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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!

I bet the NFL isn’t watching this too closely.  A New Jersey High School has suspended its entire football season after 4 games because of substantial and credible evidence of pervasive bullying, harassment and hazing in the program, including allegations of possible sexual assault.  This high school, Sayerville High School has won the state championship in its level 4 of the last 5 seasons.  It also has a running streak of 20 state playoff appearances.  So, this isn’t some scrub team where this action won’t be noticed.

In a news conference after he informed the players and parents, Richard Labbe said:  “There were incidences of harassment, intimidation, and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level, and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and, in general, accepted.”  He also reported that the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office and the Sayerville Police Department were investigating “inappropriate conduct of a significant and serious nature” that allegedly took place within the football program. All three levels of the football program — varsity, JV and freshman — have had their seasons canceled.

Of course there are parents who disagree with the decision.  They have criticized the Superintendent for punishing players who were not involved — as well as cheerleaders and band members.   “It’s unfair for the kids that didn’t get to play this year that had nothing to do with it,” parent Joe Scirica told TODAY.

Now, Scirica may have a point about those not being involved and members of the cheerleader squad and band are also being punished.  But, the point is extremely minor.  There is a criminal investigation going on at the high school concerning “incidences of harassment, intimidation, and bullying on a pervasive level.  This appears to be on a wide-scale level and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and, in general accepted.”  If that portion of the investigation proves out, how can a parent say their child was uninvolved?  If they knew about what was going on and failed to report it to the school, they are generally accepted it and thus were involved.

There have been many instances where high school, college, and professional players were involved in things of this nature and worse.  It is not uncommon to hear about football players intimidating and bullying other students.  I have never heard of another school, as prominent and successful in the sport as this school, cancelling the season over these incidents.  Usually, there is one or two scapegoats and the season goes along.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the start of something big.  If a successful program like Sayerville can have its season cancelled over these incidents, hopefully, other schools will look to use the same standard.  That is probably going to be the only way for schools to put an end to this bullying behavior.  The action taken by this school district was honorable.  Of course, we have to wait and see what the criminal investigation proves as the case moves along.

But, I think Labbe did the right thing in cancelling the season.  About the only thing that is worse than the bullying going on in our schools is the fact that many schools silently approve it by doing nothing to stop it.  Sayerville chose not to silently approve bullying.  They decided to take a stand against it.  They should be applauded for that decision.

If we can stamp out the culture of athletes getting away with such behavior in high school, we may begin to see it end at the college and professional level as well.  I am dubious that other high schools will take such a brave stance though.  That is also part of the culture of bullying.  As long as championships are gotten, schools all too often look the other way.  Silence by administrators is the loudest approval there is.

 

There two absolute necessities for maintaining life.  Food and Water.  Since the start of agrarian societies, food has been a commodity.  Meaning that you either live somewhere where you grow your own food, or you pay someone else for the food you need.  Water is also a necessity for maintaining life.  As a mater of fact, you can go longer without food than you can without water.  The UN formally “recognizes the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.”

Unfortunately, people in the U.S. have forgotten about all of the water battles that were waged in our past.  At one point, private companies were running water supplies.  At the beginning of the 20th century, they started having major cholera outbreaks, which led to it being turned over to public utilities.   However, since public utilities have had their budgets cut drastically by local and state governments over the years, they have been unable to keep up with their infrastructure.  That has led to many public utility companies facing financial hardships and budget deficits to raise their rates.

When I grew up in Chicago in the 50s, we did not have a water meter on our house.  My parents paid a flat rate to the public water company and used as much water as needed.  There was a huge fight when the city finally enforced water metering at private residences.  Yes, the water we drank came from Lake Michigan, but there was no need for metering because the utility was financed through the flat rate and taxes.

Today, no one gets water that way.  Even if you wanted to drop a bucket into a lake or river for free water, you wouldn’t be able to drink it without purifying it first because of all of the pollution that has been dumped into our lakes and rivers.  Utilities are struggling to maintain their infrastructures.  They are getting less and less money from taxes thus they are forced to raise rates on the consumer.  In essence, water which is a complete necessity to maintain life, has become a marketable commodity.  As a result of the financial problems with public utilities, private companies are looking to take over, again, for the potential profits.  The rising rates for water are making it more attractive for private companies to want to take over the public utilities.

There is no better place to look at this necessity becoming a commodity than the City of Detroit.  The so-called Emergency Manager and water utilities in the city has cut off water to thousands of their citizens who can’t pay their bill.  In a recent ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled on Detroit’s hotly contested practice of cutting off water.  He said:

“It cannot be doubted that water is a necessary ingredient to sustaining life, yet there is not an enforceable right to free and affordable water.”

To my way of thinking, he is contradicting himself.  If water is a necessary ingredient to sustaining life, how can their not be an enforceable right to free and affordable water?  According to his ruling, water is a luxury item that for which you have to pay.  If you cannot afford to pay for it, you simply don’t get it.  One of the big reasons for this fight in the first place is that the State of Michigan wants to have a private company go into Detroit and take over the public utility.  If they cannot cut off water to people who can’t pay their bills, no private company will take on the task.

We have had discussions about how the Republicans want to privatize everything.  They want to privatize public education, social security, medicare, and now public utilities like water.  Basically, they want us to consider water as a “luxury” we have to pay to get.  Never mind the local taxes we pay that is supposed to help support and keep bills low in the first place.  This is the type of insanity that permeates the Republican mindset.  The next thing you will see is when a natural disaster strikes an area and the water trucks show up, you will have to pay for each gallon of water you need.

Cutting off water to private residences is not just wrong, it’s a potential health hazard.  It could begin spreading diseases that shouldn’t exist any longer in this country.  If there is no water, you will not be able to flush your toilet.  What are residents supposed to do?  Pour their waste in the gutter as in the “good ole days?”  Things like cholera are potentially waiting in the wings to spread through our communities again.

The biggest drawback in living in an industrialized country is that we have become an urbanized society.  The agrarian society that we used to have is gone.  Even in many rural areas, there are public utilities that provide water to residents.  This water is cleaner than well water.  If you do have a well, you still need to use a water softener or other treatment before drinking it.  Besides, with fracking going on all over, you have the added worry of your well being contaminated by the fracking chemicals being used.  As a friend of mine with a well says, “drinking well water is kidney stone heaven.”

Water is a basic necessity.  It is not a luxury item like Judge Rhodes seems to think it is.  One of the most fundamental responsibilities of government is to help ensure the basic necessities of life are maintained.  Putting public utilities in the hands of private companies, raising rates for water, or cutting off water to people who cannot to pay their bills is illegally abdicating responsibility, in my view.  It is simply another way to marginalize the poor.

 

 

With the mid-terms just weeks away now, I find it difficult to understand why we aren’t seeing more TV ads from the Democrats about equal pay, minimum wage, and paid family leave.  These are issues that are extremely important to families, especially women.  As usual, it is projected that the turnout for this mid-term will be lower than in a presidential election year.  That also means that fewer women will vote in the mid-terms as well.

If the Democrats really want to keep the Senate and make some strides in the House, these are issues that they should be talking about more, not less.  There is plenty of evidence that it just might turn the tide against the Republicans if the Democrats use these issues wisely.  People want paid family leave.  They want affordable child-care.  They want fair and equal pay.  They are even willing to vote for people who support these issues.

A recent Lake Research Partners poll commissioned by the Make It Work campaign found that 76 percent of surveyed registered voters favor the campaign’s efforts to implement fair pay for minimum wage earners — who are disproportionately women — as well as more flexible family leave policies. Researchers found that a majority of respondents disagreed with the assertion that “men and women these days are generally paid equally for doing the same work,” and 80 percent said it’s the government’s responsibility to guarantee fair treatment for workers, regardless of income level or gender.

How much more ammunition do you need to fire the shots necessary to fire up these people enough to vote?  The Republicans have been very public about their refusal to implement any of these issues into law.  They are constantly telling voters that only companies can decide what a fair wage is, so the minimum wage is antiquated to the point it should be abolished.  They are constantly telling voters that you don’t deserve paid family leave time because it will hamper the business.  They are constantly telling the voters that men and women make the same wages for the same work.  Which statistics prove them wrong in every field and profession.

I live in a state where there is a very tight race between the incumbent Democratic Senator and her Republican rival.  I have not seen one single advertisement about the difference between them on these issues.  These are things that can even make Republican women vote Democratic.  The adage of “voting your pocketbook” is not dead.  It has just be hijacked by Republicans who get the wealthy to vote their pocketbooks.  Somehow they have convinced too many people to vote against their pocketbook just because they belong to a certain party.

In order to get people to the polls, Democrats need to start talking about issues that affect people’s pocketbooks.  Telling a minimum wage working person that raising the minimum wage will almost double their income, and you can get their vote.  Tell them that raising their income will mean more money to spend on necessities and even some “luxury” items and the will vote for you.  Tell them that increasing money to spend into the economy will help boost jobs, and they will vote for you.

But, for some reason, the Democrats seem to be mum on these topics.  I don’t understand why.  The Republicans haven’t been mum.  They especially like the idea of running ads telling women they should think about voting the same way the look at dresses or dates.  They are telling women that they don’t understand politics enough to vote on the issues, so they have to vote according to style.

If the Democrats don’t wake up soon, we may be faced with an even worse congress than we have had for the last several years.  If they don’t start fighting for the common people and telling them they favor these issues while the opponents do not, we won’t see any dramatic turn-around in November.

It is very easy to do as well.  We know Democrats favor these issues because they have already passed the Senate.  They haven’t become law because the Republicans refuse to even hold a vote on them in the House.  More fodder for the Democrats.  Just think about it.  76 percent of people want all of these issues to pass.  That means there are gerrymandered Republican districts that have a majority of people who want these issues to pass.

One way Democrats can get women to the polls is to talk about pocketbook issues.  So far, they have been remarkably silent on them.  Their silence could spell their doom in the mid-terms.

Okay, I am going to say this as plainly as I can.  There is a real terrorist threat to America.  This threat has existed for a long time now, and the right-wing media is ignoring it completely.  The reason they are ignoring it is because this threat does not come from Islamic terrorists.  It comes from white, right-wing, anti-government extremists.

We all know that Fox News is xenophobic.  What they have been successful in hiding is their total disregard for right-wing terrorists for a very long time.  The recent stories, or lack thereof, about the Oklahoma killing and the terrorist shooting of two state troopers in Pennsylvania shows that Fox News doesn’t think right-wing extremists are terrorists but a fired Muslim worker is a terrorist.

Last week there was a gruesome murder in Oklahoma.  A fired worker, Alton Nolan, entered his former workplace and beheaded a co-worker.  This ghastly story has been front and center over at Fox News.  Not because the crime was so gruesome, but because the suspect, who is in custody, recently converted to Islam.  That means according to Fox News it was a terrorist attack.  Police say otherwise noting that the attack came immediately after Nolan was fired and stating that they’ve yet to find a link to terrorism.

According to Fox News, this proves that Islamic Jihadists are running rampant in the heartland of the country.  They are treating the story as a national problem with political implications.  Of course, they blame President Obama for the attack because of his “indifference to the threat of Islamic terrorism.”

Yet another story that really is an act of terrorism is ongoing with barely a mention from Fox News.  On September 16, 31-year-old marksman Eric Frein was allegedly laying in wait outside the Blooming Grove police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania, preparing to assassinate state troopers. Shortly before 11 p.m., Bryon Dickson was shot and killed as he walked towards his patrol car. Moments later, as he approached the barracks to begin his overnight shift, trooper Alex Douglass was shot and seriously wounded by a bullet fired from a .308-caliber rifle.

Frein, who is described as a survivalist, fled into the Poconos Mountains woods where he has been hiding out ever since.  There has been a massive man-hunt for this terrorist by the State Police, FBI, U.S. Marshalls Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Because Frein has been described as “extremely dangerous” and possibly armed with an AK 47, local schools were closed for fear of another attack.  Business were warned to remain black.  And mail delivery was suspended because officials feared mail carriers might be attacked by Frein.

So, what sparked this ambush?   “He made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and to commit mass acts of murder,” state police commissioner Frank Noonan warned the public at the time. Another official noted the shooter has a “longstanding grudge against law enforcement and government in general” dating back to at least 2006.

A friend was even more explicit.  “He was obviously a big critic of the federal government.  No indications of really any malice towards law enforcement in particular. Most of his aggression was (toward) the federal government.”

Philadelphia columnist Dick Poleman wrote:  “We have a well-trained sniper who hates authority, hates society, hates government, and hates cops enough to plug them from ambush. He’s so lethal, so locked and loaded, that communities in the Pocono Mountains feel terrorized.”  “He kept camouflage face paint in his bedroom. He toted the AK-47 on social media. He collected, according to the criminal complaint, “various information concerning foreign embassies.””

If this sounds like domestic terrorism being perpetrated by a homegrown terrorist, you are right.  But, turn on Fox News and you will not find anything about the story.  None of the major evening commentators like Meagan Kelly, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity or Neil Cavuto have said a word about this domestic terrorist.

To really show the slant, in the two weeks since the shooting, the shows on Fox News monitored by Nexis mentioned Frein’s name only six times.  And most of those were in one sentence “updates”.  None of the so-called big news people mentioned above have said a single word about the murder.  On the other hand, these shows have donated hours and hours of the Oklahoma killing.  They even have included overheated commentary, and most of them dwelled on the fact the killing may have been an act of terror.

The only show that had a feature on Frein and his act of terrorism was one segment of the show On The Record With Greta Van Susteren.  But before you give old Greta some praise here, she whitewashed the story.  She never mentioned Frein’s vocal anti-government leanings, nor was there any suggestion Frein was a domestic terrorist.  At the end of the story she even told viewers to stay tuned for a report about the “nightmare” looming from the threat of jihadist fighters inside the United States.

Naturally, this isn’t the first instance of right-wing terrorism in the country.  We had two cops killed in Nevada by right-wing terrorists.  That ambush came just two days after Dennis Marx, member of the “sovereign citizen” anti-government movement, tried to lay siege to a courthouse outside of Atlanta. Sovereign citizens are militia-like radicals who don’t believe the federal government has the power and legitimacy to enforce the law. The FBI has called the movement “a growing domestic terror threat to law enforcement.”  Like Frein, these stories got little coverage on Fox News.

The Pennsylvania ambush is just another in a long line of extremist terrorism that has taken place from Neo-Nazi killers, to a string of women’s health clinic bombings and assaults, as well as bloody assaults on law enforcement from anti-government insurrectionists.  With very little coverage, if any, on Fox News.

As CNN’s Peter Bergen noted earlier this year, since 9/11, “extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology.”

I don’t know what you make of this “fair and balanced” news reporting from Fox News, but I find it very telling.  If someone has any ties to Islam and commits a crime, it is an obvious terrorist attack on America.  Fox News is very quick to put terrorism and Islam together whenever a horrible crime is committed.  But, they are hesitant at best to even mention when a white man commits an act of terror, especially if that white man is a right-wing extremist.

You only have to remember Sean Hannity praising law-breaker Cliven Bundy as a true hero and patriot for stealing from the federal government.  And, don’t forget those pictures of a man lying on an overpass in ambush ready to shoot and kill federal law enforcement officers, if he deemed it necessary.  Sound familiar to Frein?

I have been watching the news for over fifty years.  I have never seen anything as biased as Fox News before.  But then, what do you expect from a network whose sole purpose is to preach the right-wing propaganda?  Sadly, if you look at Fox News and the propaganda machine in Germany during the 30s and 40s, you will see a disturbing similarity.

Like the German propaganda machine at the time, Fox News is only interested in pointing out whom we should be afraid of.  Everything that is wrong with the world and our country can be blamed on those people.  Maybe it time for Fox News to change its logo.

 

 

The mid-term elections are beginning to turn to warmonger vs. not-so-much warmonger.  ISIS has been in the headlines for months, and the warmongers are all screaming for “boots on the ground” to eliminate the threat.  They have even pulled the immigration reform battle into this fight as well.  According to the warmongers, we need to lock down our southern border so ISIS cannot get in.  They aren’t asking for the northern border to be locked down.  And, history has shown that more terrorist types enter the country through Canada than Mexico.

The real warmongers are calling for an all out war against ISIS.  They want us to send troops back into Iraq and also into Syria to kill the ISIS terrorists.  The not-so-much warmongers want us to continue the bombing and arm other groups to fight ISIS.  The President announced in his speech that he intends to bomb ISIS both in Iraq and Syria and to arm groups in the region to do the actual ground battle with ISIS.  But, that isn’t good enough for the warmongers.

The real problem is that Republicans who are running for office are now beginning to run ads with no other intent than to scare the holy shit out of the voters in their state.  Tom Tillis in North Carolina is a perfect example of this scare tactic.  He recently unveiled an ad criticizing the President and his opponent Sen. Kay Hagan.  He claims that “their policies are putting you in DANGER.”  I emphasized danger because he used font bigger than I have ever seen on that one word.

Naturally, he criticized his opponent for missing some committee hearings.  That turns out to be no big deal according to Republican candidate Scott Brown who said that senators have hectic schedules and serve on multiple committees that often double-book hearings.  So, even if Tillis is elected, he will also miss a bunch of committee hearings.

The real problem with Tillis and many of his fellow Republicans is that he won’t take a stand on what to do.  He is very critical of the President, and therefore his opponent, but he also supports bombing ISIS.  Unfortunately, he won’t state what different policies he favors.  Even when he is campaigning with Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is obviously one of the biggest warmongers in Washington.

See Graham wants to put “boots on the ground” practically everywhere there may even be a terrorist threat.  That means we put our troops back into Iraq whether the government there wants us to or not.  He wants troops in Syria so we can get involved in their civil war.  I haven’t heard of a place Graham doesn’t want to put troops into.

While on the campaign trail, Tillis was asked if he, like Graham, supported giving arms to rebel groups fighting the Syrian regime.  His answer was basically, “I don’t know.”  He said:

“I actually don’t know if we should or shouldn’t,” Tillis said this week. “I would have to know that these arms would not get in the hands of people who would want to take over the Middle East.”

Asked about the differences between he and his opponent, Tillis said, “it’s not a matter of disagreement.”

“It’s a matter of having an independent thought, something that Sen. Hagan hasn’t had 96 percent of the time. … Based on the information I have today, we don’t have a disagreement; we’re just at different places in the decision process.”

Lindsey Graham also favors sending troops to fight ISIS arguing that is the only way to “win” against them.  So, since Graham was with Tillis on the campaign trail he was asked if he agreed with that stand.  He said he didn’t have enough information to make a decision.  In other words he punted.  He further said that Graham had had  “briefings that I haven’t had access to. He’s arrived at his conclusions as a result of those briefings … When I have the opportunity to be briefed at that level, then I’ll make a decision based on the information.”

So, as usual, we have a Republican candidate who is openly crying wolf but won’t say what he would do differently.  You may ask if that puts him in the not-so-warmonger category.  I believe it puts him in the category of “I don’t know what I would do differently until after I am elected.  So, you will just have to trust me.”  That type of attitude puts him in the warmonger camp as far as I am concerned.  Remember, North Carolina has several large military bases located in it.  Openly stating he favors sending all those brave men and women back into battle may not be politically correct for him.

He is not alone in his “I don’t know but trust me” room either.  The Republicans have been saying that ever since President Obama was elected back in 2008.  They hate the Affordable Care Act and want to repeal it, but won’t tell us what they would replace it with, for example.  Only, when you are talking about putting American Military Personnel in harm’s way, we deserve a better philosophy than “I don’t know, but trust me”.

According to the Republicans we are supposed to trust them with our service members lives, we are supposed to trust them with our health care, and we are supposed to trust them with our economy.  I don’t know about you, but I do not trust anyone who won’t answer a simple question.  My own children can attest to my irritation with their not answering a question.  They heard me say more than once “answer the question” when they tried to circle the situation.

Why should we trust politicians who won’t answer simple questions either.  Maybe Tillis and other Republican candidates haven’t received the same briefings that Graham has.  That doesn’t preclude them from saying what they would do based on what they do know.  That makes me believe that they either won’t say what they would do for fear of losing votes, or they really don’t know.  Either way, they don’t deserve our vote for their non-stance.

 

The Republican Party is still running the name of Ronald Reagan out as the savior of the country.  Although everyone who follows politics today knows that Ronald Reagan would never get the nomination for President from the current Republican Party.  He would be branded as a RINO by today’s nuts.  Still he has been named a saint in the eyes of these same nuts who wouldn’t vote for him today.

The only real problem is that Reagan was anything but a savior to the country.  What Regan really did was sow the seeds for the total dismantling of our economic system.  Trickle down economics has proven to be the bane of economic growth.  Trickle down economics has actually hurt our middle-class to the point of non-existence.  The Reagan era brought in elitism in our economy that hadn’t been seen for over 60 years.  He totally took our economy and brought it to the brink of chaos and collapse.

One of the first side-shows that Reagan did was attempt to destroy the unions.  When Reagan took office, about 25 percent of the workforce belonged to a union.  Then Reagan worked hard to make sure that number dropped.  His first assault was on the Air Traffic Controllers.  When their union held a strike looking for better pay and working conditions, he fired them all to bust the union.  Elitists around the country hailed him as a hero because they knew that opened the door to target more unions.

Why was it so important to kill the unions?  Because unions gave the workers some power at the bargaining table.  Unions made it possible for workers to improve their pay and working conditions.  They made the middle-class possible to everyone.  With this power, unions made it possible for workers to share in the added profits of companies for their labor.  Something the owners did not want to share.  Plus union activities actually helped those workers not in a union shop.  Their companies had to follow suit or they would lose their workers to union shops.

By the end of his presidency, union membership fell to approximately 17 percent of the workforce.  Today, union membership is down to about 7 percent of the workforce.  This is a direct result of the union busting platform of Ronald Reagan.

On top of all of that, Reagan did nothing to help with the minimum wage.  Using 2013 dollars, the minimum wage in 1967 was about $9.67 per hour.  During the Reagan years, it fell to about $6.84.  Today it stands at $7.25.  By keeping the minimum wage low, companies made more profits but paid their employees less.  That took money out of the economy because the workers couldn’t afford the so-called luxury items they did before Reagan took office.

Reagan cut taxes.  Especially for the wealthy.  Reagan explained that if the wealthy had more money, it would trickle down to the rest of society.  More money for the rich meant more growth in business.  But, as the recession that followed his term in office proved, that theory was wrong.  By not allowing workers to share in the growth, money was drained from the economy and things got worse not better.  And, the debt grew under his leadership.

We are now going through an economic recovery.  The real problem is that for the first time in history, this recovery is making things worse for 90 percent of the population.  All of the benefits of this recovery are going to the top 10 percent of the population.  That has never happened before.  In past recoveries, the 90 percent made gains during a recovery.  Reagan and his policies have made that almost impossible today.

The Republican Party are still against raising the minimum wage.  They are still anti-union.  Look how the Senators from Tennessee meddled in the union vote at a Volkswagen plant in their state.  The Republicans still believe that the top 10 percent deserve all of the financial benefits of any recovery.

They claim that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs.  That theory has never proven to be correct.  Rather just the opposite has occurred.  By paying more in minimum wages, more people have expendable income.  More money is funneled into the economy, and more jobs are created because demand is higher.  In other words, everyone benefits from getting paid more.  Plus, raising the minimum wage helps increase other pay as well.  People who are now paid more than the minimum wage will see their pay increase as well.  That will be necessary to keep them in their positions rather than looking for better pay elsewhere.

Unions, especially after WWII actually created the middle-class.  At least they afforded a middle-class lifestyle to millions of workers who otherwise would never have seen it.  This is proven time-and-again by looking at those so-called “right to work” states where pay is below union wages.  In these states, workers do not receive the same pay as those working in union states.  As a result, their lifestyle is lower than their fellow workers.  And, without a union to back them up, they will never achieve the goal of living a middle-class lifestyle because owners have no incentive to bargain with them.

During the Reagan years, funding for education began to be slashed, especially in Republican controlled states.  Interest rates for student loans kept going up and up.  There was a time when people could actually work a full-time job and attend college in the evenings to gain the education they needed to move up.  Costs were low enough that huge student debt wasn’t as necessary getting your degree in this fashion.  Those days are gone too.  Because the deep cuts in education affect colleges and community colleges as well, the days of working while getting your education are all but gone.  The lack of funding from the states caused colleges and community colleges to increase their tuition rates, thus ensuring larger student debt.

Today’s Republicans are even against allowing people to refinance their student loans so they can get a lower rate.  That one really makes me scratch my head.  There is no reason not to allow people to refinance their student loans except that it takes away profits from banks.  But so does mortgage refinancing.  Republicans have no problem with that.

Unfortunately, until the workers see their plight as a result of these failed policies and start to unionize again, things won’t get much better.  Contrary to the Republican cry, unionization is not redistribution of wealth.  It is a way to ensure that the workers get to share in the benefits of their labor.

Median average income for the bottom 90 percent is 8 percent below what it was in 2007, adjusted for inflation.  It is a whopping 11 percent below that in 2000.  Yet, according to the Commerce Department report last Friday, the economy grew at a 4.6 percent annual rate in the second quarter of the year.  If you think these numbers look stunningly wrong, you are right.

The fact of the matter is that if you take money out of the economy by limiting the pay for workers, you are hurting the overall economic health of the country.  When workers have money to spend, the economy grows at a faster rate.  As anyone who took economics 101 can tell you, supply and demand determines the health of the economy.  The less demand, the poorer the economy.

This backwards trend started with Ronald Reagan.  He was not the savior of the country that the Republicans want you to think he was.  He was the purveyor of everything that is wrong with our economy today.  Ronald Reagan was simply an elitist that wanted to ensure that the elites of the country gained all of the benefits at the expense of the rest of the 90 percent of the population.  Reaganomics was and still is an abysmal failure.

As Bill Clinton once said, “it is the economy stupid.”  This November we have a choice to continue the downward spiral begun by Ronald Reagan, or stop it and move to a more fair economy.  The choice is yours.  We need to start looking at reality and vote our pocketbooks again.  It doesn’t matter what party you are affiliated with either.  Continuing these failed economic policies will hurt everyone.  Except the top 10 percent that is.  They are the true “constituency” of the Republican Party and Reaganomics.

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