Archive for September, 2011

A good story about the Teaparty and the 30 year old they wanted to let die

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

What’s a better way to return to Facebook from my posting lockout than with a story, so here it goes? My friend Rick Perry and I helped a 30-year-old man in a wheelchair who had no health insurance. Instead of letting him ease into the emergency room forcing all of us to pay for it, we rolled him off a cliff to save the government some money. If anyone asks about it, we’ll get Sarah Palin to say it was Obama’s death panels! No, I don’t know Rick Perry. I was just having some fun with something I heard at the debate last night, when Wolf Blitzer asked if we should just let the uninsured die, and the Tea Bagger audience chanted yes and with authority! Now keep in mind that this is coming from the same right-wing that is supposed to be pro-life. I guess it’s pro-life when you’re in the womb and mandatory death panels when you’re out of cash! I mean, based on that ‘let them die’ sentiment from last night, they won’t force you to buy health care, but they just might force you to die if you don’t! The Tea Party never ceases to amaze me with their blatantly biased butchering of fairness.

Story is located here

Galveston, Tex., alternative to Social Security held up as model

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Here is why SS is NOT a Ponzi scheme: it is NOT an investment vehicle. It is an insurance program.

What we really need is to educate people on the purpose of SS. Perhaps the best way to do that would also make it totally sustainable forever. That would be to means test it. You end up old and rich, you don’t need it. End up old and poor, we’ll keep you from eating cat food.

SS used to be touted as one leg of a three-legged stool, the other two legs being a peSee Morension and savings. With pensions mostly gone, and 401k a fairly recent invention which many don’t take advantage of anyway, SS is destined to be strained. We need to make a bigger push to encourage people to start investing in their retirement from their very first job IN ADDITION TO (not instead of) SS.

“If you’re single, if you’re well off and you die within 10 years [of retirement], maybe you’ve done better,” said Eric Kingson, a professor of social work at Syracuse University and a vocal critic of the Galveston alternative. “For most people, it’s somewhere between ‘very bad’ and ‘not very good.’?”

Story is located here

Libertarian Legacy? Ron Paul’s Campaign Manager, 49, Dies Uninsured, Of Pneumonia, Leaving family $400,000 Debt

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

What a testament to the Libertarian creed, which abhors the idea of universal health care. This loyal, passionate man, who died too young, left his family a debt of $400,000 in medical bills.

Who knows whether he put off getting treatment for the pneumonia that killed him because he was uninsured.

Kent Snyder did some amazing work on the Ron Paul Campaign and is remembered as a “libertarian giant”- by Lew Rockwell, on the libertarian site, Lew Rockwell.com.

The Wall Street journal reports that Kent, more than anyone else, persuaded Ron Paul to run for president. And Kent, according the the WSJ, developed what “ultimately became a $35 million operation with 250 employees that helped deliver more than one million votes for the Texas congressman’s bid in the Republican nominating contest.”-

Ron Paul posted this message about Snyder on his website: “”Like so many in our movement, Kent sacrificed much for the cause of liberty, Kent poured every ounce of his being into our fight for freedom. He will always hold a place in my heart and in the hearts of my family.”

Sadly, the Libertarian heart apparently does not include health care. The poor guy raised tens of millions of dollars and couldn’t afford the $300-$600 a month that COBRA medical insurance would have cost.

Paul has some good ideas– get out of Iraq, get the US out of a lot of other countries. But his opposition to government, to universal health care– these ideas just don’t work– and his campaign manager’s death makes a tragic example of it.

Story is located here

The Teaparty wants to kill Social Security and Medicare

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
The consistent thing is that the Teaparty threatens and berates Social Security calling it Unconstitutional and many more names. This is all part to get this idea into the political lexicon thereby making it commonly thought or perceived in time so killing the programs can happen eventually. They want to kill Social Security and Medicare as they did when they were implemented. To say that a majority of Teaparty people support both programs is silly because they support people that also say those programs are Unconstitutional so which is it?
Ron Paul says Social Security and Medicare are like Slavery
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/08/28/the-ron-paul-war-comparing-social-security-and-medicare-to-slavery/
20% of voters believe SS is a Ponzi Scheme and 12% want to end SS hence Rick Perry is having problems
http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/09/the-third-rail-ppp-national-poll-shows-social-security-a-drag-for-perry.php
Lieberman- Cut Social Security to pay for wars
http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/02/285739/joe-lieberman-says-u-s-should-cut-social-security-to-pay-for-fighting-the-islamist-extremists/
Rick Perry- SS and Medicare are Unconstitutional
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/09/13/317543/video-rick-perry-calls-medicare-and-social-security-unconstitutional/
Joe Miller- SS and Medicare and Unemployment Insurance are Unconstitutional
http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/david/joe-miller-social-security-and-medicare-are-
Another Teaparty person says Medicare and Social Security are Uncnstitutional
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbNQnqLOQm0
William F Buckley called author of much Teaparty wisdom “conspiracy-mongering extremist”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/magazine/28FOB-idealab-t.html
Several court cases which explain why the program is Constitutional
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/29/1011367/-Breaking:-Supreme-Court-Rules-Social-Security-Is-Constitutional
A report on the bad economy plus the tax cuts that have dropped input into the Social Security Trust Fund temporarily
http://mediamatters.org/print/research/201105160013
The “it’s going broke” and “won’t be there for you” attack strategy goes back to a 1983 Cato Institute Journal document, “Achieving a Leninist Strategy” by Stuart Butler of Cato and Peter Germanis of the Heritage Foundation.

“When [Social Security] was developed, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, poverty among seniors is too high, but that number is ten percent. Social Security has done exactly what it was designed to do!”“When [Social Security] was deve
“When [Social Security] was developed, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, poverty among seniors is too high, but that number is ten percent. Social Security has done exactly what it was designed to do!”
http://www.nationofchange.org/sen-sanders-plan-actually-fix-social-security-1314458965
Policy Basics: Top Ten Facts about Social Security on the Program’s 75th Anniversary
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3261

The Stimulus WORKED and made JOBS

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

The White House has posted on its stimulus website a listing of jobs funded by the stimulus, breaking it down by state and congressional district. Just for the quarter April 1 to June 20, 2011, the country had a reported 555,029 full-time equivalent jobs funded by the Recovery Act.

As our colleagues at PolitiFact Virginia have pointed out, in a report released March 18, 2011, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers estimated that between 2.5 million and 3.6 million jobs were created or saved by the stimulus through the fourth quarter of 2010.

Separately, the council’s report cited four independent analyses by the Congressional Budget Office and three private economic analysis companies. Here’s what the groups found:

• CBO: Between 1.3 million and 3.6 million jobs saved or created.

• IHS/Global Insight: 2.45 million jobs saved or created.

• Macroeconomic Advisers: 2.3 million jobs saved or created.

• Moody’s Economy.com: 2.5 million jobs saved or created.

Note the language “created or saved,” which means not every one of those more than a million jobs count as “created,” as Perry said.

But certainly more than zero. Ask Billy Weston.

Perry said “the first round of stimulus … created zero jobs.” We say Pants on Fire.

Story is located here

No, social security is not a ponzi scheme

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Social Security is pay-as-you-go. Ponzi’s scheme was not as it depended on continuous doubling the ratio of contributors to investors (read this wonderful treatment by Social Security’s historian).

As the above link concludes:

“The first modern social insurance program began in Germany in 1889 and has been in continuous operation for more than 100 years. The American Social Security system has been in continuous successful operation since 1935. Charles Ponzi’s scheme lasted barely 200 days.”

RELATED: Election 101: 11 questions about Rick Perry and his White House bid

 

Now, let’s just think for another minute about this pay-as-you-go process.

For much of its long and successful history, today’s workers have financed the benefits of yesterday’s workforce. When demographic factors have led to a funding imbalance, as was recognized in the Reagan years (!!), adjustments had to be made to extend full solvency.

Such adjustments once again need to be made and they are not daunting. In fact, the costs of the highend Bush tax cuts are about analogous to the shortfall in Social Security over 75 years, as both are about 0.8% of GDP. And do not be misled by the insolvency arguments: full benefits can be paid through 2036, at which point trust fund is exhausted. But at that point, courtesy of pay-as-you-go, the program can still pay 75% of scheduled benefits.

Story is located here

A fact checking of the CNN Teaparty debate from last night

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

The Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Fla., co-hosted by CNN and the Tea Party Express, was feisty and provocative, with many of the candidates relying once again on bogus “facts” that we have previously identified as faulty or misleading.

The debate marked a remarkable shift in tone by Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the issue of Social Security, barely five days after he labeled the venerable old-age program “a Ponzi scheme” doomed to fail. This week, he said it was a “slam dunk guaranteed” for people already on it.

Last week, we explained why the Ponzi scheme label was not true — and also provided readers with a primer on Social Security for those who want to learn more. In Monday night’s debate, Perry and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney tangled over the issue again, and Romney had better command of the facts, as far as the two men’s books were concerned.

Story is located here

Teaparty defined by their Sadistic look at others

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The jubilant shouts of members of the GOP audience encouraging the death of a hypothetical uninsured man bring to mind the 2009 House floor speech delivered by former Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, in which he famously charged: “The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.” Members of the crowd at the Tampa debate agree with Grayson.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, the event’s moderator, posed the hypothetical question to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas): What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn’t have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage? “Are you saying society should just let him die?” Wolf Blitzer asked.

“Yeah!” several members of the crowd yelled out.

HuffPost asked Grayson what he thought of the crowd cheering for the death of the uninsured man. He writes:

My speech was about the fact I had been listening to the Republicans for months, and they literally had no plan to help all those millions of people who can’t see a doctor when they’re sick. So I said, in sort of a wry manner, that their plan was “don’t get sick.” All I really wanted to do was just call attention to the stark absence of a Republican plan. But Fox, trying to take the heat off Joe Wilson and Sarah Palin I guess, transmogrified that into a charge that Republicans want to kill people.What you saw tonight is something much more sinister than not having a healthcare plan. It’s sadism, pure and simple. It’s the same impulse that led people in the Coliseum to cheer when the lions ate the Christians. And that seems to be where we are heading — bread and circuses, without the bread. The world that Hobbes wrote about — “the war of all against all.”

Story is located here

Robert Reich Debunks 6 Big GOP Lies About The Economy

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Is Social Security a Ponzi scheme as Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry claims? Noted author and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich debunks that claim and five other lies the right-wing tells about taxes, government and the economy.

The lies Reich debunks:
1) Tax cuts to the rich and corporations trickle down to the rest of us. (No it doesnapos;t and it never has.)

2) If you shrink government you create jobs. (No, you get rid of jobs that way.)

3) High taxes on the rich hurts the economy. (No, the economy grew when the US did this under Eisenhower.)

4) Debt is to be avoided and it is mostly caused by Medicare. (No, if debt is properly used to grow the economy, it becomes a smaller part of the budget because of increased revenue and Medicare has the lowest overhead of any health insurance plan out there.)

5) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme (No, its solid for 26 years. Social Security is solid beyond that if the rich pay the same percentage in social security taxes as the rest of us do.)

6) We need to tax the poor. (This is what Republicans have been proposing when they say any “tax reform” needs to involve all Americans because poor people pay no income tax. The poor have no money and taxing them will not solve our budget problems.)

Video is located here

The Disastrous Legacy Of Ronald Reagan In Charts

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Although Ronald Reagan actually instituted one of the largest tax hikes in US history, he and the fiscal conservatives started their campaign to drastically reduce the top tax rate for the rich.

The conservative tax policy that unleashed the class war that ended the period known as the Great Compression (which followed the Great Depression), and was the terminus of an era where single income families enjoyed plenty of jobs, economic opportunity, and a larger degree of social mobility.

Story is located here

10 Years Of Capital Gains Tax Cuts Proves: Rich Win, You Lose

Monday, September 12th, 2011

In 2001 these special low tax rates for the very rich “job creators” were made even lower. This was done in order to provide even more incentive for them to make even more profits from their large accumulations of property, houses, cars, yachts, private jets and race horses, so that these “producers” – the “job creators” – would produce even more and create even more jobs. (Click here for more on who and what really creates jobs.) The result of these 2001 tax cuts was spectacular: eight years of the lowest economic growth and lowest job-creation rate since WWII, followed by the collapse of the entire financial system and mass layoffs of millions of us.

Story is located here

The Iraq Afghanistan war costs have hurt America far more than we know

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

The GDP of Afghanistan was around $2Billion when the war started. The Iraq GDP was about $18Billion in 2002.  The total cost of the wars will be over $3TRILLION. So the cost to YOU and ME is their TOTAL NATIONAL economic output for 150 years.  OR we could have fixed ALLLL of our infrastructure (roads schools etc) ALL OF IT here with a ton of money leftover. But no…THAT would be Socialism.  At the beginning of the war those that opposed the war were ANTI-American.  I believe those that oppose spending on America are truly ANTI-American.  That would be everyone under the Republican/GOP/Teabagger flag of course

The cost to fix ALL of America’s infrastructure is about $2.3Trillion.  Story is located here

The GDP for each Afghanistan and Iraq.   Story is located here

Total cost of the wars will be over $3Trillion.  Story is located here

The current cost of the war is $1.2Trillion which equal the following programs that we could have done for Americans…but half of the nation would have opposed…and ironically those opposing these programs are the same ones WANTING to spend money at war.

 
– Provide 63.3 Million Scholarships For University Students Every Year For Ten Years
– Give 58.9 Million Children Low-Income Health Care Every Year For Ten Years
– Give 23.6 Million People Access To Low-Income Healthcare Every Year For Ten Years
– Provide 20.68 Million Students With Pell Grants Worth $5,500 Every Year For Ten Years
– Provide 15.12 Million Head Start Slots For Children Every Year For Ten Years
– Provide Veterans Administration Care For 14.7 Million Military Veterans Every Year For Ten Years
– Hire 2.01 Million Firefighters Every Year For Ten Years
– Hire 1.76 Million Elementary School Teachers Every Year For Ten Years
– Hire 1.73 Million Police Officers Every Year For Ten Years
- Retrofit 69.4 Million Households For Wind Power Every Year For Ten Years
– Retrofit 26 Million Households For Solar Photovoltaic Energy Every Year For Ten Years

Story is located here

As far as Quality of Life America truly lags far behind other Industrialized nations

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

SOCIALISM RE-VISITED Although we are used to finding the USA on the top of GDP lists, followed by China, Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Brazil, Italy, Canada, and India, why not have a look at another list that measures much more than economic output based on per-person production which is heavily-influenced by mechanization and ignores other more informative economic indicators. On first inspection of a 2011 global quality-of-life-index, we are not surprised to find Scandinavia on the top of the list. We are also not surprised to find Afghanistan and Somalia at the bottom of the list, nor are we too surprised to find that the USA has fallen to #31 this year, considering the economic crisis. The overall list becomes a bit more uncomfortable, however, when we discover our place on the lists which include health, education, wealth, democracy, peace and environment. Here our rank falls to 39th in health, 22nd in education, 20th in wealth, 15th in democracy, 81st in peace, and 52nd in environment.

Of course, Scandinavia far outranks every country on every list, but now the British Commonwealth nations outrank the USA on every list, (remember that we gained our independence from them over 200 years ago, as any tea-party member will quickly point out to you), 24 European nations outrank us, we rank in the lower half of all western trading partners in overall quality-of- life, and Cuba outranks us in the areas of health, education, peace and environment.
Story is located here

The Onion correctly predicted the insanity of the George W Bush administration

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Years before W took office, The Onion predicted a massive increase in defense spending, a Gulf war, a recession brought on by substantial tax cuts, deregulation of industry, defunding of social-service programs, and a return to deficit spending.

Story is located here

Deficient Bridges by State and Highway System

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Dangerous bridges state by state listed here

Marx was wrong about Communism but he was dead on correct regarding Capitalism

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Defenders of capitalism argue that it offers to everyone the benefits that in Marx’s time were enjoyed only by the bourgeoisie, the settled middle class that owned capital and had a reasonable level of security and freedom in their lives.

In 19th Century capitalism most people had nothing. They lived by selling their labour and when markets turned down they faced hard times. But as capitalism evolves, its defenders say, an increasing number of people will be able to benefit from it.

Fulfilling careers will no longer be the prerogative of a few. No more will people struggle from month to month to live on an insecure wage. Protected by savings, a house they own and a decent pension, they will be able to plan their lives without fear. With the growth of democracy and the spread of wealth, no-one need be shut out from the bourgeois life. Everybody can be middle class.

In fact, in Britain, the US and many other developed countries over the past 20 or 30 years, the opposite has been happening. Job security doesn’t exist, the trades and professions of the past have largely gone and life-long careers are barely memories.

If people have any wealth it’s in their houses, but house prices don’t always increase. When credit is tight as it is now, they can be stagnant for years. A dwindling minority can count on a pension on which they could comfortably live, and not many have significant savings.

More and more people live from day to day, with little idea of what the future may bring. Middle-class people used to think their lives unfolded in an orderly progression. But it’s no longer possible to look at life as a succession of stages in which each is a step up from the last.

Continue reading the main story

Another look at Dominionism and how it has taken over the Republican Teaparty

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

“What In Heaven’s Name Is A Dominionist?” Pat Robertson asked on his 700 Club TV show, one of several religious right figures to recently pretend there was nothing to the notion. Funny he should ask. In a 1984 speech in Dallas, Texas, he said:

“What do all of us do? We get ready to take dominion! We get ready to take dominion! It is all going to be ours – I’m talking about all of it. Everything that you would say is a good part of the secular world. Every means of communication, the news, the television, the radio, the cinema, the arts, the government, the finance – it’s going to be ours! God’s going to give it to His people. We should prepare to reign and rule with Jesus Christ.”

Furthermore, C Peter Wagner, the intellectual godfather of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), actually wrote a book called Dominion! in 2007. Chapter Three was entitled “Dominion Theology”. When pressed, Peter likes to pretend that his ideas are just garden-variety Christianity, based on Genesis 1:26, in which, before the fall, God gives Adam and Eve dominion over the natural world - a far cry from dominion over other people, who did not even exist at the time, as evangelical critics of this dominionist argument have repeatedly pointed out.

 

Story is located here

The Obama Stimulus has created many many jobs. Welcome to the Conservative Recovery and why the GOP is wrong about job growth

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

The public sector has been steadily shrinking. According to the conservative theory of the economy, when the public sector shrinks that should super-charge the private sector. What’s happened in the real world has been that public sector shrinkage has simply been paired with anemic private sector growth. This is what I’ve called “The Conservative Recovery.” Conservatives complain about the results because the president is a Democrat named Barack Obama. But the policy result is what conservatives say they want. Steady cuts to the government sector, offset somewhat by private sector growth. The reality is that this dynamic sucks, and we ought to be forcefully trying to avoid public sector layoffs knowing that workers are also customers for the private sector. But we’re not.

Story is located here

Obama has fewer Federal Government employees than Reagan

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which tracks the number of employees per year, the data shows that the “conservatives” for small government are really just big government conservatives. I know that is an oxymoron, but numbers don’t lie.

Let’s start with President Carter.

On December 31st 1976 (Not Carter’s term yet), total nonmilitary personnel was 2,883,000. By December 31st 1980 the end of his term (minus a month), the total in nonmilitary personnel was 2,875,000.

Federal government nonmilitary employees shrunk by 8,000 employees under Carter.

On January 21st, 1981, President Reagan started with 2,875,000 nonmilitary federal employees.

By the end of Reagan’s terms the total number of nonmilitary federal employees was 3,113,000. That is an INCREASE of 238,000

Let’s move on to President George H.W. Bush.

On January 20th, 1989, total federal nonmilitary employment was 3,113,000
by the end of his only term, President George H.W. Bush had 3,083,000 federal nonmilitary employees on the books. That is a REDUCTION of 30,000 employees.

President Bill Clinton came into office with 3,083,000 and by the END of his TWO TERMS he reduced the number of Federal employees to 2,703,000. That is a reduction of 380,000 federal employees.

Now finally, President George W. Bush came into office with 2,703,000 nonmilitary employees and by the time his terms were through, the total nonmilitary federal employees on the books were 2,756,000, which is an INCREASE of 53,000 employees.

The small government, lean and mean political party, seems to be the Democratic Party. President Clinton reduced the size of the federal government’s nonmilitary employees by OVER 10%.

The “so called” small government President Reagan INCREASED the nonmilitary size of government by almost 10%.

Story is located here

How have the policies of Obama helped average people?

Thursday, September 8th, 2011
President Obama’s policies over the last 2 and a half years are not just talking points! They have had real impact on real people. The 2% SS tax cut has meant an additional $1000 in my wife’s net pay annually. That was in addition to the approx. $720 net pay increase as a result of the Recovery Act. My daughter and her husband received an $8000 tax refund as a result of the first time home buyer’s tax credit. Both my daughter and son-in-law have changed jobs and their new insurance companies CANNOT deny coverage because of the “pre-existing” condition of their daughter’s cataract and the ongoing surgeries to correct it. A friend of a client of mine who was getting close to a lifetime maximum benefit for cancer treatment can now continue to get her treatments paid for. If the 2% SS tax cut is renewed for another year and even possibly given to the employer also, it could result in an 80K dollar decrease in my sister’s company annual payroll. Yes you read that right. My sister’s company has an annual payroll expense of over 4 million dollars. She is the type of person that would put that additional 80K back into her company in the form of hiring more employees.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who knows people who have benefited directly from this Administration’s policies and I think if you talk to people about these real life situations then they might be dissuaded from listening to the never-ending nay-saying of the political punditry.

Original comment is located here

The GOP War on Voting. Voter fraud in America is so amazingly small is simply does not exist.

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Between 2002 and 2007 (Bush years) take a guess as to how many people were CONVICTED of going to a voting poll and trying to impersonate another person which is voter fraud.AND of the voters for those years how many were convicted of wrongful voting?Two different things…

To hear Republicans tell it, they are waging a virtuous campaign to crack down on rampant voter fraud – a curious position for a party that managed to seize control of the White House in 2000 despite having lost the popular vote. After taking power, the Bush administration declared war on voter fraud, making it a “top priority” for federal prosecutors. In 2006, the Justice Department fired two U.S. attorneys who refused to pursue trumped-up cases of voter fraud in New Mexico and Washington, and Karl Rove called illegal voting “an enormous and growing problem.” In parts of America, he told the Republican National Lawyers Association, “we are beginning to look like we have elections like those run in countries where the guys in charge are colonels in mirrored sunglasses.” According to the GOP, community organizers like ACORN were actively recruiting armies of fake voters to misrepresent themselves at the polls and cast illegal ballots for the Democrats.

Even at the time, there was no evidence to back up such outlandish claims. A major probe by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 failed to prosecute a single person for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter, which the anti-fraud laws are supposedly designed to stop. Out of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and many of the cases involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility. A much-hyped investigation in Wisconsin, meanwhile, led to the prosecution of only .0007 percent of the local electorate for alleged voter fraud. “Our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere,” joked Stephen Colbert. A 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a leading advocate for voting rights at the New York University School of Law, quantified the problem in stark terms. “It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning,” the report calculated, “than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.”

Story is located here

The problem with the Postal Service is not being correctly explained

Monday, September 5th, 2011

But the root cause of the financial distress that the Postal Service is going through is overwhelmingly caused by Congressional mandates that were imposed upon the Postal Service. Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), which was signed into law by President G.W. Bush on December 20, 2006. Under the guise of modernizing the Postal Service for the 21st Century, it actually doomed the Postal Service. If not for the PAEA, the Postal Service would be functioning fine even with the impact of email and the financial collapse of 2008.

One of the provisions of the PAEA was to mandate that the Postal Service fully pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years, and to do it within a ten-year window. This means that the Postal Service is required to send to the U. S. Treasury $5.5 billion each September 30. Remember, this is to pay for the future retirement health benefits of people who haven’t even been born yet. The Postal Service is the only entity that is mandated by law to do this. No government agency, corporation or organization is required to fully pre-fund future retirees’ health benefits.

Story is located here

Another very interesting look at the Postal Service issue

USPS is dysfunctio­nal, it is big, and it is a government agency. But it does also a lot of things private carriers don’t have to do, so it’s not just another example that big government does not work, and Unions are bad. Postal Services have successful­ly been in business for hundreds of years. What are the real reasons for their problems now?

1. USPS Read More… delivers mail all over the USA and makes sure everybody gets served equally. UPS and FEDEX sometimes even partner up with USPS to have USPS deliver their stuff in areas where service does not makes sense for private carriers. We cannot leave something as crucial as mail solely to for profit businesses­. If we’d do that, only the big metropolit­an areas would have mail, high speed internet, and telephone. There has to be regulation­.

2. USPS delivers mail to military bases all over the world at domestic prices. UPS and FEXEX don’t.

3. USPS has traditiona­lly been giving job-prefer­ence to combat veterans, disregardi­ng qualificat­ions and effectiven­ess. We have an obligation to take care of those who were put in harms way for our country. Like freedom, war is not free. Vietnam, Afghanista­n, and Iraq, all these wars produce hundred thousands of physically and mentally disabled people, who need our care after the war is over. They need jobs, medical care, and often help after they come home. USPS has been traditiona­lly stepping up to the plate, while private carriers hire the young and healthy.

4. The USPS board of Directors is basically Congress. Congress requires the Postal Service to be self-funde­­d. On the other hand, Congress ties USPS’s management­­’s hands on meaningful reform.You can’t have politician­­s run a business, and tie the management­’s hands.

5. USPS is required to pre-fund for both pension and health care retirement funds by 100%, which accumulate­­s to $5 billion a year. No other agency is required to do this.

6. USPS does not have the right to set its own fees and price schedule, like UPS and FEDEX have.

So, we can’t really compare the Postal Service to Fedex, as long as the situation is as it is.

Does Union membership equal better pay or does lack of Union membership equal less pay.

Monday, September 5th, 2011

If you look at this chart at page 11 you will see that the level of Union membership starts to drop in 1970 off of its highs.

If you look at this chart you see that pay for Americans starts to drop around 1970.

Are the two tied together?  Well it was interesting to see that rising Productivity was tied to rising pay for workers until generally 1970.  Once 1980 came about the discrepancy exploded.

 

 

 

What is being said in this chart is…having a professional Representative results in benefits to those being represented. And conversely lack of professional Representation equals less benefit for those being represented. Hence less unionization results in lower pay. This is why corporations hire dozens of lawyers….if Representation did NOT result in a benefit then those lawyers would be unemployed. In the workplace…if representation (Unionization) does not result in a benefit to “workers” and a drawback for “employers” (as cash is a zero sum) then the unionization of the worforce would not be opposed by employers. However from the killing of Union organizers regularly in reports from all around the world…to those saying business could not survive workers making a decent paycheck which was a major economic justification for slavery in the USA (slavery is the ULTIMATE non-Union environment)…and even today the keeping of unions out of WalMart and so many more cases…Unions are kept out of workplaces because workers benefit from Union Representation. Without that Representation workers benefit less and pay/benefits go down. EVERYONE has benefitted from Unions….ALL of us. When it comes down to it we are ALL “workers” as we have limited vacation and a certain pay rate and benefits and on and on. A partial list of Union gains for all of us are below. Many of these below are opposed by business today and could possibly be removed from this list…such as child labor laws and Minimum Wage and several more of the benefits below that were won because of professional Representation for average working people…which is all of us. To think that weekends off was always the case is similar to think that black people could always drink from the same water fountain as white people. Both required professional Representation and without that representation they didn’t happen.

 

 

The top 5% accounts for 37% of consumer spending. Consumer spending is 70% of the American economy.

Monday, September 5th, 2011

An economy so dependent on the spending of a few is also prone to great booms and busts. The rich splurge and speculate when their savings are doing well. But when the values of their assets tumble, they pull back. That can lead to wild gyrations. Sound familiar?

During periods when the very rich took home a larger proportion — as between 1918 and 1933, and in the Great Regression from 1981 to the present day — growth slowed, median wages stagnated and we suffered giant downturns. It’s no mere coincidence that over the last century the top earners’ share of the nation’s total income peaked in 1928 and 2007 — the two years just preceding the biggest downturns.

Story is located here

The choices in the 2012 election are quite stark. If you think there is no difference you are not paying attention

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

I respectfully suggest that some of the questions we should all ask ourselves, especially those who haven’t already done so, are as follows:

How will you feel when the new President nominates partisan cabinet members like Phil Gramm for Treasury, Jeb Bush for the Justice Department, John Kasich for the Office of Management and Budget, Scott Walker for Labor Secretary, Paul Ryan for Health and Human Services, Rudy Giuliani as Secretary of State, John McCain as Secretary of Defense, and Newt Gingrich as UN Ambassador? Sure, it may not be those particular ideologues in those exact positions; in fact, it could be worse still. Keep that in mind.

How will you feel when the new President gets a chance to replace Justice Kennedy, or worse yet, Justices Breyer and Ginsberg? What about all of the other judicial nominees that the new President will get to choose?

How will you feel when the new President gets to sign into law the privatization of Social Security?

How will you feel when the new President gets to sign the the age increase for Medicare eligibility, and the cutting of benefits for seniors?

Story is located here

Labor Day. Thank a Union for 36 important changes at the workplace

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Story is located here

 

36 Reasons Why You Should Thank a Union

  1. Weekends
  2. All Breaks at Work, including your Lunch Breaks
  3. Paid Vacation
  4. FMLA
  5. Sick Leave
  6. Social Security
  7. Minimum Wage
  8. Civil Rights Act/Title VII (Prohibits Employer Discrimination)
  9. 8-Hour Work Day
  10. Overtime Pay
  11. Child Labor Laws
  12. Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
  13. 40 Hour Work Week
  14. Worker’s Compensation (Worker’s Comp)
  15. Unemployment Insurance
  16. Pensions
  17. Workplace Safety Standards and Regulations
  18. Employer Health Care Insurance
  19. Collective Bargaining Rights for Employees
  20. Wrongful Termination Laws
  21. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
  22. Whistleblower Protection Laws
  23. Employee Polygraph Protect Act (Prohibits Employer from using a lie detector test on an employee)
  24. Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
  25. Compensation increases and Evaluations (Raises)
  26. Sexual Harassment Laws
  27. Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
  28. Holiday Pay
  29. Employer Dental, Life, and Vision Insurance
  30. Privacy Rights
  31. Pregnancy and Parental Leave
  32. Military Leave
  33. The Right to Strike
  34. Public Education for Children
  35. Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 (Requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work)
  36. Laws Ending Sweatshops in the United States

Last Quarter, Corporate After Tax Profits Were Highest Since 1947

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Jared Bernstein notes that “corporate profits as a share of GDP, after tax, were the highest last quarter of any quarter in the history of these data going back to 1947.” Bernstein uses this stat to push back against conservatives who claim that corporate tax breaks will lead to hiring. “Why should we believe that even higher after-tax profits would make a difference?” Bernstein asked. “All these supply-side tax cuts will do is boost their already high bottom lines.” Corporate cash holdings are already up 59 percent since 2008.

Story is located here

What happens when you are a supplier to WalMart?

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

This is just the first story of many.  Story is located here

As a former employee of a vegetable farm, let me give you an explanation of how selling vegetables to Wal-Mart works.

First you make an agreement with Wal-Mart to sell them X bushels of produce at Y price/bushel. You spend the entire week ramping up production, bringing in more pickers and hiring more packers to ensure you get your X bushels of product. You are especially picky about the quality of your product, because Wal-Mart’s business represents a dynamic increase in sales and you want to impress them. You have everything picked, packed and prepped for Wal-Mart’s pick-up (they always want to make the pick-up, rather than pay you to deliver) on Friday.

Next, Friday comes and goes, Wal-Marts truck never shows up. In fact, it doesn’t show up for 4 days, all the while your fresh produce, which Wal-Mart has signed an agreement to buy and pick up on Friday, is rotting in the box. Nobody at Wal-Mart knows why the truck hasn’t arrived, but they’re rerouting to you immediately, assuring you that you will not be held responsible for the losses. Tuesday roles around and the Wal-Mart truck shows up at 6pm and hour after you usually close up and go home. You’ve now paid your entire company for an extra hour of work, as you wait for the promised truck to arrive. It finally does arrive, and it comes with a Wal-Mart inspector.

Now the fun begins. The Wal-Mart inspector starts going through the produce that you picked and prepped for a Friday pick-up, at 6:30pm Tuesday. He/she immediately begins marking crates as below agreed upon quality, assuring you that you will be compensated full-price for these crates, and that he/she is just marking them so that the produce that is below grade is sent to Mexico or something. Finally, the inspector allows the fruit to be packed into Wal-Mart’s non-refrigerated truck at about 8 o’clock. Again, you’re paying your employees to wait to do this the whole time. They close up the truck, and tell you that you should receive your payment in a few weeks, and have you sign a receipt.

This is where it gets fun. The truck doesn’t take the fruit to the nearest refrigerated Wal-Mart Distribution Center. Instead, it goes another day out of its way, to unload. When it gets there, the unrefrigerated fruit is inspected again. It’s now been 5 or 6 days since it was supposed to be delivered to the refrigerated distributorship and there’s been about a 30% loss of product. You’re contacted by Wal-Mart and told that the product was not in the agreed upon condition and that they will be deducting a loss-penalty of 50% to your agreed upon price and will not be paying for the 30% of lost product. However, they will keep that lost product and use it in some sort of paste or juice or other form of private label Great Value product that can use the product. You protest Wal-Mart’s unilateral negotiation and they tell you that they can refuse delivery of the product and have it shipped back to you, but you’ll pay for the shipping (Pay Wal-Mart’s trucks, not yours). You threaten to sue, and they remind you that they have a 100millon dollar retainer with the very best lawyers money can buy, and that while you will probably win the case, you’ll be in litigation for at least 10 years (because Wal-Mart’s already paying these guys anyways) and at best you’ll get your agreed upon price, while paying your own lawyers $400/hour for 10 years to sue them for what amounts to $50,000.

So you swallow your pride, you take your 75% loss on the signed contract and then they ask you if you’ll be able to make your next shipment, as per your contract, Wal-Mart has the ability to extend, however, because China is selling them Lead contaminated produce at 10% what you’re selling, they’re renegotiating the prices for “market value”

And thats when you send them the stuff you throw out when you sell to Krogers.

EDIT: bluegender is correct

TL;DR – Wal-Mart screws their suppliers, laughs at lawsuits, and then demands you uphold your end of the contract, all in the name of saving you money.

Poor Americans are urged to hate themselves

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

The Illusion of a meritocracy is a very dangerous thing.

“America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, ‘It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.’ It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters… Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Operation Northwoods and Project for a New American Century

Thursday, September 1st, 2011
So go to this page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods
And everywhere CUBA is mentioned replace it with IRAQ.
And go to this page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_a_New_American_Century
And see the NeoCon dream of having a US military basically beat the world into submission. NOTE who signed documents here and who was in the Bush Administration when we attacked Iraq but were not attacked by Iraq. They also were looking for reasons to go to war with other countries not just Iraq and Afghanistan.

When you drive pay down and increase worker output why would you hire more workers and why would you pay them more?

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Corporate tax cuts do NOT create jobs.

Corporate profits are higher than before the crash.  Wages paid are the lowest they have been since 1955.  Proving corporate profitably does not equal jobs and if it did we would have more people working.  70% of this economy is consumption and if people are not making more money they are not consuming therefore the nation is hurting. 

Video is located here