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!