Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trickle down still in effect, or its still the economy

It seems that Congress still believes in Reagan's trickle down theory of economics. There are tax cuts for the wealthy and the connected, bailouts for the banks, two expensive very long term wars that were not necessary or have completely changed missions. There is not enough for those who need a safety net, who have lost their jobs, who are still losing their homes.
Coupled with the oil spill in the Gulf which is having a very negative affect on not only the environment, the food chain, animals, but those whose livelihoods depend on the oil industry, fishing, tourists. . .
IF our economy is going to turn around, it needs to do so with a solid base of workers who could then afford the costs of living, and who then may be able to spend.

My suggestion to Congress and the President [with a big reminder that the median household income in 2009 was $52,029--only twenty percent of households have incomes over $100,000]:
Extend unemployment benefits in the short term.
Use half the BP monies to train (and pay) the workers in the Gulf states on environmental cleanup--from animals, to beaches, to the waters.
Extend aid to states, so that education and other necessaties are not cut, because of state budget cuts.
Put some real money into alternative energy.
Focus on our failing infrastructure -- bridges, sewers, water tunnels, mass transit.
Use a means test for social security--for instance, those with pension incomes over $100,000 per year might be overqualified for social security payments.
Social Security/FICA payments should be required on all income.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Free Speech & a Teachable Moment

Free speech is integral to a democracy. We might not always welcome the ideas, we might in fact think that the ideas are wrong, detrimental, even inflammatory, but in the democratic public square ideas of all sorts hold currency.
Even those ideas we deem wrong, detrimental and inflammatory get to be heard and examined. These ideas allow us to re-examine our own ideas.
This past week we all witnessed Helen Thomas resigning her position and ending her long and distinguished career as the grande dame of the White House Press Corps--she covered every President from Kennedy forward, she broke the Press Corps' glass ceilings-- because of her comment that Palestine was being occupied, and that the occupiers should return from whence they came. I do agree that telling Israelis that they should return to Germany and Poland is offensive, but in the entire quote she also says they should return to America. . . Here is the original video:
She also did apologize for her statement (as opposed to many others who make much more offensive statements and continue to do so, or even lied and caused many many deaths). "I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."
I talked with her earlier this Spring about the Middle East, Israel and the plight of the Palestinians. She truly wants peace in the Middle East.
The meat of her original statement that the Israeli government is treating the Palestinians in inhumane ways is an idea that we need to understand. Israel is occupying the Gaza Strip, and treating the Palestinians as second class people (not even citizens!). I am not sure what part of "never again" the Israeli government does not get. Human rights are for everyone, not just one group.
That is what we need to be discussing, but that has been silenced. So much for free speech in America. So much for human rights.

On Helen Thomas: (Though this writer misquotes Ms. Thomas and says she said Jews should get out of Pakestine, when Ms. Thomas said Israel...see the clip yourself!)

On The Gaza Strip

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