Thursday, November 28, 2013

Living Off The Government




The $4,000 to corporations amounts to 8 percent of a $50,000 income. The $36.82 for food stamps amounts to .0007 or slightly less than one-tenth of 1 percent. The $6.96 you pay for welfare, who knows? Who cares?

More important, where are the Democrats when Paul Ryan claims the government is creating a culture of dependency?

Oh wait, that's right. The Democrats are cutting food stamps.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Finally

Our first term Democratic senator Martin Heinrich joins Oregon's Ron Wyden and our other senator, Tom Udall, who have been leading the fight against the NSA's domestic spying in the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a New York Times Op-ed that demands limits to and actual oversight of NSA domestic spying and explicitly condemns the fake reform that's been pushed through the committee by chairwoman Diane Feinstein.

Feinstein's bill, which would legalize the current level of domestic spying, was opposed by Democrats Heinrich, Udall and Wyden but passed in the Intelligence Committee with Republican support.

I often criticize New Mexico's federal Democratic legislators for ducking controversial issues especially those that adversely effect the working class, but putting your name on a New York Times op-ed that criticizes your party's leadership is pretty high profile. The data being collected on us by our spy agencies is already being used to go after those on the Left who dissent on behalf of the working class, that is, on behalf of people who work for a living, and who create the wealth being hoarded by the 1 percent at 1920s levels. Our domestic security apparatus is a threat to our future prosperity and our democracy and has the potential to turn the US into a police state.

Heinrich's emergence comes after one of his most influential supporters came out recently against NSA domestic spying.



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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Europe's Tea Parties


"Throughout Europe, social democratic parties—in government and in opposition—have worked to ensure that the working class pay for the crisis of the profit system through mass unemployment, wage cuts and the decimation of social services. As a result, the social democrats have become as unpopular as the EU itself."

This is from an article about the rise of extreme right neo-Nazi parties in Europe, which are capitalizing on the unpopularity of the European Union (EU) and "austerity" budgets and are expected in upcoming elections to increase their representation in several European country's parliaments where they already have significant representation.
Marie Le Pen of France's National Front


In both Europe and America the neo-Nazi far right is hyper nationalistic. But in Europe, the far right neo-Nazi parties are becoming economic populists and are deemphasizing what have been their staple issues, anti immigration and anti Islam, which are still staple Tea Party issues as anyone who has seen pictures of Tea Party rallies knows.

The Tea Party also is still hell bent on austerity budgets, as are the two major US parties, Republicans and Democrats. You don't hear Democrats calling for increases in food stamp benefits, increases in Social Security and Medicare, increases in nutrition programs for children, increases in veteran's benefits. You don't hear Democrats crying for any of that or for it to be paid for by restoring the taxes on the rich that have been removed over the past 30 years with bi-partisam support. The only difference between Democrats and Republicans on these issues is how much to cut social services.

Here, as in Europe, working people are continuing to pay for the financial crises of 2008, and as in Europe the major political parties act as the enforcers for this crime. In both cases the rich, as the stock market soars to new records, enjoy record profits and have their taxes lowered even more. The only difference between Europe and America is that in Europe the neo-Nazi parties are siding with the people. Here the far right neo-Nazi Tea Party sides with its oppressors.



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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Filibuster This

The post below calls out New Mexico's Democrats in Washington for leaving working people to fend for themselves while they tend to more important things like getting themselves re-elected. They are a pathetic lot, but in that post I excused Tom Udall, who like the rest of them makes regular pilgramages to the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce to kiss ass and make a speech about how they've been up there in Washington making sure they can go right on exploiting the working people people who vote for them, before he or she and their staff stuff their faces with the free buffet and start gathering up the envelopes with the campaign contributions.

Udall was excused because he's at least been doing something that benefits us. He's been speaking out against NSA domestic spying, and he's been pushing to limit the ability of Republicans to use tactics like the filibuster to stall nominations, mainly to the courts, which is a critical issue. Last year he had the senate majority leader Harry Reid talked into doing it, but Reid later chickened out, saying he'd been promised by Republicans that they'd stop it, which of course was a lie.

Many people, including me, have worried that when Democrats are in the minority again they'll regret changing the filibuster rules, but I've been thinking about that. Democrats have been gutless when it comes to using tactics like the filibuster. I well remember our senator at the time Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat, when a contingent of Liberal Democrats was trying to filibuster the Supreme Court nominations first of Samuel Alito and later of John Roberts, voted for "cloture," meaning he voted to stop the filibuster.

That vote by Bingaman and a few other so-called Democrats, since Republicans were in the majority, assured the nominations would pass and that two more arch conservatives would be on the Supreme Court.

But then Bingaman, in a display of the utmost hypocrisy, with the nominations assured, voted against them on the senate floor, and then issued fine sounding statements telling us why he opposed them. Anyone who wasn't following closely -- the vast majority of people -- would be under false the impression that Bingaman had done the right thing.

Bingaman and Democrats like him, who have gone to Washington for the purpose of cashing in, and Bingaman cashed in immensely up there, accepting millions through his lobbyist wife of what a lot of people consider to be bribes, are why we have the most corporation friendly Supreme Court in history, and decisions like Citizens United allowing unlimited corporate funding of campaigns. It's why it's best to do away with the filibuster altogether, since only the Republican Party has the guts to use it.

Statistics are trickling out showing that nearly half of all the filibusters in US history have been used against President Obama, and that most of the rest were used against President Clinton. Another thing New Mexico's champions of the people in Washington aren't going to tell you.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Twit Awareness Month

I came home from work this morning, got up a few minutes ago, turned on my computer and saw this picture our twit congresswoman has posted of herself on Facebook - to promote Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.



If you're a Democrat sent to congress in New Mexico, do you use the public platform you've been given to raise issues like income and wealth disparities that are back at 1920s levels? Flat wages? Declining living standards? The billions spent  on corporate welfare while programs that save working people, the poor, the elderly from financial ruin, programs that help our children, are slashed? Democratic issues?

Or do you dress up like a clown, only take up issues that won't offend anybody, and use the precious platform you've been handed to make sure you don't lose your position of privilege and prestige?

It's not just her. It's Senator Martin Heinrich and Congressman Ben Lujan, too.


Pancreatic cancer is a serious issue. For all I know I well might die from pancreatic cancer. I smoke two or three packs a day and drink coffee by the gallon. I drink Albuquerque tap water and it has plutonium in it. But how many people does pancreatic cancer affect? If you're in the US congress, is this what you do with the precious few minutes you have when you have tens of thousands of peoples' attention? What about the hundreds of millions of people in this country who haven't had a raise in years, even as the stock market tops 16,000 and has gone up more than 20 percent in this year alone and as the filthy rich wallow in the nation's prosperity that is going to them, alone?

With our congress people, it's all about them. It's about them getting re-elected and keeping their fancy offices with their names on the door. For all our so-called Democrats in Washington care, the people they represent can go to hell.




Note: Tom Udall, our other senator and other Democratic  congress member from NM, doesn't often have my approval but I left him off this list because he's actually been doing some things of substance. He's been one of two key players in the move to reform the filibuster, that the senate majority leader finally went along with, and he has come out pretty strongly against NSA domestic spying.

It's telling that he and Martin Heinrich co-wrote a letter to the president a few weeks back asking that he get control of NSA domestic spying. Udall trumpeted the letter on his web site and Facebook page, but Heinrich never mentioned it, as if he didn't want people to know about it.
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Monday, November 18, 2013

Update

The story I write about in the post below is beginning to circulate. Other news organizations are picking it up. It's a Google top story now and it was on a weekend network morning program. So far no one has put it in the context of the Justice Department's ongoing investigation of the Albuquerque police for gunning down dozens of unarmed, innocent people, but if someone does we may have a 60 Minutes crew down here.

And of course if that happens those of you who think it's funny that we have savage, out of control law enforcement here will be whining and moaning the loudest, because the rest of the nation will be looking straight at you.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Mexico Cops Are Animals

I haven't seen this in any local news. It showed up today on my Google News page via a TV station in Los Angeles.

On Oct 28, police near Taos stopped a van with a woman and her five kids inside. The woman appears to be afraid of the police. She doesn't comply with their demands, and after some back and forth she gets back in the van and drives off. When she stops again, a cop shatters the van's windows with his billy club, while the kids are in it. When she takes off again, a cop, unbelievably, shoots at the van as it pulls away. With five kids inside.


In case the video disappears I took a couple screen shots. One is of a cop beating out the window. In the video, glass can be seen flying everywhere. In the second screen shot, the cop on the left is firing at the van. Play the video. It's all there, the shattering glass, the children's screams, the repeated gun shots. And the van pulling away slowly. There's no swerving, no screeching tires.


The newscaster says something about drug paraphernalia being found in the van. It's very possible that the woman was on drugs. That would help explain her behavior. That and her being a black woman, from the South, stopped by white cops in a small, rural, place. It's also very possible that the police, realizing how this was going to look, planted something in the van later. It happens all the time. If you haven't heard about it happening, you're uninformed.

However, drugs or no drugs, obeying the police or not, there's no question about the police misconduct, and stupidity, and about their utter recklessness.

I hear people here cheering the police on when they behave like this. Not all, but enough. Plenty. A vein of savagery a mile wide, like that displayed by these cops, runs through the culture here. It has its roots in fear, and the peculiar way Capitalism has played out here, but that's another story. And of course none of our gutless politicians ever takes on the police. I know of only one who has. One. And in that, his gutless suck up of a successor, a member of his own party, too, a pathetic little self interested excuse for a man who has been quickly forgotten, found a way to beat him.

At no point was any of these officers in any danger, none whatsoever. The health, the eyesight, and ultimately the lives of this woman and her five children were placed in serious danger because these cops were consumed by uncontrollable anger, and by their sense of their own power. They are obviously ill trained, but also, cops in many places, and particularly here, have been led to believe that they can do whatever they damn please, with no consequence except to their powerless victims. There's no internal mechanism to check their anger and no outside force to check their anger, no social stigma, no official disapproval. Nothing. Not good training, not a conscience, not intelligence, not wisdom, certainly not maturity, not any semblance of respect for human life. The cops here need to be muzzled. Like animals.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

USA

Here in the greatest country on the face of the earth, where the stock market sits at a record high and the amount of wealth owned by the rich continually sets new records, senior citizens are falling into poverty in record numbers.

The latest census figures, released yesterday, show that 15 percent of seniors now live in poverty. To put it in perspective, before Social Security, the poverty rate for seniors was 35 percent. It reached a low of 10 percent in the 1980s, about the time both major political parties began to adopt Reaganomics, and has been rising ever since.

The USA. Where there's a good chance, an increasing chance, that you'll spend your golden years eating dog food. Congratulations, America.



Poverty in the US is increasing among all groups. AP reporter Hope Yen has done some good reporting on this.