Friday, July 16, 2010

The American Middle Class

Being a student of American history has really helped me understand the political atmosphere of America better, where we came from and where we are heading. We are currently facing a crisis bigger than anyone expecting; worse the Great Recession of 2009-2010 and Hurrican Katrina. The crisis is the squeazing and disappearnce of the once great American middle class, the social class that makes up the majority of Americans who drive the economy and are the predominant force when it comes to electing those who shape national policy. But in the last ten years we have seen the middle class starting to shrink; those at the upper end try to push into the upper class while the rest create a new subclass of the lower class, the struggling.
The middle class has been a driving force of America since the early years of this great nation. The middle class started out as the merchant class, hard working people who kept shops in town or were the in the trading industry. These people were the movers and shakers of the young nation and helped keep her going, even in troubled times. The merchant class made up the House of Representatives as there were the voice of their fellow citizens in their towns. They were educated but kept their town's and state's interests at heart. Industrialization brought the mighty working class, a group of hearty individuals who worked hard and were able to provide a decent life for their family. It was through them that the work ethic of the middle class was instilled and continues to thrive today. In the post war years of the 1950's the business sector boomed with lower white collar jobs being added to companies, further growing the middle, giving them the buying power that helped create the economic boom of the 1950's.
The middle class stayed strong, even through the years of Reaganomics, in which trickle down economics failed to help the middle class, instead lining the pockets of the rich. The boom of the 1990's once again helped bolster up the middle class. The G. W. Bush came to office and once again brought with him the theory of trickle down economics, even though everyone knows it did not work under Reagan. And once again they did not. Couple that with the worst ecnomic downturn since the Great Depression and record high unemployment, and we are the seeing the middle class struggle, all over the country. People are out of work, declaring bankruptcy, and losing their homes. And they are angry about it. So angry that a certain political movement is capitolizing on this anger and using it to their advantage, even though they do not care about the people and their conditions.
We need to clamp down on corporations and the rich. We need to, dare I say it, spread the wealth. The rich are not doing anything substantial with their money, why should they not give it to the government so that it can be given back to people, who will turn put it back into the economy? Why should they not carry the burden of our national debt? Afterall, it was those tax cuts under President Bush that created the debt. The middle class is struggling as it is, they should not have to pay for the rich to get richer. This might sound like socialist rhetoric, which it is, but so what? While my views might be centrist, I am still a social Democrat. You can throw the proverbial rocks at me all you want, but that is my view.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Where is the Outrage over Little "Hope" and No "Change"?

It has been close to 18 months since the sweeping dream of "Hope and Change" and President Obama took the nation by storm in Nov 2008, bringing the Democratic Party the tri-fecta of Government control. With majorities in the House and Senate since 2006, a democratic president that could wow the masses with a few well timed, teleprompted words, there seemed to be no slowing down the New America Express. Promises of transparency, politicians who were not Washington "insiders" and dreams of GITMO shutdown, and the U.S. free to pull itself from two wars that those on the left called a "quagmire". This coupled by the creation of jobs and a beat down of the Wall Street fats cats and institutions "too-big to fail", led most to believe when they voted for Barack Hussein Obama, there was a sheriff in Washington would would take out the trash, and leave our streets sparkling in the sun. Freed from the scourge of the that oil peddler "W" and his puppeteer Dick Cheney, nothing could bring down the euphoric feeling of this major Democrat victory. Interesting what a difference 18 months makes. Where's the hope? What change?
In fact over the last 18 months of our fearless leader's victory, what has really changed. Unemployment, still ranging between 9.5 - 10 %. Troop increase in Afghanistan, and the return of a General that most on the left insulted and demonized for his command in Iraq. Troop casualties are on the rise, and GITMO is still the place to house those captured in the war on terror. There are those that say the stimulus is working, but speak to the people that are still feeling the crunch of unemployment, of mortgages in default. Banks that were bailed out, now have tightened their belts when lending, holding onto their reserves like misers. The stock-market is a roller coaster. America is up to her eyeballs in debt. Change would be trying to find a solution, not just throwing money at the problem. Class-warfare is back, creating a have/have-not mentality. Immigration goes unchecked. There are probably as many illegals flowing across the border as there is oil leaking into the Gulf. OK, maybe not that many, but 85 days after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a crisis of epic ecological, financial and personal damage, our President states, he "needs an ass to kick". The way the country is running, it is business as usual. Back door deals for political positions and plenty of finger pointing around the table. You would almost think that the Republicans were still in power!
But what really is interesting: Where are all those who would hold those on the right accountable, namely the liberal media and the left, to criticize there own man for not following through? That's right: silence. Nothing....maybe a passing "He inherited a mess" or "Give him time" plus the classic "It's all Bush's fault". Put this into perspective folks...if you used any one of those excuses a year and a half after starting a new job, your boss would fire you on the spot! Most likely for bringing up Bush's name! The fact is, you got what you paid for. A lot of talk, some smoke and mirrors, but when the dust is are left with an in-experienced man who is having is strings pulled by those more powerful "Washington insiders". In truth, nothing has changed, except the name on the desk in the White House. There will always be hope, but that will not be something that a president can legislate, it comes from the citizens of this great nation. As for change, that sounds pretty good. You can preach it all you what, but need the guts to make the tough decisions, and live with the outcome.
I have seen neither in the past 18 months. People are waking up. They will give the Dems and Obama more time, but they won't give him their vote....that's real hope and positive change.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Decision 2010

Don't let the title fool you, this has nothing to do with the upcoming mid-term elections. Rather it was the inane spectacle last night made by LeBron James choosing which NBA team he would be playing for. While this isn't politically related, I thought it would be nice to, as Keith Olbermann would say, take a sanity break.
In case you haven't heard, LeBron James has opted to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers behind and play for the Miami Heat next season. While I don't like or follow basketball, I still feel the pain of Cleveland and Ohio. As a Cleveland Indians and Browns fan, I know what pain is like in that city. First and foremost was the idiotic move of former Browns owner Art Modell of moving the team from Cleveland to Baltimore, all because he saw a revenue drop when the Indians pulled out of Municipal Stadium. Rioting broke out in the city and there were cries for Modell's head on a stick. To make matters worse, the expansion team that brought back the Browns hasn't produced like the Browns of old. Second example was when another player that grew up in the Cleveland farm system who claimed loyalty left because he said he wanted to win a championship. Can't remember who that was? Jim Thome. He got his start in Cleveland, working his way through the ranks of the farm system, making it to the Indians in 1991. He put up a fuss when they were planning to trade him, only to leave later because "he wanted a title" or in other words, more money. This only opened the flood gates for all the other talent to leave the team.
But back to LeBron. Did he sersiously need to spend a whole hour of prime time TV to announce what team he was going to? He is not that great of an athlete. And based on that spectacle, Cleveland deserves someone better than him. While Cleveland might be rioting now, in the long run they are better off not having a prima dona like him playing in the city. The Cavaliers might suffer as will the city's economy, but they'll bounce back, especially after the Browns prove everybody wrong this year.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bigotry in Paradise

Hawaii, it is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful locations on the planet. The climate is lovely, the people are friendly it is considered to be one of the most desirable vacation areas. It is an area that has even produced legislation towards the equality of all citizens by the legislature.

However not all is lovely in paradise. Despite impressive legislation by the Hawaiian House and Senate with House Bill 444 this bill was unable to clear one hurdle Governor Linda Lingle. On July 6th of 2010 Governor Lingle had voted against this bill which would allow for civil unions between homosexual couples to exist. When questioned on her decision, Governor Lingle made the following statements:

  • "I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same-sex marriage, and find that House Bill 444 is essentially same sex marriage by another name."

  • "It would be a mistake to allow a decision of this magnitude be made by one individual or a small group."
It would be easy to claim that such things were done in support of family institutions. Governor Lingle had claimed during the process of the bill going through the house and senate that it was a distraction from budget issues. However this bill was important as it granted equal civil protections under the law to a minority. These civil protections were already granted to the majority of couples that formed a union (aka married couples). Civil liberties that are extended further for one group of people and not all are quite simply biased. Unfortunately for homosexuals they are a group that many politicians at present feel that they can treat with bigotry with impunity. While that may seem the case at the moment, bigotry in all of its forms are morally wrong. As citizens no matter where one lives in the United States, The civil protections that are available to an individual should be offered to all.

Traveling Onward and upward,
The Devil's Advocate

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Thoughts and Observations on the Gulf Oil Spill

We have now entered Day 79 of the BP/Deep Water Horizon oil spill and as per the last 78 days, there seems to be no end in sight. The rig exploded and sank for many reason, including but not limited to Halliburton's shoddy workmanship on the cement work for the rig and Transocean and BP's failure to install and maintain the proper and necessary safety measures to prevent such an accident from ever happening. Because of those reasons, our country is facing the worst environmental disaster in its history, far surpassing the infamous Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Every state in along the Gulf of Mexico has now been affected by the spill, with tar balls now washing up on Texas shores. The oil spill for the most part has shut down the Gulf fishing industry, cut tourism revenues, and has destroyed the livelihoods of thousands along the coast.
First off, I am tired of hearing people blame President Obama for the spill response, or lack there of at times. The government didn't respond right away because BP assured everyone that they had the situation under control. After it was apparent they didn't however, the President stepped in, but by then it was too late to fix the problem because BP had screwed it up even further. Even with Federal control, BP is still assuring the public that everything is under control, and underestimating the flow of the leak.
Now, there are some solutions to lessen the damage of the spill, not necessarily to fix it. In the Middle East, the Arab's devised an ingenious method of controlling oil spills. They use supertankers as large ShopVacs; they suck up the oil and water mixture, take it port, drain the tanks and then separate the mixture on shore. BP refuses to to use this method because they don't want to tie up their tanker fleet with cleaning up the mess. Another method that is proven to work is peat moss, especially a type of dehydrated pear moss (MarketWatch Blogs). A company in Canada produces peat moss just for that very purpose. One pound of peat moss can absorb four pounds of oil. An added bonus is microbes in the peat moss will then break down the oil. BP's reason for refusal, they can't retreive any of the oil. Another theory about the refusal of both methods is that they didn't think of them, so they can't be good. That is a load of bunk. The supertankers could pick up a large amount of oil before it hits the shores. And then the oil that already hit the marshes and shore can be taken care of using the peat moss. Unfortunately, it might be too late, even for the relief wells being drilled, as there are fears of the pipes below the surface starting to leak, which would be the feared doomsday scenario. If the undersea pipes give way, the leak would continue until the well dries up, rendering the Gulf an environmental waste land.
No matter your political affliation, we all have to agree that this is the worst disaster our country has faced and that BP needs to take full responsibilty for it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Greetings and Thoughts on Government

Hello folks, I'm the Devil's Advocate. It is my endeavor to present a fair presentation of events political or otherwise. For political instances, I will not be presenting a Democratic Party perspective, nor will be presenting a Republican Party Perspective. I will endeavor towards accuracy without joining an elite consensus.

It is my position that Government exists not as a necessary evil, but a necessary good. Our government exists to benefit citizens in accomplishing things that we cannot accomplish as individuals. In many ways it is quite effective in such as well. For example the roads that are used for transportation of all. Our military is supposed to exist solely protect our people. The FAA exists so that airplanes do not collide with each other. There are many things that our government does and does well. Though not all things that are done by our government take care of the interests of all citizens.

I will refrain from going further on the negative side of government as that can be its own post though.

It is the goal of a democratically elected government to look after citizens. We have created this government to be bigger than ourselves. Our government exists for defending ourselves; for maintaining the basic infrastructure we use. For keeping our foods and beverages safe from the adulteration of toxins. We also have used our government to help so that when our citizens fall they can pick themselves up more easily.

I shall return to this at another date.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

GOP Senate candidate wants to drill in Lake Erie

You read it right. GOP Senate candidate Pat Toomey wants to open up Lake Erie for offshore oil and gas drilling ( Has he not been seeing what is going on the Gulf of Mexico? We're facing the worst environmental disaster and oil spill in our country's history and he thinks it's safe to open up the Great Lakes to drilling? Has he lost his mind? An oil spill the magnitutde of the one in the Gulf could destroy Presque Isle State Park, Erie County's biggest tourist attraction. Presque is home to beaches, the best fishing spots in the area, and a wildlife sanctuary home to dozens of different species of native and endangered plants and birds. We lose Presque Isle, our economy goes with it. Businesses that thrive off of visitors at Presque Isle will go out of business. And that's only factoring in the northwest Pennsylvania area. There is also the areas in Ohio, New York, and Canada. It took decades to clean up the Great Lakes, we don't need to go back to that time period. Our country is not in that dire of need for oil to risk destroying the largest collection of fresh water lakes in the country.

Friday, July 2, 2010

26% of Americans don't know who we declared independence from

On this Independence Day weekend, a new Marist Poll was recently released regarding how many Americans know that we declared our independence from Great Britain. The results were published today and they are somewhat worrying. 74% of Americans know we separated from Great Britain. Another 20% weren't sure while the remaining 6% listed another country, among them the front runners are France, China, Japan, Mexico, and Spain. Seriously?! This as me worried as a future history teacher. First off, Mexico wasn't even a country in the 18th century, it was still under Spanish colonial rule. Secondly, the West didn't have open relations with China and Japan during the colonial era. Thirdly, how could someone be that ignorant? I am really astounded by it. I have my work cut out for me in the future.

Welcome to my new blog

That's right, I've entered the blogosphere with my interesting take on politics. I feel that the younger generations don't have their voices heard enough. This is not meant to be a liberal blog, as many will view my posts, but rather one for all points of view. That is why I am searching for bloggers of opposing views to bring color and variety to this blog. With that said, I hope you enjoy The Young and Opinionated.