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Name: Me
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Hometown: Here
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Current location: There
Member since: Fri Jun 11, 2004, 11:37 AM
Number of posts: 46,523

About Me

I do stuff. And when I finish that stuff, I do other stuff.

Journal Archives

So How Progressive Is the Democratic Party Platform?



Jobs. It’s “the most ambitious jobs plan on record,” and the sky is full of pie. Focus on restoring infrastructure and revitalizing decaying communities seems encouraging, but that’s about as specific as it gets.

Minimum Wage. The committee said a minimum wage of $15 an hour is a nice idea, but rejected the Sanders proposal to actually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Clinton members of the committee also rejected indexing any minimum wage to inflation.

Education. For public schools, the platform “reaffirmed Democrats’ commitment to supporting teachers, schools and communities.” Re-thinking federal mandates, not so much. College education for all who qualify, even less. Eliminating (or just mitigating) student debt, not at all.


Wall Street Reform. The platform promises expanded regulatory controls, like the ones the party refused to adopt when it could in 2009-2010. The platform hints at adopting a “modernized” Glass-Steagall Act, the one the party abolished to make the crash of 2007 possible, if not inevitable. And the party dangles the bait of breaking up too-big-to-fail institutions that threaten economic stability, a break-up the Obama administration made sure didn’t happen. The platform appears to ignore “private equity” threats entirely.

much more at link...



Comic Book Reviews for June 22, 2016


Mass shootings are a largely American phenomenon


From 1966 to 2012, nearly a third of the world's mass shootings took place in the U.S. This is according to a 2016 study that used the FBI definition of 'mass shooting' below. It surveyed 292 incidents and found 90 of them occurred in America. Put another way: While the U.S. has 5% of the world's population, it had 31% of all public mass shootings.

The number of 'mass shootings' changes depending on how you define it

The government has never defined "mass shooting" as a stand-alone category. So, depending on whichever informal definition you go with, the tally can drastically vary. According to the Gun Violence Archive, which compiles data from shooting incidents, a "mass shooting" is any incident where four or more people are wounded or killed. That number can include any gunmen as well. By that definition, we've seen 136 mass shootings in the first 164 days of this year.

Now, let's consider the several ways the government uses the term. Federal statutes define a "mass killing" as an incident resulting in three or more deaths. The commonly accepted definition -- the one the FBI used up to 2013 -- is a shooting that killed four or more people. Then there's Congressional reports, which sometimes exclude gang-related or domestic incidents and focus on "gunmen who select victims indiscriminately." Use that, and the total tally dwindles to single digits.

Regardless, the three deadliest shootings in the U.S. have occurred in the past 10 years

The Orlando attack was by far the deadliest shooting in U.S. history (49 killed), and it is not even 10 years removed from the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre (32 killed), and the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting (27 killed). In fact, of the 30 deadliest shootings in the U.S. dating back to 1949, 16 have occurred in the last 10 years.

lots of infographics at the link...


with the amount of mass shootings in the U.S. one would think, that if the poor families that were effected by the shootings every banded together to form a political group or lobbying organization, I think they would have some massive influence at getting rid of assault weapons.

One Nation, Under Guns...

This is what we have become, a nation of violence underlined by guns.

There are those in the gun community that will argue with that, but when people in other countries talk about or ask about or reflect upon the U.S., it invariably comes back to violence and guns.

We are a violent nation. that is a fact.

We are the largest exporter of weapons in the world.

When we send "aid" packages to other nations, that's just a catch all phrase for everything we send, including weapons.

Starting since our inception as a nation, we have been involved in one war after another. either it was under the guise of "self defense", "helping others" or "spreading democracy".

Self defense in the monroe doctrine, helping others as in over throwing democratically elected governments, and spreading democracy to other nations at the point of a gun.

And as a result of our over seas proliferation of weapons, the weapons here, for sale to the average person, have become cheap and plentiful.

Death is good business. Violence and it's maintenance is the American way.

As the years have gone by, and the various massacres increase, we have become a type of Roman Republic, lusting for a new and novel way for people to be killed.

No more are the 2 or 3 or 4 people killed big news, it's the huge numbers that get the ratings.

We are into the era of the violence of the snake eating it's tail.

We have the usual daily shooting at work, the weekly "mass" shooting and now we get the monthly or bi-monthy massacre.

And yet how fickle we are.

The San Bernardino massacre hardly still registers on our consciousness.

But were do we say, enough!

Do we draw the line now? or do we watch at the goal posts move, not just down the field, but into another zip code altogether?

Do we sit by our computers weeping or do we turn our anger into action?

I just can't support anyone who advocates or defends violence at the hand of a gun.

And as such, I will be giving my hard earned money and my voice to organizations that work hard for gun control, extensive background checks and find a way to make it massively difficult to obtain a gun legally.

I do not own a gun, but as an American, I am part of what contributes to the violence. I also refuse, as an American to blindly turn away.

I would love to say, we can do better, but sadly it appears we are unable to. This is who we are and it will take those few of us to educate the many.

Because, if there is no change, no movement, no one speaking out, the we are doomed to remain...

One nation, under guns...

the powerlessness of the single voice...

we all feel powerless individually.

we feel as if the floor dropped out from under us when we hear of such tragedies as the one that unfolded in Orlando.

"what can I do? I'm just one person. no one will listen to me" is the individuals mantra.

and the next is grieving, morning and giving up over the useless feeling we all get when we are powerless to commit change.

I sit at my computer and type these words feeling this feeling of helplessness to change things. to help ban assault rifles. to expand background checks. to have the fucking FBI do their god damn jobs.

we plead to the president and what does he say? "We know enough to say this was an act of terror and an act of hate," he said. "The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terror. We will go wherever the facts lead us ... What is clear is he was a person filled with hatred."

maybe he's at a loss for words as well, but folks, some of THE largest massacres occurred on his watch.

and his words only make me less confident of any sort of change.

So, what needs to be done? WE need to group together and fight. WE need to demand from our congress people, let alone the president, to pass the fucking laws and have them enforced.

most of the GOP gets money from the NRA, but I can bet your ass, that there are republicans right now, people, not politicians, that are equally disgusted by this bullshit.

a bi-partisan group, formed by the people of this nation, that is apolitical. That are tired of the almost daily killings and massacres.

It's WE not I that will get it changed.

WE have to stop putting up with this. And tell the NRA to shut the fuck up when they come out with the tired response of "in this time of tragedy, now is not the time to discuss laws about guns". OH BULLSHIT. Now is the very fucking time.

WE need to fucking stand up to this contrived kind of bullshit to derail the discussion and dismantle the NRA once and for all.

Remember, it's WE the people.

I just heard...

I had been out doing work in the yard all day.

50 people???!!!

What is wrong with us?

I'm angry, horrified and depressingly sad.

I just cat wrap my brain around such a tragedy.

One Southerner says the Confederacy was a ‘con-job’ on white people — and its legacy still is today

(A really interesting read)



Q: Joshua Holland: You say the Confederacy was a con job on whites then and now. Didn’t white Southerners profit immensely from slavery prior to the Civil War?

A: Frank Hyman: Yeah, but most of the profit then, as now, went to the one-percenters – people at the top of the pile. About a third of Southern families did own slaves, so it was pretty widespread, but there were plenty of families that might own one or two enslaved Africans. They weren’t wealthy. The bulk of all slaves were owned by the top 5 percent or 10 percent of Southern families.
A small number of people in the South profited immensely. In my research I found that most of the one-percenters in the US were Southerners, not Northern industrialists. The Southern states were wealthier than any nation in Europe except for England, because there was so much money to be made growing cash-crops if you weren’t actually paying people to help you harvest them.

Q: But there was a middle class. In addition to those smaller landholders, there must have been other people who sold wagon wheels or imported fancy goods from Europe or whatever.

A: Right, but for the bulk of the population – what we would call the working-class today — slavery wasn’t at all financially beneficial. One-third of the population were African-Americans being paid nothing for their work, and that drove down wages. And not just in agriculture. Slavery drove down wages in the skilled crafts because a quarter of all enslaved people were trained to be carpenters and cobblers and masons and wheelwrights and shipwrights – and everything else you could imagine. The slave-owners thought, ‘gosh, why should I pay this white guy a professional wage when I can just train some of my slaves to do the work?’
So most white folks in the South were economic losers because of slavery, but many of them bought into the institution for what they saw as its social value. They might have a crummy deal in life, but somebody else had it even worse than they did. That was a big selling point in a lot of the literature from that period, many of which were owned by slaveholders. Pamphlets, newspapers, novels and magazines conveyed the message that you might have it rough as a poor white person, but you were still better off than black people.

We're fucked for the foreseeable future...

Once upon a time, America (that mythical one) stood for something. That something was a square deal and the truth...as we saw it.

I love to quote Winston Churchill from time to time and one particular quote comes to mine, it goes something like this, "America always does the right thing...eventually".

On the world stage, with the release of the CIA torture documents, the U.S. now finds itself in a situation of caught between a rock and a hard place; as it has been played out today.

If nothing is done to bring the war criminals to trial, the world will look upon us (not that they already haven't but the memos only confirm what they believed) that we are nothing more than a two bit nation lead by sociopaths who believe that getting information (regardless if it didn't really help us at all) via any means necessary regardless of the consequences. And explaining it away as the only way to beat an "enemy".

Now, as some people have floated, ACLU in particular, that Obama should pardon the war criminals. Because, that would go on record as saying they are war criminals without the dirty work of actually, you know, bringing them to trail. Because, what a mess that would be!

If nothing is done or even if a "pardon" of sorts is issued, the damage is still done. Or a phrase I like to use, "you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube".

We will forever be known as a nation that tortures. We now join the illustrious ranks of various third world nations run by dictators and military juntas.

Not really great company, huh?

But for the moment, please put all the failing, hand wringing and angry pronouncements aside.

This nation is remarkably nimble. While at times we seem like stogy old men doing all we can to get up out of our chair to complain about the kids on the lawn, we will, as Mr. Churchill said, "do the right thing...eventually".

While I would love to see that happen in my lifetime, it might, I feel that in order to heal as a nation, as a world, they need/will be brought to trial. Perhaps not in the traditional sense, but they will.

I take examples from our recent history of Cambodia. Those murderous bastards during the Pol Pot regime were finally brought up on charges of crimes against humanity.

Granted, it was many years later and Pol Pot himself died before he was sent to prison or actually found guilty. But he, never the less, was indeed eventually found guilty as well as many many of his henchmen.

But some might say, "well, we aren't Cambodia". No we aren't but that doesn't make the crimes the bush* and his room full of dopes any less serious and despicable.

The pieces are certainly in place, but like anything that really matters, the moneyed interests have to consult their balance sheets to see if the loss profit margin can withstand this "ding" to their bottom line. That will be the ultimate deciding factor.

Then and only then if this were to go forward, the U.S. would regain a margin of it's "respectability". Because that very gigantic, "IF", is at the bottom of a very deep hole this nation has dug itself into.

The US is an oligarchy, study concludes


After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.

The peer-reviewed study, which will be taught at these universities in September, says: "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favor special interests and lobbying organizations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it."

The positions of powerful interest groups are "not substantially correlated with the preferences of average citizens", but the politics of average Americans and affluent Americans sometimes does overlap. This merely a coincidence, the report says, with the interests of the average American being served almost exclusively when it also serves those of the richest 10 per cent.

More at link...


after a bit of googling, I wasn't able to locate a single U.S. news outfit that carried this story.
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