the99strikesback

Random rantings and ravings on politics, social issues and other weird stuff by an ordinary guy interested in history, science, philosophy and metaphysics.
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You hardly ever see them back East. And they can have national implications. California’s prop 13 back in 1978 was the beginning of White America saying ‘I don’t want my taxes going to THOSE people’. Never happened prior to that. 

Before, Americans were willing to pay taxes to send a man to the moon or do big things, but after the 60s, whites got paranoid about funding the advancement of non-whites (barbarian hoards at the gates). The total anti-tax stance of the GOP today (which has heavy racial overtones) stems from prop 13. California does truly get there first. And that’s why it doesn’t look good for the GOP nationally. In 10 years America will be as blue as California (with big tax hikes on the wealthy accepted by the majority).

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It won’t happen until after the mid-terms but….the panic approaches! I honestly think we are witnessing mass short-sightedness by the GOP and the mainstream media. Both seem OBSESSED with the narrative that the Democrates will lose the Senate. I think there is an unconscious reason for it: fear by both of what the story becomes AFTER the midterms. The GOP will be ruined as a national party. It was imperative that they react intelligently after the 2012 election debacle. They did not.  

After 2014 there is NOTHING to shield either the GOP or the media from a simple truth - the numbers aren’t there anymore. At the end of the day, a democracy boils down to numbers. Votes for and against.

For most of American history the two demographic groups that elected presidents were white men and married white women. They, combined, picked president after president after president. But in 2005 America crossed a demographic rubicon. Very few noticed it or realized that, from 2008 onwards presidents would no longer be decided by white men and married white women but will be decided instead by single white women, people of color, and millennials. All of whom despise the GOP. 

After 2014, there will be no way to duck, dodge, or avoid this truth any longer.  This is when things will get really interesting. The GOP primary season in 2016 is going to be a GOP Götterdämmerung. Texas goes blue in 2020, 2024 at the latest. Only a reconstituted GOP could save the day and it will take Texas going blue to sound that wake up call. Without Texas, there is zero possibility of a Republican gaining the presidency. Americans over 70 have almost surely seen the last republican president of their lifetime. George W. Bush. It won’t be until 2028 or 2032 that the old white right dies off and a younger, less rabid generation takes over. Adapt or die. The GOP has chosen death.

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This Huffington post article is long overdue.

In the face of intransigent opposition, Obama has accomplished a great deal, according to Paul Glastrious of The Washington Monthly.

To name a few:

1. Passed Health Care Reform after 60 years of Democratic efforts
2. Passed the Stimulus and prevented the U.S. from falling into a second Great Depression
3. Passed Wall Street Reform, and Dodd-Frank for Consumer and Bank Financial Protection
4. Ended the War in Iraq
5. Eliminated Osama bin Laden
6. Saved and turned Around US Auto Industry
7. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
8. Reversed Bush Torture Policies
9. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program
10. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards
11. Passed Mini Stimuli (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011)
12. Created Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants
13. Achieved New START Treaty
14. Won new-found worldwide respect for America’s reputation
15. Engineered the first Arab-Western Coalition against Islamic extremists.
16. Substantially reduced the outrageous cost and availability of health care

What they just don’t seem to get, is that the White population may be 70%, but all 70% are not, never have been, never will be Right Wing. 

In fact the giant hole in the current Right Wing argument that ‘we don’t need Latinos, we need more White people’, is that very fact. Even if they turned out more Whites, they wouldn’t all vote hard right. It’s kind of obvious, to those of us planted in reality, that most people are appalled by the turn the GOP has taken. 

“If immigration is killed for the reasons stated, then the Republican Party has consciously made the decision to become a quasi-nationalist party. ”

This argument is just part of an incredible mental journey that the Right is going through now. Life inside their bubble will be a hell for the next decade.

Teens and Facebook are what they are. Threats should be investigated, sure. Maybe parents should be fined, if the threat is serious enough. But to ruin a kid’s life for mouthing off is not acceptable. 

The South is becoming unbearable.

- Voter suppression


- All out assault on women and their right to make their own decisions


- Refusal to implement Obamacare ,thus keeping millions upon millions in a substandard state.


- New amendments popping up in the wake of DOMA banning gay marriage
- A complete disregard for environmental health and safety. Fracking is everywhere down South and god help you if you live next to an almost certainly under-regulated refinery. Your town may not be there next week.


- And last but not least, a criminal justice system that LOVES ruining little people. Just because.

People should be held accountable for what they say in the court of public opinion. But it’s a pity adults can get away with saying whatever they like while a teen gets to sit in jail with a ridiculous bail set for him. Meanwhile in the parallel world that has become America, Rush Limbaugh types will never see the inside of a jail cell. Because it’s a lot easier to jail a teen playing video games or caught with his own stash than to tackle the real problems facing this country.

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Well, that’s one way of solving the problem - not.

"Chinese authorities have given courts the powers to hand down the death penalty in serious pollution cases, state media said, as the government tries to assuage growing public anger at environmental desecration. …"

China warns it will execute serious polluters

Fear and panic

Great article on Edward Snowden.

This is a tricky one. In the aftermath of 9-11 people willingly gave up some civil liberties at the behest of the Bush administration. For all the caterwauling now, the mainstream media and most people forget - what’s being done now is legal. 

The Patriot Act. It took ten years for folks to understand what they signed off on and also signed away (their privacy). Now come the complaints. And there is talk of redressing the excesses of the Patriot Act. Secret courts finding secret verdicts and this is legal?

Like the situation in Syria this is a problem with no pretty solutions. In a high tech digital information world, information access and privacy has become the new battlefield. Some sort of high level cursory search is necessary. Balancing respect for privacy with accessing info on the real enemies will be a hard dance to master. And there will never be total safeguards against these tools being used by the ideologically driven or the corrupt. There can only be rational safeguards and protocols and clearly delineated punishments that are spelled out.

It is definitely time to redress the excesses of the Patriot Act and strengthen any and all safeguards and protocols. Then pray that we never see another Nixon or Cheney in a position of power.

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“In an attempt to fuel its youthful but increasingly exhausted fighting force during World War II, the Nazis reportedly turned to addictive and potentially dangerous substances, including a form of what is known today as the illegal drug methamphetamine, currently a rising problem in Europe.” - Huffington Post

Why is this no surprise?

Those guys were far more messed up than people realize. Hitler’s ‘strange’ sex habits with his live-in niece; the belief that they were descended from a super-advanced civilization that disappeared thru race-mixing; the belief that they were aligned with massive occult forces that would insure their victory.

They were mid-20th century offshoots of an ancient right-wing authoritarian (RWA) tree. Sparta, the first branch from that tree, was the worlds first truly pathological nation-state. N. Korea is just the latest. The antebellum South suffered the same pathology as Nazi Germany - as does the GOP/Tea Party of today. The same underlying pathology (RWA) has similar symptoms in any day and age. Bad leaders, bad family dynamics, anger issues, paranoia and deep insecurity, possibly bad sexual tendencies, and now, add to that, bad drugs.

And in the end…a bad result.

“The biggest single conceptual failure of my argument for war is that I gave absurdly little thought to the post-invasion phase. I was aware that the Bush administration was deploying far too few troops to the front for a workable occupation while blatantly lying about the war’s likely costs. I assumed that its real plan was to decapitate the Iraqi leadership, install a more pliant and less brutal military figure in Saddam’s place, and call it democracy.”

 

Throwing Bush under the bus won’t make up for your nice ride on that bus.

Colin Powell on why he supported the Iraq War -

The argument I made at the time was more prosaic. In the aftermath of the Gulf War, the United States and its allies forced Iraq to promise, among other things, to submit to United Nations inspections to verify that it had vacated its unconventional weapons and was not building more of them (especially nuclear weapons). Iraq never fully complied with these terms. Over more than a decade, Saddam Hussein vacillated between complying with some of the terms and complying with none of them. (Richard Butler, the U.N. chief weapons inspector, was among many of those who testified about Iraq’s years of noncompliance.) I followed this throughout the nineties frustrated at Saddam’s ability to evade full compliance for so many years.

My logic in supporting the war boiled down to the following:

  • The truce terms of the Gulf War requiring a complete, verified shutdown of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were valid and necessary.
  • Iraq had refused to comply fully with these terms.
  • Therefore, it was appropriate for the United States to threaten — and if necessary, carry out — war in order to force Iraq to comply.

Looking back, I have several regrets. We now know that Iraq no longer had any unconventional weapons program. Over the years, this has come to be seen as retrospectively obvious. It was not. While the Bush administration deliberately twisted and overhyped evidence of weapons of mass destruction, the legitimate evidence did show, albeit less dramatically than the administration said, that Iraq had active unconventional weapons programs. This was the judgment of fellow Western intelligence agencies. It was also a logical inference from Saddam Hussein’s refusal to fully comply with U.N. demands even after threatened with invasion. (That Iraq refused full compliance was documented at the time by Hans Blix, Butler’s successor, but this has largely been brushed aside in the retrospective critique.)

The absence of weapons of mass destruction is the most crucial element of my argument that I got wrong, though the part I have the least regret for getting wrong, as it was very hard to know at the time.

Sorry, this explanation is just too little too late. It sounds like you are making excuses, Mr. Powell. The U.S. felt obligated to police Iraq on behalf of the U.N? Don’t think so.  He does however go on to say:

What’s more, I also thought that the anti-interventionist left’s sociological analysis of the debate taking place was correct. Somehow, supporting the war was cool and a sign of seriousness, creating waves of social pressure on politicians and commentators in a way that prevented a fair debate.

Well, thanks for that anyway, This article is worth reading in its’ entirety.

On November 6, a solid majority of California voters supported Proposition 30. The ballot initiative, which temporarily raises the sales tax and increases income taxes for the wealthy, will generate an estimated $6 billion per year to help stabilize the state’s dismal finances. The vote was a landmark event in California, the state that launched a national anti-tax revolt by passing Proposition 13 in 1978. And for Governor Jerry Brown—who was serving as a much younger governor back then—the triumph was particularly sweet.

We should not underestimate how thoroughly significant prop 13 was back in 1978. It ushered in a 30 year era of government downsizing (all based on white property owners who didn’t want to pay for services for ‘those people’). It gave Grover Norquist his template for congress. It has strangled govt for over a generation…until now. 

As prop 13 should not be underestimated so too one shouldn’t underestimate the incredible psychological impact of prop 30 in California. It is a watershed moment that augers a new period of respect for govt when done right. This is the BIGGEST indicator of a dawning progressive era - the willingness to recognize the necessity of govt and its proper funding. No more shrinking govt to a size so small you could ‘drown it in a bathtub’.

Truth
Image from: My Village Idiot is Missing (Facebook)

Truth
Image from: My Village Idiot is Missing (Facebook)

More Truth about raising taxes

$200,000.00 in 1945 had the same buying power as $2,535,640.45 in 2012.

So anyone earning today’s equivalent of 2.5 million in 1945 was paying 94% in taxes. Taxes were raised to such a level largely to pay off war debt.

Sound familiar?

We should never again go to war without first knowing how to pay for it. Our safety nets certainly should not be plundered to pay for it.

A thorough look at the history of U.S. taxes: History of Tax Rates