“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.

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

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.

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.
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/01/fcic-report-misses-central-issue-why-was-there-demand-for-bad-mortgage-loans.html

RE: Balanced Budget Amendment to Constitution – A Nation Killing Bill

I received an email from Senator Hatch (R-UT) about his submission of a Constitution Amendment requiring a balanced budget. I found it interesting that his examples of states that don’t require balanced budgets were Vermont, Switzerland, and Germany, all of which are in better shape than the rest of the country.

This is my email response to both Senators Hatch and Cornyn. Yes, I really sent it. If you agree and want to send a copy of it to your senator or to either of these senators, feel free.

Dear Senators:

I have received your political memo of January 29, 2001 and have a response.

I cannot in any way support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution until common sense remedies that will work and are supported by a majority of Americans are instituted first.

The Republicans have such a deplorable record when it comes to debt and spending. I consider it hypocritical in the extreme that you and your party are pushing this as a Constitutional amendment.

The only time that Republicans care about the deficit is when the Democrats are in office, usually dealing with the deficits created by the previous Republican administrations. You were not concerned about Reagan or Bush II exponentially increasing the debt, but now you are. The pattern holds.

Democrats historically reduce the debt; Republicans historically increase it. Until that historical fact changes, your action is political grandstanding with no substance. We are beginning to recover, but this Amendment would throw out economy into rapid reverse again.

The debt would resolve itself if more people had money to put back into the economy. Many suggestions for easing the debt have been made and the ideas that would most effectively get the country going again have been ignored by Republicans. Some of these are:

1. Put people back to work and make it harder for corporations to continue outsourcing to China. People don’t care about the debt. They just want their jobs back.

“Jobs” is the Number 1 item of the list of priorities for American citizens and the debt is low on the list. Listen to the people. If more jobs are available there will be more money to spend and the economy will improve. Most of those on unemployment right now are there because of American Corporate outsourcing. With so many unemployed thanks to outsourcing, and with reductions in any aid to those left without jobs, it’s no wonder our economy is still struggling.

Remove subsidies or benefits to job killing corporations that outsource, or fine them, until they bring their business and jobs back home. Many of these corporations received federal funds, only to use them to build factories abroad. The money has benefited the CEOs and the foreign workers, not American citizens. They need incentives to keep business here, even if they are negative incentives. The money regained from this strategy could easily be used to create government jobs. You know, Government jobs with benefits. You have one.

Cutting government payrolls would be a huge mistake because those employed individuals support their families and spend money in local economies. They help keep us going. Ending those jobs further imperils our local and national economies.

The taxes we pay for government services are well worth what we receive. Outsourcing those jobs will be more costly and usually result in us having to pay more for the services. We pay less in taxes than we would for the privatized service. Government services are a bargain.

2. Rescind the Bush tax theft by the wealthy and big corporations. Those Santa Clause tax gifts were, and are, a large part of the reason the country descended from a Clinton budget surplus into the Bush debt. Put the top tax brackets back up. The wealthy and big corporations will stay wealthy. Much of their income is not earned but comes from investment.

In addition, the wealthy use many more public resources than the average American. More employees, police and fire protection, schools, roads, infrastructure, and many more –all to build and keep their wealth. If you bought all of what they use or own from a store, it would cost a fortune. It the tax system is it is as if the wealthy and corporations get to shop with no limit while they stiff the cashier and walk away with their loaded shopping carts.

It’s the same as shoplifting. It leaves the middle class or the working poor to pay their extravagant bill. It’s theft. The top 1% of earners and the corporations are stealing from the rest of us. This tax practice starves the system. It is breaking us. In some cases, it’s killing us.

I recently read that Paul Ryan’s plan for America includes a 5% increase in taxes on the poor and middle class and a decrease in the rate on the wealthiest 0.1% of taxpayers by 15%. If this is true, I’m afraid we will not survive.

How is this conscionable? The poor and middle class don’t want a handout, we just want to survive in a level playing field. Soon we won’t even be able to see the field.

3. Regulate the financial industry to restore balance and strengthen oversight. The recent findings of the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission show that the financial meltdown could have been prevented with better regulation and oversight. The deregulation that took place in the Clinton and Bush administrations led directly to the crisis. As we have so graphically seen in the last two years, regulations are essential to preventing the cheaters from winning. Bring back the Glass-Steagall Act and restore the safeguards that existed prior to Clinton’s presidency.

Deregulating essentially put the greedy, rabid foxes in charge of the henhouse. They succeeded in not only raiding it, but blaming the resulting misery on those it ravaged. Citizens were punished twice and the bandits not only got away with it not only Scott-free, they were, and are, rewarded for it.

A majority of Americans want more regulation of financial institutions to prevent future meltdowns. We also want the lawbreakers to go to jail for massive corruption, theft, destruction to American economy and for causing much human suffering.

4. End the wars as soon as possible and bring down military expenses. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars were started based on misinformation or outright lies and continue to massively drain our resources. The cost of the wars was never included in any planning during the Bush years – this was deceitful and distorted the amount of debt we incurred.

The wars were not paid for by increased tax revenues as had been done in previous generations. Bush II decreased taxes in the face of increased costs and the debt exploded.

Much of the reason the debt looks bigger now is because President Obama includes the war cost in the budget rather than ignoring it or trying to cover it up. Now we can truly see the effect of war on our economy. End the wars and bring the troops home.

5. Begin hiring people to rebuild the infrastructure – create more jobs. A government program such as the WPA during FDR’s time, a successful program in many ways, would employ people and improve conditions. The private sector can’t create jobs fast enough to keep up with the corporate outsourcing. More government jobs would a good first step.

This could even be done by ending the wars, bringing the troops home, and having them work here on infrastructure projects.

6. Do not repeal the Affordable Health Care Plan of President Obama. It’s a good first step toward solving many of the big problems in medical care we have. Insurance companies do not have anyone’s best interest at heart, only their profit margins. Obama’s plan is not a job killer. Your repeal of the act would kill more jobs that Obama’s plan, which would actually create jobs. You are not fooling us with the phony title of your bill.

7. Include a public option in the Affordable Health Care Plan, or extend Medicare to a larger segment of the population. This alone would save billions in health care. This option was supported by a majority of Americans when it was first suggested. Many people are opposed the current health care bill because this provision was eliminated, not because they oppose health care reform.

We are learning from the U.K. that austerity measures do not work to bring back a struggling economy. David Blanchflower said recently: “There is little historical precedent in the real world . . . to suggest that fiscal austerity works”.

I am not wealthy; therefore you no longer speak for me. You do not champion for people anymore. You champion extreme conservative ideology, corporate financing and big money. You are one of the conservative Republicans who speak for the wealthy, the corporations, and the big banks.

This country is composed of people. Corporations are cold-blooded entities that seem to view people as commodities to be exploited until empty and then the human shells discarded. We want our government by, for, and of THE PEOPLE back.

In my opinion, the Founding Fathers would be sick to see what is happening to this country today. Not because of the debt, but because of the near complete disenfranchisement of the people, mostly coming from the Republican side of the aisle. Democrats at least begin with the premise that government can help citizens rather than hurt them.

America is in trouble because for the past 30 years it has adhered in varying degrees to the Reagan policies and politics of scorning (or outright hating) government and turning that scorn into disdain for the poor and middle class. America won’t be great again until it rejects the onslaught of corporate overreaching and manipulation.

It won’t be great again until each politician is judged not by a bottom line or balance sheet, but by how many people got jobs, bought a house, paid fair taxes, enjoyed good food, received excellent education, and improved their lives under his or her term.

I’m afraid it might be a long time coming. I’m tired of the games. I’m sick of the empty political rhetoric about the Founding Fathers and American exceptionalism by people who have forgotten or never understood social or historical facts. I’m revolted by the lies and the manipulation and cruelty of the political right wing.

I no longer believe in you as a conservative Republican or what you stand for, but I believe in the goodness and the strong spirit of the American people. Unfortunately I also see tremendous forces pushing us down in a race to the bottom. I’m sorry to say I think you are one of them.

Sincerely,

Lynn Allen

More tax cuts to save us from the recession caused by tax cuts-GENIUS!

The Cat Food commission has presented it recommendations and it looks like they want to reduce the middle class to real servitude and the wealthy as the mega overlords. It’s probably doomed since gridlock is the name of the game in Washington, but it angers me that part of the proposal is even more drastic tax cuts than we got with Bush II. That’s part of what got us into a mess in the first place. Then the reduction of social benefits that the middle class has funded and earned, and more giveaways to the wealthy. Here’s my response to an editorial in today’s NY Times that said all those proposals were a good idea:

This proposal only intensifies the quest to eliminate the middle class, enrich the already wealthy, and permanently put the oligarchs in charge. Reducing taxes was part of the disastrous Bush scheme 10 years ago, and it has not lived up to the promise of prosperity for all. History proves that it never has and it never will. Taxes are income to the country and should be increased to help solve the problem. Let the Bush tax mistake expire, at least on the top income earners. The wealthy know how to stay wealthy and it’s time they put some skin in the game they are winning at everyone else’s expense.

Financial problems are solved by cutting expenses AND increasing income. This plan ignores the increase to income component completely. It’s more VooDoo economics mascarading as a solution. We can do better!
End of response to article.

It just seems outright stupid to intensify the policy that created the problem. If you are driving from Canada to Texas and all the signs say you’re headed for the North Pole, you don’t keep driving. You turn around. Unless you want to drive all the way around the world. This is not progressive and not moving forward.

Sorry for the political rant, but freakin’ Hell, this makes no sense. Canada and Costa Rica are starting to look really good.