No one cares about Joni Ernst – not even the Koch Bros.

by Olivia LaRosa, October 28,2014

Since the candidacy of Joni Ernst for the office of US Senator came to my attention, I started sampling coverage of her campaign through news media feeds.

Here are the things I have learned:

Joni spends most of her time thanking the 20 people who show up at her rallies.

Joni has no bills in mind to pass.

Joni swallows all of that bogus John Bircher nonsense Koch people feed her. Joni may know that the Koch Brothers are paying the bills for her candicacy but she doesn’t care. Joni is just a Koch Brothers puppet.

Joni is scary. Joni’s kinda dumb. Joni is unfit to sit within the US Senate.

Joni knows nothing about governance except how to get a county job and award her dad with contracts.

Joni likes living on the same block where she grew up because she knows where the cracks in the sidewalk occur.

Joni makes most of her political decisions based on what’s good for the place where she lives and the people in her immediate family.

Joni and her husband have been Federal employees their whole lives. Joni was in the National Guard during the Iraq wars but did not hold a combat role. Joni likes to exaggerate. Who’s supping more at the government’s trough? Them or me?

Joni takes money from chemical company mouthpieces. How much more cancer can your family take on her behalf?

Marco Rubio comes to your state to applaud the fact that if Joni is elected you can fire Harry Reid. 1) There is no assurance that would happen. 2) How does Harry Reid’s position affect your everyday life?

But finally, at the end, no one is reading Joni’s press releases and no one is supporting her corrupt donors.

So far the only reference to beauty Ernst has made has been in reference to her concealed-carry weapon.

I can’t believe that any responsible citizen would vote for a cardboard cutout from the Koch Brothers campaign.

Even if Bruce Braley sits on his butt for six years he will cause less damage to Iowa and the US if he is elected. Joni Ernst is a corporate puppet and death will follow in her wake. As you may know, the chemical industry is one of her top contributors.

This is why the chemical industry pays so much for lobbyists. They have both ends of the cancer market, the cause and the cure, and they want to keep it that way.

Ernst is a voluntary chemical corporation lobbyist and nothing more.






Posted in 14 signs of fascism, 1percent, military industrial complex, Public Health, Systematic Looting and other Privatization Schemes, Waste Fraud Abuse | Leave a comment

The Man: Another Entry in the Series: NSFW

By Olivia LaRosa, circa 2012

(I have read this paragraph a hundred times over the years since I published it. It still turns my stomach.) OLE 2014

This man, a gynecologist, wore a tiny camera in his tie. With the tiny camera, he captured pictures of the genitals of women and girls for his private amusement. He was in a position of power and he abused that power with base motives.

His hospital, Johns Hopkins, will pay $190,000,000 (One hundred ninety million dollars) in an attempt to right the wrongs.

Surely, it would have been easier to run diagnostic psych tests on persons who become doctors than pay out the vast sums of money demanded by the legal system to punish their behavior. We are not even paying out enough to repair the damage they create, let alone to insure prosperity in the wake of punishing the corrupt.

For an example, see Rick Scott, the Tea Party Governor of Florida. His company paid a HEFTY fine for defrauding medicare. Scott took the 5th amendment scores of times when held to account. Still, Floridians voted him in on the froth of a Tea Party wave in 2010. Let’s get rid of Rick, and all the other misery governors elected over the last 10 years with funds provided by the Koch Bros and others of their ilk.

Money should’t be used to moderate our access to food, water, shelter, and education. Those components, delivered in sufficient amounts nearly assure a healthy, well-adjusted family group.

Posted in Let's Talk About: The Man | Tagged | Comments Off

GOP, Who Do You Think You’re Kidding! Imperiling Women’s Lives

by Olivia LaRosa, a former Republican, October 6, 2014

GOP, who do you think you’re kidding? Your party is waging a war on women, and also lying about waging a war on women.  When your National Party Chair Reince Priebus says ridiculous things like the only thing that the GOP wants to stop is government paying for abortions on the air, you ought to hang your heads in shame.

That’s when Priebus either veered wildly off topic or outright misrepresented the law, depending on how you read it. “No, look, listen Chuck. The issue for us is only one thing,” he said. “And that’s whether you ought to use taxpayer money to fund abortion.”

…As for taxpayer funding for abortion, it has been barred under the federal Hyde Amendment since 1976, except for in cases of rape and incest. Some states provide their own Medicaid funding for the procedure, but Texas follows the Hyde standard. The law in question did nothing to change that.(1)

This front on your War on Women features the closure of legally and medically appropriate women’s healthcare facilities because someone you don’t know somewhere might get an abortion. Are you insane? Maybe not. Maybe you still believe there isn’t a little man behind the curtain.

I simply do not care about your arguments. These restrictions are murderous. Women will die without the services of these organizations. When women fall ill, children languish and all may die, even now. Is this real life suffering less important than that of a merely potential good match. I didn’t like being pregnant by my husband. He was a disgusting person. But I tolerated pregnancy well right up to Wendy’s birth and was a happy mommy. I was so excited to have you in my life. Houston women

The once-great state of Texas is now nearly bereft of women’s healthcare facilities because of an overly restrictive law making those facilities comply with expensive, difficult and time-consuming standards in order to continue operation.

Now, there are fewer than 10 clinics offering a full range of women’s healthcare services. This, in a state that contains Houston, a city larger than Los Angeles. (2)

Texas has a population of 26,448,000 (that’s millions!) of people. Let’s do the math. Divide population into quarters: adult men, adult women, male children, female children, for argument’s sake.  6.5 Million women/8 clinics=one clinic for every 812,500 women. (3)

Of course, my figures are an exaggeration. It doesn’t matter, because even if I was 90% off, the proportions would still be unacceptable.

Shame on you, GOP. At least, admit to waging the war. That would be the sporting thing to do. We would at least have a chance to duck.

(1) 10-6-2014.



Posted in Authoritarianism, Can't make this stuff up, Classism Racism Sexism, Culture of Death, Elephants in the Room, Everything We Know is Total BS, Fascism, GOP Dirty Tricks, I think they'd rather we die, Let's Talk About: The Man, Patriarchy, Republican Dirty Tricks, Republicans, sexism the idea that men are smarter than women, Slavery, This is bad. | Tagged , | Comments Off

Election 2014 Comments: Social Security

by Olivia LaRosa, October 6, 2014

As we are nearing this 2014 “off-year” election, I decided that I would take some time from my busy schedule to respond to right-wing candidates and their supporters in the hopes of straightening out the record.

Commenters at a website running an article about Joni Ernst, a US Senate candidate in Iowa, were trying to defend her views on Social Security. When a right-winger says they want to “strengthen and protect” Social Security Retirement, what they really mean is that they want to avoid the political heat that changing benefits for current retirees while supporting harmful changes to a functional and successful program.

Strengthen and protect means privatize and make it more difficult for today’s family to collect benefits when they hit retirement age. Some people think it’s a good idea to stop people from collecting until they are older.

Two reasons this is a bad idea: first, young workers are entering the workplace and jobs are scarce. Why keep a senior working longer than he or she wishes? Second: even though people are healthier now doesn’t mean they should work longer. The failures of old age will simply push people into the dysfunctional Social Security Disability system. People will die waiting for help.

They want to kick the can down the road by proposing changes that work against the best interests of both seniors and current workers. They want to pit the young against the old by proposing lower benefit for the younger workers.

Here’s my comment.

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Social Security itself. It is the most successful aid program we have developed, keeping millions of seniors housed and fed. The program only costs 1/2 of 1% of the fund total to administer. This low “load” makes mutual fund companies mad because they have to pay a bunch of lazy investment banker hotshots a lot more than that.

Back in 1968, my father told me that Social Security would not be around when he retired, so we should just get rid of it.

Well, wouldn’t ya know, the old man collected benefits for 20 years, until the day he died. All that need be done is tweak the formula so people pay in when thieir income surpasses the current $106,000 income cap. The only reason the fund is low is because Congress keeps borrowing against it. That’s the real problem.

Posted in Authoritarianism, Coping for disabled and underemployed people, Disability, Economics 101, Government is Not a Business, Health Policy, Political Science 101, Republican Dirty Tricks, Retirement, Solutions, Working People's Rights | Comments Off

“System justification” stops productive dialog between liberals and conservatives

by Olivia LaRosa, October 7, 2014

I have a lot to say about government. I started studying politics and economics in my teens. This interdisciplinary focus is called political economy. I went on to college while working full time and raising a family. I continued my studies. Then I got a degree in political science and went on to graduate from a top-tier law school with honors in public law.

So, when I talk about government, I have an impeccable knowledge base. It often seems as though I am a complainer. People ask me why I am so “negative.”

In reality, I am not negative. I appreciate the many benefits that my government and my society provide. But because I know how this is all supposed to work, I feel compelled to point out moves that take us in the wrong direction.

In other words, I am POSITIVE about my country. I want to help us be the best we can be. To encourage discussion about what is good, what is bad, and what could be made better, I copy a chunk from this article that talks about those who are intolerant of attempts to discuss how we can fix what’s wrong.

Another promising route that researchers are exploring involves the concept of “system justification.” Put simply, system justification arises from the deep-seated psychological need for humans to feel like the broad systems they are a part of are working correctly. It doesn’t feel good to know you attend a broken school or inhabit a deeply corrupt country — or that your planet’s entire ecology may be on the brink of collapse.

People tend to deal with major threats to their systems in one of two ways: taking a threat so seriously that they seek out ways to neutralize it, or “finding ways to justify away problems in order to maintain the sense of legitimacy and well-being of the system,” explained Irina Feygina, a social psychologist at New York University. This latter route is system justification.

Conservatives don’t have a monopoly on system justification, but there’s strong evidence they do it more than liberals. “There’s a lot of research that just goes out and asks people what their opinions and preferences are, and pretty consistently — I don’t actually know of any examples to the contrary — people who tend to report being further on the conservative end of the spectrum also report having greater confidence in the system and greater motivation to justify it,” said Feygina.

She and two colleagues looked into the connection between system justification and environmental beliefs for a series of studies published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2009. They found that, among an undergraduate sample at least, there was a strong correlation between system justification (as measured by reactions to items like “In general, the American political system operates as it should”) and denial of environmental problems.

Please go to original HERE.

Posted in Civil Society, Cultural Economics, Elephants in the Room, Energy Policy and Climate Change | Tagged | Comments Off

Shoe of the Day for people with mobility trouble

by Olivia LaRosa, October 4, 2014

$_57If I were going to buy a shoe today, this is the shoe I would buy.

Shoe of the day. October 4, 2014. Here, I am enchanted with the entire Earthies line of women’s shoes. This Earthies Shoes style is soft for thin-skinned people yet au courant.

The straps at the ankle control pivoting motions that might cause tripping or sprains.

Their gladiator look can add glamour for a day-to-evening outfit. Providing superior ankle support and a cushiony footbed, Earthies are a good choice in this $100-$199 price range.

Earthies can be found on eBay in either new or previously-owned condition for as low as $30.00. Pick up a used pair and see how they make you feel.


Posted in Fashion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Moving the Mexican Border

Moving the Mexican Border


“The Mexican Border” is not a fixed landmark, we learn. Historically, none of our borders are made up of any more than myth. Rivers and lakes appear and disappear. Forests grow, die, then grow again. ‘First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain…then there is.’  ~ Donovan

I have lived in and visited many places in the United States and have had the privilege of being a tourist in Hawaii. My birth certificate is not registered with the state of California. I have the hospital’s birth certificate. It isn’t a big deal until I need a Visa to travel. Even then, all I need is an affidavit from someone who has known me for more than two years. It hasn’t stopped the state from treating me and my friends like a legal person. For example, the State of California is very enthusiastic about collecting tax debt, even if it is owed to the IRS and not the state. (ed.)

Please read the fascinating article here at the New Yorker website. Limited membership is free in most of these significant publications.

Not so of the Washington Post or the New York Times, for example. The Founding Fathers would weep if they learned that the rich are making people pay for information. They knew that it didn’t work out so well the time before. Therefore, the French Revolution.

Our Founding Fathers thought that information should be freely provided to the public. It was free to mail newspapers. The laws the Founding Fathers wrote promised free mail to the public that would expose all viewpoints,-














































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Posted in 1percent, Civil Society, Cultural Economics, Everything We Know is Total BS, Fundamentalism, Genocide, Geopolitics, human rights abuses, Political Science, Political Science 101 | Comments Off

Able Peter Orszag Opines: Employers should take care of disabled: What?

By Olivia LaRosa, September 5, 2014

(Updated from 2010)

Dear Peter Orszag,

I hope you never become disabled, without assets due to your disability, and unable to receive disability income. Your prescription for making disability “work” is completely wrongheaded. The “policies” you prescribe do not help anyone.  Improving the lives of the disabled and allowing them to use their skills and talents for the benefit of themselves and others should be our first charge.

Disability is natural. Some humans are born disabled. Some become disabled due to illness or injury. It’s just part of life. We will always have such among us and our better natures know that privatizing disability services will lead only to corruption and theft of taxpayer money.

First, millions of people with disabilities work in productive jobs. They are still able to work satisfactorily, so they do not try to submit a disability claim. When they are fired or laid off from their jobs, they often find that they cannot get another position. After years of trying to find employment, they finally sit down at the computer and file that fateful document. Or, their disability could cause them to leave it there to sit for 13 months, while trying to figure out what is wrong with them.

People with disabilities want to and are quite capable of making meaningful contributions to society. You don’t want me to make a list, do you? Well, let’s start with Albert Einstein…

Second, your “solution” is a bald move to shift the responsibility for providing the necessary services for disabled people from the government, where they belong, to employers, who have multiple conflicts of interest when considering whether an employee is disabled. It’s just another terrifying privatization scheme that will leave the disabled without protection against homelessness, disease, and death.

When government services are privatized, the first thing that happens is that taxpayer assets are sold off at a low price to the already-rich. Then, those services deteriorate. Customers complain, but nobody does anything until the company who privatized the services goes bankrupt or steals billions from the public (Enron, Bank of America, Countrywide Mortgage, Bear Stearns, the savings and loan scandals of the 80s, junk bond fever, dot-com fever, Fannie Mae*, airline companies). Then the government will bail out the already-rich people who pillaged the taxpayer assets in the first place, but everyone else loses. The taxpayer then gets to pay the bill for the privatization forever because the government just borrows more money in their name to pay for the bailout. A win-win situation, eh?

And third, perhaps you should leave your ivory tower before you fly over to Citigroup and find out how the world really works for people with physical and mental handicaps. And, if you call yourself a Democrat, then I am a monkey’s uncle. Real Democrats don’t destroy helpful government services that allow all kinds of people to be productive.

*Fannie Mae was a government agency until the mid-1970s, when its privatization began.

December 9, 2010
Making Disability Work
I will begin a new job for Citigroup in January, so this is my last article as a contributing columnist for The Times. I hope to see you again from time to time on the Op-Ed page.

One of the gravest dangers posed by the weak economy is that the unemployed will become discouraged and give up looking for work, perhaps permanently as their skills atrophy. This would be harmful not only to the workers and their families, but also to the economy as a whole, as those people would no longer contribute to economic growth. The longer the labor market remains sluggish, the more pronounced this risk becomes.

Unfortunately, at this point more than six million people have been unemployed for six months or longer. More than one million have already given up looking for work because they believe no job is available. And a drastic rise in applications for disability insurance suggests we may be headed for more long-lasting trouble. The number of disability applications has reached more than 750,000 a quarter, according to the Social Security Administration, an increase of more than 50 percent from four years ago.

The disability insurance program provides crucial support for people who can no longer work because of a disability. But once someone begins receiving benefits, the likelihood that he will re-enter the work force is almost nonexistent; recipients become permanently dependent on the program.

The result is not only lost economic productivity, but also a fiscal burden for the federal government: disability benefits now cost more than $120 billion a year, and Medicare benefits for those on disability add $70 billion.

The spike in disability insurance applications (and awards) does not reflect a less healthy population. The fraction of working-age adults who report a disability, about one in 10, has remained roughly constant for the past 20 years. (Indeed, it would be surprising if the number of workers with disabilities had risen by 50 percent over the past four years.) Rather, the weak labor market has driven more people to apply for disability benefits that they qualify for but wouldn’t need if they could find work.

When Congress created the disability insurance program in 1956, it required that recipients be unable to “engage in substantial gainful activity in the U.S. economy.” In other words, they had to be unable to work. That was sensible at the time, when more jobs involved physical labor and technologies to assist people with disabilities were not widely available.

Today, however, many people with disabilities are able to engage in some form of work — even if they can’t admit that and still keep their insurance benefits. Cutting off access to the workplace in this way is both unfortunate and unnecessary — and reinforces the threat that the current downturn could cause a long-term reduction in the share of people who work.

So what should be done?

First, macroeconomic policy. We need more stimulus immediately, and more deficit reduction enacted now to take effect in two or three years. The plan just proposed by the White House in a compromise with Congressional Republicans is encouraging in that it includes a new payroll tax holiday, a helpful stimulus. It does not reduce future deficits, but at least it avoids making the Bush tax cuts permanent, reserving the flexibility to address medium-term deficits down the road.

Even if this plan goes ahead, however, the unemployment rate is likely to remain high for some time. For it to fall by even one percentage point (from 9.5 percent to 8.5 percent) the economy needs to grow by about 4.5 percent a year.

Second, unemployment insurance should be extended, as President Obama’s compromise plan also would do. Unemployment benefits are a form of stimulus: they spur spending and thereby help keep the economy afloat. Just as important, unemployment benefits keep many people from falling back on disability insurance — and unlike disability insurance, which effectively prohibits beneficiaries from seeking work, unemployment insurance requires recipients to keep looking for a job and thus remain connected to the work force.

Finally, the disability insurance program itself must be reformed. Program administrators understand the need to encourage beneficiaries to return to work, and they have experimented with various incentives. Such initiatives have generally been ineffective, though, because they reach beneficiaries too late, after they have already become dependent on the program and lost their attachment to the work force.

A better approach has been suggested by David Autor of M.I.T. and Mark Duggan of the University of Maryland. In a paper released last week from the Center for American Progress and the Hamilton Project, these economists argue that employers should be required to offer their workers private disability insurance. Such coverage would provide people who have a work-limiting disability with vocational assistance, workplace accommodation and limited wage replacement. All of these benefits would kick in within 90 days of the onset of disability, to avoid the problems with delayed assistance that have plagued efforts to reform public disability insurance. Private employers would have an incentive to prevent their workers from having to file disability applications, because their insurance premiums would rise in response to higher disability rates.

Disabled workers could remain on this privately financed insurance for two years, and then be eligible for the existing public program. The goal would be to minimize long-term dependency, and re-orient the federal disability insurance program toward assisting those who are truly unable to work.

One concern is that this approach would burden firms with additional human resource costs when we need to encourage hiring. But the costs are projected to be modest — roughly $250 per worker per year. And if they help to reduce the future payroll tax increases that would be needed to finance rapid growth in disability benefits, the pressure on overall labor costs would be even smaller.

Another concern is that private insurance firms would need to be given substantially expanded responsibility for evaluating workers’ disabilities. Mr. Autor and Mr. Duggan propose to mitigate this potential problem by suggesting that workers be allowed to appeal any such evaluations to state government agencies.

The Netherlands has adopted a program like this, and the results so far are promising. In 1994, the Dutch government required all firms to finance the first six weeks of disability benefits. That period was later extended to one year and then to two years. In 2002, the program was broadened to require back-to-work plans, developed cooperatively by the disabled worker, his employer and a consulting doctor. The number of disability recipients in the Netherlands has since declined significantly.

None of these policy changes would be easy. But failing to act would result in millions of Americans needlessly dropping out of the work force. In our precarious economy, neither progressives nor conservatives should be willing to watch passively as the disability insurance rolls grow, and beneficiaries are locked out of the labor market.

Peter Orszag, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget from 2009 to July 2010, is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Posted in Genocide, Geopolitics, Government is Not a Business, Health Policy, human rights abuses | Comments Off

How cuts in global public health measures endanger us all; cuts in WHO hurt response to ebola

By Olivia LaRosa, September 2, 2014 Today, a headline caught my eye. Cuts in WHO hurt response to ebola.  (NYT 9-2-2014) What is WHO? Why, it’s the World Health Organization, which is supposed to respond quickly and effectively to outbreaks of dread diseases such as Ebola. You will be shocked, shocked to learn that WHO is underfunded and suffers continual cuts in funding. It is one of the organizations that the US helped to create from the basis of the Geneva Conventions and United Nations treaties. We not only agreed to form these organizations, we help to support them based on our own commitment. People who don’t think we should be wasting our tax money on people who are dying in other continents might blink slowly when they hear this. Pay them no mind. If they are capable of absorbing information they will do it without your further intervention. Rome and other large capitals had public water and sewer facilities before 1BC. After the fall of the Roman Empire, public health endeavors fell apart. People bragged about bathing only three times in their lives. Their streets were lined with open sewers. Horse droppings were more abundant and frequent than snow and rain. When the plague came upon us, public health was in complete disarray. The most important life-saving measures of the last 500 years have been the rebirth of the public health system. In a globalized world we have globalized ills. It behooves us to pay attention to this above all else.

The Black Death and early public health measures

Lead mortuary crosses, England, 1300s and 1600s

Lead mortuary crosses, England, 1300s and 1600s

View Object

‘Cito, Longe, Tarde.’

Hippocrates and Galen are colossal figures in the history of medicine, renowned for their wise and innovative advice on medical matters. When it came to plague, they offered similar guidance, rendered in Latin as ‘Cito, Longe, Tarde,’ which translates as ‘Leave quickly, go far away and come back slowly.’ When the Black Death swept over much of Asia, Europe and parts of Africa in the mid-1300s, such advice was about as good as it got. Present in bubonic, pneumonic and septicaemic forms, the Black Death had killed millions by the time it finally declined. Europe may have lost a third of its people, China perhaps half. Besides death, the disease brought fear, panic and very often a complete breakdown of society.(1)

Even as late as 1665, public health measures were primitive. Ships turned

away from ports, families locked into their homes, quarantines were the

basic measures employed. Still, Britain was largely unprepared for the

Great Plague.

Now in the 21st century, our public health systems, designed and operated

in a normal manner, have protected us from great resurgences of the Plague.

In the 20th Century, the world largely eradicated polio and offered a full

spectrum of antibiotics that cured permanent disfiguring and loathsome

diseases such as leprosy and syphilis. Tuberculosis was under control.

No one got dysentery in the big rich countries.

Then along came AIDS in the late 1970s. Work on containing the disease

andsaving its victims was delayed by the political games of the right wing.

President Ronald Reagan dithered far too long before bringing the

resources of the US public health system to bear and millions have died

because of this reckless behavior.

So, why are we underfunding the World Health Organization? Because

the right doesn’t care about the health of anyone except their immediate

families, for the most part. Righties especially do not care about brown or

yellow people from their home, or other countries.


Posted in 99%, Geopolitics, Government is Not a Business, Health Policy | Comments Off