In Debt or Indentured Part Nine: All the Issues

People Politico In Debt or Indentured: All the IssuesThis is the ninth part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: All the Issues

With all of these issues hitting the American middle class, it can be easily seen how people can become distracted from looking at the big picture since the picture becomes so blurred through media and politics. There is also the amount of work Americans do, they are left with little time to invest in looking into the politicians that they elect. President George W. Bush said to a divorced mother of three in Omaha on February 4, 2005 “You work three jobs?  … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that”. This should not be uniquely American to expect people to work three jobs and still barely get by. Not to mention, how much money does this struggling woman have to pay out of her three jobs to have her children looked after so she can work more? This is also an example of how politicians on both sides of the aisle think that Americans hard work is endless, yet the middle class does not demand change.

Is it audacious to think that the America middle class would demand remotely close the subsidies and tax breaks that industries and the wealthy receive currently from the government or be bailout by the government in the middle class’ time of need? The American middle class worker barely has time to demand more than a thirty second sound-bite from the politician that they will vote for…if they vote at all. A tactical attempt has been made by those in the echelons power within the United States to divide the middle class and ensure that they are more focused on surviving day to day, paying their debt, and living in fear than being able to see through the smoke filled barrage of sound clips and view the entire picture. Not able to see or feel powerless to change a government that is not serving them. The American middle class must find the time to challenge the status quo and demand tangible changes that would directly better middle class families’ everyday lives. To this point, instead of looking at the turmoil that middle class is experiencing, the American middle class is told they should not look for handouts from the government and they should take pride in pulling themselves up by their bootstraps (even though the entire financial system was bailed out to the tune of over a trillion dollars). The middle class instead is encouraged to spend more, even if that means going further into debt. An example of this was reported by Time Magazine’s Justin Fox (Editorial director of Harvard Business Review Group and author) in 2009 about statements made by then President George W. Bush directly following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks where President Bush stated, “Take your families and enjoy life, the way you want to be enjoyed.” Fox goes on to quote Boston University Historian Andrew Bacevich in his conclusion that “Bush seems to have calculated – cynically but correctly – that prolonging the credit fueled consumer binge could help keep complaints about his performance as Commander in Chief from becoming more than a nuisance.” Politicians, Democrat and Republican, will put their own aspirations ahead of those of the country unless a conscious society, predominately made up of the middle class as the majority within America, is willing to hold them accountable for their actions and words.

Common ground must be found by all American middle class indentured servants in order to free themselves from the this unjust system that has been built to keep the middle class in perpetual debt and fear. The American middle class must put partisanship aside in a time when it has been developed to a fever pitch. Democrats and Republicans cannot look in hate towards their fellow middle class worker trying to survive just as they are. It is time to rise up and demand a change within this country, a time to retire the debt that has burdened on their backs and buried a generation. If common ground cannot be found in the form of the self preservation of the middle class and the redefining of what the American Dream consists of, there may be no hope for this experiment with a middle class in America. But if common can be found and the political muscle of the American middle class can be flexed politically to demand changes that will help them directly in the form of debt relief, tax relief, living wages, educational equality and affordability, common belief that health is a right and not a privilege, and that fear can no longer be a tool used to control the middle class. If this type of unity can be found and the political will demonstrated by the middle class, there can be a redistribution of power in this country and the United States of America will return to a nation governed for the people by the people.

In Debt or Indentured Part Eight: Single Issue Voting

People Politico In Debt or Indentured Single Issue VotingThis is the eighth part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: Single Issue Voting

Another reason that the middle class has not unified to demand change from the government and subsequently their employers is that the American middle class has allowed their voices to be divided on the basis of single issues. These types of social issues have dominated American politics starting in the 1980’s with efforts to mitigate the effects of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America. The two major American political parties took strong positions supporting and denouncing legalized abortion in America. Through time there have been litanies of new social issues that have been added to the table to assist in dividing the middle class vote and creating a new type of voter. This new voter will vote on a single issue instead of demanding platforms that address their own personal issues that are affecting their everyday life instead of one single issue that the my only care about because of religious or personal convictions. Some of the issues that currently stifle America middle class voices are: abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, euthanasia, gun control, and illegal immigration. The interesting thing about single issues or wedge issues is that when either party is in control of congress and The White House, little to nothing is done to change the issue. On the face it appears that there is a lack of political will to tackle such monumental social issues, but politicians on both sides ran with those issues central to their platforms.

There are many example of the bait-and-switch of wedge issues by both Democrats and Republicans. One for the Republican’s took place while controlling all of congress and The White House from 2003 through 2007. Almost every elected Republican took a stance in their run for office to work towards the limitation of abortion. Yet during this time period of Republican control, little to nothing was changed to limit abortion in America. This was done even though this wedge issue was used by most Republicans to motivate voters that saw this as a single issue to vote for. The Democrats did the same thing with stem cell research and gay marriage when controlling congress and the presidency from 2009 to 2011. This is sometimes referred to in political communities as pandering to the base or telling the base of the party what they want to hear. Once elected these politicians do not make it a priority to do anything about the issue until close to another election. This maneuver ensures a constant block of voters (mostly middle class) that will come out to vote for their party because the voter cares about this sole issue. This was seen with gay marriage and abortion in the U.S. Presidential Election of 2004 between then President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry and again in the 2008 election between Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama. Even now in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential Elections, the sound of pandering to single issue voters are being displayed by both Former-Governor Romney and President Obama.

Middle Class Divided

The division of the American middle class is important to both major political parties which have unlimited funds now available to them through the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that classes corporations as individuals protected by freedom of speech through the form of political contributions to individual candidates as protected speech, this reported by Adam Liptak for the New York Times in his article titled, “Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit.” This decision now entitles corporations to spend as much as they like on political contributions to individual candidates (Liptak).  The dissenting Supreme Court justices warn, “allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy” (Liptak). This ruling allows corporations to act as individuals in order further influence elections through money. All though as a corporation it will not be able to vote in that very same election since it is not a person or a citizen.

That’s it for this part of In Debt or Indentured. We hope that this has given you some important things to think about. Use some of what you have learned here to look beyond the mere message our politicians are presenting to what the ramifications of these actions has on all of us Americans. Our country started down a slippery slope over a decade ago. We seemed to have stopped the free fall it had become, but do not fool yourself. We are still on the precipice of another long fall. Let’s just hope we all can learn, and grow, from the last spill we took.

Check back soon for the next installment of In Debt or Indentured.

In Debt or Indentured Part Seven: The Power of the Middle Class

People Politico In Debt or Indentured: The Power of the Middle ClassThis is the seventh part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: The Power of the Middle Class

The indentured middle class could look to the strong and cohesive group of Americans that have been able to establish Social Security as the third rail of American politics. Both Republicans and Democrats refuse to substantially change this very popular program for seniors since they have come together and will punish a politician of either party if they work against this program. This power comes through seniors vote in large numbers and they ensure that their representation understands that Social Security and Medicaid are widely popular programs for them and it should not be tampered with. But after elections, these same seniors stay involved by reaching out and reminding their representatives how important this is to them. In 2008’s presidential election, the forty-five to sixty-five year old voting block voted at a rate of sixty-nine percent. Voters aged eighteen to twenty-four year olds were now at only forty-nine percent as reported by Thom File and Sarah Crissey in a U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration and U.S. Census Bureau report titled “Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008.” It can stand to reason that politicians are not as concerned with the cost of higher education and the cost being incurred by young Americans that do not vote in the same numbers as seniors and will not hound them after the elections to help them. Since young people and many middle class voters do not invest the time to demand a change in their government, their government does not take time to look out for their interest either.

That’s it for this part of In Debt or Indentured. We hope that this has given you some important things to think about. Use some of what you have learned here to look beyond the mere message our politicians are presenting to what the ramifications of these actions has on all of us Americans. Our country started down a slippery slope over a decade ago. We seemed to have stopped the free fall it had become, but do not fool yourself. We are still on the precipice of another long fall. Let’s just hope we all can learn, and grow, from the last spill we took.

Check back soon for the next installment of In Debt or Indentured.

Voter Suppression in Politics

voter-infoMore voter suppression arguments are out there this year and if you ignore the indignity of the voter fraud and just look at the numbers involved, it would be very easy to solve this issue. Especially when you look at the very low numbers involved in actual voter fraud versus legitimate votes getting mixed up, tallied wrong, lost or the myriad of other things. The bottom line is we need to work on getting people out to vote, not stopping those that do vote.

Getting People to Vote

We need to get every single American and dual citizen of voting age to vote every single time. We need to ingrain in our children, in our people, the importance and significance of voting. The quality and functionality of our democracy is directly related to how many of its people are involved, educated, informed and acting on their democratic duty.

I would go as far to say that we should PAY people to vote. Invariably people will pay at least some attention and most have some idea of who and what they want out of life in this country. If you were to offer a $500 tax credit for voting in the general elections, it would greatly increase turn out. Just getting people excited and involved would go a long way to make this a better country.

Personally I find it appalling when the reporters exclaim that we have recently had record-setting voter turnout, and the record-setting number is in the 40% range. That is embarrassing, pure and simple. As the “world leader” in advocating and pushing freedom and democracy, we simply have to do better than that.

So I propose this to you: Make it your mission, as a responsible voter, American, and patriot, to get one person you know to register and vote this year. Let’s make those days of seeing 40% of voter turnout something of the past as we tag on 10-20% more.

A Political Fix to a Non-Partisan Problem

The Politics of Disenfranchisement: Why Is It So Hard to Vote in America?

Why Is It So Hard to Vote in America?

With the next wave of voter registration and polling legislation comes another slew of outcries to voter suppression. I understand the basic idea behind the argument; however, the proposed solution is no solution at all.

These pieces of new legislation are meant to tackle the estimated .0002%-5.000% voter fraud that has been reported recently. These numbers vary greatly depending on who, what and where you are looking but with the dozen or so articles, websites and other sources I investigated, the highest was floating around 5% with some as low as .0002%. Part of the reason for this is that we are addressing specifically voter fraud. We are not talking about mistakes in registration, people who have moved from their old addresses, people with the same names, addresses, lost ballots, miscounts, and the myriad of OTHER things that causes inaccurate vote count.

Much of the current legislation that is pending this year revolves around forcing all those that are voting to show valid and up to date photo IDs at the time of voting. This may address the lower end of the vote tally and fraud issues but would leave most of the other horrendous holes and problems with our system in place.

However, legislation to force presenting photo IDs in order to vote is estimated to affect at least 10% of the population that currently votes now, legally and without problems. Many of these voters without photo IDs tend to have lower incomes and are much more likely to vote Democratic than Republican.

This could also affect a much greater number of people that vote from abroad or by mail. Many places have been voting strictly by mail, especially for the smaller elections. If everyone now has to go back to a polling place to vote, won’t that decimate the numbers of people who can vote?

Make Voting Easier Not Harder

There is such a small portion of the population that votes fraudulently it has almost no effect on our current system. The numbers show the problem is nearly nonexistent. 80 fraudulent votes in a general election are not going to make much of a difference when we are talking about millions of people voting.

Instead of further limiting a minority group to vote, and making more difficult what should be an easy process and every citizen’s duty, we should be empowering all Americans to register and vote.

I’m not so proud to be an American when I find out more people vote for American Idol then in a general election. That is unacceptable and shameful.

What we should be doing is passing legislation to move our voting system from the 19th century into the 21st century. We have an archaic system to pick our representatives and run our country.  We should be embracing the newest, best, and most efficient ways to insure our democracy is protected.

Just think about it: we currently trust so many facets of our lives right now to the technology around us.  Why not support improvements in voting technology as well?

It’s easy to say that voting systems can be hacked, of course they can. However, many more people are currently skewing election results with lost ballots, miscounting by hand, going to the wrong polling place, voting as a dead person, you name it. This Pew Research document points out some of the huge flaws we have. Those are the issues that need to be addressed, the problems that need to be fixed.

I know it’s not perfect, no system is. However we have the technology, the know how to do it, we just need the will. Change can be scary but using technology and the computer power of America could and would streamline our voting process in ways we can’t fully appreciate.

We need to get 10-20% more voters voting. Not reduce the number of valid voters by 10% or more.

Here are some links to some more info and some of the specifics in voting issues around America:

 

President Obama’s State of the Union Address 2012

people-politico-president-barack-obama-debatingThe President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, gave his 2012 State of the Union Address. Whether you love or hate President Obama, there is no denying that he knows how to give a great speech. President Obama is a very charismatic speaker using a great amount of intelligence and elegance when he speaks. Whether you agree or disagree with what he said last night does not change the fact that he is great at addressing America.

Watch the web enhanced video of the 2012 State of the Union Address


It’s always interesting to see how the fact checkers rate these addresses. Not just the State of the Union Address but the many other speeches, policies, rallies and other promises that are made by politicians. They are so easily lost in the tumult that is politics that no regular person, like you and I, can keep track of it all. So I like to wait at least a day for all of the fact checking places to do their due diligence. Then I peruse through them to see what was real and was smoke. I urge everyone to take a few extra minutes and check several different sources yourself, especially about the political issues you care most about.

It turns out that on the scale of what was true and what is reality President Obama’s State of the Union Address turns out to be mostly true! This is great news and a refreshing change of pace from the last administration. I always hate when we hear great promises or “facts” about what they have done or not done only to find out it was a thinly veiled attempt to earn favor, and far from the truth. Unfortunately, our first impressions are often the strongest. This means it is much harder for us to “unlearn” the lies we hear first instead of being able to believe the truth we learn later. Unfortunately this is widely known and is an often used tactic in politics. Know they use it, so you can guard yourself from it.

President Obama definitely covered the full gamut of issues that America is facing. There is a lot to talk about for sure and it will be interesting to see what, if any, action is actually taken. President Obama took a tougher stand last night during the State of the Union Address than we have seen before. We can only expect this “toughness” to increase over the course of the election year. I do appreciate that even though President Obama was talking tougher, he was still addressing everyone with respect and dignity. This is something that is unfortunately becoming more and more rare.

Formation of Committee to Investigate Misconduct of Big Oil and Wall Street

I think this was one of the biggest, most important announcements from the State of the Union Address, the formation of a Committee to formally investigate big corporations. If this actually happens, and actually gets to a place that they can actually do their job, it has the possibility to illuminate the insanity that our financial system and its corporations that puts on the people of American and the rest of the world. This decision alone could reach deep into the workings of our government and economy to expose the massive issues and broken systems that have brought the world economy to its knees. It amazes me how fast people have already forgotten how close we were to a calamity of massive proportions. Hopefully this will help to expose these issues and help us move forward to a solution in the future.

I know these are high hopes, look at how crippled some of the others have been. Tied up in the bureaucracy but more importantly the lobbyists pushing their congressman to fight against these common sense steps to a better America.

Combine the Citizen’s United, political partisanship, election year politics and it will honestly be a miracle if anything gets done at all this year. However, I am still hopeful that something will be, or at least could be, accomplished. We have to keep on trying and keep on pushing forward. Contact your representative and urge them to action!

Happy Holidays from People Politico

people-politico-belief-acceptanceHere at peoplepolitico.com I would like to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season. Yes, you read that right, Happy Holidays.

Not:

  • Felices Las Posadas
  • Happy Channukkah
  • Happy Day of Ashura
  • Happy Eid-al-Adha
  • Happy Hogmanay
  • Happy Kwanzaa
  • Happy St. Lucia’s Day
  • Happy St. Nicholas Day
  • Happy Wintertime
  • Happy Yule
  • Meri Tennō tanjōbi
  • Merry Bodhi Day
  • Merry Christmas
  • Merry Midwinter
  • Or any other of the many seasonal greetings.

There seems to be a common misconception that if you do not wish people a Merry Christmas during the month of December, you are somehow demeaning or slighting Christians and their particular holiday of Christmas. However, saying “Happy Holidays” has nothing to do with slighting Christians. Instead, it easily includes more of our fellows, Christians and beyond, offering a more rounded and universal holiday greeting. It is a sign of respect to everyone, including Christians, acknowledging the wide and varied beliefs of those around you. This country might be predominantly Christian, but there is no reason to exclude those that are not.

A Succinct Account Of All The Religions

A Succinct Account Of All The Religions

Saying “Happy Holidays” shows respect for neighbors, children, grandparents, co-workers, and all the other various people that surround us in our everyday lives. We all have different backgrounds, different beliefs, and different ideas about the world.

This greeting is meant to be a warm, friendly saying to wish people a happy season, regardless of a person’s individual beliefs.

So the next time you want to wish someone well during the holiday season, remember if you are not sure of a person’s beliefs, saying “Happy Holidays” should be a welcomed greeting. Those who insist on using one particular greeting may be causing those who do not celebrate that particular holiday to feel excluded.  We live in a country whose main tenet is inclusion of people from many different cultures. Our country was founded by people who wanted to exercise religious freedom, and be free from religious persecution.

The intent of a more inclusive greeting is to hopefully make someone else’s day better, and show that you accept those around you for who they are. Offering those around you goodwill and acceptance makes the world a better place. Isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?

Happy Holidays from People Politico

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Political Book Deals

government-buildingThe flurry of holiday shopping is underway and now is a great time to stock up on all those great political books you have seen through the year.

With the presidential election coming up here in 2012 it is time to make sure you are up to date on all of the hot topics of today.

With the horrible state of our politics, the misrepresentation in much of our news, and emotional tempers running hot, it is hard to have a clear, objective look at the political layout of today.

Along with reading the papers, surfing the online news sites and watching both network and cable news it can’t hurt to back up your political ideals through the wide variety of great political books as well. The more sources you gather your political information from the better. We as people are able to sort out the facts from fiction when we have enough information from enough sources. With this bounty of real and factual information we can make truly good choices when it comes to election time and our decisions on politics.

Our political systems works so hard to manipulate the voters instead of educating voters. That is why it is up to you to be sure that you remain truly educated on the political topics of the day.

Barnes and Nobel is having some great deals this Black Friday. They are also planning on some great blowout prices come Cyber Monday. Use the link below to get 50% off the books and other political media that suits your needs.

Barnes&Noble.com

Grab some great deals this holiday season!

Once you are done reading these make sure to pass them around your friends and family. Ask them to share what political books and media they have as it can only help everyone increase their understanding of our incredibly complex and dysfunctional politico environment.

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