Musings on politics and popular culture
Dear Bernie, Just to let you know you're still #1 in the hearts of all rads down here in south Florida (both of us). But I'm sorry to tell you that Prez O'Bomber didn't hear your totally excellent speech. He was busy conferring with Dubya on Libya.
Thanks, Karen, for bringing the Bernie Sanders speech forward. I would probably never have read it otherwise. It's a masterful summation and an indictment of the crooks and frauds leading the country to ruin.. I intend to pass it around to as many relatives and friends as I can, maybe after highlighting passages for those who can't read it all. In his speech Senator Sanders quoted an economist who said this:"There’s talk that we have a president who’s a Democrat — the party that created the American social contract of the 20th century. Initially, he focused on reshaping and extending that contract into the 21st. Now that the Republicans want to repeal it all, he’s nowhere to be found. Has anybody seen him? Does he still exist?"There you have it. The Lesser of Two Evils is among the disappeared, having become even lesser and lesser with each new crisis neglected.But I still went over to the Senator's site to add my name to his prepared letter to the President. How can any decent person read this speech, packed with substance and reason, and still continue to support the Republican / Blue Dog camp? Or shrug? Or trust in the Invisible One?
Well "folks," welcome to Disaster Capitalism! Well documented in Naomi Klein's book "Shock Doctrine," necessary reading for every thinking American.I do believe that democratic socialism is the only course possible to save the middle class in our country and avoid complete economic collapse. Once someone (i.e., Obama) becomes a moneyed elitist, there is almost no hope left for him. There is a little implant in every millionaire's brain that renders the possessor hopeless and tantalized by greed. Sad, but true.I am glad Bernie Sanders is not rich. And that he reads his mail. I wish Obama were not rich and would read HIS mail. Wish not granted!
I found this speech totally depressing. Bernie really laid out just how bad things are in our country and how the deck is stacked against ordinary Americans. Well, we can assume Obama won't do anything to help. Of course, I'll write my letter, but TLOTE doesn't care what we think. The Spineless Wonder will do what he always does, take the side of the corporations and the bankers, giving his Progressive base one more kick in the ribs. I will forward this speech on to my Democratic friends who still care. More and more of them have just given up and are focusing on organic gardening or local charity work. They do what they can to make their little corner of the world a little better and have given up on politics. I am beginning to understand how they feel. Another one of my lovely friends, a former principal who opened a tea shop, will lose her business. She wasn't trying to make money - just break even and put a little aside for the slower months. Her landlord is kicking her out (one month's notice) because he has found someone who will pay more rent. No thought to what the tea shop means to the community - no thought to my friend. It's just business. Isn't that just great!
I have always supported Bernie (send him money every campaign cycle), ever since he was a Socialist Representative. But have any of you read the bile that the other side lets loose on him? He is not universally loved and does not carry the clout that you and I would like. We need to grow our numbers. Wisconsin went from blue to red because of people who despise Bernie Sanders and everything he stands for. They don't "believe" the numbers he reports. They don't care about hunger and poverty because they "believe" that those affected are simply a bunch of lazy, good-for-nothing, mostly minorities, who avoid any type of personal responsibility and leech off the "system". Progressive words about the plight of suffering people fall on deaf ears in right wing world.The only practical thing I see is to re-elect Obama and hope to hell he will have an opportunity to appoint at least one more Supreme. Then maybe we can start to turn around on things like Citizens United and then start to return elections to the people. Meanwhile, I have pretty much joined those who garden and do what they can locally to improve things for those who suffer the most. I am quite self-sufficient, which is oddly enough, a rather conservative attitude.
I remember Bernie Sanders from when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He turned that city, on the shore of Lake Champlain, completely around. He saved it. He ran as a socialist (democratic) then.I signed his letter to the president (thanks to Constant Weader for the link) and I hope all of you out there do too. Also, support your local food banks as much as you can.
Thank you, Karen, because in fact I did miss Senator Sanders speech.I'm printing it out, putting it in my fireproof safe, and marking the envelope, "To be read when I reach 65." Because I know, at 54, that if and when I reach that august age and find myself unable to afford meaningful health care or without any safety net at all, I will ask myself why, my memory likely having ceded to so many more mundane cares. So, I'll open the envelope, and read, and remember what it was like in 2011, when Senator Sander's lone voice rose up to remind us how we got to this sorry place. And if I have any left in me, I will weep, for myself, for my wife, for my country.
While we're waiting for the big tipping point when enough people say "Enough" and mobilize in earnest, the best we can and should do now, to take Janet's advice, is live our individual lives as best we can. Have you ever noticed the less well-off are the first to jump in and help our neighbors and communities? The sooner we can overcome our class differences (middle class vs. working class, working class vs. welfare families, public sector vs. private sector) and realize how much we are all being screwed by the top one or two percent, the more solidarity we can find. Right now, we are too fragmented as a society to react in any other way than stunned paralysis.
I live in the Green Mountain State, and have always supported Bernie Saunders.But, I have to say, I was disappointed in his lack of response to questions about the State of Vermont being used as a 'tax haven' for insurance companies.Apparently, for more than a decade, Vermont has been on a par with offshore tax havens, like the Cayman Islands.Bernie Saunders sends out a regular publication, Bernie's Buzz. He invites emails from his constituents. A number of people were concerned when the story about Vermont's unlikely role, as an 'onshore' tax haven, broke.To date, Bernie Saunders has not responded to any queries about his views on this issue.I take his silence to indicate 'acquiescence'.
Thanks Karen. You always put it better than I. One of the things I am doing locally the next couple of weeks is lots of phone banking (much as I dislike it) for the recall elections. They are my ray of hope that the tide is turning.
Today the New York Times invited us to engage Daniel Callahan (President Emeritus of the Hastings Center) in a dialog on the future of Medicare. That seems reasonable, but the letter they printed from Mr. Hastings began with an outright lie. Mr. Hastings stated, "a sustainable financial future for Medicare will require a sharp cut in benefits."I sent a response to the Times, but had to couch it in language that was far more measured than I wanted it to be in order to keep the hope alive that my response might actually be printed. How does one engage in a meaningful dialog with someone who starts by baldly asserting something that just isn't true? Instead of slashing benefits, Medicare can also be made sustainable by providing it with more money. This is the preferable solution for a host of reasons.First, Medicare is less expensive than private insurance. Cutting benefits will end up raising medical care costs for seniors. Second, while the cost of Medicare is increasing, it is increasing at a slower rate than private insurance. Third, Medicare costs less than private insurance despite the fact that Medicare is insuring the most expensive segment of the population to cover.The solution is obvious to anyone who has either an ounce of sense or isn't working for the insurance industry (or taking their campaign cash): ALLOW ANYONE WHO WANTS TO ENROLL IN MEDICARE. Doing so would immediately lower the amount of money Americans spend on health care each year while also dramatically lowering the rate of increase in costs. It would also infuse a tremendous amount of cash into the program from people who are far less expensive to insure than seniors, thereby saving the program money.But Mr. Callahan - and by extension The Times - prefer to frame the terms of the debate in ways that make it impossible to consider any such solution. He asserts as given that massive cuts in benefits are necessary when, in fact, it isn't a given at all. Further, he calls this sharp cut in benefits "a sustainable financial future for Medicare."Well, it may be a sustainable financial future for something, but it ain't Medicare. Sharp cuts in benefits will necessarily place the onus for finding insurance on to seniors. This, of course, will destroy precisely what Medicare was meant to provide.This distortion of the debate is one of the major reasons why we won't ever reach a reasonable solution to our problems. Why, for instance, are we not talking about raising taxes? Tax rates are at historical lows and our government is starved for cash. Why are we not talking about cutting military spending when we spend as much on our military as the rest of the nations of the world do, combined? Why are these two things sacrosanct? Why, as I wrote earlier, can we not understand that guaranteeing basic rights to undocumented workers raise living standards for all, not to mention tax revenue? I agree, Karen, that we're all still waiting for that big tipping point. But I have to wonder. If what we've seen in the last decade and a half isn't enough to turn everything over, what will be?
Bachman/ palin 2012 'cause a swift knife strike in the neck is faster than a death by a thousand cuts.
Janet,Try to catch This American Life (7/1). Second part is on Wisconsin divisions. You can probably get it on NPR streaming on Sunday.NedP.S. I thought it was a joke, too.
So, right, Lafayette! If a person spends more on his or her health care in the last six months of life, it would make sense to add many, many people to the same insurance plan who are not that age to balance out the finances. The truth is, they don't WANT to make Medicare financially viable. As long as they can say Medicare is going broke, they have a reason to tear it down. And, Kate, totally agree with you - Democratic Socialism is the only thing that will save our country. I have been referring to myself as a socialist for twenty years. It never ceases to amaze me how misunderstood socialism is. I have said over and over again, our schools haven't failed to teach our kids about science and math, they have failed to teach them about different political philosophies and economics.
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