Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mean Creeps In

I don't care which political party you believe in, when policies seem to be mean spirited, you might want  to heed that nagging voice in the back of your head:  That's your conscience telling you that there is a disconnect between what our leaders say and what your morality demands of them.

I know that we all have our sinful moments (I know I've had mine), but there's a difference between stealing candy as a child and leaving millions out in the cold.  What I am referring to is the new wave of political leaders who seem to deem all people in need as parasites:  How else could they justify their attempts to cut unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, medicare benefits.  How else could they justify a position requiring budget cuts of equal value before any disaster relief funds are to be released?

Most recently, a Congressman named Todd Akins tried to differentiate between what he calls illegitimate and legitimate rape, which would place blame on the victim.  While the Republican National Committee and the GOP Super Pacs have renounced him and tried to distance themselves from him, Paul Ryan co-sponsered a bill with Akin to redefine the different types of rape: I wonder what logic was used to differentiate between what they called "Foricible Rape" and what Texas politician Clayton Williams implied would be "Enjoyable Rape"  While Clayton claimed his remark to be a joke, who in their right mind would think to say such a thing.  Even if such thoughts are rattling around in you misogynist head, under what circumstances would you feel comfortable saying this out loud?  Like Williams, Akin thought that his beliefs about rape would be deemed acceptable.  Luckily, they weren't and something about Akins philosophy or understanding about rape was revealed.  I say luckily, because republican leaders do not logically justify their policies these days.

Over the last 2 years of Obama's first term, we have seen Republican leaders oppose everything presented by the President, even those ideas which were initially their ideas.  There is no logic to this practice, especially when they don't present alternatives:  In a country that is in the midst of its greatest ever recession, simply saying "no" to everything offered is not the trait of good leadership. Anyone in the entire United States of America could belong to The Party of 'No', because it doesn't take a leader to simply act as an obstructionist; this only require someone who is more selfish than compassionate.

As for the rest of the MEAN that has CREPT into the Republican party, this list is quite long and the sad fact is that it is widely ignored by most republican voters.  Instead of contemplating what leading a people means, republican voters seem to prefer to either bury their heads in the sand or to simply call people names when they don't like their politics:  Liberal, Obaaaama sheep, Obamanot, this list is long as well.  When facts are ignored, we all suffer and the facts as they pertain to our political leaders indicate that they either have no clue or no conscience and this goes for both parties (see below).

Excerpts from the RAD Dictionary, which can be found on this blog:

Republican Party noun
1.    A political party that tells its constituents how it will screw over everyone except the wealthy.

Democratic Party noun
1.    A political party that watches the Republican party screw over everyone except the wealthy.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Help Injured Veterans Get The Assistance They Deserve

While the U.S. defense budget continues to skyrocket, those who have served our country in the most important way, languish under mounting paper work. Whether their injuries are physical or mental, our veterans deserve the support of the country they defended.

We have an able-bodied workforce that is waiting for the opportunity to prove their worth. Let's give the long-term unemployed the chance to help . . . Our servicewomen and men and themselves. That's why I created a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama. Will you sign this petition?

Click here:

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Politics Affect on Hurricane Preparedness

This is the speech I gave this past Saturday August 18th at Storm Expo 2012.

Hello, I would like to address the ways in which politics play a role in hurricane preparedness.

Fortunately, we have not experienced any hurricanes in South Florida thus far this year and hopefully, we will be spared this fate for the remainder of the season.  As for believing that we will never be faced with the devastation that a hurricane can cause, no one here is that naive.  The best we can do is to mitigate the potential damage by being as prepared as we possibly can be when the next storm strikes.

Having emergency supplies on hand can greatly reduce the pain of loss as well as mean the difference between life and death.  If municipal water supplies are cut off or contaminated, a set aside of five gallons of water can not only provide the sustenance a family may need, but also serve to buoy their spirits until assistance can arrive; If that five gallons runs out, bleach can be used to decontaminate any suspect sources of water that might be available.  Batteries for flashlights are a must as are the flashlights in which to put those batteries.  Canned goods, dried goods and other food supplies that do not require refrigeration are imperative if the power goes out.  A generator can greatly ease the suffering many will face by allowing some to run their refrigerators to preserve food or an air conditioner to cool them.  And, as we all know here in Miami, we cannot do without air conditioning.

There are, of course, all kinds of emergency supplies that can make life easier after any disaster, but most of them have costs associated with them.  And for the less fortunate in our society, these costs can be prohibitive.  Even the barest of necessities required in the aftermath of a hurricane might seem outside any feasible budget for some of the neediest in our Community.  When those who have become the most ignored in politics, the less fortunate or the poor find it difficult to put food on the table on a daily basis, stockpiling anything is the last thing on their minds.  When jobs are so scarce that any “opening” offered, draws an inordinate number of hopeful candidates:  People who only seek to keep the electricity or water running in their homes are not concerned as to how well-prepared they or their families are for a hurricane:  The daily requirements of life overshadow any thoughts of an emergency which, may or may nor occur.

Hurricane preparedness is just one junction where politics and poverty collide however, but it is at this intersection of disaster and apathy where the choices we make at the polls shine brightest or burn harshest.  It is during and after a disaster that our leaders greatest strengths or weaknesses come into the light of day.  As the nation comes together in times of crisis, regardless of the policies of our elected officials, communities unite in order to overcome adversity.  And in these times of greatest strife, the choices made by our leaders either bear the greatest fruit or wither on the vein in their inadequacy.

This is also where hurricane preparedness is affected by the unlikely source of politics.  When most people think of emergency management and other life saving methods, few correlate them with political ideology, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, as was indicated by hurricane Katrina.  What this disaster showed us was that political choices do have consequences.  As we watched the news and witnessed as so many people were left to fend for themselves, our hearts broke.  When we found out that the man appointed to the highest office in FEMA was a horse breeder with no emergency management credentials, we grew angry.  As days stretched into weeks then months, we all wondered how many lives could have been saved after Katrina had an emergency management professional been at the helm of the agency in charge of saving those lives.  In a seemingly unrelated series of disasters, we had political leaders calling for a bill that required any and all disaster relief funds to be offset by equivalent budget cuts.  Only when disaster struck their own districts did these compassionless individuals abandon this requirement, but do not believe for one second that their initial, Objectivist goals are gone forever.

When a hurricane strikes, the first line of defense is being prepared and if we have leaders who are so short sighted as to require budget cuts before any action can be taken, then how concerned can they be with the level of preparedness we maintain?  When the time comes to rescue those who need to be saved, to comfort those who have lost so much and to help the survivors rebuild their lives in an attempt to return to normalcy or to find a new normal, make certain that you’ve voted for the candidate who will strive to mitigate some of the hazards of a hurricane with a plan that prepares us to better weather the storm.

In light of what is at stake; before, during and after a hurricane hits, shouldn’t we expect those who choose to lead us to provide us with the means to equip ourselves for the next major storm?  Of course we should.  This is why we must demand that our elected officials be more vigilant for opportunities that benefit the community at large.  It is during the calm between two storms that we must press them to push policies that will attract businesses to our small corner of the world and bring with them jobs that pay a living wage, not a salary that only serves as life support.

People do not want to be reliant on handouts.  Americans are self-sufficient, but when they are denied access to the means to be independent, those who have withheld the means should not complain about those in need for they created that need through their inaction or worse still, malicious deeds and dealings that benefit only the few.

Imagine how many more people will suffer if politicians like Congressman Eric Cantor and others get their wish to limit emergency funds based upon the amount of cuts they can squeeze from the budget.  This wouldn’t even sound like a good idea if our Congress was filled with rational and compassionate representatives, which we all know is not the case these days.  An emergency is absolutely the last instance when budgetary desires should take precedent.

Now, my reason for being here today is not to endorse any particular candidate or any particular party for that matter.  To be quite honest, I have reservations about both of the major parties that claim to represent the people of the United States of America.  What I do hope to impart upon you all today is the need to know those who will seek your endorsement and your vote in the upcoming elections.  Before you vote, make certain you understand what each prospective candidate stands for as well as the party they represent.  Get together with family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors, even the ones you disagree with and talk about the issues that are important to you.  You might be surprised at just how similar your views are pertaining to what you seek in a leader.  One thing that we can all look for as an indicator as to how affective a leader will prepare the community for a hurricane would be to determine which candidate presents the best ideas for job creation and feasible plans to strengthen Miami.

To help make our government better represent the people, I have been working on what I call The Really? Rally, which I hope will serve as an honest forum where the clutter of major news outlets can be eliminated and an honest discourse between candidate and constituent can be had.  For more information about the Really? Rally or any of the other ideas my group hopes to put forward, visit, where our goal is to Return the Power of our Democracy to the People.

Until such time that we all make our decisions at the polling stations however, consider donating to any organization that provides emergency supplies to people in need before a hurricane strikes and to those organizations that shelter, feed and clothe individuals and families who have suffered losses after a hurricane has passed.

Thank you and Be Prepared

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

"It can't happen to me." . . . Until it happens to you

As voter suppression laws are passed in states where republicans control a majority of all branches of state governments, something occurs to me.  Why are republican voters not standing up in opposition to these illogical, illegitimate and immoral laws?  The obvious answer is that these actions could guarantee a win for their presidential candidate, but there could be another reason:  A reason that has been primarily ignored by the media.  In my humble opinion, I believe that republican voters have remained mum on this matter, because it does not affect them.
Why the major news outlets have not  given a voice to this possibility is of less importance than what tolerance of tactics that circumvent our Democracy mean for our country.  This reluctance to stand up for "other" people's rights has been seen throughout history.  It was this attitude of "looking the other way" that allowed the Nazi's to kill so many Jewish people and "others" who did not fit into Hitler's ideals of humanity.  While this may seem like an extreme view to take, it shouldn't, because all one need do is look at what is happening in America these days:  The middle class is dwindling and those who are poor or becoming poor are being labeled as a blight on society.  Even when these people have done everything that was supposed to lead to the American Dream, they have found themselves in a nightmare and we are supposed to look them as parasites . . . And how did Hitler look upon the Jews?

Before I relate this attitude to voter suppression and the acceptance that seems to flourish amongst the republican constituency, I would first like to delve further into the fact that so many are becoming impoverished and so many more are allowing this to happen.  It can't be, as some of the more boisterous republican, presidential candidates and GOP pundits try to frame it, that those who have fallen into the ranks of the unemployed, uninsured, homeless and under-represented are lazy, ambition-less and lacking in some way.  My doubts arise from the fact that these are the same people who were, at one time, hard-working, mortgage paying members of society.  They were teachers, fire fighters, policemen and women; Some were vice presidents at small or large companies while others made comfortable livings at more labor intensive jobs.  Many were people who thought that "It could never happen to them"  And, until it did happen to them, they ignored it.  Sound familiar?

There are people living in their cars who can't get food stamps, because they own their car.  Others live in motels, because they couldn't afford their mortgages, after losing their jobs.  Are these people in their situations, because of poor planning?  Maybe . . . some, but I doubt all.  The way that so many who found themselves homeless were demonized, so too are those who've found themselves jobless.  Do you remember when everyone was saying that the housing market was only collapsing because of greedy house flippers?  Well, I think we ran out of house flippers a few years back, but people are still losing their homes.  Could the banks be more at fault than people want to credit them?  And don't the arguments about the unemployed sound similar?  Claims like "It's lazy, shiftless people who don't know the dignity of work." seem to say something different, but carry the same sentiment which is "It's their own fault"  But is it "their fault"?  Did the tens of millions of Americans who are out of work cause their jobs to become redundant or unnecessary, due to lack of work?  Is it simply the fault of those who were at one time middle class or upper middle class that they find themselves a mere statistic for people like Newt Gingrich to demonize.

And, for those who haven't yet been hit by what I believe is coming.  Appreciate the things you think are secure in your lives.  Rest easy at night for now, because there is little logic in the pursuit of fortune that we see in this country and the world over.  Just remember this:  As you looked the other way, while things happened to "others" (voting rights suppressed, jobs eliminated, homes foreclosed), someone was trying to figure out a way to get your money next.  When this game that the 1% are playing comes knocking on your door, there will probably be people who, just as you do now, look the other way and say "At least it's not happening to me."

Sleep tight.  Don't let the Billionaires bite.
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