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.


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.

Kick ’em while they’re down! NOT

I commented today in response to an editorial in today’s NY Times – Poverty and Recovery, as follows, (tweaked slightly):

Jack #11 in Portland, I find your “kick ‘em while they’re down” rhetoric disturbing. Unfortunately too many feel the same and justify with a harsh and unpatriotic logic. Very few of the poor are lazy. Many had great jobs until those jobs were outsourced to China. Many more had homes until the bank and finance industry broke the system and induced a foreclosure crisis. Much of the hardship is courtesy of the wealthy from whom you would require nothing.

Mega-Rich people and corporations do not get their wealth in isolation. They need, above all, employees to produce goods and services. Add to that electricity to power facilities, roads to transport goods, communication services, schools, public services like police and fire departments, water, schools, and on and on, to acquire such wealth.

Asking nothing of them is like asking the janitors and landscapers to pay entirely for the top dogs at the Country Club to use the golf course. Wealth requires resources. Taking all the resources and paying nothing is theft.

Is it honest to steal from the very people who made them rich? Better yet, couldn’t it be argued that it is unpatriotic to so undermine the population of your own country? This country was not founded on selfishness or ruthlessness to its own citizens. It was founded on the principle that all people deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was founded on the principle of cooperation and community, and it saddens me to think that this ideal is now ridiculed.

It benefits everyone to have at least a minimum level of living. Having more people in survival mode or below bodes ill for any country aspiring to be, or remain, a world leader.

The comment I referred to follows:
January 19th, 2011
12:35 am
Why waste our time and yours with editorials like this? The people you are writing about are chumps, losers. Those who count appear on page 1 under the headline “Study Points to Windfall for Goldman Partners”. They deserve an editorial celebrating their success, their riches. Instead you liberal types will want them to pay some outrageous tax rate. If they have any sense the Republicans will push through legislation exempting incomes above a certain amount from any taxes at all. That provides an incentive to make a decent income. So what if the lazy are poor….if they wait outside the big banks and brokerages houses long enough certainly someone will come down and give them a slice of cake.

(ADDED NOTE: Jack #11 and I (lallen56 comment #24) ended up on the same page of reader’s recommendations. He has 155 recommends and I have 135 recommends as of 9:00 p.m. Jan 19. Most of the other comments favored helping. Interesting juxtapositioning, doncha think?)

The editorial outlines just how important the stimulus was to many people on the brink, or in poverty in 2009. Excerpts from the article include:

Poverty and Recovery
Congress should consider that a safety net, fortified by stimulus, saved millions of Americans from poverty before it commits to any more slashing and burning.

“What analysts have found is that the antipoverty effect of government intervention in 2009 was profound. Calculations by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning research group, show that specific stimulus provisions — including expanded federal jobless benefits, new and improved tax credits for workers and bolstered food stamps — kept 4.5 million people out of poverty in 2009. Only Social Security and the earned income credit did more to fight poverty.”

With 14.5 million people still out of work, and more than 6 million of them jobless for more than six months, reducing federal help now will almost ensure more poverty later. That would impose an even higher cost on the economy and budget because ever poorer households cannot spend and consume.

We know it goes against the prevailing rhetoric to argue that more and better government policies are still needed to repair the economy. It is also unpopular to argue that programs that have succeeded for decades in reducing poverty, like Social Security, need to be preserved even as they are retooled for the 21st century. To do otherwise is to deny the evidence.”