I Am Suspending My Campaign..

2016-01-04_10-23-32.pngI would really like to hear the words in the title of this post much more in the near future, at least from the wingnuts who have current control of the GOP. But in reality the title means that I will not be posting anymore about those yahoos until at least some of us have the opportunity to vote for or against them.

It seems fruitless to worry about these guys grabbing control of our country and then driving it into the dust.  I wish we had saner and wiser choices for the November presidential election but that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

We have survived some pretty big imbeciles in the Oval Office in my lifetime and I guess we can do the same but it sure would be nice to be able to vote “for” someone for a change.

Nowadays Representatives Pick Their Voters..

It used to be that the voters would pick their representatives; but nowadays the representatives pick their voters. As we saw in Florida, some districts are drawn with purely partisan motivations so that if a candidate wins the primary they essentially win the seat. Florida is not an isolated case and there are districts around the country that are so irrationally drawn (just look at this image of IL-4) that it would be comical if it didn’t have such dire consequences….

The common thread among all of these obstacles is that they were enacted by the major parties to keep themselves in power and maintain the status quo. The truth is, none of this will change until we rise up and show the powers that be that we are sick of the partisan games and we demand leaders that work outside the wishes of the party bosses. You can help build this movement by sharing this information with your network and encouraging your friends to become members. Together we can bring some sanity back to Washington.

Source: 3 Ways The Parties Have Diminished Your Power at the Ballot Box – IVN.us

I long ago said “enough is enough”. When are we going to take back our government  from the major political parties of today? Gerrymandering is one of those things that should never have been able to happen in the first place. Its sole purpose it to insure that one political party has dominance over another. It strikes against everything that our representative democracy stands for. But how do we affect the change necessary to prevent absurd things like gerrymandering from happening?

We used to turn to the Supreme Court to remedy these types of issues but since that court has for the last couple of decades now been as partisan as our political parties that seems to be no longer a viable solution.  Where do we turn. The only answer is to drive those responsible for such practices out of politics. What will that take?

I can see on the horizon the time when we so-called “independents” take control for our electoral processes. Where being a member of a political party is a hindrance rather than a necessity as it has been up till now.  When our country was formed two centuries ago the idea of opposing political parties was not even considered.  The founders saw the people voting for the common good rather than partisan ideology. Yeah, I admit that the political parties came into being pretty quickly to stain the institution.

Independents as shown in the graph below now make up about 42%of the total voters in this country and are on a pretty steep rising slope.  The GOP is dropping like a rock while Democrat are doing no better than hanging on to their numbers. Will there come a day when political parties are seen as “old school”? I certainly hope so.  We need to get back to the idea, if we ever had it in the first place, that we should do what is good for the country not what is good for a political party.

I am a dreamer aren’t I????

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The Right To Vote…

Omaha,NV – Native Americans

The right to vote is the very bedrock of what it means to be American. One-person-One-vote balances the playing field (or at least it could) for representation in our government process. It is amazing to see how eventually all of us obtained the right to vote. For native-Americans and Women it didn’t come until a century ago.  There are effort underway by one of our political parties to restrict the vote. For the sake of our democracy I hope it is eventually beaten back.

VOTE….

Duct taped mouthToday is election day in the U.S. If you want to see change in our totally gridlocked government this is the way it happens. We can change over two-thirds of our federal government representatives today if we want. But that can’t happen as long as so many ignore their responsibilities in how our nation is governed.

Anyone who doesn’t vote today should have their mouth duct taped. If you don’t exercise your critical right to vote then you should give up your other critical right to complain about how our government that you didn’t vote for or against is doing.

VOTE…..

The case for voting even if America is a corrupt plutocracy rigged by the rich…

2014-10-24_07-43-33With the approach of the 2014 midterms, perhaps the least consequential American election season in a generation, it’s worth asking a perennial question: should you even bother to vote? Many people have basically given up on the democratic project, arguing that the American system is completely rigged by the rich and that nobody on the ballot truly represents their interests…. Still, we know for a fact that low-turnout elections dominated by the enraged white paranoiacs of the Fox News set will keep power in the hands of the rich. If America had a turnout rate of 100 percent, our political situation would look very different than it does now…. Republican attempts across the country to disenfranchise voters and suppress Democratic efforts to register and organize black and brown voters. The fact that the party of organized money thinks the right to vote is worth taking away says that it must be worth quite a lot. SOURCE:  The case for voting even if America is a corrupt plutocracy rigged by the rich – The Week.

I wanted you to notice this message so I gave you an extra large image to go along with it.  The reason that America might have a corrupt plutocracy rigged by the rich is because too many of us don’t take our right to vote seriously enough. This fact is not lost on the Republican party. They are doing everything they can to stifle the vote, especially those who will probably be voting against them!

As the quote above says if America had a turnout rate of 100 percent our political situation would look very very different. Sadly at least half of us seem to only want to shout very loudly about how corrupt and rigged things are but they are not willing to take a half-hour of their time every couple of years to actually do anything about it. If only their actions matched their words…

Primary Election Day…

2014-05-01_08-26-30Today is the primary election day in my State. I write my posts usually well in advance of them being published but I can assuredly say that I have voted already. Those of you who know me at all know that I am a self-proclaimed “bleeding heart liberal”. I am a big believer in social and economic justice issues. They are a very strong part of how I vote in each election.

Having said this it seems obvious that I generally vote the Democratic ticket in most elections so how come I voted in the Republican primary today instead of the Democrat?? I believe I can give you a very nuanced answer to that question. First of all I am in a State that allows you to declare your party at the polls. Sometimes I vote Democrat sometimes Republican but it seems for the last several years it is Republican. The primary reason for that is to try to eliminate the extreme candidates as early on in the election process as possible so that I might have a “real” choice come the November general election.

Maybe I shouldn’t be letting this secret out. Indiana is a very red State and one that has been doing everything legally possible lately to restrict the vote.  My mother, rest her soul, was not able to vote in the her last election because she did not have a valid driver’s license. I’m sure I am not the only one with this primary election strategy and if my Republican friends find out how I help them get rid of the wing nuts in their party they will likely try to prevent me from doing that in the future.

I don’t know if the State Senator candidate who has been sending me the weekly mailings of how he will do everything he can to eliminate Obamacare and protect my gun rights at any cost realize that I now know to vote for his opponent, whoever he is. I can pretty safely use the pronoun “he” as there are not many women at any level in the GOP in my State.

I can also rest assured that I was able to get in and out of the poll place pretty quickly since, as usual,  on one in five or so will join me at the polls today. If only people realized the power that they hold over their daily lives with their vote!

 

Me Too…

Warren Elizabeth“I’m worried a lot about power in the financial services industry and I’m worried about the fact that basically, starting in the ’80s, you know, the cops were taken off the beat in financial services. These guys were allowed to just paint a bull’s-eye on the backside of American families,” Warren said. “They loaded up on risk. They crushed the economy. They got bailed out. What bothers me now, they still strut around Washington, they block regulations that they don’t want, they roll over agencies whenever they can.”  SOURCE: Elizabeth Warren Sidesteps Clinton Question, Says Wall Fat Cats ‘Strut Around Washington’.

I am not a U.S. Senator but I too worry about all the power in the financial services industry and how they seem to be in almost total control of our nation’s wealth. With the help of their many Republican friends they seem so easily to knock back any attempt at regulating their behavior.

It was widely acknowledged in 2008 that outright greed was driving that sector and it almost took the country down with them. But as Mrs. Warren’s quote above says it bothers me even more that only five years later they are back to strutting around Washington and are back to their totally absurd year-end bonuses. They say the average 2013 Wall Street bonus was about $1.2 million!

These guys mock those of us who worked hard for thirty or more years to get what they make in one. Capitalism by its very nature is one of gaming the system. If you are very good at it you will make tons of money. Capitalism is all about money and our incessant drive for it whereas Democracy is about one person, one vote that is supposed to level all playing fields. Democracy is where the true power in our society should  and must eventually reside. If only we could convince that 50% plus who don’t even bother to vote that they can change things if only they take the time to put their opinions in the ballot box.

In a true democracy the Wall Street broker is no more powerful than the kid working at McDonald. It is much easier to change things in this country than most believe. If you don’t like having to work for a wage that can’t even provide the basic necessities for your family, you can change that with your vote.  The primary elections in my State are next Tuesday and I can fairly safely predict that less than one in four potential voters will even show up at the polls.  How sad is that?? If only people realized the power that they hold.

Thanks Elizabeth for helping me to remember that…..

Power To The People….

Our financial ills will never be settled till you fix it so every man will pay an income tax on what he earns, be it a farm, grocery store or municipal or government bonds   — Will Rogers  March 21,1933

Will’s words above were spoken during the heights of the depression but even then the rich were finding loopholes to avoid paying taxes.  I have never understood how “unearned income” is treated any differently than the income the average guy has to sweat in order to earn. But for some reason, and I’m sure the politicians had their hand in it, “unearned income” is taxed at a lower rate called capital gains than when it is earned by the sweat of your brow.

vote 55To take advantage of this loophole most wealthy people do not actually have much income that is “earned”. That is they get their income from the wealth they already have. For instance more than 80% of Mr. Romney’s income was considered capital gains; that is how he and so many other rich guys can get away with paying less percentage of taxes than most of us.

I am going to go back to something I blogged about a year or more ago and say that as far as taxes are concerned that income should be considered income no matter where it comes from. If we just made that change it would go a long way toward reducing our deficits. It doesn’t matter if you got the money coming in because it was interest on bonds, dividends on stocks, or work digging a ditch; income is income.It doesn’t matter that your income is an inheritance, it is still income to you.

One of the things I like to emphasize on this blog is “Power to the people”. That is if we working stiffs would finally come to realize it we have the power to change many of these things that are currently so skewed toward the upper 1% of our population it could easily happen.  That power is called the vote. I simply can’t understand why so many, especially those in the lower income levels vote in such low numbers.  If only people realized the power they would have if they voted! Instead they let others convince them that “having their say” via the ballot box is a fruitless thing so why even bother.  I am not a big believer in conspiracies but if I did this would be one of those areas.

As they say, it is just a matter of numbers.  The very idea of democracy is that the power resides in the people. When one percent of the population have so much more say than the rest of us something is very wrong. They can and do control most of the money but they only control one percent of the vote. How can they maintain power with those odds?

But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know….

How About Some Changes….

I guess I am still fixated on the post from yesterday about how so many very sparsely populated States in the U.S. now have so much power. It seems that our country is quite out of balance right now as a result of past decisions.  Maybe it is time to revisit some of that stuff.  Being that I am the fool who rushes in where angels fear to tread I will take a stab at this. If you want to call this the Walters’ Doctrine go ahead. I will take the blame for all of it. Here is my list of things that need to change:

  • Corporations are not people — I know the Supreme Court recently decided otherwise but it just doesn’t make any more sense than deciding that trees are now people.
  • My Vote should count for who becomes President — Since I am a progressive living in a solidly red state my vote seldom counts when it comes to electing our president.  The President should be elected by the people not by geographical areas.  I know the electoral college was necessary in the horse and buggy days but in the age of the Internet it is totally senseless.
  • Everyone should be allowed to vote — My mother, God rest her soul, was not able to vote in 2008. The reason for that is that she no longer had a driver’s license and the State of Indiana as a result pulled her name from the polling list. Since most of the people who don’t have driver’s licenses are elderly or low on the economic scale it excludes them to the advantage of the Republican candidates. Yes, my mother could have stood in an hour-long line to get her “license” and poor people who can’t afford a car could take a day off without pay to do the same but there needs to be a better way to do this.
  • We should not be able to get into another war until we have paid for the last one  —  I have to admit that I am “borrowing” this one from my hero Will Rogers. If Mr. Bush had paid for his two wars we would not be in nearly as much trouble as we are now. Since most issues that get attention now days are “pocketbook” issues let’s make war one of them.
  • Eliminate the Filibuster — allowing less than half the people to stop basically all legislation is just not right.  If, like in the past, it were used on a very rare basis that would be one thing. But to allow it to be used more in three years than in the last one hundred means that it is being severely abused.  That needs to end.
  • Stop all the foolishness about “death taxes” — One of the bedrocks of our country has been to prevent a U.S. aristocracy. We did that by imposing a significant inheritance tax on those who are absurdly wealthy.  Up until recently the inheritance tax has been a major source of income for the country. As a matter of fact before income taxes it , along with import/export taxes, was the main source of income.  People like Mr. Romney don’t need to give each of his five kids a $50 million tax free head start. $25 million should ruin them just as easily. If nothing else restrict the inheritance taxes collected to pay off the deficit. We would probably be amazed at how quickly our debt would disappear.

I’m way over my self-imposed five hundred word limit for posts so I will just stop here. Besides with all this brainy stuff spewing off the top of my head I need to stop and let it cool off……