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Your World Beyond The Sound Bytes

  We are all citizens of the world...stay informed!
Look to this blog to bring you occasional, eclectic news, videos and viewpoints you might not otherwise be exposed to.
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Get Ready for Obamacare: Health Insurance Changes Coming Your Way Under the Affordable Care Act

August 29, 2013


 

Once Upon a Time...This was a Prosperous Nation

August 10, 2013


 

Republican/Koch Brothers Ideas For "Fixing" the Economy

August 2, 2013



1. More tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations with no strings attached.

2. Increase Corporate Welfare (but disguise it under another name so the "little people" don't catch on). Offshore as many profits as possible, jobs too.

3. Regulate all Uteruses via nation-wide or state by state Forced-Birth (anti-choice) Mandates. Ignore babies after birth until we can put them to use (we need more cannon-fodder for our next for-profit war. The grown children of the uneducated make ripe pickings for the military and a cheap labor force). Keep Women Pumping out Babies so they can't compete with men in the workforce  If women do manage to get jobs that men have, be sure to pay them 80% of what a man would make, preferably less. Have to keep those uppity women in their place. Bash women over the head with religion if necessary to remind them they should be submissive to men. By the way, woman, where is my dinner? 
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/07/23/state-by-state-proof-of-the-gop-war-on-women-and-why-their-bills-should-be-defeated/

4. Eliminate the Minimum Wage and worker protections.
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/07/10/2280101/charles-koch-minimum-wage/
and
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/02/2404301/36-senators-introduce-bill-prohibiting-virtually-any-new-federal-law-helping-workers/

5. Increase Military Spending to the benefit of Defense Contractors, whether the Pentagon wants it or not.

6. Eliminate all social assistance programs for the temporarily unemployed, women, children, disabled and the elderly. Heck, they are invisible to us anyway, who cares? "Let them eat cake"...or something.

7. Eliminate Social Security and Medicare. Instead, encourage people to invest in the stock market so Wall St. hedgefund managers and venture capitalists (aka vultures) can make a hefty profit and and tax-free bonuses, while the elderly risk losing their life savings. If they do lose it because of our irresponsibility, at that point they will be useless to us, let them die.

     7a. Do nothing to regulate Big Banks or Wall Street to prevent another Great Recession. Sure, lots of folks lost their shirts and homes, but hey, we Wall St folks are booming now AND we always have our golden parachutes! Fight the re-enactment of the much too sensible Glass-Steagall law at all costs.

8. Eliminate/Raid corporate and government pensions whenever possible. It cuts into profits and we simply must have yet another yacht/jet/island/mansion/politician/news organization, etc to buy. Destroy unions, it interferes with that slave labor thing we love so much.
http://www.alternet.org/economy/illinois-pension-attack-collusion?paging=off

9. Deregulate industry, especially in terms of worker and consumer safety and protections, and environmental concerns. Cut funding to or eliminate government oversight of industry. Change the laws so people and communities harmed cannot sue the corporations responsible. 

10. Build more prisons, preferably private for-profit. After all, the U.S. already has the highest incarcerated population in the world. Can't ruin that gleaming record now, can we? Besides, it gives us somewhere to house all those pesky poor, minority and mentally ill people when we trip over them on the sidewalk.

11. Keep undocumented immigrants undocumented. Otherwise we might have to pay them reasonable wages to pick our fruits, vegetables, mow our lawns, build our homes (especially in Texas, thats how we keep housing prices so low) nanny our children or clean our homes.

12. Cut funding to, or eliminate public education. Get actual science out of the public classroom and revise history to one more suitable to creating a slave wage labor class and informing students that slavery was a good thing. Never teach sex education (see Number 3, above). Keep higher education expensive and student loan interests rates high for the masses. We only want our rich children educated so they can carry on our "traditional values" of extortion and ruling over the "lesser than".
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/tea-party-tennessee-textbooks-slavery_n_1224157.html

13. Make sure that minorities, the poor, and white middle class Democrats can't vote. If they do succeed in voting, make sure their votes don't count by gerrymandering districts. If that doesn't work, deny them healthcare so they will be to sick to go to the polls.
http://billmoyers.com/2013/07/30/north-carolina-passes-the-countrys-worst-voter-suppression-law/

14. Keep pumping out Goebbels-like misinformation and promote distrust, hatred, paranoia and anger--stoke the "us vs them mentality". Use charismatic politicians, preachers, and talking heads to push this mindset. Always blame the victims of our policies.  Manufacture scandals and when they are proven false, double down and claim there is a conspiracy afoot. Confuse people into thinking we are pushing liberty when we are really promoting fascism and plutocracy. Do all this while carrying a cross and wrapped in the flag. Keep it all at a 4th grade level. In order to spread this far and wide, buy up as much of the media and politicians as possible.
~~

(Sign this petition to keep the Koch Brothers from buying Tribune Newspapers!)
http://act.freepress.net/sign/koch/


 

Great Video from Monday, July 1st, Stand With Texas Women Rally in Austin

July 4, 2013
The fight to maintain women's reproductive rights is going on all across the country. Choice over our own private, healthcare decisions is being slowly chipped away by Republican dominated state legislatures, often under the cloak of night or attached to unrelated bills (the latest being in Ohio and North Carolina).  Find out what is going on in your state and get involved, before it is too late.



 

Meet Scott Prouty, the 47 Percent Video Source

March 14, 2013
In this series of video clips, we finally meet Scott Prouty, the man who secretly taped Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser. Be sure to watch all the clips, as the interview gets better as it goes along.  Prouty is an average, hardworking, thoughtful American who changed the course of an election.  Click next as each segment ends.  You will be glad you did.



 

A Fair and Progressive Deficit Reduction Plan

March 14, 2013
Move your mouse to scroll through this interactive collage. Click on the hotspots (+) for more information and multimedia. 





 

The Truth About Wealth Re-Distribution and Taxes

March 5, 2013
The shill politicians that represent the Republican Party today are nothing more than hollow puppets for groups like the Koch Brothers American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Grover Norquist’s group Americans For Prosperity and others that facilitate a movement of wealth. While those on the far right accuse Obama and Democrats of being socialists and wanting income re-distribution, it has already occurred. Some of us have tried to illustrate how the wealth in the United States has been flowing upwards, but you’ve never seen it illustrated like this.

Once you see this, you’ll want EVERYONE to see it. SHARE THIS WIDELY. Make sure your Republican friends and family see it, too. And then ask them how they can continue to support a party that continues to destroy the middle class for the benefit of the 1%.




What is wrong with cutting off tax payer subsidies to corporations and big banks who are making record breaking profits and not creating jobs, all the while sitting on, collectively, trillions of dollars of cash? Why are Republicans willing to sustain the culture of dependency with corporate welfare, but fighting the culture of dependency with social assistance programs?

What is wrong with closing tax loopholes that allow people and corporations to send billions of dollars offshore to avoid most, if not all, taxes? What is wrong with closing tax loopholes to companies who offshore millions of jobs or loopholes that allow corporations to set up a small office with a table and a lawn chair, calling it their corporate office in one state that has lower taxes while their real operations are in another state?

What is wrong with imposing a tax on financial transactions? Hedgefund managers make most of their money from commissions on quick financial transactions, betting against our economy, and don't have to pay a dime on taxes on those transactions. This amounts to billions of dollars.

How many Americans are aware that the $83 billion in subsidies the government gives to profitable banks is equal to the first wave of Sequester cuts?

Closing ridiculous loopholes like those listed above, and changing the tax policies on unearned income are not actually "raising" taxes, and in fact, was part of Romney's platform when he ran for President.

You might also note that taxes on the wealthy were much higher during Clinton's term and we had very few unemployment issues, and the economy soared meteorically. We all look fondly on the prosperity of the 90s but in doing so, we must also look at the effective tax rates during that period. They were considerably higher. Clinton used a combination of spending cuts AND raised taxes to give us a budget surplus.

Taxes are necessary for many reasons including maintaining our military, educating our children, helping small businesses, providing public assistance, research and development, building our roads and infrastructure, and thousands of other things.

There is plenty of spending that can be cut in this country, but we don't need to protect expensive tax loopholes that protect the wealthiest at the expense of a shrinking middle class, the working poor, the elderly, children, and the disabled.

Still don't believe it?  Read this article:
  Recovery in U.S. Is Lifting Profits, but Not Adding Jobs

 

A Message to Congress Regarding "Entitlements"

January 5, 2013
Not surprisingly, when it comes to deficit reduction and spending, the only thing the GOP mentions cutting is "entitlements"-- benefits that Americans have EARNED and have kept our elderly from sinking into the despair of poverty. Yes, health care costs are rising out of control but that is due to the for-profit factor. Republicans have long wanted to do dismantle Medicare (and Social Security) to turn it over to feed the voracious and damaging appetite of Wall St. However, neither SS nor Medicare contribute to, nor caused , the deficit.  Ronald Reagan understood this better than anyone:



One of the first things that needs to be done is to rectify Medicare Part D's drug costs. When Republicans originally came up with Medicare Part D,they forgot to fund it (along with the two wars.) Right now, Big Pharma can charge whatever they please and Medicare pays it. So one piece of legislation that needs to happen is to allow Medicare to negotiate with Big Pharma for prices. Raising the Medicare age will accomplish nothing in terms of real savings, as younger seniors are generally healthier, yet it would be very harmful to those who are not. The provision of outcome based payments rather than per hospitalization or per test would go a long way to reducing costs.

Regarding health care costs in general, we should seriously consider going the single-payer route for all Americans (or stay insurance-based, but emulate Germany's program), which every other advanced nation has done. No other country on earth pays as much as we do for the exact same surgeries, hospitalizations or treatments. Despite what some may want to believe, these countries have better medical outcomes than we do. American no longer has the best medical care in the world. Last I checked, we ranked somewhere around 17th.

Another issue to tackle is Social Security. The best way to keep it solvent forever is to get rid of the Income Contribution cap, yet keep the cap on payouts.

There is no need to go into great detail on the next two items. Suffice it to sum it up in few words:

-End Corporate Welfare (End Subsidies to Big Oil and Big Pharma, Close Corporate Tax Loopholes, in particular, loopholes that reward the outsourcing of jobs.)
-End the War on Drugs.

Close at least 50 overseas bases that have been around since WW2 and have long outlived their usefulness other than to support the foreign economy in which they are situated. Stop insisting on building jets the military has said they do not want.

We now spend more on defense than any other nation in the world...combined. If we cut our military budget in half, we would still be spending more than twice as much on our military than China does. It is any wonder, then, that we are losing our prosperity to China? Let us get out of the middle east. We simply cannot afford to continue to be the policemen of the world. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words (and hundreds of billions of dollars):


Expect corporate owned politicians to do everything they can to blame, and attempt to raid, the Earned Benefits ("entitlements") of the American people, when the real problem lies with allowing corporations (economic power) to determine our fiscal policies. Their only allegiance is to their shareholders, not the American people, and will only further hurt us all in the long run. Despite the claims that we have the "highest corporate tax rate in the world", the truth is that the most profitable corporations have been paying ZERO corporate tax rates for years (and some less than that, due to receiving government subsidies), while others have paid, at most, 14%.

We need to think long-term. More than merely focusing on cuts,  we still need to focus on the issue of bringing jobs back to America (which includes protecting American patents and and a more favorable trade agreement for the U.S.), raising the minimum wage, and investing in education and infrastructure so we can once again become an economic global leader. If we do these things, as well as the suggestions mentioned above, we will bring in more revenue and the deficit will eventually resolve itself. 

The growing income disparity in our nation is one of the biggest threats to a full economic recovery. Never forget for a minute that a strong middle class is the engine of our economy.

 

Hooray! Assault Weapons!

December 16, 2012
This video was made shortly after the Aurora, CO theater shootings. Apparently, we have learned nothing.

However, if you have finally had enough after the deaths of 20 innocent children in Newton, CT, sign this White House Petition which represents a collective demand for a bipartisan discussion regarding gun control.




 

Tax The Rich: An Animated Real-Life Fairy Tale

December 5, 2012



 

Amercia's Future is On The Line

December 3, 2012



 

President Obama: Your Opening Bid

November 13, 2012
The following was written by Robert B Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley:


I hope the President starts negotiations over a “grand bargain” for deficit reduction by aiming high. After all, he won the election. And if the past four years has proven anything it’s that the White House should not begin with a compromise.

Assuming the goal is $4 trillion of deficit reduction over the next decade (that’s the consensus of the Simpson-Bowles commission, the Congressional Budget Office, and most independent analysts), here’s what the President should propose:

First, raise taxes on the rich – and by more than the highest marginal rate under Bill Clinton or even a 30 percent (so-called Buffett Rule) minimum rate on millionaires. Remember: America’s top earners are now wealthier than they’ve ever been, and they’re taking home a larger share of total income and wealth than top earners have received in over 80 years.

Why not go back sixty years when Americans earning over $1 million in today’s dollars paid 55.2 percent of it in income taxes, after taking all deductions and credits? If they were taxed at that rate now, they’d pay at least $80 billion more annually — which would reduce the budget deficit by about $1 trillion over the next decade. That’s a quarter of the $4 trillion in deficit reduction right there.

A 2% surtax on the wealth of the richest one-half of 1 percent would bring in another $750 billion over the decade. A one-half of 1 percent tax on financial transactions would bring in an additional $250 billion.

Add this up and we get $2 trillion over ten years — half of the deficit-reduction goal.

Raise the capital gains rate to match the rate on ordinary income and cap the mortgage interest deduction at $12,000 a year, and that’s another $1 trillion over ten years. So now we’re up to $3 trillion in additional revenue.

Eliminate special tax preferences for oil and gas, price supports for big agriculture, tax breaks and research subsidies for Big Pharma, unnecessary weapons systems for military contractors, and indirect subsidies to the biggest banks on Wall Street, and we’re nearly there.

End the Bush tax cuts on incomes between $250,000 and $1 million, and — bingo — we made it: $4 trillion over 10 years.

And we haven’t had to raise taxes on America’s beleaguered middle class, cut Social Security or Medicare and Medicaid, reduce spending on education or infrastructure, or cut programs for the poor.

Mr. President, I’d recommend this as your opening bid. With enough luck and pluck, maybe even your closing bid. And if enough Americans are behind you, it could even be the final deal.


 

How Did We Go From Surplus to Deficit? Its Math!

November 12, 2012
 

The 2012 Election Tsunami

November 9, 2012
As explained by Rachel Maddow:




 

Yes, Republicans, President Obama Really DOES Have a Mandate!

November 7, 2012
Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News last night after Obama's win, “...this is not a mandate in the number [of electoral votes]...”

Fox News repeated the "no mandate" line several times throughout the night after the results came in.

Twitter was ablaze with comments from the right echoing the "he has no mandate" refrain.

Herman Caine tweeted that, "Obama won on Popularity", as if that were a bad thing. Apparently, Mr. Caine is unaware of how elections work.

This has not gone unnoticed. Time magazine writer Michael Grunwald, “Amazing how quickly 'Obama Has No Chance went to Obama Has No Mandate'.”

The fact is, President Obama does have a mandate. Let us compare to G.W. Bush's victory in 2000. Bush thought he had a mandate too, even though he lost the popular vote by more than 500,000 and narrowly won the electoral vote, with 271 to Gore's 266. He used that mandate to cut taxes for the wealthy.

In 2004, Bush won with 286 electoral votes to John Kerry’s 252, and with a 2.4 percent margin in the popular vote, and again it was agreed that he had a mandate.

Today, Obama currently has 303 electoral votes to Romney’s 206. He’s likely to add to that with the 29 votes from Florida, which hasn’t been officially called yet, for a grand total of 332 to Romney's 206.  It’s too early to tell on the popular vote, but it will be between 2 and 3 percent.

To sum it up, Obama won by a far bigger margin than Bush, but conservatives are trying to claim that Bush got a mandate and Obama didn’t?  How does that work?

Later, House Speaker John Boehner chimed in, “With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates.” He said this despite the fact that more than 70 percent surveyed by exit polls yesterday favored boosting taxes on Americans making more than $250,000 per year.

Cognitive dissonance.





 

GHH Member, Shariten, Introducing Michelle Obama in Orlando, FL on Nov. 5th!

November 6, 2012



 

This is NOT a Test! Emergency Response System

November 5, 2012



 

Back To The Future

November 4, 2012
http://images1.dailykos.com/i/user/6685/vote-hands.jpg

A reminder from prior to the 2010 mid-term elections:  CLICK


 

The Truth About President Obama's Record on Israel

October 28, 2012
Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu, and other leaders describe how President Obama has strengthened the relationship between the United States and Israel.