change of seasons
The saddest thing that has come out of this tax the poor to pay the rich debacle is the Democrats lack of political focus. Yes, we are all pissed that President Obama (yeah, I’m to mad to call him Barry) has cut a deal we all hate. Instead of carping on that, we need to remind the American people who the real culprits are in this situation. The fact that the Republicans have put the country in this position should be screaming from the headlines. To be honest, I have to say I feel a hint of respect for the position President Obama (still mad) took. He knew he would hear it from the Left (and rightly so), but he actually put the American citizens ahead of politics. Sort of…. It’s easy for pundits and our millionaire Congress to say let’s fight it out. We can back pay the unemployment benefits to those who lose out while we argue. You can not pay the rent with promises of unemployment checks. You can not feed your children with back pay. Promises will not make your car payment. My problem is that President Obama (really angry here, people) should have gotten a better deal. If you are going to play chicken with my grandchildren’s financial future, you need to at least get the unemployment benefits extension to match the length of the unnecessary tax cuts. Thirteen months versus two years? Honey you are part African, you can haggle better than that! Giving tax relief to the dead and losing tax cuts for the working poor? Do they have dirty pictures from your college years? Yes, it is a blow to the Democratic agenda. No, we do not need to be putting all the blame on President Obama (yep, still pissed). We need to remember, and remind the country, that this situation has stemmed from one thing: the Republicans trying to keep themselves from becoming an unemployment statistic. No tax cuts for the rich, no campaign funds, no jobs. It’s up to us as Democrats to remind the public of who is really at fault, and come 2012, make the Republicans regret that unemployment was only extended thirteen months.
Okay so I am paraphrasing The Twilight Zone, but really that is what I feel like I have tuned into every time I turn on the TV to watch the mainstream media coverage of the “news”. Yes, I did put that in quotations. No, I am not trying to be ironic. Basic cable has ruined journalism. I remember watching Ted Koppel on Nightline when I was growing up. We all used to tune in with my Dad explaining the issues to us kids during the commercials. I am not sure if it was Ted’s reporting or my father’s running commentary, but I always felt like I was being informed of what was really happening in the world. Now they have turned Nightline into some generic “infotainment” show. Poor Ted. At least there is still the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, another staple in my younger years. But, what about CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News? Well, let’s just go ahead and burst Fox News’s bubble and admit that there is no actual news on that channel. Please stop calling yourselves Fox News and go by your real intentions - Fox Opinions and Drivel. You are allowed your opinions, but you are not allowed to call them facts nor news. I have to say I feel almost the same way for MSNBC. Their key “anchors” are really pundits, but at least their opinions are based on actual facts and investigative journalism. Again, I don’t mind them having an opinion, but they should call it reporting with an *. Yes, I agree with the reporting* on MSNBC, but what about just straight news, just giving the public the facts? We have CNN, right? Wrong! This hurts me to say. I have been an avid viewer of CNN since my father declared me old enough to watch all the hard truths of world. What I have noticed over the past two decades of watching CNN is a shift away from asking any really hard questions. I would love just once to see John King say to a conservative pundit, “Well how are going to balance the budget and pay down the deficit when you want to continue throwing tax dollars down the throats of the rich? Have you found a third dimension where jobs magically spring from a unicorn’s butt?”. Just once John, just once. But, I do have to give props to Candy Crowley for holding down the fort, I tune into her with a smile on my face every time. So where can I get real, actual reporting you ask? Here is a list of various sources I have found both informative and entertaining:
-If you are looking for real journalism: Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Talk about putting yourself out there to inform the public! Please find her at democracynow.org
-If you are looking for a gateway: The Best of the Left Podcast produced by Jay! Tomlinson (his exclamation point, not mine). It is a compilation of a number of news sources and a good way to find other outlets to news. You can find him at thebestoftheleftpodcast.com.
-If you need to chuckle while you learn: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and my personal favorite, Real Time with Bill Maher.
-If you need to chuckle and learn enough swear words to make your merchant marine brother blush: The crazy kids of Citizen Radio Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny. WARNING: This show is Not Safe For Work or your Grandmother with a heart condition! You can find them at wearecitizenradio.com.
This is a very abbreviated list of my personal favorites. I hope you know of some and go look for others because the only way we are going to bring about a real and lasting change is to become the educated citizens that keep a democracy alive and strong.
What does the new American reality mean for the overlooked in society - women, minorities, and the poor? What is the new American reality you ask? It’s a reality that parents are facing when they finally admit they cannot afford to send their straight A honor student children to college. It is a reality that seniors are facing when health care costs are creeping into their grocery budgets. It is the reality that those striving to get back to work are facing when they keep emailing resumes and attending every job fair possible to no avail. It is not coincidental that as resources become more scarce, women, minorities, and the poor are the groups most harshly affected. Compare the national unemployment rates and the unemployment rates of minorities. The national unemployment rate is currently 9.6%, while the rate of African Americans is at 15.5% and for Hispanics it is at 12.4%. The unemployment rate has jumped by 4.7% for African Americans while falling from 8.6% to 8.3% for White America. Kinda hard not to miss the discrepancies there. Now after hearing the draconian cuts the leaders of the Budget Commission want to make, I shudder for the future. Of course the cuts look to slash into everyone but the absurdly rich and their corporate hounds. Of course they are going after Social Security, but amazingly they want to also go after the healthcare of our veterans. Yes, they ask for cuts in the Defense department and the Pentagon, yet no mention of killing the Bush tax cuts for the rich or ending the wars that are bleeding us all dry. If there has ever been a time for the Obama administration to put bipartisanship on the shelf, it is now. I hope Barry becomes President Veto in order to protect the 98% of the American public that is not rich or tied to a multinational conglomerate.