How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Senator or Congressman?

Lobbyists work around the clock to influence legislation in both houses of Congress.  What kind of influence do lobbyists seek?  Depends on their employers.  Here is a brief clip of the 60 Minutes interview with Jack Abramoff – a very informative interview.  – –  http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7387331n

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Unregulated Markets Are Dangerous

I have heard countless times from Republicans about the great, God given right to profit from every single human endeavor. Profit is said to be “necessary” as an incentive to investment, hard work, creativity, risk taking – all said to be necessary to improvement of our culture and strength of our economy. These same capitalist-minded servants to the plutocrat winners of this profit-driven economy complain that governmental regulation for fair competition, product safety, workers’ compensation and rights, fair taxation and responsible returns to investors slow the great profit generating apparatus. But as soon as regulation is lessened we see all these problems come to pass – all these as well as rigged markets, price-fixing, ecology destruction, destructive speculation, tax dodging, national and international fiscal crimes, suppression of all competing technologies. All this for products and services that are not designed to eradicate problems, but in fact allow problems to continue indefinitely and hopefully create new problems – all for cash flow, profits, and expanding criminal control in governments around the globe.

In competition, whether high school basketball or trading derivatives, regulation is necessary and desirable.  Deregulation corrupts, absolute deregulation corrupts absolutely.  Hypothetical Situation:  Basketball referees stop calling fouls.  Worse Hypothetical Situation:  No refs are present.  Question:  Have you ever witnessed violence?

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Off the Grid – Easy and Better for Many

     We have waited many years for clean, cost-effective solutions in producing energy.   We need solutions to replace oil, coal, gas and nuclear as much as possible.  These solutions would help the USA and the world, strategically improving economies and security by circumventing oil, coal, gas and nuclear energy problems.  We would need far less defense of oil fields, pipelines, mines, shipping lanes, radiation controls.  Our very expensive and over-extended military could be brought home.  A good solution would also stop some of our cultural and economic movement to big, centrally controlled solutions offered by big corporations that are “too big to fail.”   These corporations are so big they criminally overcharge consumers then stand in line for subsidies and bailouts to enrich unethical executives for unconcerned shareholders. What I would like to see is a simple, safe, economical approach to energy production. I would like to see a solution that incorporates decentralized energy production of electricity for most of our country’s needs, a big step for our country’s security. Energy production should be available to anyone to use, give to neighbors or sell to energy companies. I believe a small component system for electricity production could be designed to provide this kind of better solution.

What this country needs is an energy revolution. We do not need another decade of war over fossil fuels. We do not need corporate price-fixing, subsidies, gross profiteering, tax dodging. What we need is a home-based 12-volt Direct Current electrical generation and storage system capable of running appliances and powering cars used by families. The system should be as low-cost, low-tech, low maintenance and safe as possible. It should be based on a simple direct current circuits, wire, amp-meter, voltage regulator, alternator or generator. It should be easily assembled, stored, shipped, displayed, retailed, purchased, installed, and serviced. It should draw energy from a flexible array of sources including any or all of the following: photovoltaic, thermovoltaic, wind and kinetic generation. Available components should include windmill, solar panel with mirror, thermovoltaic with mirror, windmill, and a belt or chain driven generator. The kinetic generator components should use a large mass lifted against gravity to store kinetic energy from other sources for low-light, low-heat or low-wind weather conditions. Another kinetic method could employ a large spring.  When batteries run low, the huge mass or spring would be released by electric switch to lower slowly on cables, chain or gears to drive a generator. The mass could be composed of any combination of cheap materials including rubble or collected rain water. The mass would be suspended in a sturdy, short, cheaply constructed tower shaped frame, garage or shed.  The spring could be housed indoors or outdoors.

Then with a large mass or spring driven kinetic generator, electricity could be produced as needed.  The mass could be lifted again simply with exercise machines, wind, solar,  or by a jack that an automobile can drive over or a person could walk over.  Yes, electric companies would have to be dealt with as well as city and county codes, but this is a much better solution for all the right reasons.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Can the Digital Revolution Alleviate Oppression?

Many cultural prognostications site the progress of digital  communication as a tool for progress out of the cold war, out of oppression of peoples by small groups, out of the New World Order.  Here is one viewpoint from a published ex-CIA officer.  – –   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r-pbD1kIUE&feature=related

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It Costs to Work in America

Wages, benefits, health insurance?  Many jobs in America, especially those “good middle class jobs” that Republicans talk about, could keep a couple or small family below the poverty line. But there are also costs in working – quite a few.  These costs are the major reason that many unemployed and underemployed  workers cannot “just take any job now, but keep looking for a better job.”  By the way, how much does it cost to look for work?  This calculator helps get a better picture of the real costs, but it does not mention taxes, social security or medicare deductions.  Transportation for much of America is tenuous with few public transportation options – and it’s expensive to own and insure an automobile, very necessary for many commutes.  There are also costs in the loss of time, not only for your work but travel time, breaks (mandatory or non-existent), preparation time for dressing and grooming, cosmetics for women.  These costs of time and transportation are particularly trying for workers in jobs with changing schedules, being sent home early, told to stay home or prone to further cuts in part-time daily hours.  And how about those employers who enforce an “on-call” schedule or mandatory overtime or split shifts or rotating shifts?  If you have ever had to work these kinds of jobs you are also probably afraid to join a union, if there is one, even though unions and minimum wage levels have crossed your mind.

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America’s International Economic Nightmare

Would you like to know how America has been trying to rule the world????  Pushing smaller nations into huge debt, then threatening their leaders while US corporations make huge profits off the taxpayer .     http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Economic-Hit-John-Perkins/dp/0452287081/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317306836&sr=1-1

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