Archive for April, 2014

War…The Cry of the Republicans

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

elephantWhether it is Iraq, women, the poor, the elderly, college students, healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), public education, the post office, hardworking Americans or voters…Republicans are shouting for war. Unlike our forefathers, they are not fighting for democracy and equal rights, but rather for a plutocracy.

Four decades after Roe v Wade was decided, the Republicans continue to argue against women’s rights to control their own bodies. The party advocates against women having abortions under any circumstance, but don’t want to provide any assistance to help raise the children. They want to disallow coverage of birth control by insurance companies under the ACA, while allowing them to cover the cost of Viagra.

In addition, Republican governors in 20 states refused billions of dollars from the federal government, preventing millions of eligible people from receiving healthcare, while Congress and state officials enjoy premium healthcare benefits at taxpayers’ expense.

On another front, they fight to defeat any jobs bills that would help lower unemployment, but vote against extending unemployment benefits, school lunch programs and food stamps leaving the hungry without basic nutritional needs.

Republicans are constantly talking about the “takers” and the “makers” by pointing to people on Social Security and Medicare (both of which were paid into by recipients). In reality, congressional members are the “takers”…not the elderly, disabled, veterans or hardworking Americans. With salaries beginning at $174,000, this Congress chooses vacations over work. Even when in session, they spend taxpayer dollars trying to repeal the ACA more than 50 times, rename 60 post offices, and look for nonexistent scandals.

They continue to attack the basic right of everyone to vote. Rather than helping insure this right, they are passing state laws aimed at discriminating against students, the elderly, the poor, women and minorities. Republican state legislators’ have slashed the number of early voting days and hours creating reductions that include nights and weekends. The reduced time directly affects working class Americans and infringes on their ability to vote. In addition, many are requiring special photo IDs to combat nonexistent fraud. This law is the real voter fraud, and is being challenged in court as unconstitutional.

The Republican war on minorities, especially African American males, is evidenced in our prison system. After privatizing a number of the prisons, the population of minorities incarcerated for minor crimes has skyrocketed. Increases in prisoners multiplied by the tax dollars given per inmate equals a substantial profit for those people who invested in the prison system. Privatization of our jails is not aimed at justice or rehabilitation, but revenue.

In addition to the jails, the Republicans are trying to bankrupt the U.S. Postal Service, which was a standalone, profitable government entity, by taking unprecedented funds from it. They want to privatize it so that postal rates and delivery are no longer for the people, but by and for the greedy.

The education budget is another combat zone. From Pell Grants to research and development dollars, Republicans think appropriating some of the allocated money to for-profit charter schools, that can hand-pick the students they want, is how taxpayer money should be spent.

As they wage war to cut spending, the cutbacks disproportionately affect the poor, middle class and small businesses, while giving enormous tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations. The Ryan Budgets of 2012, 2013 and 2014 trim only from safety net programs, but provide large funds for oil and gas subsidies, farm subsidies to the biggest agricultural corporations and insane amounts of money for defense. They continue the battle cry for war…in Syria, Iran, Ukraine…who knows what land will be next.

Republicans continue to diminish our rights and ensure that average Americans’ freedoms aren’t there. When you stand up and sing The Star Spangled Banner words, “Oh, say does that star-spangle banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” The answer is no, it doesn’t. It waves over the land of the impoverished and the home of the wealthy.

Why do people vote against their own best interest?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

vote2This question has stymied political strategists and pundits for a long time. As an expert in the women’s market, I too am baffled by the way people, especially women, vote against those who share their ideals and values in lieu of voting for those who don’t.

I have frequently been asked and often pondered the question: “Why would a woman vote Republican when they clearly have a war on women?” I wish I had a great answer for this. Perhaps they have always voted Republican, and thus continue down this path. Perhaps they are wealthy and the tax breaks the Republicans fight for, that primarily benefit the rich, is the most important reason. Perhaps they believe the falsehoods and phony rhetoric of the Republican Party. Whatever the reason, I find it truly disturbing.

Both women and men should vote for elected officials whose actions show that they have the best interests of the citizens and country in mind, but for some reason, they don’t.

While I acknowledge that many Republican women are pro-life, offering choice, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, just makes good sense. I’m not advocating abortion; I am saying that I should have the choice to decide what is best for me and my family.

Equally troubling is why Republican women support a party who barely passed the Violence Against Women Act, who don’t support legislation to guarantee that a women receives equal pay for equal work, and who think women’s bosses should have the right to determine her health care and reproductive decisions.

As Republican governors refuse to accept billions of dollars in free federal money to expand Medicaid, hundreds of thousands of people are going without medical care and are dying needlessly. As the GOP continues to cut billions from food stamps, many women and children are going hungry.

Men are also hurt by the policies of the Republican Party. Many men support the party because they are pro-gun, but Republicans also vote to keep the minimum wage at poverty levels and are against extending unemployment benefits. These policies hurt the working class.

Republicans want to reduce government spending and control, but I wonder if the populace realizes that many solidly red states that they live in receive a huge percentage of their income from the federal government? In actuality, the amount many red states pay in federal taxes is small compared to the amount they receive back from the government.

Do they think about how the government spends this money building the roads they drive on daily, or providing funds for the fire department that comes to their home if there is an emergency? When a natural disaster strikes them, do they accept F.E.M.A’s help? These and many more necessities are government-funded programs.

To cut spending on these and other projects as the Republicans suggest, would greatly impact both the men and women in these states in a very destructive way. It reminds me of the old saying, “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” It makes no sense.

In reality, the Republicans don’t want to cut spending, just redistribute it from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. The Republican budget once again gives massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, while it cuts programs and safety nets that help many of the people who vote Republican. I don’t understand why people vote against their own best interests, especially when it hurts their family, the economy and the principles on which America was founded.

I respect the two-party system and believe it is healthy for a democracy to have differences that exist in many areas of fiscal and social governance. But the right-wing fringe has hijacked the sanity of the Republican Party, and the GOP needs to get back on track. Gerrymandering, suppressing the vote, allowing unrestricted funds and unlimited terms have led to undemocratic practices which will destroy America if voters don’t stand up and fight for what is right.

Citizens, whether Republicans, Democrats or Independents, all have much to gain by voting for politicians who are interested in the good of the country: working together, listening to each other, and compromising. If they continue to choose representatives who do not support our fragile Democratic Process, citizens will soon have more reasons to fear Washington D.C. than foreign terrorists.
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Instead of being just a Republican or Democrat, why not be an American first?

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

donkeyandelephantInstead of voters picking politicians, why are politicians deciding on who has the right to vote?

Instead of Congress governing, why is Congress obstructing its governance?

Instead of the Supreme Court supporting the Constitution, why are they making rulings that are killing it?

Instead of America being a functioning democracy, why are voters allowing it to become a plutocracy?

Instead of trying to spread democracy throughout the world, why don’t we fix the problems at home?

Instead of allowing unlimited campaign funds and calling it freedom of speech, why not call it what it is, a way to buy the elections and drown out the average American’s voice by a few billionaires and millionaires?

Instead of cutting taxes on the rich, why not increase them on the wealthiest Americans who usually don’t pay their fair share as it is?

Instead of shareholders allowing CEOs to raise their already astronomical salaries, why don’t they insist on raising the minimum wage?

Instead of being pro-life, why not be pro-lifestyle and make sure that women and children have the things they need to thrive, not just be born and left to flounder?

Instead of wanting to repeal the ACA, Medicare and Social Security, why not support food stamps, Pre-K for all kids, and safety nets that help people, rather than austerity measures that harm them?

Instead of the government trying to limit women’s healthcare choices, why not improve them by not shutting down women’s clinics that provide mammograms and other necessary medical care?

Instead of working to increase our military budget, why don’t we spend the money on feeding the hungry, rebuilding our infrastructure and educating our kids?

Instead of obstructing votes to increase jobs and grow the economy, why not pass a jobs bill and put Americans back to work?

Instead of doing nothing about Wall Street crooks and regulations, why not hold the people who crashed our economy accountable and put them in jail where they belong?

Instead of continuing to accept that more than one person dies of gunshot wounds in our country every hour, why not pass stricter background checks and reasonable gun regulations, eliminating assault weapons and large magazine clips?

Instead of not voting in 2014 and saying my vote really won’t make a difference, why not vote and let your voice be heard while you still can?

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What makes more sense to you? Why America isn’t a democracy

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

ovaloffice1What makes more sense to you? Why America isn’t a democracy

1. Action: How does one person equal a democracy? I thought I was really good in math, but I can’t figure out that if there are 435 representatives in the House, how one person, Speaker John Boehner, can kill a bill that more than 218 members want to pass. In school, I learned two things: (1) more than half of 435 is 218, and (2) America is a democracy, and that means the majority rules.

Result: In John Boehner’s House of Representatives, what the majority of the elected representatives want doesn’t matter, just what the few extremists in his party want. Therefore, when they don’t like a bill, he doesn’t bring it up for a vote. It is literally dead on arrival from the Senate. This is not how a democracy should function.

2. Action: When the Senate sends a bill to the House, or House members want to initiate a bill, John Boehner should be forced to let democracy work and put it to a vote.

Result: Boehner has made America an oligarchy, a country governed by a small group of people, and himself a dictator who overrides bills he doesn’t like. To restore our country to a democracy, Americans need their elected officials’ voices to be heard and counted, not ignored. Congress needs to govern, instead of doing nothing.

What makes more sense to you? The Supreme Court supporting or killing our democracy

Friday, April 4th, 2014

court11. Action: The Supreme Court is supposed to uphold our Constitution and democratic way of life. Instead, The Roberts’ Court is systematically dismantling our democratic processes and replacing it with their own conservative ideology.

Result: As they continue to support laws that facilitate the buying of our elections by millionaires and billionaires and allow more suppression of voters’ rights, the conservative branch of the Supreme Court is dishonorable and reprehensible.

2. Action: From Citizen’s United to repealing sections of the Voters Right Act of 1965, The Roberts’ Court conservatives continue to rule in favor of the few, while neglecting the good of most Americans.

Result: The Supreme Court is killing our democracy and replacing it with a plutocracy; the rule of a society by its wealthiest people. This is harmful to minorities, women, the middle class and the poor. Their voices will no longer be heard, their votes no longer counted, and their needs no longer fulfilled.

What makes more sense to you? Your religious beliefs versus mine

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

torrah1. Action: Is America the land of the free, including freedom of religion or only freedom if you believe as I do? That’s the essence of the Hobby Lobby case and other far right issues that affect women’s healthcare and wellbeing. Our foundation has been clear: Separation of church and state. As America fights for democracy around the world, they should insure a basic freedom to their own citizens.

Result: We are becoming a theology, rather than a democracy. Many want religion to be the basis for our beliefs and teachings in schools, businesses, etc.

2. Action: Speak up with your votes and keep America free for all—for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists and any other religion someone wants to practice as long as it doesn’t interfere with the safety or beliefs of others.

Result: America would be a stronger, more diverse country that continues to be based on the principles our founding fathers intended, not some fringe element of society.