…2014 and beyond…

2014 and beyond…

This is that time of year when one dusts off their crystal-ball sagely venturing a peek.  Admittedly there is trepidation as it is unsettling when one’s projections prove to be illusionary & false.

2014 = 7 … which numerology suggests this is a year of “awareness” of the destructive nature and inherent danger existing in the world of extremes, choosing a desire for knowledge and truth, discriminating between illusion and reality.

Likely dawning of 2014 arrives with profound commotion immediately calling upon our discriminating abilities on many fronts … political, social justice, educational and health … to separate fact from fiction, “spin” from truth, and separateness from inclusiveness. 

The prevailing drum beat of polarization popularized by the majority of today’s media … print, TV, radio … diminishes rapidly as increased spears of light penetrate the doom and gloom of their dark perspective.   Their time and voice in the limelight is over their shrill messaging finding increasingly less resonance.

Make no mistake … transitioning from knowing, believing, understanding and accepting the “power” of the few over the many … to the authentic “power” of the many is upsetting, frightening requiring honest “buy-in” lest it falls short of attainment.

2013 terminated in a barrage of twisted emotionally laden messages from media giants pitting us vs. them … never clearly identifying who the parties are or why this perceived difference was relevant.  In fact it is relevant only to them as it serves as a method for them to highlight aspects they felt they could arouse in us to manipulate a separateness creating the polarization they need to feel proving they are in control.

On an “emotional-spiritual-energetic” … ephemeral … level mankind “feels” though we may well not understand nor even be willing to concede existence of “connection” to another.

The vast disparities and inequality socially and economically the product of an American capitalistic system given over to “greed is good” is wildly and viciously striking every “hot-button” possible in its attempt to maintain and continue its perceived dominance.  A dominance decreasing with each passing day, with each revelation of catastrophic effects of “greed is good.” 

America’s young are not aligned with “greed is good” and while largely ignored by today’s corporate owned media are nonetheless through their shared computer/internet abilities writing a far different agenda for the tomorrow they will lead.

Mistakes they most certainly will make, but, their mistakes, miscues, errors, blunders will fall equally and not be capriciously aimed at those the “least” among us as current American leaders direct.

The day of us vs. them is passing into history replaced by shared inclusion … only time can reveal how this will play out … bring it on and good luck…

Close power plant raise power rate$

image

there are repercussions

clip_image002…You think it just might be possible there are repercussions for wagging one’s bony finger in the face of the President of the United States…?

…Got passed over for $$$ for the Yarnell fire…

…Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s choice to taunt President Obama’s administration has a co$t…

 

Seize the Moment

clip_image002YES … SIEZE THE MOMENT FOR EVERYONE NOT JUST THE FEW … MAKE THE MOMENT INCLUSIVE NOT EXCLUSIVE…

 

2014: Seize the Moment

Posted: 12/30/2013 7:32 am

The Congress has just ended one of the worst and least productive sessions in the history of our country. At a time when the problems facing us are monumental, Congress is dysfunctional and more and more people (especially the young) are, understandably, giving up on the political process. The people are hurting. They look to Washington for help. Nothing is happening.

In my view, the main cause of congressional dysfunction is an extreme right-wing Republican party whose main goal is to protect the wealthy and powerful. There is no tax break for the rich or large corporations that they don’t like. There is no program which protects working families — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, affordable housing, etc. — that they don’t want to cut.

But the Democrats (with whom I caucus as an Independent) are most certainly not without fault. In the Senate, they have tolerated Republican obstructionism for much too long and allowed major legislation to fail for lack of 60 votes. They have failed to bring forth a strong and consistent agenda which addresses the economic crises facing the vast majority of our struggling population, and have not rallied the people in support of that agenda.

As we survey our country at the end of 2013, I don’t have to tell you about the crises we face. Many of you are experiencing them every day.

– The middle class continues to decline, with median family income some $5,000 less than in 1999.
– More Americans, 46.5 million, are now living in poverty than at any time in our nation’s history. Child poverty, at 22 percent, is the highest of any major country.
– Real unemployment is not 7 percent. If one includes those who have given up looking for work and those who want full-time work but are employed part-time, real unemployment is over 13 percent – and youth unemployment is much higher than that.
– Most of the new jobs that are being created are part-time and low wage, but the minimum wage remains at the starvation level of $7.25 per hour.
– Millions of college students are leaving school deeply in debt, while many others have given up on their dream of a higher education because of the cost.
– Meanwhile, as tens of millions of Americans struggle to survive economically, the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well and corporate profits are at an all-time high. In fact, wealth and income inequality today is greater than at any time since just before the Great Depression. One family, the Walton family with its Wal-Mart fortune, now owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans. In recent years, 95 percent of all new income has gone to the top 1 percent. 
– The scientific community has been very clear: Global warming is real, it is already causing massive problems and, if we don’t significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the planet we leave to our kids and grandchildren will be less and less habitable.

Clearly, if we are going to save the middle class and protect our planet, we need to change the political dynamics of the nation. We can no longer allow the billionaires and their think tanks or the corporate media to set the agenda. We need to educate, organize and mobilize the working families of our country to stand up for their rights. We need to make government work for all the people, not just the 1 percent.


When Congress reconvenes for the 2014 session, here are a few of the issues that I will focus on. (By the way, I’d love to hear from you as to what your priorities are).

 

WEALTH AND INCOME INEQUALITY: A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much, while so many have so little. It is simply not acceptable that the top 1 percent owns 38 percent of the financial wealth of the nation, while the bottom 60 percent owns all of 2.3 percent. We need to establish a progressive tax system which asks the wealthy to start paying their fair share of taxes, and which ends the outrageous loopholes that enable one out of four corporations to pay nothing in federal taxes. 

JOBS: We need to make significant investments in our crumbling infrastructure, in energy efficiency and sustainable energy, in early childhood education and in affordable housing. When we do that, we not only improve the quality of life in our country and combat global warming, we also create millions of decent-paying new jobs.

WAGES: We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. We should pass the legislation, which will soon be on the Senate floor, to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, but we must raise that minimum wage even higher in the coming years. We also need to expand our efforts at worker-ownership. Employees will not be sending their jobs to China or Vietnam when they own the places in which they work.

RETIREMENT SECURITY: At a time when only one in five workers in the private sector have a defined benefit pension plan; half of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings; and two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for more than half of their income, we must expand and protect Social Security so that every American can retire with dignity.

WALL STREET: During the financial crisis, huge Wall Street banks received more than $700 billion in financial aid from the Treasury Department and more than $16 trillion from the Federal Reserve because they were "too big to fail." Yet today, the largest banks in this country are much bigger than they were before taxpayers bailed them out. It’s time to break up these behemoths so that they cannot cause another recession that could wreck the global economy.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: We are not living in a real democracy when large corporations and a handful of billionaire families can spend unlimited sums of money to elect or defeat candidates. We must expand our efforts to overturn the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision and move this country to public funding of elections.

SOCIAL JUSTICE: While we have made progress in recent years in expanding the rights of minorities, women and gays, these advances are under constant attack from the right-wing. If the United States is to become the non-discriminatory society we want it to be, we must fight to protect the rights of all Americans.

CIVIL LIBERTIES: Frankly, the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies are out of control. We cannot talk about America as a "free country" when the government is collecting information on virtually every phone call we make, when it is intercepting our emails and monitoring the websites we visit. Clearly, we need to protect this country from terrorism, but we must do it in a way that does not undermine the Constitution.

WAR AND PEACE: With a large deficit and enormous unmet needs, it is absurd that the United States continues to spend almost as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. The U.S. must be a leader in the world in nuclear disarmament and efforts toward peace, not in the sale of weapons of destruction.

This is a tough and historical moment in American history. Despair is not an option. We must stand together as brothers and sisters and fight for the America our people deserve.

 

Follow Sen. Bernie Sanders on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SenSanders

Would this type of action by the NSA really surprise you..?

…Would this type of action by the NSA really surprise you..?

 

The NSA Actually Intercepted Packages to Put Backdoors in Electronics

12/29/2013  •  Gizmodo The NSA revelations keep on coming, and if you’re feeling desensitized to the whole thing it’s time to refocus and get your game face on for 2014. Because shit continues to get real. SPIEGEL published two pieces this morning about the NSA*

Things everyone would know if there were a liberal media

Things everyone would know if there were a liberal media

byakadjianFollowhttp://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/07/1229087/-15-things-everyone-would-know-if-there-were-a-liberal-media?detail=email

 While I share Prince’s frustration with the media, as a liberal, I’d like to go on record and state that the media isn’t focusing on issues I care about. They seem to be far more focused on entertainment and making money.

Don’t believe me?

 

If you know anyone who still believes in a "liberal media," here’s 15 things everyone would know if there really were a "liberal media" (inspired by Jeff Bezos’ purchase of The Washington Post):

 

1. Where the jobs went.Outsourcing (or offshoring) is a bigger contributor to unemployment in the U.S. than laziness.

Since 2000, U.S. multinationals have cut 2.9 million jobs here while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million. This is likely just the tip of the iceberg as multinational corporations account for only about 20% of the labor force.

When was the last time you saw a front-page headline about outsourcing?

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2.  Upward wealth redistribution and/or inequality.In 2010, 20% of the people held approximately 88% of the net worth in the U.S. The top 1% alone held 35% of all net worth.

The bottom 80% of people held only 12% of net worth in 2010. In 1983, the bottom 80% held 18% of net worth.

These statistics are not Democrat or Republican. They are widely available to reporters. Why aren’t they discussed in the "liberal" media?

 

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3. ALEC.If there was a corporate organization that drafted laws and then passed them on to legislators to implement, wouldn’t you think the "liberal" media would report on them?

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is such an organization. Need legislation drafted? No need to go through a lobbyist to reach state legislatures anymore. Just contact ALEC. Among other things, ALEC is responsible for:

·       Stand Your Ground laws

·       Voter ID laws

·       Right to Work laws

·       Privatizing schools

·       Health savings account bills which benefit health care companies

·       Tobacco industry legislation

Many legislators don’t even change the proposals handed to them by this group of corporations. They simply take the corporate bills and bring them to the legislative floor.

This is the primary reason for so much similar bad legislation in different states. 

Hello … "liberal media" … over here!!!

They’re meeting in Chicago this weekend. Maybe the "liberal media" will send some reporters.

 

4. The number of people in prison.  Which country in the world has the most people in prison?

You might think it would be China (with 1+ billion people and a restrictive government) or former Soviets still imprisoned in Russia.

Wrong. The United States has the most people in prison by far of any country in the world. With 5% of the world’s population, we have 25% of the world’s prisoners – 2.3 million criminals. China with a population 4 times our size is second with 1.6 million people in prison.

In 1972, 350,000 Americans were in imprisoned. In 2010, this number had grown to 2.3 million. Yet from 1988 – 2008, crime rates have declined by 25%.

Isn’t anyone in the liberal media interested in why so many people are in prison when crime has dropped? WTF "liberal media"?

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5. The number of black people in prison. …In 2009, non-Hispanic blacks, while only 13.6% of the population, accounted for 39.4% of the total prison and jail population.

In 2011, according to FBI statistics, whites accounted for 69.2% of arrests.

Numbers like these suggest a racial bias in our justice system.

To me, this is a much bigger story than any single incident like Travyon Martin. Or, at the very least, why didn’t the "liberal media" ever mention this while covering the Martin story?

6. U.S. health care costs are the highest in the world.The expenditure per person in the U.S. is $8,233. Norway is second with $5,388.
Total amount of GDP spent on health care is also the highest of any country in the world at 17.6 percent. The next closest country is the Netherlands at 12%.

As a liberal, I’d like to ask why the market isn’t bringing down costs. I’d think a "liberal" media might too.

7. Glass-Steagall.Glass-Steagall separated risky financial investments from government backed deposits for 66 years.

The idea is simple. Banks were prohibited from using your federally insured savings to make risky investments.

Why is this a good idea?

Risky investments should be risky. If banks can use federally insured funds, there is no risk to them. If they win, they win. If they lose, we cover the cost.

Elizabeth Warren does a great job explaining this to the "liberal news" desk at CNBC:

 

8. Gerrymandering.When was the last time you saw a front page headline about gerrymandering?

Before the 2010 election, conservatives launched a plan to win control of state legislatures before the census. The idea was to be in power when national congressional districts were redrawn in order to fix them so Republicans would win a majority of districts.

The Redistricting Majority Project was hugely successful. In 2012, Barack Obama was elected President by nearly 3.5 million votes. In Congressional races, Democrats drew nearly 1.4 million more votes than Republicans yet  Republicans won control of the House 234 seats to 201 seats.

How is this possible?

By pumping $30 million into state races to win the legislatures, Republicans redrew state maps in states such as Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, Florida and Ohio to place all of the Democrats into just a few districts.
In this manner, Democrats win heavily in a couple districts and lose the rest.

In North Carolina, the statewide vote was 51 percent Democrat and 49 percent Republican yet 9 Republicans won and only 4 Democrats.

Where is your coverage of this vote stealing, "liberal media"? You’re willing to cover voter ID laws, why can’t you cover real vote stealing?

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9. The number of bills blocked by Republicans in Congress.The filibuster has been used a record number of time since Obama was elected President. From 2008-2012, 375 bills weren’t even allowed to come to a vote in the Senate because Republicans threatened the filibuster.

In 2013, during the first 6 months, Congress has only passed 15 bills that were signed into law. This is 8 fewer than in the first 6 months of 2012 and 19 fewer than 2011.

Also, until the Senate recently threatened to reform the filibuster, the GOP had succeeded in holding up 79 of President Obama’s picks to the U.S. Circuit Court and Courts of Appeal. They’re blocking these appointments regardless of qualification.

 

10. The Citizens’ United Supreme Court decisionIn a 2011 Hart poll, only 22% of those polled had actually heard of the Citizens’ Uniteddecision before taking the survey.

If 77% believe that corporations have more control over our political process than people, why isn’t the liberal media talking more about the Citizens’ United decision?

 

11. Nixon’s Southern Strategy.  The Southern Strategy is a strategy for gaining political power by exploiting the greatest number of ethnic prejudices. Kevin Philips, Republican and Nixon campaign strategist, speaking about this strategy in a 1970 interview with the New York Times:

From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.

This strategy has been used since President Johnson and Democrats in Congress passed the Civil Rights Act to build the Republican party.

Examples of this strategy were evident as recently as 2008 and 2012 as Republicans took up their assault on Medicaid, Social Security, labor unions, and Obamacare – programs which, though they benefit more white seniors, retirees, women, and children, have been sold to many Americans as handouts to lazy, undeserving blacks and minorities.

Yet you never hear the "liberal media" (at least since the 1970 NY Times) talking about the use of this strategy. At least not like this:

"P (President) emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to." – H.R. Haldeman’s diary, President Richard Nixon’s White House Chief of Staff

12. Tax cuts primarily benefit the wealthy.  A progressive tax program is designed to tax people very little as they are starting out and progressively increase their rates as they do better.

Republican plans seem designed to do exactly the opposite: shift the tax burden off of the wealthy and onto working people.

Take the repeal of the estate tax. In Ohio this was recently repealed by Republicans. The benefit is only realized by people with estates larger than $338,000 (as the first $338k was exempt) and realized most by people with even wealthier estates.

This also explains why Republicans want to shift the system from income taxes to consumption taxes. Consumption taxes are paid most by those at the bottom as basic consumption remains the same regardless of income.

It also explains why capital gain taxes are so low. Income through capital gains is only taxed at 20% (increased from 15% in 2012) instead of at the rate of other income (closer to 35%).

It also explains why Republicans were so willing to let the payroll tax cut expire. The payroll tax cut benefited people who were getting paid, not those issuing the paychecks. How much fight did you see to save this tax cut?

While tax cuts are sold to us as benefiting everyone, they really benefit a select few at the very top.

If everyone knew who tax cuts really benefit, would so many people vote for them?

13. What’s happening to the bees?40-50% of commercial U.S. bee hives were lost this year to colony collapse disorder.

This seems like an odd one to include, why is this important?

The Agriculture Department says a quarter of the American diet depends on pollination by honeybees.

Dating from 2006, colony collapse disorder is a relatively new problem. More "liberal media" coverage might push the urgency of the issue.

Instead here’s a typical media story about bees: Thousands of Bees Attack Texas Couple, Kill Horses.

 

14. The impact of temporary workers on our economy….The number of temporary workers has grown by more than 50 percent since the recession ended to nearly 2.7 million.

If freelancers, contract workers, and consultants are included, the number is nearly 17 million workers not directly employed by the companies who hire them. This equals 12 percent of the workforce.

What’s the impact of a "just in time" workforce on workers and our economy? How about that for a story "liberal media"?

15. Media consolidation  Six corporations – Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation, Viacom, Comcast, and CBS –control roughly 90% of the media in the U.S.

These companies are in business to make a profit.

This is why you’ll find plenty of advertisements in the media. Entertainment? Check. Sports? Definitely. Weather? Yep.

You’ll also find plenty of "if it bleeds, it leads" stories designed to hook you in. Vendors, witnesses recall Venice hit-and-run horror. Fort Hood trial turns bizarre as shooter grills witnesses.

There’s also plenty of political bickering: Democrats said this, Republicans said that. We let you decide (but we never weigh in with any facts or fact-checking).

What won’t you hear? You won’t hear the "liberal media" discuss the corporate media.

What to make of this  If the media were "liberal," it would serve the public interest and shine a light on issues like the ones above.

More people would also have a better understanding of global warming, peak oil, population growth, political lobbying, government’s role in a functioning economy, how much we spend on the military, and countless other issues.

What you’re more likely to see in the media, however, are stories designed to get you to buy their paper, or watch their show, or listen to their radio station. If it bleeds, it leads. This is why the media is concerned with scandal, celebrities, gossip, and fear.

If anything, our news consists of paid advertisements and outlets too scared of offending anyone to publish much of substance. Investigative journalism is also expensive; entertainment is cheap.

The way this corporate media behaves may not be surprising. I apologize if you feel any of this is beating you over the head.

This Buzzfeed-style list wasn’t intended to introduce this idea as new (others have done a much better job), but rather to highlight the sheer absurdity of a "liberal media" for an audience who may not see it.

One way to approach the topic is to simply ask: If we have a "liberal media," where are the liberal stories?

They should as “corporate” will be pulling

…They should as “corporate” will be pulling the $trings on those in our Congre$$ they own and who dance to whatever tune demanded…

 

Democrats, White House, Big Labor getting ready to go big on minimum wage in 2014

12/30/2013 10:01:47 AM  Erika Johnsen   …It started out regularly enough, as yet another tactic from the progressive playbook with which Democrats would be able to shamelessly beat their Republican challengers over the head during their 2014 midterm campaigns with the most shallow, populist  …………More…