Monday, February 21, 2011
I was so mad. Really mad. That was yesterday and I had just received the latest issue of Mother Jones magazine. (Smart. Fearless Journalism) They have a article titled 'Plutocracy Now' and in the article, at the beginning of the article, I found this…
"Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels studied the voting behavior of US Senators in the early 90's and discovered that they respond far more to the desires of high income groups than anyone else. By itself, that's not a surprise. He also found that Republicans don't respond at all to the desires of voters with moderate incomes. Maybe that not a surprise either. (it isn't) But this should be: Bartels found that Democratic Senators don't respond to the desires of these voters, either. At all."
Okay, I know that the study is almost twenty years old now. I would also be glad to bet that the behavior of the Senators has not changed. In fact, we're probably talking about the same Senators! They won't retire when they should and we're stuck with Senators that are stuck in the 20th century. That's another conversation altogether…
The article, which you should buy and read for yourself, goes on with another 6 or more pages of facts and figures that tell you just what kind of a government our inattention has brought us. For instance, we know or we have heard that there is a growing in equality in income…
The average income per family
The top 0.01% $27,342,212.
The top 0.01-0.1% $3,238,386
The top 1% $1,137,684
The top 1-10% $164647
The bottom 90%
The BOTTOM 90%. How do you support a family on $31,000? Don't they get it? Who did they vote for? Why are they on the bottom? Because of how they voted! Or didn't vote…(it makes me want to bang my head against the wall when I think of these facts)
These figures show so clearly that if the bottom 90% were paid decently and had decent benefits, they would be able to buy that new TV or a new car or – Gasp! – a new home. Henry Ford, bless his perverted fascist heart, knew that you had to pay labor if you wanted them to buy. Doh! Just think about the $$$billions that would flood into the economy if these families were paid…10% more? Okay, $3,100 per family in increased wages. That's a lot of buying power if millions of families start to shop again. More tax revenue! Millions more! Probably enough to revive the budget of any state
Before Reagan and his voodoo economics came into power (which one was Bonzo?) we had a decent economy because we had union labor buying into that economy. We could have that economy again if we would just rid ourselves of this current blood sucking government. We need new Senators and Congressmen. We need to vote!
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I've been reading the book, Yellow Dirt
by Judy Pasternak, the story of how the Navajo nation was exploited and abused because it was our nation's desire to have more uranium than any other nation on earth. And so we do. Tons and tons of it. Far more than we could ever conceivably use. They've done the math and the War Department has quietly stored it away; next to the mountain of $200 hammers that was ordered and never used. Okay, the hammer part isn't true. But it could be.
As I read about the cover-ups and outright lies by government agencies once it was discovered that mining uranium might be harmful to your health, (Duh!) I couldn't help but think that that was another time where Wikileaks was needed. But it hadn't been 'invented' yet. As one agency after another discovered what was happening to the health of the miner's and their families, they quietly put the files away and pretended that they had never seen them. Shameful! There are still some people that think that revealing those kinds of secrets is unpatriotic; those people should have to live in radioactive homes, drink radioactive water and breathe radioactive air. Just as the Navajo people have had to.
Speaking of illness and of governmental agencies; yesterday we had to buy another month's supply of a pain med. We paid $14 for what the pharmacy said was over $400 worth of Gxxxxxxxxn. It's close to $15 a day. It's almost the same with Fxxxxxxl as we pay $45 for $300 worth. That would be $10 per day for that one. Medicare was taking up the slack. And this is just two medications out of the half dozen or so that I take. I haven't added it all up but I would imagine that without Medicare we would have to spend over $800 a month for meds. From what I've read, the $800 figure is low and that many others would have to pay much more than that on a monthly basis. Lucky us. We're also lucky because there is just one of us taking medication right now. What happens ten years from now when, hopefully, we'll both be around and taking meds? I can imagine that if it weren't for Medicare, we would be spending 2k a month or more.
Where am I going with all of this? Still musing.
When it comes to Wikileaks I am a fan. The fact is, you cannot trust your government. Ever. All governments lie. Big or small, they all lie. Think about the citizens of Bell, California. Those people would have LOVED a Wikileaks story about the grand scale theft that was taking place in their little town. Look at our own national history. It's been one lie after another and that's just the ones that have been caught. Caught without Wikileaks. I'm not saying that we are not a wonderful nation. We certainly are. And I cannot imagine living anywhere else. But we can only go downhill if we ignore the lies and tell ourselves that that's the cost of freedom. No, it's not! You certainly can't tell the people of Guatemala that ignoring the lies of Dulles, the CIA and United Fruit Co. gave them any freedom. (1954)
Maybe it's my imagination, but I don't think it is…I think that we have become far too accepting of lies. Politicians lie routinely because they are not being called to account for the lies. In 'my world', news media would be tasked with ferreting out the truth. A politicians story would never make it to print or broadcast without the basic research being done. And when I say politician I mean every government spokesperson. Dog catcher to President. Everything that goes into a newspaper or news broadcast, including letters to the editor, should be verified. How can you call it 'news' if the basic tests for veracity aren't followed? The way it is now, the 6:00 O'clock news should start this way; "Good evening. Welcome to KWIZ's 6 O'clock Opinion".
Back to the topic of Medicare and Social Security (SSI). Okay, SSI isn't going away today or next year or the year after that. It's good for another twenty years at least. And with minor tweaks…adjusting the tax rate so that upper income earners pay into it just as much the lower income earners do. Basic fairness. The program will go on easily into the next century. But there are those who see 'fair' as being socialism or worse. People who don't know anything at all about socialism. These same people want SSI to go away. And they are trying to convince my children and grandchildren that it makes sense to throw away the lifeboats on a ship that might sink. Now we happen to be quite lucky as I have a pension from the Carpenter's Union and my wife has one from her teaching days. We add that to our SSI and we're doing okay. But…the same people that want to throw away the lifeboats also want to sink the unions. I don't like imagining life without SSI or my union pension. But that is the life these con men want for my children and grandchildren.
I didn't grow up in a union family. But I did grow up in a family that respected labor. I was the first union member in the family and no one thought it was odd that I was. If, at the time I became an apprentice, I had a choice between union or non-union and I chose non-union…they certainly would have thought it odd. Or stupid. But I became a union carpenter apprentice and then a journeymen, foreman, superintendent, etc, etc. And I paid into my pension all of those years, just as I paid in to my SSI account. I used to see the dollars for those two benefits on my paycheck stub and I would often wish that I had the money right then. I needed it! But I couldn't have it and somehow, through the years, we got along without it. Now I'm retired and there isn't the smallest possibility that I could go back to work as a carpenter…but my pension and my SSI are here for me. I paid for them to be here. They aren't coming to me freely. It's actually my money. Money that the union wisely kept for me and money that the government was supposed to do the same with. I certainly wouldn't have done it. In fact, I was surprised when I did retire and asked for my union pension. I thought I might have a few bucks. I had more. I praise the union every time I think about where we might be if they hadn't looked after me.
I want to march! Tell me where and when... Egyptians did it, why can't we?
Monday, February 14, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Speaking of art, I found a piece of mine that needed finishing and so it is done. I put it on my art blog.
I was cleaning things up in the studio when I found that one...and many others. I also made myself some new 'supports' for painting. A 3'x4' and a 2'x2' hardboard surface on a wood frame. They have gesso on them and now it's time to come up with an idea to cover them with. But why do I make new surfaces when I have so many that are not 'finished'?
On another note; we have used up all of the leftovers and have begun using Trader Joe's odds and ends for dinner. Not that TJ's ingredients are below par; they definitely are not! But it is time for a real meal again. This cooking for two is difficult enough, but when you're using prepared meal ingredients such as Chimichurri Rice or Sweet Potato Fries, the container always holds 4 or more servings and it's easy to be tempted to use the whole package. Anyway, back to my real meal. I defrosted some chicken thighs and a few minutes ago I deboned them and have them ready for the next step. I don't know what it is yet, but I have time. And in the meantime, I have the bones and skin simmering on the stove as I make some rich chicken broth. I credit YouTube for my knowledge of deboning a chicken thigh.
What did we do before the internet?
Well, we read and I'm still doing a lot of that. I'm reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and I'm just finishing up Jesus War: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years, by Philip Jenkins. This one is exciting, but a tough slog. There are far too many names to remember in this ancient but true drama. (One name stands out; Timothy the Weasel, Patriarch of Alexandria.) Of course it could be the meds I'm taking that has me drooping after ten or twenty pages. I have a Fentanyl patch on my shoulder that keeps me in a gray zone most of the time.
Speaking of gray, I recently got a catalog from The Duluth Trading Co. and after reading about their Longtail T's, the Solution to Plumber's Butt, I decided to try them out; mainly because I was tired of the nagging I was getting every time I bent over. Okay, they are pretty good. Really nice. And I got a gray one. No, I'm not getting anything from them, I just thought I would share the info.
I better go...I have to check the chicken broth. If I can remember why I'm in the kitchen.
Monday, February 7, 2011
The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.