Thursday, November 17, 2011

Supercommittee wants to supersquash us

The so-called supercommittee in congress is poised to pass a bill to make big cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
I'm going to quote from an email I got from
 "If one Democrat out of six total on the supercommittee goes along with the Republican's plan for massive cuts to crucial programs, it passes. Then their proposal gets fast-tracked through Congress, without amendments, filibusters, or other good ways to stop it.
We are directly lobbying the Democrats on the supercommittee to make sure they don't strike a bad deal. MoveOn leaders in Massachusetts are going right after Sen. Kerry, who amazingly may be the Democrat most likely to cave.  The phones are ringing off the hook in all of the committee members' offices. And we are keeping the pressure on the ground in all of the supercommittee members' states and district with our "We are the 99%" events today.

It's not just potential cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that have us concerned. Things have gotten much worse over the last week.
The New York Times reported this week that members of the congressional supercommittee are looking for ways to agree to deep cuts to social programs now but defer any decisions about how to raise taxes until next year.
That's a recipe for total disaster. Congress already slashed programs that the middle class relies on by almost $1 trillion this past summer. What's needed now is for the rich and corporations to pay their fair share—not for the 99% to suffer more so the 1% can keep their tax cuts."

How many of you really think the congress would keep that promise to "look at" raising taxes next year? Don't all jump up at once. My own feeling is that NO cuts should be made to any more programs which benefit the poor and middle class until taxes on the wealthiest are returned to pre-Bush era levels, at least.
If you live in Massachusetts, here's Senator Kerry's phone number, send him a message—be polite:
Senator John Kerry, 202-224-2742

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why o why o why o did i ever leave Ohio?

Believe it or not, that used to be a song. Seriously.

I've been reviewing Rachel Maddow's show over the last week or so (I don't spend ALL my time on the computer) and have been delighted at the news of the vote in Ohio.

And no I don't want to go back except to visit. But I am proud of my former childhood home for defeating SB5 which the Republican legislature and governor rammed through last year. It would basically destroy the idea of collective bargaining, would have reduced the power of unions to nothing, would have been a boon to the corporate oligarchy as proved by the amount of Koch brothers' money that went into the fight for that vote.

I don't know where the hell Gov. Kasich got that idea from. He's got an Eastern European-sounding name. Eastern Europeans are plentiful in Ohio. And they are laborers and belong, in large part, to unions. Doesn't he know any steelworkers (former steelworkers—all those jobs went overseas)? If any place is a union state it's Ohio. At least I can say that about Northeast Ohio. My father was a steel mill worker (until someone dropped a palette full of bricks on his foot—he walked with a limp forever after and lost his job—in 1917 or thereabouts. I wasn't politically aware enough when he was alive to ask if he got workmen's comp or a severance pay. Snort. It was 1917.)
And almost everyone who was a friend of my family was a union member. Usually steel, but often also police. Only wives and priests were not union members. Priests had a different kind of organization which did not empower them, alas. They coulda used a good union.

My father had a thing against blacks because they were brought up from the south in an effort to break the union-forming activists. He never realized that the blacks were being used by the corporate owners just as he was. That's the way capitalism works.
Where was I? Oh, Ohio shot down that attempted legislation decisively. And good for them. If someone in that state doesn't belong to a union, they have a family member who does. Chalk one up for Ohio.

And chalk one up for Mississippi. They shot down, again decisively, a law declaring a fertilized egg a person.  This meant if you were raped, you had to bear the rapist's child. This meant that if you might die if you went into labor, tough luck, you're going into labor. This meant if  you used birth-control pills you were a felon. And Mississippi, that anti-abortion, conservative state, saw how wrong-headed this legislation would be and shot it down. Way to go Mississippi!

It's way beyond wonder, way beyond snark, way beyond disgust, what the Republicans all over the country are doing to try to put down the majority of people in support of their corporate money pot. So far they are trying, sometimes succeeding, to destroy working people's bargaining rights, create barriers to voting for the minorities—who may vote Democratic, insert the federal government into our personal lives, insert very conservative religious beliefs into our laws and basically sucking up to the likes of the Koch brothers.
How can anybody vote for these wingnuts?

I know someone who thinks that things aren't going to get better until we "break the unions." Hello?
If you think that unions are getting too much in the way of benefits, take  look at how much 1% of our population is sucking up at the expense of the rest of us. If we can even things out about THAT, then I might consider looking at whether or not working people are getting too much from our society. But only then.
If it weren't for unions we wouldn't have the weekend, we wouldn't have workmen's comp, we wouldn't have even the pathetic (compared to the rest of the western world) health care we have (just ask my dad's ruined foot). Are there excesses? Yep. But are they worse than the excesses of the richest among us? Nope.
I mean, this is a no-brainer.
As far as I am concerned, you can't pay teachers ENOUGH!

Aagh, here I am  bitching about politics again. I don't want to do this, but it is getting really important to be aware of what is going on. It seems like Republican leadership (not necessarily the Republican proletariat—see Ohio and Mississippi—those votes weren't from Democrats alone) has just swallowed all it's corporate masters' kool-aid and is entirely oblivious to the needs of the rest of us, and oblivious to the idea of what America is supposed to be.
We were not meant to substitute the rule of corporations for the rule of kings. Really— to take the Suprenme Court at it's own (misguided) word—if corporations are persons, then they shouldn't be kings. Getting rid of kings and giving power to the people, not corporations, is what the American Revolution is all about.

Think about that next time you go to a voting booth—if a Republican-sponsored restriction doesn't keep you out of it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rant digest

So I haven't posted much lately. There is this thing called life I've been concerned with—you know how that gets in the way of internet activity, takes you away from the computer. It's a shame, but there it is.
One of my problems lately is the paucity of new and original things to rant about. Maybe that's my rant. It's not that the Republicans and Fox Unnews aren't committing new crimes against intelligence and humanity—it's just that going on about their doings is like shooting ducks on a pond, or fish in a barrel—whatever. It gets predictable and boring. Can you expect anything different from these characters? Can you expect anything from them that an intelligent 8-year old can't refute?
I didn't think so.

If it's stupid and  so obvious a ploy to suck up to their corporate masters, then the Repubes will embrace it. Unemployed? Get a job. Don't matter if there aren't any jobs, it's still your fault. Occupy Wall Street (the horror!)?  You must be a hippie socialist pot-smoking free-lover who is in favor of gay marriage and trying to destroy the moral underpinnings of America.
Get a job (see above).

It's pretty hard to destroy the moral underpinning of a nation that tried to exterminate the native population, brought Chinese laborers over to build the railroads (and treated them like dogs), fought a civil war about slavery but still tried to keep the former slaves and their descendants in their place for a hundred years after that war; that supported many ruthless tycoons in their railroad and mining and steel-making industries at the expense of the workers actually doing the labor; that engaged in a bunch of military involvements in Haiti, the Philippines and Central America which didn't add any luster to our achievements; that supported a number of dictators solely because they (seemingly) provided a buffer against communism. Remember communism? So last millennium.

But still—there is always a "still." If you're looking for moral absolutism you have to go to some other blog. "Still" America is the one place in the world where people of all nations, creeds and colors have looked to for a chance to be better in their lives. That's why people risk coming thru the deserts of the southwest with questionable guides, why even people from India (you know, our corporations' favorite place to outsource jobs) want to come to get an education and find jobs,  why my old man came here back in nineteen ought-ten and why I am here to live and have the freedom to rant.

It's still the case that someone like me would end up dead or in prison for an awful long time for speaking my mind, in some other place. But, it's still the case that the fact that I can speak my mind is essentially co-opted by the fact that I can speak my mind.

Say what?
There is a trap here. Allowing people to vent is a way to defuse their anger and showing how open the ruling body or bodies are. If getting what you want off your chest is all that you need, well, American free speech is there for you. If you expect your free speech to affect the ruling bodies, that's another story. You have to write your congressman, maybe take your body to his office, let everyone you have any hope of influencing also write your congressman and maybe take their bodies to his/her office. If you can counter-act the contributions from the corporations which want to control things in this country (including how much you have to eat every day), if you can see that your congressman/woman is a human being with responsibilities to other human beings, then you can get beyond the trap. You can realize that spouting off isn't always enough, action has to follow.
Am I calling for revolution? Yep. I am.  FBI take note. I want an actual conservative (as in conserving the good of the past while leaving behind the dross) revolution that takes us back to some of our founders ideas. One that recognizes our founders' desire to keep religion OUT of our politics no matter what. That would benefit the country. One that recognizes Dwight Eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial complex (so obvious now); one that follows up on JFK's exhortation to do for our country; one that follows up on Martin Luther King's vision of what America can be.
I want a revolution that recognizes that every generation has the possibility of revolution which can advance the evolution of the human race. We are in a unique position—we don't have to depend on Darwinian evolution—we can intellectually choose how the human race will evolve. What way will we go? YOU decide.
Me? I'm going to bed. It's late.
Cheers, everyone.