texshelters

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After Iran, We Go After The Dangerous French

In Current Events, History, Humor on March 2, 2012 at 20:16

the_french_poodle-from-www-nationstates-net.jpg

Note: I have updated this article and am re-posting it in the hope that people will listen this time!

Dear Patriots,

Now that the plans for the invasion of Iran have been finalized in our Republican Congress, with Hillary Clinton adding her amped-up rhetoric,  the State Department has hired me to come up with the next benefactor of U.S. Democracy. I have decided on the perfect location for our troops: France. This time, we will be ready to invade at the least provocation. And the French like to be provocative, so it won’t take long. We will call this war, “Operation French Fried Freedom.”

With a grant from the Center for Real Atomic Power (C.R.A.P.), a division of TexCoInc LLC, I have written promotional material and talking points for our return to the beaches of Normandy.  This time we will be liberating the French– from themselves! There are many reasons we should invade the brie eaters:

1.   The French are uncooperative. They weren’t willing to invade Iraq with the coalition of the willing in 2003. They don’t even have the same time as us; when it’s morning in America (8 AM in D.C.) it’s afternoon in Paris, France (2 PM). How dare they!

2.   We musts take over their nuclear power generating capacity.  They export $3 billion dollars worth of nuclear energy every year. While we never invade a country because of our energy needs, in this case, we would make an exception.

3.   France not only has WMDs such as nuclear weapons, they also have Weapons of Gay Creation, or WGCs. These gay bombs would turn the target population gay upon impact, and thus, ruin the will to fight of the enemy forces. The United States and Arab nations are especially vulnerable to such a gay attack while the French troops would be immune to its affects. We must stop this WGC creating nation before they launch their missiles at us.

4.   Food of Mass Corpulence or FMCs. The French have been trying to kill us with their fatty foods and cheeses for years. We must invade and force them to cook reduced fat meals.

5.   The French are arrogant and think they’re better than everyone. Ha! In the U.S. we know we are number one and better than the French at everything, except for that stinky soccer. Moreover, we are not arrogant about being better than everyone like the French are, we just know it. Our invasion will wipe those smug smiles off their faces.

6.   They are not as Christian as we are. France is full of atheists like Michel Onfray who want to destroy our way of life. If they don’t like God in France, we will have to kill them to show them how Christian we are.

7.   The French kowtow to Muslims who have Mosques in France and plan prayer meetings. The French just don’t arrest them enough or burn enough Qurans. Allowing Muslims free speech and religion is un-American.

8.   Their president, Nicolas Sarkozy, mocks our manhood and the sanctity of marriage by marrying a former supermodel and current singer, Carla Bruni.

9.   Their government run medical system threatens our way of life by successfully treating their citizens.

10. The French have more sex than other people.  And as we have learned from our Republican leaders, sex is bad and requires, I hate to say, contraception! Moreover, they offer contraception to women with their universal HEALTH CARE! If we invade them, they will stop bragging about sex and have more to worry about.

11. They have lost the last big wars they were in, so it will be no problem invading them. Really, take it from me, I know these things. Like other great Republicans such as Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, I have never been to war or in the military, and that best positions me, from a distance, to make decisions about sending other people’s children overseas to die.

12. We must make the world safe for Hollywood movies by invading France and eliminating their film industry. We will start by destroying all copies of French New Wave “classics” such as Jules et Jim and eliminate all traces of Godard’s Breathless. The Richard Gere version was better and more American anyway.

13. The French poodle is obviously a weaponized dog of terror.

We could easily reconvene the “coalition of the willing” we had in Iraq and for Iran and add new members. We can count on England once more. They are still fuming over the Norman (French) invasion of England in 1066 and could occupy the beaches of Normandy after the invasion as payback. Of course the United States would control the airport and the green zone around Paris.

Please join me in supporting the surge into France during Romney’s first term after we declare “mission accomplished” in Iran. With you, and help from C.R.A.P., we can get it done.

If you disagree, remember, the reasons for invading France are as truthful and logical as the reasons for invading Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

The Problem is Limited Access, not Affirmative Action

In Current Events, Economics, Education, History on February 29, 2012 at 22:07

itshisfault from-talk-onevietnam-org.jpg

Abigail Noel Fisher was too poor a student to be admitted into the University of Texas as one of the top 10% of all high school graduates who are automatically eligible for entrance into the state system. After the first 10% of high school graduates are admitted, students have to compete for the remaining seats. However, Ms. Fisher still didn’t make the cut. Instead of taking up the American tradition of going to community college, she took up the American tradition of suing those she feels aggrieved by, the University of Texas at Austin. The suit accuses the university of racial bias against Ms. Fisher, and if she wins, it could reduce higher education opportunities for minorities in the United States.

The University of Texas has a very limited race preferences, and it is only one of several factors for entrance which includes a review of two essays, high school transcripts, SAT scores, a resume including extracurricular and community activities, and so forth. Only in the area of community activities is the question of race considered. Yet this mediocre student wants to blame the system instead of looking at her own application that kept her out of UT.

President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925 on March 6, 1961 that called for “affirmative action” to ensure employment and educational opportunities for people of all races.  “The intent of this executive order was to affirm the government’s commitment to equal opportunity for all qualified persons, and to take positive action to strengthen efforts to realize true equal opportunity for all.” Lyndon Johnson added Executive Order 11246 to help enforce “affirmative action” in employment and to add women to the order.

Proponents of  affirmative action say it is one remedy to address the imbalance in educational opportunities for minorities and the poor in our nation. Opponents feel affirmative action takes scholarships and educational opportunities away from more deserving students who happen to be white. Both the discrimination and “reverse” discrimination arguments for and against affirmative action policies miss the fundamental problem with higher education in our nation: limited resources, limited funding, and high costs.

State governments limit access to schooling because of lack of funds and their funding priorities. Most states cut their budgets for higher education in the last two years, “…all but nine states experienced one-year declines from their 2010-11 totals. The 41 states that cut their spending did so by widely varying proportions, from as little as 1 percent (in Indiana and North Carolina) to as much as 41 percent (New Hampshire), with a full third seeing double-digit drops.” According to the Center for the Study of Education Policy, “Overall, spending declined by some $6 billion, or nearly 8 percent, over the past year,…” 

Cost is more important than the issue of what race you are in when applying to the university. The cost for higher education has increased at  twice the rate of medical costs since 1978. Since 2000, tuition costs have doubled.  The cost of higher education makes it harder for poorer students to attend and thus reduces their chance to increase their incomes with an advanced degree.

And the poorest families have it the worst:
Among the poorest families — those with incomes in the lowest 20 percent — the net cost of a year at a public university was 55 percent of median income, up from 39 percent in 1999-2000. At community colleges, long seen as a safety net, that cost was 49 percent of the poorest families’ median income last year, up from 40 percent in 1999-2000. 

While tuition is going up, assistance to students entering universities is going down as is state spending for higher education. This year’s cuts to pell grants will also make it harder for students to attend university, affecting up to 100,000 students.

Sarah Volstad, Director of Legislative Affairs for Student Senate, stated, “It’s definitely not like it was…Ten years ago, the state grants were plentiful … tuition was much lower.”

The federal government’s priorities focus on security, war and tax cuts. Instead of addressing the ever increasing inequity in resource distribution in our nation between the top and lower quintiles, we fight over scraps.

If higher education was available and affordable to all who qualify, and there were more scholarships available, the fight over affirmative action would end for all but the most racist in our society, those who don’t want minorities or the poor to be educated no matter the availability.

No amount of affirmative action will fix the problem of access and costs and an economic system of inequity in our nation that limits access to higher education. If we want to end the debate over affirmative action, we need to make schools more affordable and accessible to all.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

If You’re Reading this, You’re Part of the 99%

In Current Events, Economics, Education, Occupy Movement on February 22, 2012 at 21:47

We are the 99% from ohaflcio.blogspot.com

Many people online, in editorial pages, on television and in the streets are denying their membership in the 99%. Few if any of the people that fight against their membership to this not-so-elite group fully understand the concept of the “99%”.

Those who automatically reject anything they consider “liberal” will reject their membership in the 99% as a way to reject a group they falsely consider lazy, unclean Americans who want to blame corporations for all their troubles. However, Occupy Wall Street is not asking for you to agree with everything every member of their group believes. Admitting that you are part of the 99% does not require you reject your conservative, or other, principles.

What admitting you are part of the 99% requires is that you let go of your denial and acquire a modicum of class consciousness. First, you must let go of the myth that the richest 1% of Americans care about you and are job creators instead of job destroyers. Then you must develop an awareness that you are in the lower classes and the 1% determines, to a large extent, what happens in this nation.

Many people reject this idea because they think it means you have to be an anarchist, socialist, communist or some other ist to belong to the 99%. That’s a misreading of the metaphor. What’s more, they don’t even know it is a metaphor, a number that represents the inequality in our economic and political system but may not be literally accurate.

Even Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, showing how smart he is with numbers, took “99%” as a literal idea and corrected the notion several times in his post:

“Let’s be clear. This isn’t really the 99 percent. If you’re in the 85th percentile, for instance, your household is making more than $100,000, and you’re probably doing okay. If you’re in the 95th percentile, your household is making more than $150,000. But then, these protests really aren’t about Wall Street, either. There’s not a lot of evidence that these people want a class war, or even particularly punitive measures on the rich. The only thing that’s clear from their missives is that they want the economy to start working for them, too.”

Let’s be clear about Mr. Klein’s misreading of OWS: 99% is a metaphor that he takes too literally and thus misses the point that it’s about inequality, not exactitude. And it is about Wall Street. The protests are about Wall Street run amok, about how Wall Street gets a free pass when they break regulatory laws, about a Wall Street that is in large part responsible for our economic disaster we find ourselves in. But, it’s not only about Wall Street. The Occupy Movement is about banks, mega corporations like Monsanto that poison our food supply, BP and other large companies that pollute with impunity, the military industrial complex, and so forth. Just because it’s called “Occupy Wall Street” doesn’t mean Wall Street is their only concern, and it’s willfully ignorant to think that. Read their declaration and educate yourself about their issues.

Klein also echoes sentiments of Republicans and dismisses the movement as self-centered, only concerned about themselves, only wanting the “economy to start working” for them, thus he misses the point again. Sure, members of the occupy movement are concerned about their own welfare, and also their neighbors, their children, their family, their community, their teachers, their public servants, other workers, and all members of the 99% that might have had tough times because of the plutocracy we live under. Otherwise, why would so many employed, retired and financially secure people involve themselves in the movement?

Compassion for others is not a hard thing to understand. It’s too bad Klein’s analysis only skims the surface of what the Occupy Movement is about. If he can’t correctly interpret Occupy, he should stick to writing about the Republican primaries. There, he will see enough lies to write about, and he won’t have to write misinformation about the Occupy Movement.

You’re part of the 99% if:

  • Most of your income comes with a W-2 attached.
  • You have ever, or currently, received food stamps, unemployment, SSI, or other government assistance.
  • You don’t have an offshore bank account.
  • If you are not a financial manager or CEO of a major firm, you are part of the 99%.
  • You are also a member of the 99% if your income is less than $400,000 a year.
  • If you earn less than 25% of your income in rent and dividends, you are part of the 99%.
  • If you are one paycheck from being homeless, you are part of the 99%.
  • If you are not a manager, executive, or supervisor of a large firm, you are likely part of the 99%.
  • You are part of the 1% if you can donate millions to a political campaign.
  • You are part of the 1% if you can write laws for ALEC and thus Congress.
  • And if you’re reading this, you are a member of the 99%.

Here’s a demographic breakdown of the 1%:
https://files.nyu.edu/bps261/public/numbers.html 

Fact: the top 1% in the US control 42% of the nation’s wealth.
http://www.mybudget360.com/top-1-percent-control-42-percent-of-financial-wealth-in-the-us-how-average-americans-are-lured-into-debt-servitude-by-promises-of-mega-wealth/

Rich Versus Poor demographics
http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/97/07/9707jw.pdf  

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Occupy Tucson Day of Solidarity

In Current Events, Economics, Education, Occupy Movement on February 21, 2012 at 02:25

The Raging Grannies performing at Occupy Tucson's 99% Meet Yourself

One thing the Republicans have yet to mention when deriding the Occupy movements and their most visible target, Occupy Wall Street, is that it’s run by a bunch of community organizers. Community organizing was evident at the Occupy Tucson Presents: 99% Meet Yourself event held at the downtown, main library plaza, Saturday Feb. 18th, in Tucson, Arizona.

The event was well organized, with a stage, music and speakers from different community based local and national organizations, tables that had information from these organizations, sign making, and information about the historical struggles of the 99%.

Several hundred people attended the event throughout the day to observe, share, learn and listen to the speakers and music and uncounted others that visit the plaza on weekends sat to witness and partake in the event. The event was also live streamed on the Internet for the world to see. Considering how dangerous the occupy movement has been portrayed in some media outlets, it was surprising that no counter protests occurred and there was little police presence.

The day focused on support and sharing of information regarding mutual and overlapping goals shared by the organizations at the event. As speaker Billy Lolos of Occupy Tucson (OT) pointed out, people ask what we in the occupy movements are about, why we don’t have one issue. The truth is, he said, was that we live in a “target rich environment”, and we will be there to protest and join in solidarity with those that share these concerns.

IT Live Streaming OT's 99% Meet Yourself

He then talked about the foreclosure crisis in the nation and in Tucson. Mr. Lolos urged us to get the Tucson and Pima County governments to use eminent domain to claim foreclosed houses and refinance homes for at risk owners. He also took aim at the banks and their bailouts and how if we let them, they will continue taking bailouts from tax payers to finance their risky ventures.

Steve Valencia, Tucson Chair of Jobs with Justice, thanked the occupy movement for helping change the discourse in this nation from cuts that would harm workers to investment in jobs and a sustainable future. He discussed what a “Job with Justice” means: a livable wage, dignity, benefits, collective bargaining, and so forth. Mr. Valencia also pointed out how the occupy movement is raising awareness for the push back against the dominance of corporations over our politics and the scapegoating of workers.

Joe Bernick, a leading voice in the Communist Party of America, author and director of the Salt of the Earth Labor College, added his voice of support and caution to the proceedings. He  reminded us that change doesn’t happen without social movements working for change. He added that capital and capitalism will prevent needed change unless we overturn the faulty capitalist paradigm.

Sal Baldenegro, Sr, a preeminent voice in the Chicano Movement and defender of ethnic studies, more accurately “Mexican American Studies”, echoed the sentiment in his presentation. He pointed out that every time laws were passed to exclude Mexicans and others from participation as members of the United States, those efforts have been defeated. When the U.S. tried to keep Mexicans from owning property, it failed. When governments tried to exclude Mexicans from certain neighborhoods, it failed. When people tried to keep Mexicans segregated and out of their businesses, Mexicans opened their own businesses and over time, segregation became less of an issue. And this happened because of the work of people to overcome those obstacles. And the ban of Mexican American Studies will also fail, he pointed out, because of the efforts of the people.

Sign making at OT's 99% Meet Yourself

David Yerkey of the KXCI show “A View from Slightly off Center”  talked about the media’s role in censorship and promoting the corporate agenda and the way marginalized groups are kept out of the national debate. One striking example he mentioned was how Wikileaks was kept out of the UNESCO debate on Wikileaks by the U.S., and how the U.S. state department filled the meeting with Wikileaks detractors. With public media and the Internet, we can get the news out about these forms of political censorship.

Gayle Hartmann, director of “Saved the Scenic Santa Ritas“, thanked the support OT has given their cause. She added that the letter writing campaign to the U.S. Forest Service against the mine in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, specifically those questioning the water quality effects of the Rosemont project, were having an impact on the Forest Service’s support for open pit mine. And she made it clear that the mine “would create only a few jobs” and that mining jobs were already available in Arizona.

The music of the day was rousing, lively, socially relevant, and uplifting. The headline band, Relic Soup, played classic songs from Stevie Wonder to Pearl Jam. Ted Warmbrand entertained us with his folk songs and traditional sing-a-longs while local favorites The Raging Grannies sang traditional songs with new updated lyrics about the 99%. Arianna Solare played her politic songs while accompanying herself on guitar while singing in English and Spanish. Guest musicians Ron Pandy entertained us with his down-home folk originals while local character known only as “Iggy” entertained us with his improvised piano and scat style a cappella rapping.

Tabling at the event were groups as diverse as a local solar power company, Move to Amend, the National Writers Union, and Occupy Tucson working groups such as the Yoga and meditation working group, PR/Outreach (the main organizers of the event), among others. Occupy Phoenix also had a table at the event to present information and invite Tucsonans to their events in the coming month.

Tabling at 99% Meet Yourself

More than all the learning, teaching, an networking, the event demonstrated that Occupy Tucson is organized, issue oriented, talented and well spoken members of a community that cares deeply about what happens in our city, state, and nation.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Republican Candidates are President Obama’s Best Campaign Aides

In Current Events, Election Politics on January 28, 2012 at 16:25

mitt_and_newt from media.salon.com

In the fierce battle between Next Gingrich and Mitt Romney for second place in this year’s presidential campaign, the two top Republicans have become the president’s best aides for his reelection. By attacking each others’ weaknesses, they damaged their image in the eyes of potential voters and provided an invaluable script for how to bring down the eventual Republican nominee.

The most useful attacks (for President Obama) have involved the giant mortgage lenders Fannie Mae (The Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Mortgage Corporation). Many people, especially anti-government Republicans, falsely believe that Fannie and Freddie were the causes of the mortgage meltdown. Until the Republican nominating campaign, these two lenders, who controlled 90% of the secondary mortgage market in 2003, have been viewed as a Democratic problem. However, Republican accusations over the lenders during their campaign for the nomination show that Republicans are complicit in the mortgage meltdown and both parties have been involved with these controversial lenders.

First, Mitt Romney pointed out that Gingrich earned $1.6 million lobbying for Freddie Mac and thus by association is partially responsible for the mortgage meltdown. This ad by the Romney campaign could just have well been produced by a Democratic media consultant.

The ad also accuses Gingrich of being a beltway insider, something he has been running from since the campaign began. If Gingrich wins the nomination, this ad will make it harder for him to project the “outsider” image that he is trying to cultivate.

For his part, Gingrich has accused Romney of profiting from Fannie and Freddie, Ironically, apparently his tax return indicates he owns stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac…”  Gingrich wants to hide his role in Freddie Mac by making Fannie and Freddie an issue of the elite rich guy, Romney, making money off the mortgage brokers. Newt has been labeled a corrupt insider and Romney an elite opportunist, “I think someone who owns stock in a place that forecloses on Floridians has a lot of gall to start raising the issue,” he told reporters.” All this plays well for the President and his campaign who will use these labels to discredit whoever wins the Republican nomination.

Then there were the attacks on Romney from Rick Perry along with Gingrich for his involvement in vulture capitalism. Editor of the Nation, Katrina Van De Heuvel puts it well,

With their eyes set on Bain’s bane and Mitt Romney’s career, Perry and Gingrich have been astonishingly and appropriately brutal. “There’s a real difference between venture capitalism and vulture capitalism,” Perry told Fox and Friends last week. “I don’t believe that capitalism is making a buck under any circumstances.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. 

She continues,

Gingrich sharpened that point further on Bloomberg: “…Show me somebody who has consistently made money while losing money for workers and I’ll show you someone who has undermined capitalism.” Sing it, Brother Gingrich.

Gingrich further challenged Romney by releasing his tax returns early before the South Carolina Republican debate. This pushed Romney into releasing his own tax returns that show he paid less than 15% in taxes (half of what Gingrich reported). Obama gained yet another talking point that has resonance with the American people, the 99% versus the 1%. If Romney gets the Republican nomination, Obama can use the framing of the people versus the corporate elite represented by Romney to defeat the former CEO of Bain Capital. So much for Romney’s business acumen being an asset in the general election.

Romney counters by attacking Gingrich and his time as speaker of the House, “…Members of his own congressional team after four years of his leadership, they voted to replace him,” Romney said of Gingrich’s time as House speaker from 1995 to 1999. “This was the first time in American history that a speaker of the House has resigned.”

And Romney and other Republicans have criticized Gingrich on his appearance with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a climate change ad. There is no worse sin for Republicans than cavorting with the enemy, and Pelosi is enemy number two, right after President Obama. This might not hurt him with Democrats who will never vote for Gingrich, but Republicans may turn away from him in the general election for this sin.

The longer the Republican nominating process continues, the longer Gingrich holds on and convinces Republican voters he is the true conservative left with a chance, the better it will be for President Obama come November. And the more Romney has to spend attacking Gingrich, the less money he will have to go after Obama in the fall.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Newt Gingrich and the Republicans are Ruining Traditional Marriage

In Current Events, Election Politics on January 22, 2012 at 18:58

from underthemountainbunker.com

Newt Gingrich has cheapened the institution of marriage through his behavior, and the people who support Gingrich and allow him to get away with his womanizing, divorces and multiple marriages are damaging the institution even further.
The vows of marriage say “til death do us part”, but that was too long to wait for Newt.

Newt Gingrich admits that he sinned and his first marriage failed because, “all humans sin”.  So, when it comes to marriage, Mr. Gingrich is an admitted sinner. Adultery is a sin, and the Republicans who accept Newt and his sin should understand that adultery leads to man on dog sex, sex between gerbils and cats and other unholy matrimonies.

Moreover, while Gingrich cheapened his own marriage with non-wife blow jobs, he was working in the House to impeach President Clinton for his non-wife blow jobs.

Newt’s second wife recently accused him of wanting an open marriage. But that’s okay with Republicans in South Carolina, where Gingrich won the latest primary. If you don’t see the hypocrisy yet, imagine if Secretary of State Clinton had said, “Bill wanted an open marriage”? Republicans would have been on this like crap on shit. Open marriages and the Republican acceptance of them are ruining the sanctity of marriage like vampire on human sex.

And how did Republicans, those willing to vote for an adulterer, sinner, and divorcee, feel about the Weiner bulge of 2011. No, the Weiner bulge wasn’t a German Panzer attack in WWII, it was the photo that Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner sent of the outline of his penis in underwear to a female college student he had met online. It became a massive issue for Republicans wanting to rid themselves of this brash liberal Representative. So a few sexual innuendoes and attacks later (even Democrats asked Weiner to resign) he resigned for doing less than Newt has done to ruin the sanctity of marriage. As far as we know, Weiner kept his penis in his shorts, Gingrich did not.

By mixing faith, redemption and adultery, Mr. Gingrich has created a new form of politics where sinning is okay. “Newt is apparently trying to create a new hybrid form, Christian adultery.”

And Republicans defend him by stating that his three marriages prove that Gingrich is qualified to be president. One example of this is from Dr. Keith Ablow  (yes, his name really is Ablow).

So, here’s what one interested in making America stronger can reasonably conclude—psychologically—from Mr. Gingrich’s behavior during his three marriages:

1) Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.

2) Two of these women felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married. 

3 ) One of them felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married for the second time, was not exactly her equal in the looks department and had a wife (Marianne) who wanted to make his life without her as painful as possible. 

Conclusion: When three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we’ll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we’ll want to let him go after one.”

I have another conclusion to make from the idea that sexual encounters qualify you for president. Why not vote for Wilt Chamberlain for president, who claims to have had 20,000 sexual encounters with women? Now that’s qualification!

Let’s look at Newt’s own excuse for his affairs. He says that he felt so passionately about the United States that it caused him to leave his cancer riddled wife and later, “while he was leading a party that was making the case that a U.S. President shouldn’t be having on-the-job sexual encounters with interns, using his staff and appointees to cover it up, and lying about it under oath in court, to commence a second extra-marital affair of his own.” 

And now when the media asks about his marriages, (after helping Republicans attack Clinton in the drawn out impeachment hearings) Newt is incensed,

“I think the destructive, viscous, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to government this country, harder to attract decent people to run this country and I am appalled that you would being a presidential debate on a topic like that.” 

And Republicans in Congress have spent Obama’s whole term using destructive, viscous and negative attacks against the President, thus making it hard for him to govern.

Newt continues, “Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things, to take an ex-wife, and make it (an issue) two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign, is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.”

I am so glad the media and the Republicans didn’t treat Clinton or Weiner so despicably.

So Newt Gingrich and South Carolina’s Republicans support the adulterer while blocking marriage for homosexuals who might “ruin the sanctity” of the institution. In the meantime, I will be passing around my “Wilt for President” petition.

This post is not condone extramarital affairs nor does it care if candidates have them. I am more concerned with liars and hypocrites running for office and those that would keep rights from others because of their religious bigotry.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Why I envy Mitt Romney and the 1%

In Current Events, Economics, Election Politics on January 18, 2012 at 20:19

Congress for sale from truenewsfromchangenyc.blogspot.com

Mitt Romney, in his finite wisdom, pointed out that Obama is using the politics of envy. “It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.”  So, if you want corporations and the 1% to pay their share of taxes, and you’re in favor of job’s bills and regulating “too big to fail” banks, you are doing so because you are envious of Romney and the 1%. I am envious as well.

1. I am envious of the 1% because I too want to buy companies and send jobs overseas.

2. I am envious of Romney because I also want to lie and change my mind whenever it’s politically expedient.

3. Ignorance is bliss, and I am not nearly as blissful as Mitt Romney, whom I envy.

4.  I envy Romney because I too would like to be able to say one day, “Then, I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much,” in reference to earning $374,327.62 in speaking fees from February 2010 to February 2011.

5. I am envious because I would also like to be able to joke like Romney about “fearing a pink slip” while knowing I had millions in the bank and daddy’s millions to back me up.

6. I am also envious because I am not ruthless and uncaring enough to run for president in a political party that would just as well see people die than raise a finger to care for the them.

7. I am envious of the 1% because I wish I could buy elected officials and write legislation for Congress.

8. I envy the Koch brothers because I wish I could fund a political movement like the Tea Party and get candidates elected under that banner to cut social programs while keeping my taxes low.

9. I envy BP, Exxon and other massive polluters who can make hundreds of billions off of energy and then only pay a couple of billion dollars in fines when our projects destroy a coastline.

10. I envy the mega corporations that have had the joy of laying off thousands of workers (like Romney has, that lucky dog!) and sending the jobs overseas under the aegis of free market capitalism.

12. I envy the 1% who have skillfully gotten their lackeys into Congress who in turn blame the 99% for being poor and unemployed.

13. I envy the 1% because when they screw up, somebody else pays.

Romney is right; it’s envy that motivates people to criticize the 1%, not justice, equality, common sense, humanism and compassion.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Why I Support the Rosemont Copper Open-Pit Mine, by Tex Shelters

In Current Events, Economics on January 16, 2012 at 19:40

Clean Arizona Mine Water? from blogs.ngm.com

It was exciting to see so many people at the the Forest Service meeting for the Rosemont open-pit mine in Sahuarita on Saturday, January 14th. I was also happy to see all support for the 1% by the proletariat.

I support the open-pit mine because I support America. Thus I support Korean company Kores and Canadian consortium Augusta who will be extracting ore and profit from us. Furthermore, Rosemont will be able to ship the copper anywhere, like China, after it’s out of the ground. Yea America!

The quaint America first taint of the comments in the Sahuarita public school is so heart warming in a time of globalization, global capital and free markets that demand corporations sell to the highest bidder. And all that love we received was overwhelming after our corporations sent so many jobs overseas, closed plants and have fought public spending on roads, schools, water treatment and so forth. Frankly, us millionaires are against lavish spending to pay for teachers, fill potholes or make bridges safe.

The open-pit mine is the best kind because they are fast and complete. You don’t miss the opportunity for maximum tailings when you dig a big, mile-wide hole. Moreover, I love the smell of tailings in the morning.

Besides the mile-wide hole to behold, there are other reasons I support the mine.

I am for the Rosemont open-pit mine because I hate birds. Who cares about bio-diversity and animals? Humans are the only animals that matter. And those bird watchers are dirty hippies that need to get a job! Or is that Occupy Tucson? Whatever the case, only Marxists put birds before open-pit mines and profit.

As bad as the bird-watchers are, there are the astronomers who are demanding that we keep the lights down. Like all liberals, astronomers are hypocrites. They get to have their science but they want to prevent Rosemont from using their mining science. So what if a little light leaks into the sky? I hate the stars too!

And all the “sky is falling” chicken little environmentalists need to shut up about water quality and look at the facts. Nothing went wrong with BP and Exxon who protected the environment in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. They followed the law completely, and so does Rosemont Copper and nothing will go wrong here either. Rosemont Copper has promised us, and corporations always follow through on their promises. Just ask the fishermen on the Gulf of Mexico.

Rosemont promises 500 jobs for 20 years in the mines. Some pessimists (liberals!) want to know what happens if the price of copper collapses. Don’t worry about us. We can just close the mine and take it as a write off.

I am in favor of the Rosemont Copper open-pit mine because despite the incomplete environmental impact draft study by the U.S. Forest Service, I am sure that we can trust corporations to do what is best for the people in the region. We need to start chopping into that mountain while the getting is good and before people realize there are better, cleaner ways to mine than using an open pit and there are other ways to create those 500 jobs Rosemont swears will be here for 20 years.

Besides, making millionaires money without risk to us is the best reason to support the open-pit mine. I can also support the Rosemont open-pit mine because I don’t live in area and I won’t have to look at it, drink the water or smell the air. I will only have to look at the wonderful cash I will make from my investment. And thanks again to all those at the meeting for supporting the billionaires’ mine.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Wall Street Wins the 2012 Iowa Caucuses

In Current Events, Economics, Election Politics on January 5, 2012 at 00:07

Buying the Election from Salon.com

Romney had 8 more votes next to his name in the Iowa caucuses, and that means everyone else lost. Romney has the lead in New Hampshire, the next Republican primary, and he has the lead in money. Only Barack Obama has more campaign cash on hand than Mitt Romney. Without a crushing defeat in Iowa, Romney’s path to the nomination is clear. No amount of evangelical enthusiasm for Santorum, or youth and independent excitement for Ron Paul, will make a difference. Unless hit by a huge scandal, Wall Street’s man won’t lose now.

The Political Action Committee, PAC, Restore our Future spent $3 million in attack ads against Newt Gingrich after Gingrich had taken a lead in the polls about a month ago. A look at their website makes it clear that they are a pro-Romney, anti-Gingrich PAC. Because they operate as a PAC, Restore our Future received well over the $2500 individual contribution limit from individuals, i.e. millionaires. In fact, the four top donors gave $1 million each. And even though this PAC clearly supports the candidacy of Mitt Romney, they don’t face the same scrutiny as individual donors do. By giving to a PAC, donors can donate as much as they want. In essence, political influence in D.C. is sold to the highest bidders.

When money wins a political campaign, Wall Street wins. And so it was in Iowa on Tuesday. Occupy Wall Street and other occupy movements all over our nation have been working for four months to end the influence Wall Street has on politics. Wall Street has been buying influence in the nations capital through a combination of lobbying, donating to campaigns, PACs, making back room deals, and giving largess through cushy jobs after Congress members end their public work for 220 years in the United States, since 1792. So don’t expect the Occupy Wall Street movement to change Wall Street’s influence in national politics overnight.

Wall Street has a lot invested in the Presidency, having already contributed $16,835,938 to the various presidential campaigns, more than any other sector. Almost half of that total has gone to Mitt Romney ($7,801,006) with about a quarter going to President Obama ($4,187,924).  That means that 75% of the money donated by Wall Street and financial institutions has gone to the front runners in the two major parties. The Presidential race is a win-win for them regardless of what party comes out on top, although Romney is clearly their number-one choice.

Why does Romney win though he has low favorability ratings within his own party? Money, Romney’s low unfavorable ratings, and the desire to have a chance to beat Barack Obama will propel Romney to the nomination despite being a former moderate Republican on many issues. “Some financiers, like Schwarzman, are Republicans who may have chosen Romney because they think he’s the candidate most likely to beat Obama.”

Only 10% of Romney’s donations are from small donors, and that is 10% more than Wall Street wants. That makes Romney the clear choice of the 1%. And because money largely determines the winners of national and statewide elections, Romney is in a good position to win the Republican nomination.

Mark Green, Author of Selling Out: How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams Through Legislation, and Betrays Our Democracy, writes clearly about how money is the determining factor in the election of politicians in America. Even in 1904, the influence money had on the Presidential race was dramatic, “Fearing defeat, Roosevelt rejected pleas by Progressives to rely on small individual contributions and turned instead for financial support to the very bankers and industrialists who had only recently supported Hanna as the most acceptable Republican candidate….Some of the country’s richest men-Cornelius Bliss, J. P. Morgan, and Andrew Carnegie among them-contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and once it was known that the President was accepting corporate money, other financiers flooded the campaign with contributions, many of which were never publicized. Roosevelt won the presidency by a landslide.”

Here is a list of the top donors to Romney’s campaign this election cycle. Note that these are almost all financial institutions; Romney is clearly in the pockets of those largely responsible helping bring about the recession.

Goldman Sachs $367,200
Credit Suisse Group $203,750
Morgan Stanley $199,800
HIG Capital $186,500
Barclays $157,750
Kirkland & Ellis $132,100
Bank of America $126,500
PriceWaterhouseCoopers $118,250
EMC Corp $117,300
JPMorgan Chase & Co $ 112,250
The Villages $97,500
Vivint Inc $80,750
Marriott International $79,837
Sullivan & Cromwell $79,250
Bain Capital $74,500
UBS AG $73,750
Wells Fargo $61,500
Blackstone Group $59,800
Citigroup Inc $57,050
Bain & Co $52,500
Total: $2,437,837

Bain Capital is Romney’s old firm. They made millions buying troubled companies and their assets, gutting them, sending any remaining jobs overseas, and then reselling the assets at a profit. Romney’s experience gutting companies and making millions for Wall Street is what the financial institutions look for in a candidate. They are unconcerned with social issues that preoccupy some religious conservatives, unless those issues can be used to divide the people amongst themselves and not against the plutocrats.

Romney also has more large donors than any candidate. More than 8,000 donors have given Romney the maximum of $2,500, compared to less than 6,000 maximum donors for Obama…Romney’s big individual donors hail from major financial institutions. His top five companies are all banks or financial service firms: Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, HIG Capital and Barclay’s. Bank of America and PricewaterhouseCoopers help round out his top ten.”

Romney wants no limits on Wall Street donations. The more Wall Street can donate, the more the 1% wins at the expense of the rest of us, the 99%. With those donations, he will be able to outspend his Republican opponents and win the nomination for his Wall Street cronies. Mitt Romney might feel the satisfaction of garnering the most votes next to his name, but the victory is not his to celebrate. Clearly, Wall Street won the Iowa caucus.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Ethnic Studies Banned for Telling Truth

In Current Events, Education, History on January 2, 2012 at 17:51

 No Mexicans from tucsoncitizen.com

The legislative ban on ethnic studies classes in Arizona high schools was upheld in Administrative court in Phoenix, AZ in December by judge Lewis D. Kowal of the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings. More accurately, the ban on Mexican-American studies in Tucson has been upheld. We can add Judge Kowal to the names of John Huppenthal and Tom Horne, who pushed this bill through the Republican dominated state legislature, as well as Joe Arpaio and others, who want to shut up Mexicans.

These white men are concerned that teaching Mexican, Chicano, and other children about Mexican-American history and ethnic studies would create a classroom environment that “demonizes white people as oppressors of Hispanics.”  This claim is ridiculous; one or two classes of ethnic studies can’t make up for 10 years of teaching the history of European Americans in the United States. Here is the language in the law addressing the concerns of Huppenthal, Horne and anti-ethnic studies groups.

The four activities identified by the bill that warrant fund withholding include classes that:

1. Promote the overthrow of the United States government
2. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people
3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group
4. Advocate for ethnic solidarity  

Ethnic studies has nothing to do with promoting government overthrow, and there are already laws against treason. This point is a ridiculous, fear mongering tactic. Moreover, the point of ethnic studies is to focus on one particular ethnic group. Hasn’t American history focused primarily on White Europeans for years? People who don’t want an educated populous fight against a diversity of knowledge. And what’s so scary about ethnic solidarity? It’s only scary if you are insecure and know that minorities working together means you will no longer be able to bully them, harass them with impunity and you, as a soon to be white minority, may no longer be elected to office.

And how about point number two, the idea that ethnic studies promotes resentment. Do our state officials not know that there is already resentment against White Europeans for the treatment of Mexican Americans?  And yes, there are historical reasons for this resentment.  Do people actually believe that banning the study of Mexican-Americn history will alleviate resentment minority students feel toward a White, Eurocentric school system? And more to the point, don’t the anti-ethnic studies groups understand that teenagers have more to be concerned with than historical oppression. There’s grades, work, family, relationships and dozens of other issues students are facing and one ethnic studies class won’t create groups of revolutionary Mexicans. Once again, right-wingers overreact and create a bigger problem for themselves.

Here are a few facts that might lead to resentment:

Mexico controlled the land that is now Arizona for almost four decades until the United States, mostly white folks of Protestant faith, moved into Texas, and through guile and the gun, cajoled Mexico into a war with the United States (1846-48). Half of Mexico was ceded to the victorious United States, mainly the lands north of the Rio Grande. This U.S. victory led to oppression of many Mexican-Americans, the kind of oppression Judge Kowal wants us to ignore.

Thousands of Mexican citizens lost their land after the war due to the difference between land ownership laws, manipulation by white judges (again with the white judges) and through violence. “Two generations later, most Mexicans living in the U.S. no longer held title to their lands and found their cultural way of life increasingly under attack as U.S. white supremacy came to predominate.  In California, as land transferred from Mexican to Euro-American hands, a very racially-motivated Workingman’s Party dominated the call for a Constitutional Convention.  In 1879, that new Constitution not only made Chinese immigration illegal (the primary cause of the Party), but it also destroyed the legal protections Mexicans once enjoyed, rights promised to them in the 1848 Treaty. ”  

So, promising Mexican nationals U.S. citizenship and title to land they owned before the war and then later taking the land doesn’t constitute sufficient “oppression” of Mexicans by whites, thus we shouldn’t teach our students this history. It’s not oppression, it’s just inconvenient facts that some Whites want to hide from us.

What about segregation of Mexicans and white Europeans in the Southwest akin to black segregation in the South? Does that count? White men in power like Horne, Huppenthal, Kowak and others want to hide this history of discrimination behind a wall of reverse discrimination nonsense. Are they afraid that when Latinos become a plurality or majority in this state that they will go after the whites? Don’t worry guys, class will still keep us separate after the Mexican reconquista. Or will it?

Then there is the legal exploitation and not so legal abuse of workers of Mexican descent.  These workers get paid subpar wages, some live in company like towns on farms in squalid conditions, many work more dangerous jobs, they have no rights as workers, get no insurance, and don’t benefit from their contributions to Social Security. We complain about “illegal” workers from Mexico, but we target the victims of this labor situation, the Mexican workers. Seldom do we go after companies that benefit form this illegal labor, and seldom do we realize how our economy benefits from this cheap supply of labor.

Mexican workers have been used in the United States ever since the United States won the war over Mexico. First, there was a rush to fill the labor needed to build the railway from the United States to Mexico. Thousands of Mexican workers filled that labor gap. Mexican labor was utilized to fill the farm jobs left vacant when the United States government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. In times of war, predominantly WWI and WWII, Mexican labor was brought to work in the fields as U.S. soldiers went off to war. Then when the Mexicans had been used to fill our needs, they were blamed for job loses and legal steps were made to exclude them. The Bracero Program passed in 1942 brought more than 4 million Mexican workers for the growing agriculture industry in the West, main California, and for the war effort.

Mexican labor today is also utilized in poultry and pig farms and all sorts of back breaking work. This kind of labor exploitation can easily be labeled “oppression”, and I am sure that ruling white men would be against labor history as well as Mexican-American studies, because labor history discusses oppression of workers by the ruling classes.

Dr. Amster of Prescott College, writing at Truthdig explains their motivation, “There’s a word for what Arizona is attempting to do here: ethnocide.”

Martin Luther King Jr. famously wrote in his landmark essay “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” following the teachings of St. Augustine, that “an unjust law is no law at all.” King further reminds us, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” calling upon us to recognize the interlinked nature of destinies and, indeed, the inherent solidarity of our struggles, and further counsels that in this effort “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

None of the excuses for banning Mexican American studies in Tucson holds up to the reality in the classroom. In Fact, an independent audit of the program found the program didn’t violate the criteria laid out in the law.

No observable evidence exists that instruction within Mexican American Studies Department promotes resentment towards a race or class of people. The auditors observed the opposite, as students are taught to be accepting of multiple ethnicities of people. MASD teachers are teaching Cesar Chavez alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, all as peaceful protesters who sacrificed for people and ideas they believed in. Additionally, all ethnicities are welcomed into the program and these very students of multiple backgrounds are being inspired and taught in the same manner as Mexican American students. All evidence points to peace as the essence for program teachings. Resentment does not exist in the context of these courses.”

So, fearful people who brought you the war on drugs and the Iraq war are now spreading their paranoia to education to keep information of uncomfortable facts, discrimination against Latinos, from our children. If the truth sets you free, the superintendent and many in the state legislature in Arizona want to imprison our minds.

For more information on defending ethnic studies, visit http://saveethnicstudies.org/meet_us.shtml

Peace,
Tex Shelters

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