inefficient and unproductive except for the 1% with power. We need a democratic workplace. Come to think of it, we need a real democracy.

Can you imagine Americans of 1968 settling for a minimum wage standard of living that had been set based on 1924 standards?  What about 1880 standards?  At some point we should expect low-wage workers to start living better than they used to. - See more at:
had the US income distribution and US standards of decency remained exactly what it was in 1968, the minimum wage would now be $21.16 per hour. - See more at:
had the US income distribution and US standards of decency remained exactly what it was in 1968, the minimum wage would now be $21.16 per hour. - See more at:
had the US income distribution and US standards of decency remained exactly what it was in 1968, the minimum wage would now be $21.16 per hour. - See more at:
had the US income distribution and US standards of decency remained exactly what it was in 1968, the minimum wage would now be $21.16 per hour. - See more at:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Banksy Was Here

"there are some places for art and there are some places [not for] art" Mayor Bloomberg

 New York City is home to tons of galleries and museums. It's a money making machine for the tourist industry.  UK artist Banksy has set up a month long residency in NYC, pissing off Mayor Bloomberg who has called him a vandal.  I've been called a lot of names in my life, "vandal" isn't one of them. Usually, I get "weird."                                                     

 The last time I visited the Guggenheim it cost me $20. The price of a bus ticket is almost double that. The place for art and the price just to see art has become something for those that can afford it and Bloomberg showed his ignorance in the above statement. In Washington D.C. the museums are free. I wonder how many tax dollars go towards maintaining NYC's art museums?
My daughter went to the Metropolitan museum of art and they are now taking whatever you can donate instead of the $20 they usually charge. Art isn't a thought in most people's head, people I know are just trying to survive.
Just like the McDonalds workers that make minimum wage and the fact that Banksy is paying attention. 
What do you think this piece says about power, wealth and the plight of the American worker?
It's appalling to know that the war on the poor is part of an art exhibition instead of a thing of the past.
The mayor of a city known for art and culture can compare the worlds most famous street artist to a vandal just goes to show that Banksy's artistic political statements need to be made. What I think is even more interesting about this controversy is how little art and artists are appreciated in this country, that there is really no place for them unless they are the rich and famous.(10% of artists fit this category, mostly male.)
 People like Bloomberg who live in a rarified world where they trickle down on the poor, the homeless and the unemployed can't keep art locked away in it's "proper place." Art is "better out than in" The people who get to choose where art should be, are the artists who create it.
                                                                 Make some art today!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Still Not Okay

Stronger than the storm? Maybe Chris Christie is. He will surely win the upcoming election, however I don't know anyone who would vote for him.
In my town here on the Jersey shore many are still waiting for help and funds that will probably never come, funds Chris Christie had access to and used to plaster his face in an expensive public relations advertising scheme using over  $2 million that could have gone to families in need. There are somewhere around 26,000 families still displaced.
Our community center flooded during the storm it will be re-opened today providing a photo-op for Governor Christie, he is finally getting around to coming to my town. We didn't have a boardwalk or amusement
rides where I live, guess Christie had better things to do, like rebuilding a boardwalk that later sustained millions of dollars in damage as a result of a fire.

Christie has blamed a majority of the problems in getting relief to the people who have lost their homes on the red tape the government established after Hurricane Katrina. Applications have been lost, people have been fired, mistakes made that resulted in errors that denied people funding and another committee has been set up to figure out why these things occurred.
As much as I dislike Christie I can't blame the whole Sandy mess on him,
the fact is that that there are multiple reasons why this catastrophe has hit people so hard. One big reason no one talks about is the state of the economy. I know where I live, what once was cottages only meant for summer use became year round residences for people. As the economy melted down people began to double up with their parents and grandparents.

This is a good example of a lot of the houses that were flooded during the storm.
Some people inherited these places from family and when times got hard they moved in and stayed, living on a coastline year round where housing should never have been built, not unless you expect to be flooded out at anytime. Some of these people are retirees who bought these places years ago, paid cash and had no flood insurance. How these people will be able to rebuild  remains to be seen. Add to that the burden of what is already known as the highest property tax rate in the country and you have a recipe for what will be another disaster. This month I went to the township to pay my taxes and asked the workers there how many people were coming back after being flooded out, their answer? "Not many". Taxes will be going up here in order to make up for lost revenue, but you can't get more out of a populace that's overtaxed and underemployed.
Many people owned second homes here, I personally know a guy who had FEMA come out to his parents vacation home, that's right, a second home, this guy wanted the government to pay for. If he did it, I can't imagine how many others did, wasting FEMA's time and money that could have been used for those truly in need.
 I am wondering if I should bother leaving the house today since traffic will be a nightmare with Christie in town. There are a lot of  people who are very excited about Christie's visit, he is just doing what a politician does before an election, that's all that this fanfare is. I fail to see how it's going to help any of the people who are still suffering here.
First we get a hurricane and now we get a huge windbag. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The $24 Billion Dollar Temper Tantrum

Usually after a crises there is time for reflection. In order to avoid a mistake again. Unfortunately, it's going to be made, again and again. On January 15th, it will be Tea Party nutjobs time to score again in their game of chicken. You would think after gaining absolutely nothing, the nonsense would stop, but I doubt it because these people are crazy.
Yeah, they did. Not one ounce of shame, no sense of how completely wrong this act was. This is America. Isn't it great?
One good thing to come out of this, maybe Mitch McConnell will lose his seat in DC because he's not conservative enough.
John Boehner, is trying to run the asylum and failing miserably. No wonder he breaks down and cries at the drop of a hat. The Koch Brothers and billionaires who fund the Tea Party want to privatise the government, enriching them even more, the Tea Party is so ignorant or they just don't care that they are being used
I guess maybe I should be grateful that these fools didn't show up at the White House in hoods and robes, but their neo Confederate, right wing fantasy of "Christian Values" is dangerous.
So what's going to happen next?

A conference committee, that's right, after all the "Supercomittee" was so successful. Paul Ryan will be the lead negotiator in this group, he did not vote for the compromise to open the government. Get ready to hear about all of us entitled people who will be entitled to hear about cuts to entitlements, oh and tax cuts. The result of the last Supercommittee was Sequestration because they couldn't come to an agreement. Sequestration was supposed to be so terrible that no one would let it happen, but it did. I don't have any hope of any committee solving any problems. The only thing I can see coming down the road where they 
kicked the can are... that's right, spending cuts! They couldn't defund the ACA so the punishment will be cuts to whatever social programs that make this country humane. Back in the good old days I was always told I lived in the "richest country in the world," now we are so poor we can't even take care of our own people, supposedly.
 So here we are, a waste of billions of dollars and a bunch of crying about the deficit. Then we can sit back and watch the show in January. I can hardly wait to see another showdown of Congresscritters who get "caught up in emotion"  and berate innocent National Park Service employees and yes, that jackass still has a job. There's not going to be any real action to stop these idiotic shutdowns from continuing while every other civilized country provides healthcare to their people. Don't believe me? Look at this map.
See all that green? Those countries provide healthcare. Wasn't that what this shutdown was all about? Even gay-hatin Russia provides healthcare to it's people. Oh yeah, isn't that what all those Teabaggers are afraid we'll turn into? Because look at how great capitalism is and the wonderful things that it's done for us. Because our economy is amazing and we live in the richest, most exceptional country in the world. Right?

*Pic of Confederate flag wavin'Teanutjob from Washington Post
*Map from Wikimedia
* There's been a lot of speculation about Ted Cruz running for President, which is sprinkling extra stupid all over the Tea Party. He was born in Canada. Does that mean anything? Status as a natural-born citizen of the United States is one of the eligibility requirements. There ya go birthers.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Wayback Machine

Anybody remember "the Wayback Machine"? In the good old days there was a cartoon show called Rocky and Bullwinkle. It was on TV from 1959 to 1964 and ever after thanks to reruns. Today, in 2013, I've been reading some interesting things about Republicans and their crushing on "The Founding Fathers", comparing the government shut down to the American Revolution. Sigh.
Not all of our genius founding fathers were slave  owners, but most of them were. It took another century to rid this country of that evil, because they didn't have the guts to really create a more perfect union. I would really like it if we did have a revolution in this country and become more civilized when it comes to healthcare. Instead, unlike Senators and Congresscritters, millions of Americans are told they can live free and die because they don't have access to healthcare.
"I will remind you that this group of renegades that decided that they wanted to break from the crown in 1776 did great damage to the economy of the colonies. They created the greatest nation and the best form of government, but they did damage to the economy in the short run.” Morgan Griffith (R-Va) Yeah, ok.
Because the best form of government means you can own a human being and women have no rights. So let's imagine ourselves as a band of renegades who keep women from having access to birth control. It's 2013 and every civilized country has a single payer healthcare system and I'm supposed to believe that America is the greatest country. It's Patriotism and apple pie for all, however, no healthcare.
Maybe we should go back and learn about the East India Company.  That's right, it was a corporation. Surprise, surprise, it had a lobby in the English Parliament. It was a monopoly. Interesting fact, Britain had a huge trade deficit with China (sound familiar?) the company decided to create a monopoly in the opium trade. They shipped the opium by way of India to China. The East India Company had a devastating influence on India that lasts to this day.
The East India Company had a monopoly on tea in the American colonies, it also had a huge surplus of tea it needed to unload. We didn't want the to be taxed on tea in our country by way of the East India Company, so we rebelled because of the whole "taxation without representation"  Tea Act.
We were taxed without having any true representative in Parliament and now the only representatives we have in American government are a subsidiary of corporations by way of lobbies. Today's Tea Party is funded by corporations.
Morgan Griffith got it wrong. It's more like the Civil War than the American Revolution and he's a closet Confederate. While he should be rebelling because corporate concerns are more important that the average American's concerns, the reason being is that corporate money is what is being represented in the United States. He doesn't care about that, but he should. If shutting down the government does cause another economic recession-depression I don't think our pals in China who own a buttload of our debt are going to be real happy.
 People's food stamp debit cards aren't working in the grocery stores, because of "glitches". We have seen what happens when the elite tell people they can go ahead and eat cake.
 There's going to be a revolution all right if things get worse, but it's not going to be the kind Mr. Griffith (R-Va) imagines.
Back in the "good old days" they had this too.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Power To The Have-Nots

I am pretty disgusted with how complicated things are. How barbaric people act. Nothing seems to be easy anymore. Our government is shut down over a healthcare law. A law that in my state will still keep many working poor from getting any help since Governor Christie refuses to expand Medicaid. I know Republicans are going to ask for some chained CPI for Social Security next. They want to strip away any social programs they can. Whether it's in an underhanded way, in some shady behind closed doors deal or in plain daylight, the terrorists in the US are getting away with murder, everyday that people have to go without healthcare.
I saw this on the internet. A girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban. Ya know, for talking too much. She was talking about education for women. She took a bullet for it.
 She has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Her name is Malala.
When I see someone as eloquent as this 16 year old girl who was shot by the Taliban for speaking out, I see some hope. Not for this country, however, because we have our own Taliban.
The Tea Taliban and the Republican party, have been busy gutting our public education system for years. Women getting birth control with the ACA is another no-no here in the land of the free. There's no end to the list of demands the terrorists in our government want. The person who is supposed to be in charge of these Tearanists (yeah, I made a word up.) is the biggest coward of them all. He is afraid he will lose his job if the Tea Particles don't get their way.
Nominated For The Booby Prize
        Everything this man is doing,  is nothing more than trying to save his own skin, to save face.
A 16 year old girl has more guts than this jackass.
Nominated For A Nobel Peace Prize
I hope I am looking at the future, when I look at the picture of this amazing young woman. She has more balls than Boehner will ever have.
Good Luck Malala, I hope you get that prize.
                                              I hope John Boehner gets what he deserves. He has been called the worst Speaker of the House since the Civil War and his closet Confederates act like that is exactly what they want.
When people don't have the dignity to accept change, to acknowledge the will of the people, you have situations like what happened to Malala, with a terrorist holding a gun to your head.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Dirty Thirty

There's a lot of speculation about how the Democrats refuse to compromise and Republican's are just trying to carry out the will of the American people. Even though for the last 2 elections they have voted for Obama and Obamacare. The GOTEAer's are willing to hijack democracy and tank the US economy to try to stop women having birth control state-funded like the rest of the Western world. That's pretty much it.
There are no consequences for shutting down the government, neither side loses. Low approval ratings or polls have no impact on Congresspeople, it's irrelevant.  All you have to do is get elected, then you get a career as a lobbyist, consultant or a speaker for corporations. Unemployment is never a problem for politicians which is why they don't have any sympathy for the unemployed.
Lets just hypothesize that the Speaker of the House does not agree with the government shut down. He may act like he's got a lot to lose, but if he does lose the Speakership, he will just be recycled into a lobbyist or corporate spokesperson. Then try again for another election if he gets bored. It's a win-win!
Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachman, Rand Paul and 27 others willing to commit treason to get their way and  Republicans are willing to go right along with them. They know that the ACA is the first step to universal healthcare. As the younger generation takes over, former red states are going to turn blue. Its going to happen and that's why this travesty is going on. Medicare for all WILL eventually happen.
 There's a whole new generation of Americans who are tired of the selfishness, cruelty and lack of foresight the Fright Wing is responsible for. The worst among them are these Tea Particles, all 30 of them.
Fact is that our healthcare system is complicated, burdensome and cruel. It is a job killer and having a system like this based on employment has failed.
These Tea people are responsible for the slogan of  "keep your hands off my medicare."
With the almost 40 million people uninsured and almost that many living in poverty, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what a drag on the economy people without healthcare cost us. Many of the states run by Republican governors won't expand Medicaid leaving the working poor to fend for themselves. The next logical step is going to be Medicaid for all. When people get that it's going to be "keep your hands off my Medicaid."
 I just hope that the next "compromise" is not going to be some "Grand Bargain" of handing over Social Security to be privatized. Because thats' the next thing these Teatards want to get rid of. President Obama never thought the Radical Right would go for the Sequester, but they did. I hope he knows better than to compromise after 2011.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Today's Senate prayer: "Have mercy upon us, oh God, and save us from the madness."

Welcome back, Mr. President. The guy who ran for President in 2008 has shown up and called out John Boehner. Something I've been doing for years. While Tea Particles continue to insure that people without insurance, don't get insured, Boehner continues to back them. 
Some woman tried to breach Capitol security with her Lexus and kid inside, went on a wild chase and ended up getting shot and killed. Hope it was worth it.
I am not sure how much crazier it can get. But I am sure it will get crazier.
The Treasury says a U.S default could be catastrophic, but not as catastrophic as Boehner losing his Speakership.  His whole "Legacy is on the line".
I am sure something good can be said for this guy. But I won't be the one saying it.
However, someone's been saying that Congress members "reeked of alcohol", after shutting down the government. Party on, Tea Particles!
This madness should be found in a Shakespeare play. Unfortunately it is right here in the good old USA, home of the uncivilized. While almost every civilized country considers healthcare a basic human right, our first step to getting a public option is a no-go for Republicans.  
This is what they are fighting about? Really?  (Because your corporate lobby overlords told you to.)
So shut the mother down Tea Toadies. Go for it, you're all Gerrymandered in your ivory seats in Congress. 
Mr. Speaker has a problem on his hands however, how to save his own hide.
Enjoy your Merlot, while ordinary Americans can barely afford Coors Light.
Let alone health insurance. You tell those job creators how great the economy is.
 Why else would you risk another economic catastrophe?
Unless of course that's exactly what those Teatards want.
Who's going to save them from themselves?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Opera And The House

I guess if the New York City Opera can shut down, why not the government?
 Americans either can't afford to go to the opera or aren't really interested and even after the sold out performances of "Anna Nicole" the opera's contemporary tale about the tragic life of Anne Nicole Smith, it failed to make enough to stay open.
 Maybe it's me, but I know I wouldn't pay money to see that. Which begs the question, how out of touch are people who stage opera's about dead pseudo celebrities and people who engineer government shut downs?
I never really "got" Anna Nicole Smith or the Kardashians, I don't get Ted Cruz or John Boehner or Mitch McConnell. Why are these people famous? What did they ever do to improve the lives of anyone? They are part of the American landscape. Politically and culturally, or what's left of our culture. 
The NYC Opera was waiting for an 11th hour donor to come through, like President Obama was waiting for some sane Republicans to stop shutting down our government at the last minute.
I can't help but feel that this government shut down is a bunch of theater, like the opera. The next thing you know there may be a "Grand Bargain," a giveaway of some social program that the American people want and need, but the 1% think we can do without in exchange for the government being open for business. 
What exactly will the 99% have to give up?
 Who exactly is working in the wings, behind the scenes, writing the dialog that ordinary Americans have to parse every day in order to figure out what is REALLY going on? Everyday Americans are pretty paranoid about their meager existence being pulled out from under them in this brittle "recovery" that is barely visible.
Supposedly this shutdown is about the ACA. Well it's online today, I already went there to check it out.  
The Health Insurance Marketplace is Open! |
It's cumbersome and complicated but at least it's something. There are 30-40 million uninsured in this country that can just go pound salt according to the Tea Particles. That's really what this is about. Those that have don't worry about their health insurance since Ted Cruz is insured by Goldman Sachs.
I've never been to the opera, but I have been through a few government shut downs. I guess this  one won't be over till the fat lady sings.The question is does she have health insurance? I guess not, now that she's unemployed.
 Oh look, a voice of reason!
I can't wait to vote for her for President!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cruz Control

Fact:: The majority of Americans voted for President Obama and his healthcare plan.
Fact: Republicans do not care if Americans have affordable health care. (I wonder why?)
It is really that simple.
There must be some reason that the GOTEA Party
 would rather shut down the government than to give the American people the chance to see what the Affordable Care Act could do for them.
There are parts of the Affordable Care Act that are already effect, like not being turned down by the health insurance INDUSTRY for pre-existing conditions, or being able to keep your kids on your policy until they are 26.
Americans that I know are very happy with these provisions of the ACA. So why is the GOTEA Party hellbent on sutting down the government in order to now, just put off the ACA for another year? Because it's like crack and Americans will just want more and more!

Lets tally the list of demands the GOTEA Party wants:
Outlaw abortion
No food stamps
Privatize Social Security (not sure if they want it at all)
No public schools.
For sure no gay people, PERIOD.
No Affordable Healthcare Act.
Willing to shut down the government to keep the ACA from being implemented.
 There is a simple solution for this situation.
How about Congress and the Senate go without healthcare for a year?
If they do not pass the budget then their salaries get cut first.
What are your ideas?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hostage Situation

He has healthcare.
43 million people don't have healthcare. I am one of them. When health insurance at my place of employment went up to $180 a week, I could no longer afford it. Not to mention the fact that the insurance plan hardly paid for anything. I am not sure what the healthcare exchanges will do for me. But I would like to at least have the option of finding out what the ACA could do for millions of Americans just like me.

Hatred of the ACA has become so great by many of the right wing GOP, that they are prepared to throw the people under the bus because of it. No matter what you think of what is termed 'Obamacare' it is legislation that has already been passed and agreed on. Now they want to shut the government down.

They are willing to gut the SNAP program as if getting food stamps is a luxury. The GOP hates the ACA so much that they are willing to let the military go unpaid, stop medical research and God knows what else, just to defund Obamacare. They have held the economy hostage for years causing people to lose jobs and make America look like a third world country. They have declared war on the poor, the middle class and any American that is struggling in an economy that is rigged against the average citizen.
Boehner is always saying he speaks for the American people. I don't know any American who thinks it's a good idea for people to go without healthcare, to go hungry or to go without employment for decent wages. So who could he be speaking for? Maybe rich people? Why is it that these "leaders" wait for a crises in order to do anything? Then, the only thing they are willing to do is let Americans in need go without. All these politicians do is the very least to get by and retain their jobs. It really makes me sick. So go ahead and shut it down. History will show what a failure this Speaker of The House is.
History will also show that President Obama will remembered for being the first President to get health care reform passed after nearly every President before him tried and failed. History will remember that he brought the country back from the brink of a 2nd Great Depression. My biggest problem with President Obama is that he didn't go far enough.
 When your own government is populated with terrorists holding the economy hostage and denying healthcare to millions while saying they "speak" for the American people, well I want to know who exactly they are speaking to? Certainly not the uninsured.
                                                                       Funny right?