Category Archives: Supreme Court

Here’s a video treat from ALL HAT NO CATTLE…

…the one blog I try to view every day. This is a video that Lisa put together Called “Back in the Good Old Days” which is a good indicator that Romney will bring Bushiness back to us.

 

Hope you enjoy it. I sure did!

 

Musical Theatre Fans… Here’s the best political parody I’ve heard so far this year…

If you’re a Les Mis fan like me, you’ll love this piece, “One Term More”, based on “One Day More.”

Here are the lyrics if you want to sing along:

One Term More!
A time to celebrate democracy,
Repeal Republican hypocrisy.
This man who would unseat Barack’s
A bleak choice at the ballot box.
One Term More!
A G.O.P. perdition-bound,
All sense of right & wrong eroded.
One Term More!
With laws that let ‘em stand their ground,
Republicans are locked & loaded.

Contraception’s now a sin,
Screwing G.M. in the clutch.
Incivility’s a virtue,
Homophobic. Out of touch.
Filibusters. Budget scrums.
Ultrasounds & speculums.
To the Dark Side they’ve succumbed.

Soon Election Day will dawn,
We were meant to hold this seat!
At the ballot box of freedom,
Unemployment’s in retreat!
Now the battle lines are drawn,
And Detroit’s back on its feet!
Will you take your place with me!

The time is NOW the vote is NEAR!
One Term More!
One more day to re-election,
And until the music stops,
We will fight to save the jobs of
Teachers, firemen & cops!
One Term More!
One more day to resolution,
We’ll defeat those fetid nuts,
We are fed up with pernicious
Talk of prostitutes & sluts!

Watch ‘em throwing up,
Minting malcontent,
Drinkin’ all that tea’s
Made them incontinent!

Dissembling persists,
Divisiveness prevails,
Calling colleagues Communists
Is OFF the rails!

Listen to them spew,
“Femi-Nazi” rage,
Misogynistic rants
From the Jurassic Age!

To Obama’s second inning,
He’ll drive home another run!
Norma Rae let sisters sing,
Rosa Parks let freedom ring!
For Obama’s just beginning,
Yes! The West Wing WILL be won!

AND we’ll get the Dream Act DONE!

My place is here, I vote with you!
One Term More!
Emboldened by Star-Spangled myth,
We want a JEDI…NOT a SITH!!!

Petty partisan obstruction’s
Why we’ve gridlock on the Hill!
One Term More!
Healthcare is a right,
Medicare’s a must,
Don’t let rogue Republicans
Betray that trust!

Speaking of betrayal,
Bullied by his peers,
Tackled to the ground,
Screams turned into tears.

Hunting down the queer,
Cutting off his hair,
SPIKED the ball, yet… “Can’t
Recall” if he was there???

It’s his character we question!

Mom, apple pie & Chevrolet,
Don’t let ‘em down Election Day!

That’s when we will determine
What our God in Heaven has in store!

ONE MORE TERM!

OTRA VEZ!
(One More Time!)

ONE TERM MORE!!!

 

I was looking at my editorial cartoon set from last January 15th…

Take a look here:

https://underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/cartoons-of-the-week-shouldnt-congress-fight-the-nra-instead-of-the-president/

A sample:

5 Democrats joined Republicans to vote against Obamacare yesterday…

Perhaps you are wondering why. I know I am… but most of all I wonder why Democrats nominate or vote for these scumbags.

Sahil Kapur has written a great identification of these guys and an analysis in Talking Points Memo. Here it is:

 

Five Democrats broke with their party to join (Republicans), two more than last year’s repeal vote. All five represent Republican-leaning districts. All five were among 39 Democrats to vote against final passage of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010. The three who are seeking re-election are politically vulnerable and face tough Republican challengers.

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT)

Matheson, a Blue Dog serving since 2001, voted against the GOP’s repeal effort last year. He flipped this time around to realign with Republicans against Obama’s signature law.

“I have voted against the health care bill at every opportunity in the legislative process,” Matheson said in a statement about his vote. “Plain and simple, the bill is a flawed effort that fails to address the critical issue of rising health costs.”

According to the Cook Political Report, Matheson represents the most Republican district of any Democratic incumbent. He faces tea party favorite and Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love in November, whom he led by 8 points in a recent poll.

Rep. Larry Kissell (D-NC)

Kissell, a second-term congressman, voted against the Republican repeal legislation last year. But he has been careful not to align himself with Obama, refusing to endorse his reelection bid. Kissell has broken with his party on multiple occasions, including on holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt.

Kissell narrowly won reelection in 2010 and redistricting has made his district more conservative. He faces the winner of an upcoming Republican run-off election between Richard Hudson, a former congressional staffer, and Scott Keadle, a state county commissioner.

Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC)

McIntyre, a Blue Dog who has represented rural North Carolina since 1997, joined Republicans last year to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. How conservative is his district? Here’s a hint: He has refused to endorse President Obama for reelection.

McIntyre’s opponent in November, state Sen. David Rouzer, is seeking to tie him to his party leaders. “He’s walked in lock step with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi,” Rouzer told Roll Call in May.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR)

Ross, a congressman since 2001 who serves as co-chair of the increasingly extinct Blue Dog Caucus, was an early Democratic opponent of the law and has consistently positioned himself it. He joined Republicans to vote to repeal it last year.

Ross has sought to make himself amenable to his mostly conservative constituents by aligning against Obama and Democrats on numerous issues.

He’s retiring at the end of his term.

Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK)

Boren, a Blue Dog who has served Oklahoma since 2005, last year voted with Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He has gone to great lengths to distinguish himself from Democrats, including by cosponsoring anti-abortion legislation and voting for a hard-right measure calling for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

He’s not seeking reelection this November.

It’s time, I think, to send the Blue Dogs to the pound. I don’t care if you are in a conservative district. Part of the job is educating the voting public… and giving them information on legislation that is not based on lies…and which actually serves to their advantage. That is, of course, unless the majority of voters in their districts are in the top 1%. Do you think that’s possible?

How many Americans actually watch (or listen to) the News?

For instance, with all that has been said in relationship to the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, wouldn’t it be really disappointing to know that almost half of all Americans were in the dark about the decision?

Or maybe it would be frightening. These are people that vote.

A new Pew Research poll finds that 45% of Americans either didn’t know what the Supreme Court had decided with regards to President Obama’s health care law (30%) or thought that the Supreme Court had overturned the law (15%).

My guess is that the same number of Americans know exactly who Kim Kardashian is dating.

Making fun of CNN announcing that Obamacare was struck down…

 

This, of course, is based on another large media mistake:

 

We needed a good laugh for the evening.

Decision is in… for the most part Obama has triumphed.

From the Financial Times:

US Supreme Court upholds bulk of ‘ObamaCare’

The US Supreme Court has left Barack Obama’s healthcare law broadly intact but ruled that an element of the law was not valid, handing the president a political victory.


In decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the majority of justices ruled that the individual mandate that compelled every American to buy insurance was not valid under the commerce clause of the Constitution. But they also ruled that the financial penalty outlined in the law against people who did not buy insurance was allowed. In effect, it means that the high court agreed with critics who said the mandate as written was unconstitutional, but that the implementation of the law will proceed much as it would have if the law had been completely upheld.


The mandate can now be enforced as a tax.

So the Mandate is unconstitutional, but it still may be applied with a different definition. This, of course, means Congress has to create the tax and the forthcoming conflict will be in this area.

Today is the day the Supreme Court weighs in on Obamacare…

The news media is waiting with baited breath for the decision of the SCOTUS which is due today on the President’s health care plan. So many questions are waiting to be answered:

1. Will the Court’s decision be primarily political?

2. Who will suffer the most if it is overturned?:

– Young people under 26 years old who are able to be on their parents’ health care plan, who could lose that  advantage unless the insurance company itself allows it.

– Protection for sick patients who can lose their coverage due to a mistake in paperwork.

– People in southern states who have the least amount of state-mandated protection on their health insurance as opposed to more progressive states.

– Women will not be able to get free birth control (this is Planned Parenthood‘s major worry.)

– The risk of coverage will increase immensely for insurance companies who will not be as supportive of the users and more supportive of themselves.

3. Will the Court separate the Mandate (the requirement that everyone have insurance) from the rest of the law?

So we await the decision which will be written by Justice Roberts and see if they use it as the standard  anti-Democrat response the court has made since putting George W. Bush into office.

 

Hey, Mitt: A majority of Americans want to keep the Health care Law!

New Bloomberg poll results show a plurality of Americans, 43 percent, say they want to retain the 2010 law with only small modifications, while 15 percent say the measure should be left alone, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. That’s 58 % for keepers! Only 33% say it should be repealed.

Next week the Supreme Court is expected to rule “on the constitutionality of the law, the centerpiece of which is the mandate that most Americans buy insurance or pay a fine.”

Do you suppose the Court pays attention to people, or to Republican campaign rhetoric?

Judy Woodruff interviews Sen. McCain on the money the Citizens Union decision has brought into the fray…

Here’s part of the interview:

JUDY WOODRUFF: But in the wake of the Supreme Court decision Citizens United, we are seeing enormous sums of money going into this campaign, to the campaigns themselves, to outside supporters.

Is this — is it just inevitable that we’re now in a period where money is going to be playing this dominant role in American politics?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: I’m afraid, at least for the time being, that’s going to be the case, because of the most misguided, naive, uninformed, egregious decision of the United States Supreme Court I think in the 21st century.

To somehow view money as not having an effect on election, a corrupting effect on election, flies in the face of reality. I just wish one of them had run for county sheriff. So what we are. . .

JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean one of the justices?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: One of the five Supreme Court justices that voted to invalidate what we know of as McCain-Feingold.

Bom-pa-da-bom! So not all Conservative Republicans are married to the five reactionaries on the Supreme Court. Maybe there is a future after all.

Go over to Crooks and Liars and see the whole, revealing interview.

Relating fiction to fact: Something to make you think.

Found at The Bottom Line:

And if corporations came and did the same thing?

This isn’t science fiction… it’s contemporary fact.

A Democrat and a Republican want the Supreme Court to revisit “Citizens United”

This Press Release went out from Senator Whitehouse’s office on Friday:

U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and John McCain (R-AZ) today filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court that details the explosion of anonymous political spending since the Citizens United decision.  The brief was filed in a case regarding a Montana law that bars corporations from funding election ads.  The case presents the opportunity for the Court to clarify the authority of Congress and state legislatures to address the threat of corruption posed by this spending.

“We are deeply concerned about the rise of unlimited, anonymous money now flooding our elections,” Whitehouse and McCain said in a joint statement.  “This unregulated and unaccountable spending invites corruption into our political process, and undermines our democracy.  We urge the Supreme Court to make clear that legislatures can take appropriate actions against corrupting influences in campaigns.”

The Senators’ brief, filed in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, asks the Court to deny a petition to review a Montana Supreme Court decision which held that the Montana legislature’s ban on corporate election spending was still constitutional following Citizens United.  Failing that, the brief asks the Court to give the Montana case a full review in light of the flood of anonymous money that has entered political campaigns since Citizens United.

The brief urges the court to “revisit Citizens United’s finding that vast independent expenditures do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,” arguing that rules requiring donor disclosure and prohibiting outside groups from coordinating with campaigns have been evaded and manipulated by politically-active groups and individuals.  The brief chronicles the extensive coordination that takes place between campaigns and super PACs, and the means of “identity-laundering” that allow secret donors to hide their activity.  The legislators conclude that “the campaign finance system assumed by Citizens United is no longer a reality, if it ever was.”

The Senators have both been leading advocates on campaign finance issues.  McCain was a co-author of the landmark Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, or “McCain-Feingold,” which limited corporate expenditures on political ads, and which was partially struck down by Citizens United.  Whitehouse has introduced legislation this year that would require enhanced disclosure of spending on political ads.

_________

This is something all Americans from all political backgrounds should get behind… unless you want 8 or 9 rich guys putting out whatever crap they want to sway elections. The Supreme Court stuck us with this in “Citizens United” and it is their responsibility to bring back the basics of democracy (and let’s stop pretending Corporations are citizens.)

Do you know what Romney is planning with Robert Bork?

How would you like a Supreme Court and other Federal Courts to have their appointees selected by Robert Bork? Remember Robert Bork… the Supreme Court Nominee who was rejected by Congress and has been grousing about it ever since.

The following article will make your skin crawl:

Borking America

WHAT ROBERT BORK WILL MEAN FOR THE SUPREME COURT AND AMERICAN JUSTICE
By Jamie Raskin, Senior Fellow, People For The American Way

YES, AMERICA, ROBERT BORK IS BACK

Many presidents leave their most enduring legacy to the nation in the Justices that they name to the Supreme Court and the federal judges that they put on the bench. So what inspired former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to name former judge Robert Bork to co-chair his presidential campaign advisory committee on law, the Constitution and the judiciary?

Read the rest HERE.

Author cred:

Jamie Raskin is a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law, a Maryland State Senator, and a Senior Fellow at People for the American Way. He wrote this report while teaching at Yale Law School in the fall of 2011 and wishes to thank both the Yale Law School Library and the Washington College of Law Library for their assistance.

Clarence Thomas vs. Ethics

Attorneys General in 11 States call on Congress to reverse Citizens United decision.

Yesterday, 11 state attorneys general sent a letter to Congress requesting a constitutional amendment which would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

This section of the letter gives the historic background that SCOTUS eliminated:

The case overturned elements of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (also known as the “McCain-Feingold Act” or “BCRA”) pertaining to the corporate financing of electioneering communications in the run-up to primary and general elections. The Supreme Court ruled that these restrictions on corporate political spending violated the First Amendment’s free speech protections, thereby allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.
In effect, the Citizens United decision overturned a century of jurisprudence, dating back to the Tillman Act of 1907, which supported Congressional authority to restrict corporate political spending on federal elections. With respect to the BCRA, the decision directly overrules key provisions of McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, 540 U.S. 93 (2003), which upheld the BCRA provisions that prevented direct expenditures by corporate entities on electioneering communications. Importantly, Citizens United kept intact other critical rulings in McConnell regarding disclosure requirements. However, by its decision the Court gave corporations the same rights under the First Amendment as individuals, and thereby severely limited Congress’s power to regulate corporate political spending and invalidated bipartisan, democratically-enacted restrictions on corporate behavior.

Hopefully this brings a start to an action which will eventually eliminate the Super Pacs and bring our elections back to the majority voters.

Hopefully, this won’t become a political volley between Republicans and Democrats.

Hopefully.

The reason I like E. J. Dionne:

Some excerpts on his commentary on the Supreme Court vs. the Health Care legislation:

Three days of Supreme Court arguments over the health-care law demonstrated for all to see that conservative justices are prepared to act as an alternative legislature, diving deeply into policy details as if they were members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Senator, excuse me, Justice Samuel Alito quoted Congressional Budget Office figures on Tuesday to talk about the insurance costs of the young. On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts sounded like the House whip in discussing whether parts of the law could stand if other parts fell. He noted that without various provisions, Congress “wouldn’t have been able to put together, cobble together, the votes to get it through.” Tell me again, was this a courtroom or a lobbyist’s office?

It fell to the court’s liberals — the so-called “judicial activists,” remember? — to remind their conservative brethren that legislative power is supposed to rest in our government’s elected branches.

The irony is that if the court’s conservatives overthrow the mandate, they will hasten the arrival of a more government-heavy system. Justice Anthony Kennedy even hinted that it might be more “honest” if government simply used “the tax power to raise revenue and to just have a national health service, single-payer.” Remember those words.

…a court that gave us Bush vs. Gore and Citizens United will prove conclusively that it sees no limits on its power, no need to defer to those elected to make our laws. A Supreme Court that is supposed to give us justice will instead deliver ideology.

See what I mean. Clear and concise with an ability to combine seriousness with humor. After all, we have to live with this stuff.

Read the whole column HERE.

Supreme Court Prediction from a former Scalia clerk:

“Scalia is a very likely vote against the mandate, and I’d say there is a 65% chance the five conservatives strike it down.”

-Brian Fitzpatrick, a professor at Vanderbilt University Law School

Not looking good for Obamacare. The Court seems to be getting politically active again.

Obama Campaign changes the focus on “Obamacare” – It’s a POSITIVE label

According to Reuters:

President Barack Obama’s campaign has embraced the term “Obamacare,” seeking to turn the negative name Republicans assigned to his healthcare reform effort into a positive branding tool just as the Supreme Court studies the law’s constitutionality.

“Happy birthday, Obamacare,” Jim Messina, the president’s campaign manager, wrote in an email to supporters last week to note the anniversary of the reform becoming law.

“If you’re tired of the other side throwing around that word like it’s an insult, then join me in sending a message that we’re proud of it,” he wrote.

While it may be a little late in getting around to this strategy, there’s a good chance it can work To help promote it, the Obama campaign  is reaching out with promoti0nal products:

T-shirts that say “I like Obamacare” are available on the campaign’s website for $35.

Buttons with the same message go for $5.

I expect to be seeing these around soon… perhaps on me.

Today the Supreme Court gets back to the Health Care Bill’s Constitutionality…

C-Span 3 has them scheduled to be on the air at 1:00 PM… I don’t know if that’s live or a replay, but it will cover the next stage of their discussions.Today is the second day of hearings (tomorrow is the third and last), with the justices moving from the technicalities of the first day to exploring the legal issues at the heart of whether the law is constitutional or not.

Most of the commentators I’ve heard in the last two days think the 22 Republican challengers (3 state governors, the rest Republican Attorneys General) will not get the law declared unconstitutional. If that is the case, any move to change or eliminate it goes back to Congress.

From 1992 to the near present, it was the Republicans who were pushing mor the Individual Mandate that everyone be required to have Health Insurance. It was only when Obama pushed it in his ACA bill that they came put against it. This is why it seems political more than nationally useful.

Anyway, I’ll be listening to the Court… so more later.

Oral Argument on Health Care begins before the Supreme Court

I’ve been sitting watching C-Span 3 which is replaying the arguments today (the beginning of six hours of arguments over three days) – Today they debated whether the Healthcare Law includes a tax and, if so, does the Supreme Court have the jurisdiction to decide the case.

Reuters did a summary of the morning’s session:

LEGAL QUESTION: Whether a challenge to the new requirement that most people in the U.S. buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty must wait until the penalty is due and a refund is sought. This provision of the law is known as the “individual mandate.” A central issue is whether the court should regard this as a general “penalty” or as a “tax” that would be covered by a U.S. tax law known as the Anti-Injunction Act, premised on the notion of “pay first, litigate later.”

* WHO ARGUED: Robert Long, of Covington and Burling, appointed by the court to argue that tax policy should apply and delay the case; Donald Verrilli, who as U.S. solicitor general is the government’s chief courtroom lawyer, and Gregory Katsas of Jones Day, who joined the government’s argument.

* THE HIGHLIGHTS INSIDE: A majority of justices across the ideological spectrum suggested by their questions that federal tax law would be no barrier to reaching the core question of whether Congress had the power to require people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

* INSIDE THE COURTROOM: Justice Clarence Thomas did not ask any questions during the session, his usual style during oral arguments. He last asked a question on Feb. 22, 2006, during arguments in a death penalty case. Among the spectators who got one of the coveted seats inside courtroom with the white marble columns and red velvet drapes were: Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; Attorney General Eric Holder; outspoken critic of the law Alabama Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions; and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has led the challenge by the 26 states.

* THE LOWDOWN OUTSIDE: Hundreds of supporters and protesters dueled on the sidewalk chanting and marching with signs declaring their feelings about the law.

* THE DAY’S QUOTE “FOR”: Kathie McClure, an Atlanta attorney, said the law has allowed her children, who suffer from epilepsy and diabetes and are now in their 20s, to get health insurance that they otherwise would not have had. McClure was first in line for a public seat ahead of Tuesday’s second day of arguments and has been camped out since Friday. “This is personal for me. This is about my children’s’ future. But it’s really also about all the other millions of people in America who are in their same situation. In America we spend a boatload of money, trillions of dollars, and still we have a very poor outcome for our people,” McClure said.

* THE DAY’S QUOTE “AGAINST”: Sally Oljar, from Seattle, said it defies the U.S. Constitution ,o force Americans to buy anything. “I’d like to think that the Supreme Court supports the Constitution. … If they don’t, then there are a lot of us who are ready to go to jail. The day hasn’t come when the government can force me to buy a damn thing,” she said.

* UP NEXT: Tuesday is the main event of the three days when the justices will hear arguments on whether Congress, in requiring that most people in the U.S. buy insurance by 2014, exceeded its power to regulate interstate commerce.

The Supreme Court has posted the audio and transcript of the arguments on its website, here, and C-Span 3 will probably replay the session this afternoon and this evening (check listings.)

What if…..?

When I look at the political cesspool we are currently splashing around in… a Republican House that follows a number one rule to let nothing Obama proposes pass… a Senate where the 60 vote rule can hold up absolutely everything, whether there is a simple majority or not… a president who has tried to get along with both faces of the political Janus, ending with nothing… a supreme court that has wed itself to the concept of corporate personhood… when I look at all of this I think “What if the Republicans win in 2012?”

In a sense, the Occupy Wall Street (and other places) demonstrators are asking the same question… with the added codicil “What do we do about it?”

I’m not sure that, beyond joining them in the street, there is anything that can be done that would make an instant change. If the government becomes entirely Republican in 2012, the corporate takeover of all America will be fulfilled. The hopes of democracy will fade away and will have a very hard time reappearing.

 

This article was passed on to me…

…from Clyde Kusatsu via Ted Czukor.  It is an interesting, non-partisan view of how our country is shriveling into desperation. I post it here intact:

Subject: INTERESTING INFO

Bad news, but very interesting.   I don’t know where the facts are from, but unfortunately they all look very true.

1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably noway to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2.  The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book. You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages.. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can’t wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you’re holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service.. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.

6. Music. This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalog items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, “Appetite for Self-Destruction” by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, “Before the Music Dies.”

7. Television. Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It’s time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The “Things” That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud services.” That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.
In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9.  Privacy.  If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And “They” will try to get you to buy something else.. Again and again.
All we will have that can’t be changed are Memories.

10. Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind
The United States is rapidly becoming the very first “post-industrial” nation on the globe.  All great economic empires eventually become fat and lazy and squander the great wealth that their forefathers have left them, but the pace at which America is accomplishing this is absolutely amazing.  It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution.  It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from automobiles to televisions to airplanes.  It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II.  

But now we are witnessing the deindustrialization of America .. Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone.  Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period.  The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little.  Do you know what our biggest export is today?  Waste paper.  Yes, trash is the number one thing that we ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money on whatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us.  The United States has become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now just a shadow of what it once was.  Once upon a time America could literally out produce the rest of the world combined.  Today that is no longer true, but Americans sure do consume more than anyone else in the world.  If the de-industrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of a future are we going to be leaving to our children?

Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things.  So if the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a staggering pace how in the world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to be a great nation?  We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable.  Every single month America    goes into more debt and every single month America gets poorer.

So what happens when the debt bubble pops?

The de-industrialization of the United States should be a top concern for every man, woman and child in the country.  But sadly,most Americans do not have any idea what is going on around them.

For people like that, take this article and print it out and hand it to them.  Perhaps what they will read below will shock them badly enough to awaken them from their slumber.    

The following are 19 facts about the de-industrialization of America that will blow your mind….

#1 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.  About 75 percent of those factories employed over 500 people when they were still in operation.

#2 Dell Inc., one of Americas largest manufacturers of computers, has announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an investment of over $100 billion over the next decade.

#3 Dell has announced that it will be closing its last large U.S. manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem , North Carolina in November.  Approximately 900 jobs will be lost.

#4 In 2008, 1.2 billion cell phones were sold worldwide.  So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States ?  Zero.

#5 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

#6 As of the end of July, the U. S. Trade deficit with China has risen 18 percent compared to the same time period a year ago.

#7 The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since October 2000.

#8 According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to 10.1 million.  During that exact same time period, U..S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

#9 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.

#10 Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul , Minnesota . Approximately 750 good paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in Minnesota does not fit in with Ford’s new “global” manufacturing strategy.

#11 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.  The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

#12 In the United States today, consumption accounts for 70 percent of GDP. Of this 70 percent, over half is spent on services.

#13 The United States has lost a whopping 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#14 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use.  Today it ranks 15th.

#15 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#16 Printed circuit boards are used in tens of thousands of different products.   Asia now produces 84 percent of them worldwide.

#17 The United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States .

#18 One prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#19 The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in the 51 years that records have been kept.

So how many tens of thousands more factories do we need to lose before we do something about it?

How many millions more Americans are going to become unemployed before we all admit that we have a very, very serious problem on our hands?

How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we realize that we are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy?

How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide?

The de-industrialization of America is a national crisis.  It needs to be treated like one.

If you disagree with this article, I have a direct challenge for you.  If anyone can explain how a de-industrialized America has any kind of viable economic future, please do so.

America is in deep, deep trouble folks.  It is time to wake up!!

=

STUART WOLKOFF
45306 PUTTERS LANE
GRAND BEACH, MI. 49117 (MAY-OCT)
18532 N. 94TH. ST.
SCOTTSDALE AZ. 85255 (OCT.-MAY)

312-543-6174 – MOBILE

SMWOLKOFF@GMAIL.COM
STUART41@COMCAST.NET

I hope Mr. Wolkoff spurs folks on to doing something… but I really don’t see what is possible. When politics is about saving the rights of the wealthy while not giving jobs to the poor, we have little or no chance to get out of the downward spiral.

_______

Note: I was just informed by Stuart that this piece was by an Anonymous friend who didn’t want his name given out.

Another program on Civics and Social Education

While driving to Martinsburg today I was listening to the Midday Show on Maryland Public Radio and the discussion was on Civics and how it is taught in schools. Essentially the same topic Elly and I went to hear Richard Dreyfus speak about the other night.

This program focused more on the teaching of Social Studies in grade and high schools and how it is rapidly disappearing as we turn our education programs into nothing but verbal and math tests do to the badly named “No Child Left Behind Act” that Bush left us with.

Among the statistics covered today, from a very large National survey of students:

• 30% do not know the three branches of our government

• no children questioned knew the number of Supreme Court Judges

• a large percentage said Iraq caused the fall of the twin towers.

There are indications that kids don’t read newspapers… don’t watch the news… and even if they did, they have no backup knowledge to interpret it. The odds of them become active voters is very low (they also come from families with a 30% or so national rating of being voters).

Some school boards are trying to solve this problem with tying social information with English reading. Other programs to reinstate Social Studies in schools have some state support in places. Since this was Maryland Public Radio, they focused on Maryland’s state competition in civics and social studies which some school districts participate in (one school in Howard County achieving the highest score in the country based on all state tests.)

A caller to the show, a Turkish born man who had become an American Citizen, spoke of the hundred questions his group had to know the answers to (only a random half dozen were given on the test, but not knowing which half dozen made him learn the whole list). Needless to say, many of these would not be in the knowledge banks of many contemporary school children… or their parents.

When we start getting upset with the Corporate take-over of much of our governing bodies, or worry about Candidates who confuse religious belief with politics or don’t know much about American History, we probably can blame ourselves for becoming less and less civil. Our political parties do not create politicians that discuss their points of view and compromise to benefit the whole population (as they did from George Washington’s government right up to Ronald Reagan’s when everything started fracturing from right to left)… they are not grounded in civility, but in total winning no matter what the cost.

If this doesn’t change, we can look forward to a very dim future and very little to hold our Nation together.

FCC has to change its rules, says Federal court…

I  just received this letter from Craig Aaron at FreePress.net and I pass it on to you. An important action has occurred:

Today, in a sweeping victory for communities across the country, a federal appeals court overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to weaken media ownership rules.

Had these rules gone into effect, it would have unleashed a new wave of media consolidation across the country.

In 2007, the FCC ignored letters and calls from millions of Americans and tried to rewrite its media ownership rules to let companies own both newspapers and TV or radio stations in the same town. This change would have opened the floodgates to new media mergers, leading to even more layoffs in newsrooms while thinning out diverse perspectives from local news.

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...

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We sued the FCC for ignoring the public outcry. Today, we won. The court tossed out the FCC’s flawed rules, but also upheld all other media consolidation restrictions and told the FCC it needed to do better to support and foster diverse voices in the media – all crucial decisions for our fight to build better media.

This isn’t just our victory – it’s your victory, too.

The court pointed to public comments from people like you as deciding factor in overturning the FCC’s attempt to change its rules. Today it’s clear: Your voice and actions make a huge difference.

This court decision should send a wake-up call to the FCC: It must listen to the public and stand up against media consolidation in all its forms.

But the fight doesn’t end here. Right now around the country, local stations are using loopholes and backroom deals to get around media ownership rules and consolidate their coverage of local news. This court case makes clear that the FCC needs to strengthen their rules and address this growing epidemic as well. Click here to tell the FCC to stop this covert media consolidation.

Today’s victory is a big moment for the movement to build better media. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Onward,

Craig Aaron
President & CEO
Free Press

P.S. – We need your help sustaining our efforts. In court, at the FCC and in Congress we’re up against huge companies with lots of money and lawyers. We don’t take money from government, political parties or businesses – so we depend on you. Help us fight the next media ownership fight. Please donate today.

P.P.S. – Read more about the details and background of today’s big decision.

Don’t fool yourself, however. You and I both know what the big corporations trying to get complete control of the web will do: they’ll bring it to the corporation-loving Supreme Court. The FreePress.net folks are going to have lots of work ahead of them.

I urge you to give them your support.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – English Grammar Categories

Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Metaphor: America goes up in smoke…

– and –

Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:

Possessives: Do corporations own the courts?

– and –

Mike Judge in the Kansas City Star:

Present Perfect Continuous: A Boon to the Coat Hanger Industry.

– and –

Stuart Carlson of Universal Uclick Cartoons:

Compound Nouns: Things are so simple…

– and –

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Simile: Blind as a Bat.