Thursday, July 14, 2011


I think if I hear one more economically illiterate teabagger refer to the wealthy as job creators I may puke!

Someone should explain to the conservatives that real job creators are people who buy things. You when you have a job, or unemployment compensation if you don't have a job. Taxing the super wealthy won't spoil the purchasing power of the extremely wealthy at all...they won't be spending what we tax them anyway...they'll be saving it. Take care of the unemployed and stimulate the economy. Job growth initiatives and debt will start to make deficits become manageable. At 4% unemployment the deficit will shrink almost, if not, to nothing.

The economy is stalled because there is a lack of demand, not because the wealthy are taxed too much. Let's look at what has occurred historically. In the 1930's to spur demand Keynesian Economics encouraged the government to increase government spending to put people to work. They created jobs doing public works. They built schools, libraries, stadiums, roads...they worked on conservation projects in forests and on building damns. As a result there was work which paid a wage to previously unemployed individuals who in turn spent those wages buying the products that the wealthy ended up making. The wealthy didn't create those jobs, the lower and middle class did when they bought products with those wages. But, the wealthy made more money when the lower classes began buying their products.

As of this writing, private enterprise has created precious few jobs in the ongoing recovery. But, due to our shortsighted economic illiteracy we have cut the government payrolls by 500,000 employees since Barack Obama became President. That's 500,000 fewer customers in the workplace.

The notion that government doesn't create jobs is foolishness. NASA by driving technology to produce products that take mankind into space has produced jobs, and created demand for those products that all of our economy craves now. Creation of the interstate highway system in the 1950's and 1960's created business opportunities all across our great country. It provided the transportation system to move products and convenient real estate locations to build and sell those products.

In 1993 we raised taxes, not just on the wealthy but everyone, and the result was the longest period of expansion in the country's history. Interest rates were driven to the lowest level in my generation's history. The low cost to produce products and the availability of low interest rates on credit to buy them ignited the creation of 23,000,000. Then in 2001 we departed on a different course, we cut taxes, and we cut them massively for the wealthy. The result was not the wealthy creating jobs, quite the opposite. The wealthy hoarded the savings, engaged in speculative stock schemes, and the country exacerbated the problem by indulging in two wars and an excessive give away to the pharmaceutical industry. The result was the deepest economic contraction since the depression of the 1930's.

Now our economically challenged teabagging buddies want to offer the simple solution that all we need to do is control spending. I believe it was Albert Einstein who said "there is a simple solution to everything, and it's usually wrong!"

It's time we stop asking "Joe the Plumber," "Sarah the Half Governor of Alaska," and "Rush the Blowhard Disc Jockey" about economics and start listening to those who have experience in solving international economic problems. The solution starts with creating jobs...any kind of job, private or public, and not encouraging further economic contraction.

Friday, February 18, 2011


As a young boy growing up in Oklahoma my fellow Southern Baptist church members used to identify absurd behavior, intellectually challenged conversation, or actions for which they might normally characterize as ‘just plain crazy” in a way they thought might be less confrontational. They would simply say “bless their heart.” Well, we here in the good ole U.S. probably should adopt that saying for all of the crazy talk from one of our own, Sister Sarah Palin…”bless her heart, she just doesn’t know any better.” That’s just the way the brothers and sisters at the local Fundamentalist Southern Baptist Church would phrase it.

This week at the Long Island Association in Woodbury, N. Y., she gave a backhanded slap to the First Lady for advocating breast feeding. Breastfeeding. Really! Forget that as governor she had signed a proclamation that was almost word for word what Mrs. Obama’s advocacy stated…”bless her heart.”

But, I won’t stop there…there’s more…much more.

"As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border." This was Sarah explaining why Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience. It comes from an interview with CBS's Katie Couric, Sept. 24, 2008. Say it with me now…”BLESS HER HEART.”

"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." Sarah in a message posted on Facebook about Obama's health care plan, Aug. 7, 2009. (By the way…the death panel apparently sounded so good that some of Sarah’s Republican colleagues in the Republican dominated Arizona Legislature actually passed legislation which effectively created a “death panel” for patients awaiting Medicaid assistance for transplant operations.) With enthusiasm this time…BLESS HER HEART!”

This is my personal favorite. "All of 'em, any of 'em that have been in front of me over all these years." This was Sarah unable to name a single newspaper or magazine she reads The interview once again was with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008. Sarah also referred to this as a “gotcha” question…that’s right asking her what she reads was a trick question in Sarah’s mind. Just the ladies this time…BLESS HER HEART.”

"Well, let's see. There's ― of course in the great history of America there have been rulings that there's never going to be absolute consensus by every American, and there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but ―" Sarah unable to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with other than Roe vs. Wade, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008. Once again…”Bless her heart.”

"'Refudiate,' 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.' English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!'" This in a Tweet sent by Sarah in response to being ridiculed for inventing the word "refudiate," proudly mistaking her illiteracy for literary genius, July 18, 2010. Prayerfully this time…”Bless her heart.”

"But obviously, we've got to stand with our North Korean allies." This was Sarah’s response after being asked how she would handle the current hostilities between the two Koreas, being interviewed on Glenn Beck's radio show, Nov. 24, 2010. Of course, North Korea isn’t an ally of the United States…that would be South Korea. Those on the front row…”Bless her heart!”

"Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible." Sarah defending her fiery campaign rhetoric in the wake of the Arizona shooting massacre by invoking a phrase ("blood libel") that typically refers historically to the alleged murder of Christian babies by Jews, Jan. 12, 2011. Regarding this statement don’t let the fact that the most famous of the victims of this event was Congresswoman Gabrelle Giffords, who is Jewish. Now let’s let our Jewish friends join us…”Bless her heart.”

"We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada. And I think now, isn't that ironic?" This was Sarah admitting that her family used to get treatment in Canada's single-payer health care system, despite having demonized such government-run programs as socialized medicine that will lead to death-panel-like rationing, March 6, 2010. I’m running out of groups…but, how about everyone without health care insurance this time…”BLESS HER HEART!”

I have family that believes this woman could actually function as President of the United States. I on the other hand have to agree with Keith Olbermann…”that woman is an idiot!”

(Softly this time.) Bless her heart.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Tahrir Square and the citizens of Egypt provided a model for those of us who proclaim we live in the United States, “a Christian nation,” would be well to observe and follow.

As the counter protest of the government police instigated by the party of Egypt's President, Hosni Mubarak, sought to create violence amongst a peaceful protest Muslim’s and Christian formed a most unique and inspiration model that I would hope fundamentalist Christian in the our country, the United States, could and will follow. As Muslims gathered to offer prayers in the middle of the Square, the Christians formed a ring around the Muslims to protect them from outsiders as they prayed. Later on when Christians gathered to offer prayers of their own the Muslims responded in kind by forming a ring around the Christians so their prayers could go on uninterrupted. It was a moving and inspirational scene.

It’s time for us to respect all points of view, Muslim, Christian…even atheist. We all have sooner or later got to admit, at least from a religious point of view, that we just don’t have all the answers. Any, or all, of us could be wrong about our faith. Because we don’t have all the answers we have to give persons of other points of view respect to express their faiths with the same hope that fundamental Christians express their own.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I use the term Austerian rather than Austrian on purpose because that's its economic embraces austerity. Austerity at the right time is a good strategy to employ. However, austerity is not a good economic strategy in times of recession, depression or deflation.

Do you starve your body of nutrition when you’re anemic?

If you believe in “austerian economics” (which a majority of Republicans, a smattering of Democrats, and almost all Teabaggers do) you are advocating consciously electing to go on an all out diet when your body is the weakest.

We have an anemic economy. Consumption is suffering. There is languishing demand for goods. We need strength. Our corporations have decided to sacrifice increasing their payrolls and hoard a mountain of cash they have on hand. Rather than use those cash assets to stimulate the economy creating a rash of new customers and tax payers they've decided to hoard that cash for outlandish salaries and bonuses for a fraction of a percent of their executive staffs...the very top executives in their companies. So the only game in town is the United State of America. Yes...we the people. We have the capability to create demand, which can get our workers re-employed and make taxpayers out of those currently needing the assistance of social safety nets.

If our corporations were really patriotic...they'd use all that liquidity they possess to hire new workers. They'd shave upper level executive salaries in favor of creating more workers from the middle class ranks.'s not the middle class making between $50,000 to $250,000 per year that are causing the problem...those workers are spending those wages because they have to. It's the executives earning $10 million to a billion dollars per year that are bottlenecking economic growth. Those earners save on average about 90% or MORE of their earnings. They’re not creating demand which would result in hiring workers, instead they’re pumping those earnings into equity stocks, and bonds...and in some very sad cases sending those resources oversees to help foreign competitors.

When you're sick and anemic is no time to start an austerity diet. That's the time you need to take in as much nutrition as you can no matter what the source...borrowed or otherwise. When you get well...that's the time to lose weight.

We should have been on austerity diet in 2001 when rather than use the accumulation of a budget surplus to get our fiscal house in good shape the Bush Administration chose another path. We squandered the surplus on tax cuts for top 2% of earners that neither needed nor wanted tax relief. We squandered the surplus on a Medicare Act that lavished un-needed subsidies on health insurance companies who added no value to the health system and have a 30% administration expense (compared to 2% for Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA). Then finally, we squandered the surplus on two wars, one justified (Afghanistan) and one not (Iraq). That's where we put on all that weight and made ourselves sick. Now is the time to get better. Take on the nutrition our economy needs that will get people back to work. Once we're well we need to look at that diet seriously once again.

When we get around to that diet we're going to need protein to burn the fat and we're going to need to cut back on the carbohydrates to lose the fat. That means that we're going to need to make cuts that make sense and consider taxes that are fair. It means that we'll probably need to compromise on social programs, entitlements, defense spending and tax increases to those who can afford them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


What if the pollsters have misjudged the “enthusiasm” factor? It may be very possible. The polling firms interview thousands of voters. They discard more of the interviews than they actually use. They do so in order to try to compensate for who they think will show up to vote and who they think will not show up to vote. If they misjudge the “enthusiasm factor” their polling data will skew the results. There is evidence that this may be what is going on this year. Several races have swung wildly from one result to another from poll to poll. Because of this, an observer here and there has begun to wonder what might be going on.

I’m writing this now…because I think I might be right and better to predict before than after. If I’m wrong…then I’ll be the goat.

I suspect that more progressives may turn out than previously expected. There is also a possibility that some Republicans being counted on will not like their choice and consequently sit out this election. Republicans have expressed remorse in Nevada, Delaware and Kentucky. I think these creepy “extreme” rightwingers, identified with the “Tea Party,” are driving progressive numbers up and “establishment” Republican numbers down. I have heard from Republicans, within my own family, who have said these newly branded “Teabaggers” scare them. That’s good because they scare the rest of us too.

I have long suspected that some of the more moderate “establishment” Republicans, in order to save their party, have let these extreme elements of the right have enough rope to hang themselves. I think they have let them…even encouraged them, to invest all their money in what they hope will be a losing cause. If they do then I say congratulations to them. Because even though I have a clearly liberal bias I believe there is a legitimate roll for conservative thinking. And, I really believe when conservatives and liberals are talking to each other, and not past each other, we’re all the better for it.

Most people do not realize that Franklin Roosevelt was a budget hawk when he first came to office. He was opposed to the creation of federal deposit insurance because he thought weaker banks would take advantage of stronger ones. But, Roosevelt was convinced by learned men who convinced him with intellectual and reasonable arguments that the lack of demand would not be improved if the government withdrew from the commercial market. They convinced him that if he funneled money and resources into the hands of workers they would spend the money they got and create demand. The argument for deposit insurance convinced him that if depositors felt there deposits were safe they wouldn’t withdraw them from the banks, and that if the banks had the deposits they would loan the money out in the community creating additional demand.

Let’s hope the pollsters are in error. Let’s hope the progressives turn out in larger number than are expected. I think that’s what’s going to happen…let’s see if I’m right. We’ll all be better the sooner the “Tea Party” principles are put to rest…six feet under!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Nothing clears the mind and encourages ideas like a good vacation. Consequently, as I spend my vacation in Maui, Hawaii my mind is clear and new ideas are emerging. The brouhaha over the testimony of Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central in the United States Congress is worth reflecting on. Over the course of history comedians have offered some of the most enduring commentary on politics and culture that probably exists. Although, they many time took the form of playwrights they none the less drove home the thoughts and many times the truth that lay out there out of the reach of the self-righteous pontificators. Shakespeare was one to make a point from time to time. But, in my opinion, none make it better than Mark Twain, and Will Rogers. Who can ever forget the commentary of Will Rogers that “he didn’t belong to an organized political party…he was a democrat.” In recent times the comedy TV series Laugh-in, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, George Carlin, then today, Saturday Night Live, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

In my day job I do teaching and corporate training. I have a teaching partner who is what I would describe as a “moderate” Republican. He is a bit of comedian himself. He made this comment to me about John Stewart. “You know…a lot of these serious politicians think they’re going onto the “Daily Show” to be interviewed by a comedian. That is a big mistake.” His point was although John Stewart uses humor…he is a serious journalist, even if he himself won’t admit it. If you go back and read the entire transcript of the Colbert testimony including questions and you don’t get the impression of a serious debate…you may need to retake an IQ test if you previously scored above a single digit.

These two excerpts (one given in character, one given out of character) are as serious as one can get…with or without humor.

Colbert: “This brief experience gave me some small understanding of why so few Americans are clamoring to begin an exciting career as seasonal migrant field workers. So what’s the answer? I’m a free-market guy. Normally, I would leave this to the invisible hand of the market, but the invisible hand of the market has already moved over 84,000 acres of production and over 22,000 farm jobs to Mexico, and shut down over a million acres of U.S. farm land due to lack of available labor. Because apparently even the invisible hand doesn’t want to pick beans.
Now, I’m not a fan of the government doing anything. But I’ve gotta ask, why isn’t the government doing anything? Maybe this Ag Jobs bill would help, I don’t know. Like most members of Congress, I haven’t read it. But maybe we could offer more visas to the immigrants who, let’s face it, will probably be doing these jobs anyway. And this improved legal status might allow immigrants recourse if they are abused. And it just stands to reason, to me, that if your coworker can’t be exploited, then you’re less likely to be exploited yourself. And that, itself, might improve pay and working conditions on these farms, and eventually, Americans may consider taking these jobs again. Or maybe that’s crazy. Maybe the easier answer is just to have scientists develop vegetables that pick themselves. The genetic engineers over at Fruit of the Loom have made great strides in human-fruit hybrids.”

Then later on when questioned;

REP. CHU: “Mr. Colbert, you could work on so many issues. Why are you interested in this issue?”

COLBERT: [Takes a pause of two or three beats to think before answering, dropping character] “I like talking about people who don’t have any power, and it seems like one of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come in and do our work, but don’t have any rights as a result. And yet, we still ask them to come here, and at the same time, ask them to leave. And that’s an interesting contradiction to me, and um… You know, “whatsoever you did for the least of my brothers,” and these seemed like the least of my brothers, right now. A lot of people are “least brothers” right now, with the economy so hard, and I don’t want to take anyone’s hardship away from them or diminish it or anything like that. But migrant workers suffer, and have no rights.”

The interesting issues came up after the hearing when the Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, approved of Mr. Colbert’s testimony while the Democratic Leader of the House, Steny Hoyer, was not. I have met Mr. Hoyer on a couple of occasions and have a high degree of respect for him. However, the Majority Leader had better realize that the Congress is not the sanctimonious paragon with the public that it may be in the Majority Leader’s mind. His attitude will not help the party he represents with the voters age 18-40. For one who is trying hold on to the majority in the mid-term elections his position is extremely dense. This demographic of voter gets the joke…even if the Democratic Leader and his Republican opposition do not. He and the evangelical fundamentalist right-wing Republicans might really take notice of the reference from the Book of Matthew concerning, “whatsoever you did for the least of my brothers.” As Mr. Colbert states…these really are the least of these. You’d do well, if you professed the Christian faith, to treat them better.

Monday, August 16, 2010


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (from the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America). It is really pretty simple! It’s the basis for the separation of church and state. Recently, though, it’s become clearer that evangelical fundamentalist Christianity believes the words “for Christians” should have followed the word “thereof.” Of course, these are the same “know it alls” who for the most part would rather ignore the scripture “"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." These words were emphasized no less than three times in the New Testament alone, (Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”, Matthew 22:39 “Love your neighbor as yourself”, Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you”). Other religions have a similar admonition. Given this rather pointed direction of the literary basis of Christianity wouldn’t you think that evangelical Christians would want to allow all people to worship the same way they would like to worship?

It is simply outrageous to me as a Christian that the whole Christian community is not rising up to defend the Muslim community in New York City who wants to build a “community center” which includes a couple of floors for interfaith worship two blocks from the former twin towers of the World Trade Center (the center can neither be seen from Ground Zero, nor can Ground Zero be seen from the Community Center to be named Park 51 Center). Because we demand freedom of religion, freedom to worship as we see fit, we should be the first in line to say everyone deserves this right. Religious Freedom is not just for Christianity, or Christians. It’s religious freedom for all. That’s what makes us different from countries that limit the exercise of religion.

All Muslim’s should no more be blamed for the September 11 attack than should all Southerners be blamed for the actions of the Ku Klux Klan. However, if we carried out this very non-Christian attitude that Muslims should be denied the courtesy of building a place of worship two blocks, mind you, from the ground zero shell, then we should forbid white Christians from building churches in the South. The notion is absurd and the Christian Right should recognize this and come to the assistance of these Muslims who have every right to build this Community Center (that’s right it’s not even a Mosque…just a gym, swimming pool, culinary school, with a couple of floors for interfaith worship).

Most religious zealots no matter which religion they are followers of are guilty of taking positions that leave no room for error. They all think they are right and those who don’t believe as they do are wrong. I cannot speak authoritatively for Muslims, or Judaism, or Buddhists, or any other religion since my whole religious experience is that of a Christian. Basic belief of Christianity is founded on the individual having a free choice as to his or her acceptance of God and the principle tenets of the Christian faith. The existence of God is founded totally on believing “in faith.” Thus, it is neither provable nor improvable. Christians are not forced to believe at the point of a sword nor do they openly expound this position. The “Christian power base” is one of intolerance against all who would question them…even their own (that would be me). The power base not only ignores the “golden rule” (do unto other as you would have them do unto you), but, they also ignore admonishment against arrogance and hubris. All Christians should not be held to the un-Christian, radical attitudes of James Dobson, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Sarah Palin, Tom DeLay, Tony Perkins, Rick Warren, or any other arrogant hate merchants who fill the television screens or airwaves, nor should all Muslims be held to the un-Muslim radical attitudes of Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda.

Religious freedom, or any freedom granted by the Bill of Rights is not up for revocation as long as we, as citizens of our country, obey the laws. This being the case…as long a law abiding citizens who happen to be Muslim want to build a community center or house of worship anywhere they shouldn’t be denied this request. Religious freedom is not only a Christian or Jewish right…it’s a right for any religion of any faith. We as Christians would want to be treated this way and we should be the outspoken advocates of any who wish to enjoy religious freedom.

Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God. Yet, all seem to be aggressive to each other. Christians have had a sorted past with the Jewish faith, today many evangelical fundamentalist believe Muslims are out to destroy them and many of these fundamentalist think we should destroy Islam. Israel today is at constant war with Islam, and many have distrust of Christians. When will they all learn that making friends with each other is a lot less painful that being at constant war with each other. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Practicing Christianity is very easy if you start and hold fast to this simple principle.