Tonight will be President Obama’s third State of the Union address. The remarks afterward by Mitch Daniels and Herman Cain will undoubtedly try to cloud all issues and spread false facts.

Think Progress posted an impressive list of facts this morning, some of which outlines accomplishments by Obama. (POLITICS FACTS: The State Of The Union
By Judd Legum on Jan 24, 2012 at 11:10 am). Other items in the post point out the need for a return to more equality and building the middle class. See the article for sources linked. Here’s the list.

• Since the last SOTU, the economy has created 1.9 million private sector jobs. [Source]
• The top 1 percent take home 24 percent of the nation’s income, up from about 9 percent in 1976. [Source]
• Private sector job creation under Obama in 2011 was larger than seven out of the eight years Bush was president. [Source]
• The top 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of our country’s wealth while the bottom 80 percent owns only 7 percent. [Source]
• Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million young adults gained health insurance. [Source]
• For every one job opening, there are four people looking for work. [Source]
• Last year, China spent 9 percent of its GDP on infrastructure. The U.S. spent 2.5 percent. [Source]
• 2.65 million seniors saved an average of $569 on prescriptions last year thanks to the Affordable Care Act. [Source]
• “In 2011, the United States killed Al Qaeda’s most effective propagandist, Anwar al-Awlaki; its operating chief, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman; and of course its founder, chief executive and spiritual leader, Osama bin Laden.” [Source]
• Union membership is at a 70-year low. [Source]
• Unemployment benefits have lifted 3.2 million people out of poverty. [Source]
• The United States used to have the world’s largest percentage of college graduates. We’re now #14. [Source]
• One quarter of all contributions to federal campaigns come from 0.01 percent of Americans. [Source]
• 47.8 percent of households that receive food stamps are working, because having a job is not enough to keep them out of poverty. [Source]
• In the last three years, 30 major corporations spent more on lobbying than they paid in taxes. [Source]
• 50 percent of U.S. workers make less than $26,364 per year. [Source]
• More than one in 70 homes faced foreclosure last year. [Source]
• Since 1985, the federal tax rate for the 400 wealthiest Americans dropped from 29 percent to 18 percent. [Source]

Any way you shake it, this country is struggling to gain back not only its economic footing, but its integrity as a nation. From what I have heard and seen of the Repub candidates so far, they are not promising to correct anything. Only continue the failed policies of the Bush Administration to a degree not only Bush could imagine. All backed by Corporate Money.

Obama is talking about returning this country back to its people, rather than delivering it wholesale to corporations. In other words, preserving what’s left of our democracy for everyone rather than become a corporatocracy where only the rich participate. Sometimes known as fascism.

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“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.

The Optimist Creed

Redirecting the negative to positive begins with a new outlook. A promise to look at the possibilities of growth and prosperity rather than constriction and lack. The Optimist Creed says exactly what I hope to do from here on.

Print and post this brilliant piece of inspiration from the past. It still applies and if more of us adopt this creed, perhaps the liberal thinkers in this country can begin a new conversation. We truly need one.

The Optimist Creed

PROMISE YOURSELF . . .
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of life and make your Optimism come true.
To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

By Christian D. Larson
Originally published in 1912 in a book titled: “Your Forces and How to Use Them.”

Note to Orrin Hatch RE: Planned Parenthood

The Repulbican view of this issue really burns me. I’m on Senator Scratch’s email list as a former Utah, so I can keep up with the rat bastard from Pennsylvania. (He couldn’t get elected there so he sought a consistuency stupid to vote for him – Utah!)

Anyway, he was crowing about his vote to defund Planned Parenthood because no organization that supports abortions should get any taxpayer money. This is a man who sponsors a Day for Women, or used to. Damned hypocrite.

Here’s the response I sent back through his website. Bear in mind I WAS PISSED. And yes I really sent it. I wonder if it does any good, but at least I’m calling it the way I see it and putting it out there for him to see too.

Dear Senator Hatch – Your vote to defund Planned Parenthood is destructive and ill-informed. Only 3% of their services go to abortions and is not federally funded by law. The other 97% is for health services poor women can’t afford elsewhere. Would you have them suffer more health risks because you defunded them? Utah has lots of needy women who need Planned Parenthood for survival, and policies like this, if implemented, would only create more suffering, more poverty, more untreated cancer, more unplanned and unwanted children. Is that desirable? Is that Christian? No, but it seems to be Republican. Hypocrites.

Your party acts like it hates its own constituency for all the wrong reasons. It’s not about fixing the deficit – it’s about hurting people who might disagree with your agenda. It is a class war. That’s un-American. Shame on you and your ilk. I hope the Republican Party goes down in stinking flames in 2012.

Linda Allen
A former Utahn

What the Progressives Stand For

I found this on the website for the Progressive Congressional Caucus.
The URL is http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=63&sectiontree=2,63

Leadership: Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, John B. Larson, Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva
Co-Chairs: Keith Ellison, Raúl Grijalva
Vice Chairs: Tammy Baldwin, Judy Chu, William “Lacy” Clay, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Chellie Pingree
Whip: Hank Johnson
Senate Member: Bernie Sanders
congress members – very long list of members – too long for this entry. Go see . . . My congressman is on it and I couldn’t be prouder. I found out he is one of the few openly gay representatives serving in Congress.

The Progressive Promise
Fairness For All

The Congressional Progressive Caucus believes in government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our fairness plan is rooted in our core principles. It also embodies national priorities that are consistent with the values, needs, and hopes of all our people, not just the powerful and the privileged. We pledge our unwavering commitment to these legislative priorities and we will not rest until they become law.

1. Fighting for Economic Justice and Security in the U.S. and Global Economies
» To uphold the right to universal access to affordable, high quality healthcare for all.

» To preserve guaranteed Social Security benefits for all Americans, protect private pensions, and require corporate accountability.

» To invest in America and create new jobs in the U.S. by building more affordable housing, re-building America’s schools and physical infrastructure, cleaning up our environment, and improving homeland security.

» To export more American products and not more American jobs and demand fair trade.

» To reaffirm freedom of association and enforce the right to organize.

» To ensure working families can live above the poverty line and with dignity by raising and indexing the minimum wage.

2. Protecting and Preserving Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
» To sunset expiring provisions of the Patriot Act and bring remaining provisions into line with the U. S. Constitution.

» To protect the personal privacy of all Americans from unbridled police powers and unchecked government intrusion.

» To extend the Voting Rights Act and reform our electoral processes.

» To fight corporate consolidation of the media and ensure opportunity for all voices to be heard.

» To ensure enforcement of all legal rights in the workplace.

» To eliminate all forms of discrimination based upon color, race, religion, gender, creed, disability, or sexual orientation.

3. Promoting Global Peace and Security
» To honor and help our overburdened international public servants – both military and civilian.

» To bring U. S. troops home from Iraq as soon as possible.

» To re-build U.S. alliances around the world, restore international respect for American power and influence, and reaffirm our nation’s constructive engagement in the United Nations and other multilateral organizations.

» To enhance international cooperation to reduce the threats posed by nuclear proliferation and weapons of mass destruction.

» To increase efforts to combat hunger and the scourge of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious diseases.

» To encourage debt relief for poor countries and support efforts to reach the UN’s Millennium Goals for Developing Countries.

4. Advancing Environmental Protection & Energy Independence » To free ourselves and our economy from dependence upon imported oil and shift to growing reliance upon renewable energy supplies and technologies, thus creating at least three million new jobs, cleansing our environment, and enhancing our nation’s security.

» To promote environmental justice in affirmation that all people have an inherent right to a healthy environment, clean air, and clean water wherever we live, work, and relax.

» To change incentives in federal tax, procurement, and appropriation policies to:

(A) Speed commercialization of solar, biomass, and wind power generation, while encouraging state and local policy innovation to link clean energy and job creation;

(B) Convert domestic assembly lines to manufacture highly efficient vehicles, enhance global competitiveness of U.S. auto industry, and expand consumer choice;

(C) Increase investment in construction of “green buildings” and more energy-efficient homes and workplaces;

(D) Link higher energy efficiency standards in appliances to consumer and manufacturing incentives that increase demand for new durable goods and increase investment in U.S. factories;

» To eliminate environmental threat posed by global warming and ensuring that America does our part to advance an effective global problem-solving approach.

» To expand energy-efficient transportation choices by increasing investment in synthesized networks, including bicycle, local bus and rail transit, regional high-speed rail and magnetic levitation rail projects.

» To preserve prudent public interest regulations that encourage sustainable growth and investment, ensure energy diversity and system reliability, protect workers and the environment, reward consumer conservation, and support an expanding marketplace that rewards the commercialization of energy-efficient technologies.

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.

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