Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Yes, it's a rant

Once upon a time I said if you want to stick your head in the sand, it's okay. I don't feel that way anymore. I get it that it's upsetting to think about what's going on. I get it that the country is divided in half on a lot of issues like health care. The thing is,  I think it's becoming increasingly obvious that none of us can hide from it.

You know the ones who worked to fight for women's right to own property, to vote, to use birth control, and to have an abortion, they didn't stick their heads in the sand, or we'd not have had the opportunities we have had.

When something happens like the GOP budget, the one recently promoted by Paul Ryan and applauded by Mitt Romney, the one that would further lower taxes for the wealthiest, in a time when their wealth is growing exponentially, a bill that would further take from the poor and the old, when that happens, it's not an accident. It's not like the Republicans come up with this stuff by themselves.

When you hear Romney say as he did on a recent video that he can't give the details of what his plan would be because he wouldn't be elected, leftie or rightie, you need to be thinking long and hard what that means.

In Washington there are today 13,700 registered lobbyists with a lot more doing the work, as Gingrich was, without being officially regarded as lobbyists. They hand, to the various leaders, what they expect to have done. They virtually write laws. They want more money for themselves and their corporate masters. They don't really care much about anybody else. There are ways they convince the weak to either not resist and even to agree. It's rather insidious actually. And once again I want to know-- how much is enough?

Groups like ALEC  call themselves non-profit charitable organizations and yet all they do is politically lobby and demand from the political leaders the things they want. Their organization gets tax free advantages for its donors.  You cannot donate directly to any candidate for president and get a dime in deductions, but you can these PACs. The thing is no group who only has political goals should be considered tax-deductible but these groups have been.

They lobby for things like denying global warming, teaching creationism or getting rid of public education, tax breaks for business, lessening environmental standards, etc. They have a widespread network of pundits like Rush Limbaugh who benefit from their largesse through advertising dollars. And who is the sucker here? People who don't get informed or pay attention because being ignorant won't protect anybody including themselves.

One might ask why the people behind these groups, the ones who make their huge profits off the sweat of other people, why are they so pro-religion. They certainly do not live their lives like any follower of Christ. They are the very ones he spoke out against. But they use religion as a way to keep the masses placid and submissive.

Many of us have likely never heard of ALEC. Farm Boss had, but I hadn't until I was listening to one of my favorite leftie radio programs, and they brought out what ALEC works to do.

To understand better myself, I found just a few of the many sites on it:  ALEC Exposed, American Legislative Exchange Council and The Nation-- ALEC Exposed. That last one has a lot more links in it.

Now righties might think this is all good. It's working for our goals. Do not kid yourself as what these people want is always less power for the majority and more power for themselves. The talk is that you can manage your money better than the government. Tell me how do you build a freeway that way? Maintain a library? Manage public safety? Make sure your food is safe?

ALEC doesn't care. It's about less power for you because as an individual you cannot do much about things like poor food safety regulations. Groups like ALEC have worked to demonize unions and government because that is the collective will of the people. Until we join together with others, we do not have power which keeps the rich ruling as they did in the time of serfs and peons. For some that was an ideal way of life. Not for the average person.

This legalizing what is unimaginable (like hunting down and killing an unarmed boy), like taking away civil rights, breaking promises, the legal assault on the rights and even bodies of women, it is happening everywhere-- on a local, state and federal level. It's not by chance.

The only thing I can think of what is behind the kind of budget Paul Ryan has so proudly put forth, and Romney says he supports, is its benefit the extremely wealthy and the big corporate interests. Less regulations on banks, on your investments and more chance for them to get your money.

These bills are often nearly written by lobbyists (lobbyists whose numbers have grown exponentially), and this system of big money has provided the fuel for legal assaults everyplace they can possibly take away rights or get more money for themselves.

Frankly it's scary for our children and grandchildren's future. And it should be. I've read propositions to give Congress more staff so they are less dependent on lobbyists for their positions and information. I doubt that will help. They will just have that staff coming from these groups who are going after the average Americans on every level. Congress wants the money and benefits they get from lobbyists.

In our country, it has all reached a point where it's all about 'me' and I owe nothing to anybody-- except maybe to send a military force overseas and fight wars where we aren't wanted and can't really win because the battle is for the hearts of a people-- and you don't win those by killings.

The answer for this has to start with lobbyists, groups like ALEC, who are taking advantage of laws for charities when they are anything but charitable.  Groups that have gained even more power through their Supreme Court Justices, and you can bet this assault on the poor, on the old, on the weak, is not over. What these groups, and ALEC isn't the only one, want soon becomes the American agenda for those like Paul Ryan, Ron Wyden, Eric Cantor and all who want more power and have hopes for future positions with those firms.

IRS is considering the tax free status these groups get because it isn't for those groups who only serve political roles. Wonder how far that attempt will get and if it did, would it be overridden by the unelected Supreme Court Justices?

This next election is critical for the Supreme Court with their ability to unwrite laws Congress and the President have passed.  It is as though the real ruling power in this country is that Court who are accountable to no one. They can say the Constitution means whatever they say it does-- and that includes making a corporation have the legal rights of an individual citizen. That doesn't mean the people who own the corporations. They already had that right. Now their organization is a person and it has enabled this total abdication of any accountability for the money that can go into those PACs.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she is retiring during the next term.  Think for a minute about Romney appointing more Scalias, Alitos, Thomases, and Roberts. If that doesn't inspire us to donate to the Obama campaign (and the ones in Congress), we are kidding ourselves that elections don't matter.

The problem is how do you stop it? Romney is buying his election but considering who he is running against, you wouldn't think it would have taken as much money as it has to do that.

If we want to make sure all citizens can receive health care, if we want to end the insurance monopoly on who gets health care in this country, then we have to support as much as we can true progressives. It's not enough to support those who call themselves Democrats-- look at Ben Nelson. Study their positions and I think donate outside our own states. The Senate matters to us all and we need 60 real votes there with regaining control of the House, and Obama as president.

IF you must vote for a conservative, make sure it's really a conservative. What is passing for conservative today is as bad as what is passing for Christian. If you truly believe it's conservative to pass more tax breaks for the richest, then you are looking for manna from heaven, and it ain't falling, baby!

We could get single payer and end insurance company control for who gets care, as well as lower our costs. I get it that politicians on the left haven't wanted to lose their golden goose either, but we can push for what we want if we pay attention and apply pressure. We need people to run for office who  care about the old, the sick, the real future of our country, those who care about fairness, economic justice, and the future of the middle class.

For anyone who says it is already too late and only a revolution will fix it, I can only say you don't get it. This system is there, and it can still be fixed, but it won't happen without a concerted effort of Americans. Quit dumbing ourselves down and get informed as to what is going on and what our candidate for office has done or says they will do about it.  Volunteer, donate and vote!


joared said...

I couldn't agree more that there are critical issues at stake for our nation and each of us, individually, in significant ways.

Why some people choose to not take an interest and act, each in their own way, on all these issues is beyond me. I hope some of them will read what you've written.

I think family discussion of issues and a child having their thoughts respected may help set the stage for interest when they become adults. Maybe a lot of people don't have that experience.
Also, we studied civics when I was in Jr. High and don't know if they still do that.

Politics and government was discussed in my household which I can remember from the time I was a little child. Differences in view points were welcomed. In fact, as I became older, my brother often became a devils advocate just to stimulate my passions. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed debate in college when one hour we'd argue one point of view and the next hour have to argue the opposite one. Does help formulate a position and show the way for possible compromises.

Rain Trueax said...

My family sounds like yours, Joared. I also wonder if it's the family that starts one to caring. Since I grew up where politics were discussed and with grandparents as well. Where things like racial issues, importance of voting, political issues including abortion were discussed. Voting wasn't an option but a right and my kids got registered as soon as they turned 18.

Both of my kids are politically very aware and involved.They registered to vote as soon as they turned 18. And they married political astute people. We might not all agree, and we don't, but we care and we talk about it a lot. Often in shock at what is going on but we talk about it. Their kids hence are also growing up in politically aware homes.

Someone who didn't start out that way can change it right now. And hopefully they will as the changes happening now could take away a lot of rights as they try to make it harder for minorities, the poor and old to vote through changing registration laws. They say they do it because of massive voter fraud. It turns out there has been maybe three prosecuted cases of such. Most of such talk is scare talk to actually stop the voting from those they do not think will vote with them.

However they believe, people need to vote. It's a law in Australia as part of your civic duty and with a fine if you don't do it.

Taradharma said...

I remember my high school social studies teacher pounding it in to us that as citizens we must be engaged, we must vote, we must use our critical minds if we are to have a working democracy. It is easy to disengage, the national conversation is reduced to absurdities and instead of digging deeper, we just walk away. A perfect storm for fascism.

Bill Moyers has a recent good bit on how to get involved and stay engaged. He is a breath of fresh air.

Rain Trueax said...

Pink Slime Economics

Rain Trueax said...

A lot of righties express fear of the overreach of the White House. I fear as much the overreach of local government and now that has been condoned by the Supreme Court-- Strip searched for what reason?

Really, you think there is no racism in play here with police and in one case after another. I have a blog coming on this, but it really disturbs me and should us all.

Kay Dennison said...

Thank you!!!!! I've felt the same way for a long, long time as you well know. And as soon as I heal a bit better, I'll be working for the Democratic Party to keep the good guys and send the sleazebags packing!!!!

Ingineer66 said...

I always said a solution to the political mess in Sacramento would be an AK-47 and 2 clips. But 13,000 lobbyists might make that one a little tough.

Rain Trueax said...

Only because I know you are joking did I post that ingineer, but these days it's not very funny because so many people do think it's a solution. :( The latest of the man who killed all the young women in Oakland is just another example-- he was bullied. The evil out there just seems to be escalating and many feel they are justified by anything that offended them.

Ingineer66 said...

People need to get a thicker skin. We have turned into a bunch of wussies.

Rain Trueax said...

I beg to differ. I think we just have seen too much where someone says what you did as a joke except they mean it and do it. It takes a lot these days to ignore anything that sounds like a threat. If you know the person,you take it differently than when you do not. Just think about all that has happened and still is.

And where it comes to racism, I can even more see why they don't see the humor. My blog tomorrow will be addressing that. :(

Ingineer66 said...

That is not what I meant. I mean the people that act out violently because they were teased or picked on need to toughen up. That and a lot of people that you see whining on TV about this and that need to get a life. Racism, and I mean real racism or violent threats should not be tolerated at all. I guess it is a fine line sometimes.

Rain Trueax said...

Oh okay, I misunderstood and totally agree. I am not sure it helps when they try to make excuses for such slayings based on bullying. When haven't people bullied each other? Mostly people just figured a good life was the best revenge. The last killings in Oakland made me want to string that guy up right away (I know violent talk ;). But he ripped out the lives of those beautiful girls and because somebody else made fun of his accent. That was infuriating that he'd say it or others would excuse it even in the tiniest way. Yes, bullying is bad but it's not an excuse for a violent retaliation-- not even a tiny one. It seems lately violence is the first choice for a lot of angry people and that's a tragedy for us as a people and not just the victims