Monday, September 1, 2014

Conservative Historical Myths

There are many conservative myths and they start at the Revolutionary War.

Pseudo-historians like Newt Gingrich will suggest the Revolutionary War was a conservative revolution and Americans should return to those days of yesteryear to recapture our spirit The founders were 10 feet tall and they wrote the Constitution in stone just like the 10 commandments.

First, the US revolution was a liberal revolution as was the French. The purpose of the revolution was to throw of the shackles of monarchy and replace it with a democratic republic. The early US democracy is hardly like the one we have today. Women and blacks could not vote and women could not own property.

Some Tories were tared and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. 

However, there were conservatives who were sympathetic to the crown and most emigrated to Canada. At that time conservatives were called Tories.

The US Constitution contains the manner in which our government was structured and some legal principals, most of which are in the bill of rights. A House, a senate and judiciary were created so that laws could be written, interpreted and executed. The strict constructionist or originalist theory of the US Constitution has no basis in fact. We would not need a legislative branch, an executive branch and a judiciary if everything was in stone.

Conservatives say the US is a Christian nation, but the First amendment makes it clear he US was established as a secular nation. Want more proof? Read the Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams and passed by unanimous voice vote in the US senate. The founders were aware of the religious wars in Europe and didn't want that mistake repeated in the US.

The next conservative myth is that the Civil War was about state rights. Jefferson Davis never talked about state rights until after the Civil war. The Civil War had a lot to do with slavery, but not as most Americans imagine it. Lincoln never talked about abolishing slavery when he first ran for president.

In the mid-19th century, the power of the Southern states were declining as new territories were incorporated into the US. The big concern of Southern representatives and senators was that slavery was not being expanded into the new states.

The Southern economic system was predicated upon slavery. The vice president of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens said this in his Cornerstone speech in 1861

"Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition."

Southern plantation owners did not want slavery abolished or contained because it was immensely profitable.

The next big myth is that the US never lost a war. Most historians will admit that the US lost the war of 1812, but our history books often gloss over the fact. The last war the US won was World War 2. The Korean War was a stalemate and the US performed a strategic withdrawal in Vietnam. We also occupied Iraq, but eventually withdrew.

Is it possible to have a military victory in a 10 year occupation? One Marine general thinks so.

Conservatives also like to gloss over the Great Depression. The only Democratic president who was elected in the period between 1900 and the start of the Great Depression was Woodrow Wilson. Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover all served prior to the Great Depression and all were Republican.

Segue to 2008 and another Republican, GW Bush heralded another economic meltdown. Bush's Ownership Society and deregulation of the 5 major investment banks led the US into to the Great Recession. The GOP myth is that the great recession was caused by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. Both organization worsened the economic situation in the great Recession, but neither organization caused it.

Another great conservative myth is supply side economic which has been around since the 1890s when it was called “horse and sparrow.”

The idea is that you give the affluent more society so the wealthy  can redistribute it to the middle class. Supply side economics also implies taxes should be cut for the affluent. 
Does anyone really no what the affluent do with their tax cuts? Suspect a lot of the cash ends up in the Cayman Islands or Switzerland.

In the early 80s, the influential and multi-partisan American Economics Association had 18,000 members. Only 12 called themselves supply-side economists in American universities, There is no major department that could be called "supply-side," and there is no supply-side economist at any major department.

This is significant, because academia in the 70s was dominated by conservative economic theory, and conservative economists normally welcome any ideas that make the case against government intervention. The fact that they scrutinized supply-side theory and rejected it wholesales gives eloquent testimony to the theory's bankruptcy.

When candidate George Bush called it “voodoo economics” in the 1980 presidential campaign, he was doing so with the full backing of America's economic community.

Today the conservatives are suggesting that America needs more tax cuts, privatization and deregulation, three things that failed during the GW bush presidency.

Rarely do Republicans offer any reputable proof that their theories about taxes, privatization or deregulation work. The best the GOP can do is provide highly partisan studies from the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and 

When you are a political party that I more faith-based than fact-based, ideology is more import that hard facts.

A good example occurred in FL. Without any factual basis, the FL legislature bought Gov. Rick Scott's assumption that people applying for welfare had a drug problem. People applying for welfare were forced to take drug tests at their own expense. The courts threw the law out when it was discovered that few welfare applicants had failed the drug test.

A similar law was recently passed in TN. Only ½ per cent of the welfare applicants failed the drug test there. It is hard to teach a conservative dog new tricks.

Why do Americans continue to elect legislators who are irrational because of their half-baked ideology. Most of these people cannot be confused with facts. 

Some even think that biblical values are more important than US constitutional values. Others think the US Constitution is based upon the bible. America needs to get these misfits like these of politics.

That would be people like Reps. Steven King, Blake Fahrenholt, Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann. Bachman is retiring, hopefully for good.


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Friday, August 29, 2014

The Veterans Administration and McKinsey and Company

You have probably never heard of McKinney and Company.  It is a very large NYC based consulting firm and also very secretive. it is one of the hardest companies in the US to interview because of corporate secrecy.

It provides consulting services to both medical insurers and government organizations. One of its customer is the Veterans Administration and many high level VA and other agency employees have worked for this corporation. 

That would be people like Bob McDonald, the new VA secretary. Beth Cobert is the new deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.  Tommy Sowers, who oversees the public affairs office and other vital programs for the Department of Veterans Affairs, was a former McKinsey consultant.

McKinsey & Company desires a “very low profile public image.” It has a policy against discussing specific client situations and does not advertise. Members are not supposed to “sell” their services following attorney and accountant traditions from the early 1900s, 

MicKinsey does have medical insurance clients both in the private and public sectors. Many of these corporations practice  the three D's of  insurance claims: "deny, delay and defend" against them. 

If you have  submitted a VA claim, you might begin to understand why the average claim takes about 4.5 years. You might also understand why only 10-11 per cent of claims are appealed. People simply give up.

If you are fortunate enough to prevail in a claim, you will probably run into the fallback gambit;  a low ball rating that does not conform to the disability schedule in 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part C.

The VA was established as a charitable organization during the Revolutionary War and greatly expanded  after the Civil War. Claims are supposed to be considered in a non-adversarial fashion. 

Enter McKinsey and Company. 

A 1993 profile story in Fortune Magazine said McKinsey & Company was “the most well-known, most secretive, most high-priced, most prestigious, most consistently successful, most envied, most trusted, most disliked management consulting firm on earth.

According to BusinessWeek the firm is "ridiculed, reviled, or revered . . ." 
The Wall Street Journal said McKinsey is seen as “elite, loyal and secretive" while The News Observer said McKinsey's internal culture was “collegiate and ruthlessly competitive” and sometimes described as arrogant.

Why would an elite company like McKinsey and company, who competes with Mitt Romney's Bain and Company, be involved in the VA? First of all, medical insurance is big business. According to McKinsey the average US household, spends more annually on health insurance than on its home mortgage.
The VA is one of McKinsey's success stories. Or is it?

[It] helped reorganized the Veterans’ Health Administration into 21 networks, each with accountable clinical leadership, across the United States. The program also introduced clinically relevant performance measures, with corresponding rewards, and new information systems, including one for electronic medical records. The VA soon became a leader in clinical quality: for example, the risk of death for men over 65 in the VA’s care is 40 percent lower than the US average. The satisfaction level of patients rose to 83 percent, 12 percent above the national average . . .

However, the new information systems never really worked, a problem that is still plaguing the VA today.  Likewise, the VA needed more major reforms in the 1995-2000 period. 

[T]he Veterans Health Administration (VHA) implemented universal primary care, closed 55% of their acute care hospital beds, increased patient treatments by 24%, had a 48% increase in ambulatory care visits, and decreased staffing by 12%. By 2000, the VHA had 10,000 fewer employees than in 1995 and a 104% increase in patients treated since 1995, and had managed to maintain the same cost per patient-day . . .

Does the VA need corporate sharks as consultants? That is the question. 

Certainly the record of McKinsey and Company has not been perfect. McKinsey had advised a large IT corporation that cell phones would be a niche technology. IT does not appear to be the company's strong suit.

In addition, several civil suits have been filed against home insurance and vehicle insurance companies after the insurers were advised by McKinsey, to allegedly low ball insurees for actual value of the property damage.

McKinsey was cited in a February 2007 CNN article for developing controversial car insurance practices that State Farm and Allstate used in the mid-1990s to avoid paying claims involving soft tissue injury.

State Farm and Allstate  are two of the worst companies in the US for paying medical insurance claims and are well known for their three D tactics.

These are tactics that should not be used by the VA. Or for that matter, in government at all.


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Monday, August 11, 2014

Lenovo makes and excellent data backup option.

In the past I have used a Iomega Datastore to backup my data. I had purchased a used unit for under a $100 because the previous owner was unable to use it with Windows Vista.

The Iomega unit was buggy and hot and I had to default the unit many times. Eventually, the  redundant array of independent disks (Raid) array had to be reformatted, which destroyed all of the existing data.

Last week, I was unable to even connect  to Iomega Datastor on my network. It was time to buy a new unit. These units are called Network Attached Storage (NAS) because they have an Ethernet port and can be connected to a home router or cable modem.

There are many backup options in the market, some are the size or a smart phone. Many work off of a USB connection to a laptop or PC.
Lenovo IX2

Lenovo bought out Iomega and he new unit I received is called the Lenovo IX2
It has two hard drives and supports both Raid 0 and Raid 1.

 It is a big improvement form the old Iomega unit. It runs a lot cooler and the serial ATA drives are far easier to swap out. The embedded software is far more robust, too.
RAID 0 comprises striping (but neither parity nor mirroring). This level provides no data redundancy nor fault tolerance, but improves performance through parallelism of read and write operations across multiple drives. RAID 0 has no error detection mechanism, so the failure of one disk causes the loss of all data on the array.
RAID 1 comprises mirroring (without parity or striping). Data is written identically to two (or more) drives, thereby producing a "mirrored set". The read request is serviced by any of the drives containing the requested data. This can improve performance if data is read from the disk with the least seek latency and rotational latency. Conversely, write performance can be degraded because all drives must be updated; . . . the write performance is determined by the slowest drive. The array continues to operate as long as at least one drive is functioning. (Wikipedia).
The IX2 has two hard drives.

Raid 0 is great for serving media. If you want to push out You Tube or Amazon Prime videos to your TV, a RAID 0 setup is speedy. The downside is that if one drive fails, you lose all of your data. 

RAID 1 is far better for backing up data because if a drive fails, your data will be intact. When you replace the failed drive, data from the working drive will be copied to the new redundant drive. RAID 1 is slower than RAID 0, but it is a better option for data backup. It's slower because your data has to be copied to each hard drive in the RAID array.

However, the so-called personal backup devices rarely have more than one hard drive while the Lenovo IX2 has two 1.0TB SATA Hard Drives, which are easy to swap out. Raid 1 is a far safer option for your data than a personal backup unit with one drive.

With  NAS, anyone on your home network can access the unit if you give them permissions.

You can establish both users and groups through the embedded sever on the Lenovo IX2. .

If you purchase one of these units or any sort of backup device,  recommend you use it with an uninterpretable power supply (UPS). No backup device will last long with power surges, brownouts or drops.

If you shop around , you may be able to purchase a Lenovo IX2 for under $200. The units have many options including firmware upgrades and enhanced security. 

I was able to setup an administrative user and group quickly. I had no difficulty seeing the shared directories on my Linux desktop using Samba . However, initially I was unable to access any of the IX2 directories. Eventually it became clear that access permissions were needed to get to the default shared directories  Once I setup access permissions, I was able to backup my laptop to the Lenovo NAS using Linux Mint's Simple Backup Suite.

Don't forget to check Access Permissions for the data directorates

Had I used Windows, I would have been able to download the Acronis Backup Manager which is excellent backup software.

So far the only hiccup with the system is that I have to point my browser to IP address of the device with a manage directory such as:

You can also configure the unit to use https or SSL which is more secure.

The Lenovo IX2 has many features. The screen shot below shows about half of them.

If your files are important, you may need NAS with a RAID array,  

Can recall a story from a a local PC repair man. The business next to his store sold swimming pool supplies and equipment. The owners computer and point of sale devices were exposed to fumes from 10 per cent pool bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and muriatic acid every day. The PC man had tried to sell the pool store owner a backup system, but he had no success.

Then one day the pool store owner needed some data recovery help. His computers had all gone down and he PC repair guy indicated that all of his hard drives had been destroyed, Nothing could be recovered

It got worse. The state tax collector was scheduled to audit the swimming pool supply company the following week.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Extending your home network

The best way to extend a network is to add an Ethernet switch with a cable segment. You can extend Ethernet 100 meters which is about 109 yards.

You  can also use wireless repeaters or extenders.  Today, this is a wireless-to-wireless connection to the main wireless router that is connected to a cable modem.

This diagram explains this. The the laptop is in the range of the wireless router or access point. A wireless extender or repeater is used to extend the home network to a part of the home that is outside of the range of the home wireless router.

When you connect  a wireless router to an extender, there will be a loss of bandwidth. The two wireless devices can also interfere with each other.

"A better option for extending wireless coverage is to configure a secondary box as a wireless access point, with a wired connection between a LAN port on the secondary box and a LAN port on the primary box (wireless router). If Ethernet wiring is not an option, an alternative is powerline networking -- AV500 technology is inexpensive and good. Wireless extender kits consisting of a powerline adapter module (connect to the wireless router) and a wireless extender module (integrated powerline networking and wireless access point) are available." (Wikipedia). 

Rightardia has not had great luck with Ethernet over power lines. If your house takes an occasional power drop, these adapters will eventually fail.

 Ethernet Powerline adapters

Make sure you purchase and Ethernet extender or repeater that supports 802.11n. The older 802.11g extenders could not support WPA2 personal AES encryption. The preceding  is the only way that Rightardia would recommend you ever set up wireless security

The only home wireless security options that are secure are 
WPA2 personal  with AES encryption

Use at an eight digit password with some upper case letters, numbers and special  characters such as $, %, ^, or <. Better passwords are 12 -14 characters long.

In the old days, you had to have an Ethernet cable connection to extend a wireless network. Some of the new repeaters such as the Netgear WN200RPT are wireless to wireless only. These units have Ethernet ports but they are for wired connections at the distant end of the house.

You can configure the Wn200RPT with a cable connected to one of its Ethernet port by pointing your router to However, you must have both a wireless Internet and a wired Ethernet connection up for this configuration to work.
                                 Netgear WnN2000RPT wireless repeater

An easier way to configure this device on a PC or laptop and look for a wireless
service set identifier (SSID) such as Netgear_ext in you wireless connections. Connect to it and point your browser to 192,168.250.1. You can also try the url,

Once you are connected to the repeater, the config is intuitive. You must identify the SSID on the home router's access point you need to to connect to. Recommend you use the same password on both the existing and new SSID you have just created.

The configurator  will suggest just adding _ext to the original access point's SSID. So if you existing SSID was Zucinni, you will now have an additional SSID such as Zucinni_ext.

At this point, the Netger_ext disappears because it had been overwritten and you have to connect to the new SSID you just created.

Once the wireless connection is complete, try to connect to the Internet by opening another tab on your browser.

The ports of the back of the unit are for wired Ethernet connections in the room the repeater is in

If you can connect to the Internet , the WN200RPT configurator will let you finish the config. Otherwise restart the configurator and try again. Remember this is a wireless to wireless connection. It does not connect to the main wireless router with a wired Ethernet connection. In fact, it will not work if this repeater has an Ethernet connection to the main router.


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Monday, August 4, 2014

Why the US has a welfare system

Since 1790, the US had had about 50 recessions. Our country really didn't officially track recessions until about 1920 and we didn't start keeping accurate statistics until after World War 2. These recessions include depressions in 1807, 1815-21, the long depression of 1873-79, and the Great Depression of 1920-21.

If you take a big picture view of the US economy. the US has a recession about every 5- 7 years Most of these recessions have been caused by banking institutions. In the past the failure of railroads, life insurance companies, strikes and securities failures have led to to recessions and panics.

Our vaunted free enterprise system in the US has been sputtering along for years, firing on 6 cylinders rather than 8.

This why we have programs like unemployment insurance, food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). These programs are there as band aids to an inconsistent free enterprise system.

Of course, other systems haven't worked much better. Communism collapsed in Russia and socialism in Greece has been a failure. Libertarianism has never gotten off the ground and probably never will.

Most modern economics are a mix of free enterprise and social reforms to capitalism.

Finding the right mix of capitalism and social reform is the trick. Go too far in either direction and a recession may result. The Republicans rescinded the Glass-Stegall act with President Clinton's blessing and Hank Paulson further deregulated the big investment banks which led to the recent sub-prime mortgage crises.

"Further, the U.S. shadow banking system (i.e., non-depository financial institutions such as investment banks) had grown to rival the depository system yet was not subject to the same regulatory oversight, making it vulnerable to a bank run."

If the captains of industry were less greedy and did a better job of sharing the wealth and income, many welfare programs would not be needed. These social welfare programs are a reaction to the the failures of free enterprise. These welfare programs were not created in a vacuum. 

If free enterprise did a better job of managing the private economy, many welfare programs could be curtailed or cut back. Corporate resistance to increasing the minimum wage is a good example of corporate irresponsibility.

Corporations like Wal-mart and McDonald's have taken their greed to an extreme and have developed corporate models that depend on government welfare programs like food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Human beings may well be unable to break free of the dictatorship of greed that spreads like a miasma over the world, but no longer will we be an inarticulate and ignorant humanity, confused by our enslavement to superior cruelty and weaponry. --Alice Walker



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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Veterans Disability Strategy

Many vets become aware of medical conditions that appear to be service connected. Often the vet will walk into the local Veteran Affairs  Regional Office and bring a physicians letter with them hoping to be awarded a disability rating in a few months.,

As most vets know, this approach will  usually results in a denial.

38 CFR Pensions, Bonuses, And Veterans Relief

What vet should have done is first is to review 38 CFR, Part C and work with the physicians to define his or her disability in VA terms. 

Disjunctive v. conjunctive ratings

If the Vet has Diabetes Mellitus , he or she should check out The Endocrine System, 4.119 - Schedule of Ratings - Endocrine System

The vet would find these ratings for Diabetes Mellitus

7913     Diabetes mellitus

            Requiring more than one daily injection of insulin, restricted diet,
            and regulation of activities (avoidance of strenuous occupational
            and recreational activities) with episodes of ketoacidosis or
            hypoglycemic reactions requiring at least three hospitalizations per
            year or weekly visits to a diabetic care provider, plus either
            progressive loss of weight and strength or complications that
            would be compensable if separately evaluated     100

            Requiring insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities with
            episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions requiring one
            or two hospitalizations per year or twice a month visits to a diabetic
            care provider, plus complications that would not be compensable
            if separately evaluated     60

            Requiring insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities     40

            Requiring insulin and restricted diet, or; oral hypoglycemic agent
            and restricted diet     20
Manageable by restricted diet only     10
Note (1): Evaluate compensable complications of diabetes separately unless they are part of the criteria used to support a 100 percent evaluation. Noncompensable complications are considered part of the diabetic process under diagnostic code 7913.

Note (2): When diabetes mellitus has been conclusively diagnosed, do not request a glucose tolerance test solely for rating purposes.

Pay close attention to the notes and be aware that Diabetes Mellitus is rated conjucntivley. To be be rated 40 per cent, you have to meet all of the examples for the 10 and 20 per cent ratings as well.

Some endocrine rating are rating disjunctively. The top level ratings are inclusive of the lower level such as  DC 7903 which addresses Hypothyroidism 

7903 Hypothyroidism

Cold intolerance, muscular weakness, cardiovascular involvement,
mental disturbance (dementia, slowing of thought, depression),
bradycardia (less than 60 beats per minute), and sleepiness 100

Muscular weakness, mental disturbance, and weight gain 60

Fatigability, constipation, and mental sluggishness 30

Fatigability, or; continuous medication required for control 10

In The UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS (USCAVC), NO . 07-2728 DIANNE C. TATUM , APPELLANT (2009) argued successfully for a higher rating.  The USCAVC ruling explains disjunctive ratings.

The USCAVC agreed with Ms. Tatum on her entitlement to a higher disability rating. The USCAVC noted that all of the examples in DC 7903 did not need to be present for a higher level rating. The USCAVC said that the higher level examples in DC 7903 were inclusive of the lower level examples. 
Because this case was decided by a a panel of three judges, it is binding to the VA. 
Therefore, hypthyrodism is rated  disjunctively, unlike daibetes mellitus. 


Letters v. Disability benefits questionnaires

A veteran can get a letter from a a physicians, but Rightardia recommends the new Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQ) which provide more comprehensive information to the VA .

Below is a link to VA DBQs. 

it is important the physician check the box that indicates the Service Medical Records (SMR) have been reviewed. How can the physician connect the medical condition to service in the armed forces with reviewing the SMRs that the veteran should provide to the physician? 

After the SMRs are reviewed the physician should be able to write a nexus statement that connects the vet's medical condition to his or her service. This needs to be added as a remark to the DBQ,

Rightardia recommends you get a minimum of two DBQs: one from the primary care physician and one from a specialist. You should probably get a specialist diagnosis first that your primary car physicians will review before he or she completes their DBQ.

If the DBQ provides sufficient evidence, the VA may waive Compensation and Pension exam. Rightardia considers these exams redundant. Initially, the C&P doctors were funded to help indigent vets who couldn't get a private practice exam. Then the VA then required all vets to complete these exams which are often superfluous if a DBQ has been submitted.


Get the right attorney

Some legal firms will coach vets off the record on how to pass C&P exams and charge a fee. Rightrdia considers this unethical and unnecessary, If you get a proposal like this from an attorney, report the firm to the VAOIG.

If you need an attorney, use to find a top rated attorney on VA or military law in your locality. 

If you need some prepping for a C&P exams, you may want to peruse some of the VA physician and clinician guides. Most of these are older documents, but they are the most current Rightardia could find.

Disability Worksheets

Clinicians's Guide


Amazon: Old Physician's Guide

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Did slavery ever end in the US?

Many of people who came to US in the pre-colonial era were slaves. There were blacks who were forcibly brought to the US from Africa and white indentured servants.  Some of these indentured servants were prisoners and others were kidnapped. Many had 5-year terms but their contracts were bought and sold,  and some indentures never attained freedom.

The people who moved in the New England states and those in the South were different. One of the first people to chronicle the new nation was Alexis de Toqueville:
Caricature by Honoré Daumier, 1849.

The men sent to Virginia were seekers of gold, adventurers without resources and without character, whose turbulent and restless spirit endangered the infant colony ... Artisans and agriculturalists arrived afterwards...hardly in any respect above the level of the inferior classes in England. No lofty views, no spiritual conception presided over the foundation of these new settlements. The colony was scarcely established when slavery was introduced; this was the capital fact which was to exercise an immense influence on the character, the laws and the whole future of the South. Slavery...dishonors labor; it introduces idleness into society, and with idleness, ignorance and pride, luxury and distress.  .  . On this same English foundation there developed in the North very different character.

After the civil war, the US experienced the rise of the monopolists. Men like JP Morgan and John D Rockefeller controlled vast parts of the US economy with trusts. Many corporations has private armies of Pinkertons that patrolled factories to keep workers under control. There were many union riots after the Civil War and the government often used the army or national guard to suppress the strikes..

Striking workers in tent camps were even machine gunned. We celebrate Labor Day because of the infamous Pullman Strike of 1894. Thirty strikers were killed and 57 were wounded. Not really a cause for workers to celebrate.

The rise of labor and the trust busting efforts of Theodore Roosevelt and other progressives broke up the huge trusts. A middle class began to emerge in the US.

However, with the exception of Woodrow Wilson,the GOP controlled the White House up to the Great Depression and the election of the other Roosevelt, Franklin Delano.

After the allies were victorious  in World War 2, the New Deal continued. A housing and  education boom was stimulated by Veteran Administration benefits. Seniors could now enter into their golden years without fear of poverty, courtesy of Social security.

US public education was perhaps the best in the world at this time. One of three workers in the US was in a union. Only about one in 30 Americans was wealthy because Roosevelt funded the war with taxes on the affluent. He had no choice. This was the best of times for the middle class and their children, the Baby Boomers.

Then John F. Kennedy started fiddling with the income tax rate for top earning Americans.

This was when the New Deal started to unravel. Ronald Reagan finished the job when he cut the top tax rate to 28 per cent. These cuts fractured the middle class. Because of the draconian income  tax cuts, Reagan had to subsequently raise taxes 11 or 12 times.

Women also had to leave home and take jobs to make ends meet. Another wave of feminism began in the workplace. Schools and the public infrastructure started a long decline due to cuts in federal spending while defense spending increased.

So the best of times that started about 1946 and continued until about 1980. The US had a strong middle class, strong unions, an improved infrastructure and good public school system.

The big events that probably brought down the Democratic party were the Civil Rights Acts of the mid-sixties and the Vietnam War.

Southern Democrats called Dixiecrats left the Democratic party. Many retired and other became Republicans during the next 10 years These Dixiecrats had more to do with the rise of the GOP in the South than anything the Republicans did politically, contrary to the musings of Newt Gingrich. 

LBJ thought it would take the Democratic Party 10 years to recover, but it was closer to three decades.

The economic situation the South is still Topsy Turvy after 150 years  As the Daily Kos has written, the South has become one big poverty belt.

Slavery continued to exist in the US on plantations until the 1950s. The southern elite played poor working class whites against blacks, suggesting that the poor white's economic conditions were caused by black welfare programs rather than by the unequal income distribution in the southland.

Unions were kept out of the south and right to work laws were passed to repress workers. Essentially, slavery never really ended in the land of low wages, the south.

The old plantation owners were the basis of new white elite. Poor whites still operated the slave patrols for their corporate owners . Blacks became the bogeymen in this region, the cause of all that ailed the south. Jim Crow laws were passed to suppress black votes.

The conservatives have maintained control of the south since before the Civil War. It's the conservative politics that are largely to blame for the southern poverty today.

Rightardia has seen countless surveys in which the southern and red states lag behind the blue states. Education attainment, teen pregnancy, VD rates, food stamp use, and income levels all lag behind other regions of the country.

It if wasn't for food stamps.other welfare programs and  military payrolls in the red states, the region would even be more depressed.

Democrats know that the most of the red states are recipient states who receive more in federal funds form the government than they pay in taxes. 

Have things really changed in the south from the Ante Bellum era?

It seems there is still the same three tiers of owners, white indentured workers and marginalized black men and women.


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to stop telemarketers cold.

In the past telemarketers hounded my home day and night. Registered with the the National Do Not Call Registry and also installed a CPR Call blocker. It got great reviews on and it was worth the wait for the UK shipment.

In the last couple of months, the telemarketer calls started again. This time the calls came in as "unavailable" and with phone numbers starting with a "V." The CPR Call blocker has some  codes you can enter into your phone after the call terminates to block that last call.

So I started blocking these bogus calls, but the telemarketer onslaught continued.

Did some research and found that the local telephone company has star (*) codes you can enter on your phone to block anonymous calls. Star (*) 77 works on the both the BrightHouse and Verizon phone networks.
 BrightHouse Star phone codes

Each phone company has different codes. These are the codes for Verizon.

Verizon Star phone codes

Also discovered that the State of Florida has a Do Not Call Registry as well. You can register both you landline and cell phone on the national and Florida Do not call registries.

These registries do not block charities, political calls or businesses that you have and established relationship with. There are other exceptions as well. The national do Not Call Registry will last lifetime and as long as you don't a change your phone number or move. The FL state registry is good for 5 years. 

If you want to stop telemarketers cold, fist use you phone's star codes to block anonymous calls. register your phones with both the state and national Do Not Call registries and purchase a call blocker for your home phone. The CPT call blocker, for example, has many blacklisted phone numbers already built into it and it can block an additional 1000 numbers.

Some phones have call blocking technology built into them. My Panasonic DECT 6.0 plus wireless phone can block up to 30 calls and that may do the trick if you only get an occasional unwanted call.

You can stop telemarketers cold by enabling the anonymous call block feature with you phone company. That's  *77 for both BH and Verizon. Turn on both the FL and national Do Not Call registries. Purchase a call blocker phone system that will allow you to black the occasional local that slips through your telemarketer defense system.

Some phones have the call block feature built into them.

So far so good. Only two unwanted calls today and one was political.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Gangsta' of Capitlaism

 Some  things change slowly. 

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Rightardia by Rightard Whitey of Rightardia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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