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Monday, October 31, 2011

Obama takes Arizona in 2012. Myth or potential reality?

A recent Rocky Mountain poll says that as of today, it would happen.  President Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by 45 percent to 40 percent.  Herman Cain and rick Perry both come in at 38 percent.  The way things are going in the GOP right now, and if the President continues his forceful support of his jobs bill, this could be a nationwide trend in the near future.  Although the Occupy Phoenix turnout was only around 1,000, for the first time progressives have made themselves heard in Arizona.

Did you know that Arizona’s legislature was considered the most conservative in the nation last year?  Also the most farcical considering its political blunderings.  But it looks like states east and north are putting Arizona to shame in 2011 with their conservative fanaticism.  I am talking about Alabama and South DakotaArizona got its first place in 2010 with the rash of stupid gun laws and the bigoted anti-immigration bill SB1070, authored by State Sen. Russell Pearce.
Due to the 2010 election, state legislatures across the country had more Republicans than anytime since 1928.  This esteemed body of racists produced a total of 1,592 bills connected to immigration.  The granddaddy, of course, was passed in xenophobic Arizona.  Other states like unenlightened Tennessee now prevents public school teachers from helping students understand theories such as evolution and global warming.
The conservatives have obviously had the momentum, but this radicalism, along with corporate greed and an inept Congress, has now awakened the progressives from their long sleep.  The Occupy movement is the best example, and hopefully this will translates into votes in 2012.  Michael Moore said Mr. Obama’s only hope for re-election was the Occupy Movement.  I don’t agree, but Moore also said he must come out immediately in a more forceful way for the left and I agree with this 100 percent.

Another very interesting point in the poll is that the President picked up 50 percent of Arizona’s Independent voters against Romney, Cain and Terry, with their showing of 29 percent, 33 percent and 26 percent, respectively.  If Independents in the most conservative state in the country have decided that Obama is the best choice in 2012, still over one year from the election, what can democrats expect from their stronghold states and those that are left-leaning?  It depends entirely on just how hard we work for the votes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Think your personal data is safe? Think again

I spent 35 years in the junk mail industry selling your names and personal data, making a lot of money doing it.  That’s the reason companies are so anxious for you to reply to their offers, asking you to “tell them all about yourself.”  All about yourself garners over $4 billion annually for junk mailers and data brokers who hawk your private information like any other commodity.  Years ago when I started in the business, security was at the bottom of the priority list.  Profit was number one.

This has changed in the last few years with the number of personal data breaches soaring, and identity theft becoming the top consumer complaint according to the Federal Trade Commission.  The top five states in 2010 were Florida, Arizona, California, Georgia and Texas.  South Dakota was last.  You can see the full FTC report here.  The largest age group hit was 20 to 29, followed by 30 to 39, then 40 to 49.  Those age 60 plus surprisingly accounted for only 13 percent.

And then there was the massive hack into RSA SecurID tags in March of this year.  RSA provides additional security to 40 million customers to prevent unauthorized access to their data systems.  RSA’s SecurID tags are a two-factor authentication solution that provides additional security to its clients.  This includes, along with the normal username and password, a key fob or token in randomized code that must also be entered.

The hackers could now possess the keys to circumvent companies’ database protection.

RSA described the attack as an “advanced persistent threat” (APT), an approach that involves “…patient, skilled, well-funded attackers…”  It was carried out in three stages.  First, “phishing” emails are sent to employees of the target company.  In RSA’s case, one opened the message and then opened an attached Excel file.  Bingo, malware installed through the backdoor. 

Second, the hacker, in control of the employee’s computer, steals his or her passwords and uses them to enter other systems where sensitive data is housed.  Three, extracting files from RSA to a hosting provider’s hacked machine, the data is then downloaded to the hacker. 

The security industry believes there have been other victims, companies not willing to talk openly like RSA.  Those affected by the RSA breach include giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft.  Other large corporations were Charles Schwab, Freddie Mac, Wells Fargo, Intel and IBM.  Government agencies named were the General Services Administration and the IRS.



Security analyst Brian Krebs said: “The sheer number of corporations mentioned in the list proves that no one is safe from attack.”  He added: “That’s why these attacks are called ‘advanced persistent threats.’  They often carry on for years without anyone knowing.  But RSA says they feel no damage has been done to the best of their knowledge, and some of its client companies may have fended off the attacks with no damage done.  You can see a list of all the companies involved here.

There is a treasure trove of personal data in this list which could yield the bad guys just about any information they wanted on most individuals in the U.S.  And this is only the beginning.  The key fobs or tokens were on the Internet underground within hours, and many of us won’t know for months, perhaps even years, if our private information is going to be stolen.

Read more here and here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

If the 1% buy elections, the 99% must cancel that with their votes

The Center for Media and Democracy’sPR Watch says, “…the top one percent are playing an increasingly outsized role in American elections.”  My simple answer to that is to offset this influence with the 99 percent that can out contribute and vote out the congressional culprits that are taking it under the table. 

Yes, that’s exactly what it is when you buy votes, no matter how the contribution was made.  We’re all sick and tired of the stock answer from aides—almost never from the elected official—that the donation of money to his or her campaign has nothing to do with the Senator’s or Representative’s votes.  BS!

This becomes even more bizarre when you consider many of these politicians and their aides, when leaving office, slip right into high-paying lobbyist positions in Washington, as the following video illustrates.



This increased influence was made possible by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, and is one of the primary factors fueling the Occupy movement nationwide.  PR Watch accuses a CEO of the Variety Wholesalers dimestore discount chain headquartered in North Carolina of buying that state.  “The Republican agenda in North Carolina is really Art Pope's agenda,” says Marc Farinella, a Democratic political consultant.

Thanks to the Citizens United decision, Super PACs can now raise unlimited funds from corporations, unions and individuals, using this huge storehouse of cash against federal candidates.  PR Watch says this decision proves that “money is speech” and that in 2012 money will overwhelmingly come from the 1 percent.  Unless…the 99 percent kicked in say a $5 donation, $1 for low income households, for their progressive candidate of choice.  Than go out and vote.

This has become necessary because in 90 percent of political races, the one who raises the most money wins.  That’s why the folks like those in the Occupy movement, plus all good progressives out there, must take a direct approach to the 2012 elections and support the left with both money and votes.  And if you need good reason to get on the progressive band wagon, let me tell you more about that 1 percent.

The figure includes 1.4 million households that earn nearly 17 percent of U.S. income and pay approximately 37 percent of its income tax.  Their collective adjusted gross income is $1.3 trillion and the average income is $960,000.  This is the group whose incomes have soared while the middle-class deteriorates.  And the higher up in the income categories you look, the higher the gains.  It is one thing if at least we are all moving in a positive direction, but this is clearly class favoritism.

It is time to re-think the philosophy of share-the-wealth, or those without will find another way to take it back.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On the good ship Emma Maersk/Wal-Mart deadheading to China

It’s another one of those misinformed emails forwarded around the world designed to inflame the population over an issue that really isn’t an issue at all.  The subject is the Danish built ship, the Emma Maersk, whose home port is Taarbaek, Denmark, and which is lauded as the largest container ship ever built.  The non-issue is that Wal-Mart fills this behemoth with goods in China that are eventually delivered in the U.S., and the ship deadheads back to China empty.

The inference of the email is that all we do is import from China and do no exporting at all.  This is not true.  Although there was a trade deficit with China in 2010 of $273 billion, we did export $92 billion in U.S. goods to China in that year, which was a 32.2 percent increase over the prior year.  The complaint of the email should have been that the U.S., both government and private business, aren’t doing enough to balance this deficit.  Nobody cares if the Emma Maersk deadheads back to its origination; that loss is borne by the shipping company.

The email I received said the message was the “ship” and was in no way meant to be a political statement.  The sender begged for recipients not to reply about this being “political.”  Then, after several beautiful color pictures with specifications on this monstrosity, the email ends with an “Editorial Comment” that drips with the political message we were promised in the beginning there wouldn’t be.  As usual, we are urged to forward the email, which I never do.



There is a tag line: BE AMERICAN ~ BUY AMERICAN.  I not only agree with this slogan; my wife and I also make a concerted effort to buy local from businesses in our area.  But I don’t feel un-American when I do buy foreign goods, like the Honda Odyssey we just purchased.  It was just what we wanted and had the best reputation of all the mini-vans on the market.  And it was probably built in this country using American laborers, and at least some parts manufactured in the U.S.

Now, more about that trade deficit of $273 billion.  There is one good reason, although it should not be a crutch not to insist on more exports to China.  The American public wants inexpensive merchandise, cheap if you will.  That’s why the most popular and profitable retail outlets are stores like Costco, Target, and, yes, Wal-Mart.  China can produce these products at a cost considerably less than U.S. business, and whatever you think about the overseas labor situation, there is an enormous market in the U.S. for cheap goods.

The editorial comment also blames the jobs crisis on “empty containers shipped back to China.”  This is absurd.  The current jobless situation was caused by the lack of regulation of the financial community by Geo. W. Bush’s administration, which laid the groundwork for the financial meltdown, and the decimation of the housing market.  You can also blame big business for its practice of outsourcing jobs overseas, which also took flight under GWB.  Not empty Wal-Mart containers headed for China.

The Internet created an uncalled-for monster when it developed email that allows misinformation like this to circulate freely.  Our forefathers might just groan a little in considering something like this 1st Amendment worthy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why can’t Congress just get along?

It’s not my headline.  I borrowed it from Ed Hornick of CNN, and I hope he doesn’t mind.  I tried…but there is no better way to say it.  It’s a question almost everyone is asking themselves, even the President of the United States, but no one has come up with an answer.  Mr. Hornick has written an excellent article on the issue using Mr. Obama’s American Jobs Act as the nucleus for discussion.  It isn’t a pretty picture.  The author calls the underhanded moves by the Republicans just more “political theatre.

I have done several articles on this dysfunctional body of bunglers you can see by searching “Congress” above.  The most recent illustrates the amount of confidence the public has in that branch of government.  “The American public has basically dismissed the U.S. Congress according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll,” posted on Oct. 13, reveals that only 14 percent of the public support this Congress, lower than just before the 1994, 2006 and 2010 elections, when the majority party was on the verge of losing power in the House.

 

In a vote last Tuesday that was apparently meaningless except to prove that the GOP and a couple of Democrats still won’t pass any bill presented by the President.  Now the Dems can use that against Republicans in 2012, but not without the latter claiming the Dems did it just for partisan spite.  Pathetic, says John Avlon, an Independent and CNN political contributor.  Avlon cites other divided governments that have worked together, which continues to give credence to the concept that the GOP just wants to get rid of Mr. Obama.

 

The jobs bill, opposed by the Republicans in its entirety, due primarily to the 5.6 percent millionaire tax, could pass in parts due to partisan agreement.  Does that mean the President will take everything he can get, then, when the obstructionist-right pooh-poohs the tax raise, the Dems tell the American public in 2012 the GOP doesn’t love you like we do?  There has to be a better way to convince the masses that the party of big business just doesn’t give a damn about them.

 

Avlon says the Republicans’ record of being the “party of no” has moved from just being a slogan to reality.  They are voting against legislation simply because it came from the President.  Political science professor, Gary Jacobson, at the University of California, San Diego, thinks the GOP ploy is “pretty transparent.”  Why would the Republicans want to decrease unemployment before the 2012 election?  Duh.  This places everything mouthed by Speaker Boehner, Sen. McConnell and their henchmen in the category of pure crap.

 

Especially McConnell’s continuous bellowing about Obama’s American Jobs Act being just a re-run of the 2009 Recovery Act, which he claims didn’t work.  Not so, according to the Congressional Budget Office, which claims it created or supported millions of jobs, keeping the unemployment rate from rising another 2 points.  The Recovery Act was supporting up to 3.6 million jobs in 2010, 2.9 million in 2011.  Moody’s Analytics says the American Jobs Act will add 2 points to GDP growth, add 1.9 million jobs, and cut unemployment 1 percentage point.


So why can’t Congress get along?  Maybe it should take its lead from the animal world where opposites do attract…like the following slideshow suggests:

Monday, October 24, 2011

More bizarre Arizona politics

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer for President…well, not exactly

The right leaning Arizona Republic newspaper commented how Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer had become quite popular on the political speaker circuit with attendees paying $150 to hear her, another $250 to get their picture taken with her.  OK.  In Arizona, at least, this woman has trouble putting two sentences together that make sense, so she must have one hell of a teleprompter on the road.  The paper says she is joined by other “GOP heavy hitters Sarah Palin, Condoleezza Rice and Michele Bachmann.”  Yeah, sure.

Actually, the newspaper is touting Brewer as a “vice-presidential hopeful;” the president thing was my idea.  Sorta like parody in the extreme.  Apparently some bloggers desperate for attention are throwing this idea around, and that should certainly draw the attention of progressives who would love to see her on the ticket with Rick Perry.  They could probably outdo the comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.  Possibly even Laurel and Hardy.

James King, writing for the Phoenix New Times says it is coffee spitting hilarity, if you read the Republic headline early in the morning with your first cup.  King did a poll at the end of his article asking, “Could Jan Brewer really become Vice President Jan Brewer?”  The voting answers were: “Yes,” “No” and “Kill me now.”  Yes and No pulled 7.2 percent and 26.3 percent, respectively.  Kill me now pulled a walloping 66.5 percent.  It really says something when you’d rather join the deceased than live with Jan Brewer in Washington.

During these jaunts around the country Brewer is also promoting her new book, which raises the question, who is paying travel expenses?  It seems that her “reputation” is enough for the groups where she is speaking to pick up the tab.  Although it isn’t on her schedule as far as I know, I’ll bet the Comedy Club in Los Angeles would love to have her act.  Sarah Palin did the foreword to Brewer’s book, which leads me to the following scenario.

There they are, Thelma and Louise (Brewer and Palin) on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon about a half mile from the bluff in their convertible Edsel.  Behind them is a group of discontents that have read both Palin’s and Brewer’s books, chasing the pair.  The Thelma and Louise wannabes, look at each other, make their decision, and with books held high, drive right off the cliff.  And suddenly, all is well in Alaska, Arizona and the rest of the country.

But the coverage of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer would not be complete without talking about her brain dead period on TV of 13 seconds where she looks as if she doesn’t even know where or who she is.  She does recover artfully after the embarrassing lapse of a double-digit IQ with, “We have did what was right for Arizona.”  You can see the video below.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Movement is about the rights of all Americans

It is the right to have an equal share of the American pie and enjoy the benefits of a lifestyle that is affordable because we earned it and continue to work for it.  When this right is threatened by big business and the wealthy, whose greed have so far denied a sharing of the wealth, people rise up in revolution.  And that is what the Occupy Movement is all about.  There is no need to dissect this struggle by the mainstream media for a central meaning.  

The Huff Post exclaims that a “confused” media is calling for the protesters to narrow everything down to “one specific demand.”  It’s the “rights” stupid.  That covers just about every faction of Occupy from an end to corporate greed to the needs of gays and lesbians.  But the HP goes on to appease the mainstream media with a listing of why the demonstrators are criticizing the system.  

Herbert Hoover
The GOP wants fewer restrictions on big corporations, yet wants to repeal Roe v. Wade that would restrict a woman’s reproductive rights.  We witnessed the insistence by a group of racial bigots for President Obama to produce his long-form birth certificate, but wouldn’t do the same of a Republican like Rick Perry.  We saw the banks get bailed out with our tax dollars, then reward their CEOs with multimillion dollar bonuses.  We observe where the police are more likely to arrest Occupy protesters than a Baptist Church group that pickets soldiers funerals.

And finally, we live in a nation where our government makes more opportunities available to big business than to the individual American. 

HP makes two points that demonstrate both the strength of the Occupy Movement and its substance.  First, the demonstrators make no demands of the institutions in control because they are rallying to diminish and modify the power held by those institutions.  Second, even though all the protests revolve around rights, there are still a number of complaints of everyday citizens that make up the whole.

Here's a video of Keith Olbermann expressing the distress of the occupy movement:
In another Huff Post article, they cite the fact that Occupy protesters are hitting the mark with millions in this country who are upset over such a “One-sided economic recovery.”  It sounds to me like they are echoing Howard Beale’s famous line from the 1976 movie Network: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”  As Rev. Al Sharpton said of the movement earlier, it’s all about economic inequity.

It was Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who, trying to avert the disaster of another Republican, Herbert Hoover, used millions of borrowed dollars to bail out the banking system.  Hoover’s administration’s policies led to another financial calamity that had to be rescued by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.  But when Bernanke failed to attach any restrictions to those loans, the banks simply sat on the money and the economy continued to spiral down.   Yes, that’s what the Occupy Movement is angry about.


I urge you to read the above two Huff Post articles, as well as two of my previous posts here and here 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More gun sense and nonsense

This is the first in a series of articles on topics in the news that point out the utterly senseless and irresponsible way that guns are viewed and handled in this country, along with those that show a balanced approach to gun control.  In January of 2011, The Daily Beast made the following statement: “You're five times more likely to die from a gun in Arizona than Hawaii.”  They went on to list the “20 Deadliest Gun States,” which ranked Mississippi number one, Arizona 2nd.  Number 50 was Hawaii.

On the plus side, California Gov. Jerry Brown just signed a ban on open handgun carrying in public in the most populous state.  The law “makes it a misdemeanor to carry an exposed and unloaded gun in public or in vehicles, with violators facing up to a year in prison or a potential fine of $1,000 when the law takes effect on Jan 1.”  The bills sponsor, state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, said, "It's not if somebody is going be shot, it's when somebody is going to be shot.”  One delusional Arizona sheriff said the law would not reduce gun violence.

On the minus side in Arizona (as usual), U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, still infested with foot-in-mouth disease, said, “In Arizona sometimes to gain office you have to have shot someone. I'm joking, of course.”  This, after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in a mass shooting that took six lives.  This is also the same numb-nuts that in 2010 said Blacks were better off under slavery.  Pathetic.

In another plus, Walmart decided to tighten their control over the selling of firearms.  The chain has ordered its stores to hold approval on firearms sales until a Brady Law criminal background check is complete, no matter how long it takes.  The big-box retailer’s strengthening of its management of gun purchases has pissed off the National Rifle Assoc. (NRA).  Wayne LaPierre, Exec. VP of the NRA has a way of dealing with these kinds of situations, and I wouldn’t doubt that Walmart could be seeing less NRA members in the future.  Just my opinion.    Kudos for Walmart.

But in returning to the minus category, we go to Tennessee where the state rep. that recently sponsored a bill that passed which would allow guns in bars was arrested in his car, with a gun, drunk.  This red neck hypocrite by the name of Curry Todd stood before the Tenn. Legislature and all but guaranteed “that permit holders and law-abiding citizens would not drink while carrying a gun.”  Todd was driving 60 mph in a 40 mph zone where police reported he "was very unsteady on his feet, almost falling down at times."  Pathetic.

The last entry is a combination plus/minus and is perhaps the most serious of all.  A plus to NY Rep. Carolyn Maloney, for making us aware of a bill going through the house that is both dangerous and misguided: H.R.822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.   A minus for the fact the Act would authorize a person who has a permit to carry a concealed firearm in one state, like Arizona, to carry a concealed handgun in another state where the laws may be very different, like {the} state of New York.”  If this kind of reciprocity from Arizona makes its way through other forms of federal firearms laws, the whole country could end up with anyone walking around city streets with concealed weapons, without a permit or license of any kind, and with absolutely no training.

The following video by the Brady Gun control campaign is a must watch.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One progressive’s take on the “Occupy” movement


Tea Party Protest

There is one thing that is clear to me after looking at videos and still shots from both the Occupy movement and the Tea Party.  There is no comparison between the participants, with Occupy standing head and shoulders above the pathetic TPers.  I was prompted to look into this after reading an article exclaiming Occupy Wall Street could be the left’s Tea Party.  I am sure the Occupy movement wants to distance itself as far as possible away from the Tea Party.

Now, when it comes to developing a cause that would oppose the Tea Party, that is where comparisons are meaningful.  There is talk of how the Occupy protests will affect the way democracy is consummated in the future, not just in the U.S., but all over the world.  Most of what the Tea Party stands for is cutting taxes, drastically limiting government, and getting rid of President Obama.  It is simply a new conservative twist, although more radical, of the George W. Bush policies that didn’t work and put us in the current economic situation.

Robert Borosage, Co-founder of Campaign for America's Future, said, “I think this {Occupy} is a classic progressive, independent grassroots movement that will both build its own independent force, its own agenda and moral voice. And then you'll see that try to find expression and accrue champions of that in the electoral arena.”  The key to Occupy is getting out the vote in 2012, both the protesters and those apathetic progressives that have been sitting out elections.

Comments heard on the (Wall) street: Shane Stoops… Q. “How long will you stay here?”  A. “I’m definitely committed until we are either arrested or beaten to death.”  Sade Adona…Q. “What would be mission accomplished?”  A. “The acknowledgement is good enough for me…” 

Jon Reiner…Q. “What do you hope this movement becomes?” A. “My hope would be that, like all great social movements, that it gets so large in number and influence that it fundamentally changes the priorities of our elected officials so that they believe then that it’s their obligation to serve individuals and not corporations."



Violent Arnold, who heads Company Works, a multicultural leadership development firm in St. Paul, Minn. Says, “…the group likely has more leadership than meets the eyes.”  She adds that every group that comes together has some form of leadership, “But the current leadership of top-bottom is not working, and that’s why they’re protesting.”  Actually the leaders are there, you just won’t be able to identify them.

Dr. Alan Manevitz, New York clinical psychiatrist, says, “Psychologically speaking, these protests are mentally healthy -- whether they accomplish anything or not.”  They have already accomplished a great deal.  The Occupy movement has gotten the attention of President Obama, and he would do well to pay more attention and provide more support.  The GOP is furious over the fact that Occupy has gained more media attention in a month than the Tea Party has since its inception.  And the Democrats, well, they are just standing around and praying the whole thing will last through 2012.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It’s the jobs…stupid

President Obama didn’t say that.  I did, with no remorse for the comment.  It was directed at Rpublicans in Congress who are keeping more people from going back to work and preventing those already jobless from getting the benefits necessary to find work by opposing the President’s Jobs legislation.  We are in this situation because GOP policies don’t work, having had 8 years under George W. Bush to force them down the throats of the American public.

The White House has provided some interesting material to bloggers and other media nationwide designed to get the President’s jobs bill before the American public so they can dare Republicans and some reluctant Democrats not to back it.  If I were jobless, or had a relative or even knew someone who was jobless—and I do—I would tell my congressional representative to pass this bill…or else.  And I will.



Yes.  Enough is enough!  It’s time to back the “no-sayers” into a corner and make them accountable for not supporting Obama in his drive to put folks back to work.  And here’s how he’ll do it:

·       Tax cuts for small business
·       Putting workers back to work while rebuilding America
·       Extension of unemployment insurance
·       Tax relief for the American family
·       Fully paid for by Long-Term Deficit Reduction Plan

Go to the White House page and see how The American Jobs Act affects your state.  You can also see what the Act means to schools and download fact sheets: Comprehensive, Short.  There is an overview on the major points of the bill including, Tax Cuts, Rebuilding America, Pathways to work, Tax Relief and Method of paying for the program.  If you are up to it, you can read the entire 199 pages of the Act at this site.

The President says his jobs act will create 1.9 million jobs which should be music to the ears of the jobless.  That crescendo you hear building from the working class should resonate with the obstructionists in the GOP as a warning that, come 2012, they are the people who will most likely go to the polls.  But this isn’t about an election or politics at all, this is about survival.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is “Occupy Wall Street” making its point?

The Occupy Wall Street movement has moved out of New York and has reportedly spread to as many as 1,500 cities worldwide that have either already started demonstrations or are in the planning stages.  In the U.S. they have now reached Denver, Seattle, San Diego, Washington, Orlando, Atlanta, Detroit and Phoenix, as well as others.  What is not encouraging is the fact that several people have been arrested in the process.  I also just watched a video from New York showing possible police brutality. 

When the company owning the property on which the protests are being held decided to “clean up the park,” they were flooded with threats from NY city officials who wanted them to wait.  In the process, announcements were made of the plan to remove the crowd.  This led to chaos.  Mayor Bloomberg is investigating the situation.  From pictures of the demonstrations I have seen so far, the group seems to be neat, which is an endorsement of their organization.



Some have compared the “Occupy” movement with the Tea Party, which I abhor.  One TP wacko commented that “Occupy is no Tea Party,” primarily referring to the size of crowds.  Of course there are less people at this stage.  With the TPers’ mentality, many at a double-digit level, all Glenn Beck has to say is follow me to Washington, and he is immediately connected to the hook in their noses.  The Occupy folks are able to think for themselves, naturally putting more thought into their participation.

But seasoned activists say there is a “difference between an emotional outcry and a movement.”  Andrew Young who worked with Martin Luther King commented that the difference is organization and articulation.  I can see why Young would see the departure from articulation due to the number of demands being made by the protesters with no apparent central theme like integration.  But you have to be at least somewhat organized to achieve coverage of at least some 1,500 cities in a movement barely over a month old.

Others adding their input were Rev. Al Sharpton who thinks the Occupy group does have a central theme and it is economic inequity.  The Rev. Jessie Jackson said, “…the protest was a growing success,” adding the, “…protest could become a powerful movement if it remains disciplined, focused and nonviolent — and turns some of their pain into voting power." 

Turning out the vote will be a key measure of the accomplishments of Occupy.  That applies to both the former young non-voters and the apathetic progressives.

U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is the third-highest ranking Democrat in the House and he firmly believes the movement will produce political change.  He also disagrees there is no meaningful theme and likened the Occupy protests with the civil rights era where he commented, "They all knew something was wrong."  It’s hard to put into words your frustrations, Clyburn remarked, which seems to have been mirrored by the look on many faces seen in pictures of the Occupy demonstrations.  But most feel that time will galvanize this into the progressive revolt that is necessary to rid Washington of an incompetent Congress and clean up the corporate world.

Friday, October 14, 2011

American public wants President Obama’s tax on wealthy

It was the expected outcome and the Senate blocked Obama’s jobs bill with all Republicans voting against it primarily due to the 5 percent tax on the rich that was included.  But just a day after the vote, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll says Americans want our government to tax millionaires to get the job market moving.  What makes this so appalling is the fact that the GOP has put their stupid ideology of no taxes over the wishes of their constituents. 


When asked the simple question should Congress pass the legislation, 30 percent said yes, 22 percent no.  But when given the details of how the bill would help the jobless by cutting payroll taxes, funding new road construction, and extending unemployment benefits, 63 percent favor the bill, only 32 percent oppose it.  At the same time they were told it would financed by a tax on the wealthy.
 
Additionally, 64 percent think the rich cats and corporation should definitely pay their fair share.  On the other side of the issue, 31 percent think taxing the rich and corporations is bad, saying it will take away money that would be invested to grow the economy.  It is interesting that 20 percent of those polled were by cell phone, thus, probably a younger group.  Regardless of the mix, the public has made its statement, and many will remember come 2012.

The numbers these political hacks—including 2 Democrats that did not support the President’s Jobs Bill—will have to face are 6 million Americans whose unemployment benefits will run out in 2012, some as early as January.  Although the Millionaire Tax may be another step toward Social Democracy (like Social Security and Medicare), drastic measures are needed in the current economy, and it is time that the U.S. begin the level the playing field between the wealthy and the working class.



The unemployed have been out of work now an average of 40.5 weeks, a record as of this past September.  And there are economists that claim extending the jobless benefits would stimulate the economy since the money is usually spent right away.  In the first instance, those with benefits ending in January 2012 will be out of luck if the deadline to file isn’t extended.  This also applies to those currently receiving federal benefits.

Republicans say they will pick and choose parts of the bill to pass on their terms, but it is time for President Obama to stand firm and demand the 5 percent tax on the rich with the assurance the American people are behind him.  In my opinion, his rapid drop in some polls is due to the fact that he hasn’t dealt with the GOP in a forceful way, and it could have a major effect on his reelection in 2012.  Right now it isn’t about politics, it’s about putting people back to work.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The American public has basically dismissed the U.S. Congress according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll

Is the next step getting rid of this gang of incompetents?  Are we mad enough to vote them out and start all over again?  There may be a few worth keeping so it might be best to have a straw vote first to determine the good ones from the bad ones.  We could hold it in Iowa where they know about this sort of thing.  Or is the apathy of the American public so bad that only the few that raise their voices will actually come out to vote?

The WP/ABC poll found that only 14 percent of the public approves of the job Congress is doing.  How pathetic can it get?  What’s worse, sixty-two percent “strongly disapprove” while another 20 percent “somewhat” disapprove.  Only 3 percent of Americans “strongly approve” of the job Congress is doing.  The unrest is divided between parties: “Just 18 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of independents and 13 percent of Republicans approve of Congress.”

Following the recent congressional debt ceiling fiasco, Keith Olbermann did the following excellent commentary (You Tube) on Congress which is a must-see:



 One Mass. Democrat said, “As a normal, average American, it’s discouraging that these are the people leading the country.”  But he also thinks President Obama needs more time to achieve his goals.  Obama could also use some cooperation from a close-minded, disruptive GOP (my comment).  The President’s approval rating has also slipped to 42 percent from 47 percent.

That three percent that strongly approve of Congress are the ones that worry me.  Do they live in caves with no radio, TV or newspapers, or are they just ignorant?  Any thinking individual that has witnessed what is going on in Washington lately and doesn’t see a bungling bunch of blockheads running this country has their head in the sand.  We need a 100 percent agreement on this issue and maybe even the apathetic will listen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Millionaire tax another step toward a Social Democracy?

President Barack Obama has been called a socialist—which he isn’t—but he can be commended for introducing the 5 percent Millionaire Tax to help the jobless.  Although many corporate sharks make the claim that it is starvation or greed that makes people work, others believe they do it for enjoyment if it is meaningful, and to live a comfortable lifestyle. 

Security and contentment.  Robin Hood reinvented.  Sharing of the wealth so that we eliminate poverty in the richest nation in the world.  Social Democracy.

The GOP continues to oppose any new taxes, especially those on the wealthy who are, of course, their biggest contributors.  Big business boosters like representatives Paul Ryan and John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell have all dismissed Obama’s attempt to get the job market going again when polls show that even Republican voters support higher taxes on the wealthy.  Maybe these constituents haven’t made it clear enough to their representatives, but, even then, the no-tax ideology is so engrained in the GOP it may never go away.
 
The President wants to spend $447billion adding new jobs to the economy, while extending and expanding a payroll tax cut.  There is infrastructure spending that is sure to create jobs, and the money will also provide aid to states suffering economically.  The Senate surcharge would affect all income of $1 million, and it applies to both capital gains and salaries. 

Sen. Harry Reid says the tax will generate $450 billion.  Sen. Charles Schumer said, "Republicans will be hard-pressed to explain why they'd allow teachers and firefighters to be laid off rather than have millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share."  Democrats in general dared Republicans to block the plan.  With the tax threshold at $1 million, it would probably prevent levying a tax increase on small businesses.



This same concept would apply to corporations in a Social Democracy by bringing them under greater democratic control by using regulations and tax incentives to encourage companies to act in the public interest.  This would include discouraging them to export jobs out of the country and polluting the environment.  Corporations must be held accountable, and unions can be a major factor in this effort.

Social Democracy isn’t a dirty word and it is not un-American.  We made it where we are through the struggles of the working class that established a minimum wage, unemployment benefits, all the way to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.  While there are no pure models of Social Democracy, countries like Sweden, Canada, France and the United Kingdom have adopted programs that are clearly of that philosophy.

But the task at hand is to pass President Obama’s 5 percent Millionaires Tax to get jobs moving in the U.S.  I would hate to be a Republican voting against this bill, and then returning to his or her district to face a constituency out of work, knowing full well their representative has put the personal interests of the rich ahead of them finding a job.