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Man on the Street

Man on the Street

Man on the Street is a Baton Rouge native. He has been involved on the front lines in state politics for most of his life. He is socially liberal and fiscally conservative - what might be described as a modern moderate.

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In observing the fight over the national debt limit (which I am not convinced is such a big deal), my feelings about the political process are only reinforced.  It is similar to a television program where the conflict gets resolved in the final ten minutes.  I would think both sides would be able to find common ground, but it seems the ‘purity’ of Republicans will keep a long term, responsible solution from happening.  After all, if a deal is reached, credit will go to the President and yet another issue for the Republicans won’t be playable.

I do not recall the right objecting to having such a big deficit when Reagan or W was President.  It seems   this is a manufactured issue because they have little else with which to scare the public.  After all, we now know that our President was indeed born in Hawaii.  They campaigned on job creation, yet not one jobs bill has been introduced to address the issue. 

Apparently in the Republican mind, all ills of the country can be solved with lower taxes.  I have heard this argument during my lifetime.  And right now under a Democratic President, we have the lowest tax rate since 1950.  Yet, we have more people in America than ever before.  Folks are living longer and there is a strain on resources.  This fact seems to fall on deaf ears.  I can’t comprehend the logic of making sure the richest folks in America pay lower taxes.  I do not see the sense of giving someone with a private jet or billions of dollars a tax break. 

The slime machine is quick to discredit those that discuss this issue as encouraging class warfare, which is one step away from Socialism.  I don’t see it that way.  I do think that the ideology of the Republican Party wants to maintain the status quo of majority white wealthy control in our country.  I believe most of what they do it tinged with racial overtones.  They somehow believe that the money of the rich will trickle down (seems so condescending) to the masses.

They see this on the local level as well.  I do not think Baton Rouge will ever have a white mayor again unless he or she is a Democrat.  I also don’t think America will ever have another Nixon or Reagan.  A majority of babies born in this country now are non-white.  Republicans have done little over the years to address issues of the non-white.  Eventually it will harm them- and they are scared to death.  I’m just sayin’.

Thursday, 09 June 2011

Family Forum: Bad for Louisiana

I believe the biggest danger of organized religion is that it can be used as a tool of hatred.  Radical Muslim ideology uses the Koran to support terror and Jihad against anyone who is not a part of their ideal.  Most of us look upon that with much disgust and disdain.  And our country seems to be in a state of endless war because of it.  What will our world become:  Muslim or Christian?

Yet in America some use organized religion to promote bigotry, xenophobia, and hatred.  In our state it comes in the form of the Louisiana Family Forum.  Their Jihad is to dictate social policy while advocating small government expect when it comes to marriage, education, sexuality, race, and abortion.  They are very organized and have lots of financial support from Washington.  After listening to their positions on life in America I can only come to one conclusion.  They want a white male dominated society.  They resist difference.   Women have a place in their world- subservient to the male dominance.  Homosexuals and foreigners have no place in their society except as a tool for hatred. 

The Family Forum would like to adhere to the original verbiage of the Constitution; one without amendments banning slavery or giving women equal rights.  They are the new ‘White Citizens Councils’ of our era; an attempt to restore the glory of an unequal America.  By 2050, minorities will be the majority of the voting population in America.  At that time the old ways of thinking will be silenced.  A new day is dawning in our country.

How does this affect our state?  It keeps up in the dark ages.  It makes us a national punch line.  We remain poor and uneducated.  We top many negative lists.  For example, we are the only state that has an anti-evolution law.  The world moves faster now and the reality is that life is more expensive.  Faith is supposed to provide personal comfort in times of need; not provide excuses or justifications for bigotry.

The Family Forum is bad for Louisiana.  I’m just sayin’……..

“If we don’t learn the mistakes of history, we are doomed to repeat them.” – Winston Churchill
The talking heads are constantly pontificating about the virtue of the great Ronald Reagan. They long for a time when in their mind things were slower and better. They admire his ability to deliver the quote that will be replayed until the end of time. They admired his strength, courage, and positive attitude. Republicans long to model him; even our little man Governor Jindal.   I did some elementary research and found FACTUAL information about his time as President; not that the right worries about fact.
1-       In 1981 he signed into a law a massive tax cut which reduced government spending by 3%.
2-      In 1982 he began to roll back the tax cuts for 3 years in an attempt to close the deficit.
3-      In 1983 he signed a gasoline tax and social security tax that took money from individuals.
4-      In 1984 he closed tax loopholes which in effect were tax increases.
5-      In 1986 he lowered personal tax rates while signing the largest corporate tax increase since World War 2. Instead of calling it a tax raise, he called it tax restructuring.
6-      While he was in office, the number of federal workers rose by 61,000. (During the Clinton Administration there was a reduction of 370,000 federal jobs).
7-      The national deficit tripled during his time in office.
So why is he the darling of the right? He wouldn’t be a darling of the tea party.  I call it “Word Magic”; saying something that sounds good but has little substance. Reagan didn’t fool with social problems. He famously said that when he grew up “America was unaware it had a race problem”. He didn’t mention the word AIDS publicly until 1984, giving the deadly virus a 4 year head start. He increased national defense to fight communism which was already beginning to fail. He made us feel safe and proud again when we were bruised by inflation and the Iran hostage crisis. He was polished because he was an ACTOR and knew all about word magic.
Trickle down economics is the biggest con job ever perpetrated on the American people. Cutting taxes for the most wealthy will allow them freedom to make life better for those beneath them in the great chain of being?????? People who have money want much more; helping other people or being philanthropic is secondary. Nobody is naturally responsible when it comes to profit, wanting it to increase while reducing cost by cutting corners if possible. And I don’t blame them one bit. But don’t tell me that life will be better for those at the bottom of the chain waiting for the trickle.
 Reagan did something for the national self esteem. I credit him for that. However, he was not the conservative everyone fantasizes. He gutted regulatory agencies; creating an atmosphere where big business makes up the rules as they go along. This cavalier attitude toward rules and regulation started by Reagan and reinstated by Bush II is why Louisiana is soaked with BP oil. These antiquated attitudes toward financial, housing, and oil markets caught up with us in the last 5 years. Obama needs to fix the problem, which he is doing slowly, and continue to remind the people how this mess started. The right doesn’t like it, which is fine by me. After all, the Obama hating industry makes a mint in books, speakers, and websites. So hate as much as possible; revert to banal racial and personal insults when the argument is lost showing your true colors. Meanwhile, America is slowly healing. Our best days are still ahead. I’m just sayin……
Saturday, 12 June 2010

Give Us Our Lives Back

I am a Democrat. I never voted for a Republican in my life although I am considering voting for Jay Dardenne for Lt. Governor this fall. First and foremost, I am a Louisianan. Observing the latest disaster to hit our state has made me quite disenchanted with those in power. I feel we are being treated like a political football as there seems to be no incentive for this administration to help. I know the President has been here 3 times to observe and listen; maybe all he can do at this point. He exclaimed he was looking for ‘whose ass to kick’; but I don’t think it will do much good. Criminal charges might punish those responsible, but I want to see a stronger sense of urgency. BP has 600 workers cleaning beaches, why can’t the National Guard assist. I think 6,000 might be needed to thoroughly clean beaches, skim oil, and save wildlife. BP will pay for it- last year they made $230 billion dollars in profit. I am unclear why the Federal Government won’t just assume control, give us the resources and manpower to clean up and dictate to BP that it pays for all damage. My feeling is that Louisiana is not an important state for this President. It is red and becoming burgundy. We won’t help the President get re-elected. Imagine if something happened tragic in Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, or Missouri. We would see the full might of big government everyone fears fixing the problem. 
I feel the same way I did during Katrina. I don’t want people feeling sorry for us, and we can take care of our own business. But I thought one of the fundamental precepts of the federal government was to protect its citizens. This oil spill threatens our way of life, much like airplanes that crash into buildings. We need federal money to fix this problem. We can accept it by holding our nose, but right now it’s about our Louisiana economy. The Governor seems to be doing a good job here; even demanding federal assistance (which he detests). Seafood prices might increase a few dollars around the country and nobody will realize the difference or complain. Yet, legal Louisiana/American citizens lost their source of income as they rely on the seafood and oil industries for their livelihood. Our Federal Government could handle this in an efficient and prudent manner but doesn’t seem at all interested.
The Katrina abortion was due to incompetence. We had political operatives in the White House actively trying to dilute the minority voting population in New Orleans while people drowned. They succeeded for a while, but many have returned despite entire neighborhoods still looking like disaster areas. This time I feel as if the White House seems too casual about the situation. Where is the emergency spending bill for the gulf region? Where is the public assistance when we really need it? Not only must we face indifference, we listen to the likes of Rand Paul exclaim that accidents happen and the government is not responsible for fixing it.
I don’t know what the answer is to this reoccurring dilemma. Maybe we could change from a red state to a swing state so people will pay attention to us, but I am not sure that will work. I know that the Chairman of BP is ‘ready to get his life back’ and we know that ‘Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp’. As they sleep in their ivory tower at night, many Louisiana residents are also ready to ‘get their lives back’. I’m just sayin………..
I have trouble understanding the current political climate in America. The Tea Party movement is disturbing. I don't know much about it, other than the protestors are loud, shrieking at the clouds as if something can be done about it. They don't like difference, or seek to understand a position opposite from their own; anyone who doesn't believe in their dogma is termed communist, socialist, or un-American. The de-facto leaders seem to be Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. So, I've created a moniker for them: Palinstinians.
 
I am of average intelligence. I attended college and would like to think that I am educated. I was taught to help my fellow citizens. I was taught to pledge allegiance to my flag. I was taught to judge people on their character rather than race or gender. I was taught to work very hard and then I could accomplish anything I set my mind to doing. I was also taught that it is OK to give a hungry man a meal. Alas, I was also led to believe that I should not give something to someone who does not deserve it; the more unearned benefits a person receives, the less likely they are to have dignity, self worth and self sufficiency regardless of circumstance. I think I was raised well.
 
From what I can tell, the Palinstinians are all white and quick to exclaim how they are not racist. Yet, they have the gall to compare their plight to the Civil Rights movement. At no time do I see the police beating these protestors, or attacking them with hoses and dogs. It is trite and I fear is the rebirth of the ultraconservative right wing on the political spectrum. I am as American as they are; and I think there is a place for them in the national dialogue. But, I am not sure they feel the same way. They write it on their palms: no taxes, and less government control over our life, and no more stimulus plans. Sounds good- but it is just word magic. I think there is some waste in government that could be eliminated. I don't feel controlled by our government unless I am at the airport. Their philosophy is one they don't want mentioned; they simply don't want a black man controlling their tax dollars or telling them how to live their lives. They think that some people have more rights than others.   This same mentality caused this great nation to justify discrimination against people of color, women, the disabled, and homosexuals. It seems that race is never a question when you are white.
 
I believe the movement is all about race. The Palinstinians are angry. But I still don't know why. They don't know what it is they really want, they just know they don't have it. It is mob rule and almost Fascist. It is the recycled Perot political stance on steroids. It shows us at our worst. They have done a nice job decrying who is to blame for their supposed poor lot in life; instead of looking in the mirror. They have no substantive approach to governing except to castigate a mythical "them"- which is code for the less fortunate and poorest members of our society; most of whom are minorities. Lest we forget however, that the new silent majority are those minorities that helped elect our current President. The Palinstians might have a moment in the sun; but I do think they will end up eating each other.
I am sure they are decent people. So were the Germans before Hitler took power. While I haven't researched their membership lists; I am sure I would know someone who is active in the movement. As the average man on the street, this is my view. I'm just sayin………..

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