Friday, November 13, 2009
"I'm evvv'ry woooman...."
Obama is the first "Pacific president" that the US has had but he's a good mid-western Chicago boy too.
Lived in Indonesia as a boy so he can totally feel the Asian vibe. Father was from Africa so he's got that down too. Heck, his sister was born in Jakarta AND she married a Chinese-Canadian!
"I ain't braggin, 'cause I'm the One..."
Muslim, oh yeah baby, studied that as a child, father was born into Islam--check! Now he's Christian but he used to be a non-believer so he's got that covered too!
Educated at a top university but not so cerebral where he can't throw some 'shout outs' and 'cousin Pookies' out there too.
"I'm every woman, It's all in meeeeee!!"
Dude cracks me up.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Why do I care? Why does this bother me? It's punishment for those who took bail out money, right?!! Screw them, man! Yeah... Well, except until Senator Schumer (NY) gets his way and expands the reach of the pay czar to all publicly traded companies.
I believe that one big reason that the Unites States of America is the greatest nation on earth is because a person is never stagnant in their ability to prosper. I'm not a millionaire Wall Street executive and I don't want to be but, my child might one day.
Do we want the government picking and choosing who gets paid what or do we want a person to be able to pick and choose their employers based on, among other things, their compensation package? Do we want the government to have the ability to make our ability to prosper stagnant, to pre-determine the highest rung of the ladder that we are able to climb to?
Is this all just another step towards the great artificial utopia, a socially and economically 'just' society?
What's happening to this great nation?
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I looked up at the television to see that an airplane had just flown into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York. I heard the commentators saying ridiculous things like, 'Did their navigation system go down?'
But I knew.
I knew at that very moment that my country had just experienced a terrorist attack. I could never have imagined that there was more to come.
I called my husband, who was in the motor pool rolling up camo netting, to tell him what had just happened. He was surprised but I don't think he had that same feeling that I did.
While we were talking the second plane hit. I started crying and told my husband, "Our nation is under attack." He said, "No baby, it's gonna be ok." And then the Pentagon. And then the fields of Pennsylvania.
I knew that as a military family, and as Americans, our life was about to change forever.
The security on the base went into high alert. Humvees and soldiers with weapons were positioned all around the perimeter fence of our housing area. Gates were locked down. I have never before experienced anything so surreal.
There is nothing quite like the image of a soldier carrying a M16 standing guard at a fence that is next to a school playground. At that moment, I felt so grateful for having grown up in a country where I didn't know what something like that would feel like. I was filled with determination that our child would not face a future of living in a country where it was normal to see things like that either.
Eight years. It's hard for me to believe that it's been that long. Even though three of those eight years have been some of the longest and loneliest of my life because my husband was away at war--I always keep in mind that many have given up so much more than me. They give me strength. Still, there are times I feel selfish and angry that he has been gone. I wonder if it's all been worth it.
You see, sometimes I find that the memories of that day are dull--sometimes I forget that day and all of the fear and uncertainty that came with it. I forget what it felt like to have armed soldiers standing guard outside of my home to protect me from harm.
Maybe that is a good sign? Maybe that is a symbol of our resiliency as a nation that we should 'recover' and be 'back to normal' in a relatively short period of time? Maybe.
There is danger in forgetting though. Americans need to remember.
The people we lost, the pain, the fear, the anger and the sacrifice. I hope that we not only remember, but also recapture the unity that we felt and that we appreciate and reciprocate the selfless service to our nation and our fellow citizens that so many gave on that day and still give today.
Value the freedom. Cherish it. Remember how important it is to you and how fragile it is. Fight to defend it.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
From the Publisher
Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.
Thaler and Sunstein invite the listener to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture" can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?r=1&ISBN=9780300122237&ourl=Nudge%2FRichard%2DH%2DThaler/
Just this past Saturday, President Obama announced that he will now make it easier for Americans to save by implementing 'just a few changes.' President Obama must really pay attention to the ideas of his advisors--Sunstein, the regulatory czar, and Thaler, an economic advisor because this new policy comes right out of the pages of their book.
I would love to have someone explain to me how exactly the government can "design choice environments" by doing a little "choice architecture" and STILL claim they are not restricting freedom of choice??
You cannot claim you are allowing free will when you provide all of the 'acceptable' answers to the problem.
This is not the end of their vision though, you can be sure of that. After the government provides us the "choice" of healthcare, they will provide us the "choice" of what things we are allowed to eat in order to keep costs down. It's only the beginning. This is a slippery slope folks.
We DO have a choice to make and we better make it fast!
"I am resigning my post at the Council on Environmental Quality, effective today.
On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.
I have been inundated with calls - from across the political spectrum - urging me to "stay and fight."
But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.
It has been a great honor to serve my country and my President in this capacity. I thank everyone who has offered support and encouragement. I am proud to have been able to make a contribution to the clean energy future. I will continue to do so, in the months and years ahead."
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Is America listening? Does America care? Is there anything that we can do? The White House is ignoring it and us and are in on the game so they are out. Is there anything Congress can do? They will be branded racists and paranoid conspiracy theorists and their states (and earmarks) will be sent to purgatory in retaliation by Rahmbo and the rest of the REAL mobsters.
Obama is like one of those fancy CNN-holograms, nothing can touch him, he's too costly and he mesmerizes the masses by his flashy appeal while distracting from his content.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The story straight from the artist involved:
Here is the 'mission' of the NEA:
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
I cannot understand why people who were upset over issues such as The Patriot Act and other government iniatives/policies that they felt were potentially intrusive on their rights and privacy--how are they NOT upset over the kind of things that are coming out of this administration as well??
The very same government that they say has oppressed and disenfranchised millions they now trust to do right by them?
From January 2006 by Kevin R. Kosar:
But, what of federal propaganda directed towards domestic audiences? A near century-old law (5 U.S.C. 3107) prohibits federal funds from being “used for the compensation of any publicity expert unless specifically appropriated for that purpose.” And annual appropriations acts often include provisions stating “No part of any appropriation contained in this Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes not heretofor authorized by Congress.” Together, these prohibitions might seem like a formidable bulwark against federal agencies and officers engaged in activities to promote government policies and people.
Monday, August 31, 2009
If they want to 'level the field of play' why do they not put their money where their mouth is?
I wonder how many poor soul's hospital bills Teddy could have paid if he sold off that sweet sailboat he was always pictured on?
So why don't rich liberals take their money and start individual health savings accounts for poor people? Why not spend their own money instead of creating legislation for the taxpayers money to be spent on these social safety nets?
$1,000,000 would let me survive quite nicely for about 20 years (longer, if invested properly). Wonder if there are any liberals out there who "support the troops and their families" enough to drop me a dime or two?
Now, this isn't to say that there are not liberals that give to charity. But, I contend that if they are still that rich, and the problems as they see them are still not getting solved, then perhaps they should be putting more of their money toward their goals?
This is a really good article about my random thought of the day:
Friday, August 28, 2009
Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger natural to that solicitude, urge me on an occasion like the present to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.
Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.
The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.
This government, the offspring of our own choice uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations under whatever plausible character with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction; to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common councils and modified by mutual interests. However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
Towards the preservation of your government and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect in the forms of the Constitution alterations which will impair the energy of the system and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions, that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country, that facility in changes upon the credit of mere hypotheses and opinion exposes to perpetual change from the endless variety of hypotheses and opinion; and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable; liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is indeed little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid normities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true—and in governments of a monarchical cast patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest instead of warming it should consume.
It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power and proneness to abuse it which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern, some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly
overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion
of religious principle.
It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of
knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.
The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties) ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I love how politicians try to tell us that we don't hear what we know we heard, that our eyes and ears are lying to us.
Paterson Steps Back From Race Remarks
By JEREMY W. PETERS
Published: August 25, 2009
STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Gov. David A. Paterson attempted to distance himself on Tuesday from comments he made last week suggesting that some in the news media who are critical of him and other black politicians are motivated by racial bias.
If he intended to quell the furor his remarks caused, his comments on Tuesday appeared to only complicate the situation.
While Mr. Paterson said he regretted the distraction his comments had caused and hoped he could put the episode behind him, he denied having insinuated that race was a factor in criticism of his leadership. That denial — which is contradicted by what he said in two interviews — made for an odd exchange with reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
“My remarks never say that there’s a race element at all,” Mr. Paterson told reporters after an appearance at Stony Brook University on Long Island, where a speech on his economic initiatives was quickly overshadowed by the controversy over his earlier remarks.
“What I did talk about was some negative racial stereotyping, which I think has gone on from time to time,” Mr. Paterson added. “But I didn’t blame my problems on that, and I’m not changing the remarks I made. I’m just correcting the interpretations of my remarks that are wrong.”
In a radio interview on Friday, Mr. Paterson said governors of other states with similarly difficult financial problems have not experienced the kind of criticism directed at him and Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, the country’s other black governor.
“My poll numbers are no worse than the 40 other governors who are in states that have deficits,” he told Errol Louis, the host of a morning call-in show on WWRL-FM. “My point is you don’t hear this crusade that it’s time for the governor to step aside. My feeling is that it’s being orchestrated. It’s a game, and people who pay attention know that.”
Then he pointed to what he saw as derogatory depictions of black leaders of the State Senate and said President Obama would probably be the next black political figure to face such attacks.
“I submit that the same kind of treatment that Deval Patrick is receiving right now in Massachusetts, and I’m receiving, the way in which the New York State Senate was written about, calling them a bunch of people with thick necks,” Mr. Paterson continued, “that we’re not in the post-racial period. And the reality is that the next victim on the list — and you see it coming — is President Barack Obama.”
Mr. Paterson raised the issue of bias again in an interview on Saturday with Gerson Borrero, a political commentator, that was posted on the Internet on Monday
The comments have left Mr. Paterson more politically isolated. The White House distanced itself on Monday from Mr. Paterson’s remarks, saying that President Obama does not believe that his critics are motivated by race. And on Friday Mr. Obama’s political director, Patrick Gaspard, took the unusual step of telephoning the governor’s top adviser, Larry S. Schwartz, to express displeasure with the remarks.
Democrats in Albany and New York City have also backed away from the governor. David N. Dinkins, the former mayor, and Charlie King, an associate of the Rev. Al Sharpton and a prominent Harlem political leader, also disputed the governor’s characterizations.
Tuesday’s exchanges were the first questions on the issue Mr. Paterson has answered. At first he tried to tamp down some of the controversy by admitting that he had caused a distraction, but his insistence that he never suggested that race had anything to do with criticism of him quickly became a point of contention with reporters.
“I didn’t say it,” Mr. Paterson said, referring to the suggestion that racial prejudice was a factor among his critics. A reporter then read the governor’s comments with Mr. Borrero, in which he said, “One very successful minority is permissible, but when you see too many success stories, then some people get nervous.”
Mr. Paterson said then that he had let his emotions get the better of him.
“I don’t think that it’s an orchestrated attempt,” he said. “And I think this is the kind of distraction that, in my view, arose from a personal incident that annoyed me that I would just rather move on.”
The “personal incident” Mr. Paterson was referring to was a comment by a local television reporter suggesting that the governor was allowing his daughter to stay late at a nightclub. The reporter incorrectly said the daughter was under age.
“We all have a point where our buttons can be pushed,” Mr. Paterson said. “And we all know that criticizing the media is something that we try to avoid. And I tried to avoid it, but there was one incident that was personal to me. And I addressed it. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it.”
The governor’s attempt to calm the situation on Tuesday left even some Democrats saying that they were concerned that Mr. Paterson himself had become too much of a distraction.
“That he’s denying it, it’s baffling to me to say the least,” said Senator Bill Perkins of Harlem, a Democrat who now holds the same seat Mr. Paterson held when he was a state senator. “We need the governor on message, on target. Right now he’s off target.”
Economic justice means building a fair economy that works for everyone. It means fair trade policies that protect workers' rights to organize and to receive a living wage for their work at home and abroad. It includes budget and tax policies in which corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share, and which support good schools and childcare, affordable healthcare and housing, retirement security, and a safety-net for those in need. It promotes the common good by funding public services. It means calling for new national priorities that reduce wasteful military spending and redirect tax dollars to helping our children, elders, and communities meet their needs. It includes notions of a social contract in which society and individuals fulfill their mutual responsibilities to each other.
Taxing Wealth for the Common Good
by Chuck Collins
posted Aug 05, 2009
When members of Congress proposed paying for expanded health care with a tax surcharge on America’s wealthiest citizens, the attack was swift but predictable. Taxing the top was labeled “class war,” an attack on the successful, and bad for business and the economy.
So it was refreshing when the high-income members of a new network –Wealth for the Common Good (WFCG) –stepped forward to essentially say “Sure, raise our taxes.” Why? Because it’s fair, and because they can afford it.
“In hard times it is important for Americans to come together and unite over the idea that medical care ought to be a basic right of citizenship,” said former investment banker Eric Schoenberg, a member of the organization. “It’s only fair for those of us who have benefited the most from this system to contribute the most.”
Over the last 30 years, our economic policies have slowly changed to disproportionately benefit our nation’s top-earners and concentrate wealth into the hands of a few. The members of Wealth for the Common Good, a network of business leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals, and other high-income individuals, are among those who have benefited from such policies. Their goal now is to help shape policy so that it benefits people of all income levels
Wealth for the Common Good went public on July 29th with their public call to immediately reverse the Bush-era tax cuts on households with incomes over $235,000. Thousands signed the petition, including hundreds of high-income individuals who would personally pay the tax.
Many members directly support the health care surcharge, but their objectives go beyond that proposal. The broader debate over taxes will be heated in the coming years as we see the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and face the consequences of an unprecedented national deficit. Wealth for the Common Good, advocating for a rebalanced tax code, wants to be part of the debate.
Changing the conversation is key to this effort. Arul Menezes, a principal architect at Microsoft and member of the initiative, acknowledged that fact when describing his own financial success during a Wealth for the Common Good press conference.
“I could choose to tell my story this way: ‘I arrived [in the United States from India] with $250 in my pocket, and got where I am based entirely on my hard work.’ This is true, but it’s not the whole truth.” Menezes then gave “a more honest reckoning” that took into account his publicly funded education, government investments in the technology industry, and all of the benefits he gains from “schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, parks, and civic amenities that were built and paid for by previous generations…[that] had the collective will to invest in their future and the future of their children.”
In the coming months, Wealth for the Common Good is leading focus groups on a number of proposals that would raise revenue, such as eliminating tax preferences for capital gains and subsidies for excessive executive compensation. Later this fall, it will amplify the voices of small business owners that want to close overseas corporate tax havens.
“Our current tax structure is regressive and unfairly burdens those in the middle and bottom tiers,” said Todd B. Achilles, a WFCG member and a leading executive in the telecom industry. “Ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to be successful and pursue their dreams means ensuring that each and every American contributes appropriately to the nation’s well-being.”
Ok. Sometimes I feel so dumb. I mean, why does this bother me so much? I'm not rich. I doubt I will ever be what one would consider "wealthy" so why do I care if they want to promote economic justice?? I'm sure that I would benefit from it so it just makes no sense to me that deep down in my gut I feel such a visceral dislike for the idea of economic justice. I think because, like social justice, I find the idea of economic justice to be artificial. Why, if business owners want to "ensure opportunity"and they are so willing to give up their own personal wealth in the form of higher taxes, do they not just start to pay higher wages? Why not create more jobs here instead of outsourcing (which, ironically, is done to avoid outrageous taxation that many corporations are subjected to)? Why does opportunity have to based on the interference of the government in the form of taxation and social programs?
I was interested to read this quote on the WFCG website:
It is fundamental to our American values that we have a strong meritocracy which provides equality of opportunity to all Americans. Our current tax structure is regressive and unfairly burdens those in the middle and bottom tiers. Ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to be successful and pursue their dreams means ensuring that each and every American contributes appropriately to the nation’s well-being.”
- Todd B. Achilles, Managing Member, Balius Ventures LLC
A meritocracy. Yes, I agree with that. Equal opportunity. Yes, I also agree with that. He starts to lose me though when he talks about a regressive tax structure that "unfairly burdens those in the middle and bottom tiers." The fact of the matter is that:
To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent is comprised of just 1.4 million taxpayers and they pay a larger share of the income tax burden now than the bottom 134 million taxpayers combined. http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/top_1_pay_more_income_taxes_than_bottom_95/
This doesn't even address the people who pay NO taxes at all really. I think that my family is pretty close to the lower-middle of the tax tier. We get a refund every year. Honestly, it's not very burdensome. The only taxes we are burdened by are our property taxes and the taxes we pay on regular goods.And then this:
However, the recent IRS data bolsters the findings of an OECD study released last year showing that the U.S.—not France or Sweden—has the most progressive income tax system among OECD nations. We rely more heavily on the top 10 percent of taxpayers than does any nation and our poor people have the lowest tax burden of those in any nation. http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/top_1_pay_more_income_taxes_than_bottom_95/
I guess I don't get it. Where is all of this artificial rich-man guilt coming from? Where is it going to take us?
The more I think about social and economic justice the more I get annoyed by it. It makes for a great political slogan but it is artificial. The entire concept is artificial because it is based on having a level playing field. That is just simply unrealistic.
It is impossible to have functional social justice in the education system. Not every teacher will be equally brilliant nor will they be equally inspirational to their students.
Not every student has the same capacity nor propensity for learning. Not every student has a desire to achieve.
Not every school operates the same way with like-minded administrators.
How exactly does one create a level playing field to foster social justice in education? Is that more NCLB? Social promotion? Dumbing down the curriculum to ensure success for everyone?
View of social justice in education from Teachers For Social Justice based out of Chicago (shocking, I know!)
Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, “Letters to Those Who Dare Teach” (1998):
“We are political militants because we are teachers. Our job is not exhausted in the teaching of math, geography, syntax, history. Our job implies that we teach these subjects with sobriety and competence, but it also requires our involvement in and dedication to overcoming social injustice."
We are educators. As such we must recognize and accept our role as either confronting the social, political, and educational inequities within U.S. school settings,
or continuing to reproduce the oppressions in our current society. We stand for
confronting these inequities. Neutrality is not possible. We understand that
teaching is a political act.
While perusing the teachersforjustice website, I noticed this:
"Opt Out" from having NCLB turn over your personal records to the military
Click here to download the Opt Out form from the CPS website.
The above link will take you to one of many versions of an "Opt Out" form. This form requests that the Board of Education remove the student's name from the list of
students provided to military recruiters as dictated by the No Child Left Behind
act. Please note: the student or the parent or guardian only need sign The form does not require both parent and child sign. This is advantageous because papers sent home are often not returned.. Student I.D. number is required or the form will not be processed!
We are trying to clarify its meaning. Apparently names are submitted to the military twice a year. Don't wouldn't let the deadline stop me from doing a campaign. The date can be removed from the form.
Suggestion for submitting the form
Students can mail this directly to Alize Henderson as the form indicates. You can also collect them and mail them in bulk, perhaps ensuring a higher completion rate of the entire process. At Kelly High School, the Students for Social Justice Club has received permission to distribute these from a table during lunch time. The administration has asked that we provide them with a list of the names of signers so that they, too, can be sure to follow the students' wishes. recruiters, at least at Kelly, is so frequent that
almost al l students will likely have a face-to-face encounter with a recruiter.
Face-to-face is definitely a more effective recruiting method. However, the opt
out campaign is a relatively low energy me ans to raise the recruiting issue and
to identify students, faculty, and parents who might work on a more demanding
campaign to limit recruiter access to our young people.
If you have questions or want access to leaflets and information critical of the current recruiting drive and of dishonest or deceptive recruiting techniques, please
Cristina Martinez, Committee Against the Militarization
of Youth email@example.com
History Teacher, Kelly High School firstname.lastname@example.org
I guess they only want to avoid militarization of the youth when it comes to defending the country. It's ok to be politically militant. Nice. I love how they are so willing to thwart the system by removing dates, how they are taking advantage of the fact that minor children are basically under their control. Makes me feel so much better because I just KNOOOW they are only doing it for their own good. The irony of it to me is that the military is probably the most equal playing field one can have in terms of opportunities for minorities, educational access, etc. Why would they want to deny children the ability to succeed while serving their country? Unfortunately, I already know the answer to that. They don't deem the military service honorable, nor do they think it's important. I think we all saw what that mentality got us during Clinton when the miltary was at its weakest in ages.
The Racial Aspect of Social Justice:
I don't think that there can be real social justice racially because those who claim to be interested in promoting equality are too busy accentuating the differences. I think that certain segments of the social justice movement will always be searching for something to explain away failures and make excuses so instead of focusing on individual responsibility (or lack thereof), it's much easier to focus on race and place the blame of failure on outside forces.
The rest of us are just going on with our lives. Having friends of all races and treating them like family. Working for a boss who is a different race and respecting that boss just the same. Falling in love with a person because of the 'content of their character, not the color of their skin.'
Economic Justice is next.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
"This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North, and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages, and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others."
Frederick Douglass, 1857
Source: Douglass, Frederick.  (1985). "The Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies." Speech, Canandaigua, New York, August 3, 1857; collected in pamphlet by author. In The Frederick Douglass Papers. Series One: Speeches, Debates, and Interviews. Volume 3: 1855-63. Edited by John W. Blassingame. New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 204.
IMPRESSIVE FOUNDERS: James Rucker, 36, is a veteran leader of online activism. As Grassroots Mobilization Director, Rucker helped MoveOn.org grow into a powerful 3.3 million-member organization. MoveOn's mission is to return political influence to where its supposed to be in a democracy - everyday people - instead of moneyed special interests and corporations.
Van Jones, 37, is the founder and executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC). Under Jones' leadership, EBC has grown from a small local non-profit to a leading organization in the national fight for alternatives to the "incarceration industry." Jones is also a leader in the push to integrate the environmental movement with other social justice movements.
The Apollo Alliance, on its own website, outlines how the administration has incorporated many of their policy proposals.
In 2009, the Apollo Alliance marked these achievements:
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
In February 2009 Congress approved and President Barack Obama signed the breakthrough clean energy and green-collar jobs provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The $787 billion stimulus legislation that President Obama signed in a Denver museum partially powered by a rooftop solar array contains $86 billion in clean energy and green-collar job programs, plus $27.5 billion in road and highway construction funds, much of which state transportation departments will use to repair infrastructure and not on building new highways. As Apollo noted since the package was introduced on January 15, the provisions that formed a big part of the foundation of the stimulus was funding to build new transit and high speed rail lines, weatherize homes, develop next generation batteries for clean vehicles, scale up wind and solar power, build a modern electric grid, and train a new generation of green-collar workers. In every way, the clean energy provisions of the stimulus bill are a surpassing achievement. The magnitude of the investment and the bill’s comprehensive sweep reflect the unleashing of a pent-up demand for a new way to power and employ America — $17.7 billion for rail development, $34 billion for energy efficiency, $7.9 billion for renewable energy, $10.9 billion for a smart electric grid, $3.3 billion for next generation batteries and alternative fuel vehicles, $4.5 billion for energy research. The clean energy focus of the stimulus was inspired by the Apollo Alliance’s vision, and the specific content of many of the bill’s provisions was influenced by policy proposals that the Apollo Alliance made last year in The New Apollo Program and the Apollo Economic Recovery Act. “The recovery bill represents the focused work of labor, business, environmental and social justice organizations who developed a clear strategy about where the nation needed to go, and worked together to achieve it,” said Phil Angelides, former California treasurer and chairman of the Apollo Alliance. As Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, noted in a statement. “We’ve talked about moving forward on these ideas for decades. The Apollo Alliance has been an important factor in helping us develop and execute a strategy that makes great progress on these goals and in motivating the public to support them.”
He has laid out some fascinating information that outlines the tangled web of politics. I think it is infinitely important that we citizens wake up and see what is happening right under our noses. Yes, I am a conservative woman, I also tend to be more socially liberal, this isn't really about ideology to me. It's about how ALL of us are getting fleeced by our own government.
Yesterday's show started with Van Jones:
Now, Van Jones doesn't "scare me" (as many left-wingers like to accuse us righties of being). I think he's probably a very, very smart man--in fact, I would wager to say, even without knowing him personally, that I KNOW he is a smart man. Smart don't make ya right though.
More about Jones: