WTF 1/27… What’s money got to do with it?

 

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So what does money have to do with it? Living and learning and healing and making it to another day…

Unfortunately… just about everything.

This week in WTF I rant… ummm… I talk about that issue and lots more…

What’s so wrong…

joe1There was once a song that asked the question what’s so wrong about peace, love and understanding… I now ask the question what’s so wrong about universal healthcare, free college education and less money for the rich and more for the poor?

Health…

Every major industrial country in the world has universal healthcare for its citizens… and none are about to have any systemic failures of its political and social infrastructures…

Still, today… even with the advent of Obamacare… there are millions of people who are either underinsured or without any healthcare coverage.

This needs to be fixed once and for all.Cost-of-Being-Sick-At-Work-in-2015

The cost to our country due to an unhealthy citizenry is far more than many can imagine… over burdened emergency rooms that need to care for peeps with no way to pay… sick children who need care, so moms, who need to work to help a family make it from week to week, need to take time off that is usually unpaid to care for the child… folks who need to take off from work because they are chronically ill due to the fact they can’t afford medical services or the meds they need… folks who can’t afford to stay home (because our paid personal leave time and vacation time is abdominal in this country) so they go to work and make others ill, who then miss time and possibly infect their own families causing mini-epidemics throughout neighborhoods, cities and towns and even states…

All these and more situations add to the cost of the country doing business and managing itself as well as for families who try to make ends meet on a daily basis…

This needs to stop and it should begin with universal healthcare…

Education…

Many industrialized countries have free post secondary education (including Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Mexico and Brazil)… last I heard these countries are all still intact and progressing along relatively nicely…

College costs for today’s students has risen more than 500% since 1985. What cost maybe $10,000 back then now costs more than $50,000 today.

From 1984-1985 to 2014-2015 the average cost of getting a private four-year college education has gone from $12,716 to $31,231 and costs for most students who stay in state and go to a public college went from $2,810 to $9,139… a 146% and 225% increase respectively.

During the same period… median household income in the US only went up around $6,500, from about $47,000 in 1984 to about $53,500 in 2014.

What that means is that any family that wants to put just one child through college would need to pay about 55% of their annual earnings. More than one child? Fergeddaboudit!

So… what’s a poor child to do?

Borrow, borrow and borrow more…collegecosts_590_385

Today in America our children are collectively in debt to the tune of more than $1.2 trillion… with 7 million of our children being in default of what they owe. A 2014 Wells Fargo 2014 reported that 4 in 10 millennials are floundering in debt they probably will not pay back in its entirety.

67% of American college kids graduate and owe big bucks… in fact… post secondary education is generally out of reach for most poor and working class folks as well as many middle class families… a college education is becoming an exclusive luxury for the upper gentry of America.

Yet, Germany’s higher education system is publicly funded and its 2.4 million-plus students pay zip… nada… as in absolutely not a thing. Germany is still functioning… and well… last I heard.

Welfare… or… brother, can you spare $15 an hour?

In America we have a federal minimum wage at $7.25… or it was the last time I saw one of them posters from my Human Resources department.  There’s also no federal mandate… law…  that any company in America has to give its workers any paid vacation time or personal time off.

That PTO time… personal time off? France gives its workers 25 days… Germany gives 20 days… Iceland 24 days… Italy 20… Canada is 10… these are days mandated d by the country’s laws…

The U S of fucking A? None. No company is required to give its employees any time off. Most do because of the Unions. Like it or not, that’s why they do it.

And… a living wage in this country… hah!

According to most business peeps that just can’t be… it would be the ruin of us all… a disaster of biblical proportions… human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria.. (My apologies to Ghostbusters for stealing their material but I always try to work that shit in whenever I can.)

But, that’s bullshit… and that’s not just from me… or Bernie… it’s from the mouth of a 1 per-center…

Pitchforks are coming...
Pitchforks are coming…

From Nick Hanauer… a zillionaire you probably never heard who has some advice for his fellow 1 per-centers…  “The pitchforks are coming for us…”

Hanauer says he is a proud and unapologetic capitalist.

No one is perfect.

But… who the fuck is this guy?

He founded aQuantive and he flipped it to Microsoft for $6.4 billion. In cash.

He and his cronies own a bank.

He was the first non-family guy to invest in something called Amazon… made more than few bucks there, too.

And… he admits he has been rewarded with “a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc…”

What he says is his big talent… he can see things and take chances that usually pay off in a fucking big way.

He, (in an open letter published on Politico to his fellow uber-rich bastards and bitches), says “The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.”

He then adds… “…the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy.”hanauer3

I’ve been saying for years… yeah, me the WTF guy… for a capitalist society to work there has to be a part of the population in poverty… and that’s good?

But, let me let Mr. Got Bucks go on…

“The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution. (My emphasis)

And, so, I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds… Wake up, people. It won’t last. If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or, an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.”

Let me interpret…

Push the people far enough into a corner where they see no escape… and when they finally realize they are all in the same damn boat…  they will band together and they will fucking revolt and do it with violence… and it won’t be pretty… it never is when people go crazy…  there will be bloodshed…Phenomenon-Revolution

I think that sums up what Nickie is hinting at…

But, he has a solution… or… in my un-humble opinion a salve to put on the festering wound of inequality… not a total resolution but  a sea change forward considering how the 1 per-centers presently think.

He calls it “Middle-out” economics and he says it puts an end to the stupid idea of the trickle-down economics that most political peeps… elephants and donkeys… try to convince the people is what works when what it really has done is “screwed the American middle class and our economy generally.”

He says his Middle-out economics “embraces the much more accurate idea of an economy as a complex ecosystem made up of real people who are dependent on one another. Which is why the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators. Which means a thriving middle class is the source of American prosperity, not a consequence of it. The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around.”

Gee… didn’t the Bamster once say…  “If you’ve got a business… you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” And, then, took all kinds of shit when the elephants distorted his comment out of context?

Sorry… I digress; again… back to Nick…

Nicks says that the elephant and their Wall Street buddies… as well as plenty of the donkeys, too… squawk big-time when the issue of a higher minimum wage is brought up. They say if that happens then the whole economy is going to suffer… aka… raising the minimum wage will cost jobs… workers will lose jobs because businesses will have to lay them off. Nick says if you took the most basic economics course in college then you were invariably taught that if wages go up, employment must go down…. supply and demand and all that.  He says that’s why the elephants keep saying “if you price employment higher, you get less of it.”

Nick says… “Really?”nick

He then adds… “The thing about us businesspeople is that we love our customers rich and our employees poor. So for as long as there has been capitalism, capitalists have said the same thing about any effort to raise wages. We’ve had 75 years of complaints from big business… when the minimum wage was instituted, when women had to be paid equitable amounts, when child labor laws were created… every time the capitalists said exactly the same thing in the same way: We’re all going to go bankrupt. I’ll have to close. I’ll have to lay everyone off. It hasn’t happened. In fact, the data show that when workers are better treated, business gets better. The naysayers are just wrong.”

He then uses his home state as the proof being in the pudding…

“Most of you probably think that the $15 minimum wage in Seattle is an insane departure from rational policy that puts our economy at great risk. But in Seattle, our current minimum wage of $9.32 is already nearly 30 percent higher than the federal minimum wage. (Remebr he was writng this back in 2014) And has it ruined our economy yet? Well, trickle-downers, look at the data here: The two cities in the nation with the highest rate of job growth by small businesses are San Francisco and Seattle. Guess which cities have the highest minimum wage? San Francisco and Seattle. The fastest-growing big city in America? Seattle. Fifteen dollars isn’t a risky untried policy for us. It’s doubling down on the strategy that’s already allowing our city to kick your city’s ass.”

So… what’s so damn wrong with peace, love and understanding… or… even… some health, education and a living wage?

Can’t leave well enough alone…

Don’t know if ya’ll caught this but those peeps out there in Oregon… specifically the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon… them guys that call themselves a militia, but, really are more like a bunch of crazy mixed up dudes who border on being assholes with guns… some folks even call them domestic terrorist… anyway… them guys have recently ran a bulldozer over some of the refuge and others were caught on a 3-minute video… that they themselves shot… going through boxes of Paiute artifacts and relics.

On the video they can be seen rummaging through the archaeological Paiute history while some are heard saying “…there’s a rat’s nest in here; this is how we found them. Native artifacts, they just kind of boxed them up and let them rot here. So (the) question is, Why?  Why do they just keep them down here? Why are they locked away here for nobody… but for them to look at whenever they come down here? This needs to be taken care of, and so we’re reaching out to the Paiute people in as sincere a manner as we can. Please, let’s open up a dialogue.”

Militant rummaging through historic artifacts of the Burns Paiute Tribe
Militant rummaging through historic artifacts of the Burns Paiute Tribe

Sounds all sincere and righteous now don’t it?

Problem… their misplaced argument with the feds about grazing land don’t include the Paiutes… and… for them to assume the Paiutes need any help is just another example of false notion of the so-called white man’s burden… he has to help his poor heathen fellows…the good Christian god fearing white man knowing what’s best for everybody who ain’t the same as he be.

The truth is this is just another example of stupid people full of ignorance just stumbling around doing exactly the wrong thing in the wrong way because they think they got all the right answers when alls they gots is a bunch of being full of themselves.

And from all indications that I have heard… the Paiutes do agree with these self appointed militia men that the objects they are rummaging through do need protection… but it is protection from the nut jobs who are fucking with their sacred and fragile heritage… and not the Feds… that they seek.

The fact is the Paiute folks helped to archive the artifacts at the refuge in the first place. A spokesperson for the Paiutes said, “We feel strongly because we have had a good working relationship with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge… We view them as a protector of our cultural rights in that area.”

Tribal council member Jarvis Kennedy was a tad more forthright… “They just need to get the hell out of there. They didn’t ask anybody, we don’t want them here.”

Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN) reports that “the tribe is demanding federal action under both the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 and a ‘protection against bad men’ provision the tribe signed with the United States in 1868.”

And that bulldozer ride these peeps took in the refuge?

A Fish and Wildlife Service rep said that they actually  bulldozed over a fenced off “…archaeological site important to the Burns Paiute Tribe.”

The fence they ran down and destroyed? It was “a deterrent to keep fire crews from driving across (an) archaeological site.”

The actions of these so-called freedom fighters are directly opposed to what the US has tried to do in an attempt to right a horrendous and terrible wrong that was done to Indian nations throughout the country.  Legal protections have been put enacted to give protection to Native sites, artifacts, and burials in an effort to right the wrongs done to Native archaeological remains since the white man first landed on the shores of America and said the were moving in whether anyone cared or not.

Besides the bottom line regarding the Paiutes… it’s their heritage, it’s their right to rebuff anyone who tries to fuck with their shit and to bring the law down on their asses if they so choose to do so against dumb-asses who don’t know a damn thing about how to handle fragile artifacts from the get go.

Guns…

In my continuing quest to urge that this country adopt some realistic and meaningful laws regarding guns I present a few more reasons why not having gun control laws is a bad idea…

Ron Eachus of Salem (Oregon… not Massachusetts) a former legislator as well as a former chairman of the Oregon Public Utility Commission recently wrote a piece that was not only right on about the dudes who think it’s okay to violate federal law, to take over federally protected park lands, to disregard the will of the majority of tosh in and around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, to disregard and disrespect the Paiute people/tribe/nation… ad infinitum…

The highlights of his article are…

…With a gun on your hip and a copy of the Constitution in your pocket, the fact the Supreme Court has twice determined the federal government has incontrovertible claim to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge lands is irrelevant.

…You don’t need a Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution because you have a gun on your hip and a copy of the Constitution in your pocket.gun-constitution

…(With the) Constitution in your pocket, you can take over public lands in a remote area that has more cattle than people, even when the people you say you’re trying to assist don’t want you there…

…When you have a gun on your hip and a copy of the Constitution in your pocket, you can destroy property without permission. The rancher, whose fence you cut to let his cattle through, didn’t give permission, (he) has repaired the fence and publicly said he doesn’t want you going across his ground. But who cares when you’ve got a gun on your hip, a rifle over your shoulder, a copy of the Constitution in your pocket and wire cutters in your hand.

…God speaks to you more clearly when you have a gun on your hip and a copy of the Constitution in your pocket.

… when you have a gun on your hip and a copy of the Constitution in your pocket, that’s what the confrontation is all about. You can become victims, legends to the angry faithful. In your mind you can spark a delusional national movement. Maybe even become martyrs for the cause… because you have a gun on your hip and a copy of the Constitution in your pocket.

And…

Miami-area police officer was “ambushed” Friday morning but was still able to call into his dispatch and put out a plea for assistance.

Officer David Starling was inside his parked patrol car filling out an incident report when some dude passed by, made eye contact with the cop, then stopped his vehicle, backed up; pulled out a handgun and started clicking off rounds. Somehow as t he bullets shattered his driver’s side window, the cop caught one in his ass.officer shot

Keeping his presence of mind, Staling made the call for assistance and then began to chase down his wanna-be cop killer.

As the wounded cop pursued his assailant and responding cops joined in on the chase, the nut job tried firing his pistol out his window… ran a red light… crashed into a car driven by a father taking his daughter to school… then tried to run away… I have no idea what happened at this point but I am willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that the wanna-be didn’t arrive at the precinct hosue all spiffy and wide eyed and bushy tailed.

But he is now facing charges of attempted murder of a police officer, use of a firearm during commission of felony, aggravated fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest with violence and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Starling eventually wound up at a hospital was given treatment for non-life threatening injuries.

The cops’ chief said, “The violence against police officers in this country must stop. The violence against children must stop. The violence against our community must stop. No one is exempt from violence.”

I got no problem with those words…

Yeah… there are bad cops out there who are bad ass shitwads who don’t deserve to wear the uniform, the badge or carry a weapon… but… there are others out there who do their job and they are needed. Besides anyone got a better alternative to having cops on the street?

I’m all ears.

What’s needed are better requirements to being allowed to be a cop… not offing cops because of some stupid sense of getting the pig before he gets you.

And…

In North Carolina, during  the recent  deadly blizzard (Winter Storm Jonas), three guys saw a guy’s car had run off the road and appeared to be stuck in the snow. So, they decided to lend a hand.

As they approached the car, the driver appeared to be pissed off about something, so, the three men changed their tact and decided to call the cops instead and let them deal with the nut.  At that point, the dude in the car pulled out a gun and started firing it in their direction… a bullet struck one of the men, who fell to the ground. The gunman then stood over the wounded man and fired his gun a number of times. Killing him.samaritan

He then walked back to his car, where he passed out. Later he was pulled from his car by cops who busted his ass for murder and assault.

So… what’s this all about?

Now… understands I ain’t stupid enough to think that if certain laws were passed that some of these folks would not have gotten guns any way and done what they done did… but… maybe it would have been just a tad harder for them to get the damn guns in the first place and maybe somewhere along the line… if protocols were adopted… someone might have thought to say “Something seems off kilter here, so, maybe I ought to alert the someone”… and maybe… just maybe… something might have happened to head off some bad stupid shit from going down.

All I am saying is, just, let’s be careful… OK? Use some common sense… besides what’s so bad about having to go through a little extra time and effort to get that damn gun anyway?

Some calls it treason…

National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent called for President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to be hanged over the Benghazi attacks.

Nugent made a post to his nearly 3 million supporters on Facebook and said that Clinton and Obama “should be tried for treason & hung.”

I don’t give a fuck what his rationale is for stating what he said… he said it… he called for the murder… assassination… the death of two people… call it whatever you want… he said “They should be tried for treason & hung. Our entire fkdup gvt must be cleansed asap.”

That’s a crime in my book. He should be busted and brought to court to face at the minimum charges of threatening a public official… namely the President and a candidate to be President. At the maximum… treason, insurrection, attempting to incite a riot as well attempted murder. Hell,  hit the bastard with as many charges as you can, throw it at the court and see what sticks.

Was I clear enough for everyone?

I hope so.

She’s baaaccckkk…

Shortly after Sarah Palin announced her endorsement of Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon, news broke out of Wasilla, Alaska that her son had been arrested for amomng things domestic violence, interfering wit he reporting of a crime and having a gun while boozed up…

When Palin was confronted by media peeps she cited her son’s past as a member of the military and said he came back from the Middle East “hardened” and “a bit different.”Palin

Palin recently told a crowd of Trumpsters, “It starts from the top, the question though it comes from our own president, when they have to look at him and wonder, do you know what we go through, do you know what we’re trying to do to secure America and to secure the freedoms that have been bequeathed us? I guess it’s kind of the elephant in the room because my own family going through what we’re going through today, with my son. A combat vet, having served in the striker brigade fighting for you all America in the war zone.”

So, she is appearing to say that it’s all the Bamster’s fault her son is what he is… that because of the Bamster, her son couldn’t get the help he needed to treat his combat related problems that led him down his thorny path…

Despite what Palin says about the Bamster, it is, in fact, wrong…

Uummm… it’s really the elephants who keep fucking the vets…

Veterans Affairs Funding Bill (2015)… The House Appropriations Subcommittee, met with VA Secretary Bob McDonald to remove more than $1.4 billion in veteran services from the Bamster’s proposed 2016 budget. Included in those cuts was more than $690 million earmarked for direct VA medical care and $582 million in VA construction projects.  As a result of the cuts, it was estimated that 70,000 fewer veterans would be able to receive needed care.

Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act (2014)… This bipartisan bill would have provided fertility treatment and counseling for severely wounded veterans and their spouses. However, the bill was killed before making it out of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee after senate elephants proposed an amendment to prevent any involvement with Planned Parenthood.

The author of the bill, donkey Senator Patty Murray took to the floor of the Senate and said, Don’t take something that should be above politics, our sacred duty to our veterans, pull it down into the muck of petty politics. It is not fair to veterans and their families who have been hoping and praying for the opportunity to have children.”

Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act (2014)… This bill, proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders… him, again… was a piece of sweeping legislation that would have expanded healthcare and education for veterans. After clearing a procedural vote by a 99-0 margin, the bill was hijacked by elephant Mitch McConnell and other Senate elephants who added an amendment to the bill to levy sanctions on Iran. While arguing over the proposed amendments, other elephants took to the floor to raise concerns over the cost of the bill, and ,it got beat with 41 of 45 Senate elephants voting against the bill.

Veterans Jobs Corps Act (2012)… Originally submitted by donkey Representative Bruce Braley of Iowa, this bill would have established the Veteran’s Jobs Corps to provide gainful employment to more than 20,000 veterans through public works projects in their own communities at a cost of $1 billion over 5 years. Senate elephants blocked the bill because it was unpaid for… while simultaneously proposing a bill to increase military spending with no way to pay for it. Elephant leader Mitch McConnell said, “We Republicans remain resolute in our commitment to deny the Democrats anything that looks like an accomplishment in an election year.”

Homeless Women Veterans and Homeless Veterans With Children Act (2010)… Originally proposed to expand assistance for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children, as well as increasing funding for federal grant programs to address the issues surrounding homelessness amongst veterans, this bipartisan bill made its way through the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee with strong support from members of both parties.

However, the bill was promptly killed as Mitch McConnell… yep, old Mitch again… on behalf of Senator Tom Coburn, objected to the cost of the program.

So… a word to Palin… before you accuse someone, you should take a look at yourself… or… at least your own damn party.

Another thousand words…

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This week’s gratuitous pictures…

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Ciara Princess Harris (30) aka Ciara, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, actress and fashion model….

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