Alabama’s Historic Economic Prize!

Along with this state’s recent headline grabbing immigration policies rearing its ugly head the most populous county in Alabama is destined for the record books as well, in a story of greed and corruption.

Jefferson County, Alabama has filed for Bankruptcy and if the case is allowed to go ahead it will be the Largest Municipal bankruptcy filing in United States History.

When combined the water and sewage rates in this county of 658,466 residents the rates for these must have services has increased 329% over the last 15 years.

As with most of the gut wrenching economic hardships of our recent recession the poor are the unwarranted recipients of most if not all of the consequences. They are now being forced to bathe in bottled water and use portable toilets as they have been cut-off from these basic necessities through no fault of their own.

While disturbing it’s not surprising that local government officials and Wall Street financiers have been implicated again in another case of financial wrongdoing.

All of this stems from the debt the county took on to finance a new sewer system for Jefferson County residents. Initially the cost was to be $300 million dollars however that initial projection soared to $3.1 Billion dollars and the county is drowning in debt.

JP Morgan Securities along with two of its prior directors have already been fined as they were accused of offering bribes to local politicians to guarantee they would win business financing the project. Six former members of Jefferson County’s commissioners have also been found guilty of corruption as well as fifteen other government officials for accepting bribes.

The new local county commission has seen no other alternative other than to file for chapter nine bankruptcy protections in November as the only way to try to bring the county out of this current financial hole.

However the banks and bondholders who stand to lose $4.5 million dollars per month in repayment charges are fighting the commission’s decision and a bankruptcy judge will give the last word on whether the Jefferson County commission can proceed.

The local residents have absorbed rate hikes of 8.2% a year to attempt to deal with repaying the escalating debt. According to John S. Young the court appointed receiver the rates are projected to be 10% per year up to a whopping 25% for the cash poor citizens of the county in the future.

Along with the prospect of bankruptcy filing for the sewage project the country is also projected to have an extra $40 million dollar budget shortfall.

As five hundred county workers were recently laid off and are living off of unemployment insurance the county’s ability to finance local services is further called into question as tax revenues will most certainly fall.

Tony Petelos the new county manager believes it will be years before the county might be able to turn the tide. He stated, “The public has lost confidence in Jefferson County over the last decade and a half, because of the mismanagement, because of the corruption. We have got to rebuild that confidence” and that there is, “light at the end of the tunnel”.

However in regards to any relief the citizens might realize in their water and sewer rates he was quoted as saying, “When you look at the amount of debt, and you  look at the revenue that is produced from the rate payers, there is no way it is going to come down,”.

Mr. Petelos who was the former mayor of Hoover city, Alabama recalls a Wall Street presentation about the same type of bonds that were used to finance the Jefferson County sewage project. After the presentation he recalls talking with his finance director in dismay and how they were both in agreement that they did not want to have anything to do with the type of financing that was presented.

One resident has found it is cheaper for him to pay a portable sanitation company $14 dollars a month to deal with his household sewage. His previous sewer and water bills sometimes reached $300 dollars per month this in a county whose citizens average income was $19,724 dollars per year according to the most recent census figures.

As most of the citizens of Jefferson County live off of meager Social Security income in this predominately poor community it is abundantly clear they cannot afford to pay these rate increases brought upon them by greed and corruption.

As the current Republican mindset in Washington is to gut most if not all of our governments regulation or oversight of the financial sector or corporations. This current situation in Alabama is the poster child for why we Do Need Regulation of banks and corporations that cannot be trusted to conduct themselves in a responsible honest fashion.

The meteoric rise of the debt from $300 million to $3.1 billion has been tied to construction issues and a series of bad bond and derivative deals that went sour during the 2008 financial debacle which has landed us in our current economic recession.

While for now as Jefferson county may be filing the largest Municipal bankruptcy in the history of our country. How many other cities and counties across the country are also reaching the breaking point remains to be seen.

Again Wall Street is being implicated in more financial crimes with few if any of the perpetrators being brought to justice. However as is usually the case the poorest citizens of the U.S. are being asked to suffer the brunt of the damage.

When will the poor citizens of the United States catch a break or at least be treated in a fair and equitable fashion and when if ever will the financial sector be held accountable?

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Republican Leadership Finally

During the run-up to the Presidential election in 2012 as Newt Gingrich is emerging as the Republican nominee for President we are also seeing coming trends for our legislators as well.

As our current President Barack Obama has faced nothing more than obstructionism from Congress mostly from the Republican controlled house. Our country is continually being faced with a long lingering recession. A recession brought on by the uncontrolled financial sector who attempted to destroy the economy of the United States as well as worldwide financial markets all in the name of generating obscene financial gains which could not be sustained.

Rather than truly addressing financial reform our present Congress has done nothing but attack regulation, medicare, social security and promoted tax breaks for the über wealthy or extensions of costly tax breaks from the previous Bush administration along with trying to aid the oil industry and not representing the people they swore and oath to serve.

The Republican controlled House of Representatives has taken on the persona of a college fraternity playing games with the American people as they try their best to destroy the President at every opportunity. Rather than trying to dig the United States out of the worst recession in decades where tens of millions of citizens are needlessly suffering the game must go on. They have only submitted bills that they knew well in advance would never pass muster or become law. To them it’s just another game as they try to unseat our President no matter what he might honestly try to do for the good of our country and the people who live, work and die here.

Instead of generating more revenue with a modest increase on those with significant wealth along with the top 1% of wealthy Americans they would rather attack the poor. Even though the billionaire Warren Buffett has publicly stated that he and other wealthy Americans want to be taxed more, the Republican controlled Congress does not want to hear a word of it.

Even though a recent study came in with the results that over $2 Trillion dollars are sitting on the sidelines that could safely bring unemployment down to 5% across this country banks and corporations are playing the game as well in concert with their Republican allies all in the name of unseating President Barack Obama for whatever reason or stake they might have as they to toy with the American public.

So even though Newt Gingrich who has never been the personification of a decent human being will win the Republican Presidential nomination and then be soundly defeated by our current President who will see a second term in office, the game must go on while ordinary American’s suffer.

However our Republican Congressional legislators might consider acting responsibly by doing what is right and honestly representing the people they swore an oath to instead of answering to their lobbyists who control their every move as this is the current environment in Washington.

A recent national survey should give them a reason to reconsider their current obstructionist stance. As recent results have shown an overwhelming amount of registered Republican voters are getting fed up with their current Republican Congressional (so-called) representatives in both houses. The Anti-Incumbent Sentiment results of the survey are in and it does not bode well for the likes of John Boehner, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to name a few whose political careers are on the chopping block.

As of December 2011 a full 67% of registered voters Do Not want to see most members of Congress reelected. Also as for their current districts representatives not being reelected the figure has climbed to 33% from 28% in 2006 and as Republican Congressional obstructionism continues unabated the figure can only be expected to climb higher in the coming months.

These recent figures represent an all time high for the survey as these are the highest figures the Pew Center has reported since it began its work over 18 years ago.

This along with a recent Gallup poll that found that a full 76% of voters feel that most members of Congress do not deserve reelection, this is more than just a passing fancy that will just go away. Coupling these recent surveys along with polls by the New York Times, CBS News, ABC News, Fox News, AP and the Washington Post which all show all-time low approval ratings for Congressional members does not show a bright future for the Republican party. In all Republicans are bearing the brunt of American outrage as their Democratic counterparts are being seen as more honest and ethical along with their ability to better manage our American government.

Furthermore 55% of voters feel that the Republican party is more extreme in it’s positions versus 33% for Democrats. While Democrats were viewed by 51% as being more willing to work with the their Republican colleagues who only rated 25% in this category.

Most of the criticism of Congress which is pointed at Republican members is coming from the Republican parties own registered voters.

While it might not be too late for the likes of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to start to act responsibly and honestly address this country’s economic issues in a mature fashion their current obstructive stances do not bode well for the future of the Republican party.

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Syria Reaches New Milestone by Killing 5000 of Their Own Citizens

  Syria the Arab country which gained its independence from earlier French rule in 1946 has now reached a despicable new height as the government crackdown on Syrians protesting for democratic reform has now claimed an estimated 5000 innocent citizens their lives.

Following with other Middle Eastern countries the people of Syria have been protesting for some type of political reform during the recent Arab Spring which spread to Syria whose citizens have lived under  a government declared period of Emergency Law from 1963 until April of 2011. As Syria is listed among the worst in the world in regards to human rights this recent historical event comes as no surprise. However the final outcome has yet to be written for those suffering and dying.

As the country grows ever closer to all out civil war with the Free Syrian Army entering into the uprising to fight the government forces, more clashes and casualties are to be expected. This recent anti-government army has already begun receiving support from the United States in a clandestine manner, yet it remains to be seen if this will be enough to turn the tide.

Russia has denounced these and any other supportive measures for those protesting for democratic reform as acts of terrorism. This in a country with close ties to Hamas, Islāmic Jihad and Hezbollah which are all considered to be terrorist organizations by both the EU as well as the U.S.

Furthering Syrian isolation are the countries close ties with Iran as well as their disdain for the people of Israel. A brief reprieve occurred when in 1990 Syria participated with the U.S. led multinational coalition against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. There were also some attempts to discuss Syrian and Israeli disputes in Geneva in 2000 however talks broke off and have never resumed.

Even the Arab League with its 21 member countries has suspended Syria from its organization after President Assad began to use deadly force to quell the countries ever rising protests for democratic reform only furthering his governments’ isolation.

The Syrian National Council which has called for President Assad to step down or at least institute some reforms and to stop the bloodshed has had its requests fall on deaf ears. Yet the Syrian National Council is the only recognized representative of this country of 22,717,417 million people by the countries of Bulgaria, France, Libya, Spain and the United States however they are still suffering needlessly at the hands of President Assad.

Following his father’s death on June 10th 2000 and after an emergency amendment to the constitution the then 34-year-old Bashar al-Assad took over control of the Syrian country. Syria which ranks 111th in the most recent HDI or Human Development Index whose citizens only realize a per-capita income of $2,958USD per year have only shown an aspiring demand for democratic reforms only wishing to improve the lives of all Syrian citizens.

One can only hope that more force along with enhanced support for the Syrian National Council is brought about to aid these people and not just speeches. In their quest for simple democratic reform as well as the removal of the dictator Bashar al-Assad who has brought about all of the recent casualties and deaths I am sure no one could argue that he must be removed from power.

However without some form of broad international support or some form of military intervention the killing and torture of innocent Syrian citizens will continue to go on with no end in sight. The United States has firmly stated that they will not intervene as we did in Libya where Moammar Qadhafi the brutal dictator was successfully overthrown the Syrian people are on their own.

So only time will tell as the UN, EU and the United States are not willing to commit anything more than some possible sanctions with a little bit of clandestine support thrown in and nothing more.

Syrian people from all walks of life are being left to protest and fight for their democratic reforms that they so desperately want and need this as the international community has literally turned their collective backs as these people are tortured, raped, disfigured and murdered by the Syrian military.

How many more thousands of Syrians need to die before someone steps up to give them a hand rather than only condemning what is occurring while doing nothing about it?

 

 

 

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Mitt Romney Shows His Open Compassionate Side Once More!

During a campaign event for his presidential bid in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Mitt Romney’s style of public discourse and openness showed once again what not to do when one is trying to be elected President.

Jose Antonio Vargas who was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting only wished to ask Mr. Romney about his stance on illegal immigration reform after Mitt finished reading his prepared speech. This had been the plan all along Mr. Romney would give a speech and then take questions from the audience and answer their questions during two different Q&A sessions. One would be for the general audience the other for journalists in attendance.

Mr. Vargas who revealed in a June article for the New York Times magazine that he was in fact an undocumented immigrant would have a more than valid reason for attempting to ask such a question.

However when Mr. Vargas raised his hand one of Mitt Romney’s staff moved and stood directly in front of him to attempt to block him from the view of the attendees. Then another member of the audience began to ask question about immigration and Mr. Vargas held up a sign that read, “I am an American without papers”.

That was all that Jose did just trying to get an answer to a question and raising a sign neither of which produced any type of response from Mitt Romney, nor did it disrupt the event. He was not yelling, cursing or interfering with others present at the event by any stretch of the imagination.

Here was a 30-year-old man of Filipino decent who has been in the United States since the age of 12 just trying to ask about the thoughts or opinions of a man running a campaign who is attempting to be elected President of the United States of America about immigration reform.

Jose only found out at the age of 16 that there was a problem with his immigration papers. Having worked or written articles for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Washington Post, New York Times Magazine and the Huffington Post his experience in journalism is self-evident. So as his question would be a very valid compelling subject worthy of some type of response from Mr. Romney he was apparently not deemed important enough to receive any type of response to his question.

After Mitt gave his speech and answered the questions he wanted to answer during the first session the event moved to another room. This would be where in the real world the candidate would answer more questions from the journalists  who were present which would only benefit his campaign. By letting them know his views on very important issues in America today as well as how he might address them, people across the nation would benefit and have a better understanding of this presidential contender. It is a tried and true occurrence common in political campaigns across our nation and especially important when a candidate is running for the most powerful office in the country namely President of the United States.

Following the event Jose Vargas entered that room where Mitt was supposed to take more questions on his views and opinions on various subjects currently under discussion across America. However Mr. Vargas encountered only the police who removed and escorted him out of the building.

Mitt Romney’s campaign replied that Mr. Vargas was escorted from the event by police after he entered a room that was designated a media availability room as he lacked current press credentials. However they didn’t address the earlier incident of attempting and succeeding in not having Mitt Romney answer Jose’s question on immigration.

Is this the same Jose Antonio Vargas who has contributed and worked for National press organizations across the country as well as being part of a team who won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting award, yes, yes it was the same man.

Immigration reform has been a hot button topic for quite some time especially during the recent republican campaigns leading up to the primaries soon to be held in America. Almost all the presidential contenders have voiced various views on immigration reform, yet they have all been vague with any answers they have been given. None of the current republican presidential candidates has addressed how they would try to handle the issue of immigration reform. Some have been more compassionate with their answers such as Newt Gingrich, others have said throw out all the estimated 11 million here without the proper papers no questions asked. Yet not a single one has presented any specifics about how they might carry out any goal that might be made on the issue.

Yes America, not a single current republican candidate for the office of president of the United States wants to give anything more than vague answers to any who might ask about immigration reform. And yes this is occurring right now in the United States our country which has an estimated 11 million people lacking proper documentation as to their immigration status.

Mr. Vargas has a journalistic resume that would be the envy of any writer or news publication in the World. His dedication to immigration reform cannot be called into question this young man has paid his dues.

Yet Mitt Romney who is running for the most powerful political office in the country doesn’t want to answer a simple question.

The President of the United States of America is supposed to serve all the people of this country and be willing to discuss important issues to All Americans without regard to political ideology.

At this event and others Mitt Romney and his staff have shown utter contempt for journalists one where just a reporter being seen at an event was then thrown out without any valid reason and this man was employed by a major national newspaper.

Mr. Romney has shown once again why he of all people is certainly not the right person to lead this country in these trying times.

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Rick Perry’s Ignorance Another Episode Among Many

In an ad put out by the Rick Perry for president campaign (which began showing in Iowa on Wednesday December 7th) the television ad is clearly showing Rick Perry’s bigoted, racist and Ignorant side once more for all of America to see in their living rooms. Even Perry’s top pollster Tony Fabrizio called it, “nuts” according to an email recently uncovered.

The governor of Texas questions in the ad why solders who are gay are allowed to serve openly in the military while children, “can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school”.

Well Rick the separation of church and state in the United States has quite a long history it’s surprising that a man running for president would not know about this subject matter. While not specifically stated in the constitution the U.S. Supreme court has spoken on the subject many times

 

 

Thomas Jefferson first alluded to the term in 1802 in a letter to the Danbury Baptist church, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State“.

Really Rick you have a bachelor’s degree so your educated what is it that you don’t understand about this?

Gay solders have served in every war throughout time while they fought for other’s freedom they could not express their own. However society has matured and realized how unfair it is for military personnel to fight and die for freedom yet to have none for themselves. I was in the military and I just wanted solders who would work together to get the job done I’m not gay I didn’t care if my fellow solder was gay I only wanted him to be able to fight. About 25% of Americans are gay if we excluded all gays from the military do you think we are going to have enough solders to fight in our conflicts both foreign and domestic?….probably not.

 

 

 

The standard of the separation and state on the other hand has a long history if children were allowed to pray in school, (which by the way they can just privately) would All religions be included in your vision? If schools were allowed to celebrate Christmas would the Jews be allowed to celebrate Hanukkah, Blacks be allowed to celebrate Kwanzaa, etc..??

The answer is No Rick in this country we don’t try or we shouldn’t try to force our own religious beliefs on others. The U.S. Supreme Court realizes this that is why the separation of church and state is still in place and always will be in America.

You know Rick it may be part of my cynical side that is thinking that you are really just Pandering to the voters in Iowa. Your most recent poll numbers are showing you in the single digit territory, is this add some type of sensationalized hype in hopes of gaining in the polls. It really does not speak well of you especially after the name of your little hunting area with the racist name came to light in recent history.

However maybe it’s a good thing that all of America is seeing you for what you really seem to be, nothing more than a bigoted racist who is undeserving of serving America in the most powerful seat in our country.

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Tea Party Success; Mother Shoots Children Commits Suicide After Food Stamp Denial

While the Tea-Party, Fox News, Grover Norquist, Republican legislators and the Republican presidential candidates among many will not lose any sleep over it, a 38yr old female shot her two children and then committed suicide herself in a Texas food stamp office on Tuesday.

As our Bought & Paid For Republican congressional leaders continue to crawl on their knees’ to Wall-Street and the Tea-Party the life and death of ordinary citizens is of little or no consequence.

The two children a 10-year old boy and 12-year old sister both still in critical condition in a Texas hospital are just insignificant collateral damage. Rachelle Grimmer 38-years is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound her former children will be orphans, that is if they live to see any more of this life.

Rachelle first applied for food stamps in July but was denied as she did not supply enough information. She apparently had applied after relocating to Texas from Ohio the Department of Health and Human Services stated the last previous contact with her had occurred during mid November.

That was until she walked into the building housing HHS in Laredo, Texas on Tuesday. The once living family walked in at 5pm, Grimmer asked to speak with a new case worker and specifically not the one she had worked with in the past. She and her children were taken to a private room and shortly afterwards revealed she had gun and the situation escalated, yet no one knew how badly this would end after the seven-hour standoff.

The police were called and their negotiators were on the phone with Rachelle throughout the evening, however her frustration was self-evident. A supervisor at the Texas Department of Health and Human Services offered himself as a hostage if Rachelle would let the other 25 employees in the building go free, which she did. She also finally let the supervisor leave at 7:45pm while she and her two children remained. Imagine the feeling alone in that room in the building where you had come for help yet no one cared, in such desperation living a life so far off the page past the margins into nowhere. No one will ever know what drove Rachelle to do what she did however I can imagine many of her once fellow Americans feel the same desperation in this day and age.

After the last phone call with authorities at 11:45pm there were 3 shots heard by police and a swat team entered the building finding Grimmer and her two wounded children. At that time the children were in Very Critical condition and unconscious at this time there is no further word on their outcome.

Yet the Tea-Party can check off their box on another win column entry this poor woman is just now another statistic. In the Tea-Party world of social Darwinism just another weak human being has lost the race while the strong have survived, but at what price?

How dispassionate a society we have become as these types of events happen more and more often than not in this country.

Congress is still fighting to cut programs to the poor while giving or extending tax cuts to the rich. The top 1% have seen their income grow 270% while the poor only realized around 18% from 1970-2007. Even though the rich possibly moved by Warren Buffet who asked to be taxed more along with other millionaires and billionaires while their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

There isn’t a Republican presently serving in congress with the backbone to stand up to the Tea-Party, Grover Norquist, Fox News and the rest of the, “I’ve got mine, get your own, oh and by the way I’m not going to give you a chance to get anything”, Neo-Conservatives.

President Obama said today that we are at a defining moment in our time and this country cannot turn its backs on the people of these lands we call America. Let anyone with a conscience hope and pray his words have not fallen upon deaf ears. Pray that this country still has a beating caring heart left for the sake of the people be they rich or poor.

For Rachelle Grimmer 38 and quite possibly her children who may also just become another statistic whether or not this country starts to turn back around will no longer be a possibility.

Wars are fought for no reason, banks are loaned billions of dollars for operating illegally with impunity and in truth Lobbyists are running this country.

What will it take for the United States of America to grow a conscience once again and realize we are all Human Beings worthy of the same opportunities and to begin to show some compassion for the less fortunate once more?

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Fox News? You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

First there was the study, “Fox News viewers less informed than those who don’t watch news at all” which started to hit the news wires on November 22, 2011. Farleigh Dickinson University conducted the study on 612 New Jersey natives. Needless to say those who were asked questions for the study did not fare well.

Dan Cassino a professor at the university was quoted as saying, “Because of the controls for partisanship, we know these results are not just driven by Republicans or other groups being more likely to watch Fox News. Rather, the results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions that those who don’t watch any news at all.”

In regards to national and domestic news on current affairs those questioned struggled with events of current interest in the United States. Surprisingly to some, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” was found to have a much more significant impact on educating viewers than Fox News.

This is somewhat ironic as the Daily Show is on Comedy Central however data doesn’t lie, a comedy station better educates the American public than a so-called news channel, Fox News, which is supposed to be Fair & Balanced.

The study also found that Fox News viewers would be better off not watching the news channel at all. As those who do not watch any television news are better educated on foreign and domestic news than those watching the so-called fair and balanced Fox news program.

Then there was the Tuesday November 29, 2011 appearance by Newt Gingrich a presidential hopeful at a town hall meeting. Just for clarity Mr. Gingrich was an employee of Fox News that is until around May 5th of this year, where he acted as an analyst (acted may be the operative word here).

During the conference an audience member asked a rather detailed question about the Obama AIDS policy and asked Gingrich for his opinion.

Mr. Gingrich replied, “One of the real changes that comes when you start running for President — as opposed to being an analyst on Fox — is I have to actually know what I’m talking about,” to which he added, “It’s a severe limitation”.

During the exchange at the town hall the audience member reportedly let out a Startled laugh with the audience members attending joining in with more laughter.

Also the most recent television ratings show that Fox News is losing more market share as other recent ratings have shown as well in recent history. They still have robust viewership that other networks would be envious of however maybe the American public is starting to catch on.

Back in 2004 a reporter wrote, “Relying on the Fox News Channel as your only source of news is like using MAD Magazine as a legitimate source of news”. Fox rather than relying on Journalism standards is nothing more than a presentation of a slanted, biased spin machine running a constant running commentary on how the country should view or feel about current events, the way they want them too.

Fox news with its splashy graphics and bottomless budget is really nothing more than an Entertainment versus news channel. Unfortunately too many Americans fail to see this and believe they are being presented with the news of the day.

With all of their fox news contributors that is until one of them doesn’t follow the stations directives and are never called upon again. The American public views these one-sided commentary segments as actual journalism which could not be further from the truth.

Journalism across the board has taken a hit in quality and standards with the advent of the 24hr news cycle no one can argue with that point.

Hopefully more former employees of the fox network will come forth with more truths about this propaganda machine. And finally maybe the American public will come to realize the difference between entertainment and Real News programs.

I firmly believe fox news is nothing more than an entertainment channel that I Never watch as I learn much more from reading if only the American viewing public can come to this thought process our Country will be better for it in the end.

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Sports Stadiums a Net Loss for Cities, Subsidizing Wealthy Sports Franchises is a Waste of Taxpayer Dollars

Throughout the period of the 20th century to present day cities and the citizens within them have been asked by their local governments to subsidize sports stadiums usually at a net loss. The arguments brought forth on job creation increased revenues and the overall benefit to the local populace are extremely dubious yet still these behemoths are built.

However they are built at the taxpayer’s expense who never fully realize any true economic benefit only the athletes and the sports owners see a benefit.

Typically a sports stadium does give a cut of certain sales related to the franchise to the host city. Yet with all the host city provides in the way of a multitude of services along with lost tax revenue literally millions of dollars per year flow out of each and every cities coffers rather than in as taxpayers were told they would in the beginning.

Job creation is minimal at best as the funding provided by the city could easily be put to better use for the development of business and entertainment districts along with services that would in fact provide real and greater employment for the population along with increased tax revenue where the city would actually receive an economic benefit.

During the period of the 1990’s Major League Baseball has opened 22 new stadiums. The National Football league has opened has opened 20 new stadiums with others receiving major renovations. Followed by the National Basketball Association with 30 teams total has built two-thirds of their stadiums since 1990 a very phenomenol growth spurt costing local citizens hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Imagine opening your own multi-million dollar business with almost all of the costs paid for by taxpayers, well that’s how American sports franchises operate.

The local & state bonds brought forth to assist in design, development and construction are exempt from federal income taxes too, a net loss for the federal government as well as the citizens of America. Well that’s how the cookie crumbles stadiums need to be built no one has that much money so bonds are floated to pay the costs. The cities are left holding the bag full of debt and the stadium gets built, free of charge to the sports team.

One stadium which opened in 2004 with a capacity of 65,535, each seat cost almost $3000 or almost $2 million dollars almost all financed by the public. It has clearly been shown across the U.S. that these stadiums would never have been built by any private entity because they clearly could not produce enough profit to offset the cost. Between the period of 2000-2006 the taxpayers were on the hook for anywhere from $249 to $280 million dollars plus interest compounded yearly.

When cities are studied from the period before until after a sports franchise is built on the economic benefit to the local citizens an extremely high percentage if not all studies report that cities do not see enough of an economic benefit to offset all the associated costs. And these costs continue and increase for the entire life of the stadium which is subsidized by the local taxpayer. Also stadiums have been shown to create an actual net loss of income and employment in studies done in the 1990 period.

The revenue generated by the stadiums only takes away from other businesse’s income and those they employ. As sports enthusiasts redirect their game expenses away from other local entertainment and restaurant businesses in order to fund their expenses at taxpayer funded stadiums other businesses are cut out of the profit pie.

Monies generated are normally paid to wealthy players and team owners who generally do not live in the teams home city and even if they do their spending is small in comparison to the local populace. So with few if any of these taxpayer subsidized dollars flowing back into the local economy another net loss is realized.

While local taxes rise and other services are cut who gains, yes some hotels do see some income. However large organizers of events and conventions will often choose a comparable city that does not add additional taxes so as to fund a sports franchise which for them is a wise financial decision. Again a net loss for the city and it’s citizens along with those hopeful of finding employment in the service industry. Also the reduced revenue that would be generated by these local entertainment, hotel and restaurants (Real-Taxpayers) is forever lost as long as the sports franchise exists. When all the studies done on economic impacts are put together (rather than those cherry picked by local newspapers, politicians or franchise owners) and are  studied no real gain is realized from all of the cumulative data available.

So why do already wealthy sports franchises and the players in the respected leagues receive Corporate Welfare at the citizen’s expense. There just really is not any empirical data that shows a positive economic impact rather a Negative impact is felt by the local hosting city. Development, employment and businesses would in the end be better served without the taxpayers bailing out national sports teams. Low and middle income employees would see an actual rise in their income if the local stadium was never built.

99% of American businesses build and fund their operations some are given financial incentives to relocate to a geographic area. However those Real-Businesses unlike sports teams create year round jobs with much better incomes for their employees than sports franchises. They also contribute to the local economy year round via tangible taxes that they pay and contribute to development of local economies.

Sports franchises on the other hand come to town with an empty wallet paint rosy pictures and demand taxpayer funded stadiums, why should they pay for it. Then they sign multi-year ironclad contracts that they claim they will comply with to the local city. Yet few if any do with 10 or 20 years left on their contracts they then begin to make their threats known. Either build us another Taxpayer Funded stadium or they will go elsewhere to them the contract was nothing more than a napkin to be thrown in the garbage can.

If national sports franchises want to operate let them, only they need to pay for it and I mean all of it and not ask Americans to give Corporate Welfare to wealthy athletes and sports teams.

Prison for Immigrants is BIG BUSINESS$$$

As local governments and states attempt to address budget shortfalls a new phenomenon is becoming more prevalent as it already has in certain pockets across the nation.

Prisons once only used to house those found guilty of committing crimes against society have been found to be a financial windfall for governments and the for profit private corporations that run them.

These facilities which were originally constructed to house and punish our nations law breakers yet they have found a new use although one they were not designed for and new private prisons again not designed to temporarily house detainees are being built everyday across this nation.

Rather than being detained to await quick deportation these unfortunate individuals are being housed in prisons which are designed for punishment even though these immigrants have been convicted of No crime. Also with language barriers and no access to any legal counsel some will be housed like convicts for quite a bit of time even years are not out of the question and are becoming increasingly normal for those exposed to this new realm of hell on Earth.

Guilt or innocence is no longer part of the equation, only a lack of a Green-Card will guarantee a spot in this ever growing industry. No longer just a place for those who commit murder, rape or bank robberies etc the only needed criteria is the lack of a U.S. Green-Card. The maxim, “Liberty & Justice for All” is of no consequence here punishment is guaranteed even if it is not warranted.

Now in Southwest Ranches, Florida the local government is cashing in thanks to the U.S. government by beginning to build what will ultimately be the Largest immigration detention center in America. The payoff will be a 4% cut of the profits from the For-Profit private agency hired to house these unfortunate human beings.

There is Big Money to be made here as other sites are also being contemplated in San Antonio, Texas, Essex County, New Jersey and Orange County, California.

The latest and greatest will of course be run by Corrections Corporation of America this nations largest private prison corporation. Immigration detention and housing are big business as they provide 12% or almost $200 million yearly to CCA’s corporate bottom line.

This new 1500 bed facility is expected to generate $1.5 million per year to CCA and local officials are now speaking of the commission they will receive for every filled bed.

No matter that this affluent communities residents do not want to have CCA as a neighbor dollar signs are blurring, distorting and blocking lines of communication. One official wrote, “I have been fully advised by our DC contacts that we should remain fully quiet on this one and to let our DC Leaders help without sparking a fire that will make it more difficult for them to assist”. The official who wrote the above referenced text is also a partner in one of Florida’s largest lobbying firms.

While the status of the illegal immigration issue has been garnering numerous news reports and even government legislation little if anything has actually been accomplished. Former President George W. Bush even signed legislation to build fences along our southern border with Mexico while also increasing the number of ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) agents.

However even legislation that has passed and been signed by the president is of little use when after signing the legislation President Bush never properly funded the program. The gesture while quelling public sentiment in the end did little to address the issue as no profit margins could be realized by the ever growing private for profit business sector or their lobbyists.

The Department of Homeland Security came to the conclusion that the mass detention of these individuals was the answer to the problem. It is of little surprise that this thought process will only enrich the for profit prison industry along with their lobbyists and the campaign coffers of the legislator’s involved.

Somewhere along the lines of 50% of immigrants detained in the U.S. are held in for profit facilities and these companies are trying more everyday to corner the market and increase profit margins as they grab up higher and higher shares of their needed customers or should I say prisoners.

It has become a self fulfilling prophecy as these facilities are built that they need to keep these prisoners coming to continue to grow the profits of their corporations.

The immigration detention figures speak for themselves in 1994 daily inmate counts stood at 6,785. In 2001 the figure had risen to 20,249 and by 2010 the count had risen to 31,200, this final figure was a 450% increase from 1994. Of course this only added to the financial profits of these for profit prison corporations while literally doing nothing to address illegal immigration into the United States.

However it did enrich a few particular segments of society; the private prisons, lobbyists and the campaign funds of various legislators. There was even a journalistic segment done by NPR (National Public Radio) that covered how the private prison industry had quietly behind the scenes helped to draft self-serving legislation in Arizona (Arizona Senate Bill 1070). There was also an Out and Out Lie that a Government official used quite often to justify the passing of the legislation and even though the proof that the statement was in fact a lie the official never changed their tune. No illegal had murdered a rancher a legal U.S. citizen had, oh well so much for facts.

The new state statute was extreme in it’s scope and polarizing across the nation. The new law requires police in Arizona to ask people for their immigration papers during traffic stops using an Undefined-Reasonable-Suspicion procedure that the person may be in this country of 300 million+ illegally.

Legislation was also passed in Alabama which is still feeling it’s effects with dwindling school populations and less funding dollars for those still in need of an education. Farm crops rotted in the field as Americans would not or could not do the work all to the dismay of farmers losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. With 7 million immigrants in the U.S. workforce and American workers are not the least bit interested in the jobs they hold or held to whom will America turn for this labor?

Over 15% of our national population is of Hispanic or Latino decent nationwide. However in the western regions of this country of which Arizona clearly falls into 42% of the citizens are either Hispanic or Latino. And Arizona is not the only state that wants to jump on this cash cow to enrich the states coffers several other states are following their lead hoping to cash in on this new captive audience to fill their bank accounts.

Again Immigration-Reform has taken a back seat to creating an enormously profitable enterprise for both the states and the private corporations. Rather then proposing, legislating, enacting and addressing immigration reform, states and the federal government are attempting and succeeding in cashing in on this issue.

The Director of ICE John Morton stated, “This isn’t a question of whether or not we will detain people. We will detain people, and we will detain them on a grand scale”. It is of little consequence that the vast majority of detainees present no danger to the public or are expected to flee the country. A cottage prison industry has been built and by God prisoners are needed to fill the beds within, there is money to be made and no one is going to stand in the way.

Even though $2 billion dollars a year is being spent housing people who should not be in jail in the first place is inhumane, wasteful and fails to address immigration reform in anyway the American taxpayer is on the hook for funding this charade.

NOTE THE LACK OF CORRELATION TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND VIOLENT CRIMES BELOW;

This subcontracting of America is continuing unabated from national security, foreign mercenaries, private prisons and the list goes on all the while our countries standing in the World community is suffering yet no one seems to care. Neither would you if you were a Bought-&-Paid for legislator or a corporation receiving untold funds thanks to your successful lobbying efforts.

Presently each immigrant inmate costs $166 dollars per day as the United States rapidly approaches 2.5 million of it’s citizens incarcerated for real-crimes and we are known across the globe as The-World’s-Jailer do we want to add to this horrific distinction?

Our prisons today are inhumane warehouse facilities with at least 20% of the population suffering from mental illness do we want to compound the problem. Over $70 billion dollars a year are spent housing our Real criminals a 660% increase from 1982-2006. Do we want to see the same exponential increase in our housing of illegal immigrants under even harsher confinement conditions?

In 2001 the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported it cost $62.01 per day to house an inmate. In 2009 the state of California reported it’s cost at $129.04 per day.

With private prisons charging $166 dollars per day this would be a profit margin any CEO would be proud of and would be continually trying to refill or increase the numbers of captive clients. Lobbyists would be beating down the doors of our elected officials in their attempts to further privatize the incarceration industry. Politicians as in the past will be happy to take the campaign contributions realized after successful legislation to this end, the full privatization of a once federal and state controlled job.

Why will our Washington legislators never effectively address illegal immigration in this country. It all comes down to money as is usually the case representing the United States citizen as they swore an oath to do has become nothing more than meaningless words. Corporations and Lobbyists control the USA, it’s government and it’s citizens to think otherwise is a fools paradise.

Americans can go to sleep every night in their comfortable beds after a nice dinner that was more than likely brought to them from slave waged illegal immigrants.

Drug addicts can continue to buy their illegal drug of choice. While our government does not condone it they do nothing to stop the illegal drug trade between the United States and Mexico, we even supply them with the needed ingredients, corporations need to make profits. However if we Truly wished as a nation to slow the tide of illegal drugs the U.S. could stop American corporations from selling Mexico the precursors for drug manufacture.

No one needs to worry about the countless innocent immigrants suffering often for years housed in prisons which were not created to Detain them, why even bother to think about it?

Only trying to find a better life cost this illegal his life.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Nursing’s Great Peril Which the U.S. will now face with Disastrous Effects for All!

The United States is now reaching a breaking point in regards to the practice of Nursing in medicine.

At a time when the baby boom generation -an estimated 78 million- is entering retirement who will care for them in their so-called golden years.

Hospitals driven by profit margins and not quality care have cut nursing staff and reduced Nurse to Patient ratios to Dangerously low levels. By 2005, roughly half a million U.S. registered nurses (about one fifth of the national total) had chosen not to work in nursing. It is projected that if current trends continue by 2010 that the U.S. will need to train 1.1 million new nurses by the year 2012, which is estimated to be half of our current nursing level.

So who will care for the onslaught of this countries aging population of 78 million coupled with the fact that the U.S. population overall has risen above the 300 million mark.

Hospitals have addressed the pressing needs of their Shareholders by pushing the equation down the line to the nursing staff. Or even further by passing down tasks formerly performed by professionally educated and clinically trained nurses to less educated staff members.

They are now Giving nurses Dangerously high patient counts to care for it is not their concern that the patient receives quality care.

Nurses without the needed resources, horrid working conditions coupled with the nurses well founded fear they cannot adequately care for their patients are all leading to a profoundly troubling conclusion. This should be disturbing for us all as countless nurses have come to realize they can no longer adequately perform their duties and leave the profession altogether.

When patient ratios rise nurses cannot properly monitor their patients they just don’t have the time. Drugs along with their importance of timely delivery which are extremely important if not imperative to treatment are quite often given at a later time all to the patients detriment and this is just one aspect.

There was a time when nurses could properly monitor their patients not only checking their vitals but also observing the overall organism which is the patient. The fingernails, skin color the presentation of the eyes changes in respiration and more. Patients on ventilators require even more time to be clinically observed for signs of distress or deterioration.

Case in point fifty year old patient whom staff denotes is agitated and has to be restrained. Shift after shift given their precious few moments to see the patient all verbally note this as does a respiratory specialist and a speech pathologist. This occurs over a 3 day period when finally a more well rounded RN checks on the patient at the beginning of her shift. Within 5-10 minutes a syringe with a semi-neon substance is brought in the unit and is injected into the patient. The agitation ceases the restraints are no longer needed the patient is still semi-lucid as they were before only now more relaxed.

This nurse for whatever reason read the patients chart and took the time to observe and even though she fell a little behind in her duties, she treated the patient. Here this poor man unable to communicate as he had a trach tube, was in rather excruciating pain. Luckily for him a skilled, caring and comprehensive nurse who had not yet suffered burn-out was handed his chart for the day along with many others. If it were not for this lucky occurrence of events who knows how long this man would have suffered needlessly.

Doctors see patients however Nurses carry out and truly care for the patient in a day to day setting.

As long as hospitals only address the issues of their Shareholders (stock holders) and keep inventing methods to improve Profits without a care in the world to Patient care we will all suffer. Until nursing staffing levels and working conditions are addressed this extremely troubling trend will continue in medicine as hospitals further deteriorate.

For the 78 million baby boomer’s who will require extensive, complicated and more demanding procedures and care the outlook is Bleak.

Needed now more than ever and in Greater Numbers with better working conditions. If this issue is not addressed many will Suffer and Die Needlessly.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

U.S. Income Inequality is Destroying the USA for the rich & Poor

During the 1970 period 15% of American’s lived in either poor or affluent developments. When we look at the data for 2007 a full 35% lived in one of the two neighborhood types. Between the 2000 and 2007 period there was a surge of Income Segregation for black and Hispanic family units while this was not as rapid as the 1970 to present era it was dramatic. This recent phenomenon Income Segregation has been only increasing in the last four decades crossing all racial boundaries without regard or concern it is just a merciless drum. There are those With alongside those Without and in the end we will all suffer for it as it will only greatly contribute to the decline of the United States of America.

While for some, those not having to share their affluent schools and social systems with others this may look promising to them. However it does not look promising for our or other countries poorer citizens or for the USA as a whole in the long run.

Also funding attitudes may change as further segregation continues with the affluent less likely wanting to fund programs that were funded in more segregated communities of times past.

The Brookings institution found that those American’s living in Extreme poverty rose by 1/3 from 2000 to the latter half of the decade. Those in the suburbs did not fare well either as there was a 53% increase in those living in poverty from 2000-2010.

Even those of the affluent classes are showing growing concern for this phenomenon as it will continue to be detrimental to the United States as a whole until it is addressed, yet this is mostly seen in Economists who really have a grasp of the big-picture. In a September 2011 study done by the International Monetary Fund it found that greater income equality positively correlates with a nation’s economic growth.

We are constantly told by our elected officials in Washington that the U.S. must reduce environmental regulation and reduce taxes. This in a country where the effective corporate/business tax rate is 17% not 35% as the thirty-five percent figure does not take into account all of the tax loopholes used by those corporations that do pay taxes. Many corporations pay little if any taxes via the use of offshore tax-havens, the figures estimated to be in the trillion dollar range. The top 1% has seen their income increase by 270% versus 19% for the bottom tier of Americans from 1979-2007.

CBO 2007 data

In the CBO report it was also found that between 2005-2007 that the after tax income of the top 20% of the U.S. population exceeded the remaining after-tax income for the rest of the nation. It was also found that the top 1%’s share of total market income increased from 50-60% while all other income ranges saw a decline.

Two factors were cited as the reason for this inequality one being an increase of each individual source of income; labor, business income, capital gains, capital income etc. The report noted that these sources of income were less evenly distributed in 2007 than in the 1979 period. For instance labor income has been more evenly distributed versus capital and business income with even more of a disparity in regards to capital gains. For the period 1979-2007 the share of income derived from capital gains and business income showed increases while labor income decreased furthering the economic divide which contributed to the greater distribution of wealth inequality in America.

Again our Washington government officials tell us that entitlement programs which benefit the under-classes must be cut while the taxes and regulations which favor the rich must be eliminated or reduced to tackle our $14 trillion dollar deficit.

This chart to the left shows a different picture where the Bush-Era tax cuts which primarily benefited the wealthy are in fact the driving force.

While the current Washington Republican stance that reducing taxes, environmental regulations and reducing or returning banking/investment regulations to per-recession levels totally contradicts the opinions of the World’s leading economists.

The International Monetary Funds 2007 report finds that Income Equality Positively correlates to Stronger economic growth. It was found that a mere 10% decrease in inequality increased the expected duration of economic growth by a full 50%. The comprehensive study using data collected between 1950-2006 found countries with more income equality stayed in or fell into deeper recessions. It was also found that countries with a more equal distribution of wealth, that their economic growth lasted much longer.

It was also found that income equality was of more importance  and corresponded more strongly to sustained economic growth than other economic factors. Restoring or attempting to address income inequality was further shown to be of a much greater importance than the lowering of debt levels.

The study authors stated, “Sustainable economic reform, is possible only when its benefits are widely shared.” The breadth of income inequality in the United States now more closely resembles the economies of Iran and Russia versus other developed countries.

Economists have attempted to explain that stagnant(not rising) wages for the last four decades as a part of the widening income inequality while the upper class have been those who have seen benefits increase over the more the forty year period.

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz stated, “An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year — an economy like America’s — is not likely to do well over the long haul,” in an article he wrote for Vanity Fair.

So as the hard numbers from the most recent data point out along with a Worldwide consensus of economists.

Our Republican Washington legislators and followers of Grover Norquist have all gotten it Very Wrong.

Or is the reality that our politicians are really just bought and paid for by the top 1% who are only interested in one thing Money$$$ and the rest of the United States of America can go straight to hell.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) American Patriots Of Our Time!

The nascent U.S. movement collectively known as OWS does not have a written constitution or a codified plethora of documents laying out in detail any specific agenda. So they are scoffed upon by the political elites and corporations across America.

The United States Congress has written and promulgated tens of thousands of documents, chock full of executive summaries, reams of studies and a specific set of rules, procedures and decorum laid out in a dizzying fashion. Most bought and paid for by Lobbying firms and their never-ending supply of cash fed by large corporations with their corporate backers. Even current & former members of congress are not well versed in all of these and other facets of congressional life and it’s implications. On to many occasions for it to be some type of anomaly congressional members have stated they do not even read the bills they pass in the U.S. House & Senate.

What Occupy Wall Street does have is a great number of ordinary U.S. citizens all under the umbrella of being sick and tired of our current system. They rail against banks & investment houses who almost brought our country to it’s collapse along with the top 1% who assisted in almost destroying this country. To me this appears to be a comprehensive cohesive structure even if reams of paper are not present speaking volumes yet saying nothing, like in corporate or government settings.Their words still resonate and this movement grows everyday.

Little if any accountability was exerted or accepted during the U.S. current recession and even though these institutions behind our near collapse have mission statements, comprehensive studies, etc. All of these are written on paper that is as worthless as all the rules and studies. For these bastions of a free market society believe they are accountable to no one other than the shareholders of the corporations and quite often even the shareholders are left under-the-bus, lifeless and no longer needed. Or the shareholder who is now financially destroyed can no longer buy a ticket to have a hand worth playing.

The citizens of this country have quietly raged at the excesses of corporate America, wall-street, banks and our current Worthless Do-Nothing Congress. However these have been fleeting moments then it’s on to watching the so-called leader in news propaganda machine. There under the cloak of being fair and honest the populace is indoctrinated, reeducated and shown the errors of their ways. On these programs that hours, so-called journalist makes fun and sport of these people who are in essence fighting for America before what little is left is swallowed whole by the elitist 1%ers.

Yet under duress by the thugs who represent law enforcement as they are beaten, pepper sprayed, hit with rubber bullets, unjustly incarcerated and then released without charge. These American Patriots stand for those to fearful or lazy to stand up for themselves or their rights as Americans.

Our founding fathers fought against tyranny and oppression and are now hundreds of years later are regarded as Heroes as they were in their day and age.

When our country was attacked from within and there were those who wished to tear our country apart all for their love of money coupled with their oppression of those they felt were inferior and deserved to be abused and tortured. Our countrymen fought and died for this country to make it a better place for All Americans. The man who lead us in this battle for our souls was then assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

Again Abraham Lincoln and his complementaries along with George Washington was regarded then as now as Patriots. They offered the best America had to offer, they fought for All Americans and what was Right, Honorable and Just.

The British at the time of the Colonial War looked down upon George Washington as an inferior 1%er that could be crushed out of hand. How wrong they were just as many people of this country looked down upon Abraham Lincoln. How did this many of simple means reunite this country and help enormously in the early stages of our national history, he only did what he thought was Right and Just.

Well these are just a few of the many Patriots who were underestimated by the elitists of the various times. Yet they flourished as did our country and today these nascent patriots known simply as Occupy Wall Street or OWS are being called upon to be the Patriots of this age.

They are unlikely heroes as were those before them yet their profound importance again cannot be diminished or simply be pushed aside. Even though our current 24hr news cycles may move on to other subject matter the voices of OWS and the 99% of whom they represent, will not just go away.

So while they fight this war for the American soul and what is right and just in this country they should Never be underestimated.

They are American Patriots who are being oppressed and attempts to marginalize their movement will ultimately fail.

Is our United Stated Congress fighting for the 99% of it’s citizens, NO.

Are the Patriots of OWS being oppressed, abused mistreated while they present themselves in peaceful protests to attempt to correctly realign America’s moral compass, YES.

May God or the heavens, Buddha and other forms of spirituality give them strength. Let us all the 99% think of them daily and keep them in our thoughts and prayers. Let us all hope that America the nation can again find it’s moral compass. Or better yet become involved in your area or even travel to the areas across this nation where the movement is strongest, for we all are one people with common goals.

Maybe again we can become the land of the free and the brave a melting pot of peoples where everyone has the same opportunities to live happy and prosperous lives without tyranny or oppression by the few against the many.

For the sake of our country, or children and our souls we must find a place of common ground of fairness in life and liberty in our lifetimes. Now we are the 300 million+ being led by the 1% elitists who are not concerned or the least bit interested in anyone’s future but there own.

OWS is simply fighting for the rights of all Americans, they are the Patriots of our time!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

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