Need a reminder? Republican Congressional candidate, “I do not support a livable wage”

❝ With two weeks until the election, Republican candidate Karen Handel has given her Democratic opponent a gift-wrapped present in the special election for an open Georgia House seat.

At a debate on Tuesday, Handel said that she did not support a “livable wage” because she’s a conservative, not a liberal. Immediately, Democrat Jon Ossoff pounced on the admission, releasing an ad highlighting his support for the living wage.

❝ “This is an example of the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative: I do not support a livable wage,” Handel said…“What I support is making sure that we have an economy that is robust with low taxes and less regulation.”…

❝ Handel’s remarks, which were widely reported in the media, may prove another example of how conservative policy orthodoxy — rather than Donald Trump’s many scandals — are dragging down Republican candidates in congressional and state elections.

Some pundits have argued that Trump’s low approval ratings and Russia-related scandals are helping to sink Republican candidates nationally. But opposition to a living wage is well-entrenched as Republican Party dogma, going back decades. By contrast, though he’s taken contradictory positions, Trump began his campaign by running on increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour. It’s a position many of his voters supported. Republicans’ unpopular opposition on minimum wage hikes isn’t something they can pin on Trump.

Seattle is the best example of lying Republicans trying to hide from their opposition to an increased minimum wage. This instantly becomes disposable income – helping the wallets of folks who need a wage increase the most.

As for the Republican yawner about tax cuts and deregulation giving us a booming economy, take a look back at the Republican economies that started with this crap and ended with recessions or depressions. From Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush.

All [Robot] Hands on Deck!

❝ Autonomous ships will be great. Doing away with sailors will make the high seas safer and cleaner.


No humans neededGlyn Kirk/AFP

❝ It sounds like a ghost story: A huge cargo vessel sails up and down the Norwegian coast, silently going about its business, without a captain or crew in sight. But if all goes as planned, it’s actually the future of shipping.

❝ Last week, Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, a Norwegian maritime-technology firm, and Yara ASA, a fertilizer manufacturer, announced a partnership to build the world’s first fully autonomous cargo containership. Manned voyages will start in 2018, and in 2020 the Yara Birkeland will set sail all on its own. It’s the beginning of a revolution that should transform one of the world’s oldest and most conservative industries — and make global shipping safer, faster and cleaner than it’s ever been…

By one consultant’s estimate, moreover, carrying sailors accounts for 44 percent of a ship’s costs. That’s not just salaries: crew quarters, air-conditioning units, a bridge (which typically requires heavy ballast to ensure a ship’s balance) and other amenities take up valuable weight and space that might otherwise be used for cargo. And that dead weight contributes to a bigger problem: Maritime shipping accounts for about 2.5 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions. Barring a radical change, those emissions are set to surge in the decades ahead.

❝ All this explains why eliminating a crew and its costs has been a long-time goal for companies and governments around the world. The most advanced effort so far has come from Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, which rolled out a virtual-reality prototype of an autonomous ship in 2014. According to the company, the ship will be 5 percent lighter, and burn up to 15 percent less fuel, than a comparable vessel with humans aboard.

All the questions required of industries capable of full automation, essential automation, apply. They must begin with what is to be done to aid the human beings made redundant by the qualitative change which – after all – makes this industry more profitable, less expensive to operate?

The capitalists of Europe will probably follow guidance from enlightened geopolitical segments within their borders. Nations with at least a social-democratic bent. I would expect the same from China and those Asian nations with the courage to follow…perhaps, even lead.

Here in the United States? Silly question, eh? We live in a nation led by a political caste almost completely under the control of the least caring profiteers in the world. Short-sighted and arrogant, they really don’t care a rat’s ass about anyone fitting the broadest definition of proletarian. If you don’t own industry, you shall be politically subservient. From church to Congress, the Free Press to teachers who think they’re a 19th Century guild, obedience is the construct that counts. And Americans are, if anything, obedient cogs in the economy.

A Guide to Presidential Behavior


Yes, Snopes says this is Fake News. Consider it humorous possible bar-talk!

❝ It wasn’t so long ago that Republicans in Congress cared about how a president comported himself in office. They cared a lot! The president is, after all, commander in chief of the armed forces, steward of the most powerful nation on earth, role model for America’s children — and he should act at all times with the dignity his station demands…

❝ Now seems like a good moment to update the standards. What do Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders think a president may say or do and still deserve their enthusiastic support? We offer this handy reference list in hopes of protecting them from charges of hypocrisy in the future…

If you are the president, you may freely:

❝ • attack private citizens on Twitter…

• refuse to take responsibility for military actions gone awry

• fire the F.B.I. chief in the middle of his expanding investigation into your campaign and your associates

• accuse a former president, without evidence, of an impeachable offense

• employ top aides with financial and other connections to a hostile foreign power…

• call the media “the enemy of the American people”…

• claim, without evidence, that millions of people voted illegally…

• promote family businesses on federal government websites

And on and on and on and on…RTFA for the complete list.

The authors are always looking for more suggestions BTW. 🙂

Director of U.S. Census resigns – the last thing Republicans want is an accurate 2020 voter count


Punch cards introduced for the 1940 Census – Republicans hated that one, too

❝ The director of the U.S. Census Bureau is resigning, leaving the agency leaderless at a time when it faces a crisis over funding for the 2020 decennial count of the U.S. population and beyond.

John H. Thompson, who has served as director since 2013 and worked for the bureau for 27 years before that, will leave June 30…

❝ The news, which surprised census experts, follows an April congressional budget allocation for the census that critics say is woefully inadequate. And it comes less than a week after a prickly hearing at which Thompson told lawmakers that cost estimates for a new electronic data collection system had ballooned by nearly 50 percent.

No successor for Thompson was announced. A Commerce Department spokesperson said an acting director would be designated “in the coming days” and the position would be filled permanently “in due course.”…

❝ A former Capitol Hill staffer who is knowledgeable about the census said Congress’s mandate for the 2020 Census to cost no more than the 2010 one was unrealistic.

“They’re not accounting for inflation; they’re not accounting for the 30 million more Americans, for the fact that people don’t have hard [telephone] lines anymore. And you’re going to do the census for the same amount of money? That’s not possible.”

Republicans will be in no hurry whatsoever. The official census is used to determine voting districts and Congressional House representation. Even before you get to the criminal impasse Republicans will throw up trying to keep and expand gerrymandered seats they manipulated into place after the 2010 Census.

Democrats may have gotten a whisker smarter about the value of that fight. Republicans, if anything, are more corrupt than any time since the administration of Warren G. Harding.

Apple, Intel and many more oppose Trump’s Congress ending the conflict-mineral regulation

❝ Apple doesn’t want to see it scrapped. Neither does Intel or Tiffany & Co.

But the U.S. conflict-minerals law — which requires American public companies to avoid using minerals that fund war and human rights abuses in the Congo region — is widely seen today as facing its most serious threat since its passage in 2010.

❝ The White House is considering a suspension of the law, part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to cut government regulations and a long-held goal of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. If that does not happen, congressional Republicans are expected to try defunding it, which they attempted last year. At the same time, federal regulators recently announced that they plan to “reconsider” the law’s scope. The acting head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency that oversees the regulation, called it “a misguided rule.”

❝ …Several major companies say they will not abandon the standard even if the law is gutted.

While corporations normally cheer in unison when regulations are cut, this controversial rule has prompted a different reaction.

That is because something interesting has happened since the law took effect: Companies say the conflict-minerals law has created an expectation both inside their corporate headquarters and among consumers that their products will be “conflict-free.”

They do not want to back away from that now. But they worry their efforts will be undermined without the law to support them.

❝ “We do this because it’s the right thing to do,” Apple said in a statement about its conflict-minerals compliance. The tech giant said it plans to keep those protections “regardless of whether or not the law requires it.” Apple said it is pleading its case behind the scenes to White House and SEC officials.

Intel said it, too, was committed to “responsible sourcing of minerals” regardless of regulatory changes…

Richline, a major jewelry company, said it would remain committed to the standard “because the cause is worthy of these efforts.” Richline added that it was against “weakening or repealing a process that has already been set in motion and is just beginning to affect meaningful change.”

Not that Trump, his neo-con Republican bubbas, ever cared about how much blood is spilled to promote their profit margins. The useful part of all this is that a number of taste-making American companies have realized they benefit from aligning themselves with humane goals.

Now, let’s see if we can drag the pimps of profiteering back into reasonable behavior.

The same elitist creeps in Congress who want to end public education also want “To terminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency”

❝ The text of a bill introduced in the US House of Representatives in early February to dramatically change the way the government regulates environmental issues was finally posted online for public viewing, and it gets right to the point. The statement of purpose for H. R. 861 is only one line long: “To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Below that is the single directive the bill would require, if passed: “The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

❝ While it would be illegal for president Donald Trump to unilaterally abolish the EPA—which he has said he’d like to to — it is technically within the power of Congress to do so. The president does plan to sign executive orders to limit the EPA’s climate change-related work as soon as his nominee to run the agency, Scott Pruitt, is confirmed, according to sources within the Trump administration.

❝ H.R. 861 was introduced to the House by Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida who took office in January. It’s co-sponsored by Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, who introduced another one-line bill last week, to “terminate the Department of Education.” The text of H.R. 899 is not yet posted online, but on his website Massie promises it has only eight words: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

It’s been 63 years since the first time I heard an American say they wished to have public education abolished. They were unashamed of the elitism they embraced. The mother of a friend simply said, “You have no right to an education unless your family can pay for it.”

I admit I was shocked. I didn’t know that people so completely caught up into the value of money and privilege lived on this planet. Not in my neighborhood. I’m not shocked anymore. Surviving a lifetime of cowardly rationales for TweedleDeeDumb two-party politics ain’t easy; but, it didn’t kill me. Although a number of war-lovers – mostly chickenhawks like Trump – tried their best to send me and my peers off to wars halfway around the planet to “defend” this nation.

But, then, I grew up in a time when our money didn’t need God imprinted on it to have any value and the creeps who fronted for weapons manufacturers were open about working for the War Department. Generations since are handicapped by listening to years of nothing but politically correct slogans governing foreign and domestic policy.

Gag orders lifted – reveals FBI forced Twitter to share user info illegally

Twitter announced Friday it received two national security requests, one each in 2015 and 2016, asking for users’ account data without informing the affected users. The company could not reveal this earlier since it was bound by gag orders until now that restricted it from openly speaking about the matter.

The requests were received in the form of national security letters…

Each letter requests a special kind of data called electronic communication transaction records, including email header data and browsing history.

FBI requests go far beyond the limitations set by a 2008 Justice Department legal memo, which said such orders could only be restricted to phone billing records

NSLs are government orders used for obtaining communication data available to service providers. They are usually accompanied by a gag order restricting the provider from informing the user whose data is obtained. The legal tool has been available since the 1970s, but has been put into regular usage for varied purposes since the passing of the U.S.A. Patriot Act…

The use of NSLs to obtain data is being opposed by major tech companies including Twitter which is fighting its own lawsuit against the government…

Yup. Last two years of the Obama Administration.

Nothing new about Liberal Democrats supporting the same crap Big Brother ideology as scumbags in the Republican Party. You ain’t about to see Donald Trump start supporting constitutional freedoms, privacy rights or net neutrality.

We’re posting this because while some Democrats are working sincerely to bring the supposedly liberal half of the TweedleDeeDum 2-Party system in line with the real needs of working folks – they will need concerned individuals to twist their arms, remind them to walk away from Cold Warrior lies and rationales. Stop snooping on ordinary citizens.

Infrastructure, roads, bridges, airports — all suck, all need repair


Michigan fixes road the way they fix water supplies

❝ The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the nation’s highways and bridges face an $808.2 billion backlog of investment spending, including $479.1 billion in critically needed repairs. More than two-thirds of the nation’s roads and nearly 143,000 bridges are classified in “dire need” of repair or upgrades. U.S. ports are clogged and need dredging to improve the flow of goods; railroad tracks need modernizing; airport communications technology needs updating and expansion; and urban mass transit is old and inadequate. As president, Trump wants to rebuild America’s core…

If you think the whole of these needs or a significant portion will produce a campfire singalong between elite Democrats, Progressive Democrats, Opportunist Democrats, Teapublicans, Trumpublicans, Hoover Republicans, elite Republicans — I might offer you a deal on one of those bridges. In Brooklyn.