The already-wealthy and corporations want to make sure they can give unlimited “campaign contributions” to their legislators---our legislators---in Jefferson City so they can have their way with our laws and so, with us, the people of Missouri.
A ban on big money donations to Missouri politicians will stay in place for at least a few more weeks.
In a hearing in federal court Thursday, opponents of a new law limiting campaign contributions withdrew a request to block the caps .
U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry said she wants to first hear arguments about the merits and pitfalls of the new limits on campaign giving before deciding whether to place a temporary hold on the caps while the lawsuit moves through the legal system.
The next hearing is set for Jan. 13.
The action in the St. Louis courtroom comes as another group has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Kansas City also seeking to dump the limits, which were approved by voters in the Nov. 8 election.
Under the change to the state constitution, Missouri voters capped contributions to individual candidates at $2,600 per election. Contributions to a political party would be capped at $25,000.
The change also attempted to ban the current practice of funneling money through different committees to hide the source of the contributions. It prohibits contributions by foreign interests and companies not legally authorized to conduct business in Missouri.
The Missouri Legislature removed campaign contribution limits in 2008. That led to an era where seven-figure contributions to candidates became common, including during the most recent election.
In the St. Louis case, the Association of Missouri Electrical Cooperatives and Legends Bank say the new law unfairly stops them from donating to campaigns and political action committees.
If the law stays in place, the electrical cooperatives argue they won’t be able to raise adequate funds to ensure its members’ voices are heard during the legislative session that begins Wednesday.
Because, you know, you can’t be “heard” if you can’t give money to your legislator, right?
This next paragraph tells the truth of the matter:
The Kansas City case takes a broader approach on behalf of a number of Republican-oriented political action committees, including Missourians for Worker Freedom, a political action committee formed in the past month to work in favor of making Missouri a right-to-work state.
Note that? A “Republican-oriented political action committee” because this is Republicans that want this more than anyone. They did away with the state’s campaign contribution limits back in 2008. Why should they have limits on the amounts of money already-wealthy and corporations can give them? It’s like when they vote themselves a raise. Pretty sweet, huh? Vote for money in your own pocket.
This is the part that really gets me: “The suit contends the new law violates free speech rights…”
Because, again, if I can’t give my legislator money, that means I can’t speak with him.
Since 2008, Missouri has famously, infamously and notoriously been the ONLY STATE IN THE NATION with no limits on campaign contributions, no limits on the amounts of money wealthy people and corporations can throw at our government representatives. The other 49 states have got to be green with envy on that little beauty, eh? So we ended up, this last election, with different people like Rex Sinquefield out of St. Louis and others, paying literally millions of dollars to a single candidate.
Sinquefield himself gave nearly 4 million dollars to Catherine Hanaway’s campaign while governor-elect “Pretty Boy” Greitens got nearly two million dollars from one contributor. And we don’t even know who was behind that donation. It’s “dark money’, given by a political action committee so the donor is unknown. Additionally, David Humphreys and his sister, Sarah Atkins thought they’d try to buy a Lieutenant Governor by giving Peter Kinder the tidy little sum of a cool 1 million dollars.
If you don’t think our last election was bought and paid for, you don’t know what just took place. It’s the biggest under-reported story in the state for 2016, without doubt.
“ It’s one thing to recognize capitalism for the powerful economic tool it is and to acknowledge that, for better or for worse, we’re stuck with it and, hey, thank God we have it. There’s not a lot else that can produce mass wealth with the dexterity that capitalism can.
But to mistake it for a social framework is an incredible intellectual corruption and it’s one that the West has accepted as a given since 1980—since Reagan.
Human beings—in this country in particular—are worth less and less. When capitalism triumphs unequivocally, labor is diminished. It’s a zero-sum game. People paid a much higher tax rate when Eisenhower was president, a much higher tax rate for the benefit of society, and all of us had more of a sense that we were included.
Proof positive, folks, of what the insanity of having our health care system tied to profit and profits does. Capitalism, at it's both worst and finest, and brought to light, thank goodness, by our own Senator Claire McCaskill. From yesterday's New York Times:
Senator Claire McCaskill, left, and Senator Susan Collins presented a 130-page report Wednesday on price gouging by prescription drug makers. CreditDrew Angerer for The New York Times
Congressional reports can be a snooze. But that is not how I’d characterize Wednesday’s in-depth account of price gouging among prescription drug makers. The 130-page narrative prepared by the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging was juicy, detailing how four pharmaceutical companies have taken advantage of our health care system to enrich themselves and their executives, harming patients and taxpayers.
Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine who is chairwoman of the committee, and Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri who is its ranking member, published the report. But in a statement, they said their work was not finished and called for “continued efforts to stop bad actors who are acquiring drugs that have been off-patent for decades and driving up their prices solely because they can.”
The report focused on Retrophin, Rodelis Therapeutics, Turing Pharmaceuticals and an old favorite, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. But these four companies are not alone in pursuing the pernicious price-hike business model, the committee noted. Other companies take the same approach, hurting taxpayers, patients and the health care system.
That’s for sure.
It is unclear where the Senate may set its sights next. But fresh Medicare data points to a candidate right in Ms. McCaskill’s backyard: St. Louis-based Mallinckrodt PLC. It makes H.P. Acthar Gel, a 1950s vintage, off-patent drug whose cost has rocketed from $40 a vial in 2001 to $38,000 today.
That Epi-pen episode, not that long ago was just one more example of this kind of, again, Capitalist gouging of the American public. Sick Americans, actually.
Senators McCaskill and Susan Collins (R-Maine) get credit for bringing this to light and for doing this examination. Seems the women have the empathy for the American public who are trying to afford our grossly obscene and immoral health care system. Men in Congress don't seem to be as interested in doing this so-important work.
Senator McCaskill gets additional kudos for this exploration since one of the companies they're looking into is based right here in Missouri, Mallinckrodt PLC. That takes some guts since she no doubt risks some political capital--potential votes--in doing this though the article did mention one Senator Tim Scott (R-So. Carolina) did raise questions about this drug's pricing "over a year ago."
It's a fascinating, even, possibly important, very relevant, if depressing article. Virtually all adult Americans, paying for health care, should be aware of it. It shows just what the pharmaceutical companies are doing to us all and getting away with.
All in the name of health care.
And, again, that mighty, mighty Capitalism so many love so dearly.
On this day, December 23, 1888. Vincent Van Gogh, in what seems to be a fit of rage or anger or desperation or a combination thereof, after a bit of a fight with Paul Gaugin, cuts off his ear and gives it to a prostitute.
If you watched KCPT's and Mike Shanin's weekly news program "Ruckus" again this evening, once more, you would think that the Kansas City metropolitan area has not one "person of color" within its borders. Not one Black American, not one Hispanic, not one Asian, nothing. Zip, Nada.
Fortunately, they did have three women on their panel--again, very white--so there's something but the rest? White men, mostly old. All three of the men are clearly Right Wing being one Libertarian and the other two deeply Right Wing.
It really does seem as though no minority person's experience nor opinion matter either to this organization, the local PBS station, or to this city.
And once more, part of the panel discussion was about our just-passed November election. Clearly they think no person in this metropolitan area has any input worth giving to the voting and all its ramifications?
Is there not one person in this city that couldn't be included on this little, cozy club?
Their name does stand for Kansas City Public Broadcasting. Right?
Donald Trump's plans of cutting taxes further for businesses and corporations and the already-wealthy have already, famously been tried before. Heck, we've seen this for some time, right next door in Kansas, since 2012 and Governor Sam Brownback's and the Republican's "trickle down economics."
And besides these plans, of cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations, Mr. Trump also wants to beef up our military and their budget, as though they don't waste millions and billions enough already.
So get ready, America. Those pesky, hard-headed Republicans, with their ideas of shoveling yet more money to corporations and again, the already-wealthy and the military are now coming at the entire nation.
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s son Eric Trump says he will no longer directly solicit contributions for charities because of the potential for donors to try to use him to gain access to his father.
So, in the first place, these people, including this man soon-to-be-President, they were all going to pimp his own presidency, pimp the nation, really, all of us, for big-time funds just because enough of us were foolish, if not stupid enough to have voted for him. That's horrible enough.
Now, his son says they won't do it "directly."
Now they'll have a middle-man do it, no doubt.
What's bizarre, first, is that it would and did even occur to them to do this. Second, someone had to no doubt tell them how completely and utterly inappropriate it is, if not thoroughly illegal.
Again, thanks, Republicans and Right Wingers and all the racists and Obama haters out there who voted for this clownish, infantile buffoon. It's already paying off for them---and maybe for you, too?--and he's not even inaugurated.
Yes, Republicans and all who supported and voted for Donald J. Trump for president, after today, he and all he does and all the ramifications are all, every one of them, on you.
Sure, Mr. Trump is already taking us down his deep, dark "rabbit hole" and we'll all suffer but his actions? The blame for what he does and says and tweets and all the ramifications? Even the ones from the election to today, while he was only president-elect, everything from November 8 to today and for as long as he is president, it's all on you. We have you and your vote and your actions to blame.
The economy? On you.
The nation's international standings?
Any debt or debts he accrues?
And believe me, if he should do anything right and/or well and good, sure, you absolutely get any credit there.
Should that occur.
Same for Mike Pence, as Vice President or, God also forbid, President.
You get all the blame. It's all on you, to repeat.
You wanted this. You voted for it. You supported him and all he represented then and represents since.
Yes, he's all our President, the nation's President but not because we voted for him, not because a majority of us voted for him. You did this.
So buck up and suck it up, kids, because Mr. Trump has already shown us all, since that fateful November election day last year that this is going to be a bumpy, bumpy, unpredictable ride.
Donald J. Trump will be sworn into the Presidency, January 20, 2107, about a month from now. The ugliness is now staring us squarely in the face.
So what do we do?
Here's an idea. Let's make this a thing.
January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day in Washington, DC. Since it's going to take place and Donald J. Trump is to be sworn in as our 45th President, let's do this.
Let's all wear black.
We can't all go to Washington. We can't all be there and protest, much as we'd like and much as he, Trump, deserves.
So let's do the next best thing.
Let's all of us, coast to coast, wear black.
Head to foot.
Let's show our quiet, even silent protest at this misogynist, sexist, racist, emotional man-child being foisted into the highest and most powerful government position in the nation and the most powerful position in the world. Since the Electoral College goes through with this and does vote him in, let's show our cohesion.
Let's "put it out there", to the nation and to our fellow Americans and to the world that we're concerned and that we in no way supported, then, nor support now this petulant, unthinking man in the White House.
Yes, we support him, as far as it goes, as President, but only because we must. We only support him out of acknowledgement of this reality, this ugly, sad, even dangerous reality that the Electoral College got him into the presidency.
So we're still kicking around the idea of a new, 1 billion dollar, single terminal for our airport or doing the fiscally and environmentally responsible thing and revamping the existing ones. Seems our Kansas City Star wrote and posted an article by local opinion-meister Steve Rose. I found the article under this headline:
But on Facebook, last evening, it was posted under this heading and I think it's far more accurate.
Kansas City Council must avoid a public vote on KCI upgrade
Here's the gist of it, according to the Star.
Steve Rose claims that, "for the good of the entire metro, Kansas City must get around a public vote and not allow the naysayers to set the agenda for Kansas City’s future."
What gets me about this is that Mr. Rose is saying not only should we commit to spending a billion dollars or so on a new, single terminal, throwing and walking away from the existing but screw you, Kansas Citians, we also don't want your opinion on the matter.
It's the people's airport, it's our airport and God knows the people's money, more importantly, out of our own pockets, but don't let us have a voice in the matter, eh, Mr. Rose?
What part of Democracy is that?
We have a functioning airport. It was and still is a good design. It could be upgraded and redone FAR more responsibly and efficiently both in money and design, achieve the security and other goals we want and need and save untold millions of dollars.
The Airport Authority has been intentionally not keeping up the existing buildings because they're gunning for a pretty, shiny, new, very expensive airport and gift to themselves.
Here's what we ought to do.
For security, let's have all travelers go to and enter what is now Terminal B. Then, those same travelers could go to their gate for their flight, either in that same Terminal B or, by added walkways, out to either Terminal A or B.
If you look at Denver's airport, as one great example, you know they have transportation from the check in building, out to the gates and flights. We're helped greatly because we don't need to do the shuttles they did.
This would be extremely workable and again, fiscally and environmentally responsible, both. It would keep costs for the airport down.
It's the right thing to do.
And all of this includes asking the people in the area--who will have to pay for it all, don't kid yourselves--what they want.
Coincidentally, this magazine below only published this article 6 days ago, in an attempt, I expect, to educate and warn Americans on what this kind of guy got us in the past. Of course, fortunately, Warren Harding didn't have nuclear weapons available.
How bad could a Donald Trump presidency be, you ask?
From Professor Robert Reich's Facebook page today.
Trump has named Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) as his director of the Office of Management and Budget. Among Mulvaney’s chief duties will be overseeing the most dramatic overhaul of the nation’s tax code since President Ronald Reagan – cutting taxes on corporations from 35% to 15% and on wealthy individuals.
How will Mulvaney accomplish this while avoiding larger budget deficits? By cutting spending. Since Trump wants to increase military spending, where will those spending cuts come from? Medicare and Social Security.
Here are 4 things you need to know about Mulvaney:
1. When Mulvaney, 49, was elected to Congress in 2010, he quickly staked out ground as one of Congress’s most outspoken fiscal hawks — playing a key role in the 2011 showdown between President Obama and House Republicans that ended in the passage of strict budget caps.
2. Mulvaney is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about three dozen conservative hard-liners that has used its leverage to push Republican leaders to the right, and pushed House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) out of power in 2015.
3. Mulvaney is also an advocate of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
4. Mulvaney is a close ally of Paul Ryan (who wants to turn Medicare into vouchers) and of Scott Pruitt (Trump’s pick to head Health and Human Services, who wants to repeal Obamacare).
So if you like
--cutting tax rates for the already-wealthy because, hey, they need more money, right?
--and cutting taxes still farther for corporations because why should they have to help pay for the nation's infrastructure?
--and if you like the idea of increasing our military spending still further because hey, we only outspend the rest of the nation's military budgets several times over. Let's go bigger!
--and if you like huge, multi-billion dollar budget deficits
--and if you think cutting Medicare so Americans get still less medical needs met
--and if you think cutting Social Security to grandma and grandpa is a good idea because hey, they're moochers....
THIS IS THE PLAN FOR YOU, AMERICA!
Why be fiscally responsible?
If you like the Kansas "trickle down economics" and their results, with all the budget deficits--$359 million, to date---you're going to LOVE the Donald Trump administration.
Let's never forget, too, folks---these are Republicans. This is the Republican Party doing this to you, to us all. They did it to Kansas and now they want to do it to America.
If the following poster is true, if all true, this is where it starts getting, first, very dangerous for the nation, honestly and second, crystal clear that this Trump Administration is all just a big business deal for him and his cronies.
I'm hoping this is all cynical and untrue but I have my concerns it isn't. The Donald is and always has been very much a businessman first and last, through and through, his entire life, as we all know.
We've been naughty. We elected a woman-degrading, racist-appeasing, megalomaniac to be President of the United States. There are many reasons this happened some understandable, some vile. I wouldn't blame you for removing the United States from your Christmas Eve flight plan altogether this year, but just in case you decide we are worthy of a few gifts I'm sending you a Christmas list because there are a few things we really need:
the wisdom to rediscover those truths that once seemed self-evident but have proven not to be: that we are all equal and deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;
the courage to stand up for people who are mistreated because of their race, religion, gender, sexual-orientation, or country of origin;
the confidence to stand up for ourselves when others wrong us;
the foresight to nurture the foundations of our children's futures: education, the environment, and empathy;
the strength to speak out against tyranny;
the insight to discern fact from fiction;
the self-awareness to admit what we do not know;
the curiosity to never stop learning;
the passion to make art or support those who do;
the freedom to speak and write what is on our minds, including the freedom to rebut the statements of others no matter how powerful they may be;
the humility to admit when we are wrong;
safety in our homes and neighborhoods;
protection from mass surveillance and other forms of oppression;
food and shelter for those in need;
health and longevity (particularly for Ruth Bader-Ginsburg);
peace in our communities and around the world;
And if you are feeling really generous, a couple of tickets to Hamilton.
"Given that the US just elected an idiotic and incompetent reality-show host, it's almost unimaginable that eight years ago the same country elected an acclaimed author and former president of Harvard Law Review. This is a reminder that history does not move in a straight line, and if enough people work hard enough, good times will come again."
Human Rights Day was established in 1948, and ever since that auspicious day it has stood as the first major stride forward in ensuring that the rights of every human across the globe are protected. From the most basic human needs such as food, shelter, and water, all the way up to access to free and uncensored information, such has been the goals and ambitions laid out that day.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was a shout across the world by the leading countries in the world, stating loud and clear that no matter where we live, what we believe, or how we love, we are each individually deserving of the most basic fundaments of human needs. Every year Human Rights Day marks conferences around the world dedicated to ensuring that these ideals are pursued, and that the basic Human Rights of every person is made a priority in the global theater.
The first and foremost way to celebrate Human Rights Day is to take some time to appreciate the effect that this resolution has had on your world and life. Look around your neighborhood and see the effects on a local scale, the charitable works being done to promote the health and well-being of those who are less fortunate.
The next step is to get out there and make a difference, whether it’s simply making a donation to one of the dozens of organizations that work towards this global purpose, or organizing a donation drive of your own to help out those organizations fighting the good fight.
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
--President Theodore Roosevelt, Kansas City Star, May 7, 1918
The 538 members of the Electoral College will meet December 19 to choose the president. Below you will find the list of those presidential electors, by state. States in which a majority of citizens voted for Trump have electors who will presumably cast their ballots for him. But no federal law requires them to do so.
In fact, the reasons the framers of the Constitution created an Electoral College that could override the will of a majority of voters (who in 2016 chose Hillary Clinton by a majority of over 2.5 million votes) was to avoid
(1) a demagogue, or
(2) someone controlled by foreign powers, or
(3) someone incompetent to serve office.
Trump fits all three categories.
Texas elector Christopher Suprun wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Monday that he does not plan to vote for Trump because the president-elect is "someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office." He urged others to rally behind a Republican alternative.
I ask you to find the addresses of the Trump electors, write to them, and ask them to use their authority under the Constitution to choose someone other than Donald Trump, for all the above-mentioned reasons.