Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Category: Politics (page 2 of 4)

America Is NOT Broke …the Madison speech by Michael Moore

I don’t often pay attention to Michael Moore, but I think he touched on enough important points in his speech on Saturday, March 5 in Madison to pass this on to you, my gentle readers.  This is reprinted without any permission what so ever!

“America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer “bailout” of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can’t bring yourself to call that a financial coup d’état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we’d have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic — and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.

I have nothing more than a high school degree. But back when I was in school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order to graduate. And here’s what I learned: Money doesn’t grow on trees. It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with good wages that we use to buy the things we need and thus create more jobs. It grows when we provide an outstanding educational system that then grows a new generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and thinkers who come up with the next great idea for the planet. And that new idea creates new jobs and that creates revenue for the state. But if those who have the most money don’t pay their fair share of taxes, the state can’t function. The schools can’t produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us millions of jobs.  That too caused a reduction in tax revenue. Everyone ended up suffering because of what the rich did.

The nation is not broke, my friends. Wisconsin is not broke. Saying that the country is broke is repeating a Big Lie. It’s one of the three biggest lies of the decade: 1) America is broke, 2) Iraq has WMD, and 3) The Packers can’t win the Super Bowl without Brett Favre.

The truth is, there’s lots of money to go around. LOTS. It’s just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to see some of that money that used to be yours. So they have bought and paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their bidding for them. But just in case that doesn’t work, they’ve got their gated communities, and the luxury jet is always fully fueled, the engines running, waiting for that day they hope never comes. To help prevent that day when the people demand their country back, the wealthy have done two very smart things:

1. They control the message. By owning most of the media they have expertly convinced many Americans of few means to buy their version of the American Dream and to vote for their politicians. Their version of the Dream says that you, too, might be rich some day — this is America, where anything can happen if you just apply yourself! They have conveniently provided you with believable examples to show you how a poor boy can become a rich man, how the child of a single mother in Hawaii can become president, how a guy with a high school education can become a successful filmmaker. They will play these stories for you over and over again all day long so that the last thing you will want to do is upset the apple cart — because you — yes, you, too! — might be rich/president/an Oscar-winner some day! The message is clear: keep you head down, your nose to the grindstone, don’t rock the boat and be sure to vote for the party that protects the rich man that you might be some day.

2. They have created a poison pill that they know you will never want to take. It is their version of mutually assured destruction. And when they threatened to release this weapon of mass economic annihilation in September of 2008, we blinked. As the economy and the stock market went into a tailspin, and the banks were caught conducting a worldwide Ponzi scheme, Wall Street issued this threat: Either hand over trillions of dollars from the American taxpayers or we will crash this economy straight into the ground. Fork it over or it’s Goodbye savings accounts. Goodbye pensions. Goodbye United States Treasury. Goodbye jobs and homes and future. It was friggin’ awesome and it scared the shit out of everyone. “Here! Take our money! We don’t care. We’ll even print more for you! Just take it! But, please, leave our lives alone, PLEASE!”

The executives in the board rooms and hedge funds could not contain their laughter, their glee, and within three months they were writing each other huge bonus checks and marveling at how perfectly they had played a nation full of suckers. Millions lost their jobs anyway, and millions lost their homes. But there was no revolt (see #1).

Until now. On Wisconsin! Never has a Michigander been more happy to share a big, great lake with you! You have aroused the sleeping giant known as the working people of the United States of America. Right now the earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge. Your message has inspired people in all 50 states and that message is: WE HAVE HAD IT! We reject anyone who tells us America is broke and broken. It’s just the opposite! We are rich with talent and ideas and hard work and, yes, love. Love and compassion toward those who have, through no fault of their own, ended up as the least among us. But they still crave what we all crave: Our country back! Our democracy back! Our good name back! The United States of America. NOT the Corporate States of America. The United States of America!

So how do we make this happen? Well, we do it with a little bit of Egypt here, a little bit of Madison there. And let us pause for a moment and remember that it was a poor man with a fruit stand in Tunisia who gave his life so that the world might focus its attention on how a government run by billionaires for billionaires is an affront to freedom and morality and humanity.

Thank you, Wisconsin. You have made people realize this was our last best chance to grab the final thread of what was left of who we are as Americans. For three weeks you have stood in the cold, slept on the floor, skipped out of town to Illinois — whatever it took, you have done it, and one thing is for certain: Madison is only the beginning. The smug rich have overplayed their hand. They couldn’t have just been content with the money they raided from the treasury. They couldn’t be satiated by simply removing millions of jobs and shipping them overseas to exploit the poor elsewhere. No, they had to have more — something more than all the riches in the world. They had to have our soul. They had to strip us of our dignity. They had to shut us up and shut us down so that we could not even sit at a table with them and bargain about simple things like classroom size or bulletproof vests for everyone on the police force or letting a pilot just get a few extra hours sleep so he or she can do their job — their $19,000 a year job. That’s how much some rookie pilots on commuter airlines make, maybe even the rookie pilot who flew me here to Madison today. He told me he’s stopped hoping for a pay increase. All he’s asking for now is enough down time so that he doesn’t have to sleep in his car between shifts at O’Hare airport. That’s how despicably low we have sunk! The wealthy couldn’t be content with just paying this man $19,000 a year. They had to take away his sleep. They had to demean him and dehumanize him and rub his face in it. After all, he’s just another slob, isn’t he?

And that, my friends, is Corporate America’s fatal mistake. But trying to destroy us they have given birth to a movement — a movement that is becoming a massive, nonviolent revolt across the country. We all knew there had to be a breaking point some day, and that point is upon us. Many people in the media don’t understand this. They say they were caught off guard about Egypt, never saw it coming. Now they act surprised and flummoxed about why so many hundreds of thousands have come to Madison over the last three weeks during brutal winter weather. “Why are they all standing out there in the cold?” I mean, there was that election in November and that was supposed to be that!

“There’s something happening here, and you don’t know what it is, do you …?”

America ain’t broke! The only thing that’s broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it’s one person, one vote, and it’s the thing the rich hate most about America — because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!

Madison, do not retreat.  We are with you. We will win together.”

Walker’s Budget – Bad for Wisconsin

Even if Walker’s budget didn’t include the restricting of rights for our fellow citizens, it would still be bad for Wisconsin.  I applaud our Democratic lawmakers who have stood firm in their joint refusal to return home.  They are true PATROITS, who do not want our state sold to the lowest bidder, as Walker and the rest of the Republicans want.

Let’s look at the Senate bill, shall we?

Right there on Page 6 is this paragraph:

“Currently, this state owns and operates numerous heating, cooling, and power plants that were constructed by the state to provide heating, cooling, and power to
state facilities. The Department of Administration (DOA) determines the method of operation of these plants and may delegate this authority to any other state agency that has managing authority for a plant. This bill permits DOA to sell or contract for the operation of any such plant. The bill exempts such sales and contracts from the requirement for approval of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that may otherwise apply under current law. The bill provides that the net proceeds
of any sale, after retirement of any outstanding state debt and any necessary repayment of federal financial assistance, is deposited in the budget stabilization fund. The bill also allows DOA, at any time, to petition the PSC to regulate as a public utility any person who purchases or contracts for the operation of any plant under the bill. Under current law, the PSC has regulatory authority over public utilities, including the authority to set rates for utility service.”

Now, take a look at this section (Page 26).

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).(emphasis mine)

Right there, Walker is giving away our state. It doesn’t mention how much money our “numerous heating, cooling, and power plants” might bring into the state. It doesn’t say how much money the state will make off the sale. And, if we sell off the plants, won’t that mean the state will then have to pay for the privilege of using plants we paid to build and maintain?

And, let’s think who is going to benefit from this no-bid, no approval sale?  Could it be Koch Industries – Walker’s second highest campaign contributor?  You watch – bill passes, Koch moves in – state loses.

What’s next?  Oh, yes,  he wants to take away state employees’ rights to protest the state government.  Take a look, it is on page 5.

“Under current law, the governor may declare a state of emergency if he or she determines that an emergency exists resulting from a disaster or the imminent threat of a disaster. This bill authorizes a state agency to discharge any state employee who fails to report to work as scheduled for any three unexcused working days during a state of emergency or who participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit−down, stay−in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the of operations or services of state government, including specifically purported mass resignations or sick calls. Under the bill, engaging in any of these actions constitutes just cause for discharge.” (emphasis mine)

I don’t have a problem with demanding employees to show up for work during a state emergency, but saying that they will be fired if they strike? That’s going too far. We don’t allow private companies to fire striking employees and public employees deserve the same rights as the rest of us.

I want to digress from going over the bill for a moment and point something out.  Someone I know keeps harping on Wisconsin teachers and how they need more competition, etc.  I would like to point out that indeed Wisconsin teachers’ salaries are in the top 50% of the nation.  I would, also, like to point out that so are our children’s test scores.  We pay our teachers more than 50% of the nation and in return we have students who test in the upper 50%.  For what more could you ask?

Then there is the Assembly bill, which has all ready passed.  That’s where Walker takes away the funding for family planning.  In other words, even if you’re poor, you don’t get birth control pills.

Under current law, DHS provides funding for family planning services, including maintaining a state plan for community−based family planning programs and specific annual grants. This bill eliminates this family planning services funding.

(emphasis mine)

According to the Huffington Post, this will save the state a whole 1.9 million dollars a year.  Has Walker thought about how much having unwanted babies will cost the state per year?  They’ll need childcare, food (more money from WIC) and educations.  According to BabyCenter‘s calculator, the total cost of raising a child in the Midwest from 0 to 18 is $243,068. I don’t know how much of that will be paid by Wisconsin taxpayers, but I’m sure some of it will. How about we don’t have the mother become pregnant in the first place? I’m sure we can find other ways of saving 1.9 million. We could always make Walker pay for his own residence and not maintain the governor’s mansion for him. According to State Sen. Bob Wirch (quoted on PolitiFact), it costs one million dollars over a four year term. If Walker paid his own way, we could save $250,000 per year. It would at least be a start.

If this isn’t enough to convince you that Walker and his budget is bad for Wisconsin, well, I just don’t know what else to say.  There are more items, but I’m not done reading the thousand plus pages of the budget.

So, as I’ve said before and I’ll say again, Let’s RECALL Walker!

Assembly Passes Budget Bill

The Assembly passes the budget bill and despite Representative Suder’s written statement: “The vote we took wasn’t the easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do”, it wasn’t the right thing to do.  Aside from killing union’s rights for collective bargaining, the Republicans have sold out our state.  The no-bid for state owned energy assets means that the government can sell / lease them off to the companies they deem should have them.

Who gains from that?

Walker’s largest campaign contributor: Koch Industries.

Despite their blanket denials that they will not benefit, Koch Industries will benefit the most.  How will Walker turn down his buddy?  The punking of Walker by Ira Murphy showed that Walker is in the Koch brothers’ pocket and truly believes what is good for them is good for him.

The sad thing is that people who do not understand how the world works, don’t understand just how bad it will be for Wisconsin with Walker as our governor.

By the way, where are the jobs Walker promised?  So far, he shut down the high speed rail which would have amounted to 4000 jobs (yes, some temporary) and Talgo Inc is moving to Illinois killing even more jobs.  So far, Walker has killed unions and not created one job.

Can you say RECALL, boys and girls?

Show us the JOBS you promised, Mr. Governor.  If anyone deserves to be laid off – it’s this lousy state government.

Walker Punked…

Scott Walker says he won’t talk to anyone, but he will take a phone call from “David Koch” co-owner of the Koch Industries I mentioned here yesterday.  He was punked by Ian Murphy (from Buffalo Beast) who was posing as Koch.

Walker thinks he has this in the bag.  He’s even planning on stopping the Democrats direct deposit pay in order to get them to come home.

Check out the video at Crooks and Liars.  When I find the link to the actual video by Buffalo Beast, I’ll post a link to it.

Walker sure does sound like he’s in Koch’s pocket.  Something I alluded to in yesterday’s post.

I say we recall him and all of the Republicants.

Wisconsinites: Call Your Senator – important Auto Insurance Vote Tomorrow…

I just found out about this, which is why I’m writing on a very important vote on such short notice.  The REPUBLICANS in the Wisconsin Senate want to return our car insurance minimums back to old levels.  They THINK this is a good idea, but like most things the Republicans in this state decide to do, it is a bad idea.

Yes, they will still require that all Wisconsinites carry Auto Insurance, but the minimums will be $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.  Now, I have always carried the current legal limit of $100,000 and $300,000, so my insurance after the change in the law did not go up.  However; Republicans are claiming that this caused premiums to go up to too high of levels for poor people – like they’ve ever given a damn about poor people before – and they want to drop the coverage.  Do you really think the insurance companies will drop the current premiums?  I’m betting not.

I don’t want to pay for someone else’s mistake.  I am a good driver and a safe driver.  I haven’t had a speeding ticket in years.  I can control my auto insurance premiums by continuing to be a safe driver.  In fact, the only raises I’ve paid was one for purchasing a newer car and an under $10.00 raise on my premium.  I want every one to have to carry enough insurance to cover hospital bills.  A night in the hospital can cost $5,000 – if it is a serious enough accident, you could spend a lot more – 5 nights in the hospital and the coverage from the person who caused the accident is gone.  You’re out of money and left with unpaid hospital bills and, most likely, no money from the work that you have missed.

This is what the Republicans think you deserve.  I’m betting you want that vote from November back now.

Call your Senator.  Click here to find out who it is.

I suggest you read these two articles to familiarize yourself with the changes the Republicans want to make.  If you don’t call, it’ll pass and you can kick your good coverage goodbye and show nothing for it.  My “favorite” part is this:

“Under this bill, when your spouse is hit and seriously injured by an underinsured driver, your insurance company will be “let off the hook” for not having to cover you for the full amount you thought you purchased. Insurance companies will be allowed to cleverly insert “reducing clause” language into the fine print; this will reduce their exposure for losses in spite of the fact that they’ve already collected premiums from consumers.” (see article here)

And, according to another article, Wisconsin still pays the fourth lowest amount for car insurance.

Thank you, know-nothing Republicans.  You wouldn’t know a good idea if it slapped you across the face!

http://www.nbc15.com/news/headlines/Wisconsin_Lawmakers_To_Debate_Reducing_Car_Insurance_114198704.html

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/truth-in-auto-insurance-repeal-hearing-scheduled-at-breakneck-speed-according-to-the-wisconsin-association-for-justice-114143869.html

Congressman Petri

According to an article on JSOnline article, Congressman Petri actually “promoted high-speed rail”.   Yesterday, he stood with Congressmen Ryan and Sensenbrenner to sponsor a bill which will allow Governor-elect Scott Walker to kill the project.  While some people are claiming flip flop, according to the article, Petri stated: “It’s the state’s call. They’re the ones that have to pay the $750,000 a year or $7.5 million a year ongoing (varying estimates for annual costs to the state). On the other hand, they’d have to forgo the $800 billion. Is that a sensible tradeoff or not? I worked to do my best to be part of giving them the option of making that decision.”

It sounds to me as if Congressman Petri isn’t flip-flopping as much as giving Scott Walker the rope with which he can hang himself.  How could $800 billion into the state be a bad thing?

Thanks, Scott!

Thanks, Scott Walker – Mr. Job Killer

I’m so glad that three of our so-called Representatives – Jim Sensenbrenner, Paul Ryan and Tom Petri – has seen it necessary to put a bill in Congress that would allow Scott Walker to return the money for the high speed rail project. According to the bill – which I have not yet read – will direct the money to reduce the deficit. Both California and Illinois (according to CBS 58 News) want the money. I’m making a guess here that if the money is returned by Wisconsin, it won’t be going to reduce the deficit.

On top of that, if the project is cancelled, 4,000 jobs will be lost. That’s four thousand people who will be affected – in a state that has an unemployment rate of 7%. Add to that “representatives from Talgo Inc., the Spanish company that chose Milwaukee as its site in the U.S. for building and maintaining high-speed trains, said the company may be forced to shut down its Milwaukee operation if the high-speed rail project is killed.” (source)

Most economists agree that deficit spending is good during a bad economy, provided that the money is used for the right projects.  Hello, we’re in a bad economy.  Government cuts should be made when the economy is running smoothly.  Actually, that’s when taxes should go up, in order to build a surplus to get us through the bad times.  Any first year economic student can tell you this.

Apparently, Walker, Ryan, Sensenbrenner and Petri have never taken an economic class.  They don’t get it.

Let’s put in simple terms:

4000 people get up and go to work in the morning.  Every week or every other week, they receive a pay check.  The government receives money from the taxes taken from said paycheck.  The bank gets paid for the mortgage or the landlord collects her rent.  Food is purchased at a grocery store.  A meal is purchased in a restaurant.  And, it goes on.  These four thousand people affect many more people.  The restaurant stays in business.  The local grocery store has to hire another clerk or two.  It is a circle.  Money travels from one person to another and along the way, more growth happens.  When the economy is booming again, the government stops spending (and, here’s where our government has been wrong throughout the last thirty years).  Private money begins flowing with new buildings, companies, etc.  The government money is no longer needed.

Paying off the deficit isn’t going to keep food on any of our tables.

We need to work together to save our rail and the four thousand jobs.

More Reasons NOT to VOTE for Ron Johnson

Wisconsin – Vote Today!

Here’s a few thoughts I would like you to keep in mind when you go out to vote today:

Ron Johnson hasn’t given any details regarding his plans as Senator.  He will somehow cut federal spending and lower – somehow – taxes.  What he has said regarding Feingold’s record is false.  A vote for Ron Johnson is throwing away what is good for Wisconsin over the next six years.  He thinks the Constitution is hard to read.  Don’t you want a Senator who can read the Constitution?

Scott Walker – right here and right now, I’m laying down the gauntlet.  If you vote for Scott Walker, please never speak to me again.  Gay people in this state have Domestic Partnership.  Scott Walker not only picked a Lt. Governor who is so anti-gay I think she might be hiding something, but he wants to kill Domestic Partnership.  This is a real issue.  This means that I am not guaranteed by law the right to make Cheryl’s medical decisions or that she doesn’t have the right to inherit from me.  Vote for Walker – better not tell me, because I will consider it a personal affront to me.  It means that you really don’t care if your gay friends suffer.  Isn’t it bad enough that the anti-gay amendment passed and we can’t get married?  The least thing we should have is visitation rights in the hospital.  And, if you’re gay and voting for Walker, shame on you.  How dare you turn your back on making life better for other gay people?  It is despicable.

Ron Johnson: It’s just a job interview…

Ron Johnson was quoted as saying: “I will point out: I don’t believe this election really is about details,” he said. “It just isn’t. I mean as I’ve gone through the state of Wisconsin I’ve viewed this pretty much as a job interview…. I’ll have to get there. I’ll have to start performing the job.”
Really? Because I want details. I want to know exactly how you plan on improving our job situation in this country. I want to know how you plan on helping our Veterans when they return from fighting for our great nation.
I want details.
Johnson can’t give them – in my opinion, because he has nothing to give. He doesn’t know anything about the political process.
Unfortunately, 52% of my fellow Wisconsinites disagree with me. They think Johnson is great and they’re polled as saying they will vote for him.
And, they will be making a big mistake. Johnson has proven time and time again that he is a know-nothing running on a platform of sound bites and fear. If we make him the next Senator from the great state of Wisconsin, we’ll get exactly what we deserve for the next six years — hot air and no substance.
One last note: He hasn’t “gone through the state”. He’s only visited a total of 60 counties. We have 72. He’s missed 12 counties.

Older posts Newer posts

© 2020 Top Of My Head

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑