California: 8 Weeks Behind In Paying Temporary Disability To 20,000 Sick Californians! Explain This, Director Harris!
On November 30, 2012, a representative of the California Employment Development Department (EDD) reported to me that the state has a backlog of 20,000 short term disability (SDI) claims. The representative refused to give me her name, but stated that the California EDD is 8 weeks behind in the processing of claims. She was unable to give a reason for the backlog and offered no date that the problem would be resolved. In fact, "Miss Unnamed State Worker" hung up on me when I questioned her further. In the meantime, 20,000 sick people are waiting for overdue payments. What are they living on? How are they surviving? Pamela Harris, the current director of California's Employment Development Department has some explaining to do! Ms. Harris runs the office that handles all claims in the state for unemployment, as well as all claims for temporary disability. Those who are no longer getting a regular paycheck from work depend on this to live and payments are not forthcoming. This includes anyone in the state who is out of work on FMLA, such as new mothers, or anyone seriously ill.
In October, Ms. Harris was accused of having a backlog in the processing of unemployment claims and was accused of providing false unemployment numbers to the government. She denied that accusation vehemently, but unemployment checks WERE delayed. Now this? How will Ms. Harris try to spin this, when her own state employees are telling claimants, "Too bad, so sad that you have nothing to live on; nothing for medications, food, rent, doctors. There is nothing we can do to speed it up!"
SDI (State Disability Insurance) is the program in California that replaces up to 52% of a worker's income when they become temporarily disabled and are unable to work. The benefit ranges from a minimum of $50.00 to a maximum of $1011.00 per week. California workers see a deduction from every paycheck which goes towards this insurance policy, and right now, disabled workers in California are NOT getting payments in a timely manner because of this backlog.
Eight weeks is a very long time with no money. It is even longer when you are sick, Ms. Harris!
As for unemployment claims in the state, it should come as no surprise that it has also been reported to me that California is running behind in the processing of those claims, as well.
What say you, Ms. Harris?
Yes, The GOP Believes In Real Change
Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the entirety of Team Rape, otherwise known as the Republican party, are touting "Real Change". If you want their "Real Change", this is what a vote for their "Real Change" will get you:
•Romney, Ryan and Team Rape propose a 4.6 Trillion dollar tax cut that benefits the wealthy to a tune of $250,000 per year and saddles the middle class with higher taxes. They promise to lower your tax rate, but they will also do away with all of your deductions and credits. So, stop for a moment and think: Your rate may be lower, but you actually will pay more. Take a look at the non-partisan report of The Tax Policy Center. Is this the "Real Change" that you want?
•Romney, Ryan and Team Rape, as late as today, are talking limited government. Romney and Ryan have both made commitments to privatize every government program possible. Those programs include education, FEMA, Social Security. The programs that they are unable to privatize, they will do away with. So, your Social Security will rest on the rise or fall of the stock market, disaster relief will rely on private companies with whom your individual states have contracted. Education? Romney and his cohorts want student loans back in the hands of the big banks; with the banks making the profits and students paying more. They want to slash Pell Grants. They want all of education to be run by corporations, and because they believe that corporations are people, that is good for our children? Is this the "Real Change" that you want?
•Romney, Ryan and Team Rape say they will create more jobs. Look at their record. The Republican Congress has turned down almost every plan to create jobs, including work programs for Veterans. Romney says he knows how to create jobs. Look at his record. He created jobs, alright, but they were overseas and came with low wages and no benefits. The jobs that Romney always points to in the US are the jobs at Staples. Let's see, how much do those jobs pay? The average Staples wage is $10.00 per hour. Is this the "Real Change" that you want?
•Romney, Ryan and Team Rape will decimate Medicare and Medicaid. Look up the Ryan budget. Read it, because every single Republican, including Romney, has endorsed it. The voucherization of Medicare is estimated to cost each senior $6 thousand dollars more a year. Considering that the average Social Security (SSA.org) check is well under $1300.00 per month, seniors will be financially destroyed. They will have $700 per month to live on. They plan to slash Medicaid so much that Kaiser estimates up to 20 million people will lose coverage, most of them seniors and children. Is this the "Real Change" that you want?
•Romney, Ryan and Team Rape do not believe that women should receive equal pay for equal work. They do not believe in a minimum wage. They believe that OSHA (safety for workers in the workplace) should not exist. They are of the opinion that any regulations designed to protect workers' lives and safety are a detriment to the free market system. Corporations would never let workers get hurt; they're nicer than that... Is this the "Real Change" that you want?
•Romney, Ryan and Team Rape do not believe in Obamacare. By vowing to repeal Obamacare, they are siding with those who believe that people with pre-existing conditions should be denied coverage and should be charged higher rates. By repealing Obamacare, they are guaranteeing that women, just because they ARE women, will pay more for coverage than men. By repealing Obamacare, children up to 26, almost 3 million of them, will lose their coverage. The doughnut hole for seniors, now closed, will come back. Preventive care covered with no co-pay, will again become expensive. I could go on for several pages here, but won't. I just ask: Is this the "Real Change" that you want?
•Romney, Ryan and Team Rape are relying on George W. Bush's advisers to teach them foreign policy. No doubt, if they win, the very men who advocated for and lied about the war in Iraq will be in the White House again, advocating for more pre-emptive wars. Is this the "Real Change" that you want?
•Romney, Ryan and Team Rape do not believe that any woman should have the power to choose. They are saying otherwise, but please, please, please, do some research. The Republican party platform pushes for the Personhood Amendment. It is on pages 13 and 14 of the Platform document. That means any woman who gets an abortion could be charged with murder. No exceptions! It also means that most forms of hormonal birth control (the pill), will be outlawed. They advocate government small enough to drown in Grover Norquist's bathtub, but big enough to get inside of every woman's uterus. Is this the "Real Change" that you want?
I have thought about Romney, Ryan and Team Rape alot. When I first saw the signs that said, "Real Change", I thought they were finally admitting that Romney "really changes" his positions daily, but no such luck. Instead of that, the "Real Change" they promote are "Really Bad Changes" as described above. If those are the "Real Changes" that you want, vote for Romney, Ryan and Team Rape. Go ahead! Vote against your best interests and mine.
Birth Control Pills Are Incompatible With The Personhood Amendment
What is the Personhood Amendment? The simple answer is that the Personhood Amendment says that when fertilization occurs, a new human being has come into being. That human being has all of the rights that every other human being has. Those rights cannot be taken away and if anyone was to try, they would be held criminally accountable. Destroying a fertilized egg becomes murder and that is the reason that the birth control pill would be outlawed.
While birth control pills are not intended to destroy fertilized eggs, they do. The pill is designed to stop the release of eggs from the ovaries, and if eggs are not released, they cannot be fertilized, but it is common knowledge that some eggs get released and can be fertilized. The hormones in birth control pills cause the lining of the uterus to become too thick or too thin for any fertilized egg to attach itself to the uterine wall and if a fertilized egg cannot attach, the fertilized egg cannot become a fetus.
The IUD acts in much the same way, at the very least making the uterine wall incapable of holding a fertilized egg.
But the Personhood Amendment only concerns itself with fertilization. Once that egg is fertilized, whether it attaches or not, the Personhood Amendment says the egg is a person. Doing anything to stand in the way of that egg from attaching to the uterus becomes murder.
Of Rubbers And Rhythm
Abortion is the reason that there has been a push for the adoption of the Personhood Amendment in the United States. According to most opinion polls in this country, roughly half of the country supports a woman's right to choose abortion and the other half are opposed to abortion rights. Of those opposed to abortion, many support abortion in cases of rape, incest or the health of the mother. The Personhood Amendment would not allow for those exceptions.
Along with outlawing hormonal contraception, the Personhood Amendment would criminalize any and all abortions in this country, and for the people who are opposed to abortion in any and all cases, the loss of contraception rights seems to be collateral damage. Those who support the Personhood Amendment have repeatedly said, in their defense of the Personhood Amendment, that they are not opposed to contraception, yet, when faced with the science that hormonal contraception can and does cause abortions, they have no clear answers.
Years ago, before condoms were called condoms, they were called rubbers and since the Personhood Amendment would effectively transport us back in time, the old world word 'rubbers' is appropriate. Rubbers would still be legal and the rhythm method of contraception would again become the norm. Neither are extremely effective. Male condoms, according to the American Pregnancy Association, have a 15% failure rate. That means that 15 out of every 100 women whose partners use condoms will become pregnant. WebMD says that the rhythm method is only 75% to 87% effective. You can do the math.
The Politics of Personhood
The two major political parties in the U.S. have differing views on the Personhood Amendment. Democrats are opposed to it and the Republicans endorse it so much that they included it as a part of their Republican platform.
The Ability To Plan Your Family Is The Economy, Stupid!
A full 28% of all of the women in this country use hormonal contraceptives. Out of those women who are of childbearing age, roughly aged 15 to 44, 68% use hormonal contraceptives. Most do so in an effort to plan their families.
I have made an attempt here to give the facts minus too much personal opinion, but the facts have been given. I go on record to say that it is my firm belief that the freedom to plan a pregnancy is not just about should we have a baby or not. It is also about the economics. Babies cost money, pregnancy costs money, childcare costs money and women being out of work costs money. Just how many American families can afford to have or even want to have an unlimited number of children?
In the 1950's, most families averaged 3.8 children. The average today is 2 or slightly under. One of the reasons the birth rate has decreased is because the pill became widely available in the 1960's. Today, the continent of Africa is the only area in the world that averages more than 3 children per family. Why? The pill is largely unavailable.
Passage of the Personhood Amendment guarantees to end any reproductive choice that is currently enjoyed by all American women and it is not just about abortion.
Refusing To Sign Up Will Kill The Poor
GOP governors, most notably, Rick Scott of Florida, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas, and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, are proud to tell their constituents that they will refuse to implement the Affordable Care Act in their states. Their refusal to accept Medicaid money from the federal government will effectively kill many of the poor people who reside in their states. They are in essence saying, "We don't want you to have medical care when you need it, and we do not care if you die!" In fact, Republican governors sound like they would prefer it if the poor in their states WOULD die...
These governors are the Red Menace of the 21st century and they must be condemned for their lack of compassion, as well as for their stupidity. With the implementation of the Medicaid provision of the Affordable Care Act just around the corner, these fools have decided that they do not want their residents to reap any benefits that would come with access to health care or medications.
"Let them eat cake!" will now be replaced with, "Let them die!" and Republican governors, as well as Republicans at large, love it!
Talk about death panels!
"Hello, This Is Peggy..." Who Knew US Health Insurance Companies Have Peggy From The Philippines On The Payroll?
Blue Shield of California recently closed its last California call center located in Northern California. With no warning and no explanation, all phone calls from doctors and hospitals were re-routed to call centers in the Philippines. Trying to get patients' medical bills paid has always been difficult, but now that Peggy and Pebbles and Bepper (Pepper) are answering the phone, it is next to impossible. The language barrier is significant and the customer service deficit is serious. These workers are trained to deny and delay legitimate payment, by any means necessary.
Offshoring and outsourcing are not a new phenomenon with U.S. health insurers. Every major health insurer in this country participates. Cigna, Aetna, Health Net, United Health Care, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, etc., have all shipped American jobs overseas by the thousands and they continue to do so on a daily basis.
Health care premiums go through the roof every year and your health insurer becomes richer and richer, and a big part of the profit comes from firing American workers and replacing them with poorly trained foreign workers.
Don't like American jobs being sent to the Philippines, India, Pakistan and Canada? The jobs that have traditionally supported American families are still disappearing, even in today's anti-outsourcing environment and America's insurers play a big role.
Foreign Nationals Don't Just Get American Jobs, They Get ALL Of Your Personal Information, Too!
In order to answer questions about your medical bills, "Peggy" has to have all of your personal information, such as your name, address, phone number, social security number, employer, health history, diagnoses, medical treatments and much, much more.
Because I am a health care worker in the U.S., I am bound by all of the privacy laws that protect American patients. If I, as a Patient Financial Services analyst for a hospital, breach your information, I can and should go to jail. If, however, I am "Peggy" in the Philippines and I steal your identity or use your medical information in some nefarious way, I will not be punished. The U.S. has no enforcement powers in the Philippines, India, Pakistan or Canada.
Outourcing Means No Privacy Protection
It's Not Torture, Really
The GOP, long led by Dick Cheney the Inquisitor, has made a persistent case for the water boarding of suspected terrorists. Enhanced interrogation, they call it. Perhaps, the use of enhanced interrogation should be expanded to include certain key GOP members of Congress who ceaselessly obstruct any and all efforts to improve the economy and create jobs. They are in essence, economic terrorists, and they are united economic terrorists, so why not?
While posing for cameras and spouting rehearsed talking points is common in the halls of Congress, truth telling is rare, indeed. How about a little coerced truth, straight from the mouths of the Republican reps that love cameras.
Today's most contemptible member of Congress is clearly Darrell Issa and a little water-boarding for him might be a good thing, but I doubt it will work on someone who is pathological. He has spent so many hours being interrogated by cops during his many arrests that he is most likely immune to waterboarding, too. He is clearly an economic terrorist. He is trying to put 200,000 postal workers out on the streets! Let's just grant him a pass on the waterboarding and assume everything that comes out of his mouth is less than truthful...
So let's start with the Weeper of the House, John Boehner, but go easy, because he cries like a little girl:
•Why do you oppose any and all legislation that would increase taxes on the very wealthy?
Because they are the people who pay the big bucks to keep me in office, and they have made me a millionaire, plus that would mean I would have to vote to increase my own taxes. I am not that stupid.
•Why do you oppose any legislation that could help to create jobs?
Well, hey, that hurts! Okay, I'll tell you. If jobs improve, then nobody's gonna be mad at Obama anymore, and then I won't get to be Speaker of the House. It's our job to keep people out of work and angry.
•Who is paying you to do these things?
Not the 99%, that's for sure! I was a 99%'er when I was working in that hell-hole of a bar my family owns, but now I've got it wired. The 99% pay my federal salary and perks, and the 1% buy my loyalty and votes.
•Why are you always crying?
Have you ever had your testicles in a vise? My buddy, Grover--you know how he is--anytime he thinks I'm about to go rogue, he tightens the grip. And those Koch brothers, they pitch in and man the screws when Grover gets tired. By the way, you gonna do this to Eric? Talk about a little weasel...he wants my job!
Yes, Johnny, your buddy Eric Cantor is next, but he looks a little fragile. For him, we'll just use an electrified polygraph. It's kind of like that electrified fence you guys are all so big on.
•Eric, do you really believe the outrageous things you say?
•Why'd you answer so fast, Mr. Cantor?
You have me wired. I don't want any pain.
•But isn't that what you keep proposing for the citizens of this country?
Yes, but that's different because it's not me who's suffering the pain.
•Okay Eric, let's get to it. Who pays you to say things like, "We can't tax the job creators, the only way you will get FEMA aid is if we cut some other social program, the Occupy Movement is a mob. You understand the question?
Well, as you know, I kind of have an 'in' with the financial sector. My wife used to be a V.P. at Goldman-Sachs. Even now, I have an 'in'. The bank my wife currently works for actually got TARP funds, so if I have to answer, the financial sector pays me. We like to call it 'shared success'; kind of a little word play on 'shared sacrifice'. Yes, the financial sector butters my bread. As for the Occupy Movement Mob, until they showed up, we were winning the class-war because no one even knew there was a war going on. They have big mouths...and we're gonna shut 'em down!
•What about the FEMA comments?
Look, we cannot be rescuing people from man-made or natural disasters. My belief, they are on their own, unless of course, they want to trade on their future Medicare benefits--then we'll take a look. Geez, it's not like these people are banks! Now, the banks, they're another story. They need any help? I am right there for them!
•One more question, Mr. Cantor. What about John Boehner? He thinks you want his job. Any truth to that?
That cry baby! The tan man, we call him. Well, to tell you the truth (since I have to), You bet I want his job! Wouldn't mind having the turtle's job either...
•The turtle? Who is the turtle?
My good friend, Mitch McConnell. You know, the Senator.
The Turtle And Eddie Munster
So now, let's spend a little time with good ole' Mitch McConnell. We probably don't have to water board him or hook him up to a polygraph. He's more than happy to tell the truth with little or no prodding.
•So, Senator, why have you been so stubborn in your refusal to even hear anything the President has to say?
My goal, our goal, is to make Obama a one-term President.
•But if you would work together, don't you think the economy and the citizens of this country would be in a better place economically?
•So, you are purposely hurting the American people?
•Tell me about the meeting held on Inauguration Day, 2008. Was that meeting designed to help the country, who was there and what was said?
John and I weren't there, but like I said. "My goal, our goal, is to make Obama a one-term President."
•Who was there and what was said?
From what I heard, there were about 15 people there. You know, John and I hate Frank Luntz- we knew he would be there- we stayed away. But. let's see. There was Luntz, Eric, Kevin McCarthy (Ca), Pete Sessions, (Tx), Pete Hoekstra, (Mich.), Hensarling, (Tx.), Dan Lundgren, (Ca), DeMint from South Carolina, John Kyl, from Arizona, Coburn, (Ok), John Ensign from Nevada, Bob Corker (Tenn.), and Newt Gingrich. I almost forgot, Paul Ryan was there. They basically decided that we would oppose everything and anything that Obama proposed. We would make him a one-term President.
•The Republicans got together on Inauguration Day and premeditated the killing of a Presidency? Regardless of the consequences to the nation? And you and Boehner went along with this?
Like I said, my goal, our goal, is to make Obama a one-term President. Any problems with that idea, ask Paul Ryan. He was there, but hey! We're doin' a pretty good job! It's easy to fool the American people when you're all united! That hope and change thing, well, we just decided to kill it! I heard that Newt said, "This day will go down in history as the beginning of 2012!"
Told you the turtle has no problems explaining his actions.
If you are ready, it is time to meet and greet Eddie Munster (Chairman Paul Ryan). Ryan is a little bit of a tougher nut to crack, and when I say nut, well, I don't mean the kind you eat. Ryan will not only require some water boarding, but some truth serum.
•So, Mr. Ryan, I understand that everything you do and say has been done in an attempt to destroy Obama; a plan that was hatched just a few hours after you were seen smiling at the Inauguration. Is that true?
First of all, you can call me Chairman Ryan and secondly, get over it! Don't try to demagogue the idea that there's gotta be a reason I smile. I am a politician, so I smile. As for this nonsense that we have plotted to rid the country of Obama, so what? People won't believe it, and even if they do, by this time we have made them so suspect of the guy that we are looking pretty good.
•Come on, Chairman Ryan, the Path to Prosperity? Don't you think that the people of this country are going to realize that your budget will hurt everyone but the rich?
Doesn't matter. Bush got away with it for 8 years and I will, too. In 8 years, this country will forget what Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid were like. The people that were on these programs will be long dead by then. And the rest, well, you don't miss what you never had and never knew.
•That's a little cold, don't you think?
Look! This is getting tedious. If someone has a conscience, it might be considered cold, but, hey, have you ever read any Ayn Rand? She taught me a long time ago that a conscience is for weaklings, and weaklings are a drain on society.
•Are you actually going to try to sell that to the people?
I already have and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. People are strange. You eff 'em, and they come back for more, as long as you smile...
My Daughter's Best Friend Was A Mormon
This is a very difficult piece to write, and as I do, I am unsure whether I should print it or not, so I will tell it just as it happened. It does relate to politics, in a manner of speaking. The names are changed to protect identities. My younger daughter, Ruby, was in high school, and through her part- time job met a beautiful, vivacious, funny and loving girl who became her best friend. Angela spent hours and days at a time in our home and I grew to love her dearly. She, my daughter, and I spent so much time talking. She was open and sincere, and she was Mormon.
I had never known a Mormon before (sounds crazy, I know, but true) and although I was aware of Mormon history, I was ignorant as to Mormon beliefs. I was curious and Angela was more than willing to share her religious beliefs. I let her know from the start that although I do not go to church anymore, my background was Catholic. She told me things like the coffee I drink turns your insides black (tea, also), and I would always tease her and ask her if she wanted a cup of coffee. She would laugh that infectious laugh she had and then we would eat cookies or some bread I had made, or better yet, she would share dinner with us.
One night as we sat around our dining room table, I said, "Angela, let's just compare the things we both believe and see how much our religions have in common." I expected there would be many beliefs we shared, but then I asked the question that I regret, because the answer has stuck with me all these years.
Everytime I hear Willard Mitt Romney speak, I cannot help but remember. Everytime I hear him say one thing on Monday and an entirely different thing on Tuesday, I think about the one question and the answer that left me cold.
Do Mormons Believe In Lying?
We had gotten past the things like the coffee, the tea, the caffeinated beverages, the fact that only certain areas of the Mormon temple were accessible to certain people and the underwear, but then the simplest of questions stopped me in my tracks.
"Mormons don't believe in lying, right?" Angela, without any hesitation in her voice or change in her expression said, "It's okay to lie, as long as it's not to another Mormon."
Does that explain Willard's etching and sketching, changing his talking points each time he opens his mouth? It's okay to lie? As long as it's not to another Mormon?
Best Friends 'Til Marriage
Ruby and Angela remained best friends for a long time. They did all the dumb things teenagers do, and they did them together. Angela met a young boy and he was not Mormon, and when he converted so that they could marry, it was not a surprise. We were all excited and happy! Even though Angela was still a teenager, she had explained that in the Mormon religion, if she got to be twenty and not married, she would be considered an old maid, and that would not be good.
What was a surprise, was that as the wedding came closer, my daughter was told that she and Angela were no longer going to be friends. What's more, my daughter would not be invited to the wedding. The time for childish friendships was done.
My daughter has not seen her or heard from her since.
This has troubled me for a very long time and I don't intend to be offensive. I have never liked the idea of judging people by their religious beliefs. I try to take people for what they appear to be and how they treat me, mine, and the rest of the world. I have always thought that if you are kind and honest, treat others with respect and dignity, religion or lack of religion doesn't really matter.
But maybe it does...
What Joseph Smith's Run For The Presidency Means
Darrell Issa has made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk news shows, talking about "Fast and Furious", Eric Holder and the President. Beyond those things, one of his comments made me stand up and take notice...
The GOP Lie Machine Is On Auto-Pilot
Don't ask Romney about his empty, hollow laughter or why he is not concerned with the poor. Don't approach him with any questions that have not been run by his staff and above all, do not expect him to tell the truth, because he won't. He can't. It is not in his make-up to tell the truth. Never having had to accept consequences for bullying and assault of a high school classmate and never being apprehended for impersonating a cop while attending Stanford reinforced Romney's view that he is immune.
If Mitt Romney wins the Presidential election in November, it will be because he is an accomplished liar and the Republican party applauds every lie he tells. If Romney says it, the GOP swears it's true, even when it's not. There is not one day that goes by, that Romney and the GOP lie machine is not in full deception mode. Even when confronted with truth or fact, Romney and his surrogates do not hesitate to push ahead with their dishonest appraisal of issues. They lie with impunity because they have trained long and hard and more significantly, because every member of the media to whom Romney has granted an interview is aware that if you question Romney's version of the truth, it will be the last interview you will be granted. No one in the media has had the guts to face down Romney and his GOP lie machine. The members of the media who have suggested that he is less than honest will never score an interview.
The biggest lies?
•President Obama has been on a spending spree
•President Obama has raised taxes
•President Obama engages in a policy of appeasement and consistently apologizes for America.
Has President Obama been on a spending spree?
The answer is NO!
According to the Office of Management and Budget and the CBO, as well as in an article in the Wall Sreet Journal, President Obama has been the furthest away from a spending spree than any other President in years, yet Romney and his surrogates insist on perpetrating the myth that the President is spending so much that, according to Romney, President Obama has created a "debt and spending inferno". Maybe, just maybe, this is the worst lie that Romney, and his campaign, with an assist from the folks at Fox and Karl Rove, Bush's brain, have foisted on the American people. A lie is a lie, folks!
The problem with a lie is that once told and repeated over and over, it is believed, especially by those who are either weak-minded or for some other reason, just want to believe untruths.
Has President Obama raised taxes on the American people? Romney calls Obama a tax and spend liberal every chance he gets.
President Obama has not raised taxes. We have the same tax rates now that we had when Bush implemented the 'Bush tax cuts' while he was in office. In fact, one of the first things that Obama did when he took office was further cut the taxes of 95% of the working families in the United States. He has also signed 18 tax-cuts for small businesses.
Has President Obama engaged in a policy of appeasement? Romney insists that he has.
In Obama's words, "Ask Bin Laden". As for traveling the world and apologizing for the United States, four-star General Colin Powell made it quite clear to Fox that the accusation is simply untrue. Powell has been to my knowledge, the only Republican to tell the truth. He has also wondered why Romney does not think before he makes idiotic remarks that demonstrate his ignorance of foreign policy, like the 'Russian Federation is the largest threat' facing the country.
If anything, Obama's foreign policy should make him the darling of the Republican party. It has certainly made him less popular with his own base. He has appeased no one. He has directed the most aggressive series of drone attacks ever conceived, neither asking permission or making apologies. He has continued to prosecute the war in Afghanistan that most think should have been over long ago.
Romney has surrounded himself with Bush's foreign policy team, but what's worse, he has said that he will adapt his foreign policy to the wishes of the military. Now that's a leader you can rely on.
Romney's Rules Of Engagement
Romney does not want to talk about much, except to say he was a job creator and businessman, and that he is rich. He has rules for what he will and will not discuss.
Certain topics are off-limits:
•His stint as governor of Massachusetts, where he was NOT a job creator. The state he governed ranked 47th out of 50 in job creation. Oh, that's right. Romney's health care plan for Massachusetts, which he has now distanced himself from was the model for the Affordable Care Act. Education suffered when Romney was governor. Besides all of the cuts he made to education, as governor, Romney tried to require parenting classes for any parents that wanted their children to be enrolled in a full-day kindergarten program. Remember, while governor, he never "inhaled".
•His religion. That is fine, unless he or his surrogates start to make assertions about Obama's religious beliefs.
•His family. Fine, also. They are not running for office.
•Bain Capital. That is where Romney was supposedly a job creator and where his experience in the private sector prepared him to be President. Herein is the lie: The goal of Romney's job at Bain was not to create jobs, it was to make money for himself and his investors through a series of leveraged buyouts. In over one-fifth of the deals that Romney managed, the companies went bankrupt and the employees lost everything, including their jobs and pensions. Those are the deals, by the way, through which Romney made most of his quarter of a billion in wealth. With the money he plundered from those businesses, he made a ton of money for himself and a hefty return for his investors. But any criticism of his tenure at Bain is met with the suggestion that the criticism is an attack on free enterprise and capitalism.
Memo to Mitt: My uncle Buddy was a great believer in free enterprise, too. He also hated regulations. Uncle Buddy was a bookie for the mob, and like you, he created a few jobs and made a small fortune. That experience doesn't qualify him to be President, but then again, maybe it actually does. He was a businessman, after all...
•Recently, Mitt heaped praise on our last vice-president and commented that he wants to choose a vice-president just like Dick Cheney. As Rachel Maddow so succinctly pointed out, when Cheney left office, he was "less popular than herpes". So, not only is Mitt dishonest, his admiration for Cheney raises some pretty serious questions as to his beliefs about government, but more than likely, those questions will be off-limits.
•This list is still being revised.
What Will Romney Allow Us To Ask About?
Mitt Romney, clearly, does not enjoy being pressed. Many have said that he is just not accustomed to being challenged. He wasn't challenged as a CEO, he wasn't challenged as a Mormon bishop, and if President, he will not be challenged by the people. The man just can't and won't stand for it. He makes his own rules and feels that he does not have to explain his reasoning. He will never say or advocate for anything he believes is less than politically expedient. So then, what will Romney talk about?
•Trees that are the right height
•That he saved the auto industry
•He is Mr. Fix It, but won't elaborate on the fixes
•Corporations are people
•He likes firing people
•Seamus, his dog, loved being on the roof of the family car
•He likes grits
•Free market and industry require no regulation
•He has been a successful business man and offshoring is a good thing.
•Unions are bad, teachers are the enemy of prosperity, cops are the enemy of prosperity and firemen are the enemy of prosperity.
•Planned Parenthood must go.
•Anyone rich is a job creator and their taxes must be lowered.
Don't ask him about his empty, hollow laughter or why he is not concerned with the poor. Don't approach him with any questions that have not been run by his staff and above all, do not expect him to tell the truth, because he won't. He can't. It is not in his make-up to tell the truth.
What Else Could Explain This Type of Insanity?
The Republican Party has come undone. They have overreached in nearly every area of law in our country. From outlawing collective bargaining in several states to passing voter suppression laws in over 30 states, and their current nationwide and unrelenting efforts to deny women any freedom or access to reproductive choice, this party of old men seeks to villianize almost every segment of our society, including their own party members. They are on a zealous crusade to create a new country. Some say they are insane; still others have decided that they are possessed by demons. I suggest that neither explanation is completely valid, but that both explanations are true. The demon that possesses them is the insatiable need for power and the insanity is simply the methods by which they are pursuing that need for power.
What will a vote for ANY Republican get you? Not just for President, but a vote for any Republican nominee for any elected office will result in more erosion of rights, including those for workers, the middle class, women, minorities, students and seniors. The GOP has staked its play for power grabbing on the premise that if the American electorate is divided and the blame for all of the country's problems can be squarely leveled against one or more segments of society, they can achieve their goals. By successfully pitting one segment of the population against others, they will win their most coveted prize.
Scapegoating has historically worked, not just in the United States, but in other countries as well, most notably in Germany during the last century.
The GOP Agenda Is not Small Government, It is Big Intrusion And Assault By Legislative Bullies!
The GOP talks about jobs and the economy, but since the elections of 2010, their agenda has been highighted by the things they failed to discuss prior to their elections. Some have called it their closet agenda. They came out of the closet almost immediately after being sworn into office and began to enact, throughout the states, their real agenda.
Now we know that the real enemy of American prosperity is every cop, firefighter and teacher.
The first item on the list was villianizing unions and American workers; to blame them for the excesses in spending and the crash of 2008. They clearly redefined the symptoms of senile dementia by forgetting that it was the excesses of banks and the greed on Wall Street that caused the Great Recession, it was so much easier to bully workers. What the hell is wrong with America's workers? They want jobs, good pay, benefits AND a pension? How dare they? So, the GOP went after unions, destroying collective bargaining in several states. Teachers, police and firefighters just have it way too easy...At the same time that most Republican governors cut the pay and benefits of workers, they gave huge tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, justifying them by insisting that the wealthy and the corporations would in turn, create jobs. At the rate they have cut the taxes of the 'job creators', why then do I have to ask, "Where are the jobs?"
The jobs that have been created are here with no help from the Republican party. In fact, the Republican party nationwide has done everything in its power to prevent Americans from getting jobs, but more than that, the GOP has stood united against people who have lost their jobs. They have fought every bill that would help unemployed workers in even minimal ways. Their philosophy has been that unemployment benefits make people lazy. So lazy, in fact, that this reward for being unemployed is so generous that millions are happy to stay out of the workforce. How many times have you heard Republicans say, "If we stop unemployment benefits, these lazy people will have to find jobs." Of course they never carry that philosophy the step further: there are still five applicants for every one job out there.
Colors And GOP Fear Of The Dark!
The second agenda item was designed to villianize immigrants, both legal, and undocumented. In fact, it is an agenda that seeks to turn anyone, even U.S citizens who might be a shade darker than lily white into someone suspect. The Republicans are so afraid of the darker pigments that some have mentioned enacting laws that would require Crayola to lose a few of their crayons! Some colors are just not acceptable...to the GOP...It, simply put, is a way of saying, "If you are light brown, brown or darker, you are not one of us!"
This aversion to color has led to "The Dream Act" being renamed by the very political party that originally championed it to "The Not On Your Life Nightmare Act."
The color of skin has also been a great motivator in over thirty states that have sought to restrict and limit voting. Many 'non-lily white' people do not vote for Republicans, so why let them vote at all? Tea Party President, Judson Phillips, went even further in 2010 when he said:
"The Founding Fathers originally said, they put certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote. It wasn’t you were just a citizen and you got to vote. Some of the restrictions, you know, you obviously would not think about today. But one of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you’re a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners."
I am a little bit frightened that Republicans in 2012 and after, will force us all to provide, not just state-issued ID's, a carry permit and my 'papers, please' when going to the polls, but a notarized deed of trust. Hopefully, they do not restrict it further by insisting that the property be mortgage free!
In A GOP Run Country, Sperm Are People And Women Aren't!
In one of their first legislative acts after sweeping the U.S. House of Representatives in the elections of 2010, the GOP attempted to change the definition of rape. No, you did not miss that part of their campaigns for office, but you should have known that the attempt alone was just the beginning of an all out war on women. Republicans insisted that only 'forcible rape' is rape. I suppose that if you are a Republican male, that makes perfect sense. If, however, you are not brain dead and you do not believe that sperm are people, rape is rape.
But we are talking about Republicans, and they believe that sperm ARE people and any woman who seeks to block any sperm from reaching full potential is a danger to the exceptionalism of America. These women are less than people and must be regulated, vaginally probed and denied contraception, if at all possible. In the words of Pennsylvania's Republican Governor, Tom Corbett, women just "have to close their eyes".
In 1990, the Republican candidate for Texas Governor, Clayton Corbett, made a similar statement, which at the time was considered shocking, but today might make him a real contender in the Republican party. The New York Times reports that he made the remarks while preparing for a cattle roundup at his West Texas ranch. He compared the cold, foggy weather spoiling the event to a rape, telling ranch hands, campaign workers and reporters around a campfire, ''If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.''
Seeking to minimize the horror of rape, standing in the way of a woman's right to family planning services, preventive health care and contraception, and in the state of Wisconsin presenting legislation that forces that state's version of Child Protective Services to presume that single (divorced, widowed or never married) parents, mostly women, are abusive to their children tells us that women are to be villianized and controlled by government.
I will not even begin to tell you about Senator Debbie Lesko, the Republican puppet of ALEC in Arizona. Let me just say that this state Senator has betrayed her own gender with her brazen bill, HB 2625. Lesko doesn't have to worry about becoming a victim of her own legislation. She has state insurance coverage and the full financial backing of the American Legislative Exchange Council, so for her, victimizing her own gender is a win win.
Those Damn Old People! It's GOP, Not DOP!
Medicare beneficiaries and recipients of Social Security, do not think for a moment that your age protects you from victimization by the GOP. Paul Ryan has his eyes on you! Lest you forget, every Republican member of the House voted to adopt the Paul Ryan budget, which is laughingly called "The Path To Prosperity". The GOP has not lost any love for Ryan's subterfuge. You can be sure that voting Republican will insure passage of an even bolder plan! And remember, bolder does not equal better.
Ryan wants to cut taxes to the wealhtiest of corporations and individuals by $4.2 Trillion dollars.
Ryan pays for the tax cuts by cutting programs for the poor and middle class by $4.5 Trillion dollars.
Ryan's Path will have seniors shouldering 68% of their Medicare costs. But not today's seniors. Ryan's plan is so great that he wants to save it for anyone currently under 55! So, if you are a senior now and have yours, don't worry about anyone else. Your 40 year old kids can fend for themselves. Your grandkids --well, you won't be around to watch them suffer in their old age, so it's all good!
If you are a senior and you are thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, remember, the one thing that he knows for sure is that he supports the Ryan plan, all of it.
The Day After The GOP Bombs Iran!
Think about it, America! What happens the day after the Mitt Romney bombs Iran? The GOP speaks of war as if it is a board game with no consequences. Clearly, Romney, who has been so casually threatening Iran during his campaigns may think that he and the rest of his party speak to God on a daily basis, but they have little foresight. America is a powerful country, true, but most of these blowhards have never even served in the military. War with Iran may eventually become a reality, but have we learned nothing in the past 10 years? If thoughts of bombing more countries in the Middle East make Americans feel safe and powerful, we are truly brain-damaged as a people.
No consequences? All of the bravado in the GOP world cannot prepare us or shield us from the inevitable consequences. War with Iran will be far different than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The consequences of Iraq and Afghanistan have been unfairly borne by our military men and women and their families, but the ramifications of war with Iran will be shared by all Americans, and it will in no way resemble profit sharing.
And having Mitt Romney negotiate anything with these countries? The man can't even talk to the American people on the campaign trail without appearing to be a bumbling idiot. Imagine how embarrassing his gaffes will be when he is dealing with foreign leaders. They will most certainly consider him 'exceptional', but not the kind of exceptional that we are really looking for in a leader...
Possession Or Insanity?
The Republican party has come undone. Voting for any Republican in 2012 is a vote for continued scapegoating, justice for few and a country that stands for the Orwellian concept that, "All men are created equal, but some are more equal than others."
Cross-posted at Opednews.com
On How Many Fronts Can A War Be Fought?
The Republican party has declared war on virtually every segment of society in our country with the exception of one: the wealthy. There is the GOP War on Women, the GOP War on the Poor, the GOP War on Workers, the GOP War on Students, the GOP War on the Gay Community, the GOP War on Children, the list goes on ad nauseam (yes, it is spelled correctly). Willard Romney and Paul Ryan are the Republican war room generals, and together, could effectively take us so far back in time that, if successful, we will be able to effectively compete with countries as progressive as Afghanistan and Iran. In fact, if Romney, Ryan, and the whole Republican party achieve their economic goals, American Dreamers may just have to self-de'poor't.
Don't confuse self-deportation (for undocumented workers) with self-de'poor'tation. Self-de'poor'tation is the theory that if poor American citizens get SO bad off, they will leave the country. If the GOP is successful with their social agenda, we will drown in a giant pool of inequality and persecution for following our individual beliefs.
The Ryan Budget, which has been endorsed or voted for by virtually every elected Republican, including the GOP nominee for President, Willard (Why does that name evoke visions of rats?) Romney, draws the battle lines in stone. Some say that the stones on which these lines are drawn come from The Stone Age. The stones are meant to symbolize where the Republican relics hope to take us.
The War Plan, touted last year as "The Path To Prosperity", or in some circles, "The Highway To Hell", has evolved this year into simply, "The Ryan Budget". It is quite a piece of work! Ryan professes that it springs from ideas based on the teachings of his Catholic faith. Most of those who are Catholic missed the "Reverse Robin Hood Encyclical", more commonly known as "How Stealing From The Poor And Giving To The Rich Gets You To Heaven". Exactly which Pope wrote that one? Did Ayn Rand sneak by the College of Cardinals and become Pope, and somehow I missed it? Could be...
The GOP Generals And Their "Winning For The Rich" Economic War Plan
In order to pay for the important Romney/Ryan/Republican priorities:
•Almost $5 TRILLION DOLLARS in tax cuts for the wealthy and the biggest corporations
•$4 BILLION MORE DOLLARS in subsidies for oil and gas companies
•Special tax breaks for HEDGE FUND MANAGERS
there will be a few minor sacrifices that will have to be made by some of the citizens in this country.
The Associated Press, as well as Ed Schultz, have analyzed the Romney/Ryan/Republican budget and both hit most of the below points, minus the parentheses. Generals Willard Romney and Paul Ryan, with their Budgetary Bible, will cut:
•Education ( Wanna go to college? "Borrow money from your mom and dad!" said Romney. Hell! Willard and Ann had to live on his dad's stocks while they were in college! )
•Transportation ( Privatize Amtrak and don't fix any roads or bridges! )
•Food Inspection ( Salmonella and E-coli for dinner, cancer and mad cow for dessert, and we are none the wiser! )
•Medicaid ( Cutting 2 trillion dollars from health care for the poor over 10 years is actually a Paul Ryan Catholic value. Medical care that might keep you alive? Better to die and get to heaven sooner, right, Paul? http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/... )
•FBI ( Who needs 'em? Crime ain't so bad...)
•Homeland Security ( Thought the GOP was so keen on keeping the country safe. Costs too much, I guess! )
•Local Government Grants (If your city needs money, "Fohgettaboutit"!)
•National Parks ( What a waste of resources! Let's turn all that land into oil rigs! )
•Crop Subsidies ( No one needs farmers when we can buy food from China! )
•Housing and Heating Subsidies For The Poor ( Housing and heat in the winter are overrated! )
•Food Stamps (16 million starving kids are not a priority! They only have a right to be born, not to eat! )
•School Lunches ( Poor kids don't need food! They''ll never amount to anything, anyway! )
•Supplemental Security Income (SSI) For Very Poor Seniors And The Disabled ( Let 'em die...they're old and sick! )
•Unemployment Insurance ( Lazy bastards! Get a job! )
•Veterans' Pensions ( YOU made the choice to defend and fight for this country! That certainly doesn't mean we need to repay you in some small way! We'll just give you each a medal and say thank you...)
•Privatize Veteran's Medical Care ( You're gonna love those high deductible plans and the big co-pays! )
•Refundable Tax Credits For The Working Poor ( Self-de'poor't! )
•Medicare ( Vouchers are kind of like 'Groupon For Healthcare' ! Cool stuff! )
•Eliminate grants for Meals on Wheels (Poor seniors don't need to eat either!)
Republican governors have set the stages for battle. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who Romney has characterized as his "hero", along with Rick "Democracy is the Problem" Snyder of Michigan and Rick "Medicare Fraud" Scott of Florida started skirmishes in the states by cutting taxes for businesses and the wealthy. They financed these cuts by increasing the tax liability of seniors, firing hundreds of thousands of public sector workers, crushing unions, and slashing programs designed to help the poor, women and children.
The Wisconsin Republican plan has worked so well to help the economy in Wisconsin that Walker can now claim credit for the worst job losses in the country. And Walker is Willard Romney's "hero"...It is absolutely ludicrous that Republicans bemoan job losses in this country when it is Republican governors that are firing public sector workers by the hundreds of thousands.
Most Republican governors are following the GOP Path to Prosperity (firing workers always improves the economy), but Indiana's governor, Mitch Daniels, has been even more innovative. Along with incorporating the Path, Daniels has bumped it up a notch by selling off (leasing, actually) toll roads and bridges to foreign companies. According to Huffington Post Reporter, Dave Jamieson, "What can't be denied is that the road is getting more expensive to travel on. And no one knows how expensive it might get... Over the course of the coming decades, Hoosiers can expect to learn a hard lesson in compound interest, long after Gov. Daniels is gone..." While Indiana got alot of money up-front, that 75 year lease may cost Indiana drivers a helluva lot more.
Every state with a Republican governor at its helm is considering the sale of or has sold state resources to private corporations, many of them foreign: energy interests, toll roads, bridges, prisons, schools and public land, often without the knowledge or approval of state residents.
Governors are not the only Republicans intent on 'helping' the economy by ridding the country of unnecessary jobs. Don't forget the Republican Congressional push ( Darrell "Viper" Issa ) to get rid of the US Postal Service and roughly 200,000 employees.
The Anti-Social Agenda
This article doesn't begin to touch the social issues or the impact of the intended Republican rules for living, breathing and reproducing. Decide for yourself how you will live your life? Who you will love or marry? If you will choose contraception? Not if the Republicans have their way.
So many Republican moral rules to live by. The "freedom" offered by the Republican social agenda is a stifling choke-hold on anything that resembles free will. We're gonna love it!
Thankfully, The Rich Will Survive
Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman said, "War is hell!" !
One side has to lose.
These wars will claim many victims if they are won by the GOP. The rich will survive and make tons of money in the process.
What about the rest of us?
Bloody Leveraged Buyouts: Then And Now
Willard Romney, Bain Capital and the Vikings are related by philosophy, history and the blood on their hands. Romney and Bain consider themselves to be free-market capitalists. So did the Vikings, and each of the three made alot of money. While the Vikings murdered, raped and pillaged their way to success, Romney and Bain have pursued their fortunes in a more socially acceptable fashion. Make no mistake, they are all bound together by a business model created by the Vikings. Some would call them 'brothers from other mothers' and the brotherhood is real.
Those Middle Ages, free-market Viking capitalists with the big ships and long swords deserve most of the credit for the business plan that was used by Romney and Bain Capital to amass a fortune for themselves and, on a lesser scale, their investors. Much of Willard and Bain's success has come from a financial tool called the leveraged buyout.
A comparison of the two methods, first the old and then the modern, have some eerie similarities.
The Vikings' concept of a leveraged buyout was simple (simpler times):
•The Vikings would search out villages, some small, some big. The villages or towns were doing fairly well, had resources or something of value and in the early morning hours, the Vikings would swoop in and attack. They murdered the men in their sleep and then raped and killed the women. Most of the time they killed the babies, too, but many times, they kidnapped older children so they could turn them into slaves. Then the Vikings would take anything of value, leave the village in flames and be on their merry way with the spoils (profit).
One of the Vikings was SO well-versed in the art of the leveraged buyout that he eventually became the King of England! The Viking king's name was Knut the Great and even though he was more well known for slicing open the heads of his enemies with an axe than with a sword, he became a King! While Knut the Great was not the first of the Vikings to employ the successful model of leveraged buyouts, he was the best, in my opinion! He became a very powerful king and along the way, he stopped killing everyone, because, after all, he required a peasant population to work and produce more profit for him and his kingdom.
Gnut evolved into a brute that only killed those who needed to be killed and he gave tons and tons of the gold he had stolen to the churches. Although he never called it tithing, the gold-giving kept the churches on his side. What a smarty pants (politician) he was! Arguably, he could have gone to Harvard and gotten a couple of degrees...A full 99% of his subjects were poor because Gnut the Great took everything of value, but with churches on his side (while sharing in the loot), what could those subjects do?
Willard the Bain's leveraged buyouts are not quite as brutal as the Vikings. In fact, they seem boring by comparison. So boring, that very few people even understand what happens with a modern leveraged buyout, but minus the killing and raping, there is plenty of slashing, burning and looting. The fun stuff still plays a role.
Willard the Bain's concept of the leveraged buyout might seem, on its face, to be complicated (times are not so simple now). Just keep in mind the business model of the Vikings, and you will have no trouble with the plan that made Willard the Bain so wealthy:
•Willard the Bain doesn't use the term leveraged buyout too much. Instead, you will hear the phrase, private equity (but they are basically the same). Private equity deals focus on debt-heavy leveraged buyouts of slightly troubled companies that have some wealth or resources that can be used as collateral for borrowing. The first thing Willard the Bain did was swoop in, usually while everyone was asleep, and start to restructure by cutting costs and eliminating jobs. Restructuring and cutting jobs tends to make a company appear financially healthy enough to borrow money on its collateral (wealth and resources) and that borrowed money went to pay off Willard the Bain's investors, principles and of course, Willard the Bain. Then, when the leveraged companies had serious financial troubles (who coulda predicted that?), Willard the Bain would file bankruptcy for the company and run away with the spoils (profits), leaving the company in flames and the workers unemployed.
See how simple that is?
Willard The Bain's Record
The Wall Street Journal took a close look at Willard the Bain's top 77 deals and found out that those deals made "the Bain" most of his well over $200 Million dollars. The companies? The companies didn't do so well.
The Journal pointed out that within 8 years of Willard the Bain's leveraged buyouts, 22 percent of the companies filed for bankruptcy or closed their doors. Another 8 percent were so bad off that Willard the Bain lost his company's investment.
There were also those companies where the pension funds were looted... It's all good, though, because the taxpayers picked up the cost. Pension plans were never a big part of the Viking business model, anyway, so I hesitate to even talk about them. Maybe next time...
Some have called Willard the Bain a vulture capitalist. I prefer to call him a Viking, and much like Gnut the Great, Willard the Bain wants to be King! He may wear a suit, but he carries a long sword, maybe even an axe, and just like Gnut the Great, Willard the Bain's subjects will be poor because he and his comrades will slash, burn and loot. It is what he knows!
Ooops, almost forgot! Willard the Bain will tithe...
Choose a logo image in .gif, .jpg, or .png format.