Expand Social Security

Closing Thought–19Feb19

As a person who has retired and getting Social Security I am always looking at what is going on in DC….I fear they will privatize it and us old farts will be screwed (as usual)……

Bernie has authored a bill to strengthen Social Security…..the Social Security Expansion Act……

Extend the solvency of Social Security for 52 years to the year 2071 by requiring the wealthiest American households to pay their fair share of taxes. Today, because of the earnings cap on Social Security taxes, a CEO making $20 million a year pays the same amount of money into Social Security as someone who makes $132,900 a year. This legislation would lift this cap and subject all income above $250,000 to the Social Security Payroll tax. Under this bill, 98.2 percent of wage earners would not see their taxes go up by one penny; Expand Social Security benefits across-the-board. Under this bill, Social Security retirement benefits for low-income Americans would go up by about $1,300 a year; Increase Cost-Of-Living-Adjustments (COLAs). This bill would more accurately measure the spending patterns for seniors by adopting the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). Older Americans, by and large, are not going out on spending sprees buying big screen TVs, laptops, or the latest high-tech gadgets. Rather, they spend a disproportionate amount of their income on health care and prescription drugs and that would be reflected in the formula for calculating COLAs under this legislation; Improve the Special Minimum Benefit for Social Security recipients. This bill will help low income workers stay out of poverty by updating the Special Minimum Benefit to make it easier for them to qualify and by increasing and indexing the benefit level so that it is equal to 125 percent of the poverty line; Restore student benefits up to age 22 for children of disabled or deceased workers, if the child is a full-time student in a college or vocational school. This legislation restores student benefits that were eliminated in 1983 to help educate children of deceased or disabled parents;

Combine the Disability Insurance Trust Fund with the Old Age and Survivors Trust fund to help senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/13/ensure-dignity-most-vulnerable-among-us-bernie-sanders-introduces-bill-expand-social

I like his plan….

A final thought……

Just an FYI

Read and learn…..

A closing thought…I am an old fart and I remember……

Turn The Page!

Black Face–Another Sad Chapter

We are still hearing about the use of black face by white people to depict a black person…..why?

Virginia is in the news and black face is also…..but what of black face?  It is the 21st century and we are still talking about this act of bigotry.

Yes, there is a long disgusting history of its use in the US…..

Once called the “king of performers,” Al Jolson was famous in the 1920s for his portrayal of blackface.

It’s ironic on the first day of Black History Month a raging controversy erupted in America that recalls one of the more demeaning chapters, that of ‘blackface’, of American Black History.

The controversy prevailed after pages from the 1984 year-book of Virginia Governor Ralph Norton’s tenure at medical school was made public showing individuals dressed in blackface, and a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) uniform, hood and all.

The gravity of the situation not recognized

As the controversy rage, with calls for Northam to resign over his association with the blatant racist images, which he denies involves him, some people within the Caribbean American community failed to recognize the gravity of the situation. Some wondered why should the government pay a price for behavior as a young man of 25, some 35 years ago?

It’s not surprising this question would be asked. As has been seen in the past, several Caribbean Americans, although they are of the black race don’t fully comprehend, or appreciate some of the significance, especially the more negative aspects, of American Black history.

https://caribbeantimesnyc.com/2019/02/blackface-a-sorry-aspect-of-black-history/

I think it is sad that since this situation is a dire need of a solution that I had to find this article in the Caribbean Times…..

Now I ask….are we truly having a conversation on this situation or we just throwing diatribes at it?

I grew up in the racist South of the 50s and 60s and I do not see this as something that we should avoid….we need to air all the

Further Reading……..arguments and not the platitudes.

https://www.black-face.com/

https://www.vox.com/2014/10/29/7089591/why-is-blackface-offensive-halloween-costume

Can He Do That?

The big story these days is the fact that our Dear president has declared a “national emergency” so he can fulfill an ego trip to build a wall for a Trump plaque.

Now the Dems and others will be challenging the “declaration” in court…..”a big beautiful wall”…can he do that? When a president threatens to exercise the power to declare a national emergency, our system of checks and balances faces a crucial test. With President Trump threatening such a declaration in order to build his proposed physical border wall, that test could be an important one that could quickly implicate your right to privacy and a transparent government.

EFF has long tangled with governmental actions rooted in presidential power. From mass telephone records collection to tapping the Internet backbone, and from Internet metadata collection to biometric tracking and social media monitoring, claims of national crisis have often enabled digital policies that have undermined civil liberties. Those policies quickly spread far beyond their initial justification. We have also seen presidential authorities misused to avoid the legislative process—and even used to try to intimidate courts and prevent them from doing their job to protect our rights.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/02/15/national-emergencies-constitutional-and-statutory-restrictions-presidential-powers

Trump’s announcement looks like the first step of a person trying to cease power for himself and himself alone…..we cannot and should not support or allow him to do so……

presidential declaration of a national emergency is an outrageous abuse of power – perhaps the most dangerous yet by the unstable and increasingly autocratic President Donald Trump. If this invocation of emergency on false pretenses is tolerated, it could justify almost limitless abuses of presidential and military power, including far-reaching clampdowns on civil rights.

This unlawful and unconstitutional action is going to be challenged in court, including by Public Citizen. On behalf of several Texas landowners and a Texas environmental organization that will experience firsthand the immediate impact of Trump’s illegal emergency declaration, we will sue to challenge his unconstitutional attempt to circumvent the legislative process.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/02/15/why-we-must-stop-unstable-trump-and-his-dangerous-national-emergency-declaration

The American people should demand their reps do everything possible to stop this ego trip……it is a manufactured crisis of no basis……his action is ripped from a playbook for dictators (like it or not)……https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-rempel-trump-marcos-parallels-20190214-story.html

On the other hand if he is successful (after all he has stacked the Courts with lackeys) the next Dem president could do the same for such true emergencies as guns, climate, etc…..

Let the lawsuits begin!

When will the GOP step up and do what is right?  This is the perfect situation where they can get off the Trump merry-go-round……but will they?

Personally, I have NO problem watching the GOP implode….but it is just a little sad to watch it destroy itself…..principles be damned!

The Arrest Of Aaron Burr–1807

Today is notable because in 1807 the VP of the US was arrested on the charges of treason……Aaron Burr was his name…..an event in American history that few Americans know anything about…..but I can change that.

Aaron Burr, a former U.S. vice president, is arrested in Alabama on charges of plotting to annex Spanish territory in Louisiana and Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic.

In November 1800, in an election conducted before presidential and vice-presidential candidates shared a single ticket, Thomas Jefferson and his running mate, Aaron Burr, defeated Federalist incumbent John Adams with 73 electoral votes each. The tie vote then went to the House to be decided, and Federalist Alexander Hamilton was instrumental in breaking the deadlock in Jefferson’s favor. Burr, because he finished second, became vice president

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/aaron-burr-arrested-for-treason

This is why I think more American history should be taught to our children….there is more to this country than the quick overview most get in school….plus CIVICS need to be taught in more depth…..

Just a little more history to make your day……

Learn stuff!

Class Dismissed!

That “Axis Of Evil”

We all know the original “axis of evil” from GW Bush after 9/11…..or do we?

Refresher…..

Okay you are caught up……

We have a new “axis of evil” and it is all around this mash-up the US is having with Venezuela…..not sure?

https://lobotero.com/2019/02/11/venezuela-some-things-never-change/

https://lobotero.com/2019/01/30/dammit-venezuela/

Again you are pretty much caught up with the mash-up…..

Now the new “axis of evil”………Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams….the warmongering neocons that are handling the Venezuela situation…..

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on countries to “pick a side” on Venezuela, urging them to back opposition leader Juan Guaido in a Saturday speech at the UN Security Council in New York.

“Now, it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem,” Pompeo told the Security Council.

Russia accused Washington of plotting a coup attempt and had tried to stop the meeting requested by the United States. “Venezuela does not represent a threat to peace and security. If anything does represent a threat to peace, it is the shameless and aggressive action of the United States and their allies aimed at the ouster of the legitimately elected president of Venezuela,” Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the UN Council.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/26/trumps-axis-evil-pompeo-bolton-abrams

Recently Pompeo tried to include all the neocon “hit list” into the conversation on Venezuela……..

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made several statements that raised eyebrows, such as claiming that Cuba had invaded Venezuela and “taken control” of the Venezuela’s “security apparatus” and that U.S. sanctions illegally imposed on Venezuela “aren’t aimed at the Venezuelan people.”

However, the most surprising claim Pompeo made in the interview was that Hezbollah and Iran were “active” in Venezuela, presenting a national security “risk for America.”

After accusing China, Cuba and Russia of interfering with U.S. efforts to install U.S.-funded opposition figure Juan Guaidó and oust current Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Pompeo made the following assertion:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/pompeo-attempts-to-link-iran-hezbollah-to-crisis-in-venezuela/5668244

Then there is NatSec adviser Bolton……

If there is any proof that Trump picks people that compliment his stupidity it will be his adviser Bolton…..he has done what most neocons do…..thumps his chest like a sex crazed primate……this time it is Iran.

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser has issued a direct threat to Iran’s supreme leader on the 40th anniversary of his country’s Islamic Revolution.

John Bolton was featured Monday in an ominous video posted to the White House’s official Twitter account. The video was posted as a “message to the Ayatollah of Iran,” Ali Khamenei, who the United States has targeted with a new social media campaign entitled “#40YearsofFailure” in reference to the decades of hostility between Washington and Tehran since the 1979 uprising that ousted a West-backed monarchy and installed a Shiite Muslim clerical leadership.

“What a 40 years its been, tyrannizing its own people and terrorizing the world, Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons to intimidate peaceful people all around the globe and ballistic missiles to use as delivery systems,” Bolton said in the roughly one-minute clip. “Iran under the ayatollahs remains the central banker of international terrorism and its conventional military forces are all over the Middle East, in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

https://www.newsweek.com/bolton-iran-ayatollah-many-years-trump-anniversary-1327159

Seems he is similar to his boss….speaks through his ass without thought or knowledge.

False Bravado has NO place in international relations…..accuracy anf facts are the best weapons.

BTW the Islamic State of Iran is 40 years old……

https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2019/02/08/the-islamic-state-of-iran-at-40/

To be honest this link is a neocon propaganda site take that for what it is worth.

Remember the non-existent WMDs in Iraq?  Or 1954 an excuse for the regime change in Guatemala was the presence of Soviet guns……well that is tried and true the technique…..

While insisting that US military intervention against Venezuela remains on the table, Senate Armed Services Committee chief Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) has also claimed on Tuesday that the US would be obliged to intervene if Russia were to move weapons to Venezuela.

“We’d have to, not go to war, but use force,” Inhofe told reporters. This claim appears not to be an actual obligation, but part of the idea of the Monroe Doctrine that the US generally does intervene against other countries getting involved in the entire Western Hemisphere.

And while Inhofe doesn’t appear to want to rule out attacking Venezuela just unilaterally, as the administration is hoping to impose regime change there, it is clear he views the war even more favorably if it can somehow be turned into a proxy war against Russia.

(antiwar.com)

Now let’s look at why.

After decades of rhetoric why does the US want to overthrow an elected government?

Since 1998, the United States of America has tried to overthrow the government of Venezuela. What threatened the government of the United States since then was the Bolivarian dynamic set in motion by the election of Hugo Chávez as president of Venezuela that year. Chávez won the elections with a mandate from Venezuela’s workers and poor to overhaul the country to tend to their long-neglected needs.

Venezuela, with the world’s largest proven oil reserves, had enriched the U.S.-based oil companies and its own oligarchy. Venezuela’s key oil minister in the early 1960s (and architect of OPEC—the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso rightly called oil the “devil’s excrement.” It promised so much and delivered so little. Chávez arrived as the embodiment of popular hope. He threatened the oil companies and the oligarchy, which is why the United States tried to overthrow him.

The first attempt at a coup came in 2002, when the United States egged on the military and the oligarchy to overthrow Chávez. They failed. He was supremely popular, the Chavista base eager for change that would improve their lives. They had no faith in the United States or the oligarchy, both of whom had suffocated them for the past century.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/02/12/why-does-united-states-america-want-overthrow-government-venezuela

The American people need to ask why is this so damn important to the Neocons…….just why is it that the US cannot tolerate a leader that does not agree with them?  And who elected the US to speak for the people of Venezuela?

What Happened To Yemen?

WE have heard, usually on slow news days, about the war on Yemen by Saudi Arabia, UAE, US, et al…….small amount of info in the MSM about the humanitarian crisis (keep this silent we cannot have too many knowing the crisis we, the US, are helping to create)…….sadly civilians are still dying from war and then from hunger and disease but you know some mythic border crisis is far more important than people dying at our hands whether directly or indirectly.

A few in Congress have been trying to end our involvement with the Saudis and others over their crimes against the Yemeni people.

Last week the work began……

The newly minted House Foreign Affairs Committee’s first priority was to follow up on the Senate’s unprecedented passage of the war powers resolution on Yemen last December that positively influenced ceasefire negotiations in Sweden. It did so by marking up Congressmen Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Mark Pocan’s (D-WI) (along with 68 bipartisan colleagues) war powers resolution on Yemen. The committee reported the resolution favorably out of committee this week, and there may be a floor vote by the end of February.

Senators Sanders (I-VT), Lee (R-UT), and Murphy (D-CT) have also reintroduced their war powers resolution, setting up another Senate vote to send the legislation to the president’s desk. Should the resolution pass both chambers as it is likely to do, it will set up a confrontation with Trump. He will have to decide whether to listen to the will of Congress in asserting its constitutional authority over matters of war or side with the Saudi and Emirati governments, whose support his administration views as essential to pursuing its primary goal of military confrontation with Iran.

https://lobelog.com/congress-poised-to-move-forward-with-bold-agenda-on-yemen/

Good for it is time to end this damn involvement in the Saudis push to be the head cheese in the Middle East………

Congress is seeking to trim presidential war powers in Yemen. Unfortunately, the Republican Party leadership continues to defend unrestrained executive authority. Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan used procedural legerdemain to block a vote on Washington’s support for Saudi Arabia’s murderous assault on Yemen.

Contrary to Trump administration claims, memorialized in an atrocious op-ed under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s name, not everything in the world is about Iran. The conflict in Yemen continues decades of internal strife. Saudi Arabia’s invasion internationalized a decade-long domestic fight. Riyadh’s hubris gave Tehran an opportunity to bleed the Saudis militarily.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/its-time-end-us-support-saudi-war-yemen-39062

Looks like we have a deal to drop our support for the Saudis rape and destruction of Yemen.

Now the question is….if a bill hits Trumps desk because of his awe and envy of the Saudis wealth will he veto the bill making it his first veto, which should be easy for Trump for “veto” only has 4 letters in it……

the House of Representatives issued a stinging rebuke of the White House’s holding pattern in support of the Saudi coalition in Yemen. The vote was the culmination of multiple years of efforts by realists on Capitol Hill and their allies. House Joint Resolution 37 demands the removal U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting Yemen within a month unless: Congress authorizes a later date, or issues a declaration of war, or specifically authorizes military force. The vote was not close: 248-177.

“The vote today is a step toward more sensible U.S. policy in Yemen and the Middle East, a welcome admonishment of Saudi Arabia, and an overdue assertion of nearly-dormant war powers. In each of those senses, though, more is needed,” says Benjamin H. Friedman of Defense Priorities.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/will-yemen-be-trump%E2%80%99s-first-veto-44597

We will see which is more important….people’s lives or the Saudis monetary influence….my money is on the dollars.