Jul 31, 2014

Forbes says Half Baked Plan: Kansas City Streetcar Proposal Underwrites the Rich At the Expense of the Poor

Next week thousands of Kansas City, Missouri, voters will decide whether to expand the city’s
streetcar beyond its downtown boundaries. Although voters in the proposed district won’t
technically be voting on a tax increase on Aug. 5, approval of the new district will set the
stage for fresh taxes to support it, which would take the form of a combination of sales and
property taxes.

Supporters say the streetcar project and its expansions will draw a younger, car-averse
demographic to the city’s downtown area that city leaders say we need. But not only do the
city’s plans pose serious problems of half-baked policy; as designed, these plans pose
serious moral questions, as well.

Kansas Citians are already heavily taxed. Missouri is ranked 14th in the country in its
average state and local sales tax rates — even above Florida, which has no income tax at all.
Combined sales taxes around Kansas City regularly exceed 10%, and that’s a problem. Despite
very modest changes on the horizon, Missouri is not competitive when it comes to income tax
rates, with Kansas City even less competitive with an extra 1% earnings tax that hits
everyone, including the poor. The state isn’t distinguished on the property tax front,
either, sitting at about average nationwide. The streetcar levies would add another layer to
the region’s ever-expanding tax onion.

Some supporters say that the research “is in” on “transit oriented development” — read as:
streetcars — and they say such projects drive economic growth. Of course, that’s not what the
literature says. Rather than drive development, streetcars are generally parts of larger,
heavily subsidized project areas. In other words, it isn’t the streetcar that stokes
development, but large, concurrent subsidies that oftentimes would be there with or without
the train. That’s the reality of this proposal and others like it.

Functionally, the streetcar expansion would drain millions of dollars from poorer
neighborhoods in Kansas City to underwrite — and, frankly, to justify — the way of living of
affluent residents only a few miles away, in the city’s preferred neighborhoods downtown.
Poorer neighborhoods will get a streetcar, yes, but it is hard to believe that of all the
things Kansas City’s poorer neighborhoods need, that “streetcars” appear anywhere among their
top five or ten priorities.

That’s why it’s no wonder the proposal has engendered opposition along the proposed route,
with one important neighborhood group calling the project “touristy frou-frou.” As a local
priest wrote in an open letter,

[i]n addition to the sales tax, the streetcar proposal creates a special property assessment
district extending ½ mile on each side of the streetcar line. It would raise property taxes
an estimated 10%. But most frightening is the proposal to assess charities, schools and
churches within the corridor. That will literally take bread out of the children’s mouths and
books out of students’ hands in order to fund a streetcar.

--from Forbes


Jul 27, 2014

OPEN LETTER to the Haters... attention TKC/Internet ANONYMOUS COMMENTERS!

   I meet you all the time. You hate Obama. You hate gay people. You hate black people, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions, women who want the right to make choices concerning their bodies, you hate em all. You hate being called racist. You hate being called a bigot. Maybe if you talked about creating jobs more than you talk about why you hate gay people we wouldn't call you bigots. Maybe if you talked about black people without automatically assuming they are on food stamps while demanding their birth certificates we wouldn't call you racist. You hate socialism and social justice. You hate regulations and taxes and spending and the Government. You hate.
Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com     You like war. You like torture. You like Jesus. I don't know how in the hell any of that is compatible, but no one ever accused you haters of being over-committed to ideological consistency. You like people who look like you or at least hate most of the things that you hate. You hate everything else.
Now, I know you profess to love our country and the founding fathers (unless you are reminded that they believed in the separation of church and state), but I need to remind you that America is NOT what Fox News says it is. America is a melting pot, it always has been. We are a multi-cultural amalgamation of all kinds of people, and yet you still demonize everyone who is not a rich, white, heterosexual christian male or his submissive and obedient wife.
You hate liberals, moderates, hell, anyone who disagrees with Conservative dogma as espoused by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. You hate em.
Well, here are the facts, Jack. If you hate the Government then you are unqualified to manage it. If you hate gay people more than you love America than you should take your own advice and get the hell out. There are several countries that are openly hostile to gay people, but they are full of brown people and you don't like them much either from what I understand. It looks like you are screwed, but that's not what I am here to tell you.
More rant below the fold . . .
Now that you have thrown everything and the kitchen sink at President Obama and it still hasn't worked you are panicking. Obama's approval ratings are still near 50% despite your best efforts to undermine the economy and America's recovery at every step you can. You tried to hold the American economy hostage to force America into default on its' debts, debts that YOU rang up under Bush, so you could blame it on Obama and it failed. You've used the filibuster more than any other Congress ever, going so far as to vote against providing health care access to 9/11 first responders. You remember 9/11, don't you, it's that thing you used to lie us into a war in Iraq, and then when Obama killed Bin Laden and ended the war in Iraq you told people that he hates America and wants the troops to fail. You monsters. You hate Obama with a passion, despite the fact that he is a tax cutting, deficit reducing war President who undermines civil rights and delivers corporate friendly watered down reforms that benefit special interests just like a Republican. You call him a Kenyan. You call him a socialist. You dance with your hatred singing it proudly in the rain like it was a 1950's musical.
Frankly, you disgust me. Your hatred nauseates me. Your bigotry offends me. Your racism revolts me.
Dear haters, I am openly questioning your patriotism.
I think you hate gays, Obama, black people, poor people, all of us, women, atheists and agnostics, Latinos, Muslims, Liberals, all of us, I think you hate every one who isn't exactly like you, and I think you hate us more than you love your country.
I think you hate gay soldiers more than you want America to win its wars.
I don't even think you want America to win wars, you just want America to have wars, never ending wars and the war profiteering it generates. You love that kind of spending, you love spending on faith based initiatives and abstinence based sex education (George Carlin would have loved that one), you love spending on subsidies for profitable oil corporations, you spend like drunken sailors when you are in the White House, but if it is a Democrat then suddenly you cheer when America doesn't get the Olympics because it might make the black President look bad. But oooh you love your country, you say, and you want it back. Well listen here skippy, it isn't your country, you don't own it, it is our country, and America is NOT the religiously extremist Foxbots who hate science, elitist professors and having a vibrant and meaningful sex life with someone we love if Rick Santorum doesn't approve of it. Rick Santorum isn't running for America's fucking high school dance chaperone, he should probably just shut the hell up about sex, but he can't because he has nothing else to run on.
Republicans can NOT win on the issues. They've got NOTHING. All they have is a divide and conquer class war that pits ignorant racist and bigoted people against the rest of us in a meaningless battle of wedge issues and the already proven to fail George W. Bush agenda again of tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, privatization and war profiteering and nothing else, so all they can do is blame black people, gays the government, anybody and everyone else for their own failings. The party of personal responsibility, my ass.
But they love multi-national corporations, just ask a gay hating and racist religious extremist if they think Corporations are people and they will gladly agree, but if you ask them if gay people are people they aren't so sure.
Dear haters, you are the cruel, heartless misinformed assholes who would sell America out to Haliburton in a heartbeat, you would rather pay ZERO taxes than you would see a newly born baby get access to quality health care, you cheer when we discuss denying health care to young people with preventable diseases, and you boo when we discuss the First Ladies plan to cut back on childhood obesity. You are a cross to carry and a flag to wrap yourself in away from being the people who Sinclair Lewis warned us about, but I guarantee that if Fox News told you to dress that way you would, because you are the same blind, ignorant and closed minded dunces who drove this country into a civil war years ago because you are bound to the notion that some men are more equal than others. In short, the reason I proudly wear my union army hat is because of seditious sell outs like you who constantly fuck over working class Americans so a foreign entrepreneur like Rupert Murdoch can get a bigger tax break. If corporations are people, they are neither American patriots nor capable of love. Just like you.
So stop wearing your hate with pride. Stop celebrating your anti-science, anti-math ignorance. Stop using code words to mask your bigotry like "family values", especially when you hate my family and when you stand on the same stage as a guy who has had three marriages or if you share a seat in the Senate with a guy who cheated on his wife with hookers while wearing diapers. You should be ashamed. I know that you are just doing this to motivate your misinformed hate cult base because if they actually knew that your ideas will make them poorer than they are now, they would never vote for you. You are doing your best to impoverish your countrymen so rich people can get bigger tax breaks and you can keep on delivering corporate welfare to the special interests who have bribed you, and I am disgusted by the way you gleefully parade your hatred with aplomb. I don't think you do love America. At least, not as much as you hate everyone in America who isn't exactly like you.
You should think about that, and maybe get some help.
And for the record, I do not hate you. I am embarrassed by you and nauseated by your cruel and thoughtless behavior and your all consuming greed, but I do not hate you. I forgive you and I hope you can change someday, but I don't hate you. You have enough hate in you for the rest of us as it is.
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You can follow me on twitter @JesseLaGreca


Jul 26, 2014

Obama taking action to think BIG...not accepting moron Republicans. What will happen if he legalizes Mexicans by Exec Action next month?

An ESSAY about letting the Hispanics IN!   Will it change America?

I think unanticipated results over Immigration Reform is always a possibility and likely, but that happens a lot when we change our thinking and direction. Lets suppose some others besides immigration reform causing big changes in the country (apologies to smartphone readers):

--The Tea Party may well have also triggered events changing the country, giving the Congress more power than is intended--to the ignorant mass swayed by propaganda media.
-- Or gumment's failure to apply the part of the 2nd amendment about "reguted militia"--causing our insane urban murder rates.   Will this turn America from a law abiding culture to a lawless one like so many elsewhere?
--And the court decision to grant profit-motivated CORPORATIONS 'personhoodt' right to 'free speech' with their bribery money to let them take the government away from the people.
--And election of a black president, ending traditional white immigrant political control of the US, basically breaking the glass ceiling protecting European-ancestry control of the country
--And passage of the Civil Rights Act finally ending the remnants of slavery, giving societal rights to ex-slaves even in the South, hereto ignored by mostly Southerners but everplace.
--And Bush's misguided war in Iraq that, for a stable oil supply to the west, has alienated  the entire arab world. And our open border from the mideast allowing visiting terrorists to infiltrate us and get even for corrupting their society with our  western ways and influence with bombs.
--And the Republican deliberate decision to ignore the will of the people and stalemate the TWICE elected president with their congressional collusion. A precedent setter to destroy democracy as a ultimate public policy direction from the people.
--And others. Like sending too much aid to Ukraine to place us face to face with nuclear power Russia--surely risking WWIII as it was WWI.
--Or using the A bomb on Hiroshima triggering the eventual end of humanity in the spread of that technology to the irresponsible among us. Killing many millions a century later.
--Or refusing to get off oil by making both our Earth dirtier and more polluted and give the Mideast the one card they hold over us all.
--And fracking, pipelines and transportation of petroleum that may pollute our groundwater supply forever, making water more dear than energy.
--or failing to force the food industry to keep our food supply pure and free of chemicals changing our physical makeup forever--all for profits.
--Or allowing foreign visitors to travel freely, setting the stage for a world wide disease epidemic that could spread a killer virus worldwide in only months..
Are you suggesting we shouldn't ACT when it seems the right thing to do because something bad might happen? Tell me. "I" don't know. But it strikes me as a bad idea to let ourselves be frozen in fear. It also strikes me that we should gamble to do the moral thing, not the political one.

The religious types suggest that despite our checkered past, "GOD" smiles on us as a blessed nation, just like the Jews call themselves God's Chosen people. And then they're nearly wiped out by Hitler. Will He do the same to us for bullying the world for money profits? So how should we proceed?
OBAMA - Friend or Foe?

How would history 75 years treat Obama if he reforms immigration by himself and even gets successfully impeached by his racist enemies for it? Despite being called a 'dumb ass socialst' by todays parochial thinkers, he may be a world hero revered forever, even as we, who lived in the past, roll over in our graves 40 years from now.
And those who impeached him and supported that in places like THIS, may not be talked about, like GWB is not talked about. And Klansmen and Communists, and Salem witchhunters are not talked about.

All speculation. But it's very fun to try to step out of today fights, and wonder how HISTORY will treat us for what we're doing today, isn't it?

Jul 24, 2014

SHARE THIS! The News LINKS: What's playing today AROUND THE WORLD?

Is ANY major news outlet OBJECTIVE?  Probably not.  SO READ EVERYTHING YOU CAN to get a more clear picture--not just one brand of dogfood!     See what's playing in the major capitals and how they play the stories.   Compare.  


         US Press          

CNN International site;
CNN has multiple sites targeted for US, Hispanic and others.

Left/liberal leaning US political views,
 designed as an alternative to Fox.

Unmistakably right leaning US political views,
owned by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp

Mainstream media NOT on the cable news.

Establishment, generally objective
without political agendas

Prestigious balanced newspaper

 Unmistakable anti-Obama,
 right leaning news and opinion

Financial Newspaper owned by Newscorp,
 Rupert Murdoch, owner of FoxNews

Objectivity is noted

Public Broadcasting, more facts than opinion

Balanced, graphic oriented short story news
News aggregator, uses Reuters, AP, AFP
ABC and others to republish online

Voice of America  to other nations

      British Press       
British press covers the US with some independent news judgment.  Worthy of US

   More sensational than newsworthy

British Broadcasting.
Self stated "independent, impartial and honest"
 editorial policy; respected

     Russian Press      
Don't expect Russian media to criticize their government.  Not if they want to survive.

Russia Today
Pro-Kremlin Pop TV

NEW Gazette
Liberal but careful!

Pro Russian govt

 Pro Russian govt coverage

        Arab Press         

American version covers US and World
 especially Arab world.  Links to other versions.
This is not a propaganda site.  They are driving to be a legit,
objective news source.

       Israeli Press        
Well, pro Israeli, for sure.

     Japanese Press      

  Japan PublicTV

         India Press         

Press Trust of India

       Chinese Press     
Press is not FREE in China by American standards

XinuaNet Intnl, China

    Knowledge Base   

The Cliff Notes version of World Facts! 
User written public encyclopedia.
Not always accurate but generally a quick way
 to be briefed on people, companies, countries,
and issues, including major current events.

  Partisan Websites and Facebook Pgs  

BEST LINKS:  Facebook and Website pages sorted by political viewpoint

 BEST OF THE WEB page links to hundreds of links--more news, politics, food, computers  facebook pages and partisan sites.  Bring a sack lunch and have fun!   (Don't give up your desktop/laptops.  Smartphones will make you dumber--GUARANTEED!)

BEST 1-column screens: SMARTPHONES.     

BEST 2-column screens:  LAPTOP/DESKTOPS

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