Category Archives: Politics

The Sparrow


I thought this card was appropriate for this year’s election season.

It’s also not party specific, so apply the little poem to whomever you despise the most! The card is actually the size of a business card, and I believe it to be around 100 years old. There are no markings to identify the printer, author or date, but I assume it’s that old because it was with a box of postcards that are 100 years old. The paper has the look, feel and color of the old postcards.

I did a quick internet search of the poem and came up with zero results. If anyone has heard or seen this before, please leave a comment to satisfy my curiosity.

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Filed under AMERICANA, Humor, ODDITIES, Poetry, Politics, Postcards

Shoveling America’s wealth to the top


by Jim Hightower

As an old country saying puts it, “Money is like manure – it does no good unless you spread it around.”

Yet, America’s corporate and political leaders have intentionally been shoveling wealth into an ever-bigger pile for those at the top. They’ve gotten away with this by lying to the great majority, which has seen its share of America’s prosperity steadily disappear. Yes, they’ve told us, the rich are getting richer, but that’s just the natural workings of the new global economy, in which financial elites are rewarded for their exceptional talents, innovation, and bold risk-taking.

Horse dooties. The massive redistribution of America’s wealth from the many to the few is happening because the rich and their political puppets have rigged the system. Years of subsidized offshoring and downsizing, gutting labor rights, monkeywrenching the tax code, legalizing financial finagling, dismantling social programs, increasing the political dominance of corporate cash – these and other self-serving acts of the moneyed powers have created the conveyor belt that’s moving our wealth from the grassroots to the penthouses.

Not since the Gilded Age, which preceded and precipitated the Great Depression, have so few amassed so much of our nation’s riches. Having learned nothing from 1929’s devastating crash, nor from their own bank failures in 2008 that crushed our economy, the wealthiest of the wealthy fully intend to keep taking more for themselves at our expense.

Now, however, the people are onto their lies. In an October poll, two-thirds of Americans support increased taxes on millionaires, an end to corporate tax subsidies, and policies to more evenly distribute the wealth we all help create. This is rising egalitarianism shows the true American character, and it’s changing our politics – for the better.

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Filed under Crime, History, Human Rights, Opinion, Politics

Wall Street Wankers


WARNING – If you’re easily offended, especially by “The F-word”, please skip this post.

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Filed under Crime, Humor, Politics

How to Achieve Transparency for the Supercommittee


Every campaign contribution to members of this powerful panel should be reported every single day.

By Ellen Miller

Come December, the priorities and role of our government could be drastically and fundamentally altered. Are your views and concerns being heard?

The supercommittee created in the wake of the debt ceiling clash is comprised of 12 members of Congress tasked with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from the national debt by the end of the year. Whatever combination of savings and new taxes this panel devises will be fast-tracked to the floor of both chambers, without amendments, for an immediate vote. This is an unprecedented amount of power densely concentrated in the hands of a few.

The possibility of deep cuts across the federal budget sent a rallying cry to K Street, with one lobbyist forecasting a “Holy War” between the defense and health industries. It’s a battle amongst military contractors, health insurance companies, and other special interests buying lobbying time with the lawmakers and their senior staffers via campaign contributions. The special interests that have the supercommittee’s ears are very likely the same ones that contributed more than $28 million to the panel’s dozen members since 1989, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Most Americans, lacking this moneyed leverage, are left in the dark. We won’t get a chance to tell those lawmakers what to cut and what to keep.

We also can’t find out who does have that access. Current disclosure rules are a roadblock to letting us know.

You see, the supercommittee’s members report their campaign finance activities like all other lawmakers. They must report how much money they’ve taken from special interests on a quarterly basis, and they never have to report whom they’ve met with. But the panel’s work is proceeding so quickly that if they follow the old rules for reporting their fundraising, we won’t know which interests pushed their agenda until they’ve already succeeded.

The supercommittee’s unparalleled power demands that lackluster congressional transparency requirements be kicked into overdrive.

In today’s world of pay-to-play politics, expertly timed campaign contributions can open the right doors and provide access to a sympathetic ear. Campaign laws recognize the force of this cash, which is why contributions made within two weeks of an election are disclosed faster. Every member of Congress operates under these rules during an election year and knows that compliance is simple.

The supercommittee is in a similarly time-sensitive situation, where money can tip the balance of debate. While its members deliberate on crucial fiscal decisions, they should disclose campaign contributions in real time. Every contribution should be reported every single day.

Beyond the money are the meetings. Contacts between lobbyists and committee members or staff must all be disclosed online on a daily basis, including any written communications. The Obama administration already implemented these transparency requirements during the debate over the Recovery Act in 2009 and the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that passed last year. It’s not difficult and it’s been done before.

These decisions are too important to be left in the backrooms of Capitol Hill. Lawmakers should be required to post their meetings with lobbyists every single day. Ultimately, the nation’s lobbying laws should be changed to require lobbyists to do the same for the sake of our democracy.

Ellen Miller is the Sunlight Foundation‘s co-founder and executive director. http://www.sunlightfoundation.com

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Filed under Human Rights, Opinion, Politics

Dylan Ratigan (rightfully) Loses It On Air


Liberal media? HUH?

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Filed under Human Rights, NEWS, Opinion, Politics

Gridlock and Bedlam


It’s scary, but I’m starting to agree with my pessimist friend.

Donald KaulBy Donald Kaul

My friend Richard is a little crazy and very smart. He spends his days filling the Internet with screeds and rants on his favorite subject — the continuing collapse of our society. I’d tell you his last name, but if you wrote him, you’d get his scary emails too.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent effort after the stock market had a bad-hair day.

“As I’ve said all along, it’s Depression II. The stock market is catching on. Dow is down 4.5 percent today. Has a long way to go (down) to get to a reasonable value considering the fundamentals…Corrupt and disintegrating governmental systems here and in England. Gridlock. Incompetence everywhere…”

Did I mention that he is an angry old man? He seems to have caught the zeitgeist, however: that vague feeling of terror caused by being at the mercy of mysterious forces we can’t control.

To scroll through a good newspaper (there are still a few) is to be confronted with one horror story after another.

If the “Arab Spring” isn’t threatening to go sour on us, the Israelis and Palestinians are making rude Italian gestures at each other in the United Nations. Every time the Greek government blows its nose, financial markets throughout the Western world get pneumonia. Pakistan’s military is preparing its country for war, quite possibly with us — even though we supply them with weapons and money. Every other month or so Congress goes to the brink of shutting down the government and with it the economy, which is already dead in the water and sinking, slowly.

In 18th-century London people used to go to Bedlam, the city’s mental institution, to amuse themselves by gawking at the insane, sometimes paying a penny for a special peek. Today we watch Republican presidential debates.

So far we have heard cheers for both executions and America’s shortage of health insurance. There have been boos for a soldier who served in Iraq because he was gay. During each of those appalling moments, no candidate raised his or her voice in protest.

We have seen Mitt Romney and Rick Perry back away from their most noble achievements as governors simply to appease the unappeasable.

We have witnessed Michele Bachmann make a fool of herself time after time with no one, apparently, noticing.

What an awful bunch. It’s like an early round of “American Idol.” I suppose Romney is the least worst of them. If elected, he’s likely to abandon his current positions as readily as he did most of his previous positions.

Barack Obama has been no great prize either. He holds his great achievements — the health care bill and the rescue of the auto industry — at arm’s length, as though he doesn’t want them to stain his suit.

The world has begun the fourth year of a financial crisis with no end in sight. Our leaders not only don’t have the answers; they don’t seem to know the questions.

I don’t agree with everything my friend Richard says, but I’m beginning to share his rising sense of panic.

OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Filed under Opinion, Politics

ANTIQUE POSTCARDS ~ Taft for President!


 How much has the political landscape changed in 100 years? Just some, that’s all. In fact, Taft represented the elite (1%), while his opponent claimed the common folks (the 99%). Taft was a Unitarian who never believed that Christ was divine, but apparently then politics was all money without religious pandering. The fact that Taft represented BIG MONEY would today almost assure his election, since NOW CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE TOO.

This is just one of the hundreds of postcards I have. Many are older than this 1908 card. ~ sekanblogger

From Wikipedia: The United States presidential election of 1908 was held on November 3, 1908. Popular incumbent PresidentTheodore Roosevelt, honoring a promise not to seek a third term, persuaded the Republican Party to nominate William Howard Taft, his close friend and Secretary of War, to become his successor. Having badly lost the 1904 election with aconservative candidate, the Democratic Party turned to two-time nominee William Jennings Bryan, who had been defeated in 1896 and 1900 by Republican William McKinley. Despite his two previous defeats, Bryan remained extremely popular among the more liberal and populist elements of the Democratic Party. Despite running a vigorous campaign against the nation’s business elite, Bryan suffered the worst loss in his three presidential campaigns, and Taft won by a comfortable margin.

taft sherman

William H. Taft (15-Sep-1857 to 8-Mar-1930) 27th US President, 1909-13

Birthplace: Cincinnati, OH Location of death: Washington, DC
Remains: Buried, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA Religion: Unitarian

James S. Sherman (James Schoolcraft Sherman: 24-Oct-1855 to 30-Oct-1912) US Vice President 1909-1912.

Birthplace: Utica, NY Location of death: Utica, NY
Remains: Buried, Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica, NY  Religion: Protestant

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Filed under AMERICANA, History, Politics, Postcards

Shortchanging Our Paychecks


Income and benefits for most Americans have stagnated over the past four decades despite steady economic growth.

By Salvatore Babones

Back in the “Happy Days” of the 1950s and 1960s, most young American couples graduated from high school or college, got married, and immediately bought the most expensive house they could afford. They bought their houses on credit, their cars on credit, their appliances on credit, their furniture on credit, and even their baby clothes on credit. They didn’t have credit cards, but they sure did have debt.

Those young families in the 1950s and 1960s were perfectly rational in loading up on debt. It made sense for them to borrow as much as they could because they expected paying it off to get easier and easier every year. Between 1870 and 1970 the median male U.S. income rose on average 2 percent per year. In the 1950s and 1960s it grew even faster, at around a 2.5 percent clip.

In addition to this broad income growth, any individual could count on his or her income to rise with seniority. Add in another 1-percent yearly raise tied to seniority, and a typical American man could expect his paycheck to annually grow by 3.5 percent. Over the course of a 40-year career, he could expect his wages to quadruple — even after adjusting for inflation.

It made perfect sense to follow a “borrow now and pay later when you make four times as much” plan back then.

Today, everything has changed. Median male income hasn’t just stagnated since 1970. Wages for American men have actually declined.

The Baby Boomers kept on buying and borrowing, but many of them learned that one income wasn’t enough to pay their debts. That’s why the proportion of women with children who had jobs outside the home climbed from one in three in 1975 to two in three in 2008. For a while, women saved the American Dream.

Not anymore. Over the past decade women’s participation in the labor force has maxed out. Even if more women want to work, there aren’t any new jobs for them. The situation facing today’s indebted families is bleak. Wages overall are declining. Even if a worker does get a 1-percent annual seniority raise, that’s a 50-percent increase in income over a 40-year career — nothing like the 300-percent increases previous generations experienced. The money just isn’t there.

It gets worse. Young couples now have large debts before they ever get married, often from burgeoning student loans. On top of that, young couples now have to save for their own retirement, since Social Security benefits are far lower compared to national income than they were in the 1960s and private pensions have all but disappeared. And of course ordinary people now have to pay for health care expenses that used to be covered by insurance.

Families today are drowning in debt. Yet the problem isn’t the borrowing. Young families should be able to borrow to buy houses, cars, and furniture. The problem is that income and benefits for most Americans have stagnated over the past four decades.

If today’s young couples were getting 3.5-percent annual raises, didn’t have to worry about spiralling health care expenses and college tuition, and had solid company-sponsored pension plans to supplement ever more generous Social Security payments in retirement, they would have no problem getting themselves out of debt.

That may all sound like a dream. But it’s a dream that used to be reality for the majority of Americans.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Since 1970 the U.S. economy has doubled in per capita terms, after adjusting for inflation. We have the money for everyone to live very well — twice as well as in 1970.

Young families today are struggling because the benefits of America’s economic growth over the past 40 years haven’t been shared equally. They’ve all gone to the very top. It’s time to restore some balance. It’s time to give ordinary people a nice, big, fat raise. Then they could pay their debts on their own, with pride and dignity.

Salvatore Babones is an American sociologist at the University of Sydney.

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Filed under Human Rights, Politics

The Crisis of Capitalism


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Wall Street Spirit / The 99%


Much thanks to DuncanR at THE MAD HATTERS blog for this great find.

Remember that this is a worldwide economic collapse. Although the problem(s) have their roots on Wall Street,

THE 99% includes people from all over the world.

Thanks to BIG EASY APPLE  for this video (below).

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Filed under AMERICANA, BLOGS, Blues Music, Crime, History, Human Rights, Music, Politics, Soul Music