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I haven’t decided yet if our friends over at Fox News is just having a much too slow news cycle, or if they are really only interested in speaking up about all of their perceived “attacks” on white Christians.  We are just 83 shopping days away from their annual attack on Christmas meme.  So, to fill the void, they are now arguing that there is a new attack.  This time we are attacking Columbus Day.

It has started because a Seattle school board has voted to redub the Columbus Day holiday as Indigenous People’s Day.  What the hell will they think of next.  As Fox News has put it:  “It’s a social and political statement that says Christopher Columbus was a violator of indigenous people. It’s a slap. It’s an attack on Columbus. Day.” (sic)

Ever since I was a child first learning about Christopher Columbus, I wondered why he was credited with “discovering America” when he never even saw the continent.  Remember, he never set foot on either North or South America.  He merely sailed around the Caribbean Sea landing on a few small islands.

Why don’t we celebrate Leaf Erikson Day?  It has been proven that the Vikings were on the North American continent 500 years before Columbus.  Not only were they here, at least in what is now Canada, they actually had a settlement there.  As a matter of fact, everyone in Europe knew that there was land to the west of Europe.  They didn’t think the world was flat as the myth of Columbus want us to believe, they already knew it was round.  So why all of the myth around Columbus?   Could it be that Fox News believes that only Christians can be credited with “discoveries” and not Pagans?

In recent years, there have been other “discoveries” about who was on the continent first.  There is some evidence and new theories about the Polynesians being in South America and even as far north as California.  There is evidence that the Chinese were on the west coast as well.  There are even theories about European people arriving as well.  All of these people arrived over a 1000 years before Columbus.

Since the first colonization of North America, our history is rife with the slaughter of indigenous people.  Manifest Destiny could not have happened without this onslaught.  Indian Tribes on the North American continent were systematically slaughtered in order to “make room” for white settlers.  Those who did survive were herded onto “reservations” where most of them still live, in poverty.

Besides the battles between indigenous people and the settlers on the East Coast, the first real egregious action came from Andrew Jackson.  He ordered the complete evacuation of all Indians from the East Coast.  The tribes were rounded up and sent to Oklahoma Territory.  Hence, the “trail of tears” when thousands of Indians died on the trek from starvation and disease.

The Indian Wars basically finished off the Indian Tribes of the Great Plains and Southwest.  They were herded onto reservations and forced to become “Americanized” by their conquerors.  Even as late as the early part of the 20th century, Indians were forced to attend boarding schools.  During their time there they were forbidden to speak their own language and their hair was cut short to be better Americanized.  Everything was done to wipe out their culture.

The elimination of the indigenous people’s cultures began with Columbus.  So yes Fox News, Columbus did violate the indigenous people.  As time went by, it became more and more barbaric.  It became policy that if they refused to change their ways, they would face total destruction.  The Indian Wars were extremely bloody.  Atrocities happened on both sides, as usually do in wars for survival.  But once the Indians were beaten, the peace that was forced on them was just as bad as the wars themselves.

This is a part of our history that is not always taught in History Class.  We avoid teaching that from the day Columbus put foot on a small island in the Caribbean, the survival of the indigenous people in the Americas was in jeopardy.  It all turned into a war of cultures.  When that happens, there is usually only one winner.   The modern-day equivalent is called genocide.

Columbus Day is one holiday that we can do without.  It is time for it to die off quickly.  Don’t you think we can find better ways to celebrate our country without honoring someone who started the culture wars in America?  I once had a T-Shirt I bought on the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina that read:  “Homeland Security.  Fighting Terrorism Since 1492.”  If you really look at it from the Native American perspective, that is an accurate statement.  Isn’t it time we stop honoring it?

 

 

As you are well aware, the Republicans are in a tizzy over Ebola.  They are putting the blame on the President, naturally, and if you watch or read anything from Fox News, the country is facing doom and gloom.  I even have to admit that when the President told the country that it was “unlikely” that the Ebola Virus would reach America, I was flabbergasted.  With a world economy, easy transportation from one continent to another, it was only a matter of time before it reached our shores, just like other infectious diseases before.

One man has died in Texas from the disease.  There is some controversy over how he was treated when he went to the hospital with symptoms.  Thomas Eric Duncan was the first person to develop Ebola in America.  Four other people are also being treated in American Hospitals.  Duncan is the one man in Texas who died from the disease.  He’s also the only patient who was uninsured. He turned up in a Dallas emergency room, informed the staff he was from Liberia, and was sent home with antibiotics.

Now being uninsured in Texas is nothing new.  Over 1.5 million Texans do not have any insurance since the wonderful governor, Rick Perry, refused to accept “free” Medicaid money to expand coverage in his state.  When he returned to the hospital Duncan was admitted.  He was even given an experimental drug, even though it was late.  But, he never received a blood transfusion from someone who had recovered from Ebola.  A very necessary part of the Ebola treatment.  See, the transfusion helps build immunity to the disease and helps fight it.  Duncan is the only patient who did not receive the transfusion.

“The real elephant in the room is, the man was black, he had no insurance, and therefore he was basically turned away,” Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is African-American, told the Los Angeles Times. The hospital, for its part, denies it treated Duncan differently than insured patients.

Then there is Youngor Jallah, the woman who got Duncan to the hospital when his symptoms worsened.   She says she doesn’t have Medicaid or any health insurance either.  Presumably she’s being monitored by health officials and will be treated if she becomes symptomatic, but she’s not certain. “It’s my worry … that I will be treated the same way” as Duncan, Jallah told the Los Angeles Times.

So how is Texas prepared to handle public health emergencies?  “We don’t really have a unifying construct for public health in Texas that’s comprehensive,” Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, the former commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, told the Texas Tribune.  Between 2008 and 2013, 36 percent of local health departments in Texas had to lay off staff due to budget cuts between 2008 and 2013.  It would appear they are not ready to handle public health emergencies.

But this problem goes way beyond Texas.  The two agencies who do the most work on public health and fighting infectious diseases are the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  They have had their budgets cut severely in the last few years.  The sequester cuts brought on by the Republicans, cut $1.55 billion from the budget of the National Institutes of Health, took another $300 million from the Center for Disease Control, slashed global health programs by $411 million and USAID by $289 million. The budgets drawn up by Rep. Paul Ryan and passed by the House GOP would have deepened those cuts significantly. The CDC’s budget has been cut $600 million since 2010.

“I have to tell you honestly it’s been a significant impact on us,” the NIH’s Anthony Fauci told a Senate subcommittee last week. “It has both in an acute and a chronic, insidious way eroded our ability to respond in the way that I and my colleagues would like to see us be able to respond to these emerging threats.”

This little fact isn’t being talked about in the Republican Hysteria Machine.  The agencies who do the most to protect America from infectious diseases have had their budgets cut drastically.  I don’t know how this will affect the overall containment of Ebola in America, but it certainly won’t help.

As usual, the Republicans have caused problems in protecting the public health of Americans.  Now that there is a real potential threat to that public health, they are crying about not being ready to fight it.  It is very typical of their strategy.  Cut everything that affects real people like public health.  Then when something goes wrong, blame everyone but yourselves.

The President is asking for $1 billion dollars in reprogramming money to help fight the disease in Africa, the place of origin.  He plans to build health centers and train people on the ground.  The natural theory is that if you stop it in the place of origin, it won’t spread much farther.  But, of course that isn’t good enough for Republicans.  As a matter of fact, Senator Vitter from Louisiana is violently opposed to the plan.  Why?  Because it focuses on “Africa.”

Writing to the members of the Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees, Vitter urged, “I ask you to oppose fully allowing the additional $1 billion in reprogramming requests until previously requested additional information is available for members of Congress to be fully briefed.” Vitter went on to assail the White House plan because, he wrote, it “focuses on Africa, and largely ignores our own borders.”

Most of the people reporting on Vitter’s letter have not focused on the wording.  Notice that he says “largely ignores our own borders.”  He doesn’t say it largely ignores our own country or our own people!  Sorry, maybe I do have a warped view of the Republicans right now, but that seems significant to me.  Nor does he ask that that money be instead transferred back to the CDC and NIH.  I wonder why.

Back when the battle raged over the ACA, many Republicans cried about what they called “death panels” being introduced into the bill.  Obviously it was a lie.  But, at the time I sarcastically wrote that the bill didn’t need a “death panel” since the Republican Party already had taken on that mantra.  Once you look at all of the facts, and listen to all of the hysteria being produced by the Republicans and their right-wing nuts, you can draw your own conclusions about the real “death panels.”

The right-wing conservative wing of the Republican party is in full hysteria mode.  As the election approaches, they have dusted off the old argument that the Democrats are soft on defense and security.  There are two items that have flamed their hysteria.  The first was ISIS and the second was Ebola.  According to the conservative wing, we are in extreme danger of both of these hideous things.  According to Fox News, we are in imminent danger of having our country wiped off the face of the earth by them.

So, how do Fox News and the wing-nuts envision these invaders entering the country?  Through Mexico of course.  Tom Tillis, the Republican candidate in North Carolina went into full hysteria mode during a debate last night.  He said the only way to stop both ISIS and Ebola is by “sealing the border.”  Naturally, in true Republican fashion he did not state how we are to “seal the border.”  And, of course, his is talking about our southern border with Mexico and not our northern border with Canada.

See, the theory goes that if ISIS wants to attack America, they simply put people ashore in Mexico.  Those people then walk however far is necessary and cross the southwest border with the U.S.  I can only assume that these people will already be armed since Republicans don’t seem to think they can buy guns in this country.  Once they cross the border with Mexico, they will do their worst to kill us all off in our sleep.

They also see that someone from West Africa who is infected with Ebola will fly into Mexico, take a bus to somewhere near the border, and then simply walk across.  All the while suffering from the disease symptoms that include organ damage and internal bleeding.  They make is sound so easy that GOP congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr. of California, told Fox host Greta van Susteren last night that ”[a]t least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the border in Texas.” Pressed on how he knew this, Hunter replied that he’d “asked the Border Patrol.”

When contacted, the Department of Homeland Security flatly denied the charge and basically said Hunter was patently false in his assertion about ISIS people being caught at the Mexican border in Texas.  To be honest, I started laughing that these ISIS terrorists entered in Texas and not in California or Arizona.  Is that a subliminal hint that California isn’t a direct target?

So, is there any validity in the Republicans claim that both ISIS and Ebola are going to just walk across our southern border?  Well, history proves just the opposite.  I know that Republicans aren’t too keen on history and the facts, but let’s look at a few things here.

Before the 9/11 attacks, terrorists crossed our border to carry out their plot.  But please note, none of them entered the country through Mexico.  In order to be able to walk around without being harassed, they either entered the country via European countries on a legal visa granted under false papers, or they entered through, get this, CANADA.  See, if a terrorist wants to commit an act in the U.S. he needs to be able to enter the country without bringing attention to himself.  Entering through a European country or Canada is the best way not to bring attention to yourself.

Every case where the FBI and/or Border Police have captured potential terrorists have been at the Canadian border NOT the Mexican border.  For one thing, the Canadian border is longer than the Mexican border.  There are far more places where people can illegally cross.  There is even the Great Lakes where some can get a boat and simply enter the U.S. from Canada without even being noticed.  When you dock your boat at a marina in the U.S., there are no border police present to check IDs and “papers”, so it is far easier to enter through Canada than through Mexico.  I know, I lived on the Great Lakes most of my life.

So, what about Ebola?  The only case, so far, of a person entering the country with Ebola came through a U.S. Airport.  He did not cross the Mexican border.  He was legally entering the country to visit family living in this country.  As a matter of fact, every case of an epidemic problem that has entered the U.S. was through legal means, not sneaking across the border from Mexico.

So, when Republicans like Tom Tillis start talking about “sealing the border” we need to be asking him if he means both the southern and northern borders.  Even if we were to build an impenetrable wall along the Mexican border, it will not stop terrorists from entering the country through Canada or even our airports.  Besides, where do the Republicans think they are going to get the billions of dollars necessary to build such a border wall?  And, how are they going to pay to maintain it?

Finally, if we do build a wall between us and Mexico, won’t that also mean we will need thousands more border police to patrol the wall?  What about all of the security equipment necessary to let us know when it is breached?  What about the equipment necessary to find tunnels under the wall?

Republicans don’t really care about “sealing the border.”  What they care about is letting loose a hysteria that those “other” people are coming to get us and the only way to stop them is to lock off the “other” people from getting in too.  That is what brings the wing-nut voters to the polls.  We don’t need to worry about our northern border, because they are not those “other” people.  They are white Christian souls just like us.  Forget that is from where terrorists enter.

Terrorism and infectious diseases, not just Ebola, are real concerns that we face everyday.  The problem is that both of these concerns are more likely to enter the country via legal means and through our own airports than “sneaking” across the southern border.  But, Republicans know that hysteria can generate votes.  It is truly sad that they think they need to hype it up in order to win an election.  But then, they don’t have anything else to run on.

If you really want to see the differences between Republican candidates and Democratic candidates in the mid-term elections, you really only need to look at two races.  One is the race for governor in Illinois.  Incumbent Governor Pat Quinn is one of if not the least incumbent Governor in Illinois history.  His approval rating was as low as 25% at one point.  The Republicans thought this was a prime target for them.  His opponent, Bruce Rauner was supposed to run away with the election.

As late as August, Rauner had a 13 point lead in the race.  That lead has evaporated to a point where recent polls show Quinn with a 4 point lead.  This evaporation isn’t because Quinn has suddenly become a popular governor.  It is because Illinois voters are learning just what type of “business man” Rauner really is, and it isn’t sitting well with them.

Rauner’s first goof up came when he announced his support for an effort to lower the state’s minimum wage a full dollar per hour.  That became such a bad choice for Rauner he has backed off of that support.  He also has an economics plan that really is weird, but typically Republican.  His plan calls for income tax cuts for the wealthiest people.  This in a state that is already facing budget problems.  Not to worry though, his plan to make up the money is to increase the state sales tax.

On Tuesday, it didn’t get any better for Rauner.  The Chicago Sun Times published a report about the “business divorce” between his investment firm and LeapSource a business outsourcing firm in Arizona in which Rauner’s company invested. Rauner recruited an accounting executive named Christine Kirk to run LeapSource, but the relationship soon went sour, and Rauner blamed Kirk for its failure.

Kirk filed suit against Rauner’s firm, alleging a hostile work environment and claiming that Rauner made threats against her – including a threat to “hurt you and your family” if Kirk took legal action against Rauner’s firm, GTCR.

“If you go legal on us, we’ll hurt you and your family,” Kirk claims Rauner told her in a February 2001 dispute.

Kirk also contended that Rauner made threats against her through Thomas Gilman, who, like Rauner, was a member of LeapSource’s board. Rauner allegedly told Gilman that he’d “bury” Kirk and make sure that “[s]he will never get another job anywhere, ever. I will bankrupt her with legal fees.”

The Rauner team have denied Kirk’s claim and pointed out that much of the lawsuit including the threats were tossed out.  Fair point.  But it may help focus the “hardball tactics” Rauner has used in his business dealings.  That is not something that generally gets votes.  Only time will tell if this newest story gains any traction for Quinn.

The other race is in Georgia where Republican David Perdue is running against Democrat Michelle Nunn for the Senate seat.  This was supposed to be an easy election for the Republicans.  Georgia is a heavily red state with strong conservative backing.  However, this race also has tightened beyond belief.  Purdue now leads Nunn by a mere two points in the most recent polling.

Perdue also apparently has put his foot in his mouth so bad that even conservatives must be wondering about their candidate.  Seems a few years back, David Perdue went on record describing his work.  In response to a direct question asking him, “Can you describe your experience with outsourcing?”, he described how he spent most of his life “outsourcing.”  When the proverbial shit hit the fan, everyone wondered how Perdue would back out of it.  He didn’t.  He doubled down on it and said “Defend it?  I’m proud of it.”

Perdue even went on to describe how the media and literature have misrepresented the whole process of outsourcing.

“This is a part of American business, part of any business. Outsourcing is the procurement of products and services to help your business run. People do that all day.”

Perdue then attempted to draw a distinction between the federal government’s policies and his own decisions as head of the company.

“I think the issue that people get confused about is the loss of jobs,” he said. “This is because of bad government policies: tax policy, regulation, even compliance requirements. It puts us at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world. Even today, right now this administration has policies going on that are decimating industries today.”

I want to get this straight.  According to Perdue, outsourcing is “part of American business” and “people do that all day.”  Well if that is true, what’s the big deal right?  Oh, maybe it is the millions of people that Perdue and his fellow outsourcers are proud of having put out of work.  The southern region once had a huge factory base making furniture and carpets, among other things.  These industries are to the point of not existing anymore.

Perdue says that is all the fault of the government.  If the government would just stop taxing companies, stop regulating safety in the workplace, and let employers pay less than minimum wage, everything would be just fine.  Maybe he has a point.  Look how well the people in Malaysia and Vietnam are living the high life on their low wages.

These two people are not alone in their views either.  The Republican party is full of plutocrats just like Rauner and Perdue.  Hell, even Wisconsin Governor Walker just announced that $7.25 per hour is a livable wage.  That is what we will get if we give the Republicans gain control of the Senate in November.

Of course, even the conservative media is ignoring these two as much as they can.  They are focusing on the more serious threat of ISIS and Ebola.  According to Fox News, we are on the verge of being wiped out by one or both of these menaces.  As I wrote before, don’t be fooled by outside influences.  Vote your pocketbook.  In the last 55 months, we have experienced private sector job growth.  All of the doom and gloom predicted by the Republicans over the ACA and the end of the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy have proven to be fairy tales.

If we continue to vote in people like Rauner and Perdue, we won’t have an economy left.  Reagan’s supply side economics is a bust.  You cannot grow an economy by outsourcing jobs and selling cheap products if no one has any money to purchase them!  But, Republicans know that if you ruin the economy, you can remove job safety bills, corporate taxes, and eliminate minimum wage.  That is how you create a Plutocrat Paradise!

I bet the NFL isn’t watching this too closely.  A New Jersey High School has suspended its entire football season after 4 games because of substantial and credible evidence of pervasive bullying, harassment and hazing in the program, including allegations of possible sexual assault.  This high school, Sayerville High School has won the state championship in its level 4 of the last 5 seasons.  It also has a running streak of 20 state playoff appearances.  So, this isn’t some scrub team where this action won’t be noticed.

In a news conference after he informed the players and parents, Richard Labbe said:  “There were incidences of harassment, intimidation, and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level, and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and, in general, accepted.”  He also reported that the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office and the Sayerville Police Department were investigating “inappropriate conduct of a significant and serious nature” that allegedly took place within the football program. All three levels of the football program — varsity, JV and freshman — have had their seasons canceled.

Of course there are parents who disagree with the decision.  They have criticized the Superintendent for punishing players who were not involved — as well as cheerleaders and band members.   “It’s unfair for the kids that didn’t get to play this year that had nothing to do with it,” parent Joe Scirica told TODAY.

Now, Scirica may have a point about those not being involved and members of the cheerleader squad and band are also being punished.  But, the point is extremely minor.  There is a criminal investigation going on at the high school concerning “incidences of harassment, intimidation, and bullying on a pervasive level.  This appears to be on a wide-scale level and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and, in general accepted.”  If that portion of the investigation proves out, how can a parent say their child was uninvolved?  If they knew about what was going on and failed to report it to the school, they are generally accepted it and thus were involved.

There have been many instances where high school, college, and professional players were involved in things of this nature and worse.  It is not uncommon to hear about football players intimidating and bullying other students.  I have never heard of another school, as prominent and successful in the sport as this school, cancelling the season over these incidents.  Usually, there is one or two scapegoats and the season goes along.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the start of something big.  If a successful program like Sayerville can have its season cancelled over these incidents, hopefully, other schools will look to use the same standard.  That is probably going to be the only way for schools to put an end to this bullying behavior.  The action taken by this school district was honorable.  Of course, we have to wait and see what the criminal investigation proves as the case moves along.

But, I think Labbe did the right thing in cancelling the season.  About the only thing that is worse than the bullying going on in our schools is the fact that many schools silently approve it by doing nothing to stop it.  Sayerville chose not to silently approve bullying.  They decided to take a stand against it.  They should be applauded for that decision.

If we can stamp out the culture of athletes getting away with such behavior in high school, we may begin to see it end at the college and professional level as well.  I am dubious that other high schools will take such a brave stance though.  That is also part of the culture of bullying.  As long as championships are gotten, schools all too often look the other way.  Silence by administrators is the loudest approval there is.

 

There two absolute necessities for maintaining life.  Food and Water.  Since the start of agrarian societies, food has been a commodity.  Meaning that you either live somewhere where you grow your own food, or you pay someone else for the food you need.  Water is also a necessity for maintaining life.  As a mater of fact, you can go longer without food than you can without water.  The UN formally “recognizes the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.”

Unfortunately, people in the U.S. have forgotten about all of the water battles that were waged in our past.  At one point, private companies were running water supplies.  At the beginning of the 20th century, they started having major cholera outbreaks, which led to it being turned over to public utilities.   However, since public utilities have had their budgets cut drastically by local and state governments over the years, they have been unable to keep up with their infrastructure.  That has led to many public utility companies facing financial hardships and budget deficits to raise their rates.

When I grew up in Chicago in the 50s, we did not have a water meter on our house.  My parents paid a flat rate to the public water company and used as much water as needed.  There was a huge fight when the city finally enforced water metering at private residences.  Yes, the water we drank came from Lake Michigan, but there was no need for metering because the utility was financed through the flat rate and taxes.

Today, no one gets water that way.  Even if you wanted to drop a bucket into a lake or river for free water, you wouldn’t be able to drink it without purifying it first because of all of the pollution that has been dumped into our lakes and rivers.  Utilities are struggling to maintain their infrastructures.  They are getting less and less money from taxes thus they are forced to raise rates on the consumer.  In essence, water which is a complete necessity to maintain life, has become a marketable commodity.  As a result of the financial problems with public utilities, private companies are looking to take over, again, for the potential profits.  The rising rates for water are making it more attractive for private companies to want to take over the public utilities.

There is no better place to look at this necessity becoming a commodity than the City of Detroit.  The so-called Emergency Manager and water utilities in the city has cut off water to thousands of their citizens who can’t pay their bill.  In a recent ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled on Detroit’s hotly contested practice of cutting off water.  He said:

“It cannot be doubted that water is a necessary ingredient to sustaining life, yet there is not an enforceable right to free and affordable water.”

To my way of thinking, he is contradicting himself.  If water is a necessary ingredient to sustaining life, how can their not be an enforceable right to free and affordable water?  According to his ruling, water is a luxury item that for which you have to pay.  If you cannot afford to pay for it, you simply don’t get it.  One of the big reasons for this fight in the first place is that the State of Michigan wants to have a private company go into Detroit and take over the public utility.  If they cannot cut off water to people who can’t pay their bills, no private company will take on the task.

We have had discussions about how the Republicans want to privatize everything.  They want to privatize public education, social security, medicare, and now public utilities like water.  Basically, they want us to consider water as a “luxury” we have to pay to get.  Never mind the local taxes we pay that is supposed to help support and keep bills low in the first place.  This is the type of insanity that permeates the Republican mindset.  The next thing you will see is when a natural disaster strikes an area and the water trucks show up, you will have to pay for each gallon of water you need.

Cutting off water to private residences is not just wrong, it’s a potential health hazard.  It could begin spreading diseases that shouldn’t exist any longer in this country.  If there is no water, you will not be able to flush your toilet.  What are residents supposed to do?  Pour their waste in the gutter as in the “good ole days?”  Things like cholera are potentially waiting in the wings to spread through our communities again.

The biggest drawback in living in an industrialized country is that we have become an urbanized society.  The agrarian society that we used to have is gone.  Even in many rural areas, there are public utilities that provide water to residents.  This water is cleaner than well water.  If you do have a well, you still need to use a water softener or other treatment before drinking it.  Besides, with fracking going on all over, you have the added worry of your well being contaminated by the fracking chemicals being used.  As a friend of mine with a well says, “drinking well water is kidney stone heaven.”

Water is a basic necessity.  It is not a luxury item like Judge Rhodes seems to think it is.  One of the most fundamental responsibilities of government is to help ensure the basic necessities of life are maintained.  Putting public utilities in the hands of private companies, raising rates for water, or cutting off water to people who cannot to pay their bills is illegally abdicating responsibility, in my view.  It is simply another way to marginalize the poor.

 

 

With the mid-terms just weeks away now, I find it difficult to understand why we aren’t seeing more TV ads from the Democrats about equal pay, minimum wage, and paid family leave.  These are issues that are extremely important to families, especially women.  As usual, it is projected that the turnout for this mid-term will be lower than in a presidential election year.  That also means that fewer women will vote in the mid-terms as well.

If the Democrats really want to keep the Senate and make some strides in the House, these are issues that they should be talking about more, not less.  There is plenty of evidence that it just might turn the tide against the Republicans if the Democrats use these issues wisely.  People want paid family leave.  They want affordable child-care.  They want fair and equal pay.  They are even willing to vote for people who support these issues.

A recent Lake Research Partners poll commissioned by the Make It Work campaign found that 76 percent of surveyed registered voters favor the campaign’s efforts to implement fair pay for minimum wage earners — who are disproportionately women — as well as more flexible family leave policies. Researchers found that a majority of respondents disagreed with the assertion that “men and women these days are generally paid equally for doing the same work,” and 80 percent said it’s the government’s responsibility to guarantee fair treatment for workers, regardless of income level or gender.

How much more ammunition do you need to fire the shots necessary to fire up these people enough to vote?  The Republicans have been very public about their refusal to implement any of these issues into law.  They are constantly telling voters that only companies can decide what a fair wage is, so the minimum wage is antiquated to the point it should be abolished.  They are constantly telling voters that you don’t deserve paid family leave time because it will hamper the business.  They are constantly telling the voters that men and women make the same wages for the same work.  Which statistics prove them wrong in every field and profession.

I live in a state where there is a very tight race between the incumbent Democratic Senator and her Republican rival.  I have not seen one single advertisement about the difference between them on these issues.  These are things that can even make Republican women vote Democratic.  The adage of “voting your pocketbook” is not dead.  It has just be hijacked by Republicans who get the wealthy to vote their pocketbooks.  Somehow they have convinced too many people to vote against their pocketbook just because they belong to a certain party.

In order to get people to the polls, Democrats need to start talking about issues that affect people’s pocketbooks.  Telling a minimum wage working person that raising the minimum wage will almost double their income, and you can get their vote.  Tell them that raising their income will mean more money to spend on necessities and even some “luxury” items and the will vote for you.  Tell them that increasing money to spend into the economy will help boost jobs, and they will vote for you.

But, for some reason, the Democrats seem to be mum on these topics.  I don’t understand why.  The Republicans haven’t been mum.  They especially like the idea of running ads telling women they should think about voting the same way the look at dresses or dates.  They are telling women that they don’t understand politics enough to vote on the issues, so they have to vote according to style.

If the Democrats don’t wake up soon, we may be faced with an even worse congress than we have had for the last several years.  If they don’t start fighting for the common people and telling them they favor these issues while the opponents do not, we won’t see any dramatic turn-around in November.

It is very easy to do as well.  We know Democrats favor these issues because they have already passed the Senate.  They haven’t become law because the Republicans refuse to even hold a vote on them in the House.  More fodder for the Democrats.  Just think about it.  76 percent of people want all of these issues to pass.  That means there are gerrymandered Republican districts that have a majority of people who want these issues to pass.

One way Democrats can get women to the polls is to talk about pocketbook issues.  So far, they have been remarkably silent on them.  Their silence could spell their doom in the mid-terms.

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