The disrespect of the Republican party and their media.

              I took the time yesterday to watch Bill O’Reilly interview President Obama. I would say it was quite nice of the President to grant an interview to a man that perpetuates lies about him daily. Bill O’Reilly has complete disdain for President Obama and showed it by interrupting him continuously.  But it is hard to bully a man who will not let you.

When Bill O’Reilly interviews a conservative he lets them speak. Any liberal, Democrat or person who disagrees is attacked with impunity. I sometimes watch just to see how and what conservatives think. Most, not all, tend to bully their fellow debater. Cutting them off, speaking over them, not answering questions they are afraid of the public knowing the answer to or just plain changing the subject. Sadly this is the state of our government today. If you dont agree, you are the enemy, compromise viewed as weakness. Unfortunately this has caused our gridlock.

I watched Michelle Bachmann debate Bernie Sanders. It was a joke. A educated person debating a 5 year old. Michelle Bachmann used all the tactics above. When asked her stance on Social Security, she said she would gladly answer. Yet for some odd reason, she refused. She has over the years said some very questionable things. Why wouldnt she answer a question that many Americans want the answer to? Dont you think that is a bit conspicuous? Look at her record and that of Bernie Sanders. You will see who makes actual sense.

I then watched Paul Ryan in an interview. He said that President Obama is a lawless President. He said it is not the amount of executive orders but the scope. That President Obama is making laws and that is Congress’ job. But he stepped away from impeachment talk. If the President was lawless and disregarding the U S Constitution shouldn’t those sworn to uphold it hold him accountable? If he is lawless, should he not be impeached. Paul Ryan is another blowhard playing to his base.

Although this is a small thing, it drives me nuts. Conservatives refer to President Reagan, President Bush and Mr Obama. Neither of the first 2 are president anymore. President Obama is a sitting president. Afford him the same respect as Governor Romney, Senator Paul, this is disgraceful. President Obama was voted in by an overwhelming majority of people, HE IS THE PRESIDENT. Just because you disagree with his politics or are hurt by him being in office doesn’t diminish that he is PRESIDENT.

This doesn’t mean I agree with President Obama on everything he does. It does mean he is President, deal with it. Do not be disrespectful to the American people by hurting them to tarnish his legacy. We have been hurt enough by dirty bank practices and financial practices. It is time to stand with the people and the will of the people. But maybe your corporate sponsors wouldnt like that? You have to please your corporate masters.

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Would I or could I do it different?

      Every day each and everyone of us passes judgement on someone or something that we think should be done different. But upon further reflection am I actually being a hypocrite with my judgement?  Is it truly fair, I don’t think fair is the right word, is it morally right on my part? What actually gives me the right to pass judgement?

I judge the criminal that robs the convenience store. Is it legally wrong, absolutely, so it is easy to judge. But what if in this case he was robbing it to feed his family. Does that make it less legally wrong? No, but is it morally right? If I couldn’t feed my family I would like to think I would do anything I could to feed them, but could I? I am a law abiding citizen, could I break that law in that instance? What about the man or woman who murders their neighbor, then we later find that neighbor molested them or their child. Is it less wrong? No. But is it morally right? I know if you hurt my kids I will hurt you, but can it truly ‘ve justified?

Those examples are easy. What about the hedge fund manager who pilfered the retirement accounts of a bunch of middle class workers? Could you say that you are % 100 sure you wouldn’t do the same in his position? The opportunity to not have another financial worry for several generations by hurting a bunch of people you dont know or care about. I would like to deny vehemently that I wouldn’t and I really believe I wouldnt, but what if? What about the banker who illegally forecloses on peoples homes in order to recieve a very large bonus? If your job and a huge bonus were on the line, would you do the right thing or the easy thing? I would like to say I would do the right thing, but I am not in their shoes.

What if you were a judge who could put a kid who was guilty away longer and make a nice chunk of change or place them for the appropriate time and just make your salary? We look on this with disdain, with good reason, but are you positive you couldn’t be tempted to do the wrong thing? The politician who takes a ton of cash to vote in favor of a corporation at the cost of the people and the government you were elected to uphold? The promise of wonderful vacations and enough money that your kids dont have to worry. All for a vote, the politician isnt hurting the people the corporation is. I will say I would do the right thing. But what if?

I have made alot of mistakes in my life. I couldnt be the person I am without those mistakes. My decision making has improved with age. There are certain things, little things, that I have always done. A person drops cash, I give it back, a woman leaves her purse, I chase her down or a cashier gives you to much change, you give it back. But do these things really say that I would do the right thing in the circumstances above? What prepares you for those experiences? For me, all I wanted was to make enough money to pay my bills, feed my kids and take a nice little vacation each year. Of course there is more, but I dont need I to be rich to achieve them. So I am confident in saying I would do the right thing. Are you?

Republicans need to get their priorities straight.

                 Republicans have the nations attention focused on the IRS and NRA “scandals”. While they have our attention, other very important things are slipping by. The Banking industry’s dirty practices are coming to the forefront, but no one is listening. They are concentrating on subjects that should be resolved but Republicans are hiding the truth.

                Bank of America’s practices are coming out and they are dirty. They were taking bribes to delay paperwork to cost homeowners more money. Telling homeowners they didn’t recieve the paperwork, delaying their applications for HARP, causing them to be denied. These illegal practices led to illegal foreclosures that cost real people their homes. But apparently this is not important to the Republican party, who are to concerned with finding a way to impeach President Obama. That is solid governing skills right there.

Every attempt at reforming the Banking Industry has been met with harsh resistance. Elizabeth Warren has made this her baby, she is attempting to fix it so average Americans don’t have to suffer at the hands of these wealthy banks. Republicans and even some Democrats are in the banks back pockets. Bank Industry lobbyist converge on the capital everytime Bank Reform comes up. Republicans are fine with the status quo, the American people are not. It is time for a change. The midterm 2014 elections are the key to change.

This has become a country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The Income Inequality in our country is one of the highest of all developed countries. The Republicans keep the attention off of important subjects in order to avoid them. Avoidance is not a form of government. Now Republicans want boots on the ground in Syria, another unnecessary war where Americans will die needlessly. Republicans didn’t support President Obama on Libya, where he achieved regime change with no American lives lost. The hypocritical Republicans need to govern, to compromise in order for this great country to remain great.

The 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constition.

           The 16th Amendment passed Congress on July 2, 1909, ratified on February 3, 1913. Article 1, section 9 of the Constitution was modified by the 16th Amendment. It goes as follows;
       The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

                  Basically it says that it is up to Congress to set the amount of taxes and collect them. How the money that is taxed is made does not matter. It will not be split up between the states and the census and amountvof people will have zero effect on how the tax system works.

That sentence holds a small bit of information about an extremely large issue. Tax Reform, how should it be done? As I stated above Congress has the power to set the tax levels. They are responsible for the revenue that keeps our country running. There is no mention of lobbyist or outside groups in the 16th Amendment. Nor is there a mention of outside groups helping to set the tax levels. I also didnt see any mention that Congress had the right to take an anti-tax pledge with a lobbyist. So Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge means nothing.

We have established that the Republican trickle down economy doesn’t work. In fact ot has horrible economic consequences, look at the state we were in 2008. We were hemorrhaging jobs, the housing market crashed, Stock market was trashed and banks were going belly up at an alarming rate. We can also agree that austerity doesn’t work. Look at Europe and look at how the Sequester slowed job growth. Obviously you cannot cut your way to prosperity.

If there are any millionaires out there who made their millions solely by cutting spending please speak up. What us needed is a balanced aporoach. Yes we should make cuts, but a least dollar for dollar with tax increases. Right now it us about 6 dollard spending cut to 1 dollar in tax increase. That will not get us where we need to be. Unfortunately Republicans will cut off their nose to spite their face. They cannot see logic because of their vile hatred for President Obama.

Apple recently was in the news for Tax Avoidance. That was $6-$9 billion in taxes that wasn’t collected. In 2010 GE did not pay a single dollar in taxes, I paid more that GE. How many more companies are doing this? How many billions of dollars in tax revenue are not collected because Republicans do not wantva fairer tax code? The extreme Republicans, Tea party members want to abolish the IRS and pay little or nothing in taxes. Our founding fathers knew taxes were essential, why don’t Republicans?

President Obama’s agenda is working. We are digging out of the recession despite Republican obstruction. The stock market and housing market are both recovering. Our debt ceiling crisis has been pushed back by several months by his measures. Imagine where we would be with Republican help. Unfortunately all they have to offer is vitriol.

Is it the American Dream or the American Lie?

           After WWII the United States had an unprecedented economic run. The People in our country had an incredible run. We were well ahead of the rest of the world in technical advancements. Our automobile industry, technical industry, health and just about every other industry was well ahead of the rest of the world. Our economy was stellar and it truly showed in the strength of our middle class.

The American Dream was alive and well. People were able to afford the nice house, nice yard, a good car, vacations and savings for college and/or retirement. Unions helped employees earn a better salary and people had more discretionary income. People were buying T.V.s, unnecessary items, that were once considered a luxury. Even with ups and downs it seemed as if everyone had a fair shot to live their dream.

Everything truly started to change in the 1970s. That is when CEO pay began to jump and the employee pay began to level off. The 1980s and Reagonomics put a serious hurting on the American Dream. More people were layed off, companies began getting more work out of less people and corporations put short term profits ahead of the long term outlook. The 1990s saw a bit of an uptick for employees, but that was shortlived. Then George W. Bush and the new Republican party struck.

The Bush administration started the Bush Tax Cuts, which increasingly helped the Wealthy. Since the inception of the Bush Tax Cuts, they have cost us about $3 trillion. He started 2 wars that weren’t paid for and was in charge for 2 recessions. He created less jobs that any President in history and was in office for the largest terrorist attack in American History, 9/11. The Housing Market and the Banking Industry fell apart under his watch.

To top all of that off we were hemorrhaging jobs. He gave tax breaks to companies who outsourced American jobs as they were recieving government subsidies. By this time CEOs were making 400 times what their employees made and employeed wages stagnated. Banks were going bankrupt, yet their CEOs were getting million dollar bonuses or more. It was as if tge world was turned upside down. The American Dream was dead in the water.

In steps President Obama and the Democrats. They passed the ACA, the economy was slowly improving and jobs were slowly being created. All this despite Republican attempts to stop him and find a way to impeach him. Now the Stock Market is sitting at a record high, unemployment rate is below 8% and the Republicans are still doing everything they can to inhibit him.

But despite the improvements, does the American Dream still exist? Yes and no. It will never be the same as it was. It is more like buying a home and making sure the bills are paid. Maybe you can go on a vacation, most likely not if you want to put your kids through college. The one hidden stat that is very disturbing is that 91% of the wealth made over the past 5 years was made by the top 7% of America’s earners. It appears the American Dream has been held hostage.

We are dedicating a library to George W. Bush when we should be dedicating a jail cell to him.

                George W. Bush is having a library dedicated to him, a slap in the face to all our soldiers who died. He and Dick Cheney lied us into a war that cost billions if not a trillion dollars, but also thousands of American troops. It also cost the lives of at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians. He is widely considered on of the worst Presidents in American history.

              Not only did he lie us into war, but get neglected to pay for it. He never put the war costs in his budget, so that is now part of our national debt. He deregulated the banking industry directly leading to the Great Recession and the Housing Crisis. His policies also contributed to the rapid decline of Wall St. and people losing trillions of dollars.

             Of course while everyone else was suffering Bush and his acolytes were raking in the dough. While people were losing money he and his were making it. He gave out his portion of the TARP funds with no stipulations, they did with it what they wanted. President Obama’s portion of the TARP fund has all been paid back, whereas no one truly knows how Bush’s was used.

       I am sure we can go on and on. There is evidence that possibly points to him having some idea of the 9/11 attacks. Could be conspiracy theory, maybe not. During this time Democrats worked with him until they realized they were bamboozled. Then when he tried to privatize Social Security that is when the dam broke. Bush was tried in absence in a court in Madagascar, that specializes in war crimes but I’d not a recognized court, and he was convicted as a war criminal. We will never seen him tried but it is abhorrent to see him celebrated.        

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Senator Elizabeth Warren continued her struggle to hold banking industry accountable.

                 Senator Elizabeth Warren is again championing average Americans by trying to hold the banking industry accountable. This time her target is illegal foreclosures. Since Senator Warren has joined the Senate Banking Committee she has made waves with her sharp criticism of government regulators tasked with controlling the nations banking system. She quizzed Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Elisse Walter about why no banks were taken to trial after the 2008 financial collapse. She also grilled Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke over policies that promote financial institutions that are too big to fail.

            This past week Daniel Stipano, deputy chief counsel of the office of Comptroller of the Currency and Richard Ashton, deputy general counsel for the Board of Governers of the Federal Reserve, were in her sights. They both testified before a Banking Committee subcommittee last Thursday at a hearing on the role of independent consultants. Warren criticized both men for not providing information to Congress or to homeowners about illegal foreclosures in order to help the homeowners receive compensation. Warren said in an interview last Friday, ” I think the question that we put to the regulators is whether they were there to help to protect banks or help to protect families that had been victims of illegal foreclosure practices. I was not satisfied with the answers and we’re going to stay after them.”

                  The Federal government is offering financial aid to help people whose homes were illegally foreclosed. But the assistance doesn’t arduous to much. This is part of a $25 billion National Mortgage settlement reached between banks, the Federal government and attorneys general across the nation. The program applies to borrowers foreclosed one by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JOMorgan Chase and WellsFargo, the nations 5 largest mortgage servicers. The payments could be as low as $840 per homeowner, could be higher, depending on the number of borrowers who participate. Jeff Genres, managing attorney for the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, called the settlement rough justice. Adding that it is not compensation for taking your home, it is compensation for the banks committing a crime on the courts.

               On January 31 Senator Warren and Representative Elijah E Cummings requested documents detailing what a review found, such as the number of improper foreclosures, the amount of inflated fees or the extent of abusive practices by each service. The regulators staff refused to provide any documents that would identify wrongdoing by any specific bank. It would be very surprising indeed if mortgage servicing companies argued that their ability to engage in illegal foreclosures and charge inflated fees is a commercially viable plan derived from corporate innovation. The letter also points out that agencies have clear regulatory discretion to provide members of Congress with documents and that agencies could protect against a potential waiver by sending a simple cover letter, as other agencies have done routinely.

               President Obama should be behind Senator Warren and Representative Cummings all the way. Democrats should be jumping on board and trying to get Republicans to do the same. The banks almost crippled us economically and made billions after the fact. It is time for them to pay up.

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