Category Archives: politics

Who’s taking money from payday lenders?

These Senators and HoR members are on the take from payday lenders.

They have taken these “legal bribes” and you should know if any of them are representing you.

This list is [unsurprisingly] dominated by Republicans, but if you have been paying attention, as you should, you probably expect that.

Senators on the list are:

  1. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  2. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
  3. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
  4. Tim Scott (R-SC)

Representatives are:

  1. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
  2. Will Hurd (R-TX)
  3. Blain Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
  4. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
  5. Steve Pearce (R-MN)
  6. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)
  7. Ed Royce (R-CA)
  8. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
  9. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
  10. Kevin Yoder (R-KS)
  11. Mick Mulvaney (former Rep. now “acting director” of the CFPB)

There are (2) disappointments on the Democratic side and they deserve attention too.

They are:

  1. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
  2. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)

A note: this is only a partial list, however,

  1. Most of them have Twitter accounts and can be reached there (search) or by phone, email, snail mail (Google them) and you can also visit their regional offices if you desire to speak to them in person.

Contact them and let them know that voting to dismantle the CFPB is not in your best interest and remind them that they work for you.

 

Trump, a week to remember (regret?)

This has been a year a lot of us would like to forget.

Let’s take a look at the week of January 20 through January 27, 2017….

  1. The inauguration crowd that he bragged was the biggest ever (it wasn’t, it was only about one half of the crowd size of Barack Obama’s in 2009) was the first lie that will have to be recorded in the annals of history. In his inaugural address Trump said, and I quote, “This American carnage stops right here and right now”….. funny thing is, crime has been on the decline for the last 25 years. A FACT that he would now classify as “fake news”.
  2. The firing of Sally Yates because she wouldn’t bow down to him (mainly) and the warning of her, former President Obama and others about Flynn and his connections that are suspicious at best and criminal on their face in, what later will become obvious. White House counsel, Donald McGahn remains clueless.
  3. His first attempt at a Muslim ban from seven Middle Eastern countries that have not killed a single American (while allowing other countries in that region that have actually killed Americans to be exempt)… That triggered protests in airports in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle because of this hypocrisy, (even some with valid “green cards” were banned).
  4. The result of which causes his low approval rating (less than 35%) and it makes him the fastest president (a term I regret I am forced to use) to ever reach such lows.
  5. One thing he did do was get an unfit person, Neil Gorsuch, appointed, with the help of a Republican majority, to the SCOTUS. There’ll be more on this in the coming year as the 2018 court session begins since there are many controversial decisions on the docket.
  6. Then there are his worst excesses. Rewriting immigration laws. Building a ridiculous and unneeded wall on the U.S./Mexico border. And last but not least, his budding but about to be excessive attacks on the Freedom of the Press.                        That is all for now, but his first week was certainly a preview of what we now can see was to come. Not good.

The NAACP is concerned and so am I

In what alternate universe do for profit charter schools make sense?

The only answer I got was, NONE!

One concern that I have is from a statement that (boy, this is hard to say) Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos made to the effect that vouchers to charter schools is a good way to put “god” back into education. She doesn’t respect our secular laws as to the separation of church and state and IMHO she is unfit to “serve” in that capacity.

I’ll leave the explaining to this article written for Education Votes. Be informed, not just opinionated. Click on the article….

http://educationvotes.nea.org/2017/07/26/naacp-seeks-ban-profit-charter-schools-increase-local-control/?utm_source=EdVotes&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=072917EdVotesEmail&utm_content=NAACPCharters

A dear John letter to John Deere

This is a little known trend that has already started and will be nearly impossible to eradicate unless arrested soon.

For hundreds of years the American farmer, car buffs, emerging engineers and others have been know to tinker with a thing or two. You know, the American way?

Those days may be numbered…..

What I am referring to is a little known [ALEC influenced] law you won’t likely see mentioned on mainstream media and will certainly will not hear about from the lawmakers that passed it, or any lawmakers for that matter.

I’m talking about what is called “repair prevention” and it’s being pushed by major manufacturers. It’s an attempt to corporatize the idea of ownership.

Today a lot of the manufactured goods you buy contain software, from a beard trimmer to a bulldozer. When you buy an item it should be yours to do with as you please and that should include the right to “fix” the thing you own, as we have done in the past.

Then comes this…. Maybe you’ve signed one yourself….. it’s called an “End User License Agreement”, or EULA. This agreement you signed has buried in the “find print” is a clause that forbids anyone from attempting, or doing, repairs or alterations to it.

John Deere has a doozy of a EULA…

More about it here:

Without going any further into this now, I suggest you click on the links provided and I will update this as new information becomes available.

Meanwhile, if you own an Apple cell phone 6 or later, do not attempt to fix it without taking it to a licensed Apple outlet. If you do you may end up with a locked device with “Error 53” on the display and at that point it’s value is only as a paperweight.

 

On the Wings of the Night

Look what they’re doing (somewhat) covertly hoping you won’t notice.

While the main distraction was being perpetuated, see what your new (cough) president and his fascist, racist, bigoted cronies were up to……

When they thought that no one would notice……. too much, this is a list (that’s probably not 100% complete) of things introduced in the House of Representatives:

  1. HR 861- Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
  2. HR 610- Vouchers for Public Education
  3. HR 899- Terminate the Department of Education
  4. HJR 69- Repeal rule Protecting Wildlife
  5. HR 370- Repeal the Affordable Care Act
  6. HR 354- De-fund Planned Parenthood
  7. HR 785- National Right to Work law (this one would effectively end all unions)
  8. HR 83-   Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities
  9. HR 147- Criminalizing Abortion (Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act)
  10. HR 808- Sanctions against Iran

I have never seen, or ever thought I’d see, such dysfunction and deceit in the elected officials in this country.


I guess I should have known when Sarah Palin emerged and took ignorance to new lofty heights in politics.


Then I became aware of the likes of dumb shit Michele Bachmann and Joni Ernst and realized that we had entered some form of alternate intelligence…… I mean when I was younger and didn’t pay as much attention to politics as I do now, I at least knew that even if someone was on the other side of an issue, that there was a bit of decorum politely extended and rational, civilized discussions would take place. Oh well…


Now I’m nearly ready to jump ship and swim until I die bcause the grip these semi-literate hate mongers have on the true illiterate hate mongers is, in my estimation beyond the point of no return.


Having said that…….I’ll be back!!!

I have been silent but……..

There is something I need to say.

We are all one race, the human race.


The problem is that there are too many delusional assholes that think they know something, that it is impossible to know, and they falsely think there is a some flying dirty minded monster (who they claim, says in a book of ancient fairy tales) that you actually are required to cut off part of you penis, and that is what’s best.


Whoa!!!!


This he/she/it they think that controls our known universe, (I think it’s about time IT got rid of those nasty black holes, quasars, super novas, radiation, not only from our only one light and energy source [the sun], but from the whole universe)……there are gamma rays, galaxies that crash into each other and all the other bad things that make this universe the most violent thing ever, real or imagined.


We are fucking lucky to have a small oasis in, this most violent mass of dark matter, gas, exploding stars and other things that are out to annihilate life as we know it, and they would like to tell you how you must live this one (once again very unlikely) life that we have?


I hate religion. It is the true root of all evil.


The next thing that (I desperately need to vent) is the that we are forced to, and destined to, (since there are too many people on this tiny rock), live under the rule of some form of government.


In America we are now faced with the most critical election in our lives (short, in evolutionary terms) and they are trying to trick us into thinking that a narcissistic, racist, bigoted, sociopath is the person that will, not only improve the lives of millions in America, but will make, not only this country, (America, in case you are ADD) but the world a better, safer, more equal place????


I digress……


I’ll just say that anyone that would cast a vote for Donald Trump is not working from a position of reality, but is as delusional as adults these with imaginary “friends”.


After the DNC cheated Bernie Sanders out of the nomination, that he (I believe and I have many others that think the same) won by a virtual landslide, and installed queen Hillary as the “preferred” candidate, this fact remains, there are too many people (including myself) who find Hillary Clinton repulsive for mostly MSM’s irrational “reasons” and yet we are willing to risk everything that we as a compassionate and (sometimes) caring people have gained in the last 150 years and throw all progress away????


That we will knowingly throw rational thinking to the wind as a form of protest and end up with a government that is totally controlled by the 1% at the cost of the 99%?


That makes me want to puke.


Vote blue all the way, democrats may not be perfect (who is?), but the republiKKKans are insane.


Donald Trump is the proof…..

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When is the Gun Violence Enough to Enact Some Real Changes?

Another mass killing in Orlando and yet some want to pass the blame away from guns and towards terrorism.

Another mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, and once again we have the pundits on Fox (is not) News going on TV and repeatedly spouting the lie that this is NOT about guns, it’s about terrorism. WTF?

Of course it’s about guns.

It’s about the ease in which one can obtain weapons that are designed to do only one thing, kill people.

It’s about knowing there are people that should never have any kind of gun, yet they can obtain any weapon they choose through gun shows and straw purchases or other means.

It’s about the attention (to a radical view be it a religious one or not) one person can attain, even though in many cases it’s posthumously, when using guns with the ability to kill dozens in a matter of seconds.

When are we going to have the balls to demand a change, to take measures to reduce this massacre?

Unless we are willing to face the fact that without some radical measures to limit the type of weapons that are legal to have, the amount of ammunition one person can legally possess, addressing the mental health issue or even the total confiscation of ALL privately owned guns, (don’t get your tidy whiteys in a bunch, that’s not what I am advocating here) there will be no change, or chance of any change.

I should go into the elected representatives, um, republican representatives that refuse to even pass one simple measure to make it harder to get any gun, won’t support a ban on assault type weapons, won’t close the loopholes that are used daily by people filled with hate and mental problems, but I believe I’ve said enough.

Oh, one more thing. Vote out all these idiots that refuse to do what a majority of Americans want and vote for those that will act on the will of the people and are willing to make these much needed changes.

Until that happens, get ready for another news flash about another mass shooting somewhere in America, maybe even in you own backyard.

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Have You Talked with Your Kids About Pledging Allegiance?

The original Pledge salute was eerily similar to the Nazi salute, so it was changed to hand-over-heart.

Are you a bad American if you refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Are you a bad parent if you encourage your child to opt out of the Pledge in school?

Not at all. In fact, sitting out the Pledge of Allegiance, and encouraging your children to do so as well, can be seen as an affirmation of certain important values that are sadly lacking in modern America. One could even argue that sitting out the Pledge is itself a noble act of patriotism – or, at least, that those who opt out are by no means any less patriotic than those who participate. (Note: the right to refuse participation in the Pledge has been guaranteed by the United States Supreme Court(link is external).)

It would be a mistake to assume that the Pledge of Allegiance is an exercise that somehow unites all good citizens. Most Americans – liberal, moderate, or conservative – are decent and loyal citizens who appreciate at some level the nation’s core values: freedom, equal rights, democracy, and the fundamental principles embedded in the Constitution. They may often disagree about how to define and apply those values, but that’s simply the nature of a pluralistic, open society. With such a diverse population and a wide range of viewpoints, it shouldn’t be surprising that many see little value in a pledge exercise.

At a minimum, parents should talk with their kids about the Pledge – about what it means, what it doesn’t mean, and even its history. For starters, kids should understand that the exercise is voluntary, because many schools don’t inform them of this. And whether individual children decide to participate or not, all kids should understand that nonparticipation is not unpatriotic or disrespectful in any way. The reverse side of the same coin would point out that participation doesn’t make one a patriot.

In fact, serious participation in the exercise might require a child to make affirmations that run contrary to a child’s core personal beliefs or matters of conscience – and this of course could be unhealthy and problematic. Some families may not believe that the nation is “under God,” for example, whereas others may not feel that we truly provide “liberty and justice for all.” Others may simply have objections to pledging to anything. Families grappling with such issues are part of the fabric of the nation, and they should be appreciated and supported, not criticized.

For any humanist family, and for many others as well, there are numerous issues relating to the Pledge that are worth discussing. A few of them would include:

The Loyalty Oath Problem. No matter how much you love your country, you could question the wisdom of any recitation that essentially amounts to a loyalty oath. To be good citizens, must we visibly and publicly pledge our allegiance? And must even childrendo so – on a daily basis? It’s interesting that the Founding Fathers never felt it desirable to promote such loyalty recitations from citizens. (In fact, the Pledge wasn’t even written until 1892(link is external), a full century after the founding era.) The framers, as men of reason with Enlightenment values, most likely would have been aghast at the idea of citizens being expected to regularly recite a loyalty pledge.

Promoting Nationalism. We can love our country while still being skeptical of nationalism. We can agree that America is a marvelous place, from sea to shining sea, and that the principles upon which it was founded are worthy of exaltation – but that doesn’t mean we should constantly encourage widespread feelings of nationalism. History shows that national pride (in America and elsewhere) can be overdone, that it can lead to militarism and a diminished appreciation of outsiders. Nationalism can be seen as a manifestation of the human tendency toward tribalism, and such “we-are-so-great” thinking is hardly an impulse that should be encouraged. Beyond our borders are fellow human beings whose worth and dignity should not be disregarded. As such, maybe we shouldn’t instill our children with a daily dose of national superiority.

Racist and sexist roots. Liberty and justice are fine values, but they are hardly a comprehensive statement of important American values. When Francis Bellamy, a socialist, originally wrote the Pledge in 1892, he considered including the values of equality and fraternity in the recitation, but he was discouraged from doing so. It seems that too many Americans – particularly those in leadership positions – were opposed to equality for women and African Americans, so inclusion of those values would have been too controversial. Thus, by excluding those values, the Pledge as it appears today reflects not-so-subtle invidious attitudes of racism and sexism – reason enough to pass on participating in it.

The ‘Under God’ Problem. Many Americans don’t even know that the “under God” wording was added to the Pledge in 1954, during the McCarthy era. Interestingly, in asurvey released this week(link is external) by the American Humanist Association, when Americans are informed about this history over one-third support removal of the words and a return to “one nation, individible.” Obviously, a statement that the nation is “under God” is contrary to the sincerely held beliefs of atheists, humanists, and other religious skeptics. That didn’t bother the Knights of Columbus(link is external) and other religious groups that lobbied for inclusion of the phrase, but it obviously bothers many nonbelievers The survey showed over 90 percent of atheists oppose the affirmation, as do more than one in five believers. As the Pledge currently reads, it defines patriotism by drawing a circle that excludes millions of atheists and humanists who of course are perfectly good citizens. That alone is reason for many to opt out.

The Rote Recitation Problem. In an age where critical thinking is hardly a widespread phenomenon, it’s hard to see how the act of reciting any pledge in unison with a large group does much good. Even if the Pledge of Allegiance were a perfect statement of national values – which it is not – it certainly isn’t a reflection of independent thinking. Group activities can indeed sometimes have value in an educational environment (reciting the alphabet, for example, or singing songs). But they are usually done for a short time – a few days, or perhaps a few weeks – until the lesson or the song is fully learned and appreciated, and then the class moves on to something else. However, a daily recitation of a pledge of national loyalty, for 13 years, is an indoctrination, not an education.

A Declaration of Independence. Just as participation in the Pledge exercise discourages independent thinking, nonparticipation is an act of independence. The nonparticipating student is making a statement of sorts – not a statement of disloyalty, but a statement that tells others that he/she will not be herded and given words to recite. The intelligent, independent thinker knows what her values are – and certainly does not need a dailygovernment-sponsored exercise to define them or instill them.

These are some of the reasons that good, decent Americans are sitting out the Pledge of Allegiance. Critics of nonparticipation might object, and they might even accuse nonparticipants of disloyalty. The late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, famous for witch hunts that, not coincidentally, were occurring as the Knights of Columbus was lobbying for insering “under God” into the Pledge in the early 1950s, would have called such nonparticipants disloyal and subversive. This, however, would prove my point. If those claiming to be the “real” patriots can accuse nonparticipants of disloyalty merely for opting out of a recitation, we have forgotten the meaning of patriotism. If anything, such accusations should encourage even more critical thinkers to opt out.

Humanists know that recitation of words does not make a patriot, nor does waiving a flag or putting a yellow magnet on one’s car. If you want to be a good American, talk is cheap – but there’s nothing unpatriotic about critical thinking and personal independence.

Follow on Twitter: @ahadave(link is external)

David Niose’s new book is coming out this fall. Preorder Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason