Thursday, April 14, 2011

Budget cutting "compromise"

Comment in the T&G online, 4/12/11:

So, spending on the small part of the Federal budget that is non-military and discretionary - the part that often involves our tax dollars being spent on things that are actually useful - are taking a huge hit, while military spending goes up, for no net reduction in spending! And Obama calls it a win because it could have been worse! This isn't deficit reduction, it's "everything overboard to support the wars!" Stand by to watch all kinds of things you value that you never knew were your tax dollars at work go under!

Obama spoke in his Nobel Peace Prize voice - a stirring roar of defiance to the Republicans in defense of Social Security and Medicare - while also saying that "everything is on the table." I can feel in my gut that he is already planning to cut both programs, and make it look like a compromise.

The sanest thing I've heard today was Jesse Ventura's comment:

"You control our world. You've poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You've liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You've stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You've profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You've monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit...we are bleeding...but we ain't got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution! "

-Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, April 12, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Police unions

Posted to the T&G:

The heart of people's complaints about the police unions is that they are getting things - and demanding rights - that most of the rest of us aren't getting, paid for out of our taxes. Next, people resent the police because they tell us what to do - who likes that? - and when they get out of hand their union demands that discipline be done fairly following due process. Finally, several posters said something like "unions used to be good but they aren't anymore."

Starting with the first, yes, people with unions aren't getting their wages and benefits slashed as fast as the rest of us because they have some power to push back. Should those of us who don't have a union drag them back into the muck with the rest of us? Or should we be focusing on getting a better deal for everyone - with their help?

Then, unionized public workers have legal rights to be able to speak about working conditions benefits. I've worked union and non-union - and the difference was huge. When I worked union I could talk without fear, without putting my job on the line. Do we really want cops on our street with a chip on their shoulder because they're disrespected and afraid for their jobs?

Then there's who pays taxes. There would be plenty of money for public employees if we had a fair tax and revenue code. Rep O'Day's initiative in the Legislature has highlighted over a billion dollars we could gain by changing the tax code so that the wealthy pay the same proportion of their income in taxes as the rest of us. But here we are scrabbling over the scraps in the pit.

Finally, the public employee unions are among the last unions standing amidst the devastation the banks have brought on our economy. Solidarity with them is the foundation for any fight back to reclaim our country. The long slide into the mess we're in started when the other unions let Reagan take PATCO down without a fight.

The police unions are our PATCO. We stand by them now or we all go down together.

Why Planned Parenthood?

Comment posted to the T&G on why fight over Planned Parenthood funding is not about abortion:

The fight over funding Planned Parenthood is not about abortions, it's about power. It's about a return to the world of Sigmund Freud and his famous quote about women: "anatomy is destiny." A world where a woman got one choice, usually while little more than a child, and then returned to a state of servitude. It's about the power of husbands to rule their wives. And it's about the power of the corporations to use men to control the lower-paid women in the workplace, keeping us divided and driving all of our wages down.

Men, as we love the women in our lives - our wives and girlfriends, our sisters, daughters, nieces and daughters-in-law, we must not let this nightmare return to the past happen. The cost will be disease, violence and too often the early death of someone you love. And the cost will be families bound together by fear, poisoned by anger and bitterness, unable to have honest conversations with each other.

And the cost will be further destruction of our ability to organize and to a decent workplace.

Men, we mustn't let the secret pleasure of imagining more power over women - or the camaraderie of the locker room or bar or hunting lodge - lead us astray. Standing by our women and standing up for their rights is one of the keys to the unity we need, as we try to stop the corporations and the banks from wrecking our economy, taking our homes, exporting our jobs and reducing us all to poverty and peonage.

Our Democratic representatives have caved on almost everything else - don't let them cave on this too!