Thursday, December 8, 2011

GOP and Wall Street Are Frightened of Elizabeth Warren

I love the idea of Elizabeth Warren in the U.S. Senate. It was she who was the mind behind the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In the Senate she will be a strong advocate for the middle class, and will stand up to Wall Street and the greed, fraudulent activities, and corruption that has become commonplace over the last few decades. And great news! Warren has taken a 49%-42% lead in a recent poll in her home state of Massachusetts over incumbent Scott Brown (R). In last night's interview with Lawrence O'Donnell, it is easy to see why Republicans and Wall Street are pouring money into Scott Brown's campaign and into PACs fighting for him. They are scared to death of Elizabeth Warren winning and will go to any length to discredit her, even to downright lie. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Letter I Wrote To My Senator, Jeff Sessions

Mr. Sessions,

I have written to you about this subject before, and needless to say, I found your response less than satisfactory. You must think that because the majority of Alabamians vote Republican, they blindly agree with your views, regardless of how those views are against their best interests. Let's not even pretend here. The people who vote for you and secure your election to office are not your constituents. The big money special interests in the financial sector and large corporations are your constituents, Mr. Sessions. We both know that. You and the rest of the Republican party work night and day to protect them and their tax breaks. If not, you would not have voted against the bill last week to continue a payroll tax cut for the middle class while charging a 3.2% surtax on millionaires, on income over $1 million. And then the GOP countered with a proposal that would have laid off 200,000 government employees? That is ludicrous! My next point is that Republicans never want to pay for a tax cut, unless it's one for the middle class. The GOP moans and groans about the debt and deficit, but let's be honest, the unpaid-for Bush tax cuts for the wealthy of 2001 and 2003 are one of the primary causes of our national debt. And you, sir, voted for them both times. The wealthy in this country, over the last 30 years, have enjoyed the best wealth increase in this nation's history, thanks in large part to the Republican policies of deregulation and tax cuts. However, the middle class has seen its standard of living stagnate and decline, directly because of Republican policies of deregulation and tax cuts that have mainly benefited the wealthiest among us. You cannot convince me that these guys are "job creators". They've had it better than at any other time in American history and have only shipped jobs overseas or reduced the workforce. And if you truly believe that giving tax breaks to the wealthiest 1% is going to create jobs after the last 30 years proves this is wrong, you are only lying to yourself.

The real reason I am writing to you is because I want you to change your position on confirming Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This Bureau is important to protect consumers from the predatory practices that led to the financial meltdown and market crash of 2008. It will help protect consumers, your real constituents, the people who actually vote for you and elect you, from the despicable practices and abuses that have led so many into financial ruin. In your previous response to my communications you mentioned upholding current law and not expanding the size of government and some other standard Republican answers. But I don't buy that. I'm not going to let you get away with that. This is too important to me and to your constituents. Too many of them are being abused and mistreated by financial firms and have nowhere to go or turn to. There should be an agency with teeth that can stand up to the big banks and stand up for the little man, and for all the reasons I have stated in this letter. If you continue to block the confirmation of Rich Cordray as the head of the CFPB, you will continue to show the people of Alabama who your true constituents are: the big banks and financial firms of Wall Street, and not those that have voted for you and have no other voice in their government and no other protection from those large financial firms.

It is your duty as our Senator to represent the best interest of your voters, your electorate, not the special interests, and not Wall Street. Come to your senses and do what is right for the people who voted for you and put you in your office. Vote to protect our interests. Vote to keep our taxes low, we are suffering. Vote to increase taxes on the 1%. They can afford it. It's increasing the debt anyway. Vote to confirm Mr. Cordray to protect consumers. Otherwise you are voting against Alabamians.

Joshua LaDeau


As expected, my Senator, Jeff Sessions, as well as every other Republican Senator except one, voted against the confirmation of Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Each and every Republican in the Senate has shown that it is more important to protect Wall Street and the large financial firms and to allow them to continue in their corruption than to protect consumers from these institutions and their corruption. Hey Alabama, Hey middle class! Wake up! Pay attention! The Republican party is the party of, by, and for the 1%! If you do not belong to the wealthiest 1%, the Republican party does not care about you. They are legislating against you. They are only working for the benefit of the wealthiest individuals and corporations and Wall Street firms. That is why each and every one of them voted against a payroll tax cut for the middle class last week, only because it would have been paid for with a 3.2% surtax on millionaires and billionaires. That is why each and every Republican voted against 4 jobs bills brought up by President Obama in the month of November. Because they would have been paid for with a small tax increase on millionaires and billionaires. The reason the economy is in the tank right this very moment, is because of the policies of Reagan and George W. Bush. Deregulation and tax cuts for the rich have caused a mass siphoning of wealth from the middle class to the top 1%. Taxes must go up on the wealthy. The middle class have been taxed to death. We cannot be squeezed anymore. But as long as Republicans continue to be elected to office, especially in majorities, these wrongs will never be righted. Open your eyes, do some research, and for the love of all that is good, STOP watching Fox News. It is not news, it is the Republican propaganda machine. There is no truth to be found there, only spin and lies, hate and deceit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Single Most Important Robert Reich Clip You Can Share Today

From, this is an extremely important message. Our rights as citizens are systematically being stripped away from us. And contrary to what conservatives would have you believe, it is the rich and powerful, the large banks and corporations that pay off politicians, and obviously, Supreme Court justices, to legislate and interpret law in a way that benefits only them while stifling the poor and middle class. The progressive movement is doing all in its power to reverse the actions of these corrupt government officials, but it will take real people with real voices and real votes to get out and act to make a difference. Please share this brief but powerful video with everyone and let us stop the radical right wing from stripping our Constitutionally guaranteed rights as Americans.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Obama Campaign Responds to "Up" Exclusive on Lobbyist Plan to Take Down Occupy Wall Street

This was a great interview between Chris Hayes and Anita Dunn, Obama campaign adviser, following up on the memo discovered by former Boehner aides turned lobbyists, who are seeking to vilify Occupy Wall Street and protect the banks. Every American needs to hear this interview and realize the hypocrisy of lobbyists working for the Republican party and realize that the Republican party is working night and day for the 1% at the expense of the 99%, the middle class.

Lobbyists Target Occupy Wall Street

Chris Hayes exposes some of Speaker John Boehner's former staffers turned lobbyists for attempting to campaign against Occupy Wall Street and Democrats who support them. They're willing to do whatever it takes to protect the wealth of the richest 1%. Please watch and pass this on. This is too important to ignore.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We Are The Many - Makana


The Hawaiian musician Makana performed this song live, in an “Occupy With Aloha” t-shirt, while world leaders dined on expensive food and drank wine at the APEC dinner in early November. Oh, the irony. When asked why he did it, he replied, “Why wouldn’t I? I wrote it with the intention of people in power hearing it.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thom Hartmann: It Wasn't Always This Way...

Thom Hartmann explains perfectly and eloquently how the 1% got to where they are and why the 99% are languishing. And he's got charts!! And it all started with the election of Ronald Reagan. This explains the "why" of the Occupy Wall Street movement and why changes must be made and why the Republicans are on the wrong side of the issue in protecting the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and the largest corporations. Obviously Dave Ramsey chooses to ignore these facts as he goes on living his life enjoying the benefits of being in the 1% like Bush's tax cuts, while speaking condescendingly to everyone else who doesn't agree with him. So without further ado, Thom Hartmann...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An Open Letter to Dave Ramsey Re: Occupy Wall Street

Dear Dave:

I used to be a dedicated follower of your program. I bought your books, software, envelope system, and I even came to your live event here in Birmingham with my wife in 2007. I wanted to get out of debt and make a better financial life for my family than it was currently projecting to be. Then, well, a year later the whole financial world turned upside down. Unfortunately, I am still in debt, although now making solid progress. I'm working 60 hours per week at nights as an RN, so I am quite busy, as you can imagine. I still get your emails and follow you on Twitter because I still find good insights from you. That said, I just read your message to the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

I have two questions for you...What planet are you living on??!!?? Where have you been for the last 30 years?? I'm only 31 years old and I think I've been a lot more cognizant of what's going on in this country than you in the last 30 years. For someone who talks about "throwing the bums out of Washington" so much you clearly have no idea what's really going on in Washington. So let me provide you with a little history lesson and then maybe you'll understand why folks are occupying Wall Street.

It's simple really. And it's really not so shocking why people are so upset. I'm not even going to get into all the specifics. I've done so before here in my blog and it's well documented elsewhere, not to mention, it's history. This stuff really happened. Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 and famously said in his inaugural address, "...government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." And thus began the era of "Reaganomics": deregulation of Wall Street firms, tax cuts that were mostly beneficial to the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations, and a promise of "trickle-down" effects for the rest of us. Because "a rising tide lifts all boats." Republicans and Democrats (but especially Republicans) have been responsible for the repeal of many regulations on the financial sector, many put in place after lessons learned from the Great Depression. And why has our government been so interested in the last 30 years in deregulating and tax cutting and creating tax loopholes?

Greed! You were right in this part of your message. Greed is bad. It corrupts. The point of a company is to make money. I get that. Everyone gets that. I'm cool with that. But in the last 30 years these Wall Street firms and largest corporations and the wealthiest individuals have been lining the pockets of Congressmen and women and Senators and donating to their PACs and now, thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizen's United ruling, Super PACs to get their agenda pushed through congress as legislation. Never in the history of America has there been so much special interest and monetary influence in our government and politics. Can you imagine? A corporation is a person? Can a multinational corporation go to the polls and vote? No, but it can donate unlimited amounts of cash to influence that election. Most Americans don't have unlimited amounts of money with which to influence their congressman or Senator. So the corporations line the pockets of the politicians and the politicians craft laws that make the corporations rich beyond their wildest dreams. And the real constituents of the Congress is Wall Street and the corporations, no matter who voted them in. Our government is corrupt, and the Occupy Wall Street protesters know it.

As the corporations have gotten their way with our legislature, they've also become greedy in another way. They've found that they can move production of their products to third world countries where labor is much cheaper. Millions of good American jobs have been slashed and shipped overseas. And the CEOs of these companies, they've earned a nice fat bonus!

You know it's funny, I've heard a lot of conservatives protect these CEOs and their wealth just like you do, saying, "leave them alone, the government shouldn't increase taxes on them, they've worked hard and earned their money." I know a lot of them have worked hard to get where they are and to earn their money. But when an executive uses that money to influence (bribe) their government in an effort to keep even more of his or her money, that executive is corrupt, and is no longer working hard. And sadly, more often than not, this is the case.

Your whole section on "Wall Street is Evil" is disingenuous, and you know it. These people do understand what is going on in this country. People understand history. The protesters understand the corruption in our government and that our government is bought. They want money out of politics. They want their voices to be heard through their votes, not their pocketbooks. But no matter how much they vote, they know their politicians will never legislate in a way beneficial to them. The tax cuts and loopholes are being kept for the rich. 

I'm calling bull-crap on your "wealth redistribution" nonsense. I am sick and tired of hearing that the poor and the democrats and the liberals and President Obama are a bunch of socialists who want wealth redistribution from the rich to the poor. Again, what planet have you been on for the last 30 years? The last 30 years have been nothing but Republican tax policies that have redistributed all the wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich. Wages for the working class have been stagnant for the last 40 years while CEOs' pay has increased 300%. It's sick that the top 0.1%, 400 individuals, have more wealth, than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. None of this was true in the 1960s and 1970s. It all started with Ronald Reagan and tax cuts and tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and the largest corporations and financial firms. And now, since the meltdown of 2008, the wealth gap is at its widest since the 1920s! Just like it was before the Great Depression. Corporate profits are at an all time high, and so is executive pay. You can quit this "wealth redistribution" crap. It's been redistributed in the last 30 years all the way to the top. So when we say "Tax the Rich", it's because they've got all the money! Or should I say, You've got all the money! This country has been great to you in the last 30 years, I think it's time for you and the rest of the 1% to contribute back to the country that made you so wealthy, to the recovery, to the debt repayment, and to the shattered economy that was caused by the 1%. Yes, it was caused by the 1%

If I had to name one law that was repealed, in the name of deregulation, that had more to do with the financial meltdown of 2008 it would be, of course, Glass-Steagall. The repeal of this law allowed the formation of the financial giant Citigroup and many that followed, financial centers that provided consumer banking services as well as asset management services, ie. playing the stock market. It wasn't long before these banking giants were taking consumer deposits and betting them on complex derivatives and credit default swaps and making bad loans to people who had no business getting them for houses they could never afford. Before we knew it the bottom fell out and all the banks had all these toxic assets on their balance sheets. These mega-banks didn't have our money, the money we deposited for safe keeping, because they had squandered it betting it junk. Then Hank Paulson and George Bush and our bought Congress forced us, the taxpayers, to bail out these same greedy, self-serving elitists, because these banks were now "too big to fail." And once they were bailed out, these executives had the gall to give themselves MILLIONS of dollars in bonuses each! They said they had to keep the best and the brightest on their staffs! And then when a few members of congress decided to stand up and put their foot down, these same executives spent more money and sent more lobbyists to Washington to water down or altogether stop reform legislation on Wall Street. And now these same greedy executives are implementing charges and fees on people's accounts just so they can access their own money. Dave, people are down there on Wall Street protesting these abuses that are systemic in our financial system and aided and abetted by our government, and you're telling us to boycott McDonald's. You insult my intelligence and the intelligence of everyone who is occupying.  No one is trying to take McDonald's profits, and if that's what you really think, then you're the clown.

In your letter you said, "This is the greatest country on the planet, but even here, you're not guaranteed wealth, talent, fame, a full head of hair or six-pack abs." I'm here to tell you that most people don't want any of those things (although personally I would like to be debt free and have six-pack abs). But they would like a government that truly represented them, not the corporations that buys them off. They would like to be taxed fairly in relation to those in higher tax brackets. It really isn't fair that Warren Buffet pays only 17% tax while his secretary pays 35%! These people are not envious at all. They've been knocked down and kicked after doing everything right. It's a statistical fact that there are 5 job applicants for every 1 job available. So when you say grow up and go get a job, I ask, what do you think brought them to march on Wall Street? You might be surprised to learn that many, if not most, of these have graduated from college and cannot find a job, no matter how hard they've looked. And not even McDonald's is hiring that many college graduates for even entry-level jobs. These people just want a fair shake.

Dave, I hope you will read and consider my letter. I hope you will change your views. You constantly call yourself a Christian. Do you believe Christ would agree with the wealthy having lower tax rates than the poor? Do you believe Christ would approve of corporations' influence to write the tax code to benefit them while doing economic harm to this country's working class? Do you believe Christ would approve of your disingenuous letter to these Occupy Wall Street protesters? There are injustices in this country. They are waged by an elite minority at the very top. I have two jobs as an RN and I thank God everyday that I can provide for my family. But I have eyes that see and ears that hear. If I could be there in Zuccotti Park, I would be the most vocal protester. You can live in denial since you live at the top and have your radio show and sell your products. But don't you dare insult the intelligence of the people who are out there and now spread all across this country protesting the injustices of the last 30 years! We will no longer be silent and stand idly by while our futures are torn and shredded by the 1%! We are calling for change and reform and we will not be silenced by the 1%!

Joshua LaDeau

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: What the Tea Party Should Have Been

Finally, the movement America has been waiting for, the movement this country needs, the movement the Tea Party should have been. And it is spreading faster than the Tea Party ever did, and it has become more popular than the Tea Party ever was. Why? Because this movement is directed at the right people in the right places and it is not backed by the very people who have benefited from 30 years of deregulation, market manipulation, sweetheart tax cuts and loopholes, and industry specific taxpayer subsidies. I wrote about who is funding the Tea Party in a previous post. The Tea Party should have been protesting against the very people who were funding them: Wall Street, the Koch brothers, the oil and gas industry, the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries, and all the large corporations who have lobbyists in Washington, D.C. These are they who are writing the legislation that our Congress has been passing for the last 30 years! These are they who have benefited from the tax code and the tax cuts. These are they whose incomes have skyrocketed nearly 300% while the middle class income has stagnated. These are they who contribute large sums of money to our legislators and to whom our legislators are beholden. These are the 1%. These are the constituents of our legislators. Our congress is bought and paid for by these wealthy individuals and large corporations. And if we are to have a government of the people, by the people, for the people, we MUST get the money out of politics.

Dylan Ratigan, an MSNBC host, is spearheading an effort to return our government to the people of the United States and to get money out of politics. I have written many times about the egregious Supreme Court Citizens United decision and the immediate impact it had and continues to have in our elections. Corporations are not people! People are people. Corporations cannot go to the polls and vote, people can. But corporations can give a whole heck of a lot more money towards campaigns than people can. I encourage everyone to go to his site,, and sign the petition. I applaud Mr. Ratigan and wish there were many more in our media with his fire and passion for transparency and ethics in our elections. The ability of Wall Street firms and corporations to buy off our elected officials, both Republican and Democrat, has created an atmosphere in this nation in which, well, look at the charts in the previous link, unemployment is at its highest level since the depression, but corporate profits are at an all time high. Wealth inequality is the highest it's been since the 1920s. As I've been saying for years, it's all thanks to the Republican policies of trickle down economics.

When the GOP cut the taxes at the top and deregulated, CEOs and Wall Street did not find ways to invest and create more jobs to put more Americans to work or to improve the education system in America. They kept the money, shipped the jobs overseas where the labor was cheaper and pocketed the difference. They created news outlets like FOX news to dumb down the average American so they would listen to their carefully prepared propaganda and never realize where the blame should be placed. Then they created complicated derivatives markets and credit default swaps that eventually led to toxic assets that crashed the economy in 2008. Then the American taxpayers were forced by the paid-for congress to bail out these same firms and corporations that caused, through their own greed and lack of discipline, this economic meltdown.

This is where the Tea Party should have said ENOUGH! But instead, they took funding from the same corporations. They kept getting their information from FOX news because it was comfortable. They brought guns to their rallies and blamed their problems on "the black guy" and called him a Nazi. They wanted to "take their country back". The Tea Party was a joke from the beginning of its inception, because they were only a pawn in the hands of the 1% to keep the status quo going for a while longer. And since the election of 2010, the new Tea Party members of Congress have done more to obstruct and hurt the poor and middle class than any Congress in this country's history! Why else do you think there have been so many recall elections? These folks came in promising to do something about jobs, jobs, jobs, and have YET to do ANYTHING to help a single American citizen find a decent wage earning job. In fact the legislation they have introduced, if passed, would have caused millions to lose their jobs.

Finally, Occupy Wall Street! This is the rally, the movement that the Tea Party should have been. These brave people are angry at the right people, in the right place, and have the right message. That message, in part, is this: those greedy pigs caused the economic meltdown, they've taken our jobs and our futures, and they’ve taken our bailout. They've repaid us with higher credit card rates, exorbitant and extraneous fees, and massive amounts of student loan debt without any prospect of ability to repay. They've kicked us out of our homes. They've taken $3 trillion dollars out of the economy and it's sitting in their private accounts not helping anyone or contributing any good to this country. They took that much money out of our economy because our government is complicit with them and has been bought off by them and has legislated into existence an atmosphere in our nation in which this sort of greed is possible. We are the 99% and we will not be ignored anymore!

Friday, September 9, 2011

President Obama: Pass This Bill

As many good Americans do before the first game of an NFL season, I too made time to watch President Barack Obama give his speech to the joint session of Congress and the American people, in which he laid out his plan to grow jobs and the economy. Okay, so a Presidential address before a joint session of Congress before a football game is not the norm, but it did get a lot of hype in the last week. The game, by the way, was a very good game between the Packers and the Saints and I hope is a foreshadowing of a competitive and entertaining season in the NFL. If you were unable to watch the speech, you can view the video here, or read the transcript here.

Just a few observations as I watched the President outline The American Jobs Act. There is a lot in the President’s proposals that are fundamentally Republican ideas, including tax cuts for businesses and payroll tax holidays for employees. The President’s plan also includes very sizable tax credits to businesses who hire veterans or the long term unemployed. These seems to me to be very sensible, non-controversial measures, particularly to the GOP. And yet, most of them sat there, stone faced throughout the speech, even for their own ideas and policies, being endorsed by a Democratic President.

President Obama laid out plans to get 2 million construction workers back to work improving roads and bridges, railways and airports. In 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave a score of a “D” for the state of decay of our roads and bridges. Our infrastructure is literally crumbling as we speak. We have a duty to ourselves and future generations of Americans to improve our infrastructure now. Why should China have a better transit system than the United States of America?

Construction workers would also go back to work renovating and modernizing our public schools. How can our children begin to receive the best education to prepare them in a world economy against the best and brightest across the globe in dilapidated buildings with outdated facilities and equipment? Another thing his plan will do is prevent the layoffs of or rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers. Our kids deserve the best and we must invest in their education if we are to remain a dominant player in an ever smaller world. And yet, Republicans in that hall sat on their hands, blank stares on their faces, as if they wanted our kids to grow up uneducated and uncompetitive.

The greatest thing that should make Republicans happy is that the whole plan is paid for and will not add a penny to the deficit. The President will seek addition cuts to the budget by the Super Committee formed by the deficit reduction bill signed into law in July. Yet Republicans sat coldly.

I’m sorry, but if I were an independent trying to decide on who to vote for in the next election, I’d have to say, these Republicans in Congress would be completely turning me off right now. It is clear they have no interest at all for improving the economy or creating a single job if it would seemingly be to the benefit of this President. He might just get credit for it. That just might get him re-elected. And as has been expressly stated by Mitch McConnell and others in the Republican leadership, their number one goal is to make President Obama a one term President. And it is clear that if that means keeping the economy in the tank by whatever obstruction in Congress necessary, they are not only willing, but have been very successful now for three years at doing just that. It’s time that Republicans quit being subservient to their wealthy benefactors and campaign donors and do what is right for ALL the American people. If tax cuts for the rich worked, there would be no shortage of jobs right now. Those horrendous unpaid for Bush tax cuts for the rich that ballooned our deficit have done only that, ballooned our deficit, and in the mean time destroyed American jobs, shipping them overseas, while corporations and CEOs saw the biggest profits and pay increases in history! I am proud to say that Obama’s plan revives closing loopholes in the tax code for these corporations and the wealthiest Americans. I have no problem with the rich or the fact that they have worked hard all their lives (well those who didn’t inherit everything they have anyway) to build up what they have earned. But in the last 30 years, they have seen unprecedented wealth accumulation while the middle class and poor have seen a decline in their standard of living. Wages have stagnated or declined for this group. This is now a time when the largest corporations are not creating jobs, although they are sitting on literally trillions of dollars in cash. It is time for these corporations and wealthy individuals to pay their fair share and to be part of the economic recovery with the rest of the American people.

President Obama will deliver a bill early next week to Congress and has urged our elected representatives to “...pass this bill right away.” I urge all to contact your Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen and urge them pass this bill now. Tell them to put aside their partisan politics and put our fellow citizens back to work. Even the President admits this bill may not solve all our problems, but it is a large step in the right direction. As people go back to work, they will again be able to pay their mortgages and purchase the goods and services that will directly stimulate and spur further economic growth. Tell Republicans that the well-being of the American people is more important than the next election. And if Republicans will not support this jobs bill, and if they will continue to obstruct the growth of American jobs, the middle class, and the economy for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans or for their political agenda including unseating President Obama, then we will collectively work to unseat these same self-serving Republicans who do not care about their fellow Americans, but their own bottom line and campaign donations from the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations. Call them, write them, email them. Make your voices heard loud and clear. We want jobs and a decent standard of living and a revival of the American dream. This is not beyond our reach, but the government does have a role and a function, and at this time, this bill must be signed into law to get America working and the economy moving forward.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Eric Cantor is The Worst Person In the World

Folks, I'm not even going to sugar coat it, qualify it, or come up with some clever anecdote to illustrate my point. Eric Cantor is evil. He is a Republican congressman from Virginia and the House majority leader. Let's just cut to the chase, I've said Cantor is evil for a long time, but this just takes the cake. In my 31 years, anytime there has been a hurricane, earthquake, or tornado, the federal government has stepped in and provided funding for cleanup and rebuilding. Over the weekend, Eric Cantor said on Fox "News" that in order for the federal government to step in after Hurricane Irene and do what it has always done, there will have to be cuts in other areas in the budget. This is outrageous! Millions of Americans have been affected, and as of this writing, 35 Americans have lost their lives, across several states. And now this man, who time and time again has fought and continues to fight to cut taxes for the richest Americans and largest corporations, who has voted to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid and privatize Social Security, a man who has investments that literally bet against America and would have profited him big time had America defaulted on its debt. And during the whole debt ceiling debacle in July, Cantor was trying really hard to block any deal from happening. And let it be remembered that the whole whole debt ceiling crisis was a manufactured crisis created wholly by Republicans in Congress, with none other than Eric Cantor taking a leading role. This evening, Keith Olbermann declared Cantor today's Worst Person in the World. Keith, none have been more deserving of the honor. To tie your extreme right wing political agenda to the suffering of Americans due to a natural disaster makes Eric Cantor the Worst Person in the World, the least Christ-like person in the world, the most un-American person in the world, and completely evil. People of Virginia, I hope you will not tolerate this evil man to represent you for another term. I cannot believe the majority of people in his district are as heartless as he is.
Update: I just learned exactly what programs' budgets Mr. Cantor would like to cut. According to, On Fox "News" the majority leader said he "supported $1 billion in disaster relief funding as part of the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, which includes massive cuts to FEMA and first responders." Now I ask, what in the world kind of sense does that make Congressman? You mean to tell me you are going to slash funding to the very agency that is responsible for assisting in cleanup and reconstruction? And you want to slash funding to those who are trained to go out and find the injured and bring them aid and take them to the hospital? Are you mad? Are there people in your district who are actually as heartless as you and who will still vote for you? For the love of all that is good in this world, I hope not. I hope your constituents are better people than you are and will remove you from your position in the next election.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On Rick Perry, Warren Buffett, and Jobs

So today is my birthday, and just in time, and for great comic relief, Rick Perry, governor of Texas has entered the Republican primaries to become the GOP nominee for President in 2012. He immediately made a huge gaffe, threatening Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and at the same time exposing his own complete lack of understanding of monetary policy. Really, if this guy is threatening people 4 days into his campaign, I can't wait to see what else he comes up with. This is a guy talking about how much he LOVES America. But as I recall, this is the same guy who, on several occasions in the last year, also threatened to take Texas and secede from the United States. Where's the love, huh? I'd love for this guy to get the nomination and run against President Obama. That could be fun.

Speaking of President Obama, he's out on a bus tour encouraging folks to hold their congressional representatives accountable for last month's debt ceiling debacle and to push them to get busy to work on legislation that might produce some jobs to finally help that 9.1% unemployment rate. I mean, since all the tax cuts for the rich have clearly not worked, I think it's time to try a completely different angle. Even Warren Buffett understands that he and those in his tax bracket, as Americans, have not had a whole lot asked of them in the last 30 years,  "My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice." He knows that millionaires and billionaires will continue to invest and will continue to get richer even if they do have to pay a little more in taxes.

It's time our "representatives" actually started representing us, the people who go to the polls and do the voting, and not the big corporate donors to their campaigns. Americans are hurting. It's time our congressmen and women went to congress not as Democrats and Republicans, but as Americans, to work out real solutions for the American people they represent who are hurting in this economy. It's time to quit playing games and quit playing politics. It's time to fund the projects that have been proposed that will put Americans to work. 

Maybe I'm just a simpleton, but it seems to me that if you fund a bridge in Missouri, you have to employ people to build the bridge, all kinds of people. From engineers to contractors to builders, there are a lot of disciplines needed to build that bridge. Then you have to get steel from Pittsburgh, and now a steel plant in Pittsburgh needs to hire a couple of guys, then you have to transport the steel, so you have to hire a guy to transport it. What I'm saying is, if you fund one project, it's going to stimulate a lot of economic activity. If Congress would get off it's collective butt and start approving and funding all these proposed projects, instead of trying to destroy each other's political careers (Mitch McConnell I mean YOU), joblessness would decrease and economic activity would increase. You see, when the rich are not creating jobs, and the people don't have money to buy stuff, it is good for the government to step in and either directly or indirectly, create jobs. It puts more money in the hands of the poor and middle class who will go out and buy the stuff that will improve the economy. All government spending is not bad, contrary to what the "Tea Party" may think.

And as far as the rich creating jobs, Warren Buffett had something to say about that too, "And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation." Congress and the President must allow the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012, no ifs, ands, or buts. Buffett says he would raise rates immediately, so I'm being generous with my time frame, particularly since it's already law. I would encourage everyone to read Warren Buffett's op-ed piece in the New York Times, and then write a letter to your Senator and Representative encouraging him or her to read it and take it to heart.

As I said at the beginning, today is my birthday, I'm 31 today. And if you'll notice on the right, there is a place where anyone can make a contribution to the blog. Any donation is very appreciated and helps me to keep it up! Thanks to all my readers!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dylan Ratigan Rant - Bought Congress

Now this is the kind of honesty that is so desperately needed in our media. This is the kind of passion that I wish we were seeing from our media. This is what media is supposed to do: expose what is going on in the government and how it is affecting us, the American people, in our everyday lives. We do have a bought Congress. I have been saying it for years, and the wealthy and corporations are pulling all the strings in our political process on Capitol Hill. And the Supreme Court's Citizen's United ruling last year ensures that now we'll never know who is spending the money in our political process, how much they are spending, or where it is coming from. That's right, money could be coming from China, India, Venezuela, Iran, or Russia, influencing our elections! Here's the rant:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Keith's Special Comment: The Four Great Hypocrisies of the Debt Deal

I'm mad! And it's time we all were. And it's time that our government governed "of the people, by the people, for the people." I will not sit around idly while our "leaders" continue on a path to make the wealthy pay nothing while the middle class and the poor are left destitute. The only class warfare going on in this country is by the wealthy and corporations against those who have no representation in our government, the poor and middle class. Thank God for voices like Keith! We need more like his and we need to be organized and there is no time to lose.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

John Boehner's Priorities

Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner (R Ohio), has once again shown us where the Republicans' priorities are. The President has been working with leaders of both parties in Congress to iron out a deal to cut back spending in the budget in exchange for raising the national debt ceiling. First of all, during the Bush administration, current GOP leaders voted to increase the debt ceiling 5 times, and never demanded spending cuts. Yet when a Democrat is in office, it's a political game. We all know that Mitch McConnell said his #1 goal is to make President Obama a one term President. And if that means the United States of American going into default on its debts, causing interest rates to skyrocket, the dollar to plummet, and the economy to crash, he seems quite okay with that. I am convinced, and I'm not the first to say it, that McConnell, Boehner, and other Republican leaders are so obsessed with making President Obama a one term President, that they have done all they can to slow down the economic recovery and are doing all they can to forestall a debt limit increase. They are playing with fire.

The fact of the matter is Americans are not with the GOP. Poll after poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans want Republicans to cooperate with Democrats by increasing taxes on the top 2% of Americans and ending tax subsidies and loopholes on large corporations. Democrats have shown time and time again that they are willing to reach across the aisle and make concessions to Republican demands. But the GOP's leaders will not relent. They absolutely will not raise taxes on their wealthy friends and campaign donors. Since Barack Obama was inaugurated, Republicans have worked diligently against any measure that will help the economic recovery, the poor and middle class. Their whole agenda has been to cut taxes for the "job creators" (the rich) and large corporations. While I agree that we as a nation do need to cut spending, it should not be cut from Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. The working class paid into these programs and the Republicans want to cut them to bail out the wealthy again in the form of lower taxes for the wealthy.

Here's a history lesson, Bush cut taxes for the wealthy in 2001 and 2003, and from that time until the Recovery Act, jobs were not created but were lost, by the millions. Many of those jobs were eliminated by those wealthy who benefited from the tax cuts and were shipped overseas where they could be performed in much cheaper labor markets.

Republicans need to invest in a calculator. They are really inexpensive these days. Heck, I might raise some money to send them each one. Spending cuts alone will not pay down the debt. There must be increases in revenue. The poor and middle class have nothing left to give up, and yet the GOP is still trying to make that group and the elderly and disabled pay for the mistakes of Bush and the Bush era Congress. Why do Republicans completely ignore the will of the American people and stubbornly refuse to bend on increasing taxes on the top 1-2% of Americans and close tax loopholes on corporations? Why should everyone in America except the wealthiest and largest corporations participate in the recovery. Why do Republicans protect these people from giving one red Lincoln of their vast fortunes to the government that has been so good to them these last 30 years? When will the American people hold these Republicans accountable for their actions against the poor and middle class over these last 3 years? I hope this will all be remembered on Election Day in November 2012 that it is the Republicans who refused to work for the best interest of all Americans, but only for the interest of the elite few.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Orrin Hatch Thinks The Poor Should Pay More Taxes

Senator Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah thinks the poor and middle class need to pay more in taxes and share more in the sacrifices of this nation. Yeah, he said so...right on the floor of Congress. Are Republicans really this completely out of touch? They are working so hard to protect millionaires and billionaires fortunes, it defies all logic how they are possibly going to be re-elected next year. People who vote for these guys are literally voting against their own best interest. Well, here he is in all his glory, Orrin Hatch and his "Psycho Talk"!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Rebuttal to the "Don't Tax the Hard Working Rich" Argument

First off, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Independence Day yesterday. And again I would like to offer my gratitude to the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States, who fought to make this a free nation, and who continue to defend our liberties each day.

Now I know, in our society, there are just things you should not discuss at work: religion, sex, and politics are chief among them. And I try to write my thoughts here to get my feelings/frustrations out, but there are times when something is said, or I read a Tweet out loud, and being the opinionated person I am, I just can't keep my mouth shut anymore. The problem is, I'm a better writer than impromptu speaker (which is why I don't think I'll actually ever be a politician) and do not always think of the right things to say immediately.

So a couple of times last week, I heard a couple of coworkers repeat the old Republican talking point that the "wealthy should not be taxed at a higher level because they have worked so much harder to make all that money, so why should they be punished by the government coming in and taking their money away in the form of raising their taxes?" Of course that was coupled with the classic "but you can't raise taxes on the rich and the large corporations, they're the ones that create jobs!" If I haven't blogged about that second argument, I will very soon. But for now, my focus is on the first. While I did stand up to these talking points, I could have made a better argument.

So first off, a little history. From 1940 - 1963 the highest top tax rate ranged from 81% - 94%. For the rest of the 1960s and 1970s the top tax rate ranged from 70% - 77%. Now, during all these years, even being taxed at such a high rate, those living at the top were living incredibly well. At the same time, unions were strong, the middle class was booming, and families could afford to buy homes, cars, this new thing called "television", and they lived quite comfortably. For the most part, only Dad worked and families only went into debt for the mortgage. Now, I do not mean to oversimplify life as it was before I was born, but in general, the economy was growing, the middle class could buy the things they were producing, and prosperity could be had by the very wealthy and the middle class, all of whom were "hard workers".

Then Ronald Reagan came to Washington and nothing has been quite the same since. The top tax rate was abruptly cut to 50% and by the end of his second term it was all the way down to 28%. There was an increase of influence from Wall Street and other major corporations on Capitol Hill, hell bent on keeping those tax rates low. Since then companies and governments have been working to delegitimize, harass, and ultimately destroy the unions. Workers have less power to negotiate for better wages and benefits. The same wealthy who used to build up their companies and invest in their employees now close factories in America, ship the jobs overseas where labor is cheaper, and give themselves a big fat pay raise. Don't believe it? From 1990 - 2005 the average production workers' pay increased a paltry 4.3% (definitely not keeping up with inflation), while a CEO in America saw earnings grow 298.2%. I recently read (although for the life of me cannot remember the source) that before Reagan, the average CEO earned 30 times the average employee. Right now, the average CEO earns a staggering 400 - 2000 times what an employee earns.

If our economy is to get out of this rut, policies will have to be enacted to strengthen the middle class once more and the purchasing power they once held. Supply-side economics does not work. The last 30 years have proven that. This is a consumer economy, and if the consumers are unable to purchase the goods, the economy will remain stagnant for some time to come.

So what it all boils down to is this: the wealth gap between the rich and poor in this country has been growing almost exponentially for three decades thanks to corporate and Wall Street influence in Washington and our elected "leaders" writing and signing legislation that primarily benefits the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. I am all for hard work and industry, and I do believe a man should be able to earn a decent living. The top 1 or 2% in this country have been living lavishly thanks to their buddies, the Republicans, for the last 30 years, while the rest of this country is struggling to find a job, pay the bills, or just make ends meet from week to week, and that's with both parents in the work force. I argue that the poor and middle class work just as hard as the richest CEO, although they cannot make near the amount of money, for they do not have representatives in Washington writing tax codes and other legislation on their behalf.

So, yes, the wealthiest citizens in this country could afford to pay a little more in taxes. They are obviously not spending it in the way a middle class family would (which would stimulate the economy), and for the love of all that is good, they are NOT creating jobs. I'm not saying the top tax bracket should pay a 90% or even 50% tax rate, but if we take it from the current 35% to 39.6% as it was during the Clinton administration, which, as I recall were very prosperous years, that would be a big help to increase revenue to the government to help pay for all those nice things we enjoy in this country: roads, national security, national parks, clean air and water, and safe food to eat, to name a few.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Senator Sanders: Dear Mr. President

Please, everyone, listen to Senator Sanders' plea with the President and realize that if the Republicans get their way, the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations will get even more tax breaks. This will come at the expense of children, the elderly, and the middle class in the form of eliminating Medicare, Medicaid, and increasing taxes on the middle class. Tweet this, email it, pass it on Facebook, get the word out. This radical Republican agenda must be stopped. Enough is enough!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Senator Jeff Sessions...Do You Love Oil Money That Much?

So from time to time, I respond to random emails I receive that ask me to write to my senator about some policy issue or another. I'm always happy to put my name at the end of their pre-written letter and send it off to my senator, and more than once, I've gotten a response telling me why he will not be supporting my cause. Since I am a progressive living in Alabama, I am not usually surprised by this, throw the letter away, and go about my business. That changed this weekend.

Oh, it was a pre-written letter from one of the several newsletters I receive in my inbox requesting my immediate action. But this time, it was a matter that I feel very passionately about. This is an issue that is very important to me, and since we all need gas to fuel our vehicles and the price of gas is so outrageously expensive, it is an issue that is important to most Americans. We are all feeling the pain at the bottom of our wallets.

I wrote to Senator Jeff Sessions (R) of Alabama and asked him to do what he could (vote in the Senate) to end taxpayer subsidies of the oil and gas industry. These are special tax breaks given only to the oil industry and paid for by you and me, the taxpayers to the tune of $4 billion. Yeah, it comes out of our paychecks and goes into Exxon and BP's bank accounts. The reasons I, and many Americans, would like to see the end of these subsidies include the following: 1. Have you been to the gas station lately?? Gas prices are nearly $4 a gallon and it's not even officially summer. 2. Oil companies such as Exxon, BP, and Shell are enjoying the highest profits they've ever earned, over $35 billion a year. Yes, that billion with a B. 3. When oil companies started getting these subsidies, they needed them. They were used for exploration, to maintain equipment, etc. And this was important, because as a nation, we needed the oil. Well, the oil companies are making record profits, they do not need an extra $4 billion a year. So, not only are we paying them at the pump and handing them record profits on a yearly basis, but we are also giving them money directly out of our paychecks, courtesy of the government.

So I got a response from Senator Sessions on Saturday, and as expected, he doesn't take the same position I do. That's no surprise. But his letter infuriated me. It was shorter than most of his letters, but I have never seen more lies, politics, and twisted logic on one piece of paper in my life.

The very first thing he writes to me is to indirectly place blame on President Obama for the increase in the price of gas. Um, excuse me, as I recall, when President Bush was President, gas prices were well over $4 a gallon for several months. Who the President is has absolutely no effect on gas prices. In fact, according to supply and demand, the price of a barrel of oil should probably be roughly half what it is now. Refineries are not running anywhere near capacity which means there is more than enough supply to meet current demand. Earlier this month when the CEOs of the big 5 oil companies met at in a Senate hearing, the Exxon CEO even admitted that based on current supply and demand, a barrel of oil should cost around $60-70. The truth of the matter is there are speculators on Wall Street who are artificially jacking up the prices of a barrel of oil, causing all Americans to pay outrageous prices at the pump. Of course the oil companies are profiting from this, but those speculators are getting richer than they could have imagined! There used to be laws that protected against these kinds of practices, but then Republicans took control of the Legislative and Executive branches from 2000-2006 and deregulated Wall Street. Guess when oil speculation got started? Guess when the price of oil started to skyrocket? In 2005, the price of oil doubled after President Bush and the Republicans deregulated Wall Street, and in 2008, that price more than doubled again, to an all-time high of $126 a barrel.

The very next line, and most of the remainder of the letter, completely insults my intelligence. This is the twisted lawyer-speak that he must think all of us dumb, redneck Alabamians will just accept because it's coming from a wealthy, educated U.S. Senator. Well, guess what? I am no dumb, back-woods, uneducated fool, and I'd venture to say that most non-Fox News watching Americans are not either. I wrote to Senator Sessions specifically about ending taxpayer subsidies that were being given to oil companies that are making record profits. And he writes back to me and tells me that he does not want to make the U.S. "less competitive" by "raising taxes" on energy companies. Needless to say, it took me a while to pick my jaw up off the floor. I and millions of Americans have taxes deducted from our paychecks each payday and a portion of that money is given to these oil companies. And Senator Sessions has the gall to write to me and tell me that he does not want to "raise" the oil companies' taxes? This goes back to how GE doesn't pay a dime in taxes on their $5 billion in domestic profits and in fact, gets a rebate check from taxpayers' funds.

The next lie Mr. Sessions puts forth is that if we "raise taxes" (end oil subsidies) on American oil companies, they might be less competitive, reduce American production of oil and gas, and cause Americans to lose their jobs. Now I'd like the Senator to help me understand how a company that has made $35 billion in profits in a single year is in jeopardy of having to reduce production and lay off workers. And as I mentioned before, our refineries are hardly working at full capacity anyways. Senator Sessions notes that the Unites States has the second highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. While this may be true, even he admits, "Essentially all companies operating in America are subject to a wide range of tax credits, deductions, and accounting methodologies...." These companies have lawyers and accountants that find loopholes and every means possible in the tax code to reduce their tax burden, to the point that in cases such as GE, they pay little to no taxes, and then get a refund on top of that. So to Mr. Sessions assertion that oil companies may move to lower tax countries, I say bull puckey (stole the phrase from Rachel Maddow)! They're not going anywhere as long as they get these kinds of perks.

Oh, and just for the sake of context, Senator Jeff Sessions took nearly $105,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry from 2005-2010, according to the website So when Democrats in the Senate brought a bill to be considered to eliminate taxpayer subsidies on May 17, 2011, guess how Senator Sessions voted? Well, he didn't vote in favor of we, the taxpayers. He voted to block the bill from coming to the floor for consideration. He sided with his buddies in the oil industry and protected them and their bottom line, which completely contradicts the last line of his letter to me (which by the way, contradicts the entire rest of his letter). "It is clear, however, that the oil companies have had a number of high profit years and must pay their fair share of taxes. They do not need unjustified tax breaks."

It's funny to me that Republicans have been crying all year about the record deficit and cutting spending by as much as trillions. And when the majority of Americans are crying out to take these subsidies away from oil companies, Republicans overwhelmingly work to protect them and keep them in place. This $4 billion per year could go to reducing the deficit, or improving our kids education, or any number of worthy causes to improve our nation. But when it comes right down to it, Republicans just do not care about any of that. They only care about the large corporations and the very wealthy who contribute to their re-election campaigns. And from this day forth, it is my solemn duty and mission to see to it that in 2014, when Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is up for re-election, that he is defeated and does not return to Washington to represent myself or the people of Alabama. He has shown that he is not interested in Main Street, the middle class, the working class, or the poor that voted for him. He's only working for the corporations, industries, lobbies, and wealthy individuals who contribute to his campaigns and  PACs that support him. Senator Sessions, remember the name Joshua LaDeau, because I will be a major force working against you in your attempt to be re-elected. You will not make a fool of me or my fellow citizens again!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Americans Are Waking Up

I think Americans everywhere are finally waking up!! I have to admit, I feel a bit happy and proud that citizens are going to town hall meetings with their Republican congressmen and holding them accountable for their votes in favor of the Paul Ryan 2012 budget which gives the richest Americans and corporations a 10% tax cut while effectively dismantling our seniors' Medicare program, doubling their healthcare costs, cutting Medicaid, health programs for women and children, education programs, and other programs that help less fortunate Americans. People are upset all across this nation. You can see them from Ryan's own home district in Wisconsin all the way to Florida. They are young and old, and not having the wool pulled over their eyes any longer. Videos of these rightfully outraged citizens have been popping up all over the news, here's a link to a piece from Rachel Maddow's show from last night with several of these videos. You see, the Republican agenda is not anti-abortion or anti-gay marriage. That's just what they campaign on during election season so gullible Christians will vote for them. I know, I was one of them once. I'm still a Christian, just not a gullible one. The real agenda is to pass legislation that will line the pockets of those who have lined their campaign pockets, such as the health insurance industry! Why else would Paul Ryan's plan kill medicare and push seniors to the for-profit health insurance industry, where they will have to pay double for their health care what they are now paying? In case you're wondering Paul Ryan's second largest campaign contributions in 2010 came from the PACs and individuals associated with the health sector, including health insurance, pharmaceuticals, health professionals, and health services. Go to for more info. So, I guess you could say he collectively "owed them one". He showed Republicans true agenda, which is making the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations richer at the expense of those who can least afford it. Thankfully, Ryan's budget will never see the light of day in the Democratic-controlled Senate. But each and every Republican in the House of Representatives voted for this awful bill and each and every one of them should be held accountable for their reckless vote! Our parents and grandparents deserve better than to be thrown to the wolves. And these heartless Republicans who voted for this budget should pay for that vote at the polls in 2012 with our votes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Senator John Kyl Lies on Senate Floor

Not that it's that much of a surprise, but Republican Senator John Kyl of Arizona told such a blatant lie on the floor of the Senate that I cannot even give a serious commentary on the I'm going to let Stephen Colbert discuss, as well as more ridiculous lies from the crew at Fox and Friends...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Tea Party

So, this Tea Party guys are just tying your own nooses and don't even know it. I really hate to be so graphic, but there's no other way to describe it. You are so stubborn/stupid to listen to anything other than Fox News (Republican Propaganda Machine) to realize that it's the billionaire Koch brothers who are bank-rolling the whole Tea Party movement, and who have a heavy hand in crafting the Republican legislation that cuts taxes for the rich, raises them for the poor and middle class, and gives large subsidies to oil companies. Guess what the Koch brothers' main business venture is? Hmmm...need a hint?...just a few more seconds.....OIL!!! Kindly see my last post, paragraph 3. You gripe and complain about not wanting higher taxes (your taxes are lower under Obama than they were under Bush, YES IT'S TRUE!) but you vote for Tea Party candidates who do the will of their sponsors, the Koch brothers. You've been duped, fooled, wool's been pulled over your eyes! Do some research, don't listen and believe blindly to what these people tell you. Educate yourselves, read. Find something other than Fox News from which to get information. It's owned by another billionaire, Rupert Murdoch, who has a vested interest in Republicans winning races. Again, smoke in mirrors. Just as GOP politicians talk one game and legislate another, Fox News alleges to report the news while manufacturing lie after fictitious lie.

Hey America, the GOP Hates You...

...Unless that is you are among the richest 2% of Americans. You know, our political landscape has grown beyond conservative and liberal. It is now between rich and poor. I've been saying it for years now. It doesn't matter if your views are conservative or if they are liberal. The question is what tax bracket do you fall under? And my point is proven most recently by "Representative" Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and his budget bill. It really makes you wonder who he's representing. Well, let me tell you.

First, he's proposing to cut taxes for the richest 2% of Americans from 35% to 25%. Man, I'll bet all those billionaires really need all that extra money right now. They might just go out and create an extra job or two...just like they did during the Bush years...oh wait, that's right, they didn't. They shipped jobs overseas and gave themselves massive pay raises. Oh but his budget gets even better. Guess who gets to pay for those tax cuts for the rich? We do: the elderly, the poor, and the middle class, in the form of tax increases, cuts to and ultimately elimination of Medicaid and Medicare. Yeah, ol' Representative Ryan wants to give our elderly a nice voucher they can take to the private health insurance industry where they can purchase health greatly increased rates. So let me get this straight. We're going to take a very popular Medicare program away from our seniors, which they absolutely don't want, and make them pay more for their health insurance, which they absolutely can't afford as it is, and make our millionaire friends in the for-profit health insurance industry even richer than they already are. I suppose we'll be hearing of their year-end bonuses pretty soon.

Let's see, what else, oh yeah, Ryan's 2012 budget gives subsidies to the oil industry. Is that in addition to the subsidies they already get? The oil industry is raking in record billions of dollars in profits each quarter and most Americans are struggling to buy the gas they need to get back and forth to work each day. So our friends in the oil industry are padding their pockets with even more millions to add to their billions.

But guess who gets to share in the sacrifice of Ryan's budget? Our kids! That's right, Ryan's budget cuts funding significantly for public education. Are our schools not crowded enough? Are our teachers working with too many supplies? Oh, it must be their terribly high salaries. No wonder our education is lagging far behind other countries. They are also cutting Pell Grants for millions of deserving college students. Republicans are more interested in corporate profits than in our kids' ability to compete in the global market against kids whose superior educations have prepared them.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. This bill is 1000+ pages and just came out a few days ago and we're just beginning to understand it. These are just a few bullet points. In nursing school, my classmates and I were taught critical thinking skills. We were taught to take objective data and subjective data and use these to try and determine what was going on with a patient. Our nation is sick. There is a multiple system dysfunction. It's not just Republicans to blame, or Democrats. But based on the data I have observed and the policies that have gone forth from the mouths and pens of Republicans in the last three decades I say this, it will be a cold day in hell before I vote for another Republican.

30 years of GOP policies of deregulation, tax cuts for the ultra rich and largest corporations, and tax increases on the poor and middle class have nearly bankrupted our nation. Republicans would have you believe it's the unions, the firemen, policemen, the teachers and nurses who are bankrupting our cities, counties, and states. Are we so quick to forget that it was the corporate giants like Citigroup, Bank of America, and AIG that nearly drove our economy into ground through their greedy and unregulated practices? And do we remember what then happened? We, the middle class tax payers, paid a $700 billion bailout to these companies to keep them from going bankrupt because they were "too big to fail". Then what happened? The CEOs of these companies enjoyed some of the biggest bonuses they've ever received. Why shouldn't they? After all, they had just pulled the biggest scam in history. They took our money, lost it in excessively risky practices, and then took our money again. It was ingenious.

But enough of that. That's not the real issue. The real problem is that people continue to vote for these same Republican idiots over and over again. Why would they knowingly do that? Well, obviously, they're not knowingly doing that. I live in the South and a majority of the people here vote for Republicans, if for no other reason, for the social conservative aspects of the party, such as being against abortion, homosexual marriage, etc. And, being raised in the South, I grew up with the same ideals. The difference is, as I grew up, I also wanted to know what else the GOP stood for, and I learned quickly that it wasn't for the middle class or the poor. I get so easily frustrated because I see these so called "Christian" politicians who want to raise taxes and healthcare costs on the poor, middle class, and elderly and cut taxes substantially for the extremely rich. Jesus said the rich should sell their possessions and give what they have to the poor. Republican policies run opposite the teachings of Jesus. The point is, it's all smoke and mirrors. Republican politicians keep their voters voting for them by talking about the social issues that the people want to hear about. "We're going to defund Planned Parenthood." (Which, by the way, uses federal money for such things as cancer screenings, general healthcare screenings and vaccinations, as well as sexual health, contraception, and planning pregnancy, but NOT abortion). Yes, they talk about social issues, but all the while, they are working in Congress for their buddies in the healthcare insurance industry, the oil industry, Wall Street, or whoever filled their pockets during campaign season, millionaires and billionaires, the top 2%. Those are the constituents the Republicans are working for. It's not for me, it's not for you. It's not about conservative or liberal, it's about rich or poor.