Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Democrat”

Can I Order some Democracy, Please? – Tom Rossi

Once in a while, we hear, in the news, about a strange, mysterious concept  known as “gerrymandering.” This is the practice whereby politicians make changes to the geographical shapes of political districts in order to give themselves and/or their political party more power. It’s done on an opportunistic basis by whichever party has power in a certain state at the moment and has no shame whatsoever.

However, in recent years the Republican Party has definitely taken the lead. The Dems are certainly not innocent, but they’ve taken a back seat to the recent flood of Republican gerrymandering.

How might it be possible to make more districts elect Republicans even if a majority of voters are Democrats? Here’s how:

First, identify geographic areas where Dems and Reps are concentrated. In other words, find areas that are not divided somewhat evenly, but where voting for one party is clearly dominant. Usually, this is as simple as separating the rich areas from the middle-class and poor neighborhoods. Then, draw new district borders, no matter how convoluted, around the desired areas, and voila’, you have cemented your power for the foreseeable future.

The Great State of Simplificatia

The Great State of Simplificatia

In the deliberately oversimplified diagram above (which is both a schematic and a fake map), you can see how gerrymandering works. The larger blue area (or population) votes Democrat, and the red area votes Republican. But if the Republicans set the districts, they can form one district that contains most of the Democrats, while the other two districts have a Republican majority. This means that, from this imaginary state with three congressional districts and a Democratic majority, one of the representatives that will be sent to Congress will be a Democrat, while two will be Republicans.

Due to various factors, people more often elect Republicans at the local level. This has to do with people’s (incorrect) perceptions about job creation, for one thing, but also the fact that many Democrats tend only to come out and vote in the “big” elections, for President of the United States, for example.

As a result, Republicans often end up in key positions of power from which they can control periodic redistricting. Of course, this phenomenon can and has taken place the other way ’round, but this is the dominant trend lately.

And it can be incredibly ugly on a real map:


A single district in Maryland

What’s really politically beautiful (in reality, ugly) about this is that it provides the opportunity to whine about Democrats’ “making their seats safe,” even while, as I demonstrated in the diagram above, what’s really happening is the snatching of a seat by the Republicans.

For a much more detailed analysis of this problem, please read Sam Wang’s brilliant pieces: “Gerrymanders, Part 1: Busting the both-sides-do-it myth“, and “Part 2: How many voters were disenfranchised?” One conclusion that Wang reaches (with some good math and statistics) is that ten times as many Democrats have been disenfranchised as Republicans.

If it weren’t for this, Democrats would very likely hold the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. That would mean that talk of austerity measures would die, as would talk of privatizing Social Security.

It would also mean that something might be done to prepare for climate change (that is already upon us) and maybe some steps would even be taken to minimize the amount and pace of climate change.

And get this… If Democrats really controlled the government, there would be less spending.

As Sam Wang suggests, gerrymandering disenfranchises voters. That means a hole in our democracy, and that’s unacceptable, whichever party benefits. With so much talk of “bringing democracy” to Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, and other countries, many are now saying, “Let’s bring democracy to the United States first.

Video: Stephen Colbert: Win, Lose, or Redraw

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.


Please, Stop Whining About Spending! – Tom Rossi

The words “tax” and “spend” get thrown around a lot by our beloved politicians – especially by the Republicans. The simpletonistic, cave-man assumption we are all to follow along with is: “Taxes bad, spending bad. Ugh! Atouk zugzug Lana!”

The idea actually is pretty simple – government spending necessitates taxes, and the more taxes, the less money in your pocket. Fair enough, but also myopic.

Everyone, except a handful of fringe lunatics, agrees that some spending is necessary. In general, Democrats believe we have to spend money on some kinds of public health programs and things like that, while Republicans always seem to think we need a more military might.

Right there, something should become obvious – not all spending is created equal. What surprises me is that the anti-spending crowd is opposed to moderate spending now, that would prevent mega-spending becoming necessary later. Now we’re talking about my favorite word: infrastructure.

America’s infrastructure is in a sorry state. That isn’t some nutty, liberal viewpoint, it’s the opinion of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Here’s the report card they gave the U.S. in 2009:

2009 Grades

Aviation D

Bridges C

Dams D

Drinking Water D-

Energy D+

Hazardous Waste D

Inland Waterways D-

Levees D-

Public Parks and Recreation C-

Rail C-

Roads D-

Schools D

Solid Waste C+

Transit D

Wastewater D-

America’s Infrastructure GPA: D
Estimated 5 Year Investment Need: $2.2 Trillion

Why do I always harp about this? Because these elements are the life’s blood of America. The individual pieces of our infrastructure are aging and deteriorating, and it will eventually cost us… big.

Even the most hardcore of bottom-liners have to see that our economy will utterly fail if our water, transportation, flood control, energy, waste, and educational systems and facilities start to falter with increased frequency. And, at this point, we’re not even talking about preventative maintenance. We’re trying to keep up with massive failures.

How do you treat your own home, and your own car? Car owners know that skipping their oil changes at “Jiffy Lube” to save $35 will most likely lead to a ruined engine, at a cost just slightly higher than $35.

Homeowners know that “saving” the expense of fixing a little leak in the roof that appears one day will certainly mean a nightmare, where the entire roof will have to be replaced and the house will probably suffer water damage.

Fixing water pipes or levees before they burst, fixing bridges before they fall into the river, and repairing roads before they completely shut down transportation can save ten times what these repair jobs cost.

And the dollar-cost isn’t anywhere near the whole story. Any of these infrastructure failures causes huge logistical catastrophes, as well. Imagine what it would be like if the bridge or the freeway you take to work was out of commission for 6 months, or if you had to go without running water for as long.


Another big reason to start investing more in our infrastructure is that it would create many, many jobs. We could put Americans to work physically fixing America. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? And it wouldn’t be giving away money for the sake of it, it would be directly improving our country in so many ways.

I’m tired of all the anti-spending ranting. We need more spending, not less. We just need to focus our spending on constructive activities.

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.


Game On. Go Vote!

Today there are no fancy views, no links, no cool pics. Today there are no excuses for dithering – if you are undecided (really undecided) then you simply haven’t been paying attention ­– or you are denying something to yourself that only you can fathom.

Decide. This is too important a moment to pass up.

Breaking News: Left Coast Voices endorses Barack Obama! Actually, if this is breaking news to you, then you haven’t been paying attention to this blog!

I can understand the top 1%. They are voting for what best represents their interest and most people will do that. It is a rare individual who will put his/her country first and vote for the other guy because, in their heart, they know this country (and maybe the world) needs such a candidate. I want to declare my admiration for those 1%-ers who vote for President Obama.

But beyond the 1%, I am somewhat mystified why the choice isn’t clear. Mitt Romney is a proud Republican, so is Paul Ryan. They were members of a government that sent this country into massive debt and economic hemorrhage. That they have the audacity to use statistics on President Obama’s first day in office as a mark of measurement for the President is incredulous. That they don’t see it as a mark of shame is scary. That the media and social commentators aren’t calling them out for this is either pathetic or really scary.

The suggestion that eight years of Republican greed and irresponsibility can be fixed in a day, a week, or a month, is stupid and insulting to the intelligence of the populace. That it has taken four years to stop the hemorrhage and institute a measure of stability is an illustration of the gravity of Republican mis-governance.

Barack Obama not only saved the car industry, but also galvanized it to enter the 21st Century and compete with Toyota and Honda. This must be a model for how we govern. He is bringing us out of two wars that are financially bankrupting us, and laying the foundation for new financial and economic sustainability that will be appreciated by our children if not us. More than anything else: we owe it to our children to repair the damage. Let the sins of the fathers (and mothers), stay with the fathers.

Some are frustrated at the pace, at the emphasis, or the inability to create comprehensive policy in, for example, health care. But huge steps have been taken. If you are on the left and even contemplating not voting, or casting your vote for a candidate who, while genuine in their beliefs, are irrelevant to what we, the American people, have deemed a two-horse race, then you are not taking responsibility.

I am frustrated at the Obama campaign for not speaking out consistently at Governor Romney’s inability to provide a clear and understandable policy. His running mate, the ‘numbers man,’ has consistently and condescendingly told us that he has crunched the numbers but can’t share them with us because they are too complicated and time-consuming.

Mr. Ryan – the voter is your consumer and your boss. You owe us an explanation in a language we understand or you run the risk that either: WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU or WE THINK YOU ARE HIDING THE TRUTH – or possibly both.

Four More Years – in a world of instant gratification, this has almost become a curse. But the American people, fueled by Republican greed and public apathy, have allowed us to dig ourselves a deep hole. It is going to take time to fill the hole and cement a firm foundation.

Barack Obama has taken on this responsibility. His campaign would have been more effective if he had played the sugar daddy and promised to wave his magic wand and deliver vague and impossible dreams. But he is too principled for that – a rare trait in politics.

The reality is that we need four more years to continue the recovery and repair the damage. We probably need more than that, in truth, but we need to embrace consistency, rather than chase the magic bullet.

President Obama hasn’t been perfect, but he took office in a deep depression and he has remained a consistent and responsible leader. He deserves the opportunity to continue advancing everything he has built and he needs us to be honest partners, not only today, but for the next four years.

Tomorrow, he needs your endorsement. Your country needs you – GO VOTE!


Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Jewish Student Center, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

Genocide of the Middleclass – Roger Ingalls

James Carville has just released a new book (It’s the Middle Class, Stupid) and the President is now shaping his re-election rhetoric around helping the middleclass so I feel it is prudent to repost (with edits) one of my earlier articles about the subject.

It is mind-boggling that so many Americans have a god-like fascination with Ronald Reagan. This is the man who set in motion the financial destruction of the middleclass. Unbelievably, a significant portion of Middle America still loves the man. Why? Is it some sort of Battered Wife Syndrome  or is the conservative middleclass too embarrassed to admit that they were duped by the Republican Party?

But, here we are, repeating stupidity. Instead of trying to reverse Reaganomics, conservatives are still trying to enhance it; more tax cuts for the rich and for corporations, more union busting, deregulation and privatization of government programs.

To increase our understanding, let’s review history: today, many Americans believe that middleclass society magically appeared with the birth of our nation and grew over time. This is not true. With the market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression, the country fell into economic chaos and floundered under Republican President Herbert Hoover. Prior to that, there were a few rich people, a lot of poor folk and a handful of in-betweeners. Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in March of 1933, quickly launched new legislation and executive orders that would become known as the New Deal.

The New Deal increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans, increased corporate taxes, regulated banks and Wall Street, created government programs (social security, unemployment insurance and minimum wage), and created pro-union alliances. FDR’s policies pulled our Nation out of the depression and gave rise to Middle America. In less than a decade, the middleclass would grow to become the largest demographic in the country and the envy of the world—The Great American Middleclass.

From the late 30s through the late 70s America prospered, the Middleclass would live comfortably and we became the undisputed world power. In steps the B-movie cowboy with his traveling show of Reaganomites and the genocide begins. Middle America was forced to save less just to maintain living standards, eventually leading to the necessity of financing their way of life. Wealth transferred from the Middleclass to banks, corporations, the rich got richer and this trend continues today. Wealth disparity now sits at the largest level since the robber-baron days of the late 1800s through the 1920s.

Americans need to act by educating ourselves on what policies actually work based on historic proof. We must not listen to money-influenced mainstream media. We must not let ourselves get polarized (against each other) through agenda promoted by today’s corporate-financed politicians—it’s their tactic to divide and conquer.

Genocide of the Middleclass, begun by Ronald Reagan, must stop. Hopefully the influential power of James Carville will help bring attention to proper change. And maybe, just maybe, the President’s renewed commitment to the middleclass is more than the normal lip-service.

Republicans are Playing to Lose – Tom Rossi

It should be clear by now that the Republican Party doesn’t want to win the presidency in 2012. Why would they? Things are going great for the 1%… profits are skyrocketing, “labor costs” are falling, corporations are legally human beings when it comes to rights but not when it comes to responsibility or accountability – great. Better yet, the people who wish these things were different blame President Obama for the worsening condition of the American middle class. Why screw with the perfect arrangement?

This lack of purpose explains the clown college graduation ceremony that we see every other week on TV in the form of Republican “debates.”

I can almost see their managers in the dugout: “Swing toward right field! I don’t care if you get a hit, just swing that way anyway!” How far right do they swing? Sometimes-frontrunner Newt Gingrinch [sic] went as far as to suggest a return to child labor in having school children replace janitorial staff. Wow.

In recent years, it was the Dems who didn’t want to win (remember when the best they supposedly had to offer was Michael Dukakis???). Why? Well, the Democratic voters wanted to win, thinking (mostly mistakenly) that it would make a difference. But Democratic politicians are themselves members of the 1%, for the most part, as are the powerful people who pull their marionette strings. Their true, underlying desires were for the same as the Republicans – lower taxes on their investments and less interference with getting even richer.

This system of regression has worked beautifully for the masters of our country. The “he said, she said” (Dems said, Reps said) routine has distracted America perfectly while we’ve happily bumbled our way toward the real goal – 1929. That was the last time the economic imbalance in this country reached such an outrageous level. You know what happened next.

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com


Do we know it’s Christmas… Over here? Tom Rossi

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ (ostensibly) in this Christian-dominated (politically, anyway) country, it might be a good time to take a brief look at what we claim to believe in.

We believe in the Bible, and we believe in personal wealth. We profess our love for Jesus, and we vote Republican or Republican-light (Democrat). We recite the ten commandments, and our national pastime is coveting.

In his thought-provoking book, “Celebration of Discipline: the Path to Spiritual Growth,” Richard Foster wrote that there is, “… a prevailing notion that the Bible is ambiguous about economic issues.” He goes on to say, “No serious reading of scripture can substantiate such a view. The biblical injunctions against the exploitation of the poor and the accumulation of wealth are clear and straightforward.” Foster proceeds to pose several examples with scriptures referenced.

So how is it that the party of riches is also the party (supposedly) of Christianity? How is it that people think they’re voting for God when they vote republican? Aren’t they actually voting against God, Jesus, and what it actually says in the Bible?

I have to be honest. Even though I have studied many things and was raised in the Catholic church, I’m quite an agnostic. My dad named me after Saint Thomas Aquinas but I take after “doubting” Thomas much more. I question everything. My religion is reason and what offends me is intellectual dishonesty or hypocrisy.

But after studying the words of Christ a little bit as an adult, I realize that I’m the one who actually believes in what he taught, while it seems that 90% of the people who call themselves “Christians” really worship some manufactured image that better suits their ideologies and goals.

People hide behind religion to justify voting for selfishness, for maintaining the imbalances inherit in the present system. They vote to keep the “privileged few” privileged, because they are either now members of that club or psychotically hold onto the belief that they will be, one day.

When Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24), he was talking about money and God. It’s pretty clear that he meant that the pursuit of money would certainly take one’s mind and efforts from God and the way of life that Jesus advocated. How did it come to be that so many of the very representatives of Christianity are multi-millionaires? And I won’t even get started on the “Christian” politicians.

Much is written, every year now, about how Christmas has become so commercial. That’s not it. We worship money every day of the year and that worship is enshrined as our one true national religion. We duly elect the perfect representatives… those who epitomize “money-ism” of one form or another. Christmas is just the culminating orgy of what goes on all year long.

What would I change? Plenty. But let’s start with the elimination of hypocrisy. This Christmas (or Chanukah or Kwanzaa or whatever else you might celebrate), look at yourself honestly in the mirror and admit what’s important to you. Maybe it’s money. OK, nothing wrong with that. Just admit it. When I look in the mirror I see Lorne Greene, a martian, and sometimes Martha Stewart. I’ve really gotta stop drinking so much.

What I want for Christmas this year is for everyone to open their eyes and see that their leaders are mostly just trying to get even richer. Then to realize that claims those leaders make about how to be a better Christian are mostly lies. People vote based on these lies. That makes them dangerous.

But forget about politics for now. Spend your vacation with family, friends, or your favorite snow-capped mountain or evergreen forest. Let yourself step off of the rat-racetrack for a few days, and have a happy holiday season. We’ll talk politics when you get back.

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com


Obama Must Lose – Part II – Tom Rossi

After last week’s post, Obama Must Lose… to a Progressive, some friends asked questions that made me realize that I need to make my strategy a little more clear.

As with any presidential election, the Republicans’ main goal is to create apathy and lethargy among Democratic voters so that they stay home and don’t bother to vote. If this happens, the Democrats will lose – and accomplish nothing in the process. This is why we need huge numbers of Progressive voters to hit the polls – and vote for Dennis Kucinich. And if Kucinich is not on the ballot, write in his name. That way, it will be clear just WHY Obama loses: he abandoned his base.

Now I truly believe that Barrack Obama is a very good man. But it’s clear that he has been seduced and coopted by the dominant economic paradigm of our time. The economic con-men that have created this domination can be very convincing. They talk in country-like aphorisms and say brilliant things like, “Don’t buy a pig in a polk.” Who could argue with that?

President Obama is an intelligent and educated man, but his education has been halted by the blaring sirens of economic darwinism. The same was true of Bill Clinton – by many arguments a more conservative president than Ronald Reagan.

There are three general outcomes possible in the 2012 presidential election. The first possibility is that Obama wins a second term, which will mean that our country continues along the scenic route toward hell. The second is that disenchanted Democrats stay home and Obama loses to a Republican – our journey toward hell is slightly accelerated, followed by another swing of the pendulum four years later to put us back on the scenic route.

The third possibility, the one I am advocating, is that Obama loses because Democrats and non-Democrat Progressives showed up at the polls and took the presidency away by voting for Kucinich. This way, when the pendulum swings back (and it will, as unemployment will be even worse and millions more will have been foreclosed upon), it will swing HARD.

Finally, Progressives will have a voice in national politics. Finally, the “flavors” of capitalism will be open for discussion. Capitalism should not be abandoned, but the flavor we have now tastes like liver – rotten liver.

So, if you can see my logic, don’t try to convince Obama supporters not to vote for him but convince the disenchanted – those who would stay home – that they need to get out and vote in 2012. They need to get out and make their vote count. Vote “People Before Profits!” Make our voices heard.

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com


Obama Must Lose… to a Progressive

I’ve been “masterdebating” (debating with myself) on this one for several months, but it has to be said… it has to be done. President Obama has to lose – to a real progressive. I don’t mean just lose the primary – but lose California in 2012 and thereby lose the general presidential election.

Blasphemy! If that were to happen, the Republican candidate would win the national election and we would have a Republican president! Yes, I say with head hung low, that is exactly what needs to happen.

Wow. Has Rossi finally really lost it? What kind of craziness is this? I’ll tell you what kind of craziness: it’s a “queen sacrifice.” In the game of chess, a player sometimes has the opportunity to set up this bait-trap-kill strategy. The idea is to sacrifice (allow the other player to capture) the queen, the most powerful weapon on the board, and through this sacrifice, weaken the other player’s positioning and move in for the win: checkmate.

But the reasons for this go way beyond strategy. It’s true that the Republicans, and certainly the Tea Party, want to put the U.S. on a direct path into economic and social hell. They want unfettered corporate control, while the government only serves to control our behavior, words, and even thoughts, while ostensibly protecting us from outside threats. As opposed to the shortest route, President Obama has us on the scenic route to hell. He’s delayed, diverted, and shown us some dying flowers and falling trees along the way, but we are most certainly headed toward the same end.

Why? Because President Obama, while being accused of socialism and worse, has led our economy in the same-ol’ neoclassical direction. The same direction that got us into the current incarnation of a long-term, structural disaster. Obama has done everything to put a band-aid on the economy that got us here – the economy of doom. He’s done everything to build it back up, to make this jalopy run so it can take us off that cliff that was apparently the goal.

And I think it should be obvious by now to almost anyone that as the economy goes, so go the rights of the working class. The “bad” economy (really it’s great – if you’re already a billionaire) has been used as an excuse to make pensions disappear, to take health-care away from workers, to force us to accept lower pay and longer hours.

But my point is that what we have been calling a “good” economy is really not so good. Our “free market” economy (let me be the first to say that a free market not only does not exist, but CANNOT exist) is basically designed to suck money toward the top and out of the rest of us. In addition, the needs of our grow, grow, grow economy have justified our continued destruction of our planet and its resources – both its sources and sinks. Not only will this make life very difficult for coming generations, it’s already having a strong effect.

For all these reasons, we must abandon false hope. We also must accept that, in order to weaken the grip of conservative marketing double-speak, things have to get worse before they have any chance of getting better. The only way I can see forward is for the Republicans to really take over, and drive us off that cliff. Then and only then will the deluded masses see the truth. When unemployment hits 30, 35, or even 40%, people will start to see. When all pensions are gone, released in corporate bankruptcies, the people will start to see. When the brown skies of the seventies and eighties return, the people will start to see.

Besides, I’m really starting to think the Republicans WANT to lose in 2012. I’m not saying that Republican voters want to lose, but the strategists at the center of the party do. They know that the economy is going to get worse and worse (for most of us, anyway) and they want to be able to blame a Democratic president.

So who then? Who should we vote for to send a strong statement that we want a real progressive? Dennis Kucinich.

While he’s no perfect superhero, Kucinich is the one true nationally recognized progressive.

So how is this different from what happened with Ralph Nader in 2000? That certainly didn’t have a good result, did it? First of all, that election was different. The lines weren’t so clearly drawn between Al Gore and George Bush. Many accused them of sounding too alike. And Nader (as the candidate for the Green Party) was only a third uncharismatic candidate in the race.

At the time, the Green Party had told its members that Democrats and Republicans were essentially the same. That didn’t ring true in most people’s ears at the time. Now, we have seen President Obama seduced by our nation’s “leading” economists – convinced that free-market, free-trade growth is the answer. It now seems that the Green Party is right. They turned out to have been wrong in 2000, but they’re right now. While Obama and the Republican candidates trade barbs and insults, we are floating (precariously) on two different streams, but emptying into the same ocean.

I know Obama has tried, a handful of times, to do some actual good, as with health-care, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is under the spell of an economics that has proven itself a failure.

Let me be clear, Dennis Kucinich absolutely will not win the presidential election of 2012. But if Kucinich were to grab enough of the vote in California and maybe a few other states, Obama would lose, and it would be clear and obvious that he had lost because he had coddled the illusory “swing voters” that everyone believes are slightly right of center.

So, assuming he won’t appear on the final ballot, write in Dennis Kucinich. This would mean that the Democrats would HAVE to start paying attention to progressives. I want a Democratic candidate to run on the slogan: “People before profits.” And then I want that candidate to keep that promise.

-Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com


Bipartisan Rant: Thank You, I’m Not Alone (by Roger Ingalls)

Often, my head and heart burn with frustration when I can’t find the words or intensity to express myself. Like many people, I have complex thoughts, little spare time and no soapbox to pair vocal-passion with words.

Every once in awhile someone comes along and says exactly what I want to scream to the world. This gift was given to me on Tuesday. My eyes teared-up as I said to myself, “thank you…I’m not alone”.

In a rare bipartisan rant, Dylan Ratigan let all sides have it during his MSNBC show.

I implore you – the readers of this post – to watch this four minute video. It will make you smarter and hopefully move you.

This is the shortest post I’ve written, I can’t add anything to what Dylan Ratigan said. Every point he made was a homerun.

I take solace knowing others see the world as I do and, oddly, it’s comforting to see the growing frustration. Frustration will eventually lead to action.

A change is gonna come!


Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

The Debt Limit: A Republican Shell Game (Roger Ingalls)

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has warned that the U.S. government will default, if the debt ceiling isn’t increased by August 2, 2011. He goes on to says, “this would have severe consequences for the economy”.

Lately, the debt limit or ceiling has received a fair amount of press because the Republicans are refusing to vote affirmatively to raise it. Keep in mind that the debt ceiling has been increased approximately 75 times in the past fifty years. Increasing this limit is nothing new and has occurred more frequently under Republican administrations.

The conservatives are trying to handcuff the Obama administration with their no vote. Newt Gingrich orchestrated the same failed-maneuver during the Clinton administration. Republicans won’t increase the limit until the Obama administration makes more budget cuts. Essentially, they want to remove $2.4 trillion from the budget over the next ten years. The President will not cut the budget until tax breaks given to the rich under the second Bush administration are eliminated and tax loopholes are closed for big business. So here we sit, stuck in political mud.

The solution is simple. Look back in time and see what worked. During the Clinton administration, the U.S. had one of the best economic eras in its history. Just undo the George W. Bush  craziness that’s still in place; bring back the Clinton tax brackets, get rid of the mid-2000 corporate tax loopholes and roll back expenditures on Defense. We don’t even need to cut Defense spending all the way back to the 1990s level.  We can double the Clinton-era Defense spending and still save $3 trillion over the next ten years which is $600 billion more than the conservatives want.

The Obama administration needs to man-up and get rid of the irresponsible financial policies put in place under G.W. Bush, as promised. Republican politicians need to quit the political sound-biting and do something constructive for the middle-class.

The debt limit discussion is just a diversionary storm in a water-glass.


Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

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