What Military Style Assault Weapons do to Children


Above are some of the children who were massacred in Newtown just over a hundred days ago. You all know the story.

But first a warning, please do not read through the end of this post if images of gun violence are more than you can bear to watch.

Though there aren’t any crime scene photos from Newtown available, sadly there are many photos on the internet of victims of gun violence from weapons of war, which is what Adam Lanza used. Though not of these poor children above, what follows clearly shows what happened to them on December 14, 2012.

After hearing that Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have sent Harry Reid notice of their intent to filibuster any attempts to vote on gun control legislation, I took to twitter in my anger and outrage. The NRA and their supporters still carry far too much influence with our government than they deserve. Overwhelming numbers of Americans, Democratic, Republican, Independent, Gun Owners, Non Gun Owners and NRA rank and file membership agree we need full and complete background checks before weapons can be sold. Most also agree to bans of military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Yet, barely a hundred days since Newtown, opposition in Congress has taken hold despite the wishes of the nation.

On Twitter, self-described “2nd Amendment” folks chimed in on my tweets about the rights to bear arms. As I have blogged about in the past, I don’t agree that the 2nd Amendment gives any U.S. Citizen an absolute right to own any weapon of their chosing and that government is powerless to regulate gun ownership. The 2nd Amendment was written for a time when this country did not have a standing army and still faced invasion from Great Britain, Canada, any European Nation and Native Americans. It was written as a means to have a well regulated militia to defend the government of the United States. You could have a weapon, but that weapon had to be maintained and cared for as directed and you were require to be trained not only how to use it, but how to use it as a member of a Militia. The Militia Act of 1792 was an early act of Congress written to finish what the 2nd Amendment called for. In fact, President Washington use the Militia Act to put down the Whiskey Rebellion.

Conservatives are sure that despite everything and the first few words of the 2nd Amendment, they have an absolute right to own any weaponry they desire and that government is powerless to regulate or control the sales of such weaponry. However, in Heller, the most conservative of the Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia made it clear that government is free to regulate gun ownership. Despite this, the leaders of the NRA have fooled easily gullible Americans that they have a right to weapons of war on our streets and that government cannot interfere in it. As I’ve said many times, this has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment, this is about scaring the easily gullible and cowardly among our population to go out and buy more weapons and ammunition to increase the profit margins of gun and ammo manufacturers.

Some still naively say that if there were armed guards at Sandy Hook, this wouldn’t have happened. Adam Lanza used a military style assault weapon legally purchased by his mother. She had that weapon and ammo for her protection. Lanza murdered her first then took the weapons to Sandy Hook. Armed Guards would have been slaughtered too. Further, there were armed guards at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, weapons of war kill quickly and easily whether the victims are armed or not. No mass shooting in the history of this nation has ever been stopped by an armed victim. In fact, most mass shootings only end when the assailant kills themselves or after overwhelming armed professional arrive to take them down.

I tweeted that the Senators who want to filibuster and those in the NRA should be required to see the carnage the ownership of such weapons of war on our streets cause. Since they aren’t available, here are photos of adults and children killed by gun violence. The weapons are the same as in Newtown so this is what you could expect to have seen had you responded there.

By not allowing for full background checks for all sales of weapons to keep them out of the hands of criminals and mentally unbalanced, by not banning military style assault weapons to be sold here, you make what is depicted in the following photographs much easier to occur on the streets of our country. Do you truly believe that this is what the 2nd Amendment was designed for? If you do, then maybe its time to repeal it because these weapons are too dangerous to be allowed on our streets by untrained, un-assessed and unstable citizenry.






This phrase, which is etched in big letters on the front of the SupremeCourt Building, is clearly one of the most important foundations of our existence as a Nation. It borrows from the Declaration of Independence “all men are created equal” and was codified in the 14th Amendment. It is in my mind the most important foundation of our society. Without it, freedom is clearly at risk.

This week, the Supreme Court of the United States heard two cases that in my opinion epitomize the whole concept of “Equal Justice Under Law”, Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Both of these cases, no matter how you look at it separates out homosexuals from the rest of the country.

It is a civil rights issue.

By these acts, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgendered (LGBT) Americans are being denied the right to marry the ones they love. A right not infringed upon with heterosexuals in this nation.

Advocates for these two laws say they can have “civil unions” but not marriage. Rings of “Separate but Equal” to me, but I’m not a Constitutional Lawyer, I just play one on Twitter and this blog. However I will say that unlike Justice Scalia, Alito, Roberts and Thomas, I know the meaning of “Equal Justice Under Law” and I take pride in that phrase. It would be a damn shame to lose it over conservative Christians having their panties all bunched up because they can’t stand people expressing their love for one another unless it’s by their design and blessing. Another great principle of this nation “Separation of Church and State” clearly written in the Constitution and reinforced by the Treaty of Tripoli a few years after ratification that said, “The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” shows that the argument advocating upholding these two laws lack Constitutional muster.

The sad truth of our country is that from her beginning, the concept of “Equal Justice Under Law” wasn’t absolute. At the time of the founding, only white male property owners enjoyed the privileges and benefits of what this nation, and constitution provided.

Women were excluded, blacks were excluded, Native Americans were excluded, if you were “other” based on accident of birth, you couldn’t enjoy the protection from discrimination the constitution provided.

It took time for “non property” owners to be given privileges enjoyed by property owners, it took the Civil war and reconstruction to give blacks the privileges of whites (though still limited by many states), it took the 19th Amendment before women got the right to vote, it took Brown versus the Board of Education and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s to give blacks the privileges still denied them since the Civil War. All of these groups suffered denial of privileges enjoyed by others by mere accident of birth. They were born black, born female. Today, one of the last major group being denied privileges enjoyed by other Americans in this country are LGBTs who are so by accident of birth. Despite what people may say, people are born gay, they cannot be coerced into being gay.

Make no mistake about it, the issue at hand, the reason there are any Americans left in this nation who support denying the right of LGBTs to marry and enjoy the rights the rest of the nation enjoy is Religion.

They always cite “traditional” marriage. They bring up Christianity, Judaism, and Islam as the foundation. They imply that marriage is only a religious thing. If that’s the case, those Atheists, Agnostics, etc need not and should not marry. These people fear that if LGBTs are allowed to marry, it would threaten the “institution” of marriage. There is no evidence whatsoever that supports that. In reality, the only heterosexual marriages that can possibly be impacted negatively by allowing LGBTs to marry would be those where one or both aren’t exclusively heterosexual. I honestly believe the leading cause of divorce is marriage itself.

They also cite the evils of the Gay community indoctrinating fine young boys and girls into the “gay lifestyle.” Absolutely no evidence exists to support that claim. They claim that gays are overwhelmingly pedophiles. Again, no evidence supports that myth. In fact the opposite is true. The overwhelming percentile of pedophiles is heterosexual. The fact of the matter is that there is absolutely no intrinsic harm to marriages, children or society by allowing LGBTs to marry the ones they love and enjoy the privileges the rest of the nation have. Nothing exists to deny them “Equal Justice Under Law.”

Another argument against gay marriage involves procreation. If they are going to argue that, they should also argue against anyone over the age of 50 getting married, those who are unable to produce sperm or eggs, or those who quite simply choose to not have children at all.

This nation cannot take seriously the phrase “Equal Justice Under Law” if it allows any group to legislate laws purposefully designed to keep any other group, race, sex, or those of a different sexual orientation the ability to enjoy the same rights and privileges enjoyed by the rest of the nation by accident of birth.

Better yet, they shouldn’t be deprived of these rights and privileges even if they chose a belief, political ideology, lifestyle, religion others find questionable, when they still fail to demonstrate any intrinsic harm to the nation. If we are allowed to do that…

Well I have a problem with Right-Wing Nut Jobs. I believe they should be denied the right to vote, marry and watch cable television. If they can stop LGBTs from marrying, why can’t we stop them from doing what we enjoy?

The question of allowing LGBTs the absolute right to enjoy the rights of all citizens of this nation to marry the one they love should be a no-brainer to those people sitting in a building that so proudly displays the phrase “Equal Justice Under Law.” If you deny any group equal protection under law, you deny others the same privilege, the phrase means nothing and we are no longer America.


Former Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neal once said “All politics is local.” He simply and correctly meant that all politicians, especially members of the House who answered to the Congressional districts that voted them in office were beholden to their needs. They should vote to appease the mundane and every day concerns of their constituency. It certainly applied to the House of Representatives when Tip was Speaker. Despite deep divisions between the Republicans and Democrats, Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neal, the Execute branch and Congress did actually worked together, they compromised on issues and moved forward as best they could during the 1980’s. Members of the House had to take the concerns of all those who were eligible to vote for them or against them, not just a small class of people.

Today it would appear that the maxim “All politics is local” no longer truly applies. Strike that, it still applies; it’s just not being implemented anymore.

Instead of being beholden to all the people in their districts, they are beholden to a small fraction. In fact, they are more and more beholden to a small fraction that do not even live or vote in their districts.

The concern of those who are willing to give campaign donations, those who are willing to help organized political action committees and produce ads and buy air-time seem to get all the attention. Instead of the people in their districts, House member look more to the 1% and political action committees like the Koch Brother’s Heritage Foundation, CATO Institute, American for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and ALEC as well as David Keene’s and Wayne LaPierre’s NRA. Note that these organizations all have a lot of money provided to them by the Koch Brothers and others in the one percent, yet represent the views of a very small fraction of the population of the United States. Note that the NRA only has 4 million members and over three-fourths of those do support the gun safety regulations that the NRA are officially against.

National polling is clearly showing that vast majorities of the entire nation, regardless of party affiliation, income bracket, race, ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation agree not only to universal and complete background checks for the purchase of fire-arms. They also support the banning of certain Military Style Assault Weapons and High Capacity Magazines. Further, fewer people in the nation even own guns anymore and that shrinking percentile who do, are buying all the weapons.

Despite this, Congress appears unwilling to do the people’s business, to adhere to the mundane and every day concerns of those who vote them into office. They have instead watered down gun safety regulations to favor the gun manufacturers and sellers. They will not proceed on bans of Assault Weapons and High Capacity Magazines. The people know that the longer we permit the status quo to continue, there will be more Newtown massacres, more innocent men, women, children and babies will be slaughtered so that the Gun Manufacturers can continue to make obscene profits off of their deaths.

So what can we as a nation do about this?

Those who’ve read this blog know that I try to spend most of my time on two major issues, Gun Violence and the Midterm Elections. Here’s where the two match up.

In 2014 the midterms will soon arrive. The Republicans and their supporters (or owners depending on your point of view) know that voter turnout is always low for the midterms. They use this low turnout not only to get more of their people elected to office at all levels of government, they use it to get “voter driven” ballot initiatives passed that favor the rich and special interests. This is where ALEC comes in. They write legislation for the extreme right-wing, corporate agenda, then use Koch money to hire petition gatherers in the various states and regions to get their initiatives on the ballot. Then by taking advantage of low voter turnout, they get constitutional changes and or new laws that favor their agenda. Bans on Gay marriages, Pro-Life measures, Corporate Tax Cuts, “Right to Work” status, etc.

Many states in the Union permit voter driven initiatives, perhaps it’s time the people actually took advantaged in those states that permit it and start drives for constitutional amendments to ban Assault Weapons and High Capacity Magazines being sold in their states to anyone who isn’t an active duty member of law enforcement or the National Guard and use of such weaponry is restricted to their job.

Would it pass a United States Supreme Court challenge? Well all I can say is that the most conservative member of the Court is Antonin Scalia and he wrote in the Heller decision that laws regulated weaponry in permissible in the United States Constitution. Sorry Wayne LaPierre and 2nd Amendment Gun Lovers, looks like strict Constitutional Constructionist Scalia is a liberal when it comes to guns. So there you go.

Here is a Wikipedia link showing the history of voter driven referendum/initiatives and which states allow them:


Here’s a link to Initiative and Referendum Institute (IRI) that monitors them:


And here is a link to The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center:


The rest is up to you. Getting on Twitter and other forms of social media is fine. However, nothing can be accomplished for you at the midterms, or any other election for that matter unless you actually get active on the streets and push for the things that impact your lives. Further, you need to get others active and on the streets and most importantly, you need to get them to vote. Every vote is important. Even if the effort has little chance for a successful conclusion, you need to get people out to vote as if their lives depend on it. Simply put, their lives do depend on it.

Politics can only remain local if those of you at the local level get active now and stay active. Join up with other like-minded people and form a coalition that no billionaire group of oligarchs can stop. We still have the vote; let’s use it while we still can.


The war actually lasted an additional Nine Years:

It’s now been ten years since George W. Bush sent us into war in Iraq based on cherry-picked intelligence designed to fool the American people and coerce members of Congress into authorizing this debacle. As the MSNBC documentary “Hubris” clearly shows, the lead up to the war was orchestrated. There were no weapons of mass destruction, Saddam had no ties to bin Laden and Al Qaeda, and what’s more, we were not greeted as liberators. So what’s the current cost of what is historically the worst foreign policy failure in our history?

U.S. Military personnel killed: 4,486

Non U.S. Coalition personnel killed: 316

U.S. Military personnel wounded (20% with serious brain/spinal injuries): 32,223

Iraqi Military and Police personnel killed: 10,125

Iraqi insurgents killed: 55,000

Iraqi civilian killed: 121,227

Financial Costs:

Approved spending by Congress through 2011: Approximately $1,000,000,000.000.00

Lost and unaccounted for U.S. tax dollars in Iraq: $9,000,000,000.00

Lost and reported stolen U.S. tax dollars for construction in Iraq: $6,600,000,000.00

Mismanaged and wasted U.S. tax dollars in Iraq: $10,000,000,000.00

Halliburton “overcharges” classified as unsupported or unreasonable to U.S. Government: $1,400,000,000,00

Amount paid to KBR (former Halliburton Division): $20,000,000,000.00

Amount paid to KBR determined as unsupported or unreasonable: $3,200,000,000.00


Top 25 Corporations that have profited over the Iraqi War:


Veritas Capital Fund/DynCorp

Washington Group International

Environmental Chemical


International American Products




URS Corporation


First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting

Armor Holding

L3 Communications

AM General




Global Risk Strategies

Control Risks



Custer Battles

Nour USA

General Dynamics


Many of the Corporations continue to file taxes in the United States, yet like many corporations, they have used our tax code to pay little or anything back to the United States government responsible for the profits they made from the Iraq War.

Conservative estimates show that the ultimate cost of just the Iraq War, taking direct and consequential costs into account could total nearly $6,000,000,000,000.00. The additional costs for medical and rehabilitative services, reconstruction, veteran services, etc continue to mount. Of course, the Republicans in Congress still want to slash the taxes of corporations while paying our bills to balance the budget. They prefer to slash social services, including the services to our Iraq war veterans to balance our budget.

When President Bush, Vice President Cheney, National Security Advisor Condi Rice, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Powell pushed the Iraq war, both chambers of Congress were controlled by Republicans. They authorized the war while at the same time, and for the first time in history, cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans and Corporations. The Bush tax cuts coupled with the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars accounts for half of the overall national debt through 2019.



My proposal is simple. These companies are paying record low taxes to the Federal Government while making record profits largely due in part to the Iraq War. Time to tax the hell out of these companies to recoup the tax dollars paid in, and denied to the citizens of the United States.

When Government of the People, by the People and for the People taxes the People, the revenues and debt accrued by that Government should be for the People. All the People, not just those in the upper 1% of the economic class and certainly not for the corporations.

This war was ill conceived, ill advised, and poorly implemented. It has not benefitted the American People at all. In fact it has caused irreparable harm to the majority of the nation in terms of lost family members, increased national debt, and cuts to our social safety net in order to pay for this fiasco.

It’s only fair that those few, who profited dearly over this endeavor, actually pay the price of it.



Perhaps the most compelling case for 2nd Amendment Rights that the NRA and other gun ownership proponents make is their interpretation that the founders gave us the 2nd as the means for the people to hold government in check. They see it as the only way to ensure a “Tyrant” doesn’t take hold of government, imposing his or hers will on the people and abolish their rights and freedoms. Now those of you who have read this blog and my Twitter feed know that I do not ascribe to this interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. In fact I am of the belief that the 2nd Amendment was placed in the Constitution with the provisional clause “A well regulated militia being necessary to the securing of a free State” as a means of protection for the government via a militia. These militias are known today as The National Guard. However, just for the sake of argument, let’s give the gun advocates their due and let’s consider if they are right in this interpretation.

How does a government and/or government official expose himself as being tyrannical? It would seem to me that such a government in this nation would do so first by after winning an election, changing laws to take rights away from their citizens and blocking Court actions to interfere or rein them in. Further, to avoid their acts from being thwarted or overturned at the ballot box, they would do all that they can to moot the power of the ballot box. They would make it difficult for people to even vote. Further, they would impose acts making the voice of the people at the ballot box moot, unimportant and powerless. We know of the voter suppression laws enacted and passed throughout the nation specifically designed to keep certain people of certain races or political ideation easy access to the ballot box to express their vision of how the State or country should go. What has been getting almost no coverage in the media has been what’s been happening in Michigan under Governor Rick Snyder who’s twitter handle is “@onetoughnerd”.

It is known as the Michigan Emergency Manager Law:


This law actually dates back to before Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm, who used it to deal with financially failing government institutions in Michigan. She rarely used it and only one time that she did, was it successful in getting the financial affairs in order and the State government moved on leaving things to the local constituents to proceed.

When the Republicans and Rick Snyder took control of Michigan, they enhanced this law and placed it on steroids. He began removing the elected mayors and city councils in towns and cities of Michigan that “He” determined were in financial straits. They were removed from power despite the continued support of the people who elected them to office. Property was seized, assets sold off and the people were ignored. The people of Michigan were so uninspired by how this act was being misused by the Snyder government, they overturned it in November 2012. However, Snyder and his Republicans simply re-enacted it in such a way that neither the people nor the Courts could overturn it again. The will of the people be damned, Governor Snyder will be heard and will be obeyed. How is this not tyrannical?

Rachel Maddow has been the only person reporting on this in Michigan on mainstream media.

The law is stronger than ever before. Keep in mind that whoever Rick Snyder has placed as the Emergency Manager, has complete control of the city. No checks and balances, no oversight by a representative group of citizens. As this latest link from the Maddow show shows, by using the Emergency Manager Law, Snyder has now taken over Michigan’s largest city, Detroit and in doing so, the votes of half of Michigan’s black  voters have had their votes mooted:


So back to my original point.

The NRA says that the founders gave us the 2nd Amendment to fight back tyrants and ensure the rights and freedom of the people shall not be infringed. There is no way any of what Rick Snyder and his Republican Legislature cannot be called tyrants by their acts.

Where are the NRA and the freedom loving GOP in fighting this tyrannical control of cities and towns in Michigan?

What if those who are under the heel of the Michigan Tyrant’s dictatorial rule were to raise arms against the emergency manager? You know they would rightly and legally be hunted down by the National Guard and imprisoned for their acts with the Republicans and NRA cheering them all the way.

So perhaps gun ownership can’t stop tyranny and keep it from growing.

The founders saw the ballot box as the solution to bad governors, legislators and Presidents, but the Tyrant Rick Snyder has mooted the votes of those who oppose him. So what is the answer? Not the Michigan Courts, Snyder and his GOP have mooted their oversight in this matter also.

This is where the Federal Government must intervene for our fellow citizens in Michigan who are under the heel of a tyrant. Snyder should be called to Washington to explain himself. Michigan is a state where Title 5 of the Voting Rights act should be extended to since it’s clear that half the black voters in Michigan have now lost their voice. American rights and freedoms are being infringed upon in Michigan. Where is the righteous outcry from the NRA, the GOP, and the Democratic Party? You allow any group of Americans to be denied their rights as citizens; you set the stage for more to suffer the same fate.

This is where Eric Holder and President Obama should bring the country’s attention to as what tyranny truly looks like in this nation. And as always, let the people decide who is on the right side of history in this matter.


Pew did a poll in December 2011 that showed that the term “Progressive” was seen as more popular than the term “Conservative”. I wrote about this back in August 2012 and showed you this graph of the polling result:


Here’s a link to that entire post if you’re interested:


Looking at the graph, you see that Progressive just squeaked by as more popular than conservative but conservative was seen as significantly more negative than progressive. Recent polling shows that today only 22% of the nation identifies themselves as Republicans.


Of course, though not entirely accurate, people do link all Republicans as Conservatives and all Democrats as Liberals/Progressives. I’m not really sure how they see the growing number of independents. However one thing is certain from recent polling, we are not a center right nation, we are a center left.

When you poll specific agenda items, people tend to support the “liberal” position of that issue instead of the “conservative”. This is interesting because people are still hard pressed to accept being called a liberal, who the right-wing associates with being “Socialist”, but when you poll them, they actually take what can only be described as supporting what they would call “socialist causes”. This is the result of decades of propaganda coming from the right to convince people that anything liberal is evil.

The problem in this country when it comes to swinging opinions and votes of the electorate is that whenever anyone describes anything to anybody, they do so with labels. It’s Democratic, It’s Republican, It’s Liberal, It’s Conservative, It’s Socialist, It’s Communist, they attach a label to something and the person is hearing it more by focusing on the label, than the content of the issue being discussed.

Consider these questions:

Do you support adequate funding of teachers, fire-fighters and police?

Do you support having clean air, water and safe food to consume?

Do you support improving our nation’s infrastructure, repairing roads, bridges, electrical grids throughout the nation?

Do you support natural disaster relief from the federal government?

Do you support the wealthiest among us paying a progressively higher percentage of taxes to fund necessary government services?

Do you support giving tax breaks to corporations who ship jobs overseas to increase their profit margins?

Do you support providing healthcare and assistance for the elderly living on fixed incomes?

Do you support providing veteran services for those who have served in the military defending our nation?

Do you support stronger laws ensuring that banks and corporations do not fraudulently take advantage of customers?

Do you support privatization of traditionally public services (fire, police, courts, prisons, etc) though it would mean a higher cost to you to provide a profit margin for those services?

Do you support the moral code of any single religious group dominating public policy and law in your community?

Do you support a woman’s right to choose whether to have a safe legal abortion?

Do you support equal pay for equal work?

Do you support a living wage for yourself and family?

Do you support any government assistance in providing more jobs in your community?

When you ask questions like these, the majority of people would answer “yes” to the majority of those questions. Then you need to ask them which candidate who is running, will provide what they think is right and how will they do so? Ask if them if those candidates  have supported those things in the past and if they can, cite examples.

Avoid going into Republican or Democratic or Progressive or Conservative terminology; just ask about the issue itself. If you haven’t guessed already, most sane rational people, including Republicans are for what’s listed above. However if you focus on Democrat versus Republican with them, Democrat will always lose. Give them an opportunity to discover for themselves what they want and how best to get it. That is how you convince voters in gerrymandered Republican Congressional Districts to consider maybe going for a different candidate.

This is just a suggestion. Of course, you also need to provide a candidate willing to run supporting those issues without fear of being called a liberal socialist communist. But we already know that story.

Another step on our journey to the 2014 midterms

ON TO 2014

Barack Obama,  John BoehnerBefore I begin this post I want to take a little time to thank all of you who have read and “respectfully” commented on the Unite Blue posts. There are very strong feelings on both sides and the only solution from my point of view is an honest, respectful and factual discussion from those on both sides. Personal attacks, accusations, unfollows and blocking does nothing to move forward from what has become a divisive discussion on the progressive side. And I do believe all the people involved in this are progressives, I will not allow myself to buy in to this accusation of those on the other side being Republican moles/operatives. To that point my heartfelt thanks to those of you on Twitter who came to my defense when I was accused of being a “Repug” because of the neutral position I try to keep in this “discussion.” We do better if we can avoid accusing, looking for dirt, belittling others on this side so we can all unite under whatever banner you choose to go after those on the other side. Whether it be Unite Blue, OFA or CTL, people don’t associate with them to fight for the Republicans, everyone please remember that.

Now to the point of this post.

Those of you who follow know that in 2012, not only did President Obama win, the Democrats took additional seats in the Senate although they were expected by pundits to lose control. People were relying on the urban myth out there that we are not only a center-right nation; we are getting more extreme right. Why else would the Tea Party fanatics be getting all that air time? Well we know it’s FOX and mainstream media using news more for entertainment than for telling people what is really going on out there. Now the Democrats did not take the House although they did win back several seats. In fact, nationwide the Democrats received 1,362,351 more votes for House seats than Republicans. It’s been well established that had it not been for the gerrymandering the Republican using the control they gained in state legislatures after their 2010 wins; the House could have also gone blue. Of note is the fact that in Arizona, the voters were able to get a Constitutional Amendment placed that required that our redistricting board be non-partisan. As a result, and despite Governor’s Brewer’s attempts to throw out the board’s plan, we ended up with sending more Democrats to the House than Republicans. Our districts are competitive, favoring neither Democrats nor Republicans. So in this Red state, we showed that maybe we as a nation aren’t so far right of center as the media would have you believe.

Here is a spreadsheet showing the situation as of 2012 for the Congressional Seats and what would be required to turn them blue:


Lawsuits notwithstanding, Congressional redistricting cannot occur again until after the next census in 2020. So what can be done for the 2014 midterms? It has been estimated that for the Democrats to take the House back in 2014, they would have to outdo the Republicans in the popular vote by over 7 points. Considering that voter turnout on the left is already depressed during midterms while the turn out on the right remains fairly solid, this doesn’t bode well for taking the House back. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The key is to educate voters in these gerrymandered Republican districts to the realities of what the GOP platform has done personally to them, and how it can only get worse if they remain in power in the House. It’s no easy task obviously, but “impossible things” can be accomplished if you put the effort, ingenuity and dedication to the task.

From my point of view the key to getting this done are the younger voters and social media. A Howard Dean type 50-State Strategy is essential. Problem is there isn’t a lot of money out there to go around. Traditionally, the DCCC will only allocate money to those districts they think they may have a chance. Sorry, with gerrymandering those seats are far and few between and don’t add up enough to turn the House in 2014. You need to turn gerrymandered districts blue. If you don’t have or don’t want to spend the money, then go social media. Twitter and Facebook, as well as others are a start. The younger voters are more inclined to follow social media than the older, usually more solid red voters are. This is our advantage. However, such a plan can’t be just tweeting and posting stuff out there for people to ignore, it must be coordinated, focused and (sorry to say) focused group tested for it to be successful. This does require money, but not as much as the more traditional ways those on the right tend to rely on.

Now this is where organizations like Zach Green’s 140Elect comes in. They have developed software for just this sort of thing. Much of it was developed (I believe) during the 2011-2012 Republican Primaries. The GOP were the only group actually campaigning nationally in that primary, we already had our candidate. Zach can correct me if I’m wrong here and I know those from OPUniteBlue see it differently, but they were working with the GOP because the GOP were the only ones with use of their product. You go where the need is. The need now is the 2014 midterms. If not Unite Blue and 140Elect, then find another group with the technical expertise to organize and effectively implement a 50-state strategy. Better yet, bring on as many groups as possible to work for this common cause. If Unite Blue could unite with OFA and make their software available to them, that would in my opinion be great. But that isn’t my choice to make. However, better to have this tested technology working for the progressives and not the conservatives in 2014. Just saying.

Americans on the whole are center left. Americans tend to care more about Americans than they do the corporations, political parties, and those in the upper income brackets. Americans do not like to see fellow Americans tossed aside so others can make huge profits and live even higher off the hog than they ever had before. They are also concerned about their rights to live as they see fit without government telling them what morality standards they must live by. Polling shows that:

A majority of Americans support Gay Marriage,

A majority still supports abortion rights,

A majority supports civil rights,

A majority supports voting rights,

A majority support affordable and accessible healthcare,

A majority support teachers, first responders, police being there for them,

A majority support anything government can do to provide jobs.

All these things and more have a common theme, they are what the Democrats support and the Republican Platform is opposed to.

That’s the messaging that must get out to the individual voter out there, especially the young who follow social media and must be made to realize this is in their hands.

So whether it be Unite Blue, OFA, CTL, DCCC, a combination of these groups and/or a yet to be formed group, let us all work together to use social media that best way possible and get the word out to educate those in those “gerrymandered” districts that they don’t have to vote the way the GOP told them to by herding them into these reservations. They can use some discretion of their own, step out of their comfort zone, and vote for someone who will work for them, not the GOP and their corporate masters. Oh, and the one thing I left out, we need to get some progressives to run for office in those gerrymandered districts. We need to convince people not only to vote progressive, but to actively engage as being progressive. Run for office, go door to door, and respectfully engage those who don’t agree to convince them otherwise.

This can be done, but we need to take the first step and the sooner the better.

Hilly Road


internetThe Internet began in the 1960’s as a means to interconnect “super computers” for research purposes. In 1969, ARPANET went on-line linking four University Computer Systems (UCLA, Stanford, UCSB and University of Utah).  By the early 1970’s dozens of other Universities and NASA were also linked up with each other for the exchange of information and research for scientific purposes. The early Internet was used by computer experts, engineers, scientists, and librarians. There was nothing friendly about it. There were no home or office personal computers in those days, and anyone who used it, whether a computer professional or an engineer or scientist or librarian, had to learn to use a very complex system. So access was limited, timely and often expensive.

In the years that followed, email became part of the growing internet community of research facilities and libraries and new technology and programming came into existence that began to make what is known today as the internet accessible to the general public. In 1993 a graphical browser known as MOSAIC was created which later morphed into Netscape. Then came Microsoft and the internet moved into a world where everyone with a personal computer had access to gather information. What’s more, they had the ability to post their information for others to see. On-line “news” services came to being and of course, Blogs.

News organizations that have investigative reporters have links to their stories and research available to the public (often for a price). More and more, people have what they claim are news outlets posting stories and their research on the Internet as fact. These stories can be found using Google to search out certain key words to get information many are looking for. Wikipedia exists as the first on-line encyclopedia of information. People are able to post their information for others, often with proper citation, but always up for review and sometimes removed when found to be false. Subjects have been blocked to keep some from manipulating the truth. The most famous incident of this was when Stephen Colbert asked his viewers to go to Wikipedia to state that elephants were no longer an endangered species. It worked and for a time elephants were no longer endangered per Wikipedia. They of course corrected and locked down that post, as they do others.

Most Blogs are nothing more than opinion pieces whether they cite facts or not. Many do as much as they can or are willing to do to make sure that if they are posting what they believe to be fact, to verify that information. They post links to other sites of their sources of information. However, some do purport themselves to be actual news and actual research and imply to the public that what is on their site is factual and true and shouldn’t be questioned. True journalism really is a rarity on the internet and is now becoming a rarity in the press. Those who attend journalism school learn among many things, journalistic ethics and integrity. In the old days, you researched a story to be led to the truth. More and more people are coming up with their own truth first, then are going out (often using Internet sources) to find or create their own evidence to support their truth.

A good example of this was recently when in the Well of the Senate, Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz made comments regarding the confirmation of Chuck Hagel that he was associated with a group known as “Friends of Hamas.” Problem is, no such organization ever existed. It was a snarky comment made by a reporter that was picked up and became part of the Internet. Aids who were looking for something dirty for Hagel found the story and it was reported as fact. This is more common than most people realize.

You can find almost anything you want on the internet to support any story or position you want to write about. You can make an argument that the moon landings were faked and cite research on the Internet, you can make an argument that taxes are at their highest rate in American History and the deficit has doubled since Obama took office and cite research on the Internet. Both of these examples are blatantly false and real research and facts gathered from reputable organizations, that place their information on-line will attest to the truth. We did land on the moon and our deficit is half of what it was when Obama took office and the average federal tax rate for the average citizen is at its lowest point in over 60 years. But those with an agenda will not cite those sources of information, it doesn’t fit their agenda. These people do not look for the truth; they try to create it and will find anything they can to support it from like minded individuals or people just posting parody on the net to back up their agenda. Many a time news stories from “The Onion” and “Borowitz Report” have been cited as fact.

This is a blog; I try to find information that is factual as best I can. However, I am not a trained journalist and I do not have the time to do the exhaustive research required to tell the entire story from information available. Further, I admit that I do have an agenda. However, I am also willing to admit when I am wrong and when that happens, I will post a correction because my personal ethics requires that of me. Many are like me, many are not. This is the danger in trusting blogs or On-Line “news” organizations that purport to be news but are nothing more than an elaborate blog, for your facts.

I will post links to stories that make sense to me to fit the agenda I’m trying to put forth as do most bloggers out there. I tend to use the “does it smell right?” test to determine if it’s legitimate. I believe that most of the major news organizations that still have journalists in their employ remain good sources for political news. I of course do not include Fox in that list.

I’m posting this because I think people are too quick to trust everything sent to them as fact and do little, if anything to question or verify that information. This is where we fail as a society. The blogs on the Internet, including this one, are nothing more than the Editorial Pages of Newspapers. Much of it may or may not be true, may or may not make sense, but it really isn’t news. It wouldn’t hold up in Court as fact unless you are able to show who you interviewed, what sources you researched and from where, and are able to vouch for its authenticity.

All I am saying is question everything you see on the Internet, on this or any Blog and especially Twitter before using it as grounds to attack another. If you want to do such a story, do complete research on every possible contingency of what you are looking at and let the truth reveal itself to you, don’t go looking for your truth and then tell others what it is.

I stand by my blog until someone else tells me I got it wrong and can show me how. Not everyone is willing to say that.


ECON101-money-by-borman818In this first day of the Republican designed and implemented sequester, here are a few basic facts you all should consider. Many of these run counter to right-wing talking points (i.e. lies) and needs to get out to the public.

Despite the economic crisis of 2008 that resulted from over 30 years of government deregulation of the banks, the United States remains the wealthiest nation on the planet. Problem is a record high percentage of that wealth is being hoarded by those in the 1% and not being distributed in the general economy. This money is being held in off shore banks and interests, free from being taxed to fund our needed governmental operations.

As President, George W. Bush increased our National Debt by starting two wars (off the books), creating Medicare Part D without funding it and refusing to allow the government to negotiate pharmaceutical prices, and for the first time in our history, enacting huge tax cuts in a time of war without offsetting these cuts with reduced government spending.

When President Obama took office from George W. Bush, the percentage of deficit spending to Gross Domestic Product was approximately 10%. This was a near record high and certainly unsustainable for the long term. However, it wasn’t the highest in our nation’s history; it was far higher during and just after World War II.

In his first four years as President, Obama has reduced deficit spending to Gross Domestic Product in half to 5%. Government spending to GDP is shrinking despite what you hear from Republicans and the Propaganda Ministry known as Fox News. In short, the deficit is shrinking. It is now lower than it was in Bush’s final year in office.


Recessions and Depressions are the result of a lack of economic activity due to decreased demand and/or available funds for economic activity. Less demand in the economy and money to pay for goods and services, results in less requirement to create jobs. The fewer jobs, the lower the economic activity and as a result, the problem snowballs upon itself.

Some government spending actually stimulates the overall economy. For instance, for every dollar spent on Food Stamps translates to $1.73 in economic activity in the overall economy.

In our history, each and every time we entered into a recession, the government increased spending to create jobs and stimulate economic activity. This has been done from the founding of our country through George W. Bush. It ended under President Obama. For the first time, government spending has decreased as a share of GDP during a major recession. In fact, we currently have the smallest growth of government and government services since President Eisenhower. This is why our recovery has been slower than in other recessions.

In the crash of 2008, banks refused to loan money opting instead to keep it, including the money given them in TARP created by the Bush administration, not Obama’s. As a result, the private sector couldn’t borrow money to expand or pay their expenses or create jobs. This is what Obama inherited in 2009.

The Republicans took back the House in 2010 and with their colleagues in the Senate (using record high numbers of filibuster) blocked all bills designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs. It has been documented and never denied that on the day of Obama’s inauguration, the GOP decided they would do everything necessary to block each and every action of the President, in order to harm the nation, resulting in him becoming a one term president.

In order to get the Republicans to lift the debt ceiling in 2011, the President and Speaker Boehner agreed that they would work to reduce government spending otherwise there would be an $106,000,000,000.00 across the board cuts in military and entitlement spending. The thinking was the cuts would be so severe and poorly planned; both sides would work to come up with a more rational manner to reduce the deficit.

Since the agreement, Obama has reduced government spending by over 2.5 trillion dollars. In the lame duck session of Congress prior to January 2013, in order to increase revenue by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Obama agreed to extend permanently the Bush tax cuts for those earning less than $400,000.00 a year while not expanding the FICA tax holiday for all working Americans. Congress agreed to look at more revenue enhancements while Obama would look at additional cuts. Sequestration was extended to March 1st, 2013 and the amount of sequestration was reduced to 85 billion dollars.

In the two months that followed, Speaker Boehner complained that the President offered no cuts, no plan, nothing regarding resolving the Sequester despite the fact that his plan has been on the White House Account: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/deficit_reduction_table_bucketed_r8.pdf

Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner recently said that the House had already sent two bills to the Senate to address the sequestration and will not do a third. He demanded the Senate “get off their ass.” Problem is, as anyone who understands basic civics knows; any legislative act sent to the Senate in the old Congress that hasn’t been passed and signed died in the new 113th Congress.

So at present, the House has no Sequestration Bill. Further, Boehner refuses to bring up any bills designed to resolve the sequester for an up or down vote. This is interesting because Boehner is on record being opposed to the sequester. However he is also on record saying after his fiscal cliff deal with the President in 2011 that resulted in the sequester stated he “got 98% of what (he) wanted so (he’s) happy.” Guess he was for the sequester before he was against it. Though he originally floated ideas about closing tax loopholes for the rich, Boehner has now said that anything designed to increase revenues to lower the deficit is off the table and he refuses to negotiate.

Starting today, this is what the Sequester will do regarding federal government spending. Keep in mind these are required cuts not open to any negotiation per the sequestration statute that most of the Republicans voted for, few Democrats and Obama signed to get a deal through:

In the next 10 months beginning today, nondefense spending is to be cut by 9% while defense spending is cut 13% for a total of 85 billion dollars.

Over ten years, this will translate to 1.2 trillion dollars.

These cuts are across the board evenly with few exceptions. Veteran’s Affairs, CHIPS, Food stamps, Pell grants and Medicaid are exempt.

Medicare benefits are protected; however, payments to providers are cut 2%.

Cuts will be absorbed by National Parks, Federal Courts, Homeland Security, TSA, the FBI, Food Inspection, Housing Aid and other Federal Government programs.

In the military, 500 billion dollars will be cut resulting in job losses of civilian support services.

In fact, 750,000 jobs, both private and public sector will be lost.

Many government employees will be furloughed for one day a week resulting in a 20% cut in pay.

Private sector jobs funded by the federal system for infrastructure improvements, roads, bridges etc are now in jeopardy.

In this recovery, the reason our unemployment rate is still at 8%, despite private job sector creation is due to public sector job losses. Teachers, Police, Fire Fighters, etc have all been laid off from federal, state and local government due to lack of funding from the federal government. Sequestration will result in more government job losses resulting in higher national unemployment.

Even with Obama letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those earning over $400,000.00 a year, we are still at the lowest federal tax rate in over 60 years. We are not collecting enough revenues to not only keep needed government services running; we certainly aren’t earning enough to pay off the debt already accrued.

The right-wing always complain that spending is placing a financial burden on our children. It’s an inane argument, but if you’re going to take it at its word, shouldn’t this generation pay off our own accrued debt now, instead of giving it to future generations. To do so, shouldn’t we be increasing revenues from those who have the money thanks to unpaid for tax cuts from Bush that they simply aren’t using?

Europe has proven that austerity measures results in deeper recessions, often double dip recessions. Government spending keeps economies running. Our economy is still teetering. To randomly slash funding from needed services resulting in more money being taken out of the economy, only to stay housed in bank accounts overseas only serves to harm the nation, increase the ongoing debt, and making lives worst for ourselves and future generations.

It’s time to grow up and realize you often need to borrow and spend more to grow and be in a position to pay that loan off due to your success. You need to make measured wasteful cuts and raise revenues from those who aren’t doing anything with the money they have. It’s always been that way and nothing has changed.

The longer the sequestration remains, the higher the probability we will not only fall into a double dip recession, the standard of living from those in the middle-class, working poor and impoverished will become even worse making the nation weaker while those in the 1% remain unaffected. The only solution to this mess is the one thing the Republicans refuse to do, negotiate and compromise for the good of the nation. They are too hung up with childish, “don’t compromise” ideology professed by those who really have no intellectual ability to understand they’re only hurting themselves.

The American Economy is being held hostage. The GOP is hoping that the longer they do this, the Stockholm syndrome will kick in and you’ll side with your captors.

Don’t let this happen and let your feelings be known. Finally, as we approach the 2014 midterms, never forget what they do and will continue to do and vote all these idiots out of office in every level of government for your own good.