Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Relatively Non Ideological

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has estimated, that tax cuts will make up $4.6 trillion is the revenue cost over the next decade. By the way, these tax cuts are over and above those involved in making the Bush tax cuts permanent.  Paul Ryan’s tax cuts would disproportionately benefit the wealthy, with the average member of the top 1% receiving a tax break of $238,000 a year.

Rep. Ryan insists that despite these tax cuts his proposal is revenue neutral, and he would make up for the lost revenue by closing loopholes. However, Ryan has refused to specify a single loophole he would close. If we assess the proposal without Ryan’s secret, and probably nonexistent plan to raise revenue, it turns out to involve running bigger deficits than we would run under the Obama administration’s proposals.

The Urban Institute estimates, that between 14 million and 27 million Americans would lose their health insurance under Ryan’s proposed cuts in Medicaid.

Obama has described the Ryan budget plan as a proposal to deny health care, as well many other essentials programs to millions of Americans, while lavishing tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy. It fails to reduce the budget deficit, unless you believe, that Paul Ryan has a secret revenue source. 

Economist Paul Krugman asked: “So why are centrists rising to Mr. Ryan’s defense?” Ask yourself: “What does it mean to be a centrist, anyway?”

 “It could mean supporting politicians who actually are relatively non-ideological, who are willing, for example, to seek Democratic support for health reforms originally devised by Republicans, to support deficit-reduction plans that rely on both spending cuts and revenue increases. And by that standard, centrists should be lavishing praise on the leading politician who best fits that description - a fellow named Barack Obama.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gun Control

Romney said: “This administration’s attack on freedom extends even to rights explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution! The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they’ve been employing every imaginable ruse and ploy to restrict it.”

As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported some gun control measures. He signed a law that permanently banned assault-type rifles, although it was coupled with measures that some gun rights groups supported. When he ran for the U.S. Senate against Edward Kennedy, Romney supported an assault weapons ban and the federal Brady gun control law.

In 2007 on "Meet the Press," Romney said: “My position on guns is the same position I’ve had for a long time. And that position is that I don’t line up 100 percent with the NRA. I don’t see eye to eye with the NRA on every issue.”

In 2007, Romney described his hunting experience with considerable hesitation. He said: “Well, I’m not a big game hunter. I’ve made it very clear. I’ve always been a - if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter, all right, small varmints, if you will. And I began when I was, oh, 15 or so, and hunted those kinds of varmints since then more than two times. I also hunted quail in -- in Georgia. So I’ve -- it’s not really big game hunting, if you will, however. It’s not deer and large animals, but I’ve hunted a number of times of various types of small rodents.”

Alan Gottlieb of the “Second Amendment Foundation” claimed: “The current makeup of the House of Representatives makes it very difficult for Obama to get anti-gun legislation passed.”

However, Democrats controlled the House and Senate for 2 years and no gun control legislation was even proposed.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tax Cuts

Romney made millions off companies that went bankrupt while workers lost promised health and retirement benefits. His tax return from last year reveals, that he made 21 million dollars, but paid a lower tax rate than many middle class families. Romney is proposing a huge new 150,000 dollar tax cut for the wealthiest one percent.

Between 2009 and 2010, 93% of all new income went to the top 1 %. The 400 wealthiest people in America own more wealth than 150 million Americans. Plus, the effective tax rate for the very rich is the lowest that it has been in decades, you have billionaires 
paying a lower effective tax rates than teachers and firefighters.

The Buffet Rule was considered to be a start in correcting our unfair tax code. Although 72% of the American people wanted the Buffett Rule to pass, Congress couldn’t deliver. That tells you that congressional Republican are in the pocket of big money interests. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision has allowed billionaires to pump huge amounts of money into the political process so that they can become even wealthier.

Republicans love to talk about the percentage of Americans who pay no federal income taxes. They want the working poor to pay more, after the median family income has gone down precipitously in the last decade. We’ve lost millions of good paying jobs. You have the top one percent now earning more income than the bottom 50 percent.

Senator Bernie Sanders has point out: “You have millions and millions of people, who are struggling to pay their mortgage or rent, to buy food, to put gas in the car. And by the way, they are paying federal taxes in terms of FICA taxes. You can’t get blood out of a stone when the middle class is shrinking.”

Sunday, April 22, 2012

“No Apology”

Mitt Romney said: “I also like the idea that people who are receiving assistance, welfare assistance, have a responsibility of working. In my state, we make good progress in that regard following the days of the Welfare Reform Act. But then while I was governor, 85% of the people on a form of welfare assistance in my state had no work requirement. I wanted to increase the work requirement.

“I said, for instance, even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, well, that’s heartless. I said, no, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It will cost the state more providing the day care, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”

The claim that “All moms are working moms" doesn’t seem to apply to mothers on welfare. According to Romney, moms who receive government assistance and stay home with their children aren’t working. In his mind, mothers struggling to make ends 
meet should work outside the home, but his wife Ann should have a choice.

Romney believes, that moving welfare recipients into work was one of the basic principles of the bipartisan welfare reform legislation that Clinton signed into law.

Romney wrote in his book “No Apology”: “Welfare without work erodes the spirit and the sense of self-worth of the recipient. And it conditions the children of nonworking parents to indolent and unproductive lives.”

If we care about motherhood so much, why does America have the weakest family leave laws in the industrial world? What do we say to the mother that has to work at a Burger King to make ends meet when her child gets sick and she has no options?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

War on the Truth

Regarding President Obama, Mitt Romney claimed: “He’s not created jobs. He’s lost 800,000 jobs during his presidency. And by the way, do you know what percentage of those jobs that were lost were lost by women? Over 92% of the jobs lost under this president were lost by women. His policies have been really a war on women.”

Romney’s math doesn’t include job loss over the duration of the entire recession. Obama took office midway through the recession, after industries dominated by men had already took a big hit. Industries dominated by women suffered in the aftermath of the economy’s initial downturn. The “Washington Post” reported, that women have actually fared better than men during the recession.

Starting in December of 2007, the total decline in jobs was just over five million, with women accounting for nearly 1.8 million of those jobs.

President Obama signed into law the “Fair Pay Act, a law that helps women fight back against pay discrimination. Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay worked for Goodyear Tire, but was paid less than her male coworkers. She lost a lot of money, and doesn’t want any other American family to go through what she did.

Recently, she said: “I suffer even today because my retirement and my Social Security all is based on what I earned. And I can’t let this happen to other people in this country, when we can do something about it. And I am concerned about this election. And Governor Romney, the way he is portraying women, I am extremely concerned. Evidently, he’s out of touch with the American working class women across this nation and their families.”

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of injustices that are playing out when it comes to gender pay in this country.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Santorum’s Suggestion

Regarding Mitt Romney, former candidate Rick Santorum said: “He just doesn’t have the goods to be able to motivate the Republican base and win this election.

“You just don’t have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing Obamacare. He is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama. He will say what he needs to say to win the election that’s before him. This is someone who doesn’t have a core. He’s been on both sides of almost every single issue.

“Imagine, had Mitt Romney been around at the time that we were drafting our Constitution. He’d have just shaken it and just shook it up after it was approved to rewrite it.

“Do you really believe this country wants to elect a Wall Street financier as the president of the United States? He supported the folks on Wall Street and bailed out Wall Street, was all for it. And then when it came to the auto workers and the folks in Detroit, he said no.

“You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there. If they’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have.”

“We might as well stay with what we have,” is a great suggestion and I certainly hope that all of Santorum’s former constituents and supports in Pennsylvania will keep those remarks in mind, when they vote in November.

Former candidate for president, Jon Huntsman made a similar accusation when he called Romney a perfectly lubricated weather vane.

Romney’s campaign manager Eric Fehrnstromn predicted everything changes in the fall, because like an Etch a Sketch, Republicans will shake things up and start over again.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Congressman Allen West

Republican Congressman Allen West of Florida was asked: “In our legislature do you think there are card carrying Marxists or international socialists?”

Rep. West answered: “It’s a good question. I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party who are members of the communist party. They actually don’t hide that. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

Rep. West is the same member of Congress, that has “no regrets” for any of the violent rhetoric used in his campaign.  His first choice to be his chief of staff, Joyce Kaufman said: “I am convinced that the most important things the Founding Fathers did to insure my First Amendment rights was to give me a Second Amendment.  And if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus responded: “Allen West is degenerating the millions of Americans who voted to elect Congressional Progressive Caucus members. When people like Representative West have no ideals or principles, they rely on personal attacks. We will not engage in base and childish conversations that lower the level of discourse Americans rightly expect from their representatives."

Progressive members of Congress are considered Communist by West, because they’re for the Medicare guarantee, which Republicans are trying to end. They’re for tax fairness, the progressive income tax, which was promoted in this country by Theodore 
Roosevelt.

Congressman West and supporters use labels to demonize the opposition. They’re unable to debate on substance, and are aware that they can’t win on substance. Their agenda is to win by smearing what Democrats stand for, and making them appear un-American.

As a candidate for Congress, Allen West claimed: “If you look at the application for a security clearance, I have a clearance that even the president of the United States cannot obtain because of my background.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fair Share Act

A lower tax rate on capital gains is the major reason why many millionaires and billionaires pay a lower effective rates than the middle class.

A proposal to implement the Buffett Rule was blocked by Senate Republicans, but proponents of the millionaire tax vowed to keep the issue alive. Senate Democrats fell nine votes short of a 60 vote super majority.

The “Paying a Fair Share Act,” embodies President Obama's proposed millionaire tax. The bill would have impose a minimum 30% effective federal tax rate on those with adjusted gross incomes above $1 million, although it phases in for those making between $1 million and $2 million.

Taxpayers subject to the Buffett Rule would continue to provide for tax break for charitable deductions and could count both the income and payroll taxes they paid when calculating what they would owe under the Buffett Rule.

A recent CNN/ORC International survey, revealed that 72% of Americans favored the “Paying a Fair Share Act, and 27% oppose the bill. The bill was intended to prevent the wealthy from paying a lower actual tax rate than most middle class workers. The legislation is opposed by congressional Republicans, including presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

They claim, that raising taxes on anyone, including high income Americans would hurt small business owners, some of whom file tax returns under the individual tax code. In fact, the Buffett Rule would hit only 1% of small businesses.

According to the poll, 90% of Democrats support the "Buffet Rule," with nearly 70% of independent voters and 53% of Republicans favoring the measure.

Ironically, Republicans characterized the Buffett Rule as a political gimmick that distracts from some of the country's biggest problems, such as the need to create jobs, spur economic growth and reduce the debt.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Neighborhood Watch

In September 2011, George Zimmerman arranged for a neighborhood watch program briefing to be given at the Twin Lakes clubhouse. He invited the Sanford police officer who oversees the neighborhood watch program to brief people on it.

The power point program presented that night, clearly said that neighborhood watch was not to be vigilante policing. At the briefing, the police officer specifically told neighborhood watch volunteers, that they were not to pursue suspects and were not to carry weapons.

Clearly, Zimmerman did not follow those instruction on the night of the confrontation with Trayvon Martin.

The affidavit of probable cause in Florida's case against Zimmerman for the shooting death of an unarmed 17-year-old says that the neighborhood watch volunteer "profiled" the victim, Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman disregarded a police dispatcher's request that he await the arrival of police.

During the recorded call Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had committed and gotten away with break-ins in his neighborhood. Later while talking about Martin, Zimmerman stated “these a**holes, they always get away,” and also said “these f****** punks."

Furthermore: "The witness advised that Martin was scared because he was being followed through the complex by an unknown male and didn't know why. Martin attempted to run home but was followed by Zimmerman who didn't want the person he falsely assumed was going to commit a crime to get away before the police arrived.

“Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that and that the responding officer would meet him. Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home.”

Zimmerman’s false assumptions resulted in his serving as the judge, jury and executioner.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gender Gap

President Obama has pointed out, that a woman with a college degree doing the same work as a man will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career. Just 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and fewer than 20% of the seats in Congress are occupied by women.

Obama insists: “What we can’t do now is go back to the policies that got us into so many problems that we have been dealing with in the first place. That’s what at stake. When people say we should get rid of Planned Parenthood. They’re not just talking about restricting a woman’s ability to make her own health decisions, they are talking about denying as a practical matter the preventive care like mammograms that millions of women rely on.”

Mitt Romney would get rid of Planned Parenthood, and has claimed: “There’s no question that over the past several weeks that a discussion about religious liberty was distorted into a discussion about contraceptives and there was the perception that somehow the Republicans are opposed to contraceptives. I think it was the most unfortunate twist by our Democrat friends. I think this will pass as an issue as people understand our real position.”

Alaska Senator Liza Murkowski warned: “It came down to more of a full on attack on women’s reproductive right, on contraception. You had candidates who want to be our president who did not say that is wrong. That is offensive. They did not condemn the rhetoric.

"I think that then caused women to be even more threatened. It makes no sense to attack women. And if you don’t view this as an attack on women, then you need to go home and talk to your wives. You need to talk to your daughters. Ask them."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Income Taxes

President Obama and his family saw their income drop by almost $1 million in 2011 as sales from his best-selling books slowed. Their tax returns reported an adjusted gross income of $789,674 for 2011, down from $1,728,096 in the previous year.

As president, Obama earns a salary of $400,000, but his total earnings are much higher because his books "Dreams From My Father," and "The Audacity of Hope," continue to attract buyers.

The Obamas reported paying $162,074 in federal taxes. They donated $172,130, or 22% of their income, to 39 different charities. Obama has donated the proceeds from his latest book, "Of Thee I Sing," to a Fisher House scholarship fund for children of fallen and disabled soldiers.

Presidential candidate Romney and his wife filed for an extension for their 2011 taxes. The form listed the Romneys' estimated tax liability as $3.2 million, and stated that the family has already made payments of $3.4 million. A second form showed that the Romneys applied a payment of $887,000 toward estimated taxes when they filed for the extension.

Earlier this year, the Romneys released an estimate of their 2011 taxes, which was the same $3.2 million amount that appeared on the extension form.

They will release their 2011 tax return when it is filed, presumably within the next six months. For the 2010 tax year, the Romneys paid $3 million in taxes on $21.7 million in income. Romney has also released his tax data for 2010. The combined returns show that Romney made $42.7 million over the past two years and paid $6.2 million in taxes. That means Romney paid a much lower effective tax rate of about 14.5% than the Obamas, while earning substantially more income.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Judicial Restraint

Obama stated: “Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

Obama gave his take on judicial activism. This past weekend, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley scolded the president on Twitter in a very confusing message.

Grassley tweeted: “Constituents asked why I am not outraged at President Obama’s attack on Supreme Court independence. Because American people are not as stupid as this ex-professor of Constitutional law.”

Senator Grassley is the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Only a year ago, Grassley was preaching the virtues of judicial restraint from the Senate floor.

He said: “Those who can’t get their policy vies enacted through the legislative process, as our Constitution requires, often turn to the courts. But I flatly reject that notion. The Constitution vest legislative power in the Congress, not the courts. Judges are simply not policy makers.”

The fact is that on July of 1798, Congress passed and President John Adams signed: “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.” The law authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance.

One percent of a sailor’s wages where withheld from a sailor’s pay and turned over to the government by the ship’s owner. The payment of this tax for health care was not optional. If a sailor wanted to work, he had to pay.

As our nation expanded, the system expanded to cover sailors working the private vessels sailing the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The program became the Public Health Service, a government operated health service that exists to this day under the supervision of the Surgeon General.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Paul Krugman

In an OP-ED entitled: “The Gullible Center,” economist Paul Krugman has again been critical of Paul Ryan's budget plan. An excerpt from the article follows:

“There are many problems with that proposal. But you can get the gist if you understand two numbers: $4.6 trillion and 14 million.

“Of these, $4.6 trillion is the revenue cost over the next decade of the tax cuts embodied in the plan, as estimated by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. These cuts — which are, by the way, cuts over and above those involved in making the Bush tax cuts permanent — would disproportionately benefit the wealthy, with the average member of the top 1 percent receiving a tax break of $238,000 a year.

“Mr. Ryan insists that despite these tax cuts his proposal is ‘revenue neutral,’ that he would make up for the lost revenue by closing loopholes. But he has refused to specify a single loophole he would close. And if we assess the proposal without his secret (and probably nonexistent) plan to raise revenue, it turns out to involve running bigger deficits than we would run under the Obama administration’s proposals.

“Meanwhile, 14 million is a minimum estimate of the number of Americans who would lose health insurance under Mr. Ryan’s proposed cuts in Medicaid; estimates by the Urban Institute actually put the number at between 14 million and 27 million.

“So the proposal is exactly as President Obama described it: a proposal to deny health care (and many other essentials) to millions of Americans, while lavishing tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy — all while failing to reduce the budget deficit, unless you believe in Mr. Ryan’s secret revenue sauce. So why are centrists rising to Mr. Ryan’s defense?

“Well, ask yourself the following: What does it mean to be a centrist, anyway?

“It could mean supporting politicians who actually are relatively nonideological, who are willing, for example, to seek Democratic support for health reforms originally devised by Republicans, to support deficit-reduction plans that rely on both spending cuts and revenue increases. And by that standard, centrists should be lavishing praise on the leading politician who best fits that description — a fellow named Barack Obama.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

George Zimmerman

The original 2005 police report on the arrest of George Zimmerman disclosed, that he was arrested at a bar near the University of Central Florida by a state law enforcement officer and charged with battery and obstructing justice.
 
The record shows that Zimmerman disobeyed the orders of the officer to back off. The officer was in the process of arresting some employees at the bar. There was a scuffle, and the officer showed his badge. The police report revealed Zimmerman said: “I don’t care who you are, fuck you.”

The prosecutor on the case said that Zimmerman’s physical altercation with a state law enforcement officer could have resulted in a felony conviction, but a junior prosecutor in the office reduced the charges to a misdemeanor. The court ordered the case dismissed and put under a court-ordered diversion program. The incident could have led to a felony conviction, but instead charges were reduced and taken off his record.

Zimmerman was 21 years old at the time. The underlying case, that the liquor control officer was investigating, was for the sale of liquor to underage drinkers. A friend of Zimmerman was one of the bar employees being charge. He interfered with the arrest, and when told to back off, he refuses and initiated a scuffle with the state law enforcement officer.
 
Florida is a state that issues permits to carry concealed weapons. Those permits aren’t issued to anyone convicted of a felony. Zimmerman had a permit to be carrying the 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun the night he shot Trayvon Martin.

Yesterday, the state prosecutor Angela Corey, who was appointed by Florida Governor Rick Scott to oversee the probe into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin announced, that George Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder, and is in police custody.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Romney vs. Reality

Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney claimed: “He (Obama) went around the world and apologized for America.” In fact, President Obama said: “We will not apologize for our way of life.”

Romney insisted: “He has also failed to communicate that military options are on the table.” Actually, Obama said: “I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.”

Mitt Romney asserted: “In his State of the Union address, he didn’t even mention the debt or the deficits.” Romney was wrong again. Obama announced: “When it comes to the deficit, we have already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings.”

Obama went on to mentioned the debt or deficit numerous times and concluded: “That’s how we will reduce our deficit.”

Some of the worse accusation leveled against Mitt Romney were made by Newt Gingrich. 

Gingrich said: “And there’s something so grotesquely hypocritical about the Romney campaign.”

When, Gingrich was asked the question: “Will team Obama use biting comments like that one to slam Mitt Romney in the general election?” Gingrich seemed less than concerned.

Gingrich was then asked: “When the time comes that somebody wins this nomination, can those of you who have been running stand on stage together and honestly with a straight face say, I support the Republican nominee.” Gingrich replied: “Absolutely.”
 
The questioning continued: “But aren’t the Democrats going to use your words against each other?” Gingrich answered:,“Yes, but it doesn’t matter, because they just make stuff up anyway.”

Apparently, once the Obama campaign gets ahold of Newt’s own statements about presidential candidate Mitt Romney, they will lose any shred of truth. However, it’s more likely that the American voters are going to see some hypocritical backpedaling from those soon to be Romney backers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Basic Promise

When, Obama decided to run for president, he did not know that America was about to enter a period in our history, that most Americans had not seen in their lifetimes. He did not realize that America was about to lose 4 million jobs in the six months before he took office, and another 4 million jobs in the months after he took office. Nearly, 800,000 jobs were lost the month Obama was sworn in. No one had predicted the magnitude of the collapse of the housing industry or the possibility that America was on the verge of dipping into another Great Depression.

For decades the basic American promise had been slipping away for too many people. Responsibility and hard work no longer guaranteed, that you would be able to find a job that paid a living wage. A job that provided health insurance so that we didn’t have to worry about going bankrupt if somebody in our family got sick. A job that paid enough, to be able to send our children to college and aspire to higher heights than we ever achieved. A job, that allowed us to retire with some degree of dignity and respect.

The first legislation that Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Act. It was based on the simple principle, that women should get paid an equal day's pay for an equal day's work.  

The Obama administration was able to save a million jobs in the auto industry even after Romney and many other Republicans argued that we should let Detroit go bankrupt. GM is once again the number-one automaker in the world, and seeing record profits. We've seen hundreds of thousands of folks hired back and the economies that are impacted by the auto industry strengthened all across the Midwest.  

Monday, April 09, 2012

Women

Women are a growing number of breadwinners in American households. However, they’re still earning only 77 cents for every dollar a man does. Furthermore, a woman with a college degree doing the same work as a man will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career.  

The first bill Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Act. The Fair Pay Act make it easier for women to demand equal pay for equal work. The Obama administration is encouraging companies to make workplaces more flexible so women don’t have to choose between being a good employee or a good mother.

Nearly 30% of small business owners are women.  Their businesses generated $1.2 trillion last year.  But woman are less likely to get the loans that they need to start up, expand or hire. Congress has extended more than 16,000 new loans worth $4.5 billion to women-owned businesses, and has cut taxes for small businesses 17 times, so that more women have the power to create more jobs. The Obama administration has helped more than 2.3 million young women afford to pursue higher education by increasing Pell grants.

Over the past decade, women have earned well over half of all the higher education degrees awarded in America. Nevertheless, only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.  Fewer than 20% of the seats in Congress are occupied by women. 

Women account for four in five degrees in areas like education, but only two in five business degrees go to women; fewer than one in four engineering and computer science degrees go to women.  They make up just 25% of the workforce in the science and technical fields. Apparently, outdated barrier seem to prevent young woman from considering careers in those fields.

Last year, more than 20 million women received expanded access to preventive services like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings at no additional cost. Nearly 2 million women enrolled in Medicare received a 50% discount on the medicine they need.  Over 1 million more young women are insured because they can now stay on their parent’s plan. Later this year, women will receive new access to recommended preventive care like domestic violence screening and contraception at no additional cost. Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions like breast cancer, or charge women more just because they’re women.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Protecting the Wealthy

Most Americans want taxes raised on those making more than 250,000 dollars a year. Paul Ryan’s budget not only gives the wealthy and corporations three trillion dollars in tax cut, it cuts billions from social programs and adds to the military budget.

The Republican priorities are stacked against the middle class, and senior citizens. Their budget favor oil companies, billionaires, and companies that ship jobs overseas.

The Republican Budget has provided a stark contrast to Obama’s vision for America. It’s budget is stacked against the middle class, seniors, and working families. Instead, the Ryan budget provides an average tax cut of $150,000, for a billionaire. House Republicans have already voted against Medicare in order to protect tax cuts for billionaires.


If you’re an oil company, or a company that ships jobs overseas, you get a tax break. But, if you’re a senior citizen, you’ll lose Medicare, and in the end it’s going to cost an additional $6,000 dollars. Years ago, Republicans said that they wanted Medicare to wither on the vine, and they’ve continued to focus on that goal. The problem is that they’re not truthful with senior citizens.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Ryan budget plan will cost the typical senior an additional 6,000 dollars, because the plan put seniors citizen on an allowance. They’ll give them a voucher.

Republicans aren’t being truthful with middle class families. Their budget is an assault on seniors and middle class families. It’s part of an extremist agenda to end Medicare in order to protect the biggest oil companies in America.

Romney said: “I’m very supportive of the Ryan Budget Plan. I think it’s a bold and exciting effort on his part and the part of the Republicans. And it’s very much consistent with what I put out earlier.”

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Social Darwinism

In Paul Ryan’s budget, Social Security is left untouched. However, cuts to Medicaid and other health programs for the poor are twice the size of those to Medicare. The cuts to education, food stamps, transportation infrastructure and to everything else other than defense are draconian. Regarding the tax reform component of the plan, it cuts taxes on millionaires by more than $250,000, but doesn’t name a single loophole or tax break that Ryan and congressional Republicans would close.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 62% of the cuts come from programs designed to benefit low-income Americans, while 37% of the tax benefits go to Americans earning more than $1 million.

Lower-income students are more likely to go to public universities and community colleges. But, state budget cuts are leading to tuition increases. Ryan’s budget would further decimate state budgets, because one of the areas his budget hits the hardest is non-security discretionary spending, of which 35% of that category is aid to cities and state governments. Normally, you would increase Pell grants to help, but Ryan’s plan slashes those grants.

Obama said: “This Congressional Republican budget is something different altogether. It is a Trojan Horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plan, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled Social Darwinism. It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who's willing to work for it; a place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class. And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that's built to last -- education and training, research and development, our infrastructure -- it is a prescription for decline.”

Friday, April 06, 2012

Stand Your Ground Law

A variation of the “stand your ground” law passed in the state of Texas after the Florida law paved the way. It became the mainstay argument for a man named Joe Horn.

A 911 call from September 2007, recorded Horn describing two men breaking into a neighbor’s home.

911 Operator: “I want you to listen to me carefully, OK?” Joe Horn: “Yes.”

911 operator: “We’ve got officers coming out there. I don’t want you to go outside that house. And I don’t want you to have that gun in your hand when those officers are poking around over there.”

Horn: “I understand that, OK? But I have a right to protect myself, too, sir, and you understand that.” 911 Operator: “Yes, you do. Yes, you do.”

Horn: “And the laws have been changed in this country since September the 1st, and you know it and I know it. I have a right to protect myself. He’s coming out the window right now! I got to go, buddy. I’m sorry, but he’s coming out the window.”

911 Operator: “Don’t go out the door. Mr. Horn? Mr. Horn?”

Horn: (Expletive Deleted) “They just stole something. I’m going out the window.

911 Operator: “No! Hang on!”

Horn: “I’m sorry, I ain’t going to let them get away with it. They stole something! They got to be..”

911 Operator: “Slow down. I just don’t want you going outside, Mr. Horn.”

Horn: “Well, here goes, buddy. I’m going!”

911 Operator: “Don’t go outside.” Horn: “Hello! You’re dead!”

The two unarmed men, who were burglarizing a neighbor’s home were gunned down by Horn. By using the “stand your ground” law, he was successfully protected from prosecution on the basis of that law.

Apparently, that law is now protecting George Zimmerman from prosecution for killing Trayvon Martin.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Make or Break Moment

Our next President will inherit an economy that hasn’t recovered, from the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression.  Too many Americans will still be looking for a job that pay enough to cover their mortgage.  Many people will still lack the financial security that started slipping away years before the recession hit.

We're going to have to answer the questions of what can be done to restore a sense of security for people who are willing to work hard and act responsibly in this country?  Can we succeed as a country where a shrinking number of people do exceedingly well, while a growing number struggle to get by?  Or are we better off when everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules?

The next election will be a make-or-break moment for the middle class. The choice between competing visions for our future has never been so unambiguously clear. 

Obama has put annual domestic spending on a path to become the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower held the office.  The real engine of job creation in America is the private sector, which is the reason the Obama administration has cut taxes for small business owners 17 times over the last three years. 

Both Eisenhower and Lincoln belief that, through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.

That belief has enabled us to build public schools to educate our children.  That belief is why we’ve been able to build highways and railroads, that have facilitated travel and commerce.  That belief is why America has been able to support the work of scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives, and unleashed technological revolutions, and have led to entire new industries. 

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

“Intimate Attachment”

The following excerpts are from a column in the Oneonta Daily Star by William Masters.

“The first state of development, according to Erik Erickson, is learning trust. That enables our deepest need, which is for intimate attachment. We live in and depend upon having a place in our society, but we call ourselves individual human beings. Our individual need is to belong and have value in the eyes of others.



“Our development as people requires a blossoming mutuality between self and others, learning how to depend on others and how to be dependable. We have to find our worth in relation to others, and to prove ourselves worthy in their eyes. We need to be smart enough to be humble, and vulnerable enough to care about the welfare of others. That is empathy.



“But it is getting harder and harder to fashion these cut-out patterns of material into wearable costumes. Small towns threaded through hill and dale are no longer vibrant communities.



“Too often our children have to move away to find the job they need, if they can find one at all. In many ways the stresses we face are beyond individual control and beyond any local capacity to remedy.



“The export or failure of manufacturing jobs is a prime example. This is not just an economic cycle; it is a global phenomenon where work itself is exported to low-wage countries, dunking many into poverty and raising a few into prominent wealth.”

“The equity of a healthy community requires input from all sides, and that really means the right of labor to organize.



“Healthy societies must support mechanisms to redress the huge inequities of power and wealth. To pretend that every employee is a stand-alone free agent, negotiating his employment individually, is farcical. Labor has historically been exploited, even child labor not so long ago.”

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Trayvon Martin

In the last 10 years, there has been over 100,000 homicide victims in America, and the majority of them were killed with guns.

President Obama said: “Obviously, this is tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this.

“I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.

“But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. And, you know, I think they are right to expect that all of us, as Americans, are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

Speaking on a radio program, Newt Gingrich said: "What the president said in a sense is disgraceful. Is the president that it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it didn’t look like him? Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong.”

On the conservative side, they are going out of the their way to insist that race didn’t play a role in Trayvon Martin’s killing. They claim no racial element was involved.

However, racial profiling is obvious, since the 9/11 tapes recorded, George Zimmerman, saying: “He has his hand in his waistbands and he is a black male.”

The fact that Trayvon Martin was a black male evoke suspicion regarding his killing.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Keep the Promise Alive

Obama insists: “The defining issue of our time is how to keep the promise alive.  No challenge is more urgent.  No debate is more important.  We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
 
Hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens. Many were brought to American as small children, and know no other life. Nevertheless, every day they face the threat of deportation.  Other young people came to this country to study business, science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.  

Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched.  We shouldn’t be gutting those investments in our budget. We must support the kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; and to new American jobs and industries.

The Obama administration has open more than 75 % of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years, and last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.

With only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, that will never be enough. Our country needs a strategy that develops every available source of American energy. We need an energy strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and provides jobs, that can’t be shipped overseas.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

“Drift”

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s new book "Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power," makes the case that it’s much easier for presidents to go to war for a number of reasons.

She tells us, that although we have knowledge of the wars going on abroad, we don’t actually feel the life and death struggles being carried out by our military.

Congress doesn’t formally declare war anymore. It manages to avoid appropriating money through a rigorous budgetary process. Instead, Congress uses a so- called emergency spending bills, which has become routine and untouchable.

We fight wars with the help of private contractors who do the work once done by our men and women in uniform. We kill terrorists by drone strikes rather than in close engagements.

For year, we kept the TV cameras from the entry point in Dover, Delaware, where our fallen heroes are being returned home. We created an all volunteer military to replace conscription.

President George W. Bush offered war time tax breaks to ensure that no one gets the idea that wars cost a great deal of money.

Together all of these steps have separated the conduct and horror of war from the civilian population. Our country is waging wars in the way that the American public feels totally disconnected, we feel like it’s not our decision to make.

Rachel Maddow’s book needs to be read by everyone, because it’s the kind of argument, that opens up history. It shows the pattern of behavior that keeps the American people from seeing the true cost of war.

We don’t see what our government is doing, because there are those who don’t want us to see it. They want us to keep on doing what they want us to do and thinking too much might get in the way.