Category Archives: Economy

Obama v. Jindal

     H.L. Mencken famously said nobody ever went broke over- estimating the stupidity of the American Public. But it still baffles me as to why anyone except the super rich would vote for a Republican. I suspect a lot of it is because when I was a young thing the Republicans were made up of respectable people Like Nelson Rockefeller and Tom Dewey and Barry Goldwater, who, although it was clear they favored a government which favored the rich, they weren’t about to try to use the government to steal everything that wasn’t nailed down. All that changed with the election of the military- industrial, corporate mouthpiece, Ronald Reagan, and the clones that followed in his wake.

If, however, there is any doubt that the Republican party is completely, morally, financially and ideologically bankrupt, one only had to watch the extraordinarily fine speech Barack Obama gave this past Tuesday before a joint session of Congress and the muddle headed drivel that followed from Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana.

Obama laid out an ambitions program but he declared in no uncertain terms that the Republicans were responsible for digging the chasm the country finds itself in and that it was going to take a bloody lot of hard work to climb out.

It is a start. He needs to remind the American people, as this recession grows ever deeper, that Republican mismanagement caused the problem. The Republicans have dumped a huge pile of horse manure in America’s back yard, and no amount of digging is going to reveal a pony underneath. Barack Obama has been dealt the task of cleaning out the Augean Stables. He’s a smart guy but I doubt he can figure out how to make a river run through them. It will be a long slow and painful process.

The Republicans on the other hand have put up yet another small time governor who apparently hasn’t a clue. His solution to the mess the Republicans made: Deny they made the mess. So much for personal accountability and oh yeah, tax breaks for the rich, tax breaks for the rich, tax breaks for the rich. Anything else? Yes, government is bad and more tax breaks for the rich! The Republicans clearly want to keep every dime they have stolen. I have never seen pundits so openly contemptuous (that certainly is the bon mot) of a public speaker.

I don’t think the Republicans really care how dumb they look. If you monitor the hate media, it is clear that they are determined to play snake in the grass. They are still beating the same drum incessantly, biding their time and waiting patiently for the American Public to return to its normal state of torpor and stupidity. Barack Obama needs to create his own drumbeat and it needs to be equally incessant. He has the advantage of the truth. He just needs to keep reminding us: the state of the country is not a disaster movie. It is very, very real and Republicans caused it. And we should never, never, let them do it again.

Don Singleton
February, 27, 2009

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Filed under Barack Obama, Economy, Politics, Uncategorized

My Climb to the Top Just Got A lot Harder…

Senator John McCan’t told Pastor Rick Warren that having $5,000,000 fit the bill as being “rich”. Senator Obama shot back correctly, “I guess if you’re making $3 million a year, you’re middle class”, in an event in New Mexico.

The real devil in the details and the secret about money and class in America is this: class is not a static destination.

There is no amount of money that definitely makes you “rich”. It’s an illusion. Certainly, a person with $5 in the bank is not rich, while I think most of us would say someone with $1,000,000 in the bank would be considered rich.

But all these things are relative.

If you live in some parts of eastern Ohio and pay $3,000 a month for your mortgage you would undoubtedly be considered rich by the locals as you can find places to rent or own there for $400-500 easily. However, try taking that $3000/month and finding a similiar home in Manhattan or downtown San Francisco. You’ll be able to live in both of those places for $3000/month, but your digs will be much more humble and cozy (aka small) and within a mile there will be people that own property worth several million. In fact, just the property tax for many places in New York City or San Francisco would be more than the $500 rent/mortgage payment in eastern Ohio.

Now consider the way markets change our worth.

If you are a home owner then you know what I am talking about. A $500,000 house of 3 years ago might only be worth $250,000 today. Assuming the house was paid for that is a reduction of half of what is likely to be the person’s major asset: their house. So is this person no longer “rich” or “upper middle class”? It could be.

Class and the worth of our money *IS* all relative.

That being said, McCan’t fucked up by putting a number on a value that changes. In a time when our real estate worth is down, gasoline (though slowly retreating downward) is high, the price to heat and cool our homes is high and the price of food is high, it was not wise for McCan’t to put $5,000,000 as the figure associated with being “rich”.

Why?

Because we Americans all want to be rich!

When most Americans see a person making $250,000 a year we believe they are wealthy. If they are not, then how will we (meaning the general population if skilled and unskilled workers) ever attain our dream of being rich?  We’ll never make $250,000/year.  Never.  Never ever.

Obama was smart to seize on the miscue. At the end of the day this alone will not mean anything, but it is a way to prop up Obama’s plan to raise taxes on those making $250,000/year and over, while also re-affirming that McCan’t is the rich man’s candidate.

Cheers,

Tom

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Filed under Corporations, Democrats, Economy, Energy, Obama, Ohio, Politics, Poverty, Presidential Race 2008, Republicans

The Greatest American Patriot You Have Probably Never Heard Of

You will likely recognize the last name of Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr.,  as he is the father of Maria Shriver, the journalist and first lady of the state of California aka Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife.  Knowing who his daughter you probably also know that he married a Kennedy, John, Robert and Ted’s sister Eunice.

Here is what you probably do not know:

He served as the very first Director of the Peace Corp (which was created by executive order by John Kennedy in 1961).  His service was exemplary as wikipedia states, volunteers arrived in five countries during first year of creation and In just under six years, Shriver developed programs in 55 countries with more than 14,500 volunteers (source).

That alone would be an amazing accomplishment to hang your hat on, but consider this (again taken from wiki):

He founded numerous social programs and organizations, including Head Start, VISTA, Job Corps, Community Action, Upward Bound, Foster Grandparents, Special Olympics, the National Center on Poverty Law, Legal Services, Indian and Migrant Opportunities and Neighborhood Health Services, and directed the Peace Corps. Shriver also ran the War on Poverty during Johnson’s tenure as president. He was such an effective leader, that Job Corps and Adams and Associates dedicated a Center to his name in 1999.

I think part of the problem with “liberals” is they do not celebrate their leaders well.  While conservatives drool over the likes of Newt, W, Nixon, Ollie, Ronnie and even O’Reilly, what leaders of the democrats get the same adulation?

You could say Bill Clinton, JFK and Ted Kennedy, but I think they need to do a better job of praising the progressives that have left their mark on our society.

Cheers,

Tom

PS  I did not include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the list of democrats because I believe he is seen as a civil rights leader and not necessarily known as the progressive he was.  I guess to a degree his victorious march toward social change put things like his activism on poverty on the back burner.

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Filed under Bill O'Reilly, Civil Rights, Economy, History, Politics, Poverty, Racism, Republicans

Am I Becoming More Liberal?

I joined the ACLU tonight.  It was something I had thought about doing for a long time, but actually donating to them and putting my money where my mouth has been seems like a demarcation line.  What pushed me over the edge to go from supporter to member was their decision to sue if/when President Bush signs the domestic spying bill that gives amnesty to the phone companies for their role in abusing our Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure.

I guess I can’t really hold this debate with myself for your enjoyment without at least giving my views on key issues.  I’m not a big fan of blogs that have posts that reach epic proportions, so I’ll be brief.

Abortion:  This is tough.  I do believe a man should have some kind of say on the issue.  It seems patently unfair that a man’s rights/choice ends with the decision whether or not to use a condom or believe the lady is on the pill.  In a fair world the man would have equal say, but biologically that’s not possible, yet.  And courts have laughed men outta there when they have challenged with the “we agreed not to have children- now she’s pregnant- we’re not together- and you’ll force me to pay child support soon even though we agreed to have an abortion if this ever happened” defense.  In essence their take is they had unprotected sex based on an oral agreement (nice pun) that a child would not be bore even if the seed took.  So that aside, it is hard for me to legally force women to engage in an activity that can bring death.  Yes, thousands of women in the USA die every year having children.  In a country without abortion do these women’s family get to sue for wrongful deaths?

What would happen if it was illegal?  Would women use unsanctioned doctors/back alley butchers?  Is it worth that?  So I am in the “safe, legal and rare” camp.  Abortion is a medical issue and should be deliberated in the doctor’s & pastor’s office, not the halls of congress that is mostly filled with lawyers.  Not to mention, it goes against my principal of wanting government out of my life.  It’s simply not their decision to make- nor is it yours or mine.  It is solely the decision of the couple or lady to make.  These women know that the religious right believes they are going to hell, so spare me that argument.  Hell, Jesus decended to hell, so they’ll be in good company if that whole christian-myth thing turns out to be true.

First Amendment/Free Speech: It’s damn near absolute.  Conservatives often pick on the ACLU for defending opposite interests.  But that’s the point of free speech.  To truly be a backer of the first amendment you have to defend both the nazis and their right to talk their bullshit and the Jewish Defense Organization who say things like “death to nazis”.  I know the whole “fire in a theater” concept, but the bar to arrest someone for something they say must be set very, very high and the evidence must be overwhelming- anything short of that invites a chipping away of this right.

First Amendment/Religion: We have the right to freely worship just about anything or nothing at all.  No tax payer money should be spent on religious activity.  Ever.

Guns:  I am pro-gun rights.  I own and have owned guns for a very long time.  I haven’t hunted in a long time, but I highly doubt I’d have a problem dispatching some asshole trying to break into my crib.  It’s the sanctuary for my wife, son and myself.  Anyone trying to disturb that should first count the cost.  Sometimes ignorance can be painful.

Education:  I support free education for all citizens.  We keep hearing that America is falling behind other countries in science and math.  Well maybe the government should start a scholarship fund for those things.  Let people that major in math and science get free education up through their PhD.  It makes sense.  Some people claim that education isn’t  a right and should not be funded by the government, but think about our world without it.  You know how it pisses you off when a cashier cannot count worth a damn?  Imagine if they couldn’t count at all!  We’re a first world country because of education and for us to discontinue that would be disasterous for our countries morale, micro and macro-economies and our competitiveness in the world in just about everything.  If anything we should increase spending on academia and decrease spending on sports.

Immigration:  I want better public services for our citizens, but we cannot achieve that if we continue to allow undocumented people to stream across the border.  My main concern with them is their lack of paying taxes while soaking up benefits like health care, education and jobs.  People who have gone through the gauntlet of legally immigrating here deserve those things.  If I ran across the border into any country on earth I would not expect that country to take me in and give me and my child all the services provided to their citizens all the while not paying taxes.  If you want the benefits of citizenry in our country then you have to become a member by paying the dues.  Membership has its privileges.

The War on Drugs:  A huge waste of money.  No one wants to see children on dope.  But I also don’t care if the guy in my local convenience store tokes up after work.  I certainly don’t want him put in jail for the offense.  I’d much rather they took a small percentage of the *B*illions of dollars they have wasted on fighting drugs and sunk it into more education programs.  But not just the “don’t say no” type of things.  I want REAL drug education.  I was taught that cocaine was likely to kill me the first time I tried it- then I did.  It felt good.  I didn’t die and had a good time.  I would never condone cocaine usage and stopped long ago before I “reach bottom” or any such thing.  I just knew it was not something that would help me achieve my goals.  I rationally decided to stop using drugs and many people do.  Yet our drug programs often stress that something terrible has to happen before the user stops- it’s total bullshit.  Also, there are some studies that marijuana can help people.  It is a mild pain reliever, creates appetite and helps people sleep.  When my grandfather was going through kemo guess what he had trouble with?  The pain, loss of appetite and an inability to sleep.  If you cannot eat or sleep you cannot fight off most diseases, especially cancer.  It needs to be legalized ASAP.  At least for medical purposes.  And when we do legalize it, it needs to have the ever-loving shit taxed out of it.  Maybe it will lower my taxes?

Ok, I’m still under 1200 words.  Now you get a little insight into why I am registered as an independent and have a hard time voting.  Neither major party represents me.

Cheers,

Tom

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Filed under Drugs, Economy, First Amendment, fourth amendment, Free Speech, Gay Rights, Guns, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Second Amendment