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rhett o rick

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Member since: Fri Apr 22, 2005, 01:05 PM
Number of posts: 40,688

Journal Archives

Lack of Voter Turnout Isn’t the Problem

Lack of votes in and of itself is not our problem.

In 2000 when the Republicans and SCOTUS stole the election, lack of votes wasn’t the problem.
In gerrymandered districts, more votes won’t change the outcomes. For example, if a district is 90% Democrats and the Democrats always win; more votes won’t change a thing. In a district that is split 60% Republican and 40% Democrats, and the Republicans win 60 – 40, more votes would not change the results.

The problem is the lack of Progressive Votes.

Our voting system is set up to disenfranchise and discourage Progressive Democrats from voting and/or render Democratic votes meaningless.

A bad analogy would be to assume our voting system is one big giant DieBold voting machine. No matter who you want to win, the results are what the Oligarchs want. Shoving more votes into the machine won’t change what comes out the other side.

So what are the real problems?

The basic problem is that we get too few Progressive votes.

And one big reason is that our voting system is corrupted. Until that’s fixed, getting more people to vote won’t solve our problem.

Also, the voters are mislead by the Corp-Media. We must figure out how to counter that. If we don’t fix this, the “more votes” we get may be for Conservatives.

Another reason we don’t get more Progressive votes is that we have too few Progressive candidates at the national level and the candidates we have won’t speak out against Conservatism loud enough to convince the public that there is a different between the parties.

If you want to get more Progressive Democrats to vote, work on solving the above problems. Simply complaining about lack of turnout is counter productive.

Once Again President Obama Chooses a Fox to Guard the Henhouse.

Once Again President Obama Chooses a Fox to Guard the Henhouse.

President Obama’s pick to be Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance is Antonio Weiss. His new job would be to oversee the domestic financial system—including the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform act, and consumer protection. He is currently the global head of investment banking at Lazard Ltd, a firm that has put together several major inversion deals. Why is this significant?
“Since 2003, more than thirty-five American companies have dodged taxes through similar deals, which are known as “corporate inversions.””

A number of progressive Senators, lead by Sen Warren have reservations. "Warren has a number of problems with Weiss. The first is the fact that his career has been focused on international transactions. “Neither his background nor his professional experience makes him qualified to oversee consumer protection and domestic regulatory functions at the Treasury,” she wrote. The second is that he’s tied up in the corporate-inversion trend, which, as she notes, the Obama administration has criticized and tried to stop."
Sen Warren further stated, “It’s time for the Obama administration to loosen the hold that Wall Street banks have over economic policy making.”

Sen Warren’s third concern is “about the fox guarding the henhouse. She ticked off a long list of people with close ties to the financial industry who now serve in high-level economic-policy positions in the Obama administration, including Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and US Trade Representative Michael Froman. Letting former Wall Streeters roost in top government perches “tells people that one—and only one—point of view will dominate economic policymaking. It tells people that whatever goes wrong in this economy, the Wall Street banks will be protected first,” she wrote.”

Read more at The Nation Magazine - http://www.thenation.com/blog/191289/next-big-fight-between-progressives-and-wall-street-dems

I kind of woke up to it in 2008.

This is real conspiracy stuff so expect the CT deniers to swoop in.
By the end of 2007 I was convinced that our rulers (at the time I thought it was at the Cheney level) were all set up to "temporarily extend" the Bush presidency because of some trumped up national emergency. But when I saw Bush and Cheney turn from belligerent, egotistical bullies into whimpering dogs that crawled out of DC with their tails between their legs, I decided there was a higher power pulling the strings. And it makes sense once you think about it. I imagine it goes back decades but at least we can understand how the CIA/NSA/FBI etc. could increase their powers during the Lost Bush Decade. They had a great excuse, the second "Cheney's Pearl Harbor", an unlimited budget, and zero Congressional oversight. So it's easy for me to deduce that there is likely a group of people that together pull the strings, at least at the macro level, of our government. And they would prefer Bush for president or McCain or even HRC, but they are not threatened by Obama.
I think it's a mistake to believe that when Obama walked into office that he wrested control of everything from those that had it. I bet the NSA/CIA Security State have a lot of secrets that they don't tell him about. If nothing else, they have the power to embarrass him badly. And they have an unlimited budget.
Having said all that, I still believe (or at least consciously fool myself) that we the people can change things. But that belief took a big hit when Sen Sanders came out an told what would be risked if they decide to run for president against the Oligarchy (my word). His statement forced me back into a reality that isn't good but probably necessary. Can we ask that much of him or others?

Sorry, just had to unload that.

Ah yes, the questions of insinuation. The technique used when one doesn't

have the confidence of stating their own opinion* regarding H. Clinton's integrity. Let's see if we can clear up your insinuations.

"Did you vote for John Kerry in 2004" The implication of course being that if I was a good Democrat and supported the Democratic candidate and since that candidate was one that betrayed us then I would be obligated to forgive H. Clinton for her betrayal. Even you should admit how weak that argument is.

"are you ready to throw Joe Biden over the side as well?" I guess the insinuation here is that before I can be critical of H. Clinton's betrayal, I have to acknowledge Joe Biden's betrayal. If I did would you then come back with a list of others that didn't have the integrity to stand up to George Bush and ask me one by one to denounce them?

Here are some questions for you:
Do you think the decision to invade Iraq was possibly the most disastrous decision in the last century?
Do you think George Bush was lying when he told us there were WMD in Iraq, the Iraq was building nuclear weapons, and that Iraq was aiding al Qaeda?
Do you think H. Clinton knew she was lying when she gave her famous speech that echoed the Republicans selling points for the war?
Do you think H. Clinton showed her lack of integrity at that important time?
Do you think she can be trusted now? If so, why?
Don't you think we can find other candidates that have integrity?

* This is a general statement, I am sure you are willing to clearly state your opinion regarding H. Clinton's integrity.

For the record, I condemn all that voted for the Iraq War, including John Kerry and Joe Biden. Some people claim there is not a difference between the major parties. Well this vote was a good opportunity to prove that wrong. To prove that the DEmocratic Party stood for principles and could stand up for the people. And bravo to those that stood up against the Oligarch's thirst for war and damn those that cashed in their integrity for whatever their excuse was. If we have no better choices than those that proved they have zero integrity, then we are already lost.

I got this right from the horses mouth. H. Clinton-Sachs will choose Goldman-Sachs as her running

mate. She has already gotten the nod from her pal Big J John Roberts. Hell if Corps are people, why can't they run for office.

If you don't believe this, just remember where I got it.
Posted by rhett o rick | Sat Nov 8, 2014, 11:42 AM (0 replies)

Obama Continues the Bush Policies of Secrecy

Some of us naively thought during the terrible Bush decade that we could replace the heavy handed Security State of the Republican administration by electing a Democratic president and that we could reestablish our tattered democracy. In hindsight how foolish we were. We thought that Obama, who campaigned on government transparency and rolling back the Patriot Act would end the dominating control of the most powerful NSA/CIA Security State made strong by 8 years of zero oversight and an unlimited budget. We were wrong. How could we think that those in power would relinquish that power just because a new president was inaugurated? Sadly, some here in DU think that’s exactly what happened in spite of the evidence otherwise.

In “The Nation” magazine of Oct 27, there is a good article, “The Government’s War on Whistleblowers.”

“To date, the Obama administration has charged nine people with violating the …… Espionage Act – far more that all other administrations combined.”


As bad as that sounds, that is the tip of the iceberg. Many others have undergone Espionage Act “investigations” that didn’t result in prosecutions, but most likely destroyed careers. Some see this as heavy-handed intimidation.

“In its 2011 Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, the FBI formally authorized the use of national-security letters to obtain the call records of journalists who are witnesses to a crime. (NSLs are secret orders that the FBI can issue with no judicial review. Recipients are prohibited from telling anyone they’ve received such an order.)”

The article goes on to detail how Obama’s DOJ used subpoenas to gather records of 100 journalists exposing their sources whether or not the sources were relevant to the justification for the subpoenas. This is more heavy handed intimidation.

It is apparent that our powerful NSA/CIA Security State, via the DOJ, has declared war on whisleblowers and investigative journalists.

When Obama became president he inherited a very powerful Security State from the Bush/Cheney administration that operated with an unlimited budget, carte blache authority and zero oversight. It appears that Security State has grown even more powerful under President Obama. This threat to our democracy should be obvious to all but those living in a state of denial. And those that applaud the president for the gains we’ve made must realize that without democracy those gains can disappear quickly.

Support Your Local Foodbanks and Soup Kitchens

I am reposting this as we move into Nov and the cold weather. People need help this time of year more than ever.

Local foodbanks are struggling. In tight economic times, donations to foodbanks tend to dry up. And this is the time when help is most needed as more and more people are relying on local foodbanks for help.

Please donate non-perishable foods. Even if the cans are dented or past expiration date they may still be good. Let the foodbank make the decision.

Canned meats and meals are always needed. Chili, tuna, canned salmon, pork & beans, etc.

Donating cash is the best because foodbanks usually can buy about three times more food for the dollar than you can.

It’s also important to donate time. At our foodbank about 75% of the labor is volunteered.

Some foodbanks take clothes and household items that they give away for free so keep that in mind.

Foodbanks usually need simple things like boxes, plastic grocery bags, and glass jars. Ask your local foodbank what they need.

Some people are wary that their donations are distributed fairly and efficiently. Volunteer to be a member of the Board of Directors and influence the operations of your local foodbank.

Also help the homeless. Our foodbank works with local soup kitchens and street ministries. Here are some specific items the homeless value:

Hats*, socks*, coats, rain ponchos*, space blankets*, tarps, tents, sterno, canned meats and meals that can be opened w/o opener, bottled water, hand sanitizer and first aid items, granola bars*, bus tokens, grocery gift cards, etc.

*Some items can be purchased in quantity at low prices online like at smile.Amazon. Note, if you use smile.amazon.com, they will donate to your designated charity (foodbank?).

Have a happy holiday season and please support your local foodbank.

When you buy a share of a company from another individual you are not "investing" in the company.

The company does not see a dime of your money. The person you bought it from gets the money. The value of the stock is based on it's popularity. That popularity can be influenced by the performance of the company but it can also be influenced by a lot of other things. For example, a number of years ago it was discovered that Wall Street Journal advisers were influencing stock prices and cashing in. They would tell people that they recommended a certain stock then they would buy a significant quantity which made the price go up. When the public saw this, they took the advice and drove the price up further. Then the advisers would cash out at the higher price. Of course the price would return to normal and those that "invested" on the way up, lost value. My point is that the value of the stock increase had nothing to do with the performance of the company. CEO's have been found manipulating the value of their company stock via business practices and cashing in via their stock options.

What is investing? Some say it's purchasing something with the hope of

profit. Of course inherit is the possibility of loss. That is very close to the definition of gambling.

After the initial release of stock your "investment" does not go to the company. It makes little moral difference if you "invest" in green stocks or WalMart. They don't see a dime of that money.

You essentially buy a ticket, like at the race track, and hope your "stock" is in the lead when you sell it. While the value of the stock may have some relation to the performance of the company, it is essentially a measure of the popularity of the stock.

When you "invest" in the Stock Market you are exchanging money for stock with another "investor". While you are betting the value will go up, he/she is betting the value will go down. This is clearly gambling.

The average "investor" is at a large disadvantage as the Big Money investors have inside knowledge and also can manipulate stock prices. The average of 10% gain you quoted is shared between the Big Money "investors" and the average Joe. Guess who gets the biggest share of that 10%.

Will the result of the DoJ investigation in Ferguson be just a band-aid?

The Real News interviewed Glen Ford th Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Report.

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12335

Mr. Ford points out that we need to look at the bigger picture. The problem isn't just Ferguson and fixing Ferguson, even if it's "fixed" won't touch the bigger problem. The problem is a system that is working fine and, "is accomplishing the mission of criminalizing a whole race of people, black folks,"

"The New York Times has a very interesting article out this week in which it notes that the state of Florida, which is not the worst, not the best, pretty indicative of Southern justice, certainly, the state of Florida has not even charged, much less tried, a single police officer in 20 years for using deadly force against a civilian. Not once in 20 years. And Florida doesn't really stand out too far from other states."


Mr. Ford says we shouldn't look at the problem as a "broken system":

"But my position is that the system works just fine. It does exactly what it was designed to do. It acts with uniformity all across the United States and delivers, like clockwork, millions of black bodies to be incarcerated in the biggest gulag in the world. It does it quite efficiently. It cost a lot of money, but the money that's spent is made by somebody. And it's the uniformity, again, the system that shows that it is a well-oiled machine that has been working at the highest possible speed for the last 45 years. That's not a broken system. If we look at it as a broken system, we're just going to tinker with it. If we understand that it is a system that is accomplishing the mission of criminalizing a whole race of people, black folks, then we have to look in a much more systemic, societal-wide way at what we do about a criminal justice system that is itself a criminal enterprise."


IMO Mr. Ford is pointing out that what we see in Ferguson is just an example of a culture that has developed over decades that criminalizes the Black Community and justifies that criminalization to the White Community. Why, one might ask? It is very profitable to those invested in the for-profit prison system. It also provides a good excuse for the militarization of the local police departments, which is very comforting to the paranoid American Aristocracy. And IMO the most important reason, it keeps the masses fighting among themselves instead of fighting the tyranny of the American Aristocracy. That is, when the Black Community stands up against the overbearing authoritarian dominance of the American Aristocracy will the White Community give support or look the other way. I bet the armed TeaBaggers will side with the American Aristocracy. I also believe that the Left will support the Black Community, but what will the Centrists do? Those that are so comfortable in their "status-quo"? Will they turn on the Black Community like they did OWS? Or will the simply hunker down and hope the Aristocracy won't see them and won't punish them? It's just like in the school yard: some side with the bully, some fight the bully, and some hide from the bully.
Posted by rhett o rick | Mon Sep 8, 2014, 09:43 AM (7 replies)
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