Three people arrive at their polling places to cast their votes:
A billionaire, who pays less than 15% in actual taxes (after legal deductions and favorable capital gains rates – likely about 12%) is driven to a polling place in a limousine. He/she travels on streets constructed and maintained by tax dollars and, given more than a sufficient number of voting booths in his/her wealthy voting precinct, votes quickly and can get on with their day with the least bit of inconvenience . While briefly in the booth he/she votes for candidates who, although it was like pocket change to them, he/she contributed a very substantial amount of money to (an amount that would be life changing for most working families) in both the primary and general election campaigns or anonymously and unlimited through Super PACs. There may be no formal agreement but they fully expects their calls to be answered and their issues favorably addressed once the representative they so generously supported (i.e. sponsored) is elected or re-elected to office. They can rest assured that they will be represented.
An hourly worker, who effectively pays greater than 15% taxes-despite living paycheck to paycheck (sales tax on almost every dollar, payroll tax on every dollar, state tax, fuel tax on a large portion of their earnings that go into their fuel tanks) driving in a 15 year old Escort that needs a new transmission very soon, wants to stop at his or her polling place and vote on the way to work but the lines of people waiting are too long due to an insufficient number of booths in their working class precinct. After work he or she stands in line as long as possible but has to leave without voting to pick up a child at daycare. He or she had little or no influence on who appeared on the ballet; having not even spare pocket change to contribute to a candidate of their choice prior to primaries and even if they did there would be no candidates who share their life experiences running because people like them are now too busy surviving in the era of trickle-down economics to run for office.
A homeless veteran of a long ago war, living in a homeless shelter or on the streets, walks to a polling place but is turned away because he or she has no photo ID. The country he or she served is no longer willing to grant them the right to vote. Although the 15th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude" I guess those who are putting in place phony “Voter Fraud” laws across the country, obviously intent on limiting the number of votes from those historically not favorable to their sponsored candidates, can point out that it doesn't prohibit denying the right to vote for not having a photo ID. Add to this scenario the thousands of Kentuckians and millions of Americans permanently disenfranchised for missteps and mistakes long since paid for through the legal system.
The phrase, "One person one vote" was used in an important legal ruling in the United States, the Supreme Court majority opinion in Reynolds v. Sims (1964). The ruling required redistricting by state legislatures for congressional districts to keep represented populations equal, as well as requiring both houses of state legislatures to have districts drawn that contained roughly equal populations. Perhaps it is time for the Supreme Court to consider economic as well as geographic factors. Perhaps it is time for the Supreme Court to stop making rulings that give corporations personhood and billionaire’s unlimited power to sway elections. As the courts fail our democracy, it is time for a Constitutional Amendment unambiguously declaring that Corporations are not people and that money is not free speech.
Elections have become little more than a contest to see which party and their clandestine partners can raise the most money to flood airwaves with ads and, as trickle up economics works its magic, candidates who depend on contributions of regular people, cannot compete with candidates who represent billionaires and corporate PACs. Pocket change of those who have benefitted from trickle-down economics overwhelms what those victimized by it can afford to donate. The “money equals free speech” voice of a very few have effectively silenced the vast majority.
My father says “A house that is bought and paid for is a great and valuable thing to have, but a US House member that is bought and paid for is a grave danger that should be avoided.”
I’m Ron Leach – Candidate for US Congress. Please help me deliver the message to Washington that OUR Democracy is not for sale! Help me be the voice for the silenced majority. Please spread the word, contribute as possible, and most importantly VOTE November 4th.
Who would rather spend father’s day with Charles and David Koch rather than his children and/or family? A Senator from Kentucky that’s who. Senator Mitch McConnell to be exact.
June 15, 2014 was father’s day and Senator Mitch McConnell seemed to be content to spend the day with David and Charles Koch rather than spending time with his children or family.
The Nation What McConnell didn’t tell Politico was that two months ago, he made the same promise to a secret strategy conference of conservative millionaire and billionaire donors hosted by the Koch brothers. The Nation and The Undercurrent obtained an audio recording of McConnell’s remarks to the gathering, called “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society.” In the question-and-answer period following his June 15 session titled “Free Speech: Defending First Amendment Rights,” McConnell says:
“So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board [inaudible]. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.” Read more.
Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence
One of the transit bloggers that I enjoy reading is Alon Levy who blogs his observations on a variety of transit topics at Pedestrian Observations . Following the important California HSR funding vote in the California State Senate and the excitement leading up to it, I thought I'd like to take a look at the proposed Express HSR system for the states of the Northeast Corridor.
Of the $53b cost of the proposed San Francisco to Los Angeles Express HSR corridor seems hefty ~ and it seems even heftier when it shows the Year of Expenditure headline value of $68b ~ then the proposed Northeast Corridor states Express HSR will seem massive.
However, Alon claims:
Northeast Corridor HSR, 90% Cheaper ...
In contrast with this extravaganza, it is possible to achieve comparable travel times for about one tenth the cost. The important thing is to build the projects with the most benefit measured in travel time reduced or reliability gained per unit of cost, and also share tracks heavily with commuter rail, using timed overtakes to reduce the required amount of multi-tracking.
This sounds like an intriguing possibility ... but is it realistic? Or is it wishful thinking? Follow me below the fold, and then let's discuss it.
Turns out Mitch McConnell’s headquarters wasn’t bugged and Mitch McConnell hasn’t apologized to Curtis Morrison for wrongly accusing him of such. Yes Curtis Morrison taped a conversation, but he didn't bug Mitch McConnell’s headquarters and any charges against him appear to have been dropped.
CNBC OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that a class of 2,300 individuals working for FedEx Ground was misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees. As a result, FedEx may owe its workforce of drivers hundreds of millions of dollars for illegally shifting to them the costs of such things as the FedEx branded trucks, FedEx branded uniforms, and FedEx scanners, as well as missed meal and rest period pay, overtime compensation, and penalties. Read more.
My union buddy W.C. Young would be proud to see the budding voter registration drive in Ferguson, Mo.
I treasure one of his “Vote Baby Vote!” buttons. He had them made as a takeoff on “Burn Baby Burn!” from the Watts riot of 1965.
An African American from Paducah, Ky., Young was a national AFL-CIO and civil rights leader.
Voter participation in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, was just 12 percent in the most recent election, MSNBC’s Steve Benen recently wrote. “We’re trying to make young people understand that [voting]…is how to change things,’” he quoted a voter drive volunteer.
Ferguson is 67 percent African American. The mayor and five of the community’s half dozen city council members are white. The police department is 94 percent white.
Benen also quoted the Rev. Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC’s “Politics Nation With Al Sharpton,” who urged the crowd at a Sunday church service, “You all have got to start voting and showing up. 12% turnout is an insult to your children.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell knows he probably won’t get a lot of union votes on Nov. 4.
Oh, he’ll keep trying to grab as many as he can by pandering to so-called “social issues” like guns. Neal Knox, a former NRA head, once bragged that the gun issue “is the one thing that will spin the blue-collar union member away from his union." (See “The Right Wing Attack on the American Labor Movement” by Joanne Ricca, who is retired from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.
The NRA, which is cozy with anti-union groups like the National Right to Work Committee, has endorsed McConnell. (The NRTWC is in the senator’s corner, too.)
The unions of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, many of whose members are hunters, have endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job. Meanwhile, McConnell, the supposed gun guy, has yet to accept Grimes’ challenge to meet her on a shooting range.
Anyway, everybody knows that voter turnout almost always goes down for mid-term congressional elections, compared to presidential elections. McConnell hopes a host of Kentuckians who pack union cards will be among those who won’t bother to go to the polls or who haven’t even bestirred themselves to register.
Team Mitch knows the odds: a union member who votes will likely go for Grimes. Thus, McConnell (and other like-minded anti-union candidates) nearly always benefit when union members don’t vote or don’t register to vote.
YAATS (Yet Another Airport Terminal Station) has opened in Dallas for the "orange line" in the Dallas Area Regional Transit light rail system. This is not at the regional airport Love Field, even though the Orange Line runs directly past Love Field, but at the Dallas / Fort Worth International airport, following completion of a five-mile extension to the western end of the Orange line.
"Strategically, this is a major accomplishment," said Mayor Mike Rawlings.
It is undoubtedly DART's biggest accomplishment in its 31-year history. The way officials and regional leaders see it, the airport-rail link brims with promise. They say it will dramatically bolster North Texas transit options, attract more conventions and provide a smooth welcome to international visitors.
So lets take the Sunday Train to the airport, below the fold.