To my Republican friends:

I apologize. I had no idea.

I didn’t know what you did. All these years when I said with complete and utter disdain, “I don’t watch Fox,” I didn’t know that if I had, I might well have known what you knew to be true. Things that I knew to be “facts” you knew to be “theory” or worse. What a world? Seems nuts. I’m sorry. I repent starting now.

Learning that I’ve had my blinders on all this time has taught me a hard lesson. The fact that I didn’t read Drudge, couldn’t listen to Peggy Noonan* and wanted Karl Rove in jail, kept me from hearing the drone of truth that you knew. No balance at all. Certainly unfair.

The whole time I was reading newspapers, listening to the mainstream media and going from one site or book to another. Often “fact” checking. I was missing what you knew all along. Now it feels a bit like how a diabetic must have felt when they didn’t have sugarfree Kool-Aid at the last Jim Jones meeting.

Or how a North Korean must feel when a western newspaper blows across the DMZ. Or a child catching Santa. Or someone always home schooled. Stuff taken for granted turns out to be total unmitigated crap. I know. That must still sound like heresy, if there is such a thing. What is one to believe when everything they have known and trust now seems upside down?

So how was it that I came to see the light? A friend sent me a link to a story in, well, a “lamestream” site, the Atlantic. I naively just clicked the link and started reading. My jaw dropped. Saliva drooled from my mouth forming a wet spot that I didn’t even notice until I got up and… well, that’s another story. My point is that it never once occurred to me that you guys made a channel decision years ago for whatever reason and, well, let me just quote from the story:

Tuesday’s result was, for them, an unpleasant surprise. So many on the right had predicted a Mitt Romney victory, or even a blowout — Dick Morris, George Will, and Michael Barone all predicted the GOP would break 300 electoral votes. Joe Scarborough scoffed at the notion that the election was anything other than a toss-up. Peggy Noonan insisted that those predicting an Obama victory were ignoring the world around them. Even Karl Rove, supposed political genius, missed the bulls-eye. These voices drove the coverage on Fox News, talk radio, the Drudge Report, and conservative blogs.

Those audiences were misinformed.

Outside the conservative media, the narrative was completely different.

Or…

How many hours of Glenn Beck conspiracy theories did Fox News broadcast to its viewers? How many hours of transparently mindless Sean Hannity content is still broadcast daily? Why don’t Americans trust Republicans on foreign policy as they once did? In part because conservatism hasn’t grappled with the foreign-policy failures of George W. Bush. A conspiracy of silence surrounds the subject. Romney could neither run on the man’s record nor repudiate it. The most damaging Romney gaffe of the campaign, where he talked about how the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes are a lost cause for Republicans? Either he was unaware that many of those people are Republican voters, or was pandering to GOP donors who are misinformed. Either way, bad information within the conservative movement was to blame.

The point is, I was intolerant and I despise intolerance. Jon Stewart and others tried to warn me, but I wouldn’t listen. I just assumed that you were stubborn and incapable of accepting a different point of view. I realize that you must feel just awful to have been duped so and for so long. So foolish. Especially when you did so publicly. In front of everyone you know. All your friends and co-workers. Your family. Your children. And you were sooooo righteous. Often telling us loudly and with absolute hatred that we were complete Godless idiots before slamming the door and going back into your cult to plan the overthrow of the heretics. I just want to say that I will forgive you. I’ll be kind. There will be no required “Hunger Games” as a result. How can I help? Perhaps I could suggest a good book?

 

_______________________

* I’d rather listen to fingernails on a blackboard or an endless loop of the best of Andy Williams than that woman’s voice. Makes me scream and pull my hair out. Aaaaaaaah! I’ll be alright. I just need some quiet.

The American People Have Spoken: We Like Things The Way They Are

In a historic election, President Barack Hussein Obama has been re-elected; the Republicans have been re-elected to a majority in the House of Representatives; and the Democrats have been re-elected to a majority in the Senate. Hurrah! We won! Nothing has changed. We are saved. Our leaders can get back to doing nothing.

The American people have spoken clearly: we must like the House passing bills that are never taken up in the Senate; that a single Republican can hold any bill hostage in the Senate; that our president rules by fiat with no functioning representative branch to hold him in check or provide input; we must like it that the our elected leaders are looking forward to the next election two years from now for clarity; and we must particularly like that we spend so much unproductive time talking about it just so we can hate the 48.1% who are on the other side (without it, how would we decide which Facebook friends to accept?).

It also seems that we would like to give “Obamacare” a chance since it has been law for what seems like forever, yet it doesn’t go into effect for two more years; that we would like to see what it would be like to have our troops home again and not be at war (so many our our citizens have never know peacetime); how it will be under Lilly Ledbetter; and most just can’t wait to find out what Donald Trump will say about this President next .

Yes, after enduring four terrible years of the Bush depression and finally seeing a glint of hope in the economy, we the people are looking forward to learning if it will lead to jobs, maybe even some good jobs; we want to see how it will be when the Dodd-Frank rules are finally written and if it will protect us from them; what it will be like when sequestration forces cuts to a government that was just a dare to the other side when it passed; and if anyone will give due credit to this election campaign for spending so much that it may stimulate the world out of recession ( don’t you ever stop and wonder what do the billionaires think they will get for their campaign money?).

Speaking for one, I’m a bit relieved that we don’t have to break in another newcomer (or their entourage – awg!) to the office of president. For all the accomplishments, this government is even more competent now for the experience of what we have been through. The campaign workers who wanted four years of real work experience on their resumes will leave in the next few months and will be replaced with more qualified leaders (and new campaign contributors and/or workers). Our president will have more “flexibility” after the election to do any great thing that can be imagined that does not require Congressional approval.

We assume a couple of the judges on the Supreme Court will ask to be replaced and we the people know their confirmation hearings will make good television watching (I suggest Hillary Clinton be his next nomination). We the people also hope that whomever ends up on the court takes their job more seriously than those who are elected or, at least, I think we do.

We hope the promises of the campaign will be remembered and honored. (Hah, just testing you – there weren’t any details promised during the campaign silly voters (how could they be elected if they spoke in specifics?), but it would be nice to think that the least this government could do in the next term would be: comprehensive immigration reform; leave women and GLBTs to their personal rights and privacy; arrest some of the bastards who screwed us and stole our economy (please take their lobbyist scum with them); leave the states alone on weed, but tell them what to do on early voting; prosecute the corporate tax cheats who are hiding money offshore; keep our water and air clean and our food and drugs safe; make us sustainable and energy independent; protect us from the effects of global climate change and hold accountable the greedy assholes who are making things worse and/or dirtier (though they may have already been arrested if they were caught when you rounded up the bastards or the cheats); live up to the Peace Prize; protect us from those who’d harm us;  and, yeah, keep the government from shutting down for no good f’ng reason; getting rid of the tax loopholes for those who don’t need it and fixing the AMT that hurt those unintended would be good, too; so would solving the problems with our education system; helping kids get out from under college loans should be on the list, too; and maybe you could do something about the mass killings from guns without pissing off those who want them to hunt or fondle; wait a minute, there’s a lot of real work that needs to be done so get off your elective asses and get to work on the people business before we vote your out of office again – just kidding, we don’t do that.)

Recapping, we have just elected a new lame duck government with a mandate to replace the current lame duck government that it is taking us off a fiscal cliff, but it is the best democracy that money can buy or stomach.

On a personal note: whew, that was close. We almost elected that rich white guy who liked to fire trees of a certain height and let his dog puke from top of his car on the Interstate.

On a more frightening note: he (the rich white guy) has kids. Lots of them and given their stance on contraception they might contend soon.

On less cynical note: what a wonderful night for our nation – we the people elected a new government and we did it together. This new government has begun with the President reaching out to the other side in the hope of reconciliation and compromise to solve our nation’s and the world’s problems. Let’s hope they do.

 

Obama Wins the 2012 Election: Obama’s Complete Presidential Victory Speech

Mitt Romney’s Full Election Night Concession Speech

Now Couldn't Be the Right Time

It seems as if every time a dozen or so people are murdered and six or so dozen are shot up in a movie theater, high school or college campus, the wacko leftist peacenik liberal elites start spouting that anyone who believes automatic weapons should be legal is either stupid, crazy, a mass murderer wannabe or has length challenged privates, and that our right to bare arms and bear arms, which even that Obama-loving SCOTUS Judge Roberts, admits that we have, has limits and that we shouldn’t be able to carry at airports, high schools, day care centers, bars, church and places where the President will be.

All the while, those reasoned and highly compensated voices from the heartland are reminding us that this is not the time to reflect, but is the time to grieve, remember the victims and praise Jeezus that we were not in the theater that night. This is the time to watch and listen to cable and entertainment news so we can learn every salacious detail about the shooter, and every emotion felt and articulated by neighbors, teachers, employers, lovers, movie critics, Batman fans or childhood friends who hadn’t seen him in 20 years. This is the time to be reminded of why an insanity plea doesn’t make a murderer innocent.

 Houston Gun ShowThis is the time to come together and not discuss if it makes sense that anyone can order 6,000 rounds of ammo, body armor or hundred-round clips on the internets, tax free. There will be time to talk about unregulated gun shows. There will be time to remember the police killed in the line of duty by Americans exercising their rights and time to appreciate the irony that the men and women whose job it is to protect us have been forced to become more and more militarized to be safer from all of our guns. There will be time for old 60 Minutes reruns where they buy hundreds, or even thousands of guns right there on teevee with no questions asked. There will be time when we will all pay attention to the drone of the Muslim Brotherhood’s moles in Congress as they finally admit that they want to declare Sharia, take away our God given and constitutionally protected freedoms by denying us our right to protect our homes and loved ones from suspicious looking people wearing hoodies. There will be a time to compare our gun deaths with other civilized countries, Somalia, for instance.

There will be time to remember that guns don’t kill people. It is people who are the problem. Ironically, more than half of all gun deaths are not from people protecting themselves. More than half the gun deaths each year are from people killing themselves — often the spouse or child of the gun owner. Suicide, not homicide.

Now is not the time. We need more perspective. More dead. More wounded. No, now couldn’t possibly be the time. It is an election year and the NRA doesn’t lose elections.

According to news accounts, now might be the time to go to the local gun super store, or better yet, a gun show (favored by felons, gangs, terrorists and the mentally ill), and stock up on guns, ammo and the latest bulletproof fashions – perfect for date night. But if you are one of those special gun owners who just can’t seem to maintain a healthy relationship, consider skipping the movies this weekend. The Olympic shooting competition is starting.


An afterthought for your entertainment: “The Sing-Along Second Amendment” by Roy Zimmerman

The Big Day

Breaking News: CJ Roberts tacks left to uphold mandate and Affordable Healthcare Law; then to the right to allow states not to expand Medicaid.

America must have some of the stupidest, least informed and most gullible people on earth, but that is another story. Today the Supreme Court finally announced their ruling that there will be comprehensive reform of our badly broken healthcare system during our lifetimes.

We learned that the 6 percent among us who don’t have insurance and don’t want it are required to have it or face a penalty*; and if the other 10 or so percent who don’t have health insurance, but want it can buy it.

John Roberts, as Zeus, ruling from on high. (DonkeyHotey)

Today we learned that the 20 or so percent of us with preexisting conditions will get to keep our health insurance or ever buy it again.

Today we learned our children up to 26 can stay on our policies or finally be forced to leave the nest and do without healthcare.

Today we learned health insurance companies will have to spend money on covering the people they insure and prove it.

Today we learned preventive care to save money (and lives) is something that can survive in our late stage form of capitalism.

Today we learned we are to get health insurance exchanges to allow us to simply and clearly compare policy costs and coverage.

Today we learned our seniors’ prescriptions will not again have a “doughnut hole” of coverage forcing countless people to do without.

Today we learned small business tax breaks will continue.

Today we learned that the 13 million adults and 3.7 million children living within 133 percent of the poverty level will be allowed access to healthcare through Medicaid – if the state in which they live isn’t so stupid as to opt-out of the 100% federally paid program – first three years and then matched on a sliding scale thereafter – today we learned that our federal government cannot penalize a state for not taking care of some of its least fortunate citizens, but we can penalize them at the ballot box.

Today we learned that those working Americans who cannot afford health insurance because they are within 400 percent of the poverty level, will get some tax credit help.

Today we learned that we are going to continue to provide healthcare to seniors, the disabled, government workers, prisoners and some of the poorest among us, while tens of millions of working and recently unemployed Americans will no longer be denied healthcare and receive help to afford it.

We already know that this is about Republican politics and the corrupt lobbying power of their masters and that any suggestion of an independent judiciary evaporated a decade ago.

We expect that Sotomayer, Breyer, Kagan and Ginsburg will, at the very least, vote to preserve most of the intent of Congress.

We knew that Scalia, Thomas and Alito would nullify the entire bill. Roberts would naturally join them unless Kennedy negotiates a narrower decision on the Commerce Clause or jumps to the other side. That didn’t happen. Kennedy stayed with the Republican nominated justices. Together they decided this was not a valid extension of the the Commerce Clause. It was Roberts who would cast the deciding vote. Citing Hooper v. California, Roberts felt “every reasonable construction must be resorted to, in order to save a statue from unconstitutionality” and concluding the law was Constitutional because it was within the right of Congress to levy a tax on individuals who do not have insurance.

The bill before the court was terribly flawed (see my Dew story when the bill passed, Hold your nose and swallow), but throwing out the entire bill with this Congress would have been devastating in lives and at terrible cost to our economy. However, a more limited ruling would have made for great political sport watching this or the next POS Congress try come up with a compromise bill to fix the problems.

In retrospect, it would have been so simple, if two years ago, President Obama had just fired Rahm Emanuel and asked Congress for a one page bill that allows all Americans to purchase Medicare at any age. Then a separate bill on expansion of Medicaid. Maybe next time.

A Draperesque Vision of America

MittRomney as Don DraperCan an anti-woman, anti-black, anti-senior, anti-sick, anti-worker, anti-unemployed, anti-poor, anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-education, anti-union, anti-peace, anti-environment, anti-science, anti-Wall-Street-reform, anti-Geneva-Convention, anti-world presidential candidate win?*

That seems unfair. Let me re-phrase it. Can a candidate wishing to robo-sign teapublican legislation to return us to some mythological Don Draperesque vision of America win against this incumbent president?**

Man, those early sixties were good times. When everyone was happy, white, middle class and smoked. The women were valium-laced and the men were drunk. And why not? The bomb was going to kill us anyway.

There were some good things. Not so many people or cars. Neighborhoods were safe for kids to play. People visited each other. Phone calls were important and brief. Photos were special. The air was clean. The difference between a poor man and one well-to-do was only a thousand dollars. The store on the corner was owned by the person who worked in the store on the corner. We believed what people said on television.

And then we found out. What they said on television was not true. Everyone wasn’t happy. Nor white. And certainly not middle class. Our schools were not equal. Our society wasn’t fair. Each small town was a fiefdom of power, corruption and meanness. Smoking was an addiction that killed you and they sold it to us anyway. Diet drugs didn’t keep you skinny. Booze didn’t help anything. Our parents loved in the American way, but mostly saved the good stuff for themselves. And the war just went on and on and on. And people kept dying.

With all do respect to Beaver, Opie and Willard, I’d rather we didn’t go back. Every step forward was measured in somebody’s blood. And really, we haven’t gone that far.

The 1959 Rambler with MittThe Rambler candidate of the old establishment Republican party, Willard Mitt Romney, appears to be the nominee – it is his turn. It took Romney more than $100 million to beat Santorum, Gingrich, Bachmann, Perry, Huntsman, Cain and Paul. When Santorum dropped out, Romney had only won four primaries by 50% or more – Massachusetts; Virginia (only Paul and Romney were on the ballot); Puerto Rico; and Washington, DC. Hardly a mandate. People don’t seem to like him. Must take after his dad.

You can’t pick up a paper or watch the news these days without learning of a new poll that makes this race seem close. How can that be? You have an unpopular candidate surrounded by the same advisors spewing the same talking points on policy that got us into the biggest mess of our lifetimes. Over and over again we are promised that we need to have more faith. We need to believe in the markets. We need to set the markets free. That the corporations know best. The bigger they are the more they know and we couldn’t possibly understand. That is why the government shouldn’t regulate them. The markets will take care us just like they always have. But first the corporate owners, the unimaginably wealthy, need a little more money. Just lower the tax rates a bit more. The poor would just waste it and the middle class don’t know they don’t have it. Another tax break and the rich will quit being scared, come out of their vast mansions and trickle on us.

Have enough people forgotten what it was like to live during the Bush years and what they did to us to give them four more years? The same advisors, the same talking points, the same sabres rattled, the same promise of trickling on us. How can a any voter expect the outcome to be different?

These people lied to us for war. They used our love for this country to enrich their friends, squander our wealth, waste a generation and kill many tens of thousands of people.

Have the Republicans found enough people to vote against their interests or is it possible there are that many voters who are just unwilling to admit how wrong they have been all along?

Sounds implausable, doesn’t it? It was less than four years ago that a one-term senator named Barack Hussein Obama took the nomination from Hillary Clinton and went on to beat John McCain. Of course, people like Barack Obama.

 


 

* For simplicity, the most recent candidate Mitt Romney was used. Were all versions of candidate Mitt Romney used, a more accurate lede would be: “Can a candidate who goes both ways on old women, working or unemployed, regardless of immigration status, country of origin, ethnic background, or religion; science, torture, war, banking regulation and or the future of the world, win the presidential election?” And that shouldn’t be correct.

As to the specific positions that the most recent candidate Mitt Romney takes:

  • He is not anti-woman. Along with the trees in Michigan, he reportedly likes women. He simply believes they should work unpaid in their homes and should not have control over their bodies – instead, asking their husbands. In the case of a single woman, they should ask their church for guidance about body issues and such.
  • Nor is he anti-black. He just believes people of color should trust their state and local government to protect their rights and that businesses and schools should be colorblind. If there’s discrimination, anyone should fix that in the voting booth.
  • Nor is he anti-senior. He just believes that all of us should work more years before we get to become seniors and then be ready to live on less, while paying more, a lot more, for healthcare.
  • Nor is he anti-sick. In fact, he really would like more sick people. That will make the free market work more efficiently and bring the cost of healthcare way down. Until then, sick people should save their money and be more responsible.
  • Nor is he anti-worker. He just likes to fire people. And he doesn’t think we need a living wage – the markets can determine that much better.
  • Nor is he anti-unemployed. He just thinks they should get a job and unemployment benefits are keeping them from finding one (they should have saved their money). And that we don’t need another government program that gets people back to work. That won’t create permanent jobs. The best thing for our economy would be for it to hit bottom. That’s when the free market will work best. Once we lower the tax rate for the rich, raise the bottom tax rate and get rid of all the regulations, everyone will be working and working and working. Once everyone has been foreclosed on, housing will take off again.
  • Nor is he anti-poor. He knows they are taken care of. That there are government programs for the poor and if those programs don’t work, he’ll fix them.
  • Nor is he anti-immigrant. He just thinks it is better for them to come here legally, unless they were fleeing Castro. And that anyone here without documents should have their property seized and be deported. If they have children who speak English and are willing to fight in our wars and survive, those children should be allowed to apply for citizenship.
  • Nor is he anti-gay. Not since prep school. He even had a gay person on his staff for a while. He just doesn’t believe they should have rights protected under the Constitution.
  • Nor is he anti-Muslim. He just wouldn’t hire a Muslim to work in a Romney administration because there are not enough Muslims in the US to worry about pissing off.
  • Nor is he anti-education. He just would get rid of the Department of Education and let the states take care of teaching our children. They know best.
  • Nor is he anti-union. Oops. Yes, he is. He believes that workers shouldn’t be allowed to organize and he recommends companies with union workers use bankruptcy to reduce their obligations for pensions and wages.
  • Nor is he anti-peace. He just thinks we should go back into Iraq. Stay in Afghanistan. Help in Syria. Keep Iran for nukes by any means necessary. Ditto North Korea. The “Soviet Union” is our biggest enemy. And that Jesus is coming back to Missouri.
  • Nor is he anti-environment. He just believes that the free markets will protect our air and water from pollution. That we should open more federal lands, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling but wind farms off the Cape is bad. That oil companies can self-regulate.
  • Nor is he anti-science. Except that he is against Newt’s moon base plans, he just believes the typical Republican evolution is a theory, no proof we caused the climate change, etc.
  • Nor is he anti-Wall-Street-reform. Oops, again. Yes he is.
  • Nor is he anti-Geneva-Convention. Ditto.
  • Nor is he anti-world. He does like Israel and Canada.

One footnote on the footnote, once I subtracted registered voters of each alienated group, all that was left for Romney was .01%, which may just be enough to win.

** Romney’s vision does not include the progressive and higher taxes on the wealth, or the regulated financial industry we had during the sixties. Not to suggest this is a Goldwater vs. Kennedy rematch. Paraphrasing Lloyd Bentsen: Mitt Romney is no Barry Goldwater.

I must have missed the meeting

downton abbey-Repug versionThe Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expired last year and has not been reauthorized. The law has been held hostage by the Republican men on the Judiciary Committee over some asinine pretexts that the law might could be used to expand protection of undocumented or LGBT victims and allow tribal governments to arrest paleface abusers.

VAWA is not your everyday-no-big-deal-who-cares-we-can-live-without-it kind of law. This law changed everything for victims of domestic battering, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking crimes. It also changed everything for those who were trying to help – law enforcement, courts, social services and non-profits. VAWA funded local grants, which brought together and coordinated victim response, funded shelters, rape crisis centers, legal assistance and prevention programs. VAWA made domestic violence a federal crime, and for the first time, began protecting victims with disabilities, victims held hostage by their immigration status, Native Americans, teenagers and families. VAWA became law in 1994, written by then Senator Joe Biden and signed by President Clinton, and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005 with broad bipartisan support. Going back to 1994 is unthinkable.

Last week, the bill reauthorizing VAWA (S. 1925) finally got out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The vote was 10-8 with all Republican men voting against it. No telling when it could be scheduled for a vote or how many Republican men are planning to try and stop it.

If this isn’t about Republican men versus women, then they need to prove it.

Having spent last week listening to a debate about contraception that would have been out of place in episodes of Mad Men or PanAm, it seems now that the issue may not have been settled, at least not if Republican men have anything to say about it. Catholic Bishops, all men, are also not satisfied with the semantic compromise and now acting as if they wish to debate how their religious freedom extends to their corporate businesses and argue that their church’s freedom is more important than people’s freedom or equal protection.

This “religious” debate is about the minimum standards of coverage for health insurance policies — sort of like the minimum things in peanut butter to be labeled, “peanut butter;” or the minimum things included in a car to make it safe; or the minimum standards for clean air or water. In this case, it is about a list of zero-copay, preventive services and medicines, which have proven – yes, using facts – to lower the cost of health care and save lives. (Author’s note: I personally believe that saving lives is more important than saving souls, but realize there is not a bipartisan consensus on this issue.) Contraceptives are included in the list, not because of politics, but because they have been proven to save lives and money. But this debate is not about cost – inclusion of contraceptives is cost neutral and over time will save money.

There seems to be no “religious” argument about free condoms. Condoms are used by men. Men don’t get pregnant, aren’t at risk to die or endure complications while pregnant, don’t carry or deliver babies, and generally, aren’t even in a child’s life unless they want to be or are required by a court of law.

The “religious” argument is only about those working for corporate businesses owned by churches — churches are exempt from the law. The argument is only about contraception and only about denying access to poor working women, which could save their lives, while, in the opinion of their employer, could at the same time damn them to hell. Okay, it is also about individual privacy. Don’t forget, just last month, the Supreme Court confirmed that ministerial exception extended to church corporate businesses – women who decide they’d prefer to risk hell someday over death now, could easily lose their job without recourse.

If this isn’t about Republican men in cahoots with Religious men versus women, then they need to prove it.

What a time to be a woman? Forty years since ERA passed, but fell short of ratification,* we seem to be going backward. Fast. Traditional women’s issues are really family issues — equality, education, environment, healthcare, childcare, and peace — all under fire from the Republican right.

Also last week, we heard way too much clarification from Santorum, the Republican front runner, of his ideas on women —

On women in combat: “my concern is being in combat in that situation instead of being focused on the mission, they may be more concerned with protecting someone who may be in a vulnerable position, a woman in a vulnerable position.”

On rape: when asked by Piers Morgan, “Do you really believe, in every case, it [sic: abortion] should be totally wrong, in the sense that — I know that you believe, even in cases of rape and incest — and you’ve got two daughters. You know, if you have a daughter that came to you who had been raped.” Santorum responded with, “Yes.”

On unmarried mothers: “The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low-skill, unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GEDs move up the economic ladder is just wrong.”

On stay-at-home mothers: “Respect for stay-at-home mothers has been poisoned by a toxic combination of the village elders’ war on the traditional family and radical feminism’s misogynistic crusade to make working outside the home the only marker of social value and self-respect.’’

On equal opportunity: “Radical feminists have been making the pitch that justice demands that men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace.” — Washington Post

This week’s Republican front runner (Author’s note: at posting the decision had yet to be made whether to recount the Maine caucus results, which could either confirm Romney as the winner and this week’s front runner or make Ron Paul the winner and front runner. Should Ron Paul or Newt officially become this week’s front runner, I will add their hateful statements in an update.), Mitt Romney, is a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and once was bishop of his Belmont, Mass., congregation and later president of the Boston stake (Mormon for division or area). While he seldom goes on record, his beliefs on the roles of women are consistent with his church, “woman’s primary place is in the home, where she is to rear children and abide by the righteous counsel of her husband” (McConkie 844), but evolving. Anti-abortion, even at the risk of the life of the mother unless he’s running for Senate and then he’s supportive of women’s rights unless he’s running for the Republican presidential nomination.

Just two weeks ago, the Republican men in the House were, “mounting an assault on women’s health and freedom that would deny millions of women access to affordable contraception and life-saving cancer screenings and cut nutritional support for millions of newborn babies in struggling families. And this is just the beginning…

…include the elimination of support for Title X, the federal family planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases. In the absence of Title X’s preventive care, some women would die. The Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on reproductive health, says a rise in unintended pregnancies would result in some 400,000 more abortions a year.” – New York Times

Even our beloved and trusted, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, took a stand against women before they reversed their decision and asked for another chance.

I keep asking myself, how is all of this possible? If there was an organizing meeting on this war against women, I missed it. Surely this isn’t coming from political consultants. There are more women than men, and more registered female voters. Seems like a political strategy destined to lose. It can’t be totally grass roots — I know some Republican men who treat their wives and daughters as if they were equal. There must be more to it.

The poor are always disproportionately women. How can any Republican person of faith or free thinker (forget that, they couldn’t be Republicans) conclude that good policy is balancing the budget on the backs of the poor? Yes, in the Bible, Jesus says, “ye have the poor always with you,” but that should not inspire Republican men to want to have more in poverty. Surely preventive medical care, adequate nutrition and quality schools costs less than generational poverty, prison and emergency room health care. Or is there more to this? Is it to keep wages low to attract industries and inspire real estate deals?

Or could it be the Tim Tebow corollary – God decides who wins, but won’t necessarily pick you every week?

Could it be that male Republican candidates are just trying to win the favor of God?

Does God really hate women or is the Old Testament God still mad about that garden of eden thing?

Or are Republicans trying to win the favor of religious voters fixated on a time way back when dominating men were relevant, though assholes?

Are Republican elected leaders and candidates really that stupid? How can they be pro-family and anti-woman?

Could the increase in partisan misogyny be a delayed reaction to mothers a generation ago switching from nursing to formula?

Then, I turn on the television. The role models for this type of behavior are all there. The stereotypes. The sexism. The boys club thinking. The wealthy who don’t need two working in a household. The idiotic singles sitcoms. Or Downton Abbey, oh, those were the best of times when all was perfect for the gentry – when roles were right and all others were beaten or jailed – when women could aspire to be a maid, but not a butler. All in prime time. Local news may be worse –  by turning a light on the personal tragedy of the hour and asking the “tough questions” of how battery feels or how could such a fine young man go wrong? And then, of course, there is the cable “news.”

Or is this really just about something Republican men are not able to understand? That women are people, too.

Author’s note:  And that’s just in the US. Around the world, …

*Full text, for those who might have forgotten why the Equal Rights Amendment was so controversial, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”) Just for the record, the ERA needed three more states. Here’s a list of those that did not ratify: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia.

2011: Did Nothing Congress

‘tis the season for retrospectives. That is not intended to be anti-Christmas, but so many of us aren’t participating this year, I’d just like to move on.

In some ways, 2011 felt like 1979 – just a preamble to 1980. An election year. A first term, Nobel Prize winning Democrat in the White House. Lousy economy. Bailouts in the news. Religious fanatics, conspiring with the Republicans to hold the country hostage. All we need now is an aging, former liberal Democrat, union member, once divorced, actor turned racist, anti-abortion, anti-welfare, anti-protest, NRA member, governor and serial presidential candidate, to step forward and take credit for turning the economy around, while increasing the size of government and national debt. Enough of looking back to the past, let’s get to looking back to the present.

America held hostageStarting with the hostage situation.

The Democrats in the Senate, led by Harry Reid, have a small majority, 51 to 47. As we know from our civic lessons, all a majority in the Senate gets you is a better selection of offices  – it takes 60 votes to pass anything. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, stated early on, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Using filibusters and secret holds, the Republicans have effectively shut down the Senate and any chance at ending the greatest depression since the invention of Prozac (aka: Bush’s Recession; Obama’s Economy; Why life sucks; Economic reality of the 99%). Time will tell if Republicans’ efforts to further destroy the American economy, combined with voter suppression and gerrymandering, will be enough to unseat this popular sitting president. We could, of course, just poll the “people” who will be doing most of the voting next year, corporate America, and we’d find out quickly how we are going to vote.

House Republicans of the 112th Congress are led by John Boehner and Eric Cantor and hold a solid majority, 242 to 192.

“The numbers: Republicans have introduced 44 bills on abortion, 99 on religion, 71 on family relationships, 36 on marriage, 67 on firearms/gun control, 522 on taxation, 445 on ‘government investigations,’ and zero on job creation.” – DailyKos

Politifact, don’t you just love them, corrected the DailyKos post, stating “In reality, then, six of these seven jobs-related categories included more bills than either abortion or marriage, and four of the seven included more bills than religion, family relationships or firearms.” (Author’s note: none of them passed.)

It is is little wonder that no polling company can find enough Americans who approve of Congress to cover the margin of error – currently about 5%.

“Congress is ending what may be its least productive year on record after government shutdown threats, the collapse of debt-reduction talks and little action to fix the worst U.S. economy since the Great Depression. Just 62 bills were signed into law through November this year, meaning that 2011 may fall short of the 88 laws enacted in 1995, the lowest number since the Congressional Record began keeping an annual tally in 1947.” – Bloomberg

“The latest Resume of Congressional Activity shows that from Jan. 5 through Nov. 30, 2011, the House of Representatives passed only 326 of the 4,191 bills introduced, the lowest number of bills passed in the last 10 non-election years. The Senate had its least productive year since 1995, passing only 368 of 2,336 bills introduced. “Bills” includes all forms of legislation, including bills, simple resolutions, joint resolutions and concurrent resolutions.” – Robert Longley

The combined annual expense to operate the House and Senate is about $5 billion. See if you think you got your money’s worth. Here’s everything they accomplished (bills passed both houses and were signed or expected to be signed by President Obama):

  • Extended the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act through May 31, 2011, then through June 30, 2011 (separate bills).
  • Named eleven post offices and two courthouses, while designating another courthouse under construction (separate bills).
  • Extended the Patriot Act until December 8, 2011 and added authority for roving electronic surveillance.
  • Amended the Continuing Appropriations Act to keep the government open through March 18, 2011, then through April 15, 2011, then through September 30, 2011, then through October 1, 2011, then through October 4, 2011, then through November 18, 2011, then through September 30, 2012. They also had to pass it one other time to include certain agencies they left off other times. (All, of course, separate bills.) In doing so, they also funded disaster relief, import restrictions from Burma, limiting loan guarantees, giving the USPS a reprieve from having to make a $5.5 billion payment to their pension fund, and, of course, each time, waiting until the last moment and cutting some agencies for no particular reason other than a lobbyist didn’t tell them not to do so.
  • Extended the Surface Transportation Act that funds highway construction from the Highway Trust Fund through September 30, 2011, then through March 31,2012, while adding some things the money could be spent on as long as it wasn’t mass transit, plus, for some reason, added money so mostly rich people could fly on charter jets from “under served” airports underwritten by the government.
  • Extended the Airport and Airway Extension Act through April 1, 2011, then through June 30, 2011, then through July 31, 2011, then through September 16th, then through October 31, 2011, etc. (each separate bills)- in one of the bills, they also limited an amount for which a victim can sue should they be attacked by a terrorist when an airplane is involved.
  • Repealed the IRS code removing the requirement to report purchases or rents of $600 or more; and increase the health care tax credit for people less than 400% of the poverty line in 2013. Later, they repealed a 3% withholding requirement on certain payments to certain vendors for certain payments somehow indirectly related to healthcare.
  • Funded defense department spending through September 30, 2011, then again, but this time buried in a continuing resolution, then finally… (see last bullet)
  • Appointed three people and reappointed another to the Smithsonian Board of Regents (separate bills).
  • Changed the date when the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act was to end to December 31, 2011.
  • Authorized appropriations for the CIA and other intelligence agencies through September 30, 2011.
  • Passed the Budget Control Act, which set up that crazy super committee to cut spending, but it didn’t, so spending will automatically be cut from defense and discretionary spending, but not Social Security or Medicare, after the next president takes office, unless Congress and the President change it first.
  • Restored GI Bill Fairness providing educational assistance for post 9/11 vets.
  • Amended the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to apply the limit on lead in children’s products, while giving it greater authority, it also provided greater discretion for future administrations could undo it.
  • Passed Patent “reform” changing the patent award to the “first to invent” instead of “first to file” as long as the “first to invent” did so within a year of the “first to file.”
  • Re-authorized spending to combat autism.
  • Amended Title IV of Social Security Act to allow spending on study and assistance for children born to methamphetamine or living in abusive foster care situations, plus some other stuff, minus some other stuff.
  • Extended block grants to states for temporary assistance of needy families and related programs through December 31, 2011.
  • Authorized Department of Veterans Affairs to lease some office space, required them to audit some programs and extended authority to provide some services for homeless and mentally ill vets.
  • Extended duty-free treatment for goods brought in from certain countries, while also allowing states to change their rules so they could recover overpayment from Medicare.
  • Approved the USA-Korea; USA-Colombia; and the USA-Panama free trade agreements.
  • Extended the Parole Commission.
  • Clarified the jurisdiction of the Interior Department over the Cragin Dam and reservoir; clarified the authority of the Forest Service regarding allowing ski areas and collection off fees; clarified the provisions related to litigation against Federal officers, agencies or courts; clarified the appeal time in civil actions to which US officers or employees are parties, and directed the Interior Department to allow a special break for a water project in Utah (separate bills).
  • Amended the Veteran’s Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment to be consistent with Social Security COLA.
  • Authorized the Department of Homeland Security, I kid you not, to create “Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards” that pay travel expenses for businesses in Asia-Pacific under the belief that is good for US economic growth.
  • Amended the Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act to require sexual assault risk-reduction and response training and allow the establishment of victims advocates.
  • Amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow spouses and children of active-duty service abroad in the Armed Forces to petition for permanent resident status and not be deported while their spouse or parent was fighting one of our wars.
  • Authorized a Gold Medal to honor the Montford Point (NC) Marines for their service during WWII.
  • Authorized the vessels competing in the 2011 America’s Cup to represent USA.
  • And finally, they betrayed every American by passing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2012. Buried in the bill to fund our troops, defense contractors and the rest of the military industrial complex, our leaders conspired to find a way to deny all of us our rights to due process. Our President, any of our presidents can now abduct you, ship you off to Guantánamo, torture you and detain you without charge or trial “until the end of hostilities.” The hostilities have gone on for more than a decade and few politicians, and even fewer lobbyists want this undeclared war to ever end. The bill does, however, specifically declare war on us and every other suspicious person in the world, wherever they are. Our President and our future presidents are required, yes, required to use military force on anyone who is a part, has aided or associated with anyone who has made a belligerent act against the United States or any of its partners. Be careful you don’t dial a wrong number or a missile from a drone may find your front door. Why, 10 years in to an undeclared war on a tactic, do we need to give presidents more power? If the war were to save liberty, we have just surrendered. Should you have the audacity of hope that the Supreme Court will overturn this? There is no reason to hope. The Supremes have always looked the other way on war powers and, recently, undeclared war powers. The only audacious hope in this bill is for President Obama to end all hostilities – please pray for peace on earth. While you are at it, pray that our President doesn’t decide Occupy is supporting hostilities.

Here’s some of what they didn’t or haven’t passed for 2011:

  • Any aspect of President Obama’s Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Initiative. Especially,  the Doc Fix, passed every year for more than a half a century, and will mean that doctors and medical providers will receive 27 percent less beginning January 1, 2011 and causing all kinds of problems for providers and their patients; and the extension of the last year’s payroll tax cut or President Obama’s version – the result is a tax increase on everyone in the US making below $106,800 have a tax increase. The House passed a version addressing these issues wrapped up with a bunch of toxic partisan riders; the Senate stripped out all the partisan junk, which they said publicly that they would, shorten the bill’s effect to two months, sent it back to the House and adjourned until January; now Boehner & Company is pitching a fit – stay tuned.
  • Any aspect of immigration reform.
  • Most of the 200 Dodd-Frank rules protecting us from another Wall Street collapse.
  • Doing anything to help the millions of Americans in foreclosure.
  • Doing anything to correct the problem that prevent student loans from being included in bankruptcy.
  • Voting on 80 Federal Judgeships vacancies with 43 pending nominations including some positions that have been vacant since January of 2009, or 77 political appointments that had cleared committee, but were still under secret hold by Republican Senators.
  • Closing any of the corporate tax loopholes given to the wealthiest corporations.
  • Any positive movement to stop or reverse the offshoring of American jobs.
  • Any positive reaction to the horrible events around the world that should have led to common sense gun laws.
  • Any positive reaction to the Fukishima meltdown which should have led to common sense nuclear regulation – we are still building ours in Georgia.
  • Any positive reaction to the Gulf Spill that would lead to common sense laws limiting offshore drilling.
  • Any movement on decriminalizing, medical or otherwise, marijuana, which if anything, is a gateway drug to the prison system.
  • Any movement on tax reform, campaign finance reform, or affirming that corporations are not and never have been people.
  • Any movement on anything to do with the greatest threat to us all: man-made global climate change.

On to politics.

Relax, I’m not going to review the Republican circus, though I truly believe it would have been more fun and there would have been better candidates if Fox had sponsored it as, “American Political Idol” complete with Simon and toll-free numbers for weekly voting.

Ending on a more positive note, here are just a few of good things that occurred in 2011:

  • We didn’t invade Iran.
  • Occupy Wall Street for protesting “social and economic inequality, high unemployment, greed, as well as corruption, and the undue influence of corporations” (wikipedia) which has spread to hundreds of cities around the world.
  • Our troops have officially come home from Iraq – a serious reason to cheer – leaving only about 17,000-20,000 State Department personnel and their private and well-armed security forces.
  • Osama Bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi are no longer justification for war. Even Kim Jong Il is gone. They’ll have to find a new boogieman.
  • We no longer have to pretend Pakistan is our good friend, but have been reminded that every nation with nuclear capacity should be.
  • We haven’t caused serious harm to the “Arab Spring.”
  • Teapublicans were unsuccessful at shutting down our government or forcing us into default and causing a worldwide financial meltdown beyond our imagination – at least, so far.
  • We haven’t yet approved the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • The multi-trillion dollar bailouts have worked their magic as CEO pay finally shoots up another 36.5% last year.
  • Foreclosures have actually slowed down some in some states.
  • Some of the 13+ million long-term unemployed have joined the 10+ million who already stopped going to the unemployment office causing the unemployment rate to drop way down to 8.6% – look for more to stop looking next year as five million will lose their unemployment benefits and the rate could fall to 6 or 7% by election date.
  • The Euro hasn’t failed, yet, but has slipped enough against the dollar to make those in the 1% get to save big time on their next European vacation. Stay tuned, what Germany couldn’t do in war, they may soon do by banking.
  • Sara Palin, Jeb Bush nor Haley Barbour have yet announced their candidacy.

Happy holidays.

 

Update December 23, 2011; 8:51 AM EST: After wasted expensive days of politcal banter, threats, encouragements, puppeted talking points, invented distortions, face-saving attempts and the like, it appears that the Boehner (not pronounced boner) is going to allow the House to vote on the Senate bill authorizing a two month extension of unemployment benefits, the payroll tax cut and the docfix. The bill also would require President Obama and the State Department to make a decision on whether to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, which is unlikely to be authorized, as the required studies by the EPA and the State Department will not have been completed in two months, but should allow the electioneering Republicans to point at the President as a job killer when, as expected and likely required by law, he rejects permitting. As an aside, there has been a majority willing to vote for this measure for some time. Boehner, however, did not want the bill passed by Democrats and reasoned Republicans who would split from the Teapublican caucus. This story will be updated again, once the bill passes or fails – or, when the author returns from holiday travel.

What's the tipping point?

Last week I canceled a trip to be with our grandchildren for Thanksgiving. The tipping point that forced the decision was a combination of unexpected medical co-pays on top of some un-budgeted car repair. While heartbreaking, it was not particularly serious and we expect to visit in a couple of weeks, but it made me wonder. I have made a living as a marketing version of the canary in a coal mine – a preeminent consumer of sorts. For whatever reason, I seem to experience things months or more before others. If something so insignificant could force my decision, could we, the formerly solid middle class, be on the edge of a more dramatic shift?

Hard working families all over our great country are facing tough economic decisions every day. Uncomfortable decisions. Decisions that seem different in scale than they used to be. Admittedly, living within a budget is a responsible and necessary way for each of us to live and manage our money. But what cumulative toll has the horrible economy taken on the type and frequency of such difficult decisions?

The Census Bureau defines poverty as $22,350 annually for a family of four, and near-poor as people within 200% above the poverty line. Officially, one in three Americans is poor or near-poor. Unofficially, it is at least one in two. The real life definition should also include people who are one unexpected event from being without money. Cash poor is not the same thing as poor, but it feels like it for a time and easily can become permanent.

Most of us have have taken some hits in the last few years. Someone in the family was laid off. Someone got sick. Someone entered the work force, but couldn’t find work adequate to pay their college loans. Credit lines dried up with house value. The house didn’t sell. The investment was made worthless. Your health insurance was cancelled, or only offered at a price greater than your house payment. But you endured. Party on.

There are Dominossteps down the ladder for the middle class near poor. Liquidate stocks and savings. Cash in retirement accounts. Sell your house for a smaller house. Sell that house for an apartment. Then a smaller apartment. Give up the life insurance you’ve paid on for twenty years. Give up the private schools. Gave up the extra car. Give up Whole Foods for Publix, then BigLots, then dumpster diving for food. Give up the malls for Walmart, then the charity store. Cancel cable and the newspaper. Unhook the land lines. Postpone preventative maintenance – dental care, health check ups, car tune-ups or new tires, overlook the minor car accident and cash the check. Let the dog die.

The middle class can take some hits. Americans are resilient. We can get smaller and leaner. We can do without. We can ask for help from friends or family. Wishing won’t change it. Remembering accrued disappointment makes it worse.

There must be a point in the spiral – the time or convergence of events, that leaves no options. The moment when all that you have worked for is gone. The time when you change economic classes. When there is no pretending.

A tipping point was first defined in physics as that “small amount of weight to a balanced object that can cause it to suddenly and completely topple.” Al Gore speaks of a tipping point for our environment – when it is too late to avoid the catastrophe that awaits. Is there a tipping point for the middle class? A moment when one extra burden, no matter its size or intended consequence, can cause millions, perhaps, tens of millions of families, to suddenly and completely topple?

What could be the tipping point?

  • This Great Recession is now entering its third year. Extended unemployment benefits, pitiful as they are, are about to expire and we do not have a Congress that will extend them.
  • The temporary payroll tax break is also expiring next month. The jury is out whether the Tea Party will make a deal to extend this tax break for working Americans. In real terms, the disappearance of payroll tax relief will cost the “average” worker about $2,000 next year. Will that be the tipping point?
  • The Bush tax cuts, now in their 10th year, are set to expire at the end of 2012. Included with the 4.6% increase in tax for the wealthy, is a 3% tax increase for most of the middle class – about $2,600 for a family of four – could that be the tipping point?
  • If the Tea Party holds Medicare hostage and Congress doesn’t pass the Medicare “doc-fix” by the end of 2011, something that has been passed every year for almost half a century, doctor and hospital reimbursements will be reduced by 27%. Will your doctor accept Medicare? Will that be the tipping point for millions of our seniors who are barely making ends meet?
  • Gas prices are rising again. Will that tip us?
  • The rising price of rents?
  • Next year’s expected Health Insurance co-pay increases?
  • The rising average credit card rates, fees and penalties? Or debit card charges?
  • Or will it be just one more group of layoffs that causes consumption to drop just enough for business to grind to a halt?
  • Or maybe it will just be something simple happening to one more family. A child who comes home sick from school that causes you to miss work that gets you fired? A speeding ticket that must be paid and causes you to miss a payment on a credit card that causes the rates on all your cards to go to 33.65%, plus late payments and interest on late payments, that can never be caught up? Or your furnace goes out? Or will a parent lose their job and helping them puts your family in the economic spiral?  Or, God forbid, you lose your spouse?

Just a few years ago, the monthly budget’s rounding error for the middle class near-poor was in the hundreds. Now, every penny is counted. They had a stack of credit cards with zero interest rates and seemingly unlimited credit lines. An unexpected expense would just go on the card. Since that time, home values have shrunk and with it, credit lines and flexibility.

The middle class near-poor may not look much different at a casual glance. They may decorate trees for Christmas, but they’ll wrap empty gifts under the tree. 2011 will be another year when Christmas giving will be postponed or homemade. The middle class near-poor are just one more bad thing away from the bottom and none of us are prepared for how to make it there. There is no longer any social safety net. The food kitchens are full and the pantries emptying more quickly than filled. Our government has borrowed all they will borrow and nothing else is expected until after the fall election, or the next.

How long will it take to recover? If all things go well, and they may not, the US economy will take a decade or more just to get back to where we were when Bush left. Another decade to get back to where we were when Clinton left. Given the life expectancy in poverty, two decades will go a long way toward wiping out poverty. The economy can come back more quickly, but only if and only when everyone can have a job and be back in the economy as consumers.

Trying not to leave this story on a gloomy note, there are things you can do.

  • You can join the 99%, occupy and march on Washington and call for repealing laws that caused the grotesque financial inequity in our nation.
  •  You can demand your Congress person do every stinking little thing they can do or spend to get rid of the extra weights on the middle class, the near-poor and those already in poverty. Tell them to stop listening to lobbyists and do what is right for the people they should be representing. Tell them to shut up with the election year fear mongering on issues meaningless to the economy and do something good before we vote them out of office.  Tell them specifically to vote for what’s left of Obama’s jobs initiative, for extension of jobless benefits, extension of the payroll tax cuts, the Medicare “doc-fix” and making permanent the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. Tell them to keep their hands off of Wall Street reform that protects American consumers. Tell them to stop trying to undermine health care reform, but be part of the Congress that will fix it. Tell them to break up the companies too large and with too many lobbyists to fail. Tell them to end special breaks for dirty industries. Tell them to quit wasting money on wars we don’t pay for. Tell them to keep investing in schools and re-training. And most of all, tell them to get to work on the peoples’ business.
  • Watch for the warning signs and stay in touch with those friends who seem to drop out of your circle – they’ll need your friendship.
  • Volunteer and help those who need it now.
  • Get involved with non-profits – each of which is still reeling from the terrible economy and from Bush ending the inheritance tax, but that’s another story. Help people who can’t find work to start a small businesses and teach them how to make it successful. Help feed the hungry. Help teach, mentor and take care of children. Get involved to help seniors and the disabled.
  • If you are in the top 30%, keep giving to charities which help people. Put some of your money toward micro-loans to launch new small businesses.
  • If you are a 1% executive, it is time to fire your lobbyist, take a pay cut and use the money to hire people who need jobs – especially those who have been out of work for a while or been fighting our wars.
  • If you think you are at the tipping point, reach out to agencies who can help you land more softly and not on the street.