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Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Political Rant of the Day - Does Anyone Care About We The People?

Nancy Folbre, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has raised a very interesting point (click Here):
The struggle over the budget is not either/or, it is a three-way race with the third entrant getting no respect. “What I see is a three-way tussle among the rich, the not very rich and the not rich at all over who should pay the costs of balancing the budget” – that is the Republicans vs the Democrats vs the People, and the People aren't being asked to dance – just to pay the band.
I know that politics is often not a popular subject to discuss among friends, and increasingly young Americans seem to have given up on Republican vs. Democrat and just find themselves increasingly screwed.  And that is the jest of Ms. Folbre's argument, that the average American is getting screwed left and right by both parties but is expected to pay the bill.

So what is the latest?  The Senate's 'Gang of Six' (so essentially we are acknowledging that we have now become serfs and are being controlled by a few select oligaracy - where is the outrage?) and has ridden to the rescue – hide the silverware. Just whose rescue seems unclear, but mostly the usual suspects make out and the usual marks pay the bill. It starts with $500 billion in actual cuts, in exchange for which the debt ceiling gets raised, the bond market is happy and stock markets go wild. It includes a promise of $3.7 trillion in cuts over the next ten years – but doesn't really specify anything much except that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security get screwed cut while Wall Street gets to keep their outrageous salaries classified as capital gains – the tax on which will fall.

Described by one of its authors as “the only plan that is going to ever pass”, the diet recommended by the Gang include reductions in deductions for health insurance, home mortgage interest, charitable gifts, even retirement savings. Medicare and Medicaid would be diminished and Social Security undermined. While most taxpayers will pay higher taxes under their plan, the top tax rate would drop from 35% to 23% and those big hedge fund incomes would be taxed as capital gains – which would be unchanged at 15%. And the alternative minimum tax, designed to force high-income families pay at least some bit of income tax, would be repealed. It proposes a “territorial tax system” which would be a windfall for US multinationals.

But what do WE THE PEOPLE want?

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in late February found that 81 percent of people would support a surtax on millionaires to help reduce the budget deficit. A Pew Research Center poll in late May found that 66 percent favored raising income tax rates on those making more than $250,000 and 67 percent raising the wage cap for Social Security taxes.

Do you here any politician talking about that?  But there are alternatives.

Consider a largely invisible proposal for balancing the budget, the People’s Budget, released in April by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which includes 83 members of Congress.
Its proposed budget savings include major cuts to military spending based on immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Its proposed revenue sources include new tax brackets for the rich (from 45 percent on income over a million dollars a year to 49 percent on income over a billion a year), restoring the estate tax and eliminating the Bush tax cuts.

The Economic Policy Institute provides a more detailed supportive analysis. Proponents have also developed a three-way comparison with budget proposals advocated by President Obama and Congressional Republicans that allows you to register your own preference.

Deficit hawks (at least those who are not tax chickens) should welcome the People’s Budget, because it offers a plausible path to debt reduction.

Matt Miller of The Washington Post noted that the People’s Budget would, unlike the Roadmap for America’s Future advanced by Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, generate a budget surplus at a predictable point in the future, winning the “fiscal responsibility derby.”

The progressive tax policies endorsed by the People’s Budget have drawn remarkably strong support in public opinion polls, suggesting that the views of our most powerful elected officials don’t accurately reflect the views of the electorate.

As I said, We The People are reduced to puppets and serfs, while the mega-rich and corporations keep their private jets.

Empirical support for the view that sharp, immediate cuts in government spending would be good for the U.S. economy was never strong, and it’s getting weaker. The Economist is on the case, highlighting two new studies showing that austerity and growth don’t mix in the short term. ...
In short, the more closely you look at the evidence for the claim that cutting federal spending dramatically right now would be good for the economy, the less convincing that claim becomes.
House Republicans will not consider any form of tax increase, even changes in loop-holes that serve primarily the rich.

I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes and am appalled at the greed of corporations and many of the uber-rich.  How much is enough?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is America Ready For A Gay First Lady/Dude?

As Michele Bachmann moves front and center (actually front and far, far right), it raises so many questions to whether she is qualified to be President and what does she really stand for (and against)?
She seems to be willing to stretch the truth (and outright lie) to be elected as I wrote previously (Read HERE).
She has clearly stated she believes in the literal word of the Bible and that God speaks to her directly. Too bad for all of us, that even she acknowledges that she is not actually a "deep thinker."
“I just take the Bible for what it is, I guess, and recognize that I am not a scientist, not trained to be a scientist. I'm not a deep thinker on all of this. I wish I was. I wish I was more knowledgeable, but I'm not a scientist.”  [Michele Bachmann quote]
I sometimes question whether she thinks at all. She has said most of her decisions are not made based on what she thinks but what God told her to do. (What happens if God stops giving Bachmann hints as to what to do?)
Do you want a President that doesn't think for herself?

And now we also have to ask ourselves if we are ready for a gay first lady, I mean first dude? Michele Bachmann's husband Marcus Bachmann, a Christian counselor who's also her strategist, has a clear record of anti-gay rhetoric. Yet, many including Bill Maher and Cher  have said (and if anyone should know), this man sounds gayer than former Sen. Larry Craig (those Republicans like to hide in closets and bathroom stalls - whichever is more convenient to meet those despicable gay people on an intimate basis, of which the GOP speak.)

According to The Daily Beast contributor David Graham Marcus Bachamann has said :
 “He's allegedly participated in gay-to-straight therapy, he's talked about [the] homosexual agenda.”
Marcus also loves to call other Americans, who happen to be gay, Barbarians.
The segment prompted Cher to tweet message to her more than 250,000 followers:
“Just heard Michele Bachmann's OH SO CHRISTIAN husband talk about 'Gays' in the most UNCHRISTIAN way WTF!”
“But Boys please utube this asshole & tell me what u think … Cause My Gay-Dar is GOING OFF!!!”-
“How a Christian can call Any of God's Children … I can't talk! WHO R THESE FKN People? C if u can find his views of what 2 do 2 'Gays'”
“Boys I'm not kidding! I'm listening 2 this >%~€¥^<<&&&& I'm thinking GAYGAYGAYGAYGAYGAYGAYGAY Without Style!” she added moments later.-CHER
Marcus, with his lisp and VERY effeminate personality, sounds gayer than Richard Simmons; yet, he calls homosexuals "barbarians" who must be "punished." I bet Marcus is into self-flagellation. Hear for yourself. This lisp is unmistakable. I've never heard a gayer male voice in my life.

I am not making fun of anyone with a lisp nor am I criticizing anyone who exhibits effeminate behavior.  I think Richard Simmons and Liberace being themselves is great.  We should all be free to act however we feel and we should all embrace people exactly as they may be.
To me the question is not whether he is gay or has gay desires but the hate and hypocrisy of the Bachmanns towards gays.

Is it fair to call any American a "barbarian" simply because they may be gay? Aren't you supposed to hate the sin and not the sinner? Isn't calling someone a "barbarian" who needs punishment hating the person as opposed to the act?

And why is it that the Bachmanns’ had only female foster children? Yes the Bachmanns were paid 1.2 million by the government to foster these children (yet Bachmann is strongly opposed to any government payments, I assume except those to her).  Michele Bachmann and her family receive (and have for years) farm subsidies on the farm her family owns.  More government money going in her pockets; yet, she is opposed to big Government? 

So what is the deal with raising some thirty plus foster children, all female? Is it that Marcus might be too tempted by male children?  And this is in no way to say all gay men are pedophiles, only that it is curious why Marcus didn’t foster any male children.
What scares me the most is that both the Bachmanns have exceedingly strong opinions that leave little room for discussion. It is all black/white, right/wrong, for them or against them. It must be wonderful to be so self-confident that you know that you are always right. But Michelle has said she has done things not because she believed in it, but because God told her. She has said that "God told her to marry her husband even though she did not love him." So are her opinions her owns or God's? Do we need her to clarify which decisions she has made and which God has directed her to make? And what if God stops telling her what to do?

And as to Marcus, his hypocrisy seems to put him in the same situation as those purple robe & gown wearing hypocritical priests and Popes.
So Marcus, why are you the first to cast a stone and call your fellow Americans "barbarians" who need "punishment?" Which punishments do you propose? Should we hang those "barbarians" by the cross for their sins?
Marcus, do you propose we start a new holy crusade against these "barbarians?" Rid them from the earth?

Or, should they do like you and "prey" away their gay? But does the "gay" go away or is just waiting to burst out like former Sen. Larry Craig or dressed in drag like Liza Maneli?
So we have to ask ourselves today, is America ready for its First gay dude? What would his secret service name be? Tinker Bell? Dorothy? Fruit Loops? Twinkle Toes? Or just hypocrite?
It is clear who wears the pants suits in that family (I wonder if they share the same dress size?). Why hasn't God spoken to her to clue her in that she married a raging queen.

What other decisions might she make that also make no sense? Maybe God will let her talk to the Founding Fathers so she can get it just right (very very right).

It is ironic that most of the Founding Fathers would be mortified that persons like the Bachmanns might be leading America and calling for decisions to be made based on religious beliefs. Contrary to what the Bachmanns may tell you, the Founding Fathers believed strongly in the separation of church and state and that America should have policies based on freedom and equality and not on religious dogma.

These are barbarians at the gate and they go by the name Bachmann.
They must be stopped.