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Posts tagged ‘Politics’

Republicans pledge to hasten the consolidation of wealth. Democrats pledge to help them.

By failing to address the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the Democratic Party is all but ensuring the extension of tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of the nation, and at least an additional 3.7 trillion dollars of budget shortfall for the foreseeable future.

If this is true – and it appears to be – then this will go down as one of the stupidest moves by the spineless weasels on the Hill – and that’s saying a lot for this crop of morons.   This was a win-win for the party – offer a needed tax break to 98% of the population, and force the Republicans to defend giving a break to the most privileged class in the nation.

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The Short Term Memory Loss of Americans

Roughly two years ago the American people were in utter shock and dismay. 401Ks were cut in half, the value of homes fell overnight, and hundreds of thousands of workers were handed pink slips. We were told exotic financial products that consisted of high risk home loans given to anyone with a pulse were bundled as “securities” and that those bundles were then speculated on as to whether or not they would prove to be good investments. Basically loans were used as poker chips made out of potato chips that got wet and were valued at nothing, who wants to eat a wet potato chip?

After the initial shock of the collapse of the housing market, everyone wanted to know “Who did this?” Blame can be handed out all around, the banks who gave out the loans, the investment companies not governed by financial laws giving out mortgages that had outrageous interest rates with a promise that one could refinance, people who bought the homes not questioning how magically they could be approved for a loan when 10 years prior with the same finances no bank would have even given them the time of day. The American dream was in full swing, home ownership was on the rise. We were told an “ownership” society would make America great. But who owned what? Thus the myth of deregulation was exposed. It’s pretend benefits being that a free market is a just market and will correct itself. Those touting the benefits of such a market were taking great credit in the vast amounts of wealth being seemingly spread to the middle class, in the form of a home. People stopped saving, if they needed money they could borrow against their home and the cycle began.

Middle class living was built on credit, not jobs, not steady gains in wages by any means as the cost of health care rose and employers handed the burden to their employees. Any raises obtained were quickly obliterated by those rising costs to the point where workers brought home less with each passing year for less and less benefits. Yet they always had their home.

Just about everyone knows someone who is or has faced a foreclosure in the last couple of years, the devastation cannot be multiplied in dollars and cents. The economy has only rebounded for the same traders who raided the war chests of our grandchildren and yet the rates of poverty for those who will have to pay it back are at new highs. So where did the jobs go? In an increasing globalized economy, the jobs went to the lowest bidder.

Conglomerations run the world and are able to exist outside of laws governing the people who inhabit certain borders. I fear it is too late to take the reins of power back. Sure I’m mad as hell and there are a lot of people to be angry with. What is necessary to fix it will take decades as the system itself is broken. This is not Capitalism as Smith dreamed up, this is Corporatism where the biggest, strongest, most lucrative survive. It is financial Darwinism and no one has a viable option to really get us out. We need a new system. Unfortunately the American people have forgotten a lot, not only the history of the country but the history of a few short years. They are too busy listening to glitzy ads degrading the character of a candidate instead of demanding the necessary changes so that we can give a better society to the grandchildren who will be paying this debt. Not only are Americans forgetful and demented, we are selfish and any attempts to re-institute those into power who wrought havoc on this nation is truly insanity. Trust me, you will not get a different result.

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. maybe.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say if you’re reading this, you have read at least one book that changed the way you looked at the world.  In essence, it changed the world.  There was some point, maybe halfway through, or at the end, or maybe even in the first paragraph, when you realized the place you were when you picked up the book was not the place you found yourself in as you laid it down.

Or maybe it was a film with subtitles seen on lazy Saturday afternoon.  Or maybe it was one intoxicating night in a strange land hanging out drinking with a few people who had been strangers on a train a few hours before.

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

One of those moments for me was as a young lad was coming across James Burke’s PBS series The Day The Universe Changed which was about, well, that moment when culturally, collectively, we had some of the moments when the world when, well, the universe changed.

And with all the focus these days on Congress, the White House, and the beltway-wall street complex being corrupt and inept, I think we do need to put some focus on the people.  And right now, I would say, that the nation of United States, as fragmented as it is, need to have its universe change.  Until it does, we can’t expect much more than more of the same.  Keeping in mind what Ellen Glasgow said: All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.

Here is Burke in the first part of the series

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a couple of rallies in october

There is one rally that’s happening that people might be interested in:

One Nation Working Together is a social movement of individuals and organizations committed to putting America back to work and pulling America back together. Coming from a diverse set of backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and orientations, we are determined to build a more united country with good jobs, equal justice, and quality public education for all.

The Partners for this event range from Code Pink to Friends of the Earth to Interfaith Worker Justice to NAACP to Planned Parenthood to United Steelworkers of America.   One hasn’t heard too much about this event (at least I haven’t) but hopefully it will be a little more successful than some of the rallies by those from the dark side.

And then there is the rally of all rallies at the end of October in Washington D.C.  Yes, I’m talking about John Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity.” on October 30, 2010.  In a strange serendipitous convergence, it just so happens that Stephen Colbert is having his March to Keep Fear Alive that very same day.

Here is John announcing his rally, Stephen announcing his march.

Koran Burning and Other Performance Art

Just like about everybody else on this planet, I am at the very least thoroughly disgusted by Pastor Terry Jones and his followers.  Now there seems to another in Tennessee who thinks burning Korans is an idea whose time has come.  I have to remind myself that these whackjobs don’t represent our country, or even the region in which they live.  Yet for every one that actually carries out or talks about carrying out such hatred, there are probably another six or seven, if not more, who feel exactly the same way.

 In the performance of Swimming to Cambodia, Spaulding Grey discusses the conditions and events that led to descending of the Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge upon the people of Cambodia.  Spaulding ends the scene with this:

So five years of bombing, a diet of bark, bugs, lizards and leaves up in the Cambodian jungles, an education in Paris environs in a strict Maoist doctrine with a touch of Rousseau, and other things that we will probably never know about in our lifetime. Including perhaps an invisible cloud of evil that circles the Earth and lands at random in places like Iran, Beirut, Germany, Cambodia, America, set the Khmer Rouge out to commit the worst auto-homeo genocide in modern history.

It would seem that we in the U.S. has had that invisible cloud of evil land here, stirring up religious bigotry and racial hatreds that were just beneath the surface.

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