Posts Tagged ‘2017’

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By @anarchyroll

No thing quite says the Republican party of the United States of America like a tax cut.

Did you notice how quickly and easily Congress was able to push through a tax cut for the wealthy? Almost every other piece of legislation (except for military spending increases) that has been attempted to be passed over the past decade has been a textbook example of two-party democratic government not working. If 1980s Dominos Pizza was delivering this tax cut, the oligarchs would get it piping hot and received no discount..

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Every aspect of this Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is a big, bright, and bold example of how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer in America. Follow the money is an age old expression. Congressional gridlock shows just how true that is. Because the only bills that have moved quickly through Congress have been military spending increases and this tax cut. The military industrial complex (who own he Democratic Party like violent pimps) and the oligarchs. King Kong ain’t got shit on them.

This bill is less about the Republican Party and more about who they represent and who they work for. Is it half of the American population? Is it a loud minority? A silent majority? Follow the money, who does this tax cut benefit?

Passing legislation has come to a halt in America since the last two years of the George W Bush administration. There was that one big exception, but almost every other bill has been stuck in legislative gridlock hell that is the United States Congress. Healthcare reform, immigration reform, financial regulation, digital privacy protection, et al have moved at painfully slow speeds if at all. Even common sense, bipartisan bills have had a hard time even seeing the light of day on the floor of either house of Congress.

But a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans? A 500 page bill involving one of the largest transfers of wealth in the history of the country? Less than a month is more than enough time. How does that happen? Why does that happen? Is that not why we fled England in the first place? I guess no taxation without representation only applies to taxes going up and not taxes going down, on less than two percent of the population.

Is this a tax cut to benefit people making less than one hundred thousand dollars per year? Less than fifty? Less than thirty?  Many might snicker and say those making so little don’t pay taxes anyway. That is the problem isn’t it? There are vastly more people in the current society who will benefit more in the day to day lives from taxes collected on the wealthy (social safety nets, community services) than by a one time, minor at best, windfall from a tax cut/credit.

The tax bill moved so fast through both houses that they have needed double, if not triple the amount of time to take the bills into conference committees to negotiate and fix the numerous, egregious math and budgeting errors. Drafting and finalizing a compromise bill behind closed doors has taken the place of proper on the floor debate as a result of this Congress moving at lightning speed to pass a bill that no one had time to read, let alone make logical decisions based upon critical thinking.

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Congress rushed through this bill like a college kid rushing to finish a final paper or cramming at the last-minute for a midterm. There are two key differences there and that is that when a college kid waits until the last-minute to do their deep work it only affects them and their roommates. The legislative branch of the United States of America however, effects just slightly more people than a dormitorium.

Greed and corruption like this used to have the cover of a lack of transparency. In the era of telephones and television and newspapers and radios and telegraphs it was much easier for politicians to say X, do Y, and say the result is Z. The age of the smartphone makes it easier to be shady, but much harder to keep it a secret. The wave of careers being ended by sexual misconduct allegations from Hollywood to Washington is evidence of this.

What is also apparent when held up to the light of day is the fact that this bill is amoral. Ethics, budgets, math do not apply to this trillion dollar wealth transfer. Negotiated in secret, passed before it could be read, full of so many errors that both the House and Senate versions needed to be negotiated so much they were both essentially rewritten. How does the urgency of this compare to the passing of hurricane relief to Puerto Rico?

The tax cut of 2017 that has been instituted by the Republican party has been called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 by some and the #TaxScamBill by others. Terms of endearment or damnation depending on which side of the political aisle and socioeconomic spectrum one falls on. What are facts and not opinions however are that this bill was so rushed it wasn’t read or proofread by the people who wrote it. That there were so many earmarks in there in such short order that many proved to be illegible when held up to the light of day or a camera

This tax cut is like putting your coat down at a bar, turning your back for a minute, then turning back to find someone going through the pockets and them playing dumb about it. They know what they’re doing, but are hoping to use ignorance as a guise for willful immorality.

 

 


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By @anarchyroll

Do social media platforms or the people running them have a responsibility to the public or to the republic? Is it in the nature of the services to spread modern-day propaganda which has been repackaged as fake news? Are these mediums a cause for negative events or are they simply mirrors and microphones? Are they bringing the worst out of people and society? Or are they just the biggest magnifying glass in the history of the species?

Are these services really that much different from the mediums that came before them? Radio and television have the exact same purpose as social media services…..to sell ads and the information about the people who consume them.

There is no moral compass at play with Facebook, with Twitter, especially with Google or Instagram or Snapchat. They are capitalist enterprises with one reason for existing, to make money. So if one or all of the companies get offered a lot of money from a foreign country to run political ads during a presidential campaign, why wouldn’t they take the money and put the content on their platform?

Oh, the information was blatantly false? It was straight up propaganda from a foreign government? Yeah okay but, they paid up front. Money talks. In America the Supreme Court has literally said money equals speech.

If anyone thinks Facebook or Google has a moral compass or conscious, try and find out exactly what they’re doing with all that personal metadata they mine from everyone who uses their services and/or apps.

It is not just a little too late to have the “ so social media companies have a responsibility” argument. That ship sailed once the collective population decided we didn’t want our phones to be phones anymore. Once the companies realized they were able to tap into our collective dopamine addictions by turning what used to be a portable audio communicator into a slot machine that can fit into a skinny jeans pocket, responsibility went right out the window.

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Do casinos have a responsibility to their guests other than making them enjoy losing their wages? Of course not, the whole business model is built around taking money out of people’s pockets and into the casino safe. Well social media is the casino and our attention and personal information is the cash.

On top of all that, Facebook (which owns Instagram), Twitter, and Snapchat are publicly traded companies. So quite literally, their only responsibility is to maximize profits for their shareholders. Their collective interest in the health of democracy only goes as far as the stock market opening and closing on time.

Americans love social media. We also love seeing powerful people get yelled at in public by elected officials. Dogs and ponies are adorable, who wouldn’t want to see a whole show of them? Well we got the best of both worlds last week when lawyers representing the big social media players went to capitol hill and got a verbal spanking from some very angry public officials.

It was modern American politics personified. Verbal spankings, non answers, legislation proposed but not supported, visual aide charts, legal jargon, and pledges to do better in the future. The vitriol directed at social media is just a reflection of our collective anger at ourselves. We’re angry for thinking social media would be a tool for good and not just a tool to make money.

We’re angry at ourselves for being so readily fooled by fake news that we’re all to easily manipulated into believing are the real thing. We’re angry at ourselves because we thought the internet, and the web 2.0 that social media represents would make us more informed and more united. Instead it’s deepened our divide and by putting our preexisting confirmation biases on technological steroids.

Our elected officials can yell at high-priced lawyers all they want. Public berating is much easier than putting regulations into place. It’s easier for Facebook and Twitter to higher more lobbyists than more moderators to discern what is being put on their platforms, by whom, and for what purpose. It’s easier to apologize later than to do the right thing in the moments of choice. We know this. That’s why we’re not angry at social media for what happened during the 2016 election season, we’re angry at ourselves.

 

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By @anarchyroll

What does it feel like to tell someone they must remain sick or die so that you can have more disposable income? In America, you indirectly tell people through backdoor lobbying of elected representatives with dark money.

What is the cost of living? Is there a societal flash point where that question is addressed out in the open collectively? In 2017, it feels like that point may be boiling closer to the surface than ever before. It was thought that the question was asked and answered in 2010 with the passing of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) into law.

What was learned was that there were a great volume of people who benefited from having access to health insurance who didn’t before and there was a large volume of money spent to resist the legislation at every possible turn. It seemed like a vocal majority of the country enjoyed what the ACA did for them. We also found out from the 2016 presidential election, that the silent majority of this country (whites) knows how and when to make a stink.

Repeal and Replace has been a battle cry for over half a decade for the Republican Party and the top one percent of economic earners whom they represent. Obamacare was nowhere near unflawed. Despite its limitations, holes, and warts it did accomplish something that those on the left have been championing for almost a century; access to free/low-cost healthcare to millions of people regardless of political affiliation or belief.

The masses have had a whiff, a taste, a sample of universal health care…there is no going back.

Republicans currently control the United States government. They have the executive and legislative branches and are gaining control of the judiciary. With such deep and vast control, they have been unable to eliminate Obamacare. How? The only thing that’s stopping them is the voting public. Who would’ve thought that an approval rating of 24% as a Congress compared to a 55% approval rating of Obamacare would create obstacles in a democracy?

There used to be this thing called give and take, compromise for short. In terms of economic policy in America for the past half century, it has become take, take, take. Income inequality is at eye-popping levels. Social media has put a magnifying glass on the haves in America. Their appetites of ego and greed has had them binge sharing their lives via smartphones for a decade. One thing all of these filtered and geo tagged pictures, videos, and stories have made clear; is that the 1% can never get enough.

I suppose it would be great to live our lives on permanent vacation. Is that not the end result of the American Dream? Going from the beach, to the boat, to the club, to the rooftop bar, to the personal jet, to the invitation only party, in the unlisted restaurant, at the private island, etc. This lifestyle requires opting out of the social contract, it is an evolution of the gated community.

To live these contribution-less lifestyles, there must be a transfer of wealth without physical labor or violence. The American Health Care Act of 2017 has been independently shown to be nothing more than a tax cut for and transfer of wealth to the top one percent of income earners in America. It is a money grab through the legislative process. It is a bank heist through legal channels.

Okay, that might be too cynical of a view. We should be glass half full kind of people. It’s better to just think of the repercussions of this bill, as a cost of living adjustment.

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By @anarchyroll

The golden rule. Only hard to abide when it is an inconvienience to our ego.

The right to privacy is not explicitly stated in the US Constitution. However, Americans have since the country’s inception, have implicitly demanded a right to privacy. If that were not the case, the Quartering Act of 1765 wouldn’t have been a big deal, catalyst for the colonies.

Americans work hard. So whether or not we play hard or not, we seemingly demand to know that if we do play hard that it will remain our business. What is our business? Whatever we do when we are not trading our time for money or services from another person or persons. That time off the clock, that is our personal time, our free time.

Personal and free are two words the vast majority of Americans take to heart regardless of age, creed, color, sex, or status. What we do with our personal/free time is nobodies business but our own as long as no laws are broken.

Is that not the perceived right to privacy? Is that asking too much?

Apparently the ask is too low because it is a right that has been bought and sold in a deal between the Republican controlled Congress and Internet Service Providers. The only thing surprising is how public and unapologetic the entire thing was. The legislation may have been crafted in the smokey backrooms of private Washington D.C establishments, but the sellout was done very much in the public eye.

The legislation was covered both by the internet press and mainstream media. There was plenty of outrage but very little resistance. The parties that will benefit from this have gerrymandered themselves into partisan footholds of the legislative branch. Hardline partisan politcal lines have been made facing consequences for many in Congress as much a part of the past as the personal privacy they just stripped away from everyday Americans.

Privacy may not be good enough for common folks anymore, but those in power still command it. Literally at the same time Congress took away privacy from the public, the White House announced it would no longer make public its visitor list citing “privacy concerns“. This two faced hypocrisy is a poster for why having a title or position of power does NOT make a person a leader.

Taking away from the many and giving more of it to the few. Yep, that is what America was founded on alright. That is definitely the cornerstone of American values. That is what the grand experiment of democracy is all about right? Right?

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By @anarchyroll

In his first weekly address, Trump made sure to speak to what he called the forgotten Americans. Do you know who those people are? If you don’t, you are apart of the problem, not the solution.

If you live in a major metropolitan city, with a job dependent on technology, an artistic mindset, a liberal paradigm: with no understanding or empathy for the old, rural, industrial, rust belt, baseball, apple pie Americana folks who have been left behind since the 1970s…then your faux rage, uproar, rallies, marches, and hashtag revolts are not only irrelevant, but also impetice for Trump’s re election.

Remember how galvanized the left was after eight years of republican rule in America. When two wars were stared. Stem cell therapy was disabled. Religion was prioritized over science. Then a mixed race gentleman ran for the highest office in the land with the potential to make history, The level of enthusiasm, effort, and existential encouragement to reach beyond the brass ring for annals of history was no longer a wet dream of ideology but a forgone consequence the rise of a political base.

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Empathy and compromise must be paid to the south and rust belt at some point. The former Confederacy has been guaranteed red on the electoral map for many generations now. The former manufacturing havens of the mid west have turned electorally red year by year. If the deep blue states of California and Illinois can have red governors multiple times over in recent years, then red states can change majors in the electoral college as well.

The Affordable Care Act has caught on quite well in the Bible belt and the new Pope says a lot of leftist things. Is there not common ground to be gained there?

Trump winning the elections defied many perceived norms. But one old school norm that holds true is that all politics are local. There must be focus paid to state elections. One vote doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot in a national election. But in state, county, and township elections one vote can go a long way. There must be national emphasis paid to state elections. That may sound like a lot. But in the era of the never-ending news cycle and the unquenchable thirst for content of varying quality, a national spotlight paid to local elections is a natural fit. Think I’m stretching here? Watch a major sports network during an off-season or a preseason.

Solar power is creating more jobs than the coal industry. Legalized marijuana will be creating more jobs than the manufacturing sector. Both of those things scream common ground for liberals and conservatives. But can that common ground be found if we are all lost in the trees of pundit reactivity?

There is a decent percentage of people on each side who are lost. Too dug in the trenches of their side as if it will give them bonus points in this life or the next. But there are vastly more people who simply want a to live a happy life without hurting anyone. If everyone had more income than debt, only the freaks would care about getting rid of second amendment or transgender rights.

But that common ground must be diligently searched for through action and policy. Rhetoric and campaign promises are simply not good enough. The forgotten Americans have been left behind for almost half a century. Their anger is as justified as it is misdirected. Who closed the factories? Who outsourced the jobs? Who cut the aide checks? The answer is not liberal elites.

It isn’t ridicule nor parades that will convince the forgotten Americans about the wonders of social progressivism. It is a path out of poverty that involves a purpose. For generations politicians have leveraged social issues against economics to channel the angry attention away from the people who closed the factories and outsourced their jobs towards the sex, science, and sin of city dwellers.

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Getting angry or nasty and marching in the streets of major metropolitan cities does nothing but satisfy ego and social media content appetite. The actual work must be done in the broken rural communities of the country that have been so economically depressed and culturally starved for so long that they have become nationally infamous as centers for the meth and opium epidemics of the past decade.

So instead of trying to cram fringe left-wing issues down America’s throat from New York and LA, try putting boots, brains, and plans of action on the ground one flyover state at a time. The rust belt must be acknowledged and tended to. From factory towns to mill villages. These people need to be explained, then shown through action, a plan for sustainable economic success in the knowledge worker age. Until this entire section of the country, until these forgotten Americans are given a hand up from the other side of the aisle, transgender rights, environmental accountability, progressive income taxes, and marijuana legalization are all mere pipe dreams of a voting block too apathetic and naive to bring about the real change they publically pout about with placards and impotent anger.

By @anarchyroll

Have you heard that Donald Trump is the POTUS?

People are either in ectasy or agony with very little middle ground. He won the electoral college by a large margin. An electorate of very excited, engaged, angry voters who wanted change. Does that sound familiar? It should, that’s how Obama surged into the White House in 2008.

I had a female in my social circle shed a few tears saying she was worried Trump will bring about the apocalypse. The apocalypse? I literally had to calm her down by taking some deep breaths and then consoled her using positive skepticism. I told her, that Trump is a businessman, if he destroys the world, how is he going to make any money?

There is a limit to how bad Trump can make things. It is built into the Constitution as well as the Democratic party’s bureaucracy machine that like the RNC and lobbyists, is dug into the D.C political scene like a tick. Try not to get lost in the media industrial complex’s nonstop coverage and punditry of what Trump is doing. Bullet point reviews will do just fine, you know where you stand on the issues he is tackling, there is no need, nor any good to come from watching hours and hours of talking heads enveloping what he is doing.

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I proudly voted for Bernie Sanders in the Illinois Democratic Primary Election. I voted for Jill Stein in November because I live in Illinois and in Illinois the vote for President doesn’t matter…Dukakis won our state in 88 after all. I am also a white male, I can’t pretend to relate to what women and immigrants are experiencing internally with Trump in office.

I do feel that the ramifications of Trump’s potential actions are being sensationalized in the name of a never ending loop of creating content to sell to advertisers. Evoking intense emotional response for the sake of ratings and revenue regardless of where one gets their news, fake or legit.

I also feel that the galvanization of democrat, liberal, independent, female, minority, and youth voters is exactly what our country needs and has needed for a long time. Too many people, myself included, checked out when Obama took office. Obama ran a campaign on hope, once elected, the left felt victory had been achieved permanently. A natural human instinct to think that since we just swept the floor, the dust and dirt will stay away forever.

Unfortunately the floor gets dirty again, the dishes need to get rewashed, the hamper fills back up, the bills keep getting sent. The same goes for voting. The other side of the aisle doesn’t pack it in just because they lose one election or two or three. One must continuously go to the polls to further push or cement their political agenda whether liberal or conservative. And by one, I mean EVERYONE!

Trump has certainly lit a fire under the ass of a lot of voters. That is a good thing in the long term. Yes, in the short term it will be painful especially for immigrants, women, the impoverished, and environmentalists. But in the long term if those who are angry, nasty, marching, protesting, paying attention, and getting involved can stay that way, then actually show up in mass to the fucking mid term elections then maybe “progress” can begin anew.