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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Only One

Governor Scott Walker said today that he wasn't going to back down from his insistence that collective bargaining rights are taken away from public employees. He further went on to say that all it takes is one Democrat to do his job....My reponse? It takes one Governor to do his job. It takes one Republican to stand up against corporate greed and political party and stand for what is right, to do his/her job. Continuous demonization of public employees is not only unfair, but inaccurate in terms of how contracts and benefits are being portrayed. When I was in the private sector, I often had to sit across the table from union representatives to negotiate contracts. These sessions were loud and heated. Often times emotions swirled, threats were made and discomfort was felt. Never, however, would union busting be our goal. Democracy is about protecting rights, compromise and negotiation. Governor Walker is a puppet on the strings of the Koch Brothers. He is a prostitute for their money and 70,000 loyal Americans have spoken loudly today and in days past, about his arrogant and antagonistic ways. Budgets are not destroyed by public workers but by bad deals agreed upon by poor leaders. I want to see the analysis by which one can prove a teacher or other public employee is paid too much. By whose standard? Compared to a minimum wage worker, yes, I guess we are. How about to a lawyer, or an accountant, or a banker, or a Wall street broker? Are we paid too much compared to them? Is our work any less important? Tax dollars go to waste every day. On expensive highway repair, on projects approved but not needed, on pork barrel and earmarks. Walker's anger and hatred toward public workers is simply an attitude nurtured by the big pocket Conservatives who supported his campaign. He should be stopped and he should do his job. I suspect he isn't capable to do so. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

When to use force

I need a day off from Wisconsin. I know as a teacher I am not overpaid for what I do and yet my profession continues to be demonized as if we are responsible for all the economic ills of the nation. I need a day away from it. Instead, I want to blog about when we as a nation should use force. Americans have always been conflicted about our use of military force. We tend to shift from isolationism to activism and this usually depends on the number of body bags and the economy. What about moral beliefs? If Democracy needs to be nurtured as we say it does, then we need to stand up for it. Instead of guarding Europe and Korea, how about using these forces to fight for freedom instead of protecting us from a cold war aggression that is long gone. Bottom line, Quaddaffi is a crazy loon who murders for pleasure and who defies democracy. Bad guy, needs to go. This is where our forces should be. This is the war worth fighting. Send in the tanks and the troops and take him out. Truly, this is the American thing to do. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Distribution of Pain

I can fully understand the concerns on the part of Governors who need to put their state budgets into balance. I can fully appreciate the Kennedyesque sentiments of "what you can do for your country". I can fully embrace the need to control spending and ask for sacrifice. BUT, where is the sacrifice being asked of those beyond the Public Sector? Where are the high wage earners and corporations being asked to contribute to alleviate the problem? Why is it always that those who get hurt the most are the ones being asked to contribute and those who feel pain the least, are left alone? As long as this type of inequitable system exists, none of these budget problems will ever be eliminated for any length of time. Let us ask for givebacks and contributions from all the people, not just one group that is so easy to scapegoat. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Perils of Polarization

Tomorrow when I go back to work as a teacher, I will feel a little more demonic and a little less confident than I have felt in the past. This is because Governor Christie and Governor Walker are telling me that I am responsible for the bankrupt condition of the States of New Jersey and Wisconsin. It is me. I am the cause of decades of political corruption as an evil doer led by the Teacher's union. When I worked in the private sector, I earned 5 times as much in total compensation for working less hard and doing less valuable work. I chose to teach, not for the money and benefits, but because it is good work...important work. Most public servants do important work and when compared to the private sector for comparably important work, the total compensation package to include deferred income is comparatively poor. It is just that we are paid by our taxes. We have been put in this battle by State politicians who need a scapegoat. After all, America is all about scapegoating. We are a totally polarized nation. Polarized by political party, by gender, by race, by income level, by geographical region and by issue. We are taught to despise the demons on the other side of any issue where there might be disagreement. Hate the President because he is a socialist. Hate Muslims because they destroyed the towers. Hate Democrats because they tax too much. Hate scientists because they defy religious belief. Hate kids because they have no respect. Hate Republicans because they support the rich. Hate, hate, hate, divide, divide, divide. And now this division, this polarization is telling us to hate public servants for it is through their evil that our nations' states cannot balance their budgets. It is through the collective bargaining rights of unions that state mismanagement exists. More polarization. More blame. So tomorrow, when I am back in class, I will look around and remind all my friends that we are demons, evil doers and people to be feared. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stop Hiding

The mid term election is over. The Republican message resonated with the public. The budget battle has been drawn and it is time for Democrats to stop licking their wounds and to remember what they stand for. While Republican governors attempt to destroy the last vestiges of unions and while the Federal Government is demonized by tea partiers and scared Republicans, Democrats need to scream at the top of their lungs with a unified and forceful voice. Americans do not want to stop funding programs for those in need, for college loan money, for needed health care and for programs that support our moral values as a nation. Democrats must stop hiding, stop worrying about the next election and remind us about indecent advantages given to the wealthy while less fortunate Americans get screwed. Public employees have talent, ability and make a difference. Time for Democrats to remember why they have a party at all. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Let's fire them all.

Let's fire the teachers and the firemen and the police and the government workers that send out our checks and guard our museums and keep the wheels of the nation from falling off. Let's stop providing objective news by de funding NPR and lets keep women from having mamograms and other needed services provided by Planned Parenthood. Let's demonize teachers because they make Wall street salaries and pensions that afford them yachts and trips to the South of France. Let's applaud Governors Christie and Walker for their popular criticisms of school unions because our country is so competitive in terms of education. Let's continue to fund two wars, keep troops in places that no longer need our support. Let's subsidize farmers and give continued benefits to oil companies. Let's trash rail systems and solar power because they are wasteful programs that only protect our future with innovation and jobs and we cannot have that. Let's rally around the wealthy with greater tax breaks because only they care about the economy. What a great plan MR. Boehner. What a wonderful job we did on election day. Where are you Americans for reason and truth? I hope the government shuts down. Let's see who loves you then?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hannity's Wisconsin

It is so typical of the FOX News network to show its bias in the most extreme ways but the Wisconsin strategy by Sean Hannity is so incredibly disgraceful. He is obviously taking the position in support of the Republicans, which is news, but the filming in the story showed the poor taste in signs and placards used by left of center opponents of Governor Walker. I can handle that, but when President Obama is depicted as a Nazi, when tea partiers scream racial epithets and when cartoonists mock the first lady, he and his network are deafeningly silent. What a disgrace. No wonder recent polling shows FOX viewers to be the least informed among us. This is what happens with one sided reporting. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

So Be It.

When the Speaker of the House says to people who may lose their jobs, "so be it", this is an example of an insensitivity beyond description. When the same Speaker supports a 453 million dollar earmark slated to help his home state, this is an example of utter hypocrisy. When Speaker Boehner tells America that President Obama is responsible for an increase in federal employment by two million and fails to remind us that a vast chunk of these jobs were part time census workers, it is an example of political
distortion. He may be a good man at heart, but he is so frightened of the extreme members of his own party, that he cannot control or count votes. If his ineffectiveness continues and the Republican party folds under the pressure of their new found electoral supremacy, So Be It. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Budget Game

President Obama released his budget yesterday for the year 2012 but the House will be making a lot of noise about 2011 for political purposes. Cut cut cut this year to honor a promise instead of working with the President and real deficit reform in years to come. Again, Americans will be confused as two years are combined into one with no relationship at all. This is all about setting up a chess match to see whose King falls first...the President or the Republican House. The R's want America to think that the raising of the debt limit is continuous irresponsible spending by the President when in actuality it is simple a funding mechanism to allow government to operate and do the things that Republicans also have supported in the past like war funding, agricultural subsidies, energy company handouts etc. They are using 2011 spending from last year's budget as a wedge to get the President to agree to severe cuts that hurt millions of Americans this year, so they can claim victory and support the debt limit increase. They will threaten to shut down government just like Newt did. It didn't work then and it won't work now. Hopefully President Obama can expose the tactic in simple to understand terms so that we can concentrate on the future of America. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Not My Job Says the Speaker

John Boehner says we are broke as a nation. He is right, morally broken when the Speaker of the House, second in succession to the Presidency says he believes that the President is a citizen and a Christian, but that it isn't his job to inform Americans how to think, even when he knows they are wrong. Are votes more important than leadership? Apparently so. We are a nation of people who often times simply do not have information that is accurate enough to make good decisions. Today, a poll suggested that 53 percent think China is the largest economy in the world. The US produces 15 trillion to China's six, two and a half times as much, and yet our fellow citizens armed with wrong information simply do not know things that we should. Basic information about our land, our people and our Government cannot be taken lightly and our leaders knowing when we are wrong, have the obligation to correct us. That is why they are leaders, not to perpetuate stupidity, but to encourage accuracy and decency.
Where are you Americans for reason and truth? By the way, Speaker Boehner was born on Mars and practices voodoo....but I suppose I should take him at his word?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Budget Scam

Tomorrow, President Obama will unveil his budget for 2012 with the usual fuzzy math promising to reduce the deficit by 1.1 trillion in the next ten years. In that time there will be 5 Congressional elections and three Presidential elections and current budget promises will bind us to nothing. In addition, tomorrow's budget avoids the realities of needed cuts in entitlements for real deficit reduction or to admit once and for all that deficits don't really matter. Take your pick, but Congress and the President shouldn't make these symbolic gestures of deficit reduction, cutting in places that are on the margins but do real harm and pain to innocent people and then run for re election by saying "see, we cut the Budget." A sham if I ever saw one. And we all have before. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Laugh out loud funny.

The annual C Pac convention is funnier than Bill Maher. Orrin Hatch is booed for being too liberal. Mitt Romney, supporter of Massachusetts universal health care mandate in his state railing against Health care reform, Hailey Barbour whose remarks in the past beckon Jim Crow, Dick Cheney being heckled, Palin and Huckabee no shows, Tim Pawlenty telling us our President projects weakness and others in this crowd of lunatics may just be giving the Dems a fear tactic of our own...Fear the Republican party for its irrationality, its absence of vision and its love of ignorance. I needed a good laugh. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What we stand for?

I am an advocate for the safety and security of the State of Israel. I am an advocate for democracy. These two intelligent points of view seem to be impossible for co-existence if you watch the Middle East through the eyes of Egyptian unrest. I have decided, however, that freedom of expression, freedom of the press, free and fair elections and the personality of a people who thirst for a future, must take precedence over the fear of instability and the 30 year relationship with Hosni Mubarak. When the President speaks in a few moments, I hope he swings American influence toward the young, non-violent and energized people in the streets of Cairo who wish to have only that which we someimes take for granted in America. The United States will protect Israel from aggression if it needs help and the Egyptian people will learn to make reasonable decisions for itself that includes working with its neighbors. Stability and security comes from Democracy and any notion that it does not, is false and sadly hypocritical. Hosni must go and we cannot let the lunatic fringe or the Neo Cons scare us into thinking these people of Egypt will make choices that threaten our interests. Let's give them some credit. Let Egypt become the only country except for Israel, in the region to embrace real Democracy and real stability. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Chamber of Commerce

This amorphous lobby, The Chamber of Commerce, spent millions to defeat Democrats. They have worked very hard to undo health care reform and have an obsession with maintaining a system that contines to widen the gap between the wealthy and the poor. However, I love business and capitalism and at its roots, it is the best economic system in the world. Why do you think Communist China embraces many of its elements? While excessive Government interference at the expense of private entrepreneurship is not a good thing, in reality, big business withholds its ingenuity and its job creation mechanisms until they are convinced that it will help their profits and return value to the share holders, thus creating a vacuum that government sometimes needs to fill. When it does, the Chamber of Commerce begins it cycle of government bashing and we start over again. With this as my jaded introduction, it is important to view the President's outreach yesterday not as a sign of conciliation or political maneuvering, but collaboration. To hold two trillion dollars on the books of corporate America within the coffers of big business while unemployment remains high and housing weak, is unfathomable. All elements of America including the engines of capitalism have a stake in our future success as a nation. I am happy that President Obama attempted to nudge big business toward greater contributions to our economic success while not reminding them of their incredible wealth and greed. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Invoking Reagan

All of the conservative members of our government love to invoke Ronald Reagan as the bastion of conservatism and a hater of taxes and a man who never would dare negotiate with the Democrats. They love to wrap themselves in the mantle of Reaganism.. Democrats, during the 08 campaign were angered that President Obama used to speak kindly of Ronald Reagan and whenever he mentioned him as a transformational President, Obama opponents would shiver. Today, the President speaks of Reagan as he is remembered on his 100th birthday. Despite Repbulican insistance on his tea partyesque heroism and proscribed leader of their cause, here are the facts. Ronald Reagan raised taxes in 6 of his 8 years as President,,,yes check it out. Ronald Reagan made enormous compromises with great outreach to the Democratic Speaker, Tip O'Neal. Ronald Reagan was an advocate for gay rights and supported legislation giving amnesty to immigrants with questionable documents. Ronald Reagan became close friends with the Soviet leader Gorbachev and through this relationship helped to spur democracy. Ronald Reagan was a globalist who did not believe in an isolationist foreign policy and Ronald Reagan engaged with decency and respect. Not a very Conservative approach. Now, I was not a fan of many of his ideas, but those that invoke his name as their hero, ought to look at his real record first. They defile it by being so inaccurate with their analysis. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Crazy world.

The eruptions in the Middle East toward democracy may feel good, but all of us should take a deep breath and not rush to judgement with advice and know it all solutions. The President was right to try and play this with a push and a nudge but without total humiliation of a man who has supported the foreign policy wishes of 5 Presidents. Calls by extremist politicians who just want failed Obama policies at all costs and objecting already, should embrace the coolness and calmness of his efforts. There will be much more unfolding over the next days and the people of Egypt will make their mark on their own future. Mike Huckabee's words of support for our (friend Mubarak) and other such criticisms of Obama will be seen as political moves...not that I wish to advise their campaigns..The violence should have been expected. Does anyone really believe that Mubarak didn't line up the military before he spoke? 30 years as a successful autocrat does not leave due to some street protesting. Horrendous acts of violence by his extreme thugs is standard practice in Egypt as we are seeing today. I do not want my government making rash statements and commitments while events are going at light speed. Take a deep breath America, we cannot force events as much as we think we can.

Back to the craziness of America...The Senate Republicans will continue efforts to repeal health care on the backs of the Florida judge's decision. By my count, it is 4-2 in favor of Constitutionality. Health care reform is good for the people and the bill should be changed where failing and kept where succeeding. This is not a winning issue for the Republican party, nor is it acceptable to the Senate majority. The veto pen awaits any ridiculousness that may occur.

Crazy crazy times...Dow 12000? WTF? Where are you Americans for reason and truth?