Over-Armed America Reason for Police Violence?

What do you expect from police who know there are 300 million guns on the street and that every person or car they approach might be armed and dangerous. That's almost one gun per person but, then, it is when you consider infants that are too young. This is compounded now as the black community has decided the only way to keep from getting killed is to legally arm themselves. A move which has caused a slim majority in favor of gun rights over gun control for the first time in decades, according to Pew Research. All this because the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) has pushed for years to put more guns on the street. Salon says "more armed citizens will not make police work any easier—if anything, they will only make it more challenging."

When you add to all this the Stand Your Ground law passed by over twenty states, also ramrodded by the NRA, this gun lobby has created a "shoot first" society as Salon puts it. Gun rights proponents led by John Lott claim that privately armed individuals are more qualified than the police, which, of course, is absurd, and it is no way to build relations between the community and cops. Lott, a gun radical even eggs on gun owners to vigilantism which has to eventually result in violence itself. The recent outbreaks in violence in cities like Ferguson, MO, and Baltimore MD, may just be the tip of the iceberg as the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) goes merrily on its way putting more guns on the street.

Where Bernie Sanders Stands on the Issues-Women's Rights

Any candidate who expects to be President cannot do it without some help from the female vote. Barack Obama won the women's vote by 12 percentage points in 2012 against Mitt Romney. A recent Gallup Poll gave Hillary Clinton a 56% favorability rating with women. Although I cannot find a poll indicating Bernie Sanders' support by women, below are his stands/votes on women's issues:
  • Voted YES on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
  • Endorsed as "preferred" by The Feminist Majority indicating pro-women's rights.
  • Enforce against wage discrimination based on gender.
But conservative has-been William Kristol resurrected an ages-old piece Sanders wrote intended to attack gender stereotypes of the 1970s which has been blown completely out of perspective since he announced his running. His "campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said it was a 'dumb attempt at dark satire in an alternative publication' that 'in no way reflects his views or record on women.'" Salon goes on to say:
  • In 2003, Sanders was among 32 co-sponsors of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, a measure to “establish a zero-tolerance standard” for sexual violence in prison.
  • In 2011, Sanders co-sponsored a measure to address the rape kit backlog.
  • In 2012, Sanders co-sponsored the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.
  • In 2013, he called on the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to step up efforts to provide care and benefits for veterans who experienced sexual assault in the military.
  • In 2014, Sanders voted for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposal to move the system of reporting and prosecuting rape in the military outside the chain of command.
Bernie Sanders clearly respects women's rights and deserves the female vote.

Where Bernie Sanders Stands on the Issues

Bernie Sanders believes in the average person and detests wealth in relation to inequality between that and the other 99% of the country. This has kept him in office for almost 35 years now but it has all been in the state of Vermont. Not many racial problems there or gun violence or difficulty with immigration, nor has he had to really get out and actively woo the female vote. But that was Vermont and now he wants to be President of the United States. Although he is reasonably defined on many issues, his goal must be to make these positions crystal clear to the public. Here they are:

Racial issues:Voted NO on ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions. Rated 97% by the NAACP, indicating a pro-affirmative-action stance. Sponsored Recognize Juneteenth as historical end of slavery.
Gun Control: Voted YES on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets. Voted YES on allowing firearms in checked baggage on Amtrak trains. Voted YES on prohibiting foreign & UN aid that restricts US gun ownership. Voted YES on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers. Voted YES on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. Voted NO on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1. Rated F by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun control voting record.
Immigration Reform: Voted YES on continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities".  Voted NO on comprehensive immigration reform. Voted NO on declaring English as the official language of the US government. Voted YES on eliminating the "Y" nonimmigrant guestworker program. Voted NO on building a fence along the Mexican border. Voted NO on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment. Voted NO on more immigrant visas for skilled workers. Rated 0% by FAIR, indicating a voting record loosening immigration. Rated 8% by USBC, indicating an open-border stance.

More on this later.

Americans Do Not Handle Guns In the Best Interest of a Civil Society

Following the Waco, TX, bike gang shootings where nine people were killed, it was only natural to bring up the issue of too many guns on the street again. It also is tragic that Americans continue to look on this kind of regularly occurring event as just normal in today's gun culture. It's not and it doesn't have to be. I have been saying this in recent years and John Traphagan of the Dallas Morning News has written a story in agreement with that point and several others I have talked about for some time. For example, he also believes that owning a gun should be tied to the universal background check and extensive training. Now is that asking too much? He continues...
"The solution to gun-related crime is not further arming the public. It involves enacting comprehensive gun control laws that prohibit many forms of gun ownership, significantly curtailing or eliminating access to and the ability to purchase guns..."
As a matter of fact, unlimited arming of the public is what has caused the crisis in the first place like Adam Lanza in Newtown, CT, who massacred 20 kids and six teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School using his mother's gun which was completely unsecured. It was a semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 caliber model XM15 rifle and he also took along two handguns and a shotgun, all hers. After shooting his mother he just picked up the weapons and went out on a rampage. And this woman knew her son was acting strange for some time, like covering his windows with black trash bags.

Thanks to the National Rifle Assn., this totally irresponsible person was able to maintain a fully equipped arsenal in her home and even with a gun closet, didn't see fit to keep it locked. Yet the gun rights bunch would have us put more guns on the street in the hands of other people just like this. Their cries that it is the criminals with guns that cause the problems has become meaningless since Sandy Hook, and Aurora, Colo. and Tucson, AZ, as well as all the dumb parents who leave handguns on the coffee table so their kids can spread theirs or their siblings' brains all over the couch.

It's disgusting and no one is listening, especially the gutless U.S. Congress. Gun control advocates should take their cue from Bernie Sanders and start their own revolution.

Huckabee Says Good Boy-Santorum Says Bad Boy

He said...He said, both Republicans caught up in a battle that the GOP richly deserves based on their stringent conservative standards for family values. In an earlier post I pointed out that a lot of their leaders are sure palsy with the Duggars. Josh Duggar has admitted to molesting five girls when he was younger, four reportedly his own sisters. Okay, the guy made a huge mistake and has probably already experienced  plenty of retribution, but the family's close connection with the Republican Party should be explained, particularly all the GOP Presidential candidates that consider the Duggar family close allies.

If you represent such a high standard of family values, shouldn't you know something about what these friends are doing? A story by In Touch exposed what had happened way back in 2006, and it was at that time that Jim Bob Duggar consulted an Arkansas State Trooper named Joseph Hutchens who talked to Josh but later said he was told only about one incident of molestation. It went no further. The police than halted their investigation in 2006 because the statute of limitations ran out. Hutchens is now serving 56 years in prison for child pornography.

It all comes down to living the life you preach to others or risk being brought down by the truth if you don't.

Immigration Reform Could Haunt the GOP Right Up to 2016

You would think Republicans would have learned by now but a GOP Texas gang of conservatives brought the lawsuit along with 25 other states that stopped President Obama's Executive order on immigration in its tracks. Obama's action that would have helped up to 4 million undocumented immigrants came to an abrupt halt due to the Republican Party. Hispanics should take note of this now and go to the polls in 2016 to vote for the party that has their best interest in mind, Democrats. Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, deputy vice president of the National Council of La Raza, said"
“Those who continue to block commonsense relief to settle a score with the president should realize that their political gamesmanship is destroying lives and alienating an increasingly influential voting bloc, who will remember these very personal attacks on our families and our community come Election Day.”
 President Obama's Executive Actions were designed to provide protection from deportation as well as granting work permits to millions of illegal immigrants. I've said this repeatedly but needs repeating now; these folks are vital to both American agriculture and for domestic purposes. What would happen in this country if there was no one to work in the fields, or in restaurants, or household care or in gardening, which these people excel in?

Hillary Clinton has taken her stance on the issue by backing full citizenship for potentially millions of undocumented immigrants. Bernie Sanders must come out quick and establish his position if he wants to be a viable candidate in this race.

Undeniably, Gun Deaths Up Nationwide

Gun deaths are up across the country, significantly in some states. Nationwide they are up 12% but Maine had the highest increase of 93%. The analysis was done by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution researching through government statistics, insurance industry data and reports from state vital-records agencies over the past decade. Five states had fewer gun deaths: The District of Columbia, California, New York, Maryland and Illinois. All five states have pretty strict gun control laws. Here are some more interesting figures:
California, the most populous state, reported 3,026 deaths from firearms in 2013. Georgia, with the eighth-highest population, had the sixth-most gun deaths: 1,262. Others in the top 10: Texas (No. 2 in both population and gun deaths), Florida (No. 3 in both categories), Pennsylvania (No. 4 in gun deaths, No. 6 in population), Ohio (fifth in gun deaths, seventh in population), North Carolina (No. 7 in gun deaths, No. 9 in population), Michigan (No. 8 and No. 10, respectively), Illinois (No. 9 in gun deaths, No. 5 in population), and Tennessee (tenth in gun deaths, but only 17th in population).
It is fair to conclude from these figures that stronger gun control laws prevent gun violence. Not all of it, but one life saved is worth the passing of the legislation.

It's Official...Bernie Sanders' Revolution Goes National

This sign says it best: "People for Bernie." They're sitting on it, the grass roots of Bernie Sanders campaign, showing their admiration and support. It all happened in Burlington, VT, but he has every intention of taking the revolution national, and it is people like these who will help him do it, eventually winning the Democratic nomination. To start the revolution he said:
“Today, with your support and the support of millions of people throughout this country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country,” he said. “This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It is not about Hillary Clinton. It is not about Jeb Bush or anyone else. This campaign is about the needs of the American people, and the ideas and proposals that effectively address those needs.”
 The time has come for these American people to put their support where their mouth is and come out for the man who is fighting for their needs. Bernie Sanders has started cropping up repeatedly on my Facebook and Twitter pages recently, an indication that more folks are becoming aware of his presence in the race and just who he is. The latter has a direct effect on MSNBC's question of whether he can successfully take his revolution national and adds a national revolution is longer than a longshot for Sanders. But he did it once before and won the office of Mayor in Burlington, in another longshot.

One of his former staffers "...attributes Sanders’ later successes to reality catching up to Sanders’ rhetoric." The hope is now that reality will catch up with the American public and put this man of the people in the White House.

Bernie Sanders Burlington, VT Revolution Rally Pictures

Couldn't wait to get these online. They are early pictures from Bernie Sanders' Vermont rally launch yesterday. Awesome.

Hillary Clinton Comes Out Swinging for Immigration

For a Hillary Clinton that can be cautious on the campaign trail, she has come out swinging by backing full citizenship for potentially millions of undocumented immigrants. Earlier she had spoken out in favor of giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, both issues a certainty to arouse the need for the Republican field to respond. It's all about the Hispanic vote; although it hasn't exerted its full muscle yet, there are still over 25 million registered Latino voters in the U.S. Historically Democrats, this voting block is slowly pulling away, in my opinion, caused by the lack of effort by the Obama administration. The question will be what gets Hispanics out to vote in 2016: in 2014 it was hands down the economy, followed by healthcare, surprisingly, the immigration issue coming in third.

Bernie Sanders Can Win Because He Is Authentic

Bernie Sanders is as real and genuine as it gets but will that land him the Democratic nomination for 2016? CNN is still saying don't count Bernie out, even though he faces enormous popularity and financial odds against Hillary Clinton. I did the numbers once, 30 million Progressives and another 40 million Democrats, not necessarily Progressives. Sanders can't count on all 30 million Progressives and he can count on taking some of "Hillary's" 40 million Democrats. And throw in a few thousand moderate Republicans making the pot pretty massive for someone. Bernie Sanders' biggest problem is that in a recent poll, only 1% of voters haven't heard of Hillary Clinton. And In a late Clear Politics national poll Clinton has 62 percent support from Democratic voters, Sanders only 5.6 percent. He also can't expect a lot of establishment endorsement since he is an outsider doing his own thing. But that is what the grass-roots folks love and why so many of them love Bernie.

There are reasons for the candidate's growing popularity, primarily his "frontal assault on the political system and a pledge to directly combat the billionaire class.” Also, with the level of distrust in Washington at its peak, things are ripe for Sanders' damn-the-system revolution. Bernie Sanders has Jimmy Carter's "Peanut Farmer" appeal but with more substantive issues in his playbook.

Fox News Has Become a Retirement Community

There are a lot of things liberals don't know about Fox News and I'll bet this is one of them. The median age of their viewer is 68, not that there's anything wrong with that, hell, I'm 82. But it just doesn't seem right that after that many years these people would want to be so uninformed as the Faux News Network will lead them to be. I did a post on this earlier, "It's Official-Fox News Viewers Are Really That Dumb," that I guess these folks didn't read. Politico talked to Bruce Bartlett who has done a paper indicating that Fox has changed American Media and Political Dynamics with the inference that it has become the leader of the pack. Not so says Politico quoting some figures to back that up. As an example, The O’Reilly Factor claims some 3.3 million viewers tops and that's a drop in the bucket compared to the voting age of over 234 million. But one of Bartlett's points makes good sense, that since the launching of Fox News in 1996, the network only picked up the gauntlet, but is continuing to lead the Republican Party toward radicalized candidates for president.

Frank Rich, a well-known liberal writer discounts Fox News power. In New York he said, "...aside from infuriating liberals, Fox flexes little political power." Tell that to Bill O’Reilly.

Will Bernie Sanders Change Election Politics?

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders talked to host Brian Stelter on CNN's Reliable Sources this past Sunday. The subject was Sander's criticism of the media for covering everything in the 2016 election but the issues and concentrating on negative campaigning. The comparison was drawn between how celebrity scandals came to the news desk cheap and produced great ratings resulting in the same mentality in presidential races. Sanders said:
"The majority of American news consumers are either misinformed or underinformed. There is a lack of basic current events knowledge in our society. Most people get their news from television, and television has decided not to cover serious issues."
Stelter noted that "Bernie Sanders is one of the few we've seen consistently speaking out on the topic..." Here's his actual comment on the air:  
"It's rare to hear a candidate or any politician really talk about the systemic issues in the press the way you did last week. I kind of lit up when I heard it, and I wondered, is it a winning strategy for you to be going at the press?"
Sanders replied that he didn't know if it was a winning strategy but it was what he did, followed by another listing of the issues. This is all in comparison with the other candidates, Republican and Democrat, constantly beating around the bush and never addressing the issue. But the American public buys this and it is pathetic!

New Memorial Day for Veterans Dying From Lack of Health Care

If the Veterans Administration continues its path of destruction for the veterans they are charged with helping we'll have to establish a new holiday: VETERANS DEATH DAY. At least 40 vets died waiting for healthcare in Phoenix, where the eventual disaster was originally discovered. In the latter part of 2014 there had been 293 deaths confirmed due to denied care by the U.S. Inspector General. There have been more since then.

An example is Richard Miles who went to the Des Moines VA for help in Feb. of 2015 with "worsened PTSD," anxiety and insomnia, was given some pills and told to go home and wait for an appointment. He died five days later when he froze to death in the woods after taking a toxic amount of sleeping pills. When he returned from his deployment in Iraq he suffered from anger, irritability and sleep disturbance with troublesome dreams. He was hospitalized at the Iowa VA hospital four times for PTSD for trying to hang himself twice and for bringing  a gun into a different hospital ward planning to kill himself. Is the VA really this stupid?

The only problem is that it will be hard to designate an actual date for VETERANS DEATH DAY since this "war" is still going on and there is no end in sight.

What is the History of Memorial Day?

We've been told enough recently the distinction between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the former representing our war dead and the latter all veterans who have served. But where did this celebration come from and how did it mature through the years to what it is today? It was originally called Decoration Day, referring to the practice of decorating Civil War soldiers' tombs with bouquets of lilacs and other fresh flowers. And then in 1866, it had its first village-wide observance in Waterloo, N.Y. led by Gen. John Murray and Henry Wells, using flags at half-staff, evergreens and black fabric to signify mourning. But it was on May 26, 1966, that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a Presidential Proclamation honoring Waterloo as the Birthplace of Memorial Day. Many Southern states still pay homage to the Civil War and the Confederate dead on their own specified days. And then following World War One, the day was expanded to honor those killed in all wars, not just the Civil War. Remember, the National Moment of Remembrance is 3 PM local time wherever you are.

Thanks to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

What Republicans are Aligned with the Duggar Family

Josh Duggar is a former reality show star and he is also a former molester who fondled his four sisters. His dad, Jim Bob, contacted police and church elders but he was never arrested. This all becomes particularly interesting when you consider that 2016 Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is solidly behind Josh Duggar and his family. The Duggars earlier switched their support from Rick Santorum to Huckabee. On May 19, Josh Duggar tweeted a picture of himself with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who's expected to launch his presidential bid next month. "He's been photographed smiling alongside Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee." His wife, Anna, knew of all this before they were married, saying now she is proud of his "openness and humility." The fact that the Republicans, above, are associated with Duggar does not mean they support the molestation of children but it sure reinforces that old adage, "Choose your friends wisely because their influence on you is much greater than you might imagine."

Ireland Does What U.S. Can't Seem to Do

Ireland has voted "resoundingly" to allow gay marriage, the first national vote on this issue in the world. They amended their Constitution to permit marriage equality and they did it with a popular mandate, stated Leo Varadkar, a gay Cabinet minister. In the county of Dublin the Irish capital looks to have voted around 70 percent in favor of gay marriage with no districts outside the capital reporting a no majority. The vote nationally was 62.1% in favor. Ireland is certainly as religious a country as is America so how do we equate that with the fact that it is religious conservatives in this country that are holding back gay marriage equality here? Constitutional scholars debate whether or not the U.S. Constitution should reflect the legal values of foreign nations. The Supreme Court looked abroad in "deciding who – such as juveniles — should be exempt from the death penalty." The big question now is whether SCOTUS will let Ireland's landmark decision affect its verdict on gay marriage in the U.S. coming soon.

Findings: Bullying Leads to Future Health Problems

For a subject that has quieted down for a while, there is new evidence that those who are "bullied by their peers actually suffer from worse long-term mental health effects than children who are maltreated by adults." It makes sense to me. Your parents are supposed to be on your back to make you a better person. Your friends, or acquaintances, are supposed to treat you like one of them. When they resort to bullying the bullied kid probably doesn't understand why his or her coequal is doing this. A study from The Lancet Psychiatry came up with the conclusion and the findings were a surprise. Their scientific discovery showed that since the children spent more time with other kids than their parents, the negative results are more pronounced. Additional results showed kids mistreated by adults were more likely to be bullied. The researchers compare bullying to the victim to being a caged animal with nowhere to escape, with the repetitive nature of the act being the most harmful part. The answer, they say, is to stop it in the schools where most of it originates. If parents suspect bullying, they should talk to their kids immediately, then contact school officials.

Why Do We Continue to Bury Our Heads in the Sand Over Racism?

This country has never gotten over this idea that there is a genetic difference between the racial colors of blacks and whites that makes them different. Some studies in the past have suggested that whites are naturally smarter than blacks so it must be genetic? Not so. Genes are a segment of the DNA and all humans, black, white, brown, yellow, whatever have the same DNA. So if you can't blame it on heredity but does the environment we grow up in come to mind? Bingo. Fifty-three years ago James Baldwin said he would never forgive his country or countrymen for destroying hundreds of thousands of lives, not really knowing what they had done, and not wanting to know. Today, I believe those who so criticize and condemn blacks realize what they are doing and many are proud of it.

I grew up in the South in the 1950s and 1960s so I experienced the whole nine yards. I didn't understand why then and I don't understand why now. Tim Wise, who writes on this issue a lot, quoted Baldwin's words, above, commenting, "and in the wake of the Baltimore uprising that began last week, they are words worth remembering." He brings up a point voiced by many black Americans, 'How can we possibly know what they go through when we have never lived it?' There is no way any white American can put his or herself in the shoes of a black man or black woman...or Hispanic, or American Indian, or Asian. But what's the problem anyway? Years ago in the South there was the fear that if a black family moved in beside you your property value would go down. Most of the time that was imaginary, or if it did happen it was only temporary.

Today we live side by side with property values unaffected but there is still an unmistakable tension of hate between the races.

How to Dump the Rich for the Poor

There is a new Progressives report out that details how "to dismantle, reverse and fix how the laws and policies governing the American economy are rigged to benefit the wealthiest individuals and largest corporations." The poster boys should be the Koch Bros. A conclusion is “The American economy no longer works for most Americans…" then it tells what is causing this followed by policy changes to fix the problem. You can read the full report here. The study refutes those who say "government has shackled the free enterprise system and hobbled business" and that the "risk takers and job creators deserve the wealth." Their findings are based on the fact that the 1 percent are just getting wealthier while workers' wages remain stagnant. The 37 ways are all spelled out in the article which you should read but here are some highlights:

  • End “too big to fail” by imposing additional capital surcharges on systemically risky financial institutions and breaking up firms that cannot produce credible living wills.
  • Restructure CEO pay by closing the performance-pay tax loophole and increasing transparency on the size of compensation packages relative to performance and median worker pay and on the dilution as a result of grants of stock options.
  • Provide health care cost controls by allowing government bargaining.
  • Raise taxes on capital gains and dividends.
  • Reform monetary policy to give higher priority to full employment.
  • Raise the nationwide minimum wage and increase the salary threshold for overtime pay.
  • Reform immigration law to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers.
  • Invest in young children through child benefits, early education, and universal pre-K.
The 37 points demonstrate what this group of Progressives thinks will improve the working man and woman's financial future in the U.S. What do you think?

When the Cards are Stacked Against you OBAMACARE Comes Through

The GOP has been trying to repeal OBAMACARE since it was first passed into law. But the number of uninsured Americans has dropped by 16.4 million since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and the rate of uninsured Americans decreased by 35 percent, the largest drop in 40 years. The Atlantic adds, if people have good information they make good choices. And this is just what lifelong Republican Luis Lang is doing after failing to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, previously priding himself on covering his own medical bills. Lang commented that, "thanks in part to a flood of media attention that led him to learn more about health care policy, he doesn’t identify with the GOP anymore." This was all prompted by thousands of dollars in medical bills he couldn't afford to pay. He did try to navigate the AFC website with its numerous technical glitches with no success. Lang said, “I put the blame on everyone — Republican and Democrat. But I do mainly blame Republicans for their pigheadedness. They’re blocking policies that could help everyone."

Tennessee Hillbilly Proves GOP Abortion Hypocrisy

It's okay for my dumb constituents but not for me. That's how Tenn. Republican Representative Scott DesJarlais characterized his position on abortion. This yokel was one of 242 in his party to vote for a proposed 20-week abortion ban that has become one of the top priorities for the current GOP-controlled Congress. But ThinkProgress reports that DesJarlais "has advocated for at least three legal abortions in his personal life." He supported his ex-wife’s decision to legally end two pregnancies and then pressured his 24-year-old mistress to abort her pregnancy she claims was his child. A researcher reported that many will oppose abortion for years then terminate their own unwanted pregnancy. One of his subjects once told him, “Most pro-life women oppose abortion with four exceptions: rape, incest, the life of the mother, and me.” But Scott DesJarlais is simply a con artist posing as a U.S. Representative. Pathetic!

Bernie Sanders Says...Hillary Clinton Does

On May 6, Bernie Sanders introduced a bill in Congress to break up the nation's biggest banks. On May 19, in Cedar Falls, IA, Hillary Clinton said she wants one thing to be crystal clear: she is not afraid to stand up to Wall Street. Sanders makes his case that if they are too big to fail and they do, they will bring the American economy down with it and we've already bailed these monsters out once. Here's a quote from Huff Post:
"There are 45 million people living in poverty and we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth. Half of the American people have less than $10,000 in savings and have no idea how they will retire with dignity. Real unemployment is not 5.5 percent - it's close to 11 percent."
Hillary said on CNN,  "It's not the big banks that need relief from Washington -- it's small banks and small businesses. We should be doing more to rein in risky behavior on Wall Street and 'Too Big to Fail.'" But Alternet recently reported, "Bill Clinton did not become president without sharing the friendships, associations, and ideologies of the elite banking sect, nor will Hillary Clinton."

Either Bernie Sanders is bringing Hillary Clinton more to the left or Clinton is simply appeasing potential Progressive voters to win the primary. However, in the case of Bernie sanders' candidacy we know where he will stand when elected. He has maintained this same position for all of his congressional tenure.

Cancer Can Kill Your Pocketbook

Four cancer charities run by various members of the same family duped donors out of $187 million from 2008 through 2012, spending only 3% on cancer patients. The other 97% went to support the opulent lifestyles of the con artists. "Donated funds were used to pay for vehicles, personal consumer goods, college tuition, gym memberships, Jet Ski outings, dating website subscriptions, luxury cruises, and tickets to concerts and professional sporting events," the complaint says.  There was "rampant nepotism," according to an article by CNN that linked James Reynolds to his son, his son's wife, two sisters, a family mother and the accused list goes on. The government is taking appropriate action to shut them down but you can bet it won't be long before they open under a new name with a fresh P.O. box number.

Greed is here to stay as evidenced by the fact that I witnessed this same behavior in the junk mail business starting in the late 60s, and it had already been around for years. It's so easy to open a post office box, get a list of names--gullibles, I call them--and send them an offer they can't resist. Catch them and the box is closed and they move on, sometimes even to a new city. In the 1970s the rage was the "cancer scare" which alluded to the fact that the recipient may not have cancer now but there was a good chance they would in the future. For a few bucks you could buy their insurance which was basically worthless. The worst part is that the junk mail industry condoned this because of the revenue it produced. And that is the reason it will never go away.

It's Official-Fox News Viewers Are Really That Dumb

In a 2011 PublicMind poll conducted by New Jersey's Farleigh Dickinson University, it was found that not only do Fox News viewers score lower on current events than viewers  of other new channels when tested. This group actually knows "less correct information about current events than people who watch no television news at all," according to the report. Further, Dan Cassino, Professor of political science at Farleigh Dickinson University, revealed what we already know, that most Fox viewers are conservatives, which makes me come to the conclusion that Republicans are ill-informed. That would partially account for their stupid moves in Congress. Examples of this are Fox viewers erroneous fixations on Benghazi and President Obama’s birth certificate. Now I know that this study is dated but I'll bet that most thinking individuals will agree that Fox News has only gotten worse in its bogus reporting in the last four years. 

Experts Predict That Firearms Deaths Will Surpass Vehicle Deaths

Firearms deaths in Missouri in 2013, the most recent federal data available, surpassed vehicle deaths and significantly, 880 to 781. Unfortunately, this trend is also prevalent in 17 additional states. A Kansas City mom asks, “How did we as a community get to this point and everybody still be OK with it?” This was following the death of her 26-year-old son who was shot and killed in his K.C. apartment. But the scary part is that this is a trend and some experts "predict that for the first time in decades, firearms will kill more people nationwide this year than motor vehicles." Gun deaths are down about 15 percent from their 1990s peak, however there is a slow growth of firearm deaths nationwide over the last decade. Over the years from 1972 to 2013 vehicle deaths dropped to 35,612 from 54,589. This was due to consumer highway campaigns to make the driving experience safer. Sadly, today's gun culture refuses to take a lesson from this success.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article9311399.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article9311399.html#storylink=cpy

Tea Party Says Gay Marriage Goal to Eradicate Christianity

The Tea Party crazies are at it again. This time it's one of the top conservative fruitcakes, Phyllis Schlafly, saying that gay marriage advocates are targeting Christian businesses to "wipe out" the Christian religion. As reported in the Tea Party Newsletter, these Christian businesses are the objective of gays but not Muslims, Hindus and businesses of other faiths. Could it be that these other faiths don't have the big mouths that Christianity, backed by the blowhard Tea Party and various radicals on the religious right? People want their rights and the LGBT community is willing to go after them, and I feel sure most of the American public agrees, it isn't right to not to sell a wedding cake to a couple just because they are gay.

Can a Hacker Take Over Control of a Plane?

A cyber-security consultant by the name of Chris Roberts says he could have taken over the controls on a United Airlines flight from Denver to Chicago but didn't. Apparently "Roberts had posted tweets in the past about hacking into the plane he was traveling on and possibly activating the emergency passenger oxygen masks." It would appear that Roberts might have tampered with electronic control boxes under his seat and the seat in front of him connecting to in-flight entertainment systems to do his hacking. But Boeing quickly commented that these systems are isolated from flight and navigation systems.

Roberts claims to have done this 15 to 20 times between 2011 and 2014, and FBI experts think he both had the ability and equipment to get into the planes' flight control systems. He alleges that he "caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights." Roberts says he used a modified Ethernet cable to connect his laptop to the entertainment flight system electronic control boxes under his seat. The point here is that, if Roberts can do it, terrorists can do it, and it's a given they won't just wave the wings around for show and tell. The plane will end up smashing into a building, or the side of a mountain or at the bottom of the ocean.

Computer security experts have been warning of this possibility for years but, as usual, the business community refuses to act until an incident such as this forces them to, and on many occasions the delays have resulted in death. Unfortunately, it all continues to stem from the bottom line.


In a February report from the Brady Center, they found that suicide by firearm increased among American adolescents for the third consecutive year. Before you gun nuts question the figures, it comes from the latest fatal injury data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You remember the CDC don't you, the organization that has been compiling information on gun violence for years that the National Rifle Assn. would not allow to be released. Well it's out there now and the numbers are appalling. In 2013, suicide by firearm claimed 876 lives among adolescents ages 10 to 19, the highest level since 2001. Most of these youth suicides occur with a gun belonging to a family member, usually a parent. And therein lays the problem: irresponsible parents leaving firearms unsecured so the kids can just fetch them up and blow theirs or their brother or sister's brains all over the couch.

Brady says that parents who think having a gun in the house is a safeguard are missing the point entirely because the CDC data says that having a gun in the home dramatically increases the danger that a child will be shot and killed. Further, the same holds true for preventable accidents and school shootings, including the tragedy at Sandy Hook. It’s usually a gun that belonged to a parent or a relative. This might give some credence to what the NRA is constantly flashing in the face of gun control advocates, that "Guns don't kill, people do."
In this case guns don't kill, feckless gun-owning parents do.

The Brady Center’s analysis of the latest CDC fatal injury data shows:
  • States with the most gun deaths (Alaska, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Wyoming) had high rates of gun ownership. Conversely, states with the fewest gun deaths (Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) had low rates of gun ownership.
  • In 2013, firearm-related injuries were the second most common cause of death for children and teens ages 1-19. Only motor vehicles were responsible for more deaths among this age group.
  • Following a decrease in 2012, the unintentional gun death rate for children and teens rose 15% in 2013.
It's hard to argue with these cold facts but I am sure the gun nuts will.


Back as early as 2013, 58% of the public approved of legalizing marijuana. In 2015, Pew Research says 53% favor with 44% against. The question now is what new Atty. General Loretta Lynch will do in response to the urging of the Supreme Court for the Justice Dept. to take a position. Eric Holder before her exclaimed that he wouldn't challenge the states with legal marijuana. But Lynch, in her confirmation hearings, expressed strong views in favor of upholding the federal ban on marijuana. However, she didn't agree with Obama that it was more dangerous than alcohol. In Slate's examination of the first year of legalization (medical and recreational) apparently state teens did not increase their use as predicted. Number of drug related crimes remained steady or dropped. And a significant increase in highway fatalities due to drug us never happened as opponents prophesied. "Retail and medical weed generated more than $60 million in tax and licensing revenue for the state in 2014," much of which went to schools and the regulatory system. So what's the problem and that is something Loretta Lynch will have help decide.


Bernie Sanders has made a strong point in his fight against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. He calls her a newbie when it comes to the left's fight against income inequality. Is that true? Well about a year ago she did come down hard against it at the New American Foundation. She brought it up again this past April. In June of 2014, The Guardian reported that Clinton herself had an income problem and it started with her own income. Recently, the Clintons have reportedly made $30 million on their speeches since the beginning of 2014. It would appear that her populist approach is recent, at least in relation to income inequality, and Bernie Sanders is correct in his portrayal of her as a "newcomer." She, like her husband, Bill Clinton, has mostly chosen the middle of the road position before. In the past that path would most likely lead to getting one elected but this new Progressive awakening makes that need passé.


Watch out because Bernie Sanders, who for years has graced the airways of the liberal left, has now become a stronger voice due to throwing his hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination for President. It is time someone did battle with the conservative right blowhards, most of which are suffering significant declines in ratings. As an example, Rush Limbaugh has fallen to a dismal 22nd place in New York, 37th in Los Angeles. Sanders says his core audience is, of course, the Democratic Party and he is very consistent in making his point. According to Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of Talkers Magazine, there are some 20 million listeners to Progressive radio and experts say conditions are perfect for Bernie Sanders to get his message out since he is considered Mr. Progressive. Harrison says radio speaks to the grassroots audience and is now "trending back towards 'independent and populist talk.'" Boston-based radio host Jeff Santos said, “It has been 99% a love affair between Bernie Sanders and my audience.” With those numbers, how can you lose?


How do we interpret Hillary Clinton's comment on Benghazi, "What difference does it make?" It was in reference to whether the terrorists were just out on a casual walk and decided to attack the embassy, or was this an official protest. And does it make any difference either way or at all. Four Americans died including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The big question is, whose fault was it, and could it have been averted. David Brooks, conservative writer for the New York Times says it is not fair to blame Clinton since this all happened at an operational level that she can't be blamed for. Another report says that more protection was needed at the embassy and alleges that Stevens asked for it, but there is no indication of which level of the State Dept. was responsible. Right now Hillary Clinton's congressional testimony is up for grabs due to scheduling problems. The committee’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy has done his best to keep this in the news and it may be the reason for her recent drop in the polls.


At first there was an agreement that online voting was a good thing for both parties until...Republicans did their research. Now they're getting cold feet; Florida is backing out due to "outlandish claims opposing an online registration measure." Texas GOP lawmakers are afraid of fraud; this coming from the party of fraud. But Pew Research found "that 22 states plus the District of Columbia, representing more than half of all eligible voters, will offer the chance to register online for the 2016 election." The hard facts are that blacks and Hispanics, traditionally voting democrat, have more computers and smart phones than they have in the past. Today, 80% of blacks are internet users compared to 83% of Hispanics. It has become clear that Republicans will fight any form of voting that does not favor their party and that illustrates the desperation of the GOP for votes.


AMTRAK's crash on a curve in the Philadelphia area last Tuesday evening killed 7 and injured more than 200. It hit a curve with a speed limit of 50 at 106 MPH. The day after the crash House Republicans voted to cut AMTRAK's budget. The engineer of that train, Brandon Bostian, 32, of Queens, New York, who wouldn't talk to Philadelphia police, is drawing a blank on what happened. He took his lead from a bunch of Republican congressional numb nuts that started drawing a blank on reality when President Obama entered office. How can you know that the entire infrastructure of the AMTRAK system is near collapse and then say we're going to keep it running but not support it financially, while certainly expecting more crashes like the above? This has become typical of the way the GOP think, or better, the way they don't think. I would be very surprised if 216 doesn't clean out at least some of these blockheads.


The "Mouth," AKA Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Assn., was caught with his hand in the black powder. I first blogged on this the end of April. Josh Horwitz, Executive Director, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, reports that the NRA admits doing it but blames it on the fact that it was "Convenient, unexplained 'coding and clerical errors.'" Only Wacky Wayne would think he could get away with this and it's possible that he will unless a gutless Congress finds some balls. Now this is the man who weaseled out of going to the Vietnam War by getting his family physician to claim he had a nervous disorder. That could account for some of the incredibly imbecilic things he has done in the last few years.

Here are the charges:
  • For a period of four months in 2014, online donations made to the NRA's Institute for Legislative Affairs (NRA-ILA) were deposited in violation of federal law into the account of the group's PAC, the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF). The NRA claims this was because of a “coding error.”
  • The lobby failed to report its political expenditures (such as fundraising on behalf of the PVF) to the IRS for the years 2008 to 2013, as required by law. The NRA describes this omission as “a clerical error.
CSGV is pressing for a full investigation by the FEC and IRS and need your help with their efforts.


Bernie Sanders has issued a three-prong assault on the Koch Bros., who he calls the poster boys for the 1% wealthy, re. their ongoing assault against Social security. First, they want to increase the retirement age to 70. Now, let's see, would their efforts be in behalf of the SS program to help it survive? Hell no, it's to save Koch Industries billions from the 60,000 people they employ in the U.S. Put it off as long as possible and maybe some of these nice employees will die before reaching age 70. Second and third, they scream that SS is going broke and that it needs to be privatized. Again, are they coming to the aid of one of America's institutional benefits? Hell no once more. The savings and potential revenue for something like this would be enormous for Koch Industries. What is interesting about the video with this article is that it exposes many of the secret lobbying groups supported by, who else, the Koch Bros. Watch it! 


The Vatican has recognized the Palestinian state and the Jewish community is up in arms. What has really happened is that it has switched its diplomatic recognition from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to the state of Palestine. The key here, according to the Israeli government..."is there a state of Palestine?" I have read the history of this conflict and for the life of me I cannot see how Israel can deny that Palestinians have some right to live in a land where their ancestors came from. Somewhere. The idea of who was there first has been described childish by some historians and the stories abound about the early settling tribes from both sides.

According to one story, the name Palestine was given to the region spreading from eastern Mediterranean coast to the Jordan Valley to the area covering Galilee Lake in the north and southern Negev Desert.  "Plesheth" is the origin of the word Palestine, appearing often in the Bible, and popularized as “Philistine” in English. The story goes on to say, "These people were mostly originates of Asia Minor and Greece and gradually became a part of the Arab world."

A major concern of the Pope is the plight of the Christians affected in the territories that are clashing. Along with this is his contention that those involved no longer place any value on human life. It would not surprise me if Pope Francis were able to bring these two countries together with a realization of what they are doing to each other and help them to decide that peace is the better way.


Although churches aren't empty, the congregations are dwindling and a new Pew Research study says "...the Christian percentage of the population [is] dropping precipitously." It's down to 70.6% from 78.4% in 2007. Millennials, or Generation Y, those with birth years from the 1980s to 2000s, are bailing out of Christianity with some one-third now claiming to be unaffiliated. And here's the kicker, some researchers blame it on the Internet, where the public can now get the facts on their faith and bond with those who think as they do. And in my view, if the person is knowledgeable enough, they can use the Internet to confirm or refute the dogmas of a religious group. My gut tells me the latter has a lot to do with the escape from Protestantism and religion in general. The only time I've been in a church in the last fifty years is for a wedding and when our granddaughter took my wife and me to a special service. Oh yes, a couple of Catholic Christmas Eve midnight masses. I am not proud but either am I apologetic. It's a matter of choice and apparently the current generation has chosen to veer away from all the pomp and circumstance.


All we hear from the gun nuts is, if you put more guns on the street, deaths will go down. Well Arizona has done that with their loose gun laws and the state's rate of intimate-partner gun murders was 45 percent higher than the national average from 2009 through 2013. Of course we do not know exactly how many guns are in Arizona, thanks to the National Rifle Assn., but apparently enough to kill 94 women in the above period. Once again the gun nuts scream we have enough laws but they didn't stop 12 of the shooters from obtaining a gun and killing his spouse or girlfriend. In addition, "41 percent of the shooters had a previous arrest or conviction or had been under an order of protection at one time." There's more, Arizona has 14.9 firearms deaths per 100,000 population, more than California, 7.97, New York, 5.1, the latter two with much more stringent gun laws. Some of this is due to protective orders that are not enforced.

"Part of the problem is that nearly 40 percent of the protection orders issued by Arizona judges in 2013 and 2014 were never entered into the National Crime Information Center," reported Andrew LeFevre, a spokesman for the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission. Police departments are remiss, not only in Arizona, but all over the country for not entering important data that could save lives. This is compounded by a patchwork system in sharing what data is available. But the primary problem here is guns in the wrong hands and the only way to solve that is more responsible gun laws...like background checks.


Ohio stopped in its tracks with a new federal lawsuit to stop their restrictive voter law designed to keep Democrats away from the polls. I reported on this today charging a shut out of some 930,000 Ohio voters, non-whites, college students and those with low incomes. Guess what party they usually vote for. This is all pretty blatant and typical of the dirty GOP politics first made popular in the Geo. W. Bush administration under the leadership of Karl Rove. The question is just how much the courts will let Republicans get away with.


The question arises over and over, why do we have to keep fighting for voting rights since this was passed into law back in the 1950s? The answer is that the GOP is constantly looking for loopholes to bar non-whites, college students and those with low incomes from voting. The reason is that most of these folks are Democrats and if they are allowed to vote, the Republicans lose. The latest in Ohio, John Boehner's state, finds Rep. Andrew Brenner pushing for a voting ID bill using the same old rhetoric, "...the need to stop illegal voting by non-residents, non-citizens or others." It's pure crap and they know it because a report issued by the Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted said "...fewer than 0.003% of votes in that [2012] election could have been fraudulent." With facts like this, even coming from one of their own, we can only assume that Andrew Brenner must consider that the Ohio voters are completely stupid. Well, Ohio, are you?


In a recent piece on MSNBC, Bernie Sanders answered "YES" to the question of whether or not he could beat Hillary Clinton. He followed by implying that her closeness with the corporate world would push voters in his direction. When Clinton welcomed the support of a Super PAC, Sanders quickly backed away saying he won't have outside groups like this in his campaign. So far Mr. Progressive is right on but that also defines the needs of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Individual, Progressive grass-roots voters who can cough up some bucks to put this man in the White House. Corporate America will come through for Hillary because they need her support if she becomes President. And I don't have to tell you what these Super PACS can produce. In an earlier post I identified some 30 million Progressives out there, another 40 million Democrats that aren't necessarily Progressive but certainly don't want another Republican in the White House. Sen. Sanders won't be able to garner all 70 million but the question is what does Clinton's huge base think now since Bernie Sanders entered the race. If enough think he is the better candidate, and polls will be telling us that soon, the Vermont Senator could be on his way to the White House.


Blacks are naturally skeptical of Police and now the cops are even more scared of the black community. This has been going on for years in one form or another. So why all of a sudden do we have a rash of police beating and killing blacks and blacks killing police, leading to riots? The black community will tell us it is fed up with unjust treatment, and rightfully so. The police will tell us that blacks are prone to resisting arrest and in some cases completely uncooperative both individually and as a community. And there is credibility in this charge. This is a powder keg that has only seen the tip of its potential. Officers kicked a black man in the head in Dover, Delaware, with no obvious provocation. And now four blacks have shot and killed two Hattiesburg, Miss. police officers after being pulled over for a speeding violation. What is the sense in all this? The answer, of course, there is none. It will be tough to control the gangs, but most of the black people want this to end and now. And a large majority of the cops in this country have high standards dealing with the community, white or black; they really only want to protect and serve. I vote to put New York City's Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in charge of a task force to deal with this mess. He already has a great record running the policing of the largest U.S. city.

Countdown to January 20, 2021

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