Featured Quote

In 1913, Henry Ford wrote the following as the directors had been reaping the rewards of profits - "The wages we pay are too small in comparison with our profits. I think we should raise our minimum pay rate".

Friday, December 23, 2011

Entitlement ( It should not be this hard to earn a living )

I've read a lot of the comments on this story.  Seeing the "conservative" side is really disheartening during this holiday season.  They argue that an individual's worth is tied to their Education level and previous successes - in other words, what their parents were able to afford for them, how well their parents could set them up and what they started out with in the first place.  They seem to firmly believe that poor, disadvantaged people have worthless children and that it is a wasted effort to try to ensure they have a good foundation for success - it seems they feel they were born poor, so don't deserve anything.

Somehow they seem to feel that working 16 hour days should not necessarily be enough to pay your bills and feed yourself and your children if you are not in the 'right kind of job.'  It seems none of them know the struggles of living on very little income.

Lets start with Education.  To get a good education in public school requires a few things : 1 - good nutrition. 2 - good, stable shelter. 3 - good clothing. 4 - Someone to tell you how important an education is and enable study habits, curiosity, etc.
Many "conservative" people start out life with a two-parent household in the suburbs where there is never a concern about 'how to keep the lights on and eat at the same time' and think they have accomplished something on their own.  Talk about feeling 'entitled.'  They have many advantages and privilege, but delude themselves into thinking they've done it on their own and other people must just be lazy.

They somehow believe that their being steered to shake the right hands, kiss the right buttocks, pay the right fees to the right institutions and garner the right favor is somehow all their accomplishments.  Its not.

Today in the United States of America, you are not very likely at all to ever climb up the socioeconomic ladder.  There is much more chance of you falling down.  Most likely though, you will stay just where you started out.

Then, when people say that if you work 8 hours a day 5 days a week, you should at least be able to house, feed and clothe yourself, 'conservatives' say you're asking for a handout.  They say if you are working two jobs or double shifts 6 or 7 days a week and still can't pay the bills and keep food on the table, you must be lazy and worthless.  That is a fine example of the cognitive disconnect required to be a modern 'conservative.'

This is the USA - if you work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, heck, even if you work 6 hours a day, you should be able to afford to house, feed and clothe yourself without resorting to 'rent controlled' housing and food stamps.  Even if you are stocking shelves or mopping floors.  There is no reason at all that earning a living should be this hard in this country.

I am the 53% and the 99%  I started near the bottom, though with more advantages than Jessica Smith or Dakota, and I am now slightly above the median.  It took 15 years from the time I graduated High School to get here.  Maybe it was harder because I did it my way and I earned everything without kissing butt or brown nosing or depending on having 'the right connections.'

The bottom line is - it should NOT be This hard to Earn a living in the United States.

No, its not the government's job to take care of anyone.  Its the government's job to make sure that the powerful are not taking advantage of and suppressing the average citizens.  There are plenty of hard working, great people who are poor and downtrodden and Not looking for a handout - but getting the combat boots of corporations and big finance off of our necks would do amazing things for the economy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Obama echos my blog posts

President Obama gave a great speech in Osawatomie, Kansas yesterday.
Robert Reich had some comments on it.

What struck me is how much it has echoed some of my blogging over the past couple years.

Portions like :
Today, we're still home to the world's most productive workers. We're still home to the world's most innovative companies. But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success
This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement.
and here is a big slice :
Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt's time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let's respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. "The market will take care of everything," they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes – especially for the wealthy – our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn't trickle down, well, that's the price of liberty.
Now, it's a simple theory. And we have to admit, it's one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That's in America's DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. But here's the problem: It doesn't work. It has never worked. It didn't work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It's not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the 50s and 60s. And it didn't work when we tried it during the last decade. I mean, understand, it's not as if we haven't tried this theory.
and this :
Look at the statistics. In the last few decades, the average income of the top 1% has gone up by more than 25% to $1.2m per year. I'm not talking about millionaires, people who have a million dollars. I'm saying people who make a million dollars every single year. For the top one hundredth of 1%, the average income is now $27m per year. The typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her worker now earns 110 times more. And yet, over the last decade the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about 6%.
Now, this kind of inequality – a level that we haven't seen since the Great Depression – hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, when people are slipping out of the middle class, it drags down the entire economy from top to bottom. America was built on the idea of broad-based prosperity, of strong consumers all across the country. That's why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so that they could buy the cars he made. It's also why a recent study showed that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run.

Good one here :
if we don't have an economy that's built on bubbles and financial speculation, our best and brightest won't all gravitate towards careers in banking and finance. Because if we want an economy that's built to last, we need more of those young people in science and engineering. This country should not be known for bad debt and phony profits. We should be known for creating and selling products all around the world that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.
and again :
In the end, rebuilding this economy based on fair play, a fair shot, and a fair share will require all of us to see that we have a stake in each other's success. And it will require all of us to take some responsibility.
another quote from someone else :
Andy Grove, the legendary former CEO of Intel, put it best. He said, "There is another obligation I feel personally, given that everything I've achieved in my career, and a lot of what Intel has achieved…were made possible by a climate of democracy, an economic climate and investment climate provided by the United States."
This broader obligation can take many forms. At a time when the cost of hiring workers in China is rising rapidly, it should mean more CEOs deciding that it's time to bring jobs back to the United States, not just because it's good for business, but because it's good for the country that made their business and their personal success possible.
I've made a list of my blog posts on the economy and it can be found on bobbykearan.com.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wicker and Cochran vote to Detain Citizens without due process!!

Senate approves $662 BILLION dollar military, spy and espionage funding. - allowing suspension of the Constitution in detaining U.S. Citizens Indefinitely by the military without charge or due process.  They actively rejected an amendment to prevent screwing over U.S. Citizens.  Please, remember the names of those who voted to Detain U.S. Citizens without due process or trial! Those who voted to do so include both Mississippi Senators, Cochran and Wicker. Not just once, but three or four times they confirmed their "Lets Detain Citizens without due process" votes!

Then, on top of that, the Senate rejects payroll tax cuts for working families.

Now, if you go to some of those links and look at other votes, there are some that are good and positive.  I'm not going to say its all bad.  However,  the betrayal of Citizens and another big step toward the creation of a military state is simply unacceptable.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah and Shamans

Matthew 25: 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
 (The righteous are those) who feed the poor, the orphan and the captive for the love of God, saying: ‘We feed you for the sake of God Alone; we seek from you neither reward nor thanks.’ – The Holy Quran
"What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured." (Bukhari)
Buddhists believe in the idea of karma (a logical extension from everything being interconnected). What we do to others will ultimately affect ourselves. Hence Buddhism advocates doing good deeds, but not just the following strict rules. It is up to the individual to consider the wisest course of action for their future long term happiness. Five precepts, or ‘guides’, are often given as advice as to actions that will often most lead to beneficial outcomes. They are: not to lie, steal or defraud, kill or injure others, hurt via sexual relationships, and to not further cloud your mind with too many intoxicants.
"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."
Shamanism goes hand in hand with the animist's experience of the world: first, all that is [everything is] alive, and being alive embodies a spirit; second, all that is alive is connected by these spirits. Therefore we all - humans, trees, dogs, cats, bees, stones, mountains, seas, Earth and Sky - we all are connected.
All belief systems included some recognition that we are all connected.  It is a simple realization that what we do affects others and ultimately the conditions of others will affect us.  Whether you say it as "what you have done to the least of these you have done to me" or "Do no Harm," the basis is generally the same.  In being kind and generous to others, you will ultimately benefit yourself.  In being mean and vicious - or even indifferent - to others, you will ultimately harm yourself.  We are all connected.

This principle is also at the core of our current economic and political struggles - failures if you will.  A small percentage of people have been so ruthlessly dedicated to seeking profit above all else, that we all have suffered - and ultimately, they will suffer collapse and loss as well.  The health of the economy is dependent on the economic health of all of us, not just the top 1% or even top 10%.

In the phrase, "all boats float with a rising tide," the rich are not the tide.  The tide is the Mass - the Masses of People, the 99% - which give rise to the 'boats' - the Rich or the top few percent.  In our current economy, all the "water" is going into the "boats" and not under them, so everything is going to be sinking pretty quick.

My message to the top 10% - "Stop Hoarding the Money!"

The money has got to be put back into the real economy - not the financial markets.  The financial markets produce absolutely nothing of substance.  It is the Leech that is draining our economy dry.

... and you know, it all made sense in my head... lol.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Occupation - Not Visitation

Well, the Council reached a compromise - which basically still denies the Occupation.

While it seemed that all the members on the Committee agreed with Occupy Jackson, the approved 'compromise' as I walked out was to allow us to stay from Dawn until 11pm. 

Lumumba - having previously made the motion to allow the permit as applied for (24 hours a day), which failed to get a second - walked out in protest before the final vote and I agree with him - (paraphrased) "This is like telling Martin Luther King when he could march and how long it could last, when it would begin and when it would end."

A protest does not need the permission of those it is protesting. Occupy is an ongoing public forum, a discussion on how to change things for the better. 

It is Occupy - an Occupation, not a daily visitation.

I can't be out there 24 hours a day, but I've been trying to lend support, printing articles for them to read, giving supplies, writing signs... little stuff really. 

Perhaps though, it is for the best. If they had approved the 24 hour occupation, there would really be no news.  Now, it is a fight.  A fight for Change. A fight for Democracy.

I hope that there is greater action.  I hope that there will be some marches, some actions.  They've tried to go through the proper channels and get the approvals.  We've been stonewalled at every turn, "compromises" aside.

Does anyone have a vacant lot or a large (or medium sized) place where Occupy folks can stay overnight that is near Smith Park?

 ... and check out this totally unrelated article on Ayn Rand.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ballot Initiatives

This last election and the defection of just-elected Democrats to the Republican party, which in my mind constitutes Voter Fraud, has shown a spotlight on the corruption and deception in Mississippi politics.  The electioneering that went on behind the scenes had to have been (and the little bit I witnessed was) astounding.

In order to fight this entrenched corruption, I am suggesting some ballot initiatives.  Read up on the Mississippi Initiative process before continuing here...

There is not a 'single subject' requirement for ballot initiatives in Mississippi, so the following five could be lumped together.  However, I do believe that keeping it simple and trying for each on it's own will get us at least some of them passed.

Proposal One: ( Prevent after-election party switching - we could call it "The Gray Law" after Tollison)

"Be it enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi

Article IV of the Constitution of the State of Mississippi is hereby amended by the Addition of a New Section to read :

Section ##. For all purposes the Party Affiliation of Legislators shall be the party under which they were elected until such time as the term shall expire."

Proposal Two: ( Protected Primaries for Limiting Electioneering )
SECTION 247 of the constitution states :
The legislature shall enact laws to secure fairness in party primary elections, conventions, or other methods of naming party candidates.

Since the legislature has failed miserably in following Section 247 (for example, 100,000 more people voted in the Democratic Primary than the Republican primary, 170,000 more people voted Republican in the general election governor's race than voted Democrat) :

"Be it enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi
Section 247 of the Constitution of the State of Mississippi is hereby amended by inserting "(1)" before the existing text and the Addition of the following :

(2) Only registered members of a Party or those who are not affiliated with any Party may vote in a Party's Primary election."

Proposal Three: ( Allowing for Same Day voter registration )
Since we must now show an ID to vote, we should also allow same day voter registrations.  Currently, if you are not registered to vote four months prior to the election day, you can not vote in the upcoming election.  This is supposedly to allow time to print the voter registration roll that poll workers use.
"Be it enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi

Section 251 of the Constitution of the State of Mississippi is hereby amended by changing the full text to read:

Electors may be registered up until and on the same day of any election in which they may be eligible to vote.  Voters registering up to four months before any election shall be given documentation of their registration.  Such documentation shall include all information required to allow voter and poll officials to verify proper voting location. Voters registering up to four months before any election shall be required to show said documentation to poll officials prior to voting."
Proposal Four: ( Requiring Cascading Voting - see below for example and Instant Runoff and Fair Vote for more information.)
"Be it enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi

The Constitution of the State of Mississippi is hereby amended by addition of a New Section to read:

Section ###. (1) Voting in State Elections shall be done by Cascading Vote. Voters shall be allowed to rank their preference for each candidate in each contested race where there are more than two candidates.  There shall be up to four ranks allowed in each race.  If the first choice fails to acquire a higher percentage of votes than the top two candidates in the race, the second choice shall be given that vote.  If the second choice also fails to acquire a higher percentage of votes than the top two candidates, the third choice shall be given that vote. If the third choice also fails to acquire a higher percentage of votes than the top two candidates, the fourth choice shall be given that vote.

Proposal Five: ( No Confidence on a ballot line )
"Be it enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi

The Constitution of the State of Mississippi is hereby amended by addition of a New Section to read:

(1) In addition to candidates on the ballot for each General Election a ballot line with "No Confidence" shall be included.
(2) Should "No Confidence" get a majority of votes in any race, the Secretary of State shall be required to solicit new and different candidates for that race and to hold a special election to decide all such races."
What are your thoughts?

An example of Cascading Voting (aka "instant runoff" voting)
For example :
On the Ballot are Ron (R), Doug(D), Genny(Green) and Reggie(Reform)
Jimmy casts his vote for 1 (Genny), 2 (Reggie), 3 (Doug) 4 (No Confidence)
Mary casts her vote for 1 (Ron), 2 (Reggie)
Sam casts his vote for 1 (Reggie), 2 (Doug), 3 (No Confidence)

Votes are tallied in Rounds, first round results are :
Ron (R) – 5000, Doug(D) – 4900, Genny(Green) – 2000 and Reggie(Reform) – 2500 with “No Confidence” getting 1000

Second round becomes :
Ron (R) – 5100, Doug(D) – 5800, Reggie(Reform) – 3000 with “No Confidence” getting 1500

(Genny has the least votes, “No Confidence” never goes away. All who voted for Genny as 1, their votes move to their #2)

Third round becomes :
Ron (R) – 5600, Doug(D) – 6800 with “No Confidence” getting 3000

Doug wins! But he can see he was not a first choice for 10500 people – and for 3700 who ended up voting for him. 3000 people wanted to toss out all candidates and start over from scratch.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Election Analysis

There are still 61 preciencts not reporting in, but if everything holds steady here is what we are looking at :

Total GOP Victories 109
Total Dem Victories 96
Uncontested GOP 56
Uncontested Dem 62

GOP in House 61
Dem in House 58

GOP in Senate 28
Dem in Senate 22

Runoffs 4

No to altering the definition of "person." (Yay!) Oh, and HERE is what we kept from happening in Mississippi - 10 year olds being forced to give birth.  These people must be stopped at all costs.

Yes to wasting $1.4 Million per year to 'prevent' something that doesn't happen.  That is, Yes to requiring a state issued photo ID in order to vote.  Waste of time and Money.

Yes to restricting the government from taking private land and handing it over to private companies or persons.

So, Mississippi is now a red, red state. (Communist was red too... just saying.)  GOP controls the House and Senate, with slim majorities.  The Governor is a lying, backstabbing, fast-talking Republican.  Lt. Gov is Republican. Secretary of State is a corrupt electioneering Republican. Treasurer, Auditor, Agriculture Commissioner, Insurance Commissioner, two out of three Public Service Commissioners, all three Transportation Commissioners are all Republican.

In short - Mississippi is screwed.  Think we're the bottom of the barrel now? We have only begun to stink and these GOP nutjobs will make sure that the Citizens of Mississippi are the lowest of the low on the totem pole.  If you have a little money, RUN! Save yourselves!  Because they will make sure you loose it - to them.  Think our roads are bad now? LOL!! Just wait!  Think the insurance companies are screwing you now? Oh, they are salivating at the new 'unregulated' Mississippi market.  Think we have a chance to fix things with the next election? ROFLOL!!! They OWN the state now.  They will not give it up.  They don't have to play by the rules - they make the rules.  What? Hood? HA! He has already played their games, he is owned now.

Sure, we defeated the "personhood" amendment - but we put the Co-Chairman of the group that pushed it in the highest office in the state!! I bet we get 'personhood' anyway. After all, he thinks the 58% that voted against 26 are Evil Satanic Nazis :
the most conservative state in the nation, which also elected Phil Bryant, the Republican lieutenant governor and co-chair of the Yes on 26 campaign, to succeed Haley Barbour as governor. This would be the man who Monday evoked the Jews of Nazi Germany “being marched into the oven,” and who said of 26′s opponents, “the evil dark side that exists in this world is taking hold. And they’re saying, what we want you to be able to do is continue to extinguish innocent life. You see, if we could do that, Satan wins.” Oppose 26, Bryant argued, and “you’re on the side of the lie. You’re on the side of taking the lives of innocent children.” (salon.com)
This is what Phil Bryant thinks of us. and, from that same article :
Indeed. On the Personhood Mississippi page, they’re already talking about taking the cause to the legislature.
So, that fight is not over - far from it.  We are in much more danger now and the enemy has all the artillery!

[Bryant] fumed. “Let’s just call it what it is, it’s wild and crazy. But that’s what the other side must do whenever we stand up for life and say, it’s simple, that child in the womb after conception has the same basic human rights as you and I.”
I will reject that insane, sadistic idea forever.  I will forever put living, breathing people way above something that might become one.  I will forever say we should put more emphasis on making sure we can feed, clothe and house the living, breathing people, men, women and children - and babies - long before we force more to be born. We should make sure that all who are able can earn a decent living - at least enough to feed and care for themselves.  To do that, we need to make sure that All Citizens have access to early and good education - even those who don't have parents at home to teach them. We need to make sure that all citizens have easy access to basic medical care that is very affordable.

Mississippi voted against the possibility of trying to do those things this time around.  The voted for the full on GOP agenda of less freedoms, less protections, more income inequality, higher unemployment, less education and more dependence on being in debt just to get by.

Where do we go from here?

I don't know.  But I am working on it. Lots of people are working on it.  I just hope we can manage to come together with a few good ideas and a few good people to lead the way.

We will have to fight hard to keep the damage to a minimum.  I am already dreading the unholy crap they will try to pass.

I hope to see some truly progressive, reality based, smart people running for office in 2012.  Then, we need to work on getting those people elected.

I will follow up with some ideas...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Using the Bible to support Anti-Abortion laws

This might be a bit much for some people, and I am sorry if this oversteps... but the people using the bible or 'God' to support their fanaticism don't know the first thing about the bible.

For your reading :

Numbers 31: (after his army took captives after committing God ordered genocide, Moses ordered:) 17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. 18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Exodus 12: 29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.

1st Samuel 15: 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

Isiah 13: 16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.
17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.
18 Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.

Deuteronomy 2:  33 And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. 34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain

The Bible tells us, God not only condones, but often orders, the killing of innocent women and children, 'infants and sucklings.'

In fact, the Psalmist celebrates it :
Psalms 137: 8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

So, please, stop using the bible to justify your 'protect all babies' cover story.

 Other interesting verses...

Genesis 2: 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 6: 17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. (an example both of 'breath of life' and God killing innocent babies and animals.)

Ecclesiastes 3: 19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. 20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Habakkuk 2: 19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.
The breath is what the bible considers life.  Not fertilization.

Numbers 3: 14 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying, 15 Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them.

Leviticus 27:  6 And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver.

The bible - God - doesn't even count a baby until it has survived a full month. (also, the Bible values males more than females - by two shekels!)

Exodus 21: 22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
In the bible, God says the punishment for causing an abortion is a fine.  Killing the woman too is punishable by death.
Deuteronomy 22: 5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. 11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together. 12 Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself. 22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. 25  But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die
Exodus 21: 17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

Of course, if you insist upon following the bible, women are not to wear jeans nor men wear silk blouses or cross-dress in any fashion.  You are sinning if you are wearing a poly-cotton blend, cross-dressing or not.  If you want to follow the Bible, you must punish adultery and rape with the death penalty. If your child says, "Damn you!" or "I wish you were dead!" or maybe even, "I hate you!" then you have to kill them. The Bible says so.

I don't think many judges or legislators will go for any of those actual Biblical laws.  So, please, be so kind as to keep your imaginary biblical dictates out of our legal system too.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Religious Extremists and Why the GOP must be defeated

The United States of America was founded by people fleeing the religious persecution of the Government-Supported Church of England.  The Founders wrote protections from such abuses - by any religion - into our Constitution.

Religious Extremists have been fighting to destroy the constitution ever since.  Somehow they feel persecuted because they are prohibited from persecuting other religions - or the not-religious.

  • 1776 The USA Founded
  • 1782 The Motto "E Pluribus Unum" as official motto of U.S.
      Meaning : "Out of Many, One."  A very inclusive and unifying motto.
  • 1795 "E Pluribus Unum" put on U.S. Coins
  • 1862 First Paper Money printed in U.S.
  • 1864 "In God We Trust" added to U.S. Coins
      Religious response to the Civil War - a prime example of the Shock Doctrine.
  • 1892 Pledge of Allegiance written :
    "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 
  • 1923 Pledge altered to specify "the flag of the United States of America"
      Original author objects.
  • 1954 "Under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance
      Original author's daughter objects on his behalf.
      Religious response to the Communist threat - another Shock Doctrine moment.
  • 1956 "In God We Trust" adopted as official U.S. Motto
      A very divisive motto, potentially unconstitutional.
  • 1957 "In God We Trust" added to paper money
We can see an 88 year period of the United States as the (even very religious) Founders intended - a secular government with no religious bias.  Then the seditious attacks begin to succeed.  Now, the Religious Reich(1) talk as though the pledge always included "under god" and the motto was always "in god we trust." Even though it was officially "E Pluribus Unum" for the first 180 years of our country.

Our Democratic Republic has been under constant attack from the extremists of the Religious Reich on one side and the Corporatists on the other.  They are winning.  It is time we gather and fight back. It is time we bring Unity of Many instead of Preference to the Right Religion back to the forefront of politics.

I am not suggesting an end to religions, far from it.  I want religious bias out of government.  I want corporate money and influence out of government.  I want people to be free to express their religious beliefs without fear of persecution - no matter what their religion is.  I want politics to be free of the defacto requirement to support the right religion or religiously motivated policies.  I want people who are not millionaires, people who know what is going on it the real economy, people who are atheists or pagans, to be able to get elected to office! I want law and religion to be kept very, very far apart.

If you can find examples of where religion is taking over government, please post links to articles!

Here are some that prompted this blog post :

"Personhood" amendments, which seek to establish religious beliefs as law.
Defense of Marriage act - A few articles to link to on this one. Another religion as law item.
Presidential candidates pushed by religious zealots based on religion.
Michigan's Anti-Bullying law protects 'religiously motivated' bullying.

Oh, yeah... why the GOP must be defeated.  While the Religious and Corporatists are not exclusive to the GOP, they are most at home there and it is the GOP that is pushing the hardest for the most extreme ideas and ideals of the Religious Reich and the Corporations.

Sources :

(1) - Religious Reich : The extremists of the extreme Religious Right.  Those individuals and beliefs that make the Religious Right exclaim, "They are too extreme."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Living, Breathing People

There is a reason we have the phrase "Living, Breathing Person" in our language.  Breathing makes up a very significant portion of 'being alive.'

A commenter said : 
What then, is the fundamental difference between the 1 year old poor child and the 8.5 month baby about to be born into poverty?
I dont' ask that rhetorically. Tell us the age when you generally believe a "independent existence" begins. The age where you'd look at the thing and say "yep, that's a person". Then subtract 1 day. Tell us, biologically, what is the difference between the two?
The age an independent existence begins? Easy, obvious, common sense - Birth, whether that is natural or C-Section or some other method of becoming able to breathe.

Subtract one day? Not much difference. However, nobody, least of all me, is advocating for abortion at 8.5 months. His comment is a distraction and distortion - and quite frankly monstrous. One must wonder why they must sink to such methods to support their cause.

How about something that is actually being discussed? Subtract Three Months from birth - LOTS of difference. Right at the end of the second trimester, it can't exist outside the host, its not a person. Still, nobody is advocating for abortion after this point.

Even more appropriate, subtract SIX months. At the end of the first trimester - still an alien looking thing, still not a person. Abortion after this point should only be done if there is a great risk to the mother's health or life. Before this point... it should be left up to her, not a judge, not a legislator - her, her doctor and (if any) her family.

Now, what this amendment wants to do, subtract Eight and a half months. It is two to four cells and not even implanted yet. It is still at least a week before the woman becomes pregnant. Sure as the sun, a clump of cells is not a person.

I put living, breathing people above unborn. 26 will do great damage to the Life, Liberty and Happiness of lots of real, living, breathing people. ( articles below )

Before birth, a pre-embryo (fertilized egg) is a not-very-likely potential life, an embryo is a potential life, a fetus is a very potential life. There are medically recognized stages of development (Trimesters), therefore there are differences in the ratio of rights between the living, breathing woman and the potential life inside her.

A woman having a fertilized egg inside her does not automatically negate all of her rights, nor does she loose rights up to two weeks later when she might become pregnant, nor three months after that. There is a ratio that starts with all rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness belonging to the woman and gradually reaches a level of almost equality between the woman and potential life inside her.  I say almost here because until viable birth, I still put the woman before the potential life - even if her choice is 'save my baby' instead of her.

I will never support making a law to dictate someone else's choices.  i26 makes it law that two cells inside a woman instantly have more right to life than her liberty. You can have that belief and act that way in your life and that is fine with me, but I will vote No to that being the law.

How can we know what will happen with 'personhood?'  We just have to look at those places where embryonic 'personhood' is already the law.  You think it can't happen here? Then you need to wake up, wise up and think again! Review this Slate article and follow their links. In October 2007, The Guardian reported :
Last November it became a crime for a woman to have an abortion in Nicaragua, even if her life was in mortal danger. So far it has resulted in the death of at least 82 women. (11 months, 82 deaths)

This article (and the video it links to) are the stark reality of 'Personhood.'

This article outlines why it is such a horrible idea for Mississippi specifically.  We are already the worst state in the Union by most measures.  If 26 passes, it will only get worse.

This article, by a Mississippi Lawyer, outlines a lot of the legal issues with i26.

This article uses some interesting language - but it is long and technical and by a lawyer. Still worth a read if you have the time and inclination, which I did.
It might be more plausible to say that a fetus at this stage is a person, but that the person’s physical occupation of another person calls for a moral and legal approach that is distinct from what we ordinarily use in analyzing violence between two persons. 
This is very interesting. It suggests, to me anyway, a use of the Castle Doctrine to support elective abortion at any stage. A little extreme, but no more so than the 'personhood' of a few cells well before pregnancy occurs.
I liked the following lines as well :
The zygote or embryo does have human DNA, however, and pro-life advocates can accordingly call it a “person” as a way of saying that it is not a plant or a snail, neither of which would have human DNA.  But human skin cells also have human DNA, yet no one would call them “persons.”
LOVED her wrap-up :
To make a fully informed decision about what one thinks of the abortion issue, however, it is useful to remain aware that the word “person” can effectively distract us from three sorts of facts that are truly pertinent to the abortion question:  facts about the developing embryo and fetus at various stages; facts about what happens to a woman’s body when she is pregnant; and facts about what occurs when the government legally requires women to remain pregnant and give birth against their will.
 And, the Comments section!
Diogenes_Lantern 3 weeks ago
Just saying by reference, when I watch the In Memoriam part of This Week on Sunday mornings, I feel sorrow at every war death, but the feeling is deeper when the soldier is older.  It is nice that we value innocence but it should not be valued more than a life lived.  Wisdom and knowledge are far more valuable than innocence.  Were I ever in the untenable position of having to choose between the life of an adult woman over the life of her unborn child, I'd move for the woman every time.

It also makes no sense to force a fetus into a life that will very likely only result in harm to it.  For instance, unwanted pregnancies for reasons of alcoholism, drug addiction, rape, incest, disease, genetics (oh, I can hear the screams of eugenics as I write, but the decision lies solely with the mother-to-be) and other well-known horrors for an infant to be forced to endure.

And for me, the argument that a person has a right to control his or her own body in every way, stands strong among what I believe to be inalienable human rights.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

i26 Targets IVF

I was looking over the wording and came to a realization.  i26 Targets In Vitro Fertilization.

Bear with me here. Terminology is important.

How Conception Works :

The First step is getting the egg fertilized by the sperm.  This happens quite a lot.  It takes two to four days from the moment of fertilization for the egg to get around to implanting into the uterus. Up to 90% of fertilized eggs don't make it this far.  So, in an i26 world, more than half of all "persons" die a natural death before their mother is even pregnant.(source, source)
How many fertilized eggs complete the task of implantation?
A) 85 – 95% B) 60 – 70% C) 30 – 40% D) 10 – 20%
Test your Knowledge!

The Next step is implantation.
Approximately one week after fertilization, the blastocyst embeds itself in the thickened wall of the uterus, a process called implantation, and pregnancy is established.(source)
So, why label a 'person' well before pregnancy occurs?  The only explanation is to be able to target IVF, Birth Control pills, Emergency Contraception and other Family Planning methods.

Court challenges of i26 in Mississippi

The full text of i26 is :

SUMMARY: Initiative #26 would amend the Mississippi Constitution to define the word “person” or “persons”, as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution, to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.
Entire amendment :
“Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi:
SECTION 1. Article III of the constitution of the state of Mississippi is hearby amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION TO READ:
Section 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”
The petition can be found here.

The first issue the initiative will run into - if passed - will be a Mississippi Constitution problem.  I've quoted the pertinent sections :


SECTION 5.        Government originating in the people.

(1) Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by the Legislature or by initiative of the people.
(5) The initiative process shall not be used:

  (a) For the proposal, modification or repeal of any portion of the Bill of Rights of this Constitution;
We can see that Section 1 Article 3 is the "Bill of Rights." We can also see that the initiative process shall not be used to modify the Bill of Rights.  Looking at the amendment text, initiative 26 is constitutionally illegal.

What does this mean?  The first taxpayer funded court challenge will be based on this legal conflict. 26 can not stand because it is illegal to use the ballot initiative process to alter the Bill of Rights.  There will be no basis for further court challenges that the authors of this amendment seek.  It will be struck down based on ballot initiative law rather than anything to do with abortion.

Lets say that the level of corruption in the Mississippi Court System is high enough that a judge would totally ignore our constitution and let the ballot initiative stand and go into effect. What next?

The next issue is that Federal Law supersedes State Law.  i26 will not outlaw abortion because the Roe vs. Wade decision protects a woman's right to medical privacy.  In other words, the initiative will not achieve the goal of the authors - it will not, can not, outlaw abortion.  This is the conflict that the authors are seeking to get to.  They want Mississippi taxpayers to fund their challenges to federal law.

So, if the amendment can not actually outlaw abortion without the expensive court challenges, what can it actually do?
  • Outlaw Birth Control methods that may cause the fertilized egg to be unable to implant. ie, most of them.  Pending, of course, expensive court cases.
  • Reduce or Eliminate In Vitro Fertilization procedures. I believe the wording of the proposed amendment actually targets IVF.
  • Encourage the investigation and prosecution of women who have miscarriages.
  • Prevent treatment for ectopic pregnancies or other serious issues.
The Mississippi Supreme Court refused to rule in a suit brought by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood to block the initiative from being on the ballot.  This judgment said that a court could not get involved until the initiative passed.
"We cannot invade the territory of the legislature or the electorate to review the substantive validity of a proposed initiative, and thereby, we will honor the maxim embodied in the constitutional mandate of separation of powers," said Justice Randy Pierce for the court.
He said any challenges to the constitutionality of such statutes can come only after they are enacted or approved by voters. (source)
While I think that ruling was stupid, the courts were technically correct.  The corruption that allowed the initiative on the ballot was that of Delbert Hoseman as the Secretary of State.  He should have not allowed it due to the restrictions that it violates. Unfortunately, there is no challenger for his position.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Problem with Drug Testing for Welfare

I don't know if I've blogged about this before, but when Florida passed it's drug testing requirement to receive welfare, I said it was a really, really bad idea.  Why? It will cost more than it saves and it lines the pockets of drug testing companies. (that Rick Scott, the Governor who pushed this through, had ownership or interest in - so he profits from it!)

So, was I right?
policy makers in three dozen states have proposed drug testing for people receiving benefits like welfare, unemployment assistance, job training and food stamps.

In 2011, Florida succeeded in passing legislation requiring the drug testing of welfare applicants at the urging of its Governor Rick Scott, who rode to office on a wave of Tea Party support. The roughly 113,000 Florida welfare recipients must pay for their own drug test. People who fail the test become ineligible for a year. A second failed test makes them ineligible for three years.
Only about 2 percent of Florida’s welfare applicants are failing the test, according to Florida’s Department of Children and Families. After adding up the savings derived from not paying welfare to this 2 percent and subtracting the cost of testing 100 percent of the applicants the Tampa Tribune concluded that Florida may save “up to $40,800 to $60,000 for a program that state analysts have predicted will cost $178 million this fiscal year. 
The law has only been in effect for three months. So far, if you don't count the extra staff and resources to do the testing and assume that all 2% of the failed would have collected assistance for a full year (unlikely), the savings are between $40 and $60 thousand a year. Another 2% don't complete the application process - probably because they couldn't come up with the $30 to pay for the test or they spent it on food for their family or maybe got a job before they finished the process.  So the total savings could be as high as $98,000 per year - unlikely assumptions being used - but may be a lot less or even wind up costing the state taxpayers money.

When you include any costs associated with trying to take away the children of those who failed the test, it could be much more expensive.

So, it seems to be, perhaps, a bit beneficial to punish 2% of a population.  Actually, it is punishing all welfare recipients - just for being poor or down on their luck. But lets look at that 2%.

More than once, Scott has said publicly that people on welfare use drugs at a higher rate than the general population. The 2 percent test fail rate seen by DCF, however, does not bear that out.
According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, performed by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, 8.7 percent of the population nationally over age 12 uses illicit drugs. The rate was 6.3 percent for those ages 26 and up.
A 2008 study by the Office of National Drug Control Policy also showed that 8.13 percent of Floridians age 12 and up use illegal drugs.
By a sizable margin (6%), less people on welfare use drugs than the general population of Florida. I wonder why? Here is a clue - they can't friggin afford drugs!!  They are broke and need assistance to get food! When it is food or drugs, most choose food... or they choose drugs and then die. Most of the people on welfare are not lazy, not drug addicts and not 'on the dole' for more than 14 months.

Newton said that's proof the drug-testing program is based on a stereotype, not hard facts.
"This is just punishing people for being poor, which is one of our main points," he said. "We're not testing the population at-large that receives government money; we're not testing people on scholarships, or state contractors. So why these people? It's obvious-- because they're poor."

What, then, is my summary opinion of drug testing for welfare recipients? It is a mean-spirited, costly, hateful, wasteful attack on the poorest of us that is being used and promoted in order to distract the 99% from the machinations of the top 1% who are actually causing fiscal problems.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Two Fliers about Mississippi 26 "Personhood"

On November 8th, 2011 in the General Election for Mississippi, there will be three Ballot Initiatives to vote on. 26 - to redefine "person" in our constitution, 27 - to require voter ID (ie disenfranchise voters) and 31 - to restrict the use of eminent domain. Vote No on 26, Mississippi!

You can click on the picture for a full size version to download and print if you want.

On the following links, these open in Google Docs - you can click "Download Original" in the top right to save to your desktop for printing or you can use the zoom for better reading.

I also have a PDF that takes apart the lies in a "yes on 26 dot net" flier claiming we are lying about our concerns about what 26 will do. TakingApartLies.pdf

The last offering is a more informative flier about Initiative 26 that also shows the ballot preview.  N0on26Flier.pdf

Vote No on 26, Mississippi!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Picture and other people's comments on Personhood

(the following comments snagged from FARK thread)

What is the official life-begins-at-conception stance on identical twins?

Did God put two souls in the one cell at the beginning?
Did he add an extra soul after the split?
If not, is one twin a soulless monster?

Also, If he put in two souls at once because he knew it would become twins, wouldn't it therefore be logical to assume that he put in no souls in the fetus he knew would be aborted?

When I was in high school in MS, I received a letter from some state department along with my out-of-state college applications/letters. I wish I had the letter so that I could copy it, but I distinctly remember the line, "Mississippi is suffering from "brain drain" meaning that our best and brightest students leave the state and are not coming back."
The letter continued to implore that when I finished my education outside of Mississippi, that I consider returning.

Whenever I read about crap like this, I am glad that I did not return. That state is too full of stupid for anyone with a brain or an education to handle.

I am also sure that I would have been lynched by now for being an educated, physically fit, unmarried, minority adult female who does not want children or believe in god.

FYI: eggs can get fertilized and never attach to the wall of the womb, that egg ends up on a pair of panties or the end of a tampon, it doesn't develop into a child and never will. A fertilized egg is not a baby... yet

There's a lot of conditions for an actual baby to develop, and sperm meets egg is not it

sperm meets a lot of things in the female body, doesn't make it life either. Sperm penetrates the uvula, doesn't mean there's a baby growing in the woman's throat...

Look, we moved back here for the same reason. My husband grew up in Mississippi, and he got scholarships stipulating he come back to the state to practice once his education was complete. But I will not be birthing my children and raising them somewhere that says that Rape Victims have to carry and birth the child of their rapist, never mind that their DNA was stolen in an act of violence and hate. I will not be having kids somewhere, where the doctor has to wait for my fallopian tube to burst before terminating an ectopic pregnancy. I will not give birth somewhere where my obstetrician has to worry about being prosecuted for murder if he has to choose between my life and child inside me. I will not live somewhere that would dictate what I can do with frozen embryos. I could go on and on. This law is absolutely medieval and unacceptable.

Even my birth control pills, when I used them, said they could be used as morning after pills in an emergency, which would mean we're gonna be somewhere where I won't even be able to get birth control. I plan on getting an IUD after my firs pregnancy, but I could be prosecuted for murder in this state for doing that under this law.

Mississippi just released their big economic development blueprint for the state, which heavily featured recruiting more educated people to the state. It's absolutely laughable these people think they can try to pass a law like this and get any remotely sane educated person to move here.

We moved here to help. But there are certain human rights we're not going to sacrifice. This law makes me a 2nd class citizen to some cells in my belly, and jeopardizes my health. Coming here to a less-vibrant economy to try to help be a part of seeing the state grow and succeed into a stronger economic and educational footing is one thing. Sacrificing the reproductive health of our family to fight a bunch of fundies over abortion is not what we moved here for, and not something I'm willing to sacrifice.

and, finally, the only real reason I can think of that people want to force women to give birth to unwanted children they can't possibly care for properly :
...because in 18 years they can send it off to fight an unjust war for natural resources halfway across the world?

Okay, really one more... I agree with this one. I believe the soul enters the body around the first breath.  I usually say "with the first breath" but do believe there is a time window.

True human life begins when there is a soul in the body. That may happen before birth, or it can actually happen after the birth of the baby. Some cases of crib death occur because no soul has gone into that body.
Link (new window)

Edgar Cayce was able to pick up accurate information while he was in a very relaxed, trance-like state. Without any medical training, he could diagnose medical problems in people who were miles away from him. His "readings," - 14,000 in total - cover topics including just about everything relating to people and their concerns.

It's kind of hard to research this, because the readings are so extensive. But I did find this, and it seems I didn't remember the entry time correctly - it's usually close to the time of birth. I guess I was thinking of the fact that the soul can enter the baby's body early - up to three months before birth, I think:
The soul generally enters the baby body at or near the time of birth. In one unusual case in the Cayce readings, the soul did not enter for two days after the birth of the baby. When asked about the delay, Cayce responded that the soul was all too aware how very difficult life would be should it choose to enter, and it wasn't at all sure it wanted to go through with it! Cayce was then asked what kept the baby's body alive for two days while the soul wrestled with its decision, and he responded, "the spirit." For Cayce, the soul was the entity, with all its personal memories and aspirations, and the spirit was the life force.
John Van Auken, Link (new window)

Amendment - found this comment elsewhere. :

Let us not forget about the things that happen when someone is desperate and will feel driven to resort to what used to be called back alley abortions. They also fail to consider the consequences that can occur when a bunch of unwanted, unplanned and unloved persons are in the schools etc. Sometimes an unplanned child is loved and cherished by the parents but sometimes they are just resented and mistreated. Seems to me how many children and when those children are born should be left up to the people who will be responsible for them until they can care for themselves. Since the, shall I say, right leaning people don't want to feed the hungry, help to support the elderly or educate the kids who are already here why should they be meddling in peoples efforts to control the size of their families?

okay, these comments :
About 80% of fertilzed eggs never implant, actually. And quite a few after that get rejected by nature's QA system (face it: eukaryotic reproduction is a low-yield process.)
Which explains why Christianity places such emphasis on the sinfulness of women and doesn't trust them with anything important.
Next up: every fertile woman to be required to take a medical exam (at her expense, of course) monthly to make sure that she's not guilty of a felony.

and this one :
Imagine living in a reproductive police state. China is one.
Now, how would the State of Mississippi sue the fed to provide these embryos with SS#'s? And similarly, will MS change their tax forms to include fetuses as dependents? Will OB/GYNs be required to submit conception certificates to their local health departments?
WIll you get free ice cream or desert twice a year instead of just once? And what might a 22d-century grave marker look like if you were conceived in October?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Charts set off Comments #OWS


The above article was fairly straight forward with commentary on the graphs and charts that followed.  It is well worth a look.  One guy's comment (Nick) got 'featured' and that set off a lot of comments.  I replied... and so did a lot of others.  I have taken a select few and also copied my replies to Nick's comment on the story.  Enjoy!

First two of my comments :
@Nick: CEO Pay, no matter what the flimsy 'reason' behind it is excessive and a leading cause of the economic collapse.  They produce little to nothing - they only take credit for the profits produced by the workers.  The workers deserve more of a share of those profits they create.  Then we can continue to be the engine of our economy. (see chart 15)

Lehman Brothers collapsed the name and split up to it's holdings - like Barclays, Neuberger Berman and others. They are not gone, not punished - in fact, not paying their bills because they declared 'bankruptcy.' Merrill Lynch is active as ever. Don't try spreading lies that a quick google search will disprove.  But, basically you are saying that the banks have taken our money and don't have much of it left after gambling it all away...  I don't think that gets them off the hook.

Tax Equality - Okay, the top 20% pay 64% of taxes while taking "only" 59% of all income and having "only" 83% of all financial wealth and 73% of ALL net worth. 20% have over 80% of all the money.  Sorry, not going to feel one drop sorry for them paying 64% of taxes - they should be paying 70% at least.  Of course, if we, the working class, were paid better, then we would, by default, pay more of a share of taxes.

You want to know why the economy is in the tank? Look at chart 17.  The top 1%'s share of pre-tax income has skyrocketed.  They are leeching all the money out of the economy.  They don't spend nearly as much of their income as the lower brackets do, so it is effectively out of the economy.  The less the Middle Class and poor's shares get, the less the leeches have to live off of.  In classic parasite mentality, they are not going to stop sucking until the host is dead... and we almost are.  To save ourselves, we have to either get rid of the leeches totally or they can start taking less of the money supply.

@the eye:
the eye said, "Yeah and how much of the risk did the labor force take in investing in that company (YOU failed to mention that--oh and the answer is ZERO)

Not true in any sense. How much of the risk did the labor force take? A heck of a lot. They accepted a job there. We have bills to pay, mouths to feed and we are trusting that the company will provide fair compensation for a hard day's work - and that it will not be a flash in the pan company that fails and leaves us holding our hats and out of a job. Saying that employees take no risk is sheer stupidity. That is why we work so hard to make the company successful - we like having an income, we like having a job. We just want a fair share of the profits we produce.

Your idiotic mentality is one of the major problems in this country - we are not interchangeable.

Still, the problem is NOT the owner making a lot more than the average worker - although they should feel like Mr. Henry Ford that making 40 times what an average worker makes is indecent. The problem is with the CEO - same zero 'skin in the game' as any other employee - is making close to 300 times what an average worker makes. And, when the CEO drives the company to failure, they get golden parachutes and are actually REWARDED for destroying jobs of people who have given their lives to the company.

I agree Labor doesn't create 100% of profits - but its at least 80%. How are you doing to do much of anything without labor?

No, it may not be our money, but it is our labor, our effort, our sweat and our time. Even if a CEO set new policies, the benefits are created by the labor that carries them out and implements them. So, in your example, the CEO may have earned $50 million, but $50 million should go to those who actually did the work.

In the end, the income inequality is what is hurting the overall economy - it is simply not sustainable. Businesses that aggravate the inequality are, in the end, hurting themselves as well.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10#comments#ixzz1amjgPbm5

Now, other people's comments!
Ron R on Oct 13, 6:08 PM said:
@Nick: @ Nick:
Well, as one of those baby boom entrepreneurs who started a technology company (manufacturing specialized instrumentation in the US, believe it or not), I call BS on your CEO salary rationalization.

The top end incomes being referred to here are not those of entrepreneurs who are creating things and increase total wealth- they are the incomes of those in the financial services sector, who are overwhelmingly engaged in a speculative zero sum game, and only make money if someone else loses.

Makers grow the economy and create jobs, speculators don't grow anything, and when they create a bubble and drive prices up to the point of collapse, or falsify what they are selling- as happened recently- they actually destroy opportunity for the rest of us.  A small financial sector is important for liquidity, but ours has grown far out of bounds (from about 10% historically to well over 35% of all business profits recently) and this is hurting our long term economic prospects. When your best and brightest are going into investment banking or bond trading rather than engineering or research (because that's where the easy money is), something is very sick in the economy. Gambling is not a basis for a healthy economy.

Of course the rich pay a slightly higher percentage of their incomes overall in taxes than do the poor- though the differential is much less now than it has been historically. Top marginal rates were vastly higher during our strongest growth years, WWII to 1980. This enabled investment in infrastructure and human capital, like education. When I was in college, tuition at state schools was essentially free- if you could get in and do the work, you got an education. After 40 years of tax cutting, national and state, this is no longer the case. As the charts show, we now have the lowest social mobility among advanced countries- over generations, that hurts America both economically and socially. Ultimately, it hurts the rich. Companies like mine, who need a strong middle class to create demand, already feel it.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10#comments#ixzz1amcmLQzN

rnoonan440 on Oct 13, 11:09 AM said:
@Nick: 30 Years of Wealth Redistribution

There has been a massive "wealth redistribution" that has gone on for the last 30 years. The top 1% now controls over 42% of all of our nation's wealth and the top 10% now controls over 70% of our entire nation's wealth. The bottom 50% only control a meager 2.5% of all of our nation's wealth. How did this happen?

30 Years of Ballooning Executive Salaries/Stagnate Middle Class Salaries:
The middle class spends their wealth on goods/services and the corporations make a profit off of that spending. The corporations have redistributed middle class wealth by paying the majority of their profits all out to the executives and shareholders. The middle class has been getting less and less of a share of the corporate profit pie.

Middle class wages have stagnated for 30 years while executive wages have gone up 256% in since 1980. Even last year executive compensation went up another 11%. The top 1% now controls over 42% of the entire nation's wealth. We have not seen numbers like this since the great depression. The top 10% controls 70% of the entire nation's wealth. All of our nation's wealth has been redistributed into the hands of the few.

Wages were Replaced with Easy Credit/Loans:
The middle class was roped into replacing wages with easy credit. So instead of paying people living wages, corporations fooled us into thinking we were doing well and could afford things by giving us easy credit instead of wages. Instead of having wages to buy t.v.'s, furniture, etc. we were given easy loans. So the middle class became a debtor class.

Loss of Tax Disincentive Against Paying out all Profit to the Executives & Shareholders:
There used to be a tax disincentive to paying out all of corporate profits at the top because in the 1950's income was taxed at 90% over a certain amount money and now that tax disincentive has disappeared. In 1950's the highest marginal tax rate was 90%. In 1960-1970's it was 70%. In 1980's it dropped to 49%. In 1990's dropped to 39%. Under George Bush it dropped to a mere 36%. We have had over 30 years of massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

There is now no tax disincentive to paying out all of the corporate wealth at the top. And there is no employee bargaining power because now less than 12% of all of our jobs are unionized. Corporate profits are at an all time high, healthcare company profits are at an all time high, and oil profits are at an all time high. We don't have a healthcare crisis we have a healthcare company profit-taking crisis that no politician will doing anything about. Healthcare and oil companies have enjoyed a decade of record profits while we have had a decade of massive premiums for little coverage and a decade of outrageous gas prices.

The Problems:
The problems are: 1) deregulation of the banks by the Republican-controlled congress in 1999; 2) hedge funds are exempt from regulation; 3) tax system no longer has a disincentive against paying outrageous executive salaries (highest marginal tax rate has dropped from 90% to 36%); 4) commodities market is exempt from regulation (Republican-controlled Congress exempted it in the Commodities Future Modernization act of 2000); 5) the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations can spend unlimited funds in campaign elections (thus politicians on both sides favor the wealthy/corporations) and 6) the rise of corporate/billionaire propaganda media "news." Because of the need to raise massive sums in politics today, we no longer have a party that represents the people. The Democrats have to chase the corporate and big money donors too.

The Solutions:
What can we do about this: 1) re-instate Glass-Steagall Act regulating the banks; 2) regulate hedge funds and the commodities market (because the commodities market is not regulated speculation has caused prices for commodities to go through the roof); 3) get rid of the money in politics (have federally funded elections with clear limits on spending and no outside groups allowed to have ads); 4) get rid of 1980's laws stating that corporations' only duty is to maximize shareholder profits; and 5) regulate "news" channels and newspapers (no more "slanted opinion news" masquerading as hard news) and reinstitute the fairness doctrine across all news outlets to ensure that both sides get equal time.

Corporations should have duties to society and to their workers too. They should have to balance their duties to maximize shareholder profits against their reinstated duties to their employees and to society. The laws saying that corporations' only duty is to maximize shareholder profits have led to the destruction of long-term business plans and care for their workers and have created short-term profit monsters at the expense of workers and society.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10#comments#ixzz1amZPzBfB

Philip Lee on Oct 13, 3:32 PM said:
@Nick: Aw...The poor rich. They sound like they need a hug right now.

Really? That's not the point. If the rich are so upset about being taxed so much...Hey! Here's a thought! How about they LOWER THEIR SALARY! Let me explain to you how this works: They lower their salary, they get into a lower tax bracket. Payroll at a company says "Look at all this extra money we have to reward the workers!" who are doing ALL of the work, or else that CEO wouldn't even have a job. The lower 99% Then get up into those higher tax brackets and get charged more in taxes! Hell...They might even create more jobs because more people would be spending, meaning companies would have to produce more.

Call me crazy, but your argument for the rich falls short.

What would happen if people quit buying things that make these corporations so rich? That is what no one ever thinks about. You need a middle class to buy things in a consumer-based society...It's really just common sense based economics. The focus has been put at the head's of these organizations as the reason why the economy exists, but I say if the 99% refused to go to work and started learning to exist on a bartering system with each other, the upper 1% would be the ones out of work. What the upper 1% needs to understand that their kind have always been expendable at the hands of the masses, and revolution has always been an option. I guess the upper 1% need to figure out what is more important to them: Their money or their future?

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10#comments#ixzz1ambb6NOt

Chelsea on Oct 13, 5:31 PM said:
@Nick: You fail to see that the quality of life of the rich does not go down if they get taxed more. They can still eat, own several houses, cars, see doctors regularly, and send their kids to Ivy League schools.

A Christian person sees this as one of the seven deadly sins, greed. We have a culture that revels in buying the newest, the best, the most expensive. But take a step back and see what things the rich use their money for: it's primarily "getting stuff."

I realized that everyone should have the freedom to buy whatever things they wish. However, the current state the country is in only allows that freedom to the rich...while the rest of the country struggles with impossible decisions between buying food and paying rent.

I'm not jealous of the rich. I have never once wished to be rich. And most of the people upset with the way our country is run also do not want to be rich.

They want to live in a country where they can earn enough money to live, and be able to save up a little extra money for starting a family.

You have to ask yourself a moral question: while corporations and millionares certainly have a right to their money, does someone making $2M a year really need $1M as much as someone making $20K per year needs $10K? Do you support someone's right to have superfluous amounts of money over someone's right to eat a halfway decent meal, a livable place to sleep, or a yearly doctor's visit?

How much do you value a human life?

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10#comments#ixzz1amcMt3Kg

Phillip Shen on Oct 13, 6:34 PM said:
@Nick: I call BS to Nick's post.

Let's go through your contentions 1 by 1.

"They want the best and the brightest and the surge in demand made it very competitive in rounding up the talent to successfully manage the business you built with you blood sweat and tears".

Former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli got a $210 mil severance package after ruining Home Depot's stock. Carly Fiorina got $45 million after screwing up HP.

Let's not go into all the bonuses that AIG and other Wall Street firms gave at the end of 2008 after the blowup. The list goes on and on. Look, I'm pretty sure there are great CEOs out that get paid very well and don't screw the company, but here's the issue that folks like I have: there's no penalty for poor performance (please don't say being let go of the company with such a huge severance package is punishment. If that's a punishment, smeg, I want a million dollar severance package too!). Additionally, it's not ONLY that the pay is so disproportionally large compared to your average worker, it's that the average worker's wage has hardly gone up at all -- yet US work productivity HAS gone up these last 30 years. I highly doubt all that productivity has come exclusively from the executives. That is what people are frustrated about when people mention CEO pay.

"People scream about the taxpayer money bailing out banks and totally ignore that the people who paid the most in taxes toward that bailout were the bankers themselves. Thats right, the 1% pays the most taxes."

You're missing a big point here. People weren't only angry at the bailouts because they thought only their money was used to bail out the banks. People were angry because 1) These motherf****ers nearly destroyed the world economy, 2) ANY money at all was used to bail these motherf***ers out, 3) none of these motherf****ers paid any price for being saved. No indictments, no arrests, nothing except golden parachutes and a dog-and-pony show for a few days in congress (where they all basically feigned ignorance). Hell to THIS DAY, none of these motherf***ers even THOUGHT they did anything wrong.

Saying that "oh, most of the money bailing the banks out didn't come from the 99%!" doesn't cut it. Yeah, most of the taxpayer money may have come from the 1% -- but guess what? It seems to have gone back to the 1% to keep them afloat!

Some people may want to pull a Rick Santelli and blame the 2008 crisis on the uninformed homeowners who took on NINJA loans. And yes, ignorant homeowners certainly deserve some of the blame for not knowing better. But that is missing an even huger point. Who offered the NINJA loans to begin with? Greedy brokers who wanted to a large throughput of mortgages. Who confounded the situation by making ridiculous complex CDOs and CDSs? The big Wall Street corps.

Who approved of these junk CDOs with AAA ratings? Why, all the ratings agencies. All of these confounded an already bad situation, and this confounding wasn't the fault of dumb homeowners. It was this huge swamp of CDO and Credit Default Swap upon Credit Default Swap that nearly brought the economy to its knees. I don't give a f*** if it was legal or within the law -- it certianly wasn't ethical, and people should have known better. And yet they go on TV and into town halls and blame people that they themselves tricked into buying homes. THAT'S why we hate these motherf***ers.

"How can the people who contributed the least to the bailout gripe about it the most? ... The rich don't pay their fair share? Spare me. They pay the biggest and most disproportionately large share of anyone. "

You might as well just come and out and tell us to eat f***ing cake. Look, for you guys to pull out the card and say "hey look, we're already paying a lot!" doesn't cut the fact that you may be paying a lot, BUT YOU'RE NOT PUTTING MUCH BACK INTO THE SYSTEM EXCEPT FOR YOURSELVES. I don't see jobs being created, no sir. I don't see a lot of investment into things that help the middle and lower classes, no sir. The 99% didn't exactly bounce back after 2008, did they? Not like the 1%, not by a long stretch. I certainly don't see the 1% having to tighten their belts to afford just basic necessities like the middle and lower classes have. As Henry put it in his graphs, the rich are doing pretty damn well while the rest of the country's wages are stagnant.

You're not feeling the economic strain -- we are.

You tell us "stop being lazy, get a job!". Well hell, that would be easy if there were jobs were plentiful to get! For every 1 position there's 7 people looking. You may say "how about get a lower paying job and just bite your lip". Well, how about you skip out on a new yacht for a year and just bite your lip and pay your damn fair share in taxes? This sense of entitlement is killing me. You guys are treating the rest of us as if we had it so well and as if you guys are having it so rough.

So that's why people are out in the streets, that's why people are angry, and that's perhaps something you'll never understand unless you were once poor or struggling yourself. Go find a politician to lobby instead of trying to defend yourself on a website.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10#comments#ixzz1amdFuXFr

Another Nick on Oct 13, 7:43 PM said:
@Nick: The problem with numbers
As Nick clearly demonstrates, numbers don't reflect day-to-day reality and can be interpreted many ways. Nick sees two bar graphs, and assumes that the top 20% are paying more than their fair share of taxes, because as he sees it, they pay a bigger percentage in taxes than the percentage of the nation's wealth

they control. What he ignores, however, is that the percentage they control is 14 times the percentage paid in taxes. So hmm... basically... someone with a dozen candy bars, gives the system which we all depend on and benefit from HALF a candy bar. While the other four people who only have a QUARTER of a candy

bar per person, give up half together. (Candy Bars stand for portions of the economy in this metaphor) Yes... the rich pay their fair share... in irrational numbers land!

Ceo's and Owners
Secondly, when we talk about those CEO's and Owner's "earning" it. Exactly how did they do that? Administration? Wow... administration REALLY produces products, oh wait it doesn't. Labor does that. Right, so the people that MAKE things of value... they get far less than the people who sit back and go

golfing all day while the rest work. Right. Again... makes perfect sense. Oh, did I forget to mention their idea of administrating business is shell corporations hiding debt, and exporting jobs over-seas, while dodging corporate taxes, all to increase value to share-holders, none of which in this scenario actually personally work to produce anything of value to the world.

Bailout of the banking system.
Money is an imaginary commodity. It's invented wholesale from thin air at this point, and distributed through banks to facilitate trade. The Banking system is given a great deal of trust to store and manipulate this imaginary commodity into greater value for all. They failed. Terribly. You see, money is only WORTH something when it's being traded. It's a place-marker for value. I give you this, you give me money, later I will give this money out to someone for something I desire. In a perfect world, this is how simplistic and functional money would be as an imaginary marker holding value. Unfortunately, people don't treat money like it's imaginary and the real world repercussions of the banks actions were "Armageddon" as nick put it. Homes foreclosed, kids unfed, schools unfunded, etc, etc. Again... the banker's role in society is to facilitate trade, be it through business loans or small personal loans. They've devalued our currency, and nearly destroyed our entire economy with their greed and pollution of toxic imaginary assets. Now they're not loaning, even though we as a nation didn't let them fail, primarily because we have no alternative system in place. Wrong again Nick. And yes, those responsible for these toxic commodities never saw punishment.

Day-to-day reality is much different than numbers, you see... many millions unemployed, millions more not even trying (not earning a living wage, struggling to eat, pay bills, trying to live IN homes and apartments instead of on the streets), while... bankers, those lovely individuals that provide zero real-world and not-entirely-imaginary products to the world, sit in their skyscrapers and continue to play with numbers as if they're real.

That is the problem with numbers.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10#comments#ixzz1ameThoCg