Sunday, June 30, 2013

The 1st Amendment Isn't What it Use to Be

Today I watched a documentary on Free Speech TV

Denver in 5 Days

It is a documentary that details the planning and the actual demonstrations at the 2008 DNC convention in Denver.

I came away dismayed.

Police infiltration of the protest planning.
Phone tapping of the protest planners.
Labeling ordinary citizens using their first amendment rights as terrorists.
Intentional illegal detention by the Denver police.
Uncalled for violence by the Denver police
Denver PD doing everything to make the situation more confrontational than it needed to be.

My uncle was the town cop in the town that I grew up in.  I didn't think anything of it.

I grew up watching nonviolence turn into violence

I chose the path of activism.

My final distrust of cops started on May 4, 1970 when protestors the same age as me were gunned down - becauseetheycould

Those memories were coupled with today.
A today ~~~~ that I'm not especially proud of.
I feel as if we have regressed to pre-1965.
There's not much difference in police behavior between that tape in 1965 and today.
We can longer count on law enforcement for protection.

And that is coupled with stories about:

And I thought about my own experience at the ALEC protest in Snottsdale. 
   The overreaction by the police
   Phoenix/Scottsdale  PD doing everything to make the situation 
      more confrontational than it needed to be.

Peacable Assemblies
Citizens who are labeled criminals / terrorist and branded guilty – without any presumption of innocence.

It was very disheartening.
Especially when you consider the facts that theses are ordinary citizens using the rights given to them in the first amendment of a constitution that is supposed to be for WE THE PEOPLE.
Especially when you consider that the American Legislative Exchange Council is the real terrorist in terms of destroying our American representative democracy.  And yet no one is investigating them or phone tapping them or arresting them.

But the thing that really stuck with me – from the documentary in relation to the upcoming protest in Chicago – August 7 -9 – against ALEC was said by a reporter near the end of the documentary and it went something like this: 

If you’re only goal is to protest – just show up – you’ve met your goal.
If your goal is to bring people to your point of view – you better know how you are going to do that – before you go to the protest.

The ALEC first four ALEC protests had teach-in sessions before each protest that accomplished the second goal – to bring people to your point of view.

Based on the lack of planning I am seeing with the Chicago protest – it appears the only purpose there is to protest.
That’s really too bad.

I keep thinking about this post and while driving to work this morning and my title is incorrect.
It should be
The 1st Amendment Isn't what it was meant to be.

Cause I guess you could say for the past fifty years - the 1st amendment has denigrated rather than celebrated.

ALEC- Screwing You - 1 Paycheck at a Time

ALEC and ALEC Corporations make me so damn mad some days I CRY - because of the damage that ALEC, ALEC legislators, and their ALEC corporations are doing to the American people.
Today I cried.
I HATE ALEC and everything it stands for.

In March I introduced my readers to the ALEC Electronic Pay Choice Act.
I can't even begin to imagine how many decades ALEC and their Corporate buddies have been sitting around talking about this piece of malicious legislation.

A piece of pro-corporate ALEC legislation that takes money out of the pockets of
Americans and puts it into the pockets of the corporations - for no other reason than - 
becausetheycan and becausetheywantitall.

Another piece of pro-corporate ALEC legislation that takes away the rights of citizens to bank as they choose.

As I noted in that blog entry:

    I bet executives wouldn't put up with this kind of payroll crap 
       from their employer - I'd like to see
       them get their paycheck on a debit card
    I bet a legislator wouldn't put up this kind of payroll crap 
       from the state government- I'd like to see
       them get their paycheck on a debit card 

 And here's the recap of part of that entry.

The ALEC Electronic Pay Choice Act
Starts out by saying that an employer may pay employees in
    lawful money of the United States
    by a check payable in lawful money of the United States
    by automated transfer in lawful money of the United States
    or by credit to a prepaid debit or credit card.


However, an employer that elects not to pay wages or salaries in accordance with clause (i) or (ii)
(Meaning hard cash or hard check)

shall be permitted to pay wages or salaries by credit to a prepaid debit card or card account in accordance with clause (iv),
(Meaning direct deposit to a debit card)

even though such employee has not affirmatively consented thereto,
(say what??????????? - you get no say - the employer can do anything they damn well want to do with your paycheck)

if the employee fails to designate an account at a financial institution in accordance with clause (iii)
(which means the employee does not give the employer a routing number for direct deposit)

and the employer arranges for such card or card account to be issued through a network system
(presumably using an ALEC corporate sector member)

 Shortly after I wrote that entry the state of Connecticut tried to enact this vile piece of ALEC legislation.

A piece of legislation that was pushed by VISA in the state of Connecticut - which would have taken away the right of citizens to receive their paycheck through direct deposit, a hard copy check or cash.

Visa, "Chairman" level sponsor of 2011 ALEC Annual Conference[17] ($50,000 in 2010)[18] and sponsor of the August 5th, 2011, Plenary Session speech of FreedomWorks' Dick Armey.[12] Also member of ALEC's Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force[42]

I'm sure people who read my entry at the time thought that this was an over-reach on what ALEC truly was trying to achieve.  Those readers don't understand the true maliciousness of ALEC and ALEC legislators.

Just this week an diary showed up on Daily Kos - which started out

Or another reason not to eat at Mc Donald's.
Now that Chase and BofA have the SNAP market cornered they have decided to move up the social rung to the low paid wage earners.
Mc Donald's employees have only the option of using a debit card attached to Chase Bank that takes fees from their paycheck to use the money.

 The author of the diary did not know that this practice was inspired by ALEC.

Today in the New York Times:
 As Pay Cards Replace Paychecks, Bank Fees Hurt Workers

Published: June 30, 2013

A growing number of American workers are confronting a frustrating predicament on payday: to get their wages, they must first pay a fee.

For these largely hourly workers, paper paychecks and even direct deposit have been replaced by prepaid cards issued by their employers. Employees can use these cards, which work like debit cards, at an A.T.M. to withdraw their pay.

But in the overwhelming majority of cases, using the card involves a fee.

The companies noted in the article that are forcing their employees to take their pay on a debit card include:
Taco Bell,
Home Depot

Payroll Debit Card Issuers include
Bank of America,
Wells Fargo
Visa’s Web  

ALL ALEC(currently or in the past)

You may ask yourself - well, if companies are already forcing their employees to use payroll debit cards why would ALEC legislation be important.
Well - because of the potential for this:

Another McDonald’s worker, Natalie Gunshannon, 27, says the owners of the franchise that she worked for in Dallas, Pa., refused to deposit her pay directly into her checking account at a local credit union, which lets its customers use its A.T.M.’s free. Instead, Ms. Gunshannon said, she was forced to use a payroll card issued by JPMorgan Chase. She has since quit her job at the drive-through window and is suing the franchise owners.

“I know I deserve to get fairly paid for my work,” she said.

God forbid that an employee (or a consumer) would have recourse against an employer (or corporation) - that is the main purpose of every piece of legislation produced by the American Legislative Exchange Council - to take away every damn one of YOUR rights.

Legislation produced by the American Legislative Exchange Council to ensure the profits of their corporate members.

Some employees can also be hit with $25 overdraft fees, called “balance protection,” on some of the prepaid cards  
$1.50 to transfer money from the card to checking
NetSpend charges $2.25 for out-of-network A.T.M. withdrawals, 
50 cents for balance inquiries via a representative, 
50 cents for a purchase using the card, 
$5 for statement reprints, 
$10 to close an account, 
$25 for a balance-protection program and 
$7.50 after 60 days of inactivity,

The Federal Reserve has banned such fees for credit and debit cards, but no protections exist on prepaid cards.

So the worker gets screwed again - By ALEC

People - it's time you figured it out.
ALEC HATE$ people.

ALEC legislators HATE$ people.

The only people ALEC and ALEC legislators like are
Corporations, are people, my friend.

Screw the working stiff.

ACTION: Restore the Voting Rights Act

Within hours of SCOTUS gutting the Voting Rights Amendment – Republican states were implementing laws and reinstating gerrymandering of districts – to make sure everybody can’t vote.

Please support the ACLU today to tell
Congress: Restore the Voting Rights Act

27,733 people support this campaign. Help us get to 30,000!

A county in Texas recently submitted a request to change its polling place to a historically segregated private country club, presenting a huge discouragement to people of color seeking to vote. If not for key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, that change might not have been stopped.

And that's just one of more than a thousand cases in the last three decades where certain states and districts with legacies of discrimination have been barred from making changes that would prevent people from voting.

However, the Supreme Court struck down the requirement that those jurisdictions get pre-approval for these types of voting changes, crippling one of the most effective protections for the right to vote. The good news is it can be fixed.

Thirty seconds of your time.
30 seconds!

Rick Perry - This is god - Take Your Meds

Couln't help it.
Great Sunday humor
Stolen from BlueStreet Journal

Gov Perry
God Here
The voice in your head is not me
Take your meds.

MN GreenTree - Screwing Homeowners - Shame On You!

Green Tree Servicing LLC
345 St. Peter Street
St. Paul, MN 55102
800 643 0202


All of this has come to a head in a class-action lawsuit filed by Leonard Law Office in Massachusetts against Green Tree Servicing, a non-bank servicer based in St. Paul, Minn.

Of course, servicers like Green Tree, Nationstar and Ocwen have terrible reputations as among the worst servicers in the country (worse than Bank of America, if you can imagine that). Among the charges Leonard Law Office made against Green Tree were claims that the servicer imposed illegal fees to process any kind of payment; failed to process mailed payments on time; harassed borrowers by calling them at all hours of the night and using abusive language to try to collect on debts; and delayed or denied timely modifications. These practices violate such federal laws as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Telephone Consumer Protections Act, and others. Complaints about Green Tree’s practices litter the Internet.

This is definitely NOT Minnesota nice.
SHAME ON YOU Green Tree.
We don't need you nasty a$$ business in Minnesota.
We don't need you nasty a$$ taxes from nasty a$$ people.

Go somewhere where they will love you - like Texas or Arizona or Florida.

This is part of a story on that expands the Bank of America mortgage scandal.
Read the whole article

ALECer Fronts SCOTUS Prop 8 Case

You read the news every single day - you see the names:
Hollingsworth v Perry
After a California law defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman was struck down by the state supreme court as contrary to the state constitution, California voters adopted Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to overrule the state supreme court’s decision. Represented by prominent attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, two same-sex couples filed a federal legal challenge to Proposition 8 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on May 27, 2009. In August of 2010, a Federal District Court struck down Proposition 8. In February of 2012, a panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s decision. En banc review was denied by the Ninth Circuit, and the case is now before the Supreme Court under the name Hollingsworth v. Perry.
and the bell never goes off until today
- when an article out of California put it right and center at the end of the article they wrote.
His name fronts the case, but former state legislator Dennis Hollingsworth has kept a low profile in the story of Proposition 8.

Despite being listed as the lead plaintiff in Hollingsworth v. Perry as a result of his affiliation with the group, he has not courted media attention as the issue wound its way through the courts.
Dennis Hollingsworth

CA State Chair - American Legislative Exchange Council
2001 ALEC Leader in the States
2005 ALEC Leader in the States
Member – ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force
Member – ALEC Natural Resources Task Force

Inside ALE March 2010
CA State Chair Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth
Elected Senate Minority Leader Anti-tax Republican senators elected Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth (ALEC’s CA State Chairman) as their new leader in the California Senate in February during a contentious budget fight. 

2010 he hit his term limit and had to leave California politics (for now)
Hallelujah for term limits (in this case).

Durbin Calls out ALEC - Again!

Yesterday while I was lurking around tweet rolls I saw these three tweets.

Sen Durbin from IL asks NALEO to ask their sponsors if they continue to fund right wing ALEC
Thank you Senator Durbin for speaking truth to power at NALEO event today.  Investigate ALEC and their financial supporters.

And Durbin - was right on!
A bunch of the sponsors were ALEC corporate members - a huge bunch!


The NALEO Annual Conference provides direct access to our nation's top executive and legislative leaders. This is an unparalleled opportunity for attendees.
Welcome to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) and the NALEO Educational Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.

The NALEO event appears to be bipartisan in their approach.
Which is a mystery to me - since most RepubliCONS don't want "their kind" to vote. 

Last month – Schlafly – the “mother” of the GOP ultraconservatives stated:

The people that Republicans ought to reach out to are white voters,” Schlafly said lat month during an appearance on conservative radio show Focus Today, in which she said “there is not any evidence at all that these Hispanics coming in from Mexico will vote Republican.”

“I don’t they have Republican inclinations at all,” Schlafly said. “They’re running an illegitimacy rate that’s just about the same as blacks are.”

A couple of ALECers there
most notably
Jeff Denham
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ who was ont he same panel as Durbin
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ sitting right next to Durbin when he made the ALEC remarks.
This isn't the first time that Durbin has spoken about ALEC - Here he is a last fall (1 min 30)

Durbin knows about the American Legislative Exchange council, he speaks about ALEC and he fights against the ALEC agenda, including privatization issues.
It appears that Durbin is not a big fan of ALEC corporations or ALEC's privatization agenda - which benefits ALEC Corporations.

He's no dummy when it comes to ALEC nastiness -
It's nice to hear someone in power - real power - call out ALEC.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

ALEC Nastiness Goes to Iraq

Today when I was researching something else I found this (again).
It's important to remember that we were still at war in Iraq in 2009.
In 2009, there were still soldiers and civilians dying in Iraq.

International Relations Task Force Meeting
Federal Relations Working Group Meeting
States and Nation Policy Summit, Washington, DC
Friday, December 4, 2009 

In his presentation on Good Governance Promotion in Iraq, Senator Curt Bramble (UT) explained various reasons why and how the U.S. ought to be instrumental in educating newly elected Iraqi state legislators by training them in principles and good practices of governance, how to draft legislation and work effectively with the executive branch of their governments. He illustrated his points by describing his experiences working with the Baghdad Provincial Council in Iraq.

Representative Gene Ward introduced a Resolution Establishing an American Legislative Exchange Council Democracy and Governance Program. Representative Ward added that the five major legislative issues of the Iraqi government should also be addressed, namely unemployment, education, corruption, infrastructure and health care, respectively. He also suggested conducting this training of newly elected legislators partly in the U.S. and thus providing an example of good government practice.
Inside ALEC | Jan/Feb 2010

Resolution Establishing An American Legislative Exchange Council Democracy and Governance Program
The number of young democracies has increased dramatically, but these immature governments can easily backslide into authoritarianism without proper support and governance education. Several members of the International Relations Task Force have expertise in this area and pledge to develop good governance programs for local legislatures abroad that ALEC members can run in at-risk countries.

 "to develop good governance programs for local legislatures abroad that ALEC members can run in at-risk countries"
Anywhere that ALEC is - IS AT RISK
Once the nastiness of ALEC gets a hold of Iraq
They will think Saddam Hussein was a prince of a man.

I Hate ALEC and Everything It Stands For

I hate the American Legislative Exchange Council and everything it stands for.
ALEC is the only organization in the history of our nation that has intentionally brought corporations into the legislative process.
ALEC is the only organization in the history of our nation that has intentionally taken away the representative government of, for and by the people and and surreptitiously handed it over to the corporations..

ALEC legislators are the buffoons of our government.  They suck up to ALEC corporate members that pay ALEC to ship them from their state to ALEC meetings.  Then these state ALEC morons meet privately with corporate lobbyists– behind closed doors – so the corporations can legislate America.  The corporations use each ALEC state legislator as their own personal doofus and corporate grunt.

ALEC legislators repeatedly whine about how they are vilified for their devotion to the “free market”.  When, in reality, these imbeciles, intentionally manipulate and destroy the free market by introducing pro-corporate ALEC legislation in our systems.

Some days I reel with anger at ALEC legislative members.
There are times when I feel absolute dismay that the people of the US elected these people as representatives of the government, with their imbecilic behaviors and statements.

This weekend one of the biggest buffoons of ALEC, Scott Walker – will be enacting more vile ALEC policies onto the state of Wisconsin.  One of the most disturbing thing about these policies is that they are a decade old.  They have been ALEC’s to-do list of damage to do to the states for over ten years.

Here are snips from a recap that was compiled by the AFL-CIO entitled:
I have also included quotes from out-dated ALEC documents to show you that ALEC legislators and ALEC governors - can't think for themselves and they are only the marionettes of ALEC and ALEC corporations. 
In 2011, Gov. Walker and the Republican controlled legislature passed one of the most controversial and crippling budgets in history. Just months after unveiling extreme attacks on collective bargaining, Gov. Walker continued his crusade on the middle class and signed a state budget that enacted the largest and most sweeping cuts to education, health care and state aid to local communities in the entire history of the state.

In 2013, Gov. Walker and the Republican controlled legislature put forth an ideologically identical budget which rewarded corporate campaign contributors at the expense of Wisconsin’s working families.

ALEC Crisis in State Spending: A Guide for State Legislators
Accordingly, I have formulated ten commandments that will help to maximize the prosperity of the citizens of your state:
First, thou shalt keep taxes low.
Second, thou shalt reduce taxes on income and wealth.
Third, thou shalt keep marginal tax rates low and relatively uniform.
Walker's 2013 -2015 Budget
$651 million in income tax cuts over the next two years, which will largely benefit people with six-figure incomes.

A tax bracket is eliminated which will put couples earning $29,000 in the same tax bracket as people earning $315,000.

ALEC's Report -  Show Me the Money
Go Where the Money Is: Reduce Workforce Costs
One of the most effective short-term cost reduction measures is reducing workforce costs.

Walker's 2013 -2015 Budget
Ordering the elimination of 450 state employee positions.

Modernize Government: Reform Entitlement Programs States have no chance to solve their long-term budget problems without getting a handle on the rising cost of entitlements. Next to the recession, the runaway cost of Medicaid—the biggest budget cost driver in most states—is the biggest cause of the current state fiscal crisis.
Walker's 2013 -2015 Budget
Republicans rejected $4.38 billion in federal funds under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid coverage,

The Joint Finance Committee implemented new changes to the unemployment insurance
system that will reduce payments to the unemployed in 2013-2015

Turn Capital Assets into Financial Assets: Sell or
Lease Government Assets and Enterprises
Over the past two decades, hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of state-owned enterprises and assets have been sold or leased to the private sector worldwide. These assets have included airports, stadiums, ports, utilities, liquor operations, buildings, land, and gas and electric utilities.
Walker's 2013 -2015 Budget
 Governor Walker’s budget authorizes the sale or lease of nearly all state-owned property including power plants, UW-buildings, highways and rest-stops. The ambiguity of the budget language allows for these transactions to be conducted through a no-bid process.
Apply Antitrust to Government: Introduce Competition in Service Delivery
For many social, health, and educational services, the best way to realize the benefits of competition is to allow service recipients to choose their own providers.
Walker's 2013 -2015 Budget
 Tax credits for private schools
A tax break for parents who send their children to private schools, costing state taxpayers $30 million in 2014.
The "Voucher" Strategy and Requiring Tax Subsidies for Private For-Profit Schools

For almost 20 years, a top priority item for ALEC has been the privatization of public schools through school vouchers.

Promoting voucher programs that drain public schools of resources by using taxpayer dollars to subsidize private school profits, and specifying that those schools must remain unregulated. Voucher programs have been pushed in the following ways:

Offering private school vouchers with "universal eligibility" (using taxpayer dollars to subsidize private schools for the rich and others); "means-testedeligibility," (using poverty as the first domino in an effort to privatize public schools); and "universal eligibility with means-testedscholarship." (Here, "scholarship" means using taxpayer dollars to pay private school tuition and/or profits.)
Walker's 2013 -2015 Budget
State spending on private school vouchers will increase by at least $77 million over two years to expand a financially reckless education experiment that has failed after 20 years of taxpayer support.

In addition to the voucher program, there will be a new tax deduction starting in 2014 for
families who send children to any K-12 private school.

School privatization interests are major political donors in the state      Governor Walker alone received $2.35 million from pro-privatization groups.

These were highly sophisticated, researched schemes packaged by ALEC, pro-voucher operators and special interests groups to undermine public schools and privatize the ability of middle-class Wisconsinites to get a decent education in the future. Fearing public debate and discussion voucher items were tucked into the budget under the cover of night.
Establish a State Privatization and Efficiency Council
As discussed in the previous section, policymakers should embrace privatization and the competitive contracting of government services to drive service delivery improvements and better value for each taxpayer dollar spent..
Walker's 2013 -2015 Budget 
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) gets funding in spite of mismanagement of taxpayer dollars, losing track of millions of dollars in loans and possible illegal activity.

WEDC is the partially privatized entity created by Gov. Walker intended to be the engine for economic development in Wisconsin. In spite of terrible press and a damaging independent audit of the WEDC, the Joint Finance Committee approved an increase in funding by at least $7.5 million for WEDC operations and marketing.

The Legislative Audit Bureau issued a scathing audit on May 1, 2013, saying that WEDC’s reporting and management were so inadequate that it is not possible to “assess the effectiveness of WEDC’s economic development programs.” There are still no reliable accountability standards to show that taxpayer’s dollars are truly spent to create jobs.

From 2009 – Does the word recession or maybe depression  ring a bell – for 2009??
From the 2009 ALEC Report
Rich State, Poor States (2nd Edition)
Principle #9: Income transfer payments (welfare) create a de facto “tax” on working and thus have a high impact on the vitality of a state’s economy. Unemployment benefits, welfare payments, and subsidies represent a redistribution of income.    Transfer payments represent a tax on production and a subsidy to leisure. Their automatic increase in the event of a fall in market income leads to an even sharper drop in output.
Walker's 2013 -2015 Budget 
The Joint Finance Committee implemented new changes to the unemployment insurance system that will reduce payments to the unemployed in 2013-2015

The definition of “misconduct” is expanded under unemployment insurance rules so that it will be easier to deny benefits to many more workers, 

They make it easier to deny unemployment insurance by eliminating seven of the “quit exceptions.”

A COMMONWEAL INSTITUTE report on “tort reform” suggests that unemployment is part of the right-wing “tort reform” argument.  CI’s argument holds that “tort reform arguments” such as those espoused by ALEC  “rest upon a broader, underlying ideological foundation, one built around the ideas of personal responsibility, free markets, deregulation of business, and privatization of government functions.”  The unemployment issue being part of the “personal responsibility”.

Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest that the public should be aware that whenever ALEC members express their concern for the common peon – they are really only talking about your need to have “personal responsibility” and your need to “buck up”.

Walker's 2013 -2015 Budget 
 Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) persuaded the committee to approve an amendment requiring the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct a full audit of the Government Accountability Board. The GOP has been dogging the GAB since the recalls of 2011 and 2012 and has accused the Board of wrongdoing. The audit is part of a larger effort to challenge Wisconsin’s electoral process and voting rights.
Nonpartisan – my a$$
Another attempt at ALEC legislators to destroy the election process and to stop Americans from voting – so corporations can totally take over our government.

Walker's 2013 -2015 Budget  
Legalizing bail bonds (bounty hunters), which have been illegal in Wisconsin since 1979,

Jerry Watson, American Bail Coalition - 2008 ALEC Meeting

ALEC must be destroyed!
ALEC legislators must NOT be re-elected.

ALEC leadership believes that the world is flat and things don’t change and they continue to push their decades old pro-corporate legislation on the people of the United States.
We must stop them!

GOP - Screw the Cities - Screw the People

I saw this tweet on one of my favorite tweet roll.

Social media is so important – cause now we can share what is happening – or happened – across the states.  Sometimes what looks new, has already been done by the GOP elsewhere.

I thought I should show the world what happened in Minnesota – while we were under RepubliCON rule. What is happening in Wisconsin - was done to Minnesota by extremist RepubliCONS over the past 10 years.

The Minnesota RepubliCONS  “no new taxes” and let’s "protect the rich" policies of the MN RepubliCONS over the past decade – hit average Minnesotans in their pocket book.

The RepubliCONS over the past decade screwed Minnesota cities -  by cutting the state aid to Minnesota cities.   

The cities had to get the money – from somewhere – to make up for the RepubliCON cuts to cities.  So the cities raised property taxes.

Property taxes in Minnesota have increased 86 percent over the past 10 years,

Over the course of the past ten years - my house has lost 30% of it's value.
Over the course of the past ten years - my property taxes have doubled.
   Solely due to "screw the public, help the rich" RepubliCON policies.
Yesterday I got a notice from my mortgage company that my payment was going up - because my property taxes have gone up, AGAIN.  My house has had no icnrease in value - but my property taxes are still going up.  The  residual affect of a decade of "screw the public, help the rich" RepubliCON tax policies in Minnesota.

This year with Democratic leadership restored in Minnesota – the aid to cities has been reinstated – but you can bet your sweet a$$ that our property taxes – that were forcibly raised because of RepubliCON policies – will not go down.

Wisconsin has to get rid of the RepubliCONS in their legislature and governors mansion – or they too will see this type of property tax increases.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Gun Nuts - Ruining Family Fun - becausetheycan

Last week I wrote about a bunch of gun nuts who were going to open carry at a family friendly event here in Minnesota - called Open Streets.  Open Streets is kinda like a big old block party designed so the kids can ride their bike in the streets and the adults don't have to worry.  The open carry gun nuts were going to force their weapons into the faces of the children (some who have been traumatized by gun violence) kids - who just wanted to safely ride their bikes on the blocked off streets - Why? becausetheycan.

Well they eventually decided to backoff - the fact that they felt they could do it in the first place was pretty damn obnoxious.

Well - the gun nuts have done it again.
From Think Progress:

A group of Tea Party members caused fear that a Colorado town’s 4th of July parade won’t be safe to attend because they’ll be carrying weapons.
The town of Westcliffe normally has a lively 4th of July parade every year and is described as the busiest day for businesses. This year, however, citizens were afraid of what will happen with as many as 300 people marching with guns slung on their shoulders.

The Southern Colorado Patriots’ Club sent a out a flier advertising the parade and instructing members to bring unloaded rifles, “especially the evil black ones.”

The gunnuts in Colorado are saying:
We can wreck any damn thing we want.
The rest of the US doesn't count - it's just ME and my gun that counts.
To hell with ya'all.

Save a Speeder - Save Yourself

When I lived on the east coast, the area I lived in was really really bad for speed traps and highway cops hiding in the bushes along the highway ready to pounce..

After I had lived there a few months I was commenting to a colleague at work that people coming towards me on the highway were always flashing their lights at me and I couldn't figure it out.  Well - - they told me that two rapid blinks of the high beam was "speed trap"  - - - four rapid blinks of the high beams was "SLOW DOWN speed trap".

Anyway to present day.
The area I live in right now is really bad for speed traps and county mounties hiding in bushes ready to pounce at any time.  One night about four years ago, I decided it was time to teach the people in my area the blinking high beams technique.  I wrote a blog entry about it - and then started doing it - figuring it was a total waste of time - but what could it hurt.

I've been religiously blinking my high beams to oncoming traffic to warn of speed traps - day or night - for the past four years - just a double blink (this is Minnesotans afterall), thinking - who cares if I'm making a fool out of myself - no one really knows who I am anyhow.

WELL - tonight
I am on a piece of road out by where I live.
doing 55 - 60 on a 45.

An oncoming car gives me a quick two blink high beam
East coast automatic reaction
- brakes to slowed down
- thinking that was foolish
- no one here knows that signal

less than a 1/4 mile ahead - there sits a county mountie in the bushes with his radar gun pointed right at me.

For four years, every time I blinked my high beams to warn someone of a speed trap ahead - I thought I was wasting my time.
Tonight - some really nice person - saved me from a speeding ticket.
Save a Speeder - Save Yourself

ALEC - Unique, Like No Other Organzation

The American Legislative Exchange Council is like no other organzation.
It is the ONLY organization – on either side of the aisle – that intentionally (and in my opinion with malice) brings corporations directly and unabashedly into the legislative process.

Unique to ALEC
is corporations attending private meetings with state and federal legislators – sitting side-by-side with the legislators behind closed doors.

Unique to ALEC
is corporations writing legislation that is distributed at ALEC meetings to later be introduced at the state and federal level.

Unique to ALEC
is corporations having an EQUAL vote on which ALEC legislation will go forward into the state houses.

Unique to ALEC
is corporations providing “scholarship” money to ship legislators from their state to ALEC meetings for the main purpose of privately meeting with corporate lobbyists.

NO other organization
– allows our legislators to sit side-by-side with corporate lobbyists
– in private multi-day meetings
– outside the purview of the general public
– to review and approve corporate written legislation
 that ALEC legislative members then introduce in their state and the federal level.
NO other organization