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My political life

Sorry for the hiatus

I guess I say that a lot, don’t I.

It isn’t that I’m lazy or don’t have anything to write about…plenty of rants I want to have, believe me. I sit here and watch the rights we have fought for for so long being dismantled and treated like so much garbage. I see people losing even more jobs that might afford them a living wage and being offered minimum wage, part time work as a substitute. I see immigrants being cast as targets for helicopter hunts, the way wolves are again being hunted, unless of course these immigrants are housekeepers, gardeners or other slave labor. I see hard-working people villified because they want to keep the right to ask for a raise or a safe place to work.

It’s kind of hard to try to write the type of upbeat piece I’d like to write.

But what frosts me the worst right now is the Republican meme of “think of the children”. And the populace that ISN’T saying what the fuck when they hear it.

“Think of the children”…when censoring books, tv shows or movies is the subject; but where is thinking of the children when schools are being cut, teachers are being fired and the ones left must take up the workload that used to be done by 3? Or even 4.

“Think of the children”…when opposing abortion and birth control but cutting aid that goes to helping those children, even before birth, by making sure their mothers and  they have proper nutrition.

“Think of the children”…while 2 state (Missouri and Maine) are trying to abolish child labor laws.

“Think of the children”…but cut the small amount of money that goes toward making sure even the poorest child will be immunized against diseases that used to kill children wholesale. And will again if this is allowed. For which I only wonder if immunizations are cut, will the numbers of unvaccinated children overwhelm those who are and reduce the effectiveness of the herd immunity? If that should happen, how much will it cost the government for public health programs to contain the resulting epidemics? It’ll definitely be a lot more than what they saved.

“Think of the children”…states have laws that don’t allow you to physically punish your children in your own home. But they are allowing it in the schools.

“Think of the children”…but continue wars on 2 fronts, join one on a third and rattle sabers at 5 or 6 more. Military, who are little more than children, being kept in war zones until they die in combat, or by their own hands because they despair of ever being allowed to come home. Or despair of what waits them if they do get home; no jobs, injuries that will be classified as ‘pre-existing’ conditions so that the government doesn’t have to provide medical care…neither physical or mental. And think of the children being kept ignorant in our schools. Is our government looking to raise kids who know they will never get decent jobs in the private sector? What’s left for them then but to enlist as cannon fodder?

Kids aren’t stupid but I can see how they would be totally confused by the signals we are allowing our corporate controlled government to give them. We love you but we’d really prefer it if you’d just go somewhere and die quietly.

And the winners are…

I hate even opening any semblance of “news” any more. It feels a lot like Alice must have felt when she fell down the rabbit hole. In the semblance of news is not the slightest semblance of sanity.

Our new congress declares that they will reduce the deficit by starting with eliminating federal highway funds. Those are the tax dollars that go toward maintaining the interstates. The EISENHOWER interstate program. Or did Dwight somehow become a ‘D’ while I was sleeping?

Funny, that interstate program wasn’t really made for the individual traveler. It was built originally as an aid to interstate commerce; a system of roads to help deliver goods more efficiently and quickly. Granted that this was in the days when the US had a strong steel industry and manufacturing base but what happens when you let those roads go because if you don’t maintain them, 2 years of the traffic now carried on our interstates will ruin them. I wonder how corporations will deliver their imported, cheaply made junk from China when trucks can’t carry the goods over the roads meant for them and states start barring heavy traffic because they don’t have the money to keep local roads in repair? Goods will move slower from the ports to the middle of the country and costs will go up. If they get there at all.

And goods aren’t the only things. Fresh fruits and vegetables will need to go back to whatever grows locally and need to be canned, frozen or otherwise preserved for use in seasons when they wouldn’t be available fresh.

Next, of course, is gutting Social Security and Medicare. I don’t understand how the ‘tea baggers’ can cheer this measure. Every picture I’ve ever seen of their rallies seems to show that the majority of their numbers are either eligible for or perhaps already on SS. Why do they seem to think that THEIR checks and medical help won’t be touched? Because they voted for the people who are going to do this and they are owed something? Scorpion time.

Health care reform. Right. Get rid of it. Let the insurance companies have their way and do whatever they want. We’ve got the best health care system in the world.

Except we don’t. We are the only developed nation without some form of guaranteed universal care. The really funny part is that we, the taxpayers, are already supporting free universal health care. No, I’m not talking about those sitting in the federal legislature, although they get free insurance for themselves and their families that is even better than that afforded to our military people and families.

No, I’m talking about the people of Iraq. We made them write it into the constitution and then vote on accepting it and now WE are paying for it.

Whatever happened to the promise that the confiscation of Iraqi oil would pay for the war there? Funny, no oil coming in, our dollars going out.

This week we find out that the Supreme Court will not consider any discrimination suits by women or gays since they aren’t a protected class. Scalia says the constitution doesn’t REQUIRE discrimination against those 2 groups but it doesn’t prohibit it either so women and gays should not expect to be protected. If states want to declare these individuals as non persons, they can. They can set the minimum wage to $.50/hour if they want and if you are female or gay (or both) you can’t expect to bring a suit.

He seems to forget one right the amendments do give us women, anyway; the right to VOTE. I think we need to start using that right more often. And to stop voting against our own best interests…before they take that one away from us, too.

Where did my country go? A country that was the good guys? A country who, whether they liked it or not, didn’t need a dictionary to understand the word “compromise”.

And now a word…

not from a sponsor but from one I consider very important.

It’s Up to Us — Together
By Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO

Before signing the Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin immortalized one of my favorite quotes: “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

I don’t think that’s too melodramatic a statement for union members to consider today. We know we’re in a political bulls-eye and that the goal of our opponents is to tie us up with defensive battles—in Washington, D.C., and in the states—because they think that will weaken our offensive for jobs, good living standards and an economy that works for all.

It’s a perilous time—but one that is also ripe with opportunity. Right now, the American people, who repeatedly have voiced their desire for change, are hungry for leadership.

Someone has to turn this economy around—fast, before working families lose more jobs, more homes, more opportunity for a decent future for their children.

And it’s not going to be the political lap dogs for Wall Street and the rich—they’re not going to fix this economy. It’s not going to be the conservative ideologues or the haters.

This job falls to us—a united American labor movement.

The corporate agenda we’ve lived under for the past three decades and the recent economic collapse have left our unions bruised, smaller than we should be. So we have to be stronger than we’ve ever been to meet this responsibility.

That means hanging together. It means solidarity.

It means fighting together united by our common beliefs. It means giving one another the courage to take on those offensive fights. It means growing. And it means refusing to be divided.

For decades, we witnessed the erosion of our manufacturing sector—the outsourcing of good, middle-class jobs. That didn’t just hurt manufacturing workers. It hurt every one of us. It destroyed whole communities, fractured families, gutted the middle class and hollowed out our economy.

When President Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, it wasn’t one union that was harmed. The message was clear to all of us: “Shut up. We make the rules and you can take them or take a hike. You can’t stand up to us—we’ll knock you down.”

When public employees are attacked because they have pensions and health care benefits, those pensions and benefits—which should be a basic right—are pushed further out of everyone’s reach.

Solidarity has always been essential in our movement—but never more than now. Sisters and brothers in one state will be fighting right-to-work for less proposals; in the next state over, they’ll be fighting for a Made in America law. Building trades workers may face attacks on prevailing wages, while public employees are threatened with layoffs and transportation and manufacturing workers demand green energy jobs in this country. And everywhere, unions will be helping workers organize and grow our movement.

If we only fight our own battles, we’re in danger of winning none. And we certainly won’t demonstrate the leadership America is counting on us for.

And when I say “leadership,” I’m not talking about me, or even your union president. I’m talking about you. As our political program demonstrates year after year, nothing is more powerful in turning co-workers into activists than your face-to-face, heart-to-heart conversations. That’s leadership.

We have so much to do in the coming months and years. And it’s a core of our history, of all we stand for, that the way we win is by winning together.

So hang together. Stand together. Fight together. Lead together.

And no one—no one—can tear us down.

Yes, you see right

This is about as ugly a theme as I could produce for this time of year. I could have added animated santas and lots of christmas music, but that was too much, even for me.

As much as I dislike the holidays, I dislike the hijacking of the time between thanksgiving and new year’s as somehow being exclusively christian and nobody else better ever have a thing to say about it.

I’d rather have a person say ‘happy holidays’ to me and not assume I belong (or SHOULD belong) to a particular religion. Almost every religion has a major holday in this 6 week, end of the year/solstice period. Berating cashiers for saying anything other than ‘merry christmas’ makes me want to smack that person. Boycotting companies because they include everyone in their sales by using ‘holiday’ instead of ‘christmas’ only shows a disdain and dislike of anyone with a different name for the holiday.

And yes, I use a lower case ‘c’ with the word because if you really put CHRIST in christmas it wouldn’t be in ads for snuggies and chia pets and other junk that will end up on yard sale tables by July 4. It wouldn’t be in ads for ANYTHING other than your church services.

But what is even worse are the companies that cave in to organizations like the American Family Ass. and change their inclusive wording to an exclusive one. I don’t care which wording you use, as long as that choice is truly your own and not dictated by some bully group.

So I guess you’re going to see a lot of entries like this during the next few weeks. But I think it needs saying just as much as my annual “don’t buy diamonds” (coming up soon) post.

This Needs a Wider Audience

noH8

Thanks to John Kinsey for permission to use his work.

There are times

When I wonder about the ‘sapiens’ in the species homo.

How do you justify killing a jobs bill in a time when people are ready to kill just to have a chance to work 80 hours a week for minimum wage or less?

Yes, I know; the justification is the horror that it might add some to the deficit already skyrocketed from the last administration but I really wonder how far up their asses some people must have their heads not to realize the following:

PEOPLE WHO WORK PAY TAXES. PEOPLE WITHOUT JOBS COST THOSE WHO DO.

Put those who need the jobs to work fixing our infrastructure and we get 2 benefits…people paying taxes and safer road, bridges, schools, etc. This is not rocket science. Really, it isn’t.

I’ve said it before, that bridge that hasn’t been maintained in a decade, or only spottily maintained, isn’t going to care if the cars on it carry conservatives, liberals, aliens, Martians, or banana slugs when it decides to fall.

Ok, I know most of my readers agree with me but for those of you who don’t, just try this, 73,000 bridges are reported as structurally deficient and 89,000 as functionally obsolete. Why not try to find out if that bridge YOU have to drive across every day is one of those in either category. And if you don’t care for yourself, ask this question…do your children ride with you every day over that bridge? Does their school bus have to cross it?

And bridges aren’t the only deficiencies. The report card for America’s Infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers. (Drinking water a D-? Damn!)

Aviation D
Bridges D
Dams D
Drinking Water D-
Energy D+
Hazardous Waste D
Inland Waterways D-
Levees D-
Public Parks and Recreation C-
Rail C-
Roads D-
Schools D
Solid Waste C+
Transit D
Wastewater D-

Just a quickie

And I hope you will post it wherever you can. Because this is IMPORTANT and needs to be seen by as many people as possible…especially those who are trying to stop universal health care in this country.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-dorlester/guaranteed-health-care-in_b_280528.html

You’d better sit down, folks.

Article 31 of the Iraqi Constitution, drafted by your right-wing Bushies in 2005 and ratified by the Iraqi people, includes state-guaranteed (single payer) healthcare for life for every Iraqi citizen.

Article 31 reads:

“First: Every citizen has the right to health care. The State shall maintain public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and health institutions.

Second: Individuals and entities have the right to build hospitals, clinics,or private health care centers under the supervision of the State, and this shall be regulated by law.”

There are other health care guarantees, including special provisions for children, the elderly, and the handicapped elsewhere in the 43-page document.

There’s a link in the story to the full Iraqi constitution, devised and forced by the Bush regime.

Do you think maybe the reason that health care was made such an integral part of their constitution because the Bush team hoped there would be no Iraqis left to take advantage of it?

If this is Kansas, I think I want to go back to Oz.

Or down the rabbit hole. Did the last train I took bring me back to Bizarro land? I look around and it is flooring me that the things taking place are real.

Cognitive Dissonance! I feel like I fell into a pile of roses and came up holding a handful of shit.

Can’t air a message from the leader of this country to schoolkids without their parents’ consent? SINCE WHEN? Did anybody ever ask for permission for messages from ANY previous president? Or even for visits by any previous president?

One school is refusing to air it in order “to maximize instructional time”. WTF? Ever heard of current affairs? Is that no longer part of ‘instructional time’?

Or could it be that this is the last gasp of racial bigotry? Yeah, you heard me right…racial bigotry. What could be worse for the assholes of this country who believe (and will kill to make sure others believe) than to have an articulate, intelligent, educated, SUCCESSFUL, (wildly successful) black man, urging all children to stay in school, set goals and work toward those goals? Especially when the children this may reach and impress will be black children? What a horrifying concept…a horde of educated, articulate African-Americans using their intelligence.

But I think this ploy of keeping the address away from our kids will come back to bite those who don’t want them to see it. I remember being bored to tears and paying very little attention to the political things we were exposed to in school. But if I’d been told it was something I couldn’t see at all, I’d be hunting it down and paying close attention. I don’t believe kids have changed that much.

The other thing that is really bothering me is the crap from people who don’t want everybody to be able to have health care unless they make enough money to afford it for themselves. Those at the mercy of insurance companies should just die and get out of the way of the profit.

But that’s a rant for another time.

Beating my head against the wall

Our Republican governor is going to refuse parts of the stimulus money coming in to the state.

He doesn’t want the money to extend unemployment insurance, or medicaid relief or food stamps or … well, you get the drift, he doesn’t want any money coming in that might actually help people. And he’s contemplating not accepting any of it because the stimulus bill didn’t call for tax cuts on corporations and the obscenely rich.

He isn’t the only one. And the ones refusing help for their people are all Republicans. Eight years of Bush seems to have reulted in the removal of any humanity from his followers.

WTF is wrong with these people?

Breaking News

Congress voted today to put off the transition from analog to digital tv until June, instead of letting it go through this month.

Whoopee!!!!!

No blond teenage girls going missing right now and Paris Hilton and Britney Spears haven’t been outrageous lately so I guess a sop to the public was necessary. Something to divert attention from the fight to stop any upgrade to our neglected infrastructure. Something to make sure that the people not listening to the right-wing hate fest radio don’t notice that their crumbling roads won’t get fixed, their bridges will continue to fall down, flood abatement will fail and, of course, none of the new needed services will ever have a chance of becoming a reality.

And I cannot for the life of me understand the reasoning behind this refusal. Except maybe for dog in the manger syndrome. What are the voters going to do when they realize that their ‘conservative’ senator or representative has said that their safety isn’t worth voting for? That, along with the safety issues, these elected assholes are also saying no to the jobs that repairs would create. It doesn’t matter what side of political spectrum your state sits on, when that bridge collapses both conservatives and liberals are going to fall into the waters below.

The things that keep our lives running…everybody’s lives…the roads that allow our food to be distributed, the dams that keep our homes from being destroyed, the power stations that light, heat, cool and do so many other things we depend on have been ignored for the last 8 years. Continuing to ignore them isn’t going to hurt those ‘evil liberals’, it’s going to hurt everybody.

What seem to be unseen by those leading the fight and those cheering them on is that those who have the most have the most to lose.