Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Inequality Of Wealth Distribution In The United States.

This post was a response to a friend at Stumpburners - The Political Voice of the South whose political acumen I have a lot of respect for.  But occasionally he gets an email...

  First, most of the time when an email ends with "If you agree...Pass it on!" you can bet that it's part of the Right's disinformation campaign and while in and of itself it's a valid point, unfortunately this one is just a misdirection to keep attention away from the real problem.

Here's what I posted back to him, and keep in mind that Beast is one of those rare Okies whose principles trumps his political affiliations.

Certainly for the crap job that these people have been doing they are way overpaid.  But they are not the real problem.  However, they have passed the laws that have created the problem.  And they were well paid by the people who are the problem.

OWS has it right, the one percent is the problem, they have a little over a third of this country's wealth and they pay our weak willed lawmakers to pass laws to give them even more.  Talk about "Welfare Queens".

Combine that with the rest of the top ten percent and they have over 70% of this country's wealth.  Which leaves 30% left over for 90% percent.

Now it gets even better for for the well to do.  The next richest 40% have 26% of this country's wealth.  The kicker is that the lower 50% in this country have to make do with what's left over, a whopping 2.5%.  That's not a typo, the bottom half of this country, that means all the working class, the people who generate the economy have to do it with only 2.5 percent of the financial assets of the richest country on the planet.

And the super rich are putting out big bucks to try to get even more of that tiny fraction of wealth for themselves.

Your chart, useful information, is just a smokescreen to hide what the real problem is.  Another big part of the problem is what I like to call the dumba$$itude of a large part of the population of this country.  Tea Party, other people who believe the rich need a tax cut, people who believe the rich create jobs, people who believe Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the Right Wing Propaganda Machine, people who will happily run get the rope to hang themselves with, people who vote against their and their family's own best self interest, people who refuse to think for themselves and let their pastors, bosses or whoever tell them how to vote, "conservative" Democrats, hell, just the general dumbing down of the people in this country.

Here's a chart to show the income distribution inequality in this country.  Believe me, in countries that care about all their citizens the bottom half gets a hell of a lot more than 2.5% and they laugh at us and think we're crazy.  And they're right.

We have the highest income inequality of any developed nation.

Beast, if you'll read the link above and these, you'll be better informed than probably 98% of the people in this country.  BTW, I'm working on a post about the real Ronald Reagan, I'll try to get it out tomorrow, I think you'll like it.  You know most of this problem, not to mention most of the other problems we have today, started with that pathetic, simpleminded old man.

The Distribution of Wealth in America

It's the Inequality, Stupid

Wealth, Income, and Power

Study: Most Americans want wealth distribution similar to Sweden


I know that real Democrats would rather know how things really are, as opposed to, say, burying your head in the sand that is Fox News.  Of course, everything on here is open for discussion or debate.  There's a comment section below, or an even better venue for it;


Saturday, April 7, 2012

If Your Husband Beats You, Just Remember Why You Loved Him To Begin With.

Totally fricking bat**** crazy, that's about the nicest thing I can say about todays Republican legislators.  And we depend on our gutless, spineless, gelding Democrats to save us from the crazies.  We saw how well our dems in Oklahoma stood up to the Republicans in the "Ram a Probe Up a Woman's Hooha Before She Can Have A Lawful Abortion" law.

Well, it looks like that was just the tip (no pun intended) of the iceberg.  In Wisconsin the Right is going after single mothers;

In Wisconsin, a state senator has introduced a bill aimed at penalizing single mothers by calling their unmarried status a contributing factor in  and neglect.

Senate Bill 507, introduced by Republican Senator Glenn Grothman, moves to amend existing state law by "requiring the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect."

The bill would require educational and public awareness campaigns held by the board to emphasize that not being married is abusive and neglectful of children, and to underscore "the role of fathers in the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect."

Saying that people "make fun of old-fashioned families," Grothman -- who has never been married and has no children -- criticized social workers for not agreeing that children should only be raised by two married biological parents, and told a state Senate committee that he hopes the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention board, of which he's a member, could "publicize something that's politically incorrect but has to be said in our society."

Never been married or had children, definitely qualifies as a right wing "expert".

Now they want to do away with divorce, even if you believe that your husband will harm or even kill you or your children, too bad.  Their advice is "just remember why you fell in love with him in the first place".

In Wisconsin -- yes, the same state where lawmakers have introduced a bill penalizing single mothers for being unmarried -- a Republican state representative has come out against divorce for any reason -- even domestic abuse.

Instead of leaving an abusive situation, women should try to remember the things they love about their husbands, Representative Don Pridemore said. "If they can re-find those reasons and get back to why they got married in the first place it might help," he told a local news station.

Pridemore -- who, coincidentally, is a co-sponsor of Republican state Senator Glenn Grothman's "being single causes child abuse" bill as well as a controversial voter ID bill that was ruled unconstitutional earlier this week -- also said that while he thinks women are capable of caring for a family "in certain situations," fathers are the only ones who provide structure and discipline. If they don't grow up with married biological parents, Pridemore says, "kids tend to go astray."

Grothman, for his part, continues to defend his controversial bill. Now, though, not only is single parenthood a factor in child abuse, women in particular are to blame for it.

"There's been a huge change over the last 30 years, and a lot of that change has been the choice of the women," Grothman said.

So ladies remember, in todays Tea Party Republican America that no matter how bad things seem it's your own fault for choosing to be female and worse, unmarried with children.

In their opinion you obviously need a man, a white, conservative, Christian, manly man.  So in the name of fair play I give you just such a man to help you get your hell bound life back on the right track, State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-WI).


Rick Santorum stops boy from using pink bowling ball. Really!

I wonder, if in some alternative universe where Rich Santorum became president, would he try to enact laws to match his quaint, 19th century perspective of how the world should be?

Washington (HRC March 28 News Release) - At a campaign event at a bowling alley in Wisconsin today, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum told a boy who reached for a pink bowling ball: "You're not gonna use the pink ball. We're not gonna let you do that. Not on camera." Santorum went on to say "Friends don't let friends use pink body parts ." The comments were tweeted by Reuters reporter Sam Youngman.

"Fox News Killed My Mother"

Not my Mother, but unfortunately someones Mother.  An elderly lady lost all sense of reality to fear and paranoia, the hallmark of Fox News.

Hallie Jean Mayes Knauss Culpepper was a vibrant, beautiful woman. She was stylish. She was sharp as a tack. She was good-natured. She was a trailblazer, a businesswoman, a woman who gave to the community and to her country. She was a “dyed-in-the-wool Republican.” She was a mother of three and raised five of her grandchildren. She was an avid watcher of Fox News. Fox News taught the woman of courage a new emotion – fear. She feared the President. She feared the Government. She feared healthcare. She feared Muslims. She feared death panels. On February 16, 2012, Hallie Jean Mayes Knauss Culpepper died at 85 years old because Fox News made her fear her doctor.

To paraphrase the Right, this is acceptable "collateral damage" in the larger war against the truth.

Her son said:

Fox News Killed My Mother
I know this personally. FOX News killed my precious mother, Hallie. She watched FOX religiously. And when she fell ten days before she died, she refused to go to the doctor because, “I don’t want Obamacare to get all of my information!” she declared, recalling the warnings from FOX News “anchors.” She was emphatic. She was not going to consort with the Muslim enemy. As she made out her will she told her lawyer, “I don’t want any of my money going to the Muslim Brotherhood!” And her last protestation dealt with “Obama’s death panels.” Mother died just days later. I hold FOX News responsible for my mother’s death.
Her mind was sharp and keen. Her father, a lawyer, was elected by the people of Fayetteville, AR to serve as their representative at their state’s first constitutional convention. When Eisenhower ran for office, she drove me to the airport and put me on her shoulders so I could see him when he briefly got off the plane to make a quick stump speech. She was a poll watcher and was serious about her politics, but not fanatical. It was the advent of FOX that began to get her riled up. Out of nowhere she’d throw out a comment about our president being a Muslim. I could see FOX was doing a slow snatch of her brain. It strained our relationship, but I was her “rock” as she called me to the end. I bought her weekly groceries and looked out for her. Prior to FOX my mother and I could talk about politics, but FOX erected permanent barriers where no “meeting of the minds” was possible.

Personally, I can't watch Fox News.  I've tried, but after about two minutes my gag reflex is triggered, which is probably a good thing considering that study after study has shown that Fox News viewers are probably the most uninformed people in the country.

From Forbes:

A poll by Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey showed that of all the news channels out there, Fox News viewers are the least informed.
People were asked questions about news habits and current events in a statewide poll of 600 New Jersey residents recently. Results showed that viewers of Sunday morning news shows were the most informed about current events, while Fox News viewers were the least informed.  In fact, FDU poll results showed they were even less informed than those who say they don’t watch any news at all.
Readers of The New York Times, USA Today and listeners to National Public Radio were better informed about international events than other media outlets.

Ms Culpepper paid a high price with very little in return from the hucksters that run Fox News.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

From the New Deal to the Real Deal. Real Democrats, this is your reason for being.

Let's be honest, we're Democrats so we're supposed to be anyway, our party is broken.  It's split between our own left and right wings.  When we had the majority in both houses we couldn't pass any decent legislation because our conservative side votes for what their corporate masters want and the hell with the middle/working/lower classes.  The corporate/super wealthy/grotesquely wealthy  not only have an entire political party, a propaganda network (Fox News) and way too many other organizations to mention shilling for them, they have a pretty good percentage of our party shilling for them too.

Not too hard to imagine that a lot of folks feel left out of this whole representative form of government thing, it's not and they're right.  I'm just pretty sure that this is what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they conceived that very revolutionary, very liberal document that placed the power of the new nation in the hands of it's citizens.  And that would be it's human citizens not the recent right wing Supreme Court made corporate citizens.

So, here's a little something to get you caught up just what Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is really all about.  It's from Time and written by Ishaan Tharoor.

With the Occupy Wall Street protests gaining steam in the U.S., it seems obvious to link it with the other grassroots movement that recently shook up American politics — the Tea Party. My colleagues' pieces number among a flurry of others pondering the parallel. Michael Scherer recast Occupy Wall Street as the Tea Party of the American left. Roya Wolverson suggested how the two movements, coming from diametrically-opposed sides of the political spectrum, could find common ground (and perhaps actual policy influence) in their mutual distaste for a Washington dominated by the vested interests of corporations. But while the similarities are noteworthy, they obscure more relevant truths about Occupy Wall Street, the supposedly inchoate movement that has transfixed the American media in recent weeks. I enumerate these truths after the jump.

1. Occupy Wall Street is an expression of a global phenomenon. A cursory glimpse at newspapers over the weekend would have shown scenes of mass protest across European capitals and cities elsewhere in the world, all in solidarity with the anti-greed protesters in New York. The Tea Party, for all its early brio, commands no such solidarity, nor does it care for it. It's a hyper-nationalist movement in the U.S., lofting the totems of the Constitution and the flag. Few viable political factions across the Atlantic advocate the Tea Party's anti-big government, libertarian agenda (though the xenophobic, culturally-conservative wing of the Tea Party would perhaps see eye to eye with Europe's Islamophobic far-right). (See photos frome the Occupy Wall Street protests.)

Many of the Occupy Wall Street's participants, on the other hand, consciously see themselves as part of a worldwide uprising, a flame first kindled by the Arab Spring and borne across the Mediterranean by anti-austerity protesters in Europe. In all three settings, social media has played a vital role in mobilizing and organizing the disaffected and the disenfranchised. In all three settings, activists and protesters have drawn to varying degrees from a toolbox of leftist, anarchist protest tactics and made do with minimal institutional support or funds. And in all three settings, the protesters have pulled together sympathizers from across myriad political camps within their countries and somehow made a virtue out of their movement's lack of central leadership. The U.S. economy may not be facing the same existential pressures as those of Greece or Spain, nor are American protesters facing the sort of desperate brutality meted out on brave dissidents in Tunisia, Egypt, or Syria. But the call for social justice echoes the same across continents.

2. Occupy Wall Street is fueled by youth. Reporters covering the ongoing occupation of Zuccotti Park have encountered and profiled a host of characters from all walks and stages of life. One of my favorite interviews so far has been Marsha Spencer, a 56-year-old grandmother who can be found on weekends at the Park's western edge, knitting gloves and scarves for fellow protesters. She makes no bones about what's driving Occupy Wall Street — young people: college students saddled with years of debt, 20-somethings struggling to land a job, and an entire generation banging its head on what seems to be the ever-lowering ceiling of their possibilities. "It's all about them," Spencer told me on a rainy morning last week in Zuccotti Park.

Not true for the Tea Party, whose typical supporter is older, wealthier, and whiter than the American demographic average. It is a movement, by and large, of the haves — not the have nots. "It's essentially reactionary," says David Graeber, a professor of anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, who helped set up Occupy Wall Street's much-heralded General Assembly and is one of the first people to push the movement's now ubiquitous slogan 'We are the 99%'. "The Tea Party core group is white middle-class Republicans who are angry that they seem to be losing their position of preeminence in society." The ranks of Occupy Wall Street, on the other hand, are most heavily populated by young people, who, says Graeber, "are supposed to be the ones at the forefront, re-imagining their society." Their protest fits into a long continuum of student and youth rebellions, most recently seen in the Mediterranean rim countries mentioned above. (See "'The Whole World Is Watching': Occupy Wall Street Stares Down the NYPD.")

3. Occupy Wall Street may prove much harder to co-opt into the political mainstream. Many have speculated what direction Occupy Wall Street will turn as it picks up momentum and encroaches on the U.S. 2012 Presidential campaign. Will the protest get co-opted by the country's big unions? Will D.C.-based advocacy groups like MoveOn.org try to exploit for its own ends the success of motley, diverse bands of protesters occupying dozens of downtowns across the U.S.? And, most importantly, will Occupy Wall Street radicalize the Democratic base the way the Tea Party energized the far-right of the Republicans?

At present, it's hard to see how Occupy Wall Street can generate the left-wing, Democratic versions of Rand Paul or Michele Bachmann. Few of the protesters one speaks to have any tolerance for either political party, which they say are both equally enmeshed in a political system entirely beholden to vested corporate interests. The Tea Party, boosted by financial titans and one of the U.S.'s most influential cable news network, was able to make the leap from grassroots anger to effective Beltway politicking. Occupy Wall Street has no such benefactors nor mouthpiece, and will have to undergo a massive — and potentially divisive — transformation should it become the sort of tempered, streamlined (what many would deem 'compromised') political player that can actually throw its weight behind the Obama Administration. For the time being, it remains a social movement far more interested in the sort of "direct democracy" practiced during occupations than that which gets negotiated in the corridors of power in D.C. The sentiments below may have been expressed by an exasperated Greek blogger in June, but they reverberate around Zuccotti Park today: (Watch TIME's video "The Friday Showdown at Occupy Wall Street.")

We will not suffer any more so that we can make the rich, even richer. We do not authorise any of the politicians, who failed so spectacularly, to borrow any more money in our name. We do not trust you or the people that are lending it. We want a completely new set of accountable people at the helm, untainted by the fiascos of the past. You have run out of ideas.

4. Occupy Wall Street still believes in politics and government. And this is where another important line has to be drawn. Whereas much of the Tea Party's programmatic ire seems directed at the very idea of government — and trumpets instead the virtue of self-reliance and the inexorable righteousness of the free market — Occupy Wall Street more sharply decries the collusion of corporate and political elites in Washington. The answer, for many of the protesters I've spoken with, is never the wholesale dismantling or whittling away of the capabilities of political institutions (except, perhaps, the Fed), but a subtler disentangling of Wall Street from Washington. Government writ large is not the problem, just the current sort of government.

Because, at the end of the day, Occupy Wall Street, like most idealistic social movements, wants real political solutions. Excited activists in Zuccotti Park spoke to me about the advent of "participatory budgeting" in a number of City Council districts in New York — an egalitarian system, first brought about in leftist-run cities in Latin America, that allows communities to dole out funds in their neighborhoods through deliberation and consensus-building. It's the same process that gets played out every day by the activist general assemblies held in Zuccotti Park and other occupation sites around the U.S. To the outside observer, that may seem foolishly utopian — and impracticable on a larger scale — but it's a sign of the deep political commitments of many of the motley protesters gathering under Occupy Wall Street's banner. They want to fix government, not escape from it.

About 60% of Americans support OWS, so this should be a fun political season.  Enjoy.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dan Boren, Democrat? Not Really. Blue Dog? Oh, Yeah.

I first blogged about Dan Boren back in 2006, I was getting a little tired of my supposed Democratic Congressman voting with the Republicans.  Four years later nothing has changed.

You would think that even the folks who don't keep up with political goings on would have noticed something when Dan voted against the people in his district and for the Health Insurance Industry on health care reform.  Dan's going to vote for the people who pay him, not for the people who vote for him.

Industry  Total   Indivs   PACs

Oil & Gas  $150,200   $51,950   $98,250

Lawyers/Law Firms  $56,699   $47,699   $9,000

Casinos/Gambling  $51,450   $50,450   $1,000

Health Professionals  $42,000   $32,500   $9,500

Insurance  $29,000   $2,000   $27,000

Retail Sales  $26,250   $250   $26,000

Commercial Banks  $25,150   $20,150   $5,000

Electric Utilities  $23,750   $1,250   $22,500

Democratic/Liberal  $20,500   $500   $20,000

Hospitals/Nursing Homes  $18,800   $4,800   $14,000

Lobbyists  $18,262   $17,050   $1,212

Crop Production & Basic Processing  $18,050   $1,550   $16,500

Telephone Utilities  $16,500   $0   $16,500

Food & Beverage  $16,500   $1,000   $15,500

Mining  $16,400   $0   $16,400

Misc Finance  $15,900   $15,900   $0

Building Materials & Equipment  $14,325   $2,325   $12,000

Real Estate  $14,200   $10,200   $4,000

Human Rights  $13,850   $13,850   $0

Business Services  $13,850   $12,850   $1,000

Big Oil, Big Banks, for profit Health Care Industry, the Big Telecoms over Net Neutrality, in other words, the Players over the people.

Since 1990, Big Oil has invested around $144 million in the careers of congressmen, almost all conservatives. Almost 70% of the payoff have gone to Republicans. And among current members of the House there's only one Democrat in Big Oil's Top 10: Dan Boren ($565,460). As you can see, Big Oil is, by far, the biggest source of cash for his political endeavors. What you haven't been able to see, until Fox caught it on tape, is that Boren, who bragged about not voting for Obama and who has voted against virtually every piece of Democratic legislation since Obama has become president, has never found anything in the oil industry's agenda that he didn't get behind.
Take a look at Boren's Interest Group Ratings.  If you happen to be a paranoid delusional who believes that everybody's trying to take your guns away, then Dan's your man.  Well, actually he's the NRA's man, but they'll both be happy to validate your paranoia and delusions.

A couple of the more interesting things in the Interest Group Ratings is his high score among the Religious Right, like the Family Research Council, an anti-gay, anti women's rights group who would gladly do away the the Constitution and replace it with their particular interpretation of the Bible.

Another is the American Family Association, anti-gay, anti-women's rights and anti-labor and doing the Lord's work in deregulating the oil industry.  Seriously.  And Dan scored 100% with them.

The American Family Association (AFA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes conservative Christian values[1][2][3][4] such as traditional marriage, anti-pornography, and pro-life activism,[5] as well as other public policy goals such as deregulation of the oil industry and lobbying against the Employee Free Choice Act.[6]
My personal favorite is the 83% Dan got from ACT! for America.  You know it's good stuff when it's featured on Loonwatch.com.

ACT! for America has a problem. Its first problem is that it was founded by Brigitte Gabriel. Yes, the same Brigitte Gabriel the New York Times called a “radical Islamophobe” and who in the past has made statements like “Arabs have no soul,” and “Arabs are barbarians.” She might be novel eye candy for some (which I’m guessing is the reason Bill Maher had her on his show) but it is clear that Brigitte Gabriel is a whacked out fundamentalist with a seething rage against Muslims and a determination on the one hand to destroy Islam and on the other to make as much profit in the process.
Just a piece of Boren's more recent voting record, he voted no to beefing up the Endangered Species Amendment and voted yes on anti-enviornment Richard Pombo's (R-CA) Endangered Species Reauthorization Bill.  Pombo believes that land developers are endangered.

Dan voted no on  Employment, Infrastructure, and Transportation Appropriations, read that job creation and unemployment extention.  Democrat bill.

He voted no on oversight of this country's financial institutions.  Democrat bill.

Voted no on capping carbon dioxide emissions.  Democrat bill.

Voted no to allow federal judges to reduce interest rates or extend repayment in order for people to keep their homes.  Democrat bill.

Voted no on hate crimes and employment discrimination.  Democrat bills.  Boren did vote yes on a couple of employment discrimination amendments.

Voted no to keep the Fed from interfering with state marijauna laws.  Obviously a Democratic bill.  And as a former chemo patient, trust me, those state laws are a wonderful thing.

It looks like Dan is pro-war, pro-permenant military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan and pro-torture, judging by his vote on this Democratic bill.  Iraq Related Provisions such as a Troop Withdrawal, a Permanent Base Ban, and Limiting Interrogation Techniques

Voted no to expand the G.I. Bill.  Democratic.

Voted no to an Equal Pay bill with some teeth in it.  Another obviously Democratic bill.

Voted no to oil companies being environmentally responsible or responsible, period.

To be honest, not all of Dan Boren's votes are bad.  But the ones that are effect women's rights, gay rights, labor, the environment and almost always favor Big Business over the working class.  It's not just Dan, it's the whole Blue Dog Democrat Coalition, they are little more than Republicans masquerading as Democrats.

Dan will probably win, but it's a shame that Oklahoma doesn't have a real Democrat in D.C..  The Blue Dogs claim to be fiscal conservatives, but that's just better than saying that they sell their vote to the highest bidder.  You know, just like Republicans.

This just in:

This morning at the Democratic caucus, the message from leadership to Blue Dogs unwilling to support a new campaign finance measure requiring more disclosure in political advertising -- wise up.

The bill -- a response to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision -- passed this afternoon, 219-206. There were 36 Democrats -- members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Blue Dogs -- who voted against it. Many Blue Dogs feared retribution from the business community in an already tough election year if they had voted for the legislation.

So in a huddle with rank-and-file members this morning, Democratic leaders told Blue Dogs they should ignore threats from the bill's chief opponent, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber endorses the occasional Democrat, albeit infrequently, but leaders made the case that Blue Dogs aren't likely to be rewarded by the usually pro-GOP group for blocking the bill.
And where is Dan Boren on this issue?  

Late Update:  Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) is among the Blue Dogs to vote "Nay" today. He was endorsed by the chamber yesterday.
Do you really want to vote for the anti-labor U.S. Chamber of Commerce's lapdog to represent you in Congress?  Just another reason we need an actual Democrat to send to Washington.