A Forum

I would like this to be a forum for political and social thought. I would like to try to keep it civil. That can be difficult as people, myself included, usually feel strongly about these issues. I will try not to be insulting though insult is often in the eye of the beholder.

Maybe no one will ever read this but me, maybe it will just turn out to be my private journal. We'll see.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Taxes, National Debt, Unemployment benifits

Taxes, the national debt, unemployment insurance, all difficult issues about which many people have strong feelings, including me. I would love to see tax cuts for the wealthy expire, even if that means my taxes go up. We'd get by but we are retired and don't have house payments, children to feed or many of the other expenses that way on the middle and underclass that would be affected by an increase in tax cuts. I am not sure that it is worth the suffering that many will endure to let all tax the Bush tax cuts expire.

Unemployment benefits, for some reason these have become controversial. I can remember when our family was hit by unemployment, the struggle to find a job. There may be some who will stubbornly try to continue in their previous field but in our case a whole new career was entered into with much lower pay; any job that had the prospect of keeping food on the table and a roof over our heads was acceptable. Do we want to see families on the street, lined up in front of food pantries day after day?

The Republican Party in the Senate has veto power over any initiatives of the Democrats in Congress or the President may have to aid the majority. Voters were short sighted in giving them this power and now we must all suffer the consequences, tax cuts for the super rich in exchange for a sop to the middle class and unemployed.

The National debt, now that is a biggie, a problem we have been putting off and are in danger of putting onto our children, grand-children and great-grand-children. I see no way out of this with out raising taxes on everyone. The wealthy need to take the biggest hit, they who have gained the most from the excesses of the previous decades need to pay the biggest price. I, for one, would rather take a reduced standard of living than to see my children struggle to survive.
The public has been sold an empty bill of goods by Fox Television and the Republican Party. They say "let the rich keep their money and they will use it to create jobs; they haven't and they won't. They say we are "over taxed", we aren't we have some of the lowest tax rates in the world and in our own history.

It is time for the voting public to think less about their own selfish interests and more about the future of their nation and their children. The truth is that it was a Democrat, Clinton, who balanced the budget and made inroads on the national debt. It was a Republican, Bush 2, who insisted on irresponsible tax cuts and headed us in the direction of economic disaster.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time to vote!

It seems to me, though, that democracy is being subverted by big money interests. Obscenely wealthy men are buying airtime in support of extremist candidates; Candidates whose primary interest is in consolidating power in the hands of a few and promoting a system that will keep the middle class from prospering. I mailed off my ballot, voting is an essential part of our democracy.

We have some very real problems. The deficit is an issue that must be addressed for the good of our children. The problem is that those screaming the loudest are the very same ones who were willing to fight an off budget war based on lies. They are the same ones that think billionaires are over taxed even though they pay the lowest taxes of any developed country. They say that higher taxes will keep the wealthy from creating jobs. They aren't creating jobs now so why should we think they will do it if they keep their tax breaks.

Do your homework, go to the League of Women Voters http://www.lwv.org/Elections/index.html to check out the ballot issues and go to Fact Check.org http://www.factcheck.org/ to check out the truth of political ads and then vote.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We Should Encourage Same Sex Unions

Now that a judge has enjoined the enforcement of "Don't ask, don't tell" it is a good time to take a look at same sex unions.

Anti-homosexual bias dates from a time when tribes wanted to increase their numbers so that they would be advantaged against their enemies, a time when people led short lives, a time when many hands were needed to help grow crops. In short, the bias stems from conditions very different from today.

Laws and tax codes were written to encourage families to stay together for the protection of children. That is still a laudable goal but society has other needs as well.

As our population ages there is a need for committed relationships for the protection of the elderly. Who hasn't seen an aging couple supporting one another enabling them to live independently? Even young people need the support of another, someone to help them when times are hard or when they are sick. It is not society's business what goes on in the bedroom, it is only the welfare of its citizens that should concern the rest of society. Let people designate any one as their life partner, have them make a civil commitment (the only thing government can grant is a "civil" right) and give that couple all of the rights and obligations we now reserve for marriage.

Get the conservative right out of other peoples bedrooms and take sex out of the discussion.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Case for Civil Unions

There has, for many years, been a heated debate over Gay Marriage. California's anti-marriage "proposition 8" has recently turned up the heat on the issue.
The supporters of "prop 8" insist that marriage is for the rearing and protection of children. While this may have been a factor in promoting marriage it is hardly the only reason for getting married. Many people beyond childbearing age or otherwise unable to have children are allowed to marry. Many same sex couples raise families.
Some say states that wish can give same sex couples "civil unions" and that should be good enough. It is not good enough under our current system. Only marriage gives the rights to federal tax, social security and other benefits. These however are "civil rights" granted by the government. If marriage is a religious right, the government has no business sanctioning it and giving benefits exclusively to those engaged in a religious rite.
Let's get government out of the marriage business and have them grant only "civil unions". If couples want to get married in a religious ceremony they can do that.
This is a civil rights issue, government should give the same benifits to all couples or to no couples.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Independents, Take Back the Republican Party!

There was a time when the Republican Party was a party of true conservatives. They believed in fiscal responsibility and personal freedom. It was a party that attracted people who thought clearly and spoke rationally. It is now a party that has lost its way.

It has narrowed its appeal to the radical fringe. It markets itself to people who believe urban myths and strange tales, people who wish to tell others how to behave but don't want anyone to tell them what to do. These are people who believe in black helicopters coming to take over the country but refuse to believe in global warming, people who believe war and capital punishment are good and doctors who perform abortions should be shot, people who love their medicare but don't believe in government health care. These are people who are so fearful that they listen to Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh and think that overthrowing our democratically elected president would further democracy. These are people who make no sense!

I have a solution. Instead of being independent or belonging to a third party, true conservatives should rejoin the Republican Party. There are enough of you to take it back. Take it back and nominate rational politicians. Then maybe people will have a true choice on election day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tea Party--Patriots or Traitors?

These are loaded words, patriot and traitor. They instantly conjure up images in the reader's mind, one positive and one negative. Why am I using them? Because my local paper used the first in a headline about the actions of a group of Tea Party advocates.

I realize that on their website the group refers to themselves as "Tea Party Patriots" and I guess that they have a right to call themselves whatever they like, no matter how inaccurate. To identify members of this group solely by this word in a head can be interpreted as advocacy and is not appropriate in a newspaper.

Many of these people may feel that they are indeed "patriots"; I feel that they are misguided and have little understanding of what constitutes a patriot. A patriot does not try to undermine a government that is legally constituted. In the case of the United States it is a government chosen by the majority.

These "patriots" feel that they are being true to the spirit of the constitution, that the Congress and the President should do their bidding. This is certainly not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. It may come as a surprise that the constitution did not even call for popular election of Senators. The Senators were to be picked by state legislatures. The founding fathers believed that the riff-raff did not have the intelligence to know what was best for the country and devised this system of electing Senators to serve as a check on the popularly elected House of Representatives. They established the Electoral College to elect the president for a similar reason. I think that they are being proven right in their judgment.

So, what to call these folks, the ones that do not believe in Democracy and seek to undermine our government. The certainly aren't patriots but it would be equally prejudicial to call them "traitors" for I truly believe that though they may be misguided and misinformed most of them are not ready to take up arms or explosives to force their will on the majority.

There is a term, commonly bandied about to refer to members of the group. I will not use it for it is vulgar and I chose not to lower myself to that level. No, I think I will use the term "adversary". I think it appropriate for they are adversaries of our democratically elected government. This is not a totally benign word for I have seen it used in some translations of the book of "Job" in a way that many of these people would find equally offensive but I find it to be appropriate and we do have do find something to call them.