Oct. 29. 2014  By Jack Jodell.

 “The lesser of two evils is ALWAYS vastly preferable to a  full term of the greater of two evils!  Make sure to VOTE!!!”
– Jack Jodell –  

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, proclaim their neutrality.”
– Dante –  

“Democracy is NOT a spectator sport – it requires action. Tag – you’re it!”
– Thom Hartmann – 

Those three phrases (especially the top and lower ones)  say it all. We will bring on a terrible,  completely preventable fate if we disgustedly sit home next Tuesday and fail to vote. Though we as progressives have a lot to feel downhearted about, all is NOT necessarily doom and gloom, and it is up to each of US to get up off the mat and roar forward swinging!

Remember 2010? That was the terrible year the reactionary Tea Party emerged victorious and captured control of not only the Republican Party, but the U.S. House of Representatives and many statehouses and governorships as well. Their infestation has resulted in needless government shutdowns, the senseless filibuster of nearly every single bill presented to the Senate, and untold instances of deliberate obstruction. It has prevented the passage of a long-overdue and very needed raise in the minimum wage; delayed indefinitely the confirmation of hundreds of  needed presidential appointments (including even the Surgeon General!);  and has also prevented the creation of new high-paying jobs which would rebuild and repair the nation’s rapidly decaying roads, bridges, schools, and electrical grid. 2010 was also the year that a reactionary 5-4 majority on our Extreme Court made it possible for a handful of self-centered, anti-worker libertarian billionaires to buy out the federal government and push their agenda, rather than OURS, through Congress. Yes, that dastardly court’s  insane Citizens United ruling forbade all restrictions on the amounts wealthy individuals or corporations can contribute to political campaigns. It declared that money is free speech and must not be restricted in any way, even though you, I, and any reasonably intelligent 4 year old toddler knows full well that money is definitely NOT free speech!  

Tired of nonstop lying political TV and radio ads? All of you who failed to vote AGAINST the Tea Party infested reactionary Republicans and corporatist, sold-out Democrats have only yourselves to blame! For it is YOU, through your inaction,  who enabled the richest 1% minority to game our political system in its own favor and turn it against US, the 99% MAJORITY!

Tired of a do-nothing Congress whose members only work a 3 day week, take junkets overseas at taxpayer expense, have lengthy adjournments, get paid nearly $175,000 a year to accomplish nothing, and fail to pass many badly-needed bills? It is YOU who don’t vote who are enabling such shenanigans! Tired of worthless witch hunts and congressional hearings which seem to drone on endlessly and accomplish nothing except to freely spend taxpayer dollars? Those of you who don’t vote have really nothing to complain about – after all, YOU haven’t been doing YOUR job by voting, so why should you expect your Representatives or Senators to do theirs?

THINK about it, people:
Do you want to abolish Medicare and Medicaid?
Then don’t vote; let the backward-looking libertarian Republicans gain control of the Senate and your wish will come true.
Do you want the STATE to dictate what you can and can’t do with YOUR body?
Then don’t vote: let the backward-looking Republicans gain control of the Senate this year, and the Presidency in 2016, and your wish will come true.
Do you want us to become involved in yet another very long, very costly, and very bloody war in the Middle East, perhaps this time with Iran?
Then don’t vote this year, and let more paranoid, bloodthirsty, and pro-war neocon far-right Republicans come to power, and spend us to oblivion with gigantic  new military / industrial complex purchases, which will actually make us weaker rather than stronger due to the severe drain they will place on funds needed to repair and modernize our deteriorating infrastructure. Also, you’ll be guaranteeing that we will be on a continual war footing for at least the next generation or two.
Do you want the minimum wage to be abolished, and do you favor the rich being able to set YOUR wages at about $4 per hour?
Then don’t vote: allow the backward-looking, pro-rich libertarian Republicans and bought-out, corporatist Democrats to abolish labor unions and have the so-called “free market” establish your rate of pay.
Do you favor greater tax subsidies for wealthy, multinational corporations and even larger tax cuts for the rich?
Then don’t vote, and allow the backward-looking, libertarian Republicans and sold-out, corporatist Democrats  the chance to pass worthless legislation like this!
Do you want to allow fracking to pollute our air, water, and damage our cropland?
Then don’t vote, and cause the backward-looking, libertarian Republicans and their Koch Brothers-financed billionaire allies to completely buy out our Federal Government and dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, along with many other important government regulatory watchdogs designed to protect us. This way, you can ensure that your children’s children (if they survive), will be certain to grow up in a world loaded with dirty, filthy, contaminated water,  sooty, unbreathable air, and filled with respiratory distress, food poisoning, and cancers.
Do you want a world frought with man-made droughts, record tornadoes and hurricanes, flash foods. and crop failures?
Then don’t vote, and permit the backward-looking, science-hating, climate change-denying  libertarian Republicans to gain total control of our government. They will show you their jaundiced world of profit at all costs – but it will be a world filled with suffering, nearly dead people.
Do you want us to suffer a nuclear plant meltdown like Chernobyl or Fukishima that will cause mutations and increased cancer levels among our population?
Then don’t vote, and allow bought-out, pro-nuclear Republicans and Democrats to enter Congress and push for an expansion in the use of nuclear energy. But don’t you dare complain when you suddenly are faced with an absence of edible plants or seafood due to unsafe radiation levels!

Is THIS the legacy you wish to leave to your children and grandchildren? If so, then merely walk away muttering “my vote doesn’t count anyway”  and just surrender everything to the greedy and very deluded jerks who place profits before people and the wants of the few before the needs of the many. YOU may not think your vote matters, but it sure does to the 1%-ers who want to buy out and completely control our government! Why else would the billionaire Koch Brothers and Karl Rove be dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into lying TV and radio ads so they can fool people into voting for THEIR candidates?  

- OR – you can choose to do the sensible thing – your CIVIC DUTY –  and VOTE on Tuesday, Nov. 4! VOTE OUT as many corrupt, marrow-minded, self-centered, paranoid Tea Party”conservative” backward-looking Republicans and timid, compliant, corporatist Democrats as you can, and VOTE IN a huge number of forward-thinking, PROGRESSIVE candidates, be they Democrats or Independents, who actually believe the government has a responsibility to help poor, working poor, and middle class Americans rather than catering to the whims of the wealthy. For your vote definitely DOES matter, and, by electing enough forward-looking candidates, you WILL eventually begin to see government by the people actually working FOR the people!  

Readers, I warned you back in October of 2010 about the dire consequences that would occur should the Tea Party take control of Congress. This was done on October 29, 2010 over at my old site. Back then, I posted “… conservative Republicans and Tea Party candidates must NOT be elected and must NOT gain control of Congress or they will implement a dangerously radical and unworkable agenda that will have long lasting, dire consequences for YOU!

These people aren’t conservatives who are interested in preserving the best of what we have and wish to change it to make it better. No, these people are REACTIONARIES who want to turn America’s clock backward to the 1920s and 1890s, when government had no say in business or couldn’t prevent unfair or unsafe business practices, or could let business owners discriminate against you at will. A time when if you lost your job that was just too damn bad and you had to fend for yourself on your own, all by yourself. A time where employers could pay whatever they pleased, or could set long and exhausting hours and not have to be bothered with safe or comfortable working conditions. A time when the elderly had to live by themselves in poverty and utter deprivation. A time when, if you got sick and had no money, you suffered horribly and starved to death, because you couldn’t work. Is THIS what you want going forward? Is this progress, and the direction this country should be moving in? I don’t think so, and I don’t think you do, either.”
Regrettably, many voters failed to heed these warnings and decided to either vote Republican or stay home. The rest is history. Let us NOT make the same mistake this year! KEEP IN MIND: THE TEA PARTY-INFESTED REPUBLICANS MUST NOT GAIN CONTROL OF THE SENATE, BUT THEY WILL IF WE DON’T GET OUT TO VOTE! AND THE TIME TO PUNISH WEAK-KNEED, CORPORATIST DEMOCRATS IS DURING THE PRIMARIES, NOT IN THE GENERAL ELECTION! WE MUST DO NOTHING WHICH WOULD HELP THE REACTIONARY REPUBLICANS WIN THIS ELECTION!!! I beg you: DON’T LET THIS BECOME ANOTHER 2010! Instead, THIS year, be sure you VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!        

Posted in "free market" economics, commentary, corporate greed, Democratic Party, economics, extremists, labor unions, libertarians, Lying TV ads, Politics, Progressives, taxes, Tea Party, Tea Party-infested reactionary Republican Party, the 1%, THE MAJORITY 99%, Thom Hartmann, wealth disparity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Oct. 27, 2014  By Jack Jodell (in association with Fair And Unbalanced. com – see my Blogroll in the lower right column)  

Happy Monday, everybody! We’re almost at Halloween, so our gifted podcaster Burr Deming has come up with a scary topic to lead off this week’s doubleheader of podcasts – Ebola.

burr demingIn Burr’s own words: “The Ebola panic in the United States has dramatically outgrown the Ebola virus itself. Were it not for the death of a man initially turned away from Presbyterian Health Hospital in Dallas, the panic would be a massive exercise in comedy. The hysteria would have been hysterical.

Still, there are legitimate concerns.  

We need to re-examine our current system of private care. For-profit medical facilities can be expected, like any free enterprise institution, to be primarily motivated by profit. To weigh life and death risk against this year’s bottom line may not be the best method for the next possible pandemic.  Now may not be the time. It is the campaign season, and Republicans do like to campaign on fear. But there are signs the public is tiring of panic. The Texas Chainsaw Medi-scare may be approaching the closing credits.”      

Link to Podcast:
Link to Original Article:
 In this second podcast of this week’s doubleheader, entitled “POLITICS – THROWING MUD AGAINST THE WIND”, Burr illustrates how  burr deming
Burr states, “I’m okay with negative ads. If they don’t distort the facts, if they don’t outright lie, if they are pertinent, if they don’t grossly violate ethical boundaries, I’m okay with them.I am a distinct minority. Voters are sick of negative ads. Poll after poll has demonstrated this to the point where it has become conventional wisdom.  Still, negative ads work. Most of the time. Not always.  Theyespecially don’t work when they are so over-the-top voters end up laughing at the sinister accusations.”For example…  

Link to Podcast:
Link to Original Article:
                          UP NEXT (ON WEDNESDAY): “DON’T LET THIS BECOME ANOTHER 2010!”  
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Oct. 23, 2014  By Jack Jodell.

This is the third and final segment of excellent articles written by Larry Beinhart (author of Wag the Dog) which originally appeared in the Huffington Post nearly 4 years ago, vut still fits the bill today. I thank the Thom Hartmann Program on Free Speech TV for having turned me on to this excellent author. Below is “Class Warfare III – Losing Your Right to Fight Back” by Larry Beinhart which first appeared on 3/09/2011.  

“Everyone has heard of the woman who spilled coffee on herself and won $3 million from McDonald’s. Perhaps you recall an editorial similar to this one, which ran in theSan Diego Union Tribune: ‘A winning lottery ticket… absurd… a stunning illustration of what’s wrong with America’s civil justice system.’

I saw the injuries. One look was all it took. An 82-year-old woman with such severe burns on the insides of her upper thighs, inches from her vagina, that they required skin grafts. You can see it too, in the documentary Hot Coffee, when it’s released. Hot Coffee is the most exciting movie ever made about tort reform.

The jury found out that McDonald’s served their coffee at temperatures between 195 and 205 degrees, “high enough to peel skin off bone in seven seconds or less.” They found out from McDonald’s own files that there had been 700 previous burn incidents serious enough that people had made formal complaints. The woman in the case only wanted her medical bills paid for. The jury thought money might get McDonald’s to change its behavior, because burning at least 700 people hadn’t seemed to bother the company.

That’s what the courts and civil suits are for. To make whoever broke it pay for the damage that’s been done. The courts are also the only place where we — as ordinary, individual citizens — can force other individuals and corporations — tobacco, automobile, chemical, pharmaceutical, insurance, and banking — to open their books and divulge at least the recorded truth, often a history of previous offenses and cover-ups.

The courts are a way to make bad behavior — injurious, even murderous, acts — cost enough to make a corporation stop.

Without lawsuits we wouldn’t know that tobacco companies knew that cigarettes caused cancer even while they advertised them as healthy; that Firestone tires, combined with Ford SUVs, made them roll over; that the Catholic Church harbored and protected hundreds of pedophile priests; that Vioxx damaged people’s hearts and killed them.

Big business hates lawsuits. They hate being made accountable. They hate having to pay. So what can they do about it?

They hire PR companies to spread stories — frequently less than complete, often completely false — about frivolous lawsuits. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars promoting those tales. At the same time, almost every settlement contains a non-disclosure agreement. The offenders are free to trumpet their tales far and wide. The victims must stay silent.
The poster child for the victims of frivolous lawsuits is the noble physician. No less a person than ex-president George Bush has told us that it’s the trial lawyers who are driving good OB/GYNs out of their practices and depriving communities of decent medical care. It’s malpractice insurance (due to the frivolous lawsuits) that is making health care unaffordable. Almost everyone believes this story.

Then there are the facts.

“Medical malpractice kills more people than automobile and workplace accidents combined.” (The Medical Malpractice Myth, Tom Baker, University of Chicago Press, 2005). You would think, therefore, that we spend more on malpractice insurance than on automobile insurance. In 2003, doctors, hospitals, and other providers spent $11 billion on malpractice premiums. US businesses — not individuals — spent $27 billion on auto liability premiums and $57 for workers compensation premiums. “Medical societies own research showed that the real problem was too much medical malpractice, not too much litigation,” Baker writes in The Medical Malpractice Myth.

Litigation seems to be a particularly American disease. Why? Most lawsuits are for medical bills (the McDonald’s case), and for lost wages and the inability to work. Other industrialized countries have universal health care, more significant unemployment insurance, social welfare, and pension benefits. We don’t believe in collective responsibility and collective solutions. The people who do the damage are supposed to pay for it. The only way to make them pay is to sue the bastards.

The second story in Hot Coffee is about a child who was born with brain damage caused by medical errors. The family sued for enough to care for their son, even after they were gone, which is what they worried about the most. The jury figured what it would cost and awarded that amount.

But the corporations were a jump ahead. They made campaign contributions to “pro-business” legislators. They hired lobbyists to sell them on “tort reform.” There was now a cap on how much could be awarded, significantly less than what the jury determined, transferring the burden from the insurance companies to the victims, the parents. After the parents die, their son will become, in all likelihood, a ward of the state. His care will be paid for by taxes, transferring the burden from the insurance companies to us.

Such laws have been passed in many states. They’ve been challenged. A series of state courts held they were unconstitutional under state constitutions, or federal law, because they take away the rights of individuals to get justice.

What do you about that?

Replace the judges. In most state judges are elected. Judicial campaigns are — or used to be — pretty small, low-key campaigns. Five, ten, maybe twenty-five thousand dollars would do it. But then, Karl Rove, in his early days in Texas, came up with a great idea. Find “pro-business” judicial candidates, go to big businesses — tobacco, insurance companies, big banks and the rest of the usual offenders — and ask for big contributions. Then funnel the money through an organization with a name like Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse to avoid revealing who was really footing the bill and spend fifty, a hundred, five hundred thousand dollars — whatever it took — to elect judges who would vote reliably vote for big business.

It worked so well in Texas that the practice was exported. I recommend John Grisham’s novel, The Appeal. It’s devastating. It’s worse now that I know it’s essentially a true story, first, of how hard it is to bring a real lawsuit, to win it, and how a corporation can beat its responsibility by destroying a good judge and putting their own boy in.

The final story in Hot Coffee is about a young woman who went to work for Halliburton in Iraq. She was housed, in spite of promises and her complaints to the home office, among men. She was drugged and gang raped. When she tried to bringcharges, she was put in a shipping container with armed guards to keep her in. The Bush administration had set up a system in Iraq that made it virtually impossible for military contractors, as individuals, or the companies they worked for, to be held criminally liable. For anything. Her employment contract had taken away her right to sue.

When you hear about frivolous lawsuits and tort reform what that really means is taking away your ability to make right some harm that’s been done to you. The goal is to create a place where big corporations cannot be held responsible, even if they leave your child disabled for life, kill your spouse, or set you up to be raped.

That’s class warfare. And we’re losing.”

We CAN fight back, readers! We have to elect PROGRESSIVE candidates to all possible political offices on Nov. 4! SHARE THESE 3 POSTS OF THIS SERIES WITH AS MANY OF YOUR FRIENDS AS YOU CAN, AND MAKE SURE THEY AND YOU ALL VOTE ON NOV. 4!



Posted in FREE SPEECH TV, Thom Hartmann, wealth disparity | Tagged | 2 Comments


Oct. 20, 2014  By Jack Jodell (in association with Fair and – see my Blogroll at lower right) 

Happy start of the week to you, readers! Today, we’ll begin this week with a new doubleheader from our podcaster extraordinaire, Mr. Burr Deming of the phenomenal blog Faur and Burr will treat us to podcasts entitled “Joni Ernst and Smoke of Mass Destruction” and “Three Candidates and a Scandal Make an Interesting Campaign”.

BURR DEMINGIn the first podcast, Burr gives us some background on Iowa’s wacky far-right Republican Senate hopeful, Joni Ernst.In my mind, this hopelessly deluded candidate has either been smoking too much from DICK Cheney’s neocon pipe of war, or has been watching way too much Fox “News.” Regardless, she is showing a startling lack of critical thinking. Consequently, Burr tells us, “As buildings smoldered and the dead were counted, policy makers knew who was behind it. The idea that a comic book villain in a cave on the other side of the world could have directed such destruction was hopelessly naive. Osama bin Laden could wait. They had to go after the one who sponsored him, who had to have sponsored him. Saddam Hussein had to pay.

What they possessed in confidence, they lacked in evidence. They knew what they knew, but they couldn’t prove it. America had yo attack Iraq’s dictatorship, but America had to be convinced. The convincing was done with manufactured evidence. They lied because they would not be able to convince us of what they knew was the truth.

It never crossed their minds that they were wrong. Now a candidate for the United Stats Senate has revealed evidence thjat the deception was not a deception at all.  

Joni Ernst (R-IA), has revealed new intelligence, unknown to ordinary citizens.

You have simply got to hear it.”  Podcast link:

burr demingIn this second podcast, Burr tells us of a Democrat who can’t win;  a reactionary, Tea Party-infested Republican who shouldn’t win; and a retired, scandalized moderate Republican who just might win a Senate race. He states, “Most general elections are zero-sum affairs. Winning does not depend on a candidate being liked. Winning depends on a candidate being liked more than the opponent. Sometimes that just means being disliked less.

Negative campaigns produce two negatives. Voters dislike the candidate running negative ads. Voters come pretty close to hating the opponent who is the target of negative ads, All things being equal, the candidate voters dislike wins over the candidate voters hate. A lot of voters hold their noses and vote for the nasty guy who ran the ad they didn’t like yo see.

That can be true of any campaign with two credible candidates. None of the above is not a real option. One of the candidates will win.

In South Dakota, a third choice might just kick over the chessboard.”  

Link to podcast:


Link to Original Article:



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Oct. 18, 2014  By Jack Jodell.   

This is the second of three superb posts I am featuring here by Larry Beinhart (author of Wag the Dog) which first appeared nearly 4 years ago, yet still rings amazingly true today. I learned about this progressive author from watching the Thom Hartmann Program on Free Speech TV. Now, from a 2011  issue of the Huffington Post, here is Larry Beinhart’s excellent “Class Warfare – Part II”:                    

“Who are they? The richest one percent. And maybe the next nine percent. Who are we? All the rest. 

Which poses an interesting question: How has a tiny fraction of the population—which is diverse in many ways—arranged for their narrowest economic interests to dominate the economic interests of the vast majority? And, while they’re at it, endanger the economic well-being of our nation and bring the financial system of the whole world to the brink of collapse? 

They have money.

We have votes. Theoretically, that means we should have the government. Theoretically, government should be a countervailing force against the excesses of big money, take the long view for the good of the nation, and watch out for the majority, not to mention the poor and downtrodden.

What we actually have is one political party that is flat out the party of big money, and another party that sells out to big money.

Well, at least we have safety nets.

George Bush’s biggest regret is that he didn’t privatize Social Security. Why so eager? One reason is that it’s a big pile of money. Absolutely gigantic. It drives the bankers and brokers crazy that they can’t get their hands on it. The other is ideological hatred. Stephen Moore, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, contributing editor of theNational Review, and president of the Free Enterprise Fund, has written, ‘Social Security is the soft underbelly of the welfare state. If you can jab your spear through that, you can undermine the whole welfare state.’

Where Bush failed, Obama has now taken the first step. His new tax deal includes cuts on employee contributions to Social Security. Which means defunding, weakening, and setting a new precedent—that Social Security contributions can be cut to ‘stimulate’ the economy.

The crash has put the states in trouble. Rather than raise taxes, or borrow, several have decided on cuts to Medicaid, the program that services several categories of low-income people: pregnant women, children under 19, the blind, the disabled, and those who need nursing home care. If you’re a poor kid who needs a liver transplant, you can beg, rob a convenience store, or die.

This shift to the right is a triumph of a long and very well-funded propaganda campaign. Every time I read an op-ed in the New York Times and it says it was written by a ‘senior scholar’ from the Hoover Institute or a ‘fellow’ from the Cato Institute, I want to scream, ‘Please replace that with ‘paid whore funded by a psychotic right-wing billionaire’!’ Which is significantly more accurate.

Conservatives, in turn, have a great influence on the mainstream media. ‘As conservatives decried the media’s left bias, they saw their institutions mentioned in various media almost 8,000 times in 1995, while liberal or progressive think tanks received only 1,152 citations’ (How Conservative Philanthropies and Think Tanks Transform US Policy, by Sally Covington, Covert Action Quarterly, Winter 1998).

Their influence on the national media affects the whole national dialogue. Now, of course, they’ve taken the think-tank concept to a whole new level: Fox News.

What about the media? Aren’t journalists—outside of Fox News—supposed to be objective?

In journalism there is no objective reality. There are only objectively collated quotes. Quotes can only come from ‘valid’ sources. A journalist cannot look at tax cuts and compare them to economic results—job growth, changes in the median wage, and the like—and report that tax cuts do not create jobs. They can only quote politicians, like Bush and Obama, who say that tax cuts are a stimulus, and then look for someone of equal authority—or at least significant authority—to say the opposite, then go Chinese menu, two quotes from column A, one from column B. But what if there are no heavyweights from column B ready to go on record?

Here’s where it gets stranger than strange. A whole field—economics—has lost its way. This became obvious when 99.7 percent economists (that’s a made-up, but probably accurate, figure), failed to predict the crash of ’08. Failed to diagnose the housing bubble, failed to understand the derivatives bubble, and failed to realize that world’s biggest banks were all bankrupt.  

After the crash, they failed to cry out against the tax cuts that brought it on. They failed to come up with a way to solve the problems. Which, based on history, seems fairly obvious: raise taxes and spend the money on useful things that private industry can’t or won’t do, like hiring people.

Paul Krugman’s theory, loosely paraphrased, is that economists suffer from physics envy, which is like penis envy, but dumber. Economics is a social science, which is soft. Social scientists look at physics, the hardest of the hard sciences. They see lots of math and formulas. They imagine that if they have lots of math, they will get hard too. In order to create mathematical models out of the messy complexity of human activity, they presume perfect markets. So long as the economy is stable, that frequently works.

Faith in the perfection of markets promotes deregulation and tax cuts. That destabilizes the economy. The economists, therefore, help create the disasters that don’t exist in their mathematical models.

Charles Ferguson, who directed the superb documentary Inside Job, is much more cynical. He believes that academic economists, like doctors who shill for pharmaceutical companies, are on the take from big-money interests. He does a marvelous job of demonstrating exactly that in the film.

Indeed, most of academia—except, perhaps, for English departments—have become part of the business, banking, military, and political nexus.

The ivory tower was supposed to be above the mucky world. That was one of our final defenses in the class war—a place devoted to knowledge for its own sake and truth just because it was true.

Now, universities pursue truths that someone will provide a grant for.

Tomorrow’s truth is what’s paid for today,”.

We MUST sweep Congress completely clean of all those government-hating, obstructionist, corrupt, Tea Party-infested reactionary Republicans who are aiding the wealthy but opposing the middle class and poor! The ONLY way to do this is to elect PROGRESSIVE candidates, and the ONLY way to do that is to VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE on Nov. 4!!!!! 

PART III WILL BE FEATURED IN MY THURSDAY, OCT. 23 POST – watch for it next week!


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Oct. 16, 2014  By Jack Jodell.  

In my last solo post on Oct. 9, I referenced to an article I heard of on the Thom Hartmann program by Larry Beinhart (author of Wag the Dog) which had appeared in the Huffington Post. This is another of Mr. Beinhart’s fine posts, and, though it is nearly 4 years old, it still rings totally true today and definitely deserves a second look! REMEMBER THIS AS YOU STEP INTO THE VOTING BOOTH ON NOV. 4, AND VOTE ACCORDINGLY, READERS! Here is “CLASS WARFARE”, by Larry Beinhart, which first appeared on  1/12/2011.      

“We’re in a class war.
It’s the corporations and the very wealthiest against all the rest of us.
We’re losing.

In 1962 the wealthiest 1% of American households had 125 times the wealth of the median household. Now it’s 190 times as much.
Is that a case of a rising tide lifting all boats, just a few of them a little bit higher?

From 1950 to 1965 median family income rose from $24,000 a year to $38,000 a year. That’s close to 4% a year, close to 60% over 15 years.
That’s a rising tide.
In 1964 there was a big tax cut. That’s when things started to slow down for average people. By the mid-seventies the rise of the middle class stalled.

From 1975 to 2010 median family income rose $42,936 to $49,777. That’s not quite 16% over 25 years, less than six-tenths of one percent per year.

Briefly, when taxes went up under Clinton, median income rose, peaked at $52,587 in 1999, and then, after Bush cut taxes, declined.

Keep in mind that this is median family income. In the fifties and sixties, family income was usually earned by a single person. Today, family income normally comes from at least two people.
At the same time, income for the richest soared.

In 1979 the richest 1% of Americans earned 9% of all US income. Now they earn 24% of all US income. One percent of Americans earn nearly one fourth of all the income in the country.

Then came the crashes of 2001 and 2008 and the recessions that followed.
The crash hasn’t changed anything. Things have become worse.
From 1990 to 2005, adjusted for inflation – the minimum wage is down 9%, production workers’ pay is up only over fifteen years 4.3%.

At the same time, the rich get richer:
Corporate profits are up 106.7%.
The S&P 500 is still up 141.4% since 1990.
CEO compensation is up 282%.

Call it transfer of wealth. Or call it class warfare.

What’s wrong with the rich getting richer?
Timothy Noah, in The United States of Inequality (Slate, 9/30/10), wrote,
‘Income distribution in the United States [has become] more unequal than in Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Uruguay, Argentina, and Ecuador.’

Take a look at that list.

Countries with wide income inequality don’t lead the world in research, technology, industry, and innovation. They’re unstable. They have large underclasses. They have high rates of crime. They have little opportunity.
In such countries the rich have disproportionate power. They take control of all aspects of society, especially government, the police, and the judiciary. They become self perpetuating.

If current trends continue, ‘the United States by 2043 will have the same income inequality as Mexico.’ (Tula Connell, Mar 12, 2010, AFL-CIO Now).
Countries with high levels of income inequality are third world countries.

Here’s how regular people can deal with cultures of high inequality.

The primary, and best, weapon is a progressive tax structure.
As people move up the income ladder they pay a higher rate at each rung. Unearned income -from dividends and capital gains – is taxed at least as high as earned income (money that people actually work for.)
Tax cuts for the wealthy mark, with great precision, the decline in fortunes of ordinary Americans.
Tax cuts for the wealthy mark, with equal precision, the increase in inequality.
We had a chance to slow the process by letting the last round, the Bush tax cuts, expire.
We’ve lost that round.

People can become educated and move on up.
Back in the 60’s, when I was growing up, New York City had free universities. The burgeoning SUNY system charged $400 tuition a semester. The minimum Regents scholarship was $400 a semester. If a student didn’t get one, he or she could easily earn enough to pay their tuition with a summer job. The same held true for most state university systems across the country.
Today, students have to borrow.
The median student debt for an undergraduate degree – forget about a doctorate, law school, and med school – is $20,000. The first, and truest, lesson you learn when you go to college is how to be in service to the banks.
We’ve lost that battle.
What does it mean?
‘Children from low-income families have only a 1 percent chance of reaching the top 5 percent of the income distribution, versus children of the rich who have about a 22 percent chance.
‘Children born to the middle quintile of parental family income ($42,000 to $54,300) had about the same chance of ending up in a lower quintile than their parents (39.5 percent) as they did of moving to a higher quintile (36.5 percent). Their chances of attaining the top five percentiles of the income distribution were just 1.8 percent.’
(Understanding Mobility in America, April 26, 2006, Tom Hertz, American University)

Working people can organize and form unions.
Unions do more than raise wages. They improve working conditions and safety. They provide protection against abuse, intimidation, and wrongful dismissal. Non-union employers have to compete, partly to keep out unions, so the existence of unions helps everyone. Unions also have political power, they spend money and mobilize their members to vote.
Businesses have become very good at beating unions. And they’re getting better at it. According to Business Week, (“How Wal-Mart Keeps Unions at Bay,” 10/28/2002),’over the past two decades, Corporate America has perfected its ability to fend off labor groups.’
In the 1940’s a third of private sector employees were unionized. Now it’s down to just 7.2%.
Unions only remain strong in the public sector, where membership is 37%.
If you read the papers or watch the news, you will see an anti-public service union story almost everyday. These are the people who teach your kids, pick up the trash, clean the sewers, drive the buses and trains, they’re the police and fireman. The stories will tell you that their pension fund liabilities will bankrupt the states. That it’s unionized teachers who have ruined our schools. Charter schools – without unions – are the new favorite charity for billionaires.

When a country is, or becomes, a third world country, the other thing people can do is run. To some place richer and freer. Like America.
But when America becomes Mexico, where you gonna run to?”

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE to unseat the reactionary, Tea Party-infested Republicans on NOV. 4!!!!!



Posted in economics, Thom Hartmann, wealth disparity | Tagged , | Leave a comment


Oct. 12, 2014  By Jack Jodell (in association with Fair and – see my Blohroll at lower right). 

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day, everybody! This being Monday, I am happy to present another pair of a regular series of superb podcasts by our podcaster extraordinaire, Mr. Burr Deming. Burr is also the creator and chief author of the excellent and always thought-provoking blog known as Fair and Unbalanced. Please visit there and review his backlog of literally thousands of insightful posts!

Today, Burr focuses first on the latest Mitt Romneyisms. Of this pathological BURR DEMINGliar, Burr observes, “News reports, analysts, and pundits flooded networks and print media with accounts of the Romney interview. It was  ig news.

The most significant item was mentioned in the interview, but was lost in the coverage.  It was overridden by the hot, hot question raised by the interview. Will Mitt run again?

News focuses on the unusual. In another era, the confession would have dominated. Today, it is scarcely worth mentioning.”

Podcast link

Article link:

burr demingNext, Burr asks “How Has our President Been Doing? On this topic, he states, “My conservative friend was, as usual, blunt.

‘Mr. Deming, Do you find President Obama to be a man of his word who governs with integrity and without misdirection and outright lies?’  

It seemed a shame to avoid such a direct question from such a good friend. So I invited him for a quiet stroll through the record.”

Podcast link:


Posted in Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney's LIES, Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment