Voter apathy and laziness at its finest. Recent election in Wilkes-Barre brought 25% of registered voters out.

    This past Tuesday was election day in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Offices up for election were Mayor,  District Attorney,  School Board,  Controller and City Council.  I realize that off year elections have low turnouts but 25% is ridiculous. Approximately 42,000 people live in Wilkes-Barre. Our Mayoral election had about 5,000 votes. For Mayor there were 5,000 votes.  That is sad in a city that has been rocked by corruption over and over again.
 
          City Council had a change of 3 members, including the first Republican in over 30 years. He is a amazingly smart man,  who has fantastic ideas and genuinely cares about our city. We also elected a woman in her early to mid 20s and she is fantastic. She was born and raised here.  Went to college here and is beginning her political career here.  We are lucky to have both of them.

           District Attorney was between our incumbent and a defense attorney.  Our incumbent does not prosecute cases.  Their opinion is that they are there to run the office, determine who tries which case.  We have a glut of unsolved murders,  as well as a charge against a man running for magistrate who is accused of forging signatures on the petition. We had gas gate,  which was 67,000 gallons of gas that went missing and no one was prosecuted. As well as another corruption case with the city contracted towing company.  The incumbent spent $130,000 as opposed to $45,000 for the challenger.  Was it the money or the laziness of voters?

             Controller was between a newer face in local politics and a face that runs year after year.  The newcomer won.  It is believed he will do a good job. Our city needs it.  We are broke,  crime ridden and littered with corruption.  Of the registered voters,  Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1. Republicans have a difficult time running here.

       The School Board race had 4 incumbents who were on both the Republican and Democrat ticket.  3 of those 4 voted to merge our schools. The city is outraged by this,  yet they got reelected.  There was a write in campaign that started 5 weeks before the election and was run solely on Facebook. There was an 11th hour wrote in campaign started. They received about 4% of the vote.  Very good here.  56% of Democrats voted straight Dem and 40% of Republicans voted straight Republican.  Despite the clamor for change. People went the lazy way and voted straight instead of seeing who the candidates were.

        Mayor was interesting. The Democrat candidate was a former Chief of Police, current City Council member and part of the administration’s that helped create the city’s issues.  He filed campaign contribution paperwork with several large errors,  was in trouble for not putting the proper labels on signage and publicly supported one of the judges convicted in the Kids for Cash scandal. The Republican candidate had a taxis sue,  which he was making payments on and never missed a payment.  He also was said to not have leadership experience. Apparently the Mayoral cannot attract more then 5,000 votes.

          It is very disappointing to listen to people talk,  write the paper or Facebook walls about how the city needs a change. Yet when their opportunity to change it arrives,  then cannot leave their house for the 15 minutes it takes to vote. This people do not suffer from apathy,  they are lazy. They cannot make a change because they truly don’t want to or care to.  I do not think that we can change these folks.  We are doomed to the same old same old because of these people. We can only make a difference if we get 50% of the registered voters out to vote.  Will never happen.  The valley with a heart will soon need a transplant.

       

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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!!!!

Peaceful protesting met with police violence. Is the police state real?

          To try to ascertain the exact number of people killed by the police is not possible . Police departments do not have to report to anyone these statistics. Out of 1700 police organizations only 750 actually reported their numbers. Yes, the numbers state that African Americans are killed almost 2 to 1 to white people despite making up only 12 percent of the population. So I do believe it is time for Fox News and the crony conservatives to admit that race is an issue. A great example of the hypocrisy is Sean Hannity. He supported what Cliven Bundy was fighting for his rights and was an American hero. This despite Bundy dodging a tax instituted by conservative  hero President Reagan, he owed millions of dollars in back taxes. He was part of an armed resistance against federal agents and was an American hero. The people of Ferguson or any of these others cities protesting were referred to as thugs and hooligans who were breaking the law. Yes both were said by Sean Hannity.

        If you ever took the time to listen to conservative radio, there are no progressive stations in my area, you will here the perpetuation of this ugly race rhetoric. Rush Limbaugh, who is one of the most disgusting human beings on the face of this earth, said Eric Garner deserved to get choked because he broke the law. Although he refuses to acknowledge that the cop broke the law by using an illegal choke hold, illegal means breaking the law. Fox News is horrible. For a white mass murderer the headline is about how he was bright and brilliant, despite the disturbing fact he killed several people. For Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a wanna be cop, the headline was, he was suspended 3 times in school. Those are just a couple quick examples that show how minorities are viewed by the conservative media, which then trickles down to the dregs of society, the radical conservatives.

Growing up I remember cops carrying a gun, cuffs, baton and their radio. Possibly pepper spray. Cops are better armed now and in Pennsylvania are required to wear their bullet proof vests whenever on duty. There is more crime now then I recall, the local news papers seem to think so as well. But even so, why the militarization of the police force? Aren’t they here to protect and serve? It now seems like the police are an invading force, authorized to use whatever force they want. I understand that if you fight with cops they are going to kick your ass. But killing unarmed people, shooting at them as they run away, beating a woman on the ground who is cuffed, choking people, firing tear gas at peaceful protesters, all while Wall Street is robbing us blind and walking away Scott free. I have had experiences with cops, I have never been beat or shot, but I am white. I have had cops give me a ride to my home when I was intoxicated. They do seem to abuse their power, but as I said my personal experiences were not bad. I truly do not know how it feels to walk in a minorities shoes.

The way our police resemble the military reminds me of videos of Nazi Germany. They robbed people of their rights, arrested who they wanted and abused their power. They also went after a certain group of people, the Jewish people. They systematically decimated them, in the end almost wiping them out. I realize it gas not reached that level, yet. But what is the next step? Can’t indict a cop who shot at a guy 12 times, hitting him 7 times. Can’t idict a cop caught on camera using an illegal choke hold to kill someone. What is next? A group of African Americans or possibly a whole area of town they live in? The whites there are collateral damage in the conservative war on people of color. I feel as if I went off the tracks. But did I? If our justice system doesn’t stop this, who does? How many have to die to change this?

I keep saying conservatives because they believe the victims are wrong. Democrats are spineless, sending out weak statements in order to avoid upsetting the corporate apple cart. We will get nothing from those in our government because they are owned, they recieve their marching orders from the rich and powerful. The 1960s were when the Civil Rights Movement, a mere 50 years ago. Our Conservative Supreme Court Judges ripped apart the Voting Rights Act. I have a very difficult time understanding why these people are so obtuse. Why do they hate so much? Why does this hate pervade our society? Can the media be blamed for all of it? Of course not, ignorance seems to be embraced in our country. People speak of the Constitution, but know nothing about it. The loudest speaker gets the most attention. Sadly that is typically a Ted Cruz or a Sarah Palin.

I believe the militarization of our police has a purpose. Conservatives keep talking about President Obama taking away our rights. I say bull shit to that. That is conservatives mirroring their intentions to keep the focus off of them. Many say that we have become an oligarchy. I believe we are headed to a method of feudalism. Our debt will make us indentured servants,to work their factories and fields. The cops will become their military as our states separate. Conservatives want a group of states with a “defanged” federal government, essentially creating 50 autonomous countries. They will eradicate as many of the poor and minorities that they can. Then live as kings. They will eventually fight amongst each other or be destroyed by Russia or China. The police state is the wealthy jump starting their vision.

I reread this and thought, I sound a little deranged. But, what if………

Ferguson , we are gonna burn this mother up.

     Martin Luther  King  Jr  once said that rioting is the voice of the voiceless. I don’t think I have ever read words that seemed so true. The voiceless act out, in order to make those not listening hear. Sadly it also gives those that belittle them more reason to do so. They say violence creates more violence. This case is a perfect example. A cop uses excessive force in order to kill a teenager who hit him and allegedly  ignored his orders. Another case of police brutality, especially  towards young black men. It is an epidemic that the main stream media refuses to acknowledge .

      Darren Wilson was a cop in Ferguson, Missouri. That is after he was removed from duty in the Saint Louis   police department for his treatment of minorities. He was hired because it is cheaper to hire an ex cop then to train a new one. Ferguson’s population  is over 80% black. Of the 53 police officers only 3 are black. There is only one black person on the School board and one more on council. So a city with the population  being a majority of black Americans is being represented by predominantly  white people. Over 93% of the arrests in Ferguson  are of blacks. While 1/5 of blacks were found with illegal contraband, 1/3 of all whites arrested were found with illegal contraband. The prosecutor who announced the grand jury verdict has prosecuted 5 cops, all have gotten away free and clear. Most grand juries return the verdict the prosecution looking for, I guess that explains what this prosecutor was looking for.

      If Mike Brown did attack a cop, he was wrong. But for a cop to fire 12 shots at a suspect, hitting him 7 times, all in the upper body seems like overkill to me. For a cop to fire at an unarmed fleeing suspect seems even worse. For a cop to fire at a surrendering suspect is worse yet. For the prosecutor  to wait 100 days to bring it to a grand jury is ridiculous. For the prosecution  to allow officers who weren’t there when the altercation happened seems a bit out of the ordinary, considering  only the cop, Mike Brown  and a few other witnesses were there. To not cross examine the cop who committed this act is positively ludicrous. All of the inconsistencies in Wilson’s testimony are blatant. The fact no indictment was found is baffling, unless we believe what we don’t want to believe.

          The system is rigged and black people still do not have the rights of white people. I am a 40 year old white man, I could never understand  what a young black man goes through. Is some brought upon themselves? I am sure there is but shooting an unarmed kid is disgusting. If anyone really believes that racism is dead, they must be living under a rock. A kid shot in Walmart because he was holding a b b gun,  Trayvon Martin and how many others that it happens to daily. I thought all that was fought for in the 60s was rock solid, truthful and all of us believed in ut. How naive myself and how many others were.  It is not just at this level, but racism is prevent in the Republican party, as well as the Supreme Court. How can you hate someone you don’t know?

         As the fires raged in Ferguson, I thought to myself, change always seems to come from violent acts followed by peaceful protests. A leader needs to truly emerge to lead this change, AL Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not those leaders. These fires burning in Ferguson represent the rage and hate at being treated as if their lives mean less. It is a blow to a system that holds a rich white man to a different standard. Sean Hannity told Clive Bundy that he was a true patriot to fight the government  with guns because he refused to pay taxes and they were taking his cattle. But the people in Ferguson were wrong. Hypocrisy be damned. Ferguson burned in the hopes that the next time this happens maybe there will be justice for the victim not a thug with a uniform. Ferguson burned for every person that was bullied, beaten and shot by the cop who thinks he is above the law. Ferguson burned as an example. It is an example of what we need to do to effect change in our country.

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.

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.