Somewhere in America

Senate delay on stimulus ‘irresponsible’: Obama

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

Somewhere in America, a man loses the job he has held for more than thirty years.  Somewhere in America, a woman cleans out the office she had occupied for close to a decade.  Elsewhere in the United States, a teen unsuccessfully tries to find work.  He knows he needs to help his Mom and Dad; each toiled in the factory that closed just down the street.  A young woman searches for a professional position, just as she has for the two years since she graduated form the University.  Each of these individuals is not startled by the headline, Economy Shed 598,000 Jobs in January.    All ask, where have the “experts,” Economists, and elected officials been?  

There is a stark reality barely revealed in this report. For the many who live somewhere in America, the statistic is not news.  It is the culmination of life or strife as it has been in the United States for a long time.  Countless experience the misery of an economic crisis that consumes them.  There is no joy in jobs lost or the threat of more layoffs to come.

What occurs most every moment, somewhere in America is the reason President Obama stated in his recent address, this country needs a stimulus package now, not tomorrow, not in a week, or in a month.  At least, “3.6 million Americans  . . . wake up every day wondering how they are going to pay their bills, stay in their homes, and provide for their children.  That’s 3.6 million Americans who need our help.”

What the President does not say is that these numbers represent only the persons we know of.

Somewhere in America, in a rural residence, children cry.  There is no food in the cupboard.  Mom, who is the sole supporter in this family, has been out of work for months.  Dad, too depressed, left his loved ones long ago.  He labored part-time for years.  When the economic downturn began, in 2007, he realized he could not even count on temporary employment.  Nor can the young one who hopes to enter college; she understands “career path” may be a euphemism from the past.  Today in America, the streets are not golden.

As Senators and Congresspersons, all of whom are gainfully employed, bicker, and build an Economic Stimulus Bill filled with pork, and, or tax cuts that benefit only the rich, somewhere in America, a mother cannot buy food for her son.  A single father, without a High School diploma, wonders how he might hold on to his factory job and still adequately prepare his daughter for school.  Somewhere in this great country, educational institutions go without textbooks.  Perhaps, it matters not, the students cannot read.

Somewhere in America, a cancer patient is refused treatment, for, although he has insurance, the policy will not cover the costs.  

A firefighter is given a furlough.  In California, State workers are forced to take  an unpaid leave.  Somewhere in America, a  plan to bring recovery to America cannot wait.

Elsewhere in this country, citizens, the few secure in their circumstances, argue over the proposed stimulus package. Certain that all is well, at least for them, these affluent Americans say the situation is not dire.  They encourage their Representatives not to sign on to a incentive measure that might spend money on other than they, personally, think right.  Meanwhile, somewhere in the United States, a family in the frozen Midwest is thrown out on the cold streets.  The mortgaged house, the five had lived in for near a score, went into foreclosure.  

In a country, where the words “economic crisis” is not hyperbole, few wish to help move the nation forward.  People rather quarrel.  Free speech is fun for those who still feel safe.  Today, the public does not ponder the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota two summers ago.  August 2007, was eons ago.  The public does not hear the stressful sounds of a viaduct ready to crumble.  The roar of engines is too loud, or perhaps, when the conversation turns to fiscal responsibility the screams from silly squabbles drown out the noise steel makes when it bends and breaks.

People plump with power, profits, or an ideology can safely ignore federal government studies that show “Nearly a quarter of the nation’s roughly 600,000 major bridges carry more traffic than they were designed to bear,”  When an American lives elsewhere in America, it may matter not that  the “Federal Highway Administration data from 2006 shows that 24.5 percent of the nation’s bridges longer than 20 feet were categorized as “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete” (data from Utah and New Mexico was from 2005).”

Rarely do individuals reflect on what does not affect them directly.  Many are happy to refuse to see what is invisible to their eyes let alone the reality numbers might represent.  Empathy, elsewhere in America can be elusive.

People who have a roof over their heads rather rant.  Those who toddle off to the office much prefer to rage.  It is “pork” they say.  The Obama stimulus plan is nothing but needless government-funded expenditures.  “Taxes must be cut;” screech the tycoons and venture Capitalists.  These influential persons of means make telephone calls.  The rich reach out and touch Republican and Democratic Legislators alike.  Why?  Because they can.  Powerful persons have access, the privilege of the affluent.  The plight that occurs somewhere in America is alien to them.

Insulated and isolated, the wealthy worry not.  Elsewhere, many in the Middle Class cannot imagine what it must be like to live somewhere in America.  Most do not believe an economic catastrophe will become a personal truth.

Those whose children are enrolled in private schools, or in public school out in the suburbs subsidize their progeny’s education.  They wonder why others cannot.  Perchance these individuals have not traveled to somewhere in America.  Persons whose families are well-funded, who hear, and see no evil on the streets of this nation, do not imagine that somewhere in America might ever be where they live.  

These citizens, comfy, cozy, and content with what is, have no need for the Head Start programs now cut from the stimulus package.  Education for the Disadvantaged, another program now eliminated from the Bill, will not have an effect on friends or family of the economically-established.  Persons who have the ability to care for their own do not understand the plight of those they have never encountered.

Thus, they exclaim, the “fat” must be removed from the stimulus package, and so it is.  

School improvement stipends were removed from the proposed fiscal plan.  These critical contributions, in a  country, which ranks low, or last, in many categories of learning seems unnecessary.  Child Nutrition grants are lavish in the minds of the physically and financially satiated.  Surely, the well-off say, there is no need for such remunerations.  

Individuals who are safe and sane do not wish to sponsor programs such as Funds for Violence Against Women.  These planned provisions were erased from the proposition.  Persons not in harm’s way questioned why would society wish to assist those ladies who did not chose their companion wisely.  

Food Stamps surely are wasteful spending, say the scornful and satiated.

These same persons are happy to see an end to what they think exploitive expenditures.  Dollars expected to be doled out to The National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA, National Science Foundation NSF, and the Western Area Power Administration were also expunged from the package.

Firefighters are now forsaken. Cash for the Coast Guard was deemed redundant.  Payments for better prisons, are said to be decidedly pointless.  Community Oriented Policing Services COPS Hiring programs, are among the allowances that have been cut.  Apparently, community safety is not critical, at least not for those who think private industry better cares for any communal needs.  

That may be why these same individuals decided dollars devoted to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC were also wanton.  Certainly, these would not stimulate the economy.

Perchance, the persons who live elsewhere in the United States, do not realize that cash spent on services contributes to jobs somewhere in America.

Possibly, the prosperous do not recall that poverty produces greater poverty.  Persons who love to engage in arguments, think it fun to find fault with each and every point,   These individuals, whose intention is to wrangle, do not wish to acknowledge, as Nobel Prize winner and Princeton Professor of Economics and National Affairs does in his most recent NewYork Times column.  “As the great American economist Irving Fisher pointed out almost 80 years ago, deflation, once started, tends to feed on itself.”

As dollar incomes fall in the face of a depressed economy, the burden of debt becomes harder to bear, while the expectation of further price declines discourages investment spending.  These effects of deflation depress the economy further, which leads to more deflation, and so on.”

Hence, as a country we stand still.  Democrats and Republicans are divided.  Congress cannot or will not decide to support an authentic stimulus package.  Policymakers will do as they have always done, dicker, and deliver little.  What may ultimately pass will likely be more irresponsible than it might have been.  

When somewhere in America is not where you are; nor is it a place you chose to imagine as real, then you do not reflect upon the parent who has not had a paycheck for years, or the child who cries out for a but a mere morsel of food.  Sadly, somewhere in America, for members of Congress, and for citizens comfortable in their circumstances, is a place far, far, far, away.  

In truth, were the quarrelsome to look out their window, they might see, somewhere in America is right next door.

Sources for Somewhere in America . . .

I Have a Dream

Obama’s Hopeful Economic Speech

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

I have a dream.  I dream of a day when Americans will separate themselves from a difficult past.  I dream of a time when partisan politics will not divide us.  In my dream, I see a nation united; one in which Black children, white, Brown, yellow, and red offspring, people of any race, color, or creed will rise above their own imagined limits.  It is more than my hope, it is my vision that together, we as a nation can give birth to what others think unbelievable.  I have faith that my fellow man and I can give birth to what was not thought possible.  

We can restore what was once good, and build what will be better.  Old habits need not challenge us.  These can be the catalyst for deep and authentic change.  We need only begin.

I have a dream.  We will come together to construct the country our forefathers conceived of.  The time for internal strife has passed.  We must join as one to create a culture that cares.  

In a twenty-first century, we must not repeat the errors of the past.  We must recognize there are jobs to expand, an infrastructure to install and strengthen, a fiscal system to fix, a health care structure to heal, and most importantly children to teach well.  

I have a dream.  If we employ thoughtful policies, we will all be empowered.

I aspire to be one among many in a community respectful of our environment.  I yearn to green our homes, and clean our streets.  I trust, if we invest in our infrastructure, stable careers will come.  Jobs will continue into perpetuity if we do as we desire.

I have a dream.  Collectively, we can ensure that we will thrive on a planet, safe and sane.  We can grow enough crops to feed our people, preserve an abundant water supply.  We need not rape the land as we have, and eliminate species carelessly as we do.  We can survive if we come together with intent to do no harm; that is my dream.  Indeed, our physical, emotional and homeland security, depend on what we do now.

I have a dream, that in a country, one known for the best, we can be the best.  We need not remain mired in our differences.  These distinctions can bury us in unnecessary documentation or debate.  Disputes will assure our shared doom.  Diversity, indeed, can bring us together if we choose to unite as one people with one mission, to be strong.

We, as a country, as a people, as individuals, are more alike than dissimilar.  Each of us yearns for economic stability and success, separately, and for all.  Inside us, we understand, if my brother is hungry, I too will suffer.  We need only act on that veracity.

If you doubt this as your truth, please ponder what we have lived in recent years.  We have seen the evidence of our connectedness in the foreclosure crisis.  Most of us have come to acknowledge that my monetary value is dependent on my neighbors.

The fossil fuel predicament furthered the understanding of this truth.  My fellow citizen’s pain is mine, even at the pump.

The health care crisis also offers an apt analogy, and we, as Americans must take this to heart.  If any of us think only of ourselves, and act in accordance, then we will adopt principles that ultimately, bring us down, slowly, one at a time, until the system crumbles.  Thus, is the tale of two cities, the Wall Street and Main Street debacle.  It is time for a shift.  There is a fierce urgency to now.

I have a dream.  One day, we will recognize that the millions without adequate health care deplete our resources.  The persons whose education is inadequate hinder our own state of affairs.

I envision a world in which my brethren believe we are all connected and act as though we are.   I have a dream, that we as a country, will ponder and produce a prophecy once thought impossible.

Our President-Elect.  Barack Obama, also dreams.  He aspires, inspires, and gives us much to contemplate.

Please peruse, the Transcript of the Speech on the Economy delivered today, January 8, 2009.  Share your thoughts for a future fulfilled.

January 8, 2009

Obama’s Speech on the Economy

The following is a transcript of President-Elect Barack Obama’s speech on the economy, as prepared by Federal News Service.

President-Elect Barack Obama: (Cheers, applause.)  Thank you. Everybody be seated. Thank you very much. (Applause continues.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause continues.) Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Please be seated. Thank you so much.

Let me begin by thanking George Mason University for their extraordinary hospitality and to thank all the great friends, the governors, the mayors, who are in attendance here today.

Throughout America’s history, there have been some years that simply rolled into the next without much notice or fanfare, and then there are the years that come along once in a generation, the kind that mark a clean break from a troubled past and set a new course for our nation. This is one of those years.

We start 2009 in the midst of a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime, a crisis that has only deepened over the last few weeks. Nearly 2 million jobs have been now lost, and on Friday we’re likely to learn that we lost more jobs last year than at any time since World War II. Just in the past year, another 2.8 million Americans who want and need full-time work have had to settle for part-time jobs. Manufacturing has hit a 28-year low. Many businesses cannot borrow or make payroll. Many families cannot pay their bills or their mortgage. Many workers are watching their life savings disappear. And many, many Americans are both anxious and uncertain of what the future will hold.

Now, I don’t believe it’s too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible. If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. We could lose a generation of potential and promise, as more young Americans are forced to forgo dreams of college or the chance to train for the jobs of the future. And our nation could lose the competitive edge that has served as a foundation for our strength and our standing in the world.

In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.

This crisis did not happen solely by some accident of history or normal turn of the business cycle, and we won’t get out of it by simply waiting for a better day to come or relying on the worn-out dogmas of the past. We arrived at this point due to an era of profound irresponsibility that stretched from corporate boardrooms to the halls of power in Washington, D.C.

For years, too many Wall Street executives made imprudent and dangerous decisions, seeking profits with too little regard for risk, too little regulatory scrutiny, and too little accountability. Banks made loans without concern for whether borrowers could repay them, and some borrowers took advantage of cheap credit to take on debt they couldn’t afford. Politicians spent taxpayer money without wisdom or discipline and too often focused on scoring political points instead of problems they were sent here to solve. The result has been a devastating loss of trust and confidence in our economy, our financial markets and our government.

Now, the very fact that this crisis is largely of our own making means that it’s not beyond our ability to solve. Our problems are rooted in past mistakes, not our capacity for future greatness. It will take time, perhaps many years, but we can rebuild that lost trust and confidence. We can restore opportunity and prosperity.

We should never forget that our workers are still more productive than any on Earth. Our universities are still the envy of the world. We are still home to the most brilliant minds, the most creative entrepreneurs and the most advanced technology and innovation that history has ever known. And we are still the nation that has overcome great fears and improbable odds.

If we act with the urgency and seriousness that this moment requires, I know that we can do it again. That is why I have moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will immediately jump- start job creation and long-term growth. It’s a plan that represents not just new policy, but a whole new approach to meeting our most urgent challenges. For if we hope to end this crisis, we must end the culture of “anything goes” that helped create it. And this change must begin in Washington. It’s time to trade old habits for a new spirit of responsibility. It is time to finally change the ways of Washington so that we can set a new and better course for America.

There is no doubt that the cost of this plan will be considerable. It will certainly add to the budget deficit in the short term. But equally certain are the consequences of doing too little or nothing at all, for that will lead to an even greater deficit of jobs, incomes and confidence in our economy.

It is true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe.

Only government can break the cycle that are crippling our economy — where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending; where an inability to lend and borrow stops growth and leads to even less credit.

That’s why we need to act boldly and act now to reverse these cycles. That’s why we need to put money in the pockets of the American people, create new jobs, and invest in our future. That’s why we need to restart the flow of credit and restore the rules of the road that will ensure a crisis like this never happens again.

And this plan begins with — this plan must begin today, a plan I am confident will save or create at least 3 million jobs over the next few years. It is not just another public-works program; it’s a plan that recognizes both the paradox and the promise of this moment — the fact that there are millions of Americans trying to find work even as, all around the country, there’s so much work to be done. And that’s why we’ll invest in priorities like energy and education; health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century. That’s why the overwhelming majority of the jobs created will be in the private sector, while our plan will save the public sector jobs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and others who provide vital services.

To finally spark the creation of a clean-energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will modernize more than 75 percent of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of 2 million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills. In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced — jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings, and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.

To improve the quality of our health care while lowering its cost, we will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years all of America’s medical records are computerized. This will cut waste, eliminate red tape, and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests. But it just won’t save billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, it will save lives by reducing the deadly but preventable medical errors that pervade our health care system.

To give our children the chance to live out their dreams in a world that’s never been more competitive, we will equip tens of thousands of schools, community colleges and public universities with 21st-century classrooms, labs and libraries. We’ll provide new computers, new technology, and new training for teachers so that students in Chicago and Boston can compete with kids in Beijing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future.

To build an economy that can lead this future, we will begin to rebuild America. Yes, we’ll put people to work repairing crumbling roads, bridges and schools by eliminating the backlog of well-planned, worthy and needed infrastructure projects, but we’ll also do more to retrofit America for a global economy. That means updating the way we get our electricity by starting to build a new smart grid that will save us money, protect our power sources from blackout or attack, and deliver clean, alternative forms of energy to every corner of our nation. It means expanding broadband lines across America so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world. And it means investing in the science, research and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries.

And finally, this recovery and reinvestment plan will provide immediate relief to states, workers and families who are bearing the brunt of this recession. To get people spending again, 95 percent of working families will receive a thousand-dollar tax cut, the first stage of a middle-class tax cut that I promised during the campaign and will include in our next budget. To help Americans who have lost their jobs and can’t find new ones, we’ll continue the bipartisan extension of unemployment insurance and health-care coverage to help them through this crisis. Government at every level will have to tighten its belt, but we’ll help struggling states avoid harmful budget cuts, as long as they take responsibility and use the money to maintain essential services like police, fire, education and health care.

Now, I understand that some might be skeptical of this plan. Our government has already spent a good deal of money, but we haven’t yet seen that translate into more jobs or higher incomes or renewed confidence in our economy. And that’s why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan won’t just throw money at our problems; we’ll invest in what works. The true test of the policies we’ll pursue won’t be whether they’re Democratic or Republican ideas, whether they’re conservative or liberal ideas, but whether they create jobs, grow our economy, and put the American Dream within reach of the American people.

Instead of politicians doling out money behind a veil of secrecy, decisions about where we invest will be made transparently, and informed by independent experts wherever possible. Every American will be able to hold Washington accountable for these decisions by going online to see how and where their taxpayer dollars are being spent. And as I announced yesterday, we will launch an unprecedented effort to eliminate unwise and unnecessary spending that has never been more unaffordable for our nation and our children’s future than it is right now.

We have to make tough choices and smart investments today so that as the economy recovers, the deficits start coming down. We cannot have a solid recovery if our people and our businesses don’t have confidence that we’re getting our fiscal house in order. And that’s why our goal is not to create a slew of new government programs, but a foundation for long-term economic growth.

That also means an economic recovery plan that is free from earmarks and pet projects. I understand that every member of Congress has ideas about how to spend money, and many of these projects are worthy. They benefit local communities. But this emergency legislation must not be the vehicle for those aspirations. This must be a time when leaders in both parties put the urgent needs of our nation above our own narrow interests.

Now, this recovery plan alone will not solve all the problems that led us into this crisis. We must also work with the same sense of urgency to stabilize and repair the financial system we all depend on. That means using our full arsenal of tools to get credit flowing again to families and business, while restoring confidence in our markets. It means launching a sweeping effort to address the foreclosure crisis so that we can keep responsible families in their homes.

It means preventing the catastrophic failure of financial institutions whose collapse could endanger the entire economy, but only with maximum protections for taxpayers and a clear understanding that government support for any company is an extraordinary action that must come with significant restrictions on the firms that receive support. And it means reforming a weak and outdated regulatory system so that we can better withstand financial shocks and better protect consumers, investors and businesses from the reckless greed and risk- taking that must never endanger our prosperity again.

No longer can we allow Wall Street wrongdoers to slip through regulatory cracks. No longer can we allow special interests to put their thumbs on the economic scales. No longer can we allow the unscrupulous lending and borrowing that leads only to destructive cycles of bubble and bust.

It is time to set a new course for this economy, and that change must begin now. We should have an open and honest discussion about this recovery plan in the days ahead, but I urge Congress to move as quickly as possible on behalf of the American people. For every day we wait or point fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose their jobs; more families will lose their savings; more dreams will be deferred and denied; and our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

That is not the country I know. It is not a future I accept as president of the United States. A world that depends on the strength of our economy is now watching and waiting for America to lead once more, and that is what we will do.

It will not come easy or happen overnight, and it is altogether likely that things may get worse before they get better. But that is all the more reason for Congress to act without delay. I know the scale of this plan is unprecedented, but so is the severity of our situation. We have already tried the wait-and-see approach to our problems, and it is the same approach that helped lead us to this day of reckoning.

And that is why the time has come to build a 21st-century economy in which hard work and responsibility are once again rewarded. That’s why I’m asking Congress to work with me and my team day and night, on weekends if necessary, to get the plan passed in the next few weeks. That’s why I’m calling on all Americans — Democrats and Republicans and independents — to put — to put good ideas ahead of the old ideological battles, a sense of common purpose above the same narrow partisanship, and insist that the first question each of us asks isn’t “What’s good for me?” but “What’s good for the country my children will inherit?”

More than any program or policy, it is this spirit that will enable us to confront these challenges with the same spirit that has led previous generations to face down war and depression and fear itself. And if we do — if we are able to summon that spirit again; if are able to look out for one another and listen to one another, and do our part for our nation and for posterity — then I have no doubt that, years from now, we will look back on 2009 as one of those years that marked another new and hopeful beginning for the United States of America.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.)

Reference a referendum on change we can believe in . . .

President Obama’s Agenda

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

It is amazing to me how the Republicans and all of their right-wing friends are trying to minimize the total repudiation they and their policies received at the hands of the electorate. According to these “objective” viewers there was no political realignment. The fact that Obama carried states that hadn’t been carried by a Democrat in years and put into play states that had been lost to Democrats for a generation does not mean that there was a redrawing of the electoral map according to these illustrious men.

Their goal is simple to try and keep President Obama and the Democrats from enacting any sweeping legislation, instead hoping that they stay small and do little if anything. My guess is that they hope by trying these scare tactics and keeping the Dems thinking small that in four years if they accomplish little or nothing the Republicans can highlight how a majority Party did nothing to help the voters that elected them.

The Republicans contempt for the intelligence of the American people is infinite. It was only a few years ago that a man who garnered 271 and 286 electoral college votes in two successive elections had a mandate to suspend Habeas Corpus rights, expand government with giveaways to his cronies, and privatize Social Security with their blessings. So I guess based on their logic you only have a mandate and realignment if it meets their criteria and supports their agenda.

This talk is why they are becoming more and more irrelevant. I am all for enlisting the support of all Americans for the monumental tasks that we face, but you don’t just get your butt kicked and then try to drive the car; you are lucky to be in the car! What these clowns refuse to see is the same reason they have lost touch with the majority of the American voters and lost the election. When it comes to the major issues facing the American public, they’ve got nothing. This is not the country they thought it was and they can’t accept it.

If I were advising President Obama and the Dems I would advise them to go big and go fast. Strike the iron while it is hot. I would begin with a stimulus package for the poor and the middle-class. I would force the banks to use the bail-out money for what it was designed for to make loans, not to buy other banks.

I would then resubmit the SCHIPs healthcare program for children. I would propose funds for states and local governments to ride through this economic crisis and to begin to do the badly needed infrastructure repair. I would look to pass the union registration legislation. I would begin to realign our armed forces to reflect the true nature of the dangers we face. I would invite the UN back into Iraq and give them some real authority to help and stabilize that government. I would then send my diplomats to embark on a worldwide tour to reassure the world that we do respect the world and want to be a part of it again. I would state unequivocally that the United States does not condone torture against anyone. I would enact a 10-year energy plan to make us completely oil free by 2019. I would reinstate and expand the Pell Grant program to help families pay for college for those who are willing and qualified to go. After consultations, I would develop a program to provide healthcare for the millions of Americans who currently don’t have it.

I know that this is a lot to chew on, but we have to remember what George W. and his greedy assed friends have left us with. We must mitigate the vastness of this Depression that we are facing, not wait until we are in the middle of it but while we can make a difference. I also understand that this still leaves plenty of other badly needed things unaddressed, but that was only the first day.

We must not allow the naysayers and the small minded to diminish the scope of the critical programs that we need. Of course there will be shouts from the Right about the deficit and big spending liberals, but we must remember we have tried it their way and it didn’t work. A temporary allowance of deficit spending in the middle of a “recession” is not abnormal. Of course they would want us to do nothing because they will be able to ride out the storm and they could use the pain of those who would truly be suffering to rise back to power.

We also have to remember that this generation cannot sustain suffering. If this were a couple of generations ago we would just roll-up our sleeves and get it done, however this generation has not known suffering and hardship and frankly I don’t think they could handle it. They will require more support and coddling than their grandparents. So, there is much to be done and doing it piecemeal is not going to do it. We must strike hard, strike large, and strike fast…

One thing is sure.

We have to do something.

We have to do the best we know how at the moment… If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.

~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Mortality Test

To view the original art, please travel to Mortality Test

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

In August 2007, Artist and Essayist Andrew Wahl asked us to look at our life.  Today, as he endeavors to better his circumstance and being, the rest of us might reflect on our state of being.

No New Toon Till Next Week

I had every intention of cartooning this week – especially given last night’s political drama. But it’s finals week for my first quarter of grad school and compromises had to be made. Back in seven, I promise.

Till then,


Peace, Justice, and Prosperity

copyright © 2007 Jerry Northington.  campaign website or on the campaign blog.

For most of my life I have been a dreamer.  As a child I sat many a fine hour on a creek bank with a cork floating on the water (often with no bait on the hook) and dreamed of other times and other places.  In those years science fiction was a staple of reading.  Television was young and barely available.  Entertainment was found by one’s self or not found at all for the most part.  

In years past I dreamed of a better life for myself and my family.  In those days the dream was more about myself than for other people.  As life has continued in time the dream has come to encompass the people around me and now extends to the nation and around the entire globe.  Today I dream of a world in which peace, justice, and prosperity are the rule of the day.

Most of all I dream of a United States President who works to insure our nation benefits from the principles of peace, justice, and prosperity.  The dream includes a President who brings our troops home from our occupation zones around the world before more damage is done on either side of the affair.  The dream holds an administration focused on diplomacy using carrots instead of sticks to deal with foreign nations.  

The dream means a world in which peace is a primary objective to be sought far ahead of any thought of belligerence or of military operations.  In my dream the world’s military forces are maintained at low levels in peacetime status.  The forces are prepared to defend their individual nation from outside attack, but are not used to invade or to occupy any nation without being attacked first.

I dream of a world in which justice reigns as a supreme rule for all people no matter their sex, age, skin color, or nationality.  Every person in my dream is treated fairly according the same rules as every other.  In the world of my dreams all have an equal chance at finding success and happiness in their own fashion.  There are no special rewards accorded the rich and the powerful beyond those of just treatment.  Education and health care are given freely to one and all as a benefit of society and to benefit in return the society.  A nation that holds an educated and healthy citizenry will be a more prosperous country at the end of the day.

Prosperity rules in my dream as all peoples of all nations work to the betterment of the entire globe.  In the absence of massive military expenditures to drain national economies, investments are made in basic research, in infrastructure such as highways and public buildings, and in education.  Factories produce goods that people with good jobs can buy.  And the capitalist circle continues to the benefit of all.

Is this too much for which to dream?  I think not.  Every day we hear news of the failures in our nation and in our world at large.  There are more than enough reports of crime to go around these days.  The housing market is slumping.  The financial markets suffer.  News of war zones and various areas of armed conflict around the globe are terrible.  Global warming increases day by day as the environment is affected by the actions of humankind and the natural forces of our globe.

When ever will this situation end?  Can my dream of peace, justice, and prosperity come to fruition one day?  I submit the dream is much more than the meanderings of a simple mind unable to face reality.  Leaders with great visions and dreams of a better future exist in our country today.  The trick is to find those people and to see to their election at every level in our nation.

We need leaders who not only espouse great dreams but who have solutions to the issues facing us today.  Any person can find fault and point out the problems.  The real trick is finding solutions.  We need leaders who surround themselves with problem solvers.  We need people with the ability to see a problem and to find a variety of solutions to the issue.  Then we need a leader who can sort through the various solutions to find the one way to best face and correct the problems.

We need our dreamers in the world today, and no, I am not talking about any one political candidate of the day, but speaking in general to one and all.  In particular I speak to the voting public at large.  We each and every one must take action every day to see to solutions.  We must cease our bickering and begin to work together to make the best solutions become reality.  We have no more time to complain about what is not happening.  We must move to make progress on all fronts.

Together we can move a nation.  We must hold to that dream of a finer place one day.  Those who let go their dreams lose all hope.  We who dream must share our hopes and our ambitions and our dreams that others, too, may find the right to dream.  We stand together or we fall apart.  We are after all in this together.  

By touching one heart, one mind at a time we can begin to make the differences that will shape our world for generations to come.  It is only by failing to take action and failing to share our dreams that we insure the status quo.

Reminder for one and all.  I am running for Congress, DE-01.  Please check out the website or the ActBlue page and support the effort.  Your help is needed for the effort to succeed.  Contributions of all sorts, both moral and monetary are most appreciated.

America The Beautiful?

copyright © Judith Moriarty

America the beautiful?  If you listen to the constant barrage of PR on TV,  we’re the Superpower of the world!  That may be, if it applies to our major industry today,  the exporting of war and weapons?  We have a Defense budget of some $648 BILLION.  This does not include the ‘supplemental’ billions that are being asked for every few months!  

‘Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain’.  

America the beautiful?  What is not being reported by the media; is the poisoning of our rivers, land, and air.  The frogs are deformed, we are warned not to eat the fish, the honeybees are disappearing, birds are dropping dead,  and the deer and moose have wasting disease.  

America the beautiful?  I’m perplexed.  With all this talk about the environment, carbon footprints, and growing corn (please) for fuel, we don’t see the media reporting on the destruction of Appalachia.  Where’s Al?  Why aren’t those running for office holding debates on the raped mountains in West Virginia?  The corporate coal vultures have found that it’s cheaper to tear down the mountains and dump the sludge into valleys.  This EPA approved destruction is destroying small towns, rivers, and streams!  These folks aren’t worrying about glacial ice melting!  Their lives are being destroyed – legally!

America the beautiful?  The ‘levees’ meant to protect tens of thousands of lives in New Orleans, resembled fencing around a Little League park!  The local, state, and federal authorities, knew for years that the destruction of the barrier islands, marshlands, and dredging for oil/gas was creating a catastrophe and did nothing.  They also knew that the poorly built levees, would never protect against a category 4-5 hurricane.  

There are levees that protect citizens – in the Netherlands!  When greed, corruption, and politics, do the building – people die.

America the beautiful?  Katrina showed that we have no disaster policy .  It’s pretty sad, when Cuba has a perfectly organized plan; with inland shelters and buses, ready to evacuate those in shoreline villages.  No person is left stranded for days on rooftops, or on strips of highway, in 100-degree heat!  Katrina saw gentrification by disaster.  As legislators met in emergency session, to relocate casinos onshore, the victims were shipped out of the area to distant states, put in tents, or FEMA trailers, which sickened them , with the formaldehyde fumes!  But then, most countries don’t have a man running their disaster plan, whose last job was running an Arabian horse organization!

America the beautiful?  Hundreds of thousands are homeless.  Many of these are mentally ill and veterans.  When the institutions closed in the 80s-90s, crisis centers were supposed to open in every state.  This never happened.  The mentally ill are on the street or in jail!  Numerous families are homeless, with public housing being torn down, and nothing being built to replace it.  Many of the homeless work but cannot afford the high rents.  It took Congress ten years to raise the minimum wage.  Gentrification has destroyed affordable housing in numerous cities.  Many communities, from Washington State, to Florida, are opening ‘tent’ shelters!

America the beautiful?  We spend billions upon billions for war.  Billions more are squandered or lost?  Nobody seems to care?  Nobody’s going to jail for this theft!  Those who return (after three or four tours) are scarred for life (physically and mentally).  All these billions, haven’t supplied our troops, with the most basic means of protection (i.e.  armored vehicles, body armor, etc).  A supposed ‘humanitarian’ effort in Somalia, had our soldiers dragged through the street!  Meantime, when the politicians are out and about, they are supplied with guards, snipers on rooftops, and limousines that are fully armored.  Veterans, including the Marine above, terribly burned, have to FIGHT for their benefits!  Politicians don’t have to FIGHT for their lucrative pensions.  They have managed, in the few days a week that they do work, to ensure that they get, not only their yearly (thousands) raises, but yearly cost of living increases in their pensions.  What’s wrong with this picture?

America the beautiful?  Besides the military, our fastest growing businesses are – private prisons, casinos, garbage, and Wal-Mart (our nation’s largest employer).  None of these produce anything except profits for the corporate hucksters.  We have the largest prison population in the world (mostly non-violent drug offenses/probation violations).  We build more prisons than schools.  

America the beautiful?  Per chance you should not be part of ‘group-think’.  and protest against our nation being emptied of livable wage jobs (due to trade agreements voted by Congress), you will be beaten down, or caged in ‘free-speech’ zones.  The police in Miami were given $8 million (meant for our troops) to outfit them in Ninja attire.  This armor was needed to protect them, not from an invasion, but from students – housewives – environmentalists – and workers protesting the FTAA (Free Trade of America’s Agreement), which was exporting more jobs to third world countries.

America the beautiful?  Our steel mills, textile plants, and manufacturing industries, are shuttered and rusting away.  They are, like old man in a nursing home, none of them wanting to be there, each with his own story to tell.  These were the places that employed hundreds of thousands.  The hundreds of thousands who worked in these places, built our nation’s bridges, skyscrapers, railroads, and great Navy ships.  Without them, (Rosie the Riveter) WWII would have been lost!

America the beautiful?  Our nation’s infrastructure is falling down.  Foreign investors are buying up our thruways (paid for by tax dollars).  China (to bypass American ports) is building Mexican ports.  A NAFTA highway will snake though the country, delivering goods to all points, including Canada.  The bridge in Minnesota, which collapsed, is now be expanded to ten lane,  to accommodate future truck traffic.  

America the beautiful?  Our energy policy appears to be keeping the coffers of the OIL & GAS industries filled!  The latest ‘energy bill’ (hardly a whisper in the media) was passed, once the White House was assured, that billions in subsidies would continue to go to the oil companies.  War has been very – very good for these vultures.  They’ve realized multi-billions in profits, since this ‘war for democracy – liberation – and freedom’ for the Iraqi people.  As America rusts away, the oil profits are being used to construct futuristic cities, and indoor ski resorts in Dubai etc.  

America the beautiful?  Many areas of our country are in distress, with high unemployment rates.  Detroit, once the headquarters of the auto industry, employing tens of thousands, is now a wasteland.  It’s downtown streets, hotels, auto plants, etc, are all shuttered.  

America the beautiful?  Due to GREED, and little to no regulatory oversight (Congress – ha – is now going to hold hearings), millions of citizens across the land are losing their homes.  A bank doesn’t care (even with their 30 yr obscene interest rates) if multitudes are put out in the cold.  They’ll not be out in the cold and that’s what counts.  They’re in the money-making business.  Bankers, along with transnational corporations, are without souls or conscience.  They are loyal only to profits – percentages – hedge funds – and interest rates.  

America the beautiful?  Meantime don’t worry.  The talking heads and ‘experts’ (hirelings) in the media assure us that all is calm.  TV was our teacher far into the night – it taught us to think, that things were alright?

America the beautiful?  Meantime the ‘sheeple’ line up at the unemployment offices.  They fill out applications for those jobs at Home Depot, Wal-Mart, as blackjack dealers, or prison guards.  They obediently allow themselves to be scanned, groped, and searched at airports.  They line up for the newest vaccines, buy the newest high tech gadgets, and believe that a new Republican or Democrat ‘overseer’,  will deliver them from their despair and FEAR.  As for war – they watch from a distance.  They don’t connect the loss of local services, to the fact, that war costs money, and programs need to be cut (housing, homeless, food stamps, medical, fuel assistance, education, infrastructure, etc).  All of this money for war (projected to be $1-2 trillion) is borrowed.  Money today; is invested destructive bombs, called ‘Daisey Cutters’ (which rupture organs – eyeballs), missiles, stun guns, melting death rays , planes, tanks, guns, Ninja attire, depleted uranium weapons (cuts through steel like butter), mercenary troops, bunker busters,  and other exotic madness.  The more deadly our weapons are – the more our fears leave us numb.  

America the beautiful?  In various hamlets and towns across the nation, a lone voice warns.  Of course, he/she is called unpatriotic, mad, a trouble- maker, and nut case.  Throughout the ages, war has always proved profitable for the select few.  They sit back and send the poor to war.  Marine General (34 years) Smedley Butler summed it up, “War is a racket.”

America the beautiful?  Meantime Alice cries, “But I don’t want to go among mad people”.  “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat, “We’re all mad here.”  Alice in Wonderland


Once Upon A Time In Old America

copyright © 2007 Judith Moriarty

We are living in a state of selective amnesia or fearful denial? 

“The easy credit which created the subprime  crisis in mortgage lending has now spread to the hedge fund industry.  The troubles at Bear Stearns prove that Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson’s assurance that the problem is ‘contained’ is pure baloney.  The contagion is swiftly moving through the entire system taking down homeowners, mortgage lenders, banks, rating agencies, and hedge funds.  We are just at the beginning of a system-wide breakdown.” . . .

“To a large extent, the housing bubble has concealed the systematic destruction of America’s industrial and manufacturing base.  Low interest rates have lulled the public to sleep while the rise in housing prices has created the millions of high paying jobs have been outsourced.  The rise in housing prices has created the illusion of prosperity but, in truth, we are only selling houses to each other and are not making anything that the rest of the world wants.  The $11 trillion dollars that was pumped into the real estate market is probably the greatest waste of capital investment in the nations history.  It hasn’t produced a single asset that will add to our collective wealth or industrial competitiveness.” . . .

“The Federal Reserve produces all the fact and figure related to the housing industry.  They knew that trillions of dollars were being diverted into a speculative bubble, but they did NOTHING to stop it.  Now the effects of their ‘cheap money’ policies have spread to the hedge fund industry where hundreds of billions of dollars in pensions and savings are in jeopardy.”

It is advised that citizens (those involved in loans – investments – etc, in local communities), come into the 21st century and get a grasp of the serious implications: 

  • Another Great Depression? The Fed’s Role in the Bear Stearns Hedge Funds Meltdown. By Mike Whitney.  Global July 1, 2007

    While we are kept dutifully distracted with the drunken antics of Hollywood airheads, breaking news of OJ, and his merry band of thieves, hours of TV media coverage of sexual predators, or Lockup shows of our ‘prison industry’ – millions across the nation are losing their jobs and their homes.

    In case some of the opinion that government will ride to the rescue and retrain former auto workers, textile employees, paper mill/ steel/manufacturing workers, etc, for those high end technological or positions in the health field – get a grip!

    Thousands upon thousands are graduating from college unable to find jobs!  No 50-60 old worker who has worked for decades in a paper mill, or steel plant, is going to compete with those educated in the best of colleges in their early twenties!  Let’s get real.  Besides, we now have hundreds of thousands of professional guest workers (Democrats and Republicans support), being imported to replace Americans, at a third of the salary, no benefits, no pensions, and no job security.  Prison labor is being used by other corporate interests!  Besides, President Bush, who never held a real job in his life (before the Presidency or government position), has cut funds for job retraining: 

  • The Bush Budget:  The Bush Administration’s FY 2007 Budget.  AFL-CIO, American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations.

    President Bush, and career politicians, don’t have to care or relate to their employers (US Taxpayer).  They get lucrative salaries, yearly cost of living raises, and full health coverage (we pay 72% of their premiums).  Their pensions also see yearly cost of living raises!  No severance packages here, of a few weeks pay, no matter how miserable their job performance, or felony convictions.

    Note, when a politician comes down with some health issue, they receive immediate care at the best of hospitals.  No drone in a far away cubicle informs their physician that such and such a procedure is not covered.  They are not advised to become destitute, having no assets, before they can receive medical care!  They don’t die ignored, on the floor of an emergency room (Los Angeles), of a ruptured bowel, with medical staff fully aware!

    Coming home from war, they are not one of the 192,000 veterans left homeless, having to prove their disability.  Note how convenient the troops are for photo ops (in spiffy uniforms amidst flags) going off to war.  You’ll not see politicians posing with brain damaged/blind/faceless/ veterans, advising, “Be all you can be etc.”  You’ll not see presidential candidates shaking hands; with those living under bridges, in abandoned cars, or crowded shelters!  You haven’t seen politicians (whatever the party) addressing the bureaucratic nightmare of today’s medical debacle; written, by the pharmaceuticals, insurance, and HMO interests.  Both parties continue to vote malignant trade agreements, for the benefit of corporate hucksters, in their global plundering of our planet.  Millions upon millions, left dispossessed in their own lands, (due to trade agreements), are exiting their countries seeking employment in the U.S.

    Corporate interests rally the naive, unskilled, and uneducated immigrants, in various protests, against the unemployed, and over burdened U.S. taxpayers being billed for these failed trade agreements!  Victims against victims.  Pretty clever maneuvering.  The top few % responsible for this global plunder are out of sight.  This can’t be identified for what it really is – class warfare.  The few are benefiting obscenely at the expense of the multitudes.  The media (corporate owned) blames this discontent on those not willing to do the work of immigrants or on unions.  Hey, the bigger the lie, the more believable.

    Immigrants are not only (as the media presents) out in the field picking lettuce or beans.  They are standing on street corners all over the nation; being hired on by unscrupulous contractors; for roofing, brick laying, concrete work, construction, etc.  At the end of the day (week) many hired on in this manner, find themselves without pay, or working for slave wages.  If they are injured on the job, that’s their tough luck.  Non-union jobs result in coal miners left underground (Utah), and are not about environmental or safety issues.  This is the face of your new global plantation.  An indentured slave work force.

    Once upon a time, in Old America, there was pride in the workmanship of American Made.  Small town America flourished with manufacturing, tool and die shops, sheet metal, appliance companies, paper mills, steel mills, mining machinery plants etc.  The police did not carry electrocution devices (tasers) nor did we have Ninja troops, breaking down doors, killing innocent citizens, in some ill-founded drug bust.  Meantime, our southern border has tons of drugs entering in unhindered!  The poppy fields of Afghanistan are booming.  What drug war?

    Once upon a time in Old America, the doctor would come to your house.  The President didn’t advise those in need of health care to sit in an emergency room for hours.  A hospital bill didn’t bankrupt a family.  Medicines were affordable.  Children didn’t die of an abscessed tooth because a dentist demanded cash.

    Small town America had downtown streets bustling with hometown businesses.  Wal-Mart with its poison junk from China was not the largest employer in the nation.  The elderly didn’t need to apply for jobs, bagging groceries or as Home Depot Associates to make ends meet.  Schools were not centers of social engineering, teaching alternative life styles, or the intricacies of putting a condom on a banana!  Children were permitted the joy of being a child and not arrested for zero tolerance schemes, thought up by some mindless educators in Washington.  A compliant, obedient, passive workforce needs early intervention and training in obedience.  Group Think is in – individual genius, exuberance and creativity needs drugged.  It takes a village to raise an mindless idiot.

    Once upon a time in Old America a man working in a mill, or auto plant etc, could see his son becoming an engineer, a doctor, or scientist.  Today’s child has his/her career being mapped out in school by social engineers.  College costs are out of sight, with various grants and loans being eliminated.  Youngsters no longer works at paper routes, or at odd jobs.  These are being done by unemployed parents or immigrants.  Those being prepared for a world of Forever War – or placement in the local Wigget factory; don’t need math skills, spelling, or reading abilities.  Thus many graduating today, can’t do simple math (watch what happens when the computers go down in a store), read a newspaper, or discuss a work of literature.  Many have no idea of our history, and think the civil war was the Watts Riots.  Try asking your fourth grader to look up a word in the dictionary or write a short story. 

    The fault of this rests with parents/citizens – who have allowed this madness of indoctrinating their children into stupidity.  Teachers (change agents) are only interested in a paycheck or retirement benefits.  They are not about to rock the boat.  Citizens on the other hand, without a murmur, have their children prescribed mind-altering drugs, without the least bit of research!  Because some bovine drone threatens them – they bleat and obey.  Would that we had some ‘zero tolerance’ addressing the corruption in Foggy Bottom – or in the robbery of war, with billions gone missing.  Meantime, the offspring of the moneyed/well connected, receive the best of private school educations – to prepare them for their secure positions of future hucksters – industry hacks etc.

    Once upon a time in Old America, there was no danger stranger, Amber Alerts, or daily fear advertisements.  True we had Duck and Cover, a silly ass routine of Bert the Turtle, advising us to duck under a desk, to avoid the aftermath of an Atomic Bomb.  At age six, I had enough sense to see the lunacy in this, and received a monthly ‘unsatisfactory’ in deportment, because I wouldn’t participate in acting the fool.  Today I imagine I’d be arrested.

    Once upon a time in Old America, the streets and parks were alive with the laughter of children at play.  Small town America had its fireworks, parades, carnivals, swimming hole, family picnics, concerts in the park, fishing, building forts etc.  Today the streets are silent and echoing on a summer’s eve.  Video games and mindless TV programming have created a generation of lumpkins.  Except in a rare instance, I don’t recall a classroom filled with doughy – dullard overweight children.  But then we had no fast food restaurants, or additive saturated foods, when I was growing up.  To this day, I have never eaten (WHY?) at a McSlop fast food joint.

    Citizens today have been propagandized and programmed to enslaved consumerism.  I can’t imagine that my parents would have paid hundreds of dollars for sneakers, or designer clothing, so that I could fit in with the other kids at school.  ‘TV was my teacher far into the night – it taught me to buy everything within sight’ – this is today’s mantra.  Imagine robbing your children, by sitting them down in front of something called Sponge Bob (or whatever) or violent video games?

    We are for the most part kept ill informed as to the true state of our nation.  Millions are losing their jobs and homes.  One state or region has no idea of what is occurring elsewhere.  Detroit looks like Beirut – with its downtown echoing with abandoned hotels, train stations, and rusted auto plants.  The steel mills and textile plants of Middle America – the South  (never modernized), were allowed to rust into oblivion – with few realizing the implications.  In times of crisis, we could never prepare for war. 

  • Rust Belt in Ohio.  Appalachian Coalfields.

    Once upon a time in Old America, there were real grandmas with aprons and flowered dresses.  Women didn’t feel the need to resort (TV conditioning) to liposuction, face-lifts, breast implants etc.  Our votes weren’t hijacked by computers with no paper trail.  True, there have always been the robber barons exploiting the workers, shooting down strikers (looking for a decent wage), and crooked politicians, only too willing to  sell out their constituents.  The difference today is that these robber barons and corporate hucksters; hold the most strategic positions in government (from the Defense Dept to the regulatory agencies).  Lobbyists for industry now determine legislation.  Government  (politicians) for the most part, are nothing more than props.  No matter the party in power, one can observe, that they are about feathering their own nests, serving their corporate owners, or holding tedious hearings, that result in nothing but filling time.  Anything done for the citizen is by pure accident.

    And now in the New America we can see that our infrastructure, utilities, water, and vast holdings of real estate are being sold out to foreign interests.  Rest assured, that all these supposed protected areas (parks – timber – minerals – grasslands – etc) are mere collateral for our massive debt.  I suspect, that under the guise of paperless ID, we will next be ordered to be chipped (much like pets).  In the days of slavery, this was called branding – the chip is merely updated branding.  One must keep track of one’s human resources on a plantation.

    “Ship is sinking
    The ship is sinking
    The ship is sinking

    Digging up the dead, with a shovel and pick
    It’s a job; it’s a job
    Bloody moon rising with a plague and a flood
    Join the mob; join the mob
    It’s all over; it’s all over

    God’s away, God’s away
    God’s away on business, business”

    God’s Away On Business -Tom Waits

  • Larry Craig; Gay Issues, Hypocrisy, Out of the Closet, Into Romney Campaign

    Barney and Bill on Larry Craig and Gay Republicans

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    Tonight, word leaks out Senator Larry Craig was arrested in June 2007.  Today, this married man pled guilty to crimes unthinkable to such a staunch Conservative.  Tales of duplicity abound.  In this moment, we are focused more on this man and his drama than we are on the many deceitful accounts that fill the halls of Congress. I question why.  Is being Gay a crime.  “Solicitation” may be considered illegal.  However, when two consenting adults seek sexual gratification for love or money is that truly immoral?  Might we ponder what unethical, extraordinary, and cruel actions we accept into our lives each and every day, particularly from those that supposedly represent us?

    During an eventful afternoon, a report was released.  Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom.  Stories were spun, and explanations mounted.  Just as he had in October 2006, Idaho Senator Larry Craig Denies Allegations of Same-Sex Affairs. 

    Talk of the how members of Congress ignore the doings in the Justice Department for so long faded.  Conversation about how Congress allowed for the resignation of the embattled Attorney General Gonzales rather than impeach the man of questionable ethics subsided.  Spy stories may be sensational.  However, they are nothing in contrast to sex. 

    As this scandal unfolded, few contemplated the irony in Iowa.  Presidential candidates, fully insured, spoke of their health care proposals and avoided mention of the Pharmaceutical companies that back their campaign.

    Words of war moved off the stage temporarily.  No matter.  Even when we chat about this dynamic, Americans do not struggle with what might be considered immoral.  The Representatives that say they want an end to combat, were placed in their Congressional offices after they promised to end the conflict, continue to fund the war efforts.

    Tête-à-tête as it pertains to the tiniest among us was hushed even before it began.  It is of no consequence that millions of children will go without health insurance coverage with thanks to the White House.  The Administration quietly imposed stipulations on the State Children’s’ Health Insurance Program [SCHIP]  that severely restrict eligibility; yet, few speak of this.  Why should they?  Tens of millions more adults have been without the benefits of health care for, oh, so very long.  Americans have been without adequate care since before their babies were born.

    Chatter of all these concerns fell silent.  In cyberspace, throughout the airwaves, and on street corners was America  discussed, and likely will continue to discuss days from now, sex.  The flame of flirtation fills the every avenue today as it did in October 2006.  It is hot, happening, and when mixed with politics, a hazard.

    Then, the Mark Foley scandal brought the issue of Gay Republicans to the forefront.  Bill Maher and Senator Barney Frank discussed the disclosure; Senator Larry Craig was among those thought to be Gay.  The possibility was raised often and for years.  However, each time, Conservative Idaho Senator Craig denied the “accusation.”  For Craig the idea was considered an indictment.  He had long advocated against Gay rights and Gay marriage.  In 2004, and 2006, amendments to make Gay marriage legal were introduced on the senate floor.  Craig voted against these.  Nonetheless, suspicions remain.

    Months ago, Senator Frank indignantly spoke of this possibility.  For Barney Frank, Mark Foley, perhaps, Larry Craig, and all other Gay “Conservatives” that rail against homosexual rights are hypocrites.  The proud-to-be Gay Senator from Massachusetts discussed the depth of this issue.  The Massachusetts Senator noted, Republicans that would wish to ban Gay intercourse, at times, are closet Gays.  “Conservative” homosexuals that are out of the closet of confinement, Senator Frank believes, are truly charlatans.  He inquires how can you support a Party that is opposed to your lifestyle.

    Tonight, after Americans learned the Idaho Conservative was caught with his pants down, the titillating topic ignited again.  Sex sizzles, especially when people are caught in compromising entanglements.

    Once more we witness, no matter how many stories of import occur during the day, if we can be distracted by the dim lights of “doing it,” then we will be.  Larry Craig could have walked into a court room and plead guilty to another crime.  He might have lied about his finances.  He may have told tall tales regarding his voting record, and granted, these might have been mentioned on the Nightly News; however,  neither would have diverted attention as this yarn did. 

    Sex, with a touch of homosexuality, and a hint of controversy, a Conservative claims guilt, and innocence simultaneously . . . now that is a story.  That is entertainment!  An escapade, an escape, whatever it is this anecdote for much of the populace is better than the real news, which they think is often so depressing.

    Discussions of the Larry Craig crisis were visible in our living rooms.  Televisions broadcast the report and journalists offered commentary.  As we reflect we might consider, talk of homosexuality is omnipresent in most American homes daily.  Much of the population is Gay, or has a family member that declares him or herself homosexual.  In Seattle, 12.9 percent of the population is Gay or Bisexual.  In San Francisco, the numbers are higher.  The numbers vary as does conventional wisdom; nevertheless . . .

    9% of men between 18-59 in LA, NYC, Chicago and San Francisco self-identified as Gay or bisexual.  (Random study in The Social Organization of Sexuality, 1994)

    Other estimates: 10% of population (Kinsey, 1948); 2.8% of men, 1.4% of women.  (Univ. of Chicago survey, 1994, and national random surveys in England and France)

    An estimated 6-14 million children in the U.S. live in Gay or lesbian headed households.  (Harvard Law Review, 1990)

    3-10% of teens in America are Gay or lesbian.  (TIME Magazine, December 8, 1997)

    Senator Larry Craig does and does not deny to state he is a homosexual; it depends on the day, the time, and circumstances.

    Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom. 

    By John McArdle,
    Roll Call
    Monday, August 27, 2007; 4:48 pm

    Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

    Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court.  He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed.  He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.

    A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.

    After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report.  At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?” the report states.

    Craig was detained for approximately 45 minutes, interviewed, photographed, fingerprinted and released, and police prepared a formal complaint for interference with privacy and disorderly conduct.

    Tonight, as reports are being broadcast throughout America, the earlier dialogue between Bill Maher and Senator Barney Franks seems more apt. 

    As the evening wears on, we hear Senator Craig now vacillates.  The public ponders.  Senator Craig proclaims either he or the officer misunderstood.  The Idaho representative returns to a stance he embraced earlier, and for more than a score, denial.  As we read, listen, and consider all the angles, we might realize, perhaps, the point is moot.  Hypocrisy may be the more viable issue.

    Senator Craig withdraws from Romney campaign role
    Political Intelligence
    The Boston Globe
    August 27, 2007

    US Senator Larry Craig resigned tonight as Senate co-chairman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, within hours after news broke of Craig’s guilty plea to disorderly conduct after an incident in a men’s bathroom.

    “Senator Craig has stepped down from his role with the campaign.  He did not want to be a distraction and we accept his decision,” Romney’s campaign said in a statement.

    The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported today that Craig pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge of disorderly conduct after he was arrested in June at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public bathroom.

    Craig denied any “inappropriate conduct” and said his actions had been misconstrued.

    Senator Craig, prior to today’s revelation played a prominent role in the campaign of Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney.  Romney, arguably, the most traditional of the Republican candidates recognized the threat of this situation.  The candidate known for his pious pronouncements reacted quickly.  Romney recognized his choice of Craig as credible representative might damage his image among those that think homosexuality immoral.  The outspoken former Massachusetts Governor fears memories may be long.  His own words might haunt him.

    In February, Romney announced that Craig of Idaho and Robert Bennett of Utah would serve as co-Senate liaisons.

    “Both men have a unique perspective of the new generation of challenges confronting our nation,” Romney said in the statement announcing their roles.  “I look forward to working with them to find the solutions needed to ensure that our country remains a strong world leader.”

    In May, Romney’s campaign announced that Craig would be co-chairman of the Romney for President Idaho Leadership Team.

    “Our government is in need of a proven leader like Governor Romney, who will put in place benchmarks and streamline our government using proven conservative principles,” Craig said in the Romney campaign’s statement.  “His message is resonating with voters and I’m looking forward to helping him on his way to winning the Republican nomination.”

    Perchance, Craig thought his restroom entanglement might benefit the Romney crusade.  It certainly will advance discussion, one that for too long has been hidden, even by Larry Craig himself.

    1982 Larry Craig denial, 1982

    Today, might we consider there are other duplicitous dynamics amongst Senators, Congressmen and women, and Presidential hopefuls that affect us all.  Health care is an interesting subject.  What Senator or Congressperson has been without health insurance as 44 million Americans are?  How many work for minimum wage or think they could survive on such a stipend?  Are any of our representatives going off to fight on the frontlines; yet, they continue to sponsor the combat that kills thousands of average Americans, and innocent Iraqis.  Let us truly talk of treacherous trickery, dishonesty, and deceit.  We need not go to the bedroom or bathroom to find fraud and deception.

    Sex, The Scandal, Substance, and Sources . . .

  • Idaho Senator Larry Craig Denies Allegations of Same-Sex Affairs. By Jill Kuraitis.  NewWest, Boise. October 17, 2006
  • Administration Paper Defends Spy Program, Detailed Argument Cites War Powers.  By Carol D. Leonnig.  Washington Post. Friday, January 20, 2006; Page A01
  • pdf Administration Paper Defends Spy Program, Detailed Argument Cites War Powers.  By Carol D. Leonnig.  Washington Post. Friday, January 20, 2006; Page A01
  • New Bush Policies Limit Reach of Child Insurance Plan, By Christopher Lee.  Washington Post. Tuesday, August 21, 2007; Page A04
  • pdf New Bush Policies Limit Reach of Child Insurance Plan, By Christopher Lee.  Washington Post. Tuesday, August 21, 2007; Page A04
  • Edwards knocks Clinton for taking money from health care lobby. Cable News Network. August 27, 2007
  • Northwest senators divided on Gay marriage, By Matthew Daly.  The Associated Press.  Seattle Times. June 7, 2006
  • Senator Craig withdraws from Romney campaign role.  Political Intelligence.  The Boston Globe.  August 27, 2007
  • 12.9% in Seattle are Gay or bisexual, second only to S.F., study says, By Lornet Turnbull.  Seattle Times.  November 16, 2006