Monday, May 29, 2017

Understanding and knowing the bias of the news we watch.

When people are talking to you it is important to know if they have an agenda and are trying to convert or sell to you.
Sometimes it can be take awhile to recognize the political bias they have so I have attempted to identify and list them.  The trouble is that a lot of news sources have a bias but its not always obvious what that is. I hope this list helps and I will add or make changes based on your feedback.

Government Reform: Getting back to a Government By the People and For the People

Like most Americans I am disgusted with the current state of politics.
Most of the time we go to the polls its choosing what we think of as the lesser of two evils and politicians who give us sound bytes and spin rather than actual policy they will work on.
Basically most politicians are just used car salesman (My apologies to used car salesman)
Here is a funny video on that...
Unfortunately most politicians no longer work for America, they work towards keeping themselves in power and getting reelected and than becoming a lobbyist.  For them its all about the money and power and no longer the public service it was intended to be.
We all see this but how do we change that? How do we get politicians who work for us rather than big money donors?

A few months ago I found a group that just may have the answer and its rather novel.

Brand New Congress

The idea is as Rachel Meadow explains to run a kind of presidential campaign with a single message all across the country. Short clip of an interview from last year
Its basically a new kind of grass roots campaign. Instead of people supporting one person they are supporting a platform and if elected these Democrats and Republicans will essentially be their own caucus working across party lines.
The best part? The core part of the platform is to get money out of politics and they all refuse to take big donor and Super Pac money and go for small donor money.

Can they win going up against people with millions of dollars behind them and buying glitzy television ads?
I think they can, or at least win enough seats to make a real difference.  Getting money out of politicians appeals to most Americans and people are really sick and tired of the same old lies being sold to us year after year. Both our Presidential candidates last year were extremely unpopular and the vote was more about choosing the lesser of two evils and ultimately Trump won as did Obama on a anti-establishment platform.  Unfortunately they both were more establishment than anti-establishment and owed their big donors and party so we were stuck.

Brand New Congress wants to give us elected officials who earned our votes rather than bought them or won because more people voted against the other guy.
Sounds like its worth a try.  And they rely on modern methods of advertising, including social media and word of mouth so do not need as much money to win as those buying expensive television ads or hosting $300 a plate dinners.

Check Them Out

YouTube Channel One and Two (Looks like One is official but Two has more recent uploads)

Single Payer Solutions to Health Care

A lot of people have been talking about this for years and its getting more and more popular but some do not want it.  So study up on the idea and make your own choice not what someone is trying to sell you.

Actual Proposed Single Payer Plans

  • Sentaors Sanders Solution The average person will pay 6.2% payroll tax towards covering this.  The insurance industry will try to scare you by saying that is a lot of money but they wont show what that really means to your pocket book. Someone making $40,000 a year would pay $2480 at that rate. At my last job I paid $80 a check on a $35k salary.  So that cost me $1920/year so $250 less than I would have paid under his single payer program. And with his plan there would be no deductibles! 
  • Cenk on Bernies plan
  • Rep. Conyers, John Jr. plan HR 676
There are a number of state plans proposed as an interim solution until we have a federal plan.

Some Democrats who oppose this and how much they got last election from Insurance, Medical industries and BigPharma.

Claire McCaskill (D-MA 2018) over $853,000 in donations
Joe Manchin  (D-WV 2018) over $472,000 in donations
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 2018) over $390,000 in donations
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL 2018) over $142,000 in donations

Now I cannot know that their positions are influenced by all that money (and note this is just the last election) but it is my opinion that companies expect something in return for spending all that money.
So far there are approximately 80 House reps who wont sign onto Single Payer as measured by HR 676.  Now some may oppose this for good reasons but if they represent you I suggest you look them up on Open Secrets and take a look at their donors.
Until the Republicans take away Net Neutrality the internet and watchdog groups like that help us keep our politicians accountable but it is up to US to vote.

A News video on how some republicans will profit off repealing Obama Care

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Post Partisan Politics

Under the "If I were in Charge" category I thought I would state some of my ideas here.
If I were in the White House I would campaign on and DO the following.

Week One

  • Call The majority and Minority leaders as well as major caucuses into a meeting, first individually and than as a group and ask them point blank their priorities and goals for the session.
  • Talk with other leaders who I felt were aligned with my goals or had major commitments to any goals I could work with or felt needed to be worked against.
  • Advice all of these people that they work for the American people, not their donors and not corporations and that I will use the so called "Bully Pulpit" of the White House and its press corp to speak to the American People about our progress on the issues and who is helping or who is hindering that progress. The idea being that the public needs transparency and should know what is going on.  I will let them know Americans are tired of empty promises and they will be held accountable, not to me but to their voters. I would of course be professional in my dealings but there would be no meetings over golf at the country club.
  • Properly staff my office as quickly as possible.
  • Assign a staff member (probably under my Chief of Staff) to specifically keep an eye on campaign promises made and the progress towards their completion. As any manager knows you have a lot of fires that need to be put out and can get distracted from your main mission.  I feel it should be obvious this would be even more serious a problem as President of the United States. The goal of this person is to track and work on anything that affects keeping those promises, including shifting alliances.

Month One

  • Work with Congress and the Executive Branch to create an independent ethics organization that monitors and reports all ethics issues in a public format. Criminal charges of course need to go through normal procedures but we need to hold ALL our politicians accountable.  This office would also have people with high security clearance levels and be a place for whistle blowers to go to safely with no fear of retaliation.  If members of an organization felt something was being done in violation of law or against the best interests of the American People they could come here and get it looked into and if appropriate addressed.
  • Have my team help me draft legislation to handle the issues I ran on and send them to an ally in Congress to submit for voting into law. This would be a strong carrot as they know I would support it and it would have high visibility which they could use next election.
  • A key and highest priority item would be forms of government reform to help rebuild the trust so many Americans have lost in our government. Some of these would also be Executive Actions.
  • I would create an Executive Order called something like "The Ethical and Transparent President Act" that would require the President to submit tax returns to the public and other items as needed, including adhering to normal ethics considerations everyone else in government must adhere to.  While it is true that a later President can just override this but that would be a public act with high visibility and would immediately raise suspicions.  I would try to get this more teeth by passage into law but the Executive Order would at least be an immediate start.

What would you do if you were President?

Even though we may never run for politics this si the kind of thing we should think about.  After all if we dont do we really expect our politicians to do so?  It is up to US to press them on issues that are important to us and not let them keep making empty promises we forget after election day.
Congress tends to have a very low approval rating (usually in the 20% range) so why do they keep getting away with ignoring our interests?  We have only ourselves to blame for letting them get away with it over and over again.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Rep. Tom Cole declares against Public Edcuation

So with Betsy DeVoss on the stand over the proposed Education budget Rep Tom Cole cheered her on and declared his position to anyone watching that he is against public schools and for private schools getting taxpayer funding.
I am ok with my taxes going to public schools even though I have no kids.  A good education simply makes for a better country so it is my patriotic duty to support public education.
However I fail to see why our taxes should go to support private schools, especially when those schools are not accountable for quality.

Why do Republicans want to take our money to support fake schools that have no accountability?
Tom Cole has declared he is against children with this support of Betsy DeVoss.  More party over country from these traitors.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

More on Single Payer

As the CBO score finally came out on the House Health Care bill another organization points to Single Payer as the fix for our system.

Listened to this Republican radio broadcast today.
Interesting take on going back to core Republican values

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

How to combat Terrorism

With the most recent bombing I was listening o the news and thinking about this issue.
Some people are blaming Radical Islamic Ideology but is that just an excuse or symptom or the real reason for these acts?
Hate speech certainly does not help, we have seen an increase in domestic terrorism, hate crimes and violence here in America.

Terrorism is very very rarely done by refugees or short term immigrants.  Most of the time it is from citizens with lower income and who feel they have suffered hardship and disenfranchisement.
The problem seems to be people who feel they have nothing to lose and looking for someone to blame.
We see this throughout history.
The Nazis blamed the Jews for a ruined economy left over from the staggering debt they had from World War 1.
The IRA blamed England.
And what about the US?
Domestic Terrorism has been credited mostly to Right Wing groups with notable exceptions being the Animal Liberation Front and Animal Rights groups.
Timothy McVeigh the bomber of the largest domestic terro act prior to 9-11 was a Gulf War vet who blamed the Federal government for Ruby Ridge and Waco  and had been bullied as a child and later in life considered the US Government to be the biggest bully of all. He was a noted KKK member and got in trouble for buying and wearing a "White Power" on base.

Looking at the history we have seen most of these people had come to the attention of authorities prior to their attack. Unfortunately the Republican party and Donald Trump (likely at the behest of Bannon) have decided to curb funding and make watching these people a lower priority.
Looking over these people we see a lot of common things about them.  The Ideology and group they claim to support changes but the circumstances remain very similar.
These are generally lower educated people, with a criminal or even violent history and feel oppressed or powerless.
That gives us our answer.

Effectively Combating  Domestic Terrorism

Empower our citizens so they have opportunities to get and keep good jobs, reduce school bullying and domestic violence and give people hope for a better future.
We also need to monitor hate groups and deny guns to those identified as mentally ill.
What we should not do is stir up hate vs. religions, ethnic groups, different genders, or differing sexuality.  I am proud of my state of Oklahoma where to my knowledge we have not succumbed to the hate crimes we see in other states against Muslims and we have a very charitable Muslim community here in OKC.  Now if we can stop the anti black hate crimes, especially in Tulsa.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Economic policy made simple

There are a lot of details that go into a practical and string economic policy.  However most politicians really boil down to one of two sides.

Supply Side Economics

This is the direction we started heading towards under President Ronald Reagan in the 80's
The idea is that as you increase supply and manufacturing you make the economy better for everyone.  If companies are making more things they need to hire more workers.
   So the proposal was tax breaks for the wealthy and big businesses and tax holidays so they would bring money back into the USA from overseas. 

Demand Side Economics

This is the idea that if you increase wages and the ability for consumers to have more money they will buy more stuff. It is the model we had when Labor Unions were at their strongest.

How Do We Improve Things for All?

We need to increase the minimum wage which would increase everyone's wage and spending power while not increasing inflation, or even better lower inflation.  We already have proven lowering taxes does not help and worse it increases the national debt which raises inflation and causes problems for our kids. By ting minimum wage to inflation we permanently solve the problem where the dollar does not go as far as it used to.
We also MUST lower the national debt and increased wages means increased taxes even if the percentage stays the same.

Some Terms

Economic Development -
Economic Growth -
An article on the key differences between them
Inflation -
GDP - Gross Domestic Product

The US Economy: A Brief History If your in a hurry skip to The Postwar Economy: 1945-1960  This and later sections best relate to the modern era.
Random History: A History of the US Economy another good piece.
60 Years of American history in 1 graph
The Lost Decade of the Middle Class
Democrats usually better for the economy

Debt Crisis a short and simple video clip

Seriously this one is worth watching!

The History Of The American Economy, Debt And Inflation (Short YouTube video) A longer video from the same source is below.
IOUSA The Movie A 30 minute clip on the National Debt
    A series of possible solutions  Part 1 of 5

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Something positive in politics today

So last night I watched a Live Stream event from a fairly new group called Brand New Congress.
The Event was recorded and here it is
Formed last April from a few ex Bernie staffers who felt the establishment Democrats were too satisfied with the status quo and unwilling to really work for America.
People all across America are not happy with either major party and lots of ideas have sprung up.
Some want a new party but we have plenty of parties and the current system is heavily weighted for a Two party system.
Justice Democrats wants to replace the establishment democrats with ones who wont take corporate money or big donations  and thus owe nothing to them.  I applaud that idea!
Ro Khanna is a sitting congressman who has already signed on with them.

However Brand New Congress has taken the idea a vital step further...
This is really cool so pay heed because some people in power already are and there a bit nervous.
They call themselves a post-partisan party and are looking for fresh candidates to elect regardless of Democrat or Republican.  They have 6 House and 1 Senate candidates announced with more coming.

For me this is the best hope we have towards getting corruption and money out of our federal government so I hope you keep an eye on them, support the ones you like and most especially vote for one in your district!

But How Can They Be For Both Parties?

Now some of you may be wondering how can a PAC support both Democrats and Republicans?
Well the truth is if you look at the party platforms they are not all that different and ideas most Americans stand behind.
Republican Party Platform They used to directly include individual rights in there and have since removed it from being directly mentioned.  A sad change in focus.
DemocraticPlatform This one is more focused on the working family and individual rights.

Really the difference between them is not so much the goal but how to go about it.
I was originally a Republican myself but got tired of being lied to.
Then I tried Democrats and again got tired of being lied to so now consider myself an independent and have voted that way the past few decades.
The trouble is that NIETHER party is honest with us and have been taken over by people who are focused on getting reelected and getting rich rather than serving the People.
Some even put forth the idea in passing Citizens United that corporations were people and money was the power to vote.
That is the real danger and threat to our Democracy/Republic.  Until we get money out of politics it will stay the same and America will not improve, instead it will keep sliding backwards.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Law Enforcement priotories

So Jeff Sessions came out the other day and spoke with forked tongue

  • On the one hand said he trusts prosecutors in the field and they did not need to be micromanaged and it should be up to the states rather than the Fed to decide on prosecution.
  • On the other hand he told his staff (which he still has not gotten around to fully staffing) and prosecutors that they should go after drug trafficking as hard as possible.
Can we please get an honest politician?

Now I personally am not for drugs, alcohol or tabbaco use and have avoided all of them. 
However while I think they are a waste of money and the idea of turning your brain off seems like a really bad one, however I dont feel I should push my choices on others.
We saw how bad Prohibition was and the war on drugs have just over crowded our jails and encouraged foreign trafficking and corruption in America.
However Jeff Sessions has been obsessed with marajana and cited that as the reason he disavowed the KKK.

Setting aside the whole legalization issue though I have to express my disgust that the Attorney General and the Republican party think drug users should do more jail time than murderers, rapists and whit collar criminals who steel billions.
Can anyone justify this to me?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

An open letter to my Congress (Oklahoma)

Dear Senator James Lankford, Senator Jim Inhoffe, and Rep Frank Lucas,

The Republican party used to represent themselves as the party of patriots and pro law enforcement.
There was even some evidence to support this.  Sadly things have changed and the party is now more concerned with itself than American values or even the country itself.

If Hillary Clinton had won you would not accept any of this mess that President Trump has created. However Republicans continue to throw themselves on the sword trying to provide cover for President Trump.
The latest two scandals (its sad that I have to put a date on that but as of May 13, who knows what will happen in a few days) involve of course Russia. I served during the cold war under President Reagan and remember well the history of the Soviet Union and modern Russia is not much different.
First up: The President of the United States barred the US Press from a meeting in the Oval Office and allowed the Russian press in instead for his meeting with the Russian ambassador.
OK I am sure the Secret Service did a good job sweeping for bugs afterwards, and hopefully someone made sure no classified documents were in sight for the cameras.  But choosing Russian press over American press?  Really your ok with that?  Because I have not see any objection from any of you.
Next up: As of Friday all I have heard in watching the press and talking to your staff so far is support or a wait and see lukewarm support. If this had been Hillary Clinton who fired Director Comey the party would be screaming for her head. Remember Loretta Lynch talking to Bill Clinton?
It should not be ok for one party to get vilified for something and the other to get a pass or wore approval for similar (in this case worse) actions. Even the manner in which it was done should have raised at least courtesy objections. No dedicated public servant should find out about being fired by TV or even a letter.  This should have been done if it was done at all in person.

        There may or not be collusion between the Trump election staff and Russia but it is something a party of supposed patriots should be very interested in finding out. Even those who are not for America anymore should want to at least clear the stain, unless of course they think its true.
President Trumps own words said he was thinking about the Russian probe in firing Director Comey and than he tries to intimidate him via twitter before his Congressional appearance. Firing him will probably not slow down the investigation a lot but it likely will some just from the chaos.  It may get worse if the resources Director Comey asked for just before being fired are denied.  Also things depend on the new FBI Director and the direction he takes things and resources he allots or pulls away.

Understand that the President himself changed his story and denied the Rosenstein letter was the reason for the firing, That he directly asked the former Director if he was under investigation.
According to testimony from Acting Director McAbe former Director Comey enjoys broad support within the FBI so that "reason" is a lie. President Trump applauded the popularity and actions in late October of Director Comey, so it does not smell right to use those as reasons for the termination. The Russia thing is the only factor given by President Trump that has not been shown as a lie.
The loyalty pledge is another likely reason, though that is more of a do you believe President Trump or Director Comey on if that happened.  Ask that question point blank under oath when Comey testifies. If it comes down to whose word between the two to trust I know my choice will not be the one who lies to the public on an almost daily basis.
 The President should NOT require loyalty to him over loyalty to America and Republicans should not allow or encourage such appalling activity.

If you care about America at all you will work hard and openly to clean this mess up.
Since that seems to not be the case for most Republicans I appeal to your sense of self preservation.
Continuing to choose your party over America is a failing strategy, check how well Congress polls on average.  President Trump did not win because he was a Republican, he won because he presented himself as anti-establishment and enough people believed him. Continuing to provide cover when the President contradicts himself and the facts, allowing him to steal from taxpayers to line his pockets, support and empower Russia, abuse his power and influence.
You should constantly ask yourself "Would I stay quiet if President Obama did this?"  The answer should never be it is bad if a Democrat does it but ok if a Republican does it.

Before the election I predicted that if Trump won impeachment proceedings would start before the end of his first year.  I have not seen anything that changes my mind on that.  At some point the Republican party will have to stop providing cover and excuses and act.  If you are not ready yet I understand but consider that this will come back on you and the longer it goes on and the more you support him now the more it will cost you later.
Voters will remember the trips to Mara Lago and the WH advertising it on its website.
Voters will remember him doubling his membership fees for access to the president.  Remember the cry against the Clinton foundation? This is far more brazen.
Voters will remember the mistreatment of a dedicated law enforcement officer, some will feel it was about the Russia Probe, some will feel it was choosing the country over the president, and some will just be ticked at the manner and disrespect shown in how it was done.
Voters will remember a President who declares a war on American press but allows Russian Media access to the Oval office.
Voters will remember a President who bombs a runway as a show of force that was up and running the next day.
Voters will remember a President who tries to create a Royal family.
Voters will remember a President who gets gifts and payments from foreign countries (favorable loans, trademarks, business permits, favorable tax cuts, and rent).
Voters will remember the Russians interfering with our elections (I believe Hillary would have lost anyhow but that is not the point or my concern.) and the Republicans allowing it because they 'won'.

And finally, voters will remember a President who gets us in a war through his own incompetence or as an effort to distract from domestic issues.  IF that happens, and you can not really believe it wont, the Republican party will be fully culpable and responsible.

The Democratic party leadership is incompetent, and just as corrupt as the Republican party so may not pose much threat to you.  However continue down this path and even they will be able to pull a victory.  And America is waking up and getting more and more angry at both parties and if you do not start at least appearing to be for America over your party you will be out of office.
Maybe we can get an independent as President and certainly more in Congress.

PS: Action Plan
Consider that the republican party is in charge of two out of three branches of government.  I suggest you look to the future and  even though things are under your control now they wont be forever.
So put through real reform and protections for the next President.

  • Require future Presidents show their taxes so the press can watch out for violations of the emoluments clause and conflicts of interest.
  • Do a better job, establish and follow good and effective vetting procedures for Presidential appointments. Do not let us have another Flynn.  That should have been caught, after all he had been fired by the previous administration.
  • Work out the Nepotism issue
  • Empower the various ethics agencies.  Ok, I doubt either party would ever go for that.

Rory Fansler.
Yukon, Oklahoma
Veteran of the USAF and loyal American.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Protest at James Lankfords office for firing of James Comey

So I just got back from a protest at Senator James Lankfords office.
It was a last minute thing organized this afternoon to protest the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the obstruction of the Russia investigation.
It wont break any records but it was a great turnout for a rainy day right after work on just a few hours notice. I did not think to take a picture till the end and did not get everyone, I think we had about a dozen people.
I met some very nice people and was heartened to see so many different age groups. I was the only one there who knew about Brand New Congress, a couple were from Indivisible and most just heard about it from social media or some groups like MoveOn.

I was disheartened to see the US Flag torn and frayed in front of Senator Langfords office. You cant really make it out on this but I am loading it anyhow. I fail to understand how a Senator can allow that but I may just be too old and from a time when we had more respect for the flag.

Coma fired just days after seeking additional funding for the Russia investigation

Read this article
Of course Trump would say that is just a coincidence.
Any politician that does not immediately act to protect the records of the investigation or to insure we the people have transparent access to what is going on should be terminated from office at the next opportunity.

Does Oklahoma Support the Comey firing?

Just got off the phone with my reps and Senator James Lankfords staff member Steve Carson said that the Senator fully supports Presidents Trumps decision,  I asked him his name so I could quote him and he reaffirmed that position. To be fair Senator Lankford did tweet a nice complimentary "You served the country well during a rough time" note last night.
Congressman Frank Lucas staff said he had no public position on the issue yet.
Senator James Inhofe staff said he would be making a statement later today and hand no statement at this time.

So one vote for full backing and others more cautious.
President Trump did have the legal authority to do this but his stated reasoning does not sound right.  The Clinton email investigation ended in Oct 2016 and the President has publicly thanked and complimented Comey on his handling of the issue.  To fire him now for that reason is highly suspicious.
Consider that he fired the following people after publicly supporting them.
Preet Bharara the US Attorney General for Southern New York who was investigating Fox News for among other things stock fraud after saying that he could keep his job a few months earlier.
Sally Yates the acting Attorney General for refusing to follow an order she felt was unlawful.  Note the the Courts blocked it so her legal expertise seems to have been correct. in that.
Coincidentally? She had warned the White House about Flynn shortly before that.
James Comey the FBI Director was fired over his handling of the email scandal even though President Trump publicly thanked and supported him for it months previously.  And fo course Comey was investigating his staff and associates for ties to Russia.

Almost every politician is corrupt and takes money for votes or otherwise abuse their powers of office instead of serving the public good.  Americans know and understand this and it is part of the reason we have so much voter apathy and low voter turnout.
However the republican party has gone too far and so blatantly that all Americans, regardless of ideology should be angered and in fear for our country.

Consider the White House was advertising Mar A Lago till protests forced them to take it down.
The membership fee was doubled from $100,000 a year to $200,000 a year after President Trump took office and he has provided members pay for access to him and foreign dignitaries.  Plus the advertising and rental to the government in his properties in New York and elsewhere, all at taxpayer expense. His son in law was set to make a billion dollar profit on a property in new York till the press made it known and the Chinese backed out. His son in laws sister hinted that if you invest $5000,000 in our real estate properties we will get you a Visa and path to US Citizenship.

President Trump refuses to reveal his taxes as he promised multiple times on the campaign which would let us see more of his financial ties to Russia and other governments.
The Chinese government suddenly approved trademarks to his daughter after the election.
He compliments the leader of Turkey for what is considered a corrupt election where of course he coincidentally happens to have a building.
The news is all over the place if you bother to look for it so I wont go on.
The thing is that he and his party are selling out Amercia.  Besides the money we have an assault on the EPA, him issuing gag orders, taking info down from the website and replacing scientist with business people, His assaults on the press whom he feels should work for him not you and me, etc.

We need a new congress, one that puts America ahead of personal gain and that consider serving in office like our military does as a service to the country not their own pocketbook.
I support the Brand New Congress and all patriots should as well.  Even if you are conservative and anti liberal they will run candidates among both parties as long as they dont take corporate donor money.  Once we have cleaned out the congress (and yes it will be hard but nothing good comes easy) than we can have an honest debate on other issues.  Corruption is an enemy to all of America and must be our priority.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Betrayal of our Government

With the latest scandal coming out on Tuesday I have never felt more betrayed by my government.
To put this in context I served in the military and was almost killed not in combat, but by the laziness and negligence of our medical staff.  I have suffered for over 35 years, almost lost my leg, facing onerous medical bills (Turns out military service is a preexisting condition so not covered by insurance) and requiring ongoing treatment because of that negligence.
I have over the years dealt with thoughts of suicide and murder on an almost daily basis, going from hopeless depression with no good end in sight to blind fury that it happened with such casual indifference.

And yet I have NEVER felt so betrayed by my country as I do right now.
Our corrupt politicians are cheering while America burns and sinks into the swamp.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

What issue do you car about the most?

Everyone has their own priorities and most of us only have the time, money and energy to fight for a few, especially after taking care of our own lives and perhaps families.
So what are your top issues? Health Care, Environment, the economy, jobs, wages, national security, civil rights, First Amendment, Gun Control? References The US Constitution
In Alphabetical order the main ones I hear people talking about....

Civil Rights

Our Founding Fathers felt this was a vital issue and put in place a lot of specific protections. Freedom of religion, speech and the press. Right now our pres is under attack and open and public derision by the government, threats have been made to them and to our right to Free Speech. Below are excerpts from the Bill of Rights.
  • Article the third... Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • Article the fourth... A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
  • Article the sixth... The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • Article the seventh... No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
  • Article the tenth... Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
  • Article the eleventh... The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  • Amendment XIV, Section 1 All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
  • And you might want to read the Declaration of Independence.

Climate Change

The overwhelming majority of scientists agree and frankly if your old enough or just look at records you can see for yourself that the world is warming. Melting icecaps and rising sea levels will have the largest impact on coastal regions but higher temperatures supply more energy for severe storms and we have seen more suffering and destruction from those already. The Republican party has proposed to remove the EPA on Dec 2018 and President Trump has proposed to cut funding, rolled back regulations and taken down information from the EPA website as well as issuing them gag orders. He even tried to prohibit them from talking to Congress. The main justification for allowing this to continue is that it will be bad for large business and the economy as it hurts Automotive, Oil, Gas and Coal industries. You can abide by that oversimplification and choose the Environment and your kids or those industries.  However we can strive for renewable energy and simply change the nature of those industries and jobs. Transforming and innovating could make us world leaders in new technology which would boost the economy while still allowing those industries to sell to other countries.  This group has some good ideas and an actual plan on the subject.
Another item is the Paris Accords, we already are ahead of the game here so backing out just hands over the credit and leadership position to other countries.


The GDP and overall productivity of America has gone up year over year (generally in terms of actual dollars) and this chart shows actual numbers in dollars, percentage and major events.
As you can see major tax cuts, recessions and banking or S&L failures led to drops. Deregulation led to gains though caused later losses such as the banking bailout due to excessive bad loans and investments. It is my position that we need to regulate Banks and other industries to keep them from defrauding their customers and needing another big bailout. Wage increases have been shown to increase consumer spending.  Infrastructure spending will increase growth, though I think it would only be short term so I oppose that if it also increases the debt. Trickle Down Economics has proved to be a failure and I oppose that.


Section 8 of the Constitution address this in part "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;" so apparently they thought Science and the Liberal Arts were important to a great country. 
The Department of Education was founded in 1979 by Jimmy Carter so getting rid of it is a predictable Republican goal. Personally I think the concept is good but the execution was poor and more authority should be left to the States and local communities. A good education is important to individual liberties and the pursuit of happiness and makes for more productive workers which benefits the overall economy.  How we achieve this is a good debate. Progressives want free college tuition, and Republicans want more private and charter schools, deregulate education so schools are not held to any standards or accountability.  Recently they even talked about restricting the GI bill for veterans.  You do not have to side with either extreme, for example I feel that the Department of Education should be a watchdog and reporting agency so we can see how well the schools are actually doing and make informed choices.

Government Reform

Our Founding Fathers were very concerned about this issue.  A Free Press and states being able to convene for constitutional amendments were considered vital to keeping government honest and working for the people.  I feel this is also a part of why they wanted a well regulated militia.
  • Section 9 "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."
  • Article II, Section 1 "The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them."
  • Article II, Section 4 "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
To me the biggest thing we can do to reform the government is get money out of politics. WolfPac is working on this, though they are opposed by Common Cause and of course politicians.

Health Care

The right to life is in the declaration of Independence and Health Care is probably the most talked about thing in politics.  President Trump even said Australia's system is better than our system. So apparently he favors universal health care or Medicare for all, which would be the only way to live up to the promises he made during the campaign.  The idea here is to take the insurance companies out of the equation and go with a single payer system.  So we see the same doctors but instead of fighting with insurance to pay we use government systems.  This would raise taxes, though that would be offset by no longer paying insurance premiums.  However some oppose it because they think insurance companies are better than the government and feel health care should be an individual thing you earn by having a good job, not a right.

Job Growth

I think everyone wants to see strong job growth, the trouble is people cant agree on how to make it happen. Republicans say that giving larger tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations will work. Progressives are for raising the minimum wage and improving education. Democrats want more infrastructure spending.  I lean towards the Progressive side.  History shows raising the minimum wage promotes consumer spending and businesses sell more stuff. History also shows the tax breaks just lead to more stock buy back, dividends and executive pay raises not new jobs. Infrastructure spending does create new jobs but there short  term. What we really need are new jobs and new industries.  Automation is decreasing jobs in many industries and it will only get worse over time. Eventually all the mining and manufacturing jobs will just be machine operators and a lot less of them.  Senator Sanders is the only politician I have ever heard even talking about that issue but if you work in those fields you have seen it happen and increasing.  We need to invest in new industries or else all of America will suffer.

National Security

We need a strong military.  However most of our spending is not on people but expensive systems and even more expensive maintenance programs. We outspend more than any other country by a significant amount.  Do we really need to spend so much? Cut $200 billion from the budget and we still outspend China by $226 billion, almost double what they spend!  Russia comes in at a 'mere' $44.6 billion.  Imagine how wonderful things would be if we spent that money on America! We could invest in Clean Energy  to insure our energy independence and not worry about the Middle East, Medicare for all, and invest in new infrastructure and technology.  We would be safer, more popular with tourist income (new jobs), live better lives (Cheaper energy and health care, better infrastructure) and who knows what kinds of benefits we would see with new technology.  Remember no other country can take over America, especially if we keep our own guns and a strong navy and Air Force to defend our shores and foreign interests.  NATO was founded in part because of our desire to prevent another world war and if one did happen it would happen in other countries not ours. Our Military industries already sell to foreign countries so they wont suffer unduly and they are positioned for moving into many of the higher tech industries.


No one really wants polluted air and water so why is this even an issue?
The answer of course is that some business think it would hurt their bottom line.  It certainly does cost more to not pollute, though many companies are actually for reducing pollution and improving fuel economy.


Republicans want to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, Democrats want them to pay more.
If you feel that wealthy people should pay lower taxes than middle class fine.  If you feel that corporations should be taxed less ok as well.  Just be clear on the results and expectations and dont fall for the lies.  Trickle Down Economics have been proven to fail so lowering these taxes will not improve job growth.

More Corruption?

New Immigration scam.So this seems bad on a corruption and ethics angle, using the White House for personal profit, even the implication that because of the relationship they have they can assure Visas are granted.  Also how many jobs does anyone really think a $500k investment in real estate will create?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Resistance Speech

So Cenk Uygur gave a really good speech that was published to Youtube on May 2nd.  I just finished it.  If you care about America and if you think we have a problem with our current state of government you should listen to it.
He runs The Young Turks which is an online news group that I really appreciate.  I dont like or agree with everything they say but I do most of it and most of all I appreciate their honesty.

The thing that angers me the most about this period of American history is not the war on the middle class and the poor, the attack on the climate, the poisoning of our water, the attacks on Free Speech and censorship, or the seeming joy and careless disregard politicians seem to have for killing millions of Americans by taking away Health Care; no the thing that angers me the most is the lying, hypocrisy and corruption of those who are supposed to work for us.

I know that for years now most of America has surrendered and given up, that it seems like every election is only about choosing the lesser evil. That no matter what we do the corruption will continue and there is nothing we can do about it short of another revolution and overthrowing our leaders.  Luckily so far it has not come to that, though increasing activity indicates to me its not that far off.

.But the anger out here is growing and some people have stepped up to show us another way.
There are tons of groups out there fighting for change.  Some of them are wolves in sheep clothing and others outright false idols.  But if you look carefully you will find there are some good ones out there. Pick one you can stand behind, Left, Right, or Center I don't care.  We need people to fight for America because our leaders wont.

On my pages I list resources to help you find out information about your representatives.
I will be adding a section to this site for causes of various types that I think merit support.  If you see any you like help them.  If you know any I missed let me know and as long as my research bears out they are honest and not for the status quo or Hate Crimes or the violent overthrow of our government I will add them.  Even if I disagree with them.

America is supposed to be a government for and by the people, lets make that true again.

Governor Vetoes requirement to reveal taxes

Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill to require Presidential candidates in New jersey to show thier taxes.

There are plenty of other states considering this so we probably will get this requirement.
I understand the argument that it is a privacy issue, however I disagree with it.
No one is forced to run as President or for any government office.
We deserve to know how they will personally benefit from their actions in government.
We deserve to know if they lie about donating to Charity and Churches to win votes.
We deserve to know who has paid them off.
We deserve politicians who work for the voters rather than themselves, it is called Public Service.  Getting elected should not be a way to become wealthier at the expense of the taxpayer.

So Called Tax Reform is next

Now that the House has passed the buck to the Senate they will likely take up Tax Reform.
Some of President Trumps napkin plan I agree with,

  • Getting rid of almost all deductions  and doubling the standard deduction to make up for that. We should not need tax experts, accounts or lawyers to fill out individual tax forms.
  • Going form 7 to 3 tax brackets, Its not like 7 is that much more complicated.  Trying to find all your deductions was the harder part of the tax form.But ok this is fine.
  • I am also ok with lowering the top bracket from 39% to 35%
However some parts I do not agree with.
  • Lowering S corporations to 15%, this is really a way for individuals who invest in real estate and hedge funds to declare the income in a different way and avoid regular income tax.  it is not designed to help large or small business. Now I do not believe in punishing the wealthy.  However why is it republicans want the lower income tax brackets to pay one way and the most wealthy people to pay a different way? Because A) Many of them are multimillionaires and the B) They want the bribes from the wealthiest Americans (and foreigners).
  • Getting rid of the Estate tax.  Mixed feelings here, if they were paying normal income tax I would be fine with getting rid of it but the Estate tax was put in place to prevent us from getting a rich Aristocracy or Noble class where wealth is simply inherited and builds so that only the few win, not the majority. As long as the very Wealthy are paying less in taxes than the average American I think we should keep this in place.  Pundits claim this will help small farmers but that is not really true. The Estate Tax comes with a $2 million tax credit so you have to have an estate over  $5 million would pay anything.
  • Getting rid of the Alternative Minimum tax.  this is in place so that those who find enough loopholes to avoid paying income tax still have to pay at least something.
  • The Tax holiday,  We have tried this before and it does not grow the economy.  Instead of hiring more workers companies use the savings to buy back stock (so Wall Street will win big) and pay higher executive bonuses and stock dividends.  I have no real problem with that except that it will be paid for by the taxpayer.
Overall this is just more Trickle Down and Voodoo Economics which we have seen before and will increase the national debt by giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and take away rather than create new jobs.

Tax plan explained
A more detailed version of the Trump plan on Trumps website Note that in this one he lowers the upper bracket from the 35% proposed in the first briefing to 25$

Broken Promises

So the House passed a Health Care act, now it heads to the Senate where it will likely get changed and passed into committee.
That is not news at this point.
However what some people may have forgotten is what promises were broken and lies told to the American people.
Republicans promised transparency and that we would see all bills up for 3 days before the vote.  Did not happen, in fact most Congressmen stated they had not read it.  Now some said they were relying on staffers but I have to ask why on such an important bill they cant take the time to read it for themselves?  Bills should not be so complicated and full of legalese a congressman (many of whom used to be lawyers) cant read and understand it.
Voting without a CBO score, the CBO score while not perfect is at least an attempt to figure out the cost of a bill.  So why vote before you even know the cost and effects?
Have we not heard time adn time again cries that this would not happen? The Speaker of the House Paul Ryan kept saying over and over again these and more promises, yet they were all lies.

So why were we lied to?
Because the House was afraid to look like they could not accomplish anything.  That is right.  All the showboating, the victory celebration at the Rose Garden and declarations of victory were all just so they could say they did something.  the House GOP was willing to deprive millions of Americans without Health Care, raise the premiums for millions more, gut Medicaid, cut taxes for the Rich, all so they could rush something through just to look like they could actually get together and vote for something instead of looking helpless.
This bill wont pass the Senate and will get changed so its too early to know its effects (plus they still have not showed us the public and voters what is in it).  However what we do know is that the GOP House has shown that they care more about the image of governing than the actual work of governing by passing the buck to the Senate.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Health Care Replacement passes the House. What is in it?

Here is the link to what we have so far on HR 1628 American Health Care Act 2017
Washington Post article
I will post the link when they get the full bill up on the site so Americans can read it.

Kind of funny that the GOP who complained bitterly that President Obamas bill did not get enough input and was rushed through Congress even though it took a year and they voted on this one with most of them not even reading it and no CBO score.
This is the main thing I hate about so many of our politicians the blatant hypocrisy and lying to the public. I can handle those who dont agree with my values, Democracy is about compromising and working through disagreements.  However you cant do that if everyone is lying.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What does your Representative stand for?

Listening to an interview with Senator Warren it is clear waht is really important to her.  If you had to say what your representative (at any level) values the most would you be able to say? Would you like that answer?
This is a key thing we should be asking more.
The ones I can think of are...

President Trump

  • Being Popular
  • Getting wealthier

Senator Bernie Sanders

  • Health Care for everyone
  • Tuition free College
  • Good jobs, including a higher minimum wage and one that keeps up with inflation.

Senator Elizabeth Warren

  • Consumer Protection
  • Health Care

Senator James Lankford (My Senator)

  • Curtailing Government Waste
  • Fiscal responsibility in government spending
Contact your representative and ask them for their personal top three issues.  See if you get an honesty answer and one that is supported by their voting records.
Do not let them just give you talking points or a spin but an honest heartfelt answer on the top 3 things they want to address.
If they can not or will not give you a simple list they likely don't really have that much desire.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Watch the headlines. CNN gives misleading info

Republican House votes to decrease your pay.  At least according to CNN
The headline was "House passes measure to let employers decide about OT"
Sounds scary right?
If an employer can decide to give you time off rather than pay overtime that would hurt a lot of us who work overtime for the extra money.  Paid time off instead can be nice but it should be an option to get paid.  Sounds fair right?  The CNN click baiting headline can really raise hackles and Democrats are opposed to the bill.  So naturally I read the bill and the White House blurb below.
The Working Families Flexibility Act 

Does not seem wrong to me, but maybe there is some hidden thing I missed.  We need to read and hold ALL politicians accountable, Democrats and Republicans alike.
We have to be careful of our news sources and willing to look for ourselves rather than be spoon fed.

How to keep your Politician accountable

It is important to remember your politicians are supposed to represent you the voter. It can be hard to tell when a politician is voting if they are voting for you or some lobbyist who paid for their election campaign or gave them other financial incentives.

This is vital to empower the voter and some of these sites are really easy and quick to read. IF Americans get in the habit of checking on their politicians they will find things get better.  This works for you Left or Right, just check up on your politician after a vote your interested in and odds are whomever gave them money will have had an influence on it.

Here are ways to help and empower you the voter.

  • Political Party Time A calendar of upcoming campaign fundraisers.  Nice site for tracking who is buying your politician.
  • Campaign Money You can check by zip code to see who is funding your politicians.
  • Follow The Money this is an example of my Senator Jim Lankford.  Use this site to see who donates to your person.
  • Maplight Another site to check on funding.
  • Open Secrets Donation tracking combined with news.

Finding your Representative or Senator

How did they Vote?

Below are some very easy to use sites that let you track important information about your legislatures

  • Vote Smart A decent way to see various positions, especially as seen by various third party agencies. Also good at seeing policy statements by politician.

    • Ballot Pedia Provides more of an overview rather than specific details. However there is a lot of data here.

    Will the Republican party take action before it is too late?

    Listening to the latest from President Trump I am growing more and more concerned that he is mentally unfit.
    He has always played fast and loose with the facts and behaved petulantly and impulsively but it is getting worse.
    I wonder if the stress of being president has pushed him too far and increased a preexisting mental illness.
    I am not in favor of a President Pence but a president with dementia is worse.
    The Republican party needs to bite the bullet and do right by America, and if they don't care about that I put it to them that the current situation is bad for the party and getting worse.
    At the very least they need to immediately force a medical exam.

    President Trump, Jackson could have prevented the Civil War?

    Here is commentary from several historians.
    The last one was the best as it attempts to explain the reasoning for the comment.