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My response to Michael Charney's response to my Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative Essay

My response to Michael Charney's response to my Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative Essay | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by ERIC BYLER


TONIGHT on Coffee Party Radio, Michael and I will start The Middle Ground at a special time: 7:30 pm ET. We'll go for the 90 minutes leading up to the second Presidential Debate.  CLICK HERE to listen live, or call in at 646-929-2495.  Our topic: "Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative."


This is an email from me to Michael Charney re. Charney's latest blog which was a response to my blog, both in preparation for tonight's radio show.


Everything you wrote was perfectly clear and delightfully illuminating, except that I haven't read The Fountainhead so the absurdity of the contrast was somewhat lost on me.  I love the point that it's no fault of the term, but a fault of the loose way that people use it, that we aren't sure quite what it means.  


I do think we're on to something.  I fully realize that the "who's not" socially moderate & fiscally responsible is the shrinking Republican base. As I often say, the ruling class knows this group is shrinking, that's why such drastic measures are being taken to bolster its influence with money and all that it buys, including new voter suppression laws and Supreme Court decrees like "Citizens United."    


But, if the People can counter Big Money + Big Media with massive participation + social media, the inevitability that the former is meant to prevent will not be preventable.   I know that social conservatives seem ferocious right now. They yell at us, they threaten us, they bring guns to public meetings, and of course they vote.  But truly, where would they be without Big Money + Big Media?  The only reason that the ruling class invests in BM + BM (and uses it to provoke conflict on social issues) is that it wins elections.  What if it didn't? The changes I predict could happen much faster than you might think.    


Right now, BM + BM is unnaturally inflating the power and the intensity of social conservatism.  Sure, I know it's out there, but I believe that social conservatism could not, in today's America, continue to be a national organizing principle without Fox News and the Republican party manipulating and provoking us.


If the Fox News/GOP establishment decided that stoking social conservatism is no longer a winning formula, they would change their script, shoot a different movie, and, offer different candidates.  (Or, they could offer the same candidates reading a different script).  They'd push the Republican base, and thereby their candidates toward the gradual changes you mention.  


They'd seek to build a coalition that includes constituencies that are not shrinking, and will always be there, for instance, socially-liberal-fiscally-responsible people.  Then, the choices we'd be focusing upon would be filled with substance rather than bluster.  They'd fall between where you see things and I see things, or, where Jon Huntsman wants to take the country and Hillary Clinton wants to take it.  Wouldn't that be nice?  


Some things I want to cover in tonight's radio show:  


  • Where do you and I disagree, let's try to fight about it! (=
  • Why isn't the Libertarian party the answer?
  • Is there really no such thing as a fiscal liberal? 
  • It seems we've created a new tent that begins with the premise that social conservatives are icky and money in politics is bad.  Is that a coalition to build upon, or does it just seem that way because we feel passionately about it?
  • Are we stumbling upon the formula that can heal the country after the election and gradually put our country on a sustained right track?

_________________________________


READ the original essay by Eric Byler

READ the Michael Charney response


LISTEN to The Middle Ground with Michael Charney & Eric Byler tonight (10/16) at 7:30 pm ET


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Taxing Truths, Especially for Conservatives

Taxing Truths, Especially for Conservatives | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by Greg Russak


"And taxes stayed pretty much just that way for the next 15 years, until the early 1960s. Importantly, this was one of the most successful eras in US economic history. The middle class boomed, the economy boomed, and the stock market boomed. And all with the top marginal income tax rate over 90%. This suggests that the Republican mantra about high marginal tax rates killing the economy is, well, a bunch of crap."

Henry Blodget,  “THE TRUTH ABOUT TAXES: Here’s How High Today’s Rates Really Are”, Business Insider

 

Blodget is not the left’s fool, errand boy, or mouthpiece. He spent time on Wall Street and attracted AG Spitzer’s sufficient attention to necessitate a change to his career path that divested him from securities trading forever.

 

That said, when Blodget collects and presents facts about the economy and, in this case, tax rates, it’s not as if we’re getting the information from Ed Schultz or, for that matter, Glenn Beck.

 

Here’s a tip for the holidays!

 

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Let's #NeverForget915 and the Lies of Trickle-Down Economics

Let's #NeverForget915 and the Lies of Trickle-Down Economics | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by Greg Russak

 

On this, the 5th anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, Americans should take time to pause and remember this as yet another heinous crime of historic proportions perpetrated on Americans on a day in September.

 

It wasn’t terrorists and it wasn’t Main Street who killed our economy. No, this crime was perpetrated on us by a conspiracy forged between Big Money on Wall Street and Small (not Big!) Government politicians who carry their water and actually pass rules and laws that make the crime legal.

 

That means we’re also to blame. Actually, it’s not all of us who must share the blame.

 

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Leaders Admit Their Mistakes; Obama Should Admit His About Attacking Syria

Leaders Admit Their Mistakes; Obama Should Admit His About Attacking Syria | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by Greg Russak


In response to a thought-provoking post, Syria-sly, Mr. President?, by my good friend, Michael Charney.


Thank you for sharing your post, Michael. I ‘Like’ that you shared it with me. It, along with tonight’s Middle Ground blogtalk show, really got me thinking more about Syria and what to do.


My views differ from yours.


First, I disagree that leaders cannot take back their words. What I have learned about effective leaders, in fact, is that the very best can and do take back their words and their decisions when they discover them to be wrong. In this case, the president was and still is wrong about taking military action against Syria.


Let me also say this about leaders. No one is perfect. It’s childish for us to keep holding our elected leaders to such an unattainable standard as perfect decision-making.


As such and as a leader, President Obama should now admit his mistake while he details better alternatives to yet another US-led military action against a foreign government in the Middle East. Syria, just like Iraq, has not attacked us. Syria cannot attack us. Syria doesn’t really represent a vital national interest to us (our commitments to protect Israel are not at issue yet). Syria represents essentially no threat to us with their military. [MORE]

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A message of empathy to the far right

A message of empathy to the far right | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by JOHN CASHON


Protecting our constitutional rights is the reason given by many different conservative groups today and for different reasons, but the idea of freedom and rights is strong in all of us, no matter who you are.


Close you eyes and imagine different groups saying that you are not entitled to the rights given to everyone else. They despise you and call you every derogatory name in the book, and they are condescending toward you like you are stupid, while others tell you that you aren’t even human.


To gain their rights as human beings, African Americans that marched for the civil rights movement had the courage to stand up against police trying to beat them to death, dogs attacking them, fire hoses trained at them, angry mobs in hooded white robes trying to hang them, bombs placed in their churches, arrests, and murderers of their friends not being convicted and freed from any wrongdoing. [MORE]

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Greg Russak's comment, August 24, 2013 9:41 AM
Great piece, John. Just a little "walking a mile in their shoes" would go a long way, wouldn't it?
John Cashon's comment, August 24, 2013 9:43 AM
Thanks Greg. Yes, something that is not done enough today.
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Capitol Hill's Brain Drain?

Capitol Hill's Brain Drain? | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it
by GREG RUSSAK

This caused fears that staff would suddenly face sharply higher healthcare costs and leave federal service, causing a “brain drain” on Capitol Hill.”  

<Insert snarky joke here.>


David Lawder’s article about what has happened and is happening now over this issue of Congressional health insurance premiums is more evidence of how completely dysfunctional our – rather, what used to be ‘our’ – Congress has become.


First, there’s Iowa GOP Senator Grassley. He writes an amendment to The Affordable Care Act demanding that Congress and their staff be forced to buy health insurance from the Obamacare exchanges. Forget the fact that the Act and its exchanges were designed for people without employer-sponsored healthcare insurance, not for people who already have it.


C’est la vie. Politics is politics.


Grassley and the GOP presumably felt compelled to obstruct and obfuscate yet again. That’s their modus operandi these days. They’re perfectly comfortable knowing that Grassley’s amendment made no sense and had no applicability in the real world of The Affordable Care Act. Politics in its purest form really.


Speaking of true-to-form politics, the Democrats next proceeded to cave on Grassley’s amendment. I’m sorry, they ‘comprised’ in order to…..what exactly? Not a single Republican voted for Obamacare and it seems they never will. The Democrats seem incapable of negotiating with anyone but themselves most of the time and the GOP knows it.


So now that they’re all facing the reality of actually having to pay much more for their own healthcare coverage under Grassley’s amendment, the Democrats are worried about a ‘brain drain’ from Capitol Hill? 


Not to worry. Remember, this is politics. [MORE]

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Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream | Documentary about Income Inequality | Independent Lens | PBS

Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream | Documentary about Income Inequality | Independent Lens | PBS | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it
See on Scoop.it - DidYouCheckFirst

 

Filmmaker Alex Gibney depicts an uneasy coexistence of wealth and poverty along one New York City thoroughfare.

 

Greg Russak‘s insight:

The greatest problem we face in American society? The corrupting influence of far too much money being poured into politics by such an infinitesimally small group of incredibly wealthy and powerful people.

 

The second greatest threat? There’s no easy or other way to say it. It’s average Americans buying into their lies.

 

We can’t deny that there are competing political ideologies at work. It should be understood – and as this documentary points out – that it’s not just Republicans and it’s not just Democrats. Each vie for and enjoy their own share of the wealthy’s attention and largess.

 

This video really is well worth the time. (The entire documentary is on Netflix or YouTube.)

 

I hope that after you watch it you’ll be moved to do your part to get money out of politics by becoming a citizen co-sponsor of the American Anti-Corruption Act at http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

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Dear Gov Corbett: Time to Support Same-Sex Marriage in PA

Dear Gov Corbett: Time to Support Same-Sex Marriage in PA | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by GREG RUSSAK


Dear Governor Corbett:


Please support the rights of all gay citizens in Pennsylvania to equal treatment under the law by supporting same-sex marriage.


I realize this isn’t a simple or straightforward idea for you and your party; however, I respectfully suggest you consider this simple fact: your failure to do so will ensure your place on the wrong side of history.


No one remembers that Governor George Wallace eventually renounced segregation. He’s remembered only as a racist segregationist standing in a doorway. Politicians today who oppose gay marriage will suffer the same judgment, now and for all time.


You know, just as we all do, that same-sex marriage is a long-overdue civil rights issue. The tide has already turned. You cannot fight it or hold it back. No one can, and there is no going back, either. That’s as it should be.


Now is the time to do the right thing, and not only because it’s the right thing to support equality for all citizens but because, as I know you know as a politician, same-sex marriage has the support of a majority of Americans, including Independent voters. [MORE]

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Ted Cruz's 12-Step Program for Citizenship

Ted Cruz's 12-Step Program for Citizenship | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by Greg Russak


Ted Cruz loves to tout how his dad, Rafael, got here the “right way.”


Here’s the 12-step program Rafael followed. It’s so simple why doesn’t every immigrant simply follow it?


1. Fight alongside Communists in a revolution to overthrow a U.S.-backed leader


2. Get captured by the government forces


3. Have father’s lawyer friend bribe officials to get released


4. Get 4-year student visa to attend college in the United States


5. Wash dishes 7 days a week for 50 cents an hour to pay your way through the University of Texas (That is some cheap tuition!)


6. Obtain political asylum in the U.S. when your student visa runs out


7. Get a green card.


8. Marry an American women


9. Move to Canada and have a baby who eventually grows up to be elected as a tea partying Senator from – you guessed it – Texas


10. Work in the Canadian oil industry


11. Become a Canadian citizen


12. Change your mind, come back to America, and become a US citizen 48 years after leaving your homeland, citing your own “laziness” for why it took so long


Ted Cruz is a hateful fraud and a liar.


Anyone who sides with him on immigration needs to understand what a tortured lie his so-called “right way” story is about his father and how hypocritical he is on immigration.


Read or listen to Rafael tell his own story – and catch Ted’s lies about it – here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/06/20/193585553/how-ted-cruzs-father-shaped-his-views-on-immigration

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Now We're Angry About Spying?

Now We're Angry About Spying? | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by GREG RUSSAK,


None of the revelations so far surrounding PRISM strike me as all that newsworthy. Our country’s leaders have had a long love affair with spying.


The real question is why the sudden outrage and worry about the government abusing this power? Even better, where was the outrage from the right when Bush was doing it illegally?


It is understood that NSA spying didn’t originate with Obama, right?


And by the way, Obama was not the president who duped us into believing we needed to amp up the federal government’s powers with something so deceptively labeled and expertly marketed to us as The Patriot Act.


Besides, isn’t it those of us on the left who ought to be the most outraged with Obama over his willingness to walk a trail blazed mostly, but not exclusively, by his immediate predecessor? Instead, it seems mostly to be the right’s latest excuse to label something as an “Obamanation.” (Cute, huh?)


Well, here’s my take on this outrage du jour. [MORE]

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Where Was GOP Outrage Before Benghazi?

Where Was GOP Outrage Before Benghazi? | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by GREG RUSSAK


I find the GOP’s outrage over Benghazi to not only be an insult to everyone who died in the illegal and unjust wars waged by Cheney and Bush, it’s an insult to every thoughtful American who knows full well what they’re doing now. They stayed silent in the Bush years because it wasn’t in their political interest to express any real and sincere outrage at a time when it was actually justified. Now they want us to think they’ve suddenly developed a conscience?


For most politicians, outrage is put on display only when it suits them and their purposes. The GOP have become absolute masters at this since the 2008 election. This feigned outrage over Benghazi is just the latest example. It’s a weak and pathetic attempt to dupe Americans into believing that the White House and the State Department actually colluded and intentionally misled us so that Obama could win reelection.


News flash: He didn’t need the help. It was a landslide on every level and in every demographic except older whites.(MORE)

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Mass Shootings: The Numbers Don't Lie

Mass Shootings: The Numbers Don't Lie | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by GREG RUSSAK


If it feels like gun violence has gotten worse since the expiration of the assault weapons ban, it has.


This Facebook meme was the topic of some discussion today.


Predictably, there were opinions in support of and in opposition to the proposition that mass killings are up since the assault weapons ban was allowed to expire.


Is there a cause and effect as the meme clearly implies? I don’t know so let’s put that debate aside for the moment and just look at some facts and some data.


I love facts and data. They don’t lie and they have no agenda (except in the hands of those with one).


I don’t deny that I support some pretty significant changes to gun laws as a way to have an effect on gun violence. As for the data, here’s the most extensive analysis I’ve found so far. Most of it comes from Mother Jones. [MORE]


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A muckraking history to remember

A muckraking history to remember | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by JOHN CASHON


The muck was kicked up and it got on everything that the big leaders of industry of the day were trying to do to make more profit. The muckrakers had arrived.


It was a time, in the early twentieth century, when anything could be done to make a profit, at the expense of the workers and the consumers. Among some of the practices were farmers being charged unfair rates by the railroad industry to move their produce, packing industries that didn’t concern themselves with health and safety issues, and deplorable working conditions were being placed upon the workers at many factories, including the children that were also working as laborers.


At the same time, there were many local, state and federal elected leaders that were profiting by allying themselves with these industries, at the expense of the public.


It was writers, photographers and journalists that exposed these practices, and a form of the term muckraker was first used by Theodore Roosevelt, when he delivered his ‘The Man with the Muck-Rake‘ speech on April 15, 1906, in Washington, D.C.:


"In Pilgrim’s Progress the Man with the Muck Rake is set forth as the example of him whose vision is fixed on carnal instead of spiritual things. Yet he also typifies the man who in this life consistently refuses to see aught that is lofty, and fixes his eyes with solemn intentness only on that which is vile and debasing.


Now, it is very necessary that we should not flinch from seeing what is vile and debasing. There is filth on the floor, and it must be scraped up with the muck rake; and there are times and places where this service is the most needed of all the services that can be performed."


While the original meaning of ‘muckrake’ was someone that raked for dung, it has become known today as someone that searches out and publicly exposes real or apparent misconduct of a prominent individual or business, but this kind of reporting has been playing second fiddle to the sensational 24/7 style of reporting being employed by the cable networks today. [MORE]

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'Whale-sized' Proof That Wall Street Can't Be Trusted

'Whale-sized' Proof That Wall Street Can't Be Trusted | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by GREG RUSSAK,


Wall Street is proving once again that they simply cannot be trusted. What is required is even greater and stronger regulation, not less. We also need laws that expeditiously put bankers in jail for the kinds of willfully unethical actions undertaken by JP Morgan senior managers in the London Whale escapade.


Few of us are likely to read a 307-page Senate report. Instead, read Gretchen Morgenson’s New York Times article, “JP Morgan’s Follies, for All to See” from March 16.


Wall Street remains out of control. In fact, they are now a greater threat to stability in the global economy than before the crash they caused just five short years ago.


It’s also important to understand and admit that Dodd-Frank is not strong enough despite any accusations over its supposedly onerous overreach.


What other conclusions can anyone come to when the government seems powerless to foresee and forestall the world’s largest derivatives trader, a firm described as “the bank that enjoys the best reputation among its peers,” from acting with this kind of hubris, impunity, and disregard for ethical conduct? [MORE]

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How I Overcame Being Ashamed of My Country

How I Overcame Being Ashamed of My Country | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by David Biddle

 

An American Education

 

Back in the 1970s I stayed seated whenever the national anthem was played during public events. A number of us did. It was a small form of civil disobedience and I’m sure it pissed a lot of people off, but it seemed necessary: we were fighting a war in Vietnam that made no sense and forcing young men into the draft. I didn’t like the national anthem, and I was pretty discouraged by the very sight of Old Glory, too.

 

I’m not sure how much of this behavior came about due to anger and how much was a result of shame. Besides a stupid war, we also had problems with how government and big business both polluted our water, land, and air. Women were still treated as second class citizens — as were minorities — and the U.S. face-off with the so-called “Red Menace” of China and the old U.S.S.R. seemed to be sapping our ability to invest in progress and prosperity at home. On top of all that, my generation felt that the national emphasis on material consumer culture was demoralizing and superfluous.

 

So, from the time I was 15 until I was 18 I made a nuisance of myself at the beginning of public events wherever I went. I did not stand for the national anthem — or the pledge of allegiance — for four years.

 

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https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/42816e59e584

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Republican Voters: You're Shutting Down Yourselves and Your Neighbors

Republican Voters: You're Shutting Down Yourselves and Your Neighbors | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by Greg Russak


Whether shutting it down temporarily or shrinking the government permanently, the facts are that doing so tends to hurt the people in Republican states more than other states and to greater degrees than Republican voters seem to realize or are willing to admit.


On Friday, September 27th, The New York Times published Off the Charts: Big Government States. The charts don’t lie, and the opening statement sums it up:

 

"States with a larger government presence — as measured by either employment or economic impact — tended to vote Republican in the 2012 election, while states with a smaller government presence tended to vote Democratic."


It begs a couple of questions.

 

Do Republican voters understand that they are more often the greater beneficiaries of direct government employment? They and their neighbors are more likely to actually work for the government. When the government shuts down or shrinks, that hurts their neighbors and the economy in the same way that a layoff or business shutdown in their community does. [Read More:https://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/republican-voters-youre-shutting-down-yourselves-and-your-neighbors/ ]


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Of UPS, Whole Foods, and Our Values as a Society

Of UPS, Whole Foods, and Our Values as a Society | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by GREG RUSSAK


UPS is not alone in blaming Obamacare for recent business decisions. In the case of UPS, their decision is to drop benefits for the working spouses of 15,000 white-collar, non-union workers(1). Makes me wonder if fellow white-collar workers are paying attention to the details.


If you’re like me and you try to be a conscientious consumer who makes purchasing decisions that send a message, then here’s a list of other major corporations who are actively opposing the Affordable Care Act(2):


McDonald’s
Whole Foods
Papa John’s
Cheesecake Factory
Boeing
CKE (owner of Hardee’s)
Jimmy John’s


Whom do the above (excluding Boeing and UPS) generally employ and who will be hurt the most if these large and profitable corporations cut back on benefits, reduce workers’ hours, curtail new hiring, and raise prices as their response to the Affordable Care Act?


Hint: It won’t be the senior corporate managers making these decisions, their boards of directors, or the shareholders to whom they answer. [MORE]

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Whale-Sized Gambles, Lies, and Empty Apologies

Whale-Sized Gambles, Lies, and Empty Apologies | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by GREG RUSSAK


Wall Street is the apex of legal gambling. It always has been.


It’s not called gambling, of course, but we should understand that that’s precisely what it is.


Perhaps the question for those of us living in a free market economy ruled by this astronomically lucrative gambling is, “Should we trust the gamblers to do anything except what benefits them the most?”


The answer seems clear to me. We cannot.


Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times has hit the nail squarely yet again in The Problem With Wiggle Room in Securities.


“…the case against Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout, two of the bank’s traders, has larger lessons for investors and regulators. One has to do with the risks inherent in opaque, over-the-counter markets, where securities’ prices can’t be seen and so can be easily manipulated. Another involves the fairly significant leeway that financial firms have in valuing the securities they trade and hold.”


Personally, I have a hard time feeling any empathy with or sympathy for either the speculative bankers or their large clients. If two parties agree to place bets on something, I’m ok with that. And while I have only contempt for people who obfuscate the truth in “the real world”, I’ve played enough poker to know before the cards are dealt that that’s part of the game.


But, we’re not playing poker here. The gambling on Wall Street affects all of us, especially when loses mount. It just seems that Wall Street continues to prove that they cannot be trusted, and our elected leaders seem to refuse to fight them on our behalf. [MORE]


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We shall endure

We shall endure | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by JOHN CASHON


We have endured a civil war, multiple depressions and recessions, dreadful Supreme Court decisions, regional and world wars, a cold war, and divisive partisan rhetoric, but now it seems to some, due to our current political and economic hardships, that our government needs to return to an interpretation of the Constitution that was argued over one hundred years ago.


Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced legislation to enforce constitutional limitations on congressional power called the ‘Enumerated Powers Act of 2013‘.


“Many of our nation’s fiscal woes can be linked to Congress’s ignorance of, and refusal to follow, the clear Constitutional limitations on our power to legislate,” Senator Coburn said in a press release.  “Our founders recognized the need for the federal government’s powers to be strictly limited – not only to ensure effective governance but to prevent unrestrained federal overreach. Limiting government is important because it liberates people and expands freedom and opportunity.”


“Today,” Coburn continued, “Americans have more government but less liberty, less economic mobility, and less disposable income. I am hopeful this legislation will correct this trend by reconnecting Congress with the enumerated powers outlined in the Constitution and codifying Congressional accountability to the Constitution.”


In the same press release, Senator Rand Paul stated, “When I ran for the Senate, one of my promises was to fight to pass an Enumerated Powers Act. Politicians in Washington should abide by their oath to uphold the Constitution by only legislating within the powers it gives to the federal government. I am proud to be the lead co-sponsor of Sen. Coburn’s bill to make this a reality.”


According to Senator Tom Coburn’s press release, the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013 does the following:


  1. Requires each Act of Congress, bill, resolution, conference report and amendment to “contain a concise explanation of the specific authority in the Constitution” that is the basis for its enactment.
  2. States any legislation that abolishes a Federal activity, spending or overall power may cite the 9th or 10th Amendments to the Constitution.
  3. Prohibits the use of the Commerce Clause, except for “the regulation of the buying and selling of goods or services, or the transporting for those purposes, across boundaries with foreign nations, across State lines, or with Indian tribes…”
  4. Allows a point of order to be raised in either House of Congress for bills that fail to cite constitutional authority.
  5. Cites the constitutional authority to enact the Enumerated Powers Act, which falls under Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 of the Constitution, allowing each House to determine the rules of its proceedings.


If this law was in effect in the past, this constitutional limitation would have hindered Congress’s power to create the ‘Child Labor laws’, among many other laws passed to protect the American worker in the early twentieth century, including a nationwide minimum wage, a national ban on workplace discrimination, a national labor law and an overtime in most industries. [MORE]


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Sean Hannity and Yellow Journalism

Sean Hannity and Yellow Journalism | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by JOHN CASHON


Sean Hannity will do whatever it takes to advance his specific point of view and agenda. On his radio show that aired on July 19th, he enlightened his audience as to the real nature of the President.


“Now the president’s saying Trayvon could’ve been me 35 years ago,” Hannity declared, “This is a particularly helpful comment. Is that the president admitting that I guess because what, he was part of the Choom Gang and he smoked pot and he did a little blow.  I’m not sure how to interpret because we know that Trayvon had been smoking pot that night.”


Hannity’s comments show one area where the problem with race relations in our country rests, in the news organizations, where responsibility is not a requirement and where ‘yellow journalism‘ is alive and well.


To Sean Hannity and others that model their success to unprofessional and irresponsible punditry, the message is, “forget about the facts, folks, it’s how you feel that is important.” Their job is to push the right buttons to tug at their listener’s heartstrings, and in history, they would have been the ones inciting the mobs to get out their pitchforks.


Yellow Journalism is defined as the type of journalism that relies on sensationalism and lurid exaggeration to attract readers, and this appears to be exactly the model being used by many news organizations today.


With many news organization’s, their modus operandi is to spread their bombastic, non-intellectual opinions to rile up only their targeted base to stand and defend them, leading to an ‘it’s us versus them’ culture, and to show such a lack of empathy, regarding the President’s speech and the Treyvon Martin case, on a subject that is keenly felt by so many Americans, is beyond the pale for any news organization, whether it is coming from a pundit, or a real news journalist.


Hannity knows exactly what he is doing, and when he gets the horrified reaction from the rational and sane, his base supporters rally to his defense, which helps his numbers rise. It’s a win, win, for him, and dollar signs for those that follow the example.


It’s not very civilized though. The conversations that we should be having in our country today are being drowned out by scared people living in a changing world that is leaving them behind.

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Wall Street's Socialists

Wall Street's Socialists | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by Greg Russak


Take a good look.


These are the real Socialists in America today(1).


No, not Socialism in the text-book definition of the word. I mean something more heinous:  a dystopian form of capitalism in which all the gains are privatized and all the losses are socialized.


The New York Times reported that when Bernanke said, ”…the economy could soon be strong enough to live with less of its stimulus, the markets threw their version of a tantrum.”


Why is that? Why do the all-knowing and all-powerful “invisible hands” on Wall Street who control the world’s finances and our so-called free market start wringing those hands and selling off stock at the thought of fewer stimulus dollars?


Shouldn’t they be overjoyed? What happened to all the confidence they profess to have that capitalists and corporations would thrive if they were simply left to their own devices? [MORE]

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Thank You, Apple, for Going to Court Over E-Books

Thank You, Apple, for Going to Court Over E-Books | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by David Biddle and Martha Nichols


Why Higher Prices Are Good for Authors

  

E-book “price-fixing” has a scurrilous ring, as if a bunch of shadowy hoods in business suits have been deciding the fates of humble readers. But in April 2012, that’s exactly what the U.S. Department of Justice accused five of the six big publishers and Apple of doing with e-book prices.


To date, all the publishers—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster—have settled with the DOJ. (The “Big Six” of corporate publishing are now down to five; Random House is merging with Penguin.)


But when the publishers started settling last year, some with undue haste, an important opportunity was lost. We need a public discussion of the economics of creating and producing books. Settlements without a trial, in which nobody admits wrongdoing, have a way of obscuring unresolved issues in the midst of major business transformations.


The biggest question mark concerns authors and how we’re supposed to earn a living by writing books. We’re the workhorses behind the whole moneymaking chain, but we are still, usually, the last to profit. [MORE]


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Look Who's Rewriting The Constitution

Look Who's Rewriting The Constitution | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by Greg Russak


There was a hearing on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Forces on the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that I suspect went unnoticed by most Americans.


Fortunately, Common Dreams staff writer Lauren McCauley did a great job of summing it up here.


Pentagon ‘Rewrites Constitution’ Affirming Endless War


She also embedded a very telling bit of video of some of the testimony. Both her article and the video will be helpful the next time “small government” conservatives, Libertarians, and Republicans complain about federal overreach and want to accuse someone outside their own party of trying to rewrite the Constitution.


The statements made by South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, Michael A. Sheehan, and independent Maine Senator Angus King pretty clearly reveal which of them are the actual advocates for federal overreach and a Constitutional rewrite. (MORE)

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Stupid Is As Stupid Does Redux

Stupid Is As Stupid Does Redux | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by GREG RUSSAK


The list below, “Stupid Is As Stupid Does”, arrived in my inbox today.


It can be traced to a tea party site which I will not promote by posting a link. (Besides, it’s not that hard to find.)


Yes, these events happened (although one of them is incorrectly dated). Lots of bad things happen every day all over the world. Profiling based on religion, however, strikes me as another really bad thing.


I wonder what the Founding Fathers would say to the tea party about this idea of profiling based on religion? I like to think that they would say something very much like the original title of the post being quoted here.


Look, I get it. Grandma isn’t likely to be a terrorist, but as the Boston bombing brothers proved you cannot tell someone’s religion – or their intentions – simply by looking at them.


We ought not to be so willing to kid ourselves into thinking that profiling large swathes of people based on their religious beliefs will somehow increase our safety and security. All we will have accomplished will be an affirmation that some of us are willing to sacrifice liberty and freedom for a false sense of security.


And all we need to do is to ask ourselves in which group we’ll eventually find ourselves. (MORE)

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Capitalism With a Conscience

Capitalism With a Conscience | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by GREG RUSSAK


It’s refreshing and encouraging to know that there are CEOs, companies, and shareholders who are putting greater value on people than they are on money.


Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has a message for those who oppose gay marriage and who attempt to coerce corporations through threat of economic reprisal to support that kind of discrimination.


"Go ahead and sell your shares. The challenge for you is to try to earn better returns elsewhere."


Forbes reported on Friday that this was the message from Schultz at a shareholder meeting this past week.


It was gratifying to read and to watch his response to the question from Tom Strobhar, founder of The Corporate Morality Action Center, in which Mr. Strobhar challenged Starbuck’s decision last year to support Washington’s state referendum backing gay marriage. Mr. Schultz’s response put another well-deserved, large, and powerfully branded nail in the coffin of the anti-gay marriage movement, and this time it was a free market nail.


Noble sounding organizations aside, we can now add bad economics to the long list of undesirable traits associated with being against gay marriage. [MORE]


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Shays' Rebellion and the Articles of Confederation

Shays' Rebellion and the Articles of Confederation | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by JOHN CASHON


I hear many arguments proclaiming the ‘evils’ of big government, and it always seems to come back to the same arguments made by the Federalists and the Anti-federalists during the days of our founders, concerning the differences between a strong central government and a weak central government.


It is taken as gospel that our government should be small, and they say it was always meant to be. From what has been said about the dangers of our large government, it appears that some are advocating for a return of the Articles of Confederation, with its weak central powers, instead of the federal government that we have.


The Second Continental College adopted the Articles of Confederation on November 15th, 1777, and it was in place until 1789, but it was replaced by the Constitution, which advocated for a stronger central government. Why was it replaced?


The Articles of Confederation maintained the principle that the national government would not hold more power than the states, which they saw as sovereign. This satisfied the fears that many of the States had regarding a strong central power, as Britain was before the Declaration of Independence.


In fact, there was no Executive Branch, because they feared giving one man that much power, and it was decided that the Congress would handle all the nation’s affairs.


There were many inherent weaknesses with the Articles of Confederation:


  • The national government did not have the power to tax.
  • Congress did not have the power to force states to obey its laws.
  • Congress could not enforce laws.
  • Each state could issue its own paper money.
  • Any state could put tariffs on trade between other states or countries.
  • There was no system of national courts.
  • Congress could declare war and raise an army, but it could not force the states of give men or money.


After the Revolutionary War, the country went into a deep post-war depression. The States were threatening war with each other, and there were armed uprisings and riots across the land. Things eventually got so bad, that the country was on the verge of a civil war. [MORE]

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khedlu17's curator insight, April 9, 5:58 PM

This article talked about the original governing laws and how the Article of Confederation focused on a weak central government verses a strong central government. Why this relates to government and law is because it talks about the Articles of Confederation having a weak central power verses the large government we have now. Some of the weaknesses were that in the Articles of Confederation Congress didn't have the power to force states to obey its laws, couldn't enforce laws, and each state could issue its own paper money.