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Life-long social/civil rights activist, working with/for activists, national, state and local office seekers/holders as legal support, ghost writer, campaign manager and legislative aide.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The fiscal cliff (slope), congress, the 1 percent & history (part 1)



Yesterday on National Public Radio (Texas Public Radio KSTX 89.1 fm) I heard a listener suggest to the NPR host that members of congress should be put through conflict resolution training. I agree. It’s unlikely but it is an idea.

Then again news personalities, even the lucid ones on PBS and NPR, have this notion that what we see happening in the congress today is somehow new and different. While I agree that when viewed in the context of very recent history, the last 30 years or so, the 112th Congress was "do nothing- dysfunctional",  I must question, “what’s your point?” That “dysfunctional-do nothing” attitude has been more the norm rather than the exception in the history of this nation and certainly over the past thirty years.

Even before there was a “nation” there were deep schisms within what was then a largely Anglo-Saxon community. Think about it, when this nation was comprised of 13 odd, occupied and repressed colonies of Mother England there was jagged disharmony among its largely homogenous population. That alone tells you much.

To begin with just the notion of “revolution” two and a half centuries ago was for the fringe element. Actually engaging in revolution in mid 18th Century within a single people was counter-culture and radical.

So how did it all come about? Well, there were a few men(sorry ladies, women were mostly thought of then as property) who had a vested financial interest in getting out from under the shadow of Mother England.

The chasm, the yawning gap, the gulf between those who have and those who don’t was a deep, wide one indeed. And even the founders had no intention of changing that.

The problem then was how to enlist the ninety-nine percent to act as the law-enforcement, the military of, by and for the one-percent. Distraction, disingenuous rhetoric and co-opting bumper sticker slogans works and then there are always lies. We’ve seen lies used to get us into at least two military conflicts just in the last generation.

So why should any of the really significant discussion of how to divvy up the fiscal pie be any less disingenuous?

Not that there’s much to discuss. The one-percent, one-tenth of one-percent (a heady population of roughly 300,000 US citizens) by some accounts own it all. So what we the people are arguing over is how to divvy up less than two-percent of the total.

What does that mean? Well that means that a little more than 98 percent of the population has to find a way to divide up, live on and be happy with less than two percent of the total wealth of this nation.

Let me put that in easy to understand terms. Imagine that the total worth of the nation is one dollar. You know those ubiquitous pieces of green paper with pictures of dead presidents and founders on them. And there are 100 people in the room where this dollar is going to be divvied up. Hope you brought “change.”

When it comes time to sharing that one dollar, the discussion gets, well interesting. It’s what we’re witnessing in the congress. Right out of the chute, the one percent of the population gets a little more than 98 cents. Yes, that’s right one of the persons in the room would receive a little more than 98 cents. The other 99 persons in the room would have not quite two cents to divvy up among them.

That’s basically where we are today. Interestingly, that’s how it was for those living in the thirteen British colonies more than two and a half centuries ago as well.

Consider this, today 2013 only three percent of the US population makes $300,000 a year or more. Three percent of the population is roughly 9 million US citizens out of 300 million plus.

One-percent of the population equals three million people. These are the people who own just about everything in the US. They are in the driver’s seat. We go in the direction they say we go, when and if they say we go.

Put another way, one-percent of the population (3 million people) of this nation are worth more than half the population of this nation combined. Half the population of the US is 150 million of us, more or less.

It’s the reason at least half the US population lives paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to see a dentist on a regular basis, much less pay for adequate healthcare.

The fiscal “cliff” which is really little more than a slope given the numbers I just shared comes down to paying for what GOPers, conservatives and misanthropes label “entitlements” and taxes.

Entitlements being assistance to the “poor, the tired, the huddled masses yearning to live free.” That would include Medicare, Medicaid and any other benefit for the masses but not the subsidies to oil and gas, tax breaks for big tobacco, subsidies to the largest banks including JPMorgan Chase, and on and on and on.

The other side of the equation being that we as a nation have some debt to pay down. Debt is as historical to the US as violence.

However, we are approaching a point at which the debt can get out of hand.

So how did our intrepid congress deal with the “entitlements” and taxes on the one-percent? We’ll talk about next time.

Suffice to say for now that what the US is faced with is not so much a financial deficit as much as a leadership deficit.

Presently we are little more than a ruder-less paper boat adrift in an endless sea of unintended consequences.


We have no national leaders. We have only petty, selfish, opportunistic, partisan professional politicians serving the 1 percent, themselves and special interests. 
 
It’s only as an afterthought that these ridiculous, ignorant and self-serving "public officials" consider the needs of the nation and its people. As for consideration for unintended consequences and the future---fugetaboutit!!


From Texas Red: a cratered landscape of prisons, deplorable apartheid public education, lack of healthcare and politicians and majority population intent on keeping it that way… 

Hasta Siempre,

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 from San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas Red


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Memorial Day 2011 San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas Red


My initial intent was sending wishes for a safe, peaceful memorial day. But after reading the following I could not in good conscience do so. The topic of the economic status of the average citizen of this nation was discussed yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered.

As it turns out for all the lives given by our men and women in the service of their nation it has been mostly to support an extravagant lifestyle for the oligarchs. The same oligarchs who apparently don't give one good goddam for them.

And it's going to get even worse it seems. The humorously ironical part is that in addition to the Oligarch States/Police States of America we have the so called compassionate conservative christian faction to thank.

Their (the compassionate conservative christians) ultra right leaning, mean-spirited, hateful ways are creating a Third World America. That is now pretty much a given.

While I wish you, the individual well I cannot wish the same for the bastard rat f--ks that are running us into the ground.

Many don't have $2,000 for a rainy day

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Half of Americans say they aren't prepared for a minor financial emergency.
A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows 50% of Americans would struggle to come up with $2,000 in a pinch, for example in the event of an unanticipated car or home repair, a large medical bill or legal expenses.
Roughly 28% said they "certainly" would not be able to cope with an unexpected $2,000 bill if they had to come up with the money in 30 days, and another 22% said they "probably" would not be to able to cope.
http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/24/news/economy/americans_lack_emergency_funds/index.htm


From Texas Red: a cratered landscape of prisons, deplorable apartheid public education, lack of healthcare and politicians and majority population intent on keeping it that way…

Hasta Siempre,


More:


13 Bankers

Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class

Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

PEW religion and democracy in the U.S

Bill Moyers on Plutonomy

A People's History of the United States – Howard Zinn

Women’s Reality: An Emerging Female System

The Conscience of a Liberal

Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity       

Money for the rich, taxes and cuts to benefits for the poor

Saturday, April 23, 2011

San Antonio Elections 2011 City Council



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San Antonio (a/k/a Cuilmas) city council elections are roughly three weeks away. Many of the candidates for a place on the city’s 10 member council only just began campaigning in earnest.  

Of course there’s no real need to have started any sooner. Thanks to ten (10) single-member districts council member hopefuls don’t have much ground to cover.

Most have sufficient name recognition in their respective districts that it truly doesn’t require much of a campaign.

Aside from being a good way to get some air time on local media, exposure and some minor campaign experience one has to wonder what makes them run. Certainly it isn’t the money.

“Since 1951, city council members have been getting twenty dollars a week. The mayor gets fifty dollars a week.”
San Antonians Support Council Pay Raise

City governance is in the hands of the city manager. San Antonio has a weak mayor (lucky for us) form of governance. Even the current drought conditions were announced by the city manager. There are some things that just cannot be left to elected “officials.”

 Notwithstanding the obvious the electorate voted for term limits (two- two year terms) not trusting their resolve to keep from voting for the same novices over and over. Now the fine residents of San Antonio have different sets of the inexperienced (with no power) to select from every four years. Talk about the blind leading the deaf  I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Notwithstanding a sample ballot for the upcoming elections is provided below along with links to articles on some of the council candidates. Inform yourself. Vote if you dare.

From Texas Red: a cratered landscape of prisons, deplorable apartheid public education, lack of healthcare and politicians and majority population intent on keeping it that way…

Hasta Siempre,

More:

Office of the San Antonio City Clerk
http://www.sanantonio.gov/clerk/elections/

 Bexar County Sample Ballot

Medina is best choice in District 5 campaign
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/article/Medina-is-best-choice-in-District-5-campaign-1345794.php

Time is now to sort through District 1 City Council candidates
There were 10 elderly citizens, two journalists and four candidates for City Council at a District 1 forum Tuesday afternoon in the Grand Ballroom at Granada Homes downtown, and that's too bad.
With Mayor Julián Castro apparently a lock for re-election, this contest will be the first one I turn to when the May 14 returns roll i
http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Time-is-now-to-sort-through-District-1-City-1048949.php

City Council Election 2011: San Antonio's City Council could grow decidedly younger this election cycle

San Antonio City Council distress, pregnant kids, Texas Enterprise Fund, and the cost of obesity to State businesses (District 3)

City Council Candidates Discuss Problems, Growth
Growth, Crime Among Major Issues Discussed
http://www.ksat.com/politics/27271065/detail.html

City Council Election 2011: Rey Saldaña gets a rise (District 4)

City Council Election 2011: District 2
http://www.sacurrent.com/news/story.asp?id=72298

City Council Election 2011: Isy Perez: A reluctant candidate (District 10)

HUNGRY CONTENDERS

Bexar County Elections Department
http://www.bexar.org/elections/

Stonewall Democrats
http://www.stonewallsanantonio.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=70%3Acandidate-status-for-27-mar-2011-candidate-forum&catid=35%3Aendorsements&Itemid=81

On the Border: An Environmental History of San Antonio
http://www.amazon.com/Border-Environmental-History-San-Antonio/dp/1595340149/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303436483&sr=1-1

Westside Development Corporation
Below are demographics from the 2008 WDC-commissioned Market Analysis that provide a snapshot of the Westside. Following these statistics are links to other websites that provide specific statistics on categories including crime, health, and labor.
 http://www.sanantonio.gov/wdc/Demographics.asp

Incarceration in the United States

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States

Profiting from Poverty: The U.S. Prison-Industrial Complex
http://www.impactpress.com/articles/febmar01/prisonind020301.html

Black families imperiled by the growth of nation's prison industrial complex

The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world, and over half of it black. The number of incarcerated Americans increased 500 percent in the last 30 years, from fewer than 200,000 inmates to 1.2 million in 1997.
http://www.minnpost.com/community_voices/2007/11/27/197/black_families_imperiled_by_the_growth_of_nations_prison_industrial_complex

Popularity Increases Aggression in Kids, Study Finds
http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20110208/sc_livescience/popularityincreasesaggressioninkidsstudyfinds

Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Campaign
A Black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime; a Latino boy a 1 in 6 chance;
and a White boy a 1 in 17 chance. A Black girl born in 2001 has a 1 in 17 chance of going to prison in her
lifetime; a Latino girl a 1 in 45 chance; and a White girl a 1 in 111 chance.

Criminal Injustice System

Texans United for Families and Grassroots Leadership
http://www.nclr.org/index.php/about_us/jobs_at_nclr/

Public Policy: Slave-state legacy, segregation and poverty in Texas Red 2011
http://www.examiner.com/public-policy-in-san-antonio/slave-state-legacy-segregation-and-poverty-texas-red-2011?CID=examiner_alerts_article

Elections: King Street Patriots: right-wing enforcers of Texas Red’s slave state legacy
http://www.examiner.com/public-policy-in-san-antonio/king-street-patriots-right-wing-enforcers-of-texas-red-s-slave-state-legacy?CID=examiner_alerts_article

West side Murals
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI6znAYBylM&feature=related
 
The American Dream By The Provocateur Network
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPWH5TlbloU&feature=player_embedded#at=



Monday, April 11, 2011

Money for the rich, taxes and cuts to benefits for the poor


You would think the recent sacrifice to the financial industry King Kongs would appease the monsters but you would be wrong.

Simon Johnson, 13 Bankers, estimates the economic meltdown took a $23.7 trillion dollar toll on our economy. Several trillion were “loaned” to the very perpetrators behind the meltdown. Throughout the entire episode their ridiculous salaries and even more ridiculous bonuses never missed a step.

Crisis? What Crisis? Average Bank Pay Kept Rising at the Same Rate
http://www.propublica.org/blog/item/crisis-what-crisis-average-bank-pay-kept-rising-at-the-same-rate

The U.S. Chamber doesn’t speak for me

 Public Citizen

Issue #56 • April 8, 2011

Stunning Statistics of the Week:
Despite millions spent on ads, public funding wasn’t triggered in Wisconsin race
Millions of dollars were spent on ads in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, but because they weren’t “express advocacy” ads, the huge sums didn’t trigger the state’s public funding mechanism. The public money was supposed to be available if special interest groups attacked. Meanwhile, it looks as though some of the money that came from outside groups can be traced back to the Koch brothers.
Boehner blasted for fundraising despite looming government shutdown
The government might shut down, and you are a key player in the negotiations to stop it from happening – or getting things up and running if a shutdown occurs. So do you cancel that fundraiser, which is so inconveniently timed? Not if you are House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Boehner is being blasted for not cancelling the event, scheduled for Saturday night, at which donors will have to cough up $250 to attend, $2,500 to get a photo with Boehner and $5,000 for a special VIP meet and greet.
Home Depot shareholders may get say on company’s political spending
People who own stock in Home Depot will vote on whether they can have a say over the company’s political spending, the Securities and Exchange Commission has decided. The SEC sent a letter to Home Depot in response to that company’s attempt to keep a shareholder resolution on corporate spending off a proxy statement. Likely other companies will see keep this in mind when putting their proxy ballots together.
Public financing of elections bill reintroduced
Standing alongside actor Alec Baldwin, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) this week reintroduced the Fair Elections Now Act, a bill that would give public money to congressional candidates who decline to take huge corporate donations but instead rely on small donations from voters. Public Citizen sent a letter of support, saying, “At no time in history has a strong congressional public financing program been so sorely needed – and so demanded by the American public.”
Meanwhile … Obama likely to forgo public financing
Once again, it appears that President Barack Obama is going to run a presidential campaign without tapping into the public financing system. In fact, experts predict that no candidate will use the public funds for the general election.
Strip club visit, improper reimbursements uncovered in Fiesta Bowl investigation
A $1,200 visit to a strip club, a $30,000 birthday party, improper reimbursement of more than $46,000 campaign expenditures to lawmakers including Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl – these are some of the problems identified by details by a panel investigating potential campaign finance violations of Fiesta Bowl executives. As a result, the president of the Fiesta Bowl has been fired. McCain has donated the contributions to charity.
Money in judicial races is harming integrity, lawyers say
More money than ever is being poured into judicial races, and that is having a detrimental effect on judicial independence and integrity, according to a new report from DRI, an organization of corporate defense attorneys. They recommend more disclosure of who pays for attack ads and disqualification of judges who receive too much money.
Paul, recipient of coal money, leery of new coal miner protections
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) isn’t sold on the need for more protections for coal miners. That shouldn’t be too surprising given that his campaign benefited from millions of dollars of expenditures from the coal industry.
Visit DemocracyIsForPeople.org to learn more!

Simon Johnson, 13 Bankers, estimates the “meltdown” cost the U.S. economy at least $23.7 trillion dollars. Much of that, trillions went to Wall Street. Money never just disappears---unless going into someone’s pocket counts .

Goldman Sachs' Long History Of 'Money And Power'
http://www.npr.org/2011/04/11/135246269/goldman-sachs-long-history-of-money-and-power

William Cohan, author of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World, says that the Wall Street firm's involvement in financial scandals isn't anything new, even if people don't seem to remember past incidents.
"For many years, the firm was constantly in and out of trouble," he tells Renee Montagne on Morning Edition. "In 1929-1930, they created the Goldman Sachs trading corporation that nearly bankrupted all the investors that invested in it; it was a bit of a ponzi scheme.
Cohan says that in the 1940s the firm was involved in an antitrust lawsuit by the Justice Department that could have put them out of business had the decision gone the other way, and it was also involved in the bankruptcy of Penn Central railroad in 1970.
http://www.npr.org/2011/04/11/135246269/goldman-sachs-long-history-of-money-and-power








Those who profit most from the shananigans of the Wall Streeters, the tiny top 1% of wealth in the U.S. worth more than the bottom 95%, also hold sway with the legislators they put in office.

GOPers are quick to point out that there is a growing deficit. No one is arguing with that. Hey, let’s let those who have benefited most pay additional taxes commensurate with their disproportionate wealth.

While that would seem fair---it’s apparently not about fairness. It’s about making certain the top 1% don’t have their tax bracket go from 35% to 39%. God forbid.

So those family value, compassionate conservative Christians are all about robbing the poor. Any cuts to balance the budget of Texas Red and or the U.S. will be made to programs, policies and or processes that help the “tired, …poor, …huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, you know like it says on the Statue of Liberty.

From Texas Red: a cratered landscape of prisons, deplorable apartheid public education, lack of healthcare and politicians and majority population intent on keeping it that way…

Hasta Siempre,

 More:

 
San Antonio greatly affected if proposed budget is signed into law
Texas House Approves 2-Year Budget
Budget Makes Massive Cuts To Public Education, Health Care For Poor
http://www.ksat.com/politics/27418257/detail.html

13 Bankers

Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class

Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

PEW religion and democracy in the U.S

Bill Moyers on Plutonomy

A People's History of the United States – Howard Zinn

Women’s Reality: An Emerging Femail System

The Conscience of a Liberal

Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity       

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Public Policy: Federal budget balancing, the tired…poor, huddled masses…turbulent times..


Yet again “compassionate conservative Christian”bigots are ready to take from the “tired, …poor, …huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, you know like it says on the Statue of Liberty to give to the top 1% of the nation’s wealthy.

Demands on my time are curbing the time I have to commit to my passion, blogging on issues affecting our nation.

Slashing The Federal Budget

House Republicans release a 2012 budget proposal today. It cuts more than $6 trillion from the overall budget over the next ten years, essentially ends Medicare as we know it, and makes dramatic cuts to Medicaid. The plan is also likely to include reductions to the top tax rate for both individuals and corporations. President Obama and lawmakers from both parties have said federal deficits cannot be brought under control without changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, but critics of the Republican plan say it puts the deficit burden squarely on the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Join us for a conversation about the GOP 2012 budget plan and its implications for the overall budget process.

Fixing The National Debt: Control Federal Spending

Wis. Gov. Takes Heat Over Lobbyist's Son's Job
http://www.npr.org/2011/04/05/135135540/wisconsins-governor

scott walker, the man who says union members get paid too much, apparently thinks an annual salary of $81,000 for a two time DUI arrestee with no degree is okay---why? his dad is a lobbyist…so typical of a compassionate conservative Christian GOPer.
Gov. Scott Walker administration hires, promotes son of veteran lobbyist Jerry Deschane
http://www.htrnews.com/article/20110405/MAN0101/304060017/1358%26located=rss

MILWAUKEE — The administration of Gov. Scott Walker hired the 27-year-old son of a veteran lobbyist, then promoted him to an $81,500-per-year job overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees.
The man who was hired has no college degree and little management experience, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday.
http://www.htrnews.com/article/20110405/MAN0101/304060017/1358%26located=rss

A New Hampshire woman is upset that NPR isn't treating Japan's nuclear crisis seriously. Another complains that earthquake coverage is "trivial." Someone wonders if a story about neon lights going dim in Tokyo is worthwhile when 27,000 people are dead or missing.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2011/04/01/135039540/npr-s-coverage-of-japan-is-trivial-say-what?sc=nl&cc=omb-20110402







The Dark Ages mood gripping our nation is amazing but not new. I’ve seen it most of my adult life. What is amazing is that moderating elements are able to keep things from getting any more extreme and conservative.

From Texas Red: a cratered landscape of prisons, deplorable apartheid public education, lack of healthcare and politicians and majority population intent on keeping it that way…


Hasta Siempre,

 

More:

 

Bexar Co. Democratic Party Acts To Remove Ramos
Party Chairman Dan Ramos Accused Of Misconduct, Derogatory Remarks

New NISD Teachers' Jobs Saved
School Board Decides To Keep 437 New Probationary Teachers
http://www.ksat.com/education/27447277/detail.html

Residency Issue Prevents Student From Graduating
Incident Near Principal's Home Also In Question

way too many wackjobs in D.C. this is the camel’s nose under the tent. It is the event that carries with it the potential for those in power to do to its citizens what we condemn Gaddafi for doing….
U.S. Congressman Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat from El Paso, said he wouldn't rule out drone strikes on drug cartel capos in Mexico. Reyes shared his views during an interview this week with El Paso Inc

Congressman Won't Rule Out Drone Strikes in Mexico
It was only a matter of time before the subject of drone strikes in Mexico came up. Just last week Texas Congressman Michael McCaul, a Republican from Austin, introduced a bill that would label drug cartel members as terrorists and thus ratchet up the criminal penalties. (Does that make all U.S. d
http://www.texasobserver.org/lalinea/congressman-suggests-drone-strikes-in-mexico

  “It’s All Relative”

http://baselinescenario.com/2011/04/02/its-all-relative/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BaselineScenario+%28The+Baseline+Scenario%29&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail


New Dark Ages here we come…

Tea Party Gains Wide Support Among Conservatives
As Democrats accuse Republican congressional leaders of being co-opted by the Tea Party in the federal budget negotiations, a new survey shows that half of all conservative voters ardently support the movement.
http://www.npr.org/2011/03/31/135011774/tea-party-gains-wide-support-among-conservatives&sc=nl&cc=ph-20110403

How Western Diets Are Making The World Sick

Why the Housing Market is Three Times Worse Than You Think
http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/why-the-housing-market-is-three-times-worse-than-you-think.html

Bill Moyers on Plutonomy