Archive for category Democracy

Budget Deal Might Stop Tea-GOP Wrecking Crew

Just before midnight on Monday, congressional leaders and the White House tentatively agreed on a major budget deal. The plan is to end debt limit standoffs through March 2017, and keep the federal government in operation with some sequestration relief. So-called “entitlement reform,” meaning cuts to Medicare and Social Security, was kept within limits.

Presumably, Speaker John Boehner will send this budget bill to the House floor before turning over the gavel to Rep. Paul Ryan.

The good news is, it looks like the U.S. government and economy will survive in the near term. We’ll avoid a looming default on our National Debt, and there will not be a government shutdown on December 11.

The bad news is the Shutdown Caucus, a key block of Tea-GOP members of Congress, still wants to bring about a government shutdown and/or default any way they can. Because of gerrymandering, they are likely to survive the next election. And nobody except Bernie Sanders is talking about taxing the rich anymore.

More info:
Final Major Budget Deal Of The Obama-Boehner Era Forces GOP To Release Social Security Hostages
Dean Baker: Paul Ryan Wants to Shut Down the Government, Permanently

Paul Ryan On Budget Deliberations: ‘I Think The Process Stinks’
A Whole Lot Of Face-Saving Theater
How John Boehner Saved Paul Ryan From Becoming Boehner 2.0


Old Comedy Clip Responds to Oregon Gun Tragedy

I’m not for taking everybody’s guns away, but continuing to do nothing when these mass shootings are taking place nearly once a week is madness. It’s a terrible question to ask, but is congress taking no action because gun sales go through the roof after every one of these tragedies? Total inaction might be what the NRA and gun industry want, but it certainly isn’t what the vast majority of the American people have said they want.

Jeb Bush:

Look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis…

Donald Trump:

You’re going to have these things happen and it’s a horrible thing to behold, horrible

I’ll let Ethel Merman respond to the 2016 presidential candidates. From “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World:


Democracy Triumphs in Greece

Greece wins

Today the birthplace of democracy was the scene of a triumph of the 99 Percent. Greeks voted against austerity by a 20-point margin. Paul Krugman:

[W]e have just witnessed Greece stand up to a truly vile campaign of bullying and intimidation, an attempt to scare the Greek public, not just into accepting creditor demands, but into getting rid of their government. It was a shameful moment in modern European history, and would have set a truly ugly precedent if it had succeeded.

More info:
HuffPo live updates

1 Comment

How To Talk To A Brick Wall

Utah Tar Sands Panel

Utah Tar Sands Panel

The Utah Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining held a hearing yesterday morning because a Canadian energy corporation has plans to mine large areas of Utah tar sands. Under state law, a hearing must be held if residents have objections.

I was worried nobody would be there to document the proceedings, so I took my camcorder to the event. The first part of the meeting was consumed by representatives for “U.S. Oil Sands”, defending the Calgary based company from questions about it’s protection of Utah’s water resources.

The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret Morning News did stories on the matter, but I’m pretty sure I was the only one who filmed the meeting. Television crews sometimes cover things getting set up and then leave when important public events get underway.

I’m only presenting comments given by the Utah activists and citizens who showed up and elected to speak. Obviously I didn’t have a tripod. Nothing has been edited except for where the second speaker gives his name. My battery had to be changed.


After the public comments, John Baza, who presided over the hearing said, “There are things that have been said here today that have touched me and I am sensitive to those.” My opinion is that the corporation will get everything it wants. Am I being cynical again?

UPDATE: Here is the panel discussion portion of the hearing. This is virtually the entire conversation. The short gaps were due to small camera adjustments. I’m still learning how to use it. :)

The man closest to, and facing away from my camera during the video and in the top picture of this post is University of Utah geology professor, Bill Johnson. He is fighting hard for Utah’s lands:

Please go to “Utah Tar Sands Resistance” to participate in stopping the destruction of our beautiful Utah lands or Donate!

UPDATE: Jill Merritt made up this handy list to navigate the first video. Thanks Jill!
speaker list 2

UPDATE: The Salt Lake Tribune has published two letters to the editor: From July 4th and July 5th. The paper has also published a very good editorial concerning the Tar Sands hearing:

Editorial: Tar sands extraction unproven and risky

UPDATE: As I suspected, the expansion of the “U.S. Oil Sands” project has been approved. The Salt Lake Tribune reports “a partial victory for environmentalists due to requiring the company to monitor nearby springs for potential groundwater contamination and submit documentation showing the mine is in compliance with air quality regulations. Of course none of the environmentalists wanted an expansion at all, and I have my doubts that the monitoring will be carried out sufficiently.

Here’s the latest Deseret News article.


The Supreme Court Is On A Big Roll For The People!

It's just not right!

It’s just not right!

Thank goodness Obama got elected and was able to get two honest jurors on the supreme court. Everybody is stunned to see decision after decision coming down on the side of ordinary Americans for a change. Scalia is just beside himself and even mentioned “hippies” in his dissenting court opinion about gay marriage. Bizarre.

First came the ruling against segregation in housing. Then “Obamacare” was saved in a decisive vote. I can only remember one other such vote in over a decade, since we started to see all these 5 to 4 politically motivated votes coming out of the court. Then the stunning “marriage equality” decision.

Today we hear about a ruling which actually allows citizens to be included in redistricting discussions. This is really big! I hope something can be done in time for the next presidential vote, but I doubt it.

This should be a clarion call for people to get out and overwhelm the voting system by – you know – voting, so we can prevent a Republican president from stacking the court with partisan hacks again. If McCain and Romney had taken over the white house, none of these rulings would have been possible.


Hillary 2.0

Hillary 2016

Cable TV news is going with non-stop speculation about Hillary Clinton’s $2.5 billion “Hillary for America” 2016 presidential campaign, which officially kicks off today. In 2008, Hillary’s advisers thought her candidacy was “inevitable,” and for the most part she ran as the Iron Lady. Now, I think they realize the last time she only came across as sympathetic when she got a little teary-eyed in New Hampshire (she didn’t actually shed a tear). Of course, if you watch that on video it was nearly content-free in terms of policy.

Hillary 2.0 will be introduced in small events, maybe even going back to that same Portsmouth, New Hampshire cafe from 2008. Her initial platform will be “first woman President,” without going into policy very much. Will that be enough?

Progressives see Hillary as the favorite candidate of Wall Street. Tea-GOPers think she is some far-left radical. So who is going to vote for her? Can anyone get excited about the prospect of a Clinton vs. Bush presidential election? Let’s discuss.

More info:
Hillary Clinton just doesn’t get it: She’s already running a losing campaign

Voters are more desperate now, and in a far worse mood. If you invite their questions, you’d better have some answers.

Hillary Clinton Announces 2016 Presidential Bid

“I’m running for president,” she said with a smile near the end of a two-minute video released just after 3 p.m.

“Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion,” Mrs. Clinton said. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote — because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

Kevin Gosztola on FDL: Hillary Clinton’s Announcement Paves Way for Progressives to Abandon Principles Very Early in 2016 Election

DSWright on FDL: Wall Street Is Cool With Hillary Clinton Pretending To Be A Populist

Wall Street understands they are unpopular after bringing the US economy to its knees with their greed and criminality. They know Clinton has to criticize them in public even after taking their money in private.


How, Not, To Work Your Political Views Into A Conversation

When I was starting out in Junior High School in 1965, they were building a new one to accommodate our large student population in that area. They had already picked a name for the new school, but a fellow student, who was a big history buff decided he wanted the school to be named after a personal hero of his. He began his quest to have the school named after Winston Churchill. I can’t remember all of the details or how difficult, or long the procedure took, but I’ll be damned if the school isn’t named Churchill Junior High today.

You may have already heard about the teacher in New Hampshire who recently decide to teach his fourth grade students how a bill is adopted, so he had them decide on a bill and they took it to the legislature. The attempt to get the red-tailed hawk named as the official state raptor turned into a learning experience for sure, but definitley not one you would have imagined.

After one legislator mocked the bill, saying they’d probably next be naming an official state hotdog, Republican Representative Warren Groen really took the wind out of the sails of these kids by saying:

“The hawk grasps its prey “with its talons and then uses its razor-sharp beak to rip its victims to shreds, to basically tear it apart limb by limb, and I guess the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood.’’

I guess this idiot thought these students were being taught to be a bunch of stinking liberals by their stinking liberal teacher. Just let the adults come up with the bills, huh?

The Democratic governor is going to visit the school and try to get the students not to give up trying to be involved in their communities. My sense is that after making the national news, they are going to be even more involved. That’s how these sorts of inane blunders usually work out, but you’ll never convince some ideologues.


How Ironic: The First Tea-GOP Presidential Candidate for 2016 Has A Canadian Birth Certificate

Rafael Cruz

This morning, Senator Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz launched the first 2016 Tea-GOP presidential campaign. Mostly known for orchestrating the last federal government shutdown, every one of his policy positions are opposed by a majority of Americans.

Senator Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada. He has a Canadian birth certificate, which arguably means he is not a natural born U.S. citizen (a constitutional requirement for anyone to hold the office of President of the United States). Less than a year ago, Cruz still held Canadian dual citizenship.

Birther heads would explode, except that their level of brain activity probably isn’t high enough for that. BTW Cruz is a first-term senator with no prior experience as an elected official.

Ted Cruz Is So Proud Of His Role In America’s Near-Default, He’s Touting It On Campaign Site
BTW check out
Yes, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz Is Eligible To Run For President

There is still some lingering uncertainty about Cruz’s eligibility. That’s because the Supreme Court hasn’t ruled on the meaning of “natural born citizen,” which the Constitution doesn’t define.


Why Are Republicans Legislating From The Bench?

Because they never cared about legislating from the bench anyway, if their side could win by doing that. I didn’t pose that as a question because it’s a fact.

This ACA in the supreme court challenge is a very interesting one and it puts Republican lawmakers right on the hot seat. They have been doing everything they could to kill the legislation that almost everybody seems to like, including hospitals, patients and insurance companies. Nobody’s been complaining; surely not me, who for the first time in eight years, actually has health care.

This never had to get to the supreme court and even if the supreme court decision results in millions of people losing their health care and sending the entire health system into chaos, it will be because the Republicans refuse to clarify four words in the law either before OR after the decision comes down.

Although this is going to directly effect me in a profound way, I’m going to be pulling up a chair and getting the popcorn ready.


Because a Policy is Wildly Unpopular in America Doesn’t Mean It Won’t Happen


Consumerist’s Worst Company In America for 2014 (you guessed Comcast, didn’t you? – right on!) is trying to get bigger and more powerful. Where is democracy when we need it?

Comcast is trying to merge with another of America’s largest cable and Internet providers, Time Warner Cable. The proposed Comcast-TWC merger would create a juggernaut of a company that almost no one would be able to compete with. The merged company — which will be named Comcast — would control more than two-thirds of all cable television subscriptions in the country, and some 40% of the home Internet market.


Survey after survey shows that Americans wholeheartedly oppose the proposed merger. The latest survey, by Consumer Reports, finds nearly three-quarters of Americans believe it will result in higher cable and Internet rates, while two-thirds say it will likely have a negative impact on customer service and that Comcast would have no incentive to improve.

Let’s recall that Comcast is an enemy of net neutrality, which they underscored by the Netflix shakedown last summer. They are notorious for throttling your Internet connection. Comcast is currently trying to turn user home routers into publicly-accessible hotspots without telling customers. Their prices are too high (but it’s a local monopoly controlled by nobody). And of course their customer “service” is totally evil.

Will the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice roll over and play dead, letting this merger go through? Stay tuned.

More info:
You Thought Comcast Couldn’t Get Any Worse? Think Again
When Your Cable Company Attacks: Why Comcast Abuses Its Customers
Insults directed at consumers are proof that Comcast is rotten to the core.


Do This NOW!

If you’re reading this, you know you support “Net Neutrality” and wouldn’t want OneUtah to have any more problems then it’s got now or had in the past.

The internet is abuzz with news that the Chairman of the FCC seems to be hearing Americans of ALL persuasions concerning our desire not to give away the promise of the internet, to be a forum for everybody and not just another movie, advertising or propaganda channel.

I don’t wish to cast any negative aspersions on the good chairman, but he DID used to be a lobbyist for the opposition to a free internet. Now isn’t the time to be pacified into thinking we’ve won.

You might not be a fan of Daily KOS, and I’ve had my issues with that blog myself, but they have provided a simple page which provides you with a way to easily make your comment to the FCC. I am happy that it doesn’t provide the text of your comment, which would most likely not get read and possibly get discarded automatically by the recipient.

Go here to construct and send your comment.

For all it’s worth, here’s mine:

I consider “net neutrality” to be the biggest issue today. The invention of the internet has allowed knowledge and ideas to flow in ways that were unimaginable to anyone just a few years ago. If the largest corporations are allowed to control this powerful tool, it will become just another advertising platform for wealth creation and people will lose interest. Personally, it would devastate my trust in what America used to stand for and lessen my interest in democracy itself.

I was nice, no?


Senator Elizabeth Warren: Who Does Congress Work For?

Wall Street wants to get bailed out by taxpayers AGAIN, the next time they recklessly crash our financial sector with risky derivatives. This could cause the next Great Depression. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is trying to stop them, even though the Tea-GOP is threatening to shut down the federal government (in less than five hours) if a Dodd-Frank repeal proposal written by Citigroup lobbyists doesn’t pass.


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