“Those less favored in life should be more favored in law.” – Powell

This quote by Thomas Reed Powell sums up all that is wrong with the current conversation about the deficit. So much of the rhetoric is about punishing the already economically punished and rewarding the secure and even the exploiters.

Liberal thought is that we are all part of a larger community that is willing to lend a hand to those in need. A hand of helping, not slapping further down. Liberals remember that “There but for the grace of God go I.” Fortunes can turn in an instant; won or lost in a day.

The Republican debates have been especially telling. I was dismayed about the audience reaction to Mr. Paul’s discussion of what should happen to a 30-year old man with no insurance who hypothetically needs medical care to live. The support for “let him die” tells me that this country needs some heavy duty re-education about community and the value of human life.

What does it say about the people of America (or at least that group of people) if we are willing to let those less fortunate die because they have no insurance, either by choice or necessity. If you have no insurance, you die in a situation where medical treatment could save a life? It’s so negative and nihilistic. (From Wikipedia – nihilism is “characterized as “emptying the world and especially human existence of meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value.)

We all need help once in a while. It shouldn’t be a death sentence to not have insurance, nor should losing your job mean that you are forever unemployed and reduced to poverty. How does that build community, or country? It doesn’t.
It’s a rejection of human idealism and an acceptance of animal fatalism – survival of the fittest. It’s more war on the middle class. It’s political and economic extremism. Is this who we are as Americans? I can’t accept that.

I think that most Americans value life and want to enjoy the best for themselves and their families. And they are willing to work and contribute to achieve it. They are willing to lend a hand to those who are unemployed and struggling until they get back on their feet because we have all seen how easy it is to lose everything when jobs get cut. Most Americans want to be respected and are willing to extend respect to others, even in the hard times.

I think that most Americans want to move forward not backward and are being manipulated through the (conservative) media by fear, greed and big money. I think most Americans are more liberal than they give themselves credit for.

I have more faith in America than that. Let’s keep talking about who we really are and maybe the majority will awaken to their own goodness and start shouting down the exploiters.

Let’s talk about liberal living as a step forward, not backward. Let’s move toward optimism, not negativity and nihilism.


Budget Cuts Mean More Misery. Why? Life is Cheap.

The New York Times ran an article today about Obama catpitulating to the demands of the depression makers. It made me sick.

I’ve been looking for other voices in this time of accerating chaos. They are out there: Jean Houston, a visionary and activist in Social Awareness, Barbara Max Hubbard, an expert in the human evolutionary process in these times and some others I’ll talk about in another post. There is a way out of the current shit, but it will not come from the system that has made itself so radically sick. Einstein said you can’t solve a problem using the same processes and ideas that created the problem. That’s where we are today. We as a country and culture are very ill, and we have to fire the doctors and find our own solutions, and we have to start talking about it a lot more.

This is the comment I posted as Lallen56 to the article “Obama Budget Pivots From Stimulus to Deficit Cuts.”

The cuts to education and every program that supports actual people shows me that the Republicans are pushing to make the American worker extinct. If fewer people are educated they can justify outsourcing more jobs to countries the demand less in wages but still support education. Cheap engineers, cheap attorneys, cheap computer scientists, cheap everyone.

Our lives are cheap to them and they are the ultimate Grinches. It’s a race to the bottom. I am disgusted that Obama has capitulated to this degree. My only hope now is that the Republicans so overstep their bounds that their cruel, domination agenda becomes obvious to even the most staunch TPer’s. Neither party seems up to the challenges. Maybe the solution will come from the trenches.

There are movements afoot that emphasize evolutionary possibilities. More people should know that this doomed scenario is not the only one. (See Jean Houston, Barbara Max Hubbard and others like them.)

We can do better. We can form a culture that supports those who participate, but it will mean a complete overhaul of our economic and political systems. It can be done with determination and activism toward systems that build caring communities rather than punitive surfdoms dominated and ruled by corporate overseers and cruel warmongers.

It’s time for us to grow up and be civilized. It can be done. Wake up.

Those Wacky Republicans.

Gail Collins’ column “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” about some of the crazy bills Republicans are floating was a good read. My comment was #50 and by 7:00 this evening had 44 recommendation checks from fellow readers.

This is based on what I wrote this morning, but is a little more expanded.

Based on their own actions, I am convinced that the Republican party’s mission is to destroy their own country and give it to their corporate masters. Here’s a thumbnail on how they intend to get us there:

Keep unemployment high. This is important because it provides a large, desperate, and submissive body of peons willing to be employed at rock bottom rates, with no benefits, and who knows what kind of conditions. If more people become employed, give another break to the wealthy and corporations and encourage more outsourcing.

Kill education, period. Anyone who is educated might acquire critical thinking skills, allowing them to recognize when propaganda is being substituted for facts and real news. This would ultimately translate into more people not voting Republican. Can’t have a permanent majority that way, now can we.

Kill any inkling of a social network. Keeps the population desperate and willing to do any work at any wage. This is not kicking people when they are down; it is giving them the opportunity to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Never mind that the bootstrap factory was shut down and rebuilt in China.

As for family planning, drastically reduce birth control options so that childbirth rates remain high and gets higher. This guarantees that future corporate needs for more desperate employees will be filled. It’s economic. We’re just numbers.

I have heard it said that this is the new normal. I say it’s time to fight back from the ground up. If we as a nation will have to face unemployment and reduced resources, then adjustments need to be made. Perhaps we need to be the next Egypt, but hopefully without the violence.

What specifically do we do about it? If this really is the new normal, start talking about reforms like reducing the birth rate and increasing real education.

If access to resources and employment are reduced, then it makes sense that over time, the population should be reduced to mitigate the shortages. Otherwise we only further entrench poverty and shortages.

This means providing universal access to sex education and affordable, effective family planning. Birth control should be as close to free as possible and widely available, even in schools. Abortion must remain legal. Children are considered a blessing, but some of that motherhood and apple pie attitude is just propaganda. Children are also the leading cause of poverty for unwed teen mothers, and are expensive, time consuming, and in many cases, a burden. Not something the spinmeisters want people talking about. Babies are sometimes not a blessing but a burden: blasphemous but true. Not to mention the sometimes horrifying effects on the children themselves of being unwanted. It’s mostly avoidable.

Education reform is sorely neglected in this country. The stats on our students’ standing compared to other advanced nations is appalling. Reform is necessary, but I’m not talking about the reform touted by the hyper-religious, history-revising boards. We need real factual, meaningful, eager-to-go- to-school-every-day reformed education for everyone. That leaves Texas and other fundamentalist leaning states like it, out.

We as a people also must start talking in very personal terms about the effects of the conservative lunacy – more poverty, outsourced jobs, failure of local government due to fiscal starvation, etc. Real human misery as a direct result of conservative policy. (That puts the Texas group back in).

Start demanding positive results for PEOPLE not institutions. Make it very, very personal. Maybe the lunkheads who vote for the lunkheads will start to see the patterns and someday get it – they are voting for their own demise. Vote for partisan lunkheads, you get partisan stupid legislation and devastatingly personal results.

Read George Lakoff. (“Don’t Think of an Elephant” and “Moral Politics.” He has a handle on how to talk about these things in personal, meaty terms, and how far right organizations, including Republican strategists, have deceived, and continue to deceive, the electorate with sleazy, manipulative language.

Just a few thoughts.

On a more personal note to Ms. Collins – You do darn fine work. Don’t stop.

Seeking a new side and still feeding the stray cats.

I so struggle with this blog as the “Progressive Grandma”. On the one hand I feel that progressive voices need to be heard during this time of political upheaval when voices of ignorance and oppression are so loud and often appear to be winning, (from my point of view, not theirs.)

On the other hand, what does one actually DO about it? I want to be a positive influence rather than a whiney or strident voice for liberals. Just being the opposite of the “other side” is just that — the opposite. It’s not an answer or a solution. Taking sides only makes the issues worse by further entrenching each side. The argument will never heal the situation or help the people who suffer in the midst of it.

I think what I want is to be on the side of healing, whatever that side is, if it is a “side” at all. I have another feeling an acceptable solution is not tied to a political party or any ideology. I have a feeling it is tied to an emotional/spiritual state of being or community that is growing, but not yet coalesced. I want to be part of that community.

And what is the acceptable solution I want? I want a society that values individuals over money, ideology, religion, and corporate profits. As it is now, the balance is gone. Our country is now governed by big money, big banks, bad religions, and massively UNenlightened political self-interest on both sides. (Although I favor the Democrats because they at least begin with the premise that government is a good thing and is meant to help those who need it.)

We need enlightened self-interest. Caring for each other, especially the downtrodden, should be honored rather than reviled. Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of calling the unemployed lazy, the jobs they lost due to outsourcing were to return to the US? Who favors globalization? Both sides.

And on the financial front, institutions that created bad loans and toxic derivatives got away with it. John Paulson made $20 billion by betting on the bad loans with hedge funds. Many others made money in the same way. There was more incentive to screw the pooch than there was to be honest. Now that’s so out of balance you have to create a whole new playing field. Enron thieves were punished. Have the rabid jackals been punished this time? A few, but not enough of the dudes pushing the market into the toilet for their own gain have gotten the jail time they so richly deserve. Maybe it will come.

The balance between citizens and big money has been slipping for a long time and now we have reached a tipping point where the damage is irrefutable. Jobs are gone, unemployment is rampant, foreclosure continue to increase, and the financial and corporate institutions that could help mitigate the damage are parked on mountains of money, most of it from taxpayers, and not loaning or hiring.

I’ve looked for answers in many places and usually just end up spinning my wheels. Perhaps the best thing for me to do here is talk about what I find and how I will work to survive. I have no job, I’m 61 and not likely to get a job soon. The freelancing gig is improving , but isn’t all that lucrative right now. So I am still drawing from savings when I run out of money. It’s getting better and I am optimistic. I’m also learning new financial skills I’ll talk more about next time.

I don’t spend much. My lifestyle is spare. I keep the heat at 60 degrees to save money there and wear more clothes. I heat my office with space heaters and spend most of my time there. Of course the fact that I feed about five stray cats probably eats (pun intended tee hee) any savings I have there.

Oh well. I’ll keep feeding those damn cats as well as my own. If they are going to live around my house, I’ll help keep them at least fed and healthy.

Until my next rumination. . .

technical but interesting article about John Paulson’s hedge fund from Naked Capitalist blog by Tom Adams and Yves Smith: FCIC Report Misses Central Issue: Why Was There Demand for Bad Mortgage Loans?
No promises, but maybe the link will work.