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In 2008 the economy crashed around our ears.  Many Seniors who invested in the stock market saw their life savings and retirement funds go down the drain.  Many were unable to retire because of the crash.  Since then, we have gone through political battles to help recover from the worst recession since the great depression of the 1930s.

The economy has grown steadily since President Obama took office.  We have seen over 56 straight months of private sector job growth.  We have seen the stock market recover even to the record highs.  The rich are getting richer.  The housing market in many areas seems to be recovering, though it is still sluggish in other parts of the country.  Unemployment is below 6%, the lowest since early 2008.  Even productivity is up.  No one is talking about the economy as a real problem anymore.

Yet, there is one aspect of the economy that the Democrats seem not to be talking about enough.  We are facing the largest income inequality since the 1920s.  If you don’t remember you history, that was before the unions began gaining strength.  The economic recovery we are currently seeing has not been equitable.  Meaning that the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are maintaining the status quo.  Over 95% of all income gains in this recovery has gone to the top 1% of income earners.  That doesn’t leave much for the middle class to see their income increase.

For the last few years there has been a major push to raise the minimum wage.  Especially by those who are forced to labor at the minimum wage.  The Republicans are naturally against raising the minimum wage.  That is part of their basic DNA.  We have heard the same arguments about the minimum wage as we heard every time the subject came up in the past.

The first argument is that it will cost jobs.  The Republicans have even put a number of 500,000 jobs lost if we raise the minimum wage.  However, some places have already raised the minimum wage on their own and they have not seen any job losses.  To the contrary, they have seen job growth as a result.  Higher wages means more people are spending money.  That means the economy grows and more demand means more jobs to meet that demand.

That caring Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin says the minimum wage is not necessary.  Though he claims he wouldn’t repeal it, he feels it doesn’t mean anything.  Then you have the felon and current Governor of Florida, Jim Scott who says that private business determines wages.  When asked about what he thought the minimum wage should be during his last debate, he saidhe doesn’t know what the minimum wage should be, it is up to business to determine it.  So, as usual, he won’t answer the question even during a debate.

Republicans like Chris Christie try to make it sound like only young people work for minimum wage.  To paraphrase him, he said that he doesn’t know of families sitting around the table talking about how if their children got a raise all of their dreams would come true.  Problem is that the vast majority of minimum wage employees are about 30 years of age.  They are mostly single women trying to support their families.  I guess Christie doesn’t care if these women and their families’ dreams come true.

Republicans are continuously complaining that too many people are on government assistance.  They claim that everyone is just lazy and won’t get a decent job and that is why government assistance programs are spending too much money.  Well, if the minimum wage is raised to just 10.10 per hour as the President wants, approximately 1.7 million low-income workers will go off of government assistance.  How is that for reducing government assistance spending?

Another side effect of raising the minimum wage is that the tax base increases.  Since people will be making a living wage, they will pay more taxes meaning more revenue for local, state, and federal governments.  Thereby helping to reduce budget deficits.

Republicans claim that they are the voice of “real Americans” and only vote their interests.  Well surveys show that almost 70% of the American People want the minimum wage increased.  That number includes 54% of registered Republicans.  If the Republicans really are interested in doing the people’s will, they would leap at the opportunity to raise the minimum wage since even the majority of their own party want it raised.

The unfortunate aspect in all of this is that the Democrats are not running with this topic.  There are few races like in Wisconsin and Florida where the opponents of the Republicans are making hay of it, but not many more.  That is a real shame.  The real problem I have with the Democratic Party is their lack of a backbone.  They seem to run races on the basis that they know they are right on most items, and believe they will get elected simply by being right.  They won’t attack their opponents on things that matter.

They don’t take the poll numbers on things like raising the minimum wage and let everyone know that their Republican opponent won’t support it.  They don’t mention how it will reduce government assistance.  No, they simply believe that people will just vote their way because they are right.  If the Democrats don’t retain the Senate this mid-term, they will have themselves to blame.

If the Democrats ran with just half of the passion that their right-wing opponents have, this would have been an easy mid-term election for them to win.  I remember a time when Democrats ran with passion.  They were quick to point out the differences between them and their opponents.  That passion has been lost somewhere.  Too many Democrats are basically afraid to get into a real fight for principles that would help the American People.  America would listen if they would just speak up.

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At the start of every ballgame or other function, people stand and sing the national anthem.  They proudly sing those words written during the War of 1812.  The song ends with “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”  With the ending everyone cheers and settles in to watch whatever event they are at.

Since 2011, veterans all around have been told “thank you” for your service.  There are so many “thank you” events that it is beginning to turn my stomach.  Maybe one of the reasons for my acid reaction to those “thank you” is because they have come so absent-mindedly and automatically.  No thought is given to those words before they are uttered.

I grew up in the 50s and 60s.  I lived through the civil rights fights.  I saw how terrible discrimination was to my fellow citizens.  During the 60s the Vietnam war became a hot button.  Youth around the country rebelled against society.  The Hippie movement started and the saying was “turn on and drop out.”  Bust most of us didn’t drop out.  We fought against the war and against discrimination.

In 1970 I entered the service.  I served my country from 1970 to 1990.  I served under 5 presidents and saw the changing of the country.  In 1980, Ronald Reagan became president.  He talked about that “shining city on a hill” that the rest of the world wanted to be like.  But, it was also Reagan who stood by and watched as hundreds if not thousands of our fellow citizens died from AIDS.  Reagan didn’t want to do anything because at first it mostly affected gays.  It wasn’t until more straight people became sick and died from AIDS before he started to actually talk about it.  He never really did anything about it.

Reagan started the “divide and conquer” mentality of the Republican Party.  He was very anti-union and broke the Air Traffic Controllers Union because they had the audacity to strike over better pay and working conditions.  Rather than deal with the problem, he simply fired them all.  That was the first shot fired across the bow of “liberty”.

Since 9/11 we have been at war.  First it was Afghanistan, then it was Iraq.  We were finally able to draw out of Iraq, but we are still fighting in Afghanistan.  In Iraq, the government there at the time did not want us to keep forces in the country.  So, we completely left.  Then, in recent years, ISIS started gaining ground.  The new government requested our help and we are now bombing the country again.  So far, the only “boots on the ground” are advisors and trainers.

In Afghanistan, their government wants us to keep a force there after we draw down.  So the war in Afghanistan will continue for an unforeseeable future.  We have lost thousands of our men and women in these wars.  Our wounded are in the thousands as well.  Yet, the Republicans in congress has continually cut the budget for the Veterans Administration.  Meaning thousands of our veterans are not getting the help they need.

But, I guess we are supposed to accept “thank you” as our payment for the hardships we face.  It has always been very easy for the country to send our troops to war.  It has always been almost impossible for our country to offer the help and medical treatment we need once we come home.  It is almost like veterans are supposed to just fade away when the country is finished with them.  Isn’t a thank you enough?

Back home things really started getting nasty in 2000.  We all remember the presidential election that year.  The one with the hanging chads.  That was when the Republicans decided that everyone should not be allowed to vote.  They started introducing legislation at the state level called Voter ID laws.  Their main argument was to stop in person voting fraud.  Let it be known that in Texas, one of the states with the most restrictive Voter ID Laws, that between 2000 and 2012 over 20 million votes were cast.  In that time, there were a 2 cases of in person voter fraud.  But, that didn’t stop them from yelling about voter fraud.

Of course the real intention of these Voter ID laws is to keep minorities, young people, and senior citizens from voting.  That is because these groups tend not to vote Republican and many don’t have a “state approved” ID card.  I find it amusing that in these Voter ID law states, a gun registration card is a valid ID, but a student ID card from the State’s University is not.

Then states started banning same-sex marriage.  They had to have only “one man and one woman” marriages.  See, if you allowed same-sex couples to marry, straight marriages will begin to fall apart.  The very thought of giving same-sex couples the same civil rights as everyone else is simply too abhorrent to even think about.  If you don’t look at homosexuals as “real people” it is easy to discriminate against them.

Banning same-sex marriages wasn’t good enough for these right-wing crusaders.  They started to introduce “freedom of religion” laws.  Sounded catchy.  But, these laws only had one objective.  Allow private business to discriminate against anyone who did not have the same belief system as the owner of the company.  Though it mostly went after gays, it was intended to be broad enough that any group that was looked down upon to be legally discriminated against.  You know people like interracial marriages or Muslims and Jews.

Abortion was another civil right that has been attacked.  According to the right-wing, women simply don’t have the mental capacity to make their own decisions about whether or not to carry a pregnancy to full term.  The state had to step in and make sure they made the choice for them.  All of this in the name of “getting the government out of our lives” which is an infamous battle cry of the far right.  That wasn’t enough either.  Now they are going after birth control as well.

Right-wing activists started fighting against the minimum wage.  While people were beginning to fight for a minimum wage increase, the right-wing started waging a war to end the minimum wage altogether.  This plan was backed by corporations who thought they could increase their profits simply by paying their workers less.  On top of that, women are being paid at least 70 cents on the dollar less than men doing the same work.  But, since they are women, they should just shut up and not complain about it.  After all, men are nice enough to even allow them into the workforce.

The reality is that the people we used to call WASPs are becoming terrified that they are losing their grip on power.  It is becoming clearer to them that their days are numbered.  In order to sustain their power, they need to rig the system so the rest of our citizens are marginalized and denied basic civil liberties.  In the name of Christianity, things like welfare, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security have been attacked and cut.  Seems the Conservative Christian Cult doesn’t believe that helping the needy is really part of Christianity.

We have turned into a country where women are continuously objectified by the morons.  Abuse and rape are being blamed on the victim not the abuser or rapist.  Women are not only treated as second-class citizens, but they are considered “bubble-heads” who cannot think for themselves.  Homosexuals are demonized simply for being themselves.

Rights are being based on the religious beliefs of a very few and not on the constitution.  Unarmed people are being shot to death by an ever-increasing militarized police without the shooter being prosecuted.  After all, they must have had it coming.  Immigrants are being criminalized with no immigration reform on the horizon.

We have become a country where your civil rights are being decided by billionaires and bigoted nut cases in a dark room somewhere and not by the constitution.  If this continues, how much longer will it be before all of our rights are denied.  The real battle against civil rights is being fought at the state level more than the Federal Government.  State Legislatures controlled by Republicans are terrified they will lose their grip on power.  That is something they are determined not to have happen.  They gerrymander voting districts and pass laws that are intended to disenfranchise voters they don’t like.

When you go to the voting booth this mid-term, ask yourself one question.  Are we really the “land of the free and the home of the brave” anymore?  If you are a right-wing conservative, you will probably say yes because your rights are not being denied.  If you are anyone else, you may have your doubts.  Maybe those doubts will be enough for you to cast your vote for equality and freedom and against the right-wing nuts.

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We are one week away from the mid-term elections.  There have been a lot of items that have surfaced and been talked about that can have an impact on the outcomes.  There is ISIS, Ebola, Immigration, Fair Pay for Women, Voter ID Laws, Abortion Rights, and Same Sex Marriage.  The most recent one, Ebola has the country scared.  Fox News and other right-wing outlets are hyping up the scare tactics associated with Ebola.  They are trying to make it sound like if you even sit next to someone with Ebola you will catch it and die.  Of course that is nonsense since you can only get Ebola by having contact with body fluids.

I have a question to ask everyone in America.  Which, today, is actually more likely to get you killed, sitting next to someone who may be affected with Ebola or sitting next to someone with a gun?  I believe that if you calmly look at the statistics, sitting next to someone with a gun is a lot more likely to get you killed.  Did you know that it is more difficult to get a driver’s license than a gun in many states?

Last Friday, there was another terrible shooting at a school in Washington state.  The death total for this shooting is now up to three, including the shooter.  It is also still uncertain what caused this freshman student to shoot fellow classmates, including a cousin.  Since Sandy Hook took place, there have been 87 school shootings across the country.

A group called Mothers Demand Action has been trying to change some of the laws to make it harder for people who are criminals and mentally insane to purchase guns.  They have even gone after the open carry bunch.  They launched a campaign at Kroger trying to get them to stop allowing people with guns from entering their stores.  Of course, the gun nuts have attacked them and are calling them a bunch of names.

The members of Moms Demand Action posted Facebook page comments on the Kroger page trying to get them to stop allowing open carry of weapons in their stores.  The nuts took advantage by stealing these people’s Facebook page info including photos, and photo-shopped them before posting them on the web.

In one case, they found a photo of a woman’s preschool-age child and wrote on it, “My mom sucks more cock than Richard Simmons” and circulated it online. In another case, they grabbed a photo of a mother and her child and wrote “Big retard, little retard” on it before reposting it. One woman posted to Kroger a photograph of a receipt showing money she spent elsewhere, and gun extremists swarmed her post, with hundreds of responses, including comments like “what you could do is shut your god damned whore mouth,” “calm your tits,” and “fuck her right in the pussy,” which Kroger’s Facebook admin allowed to stand over a day later.

I live in a purple state that is trying its best to remain Red.  I have seen lots of advertisements from the NRA Political Action group claiming that Obama has tried to pass “radical anti-gun legislation”.  Of course, the ads never mention anything about Sandy Hook or the other 88 school shootings that have taken place since.  Nor, do they even bother to mention what that “radical anti-gun legislation” contains that makes it so radical.  No, they are simply playing on the fears that Obama wants to take your hunting rifle away.

The real problem here is that the nuts who complain that guns are a “god given right” are only thinking about themselves.  Hell, even Joni Ernst, a candidate for Senate in Iowa claims that she carries her gun with her everywhere so she can protect herself from bad guys, even from the Federal Government.  She says it is necessary to carry her gun in case the Government decides that her rights are no longer important.  That is really sick  coming from a person who intends to represent her state in that very government.

The one aspect of gun reform that really scares the piss out of these wackos is the point that calls for Universal Background Checks.  That one little item will help keep guns out of the hands of thousands of people who are not supposed to own them in the first place.  It means that you will not be able to drive to a state that does not require background checks if you purchase at a gun show and get as many guns as you want to sell in more restrictive states.  It means that you will be kept from purchasing guns online without a background check.  It means that you will not be allowed to purchase a gun from a fellow nut without a background check.

That is what really terrifies these gun nuts.  Let’s face facts.  If someone gets their rocks off by posting themselves on Facebook or other social media showing themselves with their arsenal, maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to own guns in the first place.  Maybe we should have looked at the freshman who killed two fellow classmates talking about how he loves his guns with a photo of himself holding one a red flag that something may happen.

I know a lot of law abiding people who own guns.  None of them are posting their pictures with their guns bragging about how much they love their guns.  They are hunters and others who just want to be able to keep their guns for hunting and/or protection.  If someone loves their guns so much they need to post pictures of them, maybe they are suffering from an illness that should preclude them from owning them.  If someone feels the need to openly carry a gun everywhere they go, maybe they are suffering from an illness that should preclude them from owning it.

Look, these gun nuts have taken this gun ownership thing too far.  They have actually substituted guns for their “savior”.  They talk about their guns like they are a lover.  That is not natural.  That is sick.  That is why the NRA and other gun nut groups are so violently against Universal Background Checks.  They are afraid that they would be subject to checks that may cause their ability to own guns to be called into question.

The blood of all of the children who have been killed in these school shootings are on the hands of the NRA and other nut groups like “Open Carry”.  They have idolized their guns to a point where safety and sane discussion about them is almost impossible.  It is time for the madness to stop.  It is time for the NRA to face up to its responsibility.

There was a time when I actually had respect for the NRA.  They were responsible in their policies and stressed safety.  Not anymore.  They are only interested in lining their gun makers pockets and backing nut jobs like “Open Carry”.  Their paranoid rhetoric and their insane policies  have directly led to the shooting and killing of our children.  Thanks to the NRA and other gun nut groups, you are more likely to be killed by someone next to you with a gun than someone next to you with Ebola.  That is the scary reality of today.

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The right-wing media and several Republicans are trumpeting the Ebola Hysteria meme.  According to them, we are all facing the imminent threat of being wiped off the face of the earth by the Ebola Virus.  We have seen the hysteria grow to such lengths that schools are either being shut down, or children from certain countries are being refused attendance.  Not because they have Ebola or any symptoms, but simply because they are from a West African country where Ebola has broken out.

Senator Rand Paul is calling for travel bans to West African nations.  He says that it is “only reasonable” that such travel bans be put into place.  On the other hand, his own father says that a call for travel ban is a politically motivated talking point.  Actually, Ron Paul, Rand’s father, says that we would be better off banning people with colds from flying because their colds could actually be the flu and more people will die from the flu than Ebola in the U.S.

The Republicans called on President Obama to appoint an “Ebola Czar” to oversee our response to the virus.  So, President Obama appointed an administrator to the position of “Ebola Czar” to oversee our response.  The Republicans went nuts over the appointment.  The first cry was that the new Czar wasn’t even a doctor!  Well, guess what, if you want someone to oversee our response and form coordination plans so varying organizations can better share information, you need an administrator not a doctor.

Then again, if the Republicans had confirmed President Obama’s Surgeon General cabinet post nominee, there would be a doctor in place right now.  But, since the Republicans don’t like his views on various topics, they refuse to even vote on his appointment or even hold hearings on it.  If we actually had a Surgeon General, maybe we wouldn’t need a Czar in the first place.

But all of this doesn’t matter to the Republicans and their wing-nut base.  When you have networks like Fox News stating clearly that the reason there is no travel ban to West Africa is because President Obama wants Ebola to kill off Americans, you get the idea that this has nothing to do with Republicans or conservatives caring about national health.  They are simply trying to use the Ebola Virus for political points.

If the Republicans had truly cared about the health of Americans, they would not have slashed the budgets for the CDC and NIH by billions of dollars over the last several years.  They would have recognized that something like this would eventually come up and that properly funding these agencies was the only way to prepare for a possible outbreak of any type of infectious disease.

Hell, they might have even been willing to let the ACA do its thing and let millions of uninsured Americans get insurance.  But, that couldn’t happen.  If people don’t have insurance, there is no way they can take preventative measures to protect themselves.  And the Republicans wouldn’t be able to use hysteria as a vote getting measure.

Another problem in all of this nonsense, is that the panic they are trying to stir up will hurt the economy.  There are already internet survivalist nuts telling people not to fly because you “might be sitting next to someone with Ebola.”  As a result, people are likely to stop traveling.  That means the travel industry will hurt economically, and your stocks may even go down.  Already airline stocks have taken a hit because of the fear of a travel ban.  If you own airline stocks, you have already seen a hit to your bank account.

We have gone through these hysteria events before.  I was in the Coast Guard when Haitians tried to enter the country in the 1980s.  That was one of the countries with the biggest outbreak of AIDS.  We had to intercept them, and take them to GITMO before any of them were allowed to enter the country.  Many were sent back to Haiti.  Funny, but Ronald Reagan, who was president at the time, didn’t call for a travel ban to Haiti!  Maybe it was because like Ebola, AIDS was only transmitted via body fluids and not breathing the air.

Throughout history mankind has faced outbreaks that threatened people’s lives.  The Plague, Polio and the Spanish Influenza are just a few that come to mind.  We don’t eliminate infectious diseases by starting hysteria and blaming “others”.  We end them by properly funding our agencies that look for cures.  In the meantime, we isolate those affected, and take proper steps to limit exposure to the rest of us.  That is the “only reasonable” way to fight infectious diseases.

I understand that Ebola is a very frightening disease.  But, as Ron Paul said, more people die from the flu each year than Ebola.  However, since the flu is not new, it appears less frightening than Ebola.  We understand the flu.  We do not understand Ebola.  Unscrupulous politicians know this and are willing to use Ebola to scare you to death.

The Republicans and their right-wing nuts are not interested in fighting infectious diseases.  They are only using the Ebola Virus as a means to put everyone at their mercy.  Lock down the borders.  Set up travel bans.  Make sure we keep all of those “others” out of the country.  I firmly believe that if Republicans had their way, not only would there be a travel ban, but a “papers” law would soon follow.

No, Ebola has become nothing more than political talking points for the Republicans.  That is all it can be.  They have no plan to talk about.  How very sad for all of us.

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The mid-terms are just a couple of weeks away.  There are some that predict that the Republicans will gain control of the Senate.  While others say it is still possible for the Democrats to keep it.  There are some conservatives that are almost giddy over the prospect of taking over the Senate.  Due to the gerrymandered districts, it is almost impossible for the Democrats to take over the House.

The real fact of the matter is that it really doesn’t matter if the Republicans take the Senate.  All it will mean is that the stagnation we have seen in Washington since Obama became President will get even worse.  All it will mean is that the Republicans will use their “hostage taking” practices even more than they have in the past.  That is not a good way to run a country.

We all know that the vast majority of the Republican agenda would not be signed by the current president.  Even if they take the Senate, the Republicans won’t have enough votes to over ride vetoes.  That means in general nothing will get done, except a lot more President Obama bashing.

There has been a lot of talk about the differences between the Republicans and Democrats during this cycle.  But, in my opinion, all of this talk has missed the point totally.  This isn’t about traditional Conservative vs. Progressive politics.  This is about whether or not we live in a country with equal rights and justice for everyone.  It is about whether or not we continue to be one of, if not the, true democracy in the world.  If the current batch Republicans were ever to win both houses of Congress and the White House, our democracy will take a drastic turn for the worst.

If you take a few minutes to look and listen to the current Republican Party, you will hear nothing but hate and discontent towards everyone who doesn’t agree with their backwards thinking.  If you believe income inequality is wrong, you are against Republican candidates.  If you believe that people should be allowed to marry whom they want, regardless of race, religion, or sex, you are against Republican candidates.  If you believe that women together with their families and doctors should be allowed to decide on whether or not to have an abortion, you are against Republican candidates.

Republicans have waged a war against women’s rights for decades.  They have fought against the right for workers to unionize for decades.  They have fought to force Conservative Christian Cult’s beliefs on the rest of society.  They are fear mongering idiots who believe that the only way to win an election is to take the right to vote away from different groups of people who just might vote Democratic.

The current batch of Republicans have formed an evil alliance between Conservative Christian Cult, Ultra-Conservative billionaires, Tea Party, and Racists.  Sorry, but that is the only way to describe this alliance.  Conservative Christian Cult members want to force their brand of Christianity on everyone else.  If you don’t follow their religious beliefs, you are considered a Christian in Name Only (CINO).  They say they are against the government meddling in your religious beliefs.  Yet they want a “Personhood” amendment that would totally ban abortions.  Even if your religious beliefs says it is okay.  They are against marriage equality.  They are even against the right of gays to live in peace.

The Tea Party is the ultra-conservative wing of the Republicans.  They will tell you that if you are not a Tea Party Member, you are a Republican in Name Only (RINO).  They just want to form a government that throws the poor under the bus.  You will hear all kinds of arguments against Welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and Taxes.  But you won’t hear a word about the subsidies given to oil companies, utilities, farmers, etc.  These people also want government “out of our lives”.  Yet they are also against abortion and equal marriage rights.  It seems like every time a Tea Party candidate talks about liberty, they are demanding that about half of the country’s population not be allowed those same liberties.

The billionaire club led by the Koch Brothers simply want to form a dictatorship based on the philosophy that the country should return to the “good ole days” of the 19th century and the Robber Barons.  It is perfectly right for them to make millions of dollars every year, but the rest of us should have to work our asses off just to get by on $2 per hour.  It is the Tea Party and the Billionaires who want to eliminate the minimum wage and pass laws outlawing unions.

I don’t think we have to discuss much about the Racists.  You just need to look at the voter suppression laws that have been passed in several states to know their agenda.

In this mid-term election, one party is screaming about liberty all the while they are passing laws that take liberty away from anyone who isn’t like them.  They are screaming about getting government out of our lives, all the while they are passing laws that put government in the lives of women.  They are preaching about the American dream all the while they are fighting laws like raising the minimum wage and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

They have been screaming about our “porous southern border” but say nothing about our porous northern border.  They claim that Ebola will wipe us off the face of the planet, yet they continue to cut funding for the CDC and NIH.  They wanted a “Czar” for the fight against Ebola, yet screamed when one was named.  Their hypocrisy has no limits.  They believe that if they continue to fear monger, we will fall for their demagoguery.

In the last several years The Republican Party has seen a renaissance.  Unfortunately, unlike the renaissance in the past, this isn’t one of enlightenment, it is a return to the Dark Ages where religion and the wealthy rule the country.  We have already seen places that prove the Republican Platform is destructive to liberties and opportunity.  Just look at Kansas and Wisconsin.  These were supposed to be Conservative Republican utopias.  Yet they have turned out to be anything but utopia for the common citizen of the state.

There is still time to fight back.  To use their own phrase, “it is time to take our country back.”  This time we need to take it back from this evil alliance and restore freedom and democracy to the greatest country in the world.  But, we can’t do that unless you go to the polls and vote this mid-term.  Let the Republican Party know that they cannot bullshit us anymore with their fear mongering and their lies.  We have grown past the 19th century and refuse to go back.

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If you really want to see the differences between Republican candidates and Democratic candidates in the mid-term elections, you really only need to look at two races.  One is the race for governor in Illinois.  Incumbent Governor Pat Quinn is one of if not the least incumbent Governor in Illinois history.  His approval rating was as low as 25% at one point.  The Republicans thought this was a prime target for them.  His opponent, Bruce Rauner was supposed to run away with the election.

As late as August, Rauner had a 13 point lead in the race.  That lead has evaporated to a point where recent polls show Quinn with a 4 point lead.  This evaporation isn’t because Quinn has suddenly become a popular governor.  It is because Illinois voters are learning just what type of “business man” Rauner really is, and it isn’t sitting well with them.

Rauner’s first goof up came when he announced his support for an effort to lower the state’s minimum wage a full dollar per hour.  That became such a bad choice for Rauner he has backed off of that support.  He also has an economics plan that really is weird, but typically Republican.  His plan calls for income tax cuts for the wealthiest people.  This in a state that is already facing budget problems.  Not to worry though, his plan to make up the money is to increase the state sales tax.

On Tuesday, it didn’t get any better for Rauner.  The Chicago Sun Times published a report about the “business divorce” between his investment firm and LeapSource a business outsourcing firm in Arizona in which Rauner’s company invested. Rauner recruited an accounting executive named Christine Kirk to run LeapSource, but the relationship soon went sour, and Rauner blamed Kirk for its failure.

Kirk filed suit against Rauner’s firm, alleging a hostile work environment and claiming that Rauner made threats against her – including a threat to “hurt you and your family” if Kirk took legal action against Rauner’s firm, GTCR.

“If you go legal on us, we’ll hurt you and your family,” Kirk claims Rauner told her in a February 2001 dispute.

Kirk also contended that Rauner made threats against her through Thomas Gilman, who, like Rauner, was a member of LeapSource’s board. Rauner allegedly told Gilman that he’d “bury” Kirk and make sure that “[s]he will never get another job anywhere, ever. I will bankrupt her with legal fees.”

The Rauner team have denied Kirk’s claim and pointed out that much of the lawsuit including the threats were tossed out.  Fair point.  But it may help focus the “hardball tactics” Rauner has used in his business dealings.  That is not something that generally gets votes.  Only time will tell if this newest story gains any traction for Quinn.

The other race is in Georgia where Republican David Perdue is running against Democrat Michelle Nunn for the Senate seat.  This was supposed to be an easy election for the Republicans.  Georgia is a heavily red state with strong conservative backing.  However, this race also has tightened beyond belief.  Purdue now leads Nunn by a mere two points in the most recent polling.

Perdue also apparently has put his foot in his mouth so bad that even conservatives must be wondering about their candidate.  Seems a few years back, David Perdue went on record describing his work.  In response to a direct question asking him, “Can you describe your experience with outsourcing?”, he described how he spent most of his life “outsourcing.”  When the proverbial shit hit the fan, everyone wondered how Perdue would back out of it.  He didn’t.  He doubled down on it and said “Defend it?  I’m proud of it.”

Perdue even went on to describe how the media and literature have misrepresented the whole process of outsourcing.

“This is a part of American business, part of any business. Outsourcing is the procurement of products and services to help your business run. People do that all day.”

Perdue then attempted to draw a distinction between the federal government’s policies and his own decisions as head of the company.

“I think the issue that people get confused about is the loss of jobs,” he said. “This is because of bad government policies: tax policy, regulation, even compliance requirements. It puts us at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world. Even today, right now this administration has policies going on that are decimating industries today.”

I want to get this straight.  According to Perdue, outsourcing is “part of American business” and “people do that all day.”  Well if that is true, what’s the big deal right?  Oh, maybe it is the millions of people that Perdue and his fellow outsourcers are proud of having put out of work.  The southern region once had a huge factory base making furniture and carpets, among other things.  These industries are to the point of not existing anymore.

Perdue says that is all the fault of the government.  If the government would just stop taxing companies, stop regulating safety in the workplace, and let employers pay less than minimum wage, everything would be just fine.  Maybe he has a point.  Look how well the people in Malaysia and Vietnam are living the high life on their low wages.

These two people are not alone in their views either.  The Republican party is full of plutocrats just like Rauner and Perdue.  Hell, even Wisconsin Governor Walker just announced that $7.25 per hour is a livable wage.  That is what we will get if we give the Republicans gain control of the Senate in November.

Of course, even the conservative media is ignoring these two as much as they can.  They are focusing on the more serious threat of ISIS and Ebola.  According to Fox News, we are on the verge of being wiped out by one or both of these menaces.  As I wrote before, don’t be fooled by outside influences.  Vote your pocketbook.  In the last 55 months, we have experienced private sector job growth.  All of the doom and gloom predicted by the Republicans over the ACA and the end of the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy have proven to be fairy tales.

If we continue to vote in people like Rauner and Perdue, we won’t have an economy left.  Reagan’s supply side economics is a bust.  You cannot grow an economy by outsourcing jobs and selling cheap products if no one has any money to purchase them!  But, Republicans know that if you ruin the economy, you can remove job safety bills, corporate taxes, and eliminate minimum wage.  That is how you create a Plutocrat Paradise!

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On August 15, 2014 a Texas Grand Jury indicted Governor Rick Perry on two felony counts.  These charges have nothing to do with bribery, as the Governor said he thought while speaking in New Hampshire.  They are basically an abuse of power charge against the Governor.  It happened something like this.

Rosemary Lehmberg the Travis County District Attorney with the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office was arrested and convicted with DWI.  This outraged the Governor so bad, he publicly threatened to veto the funding for the Public Integrity Unit unless Lehmberg resigned her post.  When Lehmberg refused to resign, he did veto the funding for her unit.

Lehmberg is a Democrat who was elected by the Travis County electorate.  Coincidently, the Public Integrity Unit was investigating some of Perry’s cronies at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas at the time he sought to force her out, and replace her with his own appointee.

Let us be clear.  Texas is a Red State.  Travis County on the other hand is a Blue and progressive County.  So, the national media immediately painted this as “sour grapes” and declared the indictment as frivolous.  But there are some things that have not been clearly reported by the national press.

Even though Travis County is a Democratic county, there were no Democrats involved in the case.  The Grand Jury was called by McCrum, a respected conservative former federal prosecutor.  Republican U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison once recommended McCrum for the job of U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas. McCrum could have dismissed the complaint. Instead, he took it to a grand jury.

Even before McCrum was appointed, the case went before two Republican judges who could have dismissed the case before it even started.  Neither of these judges saw fit to dismiss the case, and the second judge was the one who appointed McCrum as Special Prosecutor.

Another issue in this case is that Perry remained silent when two different Republican district attorneys were previously convicted of DWI.  One hit another vehicle and it was his second offense.  But, Perry didn’t see any need for them to step down from office.  So, why all of the outrage in this case?

Some, even on the left, are saying the indictment is an attack on the Governor’s right to veto.  That is not the true anymore than if the Governor vetoed a bill in receipt of a bribe.  As it was said, you may have the right to vote, but you don’t have the right to “sell” your vote.  Using a veto threat in order to force a public official to resign is just as egregious.

It is fascinating to see the national media kind of blow off this indictment as political games, while the two biggest papers in Texas are taking the charges very seriously.   Jeff Cohen, of the Houston Chronicle, and Keven Ann Willey, of the Dallas Morning News, the state’s two largest dailies, both of which have editorialized in support of seeing the investigation proceed:

The Chronicle wrote that the indictments “suggest that the longest-serving governor in Texas history has grown too accustomed to getting his way when it comes to making sure that virtually every key position in state government is occupied by a Perry loyalist.” The Morning News editorial board stated: “It’s in every Texan’s best interests for the charges against Perry, whatever your view of them, to traverse the entire judicial system as impartially as possible.”

Investigative journalism is supposed to be the keystone of the media.  Unfortunately, the national media doesn’t seem to be very interested in that process anymore.  Investigative journalism costs money and is expensive to produce.  The national media seems more interested in sound bites that are less expensive to produce, but still bring in ratings and money.

If it wasn’t for investigative journalism, we may have never gotten to the bottom of Watergate.  I am not comparing this to Watergate, but the lack of investigative journalism by national media is puzzling at best.  Before any judgement of this case is made by media and/or pundits, we must let the case run its course.  It may turn out that Perry will win the case and be cleared of any wrongdoing.  On the other hand, a Grand Jury in his own state determined there was enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

I guess if we really want to know the exact nature of the case we will have to depend on local Texas reports and not the national media.

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