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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Of A Sort

46 years ago today.

Links:  Kent State shootings

Here We Are: The Donald Is Their Candidate

Donald Trump "You're Fired!"

So now The Donald, Donald J. Trump is the Republican candidate for the White House, for the Presidency, for the highest office in the land.

Elizabeth Warren today said it so well on The Donald and just where the Republican Party is today:

Donald Trump is now the leader of the Republican Party. It's real – he is one step away from the White House. Here's what else is real:

Trump has built his campaign on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. There's more enthusiasm for him among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls.

He incites supporters to violence, praises Putin, and, according to a columnist who recently interviewed him, is "cool with being called an authoritarian" and doesn't mind associations with history's worst dictators.

He attacks veterans like John McCain who were captured and puts our servicemembers at risk by cheerleading illegal torture. In a world with ISIS militants and leaders like North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un conducting nuclear tests, he surrounds himself with a foreign policy team that has been called a "collection of charlatans," and puts out contradictory and nonsensical national security ideas one expert recently called "incoherent" and "truly bizarre."

What happens next will test the character for all of us – Republican, Democrat, and Independent. It will determine whether we move forward as one nation or splinter at the hands of one man's narcissism and divisiveness. I know which side I'm on, and I’m going to fight my heart out to make sure Donald Trump’s toxic stew of hatred and insecurity never reaches the White House.

FEE's photo.
So thank you, Republicans, Republican Party, Right Wingers and all the haters and misogynists and sexists and racists who brought the nation here, to this Donald J. Trump.

And by the way, the above---bringing the White House a "downright moron"---was also, of course, deeply true of one George W. "Mission Accomplished" Bush and his brother, John Ellis.

David Brooks, a Republican and Conservative, both, said it very well.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Talented Young Man

We Do Elections Very, Very Wrong, America

Sure, we Americans do and have done a lot of things right and well, absolutely or we wouldn't have gotten where we have, socially, sociologically and certainly economically, without question. (We've a lot--A LOT--of things wrong like maybe Korea but definitely Vietnam and that unlawful Iraq War and too many things about race, etc. but we'll save that for another time and day).

All that said, one thing we do wrong--and by wrong I mean deeply, wildly and very expensively wrong, all, is elections. Check out just a few notes on how the rest of the world does them:

The longest campaign in Canadian history was 10 weeks.

In the U.K., political parties can only spend $30 million in the year before an election.

In Germany, political parties release just one 90-second television ad.

In 2013, over two-thirds of income to Norway's political parties came from the government.

In Australia, voting is compulsory.

In Brazil, Election Day is on the weekend.

We just aren't very bright. 

We need to undo our election system and campaigns and campaign finance and all those "campaign contributions", folks.

Links:  The Problems With Our Government--and Our Elections

A Simple But Fairly Accurate Description of This Presidential Election

Let's choose wisely, folks.

Democratic Socialist's photo.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Quote of the Day -- On This Day, 1938

True then, a lesson for us, still.

FDR in 1933.jpg

"The first truth is that the liberty of a Democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power."

--US President Franklin D. Roosevelt: April 29, 1938

Link:   Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies

Thursday, April 28, 2016

This Is How Huge and Obscene Big Money Is In Our Politics

To show how really awful and insidious the big money is in our politics, political system and government, check this out:

Rep. Jolly: Fundraising is the Main Business and First Priority in Congress

And note a few things about this, too.

First, the person saying it is a Republican, of all things. It's not a Democrat or an Independent or even a Libertarian. It's someone from the one political party that, more than anything, stands up and fights for the already-wealthy and corporations, time and again. The one political party that is more in the pocket of these people than any other.

Second, the news source on this is Fox. You know, the bought, sold and paid for media wing of the Republican Party. Even the people getting the money realize it's horrible and needs to end.

A little from the article:

Rep. David Jolly, (R-Fla.), discussed his proposed legislation to stop direct solicitation by members of Congress Monday on the FOX Business Network. Congress members reportedly spend as much as 30 hours a week making fundraising calls in an effort to raise at least $18,000 per day.

“We all know about the amount of money in politics. This is about the amount of time it takes to raise that money and the fact that you have a part-time Congress in a full-time world spending all their days shaking down the American people for money and not doing the job they are there for,” Jolly told Stuart Varney.

Jolly says it is a bipartisan issue that needs to be addressed.

“It is the only thing Republicans and Democrats agree on in Congress; that fundraising is the main business and the first priority.”

We couldn't agree more, Representative Jolly.

We must overturn the Citizens United ruling, end campaign contributions and at long last 
Get the Big, Ugly Money Out of Our Election System and Government.

If we don't do these, nothing will change. Nothing will change for the better, for the people, for the nation. The entire nation.

News Flash to City Fathers

This, breaking today from the NCAA to all city leaders across the nation:

NCAA vote: No Final Fours in cities 

without anti-discrimination laws

The NCAA's Board of Governors implemented a new requirement Wednesday in the bidding process.

After months of hinting that it would use its athletic power to take a stand against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the NCAA on Wednesday made it official.

The organization's Board of Governors, at its quarterly meeting in Indianapolis, adopted a new requirement for sites hosting or bidding on NCAA events in all divisions -- from Final Fours to educational conferences.

Those host cities must "demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event," the NCAA said.

So there you are, folks.  If you like discriminating against yet one more group---it used to be Jews, then the Irish, then blacks, now it's the LGBTQ community--the tide, the world, is turning against you.

It reminds me of the quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Entertainment Overnight -- Youthful Talent

Congress, of All Groups, in the Way of Shrinking Government Spending

This news just hit today:

The Pentagon is once again asking Congress to let it close military bases, and Congress is once again expected to say no

A Washington ritual: Pentagon, Congress at odds over bases

Some things about our government are so difficult to imagine, let alone accept. This is certainly one of those.

All Republicans in public, government office sing out that we must cut spending. They all say we're spending our way to insolvency and bankruptcy. It's common and repetitive as can be. You can nearly not go a day without hearing one of these people decrying our spending and the huge size of our government.

And of course, the biggest source of spending in our national budget is none other than the Defense Department. We spend most of our entire budget on Defense/defense and we also, far and away, spend many times over what all other nations combined on that very same thing, defense. 

It's a huge waste.

It's gargantuan spending, it's wasteful, as I said, it's obscene, it's unaccounted for since the Pentagon isn't held accountable for this money. It is, in the end, immoral and makes no sense, fiscal or otherwise.

So, then, we come here, today, and the military themselves realize we should and even must close some unnecessary, wasteful bases.

But Congressional representatives, plenty of them Republican, say no.

How does this make any sense? Again, how does this make any logical sense, fiscal or otherwise?

And the truth is, of course, it doesn't.

We have to end this. We have to put a stop to this. And cutting this spending, this wasteful military spending, will make the nation stronger.

Please go to this link and write your Congressional representatives. Tell them we must do the right and smart and responsible thing and close these unnecessary bases and cut this wasteful military spending.

Thank you, in advance. Let's do this. It's an election year. They're much more likely to be responsive to us this year than any other.

Let's cut government spending.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Another--Big---Reason We Should Lift the Cap On Social Security

It's commonly known there is a cap on earnings for paying in on Social Security. If you're wealthy and making $118,500 per year or more, you don't get taxed on the rest of that income.

Basically, if you're already wealthy, you get one more break from the rest of us stooges. Thanks, Congress!

As if that's not bad enough---and it is---it's clear, too, that, given that the wealthy also famously and statistically live longer than the rest of us poor schlubs, they get more benefits from the system.

So they live longer, already, what with the cushy lives and security and great food and second (or third or fourth homes), etc. So since they do, they reap more benefits from the system. It makes sense. They live longer so THEY GET MORE MONEY FROM THE SYSTEM.

Sweet deal, huh? They're already wealthy and they soak more from the rest of us. And being rich, I'd nearly bet most of them are "small government" Republicans and Right Wingers and Libertarians, to boot.

It's sick. It's just one more way "Them that has, gets", as the Andrews Sisters used to sing.

The great thing is that there is an obvious and simple solution.

How Taxing the Wealthy Could Save Social Security

News flash:  How about we lift that cap on what they pay in?

This way, they can still contribute to the system---the system they usually take more advantage of since they live longer. Meantime, THEY DO WITHOUT NOTHING. They pay in a bit more, up front. Is that asking so much? It seems clear the answer is no. They pay in on the incomes over $118,500 and they get back, later in life, thus saving Social Security for all of us.

It helps all of us, it actually strengthens the middle and lower classes, thus strengthening the economy. All that's true as if doing the right thing, as a rather human, even "Christian" nation isn't enough and doesn't have it make all the more sense. It's good for the people, yes, but good to great for the nation and even, hell, good for creating demand for products, for all the Capitalists out there.

It makes so much sense. It makes too much sense.

Probably why the Republicans in Congress will never go for it.

Quote of the Day -- Sunday Edition

“Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spiritual; and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.

If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism."

--Albert Einstein

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Kansas' Governor Brownback Finally Gets At Least One Thing Right

I can't think of one thing--not one--Kansas Governor Sam Brownback or his Republican cohorts have gotten right in that state in the last several years.

They infamously pulled the tired, old, failed "trickle down economics" wherein taxes for the wealthy and corporations are slashed so "jobs will be created."

Brownback cuts higher ed funding

Only it never took place, as we warned, as we predicted and as is now shown by the states drained coffers. The same Republicans are taking money from children and schools and school budgets and the states pensioners, all because they went down this ignorant road.

I was sure the Guv could not and would not get anything right.

Fortunately for Kansans and now, even Missourians, he finally, finally got and did something good:

A bit from the article:

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback made a proposal Thursday to end the economic development border war with Missouri.

Brownback’s plan calls for both states to agree not to actively recruit companies in Wyandotte, Johnson, Leavenworth and Douglas counties in Kansas and Jackson, Clay, Platte, Cass and Ray counties in Missouri.

And thank goodness. This should have taken place years ago. It slashes budgets from schools and all kinds of very necessary government programs. It puts more burden for taxation on the middle and lower and working classes. And finally, it puts the companies in a kind of "catbird seat" where all they have to do is threaten to go across the state line. Then these cities and counties, as well as the state, throw themselves at their mercy and give up money they desperately need just to function.

Hopefully this goes through this time. A year and two ago, Missouri offered this but Kansas didn't take them up on it. Hopefully Missouri will now wisely reach out to this olive branch, of sorts, and stop giving away needed tax money.

Cross your fingers.

Kansas City Takes 2 Hits

Yes sir, it seems our Kansas City area takes two hits today, in the media, with an article just out.

The 30 places in the U.S. where 

you're most likely to be murdered

This really surprised me and for a couple reasons. 

Naturally, I hoped Kansas City wouldn't even be on the list, in any way. After that, if we were on it, as I thought we might be, I figured it would only be one city or area, not two.

It wasn't to be.

At number 26 of the 30 is our own Jackson County, Missouri.

I thought sure this would be the only area on the list, first, and frankly, I am pleased we're all the way down to 26, at the end of the list.

Here's the shocker:

Kansas' Wyandotte County was in the (rather high) number 12 spot.  They just missed the top 10.

That's depressing.

But for Missouri, there's really bad news. 

I figured Detroit was maybe in the number one spot, right?


Who was it? Who is it?

Our very own St. Louis.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Congratulations, Kansas City!!

Yes sir!! Congratulations, Kansas City and Kansas Citians!!

You passed the 1% Earnings Tax yet one more time!!

Two big winners, three colossal losers in 

Kansas City's  crucial earnings tax victory 

Now, can we have that greedy, already-wealthy, disgusting, meddling out of towner, the St. Louisan, Rex Sinquefield leave us alone now? Forever?

Here's hoping.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Kansas City's History. And Racism

What's fascinating is that, in spite of Kansas City's long and deeply held racism, which gave us the segregation of races which still exists today, in spite of this deep and deeply held racism, we still gave birth and rise to the likes of Charlie Parker Duke Ellington  and Satchel Paige.

Maybe in spite of ourselves.

Pretty incredible.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What Does Rex Sinquefield Gain By Messing With Kansas City?

So once again, rich, billionaire, St. Louisan Rex Sinquefield tries yet one more time to have Kansas Cititans vote on and, for him, hopefully do away with our 1% city tax.

Donations by Rex Sinquefield in July to support the unsuccessful override of the governor’s veto of HB 253, the tax reform bill.

Here's a guy who's from St. Louis, for pity's sake and a billionaire but he wants to mess with this city across the state, a city he doesn't even live in---and he's already wealthy---yet he has to mess with Kansas City and Kansas Citians and their taxes.

What is his gain in this?

Why doesn't he leave us alone? Why doesn't he leave us all alone?

Is this not one of the best, if not the best example of a wealthy person trying to have his way with the rest of the state, with the middle-, lower- and working-classes, if not the rest of the nation?

Trying to buy the state's next governor  with Catherine Hanaway and the next Lt. Governor as he's been trying to do, I understand. It's still  wrong and deeply so but that I understand.

What he gets,real or imagined, from draining Kansas City's tax coffers, thatI don't get.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Missouri Figures Prominently In First Supreme Court Deadlock

So the first voting deadlock since Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death from the now 8-member US Supreme Court comes straight out of a case that began right here in Missouri:

WASHINGTON -- The risk created by last month's death of Justice Antonin Scalia became a reality Tuesday when the Supreme Court deadlocked in a bankruptcy case that had been pending since the first day of the term last October.

Chief Justice John Roberts read the one-sentence verdict, which could be repeated many times before a replacement for Scalia overcomes a similar deadlock between President Obama and Senate Republicans: "The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court."

The case was one of the high court's least noticed -- a bankruptcy dispute between a Missouri bank and a development company that defaulted on its loans. The company was owned by two couples, and the wives filed suit, claiming discrimination for being required to guarantee their spouses' loans.

The justices clearly were divided in the case, as evidenced by the length of time it took to issue a decision. By the time Scalia died Feb. 13, the case had been under review for more than four months -- an indication of a close decision with one or more dissents.

Left without Scalia's vote, the justices had to ditch all the opinions, concurrences and dissents they may have been writing and, in essence, throw up their hands.

As a result, the Community Bank of Raymore emerges victorious over the two wives, Valerie Hawkins and Janice Patterson, by virtue of the earlier decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

Here's hoping our Congress will, very soon, interview and discuss President Obama's nomination for the Court and have a vote on it.

Hey, we can hope.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

On Those Kansas', Republican Tax Cuts

Seth Myers gets it right on Kansas' Republican tax cuts and the wider implications for possible our national, fiscal  future, given what Republican candidates for the presidency are still proposing.

On Brussels

I am personally sick to death of people who think somehow that blowing up other civilians, strangers advances their cause. It's beyond disgusting.

The bad thing is that they killed and hurt lots of innocents.

The good thing is that they did it with suicide vests.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

On These Coming Summer Olympics?

I wrote earlier about this year's coming Summer Olympics:


This Year's Coming Summer Olympics

Between their pollution and the Zika virus, I felt sure these Olympics will quite possibly be the least attended in years.

Now, on top of all those problems and controversies, it seems they aren't done there, they've had to add to it. This news broke this week, internationally:

It seems there's been a great deal of corruption, from the previous Presidente to the current one. And the current one was trying, this week, to give that previous one, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, cover and protection by making him a defacto member of her government so he wouldn't be prosecuted.

I tell you, I have to think the International Olympic Committee is nothing but regretting giving Brazil these Olympics.  I stand by what I said earlier, the closer we get to these Summer Olympics, the more it looks like they will be under attended and possibly greatly so.

Stay tuned.

Kansas City on the Zika List

An article came out this past week listing 50 cities in America that may well become exposed to the Zika virus and guess who's on it?

Potential Zika virus risk estimated 

for 50 U.S. cities

Ziki risk in US: map of risk in 50 cities

Not paranoia, just awareness, folks.

Have a great weekend.