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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Entertainment overnight -- Holidays Edition






Merry Christmas






The Upcoming Republican Tax Agenda (guest post


From economist, columnist Robert Reich today---and it's not good for you or me or America:

Corporate tax "reform" is high on the Republican agenda because the GOP's corporate patrons are demanding payoff from their investments in the 2014 election. Watch your wallets. Here are the four biggest right-wing whoppers about corporate taxes:

1. The U.S. corporate tax rate of 35% is one of the highest among advanced countries. True but misleading. The effective corporate income-tax rate – what corporations actually pay after all deductions, credits, and loopholes – is 27.7%, close to the average of all rich countries (27.2%).
2. Today's corporate tax rate is high by historic standards. Baloney. In the 1950s it was over 50%.
3. The corporate tax reduces corporate profits, which makes it harder for corporations to hire. Wrong. Corporate profits today are the highest they've been since World War II as a percentage of the economy.
4. Lowering the corporate income-tax would spur economic growth. Baloney. There's no relation between corporate tax rates and growth. In the 1950s and 60s, when the corporate tax was over 50%, the economy grew faster (at an annual average rate of 3.9%) than it has since the rate was reduced.

Once more, the Republicans make it clear they're for the wealthy and corporations, not the middle and lower classes, not for working America. In short, then, not for America, overall.

Quote of the day -- On Wealth Inequality



Photo

Quote of the Day -- the Real Problem


#Ferguson

Skai Juice's photo.

Happy Birthday Samuel Clemens




Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.  

--Mark Twain



Friday, November 28, 2014

O Holy Night


A new version





Not just Michael Brown, Not just Ferguson


And this is just a short list


America, Where Murderous Racism Actually Pays


An additional rather horrific tragedy out of Ferguson, Missouri.

If this is true, and it looks as though it is, that Officer Darren Wilson was paid a "high six figure" amount for having an interview with ABC News:


And then this:


Then awful things can be concluded.

First, his crime did, in fact, pay. His choosing to shoot unarmed Michael Brown was, sadly, tragically and horrifically the "right" thing for him to do. Not only is he going to get away with it but it paid to do so. 

It paid.

And it's paying handsomely.

Second, it seems easy to see and believe that Officer Wilson might even feel he should have done it sooner. He could have been that much closer to wealth and retirement.

Third, what does this tell other officers of the law but that this can pay?

Not a good day for America. Not another good day for America.

Blood money, anyone?

Not only is it far less safe to be black, specifically a black, young man in America, even unarmed, but it pays whites to kill them.

Not only did Officer Darren Wilson get off with having killed a fellow American citizen, but he was well and rather hugely paid for it, too.

Michael Brown's parents just seem to be getting worse and worse news all the time.


A Happy Kansas City Birthday


To Ms. Ida McBeth. And thank you for sharing your wonderful voice and talents with us.


The Truth About America's Spending, Debt and Deficits

For all the Obama haters out there

And keep in mind, this isn't including more recent improvements since 2008. This is a partial list of benefits for and to America (click on picture for easier viewing).




Christmas, 1914






Have yourself a merry little Christmas


Merry Christmas


25 Bizarre And Interesting Facts About Christmas





Thursday, November 27, 2014

Entertainment Overnight -- Happy Holidays


Have yourself a merry little Christmas





Quote of the day -- On Race. And America


An Old, Longtime Favorite Prayer of Thanks


I saw this, years ago, as a child and never forgot it. From the movie "Shenandoah" with, obviously, Jimmy Stewart. I also love what the poster of the video called the clip, naturally.



Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.


Happy Thanksgiving, y'all






Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy birthday, Miss Tina


No doubt, you're simply the best




Thank you, thank you.



Why you don't mix the police and the military


Jeremy Rifley's photo.

This is what mixing the military and police gets us, along with  attacks on citizens. Oh, and deaths:



What the gun people don't get



Quote of the Day -- On America Today




It's Not Just MIchael Brown, Not Just Ferguson


Michael Brown's situation isn't the problem. At least, by itself, it's not the problem.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem.  It's not one person. It's all the people who keep dying like this. And keep in mind, this is no way close to all the people who have died. Not even close.


It's that unarmed men keep getting killed. And it's that no one, time and again, is held responsible for it.

Meanwhile, across the country:

Fair?  Fairness?  Justice?  Equality?

And then there's this:


Crazy.

And we've got to stop this horrible insanity.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Racial History in America, 1700 to today


First we owned them--Africans, later to be African-Americans--and beat them and kept them down and tortured them and killed lots and then, after the Civil War and ever since, we locked lots and lots of them in jails and prisons and wouldn't let them live near us or get or have a great education or the good jobs.

And that takes us up to today.

And all us whites, out in our comfortable suburbs don't understand.

Imagine that.



America after Ferguson


We waited, as a nation, for the foregone conclusion that surely was the result of the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri and now that wait is over, much as it was no surprise whatever.

While we waited, a young, unarmed black man was shot and killed with no warning whatever while minding his own business and with his girlfriend in a stairwell in New York.

Then, in the last couple days, a 12 year old boy---a 12 year old boy, for pity's sake--was shot and killed for having a toy gun.

Racism in America is still resolutely in charge.

No justice.


Entertainment Overnight -- After Ferguson






Monday, November 24, 2014

The Ferguson Verdict


You could see how it was going when the man reading the prepared material started blaming witnesses for their input right after the shooting.

Did anyone really think Officer Wilson was actually going to be charged or prosecuted?



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Entertainment Overnight -- Say Something






On the 2016 Election (guest post)


What hope looks like:

"I don’t think it’s possible for Republicans to win the 2016 presidential election or keep control of the Senate. That’s because the GOP is disappearing from the most heavily populated sections of the country while increasing its lead in a declining bloc of aging, white, rural voters. Look at voting demographics and you get the likely 2016 voting map below (based on 2014’s returns, New Hampshire and Virginia are turning blue, and Georgia is now at play).  

--Robert Reich, economist

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Entertainment Overnight -- Not the Only One





On this day


A reminder





What the Nation Needs to Know About Walmart, the Waltons and a True, Livable Wage


With great thanks, once again, to economist Robert Reich:





Pressure Building for the Nation's Infrastructure--and Maybe for the People


It does seem as if finally,finally pressure may be building in our media for some kind of infrastructure bill from this Congress.

And let's face it, the only way this is going to happen is if the people are for it and if it's reflected in our media.

Here's the first indicator. I saw it yesterday:

More proof we're in rapid decline: Not a single U.S. city currently ranks among the world's most livable

America has the most billionaires in the world, but not a single U.S. city ranks among the world’s most livable cities. Not a single U.S. airport is among the top 100 airports in the world. Our bridges, road and rail are falling apart, and our middle class is being guttered out thanks to three decades of stagnant wages, while the top 1 percent enjoys 95 percent of all economic gains.

A rigged tax code and a bloated military budget are starving the federal and state governments of the revenue it needs to invest in infrastructure, which means today America looks increasingly like a second rate nation, and now new data shows America’s intellectual resources are also in decline.

For the past three decades, the Republican Party has waged a dangerous assault on the very idea of public education. Tax cuts for the rich have been balanced with spending cuts to education. During the New Deal era of the 1940s to 1970s, public schools were the great leveler of America. They were our great achievement. It was universal education for all, but today it’s education for those fortunate enough to be born into wealthy families or live in wealthy school districts. The right’s strategy of defunding public education leaves parents with the option of sending their kids to a for-profit school or a theological school that teaches kids our ancestors kept dinosaurs as pets.
“What kind of future society the defectors from the public school rolls envision I cannot say. However, having spent some time in the Democratic Republic of Congo—a war-torn hellhole with one of those much coveted limited central governments, and, not coincidentally, a country in which fewer than half the school-age population goes to public school—I can say with certainty that I don’t want to live there,” writes Chuck Thompson in Better off Without Em.

Then, this Sunday evening, CBS News' "60 Minutes" is doing a segment, thank goodness, on America's crumbling infrastructure. However long overdue, at least they're finally doing it now:
Is the United States falling apart? Roads and bridges are crumbling, airports are out of date, and the vast majority of seaports are in danger of becoming obsolete. All the result of decades of neglect. Tune in Sunday for Steve Kroft's #60Minutes report on America's infrastructure:


60 Minutes Video - The roads and bridges Americns drive

So here's to hope. Here's to the idea that we're coming to a time and place where we, the people "get it" and so, demand more, far more, from our government and representative in government.


Hopefully we can get these jobs, the improvements and updates to our infrastructure and the boost the economy needs, all three. And naturally, the sooner the better (from this do-nothing, "sue the President" Congress).

It shouldn't all just be for the wealthy and corporations.


Things Learned From the Internet


The internet and communicating with more people has taught me three things, minimum. 

First, I've learned that sexism concerning women , to some--lots of, really, far too many--men doesn't exist or take place to those men when/if they don't see it and aren't aware of it.


It's the same way racism to and on and for blacks doesn't exist to so many whites in this country. If they can't see or understand it, it doesn't exist or occur. It's playing out, right now, in Ferguson, Missouri and all across the nation.


Finally I've learned that voicing a hope for a higher plane of thought, less sexism, less racism, etc., is a sure way to be labeled a "prude" or an "elitist" or a racist or "reverse racist" or untold numbers of what are deemed to be insults by the giver.



People can be stupid.


Be kind anyway.


And have a great weekend.




Thursday, November 20, 2014

On Tonight's Immigration Speech by Pres. O



On that immigration issue?


Republicans are trying to claim that executive action on immigration from Obama would be 'unprecedented' and 'lawless.'  But the fact is, EVERY SINGLE PRESIDENT since Eisenhower has done the exact same thing.  What's unprecedented about that? 

Read more at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2014/10/06/98321/by-the-numbers-every-president-since-eisenhower-has-taken-executive-action-on-immigration/

The Seven Biggest Economic Lies (guest post)


The Seven Biggest Economic Lies from economist Robert Reich:
1. Tax cuts for the rich trickle down to everyone else. 
Baloney. 
Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both sliced taxes on the rich and what happened? Most Americans' wages (measured by the real median wage) began flattening under Reagan and has dropped since George W. Bush. Trickle-down economics is a cruel joke.
2. Higher taxes on the rich would hurt the economy and slow job growth. 
False. 
From the end of World War II until 1981, the richest Americans faced a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent or above. Under Dwight Eisenhower it was 91 percent. Even after all deductions and credits, the top taxes on the very rich were far higher than they've been since. Yet the economy grew faster during those years than it has since. (Don't believe small businesses would be hurt by a higher marginal tax; fewer than 2 percent of small business owners are in the highest tax bracket.)
3. Shrinking government generates more jobs. 
Wrong again. 
It means fewer government workers -- everyone from teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and social workers at the state and local levels to safety inspectors and military personnel at the federal. And fewer government contractors, who would employ fewer private-sector workers. According to Moody's economist Mark Zandi (a campaign advisor to John McCain), the $61 billion in spending cuts proposed by the House GOP will cost the economy 700,000 jobs this year and next.
4. Cutting the budget deficit now is more important than boosting the economy. 
Untrue. 
With so many Americans out of work, budget cuts now will shrink the economy. They'll increase unemployment and reduce tax revenues. That will worsen the ratio of the debt to the total economy. The first priority must be getting jobs and growth back by boosting the economy. Only then, when jobs and growth are returning vigorously, should we turn to cutting the deficit.
5. Medicare and Medicaid are the major drivers of budget deficits. 
Wrong. 
Medicare and Medicaid spending is rising quickly, to be sure. But that's because the nation's health-care costs are rising so fast. One of the best ways of slowing these costs is to use Medicare and Medicaid's bargaining power over drug companies and hospitals to reduce costs, and to move from a fee-for-service system to a fee-for-healthy outcomes system. And since Medicare has far lower administrative costs than private health insurers, we should make Medicare available to everyone.
6. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. 
Don't believe it. 
Social Security is solvent for the next 26 years. It could be solvent for the next century if we raised the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax. That ceiling is now $106,800.
7. It's unfair that lower-income Americans don't pay income tax. 
Wrong. 
There's nothing unfair about it. Lower-income Americans pay out a larger share of their paychecks in payroll taxes, sales taxes, user fees, and tolls than everyone else.

Quote of the day -- from "Give 'em Hell, Harry"


Harry S. Truman.jpg

 “The Republicans … will try to make people believe that everything the Government has done for the country is socialism. They will go to the people and say: "Did you see that social security check you received the other day—you thought that was good for you, didn't you? That's just too bad! That's nothing in the world but socialism. Did you see that new flood control dam the Government is building over there for the protection of your property? Sorry—that's awful socialism! That new hospital that they are building is socialism. Price supports, more socialism for the farmers! Minimum wage laws? Socialism for labor! Socialism is bad for you, my friend. Everybody knows that. And here you are, with your new car, and your home, and better opportunities for the kids, and a television set—you are just surrounded by socialism! Now the Republicans say, ‘That's a terrible thing, my friend, and the only way out of this sinkhole of socialism is to vote for the Republican ticket.’"

--President Harry S. Truman

Things for which I'm thankful


My daughter

Her good health

How bright, fun and nice she is

My own good health

My family

My friends, certainly

Vacations

Days off work

Terrific light--sunsets, sunrises

Photos that turn out even better than I expected

Nature

Being in nature

Cycling, camping, canoeing and kayaking

Things that work

Things I need that don't cost a lot but that still also work

Spring

Summer

Fall

Snow, especially when it's falling or I'm in the mountains and can ski

Swimming

Fresh air

Flowers (see nature, above)

Music

Peace

Love

Good food

Great restaurants

Smiles

Happy people

Kindness and kind people

Thoughtfulness and thoughtful people


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How we got to now


Facts


An Article Nearly Every American Should Read


It's this one. It came out yesterday from Paul Krugman at The New York Times:

When Government Succeeds
Two snippets:

Of course there are bad decisions and bad programs. But modern American political discourse is dominated by cheap cynicism about public policy, a free-floating contempt for any and all efforts to improve our lives. And this cheap cynicism is completely unjustified. It’s true that government-hating politicians can sometimes turn their predictions of failure into self-fulfilling prophecies, but when leaders want to make government work, they can...

Conservatives want you to believe that while the goals of public programs on health, energy and more may be laudable, experience shows that such programs are doomed to failure. Don’t believe them. Yes, sometimes government officials, being human, get things wrong. But we’re actually surrounded by examples of government success, which they don’t want you to notice.

Now. Go. Read it all. It's brief, I assure you. 

It will do you---and your country---good.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Quote of the day -- On Our Personal Realities


"Every kind of ignorance in the world all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles. We believe what we see and then we believe our interpretation of it, we don't even know we are making an interpretation most of the time. We think this is reality."

– Robert Anton Wilson

Link: Reality tunnel - Wikipedia