Is there truly a cabal of wealthy people who secretly control America?

          This is an odd topic, although it is something that has been presenting itself to me more daily. Each day I watch news, read the paper, read on the Web or debate one person or another, it seems that this subject is slapping me in the face. The more I read, the more it seems I am being force fed garbage, something to keep me off the this elusive subject. The Internet is veritable smorgasbord  of conspiracy theories. The news and the papers are obviously controlled by the wealthy elite, so we only get the stories they want us to read. My ideas on the subject are in constant evolution and not 100% clear yet. I just want to present them, just to get them out and hopefully get some input from others. I also want some of these thoughts solid so I can always refer to it.

              I want to start with the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is not controlled by the government, it is controlled by private bankers. Odd, right, one would assume that it was a government entity. For a period of time our dollar was backed by gold. That switched, I apologize  for being vague but I am not going in depth about this part, and money became backed essentially by the full faith and credit of the United States. It is made up out of thin air, it means nothing and comes from no where. That, you would think makes our dollar worthless, but it doesnt. Now every dollar that we borrow from the Federal Reserve, yes our government borrows money from private bankers, has to be payed back with interest. So every dollar created puts the United States further in debt to wealthy bankers. It creates a system of perpetual debt, leaving the super wealthy in control of our government.

            Let’s move to Citizens United next. This ruling by the Supreme Court allowed dark money to flood into our politics. Dark money is money that comes from unknown sources and cannot be accounted for. It also allowed individuals to contribute more to political campaigns and to be able to hide who it was contributed to. Let’s be very clear, this does not benefit the poor or middle class. I gave $15 to President Obama  in 2012 and $10 in 2008. There is a new bill Republican lawmakers are trying to pass that would triple the amount people could contribute without declaring any of it. Now interesting statistic I keep seeing is that 94% of candidates that raise the most money win. Now Congress had a 9% approval rating yet 94% were reelected. I hope you caught that anomaly as well. 9% approval is very very bad. Interestingly, just for example, the Koch Brothers contributed approximately $325 million, that is accounted for in the last election cycle. That is according to the Washington Post. Now how does that help the poor?

             Now to Voter I.D. laws. Who do voter i.d. laws affect? The poor of course! The rate of fraudulent voting of the sort Republicans are trying to stop is about .00002%. Does that really seem like something that would warrant this much action? Especially because Republicans have seemed reluctant to take any action at all. Why is this an issue? In 2008 when then Senator Barrack Obama was running for President, the poor overwhelmingly voted for him. His speeches motivated the country and helped assuage voter apathy. 93% of the African American vote went to President Obama and minorities  as a whole were generally in his corner. How can the wealthy elite keep their puppet in office if people vote? They cant. They had to do something, their lobbyist marched into our capital to manufacture a new issue. Voter fraud. By requiring I.D., people who live in inner cities and do not drive, nor have the finances to own a car could not vote. Unfortunately for the wealthy we were protected from poll taxes. But it didn’t end there, Republicans ended early voting or shortened it, closed polls early, created long lines by having less polls, machines switched votes from Democrat to Republican and they even used voter intimidation. In 2014, about 30% of the population or less voted. It seems they got their sheep back in the herd.

            Those are the big ones I wanted to cover. But here is more food for thought. The rolling back of part of the Civil Rights Act that helped protect minorities rights to vote in districts that have had past issues. Low wages and the decimation of Labor Unions. Unions were the middle classes great protector. The continual attempts to decimate the EPA. Saying the EPA makes it where business can’t compete because of regulations. The illegal foreclosures by banks, who paid a pittance of a fine and didn’t have to give the homes back. Bank executives getting bonuses while crashing the economy, destroying people’s pensions, 401 KS and decimating our workforce. No prosecution of any of these people who committed illegal acts, while our prisons are over crowded by poor people with Marijuana offenses. The complete control of the mass media, holding each to their own standards and showing a blatant avoidance of the truth. In fact, many tell outright lies more then they tell the truth, Fox News. The worse part of this is the absolute ignorance of so many Americans. The easiest way to make the middle class forget about the rich, is to make them hate the poor. We are so gullible.

          Is it a true conspiracy? Did I paint a clear enough picture? The answer to both, I don’t know. The idea is still coming together for me as I dig through more and more. It is a theory, but truth, not sure yet. This I will say. There is an eternal battle going on in America. At its root is income inequality, which is at its highest since the 1920s. The DOW Jones is setting records dailly, but we are only getting minimum wage jobs. Why? 95% of the wealth made over the last six years has gone to the top 5% of the population. Class warfare is undeniably one of the biggest issues in America. It seems as if the wealthy elite have clung to power for so long, that any perceived attempt to dislodge them from power will be met with fierce resistance. Even at the loss of our great country. Cabal or greedy men? They might be one in the same.

2014, a year closer to the end of America?

         The title may seem conspiracy like or even reactionary, but it is not far off base. If we honestly look at some of the things that transpired this year, you have to admit that this isn’t our parents America. The land we live in has fallen quite short of what I thought we were. But this is a disappointment I have gotten used to. Republican and Democrat blaming each other, while both are suckling Wall Streets teat. More insane nut bags threatening our “monkey” President Obama, because his skin color is bothering them. Conservatives pining for the time when white American men were the only people who mattered. Cops not just being bullies, but now shooting and killing unarmed black kids, then saying they felt threatened. Then trying to understand how an adult justifies shooting 12 times at someone running away, while my 10 year old daughter tells the grown up it is wrong. Cops using an illegal choke hold to kill a guy who was selling “loosey” cigarettes, only to hear more adults justify it. Then trying to explain to my 10 and 13 year old kids what is wrong with these people without calling them dumb. This list can go on and on. But seriously, what the hell is wrong with us?

            Everyone screams that things need to change, but when your voice is heard the majority sit home. The American society has failed. We are in general a weak and lazy group. Not all, as I said in general. To show our unhappiness we sit home, to show our social disobedience, we sit home. Sitting home and not participating seems to be the universal answer. America is the way it is because of US, WE THE PEOPLE CREATED THIS MESS. Our apathy has left a shell of a nation for my children. When we can change something, we do not because the devil we know is better then the devil we dont. Unfortunately we have left the fox in the henhouse, we stopped paying attention. Now everything seems corrupted, anyone with the tiniest bit of power has eaten the poison apple. Who cares, no one was watching them. Cops are beating black kids, don’t break the law. Killing black people, don’t break the law. But a black kills a white and all hell breaks loose. Politicians, even the ones where I live are under investigation for being corrupt.

           I love the freedoms I have but I have been negligent of my responsibilities as well. As a democracy, we are responsible for the actions of our representatives, we stopped telling them what to do because they quit doing it. If I stopped doing my job, I would get fired. CONGRESS SHOULD BE FIRED!!! 9% approval yet 94% reelected, what is wrong there. This apathy goes right into how people think. It is easy to hate and be bigoted, doesn’t take any thought. Simple minded people hate people based on color and creed. Stupid and loud people hold a lot of power in this country. How did we allow this? Money is some cases, because in some warped world money means intellegence. Laziness in others, why debate a dumb person, they will never change. We all seem to listen to the loudest speaker, typically the most ignorant person in the room. So this because our education system failed us or just because we lost faith in everything?

             I don’t have any answers. I can’t tell you what is right or wrong. I can tell you that my convictions are changing. I have always been a very liberal Democrat. The liberal part has grown stronger, I believe we need to help one another, foster a sense of community and continue to help the weakest among us to rise above where they are. We are a wealthy country who needs to commit resources to our infrastructure, education, homelessness and better health care, as well as mental health. We need to reel in the police, educate, better training and better mental health screening, as well as holding them accountable for their actions. The same needs to be done with our leaders on all kevels, state, local and federal. As well as TV and radio personalities who spread vitriol and lies. Time for all to be held accountable for their actions. That is a start. To improve our government, term limits for House, Senate and Supreme Court Justices. Time to remove money from politics and deny personhood of corporations. Even the playing field, end lobbying. The Democrat part has been called into question. I agree with them more, but they are also guilty of putting money before the people.

         In general 2014 was another year we failed our children. I will not anymore, my children will see that I believe it is time to stand. There is a movement in this country, it has been building slowly but it is building. I think it will reach a crescendo soon and we will see massive change. It is a dangerous and beautiful time to be alive. We will take our country back. We need to reverse the trend and improve in all aspects. If not America Jay be doomed to fail. Happy New Year! HAPPY NEW AMERICA!!!!

2014 midterm election, voter apathy or a GOP strategy?

                So the 2014 midterm election ended with a Republican runaway.  They gained the majority in the Senate and gained more seats in the stagnate House.  Congress had an 11% approval rating yet 96% of incumbents retained their seats.  I find it very odd that people were so unhappy yet kept the same people in office.  If anyone thought the Republican strategy would change,  that they might work with President Obama, joke is on you.  Senator Lindsey Graham called him a child in an interview.  Seems the citizens of American did what the GOP wanted,  stayed home on election day.

Is this a master plan by Republicans? No, it is being perpetuated by the party but their marching orders come from the Koch brothers and groups like ALEC or the NRA. The plan seems very complicated but it is not. Very simple, how can a party with a very large deficit in membership beat a party with the larger membership? First they had to win at the state level. When they did that, the began to redistricting or gerrymander. Gerrymandering is the process of breaking up voting districts into more favorable districts for the party in charge. The Supreme Court ruled that Gerrymandering was illegal, but why would laws stop these crooks.

Step 2 was a little tougher. Once they took over the states and gerrymandered the districts they needed to keep moving up the ladder. The gerrymandered districts allowed Republicans to win seats in predominantly Democrat areas. Once they gained seats in the House, the majority, they started pushing voter ID laws in their States. These laws are intended to limit the votes of minorities. Many minorities do not have the proper ID, in some states people that voted for years were no longer allowed to vote. They shortened early voting, voting hours, absentee ballots went missing in several states, voter registrations went missing, people were turned away and Democrat votes turned into Republican votes. All of these laws for a .0002% rate of fraud over the last 10 years. Republicans have said from different states that they needed to limit voting in order to have a chance to win. These are the so called protectors of democracy.

At the same time all this was happening in 2010, still happening today, the billionaires went to court in the Citizens United case. They won the right to contribute as much as they want without anyone being able to track their political spending. The last estimate I saw, the Koch brothers spent over $300 million on the 2014 election cycle alone. Many of this us dark money, which is extremely hard to teach, but is traceable. It is said that Republicans and Democrats get the same amount of money. The upfront money we see, Republicans had about a 20% advantage on. Where as dark money it is estimated anywhere between a 60% to 150% advantage. Most of this money comes from single donors. If you believe money has nothing to do with elections, you couldn’t be further from the truth. The candidate with most money wins 94% of the time.

The last part, which probably should have been the first part, is the main stream media. For instance, 2 of the most popular conservative news sources Rush Limbaugh and FOX NEWS are the 2 most unreliable news sources. Limbaugh is estimated to lie approximately 75% of the time and FOX News tops them at about 85% of the time. Approximately 250 newspapers are owned by 7 conservatives. News channels are complicit as well. Instead of covering anything going right, they went with Ebola and Is is. They played the Republican scare tactic game. So the plan was later out.

Through all these things they routed a Democrat party whose President lowered the deficit, GDP, unemployment, the unemployment rate is at 5.8%, gas prices and health insurance. There would be more jobs of not for Republicans led by Mitch McConnell voting against the Veterans Jobs Bill and the Jobs Bill. This Republican party is not here for the people, they are there for those with the paper. Democracy is not dying a slow death, it is being murdered right before our eyes by enemies dressed as Patriots.

What happened to our Democracy?

         What happened to the great country of America? Why do we not prosper like we did in the 1950s-1970s? What caused the greatest nation in earth to come back to the pack? If you listen to Republicans it is all liberals fault, their policies and entitlements. If you listen to Democrats it is all conservatives fault, horrible policies, war mongering and the trickle down economy. But what caused our current predicament. This is an average high school educated Americans opinion on our decline.

America was very successful in the decades following WWII. There are several reasons for this. I believe first and foremost was the conditions other countries were in. Germany, England, Italy, France, Japan and most of Europe was decimated by the war. This essentially left the world at Americas mercy. We were the only developed country that wasnt decimated and we took full advantage of that. Second was the rise of labor unions. They leveled the playing field with corporations causing better pay and benefits. Workers were happy and American made meant something. Third was the gap in income. It put us in a position where employees believed in their employers. Corporations werent cutting corners for a profit.

When CEO pay began to grow quicker then employee pay we saw the beginning of the decline. Companies off shoring work to make a higher profit despite products that were not made very well. Union membership particularly in the early 2000s declined sharply. NAFTA wad created to help Americans but it worked against us. This was the beginning of the end. Then banks began to work against us. I to this day do not completely understand what they did, but they destroyed pensions, credit, peoples lives and the American economy. Too big too fail and too rich too prosecute.

You may ask “Why all this about the economy and jobs?” It all contributed to the political climate we live in today. The decimation of unions took away one of the major checks on corporations power. Easieast example is Walmart. They make billions in profits, get all of their product from overseas and essentially pay minimum wage. They typically cap employees hours so they dont have to offer benefits. All the while their employees are in every government program that is offered because of the low pay. Walmart is one of the largest employers in the country. Any attempt at unionizing is dealt with harshly. People getting fired, hours cut amongst other things. Workers no longer recieve living wages, all the while corporations and the super wealthy gain more and more of the pie.

Why does any of that matter? Well that is quite easy. 94%. 94% of the time the politician with the most money wins. 94%, a ridiculous number. That means that the people with money get their politician of choice. That means that said politician then works for the cause of the wealthy. That causes an ever growing gap in income inequality. When corporate backed politicians are in charge, corporations essentially are in charge. Take the Stand Your Ground Law, a mess of a law. ALEC writes papers called model legislation, which is a bill that is given to their bought congressmen, who then work to get it passed. Congress no longer works for the people, it works for its puppet master.

Money has bought our government, big money, corporations and super wealthy. These people have destroyed our democracy. We are now at the mercy of our corporate overlords. It is funny to think that not only do you buy their product in a store, but we all bow at the altar of the wealthy. This is what these wannabe oligarchs, feudalists or monarchs want from us. For a while the people were silent, but many are waking up. But it is too late? Can we retake our democracy? Is America the new Rome? I certainly hope not. But in my opinion we are balanced on a precipice.

I realize that this is not the most concise description of our fall. But just open your eyes and look around. People stand up for a tax evader like Cliven Bundy but demonize Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown. When was racism so prevelant, the 1950s. How about the constant attack on women? It seems like a calculated attack to keep rich men in charge of things. The election of President Obama, a black man, seems to upset the apple cart. Why else would certain people say their first and most important priority was to make him a one term president. Democracy is not conservatism or liberalism, it is a combination of all of them. We need to overturn Citizens United, put term limits on Senators, Representatives and Supreme Court Justices. We need to be able to assess their jobs and have the right to immeadiatly fire them. Our democracy is on the line. Lets save it.

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-Pa) takes the Food Stamp Challenge, living on $4.50 a day.

            On Wednesday afternoon Rep.Matt Cartwright had a $.57 box of macaroni and cheese for dinner, with some iceberge lettuce topped with oil and vinegar and 2 slices of wheat bread. This was part of his 1 day protest designed to highight cuts in the proposed House Farm Bill. The plan is to eliminate $20 billion out of the $80 billion Food Stamp budget over the next decade.

Cartwright also ate 2 other small meals that kept his food intake under $4.50 for the day. That is the daily average for food under the SNAP Program per person. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Ok) said that it is the most reform minded bill in decades. He said it would make needed SNAP cuts as well as eliminate $5 billion a year in subsidies paid to farmers, whether they grow crops or not. Why would a farm not growing crops get money from the Food Stamp Program?

The legislation would achieve some cuts by partially eliminating categorical eligibility. That automatically gives you food stamps if you sign up for other programs. People would still be eligible, but would have to apply. That is a good change. The House is debating 103 Amendments to the bill, including a Democrat proposal to eliminate the SNAP cuts. About three quarters of the 47 million recipients are families with children. There are 1.77 million recipients or 14% of the population in Pennsylvania

The Republican led House proposal would kick 2 million families off of the SNAP Program. That would have long term affects on the health of the family, but most importantly the children. Thr fact that Republicans do not understand that austerity doesn’t work is very perplexing. Europe was falling to pieces because of austerity measures. Cutting spending without increasing revenue doesn’t work. But in Republican fantsy land it doesn’t matter because they are making things harder on President Obama.

Republicans said they wanted dollar for dollar spending cuts and tax increases. They have gotten $4.00 in spending cuts for every $1.00 in tax increases. Lets also talk about $200 billion in corporate welfare in 2012 alone. That is 2 and 1/2 times the Food Stamp benefits and still about $40 billion more when you add in heat assistance. So corporations that don’t need money get it, but people struggling because of corporations like this crashing the economy get hit with cuts. I guess it only makes sense when you look at their campaign donations. But campaign finance reform is a battle for another day.

CBO study shows tax breaks for multi-national corporations and wealthy will cost us $12 trillion over the next decade.

                   A new report from the CBO shows that the top 10 U.S. tax deductions, credits and exclisions ensure that over $12 trillion in tax revenues will be gifted to multi-national corporations and the wealthiest Americans over the next decade. Nearly all of the benefits will be accrued by the wealthiest Americans. The tax loopholes have been written into the tax code by a bought and paid for Congress, that recieves its marching orders from multi-national corporations and wealthy Americans that dominate campaign finance.

The study shows that the top 20% of American income earners will recieve more than half of the $900 billion in benefits from the inexcusable tax code in 2013 alone. Adding insult to injury, 70% of the total benefits go to the top 1% of income earners. The study was requested by House Democrats.

Democrats say the results support President Obama’s approach to tax reform and defecit reduction. Raising revenues by closing tax loopholes and deductions that are being abused by the wealthiest Americans. The National Debt is $16 trillion and we will lose another $12 trillion in tax revenues over the next decade, that equals $28 trillion without adding Government spending. If we close half of those loopholes that will nearly cut the National Debt in half, although it would nevet happen that way. Why are Republicans fighting against Tax Reform like this, when they claim the National Debt is a priority? Is it the Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge or the hate for President Obama?

3 of the top 5 tax breaks, a $2 trillion exvlusion of net pension contributions and earnings over a decade, the $1 trillion deduction for mortgage interest and the $1.1 trillion deduction for State and Local Taxes also disproportionately benefit the top 20% of income earners. The Republican party likes to pretend the middle class is swimming in government aid. These tax breaks that benefit only the wealthiest Americans are blowing up our defecit and those who need it least.

13% of those tax breaks will go to the middle class and 8% to the lowest income bracket. This again shows a disproportionately large gap between the haves and have nots. This will continue the growth of incone inequality in our country. The larger the incone inequality, the more it hurts our economy and our National Debt will continue growing.

These things are in plain sight. A look into recent history shows that the Republican economic theory doesn’t work. They do not seem concerned with the outcome, as long as they and their corporate sponsors aren’t effected. This is a horrible way to run a country. Eventually even the wealthy will be effected by this economic theory. Republicans will cut off their nose to spite their face when it comes to President Obama, their hate for him blinds them.

My Father-in-law says it best. The Republicans only care about the rich and the Democrats take care of the rest of us.

Governor Scott Walker trying to slip ALEC education legislation into budget.

                    Governor Scott Walker is attempting to radically overhaul Wisconsin’s education system using several pieces of ALEC’s model legislation. He is attempting to do it through the budget process, meaning this privatization agenda could be enacted with minimal input from the public. These budget provisions will tax the taxpayers for private and religious school.

On the campaign trail in 2010, Walker pledged to strip policy and pork projects from the state budget. At least 46 non-budgetary items have been slipped into the 2013-2015 budget proposal. Included in these 46 are ALEC connected proposals limiting school board oversight for charter schools, expanding voucher programs and creating New teaching licenses for individuals with no educational background. The expanded voucher programs are the fiscal problem.

Well funded advocates of privatizing the nations public education system have been promoting the Parent Trigger. Parent Trigger Laws are a mechanism that allows parents to transform underperforming public schools. The Parent Trigger was first promoted by a small charter school operator in California. It was taken up and launched inti hyper-drive by 2 controversial right wing organizations, ALEC and the Heartland Institute.

ALEC brings together major American corporations and Republican lawmakers to craft and vote on model bills behind closed doors. Some of these bills are Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, union busting legislation, Arizona style anti-immigration legislation and voter suppression laws. ALEC’s agenda has become so extreme over 40 corporations have severed ties with them. The Heartland Institute lost a lot of corporate sponsors after it launched a billboard comparing those who believe in Climate Change to the Unabomber.

In 1990 Milwaukee was thev first city in the country to implement a school voucher program. It was proposed by then Governor Tommy Thompson (ALEC member) and it was quickly embraced by ALEC. It was originally promoted as a program for Milwaukee’s low income students. But Walker expanded it to families of higher incomes and his 2013-2015 budget proposal threatens to expand it further. By 2014-2015 Wisconsin taxpayers will have spentvan estimated $1.8 billion on private and religious schools. School privatization interests have spent at least $10 million on political funding. Scott Walker alone recieved $2.35 million in contributions and outside support from pro-privatization groups. Critics have said that Republicans have hijacked the program. As soon as a door opens for lower income kids, they are trampled by the wealthy.

Governor Bobby Jindal tried to use the budget process to subsidize private and religious schools. But the measure was deemed unconstitutional by the Louisiana State Supreme Court. If only because the Constitution states that education money can only go towards public education. Hopefully Wisconsin has that sort of clause in it, maybe it can slow the Privatization of public schools.

The Republican party strongly supports privatizing public education. But then again they sneakily try to privatize anything they can. They have attempted to privatize the USPS and prisons just for example. Democrats and President Obama are trying to fix and streamline public education. They want to getvrid of No Child Left Behind, a horrible program that does nothing for our kids. Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for private and religious schools. Paying for religious schools violates the 1st Amendment but creatingva state religion. But of course the Constitution only applies when it works for Republicans.