Saturday, December 31, 2016

Conservative Wants Examined

So, a list of all you want as a citizen of the USA? All of these supposed conservative concerns? Let's examine that list, shall we?

Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Not a Republican ideal. Not even for SCOTUS appointments or First Amendment rights. Especially not for religious freedom (or is it only for their religion?). And only for a revised (truncated) Second Amendment.

"English Only" as interpreted by conservatives means don't help any students who don't speak good English even if they are citizens.

Mandatory Drug Screening? Studies have shown it is not a problem except in the minds of Republicans. Maybe we should have drug screening for congressmen since they are also on the public dime.

Balanced budget? Don't look to Republicans for that; they are the ones who keep lowering taxes and won't close loopholes, and who put the Iraq war straight onto the national debt (so it wouldn't show up on yearly deficits and so they could lower taxes on the rich at the same time). Maybe you could tell me why working money is taxed at 20% while working people are taxed at a higher rate? They are also the ones who want to drown the Federal government in a bathtub and who don't want to fund anything (except defense).

Tax reform? What a laugh! Not under radical conservatives.

Term Limits? Ain't gonna happen. Congress and Senators? Congress includes the Senate. Maybe you meant the House and the Senate?

And if you want to stop illegal immigration then how about supporting green cards (work visas) for Mexican laborers so they can cross back into Mexico and not have to work under the table?

And freebies for non-citizens? If you think non-citizens are getting all sorts of freebies then you have been listening to Faux News and Rush Limbaugh.

If you think Republicans care about workers and families and morals and rights then you are living a fact-free existence, and you have been conned bigly.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Perception and Reality: A Political View

Women's rights vs. no abortions.
Marriage equality vs. discrimination.
Making the rich pay their fair share vs. low to no taxes on the wealthy and on big corporations.
Gun regulations vs. the wild west.
Makes a difference how you word it, doesn't it?
Also, not just racism, but basically claiming that Obama is a Muslim and not born in America, and thus not a legitimate president.

When people say Trump is not their president, it means that he does not represent them. To say otherwise is to deliberately misunderstand them and to belittle their valid concerns.

Republicans are not fiscal conservatives. If you think that, you're in the wrong party. So if you really are a social liberal, and think that returning to child labor, poorhouses for the disabled and aged, no compensation for injured workers, minimal care for veterans, no minimum wage, no health care,  no financial regulations, no pollution controls, and no product safety standards are not okay, then think twice about which party better represents your interests.  Republicans waving the flag and shouting "Freedom!" (freedom for business, not people) does not make them the party of righteousness. True patriotism is fighting for soldiers' and veterans' rights and working to take care of children, the elderly, the disabled, the disadvantaged and the working poor. True patriotism is working for better conditions for everyone, and working for clean air and water and soil and for a planet that will be livable for generations to come. True patriotism comes not just from saying you love America, but from actions that show you really do love your country.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Vote for Trump was wrong. And yeah, I used to be a Republican.

Torch the place because radical conservatives continue to block progress? Oh my God, Hillary's email handling was so evil. Let's put an idiot pervert in the White House instead. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you don't like Hillary because of 30 years of Republican lies about her? Say something often enough and people will believe it.

And how about ISIS? Oh, yeah, Hillary and Obama created them. Do you know what Donald Trump's secret plan for dealing with ISIS is? (Never mind that he wouldn't reveal it while all sorts of terror attacks and terrorist acts were happening.) He's going to get the generals together and give them 30 days to come up with a plan. That's right. His secret plan is to have someone else come up with a plan (as if without Trump's prodding they would just be sitting around drinking beer and moaning about the lack of military leadership).

His whole agenda is like that. Or haven't you been listening? Were you listening when he answered some questions the way a kid would write a book report on a book he didn't read? Were you listening when he admired Putin? Did you hear him threaten to put his political opponent in jail? Or say that the second amendment people might be able to keep Hillary from appointing Supreme Court justices? Did you hear his xenophobic rants against parents of a fallen soldier? Have you seen the incidents where he throws out a Trump supporter from a rally because he assumes that the way they look means that they are a Hillary Camp plant?

What about all of the screaming about vote rigging? 31 cases of confirmed ballot fraud in ten years and 1 billion votes. Meanwhile, voter suppression is alive and well. I don't suppose you heard about all of the misinformation being given to potential voters right up to the election in defiance of numerous court orders. Or the voter intimidation efforts. Or the voter registrations which were revoked because of "confirmation" mailings sent to deliberately false addresses. Or the Democratic leaning precincts which had numerous early voting locations decreased to one each to suppress those votes? Or all of the lies about photo ID's being needed, which continued even in the face of direct evidence that many legislators pushing for it wanted to suppress the minority votes or votes of people who could not afford the time or the money to get needed documents which in some cases were no longer even available. How about claims of ballot box stuffing by poll watchers who walked in late and refused to believe that it was just poll workers voting as soon as the polls opened because they figured they would be too busy to vote later? And all of those dead people on voter rolls, even though they were required by law to be kept on those rolls for a period of time for some technical reasons that I don't remember. Yeah, it sure looks like we are in a post-racial period. Thank goodness the radical conservative Supreme Court tossed out the main part of the Voting Rights Act because it was no longer needed.

And did you hear the Republican leadership promise that if Hillary won they would block Supreme Court nominees for as long as she was in office? Never mind that they said over and over, let the next president decide. Never mind that they would not even hold hearings on the current president's nominee.

And never mind the hundreds of House-passed bills that the Senate minority leadership would not let get to the Senate floor using the threat of filibuster in 2009 and 2010. Or did you forget that Republicans kept our Minnesota Senator-elect from taking office for six months in 2009 which kept Democrats from being able to override any threatened filibusters? And which resulted in the passing of the Republican health care plan you hate so much. How many times did you hear about the supposed Senate supermajority where the Democrats were able to pass whatever they wanted? Never happened.

Are you not aware of 30 years of Republicans lowering revenues while screaming about deficits and blaming social spending? (No new taxes? How about old ones?) And do you not know that Social Security is self-funded? Or that the "insolvent" Trust Fund has 2.8 Trillion in Treasury Bonds (those paper IOUs) and that the fund was built up for Baby Boomers retiring? And that Social Security has nothing to do with the federal budget debt and deficits (except by politicians combining figures to take advantage of continued Social Security surpluses to make the federal budget figures look better). Oh, and what about the defunding of regulatory agencies including the SEC which for years refused to investigate Madoff's ponzi scheme?

Have you actually read any of the bills put forth by Republicans? And how the title of the bill is usually in complete contrast to what the bill contains? I have. It's infuriating.

How about all the corporate welfare which comes in the form of subsidizing their workers with food stamps and energy assistance and health care insurance assistance and on and on and on because those corporations are opposed to living wages (might raise the price of pizzas by 15 cents!) and in most cases are also opposed even to minimum wages (go Mexicans!). And all those corporate CEO's who think their only obligation is to current stockholders and not to workers or customers or the future wellbeing of the company or even of planet Earth.

Do you not know of the many Republicans who said they would not vote for Trump because he was dangerous? Stop listening to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Their viewers and listeners have consistently been rated as the least informed. Fox News kept the birther bullshit alive and they cheered on the Hillary witch hunts which wasted millions, wasted years of time and never found anything. And the email scandal? Did they ever go after people like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice for doing the same, LEGAL thing? No? How about hearings for all the embassy people killed under Bush's watch? No?

Do you know why some existing insurance plans under the ACA were scrapped? Do you know why insurance premiums are going up? Do I have to explain those too?

Yeah, I used to be a Republican. I called myself a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. And one day I looked at the bullshit going on in the Republican Minnesota legislature, and then at the radical conservative bullshit in other states and in the capital. And I realized who the assholes were. And that they were by no means fiscally conservative. And that the ones who truly believed that Social Security recipients were moochers and infrastructure spending was bad and regulations were not needed because the market was inherently moral (go Madoff! go Enron!) had been reading the sophomoric theories of Ayn Rand (people are inherently lazy!) or listening to people who spouted that nonsense. And yeah, Democrats ain't perfect and some of them I rant about. But compared to the "Character Counts [except for Trump]" "Just Say No [to anything Obama wanted]" crowd? I would trust them only to bring back Poorhouses and stock market crashes and a Depression or a Recession (remember the Glass-Steagall Act repealed in 1999?) and maybe start a few more wars like the Democrats used to do.

So yeah, I think a vote for Trump was wrong. And I think there are valid reasons why the rest of the civilized world is shocked. And you won't understand until you actually start looking things up (original sources if possible, don't take anyone's word for it). I hate politics, but I hate what's going on even more. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Oh Those Incompetent Libtards! - A Progressive Reply


Three accomplishments? And then you list lies? Wow. But if you really want to talk about a lack of accomplishments, why don't you look those radical conservatives in the eye and ask them about their 8 years of "JUST SAY NO". Say NO to decent and affordable health care coverage. Say NO to reform plans to fix the economy. Say NO to reforming financial fraud. Say NO to confirming federal judge nominations. Say NO to confirming a supreme court nominee, saying let the next president decide, and then promising to say NO for at least four more years if your choice is not elected. Say NO to adequately funding federal agencies, including the agency which for years refused to investigate Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Say NO to extended unemployment insurance in the face of the worst ever recession. On and on and on. Oh, and then blame Democrats for lack of progress, saying "Elect Republicans because Democrat's plans don't work and ours will!"

Police Lives Unimportant? Saying that black lives matter is not saying that others do not. It is a reminder in the face of so many shootings which suggest that black lives do not matter that in fact they do. The killing of others is also deplorable, but to condemn the BLM movement as somehow dismissive of other lives is totally missing the point (and is by some a deliberate and shameful misunderstanding).

Insurance unaffordable? As for hikes in insurance premiums, for most people their subsidies will also rise. It also reflects the fact that conservatives sued and won making Medicaid expansion optional, so that people who don't make enough to qualify for the insurance exchanges often are not covered by Medicaid, leaving doctors and hospitals to pass the costs on to those who can pay, which is people with insurance.

And remember that the ACA is a Republican plan (RomneyCare). It was offered instead of Medicare-For-All for at least two reasons. First, because one Republican vote was necessary just to get a plan out of committee and onto the Senate floor. And second, because Democrats could not override a threatened Senate filibuster, having only seated 59 of the 60 elected Democrats due to a recount being dragged through the courts for six months by Minnesota Republicans. In the end, the Senate approved the House version by using a reconciliation bill (simple majority needed to pass and only one bill allowed per year), which also obviated the need for a conference between Houses to iron out differences between versions.

So the next time you decide to blame Obama for the plan by which uninsured and uninsurable people got needed healthcare, don't blame "Libtards". Or would you rather there were still Death Panels in insurance companies which refused to cover some people outright and cancelled coverage for others because of undisclosed pre-existing conditions (such as acne prior to the period that the medical history asked about - Really!).

How about blaming radical conservatives for insisting that only the middle class and the wealthy have coverage at the same time that they insist on poverty wages for the rest. You can also try to figure out why conservatives want to saddle large companies with employee insurance coverage, which is an expense that competing companies in other nations do not have. You may also want to look at how most other western nations have managed to provide healthcare for all at much lower costs, something which conservatives with their "American Innovation" mantra did not do, having decided that any plan America came up with would be better due to american exceptionalism. You may want to reflect on why radical conservatives want for-profit insurance companies with their overhead costs of 20% to be in charge of our healthcare. And why they want a for-profit insurance company between you and your doctor. And why out of everyone who qualifies for the insurance exchanges, the poorest are still forced to choose insurance plans with much higher deductibles and copayments.

And lastly, you may want to rethink the morality of healthcare as a privilege granted only to those who have enough money (or are pretty enough to arouse sympathy and donations). Is that how you gauge a person's worth? Are those really Christian values??

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Kill Our America Hating Flag Burning Asses?

Don't mistake criticism and protesting for hating and a lack of patriotism. It just means that we want the country we love to be better.

Don't think there's room for improvement? Try being black, gay, a woman, or a sick person with a 30% co-pay and a $4,000 deductible. Try being an investor with Madoff (SEC was warned and did nothing) or a resident of Flint, Michigan. Try losing your life savings in the Great Recession because radicals did not want commercial and investment banking separate.

Try working full time for minimum wage at a company of less than 50 employees (no employer-provided health insurance). Try being an employee of a company which has to provide health insurance while competing against foreign companies that don't. Try living in a state that rejected Medicaid expansion so that you have no health care because you make over $4000 a year and don't make enough for the ACA insurance exchanges.

Try being poor. Try being on Social Security while hearing all the lies about it and watching all the efforts to get rid of it (by those who want to make a 20% profit off of your retirement) and being called a moocher after a lifetime spent paying into Social Security and Medicare.

Try being the relative of a victim of police violence or a mass shooting by someone who just had to use their AK-47 on a group of innocent people.

Most people do not claim soldiers and veterans and the police are not heroes, and most people do not hate America. Still want to shoot us? Yeah, you can take the easy road and disparage us and call us leftists or socialists or whiners or haters or moochers or threaten to kill us or send us to countries we never set foot in. Or you can try to understand that there are people who are hurting and need your help.

Get the picture?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Facebook Presidential Candidate Guide

This is from a facebook posting.

My response:

  • Gay marriage - if you are against it then don't marry someone of the same sex. 
  • Increase Gun control - are you part of a "well regulated militia"? 
  • Increase Border - ever hear of work visas? Oh, that's right, then you would have to pay higher wages.
  • Common Core - good luck to students transferring schools and meeting minimum standards.
  • Support Obama Care - this was actually the Republican plan (Massachusetts, under Romney). This is putting insurance companies between you and your doctor, and is costing people big time with deductibles and co-pays and coverage limits and gaps. What good is insurance with a 40% co-pay after the deductible? Most other western nations have essentially free health care and lower costs. 
  • Drug Test Welfare - anyone accepting government money, including congressmen. In states that have testing requirements, welfare recipients test positive for drugs at a much lower rate than the average population. 
  • Felon Right to Vote - Didn't you already pay your dues? And why complicate voting? If you are not in prison, you should be able to vote. (Shouldn't that be ex-felon?) 
  • Global Warm Regul. - Nah, let's deny climate change and cite the one (debunked) study that disproved global warming. Anyone want an iceberg? We're having a fire sale. 
  • Space Travel Budget - Oh, we can't afford that. Deficits are way too high. Why? Because revenues keep going down. Corporate taxes are a fraction of what they used to be, with the big corporations paying the least (especially if you have your corporate address in another country). Capital gains, which is when your money makes money, is taxed much less than when humans make money. (Rich people's money is so much more important than workers' income from labor.)
  • Military Budget - We spend more than the next 20 nations combined on our military. (Hardly any of that for personnel - ask all the military people on food stamps.) And do we have to have 900 military bases in foreign countries? 

And do you want to know where American jobs went? Overseas, with cheap labor and no standards for imported goods (which US companies must comply with). Free trade. Shouldn't that have been fair trade? And remember, US companies must provide health insurance for employees if they have more than 50 workers, unlike foreign companies whose employees have health care through their government (or none at all).

Social Security - those paper I.O.U.s? They're called Treasury Bonds. Yes, Social Security is broke with only 2.8 Trillion in the Trust Fund. After 2034, Social Security will only be able to pay out 79% of benefits owed. Let's raise the retirement age and cut benefits! We should start to see results from that in 2034. Or we could raise or remove the cap after which income is not subject to payroll taxes. Currently the cap is $118,500, which means that all income above that is not subjected to payroll taxes. Millionaires pay a much lower payroll tax percentage than most people. Social Security has its own revenue stream (payroll taxes) and should not (by law) be counted as part of Federal revenue or costs. If Social Security has deficits, it only means that money must be taken from the Trust Fund; it has absolutely nothing to do with the regular Federal budget or its deficits. And why should SocSec be privatized? So that the financial sector can make lots of money with administrative costs. Instead of a 2% overhead, think 20%. Also, think embezzlement, bankruptcies, stock market crashes, etc. that are hazards with privatization. How many people lost their retirement money in 2008?

2008 Recession. The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 separated risky trading and investment from traditional banking activities like business lending and consumer finance. When the repeal was passed in 1999, lots of people said to expect a financial crisis in 10 years. They were wrong. It was only 9 years. The repeal was part of the "less regulation" philosophy of the radical conservatives.

I used to think Republicans were the fiscally responsible party. But now they decimate revenues (part of "shrink the federal government and then drown it in a bathtub" ideology) and then claim there is no money for social programs. Social Liberal and Fiscal Conservative? Then you are definitely not a Republican.

I am a Progressive Democrat, and the above are some of the reasons. Do you really think you are a Republican? Then read each party's platform and tell me again what you are.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Social Security in the Crosshairs

Anyone trying to include Social Security in debt negotiations is doing so either out of ignorance, or as part of a partisan agenda, either as a tactic to scare Social Security recipients, or in an effort to privatize (think huge administrative fees) or eliminate Social Security. Social Security is the reason (along with living wages) that we no longer have huge numbers of seniors and disabled people in poorhouses and in poverty. Private retirement plans are subject to theft, bankruptcies, stock market crashes, bank closings, and incompetent or unscrupulous administration. In contrast, Social Security will always be there. Unless, of course, our politicians take it from us.

Raising retirement ages or cutting benefits will only have an impact 17 years from now, and would still only affect Social Security benefit payouts, not the National Debt.

How does Social Security work? The Social Security Trust Fund holds special Treasury Bonds, bought whenever there is more collected in Social Security payroll taxes than is paid out in Social Security benefits. Those bonds fund part of the national debt, to the tune of $2.8 trillion. When benefits paid exceed revenues, Social Security's special Treasury Bonds are redeemed. At the time of redemption, new regular Treasury Bonds are sold. Money given to Social Security for redeeming the special bonds is offset by money from the sale of regular bonds, and there is no change in the national debt. Understand this, and you will see through politicians' lies.