Archive for reform

Darkhorse Candidate Soars Into Lead In Kentucky Senate Race

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Gil FulbrightPhoto courtesy of Represent.Us

It's that time of year when campaign ads are starting to infiltrate and pollute our radio and TV viewing. Candidates sling accusations and innuendos causing more irritable bowel syndrome than the hash at the local greasy spoon. Isn't it time to take a serious look at how these campaign ads are put together and what they really say?

The people over at Represent.Us have done just that. They've chosen a candidate who's so real, so sure to garner a huge amount of votes with his write-in candidacy, that it could just spell disaster for Mitch McConnell.  This man, Gil Fulbright is so honest and sincere you just can't turn away. You will want to watch more than once. So go ahead -- check out Gil Fulbright (not affiliated with the similarly named scholarship), Phil Gulbright, or Phillip Mamouf-Wifarts. No matter what you call him, "Funny" is his middle name.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Republicans Graham & Labrador Lead Charge Of Anarchy

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

IncarceratedImmigrantChildrenKOMOw292h212image:  KOMO News

The law is the law. If you don't like it, change it, but don't break it.

Sadly, the cry from the confused right wing is two-fold. The first is a given. Whatever the issue is, it's Obama's fault. The second is, only follow the law when you like it. Look at Cliven Bundy as an example.

We are now facing a critical time on our borders. Vast numbers of undocumented immigrants, many of them unaccompanied minors, are crossing our border in order to seek refuge and asylum. Others just looking for a new start, being sent by their families to stake out a new start for a more promising future.

Regardless of the reason they are here, we have laws and they must be followed or else we have anarchy -- something the right wing of the Republican party is wont to commence. They're losing their grasp on the control of the country and will do everything within their capacity to not fall into obscurity. Even if it means our system must fall along with them.

The law is quite simple in regards to this immigration crisis. There's a legislative process set up and it must be followed until such time as it's changed. Sadly GOP mouthpieces like Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), two loudmouths without brains, are leading a charge of anarchy. They want due process of law ignored. Law that their party passed. In 2002 it was the Homeland Security Act and then in 2008 it was the Human Trafficking Act -- both bills signed by Republican George Bush. Both laws spell out exactly how children are to be dealt with who arrive across our borders as undocumented immigrants. 

Congressman Luis Gutierrez, (D-Illinois) spelled it out quite simply and clearly with Chris Hayes last night during All In. Please take a look and you'll understand what the Republicans and right wingers refuse to accept.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Republicans Spank Boehner And This Time He Really Does Cry

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Boehner crying

The tail didn't wag the dog yesterday, it took a bite out of its ass, and good. The Republican Conservative movement bared their teeth and took a chunk out of the backside of the head canine. In plain speak, John Boehner got what's left of his ample ass shredded, then handed to him.

We all remember this:

Well, after yesterday's meeting with the Republican Caucus, the pit bull, who masquerades  as Speaker of the House by day and lifts his hind leg and pees on social issues by night, did his little poop on command in front of the cameras yesterday to tell America a new story.

THE HILL:

“You all know me. You tease the ones you love, all right? But some people misunderstood what I had to say, and I wanted to make sure members understood that the biggest impediment we have to moving immigration reform is that the American people don’t trust the president to enforce or implement the law that we may or may not pass.” 

Oh, you big kidder, John Boehner. We should have known you were just pulling our leg. Your own people should have known better, too. You love to joke and cajole behind closed doors. We get it.

Well, ask Mitt Romney how easy it is to live down hidden video. America is going to hear your two-faced agenda over and over again and question what your own party thinks of the Conservative movement. If their own leader thinks they're babies, what's America's voting public to think of them?

A majority of the public wants immigration reform, and they now have heard the House Top Dog say it's not going to happen. And your deflection on why you won't let it happen is that it's Obama's fault. He can't be trusted. Is this country going to believe a crybaby like yourself or the man who's proven he is trying to get things done despite your lies and obstruction?

This isn't going to fly outside those who hated Obama before he even started to serve. But they may hate you and the Republican party even more when they find out you've led the charge to defeat immigration reform, promoted the government shutdown, and halted any movement on minimum wage, fought to keep women from self-determination over their own bodies, all while bringing to the floor 50+ 'go nowhere' votes on stopping health care reform.

You may think Democrats have a lot to answer for in November. But right now, you're own party doesn't trust you. And that stink is going to wash over many of your Republican cronies. You're not a leader. You're a stinker. And that stench starts at the head.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Letting Ex-Felons Vote -- A Racial Thing

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

voting booth

What is the purpose of sending those convicted of crimes to jail? Is it punishment? Yes. Is it rehabilitation? Yes. So it's two mints in one as the Certs commercial goes.

And are most felons guilty of violent crimes? Actually, no. Most are incarcerated for non-violent (yet still serious) felonious crimes like embezzlement, tax fraud, mail fraud, auto theft, racketeering, drug possession charges, burglary, counterfeiting, possession of restricted pornographic material, spying, and various drug-related offenses.

Wikipedia:

7.9% of sentenced prisoners in federal prisons on September 30, 2009 were in for violent crimes.

Nearly three quarters of new admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national "war on drugs." The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges.

Then why, if so many of these felonies are non-violent, is it that when you become an ex-felon, all of your rights aren't returned to you? According the the ALCU, ten states severely restrict voting from ex-felons (seven require long waiting periods, applying for reinstatement and review; three others - Iowa, Florida and Kentucky - ban it lifetime for these ex-felon offenders -- most of whom are non-violent). I can understand restrictions on getting a gun, but on your vote?

So far in the 40 states that allow for ex-felons to vote there haven't been any issues at the polls. So why not make voter reinstatement upon completion of incarceration national?

We non-felons take voting for granted. But it's majorly important. Look at the crazy people that are getting elected these days. Their choices and legislation affect all of us. Yet if you're an ex-felon, chances are you are obstructed from casting a vote.

With the racial make-up of our prisons today, that appears to be a punishment that affects minorities disproportionately. And the Justice Department, led by AG Eric Holder, wants to fix that. And surprisingly he's meeting resistance on both sides of the political spectrum. Many Republicans are against it because they see the reality that minorities are the overwhelming majority of  the prison population. Minorities, for good reason, tend to vote Democratic. If you unleash hundreds of thousands of potential voters after they do their time, GOP'ers will have a tougher go of it holding their political offices. So the Republican reasoning is understandable: keep minorities away from the vote. It's wrong, but you can see their reasoning: self-preservation.

But for those Democrats on the fence, this is purely a heinous act of villainy. Why should non-violent convicted felons be subjected to lifetime sentences after they're released? It flies in the face of just punishment -- that fitting the crime. C'mon Democrats, you know better. You stand for social justice. Now promote it. Make "inclusion" more than just a catch word.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Education for Prisoners Is A Breaking Bad Thing For New York GOP

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare
Prisoners Education

Breaking Bad

Yikes. With all the people in our prisons, it seems a shame that we don't try to educate them so when they're released, they have a fighting chance to  make it in the world and not slip into recidivism. Isn't that a good thing? We pay millions, if not billions a year in the States to house, feed and restrain prisoners. Should we make it more likely that we'll be safe when they are released?

Let's ask NY Republican Congressman, Jim Tedesco:

via HuffPo:

"This is definitely ‘Breaking Bad’ by potentially turning a bunch of Jesse Pinkmans into Walter Whites -– all on the taxpayer’s dime,” Tedisco said. “Soon we will be the only state where honesty and hard work are trumped by being a bad criminal. Only in New York. When can New Yorkers wake up from this nightmare?”

I think the Congressman's been spending too much time watching TV. Maybe a little more time reading pending bills and acting upon them for the best interest of his constituents might be in order.

Sadly Tedesco isn't alone in this. He has other Republican allies:

Tedisco's opposition resonated with several other lawmakers, including Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson).

"In a world of finite resources, where we are struggling to find funding for education for our kids, the last thing New York state should be funding is college tuition for convicts," Ball said in a statement.

It seems doing nothing to protect the public when inmates are returned to society is the Republican stance. Hell with education. Let's just give the inmates nothing constructive to do, dim all hopes for a future when they get out and let them discuss how they can become Walter Whites and Jesse Pinkmans because they won't be studying math, English, history, science, law or anything else constructive. The purpose of prison is supposed to include rehabilitation, noy just provide a shelter and free food. Let's get something for our money.

Inmates were once eligible for college tuition assistance, but the program was halted by former Republican Gov. George Pataki. That's now hopefully going to be reversed with the program the Republicans hate but the current Democratic Governor, Mario Cuomo is pushing.

According to Cuomo, the initiative would actually bring down inmate costs. He pointed to state data showing New York already spending $60,000 on every individual inmate and $3.6 billion in total costs to operate prisons annually.

"However, it costs approximately $5,000 per year to provide one year of college education for one inmate," Cuomo said Sunday. "Current studies have shown that by earning college degrees, inmates are far less likely to return to prison."

Here's wishing him luck -- which translates to more safety and productivity for our society. When will Republicans ever learn?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Elizabeth Warren Unleashed - Her Roar Backs Down 'Third Way' Think Tank

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

lions roar

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been constantly on the attack over Wall Street gaming us, playing the public for fools on an uneven playing field. Plainly put, they refuse to pay their fair share. Recently that's brought out some ringing criticism from the Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank. Democrats for years have been known for in-squabbling. Lately it's been a Republican trait, but the exclusivity and even civility seems to be waning. Democrats are picking on each other. That's what's cost them in the past, and may hurt them again in the 2014 elections.

Responding to Senator Warren's call to increase, not trim Social Security benefits...

BUZZFEED:

Third Way’s Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler wrote Monday that “nothing would be more disastrous for Democrats” than to embrace the economic populism of Warren and New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. Warren responded Wednesday with a letter to several major financial institutions, asking them to disclose donations to think tanks — seen as a thinly veiled reference to the op-ed.

That hit a nerve, for sure. Senator Warren's attacks continued on their tactics. HUFFPO: 

The Massachusetts Democrat said that Wall Street's push to cut Social Security is part of a broader agenda. "It's part of the larger issue about a rigged playing field. They don't wanna pay more, they don't wanna pay a fair share. I believe everybody should pay a fair share," she said. "That's how we make sure people can retire with dignity. That's not what Wall Street wants to do."

Third Way's spokesman responded by saying that under Warren's plan, Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase's CEO, would be entitled to a higher Social Security payout.

"Oh please. I'm out there working for Jamie Dimon the same way Dick Cheney is out there trying to save the environment," Warren said.

Senator Warren, you tell 'em. Third Way is a think tank. Make them pay when they don't think. Seems that when you dish it back at them, Democratic ears prick up. And you're retort has even cracked through the Third Way think tank's leaders. They don't even agree with themselves, evidently.

Rep. Joe Crowley, a New York Democrat who is an honorary co-chair of Third Way, told BuzzFeed that he did not agree with Third Way on all issues, especially on Social Security, but he would “continue to work with them.”

It's nice to know someone has our backs. Now keep on 'em. Don't let up. We need you and your progressive thinking. Seniors are, as you say, for the most part separated from poverty by Social Security. They can't afford any cutbacks. Not if they want to live out their lives with a modicum of dignity. The seniors who helped build this country deserve that at the very least.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

So Corporations Are People, My Friends. Visiting Day In Prison Is Sunday

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

corporations are people

Back in the 2012 Presidential campaign, Mitt Romney made a bit of a splash when he said, "Corporations are people, my friend."

He of course was jeered as we think of corporations as entities, with people working under that business umbrella. But what if Romney was right? What if corporations are people?

If they break the law, shouldn't they go to jail?

If you're a people/person you would. So why not corporations? The Hill:

Earlier this month, JPMorgan Chase tentatively reached a deal with the Justice Department to pay $13 billion to settle charges it misled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about mortgage quality leading up to the financial crisis. And Bloomberg reported that the Federal Housing Finance Agency is eyeing at least a $6 billion penalty for Bank of America for similar claims.

Okay, so the JPMorgan Chase corporation admitted wrongdoing -- breaking the law -- and they are going to pay a fine. But the crime was committed by people, not a building, and with it carries a jail sentence. So who's going to serve? Jamie Dimon? He's the CEO. He knew what was going on.

jamie dimon

Nope. No jail time for Jamie. Just a fine. And we, the public are paying it  for him.

Reform advocates argue that if the government truly wants to discourage bad behavior in the financial sector, it is not enough to rack up billion-dollar fines against big banks. The government needs to go after individual executives and hold them personally responsible.

Consider this, if the banks are forced to accept responsibility, than instead of us paying the fines with increased fees, their law-breaking executives will be doing time. The guilty will be penalized, not us. No more passing the buck, so to speak.

Fortunately, there is a voice who is speaking up for us. And her voice is that of the MGM lion that roars. It's Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to financial regulators Wednesday where she not too subtly chided them for what she saw as lacking enforcement.

She noted in her letter that the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) had managed to secure over 100 criminal convictions between 2009 and 2012 and place 51 defendants in prison.

She also noted the agency did it with a fraction of the enforcement staff and budget the other regulators enjoyed. Warren clearly wanted to know why more convictions had not been pursued and achieved (by the DOJ), and asked for enforcement statistics from the agencies.

So SIGTARP could do what the DOJ couldn't. And this is very important to deter further frauds and money manipulations. We can't stand by and keep bailing out the banks who knowingly gamble with our money, take exorbitant salaries and bonuses (win or lose) and then stick us with the bill, either in a federal bailout or raised banking fees.

If they can't run themselves, let them fail. And jail the gamblers who broke the law. Other banks and financial institutions will rise up. Money isn't going away. All that will disappear will be the frauds and phonies who have stiffed us over the years. We don't need a BofA nor a JPMorgan/Chase. We can get by with local banks that can get the same fed rate as the big ones.

Doing so might also make getting a loan a lot easier when Mr. Donnelly or Mrs. Heath at the local bank, who knows you by name, is making the decision on whether or not you meet federal requirements for a loan. And those managers will appreciate your patronage -- maybe even do more business with you. That means profits and they'll go more locally or regionally.

Federal guidelines are needed and Senator Warren and her allies are working on that with the new Glass-Steagall bill.

Remember, local banks? We used to have them. And local banks mean local money. Let's break up the huge corporations that Romney claimed are really people. Let's send those people where they belong -- packing. And you don't need to take too many things, Mr./Mrs. Banker. They give you uniforms and three meals a day where you belong.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare