Archive for May 2012

Money and Religion in America- Fueling political polarization….

 

                      One of the most interesting things about writing a blog musing and brainstorming about today’s  issues, is the varied reaction from column to column. While politics is an interesting topic for sure, and gets reaction .. two other issues seems to take center stage. They both intertwine with each other…and seem to dominate what Americans really want to talk about.

               One is the discussion is  religion in America..and  how extremes from the right…or the  non-religious/ atheist left …seem to dominate they debate . The other hot topic is about health care in America…and how that debate is also framed by two extremes. Part of the gridlock in America is the polarization of the American people. Seems we live on the edges these days, with an all or nothing approach dominating the scene. Add in the new laws that allow our emotionally challenged  billionaire friends to  enjoy  unlimited use of their money to emphasis whatever  they’re particular  flavor  of the day is.

The tea party gang thought it was important to move back 50 years and relive the debate about contraception. Were even revisiting big brothers roll in controlling a women’s right to decide about her own reproductive choices. With world economies battling through  serious turmoil… and gainful employment so hard to find..isn’t it disturturbing that chunks of the republican party are more interested in manadating governmental  proping of their fellow Americans.We’ve got state after state making access to planned parenthood more and more difficult…with applause from Romney and the rightwing.  Public policy is often fueled by big money donors.. not exactly representative of the people.

On the other hand public debate about a cetain “untouchable” issues seems to be off  ” the table”  if you talk to the more “‘secularist ”    crowd. Serious discussion and brainstorming about what to do about social security and medicare seems to be he holy grail of non-discussion. AARP, the Democratic party and all type of big spenders don’t want to accept the reality of not dealing with our unsustaniable  future where over 50% of every American household will receive some type of governmental support. We will need to slighly raise the ages of retirees…and slightly raise the rate of taxation. We cant expect a tax rate for social security  to remain at 7.25 perecent forever…a half a point raise wouldn’t be unthinkable.  Issues like means testing of our senior citizens is something that needs to happen. Citizens 65 and older that have substantial income and assets need to have SS  benefits moderated and medicare co-payments raised. They were fortunate in life..and they could have been on the other side of the equation. Im also  personally aware of several people that were able to get the governmental approved ” disability” ..a  portion of these people are not at all disabled..and need to be taken off this unfair burden to legitmate taxpayers..  These common sense changes will go a long way in making social security and medicare sustainable for the future. 

 So as 2012 unfolds, and the debate in America continues to be controlled by the by the well-heeled, religously acive  crowd on both sides of the fences… reasoned social and policial debate are pushed to the fringes. Moderate Americans who are willing to make some reasonable choices are put out to pasture…as we allow the social and politcal discussion to be headlined by Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh on the right, and Joe Biden and Rachel Maddow on the left. One of these days .. moderate Americans will have more of a say…but 2012 isn’t looking like the time.   

 

 

 





Not a Romney fan? talk to your friends…the undecided ones!

 

                     Does their seizing on a stray remark from New Jersey Mayor Booker trying to justify Romney’s  Bain banishment of middle class jobs upset you?  What type of person ties a dog to the top of his car while driving hundreds of miles to Canada? How about a guy whose anxious to end funding to planned parenthood? A   man that has bank accounts tucked away  in Switzerland and he Caymans…after earning his money gutting American companies and moving their  jobs overseas …and then brag about it.  A kid that was apparently a bully in high school…he wasn’t’ a very nice  then..and you just don’t change the spots of a leopard.

     There’s so much more. Here’s a guy bragging to his Republican brethren about his wife driving two Cadillacs ..a guy willing to bet 10,000 dollars during a Republican debate. Ten grand is about two hours pay for Romney….why doesn’t he just rub it into the face of the rest of us ?.He publicly stated quite recently that he is not concerned about poor people..that he will make sure the government “safety nets is there”..despite Romney doing everything he can to not pay HIS fair share of taxes.

   Here’s a guy that’s unwilling to support equal pay legislation for women .A man that will never support a raise to the minimum wage. Once upon a time, Romney was pro-choice..but political expediency turned his severely pro-choice..capitulating to his  conservative brethren. Not to mention his typical denial of equal right to Americans wanting to engage  in the sanctimony of marriage.

    Romney’s reign in Bain capital was Romney’s reasoning  that he was they guy to turn round our economy. His true record at Bain was one of profitability, for the private equity big money people.  They  make a living at knocking out businesses…making  products overseas…and selling a striped down… profitable… but job shedding business. Republicans call it efficient..and free markets. Apple makes their products utilizing questionable labor ..but Americans want lower prices..so damn the torpedo’s and let’s look the other way. We love Walmart because they have lower prices…how many really care where products come from and whose been exploited for cheap labor? We do and we don’t…it’s  survival of the luckiest?

      There’s everything on line this election year for Americans. This election will determine our direction for year to come. All indications are this election will be  close. In fact , smart money  thinks the election will be decided in Ohio and Florida..two major swing states. How can progressives help change the election? Let’s each talk to 3 friends that are either undecided or weak Romney supporters. Let’s take the time in a one-on one discussions of the pro and cons of each candidate. No extreme talk..just a reasonable exchange  of the most important issues separating the candidates. Educate your friends and associates. Don’t waste your time battling wits with the Romney supporter..lets out smart the bellicose right.. instead concentrate efforts to where it makes a difference. Reach out to your undecided friends. We all have friends that haven’t voted in years…maybe decades..let’s get everyone educated to what’s at stake.   As Iowa proves every year, there’s nothing more effective than one on  one approach…..when you can discuss issues face to face. You really want the POTUS back…talk to your friends…the undecided ones!!





How the Right-Wing Billionaires are saving President Obama…

 

                              Nothing like getting  help from your friends…but Obama is getting a huge boost from crazy right wing billionaires. Joe Rickett’s, founder of TD /Ameritrade and owner of the Chicago Cubs…had a detailed plan of action to smear the president  and instill race baiting in our general election. Rickett’s plan call’s Obama,” A meterosexual black Abe Lincoln…and brings  reverend Jeremiah  Wright  back for an encore.

               The new plan  of Rickett’s  was leaked to the press…someone apparently didn’t agree with the Jim Crow approach to the next general. This nasty, racist plan should be held up for all to see and smell. This straight out race baiting …is a very telling sign for how the real money behind  Mitt Romney really feels. In their heart of hearts, these billionaires and multi millionaires do not care about the middle class. They don’t care about our struggling  kids in the public school system. These people have it made..they only care about themselves and how the rich … can control of the money and policies of this country.

       Arrogant billionaires in the public eye with  an unlimited budget of cash…are endangering their party to the delight of Democrats. All investors in TD/Ameritrade..or fans of the Chicago cubs…can support middle America by moving  there money out of TD/ameritrade and stop coming to the games. How can Chicago  support a man who baseball team and city have been a middle class   in Chicago for more the 100 years. The City of Chicago is home to the  largest percentage of African -Americans people…..neighborhoods all over Chicago and it’s suburbs. Many well-heeled African-Americans are part of the busines,cultural and life of the big city. I’m thinking Rickett’s plan is in the eye of the tiger now.

     Romney’s said this morning that he wants to repudiate Rickett’s plan. His handlers can sense that the Rickett’s plan had hit a brick wall and he needed to step away from it. This evening, Rickett’s was even backing down …saying the plan was not going forward. It seems with these uncontrollable Pacs  out there …we will see more billionaires step forward with their own smear campaigns. Let’ make sure on the Obama side we take these gifts whenever gifted….but don’t counter attack too hard. The key for Democrats is to keep the independents behind Obama. We can do that by remaining respectful to the electorate …and simply pointing out when the “right-wing ” cash brigade is bringing negativity to our campaign.

        Billionaires over-stepping their traditional gift-giving..and creating a right-wing frenzy…will be a sweet treat for the Democrats in the long run. The American people are strong, and we will stand by Chicago …and not allow racially divisive talk to get us off our game. The bumbling billionaire are an unexpected blessing in disguise.





Equality in America? What about our kids and their moms?… Not so much…

 

                   It’s good to hear the POTUS finally garnering his courage and  speaking his mind.  Loving couple’s coming together for better or worse is an age old institution. Family friendly Republicans also embrace marriage. It’s so uplifting to see such widespread agreement on the right of Americans to love anyone they want….without having to do a pants check!

        Oh, the pants part!!  Pants check on line 3 please. Price check on bananas. Hot muffins on sale now! If the parts don’t match..you can’t snatch.. ….Governmental interference  is quite obviously ridiculous! Progress is good and I don’t mean to demean or diminish  the importance of what  the president declared about same-sex marriage today….but what about equal rights  in America for all?

        Weve got a country now that’s engaged in the blatant discrimination of children in our schools. States all over this country are dismantling the public school system with limited objection from the constituents. Sure, a few “liberal” teachers are always complaining..and the darn PTO frowned a bit….but who  is really watching out for our kids? Even “advanced ” states like Pennsylvania are dismemebering our public schools and creating a very unequal playground for our youth. Disadvantaged and inner city schools continue to feel the brunt of the economic meltdown. Thousands of teachers….art programs…guidance counselors…sex education…slash and burn to them all…what the heck…nobody wants to pay more taxes….right?

    Women are regarded still as less worthy  than men all over this country. While Goodyear got spanked in a landmark decision years ago…it’s seemed to have little impact. I even engaged in what may be criminal activity at the bequest of my employer. Back in Milwaukee several years ago, I was General Manager of a large retail store. We were hiring a  new operations manager. I interviewed many..and their were two candidates left. My regional let me make my own decision on which person to choose…but instructed to me as to the pay range to offer. If I decided on the male candidate …I was authorized to pay 42,000 to 45,000 per year..while reminding me that my personal bonus will increase based on how well I “control’ my internal budgets. I was told to offer the female candidate from 36,000 to 40,000 thousand a year…because that’s all we had to pay to be within “market’. Initially , I choose the man ..paid him 45,000 a year…and he got fired after one month for harassment. I then hired the same women …paid her 38,000 a year…she is still there today and  doing a  great job!

  Glad to hear about the same-sex marriage change of heart from the president. Seems our work here is not yet completed though. Lots of Americans still feel the bitter sting of unequal rights and unfair and uneven justice.  Lets bring every American into the camp of equality here ..regardless of age, sex or gender!





Voters are way smarter than American Elect 2012 and it’s bumbling billioniares!

 

       American Elect 2012 has managed to spend upwards of 30 million dollars and disgraced themselves at the same time..quite a parlay ! Guess it proves all the money in the world doesn’t mean your any smarter than Joe lunch bucket. In fact…Joe lunch bucket is a hell of a lot smarter..don’t underestimate the wisdom of the regular folks that have truly made this country the strongest nation in the world. .  This back door attempt for neo-con domination fell flatter then Enron on their best day. At Least Enron put on a good show and made us believe they might not be a fraud…. American Elect couldn’t even put on a good show…and now their own people are turning the swords against them..quite an achievement for the bumbling billionaires.

   The self-appointed and self absorbed “board of directionless” big shots may have learned a lesson? If they really wanted to promote  a viable third choice in this presidential election ..they might  have considered doing it on the up and up… instead of their  sleazy attempt at privatizing the presidency for their own pleasure.   The Internet may indeed be the super charged powerful force that they were banking on….but the Internet is not brain-dead…far from it. If only they made a legitimate attempt to put together a true ‘peoples” candidate maybe they would have had  some impact. We can see bullshit ..even if it hides behind good old 5 to 4..and keeps the true source of it’s funding shielded.Maybe they just didn’t wanted to be publicly humiliated?  Billionaire Adelson and his 40 million  tried to hoist nutty Newt…he was equally as unsuccessful as American Elect 2012…but at-least he had the courage to identify himself.

  Since AE2012 has cancelled it’s primaries…and can’t seem to find a candidate the qualifies under their “house rules”…maybe they should just give it over to the college kids that have turned the tables  on AE/Bank of America and their hedge fund financiers. Since they do apparently have a ballot position in most states…seems a shame to completely waste  their efforts. One person that has distinguished himself from the pack is former Governor Buddy Roemer. He adds some thought and ideas to the presidential process…we surely can use some honest dialouge … he has shown  some  courage. The corporate chickens behind AE2012 would never have him…so maybe we should support the upstart kids who want the boorish billionaires to  turn in their  well earned  resigination letter. 

    These  super Pacs with all their money can’t fool the public. Maybe Romney’s multi-million dollar onslaught in tiny Iowa was effective…but if that’s the biggest bang theses fat cats  can get from their bullion …it sure proves a point. Little Ricky Santorum and his limited resources almost brought the Romney relics  to their knees. He had real grass roots support from the people….it does show that someone real with the  courage of his own convictions could get some real support.

What a thought! Some real running for principle…. If AE2012 wasn’t just  a shill for billionaires and their cronies….but truly a movement of the people…things might be very different this election season. Perhaps somewhere in our lifetime..we will see a real and honorable challenge to the two party domination of the political process. AE2012 did have a point….checks and balances are a good thing..and if we could shake up both the Democrats and Republicans..maybe some smart people would recognize this and stop playing games with our countries future.  Real Americans Elect  2016..now that could be a force to reckoned with!





Atheists take note…you could be wrong. Intolerance cuts both ways…

Religion in America. Supposedly a big tent where diversity is honored and welcomed. Not one religion has a monopoly on the truth . Indeed, those with no religion at all have every right to their belief….but they also don’t have a monopoly of the truth. However, a disturbing trend has emerged that we should talk about.  For most of my life I was somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist. Over the last several years my opinion and heart has changed and I truly believe there is a high power…call it what you like. While the majority of Americans believe in God one way or another, a somewhat sizable minority consider themselves atheist or agnostic..particularly Democrats. Many keep it a private matter..and that’s just fine. ..but the reality is religion and politics …they just sometimes go together…whether we like it or not.

  Years earlier, when I considered myself pretty much an atheist, I never rubbed it in anyone else’s face. I never tried to talk anyone out of their beliefs or ridicule them in any way. My, how things have changed. Over the last several months, I have built my twitter following list to several thousand people. . The majority are liberal, but I have also representative amount of moderates , libertarians  and conservatives. I don’t block conservatives..I don’t call them names. Often we engage in some interesting discussions, and I feel Ive learned a thing or two from conservatives ( liberals don’t gag). The RWNJ (right wing nut job) moniker  doesnt help Obama get re-elected..think before you hate!

   The correlation between people that consider themselves liberal and also atheist I have found  concerning. Additionally, many of the atheist I find are just as  narrow minded as those bible-thumpers…there’s very little difference…. and many are very dismissive of people who believe in God or a higher power. “In your face” atheism is alive and well and I don’t quite understand the ferocity,nastiness or politcal purpose. I accept all people’s  beliefs  without  any animosity …so… Why do atheist seem to be  so aggressively  against God and religion?

   I think the case for progressive thinking is diminished and creates unnecessary polarization against  people who embrace God and religion. So often I hear how conservatives/Republicans are narrow minded …but shouldn’t the  the nature of progressive thought also  reject narrow mindedness as well on the left?  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander? I’m very uncomfortable when I read profiles  of liberals/progressive who align themselves with atheism and reject alternative thought…and add the disclaimer ” if your a Republican don’t follow me and dare not talk to me.  Are liberals so smug and “in  the know”  that they can insult large groups of people who embrace a variety of different religions and thoughts?   

   Going into the fall elections it would behoove progressive thought to find some openness and kindness in their talk  about religion and religious people. Progressives often  blast conservatives..who are considered   out of step with America. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot and understand why conservatives feel  the same way. Can we all rise up and find some mutual respect? No one group has all the answers, no one group is correct 100% of the time. The best baseball player only gets  a hit 3 out of every 10 times… let’s remember that when we discuss the issues of the day. America is a big country with many different religions and political persuasions. The sooner we all can be more accepting of each other, the sooner we might be able to get together and solve some problems. This election will be decided by the 10% of Americans  that are squarely in the middle. No purpose is served by giving fuel to the fire by having those independents bristle at  “in your face” atheism. All Americans are deserving of respect and having their thoughts and ideas discussed without insult…let’s keep our eyes on the big prize…alienation and polarization are Mitt Romney’s best friend..let’s be smarter..and show respect to all..intolerance is a two way street.





Swiss bank accounts- Dog on roof- Romney’s a gift that keeps on giving!

        Slowly but surely President Obama is pulling away on his quest for a second term. Opening up a lead that’s double digits and growing..the POTUS is on a roll. The stock market made a 4 year high ,unemployment numbers are improving..even gasoline futures point to an easing in prices. Bin-Laden is dead and Afghanistan seems to be moving in the right direction. .If the supreme court is foolish enough to knock down the affordable health care act, you will see an even bigger political backlash.  No one can has envisioned such a dream scenario…and it keeps getting better and better.

    The Republicans are outclassed and outsmarted, and no amount of corporate cash can bail out this  sinking ship. Grover Norquist and Paul Ryan, Chris Christie,  Scott Walker , Jan Brewer,…and their fearless leader, Mitt “Swiss Cheese” Rocking Romney…it all seems to good to be true. The Republican rascals have so marginalized themselves…that this November may be the biggest blowout ever seen in a national election. Even more encouraging, local and state wide election numbers are steadily moving against the right-wing in swing states. We might see a filibuster proof majority in both chambers…what an opportunity for progressive advancement  in the United States.  

  Here’s the highlights of Romney’s ragged run for the roses.  Swiss bank accounts…Cayman Islands…tax dodging …dog bondage…and the really bright idea of probing  the largest voting block of them all…the mothers and daughters of America. Romney wants to defund planned parenthood..and isn’t so sure that women should get equal pay for equal work..it’s the perfect storm for some good things to come our way here in the coming years.   

 David Axelrod and his team are on their game and sharpening their sticks  Chicago style.  No one wants to give it the kiss of death, but truth be told..inertia is moving firmly towards the Democrats…and with the disintegration of any serious third party bid…the numbers keep getting better and better. Romney’s overnight reversal on Obama’s military success only means the Republican focus groups were telling the right wing geniuses that they are barking up the wrong tree…knocking the military accomplishments is pure suicide for the tea party patsies.

The lack of any moderating influence within the Republican party is both a tactical mistake and a  moral disgrace. How can a major political party so alienate such a wide cross section of America. Obama’s tenuous hold on the independent is looking more and more solid… the tea party has nothing to  to offer thoughtful, moderate independents,  conservative Democrats or liberal Republicans. They come up empty with the minorities…and Romney’s pandering to his Vice-presidential choice Marco Rubio will come up empty. Florida is sliding towards Obama…Ohio and Pennsylvania are also moving left… Wisconsin thanks to Romney and Scott slippery Walker looks Democratic ..and Illinois and Michigan are appearing untouchable to the retarded right wing.

Looks like Romney will have plenty of time to strap his dog on the car..and take a real long vacation visiting his cash in the Caymans and Switzerland. Let him enjoy the rich mans retreat….he and his cast of misfits have relinquished any chance the right-wing may have had to influence public policy. Many thanks to the brain trust and super pacs feeding the Republicans…America could not have done it without you…. and a big thanks to old 5 to 4..allowing the rabid right to show there true colors with no limit to the cash that finance their foolishness. Romney is more generous then anyone might have imagined…he gave away this election..mighty charitable of him!     

 





Middle America…WAKE UP…Political polarization feeds the 1% ..

    Today is May Day … an important day for the occupy movement…hopefully there will be no unfortunate incidents. Watch closely what happens in both New York and in San Francisco.  We’ve come to a time in this country when opposing sides are digging in and frightening the mainstream. The occupy crowd,while mostly  well  intentioned   …scares the average person… who may in many ways side with the general gist of their agenda. Let’s  hope tonight’s  nightly news will not  be filled with angry young people creating a dangerous situation…or police forces ready to make a statement.  There’s a much better way  to forge change…  a real, responsible approach that can  be well accepted by mainstream Americans of all political stripes…and could and should  make  positive change happen.

 Extremists to the left…extremist to the right… But middle  American is  left out of the action ….it’s time for the average, middle of the roaders  to have a say!  It’s time for mainstream Americans to figure out  what we want to happen…and bring it to the forefront by good old fashioned thoughts and actions. Here’s what really should be happening…let’s open the worlds eyes to the real America. Lets organize and prioritize our issues.Let’s launch a mainstream push up the middle that respects all sides…forges  consensus..culminating in a list of priorities representing the American middle…created and organized by the American middle. No super Pacs  needed or wanted. There are millions of  really fine people with much to offer to the American people. The power of face book and twitter is still in it’s infancy..not for much longer…the Twitter-Book revolution is real!

Here’s a rough draft….A realistic,livable minimum wage…equal pay for equal work- tax fairness for the working class..tax collecting from our mammoth banks and corporations..no more off shore tax dodging allowed…affordable health care for every American………Reign in states rights that threaten our friends and neighbors … end unequal justice…tax the underground economy so everybody pays their fair share (national sales tax?)..let loving couples engage in marriage..and let women control their own reproductive choices…

 After thoughtfully conferencing over the next weeks and months…..we can spell out our priorities …the middle has the most power..we just don’t have leadership..but its staring us in the face. The Twitter/Book 2012 revolution front and center. Can middle Americans forge consensus?  If we are not happy with the political reaction to our demands…we simply close the country down…thats right….we are the real bosses..and the twitter/book internet power flares its powerful engine. We pick a day in the future..say the day after labor day,Sept 4th…  Remain non-violent always…we simply extend  the long weekend off if the politicians are unresponsive .Secretaries call in sick to work, bus drivers don’t drive..doctors and lawyers catch the green flu…bank tellers no show..waitresses sleep in….nobody leaves there homes!  No cars on the road…no grocery shopping..nothing. We close the country down..give all of time to refect on what labor day should mean…paying fair wages,not allowing big banks to profit off the backs of the disadvantaged…so many ideas would work. Imagine the awesome power of the people if the mainstream middle could forged consensus!

We have tremendous power at the tips of our collective fingers. Power is in the numbers, all women should join this mission, and men too..all Americans  should come along,older folks,blacks and whites, gays and straights,Democrats and Republicans..were all on the same team. Let’s show the “powers to be” whose really in charge…its not the superPacs! …IT’S THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE. ! Time to tell both extremes whose in charge,what we want..and go out and get it..weve got the numbers..lets use it before we lose it!! Organize on twitter/book…the times need us to step up and shake its foundation forever. …fairness can be rendered…just need  good thoughts coupled with good people with passion..now that’s the American way!!