Saturday, April 29, 2006

What have we become?

Over the past several years it has become apparent that we (Americans) no longer understand what we are, what our history is and who is running the country. It seems also, that we don't really care either. Lets look at some of the headlines recently and see if we are made as hell.

The FBI has spied on over 3500 people using an administrative subpoena called a "National Security Letter" that is issued by the White House. Now I am not against the government checking up on you or me if there is probable cause. But that means that someone has to show a judge that there is reason to check into someone's activities. Without any oversight, the government can check up on anyone without cause, without proof and just because we disagree with that government. It is our right to disagree and to be able to voice that disagreement. When government prevents us from doing so, we become a dictatorship, no better than Franco, Hitler, Stalin, Batista or Saddam. But yet I see no outrage. Maybe its because the press has no spine. What ever happened to the investigative reporting that we used to get? Where are the hard hitting questions that ALL government officers should have to answer. Last time I looked the Declaration of Independence read "We the People" not me the decider. All government employees work for you, at your pleasure, not the other way around.

Karl Rove is again before the Grand Jury to testify. No pressure from the press as to why he has not been relieved of all duty (at least suspended with his security clearance revoked). No hard hitting questions. No polls published on how we the people feel about this issue.

Oil prices hit record levels and the best that Bush can do is suspend environmental regulations to make gasoline. Well to me that is counter productive. Environmental regulations mean that all gasoline is cut with ethanol to make it burn cleaner. Here we have each gallon of gasoline getting 10% ethanol. That means that every 9 gallons we have another gallon of gasoline available to sell. Every 9 million gallons we have almost an extra 1 million to sell. Sounds like that would help keep the cost down. Ethanol is cheap. You make it from corn or other grain just like whiskey or vodka. Maybe if we did not dump that grain on Mexico we could make more gasoline. So where is the great press coverage on this? Oil companies are making more profits than the GDP of most countries. Oil executive make more money in an hour than the average middle class American makes all year.

We are spending $10 billion a week in Iraq. $10 Billion. We could rebuild every school in this country for that kind of money, pay teachers the wages they deserve (after all they are educating our future), and really "leave no child behind" We could rebuild New Orleans with that kind of money and build levees to withstand Cat. 5 hurricanes and fix all the damage that the oil companies have make to the delta that cause the majority of the damage there. We could secure all our ports and inspect every cargo container that come into this country. We could use that money to develop alternative sources of energy so that we don't have to worry about foreign countries threatening to shut off the oil. When will the press investigate this debacle?

Where are the protest marches? Where are the editorials? Where is the opposition party and why are they not voicing their concerns?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Immigration

Apparently we have things wrong in this country, again. Nothing unusual there. Our representatives are so out of touch with reality it is not funny any more. What do we do about immigration? How about we start with enforcing the current laws on the books. The maybe we need to make some small changes in the system. How about enforcing not hiring an illegal alien. How about making the penalties for hiring someone with out paper a quest of tax evasion. Every employer is supposed to check a workers paper for social security information, pay those taxes on wages as well as income taxes. That is just the employers portion. If we would just enforce the tax regulation in this country, we could avoid having an immigration problem. If the penalities for employers were substantial for not paying those taxes, then those low paying jobs go away. Not that they don't still have to be done, but employers will have to raise the pay to a living wage. Every American wants a job. But if jobs pay less than a living wage, then people have to work 2, 3 or 4 jobs just to get by.
The immigration problem havs been caused by the employers, business owners who want to make more money on the backs of the poor and claim that that is capitalism , that's the American way. It's not. Take away the incentive for people to migrate here illegally and they won't come.

With enforcemnt of the tax laws, low wage jobs become higher paying jobs. Locals will take those jobs. More Americans will be working, more money stays in the economy, more taxes get paid and everyone here prospers. What about the illegals that still want to come? Well how about we get Mexico and the ther Central American countries to start a publics works program to build roads, sewer and waste water treatment plants, clean water delivery systems and schools (traditional and trade). Make that a condition of World Bank and IMF funding, and US loans. These are the kind of REAL programs that help countries to better themselves, that get their own people working, that move them from third world to second tier nations.

Now that we have fixed the reason for these poorer people to ome here illegal, we can now work on those that are here. Set up system for them to become citizens. Let the show that they have been here for a year. Give them a non-resident working visa and allow them to follow the system that we have in place now to move to citizenship.

All workers in this country should thave the right to join a union if they so choose. All workers should have to be paid minimum wage and pay all associated taxes an file for a tax return. Everyone should be treated a any medical facility irregardless of ability to pay. Remember, the Declaration of Independence say the we have the Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We are a nation of immigrants and all immigrants should be treated fairly.

If they are not, where our our family values then? Where is the Christian right when it comes to helping the poor and paying a living wage? Where are we as Americans if we don't help those less fortunate then ourselves??