Keeping the Social Contract

Social_contract

by Jerry Greenspan

1/29/13

When you look down on the broken

Are you surprised that no praise

Is offered up for your continued acceptance

Of their use of free emergency care?

 

Is it the certainty that the hungry

Waste their food stamps on specialty desserts,

From your local Whole Foods,

That causes you to oppose free food for the needy?

 

Does the need for an open, honest election

Prompt you to require personal identification

From people unable to meet the requirement

Within the narrow bounds you would allow?

 

Was the prosperity of the 1990’s

Insufficient for your growing “needs”,

Requiring a furtherance of the already

Disproportionate tax burden borne by others?

 

Why do you view the social contract,

That ushered in the greatness of America,

A greatness that might be shared by all the people,

An unacceptable weight after 75 years?

 

When did immigrants ,

A keystone of our continued strength,

Become so terrible a load,

That you wish to refuse them entry?

 

How is it you did not hesitate to call for war

When rumor of potential weapons,

That we consider essential,

Are believed soon to be available to others?

 

Have you become so fixed

In your universe

That you oppose any rule,

That strikes a note of charity or understanding?

Is Obama to Blame for Gas Prices?

The hypocrisy of the Conservatives never fails to amaze me and the hypocrisy of blaming President Obama for rising gas prices is no exception!

Gas price under bush went to $4.21 a gallon and was over $3.00 a gallon most of his last term in office.

The only reason gas was at $1.85 when President Obama took office is because of the economic crash which greatly reduced demand and the crash effected all countries not just the US. Gas prices rise with demand and as the economy has improved it is completely normal for gas prices to increase as more businesses use fuel for deliveries, more trucks on the road, more people traveling, and more people driving to work.

So our rising gas price is actually an indicator that the economy is recovering.

We also see a spike when the Libya UN action happened and now with Iran and Israel in a standoff an Syria effecting the region we are seeing another spike as speculators are betting on a war.

Anyone that tries to blame president Obama for higher gas prices is a fool and drilling more oil would not lower the price because we do not have a shortage and oil drilling has quadrupled in the last 4 years and the US is now a net exporter of oil.

So ignore the talking heads and fear monger Conservatives and complain all you want about higher gas prices but don’t blame President Obama!

The Green Lantern theory of the fiscal cliff

by Ezra Klien – The Washington Post

My friend Matt Yglesias used to talk about the Green Lantern Theory of foreign policy, which held that the only thing holding the United States back from achieving its international goals — be they a democratic Iraq or a submissive China — was our lack of will.

{J.D. Hancock/FLickr/Creative Commons)

There’s a related school of thought when it comes to U.S. politics, in which the only thing holding back the president is his willingness to adopt a sufficiently stern tone with the other side, whoever they might be. Sen. John McCain articulated a version of this theory in 2006, when he said, ”One of the things I would do if I were president would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, ‘Stop the bulls–t.”

It’s even more common in domestic politics, where pundits of all stripes think that what’s standing between President Obama and, say, a public option is a willingness to yell at people. Brendan Nyhan rounds up a few examples of this school of thought here.

The Green Lantern theory typically fails because the U.S. system of government is set up so that there’s very little the president can do absent congressional cooperation. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a version of the Green Lantern theory that actually makes some sense. As he notes, if Obama is reelected, he’s in a very unusual, and very strong, negotiating position:

In terms of the tax code, Bloomberg believes the answer is quite simple: Washington should just get on with passing a deficit reduction plan modeled on Bowles-Simpson. While he blamed both parties for the gridlock, the mayor insisted that Democrats “hold all the cards” when it comes to the fiscal cliff.

 

“They can just say to Republicans: ‘All the Bush tax cuts on all income groups are expiring on December 31. You need us to stop it. Now, do you want to talk about spending cuts, and adopting comprehensive tax reform with a lower corporate tax rate or not?’ ” Bloomberg said. “And if Republicans are serious about spurring growth, they’ll take the offer.”

To some degree, this would have to be coupled with an announced willingness to pass Simpson-Bowles, or something very much like it. For the politics of a play like this to work out, the Obama administration needs to be able to say, in effect, that it’s ready to compromise, and it’s up to the Republicans to come to the table. Rightly or wrongly, only Simpson-Bowles commands sufficient brand equity in the compromise space to make the message work. And given that the Obama administration is willing to accept less in taxes and less in defense cuts than Simpson-Bowles envisions should mean there’s a deal to be made.

But putting that aside, Bloomberg is right that the Obama administration holds the cards here, at least initially. It gets a bit more complicated a few months later when the clock strikes midnight on the debt ceiling again. At that point, Republicans have a gun to the economy’s head again, though whether public opinion permits them do that for a second time after they’ve spent two months refusing to agree to Simpson-Bowles is an open question.

Salute to the Best Labor Force in the World!

by Judith Bambace 

I love the dog days of summer, even if we don’t actually have hot, sultry weather here in Coronado. With my favorite season whizzing by, I began to think about the approaching September holiday – Labor Day — and its significance. For most Americans, Labor Day provides the opportunity for that last picnic or day at the beach, and it is the starting bell for the steeplechase of autumn. But in today’s political climate, we need to reflect on the origin and true meaning of this holiday, which is more relevant than ever.

Labor Day celebrates the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well- being of America. It originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters, when in the late 1800s, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. People of all ages, mostly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions. Labor unions grew more prominent and vocal, and they began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. The first Labor Day parade in U.S. history occurred on September 5, 1882, when 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. Twelve years later, railroad workers went on strike in Chicago to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives, leading to riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday.

History is, indeed, a great teacher. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.” It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today – the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare – and that helped build the largest middle class in history. It is disheartening that today, the middle class – the backbone of our economy – must fight harder and harder just to stay afloat.

Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor between 1886 and 1924, said it best: “What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better selves.” Now that’s a holiday worth celebrating.

The Democrat Next Door

by Judith Bambace 

Whenever I tell people about my involvement with the Coronado Democratic Club, I inevitably get the question, “Are there really Democrats in Coronado?” I am flabbergasted, not to mention highly insulted. After all, around 25% of registered voters in Coronado are Democrats, which is nothing to sneeze at in this seemingly ultra-conservative burgh. You may, like me, wonder where all these people are and why they are not more visible, outspoken and politically active, especially now. As we have learned from the Republican primaries, this is no ordinary election year. We not only have the Presidency at stake, but also the Senate to keep and the House to gain. There is much to do, and it’s not too soon to rally the forces.

Voter Suppression Must Stop!

It is clear that the Republicans, including the anti-government libertarians, anti- immigration activists, anti-healthcare proponents (deny women birth control coverage — really?) and anti-tax fanatics, are totally divorced from reality. The GOP candidates are spending huge amounts of time and money attacking President Obama. One of the actions you can take immediately to help support President Obama is to debunk Republicans’ claims and make sure others hear about what Democrats have accomplished. I recently signed up to be a member of the “Truth Team” – a web-based resource for grassroots supporters that provides everything you need to know and the tools to help share that information with undecided voters in your life. By learning about President Obama’s record and promises kept, I can intelligently respond to false and negative statements about the President, and challenge the Republicans’ lies about their own records. So the next time someone asks, “What has President Obama really accomplished?”, I will be armed with accurate information. I am a firm believer that knowledge is power. You can access the Truth Team website at http://my.barackobama.com/Truth-Team

Speaking of grassroots supporters, many thanks to those of you who have renewed your membership in the Coronado Democratic Club for 2012. You have a voice in the political process and are making a difference. To those who have not yet renewed, don’t delay. We need you. Collectively, we can hold the Republicans’ feet to the fire and keep this country moving forward. And the next time someone asks, “Where are all the Democrats in Coronado?” I’ll be able to answer, “We are everywhere.”

Fierce Urgency of Now- Get out the Vote!

by Judith Bambace 

With the blink of an eye, it’s 2012. I hope you have had a happy and healthy holiday season, and are looking forward to a new year of renewed hope and prosperity. 2011 was an amazing year in many ways. The Obama Administration made significant gains, in some cases by executive action. Although the Tea Party Congress is still intent on blocking President Obama’s agenda at all costs, the White House has overseen increased regulation of food and water safety; expanded federal aid for students, veterans and the elderly; and implemented the end of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. After a long year of dangerous standoffs led by extremist House members, the payroll tax cut was extended, saving millions of Americans from economic disaster. The Administration also deserves credit for some historic achievements on the international scene: nuclear arms reductions between the U.S. and Russia; the end of Moammar Gadhafi’s dictatorship in Libya; the capture of Osama bin Laden; and the end to U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

It’s been amusing (and in many ways horrifying) to watch the Republican Party implode as the candidates duke it out for the presidential nomination. Some Democrats say it would be a very Happy New Year for President Obama and Democratic candidates everywhere if Newt (with his ersatz intellect, goofy “Big” ideas, and less than stellar history) makes it through the primary gauntlet. Yet, we Democrats cannot get complacent or over-confident. President Obama has considerable challenges, and needs to evoke the “fierce urgency of now.” As we transition into election year, we must take this opportunity to do what Democrats do best by staying focused on the real issues at stake and working, in whatever way we can, to help make real change that will improve the lives of our fellow Americans. Wishing you a year filled with joy, love, peace, health and happiness.