As just one glaring example, Missouri's own Senator Roy Blunt has been wrapping himself in the American flag and all over the nation's Veterans on his Facebook page this weekend, yet his political party has repeatedly voted down benefits for those same Veterans.
#ThrowbackFact: Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.
Thanks to Abstrakt Goldsmith for this nugget of history that most of us never learned in school and Punk Colours for sharing.
When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of its happiness: when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and its government. --Thomas Paine, from The Rights of Man.
I believe most Americans don't know what's going on right now in Washington and worse, far worse, they don't know how it will effect them.
The issue is referred to as 'net neutrality, short for internet neutrality. What's happening is that the Federal Communications Commission--the FCC--is deciding if corporations that supply the internet can charge more for faster speeds to certain customers willing to pay more.
Actually, Senator Al Franken has led an effort to fight the big media corporations and save net neutrality. He gives terrific, clear information on the fight here and what it means to and for us all:
There are at least three things wrong with this. Two big things.
First, it means those with money will get and have and keep more data. That is, more information. This is the equivalent of the old "separate but equal" theory from America's history that we decided was unconstitutional decades ago. It's just wrong.
Second, it means the corporations, especially, will have more and more power and control of that information. That wouldn't be good for us either economically or in terms of business. It's great for them, patently negative for the nation. It's worst of all for the people, for you and I.
The third thing very wrong with this is that, sadly, frustratingly and even destructively, it's being decided by, controlled by a person at the FCC who is originally from the very industry this ruling could help go the corporations' way:
Anyone who knows me knows I'm for most of the work of our current president but in this case, as in some others, Mr. Obama did "more of the same" instead of changing Washington. He appointed a lobbyist and campaign fund bundler for the cable industry to the head of the very powerful FCC, the very agency created to monitor these people. To use a cliche', it's "a fox, guarding the henhouse."
The biggest Internet companies in the world are squaring off against the biggest ISPs in the country on this issue, which will dictate the future of the Internet.
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to publicly release its proposed rules about the future of the "Open Internet."
I highly recommend you click on the article link above, go to the article and read just what all this is, what's going on, why you should care and what it all means. The future of the internet and of information is being decided now.
This year’s legislative session has come to a fitting end. Revenues in April fell substantially from those that had been projected; Moody’s bond rating service downgraded Kansas bonds, making it more expensive for the state to borrow in the future; the governor blamed the revenue shortfalls on the Obama administration’s fiscal policies; and the honorable members of the Kansas House and Senate approved the budget in spite of the shortfalls with several members stating that they would deal with any problems “next year.”
I am surprised that they weren’t playing Jimmy Buffet songs while they voted and that none of them made a public statement quoting the famous economic maxim “Don’t worry; be happy.” To quote William Allen White, “What’s the matter with Kansas?”
This past legislative session has made it clear that any proper sense of responsibility, fiscal otherwise, has left the capitol building and taken up residence far from Kansas. When I was growing up and forming my own ideas about politics, a political “conservative” was someone who respected the status quo and who eschewed radical change. Republicans were known for their fiscal responsibility, as in Pat Nixon’s venerable “cloth coat.” Senator Dole was known for his willingness and ability to make compromises “across the aisle” in order to ensure that government did its job of serving the people.
This is not what is going on in Topeka any longer. Instead we have legislators who believe that fiscal prudence means only one thing: cutting taxes no matter what the effect on institutions of government and on the public. Our legislators no longer seem to care about facts. Important legislation, like the school finance bill, included radical changes to teacher job security without any serious attempt at fact-gathering or public hearings. Our court system’s funding structures were radically altered, again without fact-gathering or adequate hearings and, very possibly, in contravention of the Kansas Constitution. And, of course, a budget based on inaccurate assumptions and bad economics was passed that very well may not work in six months requiring debilitating interim cuts in state agency budgets. But it’s OK; don’t worry, be happy.
If I sound rather angry, that’s because I am. The business of government is serious. The lives and welfare of Kansans depend upon the actions of the Legislature. Legislators hold office in trust, to serve the people. Legislators bear a heavy burden of responsibility, or at least they should. I have come to believe that a majority of the present Legislature does not care about their responsibilities to the people of Kansas.
Ideology has replaced politics. Ideology has replaced sound economic and fiscal policy. Ideology has replaced common sense. And the people of Kansas let this continue to happen. When will it end? What, indeed, is the matter with Kansas? I think, perhaps, it is time once again to ask this question and to apply some measure of accountability to our elected officials who seem to think that they may do whatever they want without reasonable thought or public input or factual basis for their actions. If we wait much longer to recognize that our legislators are not conservatives, but, instead, are radicals determined to undermine and destroy the social compact under which we have lived for generations, then it may well be too late to save our state.
— Mike Hoeflich, a distinguished professor in the Kansas University School of Law, writes a regular column for the Journal-World.
Anyone who's been to California, to Southern California and Los Angeles and especially San Diego--I have, several times, at least--knows it's virtually never, ever 106 degrees there, in the city. It's not usually that hot there even at the hottest time of year, August.
Wednesday, it was 106 degrees. It was that hot.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, along with a many-years-long drought is what that begat, also, Wednesday:
One of the terrific things, rather famously, about San Diego in specific, is that it's nearly always about 65 to 75 wonderful degrees. Heck, at the worst of Winter, with clouds and rain, it would be cold at about 55 degrees for a high.
That was it.
San Diego, rather famously, had some of the most pleasant, wonderful, mild, moderate temperatures even on the planet, let alone in the United States.
You know how, in so much of the US, we let our schools out for ice and snow and severe cold weather in the Winters?
In San Diego this week, there were so many fires in the county and the temperatures were so high, they let out schools.
So let's put it all together, just a few things here.
The ice caps are melting, glaciers are melting, average temperatures are rising, as are ocean levels, so much so that coast lines are shrinking and islands are disappearing back into the oceans and now this.
Should we still do nothing to stop pouring carbon dioxide into our atmosphere?
There are two purchases that have been proposed, that are pending, that absolutely, without question, should not happen and that will only end up hurting you, hurting us, hurting America. These two purchases will do nothing but make extremely large, already-powerful companies even larger and do nothing but hurt competition here in the country and hurt you and me, hurt our pocketbooks. They are:
Our government legislators and representatives have become prostitutes. Prostitutes in the truest sense of the word, to and for money, to and from businesses, corporations and the wealthy for money so they can afford their election campaigns and they can continue to remain in their political positions. It's constant. It is in no way even subtle. They're not sexual prostitutes, of course, but people exchanging money with a quid pro quo, certainly.
This is not healthy. This is not good for our nation.
"America has a long tradition of imposing high taxes on big incomes and large fortunes, designed to limit the concentration of economic power as well as raising revenue. These days, however, suggestions that we revive that tradition face angry claims that taxing the rich is destructive and immoral — destructive because it discourages job creators from doing their thing, immoral because people have a right to keep what they earn.
But such claims rest crucially on myths about who the rich really are and how they make their money. Next time you hear someone declaiming about how cruel it is to persecute the rich, think about the hedge fund guys, and ask yourself if it would really be a terrible thing if they paid more in taxes."
It seems the state's car dealers don't want any additional competition so they're no doubt going to their representatives--ahem, OUR representatives--giving them "campaign contributions" and voila! out comes this legislation that would keep Tesla cars from being sold in the state. It's already taken place in Texas and a few other states.
And from Republican legislatures.
As I said, from people who are supposed to be for less meddlesome, "small government" and more truly free market Capitalism.
Seems they only want "free markets" that help themselves.
And it's only "big government" if they don't like it.
Or it doesn't put yet more money in their pockets.
We have to speak up, people. We have to stop this nonsense. We have to force change. We have to get our government, our laws and our legislators and their legislation back for us, for the people.
The way to do it is to fight to end campaign contributions. We have to get the big, ugly, corrupting influence of their money out of our elections and so, our government.
It has to come from us. It's the only way it will change.
I was just made aware, last evening, of this new, as I said, important documentary that's coming out soon on the American diet and how sugar, especially, is so prevalent and dangerous in our nation and society:
After a battle over a tax-cut measure, animosity has come to characterize relations between Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled Legislature. What the bill would have done: The legislation will reduce the top individual income tax rate to 5.5 percent, from 6 percent, starting in 2017, provided state revenue is growing. It also provides a 25 percent deduction for business income reported on personal tax returns.
So once again, the Republicans are for giving tax cuts to the already-wealthy and to corporations which puts further burden on the middle- and lower-classes. You know, to you and me, the ones out here with not that much money anyway. Yeehaw, right?
And with Kansas' situation as a terrific, current example, here's why it shouldn't go forward:
After the override vote, Governor Nixon, who has warned that the tax cut would hurt efforts to pay for education and downgrade the state’s credit rating, issued a terse statement calling the legislation “a very real threat to the principles of fiscal discipline that have helped us maintain our spotless AAA rating for decades.” Moody’s downgraded Kansas’ credit rating last week, citing its recent tax cuts, pension liabilities and spending on schools.
I'm telling you, we have to get more people from the center, more moderates down in the state capital.
The Republican-controlled State Senate delivered a defeat to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, sending a bill to reduce the top individual income tax rate to the House.
Kansas did it first, lowering taxes on the already-wealthy and raising them on the middle- and lower-classes. Somehow, remarkably, Missouri legislators think this is somehow a good idea in spite of the clear unfairness and immorality it presents. It also flies in the face of the effects its having on Kansas' coffers. Check out these very recent results:
So it's blatantly unfair, it's immoral, it puts more burdens on the middle-class and poor and it ends up leading to less money in the states' coffers and a sluggish economy, what with less money in that same middle and lower class people's pockets so they spend less and ultimately leads to a downgrade in the state's credit rating.
Oh, yeah. I can see how that's a totally good idea.
Rex Sinquefeld must be just giddy. He's certainly getting his money's worth out of Jefferson City.
We can achieve greatness when we step back from ourselves, and realize a simple truth, our own minds lie to us far too often. The fears we often believe so deeply are often simply figments of our imagination, reinforced by others who hold the same fears. They are lies. We have little to fear other than ourselves.
It is our collective intelligence that has moved our society forward, and individuals, no matter how intelligent or innovative, only succeed based on helping others. We no longer live in an age where power needs to be derived from ruthlessness or fear, but today, it's a time where success is forged out of hope and love, the betterment of others lives.
Call it a religious belief, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, call it humanism or Americanism. Call it what you will, but this simple truth is the only thing that has allowed our species to prosper is our desire to be there for others. Ignoring this truth, often covered by the pursuit of excessive profit for the sake of profit, has created far too much suffering in our age.
We have come through a time where others need to be looked at as adversaries. The connectivity of our species, and the promise of even more in the days to come, provides us with the tools to realize and achieve this truth of all humanity, that there are no others, but one species, pursuing the same goals on this earth, happiness.
We must look towards others to help, with the knowledge that a strengthened mutual dependence will provide a better life for us all. We need to end the societal mentality, where the driving force is greed, where "others" are looked at as adversaries. We are all of the same origin and nearly all identical, despite appearances.
When we once again, as a society, find joy in the non-material pleasures in the world around us, judge our success not by the amount of our own financial success, but by the amount we improve others lives, we will begin to rebuild our society into something we all can be proud of.
We will fulfill the promise of America that Thomas Paine wrote about in Common Sense all those years ago, awakening a sleeping peoples that they did not have to live as servants, but be in the natural state of humankind, achievable in America, where we all can live in peace, liberty, and pursue our happiness, in a society where we, the people, direct our destiny.
Break free of the old mindset and we can begin the process of fulfilling the American promise, for all humankind.
To the one person who has dedicated himself, his life and more of his time and efforts and energy for and to the betterment of the city he lives in than nearly anyone else in it for the last 50 years--and not for his own personal, financial benefit:
With pressure mounting to avert a transportation funding crisis this summer, the Obama administration Tuesday opened the door for states to collect tolls on interstate highways to raise revenue for roadway repairs.
The proposal, contained in a four-year, $302 billion White House transportation bill, would reverse a long-standing federal prohibition on most interstate tolling.
Because, after all, this is all they have to work on down in Jefferson City, what with the very Republican and Right Wing representatives there:
It's either voting against Federal law--which is pointless since Federal trumps state every time--or they want to propose and vote on some legislation to dictate women's reproductive rights or for rich people like Rex Sinquefieldto get more tax cuts or some other measure in his favor.