Wednesday, January 30, 2008

State of the Union...

Wow... Bush has a long list of things he intends to do in the remainder of his term. So much, he probably should have gotten started chipping away at the list awhile ago... like maybe 7 years ago.

Among other things, he made it very clear that he has a plan that, once put in action, would give us a surplus by 2012.

Pssssst... Dubya... I know you're basking in the thunderous Republican applause you got from that little gem, but... uh... two things:

1. We HAD a surplus... you replaced it with a deficit.
2. You made Clinton out to be a thief of Americans' pocketbooks for having the audacity to operate the nation at a profit... I still have the bad taste in my mouth from cashing the check from what you said was my share of the surplus -- I should have been cashing that check after I retire... and it should have come from the Social Security office.

So suck up that applause, Dubya... I'm just glad the end of this dark time you plunged us into is in sight.

...And yes, the union is strong, because we the people are strong and enduring -- in spite of everything you did to break us down.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stimulating Whose Economy?

First, my appologies for taking so long to find time to blog on this. Like most Americans, I'm working around the clock. In my case, most of the work I'm doing is currently not compensated with a paycheck. I'm working, for free, as a member of the DeWitt County Development Council to help turn our local economy around and I'm busting my ascii almost around the clock, building a business to help improve not only the household economies of those of us working to build this beast, but to take the bite out of the bottom lines of businesses in an entire, huge, domestic industry... so that the savings will be passed along to every American who's struggling to make ends meet and maybe achieve a little of the American dream in the process. That said...

By now, you've no doubt seen the press on the bipartisan emergency stimulus package. Neither party is particularly thrilled with it, but boy are they quick to dangle that dazzling rebate in our faces.

What a shiny thing it is, too -- a $700 to $1200 (or higher) lump sum rebate payment. It sounds pretty darned good when you're deciding between fuel for the vehicle that gets you to the job that feeds your family or fuel for the bellies of the family you work so hard to provide for.

But, will it do what they say it will? Will we go spend it on beads and baubles at the big box discount store, thus stimulating the American economy by creating a demand for beads and baubles that will, in turn, create jobs in the beads and baubles industries?

You and I know the answer to that question is a huge, resounding "No." But, then, it's a little hard for us to lose touch with economic reality when we're the ones out here trying to survive it.

If they were in our shoes, they'd realize that we've been struggling to make ends meet for so long that $700 - $1200 isn't nearly enough to catch most of us up. Most of us will probably spend that money on necessities and catching up on bills.

But, even if we did all go out, en masse, to spend our little rebate windfalls on beads and baubles -- it wouldn't stimulate OUR economy, because we don't manufacture beads or baubles or much of anything else, here, anymore.

We have the economic equivalent of a gaping belly wound -- a band-aid isn't going to do anything to improve or even stabilize our condition. We need a real emergency cure, an enduring one, that stops the bleeding and keeps our money, here... or we're going to bleed to death.

That's the simple truth of it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Eenie Meenie Miney...NO!!

I definitely won't be giving my primary vote to any of the top three candidates. I'm not terribly thrilled with any of them, to be quite frank. The best thing I can say about them is that the worst of them is still a damned sight better than anyone vying for the nomination on the red ballot.

What are some of the kinds of things are bugging me about the contenders in the big blue donkey race? Let me give you some examples for each:

Obama - Promised, repeatedly, that if elected to the Senate he would serve at least one full term before running for President. Broke that promise to voters, party workers and countless campaign volunteers several months before completing even one full year of his six year term.

Hillary -- two words: Wal-mart, NAFTA.

Edwards -- Two Americas... namely, his unabashed support, thereof. Example: One America for legal US citizens, legal immigrants and foreign students studying in the US under legal VISAs who have to pay the higher out of state college tuition rates when they fail to meet state residency requirements to qualify for lower in-state tuition rates and Another America for illegal immigrants who pay the lower in-state tuitioon rate despite failure to establish legal residence in ANY US state.

Richardson -- Voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. Supports "sanctuary cities" and drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, supports NAFTA, WTO & GATT.

Dodd -- Voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. Supports national tobacco smoking ban but, at the same time, supports decriminalization of marijauna. Wants to include undocumented illegal immigrant workers in health plan.

Biden -- Words don't match actions:
Said this, "...I don't think the government can dictate the definition of marriage to religious institutions. But government does have an obligation to guarantee that every individual is free of discrimination. And there's a distinction. I think government should not be able to dictate to religions the definition of marriage, but on a civil side, government has the obligation to strip away every vestige of discrimination as to what individuals are able to do in terms of their personal conduct"
Did this: Voted FOR the Defense of Marriage Act, which effectively bans churches of any religion or denomination from deciding for themselves, as they have the right to do concerning opposite gendered couples, whether or not to join same sex couples in legal marriage (civil) as well as in holy matrimony (religious.)

Gravel -- His "fair tax" plan is plenty fair to the same people the Bush tax plan is plenty fair to. His compromise health care voucher plan, while standing the best chance of passing Congress, of any health care plan put forth by any other candidate on either the blue or the red ballot, leaves MUCH to be desired and, if passed, would more than likely have the unintended (by Gravel) impact of preventing progression to universal health care, just as the "don't ask don't tell" compromise has so effectively prevented lifting the ban on gays in the military.

Kucinich -- Wants to ban handguns. Wants to extend more rights and protections to illegal immigrants. Supports national tobacco smoking ban but, at the same time, supports decriminalizing marijuana.

Heavy Sigh