Sunday, July 15, 2012

American Angst
This week a fine officer of the law out of the District of Columbia made comments about shooting the first lady. Apparently he even showed a picture of the gun he would use. The officer has not been named yet and the Secret Service will follow up. Bad enough that there's a gentleman that's been hired to "protect and serve" who's decided to do the opposite, but reading comments at sites that have picked up the story once again shows how belittling and ignorant some followers of the right wing machine are.
The story is hearsay so far, and conservatives are screaming it's a political move. Guess we'll find out soon.
Michelle is being attacked by the right. Something as simple as planning an event at a Florida high school is more than they can handle. They don't want political events in schools, even though the high school in question allows anyone to rent the facility, it isn't costing Florida's taxpayers any money and school is out for the summer.   
A reminder for those not paying attention, Romney endorses the Ryan budget plan. If he is elected, everyone who is 55 or younger will lose. "The Path to Prosperity" would eliminate Medicaid by 2022. All those who were born after 1956 would end up on a voucher system that would benefit the usual suspects; corporations and the rich. The federal government would save over time since each state will receive a block grant that is less than what the feds would spend on the current system. Meaning the states will have to come up with more income, or start shutting down other services. The nice part is that in 2022 the feds will reduce the block grants by excluding payments for acute care services for the elderly. The plan is that the elderly will supplement their coverage with a personal medical savings plan.
Who's killing Grandma? Apparently Alan Grayson was right on the mark when he explained the conservative's plan for health care. Part one, "Don't get sick," part two, "if you do get sick, die quickly." I miss Alan.
The plan also talks about closing tax loopholes, but doesn't designate which loopholes will be closed. Maybe one of those loopholes will be your mortgage tax deduction?
It has not been a good week for Romney. Apparently the Bain Capital argument that the democrats have been pushing has finally found a foothold; Romney says he left in 1999, the books show he was the CEO and getting paid up until 2002. Bain, who has been called the, "pioneers of outsourcing," will not be the campaign highlight that he was hoping for.
The wait in Wisconsin is over. A month after the recall elections democrats finally are in control of the Senate. State Senator Van Wanggaard finally has admitted defeat after a recount and a threat to sue. At least one part of Wisconsin's legislature is now  out of tea party hands.
Snap Socialism
I've mentioned the Farm Bill in the past, but did not dwell on the statistics and what they mean to low-income Americans; hopefully this will put it in perspective.
On Thursday the House Agricultural Committee approved 16.5 billion in funding cuts affecting 45 million Americans. The number of Americans using the program has seen recent jumps in numbers due to the recession. Think about this; when we need help, our government turns their back. Being unemployed for the majority is not a goal or a scam; it is the direct result of too big to fail banks and their friends on Wall Street that gambled and lost with many of the unemployed's hard earned wages. Since I haven't seen the rush to prosecute CEO's for the crime, I take it this is the new America.
Remembering that this effects children, the elderly, single parent families and even veterans is a big part of the discussion. 2 to 3 million individuals will lose their benefits entirely, another 500 million households will have benefits cut and 300,000 children will lose school lunches. 
The SNAP payouts equal $1.50 a meal for recipients. 
Not a pleasant thought for many of us, but Charles Krauthammer from FOX news explains the conspiracy to us all; "the president feels it is a success to get as many people dependent on the government as possible." He goes on saying, "he, (Obama), is trying to get people to accept handouts and not be so proud, destroying our national aversion to handouts."
Yes sir, starving Americans would rather watch their children die than take any government handouts. We've worked, paid taxes, contributed to welfare for the rich and now you can bury us.
American Exceptionalism all the way.
Education Enemies
Innovative attacks on educating children continue. Romney has stated several times during his campaign that when elected he would end public funding for PBS; they should get their money from advertisers like everyone else.
Nice move. If this seems harmless in comparison to all the other social needs we face, think about it this way. PBS has children shows. Shows that do not advertise and only teach. The benefit to this is that you as a parent don't have to listen to your children expressing their thoughts on what cereal they want for breakfast, what clothes they should be wearing to school, what toys they need to have and so on. You have a safe haven, a place where children can watch Sesame street and learn how to read or do simple math; or even more importantly, how to interact socially. All without corporate america's influence.
That's what the problem is of course, cartoons and children's shows on other networks are homes to corporations; where the most important thought to be taught is consumerism.
Childhood Cancelled
Two words, "Zero Tolerance." Laws that have been put in place over the recent years are helping the school to prison pipeline. Taking advantage of disadvantaged children, zero tolerance laws let young ones get a taste for jail early on in life. 
Minor offenses are now treated as punishable by law. Take the fairly current case of Salecia Johnson, a 6 year old charged with assault. Yeah, you heard me right, 6 years old. Salecia was going to be charged with a felony assault until someone pulled their head out of the sand and decided that might be going to far. Still Salecia ended up being expelled for the year.
Salecia had a temper tantrum in school. Her tantrum included tossing a shelf and hitting the school principal in the leg. Besides the assault she was also charged with damaging school property. The police were called, and when they arrived they found Salecia on the floor crying. They went over to her and she "resisted" their help. She was handcuffed and taken away.
A 6 year old having a temper tantrum hauled away in cuffs, amazing.
I've heard different reports on young ones being hauled away. Sometimes they are so small that they can't handcuff their wrists because of how small the children are; they move the handcuffs up to their upper arms to get a fit.
Conservative laws make us barbarians.
Jesus Juice
Watching conservatives trying to legislate god and country is a full time job. So many bills that try to remove the separation of church and state, you'd think it was all we had to worry about. 
In Florida, Governor Scott signed a bill allowing prayer at graduations, sporting events and assemblies. The legislation is called the Inspirational Messages in School bill. Proselytizing in public schools is the law of the land. 
Romney has been considering pledging support for an amendment or legislation on putting god back into schools. Ten commandments hanging everywhere, crosses up and down the roads, god in our history books and whatever else that would entail after getting rid of the first amendment. Conservatives really only like parts of the constitution, just like their bibles.
There is only one reason why god needs to be in any school. Since there are churches everywhere that will teach you more than you wanted to know about the magic bastard, and parents can teach their children about the magic bastard as well, the only purpose is to proselytize.
Religion is slowly losing its hold on America. There are a few Facebook pages on bringing god back into schools, yet even on that massive social network, the "children for putting god back into school" has only 54 likes, and their adult counterparts has only a little over a thousand. Not going anywhere with the general public it would seem. 
Suicidal Soldiers
More soldiers are killing themselves than are being killed in combat. This year soldiers are killing themselves here at home every day. In the first 155 days of the year, 154 soldiers have died. Forty seven percent of these losses are under the age of 25.
Dismal statistics. Even if you hate war, it is hard to dislike the children that fight them.
Apparently soldiers who have returned home have problems even driving down the streets. Years of waiting for a roadside bomb to go off seems to permanently reside in their minds, even while back in the states.
Besides the memories of war, the military's self-reliance training appears to get in the way of finding help for these men. 
Final Fixation
Voting Misconceptions:
A constant refrain in many posts here, and elsewhere, deals with this question; "why do voters vote against there own best interests?" Possibly I don't understand what is being stated because believe me, people do not vote against their best perceived interests.
Whenever the statement is made, it seems to pertain mainly to the poor. Yet statistically, if you are talking about the poor, 86% or so are minorities. They are not voting against themselves. The vast majority voted for our current president, and will do so again.
You may think this is about race, and to a certain point it is, but even race did not keep poor whites from voting for Obama. In 2008 sixty percent of white voters making under $50,000 voted for Obama.
So who is voting against themselves? 
I can not find any evidence that people generally vote against their best interests, they do at times, but not always. Even in the $50,000 to 100,000 income levels, Obama managed to split the white vote. 
You could say that 50% of middle class white America voted against their best interest, if you think the middle class is better served by democrats. The only real part race plays is privilege, and it does play a large part. Whites have it good in this country; they tend to have better lives because of that privilege. Better jobs and education, and they want to keep it that way. Yet still, you could also say that 50% voted against that thought, thinking correctly that it will serve them best to vote against the rich. 
I think we should start looking at this differently. Conservatives have framed the discussion in the last several election cycles as us against them. Workers against the freeloaders, workers against the unions, theists against the secularists, family against the LGBT community; and they are losing support every cycle.
Whites are increasingly voting for democrats, and even a black candidate is not enough to stop the surge of middle America against the rich. I've enjoyed seeing bumper stickers supporting Obama on cars being driven by older white gents and ladies; we're not all crazy.
So even though we dislike the local elections that come out of rigged districts, I think we should be encouraged that as a whole, Americans are getting the message. It is only a majority of the rich that totally embrace conservatism, and though that may be enough to defeat Obama because of Citizen's United, I think not. 
Lets face it, though there are pockets of enraged white idiots, we seem to be coming around nicely, albeit slowly.

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