Nov 28, 2014

DARE you listen to PROGRESSIVE thinking about FIXING our SCREWED UP country?

That St Louis County prosecutor really screwed up on Ferguson by not doing his job. This is going to get a lot bigger than him, the cop, the dead kid and this town.
Fact is, blacks especially-- and young, and poor and ex-felons-- are sick of bully cops. Many of us grew up before they became Nazis...and with smartphones, this won't last long.

So what about the next American Revolution-- LAW AND ORDER TO PROTECT THE RICH, or SLAVE WAGES ON THE POOR?

Sure, St Lou is a bit redneck, being Missouri and all. But this needs to stop.  NY, Chicago, LA and lots of places in between have figured this out.   Maybe police have brought this attitude on themselves...by bullying when no one's looking!    One on one!.

GROWN UP VOTERS, and ARMED 2nd amendment nutcases in rural America will be empowered by all this...and will get unpredictable when they discover the corporatists intend to hold the slave wages down. And the Republicans are doing their bidding in legislatures and Congress. I can see a rebellion happening when people get HUNGRY.  
The Revolution.  In the 1700s, it was the colonial property owners organizing the rebellion against the King over taxes and slave indebtedness.
Today, the Tea Partier INVESTORS have stolen the vision but they really don't own it. Sadly, the funders of the Tea Party are really libertarian Corporatists tricking you to get rid of gumment so they can do what they want to their customers without gumment interference!
This time, it will be the middle and poor class, armed to the TEETH, that will go after those very Tories...the Corporatists. Will the cops defend the property owners, or fight against them? I really don't know. We PRESUME they'll be the sheriff's soldiers for the King, or the Sheriff of Nottingham, whoever. 
Or to switch movies, they would defend the CAPITAL from the Districts. (We haven't seen THAT LAST Hunger Games movie yet.)  But we know the people will win in the end, don't we--the good guys ALWAYS win?   Are the police against the people, or WITH them?  I dunno but if they aren't loyal to the people instead of the government,  it will be very bloody!

Don't you find the name "Homeland Security" just a little unsettling? I do. It sounds downright Orwellian. Ever heard of George Orwell? If not, your high school history teacher let you down! And set you up to be sheep for the corporatists! You should go have a word or two with your old civics teachers back in the day on why they just taught out of the textbook!
I don't think this POLICE ABUSE WILL END very pretty. Because of smartphones and websites like COP BLOCK, and the rest of the internet showing police abuse, I'll be surprised if bully cops will survive this. They have destroyed the credibility of both police and the justice system behind them. This is not OUR problem. It's THEIR job to improve their self-deserved bad image and reputation.
We really don't like that system imprisoning more people than any other nation. People are angry. have lost respect for police for the law, the legal system, and even our sense of VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE with LAWS that helped build the country.
Now the Conservative Corporatists in the right wing media are openly blaming OBAMA to make some political points.... rather than the bully cops! Very bad move because the wealthy corporatists are outnumbered. Have we learned NOTHING, as we watch the Muslims STREET destroy their civilization because of their culture of religious anarchy?
STUPID IDEA.  The Koch brothers want less government... they are libertarians. I think those oilmen should stick to making money and not dabbling in politics. They are exactly as wrong as the Russians were in 1917 trying a new system called "Communism" That too failed.
And Republicans need to move FAR to the middle... there is no future in shilling for the rich. They may fund elections, but they don't vote. Just what SHOULD Republicans favor? Balanced budget? Ok. Religion in govt? NOT Ok. Corporate Deregulation? NOT ok. Big companies eating up Little companies? NOT ok. True honest competition? OK. Hurting the environment or creating powerful monopolies? NOT ok.
Are you just an OIL man, or an ENERGY man?  WHICH?   It's soo too bad OIL COMPANIES don't see themselves as ENERGY COMPANIES, and look for alternative energy in their future, instead of just OIL... that isn't so harmful to the air we breathe. But OIL companies only see their function as PUMPING OIL, not creating ENERGY.   They need to think BIGGER!
If all you have is a HAMMER... then everything looks like a NAIL. Study on this phrase for a LONG WHILE!
Our fickle electorate will quit listening to Fox in the Morning as soon as they look at their non-increasing paychecks and tryng to pay corporations higher prices. Chinese cheap goods will only work so long.
This society has lost its dedication to educating our children more than we were. Resulting in a dumbing down that will further take us out of world labor competition. This is what GREED DOES.
MEDIA keeps us DUMB to make money.  That's all they want.  MONEY.    The MEDIA needs to re-educate where the schools and the mainstream and right leaning media have failed us. It might be good TV to show reality TV on the streets of Ferguson.... but it won't fix it. And it has not occurred to whites that the poor and middle class WHITE CULTURE is next on the target list.

Nov 25, 2014

UPDATE: Cop got a PASS from the Prosecutor. The DA should RESIGN...Cop needs to go to public trial!

This case clearly shows the secret Grand Jury system should not be used for police misconduct cases...and local prosecutors, who are too police-friendly, should not be prosecuting.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch
It was clear Ferguson's justice system gave Wilson a pass. .. and the prosecutor set it up so he wouldn't have to get his hands dirty.


No wonder police think they can get away with misconduct!  Wilson should have just gone to trial...there was plenty of probable cause. And there was NO cross examination. This was not a justice system in play here and McCulloch clearly did not want an indictment.  So of course, he didn't get one.

Is it fair to suggest that he got the cop off all right, but at what political cost to himself?  Let's see how voters in St. Louis County deal with this partisan prosecutor.  Vote him out or support him based on racial lines in St Louis County?

 The feds need to do this...police/prosecutors simply can't police/prosecute their own. Everyone should stop their bigotry and realize that America needs to take better steps to prevent government abuse. The system failed, no matter whether the cop was justified or not.

OH.. PARTY POLITICS?  Republicans need to figure out whose side are they on.    Police-state government, more heavy-handed government?    Or much LESS!  Ya just can't have it both ways!  Where are you tonight, libertarians?



Aside from our personal BIASES, now the LEGAL ANALYSIS comes...

Justice Scalia... who's hardly one of my favorite Supremes... saying the prosecutor turned the Grand Jury concept on its head, failing to do his duty-- clear back in'92!


Justice Antonin Scalia, in the 1992 Supreme Court case of United States v. Williams, explained what the role of a grand jury has been for hundreds of years.
It is the grand jury’s function not ‘to enquire … upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,’ or otherwise to try the suspect’s defenses, but only to examine ‘upon what foundation [the charge] is made’ by the prosecutor. Respublica v. Shaffer, 1 Dall. 236 (O. T. Phila. 1788); see also F. Wharton, Criminal Pleading and Practice § 360, pp. 248-249 (8th ed. 1880). As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.
ThinkProgress Wednesday explains what that means in THIS case...
 In contrast, McCulloch allowed Wilson to testify for hours before the grand jury and presented them with every scrap of exculpatory evidence available. In his press conference, McCulloch said that the grand jury did not indict because eyewitness testimony that established Wilson was acting in self-defense was contradicted by other exculpatory evidence. What McCulloch didn’t say is that he was under no obligation to present such evidence to the grand jury. The only reason one would present such evidence is to reduce the chances that the grand jury would indict Darren Wilson.


Thinking about it today...
MAKE IT RIGHT!   THE PROSECUTOR SHOULD RESIGN HIS OFFICE Or Bind the cop over for trial and let a Special Prosecutor handle it.
Yes, let someone not so partisan to just take the COP to COURT. A miscarriage of justice was clearly committed by the cop-loving prosecutor who should have excluded himself if he actually respected JUSTICE.

MCULLOUGH NEEDS TO MAKE IT RIGHT... HE HAS THE POWER TO IGNORE the Grand Jury and CHARGE THE OFFICER IN REAL COURT-- even if he mistakenly led the Grand Jury to not charge the cop... but he needs a special prosecutor who will do his JOB in the trial, even if McCullough can't bring himself to do it.

Is he man enough to do THE RIGHT THING  or should he be voted out of office?   St Louis... this is not over.  What are you going to do?

Nov 24, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY!! BULLY POLICE NATIONWIDE: This is about YOU!



BREAKING: MSNBC reports ST LOUIS PROSECUTOR to make announcement TODAY on Grand Jury

No matter what happens on this Brown/Wilson case... this is about police bullying nationwide.   If Wilson isn't charged, police better learn it won't be business as usual.




WEEKEND OBAMA:
US cops need IFF training (identify friend or foe)

Sunday, while addressing the much awaited grand jury decision in the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson, President Obama said,  “In the end, what I have confidence in is that if we do a better job of training our law enforcement to be sensitive to the concerns of minority communities, then over time trust can be built in part because minority communities typically are subject to more crime."    Breitbart story

RadiomanKC:
 I have certainly agreed with THAT statement. And thought for some time that police need a professional association that offers educational certifications beyond the culture of individual departments and their hierarchy and various educational programs.

An association that proudly offers letters after officers' names, like health care does. Continuing Educational Credits towards certification. Courses on DEESCALATION, psychology, identifying and dealing with mentally ill, drug and drink infested, community policing, rights of citizens, reducing racial confrontations, ills of racism, proper profiling, anger management, the Constitution and court cases, issues related to police and civilian cameras, and detailed lectures on laws they are to enforce and myths about laws that don't exist they tend to make up as they go along. Plus many other things good cops and citizens feel is lacking in the education of all of our public servants.

If legislatures pass educational requirements, that's not a bad thing.

Sadly, this issue didn't get much press this weekend. Wonder why? Maybe the media doesn't understand Ferguson yet.


Bonus:  Huff Post today says Wilson got married after the Ferguson shooting.   National Press missed that one.


Nov 21, 2014

Republicans PANIC to discover that Obama actually has balls!




WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Borowitz Report)—Congressional Republicans on Friday expressed outrage at the new leadership style that President Obama has demonstrated in the aftermath of the midterm elections, and demanded a return of the “passive and unassertive Obama to which we have grown accustomed.” 

 In a joint statement, House Speaker John Boehner and his counterpart in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accused Obama of “engaging in a flagrant display of leadership that we find deeply offensive.” “For the past six years, we have enjoyed a President who has been conciliatory and acquiescent to the point of emasculation,” Boehner said. “We want that President back.” McConnell threatened that if Obama does not return to his weak and ineffectual ways at once, “he will face the prospect of being a two-term President.” 

 At the White House, the President did not respond to the Republicans’ remarks, telling reporters that he planned to work through the weekend raising the minimum wage, granting amnesty to immigrants, and legalizing marijuana.

 Get news satire from The Borowitz Report delivered to your inbox




FRI NIGHT LATEBREAK:  
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow nailed the Republicans hard for leaving town for vacation after all their kicking and screaming.  

Fox was the only cable news network that DIDN'T cover Obamas great speech in Vegas...evidently pretending the whole immigration thing didn't happen. 

   
Republicans clearly got nailed for their 6 year torment of Obama by being the party of NO.   Clearly the HOUSE LEADER got what he deserved for sitting on an immigration bill and not bringing it up to a vote.   Guess there are UP weeks, and DOWN weeks in politics.



BONUS:   Canadian SCHOOLS AMERICA ON HOW GOOD WE HAVE IT WITH OBAMA!


SECOND BONUS:   A clever meme fm Facebook



Nov 19, 2014

WHERE's the NEWS? Big Networks not carrying Obamas AMNESTY Announcement THURSDAY. (News has left for CABLE so let's go THERE!)

President Barack Obama will finally make public tomorrow night his plan to overhaul immigration. However, while his prime time speech will postpone part of Univision’s 15th annual Latin Grammys, it will not be covered by the Big 4.

 The administration said today that Obama will be speaking live from the White House at 8 PM ET on Thursday. But ABC has the fall finale for Grey’s Anatomy on at that time, while CBS has ratings powerhouse The Big Bang Theory, NBC has reality show The Biggest Loser and Fox has Bones. As of right now, none plans changes to their regularly scheduled Thursday night November sweep schedules for the approximately 15-minute speech. Although Obama’s speech will be seen on cable news siblings Fox News and MSNBC, Fox and NBC are not carrying it live on their broadcast networks; CNN will show it live. --- Deadline.com


 From RadiomanKC--a TV News veteran:

 Looks to me like the traditional long-lines (now satellite fed) Networks and their affiliates are slowly handing over their news audience to CABLE.

WILL someone offer their programs  PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME... how network affiliates  ignore their responsibility to operate "IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST" (An FCC phrase from the Communication Act of 1934) but wants NEVER to PAUSE From their PROFITS, to the rare request for PUBLIC INTEREST programming like a Presidential address to the nation!! 
 I've never understood why ABC and CBS even keep their nightly newscasts and all the news expense necessary to support those half hour programs. Mornings have gone entertainment... so what's left? A poorly placed early evening newscast when so many working people aren't even HOME yet? 

OVERDOSE on Local Ghetto News and Weathercasts

And how many look-alike local newscasts do we need from FOUR affiliates? Yeah yeah, Local crime news, cute puppies and lots of weather IS cheap programming and mostly profit for local affiliates. Guess cheaper than Wheel of Fortune or some syndicated entertainment show to run against their competitors newscasts?

 Before cable, when there were only three TV signals, a TV license was a license to STEAL. But today, with so many TV choices, we've seen the wreckage.


Stations have GUTTED their reporting staffs and added more newscasts (commercial availabilities) and time-eating LIVE SHOTS,  but only repeating what's already been gathered from the overnight crime beat.   Without reporters, MISSING are local economic stories, your school and government stories, and warnings of what the state legislators are about to do to us in the state capital.  Of COURSE we only vote based on yard signs!

It does not help that Newspapers have gutted THEIR staffs too.  Now NO ONE is covering the news.   TV can't even steal from the local paper!

MINDLESS "NEWS"

TV News is 'news' with no calories!  Smoke and mirrors written like "My Weekly Reader" when you were little.  Little of it affects you except maybe tomorrow's weather!  No details.  They assume everyone has ADHD and you don't really wanna know stuff!

I think it's a matter of time when news becomes a specialty program and there won't be enough audience left for everybody to play and make money.

I can't believe FOX affiliates haven't been first to throw in the towel. Followed by either ABC or CBS stations. With todays ignorant viewers on this last election, it's clear, they aren't serving the public interest to be informed. They do seem to take all those propaganda commercials at election time, have you noticed? They just don't ever roll any of that cash into their news departments to actually TRUTHCHECK those ads!

TV Stations don't cover the news.   They stop looking as soon as they fill up their newscasts!  

Award-winning BONUS:
 What Local TV Stations Don't Want You to Know

Nov 18, 2014

NEW TESTAMENT FORGIVENESS.... or OLD TESTAMENT PUNISHMENT. Which shall America decide to do?

Here we are with FERGUSON... angry people about bully cops. Not just about this shooting, but about heavy handed cops from LA's OAKLAND OCCUPY demonstrations, to New York's "Stop and Frisk" policies, clearly a 4th Amendment Constittutional violation by police on NY black people to be left ALONE!

 After watching a NY city man choked to death on a NY street the same week, the American society will be watching VERY CLOSELY to Missouri, and assessing whether a militarized police force with military tanks and armed snipers on our streets is what we want... as opposed to the Andy Griffith, neighborhood policing policies of the past when we were young.


I suspect people want our cops to live in our neighborhoods, rather than just cruising through in armored police cars loaded with weapons, looking for trouble. Moreover I think we REJECT the Iraq-vet culture, skin headed robocops that we've seen these past few years looking for the enemy.


I think policemen need to talk about this among themselves.... create a national association to open that dialog. And when they're done, create a POLICE PROFESSIONAL STANDARD.... like medical people have. Standards of professionalism, licensed, with achievement letters awarded after police take professional certiidxation classes... not just head-busting, but studies in REDUCING STRESS and SITUATIONS, specifics of local laws, Constitutional rights and how to protect them. THIS is what we want out gumment to adhere to.

Not HUNTING for people to jail (again.) And a system so that abusive cops cannot just go to some other small department to bully citizens THERE! We want our ex-cons to be encouraged to SUCCEED, not go back to prison. Drunks to seek TREATMENT, not another night in jail with even more anxiety. Families to solve their problems, not sick gumment on their spouses.

So what shall we say to people?   NEVER CALL THE COPS, for the guberment has no sense of proportion..and they will overrreact, often with their guns and kill your loved ones??


Get the idea? DESPITE what the Supreme Court says, we want you folks to PROTECT AND...AND ..AND SERVE. I'm dissappointed that police have that notion that if all you got's a hammer, then everything looks like a nail so you only have JAIL as a disposition.

 We want our government to do better to help our weaker folks, not just imprison them. So EMAIL this to your FOP president... your CHIEFS..... your legislators. HELP YOUR CITIZENS, don't just IMPRISON THEM.

Hows that been working for us already? Not so well, huh?

LETS TALK ABOUT JUSTIFYING National Greed... read if you dare.



KEYSTONE PIPELINE


I'm just curious to know why Republicans are so hot to helping the Canadians build a shortcut through the US midwest to sell their oil to the Chinese? Or is it payback by the Koch suckers for all that campaign support from the two rich oil barons from Wichita? Hope the Canadians will decide to cut the Koch Brothers out altogether and ship their oil cross-continent to a Canadian refinery?
No jobs here... just some temp jobs while building it...some 1500 oilmen construction people. Then about 40 to actually monitor the pipeline until it leaks. Baloney, as long as Republicans kept stopping infrastructure jobs on so many kazillians of roads and highways and sewers, etc, , for they've never been concerned about jobs. Republicans continue lying about the number of jobs and the eventual destination for their oil. Canadians and the oil industry refuse to let the US keep the oil. Therein lies the"technical"  lies!
Don't believe the propaganda folks. Let the Republicans give up dirty oil, and let some corporations invest in solar and wind...lots more jobs, permanent ones for a new industry that flourishes elsewhere very well thank you. Why are Republicans so short sighted about the real future of energy. It's not oil, not stripmining, not dirty air and scarred ground. Not even dirty, reportedly shaky fracking.   Why do thy own their loyalty to big oil rather than just good ENERGY?  I don't know.  Do YOU??

ELECTIONS WITHOUT BIG OIL

Can't Republicans win an election without oil money? I think they can. I'm hoping the awl bidnessmen will learn bribing Congress isn't a good investment, and they'll quit thinking they're just in the OIL BUSINESS. They're in the ENERGY BUSINESS. Doesn't have to be all liquid. Build and isntall the windmills everywhere, even on public lands like interstate rights of way! And solar farms, and solar panels for home use, like the Germans are doing successfully. Shutting down their dangerous NUCLEAR PLANTS! Fewer tax breaks for oil, more tax breaks for alternative energy.
You did hear even Solyndra is making tons of money now, or do you just watch right wing news? I do NOT UNDERSTAND why so many unaffected Congressmen and millions of Republican voters support dirty energy. What's in it for YOU? You want to stay in the Mideast fighting over their oil, with our blood and treasure?
How much are we REALLY paying for mideast oil, if we ALSO subtract our wars, our sons and their wounds, and ships to stabilize the price and supply over there? This is absurd! Like supporting expensive Health Care if you're not actually IN health care making a living (as my family is) !! Does it not make sense that the less we spend on ENERGY and HEALTH CARE, the more purchasing power we have to provide DEMAND for ALL OTHER INDUSTRIES? Like yours? LIKE YOURS?? LIKE YOURS????

MIN WAGE... HOW MUCH SHOULD CORPORATIONS PAY US?
Same with minimum wage...us olders remember a minwage of the 60s with much higher purchasing power THEN. Everybody made money. Kids put themselves through school with part time jobs and no student loans. I did!! There is NO GOOD REASON for keeping poor people poor. It doesn't help the rich at all. Or YOU and your kids whose wages are minwage or based on a floor of minwage. Raise minwage, and all jobs paying less than $15 will RISE accordingly. This isn't party DOCTRINE or DOGMA, it's fact. Check Australia... their minwage, and price of McDonalds cheezeburgers! Despite what the Corporate alarmists say, the price is pretty much the same but yes, I expect they will have to accept a more reasonable profit margin! So is SHARING PROFITS more with WORKERS a real PROBLEM? Hello Waltons, owners of the huge WALMART!!
(You spend your kazillions on a Bentonville ARK ART MUSEUM, but don't pay you peeps enough so they don't have to apply for foodstamps? What the hell is the MATTER WITH YOU and YOUR GREED?) Let us Americans SHUN THEM for their GREED!
HOW TO MAKE EVERYONE DO BETTER? 
Everybody makes money when everybody HAS money. Else the poor just go to Walmart, buy the minimum Chinese goods and basic foods. And small business across America sees no customers coming in their strip mall retail shops! This is NOT ROCKET SCIENCE! Tried and true. Were you all on Mars when Clinton was president...and before, in the 60-s 70s?
We all did very well! Today, not so much. Give it some thought. But ESPECIALLY, broaden your news diet and get away from the corporatists propaganda. You're missing out on a balanced breakfast. Thanks for listening. Don't waste time namecalling me a leeberal... this is economics. I took 6 hours in college. Did YOU? Don't waste time listening to commenters just parroting the right's mantra. Broaden your sources.

EXPANDING YOUR MIND TO THE FACTS, not the PROPAGANDA!
If you truly can be objective in your news consumption, evaluate facts and wade through both party bullship, you will be smarter, and realize economics isn't black and white, isn't one side or the other, and we have some history now to assess what works and what doesn't. Don't know where to look? Well this site has been good about letting me offer up alternative places to find stuff. I respect them for that. Spend some time. We HAVE time. Bless us all and give us open minds to learn new things for ourselves and build a better country for us and our offspring!

Nov 14, 2014

With oil prices falling, Keystone Pipeline isn't nearly such a good deal for the ENERGY BARONS

What if they voted for a pipeline but nobody came?

 As Congress rushes to approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, it is questionable whether or not the project will make as much of a difference as proponents expect.

Since June, crude oil has declined by 28 percent, pushing the price that oil from new wells in Canada may command below what the expected cost will be to produce it.


The so-called "heavy oil" extracted from sand in Alberta, which the proposed pipeline would carry to Nebraska, en route to refineries on the Gulf Coast, will cost between $85 and $110 to produce, depending on which drilling technology is used, according to a report in July by the Canadian Energy Research Institute, a nonprofit whose work is often cited by Keystone proponents. West Texas Intermediate crude oil traded today at $76.67.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102181913


The House of Representatives just approved the Keystone XL pipeline, which scientists warn will mean "game over" for the planet.

If Keystone is built, it is expected to make the Koch brothers $100 billion in profits, making them the wealthiest family in human history. Share to spread their shame!

Like our page US Uncut!

Nov 13, 2014

HUNGER GAMES Part III, later this month. READ THE CLASSICAL ROOTS of the blockbuster trilogy.

Fm Wall Street Journal

By BARRY STRAUSS
Nov. 13, 2014 11:54 a.m. ET

The latest installment in “The Hunger Games” film franchise opens on Nov. 21 and promises to be another blockbuster. What accounts for the movies’ success? The obvious answer, of course, is the combination of the irresistible Jennifer Lawrence and Hollywood special effects with a rollicking good story.

But we shouldn’t ignore the deeper themes of the tale, which are not only classic but classical, reaching back to Greece and Rome and the very foundations of Western culture.

At the heart of the story are three beautiful, heroic young people: Katniss Everdeen and her male romantic interests, Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne. They form a love triangle, but they also represent, from the point of view of the ancients, an aroused citizenry banding together and fighting for freedom against an evil empire.

Katniss, played by Ms. Lawrence, is “an updated Theseus,” according to the books’ author, Suzanne Collins. In Greek myth, Theseus and other young people from Athens were sent as tribute—human sacrificial offerings—to King Minos in Crete. The king turned them over to the Minotaur, a murderous beast who was half-man and half-bull and lived in a maze or labyrinth. The intrepid Theseus killed the Minotaur and saved his countrymen.

Like that ancient Greek hero, Katniss defies an oppressive empire and sparks a revolution. But it’s an update with a twist. Today’s Theseus is female, which calls to mind not only modern girl power but also ancient lore. Her character is inspired by the famous Amazon warriors and Atalanta, the great female runner of Greek myth. Katniss also recalls Artemis, goddess of the hunt—Diana to the Romans—because her preferred weapon is the bow and arrow.


Like imperial Rome, the country of “The Hunger Games” is a once-free society now dominated by a corrupt and rapacious capital city. A president exercises, in effect, the power of an emperor. He lives in a grand city called the Capitol, and his government feeds off its provinces, much as ancient Rome did. The people of the Capitol radiate a baroque and overripe luxuriousness, like the lords and ladies of imperial Rome, while the provincials are poor and virtuous.

This pattern goes back to the great Roman historian Tacitus (ca. 56-117), who drew a contrast between the primitive but free Germans and Britons and the decadent Romans who had lost their republican virtue under the Caesars. Tacitus would have understood why the bad guys in Ms. Collins’s Capitol have Latinate first names such as Coriolanus Snow, the coldhearted president, and Caesar Flickerman, the smarmy host of the televised version of the games. Meanwhile, the rebels from the provinces have names that evoke nature (“katniss,” for example, is the name of a real, edible plant) or have English or Greek roots—anything but Rome.

In “The Hunger Games,” the people are kept in line by hunger and entertainment. The privileged folks in the Capitol get both “bread and circuses”—the phrase comes from the Roman satirist Juvenal. The Latin is “panem et circenses,” and Panem is the name that Ms. Collins purposefully gives the country where her story is set.

The most important entertainers are the participants in the hunger games, a fight to the death, reminiscent of the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome, whose influence Ms. Collins also cites. The games begin with the very Roman ritual of participants entering a stadium on chariots to the wild applause of the crowd. Like ancient gladiators, the participants are doomed but idolized.

Much as in the myth of Theseus, the participants in the hunger games are offered as tribute to the Capitol, one young man and one young woman from each district of the country. For the lone survivor, the games are a rite of passage. All ancient societies made young people go through such rites. In Athens, new warriors had to survive in the woods, and there is an echo of this in the hunger games, which are set in a jungle.

Myths work because their themes are of abiding interest, and “The Hunger Games” is no exception. We still have rites of passage for young people today. If ours tend to test mental rather than physical stamina (college entrance exams are more common than boot camps), they remain daunting and demanding in their own way—which perhaps explains why the life-or-death stakes of “The Hunger Games” strike such a deep chord among our decidedly nonclassical teens.

—Prof. Strauss teaches history and classics at Cornell. His next book, “The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination,” will be published by Simon & Schuster in March.

_______
The three Suzanne Collins books are an easy read and not expensive.    Read em first if you can, before renting and watching the 3 films IN ORDER, the 3rd of the 4 which debuts in late November.   Here's the trailer for the latest one, though all four have been shot.

Nov 12, 2014

Essay on WHY Republicans Hate Obamacare So Much and WhatThey're Afraid of...

Jonathan Chait
@jonathanchait
Writer for New York magazine. jbchait@gmail.com; a no-talent illiterate hack -- Donald Trump

If you want to know why this is, listen to these secretly recorded comments from Iowa Republican Senate elect Joni Ernst, via Radio Iowa and Greg Sargent. Here Ernst, speaking candidly to supporters, gets to the root of conservative opposition:


“We’re looking at Obamacare right now. Once we start with those benefits in January, how are we going to get people off of those? It’s exponentially harder to remove people once they’ve already been on those programs…we rely on government for absolutely everything. And in the years since I was a small girl up until now into my adulthood with children of my own, we have lost a reliance on not only our own families, but so much of what our churches and private organizations used to do. They used to have wonderful food pantries. They used to provide clothing for those that really needed it. But we have gotten away from that. Now we’re at a point where the government will just give away anything.”

That’s the fundamental belief that motivates most, if not all, the conservative opposition: Health care should be a privilege rather than a right. If you can’t afford health insurance on your own, that is not the government’s problem.

I happen to find this belief morally bizarre. People who cannot afford their own insurance either don’t earn much money, or have health risks, or family members with health risks, too expensive to bear.

All of us non-socialists would agree that there ought to be some things rich people get to enjoy that poor people are deprived of. Access to health care is a strange choice of things to deprive the losers of — not least because one of the things you do to “earn” the ability to afford it is not just the normal market value of earning or inheriting a good income, but the usually random value of avoiding serious illness or accident.

Indeed, very few Republicans have the confidence to make the case openly that the inability of some people to afford the cost of their own medical care is their own problem. But that is the belief that sets them apart from major conservative parties across the world, and it is the belief that explains why they have opposed national health insurance every time Democrats have held power, and why they have neglected to create national health insurance every time they have.

New York News... nearly 1,000 reader comments....


Facebook comments...

Crystal Williams:  This woman is one of the reason's I'm finished with non-partisan promotion of women running for office. Ernst is an Agenda 21, federal law nullifying, climate change denying, president-impeaching Senator-elect. Oh goody

Sal Easterley: They all live in a time vacuum.

Michele Fricke: And wrapped in a cloak of self-righteous hatred.

Judy Morgan: Thanks for posting, Crystal. I'm keeping it for future reference.

Stacey Newman: With you.

Wanda Greif: Not my Iowa proud moment.

Crystal Williams: Wanda, it simply shows that turnout was abysmal. I know she doesn't reflect Iowans generally. You are some of the most informed voters in the country. And not mean. Definitely not mean.

Bob Quinn: Could have told you that 22 years ago.

Jennifer Kempema: As an Iowa native....I am ashamed of my peoples

Leslie Nelson: I have friends who worked really hard on that campaign. They are just sick now

Nov 8, 2014

VIDEO: Ks Sen Pat Roberts, Ted Cruz, a few others to stop OBAMA on Immigration Amnesty

Republicans, Including KS Pat Roberts, to fight Obama Amnesty at any cost.


http://www.newsiosity.com/articles/politics/republicans-fight-lawless-amnesty

Six GOP senators are vowing to block President Obama from giving undocumented immigrants a way to become U.S. citizens.

In a Wednesday letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and his colleagues pointed out that Congress has the right to establish immigration policy, The Blaze reported.

"Should you decline to defend the Senate and the Constitution from executive overreach, the undersigned senators will use all procedural means necessary to return the Senate's focus during the lame-duck session to resolving the constitutional crisis created by President Obama's lawless amnesty," the senators wrote.

The letter was signed by Cruz, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Lee of Utah, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and David Vitter if Louisiana.

The senators could make their point, and gain leverage on the issue, by holding up funding for government programs until the Senate acts on immigration. A filibuster, a tactic familiar to Cruz, also is possible.

"Obama's plan was delayed in the hopes that it would help Democrats at the polls (in Tuesday's midterm election), a plan that seems to have backfired," The Blaze reported.

While Reid will no longer be the majority leader next year, Obama could try to push through an immigration plan before the new Congress is seated.

Nov 6, 2014

San Francisco raises MINWAGE to $15 an hour for fulltime workers. A Business Case for raising wages.


Posted on Facebook by Roger Lake

Comments

John Beck I would think that would be a futile attempt. In my opinion it will simply drive up the cost of living and they will gain nothing.

 Also, I have not read the new law but if they are required to work full time to receive the $15 per hr. wage the employers will simply cut their time to less than 32 hr. work weeks so that they wont have to pay the $15 per hr. I hope that's not going to be the case!


Roger Lake The Business Case for Raising the Minimum Wage

Raising wages reduces costly employee turnover and increases productivity. When the minimum wage goes up, employers can enjoy these benefits of paying higher wages without being placed at a competitive disadvantage, since all companies in their field are required to do the same. Raising wages also puts money in the hands of consumers, boosting demand for goods and services.

A 2003 study of the effects of a wage increase for workers at the San Francisco Airport found that annual turnover among security screeners plunged from 95 percent to 19 percent when their hourly wage rose from $6.45 to $10 per hour. After wages increased at the airport under a living wage policy, 35 percent of employers reported improvements in work performance, 47 percent reported better employee morale, 44 percent reported fewer disciplinary issues, and 45 percent reported that customer service had improved.

A 2006 article in the Harvard Business Review finds that wholesale retailer Costco’s higher wage rate than other retailers results in less turnover and employee theft, and greater productivity.

A 2005 study of San Francisco’s 2004 minimum wage increase found workers in fast-food restaurants remained employed for longer periods of time (an average increase of 3.5 months) and were more likely to have full-time jobs.

A 2005 study of a living wage for home care workers in the Bay Area found that turnover fell by 57 percent following an increase in their wages.

And a 2005 study of the effect of a living wage policy for firms that contract with the city of Los Angeles found that staff turnover rates at firms affected by the policy averaged 17 percent lower than at firms that were not affected.

In 2011, The Center for Economic Policy Research and the Center for Law and Social Policy released a turnover calculator that estimates the cost of employee turnover to an individual business.

For these reasons, nearly 1,000 business owners and executives, including Costco CEO Jim Singeal, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce CEO Margot Dorfman, Addus Health Care CEO Mark Heaney, Credo Mobile President Michael Kieschnick, ABC Home CEO Paulette Cole, and small business owners from all 50 states, signed a Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement supporting the last increase in the federal minimum wage. As their statement explained, “[h]igher wages benefit business by increasing consumer purchasing power, reducing costly employee turnover, raising productivity, and improving product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation.”


John Beck I agree with this. But when where is the study across the board when everyone is required to pay a living wage? It has got to raise the cost of living.


Beverly Burk John Beck, These people deserve a living wage, Don't be a Scrooge!


John Beck Oh, I agree they do.. but you can't mandate it!


John Beck I guess they did.. We shall see what happens......


Roger Lake America’s low-wage economy is marked by two extremes. On the one hand, workers earning at or near the minimum wage are seeing the real value of their paychecks diminish steadily over time, as the cost of living increases while their wages remain stagnant. After nearly half a century of neglect, today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is decades out of date. In terms of purchasing power, its value is 30 percent lower today than it was in 1968.

On the other hand, many corporations are posting record-breaking profits. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that, after sinking from 2007 to 2009, corporate profits had successfully caught up to their pre-recession peak by the beginning of 2010 – and that by the third quarter of 2011, total profits for U.S. corporations reached a new record high of $1.97 trillion.


Roger Lake The central finding of this report is that the majority of America’s lowest-paid workers are employed by large corporations, not small businesses, and that most of the largest low-wage employers have recovered from the recession and are in a strong financial position.

Specifically:

* The majority (66 percent) of low-wage workers are not employed by small businesses, but rather by large corporations with over 100 employees;

* The 50 largest employers of low-wage workers have largely recovered from the recession and most are in strong financial positions: 92 percent were profitable last year; 78 percent have been profitable for the last three years; 75 percent have higher revenues now than before the recession; 73 percent have higher cash holdings; and 63 percent have higher operating margins (a measure of profitability).

* Top executive compensation averaged $9.4 million last year at these firms, and they have returned $174.8 billion to shareholders in dividends or share buybacks over the past five years.

Three years after the official end of the Great Recession, the U.S. continues to face a dual-crisis of stagnant wages and sluggish job growth. Critics argue that a higher minimum wage will discourage companies from hiring, and that most low-wage employers are small businesses that are still struggling in a weak economy. In fact, this report demonstrates that the majority of low-wage workers are employed by large corporations, most of which are enjoying strong profits.


John Beck I don't disagree with any of this data. But, I'm pretty sure it will raise the cost of living for everyone. Do you really think these Corps. won't pass along the cost?


Beverly Burk Workers deserve a piece of the profit pie. I don't follow the theory of 2 extremes, one is either for or against the minimum wage and I happen to be for it, I don't buy in to the GOP theory! I never worked a minimum wage job in my life, but still I see people working 2 to 3 jobs just to put a roof over their heads and food on the table. That is wrong! I don't care if I am called a liberal, socialist or what ever, this is the ethics I live by.


John Beck Maybe what should really happen is put a cap on what a corp. can earn and not pass along to their employees.


Beverly Burk You guys don't get .it! No more response from me


Roger Lake In a true free market John......
Competition works to keep prices down.


John Beck But, we don't have that in the USA anymore! (Free Market) too many regulations on everything. The Us can't compete.


Roger Lake It's simple math......
Higher Wages = Tax Revenue for schools, roads, etc.


John Beck All I can say to that is it looks good on paper. But the costs gets passed along.


Roger Lake The price of goods and services have been going up for 40 years John, without wages going up. Where is all that profit going too?


John Beck Very true, but it is also just passed along..... We gain nothing.


John Beck I could probably work at McDonald's full time and make more money than I do know working 50+ hrs. per week with 0 benefits. So, I'm not disagreeing on behalf of myself.

Nov 1, 2014

Days before the ELECTION Republicans CLAIM Abola is an OBAMA DISASTER, but so far it's a CDC VICTORY! What will Republicans do NOW but stick with the phony story? And Didja hear about Mitch stepping in the poop?

From Rachel Maddow's MSNBC Investigative Team  (watch out, she's a liberal!!)
By Steve Benen

Doctor and nurse demonstrate proper Ebola procedures
After a few weeks of Republicans turning the Ebola virus into a campaign instrument, it’s still not altogether clear what GOP officials and candidates want voters to think. The message is a little convoluted: Americans are supposed to be terrified, which should lead them to vote Republican, which in turn will empower GOP policymakers to do … something.

It’s not that Republicans actually have some Ebola-related policy agenda in mind that can only be implemented by a GOP-run Congress. Rather, the right seems to believe the Obama administration has been “incompetent” in its response to the Ebola threat. By voting Republican, Americans can ensure that GOP officials complain from the majority instead of complaining from the minority.

Some of the political hysterics have arguably been effective. The latest USA Today poll asked which party Americans believe can do a better job responding to the Ebola threat, and the parties were nearly tied (Democrats 34%, Republicans 32%). Most recent polling suggests the public is generally satisfied with President Obama’s handling of the issue, but it’s hardly one-sided.

It’s against this backdrop that Paul Waldman asks a good question: what if the political world’s approach to the Ebola threat is backwards?

Imagine that a year ago, I told you that a few months hence, west Africa would see the largest Ebola outbreak in history. Then I explained that despite regular travel in and out of the affected countries by health professionals and ordinary people, there would be a grand total of two – not two hundred, or two thousand, but two – Americans who contracted the disease here, and both of them would be nurses who had treated a dying patient who had contracted the disease in Liberia. 

And I told you that both of them would be treated, and would survive and be healthy. If I had told you that a year ago, would you have said, “Wow, that sounds like a gigantic federal government failure”?   Really???

Of course not. You’d say that sounds like a public health triumph.

Agreed. It seems many of the president’s detractors were so eager to declare a new “Obama’s Katrina” – the 11th in a series – that they overlooked the nagging detail that the federal response to Ebola has actually been quite effective.

Indeed, the irony of this political “controversy,” for lack of a better word, is that to find true incompetence, we must turn not to the White House but to those who’ve complained about the White House the loudest.

So who's doing the FEAR MONGERING IN THE NEWS?

It wasn’t the White House that clumsily detained a nurse without cause for three days; it was Gov. Chris Christie (R). It wasn’t the president coming up with strange conspiracy theories; it was Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). It wasn’t West Wing officials urging the public to ignore scientists; it was Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.).

It wasn’t Obama who said terrorists with Ebola might sneak into the U.S. through Mexico, it was Scott Brown (R). It wasn’t Democrats who used Ebola as the basis for an election fundraiser; it was Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.). It wasn’t Democrats who descended into incoherence on the merits of an “Ebola czar”; it was congressional Republicans.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) appeared on one of the Sunday shows the other day, arguing that the public just can’t have any “confidence” that the Obama administration will deal with the threat effectively. First, the administration is already dealing with the threat effectively. Second, there’s polling that suggests the exact opposite is true.

Big focus: Senate Minority leader McConnell (R) and challenger Grimes. (D)
But even putting that aside, the more pressing question seems to be why, given recent developments, anyone should trust the party engaging in reckless and baseless election-year fear-mongering.

WEEKEND Bonus controversy.   Kentucky Election Desperation!

In Kentucky, Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  okayed a scare tactic official looking but PHONY mail to many east Kentucky Democrats to scare them off of voting.   Utterly Unethical.  

McConnell's Democrat Opponent Allison Grimes has gone to court.   Will the last minute dirty tricks ploy cause McConnell criminal charges to slip through because of the late hour?   Watch for this big news this next coupla days!