Rotten Tomatoes for Republicans

All right, I admit defeat. I can’t tune out those crazy Republican Congressmen who actually believe that they are acting righteously in preferring to shut down the U.S. Government rather than guarantee all Americans the right to affordable health care.

I need to let off a little steam, so bear with me.

First of all, WHO ELECTED THOSE CREEPS????

It is beyond depressing that we have such an apathetic, distracted, numbed electorate, of whom barely 50% generally even bother to show up to the polls.

Of the half who do show up, obviously they are the easily manipulated types, because these Tea Partiers have managed to convince them to vote against their own interests time and time again.

It’s no secret that the Tea Partiers have been most successful in the so-called Red States, where the egregious gap between rich and poor (ie, the gap between the 1% of extreme wealth and the 99% of everyone else, way down at the bottom of the mountain) is huge.

Why would people vote against their own best prospect of getting affordable health care?

Why would people vote against the political party that, while far from perfect, has at least shown a measure of human decency and responsibility in its approach to governing?

images-2It’s only fathomable if you remember how, in Tea Party country, education and the media are entirely controlled by these same craven elites, who will stop at nothing to seize power and control of the country.

In these parts of the country, people live in ideological bunkers, where party-controlled propaganda is the only message they get.  Red China anyone?  1984?

With the advent of the World Wide Web, in America at least, it’s hard to maintain a complete lockdown on information.  But as we all know, we tend to surf to places on the Web that are familiar and tell us what we want to hear.

So I get my news from The New York Times, while in Tea Party country the average citizen is more likely to check out Fox News.  The same story looks entirely different as reported by these different media—check it out and see for yourself.  Spin rules.

This is the only way I can explain the fact that these Tea Party maniacs were elected to Congress in the first place.

I can only hope—yes, I still do have hope—that in the next round of elections, they will be sent back to their Neanderthal caves where they belong.

Then the rest of us adults can get on with the much more important business of the day.

HillaryCare1993aAffordable health care—yes, of course!  We should have had it long ago, back when Hilary Clinton tried to get it going in the mid-1990s.  She was stymied by lack of authority as merely the First Lady, seen as overstepping her bounds (get thee back to the parlor, Mrs. Clinton!).

Now President Obama is getting blowback for daring to challenge the status quo and lobby openly for the rights of the poor and for all Americans who have gotten screwed by the medical industrial complex over and over again.

It’s the same old same old, which is why I have resisted taking up the Tea Party gauntlet this time.  Why should I waste my time and energy with their nonsense?

And yet, as the government shutdown looms, and behind it the mythical debt ceiling crisis, I just have to add my voice to the chorus of BOOS and throw some metaphorical rotten eggs at those stinking Tea Partiers who want to deprive ordinary Americans of the right to a functional government, along with the right to affordable health care and an economic system that at least attempts to lift all boats.

images-1I thank the President and the Democrats for holding the line on this one.  “We don’t negotiate with terrorists,” right?  Let’s let those terrorist Republicans dig their own fox holes and stew in their own SH*T.  I’d like to see John Boehner coming out when it’s all over like Saddaam did, dazed, dirty and totally deposed.

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Give mothers the respect–and the financial compensation–they deserve

Hilary Rosen

It truly is disheartening to hear a supposedly progressive woman proclaim that a fulltime mother “never worked a day in her life.” Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen deserves all the flack she’s been getting since she made that statement yesterday on national media.

On the other hand, it’s also disheartening to see how the male-dominated Democratic and Republican campaigns have wasted no time in turning Motherhood into a political football.

The truth is that American motherhood has never been more demanding, or more complicated.

Romney married a rich man and settled in to raise five sons. She had the enormous privilege of not also having the responsibility of earning money to put food on the table.

Today there are fewer and fewer women who can afford to stay at home as fulltime moms, especially if they have big families.

More kids mean more housework—but also mean more mouths to feed, shoes to buy, college tuitions to pay for.

Mitt and Ann Romney with their 16 grandchildren

As part of the 1%, Ann Romney got to choose to stay home with her children.  For the rest of us, this is just not an option.

Especially the many of us who are single moms, or whose husbands have been out of work for months and years.

But the firestorm over Hilary Rosen’s miscalculated remark speaks to an even deeper issue that remains unaddressed in our society.

Mothers still do more housework and child care than fathers.  Housework and childcare still remains not only unpaid labor, but labor that is not recognized as having any monetary value in our very commercially oriented society.

A recent NY Times article interviewed some nannies who work for the 1%, whose labor is valued in the high six figures.

But the labor of a mother who stays home is not even deemed worthy of accruing social security.

At minimum, all mothers, whether they stay at home fulltime or struggle doing the second shift at home after the day job, should be entitled to accrue social security and expect some retirement compensation from the nation in their old age.

At minimum, all mothers should have the right to subsidized maternal health care.

At minimum, in a rich country like ours, no mother should have to worry about whether her children are going to have enough to eat.

Instead, our country is going in the opposite direction.

We are making it harder and harder for mothers to qualify for welfare assistance.  We are cutting back on public education, and failing to create incentives for doctors to work in public health clinics.

And many, many states are actively working to curb women’s access to contraception, while at the same time demonizing abortion.

So what’s a poor woman to do?

The media controversy over the non-issue of whether Ann Romney’s “work” as a fulltime mother qualifies as such is entirely misplaced.

What we need to get worked up about are the circumstances of the millions of American mothers who work hard, both in and out of the home, without the household help that the Romneys undoubtedly enjoyed, and who are not fairly compensated or recognized for their efforts.

It may sound corny, but it’s true: without the hard work of mothers to bear and care for children, our great nation would simply cease to be.

We need to cut the political chicanery and not only give Motherhood the respect it deserves, but put our money where our mouths are, too.

Help Wanted: Obama the Community Organizer, Please Come Back!

Here’s another video of unwarranted police brutality against peaceful protesters, this time in Oakland CA, that’s sure to go viral on the Web today:

How do you think the NY Times is covering this story? Not surprisingly, the Times presents the story largely from the establishment point of view, focusing on how cities are “losing patience” with the Occupy movement, with “officials…grappling with growing concerns about crime, sanitation and homelessness at the encampments.”

Well yes, we do need to be worrying about “crime, sanitation and homelessness.”  But not especially at the Occupy encampments.

The Occupy Wall Street folks have shown themselves able to handle these issues very well themselves, without any help from city officials or police, and we can expect that their example will be followed by other protesters across the country.

However, there are other, far more serious instances of crime, sanitation and homelessness on which city officials should be focusing.

For instance, the criminal behavior of the major American banks, which, as Nick Kristof observed in his column yesterday on American crony capitalism, “privatize profits while socializing risk.”

Or the criminal behavior of the U.S. military establishment, which, in a heinous disregard for the health of U.S. Marines and their families, ignored the fact that the water at Camp Lejeune was highly unsanitary–in fact, totally toxic–for years, until the undeniable incidence of cancer and birth defects, including the biggest cluster of male breast cancer victims in the nation, forced officials there to acknowledge the problem.

Then there’s the issue of homelessness.  Not the kind represented by the tents and sleeping bags that have sprung up in cities and towns across the country in a deliberate effort to draw attention to soaring American inequality.

No, what officials should be concerned about is actual homelessness caused by record numbers of home foreclosures by the very banks that manufactured this crisis to begin with.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that President Obama has lately snapped out of the zombified sleepwalking he’s been stuck in for the past year or so.

The Occupy movement can and should claim the credit for waking him up and giving him the inspiration and courage to start fighting back again. These young people may be his salvation in the next election, too, if he can break the chains that have bound him to Wall Street and take up a more populist stance.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 there were 26.1 million Americans ages 18-23.  A good portion of those–say, 90% or so–have every right to be upset with the dismal state of the economy they’re about to enter as working adults.

Many of them have crushing student loans, and come from families that have been struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments in a flat-lining middle-class economic environment.

And seriously, do you know ANYONE who has not been touched by cancer at least indirectly, having to watch friends, neighbors and family members fight the good fight against this manufactured scourge?

Do you know anyone who doesn’t think we in the 99% need access to affordable health care, and better governmental protection from toxic chemicals in our food, water and air?

President Obama needs to get back to his community organizer roots, and come out as the man we thought we were electing, the defender of the 99%.

We need to hear from the youthful idealist Obama who worked so hard to improve conditions in Chicago’s ghettos.  I know he’s in there somewhere.

Maybe these young people in the nation’s streets, standing firm against the onslaught of the riot police, will rekindle the fire that’s been all but extinguished in the White House lately.

In this wet, gloomy autumn, there’s nothing we need more.

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