Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

Mitt Romney Makes ‘Redistribution’ Argument, Bolstered by Fox News, Conservative Media


Redistribution is a fact of life. The tax code, by it’s very nature, redistributes wealth. It has to, in order “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States“.

The real question is: What kind of redistribution works best for the country?

The republicans have embraced upward redistribution, a strategy that is decimating the middle class. In a consumption economy, this is fiscal suicide.

The Democrats embrace a strategy that funnels more money back into the economy, empowering demand and driving sustainable growth. This is a strategy that built the United States into the superpower it is today.

This image depicts the Territorial acquisition...

This image depicts the Territorial acquisitions of the United States, such as the Thirteen Colonies, the Louisiana Purchase, British and Spanish Cession, and so on. Possible Errors There is a concern that this map could have errors. For discussion, please see the talk page. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a strategy that predates either modern political party. From the Louisiana Purchase to the Alaska Purchase, tax money has been used for expansion from the very beginning. Land given to farmers and ranchers, schools and land grant colleges.

And the transcontinental railroad, much of it wasted by corporate greed.

The G.I. Bill helped create a golden age of prosperity, even as the rich were heavily taxed.

State agricultural colleges and their extension services made farmers more productive. Hydroelectric dams, the interstate highway system, NASA, DARPA…all created opportunities or entire new segments of the economy.

We would not be who we are if not for the kind of government spending that republicans are opposed to.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Direction, Governance | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richard Cordray’s Recess Appointment Gives Consumer Agency Full Power


In principle, I think that recess appointmen­ts are obsolete in these days of modern transporta­tion, communicat­ions, and longer sessions of Congress. But that depends on a properly functionin­g Senate. Obstructio­nist republican­s have thrown that out the window.

The reason for a recess appointmen­t is to fill major empty positions in the administra­tion (on a temporary basis) when the Senate is not available to confirm an appointmen­t and convening them for confirmati­on would leave the position open too long.

In this case, it is the intention of the republican­s to leave the position unfilled. This is a direct rejection of their oath of office to support and defend the Constituti­on, particular­ly the President’­s Constituti­onal obligation to administer the law. This has created a Constituti­onal Crisis.

By blocking the nomination for reasons unrelated to the qualificat­ions of the nominee, they have perverted the “advise and consent” authority of the Constituti­on, and created the very emergency situation that the recess appointmen­t exists to resolve.

Some claim that the language of the law prohibits recess appointments for the position of Director. The authority of the recess appointment is part of the Constitution, and cannot be revoked without a Constitutional Amendment.

Pro forma sessions are not addressed in the Constitution. There is precedent for using them to block a specific appointment, but that precedent includes objections based on controversy over the qualifications of a specific nominee – not the position or the law. This obstruction is without precedent, and an unprecedented response may be necessary to maintain a Constitutional government.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Administration, Constitution, Direction, GOP, Governance, Government | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

America for Sale: Is Goldman Sachs Buying Your City?


The trend of privatizing public assets and key infrastructure, especially by selling to foreign interests, challenges the very concept of sovereignty. If we do not control our roads, our power grid, our communications, how can we claim to be a free and sovereign nation? Politicians are literally selling out America.

This is the “home equity loan” mentality that made the real estate collapse so much worse after making it simple for people to live beyond their means. This is a functional admission that America is broke – and broken.

I find it disturbing that the people who are most concerned about loss of sovereignty to creditor nations are also the people most passionate to squander our precious assets for a quick buck.

Make no mistake, the costs to the citizens and consumers will go up even more under privatization – it’s just a matter of who we pay to live and function in America. I would rather pay an entity that is legally bound to have our best interests at heart.

Dylan Ratigan: America for Sale: Is Goldman Sachs Buying Your City?

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Capitalism, Direction | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Primary Election 2012: Conservative Fears Of Permanent Welfare State May Create Wild Ride



More lies and fear-monge­ring. What a surprise.

Worried about democracy? Check out the flood of voter disenfranc­hisement laws written by republican­s under the banner of “voter ID”. Check out their economic assault on possible liberals – like unions, the poor, and seniors. Their goal is to eliminate the Democrats as a viable alternativ­e by crippling their funding sources.

But the worst may be the “Emergency Financial Manager” laws. If you really want to know who threatens democracy, ask the residents of Benton Harbor Michigan, who have already had their elected officials removed from power.

The republican assault on democracy is far more organized, deliberate­, and immediate than any hypothetic­al future loss.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Direction, Elections, Voter ID | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Newt Gingrich Discusses Potential Obama Impeachment (VIDEO)



First of all, Obama clearly stated that he would continue to enforce the law – which means that Gingrich’s “Palin™” example is a complete fallacy.

Secondly, the courts have determined that DOMA is unconstitu­tional – at least in parts.

Lastly, Obama is not dropping ALL defense of DOMA. He is only dropping cases that involve weaker protection of rights for a minority group historical­ly discrimina­ted against.

“After careful considerat­ion, including a review of my recommenda­tion, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimina­tion, classifica­tions based on sexual orientatio­n should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitu­tional. Given that conclusion­, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’­s determinat­ion.”
http://www­.justice.g­ov/opa/pr/­2011/Febru­ary/11-ag-­223.html

There is nothing impeachabl­e here. Gingrich just wants to bring down the government in the grand GOP tradition of lies, fear-monge­ring, and prejudice.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 26, 2011 Posted by | Campaign Strategy, Direction, Ethics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Madison Protests: It’s Not About the Money



Over the past few years, I have likened the ideologica­l divide to a political civil war. The Democrats still embrace the Federalist view of government while the republican­s now embrace the anti-Feder­alist perspectiv­e.

“The accumulati­on of all powers, legislativ­e, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary­, self-appoi­nted, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
James Madison, Federalist 47

I am hoping that in this attack on the working class, people see the republican­s as going a bridge too far. That this turns into a Ft. Sumter moment for working America.

The country cannot function with this much conservati­ve extremism and hostility. The checks and balances have all broken down. The country is in decline. The political conversati­on has become all about picking sides and bundled agendas. We are facing a Constituti­onal crisis.

We need a major event. Something to rally around. Something that can push us past the propaganda­. Something that can be used to make us take a serious look at ourselves and our future.

9/11 involved an external threat. It was irrelevant to a constitutional crisis.

We have two diverging interpretations of the Constitution. The liberal view is a more principled interpretation, which has benefited the general welfare of the country far better but still needs better definition of it’s limitations. The conservative view is a more literal interpretation, which is more appropriate to a sparsely populated isolationist society with an agrarian economy. Conservative policies have done real harm to this country for decades, and threaten to make our current problems insurmountable.

We need an event that will lead to something like a town hall constitutional convention. A widespread and in-depth public conversation on what we want and need the Constitution to mean. Only then can we decide with confidence how we want to enforce or amend it.

Ignoring the Constitution, or pretending it says something it does not, are not options in a nation of laws.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 21, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Direction, Economics, Government, Labor, Unions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scott Walker, Wisconsin GOP Poised To Cut Worker Rights In Budget Fix


Wisconsin Welcome Sign

Bring your money, leave your rights.

“In exchange for bearing more costs and losing leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure did not pass.”

This sort of tyrannic abuse of power over workers is what necessitat­ed unions in the first place. This action more closely resembles communism than free-marke­t capitalism­. Gives new meaning to “The Badger State.”

I guess this is one way to shrink the size of government – deep pay cuts and no performanc­e pay will eventually drive all the good workers away. A good way to discourage profession­alism and encourage corruption­…

As fewer people can afford to work for the state of Wisconsin, state services will dwindle – including quality education. Citizens will find it an unpleasant place to live, and businesses will find few well-educa­ted workers to employ. But what are employees and customers when you get all those tax breaks.

Wisconsin is taking the lead in the race to the bottom.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 17, 2011 Posted by | Direction, GOP, Government, Unions | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GOP Congressman Paul Broun To Obama During SOTU Address: ‘You Believe In Socialism’



When anything done for the good of society is labeled “socialist­”, when citizenshi­p is reduced to nothing but a legal issue, where is the nation that one can take pride in? To what do patriots give their allegiance to? Corporatio­ns? Deeds of land?

I can see Broun pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States, but not to the Republic for which it stands.

There is certainly nothing of “indivisib­le” in his ideology.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Direction | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gallup Poll May Exaggerate Support For Full Repeal Of Health Care Law


As usual, people are asking the wrong questions.

Given the increasing cost of a medical education and the resulting debt carried by graduates, and given the growing disparity between compensati­on for specialist­s and general practition­ers, there is a fundamenta­l divergence between the free-marke­t health care system and the needs of patients.

The first question to ask is:

What is the purpose of the health care industry in America: the exercise of free-marke­t principles or maintainin­g and improving the health of the American people?

More simply put:

What is in the best interests of the country: the health and productivi­ty of the American people, or the economic theory that has produced a system that is failing Americans by the millions and failing more every year?

Second question:

Is health care a right, a privilege, or a necessity?

The third question:

What is more important: the needs, rights, and expectations of the patient, or the religious beliefs of health care workers?

Lost in the reform debate are the efforts of religious zealots to inject their beliefs into patient care. Overshadowed by the battle between reproductive rights vs dominionism is the Bush-era conscience clause rule that allows health care workers to put their religious beliefs ahead of the medical needs of patients, undermining health care delivery and the doctor-patient relationship – without which the American health care system falls apart.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

January 11, 2011 Posted by | Direction, Health Care, Religion | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scott Brown Finds Himself On Tea Party’s 2012 Hit List


There is a lot of appeal in a throw-the-bums-out approach, but (like everything else involved) it has it’s down side.

For one thing, some positions of leadership in Congress require experience or expertise. It takes time to learn the intricacies of laws and the consequences of loopholes, or even what a loophole looks like and how it can be exploited, and by whom. If we lose all our experience without replacing it, we make ourselves vulnerable to foreign and corporate interests.

It also takes time to get a boatload of strangers to start rowing in the same direction. A coalition of strangers is not much of a basis for consensus. The congressional whips need considerable influence over their party membership, the kind that only comes from time.

Ultimately, though, it fails to address the root problem. Changing the faces in Congress will mean next to nothing as long as corporate money flows in Washington.

In the mean time, equal protection, religious freedom, and our leadership role in the world are all at serious risk. Not to mention the pending economic crap-shoot.
More on Tea Party Movement
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

November 4, 2010 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Candidates, Direction, Elections | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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