Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Mason Missile, August 2, 2011

Greetings, freedom fighters! Happy (belated) birthday to me! I thank EVERY body for their good birthday wishes.
Recently, I felt this pain in my abdomen, and I thought it was something I ate. I finally got sick of the pain enough to check myself into the emergency room of Thomas Jefferson Hospital, 1100 Chestnut Street, and I thought I would get a laxative or something; I had acute appendicitis (it didn’t feel too cute!) and I had a laparoscopic appendectomy, and I was out the next afternoon. I am grateful to the staff of Jefferson for their skill and friendliness.
This bring up two points:
The need for a national health insurance system in this country. Health care is a right and a necessity, like education-not a luxury.
The importance of joining a union. I showed the clerk my health insurance card, paid for through my union. But I urge you to not just join for the benefits, to treat the union like a "vending machine," you put money in a pull the lever and get something; get involved, take part in meetings, join a committee-you'll find within you confidence and skills you didn't know you had, and you'll have an extra family.
Are you as disgusted as I am with the stupid political game-playing in Washington over raising the debt ceiling? Boehner, Cantor, et al demanded cuts in such programs as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid--no mention of cutting the defense budget. Well, the deal is made, and the cuts in domestic spending are set.
Or ARE they? The "news" media has not discussed the effects of cuts on such programs as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, only how NOT raising the debt ceiling would effect the federal government's ability to make payments, and of the government's bond rating with Standard and Poor. (Who are our officials most answerable to, We the people or stockbrokers and bond-traders?) Nor was there ANY discussion, in Washington or the media, about raising taxes on upper-income people, the top one-tenth of the top one percent of the population, or of cutting military spending-such as cutting back on our losing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It was all an excuse to take down the aforementioned programs that benefit people who have worked for a long time.
AND-Jon Kyl, in his reply to President Obama's address Saturday, kept up the idea that taxes would scare away businesses from setting up; a rehash of the supply-side theory that Ronald Reagan brought into Washington.
Where were these deficit militants in the GOP when Ronald Reagan ran up deficits, adding up to the deficits of all the other presidents combined? Or when George W. Bush, after Bill Clinton's budget surplus (due to a slight tax increase on higher incomes, but we had a great economic run in spite of the supply-side doom-saying) ran up a deficit due to upper-income tax cuts and two wars we can't win? No; it is just an excuse to target social programs, programs that benefit people, but are scapegoated as the cause of all economic ills.
(Of course, low-income and working people don’t have thousand-dollar an hour lobbyists wining and dining congress-members, and writing down the language in the bills with them.)
It does NOT have to be like this. We CAN and MUST drive out the Tea-Party types from the House; but not just replace them with “Democrats,” but with people dedicated to the public interest, preferably trade unionists who know what it’s like to have to try to decide, “Do I pay for the heating oil now, or concentrate on the gas bill, and how much can I pay for the orthodontist for the kids?”
Also-Some deep intellects in some state legislatures have pushed through laws against establishing Sharia (Islamic law) into state law. These are the same types who insist the US of A is a "Christian" nation, and all law should reflect that. Do these dimwit legislators really feel people will go along with this? But when you think about it, who votes these jokers in? The assaults on our Muslim fellow citizens is a new version of the old "Red Scare," and we must resist it.
Laws have been passed in Ohio, Wisconsin, and other states with Republican controlled legislatures and governors that try to limit voting rights for minorities, seniors, and college students, piously raising the specter of “voter fraud”. I look forward to court challenges to these bills, challenging their constitutionality, but with the Supreme Court the way it is, and memories of Citizens United, It's cause to worry. I have other memories, of how African-American voters in Florida in 2000 were either purged from the rolls, or intimidated by police from going to the polls, and then we had the eight lost years of George DUH Bush.
On the bright side, I’m enjoying the decline and (hopefully) fall of the Murdoch media empire. That empire lost one of its provinces, the British tabloid News Of The World, over such dubious journalistic practices as tapping into cell phone accounts of a missing girl. One other province of the Murdoch empire is Fox News in the US of A, which is merely a privatized propaganda ministry of the right, a disseminator of misinformation. For thirty years, Rupert Murdoch has bought up newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV stations, peddling junk excuses for “journalism” and causing politicians to give into him so he doesn’t smear them. This shows the need for an independent and alternative media in this country and all over the world.
The forces of reaction, my friends, must not and DO NOT have the final word-WE do. Let us enjoy our time off from the job and at the beach, so we’ll be rested and stronger for the fight. Bye!