Underlore

Ending the dominion of pain and death.

Economics

Bernie Sanders Email: 2015-07-28 0431 PM

This is a copy of the email I received and I liked it a lot.


As I travel across the country, I am constantly struck by the level of enthusiasm and engagement there is for the political process. Everywhere I go, from Portland, Maine to Phoenix, Arizona, Americans are ready to discuss the critical issues facing our country. And this Wednesday night, July 29th, over 70,000 individuals have signed up to attend organizing meetings in their communities.

It is clear to me that people are taking this primary very seriously, and as an early supporter of our campaign, you have a unique role to play in our success going forward.

In that light, I wanted to make sure that you saw our new five minute video about the issues driving our campaign.

Watch the video and make a $3 contribution to help us continue to build an organization capable of challenging the billionaire class in this campaign, and after I’m elected president.

 

In the meantime, let me be very blunt and tell you why I am running.

This country faces more serious problems today than at any time in modern history, and establishment politics will not successfully resolve them.

Corporate greed is rampant, and the very rich keep growing richer while everyone else grows poorer. Despite an explosion in technology and a huge increase in productivity, the middle class continues to disappear, most Americans work longer hours for lower wages, and 45 million live in poverty.

The skyrocketing level of income and wealth inequality is not only grotesque and immoral, it is economically unsustainable. It is unconscionable that 99% of all new income goes to the top 1%. It is absurd that the top one-tenth of 1% own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, and that one family (the Waltons of Walmart) has more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans.

As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, the billionaire class is spending huge amounts of money to buy candidates and elections. We are now witnessing the undermining of American democracy and the rapid movement toward oligarchy where a handful of very wealthy families and their Super PACs will control our government.

The scientific community is virtually unanimous in telling us that climate change is real, is caused by human activity, and is already bringing catastrophic damage to our planet. Yet, the Republican Party is prepared to reject science in order to gain campaign contributions from the Koch brothers, Big Energy companies and others who make billions on fossil fuels. If we do not act boldly on climate change, the planet we leave to our grandchildren may be uninhabitable.

The United States once led the world in terms of the percentage of our young people who had college degrees. Today, in a highly competitive global economy, we are now in 12th place. Hundreds of thousands of bright young people have given up on the dream of higher education, while millions of others leave school with oppressive debt.

Our infrastructure — roads, bridges, rail, airports, water systems, wastewater plants, levees, dams — is crumbling, and Congress refuses to appropriate anywhere near the necessary funds to rebuild it. If we do not invest substantially in infrastructure, a bad situation will only become much worse.

Despite substantial gains, we still have a long way to go to achieve equality for minorities. Instead of investing in opportunities, we are locking people up at an incredible rate. We now have the highest incarceration rate in the entire world with over 2 million in prison and millions more on probation or parole. We have a broken immigration system that divides families and keeps millions of hard-working people in the shadows.

Most of the major Wall Street financial institutions that we bailed out because they were “too big to fail,” are now bigger than they used to be. The six largest financial institutions now have assets equivalent to nearly 60% of our GDP, issue 35% of the mortgages, and oversee 65% of credit cards.

Our tax system is wildly unfair – rigged to benefit the very rich. Major corporations that earn billions in profits stash their money in tax havens and pay nothing in federal income taxes, while billionaire hedge fund managers pay a lower effective tax rate than nurses or teachers.

Despite growing poverty among seniors, almost all Republicans, and some Democrats, want to cut Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans. They want more austerity for the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor, and more tax breaks for the rich.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. The United States spends more on the military than the next nine biggest-spending countries combined. Today, there are massive cost over-runs with defense contractors and the Pentagon cannot even pass an independent audit.

We are at a moment of truth. We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a nation, and we need a mass movement of people to change that reality.

Let’s be clear. This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It’s about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: “Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.”

I have discussed some of the major crises that we face. Let me give you the outline of an agenda which addresses these problems.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The truth is that real unemployment in our country is not the “official” and widely-reported 5.4 percent. Counting those who are underemployed and those who have given up looking for work, real unemployment is almost 11 percent. Even more disturbingly, real unemployment for white and Hispanic youth is over 30 percent, while African-American youth unemployment is over 50 percent.

We need a major federal jobs program. The most effective way to do that is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. To do that, I have introduced legislation which would invest $1 trillion over 5 years to modernize our country’s physical infrastructure. This would create and maintain at least 13 million good-paying jobs. It would also make our country more productive, efficient and safe.

As a member of Congress who voted against NAFTA, CAFTA, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China (PNTR) and is helping to lead the opposition against the TPP, I will continue my opposition to trade policies which have cost us millions of decent paying jobs as corporate America shuts down plants here and moves them to low-wage countries.

Raising Wages: Today, millions of Americans are working for starvation wages and median family income has declined by almost $5,000 since 1999. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is totally inadequate. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage – $15 an hour over the next few years. Our goal must be that no full-time worker in this country lives in poverty. We must also bring about pay equity for women. There is no rational reason why women should be earning 78 cents on the dollar compared to men who perform the same work.

Further, we need to implement “family values” for American working families. It is unacceptable that the United States is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee family and medical leave, sick time and paid vacations.

Wealth and Income Inequality: Today, the richest 400 Americans own over $2.2 trillion in wealth, more than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. Meanwhile, nearly half of all Americans have less than $10,000 in savings and have no idea how they will be able to retire with dignity.

In order to reverse the massive transfer of wealth and income from the middle class to the very rich that we have seen in recent years, we need real tax reform which makes the wealthy and profitable corporations begin to pay their fair share of taxes. It is fiscally irresponsible that the U.S. Treasury loses about $100 billion a year because corporations and the rich stash their profits in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other tax havens.

We need a tax system which is fair and progressive. Children should not go hungry in this country while profitable corporations and the wealthy avoid their tax responsibilities.

Reforming Wall Street: I have introduced legislation which would break up the largest financial institutions in the country. In my view, if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself investing trillions in risky financial instruments. We need banks that invest in the job-creating productive economy. We do not need more speculation and gambling in casino-type activities.

Campaign Finance Reform: We need to return to a one-person, one-vote democracy. It is not acceptable that the Koch brothers and other billionaires are spending endless sums of money to buy elections. I have introduced legislation which would overturn the horrendous Citizens United decision and will only appoint Supreme Court justices who are prepared to do that. We must also demand disclosure of all large campaign contributions. Long term, we need to move to public funding of elections.

Fighting Climate Change: The United States must lead the world in reversing climate change and make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, our transportation system needs to be energy efficient and we need to greatly accelerate the progress we are already seeing in wind, solar, geothermal and other forms of sustainable energy. Transforming our energy system will not only protect the environment, it will create good-paying jobs.

Health Care for All: The United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care for all as a right. Despite the modest gains of the Affordable Care Act, 35 million Americans continue to lack health insurance and many more are under-insured. Yet, we continue paying far more per capita for health care than any other nation. The United States must move toward a Medicare-for-All single-payer system.

Protecting Our Most Vulnerable: Today, the United States has more people living in poverty than at almost any time in the modern history of our country. We have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major nation, and millions of seniors and people with disabilities struggle to put food on the table because of insufficient Social Security benefits.

In my view, we have a moral responsibility to make certain that no American goes hungry or sleeps on the street. We must also make certain that seniors and people with disabilities can live in dignity. Not only must we vigorously oppose Republican attacks on the social safety net, we must expand benefits for those most in need. That is why I have recently introduced legislation which would extend the solvency of Social Security until 2065, while increasing benefits for those most in need.

Expanding Opportunity and Equality: We need to stop using prisons as a response to poverty. Our criminal justice system needs to be reformed so that we do not continue to house non-violent offenders at huge expense when that money could be used to rebuild communities and create opportunity. We need federal leadership to reform policing in America, to end racial profiling, and to fight the illegal activities of hate groups. We need comprehensive immigration reform that protects families and leads to a responsible and realistic path to citizenship.

Dismantling Structural Racism: Throughout much of our history, the elite in America has divided people along racial lines in an effort to consolidate wealth and power. We need to simultaneously address the structural and institutional racism which exists in this country while at the same time vigorously attacking the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality which is making the very rich much richer, and everyone else – especially the African-American community – much poorer. Meanwhile, too many people of color in this country find themselves subjected to a system that treats citizens who have not committed crimes like criminals. We have more people locked up in jail than any other country on earth. We need to invest in jobs and education, not jails and incarceration. Finally, no person should have to worry that a routine interaction with law enforcement will end in violence and death. Black lives matter: we must reform our criminal justice system, move away from the militarization of police forces, and invest in community policing.

College for All: The United States must join Germany and many other countries in understanding that investing in our young people’s education is investing in the future of our nation. I have introduced legislation to make tuition in public colleges and universities free, as well as substantially lowering interest rates on student loans.

War and Peace: I voted against the war in Iraq, and that was the right vote. We must be vigorous in combatting terrorism, but we can’t do it alone. We must be part of an international coalition that includes Muslim nations which not only defeats ISIS but which works hard to create conditions for lasting peace. I will vigorously oppose an endless war in the Middle East.

My approach to campaigning is pretty simple and straight-forward. We hold a lot of public meetings in towns that are big and small. People ask questions and make comments. We discuss the important issues facing our country. And that’s it. Nothing very fancy. It’s called democracy and I like that approach very much. It’s something I’ve done my whole political life.

I hope very much that you will join me at one of our meetings. I hope that you will become part of our campaign team. And I hope that you will watch our video and make a contribution to our campaign:

https://go.berniesanders.com/sneak-peek

Let us never forget: This country belongs to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.

Sincerely,

Senator Bernie Sanders

Social Security Works Email: 2015-07-04 1226 PM

Resharing because I agree, and because the original was an email.

From: http://www.socialsecurityworks.org/

There are two kinds of people who want to cut Social Security—liars, and people who believe the lies. They’ve heard the conservative talking points. “Social Security is going broke.” “Social Security won’t be there for me when I retire.” “The only way to save Social Security is to cut benefits.”

Unfortunately, these Wall Street funded lies have gotten plenty of traction in recent years. So much so that a recent survey shows that 43 percent of young people believe that Social Security won’t be there for them when they retire—no matter how much that same survey shows that these same young people want it to.

It’s time to set the record straight. This 4th of July weekend, when you’re speaking with your Chris Christie-loving cousin at the family BBQ, you have the facts on your side:

  • Social Security has a $2.8 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible person for nearly two decades. After that, even if we do nothing, it will pay out approximately 80% of benefits owed for the next 75 years.
  • Social Security has not contributed one penny to the deficit because it is independently funded by the FICA payroll tax.
  • Proposed “tweaks” to Social Security would hurt seniors, disabled veterans and people with disabilities.
  • All we need is to ask millionaires and billionaires to start paying into Social Security at the same rate as the rest of us and we not only extend the life of the Social Security trust fund, but we can expand benefits to the majority of Americans.

With the facts on our side, we have begun to see a dramatic shift in the national conversation around Social Security. It wasn’t that long ago that we were still fighting a “chained CPI” benefit cut being proposed by President Obama, all Republicans and some Democrats in Congress. Today, 44 out of 46 Senate Democrats and 116 out of 188 House Democrats have gone on record supporting expansion. And 79% of likely voters – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – support expansion!

Open letters to morgan

Integrity deficiency syndrome.

http://steamcommunity.com/app/266510/discussions/0/530645446319098357/

Update: “morgan” is now “DanT”

http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198004081221

2015-06-30_080302
“And the followup there is Innomen got banned….”

Not “I banned” but “got banned.” Like it was someone else. And certainly no link to the log of the conversation in question (found here: http://underlore.com/banned-from-hand-of-fate/)

God forbid you should let the plebs form their own informed opinions right? That’s why you went all memory hole on my comments in the first place. Isn’t it?

Real easy to win an argument when you can turn off my mic and erase history. But the best part for me is that we both know you’re aware of how devoid of integrity you are. (If this fact “insults” you, grow some integrity.) Which is why you’re only now forcing the last word into your pocket. You’re looking for absolution.

Well of course you’ll get it. You just implicitly threatened everyone. “Agree with me or you’re next.” That’s what you might as well have said. Well not everyone has my level of spine.

You do see how wildly childish that whole comment is don’t you? No one asked. And you didn’t give a damn about conversation flow before when you went all Minitrue on me before the ban. Because how dare I step up to a bully that’s doing your dirty work for you right?

You want to play like you’re this open accepting guy who can handle criticism of his work but clearly that’s a festering bowl of dog snot. (Bonus points for the readers if you caught that reference.)

Well I’ll help you out, Sure the plebs will lick your boot for you, threats of force are effective like that… But if you want a true believer just ask that Vred guy if you were justified in doing whatever the hell you feel like and can get away with, because no matter what you say, he’ll agree with you.

You could skin a kitten on YouTube and blame the users because you made a new forum rule against using the letter E on pain of kitten skinning and he’d be all scolding those who opposed you for being SJWs and not reading the rules and how you owned the kitten and you own the forum and blah blah blah.

And that’s the only kind of gamer you really want, and the log shows that. Sycophantic little toadies you can bully into saying or doing whatever you want and defend all your lousy greedy choices with their wallets nice and open.

You completely expected me to fold. You honestly thought your meaningless little scrap of power in your insignificant little corner of someone else’s back yard was enough to scare me into obedience. (We’re both on Gabe’s turf after all, but at least I’m not out on the corner making money for him in drag.) Heh, if only you knew me even a little. I once talked myself into a broken wrist. I just don’t care in this context.

You little petty tyrants crack me up when you write wildly biased subjective unilateral policy that serves no one but yourselves and then hide behind that policy like it’s an order you cannot disobey, oh woe is you, poor martyr. Never mind that even if that were true it would still be a bogus argument because “just following orders” absolves you of exactly nothing.

Bernie Sanders Email 2015-06-23

Dear Brandon –

When my Republican colleagues talk about “family values,” what they usually mean is opposition to a woman’s right to choose, opposition to contraception, opposition to gay rights, and support for abstinence-only education.

Let me give a somewhat different perspective on family values.

When a mother has a baby and is unable to spend time with that child during the first weeks and months of his or her life, that is not a family value.

When a wife is diagnosed with cancer and a husband cannot get time off of work to take care of her, that is not a family value.

When a mother is forced to send her sick child to school because she cannot afford to stay home with her, that is not a family value.

When a husband, wife, and kids, during the course of an entire year, are unable to spend any time together on vacation, that is not a family value.

The Republican agenda for families is really an attack on everything that a family is supposed to stand for.

When it comes to basic workplace protections and family benefits, workers in every other major industrialized country in the world get a better deal than workers in the United States. That should be an embarrassment to anyone who wants to talk seriously about family values in this country.

I’m running for president because I will stand for real family values. Please contribute $5 to our campaign now to help make paid family leave, sick days, and vacation days a reality for every working person in America.

It is not enough, though, to simply oppose the Republican agenda. That’s why I’m proud to tell you what I think is a true agenda for family values.

Every worker in America should be guaranteed at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. That is a family value.

It is insane that low wage workers in McDonald’s who get sick are forced to work because they cannot afford to miss work. Workers in this country must have paid sick time so they don’t get coworkers or customers sick on the job. That is a family value.

Every person who works for a living must have at least 10 days of paid vacation. Making sure families can afford to take some time off, without having to worry about going broke — that is a family value.

Let’s be clear: in terms of protecting the needs of our families, in many respects, the United States lags behind virtually every major country on earth.

Last place is no place for America. It is time to join the rest of the industrialized world by showing the people of this country that we are not just a nation that talks about family values — but that we are a nation that is prepared to live up to these ideals by making sure that workers in this country have access to paid family leave, paid sick time and paid vacations.

Can you help me carry this message in our campaign? Please contribute $5 now.

Thank you for all of your support,

– Bernie

Your Real Enemy

So amusing how effective the divide and conquer program is.

This isn’t about numbers or even trust. It’s about corporate beneficiaries of expertly manufactured bitterness and infighting.

Government is the only real enemy corporations have.  Thus corporations spend billions infiltrating via lobby and election funding/manipulation, and use that influence to degenerate government, to make it the untrustworthy parasitic thing so many of us tragically know it to be by and large in so many critical contexts, expressly to make us want to burn it rather than fix it. And failing that, to make us blame some other group, thing, or person. Something that is actually our ally from their perspective.

Though of course race and culture differences make that incredibly hard to intuit. After all, what right wing tea party tough guy can admit for a millisecond he has anything in common geopolitically with an exploited inner-city black mother?

That same black has probably been just as mind hacked as the hateful apparently have been, and hates you right back. If they even have the luxury of time to think of your existence at all, which is rare.

Regardless, what they want is for you to do anything but place blame where it actually belongs. Cynically, I can’t help but think maybe they deserve to be in charge given how expertly they manipulate the vast bulk of our emotions. But then if they were really that good, we would love them would we not? Their incompetence is obvious and heartening.

So called anti government types get their teen angst hate-the-man rage so expertly diverted away from its rightful target that nothing changes. At best. Very often things get worse. This helps them because the natural response, thanks to confirmation bias is to keep doing more of the same, creating a negative feedback loop.

Why? Because when people do things and they don’t work, they almost always think of whether or not they should do more or less of a thing, not whether they should do a different thing.

It’s so insidiously effective and yet painfully frustratingly obvious from the outside.

It essentially goes like this:

  • 1% manipulates mass emotion to invent the extreme right wing (see origins of tea party, follow the money)
  • 1% buys/corrupts the right wing from inside and out (explore history of actual smaller government fiscal conservatives, and how that morphed into police state corporate monopoly conservatives)
  • Right wing sabotages everything good about government and blames left wing and compassion itself.
  • 1% partly infiltrates left wing
  • Infiltrated progressive elements compromise to uselessness, empowering further sabotage and manipulation.
  • People as a result hate each other and government as distraction prevails.
  • 1% profits rise meteorically (Again, follow the money.)
  • 1% invests share of profits in politics and public relations manipulation. (The rise of the billionaire donor.) Lather rinse repeat.

If you say you already know government is corrupt then how dumb is it to blame government itself as your enemy? That’s a paradox. Think about it. If a corrupted government is a bad thing, then obviously an uncorrupted government is a good thing.

Either way your enemy is whatever corrupted the government, not government itself. That’s painfully easy to see if you follow the money. Or as they say in lobbying circles “lean towards the green” and they aren’t talking about the environment.

The sad point is this:

Democracy always puts the most effectively manipulative group in charge.

But of course most everyone on the right is likely to just slap a label on me which some corporate PR wizard invented to keep them all hating in the wrong, albeit comfortable, direction. Anywhere other than your true enemy.

Blame leftists, blame minorities, blame gays, blame men, blame women, blame poor people, blame technology, blame education, blame the sick, blame the old, blame the young, blame drugs, blame crime, blame compassion, etc. Just whatever you do don’t blame the 1%.

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” ~Max Planck

If he couldn’t convince his genius peers of basic things he could prove, what makes anyone think they can convince emotionally manipulated people who don’t have the time or inclination (or occasionally the ability,) to rationally self/policy examine?

These tea party types will likely literally die bitterly blaming one or more of their actual allies, having spent their entire life profiting their true enemy. Our only long term hope is that their children are wiser people than they, which fortunately, even among the broken, is a shared goal.

Any wise and compassionate parent wants their children to do and be better than they did.

As for the rest of you, cling to your illusions, or risk shedding them. The only thing that will change is how painful or how awesome your personal future is as a result.

See also: http://underlore.com/who-owns-your-limbic-system/

Why I don’t care about DRM.

The DRM debate to me is like the gay marriage debate: A dangerous diversion from a deeper more widespread, and more pressing problem.

(In the case of gay marriage the deeper issue is why we permit the state to regulate what is essentially a religious ritual in the first place. Marriage should not exist in any official capacity. It should not be an official status any more than the state of your baptism. I should not get a tax break or hike for participating in any religious ritual.)

In the case of DRM the deeper problem is intellectual property law (IPL) itself. DRM is part and parcel with IPL. The reason the anti-drm groups look frankly small time and a bit whacked out fringe is because of where they are attacking the logic chain. To the pro DRM crowd they are the enemy, and to the abolitionist crowd they seem like collaborators or traitors of some stripe. The anti-DRM movement seem to be a walking contradiction because if you assert or imply that IPL itself is ok, then the logic of DRM is quite sound. If on the other hand you assume that logic is bogus, then why are you limiting yourself to opposing DRM?

Anti-DRM groups by their very nature seem to imply a compromise. They suggest that the phenomenon of selling copies, selling strings of numbers, patenting numbers, is ok. They seem to say it’s just that how those laws are enforced that’s the problem.

They seem a little insane in their level of compromise. Whether or not that compromise is practical and wise politically is a separate issue. It would be like segregation era black arguing that the policy isn’t the problem, just the police violence that occurs when its enforced.

And if you think for one second this issue is trivial because games and movies, I remind you that these exact same laws apply to drugs and the food supply. Where do you think the drug companies got the legal framework that lets them charge what they want to whomever they want? Where do you think Monsanto got the idea of a terminator gene?

Compare anti DRM efforts with the people attacking the correct root, the hardcore abolitionists and the full on pirate party types who assert that the whole business model is unjust and more than a little insane. They somehow seem more serious, more credible. And there’s a whole lot more of them.

The reason a conservative 1% rules the world is because their opposition is by definition fragmented. There is only one status quo, one way it is, and there are a million different directions we can progress in.

That will always be the case, but you could at least get the progressives of whatever strike to be more effective if you could get it across to them that root problems are the ones worth curing.

Underlore © 2013