Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

By Alan J. Yeck

Just when I thought the political fruit cake couldn’t get any nuttier, I woke to the news that Hillary Clinton, in a discussion with Nancy Pelosi, shared her own conspiracy theory that President Trump called Vladimir Putin on the day of the riot at the Capital. I find myself going back and forth between being entertained by the moron platform (well used by both parties) to really pissed off that this is even in the news. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not? That’s why we wait for facts before holding public hearings. I don’t like Trump but I don’t like Biden either. I don’t like any of them and this is just another example of ‘why.’ Their intense, personal hatred of Trump comes first and foremost, well before issues that are affecting and destroying the American people on a daily basis. Vengeance is mine, says the Lord…and Hillary and Nancy. Don’t you wish they were that consumed with the fraudulent, student loan industry? Don’t you wish they spent their energy on campaign finance reform, or healthcare, or a distribution plan for the COVID vaccine? Don’t you wish all of them had their heads out of their asses and actually worked for the welfare of the American people? I do.

The next WTF moment came with two commercials on the networks; one was about TV news personality, Katie Couric, being interviewed by the news, about Trump. The other promo was about the news, interviewing CBS News White House correspondent, Major Garrett, on Trump. This is what we do now – the news interviews the news and makes it news when it’s not news at all. Again, I’m not defending nor supporting any of the politicians including Trump, but is it a surprise, to anyone in the country, how the mainstream news networks loathe Trump? I’m not saying they don’t have good reason – I’m saying they are news networks and not gossip tabloids (or shouldn’t be gossip tabloids). If you also loathe Trump do you need more loathing ammo? If you support Trump, does this ease your fears as we transition to a new Biden administration? Maybe try reporting on how much money from Super PACs go to which politicians? How about where the thousands upon thousands of lobbyists spend their time, and money, in Washington? How about using the power of the press to bring real, lasting change to a country desperately needing it, by real reporting and not a vendetta agenda. Do you understand that as you also seek your pound of old, white, flabby, flesh that you only create more mistrust in what you report on?  The only difference between you and The National Enquirer is…nothing. Except I did see Elvis in an Asheville head shop so the Enquirer’s reporting on that was true. 

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Death of Democracy

“What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?”

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

By Alan J. Yeck

While it is easiest to blame Trump and his supporters for yesterday’s occupation by rioters of the Capitol, we need to understand that this was just the most recent symptom of a much greater issue that has been going on for many administrations regardless of the party in power. It’s just the most recent symptom of our dying democracy.

This didn’t just happen yesterday, or even begin in 2016. A “government of the people, by the people, for the people” has not been the reality of our American political system for a long, long time – if it ever was true. Do not read this as condoning any of our current politicians or political parties because all have blood on their hands. Not one is without guilt. Are you?

We have allowed ourselves to be fooled by one side or the other for as long as I can remember, and in researching the history of our government, for as long as it’s been in existence. We choose to believe what this person says or what that media outlet reports. We choose to believe that our side is absolutely right and the other absolutely wrong. We choose to ignore those around us suffering from poor policies and social ignorance. We choose not to see the ultra-wealthy and powerful taking all they want while we fight each other for the scraps.

We not only choose these things, we choose to embrace them. When our voices are not heard by those who we entrust with our lives and the future of our children, there can only be anger and resentment. But the direction has been misplaced, intentionally planned, so we stand against each other; to be occupied at the lowest level instead of focusing on the roots of our problems – corruption and ownership of our government by corporate entities who have become the masters to those we vote for. The system which safeguards our democracy is broken and our elected officials are bought and paid in full to keep it that way. Biden’s presidency will not change this.

The two-party system has been protected by the two parties to ensure the power remains with them (corporations) and not the people. Over the last few years, I’ve heard both sides making statements to attack each other based on what the ‘founding fathers’ of our country thought – what their vision was for our country today. In all instances I felt their references were at best, contrived and based on absolutely no understanding of the history of our nation or our current problems. With that said, I’d like to share two quotes from those involved in the original fight against tyranny:

There is nothing I dread so much as the division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our constitution.”

-John Adams

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.”

-George Washington

Just to make clear, “despotism” is when the people are oppressed by the absolute power and authority exerted by government. It was a warning from 200 years ago and we still haven’t listened though Rome burns. If ignorance is truly bliss then we are one bunch of happy fuckers.

There is much more to our government’s corruption that I’ll continue to address later, but my last thought is about Ashli Babbitt, the Air force veteran who was shot and killed by U.S. Capitol Police while climbing through a window. While I did not know her, I’m very sorry and sad for her family and all who loved her. I’m also sorry and sad for the officer that pulled the trigger that took her life. Both were committed to their beliefs and what they believed was their duty to do. What sickens me the most, however, is the reaction from the members of our congress – those that were in hiding – quick to speak to the cameras to tell how awful this was for our country. The truth? The truth is they are all responsible for Ms. Babbitt’s death.  All have her blood on their hands. Regardless of what you think of Trump or Pelosi or McConnel or Schumer, every member of congress and the senate has her blood on their hands.

Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One, two; why, then ‘tis time to do’t.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him? The thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now?—What, will these hands ne’er be clean?—No more o’that, my lord, no more o’that: you mar all with this starting. Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!”

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

What are PACs and SuperPACs?

If No One is around when democracy dies, does it make a sound? Part 3

By Alan J. Yeck, Founder

Coming out of the our recent election just days ago, the term PACs and SuperPACs need to be defined now as much as ever. What do these acronyms mean? And how are these groups contributing to the fall of American democracy?

Political action committees (PACs)

Traditional nonconnected political action committees –

are prohibited from accepting money from corporations, unions, and associations. These are tax-exempt organizations that raise money in support of candidates and/or specific legislation they want to see pass/defeated. Federal campaigns are regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and State and local PACs are regulated by the State and local election boards. Nonconnected PACs are required to file quarterly reports with the FEC exactly who contributed the money and how the PAC spent the money. Individuals can donate up to $2,800 per election cycle (primary and general election) for a maximum of $5,600 a year.

  • A nonconnected committee does not have a “connected organization”—that is, no corporation or labor organization establishes, administers or raises money for a nonconnected committee.
  • All forms of support including money and other things of value received by a nonconnected committee from a sponsoring organization are considered contributions, which are subject to annual limits, prohibitions and disclosure requirements under the Federal Election Campaign Act.
  • A nonconnected committee may solicit contributions from anyone in the general public who may lawfully make a contribution in connection with a federal election.

Today the FEC has registered from January to the end of June, 2019, 6,785 federal PACs reporting total receipts of $958.2 million and disbursements of $818.7 million. I want to stress here that PACs themselves are not inherently bad or corrupt. PACs can be a group of social workers trying to improve situations for families or environmentalist concerned with ocean pollution. Nonetheless, there is plenty of room here for layers and manipulation in the political garden of evil. I am confident we can develop a better, completely transparent system of funding political campaigns that honestly informs the voters who exactly is writing the checks, why they’re supporting/defeating, and who they are connected to beyond current reporting requirements. NOTE – The Federal Election Commission who overseas campaign contributions is basically a non-functioning mess right now and it itself needs reform and rehabilitation.

Super PACs – Separate segregated funds (SSFs)

Federal election law refers to a corporate- or labor organization-sponsored political committee as a “separate segregated fund” (SSF), though it is more commonly called a “political action committee” or PAC. As the name implies, money contributed to an SSF is held in a separate bank account from the general corporate or union treasury. A corporation or union that sponsors an SSF is called the connected organization. While corporations and labor organizations are generally prohibited from making contributions in connection with federal elections, the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) and Commission regulations permit them to set up political committees, which may raise funds permissible under the Act in order to make contributions to and expenditures on behalf of federal candidates and other committees.

  • An SSF always has a sponsoring corporation or labor organization.
  • An SSF may generally receive unlimited administrative support from its connected organization, and such support is usually not subject to federal disclosure requirements. The connected organization may use its general treasury funds to pay the establishment, administration, and fundraising costs for the SSF.
  • An SSF may solicit only a limited class of individuals who have specific relationships with the connected organization (i.e., stockholders or members and certain employees of the connected organization and their families).
  • The connected organization may also exercise control over its SSF. Corporations and unions often adopt bylaws to govern their SSFs, though bylaws are not required under the law and do not have to be filed with the FEC except when requested.

This is part 2 of the “Democracy Dies” series, covering the corruption surrounding PACS, SuperPACs, and how candidates pay for votes.

To read part 1, go to https://altraged.com/2020/10/23/if-no-one-is-around-does-democracy-make-a-sound-when-it-dies-part-1/

For part 2, go to https://altraged.com/2020/10/28/if-no-one-is-around-when-democracy-dies-does-it-make-a-sound-part-2/

HAS ANYONE TESTED THE AIR IN D.C. FOR CHEMICALS THAT BLOCK NORMAL BRAIN FUNCTIONS?

Alan J. Yeck

The Strong Retirement Act of 2020 is a bipartisan bill proposed by Congressmen Kevin Brady, R-Texas and Richard Neal, D-Mass.  I want you to focus on the student debt part, they so kindly included. The bill would allow businesses to pay a 401(k) match to workers paying off student loans, even if those borrowers aren’t saving in the company retirement plan. In a summary of the bill, they state “The idea is that employees who are overwhelmed with student debt may not realistically be able to save for retirement, and thus are missing out on available matching contributions.”

What the WTF? So instead of addressing the multiple issues and corruption in the student loan industry, the source of the problem, they’re going to concentrate on the symptom of being “overwhelmed by student debt,” and let the company contribute to a 401(k) that I’m sure the government, via Navient, et al, will garnish later (if you weren’t aware our cowardly judicial system will enforce garnishments on wages, tax returns, social security payments to collect on student loans that were fraudulent to begin with).

Congressmen – listen to your own bill! “…employees who are overwhelmed with student debt may not realistically be able to save for retirement.” Why are they overwhelmed with student debt? Because of bogus efforts like this that do nothing to fix the student loan scam you (i.e. Congress) created for the American people. Holy shit. How crooked can our politicians be?

Two different people, two different parties, two different states. You know politicians don’t drink public water there so it has to be the air in those old buildings. They’re probably breathing in a mixture of their own hot rhetoric combined with skin microparticles from hundreds of years of old white men.  Their brains, and their souls, are gone.

#corruption #altraged #dirtypolitics #business #studentloandebt #highereducation #highereducationleadership #innovation #blm #womensrights

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/27/new-retirement-bill-has-perks-for-seniors-student-loan-borrowers-.html

If No One is Around When Democracy Dies, Does it Make a Sound? Part 2

The fox passes acts to watch the hen house…

The Tillman Act of 1907 was the first legislation in the United States prohibiting contributions from corporations  and unions to national political campaigns. More regulations were added in 1910, with subsequent amendments in 1925, with the Federal Corrupt Practices Act. This was followed in 1943 with the Smith-Connally Act and again in 1947 with the Taft-Hartley Act. All were focused on regulating union and corporate spending in federal campaigns and public disclosure of donors. While all these Acts were on the books, there was never a government agency tasked with enforcement (similar to having a speed limit sign on a desert highway with no cops).  

In 1971, Congress consolidated its earlier reform efforts in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), instituting more stringent disclosure requirements for federal candidates, political parties and Political action committees (PACs). This was later amended in 1974 to set limits on contributions by PACs, individuals, political parties, and also established the Federal Election Commission (FEC) – the first independent agency that would be tasked to enforce campaign finance Acts.

In 2002, Congress made major revisions to the FECA in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, more commonly referred to as “McCain-Feingold.” However, major portions of McCain-Feingold were later struck down by the Supreme Court on constitutional grounds.  In June 2008, the “millionaire’s amendment,” a section of the act that attempted to provide a fairness through increasing campaign contributions for candidates who were being substantially outspent by opponents using their own personal wealth, was overturned by the Supreme Court in Davis v. Federal Election Commission. Senator McCain consistently voiced concern over campaign practices and their funding.

“Questions of honor are raised as much by appearances as by reality in politics, and because they incite public distrust, they need to be addressed no less directly than we would address evidence of expressly illegal corruption…By the time I became a leading advocate of campaign finance reform, I had come to appreciate that the public’s suspicions were not always mistaken. Money does buy access in Washington, and access increases influence that often results in benefiting the few at the expense of the many.” Senator John McCain, 2002.

B-I-N-G-O! And 18 years later it’s only gotten worse.

This is part 2 of the “Democracy Dies” series, covering the corruption surrounding PACS, SuperPACs, and how candidates pay for votes. To read part 1, go to https://altraged.com/2020/10/23/if-no-one-is-around-does-democracy-make-a-sound-when-it-dies-part-1/

If No One is Around, Does Democracy Make a Sound When it Dies? Part 1

(Part 1 of the Democracy Dies Series)

By Alan J. Yeck, Founder of AltRaged

Show me the money!

For many years I took American democracy completely for granted like the sun rising every morning. I viewed it as impenetrable from outside influence, unbreakable from internal conflicts and impervious to the passage of time. I believed, unwavering, that we were a system of government by the whole population. That my voice, your voice, their voice, all mattered in how we would govern, be governed, and the future of our country. That the words Abraham Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg, “…that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” explained and justified how so many could sacrifice their lives for this idea of democracy. I love my country and the ideals of justice, and equality and freedom that I believed we were about. All of this is so tightly woven through my very existence as veteran, father, son, and American that to try and separate it from the rest of myself would cause me to break into a thousand pieces. Well, more like a thousand shingles falling from my eyes – and they did.

Communism, fascism, terrorist, extremists, racists, war, depression…none of these can destroy our democracy. The greater the threats the stronger we become – when we see them, when we understand them, we fight them and have never, ever lost. Only democracy, specifically when its citizens are manipulated by its government, can destroy democracy and that’s exactly what is happening. Those we elect to represent us have not only failed to uphold their vows to our Constitution but they have perverted it against us.

Let’s start with the individual – you, me, aunt Fran. There’s an issue that you feel strongly about; immigration, firearm ownership, racial justice, planned parenthood, the arts, taxes, veterans, student loans, healthcare, affordable housing…(insert issue here). We take our thoughts, values, concerns, and needs to the people that we voted to represent us. We receive the automated response to our email, thanking us for contacting them. Sometimes we even receive a letter thanking us for contacting them and that they are working on our behalf for (insert issue here). Thank God we have Senator Shayla and Congressman Cal working hard on our behalf. But  it’s all a lie, a TV show, a bad game that we can never win. After we vote, we fall to the back of the line. There are only three things that matter in Congress; 1) money, 2) time in front of the TV cameras, and 3) money. If you’re not coming with a bag of cash, don’t waste your time. Unless it’s something that will embarrass them; if it’s something that would risk losing their power or money. Otherwise, we don’t matter.

Today’s Congress is probably the most corrupt in U.S. history with all those we elected, red and blue, actively participating in one way or the other (not fighting against corruption is participating in the corruption). This didn’t just happen, or happen with the last administration or the one before that, or the one before that…This series is a brief summary of campaign reform attempts and political action committees. There is much more, both depth and breadth, to be known about these but for our purposes now we will only be focusing on how they have facilitated, and accelerated bribery and corruption while hiding behind our current laws. I do urge you to do more research yourself. They are numerous, and sometimes complicated with plentiful law suits, court cases including the Supreme Court (questionable rulings).

Looking forward to sharing with all of you in the coming days and weeks. As always, should you want to share, please click on the “Submissions” page above and learn how you can contribute to AltRaged.

POLITICAL IGNORANCE OR LIES? EITHER WAY WE LOOSE

Understanding the student loan debt crisis in 1.7 trillion words or less

-Alan Yeck, Founder of AltRaged

As  it, tis the season for political promises; a chicken in every pot, cut your taxes, raise your pay, lower crime…which have pretty much been the same horseshit promises we get ever election, this time it’s what’s missing in the promise that I want you to understand.

Joe and Kam are going to pay off everyone’s education debt and make college free which just sounds awesome, “sounds” being the operative intent. Remember the devil is in the details and our politicians are very well acquainted with the devil. Very well. Because they either do not understand the multiple issues that led to our $1.7 trillion dollar student loan crisis, or they do understand and are tossing out their plan as a smoke screen to keep the political money machine in tact – I don’t know. Either way, the American people would still be fucked…again. To pay for this degree, and that degree without any other changes ensures the broken, corrupt systems in higher education and the student loan debt collection industry continue their graft to future generations. It’s like arresting the kid on the street for selling coke but the bankers laundering the money remain tucked away safety in their beds every night. Writing a blank check to criminal organizations should never be the plan unless you’re part of it and getting kickbacks, uh, I mean “campaign contributions” through PACs and Super PACs. Wait a minute…

Do not confuse accreditation with accountability in higher education. A 400% increase in tuition over one generation, over inflation in other sectors, cannot be explained by natural disaster, never ending wars, alien probings or even a pandemic. When Congress made money from the government readily available to loan to all citizens for college costs, college costs starting their peculiar rise. With the smell of money in the air, private, for-profit colleges began to sprout up everywhere. Congress smelled that money too. Prior to the mid-1970s, student loan debt could be discharged, like any other debt, in bankruptcy. Congress then, quietly, eliminated this fundamental right (which is written into the Constitution) which allowed an entire industry of cock-a-roaches to be born – the wonderful student loan collection industry (the student loan industry is ranked on the putrid, scum, lowlife scale below Nazis but above Stalin). What do you think removing bankruptcy rights did to higher education? It removed the normal market steam valve that prevented a larger explosion and warned of dire, unaddressed issues on campuses and in the system itself. It’s removal is the single greatest cause of the $1.7 trillion crisis.  Remove it and enslave people in lifelong debt with interest rates and penalty fees doubling, tripling, quadrupling the original loan amounts. All the while the campaign contributions from those making billions of dollars off of this structure continue to pour into both Democratic and Republican camps. Who would want to stop that gravy train of destruction of the American people?  Certainly not our elected officials. Congress caused this, not Jerome or Fiona or JimmyJack. Congress caused this crisis and only Congress can fix it, which is why it’s so important who would put in office. We need people who care about others more than they care about money (I know, I know, crazy talk).

So, JoeJoe, Kam, Donny T and Mikey P, et al others at the D.C. freak show, if you want to change the country for the better, start with restoring full bankruptcy rights. Bankruptcy has consequences for those that use it (not all will) and will be from a hopeless desperation caused by the sleazy fraud compounded on them and is truly their only option – no one is getting off-scott free. This begins to realign the higher ed markets and helps address the highly inflated cost and fiscal mismanagement in higher education. Free education is possible but until we fix the current corrupt system, you’re just stealing from a different pocket on a different day (and still getting your cut of the scam – right?). 

#highered #highereducationleadership #higheredleadership #studentloans #studentloandebt #dirtypolitics #elections2020 #corruption #bankruptcylaw #writers #altraged