Tuesday, November 30, 2010



Deprive them of oxygen…that is what I say. When you are faced with a nasty fire caused by a pyromaniac and there are those who will still pour gasoline into it; the thing to do is to deprive it of oxygen and it will be put out. It may not be easy because some of these conflagrations burn very hot and vigorously but it is possible to do.

Yesterday I wrote that “The whole country is allowing the Teahadist-Republicans to set the pace, lay down the standards to any and all discussions and we are at this point and time considering totally absurd ideas that a few years back would have been considered truly insane. This radical move to the right in America has had some very negative consequences. We see how open xenophobia, homophobia and racism are a totally accepted stance; even the encouragement of using “2nd amendment options. This would have been unthinkable just two years ago.”

As selective reasoning is a very pervasive tradition among these right-wing fanatics it is difficult to even talk to them. But once in a while there would be a relative or friend to one of them who will send them an anonymous e-mail with some facts and then they go into instant apoplexy. What I am hoping is that out of the two or three thousand followers I have at least one or two will do this and confront some right wing nut with the facts.

I ran into these very telling pie charts that explain beautifully where America stands on the issues. I think that if any Teahadist-Republican was to receive this they would be angry at first; “how dare somebody send me crap like this?” But eventually they will have to read it and it is hard, almost impossible to “REFUDIATE”and they will think about it and eventually will have to face the truth.

The reason that some of these people are so adamant and arrogant; perhaps a perfect example is a Sharon Angle or a Christine O’Donnell is that they surround themselves with people who agree with them and will not even give interviews…that is a good way to avoid reality and the facts.


AT: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2010114726/if-i-said-im-thankful-wisdom-american-people-would-you-think-im-crazy

You see, if your friend or acquaintance only watches Fox and listens to Beck and Rush then they are not getting the true picture. These are but voices of lies and exaggeration, of fear and distrust. Fox , Beck, Rush and the other peripheral pundits have a lot of opinions and no facts, it is ideology without substance, it is criticism without solutions.

We have let them get away with all their lies and setting the tone of the discussion for far too long…it is time we start e-mailing these to them and see how they will “REFUDIATE” them.

Monday, November 29, 2010



I got this comment in my blog from a guy named Robert:

“The biggest problem I see in all this is the complete failure of the younger generations to realize that they will not start out their careers making as much as their parents make. It takes time, experience and effort to reach the top of the heap. Not everyone makes it, however, if you work hard at it, for 50 years, as my wife and I have, then together we make
$ 250,000.00 a year. We did not make that much 40 years ago. We worked our way up.
Now the do-nothing, I want mine now crowd wants to take all that effort away from us and give it to the lazy, do-nothing, couch potatoes who think it is owed to them.”

I wouldn’t have published it because it is almost anonymous…his profile is not available. Of course that is not surprising because a lot of these right-wings hide behind an unpublished profile…obviously they have something to fear…perhaps they fear the truth will come and hit them in the face.

It sounds like to me that this person is middle class…upper middle class and doesn’t realize that the middle class in America has been under a pervasive and vicious attack for decades. The Republicans and super rich want it that way and have succeeded in almost decimating it.

What he does not even have an inkling is that those starting out, wanting to join that middle class, even if he calls them “do-nothings” and lazy, don’t even stand a chance to have the same opportunities he did. Robert doesn’t accept the fact that he is one of the few that has been able to work very hard and is still solvent…perhaps he considers himself somewhat affluent…but the rest of us, the rift-raft that he thinks is the poor and the middle class has absolutely no right to want and strive for the same things he worked so hard to get.

I am sure that Robert was very satisfied with the work my mom did at his house as a maid and when I waited on his table at the restaurant he had no beef with me…as long as I kept my place. The illegal immigrants were mowing his lawn and the blacks collecting his garbage…that is the way it is supposed to be according to Robert.

But something has happened along the way…the top 2% of that super rich class got greedy…they wanted more and they don’t care if Robert loses everything he has. They don’t care if they decimate the middle class to do it and hurt the country in the process. You see Robert, these rich people didn’t work as hard as you did for your financial well being…most of them inherited it…about 90% of them and the only way they can find validation for their sorry lives is to look down on the rest of us and feel superior, which is what you seem to be doing as well.

Yes, Robert, heaven forbid that you should pay taxes on anything you make above $250,000. You are not going to let a little thing like patriotism get in the way of your greed; even if the rest of us 98% of the “lazy, do nothings, rift-raft” insist that you should pay your fair share…to return to pre-Reagan tax rates…the rich was doing well then, thank you…weren’t they? But I am sure you are going to come back to me with the tired old line that the rich are insecure about investing, they are afraid of tax increases and that is why they are not hiring. TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS just don’t work…they never did.

Wake up, they are not hiring because they are requiring more productivity from us for less money…really, what incentives do the rich and the corporations have to change the nomenclature when they are getting record profits now?

I think Robert that you should re-examine your ideology and stop listening to Rush and Beck. I am also sure you have bought some of their overpriced gold; when the shit hits the fan all of that gold will be worthless because there would be nobody to buy it.



It has become sufficiently clear that some of these drugs are way overpriced. The drug manufacturer claims that it is investing in research, testing and the such so that they are in a spot where they must charge those prices in order for the drug to be profitable for them…really?

I really could see if there was a 50% mark up after they are through deducting the cost of research, testing, manufacturing and the ingredients…and still have enough left over to make a very handsome profit. But it is ludicrous to think that a 500% or even higher percentage mark up is justified.

Then there is the question of whether these drug manufacturers are reputable and on the level…what prevents them from putting a bunch of ingredients in one pill and leaving out a key element and then making a companion drug that contains only that ingredient missing from the first drug…in reality what it amounts to is selling a near placebo…you see how they tell you that a certain drug must be taken together with this other one…they don’t recommend it, they require it.

The cost of these drugs is exorbitant…one would think that they actually put ground up gold in them, but in reality some of the ingredients are quite common and inexpensive.

The government of Brazil has embarked upon a project where they are now manufacturing generic drugs that are the most used and the most expensive when they are brand names. As a consequence, because of the competition even those name brand drugs are considerably lower in price than in America; and of course the generic is quite affordable. Call it SOCIALISM, I don’t care but I also think that it is unethical to make a profit out of people’s misery and it is IMMORAL to make an obscene profit out of it.

But when all is said and done; I really don't have that big a beef with the drug manufacturers because at least they produce something...a medicine that is going to keep people alive...they sell a product...albeit at an exorbitant price and that is my main resentment towards them. Unlike the health insurance companies that don't produce anything, don't offer a useful service, don't even take the risks that would be the reason for their existence...they are true parasites.

PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.medicineway.info


Sunday, November 28, 2010



MAKING IT TO THAT TOP 3%? No way, José, particularly if you are a member of a minority…like for example the Miami Cubans who oddly enough have an uncanny affinity for the Republican Party.

It has been proven time and time again that most of us have very unrealistic hopes of ever “making it” some of us were inching right up to it when the system just did what it was supposed to: cut us down and put us in our place. That absurd idea that in America you can be anything you want and if you work hard enough and you are persistent you will attain your goal…well that may have been true one hundred years ago but it no longer holds true.

You see, that very exclusive club or plutocrats is so jealously guarded and so inaccessible to us mere mortals that any attempt to penetrate it and become part of it will prove to be futile. No matter how hard you work, no matter how original your idea is or the contributions you make to society…that upper crust of privileged oligarchs will stop you cold on your tracks.

Once more I am reproducing a wonderful take on my theory written by Sara Robinson.

Self-Made American Myth #2: Who Makes $250K?

Sara Robinson's picture

By Sara Robinson

November 23, 2010

Progressives have suspected for years that working- and middle-class Americans vote for the GOP because they have a deeply unrealistic idea about their real chances of becoming wealthy. We've joked that working stiffs vote for tax cuts and other goodies for the rich because they seriously believe that they're going to be rich themselves someday, and want to make sure those advantages will be there for them, come the day.

To date, this has been just a guess on our part -- but a recent study now proves that this guess was right on the money. The Myth of the Self-Made American is being bolstered by a delusionally optimistic view of just how many people actually make it to the top 3% income level. It's a delusion that affects almost everyone, but particularly those who vote Republican.

Ryan Enos at yougov.com explains the results of a YouGov/Polimetrix poll conducted a few weeks before the recent election. As he explains their findings:

The hot button issue with the tax cuts is whether to renew the cuts for families earning more than $250,000 a year. The wrangling among politicians over this issue seems to mostly involve whether or not earning that amount of money qualifies somebody as wealthy.

What's amazing about the magic number of $250,000 is that, based on responses to a recent YouGov/Polimetrix poll, by and large, Americans have a very distorted view of how many people make that much money.

Any idea what proportion of American families make more than $250,000 a year? Or, to potentially make it easier, any idea what proportion of families in your state make more than $250,000 a year?

Don't feel bad if you don't know—most people don't. The actual number, nationwide is somewhere less than 3% of families earn more than $250,000 a year. What did the survey respondents say when asked this question? The average response was close to 17%!—meaning your typical survey respondent thinks that almost 1 in 5 families in America earn that kind of money, when the answer is closer to 1 in 50!

Enos goes on to point out that there are only a few states where the actual number of $250K earners even cracks 8% -- Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. But when the question was put to people in those states, they weren't even half right, because their answers tilted upward, to about 21%.

Furthermore: the more money you make, and the more education you have, the more accurate your guess becomes. People making over $150K guessed an average of about 11%; those making under $30K thought it was more like 21%. College graduates guessed 12%; people with graduate degrees were closer, but not by much.

And only 15% of the survey participants answered 3% or under --though one-third of those answered "zero," meaning they thought nobody in the country makes more than $250K a year. Deduct this disconnected 5%, and you're left with just 10% of Americans who have a realistic sense of just how rare a $250K income is in this country.

While Republicans and Democrats gave about the same answers, the study also found that the more distorted peoples' views were, the lower their opinion of President Obama was, and the more likely they were to vote Republican last November 2. The bottom line, says Enos is this: "A person that says 20% of people make $250,000 is more likely to vote Republican than a person that says 5% of people make $250,000."

The irony, writes Enos, is that "people making less money actually believe that there are more wealthy people out there than wealthy people do."

This distortion explains a good deal about why middle- and working-class people vote for the GOP. A quarter of a million dollars sounds like an attainable income to most people -- they know at least a few people around town whom they imagine have already made it -- and they honestly think that with the right break or a little work, they might get there someday, too. It could happen.

Combine this with the common misunderstanding about how marginal tax rates work (hint: it's only the income over $250K that's taxed at the higher rate, not the whole year's take), and it's not hard to see why so many people making the average household income of $53K are incensed by the idea of increasing the marginal tax rate on the top 3% -- and why they think Obama is attacking them personally by suggesting such a horrible thing. They've bought into a myth about their chances of moving up the economic ladder that's at vast odds with the actual facts.

Some critics think Obama picked the wrong number, and that proposing at top tax rate that kicks in at $500K or a cool million would have avoided this problem. The average voter might have had a harder time imagining these numbers as being attainable. Maybe so. But maybe not: given how strong the myth of the self-made American is, and how many falsehoods you have to take on faith to believe it, we may be dealing with a level of delusion that's impervious to even really huge numbers, the kind that define only the top 0.5% of Americans.

We are living in a fact-free world now. Stories are all that matter. And in hard times, people tend to cling harder to their dreams -- especially the dream that no matter how bad things are now, someday they're going to rise above all this and triumph. Telling them the truth under these conditions is hard, and perhaps even cruel.

But one of the hallmarks of countries that are falling into chaos is that people come to believe more and more absurd things. Truth gives way to truthiness; facts aren't given the same weight as feelings. The huge disconnect between people's perceived prospects and their actual prospects shows just what a masterful job conservatives have done. They've convinced people to believe that their potential for mobility is as good or better than it ever was -- even as they've stolen the usual routes to a better life (education, home ownership, public investment, and so on) right out from under them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Business has never been better, profits are way up


Any thinking individual with a just a little bit of common sense can deduce that what the Republicans are saying about the economy and why jobs are not being created is simply not true. Their mantra that the rich and business in general are not moving forth to produce jobs because whey are “insecure and there exists a degree of uncertainty” just does not fly any more.

Why we can safely say this? Because profits for business have never been better for one; and two, because we have had all these tax cuts for the very wealthy and it has not produced jobs…and it has been more than nine years now. So, if this business of cutting taxes permanently for the very rich worked we should be having labor force shortages by now.

So, what is the beef with people saying that Obama is anti-business? Business has been doing better than it ever has since they started to keep track…so, what’s the beef?

Obama has a choice -- cozy up to the Chamber and Wall Street and continue to lose the populist vote (and likely reelection), or he can side with an American electorate furious at the abuses from our nation's corporate and financial elite. It's clear the options are mutually exclusive. Only one of these helps win a second term.

SOURCE: http://www.dailykos.com/

Friday, November 26, 2010



I once made a comment in one of those Mormon sites and the lady wrote me back that I should “tone it down” that they were not going to publish any derogatory (in their opinion) opinions of their religion. Of course she would; I didn’t expect any different. But what she did not understand is that I am as indignant as I need to be and that if I adhere to her standards and I allow her to set the tone of the discussion I will have capitulated; I would have given in and admitted that she has a valid point of view.

Something similar has been happening in politics lately. The whole country is allowing the Teahadist-Republicans to set the pace, lay down the standards to any and all discussions and we are at this point and time considering totally absurd ideas that a few years back would have been considered truly insane. This radical move to the right in America has had some very negative consequences. We see how open xenophobia, homophobia and racism are a totally accepted stance; even the encouragement of using “2nd amendment options. This would have been unthinkable just two years ago.

And yet, some of these people will be running for public office and totally avoid any interviews or to be explicit about what they stand for…they know it is not mainstream and they know it is considered insane…but they will cling to these like Christine O’Donnel did even if it means humiliation and losing a much needed Senate seat.

We also find that what was once considered ultra-right is now the center and what was the center is now the left. Where does that leave millions like me who are progressive-liberals? Well, we are totally excluded because there is no room in the Obama administration for real Democrats, for those of us who have not forgotten why we are Democrats.

Laurence Lewis puts it eloquently in his article “Do the Democrats remember why they are Democrats?” of Sun Nov 21, 2010

The Republican Bush administration inherited a budget surplus from the Democratic Clinton administration. The Bush administration destroyed the surplus and created the largest deficit in human history by cutting taxes, increasing corporate welfare, and launching a trillion dollars worth of wars. President Obama inherited one of the worst disasters inherited by any president. But he knew, going in, what he was getting. Or he should have.

The obvious answer should have included repealing and revoking as much of the Bush agenda as was possible. Let the tax cuts on the wealthiest expire. Cut corporate welfare. Draw down the two lost wars. Instead, one war was expanded and we now hear that the other may be allowed to continue. Corporate welfare to Wall Street increased. The tax cuts may be allowed to remain in place. And instead of helping the vast majority of the American people by upending the Bush agenda, we may actually see the burden fall even harder on the most vulnerable. Even Social Security is on the table.

Not even Bush tried to cut Social Security. Not when he had a Republican Congress and was soaring in the polls, and not in his second term, when he faced a Democratic Congress that wouldn't have given such an idea a serious hearing. If President Obama follows the recommendations of the Catfood Commission, he will be going where not even Bush dared go. We will have a Democratic administration taking on the Third Rail of which Democrats, in particular, are supposed to be unwaveringly protective. We are told that the Catfood Commission is just advisory, and we shouldn't fear the worst. We must hope that turns out to be true.

The truth is that we got a health insurance plan that was so whittled down that part of the rationale for passing it was that it was only step one, and could be fixed and improved. Later. We got an escalation of the lost war in Afghanistan that was rationalized with the explanation that we'd begin to draw down the troops in 2011, although the amount and pace of the drawdown was left completely opaque. And now even that no longer seems to be the intention. If you believe McClatchy, who only happened to be right, despite much doubt and criticism, when they broke the story that the war would be escalated. And when the administration appealed the ruling that Don't Ask Don't Tell is unconstitutional, the rationalization was that they wanted it repealed through Congress, not the courts. Which doesn't seem to be a particular priority of the administration, as the clock runs down on the Democratic House. And of course the rationale for extending the Bush tax cuts is that they, too, will be fixed later. Allowed to expire. Later. In two years. When things will be so different. The buck stops there. Then. Anywhere other than here, now.

The Democrats got drubbed in the election because too many base voters didn't vote. But the White House seems to be taking the exact wrong message. Although it's not really clear that the election was the key factor. The economy is still staggering. The wars continue. The income gap continues to expand. And if the Democrats can't pursue policies that solve these problems, and instead continue to buy into Republican framings, they will be in even more trouble in 2012 than they were this year. If the Democrats can't defend Social Security-- the very backbone of our social safety net-- from they that would destroy it, the Democratic Party as we know it may not survive.

SOURCE: http://www.dailykos.com/

Thursday, November 25, 2010



Some of the greedy, selfish and unpatriotic wealthy Americans have been able to dominate and control the way legislation and even public opinion is formed in this country. These folks are clearly hurting our middle class and the poor and ultimately hurting America. There is nothing patriotic about their sick ideology; there is nothing noble in their endeavor; there is not even one trace of compassion to their philosophy.

But not all wealthy people are that way…some have social conscience and some are very much aware that their wealth is meaningless if we have a failed democracy and a bankrupt nation. There is an initiative that puts these folks in the limelight of politics because they are actively participating in our debate whether to extend those repugnant tax cuts to the rich. They have signed a letter to President Obama and it is clear and concise…make no concessions, make no compromise. The tax cuts to the rich will bankrupt America. Here is the letter:

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to urge you to stand firm against those who would put politics ahead of their country.

For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled.

We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more.

We have done very well over the last several years. Now, during our nation’s moment of need, we are eager to do our fair share. We don’t need more tax cuts, and we understand that cutting our taxes will increase the deficit and the debt burden carried by other taxpayers. The country needs to meet its financial obligations in a just and responsible way.

Letting tax cuts for incomes over $1,000,000 expire, is an important step in that direction.


Dirk Aguilar
San Francisco, CA

Superior, CO

Daniel Berger
Philadelphia, PA

Robert S. Bowditch JR.
Brookline, MA

San Rafael, CA

Ben Cohen
San Francisco, CA

Burlingame, CA

Doug Edwards
Los Altos, CA

Berkeley, CA

Ronald Feldman
New York, NY

Christopher Findlater
Cheyenne, WY

Eric Fredricksen
Los Gatos, CA

New York, NY

Ron Garret
Emerald Hills, CA

Oakland, CA

Paul Haggis
Los Angeles, CA

Seattle, WA

New York, NY

William Jurika
Piedmont, CA

Vienna, VA

Sandy, UT

Rochelle Kaplan
Salt Lake City, UT

New York, NY

Los Angeles, CA

Salt Lake City, UT

Mario Morino
Rocky River, OH

Portland, OR

New York, NY

Washington, DC

Vibhu Mittal
Palo Alto, CA

New York, NY

Peter Norvig
Palo Alto, CA

Morris Pearl
New York, NY

Gregory Rae
New York, NY

Waco, TX

New York, NY

Piedmont, CA

Heike Schmitz
Palo Alto, CA

New York, NY

Craig Silverstein
Mountain View, CA

New York, NY

Concord, MA

Washington, DC

David and Vinitha Watson
Oakland, CA


Only 375,000 Americans have incomes of over $1,000,000

Between 1979 and 2007, incomes for the wealthiest 1% of Americans rose by 281%

During the Great Depression, millionaires had a top marginal rate of 68%

In 1963, millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 91%

In 1976, millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 70%

Today, millionaires have a top marginal tax rate of 35%

Reducing the income tax on top earners is one of the most inefficient ways to grow the economy according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office

44% of Congress people are millionaires

The tax cuts were never meant to be permanent

Letting tax cuts for the top 2% expire as schedule would pay down the debt by $700 billion over the next 10 years

Perhaps we will be able to avoid a "Dear Leader" successor to Mao from moving into the White House.

SOURCE: http://www.fiscalstrength.com/

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

There are those rich folks who will give ‘till it hurts

Who are America’s top philanthropists?

According to

The 50 Top American Philanthropists

Special Report: Philanthropy
Slide show: Top Givers and Their Causes
Slide Show: The Biggest Bequests

“How We Create The List: To measure what donors have given or pledged over the past five years, a team of reporters spends months conducting interviews and scouring databases, news reports, and foundation filings. For consistency, we count pledges in full at the time they're announced, discounting only those that are formally revoked. If a gift is in stock, we value it at the time it's announced. To avoid double-counting, the survey counts gifts to foundations at the time they're given and not when the money flows
out of foundations. “

We see that on the top place you will find Warren Buffet, Bill & Melinda Gates, George Kaiser, George Soros,(targeted by Glen Beck as America’s enemy # 1) William Barron Hilton, Walton Family, Herbert & Marion Sandler, Peter Peterson, Donald Bren and in number 10th place is Michael Bloomberg.

The list itself is not surprising; what is surprising is that there is a definite correlation of those who are generous and that of their politics. We could never expect the Koch brothers to make it to this list; oh, yes they do give some of their money to cancer research; but they are most interested in funding political think tank groups and footing the bill for the Tea Bag movement. They are totally devoid of a social conscience. We are also remiss to find many Republicans among the top philanthropists; David Rockefeller being one of the exceptions.

The list goes on and it includes T. Boone Pickens, Oprah Winfrey and other less wealthy. There are those wealthy folks who give in anonymity; the perfect example of this was Salsa Queen Celia Cruz who had been parting with all her wealth while she was alive and at the time of her death there was very little left. It was then revealed that the great Cuban-born singer had been donating all of her wealth to worthy causes anonymously.
I was a bit surprised to find the Walton Family on the list; but then again it may be that they feel so guilty that they are one of the worse employers in America that they need to give some of their wealth away.

What is curiously amusing is that none of the super wealthy who advocate less government regulations, no interference with business are not among those who donate large sums to worthy causes. I have yet to hear any of them say: “We will take care of the poor, the unemployed, the elderly on our own without government providing safety nets” This is significant because these folks are only interested in greed and profit and it makes no difference to them who they screw.

PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.billgatesmicrosoft.com/bill-gates.