What does Ebola mean for America?

                  We are currently in the middle of a potentially huge Ebola scare.  It is a disease most of us know little or nothing about.  Going into this,  all I knew was that there was not a cure for it.  I heard it could only be passed through saliva or blood and couldn’t be passed if you didn’t show symptoms.  I will touch on the little I know in a bit.  What I really want to approach is the effect  this disease will potentially have on the country and it’s psyche.

First off I find it despicable that anyone would try to score political points off of this. Democrat, Republican or Libertarian, any using this for political gain should be thrown out of office. Rush Limbaugh should be kicked off the air for creating a panic, instead of trying to help calm people by feeding them facts. The media is blowing this out of proportion in attempt to gain more viewership at the expense of creating a panic. This issue is being handled horribly on all fronts. I think we should feel the people facts so they can make an educated judgement on where they land on how to handle this. But not in America.

What does this an for Americans? This disease if it becomes a pandemic can be the undoing of over 200 years of hard work. This disease could be our undoing. We have representatives saying to outlaw flights from certain countries, to box up any and all that show a symptom and are spending time looking for a scapegoat instead of a solution. The last I knew, 1 died from it and 2 others are infected. Is this our version of the zombie apocalypse? Will this run rampant through our country? How many will die before big pharma releases a cure? How many are already infected? Will we fall because of this? The government shutdown and sequestration cut the CDC emergency response budget by over a half billion. Are we even in a position to properly handle this? This is a game changer, this could possibly change America forever. How do we react?

I know it seems like I am pushing the panic button. I am just throwing out possibilities. We as a people are not prepared for this. There is a lot of ball dropping to allow it to get where it is. Now we need to act, to help one another. The nurses that helped the original patient, helped other patients, had contact with other doctors and nurses, as well as the public and had contact with their families. It only creates a larger net when you add in all the people that they contacted. How bad can this become.? We have all seen movies, this honestly could decimate us.

As I said before, Ebola has no cure. There is a potential it could mutate and become an airborne pathogen. The other ways it spread are still true. The symptoms of Ebola are as follows: 101.5°fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and unexplained hemorrhaging. Symptoms typically show between 2 and 21 days but are usually seen by 8-10. This is what I found in 5 minutes.

What does this mean for us? I think we will try harder to pay attention to little outbreaks in small countries. Be more health conscious. Support plans that do not cut important programs. Be done with fear mongering and those who cause it. We are by no means out of the woods yet. But I think we will come through this a better nation. Stay safe and don’t believe the hype.

The Walmart cycle.

               One meme or article after another tells us to avoid Walmart. Which is absolutely right! They subsidize their company by paying low wages, thereby forcing their employees to receive Federal Benefits. That alone costs American tax payers billions of dollars a year. Not to mention the money they receive from Federal and State governments to build stores or warehouses in their areas or the tax breaks and tax havens they use to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.

The Walton family are worth a couple hundred billion dollars. While making these billions of dollars they bemoan employees who ask for a higher wage or the right to unionize. All the while purchasing product from China, a Communist dictatorship that not only manipulates their currency but also subsidizes their companies. The Walton maintain that if they raise pay, they have to raise prices. While saying this they reap profits that have rarely been seen in American history.

Now here is the conundrum. The average person making even $12 an hour is that they do not have alot of disposable income. Electric, gas, phone, taxes and even sewer have all seen precipitous increases, all while this person has been stuck at $12 an hour. A family of 4, with mom and dad both working, will in many cases qualify for Federal Benefits. The failure of corporations to raise peoples pay while making record profits has presented these people with a pickle. Do I shop at a cheaper store and get more or shop at more expensive and get less. Where does this leave them?

At a time when Americans need more help then at possibly any time in our history, we have also found ourselves in a period of hyper-polarization. While these people need help, Paul Ryan and Republicans want to cut Federal Benefits while cutting taxes for the wealthy. Democrats led by Elizabeth Warren are trying to extend unemployment benefits, raise taxes on the wealthy, reel in to big to fail and fix income inequality. Bernie Sanders, the only Independent who really matters, my little joke, is fighting along many of the same fronts as Elizabeth Warren. It has become class warfare. Rich saying the poor dont work hard enough and poor asking for a fair share. All of this while 47 million Americans are on Food Stamps because of low pay or no jobs.

Here is where it comes full circle. These people on the bottom end up shopping at Walmart because of their low pay. By shopping at Walmart they are putting people like themselves out of work, as well as giving the Waltons a false sense that their model is a good thing. The person shopping there doesn’t want to do these things, but what company can compete with a monolithic corporation like Walmart. Of course it would be another corporation. What option do these people have? Even if you dont shop at Walmart, the majority of products are made somewhere else.

Government shutdown is the leadup to raising the Debt Ceiling.

         First to be clear, the Debt Ceiling is for bills Congress already incurred. It allows us to pay the bills Congress already approved. Under George W. Bush the Debt Ceiling was raised 7 times. That is under a President who took us from a surplus to about $10 trillion debt. He ran up a $15 trillion bill. Where were the Republican fiscal hawks then. Sadly many were ok with this spending.

The extreme right wing of the Republican party, the Tea Party, have pushed a very extreme agenda. The word compromise means surrender to them. They have made it a mission to destroy our government. My way or the highway is not how the Democratic process works. To use dramatic methods to extract every last thing you want is undemocratic. No one ever gets everything they want in the democratic process, they compromise and get the best of both sides. This is why Congress is in gridlock, the refusal to negotiate in good faith.

It is ignorant to blame President Obama for this shutdown. In fact Michelle Bachman said that they were happy with the shutdown. Other Republicans said theg were giddy about the shutdown. Why we President Obama give away the house when Republicans are coming back for more in a few weeks. Republicans are attempting to extract some now and more in the Debt Ceiling negotiations. Democrats are letting the Republican party show their lack of empathy for the American people.

From April until now, Democrats attempted 18 times to negotiate to avoid this shutdown. They were filibustered by Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Mike Lee and several other prominent Republicans. Republicans have said they will not budge on Debt Ceiling negotiations. Despite the fact they already approved the spending. Very hypocritical stance. They keep mentioning the choice was President Obama’s. What they dont say is that there never was a choice. There was an ultimatum. Do this or we shut down the government. Now the GOP is scrambling to save their tarnished image, which is unsavable.

This is just setting the table for the next showdown in a few weeks. Republicans are making a spectacle of everything in order to polarize the country more. We will be in this same spot or worse in a few weeks. Our economy is taking a severe hit from this shut down. I believe Republicans thought President Obama would blink and negotiate the ACA. They took a calculated risk and lost. Sadly they weren’t smart enough to set up a way out of the mess they put us in. Just don’t move from manufactured crisis to another. Govern intellegently, think about the people. Stop spreading disinformation. The ACA is the law, help people learn it.

Government shutdown, the Republican way of throwing a temper tantrum.

             The last time Republicans refused to negotiate on the debt ceiling our country had its credit rating downgraded. Why does a political party refuse to compromise?  President Obama has tried to work with Republicans since day one, despite Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders making him a one term president their number one priority. Obviously hurting the economy or making Americans suffer doesn’t get in the way of their attempts to accomplish this. They lost, President Obama is in his second term. What is different?

Republican demands are simple, get rid of the ACA and do things our way or we will shut the government. Many of these Republicans voted to expand the debt ceiling 7 times under George W Bush. The same Bush who oversaw the largest jump in the National debt, from a surplus to about 11 trillion. They voted for the Bush tax cuts, which added about 2 trillion to the debt and 2 unfunded wars. But when President Obama is in their they become fiscal hawks. Where were you when the train derailed?

So why are we here? Why is a government shutdown looming? Each continuing resolution the Republican led house has passed is attempting to defund or change the ACA. What Republicans won’t tell you us that the plan to repeal the tax on medical machines for hospitals or other offices, a 2.32% tax by the way, will cost the government about $28 billion. The President tried to get Republicans involved in the ACA process but they refused, saying they would stop it. They didn’t, it is the law of the land, found Constitutional by the Supreme Court. So are Democrats and President Obama wrong for not negotiating on the debt limit? NO!!! They already tried, Republicans didn’t want to.

The GOP is worried about their corporate sponsors, those that lobby and pay for their services. They do not work for the Democratic majority. Unfortunately this is the society Republicans want. They want the gap between rich and poor to continue and they want American people in debt. It is a version of a Feudal society. They do not believe in Democracy or the Constitution they state they protect. They are willing to hurt the country for a Corporate formed ideology, what is referred to as a ruling class.

On Friday I listened to Mitch McConnell and his cohorts speak after a vote. One was speaking about President Obama and Democrats need to adjust their energy policy. It came from a man who recieved $700,000 from Natural Gas and Oil companies since 2006. As well as a party that recieved over $23 million in donations from the Oil industry since 2007. They recieved 88% of all donations from the Oil industry in that time. So as they say the proof is in the pudding. Look at the numbers and think about why Republicans are willing to shutdown our government and risk our economy.

House Republicans plan on holding nation hostage on Debt Ceiling, in order to get Ryan Budget in place.

                 House Republicans are drafting a Debt Ceiling playbook. They are calling it a menu of mandatory spending cuts to offer President Obama in exchange for raising the debt limit. The menu is a list of deeper cuts for President Obama to consider. If he goes small on cuts House Republicans will give him a short extension. But, for example, if he privatizes Social Security, House Republicans will likely raise it for the rest of his term.

President Obama said he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling. He warned Congress not to threaten the credit worthiness of the U.S. by holding the debt ceiling hostage. Not raising the Debt Ceiling was basically unheard of until President Obama took office. House Republicans fear the President will wait until the last minute and make a BIPARTISAN deal with the Senate. This will force the House to take a deal they don’t want or rightly be blamed for defaulting on the country’s obligations and causing a downgrade if the U.S. credit worthiness.

House Republicans are trying to sell this as a compromise. But their menu reads almost as a carbon copy of the Ryan Budget, which President Obama disagrees with. Democrats disagree with the Ryan Budget because of spending cuts, as well as large tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. They are not offering a compromise, they are issuing an ultimatum. They are setting their partybup for certain failure in the 2014 elections.

While the House is responsible for raising the Debt Ceiling, President Obama does not have to agree to anything. He will never have to run for reelection again. If he says no, Democrats can use it against Republicans in 2014 and like I said it will work against Republicans to go down this road.

John Boehner and Paul Ryan are playing a game of political chess. They believe they will avoid political fallout from another Debt Ceiling debacle if they pretend to give President Obama and the Democrats a choice. The option is which programs that help people to kill. House Republicans will probably cave at the last possible second, causing more of a problem than necessary. The last time President Obama tried to compromise with Republicans, they spit in his face. His strategy of waiting out House Republicans seems to be working. Why would he change it now?

Pennsylvania needs to dump the GOP in 2014

                I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania. This is a Democrat heavy area, as is most of Pennsylvania. Gerrymandering has given our state a Republican Governor and House majority. Although the state overwhelmingly voted for President Obama.

Governor Corbett has proposed so many pro-business bills, you would think he was a Natural Gas Drilling Lobbyist. He has given corporations hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts while cutting State Health Care and education budgets. He refuses to let Pennsylvania take part in the ACA, because people on Medicaid get too much for free. The state has sunk to 49th in job creation under Corbett, he says too many Pennsylvaniabs are on drugs. Stats tend to disagree.

Republicans suspend the laws of the State Legislature when they don’t suit them. They invoked God’s Law when the States only openly gay Senator wanted to talk about the Supreme Courts decision on the DOMA case. They refused to let him speak. Sadly Republicans are doing this nationwide as well as in Pennsylvania.

Democrats in the State have fought Corbett at every step. They have stopped much of his conservative agenda. But the only true way to stop his unconstitutional methods is to vote him out. No voter apathy, Voter Restriction Laws cannot stop us, he needs to go. Our children and our state deserve better.

Governor Corbett has to defend another pro-business law.

                Governor Tom Corbett is yet again defending another of his Bills. Several of his Bills, which helped make up his conservative agenda, have been found unconstitutional or dismissed by the Commonwealth Court. This time it is his Gas Royalty Bill. Another pro-business Bill from a man who refuses to tax Natural Gas Drilling Companies and gave businesses another $310 million tax break in his new budget. While at the same time cutting funds from Education and Health Care.

Critics of the Bill contend that it undermines landowners negotiating rights. It gives an unfair advantage to Natural Gas Drilling Companies. Many landowners in Pennsylvania have negotiated drilling contracts so companies can get at the Marcellus Shale.

The Bill enjoyed overwhelming support from the Republicans who control the Pennsylvania legislature. Democrats fought against, but like many issues they have fought against the Republican majority will dismiss Constitutional rules to get what they want. Corbett signed the Bill without public comment. Corbett believes the law enhances the efficiency of oil and gad drilling. He also says the Bill will limit environmental damage and protect landowner rights. Governor Corbett said fracking doesn’t cause pollution, in fact the EPA stopped investigating it. That is odd he mentions pollution.

This law like most of Corbett’s other proposed laws, is pro-business. Corbett uses rhetoric to disguise them as helping people. This is designed specifically to help drilling companies get at all of the Marcellus Shale natural gas. The Fracking process which is used to bore horizontally underground that extend thousands of feet from the vertical well bore. This law allows them to cross property lines as well. Fracking is widely known for causing environmental pollution, as well as making people sick. There are at least 23 known carcinogens in the fluid used to Frack. Why isn’t the EPA investigating Fracking Companies and chemicals? Could it be lobbying companies have bought off the top levels of government?

Republicans plan on holding the Debt Ceiling Hostage again, the Ryan Budget is their demand.

                 Even though in March Speaker of the House John Boehner acknowledged that there is not an immediate debt problem, Republicans plan on holding the Debt Ceiling hostage again. They demand that the Ryan Budget be put in place or they will vote against the Debt Ceiling. This is unprecedented in American history.

Until 2011 no political party had the votes or the intent to stop the President from raising the Debt Ceiling. Which will cause a lowering of our borrowing ability and cause problems economically worldwide. Despite the National Debt being lowered and our slow but steady climb out of an economic abyss, the Republicans seem more than willing to sendvus back there. This is a House that refuses to vote on the Senate Immigration Bill and Student Loan Rates. The do nothing Congress led by Republicans seems to want to hurt America.

The Paul Ryan Budget, a cruel joke against middle class and poor Americans. He cuts Food Stamps and other parts of the SNAP program by $125 billion, while giving larger tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations. It is a joke of a Budget Proposal that promotes Austerity, but only in the programs that help poor Americans. Austerity doesn’t work. Paul Ryan’s budget repeals the ACA yet uses the savings to balance the budget. That is unlikely to work.

President Obama and Democrats caved last time on the Debt Ceiling to save America’s credit rating. They better not cave this time or Americans will suffer worse than before. Republicans are again holding the American public hostage in order to forward some backwards agenda that benefits 3% of the population. To forward a corporate agenda, because a lobbyist paid them to do so. The Republican party’s disdain for President Obama is destroying any credibility they ever had. Now to retake the House and push them further down. 2014 is the year of the Progressive. For that we need to thank Republicans for their actions.

Republicans in North Carolina try to sneak anti-abortion law into Anti Sharia Law Bill.

               Republicans in North Carolina attempted a sneak attack on abortion rights. The State Legislature was voting on an Anti-Sharia Law Bill, yes a bill to stop muslim law from being used in North Carolina, yes ridiculous I know. They shoved the Abortion Law into a law forbidding foreign law. Republicans recently tried passing Anti-Abortion Laws through state budgets and other sneak attack ways.

The Bill would require abortion clinics to be up to ambulatory surgical center standards. Currently only one clinic in the state meets those standards. This bill would effectively close all but one abortion clinic in the state. It would also require clinics to have a transfer agreements with local hospitals. It would also require a doctor to be present when they administer RU486, a drug that induces abortions.

The measure was unveiled in a unusual late afternoon session. The only thing on the calender was about a controversial family law bill, that may cause U.S. law to be not recognized in foreign courts. Although not on the docket, the Legislature almost immediately started talking about the amendment. It took Democrats by surprise and they were very uncomfortable with the actions Republicans took in sneaking this bill into an unrelated bill.

Republicans in state legislatures across the country are trying to force these anti-abortion bills in special sessions and other odd ways. Instead of focusing on jobs or the economy they have turned their attentions to abortion. Women will not have a choice if it is up to the Republicans. Federal Law, the law of the land, Roe v. Wade stipulates one thing and Republicans are stomping all over the Constitution. So much for Constitutional protectors.

Republicans outright refusal to work with Elizabeth Warren and Democrats to stop Student Loan rates from doubling.

               College students taking out new loans in the fall are going to see interest rates double what they were yesterday. Republicans outright refusal to work with Democrats is disconcerting. Elizabeth Warren proposed the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act. Republicans say the low rates given to banks are different than Student Loans.

Subsidized Stafford Loans went from 3.4% to 6.8%. Government profits from Student Loans range anywhere from $5.5 billion to $36 billion or $.42 cents per dollar loaned, to a little over $.05 cents per every dollar loaned. Either way this was before the increase. Different papers are downplaying the significance, but these loans are typically paid over a long period and put our college students in a hole for quite a few years. Banks pay much lower rates, even after decimating our economy, refusing to give loans and the dirty mortgage practices that come out almost daily, yet Republican lawmakers defend the banks vociferously.

During last years Presidential race both parties vowed to take action on this issue. President Obama wants to offer it at the 10 year treasury rate plus .93% and students can cap their payment at 10% of income. House Republicans want to give a superlow rate and then it would adjust at a later date up to 8.5%, effectively 2 and 1/2 times more than now. Senate Republicans are at about 6.5% and Senate Democrats are offering the governments short term lending rate plus an additional percentage suggested by the Department of Education. Elizabeth Warren’s plan would lend at .75% short term loan rate that banks pay the Federal Reserve. It is only a year long fix.

The real issue here is that Republicans are willing to run students over the coals, while refusing to raise taxes on the wealth and refusing to take measures against banks predatory practices. The hypocrisy of the Republican party comes to the forefront again. Elizabeth Warren was trying to get this done several months ago, apparently Congress can only work on one issue at a time. I guess one issue at a time makes it harder to get a bill to help the people through. Republicans, the party of the wealthy for the wealthy.