Just a thought as I was reading some information today about Monsanto.
First some numbers: 2011 Net Sales = $11-8 Billion
404 Facilities in 66 Countries on 6 Continents
282 Million Acres Globally covered with their products
40% of U.S. crop
$829,662 for Political Campaign Contributions 2000-2012
$62,356.730 For Lobbying form 2000-2012
I noticed that for the net sales in only one year (2011) of $11+ billion and putting aside facilities, acres covered and crops, that their PC contributions and the money spent on Lobbying seems to be quite miniscule.
Take the 13 total years of political campaign contributions and lobbying money and dividing it by an average yearly amount comes to: $63,820 for PC Contributions and $4,796,671 per year average for Lobbying.
That’s an amount, which subjected to average numbers per year, may or may not reflect what was spent in 2011 but it’s all the data I have here.
And to me the numbers just don’t add up when you realize how much actual influence Monsanto seems to have when it comes to GMO labeling, EPA regualtions that have been relaxed and how hard it is to make public accurate information on the products that are now, and have been in the past, damaging to our people, land and water.
Do you see what I see?
It seems a mealsy amount of influence pedaling to me when compared to 2011 net sales. There must be some other way they have to assure their dominance in a field where there is “competition” from Dow Chemical, Bayer Chemical Division and a host of other small companies.
I am going to offer an opinion here about how hard it is to get their attention and some answers about the products that they dispense with so much impunity.
Enter SCOTUS judge Clarance Thomas.
He was confirmed in 1990 after a tenous hearing process where it surfaced that he may have sexually harassed Anita Hill. In Hill’s words, from the confirmation hearings, Hill was called to testify at Thomas’s confirmation hearings. She testified that Thomas had subjected her to comments of a sexual nature, which she felt constituted sexual harassment or at least “behavior that is unbefitting an individual who will be a member of the Court.” Then he was approved anyway.
Before becoming a Supreme Court Judge he also served as an attorney for Monsanto in 1976-? and then he joined the Reagan Administration in 1981 as the administrator of the U.S.Department of Education, but that is beside the point.
The main point is that it appears to me, that along with his other 4 conservative cronies of the SCOTUS, that they may have been doing some legislative favors for Monsanto. With Thomas’ connection to that company I’m sure he still remains in contact with, and is even friends with some of the board members and executives. Hard to disappoint old friends…………..
I have no proof of any wrongdoing but the connection is and has been scrutinized for many years.
I just thought that maybe it was time to bring it all up again.
I believe that it’s time for another 8 years of the Democratic Party in the White House and in all state governorships too. It’s way past time the pendulum swung the other way as the conservatives are too willing to bend to the wishes of comapnies like Monsanto and other big business organizations.
The next approved SCOTUS members MUST be liberal as we can see that this conservative court cannot act according to our constitution and the will of the majority of Americans.
America needs to elect Bernie Sanders for president of the United States of America.
His consistency and steadfastness in his vision of what America needs has been and will remain as it has for over thirty years. He has never wavered from what that is and that is refreshing. He is just what this country needs in the White House.
But little can be done in a progressive way without a supporting congress to make it to happen, therefore, we must get the Democratic voters out in earnest to vote in 2016. Without a democratic congress to help, the possibility of addressing what is most needed in America cannot get done.
The thought of a republican in the White House with a supporting congress scares the hell out of me. Can you envision a fascist government with theocratic overtones?
My advise is this, the GOP clown car is overloaded with a lot of non-viable candidates right now, but by this time next year many of them will be gone, (perhaps even some in prison, where they belong) and the chaff that is left will, in my opinion, be Rand Paul, Scott Walker (his candidacy is the one that is most under the control of the Koch brothers and their billions, even though he also faces legal problems too) and dear old Jeb (the Nazi created dynasty) Bush.
Of these I think that Rand Paul has that best chance of getting the nomination for the GOP (Greedy Old Pricks) and his appeal to the younger voters I have been talking to, posesses a clear danger to our democracy.
These younger voters may be mesmerized by Paul’s stance on a few issues (I may even agree with him on some of them) that they are familiar with and these young people are (understandably) not as aware of the danger underneath, and that is that Paul sides too much with the general GOP agenda of NOT raising the minimum wage, NOT taking on the military industrial complex (is it ever), NOT securing universal healthcare for all, NOT improving our justice system so it is fairer for everyone, NOT getting rid of charter schools (that take public money for uncontrolled private schools), or private prisons (that are nothing more than modern day slavery), NOT canceling these so called religious freedom bills that are surfacing on an ongoing basis today, and possibly most importantly, NOT taking on the big oil companies and addressing the massive problem of climate change.
There will be a lot of things going on in the coming months but by late next summer the picture should be somewhat clearer. Until then, keep learning as much as you can about the policies of the candidates and what the whole picture of another GOP presidency would likely be.
In this writer’s humble opinion America’s democracy will not survive another republican in the White House and that is what scares me the most.
BY MICHELLE SIMMONS ON MAY 16, 2015
The National Rifle Association has become a liability to the safety of all Americans
I am a mother and this mom is pissed off. I have had enough of the gun control measures being voted down by Congress. There’s been enough domestic shootings, mass shootings, school shootings, police shootings, unintentional shootings involving children, and police officers getting shot. Recently, felons with illegal firearms have murdered officers in Idaho, Mississippi, and New York. Much of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of theNRA.
In 2013, of the 25 officers killed by gunfire, 50% of the shooters were individuals barred from owning a firearm. All were felons with prior convictions or mental health issues. Although most people assume these firearms are stolen, they are more often obtained through straw buyers or even more commonly, trafficked from states with lax background checks, either through the Internet and/or unlicensed gun dealers.
Although federal gun laws stay the same in every state, each state has their own laws and some of them are very “gun friendly.” These states are: Alaska; Florida; Arizona; Idaho; Kentucky; Montana; New Mexico; Texas; Utah; Wyoming; Louisiana; Wisconsin; North Dakota; Kansas; Georgia; and Mississippi. The NRA has their fingerprints all over these pro-gun states.
Gun shows are a huge problem when it comes to straw purchases. Although gun show dealers are ostensibly supposed to run checks, many don’t, and will sell guns to buyerswithout even checking ID. This practice is so common that terrorist leaders overseas call for their followers to just go get guns and begin opening fire on people.
Thanks to the National Rifle Association, background checks have become cursory and the waiting period is much shorter in these states. Not only that but background checks at gun shows are basically non-existent. Since 2013, 102 officers in the line of duty were killed from 2014-May 15, 2015. That’s up from 76 police fatalities in 2013 or 20% increase. Of that 20% increase, 38% are from gunfire with illegal guns.
How is this actually happening? How have these cop killers actually obtained their illegal weapons? Guns are from all over the country are smuggled into areas where there is a demand. This includes rural and urban neighborhoods. They are used to barter for drugs and other contraband, and are even cheaper on the streets than from licensed gun dealers in many cases.
For a good example, look to the recent killing of Officer Moore in New York City. The murder weapon was traced to a gun shop in Georgia that was broken into, with those same firearms traveling up the “Iron Pipeline” to NYC. Even though New York’s gun control laws have resulted in it being one of only four states reporting a drop in gun homicides from 2003-2013, the lax gun laws in Georgia, where there’s been a marked increase in gun deaths, have directly affected the Empire State in lethal ways.
Similarly, Chicago suffers from a plague of gun violence. The NRA and other pro-gun advocates point to this is an example of how firearms restrictions, as that city has in place, do not work. But this is a fallacy.
Gun laws in one relatively small geographical area are rendered ineffective if the surrounding areas don’t share those restrictions. This is the case in Chicago. It’s easy enough to step outside city limits, get firearms illegally, and drive right back in.
New York City enjoys effective gun laws due in no small part to the fact that its outlying areas share the same legislation. It’s a little tougher to acquire guns illegally in The Big Apple, but it’s certainly not impossible. Felons just need to go farther, like to Georgia.
Oh, that Georgia gun shop that got robbed? All it took to get inside it was a crowbar. How’s that for safety? Real responsible gun ownership there, huh?
After the Sandy Hook tragedy on December 14, 2012, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg started a group called Every Town for Gun Safety. Bloomberg pledged to raise $50 million dollars and tightened gun control issues.
The President of Everytown, John Feinblatt, has also had enough. Feinblatt previously served as Chief Policy Advisor to New York City Mayor Michael R.Bloomberg. He previously served as the Criminal Justice Coordinator for the City of New York and was the founding director of the Center for Court Innovation, the country’s leading think tank devoted to problem solving justice.
In a statement, Feinblatt said, “Police officers are on the front lines of protecting our communities each and everyday – we owe it to them to close the loopholes that make it easy for criminals to dodge background checks an easily get their hands on guns.” Feinblatt went on to say that, police officers are, “vulnerable because of the weak gun laws in our country.”
According to the study from Every Town for Gun Safety, there are a total of 665,129 law enforcement officers in the United States. Of those officers, 322,163 live in states that require a background check for private handgun sales. 342,966 officers live in states that do not require background checks for private handgun sales. Nationwide, a total of 676 officers were killed in action and 551 involved a firearm.
The officers from States with stricter background checks had 272 fatalities compared to states with no background checks and 404 fatalities. Law enforcement officers killed with a handgun that was not their own was 114 and 233 respectively. That is a difference of 48%. That’s huge. Feinblatt calls this a “loophole big enough to drive a Mack truck through.” FBI data indicates that the number of officers killed feloniously with firearms rose 77 percent since 2013.
We need to restrict the right to bear arms so that those who are convicted felons, people who are psychiatrically distressed, or proven hotheads have this right revoked. As an example, when a domestic abuser is given a restraining order to keep him away from his wife or girlfriend, his right to keep and bear arms should be revoked. Too many women have died because men like this retained their access to guns. Ideally, they should have all guns confiscated and go a in a database preventing from getting new ones, from any source – gun shows included.
When a person demonstrates reckless behavior or brandishes a gun, he or she should lose the right to own it. Just as we do with cars, to borrow a favorite comparison tactic from the NRA and other gun lobbies. The right to bear arms is not absolute, and must be revocable in cases in which the individual displays lack of responsibility. That seems to be common sense.
Unfortunately, common sense goes right out the window once the NRA becomes involved. They lobby constantly to repeal and undermine gun laws nationwide, and they’re responsible for the uneven patchwork of laws and regulations from State to State.
In short, the NRA works to make sure gun laws can’t work, in order to say that gun laws don’t work. See how that works?
It is no secret that their money has bought them nigh unlimited power in Congress, and their spokesman, Wayne LaPierre, stated his organization’s direct opposition to Hillary Clinton while making thinly veiled racist jabs at President Obama.
Think about that for a moment; the NRA is openly announcing that they will decide the Presidency of the United States. All the while they claim to be representing patriot Americans but that’s a smoke screen. The NRA actually represents gun manufacturers, not regular Americans. They wave a flag, play a recording of Charlton Heston, and their followers swallow it hook, line, and sinker.
Slowly but surely, people are beginning to shrug off the rhetoric of the NRA. More and more Americans are realizingthe need for greater restrictions of firearms. Organizations like Everytown and Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America have gained a lot of traction in the last few years. And while their critics love to point out how small the movements can seem to be, it can’t be denied that resistance to the NRA was something considered impossible not very long ago. The times are changing. People are pushing for expanded background checks, tougher gun laws, and universal enforcement of all of this.
Still, it won’t be an easy thing for America to shake itself loose from the influence of the NRA. Their supporters rabidly harass anyone speaking out against gun lobbies. Facebook fanpages dedicated to gun culture will direct swarms of trolls to articles they don’t like, or to skew online polls about gun laws. The NRA commonly cites the fraudulent John R. Lott, as well as others who say what they like to hear, regardless of their lack of credibility.
But it’s the NRA’s money which is their greatest weapon. They have bought and paid for politicians at every level, the majority of whom are Republican, to pass gun-friendly legislation at every opportunity. Just as an example of the type of madness they push through, did you know that Iowa allows the blind to carry guns? What could go wrong with that?
The Second Amendment was written as being necessary to the Security of the State. As defined by the NRA, it is Contrary to the Security of the State. The irresponsible are being enabled to own firearms. Criminals use their rhetoric to flaunt their guns under the guise of Open Carry groups. Gun laws are weakened, repealed, and the nation is kept under the thumb of gun manufacturers. That is not freedom.
Americans need to resist the lies, intimidation tactics, and propaganda forwarded by the NRA. We will never be truly free until we do.
Additional material provided by Chad R. MacDonald.
October 19, 2014 By Allen Clifton
Conservatives like to go on and on about the horrific policies of the Obama administration and how terrible Democrats are. But something that I seem to always notice is missing is what their party has done for them. See, as a liberal who voted for President Obama, I can tell you what he’s done for this country: Created over 10 million jobs, presided over record high stock levels, Found and killed Osama bin Ladin, passed health care reform, saved the American auto industry, To just name a few, out of the long list of things that he’s done.
These are quantifiable things that I can point to and say, “See, this is what my party did for me.” Though conservatives will undoubtedly scoff at all of those. Because as we all know when it comes to conservatives, if Fox News doesn’t say it, it’s not real. But when it’s all said and done, what the hell has their party done for them? Let’s get a couple of social issues out of the way: Gay marriage, abortion, outside of the people directly involved in a same-sex wedding, or an abortion, how exactly does that impact anyone else’s life? The answer is simple: It doesn’t. So, continuing to fight for these social issues isn’t “doing something” to improve the lives of the conservative voter. It’s just a power play based on some ignorant desire to control strangers based on what they believe is right or wrong. But even if same-sex marriages and abortions were illegal, that doesn’t “improve” the life of the average conservative voter. Sure, it gives them a “win,” but it’s not doing something for them. Because the typical conservative voter wasn’t going to have an abortion or marry a homosexual in the first place. So whether or not those two things are legal has absolutely no direct impact on their life. (Unless of course they’re a hypocrite and rally against things that secretly they would do, just to save face with their conservatism or Christian beliefs.)
So, again, what has the Republican party done for the conservative voter? Has this “trickle-down” economics made them rich? And don’t give me this “well Democrats keep preventing it from working properly” nonsense. Taxes have remained at all-time lows since Reagan. The rich are doing better than they ever have in this country. Many large corporations are making billions. So don’t give me this crap about taxes or regulations. If those were really burdens to our economy, then the rich would be suffering too. And they’re not. In fact, they’re flourishing.
Is it guns? Because as far as I can tell, President Obama hasn’t passed a single law to strip away gun rights. Actually, the only suggestions he really made were universal background checks and limits on magazine size. And I’m sorry, but if you can’t hit a target with 10 bullets, you shouldn’t be operating a gun in the first place. And why would anyone oppose universal background checks? Have we become so paranoid in this country that we can’t wait a week for a gun? If you really believe your life is in that much immediate danger you either need to call 911 or seek professional help. Besides, are gun rights really an issue on which you want to support an entire political party? How does that make sense? Vote against your own best interests in nearly every other facet of your life because you get to own more guns and get them a few days quicker than if the other party was in charge? Sure, you’ve got a safe full of guns – while you work 60 hours a week at two jobs for $7.25 an hour because the party you vote for refuses to raise the minimum wage. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
And if I’m not mistaken (and I’m not) didn’t Bush tell us back in the early 2000′s that his tax cuts were going to usher in economic prosperity and eliminate our national debt? So, how exactly did the opposite of that happen? That’s right, because trickle-down economics is scam. Is it this fear-mongering against people on welfare? Conservatives do realize that millions of conservatives are on welfare, right? And when it gets right down to it, welfare abuse makes up a very small percentage of those receiving these benefits. But this also ties into the minimum wage issue. Because millions of American workers have full-time jobs, yet still rely on the government to survive. And as much as it “pains” me to say this, mostly Republican states lead the nation when it comes to citizens relying on government assistance.
Women’s rights? Please. Female conservatives, please explain to me what the Republican party has done to secure true equality for women in America. Then there’s always health care. After all, Republicans really tried to fix our broken health care system, right? Isn’t it amazing how suddenly “Obamacare” is some social radical idea, yet it was a Republican idea in the 90′s?
In fact, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, passed nearly the exact same law while he was governor of Massachusetts. But I guess once the black guy supported the law, then it became “evil socialism.” And to this day, even with all of their objections to “Obamacare,” Republicans have yet to provide a single plausible alternative. Except, of course, “Obamacare.” Oh, and for the record, almost all of the propaganda Republicans use against the Affordable Care Act:
Those are actually all arguments as to why we need true universal health care for all. Bush was president for eight years and Republicans had control of most of Congress for much of his time in Washington. What did conservative voters get from it? Is Iraq better off? No. Did we balance the budget? No. Did we pay off our national debt? No. Did we find Osama bin Ladin? No. Did we usher in unheralded economic prosperity? No. Did we “win the war on terror”? No. Tell me, what the heck did Republicans do for anyone but the rich during Bush’s eight years? The only people who really prospered during his time in the White House were the wealthy, big business, big oil and big defense. That was it.
So, conservative voter, I ask of you: What the hell has the Republican party actually done for you?
Read more at: http://www.forwardprogressives.com/what-have-republicans-really-done-for-conservative-voters/
BY WENDY COOPER ON MAY 7, 2015 NEWS, POLITICS
Republicans need to take responsibility for the rights they hold dear as well as the rights they do not
Fringe groups of the Republican Party are quick to point out the rights afforded to them under the United States Constitution. Freedom of religion and the right to bear arms are two of their favorite topics. Anyone who dares to regulate either one is in for one hell of a fight. Yet the very same group is loath to admit that with any set of rights comes an equally important set of responsibilities.
Every American citizen is born with “rights’ under the Constitution. For example, we have a right to free speech. However, we also have a responsibility not to threaten people or to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater. When choosing to live in any society we are charged with certain expectations to help that society thrive. Yet it is the groups that yell the loudest about their “rights” that in turn are the most selfish about giving back to the country they claim to “love” so much. It is this denial of responsibility that is taking its toll on our country.
No one enjoys paying taxes. However, American corporations and freedom loving Tea Party groups have taken this dislike to the extreme. Who can forget the several days standoff withCliven Bundy, the right-wing nut who refused to pay taxes for his grazing cattle for over twenty years and is estimated to owe the U.S. Taxpayers over $1 million dollars? Rather than pay the tax he issued a call to arms and gun nuts from across the country ran to his side in an effort to fight for his “freedom” to screw the government out of his fair share of taxes.
American corporations in turn are not much better than Bundy when it comes to freeloading. A corporation will go to great lengths to reduce its tax burden to the lowest percentage possible. Corporations such as Boeing and General Electric paid no income tax at all over a five year period. While the average citizen pays anywhere from 5-35% in taxes each year. Meanwhile we struggle with ways to pay for repairs to our crumbling infrastructure and provide decent public school education programs to our youth.
When Obama introduced his signature healthcare plan nearly 47.3 million people lacked health insurance. Nearly 1 in 6 people were forced to declare bankruptcy due to mounting medical costs from a catastrophic illness that left them unable to work. Several years after the passage of “Obamacare” 9 out of 10 Americans now have some form of health insurance. The burden to hospital emergency rooms mandated to treat patients regardless of ability to pay has been greatly reduced.
Yet despite its success the Republican-controlled House has vote to repeal “Obamacare” 56 times to date. The reasons why they are so hell-bent on its repeal are many. Mostly it boils down to the simple formula that government-mandated healthcare amounts to taking from the rich to give to the poor. Even though every advanced country has some form of universal healthcare simply because it’s the right thing to do and it lessens the overall burden to society.
There are 206,072,000 people eligible to vote in America and of that number just 146,311,000 are registered to vote. In a presidential election year just 64% of registered voters turn out to vote. In primary elections the percentage of voters is drastically lower and estimated near 20% or lower. The result of low voter turnout has far reaching consequences for everyone.
Primary election voters decide who will run in general elections and when voter turnout is low special interest, fringe candidates often advance to run against the chosen candidate from the opposing party. In heavily controlled Republican districts, this radical candidate will win easily. It is how candidates like Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott manage to win elections even though both have clearly broken with reality.
Abbott recently convinced himself that the Federal Government was set to take over Texas. He has mobilized the Texas National Guard to “fight” off an invasion meant to seize the guns of law abiding Texans. Abbott’s panic stems from routine exercises performed by military personnel over seven states. Abbott believes that this is a cover by Obama for an invasion staged from Walmarts in Texas that are closed for remodeling. Keep in mind, this is the governor…
Not to get lost in all the nuts, but the bottom line here is voting rights. If Republicans really cared about the people in this country and their so-called rights, you would think they’d be making it easier for people to exercise the most fundamental of rights, the right to vote. It is well understood that Republicans have been doing the opposite with voter ID laws, gerrymandering districts, etc.
It has become clear over the years that the Republican Party isn’t really quick to defend their rights so much as they are quick to defend their own interests. That’s why they are always willing to defend your right to own a gun and preach the gospel, but could care less about your right to an abortion or get married to a member of the same sex.
It is equally clear that the Republican Party has little desire to be responible. Their misguided beliefs in favoring war, the wealthy and trickle down economics has led to enormous deficits, massive income inequality, crumbling infrastructure, and the American corporate oligarchy.
So, when a Republican gets in you face about their rights, be sure to ask them about their responsibilities. I wonder how many will tell you it isn’t their problem. For Republicans and Libertarians, it’s always someone else’s responsibility.
Posted by Chad R. MacDonald on Thursday, March 19, 2015
Democrats can be their own worst enemies, and Republicans count on that.
Democrats need to face the fact that Republicans do a much better job of mobilizing their base, thereby influencing American politics, even if they don’t actually represent the majority of the Electorate. The GOP has the Tea Party, the NRA, the Religious Right, and the 1% all pulling for them.
It’s easy for Republicans to maintain control over these groups. All they need do is invoke gay marriage and the Religious Right is in an uproar. Mention abortion to keep them frothing at the mouth then sprinkle in a picture of two gay men adopting a baby, and the Bible Belt will follow you to the Gates of Hell. For examples see Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee.
As scare tactics have such a proven track record, Republicans engage in them heavily. That’s why they’ve been screaming to the heavens about Iran trying to kill us all for most of this writer’s lifetime. Rhetoric about a third world country coming to take America’s freedom keeps the military industrial complex on board as well as spreading fear, so that’s a nice double-whammy. For examples, see Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Tom Cotton.
Both of these groups merge seamlessly with each other. Poor conservatives are united by their fear of The Other, whether they define that as an immigrant, an LGBT American, or a specific ethnic group, especially Latinos and African-Americans. Bible thumpers and gun nuts are one and the same most times anyway, so playing to their fear and ignorance is a winning strategy.
Now factor in gerrymandering, voter suppression, voter purges, voter ID laws, more voter suppression, non-popular vote wins, unlimited dark money campaign contributions, a little more voter suppression, the elimination of same-day voter registration, shortening the period of time people can vote in, and purchase voting machines on top of everything else.
Here you have the One Percent’s contributions to Republican strategies. They are the ones who built that platform, after all. For examples, see the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and Mitt Romney.
As for legislation, Republicans do not negotiate. They simply demand what they want repeatedly and use the bully pulpit to relentlessly batter everyone until they get their way. They do not make flowery sales pitches, they employ hellfire and brimstone. They do not change topics or accept lesser legislation.
Republicans obstruct, filibuster, threaten, and go over the heads of whomever they have to, whether that be Congress, the President, the United Nations, it doesn’t matter who, to appeal directly to a rabid conservative base. For examples see George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Who are the Democrats? Liberals. Science enthusiasts. The working class and union members. Advocates for equal and/or fair pay. Health care activists. Ethnic minorities and immigrants. Feminists. Atheists, agnostics, and those who reject religious fundamentalism. The Occupy Wall Street movement and anti-corporatists. Academics. Anti-war advocates and lovers of peace. LGBT Americans.
In other words, a big hot mess. Democrats have to build platforms using dozens upon dozens of issues, and many are in conflict with each other. One easily sees this on social media. For the most part, Republican/Tea Party/Conservative Christian/Gun Nut Facebook groups and pages are united in their hatred of liberals. It’s the one thing they all agree on. Democratic groups are a lot more scattered.
It’s tough to get everyone on the same page in a progressive environment. While that speaks well of the prevalence of independent thinking and individualism of the Left, herding cats is not a method by which anything productive can get accomplished. At least not on a regular basis. This is the weakness that Republicans exploit time and time again.
Which brings us to Hillary Clinton. Hillary is going to be the number one focus of the Republicans going forward. They are going to continue to launch ceaseless attacks upon her, and the media is going to let them.
Look at how much focus was given to her non-scandal email story, while Republicans skirted the boundaries of treason and did massive damage to America’s ability to deal in international matters. The latter was clearly the bigger story, but the attention given to it paled in comparison to Clinton’s emails.
#47Traitors trended on twitter for days, but it’s faded away now. Tom Cotton has cemented his conservative superstar status, as was his plan all along, and the Republicans are already piling up outrage after outrage, each offense burying the last. They know the media and the American public will let them get away with it.
How are Democrats responding? They’re dithering over whether or not they should back Hillary. A great many of them are, anyway. And while Elizabeth Warren is a fine choice, there’s no way she will win the Presidency in 2016. She could land in the White House after Hillary’s terms, certainly, but she won’t get it beforehand.
Hillary Clinton is the best shot Democrats have of maintaining the Presidency. Period. Moaning and sulking about how she’s not the best progressive choice will only split the liberal vote, and the Republicans are waiting for exactly that opportunity.
And while Democrats squabble back and forth, the world is burning. Temperatures hit 90 in Los Angeles in mid-March. California only has a year of water left. Jim Inhofe throws a snowball in Congress in response.
America has just climbed back from the brink of a cataclysmic economic collapse that nearly dragged the whole planet down with it. Republicans, in response, have repealed the regulatory safeguards that were keeping the banks from sinking us all again.
An elite minority is merrily shoving us ever closer to the edge of that cliff, and should we go over it, we may not recover this time. Should the Republicans gain more power, we can expect economic collapse, environmental disasters, and, of course, war.
And Democrats pout because Hillary Clinton isn’t exactly what they want. It’s the same old cycle all over again, and we need to put a stop to it, and fast. We are on the clock, and time is getting far too short. Should the worst happen, we will only have ourselves to blame.
Chad R. MacDonald
Why Conservatives hated Star Trek long before Obama admitted to loving Spock
A couple days after the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the Young Turks did a little segment on conservative blogger Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon. The discussion was centered on Continetti’s dislike of Nimoy’s Star Trek Character Spock, but his opinion was based more on how President Obama viewed the Vulcan character.
“Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the centre of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.” – Barack Obama
In Continetti’s view, Spock was some kind of peacenik hippie, always too eager to use his level head and logic to negotiate out of rough situations. He suggests that Spock’s willingness to constantly negotiate with the Federation’s enemies made him weak, not unlike a certain American president currently in talks with Iran.
Continetti’s rant is amusing to be sure, but it got me thinking. How come it took Obama’s praise of the Spock character to get conservatives to hate something on Star Trek? If you look close enough, there are heaps of reasons for conservatives to loathe Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future and it has little to do with our Commander in Chief.
If I had a chance to create my own Utopia, Earth in the Star Trek Universe is probably what I would base it on. It just so happens to be the opposite of what today’s conservative would want. Roddenberry essentially created a progressive paradise.
No Money or Capitalism
“You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century… The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity” – Captain Jean-Luc Picard
While it’s certain that money exists in some fashion in the Star Trek Universe (mostly outside the Federation), it has been suggested on multiple occasions that money on Earth went the way of the dinosaur.
We can only assume that without money, there is no capitalism. No 1%, no 99%, no classes, no greedy corporations, perhaps no corporations at all. Everyone on equal footing. It’s safe to say that without capitalism, humans gravitated to some kind of money-less socialist system.
If there was a plausible way to accomplish this type of system tomorrow, where no one is wealthy, but no one goes hungry, it wouldn’t pass the Republican controlled Congress in a million years. Just imagine what life would be like if money wasn’t a driving force in our lives. I’d guess conservatives would dismiss the idea as impossible.
A Society led by Science
“In the 24th century there will be no hunger, there will be no greed, and all the children will know how to read.” – Gene Roddenberry
The irony of a race of people relying on logic must be completely lost on some conservatives. However, if you told them about the possibility of a society led by science and exploration rather than religion and war, their heads might explode.
That’s not to say the people of the 23rd and 24th century don’t believe in god, and it’s not to say that some humans don’t like a good war. But one is no longer caused by the other, at least not on earth.
Science and development is what drives humanity, God is an afterthought. Humans no longer allow religion to cloud their judgement when it comes to research, conflict, and matters of urgency. Imagine a world where people didn’t oppose stem cell research or deny that humans are causing global warming based on a mythical book.
While Star Trek may have focused more on science than religion, it also showcased religious tolerance, multiculturalism, non-violent resolutions to conflict and a prime directive that forbid the federation from engaging with other cultures. These are all things that conservatives have been known to have a problem with.
In the end, while Star Trek can be chalked up as simple science fiction, Roddenberry’s vision should be taken seriously if we are ever to come close to achieving it. To do so however, would require a vast amount of change on our part. Something conservatives have never been willing to do, it’s in their very name.
“Perhaps we’ve never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there’s no sign of intelligent life.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
The GOP wants you terrified, because you’ll be easier to manipulate
Republicans are trying to scare you. ISIS/ISIL is coming to get you! Obamacare is going to set up Death Panels! Ebola! Immigrants! The Gays! God hates Democrats! The GOP hasn’t cranked the fear machine up this high since the days of Joe McCarthy and the “Red Scare.”
But this is a just a political tactic. Remember how the Ebola hysteria went away the next day after the mid-terms? It was probably just a co-incidence.
No, Republicans are just trying to scare Americans into thinking that the nation is safer when they’re in charge. And that’s bullshit. Sorry, that’s the nicest word for it.
“Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the American tradition.” ~ Rick Santorum (R-Pa), 2008
New York during the President Clinton years wasn’t a scary place. Even after the first attack on the WTC, nobody was frightened all the time. Concerned sometimes, yes, but nobody was carrying on like Lindsey Graham or Bill O’Reilly does these days. New Yorkers don’t scare easy regardless.
We were on top of things, people were well informed, and the media wasn’t nearly as fragmented as it is now. Fox News was but a gleam in Rupert Murdoch’s eye. Yes, newspapers leaned right and left, and always will, but cable news networks weren’t as blatantly partisan as they are now.
All New Yorkers knew who Osama Bin Laden was for years. He was in the papers all the time, and there were stories on him on the news shows. Everybody knew he was dangerous, and we also knew the government was trying to get him. Most Americans did.
Ignore right wingers who would forward that whole “Clinton didn’t do anything about Osama” theory. It’s bullshit. There is no nicer word for it.
When W. rose up, things started to fall apart quickly. Do you remember the turmoil the entire country was in during his inauguration? Bush couldn’t even get out of his car for all the protesters.
When 9/11 happened, all New Yorker’s worth their salt immediately knew it was Bin Laden. They’d been waiting for something like this. There was no way Bush wasn’t informed about OBL, he just didn’t do enough about it. Insert conspiracy theory here as to why, but most believe W simply didn’t think anything would come of it.
Enter the post 9/11 era, the country becomes more deeply divided, and cops and soldiers with sub-machine guns are hanging out everywhere in NYC. Guess what? Seeing soldiers and SWAT teams everywhere absolutely does NOT make you feel safe. Quite the opposite.
And that’s how things were for a long time. The Bush years were nothing but that administration trying to scare everyone into not noticing what a monumental mess they were making of the world. Period.
“I can’t help but believe, just based on the way we’ve got all these nebulous excuses why not to have a travel ban, this president, I guarantee you, we’re going to find out, he has cut a deal with African leaders. They’re going to bring people in.” ~ Louie Gohmert (R-Tx), theorizing President Obama is going to import Ebola
Any of that scream-y scary propaganda that’s still around is continuing be forwarded by right wingers. They haven’t changed their tune at all, because that’s what they think works for them. It’s why they desperately tried to turn Benghazi into something that it wasn’t.
I have no idea why those on the right-wing that would help terrorists spread fear and division throughout this country for nearly two years were not strung up by their balls. Americans should be raking them over the coals for that bullshit. There’s no nicer word for it.
Instead, Fox News pundits like Bill O’Reilly are given a free pass to carry merrily along their fear mongering deceitful path. And Republicans are more than happy to follow that lead.
“Our strategy will fail yet again. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” ~ Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
As I write this, I’m sitting here in Brooklyn, where they busted a potential terror plot in my neighborhood before it happened. They got it. They were all over it. I never saw any of that under Bush, it was just that administration ringing the alarm whenever they wanted to remind us why we shouldn’t question them. Say what you will about Obama, but he isn’t predisposed to cowardly histrionics like Graham or John McCain.
ISIL is trying to get the USA over there to fight them. That’s what they’re all about. And Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the Christian zealots are screaming “Holy War“ and yeah,that’s scary. And reports were just released saying there’s an equal to greater chance of right-winger domestic terrorism than an ISIL attack, and that’s scary.
And isn’t it funny how when the DHS identifies right-wing terrorism as a legitimate threat, Republicans almost don’t fund the DHS? It’s probably just a co-incidence.
What isn’t scary is now America at least seems to have a President that isn’t prone to pounding a religious tome as the reason to invade the wrong country to create ISIL in the first place. And as long as ISIL is begging us to come fight them, it means they don’t have a realistic chance of coming to get us. Not to do the kind of damage that would induce the pants-shitting cowardice we’re seeing from the Republicans anyway. And the grown up in charge of the nation seems to realize that.
ISIL should be treated as a punch line. You have a greater chance of getting hit by lightning than getting beheaded by ISIS terrorists. Those of us looking to counteract the message of hate, terror, and fear should follow Saturday Night Live’s lead. Don’t cower from ISIS. Mock them!
So, yeah, we’re a lot safer now from terrorist attacks than we were under Republicans. Yeah, it’s relative, but if you really think America’s going to be invaded by legions of bloodthirsty terrorists, you’re a cowardly and spoiled whiny brat.
The biggest thing we have to worry about in the USA are crazy white men with guns, whether or not they’re cops. Isn’t it funny how Republicans don’t want to talk about that? It’s probably just a co-incidence.
America is supposed to be a world leader, and leaders don’t repeat mistakes, especially when they get countless people killed. It is poor military strategy to allow an enemy to goad you into a battle on a field of their choosing. If people are trying to scare or shame you into a fight, they do not have your best interests at heart.
Fear can be a tool used to control the stupid and the weak-minded. Americans should be smart enough and courageous enough to see past and dismiss such immature playground tactics. If we can’t, then we don’t truly live in the Home of the Brave.
“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” ~ President George W. Bus