Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Friday: An Inside View from the Line Level

Michael DukeAs Black Friday approaches many of us in the retail sector dread the onslaught of nasty customers and time away from our families. Many companies are forcing workers to come in ON "Thanksgiving" day and one is even OPENING ON "Thanksgiving".

As a retail employee, I am not thankful for that.

Many of the top executives will be sound asleep when the stores open their doors. However, the main driver in the Black Friday retail employee abuse is CEO Michael Duke. Last year, Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke started a Black Friday Domino Effect, Wal-Mart was to open their doors at midnight. This action alone (midnight opening) sparked a response from all other retail chains to do the same so they would not loose out on business.
Walmart CEO Pay: More in an Hour Than Workers Get All Year?

This year, Wal-Mart is at it again.
Wal-Mart moved Black Friday from Friday to 8 PM THANKSGIVING DAY.  Corporate profits are more important than employee safety to companies these days and those of us at the line level are getting sick of it.

Workers are moving to organize a walkout given the ridiculous hours. 
OURWalmart organizers say they have 1,000 events planned this week. Support for the campaign, which has been gaining momentum across social media platforms, is mounting: The organization's Facebook page now has more than 29,000 'likes' and its accompanying YouTube video has been watched over 107,000 times.The organizers have also collected more than $38,000 in online donations to sponsor workers who walk out.

With all of this headache and the bastardizing of a Holiday, it may be prudent for consumers to ask themselves "am I contributing to this by participating".

Why Workers hate YOU for Black Friday

In my experience, this day is all about the money, but margins are so low it seems like a waste. Although a single store may make upwards of $1 Million that day, is the juice worth the squeeze?

Black Friday destroys worker sentiment, meaning, we all begin to hate the company we work for and want to spite it in revenge. Couple the OUTRAGEOUS hours we have to work, with the loss of sleep, with the loss of time with our families, with the belligerent customers, and you receive a recipe for angry employees.

In short, you are hated because you make us work ON A HOLIDAY!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Great Recession and the Deficit by Paddy Quick

The Great Recession will take a long time to come to an end. Even the most optimistic forecasters expect the official unemployment rate in the US to stay above 9% through 2011, and it may be 4 or even more years before we get back to the same level of employment we had before the recession began. The arguments I want to make are (1) that we should not fall for the line that “we,” i.e. workers, need to cut back to get out of this recession and (2) that propaganda about the problems of the deficits is being used to justify a multi-pronged attack on the standard of living of working families.

You don’t need me to go over how bad things are for working people, the working class. And I’m not going to review what led to the Great Recession, other than to say that recessions are regular occurrences in the capitalist system in which we live. (Oh dear, a “bad word” – “capitalism” – but we’re all adults here, and the time for euphemisms is long past.) This recession is indeed the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and it resembles it in both its probable length and its international character, although the decline in production and the level of unemployment are less than then.  It is, however, in some ways, potentially far more serious and likely to have a far worse long-term effect.

Here we come to the key feature of today’s Great Recession – namely the multipronged attack on our standard of living. This attack comes in several forms and it is important to understand all of them:
  • The first, and most obvious, is actual reductions in wages. Even corporations that are profitable are brazenly cutting wages for the simple reason that they want higher profits. The threat to move production within the country or to other countries can force even strong unions to take substantial cuts. Other people, such as federal government workers, are seeing wage freezes, despite continuing (although mild) inflation. More common, but less in the news, is the slow process through which the unemployed who do manage to get new jobs do so at reduced wages. Even less well publicized is the process through which starting wages, for people getting their first jobs, are lower that the wages of the people hired into the same jobs in previous years.
  • The second form of attack is on the government programs that go to benefit the working class, and in particular Social Security and Medicare, the so-called “entitlement programs” i.e. programs that do not require fresh appropriation votes in Congress on an annual basis. Here the government is playing the old game of asking us whether we would prefer to cut benefits or raise taxes, rather like asking us which arm we would prefer them to cut off.  A growing economy (and it will grow again when the recession is over) can easily provide for the health and well-being of its residents, but the cuts, once made, are extremely unlikely to be restored when the recession does end. And, despite the government’s lip-service to the importance of education, local government employment in education in December 2010 was 463,000 less than in December 2009.
  • The third form of attack is on the poor, and I don’t mean simply that the people at the lower end of the income distribution suffer more from all the program cuts than everyone else, although that is true. I mean that the attacks are making the lives of those who are unemployed, and those who fall into poverty for this and other reasons (such as serious illness), more and more miserable. This weakens the working class as a whole. Unemployment is becoming more and more of a threat to those who do hold jobs, and fear of unemployment makes those who are employed weaker and weaker when it comes to fighting pay cuts and resisting increases in workloads. Being unemployed in the US is terrifying. Even a short spell of unemployment can do considerable damage, and longer spells destroy lives. The cuts in the funding of Medicaid (as distinct from Medicare which is for the elderly and disabled) are particularly severe.  And of course President Clinton long ago ended “welfare as we knew it.” There are massive holes in our “safety net,” and far too many people are falling through it. It must be said here that this is one of the many areas where racism is deadly. It is of increasing importance to confront the widespread racism which leads many white workers to believe that somehow the massive poverty in the Black and Latino communities is due to their inadequacies, and that such poverty will, therefore, never happen to “fine upstanding (white) workers like them.” Thus racism can and does lead some workers to actually support cuts in programs such as Medicaid and subsidized housing that are limited to those with low incomes.
  • The fourth major form of attack is of a different nature. It takes the form of attacks on the ability of workers to organize.  The percentage of workers who are unionized is now below 12%, and the percentage of unionized workers in the private sector is only 7%. The more heavily unionized public sector workers are seeing attempts at the state level to withdraw their right to collective bargaining. (This attack is combined with the attempt to reduce the public services that they provide, which is in turn presented as a way to reduce taxes on workers.) There are movements underway in at least seven states to pass “right to work” laws which would forbid unions to collect dues from all those that they represent. For those who are not unionized, the quickest way to join the ranks of the unemployed is to be identified by management as “likely to try to form a union.” On a national level, the control of our government by the capitalist class is hardly limited at all by the working class – the capitalists, as they say, have two parties and we don’t even have one.
Let’s compare what is happening in Europe with what is happening here. In Europe the “safety net” has long been far, far stronger than in the United States. Universal health care, paid maternity leave, unemployment benefits that are very generous by US standards, far higher levels of job security… the list could go on. These have been coming under attack for many years, often in the form of the promotion of what the IMF and others call “labor market flexibility” – a code phrase that can translated as “reducing the power of workers.” But the attacks are taking place in a new and much more virulent form today. In response there have been massive protests and general strikes. European workers are vigorously defending their standard of living.

In the US, in contrast, there has been very little protest. In fact a recent poll showed that, when people were asked about whether higher taxes “on people like you” were necessary, 41% said they were. And 55% believed it was necessary to cut back “government programs that benefit people like [them.]”   Why do people believe this? The short answer is that they have been scared into this by those who cite the need to cut the government’s deficit and its debt.

So let’s look at this. People understand debt all too well from their personal experience, including those whose homes have been foreclosed. One in five of all homes with mortgages are “under water” i.e. people owe more than their homes are worth. And of course those who are unemployed quickly run up additional debts. But government debt is very different. In the first place, the US government can always borrow what it wants because it can pay the lenders back with money raised by taxes. But more importantly, when the government increases its spending or allows households to increase their spending by cutting taxes, the increase in spending leads to an increase in production and employment.  Thus the increase in the government’s debt, unlike any increase in the debt of individuals, has the effect of putting idle labor (and idle plant and equipment) back into production.  Then, when the economy is back at full employment, it can pay off its debt by increasing taxes, or reducing spending without damaging total production.

It is useful to distinguish between the short-term deficit and the issue of long-term debt.  The deficit always increases during a recession because tax revenues fall and expenditure rises (for example on unemployment benefits).  But in a serious recession like this one, a government stimulus program (consisting of increased government spending and cuts in taxes either or both of which increase the deficit) can pull the economy out of the recession. In order for tax cuts to work, however, they have to go to the working class, because this is the only form of tax cuts that leads to increased spending. The very rich (who are of course capitalists, because you don’t get rich by working!) barely alter their spending.  And giving tax cuts to corporations does not lead to increased spending. Corporations aren’t going to carry out new investment by buying new machinery and building new factories and office buildings, as long as they have some of their offices half-empty, much of their machinery sitting idle, and their factories shut down. So that leaves government spending as a way to stimulate the economy. One step desperately needed is the transfer of federal money to states and local governments, but we hear little about this.  President Obama, in his State of the Union address, spoke instead about government “investment” i.e. spending money in ways that would benefit private corporations. (Food for the hungry and housing for the homeless aren’t considered “investment.”)  But the amounts proposed were small, and Obama proposed a “freeze” in federal spending when in fact more, rather than less spending is needed. The disagreement between the Republicans and the Democrats is over how much to reduce the deficit, not on how much of a deficit-increasing stimulus we need.

The capitalist class is taking advantage of this Great Recession, both here and in other countries, to reduce the standard of living of the working class and thus increase its own income, in the form of profits and interest. We need to understand that even a long recession can eventually be “profitable” if it can accomplish that, and big capital thinks long-term. Thus it is not at all clear that big capital even wants to end this recession quickly. Instead, it seems to see this as a wonderful opportunity to make long-term gains at the expense of the working class. To see this we need to look more carefully at the role that recessions play in the development of capitalism.

It is during recessions that weaker capitalists fail and the big corporations take over their markets and grow ever bigger and ever stronger. Then, as this happens, they start investing again and the economic recovery begins. That is how the relatively mild recessions in the post-world War II period have generally come to an end. Recessions also keep down wages, and this is also good for profits.  But reducing wages is usually a relatively slow process, and the short recessions which have taken place since World War II have not made much of a dent in wages. [In the US, of course, unlike in Europe, wages have not increased even during the good years. US wages today, after allowing for inflation, are no higher than they were 40 years ago. (Check it out online: Economic Report of the President, 2010, Table 47.) This is the basic reason for the fact that the share of income going to the top 1% of US households has more than doubled between 1979 and 2007.]

In Europe, the better-organized working class managed to keep wages growing in the post WWII period. Minimum wage in Ireland, before Ireland fell victim to the crisis, translated into above $13 an hour!  Now the European workers, like us, are taking pay cuts, sometimes very large ones. Latvian government employees took a 50% pay cut. But this is because it is a Great Recession, and is lasting a very long time.  A lengthy recession is capable of doing much more damage to wages than a short one, and major sections of capital are therefore in no hurry to end the recession because of this. Of course, when the recession does end, there is no reason on earth to expect corporations to “give back” the cuts they have forced on us. Instead, they can look forward to permanently higher profits as a result of the recession.

The issue of long-term deficits is a different one. The projections of federal government revenue and expenditure if no changes are made in either our tax structure or in government programs undoubtedly show a growing gap between the two – hence the received wisdom says this is a major long-term problem that will continue to exist when the recession is over. It may sound flippant, but the solution to this problem is really very simple – tax the capitalist class and cut back expenditures on the wars and other programs that benefit them. (In the United States in the 1950s, hardly a heyday of liberalism, the top tax rate on personal income was 91% – a quite reasonable figure and perhaps we should go back to those “good old days!”) The capitalist class’s proposed “solution” is, not surprisingly, to increase taxes on the working class and cut back the programs that benefit us. Thus we need to look at the federal budget as a whole, and ask both who pays taxes and who gets the benefit of the government’s expenditures. Then we can look more clearly at the role of the federal government in the distribution of the wealth of our society between the working class and the capitalist class. It is not the projected deficits that are the “problem” but the very real intent of the capitalist class to use the federal government to further enrich itself.

Let me lead into my conclusion by looking at a recent decision by President Obama which has important symbolic significance – the appointment of Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE as chair of a “Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.” Competitiveness, you may remember, was an important theme in Obama’s State of the Union Address. GE is a multinational corporation, which, incidentally, was helped by a $16 billion purchase by the US government of its short-term debt when it was in trouble. Over half of its workers are employed in other countries and over half of its profits are earned outside the US. Its “competitiveness” would be enhanced, and its profits increased, by lower wages in both the US and other countries. The word “competitiveness” needs to be translated as “lower wages.”

The “Great Recession” is providing the multinational capitalist class with the opportunity to launch a major assault on the standard of living of the working class in developed countries such as the United States and the countries of Europe.  Unlike previous recessions, the Great Recession is taking place mainly in the developed countries. Developing countries have not been greatly affected and production in those countries continues to grow far faster than in the developed world, although of course the workers there get to share in very little of this. Today’s multinational corporations are increasingly able to pit workers in the US and Europe against those in Indonesia, India and China. Of course in the long run, they would like to employ all of us, in all of these countries – but at lower wages. The problem cannot be understood as one of “outsourcing” – a continuous movement of jobs away from the US to other countries, particularly those with lower wages.  If this were the problem, unemployment would have been increasing steadily over at least the past 30 years, if not the last 200, rather than fluctuating around the 5% mark.  In fact the proportion of workers in the US employed by foreign multinational corporations is increasing – other countries’ multinationals are “outsourcing” jobs to the US, just as US multinational corporations are increasing their hiring of foreign workers!  No, the problem is the continuous effort of all these multinational corporations to lower wages everywhere.

Did we and other workers in developed countries really believe that we could, without a fight, continue to draw wages many time greater than those of equally intelligent, hard-working, and, today, increasingly, equally skilled workers in Asia and other parts of the world who are working for the same corporations that we are working for?  Corporations can, of course, well afford to pay us these higher wages (as they could afford to pay higher wages to workers in developing countries.) Obviously they are making a profit by employing workers in the US and other developed countries, or they would lay us all off!  But wages are not based on what the capitalists can afford to pay but on what the working class is able to make them pay. This Great Recession is making it clear, to those who look at it realistically, that the working class must be organized on a multinational basis in order to confront the multinational capitalist class if we are to share in the wealth that we produce.
Right now, the task in the US is a more limited one – we must recognize, and get everyone else to recognize, that there is no need at all for the working class to “cut back.” Doing so will only encourage further attacks on our standard of living, and prolong the recession. Instead we must ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE!  NO CUTS IN WAGES, NO CUTS IN PUBLIC SERVICES, REPAIR THE SAFETY NET, TAX CAPITALISTS, NOT WORKERS! END THE WARS!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Paul Ryan: Loves America, Hates Americans.

I cannot help but wonder why ANYBODY would vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Facts about Paul Ryan

  • He Voted YEA for T.A.R.P.
  • He only passed 2 bills in his 13 years in congress.
  • He has NEVER worked in the private sector.
  • He believes Humans have had no impact on the environment.
  • He wants to replace medicare with coupons.
  • He wants food stamps to be cut in order to support tax cuts for corporations and millionaires.
  • He wants to eliminate the Pell Grant. 
  • He voted for a constitutional Amendment to Ban Gay-Marriage.
  • He voted against repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.
  • He voted to Ban Same Sex Couples from adopting.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Why Religion is Evil: Ruining the Youth

Over the years I have become less and less tolerant of organized religion, not the people who are in the church, but the institutions them selves.

These institutions are tolerant of intolerance. 
In Gainesville FL a church Hung Obama In Effigy, in Westboro there is a church that protest funerals, and there are many more cases that I can be added to a list. However, today I want to talk about a church in Indiana.

The Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana, had young congregant sing "Ain't No Homos Gonna Make It to Heaven"

Yes, they are teach homophobia to the youngest of the congregation. Religion is nothing more than an excuse for being intolerant.


Man Eats Dog: The Zombie Apocalypse Continues

Man Bites Dog, Eats Dog While High on 'Spice'

The Zombie Apocalypse continues to grow. Check out the lateset story from ABC news... Kind of scary when you think about just how many bizarre incidents have been happening.
Perhaps Resident Evil was right.

From ABC News:

Man eats dog
A Texas man faces a felony charge after he allegedly bit, killed and ate a house-mate's pet dog while high on the synthetic drug "spice."

The alleged attack is the latest in the series of violent and bizarre incidents linked to spice, which mimics the effects of marijuana, and bath salts, which mimics cocaine.

Michael Daniel, 22, allegedly smoked spice in his Waco, Texas home before he assaulted his housemates and then ran out of the house into his yard, where he began crawling around on his hands and knees. He barked and growled at a neighbor and chased him back into his home.

Daniel then allegedly took his housemate's dog, a medium-sized spaniel mix, out onto the house's porch. He allegedly beat and strangled the dog, according to Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton, and then began chewing "hunks of flesh" from the animal.

Daniel's housemates called police and requested emergency assistance, saying Daniel was "going crazy." Officers arrived at the house to find Daniel sitting on the porch with "blood and fur around his mouth" and with the dead dog lying in his lap, Swanton said.

Daniel, who police say told his housemates he was "on a bad trip" just before the alleged rampage on June 14, was charged on Monday with cruelty to a non-livestock animal.

The incident in Waco follows a series of bizarre attacks by people allegedly high on synthetic drugs, including a Glendale, Calif. man striking a 77-year-old woman with a shovel last week, a homeless man eating the face off another homeless man in Miami in May, and a man in Milton, Fla. biting into the hood of a police cruiser in February.

Spice and related products have often been sold as incense in packaging that says the contents are not to be ingested, but authorities say they are frequently used by consumers to mimic the effects of marijuana and other drugs.

In a "20/20" investigation that aired in 2011, ABC News found that spice and bath salts were being sold to teenagers across the country with little to no oversight, and many of those young users were showing up at drug treatment centers.

"They think they're dying," Louisiana Poison Control Center Director Dr. Mark Ryan told ABC News. "They have extreme paranoia. They're having hallucinations. They see things, they hear things, monsters, demons, aliens."

Since then, the government has fought to block the sale and usage of synthetic drugs.

Last December, the House of Representatives voted to add 41 chemical compounds used to make spice and bath salts to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, making them illegal to manufacture or dispense.

Last week, a similar bill passed the Senate that would criminalize 26 of those compounds, stripping off 15 of the 17 compounds that are used to make bath salts.

And according to authorities, manufacturers of synthetic drugs are constantly trying to develop new compounds that don't fall under the umbrella banned by state or federal law, making drugs particularly dangerous for users who don't know what they are going to get.

"When people use this, they may use it one time and the next time it's a totally different chemical substance," Swanton said.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Truth About Public Assistance

The ultimatum 
Why have public assistance programs grown so much in the past few decades?
Is it people being lazy? No.  
Is it people abusing the system? Hardly. 
Is it out of necessity? BINGO! 

For decades the cost of living has increased with a minimal increase in wages. 

Food Stamp Statistics
Individuals Receiving Food Stamps (Annual)
With the minimal increases in wages, productivity has skyrocketed and the profits have been reaped only for the top. I'm not a socialist by any means, but that is blatantly unfair! 

To continue, for decades education costs have skyrocketed with federal assistance (pell) staying the same. With the cost increases, parents have also had less disposable income to invest in their children's education. 

In a sense, we are in a new age of slavery. The working man has become an indentured servant to wall street. If we don't accept our meager wages, we don't work, subsequently we foreclose on our mortgage and our home goes to the bank. We earn just enough each week to give it back to the corporations that run our lives, and with that, they call foul at the thought of being regulated a little bit better or paying fairer taxes. 

Corporate profits are at an all time high, they are sitting on billions, and we are at the table begging for scraps like a dog.

The GOP has been bought. The 1% owns them, no doubt about it.  Super PACs have been formed to combat this information age.  Laws suppressing our right to vote have been passed.  And wall street is keeping us too busy to learn the facts so we may make informed decisions. 

We are being kept poor to make us dependent. Most of use either earn so little we are dependent on public assistance to get by, or we earn too much to qualify but just enough to get by. 

We are at a crossroads, do we expand public assistance, or get rid of outdated regulations and replace them with new effective ones that will allow us to EARN a livable wage? 

Are we going to increase minimum wage to coincide with the Cost Of Living? 
Are we going to fairly tax the rich who profit most from government spending? I'm talking about 50% + for people making $1,000,000 or more a year. 
Are we going to start enforcing anti-trust laws already on the books? 

These are the solutions to the problems we face. Give us minimal but reasonable laws and we can take care of the rest. Is everyone going to have the same opportunity? No. Is that a reason to stifle it for everyone else? No.

Public assistance

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hospital Releases First Picture Of The Miami Cannibal Victim's Face [WARNING: GRAPHIC]

Earlier, we reported Ronald Poppo, the man attacked by the Miami cannibal, was awake and walking in a Florida-area hospital. Poppo was attacked by Rudy Eugene over Memorial Day weekend. Eugene ate most of Poppo's face before police fatally shot him.

Here is the before and after picture of Poppo, courtesy of Jackson Memorial Hospital:

ronald poppo miami cannibal victim

ronald poppo miami cannibal victim

Read more:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A pair of lungs found on a Los Angeles sidewalk

A pair of lungs were found on a Los Angeles sidewalk around 8:30 p.m., PT Sunday night. A passerby noticed the strange internal organs and called authorities. This could spike zombie apocalypse fears once again since the Miami cannibal attack happened almost three weeks ago.
The lungs found along LA's South Avalon Boulevard are being investigated by a coroner. It's unclear if the lungs belong to that of a human or animal, authorities reveal.
“I don’t think they’re lungs. I don’t know what it is,” Detective Phil Martinez of the LASD Homicide Bureau said. “It takes an expert to determine that. A coroner doctor has to take a look at them, and that’s not scheduled until tomorrow. They looked like internal organs. They’d been sitting out there all day long.”
If the lungs found on the sidewalk belong to a human -- or an animal -- why were they left along a public road? There seems to be no rhyme or reason for crimes involving the dismemberment of dead bodies. With the fear a zombie apocalypse could be taking over, this will be yet another story that makes believers feel uneasy.


Republicans are the Problem, They Are Sabotaging The Economy for Political Gain

A new Daily Kos/SEIU poll released today found that nearly half of voters believe that Republicans are intentionally stalling efforts to jump start the economy to ensure that President Barack Obama is not re-elected. 49 percent of respondents to the poll say that Republicans are intentionally stalling the economy, compared to 40 percent who say they are not. 11 percent replied “not sure.”

Among independents, 50 percent said that Republicans are stalling the recovery compared to 40 percent who said they are not, and 61 percent of self-described moderates said they are compared to just 40 percent who said they are not.

Recently, news analysts from major networks (not Fox) have began to question whether Republicans really are deliberately tanking the economy to defeat Obama. The behavior of Republicans in Congress is beginning to give credibility to that charge. The poll shows that a very large number of Americans including half of Independent voters agree.

Take the Highway Bill for example, we have been ignoring our infrastructural needs for decades. Not only about roads and bridges, but also water, sewage, power, and communication lines to name a few. In the senate, the highway bill was written with bi-partisan support, however the house refuses to pass it. Why? Probably because of the estimated 1 MILLION jobs it will create....

Jeb Bush: Reagan would have struggled with today's GOP

It is funny how beloved Reagan is among the GOP. Politicians from the right are consistently gushing over who is most like Ronald Reagan, however none of them have the will to reach across the isle, one of Ronald Reagan's biggest strengths. Jeb Bush, former FL Governor and brother of George Bush spoke out against the GOP's shortsightedness and how they compare themselves to Ronald Reagan.however, just that morning he had been spouting the opposite, so flip-flopping is running rampant in the GOP.

"Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad -- they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party -- and I don't -- as having an orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement, doesn't allow for finding some common ground," Bush said, adding that he views the hyper-partisan moment as "temporary."
"Back to my dad's time and Ronald Reagan's time -- they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support," he said. Reagan "would be criticized for doing the things that he did."
Republicans do not know about the true Ronald Reagan it seems.
Check out: 10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You To Know About Ronald Reagan

10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You To Know About Ronald Reagan

1. Reagan was a serial tax raiser. 
As governor of California, Reagan “signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then.” Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan “raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office,” including four times in just two years. As former GOP Senator Alan Simpson, who called Reagan “a dear friend,” told NPR, “Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration — I was there.” “Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes,” said historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited Reagan’s memoir. Reagan the anti-tax zealot is “false mythology,” Brinkley said.

2. Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit. 
During the Reagan years, the debt increased to nearly $3 trillion, “roughly three times as much as the first 80 years of the century had done altogether.” Reagan enacted a major tax cut his first year in office and government revenue dropped off precipitously. Despite the conservative myth that tax cuts somehow increase revenue, the government went deeper into debt and Reagan had to raise taxes just a year after he enacted his tax cut. Despite ten more tax hikes on everything from gasoline to corporate income, Reagan was never able to get the deficit under control.

3. Unemployment soared after Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts. 
Unemployment jumped to 10.8 percent after Reagan enacted his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the rate to get back down to its previous level. Meanwhile, income inequality exploded. Despite the myth that Reagan presided over an era of unmatched economic boom for all Americans, Reagan disproportionately taxed the poor and middle class, but the economic growth of the 1980′s did little help them. “Since 1980, median household income has risen only 30 percent, adjusted for inflation, while average incomes at the top have tripled or quadrupled,” the New York Times’ David Leonhardt noted.

4. Reagan grew the size of the federal government tremendously.
Reagan promised “to move boldly, decisively, and quickly to control the runaway growth of federal spending,” but federal spending “ballooned” under Reagan. He bailed out Social Security in 1983 after attempting to privatize it, and set up a progressive taxation system to keep it funded into the future. He promised to cut government agencies like the Department of Energy and Education but ended up adding one of the largest — the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which today has a budget of nearly $90 billion and close to 300,000 employees. He also hiked defense spending by over $100 billion a year to a level not seen since the height of the Vietnam war.

5. Reagan was pro choice
As governor of California in 1967, Reagan signed a bill to liberalize the state’s abortion laws that “resulted in more than a million abortions.” When Reagan ran for president, he advocated a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, but once in office, he “never seriously pursued” curbing choice.

6. Reagan was a “bellicose peacenik.”
He wrote in his memoirs that “[m]y dream…became a world free of nuclear weapons.” “This vision stemmed from the president’s belief that the biblical account of Armageddon prophesied nuclear war — and that apocalypse could be averted if everyone, especially the Soviets, eliminated nuclear weapons,” the Washington Monthly noted. And Reagan’s military buildup was meant to crush the Soviet Union, but “also to put the United States in a stronger position from which to establish effective arms control” for the the entire world — a vision acted out by Regean’s vice president, George H.W. Bush, when he became president.

7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants. 
Reagan signed into law a bill that made any immigrant who had entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty. The bill was sold as a crackdown, but its tough sanctions on employers who hired undocumented immigrants were removed before final passage. The bill helped 3 million people and millions more family members gain American residency. It has since become a source of major embarrassment for conservatives.

8. Reagan illegally funneled weapons to Iran. 
Reagan and other senior U.S. officials secretly sold arms to officials in Iran, which was subject to a an arms embargo at the time, in exchange for American hostages. Some funds from the illegal arms sales also went to fund anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua — something Congress had already prohibited the administration from doing. When the deals went public, the Iran-Contra Affair, as it came to be know, was an enormous political scandal that forced several senior administration officials to resign.

9. Reagan vetoed a comprehensive anti-Apartheid act. 
which placed sanctions on South Africa and cut off all American trade with the country. Reagan’s veto was overridden by the Republican-controlled Senate. Reagan responded by saying “I deeply regret that Congress has seen fit to override my veto,” saying that the law “will not solve the serious problems that plague that country.”

10. Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. 
Reagan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union by training, arming, equipping, and funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan. Reagan funneled billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and sophisticated weaponry to these fighters through the Pakistani intelligence service. The Talbian and Osama Bin Laden — a prominent mujahidin commander — emerged from these mujahidin groups Reagan helped create, and U.S. policy towards Pakistan remains strained because of the intelligence services’ close relations to these fighters. In fact, Reagan’s decision to continue the proxy war after the Soviets were willing to retreat played a direct role in Bin Laden’s ascendancy.

Sources: Think Progressive

Pastor Hangs Obama in Effigy


Obama Being Hung in Effigy

An effigy of President Barack Obama has been hung outside of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The effigy is hanging from a gallows on the front lawn of the center. The effigy was hung in response to the endorsement by Obama of same-sex marriage and his stance on abortion, according to pastor Terry Jones. Jones is reportedly being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service in response to the effigy being hung on the front lawn of the center.

“The Secret Service is aware of this incident and will conduct appropriate follow-up,” Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said.

The effigy is hanging from a homemade gallows with a yellow rope. The effigy of the president has a doll in its right hand and a gay pride flag in its left hand. Jones said that the gay pride flag is there to bring attention to Obama’s feelings about same-sex marriage and then said that the doll is present because Obama is “favorable toward abortion.” Jones went on to say that radical Islam is “the most dangerous threat to life and national security in America.”

At the foot of the gallows stands a dummy of Uncle Sam, which originally was supposed to be hanging by Obama, but the center decided to change the display on Wednesday of last week. On a trailer parked behind the effigy, the words ‘Obama is Killing America’ are painted in red letters.

This is not the first time the DWOC made the news. In 2011, Jones burned a copy of the Qur'an that sparked three days of violent riots in Afghanistan that killed 21 people, including seven workers from the United Nations. The center has also come under fire for its internal rules that its members must follow, with many media outlets and critics calling the center ‘cult-like’ because of its rules.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The GOP's "Job Creators" Don't Create Jobs


For years, Republicans have warned that President Obama's proposal to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the top two percent of taxpayers would crush "job creators."  As Speaker Boehner protested:
"The top one percent of wage earners in the United forty percent of the income taxes...The people he's [President Obama] is talking about taxing are the very people that we expect to reinvest in our economy."
If so, those expectations were sadly unmet under George W. Bush. After all, the last time the top tax rate was 39.6 percent during the Clinton administration, the United States enjoyed rising incomes, 23 million new jobs and budget surpluses. Under Bush? Not so much. On January 9, 2009, the Republican-friendly Wall Street Journal summed it up with an article titled simply, "Bush on Jobs: the Worst Track Record on Record." (The Journal's interactive table quantifies his staggering failure relative to every post-World War II president.) The meager one million jobs created under President Bush didn't merely pale in comparison to the 23 million produced during Bill Clinton's tenure. In September 2009, the Congressional Joint Economic Committee charted Bush's job creation disaster, the worst since Hoover.
That dismal performance prompted David Leonhardt of the New York Times to ask last fall, "Why should we believe that extending the Bush tax cuts will provide a big lift to growth?" His answer was unambiguous:
Those tax cuts passed in 2001 amid big promises about what they would do for the economy. What followed? The decade with the slowest average annual growth since World War II. Amazingly, that statement is true even if you forget about the Great Recession and simply look at 2001-7...
Is there good evidence the tax cuts persuaded more people to join the work force (because they would be able to keep more of their income)? Not really. The labor-force participation rate fell in the years after 2001 and has never again approached its record in the year 2000.
Is there evidence that the tax cuts led to a lot of entrepreneurship and innovation? Again, no. The rate at which start-up businesses created jobs fell during the past decade.
The data are clear: lower taxes for America's so called job-creators don't mean either faster economic growth or more jobs for Americans.
It's no wonder Leonhardt followed his first question with another.  "I mean this as a serious question, not a rhetorical one," he asked, "Given this history, why should we believe that the Bush tax cuts were pro-growth?"  Or as Mark Shields asked and answered in April:
"Do tax cuts help 'job creators' or 'robber barons'?"
Just days after the Washington Post documented that George W. Bush presided over the worst eight-year economic performance in the modern American presidency, the New York Times in January 2009 featured an analysis comparing presidential performance going back to Eisenhower. As the Times showed, George W. Bush, the first MBA president, was a historic failure when it came to expanding GDP, producing jobs and even fueling stock market growth.  Apparently, America's job creators can create a lot more jobs when their taxes are higher - even much higher - than they are today.
(It's worth noting that the changing landscape of loopholes, deductions and credits, especially after the 1986 tax reform signed by President Reagan, makes apples-to-apples comparisons of effective tax rates over time very difficult. For more background, see the CBO data on effective tax rates by income quintile.)

"Dead" Boy Wakes Up in Coffin at Funeral

Website ORM claimed that Kelvin Santos stopped breathing during treatment for pneumonia at a hospital in Belem, northern Brazil.

He was declared dead at 7.40pm on Friday and his body was handed over to his family in a plastic bag.

The child's devastated family took him home where grieving relatives held a wake throughout the night, with the boy's body laid in an open coffin.

But an hour before his funeral was due to take place on Saturday the boy apparently sat up in his coffin and said: "Daddy, can I have some water?".

The boy's father, Antonio Santos, said: "Everybody started to scream, we couldn't believe our eyes. Then we thought a miracle had taken place and our boy had come back to life.

"Then Kelvin just laid back down, the way he was. We couldn't wake him. He was dead again."

Mr Santos rushed his son back to the Aberlardo Santos hospital in Belem,where the doctors reexamined the boy and confirmed that he had no signs of life.

He said: "They assured me that he really was dead and gave me no explanation for what we had just seen and heard."

The boy's family decided to delay the funeral for an hour in the hope that he would wake up again, but ended up burying him at 5pm that day in a local cemetery.

Convinced that his son was victim of medical malpractice, Mr Santos has now registered a complaint with the police who have launched an investigation

He said: "Fifteen minutes after rushing him away for resuscitation, they came and told me he was dead and handed me his body. Perhaps they didn't examine him properly. Dead people don't just wake up and talk. I'm determined to find out the truth."

The local state department today confirmed the boy had been admitted to hospital in a critical condition and was declared dead after suffering cardiac-respiratory failure.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Capitalism VS Corporatism and Cronyism

So today while on Facebook I read a status about how someone I know hates capitalism. I shook my head in disappointment even though no one would see me and thought to myself, this isn't capitalism. With capitalism, corporations and banks are not so heavily protected. With capitalism, your ideas do not belong to the company you work for, the belong to you. So I found an article on forbes

Capitalism Isn't Corporatism or Cronyism

Capitalism is the greatest socio-economic system in human history, because it’s so moral and so productive – the two features so essential to human survival and flourishing. It’s moral because it enshrines and fosters rationality and self-interest – “enlightened greed,” if you will – the two key virtues we all must consciously adopt and practice if we’re to pursue and attain life and love, health and wealth, adventure and inspiration. It produces not only material-economic abundance but the aesthetic values seen in the arts and entertainment.

But what is capitalism, exactly? How do we know it when we see it or have it – or when we haven’t, or don’t?

These aren’t easily-answered questions, because for more than a century capitalism has had more critics than champions, and because the critics have given biased or bigoted portrayals of what they feel is a demonic system. These critics despise capitalism’s root ethic (self-interest) as “evil” and then blithely presume the system harms human beings or sabotages societal peace and prosperity. Anti-capitalist prejudice has been perpetuated for decades by parents, teachers and preachers alike, who claim that to benefit yourself (egoism) is bad, but to benefit and serve others, especially at our own expense or sacrifice (altruism, or “other-ism”) is good – that it’s better to give than receive, to be our “brother’s keeper,” to serve or suffer rather than profit or enjoy. In truth, capitalism, the free society, means people trade value-for-value to mutually beneficial gain.

Historically, capitalism is only about 250 years old – a mere flick of the clock hand relative to mankind’s total time on earth so far (roughly 200,000 years, and only 15,000 years in the Americas). Capitalism arose during the Renaissance (1500s-1600s) and Enlightenment (1700s), which entailed a re-birth of reason, self-confidence, culture, and commerce – in short, the pursuit of one’s own personal happiness. This was in sharp contrast to what had preceded it for a millennium: zeal and faith, superstition, ignorance, oppression, torture, and economic poverty, imposed by church and state alike, amid religious Medievalism and the Dark Age. Capitalism has been co-extant with the Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the Political Revolution, the last of which was realized in the U.S. Constitution (1787), which soon also abolished slavery.

The question of “what is capitalism,” exactly – and likewise, regarding its main rivals, what is “statism,” “socialism,” “social democracy,” “communism,” “fascism,” or “corporatism” – shouldn’t be a matter of mere semantics. These are real political systems affecting real people, whether for good or ill. Political systems are free, un-free and oppressive, or mixed. We cannot legitimately make up terms or equivocate (i.e., switch meanings from one argument to the next, to evade or twist the logic) about these political systems.

Capitalism has been blamed for the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and for the financial crisis and bailouts of 2008, but it’s not “capitalism” but the mixed economy and corporatism-cronyism that did it. We’ve had corporatism in the U.S. for roughly the past century, and it’s getting worse over time; it’s also the system we’ve seen in Europe since at least the time of Germany’s Otto von Bismarck, who launched the womb-to-tomb welfare state in the 1870s. In the interim, of course, Europe also imposed communism, socialism and fascism. The result, we know, was mass murder, world war, and the continent-wide destruction of wealth.

Capitalism’s greatest intellectual champion, Ayn Rand (1905-1982), once defined it as “a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.” This recognition of genuine rights (not “rights” to force others to get us what we wish) is all-crucial and it has a distinctive moral foundation, according to Rand:

The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man’s right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.” “The moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the altruist claim that it represents the best way to achieve “the common good.” It is true that capitalism does—if that catch-phrase has any meaning—but this is merely a secondary consequence. The moral justification of capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man’s rational nature, that it protects man’s survival qua man, and that its ruling principle is: justice.

Elaborating, Rand explained in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966) that historically, politically, economically, and morally, capitalism was the superior socio-economic system, yet also how, for decades, its achievements and virtues had been hidden and buried deliberately in an avalanche of prejudice, distortion, and falsehood. Rand argued that capitalism is a moral ideal yet also was made real, and to the greatest extent, in America in the 19th century, especially during the Gilded Age (1865-1890). Thus she called the U.S. “the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.”

Most people today can’t even fathom (let alone endorse or advocate) a government that’s strictly limited to protecting each person’s right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. They assume a government must be controlled by some pressure group or another, in a “zero-sum game” of unavoidable exploitation – that “power” is ubiquitous and ineradicable, while the only question is who wields it and whose head gets bashed in. They say “timocracy” is rule by the military for the sole benefit of the military, that “plutocracy” is rule by the rich for the sole sake of the rich, that “socialism” is rule by labor for the sake only of labor, that “capitalism” is rule by capitalists (or Wall Street bankers) for the singular benefit of capitalists, and that “democracy” is rule by people (i.e., the majority) at the expense of the minority (true!).

Notice, by this bizarre approach – with its hidden premise that there can be no harmony of interests among people – that no space is permitted for a political system of liberty, justice and equality (for all) before the law. Why not? Call such a system what you will (semantics aren’t the issue), yet ask: why isn’t this one of the possible systems to choose from? Why is it not an option? Indeed, given what we know from history and human nature, why isn’t it the only system worth adopting? Today’s political “thinkers” can only imagine a government that’s controlled by one distinct group or another, which then systematically oppresses its rivals.

In fact, capitalism is the system of rights, liberty, civility, peace and non-sacrificial prosperity; it’s not the system of government that unjustly favors capitalists at others’ expense. [i.e. Bailing out wall street and leaving main street hanging] It provides a level legal playing field plus officials who serve us as low-profile referees (not arbitrary rule-makers or score-changers). To be sure, capitalism also entails inequality – of ambition, talent, income, or wealth – because that’s how individuals (and firms) really are; they’re unique, not clones or inter-changeable parts, as the egalitarians claim. Capitalism is the political system which ensures that innocent “economic power” (i.e., the power to produce) isn’t mixed with force to become invalid political power (i.e., the power to loot); it’s the system that separates business and state, for the same good reason that it also makes sure to separate church and state. Neither of the two recent political movements – “Occupy Wall Street” or the “Tea Party” – seem to fully grasp this.

Yes, there’s an alternative system that does entail the government unjustly ruling business and government, in turn, improperly controlled by business for business’s exclusive benefit (whether by subsidies, special favors, monopolies and franchises, tax breaks, or bailouts), even as it nominally still permits private property holdings: it’s called “corporatism” (sometimes, synonymously, “cronyism” or “fascism”). Corporatism was the system originated almost a century ago by the American “Progressives,” and later by Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany, and Roosevelt in the U.S. (see his 1933 National Recovery Act, struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935 as unconstitutional because it was so corporatist). Corporatism goes hand-in-hand with statism, with abandonment of the fully free economy and adoption of the welfare-warfare state. Yet while many oppose cronyism, corporate welfare, and bailouts, they also endorse handouts to almost everyone else, including to the politically-valuable cronies so easily found among today’s labor union leaders, “green” companies, under-water homeowners, over-indebted college students, and war-happy munitions makers.

Those who speak of “crony capitalism” use a smear, to blur distinctions and blame innocents. But let’s keep facts (and terms) perfectly straight. Let’s not equivocate. Above all let’s acknowledge that the real culprits in corporatism are precisely those people who pretend to rail against it: the likes of Ralph Nader, Robert Reich, Barack Obama, and their friends in “Occupy Wall Street.” They all want bigger, more intrusive government in our lives; they are all full-throated pushers of the welfare state and “social democracy” (socialism by vote). Yet they whine against the undue influence of big business and corporations (and their cash) on political campaigns, lobbying, and policy-making. If government is going to intervene to redirect literally trillions of dollars of income and wealth from natural flows into artificial ones, it’s positively inviting and fostering cronyism. The closet corporatists claim to want to get money out of politics, but they won’t dare get politics out of money-making; they claim that capitalists and bankers are to blame for our many woes, but they won’t dare advocate capitalism, the only system that specifically precludes favors to capitalists (or any other sub-group). They deride influence-peddling but demand ever-more intense forms of government influence.

In the world today (and for most of the past century) we haven’t had capitalism per se but instead the welfare state and corporatism; we’ve had what are commonly called “mixed economies,” those with some remaining vestiges of capitalist freedom but also many (and fast-proliferating) controls and taxes. Obfuscations about capitalism’s real nature and the blurring of distinctions between the terms capitalism and corporatism make it difficult for most people to discern cause and effect whenever some disaster or corruption arises, and thus it’s difficult to assign proper blame or achieve a lasting remedy. Yet people should always remind themselves that freedom breeds peace, justice, and prosperity, while coercion breeds violence, exploitation and poverty. When a mixed economy fails, it’s not its capitalist aspect that fails – unless you believe freedom itself fails.

Whenever we observe indisputable socio-economic disasters or injustices – in the best recent example, the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the 2008 financial crisis (and TARP bailouts), the sub-prime loan debacle, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, underwater mortgages and defaults, persistently high jobless rates – we shouldn’t waste any time disputing whether they were caused by the freedom or rather the coercion part of the mixed economy. They were caused by the coercive element, not the free one (or from “deregulation”) – and that’s where all remedies must lie. We need more freedoms and less controls. We must identify, locate, and excise all those many government agencies, subsidies, taxes, and regulations that violate our liberties and rights, those that transform officials from mere referees on life’s field into savages running amuck, altering rules and redistributing well-earned points – and thereby wrecking an otherwise perfectly fine and fun game.

Study: Atheists more driven by compassion than highly religious people

From: Raw Story

Highly religious people are less motivated by compassion than atheists, agnostics and less religious people, according to a new study.

Research from University of California, Berkeley published in the most recent edition of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found a stronger link between compassion and generosity among non-religious or less religious people.

“Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” UC Berkeley social psychologist and study co-author Robb Willer explained. “The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns.”

Lead author Laura Saslow recalled she became interested in the topic after an atheist friend said he had only donated money for earthquake relief in Haiti after watching a touching video of a woman being pulled from the rubble.

“I was interested to find that this experience – an atheist being strongly influenced by his emotions to show generosity to strangers – was replicated in three large, systematic studies,” she noted.

In one experiment, researchers analyzed a 2004 survey of 1,300 American adults to find that non-believers and the less religious were more likely to participate in random acts of kindness like giving food or money to a homeless person.

“These findings indicate that although compassion is associated with pro-sociality among both less religious and more religious individuals, this relationship is particularly robust for less religious individuals,” the study said.

Two other experiments also confirmed that more religious participants seemed to be less generous.

“Overall, this research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people,” Willer concluded.

Source: Raw Story
this experience – an atheist being strongly influenced by his emotions to show generosity to strangers – was replicated in three large, systematic studies,” she noted.
In one experiment, researchers analyzed a 2004 survey of 1,300 American adults to find that non-believers and the less religious were more likely to participate in random acts of kindness like giving food or money to a homeless person.
“These findings indicate that although compassion is associated with pro-sociality among both less religious and more religious individuals, this relationship is particularly robust for less religious individuals,” the study said.
Two other experiments also confirmed that more religious participants seemed to be less generous.
“Overall, this research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people,” Willer concluded.
Highly religious people are less motivated by compassion than atheists, agnostics and less religious people, according to a new study.
Research from University of California, Berkeley published in the most recent edition of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found a stronger link between compassion and generosity among non-religious or less religious people.
“Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” UC Berkeley social psychologist and study co-author Robb Willer explained. “The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns.”
Lead author Laura Saslow recalled she became interested in the topic after an atheist friend said he had only donated money for earthquake relief in Haiti after watching a touching video of a woman being pulled from the rubble.
“I was interested to find that this experience – an atheist being strongly influenced by his emotions to show generosity to strangers – was replicated in three large, systematic studies,” she noted.
In one experiment, researchers analyzed a 2004 survey of 1,300 American adults to find that non-believers and the less religious were more likely to participate in random acts of kindness like giving food or money to a homeless person.
“These findings indicate that although compassion is associated with pro-sociality among both less religious and more religious individuals, this relationship is particularly robust for less religious individuals,” the study said.
Two other experiments also confirmed that more religious participants seemed to be less generous.
“Overall, this research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people,” Willer concluded.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Cost of War

We cannot put a price on human life, however we can put a price on the tools we use to take it away.

We have lost thousands of soldiers and killed over 100,000 Civilians in Iraq. For what? To "prevent" Terrorism?


Give me a break, we are creating more and more terrorist everyday by being in the middle east. It is not about cutting and running, but about respecting another nation's sovereignty. I'm not a pacifist by any means, if someone attacks me it's a fight. Iraq didn't attack us nor any of our allies. Afghanistan did not attack us or any of our allies. Terrorist attacked us on 9/11 and it is the terrorist who should pay, but before we jump the gun, why did they attack us?
WE ARE THE AGGRESSORS! We have been bombing and pillaging the middle east for decades and we need to stop before we create even more enemies!

The Cost of War so far
$807.4 billion to Iraq
$570.9 billion to Afghanistan
Imagine What we could have done domestically with the money! Imagine the infrastructure that could have been constructed, the bridges that could be brought back up to code, the investments we could have made in education, etc.

Now onto the cots of War Weapons
  • Cost of a single Javelin Missile: $80,000
  • Cost of a single Tomahawk cruise Missile: $900,000
  • Cost of a single F22 Raptor: $135 million
  • Cost of a single AC130U Gunship: $190 million
  • Cost of a single F117A Nighthawk: $122 Million
  • Cost of a single B2 Bomber: $2.2 Billion

Two Fun Facts About Tomahawk Missiles:

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, more than 725 tomahawk missiles were fired at key Iraqi targets.
725 x $900,000 = $652,500,000
$652 Million

On 19 March 2011, 124 Tomahawk missiles were fired into Libya.
124 x $900,000 = $111,600,000
$111 Million

Next time someone grovels about the deficit, ask them about the cost of war.

Monday, June 4, 2012

President's Use of Weed and other Drugs

"Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?" - Henry Ford

Marijuana is an imbedded part of our American culture, before our nation was founded and a single document drafted, we have grown to rely on marijuana for much more than just getting high. Prohibition has been pathetically unsuccessful and many lawmakers refuse to acknowledge the truth that it is a fight they cannot win. More than half of the adult population has at least tried to smoke Marijuana and our Founding Fathers praised it! We have official Government documents that were written on hemp paper including the Declaration Of Independence and the US Constitution.

Marijuana consumption is about more than just getting high, it is about our liberty and our prosperity as a nation.

President Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton's publicly admitted to trying marijuana during his younger days, by his account, he never actually felt its effects.

"When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it. I didn't inhale and never tried it again." –Bill Clinton

As part of MTV's "Choose or Lose" get-out-the-vote campaign for the 1992 presidential race, the cable network hosted a town-hall style meeting with then-candidate Clinton. When asked whether he had smoked marijuana, Clinton answered he had, but he "didn't inhale."

President Barack Obama
"When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point." - Barack Obama
"The war on drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our nation's marijuana laws." -Barack Obama

President Barack Obama's recent biography detailed a young Obama smoking marijuana during his high school days. The president had previously admitted to using the drug in his 1995 autobiography, "Dreams of My Father."

Obama's history of drug use is a past behavior that is certainly still frowned upon, but he is by no means the only president to have a drug history.

President George W. Bush

Former President George W. Bush, had a turbulent drug history before his political career.

Bush has maintained a policy of silence around his past youthful indiscretions, other than to say he has been clean since 1974.

Reports of his younger days, however, suggest that Bush had a wild lifestyle for a time, indulging in marijuana and even cocaine.

President John F. Kennedy, Jr.

President John F. Kennedy, Jr., might have the most complex history with drugs out of any president in U.S. history.

Like some 42 percent of Americans today, Kennedy tried smoking marijuana during his younger days, according to an ex-girlfriend who knew him during his college years. In a book released last year, she recounts an incident in which Kennedy lit up while on vacation in Jamaica.

Kennedy also took many different prescriptions for a variety of health conditions that he kept secret from the American public. These drugs included "codeine, Demerol and methadone for pain; Ritalin, a stimulant; Meprobamate and Librium for anxiety; barbiturates for sleep" and more, according to medical records.

President Franklin Pierce

President Franklin Pierce may have had an odd way of motivating men on the battlefield.

According to contemporary accounts of Pierce, he used to smoke marijuana with his soldiers during wartime. In fact, during the Mexican-American War, Pierce declared that smoking cannabis was "about the only good thing" about the conflict.

President Ulysses S. Grant

Long before cocaine was a controlled substance that came with a heavy jail sentence for abusers, it was a legally available and widely used pain reliever. The drug, however, was as addictive then as it is now.

Stricken with oral cancer, President Ulysses S. Grant used cocaine throat drops regularly to soothe his pain. In fact, Grant reportedly took cocaine while he wrote his now famous memoirs.

He would remain addicted to the drug until the illness claimed his life at age 63.

President Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was another president who openly smoked marijuana on occasion. Like Pierce, Jackson smoked with his troops during wartime, along with tobacco cigars.

President Thomas Jefferson

"Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see."  - Thomas Jefferson
"Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country."Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and one of the country's Founding Fathers, grew vast fields on hemp of his plantation. In fact, an early draft of the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper, a common material at the time.

Whether Jefferson actually smoked his crop is a matter of historical debate. Jefferson's Farm Book includes references to growing hemp that could indicate he was growing them for purposes of recreational smoking.

President George Washington

"Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere." - George Washington

George Washington, arguably the most admired figure in U.S. history alongside Abraham Lincoln, was not only a user of marijuana, but a major advocate for the spread of hemp as a cash crop in the United States.

Washington grew hemp as a fiber, and even has several journal entries detailing his efforts to grow a better crop. Washington also suffered from tooth pain, and it's believed that he smoked marijuana to bring relief.

President James Madison

James Madison was once heard to say that smoking hemp inspired him to found a new nation on democratic principles.

President James Monroe

James Monroe, the 5th US President, was introduced to hashish when he was serving as Ambassador to France, and he continued to enjoy the smoke until he was 73 years old.

President Zachary Taylor

When Zachary Taylor served as a military commanders, he smoked hemp with his soldiers.

President Abraham Lincoln

"Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica." - Abraham Lincoln

"Prohibition... goes beyond the bound of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded" -Abraham Lincoln

President John Adams

"We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption."
- John Adams, U.S. President

Also See: A few facts about Hemp, in case you were wondering: