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Home country: USA
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Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 07:28 PM
Number of posts: 6,518

Journal Archives

In these days of 'alternate facts,' and truth being shouted down, of

dollars being considered 'free speech,' and the very strong meme among about half of American that the government is bad, evil, the enemy, we are in very real danger of losing this republic.

I have become convinced over a number of years that we Democrats must add a Fairness Doctrine to our platform. Reagan let the old Fairness Doctrine die in 1987, and that caused the growth of corporate propaganda stations like Fox, Breitbart, numerous websites and hate-talk radio.

Obama said in the interview he did with Letterman earlier this year that our polarization is the result of not everyone operating from the same set of facts.

The cure for this is to get back the Fairness Doctrine and hold news sacrosanct from ratings so that journalists can once again report the facts surrounding events - who, what, when, where and how. When they get into why, then the different sides must be represented. Always.

When we got away from that, we positioned ourselves to enter the realm of 'alternative facts.' Remember that this phenomenon began with the election of Obama - you'd see Republicans go on talk shows and shout down everyone else, reject the facts and keep parroting talking points.

That's the root of this tribalism; the lack of a Fairness Doctrine.

And the root of the 'hardening' of the right-wing 'tribe' is corporate propaganda. The reason we have corporations pouring money into this propaganda and into organizations like ALEC is the way corporate charters are written.

These corporate charters call for the C-level officers of publicly held companies ONLY to increase earnings for shareholders. That is the ONLY job of any CEO of a publicly held company. It is called 'fiduciary responsibility.'

Look around. This fiduciary responsibility is the cause of the pollution that is killing our planet, the climate change denial, the merchants of doubt that are paid to cause us to doubt that things like fracking hurt the environment, the massive transfer of wealth to the few and the horrible corporate corruption created by the Citizens United ruling that dollars are 'free speech.' That is the root cause.

Two policy changes could ameliorate these problems:
1. Reinstate a 21st century Fairness Doctrine that operates like the old Fairness Doctrine did.
2. Force changes to all corporate charters of companies doing business in America to enlarge the scope of fiduciary responsibility to include the workers and their welfare, the consumers and their welfare, the well-being of the communities where the corporation is doing business and the environment.

Do these two things and we won't have 'hardening' tribalism any more, and we can start concentrating on building a government that actually addresses the needs of the people - economic and social justice.

Bernie/Hillary controversies and the (real) civil war.

Feeling my oats a little today, so this is a rant.

Everytime we get a post in here the encourages the Bernie supporters and Hillary supporters to snipe at each other, a whole bunch of people seem to rise to the bait. There are some really, really long threads with many people making good points. I've weighed in on these things more often than not, though not so much lately.

People do like to get in a last word about things the feel strongly about. It is our nature.

Personally I am quite progressive, and support Bernie's platform. Happily, many of the things he campaigned on are now in the Democratic platform if they weren't before, because a lot of them were all along. I know because I'm on my county's platform committee, and we just met yesterday post-caucus and post-county-assembly.

We need to remember first of all that come November, we need to vote straight Dem tickets. It's really come to that - we've got to get rid of these right wing crazies from all levels of government. Just roll over them at the polls. And, we need to flip both Houses of the US Congress.

When this is done, we need to impeach Trump and get rid of his whole corrupt, crooked, treasonous administration.

Then, when the right wing crazy 'militias' get their gunz out, put on their cammies and hit our streets with their filthy swastikas and brown shirts and faces contorted with hatred, we need to pressure the Dems we've elected to send in the Army and the National Guard and put them DOWN - either in prison or back under their rocks.

Because they are victims of right wing propaganda and nothing can change that. Many are fanatical true believers. That is why this IS gonna happen - it is quite likely to come to fighting before it is over.

So, let's work TOGETHER and take back our republic.

Only after this, should we argue about planks in the platform. And I'll introduce one right now that is VITAL. We need to reintroduce a 21st century version of the Fairness Doctrine to ensure that news is news and we all hear who, what, where, when and how. This way, we'll all be operating from the same set of facts, and the divisions will slowly heal.

In the meantime, for your amusement, and in honor of the Millennials and Gen Z:

I've got my clipboard, text books
Lead me to the station
Yeah, I'm off to the civil war
I've got my kit bag, my heavy boots
I'm runnin' in the rain
Gonna run till my feet are raw

Slip kid, slip kid, second generation
And I'm a soldier at thirteen
Slip kid, slip kid, realization
There's no easy way to be free
No easy way to be free
It's a hard, hard world

I left my doctor's prescription bungalow behind me
I left the door ajar
I left my vacuum flask
Full of hot tea and sugar
Left the keys right in my car

Slip kid, slip kid, second generation
Only half way up the tree
Slip kid, slip kid, I'm a relation
I'm a soldier at sixty-three
No easy way to be free
Slip kid, slip kid

Keep away old man, you won't fool me
You and your history won't rule me
You might have been a fighter, but admit you failed
I'm not affected by your blackmail
You won't blackmail me

I've got my clipboard, text books
Lead me to the station
Yeah, I'm off to the civil war
I've got my kit bag, my heavy boots
I'm runnin' in the rain
Gonna run till my feet are raw

Slip kid, slip kid, slip out of trouble
Slip over here and set me free
Slip kid, slip kid, second generation
You're slidin' down the hill like me

No easy way to be free
No easy way to be free
No easy way to be free

Slip Kid, by the Who
Songwriter: Pete Townshend

Kentucky Teachers Shut Down Schools After Public Pension Overhaul

Source: Huffington Post

Kentucky’s public pension system is among the worst funded in the nation. Gov. Matt Bevin (R) has prioritized reforming it since he was elected in 2015, and Republicans have taken up the issue since gaining control of both houses of the state legislature in 2016.

Teachers and public employees have fought the proposed changes, which have included transitioning new hires into a “hybrid” system that more closely resembles a 401(k). They argue that such changes would lead to steep cuts to their retirement systems and could violate their contracts with the state.

Educators have spent weeks protesting the proposed pension plans, and appeared to have derailed any potential reform earlier this week as Kentucky’s 2018 legislative session drew to a close.

But on Thursday afternoon, Republicans tucked many of their proposed changes into a piece of legislation relating to public sewage. And after mere hours of debate, both state legislative chambers approved the bill in late-night votes, with the state Senate voting around 10 p.m. to send the bill to Bevin’s desk.

Read more: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kentucky-school-shutdown-pension_us_5abe4233e4b0f112dc9baeee

Once again, in a late-night stealth vote, Republicans vote to steal pensions from hard working people.

I found out something very alarming today at my county Dem Assembly.

One of our candidates for a US House seat is a major in the Army Reserve AND HE'S BEEN CALLED UP FOR POSSIBLE ACTION IN NORTH KOREA.

That's pretty scary and I will certainly be calling my US Senators and Representative about this on Monday.

We have to keep the pressure up because like many of you, I suspect Trump is going insane.

Amazon didn't kill Toys 'R' Us. Here's what did

Source: CNN Money

The company's biggest problem: It was saddled with billions of dollars in debt. That debt stopped it from making the necessary investment in stores. And that meant an unpleasant shopping experience that doomed the chain. The company told employees Wednesday that it would close or sell its US stores after 70 years in business.

Toys "R" Us' debt problems date back to well before Amazon (AMZN) was a major threat. Its debt was downgraded to junk bond status in January of 2005, at a time when Amazon's sales were just 4% of their current level.

A year later the company was taken private by KKR, Bain Capital and real estate firm Vornado. The $6.6 billion purchase left it with $5.3 billion in debt secured by its assets and it never really recovered.

The toy store faced several other big challenges at about the same time. There was the rise of big box retailers like Walmart (WMT), which now dwarfs Toys "R" Us in total toy sales. Last year toymakers Mattel (MAT) and Hasbro (HAS) each sold about $1 billion worth of their toys at Walmart, more than twice as much as what they sold through Toys "R" Us. Target (TGT) sold just about as many of their as Toys "R" Us last year.

Read more: http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/15/news/companies/toys-r-us-closing-blame/index.html

Bain Capital. You remember them?

That's right - Mitt Romney.

Bain is a predatory capital firm that buys companies that are having trouble, saddles them with loans that are impossible to service, then sucks cash from them until they die. Then, when they go belly-up, they lay off thousands of people whose lives are now devastated because a few billionaire freaks saw a chance to turn a quick profit.

Profits over people is not a concept we Democrats should stand for or even tolerate. Profit is fine, but when CEOs make 300 times what their people make, and when it is OK to destroy lives with predatory practices like this, then we need to increase regulation.

Isn't it interesting that banking regulations were just loosened, and with the help of some Democrats. It was a BAD policy move, that. No good will come from it.

In the meantime, wake up, get active with your local Dem party and start choosing good candidates that will act in your best interest, not Mitt's.

Here's an upbeat message from the grassroots

The Democratic party in my county had a meet-and-greet for candidates for state house and senate seats, the US House seat which is currently occupied by a radical right tea party guy, governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

There were a lot of people there, and I was very impressed by both the quality and diversity of candidates. Plenty of women running, strong candidates, and a minority woman. This was great, because my county is pretty white, and the fact an African-American woman is running for a state house seat in our county seat is awesome!

The message everyone had, and with which I certainly concur, is that we CAN flip these seats, particularly in this age of Trump.

So...get involved in your local Democratic party. They need you. More important, your community needs you. And, hey, if you want to run, now is the time! My thinking is Trump is going to weigh around these local Republicans' necks like a big, orange millstone.

Let's get out the vote. They might have boatloads of money, and the county you're in might have been a Koch machine for some time, but WE have votes and if enough of us vote, the money on the other side won't matter nearly as much. We did it with our county Board of Education - big out-of-state money came in opposing our side, and we got outspent by millions, but we won anyway.

So can you!

Gun push dims as Washington gets back to 'work'

The quotations around the word 'work' are mine. I couldn't resist because since the rise of Newt Gingrich and the lock-step drown-gummint-in-a-bathtub people came to power in the 90s, one whole party has done NOTHING for the American people except wreck, underfund and over-regulate programs that help us while at the same time throwing money at the 'defense' industry, deregulating big oil and other industries in ways that compromise either our safety or the environment.


Anyway, here's an article on CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/27/politics/congress-gun-debate/index.html

I'm posting it here because you'll all remember that the only thing we can do to end this gridlock is to ELECT NEW PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY WANT TO GOVERN.

Here's a little excerpt:

(CNN)For 12 grief soaked days, it felt like something was different this time, that the massacre of 17 people at a Florida school and the activism of teenagers who survived it would force a rethinking of America's relationship with guns.

The push for change quickened over the weekend as powerful cries for gun law reform from the kids who escaped the rampage rang in the nation's ears. Delta Air Lines, United and Avis Budget Group joined a growing list of powerful firms that severed ties with the National Rifle Association. And a CNN/SSRS poll showed 70% of Americans want tougher regulation of firearms.

But as soon as Washington got back in the game Monday, it looked a lot more like business as usual, as a push for new regulation and significantly strengthened background checks appeared to lose political momentum.

As lawmakers filtered back to the Senate and the House, to what many appeared to view as an unwelcome new debate about guns, it became clear that political realities on the Second Amendment were as locked in as ever.

Question submitted by PatrickforO

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Man accused of taking thumb from 2,000-year-old terra-cotta warrior

Source: CNN

A 2,000-year-old terra-cotta warrior valued at $4.5 million and considered a "priceless part of China's cultural heritage" is missing a thumb, but surveillance video helped lead the FBI to both the thumb and a suspect in the theft.

Michael Rohana of Delaware was arrested last week in the December theft.

Officials say Rohana went to Philadelphia's Franklin Institute on December 21 for an ugly sweater party hosted by the museum. During the evening, Rohana and a few of his friends entered the closed off terra-cotta warrior exhibit, and after his friends left, Rohana took a selfie with one of the statues, according to surveillance footage and court documents. He then put his hand on the left hand of one of the warriors and snapped something off, the documents said.

Rohana pocketed the warrior's thumb and took it home with him to Delaware that evening, officials said.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/19/us/terracotta-warrior-thumb/index.html

To me, this is emblematic of the lack of common decency and lack of integrity that now permeates what was once a noble Republic.

Luckovich cartoon

Thought everyone might appreciate this, in case it hasn't been posted.

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