Friday, April 13, 2007

Republicans Live in a Parallel Universe

Cross-Posted on The Democratic Daily

Why is it not surprising that the White House is now embroiled in an email controversy over an entirely different set of email accounts run by the Republican National Committee for members of this Administration? A parallel email system to the authorized White House email system.

The Republicans live in a Parallel Universe.

They live in a world where they won the 2000 and 2004 elections. Where election fraud means people voting more than once rather than the thousands of voters suppressed in Florida, Ohio and elsewhere.

They live in a world where the insurgents are in their “last throes” and it is moral to rewrite global warming data to show that there is not a threat to our planet.

Freedom of Speech means not being able to say “Polar Bears” at international conferences.

For them torture is just a “little dip” instead of the horror the rest of us see.

The President lives in a world where Congress doesn’t really matter; signing statements can over-ride anything they pass anyhow.

The Geneva Conventions don’t really matter in their world; they are “quaint”.

To lower the deficit in their world you cut taxes and raise spending. Their new math only works in Washington.

To bring the soldiers home it is necessary to send more to war.

No child left behind means cutting funds for Public Education.

Regulating industry means appointing lobbyists to responsible positions.

Supporting the troops means not providing them with body honor or adequate veteran’s benefits, research for traumatic brain syndrome, or even paying for adequate maintenance at Walter Reed.

“Doing a Great Job” means Katrina.

Pharmacy benefits means not negotiating for drug discounts for Seniors.

Free trade means not allowing re-importation of drugs from Canada.

Addressing the Social Security Fund short-fall means diverting funds to private accounts.

National Security means revealing CIA Agents.

Reducing our dependence on imported oil means not raising mileage standards on automobiles.

So why am I not surprised that they should have their own email accounts at the White House? Our laws don’t apply to them…they are in a parallel universe not connected to our reality. But then, we are just reality-based Americans after all.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Wasting of American Common Sense!

As cross-posted on The Democratic Daily:

It is time to play the apology game.

First you say something truthful then somebody figures you ought to apologize because it might be somehow construed as unpatriotic.

Obama had to apologize when he told a crowd in Iowa:

“We now have spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted.”

Somebody felt it would be hurtful to each of those soldier’s families to say that their lives had been lost for no particular good reason. Better to repeat the lie than deal with reality.

So Obama apologized.

And now Senator John McCain, another real war hero, has been caught saying the same thing.

On the David Letterman Show, Senator McCain said:

“We’ve wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives.”

So McCain apologized.

Shame on McCain and Obama for apologizing!

America has not been made safer due to our invasion of Iraq! Al Quaeda isn’t running for cover because Americans have died. Americans haven’t unearthed Weapons of Mass Destruction that Saddam was aiming at us. The Taliban isn’t on the run. And just saying that Americans died for a reason doesn’t make it so.

It does not demean Americans who have died to say that their lives were wasted. It demeans them and all of us to continue a lie because we do not have the courage to face the truth.

The death of Americans in unnecessary wars is not made more meaningful by playing games of rhetoric. The mothers and fathers of soldiers who have lost their loved ones are not made whole by continuing a lie. If their lives have been lost and that loss brings us to realize our mistakes then their lives will not have been in vain.

But if we fail to realize the real waste of a generation of young and brave and patriotic Americans, then we shall have failed those very same young people. If we hide under illusions of rhetoric and the comfort of denial, we haven’t helped anyone anywhere.

As Senator Kerry himself once famously said, ‘How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?’ In other words, how do we sit by and do nothing when American lives are being wasted? When we can’t even say it?

On Stock Market Corrections and Political Responsibility

I wrote this entry for my blog Stock Picks Bob's Advice. You are not supposed to be a capitalist and a progressive. But these are the hats I wear. You do not have to be greedy and selfish to believe in free enterprise. We can have a vigorous free market economy with a government that serves the people as well. We can also elect officials who are responsible servants for the electorate, who care for the national government, who believe in what they do, and who aren't interested in burdening a government with massive deficits that serve as the weight belts that can help drown it in a bath tub.

This is what I wrote today:

Thursday, 1 March 2007
It All Comes Back to Iraq.
Those of you who know me better know that I also have a political hat that I sometimes wear. As we face this market correction, I do think that we should ask whether there is something basically wrong with our government management of the American economy in the face of a questionable foreign policy. We can argue whether America needed to be involved in Iraq. Whether thst policy was implemented in an appropriate fashion.

But of greater concern, is my question whether it was responsible for this Administration to pursue a policy of tax cuts during a time of growth in expenditures. This pursuit of lower taxes without any regard to fiscal responsibility and reducing deficits, a policy that had been successfully pursued under the previous President Clinton, has resulted in reliance on the Federal Reserve which is supposed to manipulate money supply and inter-bank loan rates to control inflation.

Our deficit in America is now being held more and more by investors offshore and our economic future is more and more dependent on the success of economies in places such as China and other countries that hold more and more of our dollar-based Treasury notes and obligations.

The dollar has suffered as more have been 'printed', with the dollar dropping against foreign currencies. Yet we have not acted to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we have not required more fuel efficiency from our vehicles, we have not made the needed investments in alternative fuels, we have not made Kyoto a goal, but have continued to increase our addiction on oil produced in areas of the world that are growing hostile to our own interests. Our trade deficits have grown simultaneous with our fiscal deficit.

So when we hear about how China can affect our own market, let us not examine this in a vacuum. Let us realize that we have been misled by our politicians who depended on our own greed to allow them to fail to make the hard decisions to restore fiscal responsibility and instead promise us never-ending 'tax cuts'. This fuzzy-math economics is coming home to roost.

And when we get out to drive in our Suburbans, Tahoes, and heavy-duty pick-ups, gloating about how we can buy gas cheaper than they do in Europe where high prices has moved drivers to efficient vehicles, let us be aware that our inability to encourage our leaders to make the hard decisions is costing us hard right here at home.

O.K., enough of the politics. But don't you just get sick when you see futures down more than 100 points before the market opens!

Wishing you all well. I shall try to reduce my political ranting here and try to stick to stocks. But let me know if it is ok with all of you to intersperse these stock market discussions with occasional political subjects. Whether you agree with me or not, I encourage you to respond to what I say and you are welcome to join in the discussion.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It isn't 'Global Warming', it is 1984!

George Orwell published 1984 in 1949. It was in this dystopia, that Winston Smith, the hero, leads his life working at the Ministry of Truth. Doublespeak is the standard at this government department, where Orwell relates that "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength".

As Orwell writes in Chapter 4, about the work that Winston does:
"What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs -- to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place. The largest section of the Records Department, far larger than the one on which Winston worked, consisted simply of persons whose duty it was to track down and collect all copies of books, newspapers, and other documents which had been superseded and were due for destruction."
Too bad Orwell now has become more than a highschool text for English classes.

It appears that it is now the model for this President who when facts don't fit his views, he rewrites facts to fit his platform.

Most recently, about Global Warming.

One of the first pieces of evidence about a White House policy to rewrite facts to fit their opinions was reported in 2005, when Philip A. Cooney was reported to have rewritten global warming reports. He wasn't even a scientist. He was a former lobbyist, who after getting dismissed, found a new job at Exxon within days of getting the boot.

As reported:
"In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.

The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.

Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues."
Then in 2006, there was the story about James Hansen who believes that global warming is accelerating. Mr. Hansen works at NASA where he studies global warming.

As reported in July, 2006:
"Those human changes, he says, are driven by burning fossil fuels that pump out greenhouse gases like CO2, carbon dioxide. Hansen has a theory that man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point and becomes unstoppable. He says the White House is blocking that message.

"In my more than three decades in the government I've never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public," says Hansen.

Restrictions like an e-mail Hansen's institute received from NASA in 2004. "… there is a new review process … ," the e-mail read. "The White House (is) now reviewing all climate related press releases," it continued."
That story continued:
"Dozens of federal agencies report science but much of it is edited at the White House before it is sent to Congress and the public. It appears climate science is edited with a heavy hand. Drafts of climate reports were co-written by Rick Piltz for the federal Climate Change Science Program. But Piltz says his work was edited by the White House to make global warming seem less threatening.

"The strategy of people with a political agenda to avoid this issue is to say there is so much to study way upstream here that we can’t even being to discuss impacts and response strategies," says Piltz. "There’s too much uncertainty. It's not the climate scientists that are saying that, its lawyers and politicians."
"Asked what happens, Piltz says: "It comes back with a large number of edits, handwritten on the hard copy by the chief-of-staff of the Council on Environmental Quality."

Asked who the chief of staff is, Piltz says, "Phil Cooney."

Piltz says Cooney is not a scientist. "He's a lawyer. He was a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, before going into the White House," he says.

Cooney, the former oil industry lobbyist, became chief-of-staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Piltz says Cooney edited climate reports in his own hand. In one report, a line that said earth is undergoing rapid change becomes “may be undergoing change.” “Uncertainty” becomes “significant remaining uncertainty.” One line that says energy production contributes to warming was just crossed out.

"He was obviously passing it through a political screen," says Piltz. "He would put in the word potential or may or weaken or delete text that had to do with the likely consequence of climate change, pump up uncertainty language throughout."
So is it any surprise today that with the Democrats in charge of Congress, and Congressional oversight of this Administration being implemented that more cases of abuse should come to light?

As reported at the hearing:
"...two private advocacy groups presented a survey of government climate scientists showing that many of them say they have been subjected to political pressure aimed at downplaying the threat of global warming.

The groups presented a survey that shows 40 percent of the 279 climate scientists who responded complained that some of their scientific papers had been edited in a way that changed their meaning. Nearly half the 279 said had been told to delete reference to "global warming" or "climate change" from a report.

The questionnaire was sent by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a private advocacy group. The report also was based on "firsthand experiences" described in interviews with the Government Accountability Project, which helps government whistleblowers, lawmakers were told.

The groups' report described largely anonymous claims by scientists that their findings at times at been misrepresented, that they had been pressured to change findings and had been restricted on what they were allowed to say publicly.

The survey involved scientists across the government from NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency to the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Commerce, Defense and Interior. In all the government employs more than 2,000 scientists who spend at least some time on climate issues, the report said.

The two advocacy groups said their research — based on the questionnaires, interviews and documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act — revealed "evidence of widespread interference in climate science in federal agencies."

This is stuff right out of Orwell.

Rewriting facts to create doubt into accepted scientific observations. Censoring scientists from speaking to the press. Lies, Lies and more Lies.

We need more than a climate change in Washington! We need representatives who defend the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

Otherwise when we hear that sending 21,000 soldiers to Iraq in order to bring our soldiers home, we shall believe what we hear. Because truth will be meaningless, and war will be peace, and ignorance will be strength once more.

But this time, for real.


Monday, January 29, 2007

John Kerry Speaks out at Davos!

Senator John Kerry may not be running for President in 2008, but that has not stopped him from voicing his strident criticism of the current American foreign policy.

As reported:

"When we walk away from global warming, Kyoto, when we are irresponsibly slow in moving toward AIDS in Africa, when we don't advance and live up to our own rhetoric and standards, we set a terrible message of duplicity and hypocrisy," Kerry said.

"So we have a crisis of confidence in the Middle East — in the world, really. I've never seen our country as isolated, as much as a sort of international pariah for a number of reasons as it is today."

Kerry said the government needs to use diplomacy to improve national security.

"We need to do a better job of protecting our interests, because after all, that's what diplomacy is about," he said. "But you have to do it in a context of the reality, not your lens but the reality of those other cultures and histories."

Kerry criticized what he called the "unfortunate habit" of Americans to see the world "exclusively through an American lens."

But Congressman Duncan Hunter, who is running for President for the Republican nomination wasn't satisfied with what Kerry had to say. As reported:

"The Republican Congressman criticized Kerry for calling the United States a -- quote -- "international pariah." He blamed Kerry for making anti-American remarks while addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, over the weekend.

Kerry said the Bush administration had isolated the United States by failing to cooperate with international efforts on global warming, AIDS, and other issues.

Speaking to workers at a military equipment manufacturer, Hunter said few of the of the world leaders in Kerry's audience had helped the United States after Hurricane Katrina."

It is ironic that Hunter cares to criticize Kerry who is working for peace, while speaking himself at a 'military equipment manufacturer'.

Perhaps Congressman Hunter should be reminded of that Republican President Dwight David Eisenhower, who in his farewell address warned of the dangers of the militaryindustrial complex. Said Eisenhower:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

But was what Kerry said true? Isn't that relevant to his criticism? Does the world see America as nearly an "international pariah" as Kerry inferred?

As reported earlier this week in the Washington Post, a BBC poll involving 26,000 people in 25 countries was not very supportive of the United States.

"Nearly three-quarters of those polled in 25 countries disapprove of U.S. policies toward Iraq, and more than two-thirds said the U.S. military presence in the Middle East does more harm than good. Nearly half of those polled in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East said the United States is now playing a mainly negative role in the world."

The article continues:
"It's been a horrible slide," said Doug Miller, president of GlobeScan, an international polling company that conducted the BBC survey with the Program on International Policy Attitudes, an affiliate of the University of Maryland. He said views of U.S. policy have steadily declined since the annual poll began two years ago.

In the 18 countries previously polled by the BBC, people who said the United States was having a generally positive influence in the world dropped to 29 percent, from 36 percent last year and 40 percent the year before.

"I thought it had bottomed out a year ago, but it's gotten worse, and we really are at historic lows," said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes. Kull attributed much of the problem to a growing perception of "hypocrisy" on the part of the United States in such areas as cooperation with the United Nations and other international bodies, especially involving the use of military force.

"The thing that comes up repeatedly is not just anger about Iraq," Kull said, adding that the BBC poll is consistent with numerous other surveys around the world that have measured attitudes toward the United States. "The common theme is hypocrisy. The reaction tends to be: 'You were a champion of a certain set of rules. Now you are breaking your own rules, so you are being hypocritical.' "


"The BBC survey found that a majority of those polled hold negative views on U.S. policies on a wide range of issues. Sixty-seven percent disapproved of U.S. handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Sixty-five percent disliked the U.S. stance on last summer's military conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, 60 percent opposed U.S. policies on Iran's nuclear program, 56 percent opposed Washington's position on global climate change and 54 percent disapproved of U.S. policies toward North Korea.

"If this keeps up, it's going to be very difficult for the United States to exercise its moral suasion in the world," Miller said.

The survey of 26,381 people was conducted in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. The polling took place from November to January."

Maybe not an "international pariah" but hardly the subject of much popularity. Once again Kerry is taking the heat for speaking the truth. Conservatives would rather live in their own fantasies. As recently reported, Vice-President Dick Cheney, during a CNN interview, had this to say about Iraq:
"Cheney defended the decision to invade Iraq nearly four years ago, and insisted that "there's been a lot of success" since then. His comments came during a CNN interview, an exception to the vice president's more common practice of talking to conservative media outlets.

"There's problems, ongoing problems, but we have, in fact, accomplished our objectives of getting rid of the old regime," Cheney said, adding that "there is a new regime in place that's been there for less than a year, far too soon for you guys to write them off."

Cheney suggested that the administration's critics were "dead wrong" about the war.

"For the first time, we've had elections, and majority rule will prevail there. But the notion that somehow the effort hasn't been worth it, or that we shouldn't go ahead and complete the task, is just dead wrong," Cheney said."

Lot of success? How about the "Situation in Iraq is dire" as Lt. General Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee?

But even worse, our Administration suggests that Congress may be treasonous when it criticizes the Iraq War.

As recently reported:
"WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday an effort in Congress to pass a resolution opposing President Bush's troop buildup undercuts U.S. commanders in Iraq and "emboldens the enemy."

And again, the White House responded to Senator Hillary Clinton's criticism of the Iraq war as reported:

"The White House called Clinton's comments a partisan attack that undermines U.S. soldiers."

Undermines U.S. soldiers? Sounds close to another claim of treason.

Hiding behind this propaganda device of claiming lack of patriotism and hurting American soldiers is not a new concept but it is clearly not an American tradition.

One of the most despicable despots in history, Adolph Hitler also used these types of techniques to motivate his people. As Reichmarshall Hermann Goering of the Third Reich once said:
"It is always a simple matter to drag the people along” to do “the bidding of the leaders,” regardless of the form of government. “All you have to do,” he said, “is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”"

But not this time. And not in America. We know the difference between questioning our foreign policy and not supporting our troops! It is not supporting our troops to send them into combat without adequate body armor, without a plan, and on false pretenses with facts that have been 'fixed'.

It is time for change in America! John Kerry was right in Davos. Hillary Clinton is right. James Webb is right. And those that use fear to suppress dissent, are not only despicable, they are unAmerican!


Sunday, January 28, 2007

James Webb: An important response to the State of the Union

If you haven't seen this watch it now!

A great new voice for the Democrats!


On Complex Truths

The world is not painted in black and white.

And yet there are those who would like to sell us this concept. It is easier to understand, easier to grasp, and easier to offer to the public than the more complex ideas of shades of gray.

We are told that if we don't fight them there we will have to fight them here. I suppose that is a simple idea that assumes we are required to fight them somewhere and over here or over there are the choices. But it really isn't that way at all, is it?

Americans are told that we are fighting for the 'flag', and thus, we need to protect the flag and pass Constitutional Amendments to limit our freedom of speech, no matter how distasteful it may be, and protect that banner that flies from flag poles across this great nation. It is far more difficult to explain that we were fighting for our freedom and that freedom includes the right to do things that we may not approve of.

Most of us live in conventional homes. We have a mother and a father or a wife or a husband and many of us have children. But that isn't the way it is with many Americans. They may live in homes headed by a single dad, a single mom, two dads, two moms, foster parents or maybe they even live on the street. So when the discussion arises that we should pass laws recognizing the 'sanctity' of the one man one woman marriage, it appeals to this same simple thinking. "Why not?" they ask. That's how we do it. But America isn't that simple or monolithic. We have complex arrangements in our households and our freedom is more important than regulation of our behavior.

"Support our Troops!" we are told. How could we possibly dissent from a war when our troops are in harm's way? How could we do that when that must, it is asserted, give aid and comfort to our very enemy! Isn't that treasonous to dissent? Clearly they put us in a 'catch-22' position. We are fighting for freedom, yet we should give up our freedom to express our opinions on the most important of questions according to 'them', the right to ask our nation to exit a war of our own making. And yes, we can ask, how can they claim to support our troops, when they send soldiers into harm's way to die or be dismembered for a war based on lies. No, supporting our troops is a complex question, not a simple one that is easily answered.

I am tired of the 'dumbing-down' of American discourse. We need to recognize that simple explanations are unlikely answers to complex questions.

Senator Kerry was ridiculed when he tried to explain the $87 billion question. But his answer was honest and to the point. Life is complex.

As I look to defining questions to address on this blog, I shall try to think and write in a complex fashion. Trying to look at questions that have answers that aren't in black and white. And challenging those that wish to do so.

Thank you for coming along for the ride.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Deserving of a Minimum of Respect

An adjustment to the Federal Minimum wage is facing tough going in Congress.

But is this really a big increase to the wage rate?

I found this chart on the history of Federal minimum wages in America:

The current proposal is to "raise" this wage to a level of $7.25 from the current $5.15 over the next two years. But is this really a raise at all?

At $5.15, the current minimum wage is the lowest the wage has been since 1938 when adjusted for inflation. At that time, as set in October 24, 1938, the minimum wage was $.25/hour. That works out to $3.57/hour as adjusted for the reduced buying power of actual dollars since that time.

Even with an increase to $7.25, this would only bring the wage back to the level it was in 1981 when the minimum wage was raised to an inflation-adjusted $7.43/hour. And this would only be slightly higher than the adjusted $6.47/hour the minimum wage earner made in 1997, the last time this wage was adjusted.

Nobody is really getting a raise at all. We are just not going to continue to allow the lowest wage earner among us to continue to have his or her earning power erode.

Conservatives have been winning this argument by continuing to convince all of us that this is a question of raising the minimum wage rather than adjusting it for inflation.

George Lakoff in his writing about framing, "Don't Think of an Elephant" explains this best:
"This gives us a basic principle of framing, for when you are arguing against the other side: Do not use their language. Their language picks out a frame — and it won't be the frame you want."
In other words, when we speak of raising the minimum wage, it sounds like we are giving some people more money for nothing. This is opposed to adjusting the minimum wage which is an issue of fairness.

Senator Webb spoke well of the unequal economic prosperity facing this nation in his response to President Bush's State of the Union Address.

Under Republican leadership, and Congressional control, the richest among us have gotten richer while that wealth has in a reverse-Robin Hood manner, been shifted from the poor and the middle class to the top wage earners.

As Congressman Barney Frank has noted:
"CEOs have seen increases in their earnings at a rate far greater than that of the average worker. In 1965, U.S. CEOs at major companies made 24 times a worker's pay-by 2004, CEOs earned 431 times the pay of an average worker.[1] From 1995 to 2005, average CEO pay increased five times faster than that of average workers.[2] While CEO pay continues to increase at rates far exceeding inflation, wages for the vast majority of American workers have failed to keep up with rising prices. In fact, real wages for the 90% of Americans who earn under $92,000 a year have actually fallen since 2001.[3]

When comparing CEOs to minimum-wage earners, the contrast is even starker. In 2005, median pay for CEOs of the 100 largest companies rose 25% from the previous year.[4] Minimum-wage earners this year, on the other hand, made the same amount as last year, and every year before that since the 1996-1997 increase-adjusting for inflation they actually made less than then (in inflation-adjusted dollars, $5.15 today is the equivalent of only $3.95 in 1995). [5] CEOs, on average, take home 821 times as much as a person working for minimum wage.[6] With this extraordinary ratio, an average CEO makes more before lunch on his first day of work than a minimum-wage earner will make all year. "

As this Bloomberg article from December, 2006 notes, the disparity between rich and poor has grown in America. It used to be said that a 'rising tide lifts all boats', but recently only the Yachts of the super-rich have been rising!
" The portion of national income earned by the top 20 percent of households grew to 50.4 percent last year, up from 45.6 percent 20 years ago; the bottom 60 percent of U.S. households received 26.6 percent, down from 29.9 percent in 1985, according to the Census Bureau. Meanwhile, average pay for corporate chief executive officers rose to 369 times that of the average worker last year, according to finance professor Kevin Murphy of the University of Southern California; that compares with 131 times in 1993 and 36 times in 1976."
So as we debate the issue of minimum wage, let us not allow us to fall into the trap of believing we are just giving something to poor people! The issue of fairness in this nation is not a simple one just about morality. If we are to survive as a free nation, we must enact laws that promote the advancement of the disadvantaged, the economic success of the impoverished, and the education of those without the opportunities to learn.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

On Ripples and Robert Kennedy

In 1966 Robert F. Kennedy delivered his "Day of Affirmation Address" in Capetown, South Africa. Excerpting from it, he stated:
"Give me a place to stand," said Archimedes, "and I will move the world." These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. Thousands of Peace Corps volunteers are making a difference in isolated villages and city slums in dozens of countries. Thousands of unknown men and women in Europe resisted the occupation of the Nazis and many died, but all added to the ultimate strength and freedom of their countries. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
It is from these words that I have named this blog.

I do not know how many sets of eyes will read the words I write. But I shall be writing for you.

From my small town in Wisconsin, I will be continuing to set down in print my thoughts and aspirations for this nation. I hope that you will join in this conversation.

America needs more voices to create ripples. Ripples that can grow to waves that will wash across this nation. It is a time for a new direction for America. We can do it together.



This blog is the descendant to my John Kerry for President 2008 creation.

Senator Kerry has chosen not to run in 2008 but the work to repair the ills of this nation, to get our country back onto course, is not over. It is just beginning.

More to follow.