Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


PatrickforB's Journal
PatrickforB's Journal
December 31, 2018

Upcoming legislation we can ALL get behind :)

Speaker Pelosi apparently isn't wasting much time in working to ensure expansion of voting rights and to curtail voter suppression.

I'd strongly urge all of you to please call your Representatives and US Senators in support of HR1.

Here's a link to a Hill article that talks about it.

I think Pelosi's going to be outstanding her second time out of the block as Speaker.


Let's tell these folks with thousands and thousands of calls that we support what they are doing and give them the message we are watching (the Dems appreciatively, and the Repubs critically).

December 24, 2018

My evangelical church is gaslighting me, an article on HuffPo by

Elizabeth Baker, guest writer and evangelical Christian blogger.

Well worth reading and passing on, especially for those of us who cannot in good conscience call ourselves Christians anymore. Here's an excerpt:

The church told me that God is a God of justice. He says the poor and the persecuted are blessed and will have a great reward in heaven. However, the term “social justice warrior” is a reviled label in conservative Christian circles.

When I speak out against racism, police brutality, gun violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ community, many Christians sneer at the concept of justice and accuse me of being “divisive” and “too political.” Instead, they embrace nationalism, the rule of law without mercy and “Make America Great Again” as their values, even at the expense of human life.

It simply does not matter to the evangelical church that Trump is racist and that his dehumanizing rhetoric is emboldening radicals and costing Americans their lives. Americans are dying in mass shootings at the hands of white supremacists, while the church is celebrating the nation’s return to traditional values. For Christians who reject the MAGA mindset, this is absolute crazy making.

No wonder I live with crippling anxiety and spiritual trauma. The church that warned me against moral relativism now calls me a heretic when I apply the very principles they taught me to real situations, with real stakes for real people. I don’t know where to turn or whom to trust. Is any of it true? Have I wasted my life on a religion that hurts more than it helps?

Here's the link: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/evangelical-christians-trump_us_5bfc326de4b03b230fa57ae9
December 22, 2018

It boggles my mind how these spittle-spraying xenophobic racists have

used immigration to gin up fear in the Republican base. Basically, it is a molehill that has been made into an artificial mountain.

But wait - that's not the best of it. The reason they are such well-funded raving lunatics is because they provide a convenient distraction to the greatest heist in history - the giant tax cut for billionaires and corporations last year which transferred yet more trillions of dollars to the parasitic billionaire and CEO class.

Bankers have created a system of artificial scarcity through the Fed, which is primarily owned by JP Morgan Chase and Citi. It is NOT quasi-governmental - that is a sick joke. If the national debt is money we owe ourselves, then why are we paying it back to bankers with interest?

Wall Street MBA lizards have elevated the concept of shareholder primacy to an exact science that manifests in:
- for workers: unsafe working conditions, union busting, end-of-quarter and end-of-year layoffs just to raise share prices, crappy benefits and stagnant wages.

- for consumers: smaller packages at the same or higher prices, unsafe products, increased recalls, failure to honor warranties and products that are diluted or made poorer quality to increase profits.

- for the environment: the concept of 'externality' allows businesses to foul the environment and, as long as they aren't forced to pay, it is considered an 'externality.' So the earth is raped by capitalism and our entire species, as well as other living creatures, now face an existential crisis.

Billionaire parasites have bought our politicians, primarily the Republicans, have propagandized us to believe in a zero sum game - that if someone wins, then someone else must lose; we must all pull ourselves up by the bootstraps because we're rugged individualists, and only the strongest survive. In short, an Ayn Randian hell. This manifests itself in:
- irresponsible deregulation, which erodes our safety as consumers, our financial security (what little we all have left), and the quality of the environment.

- rampant privatization of things that should be part of the public domain, such as prisons, schools and non-military discretionary programs. And, make no mistake - the Wall Street greed heads have had their eye on the Social Security Trust Fund for decades.

- and gutting social programs through irresponsible tax cuts, coupled with more and more government contracts, primarily for 'defense.'

All these things, including the propaganda that drowns us, serves the sole purpose of transferring more and more of the world's wealth to the few at the expense of the many. Everything - the primacy of the shareholders, Citizens United, lack of a Fairness Doctrine allows this giant greed machine to grind us up a little more each day.

Tired of it yet?

November 24, 2018

Climate change will shrink US economy and kill thousands, government report warns

Source: CNN

(CNN)A new US government report delivers a dire warning about climate change and its devastating impacts, saying the economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars -- or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP -- by the end of the century.

The federally mandated study was supposed to come out in December but was released by the Trump administration on Friday, at a time when many Americans are on a long holiday weekend, distracted by family and shopping.

David Easterling, director of the Technical Support Unit at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, emphasized that there was "no external interference in the report's development." He added that the climate change the Earth is experiencing is unlike any other.

"The global average temperature is much higher and is rising more rapidly than anything modern civilization has experienced, and this warming trend can only be explained by human activities," Easterling said.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/23/health/climate-change-report-bn/index.html



October 16, 2018

Why I am a healthcare voter.

Tonight I found this posted on Daily Kos:

It is titled, "My wife was just diagnosed with cancer; what this means under Universal Healthcare."

It's by a person who calls him/herself Dfh1. Here's the link: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/10/15/1804402/-My-Wife-Was-Just-Diagnosed-with-Cancer-What-this-means-under-Universal-Healthcare

Here's an excerpt - please, it is well worth reading.

My wife has always been one of my heroes. She is a strong woman who confronts challenges with a combination of courage, hope and humour. And now, after her diagnosis of Uterine Cancer, she is approaching this latest fight with this same combination of strengths. I really am in awe of her. We have been married now for 27 years. Even with this diagnosis, we believe our journey will continue into a healthy retirement and for many years to come.

Like all Canadians regardless of wealth or status, we do not have to worry about the financial implications of this diagnosis and her upcoming surgery. We don’t have to think about re-mortgageing our home, raiding our retirement funds, or declaring bankruptcy because this disease struck our family. We don’t have to set up a crowdfunding account to help us.

Although not directly linked to Universal Healthcare, my wife also does not have to worry about losing her job because of this diagnosis. She has access to sick leave (and I have access to care and nurturing leave), so neither her absence from work for up to six weeks, nor mine, will result in additional financial harm. No one needs to lend her sick days.

THIS is what we need here in the USA.
October 10, 2018

The New York Times Bombshell That Bombed

Source: Politico

It arrived on Page One of the New York Times last Wednesday with all the subtlety of a supertanker berthing at a sailing marina, consuming all the editorial space above the fold. Based on more than 100,000 pages of documents, countless interviews, and the voluminous Freedom of Information Act requests that accompany such investigations, the piece, written by three of the paper’s ace reporters, was more than 18 months in the making. Overflowing eight broadsheet pages, the 15,000-word story, titled “Trump Took Part In Suspect Schemes to Evade Tax Bills,” served also as the subject of a Showtime documentary. It accused President Donald Trump of “outright fraud” involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

The piece stirred both New York City and state regulators to commence investigations of their own that could ensnare the Trump family in years of consuming legal battles and force them to choke up hundreds of millions in fines and penalties. But even though the Times aggregated this piece for slow readers, produced clever video takes on the material and reprinted the original as a special section of the Sunday paper, the story has all but melted from sight. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it “very boring,” as did Trump. By the time the pundits convened on the big Sunday political shows, the story was a goner—according to Matt Gertz at Media Matters, none of the shows covered it. (State of the Union mentioned it in passing; Joy Reid had a segment; and CNN’s press show, Reliable Sources, interviewed one of the Times authors.)

Another reason the story might not have entered the nation’s bloodstream is that it contained too much for anybody—outside of the most committed—to read in a single sitting.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/10/09/new-york-times-trump-taxes-221144

I know this is a day old...I know it. But you know what? No one else put it on here and we all need to be aware that this could be the death knell of Trump's horrible presidency. So please don't take it down.

...it contained too much for anybody—outside of the most committed—to read in a single sitting. NOW THAT IS PATHETIC.
October 7, 2018

I was at a Democratic Party GOTV gathering today...

I was at a Democratic Party GOTV gathering today, and one of the local candidates for the State House said she's knocked on about 20,000 doors personally during her campaign, in deep red territory. With home, she has voter registration info, and when she has knocked on doors, women are listening.

She told one story that she knocked on the door of a household, all Republicans, and a woman answered the door. She introduced herself and said, "I'm running for the State House in District XX."

The woman looked back - everyone was watching a football game. She asked, "What party are you?"

My candidate answered, "I'm a Democrat," and the woman took her flyer, nodded and closed the door. Clearly the GOP has misread the visceral anger of millions of American women.

My FERVENT hope is that the Dems will do SO WELL during the mid-term elections that the GOP will cease to be a viable party at the national level.

Let us dream, but as Lucinda points out, our dream may be a NIGHTMARE for the Republicans. They have horribly misread the anger of just about everyone who actually has a moral compass, and they have certainly shown Independent voters that the GOP no longer has a moderate wing.

September 22, 2018

The biggest threat to the earth and its people

I posted this on the Hill in response to an Op-Ed piece by a conservative man who is questioning whether Kavanaugh is getting due process in regards to the allegations of Dr. Ford.

There is no doubt that there should be due process. This is the cornerstone of rule of law. Problem is, I'm not seeing that respect for the rule of law from the Trump administration, who based on tweets of their 'beloved leader' is blaming the victim and accusing her of lying based on not reporting the assault to the police and to her parents right away and pressing charges.

Gosh, I was a teen in the 70s and went to college in the 80s. I can so readily see why a young woman would not report such an assault. I mean, we know your boy Trump is completely incapable of feeling any empathy because he is a sociopath with narcissistic personality disorder. He just can't.

But, you know, McConnell, as twisted as he is, SHOULD be able to see that, as well as the other pasty-faced white guys in the Republican Senate leadership. But instead, he is trying to just ramrod this thing through. This, of course, denies the due process you're talking about in this Op-Ed to Dr. Ford, as well as to Kavanaugh.

When one political party puts their partisan interests above the interest of the American people, then it rips apart our social, moral, and economic fabric. Sadly, this is what I've been seeing from the Republican party over the last decade. I remember being disgusted when I heard about the meeting that was held by Republican leaders on the night of Obama's inauguration back in 2009 - the night of his inauguration - where they agreed to oppose Obama and the Democrats at EVERYTHING, so they could then say Obama was divisive and they didn't get a say. Which was of course, a lie, because the ACA, Obama's centerpiece, was actually developed by the Heritage Foundation, and practiced by Mitt Romney before it became the law of the land.

I was disgusted when the GOP did everything they could to sabotage the ACA every step of the way. I was disgusted when fellow Americans in red states died because they had no access to healthcare because of cuts to Medicaid.

Let's not forget the waste of millions of our tax dollars in the Benghazi hearings, and then the doubling down of that over Hillary's emails. Other (GOP, so I guess it's OK) Secretaries of State had done the same thing, but it was only stupid, un-American and irresponsible when Clinton did it.

Now with the Trump 'administration' in power, it is difficult to list all the ways they are wrecking our institutional structure - attacks on the free press, the attempted legitimization of lying, massive and foolish regulatory rollbacks, a fiscally disastrous tax cut benefitting Republican billionaire donors and corporations, a ballooning deficit (remember how BAD the GOP said the deficit was under Obama, but no GOP Rep or Senator is even batting an eye now), and all the racist crud that was aimed at the Obamas. I remember when I was watching Fox one time in late December 2015, they actually SAID Obama has a 'different agenda.' Hey, if you actually get rid of the armchair and dig out the truth for yourself from CREDIBLE sources, Obama governed just slightly left of center. It is laughable to think him any farther left than the Eisenhower Republicans of the fifties. Seriously.

Finally, we come to present day. McConnell and the GOP leadership stonewalled Merrick Garland, refused to do their job of 'advise and consent.' Garland did not even get a meeting with a single senator, let alone be allowed to answer questions. McConnell just laughed and said no, we'll wait until after the election. When I bring this up, the right-wing thoughtless talking point is, "Hey that's the Biden rule." Don't bother. This had nothing to do with Biden. What it had to do with was a party so corrupted by its own lust for power that it forgot the interests of the American people.

And, now, we have Kavanaugh. Yes, absolutely Kavanaugh deserves due process. So does Ford. And so do the American people. So when Senator Grassley leads the charge to hurry the vote up, the hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

If we want this Republic to stand, this noble experiment that has lasted since 1789, and become the most successful nation on earth, then we need to elect people who are NOT so into winning, and power, that they forget the interests of our people. We cannot allow a sociopath like Trump to become a dictator, and this nation to degenerate into a fascist oligarchy. We need to uphold our institutions and respect each other as Americans.

Right now, the biggest threat to this world and its people seems to be the GOP.

The link to this piece on the Hill: https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/407855-truth-should-not-be-held-hostage-to-political-calculations

September 16, 2018

Let's not be overly optimistic about the results of the Mueller investigation, and the

potential 'blue wave' in November. It is OK, I suppose, to be optimistic, to have hope in a better future. I do. I really do.

But to think everything will be OK come January 2019 when our party takes back the majority? Not so much.

The Republicans have steadily undermined everything we should stand for ever since Reagan slithered into the WH in 1981. They have implemented voter suppression measures all over the place, gerrymandered states to keep their majorities in legislatures even though their candidates actually get fewer votes.

And remember when the GOP refused to appoint most of Obama's appointments to federal courts? Well, now we see what the strategy behind that was: As of September 10, 2018, the United States Senate has confirmed 68 Article III judges nominated by the traitor president Trump, including 1 Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, 26 judges for the United States Courts of Appeals, 41 judges for the United States District Courts, and turtle McConnell has scheduled the vote for Kavanaugh on September 20, four days from now.

Of course, there's also the giant tax cut for billionaires and corporations they passed last year. The deficit has ballooned and the national debt is rapidly becoming unsustainable. In the meantime, they've transferred even more of our money to massive defense contracts and Pence wants a brand new shiny Space Force while at the same time GOP leaders are talking about cuts for Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

Privatization has also run rampant. Prison industries, slave labor of convicts, systematic incarceration of minorities - a third of our whole population has criminal records, and these people are making billions in profits off that misery. In the meantime, we continue to make people with criminal records pay and pay and pay. They can't get jobs, and in desperation they turn again to crime to make a living. If a woman was arrested for soliciting because she had no other way to make a living, for instance, she now has to 'register' on what I think is a blatantly unconstitutional sex offender list and she is now essentially unemployable. Ever. No one will ever hire her. I'm in workforce development and sex offenders are nearly impossible to place.

Finally, we cannot but weep at the massive rollbacks of environmental regulations. For the sake of a few extra dollars in profits, the GOP has sold out our species and compromised our ability to live and thrive on this earth, which is our only home. That old CSNY line comes to me - horror grips us as we watch you die! All we can do is echo our anguished cry...

No, even after we take back power, it will take many years to reverse this damage. And the ku kluxers, nazis and white nationalists won't be going away. We might be able to force them back under their rocks but they will still be there, hating and teaching their children to hate.

My only solace is that I'm going to be very outspoken about trials for those who have committed war crimes and other crimes against humanity, such as the brutal separation of families at the border that still continues to this very day. Following orders will be the excuse of some, but we should not buy that any more than we bought it from the SS guards who killed people in places like Auschwitz.

No, when our people get in power, they will have to dramatically raise taxes, to pay for things that help us, like health care while at the same time servicing the debt. If enough of them are truly visionary, we might revisit Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and rethink our monetary policy.

We'll have to put back all the regulations.

And we'll have to figure out a strategy to fight the reactionary majorities in our judicial system. There is incontrovertible proof Kavanaugh lied under oath, so he can be impeached, but what about all these other appointees? They will be quietly fighting against everything we are trying to do every step of the way.

We'll have to get away from Citizens United somehow, and Senator Warren's 'Responsible Capitalism Act,' which expands fiduciary responsibility of officers in publicly held companies beyond shareholder earnings to take into account the welfare of workers, consumers and the environment - that is a MUST. We have to pass that.

And we will need a twenty-first century Fairness Doctrine that ensures that Americans operate from the same set of actual facts, instead of the corporate-funded propaganda they are filled with every day on hate-talk radio and Fox and Breitbart.

We're going to have to put some social justice policies in place, too. I just saw a picture of some cops in Alabama (sigh) who were photographed after a 'bust' making the white power sign. They were suspended WITH pay for a week. Seriously. We will somehow have to work through a profoundly conservative law enforcement community to close down the 'open season' on black people that seems to exist now.

No, it's a long, hard road we have ahead of us. Sometimes I wonder if our party, if we as a people, will have the courage to make these repairs and take back our republic. This country really could be the light on the hill. Even now, as corrupt as we are, people still aspire to come here. But what if we could be a REAL leader in making the whole world a better place?

Yes, I admit it. Freely. I AM A SNOWFLAKE. A UNICORN. I look at things the way they are, imagine how they SHOULD be and ask...


THERE IS HOPE, but with it comes lots of WORK.

September 14, 2018

What's killing Sears? Its own retirees, the CEO says

Source: CNN

What's to blame for the problems at Sears? Amazon? Bad management? CEO and primary shareholder Eddie Lampert has another idea: It's the company's own retirees.

Sears turned in another bleak quarterly earnings report on Thursday, and Lampert complained about the billions of dollars that Sears owes its former employees through pension plans. Lampert said Sears has paid almost $2 billion into pension plans in the past five years, and $4.5 billion since Sears and Kmart merged in 2005 to form Sears Holdings (SHLD). The company pays retirees about $300 million a year, filings show.

If Sears could have put that money into operations, "we would have been in a better position to compete with other large retail companies, many of which don't have large pension plans," Lampert wrote in a blog post. He also faulted the "very difficult" environment for retailers, but he said Sears has been "significantly impacted" by pension obligations.

Read more: https://money.cnn.com/2018/09/14/news/companies/sears-pension-retirees/index.html

This guy is a total crook. You know what? He owns a hedge fund, and he's personally been buying up Sears shares as they go downhill.

Basically this capitalist slimebag is crushing the hopes of his retirees (they discontinued pensions in '06, but those pesky old people are STILL alive and collecting!), and his employees, and the unfortunate consumers who invested real money in things like Kenmore appliances.

That's right! The criminal Lampert is thinking of personally purchasing Kenmore appliances through his hedge fund.

Essentially, this is what capitalism looks like on the ground. You have a scumbag like Lampert purposely driving a venerable company that used to have a good name to ruin, and then PERSONALLY PROFITING OFF THAT.

I can't even say how angry this makes me, how disgusting this is to me - should be to ANY decent person. I feel dirty even reading about shit like this.

This is why we've got to support workers to the hilt. I'm supporting Elizabeth Warren's Responsible Capitalism Act, because dirtbags like Eddie Lampert wouldn't be able to hurt so many people with their stinking greed.

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Not disclosed
Home country: USA
Current location: Not disclosed
Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 06:28 PM
Number of posts: 14,357

About PatrickforB

Counselor, economist and public servant.

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»PatrickforB's Journal