“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.

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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.

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.

What are companies good for?

Okay, I know I said no more politics, but it’s in my blood. And I said “mostly” no more.

So here’s another reply to a NY Times article about Companies: What Are They Good For? It was a discussion about two basic philosophies about corporations and their missions. One says that corps are in business only to make piles of money for the shareholders. The other says corps are free to do that but not without considering the well-being of their employees and communities. One considers only money, two considers context. It’s obvious I’m a liberal and a Democrat by now. I’ll have something more tame to write about later. Like pets or flowers or something. Stand by, I’m having too much fun.

My comment, made this morning:

I’m not an economist and even when I studied economics in college, not all of it stuck. But it does seem obvious to me that the system we have now of business existing primarily for the bottom line has questionable merit long-term.

As has been pointed out, corporations that ignored the context of their communities and employees and promote profits for only the few, have created disharmony and outright economic disaster for the many. If they won’t regulate themselves to prevent the harm to their communities and beyond, they should be regulated by outside forces to ensure they won’t destroy the very context in which they operate.

Otherwise the ultimate outcome, if taken to the extreme, would be that the only people or entities these vampire corporations can do business with are other large corporations and the very wealthy, since they will have impoverished everyone else to the extent that commerce will exist only at the top. The rest of us can rely on bartering what little we have, or upon the charities the wealthy establish to take marginal care of their desperate workforce. (After all, they have to have their quota of blood of operate.) Maintaining today’s status quo equals bleak outcome, in my view.

I obviously have little compassion for the big companies that were allowed to run wild with their schemes and outrageous profit-making at the expense of everyone else. The trends of the former administration and to some extent, this one, confirm that Lincoln’s fears were spot on, and we have truly failed the seemingly mythical American Dream.

My hope is that a new economy will rise, and I suspect that it will emerge from the fringes, but I don’t mean the Tea Party. If we as citizens can get past the tempting and destructiveness of selfishly thinking only of piles of money or destroying the government outright, we may have a chance at starting over. Companies have to be good for all of us; right now the status quo isn’t worth continuing.